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Thirty Minutes a Day is All It Takes to Automate Your Social Media Activity, But I Don’t Recommend it

As I am sure you know, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your work done. This is why we are always looking for new ways to automate tasks.

Sometimes, however, the automation is counterproductive or just isn’t worth using. For example, a couple months ago I developed a way to automatically gather tweets from chosen Twitter accounts and load them into a Buffer queue so the tweets can be shared from one of my clients' social media accounts.

It’s a clever and relatively low-cost trick that ties together IFTTT and Buffer in a way that lets the two services handle the majority of the work automatically.

You’ll need to invest some time in finding sources, but aside from that the only costs are a Buffer subscription, some skull sweat invested in choosing sources, and the time spent curating the Buffer queue to remove unwanted updates.

I have been using it to share headline plus a link but you could optimize it for other uses (cute puppy photos, maybe?). I think it’s a really neat shortcut, and I was planning to sell it as a service or teach it as a class (I even wrote a whitepaper that explains how to replicate the process).

I won’t be using it, however, and I don’t think you should either.

I have come to the realization that I am not comfortable with the act of scraping people’s tweets. It feels too much like plagiarism, and I think using someone else’s work like this is going to backfire in the long run.

And even if this weren’t plagiarism, it’s a sub-optimal way to maintain a social media presence.

Ask any social media expert and they will tell you that the best way to get attention or build an audience is to say something original and clever. In this case that means you have to read (or at least skim) each story and find something to say. This process can’t really be automated, at least not without a lot more investment than I can afford.

So rather than completely automate my link sharing, I have gone back to my old methods of assembling Twitter lists based on topics, checking what active tweeters are sharing, and then sharing the interesting stories.

I am still using Buffer, yes, but behind the software there’s a person with their hand on the mouse.


While I don’t plan to use this trick, I am always looking for ways to get more done. What’s your preferred way to manage your social media presence? Do you know of any automation that could save us all time?

Please let us know in the comments!

P.S. I’d like to thank Kate Tilton for letting me bounce ideas off of her. Thanks, Kate!

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Anne April 24, 2018 um 11:02 pm

Never mind.

Kate Tilton April 30, 2018 um 12:14 pm

I think social media is really going through a shift now. People are getting information overload and checking out more than ever. So there is a lot of going back to basics. Why do you use social media to begin with? It isn’t about just sharing information, it’s about connecting with others. Approaching social media in that way makes it a lot easier to manage than following "best practices" which might not be good practices anymore.

Nate Hoffelder April 30, 2018 um 5:48 pm

Kate, I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, both FB and Twitter are set up to encourage information overload. This is one of the unstated reasons why I weaned myself off Twitter a few weeks back, and decided to hang out more in FB groups.

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