Just like many others, I, too, faced a lot of difficulties and setbacks as a digital marketer. Sometimes, the biggest of lessons learned were in the most unexpected places. Exhibit A – Automated Tweets! While they may sound like saviors, I discovered (the hard way) that they can also be quite detrimental.
Let us start with taking a step back and talking about the integral phenomena that social networking has become in the lives of both individuals and brands.
According to Statista, there are over 3.5 billion social media users around the world. And as per Buffer, 73 percent of marketers find it to be an effective platform to reach their target audience.
And while your mind may not go first to Twitter, it is quite a pivotal platform, especially for businesses wishing to reflect their brand image. In fact, it is the sixth-ranked mobile app in the world. Additionally, as of 2020, there are approximately 314 million users on the platform, as reported by eMarketer.
Business owners and digital marketing strategists use the platform to interact with clients, for outreach, and for promoting their brand. The question is, how can one digital marketer micromanage everything at the same time?
This is where twitter automation comes in.
Automated tweets explained
Thanks to automation, marketers now don’t necessarily have to answer each and every query on their own. Nor do they have to worry about manually posting content at the right time. Overall, social media automation allows businesses to hand over repetitive tasks of a social strategy to a bot.
For instance, the automated Twitter message function can help a brand in responding to basic queries quickly.
This eliminates the need for a customer representative at all times. Since, as suggested by social bakers, Twitter is the platform of choice for customer queries, this automation helps to improve the engagement rate on Twitter.
Similarly, automated tweets can be scheduled in advance to ensure that you don’t miss out on the high-traffic times of the day, which tend to differ depending on the social media platform in question. This makes the task of posting content quite tiresome.
A tale of an irritated follower
There are multiple softwares that allow you to do that and one of the awesome software that I started using was Buffer App.
Buffer app allows you to set tweets, Facebook statuses, and LinkedIn shares for the future. You can set your desired time, and it will automatically publish the tweets or share them on your behalf at the time you have selected.
As Twitter is my major focus which is the reason I was emphasizing on tweets, although I also set Facebook and LinkedIn posts through Buffer. Initially, it simply had an awesome impact as I was getting an amazing click rate for each of my tweets, as well as an increase in my follower rate and Klout rank.
However, I quickly realized the flip sides of automating Twitter posts – all thanks to a tweet from Kristen of Aboutus.org, who was particularly irritated by my automated tweets! I took the hint and stopped relying on the feature.
There are pros and cons of every feature or service you use. I am not saying that automating your tweet doesn’t offer benefits – it surely was working well enough for me to be satisfied in the short-run. However, it is important to understand the bigger picture.
Quite often, you miss out certain things if you rely too heavily on automated tweets. This includes personalized interactions with customers, staying abreast with industry news, etc.
5 Essential Lessons Learnt
Overall, here are the lessons I learned from my experience of automated tweeting!
Never (ever) dance on the number game
With the rise of data analytic and social media, there is always an unsaid competition among individuals and businesses alike about getting the most followers and likes. For instance, who can forget the epic battle between PewDiePie and the T-series to get the title of the most-subscribed YouTube channel!
However, it is important to understand that number of followers isn’t everything. The quality of those numbers is more important. Don’t care (ever) if inactive and unknown people have started unfollowing you. Instead, focus on people who are active, engaging, and are part of discussions and real communication.
The amount of spam is larger than you think, so let the bots unfollow you, and you should take care of the people who are important to you!
Take out time, if you care
Among the various pros and cons of Twitter for business, one major benefit of the platform is that it allows you to interact with your target audience and industry experts directly. Automation takes this benefit away from you.
If you think that social interaction and communication are important for you and your business, then try to manage and allocate time for it. I would advise you to set timings instead of being online all the time so that your followers and people who connect with you on a regular basis know when you will be available.
Your Twitter account is not a news channel
I learned this the hard way! We need to remember that Twitter or any other social network is to share your interest and activities. It is not a news channel that requires an update after every hour or two to maintain its rankings – i.e., unless you ARE a news channel!
Instead, focus on your offerings and key message.
Do you know what one of the most popular tweets out there is? NASA’s interpretation of the World Emoji Day. They aligned it to their Apollo 50th project, which celebrated the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission.
Something as simple as a few emojis were appreciated by all because it connected to the purpose of the brand. While I am sure none of us can be as legendary as NASA sending people to the moon, we can surely take a page or two out of their book!
Accept criticism and learn from it
When people DM you or openly message you that you are wrong, do listen to them instead of ignoring or starting a fight! Try and neutrally analyze what you are up to and act accordingly.
After all, you are a human being, and humans naturally do take a nap, lunch, dinner, movie, walk, have fun, and more. Your followers understand this too. They don’t expect you to be ever-present on social media platforms. Instead, this is a pressure marketers place on themselves, all on their own.
Remember, if you are going to keep updating your Twitter account with an article after every two hours, you are not handling your Twitter account the way you are supposed but rather like a news channel that updates you with new information after every hour.
And as a follower, this can get quite annoying since your newsfeed will be spammed by only one type of content, thereby compromising their social media user experience.
There is a right way to use an automation software
No one (not even me, after a bad experience) can deny that all automation software helps businesses out a lot. However, you have an option of doing things the right way and the wrong way, and so is the case with the tweet automation feature.
If you are using or planning to use this feature the way I did, then it is probably the worst idea ever and can really hurt your reputation.
Instead, if you are looking to strike a balance between automation and being present, then automating tweets is not that bad. Automate tweets that must go out at a given time, but you can’t manually be there for it.
I believe this feature is not detrimental if you use it to interact with a target audience that is living in a different time zone. However, you should not lose that natural, personal feel to your tweets. Take some time out to stay active and participate in discussion/chats around instead of acting like a news channel’s Twitter account that keeps you updated with news on an hourly basis.
How to avoid the cons?
Here are ways you can use automation tools for tweeting without suffering from the cons of the feature.
Create a content mix
Don’t just schedule promotional posts on Twitter. Instead, combine it with personal information, brand stories, competition, and informative posts. This will give dimension to your brand personality, and the posts won’t seem robotic.
Decide on an active time
Make sure you manually log into Twitter and other social media platforms regularly to interact with your audience. Whether it be through replying to tweets that mention you or addressing DMs, your followers must see the human element of the business.
Follow daily trends and manage content
The online world has led to the immensely fast processing of news. While content might seem appropriate at the start of the month, the current climate can make it inappropriate. Make sure your automated posts don’t become a PR nightmare. Keep up with the news and trends of the industry and alter your content if need be.
Long story short – don’t rely too heavily on automation tools. Rather than giving them the steering wheel, use them only to facilitate your social media campaigns.
Since I have learned the lessons the hard way, you won’t have to! Learn from my mistakes and be wise with your Twitter strategy. And Kristen, if you are reading this – sorry for the spam, and thank you for the advice!