Social Media Automation Tools

While I was in Paris speaking at SEO Camp I was asked if I would appear on Jason Barnards Podcast, Jason was looking for me to discuss Social Media Automation which is a topic I love as using tools to do a lot of the grunt work has always been my thing, and in general I do love playing around with new tools to see what they do and what I can get away with.

 

 

Transcribed Version of the Podcast

Jason Barnard:
Lovely. Nice to meet you Craig, I’ve already met you a couple of times, but I know that since the last time we’ve met you’ve had a baby boy.

Craig Campbell:
Yes, baby boy.

Jason Barnard:
Same accent as you already?

Craig Campbell:
He whines like me, yeah. He whines a lot, but I’m not sure about the accent just yet. But hopefully he will.

Jason Barnard:
All right, he’s not talking yet. What, he’s two months old yeah?

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, two months old.

Jason Barnard:
Okay.

Craig Campbell:
So, a bit early for talking.

Jason Barnard:
Is there a crying Scottish accent? Do Scottish babies cry-

Craig Campbell:
Mine doesn’t, mine doesn’t. He’s actually a good guy.

Jason Barnard:
He doesn’t cry at all?

Craig Campbell:
Doesn’t really cry. The only time I’ve ever seen him cry, he was born and he had a touch of jaundice and they jagged his heel to take blood out of it, which looked quite sore. So, that’s the only time I’ve ever heard him cry properly. He moans, like if he’s hungry and he’ll go “Oh-oh-oh.” And he makes all these wee noises, but that wasn’t a good impression of the noises, that’s probably just me being an old guy. But yeah, no he’s not really a crier, so it’s hard for me to tell whether he cries like a Scottish baby.

Jason Barnard:
All right, well there you go. We’ll never know, or you can think about it next time.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah.

Jason Barnard:
Well, we’re now in Paris, we’re at the Usine, and you can confirm that’s a really beautiful place to have a conference.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, lovely place.

Jason Barnard:
It’s great, isn’t it?

Craig Campbell:
It’s not the same type of venue I’d expect, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but yeah, it’s very French.

Jason Barnard:
Yeah, very French. They’ve got potted plants hanging from the roof, that’s pretty cool. And then they’ve got beer pong later on, which you’re going to win.

Craig Campbell:
Hopefully, hopefully. I confidently say I’ll get to the last eight anyway.

Jason Barnard:
The last eight standing.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. Last eight standing at the bar. We’ll leave that vague.

Jason Barnard:
All right, brilliant stuff. We’re going to talk about social media, the more serious stuff.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah.

Jason Barnard:
I didn’t know you were a social media expert, except for the fact you’ve got loads of followers. What’s your favorite social media platform?

Craig Campbell:
Social media platform that works best for me would probably be Facebook, if I’m being honest. I’ve got a lot of followers on Twitter, but you know what it’s like in all the big long threads and all that, it’s jokey and you get some banter on there, but in terms of business to be had and interacting with people on a serious level, I think Facebook’s probably the best for me.

Jason Barnard:
Not LinkedIn?

Craig Campbell:
LinkedIn’s good as well, but not as good as it once was.

Jason Barnard:
Why’s that? What’s gone wrong?

Craig Campbell:
What’s gone wrong? With LinkedIn, I think it’s just very spammy now. I think with Facebook you’ve obviously got the opportunity to decline people and stuff like that where, and you can do the same in these other platforms as well, LinkedIn and stuff, but it’s just very salesy LinkedIn for me now. People are just spamming it to death, and when LinkedIn worked really well for me was probably three or four years ago when I was using a lot of automation. So, I was following people … Not following people, endorsing people and viewing their profile, all that kind of stuff, and that worked really well for me, but I think a lot of people have now caught onto that, so I think it’s now very spammy, and for every 20 inquiries you get through, one might be genuine, and then it’s the rest of them going, “Look at me, look at this service, look at that service.” So, yeah.

Jason Barnard:
I’ve got a question then, about LinkedIn, because what I’m currently doing is saying, “Okay, I’m using LinkedIn to identify named entities to Google and to Microsoft, because it belongs to Microsoft, so Microsoft presumably understands the platform, and Google presumably can use it to identify individuals.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah.

