Hesitate Before You Automate Your Social Presence

Real social interaction requires personal attention, not automated content.

At Infomedia, we periodically have clients that want to automate their social media presence. For instance, they may ask for a feature on their website to auto-post new blog articles to Twitter and Facebook. Or they want to automatically deliver their RSS feed to their monthly newsletter. I don’t recommend these things, because it helps create a divide between a brand and the people that care about the brand (followers).

If you have a brand, be it a clothing store, restaurant, or construction company, anyone that cares enough about your brand to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter is special. These are our brands’ influencers. They’re the grassroots advocates for our brands online. And best of all, they are helping us for free. They want to show their support for our business. We should show them appreciation and personal attention, not relegate them to an automated system of tweets and Facebook postings.

Think about the brands that you follow

Ask yourself why you follow them. I know why I follow brands, and how I choose which brands I follow. I follow the ones that are personal–the ones that have humans that post both business things and fun things. I think it’s interesting when a company shares that they are having a potluck lunch, or when they made a new hire. I want to follow a brand that talks openly about things in their industry in general, not just about themselves. Why should I follow a brand that only shares their formal press releases, or only re-shares something from someone else when it says something good about them? That’s boring. I want personal. Real interactions.

I also like when brands engage and/or respond to customers online. There have been times when I’ve shared a blog post from a brand on Twitter, and that brand will give a personal reply to me, thanking me for sharing their content. That’s really cool, as long as it’s not automated. I’ve also had brands ask me how they can fix a problem if I complain about something publicly. That’s also nice, once again, as long as it’s sincere and not spammy auto-generated response.

So how can you be efficient in social media and be personal?

There is no question that being a highly engaged, personal brand online is an investment. It takes time, and perhaps even employee training of the social medium, in order to be effective. But there are some things you can do to help that are pretty easy.

Easily post to Twitter from within WordPress

As Infomedia’s Lead WordPress developer, I have some tips to make using your website and social media together a bit easier. When I’m asked to automate posting to Twitter when a blog post is published, I go to WordTwit Pro. This WordPress plugin lets you automatically post to Twitter, but it lets you hand-craft the tweet, when it posts, what hashtags are used, and what Twitter handle is attributed, and set a schedule for the tweet if you’d like it to post multiple times. This means that you can make the Twitter posting both personal and automated.

Share content on Facebook

Facebook recently released a number of feature integrations with WordPress. You can now customize Facebook posts to go along with the publishing of a new blog post. Once again, this gives brands the opportunity to hand-craft their social posting. It’s a subtle difference from totally automated posting, but an important one.

Stay in tune with your brand on Twitter

There are a couple of tools that you can use to keep close track of your brand on Twitter. One is simple: use Tweetbot (for Mac and iOS) or Tweetdeck (many platforms) to track mentions of your brand on Twitter. They allow columns, so you can add a column for a search term of your brand name or Twitter handle, and you’ll see all interaction with your name.

Social Metrics

One service I really love is Crowdbooster. Crowdbooster allows me to track my Twitter and Facebook accounts and delivers stats on how many followers I’ve gained, retweets or mentions I’ve gotten, the number of impressions one of my posts received socially, and more. Crowdbooster is one of the most advanced social analytics tools out there.

There are a number of other social media tools you may enjoy as well. Here’s a great list by Kissmetrics with 17 of them.

Now What?

Hopefully you now have some ideas on how you can better your social strategy for your brand. At Infomedia, we like to help our customers build plans to engage more users, in a better way, every day. If you would like us to spend time one on one with you to help you further develop your strategy, be sure to get in touch.

Photo Credit: Legoloverman via Compfight cc