Automating Social Media: Does it Work or Do the Critics Have a Point?

Automating Social MediaAutomation… Every marketer out there has without doubt come across dozens of apps, designed to put specific tasks on autopilot and thus save precious time and effort…

As useful as this might seem, many prefer the traditional approach and believe that all automation equals spam. The opinion that those, who automate can’t be taken seriously, is widespread. And still there are bloggers and entrepreneurs who are keen on having the latest tools to help them improve productivity…

But are those tools really that good and can they help you become more successful in a shorter period of time or do the critics have a good point?

That is exactly what I will try to answer! In the below paragraphs I am going to take closer look at the positive and the possible negative sides of the phenomena called automation:

Myth #1: You Get Used to Doing Nothing

So theoretically once you start leaving various tasks on to the hundreds of apps available, you slowly start falling into a hole.

I have to admit that something similar has happened to me a couple of times. There are those moments when I would just stop, sit there and not to know what to do next…

However that generally lasts no more than five or maybe ten minutes, after which I get back to the usual schedule. Furthermore the same can happen even with a checklist in front of you. The latter can get quite overwhelming, especially when you aren’t relying on any tools to get the job done.

All in all if you are used to doing nothing, whether you are automating or not doesn’t really matter. Either way you won’t be making progress.

Myth #2: You Stop Keeping it Real

Whoever uses automation, doesn’t know how to engage and build relationships. You probably heard that before…

Why should automation has something to do with being untalkative?

Although thousands of egg-spammers are autotweeting, there are also those seemingly genuine folks who just don’t know how marketing works.

They’re welcoming their new followers and reply back… as long as it has something to do with their product that is. Oh yeah, and they like mentioning you only to tell you about their great service… that you don’t really care for.

So isn’t it all the same? Isn’t it up to the one behind the tools to decide what to do?

I am automating and creating discussions at the same time and let me tell you – it works perfectly fine!

Pro #1: You Have more Time for Writing

Moving on to the pros…

Writing was quite a struggle for me some months ago. Most of you probably know the importance of everyday writing. Publishing articles that grab the attention requires more than a day of hard work every week.

Aside from being able to put more time into writing, once I began automating, I was also able to start publishing more frequently (see “5 Reasons to Publish Twice a Week). The traffic increase that the change brought is a good proof that fresh content is what keeps a blog alive and that you need to do everything you can to maintain it.

So what’s better – doing the tedious tasks yourself or putting up great content? After all that very same social media won’t get you traffic if you don’t have anything to share…

Pro #2: You Get Better Results, Sooner

Being able to improve productivity is after all what automation is all about. And still there are plenty of people who argue that automation does actually return positive results.

I know I am giving it far too often as an example, but the Twitter traffic my blog receives everyday, is the most important evidence that those seemingly shady tools are worth it. Apps such as Tweepi (see “Best Twitter Tools“) and Tweet Adder (see my Tweet Adder review) are helping me discover tweeps I could have never found without the help of all the filtering options that these two provide.

The simple truth is that unless you are a celebrity, reaching 50,000 Twitter followers doesn’t work just like that. And 50,000 are better than 1,000. If you organize your day, engaging even with that much followers, isn’t a problem either. (see “7 Twitter Myths You Should be Aware of“).

Pro #3: You Can Make the Impossible Possible

Well the reality is that you can only do so much in 24 hours… considering that 8 of them go for sleeping.

Scheduling certainly comes to mind when we talk about automation. As I mentioned in my article “Social Media Traffic and 4 Reasons You Aren’t Getting It“, one big mistake that many marketers seem to make is that although they post a lot of social media updates, they post them at the wrong time.

Not quantity but rather timing is what matters here. That is where Facebook’s integrated scheduling (Note: integrated automation) and the great app called Buffer come into play.

In that case automation is pretty harmless… it just lets you have a calm sleep and publishes your updates whenever you want them to go out. How cool is that?

Final Words

You probably saw where I was going with the post right from the start. As far as my opinion on the matter goes, automation is a good thing and if used properly, is a great marketing tool, saving time and worthless effort. What are your thoughts? What should and what shouldn’t be automated? As always, I am looking forward to hearing your opinions!

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  1. Bob Straub says:

    Insightful post Daniel.

    I have been putting off using tweet adder in hopes of manually searching for and adding new tweeps of a better quality. The problem with this is that it requires a ton of time to do it manually.
    In either case I would still be spending the same amount of time manually posting and retweeting.
    Does the massive increase in followers bring more quality traffic to your site?

  2. Hi Daniel,
    Great post! Instead of thinking of it as automation perhaps think of it as ‘what good habits do I need in order to grow my success’ then it just becomes a question of what tools help me strengthen those habits.
    For me it is a no-brainer, I need tools in order to strengthen the habit otherwise it is all just too much work every minute of every day.
    Tools and good habits free me up to find more and better content – there will never be a way to fake creativity. Anything that helps free me up in this way is welcome!

    • Hey Ben,

      Exactly – that’s the whole point of automation. You free up time from the boring and less-creative tasks and use it in favor of the things that actually require every minute of focus that you have.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Daniel,

    Great article and references. Like anything in business, what’s the goal, what’s your system to achieve the goal, what are the key metrics, and so on. Automation is simply an approach to help the system work better/faster/cheaper.

    My question for you, how do you architect the (marketing) system for, say, a goal of “increasing lead gen for professional services”? What tools/articles/resources can you point to to put that system together?


  4. I use to send updates via my rss feed. I am also working on a system that can make automated updates from friends and partners. This way its possible to get your updates posted on relevant profiles, at the same time as you publish updates from your friends/partners. I also use triberr to find sharing buddies..