Jason Barnard:
Is that a good idea, a bad idea? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Craig Campbell:
No, definitely not. There’s different ways you can use LinkedIn, outwith the general just connecting with guys you know and sending them a message, “Hello, how are you?” Networking and stuff like that. You can certainly use it for looking at people, there’s also cool little plugins, there’s one in particular called Contact Out. So, if you were doing outreach, for example, which is not social media marketing, but if you were doing outreach, for example, and you’ve got that Chrome extension, it basically scrapes the LinkedIn profile and gives you the email address, phone number, all that stuff, just at the push of a button. So, in terms of what you’re saying, looking at people or pulling data together, there’s so many other things you can do with the data on LinkedIn that maybe people are not that aware of. A lot of people are just using it as a spam thing now-

Jason Barnard:
I’m just using it to research the guests so I can find something embarrassing I can say about them.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. Well, LinkedIn, I’m sure there’ll be dirt on there somewhere. But no, there’s a lot of data on there, and if you look in the right places you can certainly get the right stuff. So, LinkedIn, it’s not dead in terms of a social media platform for me, I still do get stuff through it, but I just feel that it’s got really spammy in the past couple of years.

Jason Barnard:
Yeah. Well, you mentioned Facebook. Kate Toon was telling me, “Get yourself a Facebook group, that’s the way to move forward for the podcast.” And I haven’t done it yet because I don’t know how to do it. I’ve just been on Twitter and LinkedIn, and for me, literally six months ago I wasn’t doing any social media at all, so all this is completely new. I’ve been at it for six months, and I’m doing okay, but I think I could probably do a lot better, and Facebook is apparently where I’m missing out.

Craig Campbell:
Facebook, I would definitely say, the SEO community in general, a lot of these guys are on Facebook. So, when I’m on Facebook I’m interacting with people who possibly want to do some consultancy, they might want to buy links, they might want training. So, everyone’s on there looking for different things, and there’s Facebook groups that sell websites, or whatever you’re interested in, or podcast groups, or whatever. There’s a group for everything, and there’s even groups, if you like fancy cars, or music band groups for things that you’re into, I’m sure there’s groups that are really good for people who obsess over the bass, or whatever it is you play. So I think Facebook …

Jason Barnard:
Yeah. Whatever it is you play.

Craig Campbell:
No, I’m just not a music guy, so I’m not sure the right terminology, so I’m not being funny with that one. But yeah, that big thing, I would have called it a trombone, if I’m being honest.

Jason Barnard:
Oh right, okay, yeah.

Craig Campbell:
I know it probably looks nothing like a trombone, it just looks like one to me.

Jason Barnard:
It’s a double bass, and you’ll see it tomorrow. So basically what I’m now hearing, and I haven’t really thought about it, Twitter’s for having a chat with your mates, LinkedIn is for putting out your business idea, the fact that you are who you are, and Facebook is actually looking for business. So, I’ve completely missed the boat.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. Facebook, you also can be yourself, whereas LinkedIn you have to be seen as semiprofessional because people are always on your case if you say something that’s maybe controversial if you like, and Twitter, I feel is just full of trolls now.

Jason Barnard:
Yeah, so LinkedIn’s professional presentation. Yeah okay, no, you’ve got me excited about Facebook, I’ll be having a look at that. Now, tell me about automation.

Craig Campbell:
So, what I was saying earlier was there was a tool that worked really well for me, in terms of LinkedIn, and it still works really well for me to this day. So, there’s a tool called linkedhelper.com.

Jason Barnard:
Linkedhelper?

Craig Campbell:
Linkedhelper.com. Not LinkedInhelper, just linkedhelper. And it costs you $15 a month, and basically what it does is it allows you to invite connections, you can message recently added connections, all on autopilot, and I’ve actually got a tutorial on my website. So, anyone that you recently connected to on LinkedIn, you can send them a message saying, “I’m Jason Barnard, I’ve got a podcast.” You can do that, you can send a message to these people, endorse them, follow them on LinkedIn as well, you can remove connections, you can also, as I say, add connections as well. So, if I wanted to add people that were SEO agency owners, I’d just do a search for that, collect all of the agency owners, and there’s probably going to be a million of them on there, and this bot will basically go through all of those agency owners and connect with them for me.

