How to Use Social Media Automation to Dramatically Boost Your Efficiency

Reposting your best content on social media is a best practice: the conversions and conversations are like gold. You might be wondering about the best way to go about re-sharing content. Today, we’re going to be talking to Christin Kardos, the social media and community manager at Convince and Convert, the #1 content marketing blog in the world, according to Content Marketing Institute. Today, we’re going to talk about evergreen content, how to capitalize on incredible opportunities, and thought on whether social media automation is the right tool for you to increase productivity. You won’t want to miss today’s show!

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AMP065: How To Use Social Media Automation To Dramatically Boost Your Efficiency With Christin Kardos From Convince and Convert
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Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Information about Convince and Convert and what Christin does there.
  • Evergreen content: What it is and how to leverage it to your advantage.
  • How you can tweak and update your content to make it rank for certain keywords.
  • Best practices when it comes to sharing previously published content.
  • What content curation is and how Christin handles it at Convince and Convert.
  • Thoughts on balancing your own content and others’ content, as well as why it’s important to focus on quality first and foremost.
  • The benefits and potential downfalls of social media automation.
  • Christen’s best advice for marketers wanting to get started with automation and reposting content.

If you liked today’s show, please subscribe on iTunes to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast! The podcast is also available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play.

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Transcript:

Nathan: Sharing your best content again on social media is the best practice. After all those page views that keep rolling in, those social media posts your followers continue to share, and those conversions on that content are like gold that suggest your audience loves it. Whether it’s new or old, share that same incredible content again. Am I right?

You might be wondering what the best practices look like for that kind of social sharing strategy. That’s why you and I are chatting with Christin Kardos. She’s the social media and community manager at Convince & Convert, which by the way has been rated the number one content marketing blog in the world according to Content Marketing Institute. They definitely got a lot of things figured out over there.

Today on the Actionable Marketing Podcast, you are going to learn about evergreen content, how you can capitalize on its incredible opportunities within your social sharing mix, and how social media automation may be just what you need to use your time and resources as effectively as possible. I’m Nathan from CoSchedule. It’s time for us to check in with Christin.

Hey Christin, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Christin: Hi Nathan, I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Nathan: Like I said, I’m pumped to have you. We know you work at Convince & Convert. Tell me about that, what you guys are doing over there?

Christin: What are we not doing, Nathan? That’s really the better question. Lots of things going on over at Convince & Convert. Some of you may know Jay Baer. He’s our president and our fearless leader. The business itself has a few different forms. Most of the people on the team work on consulting. We’re not an agency. We are councilors giving strategic digital marketing counsel to big brands. That’s a large part of what Convince & Convert does.

But what you might be more familiar with is our media side. That is the area where I work with the digital magazine, aka the blog. We have several podcasts that we produce and a lot of content going out on a regular basis. My role is to help share that content on the organic side of social media.

Nathan: The last time we chatted, obviously we’re talking about social media, but you mentioned a key piece of your strategy at Convince & Convert involves publishing that evergreen content. Fill me in on what that is for you guys.

Christin: We do get a lot of website traffic, a lot of podcast downloads, a lot of blog readership. But we find a good chunk of that comes from a select few pieces of content. Some of them actually go back several years. What we’re finding is that these pieces of content are still answering questions that people are looking for. They might be googling and putting in the search criteria and these particular “evergreen pieces of content” are coming up. We’re finding that they’re still quite useful.

Rather than set it and forget it, with all the content that we have coming out, we have several new posts and podcast episodes every single week, we still find that those older, highly valuable pieces of content are getting a lot of eyeballs onto our website and giving us a lot of good connections. We don’t want to let them go idle. We don’t want to discount their value even though they may be older. We continue to share those on social and get new content ideas from them as well.

Nathan: Do you have some examples of evergreen stuff or what that actually looks like?

Christin: Yeah. I do have one really fun one. Dear listener, Nathan does not know I’m going to mention this one. One of our best performing pieces of content ever is one that you wrote, Nathan. It’s called 105 Types of Content to Fill Up Your Editorial Calendar. That particular post, I can’t remember exactly how old it is, but it is getting eyeballs every week because people are googling ideas for their editorial calendar and this particular post is coming up. Time on page is really good because they’re looking and they’re seeing templates and actionable ideas for their editorial calendar. That’s just one example. We have others.

