Social media started out as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. Now it’s become another way in which companies connect with their current and future customers. The use of automation to put content out on social media has a predictable outcome. Using it correctly can be a benefit to your business. Have no respect for it and disaster awaits you!
Social media automation is not meant to replace the personal touch inherent with social networks. Sending spam messages about your product or services out Facebook is not what it’s about. Much like the content on a website, putting content on a social media site takes thought, planning and time. Doing it right is an investment. Unlike a website, once content is published onto your social networks, potentially thousands of people will see it in a few minutes.
How bad is the risk?
Automation should be used only as a timesaving tool. It does not replace the need to be thoughtful about its message. Those in charge of social media accounts can send out an ill-thought message thousands will see just as easily as sending out a good message. In just a few minutes the reputation of a company can be tarnished. It will take hours of work to reverse that mistake.
Be smart about it
Like all tools, the more you know about them, the better it can be used. Learn everything you can about the particular automation tool you’re considering. What do all of the options and preferences do? When would you and would you not use them? Find a way to experiment where you’re not affecting your live social networking sites if you don’t understand something completely. Don’t just guess on the meaning of something.
Be balanced about your use of automation
There are times when it makes perfect sense to put out a mass message to your social networks, such as an unannounced but regular product announcement once a week. Pay attention to the responses you get, both the likes and dislikes. There is a threshold at which people will feel you are abusing the privilege of their connection.
Craft the content of a message to your social networks that conveys what you wish in as few words as it takes. The goal is to spark interest and get people to go to your website, call or email you. A message that takes just a few seconds to read and includes a call to action is more effective than something that bores them after two minutes. A brief message also leaves the door open for a quick follow-up if something changes and you decide the new information needs to get out to your market right away. Boring people with a second long message is not cool.
Watch the response to your message. Reply to people. Post little notes on your network. Use the automated message as a way to open up the dialogue between you and your network. From then on, be an active participant in the conversation.
Be mindful about timing
Put some thought into the timing of the messages. Remember that a reaction to your message can be good or bad and can come from many people. Make sure the timing is right and fits into the flow of information that is already in front of people.
Learn to use automation with your social media the right way and you can have some great success. Abuse it and you can have some great failures. Social media is a relatively new frontier for business and we are all still learning how to use it. Start out right and make it a part of your marketing and communication plan.
Grady Winston is an avid internet entrepreneur and guest blogger from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients. Using social media to connect with current and future customers is an effective way to market your business, do not overlook the opportunity.
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