Have you thought about how much time you could save if you were to automate your social media?
I mean, think about it… how much time do you actually spend on social media every week? 5 hours? 10 hours? More?
Obviously, some of this time is absolutely required for growing your business: building relationships through engagement, finding clients, and getting your name “out there” are all super important and necessary.
But social media can also be a huge time suck, particularly when doing all the “behind-the-scenes” stuff like creating content, posting and scheduling becomes a bigger job than your actual job. You know, what you actually make/sell/do – the business of your business.
Social media marketing success requires consistent and constant activity on your accounts. For most of us mere mortals (aka, small biz owners, side-hustlers, bizmums and creative entrepreneurs) that is almost impossible to do manually.
Social media automation.
However… before we go any further, I want to make one thing crystal clear…
The automation I am talking about in this post is NOT of the bot variety. I’m NOT talking about getting a bot to leave spammy (and often inappropriate) emojis and comments like “Nice!” on random pics. (Actually, you’ll find a list of things you should NEVER automate at the bottom of this post).
When I say “automate your social media”, I’m talking about setting up systems that will save you time, increase your efficiency, and allow you to put the focus back on doing the things that you truly love to do. I want to show you how you can use automation to create consistency and momentum, and reduce the simple, time-consuming (and sometimes mind-numbing) tasks that you need to do over and over again.
Basically, I’m saying that automation is your new #bizbestie. And once you start doing this, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Here are my favourite ways to automate social media…
HOW TO AUTOMATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Create templates for each type of graphics that you create regularly. This could include:
- featured images for blog posts
- Pinterest pins for blog posts
- social media images such as branded memes, branded quotes, engagement (question) tiles, or blog promo tiles
BATCH YOUR WORK
Posting consistently to social media can be really time consuming. It requires us to stop in the middle of what we are doing to post a few times a day, disrupting our flow of whatever else we’re working on.
Instead, think about batch working your social media. “Batching” just means focusing on one task at a time – for example, creating a lot of one type of content at once.
Batching my social content creation has literally changed my life!
The way I like to do it is sit down, set a timer (never more than an hour), and create as many motivational quote tiles as I can. (This is where those templates come in handy!) Or as many “tips” posts, or whatever kind of regular posts I may have.
Then I’ll focus on scheduling all that content in, in one go (see below for my scheduling tips)
In addition to sharing content you’ve created yourself, social media is about sharing other people’s content. There are a number of different tools that allow you to discover new content, but I use and love SmarterQueue – it has advanced search and filtering to help you discover and share the most engaging content quickly and in one place. Even better – they have a browser bookmarklet extension that lets you quickly add any website you’re currently viewing, directly to your queue!
You can also use newsfeeds like Feedly, dlvr.it and Scoop.it to curate and share relevant content.
RECYCLE YOUR BEST CONTENT
Social media content “lives” for like, five seconds. Attention spans are short and news feeds move fast, so it’s not exactly evergreen. So it makes sense that one of the easiest ways you can automate your social media by reusing social posts.
My current tool of choice for this is SmarterQueue, because I can completely automate reposting old content such as my blog posts and social posts. But what I love the MOST is that I can create variations to both the text AND the images, so that a different version is posted each cycle. It’s genius!
Writing social media content to just use once is a waste – reusing it saves you time AND maximises the potential eyes on your content.
SCHEDULE YOUR POSTS
Think about this: if you didn’t have to manually post every piece of content yourself, what else could you be focusing on?
Scheduling tools really are the key to unlocking marketing success, and scaling your business without having to hire several assistants to do all the work.
Using software and apps such as SmarterQueue, PromoRepublic, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Buffer, and SproutSocial are the best ways to easily automate social media. While each tool has unique features of their own, they all basically allow you to schedule social media posts beforehand – and the time you save on daily posting leaves you free to focus on the rest of your biz.
Once you’ve selected your software, you can start scheduling. It can feel a little overwhelming to try to get everything scheduled at once, so my tip is to start small. The easiest way to try it out? Pick a recurring post – for example, you may like to post an inspirational quote every Wednesday – and schedule a month’s worth at a time. That’s only 4 or 5 posts… completely do-able, right?
Once you’ve got a handle on how your scheduler works, your ultimate goal is to set aside an hour a week (I like to do this on a Sunday) to schedule in your social media posts for the upcoming week. Rinse and repeat each Sunday.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: WHAT NOT TO AUTOMATE
YOUR DMs ON SOCIAL
Ugh… PLEASE don’t do this. Just don’t.
Auto DMs are spammy and frankly, kinda’ gross. Trying to pitch your product or service via direct messaging is bad practice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve followed an account that I think looks interesting, only to be DM’d something like this…
“Amazing profile! Check our boho dresses from $21” followed by a link to their website.
Um, no. #unfollow
It comes across as completely inauthentic and instantly turns people off you and your brand.
Of course, directly messaging someone on social media in order to connect is absolutely acceptable, and I wholeheartedly recommend this. But this needs to be done in a thoughtful – and very personal – way and without any spammy sales pitching.
You can’t automate your engagement. Well, you can – there are numerous businesses out there that you can pay to auto-like and auto-comment on your behalf – but just because they’re available, doesn’t mean you should use them.
The biggest thing to remember is that you need to have actual, authentic, and relevant interactions with your followers; people will easily spot when an account is using a bot. Set aside some time each day (even just 20-30 minutes) to engage with your audience – not just replying to comments left on your posts, but searching hashtags your ideal clients are using, and striking up conversations with them. No need to pitch yourself, just be social, be a good human, and start building relationships.
Social media automation, when done correctly, can grow your community, bring traffic, and generate leads. However, do it the wrong way and you’ll have the opposite effect.
Have you incorporated any of the tasks listed above into your social media marketing plan? Let me know!