Amidst the complexity of running a small business, social media automation is a wonderful time saver for busy bosses. Implementing social media automation for your business will not only save you time but  also help you improve your consistency in content generation. However, as with most things, there are right ways to automate your social accounts and there are VERY wrong ways to do it.

The biggest mistake that businesses make, when it comes to automation, is forgetting that there are actual humans on the other side of their communication strategy! When it comes to social media automation, it pays to be measured in your approach. So, I’ve compiled tips for best practice for social media automation as well as some serious no-nos and pet peeves when it comes to this area.

Getting started with social media automation

If you’re currently not using any social media automation for your business profiles, maybe it’s time to get onboard my friend. There are brilliant tools available to you to help you start scheduling and automating your content. So first of all, here are some the most popular tools for small business social media automation.

Scheduling content

Buffer

Hootsuite

Later

Schedugr.am

Edgar

Trigger content

IFTTT

Zapier

automating social media

Social media automation: DOs

Do: Curate with integrity

Automating your small business social media posts is a great option for keeping your channels alive. Firstly, ensure that the content you curate and recommend is on topic for your brand. It goes without saying, you should read every article that you link to, ensuring that you only share what’s most helpful and relevant to your audience.

Do: Create a plan with room for flexibility

You can easily plan the rhythm of your content at the beginning of each quarter. Maybe you can choose particular themes or topics for 13 weeks and schedule some killer content for each week.  Block this activity into your calendar and get it done in one hit. However, you will need to keep an eye on your content week to week to ensure that you’re jumping onto any new trends or topical issues.

Do: Review your schedule weekly

Remember to review your scheduled content weekly. This will help you to keep on top of what you’re releasing into the world and engage with people who join your conversations. If you have evergreen content that you can schedule into the next few months, go for it, but do so sparingly. Social media is for real people who want to engage with… real people.

Do: Time your post to get the most eyeballs

Schedule your posts to publish when you know your audience will be online and on the channels you’re scheduling for. There are loads of cheat sheets out there which can tell you when to post to every social media channel imaginable, but it’s actually not that formulaic. Rather than rely on what some “expert” tells you is the best time to post, take a moment to think about your ideal audience and the way they use the social media channels you want to schedule for. Are they office workers on Twitter all day, or stay at home mothers who check Instagram after school drop off? You also have access to raw data on your accounts – so do some tests and figure out which days and times get the most engagement with your ideal audience.

Do: Nail your captions

You’re super friendly and personable in real life, but when you write social media captions do you morph into a weird repetitive robot? Don’t freak out, it’s super common! Most people go blank when it comes to captions or posts on social media. You don’t have to be the wittiest or smartest or most profound, you just need to be yourself. If you need to brush up on your basic writing skills (spelling, sentence structure, grammar) you can enroll in some short courses and up your game or hire someone to do the writing work for you. Most importantly (in my opinion), remember to have fun with your social media!

Do: Create helpful triggers

Reduce the repetive work of scheduling to every single channel you manage by creating publishing triggers through tools like IFTTT or Zapier.

 

engagement on social media

Social media automation: DON’TS

Don’t: Spam your audience

There is a temptation is to schedule content indiscriminately, without injecting your personal opinion or thoughts. There is enough mundane and unhelpful noise on social media, I beg you – please don’t add to this. Focus on content that is most helpful, entertaining or relevant. Think about it, if you’re sharing something that’s already been shared 5 million times before – what are you adding to the discussion or how are you linking it back to your brand?

Don’t: Automate every DAMN THING.

When you automate every post and every DM, you will sound automated. There’s no personality, no life to this content. The goal is to optimise your time, not to remove the human element from your channels. Afterall, why would you expect people to engage with your accounts if you’re not engaged with your accounts?

Don’t: Automate direct messages

I have never received an automated DM which made me think: “Oh wow, I feel so special, I’m going to click this unsolicited link from this random person and buy their stuff immediately.” Most automated DMs sound fake, unengaging and lame. Ok, if your copy is flawless, entertaining and genuinely interesting then… prove it! Stick it in the comments below and prove me wrong! If you’re currently sending automated Direct Messages or Personal Messages to new followers ask yourself ask yourself, does this activity:

  • convert my new followers into leads?
  • improve engagement with or affinity for my brand?
  • retain new followers for my account?

My guess is that the answer is no, no and no. If that’s the case, quit it.

Don’t: Be all content no engagement

To build engagement on your social media channels you need to interact with your audience. If all you do is schedule content without taking the time to interact, you won’t see any growth in your social accounts. Reply to comments and comment on other people’s posts. Connect with like-minded people and groups. Join a conversation to create a richer social media experience.

Don’t: Share stale content

If you schedule too much too far ahead of time you’ll never have timely or fresh content in your feeds. This is why it’s important to keep your scheduling to a weekly or monthly timeline.

 

Make social media automation work for you

As with any tool or strategy you need to take responsibility to make it work for you. Don’t presume that because you downloaded 15 social media automation tools that all your content needs will be fulfilled. You need to create plans and procedures to ensure that you actually maintain your schedules. Hence, you’ll need to be disciplined and smart about what and when you share. As you put into practice good social media management habits, you’ll find that social media automation can make your digital marketing and online life so much more manageable.

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