What is Social Media Automation?
Social media automation means using tools and software to automate or semi-automate the process of creating, posting and sharing content on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can often automate simultaneous activities on different channels with one tool. It’s one key component of overall marketing automation.
By automating some of your company’s social media activities with social media automation tools, you can ensure you stay active across your social accounts without being forced to update and post in real time. It’s honestly quite like magic! ?
Social media marketing is everything today. Having an active social media presence will help you connect your business with customers, increase your brand visibility, boost your sales, and help you with customer acquisition.
It’s time to get fully on board that social media hype train along with everyone else and their grandmas. With this handy guide, you’ll find out exactly what you need to perfect your social media shenanigans.
Why Use Social Automation?
To kick things off, let’s start with a simple question: Why should you care about social media automation in the first place? Let’s go through a few reasons and useful examples.
Drive Targeted Traffic To Your Website
With social media automation, you can pick and choose what content to display to a specific customer based on their past behavior, interests and much more.
This, in turn, will help guide traffic to your website. Customers who are interested in your content can easily move from social media platforms to your website with a simple click. And hopefully convert.
Boost Your Website’s SEO
Evergreen content is SEO content that stays relevant and can be reposted across your social networks over time without losing its value. It includes relevant keywords that drive search traffic from search engines like Google.
Additionally, evergreen content drives traffic from other websites that link to your site. Yep, that’s right: when you create a high-quality, evergreen piece of content that people will want to read and share on social media, others are likely to link to your articles for SEO purposes too.
Understand Your Customers Needs & Wants
Social media platforms collect an immense amount of data about their users. With automation tools, you can leverage this data and offer your customers the kind of content they’re interested in.
For example, you can easily follow hashtags, likes and reshares to figure out if your content is actually resonating with your customers. While likes won’t give you much insight into whether customers are actually converting, it’s a handy way of finding out if your content is relevant or not.
Build Your Brand
Brand awareness should be one of the top priorities for any business, as it 1) creates an identity that helps your customers get to know and trust you and 2) distinguishes you from your competitors.
An active social media presence will help with brand building, as people who don’t even follow you will be exposed to your content through different platforms. If and when that content is relevant to them, they’ll soon trust your brand to consistently create and share high-quality content. And you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to buy.
Due to algorithms, a large chunk of social media content is not as easily visible as before. Now paid ads are often an excellent way to reach a wider audience, and the best way to run paid ads is through social media management tools and systems.
Additionally, many platforms have their own systems for paid ads (including Facebook Business Manager, Twitter Ads Manager, LinkedIn Ads) that you can use to target and reach relevant users.
The ROI on social media ads can be humongous. You can easily measure it by calculating how much you’re spending on paid social advertising in relation to how many leads or sales you get through social media ads.
Acquire New Customers
You can easily reach high-quality prospects who aren’t yet familiar with your brand by using social media automation tools to target users that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Make sure that visitors can easily click directly to your website from the social media platform your content is on. This way once someone new finds your brand or product, conversion is as easy as possible.
Generate More Sales
Social media marketing helps you easily interact with your audience and target and influence your customers – all of which can help you get more happy, paying customers in the long run.
Keep Your Social Media Presence Consistent
Many automation tools help you schedule when to share content and plan your social media presence ahead of time, which helps you keep your schedule consistent.
Different times of day are the most optimal times to post on different platforms. Instead of having your marketing team members manually press the “publish” button at exactly the right times, you can create and find the content beforehand and time it to be published automatically.
There are also tons of tools that can help you find relevant content to share and when to share it. We’ll get into some awesome tools later, but for example News.me collects all stories that have been shared most often with your Facebook or Twitter contacts, which you can then also share – already knowing that your contacts will want to read it .
Save A Lot Of Time
Manually creating, posting and sharing content across all your social media platforms in real time takes up a lot of hours that you could be using for other things, like planning your strategy and ensuring all your content is high quality. It’s true that social media automation can be a time saver.
Also, social media automation gives you and your social media team more time to focus on replying to individual inquiries, messages and comments one-to-one. And that’s exactly how you create those real connections with your audience.
Gain Better Control Over Your Social Media Strategy
With social media automation, you can easily control the type of content you share, the time at which you post it (you can schedule content and posts for weekends or even the middle of the night if you feel like it ?), your posting frequency , and your activity on multiple platforms at once.
Taking care of all these repetitive tasks individually is way too time-consuming. Also, once your social media posts are automated, they’ll be sent out exactly when you’ve timed them, which helps you follow and analyze your social marketing data.
21 % of people unfollow brands that post repetitive or boring content, 19% unfollow brands that post too often (6+ times a day). Other main reasons to unfollow are offensive activity and content unrelated to the brand.
