This post was previously published with the title '5 Apps to Help You Fill Your Twitter Feed with Great Content' and has been updated to include information about the new Buffer Feeds feature.
There’s a lot of great content on the internet, ready to be shared. And sharing that content is a good way of starting conversations with both people you follow and your own followers. But if you are trying to be more savvy with your sharing schedule than just adding an occasional update or RT, keeping your Twitter feed up-to-date can begin to feel like it’s taking over your life.
Running a social media campaign, or even keeping your personal Twitter account fully stocked, can quite easily become a full-time job. But if you want to find out how you can make the process as streamlined and fun as possible, read on to find out what apps we use to keep our Twitter account updated by making it part of our workflow without devoting hours of a day to the task.
The goal is to make it as natural as possible and introduce updating your Twitter account into your daily routine. If you can do that, you can not only save time but actually enjoy finding and sharing the content that used to be a chore.
The content I most want to share is the blog posts and articles I enjoy reading when I have time to read or when researching for articles. So I find the the best way to share something is to do so as soon as I find it, right there while I’m reading, without having to break from my reading.
How, then, can you fit sharing your content into your normal workflow and make it as seamless as possible? There are many apps around to help you get your social media workflow organized but below are the apps that I use most at Updatey to make sure our Twitter feed is always topped up with interesting content.
Sharing the Content
The best thing I’ve found to share content is Buffer and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s perfect for someone who has many different priorities throughout the day, one of which is updating social media.
Buffer allows you to link your different social media accounts, create a schedule for when to send out your posts, and then easily add those posts without having to worry about the details.
You can connect all sorts of apps to your Buffer account, from Feedly and Pocket to IFTTT, which makes your life a lot easier when trying to share content from many different places. There are also great extensions for your browser and you can do tricks like selecting text or an image and sending it straight to your Buffer, all with the website link automatically included.
I tend to go through my RSS feeds of interesting blogs and lists of interesting people on Twitter at certain times of the day, like over breakfast. Buffer helps me add them to Twitter without having to either send them all at once, which would be pointless, or having to remember to send them all out manually later in the day, which would be distracting.
This means that everything is still handpicked out to go on our Twitter account but it means that I can spend time writing blog posts and most importantly, answering questions from customers, whether they come through Twitter or email.
You can also customize your Buffer account and swap tweets around, add custom times, delete tweets or send them immediately. With the added bonus of analytics, you can easily take control of what and when you’re tweeting.
Of course, using Buffer neither means that you can’t or shouldn’t tweet ‘live’ from your account. On the contrary, Buffer frees you up to tweet other things in the moment without having to worry about spreading everything out adequately.
I keep an eye on any Twitter interactions that come in to the Updatey Twitter account so that I can make sure I reply to mentions and can keep tweets spontaneous when they need to be. Having Buffer there to make sure the blog posts and articles I’ve chosen are going out when I want them to makes my job a lot easier.
That’s one of the strongest things about Buffer: it spreads the tweets out for you, without you having to think about the schedule itself after initially setting it up. You just go through as many articles, blog posts, and tweets as you want, adding them one after the other, and they will simply be added to your Buffer, ready to go out according to your custom schedule.
This leaves you free to tweet spontaneously when you need to and free to respond to people on twitter who are contacting you with questions and feedback about your product. It also gives you the analytics you can use to change the schedule, making it even more effective.
As if all that wasn't swish enough, Buffer recently launched a new feature for the Awesome and Business plans that makes it even easier to share your favourite content. The newly introduced Feeds allows you to add up to 15 rss feeds to each of your connected social media accounts.
This means that you can have your 15 personal favourite blogs within your Feeds section of your personal Twitter account, and the top 15 cooking blog rss feeds for your professional cookery blog Twitter account. This is great if you're trying to run several different Twitter accounts, and will make your job a lot easier.
Once you've added the feeds, you can easily just add each of the articles that interest you to your Twitter account (or Facebook & Google Plus) and have them buffered to go out on the schedule you've decided.
If you don’t already know about If This Then That, you should check it out. It’s a fantastic way to connect different apps and services, making automation as simple as creating a new ‘recipe’.
The name itself, If This Then That, summarizes how IFTTT works. You create your recipe by first choosing your trigger – the ‘This’ – and then you choose the result – the ‘That’.
A recipe can be anything from automatically sending starred Gmail emails straight to your Evernote account to creating a daily text that will keep you updated with that day’s weather.
There are many great ways to use IFTTT in the context of your Twitter account but here’s a particularly useful one for adding to your Buffer queue without having to think about it.
If you connect your Twitter and Buffer accounts to IFTTT, you can create a recipe that will automatically send the tweets you favourite as Tweets to be sent through your Buffer account.
This takes away even the small amount of effort it takes to retweet a tweet from your Twitter feed with Buffer. It’s as simple as clicking that star and watching the tweet appear in your Buffer queue.
