Done correctly, social media marketing is a time-consuming endeavor. It regular participation and by definition, that takes time. By automating some of your social media tasks—preparing the day’s posts in advance, for instance, and setting them up to auto-post at a time you designate—you'll maintain a steady social media presence with a reduced investment of time.
But social media automation is not without risks. It reduces one-on-one interaction and can seem spammy, and if you're not careful, you'll spread one mistake across all your social media platforms. For most busy digital marketers and small business owners, though, the potential benefits outweigh the risks. To start automating your social media efforts, read on:
Social Media Automation Tools
Hootsuite: From this social media dashboard, you can monitor and post to the most popular social platforms. Hootsuite also includes a social analytics tool. Similar programs include SocialOomph, SproutSocial, and CrowdBooster.
IFTTT: Customize your own automations with an IFTTT (If This Then That) Recipe. Triggers create actions that create results. For instance, marketing departments of big brands like Lifelock could set certain IFTTT sequences (called recipes) so that certain actions on their LinkedIn page result in reactions on their Twitter page. This makes IFTTT an especially effective means to make a brand's social media pages part of a more cohesive marketing effort.
Dlvr.it: You can set this tool to scan feeds for new content from you. It then shares that information across multiple channels. For instance, when you create a blog post, Dlvr.it can take care of the announcements for you. You can also look for content you like and then share it to multiple channels with this tool.
Viral Content Buzz: Join with others to help get the word out. Members share and comment on one another’s articles. While the automation feature here is human-driven, Viral Content Buzz can make it easier to generate buzz. Another platform aimed at mutual support is Triberr. And the new My Blog U tool, by SEO guru Ann Smarty, brings writers and publishers together to brainstorm over content to produce work easier and quicker.
Learn more about some of the most effective tools in this graphic from: zasocialmedia.
Social Media Best Practices
Whether you automate your social media sharing or take care of it manually, these rules apply:
- Share quality stuff. Never put out junk, just so you can fill a slot.
- Be careful what you share. Never send out a link you haven’t followed and read yourself.
- Make sure you listen as well as talk. Without conversations and mutual understanding, social media loses its effect.
- Be sure your posts complement your brand image.
- Go where your customers are. If they are predominantly on Twitter, then focus on Twitter.
- Learn to use social analytics to segment your audience.
- Conduct tests to see what works and what doesn’t work.
- Don’t just beat your own drum. Concentrate on providing value to others.
Social media automation can improve your reach; the key is using the right tools and being diligent in the application of these technologies.