By 2016 we have all grasped the power of social media but who has actually time to manage their accounts?

Whether you struggle with your personal accounts or manage those of your company, this blog post should make your life easier.

If we go back to basics, as Whatis.com defines it:

“Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.”

Content is core to social media as we use it. People will follow & interact with you based on the quality & relevancy of what you share.

Post & scheduling

Social media post scheduling has become standard but only few use it to its full potential. As described in my toolbox, I mainly use Buffer to schedule my posts on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn (3 accounts is what you get with the free Buffer subscription).

You should try it now.

It’s the bomb and the best part about it is that you can connect it to many other tools. You can also set your preferred post times (here’s what’s recommended) for each social media or better, let Buffer decide for you based on their data and your crowd’s engagement.

The curious case of Instagram

Many don’t know this but you can now schedule posts on Instagram, thanks to a tool made by a French startup called MyPushUp. Few downsides are that you can’t add a location to your posts, you can’t share on Facebook & Twitter at the same time and the tool will use France’s timezone to publish content

Automation tools

Now let’s get serious. Social media post scheduling is cute, but what if you could automate it?

If you are handling personal and simple social media accounts, IFTTT will soon become your best friend. IFTTT stands for If This Then That and does exactly what it says. In practice, it allows you to connect different “channels” and make them work together based on triggers and actions.

And good news! It works perfectly with Buffer (for only one social media). I personally chose to mostly automate my Twitter through Buffer & IFTTT (connect them now to continue!).

You could automate other social media accounts by syncing and connecting them directly through IFTTT or you could also create additional Buffer & IFTTT accounts.

Buffer Twitter

Zapier will help you go further with more integrations with business apps & software.

Curation

But now the question is “What should I post?”. Well, that’s up to you, since you’re the one who knows your voice and the personas your addressing better than anyone else.

This being said, you can always use IFTTT & Buffer to curate content from blogs or websites you follow, through their RSS feed. You can either:

  • Add everything that comes out of the RSS feed
  • Only select entries that include specific keywords

IFTTT Buffer Twitter

Here’s the “recipe” I’ve created for you to be able to do this in seconds:

IFTTT Recipe: Schedule Ambroise Debret's blogposts on Twitter via Buffer and IFTTT. connects feed to buffer

If you want to know how it works in details, here it goes:

  1. First, you need to find the RSS URL. You can find the feed(s) on the website itself or you can also try website.com/feed or /rss.
  2. Click “Create recipe” then search and add “Feed”
  3. Choose the “New feed item” or “New feed item matches” (add you own keyword in this case)
  4. In “Choose channel action”, search and add Buffer
  5. For “Choose an action” click “Add to Buffer”
  6. You can now edit the text that will be shared along with variables like {{EntryUrl}}
  7. Click on “Create Recipe” and you’re all set.

If you make IFTTT and Buffer work together this way, you can manage your content curation directly from Buffer itself. My advice: set a reminder to go check it every day and edit or simply keep what you want to be published.

This will be the cornerstone of your social media automation; don’t hesitate to tweek it to fit your needs.

Sync accounts

In theory, by using IFTTT you could manage only one automated social media account that would feed your other accounts to make your life easier.

Another great thing you can do with IFTTT is to sync your social media accounts to mimic one another. For instance, you could use this kind of recipe:
IFTTT Recipe: Automatically Tweet your Facebook status updates connects facebook to twitter

If you decide to schedule posts via Instagram with MyPushUp, you could go with IFTTT to post them to your Twitter & Facebook accounts as native images.

Help yourself build a following

Let’s be honest: people mostly use social media to fulfill their business needs (sales) or recognition needs (likes). A way to get more of those is to increase your following. But how does one go about automating that?

On Twitter, users can have what is called a “Twitter List”, composed of people they don’t necessarily follow but still interest them in a certain way.

You’ve most likely been added to a Twitter list before and received a notification that might have looked like this:

With IFTTT, you can automatically create Twitter lists with people tweeting with a specific #hashtag.

To get you started with automatically creating twitter lists, here is one that will create a list of people tweeting about MTL+ECOMMERCE:

IFTTT Recipe: Add users who tweet about #mtlecommerce to a twitter list. connects twitter to twitter

Auto-follows & sketchy stuff

A well-known way to get more followers on Instagram or Twitter is to follow people in your niche and unfollow them if they haven’t followed you back.

As Twitter explicitly prohibits its users to auto-follow other accounts, many tools have been created to simplify the process. You can check my in-depth article about How to Grow your Twitter Followers, the Easy Way if you’re interested in this.

Engagement on Twitter

  • Auto RT

With IFTTT, you can auto-retweet tweets by a specific user.

If you want to check how it would look like, here it is:
IFTTT Recipe: Retweet all my tweets automagically! connects twitter to twitter

  • Auto like

If you want, some tools like TweetFull allow you to auto-like specific tweets. You could automatically like tweets that mention your account.

  • Auto-engage

I have found the perfect Twitter tool for this and describe how to grow your Twitter following using this technique in my How to Grow your Twitter Followers, the Easy Way article.

Messaging

Facebook for Pages has a handy auto-reply feature that allows you to set up autoresponders à la Tim Ferriss. For instance, you can choose to automatically send an FAQ or contacting you do it the proper way (presumably email).

On Twitter, (though, I wouldn’t recommend it) you can also set up auto-messages (called DMs) to engage with your new followers. It’s an easy way to get in touch and even share a piece of content that you think will interest the users.

 Summary

Social media automation can go a long way and can be very powerful if well managed. The recipe to social media automation is to go step by step, always testing your content and fine-tuning your strategy as you go.

If you use my techniques, you’ll be able to:

  • Easily schedule posts at the perfect time on your different social media accounts (including Instagram).
  • Have automation tools, such as IFTTT and RSS feeds, curate content for you and incorporate it to your own schedule.
  • Sync several social media accounts together so that you only have to manage one.
  • Automatically build a community of engaged followers, by following, retweeting, liking and interacting with them.
  • Wisely use Facebook Pages & Twitter direct messages to your advantage.

Any tricks I missed or any ideas? Please let me know in the comments.

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Ambroise Debret

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