Last week, I participated in PostPlanner’s #ViralChat on Twitter where the topic centered on Social Media Automation. As usual during Twitter Chats, there were several great tips contributed by social marketing professionals, but the one concern throughout the chat was that scheduling tweets and posts can be more like broadcasting as opposed to engaging in conversation with followers.
Since my plan for the blog over the next month is to tackle automation, I thought it would be good to kick off this topic with ways to “humanize” scheduled posts so that your voice is present and encouraging interaction with your content. Automation, or “strategic scheduling” as #ViralChat participant Chris Barrows refers to it, is a great time-saving tool and is very valuable when done correctly.
5 Tips for Social Media Automation
Post valuable content at times most convenient for your audience.
Be sure that what you’re sharing with your community on social media is providing some sort of educational or entertainment value. Then, make sure you’re scheduling posts for times when the majority of your audience tends to be online. We can’t all be online 24/7, but automation definitely helps to provide consistent visibility. Take a look at your platform’s analytics to get some helpful information regarding this.
Add something to curated content.
When sharing an article, be sure to include your thoughts on it. It could be as simple as, “I love tip #4” or “I agree 100%.” This shows that you read the article and find it worthy to share with your community. It is also a chance to add your brand’s voice to keep posts consistent with your mission.
In order to keep from broadcasting and, instead, encourage engagement, ask your followers for their opinions. Be prepared, though, to be able to reply and discuss comments once the scheduled post or tweet is published. Automation cannot replace the real-time interaction that helps grow a dedicated and passionate community.
Don’t schedule posts too far in advance.
We never know what each day holds. Current events and tragedies could make a scheduled joke or post untimely and in poor taste. If you schedule too far in advance, you’re likely to forget what is supposed to be published when. A good rule of thumb is to not automate more than a week or two out, and that may even be stretching it in some cases.
Consider the type of content you are sharing. The more “controversial” it is, the wiser it may be to schedule more frequently. Also, it’s possible that what you are sharing could be out-of-date by the time it publishes. This gives the appearance that you are out-of-touch with what’s going on in the world and your community. Evergreen content may be best to be shared via automation.
For further reading on how brands should address tragedies, check out Jay Baer’s post.
Incorporate live tweeting with your automation strategy.
Participating in Twitter Chats, replying to and sharing others’ content in real-time, and using relevant hashtags for live events can all be good ways to engage and build relationships on Twitter. This is what I personally love best about the platform. Scheduling posts in advance should hopefully afford you more time to interact this way.
Even if you’re scheduling posts for other social channels, be sure to set aside time to communicate with influencers and followers.
Automation can be a great tool for busy entrepreneurs, but it definitely can’t be the only piece of a successful social media strategy.
Do you have a favorite tip for automating your social media posts? Please share in the comments below or send me a shout on Twitter!
For more social media tips, get my FREE Streamline Your Social Quick-Start Guide!