UPDATE: Social Media Automation Using Just Two FREE Apps

UPDATE: Social Media Automation Using Just Two FREE Apps

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Social Media Automation with Flipboard and Buffer Apps

Here’s an update to a previously featured social media automation workflow.

The new, easier method uses two FREE apps to look alive and kicking on social sites.

Social media automation with Flipboard and Buffer apps

Social Media Automation with Flipboard and Buffer Apps
The short version of this strategy goes like this.

  1. Find fresh content (usually related to your niche or industry) that your followers might find interesting.
  2. Save and share these stories using the two apps mentioned below.
    • Flipboard app makes it easy for you to skim a lot of content quickly and regularly from your mobile devices.
    • Buffer is a service that helps distribute this curated content over time so you don’t flood social media feeds and look like a spammer.

Google Reader is dead, but news feeds are not

Like I said before, this all relies on finding content that your users will find valuable. Using a feed reader is a good way to have content pushed to you in one large stream. New stories that fit your parameters are automatically added to the stream.

Google Reader used to be, in my opinion, the best news feed reader service out there. It was also the starting point for this strategy until Google killed off Reader on July 1, 2013.

But the good news is that there are still other tools you can use to set this up!

Using Flipboard to skim through massive amounts of content

Flipboard is a killer app that allows you to make a custom, dynamic magazine on your smartphone or tablet.

It makes sifting through all of these feeds easy and enjoyable.

Simply download the Flipboard app to the device of your choice and then search for/add your favorite online news feeds to it. Be sure to try searching for different keywords to find the right news sources and blogs for your niche.

Flipboard is my feed reader of choice because can flip through a larger amount of stories in a shorter amount of time. You can grab 5 minutes while standing in line or over your morning coffee and quickly save a handful of articles for distribution.

When you find something you want to send out, you can use Buffer share it with your followers.

Buffer App smooths out your social shares so your followers don’t get spammed

Let’s say that you find, read, and save 5 articles that you want to share from Flipboard over your morning coffee.

If you sent them all out right then, your followers would see all 5 articles hit their Twitter or Facebook feeds. They’d probably stop being your followers pretty quickly if you repeated this every day.

Buffer is an awesome service that allows you to autoschedule several status updates for distribution to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. You fill up your Buffer queue and the service spreads those posts out on a schedule that you determine.

Its much more effective than tweeting or posting in batches, and it definitely gives the appearance of looking active each and every day. It’s free to use, but there is a paid version that will give you additional features, such as a larger queue (the default is 10 posts.)

The 2-step workflow for social media automation

This assumes that you have:

  1. Downloaded Flipboard on the device of your choice and created an account.
  2. Selected news feeds and categories of content in Flipboard that your followers will find interesting.
  3. Signed up for Buffer.
  4. Selected your automatic posting schedule. I recommend starting with once a day, somewhere around 3pm US Eastern Time.
  5. Found your secret email address for your Buffer account. This will be located somewhere near My Account –> Email Settings –> Buffer by Email on their site.
  6. Saved a contact on your device with that email address. I named mine “Buffer App.”

Step 1

Find an article you’re interested in sharing from Flipboard and select the share button at the top of the story.
Flipboard Sharing Button
Flipboard - Share by email

Step 2

Email the story from Flipboard to your secret Buffer email address, which should be saved in the contacts of your device.
Flipboard to Buffer by Email
That’s it! Provided that you’ve set up your Buffer account, you can send up to 10 articles to your queue and they will be spread out over your auto-posting schedule to various social sites you’ve connected.

Tip: I usually remove the word “Article” from the email subject line. I also try to rewrite the subject line with my own comments, rather than using the article title whenever possible. Remember to keep the 140 character count for Twitter in mind.

Don’t just automate

This is a good way to keep your social streams at least appearing to be active, but it should NOT be your only interaction with the people that follow you.

Try to post an original status update at least once a week, interact with followers whenever possible, and use this workflow for a few minutes a day and you’ll be in great shape as a business owner using social media.

Do you use any of these tools?

Let us know in the comments below.

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