You Can Automate Your Social Media Marketing… But Should You?

Have you ever followed someone on Twitter, only to find this DM sitting in your inbox…?

“Thanks so much for the follow! We look forward to sharing great information with you.”

Or maybe this one…?

“Someone has been spreading vicious rumors about you online [Insert Suspicious Link Here]!!!”

Yeah, me too.  And did you assume that that someone had taken the time to write and send the direct message specifically to you? The moment you followed them? Probably not. (Well, at least not after the first one you saw.)

Just as you and I were able to figure out that those messages were not meant just for us, our consumers are equally as savvy when they’re using social media. They can easily spot when a message is automated and when it’s something intended specifically for them.  And if they suspect that a message has been automated, their typical response is to either ignore it altogether or simply delete it.

Given this generally-accepted social media behavior, I found it interesting that last year, when Capterra was shopping for marketing automation software, so many of the software companies boasted that their package included social media marketing automation.

As I listened to their spiel about why we should definitely upgrade our package in order get all the great social media functionality, I couldn’t help but think, “Who would want to automate their social media?”  I mean, isn’t that inherently un-social?

As it turns out, there’s several different definitions of “social media automation” when it comes to software functionality, which can include any combination of the following:

  • The ability to aggregate content to all of your social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) through one central publishing platform
  • Automatic updates that are programmatically sent out to each of your company’s social media platforms on a regular basis- sometimes even at the best time of day for your specific target audience.
  • Functionality to create social media ad campaigns or brand pages through the software
  • Social CRM features or a way to collect social profile data from your prospects. These features could even give you the ability to interact with prospects in an automated fashion, like tweeting an announcement @ each individual customer.
  • Measurement of clicks, shares, and results of your social media marketing efforts

In my opinion, some of those are great features to have in your marketing automation system, and others, well… not so much. I probably wouldn’t auto-tweet all of my customers with a big announcement because it would probably read a lot like those DMs we all delete. But would I want to measure how many of my prospects are clicking and interacting with our content? Absolutely! Likewise, I wouldn’t want to say the exact same thing on all 5 or 6 of Capterra’s social media platforms if I were sharing an article automatically, but I might want the ability to schedule the individual posts for the right time of day on each of those networks.

Regardless of your own personal social media automation preferences, know that when you’re in the market for a marketing automation solution, there will probably be bells and whistles included in the software that you don’t need. Define your company’s needs for social media marketing automation before you get on a demo, and that way you won’t be swayed into upgrading to the next package level unnecessarily.

Have you automated any of your social media? If so, what have you found to be the most effective and what was a waste of time?

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