August 28, 2011

Rachel Strella

Auto-DMs and @ Replies…When did robots take over?

By Matthew Hannaford, Business Development Manager for Strella Social Media

Twitter is a great place to meet people and interact with consumers, friends, co-workers, and colleagues. However, the reason many businesses are on Twitter, and social media as a whole, is ultimately to drive consumers to a product or service. There are countless strategies that can be used to accomplish this end goal. Some businesses will immediately follow back any consumer that follows them. Some will host regular chats, usually following a hashtag at a specified time. And others will interact with anyone who mentions their company. One strategy that I find in effective, however, is the automatic direct message (auto-DM) and replies and here’s why….

Recently, I found a list of local business professionals that were on Twitter. I followed the majority of the list and was astonished at the number of automatic responses that I received. Many simply said, “Thanks for following.” There is a possibility this was actually sent from the recipient, but the timing seemed way too fast for this to be realistic. I also received some responses that said, “Thanks for following, check out my Facebook page at [URL], and my blog at [URL].”

My initial reaction is, “Really? I followed you on Twitter to interact and I get a message that tells me, ‘Hey checkout my other sites since you followed me here, maybe I’ll talk to you on one of those.’”

Social media is meant to engage, entertain, and enhance knowledge. Would your 12-year old learn more from a robot who stands at the front of the classroom and relays facts and figures or from a teacher who genuinely cares about their future and engages them one-on-one?

If you choose to use social media as part of your business marketing efforts, then you need to understand human interaction. Billboards or advertisements are for static, one-way communication. Social media is about the person behind the company and the focus is on the consumer as more than just a revenue source. Showing consumers that you aren’t afraid of being transparent is key. Simply adding a few tweets or other messages per week that are more about you and less about the business may be all you need. Most of us don’t care to contact a company and get an electronic recording, so why would we think automatic tweets would be any different?


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3 comments on “Auto-DMs and @ Replies…When did robots take over?”

  1. MAJOR pet peeve of mine. Dead on. There is a time and a place for a small amount of automation, but boy, the auto DMs and replies get annoying. It's kind of like walking up to someone and saying "Hi", and rather than returning the greeting, they hand you a printed card that says "Hi, thanks for greeting me!" and then walking away.

  2. Yes, yes and more yes. I thought social meant we actually talked to each other!

    Great post 🙂

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