Is it a good idea to adopt automated tools in your social media marketing work? Maybe – or maybe not.
As with a lot of aspects of your solo business, there are pros and cons, and it depends in large part on you, your prospects, and the nature of your business.
What Is Social Media Marketing Automation?
First, let’s define what we’re talking about. In the context of social media marketing, automation means using apps and tools that take care of some aspect of social media engagement with varying degrees of pre-scheduled user input. You may outsource this work or do it yourself.
Some examples of social media automation might be useful:
- Using the web app IFTTT (If This Then That) to create “recipes” – such as “compose and send a tweet whenever a new post is published on this blog”.
- Using WordPress plugins, to send Facebook shares directly to your business’s Facebook page when new content is published on your website.
- Using various Twitter apps to automatically follow-back new followers to your account.
The Advantages of Automation
Clearly, whenever we talk about automation, we’re primarily interested in saving time and effort. It’s important to create systems for your business for any task or workflow that gets repeated, and some social media tasks seem like good candidates for automation (case in point: the above examples).
Another way automation tools can help you save time and effort in social media work is by chunking your efforts. “Chunking” simply means grouping similar activities together in your schedule. For example, instead of scheduling an hour to “write and publish a blog post,” you could “chunk” your work by scheduling an hour to “outline this week’s blog posts,” and another hour to “polish and format this week’s blog posts.” Chunking helps you save time and energy by avoiding the need to “shift gears” mentally and physically between tasks that aren’t similar.
In the context of social media, you could use tools like Buffer App to preschedule shared content for the week or month ahead for a number of different social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn.
The Disadvantages of Automation
If automation is such a great time-saver, why wouldn’t you want to use it in social media marketing? The key answer to that question lies in the “social” part of social media.
And that engagement is really the whole point of social media in the first place. o what’s the “right” answer?
The bottom line here, as with any new-to-you approach to solopreneur marketing, is “Use it wisely if it makes your life easier and your business more profitable.”
To find out what that means for your business, give automation a try. That means looking at what’s available – what specific tasks could be automated – and then thinking deliberately and carefully about your business, and your social media marketing goals. Use automation where it makes sense for you and your goals, but don’t neglect the personal touch!
For example, at Solopreneur.Biz, I may use automated social media posts about the newest entry at the blog, but I also make sure to tweet and post on each site in person. It’s a little of both for me.
For further reading and research, check out HubSpot’s excellent landing page on marketing automation, where they have curated a number of helpful resources on the subject.
You may also get some useful tips to help you get started in smart social automation from the following articles:
- “7 Terrific Time-Saving Social Media Automation Tools That You Have to Use” from Razor Social
- “3 Social Media Automation Tools for Marketers” from Social Media Examiner
- “The Social Media Automation Strategy Every Marketer Needs” from BufferApp’s blog
Do you use automated tools in your social media marketing? What works best for you? Share your experiences in the comments.