A lot of small businesses start their use of social media with high expectations; too high, in many cases. To a large extent, they have seen their campaigns fail and have cast aside social media as a tool that they either do not have the skills to use or that is simply not effective. Instead of giving up on social media, it is important for businesses to learn how to use it effectively. They should adjust their expectations and consider automating their social media tasks as a means of making them more affordable and less labor intensive. Websites like Twitter call for a high volume of content which makes it almost impossible to generate leads consistently without some form of automation.
The Value of Social Media Marketing
Social media presence is now believed to impact search engine rankings on major search engines like Google. There is also the fact that many customers use social media to research a company’s reputation prior to making a purchase. Additionally, social media is also a good tool for referrals by word of mouth. It is not a marketing channel that a business can afford to ignore.
The Value of Social Media Automation
There are some who hold the incorrect belief that automating social media tasks amounts to a form of spamming. Automation of social media is useful for those who do not want to spend every waking hour tweeting, liking or otherwise sharing their content. However, automation must be used judiciously to have positive effects and to avoid the stigma of spam.
Not All Tasks Should be Automated
As useful as automation is, it should be used sparingly; it is not suitable for every single task. For example:
- Refollowing. It is not necessary for a business to follow all of their followers. In many cases, the followers are machines; automatically refollowing them will have no benefits.
- Retweets. Automating retweets can diminish the quality of the content posted by a business and that low-quality content diminishes the value of their overall social media presence.
- Personal Messages. It is important to use social media to build relationships, which means that personal interaction is essential. Canned responses feel impersonal to the recipients and thus are not likely to have the desired effects.
Social Media Tasks That Should be Automated
- Sharing Blog Posts. Given that there are so many different sharing platforms, it can be time consuming to manually update each of them. It is a good idea to use an automation service to update followers whenever something new is posted to a blog.
- Schedule Posts. Scheduling Tweets and blog posts makes it possible to post at all times of day, even when away from the computer. This allows a business owner to concentrate on running their business instead of spending all their time dealing with social media.
- Finding Relevant, Compelling Content. There are applications available that can automate the process of finding and publishing related content; however, when using these, a business should be mindful of issues like copyright infringement.
Tips For Automating Posts
- Only relevant content should be posted to social media sites. If the site’s focus is a specific type of content, irrelevant posts could be considered spam. Businesses should be careful about constantly posting the same content on multiple sites; if users are logged in to more than one network, they may be bored seeing the same content in more than one place.
- Use Social Media Sites’ Automation features. Facebook and Twitter have the ability to post to each other. This means that a Twitter account can automatically repost a tweet to a Facebook feed and Facebook can post to their Twitter feed. This allows a user to have content on more than one site with little effort.
- Use third-party automation tools. Tweetdeck and ping.fm are useful tools for posting on multiple social platforms.
- Connect blogs to Twitter and LinkedIn. Both social sites can be connected to blogs so that new posts show up in a user’s profile.
Automated social media tasks cannot be left unattended. It especially is important to avoid scheduling content to be posted if it has not been looked at. Scheduled posts should be relevant and timely, and also not offend people. For example, posting the wrong thing during a national tragedy could be a marketing disaster. Businesses owners should therefore use good judgment when selecting content.
I use a program called Sprout Social. Not quite automated but I can schedule Facebook and Twitter posts out for the entire week and not have to worry about it 🙂 semi-automated and effective
We’re big SproutSocial fans! We use it on our personal accounts. Very easy to manage pages and schedule updates. Great recommendation!
if you run wordpress, theres lots of good plugins to sync WordPress posts to social channels
Great idea. Onlywire does this as well, though it’s not free (though they do have a WordPress plugin available as well).