Social engagement is evolving faster than we can comprehend. Needless to say, businesses are always on a clock to ensure they are responding to customer queries on time. After all, customer loyalty revolves around how quickly a business can respond and resolve.
Social media is growing to become a two-way channel for communication between brands and customers, and why not. Research shows that 44% of users expect a brand to respond in an hour or less on social media.
You may say there’s a lot of other marketing stuff to handle, and I am not disagreeing. But ignoring your customers may very well impact your customer loyalty base negatively. That’s exactly why automating your social media strategy can help you save time (and customers).
In this article, we’ll dig into how you can automate your social media strategy to enable your teams.
What happens to your team when you automate social media?
While automating replies on social channels keeps your customers engaged, it also relieves your team from acting as a vigilante round-the-clock and social media burnout. You not just use social media tools to schedule posts and updates but also automate the consequent actions that your teams need to take.
For instance, when you set up a Facebook bot to capture lead ads, you can automatically sync your lead ads with Google Sheets so that all customer details are automatically populated on your sheets. Your team members need not monitor if a particular detail missed out or not because there is a bot that is working on capturing every single detail without fail. Ofcourse, this bot is working as the first point of contact.
Some of the advanced social media automation tasks include sentiment and customer analysis, social listening, and competitor analysis. All these tasks, which can be automated, can churn the maximum ROI from its efforts and most importantly, connect with the customers on a much deeper level.
This whole process consists of 3 major steps:
- Creating a unique social system
- Choosing the right kind of automation tool
- Enabling your teams
Let’s get started.
1. Creating a Unique Social System
Automating social media requires you to understand what part of your strategy you want to automate and how. Your marketing efforts solely depend on this understanding.
Most brands work around automating daily social updates and customer engagements. This is because a bot can work round the clock to identify queries first-hand and engage the lead with a set of automated responses. Ofcourse, you need to plan out what kind of queries your social leads can ask and how you want your bot to handle it.
You can read this detailed guide on how to create chatbot conversations before you start working on your social chatbot conversation workflow.
Next, is when to automate?
Time and again, social media marketers have looked for the “ideal time” to post social updates. However, after a lot of research, Paige Cooper writes on Hootsuite that there is no set rule to this. In brief, Cooper says early morning on weekdays can be a good time to start.
Ideally, you’d want to post when your users are most active on social channels. And that data varies from brand to brand and is different for each platform. Since social media algorithms function according to the ‘recency’ factor, it is important you pay a closer look at your own data while picking the best time to post.
2. Choosing the right kind of automation tool
If you want to automate your social media, you need a tool that will help you do it. Choosing the right kind of social media automation tool is important because you need a tool that will help you scale your efforts as your brand’s social presence grows.
In essence, these automation tools will take over the burden of marketing efforts and work on to bring better business.
Tips to choose the right social automation tool
If you are wondering, where to start – we’ve got you covered. Before you start scouting for the right tool, make sure your tool has the following features in built.
- Monitoring and listening – Desired automation tools must be able to monitor and listen to social media trends which helps marketers gather insights and the social buzz around the brand or the competition. It also helps in understanding the behavior of the customers.
- Analytics and reporting – The chosen marketing automation tool must be well equipped with analytics to readily display insights and data and export the data to various channels that have been collected.
- Social channel integration – The social media automation tool should be integrated with the major social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to facilitate quick post sharing and publication.
- Multi-lingual support – Accurate social media automation tools help in the extensive outreach of campaigns beyond geographical borders and often entice customers who might not speak the same language. Multi-lingual support facilitates lead generation even when there are limited resources to deal with it.
A robust social media automation tool must have more such features: social post scheduling, competitive brand listening, higher engagement, notifications on alerts, hashtag and author analysis, etc.
Now, let’s get to the tools that you can start using right away [we’ve tried and tested these and they work wonders].
Want to manage your social media without much hassle? Crowdfire has it all sorted for you. From discovering new content to scheduling social posts, creating tailored posts for each social network, and managing multiple social accounts – you get everything in one tool. The easy-to-use UI makes Crowdfire a sure-shot winner in the list of best social media tools.
When you think of scheduling and automating social posts, you think Hootsuite. No doubts. Hootsuite is a simple scheduling tool ideal for marketers looking to set up their social calendars.
Hootsuite lets you create streams for all your social channels so that you can see what’s happening at one glance. It offers automated compliance and protects your brand’s security like no others.
Add to this, with Hootsuite, you go beyond what’s trending on social media – all thanks to the insights feature that lets you track and monitor social sentiments as well.
Not just this, Hootsuite comes with Discover Sparkcentral to make customer care seamless. And it integrates with almost all major social media platforms. Whether you want to monitor your social channels or run an ad or amplify your social presence, Hootsuite is going to be your best bet.
SocialPilot has a client management feature that enables the user to let their clients connect social media accounts themselves. So this removes the challenge of passing on credentials which a few clients behave skeptical about. This feature makes it a perfect fit as an automation tool for digital agencies and SMBs managing clients.
