A lot of social media purists will tell you that you’re the spawn of the devil if you use automation.

To truly use social media properly, you have to “be there” constantly, otherwise you’re just fooling yourself and your connections.

Bullshit.

Maybe to the purists that are on Twitter and Facebook non-stop, and love to tweet just for the sake of getting influence scores up, automation is evil. After all, they’re on there doing their “thing” all the time, so why shouldn’t you be?

Simple.

The people that aren’t on Twitter and Facebook all the time are generally doing other things. You know… like client work. Yes, they’ll jump on and interact, but usually that’s when the other important stuff is done.

So forgive me if I see folks tell me automation is bad. If I’m going to share a blog post anyway by someone that I truly trust to deliver the goods, why do I need to physically be on Twitter to do this when I can send the same post out with something like Triberr or Twitterfeed?

What’s that? Because I’m not being true to social media and its values? Give me a break, please.

Social media is just another toolset, or platform, or information base, or whatever tag you want to give it, to help you manage your needs better, whether they be personally or professionally.

It works for people the way they need it to work, not how someone else uses it.

If you don’t like automation for yourself because you’re on social media 24/7 doing whatever it is you do, cool – that’s your approach and that’s what works for you, and I won’t hold anything against you for that.

Maybe you can offer the same courtesy to those that aren’t like you. I mean, does it really impact you anyway?

image: Chuckumentary

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  1. says

    Great post Danny.

    Whilst I’ve never used automation on Twitter, which is my main social media space after my sites, I have zero issue with people who do.

    I use Twitter in a way that suits me, but if I believed I would gain an advantage by automating some RT’s of people I trust, like yourself, I’d do it.

    I like the idea of “being there” when I tweet, but as you said, it’s a personal thing.

    Your strategy is clearly working (though I am sure someone will tell you you’re doing it wrong), so stick with it mate.

    So, +1 to Danny Brown and his army of Internet robots! πŸ˜‰

    • says

      Hi there mate,

      Completely agree – in an ideal world, we’d definitely all “be there” when we tweet, update, share, etc. But then how would we simultaneously cover ground in the U.K., North America, Asia, Australia, etc? πŸ˜‰

      Cheers, mate, always a pleasure to have you over here.

  2. says

    Oh Danny,

    That’s the point. I am glad you made it because lots of people use networking as a excuse for wasting time. As far as I promptly check other’s updates and share other’s stuff, I am free to do auto updates; and, as long as I don’t spam with those auto updates.

    Clear point. Those who are on social sites for 24/7 are social bees. Appreciated! But we have got to blog as well :)

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • says

      Using automation to serve your needs is fine. I think most of the objections, and one that I personally dislike, is to have a blast of ads all in a row.This is spam. Then again there are going to be abusers not matter what. The whole idea to accomplish what you need to do in a respectful manner.

      • says

        Agreed – and that’s more spam than automation. I think that’s where we need to define the difference – but completely agree with you.

  3. says

    Awesome.

    For me, striking the right balance is vital – but, since part of what I’m doing lately (a membership site for small business folks) involves delivering them the goods at whatever time is important to them, if I made a blanket statement like “don’t automate ever,” I’d go out of business.

    And if I’m focusing on the entire English-speaking world, I have to automate or else no one will know I exist.

    And emails need to get delivered at a time when they will be read.

    AND…well, I could go on. I won’t. Balance. Great post.

    • says

      Hey there Dave,

      You make a key point (and one that counters most of the non-automation argument): if you’re involved with a global audience, and don’t have multiple team members in these parts of the world, then good luck keeping them abreast of things without automation.

      Cheers, mate.

  4. says

    Ohhh Danny, you hit many people in the nuts! HAHA! I am actually waiting to hear what Mitch have to say about this as he wrote a blog about this.

  5. says

    Bravo Danny! I’m glad you said it! I have used some level of automation for efficiency but I do engage everyday if I can. I manage at least 4 different brand accounts plus my own at one time and automation helps to provide the relevant content and leave me more time to do the engaging. I still am a purist but these days it’s about efficiency and finding the right balance to retain your audience.

    • says

      I agree! I too manage multiple accounts and using automation tools frees me up to make comments and reply to posts knowing that sharing content is in the works.

    • says

      Perfect example, Hessie – like you say, you engage throughout the day but I’m sure you’re much more effective using automation too. So why should you lose that efficiency because of social media “idealism”? πŸ˜‰

  6. says

    Amen Danny.

    I often wonder how people find the time to constantly be on twitter and facebook. A little automation can be just what some people may need/want…nothing wrong with that.

