We’ve got this hangup with automation. Everyone’s doing it and it’s supposed to be the magic formula for success. But that’s what makes us suspect.
It doesn’t take much to look at an automated feed and see almost zero engagement. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bot or an actual person scheduling out filler content.
It’s basically just noise.
CMI recently published a blog on “How Automating Your Social Content Can Hurt Your Brand.” In it, Jonathan Crossfield writes, “If your social media is entirely or mostly automated, then your business is missing the entire point of having a social media presence in the first place.”
“Social media is a conversation. It takes two to be social, after all. Anything else is just broadcasting a prerecorded message, and no one ever described television or radio as a social medium.”
But it’s not just Jonathan’s opinion here. There’s some science.
In 2013, a group of academics from Western Michigan University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Massachusetts Boston published a paper called, “Is that a bot running the social media feed? Testing the differences in perceptions of communication quality for a human agent and a bot agent on Twitter.”
“There were no differences in the perceptions of source credibility, communication competence, or interactional intentions between the bot and human Twitter agents. However, the source of the human Twitter agent was rated higher in attraction (social and task) than was the Twitter bot.”
There’s no difference in credibility, just attractiveness… and who doesn't want to be ridiculously good looking?
It reminded us a lot of Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her. In the movie dude falls in love with his phone’s operating system. In his defense, it is voiced by Scarlett Johansson. But there’s a discernible difference between that level of artificial intelligence portrayed in the film and something like Siri.
There were differences that couldn’t be bridged. For both parties it was ultimately unfulfilling. The overlap just wasn't enough and it left them wanting more.
It all comes down to connecting over commonalities. That’s what we see as the power of social media: meaningful, relevant and personal connections.
So don’t phone it in, bro.