We're all very busy, and most of us seem to have nine lives running concurrently. We enjoy social media, even if we can only find time for a few minutes of engagement per day. But what about people who do this for a living? Professional bloggers and social media marketing agencies are faced with the daunting task of trying to be out there building communities and sharing great content with the masses, often as a proxy for multiple clients. Does it make sense to use social media automation tools to accomplish these tasks, or by doing so are we spoiling our own impact and authority?
A couple of common cases come to mind.
In these two cases, marketers use a variety of tools such as Twitterfeed or Tweetlater for Twitter or WP Robot or FirePow for blogs to rack up a bunch of social media content in a single blast of effort and schedule it for publication later. What's the advantage? It's an efficiency thing. Roll out your content once and publish (or even repeat) it over time so that it gets exposure throughout the day and week. It works - and nearly all of the aforementioned folks are using these tools regularly.
If you believe that the best use of social media is real people engaging with other real people in real time, social media automation is useless at best. If you're an inbound marketer, it's a thinly disguised method of outbound marketing. After all, it's a fire-and-forget approach that seems a whole lot like e-mail marketing or direct mail. Many people will unfollow the affiliate marketers and bloggers who use social media automation, even if they are well known and put out great content.
Well, as I've said many times before, there aren't any rules. It's up to you to decide how you manage your time and use social media. It's also up to you decide whom to trust and when and where to listen. If you need to make money in social media, then you do what you have to do. If not, you can make a difference by being selective.
What are your thoughts about social media and the devil's tools?