5 ways to avoid social media automation damaging your brand

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You don’t have to be an award-winning public relations agency to realise that the digital world- when it comes to promoting a company, product or service- is highly demanding. It is, highly demanding.
In the modern age firms are now expected to act like PRs have been since the invention of the mobile phone. Whilst organisations don’t catch trains, if they did that time spent on the move no longer represents an hour or two to catch some breath. You need to live, breath and eat engagement, which means forgetting about sleep altogether (the old never switch off mantra).
There is, of course, a problem with this. Everyone needs a rest at some juncture in the day, to both recharge batteries and prevent the onset of madness. And this curious catch-22, wherein we’re expected to be everywhere all the time but still conscious enough to think logically, has led to a huge increase in social media automation tools.
As a digital and social media agency we would never advocate relying solely on automated posts for social media; it takes some of the fun away from representing a brand or business on relevant networks, and doesn’t really allow much leeway for ad hoc and spontaneous interactions, which are often the most effective way of building fans and followers, and cementing relationships with an audience. Nevertheless, there is a time and place for most things, and with that in mind we have come up with the following guidelines you must adhere to if the words ‘automation’, ‘social’ and ‘media’ ever get the go ahead in your HQ…
1. Consider who you will be targeting
Just because social media automation tools allow you to reach out to a huge audience  doesn’t mean it’s OK to do so. People are becoming increasingly irritated by irrelevancies in their feeds, and as such, especially when things are automated, it’s imperative to avoid your posts appearing as spam- if you want to target people who aren’t yet friends, fans or followers, do it in person. Confused? Take a look at this post from HootSuite explaining why they will probably never introduce automated direct messages.
2. Think about the copy you’re using
If you’re engaging in concepts such as scheduled tweets then clearly these are pre-meditated, and set for a time you are predicting to be relevant. This doesn’t mean the copy (i.e. words) involved have to sound like that. Robotic, mundane and uninspired turns of phrase, along with sentences that sound as though they are one in 100 tweets written that day, well in advance of the issuing hour, simply aren’t worth the effort as people not only see through them in a second, they are likely to ignore the content due to the overwhelmingly boring format you have used.
3. Observe ensuing interactions and engagements
Automated social media posts are a great way to investigate your audience’s ‘peak time’. By this we mean it’s important to analyse when people are engaging and interacting with your content the most within both the day and week- it will afford you invaluable information as to the most effective moments to schedule tweets, whilst also offering an insight into when ‘live posts’ are likely to offer the biggest return.
4. Never replace real time with automation 
As we have already stated, although automated social media can come in very handy- and not just for one man (or woman) bands whilst on holiday- it is by no means, shape or form a suitable alternative to real time updates. They key is to run a mixture of both, and vary the quantities so as to not be perceived as predictable by your audience. Trust us, we’ve been doing this for a while.
5. Remember one size does not fit all
This is really a rule of thumb when it comes to social media in general, but as such it’s relevant to automated posts. Put simply, Facebook is not the same as Twitter, is not the same as Google+, is not the same as (INSERT NETWORK NAME, again, and again. And again). This means that you need to adjust, re-write and rebrand content of all kinds for each network you are posting to.