Simpler Social Marketing: Facebook Automation
In 2009, before most folks started thinking about Facebook automation, business owners could create and manage their own ads for the first time. Imagine the small business owner on the cusp of the 21st century, embracing the new science of Facebook marketing, exhorting his team, “Let there be engagement!”.
When social media marketing was in its very early stages, visualizing a short cycle to engagement and sales didn’t seem so crazy.
Facebook just kept rising in popularity, and, for a while there, businesses saw big results really quickly. Companies would make a business page, list some products, create a few ads to build a fan base, and watch the money flow in.
A few years later, the landscape looked completely different. Facebook made changes that meant small businesses had to work harder if they wanted their page to keep bringing in revenue. Facebook marketing just became time-consuming.
It’s something we often hear from Townsquared members. So, it’s no surprise that Brandmuscle’s research confirmed that small businesses avoid social media marketing because it’s “time consuming” and “too complicated.”
Today, if you want to create and manage a Facebook marketing campaign, you have to:
- Cross-promote your content
- Post content at specific hours
- Engage with fans in an authentic manner
- Measure the organic reach of different types of content (video, text, image)
- Consistently track results and make changes
While you were already been performing some of these tasks in the early days of Facebook marketing, doing all these things can take more time and effort than a small business can afford. According to a survey of 500 small companies conducted by Vertical Response, small businesses are spending more time than they used to on social media, yet they struggle to get a real return on their investment (ROI) because of the greater workload.
Perhaps you’re in the same situation—drowning in repetitive tasks and looking for ways to lighten the Facebook load. Good news! Facebook automation means you can put many of those mundane marketing tasks on autopilot.
Facebook automation allows you to complete several different tasks using one tool or platform, saving time and aggravation. There are tools and services that can keep your campaign activities consistent and considerably reduce the marketing costs. (Huzzah!) As a result, you can focus more on core business operations, while the day-to-day heavy lifting is done by intelligent platforms. Finally, those computers are holding up their end!
The following are Facebook automation tactics worth considering to make sure you’re getting the best marketing ROI from the platform.
Creating New Content
No surprise here, Facebook users have short attention spans. Your content needs to grab them immediately if you want them to take any notice of it. But we know there aren’t extra hours in the day for small business owners to be sprucing up their social media content. Fortunately, Facebook automation can help to provide more exciting, targeted content to your audience.
These tools and services can keep the content you post on Facebook fresh and interesting, simultaneously cutting down on the amount of time you spend searching for and creating share-worthy content.
- Pixabay: A quick way to find images for your posts. (You are using images, right? Content with images gets 94 percent more views than that without.) If you can create your own, that’s even better, but Pixabay has tons of images you can use for free, without attribution.
- Canva: Enhances the images that go with your Facebook posts. Canva can help you convert ideas into visuals; you can create conversation bubbles, stickers, custom icons, and images with quotes. You can also resize images and enhance them with effects like filters.
- DrumUp: A content discovery tool—in other words, a tool that finds content relevant to your customers so you don’t have to go looking for it yourself. You can experiment with hashtags, keywords, and other settings to customize content streams to your exact needs. Not sure what sort of thing to look for? DrumUp has some tips.
- $99 Social: If you’re overwhelmed with creating Facebook content on a daily basis, a service like $99 Social takes content creation off your to-do list entirely. They provide small business owners unique content accompanied by images and hashtags and tailored to their business, posted once every day to Facebook.
Facebook users are looking for a regular and consistent stream of exciting new content, and that’s what will increase engagement on your page. Of course, you can’t be on Facebook all the time (thank heavens!). Instead, scheduling tools will keep your page fresh, even while you’re getting some much-needed sleep. Facebook has its own auto-scheduler, which works pretty well.
Here are some other tools and platforms we recommend for Facebook automation:
- Hootsuite: You can write up your posts, add images, and schedule them for whenever using Hootsuite’s calendar feature. Schedule your whole week on Sunday and don’t think about it again until next Sunday. You can use Hootsuite for up to three social accounts for free.
- Buffer: This tool shares your content at the optimal times around the clock so that existing and potential customers see more of it. If you have different product categories with different Facebook Pages, you can post the same message to all the pages or post custom messages to each one. Buffer also has a pretty great blog about making the most of social media. We’ve shared their tips on how often to post to various social media platforms in one of our posts on customer follow-up.
- Post Planner: This app allows users to schedule Facebook posts and offers some data. Post Planner’s analytics tell you what content produces the most traffic and engagement, so users can predict engagement confidently.
Scheduling tools go a long way in taking the strain of daily posting off your shoulders—and we speak from experience.
Managing comments on Facebook can be a time-consuming and sometimes dispiriting process, but however distasteful, you have to do it. According to research, 74 percent of consumers rely on social networks when they make decisions about what to buy. If someone leaves a negative comment on your page, and you don’t manage comments well or when it matters, you can easily damage your brand reputation.
Luckily, you can even have some measure of Facebook automation moderating comments with the following tools:
- Adobe Social: Enables you to monitor thousands of URLs across the social web to identify threats, trends, and opportunities. You also get a real-time moderation list which enables you to respond to comments quickly and track things via resolution.
- AgoraPulse: Allows you to track social media conversations at lightning speed. In the AgoraPulse inbox, you can see how many new comments have been left on your page so you can review them and reply yourself, assign the task to someone else, or tag someone. It can also be used to track brand mentions in comments on other Facebook pages. AgoraPulse offers some free tools.
- Social Mention: Allows you to create items like Facebook messages, comments, and posts, and sends you alerts via email. You can customize alerts based on who is posting and how frequently you want to receive notifications.
Tracking Campaign Performance
If you’re not tracking the data in your Facebook campaign, how do you know it’s working (or not)? Campaigns have so many aspects that need to be measured: benchmarking the performance of your campaign; measuring how your campaign performs against competing campaigns; and calculating whether you’re getting enough of an ROI, and so on. How do you track of all that data, much less interpret it?
Fortunately, you don’t need to have aced a statistics course to do it. There are several analytics tools that present the data in an easily digestible format. Here are some solutions for automating measuring your campaign’s performance:
- Social Report: Provides graphs that analyze audience engagement, growth, post reach, and page activity. Users can also see demographic details about their Facebook audience. The summary of page views, referral URLs, and other important details are sent to users via email.
- Quintly: Helps you analyze, track, and benchmark Facebook campaigns. Users can benchmark their page against competing pages to see performance, import analytics data from Facebook Insights, and much more. Customizable dashboards can be set up to monitor the metrics that are important to you.
- HootSuite: Enables you to see engagement patterns across your Facebook campaign, and it integrates data from Google Analytics. Users can track messages, identify social influencers, see what content resonates, gain new insights, and measure internal metrics at an individual and team level.
Find the tool that works best for you, so that getting and making sense of your Facebook analytics doesn’t have to be time-consuming or unnecessarily challenging.
In a deplorable number of instances, computers seem to have created more work for us rather than less. Social platform, in this case, Facebook automation is at least one instance in which software can actually save us time. Many of the tools and services listed here offer free versions with fewer features or one- or two-week trials so you can test them out. While you’ll still need to do some of the work, having the right tools will ensure you’re spending as little time as possible doing work in Facebook. (We can’t help you with your own Facebook addiction. Sorry.)