Today, you experience automation every day. Your phone or computer corrects your spelling, a car parks itself, lights automatically turn on, off, or dim. Automation takes simple tasks off our to-do lists and completes them automatically. It can make any job easier and offload the burden of cumbersome or tedious tasks, but just like any tool, it has appropriate uses and best practices, including social media automation.
Social Media Automation
Social media is immensely valuable for any business or brand today. It is the main way you reach and engage with your customers and audience. Managing those channels can also take a serious investment of time and resources. There are numerous automation tools available for social media. These allow you to devote less time to maintaining your social media pages which could otherwise take continuous hours of attention. Instead, by using automation properly, you can dedicate time and resources to other aspects of your brand’s marketing without sacrificing the crucial role of your social media.
Some common tools include:
Post scheduling – Post schedulers allow you to pre-schedule posts and other content days, weeks, even months ahead. With post-scheduling automation, you can create a consistent feed of posts that go live at peak times, ensuring your followers and others see them regularly and stay engaged with your brand. This drastically reduces the time needed to create and schedule posts compared to if you were doing them individually at their live times.
Analytics tools – These tools automatically assemble data from your social media and provide important metrics for engagement, impressions, and reach in real-time. They can also provide recommendations for improving these, such as identifying peak posting times for reaching your audience. Some tools can also automatically generate a report at scheduled intervals and email them to you.
Automatic responses – With chatbots, you can have your social media account automatically respond to comments or messages. These chatbots are good for answering simple questions, such as about contact information or order status. You should not use these to respond to every question or comment.
Social Commerce – Chatbots can also be automated to provide customers with product or service recommendations when they message your social media accounts. These can help guide your customers through the purchasing process and increase your sales by providing customers personalized recommendations. However, these recommendations are limited to how much information they have about your products and services.
How Automation Can Ruin Your Business
Social media automation is an incredibly useful tool; however, if used incorrectly it can harm your brand’s social media presence and thereby your business. The backend tools mentioned above, such as post-scheduling and analytics tools, are great because they provide you with convenience and invaluable information for maintaining and improving your social media. You need to be cautious with any front-facing automations that your customers and audience engage with.
Any automation for your engagement, such as comments or responses, presents the risk of creating disingenuous interactions. While some might expect an automated response for a quick question about hours, leaving automation to answer every message robs your business and brand of its human element. Automations will quickly flounder when handling more complex questions or requests for product recommendations. This will only further frustrate your audience and customers. How many times have you just wanted to get customer service from a human while a robot bouncer stands in your way?
If you automate your likes and comments, your audience and customers will similarly recognize a machine is responsible rather than a person. Your brand will quickly seem inauthentic. That perceived inauthenticity will lead to people distrusting your company. They will assume if you automate your brand’s social media persona, you automate your business. People trust and prefer interacting with humans, i.e. you!
Just like your audience does not like automated engagement, neither do social media services themselves. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter see automated likes and responses as harmful to user experience. Therefore, they regularly shut down automation services that make constant comments or, worse, create fake accounts to drive up followers or create fake engagement because they jeopardize the human element of their service.
That same human element is what people want to associate with your brand. They attach to its people, not the robots working on the backend. So, while automation certainly has its uses and benefits, do not be tempted to automate everything. It’s social media, be social. You’re human, be human.
Have more questions about social automation and how it can help or hinder your business? Contact us to learn more!