SocialPilot is mainly known for how they handle their customer queries and questions – An attentive support team! Always available on email, chat, call, social to get on the requests of their users.
Want to grow a social account on autopilot? Kicksta can help you do that. Attract relevant followers for your brand who are genuinely interested in engaging with your brand. Increase engagement on your social posts and website clicks on Instagram by targeting relevant hashtags, locations, and accounts.
Planable puts your entire team on the same page. With the feed view feature, you can preview social posts as if they are live. Bid adieu to mockups, test pages, and long spreadsheets with Planable. Collaborate with your teams on each social post so that only the best content goes out. Not just this, invite your stakeholders [with specific permissions] to get approvals for crucial social posts. Automate your social media content with one single tool.
Grow your social presence the smart way. With Missinglettr you can create almost a dozen of posts in a single click, curate the most relevant content in your niche, and automatically schedule your entire social output for months in advance.
In short, Missinglettr is smart, simple, and powerful. Their suite of features is designed to help you optimize every aspect of your social growth strategy.
ContentStudio helps you streamline and automate your social media strategy. You can schedule and automate social media posts and share them across all your social channels in just one click. Plan your content with the Content planner and track social media KPIs with the social media analytics feature
Mention is a leading social listening and media monitoring solution, designed to ensure brands can easily track the most important conversations across thousands of social media and web sources. Mention allows clients to monitor and plan social media smartly by offering brands and industry social data to inform each publishing decision.
Brand24 is a budget-friendly social media monitoring platform. The tool tracks keywords across different social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch. Based on the mentions, Brand24 calculates social media reach, influence score, the share of voice, and monitors hashtag performance.
This will help you protect your brand reputation, find marketing insights, and improve your customer service. The tool tracks keywords across the whole internet.
You know what tools to use, you also know you’ve got to automate. Now, let’s dig into how social media automation can enable your teams.
3. Enable your teams with social media automation (handy tips)
Your teams need to focus on nurturing social leads and strategize all digital touchpoints so that customer experience goes on uninterrupted. To do this, they need to be free of all the repetitive tasks. How? With automation, ofcourse. Here are a few things that can enable your teams to focus better and strategize your social media for enhanced brand presence (and lead conversions).
(i) Automate customer interactions on social media
Research shows that customers prefer to chat on social media as compared to phone and emails. Almost 1/3rd of customers turn to the official Facebook Page of a brand to ask a question. Not just that, whether it is raising a query or a complaint or to simply show love, customers are relying on social media to do all the interactions.
This is because brands have become extremely active on social platforms. You can expect a reply in a few minutes on social channels while wait time on emails and phone can go upto 10-12 hours.
For instance, if I have to raise an issue, I am more keen on posting a tweet tagging the brand than going through a long contact form. Plus, I know I will get an instant response.
These responses are not always manually written. In most cases, these are automated giving support teams a break from answering thousands of queries at a time.
Take a look at the response from MakeMyTrip, an Indian travel booking platform –
You know this is an automated response but in some way, it keeps you engaged. It helps you with the next step to get your issue resolved.
This instant turn-around time is exactly what customers want. and they are fine if it’s a bot speaking to them.
Having a chatbot can help you keep a conversation going. You can have FAQs to supplement your business’s knowledge or have set automated responses for queries or complaints.
Take, for instance, Hubspot’s Facebook Messenger Bot.
It gives you certain options to choose to proceed, starting with Get Started. As you choose options, you get information regarding the same. No support member has to be involved in this interaction process.
Having your chatbot synced with your CRM automatically helps in capturing the entire workflow of the conversation. By automating this small part, your team gets all the details about the customer and the kind of information they are looking for. This in turn helps in understanding the buying intent of that customer.
This is a great way to automate customer interactions on social media platforms as it:
- Give proactive support to customers
- Enables customers with right kind of information
- Captures customer details in your CRM right-away
- Builds the first-level trust between customer and brand
- Relieves teams from manually handling large set of queries
(ii) Capture leads automatically for nurturing campaigns
Brands run lead generation ads to capture leads via social media. There is no denying that Facebook happens to be the hot bed when it comes to lead ads. Data shows that almost 32% of Facebook users interact with their favourite brands on Facebook owing to an average 28.3% engagement rate on Facebook pages.
P.S. We’ll talk about capturing leads through Facebook leads ads here.
The simplest reasons brands trust lead ads to generate quality leads are:
- Lead ads are mobile-optimized enabling leads to share details on the go.
- Lead drop-off rates are low because lead ads have easy forms to finish and submit in a jiffy.
- You can reach your target audience that matters for your business.
- Lead ads have long-term benefits.
This entire process of capturing lead details through ads and then adding leads for nurturing can be automated. You create ads that give your users a solid reason to click. Once they do, you have the option to capture the basic details of the lead.
