Engaging Your Followers: Sometimes Being Regular Isn’t Best
There is a great battle in social media between those who believe that you should schedule your engagements and those who think you should engage spontaneously. Today I am going to take you through this issue from both sides and offer a solution.
Social Media Engagements
This blog is targeted to business owners and marketers who may not be experts in social media. So for those, a social media engagement is any online interaction between two parties. It is typically referred to as a brand/business to a person/following. It could be a Facebook or Google+ post, tweet or LinkedIn update.
Scheduling Your Engagements
With the advent of HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com), Buffer (www.bufferapp.com), and their many competitors, it has become very easy to schedule a day’s, week’s or even month’s social media engagements very quickly. With HootSuite, you can even import a spreadsheet of engagements and import them. In some cases, there is great value in this ability to schedule. First, it is convenient. In one hour, you could schedule a month’s engagements and be “done.” It’s the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie mentality, all you have to do “set it and forget it.” When it comes to blog posts, all of the blogging platforms allow you to write and schedule postings – another very convenient feature. Facebook allows you to schedule business page posts simply as well. You could set up a whole social media engagement schedule and then run it on autopilot.
This concept is convenient, but not always best. Social media is about conversation and creating interactions with customers. You can’t schedule this. I think there is some value in scheduling but we will get to that soon.
The best results come from when you make social media personal. You create a relationship with someone online and then turn that relationship into a customer. With this in mind, some believe pre-scheduling engagements is robotic and counterproductive. This camp believes that social media is responsive and spontaneous. Postings should respond to specific timely events and conversations. I call this conversational engagement.
So What’s the Answer?
I think the answer is the same as in many things in life… balance. I think blog postings should be regularly posted. Both Google and your fans will appreciate that. They both can learn when to come back and visit your site for new insights/content. I think there is also value with scheduling posts that promote your blog and products. This type of scheduled engagements is valuable to reach new people and markets. But what is equally important is responding to the needs and engagements of your fans. So schedule what you can. Get the word out. But be sure to also monitor your platforms and react efficiently and adequately.
I look at scheduled posts as the first step of digital marketing. Create some great content and proactively put out that content. Then, in the second step, engage those fans and followers that have reacted in some way to that content or other digital marketing campaigns.