This is a topic I've been asked about a few times before and still see it floating around the web. Just to throw my two cents into a somewhat monotonous conversation, here's my brief take on social media automation. If you are a company with the resources to have full time community management, this post really doesn't apply to you. BUT if you manage a social presence in addition to a string of other tasks, this may or may not be for you. Is it okay to automate posts (tweets, blogs etc)? I say yes. To a point.
Several people advise against scheduling and automating posts at all time. Scott Stratten often claims on how you need to actually be present on Twitter. The main argument behind advising against automation is that it ruins the authenticity and transparency that makes social media the engagement tool that it is today. It's a valid argument...and it's right. However, I don't know that you have to physically be there in real-time, every time, to still actively engage.
Twitter is one of the best cited cases in automation. "Should you automate tweets?" Being a real-time format, people most likely read what's in their Twitter feed in the given moment. Though I don't have any solid research to back this up, I would guess that not many people actually look up a person's profile to see what they've written earlier in the day/week to keep track.
With that said, most people don't have simultaneous schedules. I'm not going to be on Twitter to post the same time as some bodies of my audience. Like other people in business, I have meetings and projects etc. However, just because I can't be online doesn't mean another connection won't be. Throughout the day (for both myself and Hinda) I schedule tweets with certain links to accommodate certain audiences. Tweet and click through analysis tools like Hootsuite, Postling and now Timely help me know when to schedule tweets and have the highest rate of audience engagement.
Here's where the BUT comes in. You can schedule tweets BUT you still need to respond. You still need to engage. For example, I have push notifications to my phone for myself and Hinda's accounts. That way, when people engage I can reply even if I'm not at work. I may not reply instantly but I still do in a timely enough manner that the engagee doesn't feel blown off. With the growing need of instant gratification accompanied by a growing audience, that particular window of time is shrinking daily.
Automated DMs on the other hand? Hate them.
That's my two cents on automation. What do you all think? Where do you stand?
- Take Control of Social Media with Postling (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- 5 Tools for Automating Twitter (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- 6 Reasons to Schedule Your Social Media Life with HootSuite (blogs.constantcontact.com)