Social Media Posting and WordPress Websites: Tools and Automation

Social Media Posting directly from WordPress isn’t magic, it’s systematic. But this whole subject makes me raise the question of “Why?” What exactly are you trying to achieve with the posting tools and automation you put in place?

I believe there are a few things that you could be trying to achieve. By looking at each, we should be able to find a match between problem and solution.

Problems we try and solve with Social Media Automation

Posting to social sites when you publish an article on WordPress

The “ideal” situation is that you prep your article in WordPress and schedule a publish date and time. At that point in time, you then fire off your social post updates making everyone aware that your article has been published.

What problem are we solving?

  • We’re saving you from manually having to schedule the posts
  • Scheduling posts in advance of the article being published can be problematic, as tools like buffer can’t pull the page information into the post until it’s published

What problem aren’t we solving?

  • Posts still only get shared once, upon article publish

What features are we looking for in a tool?

  • Should allow you to control the content of the post easily, without taking more time than just formatting the article (otherwise you might as well just post it yourself!)
  • Ability to customise the content for each social channel – quickly, easily, maybe even in an automated fashion
  • Ability to optimise content for each of the social channels being shared to. e.g. Image sizes, post formats (especially when thinking about Twitter Cards etc.)
  • Ability to post to specific Boards on Pinterest

Alternative Solutions

  • Use a VA who has access to Buffer, when the post is published get them to add to your buffer and modify post accordingly

Posting different image size and aspect ratios to each Social Media Channel

The “ideal” situation is for an image to be served to each social media channel that suits their current optimal image size and aspect ratio. Further to that, you don’t necessarily want to have to display each of these images on the page, as 4 or 5 copies of the same image in different shapes and sizes won’t make great reading (and you’re site will be dead slow!).

What Problem are we solving?

  • We’re preventing sub-optimal image sizes from being served to each social media channel
  • We’re preventing the limitation of only being able to post images that display on the page to Social Media
  • We’re helping social channels know which image to serve up when other people share our content

What problem aren’t we solving?

  • We still need to generate the images ourselves in the required shapes and sizes

What features are we looking for in a tool?

  • Should allow you to select an image from the media library in WordPress without it being on the post or page
  • Should have a simple UI (user interface) that doesn’t demand the writing of individual meta tags (this takes time, is fraught with error, and at some point will need updating)

Alternative Solutions

  • Manually write out Open Graph Tags, Twitter Meta Tags, Pinterest Meta Data to ensure that the right image is selected when a URL is shared on each social media channel
  • Design 1-2 images that deal with all social channels and include them in the post (removing the need for Meta Data) then when scheduling, select the correct image (only a partial solution)

Scheduling the automatic social posting of an article into the future (recycling content) without too much labour involved

The ideal situation would be that even before the article is published, you could set a posting schedule that went out over the next year. Ideally, quickly and simply stating some sort of post frequency, with some randomisation thrown in to make the behaviour feel “human”.

Over time, especially if you have a consistent article publishing schedule, your social media feeds would be filled with your content being shared without daily intervention, as posts would be scheduled well ahead of time.

We’re looking for a “Write the article and configure the social posts once, and forget about it” solution..

What problem are we solving?

  • Having to manually scour through your old content and re-share it on social media at intervals – building in a labour intensity
  • Losing track of what you have manually re-scheduled and over-promoting some articles whilst under-promoting others
  • Or; Having to manually manage an article by article posting schedule to ensure the posts roll out over the year in a controlled fashion
  • Having to employ a VA to manually keep your social media posting schedule full

What problem aren’t we solving?

  • We still need to share other people’s content to social media, not just fill the feeds with our stuff

What features are we looking for in a tool?

  • Simple user interface, meaning posts can be scheduled without “getting into the weeds”
  • Some level of “humanisation” applied to the posting schedule (i.e. not posted at 10:03am every 21 days for 12 months) something that allows it to mix it up a bit

Alternative Solutions

  • Manually schedule the social posts into your social media scheduling tool once the article is published (Note: tools like buffer prevent you from copying the exact same post over and over, so you need to manually change it when copying the post to later in the schedule = labour = low ROI)
  • Get a VA to manage a schedule in which they go through weekly and schedule old and new articles based on a “formula” of how old the content needs to be to be shared again

The Fundamental Problem with Social Media: COST (or more accurately, ROI)

In the problems, solutions and alternative approaches highlighted above, there are some key themes;

  1. Buy some software or tool which solves the problem
  2. Build a system or process that works around a tool
  3. Go semi-auto and use a VA to control the process

So lets look at some numbers. Let’s think VA first.

What using a VA and being a little more manual looks like

If you’re posting 3 articles a day and you need your VA to:

  • Manually input Meta Tag Data and upload images to media library
  • Schedule new articles into the posting schedule, writing the posts and selecting the right images
  • Review the “old article” schedule, see what needs to be posted and setup posting for those old articles

This obviously wouldn’t be the full extent of their work, but this could take some time. You could easily see them charging an hour a day. Let’s say $10 per hour, 365 a year, that’s $3,650.

Say you can get them for $5, that’s still over $1,800 per year of recurring cost.

What the ideal situation looks like

If we got our “ideal” situations from above, this would leave you with the following tasks:

  • Upload images to your article and easily configure them to be used on social posts
  • Write text content of social post
  • Configure frequency and timescale over which the post will be shared on social media per channel
  • Click save and schedule for future publishing…

You’ve still got to write the posts and create the images. Configuring Meta Data would be a longer task if there wasn’t a simply UI. The real win is in the configuring of future posts. If a year’s worth of posting for an article can be handled in a few clicks, this will always win over having to manually review and setup a posting schedule.

Conclusion

We know what we’re looking for and there are a few options on the market. We haven’t covered off all the problems you can, and would want to solve with Social Media posing, in particular sharing other people’s content, but we’ll update the post in the near future with more information.

In the meantime, here’s a rather self-serving, but all the same extensive article from the guys at Revive outlining the options in terms of tools for solving the problems above (including their own).

https://revive.social/best-wordpress-plugins-social-media-auto-posting/

Next Scripts offer social posting and content syndication in a WordPress Plugin (with an API subscription required for some networks) https://www.nextscripts.com/social-networks-auto-poster-for-wordpress/

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