What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to social media?

I’ve sent that question to hundreds of social media professionals and digital marketers in the past few months and the consensus is…


I feel the pain. I know from first-hand experience that juggling a presence on multiple social networks is difficult, especially when you don’t want lose out on the benefits of the newest shiny toys — lately, Google+ and Pinterest.

We’re all constantly looking for new tools and methods to increase efficiency without sacrificing quality engagement, which of course should always be our focus with social media.

Below are three simple tools and methods to cut down on your tweeting time, especially if you’re on a web page without social sharing buttons.

1. The Buffer Extension

Buffer as a whole is one of my favorite tools, and their browser extension is just icing on the cake.

This extension adds a tiny toolbar to the bottom of your browser with a Buffer icon. Any time you want to tweet a blog post, video, or a web page, you simply click the Buffer icon at the bottom of your browser and BOOM! You get something similar to the image below.

BufferApp Browser Extension

The great thing about this extension is it pulls the title of the page and automatically shortens the link, so it’s ready to go straight to Twitter.

You also have the options of posting it immediately or adding it to your Buffer feed to be shared later.

Extra Bonus: Of course, with Buffer you can add multiple profiles from all social networks. So you could effectively and efficiently share updates across multiple profiles in just a few simple steps.

2. The bit.ly Bookmarklet

If you’re not a Buffer user (you should be by the way), this nifty little tool is also great to have around.

The Bit.ly Bookmarklet gets dragged up to your bookmarks toolbar just below the address bar. It essentially does the same thing as the Buffer extension, with a few less bells and whistles.

When you’re on a website and want to tweet that page, you simply click the bookmark on your toolbar and a small Bit.ly box pops out from the right side of your screen. See below for an example.

Bitly Bookmarklet

The drawback of this bookmarklet in comparison to Buffer is you have to copy and paste the text into Twitter and you can’t share on multiple social networks as easily, so it’s a little less efficient. But it gets the job done quickly enough and it’s a good alternative to those who aren’t Buffer users.

3. RSS Reader + Twitter Names

This is going a little old school, but I thought I’d throw it in for good measure.

Like many, I often subscribe to the RSS feeds of blogs I love reading. Scheduling tweets is usually my first stop in the morning, so my RSS reader is my best pal.

Let me lay out the general process:

  • I filter through the content in my RSS reader.
  • I find a blog post I like and think is worth sharing.
  • I hit the Buffer app and the tweet is ready to go, right?

Wrong! I want to give credit to the blog author with a @mention, but then I either need to a) Remember their Twitter username or b) Open Twitter and look it up.

Two options that take up time. So here’s what I do…

Every time I subscribe to a blog’s RSS feed, I immediately look up the Twitter username for that blog and change the RSS feed name to that Twitter username. See below for an example.

Now I can hit the Buffer or Bit.ly extension, have the tweet ready to go, tack on the mention quickly and send or schedule the tweet. Simple sharing.

Why Not Just Use Social Sharing Buttons?

I realize social sharing buttons typically do all of these things for you, but there are a couple reasons I prefer to take a slightly more manual route.

  • I personally like to monitor my own sharing results. If you use Buffer or Bit.ly, you get analytics on how many people clicked your link. Social sharing buttons, of course, don’t provide that data. I like to know what kind of content gets click-throughs and at what time of the day those clicks come. This data helps me narrow down optimal tweet times and understand my Twitter audience much better.
  • As hard as it is to believe, tons of blogs and websites still don’t have functional, easy-to-find social sharing buttons. You need a backup plan for those cases.

What Do You Think?

I’m curious to hear about the tools and methods you use to share more efficiently. Share your thoughts in the comments and happy tweeting!

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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