Can You Automate Engagement on Social Media?

By: Davina Ngei
June 15, 2016

With new and exciting social media platforms popping up every other week, A social scheduling clock with minute and hour arms pointed at various social platforms being on top of the social media game has become tough. As an entrepreneur, blogger, influencer, or celebrity wannabe, social media is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. But how the hell are you supposed to post and engage on 10 different platforms when you have work to get done or a business to run?

Most people will advise you to stay on the platforms where your audience lives, ergo, where you’ll provide the most value and get the most benefits. But it’s easier said than done. Even when you use this advice to narrow down your choices, you are still left with several heavyweights; Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Thankfully, a solution has presented itself in the form of social media schedulers e.g. Buffer, Hootsuite, and Edgar. These schedulers allow you to:

  1. Organize your social media calendars
  2. Set up posting in advance
  3. Automatically share your posts, pictures, and videos on the date and time of your choosing.

Pretty awesome isn’t it? And the fact that these schedulers are dirt cheap makes it more convenient for you.

Personally, I use the free Facebook scheduler to set up my posts in advance, and this has taken a load off my back.

So What Exactly is the Problem?

Well, many business owners and bloggers have misused social media schedulers and made this whole business ugly. Schedulers have now become the go-to tools for those who want to post and run.

Yes, I’ll set up my social media calendar one month in advance.

Yes, I’ll copy and paste this calendar to my social media scheduler.

Yes, I’ll let the scheduler post my Facebook videos, tweets, pins, and Instagram photos.

Yes, I’ll disappear for the entire month while I work on my business

Yes, I’ll be back in a month to schedule my next set of social media posts.

It’s a small wonder that social media accounts with hundreds if not thousands of followers are a barren wasteland. There are videos, pictures, and articles posted on a regular basis, but there is zero engagement. The scheduler is doing all the dog work, while the account owner takes cursory glances at his or her account.

Your Followers are People!

The big hole in this entire set up is that your followers are people. Posting ten articles a day and then disappearing does little for your traffic or credibility. What happens when your followers want to clarify something that you’ve said in an article? What happens when they want to know the price of the service or product you are offering? What happens when they are interested in the visual tools you used to create your video?

Their questions, thoughts, and encouragement are all met by radio silence because you’ve chosen to post and run.

Do you really think they’ll be loyal to your brand if that is their first experience with you and what you have to offer?

This is not a mistake that one or two people are making, this is the norm. Get your content out there, and then disappear.

When engagement is lacking, social media platforms turn into an endless stream of spam.

Just take a look at half the Google+ communities out there, they are full of articles with zero comments, zero shares and zero +1s. It’s not that the content is below par, it’s just that moderators have allowed their communities to become a dumping ground for content.

The same can be said for Twitter news feeds which contain repetitive tweets from the same damn person. Or Facebook pages with thousands of followers but only a handful of likes for shared content. It’s disheartening.

Social Media Gems

At the same time, there are social media gems that have managed to thrive.

Google+ communities like Strategic Social Networking are a place where value is shared, comments are welcomed, debate is encouraged, and clarifications are answered. Where members feel like they are a part of a community and where they can learn and make personal and professional connections.

Facebook groups like Smart Passive Income and Freedom Hacker’s Mastermind are a gathering of like minded people. Groups that allow you to share your struggles without someone mocking you. Groups where you’ll have tens of people jumping to help you with basic WordPress setups and complex link building strategies. Groups where people are eager to share their losses and their wins, because they know the support is real.

These groups and communities are the essence of what social media should be; SOCIAL. As much as schedulers and other convenient apps make our life easier, there is no replacement for the engagement that human to human interaction brings.

And you don’t have to write long, well-thought out comments to each and every person who engages with you. Only superstars like Daniel Imbellino can manage that. Sometimes it’s a simple retweet, thank you, or smiley emoticon that shows you are listening.

If you are saddled with work and have no one to help you manage your accounts, just take 20 minutes every day to go through your accounts and respond to those who have engaged with you. You can do this on the toilet, on the bus, while eating your lunch, or before you go to bed. There is always time.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a social media budget, you can hire someone to help you out. Someone like Marie Forleo has a team to help her with blog comments and social media mentions. Every time you tweet her, share her content, or mention her in conversation, her team will get back to you. It’s awesome.

And if you’re too lazy to do any of this, just remember that Neil Patel responds to each and every comment he gets on his blog posts. That’s almost 1000 comments he replies to on a weekly basis. Yes, blog comments are not social media, but they are engagement.

And there’s a huge lesson to be learned from him and the names I’ve mentioned above.

Don’t forget to spread this message of engagement!

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