Automating social media - a good idea?

As more and more tools become available to take advantage of social media channels, the need to update in real time diminishes. But just because you can automate your updates, should you?

The real issue here is to understand the role that social media should be playing for you. If social media becomes a method for posting automated news, does that still count as social? Are you missing the opportunity to comment on what is happening in real time to your audience?

The benefits of scheduling your comments are clear - one less thing to think about, giving the appearance of keeping things "going" as one person recently described it to me. But if it isn't up to date, and personal, are you actually using the channel to its full potential?

I think the biggest challenge of harnessing the power of this ever-increasing opportunity is really understanding the time it may take to use it properly. As a marketer, I think this still comes back to good old basics - what do your audience want to hear/know? And when? How often do they really want to hear from you? And if you don't know, find out!

It is also important not to get too hung up on what everyone else is doing. Focus on your business, and determine the right course of action for you. Remember that using social channels is providing a voice for your company - so make sue you get heard for saying all the right things. If you can't imagine covering too many channels, then do one really really well!