Social media can be a great tool for ecommerce stores. It helps to create brand awareness, drives website traffic, and can even boost your conversion rates.
However, there are a great number of companies out there who just aren’t using social media effectively. With new platforms popping up all the time, and many companies feeling the pressure to be everything to everyone, social media can sometimes be a real time-sink. Often, you can spend a lot of time on social media, without really seeing any results.
The fact is, social media can be a great tool to help your e-commerce company to grow, but only if it’s done right. Without clear goals and time-saving strategies, it can quickly become a waste of time.
One of the best ways to save time with social media management is by finding ways to outsource or automate some of the work.
Aside from setting clear goals and having a solid social media strategy, automating much of the work is one of the best things you can do. What do I mean by automating? Using apps or software to help manage your social media content. Automating should allow you to focus more on brainstorming the content itself rather than wondering how many hashtags you should be using or what time you should post.
Not sure if you should be using automation? Here’s a question you can ask: is it going to make your customers’ lives easier or better in some way? And is it going to make YOUR life easier or better in some way? If so, then there’s a good chance that you should be using it. On the other hand, if it’s something that will downgrade the quality of your customer service, products, or services, then you’ll want to think twice about whether it’s something you should be using.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can use social media automation, what you should watch out for, and a few good social media automation tools that you’ll want to think about using.
Let’s dive in now.
Reducing Time-Consuming Tasks Through Automation
Social media is continuing to grow in popularity, and that includes online shopping through social media as well.
There was a higher volume of online interactions, messages, and requests in the last year. Being switched on to respond to this demand can become mentally and emotionally exhausting. You simply can’t be online at all times, and social media automation simplifies this for you.
Aside from the obvious time-savings, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of social media automation now:
You Can Get a Steady Stream of Posts Ready to Go
If you don’t have a dedicated social media manager, it might be challenging to find the time to curate the content and post them regularly. This is where automation helps: you can have a stream of posts ready to go in advance, whether days, weeks, or even months in advance.
Note: It’s also important to make sure that the content you’re sharing on social media is consistent with theme, color patterns, or edits. This is true whether you’re doing it yourself, or hiring a team to do it for you. Create a brand guide for consistency and ensure that your team uses it.
You Can Publish Posts During Specific Times for Optimal Engagement
You want to make sure your posts or paid ads reach your intended audience when they’re online and browsing. Using software to publish your posts during this time will help you reach your audiences without setting a reminder on your phone to do it each time.
Working from home has slightly changed the landscape of when people are online, and SproutSocial published an in-depth guide with trends from 2020 and 2021 to ensure you know when your target audience is looking at content.
Keep in mind that each platform may have different times when your audience is online – so while the guide from SproutSocial is handy, consider your specific audience and platform when scheduling posts.
You Can Respond Automatically to Customers
Many ecommerce stores use chatbots to respond to initial customer queries, and by using one, you can triage the questions and respond to them when you can. For example, by using a chatbot, you can already answer some of the most simple and commonly asked questions quickly. This leaves you or your team time to focus on urgent or important messages.
Many people prefer to leave messages instead of using the phone so having a bot to help automate will give the impression there is customer support 24/7.
(Source: Ad Week)
You Can Analyze Key Metrics and Do Some Social Listening
Extracting data, analyzing it, and then figuring out a strategy to try to maximize your social media presence can take time, and it’s time you might be happier spending on running other aspects of your business. Metrics software will automatically extract impressions, reach, engagement, likes, and more (depending on the social media platform).
Alongside metrics, you should keep your ear to the ground and listen to what is being said about your brand on social media. This is called “social listening,” and it will give you an idea of how your customers are feeling, thinking, and saying in public spaces about your brand.
By automating this social listening, you can get an overview of mentions and conversations without getting drawn into looking at Reels yourself. And some software can potentially spot fake accounts that are trying to “engage” with your brand.
Plus, there is software out there that will look at your top-performing posts and allow you to promote them easily, such as PromoRepublic.
When Social Media Automation Should Be Avoided
While social media automation can help ease the pressure of posting, analyzing statistics, or replying to messages, there are some elements you need to watch out for if you’re using these tools.
Don’t Set It and Forget It
It’s handy to have your posts lined up for a couple of weeks or months but make sure you always consider any current events and whether your content is appropriate. There’s nothing worse than serious and sensitive issues occurring in the news, and you have an automated post that is out of context.
The same goes with any evergreen content you might have scheduled to be posted at the same time each week. Automated posting will do just that. It’ll post automatically and won’t consider whether or not the content is relevant or evergreen.
