5 Reasons Not to Automate Your Social Media Program

 01 :: ROBOT :: 01There are good reasons to automate parts of your social media program — efficiency, expanded reach, sanity. But there are also good reasons to avoid over-automation.

Here are five reasons to rein in your social media automation:

Machines Make Mistakes

Let’s say you’re a restaurant owner. You set up an auto-responder that searches Tweets for the keyword “hungry” and send an @reply with the message “Hungry? Try Jimmy’s Big Pig BBQ on 5th Street.”

You’ll look like a buffoon when someone Tweets “The Panthers are hungry for a win.”

Scripts, bots and machines aren’t very good at deciphering context (Google Wave is, but that’s another story). Human language is subtle, and human beings are good at sniffing out a ghost.

Different Audiences Respond to Different Messages

RSS, Ping.fm and other tools let you push your blog to your outposts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). But each of your audiences is unique. Being relevant requires nuance. Blasting the same message to every audience is like giving your entire family a Target gift card for Christmas: Tacky, unimpressive, and not very thoughtful.

Relationships Aren’t Built by Automation

The #1 reason not to automate: People like people, not scripts and bots. It’s about getting people to like and trust you, not playing whack-a-mole with your sales message.

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

Not all blog posts are created equal. Some rock, and some are “Meh.” Pimping a dud post won’t make it better. Automation nixes your ability to rein in a crummy post.

Automation is One Step Away from Broadcasting

If you’re hell-bent on automating, you’re likely aiming for uber-efficiency. Wanna be even more efficient? Don’t talk to people at all. You’ll save time and energy by avoiding human interaction. Of course, it’s a bad idea, but it’s a slippery slope from automation to one-way broadcasting.

  • http://www.tommartin.typepad.com Tom Martin

    Great post. I especially like the point about not blasting the same message over every platform. Nothing screams 'broadcaster' like getting the same status update on every platform I follow someone.

    @TomMartin

  • http://www.tommartin.typepad.com Tom Martin

    Great post. I especially like the point about not blasting the same message over every platform. Nothing screams 'broadcaster' like getting the same status update on every platform I follow someone.

    @TomMartin

  • ginidietrich

    I think the key one here is “relationships aren't built by automation.” I think people keep forgetting the “social” in social media. It allows you to have more friends, around the globe, but it still has to be you!

  • http://www.scribnia.com/author/show/473/david-spinks/ David Spinks

    Good stuff here Scott

    I'd be interested to read a post the explains situations where automation is the best approach. It has to work for some people right? Right?!

    I like the gift card comparison too. Very fitting.

  • ginidietrich

    I think the key one here is “relationships aren't built by automation.” I think people keep forgetting the “social” in social media. It allows you to have more friends, around the globe, but it still has to be you!

  • http://www.scribnia.com/author/show/473/david-spinks/ David Spinks

    Good stuff here Scott

    I'd be interested to read a post the explains situations where automation is the best approach. It has to work for some people right? Right?!

    I like the gift card comparison too. Very fitting.

  • http://blog.clearcastdigitalmedia.com/ clearcast

    Scott-
    Good post. This topic seems to generate a lot of heat, too, from both sides. I made a similar post earlier this summer about why I think it's a terrible idea to link your twitter and facebook accounts. http://bit.ly/ASRMB

    I think it comes down to one word: respect. Respect your audience, and understand that while social media tools are usually free, being involved in social media is not.

  • http://blog.clearcastdigitalmedia.com/ clearcast

    Scott-
    Good post. This topic seems to generate a lot of heat, too, from both sides. I made a similar post earlier this summer about why I think it's a terrible idea to link your twitter and facebook accounts. http://bit.ly/ASRMB

    I think it comes down to one word: respect. Respect your audience, and understand that while social media tools are usually free, being involved in social media is not.

  • http://blog.clearcastdigitalmedia.com/ clearcast

    Scott-
    Good post. This topic seems to generate a lot of heat, too, from both sides. I made a similar post earlier this summer about why I think it's a terrible idea to link your twitter and facebook accounts. http://bit.ly/ASRMB

    I think it comes down to one word: respect. Respect your audience, and understand that while social media tools are usually free, being involved in social media is not.

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