Using social media can definitely be a big tool in your arsenal when it comes to growing your blog traffic. Thing is, it can also be a HUGE time suck.
In order for it not to take over your life, you need to use tools to help you get the benefits of social media without sacrificing all your time.
In this episode, I discuss 4 specific tools I have used in order to automate my social media (to a degree) and make it take less time.
Social media purists might take issue with this. However, if you want to grow your blog and your revenue, you have to spend your time on the more effective things. And, playing around with social media all day isn’t going to get you there. So today we are going to talk a little bit more about it, and specifically some of the tools that you can use to make it a more convenient thing to do.
Social Media Tools To Your Advantage
Here’s the thing… social media, as some of you may know can actually be a pretty time consuming thing. It is one of those things that if you do it; as a lot of the gurus say you should do it, then you can sink so much time into social media that you will not have time to grow your business. And that makes no sense. If you have got no time to grow your business; and I am a big believer in creating the business assets as you go so that you actually have some hope of growing and having a revenue stream at some point, then you are just not going to have time to do that if you are so busy making content, tweeting it, making content, tweeting it, etc., etc.
And so we need to use some tools so that we can do it and make it a more convenient thing to do because social media makes a lot of sense. It is smart to be out there. When they tell you to go out and engage in social media; that is not bad advice. The thing is we have got to make it convenient and not make it take up a majority of our time.
So let us go over a few tools that I have used. Many of these you probably will have heard about. I am going to mention four, specifically.
The first one; and it is actually really popular is Hootsuite. Now Hootsuite, I use it to interface with Twitter, Facebook… It does not work with Google Plus; I think it can work with the Google Plus pages but not with your Google Plus Profile because that is just a limitation of Google Plus. But anyway, the whole idea with Hootsuite is it is a little bit of a one-stop shop. Now the other thing I like about Hootsuite is that you can create columns based on things like a search criteria or a Twitter list; these types of things… So when it comes to Twitter specifically, if you are going to engage on Twitter, you want to engage with the right people. So if somebody replies to you, you are probably going want to acknowledge them; so you can set up a column for your app replies.
Using something like Hootsuite allows you to actually schedule updates as well. So it is like, we talked in a prior episode here about how when it comes to networks like Twitter you got to share your blog post multiple times because of the noise factor over there. Well, do that. You can sit down and spend 5 or 10 minutes after you published your blog post to schedule out some re-shares of that same post over the course of the next week or so. You just simply schedule the tweet and you can actually give yourself a little column inside of Hootsuite to show your schedule of tweets. So on one sight, with your eyes you can actually be like, “Oh, okay, I see what’s coming up here over the next week and…” Done deal, right?
But you probably also want to have a few different lists of people who are influencers in your space; and that is for two different reasons: One is so that you can interact with them and build that relationship with them. But the other thing that you could do is monitor what they are doing. You can actually create a column based on many of the other players in your particular niche just so you can see what their latest blog posts are and what they are doing in general. And you can do all that with a nice tool like Hootsuite. Now, there are a lot of other Twitter tools out there; Hootsuite just happens to be the one that I use and it makes Twitter a lot more convenient. I mean, you can also go to Twitter.com and do it right there on their site, I just don’t find it to be as convenient as using Hootsuite.
The next tool that I want to mention; again another one that many people know about is called Buffer. And you can find that over at bufferapp.com. If you just look at that word “buffer” it might tell you exactly what it does. You have actually got a little buffer or queue sitting there that you can throw updates into. And so these updates could be stuff that you manually typed in and add to your buffer. It could be stuff that you have a button installed on your browser and you see some other person’s blog posts that you want to throw in there; you can just add it to your buffer real quick. And the whole idea is that on a schedule that you predetermine, the updates in your buffer will simply be released.
So basically, what this is, is a way for you to have a fairly consistent stream of shares on your Twitter account, also Facebook and LinkedIn and some other networks; but you can sit down and do all that work at once or when you are in that mode; if you are in the mode of where you are reading other blogs, that is a great opportunity to add a few things to your buffer. Okay? Then when you do that work, you are set for a little while as long as your buffer doesn’t run out of stuff to send out to your channels, you are good for a little while. So it is another approach to making things convenient.
The third one here, now this one is not quite as popular mainly because it is not a very old tool. It is actually a fairly recent tool. It is called “Edgar”. Now, the domain is called MeetEdgar.com. It is actually put up by Laura Roeder‘s team and she has kind of gotten into the software business now. But MeetEdgar.com is a cool tool. I was using it for a few months, and in full disclosure I am no longer using it; and I will tell you why, but it is not a fault of the tool, the tool is nicely done.
