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If you have ever read any blog posts from The Social Lab, you probably know that we aren't huge fans of APIs and automatic bots. Honestly, we usually find that machines cloud and murky up the social media world. Instead of being about interacting with real people, we are instead flooded with automatic messages and mentions, that force us to question whether any message we receive is really worth anything.
Of course, not all automatic services are created equal. Programs that like other people's content, aggressively follow them, or auto-message them, are watering down social media. On the other hand, programs that are about organization and scheduling out posts is something entirely different. Most social media managers or gurus know that content calendars can be very important when it comes to creating a cohesive voice and managing client expectations. The key when using programs like Hootsuite, Co-Schedule, and Falcon, is to make sure that the copy you are scheduling is just as organic and natural as if you were posting it natively.
The goal of posting is to create engagement, but if a viewer knows that the content is robotic, they are less likely to engage with the post. So if you utilize programs that will post for you, just make sure to keep it natural. Furthermore, if you are recycling content, make sure that you only recycle posts that already have a high rate of success. If a post falls flat 3 posts in a row, then the fourth more than likely isn't going to be the magic number. Recycling content is also less beneficial on certain platforms. Naturally, most people post less on Facebook then Twitter, so if you are constantly sharing the top content on Facebook, you are really watering down your overall strategy with mostly recycled posts. In fact, we don't even recycle top posts on Facebook and keep that platform completely original. The same applies for Instagram, since it is imagery based. No one wants to see the exact same photo more than once.
When it comes to automatic posting, different social media platforms are better than others. Twitter is great with APIs in general, so there is no issue scheduling out posts on a program like Hootsuite or Falcon. On Facebook, you can easily schedule posts on the platform itself. On other programs, you have to make sure they offer what Facebook native offers. This would include geo-targeting, "feelings", and CTA buttons. Instagram, notoriously salty towards APIs to begin with, makes it much more difficult to schedule posts. There are 3rd party programs that will post through an overlay, but if we have learned anything from the past, robots and Instagram don't mix.
So what can you do on Instagram? Many programs, like Falcon, will text you when you have a scheduled post that is ready to go out on Instagram. They will even make it easy for you and give you the copy you came up with and the image. While it isn't truly automatic, it will still remind you that you need to post and it gives you the chance to change anything about the post that you feel is necessary. If you absolutely have to schedule content on Instagram, then Onlypult is another option. While it doesn't have every feature you would find on Instagram native, it does have most everything you will need. We have no doubt that Instagram will begin working with APIs again, just only appropriate ones. Within 3 months we wouldn't be shocked if Falcon allowed you to post to Instagram, but the sketchy services that programs like Instagress provided (automatic liking and following) won't be coming back anytime soon.
So while we aren't huge on doing anything automatically, we do understand the need for automatic posting that aligns with your content calendars. Just remember, the point of social media is to create engagement, so make sure those posts are getting the level of interaction you are hoping for. There may be situations where you personally want to post natively, but the company you work for or are representing needs to have a content calendar. While you could simply make one with all the platforms on it, we do understand creating a mashup of Co-Schedule, Onlypult, and Hootsuite. Just remember, every single time you create a post on these programs, act as if you are posting directly to the platform.
Do you use programs that automatically post for you? Which programs are your favorite? Let us know by commenting below or sending us an email.