These days, it’s common to try and make your business as automated as possible. In most cases, making your systems automatic will help you, not only by saving time and money but by making sure the work actually gets completed. However, when it comes to social media, automation is often times more harmful than helpful. Because social media is more personable than most other areas of your business, this is one area that should not be automated, lets look at why.
Scheduled Status Updates:
One way businesses try to automate your social media efforts is by scheduling status updates. Using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer allow you to schedule your status updates for just about any major social network days in advance. The initial idea behind scheduling updates is by taking an hour out of the beginning of your week, you won’t have to take any additional time the rest of the week to push updates. There are several problems with this strategy:
- Updates tend to become less quality oriented when having to come up with so many at one time
- Your followers will start to recognize that updates are shared at the exact same time daily and question if there is even a real person behind your updates
- Updates may become inappropriate due to current events
- Status updates never or rarely touch on current events, which will increase reach and user engagement
- You get comfortable not logging into your account on a regular basis, therefore questions and comments go unanswered
Now let’s be clear, scheduling status updates is a great way to ensure updates are going out regularly, we especially recommend this for Twitter since you should be sharing more updates on that platform. However, relying solely on scheduled updates or scheduling status updates for more than the current day will hurt you more than help you. Use scheduled updates for those times when if it wasn’t for scheduled updates, nothing would go out (like vacations, days filled with meetings or weekends). Even when scheduling your updates, be sure to login to your account daily to respond to comments and questions in a timely manner.
Pushing The Same Update To All Networks:
Another automation tactic is to connect your social platforms and have updates shared on one network automatically go out to all the others. This practice helps you save time by only having to generate one update, but updating all connected social platforms. We wrote an in depth article on why this practice is harmful, you can read that article HERE. Below, you’ll find the quick explanation of why this is harmful for your business:
- Status updates should be optimized differently for each specific network
- Your customers are likely to follow you on multiple platforms, seeing the same update on all platforms will cause them to unfollow you completely
- You should be posting at different frequencies based on the specific network you’re active on (ex: you should be posting 7-10 times daily on Twitter but only 1-4 times daily on Facebook.)
- By sharing updates from one network, you’re likely not going to be logging into the others to respond to comments and questions
Only having to generate one status update for all networks sounds like a great way to save time but when you’re leaving questions and comments unanswered and losing Followers, it’s not worth the time you’ve saved. Generate a different status update for each social network your business is active on. This is the only way to ensure you’re sharing quality content that is fully optimized for that specific platform.
The Right Way To Automate Your Social Media Efforts:
Automating your social media efforts isn’t a bad idea or goal, if it’s done correctly. However, unlike many forms of traditional marketing, there is no way to remove the human behind social media. The whole purpose of social media is to build relationships and trust with your followers, there is no program available that can do this, there must be a real person behind your social media efforts. So then how do we automate social media?
- Generate a strategy that clearly defines the daily activities that need to take place for your social media campaigns
- Activities should include: generate relevant status updates based around current events, responding to comments & questions and building the audience
- Clearly define how quickly comments and questions should be responded to on each platform, this helps determine how often you need to be logging into each account
- Hire a social media manager or company that’s sole responsibility is to monitor and manage your social media efforts
- Remove the idea that you can set your social media up and turn it on autopilot, this mindset is sure to set you up for failure
Businesses everywhere are trying to automate their social media efforts, the idea is to save time and therefore money. Unfortunately, social media is simply too personable to fully automate. By learning where you should automate your efforts and which areas you should spend your time with social media you’ll not only be able to save valuable time, but also maximize your social media ROI.