Social media is a hot potato for many businesses; they know they should be doing it but that don’t have, or want to dedicate resources for it. Add to this the fact that there are so many social media platforms out there, with users not really sure of which ones they should be investing in and you can certainly begin to understand why so many utilise some form of automation in their social media efforts. The question is though is automated social media really sociable?
Scheduled posting to social media channels is still pretty sociable because the user has (hopefully) carefully curated their posts/tweets. This is a good halfway point because it makes the user have the ability to maintain a presence across wider time-scales. This could mean that they could target their postings for peak times that they may miss for example. Overall this is a pretty sound strategy as long as real time postings and engagements are there too. You have to interact to make the most of social media!
Anyone who is active on social media and uses Twitter will have seen them in their droves – the auto follow thank you message. Much like an auto response email, these messages are used by a lot of people usually promoting their brand, but the question is that is this just being sociable, or is it actually anti-social? I have to be honest; I hate them; especially if someone follows me, whom I then follow back because they look interesting only to get a “Thanks for following! Follow me on Facebook and please RT this picture!” or something equally cold. These people may think that they are “doing social” but this just isn’t social; this is just like a crappy spam SMS about PPI or email spam.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think automated thanks are just verging on insulting and shows how little regard for engagement that person has. I would rather do nothing when someone follows me and I will engage and interact with people as the opportunity arises. It’s much more personable and I am not just cluttering everyone’s direct messages. I can see how it started out as probably an OK thing, but as it grew people started to be more and more aggressive with it in a bid to nail followers on multiple channels, especially as people try to scale their social outreach.
It may be too strong to call automated messages anti-social, but they definitely stretch the boundaries of social media to its limits. I guess that for all I know it could be a really successful way of securing followers. If you have to do it please try to be mindful though; it’s the first time someone is conversing with you so don’t be too pushy! There is plenty of time to develop relationships.
At the end of the day social media is about interactions. Whether you schedule tweets or other posts it doesn’t really matter, and can in fact be a positive thing; especially if you are able to be on hand if someone engages with your posts. If you want to send automates follow greets, please try to bear in mind how it portrays you; sociable person or pushy sales person. 🙂