Automation, Interaction and The Buffer App for Social Media

Header image for digital marketing and social media story about automation and interaction over Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

As technology advances, we become better at rooting out inefficiencies and improving products / services. Whenever I travel, I use Airbnb or Vrbo because it often times costs less than a hotel. The last few times in a big city, I took a Lyft or an Uber instead of a cab because it cost a lot less per ride.

Technology has also improved how you can market on social media by automating content. Automation can help with any social media strategy. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful:

Automation, Interaction and The Buffer App for Social Media

Social Media Automation

What I mean by social media automation is using software or apps to queue up social posts to be shared later. This is a great article on automation for more detail. Automation means on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc… posts can be stacked up to be shared whenever you prefer.

The next level is automating a social media work flow (IFTTT and Zapier are good examples). Meaning you automate what apps will do based on how others interact with your content and other factors. I plan on discussing more advanced automation in the future when I learn more. For now, let’s focus on queueing up social posts.

Why Use Social Media Automation?

Two common reasons I hear from those that see the value in digital marketing but don’t do it today: lack of knowledge and time. Since time is such a critical asset in small business (are there ever enough hours in the day?) sensible automation can be to your advantage. Although different, consider email marketing. It’s a lot easier to send an email to 1,000 people with one click than 1,000 clicks.

Automation really saves times when you prepare social posts during your free hours. You can schedule out certain messages or pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc… at specific times of the day. Let’s say you know you will be busy next week but still want to post content on your social channels. Specifically timed tweets, queued up news articles or videos posting at certain times on Facebook will keep up your social presence. Since you had some free time, your automation still let you be effective on social media.

Automation and Social Media Interactions

Possible reactions on the social network Facebook

Remember, social media is still about being social and interacting. That’s why Facebook allows you to choose a reaction emoji instead of just “liking” or writing a comment on a post. If you choose to automate anything, be aware of what’s happening in the news and make sure you still interact! You don’t want to be posting videos of puppies wrestling while a tragedy is happening. Also, lack of interaction not only makes you look bad, it can hurt the customer relationship. Although this study is three years old, it shows that things can quickly turn bad for companies failing to respond on Twitter in a timely manner.

Sometimes on Twitter, you will see profiles that look like robots. They send out tweets with articles or inspirational quotes every hour without fail. No interaction, just automation. No one likes dealing with a robot, add a human touch whenever you do automation. Sometimes I purposely put spelling mistakes or abbreviations in queued up tweets because it looks more human. My experience on Facebook, Twitter and others has taught me responding, interacting and being part of a social community is what attracts people to you.

Buffer — Free App For Social Media Automation

Image for the social network sharing app Buffer

A free tool for basic social media automation is the Buffer app. Also available in a paid version, Buffer can be used as a web or phone app. Having used both, I prefer the web version. I find it easier to automate from my computer. There are other free automation apps (like Hootsuite) but my personal preference is Buffer.

The free version of Buffer will allow you to link one account or page per profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Instagram. If you want more than one account linked to Buffer on any of those platforms, or want to link your Pinterest account, you have to upgrade to the paid version. With a paid account, you get access to better tools and analytics. I get by fine with the free version right now.


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