Social Media Automation saves startups a ton of time. And, best of all, it can be achieved completely free of charge! Learn how to automate your social media today.
Contents of Free Social Media Automation For Startups – A Quick Start Guide
Social Media for startups is a must, isn’t it? We need to be on every single channel at any time of the day, because we need to spread the word and become famous quickly, and have nothing else to do, right?
Most people believe that as a startup you must be on basically any social network there is. At all times. After all, you’re completely new on the market, nobody knows you, and Social Media is the fastest way to go viral and become world-renowned.
Well, everyone has their beliefs. And I believe, we should re-think this idea one more time.
The Problem With Social Media Marketing
One good reason why you shouldn’t try to BBQ at every beach, is simply that you can’t. You are one person only, with two hands, and most likely your day only consists of 24 hours.
Social Media can be an incredible time and productivity killer. We all know how easy it is to get lost sourcing through endless status updates, watching hours of cute cat videos and crying tears discovering hilarious memes. Yes, it’s fun. I know.
However, none of these activities ever earns you cash. And that’s why, business-wise, you will want to spend as little time on social networks as possible.
Note: Be aware that most social media platforms offer a low return on investment on average. So don’t get all lost online while there is a real life to be lived.
The Key Is Social Media Automation
Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to open some online accounts and feed them with a little content, to see how they fare for you. This especially makes sense if you can fully automate your Social Media activities. And I’ll show you how.
The good news is: It’ll take you one single morning to set everything up. It won’t cost you a single Cent. And then all your social media channels are fully automated. Forever. Set to forget.
All you need to get started is an email address. And internet access. You have both, right?
Note: I write this article assuming that you do have a website for your services already. In my opinion, a website is still the most paramount asset to have for any startup. In case you haven’t, learn how to build a website in 2 simple steps before you continue.
Preparing Your Social Media Presences
Before you can automate social media channels, you need to create a presence on them. In case you do have your social media presences ready, skip down to ‘Automating Your Social Media Presences’.
Two things you need on pretty much any social network: A profile picture. And a banner image. So let’s get these sorted.
Note: Make sure to own the full rights for both images before publishing anything. The last thing you want is some greedy goblin suing your startup capital out of you for copyright infringement.
Profile Picture / Logo Design
Depending on your niche, you either want to use a cool image or your company logo as profile picture. If it’s an image, we hope you have one in mind already.
In case it’s a logo, go ahead and design one. This can be easily done for free with Canva. Or google ‘free logo creator’. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect at your first go, you can always change it later.
Should you not feel artistic at all, run a quick contest on Freelancer. It’ll cost you some dollars, but it’s money well invested. Logo design contests cost as little as 10 USD (plus 3 USD for the platform), and can easily attract 50+ drafts that you can further refine with the designers.
As the banner image generally is the first major visual impression of your site and company, try to make this a stunning one. But again, it doesn’t have to be perfect at the first shot, so don’t worry too much. Chances are it will change at some stage anyway.
Again, your easiest (and cheapest, because free of charge) port of call is Canva. Canva also offers images for sale, in case you don’t possess the perfect picture quite yet. Otherwise, buy one on Shutterstock, or grab a free one on Pixabay. My favorite is to set up a contest on Freelancer to have someone create you a stunning graphic.
Five Main Social Media Accounts For Startups
As sure you are aware, there are dozens of social networks out there. And, sure enough, most people you ask will give you different recommendations as to which ones are the most valuable ones to be on.
Since we promised to set you up at no cost, and to fully automate your social media presences, choose the five accounts listed below for now. You can always add additional accounts later, if you wish.
Note: Maybe only choose one or two. You can always add the others later, if needed. We have sorted the networks by decreasing importance for ceekaiser.com. Your requirements may be different.
As we do expect you to have a basic understanding of social networks already, we won’t go into the details about how to set up a page or account. If you’re unsure about that, google it. Or think hard if social media automation is the right step to take for you right now.
Note: Despite the instant gratification of a few first page likes / fans / followers, we highly recommend not to set up your site and wildly invite all your friends to it. Yes, some will click ‘like’ out of solidarity. But most will look at an empty, meaningless site and wonder what this is all about. So better to hold your horses for a week or two, until you (automatically) generated some content for your accounts.
Facebook. Over A Billion Potential Fans.
Clear #1 on the list when starting to automate your social media channels is Facebook. As I bet you have a profile already, create a page for your new business venture, load your profile and banner image, and add your website as well as a short description (aka philosophy) in the ‘About’ tab. Done.
While you’re at it: Connect with me on Facebook. Networking never hurts.
Twitter. Your Business Bird.
Twitter is a social media channel really worth automating, since posts are so short-lived here.
So register, then upload profile picture and banner image.
As you register, Twitter asks you about your interests. Based on that, it’ll automatically recommend you a few accounts to follow already. Feel free to follow these – it takes one single click to follow them all, and it certainly doesn’t hurt.
And one last click lets you follow the Kaiser – he might have some valuable tricks up his sleeve at some stage.
Google+. Dead Yet Alive.
Google+ prides itself on 2.2 billion users! Apparently the largest social network in the world!
