Tag Archives: social media

Easier content curation?

I can’t scroll through my Twitter timeline these days without seeing links to blog posts promising to show me how to manage social media in “five minutes a day” or some other such incredible time saving feat.

I quite often like to look at these posts, because they’ll usually list some useful tools which help you with social media management, but in my opinion, if you want to do social media properly you are going to have to invest some time and effort!

Like with everything, you’ll get back what you put in. However, it is true that there are some brilliant time-saving tools out there (Hootsuite, IFTTT etc), but I am willing to go on record and say that if you’re only spending five minutes a day managing your social media accounts, you’re probably not doing a particularly effective job!

Tonight, I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, The Digital Marketing Podcast by Target Internet, and they were talking about the subject of how to streamline your content curation.

Daniel Rowles, one of the podcast presenters, talked about how he is using Feedly alongside Hootsuite to source relevant content and auto schedule it to his social media accounts.

I’m a big fan of Feedly, having moved my feeds over there when Google Reader closed. And I use it a lot for keeping up with all my favourite blogs and, as a natural follow on from this, for my content curation. Currently I do all this manually. I find an article I think is interesting or useful, I open up Hootsuite and I copy and paste across titles, URLs, look for the Twitter handle of the author if possible, compose my tweet, choose my network, schedule my post and then press submit.

Daniel’s suggestion was about signing up to the premium version of Feedly (currently $5 a month – about £3.16), and using their automated ‘post to Hootsuite’ feature. This allows you to send an article of interest to your followers straight to Hootsuite, it automatically shortens the link, suggests text for your tweet (which you can, of course, edit). You then choose which account to post to and press ‘auto schedule’.

I’ve not used auto schedule on Hootsuite before, although I am a big Hootsuite fan and use it for both work and personal accounts to manually schedule content. I was interested to hear that you can choose the maximum number of tweets you want the platform to auto schedule a day (e.g. no more than 8). As you find relevant and interesting content to push out to your audience, you ‘auto schedule’ it, and if you’re finding more than 8 articles a day, Hootsuite will automatically schedule that for the next ‘available’ day.

There are the usual arguments about whether or not too much content curation is making Twitter too ‘noisy’, but personally, people sharing relevant, interesting information that helps me learn and develop is one of the main attractions of Twitter for me – so I’m all for it! But that’s with the strong proviso that I only ever share content which I have read and genuinely found interesting, thought provoking or useful. I would never share for sharing’s sake.

It was interesting to hear that the combination of Feedly putting content straight into Hootsuite and the use of the auto schedule feature had been so useful for Daniel. He also reports that posting regularly (around 8 times a day) had helped him grow his twitter following.

So I’ve decided I might give it a go and see how it works for me. I don’t think I’ll be aiming as high as 8 times a day… maybe more like 3 to start with! And I will make sure I’m not sharing anything I don’t genuinely believe to be a good, engaging, informative read.

No doubt I will report back with my thoughts in a later blog post…

 

Social media for work: Just add common sense

I was interested to read the story last week about the number of police officers who have been disciplined in relation to the misuse of social media.

These stories crop up ever so often, either about the police, councils or other public bodies. I’ve seen a number of FOIs that hope to uncover some secret scandal about hundreds of public officials unable to control themselves as soon as they’re left in charge of a twitter account.

The truth is, some people say or do stupid or even offensive things sometimes. And where there is serious offence caused of course, it should be investigated – the same way as it would if it occurred offline. But these kinds of issues existed long before social media was invented – Facebook didn’t make this happen.

I was really pleased to then read this follow up piece in PR Week, which included the response from Amanda Coleman, Greater Manchester Police’s Director of Corporate Comms. It was particularly interesting to read this bit:

Amanda Coleman told PRWeek that just three of the 88 incidents investigated involved official police accounts and off-duty use was the main issue.

“The problems that arise are often in people’s personal use, where people will say and do things as they would while having a conversation down the pub. We have very few issues with staff trained to use social media at work.”

Often when I’m training people to use social media for work one of the things they ask is: “what if I say the wrong thing?” I just ask them whether they trust themselves to speak face to face with members of the public (of course they do) and then ask them why they would be saying something online that they wouldn’t say in person.

It’s true that social media has blurred the lines between our professional and individual personas. And I would agree that the standards we’re asked to maintain in our work life should carry on into our personal lives, especially if we’re making public statements on the internet. I think that’s common sense and good advice for anyone to follow.

Of course, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. If an organisation encourages its employees to use social media in their work and wants to enjoy the positive benefits that having actively engaged employees online can bring, they need to adopt a supportive and understanding culture. Otherwise staff won’t want to ‘take the risk’ and won’t be willing to be the online advocates you would wish them to be.

If people use their common sense and their professionalism, then, like Amanda says, there shouldn’t be too many issues. And, if we trust staff to be a representative of the organisation in person then we should be able to do the same online.