Is automation a dirty word in social media?

Dec 9, 2012

"closeAutomation is treated as a dirty word in social media professional circles. I should clarify what I mean by automation, auto-posting content to social outlets rather than crafting a fine tuned in-the-moment message with each post and unique to the network for which it was created. I agree with the argument that every post should be unique and determined by the audience associated with the network to which you are posting. In a perfect world we all have time to be geniuses at social media and post the very best, witty message that will create engagement on each of the networks and still have time left over to eat, sleep, and whatever else you might do when you’re not a genius. Reality, however, is that we all have about 30 hours of stuff to pack into a 24 hour day and being a Samuel Clemons genius wit is not on the schedule.

One of the biggest complaints that businesses have is that there are too many social media networks and that they don’t think they can keep up with one let alone three, or five or more. Many of the clients I have are small businesses that can’t afford to hire a full or part-time social media manager. I spend my time teaching them efficient ways to manage their social media time and give them proper priorities and set boundaries for their efforts. I teach them how to drop their business speech and be human and then I hope that they use the steps wisely so that they maximize their efforts in a way that will be productive at leveraging the benefits of social media for their business. In the end if they reach one network effectively that is better than not doing anything. But I’d like to see them reach EVERYONE.

This week I worked closely with a client to help him overcome one of his biggest challenges…consistency. This client was getting a ton of help with blog posts and was averaging four long form blog posts every day. Many of us (my self included) are lucky if we manage a blog post a week. So in terms of consistency he was doing great at one thing…but he was posting to other social channels in fits and spurts. This meant that unless his audience was consuming his every word on his blog he wasn’t reaching very many people. He needed to make sure he was taking advantage of his prolific writing. So we set him up with some features to auto-post his blog links to Twitter, and other accounts when he tagged them with specific keywords. We also started using some really great tools to help him cross post to multiple networks from one network, using it as a dashboard for social content creation. So now he has regular posts tagged to specific networks based on content, consumption model, and audience and he can do it all from one social media dashboard. He can now spend his social media time being more social and less marketing because he feels his marketing is more or less automated.

Automation is one of those things that is a mixed bag. If you rely on it to become your "personality" then you’ll fail. If you use it to give you more time for better things then it can prove very useful. I teach people to use social media with as little as 15 minutes of effort a day, but it never hurts to make those 15 minutes better through automation.

Are you for or against automation for social media? Leave your comments below.

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