Working on Social Media and maintaining an online presence is hard work, but there are a lot of tools out there that can save us some time. They automate some tasks and make our life easier. But should we automate our Marketing? How far should we go with automating tools? Is Online marketing becoming less human? These are some of the questions that I will try to explore it on this post and at the end I´ll drop 8 tools that I have been using for parts of my marketing automation.
Growth Hackers have a great responsibility on the growth of marketing automation, andI became more conscious of that when I wrote an article of 10 Surprising Examples of Growth Hacking. This means that automation still has lot of room to grow and to become more and more important on every Marketer´s life.
I personally believe that Marketing can gain a lot with automation tools, but may be difficult sometime to draw a line and see what has a positive or negative impact on our Marketing strategy. After reading this article of Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my biggest influencers, I decided to put some thought on this and tried to draw some lines on what I feel is right and wrong on Marketing Automation.
The Dos of Marketing Automation
1. Schedule your content
If you use a lot of Social Media to gain online presence and to publish your own content scheduling your post is a good idea. It´s not very productive to post a bunch of random links at the online time of the day that you are connected on Facebook or Twitter.
It´s for sure a good plan to post your relevant content trough out the day at the times that more people are connected and get more chances to get some engagement.
2. Email replies
Whenever I send an email to any company I like to get any sort of reply to make sure they´ve received my email. I know that in most of the cases it´s an automatic reply, but at least I know they have received, and I am glad with it.
Automatic replies are harmless, people got familiar with them, and unless you try to pretend it´s not an automatic tool it´s fine.
3. Posts from your favourite blogs
I have a good amount of blogs that I read and that I like to share their content, especially on Twitter. To save me some time I use automation to publish every new of their posts automatically.
4. Create lists
In most of the cases our timeline on Twitter can be chaotic and impossible to read, so a good solution is to create lists. For some time I have created automatic lists based on hashtags and that worked reasonably well.
5. Automation is technology
I think this is important to understand. What I want to say on this point, is that marketing automation is just technology it can´t be THE strategy. You must realize that automation is just one piece in the whole Marketing engine and keeping a human side is advised.
6. Keep exploring other tools
I always get very excited when I find a tool that does what I want for that particular task. I have the tendency to think that that tool is the best one ever. In most of the cases I always find a better one. My advice is not to get stuck on the tools you already know for automation.
7. Make sure you reply to your audience
One of the problems of automation is that you may not be online when something is being published on Social Media. But make sure that you make some time to reply to comments and questions from your audience.
The Don´ts of Marketing Automation
1. Twitter automatic DMs
There´s is nothing more annoying that an automatic Direct Message on Twitter. I have unfollow a few of you because I got annoyed with a very impersonal and spammy message. Especially when they come via @someapp. I know for a fact that they can drive some traffic to your website, but they can also deteriorate your on-line image.
2. Posting the same way of every social network
There are some tools that allow you to send every content that you post in one social network to the other ones. I see that sometimes from content published on Facebook sent to Twitter. It´s wrong and very unprofessional. Each network has it´s own specifications and it´s own ways to publish content, make sure you don´t do publish the same content on the same way on each network
3. Don´t be a Spammer
It´s easy to think that if you are able to send your message across more people, you will get more results and it´s easier and easier to do this. It´s very easy to feel tempted to start emailing or messaging constantly your contacts to ask them to do what you want. You probably won´t get any results and you will be more likely seen as a spammer.
4. Relying just on automation
Thinking that automation will solve all of your problems is a mistake. Automation is not a solution but instead just part of the strategy and you can´t think that the tools can do all the work for you. Becoming a robot is not an option, and all of your marketing must have a human side.
5. Don´t over post
Due to the fact that you can automate posting on social media, this doesn´t mean that you can over post. I see many social media users using automation to increase their posting rate to values that become exaggerated and will create annoyance.
6. Don´t stop generating content
People still want fresh and up to date content and automation can make you lazy so you may want to stop creating or posting fresh content. This is a mistake and you might loose audience by doing this. Make sure you keep yourself active looking for new content to publish.
7. Don´t think that people won´t figure you out
Despite the fact that most of the tools nowadays are getting very clever, people are clever and in most of the cases they can see if a machine is working on your behalf or it´s really you. Don´t assume that the tools will become your voice. It´s easy to spot what´s a robot and what´s a real person on online marketing.
A classic tool for everyone that uses social media professionally as it allows yo upload and schedule posts for almost every social network. The free plan allows you to schedule five tweets.
It´s a less known app and it´s not affiliated with buffer. What it does is to upload tweets in bulk from a CSV file. This is quite useful if you are tweeting a lot and want to upload many tweets in a few seconds.
Zapier is a toll that I have discovered not long ago and that I find it very interesting. There are tons of apps that are integrated with Zapier and infinite possibilities, you just need to be creative. Just choose an app and action and then the consequence. “When this happens… do this”
IFTTT stands for “If this then that”. It´s a recipe tool that uses the same principle as Zappier but it has a more engaged community that share a lot of their recipes. You can find a lot of great recipes that you didn´t even know you needed it. It works also on Android and iOS.
If you ever have to repeat the same task with the mouse this is a tool for you. You can record the movement with your mouse and this tool will loop the movements. You will safe some time and patience.
This tool takes you to another level. It evolves a bit of coding, but you will be able to find some scripts online from coders that share their work. You can download the free extensions for Mozilla and Chrome.
Developed by bit.ly this tool seems to have been stuck in 2007, with a very outdated look and a very slow performance, however it does the trick very well. What is does it to post feeds from blog automatically on your social networks.
I have already shared my method to increase my audience on Twitter, and you can check it all on this post. Tweepi with the Chrome extension is an excellent tool to automate a segmented follow and to clean up your account on Twitter.
Automation can be of a great help but can also damage your image and your online presence so it must be used wisely. I think I covered many good practices and things you should avoid. As longer time I spend on Social Media more I learn about what works and what doesn´t and to be fair, what seems to be working better is when you show the real side of you. Automation in my opinion should just work as a small part of the whole process.
Now is up to you and I would love to know your thoughts on this controversial topic. How much automation do you have on you marketing strategy? What do or don´t would you add? And what other tools would you recommend.
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