Marketing personnel is under constant pressure to achieve results through their digital marketing efforts, and that means keeping up with multiple conversations across various platforms, and making posts which are engaging for readers, and help to increase brand recognition. This would simply not be possible without the help of automation, so it’s very important that marketers keep themselves well-informed about any changes in automation rules on social media. Changes in automation rules for the major platforms which go into effect for 2019 are discussed below.
Instagram automation rules
Instagram has released statistics showing that at least 80% of its users currently follow a business owning an account on the platform. In a recent change, Instagram altered its API so that posting and scheduling to business pages would be possible using third-party tools. This was done in order to help businesses more effectively manage their pages and their general accounts.
This has proven to be very helpful for businesses, but Instagram has now followed up that action by establishing limitations on those third-party tools, which have largely been used to automate the commenting and following or un-following actions. Businesses which use third-party tools to comment and to like, thereby generating non-genuine follows, will be given a warning by the platform to cut ties with those third-party tools and to change their passwords. Businesses which don’t comply will risk having their accounts terminated.
Businesses and marketing personnel specifically should react to this change by continuing to use automation for post scheduling, but all other actions on the platform should be done manually. While this may result in a temporary reduction of engagement numbers, some of Instagram’s new features like Stories and Instagram Live should more than make up for those lost opportunities. Instagram Live, in particular, is growing by leaps and bounds, with 100 million users now sharing or watching live content daily.
LinkedIn automation rules
LinkedIn does not support as many third-party tools as the other platforms do, but it does still allow for LinkedIn updates to be posted on personal and business pages, via third-party applications. What it does not allow is for any kind of bots, extensions, plug-ins, or third-party crawlers, nor does it permit software to be used which modifies, scrapes or automates activities on the site.
In spite of these limitations, there are still a great many tools which marketers can put to use on LinkedIn for automating important activities. However, when such third-party applications are used on the platform, the account owner runs the risk of having their account restricted or shut down completely.
This means that marketers have to be very careful about using any kind of application which has the capability of automatically viewing LinkedIn profiles, of automatically sending messages to LinkedIn users, or which can scrape emails on the platform. All marketers who use LinkedIn InMail to accomplish activities related to sales should emphasize authenticity, and should also be wary of sending out similar messages to multiple users on the platform.
Twitter automation rules
Since over 21% of all American adults now use Twitter in some way, the platform has deemed it essential to keep itself spam-free and safe for all its users. To accomplish this, Twitter has recently introduced several new rules pertaining to automation activities and spamming, in an effort to crack down on bots and fake profiles.
While these new rules have received solid general support, it has also caused some uncertainty for marketing personnel. The main limitations recently introduced are in regard to duplicate content, the recycling of tweets, and bulk actions or simultaneous actions such as following re-tweeting, or liking. Reacting to this, markers will need to avoid posting identical content or content which is substantially similar, to any given Twitter account or to multiple accounts at the same time.
It is possible to get around this restriction by re-tweeting content associated with one account, by using different accounts. Any kind of aggressive, high-volume automated retweeting should be avoided, so as not to run afoul of Twitter authorities. Marketers should also avoid posting multiple tweets which deal with a trending topic or hashtag, and which have the intention of manipulating the topic’s popularity.
Although using third-party automation tools is still allowed by Twitter, they should not be used to accomplish bulk actions such as liking or re-tweeting. These kinds of activities should all be done manually, and instead of duplicating and posting the same tweets repeatedly, markers should alter the copy somewhat before posting.
Facebook automation rules
As the world’s most popular social media platform, Facebook is constantly changing his policies to fight the proliferation of misinformation on the platform. Considering that fake accounts are the biggest source of misinformation, it removed more than 1.5 billion fake accounts in a seven-month period during 2018. Facebook also announced that it would disallow the usage of third-party tools to post content, or to schedule content directly to users’ personal profile pages.
Facebook also incorporated updates to its news feed algorithm which favored content from users’ family and friends, as opposed to content from brands and businesses. This, of course, has marketers scrambling to consider other alternatives for promoting their brands on the platform. A great many marketers have been impacted by these changes in a major way, especially those who have used automation tools to post content to personal pages. That leaves manual scheduling and posting as the only available option for publishing content to personal pages at present.
While the goal of Facebook’s updates has been to increase the level of authentic interactions between its users, it has caused a general decline of engagement on business pages, and this has some marketers wondering whether Facebook marketing should continue to be a part of their overall digital marketing efforts. However, it is difficult to completely abandon Facebook as a means of increasing brand recognition and engaging with a target audience, simply because of its overwhelming popularity, and the huge worldwide audience of users that it supports.