The Benefits And Risks Of Automated Social Media Posting was originally published on Forbes.com.
Content saturation is a real and persistent challenge in social media, leading many brands and professionals to turn to automation to maintain a consistent presence. Automated social media posting offers an array of benefits, from streamlining marketing strategies to maximizing efficiency. However, as with most technological advancements, it also comes with its own set of risks. Social media professionals must weigh these pros and cons carefully to make the most of automation without sacrificing the genuine human touch that social media requires.
Let’s start by looking at the benefits.
5 Benefits Of Automated Social Media Posting
- Consistency and frequency: A steady flow of content can increase your brand’s visibility, ensure your audience remains engaged, and help you steadily grow your follower base. Posting consistently at the right times will help to not only grow your followers but also teach them when to expect your posts and get excited to engage.
- Time efficiency: The world of social media essentially requires you to be an octopus. One arm is writing posts, one arm is addressing customer service issues, another is creating graphics and videos, and, well, you get the idea. Manually posting on multiple social media platforms is time-consuming. A primary benefit of automation is maintaining a posting schedule without having to worry about pushing out the content at the exact time it needs to go out. Automation tools allow for batch scheduling, freeing up significant amounts of time you can invest in other crucial tasks such as content creation, strategy planning, or audience engagement.
- Optimal posting times: Different audiences are active at different times (and on different platforms). Many automation tools offer insights and analytics, such as when your target audience is most active, allowing you to schedule posts for those peak times, even if they’re outside your business hours.
- Data collection and analysis: Automation platforms provide a wealth of information on audience behavior, engagement rates, and the performance of different content types, which can aid you in refining strategies.
- Cross-platform coordination: For brands active on multiple social channels, ensuring a coordinated content strategy can be daunting. Automation tools allow for synchronized posting across platforms, helping you ensure consistent branding and messaging.
With all of those perks, it sounds like a win-win for automation, right? Well, there are some risks, too.
5 Risks Of Automated Social Media Posting
- Loss of personal touch: Overreliance on automation can make content feel impersonal or generic. Social media thrives on human interaction, and a feed that feels too mechanized can alienate followers. Remember, it’s called social media.
- Timing mishaps: While automation can ensure posts go out at optimal times, it can’t account for real-world events. A pre-scheduled post might coincide with a global incident or tragedy, making your brand appear insensitive. When using automation, make sure you keep a keen eye on what’s happening in the news and check on any scheduled posts. At Clearbridge Branding Agency, we run the social media accounts for a regional airport that used to be a training base in World War II. Some of our most engaging posts are the ones that talk about the history of the airport, including the test bombs and jet training. The month the war in Ukraine broke out, we had a post scheduled discussing how the base built bridges and then tested bombs on them. While it was an interesting post, people in Ukraine were losing their lives trying to escape across bridges, and the news about it was everywhere. Needless to say, we pulled the post from the schedule.
- Reduced engagement: Automated systems might not be equipped to respond to comments, questions, or mentions in real time. This delay can lead to missed opportunities for engagement or even escalate negative feedback.
- Overreliance on technology: No system is foolproof. Technical glitches can lead to missed posts, duplicate content, or even security vulnerabilities. Brands that rely solely on automation without regular oversight can find themselves in challenging situations. Automation is not a set-it-and-forget-it method. Even with automation, you should check posts manually to ensure they were released at their scheduled times.
- Lack of authenticity: Real-time reactions to trending topics, spontaneous posts, and live interactions are what make social media dynamic. Solely relying on automation can cause content to feel inauthentic and out of touch. Chatbots can be useful, but much like in point four above, they still need human oversight.
Balancing Automation And Human Effort
So, how can you use automation without risking any negative effects?
To truly harness the benefits of automated social media posting while mitigating the risks, it’s essential to strike a balance. Blend automation with real-time posting by using automation for evergreen content or posts that aren’t time-sensitive. However, ensure that you’re also posting real-time content that addresses current events, trends, or spontaneous brand moments.
Oversight is a critical component of any social media automation. Schedule routine checks to ensure the automation system is working as intended. This will also help you promptly spot any issues.
Keep your social media social. Even if your posts are automated, ensure that someone is available to engage with the audience, answer queries, and respond to feedback. This maintains the human touch and fosters a sense of community for your brand.
There’s no arguing with the fact that automated social media posting is a powerful tool in a social marketer’s arsenal, offering numerous benefits that can drive efficiency and consistency. However, it’s vital to approach automation with a sense of caution and awareness and recognize its inherent risks. By marrying the efficiency of technology with the authenticity of human interaction, you can create a dynamic social media presence that resonates with your audience while still enjoying the conveniences of automation.