According to Gleanster, 84% of top companies are either automating their social media efforts or are considering doing so in the near future. With numbers like that, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t want to start scheduling out your tweets, Facebook updates, etc. However, the truth is that doing so can prove a bit risky.
Today, I’m going to examine what you stand to lose by automating your social media. Keep in mind, I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But before you go all out, it’s crucial that you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
What Could Go Wrong?
While there are some pretty strong reasons to start scheduling things out, there are some potential bumps in the road. Here are the main ones off the top of my head:
1. You may miss out on more pertinent, timely information. The beauty of sites like Twitter is that you can gain and share news faster than ever. Of course, that can be a negative as well. If you aren’t on top of things, fresh news becomes old news and gets buried in your followers’ fast moving timelines.
That means you have to be on the ball, ready to share new info at a moment’s notice. The problem is, if you’re scheduling out your tweets at the beginning of the week, you’re going to miss out on all those things that are happening throughout the week.
Was there an industry redefining moment on Thursday? Well, you won’t be talking about it until Monday, and your customers may have already moved on. Worse yet, they may see you as not being on the cutting edge. Is that what you want your public perception to be? To be on top of the latest happenings, you have to be involved.
2. You risk coming off as insensitive should a tragedy occur. The media feeds on tragedy. Think about it. How much of the reported news is positive versus how much is negative? It’s not even close. That means if something bad happens somewhere, you better believe your customer base is going to know about it.
That being said, what happens when one of these tragedies directly conflicts with a social media update you’ve already scheduled? And what if you forget all about it and run the update anyway?
For example, imagine, God forbid, there’s another school shooting. And let’s further imagine that directly following initial reports of the shooting, you run an update that seems completely insensitive. You know, something harmless that is totally wrong place, wrong time kind of stuff. Guess what-there’s no taking it back once it’s out there. Even if you delete it, you better believe it’s been screenshotted and shared.
3. It doesn’t always seem…REAL. I have a few people I follow on Twitter who obviously have things scheduled out. You know how I know?
- They tweet way too often.
- They tweet at odd hours.
- Nothing seems very personal.
Too often these automated tweets seem like a bot is running them. As a result, your social accounts cease to seem real. In return, people can’t connect because they won’t feel anything for a robot.
Are the Risks Worth It?
The good news is, all of the above risks can be mitigated. You can fix all of them with careful planning. But here’s what it requires:
- Careful planning—You can’t afford to “mail it in” with your scheduling. You really need to think things out before you schedule.
- Monitoring—Make sure you check in with your scheduled shares. You can always intervene to make certain you aren’t sending the wrong message at the wrong time. In other words, opt for incomplete automation as opposed to complete automation.
- Stay involved—Just because you schedule things out doesn’t mean you can’t stay involved. Use your automated shares as your base. Then monitor news and make sure you’re still commenting and sharing things in a timely manner…on top of what you’ve scheduled out.
Do you automate your social media updates? Tell us about your process in the comments section!
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/freebooks.html