Automating and Alienating
Automation is everywhere from your coffee pot to your cell phone. Everything in your house that is less than 15 years old has experienced automation at some point whether in development, production, distribution, or operation. The whole world runs on automation. It’s so prevalent we often take it for granted.
I’m big on conversational social media. I try to follow everyone who follows me, thank them for the follow, and ask a question or post a witty comment. It’s getting harder to do because I used to have one or two people a day follow me on Twitter. Now, I’m getting dozens each day and it’s speeding up. I’ve been tempted to automate the process as I have seen so many of my contemporaries doing. Many people, once I follow them, will follow me back in an instant, and send a DM with a free ebook link. Automation of engagement is not in my long term strategy, but is all automation bad?
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Automation of Content, not Engagement
I believe automating the posting of content is acceptable as long as it does not replace true engagement. This article you are reading is a product of automation. I wrote it on April 4th, it went to my editor, and was scheduled to be published on the 8th and went live on the 12th. Then the day before it went live, I logged onto Buffer to schedule the posting of the link, and copy to Rae Publishing’s various social media platforms.
Only use automation to get your content out where it needs to go. It is up to you to follow-up and engage with the awareness the automated post created. I’m the administrator of Rae Publishing’s Twitter. When someone likes, replies, or retweets an article post, I will log onto the company’s Twitter account and thank that person directly. I caught their attention with the automated post, but it’s up to me to thank them, ask what they are working on, and see if the company can help them in any way. Sometimes I’ll recommend another article related to the one they just liked.
Automation is awesome and can save you a lot of time. It can also provide awareness and attention. What matters is if you can transition from automation to personal touch in your follow-up. Your customers and followers will appreciate working with you, not an automatic DM.