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How to Automate Social Media Without Looking Automated

By Twibble.io, December 2017

 

Introduction

This white paper will address the challenges of maintaining a successful social media presence, and how social media automation can be implemented without actually appearing automated, spammy,  or otherwise inorganic. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate how companies can increase productivity while lowering costs, and better engage customers, with more effective social media automation.

 

Problem

1. Maintaining a regular social media presence takes a lot of time and human capital
2. Successfully finding and targeting the best customers is challenging
3. Automating social media looks looks automated, which looks spammy

 

Solution

There are five overarching methods to solving -- or avoiding -- these problems.


1. Always make sure to share relevant content. Relevant content can either be (a) your own original content; or (b) others’ content that your (future) followers will find interesting.

2. Include relevant images or videos. Social media always shares better when accompanied by rich media.

3. Include relevant #hashtags. Social media posts without appropriate #hashtags are effectively worthless.

4. Target the appropriate audience. Merely tweeting to the entire universe of social media is well and good; but targeted posts with @mentions is far more effective.

5. Be personal: Automate organically (and don’t forget manual engagement). Pure automation looks automated, and is per se “spammy” and “bot-like” and must be avoided.


We shall now study each of these four points and learn how to properly implement them.

 

1. Share relevant content

Social media is a two-way street: it’s important to both give and take. Think dialogue, not monologue. This means that you must be sure not only to share your own content, but also others’ content too.

The issue of relevance is a tricky thing. While the presumption is that “if directly related to you / your product, then relevant to your followers” -- the inverse of which implies “if not relevant to your followers, then not directly related to you / your product” -- the truth is often quite the opposite.

In many cases, what is most relevant to your followers may have only a tangential relationship to what you / your product does.


Example 1: AvBloggers is an aviation blog. They publish frequent articles on aviation including industry news; analysis and reviews on different types of aircraft; seat advice; and so on. Because aviation is per se used for travel, one of the more tangential things AvBloggers likes to share is travel news and tips. But because their writers tend only to write about aviation news, AvBloggers likes to supplement their social media posts with relevant travel articles from other blogs, like @KLM's fantastic blog. In this way then, AvBloggers maintains a healthy social media presence composed not only of their own aviation news, but also that the directly related topic of travel. The net result is a broader audience base, and more and better customer engagement.

 

Sharing third party sources’ content can be a tremendous drain on time and resources. It’s therefore a perfect, appropriate use case for responsible social media automation.

Ordinarily, finding third party content to share requires a lot of trial and error: you need to search for the content; retweet it; manually share it yourself from a blog; and so on. This is tremendously labor intensive and is an obvious negative component to your ROI.

In contrast, automating the sharing of third party content offers a tremendous boost to ROI. By automating the social sharing of third party content, you simultaneously reduce input and maximize output: you do less work while getting more done.

By way of the example above, this is precisely what AvBloggers is accomplishing when they use social automation to share third party travel sites’ articles in addition to their aviation industry news.

A well-known principle in social media is the “4-1-1 Rule.” Originally attributed to Andrew Davis, it was largely popularized by Joe Pulizzi, founder of The Content Marketing Institute. The 4-1-1 Rule states the correct ratio of three different types of content that should constitute your social media post; think of it as the cocktail recipe for all things social, if you will:

For every 6 pieces of shared social media content:

* 4 should be from third party influencer sources not your own
* 1 should be original content that you have produced yourself
* 1 should be sales-related to your own product or service

This rule precisely quantifies the logic suggested in Example 1 above, about the need to mix third party content with your own, in an effort to bring more interesting and relevant content to your followers, and to attract and grow your audience.

Sharing relevant content is useful therefore not only with respect to your own, in-house content, but also and especially with respect to third party content. In both cases, social media automation offers an incredibly valuable way to better and more effectively engage and grow your audience.

 

2. Include relevant images or videos

We humans are visual creatures. Social media posts without embedded media -- whether images or videos -- have a far lower engagement rate than the alternative.
Consider the following data from Twitter and Buffer.

