The debate ensues… Should we indulge in a few of the countless automation apps available so we can save many hours on social media? Or does automation sacrifice the quality of our posts and the overall social media experience?
Social media best practices do allow for some automation and pre-scheduling. There are great ways to save time without compromising relationships and engagement. So how do you strike the perfect balance between automation and engagement? It comes down to knowing when to use which:
To save time, pre-schedule the posts that deliver content to your followers, but do not require your real-time presence. These posts form the basis of your social media foundation, as they are meant to give value, build awareness of your brand, and spark engagement.
Posts that can be automated (guilt-free) include:
- Teasers and links to your blog posts, videos, and other social media pages
- Quality, evergreen advice, tips, and strategies
- Inspirational or entertaining quotes
As people respond to these posts, you can then jump in to directly engage your followers.
Social media posts that cannot be automated or pre-scheduled are real-time events, one-on-one conversations, and trending discussions. Do not automate any posts that are directed to an individual follower (that’s actually spam!). And don’t automate anything that gives the appearance you are posting in the moment.
A pet peeve of mine is receiving automated “thanks for the follow” direct messages, or “Hey, why not check out my Facebook page?” Do yourself (and me!) a favor: Do not automate direct messages!
Engagement is the most rewarding and essential part of the *Social* Media platform. Here are a few examples where your real-time presence is required to deliver the message:
- You read a question or compelling comment from a follower. Jump in and respond now.
- A colleague just won a big award. Log on and congratulate her now.
- You’re surfing the web and you find an exceptional blog post you want to share with your tribe. Join the fun and share it now.
- Wow, that sunset is particularly gorgeous this evening. Capture it on your phone and post it now.
- Oh, that’s a hot topic! Get your hashtag on and participate in the chat now.
While there are purists who renounce any type of automation, time-saving tools are a perfect solution for those of us who are building a business, caring for a family, and hoping for a few hours of sleep each night. Don’t be afraid to save time. It is not essential that you manually enter every post – especially the posts that are part of your core and need to be repeated regularly.
When you know what posts you can pre-schedule and automate, you will be much more efficient – without sacrificing relationships and the human element of social media.
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