The downsides of auto-posting

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

“Thanks for following me on Twitter! Learn how you can make $$$s from home by reading my ebook.”

If you use Twitter, you may have had the misfortune to follow someone and straight away receive a direct message back from them similar to the one above. Oh it is irritating. When you follow someone (it could be a brand or a person) you are interested in seeing interesting content, not the hard sell.

How about this one instead: “Thanks for following me on Twitter. Why not follow me on Facebook?” The answer of course, is if I had wanted to follow you on Facebook, I would be on Facebook. Direct messages like this just imply the person sending the message doesn’t really care about the medium you are using.

Similar to that are posts like ‘I posted 9 photos on Facebook in the album blah blah blah’. Again the response is most likely, so what? When confronted with pages of messages that are almost identical and that fill your Twitter stream, because someone has been busy uploading pictures to Facebook, the response is more likely to be ‘Aaaargh!’ followed by a swift unfollow.

The reason for all of these messages is that they have been automated. It may seem like a great idea to be able to automate your social media, but really it is not. Yes it can save you time, but the irritation it causes your followers can seriously damage your online reputation. You see when you follow a person or brand on social media, there is an element of trust. You are telling that person that you trust them to post content that you want to see. If you are representing a business, your followers may also be your next customer. If you abuse that trust they put in you, then it is more than just an arbitrary number of followers that you could be losing.

There are exceptions where automation is acceptable. The exceptions are not the norm though, so use your discretion.

It really is much better if you are posting messages yourself, rather than leaving it to some faceless bot. Not only does it show followers that there is a human behind the keyboard, but it also gives you the option to respond to others. That’s the social part of social media right there.

Alan Stainer