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How to Get Started with Social Media Automation

By Monique Danao
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Social media automation tools enable seamless management of social accounts across a range of different platforms. These automation tools let you dedicate more time to building an audience and implementing social media campaign strategies that work.

To start off, we’ll discuss the following in this article:

  • what social media marketing automation is
  • tips on how to automate social media posts
  • top social media automation tools

After reading this article, you’ll have learned more ways to leverage social media automation to improve your content strategy. 

What Is Social Media Automation?

Social media automation involves using tools to bolster your social presence. It lets a social team schedule posts ahead of time, engage with prospects, and streamline results all in one place.

concept image: man posting to social media

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Scheduling content isn’t about losing control

Having social media automation doesn’t mean letting AI, chatbots, and automation tools take over your social media accounts.

Social media automation tools are meant to help you manage your social accounts efficiently. They can uncover ways to widen your social networks, monitor brand mentions, and offer content ideas. However, you’ll still need the human touch when it comes to writing posts, communicating with your audience, and interpreting results from analytical tools.

Tips for Social Media Automation

Social media automation enables brands to save time and build an active online presence on social media networks. To maximize its potential, let’s take a look at some of the best practices you should follow. 

1. Set goals for social media automation

When you’re starting out, you don’t have to purchase multiple automation tools in an instant and automate everything. 

Start by identifying your social media goals. What do you want to achieve? And what should you automate in the process? 

Here are some goals to consider:

  • posting social content consistently
  • responding immediately to customer support requests
  • speeding up content curation
  • improving the efficiency of social media marketers

You can set any goal you want. However, your objective will determine the type of social media automation tools you get first.

For example, if you want to improve customer service, then integrate chatbots into your social media pages. Alternatively, teams that want to focus on consistency may find that a social media scheduler is an absolute game changer.

2. Be aware of time zones for social media marketing

Social media lets brands engage with consumers from across the globe.

So, where are your consumers located? What time zones are they in? Knowing the best time to post based on your target audience’s location will help you get more eyeballs for your content. 

clocks showing various time zones

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The social media algorithm favors posts that rack up a lot of engagement immediately after they’ve posted. Because they get more likes and shares, they’re perceived to be relevant content. Thus, this increases the likelihood that more people will see your post on their feed. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for posting times. Results may vary depending on your industry and the social media habits of consumers in a specific location or country. As an experiment, try to post at different times and see which times generate the most impressions, before committing to a specific pattern. 

3. Automate social media posts

Posting frequency matters a lot in social media. If you don’t post often, followers will easily forget your brand. But if you post too frequently, followers may be bombarded with too many marketing messages on their feed. So, how do you find the sweet spot? 

For most social media platforms, it’s best to consistently maintain the rate of your posts. As long as your engagement rate is consistent, you’ll be able to grow your audience. 

A good tip is to build a social media calendar with a posting schedule for every piece of content you plan to publish. The calendar serves as a visual representation of your posting frequency. That way, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are consistent for every platform. 

Social media posts calendar for scheduling content

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There’s no need to create a social media calendar from scratch. Social media automation tools let marketers schedule posts at a specific time. This can save you from the tedious process of posting content across different platforms, especially for ambitious social media marketing campaigns. 

4. Use social listening tools

Social listening lets marketers know what people say about their brand on social platforms. 

A social listening tool lets marketers monitor brand mentions from multiple sources all in one place. On top of that, you can follow a specific topic, hashtag, or keyword to uncover valuable insights about your small business or your competitors. What’s new in your industry? Why are your competitors getting more social media engagement?

Using social listening tools will help uncover gaps in your strategy and even spark content ideas for your upcoming campaigns.

5. Leverage chatbots for customer service

It’s no secret that chatbots are great at customer service. 

According to Comm100, chatbots can handle 68.9% of chats from start to finish. In addition, customers are receptive to chatbot interactions, with 87.2% of consumers having neutral or positive experiences with chatbots. 

These numbers show that chatbots are a must-have tool, because they can handle a significant number of inquiries 24/7. They’re also neutral and less pushy compared with an actual salesperson. 

For example, Sephora’s Kik chatbot can provide personalized product recommendations and beauty tips.

For the prom season, the brand created makeup tutorials and conducted Q&A sessions with the chatbots. The results? They were able to drive more engagement to the Facebook Live tutorials. The overall campaign led to 600K+ Kik bot interactions, 1,500 submitted questions, and 132,000 viewers per month on the Sephora Facebook Live. 

Kik chatbot sephora

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Besides handling customer service inquiries, chatbots can assist in processing orders and share a link to a specific FAQ section to solve issues. They can also direct customers to sales or support agents for more personalized responses. 

6. Curate content that your audience will love

Building a social media presence doesn’t entail creating all the content yourself. 

You can share tweets, social posts, and photos that your audience will love. An alternative option is to share breaking stories that will get your audience talking. That way, you can get instant engagement with minimal effort. 

re-tweeted social media posts

Curating content seems fast and easy, but finding the right post can take a lot of time and effort. On the bright side, content curation tools can help you find viral stores or breaking news that will resonate with your readers. Some posts may even inspire your upcoming posts in the foreseeable future. 

