Today, we'll continue this simplification process, starting with Twitter. Remember, in our order of posting, Twitter posts come immediately after writing a blog post. You should write five tweets based on your post. But what should you tweet about? And how do you get five tweets from a post? There are a number of ways, but I've created a simple tool on Google Docs that should help.
The concept is simple: you break down your blog post into the following five types of tweets:
- Title - This tweet is just the title of your blog post, with the first letter of each word capitalized. Include the link to your post (either full, or using a shortened URL). Add a hashtag, if desired.
- Main Idea - Imagine someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to summarize your blog post in one quick sentence. Write that down and you have your main idea tweet. Again, add the link.
- Main Idea 2 - There's probably another main idea buried in the post. If not, pull a direct quote from the post.
- Fun Twist - Think of a playful, fun way to advertise your post – something that will entice people to read further.
- Teaser - This can be difficult at first, but it's a fun challenge. Write a teaser, something that will get people interested enough to click the link to learn more.
Write each of these tweets in the corresponding Tweet column in the Google Docs tool. In the Post URL field, paste the URL to your blog post. By doing this once, the URL will automatically be attached to each tweet and will appear in the Tweet with URL field. The Tweet Length field will tell you how many characters you have remaining (not including the URL). The URL isn't included in the length because Twitter will often shorten it, so it's difficult to determine the exact characters that will be used. But remember, good tweets are pretty short.
When you're done writing your five tweets, copy and paste each Tweet with URL at a time and schedule them on Twitter using either TweetDeck or HootSuite. Space your five tweets out throughout the day, being sure to hit prime Twitter viewing times like first thing in the morning, on lunch break and right before bed.
Next up is scheduling a post for Facebook. If you've taken the time to write out your five tweets, you should have a bunch of creative ideas flowing, and at least one of them should stand out as a good Facebook post. Remember, the best Facebook posts:
- are conversational
- are short
- include an engaging image
- have a call to action (like, comment, share)
- encourage people to respond
Write your Facebook post exactly like you normally do, except instead of pressing post, click on the little clock icon in the bottom-left corner of the post box.
Next, you will be guided to select the year, month, day, hour and minute you want to schedule your post.
When scheduling, be sure to remember the optimum time of day for posting on Facebook. While this can vary from page to page, generally around the lunch hour and dinner hour are prime times. However, you may have a different audience, so look at your Facebook insights to know for sure and schedule for optimum viewing.
After you've scheduled your post, you can view any upcoming posts in the Activity Log. Here, you can scrap the post if you've changed your mind.
One of the latecomers to the scheduling game is Google+. Just like Twitter, Google+ doesn't have a built-in scheduling tool, but there are a number of options available. If you run a blog through Blogger, there is now a feature to auto-post to your Google+ page. While this is a time saver, I still feel there's something special about the human touch of posting.
My favorite tool for scheduling for Google+ is a Google Chrome extension called DoShare.
You can install this in the Chrome Web Store for free. DoShare works similar to other posting and scheduling tools. You can select which account you want to use to post, and whether you want to include a link or image.
You can also select with whom you want to share your post (public, your circles, specific people or circles, etc.).
Scheduling is a piece of cake, just select the date and time.
Now for a couple downsides to DoShare. First, because this is only a Chrome extension, your computer must be on and Chrome must be running when the scheduled posting time comes around. For many people who leave their computer running nearly all the time, this isn't a big deal, but it's something to be aware of.
Secondly, you can currently only do photo posts with your personal Google+ account, not your page. This is kind of a downer, but truthfully, your big goal here should be to get your audience to read your blog post, so sharing the link is just fine. Plus, if you've created a good splash image for your post, it should automatically get slurped in to the link preview.
Again, you can also schedule Google+ posts using HootSuite.
By following this simple pattern of writing your blog post, scheduling five tweets, and scheduling Facebook and Google+ posts, you can dramatically simplify your day. You can take care of all of this in advance and not have to stress about it the rest of the day. Plus, if you incorporate it into your posting workflow, it will become a habit instead of a chore.