Utilize Automation to Put the Social Back in Social Media
Automating some aspects of your content can free you up to actually engage with the community that you’re building online.
Social Media Is a Necessary Tool for Most of Us
If you’re looking to build a brand nowadays, then you absolutely have to be taking advantage of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms provide a place for you as a content creator a platform to engage with your potential audience.
As a writer, voiceover artist, actor, and stage director — social media is a vital part of my business. If you run a local business, then social should be a central part of that operation as well. We’ve all seen the amount of time, effort, and yes, money, that national brands pour into their social campaigns.
I think that we all understand why this is the case as well. Living in the technological wonderland that is our current reality, we are all craving some form of interaction, of connection, of fun that we can achieve on social media. How, though, do we use this tool of diversion and fun to build our platform and engage with our audiences without getting sucked into the endless scrolling that social can create and still get work done? How can we make social media work for us without taking all the joy out of these projects (or the things we’re trying to promote)?
The answer is automation.
Automation Can Spark Conversation
This post isn’t going to dive into the specific tools that you can use to automate various aspects of your social media, but instead, we’re focusing on the ways in which you should take advantage of that automation.
The danger of automation is that it turns social media into a one-way street — you’re putting content out there, but you’re not responding and reacting to other things that are happening on that platform. Quickly, audiences will read that as being very inauthentic. Social media is about participation in the digital public square, not about putting flyers out on the square in the dead of night.
To that end, you want to schedule your automated posts to hit the site around the time that you’re typically on the site. If you use Twitter on your commute to work, schedule a tweet to go out a little before you get on the subway or into the carpool. That way, your followers will have had a chance to see it and respond, and you can have a few conversations on your way.
The best kind of automated content is the kind that is going to generate a conversation, and you need to make sure you’re there to pick up the conversation ball when your audience throws it back to you.
Automation Can Free You to Have Fun on Social Again
Social media was a fun place to be when we weren’t all worried about creating content, generating a following, and hawking our wares. I’m here to tell you that it can be a fun place again, and the more fun you’re able to make it, then the more you’ll be able to engage with your followers — and likely start to expand that base.
Social media should be an extension of the things that are interesting to you — which, ideally, coincides with the kind of content you need to be promoting and pushing that ties to your business. The people I’m following on social are people that generate the kind of content I’m interested in, and I am genuine fans of all of them. I want to join in the successes that they share. I have become invested in their stories, even though we’ve likely never met.
Some days, however, I really don’t want to get on social media. So I don’t.
With automation, I know that there will be some content going out, and those conversations will be there for me to pick up and respond to when I do feel like getting on social media. There are, of course, two sides to this coin and I can’t go too long without getting back on otherwise we’re back to square one where I’ve simply set up a robot to shout into the void for me.
But if I set aside focused time to create solid content to go out on a regular basis, I can engage with social media in a much more casual and fun way in my regular day to day routine — and not feel the need to wake up every morning prepared to have a brilliant thought that my followers will love.
Automation Is Not Just About Blatant Promotion — But It Can Be
I’m naturally really bad about self-promotion. I know that I should be better, and so I utilize automation to make it look like I am better than I am. Whenever I have a new audiobook coming out, a new article on Medium, what have you, then I can take advantage of automation to make sure that I’m getting the word out about that thing.
With social media, there is so much content going out into the newsfeed that not everyone will see your post every time. So when you are promoting a product, you need to make sure that you layer in a few different posts about that thing so that your full audience has a chance to catch at least one of them. This is easier and more important on a site like Twitter, but the idea carries through to the other platforms as well.
As you build and schedule this promotional content, however, you want to make sure that you aren’t too heavy on the promo stuff, and lean way more on the kind of content that will generate conversation. Automation can help you maintain that balance as well. You can space your promotional items so that you have plenty of fun, engaging, related conversations along the way and are only occasionally directly asking your followers to go read something of yours, visit your Etsy shop, or get an audiobook that you narrated on Audible.
Go scour the internet to find your favorite version of these robots, build some engaging content to schedule, and get back to having fun on social once again.