    More importantly, to me, is the fact that many people always want to tell us how to do “it” right and/or that we are doing “it” wrong. I hate that…the way i’m doing whatever I’m doing is right for me at that moment. Sometimes automation plays into that and sometimes it doesn’t.

    • says

      Exactly, Eric – unless someone has spent time on my business and knows my specific needs, how can they know what’s the best way to use anything for me?

      Cheers, mate, hope you’re having a great weekend!

  7. Kasey Skala says

    There’s only so much time one can spend on Twitter. I used schedule tweets simply so I don’t have to worry about spending all my time online. It also allows me to break up the content I am sharing. We don’t need to be online all the time, but we also need to be aware that our audience has different habits. If I were to only tweet when I’m online, my audience would miss a lot of content I feel is valuable. Because I don’t know when you are online, I need to cover all my bases to ensure my message is received by you.

    • says

      “We don’t need to be online all the time, but we also need to be aware that our audience has different habits.”

      And that’s the pro-automation answer right there, mate – cheers. :)

  8. says

    Automation definitely has its place! I use it for blog post tweets, links to articles I want to share later, business promotional tweets (ie discussing my services) I think the struggle is that people start automating, and soon…that’s all they do! Twitter needs real interaction (you can’t automate replies…) but I 100% agree that automation can help make it manageable for a wider audience :)

    • says

      Hi Kirsten,

      Agreed – full-on automation I’m not a fan of (though we use full automation on our Bonsai Twitter account as that’s just a news and resource feed). But nothing wrong with mixing it all up. :)

  9. says

    Fabulous post! I wish I would have been the one to say it and maybe I still will. I’m so tired of hearing how automation isn’t really being social. A lot of us are marketing with social media, so we’re going to do it however it works for us. Loved this. Thanks Danny!

    • says

      Hi Amy,

      And that’s the key point right there – it’s how it works for us (and/or our clients) that matters at the end of the day.

      Cheers! :)

  10. says

    I agree with the idea that it should be a balance. The more and more social media is accepted as part of the mainstream the more the culture will change. I think.along as the automation is based on getting quality content our and providing value it’s fine.

    • says

      Agreed, Katherine – the way I look at it is if I would share your stuff anyhoo, why not automate it and make sure no-one misses it (including me)?

  11. says

    Good point here. Have to confess a couple of years ago I would have been one of those people preaching to do it all in real time and personally. The truth is that it’s no longer possible and to think it is would be just lubucrous. A mix of personal touch and automation is the way forward I reckon but that balance is not easy either.

    • says

      Hi there mate,

      Same boat – and that’s the beauty of social media, business, marketing, anything. We may start out one way but that doesn’t mean we’ll forever be locked in that way.

      Cheers, Niall, hope you’re having a great weekend.

  12. says

    You make a good argument, Danny, and I don’t disagree. I’m not crazy about automation but for much less principled reasons – I just want a chance to miss you :-) Streaming posts 24/7 becomes noise quickly. After neglecting my personal blog for the past couple of months, you’ve spurred me to writing about this. So, thanks!

    • says

      Just read your post, mate, and will be commenting shortly (love the points you raise).

      Agree on the 24/7 streaming (though can see the value in a news feed or emergency feed), that would soon burn me out too. :)

  13. says

    Danny,absolutely loved this post! I am only a few steps down my blogging/social media path but must say that I have found some of the nose-turning towards automation to be a little discouraging. As someone whose primary responsibilities are in the offline world, online time triage is of paramount importance. To the extent that automation can facilitate greater efficiency, more power to it.

    I think the whole debate is a classic example of blaming the tool instead of the use. A hammer is useful if it is used to hammer a nail, not so great if it is used to hit a person. Either way, the hammer is neutral. Social media automation is fine if it makes the delivery of quality information easier, not so wonderful if it facilitates spam.

    Thanks for stepping up to the plate on this one!

    • says

      Love the hammer and nail analogy, Adam – so true, and one that so many detractors miss. Like you say, it still needs a person to initially set automation up – so why blame the system? πŸ˜‰

  14. says

    I think people who automate their tweets are assholes …oh wait…Im the founder of Triberr, right? Disregard the previous statement. Automation rocks :-p

    • says

      Dino, I think it’s interesting how the debate about automation is usually one sided when it comes to those who are against it. I see many big bloggers with huge following rant about automation regularly. Umm, not sure why.

      • says

        What I find doubly funny, mate, is that the same bloggers that rant against have an automated blog feed set up so you know when they’ve posted a new article. Go figure… πŸ˜‰

  15. says

    I don’t really have a problem with automation. I guess I just don’t get it.

