Running a business is not easy and time seems to work against you when you’ve got a lot on your plate each day. One of those tasks that must be attended to regularly is maintaining your social channels so that you always have a consistent flow of content to share with your followers. But cranking out the content manually can be hard to do unless you can find a way to automate it.
There is an online debate raging whether or not businesses should indulge in a few of the many automation apps available so time spent on social media can be reduced. Many people think that automation negatively affects the quality our posts and the overall effectiveness of social media marketing. But there are some ways to save time without compromising engagement. So how do you find the perfect balance between engagement and automation? It really just comes down to knowing when to use which.
When It’s Okay to Automate Your Social Posts
You can pre-schedule those posts that provide your followers with content that don’t require your real-time input. These are the posts that are at the core of your social media foundation as they are posts meant to provide value, build brand awareness and encourage engagement. The content you can automate includes:
- Links to your blog posts, videos and other social media pages
- Quality tips, advice and strategies
- Quotes that inspire or entertain
When your followers comment on these posts, you need to directly respond to them as quickly as possible so you don’t lose that connection between yourself and those that follow your brand.
When Engagement Trumps Automation
The social media posts you shouldn’t automate or pre-schedule are those revolving around real-time events, trending discussions and one-on-one conversations. Another thing you should not do automatically is send canned direct messages like “thanks for following me” or “please check out my Google+ page”. These types of post can really dilute your brand and look like spam which does nothing for the reputation of your business.
Engagement is a key part of social media marketing and it’s rewarding in more ways than one. Some examples of when you need to jump in and engage personally on the channels you maintain include:
- When someone asks you a question or leaves a compelling comment
- When a co-worker or employee has done something great. Sign in and give them a big shout-out!
- When you run across a great blog post you want to share immediately with your followers
- When you snap an amazing photo you want to show off
- When a trending topic goes viral – You should involve yourself in the conversation using appropriate hashtags
- When you want to ask your followers their opinion on something related to your business or industry
Sure, there are people who say social media automation is a big no-no. But for those of us who are trying to run a business, tend to family matters and have some type of a social life, there’s nothing wrong with automating some of your social posts so time can be saved. Just make sure the posts you do automate are those at the core of your business model as these are the posts need to be repeated with regularity.