As with any marketing, it needs to constantly reviewed, tried and tested and I tried to do that with my newsletter. And what a mistake I made! I tried to set up an RSS feed so that blog posts went out automatically to my subscribers and it failed miserably. It was a mess.
Social media automation that can do more harm than good
And it taught me a valuable lesson in trying to automate too much. This lesson reminded me of the article I wrote on ‘The pitfalls of social media automation’ and the damaging effect it can have on your audience.
Which brings me on to another area of automation that many small businesses do. The setting up of automated responses when you follow someone on Twitter. Do you hate these? I most certainly do. It is so obvious that they are automated and are so impersonal and sometimes can border on being offensive. Take the instance of a restaurant that I visit on a regular basis. I followed them and was chatting with the owner on Twitter when suddenly I received a direct message asking me if I ever visited North Devon and if I had ever visited the restaurant!
This had such a negative impact. For a start, just a simple bit of investigation would reveal I was from North Devon. But for a regular client who spends a lot of money with that business, if I wasn’t online with the owner and could tell him what had just happened, I would have been insulted to be messaged in such a way that made my custom feel wholly insignificant.
This is also the danger when outsourcing your social media to companies who don’t know your clientèle and don’t bother to do a few checks and balances before posting. So beware of too much social media automation or using a marketing company to do everything for you. There are some organisations who do get it right and do a great job for their clients. But there are also those that send out a bog standard message on behalf of all their clients and therefore if you follow more than one of their clients you get the same mundane message over and over again.
A refreshing moment in marketing
So it was very refreshing today that after I had tweeted about a certain subject, I received an email. The business who had read my tweet had taken the time to look at my bio, get my email address and then send me some really good and useful information. They didn’t try to sell to me but just started to build a relationship.
I replied and said thank you and then we got chatting. Yes, this personal approach takes far more time but I can guarantee you it will be far more effective in getting you loyal clients in the long term.
So beware before you think about social media automation for your business. Make sure you know what you are doing and still retain the personal touch.
Anyway, back to the drawing board for me and more manual labour!!
What are your thoughts on social media automation? Leave your comments in the box below.
Social media automation
There are so many tools out there today that can save us time and make scheduling social media posts so much easier. But are they always effective?
I have always used Buffer on the free programme that only allowed me to schedule up to 10 posts at any one time. Last week I decided to try Hootsuite as with this software you can schedule as many posts as you like. I sat and scheduled a variety of posts for the next week. I then sat back and gave myself a pat on the back and felt more relaxed that I didn’t need to blog into Buffer every day to keep it topped up.
But what happened?
The reach on my posts dropped from 500+ to less than 50. The interactions on my posts dried up. But why?
I stopped and thought about this as it couldn’t possibly be the fault of Hootsuite. I must have done something differently.
And then it hit me.
With scheduling just a few posts at a time, I was taking more time with each and injecting a bit more of my personality into each. Scheduling up to 50 at a time made me lose my enthusiasm and I just posted the bare bones, facts and links. Quite frankly, they were boring!
So whilst using social media automation and having the ability to post weeks in advance can save a daily check, be careful that you don’t fall into the trap that I did and they all start to become over automated and somewhat mundane.
People buy people first and without your own comments and injection of personality you are in danger of turning into just another faceless site.
So be careful folks. If you are going to schedule lots of posts at once, do it when your energy levels are high and you have enough interesting comments to make. And remember that any industry news you schedule may well be out of date by the time your post appears.
I will most certainly use Hootsuite again when I am going to be away for a few days or on holiday for a week or so, but personally I am going to stick to Buffer for day to day posts where I can give something fresh to my posts each day.
Finally, please make sure that if you do automate for periods in advance that you still check in each day to your social media channels to respond to any interaction on your page. There is nothing worse than putting in all the hard work for someone to ask you a question and they then get ignored. This has happened to me when I asked a question of a business and I never got a response. I ended up unfollowing the business in question as I felt they couldn’t be bothered to get back to me and so didn’t want my custom. What a waste of their effort and time.
What works for you? What social media automation do you use? Let me know over on the Facebook page.