    If you don’t have time to be on Twitter – don’t tweet. I actually think that automation is more about preserving numbers than people who may cry against it. When I am having a busy day and can’t get to Twitter till 8 at night, my follower numbers often go down. I’m not there. C’est la vie.

    I try to envision someone calling me on the phone with an automated message because they don’t have time to call me right then in real time. That would weird me out, and I’d probably say, “Dude, why not just wait till you have a moment so I can really talk to you?

    But, that’s just my opinion :) I don’t really care what other folks do if it works for them.

    • says

      Hi Marjorie,

      I’m not so sure it’s about “keeping numbers” as it is making sure you’re not missing opportunity. The web is global; it’s not just restricted to Eastern or Pacific time.

      I look at it this way: a blogger has his or her post on an RSS feed, so people are notified when the post has gone live. Isn’t that the same kind of automation (as opposed to manually telling your readers you have a new post)?

      There’s pros and cons to everything – I just don’t think there are as many cons to automation as some of the social media “big hitters” would have us believe… πŸ˜‰

  16. says

    I think whatever works for you is good. Although I don’t use Triberr, I do often schedule tweets for when I’m out and on the road. Nothing wrong with automation if it works for you. And so agree, we all have businesses to run.

    When I’m feeling social, and want interaction, those are the times I do these in real time.

    Great post Danny!

  17. says

    I can see a use for automating sometimes. I have scheduled Tweets for when i’m sleeping so those on the other side of the world can see them.

    My fear on automation is that eventually your community gets lost on whether it should bother with dialogue. If you train people to always get the answering machine, first they stop leaving messages, then they stop calling.

    Also, if you’re using social media as a tool to connect with prospective clients, won’t they begin to wonder what other services you will automate to them? People are to they point where they are fed up with automated messages, they want humanization again.

    I’ve always maintained the stance that your Twitter is not my Twitter. I can only vouch for what works for me, no one else. I sneak in a quick peek in between tasks to see what’s up and yes I do have a whole lot of pre-written Tweets that I can drop in at any time. I just try to time them accordingly and make them relevant.

    The biggest issue with social media is scaling it. We can scale the tools but we have a hard time scaling our time.

    In the end, we use the tools the way they work best for us.

    • says

      Hey there Chris,

      Agree on the automation overkill, I don’t think that helps anyone.

      To your point about clients wondering about automation, for me it’s not that different to a FAQ on a website (that answers questions with no need for interaction), or a print or media ad that hasn’t been played manually.

      Like you say, it’s down to setting expectations and then not failing on them.

      Cheers, mate.

  18. says

    Thanks for this article, Danny. This will stop me from feeling guilty about using ping.fm for sending automated tweets to Twitter when I am not around to tweet personally. After hearing so many talks discouraging automation that made me doubt about what I was doing, now I can rest easy. So, I’m back on my slow and steady pace with nary a doubt. πŸ˜‰ Enjoy your weekend, mate!

    • says

      Hey there Wes,

      What I think a lot of folks miss with regards the automation “argument” is that you can still choose what goes out, when, and on what networks.

      So you can make sure that the message is relevant to the platform – which, funnily enough, a lot of manual users seem to miss… πŸ˜‰

      Cheers, mate, hope your weekend is going sound. :)

  19. says

    Danny, Twitter reminds me of CNN. They play the same news every hour or 30min, same footage, same text, simply because not everyone saw it.
    I’m not saying we should tweet the same message every hour, but there is case to be made to automate as lifespan on Twitter is so short, and you can’t be there every 30min (well not me at least). So just like all the big news stations most of your is recorded “automated’. But if you want to keep your tribe alive you also need to go live.

    I think people confuse automation with lack of any interaction on Twitter. Automating your tweets doesn’t mean you never go ‘live’ on Twitter.

    • says

      As I mentioned in my reply to Danny, there is good automation and bad automation. I think it comes down to how you manage your account and ultimately what it ‘feels’ like to your followers.

      When you get to your level it’s a necessity if you want to have a life.

      I see you out there commenting, that’s not automated and this is where a lot of the people connect anyway.

    • says

      Hey there mate,

      This part of your comment rings so true:

      “I think people confuse automation with lack of any interaction on Twitter. Automating your tweets doesn’t mean you never go β€˜live’ on Twitter.”

      And often, automated content sharing is more valuable than some manual tweets… πŸ˜‰

  20. says

    Just like everything, you can have good automation and bad automation.

    If you chose to follow me and I see you have 38,293 tweets and I check your timeline and you are pumping something out every 5 min……bad automation; I don’t care what the content is.

