Do small businesses need to scale back their social media automation?

66917067 - feedback concept on screenAs a small business marketer, you have a full plate every day. Your to-do list keeps getting longer. Thankfully, automating your social media takes a bit of weight off your shoulders. It ensures that you’re sharing content consistently, staying active on the right platforms and ideally connecting with your audience.

But can too much of a good thing become a bad thing? Only if you aren’t using it wisely.

Be careful about what you automate. Canned replies that come across robotically or auto-resharing of inappropriate posts can lead to PR disasters. When a blunder happens, any efficiency gained from the automation is lost to the time and money spent trying to recover from the setback.

What’s a small business to do?

Use automation for the core content but make sure your engagement is handled by humans. Your audience craves real, human interaction. Interact genuinely with fans and followers by giving individual responses. Limit your promotional messaging and focus more on listening to what people are saying on your social channels. Then respond appropriately, as a real person. Be mindful of your messaging around current events. Newsjack and hashtag very carefully, if at all. Remember that you’re building relationships – and measure every interaction against that goal.

Automation still has an important role to play in social media management. But businesses need to remain personally involved with their fans and followers.