Have you noticed how many twitter accounts are using automated messages? Some are threatening that they will unfollow me, if I unfollow them. Others are greeting me and immediately ask me to Like their facebook account, or buy their products, or read their latest books. Some are sending automated updates on their deals. How do you react to this flood of unsolicited, threatening and automated messages?
I know what I do. I unfollow them immediately or I do not bother following them in the first place. How am I supposed to relate to a ‘bot’? I am eager to become a member of the online community and meet real people. I am already fed up with large companies that provide impersonal customer service in real life. Why should I put up with the same behaviour in social media?
I am certain that this kind of behaviour could be pardoned in some cases, if there are hundreds of thousands of followers involved. In the majority of accounts, though, I can clearly see that there are less than 10.000 followers. (Read this blog post with advice on How to Get Thousands of Followers on Twitter). Is it possible the owner is so lazy and so inconsiderate that they are eager to keep their messages impersonal and non-committed? What do they think is their contribution to a vibrant community that has been built on hours of proper direct communication between its members?
Of course, where there is sin, there is punishment. There are other members of dedicated social media participants (exactly like me) who will start ignoring the parasites of the social media sphere. I expect also that major organisations, such as Twitter or Google will start clamping down on such blatantly anti-social behaviour.
Even if punishment does not come immediately, there are other problems that automated messages could cause. For example, the lack of engagement with other online members could only result to a lack of trust between them. How on earth does anyone believe that a greeting with a link to his/her latest product can actually result in a sale?
Social media are not the prime drivers of sale. Rather they should be seen as the best way of creating authority online as well as off-line. They are the place to make connections, meet people, exchange ideas and information. Above all, they are lively places of networking and business building, if not Community building.
As for their ‘lean’ function, I cannot think of a better place to do customer development. The owner of a startup should always keep his/ her ear to the ground in order to pick up the problems and needs of the community. By listening carefully to such complaints as mine, s/he can come up with viable and profitable solutions.
One step beyond the ‘listening’ phase would be the ‘asking questions’ phase. Find out what your customers want, instead of bombarding them with narcissistic messages spit out from an impersonal bot.
Sorry for the rant!I have just finished another online module on twitter. This time I am teaching a masterclass on how to get more than 1000 followers a month, how to monetise your account, how to limit the time you spend on social media etc. The module is designed for those of you who already know how to use twitter and, ideally, have at least a couple of hundred followers already. I will be updating the module frequently according to changes in twitter and according to your feedback. Contact me for more information or just buy the module HERE.
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