For anyone who doesn’t know, I own a social media marketing business called Modern Marketing. I not only post on social media, but I consume a lot of other people’s posts as well, and there is one trend that continues to bug me. It’s something that I see time and time again, and each time shake my head at people’s inability to see their mistakes. It all stems from one overused phenomenon in the social media marketing environment…
Don’t get me wrong, automation can be an incredibly powerful tool when implemented correctly, but my issue is with the people who automate their social media posts in a way that’s damaging to their brand, and then never give it a second thought.
Let me give you a ‘for instance’…
A real-estate company primarily uses Facebook for their online marketing. In order to save themselves some time and effort they set it up so that their Facebook posts automatically get posted to Twitter as well. They’re thrilled with the idea and never give it a second thought.
This is where the problem comes in. Since they think that it really is just ‘set it and forget it,’ they never bother to check their own Twitter accounts. They don’t realize that each tweet (because it’s only 140 characters) includes no relevant information about the property that they’re talking about. They don’t realize that the photo they posted on Facebook did not get attached to the tweet. Lastly (this is the most important), they don’t realize that the link in the tweet to the original Facebook post doesn’t work on all devices, which brings people to a brand-damaging error message…
I know all about this because it happened to me. Fortunately, I became aware of the mistake early, corrected it, and now manually post on behalf of my clients every day. There will likely come a time when so much work precludes me from doing so, but when that time comes I’ll know the pitfalls and to avoid them.
I like to think that I’m a practitioner of social media, not just a headline reader. I don’t just automate my posts to save myself a few seconds, I get my hands dirty and do it myself so that I know it’s done right. Besides, at the end of the day isn’t it worth taking a little extra time to post to social media manually to ensure that it is done right, caters to that specific platform, and actually works? You want to make it as pleasant an experience for your customers as possible because they’re not going to pay attention very long if it isn’t.
Twitter is the world’s water cooler. When something happens, positive or negative, we go to Twitter to talk about it because we can see commentary from anyone and everyone, not just people in our immediate network. It’s truly unfortunate that, because of automation, people are selling on social media during these inappropriate times.
When I say “inappropriate” I don’t mean bad, or insensitive, or scandalous, I just mean that it’s in poor taste to try and sell your book or service when everyone else on the internet is talking about the Boston bombing, the attacks on Paris, a missing child, or any other event that has everyone’s attention.
I think that most people would understand that a message like “Buy my book!” or “Sign up for my seminar!” during a crisis was an automated, but it’s still in poor taste and could be damaging to that brand. The people who do this don’t take the 30 seconds to post their own update, and everyone reading it undoubtedly lost some respect for them because of it.
It continues to baffle me when I see brands, big or small, established or just starting out, not utilizing their social media accounts. They have them, but they never use them. I know this because I see a myriad of accounts with unanswered questions on their pages, in their comments, and in their inboxes. Their pages and accounts may have daily activity, which is making people think that there’s a human on the other side that of that account who is checking the page, but there isn’t. There’s a computer regularly doling out information when it was instructed to do so.
How happy do you think a potential customer is when they don’t get an answer about when that event is, the cost of your newest product, your hours of operation… all the while still seeing activity on your page? It doesn’t look very good.
I think that automation is good in certain respects. With one tap you can post a photo to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and half a dozen other social networking sites as well. It’s easy to set up a system that automatically sends a customer a receipt or an order confirmation. But automation should never, ever be used to replace or fake a real human connection. Terms like B2B or B2C (‘business to business’ or ‘business to consumer’) make people forget that it’s all really H2H… human to human. Remember that.
Blogust is my attempt to challenge myself to write every day for an entire month. The end goals include practice writing, more material on my blog, establishing a daily writing habit, and accomplishing a personal challenge. I have not given these posts any forethought, all prompts were conceived by other people.