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The good, the bad and the ugly: here’s how automation will affect our social media use


The social media scene has grown exponentially in the last decade. Today, there are so many social networking sites and new ones emerge every year. As a result, social media management has become quite a time-consuming undertaking. But a new development is promising to change that.

Social media automation revolves around automating repetitive and time-consuming social media tasks, allowing social media managers to work on other things that need human input and that have more direct impact on their companies’ wellbeing.

Using automation in social media management has its own merits and demerits. This article will expound on some of them.

The merits of social media automation

Scheduling tweets

The rule of thumb when automating your tasks on Twitter is to ensure that all your tweets read like they were created by a human and are under 280 characters. People who want to post the same thing on Facebook and Twitter often find themselves struggling to decrease the number of words from Facebook posts in order to post on Twitter. For automation to work, you should use a tool that is specifically designed to publish tweets on Twitter.

Many social media marketers use HootSuite and Buffer to schedule Twitter posts. These tools automate scheduling for the platform, allowing you to design and add posts to be published automatically at a date you set in future. When scheduling, take a look at the calendar. This will help you redesign a tweet to align with the date and day of the week it will be published.

For instance, you could redesign a tweet upon realization that it will go live during a public holiday. You could change the tone and wording to better engage your audience on that special day. Social media marketers yearn for a future when a good number of the tweets they publish will be entirely automated, yet have a human-like feel.

Scheduling Facebook posts

Most social media marketers use Facebook scheduler to schedule their posts on the platform. This is a automation tool within Facebook that makes it possible for marketers to design posts to be published at a later date. Marketers, who prefer doing all their social media management on a single platform can post on their Facebook page as well as other social networking sites via HootSuite.

All the same, it is important to keep in mind that Facebook algorithm gives more visibility to posts published via its scheduler than third party applications like HootSuite. In the future, social media watchers predict automation tools that will not only publish posts on social media pages, but also post intelligent responses to the comments that people make on social media.

Organic following on Instagram

One of the challenges of most automation tools available on social media is their inability to accurately mimic human approaches to carrying out their tasks. For instance, most following and unfollowing tools in the market today are not advanced enough to consider many factors before following or unfollowing someone on social media. The result: inorganic, robotic accumulation of followers who will often have very little interest in your brand.

All the same, some newer automation tools promise to change all that. A good example of such automation tools is Growr. The tool helps brands grow their following on Instagram organically, by buying the Instagram followers most likely to have an interest in your brand and adding them to your list of those you follow. The tool does what you would do when looking for people to follow, only faster.

The demerits of social media automation

Missing out on real conversations

Automation may ensure that you have posts being published on your channels on a regular basis, but it often results in missed opportunities for participating in conversations in real time and interactions with your customers. Real conversations offer opportunities unachievable in any other way.

Over time, you could find quite disconnected from your audience, thereby being out of sync with what they want and how you can offer solutions to their challenges. Social media marketers who use automation must make deliberate attempts to stay connected to their followers and add that human feel to their social media channels.

Replica content across different social sites

Each social networking site has its own set of rules of engagement. The type of content that may engage well on Facebook may not necessary do as well on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Many automation tools send out the same content for all the platforms which reduces its appeal.

For instance, if someone follows you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, they will feel overwhelmed and bored by having to look at the same content you across all your social media channels. Often, marketers are forced to redesign each content to take advantage of the unique features of each of the social networking platforms. A good example is hashtags. They may not mean much on Facebook, but they are incredibly powerful conversation drivers on Twitter.

As more social media channels emerge, you can expect social media automation to continue growing in popularity. These tools will help marketers save time and resources, but marketers will need to keep an eye on their brand’s ability to engage its audience in a human-like way regardless of the automation tools they have at their disposal.

Marquis is a writer, social media manager and SEO content marketer.  She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.