The one where I attempt to answer the question “does social media automation kill authenticity?”
Hello and welcome to episode 32 of the Creative Me podcast.
Before we get started, I have a little bit of housekeeping. I’m using new audio recording software today, so if there are any problems or anything you wish to let me know about the audio quality for this episode, please don’t hesitate to make contact. I’ll make any necessary adjustments. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Now let’s get on with the episode.
The person who started the conversation was Amy and her question was “does social media automation kill authenticity?” This was such a great question and there were some brilliant things discussed off the back of it. So in this episode, I really wanted to share my thoughts and also perhaps get you thinking about your answer to the question.
What is Authenticity?
But before we start, let’s think about what authenticity on social media is. For me, it’s my voice. I don’t necessarily mean my speaking voice, I mean my writing voice, my opinion, my feelings.
Actually, I think one of the reasons I enjoy podcasting so much is because for me to use my (actual) voice is as authentic as I can be. It’s very difficult not to be your authentic self when you’re talking to a microphone.
Why Should You Be Authentic?
Well if you aren’t, you’ll get found out, and people don’t like that.
Putting my business hat on, we want to be authentic on social media so people develop a relationship with us. We want to create trust.
I’m sure I’ve said many times before, business hat on, people only buy products or services from people they know, like and trust. That’s one very good reason to be authentic.
The Time Issue
There is a problem, though, and this is where automation comes in. One of the biggest problems of establishing a really authentic presence on social media is time. It takes forever. That’s why we need help in the form of automation.
Now you know me, I love a bit of productivity chat as much as the next person, so I do think automation is a good idea, but it must be balanced with your authentic voice on social media.
What Others Say
Think of automation not as autopilot, but as cruise control. It takes care of the daily busywork which gives you the freedom to concentrate on the things that really matter – meetedgar.com
Automation should be used for the boring repetitive stuff, making it more accurate and leaving more time for the ‘value-added’ stuff that only a human can do well – Jane (Lightbulb Club member)
Things You Cannot Authentically Automate
Jane is bang on here because there are certain things you just can’t automate. You can’t automate conversation on Twitter or Facebook (or wherever you tend to live on social media).
Things You Can Authentically Automate
Distributing Your Own Content
What you can automate is the distribution of your blog and/or podcast content. On certain platforms you should distribute your content more than once, so for example, on Twitter, I always post my most recent podcast four or five times over the course of a week. This is because there is so much on Twitter it is easy for people to miss that particular post.
I don’t do this on Instagram. I only post once on Instagram and I post a couple of times on Facebook (but a lot less than I would do on Twitter). For me, it just makes sense to automate that particular process because, well, who’s got time to sit there and share this content again and again? I certainly don’t. I really want to be driving traffic to my blog and podcast episodes because that is my authentic voice. The key is definitely balance.
I automate the repeated discussion prompts in the Lightbulb Club because they are the same every week. We have a regular feature on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I queue up the discussion prompts so I don’t forget and conversation can flow without me.
Distributing Evergreen Content
I’ve talked about Smarter Queue before. It basically allows you to recycle your evergreen blog content (or links, or quotes, or whatever it is you want to share a regular basis). I think is a good example of social media automation done well because I am distributing access to my authentic content on my blog and podcast and it would just take too much time to repeat those posts by hand.
What About Other People’s Content?
I have one more example of my own automation but it’s a bit controversial and I am not sure it is truly authentic. I’d love your input actually. I use a system called Quuu and it is a paid service. I got a really good deal on AppSumo so I didn’t pay a huge amount of money for it.
What Quuu does is it curates top-quality popular content in line with a number of themes that you’ve chosen (e.g. writing, blogging, social media – that sort of thing) and sends it to your Buffer. You have the option to check what Quuu has chosen for you, but honestly, I rarely do.
Is this an authentic use of automation? I am not sure. My followers seem to enjoy the content and engage with it, though.
What’s My Answer?
To answer the question “does social media automation kill authenticity?” my answer is “no… if you get the balance right”.
Manage Your Time
My lovely accountability partner, Jo, from the Shinybees podcast, dropped into the conversation and shared a little bit about her automation practices. She was very much was on the same page as me in terms of setting up automation to distribute your own authentic content. Then she sets time aside to drop into various social media platforms to engage off the back of that sharing. Jo said she spends something like 20 minutes a day doing this.
Those are my thoughts on the topic – what about you? Let me know in the comments below or pop into The Lightbulb Clubfor a chat.
That’s all from me today I hope you enjoyed the episode thank you for tuning in and I hope you’ll tune in next time.