Today, more than ever, a brand is more than just the products they sell, or the services they offer. As consumers become more savvy and are connected 24/7, brands need to recognise that a personality is what will set them apart from the crowd and help them to engage new customers.
But is it possible to deliver on personality through your marketing messages if you rigorously use automation tools for your social media? I was recently asked by a client to manage their social media channels but to not use any automation tools as they felt their brand had been damaged in the past, as content posted by robots had meant they were missing out on human dialogues with their customers. I’m an avid HootSuite and Buffer user and think they can have many benefits, but with a new client to make happy, it made me question whether automation is always the answer.
Automation is great for convenience It can save you time and allow you to schedule content so you don’t have to drop everything to keep your social feeds active.
Making your posts count Your schedule for posting is not always the same schedule that your customers are on. Your customers might be most active in the evening checking their Facebook and Instagram feeds. So whilst you’re giving yourself a pat on the back for getting your posts done between 9-5, you might have actually missed your prime audience and hence a huge opportunity for brand engagement. Automation allows you to post at different times and then understand when you’re getting the most interaction.
Consistent Messaging Automation enables you to build up a consistent flow of content and allows the look and feel and tone of voice to generate a consistent brand message. Consistency increases the likelihood of it being viewed and then in turn shared.
No Human Interaction A virtual hug or a thank you for a good review can do wonders for your online reputation. Automated tools don’t allow for this random conversation – the one that puts the human voice behind the brand and this can be damaging, especially for smaller brands that are trying to compete (with often smaller budgets) against the bigger more established brands.
Keeping it real The clever coding that sits behind the automation tools is simply not as real as a human and sometimes posts that are scheduled through tools, most likely by a 3rd party or office junior, can come across as fake. Your customers can often tell if this is the case and get turned off by the lack of a genuine voice.
Poor Timing Sometimes posts that you feel are important simply aren’t and this can occur due to unforeseen circumstances – like if you’re a holiday company promoting fun in the sun in Greece but the economy collapses, continuing your social media posts can do more damage to your image and brand than good.
So to conclude, automation definitely has it’s place and for managing multiple accounts and platforms it can be a Godsend. It gives you greater control over the content you share and how you share it – and of course the analytics generated by such tools really can help you understand what works and what doesn’t for your business from a social media perspective. But proceed with caution – as although such tools can solve some problems, they can’t solve them all. Be engaged with your consumers, listen and respond to their comments and always try and make sure the content you post is a relevant as possible to your audience at the time that it is posted.