Using technology to make your life easier should be what it is all about. Many businesses use technology together with their social media to great effect, enabling them to build audiences that are engaged with their brand. There are a number of benefits to automating aspects of social media, such as saving time, scheduling publications for when you are not available and recycling content to ensure you have a consistent presence.
Unfortunately there are also some downsides to automating all aspects of your social media. The main one being that it stops being… social. There are services out there that will promise to get you x number of followers for your Twitter account, or guarantee to manage your accounts with a specified number of posts per day. Businesses that take this approach are missing the point of social media. Often the only audience they attract is the response of another businesses automated social media service. They end up with a list of followers who are not the businesses, or people who are going to buy your product or service, read and share your posts, or engage with you in your social network.
If you are going to outsource your social media don’t just chase quantity over quality. Make sure the service you are going to use is not just producing duplicate content across various accounts. When you outsource your social media you are trusting the service you choose to represent your organisation and they should be considered as an extension of your business. Your business is responsible for the content that is being shared, even if you have not produced it yourself.
There can be downsides to automating all of your social media management, or outsourcing it to the wrong agency. Here are some problems to avoid:
Out of season – Some automation software is used to re-post old content. This can be useful to keep your content live and share older content that is still relevant to your audience. You do have to be careful if any of your content is time specific. For example re-tweeting your Christmas messages in the the middle of summer is a quick way to disengage your audience and come across as fake.
Promoting the competition – I’ve seen businesses using automated techniques to manage their social media directly promoting the competition on their social media feeds, perhaps because they have configured automatic retweets of certain keywords. If your business is guilty of this then you need to pay closer attention to what content you are sharing. It is better to send your audience no message at all than actively promote your competitors.
Not available to respond to replies – Not long ago I noticed a Twitter post from a company for a new product they were releasing. I was interested in it and replied to the tweet to enquire: Where can I get this from? I didn’t get any response. Here was a company that had a definite lead for a sale and didn’t even respond to a direct query such as where someone could buy their product from.
Not taking an active part in your social media network – This doesn’t just happen with automation, but is a common problem for many businesses. Social media should be a two-way relationship between a business and its audience. The most successful organisations take time to interact with their network and not just post content at them. Take a look at what is going on around your business and it will help you build a better picture of the goals and needs of your customer base, helping your business to serve them more effectively.
Inappropriate or controversial – If you are automating posts make sure they do not cause offence because of their timing. There may be an event or news item occurring that causes your posts to be inappropriate. You should always have someone checking your content before it is released.
Irrelevant content – Some marketing agencies share content around various accounts from their different customers. This can sometimes be a great way to get your message shared but it is often of absolutely no benefit or relevance to the customer whose Twitter account they are managing, but is purely done to assist the agency in promoting another business using your social media audience. If it isn’t relevant content, it has the capacity to not only get ignored, but can also result in you losing engagement and your audience.
Knowing your business – Another common issue with using the wrong third party to run your social media is that they do not take the time to get to know and understand your business. Make sure if you are outsourcing your social media that the business you employ understands your goals and what you hope to achieve from your social media presence.
Does any of the above remind you of issues you have experienced with your social media? If so, it is time to review your presence and ask yourself if your business is benefiting from its social media channels, or just using them for the sake of it. A balanced approach is the best way to make the most of the technology available, your business needs to actively manage its social media and aim to build relationships, not just followers.
Get in touch if you would like to learn how your business can use social media channels to increase engagement and conversions in your market.