    However, and especially at your level, I don’t see how you could live without it short of hiring someone to help you keep up with everything….good automation.

    I too have a paying gig that doesn’t allow me to always be on twitter. If you put something out worth reading or responding to I don’t want to miss it because it came out at 2 pm and then got buried in the twitter stream.

    I see you comment frequently and people certainly know that’s not automated. For you especially (and others at your level) I would say automation is just a smart and more efficient way to manage your network. Otherwise, there is absolutely no way you could keep up.

    I prefer the personal touch but you can certainly blend the two so you have a nice platform that makes you easy to stay connected to.

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      And that’s the perfect example right there, mate – Twitter moves so fast that it’s virtually impossible to catch everything first time (or even second and third times).

      Like you say, it’s more about effectiveness than it is anything else – and if something can make you more effective across the channels you choose to interact on, then more power to that.

      Cheers, mate, hope your Saturday is going grand. :)

  21. says

    Nice slap upside the head for many people.

    Twitter is a tool, just like email, just like your computer, your blog.

    They are tools to build your biz.. Twitter alone will not build your biz.

    I like to be there when I tweet things, but they are all scheduled so my time is freed to do other things.

    Hell email is automated and we are fine with that.. not sure why automating tweets or shares is seen as so negative haha

  22. says

    “Bullshit”
    Steady on Danny, this is a family blog. LOL

    I don’t know much about social media but I do recognise a well written post when I see it.

    Great attention grabbing opening, well argued case and a good finish.

    You could write a speech for me anytime.

    Cheers Danny

  23. says

    Danny I agree with you. There is a separation in activities. If you use Social Media to promote/market as part of the mix that is easily automated by scheduling tweets etc. Its the things that people expect a response from a person that needs to be human, but I don’t think timely is required. If my phone sucks at 3am and I tweet Motorola sucks should they respond within 10mins? LOL

    Each person and business needs to balance why they use Social Media and how to do it properly. One of the GodFathers of House Music Jesse Saunders has a Twitter feed called @brokenrecords and his automation was spam. I also follwed a few internet radio stations who also auto-dumped into my feed every time a new song came on. Unfollow!

    But seriously if I need to promote today a few times spaced out the same message do I really need to there real time for those tweets?

    • says

      Hey there mate,

      Agree, fella, the usage should be dictated by the goals. Would a customer service or tech support feed benefit from automation? Probably not.

      Sales, marketing, company news, though? Yep, you can see why automation would be worthwhile.

      And to your closing question, no you don’t, mate. :)

  24. says

    Danny,

    Define automation pal. I am not going to say atta-boy or you suck without that definition.

    If the purpose of automation is to put content or a deal out there for people to digest across social channels without looking to build interactions and conversations around said content then it is fine. If you look at the Facebook pages for a company like Crown Royal (clearly automated) that looks to build answers to questions they post but zero interactions. Then I see it as a fine thing as its the strategy.

    If you are looking to build conversations and build the 1:1 relationships with a customerbase and have to do other work and can’t devote 24/7 or even 3 hours a day, set expectations on the account and note hours of usage. You do a good job of this when you go to meet with a client or have shit to do.

    I also question if putting things out just to be there holds any business value to the company or person doing it.

    But then I need your definition DB.

    • says

      Hi there mate,

      Automation as used to share stuff that you’d normally share anyhoo (trusted resources and bloggers). Or sharing an older post of yours that may have been missed first time round.

      Not automation to completely replace proper interaction, but more to cover more bases than you can realistically cover (the Australian / New Zealand / Asian market, for example, while you’re sleeping in Eastern time).

      And, like you say, sometimes you just have more important stuff to do – but does that mean you can’t still share great content with your connections?

      Hope that helps, mate, and always a pleasure to have you here. :)

      • says

        Well that does help and two accounts (Jeff Bullas and Steveology) come to mind. I see a value in that as it builds up an audience that is time zone sensitive, but would look at that more of an RSS re-route rather than automation. Kind of recycling content or links to hit everyone.

        In this case/definition I say carry on. If you were doing the other, I would toss you over the falls in a barrel :) Now lets see if change #20 to the gravatar worked.

  25. says

    Obviously, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Do you want to have a life? If so – automate.

    Yet, I think we all know the Twitter and FB profiles that will respond to us quickly, and which ones will get back to us a few hours later when we’ve forgotten what we even said. Automation can put a damper on the “social” part of social media. Of course, when you get enough followers, you won’t be able to respond to most people anyway…

    Also worth noting – according to some, Facebook gives lower priority to automated posts.

