When Marketing Automation Goes Wrong
Many tools exist that allow a busy business owner to pre-schedule their social media messages on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Pinterest. These tools can save time and effort, as well as target your message to the right audience at the right time. Maybe you need to start a special at a certain time but you can't be online to start it. The ability to pre-schedule those posts can indeed be a life-saver for a busy business owner. Facebook allows pre-scheduling (and back-dating) right on your Page. Tools such as Hootsuite and Ninja Pinner allow Twitter, Pinterest and Linked-In posts to be scheduled ahead of time.
There are right ways and wrong ways to use pre-scheduled posts. I was amused when I saw just before midnight one night that it was time to enjoy lunch at an area restaurant. Now we know that people have varying work schedules and lunch may well be at midnight for some folks, but, odds are this post was meant to be released at 11:55am, not 11:55pm.
That's an easy mistake to make, but it makes your brand look ridiculous. In the area of our East Tennessee headquarters, we had a lot of rain in 2013, including solid rain that washed out several weekends in a row. I was scrolling through tweets on a rainy Sunday and saw one that said, "How are you enjoying this beautiful day in Gatlinburg"? Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder, but a weekend of rain while on vacation probably isn't most people's idea of fun.
It was obvious this tweet had been scheduled days, if not weeks ago. In my days as a radio "personality", we sometimes "voice-tracked" our air shifts rather than being in the studio in person. (That's right, the person you are listening to may not really be there). Radio stations have been burned with a sudden weather change.
During the Grammy Awards, Oreo sent an auto-tweet back to someone with a very inappropriate user-name, and though they quickly deleted the tweet, the internet lasts forever.
Being obviously on auto-pilot can make your brand look out of touch, but that's not the worst of it. Failing to answer customer concerns, questions and complaints can cause your reputation to spiral out of control rapidly. If you are going to use marketing automation, make sure you still find a way to respond to your audience. They really are looking for immediate response. Breaking news and tragedy can make your pre-scheduled posts and tweets look clueless at best, and could make your business seem insensitive.
Use social media automation, but use it wisely. If you'd like to learn more about how IMEG can help you, give us a call.
What are your experiences with marketing automations?