How to Automate Social Media – the Safe Way

This entry was posted by on Monday, 7 July, 2014 at

Today I saw these two.

automate-social-media-fail  automate-social-media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately the second one is a mistaken parody account, but we all know of examples of automated social media gone wrong.

Can you Automate Social Media?

Kind of. I’m a fan of making this efficient but with such a dynamic, high profile marketing tactic, there’s no replacing a competent marketer. Really, look at the fails. Keyword triggered posts seem like a good idea, until a savvy customer discovers the trigger words and starts publicly playing.

Instead of automating social media, we can pre-schedule. This works on a small scale, or for a short period, but when done properly is effective and saves you time and money.

Pre-scheduling Event and Thank You Posts

There are some posts that are safe to pre-schedule. Send a parking details reminder an hour before an event, or thank speakers at the end. You have the event run sheet, so you can schedule these to hit at the right time and no one will be the wiser. It frees you up for real time engagement. This works for general promotion messages too.

I prefer to run these via Hootsuite, but we know I’m a Hootsuite Ambassador and fan girl. The benefit of Hootsuite is being able to see it in calendar view. It helps me when I’m juggling multiple accounts. However, most social media platforms will let you do this in a form. Facebook lets you schedule directly from your page.

Automate Social Media Content

scheduled-automate-social-mediaThis is a trickier one, but technology is now catching up. Chirpsy (disclaimer: occasional client) was one of the first to do this well. Choose keywords, write guidelines and sit back while appropriate posts are found, written and sent on your behalf. Since then Klout entered the arena with a totally automated account based on your previous posts. It’s VERY hit or miss, or should I say miss. Hootsuite has then taken that service and built in the ability to choose your focus words, and machine learning to start customizing your feed. You do need to curate it before it learns and I’ve had one dead link that I know of, but Suggested is the best option on the market, and it’s free. I’ll jump in every few days and see what it has for me. It will schedule them according to my account’s auto-scheduling criteria.

While it’s tempting to fully automate social media, it’s very risky, and not really worth it. Pre-schedule instead and take control.

Bianca Smith (176 Posts)

Bianca is a freelance digital marketer in Seattle. She works with clients big and small, in the US and Australia, on digital marketing, branding, event communications, social media and website content.


2 Responses to “How to Automate Social Media – the Safe Way”

  1. Great topic Bianca. This is quite the touchy subject for some, but strategically speaking, I believe there is a place for it. Scheduling allows you to set dedicated time to engage with your community without having to worry about always sourcing evergreen content.

    I’ll be bookmarking this and sharing it with any naysayers in the coming weeks!

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough article!

    -Connor

    • Bianca Smith

      Thanks, Connor. I can understand people’s concerns. I have two clients for whom I can never automate evergreen content because their subjects are too sensitive. One is child welfare. Sourced content also works. When I started working with Chirpsy I wasn’t convinced. For a month I compared performance of manually curated Tweets and Chirpsy ones through my account. I was upset to see they were equal. It takes hours to find a month of copy manually.


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