Social Media Automation – The Ultimate Guide
Social media has become an inseparable part of our lives.
It has changed how we communicate with others and how we share information.
It even changed the way we behave.
Social networks had a similar impact on businesses.
If you’re still relying on good old “brick and mortar” approach, you’re in a big trouble.
Business has to go digital in order to stand a chance in this new market environment.
But here is something that business owners rarely mention: managing social media accounts can be a real drag.
You have to deal with various people and various personalities.
On top of that, a business owner has to work each and every day.
Given that consistency is the basis of social media marketing, site owners don’t have the option of taking a holiday.
Followers are expecting your tweet so you have to live up to those expectations.
Let’s see what social media automation is and how it can help your business!
A brief history of marketing automation
Automation as a term has existed for decades.
Companies have always tried to simplify their processes and save money.
Once business went digital, this became even more apparent.
Unlike traditional manufacturing companies that had to rely on heavy machinery and robotics, you could now solve all your problems with software.
Amazon was one of the first companies to show how impactful the software could be.
What started out as a small online bookshop is now worth 817 Billion Dollars
It introduced us to a whole new world and other companies soon followed their lead.
With such software, customers were able to get what they want when they wanted it.
On the other hand, companies were now able to avoid micromanaging every client which led to higher returns.
Time has always been a challenge for business.
Automation saves time so everybody wins.
In terms of marketing software, it all started with Unica in 1992. (Now part of IBM)
Slowly but surely we saw a rise of cloud-based tools including HubSpot, Salesfusion, Ontraport and many more.
Given the increasing importance of social media, we now see a steady increase of social network automation tools as well.
Marketing automation revenues also skyrocketed.
From a measly $100 million in 2009, it went to $1.65 billion in 2015. Today, more than 142,000+ businesses are using some sort of marketing automation software.
Why should you use automation software?
It’s obvious that these tools can help you out.
But in what way?
Let’s check it out!
They help you focus
The most important thing about these programs is that they can save you a lot of time.
For example, instead of posting one and the same message on different social networks, you can do all of that with a simple click of a button.
You can schedule your posts, get analytical data regarding demographics, clicks, retention rate etc.
Today, social media automation software is so advanced it allows you to do everything you need from one dashboard.
No longer do you have to buy numerous tools or open new accounts on different sites.
You can manage everything with a single tool.
They make you more efficient
Based on the previous paragraph, it’s easy to conclude that these tools also help your efficiency.
However, this is where most people go wrong.
They think that the real value of software comes with the increased capacity and speed.
Social network automation software is important as it allows you to do things the right way.
We tend to get preoccupied with quantity and we lose focus on the quality.
Being able to post more things at a faster rate is definitely important but it pales in comparison to posting quality content.
These tools help you identify relevant content, suited to your target market and help you get this content in front of the right audience, even when you are offline doing something else.
Every social platform has something that makes it unique.
By posting on all of them, you’re able to reach a much greater audience.
However, the problem occurs if you have several people managing your company’s social accounts.
While it’s normal for bigger companies to have numerous employees, this may affect the message by altering it.
Needless to say, posting consistent content throughout is very important.
These tools do just that.
Social media software helps with consistency allowing you to manage your message and your brand on all platforms.
They allow you to keep up the pace
The last advantage has to do with your competition.
Like in every business, internet companies are constantly progressing and are improving their processes.
Social network automation software is one of the newest things.
It is no longer a question whether or not you would like to use these tools.
You simply have to do it in order to keep up the pace.
Even if they help your company by a small margin, this will be an advantage that you’ll have over your competition.
It is really hard to ignore all the positive aspects of this software.
No matter what your view is on automation, it has become a necessity and it’s better if you adopt this strategy before your competitors do.
The key steps to great Automation
Don’t think for a moment that social network automation is easy.
There are lots of people who will never be able to reap the benefits from it.
Automation is a step-by-step process which relies heavily on planning and measuring.
It’s not only about sending a message.
It’s also about having viewers who are able to receive it and are willing to read it.
This is the biggest difference between a single post and continuous, automated stream of messages.
Almost everyone can have a successful post on Facebook or Twitter; all you have to do is create something awesome and share it with your audience at a convenient time.
But doing this on a constant basis is the real art.
Create the right content
Content is in the centre of every social media post.
Whether we’re talking about an article or a witty tweet, you need something that will draw attention.
Rules change a little bit with automation.
The basic premise is that you have enough quality content to start automating in the first place.
If you don’t, you at least need to produce it on a constant basis.
But what is “quality content”?
This is a million dollar question which most authors can’t answer themselves.
Luckily, there are lots of tools which can help us establish this.
All you have to do is check how readers react to your posts and determine what is optimal for your social profiles.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to share everything; only share the posts that have a fighting chance.
It is really easy to lose a reader and if you start focusing on quantity and automation deadlines, you will do just that.
Sometimes it’s better not to post anything than to post something that isn’t worth posting.
Think about conversion
Ultimately, everything you do should lead to a single goal: selling more products and services.
Now, keep in mind that not every post or article should be commercial; this is something that will alienate your fans.
But at the same time, readers need to be aware of the fact that you’re actually providing certain services.
If you have to choose between posts with similar social engagement, always go for the one that leads to more profit (as long as they are not too intrusive).
Share content made by others
One of the unwritten rules of SMM is to always share content made by others.
Some people are unwilling to do so as they think this will undermine their own efforts.
This isn’t always true.
People are constantly looking for good content whether it was made by your company or someone else.
Even if you can produce great stuff on a regular basis, keep in mind that people usually follow blogs to get the latest news from the industry.
In other words, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to provide quality content even if it isn’t your own.
Timing is extremely important
As mentioned, content is the first part of the equation.
The second part is timing. Posting when you’re audience is most active, will exponentially increase the engagement.
This is where social media automation software shines the best.
You can create weekly and monthly schedules ensuring that your content is always posted at the same time.
Another important thing is that your audience is getting used to seeing posts each day at the same time.
Measure the results
Last part of the automation is measuring the results.
While the word “automation” may imply that everything is working on its own, it actually isn’t.
In order for automation to be successful, you may have to modify the approach as you go.
Focus on posts that are converting and shy away from those that aren’t.
The message is crucial for any successful campaign so make sure to polish yours.
Keep in mind that you need to use a good automation tool for this process.
Even if everything’s in place, you need to invest in a platform that will allow you to manage social accounts in a professional and time efficient manner.
Social media automation software is the future; there is no doubt about it.
Even though we always mention Facebook as the biggest social platform, other social networks have emerged in the last couple of years.
They haven’t managed to overthrow Facebook but they definitely took a part of its traffic.
Nowadays you have specialized networks for almost anything: watching videos, sharing pictures, searching for a job etc.
While you may think it’s better to focus on one platform, it is undeniable that by having more options, you’re able to get more traffic.
This is why you have to get social media software that will automate the process for you allowing your message to be seen by more readers.
As they say work smarter, not harder!
Gary Evans is the founder of Feedalpha. He has been writing about Social Media and Digital Strategy for years. You can find him active on any of these accounts.