Businesses that want to be successful with social media and blogging must be mindful of news topics and trends within their industry. Your social media activity should be packed, up to 80%, with content and information from other sources, reserving just 20% for talking about yourself. At the same time, breaking news and important industry stories are ripe for great blog posts (we call this newsjacking). In order to monitor potential sources of information for sharing or blogging, business owners need to invest some time into a few tools.
We've talked before about using Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite news sources. We've also talked about how you can use Newsify to access your Google Reader feeds from multiple devices. Now, Buffer has partnered with the folks at Feedly, making Feedly perhaps the ultimate tool for finding and sharing great content.
Feedly, like Newsify and other apps, can access your Google Reader account and aggregate your RSS subscriptions. Feedly is available as a web version, iOS app for iPhone, iPad and iPad mini and Android version. You can categorize your feeds into different segments for easy organization, and even access starred stories for future reading - all synced across devices.
What makes Feedly different than other apps is the fact that it also brings in top stories from tons of other sources, much like Google Currents. When you open Feedly on your iPhone, it will first walk you through some basic instructions, and then give you an opportunity to connect your Google Reader account. Once connected, you will have a left menu that consists of your categories and feeds. At any time, you can tap the magnifying glass icon to get to Explore, which will show you different news topics and stories from top sources.
Whether you're viewing an article from your Reader account, or one of the stories from Feedly's built-in sources, there are three icons in the upper left. The first will open the story in your default web browser. The second icon will bookmark or save the story for future reading. The final icon is to share the story. Share options include Email, Twitter, Facebookand Google+. You can also mark the story as unread here, and copy a direct link to the story. This is also where you can add a story to your Buffer.
Buffer (http://bufferapp.com) is a fantastic tool that we've discussed before. Using Buffer, you can connect a Facebook profile, Facebook Page, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile. With each profile, you can then set up a schedule for activity. For instance, we reviewed some statistics recently which indicated that peak usage times for Facebook is between 1pm - 4pm EST, and I want to share 3 posts a day to my Facebook Page for The Social Media Hat, so I have a Buffer schedule created for my Facebook Page to post at 12:15, 1:30 and 2:45 each day.
Once you have your accounts connected and schedules created, it's time to start adding content to your Buffer. You can create posts within your Buffer account and add them to one or more profiles. You can also install an appropriate plugin for your browser so that no matter where on the web you're browsing, you can click a button in your toolbar to add that site or story to your Buffer. As you add more links and updates, Buffer will automatically insert them into the next available timeslot. At any time, you can log into Buffer directly and rearrange posts, delete posts, or alter schedules.
Now that you have your Feedly set up and Buffer schedules ready to go, it's time to start sharing content. Open Feedly and start to browse your feeds or explore the latest news stories. Once you find an interesting story to share, tap the Share icon and note the Buffer icon (it looks like a stack of three pages). The first time you use Buffer within Feedly you'll need to authorize Buffer. Once authorized, you'll see a preview of your post and below that will be your connected social networks. Choose one or more, edit the text of the post if you wish, and then tap Buffer it that post will be added to your schedule in the next available time slot for each selected social network.
According to Joel Gascoigne, Buffer's Founder, "Buffer and Feedly are now connected to help you discover and share great articles and links a lot more seamlessly."
The seamless nature of using Feedly to check both your Google Reader feeds and top stories from great sources is outstanding. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Image courtesy of NS Newsflash, Flickr.