7. Add a human touch

Social media tools with AI capabilities can write captions on autopilot. While it’s possible to sit back and watch a machine do the work, it’s best to have a real marketer work behind the scenes.

Sure, tools can write factual posts. But on social media, people are more likely to engage with casual and witty captions. They want fun and relatable posts with a bunch of emojis. Even if AI has advanced capabilities, “copy-and-pasted” words don’t have the ability to move people. 

Your marketers understand your audience best. As such, automation tools are meant to supplement your brand’s social media strategy, rather than serve as a total replacement for an actual social media manager. 

8. Monitor analytics in social media platforms

Sure, automation tools can get tasks done, but you still need a solid strategy to get results. 

Trends and best practices can change over time. Results can easily dip if your posts don’t resonate with your audience. Thus, you need to monitor your social media analytics and results to determine whether you’re still on track to achieve success on your chosen social media platforms. 

Monitoring analytics entails taking note of metrics and KPIs to determine whether the automation tool is generating results. Are customers satisfied with the service they get from chatbots or support agents? Are you generating more engagement with your brand? How many impressions or shares did your posts get for the past week or month?

concept image: man surrounded by social social media posts

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We recommend generating social media reports per month or quarter to evaluate the performance of your content. You should also consider monitoring the results of your competitors to determine how you stack up against them. 

Top Social Media Automation Tools for Social Media Platforms

Good news: there are lots of social media automation tools that can improve your customer service, automate posting, and monitor analytics, among other essential tasks. Still, picking the right solution can be daunting. 

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best social media automation tools that you should consider. Below, we take a look at their features, pricing, and suitability for eCommerce, small businesses, and creators. 

Sked Social

sked website screenshot

We’ll begin with Sked Social — an all-star tool for scheduling posts. True to its name, this automation tool lets users schedule social media posts, visually plan their Instagram feed, and evaluate social media performance for the past two years.

Here are some of its notable features:

  • prices starting at $25 per month
  • automatic publishing of posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • drag-and-drop of upcoming posts to visually plan your Instagram feed in advance
  • drag-and-drop of posts to a built-in social media calendar to schedule your content
  • tools to identify the best posting times
  • ability to compare social media results against your competitors through advanced analytics

Chatfuel

Chatfuel website screenshot

Integrating chatbots into your social media profiles can be an intimidating endeavor, especially if you’re not a developer. Thanks to Chatfuel, you can create a Facebook Messenger bot through a drag-and-drop builder within minutes. Zero coding experience is required!

Here are some of its notable features:

  • a free plan with basic features
  • premium plans that begin at $15 per month
  • creation of unlimited chatbot flows
  • building drip sequences and triggered responses for customers
  • precise targeting with Facebook ads
  • resolving up to 80% of customer inquiries 24/7 with a responsive chatbot

Feedly

Feedly social media automation

Feedly is a news aggregator tool powered by an AI research assistant named Leo. You can use this tool to filter content, identify breaking news stories from select publications, and share valuable insights with your target audience. 

Here are some of its notable features:

  • a free plan that lets users follow up to 100 sources and organize them into three feeds
  • paid plans that begin at $6 per month
  • curation of content starting from 1,000 sources via paid plans
  • identifying breaking news articles and research topics in your industry

Buffer

Buffer website screenshot

Buffer is an innovative automation tool that lets you manage social media campaigns by monitoring social media analytics and driving results to your business. 

Here are some of its notable features:

  • a free plan
  • paid plans starting from $5 per month for each of your social media channels
  • automated scheduling of posts
  • tracking of the growth, engagement, and reach of your content
  • labels and hotkeys for responding to posts in an instant
  • management of Instagram Business, Facebook campaigns, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts
  • options to invite additional team members from your small business or digital marketing agency, set custom access and permissions, and set post drafting

Hootsuite

Hootsuite site screenshot

Hootsuite is a social media marketing and social media management platform. Marketers can use it to manage their social media accounts and customer care channels simultaneously. They can also unite cross-channel social media campaigns and manage ads in an easy-to-use dashboard. 

Here are some of its notable features:

  • paid plans starting from $19 per month
  • a social analytics dashboard with personalized insights
  • the ability to manage and optimize results from social ad campaigns
  • scheduling of unlimited posts across multiple platforms and social media accounts via a single collaborative calendar
  • management of multiple channels including WhatsApp, Live chat, SMS, and social conversations via one simple platform

Conclusion

Making an effort to automate your social media posting on social networks lets you avoid time-consuming tasks and generate better results for your social media campaigns.

Marketers can automate posts, aggregate data across multiple social media channels, conduct brand monitoring, improve social media curation and focus on the tasks that matter most. 

And you don’t need to dive in and automate everything right away. You can start small by setting goals and choosing social media automation tools that will allow you to achieve your objectives. As you get used to working with these tools, you can integrate more into your social media arsenal. 

Here’s hoping our list of the best social media tools helps you get started with social media automation. Over time, you’ll be able to use these tools to manage social media channels seamlessly across multiple social platforms. 

Monique Danao is a contributing writer for Sitepoint. She writes about tech, social media, content marketing, and ecommerce.