If you’re anything like me, finding the time to post regular updates to social media can be a struggle. At the same time, not doing so means that you are missing out on potential brand exposure and engagement with your audience.
I have developed a simple and effective way of automating your social media updates and I’m going to share this with you in this post.
Step 1 – Gather your content
We primarily share 2 types of content – content on our own site, and content from other sites that links back to us.
Gathering your own content – Screaming Frog
The excellent Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool can help you to grab all of the URLs and associated data from your chosen site. Download it and enter the URL you would like to crawl.
Gathering external content – Open Site Explorer
If you don’t have one, create a free Moz account to access the export functionality required to produce your updates. Once you have done this, go to opensiteexplorer.org and enter the URL of the page/domain that you would like to find links to. Once you have done this, click the option to ‘Export to CSV’. This will then produce a spreadsheet with amongst other things, the URL and title of all pages linking to your site.
Step 2 – Sort your content
Onsite content – Once Screaming Frog has completed its crawl, you can export the data and sort it using a spreadsheet.
Find the pages that you want to tweet by sorting them alphabetically. On our blog, for example, posts start with: /post/, so I can quickly find these and delete all of the other, irrelevant pages.
Next, delete any of the irrelevant data to leave you with the URLs and the Page Title/H1 tag. Depending on how your site is set up, you may be able to use either of these. If you are doing this correctly, the title of the page should be the most compelling and therefore the best to use for the content of your update.
External content – In your exported data from OSE, delete everything except the first two columns. Filter out any pages that you don’t want to include and if you have time, edit any page titles that you think could be improved.
Step 3 – Check and edit your updates
Once you have your data in the 2 columns, use the following formula in a third column to check that the character length will not exceed Twitter’s limit of 140 characters: =LEN(A1&B1)
If there are any that exceed this, edit the copy to ensure that they are under this limit, otherwise you will not be able to share on Twitter. If you have any spare characters, add a hashtag or two for even greater exposure. The more time you spend editing your updates to make them as compelling as possible, the better the end result of your sharing. Also, consider scheduling more than one update with a different message each time, and including any brands or individuals mentioned in your posts won’t harm your chances of those all-important likes and Retweets.
If your site is anything like ours, you will probably need to remove any pages that are not ‘evergreen’, For example, I have removed any blog posts mentioning Google Panda and Penguin updates as these are not relevant any more.
Step 4 – Schedule updates using Hootsuite
There are many tools which can help you automate your social media activity. My preference is Hootsuite, due to its CSV upload functionality, which works very well with the content gathering process in steps 1-3.
To implement the method we use, you will need a Hootsuite pro account, which is $9.99/Month with a 30 day free trial – well worth the money.
If you’ve not already got a Hootsuite account, create one, login and configure with your Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn account details.
Next, in the left hand column of the dashboard go to: Publisher > Bulk message upload > Download Sample .csv
Once downloaded, you will find a 3 column sheet with following:
Column A – Date – in mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm format
Column B – Tweet Copy – Page title or H1 tag
Column C – URL
Copy and paste the data from your sheets into columns B and C and then edit Column A to send this out at an appropriate time. You could trial, for example, sending out the same update on 3 different days at different times – or sending out a different update at the same time every day for a month.
NOTE – you can’t send the same message twice, so you will need to edit the text for each tweet.
When you are done, save as a .csv file and upload at the same dialogue box where you downloaded. A word of warning – Hootsuite can be picky about the type of files it accepts, taking a few minutes to read this before you upload could save you a lot of time!
Step 5 – Monitor and refine
Hootsuite can show you how well your tweets do in terms of engagement. Now that you have the raw data, it’s easy to tweak your messages and the time of day etc. when they go out for maximum impact.
What if I don’t have any content to share?
Don’t panic, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with your audience via content curation – sharing great content that has been produced by others. Klout is a fantastic tool for helping to find content that your audience will be interested in, and schedule this to be shared via your social profiles.
Enter some keywords which describe the subjects that you and your audience are interested in and it will throw up a feed with results that are relevant. You can then schedule these posts to go out at regular intervals.
What are your tips?
Do you automate the social media activity for your brand? If so, why not share your tips below…