The Dos and Don'ts of Automating Social Media Updates
Knowing when to automate your social media updates and when you should plan them yourself can make a big difference in your marketing success.
Automate social media updates for hours when you're not awake. After all, you're a human being, not a robot (right?). You can't be awake every hour of the day to monitor your content. However, many businesses have overseas customers who could be actively surfing the net while you're getting your beauty rest. In these cases, it's a great idea to schedule some tweets during your downtime. Additionally, you can figure out when your social media sites get the most traffic and schedule updates to appear at these times. That way, you'll never be out of the loop.
Another good time to automate updates is when you're out of town for the weekend or when you're on vacation. Of course, if you're away for an extended period of time, you might choose to either hire someone to assist you or you might want to leave a note somewhere saying that you'll be out of town until your date of return.
Automate every single update and call it good. People will grow tired of the same links appearing over and over again, and they're definitely not going to appreciate it if they take the time to respond to you but you're never around to engage with them! Also, don't forget to respond to people in general—if they reach out to you, it's polite (and, in some cases, expected) for you to get back to them in a timely manner.
The 80/20 balance. What does this mean? It's a basic rule of thumb so that you can plan your updates in the most effective manner. 80% of the time, you promote other people or engage with influencers in your community. 20% of the time, you promote yourself and stick to your personal marketing plan.
Now, you might be wondering why should you spend more of your time promoting content other than your own. The answer is because people get tired of being sold to. It's true. If you sound too sales-y, people aren't going to want to continue to follow you, and they're definitely not going to be interested in clicking any of your links. So keep it cool by following the 80/20 rule, and you'll see that people are much more willing to follow you and check out your products when you're not always talking about yourself.
Spam repetitive updates. Have you ever followed someone who basically just says, “Buy my stuff!”? It's annoying, isn't it? People like feeling like the brand account is actually run by a human being, not a robot. So it follows that if you can only discuss one topic—your products or services—that people are going to assume you're a bot.
Automatically have updates sent out when you update your blog or site. This not only saves you the effort of promoting them later on, but it also helps you reach more traffic across more platforms. If you choose, you can set up the automation so that the updates are staggered: that is, that they go out on Facebook right away, and then later that evening on Twitter, etc. It's up to you!
Automate tweets during a time of national crisis. There have been major social media faux-pas moments that have caused issues for brands. Of course, these are completely unintentional, but it comes off as insensitive at times—for example, after an airline crash, you don't want to be tweeting about cheap airfare rates. You can choose to hold off on regular updates for a little while in the immediate aftermath, and then continue after a little while. Simply use your best judgment and ask yourself whether you'd be better off waiting a bit.
Reschedule old posts occasionally. If you make an effort to write a blog post, you should be able to promote it well into the future. Try to write about topics that are “evergreen”--topics that people will be able to learn about for years to come. Obviously, not everything can be evergreen. But wherever you can, try to ask yourself: “Will people be able to find this helpful a year down the road?” If the answer is “yes,” then you can safely assume that you'll be able to reschedule your post for many months to come!
Send people automated customer service responses or greetings when they follow you. There are a lot of companies out there that do this. Providing online customer service is important, but it is just annoying for someone to receive an automated response telling them that you'll get back to them later. It's also just as annoying to receive messages the moment you follow someone (particularly on Twitter). Many people report being quite annoyed by this sort of thing, so if you want to interact with your new followers, send them a message yourself—one that's personalized and tailored to them specifically.