The Ins and Outs of Social Media Automation
Automating your social media content can be a very efficient way of posting regular content to various social media platforms, without having to invest a lot of time and effort for those regular posts. However, not everything is appropriate for this kind of automatic scheduling, even if it does provide a great deal of efficiency by doing so.
What you choose to post on the social media, when you post it, and how much you post, should be determined by several key factors, the first of which is how much time you have to devote to the posting procedure. After that, other relevant factors include your social media strategy, the specific platforms you intend to post to, your business goals, the industry you’re involved with, and the nature of the local community. When you’re considering what to automate and what to post manually, there are some guidelines which you should observe, that will help to clarify this whole issue.
Which social media activities to schedule
It definitely makes sense to schedule as much social media activity as possible if you have a global market, or if you’re posting to somewhere other than your local time zone. It’s of course also advantageous if you’re planning to post for an extended period of time, for instance a week or a month, since that frees you up to conduct other worthwhile activities. Here’s a look at some of the individual platforms and what you might want to post to them.
is one of the best social media platforms for scheduling planned tweets, since many of these can be very helpful and informative to local users. The content that you tweet about can be something which you originate or which others have produced, including text, images, or videos which may inform or inspire your audience.
is a platform which is probably better to submit real-time posts to as opposed to having them scheduled, mainly so that you can immediately respond to any kind of comments you may get. This is true primarily because there’s often a very brief time window that people have for making posts to LinkedIn. On the other hand, if you do automate your LinkedIn posts, that will leave you more time for handling any real-time responses you get, and for providing meaningful feedback to those who engage with you. Of course, it’s also true that you may want to post to LinkedIn at a specific time that you know you won’t be active on the platform.
is another platform where business users generally get the best results from live posting rather than automated posting. The big reason for this is that there is much more engagement that comes from sharing images in real time, than there would be from automated posts that go unattended. It is still worth your while however, to pre-schedule some of your Instagram posts when you can’t be available at specific posting times, but you should expect that they won’t get the same kind of response as a real-time posting. You should also make a point of responding to comments you get about your automated postings, so that you don’t convey the impression of being an inactive, uncaring business.
is a platform where you should always avoid posting anything to your personal profile, although scheduling posts on your business profile is perfectly fine. If you were to make posts on your personal profile, it would mean that all your friends and family would be overwhelmed by the responses you get from followers. The best time to schedule your business page Facebook posts is when you know that your followers and the general business community are active on the platform. You should also be prepared to logon yourself, when responses start coming into your automated posts, so that you can actually engage with your audience. This is an excellent platform for you to schedule all your posts for an extended period of time, and to free yourself for other activities.
Do not automate engagement
Automating engagement should be avoided at all costs, because it defeats the purpose of social media, which is to socialize. Whenever someone has the motivation to respond to a posting you’ve made, your own reaction should come in real time, not as a canned response which is scheduled or planned. Engagement on social media should be something like a conversation between yourself and your followers, and that requires that both parties alternate between listening and talking. Building relationships like this requires that all your followers and listeners come to know you and trust you, which is essential for the success of any business.
How to go about automating social media posts
After you’ve considered what you want to post to the social media, and which platforms you want to use for those posts, you should also consider which vehicle you intend to use to schedule those posts. There are any number of software programs out there which will help you to make the whole procedure much easier, and in some cases you can even get a free version of the software, before settling on a specific purchase that you will use on an ongoing basis. A few examples of some very good software programs for this purpose are HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, and Agorapulse.
One of the drawbacks of automating all your posts rather than doing them real time, would be that it’s sometimes unpredictable how those postings will appear on the platform, especially when you include images or graphics. You have somewhat more control when you’re doing real-time posts, so you can avoid the possibility of misrepresented images and text. In fact, sometimes it’s even necessary to post directly to the platform, so that you can be sure your message gets across in exactly the way you intend.
Scheduling social media posts is a terrific way for busy entrepreneurs to stay active on the social media, without consuming a great deal of time and effort in the process. However, there are some things to keep in mind when posting a large volume or a large percentage of your content via scheduling software, chief among them the possibility that events can change during the scheduled time frame. If the drawbacks can be overcome though, you will have the added benefit of having your content posted automatically, so that you are free to personally engage with your audience in real time. In this sense, automated postings can provide a very valuable service to a business owner.