There are two specific things about social media that make it difficult for business owners and entrepreneurs.
- You need to maintain it. Social media is not like paying your bills or keeping your books. In order to reach your goals and execute your strategy correctly, you need to do more than just pop in once a month to make sure everything is on the up and up.
- You need to engage your audience. You can sort of fake #1 by using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule weeks or even months worth of posts in advance. But continuously posting content is only half the battle. To accomplish the other half, you also need to be commenting, replying, retweeting, and engaging your audience in conversation.
Lately I've noticed many users leaning on auto-engagements to help them overcome obstacle #2. LinkedIn makes is extremely easy with prompts like "Say congrats" after someone passes a work anniversary. And while Twitter frowns upon auto-tweeting, it is not explicitly against its Terms & Conditions. And what you end up with after employing these strategies are situations that look like this:
Now I ask you, if within 3 hours of passing a work anniversary, you received 32 identical LinkedIn messages that all read "Congrats on the anniversary! Hope you're doing well", would your first thought be 'Wow, these people are doing a great job of engaging with me on LinkedIn', or would you ignore them all and treat them like the spam that they are?
Similarly, are you going to retweet, or reply to, a tweet that is so obviously automatic that it even includes a link to set up your own auto-tweets? Doubtful.
A More Productive Solution
Rather than using automatic LinkedIn messages and auto-tweets, use those same notifications as a guideline for people to engage. When you see someone is having a work anniversary or received a promotion on LinkedIn, spend 2 minutes to send them a sincere message wishing them congratulations and checking in on what they've been up to. Similarly, when you see a user on Twitter who shared your post or replied to your message, spend the extra minute to thank them personally, or better yet, engage with one of their recent posts. Yes, this solution does require actual minutes of your time and may seem daunting at first. But if you can set aside 10 minutes at the beginning or end of your day even 3 times per week, the results that you'll see will far exceed the ones you're seeing with disingenuous auto-engagements.
How do you feel about using or receiving auto-engagements? What tips or tricks are you using to continuously engage your audience without relying on automation?