My experience has shown me both sides of the coin, actually. Most people are stoked about the chance to interact (after all, it is SOCIAL Media), but I’ve actually dealt with people so pissed about an automated question that they completely abandoned any pretense of professionalism, just to try to rip me apart over the frequency of responses. Honestly, I almost don’t blame them. Almost.
Point is: My current particular set-up for Twitter is that any automated responses are sent only after someone has followed me. When I was having the issues, the responses were sent when someone, in some way, interacted with my content. I now only send a “thank-you” to every new follower (which to me, is the polite thing to do), as I’m appreciative for anyone that does…duh! I also ask a question of each new follower. Before, I had it set up to reply if anyone liked, shared, listed, or otherwise engaged with my posts; they got a shoutout and asked a question for being awesome and doing so.
The questions are crucial, as I am a naturally curious person, voracious for information, especially as related to our industry ~ where what was true yesterday, may not be today. As a Content Writer and Social Media Manager, it would not only be foolish for me to think that I couldn’t learn anything new, but also detrimental to the furtherance of my career.
I put much thought into each question that I scheduled into the program. Previously, the people that engaged with my content were asked questions, and they were actually those with specific keywords included in their Twitter bios. The significance of this is that the designated question was pertinent to the person interacting with my content, and not asking random things of people to whom it would have no relevance and therefore would be considered annoying, and rightly so.
Furthermore (and more importantly), every question that I asked (and still do) was one to which I very much wanted an answer. And not 1 answer from 1 person will do, but I’d like to ask many people many questions. I find there is no more efficient way to get an answer than to ask. People who probably have a better answer than I, or that can offer a different perspective to what I think I already know. It’s like if a Poll married A/B Testing and had a baby. But, as with anything (especially something in its relative infancy), there are, inevitably, pros and cons.
I’d like to end on a high note because I truly believe that Marketing Automation offers more positive than negative. And because a happy ending is usually preferable (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge).
Marketing Automation Pros and Cons:
Cons: Easy. The one thing that was (for whatever reason) making some people mouth-frothingly mad was the frequency of the automated replies. If someone interacted with my content, they were thanked (how dare I?), and asked a question. Every time.
Now, it is an amazing thing that they were interacting with so much of my stuff, and I am sincerely grateful, but some people were overwhelmed by the triggered responses. I’ve actually had to tell some of those with more delicate sensibilities to just stop interacting with my posts –> which is the exact opposite of what I want as a Social Media Manager, both for myself and any clients that I represent.
I mean, I’m actually achieving the goal of publishing content that is encouraging engagement and I am forced to discourage the very thing I want to accomplish? Not cool. Maddening, in fact.
Pros: So many! The main one for me, personally, is the convenience that it offers. No Social Media professional has time to go in and individually respond to each notification. And what if you manage multiple accounts? My goodness!
Do you have any idea how many hours a day I was manually investing? When I learned of Marketing Automation, it was like I stepped out of the Dark Ages, right into the Renaissance! It freed me up to focus on other tasks that required more attention, like: Content Creation, Promotions, Real-Time follower interaction, Twitter Chats, etc. It was like hiring an assistant to take care of the grunt work!
Another HUGE benefit to me is that Marketing Automation can really speak for me when I’m unavailable. I have a sleep disorder, and don’t work traditional hours as a result. By automating certain things, it works on my behalf during the hours when the majority of the world is operating (I call them “human hours”).
For me, this was a Godsend! Basically, the automated replies are akin to voicemails and we’ve simply missed each other…just like a situation with which everyone deals during any regular business day. You’ve contacted me, I returned the call with a quick question (about whose answer I am genuinely interested), and that’s it. We were playing “phone tag” online but will arrange for a great conversation when mutually convenient. Simple. Same as if we both were having busy days (and whose isn’t every day?), and I had my assistant reach out to you, or vice-versa.
A golden opportunity that I think that many people overlook, is that I also use those automated questions as a chance for people to share links, promotions, or other info. about them and their brand. SO many people sleep on that subtle door-opening! If I’m asking, feel free to share some good stuff, silly!
~ Marketing Automation is a tool, and just like any other, can be wielded for evil or good.
~ “Marketing Automation can make campaigns more accurate, empower your team with better leads and achieve greater ROI.” (I forget who said it, but great point.)
~ With Customer Service making a stronger transition to online platforms across Social Media, Marketing Automation can be a major help, especially on Facebook where response time is ranked.
~ Do not solely rely on Marketing Automation to carry the weight of your online presence. People don’t want to talk to a robot, they want to interact with a person…YOU! Remember to be social on Social Media.
**This last takeaway is for the designers of Marketing Automation tools and apps:
~ PLEASE tweak the algorithm or code (I apologize for my ignorance here, but I’m sure you know what I mean) of the Marketing Automation you offer. Refine it so as to recognize a user handle and after, maybe, 3 automated replies, lay off a bit. Perhaps only send a response to that user for every 5th act of engagement, or so. Or, make it customizable. In any case, please make it so that people aren’t overwhelmed or alienated by a sincere attempt to interact. Even for those people who don’t seem to realize that they can simply ignore the reply. Thank You!
Do you have any Marketing Automation experiences or tips you’d like to share? I’d truly love to know! Please feel free to share them in the comments’ section. I look forward to reading them!