Monday, 26 February 2018

Social Media Automation: What Makes Marketers Cringe & the Surprising Truth

If social media automation scares you, think about how email marketing has evolved. Today, most companies see email as the ultimate one-on-one marketing channel irrespective of the industry to which they belong. Yet, how many email marketers send individual emails? At most, companies send individualized emails managed by automation software. In fact, supermarket chain Safeway enjoys a 224% greater CTR than industry average on its emails by using automation; automation to collect customer behavior data and use it effectively.
The future is automation; embrace it.
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Even so, there are many marketers who accept email automation but cringe at the thought of social media automation. Do you believe that –
  • Automation defeats the purpose of social media?
  • Social media automation isn’t as mature as email automation?
  • You lose control with social media automation?
  • Fans despise automated content?
  • Automation destroys the human element?
Well, you’re not alone in harboring these fears, but they’re not necessarily based on fact. Below are reasons why these beliefs are limiting more than preventive and tips to automate your social media marketing the right way. Skip to the bottom of the post to see how you can get hours of your life back using DrumUp for social media management.

Social media automation: Mistake or marvel?

I concede. Nothing can replace the exchange of personal dialogues between you and your customer. But to impact more people, you need to scale one-on-one interaction. Can you manually scale personal conversations? Not likely. You might get to 10 or even 50 people a day, depending on how much time you can dedicate to the exercise. Social media automation, however, can effectively solve this problem.
Let’s revisit common fears about social media automation and address them with examples.

1. Does automation defeat the purpose of social media?

Automation doesn’t defeat the purpose of social media, but the messages you automate could. For instance, even if you use a social media listening tool to sort through noise and identify pertinent conversations in which to participate, how you participate matters. If your reply is a “standard template” with small tweaks, the recipient will sense the lack of effort.
On the other hand, if you understand the situation, acknowledge your subject’s pain/concern and truly try to help, he/she will sense your care. Humor is a bonus; an excellent ice-breaker and tool for endearment.
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Automation is merely a means to scale business-customer interactions; it is has nothing to do with the message you broadcast.

2. Social media automation isn’t as mature as email automation

While email marketing software have had a head-start at advancement, social media automation software aren’t far behind. There exist a myriad of intelligent social media solutions in the market. At DrumUp, one of the first solutions we built – the content curation module – was fit with a NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithm to scan thousands of websites and filter content that is exactly right for your brand to use.
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However, the software you choose doesn’t have to be intelligent to bear benefits for your social media marketing. It’s useful to consider automation extra support; extra pairs of hands that can manage work that doesn’t need your personal attention.

3. Does automation take away absolute control?

Why do marketers crave control? They need absolute control to prevent untoward disasters. Messages broadcast by marketers represent brands on public platforms, thus demanding extra care and vigilance. Automation requires relinquishing some amount of control, and this requirement makes many marketers uneasy.
Fortunately, like AI’s popular control mechanism – the kill-switch, social media automation software have built-in control mechanisms that help marketers retain complete command over marketing. Settings, filters, delete buttons, review mechanisms and easy access to each of the listed features via apps across devices makes it easier for marketers to place trust in automation software. Many automation software companies also maintain open communication with their users to ensure that their specific needs and met, and concerns are addressed.

4. Do customers despise automated content?

Not necessarily. What customers despise is impersonal content that suggests an apathy towards them. Customers are unlikely to care about automation if the messages are relevant to them and their needs. In fact, automation can help you create and deliver messages that are more relevant to your target groups.
Relevance in the previous paragraph refers not only to the content of your messages, but also their frequency, delivery time, tone, design and ease of navigation. It pays to focus on the details, because they can amount to the success of your social media marketing efforts.

5. Does automation destroy the human element?

This post below could have been scheduled. I know it’s not human, but… :)
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With the assistance of automation, you can scale the human element by increasing the relevance of the content you share, targeting specific people and delivering your messages on time and consistently.
The only time that automation ever kills the human element is when the marketer in charge of it slips up and makes an error. Some errors include spamming customers, sharing irrelevant and pointless content and making contact at inconvenient times during the day. By automating the delivery of the “right messages”, you could make a real impact in your target market.
Now that we have cleared the air about what automation isn’t, let’s discuss what automation can bring into your life.

