Geoff Reiner is one of the really outstanding folks I’ve met through blogging and Twitter. A few days ago, he posted “Does Social Media Automation Increase Engagement?”
For the moment, I’m not so concerned about that particular question. Social media automation is a tool. Like any other tool, it can be used for good or abused.
My question is, are you using it for good, or evil?
For instance, I have no problem whatsoever with scheduling of tweets or Facebook posts.
I have a lot of time at night. Not so much time during the day. So if I want to give a shout out to (for instance) Geoff Reiner for his great blog post, I write a tweet when I have spare time, and schedule it for a time when more people will see it. The tweet will have a greater audience, and Geoff and his team might appreciate that.
In other cases, I could tweet about seeing a particular movie, reading a book, going to a tweet-up, and so on. I’m not sure this has to be done in real time.
Some of the very best Facebook posts I’ve seen include a great photo and an intriguing question. Why can’t that be scheduled?
Automate your posts, but listen and respond with care.
Now, scheduling posts is one thing. But listening and responding is something altogether different. If your company uses social media for customer service, you better figure out a system that respects your customers. Keep regular hours, just like you do for the rest of your business.
But for most purposes, you don’t need to respond in real time. You should respond in a timely manner, but defining timely is for you to decide.
I think it’s actually kind of cool that people can engage each other over the course of hours or days. As I told Geoff, if I needed to communicate in real time with someone, I’d pick up a phone, or use Google Hangouts.
How you decide to run your social media presence is your privilege.
On the other hand, it’s easy to abuse your privileges.
I never want to get an automated direct message on Twitter. And boy are those automated DMs easy to sniff out. It’s a real good way to lose followers.
How about you? What do you like, or hate, about social media automation?