Flipboard as Your Monster Sharing Hub - Social Media Explorer
Flipboard as Your Monster Sharing Hub
Flipboard as Your Monster Sharing Hub

Maybe you’ve seen Flipboard as that gimmicky iPad reader. Maybe you’ve played with it a little bit, but got away from it before you made it a real habit. Maybe you do enjoy just kicking back and flipping through content — after all, that’s what most people do with tablets anyway.

So what if I told you that Flipboard made a couple of tweaks recently that make it a serious consideration for your business?

The New Wave of Sharing

Flipboard had a huge hurdle to overcome: Who cares about sharing in an app that only a handful of people use very often anyway?

The solution came from “unbundling” the simpler tasks that we think of when it comes to “sharing” something:

  • Snagging
  • Routing
  • Context
  • Subscription

Ideally, if you’ve thought about a curation strategy at all, you understand that you don’t have to create metric tons of awesome content if you can be the go-to person to find it and share it. Certain topics lend themselves to a lot of information, and your value as the sifter of the wheat from the chaff is not to be overlooked.

So what is Flipboard doing that is so special? It has moved beyond the app, into categorization, collection and personalization.

Here’s what that workflow can look like:

Sharing Starts Where You Find Things

You find cool things in the browser – so that’s where you need to begin. It would be tedious to copy the link, email it to yourself, open the app, then Share. Instead, you can do it from a little bookmark:

flip share 1

This example is from Chrome, but you can configure the same experience in a tablet browser if that’s where you are reading. Again, the simplicity here is that you can start the moment you identify the content as useful.

Once you click, a pop-up window emerges to allow you to “route” the link.

flip share 2

Notice that you have two levels of sharing to think about here: The top line is the Custom Magazine you’re going to Flip this story into — the lower left is your connected social accounts. Level one is for the people on Flipboard, Level two is open to everyone.

More Channels is Better

My first magazine, Ponderous Wonders, was born of my desire to share cool photos and articles. But as it turns out, not everything I found that was share-worthy matched that label. You want your collections to make sense, because readers can subscribe to them independently.

I also found, at times, that I just didn’t have the time to read an entire piece before sharing. So I created a private magazine where I could Flip things for future consumption.

flip share 3

Sell the Sizzle AND the Steak

So back to the Jason Falls piece on Viral things…

The art of flipping articles is remembering that readers are going to see the title as well as your comment. So you want something that is complementary, not repetitive:

flip share 4

As you can see, I have put this in my Clear Business Thoughts magazine, and I am goosing it through all of my connected social accounts. It’s what happens when it gets to those social accounts that becomes special.

Friction-Free Sharing

Notice how this looks coming through Twitter:

flip share 5

The link will open in Flipboard for those who have it — but if it detects that you don’t, you can always look at the preview and go straight to the source. No one is left out of the experience:

flip share 6

Over time, you may end up convincing some people to actually download the app. And that is exactly where you want them.

On the Flip Side

Within Flipboard, you can create as many Magazines as you need:


You can edit them either within the app, or on a standard desktop browser:



And the Holy Grail of this whole exercise is to build a base of people who are subscribing directly to a channel — from which they are quite likely to re-share your information:


The Big Picture

This stands to be an excellent play for businesses who differentiate themselves based on customer education. I might not buy brakes or air conditioners very often — but I might be inclined to buy them from people who took the time to educate me along the way.

If you’re a coffee shop, with a decent knowledge of your local customer base, then you could really score with this sort of tactic. You could have a string of magazines with reading suggestions, local events, music, art — oh, and news about coffee blends.

This could be the ticket for a busy entrepreneur with limited time for writing and “thought leadership,” but who is enough of a topical consumer of links that filtering and sharing can become second-nature.

What Flipboard has done is made the acts of sharing, compiling, and curation as frictionless and as inclusive as ever. And being able to target specific networks in isolation or in bulk is a time-saver.

Anyone out there have a favorite magazine?

And what magazine would you want to manage if you could?

About the Author

Ike Pigott
In his previous life, Ike Pigott was an Emmy-winning TV reporter, who turned his insider's knowledge of the news cycle into a crisis communications consultancy. At the American Red Cross, serving as Communication and Government Relations Director for five southeastern states, Ike pioneered the use of social media in disaster. Now -- by day -- he is a communications strategist for Alabama Power and a Social Media Apologist; by night, he lurks at Occam's RazR, where he writes about the overlaps and absurdities in communications, technology, journalism and society. Find out how you can connect with Ike or follow him on Twitter at @ikepigott. He also recently won the coveted "Social Media Explorer contributing writer with the longest Bio" award.
  • K Morris

    The Flipboard app may offer “friction-free” sharing, but it is not so friendly to users wanting to access their own content via browser.

    In order to even see your own magazine, you have to view it in the app, or GENERATE A LINK, CUT AND PASTE IT INTO YOUR BROWSER, AND *THEN* FOLLOW IT.You cannot simply open a magazine and read your content with a browser. And you definitely can’t embed the same content without jumping through the same ridiculous hoop, since the widgets don’t even recognize the short URL Flipboard generates via the “share” button.

    Simply “asking” nicely whether & when they are going to make the entire app more browser-friendly is not working:It took Flipboard nearly a year to even allow users to have access to their magazines online via the “editor” portion of their site. It’ll probably take a lot more time and voices the get them to invest in this sort of basic functionality. So, if anyone else is having this problem, please contact Flipboard and tell them how user-UNfriendly this is.

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  • Tom

    Nice summary Ike – particularly liked your closing remarks – building affintity by “gifting” people with articles is powerful. I liken it to those mixtapes we did for our boyfriends/girlfriends in the 80’s!

    Question for you – is it possible to embed a Flipboard mag into a website – not just the link but say a pic of the front page embedded in part of your homepage that then becomes active on clicking?


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  • Nice article and recap of the Flipboard platform. I’ve been using Scoop.it content curate / syndicate engine for awhile and have grown my subscribers to just over 1,100 so it would be “testy” to migrate to Flipboard Oh and BTW, I really like your Bio widget. Is it a plugin or custom CSS?

    • The ubiquitous Neil Feree (social media marketing genius)!!

      • u·biq·ui·tous
        yoo bikwetes

        1. present, appearing, or found everywhere.
        “his ubiquitous influence was felt by all the family” and Steven Sweat too!
        synonyms: omnipresent, ever-present, everywhere, all over the place, pervasive,

  • It will be quite interesting, I’m really looking forward to this.


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