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The Dangers of Automated Twitter Tools

Maintaining a steady flow of tweets and interaction on Twitter isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some brands have even resorted to using automated online platforms to pre-schedule posts, favourite tweets , blanket send direct messages and follow people.

When automated Twitter tools can be productive

Websites such as ‘Buffer’ and ‘Hootsuite’ allow you to create posts and schedule a day/time you’d like these to be published on your social media.

Tools like this can be social media saviors if you know how to use them properly.

Take the above image as an example. Here we can see that the brand has scheduled a blog post to be published on Twitter ‘today’ (a week day) at 1pm. The content is ‘safe’, relevant to all social media buffs at any time of day/week and is scheduled to be published at 1pm; within the busiest band of Twitter traffic during working hours. Using Twitter scheduling  (in this case, Buffer) ensures that this post will reach optimum numbers of Twitter users rather than running the risk of you forgetting to post it or being caught up in a meeting meaning that it’s published an hour later than planned (resulting in less impressions).

The second post we can see is scheduled to be published on a Saturday. Using scheduling for the weekend is a brilliant tool to maintain a social presence when people are continuously browsing social media most. Again, this post is ‘safe’ and relevant to the day it’s been scheduled for (Valentine’s Day). There’s no risk here of misinterpretation or a social media meltdown at a time when nobody will be at hand to tackle it. Social media automation at its best.

When automated Twitter tools can be detrimental

Scheduled/automated posts

We’ve explored how using an automatic posting system on Twitter can be useful, but now let’s explore how it can fail… horribly.

Coca-Cola recently fell victim to a fail of tremendous proportions when their ‘#makeithappy’ campaign was boycotted and the brand ended up tweeting quotes from Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. Ouch. The lack of human input and surveillance over the campaign meant that these quotes were being sent for two hours before they were deleted and the campaign pulled.

I can’t stress it enough- if your tweets have any chance of being misconstrued, being published during a time or event that could offend, or if you see any glimmer of doubt when scheduling them, then simply don’t. Create a lovely timetable of posts that you want to go out on certain days at certain times and publish them manually and during a time that you are at your desk and able to react and interact should you need to.

Automated DMs

It’s like a knife to the heart when I see businesses damage their brand using poor automated tools on Twitter. There are so many great platforms and aids for marketing online, so why am I still receiving ‘Sent using @’ messages on Twitter?!

I understand the good intentions you had by setting this up Holly, and really, I am a ‘it’s the thought that counts’ type person, but the sentiment is taken away when I’m stung with the realisation that this is a blanket response and automatically sent to anyone who follows you. And what’s more is you haven’t even tried to hide it!

There are other platforms such as Socialoomph that offer automated, personalised direct messages without the awful ‘Via @’. This is useful if you’re receiving hundreds of new followers a day that you want to acknowledge and are content with a 'good' rather than 'great' first impression. However, if you’ve got the time why not create and send these messages yourself? There’s no warmer feeling than receiving a DM that shows that the person on the other end has actually acknowledged your existence. Include something like ‘We hope your February promotion has been a hit’ or anything that will let the recipient know that you genuinely appreciate their support.

Automatic Favouriting

There are many websites, such as Twitfox, that automatically favourite tweets when a search term(s) you have entered is detected.  The thinking is that this will gain you followers and make more people aware of your brand, which on the face of it sounds great. But as the saying goes.. "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

Again, if there’s not an actual human monitoring these actions on your account, there’s so much that could go wrong. One huge potential for disaster with automatic favouriting is that anything could be starred.

For example, if you sell gym equipment and automatically favourite all the tweets with the word ‘gym’ in..

I don’t think encouraging gym predators is going to do much for your brand image.

Automatic follow-back

Until 2009 Twitter itself had an automatic ‘follow back’ option on its site, and since this was removed many copycats have come out of the woodwork. Automatically following people back does have its perks and if you’re purely focused on increasing your followers then be our guest- But if you’re looking to build a genuine, strong, interactive Twitter community then find people and pages you want to follow yourself and choose wisely.

There are many great platforms such as Twilert that exist to aid you in your social media marketing quest without requiring you to put complete trust into twitter robots.Tool like this allow you to enter search terms relevant to your business or area of expertise and alerts you when someone mentions them in a tweet . You’ll then be able to manually select individuals to a) respond to b) follow c) favourite tweets of.


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