Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr...

The list of social networks goes on and on. Your brand is probably active on a number, if not all, of these social media networks.

Between creating and publishing content, planning and managing paid media, and monitoring and responding to consumer comments, community managers earn their paychecks. Working in social media, of course I would recommend being on all the platforms that make sense for your brand. And to continuously be active on each.

But, as humans, we can’t be always on 24/7. And that’s where robotic tools, like chatbots and instant messaging systems, lend a third hand to community managers. But it’s not always perfect.

While technology can provide efficiencies for some of a community manager’s responsibilities, the tools can also neglect what makes social media so effective for brands: Engagement. Being social with consumers.

As you read this article, however, you’ll see that social media needs both the human hand and the robotic hand in order to be successful, in terms of engagement and strategy. A human won’t know the best time to post a message, unless some serious math is computed, and a robot can’t configure a message that will resonate.

But, in 2018 and beyond, what social media management functions should humans do and what should we let the robots manage?

Humans should …

  • Create custom social posts for each social network.

Social media management systems allow community managers to schedule content in bulk, across all of their social media channels. The system then automatically publishes content on the selected day and time. This gives humans the ability to plan ahead, align social media programs with overall marketing strategies, and eliminate the need to a community manager to publish content late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. But the humans have to control the message. Relying on robotic tools to assemble a message for channels puts brands at risk of the incorrect message getting out to the correct channel.

That said, one size does not fit all. Each social network has its own communication style and your audiences are different from network to network. Twitter limits characters. LinkedIn has a professional tone. Pinterest plans for events while Instagram shares events in the moment. Rather than creating a post and selecting to share it across and networks, humans should take time to craft social media posts that are unique to each network. Then you can schedule your posts in a social media management system and let the robot take it from there.

  • Engage with consumers.

According to a Statista Survey, 58.6 percent of respondents said they interact with a brand on social media one to three times per day. Your consumers want to interact with you. Since they are looking and engaging, be sure to tag your products in photos or mention your brand name on their own feed.

Community managers should be ready to respond with comments personal and unique to the individual’s comment or concern, which a robot would not guarantee niche well.

Good community management increases brand affinity and loyalty, but it also gives your company another opportunity to amplify your brand voice. People unfollow brands on social media when they are seen as spammy, like a robot response with no personality.

  • Analyze social performance.

Pulling social media analytics reports is often the most time-consuming aspect to any community manager’s job. Automating reports can be a life-saver in an industry that never sleeps and always has something trending.

Humans, however, should regularly take time to review the data. A robot may be able to answer what, when and where, but only humans can answer why.

Automation can …

  • Schedule social media posts at optimal times.

Not only can a social media management schedule messages in bulk, but they can also publish them at optimal times. Maybe you want to schedule a post at 12 p.m. sharp or publish a real-time piece of content right now. Or, maybe you want to publish at the time that will give you the most organic reach and engagement. Leave it to the robots because they can do all three. Unlike us mere humans, they know when your audience is online and is likely to engage. If a piece of content doesn’t have a timestamp on it, let the robot do this job.

  • Let users know the humans aren’t here right now.

This might be an industry that never sleeps, but human community managers need to. Some social media networks allow account admins to set “away” messages that automatically reply to direct messages, and let users know their message has been received and will be responded to as soon as possible. This is only effective, however, if a human responds as soon as he or she returns.

  • Streamline customer service issues by gathering information.

Many times, customers turn to social media to express complaints or concerns about a product or experience. Depending on the size of the company, this can happen quite frequently and can become overwhelming for any already busy customer service team.

Robots – also known as chatbots on social media – can help streamline these messages by gathering information before a customer service representative or community manager steps in. Sometimes, they can even relieve a human from needing to get involved by automatically directing users to resource guides or FAQ pages on your company’s website

  • Build brand loyalty.


If your company already offers a loyalty program, then a robot may be able to help. Marriott rewards customers for connecting their social media accounts to their Marriot Rewards account, following Marriott’s social media channels, and engaging with the brand with the hashtag #RewardsPoints. Humans may have thought of this campaign, but they’re using robots to give away all the points.