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  • Eric Sleeth

Why Automation Could be Killing Your Social Media Marketing

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

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If you were to survey any number of marketers and community managers, there are people on both sides of the fence who can argue for the merits and pitfalls of Social Media Automation. It's no surprise that utilizing social media automation tools will lighten the workload. According to research from InstaPage, automating social media posts could save some marketers up to 6 hours per week.

Automation by itself isn't inherently bad, you could be missing out on great opportunities and in the worst case, could be detrimental to you and your brand.

Here are some ways social media automation could be hurting your efforts, along with some simple tips to get back on track:

1. Too Much Automation

We know the expression "Too much of a good thing..." Social Media Automation is no exception.

When your automation goes beyond scheduling a few posts during the week, and turns into automated posts, autoresponders to mentions and messages, that is when you will have a problem.

Whether you are scheduling a large volume of posts or using automated curated posts, you are cannibalizing and burying your own content. The algorithms on social media won't allow you to spam the feeds of your followers.

Curated Content can be a valuable part of a social media content mix, but simply roll back the frequency of your posts to keep automated updates to a minimum.

2. Posting at the Wrong Time

There are two ways you can be posting at the wrong time.

Firstly, if you do not know your audience well enough, you should avoid automation altogether. Take the time to learn when your audience is using these social media platforms and most likely to engage.

Investing this time, will allow for improved results and reducing wasted effort.

Secondly, Social Media is not only a source for marketing or entertainment purposes. It is also has become an important platform for News and Social Activism. This creates a big risk that your scheduled posts may be published during an inappropriate time where the feed and your audience are focused on a different event.

If that post were to go out, your audience may view your brand as tone-deaf and insensitive, possibly going as far as boycotting your business.

Scheduling your posts on a social media calendar is not a bad approach. You cannot take a "Set it and Forget it" approach. Keep an active eye on the daily news events and trends to keep an eye out for when adjustments must be made.

2. Zero Engagement

Social automation isn't a "set it and forget it" approach. If you let automation run your social accounts, then you'll miss out on opportunities to join conversations around your content. And if you don't respond to those who try to engage you, they'll eventually notice.

Automation can never replace the human element you can offer your audience. You should actively monitor your social channels, answer questions, ask questions, and actively work to create more opportunities for engagement.

3. Neglecting the Uniqueness of Social Channels

Every social channel is unique, and just as the timing of engagement changes from channel to channel, so does the content itself.

People use social channels in very different ways, and the tone and structure of posts should be suitable for that particular channel's users.

It's not a smart strategy to automate social to the point where the same content or update is being promoted on every single channel at the same time, in the same way. Your message, tone, length, and structure should be customized for each platform to maximize the potential for engagement.

4. Missing out on the chance to delight

There is no problem in using a moderate level of automation, however, this should be avoided entirely when responding with your audience. Some marketers will create autoresponders. These are extremely generic and can miss the sentiment of the original engagement.

Infusing personality and responding personally to these engagements will reduce the risk of a miss-aligned response and create a change to delight your audience.

5. Be Careful with Curated Content

Content Curation tools can be an effective way to ensure a consistent flow of content. This is a great way to deliver targeted content to your audience. This can help establish you as a valuable source of information. Furthermore, a social media's algorithms might begin to favour you as you have a consistent flow.

All too often, this is taken too far and can get away from you. First, you need to make sure you are keeping an eye on the content going up and ensuring it meets your standards; you don't want to accidentally promote a competitor's content or publish an editorial piece that contradicts your brand's values.

The other is to keep track of frequency. You don't want your platform to become a faceless content aggregator, this is where you will see a reduction in engagement. Furthermore, a large volume of curated content will cannibalize the content that you create.

7. Ignoring the Results of Campaigns

Just because you may choose to use automation doesn't mean you should forget about the analytics.

Review your social metrics to gather insights on the specific pieces of content and see how your followers reacted. Did you lose followers after you shared a specific piece? Was the engagement higher than usual for a certain topic? Is there a more optimal time of day?

Use the data to revise your strategy and search for more topics and content that aligns with the top-performing posts.


The downside of social media automation comes when marketers rely too heavily on it, removing human engagement. Automation should only be used to supplement your social strategy by streamlining your curation and promotion processes - use it to fill gaps in your engagement and content calendar, not the other way around.

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