The Good and Bad of Social Media Automation


Getting ‘social’ right is tricky, knowing what to post, when to post it and how to effectively engage with your users is all probably something you don’t have time to get to grips with. This is why a lot of people choose social media automation. Automation will save you time, which means you can spend more time working on your business and less time hunting down relevant articles which your followers would be interested in reading.

We automate our social media feeds to a point, but inject an element of personality and randomness in there as well to tick a number of boxes. While promoting the Cardiff Google Developer Group the other day, while following a number of developers and agencies in Cardiff, we started to notice how many people out there don’t automate their social media as well as they should. Below are some tips on how best to automate your social media so it still feels organic.

Good Social Media Automation

Buffer, Hootsuite and TweetDeck are all examples of great tools for automating social media. We use a combination of Buffer and TweetDeck for Twitter in the following way:

Easy Social Automation

Buffer removes all of the faff around finding articles, copying the link, writing a post and then picking a time to share it with your audience.  Buffer lets you set a timed posting schedule, find an article and click on the little Buffer extension in Chrome.  It adds it to you queue and, unless people are paying particular attention to your posting times, makes it feel pretty natural.

Multi Account Management

Buffer is great for outbound content, but useless for engagement.  That’s where Tweetdeck comes in handy.  We’ve got columns set up for multiple social accounts that we use (including the GDGCardiff account) which we can keep an eye on throughout the day.  When something comes up that needs our attention – it’s easy to just click reply and engage through the relevant account.  Buffer also integrates with TweetDeck so we can write our tweets in advance and choose to either tweet now, schedule for later or add to our Buffer queue.

Keep it Simple

We’ve only included two points about good social media automation because, well, the best way to do it is to keep it simple.  Schedule content for the future, but make sure you personally engage with your audience when they get in touch – never try and replicate yourself.  Which leads us nicely onto…

Bad Social Media Automation

Automatic direct messages after follows.

You will achieve nothing more than irritating your customers when they have to re-open twitter and find the message from you which simply introduces them to your brand. They wouldn’t follow you unless they knew about your brand and you won’t be able to fit enough into a direct message to really enlighten them anyway.

One Size Fits All.

Twitter gives you 140 characters to play with, Facebook allows 63,206, Instagram gives you 2,200 total – but chops it off after the first three lines. Why then, would you post once and deploy everywhere? You should be making the most of the various character limits and writing bespoke messages for each platform.

Not Reading Articles First

Some people like to connect an RSS/Atom feed to their social feeds. Which can be worthwhile if you can find high quality feeds to post from, however low quality, irrelevant copy will always slip through the net. If you must insist on using RSS/Atom feeds then make sure you’re reading your articles regularly and delete any spam before it attracts too much attention. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of the ease away from Social Media automation – so we would recommend you avoid it all together.

Fire and Forget

Whatever you do, don’t forget what you’ve scheduled, as this Instagram post from Joan Rivers, one week after she died will show – you can’t afford to not pay attention to these things. This is obviously a quite extreme example, however these things can happen. Keep an eye on the news, see what’s been published and see how that might effect the message behind your social update.

If you want to get in touch to see how we can help with your social media, send an email to and fire away!