If you do X, Y and Z happen automatically—the basis of automation, which includes scheduling posts. If post scheduled time A comes around, it is automatically posted to Y – the social media platform of your choice.

I am not a fan of a lot of automation. It can become fake, very clearly automated and it might have some very obvious downfalls too. However, there are some great ways to automate. In this blog post, we talk about the do’s and don’ts with automation.

What is automation?

Automation is all about making some parts of the process automated. This works for all kinds of operations. For instance, you might have a setup where if you favourite a tweet, it automatically goes to your Evernote. That is automation since you are not involved in the action of saving anything. Some people have automatic replies to Facebook PM’s depending on the answer. That is automated marketing since that person isn’t involved in the action. You could have an automated email going out after filling in a form. That is automation too.

The two primary forms of automation that I distinguish are:

  • Automated processes
  • Automated marketing

Scheduling falls under both categories, depending on what you do. The basics of scheduling are posting preplanned messages automatically to the social media channel of your choice at a time you selected. This is an automated process. You can go a step further and let the tool automatically choose the title of the blog post as your social media message and add the link to your blogpost. One step further it can even pick the dates for you and automatically schedule it. These are automated marketing.

For me, there is nothing wrong with automated processes, but with automated marketing, you lose the connection with a person. Many times it is evident that this is automated and personally don’t recommend that.

So below are three Do’s and three Dont’s for automation.

3 Don’ts of Automation:

  1. If posted in spot A, post to spot B
    This works whether it is “if posted on a blog, automatically post to Facebook” or “automatically post all Instagram posts to Facebook”. Don’t do this. You lose an excellent opportunity to write a fabulous message for that particular channel. Posting your blog automatically it will not look as good as it will when you post it yourself (or schedule it), and since you don’t write the same way for Facebook as you do for Instagram, you will lose that opportunity too. You can still copy and paste, change a few small things and reuse it, of course. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And you can also preplan all messages linking to your blog post while writing the messages individually. Then, it isn’t an automated action where if you do A, the tool does B. You do all the work, set it for later and then the tool will post it when it is time. (See more on this later)
  2. If (potential) customer does A, B & C automatically happen socially
    You might remember the automatic ‘Hey, how nice of you to follow me messages on Twitter’. Those were sent automatically when you followed a person; there was no human involvement at all. This is a good example of a bad form of automation. Once the cat was out of the bag that people could automate this, you didn’t feel appreciated as a follower when you got this message. The person you followed didn’t deem you worthy of a real conversation. Most forms of automation that replace a real human touch are a terrible example of using automation. We will get to the good ways in a bit.
  3. If post A did well, and it’s been X amount of time, post it again
    There are tools out there that automatically repost your content after a while if it did well the first time around. There are two reasons I would not recommend this: for instance, that post might not work timing-wise. Let say you have made a post that was relevant for Corona; you wouldn’t want it automatically reposting next year, right? It obviously wouldn’t make sense and would look a bit weird. But even if the post is still relevant chances are high that you might want to retweak the text a bit, change the image, add some new hashtags… You can reuse the post, but you might not want to repost it 1-on-1.

3 Do’s of Automation:

  1. Scheduling items
    Using Facebook’s internal scheduler, Planoly for Instagram, Tailwind for Pinterest, you can set up posts to go out for the next week, month or even longer. You can do the same with YouTube and WordPress internal schedulers to get your videos and blog posts ready for the future. This makes your work quicker (it’s easier to come up with, create and schedule them all for a more extended period than to do that each day), you can focus on other things for the rest of the time.
  2. Have a tool remind you which posts can be reshared
    While I don’t recommend auto reposting, it might indeed be useful to be reminded of social media posts that you can repost. I have two ways I do this in my work. I have a list of things I’ve posted in my Airtable. I’ve also added the date of the post. In one of my Airtable views, it just shows me old posts that are more than 6 months old that I could rethink about rewriting and resharing. I also have a view where I see all blog posts that have been pinned. I write down the last day a pin will go out for that blog post so that I get a notification when that date has passed. Then I have the option to 1) just let it go, 2) repin the current images again 3) make new images and/or descriptions and then pin again.
  3. If (potential) customer does A, B & C automatically happen
    I already touched on this in the introduction. You can automatically send out an email after a form has been filled in. Or send the invoice automatically once the contract has been signed. Just pick parts of the process to automate that are not personable.

There are many more ways of automating your processes that will help your business grow. What part of your processes will you be automating?

Automating your business: The Do’s and Don’ts