One of the things you will surely start hearing more questions about is "Should Social Media (Marketing) be automated?"
Depending on who you are listening to will depend allot on what your answers will be.
As far as I am concerned, the true question is not if you should use automation tools for Social Media, but how you are using these automation tools for Social Media.
A little while back (05/14/2010), we posted an article "Beware of Automation Tools for Backlinks" and we still agree with that 100%. Today the debate as to whether you should use or should not use automated software/programs for your Social Media sites should not be a debate, the answer is use them, but know how to use them.
We feel that If you understand the following, you can use automation tools for Social Media.
1) You Can Automate Yourself Completely Out of Business.
Before you use any automation tool understand that if all you do is automate tweets and Facebook posts, you will most likely fail in Social Media Marketing. So use automation to simplify what you do, but not to replace what you do.
2) Automation Can Result in Getting Some Sites Blocked or Banned.
Yup, that is true... (ask us how we know). Twitter is great at controlling what you can and can't do regarding following and un-following and automatic posting.
- Twitter does not care if you automate.
- Twitter cares about what and how often you automate.
3) Automation Will Get You Banned From Twitter Search.
Yes, that is true as well... However, it again all goes back to how aggressive you are about it.
4) Automation Will Not Create Social Media Engagement.
False.. True... no wait.. False... It really depends on how you are using it. If you use a product like SocialOomph to send out welcome messages to new followers and to auto-follow new followers... join the millions that do. If you are still monitoring your Social Media to see who is following you, then join the few who do.
A large part about the Social Media experience is the "Sense of Community" whether it is automated or not. We have seen GREAT automated campaigns that are extremely well targeted and received. We have also seen personally crafted campaigns that were HORRIBLE. Point here is it is in the delivery, not necessarily in the deliverer.
5) Social Media Automation To Facebook will Kill Your EdgeRank
Yes.. No .. We heard they fixed it.. well maybe - not real sure. There are several sites and "Social Media Gurus" that will try to tell you that using an automated poster to FaceBook will affect your EdgeRank.. and maybe they are right. For us we haven't seen it. We are continuously and consistently seeing the complete stream from the few automated posts we do for our clients.
According to EdgeRank themselves, perhaps it was just a 'bug' and it is now fixed. See the 3rd Party API Penalty and let us know what you think.
6) Using Social Media Automation Tools Will Make Your Life Easier Online
You better believe it will!! .. but use them sparingly. In other words, understand WHY you are using automated tools in the first place.
3 kinds People Use Social Media Automation Tools:
- Spammers: If you are using automated tools like SocialOomph or Hootsuite for nothing more than spamming affiliate links, then you must likely support Utilitarianism where the end justifies the means and we can not save you from the Dark Side.
- Professional Online Marketers: If you want to use Social Media Automation tools ethically with a goal in mind, then we say go ahead and do it... and so does Twitter, so does Facebook, so does LinkedIn.
- People that Don't Have a Clue: And that is OK... we all have to start somewhere, but please learn to use it correctly... with an end in mind.
7) You Have to Monitor Your Social Media
Think you solved the time you spend on Social Media Marketing now that you have set yourself up with all these wonderful automation tools? HA!! You couldn't be more wrong!!
By using automated tools to grow followers and create more activity, you will have to spend just as much time replying to that activity.. Sure you can use automation tools to locate and attract high Social Media influences, but if you are not engaging and re-engaging with them from a manual monitor of some sort... you may have not wanted what you asked for by using automated programs.
Keep this in mind on anything you hear on any online marketing software, automation tool or some overly promoted affiliate bullcrap... "If it was all so freggin' easy to do it right.. then we would all be #1 on Google."
About the Author:
The SEO-Alien is a project started in 2009 regarding all things online marketing. The site started out more of a diary of predictions, suggestions and references to things I frequently used for online marketing... before social media marketing was even an option.
I hope you find the information and tools presented here useful and something worth sharing with others.
If there is anything else about online marketing or any online advertising strategy you think would be helpful, please let me know.