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5 Technology Tools for Smart Automation


Often when people read my opinions they think I am opposed to automation or content curation. Not true! I oppose thoughtlessness.

The shift in technology is towards new ways to sort through large amounts of data. This is what Scoop.it, Twylah, Strawberry Jam and others are trying to help us with. The trend of content curation is one born of a necessity to shift through the copious amount of content that exists. In 2010 ,every two days the world collectively generated, "as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003" (Eric Schmidt) . That number is rising exponentially every year.


When I saw Will's post cautioning against over tweeting I knew he was giving some great advice. There is a disadvantage to sending out too many tweets to your audience. You are wasting your time. We have tools that can send out tweets right at the moment when people are reading them. It is magical.

Although some of these tools might use automation they are used with forethought. It is all about maximizing the use of your content. I decided the easiest way to explain is to go over the tools that I use and how I make them work.

My Top Five Technology Tools


1. Buffer App

What were we doing on Twitter before Buffer App? There are other tools out there like Hootsuite, but it isn't as user friendly. I think the appeal of Buffer is in its simplicity. Someday I can imagine we will see Buffer Buttons replace our Facebook and Twitter share buttons. I use Buffer to space out my tweets. I use it in combination with two other tools I will discuss later; IFTTT and Tweriod. Basically it increases the chance that my tweets will be seen and acted upon. They reach my audience during the peak times they are interacting with Twitter and has been shown to increase clickthroughs by 200%.

2. Tweriod

Tweriod is a special app that gives you statistics that you normally don't have access to. It tells you when when your Twitter audience is the most active. These stats are usually bundled with pro versions of monitoring platforms that will cost you hundreds of dollars. You can get an advanced report with activity for each day of the week for only $2.50, what a bargain! To top it off, you can still see limited information for free. Essentially every time I clean up my Twitter accounts (following & unfollowing people) I will run a Tweriod report. I can adjust my buffer settings to tweet when people are actually around. I then identify two or three times of daily peak activity. At those times I log in to Twitter to see what is happening with my network.

3.Nutshell Mail

Nutshell Mail is run by constant contact. It is a great example of how technology and automation can make your life much easier when used smartly. Nutshell Mail will monitor your social networks. It sends you a summary email of that activity. You get to choose when this digest is delivered. I have it set to send a Twitter digest at the same peak times I identified with Twerioid. Now I have a snapshot of what is going and what I want to respond to. I can see new followers, quitters, replies, retweets, my lists, and even select search terms. Best of all, I can tweet from Nutshell Mail without having to login to Twitter.

4.Readability

Readability has been a life saver! To keep up with industry news you have to read a ton of content every day. You can save yourself time, and eye strain, by using Readability. Readability uses standards of font size, type, color, and white space to display content that is easy on your eyes. At the push of the button it will convert any blog post to those standards. It can be used as a bookmarklet or as an extension for your browser. You can even send an article to your kindle. I use Readability as a reading queue. I get easily distracted when sorting through new content. This ruins my work flow because I get involved with reading and neglect my other work. Now I use Readability to save each post. Near the end of the day I will go over what I have saved and skim, read, delete, or buffer the information.

5. IFTTT.com

IFTTT (If This Then That) is kind of revolutionary in its simplicity. I is as easy to use as it sounds. You select one channel, say an rss feed for example. Then choose another channel, lets say email. You set up your task like this:

If there is a new post from the RSS feed Then email me.

You have already set up your first task!

Currently IFTTT supports Buffer, Readability, Twitter, RSS Feeds, Craigslist Search, Facebook, Instagram, Evernote and so much more! Updates are frequent.

With so many channels you can imagine I use IFTTT for many tasks. IFTTT is one of the most powerful smart automation tools we currently have at our disposal. Again this is because it is so simple. Here are links to a few of my favorite recipes I have created:

If I favorite a post on Readability send to my Buffer
http://ifttt.com/recipes/8940

If I favorite a Tweet create a LinkedIn status update
http://ifttt.com/recipes/7499

If I leave a voicemail then tweet an audio message to my followers
http://ifttt.com/recipes/4973

As you can see I have set up several automation tasks. Each one is intentional and frees up my daily routine. Most of this is done through better time management by using tools that maximize my activity across social networks. The big take away is that you can do less and have a bigger impact.

Have you used any of these tools? Which ones are your favorite? If not how do you manage your work flow?
This guest post was written by Susan Silver of Cirquedumot.com

About Will Green

A student in England studying Automotive Engineering with Motorsport, Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money. You can follow AskWillOnline via @AskWillOnline.

6 comments so far:

  1. Readability is a life-saver for me. I was straining my eyes too much, especially those websites with no regard for usability and readability, before I came across that tool.

    - web design service consultant

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  2. That is great to hear. I am glad as a someone who works on design you understand principles of usability. I think that is what makes a website stand out from the pack.

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  3. Wow! Lots of great advice there. I look forward to giving these apps a whirl. Thanks. ~Tui

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  4. Great article Susan, you have enlightened me to try out a few of them tech tools above! Especially the Buffer App. Many tweets are tweeted inefficiency causing them to get a small amount of exposure (compared to the exposure they could be getting). It seems like the Buffer app stops this from happening.

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  5. Thanks for the Buffer App recommendation! Definitely need to check that out. Sounds better than HootSuite which I'm using now.

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  6. I was having a little too much fun with Foursquare and then got a look at my profile right after a high profile social marketer followed me - yikes! Luckily she didn't unfollow - lesson learned!

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