To be social or not to be social: the difference between automation and scheduling
“I don’t want to use scheduling tools, because I feel social media and automation don’t go together”
This was said by someone in one of the lovely Facebook group that I joined in the last few months. And you know what? I almost agree with her.
Automation and social media don’t go together. You can’t be automatically social. However, if done right, scheduling should not be seen as automation.
Automation is all about making some parts of the process automated. This works for all kinds of processes. For instance, if I favorite a tweet it automatically goes to my Evernote. That is automation, since I am not involved in the action. Some people automatically send a private message when that person follows them. That is automation, since that person isn’t involved in the action.
This also makes clear why automation and social media don’t go together. What is social about getting an automated message saying ‘Hi! Cool that you follow’? Nothing! I would love a message like that when it is personally written, not when the sender in question hardly knows you exist.
When I have time and see someone following me, I will send them a message, whether public or private. I will talk with them about something in their profile, making it personal, really making a connection. Getting an automated message saying ‘Hi!’ doesn’t feel like being social, because it isn’t making a real connection.
So that is why I agree that social media and automation don’t go together.
By the way, I love automation for the non-social parts. The fact that if I favorite a tweet it automatically goes to my Evernote is really handy. It helps save time and collects all important stuff in one place. But that is talk for another time.
So why is scheduling not automation, if automated private messages are?
Scheduling is preplanning messages in advance to go out on a time you selected. You make a plan of when those messages will appear.
It does depend on how you set it up, but if done right, I really feel like that is the important difference between scheduling and automation.
Of course you can just let the tool automatically choose the titel as your message with the link to your blogpost. You just decide which times your post gets send and that is. This is automation and is definitely not good.
However you can also preplan all messages linking to your blogpost 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 and then just remind the tool when to send them out.
Last week I talked about CoSchedule, the tool that gives the option to really make every message to a social media channel exactly like you want it. You write every message separately and decide when the message goes out.
This means that no message has to be the same. You can write them all at the same time but change them depending on channel, clients and content. The tool only posts what you have written on the time you have choosen. No automation, just planning. So that even if you are working on something else, or sleeping for all I care, your social presence is still active and making connections.
That is why scheduling isn’t automation.