A popular discourse in modern spiritualism says – the difference between human beings and robots is that a robot can never match human stupidity. This is true for social media as well. Of late, there have been several discussions on the intelligence and efficiency of automated posts on social media.
Particularly, the brands that offer instant customer service through social media are struggling to find a balance between real-time communication and automation. Here are five noteworthy observations on automation in social media.
Understanding power of automation
If your financials allow the luxury of one or two social media account managers then automation, coupled with a human personality, can do wonders for your brand, if employed properly. Automation has many advantages. It makes participation less time-intensive by posting content on multiple platforms and sites.
Some tools can take care of as many as 60 sites for your brand. Automation, thus, gives you a great amount of exposure and saves you from the trouble of posting your content to each social network individually.
To what extent does automation work?
Automation means preparing content ahead of time and using scheduling software to post it throughout the week. A number of modern tools allow you to automate your entire social media strategy. You can also avail tools that will post content on multiple platforms. If you lay your hands upon such a reliable tool then a lot of your generic messaging can be taken care of.
Though it is a concept unheard of by many in the industry, it is being used to a large extent by businesses that believe in addressing customer grievances instantaneously and offer some real time engagement. However, too much automation will make your brand look like a machine and you may irrevocably lose your audience.
Conversations versus automation
You must know when to automate and when to involve a human mind to engage your audience in a conversation. You must divide your brand strategy in three parts to deal with large number of queries and messages – automated messages, contextual human response and fact-based information dissemination. For instance, an automated message (regretting poor service) to a user who is appreciating your brand is funny, yet embarrassing.
On Twitter, even when you mention positive experiences about brands they react with templates to handle cribs pic.twitter.com/vqhLAYH686
— bhatnaturally (@bhatnaturally) September 7, 2013
You must employ automation to deal with high volumes, but a human hand must be on the job to constantly monitor robotic errors and foolish responses. A communications manager of Bharati Airtel, India’s largest telecom service provider informs that the telecom giant is very particular about maintaining a constant human eye on all the conversations that take place on its Facebook and Twitter pages, especially after a few foul-mouthed users attempted tarnishing Airtel’s image on Facebook.
Avoiding automation disasters or bloopers
India’s e-commerce and telecom revolutions have provided a great amount of entertainment to its social media users through bloopers. At several instances, due of over reliance on automation, abuses and spams go unchecked. Moreover, your scheduled messages can become boring, irrelevant, stale or robotic if they are left to the mercy of technology.
They must be reviewed regularly despite the fact that they are automated. Your scheduled updates may not work the same way for all social media platforms so be careful in choosing and categorising your content. For instance, your scheduled Twitter update cannot exceed 140 characters; a Facebook update would demand pictures along with text and it would be best to have a rather business- specific LinkedIn update.
Which tools can I avail?
There are a number of tools available today that offer you contextual services based on your social media strategy. Check out some of the following tools for multimedia content dissemination – Social Oomph, Zapier, Sprout Social, Curata, Post Planner, Buffer, Hootsuite, ping.fm, tubemogul.com, Dlvr.it.