A common question asked by many using social media on a daily basis to promote their products and services is, should I automate my social media marketing? Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on which way you look at it, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.
As with many aspects of social media, whether you should use automation tools / software or not depends solely on your requirements, preferences and circumstances. Automation may work for one business, but not for another.
There are those who will argue that there is room to automate some, if not all, of your social media marketing; especially with platforms such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Social Flow making the process quick, easy and pain free.
On the other hand, there will also be those who argue venomously against automating any of your online marketing, claiming that it takes away the personal aspect and therefore turns the social into something which is un-social.
Whatever side of the fence that you sit on, there is one main benefit to automating your social media that cannot be denied; and that it, that is saves time.
Time is something which all professionals, no matter how organised they are, seem not to have enough of in a day; as things always crop up making the “To Do List” longer.
Spending time adding an update to any one of your social media platforms, whilst it may start out as a five minute job, can before you know it have eaten up an hour or two; resulting in another late night at the office catching up on the things time on social media replaced.
By automating your social media updates, you can save yourself time and instead concentrate on other aspects of your business. There are also platforms available, which enable users to schedule their updates for the entire week or throughout the month.
There are then those platforms, which enable you not only to schedule tweets or Facebook updates; but enable you to share content with all your social media platforms at once, cutting out the time of having to remember the password for each platform, logging in and adding the update manually.
However, whilst automating your social media may save time, with the automating of social media tasks, comes the main disadvantage – losing the personal touch.
By its very definition, social media should be social. This means that even when adding updates from a business account, it should appear personal and not as though it has been added by a robot.
Unfortunately, when using an automated service, the personal touch can quickly disappear – even if you’re only using it to schedule your tweets, the personal touch can be lost; which can make the time saved on scheduling pointless, as the updates are not going to have the desired impact.
Each of the big three (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) offer individual variables, from hashtags and character limits, through to the differing audience on each platform. By taking advantage of these variables when manually adding updates, the personal touch can be added and taken advantage of.
However, by using an automated service to update all your social media platforms in one go, with a link to your latest blog for example, reduces the opportunities to utilise each sites individual quirks – losing the personal touch that social media is built upon.
Another common way in which the personal touch is often lost, and evidence of an automation service being used to control various aspects of a social media campaign, comes via Twitter.
Every Twitter user will have had a handful of experiences where they have followed someone and then instantly received a very standard direct message thanking them for the follow.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with thanking new followers for taking the time to follow your Twitter account, the message sent should be personal, whether this is by addressing the follower by their name / Twitter handle, or by directing them to your latest blog.
These are only some of the advantages / disadvantages automating social media marketing brings; if you want to find out more before deciding whether to automate your social media activity, join the JE Consulting LinkedIn group – which offers a range of news, advice and discussions on social media.
For those businesses who are concerned that they do not have the time to effectively monitor, update and enhance their social media profiles; but do not want to lose the personal touch, which can be missing when using an automated service, the marketing experts at JE Consulting can assist.
We offer a range of marketing services and support to help your business. To find out more, visit www.je-consulting.co.uk or contact us on 0121 355 4774.