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March 29, 2016

How to use automation, and still be authentic on social media

Matt Aunger
Automation is the nemesis of authenticity. At least that's how I've always seen it.
Authenticity is what makes you unique. It's how you speak. It's in the raw fabric of your videos and photos. It's conveyed in the unpolished, incidental posts. laced with your own values, opinions and experiences. Tweets, posts snaps, grams, scopes and blabs that show you, simply being you.
Automation is the opposite. Reducing interactions to no more than a generic auto-DM or reply. Favourites based on mentions or hashtags. Auto follow backs. 'Progress' in automation appears to be about how to be less and less human on social media.
I get it. Automation can offer that one thing that we could all do with more of. Time! Or at least the illusion of it. The temptation of time savings is incredible. The reality is much less appealing.
Does full blown automation really save you that much time? I've seen way too many automation fails to believe that. Everything from auto-DMing a cold lead, to sharing a competitor's slur against a brand, because it carried a hashtag. In each case automation has resulted in a load of real-time fire fighting, as a real person. Just think, how much time you could save by just being human in the first place!
As I'm sure you can tell, I am wholly behind the idea of being "social on social media". Authenticity, and value are everything. If you're not authentic, and providing value, you need to rethink your strategy. But does that mean you can't automate?
After taking a long look at the various ways to automate on social media, I've realised automation isn't the nemesis of authenticity. How people use automation is!
You can automate elements of your social media presence, and still be authentic. It comes down to knowing what you're automating, and how it allows you to add more value for your audience.
To give you a few ideas, here are a few tools to help you get by with automation, and still be authentic on social.How to use social media automation, and still be authentic on social media.

1. Schedule with Buffer

So Buffer isn't an outright automation tool. But it is a scheduling tool, and it does act as a central hub when it comes to posting on social media.
Integrations with scheduling tools like Buffer make automation more manageable. It offers an interim step that acts like a quality control window for any and all social automations. This is where the human element, and authenticity comes into play.
By scheduling content, you allow yourself the opportunity to make sure that every single post feels right, before it's sent out.

2. Use Quuu to automate your queue

When I first started using Quuu, I was sceptical. I would read every single line, of every single post. Simply to ensure it felt right for me to post. What I realised is that someone has already done that for me.
Automated content is a pretty divisive topic. But when it's done right, it can save you bucket loads of time, and result in endless value for you and your audience.
I've chosen to highlight Quuu over any other feed automation, as it relies on one element that sets it apart from any other: humanity.
Quuu's "Quuurators" find the best content and add them into Quuu's database. This "hand-picked" element means that every post that ends up in your feed is quality controlled.
Think about it, instead of trawling Copyblogger, or Entrepreneur for hours, you get curated content dropped at your feet. Or rather, your schedule!
Quuu doesn't post directly to your social feed, it posts to your Buffer schedule. So if you're anything like I was, you can make use of the time window provided by the Quuu: Buffer integration. And have plenty of time to quality assure your feed for authenticity.

3. Use integrations to build lists and notifications

I'm not against using traditional "If This Then That" integrations. Like any automation, it comes down to how it's used.
Tools like Zapier, or IFTTT are incredibly valuable. If you can only spend a few hours on social media a day, those hours are worth gold. The last thing you want to do is spend that trawling through notifications, hoping for someone to connect with.
Integrations can help you organise that. Whether it's building lists of people posting around a specific #hashtag, or people following you with the same name.
Whatever your goal, integrations can help you focus on being present in your social media posts. Giving you time to connect with whoever is listening in an authentic way.


Clicking "go" and relinquishing control of your feed to auto-bots will never be authentic. This traditional notion of automation provides little value for your social profiles, or audience.
I’ve found thinking outside the box and automating the background processes has immense value. What's more, this kind of automation can allow you to spend more time on being authentic. And less time worrying about what you're going to post, or when you're going to post it.
What automations do you use, while staying authentic on social media?
Matt Aunger
Video obsessed content and social media marketer, freelance writer, and guest blogger.
December 14, 2015
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