As promising as it is, the use of automation software for your marketing efforts isn’t all rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns. It is actually a double-edged sword, especially if you rely too much on the automated processes instead of your own work.
Granted, marketing automation including social media automation, has given some online businesses the edge they need to stay ahead in the competition. Yet, if in the wrong hands, it could result in wasted marketing dollars or worse – a soiled reputation.
The Truth about Social Media Automation
The most important thing you should learn about social media automation is its setup is not a one-time process. Successful social media marketing, whether automated or not, requires adaptive strategies that take time to develop.
Additionally, incorporating automation with social media marketing may actually deter one of its valuable aspects, which is the opportunity to communicate with your audience. Sure, you may reach your target audience and raise a little brand awareness, but you could be failing to develop trust by sending content or outreach materials that reeks of spam.
To elaborate more here is a short list of the things you should remember when it comes to social media automation:
- Do NOT automate everything – Too much automation leaves a bad impression and, in some cases, may even destroy customer relationship. For example, you don’t always have to respond to all tweets with a particular hashtag, especially if you’re going to use the same, generic message over and over again.
- Don’t share the same thing everywhere – It may seem like a good idea, but sharing the exact same content across all social media platforms only wastes time and money. You shouldn’t let laziness take over and start sending content that’s relevant and more appreciated for each platform. Also, remember that user preferences vary greatly in different communities.
- Avoid automated messages – Another thing you should avoid is to send out automated “thank you” messages whenever you earn a new follower. These things never fool anyone. Not only does it have no real benefit whatsoever, you might even end up being un-followed with this strategy. In addition, avoid sending messages that share how many new followers or people have retweeted us each week. While doing this may appear like you are doing your followers a favor, this type of tweet does not provide value to your audience. They followed and retweeted you in the first place because of the informative content you tweet out, not because of the number of thank you messages you have tweeted.
Ultimately, remember that being social is a human process. In order to be successful, you need your audience to feel like they’re communicating with a living, breathing person. This simple concept alone should boost your credibility and improve the generation of strong leads.
Doing it the Right Way
Despite its dangers, social media automation can still be a highly rewarding endeavor if you play your cards right. In addition to avoiding the social media automation flops above, you should also employ a more strategic approach in your strategy.
In relation to the don’ts of social media automation listed above, the first thing you should do is to identify when to NOT use automation and when it is appropriate to do so. You can follow the simple strategy of scheduling your social media posts throughout the day, and you should do so in batches.
It’s All about Timing
Preconfiguring when your posts will be shared is a great way to ensure they reach your audience at the right time. For example, a lot of audience types are only active in social media past 5 p.m., which is after the usual working hours. You may also receive more engagement during the early hours of the day.
Just remember that it all depends on your audience and your specific business. You may use an analytics tool such as Followerwonk to identify your audience’s usage patterns and then use a tool like Postplanner to schedule your posts accordingly.
The 5-3-2 Rule of Social Sharing
A well-established norm of social media sharing is the 5-3-2 rule. This means 5 posts should come from other relevant sources, 3 posts should talk about your brand, and 2 posts should be personal and less formal – even humorous.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about social media marketing strategy, it is to focus on the social community. You should prioritize the content they want to see; not just the content you have. Adding a little diversity to your posts promotes the impression that you know your stuff and that you’re engaged in the industry as a whole.
The least social media automation can do is to save time so you can have more for other important areas of your business. This is why there should be no automation campaign without a tool that executes a specified task when triggered.
IFTTT is a popular tool that will help you do just this and more. It is complete with everything you need for a broad range of automated tasks like sharing a tweet whenever a new article gets published. Another good alternative would be Zapier which supports over 250 services for automated tasks that can be used either as a trigger or as the ensuing task.
While both tools will help you get things done faster, you need to use them with discretion. For example, feeding Twitter to your Facebook using IFTTT will bring up formatting issues that might confuse your Facebook fans.
The reason behind plugging your Twitter feed to Facebook may be sound, but if it compromises the consistency of the message, then it is not worth automating this process.
That said, it is best to test out the tasks you plan on automating before implementing them in your strategy.
Finally, remember that your constant involvement with your social media marketing is a must. You don’t have to always be present, but you should be when it counts. A useful tool to help you keep track of your social presence is Mention, which also enables you to identify the top influencer whenever your brand gets mentioned somewhere on the internet.