This is a guest blog post written by Dave Larson, one-half of the voice behind @TweetSmarter, and an internet entrepreneur and investor.
Who wouldn’t want to wake up one morning and see twice as many sales, visits or retweets? (Especially if you did nothing much different the day before.)
A growing crop of tools and best practices for automatically optimizing and increasing promotion of tweets, Facebook shares and blog posts is promising exactly that.
These new tools are so effective, existing apps have begun taking notice and integrating them into their features. Here’s a quick run-down before we get into the details:
- BufferApp: Single-click, editable auto-sharing (Twitter, and soon available for Facebook updates) at whatever upcoming time slot is likely to get you the most clicks, retweets and likes.
- BlogGlue: Have your latest blog post automatically shared on similar blogs as a “recommended” post.
- Timer apps: Find the times your followers are most active in clicking links and retweeting posts.
- Triberr: Create or join “tribes” of other users that share one another’s posts.
- Ten Best Practices: If you find just one tip you haven’t been doing consistently, this section alone should increase your results.
Let’s start with one you can’t do without—the Buffer button.
1. Automatically Share At The Best Times For Results
If whatever app you’re using now doesn’t already have a buffer button (yet), simply add it to wherever you share from the most: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Mobile and/or Twitter.com (and soon Facebook).
Whenever you have something to share or retweet, one click creates a “special delivery” tweet or update that is automatically scheduled to be sent at the time most likely to get the best results.
A recent Twitter study showed new users of BufferApp doubled their retweets and clicks, without needing to send twice as many tweets.
A not-so-obvious benefit is that “buffering” your social media shares can help space out your sharing, making it easy to increase the amount of times you tweet or update without annoying people. More shares = better results.
Buffer currently offers free built-in analytics and has a “the more you share, the smarter it gets” feature coming later.
Currently only available for Twitter, but Facebook integration is being tested and should be available for everyone very soon.
2. Get Shared on Other Blogs
If you are starting up a new blog, having your latest blog post automatically shared on similar blogs as a “recommended” post is an excellent service for building traffic and readership. If you are already a high-traffic blog, the benefit is less clear, but it’s worth testing.
BlogGlue reviews new blog posts and creates related links to them on partner sites. So what you blog about is shown on other sites in a “related links” section on their blog posts. This also means that a “related links” section will be added to all your blog posts, linking to other blogs. BlogGlue chooses partner sites that are relevant based on the user’s blog topics.
3. Timer Apps
These tools show when your Twitter followers are active online. You can then tweet at the best times to reach them. These work particularly well to help you customize Buffer settings. Most have both paid and free options.
Queued.at is a little different from the rest. It attempts to automatically schedule your tweets for the most likely best times. However, it does a too-brief analysis to come up with those times, and doesn’t (yet) offer any customization or insight into what makes certain times better than others.
Triberr has become very popular—and very controversial—very quickly. It allows you to create or join groups (“tribes”) that retweet one another’s content.
The controversy comes from using the automated settings. The general consensus is to NOT do this. This will cause you to retweet everything everyone shares, and this is often too much, and opens you to abuse if someone in your tribe begins oversharing. Use it instead to read a feed of things from your tribe, and select what to retweet.
Of course, if everyone does this, there is less reciprocation, and those with low-quality content may find themselves retweeted less. But filtering out low-quality content is actually a good thing.
The bigger fear some have is that if they don’t retweet folks more, they won’t in turn have their own conent retweeted as much. While this is somewhat true, how it actually works in practice is that by only retweeting relevant, quality things, you will typically end up focusing on a subset of your tribe (the people that share the most relevant, quality things).
If this is true, simply start a new tribe, and invite them to it. The whole idea of a tribe is to find the best folks for it. If you don’t have the best folks, you’re using it wrong. Move out of low-quality tribes, and into high-quality ones, creating them if you have to.
5. Ten Best Practices For Social Media Results
I’ll talk first about some things I’ve seen people fail to do, before covering things you really should know already. Consider this your checklist!
- Target people you would like to share your content. Share, retweet or like something of theirs just before you share your content. When they see you sharing their content, they may then check our your recent content to find something of yours to share or retweet.
- Get things to share that are hot right now by check sites tracking share popularity such as LinkedIn Today, BuzzFeed or PopURLs.
- Award a prize to the first x people who answer a question about your company correctly. This gets people writing about you while they learn more about your company.
- Profile groups of key users from time to time on your blog. Also interview influential users when you can.
- Join relevant Facebook groups and participate in relevant Twitter chats.
- Poll your audience on pop culture facts, industry news, their daily life or habits.
- Tweet about Twitter on Twitter, update about Facebook on Facebook. Tweets about Twitter in particular get a lot of engagement (clicks, comments and retweets).
- Keep Tweets short (under 110 characters) to allow room for people who add comments to their retweets.
- Add a call-to-action to follow/fan your social media accounts to everything you do. Email signature, business card, etc. Be sure you have Twitter/Facebook share buttons on your site.
- Test Facebook advertising. Facebook adds more powerful features to it all the time
Consider this just the first wave of “Social Media 3.0″ optimization. This category of apps and services is poised to explode.
Keep your eyes peeled for more services like these and test them as they come out to keep working smarter, not harder.
Tried any of these services and have feedback? Have any tips or service you would add to the list? Leave your comments below.