Automation in social media marketing is generally looked down upon but this is because people cannot draw a line between using automation to optimize your efforts, and using it just because you are being lazy.
What is social media automation?
You can automate your social media marketing activities in many ways and some can be productive and some counterproductive. There are many tools available on the Internet that automatically follow people so that they follow you back, send them DMs whenever they post content on particular topics, scavenge the Internet and generate updates automatically and then post them on Twitter and Facebook, and so on. Basically you want to be social without actually being social. Does it work? It works for people who are used to spamming others and they have deluded themselves into believing that this is an effective approach. It is not. It never works.
The right way to automate your social media activities
When is it all right to automate your social media activities? You can automate your postings when you know that your audience is active at a particular time but at that time you are unable to come online or spend time on social networking websites. For instance, your contacts, followers and friends become active at around 3 PM and if you don’t post at that time, most probably they are going to miss your messages. But at 3 PM you are normally working with your clients and customers, or you are busy in your office or you are at a place where you cannot access social networking websites.
Under these conditions you can schedule your messages. For instance, you can schedule your messages in the morning to get auto-posted around 3 PM. Most of the social networking clients such as Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to do that. You can also use a Chrome plug-in that lets you save your social media messages and then automatically posts them at designated time.
Your scheduled messages can easily include textual content, images and photographs, or whatever you want to share on your timeline.
After your messages are posted, your contacts, followers and friends will certainly leave messages for you and you can reply to them whenever you come online. This is a good way of automating your social media activities.
Remember that whereas you can automate the process of posting content on social media and social networking websites, when it comes to interaction and engagement, you will need to get personally involved, and nothing can beat that. You cannot automate real-time conversations.