We can really consider ourselves to be a lucky generation, being that we have been given virtually free access to global communication. Ever since social media became a thing, we have gotten so used to it that we forget how young it actually is. Still, the evolution, or better yet revolution of social media and the change it brings into our private and business lives has been incredibly impactful. Leaving a message to someone is only a few clicks or taps away and you can accompany your textual message with multimedia elements and share opinions, as well as information with a lot of people simultaneously and instantaneously.
When we look at things from a business perspective, ambitions keep going up and it is getting increasingly difficult to keep up with all the potential conversation opportunities across numerous platforms. The workload of a social media manager can quickly become overbearing if you want to spread your social media presence across multiple platforms. This is why there is a sudden increase in talk about social media automation which has been viewed as a deadly sin by social media purists.
Social Media Planning
Content marketing has asserted itself as an imperative for modern businesses. Very few social media marketing approaches will give solid results without a content plan mixed into the entire thing. By providing your following with a steady stream of relevant and engaging content, which provides value to those who decide to view it, you are creating opportunities for conversation, increased brand presence and conversion opportunities. Most well established businesses have this covered, but the problem is getting the most out of this content, which is why some sort of scheduling system is a necessity.
If you want to plan out your social media approach, you have to start with your content. Determine the right outlets for it is your second priority. This means that you need to find social networks appropriate for your content so you can get optimal engagement. Finding the right tempo for your schedule is critical as well. Through testing, you can find the right times to attempt to engage your audience and keep in mind that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for multiple social media platforms. Facebook will permanently remain different from Twitter, while LinkedIn will keep doing its own thing. Modify your automation to fit the network you are focusing on. Furthermore, ensure that you are not spamming, being repetitive and that you are not focusing on self-promotion alone. No matter how great and interesting your company may be, nobody wants to hear you brag about it 24/7. A popular approach is relying on the 5/3/2:
- 5 relevant content shares from other publications
- 3 relevant content shares from your brand
- 2 personal/entertaining/funny content shares to humanize your brand
One of the reasons, the spotlight is focused on evergreen content is the fact that only through choosing the subject matter that will remain relevant, we actually gain the option of automating the social media sharing of the content without a chance of error. The success of Jeff Bullas, one of the respected marketing experts, is tightly related to continuous automated sharing of evergreen content and breaking the taboo of automation. He realized that he was spending hundreds of hours a month attempting to feed the content to his social media profiles, more specifically Twitter, and realized that he is wasting too much time and tiring himself out. The thing you need to focus on is actually engaging with signals that you gathered through your reaching out, and not waste away attempting to do the work an algorithm can do so much better.
Tools that can help you out
Of course, you will need tools to help you automate your efforts once you have a plan set down. There are a lot of software that can help you get things organized and become more effective but not all of it will have the same option nor will they serve the same purposes. You will have to test things, and probably even mix and match until you hit a combination that suits you well:
Jeff Bullas’ weapon of choice, is a powerful tool with a lot of options and the ability to optimize content sharing across multiple social networks. He draws upon his entire blog to get the most out of the evergreen content he has accumulated over the years.
This software is usually used with some sort of feed to automatically schedule content to be shared on various social networks at predefined times.
HootSuite can help you automate your sharing and also helps you follow conversations and remain up to date with the latest changes across multiple networks through one dashboard.
If This Then That is a piece of software that allows you to set up triggers for certain events and automates some desired action that you want happening at that particular moment.
This piece of software is focused on Facebook and is used to find quality content relevant to your subject matter and share it on your feed. Quick, reliable and easy to get used to.
There are more tools out there, but the important thing is that you find tools that can help you accomplish your social media goals, not suit your goals to the tools you are using. Don’t get greedy when you realize that all of the above mentioned software can do so much more. You don’t need to use all the options to be effective. Test things out and use the options that help you accomplish tasks, don’t attempt to create a master plan that will take care of everything for you.
Social media automation can do a lot of things for you but it cannot pretend to be human. Interactions need to be handled by a person and that is a fact. Never let a machine answer comments and attempt to establish relationships. People can get very offended if they are being handled by a bot and they are right to be offended. If you cannot take the time to engage them the way it is supposed to be done, then why bother at all?