This was a constant struggle when we started out. We became so overwhelmed with all the important tasks – social media, email, video marketing, and of course, website designing – it was hard to keep up the social media schedule as soon as another big project came along.
But as they say, experience is the best teacher and I’m glad we learned a lot in a very short time. With the strategies we brainstormed, we were able to fix the problems we had that time, and continued to work smoothly from then on.
One of our brilliant solutions for the team? Automation.
I must admit, a part of me wasn’t open to the idea of automating social media marketing. But as they say, we must base our business decisions on data and not emotion, and so we did. The results? It worked like a charm!
So how did we do it?
I’ll spill all our secrets now! Keep reading…
Automate… but keep engaged!
Confused? Let me explain myself.
Let’s review every business’ ultimate goals in doing Social Media Marketing:
- to connect with your followers
- to have an avenue to get to know your customers more
- to attract leads and then to nurture them into customers, and
- to increase conversion
Now’s let’s review the #1 of small business owners when it comes to Social Media Marketing:
- “I just don’t have the time to keep it running regularly”
TIME. There’s always limited time, which is why automation is a quick win!
With automation, you can schedule your posts all at once, so there’s always a new update on your accounts even on a very busy schedule!
But you may ask, “if you automate everything, aren’t you defeating the purpose?” Not quite, I tell you! Here’s our secret: we automate but we keep engaged.
Whenever the scheduled post goes live… we make sure we’re still connected and visible to our followers by leaving and responding to comments, sharing our insights, sharing the content itself among others.
But since all the posts are scheduled in advance, we save a lot of time and now only need a few minutes to manage the rest of our social media activities.
What are the tools you need to automate your social media marketing effectively?
Since you’ve now understood the concept of automation while still keeping engaged, let’s proceed to the tools that you will need to do this task easily but effectively. Here are some of the FREE tools that you can use:
If Facebook is your only focus right now, they have a built-in feature that allows you to schedule posts in advance. If you’re not familiar with the process to do this, please simply follow the steps below:
1. Go to your Facebook page.
2. Write a post as you normally would.
3. Instead of clicking the button “post”, click on the arrow down icon and choose “Schedule”
4. You can now choose the date and time for your post.
5. Repeat the same process for all your other posts.
If you find the process of going through each of the steps in the scheduling process above tiring, I’ve got a better idea for you… introducing ‘Buffer’.
Buffer is a smart scheduling tool that allows you to connect maximum of five social media profiles (for the free version). After connecting your social media profiles, you can add your preferred time of posting in the settings, so you no longer need to type them in every time. This makes the process of scheduling so much quicker.
Bonus: Did you know that not only does Buffer offer internal analytics for your posts, it also suggests awesome content for you too? You can choose a post from their pool of fresh content per category, and add it to your schedule stream.
What’s the catch, you ask? Buffer’s free version only allows you to schedule up to 10 posts per profile and you can only connect 1 profile for each network.
If you need to schedule more than 10 posts and need to connect up to three profiles from the same network, I suggest you use Hootsuite. The interface isn’t as simple as Buffer, but the features make up for it.
With Hootsuite’s free plan, you can connect up to three profiles – and all of them can be from different or the same networks. This works really well for those who handle 2-3 fan pages / profiles and do not want to create separate accounts for each.
As for the limit to the number of posts you can schedule, here’s some good news: there isn’t any schedule! So if you’re going to be in a long vacation any time soon, Hootsuite is your best friend.
One of the most amazing tools for automation is Zapier. With this tool, you only need to create a “zap” once, and it can run as long as you want it to!
For example, if you want your Facebook content also posted as an update in LinkedIn, you can do this automatically with Zapier. Again, you don’t need to reschedule all the content, you only need to create a “zap”. Here is what it would look like:
When you’re done setting this guide, all your new Facebook page content will be shared as an update in LinkedIn… without a sweat!
That was amazing, wasn’t it? Now before I end this, let me give you my top tips on…
How to automate your social media content like a pro
Be mindful of your posting date and time.
Before you set up your posts, make sure that you’ve analysed the current data that you have. When does your audience usually go online? What time are they most active and engaged?
Always find new content.
Don’t post the same type of content over and over. Spice things up by adding quotes, videos, infographics, links from other sources, among others. Remember, always put yourself in the shoes of your ideal audience and ask yourself if you’d enjoy the content you are currently automating.
Like what I said above, automate but keep engaged. Never forget your goals in doing social media marketing. Be there for your customers, reach out to them if they need help, and even when they just want to say hello, appreciate the time they took to greet you, and greet them back!
There’s been a lot of negative talks about automation – it’s boring, not engaging, impersonal etc. But data tells me otherwise. With the strategies that we mentioned above, I know automation will work for you too!
So create a social media automation game plan, then buy yourself a latte, because from now on you’ll have more “me time”.