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Does Social Media Automation Make Sense?

By John McTigueMar 12, 2010

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?

The Case For

social media automation toolsA couple of common cases come to mind.

  1. The professional blogger or affiliate marketer depends entirely on generating compelling content and drawing leads to their landing pages, all day, every day. These folks must reach as many people as they can without being seen as obvious spammers. If you're on Twitter or Facebook, you see the same folks posting at least 100 times a day. Why? Because they need to reach a lot of people and they hope that at least some will click through and sign up.
  2. The social media (or inbound) marketing agency must create enough buzz for their clients that traffic and leads will increase on their sites. Often there are specific ROI goals that must be achieved in order to continue the service. These folks are under pressure to post blogs, tweets and updates early and often for multiple clients.

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.

The Case Against

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.

So Who's Right?

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?

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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