Whenever you read about trends for 2017, they suggest that the biggest development is automation. However, can automation provide the service people can? We have all seen some pretty hideous blunders from companies using social media automation, and now we are seeing influencers rebuffing total automation and instead declaring that certain parts of automation detract from the social media marketing.
Responsive Social Media Marketing
Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I have countered that full automation does not work. It has always been my opinion that if you automate your social media marketing, you are losing the human interaction element of brand building. While technology advancements are always designed to help and save money, I still believe there are times when the shortcut is not worth the saving. ‘Social Media Marketing’ being one of them.
Post Automation Cannot Interact
If you have post automation software and preload it weeks at a time, where is your customer engagement? If you do not communicate with your clients you risk losing them. I am also a huge advocate of being bang on top of developments in your industry. If something happens today, but you have walked away from your social media because you automated it, you might not get round to reporting or commenting on the development for 7-10 days – I don’t think that aids your reputation as an industry expert – in fact, I am convinced it hinders it. Sure, it may take me a bit more time to check my customer’s industry news before deciding what to post every day, but it also means they are never more than 24 hours away from talking about news. Sometimes it has been just hours or less when I find a story to work with.
Reply, Like and Comment
If you think that you have done your social media marketing because you have loaded a week of Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram posts, you are wrong. You need to be monitoring these channels and responding to your customers so that they know you are out there. Like a comment, share a tweet, answer questions, these important actions do make a difference to your brand and how you come across to your prospects. I actively encourage my clients to check their Facebook and Twitter inboxes, and they get a sharp reminder if they are too slow!
Automation Has a Place
Please do not think that in saying this, I am against automation of all shapes and sizes. That could not be further from the truth. Some automation is exciting and time-saving. A prime example of useful automation is Chatbots and AI. I love these developments and would urge people to look to these to save time and money without cutting corners on their social media marketing. Embracing these developments are what the smart cookies are doing!
My Keyword of 2017
For me, the keyword for 2017 is ‘Responsive’. If you can purposefully argue that your use of technology is responsive, then go for it. Are chatbots responsive? Yes, yes and well, yes! As soon as a customer interacts with a chatbot they respond – quicker than a human. So, if monitoring your Facebook messages is something you have no time for – that is where you need to deploy automation in the form of a chatbot. However, the same argument cannot be made when it comes to automating a load of posts and walking away. What if something changes and your tweet leaves you slightly pink-faced?
So, before you take time-saving measures be sure to ask yourself one question “Is this responsive?’
Anna Everett is a responsive social media marketing expert, author and self-confessed Geek Girl.