How to Automate Your Social Marketing Efforts
In their book Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe how you can use automation to speed up the spread of your content across multiple social channels.
With all the social media site tools available, often the best way to be effective with your social marketing is to automate the process. First, you need to decide whether automation is right for you and, if so, which automation you should set up. Automation can be key in turning your contacts into profits because you can post less, but at the same time, you get more exposure. Social automation, however, can be considered spamming, so be careful with how you set it up.
How does social network automation work? There are tools like Hootsuite and SocialFlow where you can automate your social networking sites or TubeMogul to automate your video posting. These sites can submit a link or post to not just one or two sites but, in some cases, up to 60. Sometimes, though, the link posted isn't relevant for the site it goes out to. In other words, the links aren't even relevant for the members of the network, and sometimes they're not properly tagged or categorized. This eventually leads to negative votes on the article or post submitted, so make sure you set up your automation properly.
There are many automation capabilities and options available. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Twitter to Facebook. Every time you post on Twitter, it will automatically post to your personal Facebook newsfeed. While some media professionals have gotten away from this since the @Twitter handles are "dead links" when they move to Facebook, it can still be a fast and efficient way to automate. However, if Facebook is your primary source of engagement, consider the other way around for automation (see below).
Facebook Fan Page to Twitter. Every time you post to your Facebook fan page, it can post to Twitter, which will, in turn, post to your personal Facebook newsfeed.
Link your blog to Facebook. Click on the NetworkedBlogs application in Facebook, and add your blog information as prompted. There's a verification process that Facebook will walk you through to make sure you're the author of the blog.
Link your blog to LinkedIn. Go to Applications, and click on WordPress if you have a WordPress blog, or go to Applications then Blog Link if you have a TypePad blog. LinkedIn will walk you through the process step by step.
Link your blog to Twitter. Twitterfeed is a handy, free website and application that will "feed your blog to Twitter." Go to Twitterfeed, sign up for an account, verify and log in, then click "Create New Feed" button, and add your blog. It might take a few hours to start working. Once going, it's fairly reliable unless Twitter goes down or has API issues. Check the stream once a week.
Use a service like Hootsuite, where you can schedule posts months in advance. You can also use the service to link to all of your social media accounts, from Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Your most popular articles or blog posts can be "socialed" months into the future to give them new life. Just be sure to make clear that they're older posts (add the phrase "In case you missed it," or ICYMI in Twitterspeak).
Another way to automate your blog so it posts to the social sites you're active on is to set up widgets and add plugins. You can do this for sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Squidoo, Delicious, Digg and many more. The way a widget works is every time you post on one social site, it will go out to your blog as an update. First, you need to make sure your blog allows widgets. Some blogs won't allow widgets unless you host the blog on your own site. Once you determine whether you can add these widgets, log in to each of the sites you want to add a widget to and go to the search box and type in widget. That will take you to the most current directions on how to upload or generate the HTML code needed to post widgets to your blog.
Plugins are applications that can enhance the capabilities of your blog, such as the All in One SEO plugins available on WordPress, which helps you optimize your blog for search engines, or the WPtouch iPhone Theme on WordPress that transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme. There are thousands of plugins available, and they're usually found on your blog platform under "plugin."
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