Complete and total automation seems to be the direction in which digital marketing is headed. Email automation has become something that’s completely natural – as we can’t imagine writing unique emails to each client every single day – and we keep data on all of our users in automated CRM systems.

Studies show that 34% of marketers claim to use almost all of the automation techniques available to them, while only 18% claim they prefer “manual” work.

social media marketing

However, there is an important question to consider: Is there a type of marketing that still needs to be humanized? By “humanized” I mean marketing that requires a special approach – a well thought-out plan of personal communication designed to grow relationships.

Yep, I’m talking about social media marketing. This type of marketing is called “social” for a reason. It’s all about building relationships between your brand and your followers.

Your social followers want a personal connection with you. They are fed up with all the machine-curated content that has taken over their inboxes and newsfeeds! They will be more likely to follow and engage with you if they know that there is a real person on the opposite side of the posts they see.

So yes, you need to run your social media marketing on a more “personal” level. You need to create a well-balanced content plan with relevant and useful information.

But there is definitely a place for automation in your social media marketing strategy, particularly when it comes to scheduling posts.

Imagine, for example, that you are in L.A. and your clients are based in Finland. Does this mean that you need to wake up at three in the morning to “build relationships” with your followers. No way. Keep doing that and you will definitely end up ruining other relationships – with your family and friends!

If you’re struggling to build a brand presence and drive traffic to your site from social, you need an effective content calendar with diversified posts.

Additionally, you need to be sure you’re posting at the right time if you want your audience to see your content, and of course you need to invest in your social marketing campaigns (boost posts and pay for some ads).

Marketing automation helps you address all of this, while also saving you time and allowing you to optimize and prove the ROI of your social media campaigns.

Automate Your Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is time-consuming, because building relationships between consumers and brands demands a great deal of attention and creative work. Take a look at a couple of the initial challenges many businesses face when starting a professional social marketing plan:

Getting the right visuals

You need to customize your visuals to fit your brand, so you’ll need to customize stock photos with a logo and text, or create brand-compliant images from scratch. Even if you are a young business, believe me, you need to invest in your visual brand identity at the very beginning. If you want your brand to be attractive and ensure people trust your social page, build your identity by creating a unique logo, colors and fonts. Do you have to hire a designer right away or pay an arm and a leg for licensed professional photos? Nope.

Writing compelling content

You might be too busy to figure out catchy captions and trendy hashtags to use in your campaigns, so you need a creative person to think of post ideas. You want to write your own posts, but the text inside the images – do you need a copywriter for that? Nope.

With social media marketing automation, you can build personal relationships with your followers without causing a huge strain on your time. Let’s see what your social media marketing content plan should look like to bring you the biggest value in the form of followers, likes, shares and sales.

Build an Optimal Content Plan

We are done with theory, now it’s time for practice! You know that you can schedule your posts to be published at certain times. But how do you come up with that content in the first place?

A well balanced content plan should look like this:

social media marketing

Engagement Content

Engagement content should make up about 40% of your content. This type of content refers to stats, motivational quotes, polls, quizzes, etc. It takes up the biggest portion of the pie because it’s the content that people share, like and tag each other in. When done effectively, it evokes an emotional response, so it’s really the most important type of content you’ll post. It needs to be visually stunning, well written and scheduled to reach its audience at exactly the right time.

social media marketing

Promotional Content

Promotion takes up about 30% of total content. This includes special offers, discounts, company news, etc. While it’s important to communicate these things to a social audience, they’ll quickly unfollow if they see too much promotional content and not enough content that truly engages them.

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Educational Content

Social marketers often try to avoid this type of content on their pages. They think that blog posts are sufficient to educate their audience, and they usually don’t have enough time to write longer educational articles. Often, educational content is replaced by curated content, but this is not ideal.

First of all, the benefits of posting someone else’s links can be limited. And if you don’t like the content and are merely posting it because it’s “educational,” you’re doing your brand and your audience a disservice.

Plus, if you don’t like the content, odds are that your audience won’t either, so you will probably get minimal traffic and engagement. Who says that blog posts are the only educational content out there? Any type of visual that is informative and contains useful information is plenty educational! Think of tips, lists, infographics, statistics and charts.

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Curated content

Yes, just 10% of your entire content plan should be curated. Curating content can help fill in the gaps of your content calendar while simultaneously increasing your social media following. As your existing audience likes, comments and shares your content, it will trickle down and expand the reach to new potential customers.

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Curated content shows that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry. It creates relationships with other thought leaders and establishes you as a thought leader in your field. Be sure to choose content that your social audience wants to read. Otherwise it’s just white noise.

Post at Strategic Times

When do people spend the most time scrolling through their feeds? When are people online searching for gifts? When are people most receptive to special offers and discounts?

Holidays, special events and trends are the best frameworks for your campaigns. People will share “buy one get one” pizza deals on #nationalpizzaday. They will share discount offers on products and services around the winter holidays. Special events and holidays also serve as a perfect excuse to demand a little from your followers, asking them to show some love by liking, sharing or commenting on your posts.

social media marketing

PromoRepublic: A Social Media Content Builder

Now you know which types of posts are the best fit for social media marketing. But it’s really tough to actually create that content.

PromoRepublic is a daily updated content calendar with five different categories of special trends and events (both local and national). It is also a content builder that provides 50+ industries with professional content for social pages. The tool doesn’t just suggest ideas for your posts but offers you templates with great visuals and professional messages created by a team of social media marketing experts!

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With this PromoRepublic, you can schedule content days, months or even a year ahead to post on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin accounts.

Alla Bogdan
Alla Bogdan is the chief content marketer at PromoRepublic. Her posts and methods are widely published and discussed at Social Media Examiner, The Next Web, Social Media Today and more. Her experience in creating hundreds of content plans and social media strategies has made her a guru of modern web marketing.