    • says

      Hey there Kennedy,

      Never recognized you with the new facial hair, mate. :)

      Agree – some accounts are better than others, but sometimes even good accounts can seem “bad” due to unrealistic expectations that many social media “leaders” say should be placed on them.

      Haven’t heard that about Facebook before – interesting, will have to dig into that.

      Cheers, mate!

  26. says

    The key point made above is that Twitter is a tool, so appropriate use is determined by one’s end objective.

    If you’re there to mostly provide valued content and share information consistently, you’ll need to automate. And why not? People in different time zones value your tweets and a good article at 10pm today doesn’t lose its value if you schedule it for a tweet 6 hours later. As with anything, it’s when you cross the line and over share the same message that we move into spam territory. That’s a real danger.

    If there for networking, fine. The interactive, real-time proportion of time spent on Twitter will accordingly be greater. You can’t automate that element, so the requirement is different. It doesn’t render the other element inferior or, worse, offensive.

    It reminds me of television viewers that write into stations to say that a show offended them. It takes a lot less effort to simply change the channel, surely?! Don’t like automation? Don’t follow automaters!

    • says

      “Don’t like automation? Don’t follow automaters!”

      And there’s your answer right there, mate – no-one forces you to do anything. Change channels. :)

  27. says

    Thank you for this “liberating” perspective. I am not sure I think of myself as a purist, but I think I work too hard to be true to my sense of authenticity, which includes “being here” in person. I suppose it won’t matter how blessedly authentic I might be if no one gets to know me because I don’t establish the connection opportunities at times convenient to them (and, as you point out, I do other things…and I am on Pacific Time, which means I miss a lot of “peak” time in others lives.) Okay, note to self, Monday: Automate.

    • says

      Hey there Mimi,

      That’s the thing that I question the most for non-automated approaches. I get that people feel it’s impersonal; but is it any less impersonal than making all your core messages available for just the people in your timezone?

      I’m not too sold on that… πŸ˜‰

  28. says

    Hey Danny, although I am against automation in sense of auto follows and auto DMs, I love there two ways of automation and I have my Twitter set up to that for me. I agree with you!

  29. says

    Danny, aloha. If one of the arguments against automation is:

    “Because I’m not being true to social media and its values?”

    then what about the part of social media where you bring value to your followers?

    This is not a shameless plug for Triberr rather it is a mere statement of fact. Danny, because of Triberr my followers now have the opportunity to meet some amazing people and read their incredible blogs. The value that I am giving to them has both breadth and depth.

    Well said, my friend. Enjoy a spectacular weekend. Aloha. Janet

    • says

      That’s a great point, Janet – give me someone that automates quality content to be shared over a manual bland approach any time.

      And yes, Triberr is really great for helping more bloggers get a wider audience – which is never a bad thing.

      Have a spectacular weekend yourself, miss. :)

  30. says

    WOW! Something brought on that topic. Sounds like something or someone specifically got under your skin. So happens, YOUR RIGHT! It should be called “Whatever floats your boat MEDIA!” Who gives a hoot what anyone does with their slice of the pie. If it bothers you, don’t “LIKE” or “Follow” or “Request” or anything else!

    Unfortunately, one of these fools works with me. He is one of our most valued employees too!He thinks it’s “unethical” to use automation tools in social media…I guess every significant business and non-profit organization in the SMedia world lacks ethics. I argued that even a live person, a hired hand, on the clock, whos job is to post on a FB page or Twitter is an automation tool! Just ridiculous

    • says

      Hey there Billy,

      “Whatever floats your boat media’ – ha, LOVE it! :)

      That’s a great point you raise about hiring someone to run your social media outreach – if you’re not doing it yourself manually, it’s automation. So where does the argument come in if the person you’ve hired is the most interactive person in the history of interaction? πŸ˜‰

      And yes… there was a specific tweet from a well-known user who has taken it upon himself to be the “voice of how Twitter should be used.” πŸ˜‰

  31. says

    Hello Danny!

    I use Twitterfeed and Triberr, AND I am on Twitter by way of HootSuite basically whenever I am online. Like Hessie, I manage accounts for others and there is no way I would ever be able to get around to tweeting all the great stuff out there if I didn’t have a little bit of automation set up.

    I should also say that I’ve recently started using Tweet Old Post, which is yet another form of automation, and it’s brilliant. New readers are getting to read some of the old posts, leaving comments, etc. Works like a charm.

    Again, I’m on Twitter “live” so much that I don’t feel the slightest tinge of guilt using automation to do my favorite bloggers a favor or tweet old stuff from time to time.

