How to Turn Your Email Into a Social Media Hub With Posterous

social media toolsIn the world of social media, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in a sea of profiles and status updates. With so many services and so little time, wouldn’t it be nice if posting to your social media profiles was as simple as sending an email? With Posterous, it is.

Posterous allows you to post to 20 or so social media platforms via email. Posting to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, even YouTube and Picasa is as simple as sending an email. And we’re not talking simple text-based posts either.

With Posterous, you can create full-screen photo galleries, groups for sharing and collaborating or just simply pass on an article you read on the Internet all by sending an email. Add a smartphone and you’ve got a powerful way to create and share content on the road.

posterous

An example of a Posterous blog page—blogging and Posterous

At its core, Posterous is a blogging platform similar to Tumblr. You can get a dedicated URL that provides a hub for your content, customize the look and feel of your Posterous site and add static content such as an “About Me” page. What separates Posterous is its ease of use and ability to distribute to a number of social media channels all at once.

Getting started on Posterous is about as easy as it can get. You don’t even need to open an account. Just send an email to post@posterous.com and you’ve got your first blog post. Posterous recognizes your email address and creates a dedicated blog for all content sent from that email address. The subject line of your email becomes the header or title of the post and the content of the email becomes the actual blog post. Any attached photos are automatically turned into a photo gallery and inserted into your post.

Posterous will send you an email when your blog post goes live (usually within a minute) with a link to view the post. When I sent a test post, it even pulled the name out of my signature (or email, not sure which) and named my newly created blog “Jim’s Posterous.”

posterous email reply

After sending your first blog post, you'll receive an email from Posterous with links to your new account.

Be careful with email signatures though, as you may not want to post your phone number or other information and they can make a blog post look awkward. Adding “#end” to your email will prevent Posterous from posting anything that follows the “#end” tag.

If you can send an email, you can write a blog. Time spent tinkering and setting up your website is kept to a minimum. To unleash the true power of Posterous, however, you’ll need to open an account. When you visit your first post, you’ll be provided options to register an account.

Autoposting

Autoposting to multiple accounts is where Posterous really starts to shine. Say, for example, that you’re at a conference and want to post an idea to your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts along with a Facebook update and a post on your WordPress blog.

Normally, in order to do that, you’d need to individually open each account and create a post or update for each account. With Posterous, all you need to do is send an email to post@posterous.com. Posterous formats your email and distributes it throughout your social media accounts.

posterous facebook post

Posterous can post directly to any of a number of social media platforms.

But let’s say that you don’t want the post to go out to all of your social media channels. Say you just want to post a photo from your mobile phone to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Change the email address to read twitter+facebook@posterous.com and Posterous sends the post only to the social media platforms specified.

Blogging and Posterous

posterous iphone

Posterous can also turn any smartphone into a mobile blogging platform. The iPhone app includes settings for autoposting, adding photos and managing multiple Posterous accounts.

I’m a dedicated WordPress user and have no plans to switch everything over to Posterous. However, there are times when I’m on the road and want to post a quick blog update. In order to do this, I need to boot up the laptop, upload any pictures, find a WiFi connection, then write and publish the post. With Posterous and a smartphone, all I need to do is write the post in an email, attach photos or video and send it off.

Using the autoposting features, Posterous will automatically format and post my email directly to my WordPress blog, send a Tweet and update my Facebook and LinkedIn status. Although it’s possible to post to WordPress via email, I have found it somewhat clunky and it requires HTML coding to get it right.

Podcasting is just as easy. Attach an MP3 file to your email and Posterous generates an RSS feed for your podcast. Listeners can then subscribe to your podcast feed through iTunes or other subscription methods.

Distributing Content

Pushing your blog content throughout your social networks can be a time-consuming task. With the Posterous bookmarklet, it can be done in one step. After writing a post, click on the bookmarklet (which resides in your browser’s toolbar), choose from the selected excerpts or write your own and post it to your Posterous page. From there, autopost will push the content throughout your social media networks.

posterous bookmarklet

The Posterous Bookmarklet lets you easily share content throughout your social networks.

In order to avoid concerns with duplicate content, be sure to include just an excerpt or original summary. Even better, embed a link back to your post wrapped around the appropriate keyword for a backlink to your site.

posterous bookmarklet

Autopost can be your universal bookmarklet for Facebook, Twitter and your other blogs, without ever leaving the page you're already on.

Groups

Although my 80-year-old uncle was on Facebook before me, not everyone is as tech savvy. However, if you can send an email, you can join a Posterous group (see image below) sharing blog posts, photos, video and audio files (see example below). Rich media are embedded directly into the email as opposed to as separate attachments.

Again, starting and managing a group can be done entirely through email. Send an email to newgroup@posterous.com with the group name in the subject line and email addresses of group members as the email content. In a few moments, you’ll receive an email with a link to finish the registration. Give the group a description, set access privileges and your group is up and running.

Because you don’t need a Posterous account to participate, there’s no waiting on fellow members to open an account or learn a new platform. Group members can post or reply to the group entirely through email.

posterous groups

Share notes with your class or articles with your colleagues in almost any format.

Email as a Hub for Social Media Activities

Checking in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for messages can quickly become a distracting endeavor. One way to avoid the distractions is to set the social media profiles to notify you via email when you receive a direct message or post to your profile.

Add Posterous and you’ve got the ability to fully manage your social media network via email. Refine it even further by creating an email address just for your social media accounts. Limit yourself to only opening the email a couple of times a day and you’ve suddenly got a handle on all those social media profiles.

posterous autopost

You can email to specific service types on your account. Do you want to update your Twitter, but not your Facebook? You can do that.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post arguing that social media would make email obsolete. As the number of social media channels grows and the streams get more and more crowded, I’ve since changed my thinking. There’s a simplicity to a good, old-fashioned, overloaded email inbox that at times can look somewhat appealing.

To learn more about Posterous, visit “The Official Posterous Posterous.”

What do you think? Are you using Posterous? What has been your experience? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Jim Lodico

Jim Lodico is a copywriter and marketing consultant specializing in creating powerful content and teaching businesses how to use blogs. You can follow him on Twitter @jlcommunication. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.chicwriter.com/ Shevonne

    I have been using Posterous from the start, and I love it. It’s easy to setup and use. I can quickly have it post to other social networking sites and my own blog, which is a huge plus. Another great service is Amplify. The huge plus about it is that there is a community behind it. It’s like Posterous and FriendFeed all in one.

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  • http://twitter.com/TaylorVick TaylorVick

    Posterous is definitely a cool platform. I’ve used it at a couple of different companies now. The other sites I use (in case the client only needs 3-10 platforms and not the whole brigade) are Ping.fm and Hootsuite. The problem with both of them is that they are, at times, unreliable. You really have to be careful with the settings, especially when it comes to syndicating RSS feeds.

    Speaking of – does Posterous have the “syndicate using RSS” feature?

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    If you mean using a blog’s RSS feed to publish on Posterous, I know that there is a WordPress plugin to do it but I don’t use it. If I want to send a blog post through Posterous, once I publish the post I use the bookmarklet. When I do, I’ll change the summary and include a backlink to the post. That creates an autopost that sends it to my selected social media profiles with one shot.

    At this point, I ultimately want readers spend more time on my blog than my Posterous page. It’s not automatic but it only takes a min or so.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    I think Posterous just pulled the plug on their blogging platform yesterday and sounds like they are reinventing as a mobile app: http://www.businessinsider.com/posterous-2011-3

  • http://www.waynejohn.com/ Wayne John

    I’m thinking that Posterous is an awesome service…but wouldn’t this be even better if it wasn’t controlled by a third party, but by yourself, as a plugin in WordPress? Maybe an app that goes along with it for mobility?

    Got me thinking…

  • http://twitter.com/AshmiNYC Ashmi Elizabeth Dang

    Was just about to post the same article. Such a shame, but will be interesting to see how they fare as an app.

  • http://twitter.com/BertaArt Clara Berta

    I love my posterous profile, my only concern is where did the about me page go? I highly recommend posterous to my friends and artists who I work with. Enjoyed reading your blog very much and would love to learn how to add it to my wordpress site next. http://modernmixedmedia.com

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    Talk about timing. I’m not sure I’m reading the Tech Crunch article the same way that Business Insider is though. From what I see in the TechCrunch article, Posterous has only upgraded their mobile ap to include their Groups function. The lead paragraph of the TechCrunch article referenced even states that the ap builds upon Posterous’ previous functionality.

    Note the comment from Rich Pearson on the Business Insider story. There’s a lesson in reputation management.

    One of the things I like most about Posterous is the iPhone ap. Looks like some nice improvements in the upgrade.

    Not so sure about Business Insider though.

  • Richard Harrison

    Jim thank you so much for this review. I have been a posterous user for several months now but hadn’t looked very far under the hood. Wasn’t aware of stuff like #end and group creation. I think I may even go look at the user link now to see what else might be available with this service. One thing I have noticed is that for the two sites I have, one for iPhoneOgraphy and one for my Fitness & Health blog, the same about me shows up. Would be nice if it allowed different descriptions since my blurb about health things doesn’t fit very well for the iPhoneOgraphy shots :) It may be the solution to this is simply different root email addresses. I guess I’ll find out. In addition to FB and LI and Twitter I also have it post to my Blogspot blog, which I haven’t visited directly now in weeks :) I’m also amazed at its ability to get all the formatting and photo placements down so exactly and perfectly each time.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    So are you writing separate posts for both your Posterous profile and your WP blog? All you need to do to send posts from Posterous to your WordPress profile is set it up in your autopost settings on Posterous. I’m still playing with it myself but I’m looking forward to putting it to the test with some photos and my iPhone

  • Denisse Marie

    Will definitely check it out. Sounds very cool and convenient! Something my clients will like too.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    You know, that’s a good point. I’ve set up a second Posterous profile but I haven’t used it yet. I see that the about me is the same on both profiles. I set up the second mainly for the purpose of posting to a second WP blog via iPhone as opposed to creating a blog on Posterous.

    I’m pretty sure I set up the second profile through the Posterous control panel. Using a second email would work but I don’t konw if you can combine them on the same profile or through the same mobile ap.

    If I get a chance, I’ll look into it. If anyone else finds out how to create seperate “about me” pages for separate profiles, let me know.

  • http://www.onestoppeshoppe.com Kelly

    Great article! Thanks!

    Can you use Posterous to post to a Facebook page (not a personal profile)?

  • Dsfrye

    Thanks, Jim, great article, and exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’m headed over to set up and account and start using it.

  • http://www.AskMyWebGal.com Deb Augur

    Wow. This sounds like a really great, simple and exciting thing to check out. Your post presented Posterous very well, and I have stumbled on a few posts elsewhere that didn’t seem to do the trick for me. Thanks for sharing this information with a full perspective. Guess it’s time for me to send an email. ;-)

  • Colleen Boyce

    There’s a simplicity to a good, old-fashioned, overloaded email inbox that at times can look somewhat appealing.
    No, thanks. I’m not sold by this argument. I want it clean and easy, clear and documented. There’s nothing simple or functional in an overloaded inbox.

    Is Posterous simply a tool to overlay on top of the various maintenance tasks for social media channels? I’m not familiar with it, I’m really asking. If it can streamline my SM maintenance workflow, then fine, but not if it just shifts workflow processes to other places such as to the email inbox. As a management tool it has to provide a net gain on time, quality, documentation/measurement. Otherwise, why change what I’m doing now, even if what I’m doing now is not ideal. I need an improvement tool, not just a new or different tool.

  • http://www.jillianshaw.com/ jilliansmitty

    Hm, I’ve heard of Posterous before and failed to check it out then, but maybe I’ll give it a whirl. My question is, though, if I have multiple blogs to which I’d like to post, does Posterous differentiate between them and if so, how?

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    You can. Here’s a link to their blog about posting to Facebook pages: http://blog.posterous.com/posterous-now-supports-posting-to-facebook-pa-2

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    Please take my overloaded email comment with the grain of salt it was intended ;-)

    I’m not sure what you’re thinking of when you say an “overlay” but I think of Posterous as a very easy way to streamline the process of posting to multiple social media accounts. By creating email lists within your mail server, you could highly customize the distribution of social media content. Instead of logging into Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Digg, etc, you can post to all of them just by sending an email. Post to them all at once or set up distribution lists in your email to only post to specific accounts.

    Although the people over at Posterous would like you to transfer to them and use them as a primary blogging platform, I see it more as a distribution service that does indeed streamline the workflow.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    Yes, with multiple blogs you send the email to blogname@postereous.com as opposed to post@posterous.com. As you can see from the discussion above though, not sure how to create different “about me” pages for different blogs.

    You can also set them up for multiple administrators/contributors.

  • http://blog.jeroenhoekman.com Jeroen Hoekman

    Thanks for the elaborate description Jim, I will certainly try it out, but have one big concern: you do not seem to have much control on how it will look on all those channels. You mention using HTML for WordPress, but especially then things might look weird and the unprofessional for say small businesses. How do you deal with that?

  • Dkosala82

    Ohh.. this is fantastic.!!!! Making our work much much easier.

    Kosala from ceylonoutsourcing.com

  • http://www.coawk.om Owais Khan

    Thanks for the awsome post man…Just created a posterous account…it looks sleek, will have to give it a couple of days before I can say I love it or not, but the user interface is cool

  • http://www.sujitkumar.in/ Sujit Kumar Lucky

    I am using posterous frequently from 1.5 years … it is great tool, customizable appearance, multipost, autopost, cross post …i have occasionally compose mail with yahoo and schedule for posterous to schedule post .. thnx for detailed info ..

  • http://www.best-web-hosting-companies.com/ Kavya Hari

    Hello Jim, here i learned a lot of things about email into social media, thanks a lot for given a great article on here.

  • holiday

    Has anyone compared this product with Tumblur?

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    I’m still testing the output but from what I can see, it handles WordPress pretty well. Seems to know where to put the pictures and formats the post to look right. Not quite sure how they do that but it seems to work.

    I’m not ready to run all my posts through Posterous but again, for mobile posting, I think it’s pretty powerful.

    For business blogs, I’d also loook at it more as a distrubution network going from the WP blog out as opposed as posting to the WP blog.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    I haven’t used Tumblur that much but if you Google it, you’ll see that there’s an ongoing debate regarding the two services.

  • http://www.hotbeautyhealth.com hotbeautyhealth

    I like to use Amplify too and what’s great about their service is that you can link your posterous, ping.fm, tumbler, and other accounts. I would write up an article and place links, and then hit send. I can quickly have posts to all my social networking sites in a snap.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks for your thoughts on this Stephanie and Jim!

  • http://brankicaunderwood.com/ Brankica

    I have only heard of Posterous but have never tried it. This definitely seems like a great idea. Especially that I am sometimes away from my blog and social media for days.

    Not only a great tip but a great tutorial on how to do it. I like the fact that you can choose where to post instead of posting everything to all social media and blog. At least that is how I understood it. Well, talking won’t get me anywhere, I should try doing it :)

  • http://justinmwhitaker.com justinmwhitaker

    Great overview of Posterous! Personally, I love the service, and moved my main blog over to it. Just so much easier, and much easier to syndicate via social media.

    I’m sort of disheartened by the news that the web version is going to take a back seat to the mobile app. There are still some functionality I’d like to see (export, for example), but I suppose what they have right now is good enough for me.

    It could be left moribund like FriendFeed or Blogger for quite some time and still have a really nice blogging platform.

  • http://www.SocialAna.com/ Ana Lucia Novak

    Great tutorial! There are several more details to add about Posterous:
    -When you create a Posterous account, add all your email addresses where you think you might send info from so Posterous will recognize you as the owner of that site.
    - every Posterous account owner is assigned a personalized email address where you can update your site via email (simply add your own email address, post@posterous.com, twitter@posterous.com, or any of the combination they offer (they have alot) to your contacts so you can select the ones you want with a click of a button
    - Add google analytics – it is interesting to see where you traffic comes from
    - Create a Feed burner – then add it to RSS Graffiti
    - Assign users/contributors to add content to your site to keep the site fresh
    - Download the iPhone app for Posterous

    I get more traffic on my Posterous than my blog website. It’s become a daily habit for me to share content, photos, videos, and my own stuff on Posterous because Posterous makes it so easy to do so..

  • http://www.SocialAna.com/ Ana Lucia Novak

    Hi Jim, you can use Posterous as a way to autopost to bookmarking sites. Posterous has more video directories linked to it than bookmarking sites, I recommend using Posterous if you plan to be an active blogger and using video, so your efforts are streamlined.
    If your goal is to bookmark to many sites (casting a wide net) beyond digg, delicious, stumbleupon, i would check out OnlyWire. You’d have to create additional optimized accounts, link them to OnlyWire, then Install the OnlyWire for WordPress plug-in. After you install it, all you need to do is sign in with user id and passcode and you’re good to go. When setting up blog posts, click on the little box “publish to OnlyWire”, then you can repurpose the material with Posterous (changing up the headline)
    I’ve used Posterous by posting Headline and partial blog post with a read more at URL, sometimes I would just post the headline and link in the body. It all depends on what you want to accomplish with this wonderful tool.

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  • NKDeGrandis

    Updating all of the social media accounts I have is something I struggle with because it is so time consuming. This seems like a great solution to the problem but almost too good to be true. I don’t know of many peers or mentors that are turning to Posterous. Is there a reason for this? What are the cons of Posterous? What also jumps to my mind is that I prefer to share information specific to each platform. If I was just to use Posterous for one platform, wouldn’t it be easier to just go through that real platform directly?

  • Diana

    Great resource. Thank you.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    Great stuff Ana. Google analytics is a very important point I left out of the discussion.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    I think the advantage is being able to do it through email. One way I see to handle this is to set up different contacts with different combinations of social media outlets. For example, I may set up a contact such as Twitter+Facebook+LinkedIn@posterous.com or one just for WordPress – wordpress@posterous.com.

    The biggest advantage I see is for mobile posting via email.

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    For those interested in posting to WordPress via Posterous, here’s a good tutorial:http://esdev.net/post-images-videos-and-more-to-wordpress-by-email/

  • http://www.ThroughADogsEar.com/ Lisa Spector

    Thanks for the great article. I started my blogging experience with posterous, about a year and a half ago. Although it was an easy way to just get a blog up, I have found it limiting technically – i.e. Posterous has not yet created a way to align text to wrap around a photo. Also, I haven’t figured out a way to preview my blog before posting. That being said, after reading this, I realize I’ve been under utilizing many features of Posterous. I use WordPress for another blog, so posting to WordPress via Posterous will really come in handy.

    After learning more through this blog and reading the Tech Crunch and Business Insider articles, I’m not sure if I should abandon ship or stay on posterous and implement more of these features.

    My blog is at http://throughadogsear.com/lisa_spectors_weblog.htm

    Thanks for your thoughts Jim.

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  • http://twitter.com/vinebranch Vine Branch Designs

    Great article! I will be definitely using posterous and recommending it to my clients that we train to be more self sufficient in their social media marketing. I like that is doesn’t interfere with the branding or make you reinvent the wheel that is already in place be creating some overlaying skinned software. Going to test is Social Media Marketing powers today

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  • http://twitter.com/thoughtsofjoyce Joyce Grace

    I don’t get how this is more helpful than setting up a Hootsuite account, or for groups, using Google groups. I like to see my post and how it will appear. I doubt I’d use email for this sort of thing.

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