With tools such as Hootsuite and Facebook’s scheduling option, social media management can prove to take less effort than originally anticipated. These applications allow you to schedule many posts way out into the future without thinking twice. Social media posts for the year? Check!
Not quite. Although social media automation is extremely helpful and tempting, it is important not to get too carried away. You must set certain guidelines and restrictions for yourself. Here are a few tips to optimize your social media automation.
Don’t schedule posts too far into the future. You never know what could change in the meantime. You know what works best for you and your firm, but I would recommend scheduling posts no more than three weeks in advance, unless they have an absolute sure purpose on a specific day (for example, a goodbye tweet to Google Reader on its last day). If you have an organized content calendar for each month, leave some wiggle room for things that pop up unexpectedly.
Pay attention to what is happening outside of your office and adjust your social media messages appropriately. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your own tasks but, for social media managers especially, it is important to remain aware of what else is happening in the world. When unexpected events occur—for example the recent Boston tragedy or Oklahoma devastation—your automated messages such as “Best Apps for Lawyers” or “Tech Tips,” no longer appear important or informational. In times like these, your social media automation habits become exposed and you may be faced with some criticism of insensitivity. Instead, reschedule the rest of your posts to occur the next day or week and replace them with a post responding to the situation at hand.
Acknowledge holidays. You will (hopefully) be off work on holidays. This is the perfect time to have a pre-scheduled message. Schedule a “Happy Labor Day” tweet or upload a picture of fireworks on your firm’s Facebook page for the Fourth of July. Fans and followers want to know that you’re human too, and they respond well to these types of posts. You will know ahead of time when the holiday is, so you can prepare your post, proofread it, and once it is scheduled, you won’t have to think twice about it; just relax and enjoy your day off!
Check for interaction. As often as it is used for self-promotion, social media ideally provides two-way communication. Keep tabs on when you schedule posts and check back on your profiles to see who has responded with either re-tweets, likes, or questions about what you posted and be sure to address them in a timely manner. Social media is all about communication, so if you are not timely in your responses you may lose some followers and engagement, which is difficult to get back.
In conclusion, social media automation is a very useful tool, so long as someone is monitoring the posts, the responses to the posts and is also adapting the scheduled messages when appropriate.