Marketing in today’s world is tough — I am the first to admit it. Today, we market on way more channels (offline and online), monitor, engage and track everything yet we do it all with fewer resources and limited budgets. This is where automation can really help — right?! Yes and no. Automation has its place and time, especially in social media, but so many people do it poorly — and in doing it poorly, they either dilute the original intention or lose it entirely.
Picture this: you spent hours upon hours and dollars upon dollars to build an amazing Twitter following of people who know you, your brand and your products and see you as an expert in your industry. You have forged great ties with many of your followers through stimulating conversation and exceptional engagement efforts. This was all achievable when you were seeing smaller numbers to engage with, but now your engagement is growing at a pace you struggle to keep up with. This means you have to either scale back your engagement or increase resources, and neither of these options appeal to you. So how can you keep the intimate connections you have built and also continue building connections with new followers, without eating up more of your limited resources? Automation is perfect in this scenario if executed PROPERLY. I will say it again: PROPERLY. This means doing it in a way that does not erode the efforts you have put in thus far.
First, let’s go through some examples of what NOT to do.
Salutations Gone Wrong
My handle on Twitter is @AmandaSchewaga and my name is The Marketing Girl — but obviously my first name is Amanda, not The. I can’t count how many automated direct messages I get that start with “Hi The.” I always kindly respond back with “My name is not The, it is Amanda. :)”. Sadly, this naming error can be a real turn-off for many people, considering you couldn’t take the three seconds to learn my name, or even if they see this as just an error in your template.
This is a classic mistake. They tried to personalize with automation but failed miserably. They got my name wrong, but want me to confide in them my goals for 2016 — this degrades the integrity of their business.
Dead Responses on Social Media
Sometimes when we use automation, it causes us to “set it and forget it.” Social media doesn’t allow for that. You still need a human being checking in regularly. They need to check that your posts are going out properly and respond to conversations and direct messages; this is the minimum in my books. When I send my direct message response “My name is not The, it is Amanda. :),” one of two things occurs — either someone responds, or they don’t. Sadly, more times than not the response is radio silence which shows me that there isn’t a human behind all the messages at all, it is a computer trying to make superficial connections. The original message you send me to thank me for following you or to check out your site has been entirely lost.
However, when I have had people respond, it has resulted in very interesting discussions and helped build the relationship online. I have engaged with people across the world for hours sometimes, which makes the relationship pretty unique — and it all started with a naming error!
Once, one of these rare responses turned into an engaging conversation with an intelligent marketer across the world at 2 AM.
When no one responds, though, two automation fails have taken place: first, the first name, and second, the lack of response.
Even worse, often the messages are personal in nature. “Looks like you are influential in branding” or “Looks like you love digital marketing”… really, how do you know this yet you can’t even get my first name right?
Instead of leaving room for this sort of error, use “Hi there” as a salutation — if you don’t attempt to include their first name, you can’t get it wrong.
Pushing Followers to a Different Social Media Platform
Another aspect of the “Thanks for the follow” message is often a message along the lines of “Also follow me on these other channels!” My question is this: why are you pushing me to a different channel? I have literally just engaged with you on this one — let’s say Twitter. Why would you now want to push me to Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn? Work with me where I have just met you. Build the relationship with me here and the rest will follow.
The error with both of these is that I just followed this person and immediately, they are trying to push me to another platform before establishing a relationship on this platform.
If you want to keep your social media personal and build authentic relationships with your followers, automation is not going to work for you. The chances are too high that it will give you away and make you look like an idiot. The worst case scenario is that an #automationfail will make it look like you actually think your followers are stupid. An obvious automated message that is meant to pass as authentic does nothing more than degrade your followers’ intelligence — so use automation wisely, if at all.
I received this message and it fails in a number of ways. First, I have no idea what the purpose of it is as the message is not really clear; second, the grammar is very poor; and third, the user is using @crowdfire which automatically shows it is automated.
I know the appeal of automating your social media is as tantalizing as a cold drink on a hot day but please do it strategically so you are not wasting all your hard work or diluting your brand or message.
Not sure if automation is for you, ask me, I am always up for questions and chats! Check out my social links up top or drop me an line here.