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Why Social Media Automation is Bad for Your Customer Service

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October 23, 2014

Why Social Media Automation is Bad for Your Customer Service

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Social media has slowly become a large part of most businesses’ customer service software system. With people being attached to mobile devices and becoming more Internet savvy, the customer experience is less about the telephone call and more about tweeting or sharing on Facebook (News - Alert). Social media, particularly Twitter, is an excellent tool to keep customers apprised of news within your company, about new products and services, and a way to keep customers engaged.

The problem with these new tools is that companies have sought ways to automate this process, and while it has made things easier for the company, it’s actually terrible for the audience.

By its very definition, automation is anti-social, the polar opposite of what social media intends to do. Given its name, social media requires a human touch, given that it’s focused on interaction and engagement. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google (News - Alert)+ are fantastic two-way communication channels. They allow marketers to interact with their target audience in a way that was not possible just a few years ago.

Take for example this awful byproduct of automation: one of the most egregious mistakes made by social media marketers is to set automatic Thank You’s when someone tags them in a tweet or follows them. The person on the other end can easily tell that this is not authentic and will most likely result in that person unfollowing you, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen.

If your social media is entirely or mostly automated, then your business is missing the entire point of having a social media presence in the first place.

Social media is a conversation. It takes two to be social, after all. Anything else is just broadcasting a prerecorded message, and no one ever described television or radio as a social medium.

The folks at TeamSupport covered this topic in a recent blog post, noting that social media is “about engagement. If you’re not engaging, the conversation is one sided, which can sound sales-y, a big social media no-no.”

Automation is never a replacement for genuine social media interaction, but it can enhance it. Use it as a tool like everything else, but be sure to keep the personal touch to keep your customers engaged.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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