Automating social mediaWhen using social media within your marketing strategy, should you automate it?

That question usually divides opinion. There are those that think it’s fine to automate and schedule a stream of updates so they always have a presence on Twitter. But there are those that believe that social media should be social and an activity you take part in real time.

As for me, I don’t think it should be automated – well, at least not all of it.

Understanding social media

Social media is about being social, so if you don’t really like people, it’s not for you.

To be effective you must listen, engage and chat. When the opportunity arises, you can offer help and advice or join in with a debate. But if you automate everything,  you can’t do that.

That’s not to say you can’t automate at all. As a rule, if you see me tweet, then at my desk, but my blog posts automatically feed into my Twitter account via RSS. So when a new post is published my followers get to hear about it straight away.

Nope, I’m not here

Just think about this for a moment – if you automate 95% of your tweets you’re not engaging with people.

If you’d set up a weeks worth of tweets and someone comments on one of them, but you don’t respond, they’re not going to take away a great impression of you. Of course, they won’t be inspecting an instant response, but something within an hour or so would be welcomed.

One way of spotting an automated tweeter is by the repetative nature of their tweets. You might think  that’s a great way to get your message out there, but really it’s just a great way to turn off your followers.

Basically, what it comes down to is that if you want to automate keep it to the bare minimum. Getting the most out of social media means listening, engaging and chatting to show your followers you are a real person.