Sharing good content is a heckuva smart social media strategy. But how do you share a blog post or article with audiences scattered across multiple networks?
I post content directly from Google Reader to Delicious, Friendfeed and Twitter in a single motion. The step-by-step configuration instructions are below, but first read these five reasons not to automate your social media program.
Step 1: Configure Google Reader to Share to Delicious
Google recently added a “Share To” option that lets you customize which networks you want to share content to. The feature lets you share content from your feed reader to a dozen sites like Twitter, Friendfeed, Delicious, Posterous and more.
Click “Settings” in the upper right corner, then click the “Share To” tab. Add whichever sites you’d like, but for this exercise, be sure to add the social bookmarking site Delicious.
Step 2: Configure Friendfeed to Pull Bookmarks from Delicious
Like other “lifestreaming” or “aggregation” sites, Friendfeed lets you pull in your activity from across the social web, including Facebook, Amazon, Flickr, YouTube, music (Pandora, etc.), comments (via Disqus, BackType, etc.) and more. You can pull in activity from nearly 60 sites.
Click on “Settings” in the upper right corner, then click “add/edit” in the Services section. Again, select whichever sites you’d like to add, being sure to add Delicious.
Step 3: Configure Friendfeed to “cc” Twitter
Click on “Settings” again, then click “Twitter publishing preferences.” Make sure “Post my Friendfeed entries to Twitter by default” is checked, then select which of your social activities you’d like Friendfeed to push to Twitter. Again, keep an eye on Delicious.
Step 4: Use Google Reader’s “Send to Delicious” Button
With steps 1-3 complete, you can now send a post from Google Reader to Delicious. It will be pulled into Friendfeed, which in turn pushes it out to Twitter.
HERE’S AN IMPORTANT TIP: When you bookmark an item to Delicious, pay careful attention to these two points:
- Include “by @author” in the title (change ‘author’ to the appropriate Twitter handle). This way they’ll get an @mention when it hits Twitter.
- Keep the headline to about 100 characters to allow room on Twitter for the URL and ReTweets.
Why This Works
The “5 Reasons Not to Automate” post notwithstanding, this is useful for many reasons. Each service in the chain meets a different need. For me, Google Reader is for finding content, Twitter is where I build relationships, Delicious is for saving articles I’ll use later in seminars and workshops, and Friendfeed is for conversations that require more than 140 characters.
You can use this approach with other tools — your blog, for instance. Just be sure to remember the human element. Relationships aren’t built with automation.