Automate social-media marketing

September 27, 2022

Automation plays a significant role in our lives. Of course, much of it is technology based. Moreover, it is a central driver within our professional, independent insurance agencies. It helps agency owners and employees work smarter. Done right, it saves us time and money.

Where many agencies fall short is in the use of automation for social-media marketing. Such automation brings efficiencies. The balance is how to automate a social-media presence and remain engaged in a conversation with your audience. Remember, social-media marketing does not begin and end with automation.

Social-media marketing automation can schedule posts for specific days and times. However, you need to be engaged in the process from start to finish. Using tools won’t eliminate work; it simply helps you operate more efficiently—reducing what could be several hours of work each day to as little as 30 minutes—and it helps ensure a profitable online marketing outcome.

To build and implement an efficient and productive social-media marketing process, you need to combine the ingredients—personal brand ambassadorship and effective automation deployment—and then check progress. Here are four steps to make automation-enabled social-media marketing easier:

Step 1: Automate or not?

It’s vital to understand when and what to automate and when to engage in the social-media world. Automation can be addicting. Once you unlock its efficiencies, it’s tempting to add more. Resist the temptation and do not automate every message.

Progressive Insurance learned this lesson a decade ago when it automated Twitter responses after a claims story went viral (“Progressive Robo-Tweets Spark Social-Media Crisis,”

Instead, automate nonurgent social posts. Start with content you’ve discovered and gathered from various sources. Finding and sharing content online is a great way to build your agency’s brand and to grow your social audience. Content from others should make up about half of your content posts.

Follow the “5-3-2” rule. The “5” refers to the number of posts out of every 10 that are from others and then shared with the relevant audience. The “3” refers to relevant business content generated by your own agency. The remaining “2” should be personal, nonwork-related content that helps humanize the agency and builds its brand among your relevant audience.

Notice how the term “relevant” appeared repeatedly in the previous paragraph. You need to post content on platforms that will reach the right audience and with the right content at the appropriate times.

If your audience comments on a post, you need to engage with it. Nobody likes to be ignored. In fact, when you ignore someone in the social world, your entire platform community sees your lack of response. This can lead quickly to your agency earning the reputation of being rude and socially unacceptable.

Many businesses, including insurance agencies, want to automate their Rich Site Summary feeds. Bloggers often want to share their latest posts in the social world. Automation is a helpful tool with this—allowing you to transmit blogs directly to selected social-media channels. The only catch is that you want to check formatting on every blog post.

It’s important to be aware of, and respond to, feedback with RSS content, just as it is with other messages you share. Blind blasting—creating a one-way conversation—screams automation and it is a major audience turn-off in the social world.

Do not automate customer interaction. Automating more than an acknowledgment or a simple “thank you” is dangerous. Customers appreciate individual responses on social platforms. In fact, this personal interaction is what makes social media so powerful. You should never take the human side out of social media.

Do not automate troubleshooting. Real situations require real people with real answers. There may be opportunities to streamline some agency communication—common problems are fixed with simple answers. Even then, it’s best to run it by a human first.

Step 2: Pick a tool

It’s important to choose the right automation for your agency’s social marketing. The most popular sharing tools are Zoho Social, Buffer and Hootsuite. The tools integrate with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.

With Buffer, you can place the content you find into a queue and generate agency posts throughout the week. By default, Buffer spaces posts out throughout the day and throughout the week. At the same time, it allows a user to get ultra-specific on the day and time of the posts.

The tool comes with various features to help make updates easier. For instance, there are browser extensions to share content right from within a webpage. There are tablet and smartphone applications to share content from those devices in a few simple steps.

An important feature in Buffer—and other tools—is an analytics dashboard. When you use it, you can see what posts are read, clicked, liked, shared, commented on, etc. Learning this information can help you build even stronger content going forward.

Searching “social-media automation tools” in your web browser will return hundreds of options. Explore them. Be sure to look at Hootsuite, Buffer and any others that seem appropriate to you. When you make your choice, be sure to look for a tool that’s easy to use and that can be implemented with a short learning curve.

Step 3: Establish a schedule

You need to figure out your agency’s ideal automation schedule. The most important question to ask is: “When will I be around to respond to my audience if and when it engages with my content?”

Because two-way interaction is integral to success on social platforms, you want to be able to see and respond to the activity of your followers. Don’t forget time differences; if your agency operates in multiple time zones, consider what effect that will have on your posts’ exposure.

In addition, you need to understand when people click on, or otherwise interact, with your posts. This helps you gauge high-engagement times and allows you to schedule future posts when more people will see and connect with your content. There are several tools to help you analyze when people engage with your tweets (e.g., Followerwonk, Tweriod and SocialBro).

Step 4: Engage, learn and improve

Sustaining a social-media marketing strategy requires a system to allow you to stay in the conversation, such as Mention, which leverages Google Alerts, to track your agency’s website; the names of your agents; your blogs and other content across all social-media channels.

Mention emails you when your agency, or anything you track, receives a mention in the social world. You can access the service from any device and monitor—in real time—anything published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any other webpages.

Don’t forget to turn on all social-platform notifications to be aware of engagement opportunities. Twitter, Facebook and other channels will notify you anytime anything happens with your accounts.

Another part of engagement is time. Be sure your agency sets aside time to interact. Social-media conversations represent a great way to unearth new business opportunities and to build relationships with existing customers, which helps at renewal time.

Use what you learn to enhance what you’re doing. Adapt to what the data tells you. Bolster your content based on audience responses. Shift your timing, if needed. Then, monitor and repeat the enhancement process.

Make it work

Following this process will help your agency save time and money on your social-media marketing strategy. As you implement these steps, it’s important to avoid the pitfalls of automation.

First, don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Make sure you customize your messages for different social networks. Recognize the difference between business-to-business and business-to-consumer platforms and drive content accordingly.

Second, don’t make timeline mistakes. Scheduling posts too far out may lead to you sharing untimely content or, worse yet, missing opportunities for timely engagement.

Finally, don’t assume the social world starts and ends in your agency. Stay updated on current events and take opportunities to leverage them in all your social content and with all your audiences. Take the right steps—and avoid certain missteps—then you’ll see increased activity, more business, and a greater return on your social-media marketing investment.

Christopher Paradiso
Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services | + posts

Christopher Paradiso, CPIA, is owner of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services in Stafford Springs, Conn., which received the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents 2013 Excellence in Social Media award. He formed Paradiso Presents LLC, to teach agencies how to survive in today’s complex online marketing world. The firm specializes in educating agents, carriers and associations in America on a range of branding, online, social and management strategies. For more information and to learn about upcoming seminars, visit

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