Here is what it does… If you take the idea of buffer, and you got that queue set up where you can add things to it; well, with MeetEdgar you take that same concept but you can break it up into categories. So you got different buffers based on different types of updates. It could be a buffer for other people’s blog post. It could be a buffer for your own blog post. It could be a buffer purely for promotional updates; things that are for sale or squeeze page links or stuff like that to get people to opt-in to your list. And you can set up these things as categories. So basically, you are setting up a library of potential updates based on categories on the things you want to do.
So, I had one set up on different tips so I would put out quotes and tips and stuff like that on Twitter, I would also take some of my best blog posts and add those to a category in my library. The good thing about this is that what MeetEdgar does that Buffer doesn’t is that it will repeat it. It will randomly draw on a schedule that you specify; it will randomly draw from your library and send it out. So you actually take the time to say, “At this time slot on a Monday I want to send this type of tweet” and it will see that and it will go, “Okay, I am going to go to that category, pull a tweet from that library and send it out at that time”. And so, I am hoping, if you understood that idea here in the audio format, you can really automate a lot of stuff using a tool like MeetEdgar. You can send out a lot of great updates.
And I have noticed some of the people I know out there, including me – I was using it for several months, have automated stuff with MeetEdgar. For example you have a Facebook Group, you can actually have different themed days where every day you send out a different type of update to the Facebook Group and you can do that with MeetEdgar.
Now you might ask “Why did I turn it off?” If it is such a great tool, why did I turn it off? Well here is the thing… It is true that in order to make the most bang for your buck, so to speak, with social media; you got to be engaged. Now with Meet Edgar and the other tools like this as well; it is really easy to become reliant on the automaticity of the way that it works. So what was happening was my Twitter account was sending updates and they were coming from the library and it was getting to the point where I was even starting to see repeats of the same things and stuff like that.
Now, I could spend a few hours and make the library bigger; I could do that. But the other problem here is that when a new blog post came out, which I tend to post one every week, or a new podcast episode, we have to go to MeetEdgar and add it to a specific category in the whole thing and it just got to the point where if I have to manage it to that degree, maybe I don’t need it. So it really came down to what do I really want my social media profiles to look like. And it just came to the point where MeetEdgar wasn’t really the right tool for me anymore. I didn’t want to automate it to that degree.
Now, with you it might be a tool you want to check out but you want to keep in mind with MeetEdgar that it is not an engagement platform. It is a way to start conversations. You can use MeetEdgar too, on scheduled send-out stuff. But it is a one way flow. It is essentially using your social media channels like a megaphone. So you still need to use a tool like Hootsuite or something like that to see what people are saying back to you and actually engage and have that two-way dialogue on social media. So you got to look at what MeetEdgar is; it is good at what it does but you have to look at what it does and determine whether you need it.
The fourth and last tool that I am going to mention here; and I mentioned this before on a prior episode, and that is CoSchedule. CoSchedule is a social media updating tool that works in conjunction with WordPress. So it is a service which I think I pay like $9 a month or something like that for it. And it integrates with WordPress via a plug-in. Now, what it does is that it allows me to whenever I publish a piece of content; I can set up a social media schedule for that particular blog post in advance. So that when I hit the publish button, not only does that post go live but the social media schedule that I have created for it begins. And so, being that I wanted my social media accounts to concentrate on my most recent stuff with periodically some updates of past stuff, CoSchedule was just the better fit for me than Meet Edgar. Between CoSchedule and my VA going in there periodically and periodically manning it and putting some of my archived post in there and stuff like that, I am more happy with what is going on, on my Twitter account right now than I was with Meet Edgar.
You could put full updates into CoSchedule with anything that you want. It is a social media tool. It is just that being that it works in conjunction with WordPress, it makes it a perfect fit for what I was saying earlier, and that is that you want to share your new content multiple times; specifically on Twitter, in that case.
So it really comes down to using the right tool for the job. And I want you to understand that really what it comes down to is the 80/20 Rule. We have talked about the 80/20 Rule before and that is the idea of getting 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts. Well, social media, almost without fail always falls in that 80% of efforts as responsible for your 20% of your results. In other words, it is not the most efficient way to spend your time. So for that reason, you most definitely need to employ some kind of tool to automate it.
Now, realize that automaticity; the automatic robot style social media updates only take you so far. You still need to be a human being and interact with the people who are following you. But you can spark conversation with having updates that you don’t have to send manually. And I know there are some of the social media purists out there get really pissed off about the idea of automating anything, but okay, whatever… I have a different opinion. I also realize that there is something called leverage when you are building a business. You got to concentrate on the right things. And for me, and probably for you as well, social media is not where you should be spending a majority of your time. Okay?
So use a tool, automate it, set up a schedule for yourself; maybe 10 or 15 minutes a day where you interact with your Twitter audience and have the two-way thing going on and that’s it. Get busy on to other things.
So those are the few of the social media tools that I have used to help grow my business. Maybe you find some of them useful…
And I will see you on the next episode of Coffee Break Blogging! Thanks so much!