Tweets with images get 150% more retweets[1], with marked improvements across news, TV and political content,[2] with improvemnets of 27%, 53%, and 62%, respectively.

 

SOURCE: Twitter

SOURCE: Twitter


Tweets with images get 18% more clicks[3] and 89% more likes[4] than those without. This is a hugely significant result. While 18% improvement for any metric is impressive enough, 89% is staggering.

 

SOURCE: Twitter

SOURCE: Twitter


According to Twitter, 90% of Twitter users check their feeds weekly, while over 57% do so daily.[5] Of those, roughly 30% see tweets from SMBs every time they check their Twitter feeds, with more than 60% having discovered a new SMB on Twitter.

And over 93% of people who follow an SMB brand on Twitter plan to purchase something from that brand, with nearly 70% having already purchased once or more.

Because of this, it is imperative that your posts are always rich with engaging media content, or you risk missing out this extremely lucrative sales channel.

 

3. Include relevant #hashtags

It’s well known that hashtags are an important element of social media. Somewhat reluctantly accepted, however, is just how critical the use of the correct hashtags is, including and especially on Twitter and Instagram (and to a lesser extent, and in a different way, on Facebook.)

Merely dropping myriad hashtags into a social media post and wishing it well on its journey into the social media ether is not sufficient; care must be taken to ensure inclusion of only the most viable hashtags.

This is an admittedly less critical matter on Instagram, say, which has an extremely generous 2,200 character count limit; but for Twitter’s still paltry 280 character limit, it’s crucial to pick the right ones, especially since more hashtags produces more and better results.

Facebook is apparently a different beast altogether, however, in the sense that the optimal number of hashtags is one to three at most, which makes picking the best hashtags all the more crucial.

Failure to include the right hashtags can mean the difference between having your social media posts read, and having them drift away unnoticed.

 

Exercise 1: Suppose you are sharing an article about social media tips generally. Because you’re character-limited with a tweet to 280 characters, you need to be selective as you have space for just one more hashtag: You’re thinking it’s either going to be #SocialMediaTips or #SocialTips. You have 10 seconds to determine which one to use. How can you figure this out? You can find the solution below.


While Twitter shows trending hashtags, this is not nearly versatile enough to pick the best hashtags for your needs for a particular post. For this, you need a way to quickly and easily “A/B test,” as it were, various hashtags, to easily discover the best ones at any given moment; and furthermore, to study retroactively your posts and determine which hashtags performed the best. We will examine this in greater detail below.

 

4. Target the appropriate audience

While inclusion of relevant content, media, and hashtags are all essential to a successful social media campaign, an oft-overlooked strategy is to target the relevant audience not merely by broadcasting your message in the appropriate hashtag channels, as it were, but to selectively call out the relevant people on social media by name.

The overarching idea is that for every hashtag or social media account, there is a so-called subset of “top influencers” for those hashtags or social media accounts.

 

Example 2: Some top influences of #privacy include @Forrester, @DuckDuckGo, and @PrivateMe. If you are sharing content about internet privacy, you should be sure to explicitly @mention those users to maximize your posts’ visibility and engagement.

 

To be clear on what this means, a top influencer is one who regularly tweets, retweets, likes, or otherwise engages with content from #privacy.

By selectively singling out and explicitly @mentioning those top influencers, you can far more effectively get your content before the most relevant eyes, thereby driving greater effective engagement with your content.

Put another way, 100 eyes that don’t care about what you’re sharing have no value; but 1 pair of eyes belonging to the most powerful influencer for the content you’re sharing could make all the difference in the world for your social media strategy, and further downstream, have a direct and positive impact on your ROI.

We’ll discuss below how you can best implement this sort of hyper-selected audience targeting.

 

5. Be personal: Automate organically (and don’t forget manual engagement)

Now that we’ve seen the various overarching methods by which you can best leverage social media, it’s important to touch on an a critical detail: making sure that your content always looks like it was created by a living, breathing human, and not merely automated by a bit- and byte-infused bot. 

