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Social media automation? I'm all for it. It's a time saver, especially in today's social media-oriented world. I mean, who really wants to post all of that themselves in real time? It becomes a nightmare. You'd be sitting in front of your computer all day, switching between a variety of open tabs every 2-3 hours. Which is absolutely crazy, right? Besides, who would be running your business?
Therefore social media automation is a MUST. Especially for a small business. Because without it there's no way you'd be able to keep up with communicating with your audience and still do what needs to be done. It's true that automation is a major advancement. However, there are certain dangers that come along with it. And if they go unnoticed, they can do more harm than good. Which is why today we will address 7 automation mistakes. They are mistakes that your business should avoid at all costs! I'm even throwing in a few tips to make sure you completely avoid these mistakes.
MISTAKE 1 - You Have A "Set It & Forget It" Attitude
There's a reason social media is called "social" media. Seriously, social media is all about - you got it - being social. Which is why the whole "set it & forget it" mentality will do a lot of damage to your online persona. It wouldn't be a good idea to let a robot do you all socializing in real life. And the same thing applies to social media platforms! No one wants to interact with a robot. Period.
Sadly this is exactly what can happen when you use the set it & forget it policy with your automation tool. Yes, automation is important. But so is live engagement. In fact, it's the most important part of the process. I can't stress this enough.
Automation is supposed to make your life easier. I mean who doesn't love being able to schedule their social media content in advance? But automation doesn't replace live engagement. Would you really want to replace live engagement with automation? After all, being able to actually interact with your audience (in real time) is one of the best things about social media.
After all, interaction is how you build relationships, connections, and not to mention, make your business and brand noticeable. It's essentially how you prove that behind this social media image, there is a real, live human being.
Tip 1: Automate your social updates and then ALWAYS engage with your audience at least once a day.
MISTAKE 2 - You Overuse Automation
The overuse of automation is a serious pitfall. Just because you have the power to do so, you shouldn't. You don't want your followers to dread seeing a post from you. It's like eating hot dogs all day. At some point, your body starts to have some serious negative reactions. Same thing goes when you automate too much. It isn't good for anyone that's involved.
So the question becomes, how much is too much? Is there a magic number one draws the line at? Sadly there isn't. However, this number does depend on the social media platform you use. Sure, 10 tweets to Twitter might work, but it won't work with Instagram. The main thing to remember is to not over-post to the point where you followers become annoyed. Yes, your followers have chosen to connect with you, but it doesn't mean they want to hear from you all the time.
More often than not, they log into their accounts to stay in touch with family and friends. Therefore an occasional post from their favorite page has the ability to capture their attention. But if you're posting 10 updates just from you, they could end up unfollowing you. The best way to avoid over-posting is to come up with a schedule. You can see our post on social media scheduling here.
How To Come Up With An Acceptable Posting Frequency
- Test out each schedule for at least a month before you finalize anything. Once you have your monthly data for each type, you're golden. You can then do a comparative study to see which posts perform the best.
- Be sure to take a look at your analytics for each platform you use. Your analytics will show you when the majority of your audience is active. Which is crucial to creating a thriving account.
- Based on your data, you can then come up with a posting schedule. I suggest starting with 3, to begin with. Go ahead and create your posts with your automation tool of choice and schedule them.
- You can then adjust your schedule accordingly. This way you won't over publish. Your feed will have just the right amount of updates for your audience. It's a win-win for everyone involved.
Tip 2: It's best not to annoy your audience with automation tools. Instead, it's a good idea to come up with a posting schedule that works for you. One that is rooted in your own analytics. This way you know that you're posting just the right amount of content for your specific audience.
MISTAKE 3: You Don't Checkup On Your Content
It's such a bad idea to assume that everything is running smoothly. When it comes down to it, you are essentially using a tool and that tool relies heavily on your performance. Keep this in mind: that tool isn't smart enough to know what works and what doesn't. I mean who knows, that might all change in a few years. But for now, we haven't reached that stage yet.
Websites, URLS, and Twitter handles change, just like most things do. There is no guarantee that a post you linked to a year ago will still exist in the next four months. Which leads us to the next issue. There is nothing more disappointing than sharing something with your followers that leads them to a 404 error page.
This is why it's crucial to audit your content from time to time. Just to make sure that everything is still working the way that it should. You don't want to disappoint anyone with the wrong information. It's also important to brush up on some content marketing skills.