Social media automation: Uses and benefits

Sure, automation doesn’t hinder marketing, but why choose to use it? If used correctly, automation can transform your social media presence and help you achieve business goals. In fact, if you choose to ignore social media automation, you might miss out on a considerable amount of traction.

1. Save time to spend on more pressing issues

The most obvious benefit of social media automation is that marketers can stop “fighting fires” and focus on actions that move the business needle. Although publishing, liking and monitoring social media posts are important tasks, they don’t represent the big picture of social media marketing well.
With social media automation, you can not only schedule posts in advance and maximize promotion returns, but also easily identify which conversations actually justify your attention and find PR and partnership opportunities that you may never find otherwise. For instance, by setting up “marketing event” as a keyword, you can identify the right events to attend to meet customers of marketing products.

2. Stay active when customers are without losing sleep

Publish your content at the wrong time and your customers may never even see it. If your company is competing in the global market, your social media page has got to be active through the day; a feat that can seem hectic for anyone to accomplish manually. With automation, you can identify “windows of activity” and ensure that there are posts getting published during them.
Once you have discovered your windows of activity, using a tool like DrumUp, you can ensure that there’s something going out during those windows, without having to manually schedule posts.
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3. Attract fans and future customers effortlessly

Imagine building your following brick by brick; you would have to find opportunities or exposure manually, one step at a time. Instead, what if you used an algorithm to hunt for opportunities and for content to share within it? By automating both, you would save so much time. Every marketer knows the time and effort it takes to create great content.
On DrumUp, you can set-up three types of content sources, within minutes. First, add RSS feeds to your blog and the blogs you follow for news and content ideas. Next, set-up important industry keywords for content suggestions. Finally, bulk-upload your best-performing social media posts into content libraries (you can also do this individually per post). Once all of this is done, these three types of content streams can serve as content repositories for you to custom schedule or “1-click schedule” to share on your social media pages.

4. Make a lasting impression on fans

People pay attention when you do something incredible; respond quicker than expected or join conversations where your brand is relevant. To do this, you need to have ears sharper than your own, eyes that can search through large numbers of social media posts real-time. What you set-up as watch keywords matter, because they decide the types of conversations that you set yourself up to join. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious possibilities. Bear in mind that social media can be used for anything from branding to sales, PR and customer support.
When you do find conversations to participate in, use a personal tone and humor if possible, to leave a lasting impression on fans.
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Now that we have discussed the benefits of social media automation, let’s conclude with the important pointers to bear in mind when implementing your strategy.

How to social media automation right

Among the factors that result in social media success are your discretion of what to automate, how much to automate and what the content of the messages should be.
1. Don’t spam your audience. Choose the best frequency of posting for each social media platform. For instance, on Facebook posting five times a day may be seen as a heinous crime, but on Twitter, publishing five posts a day is a necessity.
2. Choose what to automate. While you can set evergreen posts on repeat publishing schedules, it’s probably not a good idea to set time-sensitive posts like a review of the latest elections or changes in algorithms of social media platforms on a repeat posting schedule.
3. Be smart about delivery times. Based on who your target audience is, assess when they might be active on social media, and ensure that there always are posts going out at those times.
4. Customize your content. Don’t use standard “template” messages that your audience might find “bleh” or annoying. Show that you are making an effort.
5. Maximize your efficiency. Choose a social media management tool that can maximize your reach and engagement, by allowing you to store and sort content, and set it on extensive and specific publishing schedules, across your social accounts, easily.
There’s no reason to shy away from social media automation because it simply means to expand your current capacity. It doesn’t take anything away from your content, and in fact, can help you craft more personalized and relevant marketing messages. Now that you know this, it’s over to you to make the most of social media marketing with the support of social media automation software.
Feature image via

Saturday, 24 February 2018

How Instagram Marketing Can Reshape Your Business Visually

One of the greatest boons of running a business today is the ability to carve a niche in the minds of the customers through social media. Of all the social media channels available, Instagram plays a very important role in carving this niche because it is entirely a visual medium. Unlike marketing on other social media channels, Instagram marketing is purely image based. This makes it a marketing favorite for most types of businesses.
Whether you are a product based or a service-based industry, Instagram helps in reshaping your business visually. Through the use of interesting images, GIFs and videos, Instagram is able to grab the attention of the customers and convey important messages to them. Instagram stories help in real time marketing thereby reaching the right audience at the right time. With the right social media management tool, you can make an impact for your business on Instagram.
Here’s a list of the advantages that social media marketers enjoy when marketing via Instagram.

