Quite a bit.
To date, I’ve logged tens of thousands of travel miles around the world. I’ve done the New York City to Thailand bit – and back – 5 times. It’ll be 6 in November when we fly back home for Christmas.
As you may imagine I automate extensively – and effectively – to account for being in the air frequently. Or to account for being on a bus ride through India, or Cambodia, or Laos, or Costa Rica, or anywhere.
I devoted a full chapter of my new eBook to automating intelligently. Learning how to send out updates to the right people at the right time is critical if you’re changing time zones like most people change their mind, as I do.
By the way, pick up my new eBook Blogging from Paradise here.
Before I offer my tips let me give you a little background on my love/hate relationship with automating.
As a REALLY green newbie I had a hate relationship with bots. I viewed automating as an evil and downright stupid means of marketing.
Boy did I learn a thing or 2 during my travels.
After I passed the International Date Line for the first time, during my first Southeast Asia trip, I did dumb stuff like staying up until 4 AM to tweet stuff at the right time, or to Facebook Share stuff at the right time.
I didn’t want to be one of those stupid automating folks, I thought.
I also manually copy and pasted my latest blog post to 50 or more Facebook Groups each time my new post went live.
I’m not kidding. I really did this stuff.
Fast forward through a few weary, sleep-deprived months. I learned my lesson. I became more intelligent. I woke up. Or did I go to sleep? Well whatever happened, I decided that automation was necessary to remain sane, and to succeed, blogging from paradise.
Benefits of Automation
Dwell on the benefits of automation. I did. My body and mind thanks me for this, too.
- Have a life outside of business
- Reach your target market at the perfect time
- Sleep well
- Wake at normal hours
- Establish passive blogging income streams
- You can chat with someone in NJ while sleeping in Fiji; if for but 1 engagement, until the later follow up
- SAVE TIME
I saved myself 2-3 hour’s worth of work each day since using Hootsuite Pro to automate. Gone were the days of copying and pasting to 30, 40 or 50 groups.
Now I share intelligently; I send updates to 20 or so groups at a time on Facebook or LinkedIn and add another 10 groups for a more powerful, staggered approach to social sharing.
You can’t buy more time on this earth. It’s one commodity which you run out of daily. You can make more money, to free up your time, because if you spend a few bucks on tools, and do things intelligently – following my tips below – you’ll save yourself time through automating.
Automating rocks if done intelligently. Being a bot-like, serial automator will only peeve off friends, followers and just about anybody who reads your blog or connects with you on social networks.
On to the tips…
Engage frequently. Example; I just scanned my twitter @replies 10 minutes ago here in Fiji. I responded to my RTers with a few hearty, “Thank You’s”, but I scheduled these RTs for the following 2 mornings, East Coast Time.
Engaging does one of a few things. It detaches you from business outcomes, which makes you interesting. Engaging keeps things light. Engaging proves that you are listening. Not a bad thing for a blogger to prove….at least a blogger who wants to draw in a targeted, engaging audience.
I’d send out at least 4 to 5 engagement type tweets each day. Just respond with a TY to folks who RTed your stuff and ask them how their day is going. People like this.
Less Links Please
Automating rocks. Engaging rocks. Responding to requests rocks. Peppering in links rocks. But if you go “link crazy” you’re bound to turn off your readers.
Who likes someone who posts all business links, all day long? Boring. When I set up my Hootsuite (click the link for the tool I suggest…yeah, Hootsuite) updates for the day I tweet or Facebook Share or G Plus Page Share a few links. I don’t go overboard.
Links leading to blog posts, videos or sales pages do provide value for your following but people develop “link blindness” after a while.
I know I do. I tune out links because all I see is links, all day long, through some social accounts.
Think about it; who in their right mind punctuates each conversation – offline – with a lead in to a blog post, or business page. You don’t. Offline link droppers would be deemed insane, or at best, greedy bastards.
Talk about the weather, the Knicks (please, please pick up a nice complement for Carmelo), or anything not related to business, once in a while.
Automate an update asking a question of your audience. Post a funny story from your life. Just ease up on the links, so you don’t encourage your social media followers to develop “link blindness”.
As you might imagine my travel pictures are pretty popular on Facebook. I’m gaining some traction on G Plus – through my Page – and through Twitter, as you can automate on Hootsuite, picture-wise, through these 3 networks.
