I get unsocial nasty notes from time to time on Twitter about having an automated “Thanks for following” Direct Message. Its kind of a weird irony saying ugly things accusing people of being unsocial? Personally, if I didnt care about people I wouldnt have one at all, but I DO CARE and so I have a message. I get 100-300 new friends a day on just ONE of a few accounts I have, there no possible way anyone can respond personally to everyone. Besides most people dont want to talk to me, they just want to watch and poke around at what I’m doing at their own speed. I actually used to put my phone number in my DM but it almost never got used. To be successful in business there is a certain scale of size you have to reach to become profitable and efficient. I’d love to be able to interact with everyone but cant. I do make it a point to respond personally to every pertinent conversation someone has with me 24/7 even responding to past messages I got while asleep.
Its time to call out bullshit on this idea that automation is bad in Social Media. Unless you are going door to door, you are using automation. Most of the Social Media early prophets who naively preached “not automating,” have since automated and admitted they cant keep up with the scale it takes in business to be successful. Being social or engaging has nothing to do with automated messages UNLESS automation is your ONLY use of social media. Yes, you should also be talking and engaging people. But, Engagement is relative to the individual, most people feel “engaged” by listening/lurking only. There can be a balance between the engagement and automation, its not “either or,” you can find a balance. As long as you are talking with people and engaging in conversation with them, automating messages are not an issue.
Who are we fooling really? Social Media itself is actually a grand automation process. Lets get REAL, we all use automation. True engagement is IN PERSON. Unless you are coming to meet me FACE TO FACE, you ARE using automation:
Sending me a message on Twitter or Facebook where computers do the work? Automation.
Putting a Blog on the internet hosted by a computer? Automation.
Putting up a post “billboard” on your blog, expecting me to come read it, rather than you coming to explain it to me? Automation.
Making me hop through a computer controlled opt-in list? Automation.
Sending me frequent emails of your latest blog posts in a mass mailer? Automation.
In those emails having generic marketing ads from Google that dont apply to me? Automation.
On your Blog having ads that market to me to sell me stuff run by a computer 24/7? Automation.
You put up a pic or profile online, you’re marketing something even if its just you, for the advancement of you. Its a billboard hosted by a 24/7 computer as a way of telling the world you’re there? Automation.
Having a book or e-book published instead of coming and explaining it directly to me? Automation.
The computers that tell me your retweets, reshares and discussions? Automation.
The Hashtags or Keywords you use to get noticed on Search Engines to be picked up through? Automation.
Affiliate links you advertise on your site where computers handle the transaction of selling me something? Automation.
Make me fill out a “Contact Form” so I can talk to you? Automation.
You send me an email? Automation.
I call and get your recorded voice mail? Automation.
If you use any of these items, you are using automation in your marketing to me. Its not wrong but lets be honest that we’re using automation in Social Media all the time. Lets end the bullshit and hypocrisy of claiming Automation is bad in social media. Really the deception of social media is that we consider that a electronic name link on a hard drive at a remote data center in rural Oregon field is someone who is a true “Friend?” Thats unreal and not engaging at all.
This silliness must stop. The next time you see some Social Media leader hypocritically calling out against automation and pounding the engagement message, call them out. I want you to email, Twitter, call, visit them locally and see if they actually respond in person to you. Good luck finding some of their phone numbers even though legitimate business’ are widely expected to publish this data. I can tell you I’ve tried and many of these engagement prophets have failed to engage or respond. I dont preach this hypocrisy crap but heres my number anyway: 310-997-2204. If the people who beat this anti-automation drum dont respond to you, raise hell and call them out as full of it.
Theres not any less love or caring that goes into an automated message. I actually care more that I want to make sure that I communicate with you in spite of how busy I am. The message on your voice mail or auto responder on an email is no different. I’ve put out automated messages that people told me changed their lives or day. I’ve had a few people suggest they were on the “brink of suicide” that day and somehow my automated message of inspiration helped turn them around and kept them in this world. I’ve sat and wondered what would have happened if I hadnt automated that message. We inspire, teach, learn and touch each other lives in ways we dont always know that we have influenced. Whether its live or automated, I try and entertain and enlighten the world 24/7 because I do care. Although I’m not perfect I have systems in place to help me make sure I’m personally communicating and engaging people who talk with me.
In the end realize that there is a balance of making automation and engagement go hand in hand. Engagement is RELATIVE to the end user and its not always about having a conversation. Like watching TV, many people feel engaged watching and listening. End the hypocrisy and call out anyone who doesnt stand by the “engagement principals” that they preach.