You can’t automate a social media campaign. An effective social media campaign will have sincere, authentic and personal interactions. You just can’t automate this.
I feel like I have to start with this disclaimer.
At the same time, there are a couple things you can automate within your social media campaign. If you automate some things, you’ll find you have more time for genuine interaction. Just don’t think you’re doing social media by automating it.
What follows isn’t a social media strategy. Before you start a social media campaign you need to ask yourself, “What do I hope to accomplish here?” The following tactic might not help you achieve your goal. This won’t work for everyone.
The Basic Idea
I’m making a couple assumptions behind this strategy. First of which: you’re producing a bunch of content to promote your site. If you only do one thing, I often tell my clients, to promote your site you should be producing content. You can write blog posts about things your customers need to know. You can contribute articles on other websites, to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. You should be producing a lot of content, for this social media automation to work.
I’ve been producing a lot of content for my clients, over the last couple of years. One thing I noticed: I often neglect content that I’ve previously published. There it sits, deep in the blog hoping that someone will find it. Thanks to an article I recently read I was reminded: it’s okay to share that content again. So long as it’s still relevant and accurate, sharing that content a second (third, fourth, etc) time can still be valuable. In fact, if I’m doing my job, my clients have more followers now than they had this time last year. That means current followers never saw content from a couple months ago. It’s new to them. In fact, even if they’ve followed me a couple months ago- they didn’t necessarily see that content the first time. There’s value in saring content again.
That’s what I’m going to show you how to do. My theory: this is a piece of social media marketing that can be automated. This is not a true social media strategy. This is not a complete social media campaign. This is one piece of the puzzle. My hopes: if you automate this part, you’ll have time to do real social media marketing.
The Tools You’ll Need
Let me tell you some of the tools I use to automate part of my social media campaign. I’m sure there are other tools out there to do this, but this is what I use. (If you know a better tool, share it with us in the comments, below)
- Diigo– This is a social bookmarking site that I’ve used for years. We’re not going to spam them. This will become a repository for all our new content.
- Hootsuite– This is a great tool for monitoring and sharing content over social media.
To start, create an account for each of these networks. While you’ll have to pay Hootsuite to follow this process, I’m sure you’ll use Hootsuite to engage your followers, too. If you’re doing Social Media and only paying for one tool, I’d recommend Hootsuite.
Your Diigo account produces an RSS feed for each of the bookmarks you add (you might need to “seed” your account with a post, to reach this feed). Take this RSS feed and give it to Hootsuite (under Settings > RSS/Atom). From there you can setup Hootsuite to add every new item to a social network.
Now, every time you publish a new blog post or write an article on a third-party site, you should bookmark it in Diigo. Make sure the title you give your bookmark will make a good status update. This is what Hootsuite will publish to each of your networks (via RSS).
Diigo will now become complete list of your content. Now you can use this to:
- See what you’ve already written, so you don’t keep writing the same thing over and over again. Heck, this might be a great way to brainstorm new topics, too.
- Show your boss (or client) everything you’ve produced for them.
The Monthly Process
Here’s where this gets really cool. You can take your list of previously produced content and share it on your social network again! Here’s how:
- Export your Diigo repository into a CSV file (find it under Tools > Export).
- Go through your repository and see what you think might be relevant to share again. Of course, some things might be seasonally inappropriate. Other things might be outdated. Exclude those.
- For the items that are worth sharing again, write a new status update for each.
- If you format your CSV correctly, you can then upload this into Hootsuite to share in the coming month (under Publisher > Bulk Message Upload). You can share this over any social network you’ve connected to your Hootsuite account. Now you’ve got a month of status updates with relevant information to your audience.
- Review your Hootsuite analytics. This will tell you which posts are more interesting than others, to your audience. It will also tell you which networks are most successful in promoting your content. You can also use this data to tell which headlines are most engaging. This data can help you know which posts you should…
- Share again next month. My point here: not all your followers are going to see your content every time you share it. Share it again.
If you’re a visual person, like me, here’s a flow-chart that shows you what’s going on:
Let me reiterate an important point: this is not a complete social media strategy. If you do this you’ll only be vomiting self-promotional content all over your network. There are many other things that make up a complete social media strategy. My hope, here, is that automating this process will help you have time to get to these other things.
Taking This Further
There all all sorts of ways you might expand on this process:
- This process will only work for new content. Create a CSV file of previously written content and add that to the monthly download of items from Diigo. Share that old content, too!
- You can use Hootsuite to auto-schedule status updates, too. Not everything you upload into Hootsuite needs to be a link to content. This can help you save time as well. For instance, schedule a question you ask your followers, each week. You can also use this to schedule holiday updates.
- You can get really fancy with IFTTT and Buffer. I almost shared this with you but I thought it made this process extra complicated.
What do you think? Have any recommendations or improvements? Would you change anything? What did I not explain clearly? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.