Automate Your Social Media

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If you’re using social media to promote yourself or your brand, you need to be taking advantage of automation. You can’t live on social media all day. Well, you can – but then you won’t be doing any of the other things you need to do to keep your brand value high. Most of all, you won’t be making the products or performing the services that you actually get paid for. But social media doesn’t stop and it doesn’t sleep. So automate it.

As human beings, tools are our birthright – so put them to use for you. There are lots of choices on the market. I currently have Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts for myself and three businesses. I use HootSuite because it lets me manage multiple social media accounts on multiple platforms from a single control panel. It allows me to schedule posts in advance, bulk upload posts, use auto-scheduling features (it schedules based on historical data to maximize engagement). I can send the same post to multiple social media accounts or tweak them all individually. I also use the SNAP (Social Network Auto Poster) plugin for WordPress for this blog.

You’ll want to experiment and read up to decide what the best social media schedule is for you. But to help you out, here’s a brief outline of what I do, followed by some results. First, I use built-in WordPress functionality on this blog to write posts ahead of time and schedule them to go live when I want to. I strive for 2 posts a day Monday through Friday, although I don’t always meet that goal. My experience so far has been that weekends are a slow time on blog traffic. It’s also a time when I have important things to do (like relax!). And although I sometimes write posts days ahead of time, often I’m only running a night or so ahead. So I don’t worry about weekend posts unless I just have a burning need to get a post out. I also use the SNAP plugin to make sure that these posts are pushed out to all of my personal social media accounts at the same time that they go live on this blog.

For Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, I leave it alone there. By the nature of those feeds, doing more than that is somewhat spammy. Twitter is a different beast altogether. Remember when I said that social media is your short game? Twitter is the extra-extra short game. Twitter is the “blink and you miss it” game. So I use HootSuite to schedule five Tweets a day on my personal Twitter feed linking back to this blog. Monday through Friday I usually focus on recent content. On the weekends, I focus on older but “timeless” content – posts that are still relevant even if I wrote them months ago.This may seem a bit spammy at first. But if you use Twitter regularly you know that most people will only scroll back through their feed for an hour or three when they log in. Then they’re done and they’re off – most likely until the next day. That’s as many as 23 hours that they’ve completely missed! So retweeting your content throughout the day won’t actually bother most users – it just means that they’ll actually see it.

On my dojo’s Facebook, Google+, and Twitter feeds, I make it a point to have some sort of picture posted daily. Typically I’ll mix it up – some will be funny memes. Some will be motivational. Some will be commentary on martial arts related things. Others will just be cool pictures. Those have gotten me a pretty good bit of interaction. On the Silver Empire feeds, I mostly keep a stream of Silver Empire related news going – calls for submissions, new products, etc. There’s room for improvement on both of these business fronts.

Remember when I said I’d post results? Two weeks ago I shared a snapshot of my Twitter analytics showing that my tweets had made 107,000 impressions in the previous 28 day period. That’s an average of 3800 impressions per day. Here’s the results from this morning:

TwitterAnalytics_05_2016

In two weeks, I’ve raised that up to 251,000 impressions – an average of 8,900 per day. That’s two and a half times higher.  Measured in pageviews, blog traffic in May was nearly three times higher than April. If you compare to the screenshot 15 days ago, you’ll also see that my follower count has increased by 19% in two weeks. Google analytics shows that a full two thirds of my traffic in May came from social media. At the same time, “direct traffic” (people coming here just to come here) has doubled in May as well – which means that at least some of those readers are now coming back of their own accord. In other words, these strategies are clearly working.

I only started rolling out these strategies over the month of May. And they weren’t completely implemented until just a week or two ago. That means that June should continue to show strong growth over May in all of these areas as the full effect of automation hits. Best of all, I have also seen a small uptick in book sales in May as compared to April, although this effect is definitely lagging the other changes. I expect that effect to be even bigger over time than it has been so far.

Don’t try to automate everything. You need to still have personal interaction in your social media. But automation can reap huge rewards. If you’re not using it, you need to be.

Russell Newquist

My name is Russell Newquist. I am a software engineer, a martial artist, an author, an editor, a businessman and a blogger. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, but I'm technically a high school dropout. I also think that everything in this paragraph is pretty close to meaningless. I work for a really great small company in Huntsville, Alabama building really cool software. I'm the owner and head instructor of Madison Martial Arts Academy, which I opened in 2013 less to make money and more because I just really enjoy a good martial arts workout with friends. I'm the editor in chief of Silver Empire and also one of the published authors there. And, of course, there is this blog - and all of its predecessors. There's no particular reason you should trust anything I say any more than any other source. So read it, read other stuff, and think for your damn self - if our society hasn't yet over-educated you to the point that you've forgotten how.

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