If you’re ready to get started with marketing automation, the easiest place to start is with social media. It’s very simple to start automating certain social media tasks, and you’ll quickly see how this saves you time for more value-added activity. In fact, automation can do some tasks we human beings can’t on our own.
Set Your Goal
Before you start considering social media automation options, the first step is to identify the goal behind your social media marketing. This may sound obvious, but it’s an extremely important step. The reason is that your specific goal will determine which tasks you should and shouldn’t automate.
Examples of goals include:
- To spread awareness of your brand. This would mean growing your “followers” list as much as possible for maximum exposure and then delivering high-quality content consistently that interests your followers.
- To drive traffic to a website. In this case, social media is just a way to build relationships and lead followers off the social media platform to your website, where you have even more content or offers for them.
- To sell directly. If you’re actually selling on social media, you’ll need a shopping cart and other types of e-commerce automation.
- To build relationships. Social media is great for building relationships and it’s important that they’re real, human and authentic. In this case, you would choose your automation tools more carefully in order to avoid alienating other users.
Decide exactly what your goal is and then you’re ready for the next step.
List Your Tasks
Now, take your goal and make a list of regular social media tasks that will help you achieve that goal. If you’re already using social media, make a list of every task you do on social media, both regular and irregular.
Go down this list and at each, ask yourself whether it’s possible to automate and, if so, whether it’s appropriate.
There is automation for a huge variety of social media tasks. You can automate scheduling posts, sharing content, social media analytics, growing followers/network, and more. Any time you don’t need to interact with someone personally, you can probably automate. This is especially true of menial, routine tasks.
But should you automate? This is an important question because people look for real relationships on social media. For each of the possibilities you noted on your list, consider anything that could go wrong through automation. If there’s a risk that something could go wrong, don’t do it. Reputation is important on social media.
Consider Automation Options
Finally, start shopping for automation tools to help you put your plan into action. A good place to start is a social media dashboard program. These programs offer a number of different automation features all in one place. Tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can save you a considerable amount of time. Start with their free version, but keep an eye on how much more you could do by stepping up to one of their paid plans. The added capacity and capability is usually worth it for significant improvement and growth.
Once you start automating, monitor closely. Don’t go on autopilot completely, but keep an eye on things to make sure you’re getting the desired result.