Does Twitter automation or social media automation make your blood boil? Should you use social media automation in your firm’s campaigns, or does it leave you seeing red? Maybe you are more worried about not making two fundamental social media marketing mistakes?

Social Media automation - good or evil?

Three camps for social media marketing.

Many firms use social media as an active part of their tactical marketing plan. Many have it clearly set into their marketing strategy. Social media use has evolved so there are three camps. Those who:

  1. don’t like it (anymore) and don’t do it (so automation is irrelevant).
  2. use social media for business, and don’t mind some automation.
  3. use it, but dislike social media automation.

Assuming you’re not in the first camp, where do you sit?

What is social media automation?

It’s anything that you don’t type live, when you’re on social media. So, no using things like ‘buffer‘ or ‘hootsuite‘ (which allow you to type in entries and store them for later). As what’s acceptable to one person isn’t to another, where do you sit on this scale:

  1. The purist: At one end the purist thinks you should only ever be ‘live’ on social media. Often these are people whose main role is business development, perhaps social media or marketing communications. I don’t disagree with the sentiment (openness, honesty and transparency is critical online), but there is a problem! Most of us have a day job, which isn’t Social Media! It is hard to get a good visibility or make a real impact on social media (especially Twitter) without some social media automation. Perhaps that’s using “buffer” or something similar to spread tweets across the day.
  2. The spammer: Don’t bother getting annoyed with them, they don’t care! They believe some of their marketing, somewhere, will stick. If it does, their strategy is justified! They’re not interested in relationships, just “linkbait” (hoping one of their many links gets clicked).

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Is automation the real issue?

A recent discussion with other Twitter users on twitter automation concluded that automation a ‘red herring’. The consensus was that the most effective social media marketing strategy for small firms is to engage with your target audience. Where engaging means getting to know, developing a relationship and then perhaps selling. In which case, automation is not the issue!

The big two social media issues.

In a small firm the issues are.

  • Spamming – Relentlessly churning out messages which people are not interested in. This is probably using an automation tool, but doesn’t have to be. The result of spamming tends to be that people ignore you (at best).
  • Non engagement – How much time do you allocate to engaging with others in your social media? That maybe replying to somebody else’s posts, or replying to them when they take the time to engage with your posts. Not doing the latter seems to be really silly!

So, conversation is key when social networking and you may enjoy reading “how to make it easier to talk to people on twitter”

What do you think about social media automation? What do you do to engage and will you chat to @divingjon?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access