1. Instagram allows businesses to introduce products to customers

Whether you want to introduce a new product or existing product to the customer, Instagram is the right choice. Through attractive and engaging visuals, you can explain to the customers how to use the product in everyday life, how to use the product creatively and how it can solve their problems.
For, e.g., Playdoh’s Instagram page has videos and images that show interesting and creative ways to use their products. Those who purchase Playdoh’s products can experiment with such creative ideas or get inspired by such images to try new products.
Companies can use such images with interesting copy, to keep target groups hooked. Marketers can use tools such as the Hemingway app when coming up with attractive and compelling copy for Instagram marketing posts.

2. Instagram allows customers insight into businesses

Transparency is a critical element that contributes to the success of a business. Customers like knowing what happens inside a company. Who is the face behind the posts customers see on Instagram? Who takes the beautiful pictures and videos that end up on a company’s profile?
These are just a few examples of the things that customers would be interested to know. By publishing pictures of employees, celebrations in the company and even meetings, your company can endear customers to the people that make your brand. This relationship-building can help in building brand loyalty and shaping your business online.
Tools like Activepresenter help in creating interesting “behind the scene” videos which can be shared with customers.

The above screenshot of Gucci’s Instagram page shows Behind the Scene shots of creating an ad campaign for the brand’s new men’s scent – Gucci Guilty Absolute. On seeing such pictures, customers feel like they’re a part of the process and develop loyalty towards brands that share such instances.
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3. Instagram provides a platform for important event announcements

Instagram is the right platform to announce important upcoming events. Marketers can use Instagram to post an image of the brochure along with a video tour of the place where the event is to be conducted, or a video ad for the event. Such posts provide customers an immersive experience of what they can expect at the event.
The event details can be posted real time, or you can use a social media management app like Drumup to schedule the posts for publishing in advance. Managing an event can be nerve-wracking, because of tasks that have to completed in a timely manner. With Instagram scheduling, you can create your content calendar in advance and not rely on your memory to follow your publishing schedule.
Here’s an example of Alan Jackson’s Instagram post, which he has used to announce a tour date and venue. The event details are posted visually and ahead of time, allowing the message enough time to sink-in among his target audience who can take action accordingly. These kinds of posts help in building your personal brand and business.

4. Instagram is a great platform to highlight the social responsibility aspect of your business

The social responsible acts of a business have a direct impact on its perceived goodwill. Most businesses indulge in forms of social responsible activities to connect with their audience powerfully outside of business. Broadcasting of social responsibility activities helps in building customer loyalty and reshaping your business’s persona in the minds of customers.
Social media, and especially Instagram, is a great platform to let customers know about the social side of a business. For e.g., Southwestair’s Instagram picture shows how their old airplane seats are upcycled with help from indigenous artisans. This throws light on the social responsibility of the business and how it cares about matters such as upcycling that are super-relevant in today’s world.
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5. Instagram is a great platform for employee appreciation

By posting pictures on Instagram of employees celebrating career milestones or other important events in their lives, or simply by posting employees’ opinions about something, the company not only boosts the morale of employees but also shows the customers that they care for their employees. This creates an impression in the minds of customers that the company is not just about business. Employees are an integral part of the company, and it’s important for the company to show loyalty to them as well. This helps in reshaping the company’s persona in the minds of customers.
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In the above example, Mailchimp has posted a picture of one of its employees giving his opinion about the company and other general things. The background of the picture shows how “super cool” and relaxing MailChimp’s work atmosphere is. This provides an impression to customers that Mailchimp not only values employees and their opinions but also provides a very relaxing and comfortable place for employees to work. This helps in creating a good impression, which can have a positive impact on the business, in the minds of the customers.