To that end, it’s imperative that when you implement any type of social media automation, that you take care to utilize any features designed to “humanize” your content and make it look organic rather than automated.

This isn’t to be deceptive -- frankly nobody actually cares whether the posts are curated by human or automation / scheduling software -- but simply to make your posts more appealing to look at.

To wit, a ticker tape of links with no comments associating the links makes for a very dull thing indeed; but including commentary along with the links, that makes a big difference.

The 4-1-1 Rule we touched on previously is the first part of this discussion: always remember to share your content with four parts coming from third parties; one part coming from your own organically crafted content; and one part pertaining to sales of your product or service.

Beyond the 4-1-1 Rule’s distribution of content type, however, is the aforementioned point about the actual content of the social media posts with respect to making them look more organic in nature. One way to do this is to utilize so-called “prefix (or suffix) rotations, as well as targeted @mentions as mentioned earlier, and discussed in greater detail below.

Prefix / suffix rotations are rather what they sound like: short blurbs of text that go at the start (or end) of a social media post. Any good social media automation service should allow the ability to enter numerous different prefixes / suffixes, and to then rotate one in at random with every post.

And finally, with fear of stating the obvious, don’t forget to frequently reply, like or otherwise engage with your followers manually.

Ultimately, it’s important not to let social media scheduling and automation completely replace your human content. The point is that social media automation -- scheduling or otherwise -- should supplement and augment, not replace, organic content.

So those are the five overarching points and strategies to keep in mind when considering how best to manage your social media initiatives. In the next section, we’ll discuss how Twibble can help you to easily accomplish these goals.


Twibble: The Best Social Media Automation for Facebook & Twitter

Twibble has been trusted for nearly four years by the top news, broadcasting, entertainment, academic, security, commercial, and marketing organizations in the world.  

The gorgeous Twibble Editor makes it simple to add and edit scheduled content like RSS feeds, custom posts, and more.

The gorgeous Twibble Editor makes it simple to add and edit scheduled content like RSS feeds, custom posts, and more.

Our clients have relied on Twibble to easily share their (and other influencers’) content in order to better engage and grow their customer base, increase brand visibility, and ultimately drive more traffic to their products / services to increase monetization from their customers while improving ROI of social media initiatives.

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“[Twibble replaces] two full time employees [for us] and is invaluable.”
-Adam J.


We will now address the following elements of why Twibble is the right choice for you:


1. Unparalleled results for Twitter and Facebook
2. Powerful features unique to Twibble
3. Flexible plans to suit any size company


1. Unparalleled results for Twitter and Facebook

Twibble focuses on Twitter and Facebook only, in order to provide the best, most powerful, and easiest platform in the world to manage your social media accounts.

While other products include support for more networks, our unrivaled ease of use, customer support, and proven results speak for themselves: many of our clients migrated to us from competing services.
 

“Twibble resulted in a 160% increase in followers in 12 months.”
[email protected]_Mike


2. Powerful features unique to Twibble

Twibble offers 10 unique advantages over alternative products.

1. AUTO-EMBED IMAGES & VIDEOS. Twibble was the first -- and is still the easiest -- platform to automatically pull and embed the featured images and videos from nearly any RSS feed or YouTube channel.[6]

2. AUDIENCE TARGETING. Arguably Twibble’s most powerful tool, Audience Targeting automatically @mentions the top influencers of any #hashtag or another Twitter account. This offers a highly compelling and effective method to single out competitors’ customers and influencers.
 

Audience Targeting is … directly responsible for over 1700 views of our tweets … every single day, and 24K impressions in the last 24 hours.”
-JAYJAY Software


3. REAL TIME HASHTAG A/B TESTING. Powered by our own HashTest.io, our color-coded, real time hashtag A/B testing tool makes it easy to test many hashtags at a time. Used in conjunction with our own Twibble Analytics, this makes it easy -- and immediate -- to determine which hashtags result in the highest conversions (i.e., most number of clicks). Here, we can see that #SocialMediaTips is preferable to #SocialTips.

