Social Media Automation: More Conversations in Less Time

It seems like a new social network is popping up every time you sneeze. But with more and more ways to connect with our customers, it also seems like there’s less time to do it properly. Even if you’re only focusing on two or three strategic outlets, there’s a danger of stretching yourself too thin.

That’s why automated posting is indispensable:

  • Allows you to form a long-term content strategy, rather than staring at the screen wondering what you’re going to post today.
  • Saves you time on posting content so you can focus more on fostering the conversation.
  • Ensures posts get published when they should (for optimal impressions, engagement and search engine ranking) – no matter what crisis pops up at the office that day.
  • Allows you to post on weekends, holidays and vacation without lifting a finger. You can be posting about the Super Bowl while watching the Super Bowl.

But don’t set it and forget it.

  • You want more time to foster the conversation – not to let an automated system represent your brand. Posting a clever meme once a day won’t do you much good if you neglect to answer questions posted on your wall.
  • Stay alert to current events, and update your scheduled posts accordingly.
    • Take advantage of light stuff – Like Oreo’s tweet during last year’s Super Bowl blackout.
    • Stay sensitive to heavy stuff – Not like U.K. supermarket Tesco, who accidentally auto-tweeted a post about “hitting the hay” just as the horse meat scandal broke out (they ended up running an expensive apology campaign). 

Which automated services should you use?

Hootsuite and Buffer are currently the two big names in auto-posting. Both are good programs, so it’s up to you which one you choose. Both:

  • Have free and paid versions.
  • Connect with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and WordPress.
  • Help you schedule posts by analyzing which times are optimal for engagement.
  • Help you monitor analytics.

Currently, I use Hootsuite. I like that it lets you plan out several posts at a time in a spreadsheet, and then bulk upload them – much easier than scheduling them each individually.

Use Facebook’s scheduler for posts on that platform. Facebook’s current algorithm ranks Facebook-scheduled posts higher than Hootsuite-scheduled posts.

Post manually on Pinterest and Instagram. There’s no service to automate posts for these two platforms yet.

Blogging gives you a choice. Most blogging platforms offer post-scheduling, if you don’t like doing it through Buffer or a.

Keep an eye on analytics.

Analytics or “insights” allow you to monitor engagement and determine which posting times and which types of content earn you the best response.

  • Hootsuite and Buffer monitor all the pages you manage through them.
  • Pinterest doesn’t connect to either, but has its own analytics.
  • For your blog or website, use Google Analytics.
  • Consider a paid service for more robust monitoring. Radian6, for instance, monitors positive and negative mentions of your brand across the web, and makes it easy for you to craft responses in real time.

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