Let me begin by saying that I am not really a fan of automation where social streams are concerned. For a business; a brand or even a small-medium sized website to make its true impact using social media, there always needs to be a strong sense of Human interaction for things to be sustainable. This being said, there are times when automation can really help you out.
I operate a website called Gift Scoop which lists Amazon product reviews in a non-linear fashion. Much like an e-commerce store, the user has the option to find products which are right for them in various different ways. Alongside the on-site search and promotions, I run an active Twitter account. Most of the time however, I don’t use Twitter’s web interface; I use a free web application called Roost.
I initially gave Roost a go without really expecting much – we’ve all heard about social media automation which leads to thousands of followers overnight, and the promise of wealth from actively micro-blogging, but Roost takes a very different approach. It is aimed at businesses which could really benefit from harnessing Twitter, but don’t really have much time to do this. The video case study on the homepage is a small fashion business solely run by a young woman. It demonstrates how by using Roost, she can set up her Twitter feed to tweet her new product lines on a weekly basis at set time periods. It states how she puts aside 20 minutes on a Monday morning to set up her weekly tweets and then only checks back in once or twice a week to see what’s going on.
I took a similar approach with Gift Scoop. As I began using Roost around the Christmas period, I was actively using Twitter anyway, but I also set up a number of automated tweets to appear when I was busy. For example, one Sunday I was spending the entire day away from the computer. I set up 4 tweets to appear throughout the course of the day. Tweets such as “having a nice coffee after lots of Christmas present buying!”. I did have a coffee, and I was buying gifts, only at the time I wasn’t concerned with tweeting about it!
Social media, in particular Twitter, is a very current timeline. This means that to be effective, your tweets need to be staggered. Many businesses get on Twitter, hit up their marketing messages all in one go and then forget about it altogether after a week. By using Roost, you can do this much more effectively without having to worry about checking it every hour of every day.
Having said that and this brings me back to my opening statement; you do need to keep an eye on your Twitter feed! Roost is powerful, and it can be used for evil just as much as it can be used for good. Theoretically you could set up a number of Tweets to fire intensely but this is the best way in the world to lose followers. Keep an eye on your mentions, respond to replies and use Roost to help you, not to take the responsibility out of your hands completely.
Roost also has the ability to post to multiple Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts and LinkedIn pages all from the same Roost account. This makes it a very powerful tool, and one that could really help your online marketing efforts if used correctly.
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