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The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Automation

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to social media automation. The social media purists will cover their ears and shake their heads at you but you could spend all day on social media working to promote your brand but then you wouldn’t have time for your actual business and that’s where a little automation can help you out. The key word here is “little” and you need find a happy medium that satisfies both needs: your social media and business goals.

Although automation is criticized for being impersonal, it is a great way to save time on social media efforts but you must be careful though, and remember that, social media is “social” and people are looking to connect with your brand, not see an automated feed.  So how do you keep a balance? Let’s look at some do’s and don’ts.

DO use tools to save time: Lucky for you, we’ve got a great tool that allows you to post to multiple social networks, shorten those pesky long URLs, schedule messages, view your publishing history, and much more.

DO schedule posts ahead of time: Our scheduling tool mentioned above makes it easy for you to schedule updates ahead of time. Got a busy week ahead? Schedule out your editorial calendar to all your social networks and in your downtime just be sure to monitor it for any comments or questions that need to be addressed.

DO automate links for blog posts to some platforms: I only recommend blog post automation for Twitter and only on a limited basis. Don’t automate all your new blog posts but if you’ve got some scheduled to post and you know you’re going to be on vacation or have a busy week, month, etc let them go through. If you can avoid it, I would suggest doing so and only posting blog links when you can explain the link and draw the reader in but if you think you’ve got an award winning headline, go ahead and automate.

DO NOT schedule all your updates: Some scheduling is OK, but not all of it. If you schedule all your updates, you’ll set it up and forget it. Remember social media is social. It’s easy to get into the habit of scheduling, but don’t let it make you lazy about your social media goals. Remember that’s a part of your business too and be sure to be there to monitor its progress.

DO NOT automate sharing links to content you have never looked at: it’s easy to set up a feed and share content directly from Mashable, TechCrunch, etc but what if it’s something you don’t agree with or what if someone responds to something you’ve posted and you haven’t bothered to read it first? Try to avoid feeding a link directly to your account. Keep it personal if at all possible and only post a link you’ve read and can recommend to others with your comments attached to it.

DO NOT direct message new followers on Twitter:  this annoys everyone so please don’t do it. Don’t follow someone and then pester them to like your page, follow your blog or whatever. Nothing makes someone block you faster than a direct message. Ask anyone, they will all tell you they hate it.

DO NOT use canned responses: remember how I said social media was social? Yeah, well a canned response is not so don’t even think about it. Imagine receiving a canned response only to realize the same message was sent to several others. Keep it personal and remember to monitor for any activity online that you need to respond to – personally.

Social media can be very time consuming but if you manage your time wisely it can also be rewarding. Use automation tools when needed or in a quick pinch but always be monitoring to see what’s going on with your brand, how you can step in and be social, and how you can be an asset to your brand. Automation should be a part of your strategy, not your whole social media platform.

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