Craig Campbell:
So, the thing for me, when I first started out with LinkedIn years ago, I used to get up at seven in the morning, and the wife would go in and have her shower and wash her hair, so I’d just be lying there just wakening up, and I would go onto my LinkedIn and just go add, add, add, add, add constantly. Just on the phone, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang for 20 minutes while she was in the shower, and that was my routine every day, and I built up quite a following doing that, but the fact that these bots and stuff are doing that now for you, on autopilot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for $15 a month, you can basically message people, and what I’m not wanting to come across as-

Jason Barnard:
You can now do it in the time that she gets out of bed and closes the bathroom door.

Craig Campbell:
Yes. So, for me, that type of automation is really good. Not to spam people, because I don’t believe in spamming the life out of people, but I certainly think there’s certainly features on there, in terms of adding people who are mutually maybe going to want to talk to you, softly pushing your services out there, and just maybe even sending a message saying, “Hi there, I do a bit of training, if you want to talk to me,” or whatever. And I think even just looking at people’s profiles, people tend to look at your profile back, and then the amount of times I’ve done that and people have said, “Oh, I so happen to be looking for an SEO guy. Can I talk to you about this?” or “Can I talk to you about that?” Or whatever it may be. So, automation on LinkedIn, that tool’s pretty good.

Craig Campbell:
There’s also other tools like jarvee.com, so that’s J-A-R-V-E-E.com, and that works for Twitter, Facebook, and all these other things. So, the key part on Twitter was, how do you get good followers, or good quality relevant followers? And a lot of people-

Jason Barnard:
Because you’ve got tens of thousands, and they’re quality.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, yeah, they’re all good people. And a lot of people joke, “You bought them from Fiver.” Or whatever, and I could potentially go out to Fiver and buy 10,000 eggheads and project my message to people who are never going to reply, that’s just counterproductive. But this Jarvee, basically what it does is you can set it up so that the bot follows everyone who follows you, who follows SEMrush, who follows Bill, Cindy, Dawn Anderson, whoever the hell it may be, and you change that up all the time. So, if you were clever and you set that up properly, this bot follows them all and people will automatically follow you back. If they don’t follow you back, you can set the … So, there’s a setting in the tool where if they don’t follow back after 10 days, or 14 days, or whatever you set it at-

Jason Barnard:
You unfollow.

Craig Campbell:
It unfollows them for you, and that’s something I’ve run for years on there, so I’m building up a real genuine audience.

Jason Barnard:
Is that how we connected?

Craig Campbell:
Probably yeah, but I’ve connected with that many people online, I’ve no idea where it all started. Probably was all bot stuff, but I think automation is key. Obviously I think the biggest part of social media is having your own personality and your own stamp on the actual messages you send to people and how you interact with people, but I certainly think there’s nothing at all wrong with automating a lot of the grunt work, or processes, if you like.

Jason Barnard:
I think that’s something you said to me in Leeds, when we met up about eight months ago, it was just before I started. Lucky you did, because it is you are who you are, and that’s where it’s going to work. But now you’re talking about automation, what are the traps, where does it go wrong?

Craig Campbell:
With the tools I’ve just mentioned, it doesn’t really go wrong. The linkedhelper has its own inbuilt safety features, so you can’t just connect with 5000 people a day. It stops and starts and it keeps you within the LinkedIn limits, and I can’t remember off the top of my head exactly what they are, but I think the most you could probably add is I think 150 a day on linkedhelper, don’t quote me on that. The key part of this tool is doing it all day every day, just setting it up. I’ve got it on a virtual computer, and it just works, and works, and works, and I just change the settings every week. So, I’m only adding 150 people a day, it’s not spammy, it’s not going to get me banned.

Craig Campbell:
So, there are other tools out there that will probably allow you to connect with 1000 people, you’re then going to get warnings from social media saying you’re spamming it, you’re not going to be allowed to add people for five days, or whatever their limits are, and most of these automated tools, the same as Jarvee and everything else, don’t allow you to go over that.

