What Do Social Media Consultants Think About Automation?
The social media experts that I speak with are generally happy with the idea of automating posting to the various platforms they are on, but seem to have a problem with other automation and admitting they automate at all to their peers.
I have used all sorts of automation tools for Twitter in particular and found that providing you monitor your Twitter accounts very carefully you can actually mask the automation very effectively. However you do run into specific problems when you automate replys in particular, I have tried out this for live events and found that it can create all sorts of problems especially if you automatically retweet tweets.
Thanking people for retweets and favourites is something that I do believe in but have found that most of the software out there isn’t sophisticated enough to give the level of flexibility that is needed to mask the automated thank you messages, especially when people retweet and favourite multiple tweets, if a feature is enabled to switch off the thanks after the first thanks then this would potentially be another time saving tool.
So yes we agree social media is about engagement and interaction and not automated direct messages; but automated thank you for following replys can be used effectively to funnel people into your Facebook page or to drive any kind of behavior your social media plan desires.
To all the skeptics out there automation is coming and whether you like it or not with in a few years we will have virtual assistants; who will make decisions for us based on the processes we follow ourselves when deciding on how to react to incoming enquiries and requests from customers and our colleagues.
Yes there will initially be some bad decisions made, but after beta testing these kind of computer programmes will deliver a rather human like experience; generating the good will that is desired by making the right business decisions and freeing up valuable time, enabling the users to have more time to spend with friends or family and/or whatever hobbies they enjoy most.
The only real problems I see with computer generated virtual assistants are with the lack of beta testing and the corporations who will use them to squeeze more productivity out of their workforces. Unfortunately we are always striving to bring costs down to lower our margins and put our competitors out of business.
Here is a great vid from Chris Pirollo summing up best practices.