#24: How To Keep The Human In Social Media Automation with Ava Haekler

The Internet has taken the world by storm, continually altering the playing field for marketers like myself. That’s why I wanted to delve into a specific niche of online marketing, namely social media.

In this week’s podcast, Ava Haekler speaks into social media marketing and how automation is changing things up. So join us as we delve into this topic that can sway target audiences and build relationships.


During her college years studying public relations and communication, Ava worked for Comcast. This was her first introduction to health tech startups.

From there she segued into Clarity Quest, an organization that specializes in health tech, bio tech, and info tech marketing. In the last year and a half, Ava’s helped many startups gain their footing through marketing strategies that reach the right audience.

Though she wears a lot of hats, she typically focuses on building blog posts, marketing strategies, and solid SEO foundations for other businesses.

Ava Haekler's Headshot.jpg

What is social media marketing and automation?

Marketing automation is a platform that allows you to streamline your marketing processes whether it be social media or email. It also gives you the opportunity to build strategies that work together across different channels.

Social media is more specific. It’s a way that you can interact with your audience and build brand awareness. This visibility can lead to a stronger network of potential buyers.

What’s the value?

Not everyone believes in the value of social media marketing so I asked Ava to speak into this - why should we embrace change?

Internet, she said, has the ability to reach more people faster than any other traditional method. In particular, you have instant access to these benefits through social media:

  • Personal engagement with your target audience

  • Building relationships with the people who need your product or service

  • Inclusion into a community (such as HITMC)

In short, you can build your network faster and influence more people. Automation then steps up to the plate and saves time while you build these connections. It also helps you plan out your social media ahead of time so you pinpoint the right people.

For tech companies, especially, it’s so important to have an online presence. If users are going to trust your product, they need to feel like you know what you’re doing in the first place, and online presence is one way to build this trust.

Does social media give you useful metrics?

There’s so much research out there about the best times and best places to post your material. For instance, if you’re trying to reach clinicians, you need to have a presence on LinkedIn. When it comes to email, the best time to engage is either mid-morning, lunchtime, or the after work hours.

Marketing automation makes this even easier because it can show you metrics over the course of a campaign. This allows you to shift strategies if needed to better reach your audience. In addition, it can tie into other platforms such as Google Analytics for an even better snapshot.

Marketing automation platforms to consider

Choosing an automation system is about knowing what you need. Some people simply need basic email functions such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. Others may need more involved outreach capabilities.

Depending on your social media needs, you may want to look into a platform like Buffer or Hootsuite since they offer an all-in-one stop for your social media strategy. Just make sure that whatever you’re paying for, you’re actually using.

How to do this well?

Ava’s worked with a lot of marketing initiatives so she’s seen strategies go awry and ones that really take off. One company she’s worked with takes a very strategic approach to automation and social media, tying several distribution channels together in the process.

Whenever this company is attending a conference or trade show, they do a huge social media push that draws traffic to their booth. Typically they also have giveaways and incentives, too.

Their social media push starts about a month before and ends the week after the event. Included in this strategy are newsletters, blog posts, and emails. They even create customer-centric blog posts with information about the city hosting the event, highlighting specific restaurants and attractions in that area.

Up front you can see a thriving social media plan, but behind it all is automation. During the actual event, employees need to be able to focus on potential buyers, not be tied up on their phone. So Ava helps them set up this whole plan ahead of time, making multiple channels work together for better awareness.

What types of posts work best?

Automation is a huge asset in marketing these days. However, it runs the danger of making you (or your company) look robotic. Of course, you want to emphasize the professional stuff, but you also want potential buyers to see the human side of your company.

One way to do this is to regularly interact with comments on your posts. If followers are showing interest in you, you need to be showing interest back. Plus, it gives you a great opportunity to prove that you’re not a machine.

How to get started in social media automation

Maybe you’ve tried to sporadically post on social media before. Or maybe you’ve never even attempted engagement through social platforms. Regardless of where you find yourself, here’s how you can get started.

  1. Figure out WHERE your audience is

  2. Develop a routine schedule for posts

  3. Use different sources: curated content, video, and pictures.

If you’re wanting to use social media effectively, you don’t need to be on every platform. You just need to be on the RIGHT platforms. For instance, if most of your target audience isn’t on Instagram, then it shouldn’t be a part of your strategy.

When you do start posting, try to stay consistent. This may mean posting once a month and then gradually growing to posting several times a week. In all of this, try to establish a routine that over time can grow into more posts.

What do most people get wrong?

As was already mentioned, it’s super easy to portray yourself as a robot. But customers want to see the personal side of your startup. They need to know they can trust you. If you neglect your audience by not responding personally, you can erode this trust.

In addition, if you’re trying to put forth a really polished perspective of your company, you need to know what kinds of dimensions each social media platform uses for pictures. For instance, Facebook crops images differently than Twitter or LinkedIn. Knowing this can help you adjust your photos so they look really professional.

Must-read book

Ava is a book-lover. One of the books that has impacted her professionally is Grit by Angela Duckworth. As she read this book, she realized that success is achieved not necessarily through talent but through hard work and grit.

Another genre she enjoys is crime and mystery. Recently, she’s been reading books by Ruth Ware such as In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10.

Want to connect with Ava? Find her here:

Twitter - @avahaekler

LinkedIn - Ava Haekler

Like what you hear?

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And, as always, if you need help with your marketing…

Let’s talk. You can book your free consulting session with me today.