Benefits of Social Media Automation
- save time for manually sharing your post on each of your social platforms and social communities,
- maintain a consistent content stream on multiple social media platforms,
- become more productive and efficient,
- extend the outreach of blog content on a regular basis,
- find out and set up a plan to post at the best times for each network,
With automation tools, you will get more time to brainstorm your content and to become more creative in producing valuable content for your audience.
What You Should Not Do With Social Media Automation
#1: Don’t sound like a robot
Don’t automate everything. Don’t automate the same content in the identical way for all social platform. Try to make some changes and personalize the content as per the requirement of the respective social medium. Don’t repeat your posts ever and ever again. Mix automated content with personal content and curated content to give your social feeds a lively and personal appearance. Customize your posts and personalize the content as per the requirement of the respective social media channel. Avoid automating posts that should be personal like messages, comments or replies. Auto-replies and auto DMs are not engaging and so your followers are very unlikely to engage with them.
#2: Don’t schedule too far ahead
Scheduling your posts is a great way to fill your time-lines with a consistent content stream and also to free you from work on weekends and holidays or when you go for a vacation. Nevertheless, I would recommend not to scheduling content way far in time. When scheduling too many posts too far ahead, you will easily loose track. Also, current events can make your content look outdated or misplaced. You may schedule your evergreen content to be re-posted over a couple of month. But, I would recommend not to schedule your regular posts for more than a couple of weeks to keep your schedule flexible for current events and fresh content.
#4: Don’t automate curated content you haven’t read yourself
Don’t rely on social media automation for curating content you haven’t revised or at least scanned to grasp the relevancy for your audience. You might be posting content not relevant or even annoying for your audience due to a mismatch of keywords or other automation criteria. Don’t just curate, but always add a personal comment why you post it and always encourage your follower to engage.
3 Golden Rules For Smart Social Media Automation
#1: Know your social media audience
Don’t push everything everywhere just because social media automation makes it to do so. Relevant content is still king. And relevancy of content is the backbone and the core rule for your social media success. Always remember why your followers follow you. Only automate content that is relevant for your specific audience and for the specific social channel you are posting to. Always tell your audience why you think this content might be relevant for them to encourage reading and engagement with your posts.
#2: Tailor your social media posts for each social platform and audience
Social media platform specific features
- length of your post: maximum numbers of characters vary from 140 to 2000 and more characters for your posts
- post format: link post, image or video post or life cast
- number and size of images that can be uses for your post
- #hashtags: allow you to make your posts search-able for keywords or joint current topics and discussions
- @handles: allow you to reach out to other users and let them know you mention them in your post
- emojis: make your emotions visible in your post and let your audience know how you feel
- Always add personal comments to introduce your post: tell your audience why they should follow your link and read your post, ask questions to encourage comments and response.
- Use visuals where possible. Posts with images and videos get more response than posts without.
- Insert a few selective and relevant #hashtags where possible to make it easier for others to find your posts. But remember, posts on Twitter work best with 2-4 hashtags, whereas on Facebook they work better without. On Instagram you may use up to 30 hashtags.
- Use handles where possible and relevant in order to give credit or message specific users.
- Apply emojis where possible to let your audience know how you feel about your content and make your emotions visible.
- Add call to actions where applicable: It’s quite easy: ask for shares to get more shares.
#3 Schedule your posts for the right time on each social network
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How to Choose and Work with Social Media Automation Tools
Before you start to look for social media automation tools, think of the various tasks you might want to get automated. For the perfect content mix on your social feeds.
- Share your own content: blog posts, images, videos, articles, guest posts
- Find and curate relevant content from other sources
- Schedule and queue content on multiple social platforms (cross-platform sharing)
- Monitor and analyze your shared content
Don’t try to get everything in one single solution. This will either become very pricey, but no single solution can specialize to do everything with the very best results. So, you might rather be looking for smart tools, specializing in specific tasks.
Social media automation tools for sharing your blog content across multiple social networks
Social media automation with WordPress
For cross-promoting our blog posts on my social media accounts I use the Blog2Social WordPress plugin. The plugin allows me to cross-publish and schedule my post directly from the WordPress dashboard. It has an auto-posting as well as a customizing & scheduling feature and I always use the customizing feature to tailor my social media posts before sharing. The plugin turns my blog post automatically into an adapted format for each network I select for sharing my blog posts. A preview editor displays all posts for the selected networks on one page. So I can edit and add everything I want to change in one single step.
I can do severals changes for each network or social audience:
- edit the comment/excerpt for the post
- add personal comments, questions, #hashtags, @handles or emojis
- change the featured image with any other image from my media gallery
- change the post format for link post or image post
- schedule my posts automatically with a best time scheduler or with my personal time settings for each network, or I can edit anytime for each post individually
This takes me less than 5 minutes for all of my networks and I would always recommend to do spend this extra time. Blog2Social provides me with a simple one step work-flow for all of my networks. This still saves me the time consuming and tedious work of copy & paste & edit my texts manually on each network.
My social media cross-promotion plan
- Twitter: I add #hashtags to keywords. I also add @handles if I want to refer to a specific Twitter user for this post. If I post to more that one Twitter account, I use different tweets and schedule them at different times. I can also add more tweets to each Twitter channel, if I want to schedule multiple or recurring Tweets.
- Facebook profile: I add a personal comment to introduce my post. I ask questions or ask to comment on my post to encourage engagement.
- Facebook page: I edit my text for my business page slightly to give it a more formal touch. And I schedule it for a different time (the Blog2Social Best Time Scheduler does that automatically).
- Google profile: I use a slightly longer introduction for my post, as longer comments work better on Google+. And, I use #hashtags for keywords. Blog2Social already provides a slightly longer excerpt for Google+ and adds the tags from the blog post as #hashtags for keywords at the end of the comment. I sometimes add the same as for Facebook.
