Social Media Mythbusters: Debunking the Three Biggest Myths About Marketing Automation

The idea of automating anything can be a little unnerving. I mean, just look at what happened at Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park could have been the coolest place ever! Come on – a dinosaur zoo? Yes, please! But aside from the whole “your own hubris will bring about your demise” aspect to the dinosaur-cloning thing, you know what they screwed up when they built Jurassic Park? (This was a real place, right?)

They blew it with the automation!

John Hammond was sooooo proud of the fact that everything was automated, from the lights to the door locks to that weird little robot arm that turned the velociraptor eggs in the incubator. But while automating SOME things is totally awesome, automating OTHER things leaves you with a dino-infested island in the South Pacific and a lot of angry investors.

If you’re a regular reader here on the blog, you know that I’m a pretty big advocate for social media automation. It maybe didn’t USED to be a necessity, but with the way that social media has grown (and continues to grow) and the speed at which networks like Twitter move, it just plain makes sense for a business.

Automated Social Media Marketing

And still, a lot of people get that anxious feeling about social media automation, like it’s gonna end up setting the dinosaurs loose and screwing up everything they worked so hard to build.

That’s why today, I’m tackling the three biggest myths about social media automation. It’s amazing how consistently I hear these three things from people who don’t want to try automating their marketing, so I thought, why not put everyone’s mind at ease a little bit?

Check out my take on these myths – if you’ve been hesitant about automating your own social media marketing, I bet that at least one of them will sound pretty familiar.

Myth #1: “Automating your social media marketing is too impersonal.”

This is one of the biggest myths about automation – not just because it’s so popular, but because the exact opposite is actually true!

The reason? Most people think of social media like a real-time conversation, but it almost never is. Not in the same sense as an actual, offline conversation, anyway.

Take Twitter, for example. Not even half of all users log in every day, and the ones who do only stay active for a total of about 13 minutes. Doesn’t leave you a very big window for reaching people in real time, does it? So why go to the trouble of interrupting your day so you can write and publish an update in real time?

The average user spends 13 minutes on the site

Automating your social media marketing reduces interruptions to your daily schedule and consolidates your time on social media, so you can spend MORE of your time interacting directly with your audience.

If you’re updating in real time, social media marketing dictates your schedule. You HAVE to log on every so often to write and publish an update, which monopolizes your time and keeps you from doing other things. Oh, you were in the middle of a really productive stretch of blog-writing or bookkeeping or sales calls? Too bad, time to take a break and publish a Facebook post.

Bleh.

When you automate your posts, you’re free to log on at the most opportune times, check your notifications, respond to your audience, and get on with your life. You’re still checking your social channels on a regular basis, but just to monitor activity and interact – because face it, no one in your audience expects you to be on there 24/7. Reply when you can, and your followers will do the same.

The verdict on this myth? Automating your social media allows you to keep things personal, but on YOUR terms – you run the schedule, so the schedule doesn’t run you.

Myth #2: “Live updates are more relevant than scheduled ones.”

The first time you schedule a social media update, it can feel a little weird, because you don’t know what’s going to be happening on a network like Twitter when it actually gets published.

For most people, this means worrying about sounding tone deaf by ignoring whatever other conversations may be happening at the time their message gets posted – like walking through a cocktail party saying things to no one in particular, and in response to nothing.

But when it comes to marketing, how many of your social media updates are super time-sensitive anyway? Go back and read your last five or ten social updates (not counting replies). Odds are, most of those messages (if not ALL of them) could have been posted at any other time and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Automated social media updates don’t replace live ones – they accompany them.

You can still post live updates whenever you want – you just don’t HAVE to! So if you see an article online that you want to link to, or you take a photo that you want to share, or you think of something that’s super clever and timely, go on and post it!

None of your followers are keeping tabs on how many times you post per day and when. NONE. They have better things to do. Live updates are great, and you should absolutely still post them – I do all the time – but you don’t have to rely on them all day, every day.

Myth #3: “It’s too easy to embarrass yourself when you automate your updates.”

We’ve all heard the horror stories about so-and-so or such-and-such company forgetting to shut off their scheduled posts during a tragedy. It happens, and even though it isn’t the end of the world when it does, you can prevent that from happening to you pretty easily.

The companies that tend to embarrass themselves by over-automating things (aside from Jurassic Park, obvi) are the ones that treat a scheduling tool like marketing autopilot. An automation tool isn’t autopilot – it’s cruise control.

social media automation - it's cruise control, not autopilot

You can’t just set it and forget it, leaving it running without any oversight whatsoever! It keeps your vehicle moving, but YOU are in charge of charting the course and slamming the brakes when need be.

How many times over the course of a whole year do you think something will happen that would make you need to stop posting on social media? It isn’t an everyday thing. It isn’t even an every-month thing.

All you have to do is pay attention to the world around you. That’s literally the only thing you have to do, and let’s face it – you’re probably doing that anyway. If you think it’s in bad taste to keep your social marketing machine going, switch off your automation tool for a few hours, or however long you think is appropriate. Then, when things go back to normal, switch it back on. It really is that simple.

What’s stopping YOU from automating your social media?

These three myths are the ones I hear more than others, but I’d LOVE to hear more! Is there something keeping you from trying out social media automation? Can’t find a tool you trust? Not sure you need to post that often? Something else? Hit me up in the comments below – I’m genuinely curious to hear what you think!

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About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.

Comments

  1. I only automate one thing on social media that takes place when I’m not around. For all my blogs, I write my articles ahead of time, so I schedule them to go live at a time when I’m most probably not on social media, but not all that far behind for the most part.

    For everything else, I’m live with no automation. When I do get on social media I tend to be there longer than 13 minutes, usually 30 to 60 minutes at a clip. That’s because I’m hoping to generate some live interaction with people, which happens on Twitter and Facebook often but almost never on Google Plus or LinkedIn. I love live engagement so you can imagine the first two are my favorite platforms.

    Thing is, I’m often up at 2 and 3AM writing and commenting on posts and links that I know have been automated to show up at that time, and what I see happening more often than not is being totally ignored by all the people who are automating. Thus, I subscribe to your #1 myth because of it.