Does Automating Social Media Make You Less Social?

Does Automating Social Media Make You Less Social?

The good news is that you’ve been made the social media expert for your company. The bad news? You still have all your previous responsibilities to manage along with this new role.

As companies are seeing the importance of social media and testing the waters on Facebook and Twitter, it doesn’t always make sense to have a dedicated social media expert.  As a result, many employees have an additional responsibility piled onto their already full plate.

With all the social media tools out there, it’s tempting to automate your efforts to save time.  However, automation doesn’t always help you achieve your goals.

The key to making social media tools work for you – and not the other way around – is to familiarize yourself with the variety of options that exist. Then, decide what you want to focus on for your particular social media responsibilities and select only the tools that help you do your job better.

It’s no secret that social media is booming right now; the amount of options can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the time to evaluate all of them as closely as you’d like. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites.

Tools to Evaluate

Google Feedburner and Dlvr.it are great tools to automatically update your Facebook and Twitter accounts when a new blog post goes up.

Pros – These work best on Twitter, where the speed the conversation allows for more opportunity to post frequently and share links. Automating allows your Twitter audience to be notified of new content in a timely manner and demands less of your time to ensure your content is posted across all platforms.

Cons – Often your followers are more likely to click on a post where you have provided context and customization.  Automated posts are usually bland and uninviting, displaying only the title and a link, which is not usually “social.”

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts in advance for both Facebook and Twitter.

Pros – You can dedicate a block of time to write and schedule posts, allowing you to more effectively prioritize your work.

Cons – You can’t judge the best time to post.  For Facebook especially, highly popular posts receive engagement though the day.  By scheduling posts, you may inadvertently cut off the quality conversations that are developing around your latest post.  Without paying attention to the quality and timing of comments and likes, it is difficult to know when the most effective posting time is.

Twitter for Facebook

Pros – You can post once and have it display on two different platforms at once to save time.

Cons- The audience on Facebook and Twitter are often different.  The same message does not always resonate with them in the same ways.  While Twitter only allows 140 characters, Facebook allows you more space to write and preview links.

Don’t Dismiss Conversational Quality

Overall, the quality of conversation is key.  You want to provide value to the fan/follower and this can be achieved by facilitating quality conversations to which they can contribute.  This is how communities grow and evolve.  So evaluate different automation tools and determine if they meet this stamp of approval.

Being social or not social depends on how you decide to use these tools to your benefit. Automating posts makes sense if you can still monitor your platforms, so if you can engage your fans/followers in quality conversation using automated tools, then go for it!  Otherwise, stick to old fashioned manual posting.