Social media marketing

How much automation is too much?

How much automation is too much?

PHOTO: Adobe

Automation tools have streamlined processes and made life easier for marketers as they try to juggle various channels, tasks and campaigns on a daily basis. In particular, social media has become an essential part of any company’s marketing strategy and one of the most automated from a B2B commercial point of view.

According to search on InstaPage, automating social media posts could save some marketers up to 6 hours a week. However, as more and more users pour into social media platforms and it becomes even more important for businesses, a new approach that avoids heavy automation of social media posts may be needed.

Many brands are quite reliant on scheduled content and automation, but it could be argued that a dedicated team could create more value, be a better use of resources, and have a more positive impact on the bottom line.

Disadvantages of Social Media Automation

Some of the main goals of social media marketing are to engage with your customers, your industry, and establish a clear brand identity. An increase in brand awareness can lead to increased traffic to your website, increased revenue, and fostering a community that can turn casual customers into brand advocates.

However, automation can put all of these things at risk. According to Dawson Whitfield, CEO of Ontario, based in Canada Looked“Over-automating your social media exposes your brand to two main risks: missing out on relevant conversations and accidentally participating in the wrong conversations.”

Many brands have focused on themselves, their brand message, and advertising their products and services only on social media. However, this is not what customers are looking for. Social media offers brands the opportunity to engage in conversations with their customers, solve their problems and get a sense of what they really want.

With automation, the opportunity to participate in such conversations diminishes or brands may not be able to react quickly enough if they make a mistake. As Erika Goldwater Director of Global Communications in Malmö, based in Sweden in the river explains, automation can be a tremendous asset, but too much focus on automation here can leave brands missing out on valuable connections and engagement. “Automation is amazing. No social media team can live without the ability to schedule and automate posts to deliver key messages and content. However, automation can’t account for engagement real-time responses to problems (good or bad) and empathy or emotion.” Goldwater explains.

Related article: Does your marketing team use these social media tools?

Implement a manual social media strategy

Most brands can state that they rely so heavily on automation because their marketers simply don’t have the time to constantly monitor and interact on social media. However, this commitment is absolutely necessary, and all it takes is the right strategy to make it work.

Alessandra Gyben Director of Marketing in Solana Beach, California, GreenRope, provides two tips for starting a manual strategy. “Dedicate at least 1 hour a day to social engagement,” she says. For your brand, this might include being engaged on Twitter, engaging in conversations on LinkedIn through commenting, or engaging with your audience through a live stream or Q&A session on an educational topic.

However, no matter what your brand does, Gyben adds that goal setting is critical to social media success. “Create clear, defined goals for social media. Are you using social media to generate awareness, generate leads, develop thought leadership, etc.? What are your KPIs? Set goals for your team and ask them to report on a monthly/quarterly basis.”

Benefits of this approach

Once your brand has chosen to add a dedicated social media team or person, several benefits can be unlocked.

  • Live content: Having a dedicated social media team allows you to create real-time content that is engaging and up-to-date. It also means your brand can be present in conversations and respond quickly to audience members who have questions about something you just posted or are discussing an industry-related topic.
  • Customer Commitment: While automation helps you share your message and potentially start conversations, it limits user engagement if your brand isn’t responding to them. As Whitfield points out, “increasing customer engagement and encouraging UGC is only possible when customers feel like they’re interacting with a real person on the other end of your brand’s Twitter or Instagram account.” By fostering a real connection that makes your customers feel like they’re talking to a real person and not an automated robot, it can lead to more awareness, conversions, and customer retention.
  • Spot the gaps: Social media is big business. Having a dedicated social media team can mean that your organization gets the most out of your social media strategy and channels and doesn’t just have to do the bare minimum while juggling other pressing tasks. As Goldwater suggests, “a dedicated team can also ensure that social media content meets all of the business goals set for it, whether it’s brand awareness, recruitment, generation demand, customer satisfaction, building advocates and community, or whatever”.