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To Automate or Not to Automate Social Media, That is the Question!

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Welcome to 2015 everyone! The start of a new year means the start of new events, new projects, new opportunities and new relationships. January is the month to get all your ducks in a row and ready for what the rest of the year has in store. It is time to look at your planning for the year and find ways to increase your efficiency in certain areas to make sure that you are able to be focused on the big projects that lie ahead of you.

As event planners, time is never on your side. Always scrambling last minute to get that one last contract in or make sure that you have enough food to make sure that all your attendees are happy. If you can find a way to save a little extra time here and there, I know you are going to take it! After all, 45% of planners are only getting 3-4 hours of sleep every night during the event. You need to gain back time and automation of some of your day to day social media tasks can help with that.

Let’s dive right in and see how social media automation can help you with event promotion and good upkeep of your brands reputation. First, we will address the elephant in the room – The belief that automation will make you seem like a robot, fake and your audience won’t like it. That is not the case if you do this right. People who utilize social media automation tools are able to gain back essential time to work on other tasks and really nurture their social media community. It is all about balance and learning what you can automate and what needs to be kept real.

Why Do We Do It?

Everything has gone digital from setting up doctors’ appointments to having a job interview. So it is no surprise that the social media has taken off in the business space. It used to be seen as a strictly B2C market and now more B2B marketers are realizing the impact it can have on their business. You can’t afford to not be on social media these days!

The important thing to know is that you don’t need to be on every site. Find where you audience lives and that is where you should spend your time. Maybe it is Twitter and LinkedIn or Instagram and Facebook, whatever the case create your accounts but remember to keep them updated. This is where automation will come in hand. With 19% of marketers sending out more than three posts a day on around four social sites it can be hard to keep track of them all, especially if you are a small team.

What Do You Automate?

When people start to think about adopting a new social media automation tool into their content strategy, they can get lost on what to automate. For the events industry, there are a few full-proof things that you can automate on a regular basis that will help you save time:

  1. Event Material: your location, date, session topics, speakers, exhibitors, activities, etc.Picture2
  2. Posts from industry new sites: your go to media sources that update their articles daily with fresh content.
  3. Your own content: blog posts, webinars, articles, press releases, etc.

 

 

Your event material automation will be extremely helpful. Once you have your dates, location and sessions locked, why not start scheduling a few of the posts on social media. Up front it will be a lot of work, but in the end it will save you about 30 minutes a day not having to worry about prompting your event. However, don’t forget to monitor the content! Last minute changes can happen and you do not want the wrong information going out. Also, pay attention to what is going on in the world – if a big event just happened that is taking over the media you don’t want to seem insensitive or out of the loop by constantly automating content.

What Do You Keep Real?

Now that you have more time on your hands thanks to automation, you have more time to talk with your community and keep them updated on the latest with your company. Again, there are a few pieces of content that you can always share with your audience in real time:

  1. Picture3Everyday life posts: office happenings, birthdays, team lunches, what’s happening in your local area, etc.
  2. Curated posts: from sites like Scoop.it, Paper.li, etc.
  3. Your content: blog posts, webinars, articles, press releases, etc.
  4. Company news: new hires, product updates, new releases, announcements, etc.
  5. Live interaction at events: live tweet your event coverage, share pictures, re-post attendees postings, share video, etc.

Since you are posting these in real-time, you need to remember to respond to comments, mentions, or questions from the social sphere. It is important to be present. 41% of people expect companies to respond within 6 hours of their request, and on social media it should be even quicker since a tweet only has the life of about a minute on people’s feeds. Don’t lose them!

What Tools Are Available?

There are tons of tools available that event professionals can use for help with social media automation. I won’t be able to name them all, but can get you started on your research with a few that we are familiar with. It is then up to you to take it to the next step with trial and error to see what works best for you!

  • Hootsuite – probably the most well-known out of all the social media tools, it has been around since 2008 and considered the top dog. With Hootsuite you can manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+ all in one place. You can schedule updates, monitor feeds, collaborate with team members through task assignment and mPicture1ore.
  • Sprout Social – similar to Hootsuite it is a social media management dashboard that is one of the most user friendly and easy to use options on the market. You can connect Facebook accounts, Google+ Pages, LinkedIn (company pages & personal) and Twitter accounts. A big plus is that it can connect to your feedly account for easy posting of articles.
  • Tweetdeck – this platform is specifically used for Twitter, but you can have multiple accounts on here. Use it as a browser extension or on the website. You can schedule posts and monitor multiple hashtags feeds, user feeds, lists and groups at once.
  • Oktopost – this is a full social media automation platform with a little extra. You can post to LinkedIn (personal & company pages), Facebook, Google + and Twitter. They also have a curation tool for posts and integration with platforms like Salesforce and Marketo to sync data and leads.
  • Social Dynamite – an international automation tool from France. With it you can link multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + accounts. With this platform you also have the option to create a microsite with curated articles that link back to your social accounts to easily share. You can also add ambassadors’ social media accounts to automate when they retweet or share content.

Those are just a few of the options that are available. Do your research and see what else is out there and even tools that are specific to certain platforms. If you use WordPress for your blog, CoScheduler has a great plugin that allows you to schedule social media posts around your articles. Try and do as many free trials as you can, so that you can be sure you are investing your money in the right solution!

Remember automation is your friend, not your enemy! Find out what works for you to automation on a regular basis and what you will keep posting in real time. This can be a huge timesaver for small teams who are looking to increase their efficiency to focus more on relationships and engagement online. You just need to make sure you balance it all.

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