Automating Your Social Media Marketing: A Cautionary Tale

Sean Johnson
Posted by Sean Johnson on April 12, 2012

A lot of the how-to discussion involving social media and content marketing these days revolves around ways to automate the process so that you can get the most out of the time you invest. For the most part, this is a good point to discuss, as automation tools can be great assets. 

That being said, you should also treat them like garlic: In the right amount, it's the perfect seasoning. Too much and you ruin the whole dish. 

Social media and content marketing are labor intensive efforts. The rewards can be great, but without the tools that allow for automating some of that process, you could be losing valuable time actually spent running your business. But there is a downside to automation. The more you automate, the more you can lose touch with your audiences and miss out on valuable opportunities for engagement.

Miss too many of those opportunities, and you can lose your audience altogether.

We use a lot of different tools here at Weidert Group to promote and share our content via social media. During the past several months, we have also developed some very reliable protocols that allowed us to share vast amounts of information in a pretty concentrated time period. For a long time, we saw nothing but positive results.

As the chart shows, our social media efforts here at Weidert Group had increased steadily from month-to-month as we refined our process. 

Social Media Content Marketing Automation

Things seemed fine until March. As the month transpired, we could tell our social media efforts were not having the same impact they had in the past. A bad week is one thing, but as the chart below shows, we were having more than just a bad week. 

Content Marketing Social Media Weidert Group

The more we studied the metrics and our followers' actions, it became apparent we were not delivering the value to our audience we had previously and we needed to make some changes. We launched those changes April 1. It was nothing major - we scaled back on the bulk uploads to twitter, changed one of the social media tools we were using and adopted a more personable approach to the messages we attached to the content - yet the turnaround was tremendous. As you can see from the chart below, we saw an immediate uptick in traffic from our social media efforts, an uptick that has continued. 

Social Media Content Marketing Weidert Group

Now, we are still using tools that allow us to automate much of our social media marketing efforts. However, we are much more engaged in the selection of the content and the interaction with our audience, which is allowing us to do a better job of delivering the content they expect and find useful.

The lessons learned are really quite simple:

  • Mind your metrics. If we were not constantly keeping track of our social media performance, we would not have seen we were slipping and been able to take steps to remedy it
  • Embrace change. Don't get so attached to the tools and protocols that you can't change them if you notice your content is losing its effectiveness
  • Be determined. You are going to have stumbles along the way. Don't use that as an excuse to abandon the effort

As we mentioned earlier, automation can be a great part of your social media marketing plan. Just don't get so automated that you forget about engagement and interaction.  

Learn more about using social media as part of your Inbound Marketing strategy with our "How to Use Social Media to Attract More Visitors to Your Website" eBook.

Use social media to attract visitors to your website

Topics: Weidert Group News, Content Marketing, Social Media

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