The Instagram stories advantage

Instagram stories is a very important feature that helps companies to connect with their customers. The poll feature provided by Instagram stories help companies in obtaining the customer’s opinion about something. For, e.g., it is common for online jewellery shops to ask their customer’s opinion regarding the type of jewellery they would like to see. Thus, customers get an impression that the company values their opinion which in turn helps in building their loyalty and reshaping your business.
Instagram stories also appear above all posts in Instagram feeds, a premium space that gives businesses the chance to capture the attention of their audience. Plus, brand storytelling has always been a powerful means to making an impression on potential customers.
Thus, Instagram is a very powerful tool that companies can use to promote their product and service and get closer to their customers. By making use of the various features of Instagram in the most effective manner, companies are not only able to promote their business but also carve a niche in the minds of customers.
Feature image via Thought Catalogue, Unsplash 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Last day to register for live workshop Today!!

Hey there,

I'm excited about the live workshop today. Are you?

Today, Isa Adney from ConvertKit will be walking you through how to build the email sales funnel that could make the biggest difference in your business right now.

I promise this workshop is going to be useful for everyone, not just those who use ConvertKit - that means you’ll get real, actionable takeaways you can implement right after the workshop no matter what tool you use.

During the workshop Isa is going to teach you:

  1. Why an email list is critical to your business and how to use it to sell authentically (even if you hate selling)
  2. How to use automation to turn more subscribers into leads and customers (so email can grow your income)
  3. How to write your emails to build trust and get referral business (so your funnel keeps refilling for you)

There will also be free stuff only available live! Woo!

Sound good? Here are the details: The workshop is happening February 21st 11:00AM Pacific | 2:00PM Eastern.

So be sure to save your seat now (seats are limited) and get ready to build an amazing sales funnel for your business. This workshop is a business game changer.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Using Automation to Be More Efficient With Social Media

WE ALL have 24 hours in a day, so we need to always be looking for ways to maximize our time. Fortunately, with social media there are ways to be more efficient with your activities through automation.

I’ll preface this by saying that you do not need to automate your entire social presence.
It kind of takes away from the whole social aspect of the channel.
Instead, let’s identify how you can use automation to be more efficient with social media that will allow you to spend more time on engagement with your audience.

Why You Need to use Automation in Social Media

I like to look for ways to automate or streamline repetitive tasks. It helps to free up my time to do other things that can’t be automated.
I know what you are thinking:
“You shouldn’t automate social media, it’s not authentic.”
Automation needs to supplement your social media, not replace it. This doesn’t mean using every social media tool to automate your existence.
Instead, you need to look for ways to streamline certain aspects of your social media initiatives.
If you are like me, I can’t stand doing the same things over and over…especially if it something that I know can be put on autopilot (or at least semi-automated).
This is the perfect starting point to figure out what you can (or should) automate.
I’ll share 3 ways I like to use automation to complement various social media activities.

Use IFTTT to Automate Social Media

One of my favorite go-to tools for automation is IFTTT. IFTTT is short for “if this, then that.” Basically, it means that if something happens, then something else should be a result of it. Essentially a “trigger” and an “action.”
This is referred to as a recipe in IFTTT.
Creating recipes in IFTTT is pretty straight forward. There is a nice wizard that will walk you through their simple 7 step process to set up your recipe.

However, creating a recipe from scratch is not necessary at all.
There are hundreds of pre-made recipes you can easily copy and use. Some of my favorite recipes are:
I’ll quickly go over what each one can do.

Archive Tweets into Google Sheets

The archiving of tweets into a Google Spreadsheet allows you to create a running list of all your tweets. This can come in handy in a variety of ways. The most notable is that you will have a running backup of your tweets. You can grab some of these old tweets and reuse them for future social media updates.
One thing to note about Google Sheets is that it will max out at 2,000 rows. When this happens, IFTTT will create a new spreadsheet to keep going.

Autopin to Pinterest

With Pinterest, your automation is limited in that there are not too many tools available yet for automation since their API is new/limited.
However, by using this IFTTT recipe you can automatically pin articles from your Feedly account to your Pinterest account.
Every time the recipe is triggered, a pin will be created for the board that you specified. It’s an easy way to add content to your boards from your favorite sources.

