Why Twitter automation is bad for small business

July 20, 2015

It sounds so good in theory…the idea of tweets magically appearing on a company’s Twitter feed without anyone having to write and post them. However, the implementation of Twitter automation can actually do more harm to a company’s brand than good. [tweetthis]Twitter automation can actually do more harm to a company’s brand than good. #socialmedia[/tweetthis]

Twitter even shares this advice: “Generally most automation is detrimental to the user experience and frequently results in blocks and suspensions”.

The goal of marketing a small business on Twitter is not to get blocked or have your account suspended, right? So why risk it?

Businesses that use these forms of Twitter automation are considered spam by many users:

  • Post multiple bot-generated tweets per day
  • Send automated direct messages to new followers
  • Tweet multiple inspirational quotes per day
  • Only share auto-generated content (never tweeting their own original content)
  • Automated follow/unfollow functions.

It’s important to understand that if you automate everything, instead of being real and engaging, users will talk negatively about your brand and probably unfollow your company. Here are just a few examples of real user’s opinions of Twitter automation:

Example 1 – Sending out automated direct messages (DMs) leads to profile unfollows.

automation 4

Example 2 – Automated “Thanks for following” messages lead to profile unfollows.

unfollow 1

Example 3 – Automated follow/unfollow activity on Twitter leads to consumer distrust.

automation 3

What kind of automation is OK? Scheduling relevant, unique tweets using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer is considered acceptable automation that can be a real time saving technique. It’s super convenient to write a set of tweets and post/schedule them to roll out over time. However, those out-going tweets are not intended to be a user’s only interaction with Twitter—users should spend time on Twitter reading, replying, re-tweeting, answering questions and being a positive presence on the social media platform.

Here are a few more ideas that Twitter pros use to ensure the profiles they manage don’t show any signs of being automated by robots.

Twitter Pro Tips

  • Tweet great content consistently, not just articles and information curated by other users—create your own unique and meaningful tweets. [tweetthis]#TwitterTip: Tweet unique content, not just articles & information curated by others. #socialmedia[/tweetthis]
  • Follow and follow back other users, especially local tweeters who may turn into brand advocates.
  • Be engaging. When Twitter users tweet about your business, make sure to respond. Always thank those who publicly give your business a shout-out or feedback and reply quickly when they ask questions.
  • Embrace the #hashtag and learn how to use it effectively.

Here are a few local businesses and organizations that are doing Twitter right. Follow them, watch and learn.
https://twitter.com/WWU,  https://twitter.com/BoundaryBay.

For small local businesses, Twitter mistakes can cause a loss of followers (potential consumers) and harm their reputation. Please think twice about heading down the path to Twitter automation.

Companies that value Twitter as a digital marketing tool, but that don’t have the time, desire or know-how to “do Twitter right” should consider hiring a part-time social media assistant to work directly for their company, or partner with a local social media manager. Either person (not a robot) can help create meaningful tweets, and take care of the “engagement” part on behalf of your business.

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