To automate Tweets or not to automate Tweets…
…that’s a question the bears some serious consideration!
In today’s digital and data-driven world, we have the unprecedented opportunity to leverage automation to increase our productivity many times over. But just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Tools like Buffer and many similar services help alleviate the burden of posting content to multiple social media platforms under different account names. Have you considered the pros and cons of doing so, though? To help you make a decision, we’re going to look more closely at the perks and drawbacks of Twitter automation.
Advantage: Timing is Everything
One of the larger advantages of using an automation tool like Buffer is that it allows you to set the exact time and date that you want your post to go live. But the advantage is far greater than simply removing the burden of logging in, uploading content, and posting it. Each social media channel is its own animal, and people use them in very diverse ways at different times of the day. The usage statistics are truly eye opening, and posting your content at the optimal time can really increase the accuracy and effectiveness of your Twitter marketing efforts.
Disadvantage: It Makes You Look Like a Robot
Automating your Tweets may make you look a bit like a nameless, faceless robot. The problem is that a set posting schedule is to static and constricted, and social media is, by its very nature, dynamic. I’m certainly an advocate of good grammar and spelling, but some people are of the opinion that small typos make a Tweet look like it was posted in real time from someone’s mobile device. The problem is that spontaneity isn’t easily mimicked, and as such, automated posts may not seem personal or genuine.
What’s the solution, you ask? Simple – you could just take a hybrid approach and post spontaneous Tweets on top of a more rigid and automated regimen.
Advantage: Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity
Between work and family life, most of us have a thousand things to do at every hour of the day. But automation will help you save tremendous amounts of time that would have otherwise been eaten up by posting Tweets. Think about it; you can shave off small amounts of time from tasks such as logging into your social media account and making Tweets by aggregating all of the posts into one session at your computer. Though it may sound trivial, getting everything done at once can free up little periods that add up to big chunks of time.
Disadvantage: Less Engagement, Interaction, and Fewer Responses
Don’t think for a second, however, that you can just “set it and forget it.” Even though you can save time by automating groups of Tweets on a weekly or monthly basis, you’re still going to need to do some legwork. The real power of social media is that it allows marketers, leads, and customers to interact with each other in a very personal, one-on-one environment. But what happens if you don’t log in for a month and some has interacted with your Tweet?
Oops! Perhaps they inquired further about your product or service, maybe they pointed out an error such as a bad link, or maybe the asked you to share similar content. If you only post automated Tweets, chances are you’re going to miss out on opportunities to interact with your audience.
And guess what? Responses can be extremely ephemeral. If you wait too long before responding, they just might lose interest and ignore you, even if you do eventually get around to answering their question.
Advantage: Increase Exposure and Awareness
Just like building content on your website, consistency is a key factor in increasing your social media awareness. There are some SEO advantages as well. Also, people are usually more inclined to follow someone that posts regular Tweets because they expect them to be active in the future.
For example, let’s say you found a Tweet you though was funny, engaging, or interesting, but you then discovered that the original poster hasn’t been active for a few weeks. Would you really think they’re worth following? Automation helps ensure that you maintain constant exposure and awareness so your audience knows you’re still active.
Disadvantage: Unaddressed Disasters
Even if it wasn’t your intention to offend someone, the honest truth is that you’ll never be able to please everyone. Once in a while, you just might garner some negative feedback (justified OR unjustified) because we, as human beings, are very opinionated creatures. That said, there have been countless Twitter blunders where marketing agencies and big brands misused or misunderstood a Tweet or hashtag. Sometimes, these disasters were just plain old bad timing, and the post was made in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For example, Qantas once Tweeted, “Qantas introduce #QantasLuxury class. Same as standard class, but the plane leaves the ground.” Unfortunately, the Tweet went out a single day after an entire fleet was grounded following a labor dispute, and a lot of angry Tweeters jumped on the bandwagon to voice their anger, irritation, and complaints.
Likewise, McDonalds created the hastag #McDStories in conjunction with their #MeetTheFarmers hashtag. The idea was to promote the quality of its products by shining a spotlight on quality providers. But things didn’t turn out that way, and their hashtag got hijacked by people complaining of their horror stories, such a getting food poisoning.
If you neglect manual Tweets, these problems could be spreading faster than fire – and you’d be none the wiser until the next increment of time you sit down and schedule more Tweets.
So, should you abstain from Twitter automation entirely? Of course not, I think the automation provides a wealth of benefits to digital marketers and brands in every industry. You would, however, be better advised to take a hybrid approach to your Twitter marketing, lest thou be destroyed and thine marketing campaign be smitten into ruin.