As individuals and companies become more engaged and busier with social media, it becomes a challenge to handle the increased volume of activity – both inbound and outbound.
To scale, one of the techniques is automation, which comes in a few flavours. From a publishing perspective, it means creating content once, and then having it appear on multiple social media accounts and services. For example, you could write a tweet, which would appear on multiple Twitter accounts.
Is this cheating given each account or service isn’t being updated individually? Not really because all you’re doing is pushing out to multiple distribution vehicles in an efficient way. For more, check out Danny Brown’s recent post.
Another way to approach automation is scheduling posts, updates and tweets to appear throughout the day. It’s the idea you could create a bunch of content in one sitting, and then have it appear throughout the day to give the appearance that you are being active and engaged all day.
Does this count as a best practice? It is certainly efficient and a productive way to create content but you could also argue it means not being in the moment if tweets, updates or posts are not happening live. In the scheme of things, it’s an acceptable approach.
That said, I do not believe in retweeting your own content multiple times through the day a la Guy Kawasaki. The justification is it gives people the opportunity to see a tweet during different times of the day but this technique strikes me as too self-promotional, and it assumes other people will not support your efforts through their own retweets.
And then there’s the auto-follow on Twitter in which if someone follows you, you follow them back. In the scheme of things, I’m not a fan of the auto-follow because it just lets everyone into the tent as opposed to any kind of selection or curation. If you’re going to follow someone, you should at least have some sense of who they are.
While there is a role for automation, it should not take away from the fact social media is a personal and, ideally, a real-time activity that shouldn’t be too pre-configured or packaged.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being as efficient and productive as you can but not to the point where social media loses its sense of the here and now.