Automatic updates ARE NOT SOCIAL!

I read this article, Why automating social media marketing could change Facebook, at Mashable Business and I got so angry, well, lets say I got mad! The article is very good and points out several problems that could follow when a lot of companies try to get an easy ride to success in social media. There are always people who try to outsmart the system by using shallow methods that lack in credibility.

Since we have done business creating websites since the middle of the 90’s we have seen a few of the methods come and go. At one point it was about meta-tags – because we didn’t understand enough by that time and because the search engines worked in another way, we put a lot work hours into come up with amazing, long lists of meta-tags so that the homepage would get a good position in the search results. But then it got worse, people started to write all kind of word as meta-tags like ”sex” or ”porn” just to get more visitors. Hey? What’s the point of having more visitors if they are not part of your target group? It’s about helping the right customers to find the right homepage. Right?

I am not a huge fan of Google, but they are absolutely right when they change the search criteria so what really counts is activity in updating together with good and relevant content on your homepage. Today your homepage can get banned from Google’s search engine if you try to fool it. That is so good.

Even so, now and then we still get this calls from companies that want to help with SEO = Search Engine Optimization. Or worse, our clients get these calls and start to think it might be an good idea. But it seldom is. They work in the grey zone, trying to outsmart Google. The right thing to do is to be active in updating your homepage with good and relevant content. That is all you need to do. That is all you should do. You have a homepage to make it easier for people to find information about your company or your products.

Since social media has become an important part of marketing now people try to outsmart social media. One example is a person I admired from start, Guy Kawasaki. I thought he was so cool when he was an Apple Evangelist and I’ve read his book ”The Macintosh Way” with great delight. That’s why I started to follow him on Twitter, that’s how I found him on Alltop and I also bought his book Enchantment. Somewhere on this road I lost it… or he lost it?

The tweets I get when following @GuyKawasaki comes from a tweet-robot. Where is the enchantment in getting tweets from a tweet-robot? They are just links to articles from AllTop. Some of the articles might be interesting – but I feel cheated because the twitter-name should be something like @AllTopGuyKawasaki (though it’s a bit long, but that’s not my problem). Transparency. Be honest about who you are, what you are representing. That’s enchanting. It’s not enchanting to send out automatic tweets under a personal name. I’m sorry Guy, but I just don’t buy that. It gets shallow.

Lets get back to where this blogpost begun, automating social media. I believe it’s impossible to automate social media because when you start to publish automatic updates, you lose the personal feeling and then it’s not social. Then it becomes yet another way to spit out information. Social media is about creating an interest for your person or/and your company. Social media is about dialog and participating. Social media is about sharing and caring. A tweet-robot or any other automatic method can’t ever be social. The value in Facebook, Twitter and the rest of social media is the fact that it is social. Simple as that.

I can accept that you at certain occasions set a date for when you publish an update or a blogpost, like if you are launching a new product. But it should be used very carefully and it should never be used in a way that imitates real, personal updates. Then it is cheating and cheating is the opposite of trust.

I’m so sorry, all you people at companies that think you can replace human beings with robots and become masters of social media – I just don’t believe you. You will just succeed in adding suspiciousness to social media. And that’s what makes me mad. Stay away from social media if you don’t get the concept of being social!

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