Create Twitter Lists Automatically

The final recipe is a simple way to add people that mention you on Twitter to a list automatically. This recipe will look for your username (or perhaps a competitor) and add people who mention the name to a list.
You can either use a public list which I recommend for adding people that mention you, or a private list for mentions of your competitor.
The benefit of adding users to a public list is that they will be notified of being added to the list which will typically drive more engagement.
If you haven’t used IFTTT, I highly recommend looking at all the recipes available and how they can help you automate some of your social media.

Recycle Your Pinterest Pins

I the previous section, I mentioned that there are not a lot of opportunities to automate Pinterest. However, there is one tool that I find invaluable when it comes to Pinterest automation.
It’s called Board Booster.
Board Booster does several things, most notably a feature called “looping.”
By using their looping feature, it will essentially recycle and re-post your pins from a board. This works particularly well if you have evergreen social content.
Setup is rather easy in that you load up one of your Pinterest boards and configure your settings:

As you can see, there are quite a few ways to configure this. I find that the most important thing to have enabled is the “automatic deduplication” which will:
“…give the new pin some time to accumulate repins, and then compare its number of repins to the number of repins on the original pin, and delete the pin that has the lowest number of repins.”
This ensures that you don’t have dozens of duplicate pins floating around your board.
Board Booster will also allow you to schedule pins. While I don’t really use this since I use IFTTT as mentioned above for posting to Pinterest, Board Booster is an option to use.
The way it works is that a “secret” board is created in your Pinterest account. A secret board is only visible to you (and Board Booster), so no one will know it exists. You can then manually add content to it and Board Booster will publish it according to the criteria you set.

It’s pretty straight forward to get going. You’ll just need to be sure to keep your secret board filled with content so Board Booster has something to publish.
If you want to get crafty, you can use IFTTT to add content to your secret board so you have more control of when items are pinned.

Find and Follow New People on Twitter

Back in the day there were quite a few Twitter tools that could follow and unfollow users automatically each day. However, Twitter clamped down on this eliminating many tools that once worked.
However, there are still tools out there that can assist with identifying and following users on Twitter. Albeit in a semi-automated fashion.
The one tool I continuously use is ManageFlitter.
If you are managing multiple Twitter accounts, I recommend upgrading your account to really get the most out of it.
With ManageFlitter, you have several ways to find people to follow. Primarily you can follow the followers of someone’s account, follow the accounts a user is following, search for specific accounts (bios, location, followers, etc), or search for tweets containing certain text.
Should you choose to follow the followers of an account, ManageFlitter will go and get the latest people to follow that account. With one click you can select them all and add them to your “process” queue.
Same goes for following the accounts a user is following.
When searching bios, you get some flexibility of the criteria to use.

You can get pretty granular with your requirements. Just keep in mind the more specific you are, the fewer the results will be. However, they will be more targeted than a broad search.
Finally, you can search for tweets containing specific text and location.

You don’t get as many options with this as other search methods on ManageFlitter. The results will be listed for you to sift through and hand pick people to add to your “process” queue, or you can bulk add all of them.

Aside from finding targeted followers, ManageFlitter will also unfollow anyone not following you back. This can be very useful in that you don’t have to manually sift through and check your followers to ensure they are following you back. In just one click you can select all who are not following you back and add them to you “process” queue.
In your “process” queue is where you will actually follow or unfollow Twitter users. Unfortunately, you will have to manually click follow or unfollow on each user.
Even though this is not the most fun thing to do, what is nice is that the way the site is designed is that once you click on follow/unfollow, that user disappears and the next one in the list scrolls up. This puts the button you need to click in the exact same spot, so it makes it easy to just click real fast to get through the list.
Now if you really want to fully automate these processes, ManageFlitter has a service you can pay extra for and they will handle all this for you. However, I have never paid them for it and would rather save a few bucks to do it myself.

Automate Social Media With Moderation

Social media automation is something you will need to use with moderation. By no means should automation be used to replace your presence on your social accounts.
The various tools and techniques are meant to help keep you out of the weeds and free up your time from performing mundane tasks. You can then use this freed up time to put more effort in engaging with your audience.
So the big question is, what are you going to automate and how are you going to use your additional free time?