The word “automation” has a somewhat negative stigma attached to it. We think about it as a means of eliminating jobs and removing the human element from the equation in various business processes. In short, we paint the concept in a negative and often displeasing light.
I have said many times that when it comes to social media, conveying a personal, real-time feel with your posts is a vital element to the success of your channel(s). People tend to want to engage with brands that feel “real” to them.
With that in mind, it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your content and a close hand on the processes that deliver that content. One would think that something with such an ugly reputation as “automation” would never fit into that equation…
…but one would be wrong.
There is a particular irony to how neatly “real” and “automatic” fit together within the realm of social media. In many ways, automating your posts can help your channels feel more genuine. It can also go light years beyond your best efforts when it comes to consistency and organization in your posts.
Optimizing Your Social Media Efforts
Your business consists of various tasks that can get done in a variety of ways. Your job as a businessperson is to determine which tasks need to be done in-house and which ones can be outsourced.
You are also tasked with determining which tasks can be automated and which need to be handled in real time. When you figure out what can be outsourced and what can be automated, you have the tools needed for optimization.
There is no doubt in my mind that your social media posts should be automated. I also think that you need to make regular appearances on your channel and interact with your audience in real time.
Don’t buy into the notion that you can (or need to) choose between the two; you can – and should – be harnessing the momentum created by integrating both into your social media strategy.
If you need a good reason to consider automating your social media posts, you’re in luck. I actually have seven that I would like to share with you today. Contemplate each one as you read and think about the positive effects they can have on your social media marketing efforts.
#1 – Automating saves time and energy.
Once you have a social media strategy in place, at least 20 percent of the labor goes on autopilot.
That might not seem like much, but if you are allocating 10 hours per week across the board for social media content management (including content creation, editing, and publishing), that’s 2 hours of productive time you just recaptured for your business every week by automating your posts.
Plus, if you outsource a large portion of your content creation along with social media automation, you also minimize the amount of time you have to spend on the project. Simply check in with your teams at pre-determined intervals and monitor your social channels to make sure that good content is flowing freely.
#2 – Automating creates consistency.
As I’ve mentioned before, consistency is key to developing and maintaining a strong following on social media. That kind of consistency can most definitely be achieved through automation.
The ability to schedule posts gives you a set of goals with specific deadlines. Automation keeps everyone at every stage of the process working together toward a common goal.
You will, of course, still need to work closely with any offsite contractors to ensure ongoing quality and consistency. Over time, though, your offsite teams need to reach a point where they can work together to get the job done behind the scenes with minimal input or intervention from you.
It might take a few weeks or even more to get everybody into the rhythm of working together, but with a little good management on your part, all your various personnel – both onsite and off – should be able to get on the same page and get the job done right.
Once that happens, you should have a well-structured, well-paced system in place that provides your followers with regular updates as well as the kind of killer content that got them to like your pages in the first place.
#3 – Automating allows you to post at specific times.
I could probably devote an entire article to this subject because it really is that important. There are so many reasons why you want to be careful about when you post to social media that I simply cannot list them all here.
Suffice it to say (for now) that the timing for advertising has been an understood concept since long before the Internet, social media, or even TV and radio, for that matter.
There is a reason why TV networks still – in this age of streaming media – designate certain times of day as “prime”. They know that, at those times, they are more likely to capture more viewers, so they wait until then to broadcast their best content.
Whether you realize it or not, your social channels all have a “prime time” of their own but unlike TV, those times vary between industries and subjects. Some find that they get the most engagement on their posts early in the morning or late at night. Some see spikes during lunch hours in their local markets.
This is in no small way like the way TV networks decide what days of the week to air specific programs. If you have ever noticed a TV program getting a “new day and time”, it’s because the network wants to see if they can increase viewership for a show by showing it on a different night.
Good social media automation software does most of that kind of research for you in a fraction of the time. Your automation app gathers these metrics and gives you direction as to when you should be posting to your channels – the time(s) of day, the best day(s) of the week, etc.
