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social media content schedule

Use Feedly To Curate Your Social Media Content Schedule In 20 Minutes A Day

Facebook launched in February of 2004. Twitter came on the scene two years later in March of 2006...and now it’s 2019. Crazy.

Many content marketers today got their start as social media professionals, curating content at first, then publishing and promoting original content. I followed a very similar path, myself.

Content curation, which is the practice of discovering and sharing content produced by other thought leaders in your community, helps you build your audience faster by sharing more content than you can personally produce.

In the early days of social media, content curation became a popular strategy because most brands weren’t ready to invest into publishing yet and marketers still needed to build audiences.

Of course, that lead to marketers all sharing the same information, filling up feeds with annoying, redundant content.

These days the best content comes from small micro-influencers (the in-the-trenches types) and industry publications (think Search Engine Journal or Convince & Convert).

Google doesn’t help much with discovery. You have to monitor publications and social media to find the best content producers in your space...and that's a lot of work.

There are parts of social media that are 100% manual effort. Building relationships is all about 1:1 engagement. Responding to customer feedback is another type of 1:1 interaction that happens all the time on social media. These moments are best kept as real, human-to-human exchanges.

average number of social accounts per brand

Then there is the other side of the job...

Growing segmented audiences, scheduling repetitive posts, optimizing delivery, and of course, curating content, are most efficient when the human doing the job is "machine-enabled".

The average social media professional has to manage between 4 and 10 social media accounts for their brand (and an average of 7 personally).

Source: HOOTSUITE

Sharing good content on the regular requires finding good content producers and having a system for sifting through hundreds of articles daily to find a few dozen "good" ones.

It's these kinds of tasks that social media automation is all about...

What You’ll Learn From This Article

In this article I’m going to share the system I use to curate my social media content schedule in only 20 minutes a day.

I’ll share some of my favorite social media management tools (which have free versions) and explain how automate your social scheduling with step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

Finally, I’ll provide some best practices on sharing curated content, scheduling across multiple social media tools, and getting the most bang for your buck out of every share.

Feel free to jump ahead and get to the good stuff...

Jump To:

Why Automate Social Media Scheduling?

People have different viewpoints when it comes to authenticity and automation on social media. Personally, I’ve never had the time to manage all of the accounts I’m responsible for in real-time...it’s just not really practical.

Automation helps you focus less on the technical aspects (or, more accurately, the copy-paste-edit aspects) of social media and more on the creative, human-centric side of finding and sharing value.

Plus, if you’re like me, you have a small team, a small budget and a lot of social media accounts to manage. Automation helps you be efficient with your time but maximize your output.

In the case of Twitter in particular, tweets are so short-lived that you should be sharing each piece of content multiple times (with slightly different copy). This will help maximize the value of the time spent discovering content.

There are, of course, parts of the social media scheduling process that are beneficial to automate and some that are not. 

You have to determine your own personal tolerance for automation. Introducing more tools and more algorithmic influence tends to produce an increasingly inauthentic and mechanical vibe to your social media content.

I’ll provide some best practices later in this article to help you maximize the benefits of automation while limiting the downsides.

What Tools Will This Article Cover?

It’s a martech world out there…

I’ve lost count of the software tools I use as a marketer. Some I log into daily. Some I integrate into my stack and never look at again unless something breaks.

In this business you’ve got to love experimenting with new tools and discovering new technologies that help you do more with the time you invest into social media. 

Efficiency is the name of the game…

These are some of my favorite social media management tools (I’ll explain how they all work together a little later in this article):

  • Feedly - The last great feed aggregator tool. The spiritual successor to Google Reader...and the engine that powers my lightning fast content discovery process.
  • IFTTT - An DIY integration platform and marketplace where you can connect nearly anything to practically anything else. Helps automate your life...for free.
  • Buffer - A much beloved, and highly-customizable, social media scheduling platform that integrates with basically everything.
  • Evernote - I’m including an optional bonus tip that uses Evernote, a cloud-based note-taking platform, with a convenient Chrome Extension.

How To Automate Content Discovery With Feedly

Feedly is a wonderful tool that, more than a few years ago now, replaced the defunct Google Reader as my content discovery engine. It would be an oversimplification to call Feedly a glorified RSS reader, but that’s the basic idea.

The process is pretty simple. Fill Feedly with the feeds of blogs you follow for thought leadership content in your space. Feedly aggregates the content, removes duplicates, and presents it to you in snackable headline + description format so you can browse and read quickly.

