In all most all cases, social media marketers and every other pro out there tries to find ways to automate repetitive tasks. It saves a huge amount of time! And Time is Money – Spend your time on something that makes you more productive.
Also from time to time, you may have occasionally felt the need to take a break from social media. But you don’t want your audience to notice your absence. What do you do in such a situation? Social media automation has the near perfect solution which ensures that you do not waste your time on repetitive tasks and you can cloak your absence from social media effectively.
With social media automation tools, you can schedule your posts and accounts to be updated at pre-scheduled times automatically. Once you have put a post or comment in the queue, you can shut down your computer and even take a holiday if you wish. Read on, and you will find out how.
But before you rush to make holiday plans, there are a few things you must make note of:
- Social media automation tools works just fine for individuals as well as for social media marketing companies who have to manage the content for social media for many clients, sometimes running into the hundreds.
- It is very important to maintain a perfect balance between automation and personal interaction with customers. When to automate and when to engage must be clearly worked out. Content posting, especially posts that are not time sensitive, can be automated to a great extent, leaving you the time for creating great content.
- The RSS feeds of most blog posts can be automated as most of the blog content anyway finds it’s way to social media. Here, you should take care that the posts are formatted suitably for social media as well. Automation is particularly helpful when you want to post multiple times a day.
- One cardinal rule in automation is Never Automate Interaction With Customers. Customers can mostly tell when they are dealing with a system instead of a person and you don’t want a customer to be miffed.
- Ditto for Troubleshooting – automate only at the risk of losing a customer.
- Most social media channels have an option to notify you of any activity that takes place in your account. Don’t mechanically turn off this option. See which of them is relevant to you and choose to turn it on to improve response time and engagement.
- Set aside some time periodically to monitor all activity.
- Make sure you don’t schedule too far into the future, and stay up to date with current news. You may want to pause the automated flow or even put a halt to it briefly as a response to some news or event.
Keeping in mind what has been said above, you should then pick your social media automation tools wisely. There are handful in the market and you should choose the one that fits your requirements. I’ve discussed a few tools a little further down in this article.
Next, you must finalize your posting schedule carefully. The time when your social media posts go live must be chosen with reference to time when maximum number of followers are active. Time zones matter here, so don’t ignore it. Your time for response must also be determined to ensure maximum engagement with audiences.
Make sure to keep your finger on the flow of conversation. A tool like Mention can be of help here. It tracks your name across social media as well as blogs and websites and alerts you. You can respond directly from the Dashboard of Mention.
The automation options are categorized into 2 groups:
- Automation tools that cover a whole range of social media channels
- Tools which cover a limited number of channels – 5 to 10, or even one, as in the case of channel specific plugins.
Social Automation Tools – Multiple Channel Options
If you want to automate all of your social media accounts, an all encompassing tools might be best for you. Here are a few different options to consider for your WordPress site.
If This Then That
The first one that comes to mind is not a plugin but a service called IFTTT, which expands to If This Then That. With this service, you can create a set of triggers which, when set off, can initiate a set of responses.
Login to the website and create an account. To understand how this works, check out the screenshot below.
As an example, you can pick WordPress under ‘This’ as below
After you have filled in your site details, you can pick the social media channel that you want to post to under ‘That’. Some of the Social media channels that are covered are,
Once this is done, you have established the channels you want your content to be automatically posted to. For this service to work, you must also configure your WordPress site to post automatically. This is quite simple – head to General Settings > Writing and enable XML-RPC. For versions of WordPress 3.5 and higher, this functionality is automatically enabled.
And remember, this service can be made to work in reverse as well, by switching the ‘This’ and ‘That’ options. By reversing, you can use this feature to gather all the social media blips about yourself and archive it in one place.
Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP)
SNAP is a plugin from Next Scripts that connects many social media channels to your blog, so that when you publish fresh content, it gets automatically posted to the social channels.
You can change settings to suit your convenience and you can auto post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, Delicious, Google+ and many more social media channels. Once the post is done, either the whole post or it’s formatted announcement with backlink will be published to all the chosen networks. The messages can be customized for each network.
