If you’re a small business owner, you probably jump any chance you can get to save time and money. And with so many stellar automation tools out there, it’s now easier than ever to cut unnecessary time wasted on manual tasks that can instead be done automatically.
If you spend hours chugging away on Facebook with little or no returns, you’ve probably wondered whether your business’s social media can be automated. Here, we’ll dig into why you should consider automation as part of your social media strategy and how doing so can help increase your profit margin and deliver real results.
What Is Social Media Automation?
As the name suggests, social media automation it’s a way of automating parts of your social media marketing. This can involve all aspects of social media, from scheduling Facebook posts in advance to even creating a messenger bot that can automatically reply to certain keywords.
Some social media tasks are easier to automate than others, of course, but the goal is still the same—to save time and money while increasing your overall audience engagement.
And since social media is one of the best ways to connect with your audience, it’s important to be on top of your game and use it to your advantage. But, manually going through each tweet and comment can take a lot of time, especially for the busy entrepreneur. This is where social media automation comes in.
Still unconvinced? Let’s take a look at some statistics to back it up:
- On average, businesses who tested automation saw a 32% increase in revenue after 12 months and approximately 77% increase in conversions.
- 80% of marketers using automation software report that they generate more leads.
- In the next two years, an additional 21% of marketing leaders say they plan to use a marketing automation platform.
So, now that you understand the many benefits that come with social media automation, you might be wondering how to adapt it for your own needs.
How to Automate Your Business’s Social Media
Depending on your approach and the social media platform, some tasks are easier to automate than others. Generally speaking, automation software allows you to share posts and content on multiple social media platforms at the same time.
As such, scheduling your posts in advance allows you to engage with all of your different customer segments at the peak engagement time. Through Facebook’s post manager, for example, you can schedule your posts for the whole week and just sit back while it does most of your work.
What makes this so great is the amount of time it saves. Essentially, you can line up all your posts on a Sunday and watch them reach and engage with your customers throughout the week.
Social Media Automation Tools
You’ll likely want to start incorporating some social media automation tools to gain an edge on your competition. Here are a few of the popular ones:
An essential when it comes to social media, Hootsuite allows you to automate and manage all your social media from one place. It helps you find and curate the right content for your target market, schedule it, and finally, track and prove the social media ROI. If you want to make sure you’re on top of your social media game, you need the metrics and the data to back it up, so, tracking is important if you want to see if your efforts pay off.
Buffer and EvergreenFeed
Buffer is known for their comprehensive analytics and tracking. If you truly want to develop and analyze your social media strategy, then this tool will be useful for you. Aside from mere post scheduling, Buffer also tells you the optimal time for your posts to go live (also known as the peak engagement), lets you create specific social media campaigns from its user-friendly interface, and more.
If you connect your Buffer account to EvergreenFeed, a Buffer add-on, you can make Buffer even more powerful by automating the posting of your evergreen content (content that is always relevant).
An all-in-one package with many comprehensive features, Agora Pulse allows you to publish and share your content through all of your platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.), re-publish content according to your schedule, and, of course, track your efforts through smart analytics.
This tool is a little different from the above in that it focuses on finding the right content for you. You can use Paper.li to search for content based on keywords, hashtags, and other variables. Of course, if you want to schedule your posts in advance, it’s essential to find the relevant content that’s worth sharing in the first place. So, if you’re not sure how to connect with your audience, start here.
IFFTTT and Zapier
For example, with IFTTT (If This, Then That), you can connect two platforms together to trigger a set of actions. One action can transfer from one platform to another (and vice-versa) to save you a lot of manual work. You can connect Instagram and Twitter to post photos from one platform to another natively (as in, automatically carry over your photo as a full image).
There are a lot of “recipes” you can create with IFTTT and most of them focus on improving efficiency. If you’re getting bored of having to manually cross-post images and want to save time, IFTTT is for you.
Zapier, meanwhile, has a similar cause-and-effect approach but has more app integrations and takes it up a notch. Zapier allows you to link multiple accounts to your integrations, though sacrificing a little bit of usability. Depending on what you want to do, Zapier might be a little complex, but lets you accomplish more.
In short, if you need more analytics and data, aren’t afraid to get your hands a little dirty and welcome more complex tools, go with Zapier. And if you’re looking for something simple to automate parts of your social media, go with IFTTT.
What You Shouldn’t Automate
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t automate everything.
For example, it’s still best to engage with your customers (replying to comments, etc.) on your own. It’s still essential to listen to your social media audience and you should still do that manually so that your customers feel like they’re really engaging with your brand.
Customers can easily tell when a robot is replying to their comments as opposed to a living breathing human. Not to mention, you can add a special personal touch to the specific comment if you’re the one replying to it.
Getting Started With Social Media Automation
You’ve heard the adage: time is money. And this is the case with social media automation, as well.
If you want to save time and money in your social media as a business owner, automating your social media might be the solution you’ve been looking for. If you want to leverage your social media and aren’t sure how to do so at first, start small. Try scheduling posts at different times throughout the week. See what content hits and what doesn’t, and how your audience reacts. If you truly want to step your social media game up though, consider using the tools suggested above.
At the end of the day, automating your social media is an investment that takes time. And if you want to see your ROI pay off, you need to give it time. The above tools can be of assistance to you as a small business owner by helping you save countless hours and money.