5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Activity With Smart Automation

5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Activity With Smart Automation (Source: Adapted from Pixabay Public Domain Image)

Social media is an elusive form of marketing for many in the business world. You understand the importance of an online presence and getting active on the social media world, but achieving results is another matter altogether. Do you automate, or do you strictly post when inspiration strikes?

While there is no universal agreement (as social media great Seth Godin opts for a pure distribution channel approach, while purist Dan Shure vows never to automate), Copyblogger recently released some helpful ways businesses can use automation with these carefully constructed guidelines to maintain a human element to your social media activity and generate interaction. Here's the scoop.

1. Remain Connected

Automating your campaigns completely without any human involvement is a recipe for disaster, as we saw with Coca-Cola in their #MakeitHappy campaign and the New England Patriots becoming unknowing victims to racial slurs.

Maintain connectivity to your social media accounts. Respond to replies, thank people for sharing, and monitor the content that gets distributed on your account.

2. Don't Automate Direct Messages for Followers

Creating auto-direct messages for new followers puts up a red flag for many social media participants.

Jonathan Crossfield details how easy it is to spot the DM automations out there:

"But when I notice the account never replies, retweets, or engages with anyone but merely shares its own content or brand messaging on an endless loop, I may conclude pretty quickly that there’s actually no one behind the curtain."

Oh, and this practice is straight up out of fashion, so keep your direct messages on a case-by-case basis.

3. Space Out Your Content

Social scheduling apps like Buffer and Hootsuite are an essential component of any kind of automation campaign, as these apps enable a spaced out social media posting schedule.

You can tweet links in moderation this way, and take advantage of prime posting times that you may otherwise be unavailable to post during. This practice helps ward against spammy behavior (like posting 4-5 times in an hour) which can be an instant turn-off for followers.

4. Remain Mindful of Tragedies

If there is a major tragedy going on that you know about, go dark for a day and/or announce your mindful respect for the incidence. Posting a "5 Ways to Beautify Your Living Room" during a mass tragedy could (rightfully) be perceived as insensitive.

Note that this doesn't mean you can't leverage current events in your social media feed, provided you use good judgement. Copyblogger references Oreo's brilliant Super Bowl power outage tweet as a great newsjacking strategy:

Oreo Campaign

5. Don't Adopt a Hashtag For Traffic Alone

This concept is known as a "Hashtag Ambush" when shameless self-promoters wait around to a big event to release a hashtag, and then jump in on the hashtag stream to grab some cheap web traffic.

Unless you're an official sponsor of the event or the hashtag actually applies to your post, don't do it. There are some real shady waters that can even get you in trouble for trademark infringement if you do this the wrong way.

To use hashtags the right way, add value to the hashtag by educating, entertaining, or informing your audience with new information. Or create your own hashtag. Either way.

Need help with your social media practices? We'd love to chat. Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call. We'd love to help!


Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).