Putting social media on cruise-control

Reading time: 3 minutes

I’m not very good with social media. I get overwhelmed with all the posts.

Yes, I occasionally share my blog posting. I occasionally – very occasionally – share interesting articles. I occasionally ask a question or make a snarky comment. But, really, my posting is totally haphazard. It doesn’t build any presence and it doesn’t fit my workflow. I need a better system.

So here’s my plan:

  • Anything I want to share, I’m going to put on Tumblr
  • Anything on Tumblr will get picked up by IFTTT and sent to Buffer
  • Buffer will space out posts to Twitter, App.net, Facebook and LinkedIn

Why Tumblr? 🔗︎

I don’t expect anyone to read my Tumblr, but posting is so easy that I’ll use it as single-collection point for things I want to share. For example:

  • Google Reader: this is my RSS reader; it has a “send to” button that includes Tumblr
  • Instapaper: some things I find in Reader I save to read later on Instapaper; if I decide later I want to share it, it also has a “share on Tumblr” feature
  • Browser (iPad): some Instapaper articles have links I wind up opening in Safari; I have a “send to Tumblr” bookmarklet for those
  • Browser (laptop): I also have the Tumblr bookmarklet in my main browser

It has other nice features, too, like scheduling posts. So if I want to share a new blog post once a day for a few days, I can just schedule up those posts – customize them with different wording or headlines or appeals – and they’ll go out roughly as scheduled (albeit delayed by Buffer).

Why IFTTT? 🔗︎

Because it’s dead easy. Stuff from Tumblr comes in one end and goes out to Buffer on the other. It’s glue and it’s great… almost.

Right now, an IFTTT account can only connect to one Buffer channel at a time. (sigh). The workaround is creating multiple IFTTT accounts, one for each Buffer service. For now, I’ve only made two accounts, one for Twitter and one for App.net. I might expand it later, or maybe they’ll upgrade IFTTT’s Buffer channel sooner or later.

Why Buffer? 🔗︎

Buffer keeps a queue of posts and spreads them out throughout the day. That means I can batch-read – and batch-share – and not flood a social network with too many posts in a short time. This way, I can jam stuff into Tumblr however fast I want, whenever I want, and let Buffer manage the timing on my behalf.

Plus, Buffer integrates with bit.ly and gives me analytics on what posts are getting clicked, favorited, liked, retweeted, etc. so I can see what people are actually interested in.

What’s missing? 🔗︎

Amazingly, Google+ doesn’t have an API that allows posting. There are hacks to get around that, but I think I’ll just wait. If I really want to, I can add my Tumblr feed to Google Reader and manually share to G+ from there.

I’ll still have to manually go onto each service to retweet or like or share other people’s content. Since I’m not a big reader of social media, that’s not a priority right now. Eventually, I’ll probably have to be more engaged and then maybe I’ll need something like Hootsuite to pull it all together into one interface. (If it turns out I can Buffer the responses individually by service, that might work well.)

What’s your system? 🔗︎

Are you a social media maven? Do you have a system? I’m just starting this now and it might all come crashing down in flames, so I welcome any suggestions.

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