Social media is a proven way for companies to communicate and engage with their audience. But successful social media marketing for corporate communications is also very demanding.
Companies have to produce a consistent stream of valuable content and consistently interact with their communities on social channels, just to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of the internet.
If you’re not careful, your social media marketing efforts can become an all-consuming monster, devouring time and resources.
Social media automation might appear to be a quick solution to jump off the hamster wheel. But there are also pitfalls along the way.
However, if you consider the rules and plan your social media automation strategy wisely, you can unleash the power of social media tools for your business.
Before we look at the pros and cons of social media automation, let’s take a look at some of the options for social media automation in corporate communications.
Most companies are using the major social platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr and Slideshare for sharing corporate and brand news. And most companies use multiple networks for marketing communication. There are, however, more than 100 leading social media networks worldwide and several of them will also become relevant for corporate communication.
Sharing fresh and valuable content consistently on all your channels is one of the significant challenges of social media management and takes a lot of work.
Automating these social media activities can help you reclaim lost time, increase your efficiency, and boost your engagement on social media.
Sounds perfect, right?
While there are many benefits to using social media automation, it’s important to recognize some of its potential pitfalls before including it in your social media strategy.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of social media automation and see if it’s right for your business.
Embrace the Convenience, but Don’t Become Robotic
The most obvious benefit of social media automation is the convenience and the potential for saving time and resources that you can invest in community management. There are plenty of social media tools that allow you to create and schedule content to appear at a specific time on multiple platforms. It’s a great time-saver for those companies who need to post content on various social media channels.
However, convenience is also the biggest danger with social media automation. If you’re not careful, your social media presence can turn into lifeless, robotic streams of boring, repetitive posts.
Each social network has its own set of unique features that allow you to present your content differently. The last thing you want to do is fall into the trap of cross-posting the same message across all social networks. For instance, people on Twitter will react differently to your content compared to those on Facebook.
So consider what your followers in each community expect, and don’t be tempted to push all your content to every social channel in the same way.
6 Rules of Social Media Automation in Corporate Communication
1. Know your audience
Don’t share everything everywhere. Take a thorough look at each of your communities on every single social platform, profile, page or group. Only automate high-quality content that is relevant for your specific industry and engaging for your specific social media audience. Don’t share blind. When automating curated content make sure your communication team reviews the content before sharing. This will ensure the content fits into your corporate communication strategy.
2. Be consistent, but avoid being robotic
Scheduling your posts is an excellent way to maintain a consistent stream of content across multiple social media platforms. Plus, it allows you to post outside of office hours, including weekends and vacations.
However, avoid repeating your posts over and over again. You can reproduce your evergreen content from time to time, but don’t use your social media channels for sharing your brand and business content only.
Apply the 2-3-5 rule for the perfect content mix: combine automated content (3) with personal content (2) and curated content (5) to give your social feeds an authentic and balanced appearance.
3. Optimize your schedule
Social media automation allows you to publish your content at the optimal time for maximum visibility and reach. Each network has its own ‘rush hour’ where different target groups are active at different times.
For example, on Twitter and LinkedIn the highest interaction rate is found during the day. While on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest users are most active in the evening and at the weekend.
Make sure your social media automation strategy allows you to post at the best time for each network so you can reach more of your potential audience.
If you don’t know where to start, take a look at current research on the best times to post on social media and the best frequency to post.
4. Don’t schedule too far ahead
By all means, schedule your evergreen content over a couple of months. But keep your regular posts inside a monthly framework. Nevertheless, be careful not to schedule your content too far in advance. When you schedule too far ahead, it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve planned. Plus, current events can make your content look outdated or misplaced. A social media calendar will help you to keep an overview of your scheduled posts and see where you can fit in current posts and news.
5. Customize to engage
You can share the same content on all suitable social channels. In fact, it is always recommended to put your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. However, don’t post your content in the same format for all social media platforms. Instead, customize your posts and tailor your comments to each respective social media channel.
Every social platform is different and every social community reacts differently towards specific post formats and messages. For instance, while hashtags gain more attention on Twitter and Instagram, they may have the opposite effect on Facebook or LinkedIn. And while Google followers prefer longer comments, Facebook fans respond better to short comments. You’ll have to address your business community on LinkedIn and your company pages on Facebook and Google in a slightly different way than followers on personal profiles or in specific peer groups.
Use automation tools that allow you to tailor your posts with personal comments, hashtags or handles to reach out to your community.
6. Use automation wisely: stay human
Use social media automation to help you with routine work to save time and resources for tedious manual work. But always respond and engage personally with your community. Don’t automate personal content like messages, comments or replies. Automated Replies and Direct Messages are not personalized, and your audience is unlikely to engage with them. Use the time you saved posting manually to engage with your social community on a personal level.
Selecting Your Social Media Automation Tools
Searching for the perfect social media automation tool is like searching for the holy grail. In truth, you’re unlikely to find one tool that does everything. Often, you’ll need a combination of different tools to support your overall social media strategy.
Here are a few social media automation tools to consider for various scenarios.
Automating Your Corporate Blog Content
If your corporate blog is at the center of your content marketing strategy, it makes sense to consider it the central distribution hub for your social media content.
In this scenario, you can add a plugin to your blog to automate your social media activities and campaigns. When you publish a new blog post, use a plugin to schedule and post your content across each social network.
Remember, you want a tool that lets you add personalized introductions to your post, plus the option to schedule your post at time slots that work best for each social community.
If you have a WordPress blog, there are several plugins for auto-publishing and scheduling your content.
Automating Curated Content from Other Sources
Perhaps you don’t have a corporate blog, or you’ve published other types of content in various locations. For example, you may have produced white papers, eBooks, Slideshare presentations, infographics, podcasts, and videos.
Automating Curated Content
Remember the perfect content mix for your social feeds: a combination of 5 pieces of your own content (business / promotional content as well as personal content) and 5 pieces of curated content from other sources that your audience will find valuable.
There are a few tools you can use to help with content curation. You could try Digg or Feedly to capture the RSS feeds of your favorite sites. From there you can save and tag your favorite articles to Pocket, and then use an IFTTT applet to post them from Pocket to Twitter or LinkedIn automatically.
Alternatively, you’ll find that some social media management tools can automatically capture content from your chosen RSS feeds.
In summary, a social media automation tool should allow you to:
- Connect to the most relevant social media networks for your business and also post to your business pages and groups
- Tailor your message to each social network
- Schedule your social media posts on different networks at different times
- Automate the re-sharing of your content at specific intervals
Social media automation tools can save a lot of time and resources for your social media activities in corporate communications.
When you use social media automation in the right way, you can unleash the power of automation and increase the impact of your social media strategy. You’ll save time on mundane tasks like sharing and resharing content to multiple social networks. And you can use the time you’ve saved to stay engaged with your audience on each social media channel.
Respect the basic rules of automation: don’t automate everything everywhere, stay human, and be relevant. Tailor your content to match the platform and preferences of your social media audience.
And finally, choose the right social media automation tools that give you full control over the content you share, when you share it, and how you share it.