Don’t Automate Your Feed

February 19, 2011
posted by sheric

A few months back I wrote a post addressing the calling out of people on Twitter for not autofollowing and how autofollowing is a bad idea. In fact, I said that I do not advocate using any automated programs for social media. It is surprising to me that so many social networking “experts” encourage their clients to do this. I realize that your time is often limited and having conversations with people is not your number one priority for your business. It is so much easier to broadcast out one way communication and that is why these automated tools have become so popular. Consider this, if you don’t have time for relationship building with your audience, don’t use social media. It is ok not to use it. Buy media advertising, set up a static website, use direct mail, these are all tools too and they are much more suited to the one sided broadcasting you are looking for than pretending with a bot.

Ways to spot a bot (which you are if you are using automated programs; you aren’t there see?)

-Your following to follower ratio is 1:1 and both numbers are high-You seriously can’t be having conversations with the 50,000 people you are following!

-You have the same message on your Facebook page, your Linkedin page, your Twitter stream, your Flickr account, you Tumblr account. Perhaps you think the connections you have on each of those sites is completely different. Have you considered that some of those people are the same and they get sick of seeing the same message from you 4 times? Stop broadcasting into the void and start speaking only when you have something unique to say on each platform.

-You seem to have a canned message ready for different times of day, every day. Do you seriously sit down and plan out what message you want to put out by the hour, every day? Do you do this in real life too? If you did, you would be very difficult to have a conversation with, mostly because you would shout out something and immediately leave the room, right? That is what you are doing when you “schedule” a Tweet or a Facebook update.

People, please listen. Social networking is SOCIAL. If you don’t have time in the day for a little social interaction with your audience/fans/clients, then don’t use these tools. They won’t work well for you. And for goodness sake, don’t pay someone to teach you how to automate your accounts and encourage you to sound like a robot! If you just have to automate, it is simple to find a free tutorial on how to use automated programs.

I personally think you will be missing out by not devoting some time in your day for social interaction, there is a lot to learn from real people on social media sites. You have to make time to do this work or have someone on your team who devotes quite a lot of attention to it [but I really think YOU should do it too]. For many people, this is how they discover new things. Not from being broadcast to, but from asking questions and getting responses, reading what their peers say, gravitating to sites where interaction is happening, getting valuable information from sites and people who are knowledgeable.

Just don’t pretend you’re engaging. Your automation fools no one.

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