“Should I use social media automation or can I simply post organically?”
We have this conversation about once a month in our office with clients. Let me tell you, there are pros and cons for both, and ultimately we always end at the same point. Social media automation works, but there needs to be a balance and a strategy.
Social media is a tool for building a relationship, thought leadership, and a tool to ultimately turn relationships and influence built into transactions for your business. It’s a way to grow repeat, referral business because you’re keeping in conversation with your audience and your prospects.
The Strategy behind Social Media Automation
In order to maintain a conversation online that leads to transactions, there needs to be a strategy and consistency in place. The only way to build a strategy and consistency is with planning. Nothing is worse than seeing a business social media profile with five posts in a row one day and then nothing shared for three weeks after that.
Why does this happen? It’s simple. We are all so busy running our day-to-day that usually what’s on fire gets attention.
Automation allows businesses and agencies to balance the day-to-day conversations to be planned out in advance and allows you to spend your time more wisely. Plan your content, schedule it, and then while you’re logging on to social media daily you can use your time gained back to share real-time content, engage with your audience, and monitor results.
Can you engage with your audience if you are solely automating or using a feed to post for you?
Here’s where the balance comes in.
Don’t be afraid to schedule your industry news and tap into RSS feeds of those influencers you love; balance the scheduled messages with posts, stories and blog articles which will humanize you again. Relatable stories and posts show your interests, your culture, and your brand.
Start liking and commenting on those articles and posts shared by your followers and your clients. By engaging with them on social platforms you are opening the door to strengthen your relationships. And really, isn’t doing business all about relationships?
Zig Ziglar said it best: “If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” Developing relationships by engaging others and positioning yourself as a thought leader will build that trust level. Can you build trust with an automation alone? Nope. But with the time you gain back from planning, you can spend it engaging and listening online.
Okay, so if engagement is key, why should I bother to schedule or automate my posts? Good question.
It’s recommended to post to Facebook somewhere between one to three times a day, LinkedIn five times a week, and Twitter – well, that’s its own animal. It’s recommended to post to Twitter at least once an hour! I personally do not have time to be posting that often to keep myself and my clients relevant.
This is where the scheduling tools can be super handy. I like to work a month out for my clients. I’ll use industry associations to curate content, add in some humanizing photos and videos reflecting company culture, blog posts to establish my client as the experts they are within their fields, and a couple calls to action directing the audience to download some whitepapers or tips to help them within their business.
Then the magic happens. It’s time to schedule.
The key to making this all work is scheduling your posts based on when your audience will be on the specific platforms. For example, one of my client’s primary audience is the working professional who is returning to school for their advanced degree. Checking out Facebook’s analytics through Agorapulse, I see that their audience is primarily online in the evening.
So I’m not going to schedule my posts for the morning. I’ll schedule for late afternoon or evening so my client’s messages aren’t buried under a day’s worth of other content shared in their newsfeed.
After you’ve scheduled be sure to take time each day to log into your platforms and start engaging. Just because you’ve already scheduled a post for the day, doesn’t mean you can’t also share an interesting article your client came across or a really creative blog feature your client’s key prospect shared within their LinkedIn group (see what I did there … by engaging a prospect, it landed my client on their radar!).
Share away. Social platforms are watching; the more engagement you are doing online – the more you are liking, commenting and sharing content, – the higher social platforms will rank you within their influencer levels. Really, who doesn’t want to be influential? Can a robot be influential? Nope.
Our Agency’s Social Media Automation Secret Formula
At my agency, we plan out 30 days worth of content using the 10:4:1 rule.
From there we plug it into Agorapulse to schedule out Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for our clients. This allows for ease of scheduling and the benefit of monitoring/engaging/social listening all in one place. With using automated scheduling tools we gain hour per week in time we can out toward engagement. We still save times a week for real-time content as well.
So when it comes down to it, “to automate or NOT to automate” really isn’t the question. The real question is: How strong is your balance? Are you an “automate and forget it” kind of person, or are you scheduling and still engaging your audiences? Make the most of both and become that influencer agency we both know you can be!
How have you found balance using social media automation? Let us know in the comments!