social media automation: the pros and cons

love-hate-baby

Let’s face it, even the most accomplished multitasker isn’t going to be able to keep up with all the platforms aching for fresh content. A realistic solution is social media automation. This time-saving technique allows you to schedule updates and posts across multiple platforms. As with any social media tool, there are pros and cons that need to be weighed.

Responsible Use of Automation

Let’s start with the ground rules. The ability to automatically sprinkle fresh marketing content across multiple platforms is full of potential. However, some individuals have used the ability to automatically spread content to create spam and repetitive marketing messages that do nothing but annoy the intended target audience. The last thing you want to do is offend potential customers. Hell hath no fury like an Internet user scorned – especially one with the ability to trash your reputation.

Pros

User-friendly Tools

You don’t have to be an Internet guru to take advantage of social media automation. There are plenty of user-friendly apps and tools that make it easy to schedule your content delivery. HootSuite and Buffer are the most common choices. HootSuite’s “Free” plan allows you to manage up to five social profiles while offering unlimited scheduling. Buffer allows you to schedule posts and add content into the next available slot. You can stash extra content in your queue.

Consistency and Timing

You may start off doing great with regular posts and fresh and exciting content, but then other things come up and you end up with abandoned social media accounts. Scheduling content ahead of time allows you to maintain some level of consistency with your posts. Creating and storing content for distribution later is a great way to save time without falling off the social radar. It’s not always easy to maintain a consistent voice online if posts are coming at odd times to accommodate lunch hours, breaks, and other work responsibilities.

Cons

Self-indulgence

It is easy to get lulled into the belief that just because you are scheduling content ahead of time that you are right on top of the social media marketing game. Running a social media campaign – even an automated one – is not the same as the way you handle your advertising efforts. Whether your tweets or posts are live or pre-scheduled is irrelevant. You still need to produce engaging content that is inviting and informative.

Taking the Easy Route

Shortcuts aren’t always a good thing when it comes to your online posts. It can be tempting to send the same post across all platforms, but this can quickly backfire. Potential customers reading your tweet or Facebook post don’t necessarily have the same interests as people reading your LinkedIn post. Social media platforms aren’t that generic. Each one has a different purpose with different demographics. Know your target audience for each platform and what your marketing goals are with each audience before you start scheduling posts.

These aren’t exact recommendations since every business is different. You will find plenty of measurement tools to gauge the effectiveness of your posts so you can make adjustments as needed. Even with the benefits of social media automation, content needs to stay fresh and not feel dry, repetitive or robotic. As with any social media tool, you get out of it what you put into it.

(image:flickr)

8 thoughts on “social media automation: the pros and cons

  1. I used to say EVERYTHING had to be organic. Not only is that nearly impossible for me to do now, I also realize that a little automation goes a long way. We have “dos” and “don’ts” for each platform – all based on my beliefs or the clients’ needs. But one thing we make sure of is a TIMELY response. Like as in, ASAP and not later than one hour during “normal” hours.
    It still irks me that brands, big and small, don’t respond to customers on social media. Where’s the social in that??

    • Bravo Brooke! With the lightning fast engagement tools we have now it is almost impossible to imagine someone not responded in a “TIMELY” manner. 20+ years ago we had an internal campaign, “Put Yourself In The Customer Shoes” (yes a cliché and widely used) that stated the customer had to be responded to by the close of business on the day they contacted us, even if that was at 5:00! We where held accountable and it worked. It reenforced in me the need to serve, after all we are in business because they pay us, right?
      Always enjoy your input…rcb

    • I am still one that keeps most of ours and our clients “REAL.” It just becomes so consuming trying to feed the content engine a little mechanics is warranted. I do agree, never lose the “SOCIAL: Carly…rcb

  2. Pingback: social media automation: the pros and cons | UpTempo Group: Social Media Scientists | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: social media automation: the pros and cons | Community Managers Unite | Scoop.it

  4. Pingback: social media automation: the pros and cons | Social Media, innovation and strategy | Scoop.it

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