This article has been contributed by Vincent Sevilla.
If you have ever been involved in social media marketing, you know that one of its biggest challenges is the amount of time that it takes.
You need to continuously conceptualize content ideas that your audience will find relevant and useful. You have to research and produce the content and feed it to them frequently enough that they remain interested and engaged. On top of that, you will also need to create a content calendar that is aligned with your business goals and other complementary campaigns.
As you might imagine, this entails a ton of time and resources.
Aside from your business’ content marketing, you probably also have to provide timely responses to your customers’ questions and concerns, taking even more of your time and resources.
And after all of that, you’ll also need to understand what the analytics are saying about your performance. Are you meeting your goals? Are your efforts contributing to your bottom line?
If this sounds familiar, it’s time for you to look at social media automation.
But what exactly is social media automation? How can it make you more efficient with your resources? And will it actually be worth the investment? This article aims to provide you with what you need to know about social media automation for your business.
What is Social Media Automation?
Social media automation refers to the process of automating some (or all) aspects of your social media marketing activities.
Whether you’re a business owner, a social media manager or a marketer, you can use social media automation to:
- schedule your social media posts ahead of time
- publish your posts during peak audience times
- republish your popular posts
- set up automatic responses to your customers, and more.
By automating your social media activities, you’ll be able to spend less of your valuable time manually maintaining, growing and updating your social accounts.
It’s also likely that your brand’s social media presence will be vastly enhanced, simply due to increased efficiencies and effective use of data. Your accounts will be active beyond your regular business hours, your reach will be optimized, your performance maximized, conversion rates improved , data analyzed in real-time and your key metrics reported to you in a way you can easily interpret.
Social Media Automation Gets You Where Your Audience Is
As mentioned, social media automation allows you to publish your posts during peak audience times. This means you’ll be able to maximize your reach by publishing when your followers and potential customers are most active on social media.
Every social media platform, from Facebook to LinkedIn and Instagram to TikTok, has different peak times when it comes to their users’ activities. You’re missing out on a key opportunity to reach and engage with potential new customers if you’re posting at times when each channel’s audience is not at its highest.
How to Implement Social Media Automation
Now that you have an idea of what social media automation is and how it can help your business, you’re probably wondering exactly how to implement it on your business’s social media profiles.
Fortunately, technological advancements have made for a wealth of affordable tools you can use to automate different aspects of your social media marketing. Here are some of the more common ones that could instantly improve your social media presence.
One of the best ways to immediately improve your customers’ experience with your social media profiles is to integrate chatbots to provide timely responses to your audience’s simpler queries. This enables you to be more efficient with the use of your live human customer support resources.
A chatbot is a computer program that can simulate conversations with users. It can interact with your customers through texts, images, videos or call-to-action buttons. One of the big advantages of chatbots is that they can communicate with users on their preferred platform, including Facebook or Instagram Messenger, an online chat function on your website, Skype Chat and more.
There are numerous other advantages to creating a chatbot. They allow you to provide personalized attention for your clients in real-time, immediately respond to their queries and doubts at any time of the day, add useful functionality to your pages, and arrange programmed questions and answers in line with your business goals.
In other words, you’ll be able to provide customer support service around the clock, improve your customer experience, build stronger customer relationships, generate more sales, and streamline your social media marketing.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna have created their chatbot on Facebook Messenger. As seen below, users simply need to click “Get Started” and the chatbot will help them find their makeup shade, suggest relevant products or learn about Rihanna’s latest makeup application techniques.
Image source: socialbakers.com
A simple Google search will lead you to a plethora of affordable and easy-to-use tools that can help you create a personalized chatbot on the platforms that your customers most commonly use.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to integrate your social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, all in one place.
With Hootsuite, you can keep track and manage all of your online brands and social networks, monitor what people are saying about your brand, monitor specific search terms in real-time, and answer their enquiries in an instant.
You can also make use of numerous features, including social scheduling, sentiment analysis, and real-time update monitoring. Like other comprehensive tools in this list, the creation, planning, and scheduling of your social media content can be streamlined by Hootsuite.
And because you’re able to keep the conversations flowing seamlessly across multiple channels, you can connect with customers socially at every step of their journey – enabling you to nurture the connections that matter.
