Successful social media marketers regularly share interesting, fresh and relevant content with their followers. Time consuming? You betcha. These three apps (one brand new) make it simpler -- but not necessarily painless -- to share online articles from mainstream publishers.
Suggestions by Hootsuite
Social-media dashboard and management service Hootsuite recently released a free iOS app called Suggestions. Its goal is to present you with 20 articles related to your key interests and then let you easily share them on the social networks you connect to your Hootsuite account.
When you see an article you want to share in the Suggestions news feed, you can swipe left to post it to your social networks later or swipe right to share immediately. You can also tap and hold on the story to edit the headline or add a Twitter hashtag.
The sharing process is straightforward and easy. I like how Suggestions shows images with some stories and lets you see how old they are. Some articles may have been posted two hours ago, others two days ago. Suggestions also displays publisher information, so you know the article sources.
However, Suggestions limits you to three topics, and you can't cherry-pick the social networks you want to use to share each story. For $5 a month, you get unlimited content sharing, but it's not clear if you can create an unlimited number of topics -- or at least more than three.
Hootsuite competitor Buffer's free Android and iOS apps provide content-sharing suggestions, too. Buffer gave me five topics -- two more than Suggestions -- but I couldn't find any way to change the topics, and at least two of them ("Inspiration" and "Design") were so general they proved to be useless.
Buffer lets you view the 25 suggested articles in your news feed by topic, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, as you scroll through the news feed, you can't see the articles' publishers because their URLs have already been shortened.
Buffer is designed to be a social sharing and management app, so it's super simple to share suggested stories -- you just can't change the post's text.
Klout, another free app for Android and iOS, shows you "cards" with relevant content, which you can easily swipe through and drag to the top of the screen to share. Each article displays an image, and you can clearly see the source and how old the story is.
Some content suggestions were questionable, including an article about Hulk Hogan's attempt to block media from a sex tape. (Huh?) Another drawback: Klout only let me post to Facebook and Twitter, and wouldn't let me, say, share stories on LinkedIn.
Ultimately, Klout wins this race because it makes it easiest to scan the suggested content, change text in the posts, and then share. Also, I set up a dozen topics in Klout and could have added even more.
Though these apps help with social sharing, all of them have compromises and limitations. It's far easier, and quicker, to simply install the Hootsuite, Buffer and Klout browser extensions.