It does take a bit of time to create the right settings for the individual channels also as you can see from the snapshot of configuration for Twitter below, but once these settings are done, it makes life a lot easier.
Images can also be posted and old posts can be posted again. It has 100,000+active installs and a star rating of 4.2. A pro version is also available.
Buffer is a tool that can be used for managing your many social media channels from one dashboard. Content can be shared throughout the day at the most appropriate times and text can be added for customization for different channels. Images and videos can also be posted.
A no obligation 30 day free trial is offered and Plans start at $10 per month for 10 social accounts and goes up to $300 per month for 200 social accounts.
There is a plugin freely available called WordPress to Buffer which helps to load new posts automatically to Buffer. This plugin supports only select channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It has 4000+ active installs with a star rating of 3.6. The pro version of this plugin supports even Pinterest.
Only Wire pro version, lets you post automatically to 50 channels, all the major ones included. The number of channels on the free version is limited. You can view and respond to comments from the Monitoring console. Social analytic and reporting tools are included. The free version has 8000+ active installs and a star rating of 4.8.
Zapier has a slightly different approach. It has an app library of popular apps which you can explore. You can then pair up apps according to your requirement, somewhat like If This Then That. With a repository of over 500 apps, you are sure to find the ones you want. They offer a basic free package for 100 tasks per month, running up to $125 for 50,000 tasks per month.
Social Automation Tools – Single or Limited Channel Options
Want to automate just a couple of your social media accounts? Checkout these options for adding focused social sharing automation to your WordPress site.
Revive Old Post
With Revive Old Post, you can automatically post to Titter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Old and new posts can be shared and the time interval between posts can be set. Link-backs to your site can be provided and specified categories and posts can be excluded. It has 80,000+ active installs and a star rating of 3.9. A pro version is also available.
WP to Twitter
WP to Twitter is specific to posting to Twitter. Custom template tags are provided to customize the tweet. URL can be shortened. It has 90,000+ active installs and a rating of 4.1.
CoSchedule is a plugin that allows you to publish your posts automatically to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Buffer and Tumblr. It is a kind of editorial calendar helping you visually schedule your posts easily with a drag and drop facility. It has 10,000+ active installs and a star rating of 4.7. It is a premium subscription based service, with a free trial offer for 14 days.
Latergramme is designed to overcome Instagram’s restriction on third party posting. Latergramme works around this restriction by serving up a notification at scheduled times to remind you to post manually on Instagram. An entire posting schedule can be set up in Latergramme.
Viral Woot works just like Latergramme, but it is a scheduler for Pinterest. You can schedule pins to Pinterest using Viral Woot.
Viral Tag works as a scheduler for both Instagram and Pinterest. It’s a great option if you rely on photo based social media marketing (or if you’re active on your other accounts, and just need a little extra help with these two).
Some other automation tools also worthy of mention as part of our round up:
- Social Media Auto Publish– can post automatically to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with images. The categories and posts can be filtered with this plugin. It has 10,000+ active installs and a star rating of 4.2.
- Microblog Poster– Supports about 10 social networks, including the major ones. It has 10,000+ active installs and a star rating of 4.1.
- Jetpack– if you are using a WordPress site, you would most likely have this plugin installed. It has a Distribution function which helps to to automatically post to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr. It has over a million active installs with a star rating of 4.
- Social Auto Poster– This plugin allows you to entirely automate your posting to configured social networks. Multiple Titter accounts and all linked Facebook accounts are supported. Comes with a price tag of $29.
- Hootsuite– contains a scheduling tool. This is not merely an automation tool, but a whole bunch of services for social media management.
Social media automation tools help tone up efficiency and use time wisely. It does not mean that you stop working on your social media efforts entirely, just that you become more efficient. Tasks that are not hands on, can and must be automated. It enables you to devote more time to tasks that require your personal attention.
Well, that’s our list of social media automation tools for WordPress. Have we missed out anything? Would like to hear from you in comments below 🙂