Social media bots versus social media managers

Social media bots are being touted to companies as a great way to save money. Social bot creators claim that businesses will not have to hire a social media or marketing staff as long as they pay a monthly fee for this software to do their social media for them.

So what exactly are social media bots?

They are automated software that looks like a human user to the outside world. This software re-posts messages or creates its own by using a set of rules to pick out common words on a certain topic — often keywords chosen by companies to represent their brand — and put them together into a sentence.

It sounds nice to not have to worry whether or not you are posting often and during the best times of day, but what about the content? To trust an automated software robot to know the type of content you want posted on your company’s social media pages can be risky. It can also violate the social media site’s terms of agreement. Twitter and Facebook suspend accounts operated by bots.

Social media is more than publishing generic content at active times. As an organization, you are selling something — either a product or service. ‘

Nike and Sketchers both sells shoes, but that doesn’t mean they want to send the same messages. There is a voice behind social media and a presence that needs to be monitored by an actual person. If Nike signed up for a social bot and it posted a link to why sandals are bad for posture, it could send a mixed message to its audience. Promoting an article that speaks negatively on a product a company sells can confuse or turn customers away.

Social media is just that — social. That means sharing dialogue, and interacting with somebody else. Social bots post content depending on a set of established keywords. They cannot answer a customer’s question, quickly respond to complaints or thank people for compliments. Social bots can’t engage in a dialogue with another person.

Companies that have a social media team or manager working for their brand can get a lot further in the social media world than a software robot.

Deploying a true social media campaign takes strategy, monitoring, engaging and knowledge of how social media can work for your brand. Social media bots can make your company appear not only lazy, but also uncaring for customers.