    • says

      Hi there Tia,

      Funnily enough, this post was kinda sparked by someone complaining about Tweet Old Post online. Like you say, it helps new readers find old posts, and where’s the harm in that?

      I think a lot of the folks that complain about this kind of automation are missing a far bigger picture. Then again, we all use the tools differently and we all have the audiences that prefer each approach – so all good at the end of the day. πŸ˜‰

      • Tia Peterson says

        Interesting! I wonder if the annoyance comes from the theory that Twitter is for news only…

        Food for thought. I am of the same mind as you – I’m at peace with the way people use Twitter and hopefully they are at peace with my usage as well! The easy way to fix that is to hit the unfollow button! :)

        Cheers,
        Tia

  32. says

    Hi Danny,

    Personally, I hope there never comes a time when I sit in front of a computer solely watching social media applications. That would drive me up the wall.

    I wish I could spend more time, but hey, I’ll take what I can get – because my other time is spent working!

    I wasn’t really aware of the “social acceptance” of automation for social media – but if you say it’s cool – then I’m sold! And frankly, without automation, I’d be lost at times.

    • says

      Hey there Jk,

      It’s like you say, mate – you make the best use of your time where it needs to be at that given moment. If that means automating certain things, is that really any worse than missing out because you couldn’t do something manually?

      Cheers, mate, always a pleasure having you over here. :)

  33. says

    I do not believe in automation. But then I am not able to connect everyday. So, doing so many things at one time, in one day, either, miss tweeting or automate. Seeing the importance of social media, it is better to automate. But then again, I love to pass my current feeling, welcome, and information all other feelings. So,finally, my personal touch is very important to me to connect. I will continue connecting directly, no automation.

    • says

      Hi Fran,

      And that’s the beauty – there’s no right or wrong approach. You can either be there, miss out, or automate. They all work, and they all have their pros and cons – you just need to choose which one is best for you.

      Cheers!

  34. says

    Danny; I both agree and disagree with you – When I think of automation I think of people who are sending out links or information with little or no thought for their “communities” – and that stuff I hate.
    On the other hand, what you describe is a use of technology to schedule your message for greatest impact something I’m totally in favor of – I don;t want to miss reading what you have to share, so you’re helping me out when you send it at a time that increases my chances of seeing :)
    Anyway, having taken both sides of the argument – I’m done now – thanks so much for sharing :)

    • says

      Hi there Bill,

      Completely agree, mate (in hindsight, I probably should have said as much in the post, hehe).

      I’m all for manual interaction (and try to make sure I do that as much as possible) – just sometimes it’s not always feasible, and I think that’s where (smart) automation comes in.

      Cheers, sir, hope you’re having a great weekend!

  35. says

    I’ve always scheduled tweets and now I’m using Triberr. I’ve been VERY careful to make sure my tribes are people whose stuff I read and tweet anyway. I wouldn’t want to be in a tribe with bloggers I didn’t already have a relationship with or would be out of character if I tweeted their stuff.

    What this allows me to do is interact and have conversations with people, when I am on Twitter, instead of trying to find stuff to tweet. I’ll be honest, Triberr at first felt really icky to me. But, as you well know, Dino and Dan have spent a lot of time and effort making it comfortable. Plus, I haven’t done a stats dig yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s helped our traffic and pageviews, which are two big, big goals for us.

    So, I get why the purists think it’s baloney. But I’m with you. I’m in meetings all day, every Monday, with zero time to be on Twitter except early in the morning or late at night. But I also don’t want to miss out on the benefits Twitter brings my business. So I schedule and automate to keep things newsworthy and fresh for those who follow me.

    • says

      That’s the thing, Gini – I’m going to share stuff by you, because I trust you and know you’ve got business smarts that my connections will appreciate.

      Same goes for Marcus Sheridan, Ingrid Abboud, Troy Claus, Jim Connolly and many others. So if I’d automatically share your content anyway, where’s the big deal in making it one less thing to eat into my time?

      And I find it funny that a lot of the purists that are complaining are the ones that I wonder how they ever get work done… πŸ˜‰

  36. says

    Hi Danny,
    If I didn’t schedule my tweets in advance, I’d never get any work done and my business would suffer. I hop in and out of twitter throughout the day, but can’t sit there in front of the screen just hanging on every tweet that comes through the stream. Great for folks who do!

    As someone was in Triberr but no longer is, I had issues with automated tweets from folks I didn’t know or had never read. Now that Dan and Dino have made some HUGE corrections (manual mode being one of them), I’m likely going to jump back in as it did increase my traffic dramatically.

    Tools are meant to help us and are purely dependent on each individual’s needs, goals and timing. Use what works for you and don’t worry about the rest of the world! Cheers!

