Can Over-Automating Social Media Marketing Hurt Your Brand?
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. Maintaining a regular presence shows followers you’re active online, and gives you a chance to share useful and engaging information with them on a regular basis. This can help build interest in your brand, establish relationships — and hopefully help generate some leads or sales.
But keeping up your end of the conversation takes time and effort. Luckily, there are tools available to help carry some of the burden. Automating social media marketing is a great way to maintain your company’s online presence — as long as you use it correctly.
If you automate too much or your followers get a glimpse behind the automated curtain, your brand could lose their trust.
Make a Plan
One of the reasons social media automation is so popular is that it’s easy to forget to post something. Last-minute posting and sharing unplanned content aren’t good ideas, so make a plan in advance and automate some of your posts. Your social media marketing plan should include goals you want to achieve — such as boosting your number of followers by a certain percentage by a certain date — and how to achieve them — for example, by retweeting great content, and interacting with customers and clients more frequently.
Next, draw up a social media marketing calendar. This is a daily and monthly guide that keeps your team on track for meeting those goals. Your plan tells you to tweet directly at clients more frequently; your calendar tells you when to do it, who to include and ideas for what to tweet.
Establish a Baseline
When automating social media marketing, we like to do “baseline” postings. We create useful content to post and automate on social media for a specific time period — usually a month. Posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other sites that are relevant to your target audience can be time-consuming, but by automating some posts, you can cover all of these networks efficiently. Some of these baseline posts might include links to new blogs posts we’ve written, a SlideShare of relevant information, photos from the latest company event or screen shots promoting a new website launch.
Keep it Personal
One of the disadvantages of automation is that if you do only the bare minimum — establishing a baseline and doing nothing else — it’s obvious. Successful social media marketing requires posting more personal and relevant information, often daily, and engaging with people when they reach out. Checking in on messages and responding to your followers lets them know you’re there and you’re paying attention to their needs. It strengthens their connection with your brand.
Avoid Rookie Mistakes
You’ve probably seen the tell-tale signs of over-automating social media marketing yourself: Shrunken links with no photos, the same content posted multiple times, over-hashtagging and no personalization. It’s impossible to build a connection with followers with that approach, and it will often drive them away.
To ensure you get the most out of your social media marketing, change headlines when you post the same content more than once. Add photos when posting links in your automation tool, and create custom graphics and memes for your networks to help personalize both your automated and non-automated posts.
Automation can help you save time and effort, but it pays off only when you use it correctly. Ensure your social media automation has a human touch to keep the conversation going with your followers.