A set-it-and-forget-it social media strategy makes it difficult to actively engage your followers — and can hurt even the biggest brands if a seemingly innocuous tweet gets posted at the wrong time.
Automation is best used for complementing — not replacing — your real-time social media posts. Not sure what posts are OK to automate and what content is best shared manually? Here are a few rules to follow:
It’s OK to Automate…
- Evergreen content. Content that isn’t time-sensitive can be automated to help save time. Try not to schedule posts too far in advance — this makes it easier to forget about them. Always check relevance and appropriate timing a few days before each scheduled post.
- Event listings. Have an event coming up? Schedule posts to quickly inform your followers about the event as it approaches. Remember to follow up on any replies to those posts and set your posting schedule so the information doesn’t get lost in your feed.
- Blog or RSS posts. Ensure the content you’re creating gets posted in a timely manner. Most blog platforms offer tools that automatically share new posts to authorized social networks. Before activating, format the social post structure to match your brand’s voice.
- Curated content. Building your brand on social media isn’t just about sharing your own content. “Source-neutral” content benefits your audience and helps your brand gain credibility. Automation tools can help share this content with your followers at the right time.
It’s Not OK to Automate…
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- Replies and comments. Even if you’re overwhelmed with a high volume of post responses, automatic replies make your brand appear robotic and should be avoided. Followers appreciate brands that take the time to construct individual replies — it makes the interaction more genuine.
- Direct messages. Those who have expressed an interest in a brand don’t like being immediately met with “Thanks for the follow! Check out…” It may take more time, but it’s better to engage with your followers one-on-one.