People love eye candy. Automate intelligently by posting eye candy. Share travel pictures, or images dressed up with inspirational quotes. Post stuff that makes folks forget the “hootsuite” link associated with the update, and keeps them focused on your breathtaking imagery.
If you can’t seem to find any good images just RT or Facebook Share one of my travel photos. I usually post 1 or 2 day, sometime between 8 AM and 10 AM in the morning and once in the early evening.
Automate some eye candy to endear yourself to your following.
Share at the Right Time
My target audience checks their feeds via desktop, laptop or mobile device between 8 AM and 10 AM during the week. Yep, they check in later in the day too, but I know how they work. Email, first thing in the day, followed by some tweeting and FBing.
Here in Fiji, I’d have to stay up until midnight to publish my post at 8:05 AM, EST, United States time. But with good old Hootsuite Pro I can share my latest post to twitter and my other social networks at 8:05 AM while fast asleep by the shores of Savusavu.
For YEARS I simply shared posts when I published new posts. Bad idea, because I spent much of my time in SE Asia, where I experienced a 12 hour time spread. Not many of my East Coast or US buddies for that matter trawl their social networks fervently at 9 PM or 10 PM, and I was publishing and sharing posts at 9 AM or 10 AM, Southeast Asia time.
Sharing at the right time helps you maximize your blog traffic and it also boosts your engagement too. Think about when your readers are hopping online to check their social accounts. Schedule accordingly.
Automate to make your sharing campaign more convenient for you and your following.
Here’s another little secret that I use; share in a staggering fashion.
Example; I will publish this post on Monday at 8:05 AM. I will then automate sharing to send out this post on Google Plus (Page), Facebook (Page and Profile), and through Twitter on Tuesday morning at 8:05 AM.
I only publish blog posts on Monday Wednesday and Friday so this approach won’t work if you’re publishing daily but if you post 1 to 3 times weekly try this staggering technique.
Keep in mind that I’ll tweet this post at roughly 4 PM Monday for the first time as that’s when I wake here in Fiji, on Tuesday morning. Yep, I’m 16 hours ahead of EST. Anyway, I’ll tweet at this time and share on each social account to spread the word.
Then I’ll follow up with automated, staggered sharing at the optimal time to boost traffic flow. Tweeting stuff a few times over the course of a few days staggers shares, and automated sharing on other networks draws in increased traffic through a variety of channels.
People check their social accounts at different times due to a variety of factors. You want the optimal times covered but these staggered follow ups help you reach folks who missed your post the first or second time around.
Automate Intelligently on Each Network
Twitter allows 140 characters.
Facebook allows a ton more characters. Google Plus, a bunch and LinkedIn, somewhere in between FB and G Plus, and Twitter.
Tailor each automated update to honor what works for each network. Twitter folk dig short and punchy titles. Facebook folks may prefer more in-depth updates, as do Google Plus folks.
Consider going heavy on your automated G Plus Page imagery; people really dig eye candy on that network.
Do not send out the same automated update to each network. Twitter-type updates will fall on deaf ears, Facebook-wise, and a long Facebook style share will be cut off on Twitter.
Hootsuite Pro indicates when you’re over the text limit for any social network. No worries, they got ya.
Smart automating requires you to note details, and to take a bit more time sending out multiple updates for a single post.
I’ll Hootsuite share this post on Twitter using about 90 characters of text at 8:05 AM on Monday. I’ll then schedule the same post to pop up on my Facebook and Google Plus Page feeds at the same time, but with a more detailed, in-depth introduction.
Sure, it takes me 2 more minutes….but isn’t drawing in a bunch more interest and inspiring more folks to blog from paradise, all while I’m fast asleep in Fiji, worth it?
I think so.
Pay for Premium
In most cases you’ll unlock the true power of automating by paying for the premium version of the tool you’re using.
I upgraded to Hootsuite Pro quickly because I wanted to be able to send out updates to more than 5 accounts, or groups. It only costs me like $9 USD each month.
If I shared the blog revenue surge, and traffic surge, I’ve experienced, based on this $9 monthly investment…..well, you’d never look at a $9 monthly investment the same way.
