Tag Archive for: automation

Social Media Automation – Stop Outsourcing Gratitude

16 Apr
April 16, 2015

Despite the bad name it got in its early days, I think social media automation has come a long way and I don’t think there is anything wrong with some of the functions that fall under the umbrella of “automated”.

I use both Buffer and CoSchedule as tools for managing the content I send out on social channels, and to craft the message I am going to use to share the content I create. This kind of automation is OK.

Where it goes wrong, however, is when it’s used as an engagement tool. Automated replies on Twitter are nothing new, and have long been a pain point because they take away from the legitimacy of the connection you’ve just created.

You can’t automate gratitude. I consider giving thanks where you can to be one of the core tenets of Twitter citizenship. Pinging me a direct message within 10 minutes of following you to thank me for with a link to your white paper doesn’t say “thanks for following”.

Suggesting that we connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, <insert other network here> as part of that message? You’re losing me even further.

Take the time to write a tweet to say thanks. I try to make the time for it as much as I can – new connections, favourites, retweets. Every one of these interactions people have with me or my content helps me build my profile as a trustworthy source of information. Even if it’s collectively thanking people, take the time.

SumAll's on boarding puts automation of gratitude front and centreMany analytics platforms now offer the automation of this process with the addition of a link back to the platform – essentially making them a marketing message.

SumAll and Crowdfire are two of the bigger offenders. I use Crowdfire for some functions, specifically their inactive accounts analysis, but the lesson here is that you should use the functionality to understand your audience, not interact with it.

One of the first functions you are presented with on signing up with SumAll is the option to tweet your stats each week (incidentally, no one cares), and thanking your top followers weekly – both of which are selected by default.

CrowdFire’s is also an onboarding function and then keeps automation as a menu option, allowing you to add multiple DM styles, but randomly selecting one that gets sent and appending it with branding.

CrowdFire's automation process

 

Just as our privacy can be the price we pay to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter for free, so too free tools to manage them have a price, often in the form of promoting on their behalf. You can automate social media to make it easy in many ways, but engaging with people who engage with you shouldn’t be one of them.

PHOTO – Ian Britton via Flickr

4 Tips To Get More From Buffer

11 Dec
December 11, 2014

About 90% of what I share on social channels is done using Buffer.

Buffer is one of the tools I called out as invaluable for managing social throughput, and in that post I offered up a few tips for using it. I wanted to dive into the tool a little deeper here.

I’m not what you would call a power user (I run on their basic tier), but I do try and squeeze a whole lot out of it in terms of function.

My primary use is as a curation tool to bring together other people’s content into my feed. Given the amount of content I read each day, I generally end up queuing about two days worth of social posts each time . As far as my own content goes, I use CoSchedule to develop and schedule my messaging, but the great part is that it integrates with Buffer as well. I’ll be publishing a post on CoSchedule soon.

Here are my 4 tips for doing more with Buffer.

Add more timesTwitter posting times

When you sign up, there will be a number of times already picked to share content.

I highly recommend changing these up, and creating a sharing schedule for each platform.

Firstly make sure that your timezone is right (under the Schedule tab) – nothing worse than setting times only to find yourself hours ahead or behind.

Understand the consumption habits of each platform – Twitter should be higher frequency of content as an example, given how fast a feed can move, whereas LinkedIn may be a 2 or 3 updates a day platform for you.

Add new times to each platform. My Twitter schedule (right) is based on 6 scheduled times a day, every 2 an a half hours, whereas LinkedIn is timed for 3 times a day, at the start and end of the workday, and lunchtime.

Change up your messages and add context

Depending on what device I am using, I use the Chrome and Safari extensions and the iOS app to add to my queue when I like a story. I will often add the item to the queue looking the same across all the platforms I want to share to.

After you’ve added your item to the queue, don’t forget about it. Every platform has its optimum posting format, so you need to make sure you go into the Buffer and edit what you have saved there to suit.

I will typically add a source’s Twitter handle at the point of adding to the queue and Buffer will automatically parse that to a full name for LinkedIn. It’s important to check this as you want to make sure the source is credited correctly.

Also important is adding hashtags for Twitter, G+ and even Facebook if you want (although they’ve never really taken off on Facebook). This will help visibility when they are published.

Understanding platforms like Google+ allow for a longer message (it only supports pages, not individual profiles), use this opportunity to write your thoughts ahead of the link

Add a picture

Image uploadImages increase engagement with social posts exponentially, so where available (which is everywhere), you should be using them.

Buffer offers the opportunity to add an specific image to the posts you share. This is particularly handy for Twitter posts where there is no preview of the content, unless the site you are sharing supports Twitter cards, but you can’t see this from queue dialogue, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and G+ shares where the tool will parse a preview that you can see in the queuing dialogue.

Don’t just share something once

There is research to suggest that the multiple sharing of the same piece of content can do wonders for engagement. CoSchedule has a great schedule framework that demonstrates this.

Scheduling toolUse the New Scheduler tool (second tab) to pick the frequency by which you share your content and again, make sure you vary your message by platform.

Add additional schedule times to it if you want as well, per my first point.

If you want to keep a track of all the links you share using the tool, I also recommend checking out this post on using IFTTT to achieve that.

This kind of tool shouldn’t be the only thing you use to share content. As I said, I schedule about 90% of my output using this, with the remaining being direct shares from social platforms as I find information, and others being my own content that I post on the blog.

So how about you? Any ways you are using it that you’d like to share?