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Automate or Not? Making Your Clients Wonder if You Are Human Online

Our Social Media Strategist, Caroline, shared a recent experience with a client that reaffirmed her opinions about automating all online communication.

“I was talking with a prospect recently about social media, and as I explained how we could help him manage his social media activities, he asked me, ‘Aren’t there tools that let me just automate all of that so that I can just set-it-and-forget-it?’

I paused, as the following possible responses went through my mind in rapid-fire succession.

– I don’t know – could we just automate your receptionist and have everyone who calls your company speak with a robot?
– Sure – if you want your company to look completely clueless online, you could do that.
– Um … are you human?

I chose not to say any of these rather snappy replies and instead explained how social media is different from every other marketing tactic he’s used in the past. It’s really more like networking than marketing, and it requires participation and building relationships to be successful.”

People on social media who understand how to use it and make it work for them want to get to know the humans behind a business. After all, the people behind the business are a great indication of what doing business with that company will be like.

Social media doesn’t work if you take the ‘sales’ approach. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the best ways to get unfollowed or blocked. What used to be considered a salesy approach is now usually considered spam. Obviously, spam is THE big no-no on social media.

Recently, we received a post on Facebook saying something very similar to “I’ve ‘liked’ your page; now please return the favor and ‘like’ my page.”


Isn’t that a little immature? It’s like saying, “I’ll be your friend if you’ll be my friend.”

That approach didn’t work well in elementary school, and it doesn’t work now.

A company that does work well on social is Zappos. Most Zappos employees have an active account, lending their personality to the company brand, letting them be engaging, helpful and friendly with Zappos customers.  In return, their customers say marvelous things about the company.

Yes, social media takes time, and there are some time-saving tools, such as Hootsuite, that can help. But that doesn’t mean you use them and completely ignore your social media account. Live interactions and real-time responses are essential to your success on social media.

Social media is about building successful relationships, and aren’t successful relationships the foundation on which every successful company is built?

Published on: September 13, 2011