There are two sides to sharing content online: there’s the act of curating information, and then there’s the dissemination of that information to an audience. Couple that with multiple social networks and the unique audiences that many individuals, community managers or otherwise, are managing and we are at risk of never getting anything else done.
This is not a list of brand-new tools that have never been heard of. It’s very likely that you are familiar with the entire list – and for good reason. This list is about the battle-tested tools and services that have proven incredibly valuable in the content sharing workflow. These tools seamlessly fit into current processes with little to no learning curve and immediately start going to work.
If you’re not yet using these tools, please jump on the bandwagon.
Buffer’s values shine through its product. Using the Buffer app to curate and share to multiple social networks allows you to work smarter, not harder. Their interests are in your best interest, as evidenced on their website:
“We genuinely want to help you create an authentic and honest appearance on social media because we believe that there are no “short-cuts” to succeeding on a platform where engagement is so crucial.”
There’s a reason why Buffer sends over 350,000 updates to social networks per day. It has become the de facto service for anyone who honestly care about providing value to their audiences, not about trying to take the easy way out.
There’s no better way to work smarter than to set it and forget it. IFTTT is the ultimate Internet reincarnation of the Showtime Rotisserie. Using “if this then that” to create logical recipes, IFTTT has aimed to provide “digital duct tape” since the beginning.
IFTTT has proven incredibly useful for the curation aspect of the sharing content equation. For example, favouriting tweets has become a popular way to indicate that you want to remember to read a specific tweet, or more likely the content it links to, later. An IFTTT recipe can automatically send the linked content to a reader, like Readability or Pocket. Another IFTTT recipe can automatically tweet or Buffer any content you star from your preferred reader.
This is more important than it may appear. When you are able to browse tweets without worrying that you will forever miss content that you don’t read right away, you remove the awful task switching effects associated with hopping from content to tweets, tweets to content. The same thing applies to reading content continuously without switching between apps. However small the task switching effect, there is always a cost of our most precious resource – time.
Again, this is probably not new information: Bitly has become the most popular URL shortener on the web. They shorten 1 billion links per month and are often cited as the most trusted URL shortener. Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing, analyzed over 30 million Retweets and he found that tweets with a Bitly shortened URL in them were more “Retweet-able” than 12 other URL shortening services.
That is reason enough to adopt Bitly as your preferred URL shortener, nevermind their “broader goal of becoming ‘the primary online service for sharing and discovering interesting content.’” Just take a look at your network: https://bitly.com/a/network – and don’t be afraid to mute!
4. RSS To Email
Mailchimp says it best:
“You know you should be sending email newsletters to your clients and customers on a regular basis. But you never find the time to write them, do you?”
The future of email marketing is still burning bright. No one person is going to catch all your blog posts or social updates. The one place you’re guaranteed at least a glance is in their inbox. This fact makes sending emails another task on your regularly scheduled to-do list. A task that requires quite a bit of time and attention in order to be done right.
Setting up an RSS to Email campaign is not the easiest task, no matter which email provider you’re using. But, once the campaign is in place you don’t have to fuss over it any longer. Each time you publish a blog post or update an RSS feed – an email newsletter will be automatically sent. There’s nothing more efficient than pushing one button, ‘Publish,’ and having it do two different things.
Early on HootSuite recognized the absurdity and inefficiency that was inherent in a social media or community managers role. Pre-HootSuite, there were different browser tabs for different social networks. Even within a browser tab, you had to navigate to different webpages to oscillate between home feeds, mentions and direct messages. Having two people manage the same social network was near impossible without spending a ton of money on complicated social listening platforms.
We may not have realized it at the time, but post-HootSuite, it certainly became clear. One browser tab for all your social feeds (and with HootSuite it really is ALL of them) reduces switching costs and increases sanity. Your wallet will thank you for the ability to collaborate with team members on the same social network – HootSuite’s Pro plan is only $6/month.
6. Twitter API & Facebook Share
These two entries are a bit more broad than the rest. Twitter and Facebook’s API allows for content to be shared from other applications and websites – automatically. At first, this can be scary. We’re all averse to poorly formatted text and nonsense semantics, but with a little exploration, you can find connections that work.
It can be as simple as connecting your Facebook or Twitter account right from a website that you use naturally throughout the day. I use Hype Machine extensively, and each time I add a song to my favourites, it sends a beautifully formatted tweet from my personal account. My followers have the potential of benefiting from my infinitely awesome musical taste.
Likewise on Facebook, any updates I make to my GoodReads account alerts my Facebook friends to my good taste in books.
Clearly there is some self-interest in the inclusion of this last tool. But, there’s no denying that the extension shares similarities with the other tools listed.
The extension is made to simplify the lives of curators who send email newsletters of hand-picked information – no technical skills required. Visual.ly agrees that creating email newsletters should not “involve tedious coordination with your development team.” We completely agree with them when they say that “the process could use a revival.”
Goodbits doesn’t seek to over-simplify; it aims to bring the process of curating an email newsletter in line with the abilities of Internet technology today. The Goodbits Chrome extension instantly pulls the title, the URL, a description and a perfectly resized image into an email newsletter with the click of a button. It’s so obvious right? That’s what we thought – so we built it.
How many are you using?
There’s a theme running through all the tools – above and beyond their application to content curation. The tools seek to save you time, without sacrificing quality, which is the hallmark of any good tool from the stone chisel to technology.