Why You Must Automate 80 Percent of Your Social Media Activity

Ryan Sides Founder, SwitchReports.com

Posted on January 14th 2013

Why You Must Automate 80 Percent of Your Social Media Activity

80Imagine a small-town pharmacist standing at a back counter, counting pills.  She wants to help people.  She wants to connect and make a difference.  She wants to offer advice that just might save a person’s life.  She probably doesn’t want to be standing there counting pills.  What if she could automate the pill counting?  Feed the pills into a machine that counted, recounted, and packaged the pills for her.  What could she do with the time she saved?

This is a risky pitch for automation right?

What if the machine miscounts?  What if the machine dispenses the wrong pills?  What level of automation is the pharmacist willing to accept?

Automating social media is nowhere near the level of risk an automated pill machine introduces, and yet it offers the same if not more time-saving results!

You can probably automate 80% of your social media activities the same way.

Hold Up! Wait. Automate 80%?


But How?

Here’s how…

Posting Blog Entries – there is absolutely no reason for you to sit on your blog waiting for the “right” time to post your latest entry.  Use the Wordpress built-in scheduler to publish the post on a specific date/time.

Syndicating Your Blog Content – If no one knows your amazingly unique “How To Engage with Fans on Facebook” (like we don’t have enough of those) blog post exists, it doesn’t matter.  Use tools like Hootsuite and Wordpress plugins to syndicate your content to your social media channels.  Don’t waste the time it takes to post to your Facebook page, your LinkedIn account/groups, your Google+ account, etc.

Tweeting Articles – I’m not a fan of Twitter accounts that do nothing but post articles.  No back-and-forth, no dialog, etc.  Twitter is not a dumping ground for your “tribe”’s crappy content.  Instead, parse through your RSS Feeds every morning and schedule posts for that day.  Disregard the garbage and only post the good stuff.  There’s an easy way to automatically tweet posts you’ve tagged in Google Reader on a schedule throughout the day: connect your Google Reader to BufferApp via IFTTT.

Asking Questions of Fans and Followers – wanna spark engagement? Ask questions.  If people care about you, they’ll respond.  The trick to asking questions is to ask the right questions at the right time.  For instance, ask questions when you’re prepping for future blog posts.  Schedule them to go out BEFORE you start writing so you can use the answers to help drive your post.  Your followers might offer different viewpoints or additional information that could elevate your content.

Automate Your Research Search – researching articles for your blog and social media posts is work, but the act of searching doesn’t have to be.  Setup a Google Search to automatically grab and organize fresh articles and content based on specific keywords.  Then just access the results when you need them.

So Why Should You Automate 80 Percent?

Automation reduces the minutia, the monotony, the repetitive tasks that we can do without.

It provides us with extra time to:

  • connect with our fans, followers, and friends on a more personal level
  • spend the time to talk about their interests and goals to see how we can help them
  • talk across the pharmacy counter with real people to develop real relationships

Isn’t that what social media is supposed to be about? Relationships?  The REAL ones.

Can everyone automate 80%?

Probably not.  But if you’re a social media consultant or brand manager who’s in it every day as deep as we are, you probably can.

What can you automate that would make your social media life more fulfilling? 

Do you think 80% is too high, too low, or right in the sweet spot?  Let me know in the comments below.


Ryan Sides

Founder, SwitchReports.com

Ryan Sides is the founder of SwitchReports.com, a social media analytics and reporting application built for SocMe consultants, by SocMe consultants.

Ryan writes for the Switch Reports blog covering techniques for delighting cusomers with social media and offering tips for running a social media consulting business.

He likes connecting with new people so stop by and say hi!

See Full Profile >


Posted on January 14th 2013 at 2:49PM

Great points, Ryan!

While I personally wouldn't place a specific number on how much someone should automate, I'm happy to see the myth of "automation is bad" slowly leaving our industry.  As long as you're not sacrificing engagement and interaction for automation, there's nothing wrong with it -- every position in business seeks to automate time-consuming tasks.

Posted on January 14th 2013 at 3:38PM

Thanks Jonathan!

Agreed.  Automation isn't bad as long as the relationships you're building don't suffer.

Posted on January 15th 2013 at 12:02PM


I have a question rathe than a comment. Are you aware of any Wordpress plug-ins that will automatically send your blog posts to a pre-determined email list?  And on top of that will check to see who on the list has confirmed  receipt of the post, and then verifies the opening of the post

?  Is that all possible or do we have to use a third party mailer to accomplish the last part?  We have a client who is insisting on being able to do all of that in an automated fashion.

Bob Romine 

Posted on January 16th 2013 at 1:42PM


Take a look at Optify or Hubspot for serious event tracking.

Other than those, yes I would recommend either MailChimp or Aweber for email marketing.  You can connect your Client blog's RSS Feed and track clickthroughs back to the blog, down to the specific user.   Hope that helps!  Let me know which direction you decide on.


Randy Milanovic
Posted on January 17th 2013 at 1:01PM

With the current standard set to 4 blogs per week and 20 shares per day, it's not surprising that automation looks to be the answer. To an extent, it is. Just be sure that automation remains as personal as possible.

Posted on January 17th 2013 at 2:51PM

Great point Randy.  Keep the relevancy high for individual connections.  Thanks for the note.