Posts about statistics tend to do really well. One of our really topnotch posts and it’s from earlier this year is one that Jay wrote about podcasts statistics. We’re getting tons and tons of hits on that because people are so interested in the idea of podcasting and considering using it for their businesses and so on.

Nathan: Thanks for the shout-out. Actually, I have a question around the evergreen stuff then for you. Do you guys ever look back at those posts and just optimize them again, like redo certain things to continue to rank for those keywords?

Christin: Yeah. I don’t get huge into content strategy for the blog. But I can tell you based on my tribal knowledge that what we’ll do is a lot of times we’ll go back and make update. The fundamentals there in the post might still be applicable but maybe there’s some new technology or tools, and therefore angle to it. We tend to leave those posts as they are. We don’t want to clickbait or switch anything out but we might link to here’s an updated idea or set of tips around this concept. If let’s say next year there’s 200 types of content to fill up your content calendar, we might ask you to come back and write a new post about that and we might link to it from the old post.

Nathan: Nice. It makes perfect sense and actually leads into the next question I have for you. Since you’re working more on that sharing side, what are some of the ways that you are maximizing that evergreen content at Convince & Convert? How do you continue to promote it then?

Christin: Really, it’s quite simple, we’re just re-sharing it on organic social. Occasionally, we might even put ad dollars behind it if we see an outlier. But primarily it’s just actually re-sharing that same piece of content again. It’s really interesting to see that some of these evergreen shares are actually some of our top performing organic social posts as well. It’s not just getting interest from people who are searching, say it be at Google, but people are actually drawn to it in organic Twitter, organic Facebook. We might take the same piece of content and just share it with different intertexts or different photo or share it on a weekend versus a weekday, that kind of thing.

Nathan: Since you’re re-promoting your evergreen content on social media all the time, could you tell me about a few of the best practices that you found that work really well for you guys?

Christin: Sure. There are a lot of different opinions on this topic. But we just feel like rule number one is if it’s not good, don’t share it. We try to strive for quality over quantity. We don’t have an exact we want to share a certain number of times per day, per network, or anything like that. We just try to put our best foot forward with what we’re sharing. In sharing evergreen content, we mix it in with our new content and other curated content from other sources. We try not to share too much to the point where it feels spammy.

Rule number one is if it's not good, don't share it.

You might see 10 or 12 tweets a day for example from @convince. Among those might be a handful of evergreen content. That’s just how we do it. If we see something that’s really resonating, we’ll look at the how and the why, we might make that into a new piece of content or share it again.

Nathan: I know so many people out there, or marketers, just want these straight up numbers like, “If I tweet x amount of times a day it’s going to win.” You don’t focus on that. Why don’t you focus on that number of times a day?

Christin: We’ve actually tried it. We spend a lot of time going back and looking at our analytics and looking at what’s working and what’s not. We also talk to peers, our friends from other organizations where we might know each other and say, “Hey, did you see a nose dive in our Twitter reach last month?” That kind of thing.

We’re always measuring and always re-assessing. But what we have found, we have stripped down our number of shares to very few, we’ve amped them up. It really never comes back to that volume-based formula for us. Some people might say otherwise but for us it doesn’t seem to work that way. It’s really just more about the quality. That’s what we try to focus on.

Nathan: Are you digging this as much as I am? I’m just going to go ahead and assume you discovered the Actionable Marketing Podcast as a way to learn the ins and outs of project management, marketing, and social media management in general. If you’ve been liking what you’ve been learning, would you mind doing me a favor? I’d love to see a review and rating from you on iTunes for this podcast. When you do, just send me a screenshot of your review to podcast@coschedule.com along with your postal address. In return I’ll mail you a sweet CoSchedule care package to say thank you. Email a screenshot of your iTunes review to podcast@coschedule.com. Alright, let’s check in with Christin.

You dropped the word content curation. Could you explain how you go about finding those articles that you want to curate and share with your audience?

Christin: Absolutely. At Convince & Convert, our media site, the blog, the podcast, we tend to focus on the “and therefore” aspect when we share content. We put something out there that we have pinned or we have recorded. What we’re saying is, “Here’s a fairly new thing on the horizon. Here’s why we think it matters to you.”

