We frequently encounter business personas on social media platforms that seem robotic. What each person on our team would like to be able to say to these personas is, “I don’t find your robot engaging.” The sitcoms and advertisers had a field day with Siri – nerds falling for Siri (Big Bang Theory), Siri recommending gifts to people and then wanting to keep the gifts. Yet, Siri is still a robot.
I don’t find your robot engaging
When individuals and companies rely too heavily on marketing automation systems, their social presence can quickly become robotic – the same message on every platform, the same introduction of a link to all groups, etc. We have even seen “canned” and automated responses to comments. It is not surprising, of course, that these responses sound robotic.
Which leads to the question, “How, exactly, does one engage with a robot?” We tend to believe that one simply does not engage with a robot. Most of us have grown up with representations of robotic miscues, semantic misfires, and answers to questions that are so far out in left field that we are baffled by the attempt to explain the programming that produced the response.
When planning a social media strategy (and individual posts), it is important to keep these experiences top of mind. If we find the misfires so laughable, why would we risk our personal or business reputation on programmed or “canned” posts and comments?
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It is wonderful to have the technology that allows us to schedule and pre-program our posts and comments on social media. We all like new toys and other shiny objects. What is important is to think about when the technology is a tool, when it is a toy, and when it is a dangerous distraction.
- When scheduling and message pre-programming technology is used to schedule and post outgoing messages at inconvenient times, it is clearly a tool.
- When the technology is new and we are experimenting too much with it, it is a toy. Unfortunately, however, it might be perceived as a robotic corporate persona. If your firm is perceived in this way, your opportunity for customer engagement is probably gone.
- When a firm’s marketing or executive team believes social media marketing will be effective by utilizing the technology to plan and post both new ideas and responses or comments, it has become a dangerous distraction for the firm. This approach to marketing is a clear indication that your team is still practicing old school marketing tactics and has failed to understand the basic goal of social media marketing.
Our suggestion is simple:
We are drawn to personality and dog-ality, but not robots
- Decide which posts can be scheduled and pre-programmed without becoming robotic. It is safe to use automation technologies for this purpose.
- Never pre-program a response or a comment based on word matching or keywords.
- Never respond to a question from a customer or prospect with a canned answer.
- Never fall victim to the delusion that robots can sell your products or services.
Automation has a place in digital marketing and in social media marketing. However, that place is limited. Remember: I don’t find your robot engaging. Every member of our team finds personality and dog-ality very engaging.