As social media manager, you will be faced with a never-ending list of tasks ruled by the accelerating pace of the social media world. Your main task will be to to keep your social media feeds updated, otherwise you will go down in the endless stream of information. You have to engage with various target groups across different time zones and publish new content on the roll – nobody is interested in redundant topics, tailored for someone else. Sometimes, it might feel like being caught in a treadmill. If you are running short on time, social media automation and cross-posting might seem like a good idea.
But (!) automation can also prove to be treacherous. There is a slight, but nonetheless important difference between simple cross-posting and customized cross-promotion. In this article I will show you, why this knowledge is crucial for your daily social media workflow.
First Things First: Pros and Cons of Social Media Automation
Especially if you have to manage a fair number of different social media accounts, the pros of automation are evident. You can seed your content much faster and easier across your connected networks. This will save you tedious legwork and a fair amount of your valuable time. It will also ensure a consistent stream of content on your social channels. This makes you predictable for your followers, but in the best kind of way: They will know, when you are about to post your new stuff. Additionally, automation helps you to get in touch with as many members of your community as possible. You can schedule your postings and engage with followers from around the globe, despite the different timezone. Last but not least, planning and scheduling your postings in advance allows you to really check your postings, catch eventual errors and avoid mistakes.
However, don’t let yourself be entirely absorbed by automation.
Why is that important? Because one of the most harmful effects of automation is, if your posts look robotic. Poorly formatted posts are less engaging, get a lower ranking and thus are less visible on your followers’ streams. Furthermore, the usage of automation features might encourage you to drastically increase the amount of your daily postings. Too many posts per day will lead to an decreasing engagement rate, an annoyed audience and a declining number of followers. So inform yourself about the right amount of postings per day and per social network and cross-promote your postings.
Know the Difference: Cross-Posting vs. Cross-Promoting
Cross-Posting usually means posting the very same message across multiple social networks. This method is very fast – typically just one click on the share button. However, the big drawback is, social media users are the savviest audience you can have. Each and every network has its own posting preferences and rush hours. If your posts sound robotic, your audience will quickly pick up, that you’re automating your content. Successful social media posts are supposed to be personal, engaging and to encourage interaction from your audience. Simple automatic cross-posting will not achieve this goal.
In any case, cross-promoting is the solution. Every social network provides specific options for promoting your posts and the communities react very differently to specific posting formats. While #hashtags work fine for Twitter and Instagram, they don’t work for Facebook or LinkedIn. Facebook users prefer short posts, while Google+ users engage much better with longer comments. By just pushing out the same message to all of your networks you will miss opportunities for outreach and engagement with your audience.Cross-promotion means tailoring your posts to meet each networks’ specific requirements. This way, your content will be more engaging and meet the various preferences of your different social communities.
Social Media Automation – Stay Human
Social media automation tools will save you a whole lot of time and help you with your daily social media work. When planning your social media strategy and tools, always keep in mind:
- Don’t cross-post, cross-promote your content.
- Choose tools that let you tailor your posts for the various networks.
- Use tools that combine the benefits of individual cross-promotion with the benefits of auto-sharing and scheduling your posts.
However, only a handful of tools provide you with a more engaging and less mechanical way to share your content across multiple social networks in combination with a wide choice of networks.
Most social media automation tools support Facebook and Twitter. Some also support LinkedIn, but only a few manage also Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or other editorial networks such as Tumblr or Medium. The whole range of the most popular social media networks however, is provided by just a handful of tools and plugins.