My initial answer to this question is a big NO. Social media is about interaction and being social, and this cannot be automated or dare I say managed by someone else for you. However I do believe we can use some tools to help us to save time. We can use tools to automate some processes that we would always do.
What can I automate?
For example, every time I publish a blog post I want to share it on my Facebook page and twitter, I will do this every time so this is a perfect task that we can automate.
When I look at my twitter feed there may be two or three tweets I would like to repost through out the day, wouldn’t it be great if I can do this and automate it.
What can’t I automate?
I want to interact with my followers, by liking or commenting on their post, I feel this is a key part of social media that we can’t automate and this needs your time to be spent to really engage.
I also make a point of welcoming any new followers to my account. To give people value I like to find out their name and look at their website so I can give them a personal welcome. Something like “Thanks Jessica for the follow” I don’t feel comfortable with automating such post, I want this initial contact to be genuine.
What Tools can I use to automate social media.
There are now so many Scheduling tools for Social media and most offer slightly different functionality. Some are free or have a free limited offering and others are paid for services.
So the tools I now use are.
Buffer is great for scheduling post on Twitter, Facebook, linkedin, google, pinterest and Instagram, it works with facebook pages and groups too, which a lot of tools don’t.
It also allows you to ‘buffer’ post into the system and then they are reposted at a schedule you define, so great if you retweet a number of tweets all at once as buffer will spread them out over the day.
Buffer also allows you to read RSS feeds from other blogs into buffer, giving you an easy source of content that you can repost to your followers and fans.
I use the Awesome plan at $10 per month.
If this then that, is a great scheduling tool, that can respond to any “this” and when triggered does “that“.
You create what they call applets which you set up and tell them what the this is and what the that is.
I have an applet set up so whenever I post a blog post on my WordPress site it is shared to my Facebook page. So I use IFTTT to automate the task I would do anyway, so it is a great time saver.
IFTTT is a free tool.
Other tools you may want to use.
A couple other good tools you can use to automate social media are:
MeetEdgar – more expensive but a great tool.
SlackSocial – cheaper alternative.
Feel free to share any scheduling tools you use or any questions about automating your social media below.