Normally, I’m a strong opponent to automating your social media marketing! Automation is really the antithesis of social media — which is designed to be authentic, two-way conversations that look more like friendship than commercial transactions.
But, face it. If you’re spending ALL your time doing low-value tasks like sharing content, curating content, and tracking clickstreams by hand, you’re TOO busy to do the high-value tasks like listening and responding to consumers, creating posts that show you’re a human being, and writing posts that create value for your target audience.
A balance between automation and personal engagement is thus necessary to optimize your social media marketing. And, here’s a great infographic from Marketo showing how businesses can automate SOME of their social media marketing.
Social media marketing automation
Listed in the infographic are some tasks businesses might automate to optimize their social media marketing. Some seem reasonable, others seem like they’ll damage your relationships rather than build them.
Let’s take a look at some:
Relationship building automation
- Nurture leads not yet ready to buy
This makes sense because efforts to build too close a relationship before the customer is ready just feels creepy.
I nurture and develop leads through sharing content created or curated with my target audience in mind. I use Hootsuite to automatically share this content across multiple social media. I also use a monthly newsletter developed using AWeber.
Hootsuite creates a dashboard brining all my social media engagement to a single place. From there, engagement is handled manually, with each comment, RT, and post hand-crafted by my social engagement team.
See, balanced automation to improve engagement, not computer generated autoresponses that just aren’t authentic.
I track responses from my leads, such as opens for my newsletters. I also have a proprietary algorithm I created to score folks in my social network to uncover “hot” lead quickly. Hot leads go directly to the salespeople.
I track ROI using tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights for Business, and engagement tools within Hootsuite.
Timing and scheduling
Although not mentioned, this is a great part of social media marketing worth automating. I have to sleep sometime and so does my team — although younger staff seem to defy this logic.
But, some of my clients and their customers are ALWAYS awake. So, how to manage engagement while you’re asleep? Automate.
Now, I’m not advocating you send robo-responses to customers, just that you think about when you share content, so customers awake when you’re not still get fresh content to their newsfeeds and streams. Again, I use Hootsuite for that. I schedule sharing so that posts share several times, including while I’m asleep and my clients and customers half a world away are awake.
Other great automation
Don’t forget to automate things for your customers and visitors. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to sign up for your email newsletter and RSS feeds or to link to your social networks by placing these buttons in prominent locations on your website, in emails, and correspondence.
I also love linking comments from my blog with Facebook. That way, customers and friends comment to a post on Facebook and it automatically generates a comment to the post on my website (I use a great plugin for this, but there are several good ones).
Relationship destroying automation
I don’t care who or what — NEVER send an autoresponse to anyone. When someone takes the time to mention you, send you a comment, or other action, they DESERVE a personal response — and fast. Set standards for how long staff has to respond to a post or mention and track this. Ensure you have enough staff to maintain this standard. It may be expensive, but the alternative is damaging to your reputation both online and off. Don’t take the chance to destroy all your great work.
Now, the one exception to this rule is sending confirmation when someone subscribes to your email newsletter or request your ebook. I don’t think folks expect a personal response in either of these contexts.
Don’t you HATE that — friends who link their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Each social platform has a particular format and strategy for success. I DON’T want to see autoposts on my Facebook wall that are 140 characters directly from your Tweets. Spend the little extra effort to craft posts for EACH social network.
We’re here for you. Let me know your pains and I’ll show you how we can fix them. Whether it’s lead generation, listening and monitoring, or a full social media strategy, our team of trained professionals is just what the Doctor ordered.
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Brought to you by Marketing Automation Software from Marketo