Mods Weigh In: Social Media Automation

Hey all: Ann here. I'd like to take a moment to introduce one of our new blog sections titled Mods Weigh In. From time to time you'll see these pop up on hot topic discussions. I know it comes as a surprise, but not all of us mods are have the exact same opinion. We discuss and debate amongst ourselves all the time - each of us providing valuable points and perspectives to one another. So we thought we would share that with you. 

With no further ado, I'm happy to share with you our first ever Mods Weigh In: Social Media Automation between Riley, Christina, and myself. Enjoy. 


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PRO Autotweet - Riley Amos Westbrook

I LOVE auto-tweet services such as Tweetjukebox and Roundteam.co, they help me so much. They save me time and energy that might be better served elsewhere. However, they are robots, and aren’t all that good at interacting with people on twitter. You’ll still have to do that part.

I know, they can be annoying, spammy, and downright a pain in the butt to manage, but as my parents always told me, nothing in this world is perfect! Properly managed, these tools can help you realize your top potential.

With Tweetjukebox, I just set up the tweet I want to share, and how often, and before you know it you’ve got a regularly scheduled blast for your book. Paired with graphics, links, and hashtags, you can get the ball rolling on advertising.
Roundteam.co is another great tool, one you can set up to auto-retweet certain hashtags. If you can get a group of followers, that regularly uses your hashtag, this is another great way to spread the word.

But like anything, all tools have their downside. Would I suggest you use these exclusively? Hell no! You still have to go onto twitter and get your hands dirty every once in awhile. These just make it so you can focus on interacting, and not on marketing.

Anti-Auto Tweeting - Christina McMullen

Automated tweets sound amazing in theory. Authors need a social media presence, but as indies, we already don’t have enough hours in the day for writing, let alone the tangential activities like tweeting. There exists services that will tweet for me? That’s like a dream come true!

Except it’s not.

To me, the worst part of automation is that it is obvious. Your account is no longer that of a living, breathing person, but that of a robot. What’s worse, your robot is only on the radar of other robots. Authors who are trying to build their brand (I know, silly corporate terminology, but it works here) should be mindful of how they portray themselves to potential readers. Services that scour the internet looking for potential followers, who then spam followers with an automated direct message asking them to buy something, are not doing anyone any favors. Setting up the same content to be recycled over and over again only makes people ignore you faster. 

Even worse, these services typically tweet on your behalf and usually, they make you sound like a jerk by spouting off meaningless statistics about how many followers you gained, who your best followers are, and other nonsense. Think about this. If everyone just used automated services to manage their social media, then it would be nothing more than a bunch of robots shouting at each other. There would be no humans left. What’s the point?

I try to live by the philosophy of treating others the way I want to be treated. This applies to my social media presence as well. I don’t want to be bothered by robots, so why would I sic my robots on potential readers? Also, there is something to be said for silly spontaneity. I’m immensely grateful for the fact that I’m able to be silly and spontaneous pretty much whenever the moment strikes me.

Now, does this mean I don’t have shortcuts? Of course not. I have a list of all of my shortened links on all of my devices should I decide I need to promote. I’ve also got a convenient folder full of Twitter-sized cards with images and quotes for the same purpose. However, they aren’t cycled through like clockwork. The way I see it, with a 140 character limitation, I can take the time to write an original and compelling tweet.

Pro AutoTweet Rebuttal - Riley Amos Westbrook

Christina makes some excellent points! I do vouch for automation, but only in places where you aren’t going to be as active. I love twitter, to a point, and found myself spending way too much time on it, the auto-tweets help keep me on a service that I tend to ignore.

But she is right in one area, a direct response to readers is going to net you the best results! Remember guys, you want people interested in you, and the only way to really do that is to interact!

The Compromise - Ann Livi Andrews

Both Riley and Christina have valid points. But I have a slightly different opinion, and true to my nature, it finds a compromise and takes the best of both worlds. 

But first, let’s discuss Twitter and what I think I know about the World O’ Tweets. 

Twitter serves several purposes: 

  • Helps you gain exposure
  • Helps you connect with your fans
  • Hashtag trending can increase your popularity
  • Gives you the possibility to gain new fans

Now, if you’re only posting once or twice per day, you are not getting noticed. That’s almost a fact. You won’t even show up on feeds unless you’re posting multiple times per day (I’ve heard once an hour to err on the safe side). And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t have time to log in to Twitter every hour and post concise and thoughtful tweets. 

Oh wait? You do? Well, then by all means: ignore me and carry on your merry little way. 

For those of you who are going “A UNIQUE TWITTER POST EVERY HOUR?????” allow me to calm your nerves. There IS a way to compromise between coming up with unique tweets every hour (taking up your entire day) and allowing a twitterbot to post generic posts on your behalf. 

Hootsuite (and several other services) allow you to schedule posts. So you can log in, oh say, Sunday night or Monday evening, and spend an hour creating unique Twitter posts for the week and schedule them to post every hour on your behalf. That way you’re getting unique and real posts, from you the author that are pertinent to your situation and writing, without filling your followers’ feeds with generic quotes, inspirational messages, or interesting statistics that have nothing to do with you or them. 

There it is. The best of both worlds. It compresses your time, saves you time and frustration in the long run, and shows that you’re willing to put real content out there, even if you do have to schedule it in advance. Hey, even the best of us schedule a few blog posts now and again. It’s a matter of time management. 

So tweet away and #savetime while #gettingexposure and continue to #supportindieauthors.