Using social media automation – pros and cons

Are you working harder than you need to at social media marketing? Using automation can help you save time, leaving you free to focus your attention on other aspects of your business.

Social media is an essential part of online marketing strategies today. However, it’s not surprising that a number of business owners continue to neglect it. While it can indeed be hard to see immediate benefits in terms of income per hour spent, there are other ways that social media exposure can help your business.

Social Media Marketing: Good for Business
It’s hard to beat the power of social networking for getting the word out. With every share or like, your product or service is exposed to a wider market. While you might not become a household name overnight, if people see your brand often enough they will come to associate it with your niche area.

Use this as an opportunity to build your reputation. Answer questions, share advice and offer helpful content. Then trust in the domino effect as people recommend your business to friends and followers. This happens more often than you might think. On Twitter alone, 53% of users have tweeted recommendations to others, BazaarVoice research social commerce statistics reveal. Social media sites are also one of the places people check when researching how to spend their money. Trust in online reviews by other consumers is high, and younger generations in particular are swayed by online opinions of people they don’t know.

Even though not every recommendation or share will result in paying customers, they can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website. Whether it’s gaining new subscribers to your mailing list or simply building a reputation with search engines as a popular site, this increased traffic can only benefit you.

Remember too that search engines factor in social signals such as views, likes and shares when calculating the quality of your content. While they are wary of overly self-promotional tactics, they know most third party recommendations are likely to be genuine. It’s in your interest to gain as much of this earned media as possible.

When and How to Automate
Keeping your output fresh helps keep your customers engaged. Fortunately, there are a variety of social media automation tools that make it easy to publish to social media on a regular basis.

Scheduling your activity gives you the freedom to create content and find things to share at your leisure. If you have a blog, you might already schedule regular posts in this way. Plug-ins such as Publicize (part of Jetpack) take it a step further by publishing to your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Path. Need to reach even more networks? Then look at a plug-in like NextScripts: Social Network Auto-Poster. It will hook up with your accounts across an impressive 20 social media sites, including your YouTube channel feed, subreddits, Pinterest boards and StumbleUpon bookmarks.

If you’re not using WordPress, popular tools such as HootSuite and Buffer offer free plans that can auto-post direct to your profile on the leading social networks. For multiple profiles and advanced options, consider a paid plan. Sprout Social offers a free trial.

Finding a Balance
Watch out for becoming so reliant on social media automation that you lose the personal element of interaction. Your followers will soon pick up on the artificial nature of your social activity.

When it comes to building your network, never be tempted to automate following others in the hope that they will reciprocate. Users are getting wise to this kind of behaviour – and more to the point, so are the networks. Activity that hints at spamming, such as trying to link to someone who doesn’t know you on LinkedIn, can result in restrictions being placed on your account.

Instead, get to know as much as you can about your target demographic, including their preferred social sites, what kind of media they share, and so on. Doing your research will allow you to tailor your content to your intended audience. For instance, if your market is mainly young males, a Reddit account could be a good way to go, whereas eye-catching visuals on Pinterest are more likely to get the attention of female social networkers, as this infographic shows.

When sharing content, be sure to add your own personality in a way that will enhance your brand. According to the SAP Community Network, you need to be “delightful, innovative and personal” to create a loyal customer base who will recommend you to others. Seize the opportunity to interact and build relationships. In addition to making that one customer feel valued, every social media interaction builds your reputation. Make sure it does so in a way that enhances your brand.

About the author: Just wish to say a big thanks to who is the founder of Lingo24, a provider of translation services in London and all over the UK. You can also follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.

Using social media automation - pros and cons