Today, one of the greatest challenges facing the content marketer is the balance between automation and creation.
With all of the fantastic automated platforms available for use today, it can be tough to determine where, exactly, the line needs to be drawn.
Too much automation kills conversation.
But too little automation means a lot of monkey work, lost time and excess stress for the busy marketer.
So, where’s the happy medium?
Your Guide to Effectively Balancing Automation With Creation In A Social Media Strategy
Let’s delve in.
Why a Mix of Creation with Automation?
Create: While automation may make life easier, creation makes life much more fun.
Creating content for your social media platforms is a deeply creative, interactive experience; it’s here that brands and individuals alike get to exercise their voices and styles. It’s also here that relationships are built and authority is made.
People who take an active role in the creation of their social media content often enjoy closer relationships with followers and fans as well as a more intimate grasp about the state of their social media presence overall.
Unfortunately, full creation zaps your time and creates distractions. Push notifications, pings, comments, messages, and re-tweets all demand our attention… if we’re not careful, it’s easy to get pulled away from the important tasks at hand to go engage on Facebook or Twitter. While this may help strengthen relationships in the long run, it’s not ultimately awesome for productivity.
Automate: There are dozens of great reasons to automate your social media posting, like this Buffer resource.
In addition to increased traffic and more consistent interaction, automating social media can also help you get more done with less stress. Because social media requires a large time and energy commitment, automating things like posts and promotions can give you a break from the Internet and free up some space for you to worry about other things, which is a huge draw for busy people that need social media-free space to focus.
Additionally, automation is often a more efficient way to interact with social media. While it’s possible to lose some of the “human factor” behind social media when you begin to automate, it also makes all of your social media interactions much more deliberate and saves you from getting tied up with trolls or comment chains, which is yet another way to save your precious time.
Striking a Balance: 5 Tips for Using Creation and Automation Together
As is true with most things, the sweet spot between creation and automation is somewhere in the middle. To lean too much to either side is to sacrifice the benefits of one or both things, so it’s important to walk that middle line. Here are some tips to help you do that:
1. Keep a human eye involved
Some marketers would love to turn all of their social media dealings over to automated platforms and never look at them again. Unfortunately, this will only spell trouble for your brand eventually. The reason for this is that, while a large portion of your social media interaction can be automated, it’s pivotal to keep the human touch intact. This keeps social media personal and helps you avoid automated disasters like the one the New England Patriots endured when their automated platform retweeted a racial slur. The takeaway? Feel free to automate, but keep the human oversight intact.
2. If you’re going to reach out, do it personally
Some brands do things like send auto-generated messages to people who follow them. While this may seem like an efficient and personalized way to reach out to fans, it’s not. More often than not, this comes off as vacuous and more than a bit creepy, and it may actually turn fans off more than it helps to engage them. Instead of sending out auto-messages for the purpose of building relationships, dedicate some time each week to batch-checking and responding to social media messages. This can help keep your social relationships intact without derailing you on a daily basis.
3. Use automation to distribute content evenly
If you don’t use an automation service, you’re limited to posting content only when you’re awake, working, and free. This often leads to “blasts” that overwhelm your followers’ feeds and lead to much of your content being skipped over. Avoid this by using automation to distribute your hard-won content evenly throughout the day and night. In addition to avoiding content traffic jams, this also increases the likelihood that your readers will fully engage with your content and keeps you from becoming a spammy social media presence.
4. Keep an eye on current events
Social media moves quickly, and is one of the main news sources for people around the world. In light of this, I can promise you that you’re going to do your brand some serious damage if your automation platform is buzzing away while a national or global disaster unfolds. While it can be tough to stay on top of daily news and disasters all of the time, the best practice here is to cut off automation when there’s a known disaster at work. The exception is if you can use your automation to dispense content that is sensitive and directly related to the disaster in an intelligent and sophisticated way.
5. Keep testing your automation
Automation is the way of the future, but you need to be sure it’s working well in order to keep using it. Test your automation times, days, headlines, and activity levels often in order to ensure that you’re still in that sweet spot between automation and creation. Adjust anything that’s not working and move forward.
Automation and creation.
They’re like two peas in a pod when they’re used correctly: essential to each other, but not as effective or even as good-looking without each other.
These five tips can help you ensure that your social media displays the best of both worlds, and that you’re using automation and creation to the full extent and advantage of each, without sacrificing quality or personality in the process.
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