This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social

Social media automation, its a hot topic without doubt. Some people swear by it and some people swear against it. So with polar opinions on the table, is it something that would work for you? Is it cheating the system? 

Well lets start by dispelling the myths, social media automation is not evil. It is not the devil. You are not cheating the system. I use a very small level of social media automation on my personal accounts for various pieces of content from blogs. I don’t automate client accounts however my own account is a different story. I doesn’t mean that I am not there, it doesn’t mean that I am not going to interact. Quite the opposite in fact, I am generally quick to reply to people in any capacity on social media. You can automate social media and still maintain high levels of original and organic engagement.

So when business owners say to me:

“I don’t have time to manage my social media platform. Should I automate the posts?”

My answer is “Yes and No.”

As a business, what you don’t want to do is have a robotic account churning out content over and over again which you never interact with. It gives off all the wrong signals, so if social media optimisation is something you are interested in doing then what should you automate and what should you not automate?

Tweets and status updates

There is no problem automating tweets and status updates as long as you engage with users on you social media channels. So for example, as many of you may know I use which recycles old blog content that does not lose re-share value.

The reason why I do this is because I know I can leave Edgar to work and at the time schedule which I have set up, he will send out old blog content automatically. Thats important because I need to keep sharing that content so that more people see it. When you share something on social media it gets buried fast, you need to keep sharing it to bring it back to the top of your feed and that way users who did not see it the first time around will see it the second time around.

This is important because I am not always sat at the computer, I am out and about. I am either working for a client on their social media channels and website or I am working in a gloomy warehouse (yay two jobs!) but the point is that I need Edgar to keep the content flowing in a non obtrusive way when I am not there. If I am working on a website it makes no sense for me to be constantly flicking back and forth between that and a social media page, instead I let Edgar do the dirty work and as notifications come in I jump on them as I work.

That does not make me any less of an engager, it doesn’t make me any less authentic and it won’t make you any less authentic either, as long as you continue to engage. When someone responds to an automated tweet that gets sent out, hop on it. Get the conversation flowing.

You need to find the balance, automation is fine as long as you don’t turn the account into a total robot.

What you should not automate!

There are things that you should never automate, ever!

1. Replies to conversations – There are tools out there which will let you post a tweet automatically in response to someone whenever they use a keyword on Twitter. This is spam, nothing more than that. Stay away from tools like this, robots entering conversations on social media is never going to work out well for any business.

2. Direct messages on Twitter – Back to one which we all hate at Irish Tech News. We won’t dive into this one again however if you auto DM me after I follow you then the first thing I do is head to your profile and hit the unfollow button. PLEASE STOP!

3. All your content on all your networks – Don’t schedule all your content to automate on all of your networks. Firstly it makes no sense, customers don’t want to read the exact same stuff they are reading on Twitter. Make the platforms unique and clearly separate from each other.

Secondly, not only does automating all your content turn you into a robot. It is sheer laziness. Social media is not just a promotional tool, it is a way to build relationships with customers and so often businesses discard it and say it was unsuccessful simply because they were not using it properly, spam people with promotional content and I promise you there will only be one outcome.

Automation is not the devil

Don’t let people try to convince you that automation is evil. When you use it the right way it can be a very effective tool. They key is balance, knowing what to automate, what you should never automate and then knowing what type of content to automate.

I like to think of automation as a skeleton. I use it on my personal accounts and then build up and bulk around it with organic content, interactions and conversations. So far the results for me have been fantastic, traffic to my website has gone up and continues to rise.

Automation is not for everyone, some people will see benefits and others may not. Some will simply prefer not to use it. However don’t fall under the impression that it will make you any less authentic or original than anyone else. That only happens if you allow it to happen, find the balance and find what works for you. If it is not working than tweak it, play around with it and see what works and what doesn’t work. It is a powerful tool when executed the right way.

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