To schedule or not? – That is the social media question
We’ve all been there. You’re busy, you haven’t got the time to devote to social media so you think “I know, I’ll just schedule some tweets or posts, that’ll be fine. I won’t need to go on there now for a week or so…” Wrong!
As you’ll know, if you’ve read any of my previous articles, social media isn’t an automated process it’s a ‘social’ one – where you should devote time to listen, discuss and share content with your audience. Now that’s not to say that some automation is all a bad thing, but it’s got to be well balanced and used sparingly, but effectively.
Although Twitter doesn’t allow you to automate or schedule tweets there’s a variety of third party applications like Hootsuite and SproutSocial that will allow you to, and not only schedule tweets, but also schedule updates on to the other popular social media platforms. Just remember to adjust any scheduled posts for the platform you’re publishing to – as they’re not the same audience.
So when is it acceptable to automate/schedule?
1. If you’re running a promotional / advertising campaign you could schedule generic sales messages throughout the campaign timeframe but remember to monitor audience responses and engagement to these and reply accordingly.
2. If you’re going to be on holiday it might be worth scheduling a few tweets across the time period so that you don’t suddenly go dormant on social media.
3. If there’s a local event coming up that’s relevant to your business you could schedule a couple of promotional messages at the time of the event, by hash tagging or mentioning the event themselves to get awareness and hopefully retweets or enquiries for your service/product.
4. If you’re struggling to write your own content to share on social media consider re-posting some RSS feeds content to your audience – but don’t forget to actually read what you’re going to share first. I’ve seen too many people sharing irrelevant or inappropriate content just because all they actually read, before posting, was the title!
The ideas I’ve talked about above are perfectly acceptable, if used in moderation, and you remember to separate any automated/scheduled messages you have with a healthy amount of personal responses to your audience.
There are some applications that allow you to automate responses back to your audience should a certain set of criteria be matched ie. when you get a new follower. I’ve had experience of using these services and found them to be cumbersome and actually perceived to be spam by some of the audience because of their generic nature. While this sort of autoreply might seem like a good thing there’s nothing better than a custom ‘thanks for following’ reply to selective followers.
So to summarise, a small amount of scheduling/automation within your social media isn’t a bad thing. In fact it can help free up some of your time just don’t forget to monitor your feeds and reply personally to any conversations.
If you want any help with your social media scheduling get in touch with me at http://paulkirkdesign.co.uk
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