5 Steps to Automating Your Social Media & Email Marketing (For Less)

5 Steps to Automating Your Social Media & Email Marketing (For Less)

When running a business - blogging & then promoting your posts can take a up a lot of valuable time and effort - time that you sometimes juts can't make. And as your business grows it becomes close to impossible to keep on sharing links to your new and old posts & works consistently across multiple channels. However, without a good marketing effort, your business suffers in the long run. So you need an automation plan that works but if you're a start-up you don't want to spend too much on automation, at least initially.

So here's my plan to help you automate or at least semi-automate all your major social media updates (or the big 5 you should care about right now - Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest & Instagram)

1. Get Buffer

I was using a paid membership to Hootsuite for the last 6 months but just last week switched to Buffer. Here's why-

a) Along with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn accounts that Hootsuite supported I also wanted a Pinterest pinning scheduler.

b) My basic monthly membership cost me about $10. If I wanted to add Pinterest scheduling, I needed to pay an additional $10/month to create a Tailwind account. The Tailwind app is basically what drives Hootsuite's Pinterest scheduling feature. So that meant spending $20/month.

c) Buffer's 'Awesome' plan that costs about $10 includes Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn AND Pinterest scheduling. So using Buffer meant saving $10/month straight - that's half the cost!

For Pinterest scheduling I also discovered plugin options like Pintrest Automatic Pin for Wordpress which lets you schedule your pins by checking any posts, pages, custom posts you want directly from your Wordpress dashboard and sending them to the pinning queue. Another tool I recently discovered is Ahalogy but the site neither lists the features offered nor any pricing details.

I quickly realized that mo matter what both these tools & others alike, weren't going to work for me because they were not able to combine all images connected a to a post into one single long image - the kind of long images that become popular on Pinterest. Pinterest is all about making your images look as beautiful as possible and it's proven that longer images attract more attention, repins, likes & clicks there. So in order to maintain the quality of image I learnt that the best way is to prepare your images for pinning using tools like Photoshop and then schedule them using Buffer instead of looking for any kind of auto-pinning tool.

Pro Tip: Use Buffer's 'Suggestions' tool for awesome suggestions on what to share.

One of Hootsuite's features that I miss at Buffer is it's ability to auto post from RSS feeds. Buffer strangely only lets you add an RSS feed so that when there's a new item in that RSS feed it adds it to your 'Available New RSS items' list. You then need to chose the items you like and manually add them to your buffer queue which will then post them based on the between-posts time interval you have specified.

As a solution, I have added my RSS feeds to my Free Hootsuite account (the free one only lets you add up to two feeds) and specified the auto post time interval so that those go out on their own without any input from me.

2. Use IFTTT

The 'If This Than That' service does exactly what the name implies. I use this service to send my tweets to social bookmarking and other sites that are good for SEO. These include Delicious, Diigo, Blogger, Instapaper, Readability and more.

3. Use Schedugram

Schedugram makes it very simple to schedule AND post - a feature that's missing from almost ALL other competitors. Unlike Schedugram, others only schedule - you need to then manually post. These include -Latergram, Takeoff, Autogrammer, Instapult etc. Their pricing is as follows: [one_half] Number of Followers Less than 10,000 10,001 to 100,000 100,001 to 500,000 500,000 to 1,000,000 1,000,001 to 2,000,000 [/one_half] [one_half_last] Price per month per Instagram account US$20 / AU$20 / €16 / £12 US$30 / AU$30 / €25 / £19 US$50 / AU$50 / €41 / £32 US$70 / AU$70 / €57 / £45 US$100 / AU$100 / €88 / £65 [/one_half_last]

4. RSS to Mailchimp

Mailchimp's RSS feature let's you effortlessly email your blog posts automatically to your subscribers. All you gotta do is set up the template once. Some people prefer to get news via email instead of checking blogs or using an RSS reader. With RSS-to-email, you can publish your content once and send it to your email subscribers without even thinking about it.

Just create your own RSS template, and control how many posts go out and how frequently you send—daily, weekly, or monthly. And don’t worry: A campaign will only go out when you post something new. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even combine multiple RSS feeds into one email newsletter.

5. Install Plugins

These are limited to Wordpress sites only. Jetpack: Install the Jetpack plugin to auto post anything you publish on your site directly to your social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Path etc. Revive Old Post: So you're using Jetpack to post anything you publish going forward automatically to social media; but what about your old posts? You don't want them to just be dead, do you? After all they're popular too and you spent so much time writing them. One option is to randomly select old entries yourself and add them to your buffer queue. An even better way is to install the Revive Old Post plugin which does this for you. Supported networks are Twitter, Facebook, LinedkIn, Xing & Tumblr.

Do you use any social media marketing/management tools?