Automating the wrong things could significantly damage your brand experience. Source: Shutterstock

Automating the wrong things could significantly damage your brand experience. Source: Shutterstock

What not to automate when automating your social media accounts

BUSINESSES leaders and chief marketing officers (CMOs) have been constantly thinking about automating their digital marketing operations — including their social media accounts.

However, that might not be a great idea. Not entirely, anyway.

When handling the social media accounts of a brand, there are several things that might seem logical to automate at first glance, but when you think about the various scenarios an automated script might land you in, you realize it isn’t better to leave it to a human executive to handle.

Why worry about social media automation?

Every organization is different, and although automation is equally beneficial to all, it’s critical for managers to think about all scenarios before automating their social media accounts.

One of the most unfortunate events that come to mind when you think of automated social media postings is the Tesco fiasco from way back in 2013.

The company was accused of selling burgers with horsemeat, and while the legal team was busy handling the mess, the social media team (having posted ahead of schedule), posted an ill-fated tweet at the end of the day: “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay!”

Although the tweet didn’t offend too many customers, not automating the daily sign-off would have saved the company the embarrassment.

Top 3 social media tasks to avoid automating

Let’s dive right into it. Here are the top three things that companies must avoid automation on their social media accounts in order to get the most out of their presence on the platforms:

# 1 | Engaging with customers

Automating customer engagement messages is a bad idea. Remember those auto-tweets every time a customer messages about you and you write back immediately asking them to DM you their details and issue?

Imagine if they’re making a comment about you, congratulating you for something, or just thanking you for the job you did. The auto-tweet would immediately sour their experience.

To be very honest, with the advancement of AI, automating this function is becoming possible on some platforms — say, for example, using chatbots on Facebook or using natural language processing in a mini-program on WeChat.

However, on traditional platforms, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to stay away from trying to automate direct customer engagement messages.

# 2 | Automating user-generated content

Your customers usually love you and it’s often safe to assume that they’ll have only good things to say about you. However, on the off-chance that a customer misunderstands your actions or intentions, they might tag you in a comment or tweet on a social platform.

If your tools are geared to automatically re-tweet or re-post that content, you might be amplifying your faults more than you should. That’s obviously not the best idea.

# 3 | Automating across networks

When businesses realize that a lot of social media activity can be automated, they tend to automate across platforms and networks, and that’s usually a bad idea.

The reason is that social media posts need to be customized for each platform separately, not because a certain kind of content won’t work on every platform, but because each platform has different needs when it comes to gaining eyeballs, shares, and consequently, engagement.

When creating posts, automation should be limited to posting on one platform rather than on a multitude of platforms, irrespective of the content that is being pushed out.