  1. To get started set up your free Feedly account. I prefer to “Login With Google”.
  2. Add sources for the topics you want to follow and share articles about. You can do this by URL / domain, if you already know a source you want to follow.

    sign up for a free feedly account
  3. You can also do this by typing in a keyword and letting Feedly suggest sources to you.

    use feedly search to find trustworthy sources
  4. Follow the sources you’re interested in. Add them to categories that fit your situation.
    group sources into feeds in Feedlyname your feeds in Feedly by type of content
  5. When you’re done adding, preview the feed by selecting it on Feedly’s left menu.

    Discover content to curate as you browse your feeds
  6. Notice the condensed headline and excerpt view, for quick and convenient browsing. You can view a digest of all categories at once, or dive into each individually.
  7. Click into a post to view the full content of the feed. Some sites only share an excerpt by RSS, so what’s shown here depends on the source.

    How To Automate Social Media Scheduling With IFTTT And Buffer

  8. Go create a free IFTTT account, if you don’t have one already.
  9. Then connect the “Feedly Saved For Later Items To Buffer” integration.

    Connect Feedly to Buffer with IFTTT
  10. You’ll be asked to login or sign up for a free Buffer account.
    create a free Buffer account
  11. If you’re setting up Buffer for the first time, you’ll have to connect a social account to Buffer first or the IFTTT integration will display an error.
  12. Pick which social account you want your saved posts to be queued in.
  13. All done. Test your integration by clicking the “Read Later” button on a post in Feedly.
    Click read later in Feedly to save articles for social
  14. Check your Read Later queue (on the left menu).
    Check the Read Later board from Feedly's left menu
  15. Go check your Buffer account. You should see a post queued in the account you selected on step 11.

    Posts saved for later in Feedly are queued automatically in Buffer

    How To Customize Automatically Scheduled Social Posts

  16. Posts will just have the shared page’s title and link by default.
  17. I recommend customizing and duplicating each post to maximize their impact. Click the “Edit” link on the post in Buffer, copy and paste the post into a new post and change up the text.

    Go through your scheduled posts in batches customizing the copy
  18. Changing the post image to another one of Buffer’s recommendations is a good idea as well.

    Duplicate your automatically scheduled posts manually

In practice, go through your Feedly daily for 20 minutes saving articles for later and once every few days (before the unedited posts are scheduled) go in and update the copy and duplicate the posts all at once.

How To Use Evernote To Save Quotes And Stats To Create Engaging Social Posts

For extra credit, you can make your social posts more compelling and helpful by including more than the typical headline, clever quip, or click-bait.

Read through the content you’re sharing and pull out a compelling quote or statistic and include that in your social copy.

save quotes and stats to evernote

I like to use Evernote (a note-taking application) and Chrome Extension for this purpose because I can quickly highlight a bit of text I want to include in the social copy and click the Evernote Web Clipper button in my toolbar to save the snippet.

Later, when I’m editing the post in Buffer, I can go through and copy the relevant snippets for each post from Evernote. The notes have the same headline as the original article, so they're super easy to find.

stats in social copy

Best Practices For Social Media Content Automation

Best Practice #1: Dedicate Hours Of The Day To Each Scheduling Tool

This curation system is great for loading up your social media schedule with good curated content but it doesn't help you promote original content, or content you’re sharing in real-time, etc.

Think of this as a base coat that you’ll layer over with your other social activity.

Since you’ll almost certainly be sharing and even scheduling through other tools, you’ll want to employ a simple, mental system to prevent yourself from scheduling posts too close together and decreasing their impact.

The easiest way I’ve found to make multiple social media tools play well together is simply to block out different hours of the day for each.

Weave them together by dedicating a morning, afternoon, and evening hour to each tool. 9AM to HootSuite, 10AM to Buffer, and so on...

Then just check your profile before you go on a retweeting spree and save tweets for later in the Twitter app if you're sending too much at once.

Best Practice #2: Re-Share Curated Content Only Once And Wait Roughly Two Weeks

Most content is fairly timely, plus some of the shine wears off over time, so just reshare curated content once. Re-share your own original content over and over and over again, obviously.

Space out the shares by a couple weeks, if the content isn’t super timely and would be irrelevant by then. If the content isn’t evergreen...maybe just share it the one time.

Best Practice #3: Don’t schedule similar content back-to-back.

Feedly groups content by source by default, so don’t be lazy and schedule a bunch of the same type of articles one after the other. You’ll probably want to edit the times Buffer selects now and again.

In Summary

A few tools and integrations can go a long way to simplifying your life as a marketer, especially when it comes to curating your social media content schedule.

Curation can be a huge time suck if managed poorly. With a little strategy though, you can manage multiple social accounts from a smartphone in just a few minutes a day.

The key is to batch your tasks together so that you’re grouping your activities for efficiency.

Surf through Feedly saving articles, all at once.

Tweak copy, duplicate posts and edit scheduling, all at once.

You can gain tremendous efficiency with this divide and conquer strategy. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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