The following is a guest post from Anna Smith, the community administrator at http://www.whatdoyouwantfromthem.com – the informal network for managers. You can connect with her on twitter @wdywft or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Content is king. Whether you need inspiration to create your own content or want to share useful information with your network, finding relevant material online is a necessary skill for any community administrator. By monitoring your industry’s or niche’s pulse, you gain knowledge, learn about related topics or issues, and increase your creative capacity.
Organizing and distributing content across various social networks is equally important because it will help you spread your message and get found online. This does not have to be time consuming.
If it is your responsibility to find, organize and distribute content, remember Internet marketer Ed Dale’s golden rule: “Don’t pretend to be an expert, be an enthusiast.” Here are three top tips to help you remain enthusiastic about finding, organizing and distributing content.
My favorite content delivery system is Google Reader. You can customize your Google Reader to deliver the latest news and information in your niche directly to your screen.
If you are setting up Google Reader for the first time, start by creating different folders that make sense for you. You can create folders for different topics (for example, business, technology, inspiration or ‘quirky’) or for different types of media (pictures, videos, podcasts). You can also create folders to keep track of Google Alerts, comment streams, Facebook pages or Twitter updates.
Then feed your Reader, literally, by submitting the rss feeds of your favorite blogs, news sites, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, etc. This can be time consuming, but you’ll only have to do it once. You can add rss feeds manually or use the Subscribe Button (add it to your toolbar and it will save you time in the long run).
Voilà. You have created the perfect content delivery system. Perfect because it is your own and represents your unique perspective. Add new blogs and sites to your Reader as you stumble across them and scan the headlines on a regular basis. After a few days or weeks practice, you will be able to scan hundreds of articles in just a few minutes a day, and always have access to thought-provoking content.
I just recently learned about BundlePost.com, a social content management system that organizes your posts for bulk scheduling.
Say you want to repeatedly (once a week) invite people in your extended network to join your community – BundlePost can schedule those messages for you.
Do you have old blog posts or articles that are worthy of more buzz? Schedule them to be automatically tweeted throughout the week.
BundlePost allows you to create time tables and set time intervals that make scheduling messages easy and fun. You can then download your lists as .csv files (Excel spreadsheets) that are compatible with HootSuite.
You can use a social media dashboard like HootSuite to broadcast your messages to just about any social network you can think of. Instead of visiting Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn separately, you can post an update to HootSuite and send it to the network of your choice (tip: you can autopost to dozens of different networks using Ping.fm groups). Using one dashboard is a lot less distracting than logging into all of your social media accounts individually.
I prefer HootSuite because it gives me the ability to schedule messages ahead of time. I find it most convenient to schedule messages in bulk by uploading.csv files generated by BundlePost.com. This is great when trying to keep up with Follow Friday (#FF) lists on Twitter, for example. HootSuite offers the option to use bulk scheduling for $5.99 a month.
Using the convenience of autoposting will free up your time to engage with your network or do something else entirely.
Finding, organizing and distributing content can be fun, educational and does not have to take up hours of your day. Create a system that works for you and enjoy learning and making new connections using social media.
What tools or methods do you use to navigate the online data jungle? What do you like or dislike about them?