However, when taking a closer look, only about 100 million count as ‘active’ users, according to a study by Stone Temple Consulting. Nonetheless – that’s about 100 million users you can reach. Fully automated, at no cost.
Oh, and – then there are these five incredibly valuable reason why you need a Google+ account.
So go create a page. Don’t forget to add your website link. And spend 30 seconds checking out my site – maybe you want to copy some stuff.
LinkedIn. You’re a Professional, Aren’t You?
In case you don’t have a page here already, create one now. Make sure to add your website to the profile. Boom goes another backlink.
See? Social media automation already helps you to spread the word.
Instagram. Images For Everyone.
In case you’re planning on lots of visual content, such as travel blogging, photography or an online shop, open an Instagram account as well. One never knows when it comes in handy.
In case you opt for a niche such as copywriting or programming, Instagram might not be 100% necessary. You could use it to display your portfolio, but sure you’ll find other means to do so elsewhere. Ceekaiser.com is not on Instagram – I rather focus on good written content than tons of graphics, as most likely you realized already.
Automating Your Social Media Presences
Now that you set up these (up to) five main social media accounts, you don’t want to spend all day posting to each platform, getting lost in many a discussion along the way. (Well, okay, maybe you want. But as stated previously, that is unlikely to pay for your next business investment…)
Luckily, these days there are ways to fully automate all these social media channels. And, as companies want to suck you into their sales funnel as effortlessly as possible, most offer free trials or limited functionality at no cost. As do the following two.
Buffer is a handy service to schedule all your social media activities. It’s one of the key components for complete social media automation.
Their free version lets you buffer up to 10 articles, while connecting five accounts. (Oh, look, you just created five accounts! What a coincidence!) And yeah, we guess 10 articles should be enough for now. After all, it should be fully automated anyway, so the content just keeps coming.
Register with Buffer and connect the five social media accounts listed above. High-five yourself and read on.
Quuu. Where Social Media Automation Magic Happens. (No Mushrooms, Sorry.)
Quuu is the whole kick behind the story: It automatically loads content for you. Social Media automation wouldn’t be possible without Quuu.
Two articles per day are free – certainly enough to get started. (And to keep going. Few people want to hear from you more often than twice a day.)
Set up your account and choose the five categories your audience will be most interested in. The free account only lets you select five categories, but that should be fine for now. You can always upgrade later.
Now connect it with your Buffer account. Et voila – you just fully automated all your social media channels!
From tomorrow on (Quuu curates content every 24 hours), all your social media channels will get fed with two articles a day, without you lifting a single finger! How cool is that? (Yes, extremely cool.)
Note: We recommend checking your buffer queue regularly, to ensure the content you publish is relevant for your audience. Also, we do recommend reading the content you share. Nothing more embarrassing than a fan asking you a question on that content, and you having no clue what they talk about.
The Next Steps To Social Media Mastery
Now that you automated all your social media channels, sit back and relax. Or work on your website. Create more content. Draft yet another incredible automated email series.
In case you are unsure what to do: Work the web. Engage in specialist groups and conversations. Join forums and threads and boards. Offer useful comments and smart insights. Show people you are the expert. Then they will go and find your sites. If you post under your pages’ names, potential fans are only a click away from discovering what you have to offer.
Don’t be ashamed of having few followers to start with. Be open about it. We all started at some stage, right? And especially amongst fellow founders support for newcomers is a lot higher than in an employee’s environment, where newcomers are abused as coffee and copy conts.
Inviting Your Friends
Once you got some content (min. 10 posts), and you’re happy with the design of your profile and banner images, feel free to tell friends. Best of course to invite them with personal messages than just sending them a mass message.
Next, add social media buttons to your website. Brag about it on WhatsApp, Line and Viber. Inform people via your free newsletter system
If you like, go as far as adding your social profile to your business card. (Please be selective here – usually adding one single account is enough).
In case you do have some cash spare, think about buying some Facebook followers. The more followers you have, the more credibility you gain. (Isn’t it sad that we live in a world where you can buy credibility?)
Don’t overdo it, though. Some fan pages we’ve seen boast 100,000 followers – and receive 20-30 likes per post. That’s a bit too incredible to be credible, don’t you think?
Bear in mind, that money can buy you a lot of things. You could also upgrade your Quuu and Buffer accounts, to generate even more content. Or ask a Freelancer to create you something sensational.
Hence, we recommend waiting with shelling out money on Facebook for a while. Work the networks organically, at least a little. Find interesting content yourself (or better even, create some!), and add it to the Buffer queue. See how people react, which content they like most, and which networks they use. Spend your money elsewhere. Such as travel.
Final Thoughts On Automating Your Social Media
Once you got some first data, your best bet is to concentrate on one network or two. Remember, you cannot BBQ at every beach, so focus. Also, bear in mind the statistically rather low return on investment to make smart decisions.
Since you asked: Statistically, clever email marketing yields the highest return on investment. So let your social media accounts rest for now, and learn more about how to create great newsletters.
Oh, and, take a quick minute to leave me some feedback in the comments. And join the Facebook discussion. Was this helpful? Did you automate your social media accounts? Do you want to post some of the resulting pages here?