Can social media marketing be automated?

Simon Arseneau
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One of the marvels of modern-day technology is having tools that can do the work for you. Just like how pilots can put their planes on automatic pilot, social media marketers can use tools to automatically send out content or learn information about their audience. However, just like how pilots should not fall asleep when the automatic pilot is on, marketers should not let the technology do all the work for them.

Social media marketing automation tools:

Social media automation is the process of scheduling the publishing of posts in advance, republishing popular articles, or curating content to improve your social media standing. There are various social media marketing tools available that can perform these tasks and free up your schedule to focus on other aspects of your marketing campaign.

Some of these tools can be used for social listening, the process of monitoring what people are saying about your brand. It is primarily used for community management such as providing consumer feedback for complaints, comments, and questions. (1) For example, TweetDeck is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage your Twitter presence especially if you have multiple accounts. Its column lets you add in several streams: direct messages, mentions of keywords or feeds from people you follow. (2)

One tool that can do a lot of work, and a lot of talking, for you is a Chatbot. It is a software program whose purpose is to interact with people online via messages or voice commands. It interacts in a format like instant messaging and can answer questions like a real person based on a combination of predefined scripts. Examples of voice chatbots include Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. (3) Facebook also drew a lot of attention when it released its Messenger service because of how its chatbots can support the entire sales process to convert more people into paying customers. Businesses can use their chatbots in Facebook Messenger to book appointments, find products, or mention current deals. (4)

You can also use social media automation tools to gain valuable insights through analytics. As defined by Technopedia, “Analytics is the scientific process of discovering and communicating the meaningful pattern that can be found in data.” (5)  In other words, it is the analysis of a whole lot of information you don’t have time to sift through, but you need that information to find useful patterns. It allows you to determine the best time to automatically publish posts and to know if the posts have a good engagement rate.

Certain tools also allow you to curate content, which means choosing topics you think your audience is interested in reading about. The automation tools then curate the content so you can share and posts on your social media platforms. (6) 

The social media automation tool EMPOWER uses is BuzzSumo, which allows us to find out what content is popular by topic or on any website. It analyzes billions of data points to sharpen marketing strategy, identifies influential people to power up brands or campaigns, tracks comments and trends so users can respond rapidly, and explores high-performing content to increase online popularity. Its Application programming interface (API) allows users to push information from their alerts or access their saved projects. This way they will be alerted on news, mentions or backlinks and customize what they hear about. (7)

How to use social media marketing well:

When used properly, automated social media content can give you extra time to work on other projects while it is spreading the word about your brand or providing information to your customers. There are however certain customer interactions when social media marketing should not be automated. Generally, customers can tell when they are communicating with a machine instead of with a human being. If a customer sends a tweet complaining about bad service or faulty products, now is not the time to send an automatic reply with platitudes.

An example of this when an insurance company received a Tumblr post from a very unhappy customer’s sibling, which led to many more negative comments on Twitter. Instead of replying directly to the offended person, the company chose to automatically send the same response repeatedly. The repetitive tweets were mocked for being insensitive, drawing even more attention when a celebrity got involved. (8)

Another example is how news agencies can also schedule the automatic posting of their articles on Facebook at specific times of the day to reach the highest number of readers as possible. However, if readers spot a mistake in the article and begin complaining, now might be a good time to have a person take care of the situation instead of having a chatbot send an automatic reply. They call it social media for a reason, and it’s not social if only one human being is participating in the conversation.

Social media marketing can be automated, whether it’s to schedule the publishing of blog posts, analyze data to know when to publish or interact with customers. This saves you time to focus on other aspects of your marketing campaign, but don’t let automatic tools take over the whole cockpit lest you want to hit a mountain.  

Resources

  1. White, Rebecca Lee. “What Is Social Listening? – Definition.” TrackMaven, TrackMaven | The Marketing Insights Company, trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/social-listening/.

  2. “6 Of the Best Social Listening Tools for 2020.” Marketing Land, 27 Dec. 2019, marketingland.com/6-of-the-best-social-listening-tools-for-2019-249953.

  3. Elupula, Vishnu. “How Do Chatbots Work? An Overview of the Architecture of a Chatbot.” Big Data Made Simple, 15 May 2019, bigdata-madesimple.com/how-do-chatbots-work-an-overview-of-the-architecture-of-a-chatbot/.

  4. Asli, Arash. “Council Post: How Facebook Messenger Bots Are Revolutionizing Business.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 6 June 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/06/06/how-facebook-messenger-bots-are-revolutionizing-business/#2ae7c32a7f5e.

  5. “What Is Analytics? – Definition from Techopedia.” Techopedia.com, www.techopedia.com/definition/30296/analytics.

  6. Riserbato, Rebecca. “How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing Like the Pros.” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29340/how-to-automate-your-social-media-marketing-like-the-pros.aspx.

  7. “BuzzSumo: Find the Content That Works and the Influencers Who Matter.” BuzzSumo.com, buzzsumo.com/.

  8. Eha, Brian Patrick. “Progressive Robo-Tweets Spark Social Media Crisis.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 16 Aug. 2012, money.cnn.com/2012/08/14/technology/progressive-tweets/.
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