If you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you probably fit into one of two schools of thought regarding social media automation.
Automation is BAD!
The first school of thought is that Twitter is strictly for genuine relationships. If you can’t show up in person, then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Twitter is for engaging conversations with people who think like us and creating dialogues with people who don’t. Twitter is about sharing ideas and building credibility. There is no room for sales or automation on Twitter.
Automation is GREAT!
The second point of view – the one held by the owners of millions of pages promoting Twitter automation – is that a business can earn millions of dollars by fully automating a Twitter profile. This means that follows, unfollows, direct messages upon following, and even tweets throughout the day are automated. In some cases, a human being rarely, if ever contributes to the profile. All that said, as true in many other aspects of business, often the middle ground is where reason lies.
The Middle Ground
While fully automated Twitter profiles really do defeat the purpose of Twitter, it’s completely unreasonable to expect a successful and busy entrepreneur to spend 10 hours a day researching, following and posting on Twitter. While it’s true that businesses can hire someone to handle their Twitter profiles, this can sometimes cause an even bigger mess. The compromise: Automate some tasks, but make sure you participate as well.
Here are some tips for balancing automation verses human interaction in your profile:
- Automatically DM those who follow you – but not with a sales message. Ask them a question, simply welcome them to your Twitter universe – but don’t sell!
- Automatically tweet a great blog post, an inspirational quote, or a survey question – but only a 2 or 3 times in one day. And balance that with 5 to 10 spontaneous tweets.
- Use software or assistants to “listen” for mentions of you, your company or your product, but always respond to comments or inquiries personally. This will show your followers that you care.
- Plug your blog into your Twitter feed, but blog about topics of interest that provide value to your followers.
Why the middle ground?
People on Twitter tend to be socially savvy – at least online. They can sniff out a spammer or automated profile from a mile away. When you attach inauthentic profiles to your company name, you immediately tell potential followers something about your business. You’re sending a message that you care more about numbers or money than about what they think or feel. On the other hand, spontaneous interactions with your followers will build your credibility and show them that you are interested in who they are, not just what they can do for you. This goes a long way, especially on the Internet where everyone’s guard is up automatically. While excessive automation can damage your businesses’ credibility, no automation at all can leave your potential connections on the table. It’s best to take the middle ground and balance your automation with spontaneous interactions to get the most out of your Twitter experience.