Social media is supposed to be “social,” right? But you’re busy. And if you don’t keep cranking out the content, you’ll lose followers. And then you won’t be an “influencer”. And then you’ll never be rich and famous and you’ll never be able to afford that beach house. And your kids won’t turn out right because – well you don’t know why but it’s true. So… much… pressure!
Relax. Social media doesn't have to be so hard. Yes, it’s a way to position yourself as an industry expert, and some businesses use it to great effect in order to obtain clients. And yes, some people have hundreds of thousands of followers and you maybe only have a few hundred, but then again, Honey Boo Boo is famous, so, go figure – the public is finicky. The fact is, in social media, just as in most other facets of life, quality is more important than quantity. But, how do you “automate” quality?
The key is to use automation to manage quantity, and use real interaction to facilitate quality.
Make Use of Tools
Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can be used to help you build a queue of posts across various social media platforms: Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each product offers different features, of course, and you must decide which one works best for you. Hootsuite, for example, allows you to upload a spreadsheet of tweets (“bulk upload,”) and even include the posting time on the spreadsheet. Buffer allows you to build a queue of posts across various platforms, and dictate a unique posting schedule for each different platform. The free version of Buffer allows for up to 10 items in your queue at any given time. Further, Buffer even supplies a list of suggested posts that you can choose from and add instantly to your queue, with your own personalization.
Using these tools allows you to keep up a steady flow of good content so that your audience stays interested and you remain top-of-mind for your followers. A good rule of thumb, though, is to only share content that you've actually read and feel is valuable. Don’t share stuff just to keep your queue stocked – it’s not only bad form, it could come back to haunt you.
This is where the “social” aspect of social media comes in. Here are some guidelines:
- Whenever possible, give credit to the source. If you share an article on Twitter, for example, take a couple of extra minutes to find out if the author is on Twitter, too. If so, then use that author’s Twitter handle in your tweet. Example: “Social automation the right way. (link) by @Christal_Guziec”.
- When someone mentions you, retweets a tweet or shares one of your posts, respond to them personally. Call them out with a “Thanks for sharing my article!” or even just a “favorite” or “like” on their post if you’re truly so, so crunched for time.
- Don’t just post your own stuff. Share content from other people (see guideline # 1 above). Most social media gurus recommend the 80:20 rule. 80 percent of the content you share should come from other people; the remaining 20 percent can be yours.
- When you see a post that you’d like to share, either immediately add it to your automated queue, or bookmark it somehow – “favorite” or “like” it. If you’re in Facebook, you can share a post privately to your own wall so that you can come back to it later (use the “Only me” sharing setting). This is a great way to help ensure that you maintain a stockpile of quality content to share, and that you’re following the 80/20 rule, and that you’re properly, publicly crediting the source.
- In Twitter, don’t just “retweet” – put your own spin on things. This helps keep your face showing up in your followers’ feeds, instead of bombarding them with a steady flow of faces and logos that they may not recognize.
There you have it. Simple guidelines to keep the “social” in social media, and some helpful tips on using tools to automate the process and ensure that you don’t get lost in the dust, and lose followers as a result. Now go pick out your beach house.