A quick break from my typically "cloudy" content is in order. This won't take long...
If you aren't a Twitter user, stop reading now. If you are, and want to get the highest value from it, read on.
I'd like to talk to you about 2 tools I use to get the most out of my day in terms of social media interaction. These tools are great ways to help you interact with a global audience without being awake all hours of the day. They also prevent you from missing content by those you closely follow.
The first is called IFTTT. It's an acronym for: "IF This, Then That". It works like this:
You create a "recipe" (or choose from a library of existing recipes) that contains a "trigger" and "action". For example, someone you follow creates a new blog entry (that's the trigger). You'd like to automatically post a tweet about their new blog entry. IFTTT will monitor their RSS feed and automatically send a tweet on your behalf (the action portion). The recipe looks something like this:
The second tool is called Buffer. This one works in conjunction with IFTTT or on its own.
As you can see from the description, the basic premise of Buffer is that it allows you to save up your tweets in a "buffer" and post them at various opportune points throughout the day. This allows you the ability to send a tweet about a new blog post at 3 different times to connect with audiences in US, EMEA and APAC, without manually re-entering the tweet. Pretty cool!
You can also use one of the Buffer browser plugins to 'clip' URLs you encounter throughout the day into Buffer and save those for later on. Buffer will embed itself into Facebook and other social media sites so that you can easily share content via Buffer on those sites as well. I even added a Buffer button to my blog a while back:
For me though, the coolest usage of Buffer is when you integrate it with IFTTT. IFTTT allows you to create recipes that will feed directly to Buffer automatically, giving the best of both worlds. Have a look at this example:
Here, I am monitoring an RSS feed for new blog entries and when one is found, it automatically adds a new tweet to my Buffer to be sent at a predefined time, as determined by my Buffer schedule. The great thing about this is that I am not spamming my followers with tweet after tweet, but rather staggering my content throughout the day.
One thing to keep in mind with both of these tools... be careful how you use them. I don't recommend using them to retweet high-volume twitterers as you may sound like a broken record from all the tweets you are sending. Use them sparingly and use the conditional statements in IFTTT to ensure that you are only retweeting content that is valuable to your audience. Dial it back if it gets too noisy. Eventually, with a little effort, you will find the sweet spot where you have a regular cadence of great content, curated by you OR leverage others who have already created great recipes at build off those.
Now that you know my Twitter secret, using IFTTT and Buffer, go out there and use it. You'll wonder how you were able to live without it!