    • says

      Hey there Erica,

      Yep, I hear you on how automation can sometimes send stuff out you wouldn’t want to share normally, and it was one of the points that was raised in a group email exchange with various Triberrs. Like you say, great to see both Dan and Dino listening and improving the experience. :)

      And yes, the rest of the world will still go on about its merry business whether you’re part of it or not. πŸ˜‰

  37. says

    Sorry Danny, we have to disagree with you. Social Media is not just about posting content. What more important is the the audience engagement aroung that piece of content. Social Media is all about active human participation. It’s not necessary to spend your whole day just tweeting and posting on your facebook. Its quality which matters, not quantity. May be you just tweet two or three times per day. But if you are tweeting quality material, even those few tweets can bring you hundreds of followers.Social Media efforts can’t be successful without human participation. Its very important to activate our fans rather than collecting them like baseball cards. And to make that happen, human participation is a must.

    http://www.facebook.com/vizzmedia
    http://twitter.com/vizzmedia

    • says

      Agreed, just blasting out content for content’s sake can become annoying.

      But then you have to look at the bigger picture – does a news feed need human participation, or can that just be for updates and alerts?

      Does a movie showtime feed need human interaction, or can that just have the latest times and special showings for moviegoers?

      There’s a time and place for everything, and automation has its time and place alongside human interaction.

      Cheers!

  38. says

    I agree with Eric’s statement: “A little automation can be just what some people may need.” The danger with automation is that it makes broadcasting too easy, and then gets over-used. There’s nothing wrong with automating certain tasks at certain times (e.g. so you don’t need to separately submit your latest blog post on each social media site), but it can’t substitute for interaction completely.

    Are you automating your replies to every comment on this post? Of course not – wouldn’t work. Automation has its place, but can’t replace genuine interaction, the “social” part of social media.

    • says

      Hi Tom,

      Agree – although I’ve seen plenty of manual feeds where there’s nothing but broadcasting… πŸ˜‰

      At the end of the day, it comes down to the curator as opposed to the method. And we can always choose not to follow the curator. πŸ˜‰

  39. says

    It’s not often that I am compelled to comment, but in my opinion you have completely missed the mark.

    There certainly is room for automation. Scheduling tweets or Facebook posts across a variety of clients is almost required if you have a small social media team.

    However, if the content is just a scrubbed list of links or stories from an RSS feed or elsewhere, that is when I worry about automation.

    These channels are not just about broadcasting a message, it should be about engagement and creating more value around a topic through conversation.

    I don’t buy into influence scores, Klout or other similar services. And I can tell that you value interaction as you’ve commented on nearly every comment on this post.

    It’s hard to tell exactly what automation you are talking about. But those folks that continue to blast out stories and links that are not curated remind me of a newspaper without an editor. And if you are not engaging on the backend with your audience I would assume your followers and created community have little value.

    • says

      Hi Dennis,

      Automation as in my response to Jeff:

      http://dannybrown.me/2011/04/08/social-media-automation/#comment-43338

      Perhaps I should have made it clearer in the post about when automation works.

      The thing is, news feeds and links work well for a news feed account, or a stock/traders account, or similar.

      It all boils down to goals and needs. At the end of the day, the community determines if there’s value in the approach you use – if they don’t like, they won’t follow that feed.

  40. says

    Danny – thank you for writing this post. This is a subject that I can get “riled” up about quite easily. I read a post last week (or week before) where the blog author suggested that by automating your Twitter account you are basically cutting your own throat. I disagree for numerous reasons (which deserves it’s own blog post).

    In my opinion it all boils down to this:
    As long as the tools we chose to automate are not entirely replacing actual interactions then those tools are only supplementing our efforts and allowing each individual to manage their social media in the way they feel is best.

    I echo your closing line RE….respect for the “one size does not fit all” approach is necessary.

    • says

      Hi there Michelle,

      I think I saw that post(or one like it) and I couldn’t help but think, “No, a bloody sharp knife will cut your throat. Automation, though? Don’t think so.” πŸ˜‰

      Like you say, there are varying levels of automation (as per the discussion on your Facebook wall) and each has pros and cons. But for me, the pros to the kind of automation in this post far outweigh the cons, and is what makes it such a valid approach (for me, anyhoo).

      Cheers for your thoughts, Michelle, always appreciated. :)

      • says

        Danny – I suspect we are speaking about the same post. If someone opts to not follow me because of my decision to use some automation that’s fine. I’m a big enough girl to realize that I can’t please everyone and at the end of the day as long as I am not harming anyone or being malicious I can still sleep at night. :-)

  41. says

    Thank you! Well said, Danny. Automation saves so much time for me. I just bought Tweet Adder and have been playing with the features. It’s helped me add over 200 targeted followers in the past week and has more features to automate tweets.