But there are others out there who are actually the news breakers, the ones who bring you the latest announcements, and that sort of thing. That’s one thing that I look forward in curating content because our readers and listeners are interested in new developments, in changes. With social media these days, almost daily not weekly, that happens. I definitely look for those other sources that are more on the cutting edge of what’s happening right now.

We focus on the "and therefore..." aspect when we share content ...

Then anything related to our core interest and subject matter expertise around digital marketing in general, social media, customer service because we are not the only ones creating awesome content out there. I try to think about what do I, as a typical fan of Convince & Convert, want to know? I find those and share them.

Nathan: Absolutely makes sense to me. What tools do you use to do that? Do you use Feedly? How do you keep your ear to the ground to find those sources?

Christin: I just have a really duct tape together system on my computer. I think it would make some people crazy, but I have a lot of different sources. I have RSS feeds, I have Feedly, I have Pocket. I have a few that I’m so die hard about that I actually subscribe to their emails. Some of my best content comes that way. I’m selective about that obviously because the inbox can get really full. I have a medley of sources that I use. Most days, that’s one of my early things that I do. I make the rounds in the morning and then make the rounds again in the afternoon looking for gold nuggets of goodness in there.

Nathan: Just speaking about those numbers again, like the number of times a day or whatever, I know some people have hard and fast rules for, “This is how much of my own stuff I’m going to share. This is how much of curated stuff I’m going to share.” How do you do that at Convince & Convert?

Christin: Right now we’re not really adhering to a strict formula. I’ve always sort of bang, personally, sort of a one in three kind of formula. You don’t want to be too self-promotional. Even with curated content, we focus on quality. Today, there might only be one really amazing thing that I think people need to know about. It might end up being nine things that are ours and then one thing that’s somebody else’s.

 

Of course, there’s more than one way to share that content too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that we without a lead for and then share. It could be just to retweet someone with a comment or share something to our Facebook page. It really still goes back to that quality over quantity. I don’t really look at the formula so much as the what and the why.

Nathan: You know Christin, when we last talked, we talked a little bit about social media automation. You use social media tools. I was wondering if you could explain what specifically do you see as some of the benefits of using social media automation.

Christin: I love this topic because it’s so interestingly polarized among marketers. I love automation because I see it as a really, really significant tool for framing up time. It’s really about how you use it. For example, the vast majority of tweets and Facebook posts that you see going out from our handles are probably sent through CoSchedule. It’s probably something that I went in and scheduled ahead of time. I was not sitting at my computer when it went out. But the idea for me behind that is it saves me a ton of time. That is time that I go back and put back into the bank by being on those social platforms and interacting with people. I think if you use the extra time for good and you use it for social, then that’s where you’re doing the right thing with automation.

Nathan: Let’s just look at the opposite side. What are some of the downfalls of social media automation?

Christin: It’s interesting. I don’t think there’s too much of a downfall when it comes to sharing content unless you’re just spamming your feed, you’re tweeting every five minutes. That would be probably bad. Otherwise I see almost no downside to using it for outgoing content. Where it can get a little smarmy and where people are turned off I think is with automatic replies and automatic direct messages and things like that. They can go wrong because maybe they’re formulated to try to plot your first name and then it does it incorrectly or it actually says name. Then you’re like, “Okay, no. I don’t like that.” Or direct messages flooding your inbox because you followed a group of people, let’s say a Twitter list. Now you’ve got 25 automated DMs. You could tell they’re automated because they come at you right away. It’ll say, “Thanks for following me, here are 17 links or things of mine that I want you to go check out and buy.” You’re just like, “No, please don’t do it.”

I’ll confess that when I first got really active in Twitter a few years ago, I tinkered with the auto DM. I tinkered with it to see if there was something valuable there. I realized that it just didn’t feel that way. But I tried it, I’m not going to lie. I tried it but it just came across. I actually had someone that I’m friends with now DMed me back and said, “No. Stop doing it. Don’t do this.” We got into a conversation about it. That was good but I realized, “Okay, no. This isn’t coming across the way that I want it to. It’s not valuable.” I stopped doing it. That’s the kind of thing that turns people off is automated replies and automated asks. Those tend to not be held in high favor.