Buffer and EvergreenFeed
With Buffer’s user-friendly interface, you’ll be able to create social media campaigns and find out the best times to publish your posts. You can also use the EvergreenFeed Buffer add-on to automate your posts. If you’re in the e-Commerce business and you’re looking for a better way to develop and analyze your social media strategy, then Buffer should be your top choice.
Image source: paper.li
Paper.li is a powerful content curation service that allows you to transform shared content into online newspapers and build your digital presence. Paper.li is very user-friendly, and lets you save your time by surfacing your content, such as blogs, articles, image, and videos. If you want to look for content based on hashtags and keywords, then Paper.li is the way to go.
IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a web-based service that lets you create chains of simple conditional statements. With it, you can combine two social media platforms together to save you a lot of manual tasks.
For example, you can use IFTTT to tweet your Instagram pics as native images on Twitter. You can also post your Instagram photos to your Facebook page, track your work hours in Google Calendar, and keep your social media profile images in sync.
All in all, IFTTT is a great tool for making sure that your activities are integrated, whichever platform your audience may be on.
Image source: media.sproutsocial.com
Sprout Social is another well-known social media automation tool that you can use to schedule and publish your posts across multiple social media channels. It also allows you to create chatbots to quickly send responses to your customers, share information, resolve issues and track your progress.
If you’re working with a team, then Sprout Social is the best choice for you. It enables you to collaborate and give specific access to your team members, unify all of your connected networks and profiles into a single space and keep track of your messages.
Now that you know how to automate and improve your business’s social media pages using automation tools, there are a few things that you’ll need to consider if you want to succeed on the social media marketing automation path.
3 Tips For Social Media Marketing Automation Success
While the tools above (and many more available on the market) are already rich in features that can help you achieve tangible improvements with your social media marketing, there are some key concepts you’ll have to keep in mind to be successful.
1. Keep It As Human As Possible
The last thing you want to do when adapting automation for your business’s social media channels is to do away with the authentic human element that is needed to grow a loyal audience. Customers today crave authenticity and transparency, so while chatbots and other automation make the process much easier, you’ll want to ensure the human element is never lost.
As a business owner, you must search for ways to make your posts resonate with your following on a deeper and more personal level. You can use empathy, humor, and easy-to-understand language to make your content more relatable for your customers. But this also means you need to take the time to truly understand your audience. What language do they speak? Are they serious or more laid-back? What sort of content do they interact with the most? Paying attention to these subtle elements can make your automated posts connect with your audience.
2. Agree on What You Need to Automate
Before you start implementing automation on your business’ social media page, you’ll need to consider your overall objectives. For example, you might want to use automation tools to increase your reach and audience engagement with a steady stream of fresh content. Or perhaps your goal is to provide optimal user experience and better customer support.
The tools may be affordable, but they all still require resources. So before you get carried away with automating most parts of your social media marketing, take the time to understand what your priorities are.
3. Track Your Automation Progress
The last key point you need to remember is to regularly monitor the progress and performance of your social media automation efforts. Tracking your progress entails whether your campaigns are meeting your objectives, while also checking whether automation lets you achieve your business goals.
If you’re using chatbots, for example, check if you’re able to cut down on your customer response time. How many of those customers are satisfied with the response they got?
All of the tools mentioned above provide native analytics feature to help you understand how you’re performing. These can provide valuable insights that can vastly improve your campaigns. One business managed to boost its engagement rates by over 100% on Facebook and 300% on LinkedIn after using Sprout’s publishing and reporting features. Meanwhile, another saw their incoming social messages leap to a massive 600% increase after utilizing similar features from these automation tools.
Again, you need to have a clear understanding of what you’re looking to automate and why – this allows you to have a more clearly defined strategy when it comes to automation and enables you to make the necessary adjustments as you close in on your key metrics and goals.
There you have it. If you’re looking to improve your social media presence and save your business resources, then consider using social media marketing automation for your business’s social media activities.
But you need to keep in mind that while the rich features that automation tools provide can instantly make life easier for you, having the necessary understanding of your audience and your goals will allow you to optimize the use of these tools.
About the author: Vincent Sevilla is a professional web designer and inbound marketing strategist. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good art and to travel all the best places in the Philippines.