    It’s still me posting, I’m just setting it up in advance. I still check my account mentions and carry on real time conversation with people. Automation makes all the in-between stuff easier so I don’t have to stay on Twitter 14 hours a day.

    • says

      Hey there Gabrielle,

      Checked out TweetAdder for a client and, while I’m generally not a fan of automated following, it’s definitely one of the better options out there for targeting.

      Like you say, it’s still you at the end of the day, and that’s the main difference between this kind of automation, and crazy spam botting. :)

  42. says

    I totally agree that there is nothing wrong with a little automation when it comes to Twitter… actually I believe it’s a smart move particularly for time poor small business owners. If the technology is there why not take advantage of it and use it to help you manage the marketing component of your business in the same way we take advantage of email marketing (just like you said).

    Sure there are some people who take it to the extreme but then there are others who use it beautifully and they are able to leverage their Twitter time allowing more time for them to engage with their followers.

    Thank you for sharing your smart insight into the smart use of automation.

    • says

      Great point, Chris.

      It’s great if you’re a Dell or a Jetblue, with tons of folks on your social accounts.

      But if you’re Johnny Hamburger store owner, there are only so many hours in the day you can realistically allocate to manually update.

      So does that mean you shouldn’t share offers or promotions when you’re not there? It’s like saying you can’t run TV or radio ads overnight when you’re closed for the next day’s sales… πŸ˜‰

  43. says

    I think the problem exists when people get this out of balance. I don’t think automation is the “spawn of the devil”, but neither is it the answer to all your prayers. As with any tool, it’s how you use it that matters. If all your social media is automated, you look like a bit of a robot, but if you’re constantly online it’s likely that you don’t really have a life (or a business). Balance is the key. I recently blogged on where I think automation is great, and where I think it should be avoided: http://www.clear-thought.co.uk/in_thought/art/95/social-media-marketing-automation/

    • says

      Exactly, Bryony – it is all about balance, and I think the ones that do it well are the ones that can see automation is a plus, not a minus. πŸ˜‰

  44. says

    The problem is twofold I think:
    1. Time & SM-skills-strapped business owners often hope & think automation tools can replace thier own human touch, time and attention on the community. It can only add to your efforts, to grow your business further.
    2. These days I’m feeling the weight of my SM perspective: there is no end to the amount of time, effort & caring resources a business could allocate to relationships with customers and would-be customers. Adding more people, expertise and budget will help, when it’s the right people ~

    • says

      That’s the thing, Debbie – it’s all well and good if you want to spend all day on Facebook and Twitter, and pretend you’re successful.

      But if you want to pay the bills and service your clients, there’s no way you can scale in the ways you need to without automation.

  45. says

    There’s nothing wrong with the social media automation, just do it correctly! It is actually a saving grace for busy-people out there. Automate plus interact is a great combination, I think.

    • says

      Your phrase here hits the nail on the head, Aaron:

      “It is actually a saving grace for busy-people out there.

      Not everyone can pay the bills by being awesome on Twitter… πŸ˜‰

      Great avatar, by the way!

  46. says

    I agree on many levels, provided you’re not auto tweeting articles that’s content goes completely against your philosophies. That might make you like like a real awesome schmuck! LOL

    Triberr is probably the best tool around for automation, specifically because you can set up your own tribes and know exactly what kind of stuff you’re auto tweeting.

    I think a good balance is the answer for some. I certainly spend a lot of time on Twitter engaging, because connection and responsiveness is totally king in a transparent world.

    At any rate, great post, as usual.

    • says

      Hey there Ryan,

      And that’s the thing – balance. It’s like anything – video games versus family time; reading versus blogging; diet versus beer and pizza.

      We can do both – just get the mix right. :)

  47. PamelaLibi says

    Interesting article and i do agree with you that automation in and of itself is not bad. I guess it is how you use it.Β  After all, automation is about LEVERAGE. Leveraging your time etc. However, using it to spam people constantly is a no-no which i believe you would agree.Β  Another important point, is that there has been a federal lawsuit by twitter against automation tools recently which for those using it would want to know about . In addition, there is information on how to use the new rules of twitter to one’s advantage due to this. If you want to know more about the recent changes to twitter marketing and how to come out on top of all this , you can watch a FREE webinar that explains it all atΒ  http://4u2bn.com/pj06Β Β  (you can copy and paste it to your browser).

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