Why I hate automated social media engagement tools!

In life we are told size of everything matters. Big is better, etc., and so we also are encouraged to have lots of followers on our social media accounts. Because that shows that we matter more, right?

Feeding into the quest for more is more, enter automated social media tools that promise you more followers and more engagement. But ask yourself how is it engagement if it is not real? If you were standing at a party talking to a replica of a person who merely uttered ‘wow’, ‘cool’, ‘awesome’ or even worse, just gave you a ‘thumbs up’ at every comment, I think you would not be looking to have further engagement with that very dull and irritating person. So why would you want to be that person online?

Automated tools are often used to obtain more followers, but they can't tell which profiles are fake. Using tools you can have more followers, but up to 15% might be fake accounts. Who is following you is important if you want your messages to go to the right audience.

How can you tell if your "likes" are automated?

  • People who are not following you or are not the intended audience for the post "like" your post, even though your post has not been shared or retweeted.
  • On Instagram your video only has 4 views but you have 50 likes!
  • If you have access to insights, your engagement is higher than your impressions, so more people "liked" your post than who saw your post (?).

Why does it matter if you have fake followers or fake engagement?

  • Well you won’t get any sales or enquiries from fake followers. THEY DON'T EXIST!!
  • Fake fans on your Facebook page reduces your reach, so less of your real fans will see your posts.
  • It’s a bit embarrassing to have invisible friends in real-life, and it’s also embarrassing and pointless (i.e. delivers zero to your business objectives) online.

If you are a managing director you need to ask your marketing department:

  • How many of your social media audience is relevant to your business?
  • Look at the profile ID’s – do they look like real names or system generated names?
  • Are they identifying your social media audience, are they real people?
  • How are they qualifying your social media leads?
  • If they are reporting on likes, how many of the likes are from relevant profiles?
  • How active are the followers?
    • Do they have photos, bios, etc.?
    • Does the photo look like a stock image or scraped from the internet?
    • Do they have more than 4 posts/tweets?
    • When did they last post?

How to protect your engagement from automated accounts?

Be careful how you use hashtags, these are a magnet for automated tools, the fuel which fans the flames. Branded hashtags or industry specific hashtags have a lower spam attraction rate. It is much better to use the hashtags which are relevant for your target audience, e.g. if you are a marketing agency using marketing-sector specific hashtags will attract other marketing agencies who are typically using automated tools.

In the end nothing beats bums on seats and a human real-time response. Although, you still need to be careful not to engage with automated responses….now that would be a complete waste of your time!

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Author: Sindy Foster