Friday 06 September, 2013

Why Automating Your Social Media Isn’t Such a Hot Idea

Automation is good for online businesses because it takes care of routine tasks so you can focus on more serious things. But there are some things that simply shouldn’t be automated. Any time you interact with your customers, there needs to be a real human behind the encounter. If you want to know how you can royally screw up your social media marketing, Domino’s Pizza has an idea for you.

Sorry You Enjoyed Your Pizza

A recent article in The Consumerist describes a social media goof-up by pizza giant Domino’s. The article says that some companies are so used to hearing complaints they don’t know how to take a compliment. What the author is specifically talking about is a canned response that Domino’s sends out to complaints.

The exchange went like this:

Customer: ‘Best Pizza Ever! Pan Pizza… Keep up the good work guys!’

The Social Media Genius at Dominos: ‘So sorry about that! Please share some additional information us.’ And it offers a link.

Not only did customer say the pizza was excellent, they even included a smiley-face emoticon which the Dominos bot, which is running on autopilot, ignored totally.

Bank of America’s Twitter Robot Is Personally Concerned About You

A similar story also from The Consumerist describes how Bank of America made itself look even less concerned about its customers by tweeting a canned response to someone who wasn’t even a customer.

When a Twitter user named #darkmarth tweeted about getting chased away from the sidewalk outside a New York City Bank of America where he was making a chalk drawing, the company responded with a variety of canned responses, such as, ‘We are here to help, listen, and learn from our customers and are glad to assist with any account related inquiries.’

Bank of America quickly became a laughing stock of the twittersphere. You can see some of the tweets here.

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Social Media Automation

So, what can you automate and what shouldn’t you automate? It’s very simple. Whenever your customers need a person, be a person. Robots just aren’t cut out for the job.

Useful automation programs include social media dashboards that allow you to monitor, post and organize all of your social media profiles in one place. Through these sites, you can set up alerts and organize your activity so that you don’t have to log in to each profile individually.

If you don’t want to do your own social media, you can delegate it to someone else. Choose a young, tech-savvy and social media experienced employee and put them in charge. Make sure they’re on the same page, they understand your brand and they know all the protocols necessary for dealing with customer issues. If there isn’t someone in-house, consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant or freelance social media professional.

Whatever you do, DON’T set it and forget it or you’ll embarrass your company. Domino’s is one of the world’s biggest pizza companies and Bank of America already has a bad rep for its lack of customer service, but for a small business, a gaffe like this can really cause damage.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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