If you’re like me, then you’re constantly scrambling to keep up with social media. I think that curating interesting content is one of the best and smartest ways to grow a large following – I’ve been doing it for close to a decade – but the time it takes to search out good things to share, write something pithy and manually schedule each update can quickly add up.

This year, I’ve finally found a workflow that works. It’s been life-changing. It takes a little bit of set up, but once you’re going, it makes curating and sharing an enjoyable habit, rather than a chore.

Here’s the only social media workflow you’ll ever need:

1. Source content

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I use Feedly, Apple News and Flipboard as my primary sources. Google Alerts is another way to track specific topics but it’s a pretty raw source, you’ll get lots of false matches. I use Feedly for blogs and magazines that I routinely find useful, anything that I want to see everything they post. Then I use Apple News and Flipboard to curate content based on topic. This takes a little tweaking and you might like the layout of one better than the other, but I’ve gotten mine set up so that I am getting perfect content delivered to me all the time. I end up bookmarking about 1 in 20 posts — that’s how useful it is… and you can scroll through 20 post titles quickly, we’re talking about 30 seconds for me to find something worth sharing or reading later.

TIP: Set these up on your phone so you can do your content curation while you’re waiting in line or doing something else.

2. Save content

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Here’s where having the right workflow makes a big difference. I use Pocket for things I want to share on social media and Evernote for items that are related to book research, blog posts I might write. Your mileage may vary but I find Pocket perfect for a single bucket (“Things to post”) that I go through and archive as they are posted or as I read them and decide against posting. For Evernote, I find it a better storage place for larger collections, like the beginning phases of a book project, where I might want sub-collections down the road or I might include multimedia like pdfs. For me, I divide my world into Pocket for temporary saves and Evernote for long-term, permanent storage. Or another way to think of it, Pocket is for social media and Evernote is for my writing.

TIP: Both Pocket and Evernote have phone and browser apps that I highly recommend installing. Using the browser shortcut to save items is a huge time saver.

3. Periodically organize content (mark as favorite, archive, tag)

Keep it simple! For social media, I simply archive items when I’m done with them. For things I want to remember to read (but don’t have time now) I use the favorite button, so I can jump back to where I left off. For book projects and using Evernote, instead of archiving things, I tag them once I’m done with them. I want to keep those items forever, often because I’ll refer back to them or need to reference the source in my end notes (if it’s for a book project) so using commonsense tags helps me find it later and potentially break up large groups of articles into smaller collections (or notebooks in Evernote parlance) based on the tags.

TIP: Batch process! Whatever system you come up with, the key is separating the bookmarking from the review… you’ll want to see which items you’ve processed and which ones need to be read — a big time saver if you’re able to avoid flipping between apps all the time.

4. Schedule content

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I was a long time user of Buffer but I’ve recently switched back to Hootsuite so I could manage social sharing (like in Buffer) and my social engagement (by following hashtags – not available in Buffer) in one place. I find Buffer to be amazingly simple and effective to use for just social sharing, so use whatever you prefer. The key here is to set it up on your phone and in your browser so you can open an article in Pocket, read it, view the original, use one click to share it, then return to Pocket, and archive it. Done and done! (Also works with Evernote as your workflow).

TIP: Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer a queue-based posting… but in Hootsuite it’s not automatic. To turn it on just adjust your account settings for the number of times per day, then choose “select best time” when scheduling and the app will handle it for you. Much quicker than trying to remember when you last posted.

I hope that helps! I’d love to hear how you use these apps to simplify your workflow in our We Create FB group.