Smart Marketing: The dangers of becoming a social media robot

By Karen Rosenzweig

Social media is all about personalization, interaction, and engagement.  So tell me, do you think a robot would be a good social media user? Me either, which has me wondering….

Why do so many individuals and businesses utilize automation in their social media activities? What that means is they post a message on Facebook and “push” that same message out to Twitter or LinkedIn or other platform (or vice versa). I understand it might save time and appear to be an efficient activity to cover all your SM bases, but I believe it actually undermines your credibility and can be harmful to your reputation.

If that confuses or upsets some of you, please allow me to explain. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are completely different forums with very different audiences that all speak different languages. What might be a perfect 140-character message on Twitter could look like gobbledy-gook on Facebook; a perfectly crafted message on Facebook will be chopped off mid-thought once it is posted on Twitter, completely skewing your message. Is that how you want to represent yourself and your business?

Another downside to automating your social media messaging is that you are not present to participate in related conversations or follow-up questions. Let’s say you are a restaurant and you post an item about your wonderful Valentine’s Day menu on Facebook. You then “push” that message automatically over to Twitter, to capture that audience as well. Nicely done, you think, I’ve just hit two birds (audiences) with one stone, right?

But then your potential customer Susie responds on Twitter with a question about your entrée (is it gluten-free?) – and guess what? You never see that message, and Susie feels ignored and makes plans to dine elsewhere. Why didn’t you see the message? Because she replied on Twitter and you aren’t actually “on” Twitter, since you didn’t take the time to log on to Twitter to see the conversations that came from your initial post. Any follow-up messages over on Twitter don’t get pushed back over to Facebook (where you started), so you appear to be ignoring those people.

People are not robots and they don’t want you to be either. If you choose to use both Facebook and Twitter in your social media outreach, you need to make time to participate on each platform individually. If you are trying to build a relationship, you need to play with people where they are – in their sandbox, if you will.

This is one of the most valuable coaching sessions I offer to my clients – determining which social media “sandboxes” to play in – and how to manage their time effectively so they can be responsive and grow their clientele. It can be done with a variety of checklists and efficiencies, and social media doesn’t need to take “all day”, as most people fear.

As the old saying goes, Visibility + Credibility = Profitability. You can be plenty Visible on all the social media platforms, but if you aren’t gaining Credibility by showing up to participate on each platform, you will find it hard to achieve the Profitability you are striving for.

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Edmonds resident Karen Rosenzweig is a social media consultant/trainer and owner of One Smart Cookie Marketing. She writes weekly about how companies, entrepreneurs and restaurants can increase their customer base and gain visibility through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other social media tools.

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