Is Automation Your Friend?

When it comes to blogging, many people I know use some type of process to have their blog posts automatically go to different places when an article goes live. I used to use a plugin called Twitter Tools to get the job done, but when that bad boy was discontinued I was lucky enough to have someone recommend Twitterfeed to me, and that’s what I use to have my posts go directly to Twitter when they go live.

New Belgium Production Line
scumdogsteev via Compfight

It turns out there’s lots of different tools that can handle that, but it’s also true that there are sites where those tools aren’t needed, and they can handle more than just blog posts For instance, if you set your account up properly on LinkedIn, it will not only share your most recent blog posts but any updates you make to your website will automatically show as well, if you have the proper RSS settings taken care of(I know some people are saying RSS is going away; well, it hasn’t yet). Facebook supposedly has a way of finding new things on your website or blog as well, but I haven’t fully explored it after they took away the original process I was using there.

There’s always this question about whether automation online is a good thing or not. In one way it’s good because it can allow you to put things out when you’re not around that you want people to see. In another it’s horrid, at least to someone like me, because some people set up their automation to post multiple times a day, and I mean like once an hour for a 24-hour period. Who wants to be connected with anyone doing that?

There should always be a balance in how and when to use automation for anything. For me, I have my initial blog posts automated because I like them all to go out between 9 and 10:30 AM EST, and I’m not always around when they go live. However, subsequent postings of anything, if I do them, are done live and in the evenings so that if someone wants to comment or say anything to me they know that I’m online at that time. I think it helps with engagement and branding and lets people know when you’re available to donate time to them.

Overdoing anything isn’t good, and that’s important if you’re going to automate processes. Learning how to engage your potential customers and audience while balancing your time is important. As someone who has a tendency to stay up real late, I tend to “call” some posts I see from people I know are asleep. They’ll have to deal with me the next morning; just the cost of doing business. 🙂

Do you think automation is important in your marketing efforts? Are you presently using it in some fashion or thinking about it?
 

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They Like Me, They… What?

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that one of the few games I play online is this game and page called Empire Avenue. It’s kind of a social media stock market game where you trade on each other rather than specific companies or products.

A little overtanned?
radioher via Compfight

One of its features is that you can leave what’s called “shout outs” to people to either thank them for buying your shares or respond to those who write you. As my stock price has gone up I’ve been getting a lot of responses, and I’ve been responding to a lot of people who have purchased my shares. I’m not as good at thanking people who buy my shares unfortunately, and I thought that maybe I needed to work on that.

I “thought” about it, that is. I was dismayed about a month ago when I learned that almost all of the messages I get are automated. I didn’t even know one could do that but it seems that I’m not really as popular or as well liked as I’d thought after all.

I probably should have noticed it earlier because it was the same response every single time, and I knew that, based on doing it once, the page will reject a message that it considers a duplicate if you’re writing it. So, it seems automation can get people around that.

It also explains why no one ever responded when I sent them a message back. I mean, if everything’s automated, why would they even have to consider responding back to anyone right?

About a month ago I talked about over automation and gave reasons why I don’t and won’t do it. On my Twitter profile I have a message that says if you add me and I follow you and then you auto-DM me I’ll unfollow you immediately, and I stick with that. These days almost everyone new I connect with on Twitter has connected with me first, and I’ve learned that many people are connecting with me via automation, looking for keywords in messages I post and therefore bypassing my profile entirely. It also probably explains why so many that connect with me disconnect with me, usually within a week. Hey, that’s their prerogative.

Here’s my point. Social media is called that because it’s supposed to be social. Over-automation basically makes social impersonal. Sure, there are lots of folks saying that we love getting greetings or thank you messages because they make us feel special. Think about it; how special do you feel when you get an automated email thanking you for leaving a comment on a blog without a response back to your comment with it? As a matter of fact, outside of getting confirmation that you either signed up for or left something, how often do you enjoy getting something automated anywhere?

Does someone actually like you if it’s not them telling you so? Do you care?
 

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Why I Don’t Over-Automate On Twitter

Just thought I’d mention that if you see a post from me at 2 or 3 in the morning, I actually wrote it.” – Mitch Mitchell

I tend to stay up pretty late; yeah, I’m nuts. I get my energy around 9:30 or 10PM and then I start working really well. At a certain point I finish a project and unless I’m totally exhausted it’s a great time to go back and look at Twitter to see what has gone on either during the day or for at least a few hours.

Some people locally have commented on my late night tweets because they wake up and see a bunch of things from me. Actually, I never knew any of them paid much attention to anything I put out so that’s illuminating. However, like most people they tend to believe that everyone else is on the same time frame they’re on, and thus think that by the time I’m writing everyone else has gone to bed.

The world’s a big place, and as I’ve talked about on this blog, the majority of people that actually comment in my blogs don’t live in my area. So if I’m posting at 3 in the morning and someone’s still awake, they’re probably on the West Coast except for my friend that lives in Nebraska and works night, or they’re in Australia where it’s actually already well into their next day, or in Europe where it’s morning and they’re just getting started on their day.

One also sees a lot of other noise, if you will, when you stay up really late. There’s a ton of automation, the same messages over and over from people you know aren’t awake, messages I’ve seen many times during the day. Frankly it starts getting irritating, and one reason I actually write some of those folks early in the morning is to see if any of them respond. Of course I know that almost no one is going to respond, but I figure maybe they’ll respond in the morning when I’ve awakened.

Nope. Truth be told most people that do a lot of automation aren’t interested in what anyone else has to say for the most part. They haven’t quite learned the lesson that social media isn’t really only about “them”, but about everyone, communications, relationships, and networking.

I only do one little bit of automation. For almost every new blog post I publish I use Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) to put the notification out that I’ve written a new blog post. I do that because I tend to write a lot of posts all at once on all my blogs (remember I have 5 of my own and many that I write for others) in advance.

Often I’m actually sitting at the computer when a blog post goes out but I’m doing something else. However, I check to see if my blog posts are showing up usually within the hour if I’m not live on Twitter. Actually, every once in awhile I’m on Twitter when a post of mine shows up; that’s pretty neat.

If you see a blog post of mine in the afternoon or evening, you can be 99.8% sure that I’m posting it live. It’s either a repost of an earlier blog post or, if something’s hit me that I just have to talk about immediately, it’s brand new. Back in November I did an experiment testing 2-a-day blog posts with the second being advertisements for some of my products, and in that case those were written in advance. I haven’t done that since.

Here are my questions for you. How much automation are you doing on Twitter? How much actual engagement are you doing around the time messages are coming your way? Are you actually engaging people on Twitter at all? And how do you feel when you see messages from people that are almost all automation, since we know it when we see it?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell