The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Automation for Marketers
Why marketers should be using social media automation tools
10 key points to follow to effectively use your social media automation tool
In today’s day and age, automation is all the rage. The more time you save the more work you can get done. And the more work you get done the more money you can earn. Just the same as automation, social media is growing in popularity with each passing year. Consider the following statistic shared by the Pew Research Center:
“Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from 2013, when it stood at 42% of internet users.”
Not only are people using social media, but they are using more than one platform. What does all this mean? Simply put, many business professionals are turning to social media automation. These people are interested in the benefits of social media, but don’t want to spend the time necessary to reap the rewards.
The simple solution is social media automation. There are many tools that make social media automation a possibility. For example, Hootsuite provides social media management tools for organizations of all sizes. With this application on your side, you can schedule posts as far in advance as you want.
Furthermore, you don’t have to visit each individual site to publish content. Instead, it can all be done through the Hootsuite dashboard. That is what you call social media automation.
When it comes to social media automation, here are five things you should be doing:
1. Compare all available social media automation tools
Hootsuite may be one of the most popular social media automation applications, but there are others to consider. These include but are not limited to: Social Oomph, Zapier, and Postplanner. All these tools have unique features, so check out the finer details of each and every one, and select the one that gives you the most automation power at the least cost.
2. Schedule in advance, but not too far
If you want to automate your social media, it is a necessity to schedule tasks in advance. However, you don’t want to get to far ahead of yourself. Remember, things can and will change with your business. Coca-Cola became a victim to a fail of their '#makeithappy'campaign.
People boycotted it and the brand ended up sending out tweets containing quotes from Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'. The quotes were being sent for two hours before they were deleted. Advance scheduling took a toll on Coca-Cola's initiative in this case.
3. Continue providing high-quality content
Just because you automate your social media tasks doesn’t mean you should skimp on quality. An update you schedule two weeks out should be the same, in terms of quality, as one that you create and post on the spot.
4. Check up from time to time
Technology is not perfect. Technology can falter every now and again. You may think you have automated some or all of your social media responsibilities, but soon find that a technological glitch has let you down. What happens if the application you are using malfunctions?
This could have a negative impact on when and if your posts are published. You don’t have to check each update, but you should “audit” your accounts on a regular basis.
5. Focus on a personal touch
Social media automation doesn’t mean you take the human element out of your social networks. Add a personal touch to each post. If you don’t, you could give off that “robot feeling.” If this happens, you can expect your audience to catch on soon enough. Looking for ways to add a personal touch? Try these ideas:
Directly address your target audience
Share “inside” information regarding your company, such as office photos
Since you can automate updates, you may get into the habit of posting just so you have something fresh on your account. Don’t do this. You are better off saying nothing than posting a bunch of “fluff” that won’t have an impact on your business.
Example: the InvestorPlace Twitter account is a great place to get updates on the company’s latest content. However, it is a bit overbearing as the account never posts an update with any “meat.”
2. Don’t believe that all messages are one in the same
Sticking with the Hootsuite example, you may be tempted to use the same post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The problem with this is simple: what works on one social media platform does not necessarily work on another.
With Twitter, for example, you have to “speak your mind” in 140 characters or less. This isn’t true with Facebook. You have more space to get your point across.
3. Don’t set it and forget it
But isn’t that what social media automation is all about? Yes, to a certain degree you can automate what you are saying to save time. But even then, you should keep one eye on each post.
This gives you the opportunity to track performance, make real time changes, and stay in touch with your account as a whole.
4. Don’t forget to keep up with the outside world
Social media automation can put you in a bubble. It can cause you to lose touch with the outside world, including your following. To stay in touch, comment on current developments and events within your industry.
Also, login daily to see who is interacting with your accounts. You want to keep an open line of communication. Make sure that you respond to everyone who interacts with you, including angry customers.
JetBlue is one of those companies that never take its customers for granted. This can be seen through its Twitter account. Check out this example:
This customer is unhappy with her service, but JetBlue is there to help.
5. Don’t trust too many people
With the option for automation staring you in the face, it is tempting to give others access to your individual accounts as well as publishing applications. There is nothing wrong with handing this duty over to one or two trusted personnel. However, if too many “cooks or rookies enter the kitchen” things could soon get messy.
Nicole Crowther, a recurring extra on Glee, tweeted some plot spoilers she heard on set without any approval from higher management. The story went viral within a few minutes. You would want to avoid such instances.
Social media automation can bring big benefits to your business, such as the amount of time you save and the way you reach your audience through a single platform. On the downside, there are pitfalls of automation that have negatively impacted many companies in the past. As long as you are familiar with the dos and don’ts of social media automation, including the 10 points detailed above, you shouldn’t find yourself making mistakes that turn your business upside down. Instead, you can rely on automation without losing your personal touch.
As long as you are familiar with the dos and don’ts of social media automation, including the 10 points detailed above, you shouldn’t find yourself making mistakes that turn your business upside down. Instead, you can rely on automation without losing your personal touch.
About the author
Dan Virgillito is a storytelling specialist, blogger and writer who helps digital startups get more engagement and business through online content.