Automate and outsource all of your social media tasks and you can have a four-hour workweek!
If only that were true.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t outsource anything that requires genuine human interaction. Social media is a personal relationship that requires personal interaction. Outsourcing your entire social media marketing campaign is like outsourcing your marriage and your relationship with your kids. It’s not going to work, and if you think it’s working, you’re not seeing clearly.
Your presence is required for your social media marketing campaign to work
Ten years ago, businesses paid contractors to write engaging social media posts to get fans talking about, liking, and sharing content. The content was created ahead of time and scheduled to post weeks in advance.
Outsourced content worked well for motivational coaches and restaurants offering discounts and deals to locals. Unfortunately, for businesses like plumbers, real estate agents, and property management companies, it was a complete failure. This is mostly because social media content writers don’t understand those markets. Most people don’t want to see real estate listings or plumbing tips in their Facebook news feed every day. Out of ignorance, that’s the content many writers produced.
Untargeted content still abounds today, albeit not as often. Content is pushed to generate likes and comments, forgetting about the importance of building relationships over stats.
Most businesses can’t get away with posting pre-written content, but the ones that can face a significant dilemma: the need to interact with fans personally. If a business doesn’t have time to create their social media content personally, they probably don’t have time to engage their fans, either. That’s a problem when the goal is to develop relationships. When you don’t provide the opportunity for building relationships with your market, your employees become mechanical robots.
Relationships are incompatible with automation
Every automated process diminishes the opportunity to build a relationship with your customers. By automating tasks, you remove the interaction between employee and customer, and you’re breaking the critical cycle of recognition. Recognizing employees for their achievements gives them an incentive to be accommodating and friendly with their customer interactions. In turn, those customers will praise your business, and the good vibes will keep cycling around.
You can’t automate relationship building
The idea of working less and collecting a bigger paycheck drives the obsession with automating and outsourcing everything. The idea is, with enough automation, your business will run itself, and you can kick back and collect checks for the rest of your life.
Automation isn’t the enemy, but the more you automate, the less human your company becomes. It makes sense to automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks that don’t require personal interaction. For example, automating your initial posts to Facebook is acceptable. The key is to stay on top of responses and make sure you’re engaging with fans personally.
On the flip side, automated chat bots that aren’t clearly bots give false hope there’s a live representative on the other end. Automated phone systems that don’t provide the option of speaking to an agent don’t build relationships, either.
Your employees want to interact with your market
You’ve probably got someone on your marketing team who would give anything to spend one day per week responding to Facebook messages and comments. It’s not a waste of time when the employee is working diligently to respond to and resolve issues, complaints, and acknowledge praise. If you take the time to post content, you should take time to read and reply to some of the responses.
Relationships take time and effort to build and maintain
You wouldn’t expect to take a first date to dinner and be married five minutes after you finish your meal. Relationships take time and effort to build, and even more effort to maintain. If your social media marketing campaign is time-consuming and you’re looking for an agency to take over, consider simplifying your strategy. Once a marketing agency takes over, your social media presence will no longer be personal.
Think about ways you can scale back your efforts for now. If you haven’t built any strong relationships yet, it’s okay to hire an agency to help you build your brand and strategize, but you never want to let go of your ability to generate relationships with your fans. Your social media interactions should always be personal.