- Google page: I take the same comment as for my profile, but I schedule it for a different time.
- Google group: I do the same as for my page and I schedule the post for multiple groups on different days and times each.
- LinkedIn profile: I do the same as for Facebook, but sometimes tune the text a bit more businesslike.
- LinkedIn page or focus page: I do the same as for my Google page and I schedule my post for a different time or date from my profile
- Instagram: I sometimes add personal comments or call-for-shares, if appropriate and check the #hashtags. (Blog2Social automatically turns the tags of your post automatically into #hashtags and places them at the end of the comment)
- Pinterest: I just check the comment and the #hashtags
- Flickr: I just check the text and sometimes add more #hashtags
- Medium: I re-publish my post as it is, but I schedule my post with a 3-7 day delay to my original post. Sometimes I make a few changes to the headline and the introduction. (Blog2Social provides a rich text editor to edit anything you want or even shorten the post)
- Tumblr, torial: I do the same as for Medium.
The Blog2Social best time scheduler provides a ready-to-use time set to automatically post at the best times for each network. You can also edit and save your own personal time settings as best time settings. And, you can always edit any time for any of your post or schedule your posts multiple times or recurrently.
Social media automation tools for sharing contents from other sources across multiple social networks
You will also have other contents you should not forget to share and cross-promote across your social channels. Your
- images, photos and infographics
- videos and audio casts
- slides and presentations
- whitepapers and ebooks
- guest posts you have published on other sites
- reviews, others have written about you or your products
- articles, lists or any other mentions of your company, your products or services your would like others to read
This is all content material you can use for sharing with your social communities. The more your content is shared, the more people are likely to read it, and to share it with their communities. So, to make sure to pick up every opportunity to send your reputation across your social communities, social media automation tools can help:
For sharing content from other sources than our own blogs, I use the Blog2Social Web App to tailor my post with personal comments and to cross-share and schedule them across my various channels.
Social media automation for content research and content curation
The perfect content mix for your social feeds is a combination of 5 pieces of your own content (business / promotional content as well as personal content) and 5 pieces of curated content from other sources that you find valuable for your audience.
Seraching and curating content helps you to find:
- inspiring content, that helps you to pick up ideas about topics or certain aspects you can take up or follow-up in your own content,
- content to reach out to influencers in your industry or niche and discuss certain aspects,
- and share content to establish your social feeds as useful resource for your specific topics.
Social media tools for content curation
- Tweetdeck: helps me to monitor my twitter accounts as well as important hashtags and keywords for my topics. I can also react to @mentions, likes and re-tweets, and re-follow new followers (Free)
- Google Alerts: help me to monitor daily new content for my keywords and keyword phrases (Free)
- Digg: is an my all in one RSS reader and bookmark tool, which also shows my Twitter feed and suggests new content based on my bookmarked collection. I also integrate my Google Alerts as RSS in Digg for easier monitoring (Free and Premium). Articles I want to share I save to
- Pocket using the tag “curate”.
- I set up a receipe on IFTTT to automatically share tagged articles prom Pocket to my Twitter account and my LinkedIn timeline. I used to do the same for Facebook, but stopped, because the output of the post with IFTTT is too robotic. Other social media networks either don’t connect to IFTTT or the outcome does not work for me.
- I also use dlvr.it to import new FAQ articles to our Google+ accounts
- For sharing customized curated content on my other social media accounts I use Zapier to create a Zap for a customized RSS Feed to automatically collect my tagged articles. I import this RSS Feed to the Blog2Social Web App where I can customize and schedule the posts for each of my social networks. I can select the networks, pages and groups I find suitable for the posts, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, XING, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Diigo and Tumblr.
Social Media Plugins to encourage website visitors to share your posts
Besides sharing your own contents on social media, you should also encourage your website visitors to share your posts. Make it easy for your readers to share your posts with their social communities, once they are on your website or blog. There are several tools and plugins to help your with this tasks.
We are using the following plugins on our websites and blogs:
- Simple Social Icons: are really very simple social icons to display on your site to follow your social media feeds (Free and Premium)
- Get Social: customizable social media sharing buttons and bars & analytics (Premium).
- WWM Social Share On Image Hover: Easily add social sharing icons on every WordPress image hover (Free and Premium). (Take a look at the images included in this post to see how it works.
- Better Click to Tweet : allows you to turn shareable quotes or phrases into ready to use tweets to share your post on Twitter (Free and Premium), i.e.
Use social media automation for monitoring and analytics
- The number of views a post is a good indicator of your reach, but they say little about the attention paid to your posts.
- Even the number of like do not necessarily mean that your posts is actually read. Maybe, your followers just liked the image or headline of your posts.
- The number of shares tell you that your content was valuable enough for your followers to share them with their audience.
- The comments tell you that your followers actually read your post and build their opinion of it.
- But, only the sales you generate from your posts tell you that your content performs for your business.
This is, how you can unleash the power of social media automation:
- Social media automation is a good idea to save time for routine sharing work, particularly for blogs and businesses with multiple social media accounts.
- Social media automation help you to save time, which you can spend better on engaging with your audience.
- A solid social media automation strategy helps you achieve a consistent content stream on your social media feeds.
- Choose automation tools which give you full control over the content you share, when to share it and how you share it.
- Respect the basic rules of automation: don’t automate everything everywhere, stay human, be relevant. Tailor your content to the options of the respective social platforms and the preferences of your specific audience.
- Social media automation tools can also helps you to find valuable content to share. Also find content to inspire your own content creation process.
- Monitoring and analytics help you understand what works for your audience and your business and guide you to how you can improve your social media marketing strategy.