What’s your opinion on automated updates?

Before I became busy with client work I didn’t particularly like them, mainly the automated DM’s (direct messages on Twitter). Many of them were impersonal and just filling up my Twitter inbox, but among them I would often find a nugget of information I found interesting.

I never thought I would use automation with my social media accounts and even started posting tweets saying as much.  But now I do… I use SocialOomph to control my Twitter accounts (I manage 6 accounts at present), it would be impossible for me to work full-time and manage all these accounts each day.  I would spend my days on social media and achieve nothing.

One gripe I see coming up again and again is about automated DM’s.  I admit it drives me crazy some days to receive so many messages when I follow someone new.  Which is why it took me some time to decide to go down this route myself.

Incentives

When I wrote my eBook, 3 Key Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant, I decided to give it away to my Twitter followers as an incentive to follow me.  I was hoping that it would increase my following on Twitter but also get my company brand out there among my followers.

It’s been about 6 months now since I added “Follow me and you’ll receive the link to download my new eBook!” to my Twitter profile, and although my Twitter following is growing quite well it double over night and it’s certainly not increasing at break neck speed.  I would say only 10% of new followers actually thank me for sending them my eBook, and I would say even less actually take the time to read it.

So my thoughts on automation are gradually changing and I am wondering whether I stop automating my direct messages.   They don’t seem to be benefiting anyone (well 90% of the followers anyway) and every time I read another blog post slagging off automated DM’s I won’t feel bad for keeping mine going.

Third Party Applications

I also automate some of my tweets throughout the day, again I use SocialOomph which have queue reservoirs, I think they are great.  You need a lot of updates in a queue for it to work effectively because you don’t want the same tweets posting day after day.   You also need to update these frequently so you don’t end up with irrelevant updates posting on your behalf, that just looks unprofessional.

Buffer is my main automation on Twitter and Facebook – it spreads my updates out over the day and will post at the time when most people are likely to see the updates.  I love it and I recently upgraded my account with them which means I can have up to 50 updates in my Buffer!  The difference with Buffer though is that all the content it sends out for me each day is still chosen by me.  I will sit some evenings flicking through Flipboard (yes I still love this too!) and email my Buffer with all the great content I come across.  It saves me so much time, great content is being shared on my Twitter and Facebook profiles (all chosen by me) and I don’t have to lift my finger more than once to add it to Buffer.

Downsides

What I don’t like about automation is when people post the same messages over and over again.  I follow some of these on Twitter, bearing in mind the Twitter stream moves so fast it’s amazing that I see the same updates from the same people each time I login – it appears they have nothing else to say?!!

Interaction is Important

With all social media you need to interact, you need to be yourself.  Whether you use automation or not, you still need to be available to respond to tweets and questions or thank people for re-tweeting your updates.  I always have Tweetdeck open so I am notified when someone mentions or interacts with me, it means I can instantly respond to them if I have the time.  There is no point having an online presence on social media (through automation) but never being there to respond in a timely manner.

Overall automation is something you need to test, see what works and what doesn’t work.

So what do you think about automation?  I would love to know your experiences and what you think works best.

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links for products or services I recommend. This means I’ll get a commission if you choose to purchase something I’ve shared with you. 

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