I tested some automated software on my Twitter account recently. And it got me thinking. How much automation is too much? And will automation water down, or even remove, our authenticity? As businesses and, dare I say it, as people. Let me explain.
I’m not a great Twitter person. LinkedIn is more my thing. So, the idea of testing an automation tool on my sleepy account seemed low risk. And rather interesting, if I’m honest. Why not!
The logic was this. Social media is a drain on your time, so why not engage some nifty automation to ease the strain and get results.
But what constitutes results?
This is certainly where companies will differ.
For the purpose of this test, the aim was to increase followers and create posts. All without me doing a thing.
As I typed that last sentence, I felt rather guilty. Like I’ve deceived people. It’s odd, isn’t it?
So, the starting point seemed harmless enough. Build my following and create some posts whilst I focused on my day job.
Hello automated me
And grow my followers it did. Daily. I’m told you must be steady with this. Twitter is always watching. Not sure it likes automation that much, either.
Every new follower got sent a welcome note from automated me. Granted, I wrote it at the outset. But automated Anna did the rest.
To this point, I felt ok about the test. Upbeat even. Who wouldn’t want more followers on social media? We feel such pressure to build our profile, widen our network.
Some automated retweets were followed by freshly created tweets – by automated Anna. My shiny new followers liked them. Some even retweeted them. Others sent me messages about them.
This is when I started to ponder…
Was automated Anna really the same as authentic Anna? Is there a point when automation goes too far for your business?
You see, I’m a copywriter. A communicator. People want to work with me, for my knowledge, my skillset and I guess, my personality. So, is it a step too far for a business like mine to automate social media in this way?
It’s funny. I wouldn’t think twice about a designer creating a polished advert for my business. But letting a piece of software “be me”. That feels different.
The value of authenticity
Authenticity is important. For many business types, not just mine. A quick definition for you:
Authenticity is the quality of being real, or true.
Much business is done on trust. Belief that the product will perform or the specialist will deliver. I spend my life helping businesses build this trust and belief with their audience.
Can you automate and still be authentic?
This isn’t black and white. The answer lies in your business, your objectives and the type of automation.
It can be a smart business decision to set up a series of automated emails. Good use of time and resources. An e-commerce business creates an automated email for those that abandon their baskets. A series of nurturing emails are sent to a contact that supplied their email address via the website. Seems fair enough to me.
It’s a question we’re going to have to grapple with much more in the (not too distant) future.
Is all automation a good thing?
What automation is right for your business, and what is not?
There’ll be no right or wrong answer, by the way. But we’ll all face the question.
As for my Twitter account…
It’s back to little ole’ me now. Fewer tweets and less activity, but genuinely me. I’m ahead on followers and there was a splurge of activity for a while. The test taught me a lot.
Nothing is ever wasted.
Automated social media tools are not for me (if you contact me via Twitter or LinkedIn, it’ll be me that replies. Promise). But for some businesses with certain objectives, it might just be a smart thing to do. And now, I can talk to clients about it with my eyes wide open.
I don’t think I’ve compromised my authenticity. It was a useful experiment that showed me what’s coming. For now, though, I’ll stick to communicating on social media only when real Anna feels inclined to. That’ll be less often, but it’ll be true to me. And you.