The Pros & Cons of Social Media Automation

Should you automate your social media posts? If you’ve ever managed a social media account, you are probably familiar with this dilemma. With countless social media management programs available (HootSuite being my favorite) and Facebook releasing scheduled posts for pages, it is easier than ever to schedule your updates.

But does that mean you should? There are good arguments on both sides:

PRO: Get Your Life Back
Just think, in an hour or two per week, you can schedule all of your posts. Voila. Active social media presence without the major inconvenience. If your entire job is updating social media, then this isn’t a huge factor. However, many of us run social media on top of our other responsibilities, so scheduling can be a saving grace.

CON: You’ll Miss All the Action
Truly, it takes time to do social media right. Just like in the real world, building social media connections is as much about listening as it is about talking. If you’re not checking in regularly, how can you know what people are interested in? You could miss an opportunity to respond to a fan, start a conversation or put your two cents in on a breaking news story. These nitty gritty moments of listening, commenting and sharing are where relationships are formed. And as we all know, relationships generate engagement, which can mean new business for your company.

PRO: Timing is Everything
As you might expect, certain days and times are more effective for reaching people on social media. There is a lot of data on this topic, but bear in mind that it all depends on your industry and target audience. The great thing about automation is that you can post when people are online (often in the evening) without compromising your schedule. Scheduling posts also allows you to take a guilt-free vacation, all the while keeping the updates flowing.

CON: They’ll See Right Through It
Even a not-so-savvy user may notice that all of your posts appear at precisely noon “via Tweet Scheduler.” And when they put the pieces together, they may not be very happy. Mysteriously, most users actually participate in social media to interact with other humans, rather than computers. Never forget that your company is on social media to form relationships, one-on-one, with potential customers.

All told, automation is a handy trick that can make you more efficient and effective if you use it thoughtfully and responsibly.

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