I don’t believe in automating social media.
I was recently asked to become an alpha user of a new social media tool that enables automatic publishing. The idea is that you schedule a bunch of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn postings in advance, hit “publish,” and the tool does the rest, publishing your messages on the scheduled dates.
The advantage is that you don’t have to log into your social media channels daily and post.
The disadvantages are many. First, I believe that social media conversation can’t be automated while remaining authentic and genuine. I mean, it can be automated if a real-life conversation between people can be automated, which MIGHT be in humanity’s future but thankfully for now is not happening.
Social media can be automated if you believe in broadcasting rather than in having a two-way conversation that includes listening. I don’t believe in broadcasting. If you want to broadcast, have a website. Even a blog. But Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – I do see them as places where I want to listen to fans, not just preach to them.
Another drawback is that part of the charm of social media is that it moves so fast and is always fresh. When you pre-schedule your messages, you lose this very important aspect. Your social media messages are old and stale.
I also find that while I get alerts into my feed reader when a client’s name is mentioned in social media, I still like to log into each channel every morning and check mentions of my clients, respond to retweets, and – mostly on Facebook for B2C clients – respond to customers’ complaints.
Lastly, when you pre-schedule your social media messages, you still have to do the bulk of the work – coming up with topics and writing down the posts. So even in terms of saving you time, I don’t think automatic publishing works too well.
The only scenario where I think it could work is if it’s either automatic publishing or nothing at all – meaning that if your company’s social media efforts always fall by the wayside, so that often weeks pass by with no one publishing anything, then *maybe* having the option to pre-schedule could make sense.
But personally, as much as I believe in automation in many other aspects of life and business, I think that automating social media publishing is a bad idea.