There’s a pretty good chance if you’re reading this you found it via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn from either someone you know who shared the link or from my own shares of my content. My modus operandi online is to find good content and share it. Yes, I mix in my own, too. But that’s the whole premise of why I’m followed online at all. I share good stuff.
My personal approach to sharing has evolved over the years — I once thought it tacky to share my own content, but quickly got over that. The Internet is not a world of “if you build it they will come.” It’s a world of, “If you build it, then promote the crap out it, they might come.” The ratio of other people’s content to my own content has evolved over the years, too. For the record, I like the 5:1 ratio at the moment, but it fluctuates.
Another thing that has evolved over the years are the tools and mechanisms of sharing. For the longest time I used Argyle Social (now Reach.me) because it was built for tracking and measuring traffic, conversions and more by channel. So I could differentiate traffic effectiveness and volume from Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn and the like. But then Buffer came along and innovated around queueing content up in one fail swoop, but having it trickle out on your networks over the course of the day. This is beautiful for someone like me who shares a lot and prefers to not have it all go out live as I’m sharing it. (For the record, Argyle/Reach.me added its “hopper” feature which accomplished the same thing, but Buffer got to it first.)
Now a new tool has emerged I’ve been testing. It’s called Edgar (http://www.meetedgar.com). The concept takes Buffer and adds to it. Instead of one queue of content that trickles out over the day, you can put content into defined buckets and set posts based on the bucket (or content type) at various times — even mixed in with other content types. What this does is allows me to treat the sharing of content I write different that the posts others write. It allows me to treat promotional or sales content differently as well. The variations are seemingly endless. This opens up interesting possibilities.
By treating my content differently that content of friends and other smart folks I find, I can promote it with more volume, re-sharing the same links at different times to ensure greater organic reach and exposure. I can also pick out the best posts I’ve written over the years and drive more traffic to them over time, sending more signals to Google that this content is still relevant.
A brand can use Edgar to spread out social sharing of aggregated content from others, say five times a day. Then they can set times to share their own content twice a day, then another time to share sales or promotional content twice a day. The way Edgar works, unless you dump the content into the “Use Once” bucket, then content is re-shared over and over as that category’s posts come up in your calendar. The more posts you have in a single bucket (like “My Content”) the less frequently each individual post is shared, so you don’t look like you’re just hammering one article time after time. And though you’re not working harder to fill the bucket, your social shares appear to be different and fresh each time. By using Edgar, you’re essentially building libraries of content to automatically post based on a calendar you create and control.
Here’s a look at a portion of the test calendar I set up for Twitter:
The SME Posts is my queue of Social Media Explorer content that I didn’t write. Anything I did write (there or elsewhere) goes into the My Content bucket. My Promotions are events and other products I may wish to drive people to. Elasticity Posts shares content from my colleagues at work and supports our agency. Inspirational/Funny is a category I set up to share quotes, jokes and other amusing things that aren’t necessarily links to content, but just statements. The Use Once category is where I’d put most content you see me share — other people’s blog posts I find and share on a regular basis. (There aren’t many “Use Once” category entries above. An explanation is below.)
Keep in mind this was just a test. I recommend measuring the traffic and conversions from different times of day and days of the week to find your own sweet spot. It won’t be the same for each business or person. Everyone’s audience is different.
In theory, Edgar is smart and spins off further innovation and advancements in the social sharing platform space. I really do like the concept and the additional features to what I thought as a perfectly strong offering (Buffer) are exciting and welcome. When Edgar comes through to full maturity, it could very well be the social sharing platform of choice. However, it’s not fully mature and thus we have to say, “in theory.”
The good news is that the drawbacks to Edgar are all technical glitches or features that are likely on its roadmap. The bookmarklet and Chrome extension for sharing don’t pull in images on the fly. You have to share, then login to the desktop version to pull the image in, doubling the time you take using the tool. For that alone, I decided to do my “Use Once” type shares through Buffer and test Edgar for all the other categories I’d like to have libraries of content for.
Edgar is set up to build the queue in any given category with priority to the last item shared. So if you read the most important blogs first, then a secondary set of content, the some fun, throwaway content and share in that order (like I do), then throwaway content gets prioritized and shared first. There are no controls to manually move posts in the queue to date, so you’re just stuck. Sure, I could rearrange the way I read my feeds, but that would be like making someone read a newspaper backwards. It just doesn’t feel right.
Edgar also doesn’t yet have manual editing of post times after you’ve queued the post up. You can schedule posts to launch at specific times the first time they’re shared, but you can’t go in and add a post time once the content is in the queue. And while you can filter your queue by category or network (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), in the Use Once category, nothing expires even though it’s been posted, so you have to scroll through to find what you’re looking for.
Edgar also lacks the ability to set expiration dates on content. I don’t know that I want all my content always in the library . I’d rather set it to share for a few weeks in queue, then rotate out.
All that being said, these are minor fixes. In a few months, provided the product team prioritizes these items, it might be a lean, mean sharing machine. I sure hope so.
If Edgar becomes more feature rich, the only concern is the pricing. An individual plan is set at $49 per month. That gets access to posting on 10 different accounts (but only on the three big networks). You can post to Facebook pages, though. The next tier is $499 per month which opens up 25 accounts, priority service and an account rep. The Cadillac is $999 and adds an on boarding program and up to 100 accounts.
For an individual to use this tool, they need to be deviating a fair amount of return for social sharing. Sure, affiliate bloggers and even lead-tracking consultants can easily justify that cost, but in all honestly, most individuals don’t track monetary return from social shares. That’s very different when you get into brands and agencies. Still, I’m not sure categories of sharing will be worth a $500 or $1000 per month investment when HootSuite, Buffer and other less intricate tools can be beaten around to almost replicate the functionality.
The bottom line is Edgar has a way to go before it’s ultimately useful for me. But it’s probably going to get there fast and takes managing social shares to a new level. Good on ’em.
Check it out at www.meetedgar.com. As I understand it, there’s at least a 30-day trial period before you’re billed.