Measure How Your Social Media Accounts Are Performing
Once you automate your social media shenanigans, you can easily monitor the social engagement (likes, reshares etc.) your content receives on different social media platforms, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
You can figure out what metrics are relevant for you (likes, reshares, lead gen, sales?) and follow them carefully within one tool. All the analytics then help you understand what you’re doing right or wrong with your social media marketing strategy.
If something’s not working, you can take the necessary steps to improve it based on actual numbers and not just best guesses.
Social Media Marketing In 3 Easy Steps
Here at Drift we use a lot of social automation. Follow these 3 steps to achieve your goals & build a following.
1. Know What To Automate (And When)
Automate and recycle your own (and others’) evergreen content between new posts. Your presence on social media should be consistent (which means that you should also post consistently) and creating new content from scratch all day every day is simply pointless.
There’s a ton of good stuff out there – content curation, or borrowing from others that have already done the work for you by creating it, is something you can easily do. Update and recycle your own evergreen content whenever it makes sense.
Analytics tools will tell you when your followers are online and interacting with you so that you can schedule your posts during the best times. Just remember to pay attention to different time zones.
This was already mentioned, but we’ll say it again because it’s crucial: Don’t automate human interactions. Ever. You know what’s not a good look? Sending out spammy automated DMs or replies.
Here’s a real-life example: When American Airlines merged with US Airways, they created an automated thank you message on Twitter to be sent out each time someone mentioned them, assuming these mentions would be positive. This backfired with unhappy customers who were tagging them with something entirely different than a “thank you” in mind. ?
2. Make Sure All Your Social Media Content Is Actually Relevant
Make sure your content is always relevant to your brand and target audience. This also means that you should only post content of the highest quality.
When curating and recycling content from other creators, make sure that the headline is always customized to fit each platform. Something that looks good on LinkedIn might not work on Instagram.
Use analytics tools to know what content draws traffic and what doesn’t to figure out what’s actually performing well with your followers and users who are interacting with your brand on social media.
And here’s one more tip, free of charge: Don’t be too salesy.
A good way to avoid this is following the 411 principle of social media, which means that per each cycle of social media posts you publish 4 original posts, 1 recycled or curated post and one self-promotional post. That one self-promotional post is where you get to tell everyone why your product is simply better than its competitors.
3. Choose The Correct Tools For The Correct Platforms
We’ll get to those tools in just a second, but let’s quickly discuss the why first. Why not simply share your well-performing piece of content across every single social media channel?
The truth is that because people use different social media channels for entirely different purposes, the same things will not work everywhere. Pick your battles based on your social media strategy and use analytics to see what works best for your company specifically.
Also, it’s not a good idea to schedule the same social media posts for all platforms. Always curate and edit your content to suit each different platform. This includes not only the post itself, but also headings, CTAs, images, and so on.
Social Media Automation Tools For Different Platforms
To make the different platforms you’re using talk to each other and work together as seamlessly as possible, you could consider something like IFTTT or Zapier.
IFTTT is a plugin that helps all your apps work quite seamlessly together with certain predefined triggers, so you can for example automatically retweet something based on hashtags.
Zapier is a similar solution in many ways. You can get your email app to send automated emails once someone comments on a Facebook post, and have all the relevant information in your CRM in no time.
While there are tons of different social media management software and automation tools for individual platforms out there, here’s a quick introduction to some of best ones.
Tools for Twitter Automation
For automating your Twitter account , you could try something like Buffer – it’s designed to post your tweets automatically and suggest the best times to do so.
Another handy tool is Crowdfire – it allows you to find inactive users so that you can unfollow them, and also offers tools for analytics. It also posts content cross-platform, and suggests ideal times for posting on each one of them.
Tools for Facebook Automation
Hootsuite supports all the leading social media platforms. You can easily follow analytics and create reports, use an advanced search feature and schedule posts and replies. Another interesting one is Buzzsumo, which allows you to look for relevant content and filter results based on location, domain, platform and so forth.
Tools for LinkedIn Automation
Dux Soup is a useful plugin for lead generation: Endorse the skills of your connections, subscribe to updates and send personalized images. But as LinkedIn says on their website as well, you should use it responsibly and according to the user agreement.
Tools for YouTube Automation
If you want to step up your YouTube game, tools like Jarvee help with growing your YouTube account (and others like Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook) by following relevant influencers and accounts and thus giving your company exposure.
Socinator is another system that helps you keep tabs on what’s happening on your channel, and it also offers help with auto-subscription and auto-liking other channels.
Tools for Instagram Automation
Instagram has loads of useful automation tools. You could check out Later for scheduling and planning the look of your company’s Instagram feed and Instagram stories, or try SocialCaptain, an AI module that distributes content to your ideal customers and recalibrates its targeting automatically based on your account engagement.
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