Tip 3: Don't leave room for assumptions and set some time aside each month to check in on your scheduled content.
MISTAKE 4: You Sound Like A Bot and Are Lacking A Human Voice
Your automation tool does what you tell it. Therefore you need to make sure to add that human voice to your posts. Because you want to make them sound like they're coming from an actual human being. Yeah, you're using an automation tool, but it is in no way replacing you.
Maybe you've found something interesting that you'd like to share with your readers. Don't just copy and paste the headline of the article into your posts. Instead, you should add your own touch to it. Share a little bit about why you liked the article. Or why you thought your audience would like it. Highlight some of the main points in your post. This way your audience will know what to expect when they move on to the full article. In other words, craft your posts with your own voice as if you were talking to someone face to face.
Although it might be somewhat difficult to achieve this on Twitter, due to its 140 character limit, other platforms give you the chance to be wordier. As an added bonus when your audience notices that you actually made the effort to say something, they will be more inclined to engage with you!
Tip 4: Aside from Twitter, be as wordy as you want. Just make sure to use your own voice.
MISTAKE 5: You're Posts Are a Boring and Repetitive
Please do not use your automation tool to repeat the same exact updates across all of your social media platforms. Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should. People will notice and they will get bored pretty quickly. You really need to at least change the copy if you are planning on repeating your content. However, you don't want to use the same copy for all your platforms at the exact same time. Simply because each platform is different. Hashtags don't work on LinkedIn or Facebook as well as they do on Twitter or Instagram.
Let's say that you want to share a post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Since you might repeat your content more often on Twitter than the others, you'll need to write at least 8-10 different versions of it. Even then you'll repeat the same post (with different text) at least three times a day.
Now, whenever you share the same post on the same day on different platforms you won't use the same text that you used for Twitter. In fact, you'll write different, more detailed ones for Facebook and LinkedIn. Then you can repeat them on separate platforms after a month or so.
The takeaway here? Repeating stuff on social media is a good thing if you add in a human factor. You should only use your automation tool to your advantage, not your disadvantage. Don't forget to include some good photographs. The right photograph can truly help grow your brand.
Tip 5: Go ahead and write up different texts for each one of your platforms. Then add them to your automation tool without using the same one for each channel.
MISTAKE 6: Your Content Is Irrelevant
This mistake comes straight from mistake 3. It all comes down to whether or not you are checking in on your scheduled content. Which should be done every now and then. Aside from that, you don't want to talk about content that isn't current. And your automated content might be full of stuff that isn't irrelevant. This is why checking up on it is a good idea. Because Facebook changes a lot, an old post about tips on how to optimize your Facebook business page wouldn't be valid today if it's outdated.
Of course, you always need to make sure that your schedule is chockful of excellent content. Now it might be a little harder to achieve that all the time. Because honestly, there are bound to be instances when you share things that can become outdated afterwhile. This can also happen when your content contains an old coupon code or a special offer that you ran for a limited time. However, you don't want to share your offer once it's ended. This is another excellent reason to check your content.
This can have a highly negative effect on your reputation on social media. Besides the types of mistakes leads to your audience questioning why you didn't care enough to check your scheduled content.
Tip 6: Make sure you check in on your scheduled content to make sure that what you share actually makes sense.
MISTAKE 7: You Neglect Your Analytics
Analytics is a great way to see if your schedule is actually working. You can also use them as a way to keep things running smoothly. However, the point is that even your schedule needs to be changed every once in awhile. Just because you have had the same schedule for the last three months, it doesn't mean that it should stay that way. Especially if it isn't working. You could have gained followers or even lost a few. This is where checking your analytics come into play.
If you see that things have negatively changed it's time to adjust your schedule for the better. For example, if you are based in PST timezone you might have a lot of followers who reside in the EST timezone. As a result, you might want to consider balancing out your updates to accommodate both time zones. This way the majority of your followers aren't missing any of your posts.
Tip 7: Don’t assume that your automated schedule can't change. Check your analytics periodically to see what will work best for you at any given time.
We hope you've found this helpful. There's definitely a lot to consider when it comes to the do's and don't-s of social media automation. If you follow the tips we provided you're on the track to awesome results. Do you use automation to schedule your social media content? Which tools do you use? And how often do you check in on your content? Let us know in the comments below so we can discuss!