What is Social Media Automation and why is it important?
Automation seems to be the new wave in marketing these days and it’s no surprise that its popularity and acceptance is growing at a rate similar to that of Artificial Intelligence’s. One may even assume that they are connected, I mean surely some sort of bot must be responsible for my social media posts if I’m not, right? Possibly, but there is no reason for it to be that complicated. I’m going to show you how to build your social media foundation, sync your social media accounts, automate 10 posts a day, and auto-respond to @mentions. And just to be clear, social media automation tools are not the same as social media scheduling tools. There is no scheduling required, just a one-time setup and then you’re on autopilot 😎.
The reason this is important to you is because it saves you time, it’s plain and simple. By automating 10 posts per day you’re not going to significantly increase your follower base but you will create awareness. You can build brand reputation and consistency and increase pageviews to your website, but most likely you will need to personally engage customers to increase revenue. This is also a great way of gaining some momentum and building a persona when you are first launching a social media strategy. Before you spend money to market your website, which has links to your social media accounts, you want to make sure that there is some useful content for readers.
What is IFTTT?
“IF This Then That, also known as IFTTT is a free web-based service to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets.” Basically, IFTTT is a FREE and extremely helpful tool when you want to automate just about anything – they’ve expanded well past just online marketing automation. They launched in 2011 and I’m surprised they aren’t more well-known. They are by far the best free tool I’ve come across when it comes to syncing social media accounts.
5 IFTTT Applets for Social Media Marketing Automation
One important thing to think about before setting up your applets is the flow that you want to use. Instagram is the toughest app to automate anything to so if Instagram is an important part of your social media it is important to have all other accounts copy from your Instagram. (For ex. a post to Instagram is automatically posted to Twitter and whenever you post to Twitter it is automatically posted to your FB page, Linkedin, and Tumblr.) That why you only have to post to Instagram manually and it will auto-post to all other networks and you can completely automate posts to Twitter and have those posts trickle down to all of your other social networks. This is the order that I personally prefer to use and after using IFTTT for a few years now, I think it is the most efficient.
1. Tweet your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter
“Instagram photos will show up in your Twitter feed as a full image rather than a link” Created by Instagram themselves, and with over 650,000 people using this applet, it is currently the most popular applet on IFTTT. This does just what it says, whenever you post to IG that image will be uploaded and tweeted so that the image will appear in the body of the text instead of a link back to your Instagram. Since there is no way to automate posts to Instagram, since you cannot post from the web application, it requires manually posting.
2. Twitter to Facebook Page
I find it is much easier to post to Twitter from your phone than it is to post to a Facebook Page, so I choose to automate posts from Twitter to my business Facebook Page. Twitter posts are also a lot shorter and you can always be sure it will fit into the Facebook post, whereas FB to Twitter is not so simple.
This applet also gives you the option to choose if you want Retweets and @Replys to be posted to your FB page or just the posts that you write yourself.
3. Retweet from Search with @mention via Buffer
This is the applet that is going to do the bulk of your work. This is going to start filling up your timeline with useful tweets that contain specific keywords, hashtags, accounts or more that you preset. It requires that you setup a Buffer account and I think a free Buffer account only allows 10 posts per day, so this allows you to automate 10 posts a day. But since you are going to have your Twitter auto-posting to all of your other social networks you can assure that you will be automatically posting 10 new posts per day to your top social networks. Another thing that is great about this applet is that instead of Retweeting the tweet, it posts the content from your account and @mentions the original tweeter.
The best way to create useful content is to use Twitter’s advanced search page to make sure your search is specific, check that it works, and that there are at least 10 posts per day that follow your rules. Click ‘Search’, copy the search query from the search bar and paste it into the IFTTT applet.
Here is an example of a search operator that searches for specific keywords in tweets by a few major media agencies:
marketing, OR social, OR seo, OR content from:hubspot, OR from:buffer, OR from:hootsuite, OR from:buzzsumo, OR from:sproutsocial since:2017-11-01
4. Thanks for Mention on Twitter
“When someone mentions me on twitter, post a “thank-you” tweet back.”
This is a way for you to automate some initial conversation with your followers. Followers look that you recognize them and it especially that you responded so quickly. If you start to grow followers very quickly it would be wise to turn this off and choose a different applet so that it sends a private message instead of a tweet.
5. WordPress RSS feed to Twitter
And last but not least, if you are blogging or running a WordPress.org site of any sort, this is the quickest way to promote your newest posts. This is for WordPress.org blog sites and not WordPress.com sites. WordPress.org requires you to use the RSS feed in order to fetch the post.