Of course, this only works if you remember to be careful about which tweets you add to your favourites on Twitter. If you’re a company using favourites as a way of saying thanks to people for saying lovely things about your product, then you might not necessarily want all of those to be tweeted out by your account.
But if you remember why you’re using the Favourite button, this can be a lightning fast way to get the tweets you read around Twitter on to your own account without batting an eyelid.
There are many, many different recipes you can create with IFTTT and once you’ve linked your Twitter account, you can do all sorts of cool things. It can shave minutes a day of your work, which may not sound like much, but all added up, that can add up to a lot of time over a week, month, and year.
So we’ve been over two apps to help you share the content you find but how do you go about finding and keeping on top of all the content to share?
Finding The Content
It can take some time to build up the perfect curated RSS reader feed. It’s a labour of love and time but you can build it up to become a really great way to stay on top of and find great content.
To keep on top of my RSS feeds, I use Feedly. I find it to be the best replacement for my old Google Reader account and love it because not only does it look good and work well, but it integrates with other services, like Buffer.
When you’re starting out with creating your collection of feeds, it’s best not to add too many at once. You can always remove feeds if you find that certain ones aren’t producing the high quality writing or topics you’re looking for. But you don’t want to have to weed through hundreds of posts to find it.
Feedly makes organizing your feeds easy to do. When I switched over to Feedly from Google Reader, I put all my links in to one collection and then started a new one from scratch, inventively called ‘Good Content’. Only the feeds that I knew had consistently good content went into this one.
I still have to go through and cut some out every so often but it’s a lot easier to get rid of the less valuable feeds if you have a smaller list to work from in the first place.
Feedly also helps you find RSS feeds from blogs that you might not have heard of before. The ‘You Might Also Like’ box is very handy for seeing related content and I’ll often add a few of those if they look interesting. If they don’t work out, well, I can always remove them because I know the rest of the ‘Good Content’ collection well enough to pick out the new ones.
The ability to create different collections is also really helpful, especially if you’re using Feedly to send content to your organization’s Twitter account. I have a collection of the content that I love reading and know will be great to tweet out on the Updatey account and a few other collections that keep the feeds for my other interests (like publishing and books) organized in a different place.
You can also save certain links to read later and it has a feature called ‘Must Reads’ where you can put a selection of those feeds which are most important to you.
Feedly’s integration with Buffer allows you to send links straight to your Buffer account but I usually open the posts up so that I can read them in their original source. This makes Buffering quotations or images easier and I find I pay more attention to reading if I’ve opened it out of Feedly.
If I’m not at a computer and I want to send something to Buffer from Feedly, it’s easy to tweet posts, send posts to Buffer or send them to someone by email straight from the Feedly app, which is a great function if you’re traveling and are using an iPhone or iPad.
Pocket is a read-later service (it used to be called Read It Later) that lets you quickly add websites and blog posts to your Pocket account to check out when you have time.
When I’m browsing on the internet I’ll add dozens of links a day to my Pocket. This is extremely useful to avoid having too many tabs open (something that I’m often guilty of) and it means I can shut down my browser regularly to avoid eating up all my computer’s memory.
The Pocket for Safari browser extension is great because you can click to add a page but you can also add tags to it right from your browser so you can easily differentiate between things that are personal (like the long list of books I want to read that I accumulate in my Pocket account) and articles to add to your Buffer or posts that will help with research.
Pocket interacts directly with Buffer but like with Feedly, I still usually click on the links in Pocket and read things in their original form in the browser.
You can also do some very cool things if you connect IFTTT to your Pocket account. You can create a recipe that will send any Pocket links tagged with a certain tag, for example ‘Buffer’, straight to your Buffer account for you.
This means you can keep your personal and ‘professional’ links saved in the same Pocket account and easily filter out the ones you want to tweet to your personal or professional Twitter accounts automatically by adding the right tag.
While this isn’t a separate app, using the Lists function in Twitter can really make things a lot easier when it comes to finding people to follow and great content to tweet.
Like with an RSS feed, a Twitter list grows over time but it’s a perfect place to start with a small group of people who produce great tweets or content, or who share to other people’s content. From there, you can grow your list by seeing who those people tweet about and what content they share (which can then be added to your Feedly or other RSS reader account).
The advantage to creating a list of people who share great content is that it can help filter out the noise from your daily feed. That’s not to say that the people you follow don’t produce great content but not everything they share will be something that you’ll want to share with others or add to your startup’s Twitter feed.
From that Twitter list you can then easily immediately retweet the post, Buffer it, or open a link to send it to Buffer or Pocket for later.
All of this makes my job a lot easier, and means that I can devote most of my time to my main job, which is helping Updatey users.
This is just a short list of the apps we use, but there are many available to help you stay on top of Twitter. Did I miss your favourite app? Do you have a great way to stay on top of your social media accounts that I didn't mention here? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or say hi by email!
Image Credit: Jason Howie