Automating Social Media Marketing

Welcome to another installment of the blogging tips series. Last week Andrea from So Over This was kind enough to share tips on how to get more on social media. She provided a lot of great advice and she definitely knows her shit with how well she does on social media.

This week I want to focus on the flipside of social media marketing. I’m going to give some tips on how you can use automation to simplify your social media efforts. You still want to get social to get the most of these networks, but these tips can make your time more efficient.

Automatic Post Publishing Updates

The first thing you’ll want to setup is automatic shares when you publish a post. Since not everyone following you on social media subscribes to your rss feed, you might as well let them know when you have a new post on your blog. Plus it gets more links out there to help with your SEO efforts.

There are likely a few different services that can handle this, but I personally use TwitterFeed. It’s a free service and it’s fairly easy to setup. You just enter your rss feed details and connect your social media accounts. Then it automatically checks for new posts at predefined intervals. TwitterFeed can be setup to post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

There’s also a WordPress plugin called leenk.me which looks promising. I may give that one a try when I have time. It sounds like it has some pretty useful options that should make it better than TwitterFeed.

Streaming Tweets To Your Facebook Page

Since I don’t have the time to post separately to Facebook, I wanted something posted on my Facebook page other than just my own post updates. It turns out that Facebook allows you to connect your page with your Twitter account.

The beauty part is that if you tweet post urls, it automatically fetches the post image and a brief excerpt. So this doesn’t just turn your facebook page into a big block of text.

A word of warning about setting this up…it will make your Facebook page and Twitter account quite redundant. So it might be tough to get people to follow you on both networks if you do this.

Scheduled Tweets

Unless you are lucky enough to be able to blog full time, chances are that the time you can dedicate to social media is rather limited. That doesn’t mean that your social updates have to only fit in that limited window. When you do that, it is much less likely that someone will find any of your social updates via search.

So when I want to tweet all of the posts that I read in the morning, I don’t send out a tweet right after reading each one. Instead I schedule those tweets to go out gradually throughout the day. This also prevents bombarding people with a new tweet every 10 minutes.

The downside of this is that is that if someone replies to any of those tweets, you won’t be able to reply back until you get back online later.

For this automation I was using desktop software called TweetDeck. I really liked their user interface, but for some reason my scheduled tweets just wouldn’t send some days. So I have since switched to HootSuite. Their direct messages interface isn’t quite as good, but their scheduling is far superior. I guess I’ll be sticking with HootSuite unless something better comes along.

When you are scheduling tweets, you might want to check out Tweriod. I haven’t tried it yet, but apparently it analyzes your followers’ retweets and replies to determine the best time to post. Facebook Insights can also tell you similar info for that platform.

Social Media Automation To Avoid

While automating some social media tasks is very helpful, you have to be careful not to go overboard. Doing so will just scare off your followers. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Going completely automated on social media. You want your social media accounts to have some kind of real interaction. People don’t want to follow a robot. So don’t just set it and forget it.
  • Scheduling identical updates regularly. Saying something twice is usually ok, but if you have identical updates every day, it will get old fast. I personally unfollow people if they just spam my feed with repetition.
  • Excessively promoting your own content. Unless you want to come off as narcissistic, you should probably share more than just updates about your own blog. Take the time to promote other blogs and the social media experience will be much more rewarding for everyone.
  • Sending automatic direct messages to new followers. I am actually on the fence about this one, but I know lots of people really don’t like it. I have seen some people implement this a little better, but usually it just ends up wasting my time by adding a message for me to delete.

Conclusion

Some people may argue that this kind of automation goes against what social media was intended to be. Well I say things are meant to evolve. In a busy world people need to find easier ways to accomplish things. So if you are finding social media marketing too much to take on, try out some of these automation techniques. It could be just the boost you need.

What’s your take on automating social media marketing? Is there anything different you do? Perhaps you use different tools or find completely different things to automate.

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