Automation has become an indispensable arsenal in any strategy that uses technology to achieve business goals. This is not any different for a digital marketer. They can now automate a substantial operations of a campaign. However, effectively implementing automation still has a long way to go. In the 2017 edition of the Email Industry Census published by Econsultancy.com, it was found that sixty-six percent of the marketers surveyed had chosen marketing automation. However, only eight percent of the marketers considered their automation efforts ‘very successful’ and 33 percent were ‘not successful’. This data shows that while automation is being implemented by a significant number of digital marketers, they are not able to obtain the desired results.
Over the course of this article, we will look specifically into automating social media and how different it is from other aspects of digital marketing.
Automating in the times of social media
Hootsuite, Hubspot, Buffer, and Social Oomph are some popular tools used in social media automation. Generally, automation tools enable you to schedule posts, generate analytics and insights regarding the progress of the campaign. Advanced tools also allow you to trigger actions based on triggers (such as the If-This-Then-That tool). For example, the tool allows you to monitor Twitter activity of your competition or you can trigger an add-on post on your social media page if there is enough engagement with the first post. You can even automate tools to curate content that can be used for analysis.
Automation – a silver bullet?
It is easy to think that automation can be a silver bullet for all your social marketing needs. Some automation tools might even claim that you can just ‘set-it-and-forget-it’. While it is true that automation tools can save a lot of time and effort, they cannot execute a successful campaign all by themselves. You can generate campaign analytics, however, generating nuanced insights will still require human intervention.
Additionally, social media automation may not be effective in generating leads at the top-of-the-funnel but can play an important role in the middle of the funnel which focuses heavily on keeping customers in the loop and engaging them.
By triggering activity on your social media based on different parameters, you can continuously engage with your customers, in turn having a positive impact on brand association.
Strategy for automation
Designing an effective social media automation strategy requires you to capitalize on its strengths and minimize its limitations. This means, you need to evaluate when it is the right time to automate and when it is not. Being on social media is, at the end of it, a human and personal experience for end users. Therefore, when the interaction needs to be more personal, it is ideal to have human interaction. This is an area where social media marketing largely differs from other forms of digital marketing. For example, in email marketing, a large chunk of the campaign can be automated by setting up a conditional trigger of messages based on specific customer actions. This may not always be possible, or even ideal, in case of social media.
Post scheduling, report generation, content curation, collating notifications are some excellent ways to automate repetitive tasks so that you can spend more time on high level tasks such as strategizing and content creation.
With great branding comes great responsibility to keep fans and customers engaged. And, social media automation can create an efficient platform to achieve these goals. It is important to keep in mind that social media automation is not reducing human involvement but reducing human effort in those tasks that are repetitive so that we can focus on the larger picture. Tell us what are you go-to strategies and tools for social media automation in the comments section!