Your Guide to Social Media Enlightenment – From Trending Topics to Innovative Startups
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How Much Automation is Safe For Your Social Media Strategy?

Courtesy of Marcela De Vivo

Social media has quickly become one of the hottest online marketing tools out there, and there are more jobs in “social media marketing” popping up than ever before.

If you work in the social SEO space, you are forced to work in a field where new networks are popping up almost weekly and the tools and techniques available to you are shifting at a rate that seems impossible to keep up with.

Because of this, many social media strategists have turned to automation to help them keep track of all of the different tasks that they have to do on every network. After all, it can suck up a lot of time to manually update Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and other networks for every single client that you have.

Additionally, you need to actively engage with your communities on these sites as well, which takes a lot more time and effort than you might think.

Many social media marketers have resorted to posting the same content on every single network. They will take a blog post and syndicate it out everywhere automatically. While this saves a ton of time, it doesn’t really contribute as much value as it could to all of your followers.

For instance, Twitter is a decidedly different platform than LinkedIn, so if you have your blog posts sent to both Twitter and LinkedIn, you’re going to have a homogeneous message being sent to two different segments of your community.

Whether or not you think that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, but you need to find that crucial point where the savings in time is not counterbalanced by a loss in value delivered to your community.

However, this isn’t to say that all automation is bad. There are some very specific examples of automation that should be done almost always. A great example is automatically thanking someone for following you on Twitter, which you can do easily by using IFTTT, a great tool for automating all sorts of social media tasks.

Another crucial step of automation that most people don’t ever look into is thanking people when they comment on your blog for the first time. There are multiple plugins you can use with WordPress that will redirect a first-time commenter to a specific page that thanks them for their comment and encourages them to connect with you on whatever social media networks that you participate on.

Types of Automation

  1. Automatically syndicating your blog posts to your social media channels
  2. Posting curated content on all of your social media channels
  3. Automatically thanking new followers
  4. Automatically thanking people for sending you direct messages or mentions in Twitter
  5. Syndicating an RSS feed to your blog or other social channels
  6. Automatically posting your Instagram pictures on Facebook and Flickr
  7. Automatically following people who follow you, or unfollowing people who you follow but don’t follow you back

Tools for Automation

  1. bufferapp
  2. socialoomph
  3. tweetadder
  4. twitterfeed
  5. hootsuite
  6. ifttt
  7. onlywire

It’s easy to automate too much to the point where it’s obvious that you’re not the one submitting your own content.  For example you can set up many recipes on IFTTT.com so that all of your content is automatically posted on 10 different sites. Eventually your social profiles all look like clones of each other, not offering any specific demographic targeting to your individual followers.

On the other extreme, you can be a social media purist and do everything manually.  You would have to manually post your blog content to all of your social profiles, manually add people and thank them for following you, etc.  This can get cumbersome and very time consuming if you are trying to grow your online presence.

It’s going to be a tough decision for you to determine how much to automate your social media and how much to do manually. You’ll need to use your social media skills to really understand your community on a deep level, and create your social media and automation strategy based on your goals and available resources.

Marcela De Vivo is a content marketer writing about tools and tips to establish a successful online presence.  She writes for WhoIsHostingThis.com, a company offering hosting plan comparison tools for webmasters, and blogs at MarcelaDeVivo.com

Image credit: Derek Haines 

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3 Responses to this post.

  1. Bob Dunn's Gravatar

    Posted by Bob Dunn on 07.09.12 at 5:30 am

    A very interesting post, and one as you can guess could provoke some debate : )

    Myself, I am very active in the SM realm. And I use very little automation. Typically it’s scheduled Tweets. I use them if I am doing a full-day workshop or am tied up with something else that keeps me away from my computer. These are generally content sharing and I am careful not to encourage conversation which I would be absent to respond to. I also prefer to make some updates more personal, unique and timely.

    I do respectfully disagree about the same update being posted across platforms. Sure, your Facebook and LinkedIn might have totally different demographics, but chances are you have connected with the same people as well. When I take time to visit my profiles, I often see the same info across platforms, from the same person, which is a bit irritating : )

    And lastly, I don’t like the auto “thank-yous” on Twitter. They are very impersonal and mean absolutely nothing to me.

    As you said, everyone needs to find their right place and comfort zone. Thanks for sharing all of these thoughts!
    Bob Dunn recently posted: Why You Need a GravatarMy Profile

  2. Scott Allen's Gravatar

    Posted by Scott Allen on 07.09.12 at 5:30 am

    I’m in 100% agreement with you on this, Marcelo, and I frequently find myself at odds with some social media pundits as a result.

    The one thing I wish ifttt would add is spintax. There really are only so many ways to say “thanks”, but there is more than one.
    Scott Allen recently posted: HootSuite Adds Auto-schedule, Proves Buffer Is a Feature, Not an AppMy Profile

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