You can sync Facebook lead ads with your CRM directly to immediately follow-up and also kick start nurturing campaigns. In some cases, you can also sync your email marketing tools.
For instance, when I launch a Facebook lead ad, I have it synced with my Mailchimp account so that I can automatically send a welcome email as soon as a lead submits the form.
I do this so that follow-up happens immediately, and in Mailchimp, my leads are automatically segmented based on their email engagements from the start. For me, this automation workflow is extremely important to nurture my leads with personalized conversations.
There are multiple ways to automate the lead capturing process and the consequent follow-ups –
- Add lead details directly into your Google Sheets
- Capture leads for a webinar and directly have lead details in your webinar tool
- Add leads to your choice of CRM
- Send out email notifications for new leads, and so on.
(iii) Automatically curate content to save time
Social media goes beyond sharing your own content. You cannot always come up with new content to share throughout the day, especially content that you wrote or is about your brand.
Solution? Curate relevant content automatically to keep your users engaged. Curate relevant content automatically to keep your users engaged. Curating relevant content saves time, keeps the engagement going, and creates a brand presence without much manual effort.
How? Go back to your social automation tools and look for the ‘content suggestion’ feature in it. This gives you direct access to fresh relevant content to pick and choose from. For instance, Hootsuite has a Suggestion feature that helps users to find and distribute fresh content.
There are several other content curation tools like LinkedIn Pulse, Medium, Panda, and Nuzzle to discover content that is relevant to your readership. Find fresh content and use them to create social posts.
Take a look at how Sprout Social posts regular breaking news apart from stories from their blog.
Pro Tip: Content curation for social media goes by a tried-and-tested rule referred to as the 5-3-2 rule. According to this rule, for every 10 social media posts:
- 5 should be from others but related to the desired audience
- 3 should be from the marketers related to the desired audience
- 2 should be personal, informal, non-work pieces of articles that help the marketers humanize the brand and its offerings
Now that you know how social automation can enable your teams, here are a few pro tips to remember before, during, and after automating your social strategy.
Essential Tips to Keep in Mind while Automating Social Media
(1) Keep time zones in mind
If you are catering to a global audience and want to grab maximum eyeballs to your posts, make sure you fix the time zone for your posts. For instance, on Facebook when you are posting an update, you can change the time zone of your post. In other times, Facebook automatically takes the time zone in which your computer is set in.
Fixing time zones enables you to keep your content ahead in the newsfeed for your target audience. There are countless social feeds going live every minute. Ensure that your audience finds your posts when they are awake and browsing and edit your time zones to match theirs.
(2) Schedule posts but not too far
Social media is all about being relevant. If you are scheduling way ahead of time, it may happen that your post becomes irrelevant by the time it is live. While scheduling and automating post updates for a week sounds great, try not to schedule beyond that. You don’t want to post old or irrelevant content for your users after all.
(3) Customize your update for each platform
Each social platform has a different format. Knowing how to leverage each social channel is essential for your social posts to work. Plan messages according to each network, especially when you plan to recycle your posts. Here’s a preview of how you can write your messages for each channel.
The same suggestion goes for designs that you add with each post. Each social platform has a different dimension and you must customize your visuals accordingly.
If you are not aware of the exact size, try some of the easy design tools like Canva that come with pre-set templates according to the design dimensions for each social channel.
(4) Know how frequently you must post
You want maximum engagement on your social posts, and for that, you must be aware of the optimum frequency for each social channel.
However, experts say it depends on the content you share, days you post, the life shelf of posts, and how active your users are. There is no hard rule to follow. If there is anything you need to follow is – notice spikes in your social engagement, track and monitor your posts, do sentiment analysis, and accordingly set a frequency for yourself.
For more details on how to decide on the best frequency for your social channels, follow Buffer’s in-depth article on how often you can post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
And that’s a wrap.
You want to automate social media to enable your teams to work better and engage with your users more frequently. For that, you must pay attention to the following:
- Know what you want to achieve with automation. While automating social media engagement can be a great way to enable your teams, you must also be clear of what you want to automate and how.
- Choose the right kind of tool so that you can scale without any friction. After all, you want your social presence to grow. Pick a tool that will help you manage your growing social presence.
- Use chatbots to engage and capture leads from social media. Follow-up with your leads using simple automation workflows between your social channels and other work apps. It’s easier that way!
- Curate content and automatically share them to keep the engagement going. Social media is all about being consistent and relevant. Content curation can help you beat the dearth of content that you might face otherwise.
- Keep your audience in mind. Everything you post on social media is to engage your target users and bring them into your marketing-sales funnel. From when to post to what to post and whom to target – keep a close eye on each of these. Monitor your social tools and customize your strategy according to user engagement.
And most importantly, keep experimenting. Social media is a place where you can unleash your creative self and hook your users. So, keep experimenting with your visuals, landing pages, ads, content, and posting frequencies. It may seem like treading between the lines of being annoying and super informative, but after a while, you will catch on what’s working and what’s not.
Till then, happy automating!