With all of the tools available today, there are too many different choices in cutting down on manual tasks, but this runs the risk of letting machines run a few too many things.  When taking care of marketing online, a company needs to balance what their software is able to do along with what people need to do.  When posting on social media, people do not want to feel like a robot is responding to them, but not every company has the time to monitor every post.  Here are a couple of tips on appropriate times to use automation techniques.


Responses to posts

It is rarely, if ever, okay to have a machine automatically respond to each post someone makes about you or your company.  You can occasionally have an automatic direct message thanking someone for following you on Twitter, but overall it looks cheesy and insincere from a customer viewpoint if all they receive are automatic posts in regards to comments they have.  Instead of having automation take care of responding to others, you can use automation to text or email you that you have a comment that needs attention.


Content curation

Many are guilty of this one from time to time, me included.  It is extremely easy to just post interesting RSS feeds with the automatically generated titles into different social media sites to look like you keep up with industry trends or to keep up with social media optimization.  A little automation is ok, maybe one feed on one site, but too many shows a lack of originality.  Anyone can grab anything and link back, but giving a comment or a question on the content shows more thought put in, and a higher likelihood of a response from the content creator.  Overall, some automation for content posting is fine, just be careful not to overdo it.  An easier method is to have a program alert you when there is an update on a site you follow, then create a custom curation post.


Overall, automation can help, and sometimes make life way easier.  It can be a second way to remind you of tasks and to move those tasks in a more highly visible place.  However, too much automation takes away the transparency and the human aspect of social.  People want human contact and to feel like they are important, and an automated response just cannot do that.  If you are looking to get into automation, I would highly suggest If This Then That, found at http://www.ifttt.com .  IFTTT allows for recipes to be made that when you complete one action, it automatically triggers another.  Since you specify which actions are triggered, it is easy to make sure you don’t go overboard on too much automation. 


Feel free to share some of your favorite automations.  One of mine is every time I give a special tag in my Gmail, that email gets imported into my Evernote to remind me that the email is important.