“Why don’t we just automate Social Media, we can then go back to doing our day jobs”
This is a direct quote from one of my “social media savvy” colleagues in Dublin the other week.
I was then dragged into a conversation of the relative merits of @Buffer vs @hootsuite. Which one was the best the best at scheduling Tweets.
To Schedule or not to Schedule
Tweets have a short “self life”, research shows that they tend to have an active duration of about 18 minutes. This is crazy from a Marketing prospective were you are looking for your message to have penetration, reach and longevity.
You could Tweet every 18 minutes, but you would come across as a spammer and need a full time Tweeter.
The Argument for
Automating repetitive tasks is a good idea. For example, if you are running a conference you can automate Tweets; coming up sessions, quotes from speakers. This would actually free you up to be more reactive (customer focused) on the day.
It can also help getting content to an audience that might other wise not see it. 55% of my followers are in the US and active when I’m asleep. I therefore schedule Tweets during that time to make sure I can reach followers mainly on West Coast time. Myself, like many brands like to have an “always on” approach to meet our global audience.
I found @Buffer made a significant impact to me. My day job is with a large American software house and the demands of this role mean I don’t have time to Tweet during the day. Buffer enables me to schedule a number of Tweets so I can tweet while in meetings.
The Argument Against
I’m writing this sitting in my favourite Deli in West London; Zoran’s. Zoran knows all his customers, he knows I like table 5 and I drink Americano. This level of personalization is not new, in fact I would call it old fashioned.
The web has provided us with many benefits, it changed our life’s (for the better). But the web has distanced us from our customers.
Social Media was sent to save us. Social Media enables us without being creepy (well you can be creepy if you want but don’t recommend it), to get closer to our customers. To get back the level of personalisation we lost when we implemented the web. We can now have a conversation with our customers, find out what their wants and needs are. In fact we can engage with our customers, I would go so far to say that customers who love our brand want engagement.
For example, many consumer goods companies are combining the web and Social Media to support new product introductions (NPIs). They are doing this via Crowd-Sourcing or via brand advocate programs.
Just think all that collective knowledge and intellect out there ready for you to tap into. No more brain storming sessions on how to innovate your products. Dive right in.
Immediacy vs Spam
I’m a big believer in using Buffer but you still have to have the the personal touch. I love the way my followers interact on Twitter, some great opinions, these people are bloody clever. So while I may use Buffer I always build in time in the day to respond. In my opinion, without that common touch and immediacy, the Twitter feed can become spam. In my opinion Social Media automation should extend no further than scheduling posts.
I’m aware of somebody that when I retweet them, they send me an automatic Tweet “thank you for the retweet”. I stopped reweeting them until I had a conversation with them and it was switched off.
Social Media is all about people-to-brand and brand-to-people engagement. Why would you want to dehumanize this engagement?
I’ll leave you with two questions:-
Are scheduled Tweets with no immediacy just spam?
If people and corporations just schedule Tweets and LinkedIn updates will this, in time, kill Social Media?
Following the recent Scredible conference I attended there was a big debate about automation. Certainly recommend reading this article by NatSchooler @NatSchooler Social Media Automation – http://socialdojo.co.uk/social-media-automation/