Automation kills engagement

Or does it?

I first heard this notion of never posting anything on social media sites via tools that let you schedule posts when a friend mentioned Scott Stratten's take on it. Then I read that this is actually one of the 7 Deadly Sins on Twitter - apparently, it's lazy.

Confession time: I schedule tweets. I think it's a perfectly acceptable practice. And I'm not going to stop. Here's why:

  1. I want to ensure that I get my content out into the world and I want to do this at certain times spaced out throughout the day. I have some idea of when I want to share based on trial and error of scheduling posts and watching my analytics over time.

  2. Logistically, I can't easily post my content to Facebook just any old time I want. Well, I can, but I like the ease of linking my RSS feeds to syndication tools within Facebook.

  3. I feel awkward posting my content throughout the day multiple times - it doesn't always feel natural. Instead, I schedule and forget it and then I get to focus on what I really want to do - engaging my audience.

I respect the intention behind the assertion that automated content feeds are a bad idea. The last thing you want to do is become a broadcast account that does nothing but tweet links to stuff all day. But when you're sharing content that you would share anyway, but doing so in a strategic manner, I see only benefits - as long as you're engaging your audience otherwise.

The give and take of social media doesn't have to be hampered by scheduling tools. I also don't think it's lazy and I wonder if those who do have ever scheduled tweets before.

For me, automating posts frees up my mind to be more fully engaged, so the automation process helps spur my ability to engage. What's more, I'm not a big fan of blanket rules like this for social media use. Techniques that work for me may not work for you. Social media strategy needs to be customized to a system that works, but that's a discussion for another day.

Do you schedule posts for your social networks? Do you think engagement is negatively impacted by automated posts?