Social media and content writing are intimately linked these days. Which leads to no small challenge for people like me (and anyone without a full-blown digital marketing department to call on) who need to work a whole load of channels for success. We write blog posts. And now there are all the social media channels to keep an eye on as well. I could easily spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week between Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn. Oh, and Pinterest and Instagram. But there’s the rub. There are clients, business development and something called Personal Life (you’ve heard of it?) to fit in as well. That’s our problem.
How do you get it all done?
By containing the lure of social media. By restricting the amount to time you spend on it. By working efficiently, treating social as part of your business, not an extension of your coffee shop or water cooler. For me, that means not using the Web interfaces or native apps for any of the social media services I take part in.
Social media is a blast!
So my basic premise is that I can’t spend all day on social media. It’s important, but not that important! I want to have two or three focused blasts each day across the accounts I manage – my business and personal accounts, plus client accounts. Then occasionally I’ll spend some more time looking outside my areas of focus to involve more people in my conversations and to share a wider range of content.
Social media management tools
These are the two tools I couldn’t do without:
- Commun.it – my go-to when I want a fast, efficient few minutes on Twitter. Commun.it helps me concentrate on interacting with the most important members of my community
- Hootsuite – draws all my accounts (on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn) together in one place and allows me to set up custom tabs so I can see what’s going on at a glance. Setting up Hootsuite is a post in itself. Not because it’s difficult – it isn’t – but because there are so many possibilities.
Content discovery tools
An important part of any social media campaign is sharing the right stuff with your followers (I’ll use Twitter terminology, if I may).
- Feedly – allows me to scan through what’s been published on a list of blogs I’m interested in. This is the RSS feed reader that I’d always wanted
Edit, 9 February 2016: Zite is no more. Neither is its website. Towards the end of 2015 Flipboard finally migrated Zite’s functionality into Flipboard, and unfortunately, I don’t like it. Somehow, the great Zite features are lost in all the Flipboard noise. Such a shame. I haven’t worked out if Flipboard’s Web interface is any more to my liking than the iOS apps.
- Zite – throws in a bit of randomness. It shows me content I’m interested in from across the Web – not just the sites I know about and follow explicitly. I couldn’t be without Zite, but I hate it more than any other part of my social media toolkit. There’s not a desktop version, and it doesn’t happily play with enough other apps. It’s at the same time, open to the widest part of the Web and isolated. I hope Flipboard’s recent acquisition of Zite gives us users the best of both worlds.
Spreading my posts
I try not to post too much social media activity at the same time. These two space things out, so that I can provide value to my followers in other time zones and have a more even stream of activity.
- Buffer – you can set up schedules for each of your social media accounts and fill up their buffers with content. Buffer and Communi.it work really well together
- Hootsuite – in its role as my social media Swiss Army Knife, Hootsuite has an automated scheduling option. Just switch it on and it’ll figure out the best time to post according to previous performance. Sweet!
I’m always trying out new things, but these are the core of my social media toolkit. What social media tools do you use? What should I be trying? Thanks to Kris Hoet for making the Conversation image available.