Imagine this. You decide to follow one of your favorite brands on Twitter and moments later, are notified of a new email. You experience the briefest jolt of excitement when you see that said brand has sent you a direct message on Twitter, only to read on to find the most generic marketing message conceivable: “Thx for following. We’d love to have you as a fan on our Facebook page, too…” Womp, womp.

Not a difficult scenario to imagine, considering it’s probably happened to you. As automation moves into the social sphere and marketers are able to automate tweets, messages, Facebook posts, etc., concerns arise that automation is making social media less, well, social. A valid concern, considering the case above – nothing says impersonal quite like an automated advertisement. But automation doesn’t have to defeat the very purpose of social media. Here are two ways to make sure you’re not abusing automated social postings.

Be choose-y with what you automate.
Instead of sending out extremely transparent “personal” messages, focus on using automated postings with messages that don’t need to be personal – for example, content distribution. Your followers are still active on social media over the weekends; in fact, they might have a little extra time to pour over your company blog. So consider scheduling an extra blog post or two with interesting industry trends to go out over the weekend, and scheduling a social posting to alert followers of the release. Or, if you have weekly webinars, schedule posts reminding followers when they will happen and where they can sign up. Scheduling posts like these can provide followers with timely and valuable information, and save marketers a significant amount of time. And, most importantly, they don’t come off as advertisements masquerading as personal communication.

Never, never, never “set it and forget it.”
Social marketing is not just about quickly distributing your message to a large group of people, it also provides your company with the invaluable opportunity to personally engage with prospects and clients all over the world. This personal communication is social media’s greatest value to brands, and it can’t be faked. So if you are automating messages, make sure that you are still monitoring your social media outlets and personally responding to feedback, ideally within 24 hours.

When handled correctly, integrating social media with marketing automation software can have numerous benefits. It’s not just about setting social accounts on autopilot when you’re not around; using a service for social marketing allows marketers to see detailed reports on their efforts, including which prospects are interacting with their posts. Having a record of these exchanges is valuable to sales reps and can also help marketers figure out what works when it comes to social marketing. Marketing automation can help marketers get the most out of their social media efforts; just be careful that you’re not abusing the automated aspect and defeating social media marketing’s most valuable aspect – personal communication.

More best practices for using social media with marketing automation can be found in our white paper, Six Simple Ways to Get More Out of Social Marketing.

Molly Hoffmeister

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