Pay for the premium version of the tools you’re using. Even if you’re bootstrapping I’m pretty sure you can drum up $80, or $100, or even $200 over the course of a year, right?
Don’t cheap out. Again, serious bloggers spend money to save time. Serious bloggers spend money to save themselves from boring, repetitive tasks, which frees up their schedule and allows their creative juices to flow.
I would not have written and published Blogging from Paradise – the eBook – in 3 weeks without automating effectively.
I wouldn’t be able to publish three, 2500-3000 word posts weekly and engage in an ambitious outreach campaign if I didn’t automate.
Automate folks. And if you’re going to automate, you may as well do it right.
If you don’t automate, and you want to become an island hopping, pro blogging, retired dynamo, either pay for virtual assistant or lose the dream of being an island hopping, pro blogging dynamo.
Make a tiny investment which reaps massive returns.
Don’t Stuff the Feed
I know how you feel.
Like a kid who just got his license, and your dad gave you the keys to a Ferrari.
You’re gonna take this sucker for a ride, pushing it to the limit!
Only one problem; you don’t even know how to drive a Hyundai yet so taking a Ferrari through its paces means almost certain death.
So you can imagine most people’s shock and disgust when, after sending out tweets every 5 minutes, for 24 hours, through automating, that 100’s of their twitter followers go bye-bye, unfollowing them quickly.
Same deal on Facebook. If you automate 5 or 10 updates daily you’ll lose friends and Facebook will likely suspend your account due to suspicious activity.
I know, I know, you want more traffic, and more updates seems more better to you (some serial automators have grammar issues). But sometimes it’s nice to send out an update or 2 and then, to follow up with a few hour’s worth of silence on twitter. Let people digest your updates. Let them click your sweet tweets.
Automate 2 or 3 updates to Facebook daily, max. 1 automated update works fine.
Think of my street here in Savusavu, Fiji. We might hear 5 cars drive by each hour, if that. During Sundays we may hear 1 car every hour, or every 2 hours.
I’m more likely to notice each car if I hear one an hour. I can recognize the sound. If I’m back home in NJ, in the house where I grew up, I notice no cars, because I grew up on a busy street and some 10 to 50 to 70 cars drove by each minute.
All I hear is noise back in Plainfield, NJ. Here in Savusavu, I notice the traffic.
Be subtle. Don’t stuff the stream.
Automate to a targeted market.
In my former haste I stuffed streams, sending out many updates from a stupid space. I didn’t target with tags.
Now I send out more than a few updates with tags like, #bloggingfromparadise, or #travel, or #bloggingtips, because I want folks to find me and I also want to brand Blogging from Paradise, both my eBook and my blog.
This tip is short, because there’s nothing to it.
Use tags to automate intelligently. Just stay on topic, making sure the tags relate to your niche, and don’t tag every update. Tag maybe 4 out of 10, if that. Subtlety counts.
Do They Really Care? Automate to the Right Groups
Once I started Blogging from Paradise I stopped automating to many groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
People into network marketing may or may not be into blogging from paradise. Personal development themed groups may or may not be into blogging from paradise.
If I’m automating, I’m doing so to reach a target market while I’m sleeping, or while I’m walking into town, here in Fiji.
I’m not automating to reach people who may be interested in my blog, I’m automating to reach people who want to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
This means automating only to groups who would appreciate receiving blogging tips.
Some travel-themed groups may dig my blog because I’ve talked to travel bloggers who are struggling to make their exploits a full time gig. They’re trying to crack the income code, so they don’t need to go back home and work a job for 3 or 6 months to fund their travels.
So I’ll share to these groups, and skip the rest, because automating intelligently is all about automating effectively, or automating to connect with folks who you KNOW want to hear what you have to offer.
Automate to targeted groups. Lose the others. Save yourself even more time.
First off, I just know you’ve heard about my new eBook, Blogging from Paradise.
Did you know that New York Times bestselling author Chris Brogan endorsed me with a sweet tweet? Or that million-dollar earner and internet lifestyle coach/guru Yaro Starak heartily endorsed the eBook?
Click Here to see what they say, and to pick it up of course.
Please subscribe to my blog, to receive your fix of Blogging from Paradise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 8 AM EST, United States time. Scroll up to find the email box.
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What automating tips can you add to the list?
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