The Internet runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But, unlike technology, humans need sleep. Businesses should seriously consider any opportunities to automate parts of their content marketing.
Marketing automation can increase efficiency but it isn’t the only appealing benefit. According to research from eMarketer, 66% of organizations that incorporate automation in their marketing have reported improved audience targeting. Another 64% reported seamless campaign execution and management.
Automation could make your content marketing easier to manage and more effective. However, there are thousands of tools out there that claim to do everything from increase leads and engagement to identify influencers and convert sales. Researching easy-to-use automated tools that are right for your unique needs can take as much time as doing the work yourself.
What should you automate?
The key is to identify your top goals. Do you want to nurture leads or increase engagement? Do you need some help managing and distributing content?
It is important to remember that just because you can automate every aspect of your marketing and run it 24/7, it doesn’t mean that you should. Users and platforms may not be so accepting of automation, and unusual, bot-like behaviors are frowned upon. You want your automation to perform like or better than you would, if you had the time, desire and capacity to do the work yourself.
Even the most sophisticated automation technologies haven’t advanced enough to perform certain actions at the same level that a human can. But, there are a few areas of your content marketing and social media that could highly benefit and actually perform better with automated tools.
You shouldn’t automate every aspect of your content curation. However, repetitive tasks such as posting event announcements or recycling content can be automated. There are so many updates posted on social media every day that your content may get lost in the crowd and audiences will never see it. Recycling previous content could keep content consistent and increase its reach.
For recycling content: Meet Edgar
Meet Edgar is a social media management tool that not only lets you schedule posts but organizes them into categories. You can mark categories and content to repost in your calendar. The tool costs around $49/ month. The payoff: it could save you hours on repetitive content curation.
When are your target audiences most active? It may be at hours that you aren’t available to post and interact. However, not tapping into those high traffic hours can cause you to miss out on engagements and conversions.
For emails and newsletters: MailChimp
Email is one of the top methods that customers prefer to communicate with and get information such as deals and announcements from brands. MailChimp makes automating emails simple and smart. Here’s are a few reasons why:
● It can send behavior-triggered automated emails.
● You can schedule newsletters and other communication.
● It helps you manage subscriber lists.
● It tracks activity and campaign performance.
MailChimp has a free version, but you can tap into the automated features for $10 per month.
For pre-scheduling social posts: Hootsuite
Even if you are new to the content marketing game, you probably know that you can pre-schedule your posts. Some social platforms like Facebook and Twitter (Tweetdeck) have a schedule feature. There’s also Hootsuite. Besides pre-scheduling, some of the main perks for using it are that:
● It’s easy to collaborate with your team.
● Find opportunities to engage in conversations that may be relevant to your brand. (Identify key phrases and Hootsuite will track them.)
If you are a one-person or small business, Hootsuite has a free version. But, for more advanced capabilities, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid version.
Scheduling your posts ahead saves time, but more importantly, it allows you to send content at optimal and high-traffic hours. First, you have to figure out the best posting times. There are a number of factors to consider like:
● Audience location
Data and Analysis
Analyzing content effectiveness is crucial to marketing success. But, sorting through thousands of data points and trying to figure out what they all mean is frustrating and a waste of time.
For reporting and insights: Raven Tools
Instead, use automated reporting platforms like Raven Tools to generate data and analysis on items like:
● Top-performing posts
● Audience demographics
● Campaign performance
● SEO and keyword rankings
One of the main benefits of Raven Tools is that it integrates social media and SEO reporting on close to 30 channels into one easy-to-understand interface. It comes with a price tag of $99 per month, but may be worth the cost.
Why does your level of engagement and follower count matter? It builds your reputation and credibility. A profile with 30,000 followers is often perceived as legitimate, more credible and valuable than one with 30 followers.
Great content is important to engage and grow your community. But, even if you have nailed down what posting times and types of content perform best, you need to interact with your followers and other profiles to grow. Interaction is much more complex than just pre-scheduled posts and automated reports though.
Engagement like sharing, commenting, following and liking relevant posts and pages is inherently human. So, how can a bot simulate human behaviors and actions?
For automating engagement: Instagress and Archie
First, the world of automated engagement technology has a long way to go. However, there are a few cutting-edge tools that can make your content efforts more valuable and easier to manage.
If you are unfamiliar with Instagress, it is an engagement bot for Instagram that automates aspects like commenting and liking. The goal is to drive interaction and increase follower count. (Check out our blog on everything you need to know about Instagress to figure out if it is right for you.)
Archie is similar to Instagress in that it automates engagement, but for more than just one platform. Archie can be used on Instagram and Twitter. The tool scours the two social networks, identifying and interacting with target audiences based on keywords and hashtags.
Because these automated engagement technologies are so new, businesses should definitely err on side of caution. Assigning a bot to engage with users and build your community may not be for you. But, automating tedious tasks and functions that aren’t as human can free up your time to devote to more strategic functions─or some much-needed power naps.
Automation tools can help you increase the reach and engagement of your content marketing efforts. Keep in mind that one of the primary reasons to use automated tools is to take some of the management and time off of your hands. If you are spending too much time just managing an automated tool, it’s time to reevaluate. Look for tools that are specific to your content goals or that integrate functions. Learn more timesaving and effective marketing tips and strategies for your business, by connecting with us at 10twelve.