#SocialChat Discusses Social Media Automation with Patrick McKeown

On Monday, Nov. 19th, social media marketing passionistas gathered from around the globe to discuss the whys and wherefores of scheduling and automating social media posts for brands and businesses.  This week the guest expert warming his buns in the hot seat was Patrick McKeown (@pjmckeown).  As the Search and Social Strategist within the Navantis Strategy and Enterprise Architects Practice, Patrick brings over 15 years’ experience in Web and Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization, Interactive Marketing and Social Media Marketing.  He will be among the featured speakers at SMX Social Media Marketing in Las Vegas.

Thanks to the participation of the SMX brand and several other speakers from the upcoming Social Media Marketing Conference, the discussion was fast, lively, and highly educational.

Q1 @pjmckeown is there a difference between scheduled and automation when it comes to Social Media?

Patrick: Yes. Automation is having X trigger Y. ie: When new blog posts; post to Twitter, LinkedIn, StubmleUpon, etc… Scheduling is predetermined known information. Ie: Every morning, tweet “good morning all, what are you doing today?”  I love both scheduling and automation!  Both are important and help you keep your sanity!

Q2 @pjmckeown What do organizations hope to gain by automating/scheduling Social Media?

Patrick: Social signals are big for SEO now.  Automating posts to as many channels as possible can help improve results and get your message out further.  You will still need to listen, though.  Scheduling also helps keep messages going out regularly, so brand awareness remains and/or improves.  Twitter has a shelf life, spread messages out, different audiences engage at different times.

Q3@pjmckeown What are some of the pitfalls of automating Social Media?

Patrick: Be careful what you automate.  Ensure you control the source of automation and be prepared to be hacked or broken. Biggest pain in butt: When companies like Twitter change things and users can no longer automate.  Most importantly, don’t just automate.  Don’t forget to engage with your audience!  That’s more important!  Automated or not. Engagement is the most important part!!!

Q4 @pjmckeown Which Social Media properties house the greatest risk when using automation?

Patrick: They are ALL at risk. You have to be careful whenever you automate.  Always pay attention. Engage, be authentic, listen before you speak! Don’t be a megaphone! Be a two way communications platform!

Q5 @pjmckeown people will schedule/automate no matter what. What can they do to minimize the risk?

Patrick: Control the source of automation. Always pay attention, don’t set it and forget it, check it OFTEN!! Make sure you know what is going on around you! Be careful of autoposting something that can become controversial.  Pay attention to the news, and such. Things change quick!!! Be prepared to pull a scheduled or automated posting quickly and or fess up to it! Don’t lie about someone doing something or getting hacked. Be honest, be genuine.

Pro Tips for Successful Scheduling and Automation:

  •  If you tweet a discussion prompt, be sure to be present & engage in the conversation that follows.
  • Automation and scheduling just mean you don’t miss an opportunity to START an engagement.
  • Be careful when you spread out tweets, your audience might respond back. Nothing is worse than them hearing crickets.
  • When targeting other time zones, schedule as late as possible in their time zone, minimize the gap.
  • Transparency here is important. If you respond hours later, let them know that it’s due to time zone.
  • Dashboards are great for automating the right post for the right platform … Facebook vs Twitter.
  • Sprout Social and Hootsuite are highly recommended dashboards for scheduling.
  • It’s the day to day interactions that build social mass. ENGAGE
  • When automating, it’s important to test links, make sure post composition is channel appropriate and check url source coding.
  • The point with automating the reminders, is to get you all here so we can hang out and engage.


Next week, special guest Jennifer Cario (@JenniferCario) will be sharing her expertise on how social media can help your blog rock.  To join the chat on Twitter, click the hashtag #SocialChat at 9:00 PM Eastern every Monday night.

For any of you planning to attend SMX Social Media Marketing in Las Vegas, the #SocialChat hosts, Alan K’necht and Michelle Stinson Ross, will be hosting a table during the Day 2 lunch break.  There are also rumblings that a #SocialChat TweetUp is in the works.  Be sure to follow the #SocialChat hashtag for those details.