The importance of using social media to communicate your business is no longer a secret. It has been around long enough now that it is being taken for granted by companies as a powerful tool in their business marketing arsenal.

There is no quicker way to build your online presence and promote your business brand than to make the best use possible of all the social media platforms available today. Because of the way you can easily reach your target audience rather than blanket advertising in traditional media, your revenues are directly proportional to the effort you put into your social media marketing campaigns.

For a small business or new start-up, managing your day to day responsibilities can be very time-consuming. So much so that remembering to send a tweet or post a Facebook update can sometimes be difficult. This is where social media automation tools, such as HootSuite for example, can help you to maintain a regular and consistent rate of posts and updates. However, over-reliance on such tools can actually be detrimental to your business credibility and profile.

There are some really efficient automation tools available at your fingertips that can make life easier for you, for example HootSuite, TweetDeck and Buffer. These applications allow you to schedule your posts and updates at your convenience, and you can even schedule releases for times when you are away from the office, at weekends or on holiday etc.

What you have to be careful of when using these tools is that you don’t appear to come across like an absent landlord. It is all well and good to take some time out to compose and schedule tweets and posts a little ahead of time, but if something is happening in real time that is causing a bit of a stir in your particular industry, you will want to be seen as having your finger on the pulse. Your posts should be current and topical, and full of information reflecting events that are happening now. Everyone will have an opinion on the current situation, and they would be more than interested to hear your take on it too. How do you think your followers would feel if your feeds were empty of current news or viewpoints that were trending all over your competitors feeds.

You may also want to take care if you are in a business that supplies goods, for example you may import sports shoes that are made abroad. You may have already set up an intensive month-long marketing campaign that has been scheduled to roll out across all marketing media platforms to promote your new tennis shoe that would co-inside with Wimbledon. Your launch date is fast approaching, the excitement is building, and everything is in place. Then a devastating event happens – the container ship carrying your precious supply hits a violent storm that causes it to lose its cargo! In the ensuing panic, you may easily forget to suspend your scheduled roll-out across your social media accounts. The last thing you will want to cope with on top of this is a raft of unfulfilled customer orders filtering through from your social media marketing links.

Another aspect of social media management tools that people tend to forget is that they take away the personal touch you get from one-to one posts. When you have important news about a ground-breaking event at your company, try your very best to post this information by yourself manually. This really is not something that should be left to social media automation. These sorts of updates will attract lots of replies and messages of congratulations that would be best handled with a personal response. Being there at the right place at the right time to reply and show your gratitude for the positive feedback will re-enforce the human element of your company, and will endear you further to your loyal followers.
Be careful when inter-connecting your social accounts. Yes it saves time to have all your social media profiles linked together into one management system so you can post one update across all platforms, but it can send a negative impression to your regular readers who may follow you on more than one social media site. You could inadvertently send out the message that you don’t care enough about your business to send out a post by yourself. A reader spotting your short tweet on Twitter may want to turn to Facebook to find a longer post with more details. If all they see is the same short message posted on your Facebook page it may become too tedious for them to investigate your other social media profiles if they can expect the same message over again.

The main use for social media management tools is to be able to schedule your updates in advance, but most people using these tools will admit to posting their information and then forgetting all about them. But what if you have scheduled a post that is factually wrong, or talked about something that has changed since you posted it? Do you think you will get away with it, or will you be in for a good backlash from your followers? Check your facts and keep abreast of possible changes that would affect how your post would be interpreted. Remember that once your information has been posted, you will need to justify the content completely.