Today, I’m asking whether too much of our social media is automated and if that affects our business in a negative way.
We are bombarded with adverts and claims that you can increase your followers quickly and easily with the latest automation tool. There are countless blog posts talking about batching and scheduling all your social media to free up your precious time and allows you to get on with running your business. And it all sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
I can completely see the appeal of automating your social media. However, I still I can’t consistently automate my posts. It feels weird and a little bit alien to me.
I’ve tried it (a number of times). Utilizing trial periods of social media schedulers and spending time finding blog posts and resources to share with my audience. But it lasted a week, two at the most before I stopped.
There also seems to be a surge in people complaining or feeling confused about how to handle and engage with automated accounts.
So, it got me thinking are we automating too much?
The whole essence of social media is to be ‘social’, to interact and join in with discussions and connect with others. Is that truly possible if we automate everything?
Let’s first talk about the worse kind of automation
If you are on any kind of social media sites you will have likely come across automation. Some of which is easy to spot including these terrible examples below.
If you are on Instagram you will have probably experienced the annoying and sometimes hilarious auto comments that are posted on your photos. I get them all. the. time.
Usually, one-word comment like ‘cool’, ‘dope’,’great’ – possibly followed by a funky emoji and most of the time has no relevance to the photo. It is painfully obvious and it makes the auto poster look bad (or at the very least foolish). I have no idea how to respond to such a comment and it doesn’t encourage me to follow the account either.
Auto Direct Messages
Seriously, who thought automatically sending a generic direct message to a new follower on Twitter was a good idea? And who would pay money to use this service?
I’m sure we have all had this happen to us at some time on Twitter. You find an account, it posts great content so you follow them and even better they follow you back. Only for them to spam your inbox with an automated generic sales message or instructing you to go to their blog or follow them on Facebook.
As the recipient of these messages, it’s not welcome and I swiftly unfollow. If you want to be seen as an actual human, avoid auto direct messages at all costs.
Have you ever felt that rush when someone likes your latest photo or post? It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? But what if the person hasn’t even laid eyes on your post. Instead, it was an auto bot!
There is auto like services for both Twitter and Instagram. It involves a bot that likes photos and posts that contain a certain hashtag. The goal is to generate more attention for your account.
Those who practice the method of following you, then unfollowing within a few hours or days because you haven’t followed back is incredibly annoying. Especially, when the same accounts try it over and over again. If all you care about is numbers then of course seeking any and all followers is what you want. But if you want engaged and interested followers it’s best to avoid the auto following tactic.
This post over on Hootsuite discusses the downsides to Instagram automation perfectly.
What about good types of automation
By using post scheduling programs you can set up your social media to post content at certain times throughout the day in advance. A huge timesaver for businesses as it frees up the time you have to spend on social media.
One thing to watch out for with this is only using scheduled posts on your profiles, as that can feel robotic. Break it up by engaging and interacting with your followers and audience to show you are actually a real, live person.
Social media schedulers you may want to try (* are affiliate links):
Maybe it’s the control freak in me but automation that likes, comments, retweets or follows on your behalf feels so inauthentic. It seems wrong to use this fake engagement purely to build numbers. If I like or comment on a post it is because I genuinely enjoyed or found it valuable not because it had the right hashtag.
Your account also runs the risk of being banned or at the very least blocked for a short time due to using some automation tools. For a business that can be extremely damaging.
Personally, I would advise against the auto ‘interaction’ tools if you want to build an engaged audience that you can connect with. Social media is supposed to be ‘social’.