We know how we want to be perceived, right? – especially as a wellness professional where people trust us with their health, their bodies and often their hopes and dreams.
People are watching us IRL (in real life), and they’re watching us online, too. What we say and how things look on our social media accounts matter. Typos, funky formatting and poor grammar – those are givens to watch out for, because we don’t want to come across as unprofessional. But have you thought about how automating your social media activities could make you look disconnected like you’re just iPhoning it in?
Automated social media tools for health coaches and wellness pros
The number of apps and tools to help make social media easier grows each week. I googled “social media automation tools” just now and got almost 35M hits – wow! There are some real time-savers out there, and with everything we have going on it’s OK to take advantage of these. But we should use them sparingly and with great care. I use HootSuite for Twitter and now Buffer, too, and it’s fun and helpful filling my Buffer queue with blog posts and industry news I’ve read that I want to share over the next few days. I know I could be automating even more, but I want to spend “real time” being connected to my social channels since I’m working hard to grow a business on the side. I want to, as much as possible, interact with people while they’re interacting with my content. Plus, I spend a lot of time on Facebook managing my two private groups, Social Media for Health Coaches and Health and Wellness Bloggers. There’s a lot of activity in those, and though I think about what I want to post in advance, I never get around to pre-scheduling things. And I just like being there when much of the conversation is happening.
Another thing that makes it tricky to keep it real online while automating your updates is that each social media platform is just different enough that it’s almost impossible to make one post or image fit all platforms. Sure, it saves time to post across multiple accounts, but I often don’t like the way it looks when I’m on the receiving end of some of these messages. And sometimes it’s down-right annoying. One thing that gets on my nerves is when people post things in Facebook groups that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic du jour of the group. At first when I saw this happening in one of the groups I manage, I thought it was because people were spamming the group with self-promotional B.S. But not every post was self-promotional, but boy were they off-topic. When I DM’d people to say, “Hi there. I wanted to let you know that your posts are not appropriate for a group focused on social media marketing for health coaches,” they often responded with, “Oh, sorry. I auto-post the same thing on a bunch of groups. I’ll remove it.” (Too late. I nuked your post, Careless Person.)
Another no-no is sharing everything you post on Facebook also on Twitter. This one pains me because people I’m connected to do this a lot, but seeing tweet after tweet without the full context of what else was posted on Facebook is frustrating. So please check your Twitter stream, friends, and you’ll realize that your followers don’t likely know what you’re tweeting about.
The perfect social media tool for my health and wellness friends
Sorry to tease you, but there’s no perfect tool – but there is a perfect approach. When you want to automate posts on your social media channels:
- First, read thoroughly about what the app or tool does and not just what the creator says about it. Google “problems with XYZ tool” and see what users are saying that you might not be aware of.
- Ask your fellow wellness pros what tools they use and why. If you’re not a member of one of the Facebook groups I mentioned, join us and you’ll see they’re great forums for vetting questions like this.
- Don’t automate everything. Choose one account, like using Buffer for Twitter. Right from tweet one that Buffer pushes out for you, go to your Twitter stream and see how the post looks. Did you notice how each link you shared has “buff.ly” on it, which shows you were using Buffer? How does everything else look with the post? When you were setting up your tweets did you see that “good read” gets added at the end of each post? Make sure to remove that before buffering your tweet, so you don’t look like a newbie.
- Once you’re comfortable with how the automation is working, check the resulting posts periodically to make sure the application hasn’t changed in a way that messes up what you thought was perfect.
- Remember that things can happen IRL, like tragedies and major news, that could make your pre-scheduled posts come across as uncaring or bizarre. (See Flo Suddenly a Problem for Progressive in Its Social-Media Crisis about how a prescheduled Progressive tweet turned into a social media nightmare for the company. And there are more stories like this out there.)
- If at first you don’t succeed with an automation tool, switch over to one of the competitors’ products. I often find these by googling something like, “what’s better than HootSuite,” and then I compare the pros and cons of each tool.
Setting-it-and-forgetting-it can save time, but if you do use automation be sure it works for you vs. against you. If you’re taking the time to use social media to market your health and wellness business, you don’t want to lose points for your efforts by going on auto-pilot. Being thoughtful about automation isn’t being a obsessive – it’s part of the “know, like and trust” approach, and we can’t afford to miss a beat there.
On this blog, I’d like to feature health coaches and other wellness professionals who are doing great things with their social media marketing, including effective ways they’re being creative, using tools and, yes, even automating their posts. Contact me if you have a suggestion for who I should reach out to. And if it’s you, I look forward to connecting!