Nathan: The way that I see about social media automation is that you create the stuff. You just schedule it to go out at different times so you have a little bit more thought into it actually rather than just writing it and shipping it right away.

Christin: Absolutely. For a platform like Twitter where it’s so fast moving, if part of your community or audience is on the other side of the world, you’re probably going to be asleep when they might see your content. But you can still have a meaningful connection with them if you automate the send out part. Then maybe they’re asleep when you go back and reply to their question but it still has value. It still helps the world be more connected in a good way if you do it right.

Nathan: Absolutely. Christin, this is random but I seriously want to know this. Do you have a specific example of a super bad form of automation gone wrong? Give me a story.

Christin: Oh boy, I don’t know. I’m so anti the DMs. It’s almost like the longer they are, the more annoyed I am. It’s like you don’t even realize that I followed you yet but you’re sending this DM and it has 27 links. I’ve also gotten some weird ones on LinkedIn that were very cold-cally and asky.

Probably I’ve seen more really, really bad examples in the emails. That’s a little off topic. When you get the email that says, “Dear name,” that’s full of like go do this for me and go do that for me and then whatever. I’m big on the personalization aspect. I guess probably my biggest peeve is when the personalization attempt fails.

Nathan: Yeah, I’m 100% with you there. I’ll get three emails from three different people and they all have the exact same wording. When you go too much on the templates, I don’t know if you want to talk about that just because it’s interesting.

Christin: Yeah, it can be a real turn off. Personalization is good when you actually nail it. But if you miss the boat at all and it comes across, it makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing first of all. Then now you’ve gotten an eye roll. You’d almost rather have them not open than the eye roll.

Nathan: Yeah. I don’t know maybe just to follow up on that, what would be your advice to avoid the eye roll?

Christin: Try not to over-automate. Maybe if you’re sending messages like that, maybe you shouldn’t send them at all or maybe there should be less content and less of an attempt. Maybe you should be more transparent about the fact that it’s automated. Don’t try to make it into something it’s not.

Actually, that’s interesting because we’re working with Facebook Messenger bots right now. We’re starting to dabble in that. I’m trying to be careful not to profess our bot to be anything other than a bot. I don’t want anyone to think that that’s a person when it’s not. If I get involved in the conversation, I sign my name to it. Otherwise, we try to leave it obvious that you’re getting something from the bot. Transparency, I think, is key. Just don’t be overly ambitious. Don’t automate if it’s not necessary and helpful. Just thinking it through in the beginning is key.

Nathan: Absolutely. Just to tie that to my last question for you, let’s just say someone new to social media automation is looking at this, they’re thinking that this could be an opportunity to save time like you mentioned. Where should they focus first instead of this broad thing where they don’t even know where to start? How would you recommend that someone like that start?

Christin: Think about who your community is, your audience or your desired community and audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what would actually be useful. Being useful is the best thing that you can do. Instead of thinking of it in terms of, “How do I get eyes on my blog?” Start with, “How can my blog be useful to people?” Then, “How can I communicate that to them?”

Being useful is the best thing you can do.

Let’s say you got a new blog and you’ve got 10 things on it. Don’t go into Twitter and tweet all of those 10 things 10 times a day. Focus on the quality. Let’s say you’ve connected with some new people who are super interested and want your topics. Talk to them about that specific topic. Go easy at it. Volume wise, start smaller. Then look at how that’s working for you. Add to it once you feel like you have a finger and a pulse of how it’s performing. You need not tweet 35 times a day. You could tweet once if you do it well.

Nathan: Nice. I think that’s awesome advice, Christin, and a perfect place to end this episode. I just want to say thank you so much for sharing all of this, all your thoughts on social media automation and beyond. It’s fun to pick a brain today.

Christin: I really enjoyed it, Nathan. Thank you so much.

Nathan: Sharing your content more than once on social media can get you bigger results. Seems pretty easy to say but is that actually true? A few months ago, we tested that hypothesis here at CoSchedule. You know what we found? Sharing your content as little as nine times within a single week brings in 3150% more traffic from social media. That is crazy. Imagine the power of sharing your evergreen content long after it publishes. This stuff works.
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