Jason Barnard:
I mean, choosing your tool you’ve just got to be really careful that it’s not a tool that’s just going to get you in trouble.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, just a little tool that some guy’s thrown together, and I think with anything anyway, if you were going to do that, I think you have to be realistic with yourself. How many people could you physically follow in a day? Probably a couple of hundred on Twitter, if you were manually doing it. So, if you did so happen to go for a cheaper tool, then try and make it look real and not flag yourself up. I do know that Twitter, it’s several hundred people a day that you can follow before you start getting the message saying, “You can’t do this anymore.” So yeah, you just want to try and keep under those limits, but the tools do that for you.

Jason Barnard:
Right, okay.

Craig Campbell:
So, I think technology’s advanced, and automation’s advanced, you don’t even have to give that a second thought now.

Jason Barnard:
No, sure, because idiotically I’m now looking at thinking, “I’ve been doing it the wrong way, I’ve been doing it properly myself.”

Craig Campbell:
Well, you look at it, right, for the LinkedIn one, $15 a month, and that works for you 30 days a month for $15. You’re not going to get a cheaper rate than that, and it just works 24/7.

Jason Barnard:
No. And then the other one, which I can’t remember the name of.

Craig Campbell:
Jarvee.com.

Jason Barnard:
Jarvee is Twitter and Facebook.

Craig Campbell:
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all of that kind of stuff.

Jason Barnard:
Okay. Do you use Instagram?

Craig Campbell:
I do have Instagram. I don’t feel it’s great for the type of business, or the business that you operate in.

Jason Barnard:
No, I was thinking, posting pictures of myself isn’t going to get me anywhere.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, exactly.

Jason Barnard:
Sorry.

Craig Campbell:
Or me. But no, I think in terms of businesses like hairdressers, or some business, photography even, businesses that are selling visual stuff, they can do well on Instagram. For us, how the hell can we show good SEO through a picture on Instagram or whatever?

Jason Barnard:
No, no, sure.

Craig Campbell:
So, unless you’re Brad Pitt on there …

Jason Barnard:
I look like Brad Pitt.

Craig Campbell:
You look a bit like Brad Pitt, yeah.

Jason Barnard:
Thank you very much.

Craig Campbell:
So, yeah. So I think Instagram doesn’t work that well for me, but it’s not something I’ve gave a right good shot of, to be honest, it’s just one of those social media platforms I’m like, “I’ve got it and it’s there, can I be bothered doing a bit on it? Not really.” And no one’s ever came to me through it or anything, in terms of asking about training or things like that.

Jason Barnard:
Where would it go horribly wrong if you’re doing all this automation? You’re saying, it can go horribly wrong, if you’re careful, so you’re really safe.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah.

Jason Barnard:
Next question; what’s going to happen next? In 2020 what do you think you’re going to be doing on social media, how do you think you’ll be dealing with it? You’ve got, what, 80,000 followers is it? I think it’s something like that.

Craig Campbell:
Something like that, yeah, can’t remember.

Jason Barnard:
I mean, I 2020 you’re going to have 200,000.

Craig Campbell:
More. Yeah, just continue to grow, but I think obviously something I’ve been playing about with is the automated chat bots and stuff like that, and that’s something-

Jason Barnard:
Sorry, I’m interrupting you. Do you have one that immediately likes and retweets somewhere where you’re mentioned, or is that really stupid?

Craig Campbell:
You can do that on jarvee.com as well, so there’s loads of different stuff.

Jason Barnard:
Okay. Is that a good idea?

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, why not?

Jason Barnard:
I suspect some of the people I know, who I won’t name, do it, because I post something and the like is much too fast, and the wrong time of day for them, they must be in bed.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. So, you can do it any mention, you can like, retweet it. You can also on this tool, if you wanted to, if I wanted to share Jason, your stuff, three times a day-

Jason Barnard:
Please do.

Craig Campbell:
You can program that bot to share three of your tweets per day, just at random as well.

Jason Barnard:
Oh, okay.

Craig Campbell:
So, you can actually do that, but to schmooze people you can go and like their stuff and all that on autopilot as well.

Jason Barnard:
Schmooze, what does schmooze mean?

Craig Campbell:
Say, for example, you wanted Rand Fishkin on your podcast, and he doesn’t know who you are. You can just start to like a few of his things, and get in his good books, and massage his ego a little bit, retweet some of his stuff, and then go, “Rand, been following your stuff for years, how about coming on the podcast?” And it may work. Rather than just coming out of the darkness and-

Jason Barnard:
Yeah, I actually just asked him nicely on LinkedIn, and it worked.

