Shortcuts are good, right? Not so when it comes to social media.
You are busy, managing your day, and sometimes it may not seem like you have enough time to take care of tweeting and posting. Enter in the plethora of Internet tools catering to someone just like you.
You can automate nearly all of your social media tasks, but should you? Today, we are going to look at why automating your social media could be damaging your image. We’ll look at when it’s definitely not okay to automate, and what tasks might be okay to automate.
Let’s explore why automating your social media could be damaging your image.
Social Means Social
Let’s take the general term, social media, and define it. Social media involves applications that allow users to create and share content and to participate in social networking.
So, by its very definition, social media is social, leaving little doubt that automating all the time doesn’t make for businesses.
Yet, when it comes to marketing managers and social media managers, much of the social side of social media is constantly replaced with automation tools. This makes the marketing department’s job easier, but at what coast to your image and your brand?
The Rise of Automation
Automation tools were created to fill a niche, and many of them have been quite successful. Most people are willing to do anything if it saves them time. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to set your tweets and posts for the week and let social media operate alone?
A report by Social Media Examiner found that more than 40% of marketers spend 11 hours or more weekly on social media. For most business owners and staff, this is time they don’t have. In other cases, businesses don’t have the budgets to hire someone to take care of it for them.
So, you see where automation arose out of necessity.
Yet, this rise in automation can certainly affect your brand image. In fact, automation is definitely anti-social and should be used sparingly. Perhaps we can go so far as to say that too much automation goes against everything social media really is.
The Damage to Your Brand
What is potentially damaging to your brand when it comes to automation? It’s damaging when it replaces human interaction and takes your social media watchdog out of the equation.
For example, you’ve set up your daily Facebook posts for the week. On Wednesday, you set your post to go out at 1 pm, and you forget it. It’s a funny video making fun of a famous person. At 5 pm, the national news reports this person has passed away. You can just imagine how this could damage your image.
You simply don’t want to get caught posting the wrong thing at the wrong time. Your brand might end up looking rude, insensitive or worse.
A Delicate Balance
Now that we’ve talked about why automating your social media could be damaging your image, let’s talk about some of the ways it can be okay.
There is a delicate balance when it comes to automation. It’s just one tool in your social media arsenal, and it shouldn’t ever replace human interaction and management.
Automation is helpful for tweeting and posting when you are unable to. It’s not a good idea to use an automated reply to someone connecting with you through social media. That’s the whole reason they contacted you on social media – for the interaction.
Worth remembering: you can’t automate engagement.
When a new follower joins you on Twitter, send them a direct response. Don’t automate it. You want them to feel welcome and a part of your community.
Automated replies can damage your image, especially if you want your image to be a friendly, personable one.
Lastly, your followers are probably not marketers, so they don’t know that you’ve automated posts. They perceive you’re on the other end of a computer doing your posting. So, when they comment, they expect a fairly prompt response.
If you neglect to check in on your automated social sharing, you again risk damaging your image.
What to Automate
Your social media strategy should not begin and end with automation, but it can include it if used wisely. And, even when you do automate, you should never “set it and forget it.” For example, if you set up several days of automation, check in with your page several times per day so you can engage with your fans who’ve engaged with you.
Let’s look at what you can (almost safely) automate on a regular basis.
You can automate your non-urgent posts such as your weekly “happy” thoughts, quotes or interesting sayings. As long as these posts aren’t time sensitive, you can automate these personal-type notes.
Blog posts are usually okay to automate. By setting the automation up so your new posts get sent to your social media channels, you can ensure your new content gets spread around. Just make sure to stay tuned-in to any comments you get from your social media audience. Neglecting to reply or comment can damage your image.
Content sharing from others is a good place to employ automation. You can schedule and share content at the times best suited to your audience. This is especially helpful if this involves times you are unavailable to post.
As automation is helpful when you are unavailable, we want to reiterate that you should set aside some time several times a day to read through your posts and tweets and respond to any comments.
Automating the wrong things at the wrong times can damage your image. Automating your social media requires constant management and attention. Don’t get caught in the automation trap and think you can set it to do all the work without any massaging from you.
While a certain amount of automating your social media can be helpful, you must always remember that social media is about people. It’s about the conversation and the engagement. No automated robot can build and nurture relationships with your followers.
Have you used automation for your social media? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Share your thoughts below – we’d love to start a conversation.