Social media gives people a unique opportunity to connect with others and share ideas all around the world. While individuals make great use of social media to stay connected with friends and family, businesses are also using social media as a marketing strategy. What makes some businesses effective with social media while others flounder in the vast sea of social media content? While some businesses may have the resources to hire someone to focus on their social media strategy all the time, many don’t, and with all the other responsibilities employees have as well as the many tasks that need to be accomplished, it can be difficult to spend even a fraction of the time necessary to maintain an effective social media strategy.
Social media automation is one solution for increasing social media effectiveness. It allows social media users to create content and schedule their posts to be shared on a variety of different social media platforms throughout the day. Sounds perfect, right?
While there are many benefits to using social media automation, it’s important to also realize some of the drawbacks before committing to using it as part of a social media strategy.
The Pros of Social Media Automation
Probably the most obvious benefit to automating social media content is the convenience. With programs like Hootsuite, Buffer, and even Facebook’s own scheduling system, you can create content and schedule it to appear at a specific time on multiple platforms. This is great for companies operating on multiple social sites and need a way to quickly post messages to each of them.
Reaching More People More Often
With the added convenience of automation, users can schedule their posts for the most valuable times throughout the day—the times when their followers are most active and engaged. Automation allows businesses to post their content when it is most likely to be seen and make an impact, which is especially important for sites like Facebook, where when you post matters for your overall reach.
Delivering Content Consistently
The convenience also allows businesses to ensure that they are constantly updating their platforms with new content. Consistency in delivery helps a business to build a loyal following because they’ve proven they’re reliable. Even if something unexpected comes up, automation allows a business to still meet their audience’s expectations by ensuring that updated content is delivered on time.
The Cons of Social Media Automation
Potential for Neglect
When a business uses automation—especially if it’s business on the busy side of things—it can be easy to let the social media aspect of the business to get neglected. If your automated posts aren’t monitored for their overall impact, posts can quickly become irrelevant and your audience could leave. Businesses also lose out on vital opportunities for human connection by using a third-party app instead of posting and interacting by hand.
Potential Loss of Human Connection
Social media is meant to be just that: social. An effective strategy is about building relationships. However, if a business falls into the trap of neglecting their social media strategy, human connections are negatively impacted because of the lack of interactivity between the brand and the audience. A complete reliance on automation can strip a business of the opportunity to respond to the questions and concerns of its audience in real-time.
Posting During Tragedies/Emergencies
Automating content can unfortunately create some negative opportunities when potentially insensitive posts are shared during a time of tragedy or emergency. Businesses need to remember that automation ensures consistency in their delivery, but this is an area where it can backfire on them. An example of a social media fail in the midst of tragedy was when Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter continued to post and re-post his content after the Boston Marathon bombing. The posts stuck out in the midst of a stream of other posts about the tragedy. When someone suggested he turn his tweets off, he responded negatively. Many people found this to be insensitive.
Is Automation Right for Me?
Knowing the pros and cons of social media automation allows you to better decide if this method is right for your business. However, no matter if you choose it or not, you should follow these simple tips to avoid social media disasters:
- Stay connected. Businesses need to keep in mind that social media provides the opportunity to build relationships and gain a loyal following. Therefore, automation should supplement the genuine human component of a social media strategy.
- Keep the audience in mind. Being sensitive to when tragedy strikes is just one way to keep the audience in mind. It’s also important to give people content they need when they need it, even—and maybe especially—during an emergency.
By being aware of the pros and cons of automating social media content, any business can increase their social media effectiveness.