The topic of automation always seems to come up during our social media seminars. It’s a bit of a slippery slope… automating Tweets and Facebook posts may be a good way to streamline your social media program but it takes away from the whole social aspect.
We’ve all seen Twitter profiles and Facebook pages that are hampered by “one way street” disease. Companies use these profiles to push out content and fail to communicate with followers. There is often an obvious level of automation behind these profiles and it can get pretty annoying.
It’s no secret… social media is meant to be… social. Companies that know what they’re doing will use their social profiles to communicate with consumers – answer and ask questions, gauge public opinion, request feedback and ensure their brand is well represented (and protected) online. These activities require timely posts and constant monitoring. The idea of “set it and forget it” won’t cut it.
Automation isn’t all bad if it’s only a small portion of your social media strategy.
We came across Post Planner for Facebook a few weeks ago. It’s a simple application that allows the user to automate posts to their fan pages and personal profiles. It comes with a minimal monthly fee and is very easy to set up. It allows you to set posts on multiple pages and profiles so it’s handy for those of us that deal with more than one page.
We’ve got a fair amount of use out of Post Planner so far. We use it to set up our basic fan page framework… we’ll plan a post or two daily and then supplement these automated posts with “live” posts. We find this combination gives us nice coverage throughout the day. An application like this would be really handy for an administrator that has a large overseas following… you could time posts to go off in prime times in your target country. I could also see this application being useful during contests where it’s vital that something gets posted at a specific time.
Post Planner does have a few drawbacks though. We’ve had some issues in recent days with posting YouTube videos. We’re finding that these links don’t produce a video when the post goes live. I also wish the application had the geo-targeting posting option that a regular fan page has.
Overall… Post Planner has been well worth the minimal monthly investment. It’s become a nice tool and has made managing multiple pages a bit easier. Take a look at it but use it wisely. Too much automation is never a good thing…