Article by Wendy McCance
It’s been amazing to see how quickly social media has changed in the last few years. Just a few years back, it was more difficult to convince a small company that social media was a powerful tool. Most companies were firmly rooted in the idea that traditional advertising was the only way to truly get their money’s worth. Well, times have changed and social media has proven to be a needed accessory in a businesses arsenal of tools.
That said, I believe that many companies are still missing the point of the benefits of social media. Marketing automation has gone too far and the personalized touch is fading — again!
I get discouraged when I use a platform like Twitter to reach out to someone and get a robot response. The biggest insult is when you follow a company and get a DM (direct message) that instructs you to like a Facebook page or RT (retweet) their slogan. Worse yet, after noticing that you are following them and basically barking an order at you, they don’t even follow you back.
Last week, I got a DM from a CEO thanking me for following and mentioning that they looked forward to the exchange of ideas. They asked me to direct message them (because they were not following me). I promptly deleted them. If you will only communicate in secret, it’s weird to me. Are you that concerned with raising the number of people you are following? Who knows? Adding insult to injury, it was a robot response with the name of the tool they were using at the end of the message. So this person was using this same automated response each time someone followed them. A great recipe to lose followers and fall out of touch with the people who have reached out to you. The point is where is the personalization? The message sounded good, and then it was ruined because there was no interest in following or really communicating. It just sounded good, but there was no substance to the message.
Look, we have systems like Buffer that will help you schedule times to post a tweet and then tweet it for you. We have Commun.it that will thank new followers or mention that you were a top engaged follower of the week. Honestly, these are just a few of the automated marketing tools that aren’t so bad in my opinion. They send out relevant information on a regular basis and give a shout out to new followers. The issue is that these systems can’t take over for the real human interactions. If you don’t spend some time pursuing real conversations and let your followers know you care that they have chosen to follow you then what’s the point of using social media at all?
No matter what, social media was created to communicate. Although communication has changed dramatically with texting and emails becoming the norm, without the human touch, companies will once again fall flat. Without communication with your followers, how will you know anything about your demographics or what is trending? You might argue that there are tools you can use to find out. But, without the honest interactions that are organic in nature, you will miss a huge opportunity to fine tune your brand. You will not see what really matters before everyone knows and that means you will miss the chance to stay ahead of the curve.
Sure automated tools make life easier, but organic human interactions will create a stronger business because your customers will know you truly care.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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