social media automationThere can be no question that Social Media or Social Networking has become almost a fact of life now. In particular, Facebook and Twitter with Google+ making rapid progress. In a previous post about selling your book, I mentioned the three pillars of  an effective Social Media presence; Twitter, a Facebook Page and a great blog.

The only problem is that they can really suck up a lot of your time and often without any great benefit. So the logical thing to do is automate some of the routine tasks. I can already hear the screams on anguish from here. ‘Automation? That’s spamming. How dare you? I’ll never lower myself to such a thing. I don’t want to be a bot!’

Well relax, because I’m not talking about spamming or creating nasty little bots that will drive people crazy. I use a number of automated actions and to date, with fingers crossed, I have had no complaints from anyone on Twitter, Facebook or in comments on my blog. So let’s look at a few of the automated timesavers I use everyday.

1. Post regularly and on a schedule for your blog so you have a routine that your readers can predict. Perhaps your blog post coincides with breakfast, or a morning coffee break for some of your readers. Schedule your blog posts in your blogging platform. Never write and hit the publish button.

Always write your blog posts in advance and have at least five or six posts in the queue. You never know when something will pop up and your blog post will be missed. With posts ‘in the bank’ and scheduled, even if you can’t get near your computer, your posts are happily being delivered on time.

2. Set up scheduled feeds to Twitter and Facebook of your new blog posts. Two services that I can recommend are Twitterfeed and dlvr.it. Now when your scheduled blog post is published, your Twitter and Facebook followers will automatically see that your new blog post is out.

3. After your post has been published, schedule and repeat the new blog post message on Twitter. Twice, about 7 hours apart. The reason this is important is because Twitter is instantaneous and  24/7, so unless you are an insomniac, it lets you get some sleep, and people in very different time zones to you will be advised of your new post, while the people who read your first message will be asleep. See!

But do not repeat on Facebook. Your original message will be clearly visible on your profile until your next post.

The best programs for setting up scheduled Tweets are Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. There are other online services around but I always feel it’s better coming from your own Twitter desktop client.

4. Now relax, go and write your book or have lunch with some friends while your blog looks after itself, Twitter and Facebook.

Social Media Automation – What Is Acceptable?
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10 thoughts on “Social Media Automation – What Is Acceptable?

  • 15/08/2011 at 4:10 pm
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    Absolutely! You simply could not hope to get anywhere without this type of automation in your “systems”.

    I see that you are covering a 24 hour period in three tweets. I do it in 5. A while back I did a little research to find out what were the peak usage times on Twitter. Turns out that it is lunch time. So what I do is schedule a blog post to be tweeted at lunch time in 5 major timezones around the globe. Oddly, most of them happen when I’m fast asleep. Thank you, Mr Hootsuite for your scheduling abilities.

    I can’t wait for the Google+ API to be released so we can get cracking there too. :-)

  • 15/08/2011 at 8:25 pm
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    The “posts in the bank” is one of the best ideas I have heard and one of the hardest to follow. I feel like if you write something you want to get into the hands of readers as fast as you can, the thought of sitting on a post is almost blasphemy. But, it is the best way to go, you don’t have to worry about website traffic if your posts are scheduled to publish.

  • 15/08/2011 at 8:28 pm
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    It’s not too bad Brittan. With posts in the bank you can always play with the order and date of publication to suit. If you have 10 or so in reserve you have security, but can always write something relevant to the day and move everything back.

  • 16/08/2011 at 12:18 am
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    That explains so much. I was starting to think that you just sleep for twenty minutes every couple of hours (didn’t DaVinci do that?). I will definitely start putting this advice to good use (The posting and tweeting advice – not the dodgey sleeping practices). Can you set up the tweets for random looking times? I tend to ignore tweets that come out at 5:10, 5:20, 5:30…
    I am pretty sure that yours are set up better than that because I was really wondering if you ever sleep. I had a mental image of you in front of your computer with a half bottle of Beaujolais, waving a book at imaginary bats.

    • 16/08/2011 at 10:20 am
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      I’m one for a good solid sleep Andrew!

      As we live in a 24/7 world, some automation on Twitter and some other social networks is acceptable now, so long as it is reasonable. I see too many users ‘bombing’ Twitter, which becomes very tiresome and counter-productive. The main aim is to simple keep people informed over a 24h period.

      As Twitter especially is so ‘instant’ one Tweet advising a new blog post is lost after 30 minutes, so spread over the day 3 or 4 times doesn’t offend.

      But, then again your impression of me happily Tweeting while drinking Beaujolais 24/7 sounds rather interesting!

  • 16/08/2011 at 10:20 am
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    I use scheduled blog posts and tweets, it makes life so much easier. I think it looks more professional, like you said, to have scheduled regular updates. Great post!

    • 16/08/2011 at 10:22 am
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      Thanks Christine. Yes, appropriate and timely posting does look as if know what you’re doing while not abusing the tools available.

  • 16/08/2011 at 11:48 am
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    Great post, Derek. Lots of good advice.

  • 17/08/2011 at 8:42 pm
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    Derek, how do you release blogs on a schedule? Is this a WordPress facility? Is there an equivalent in Blogger?

    Thanks.

    JJ

  • 08/09/2011 at 7:51 am
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    I’d say that when it comes to automating posts, we can always have different styles, but we must keep in mind one thing: Automate Responsibly. I’m glad you’re saving more time to use for engaging your peers in conversations online. I think that people are feeling this ‘social media fatigue’ these days simply because they feel like they’re obliged to go on the race to be the next human RSS feed. If you ask me, I used to suffer that a year ago and found myself a fix and like you, I’m having splendid time as well in talking to my peers. Besides, isn’t the purpose of getting social online — to have fun in conversations?

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