May 9, 2014

You pick up the phone to call customer service. You go through 12 prompts to get to the "right department" only to be put on hold for half an hour. But "you are important" to the company! Frustrating, right?

You tweet a company about a problem you're experiencing and you get a "Thanks for letting us know. That's great news!" response. WTF? Did they read your tweet?

You post on a company's Facebook page and wait, and wait, and wait. But they never respond.

Is your heart beat racing yet? You know how frustrating these situations are! They drive you crazy! Right? So, why would you ever want to treat your customers that way?

Oh, you don't think you do... Ok. Great!

But what if you are? If you do any of these things listed below, you may actually be perceived as a (gasp!) robot!

Here's the thing. I get that you're busy. We all are. If you weren't busy, I'd actually be more worried about that 😉 You don't have time to sit around and monitor Facebook all day or send a tweet every hour on the hour. Not many people do!

And so, many of us rely on automation tools or posting schedules to help maintain some sanity. And that's great. I get that. In fact, I often recommend you use these tools and tactics.  But there are still a variety of things you need to do in real time to really connect with your audience.

So, what makes you look like a robot?

No Spontaneous Posts

If you know my social media behaviors, you know I schedule most of my Facebook posts. And I use Tweet Old Post to share an old blog post to Twitter once every four hours. These are automated in that sense. But these aren't the only posts I share.

I occasionally post random posts on Facebook that are either conversational or something I just came across. They're mixed in at odd times and spontaneously. Likewise, on Twitter, I share a variety of other content throughout the day (usually more in the evening) as I read or find interesting articles.

If all your posts always look timed, scheduled, or automated, people will start to think you're never around. Avoid looking like a robot and instead spontaneously mix in new posts, conversations, questions, and other content to connect with your audience.

You Share the Same Updates to Every Site

It's one thing to share the same article to multiple social media sites. Great content deserves to be shared with your audiences on all platforms. But, first of all, you don't always want to share all the same content on each site. If you're sharing the same thing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ every time, why would people follow you on more than one site? Not to mention, if you're only sharing the same content on every site, you're not connecting with the unique audiences on the different sites.

Second of all, though, if you share, not only the same content, but the exact same status update on each site, you definitely look like a robot! Each site should have its posts and status updates formatted for that site and that audience. Things on Twitter don't translate well to LinkedIn and Facebook. So craft a different update for each site!

Not Including Conversational Descriptions

Do you share a lot of articles or content from your industry? If you are, a lot of times you're probably just slapping the link into a post and hitting "post". Or, maybe you go all out and say "check this out". If that's all you're doing, you sound like .... you guessed it... a robot!

Whether you're scheduling the post or sharing it spontaneously, make it a conversation! Explain why it's worth reading, share your take on the article, ask your followers if they've experienced the same thing. Whatever it is, find a way to make your posts read like a conversation and not just a list of articles.

Not Responding to Posts

If you're posting and then disappearing, you sound like a robot. One of the most frustrating things is when a brand posts a question or comment inviting conversation, but then they don't hang around to actually participate in the conversation they started!

You don't have to stare at the screen for the next hour waiting for every individual response, but you should be available to respond if a notification pops up. Or check back at least every half hour to respond to comments and keep the conversation going.

Using Generic, Automated Responses

We've all seen the classic bad examples of brands using automated responses to reply to customer complaints on social media. They have either an automated tool (uh, yeah, a "robot") or they copy and paste a standardized response to every comment. And many times the response is completely irrelevant to the issue brought up.

If you're going to use social media as a customer service tool to any extent, be prepared to address each comment individually. Whether it's you or someone on your team, someone should be reading the comments and ensuring that the responses are properly formatted.

No Emotion

You're human, right? You have bad days, good days, and crazy weird days. It's ok to share your emotions and experiences with people. Sure, you don't have to go into details about your bad day, but it's ok to let people know how you feel. If you're excited about a new venture, show your excitement. If it feels like groundhog day, maybe others are feeling the same way. Whatever the case, sharing emotion and personality in your posts shows people you're human, just like them. If your posts are always stale and lack emotion, people lose that connection with you.


So, what do you think? Do you sound like a robot on social media? If you're making any of these mistakes, take the time to find ways to correct them and don't be afraid to sound like a human!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Yep some bloggers do sound like robots they have pending comments that they don’t respond to. It looks like some bot had posted it. Nice post Jenn

    1. Thanks Sean! It is really frustrating when bloggers don’t respond to comments from readers. I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

  2. Hi Jenn,

    Using names, responding in a timely fashion and showing your emotion makes your life easier, as a social guy or gal. People want real, human folks to engage with, to answer their questions, to hear their concerns. If you’re that person, you’ll see immense success using social to grow business.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Ryan! People want human interaction and anything we can do to personalize our interactions really allows us to connect with people.

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