Using Bots to Like, Follow, and Subscribe
While having automated bots may help respond to customers, it’s inauthentic if you use bots to try to gain followers to like, comment, or follow. You want genuine interaction that will help build your brand, not just followers and likes. This is social media after all, so there is an emphasis on “social.” Therefore, this is one area you don’t want to automate; instead, respond genuinely, it’s the best policy.
Get our The Best Software for Automating Social Media - Worksheet delivered right to your inbox.
Posting the Same Content Across Platforms
At first glance, automatic posting seems like a timesaver. If you have Instagram and Facebook connected, then it’s easy to hit one button and have your post reach both audiences. However, all is not equal when it comes to the social media platform’s demographics.
The users and what they expect of each platform differ – Facebook is for building relationships, Instagram is for visual storytelling, TikTok for fun video content, and Twitter for breaking news. Therefore the language each demographic uses on a platform will be different, and the way they interact with content is varied.
Of course, to save time, take advantage of this feature, but at least ensure you make slight changes to match the platform the content will be posted on (for example, number of hashtags used, type of tags, image sizes, and more).
Tools for Social Media Automation
Now that we’ve gone through some of the do’s and don’ts of social media automation, let’s get down to the tools and software that can help make your social media run smoother.
Content calendars like Airtable are great for streamlining the process. Since you can share them with everyone on your team, it’s a good way to ensure everyone’s on the same page when collaborating.
Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management tool. It has publishing and scheduling features, analytics, social listening, and the ability to respond to customers and mentions across different platforms in one place.
Plans start from $89 per user/month (billed annually) with social listening features as a paid extra.
(Source: Sprout Social)
Hootsuite is another big name in the social media management and dashboard software sphere. Schedule posts across all platforms, and view them in a calendar form. You can also keep an eye on social trends or your brand mentions and respond to them all from one dedicated inbox.
Reviewers tend to find the interface a bit clunky, and it isn’t intuitive to navigate. Its lowest-rated features include its social analytics.
It’s $49/month for a professional plan with Hootsuite, for only one user and ten social media accounts.
Organize your content marketing with CoSchedule. It’s primarily a post scheduler if you’re looking for something basic. It allows you to see, schedule, and share your content easily.
Reviewers found CoSchedule to perform well for their social publishing needs, yet it falls short with social media ads management.
Signing up with CoSchedule is currently $39 per user/month.
Social Pilot provides you with social media scheduling and publishing, as well as analyzing and reporting your social performance. You can view all messages from social media platforms in one inbox as well.
Social Pilot performs well with publishing posts and ad management, whereas reviewers found the inbox and analytics slightly below industry averages.
For this social media automation software, you’re looking at $30 per month.
(Source: Social Pilot)
Awario is an excellent tool for social listening: you can monitor conversations about your brand and even join them in real-time. It agglomerates each brand mention from all platforms and the web. In addition, Awario says you can answer customer questions in-app and provide you with an audience analysis for your social media strategy.
Awario’s strengths are its social measurement and reporting, however, sentiment analysis or influencer identification doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Price plans for Awario begin at $39 per month (billed annually).
“Take control of your social media,” that’s Agorapulse’s claim. And with its dedicated inbox, publishing, reporting, and monitoring tools, perhaps it’s not too far-fetched.
It’s rated highly by users (beating SproutSocial and HootSuite), and pricing can range from free with just the basics up to $159 per month with more premium functionalities like unlimited posts and social listening.
It seems like Agorapulse has the most well-rounded features, with above-average user ratings on its brand monitoring, sentiment, and hashtag analytics. And it looks like its competitor analysis features and paid campaign tracking is on par with industry averages.
Social media automation can have its benefits. And while above tools can help to make social media management for your brand run smoother, it’s important to remember that a time-savings doesn’t automatically lead to more profits.
For that to happen, you’ll need to first ensure that what you’re offering is something that they just can’t live without; something that addresses their pain points and solves a real problem. Once that’s established, you’re also going to need a solid plan for marketing, and a way to connect with your target audience.
Some of the above tools have free trials, so don’t hesitate to give them a try and see if they make a difference for you. And if you’ve found any other social media automation tools that you’ve had success with yourself, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments.
Are you looking for that next step in growth for your business? Schedule a free 20-minute consultation today. I’ll help you to discover ways that you can quickly and easily gain new customers and scale your business.
Get our The Best Software for Automating Social Media - Worksheet delivered right to your inbox.