Your target audience may not be paying you much attention until 3:00 in the morning, but if that is the case (and it’s more common than you think) you can “be there” when they are and show up in their feeds when they are actually in the process of scrolling by.
#4 – Automating can help grow your audience.
This goes right back to the concept of consistency. Businesses that get the automation thing right almost always see huge spikes in engagement, and that means more likes and shares.
In the specific case of Facebook, more likes mean more distribution of the content among a larger number of your followers. More shares mean more people seeing your content. That leads to more people following your page and also re-sharing the content.
By the way: There is nothing wrong with tucking a call to action to like and share your content into some of your posts. Enthusiastic followers will do it without thinking twice.
#5 – Automating is easily outsourced.
I’ll bet that ever since I used the word “outsource” earlier, you’ve been hearing that ominous “cha-ching!” going off in your head. The truth of the matter is that outsourcing both your content creation and distribution can only serve to benefit your organization, especially in terms of cost.
Simply put, someone has to do the work. My question is: Why should you have to delegate to existing staff or hire more staff to get it done?
What’s more, there are scores of agencies out there whose sole purpose is managing social media that can work directly with copywriters or other content creators to ensure that the content is ready for distribution and published on your schedule.
Get in with a company that has great management skills along with being dependable and competent in social media management. Getting the job done becomes easier still when you find that.
#6 – Automating is cost-effective.
When you outsource tasks like social media posting, you eliminate a plethora of HR details from the equation. You also don’t have to add onsite personnel or provide the benefits or insurance that go along with hiring someone directly. You simply pay your agent or freelancer the agreed-upon fees for their services, and that’s that. Plus, when you outsource, you pay only for the time you are using, so every dollar spent automating your social media posts is an actual productive dollar.
Outsourcing your social media management is likely the most cost-effective way to get the job done. Plus, with so much competition out there, all agencies know that efficiency and dependability are key to their survival, so everyone typically tries to put – and keep – their best foot forward with their clients. The few that don’t will typically disappear long before they have the chance to wreak havoc on your business.
Keep in mind that efficiency in content distribution does not begin and end with posting content to social media. If for example, you combine your automation efforts with outsourcing your content creation, the return on investment for both is likely to skyrocket.
Personally, I think you should be doing both. It will only serve to boost your own productivity and that of everyone in your workplace who would otherwise be saddled with tasks that aren’t specifically parts of their jobs.
#7 – Automating is smart.
If you’ve reached this part of the article, you are likely thinking that this whole automation business might be a good idea. Well, you’re right. Smart businesspeople understand a few things about social media management. They realize that:
- Being active and visible on social media is mandatory.
- Maintaining a consistent presence on social media is difficult, and…
- Successful businesses figure out ways to do it anyway.
Automating your posts is clearly one of those ways. Begin by having enough fresh content ready to go, then find dependable, competent, and experienced people to manage it. When you find the right combination of content creators and content managers, I think you will look back at what you’ve accomplished on social media with much-deserved pride.
A Word about Engagement
There is one tiny issue with the whole automation thing that I want to address as a kind of parting thought…
As I mentioned earlier, it is important to strike a balance between automated content and personal interaction on your channels. Both elements are necessary for your success.
Automation provides the consistency and predictability people appreciate with the brands they trust. It gets them engaged. Real-time, personal interaction confirms the human element of your brand and keeps people engaged. If you are able to commit to both, your social channels will likely prove to be some of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal.
If automating your social media posts is not something you have considered seriously in the past, now is the time to educate yourself about options available to you. The sooner you start taking back some of the time you’re spending posting content, the sooner you will be able to reclaim more of your own productivity while still making your mark on social media.
At what point are you right now? Are you already automating your social media posts? What tool do you use? Please share your experience by leaving a comment or joining our closed Facebook group for further insights. Thanks in advance! 😉