 
#Hashtag A/B testing on Twibble.io, powered by HashTest.io

#Hashtag A/B testing on Twibble.io, powered by HashTest.io

 

4. TWIBBLE ANALYTICS. A robust set of tools to analyze your feeds, our Analytics makes it easy for you to determine which feeds are perfroming the best; where (and when) in the world people click your links; and more.

 
Twibble Analytics: Know all the things about your followers

Twibble Analytics: Know all the things about your followers

 


5. AUTO RETWEET. Show some love retweeting great stuff. Automatically, at a schedule of your choosing.

 

“[Post engagement by Twibble] is ... greater than anything else I’ve used.”
-Matt E.


6. EDIT & APPROVE. See a preview of all pending posts in an RSS feed, and then edit and approve the ones you want while removing the ones you don’t.

7. QUEUED CONTENT. Easily compose your own posts and schedule them to be sent at a schedule of your choosing.

8. UNIVERSAL RSS COMPATIBILITY. Add content from nearly any source including WordPress and Medium; YouTube; eBay and Etsy; Pinterest; Instagram; and more.[7]

9. AUTO RSS URL DETECTION. Eliminate the guesswork trying to find the correct RSS URL. Just enter the main URL, and we can usually determine the correct RSS address. Or, just enter keywords, and we’ll find some great RSS feeds for you.

10. IMPOSSIBLY FAST CUSTOMER SERVICE. SERIOUSLY. We pride ourselves in replying within minutes to any support tickets by either email or live chat; or, for our Twibble Infinite customers, by phone, too.[8]

3. Flexible plans to suit any size company

Twibble is offered in two plans; Twibble Infinite is fully customizable to suit your needs.


TWIBBLE INFINITE. Starting at just $100/month or $1200/year, Twibble Infinite is a fully customizable plan that includes everything from Twibble Pro (below) plus:
* UNLIMITED social media accounts[9] (Twitter + Facebook)
* UNLIMITED feeds[10] (RSS, Edit & Approve, Queued, RT)
* REALTIME checks[11]
* Audience Targeting: Auto-mention top influencers
* Duplicates: Great for evergreen content
* Auto Retweet: Show some love; retweet others’ content
* Phone support: For support, help getting started, or anything else

TWIBBLE PRO. At just $10/month or $100/year, Twibble Pro gets you started with:
* 30 social media accounts (Twitter + Facebook)
* 60 feeds (RSS, Edit & Approve, Queued, RT)
* 10 minute checks

For more information on pricing and all features, please visit home.twibble.io/pricing.

Conclusion

Twibble is always evolving, always improving. Always doing what you need. And because your needs change over time, so we evolve with those needs to ensure we succeed in our mission to be the easiest, most powerful way to amplify your voice.


Start your free trial now at twibble.io
No credit card required.


Inquiries:
[email protected]
833-TWIBBLE (894-2253)

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[1] SOURCE: Buffer
[2] SOURCE: Twitter
[3] SOURCE: Buffer
[4] SOURCE: Ibd.
[5] SOURCE: https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/dam/business-twitter/resources/Customer_ insights_2016.pdf.
[6] Embedded images guaranteed only when feeds are properly configured using industry-standard og:image or twitter:image meta data, or similar. Embedded videos guaranteed to work only with YouTube Channel RSS feeds, and not with individual videos or pulled from other RSS feeds.
[7] Instagram and Pinterest not officially supported.
[8] Official response hours are 9am-6pm Monday through Friday, Pacific Time. Unofficially, we always keep an eye on our support channels for urgent matters and do our best to respond off-hours as well.
[9] Monthly plans start with 100 social media accounts. Yearly plans are unlimited.
[10] Monthly and yearly plans start with 300 feeds and can be upgraded as necessary.
[11] Monthly and yearly plans both start with 10 minute checks and can be upgraded as necessary.

 

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