Craig Campbell:
Well, sometimes this works, but I think sometimes people like their ego massaged a little bit and that can work. I’ve done that a few times myself where I’ve not known someone.

Jason Barnard:
No, no, I think the thing about it is, with the podcast, people are saying yes because there was a webinar. We were talking about that earlier on with Anton. I got the webinar, the webinar was good, people know that the interviews, I hope, are nice and friendly and informative, so it becomes … that wasn’t the question. I interrupted you completely when with were talking about the future. I want to know what you’re going to be doing in 2020, because I want to do know what you’re going to be doing in two years time, well a years time, sorry.

Craig Campbell:
You mean personally or on social media?

Jason Barnard:
On social media, what’s your tactics going to be next year?

Craig Campbell:
On social media. I want to get stuck into the automated chat bots and stuff like that, I would like to set that up properly, something I have played about with, I don’t find them that accurate just now. You can set them up and you can drop some information on there, but sometimes it goes horribly wrong and makes you look stupid. So, hopefully with technology, and me upping my skills on that side, and learning more about the tools and the ways to work them all properly, then that’s something I would like to do, is just set up a lot more automation on the chat bot side, and for me, the things that I sell would be consultancy, bu a lot of the other stuff I sell is training courses and stuff, so it should be quite easy for someone to come onto, say my Facebook chat bot for example, and it asks them some questions, and then throws them the link to the basic training course, or whatever it may be. But some people still like human interaction at the moment, and-

Jason Barnard:
Surprising.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. When I’m trying to nail automation, people all of a sudden want to talk, and then before, no one ever wanted to talk, did they?

Jason Barnard:
Oh right.

Craig Campbell:
So, nah, it’s a weird one. But no, I think sometimes you’ve got to have human interaction, so it’s something I think will develop over the next year or so, I’m sure. It’s developed, everything’s always developing, and it’s just keeping on top of it and adding to it.

Jason Barnard:
Yeah. David Bain was using chat bots for hid digital marketing, signing up for his digital marketing podcast, when he was doing the Facebook thing at the end of last year, and I actually found it pretty good, I found it fairly convincing. I didn’t feel uncomfortable, I felt that the answers corresponded to what I was actually looking for, but you immediately notice that it’s a chat bot, because it’s too quick, because the answers are pretty pre boxed, but I think he did a pretty good job of it.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah. I’m pretty sure there’s certain settings within certain chat bots that you can actually specify the time it takes to answer as well.

Jason Barnard:
Oh, okay.

Craig Campbell:
I’ve certainly seen things like that. So, things like that where it’s not just a ping like that, where it looks fake, just to give that user experience, if you like, would be a lot better, but it’s one of those things that I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on chat bots or anything, it’s just something I’m dabbling in and trying to get my head around and play about with it, and figure it out. I’m sure David has probably been playing about with it for a lot longer than me.

Jason Barnard:
Yeah, it’s an example because it’s one of the few times I’ve actually talked to a chat bot, and I found it quite pleasant because it was well set up. Well done David.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah, he’s a good guy. He’s a good Scottish guy as well, so he knows his stuff.

Jason Barnard:
Oh right, good point. So, we should only have cited Scottish people, but you mentioned Rand Fishkin, it’s your fault.

Craig Campbell:
He’s half Scottish.

Jason Barnard:
Is he? All right.

Craig Campbell:
Somewhere, there’s got to be. Someone called Rand’s got to have some Scottish blood in him somewhere.

Jason Barnard:
That’s a good point, that’s a good point. So, basically next year we are going to be looking at chat bots and we’ll be having another chat about your chat bot experience then.

Craig Campbell:
Yeah.

Jason Barnard:
Brilliant stuff.

Craig Campbell:
Hopefully I’ll be able to give you some tips on-

Jason Barnard:
Well, you’ve already given me lots of tips. I’m going to go off and look at whatever it was, the Facebook and Twitter, thank you very much.

Craig Campbell:
The tools, yeah. No worries.

Jason Barnard:
(singing)

Craig Campbell:
Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 17 years.

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