Most of us think of automation as a good thing – but, is it really? The medical field is now introducing automated operations, where you can go into the hospital for an appendectomy and robots will remove it based on the programming for your particular case.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want a robot performing a sensitive operation. Robotic voices now answer phones of companies and most of us hate hearing the non-human voices on the other side. We want the personal touch of doctors who care about us and a human voice who can do something about our problems.
Our Internet marketing businesses can now be automated so that we almost never have to deal with customers. Autoresponders thank them for a purchase or a comment and automatic links send them to other sites. We don’t really have to connect with customers anymore. But what effect does that have on our businesses?
During the time I’ve been an Internet marketer, I’ve come to despise the word, “automated.” Those ‘get rich quick’ schemes, responses and links are ‘automated’ to the point that all the so-called guru has to do is launch it on the Internet and the automation takes over, bombarding you with other schemes.
There’s no direct contact or personalization involved. Just an ‘automated’ grab of your name and information so they can send out more ‘automated’ messages to entice you to buy something you don’t need and that won’t help you or live up to your expectations.
Automation can hurt the online reputation you’re trying to build – if it isn’t done properly. Too much automation sometimes takes you out of the equation and can alienate customers that gave you the success you have.
Social technology has given us the ability to automate while still letting your personality shine through. FaceBook and Twitter are both examples of social networking that are both automated and yet let you hold the customer’s hand at the same time.
So, there is a good side of automation if you don’t over-do it.
The Good Side of Automation
There is a good side to automation though. It can be an awesome tool when you use it sparingly and don’t forget your customers in the process. One of the perks of automation that I enjoy is the ability to “tweet” to many people at the same time – but, I always respond to re-tweets personally.
I can’t stress enough that you have to interact with customers. There are many marketers who don’t think as I do and use automation as their strategies for reaching thousands of customers at once and build a list that sends out automated messages and “calls to action.”
These marketers may offer videos of them demonstrating a product and even say that you’ll be tutored by a “team of experts” so that you can start making the big bucks immediately.
Used properly, there’s almost no limit as to how automation can help our online businesses and help us to become a resource to our customers. One social management system – Hootsuite – can help you manage sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, WordPress and many others by letting you set up analytics that measure your overall success and schedule postings that can keep you connected with your customers.
Then, there’s Bufferapp that lets you schedule posts in advance to various social media networks. There are other “automating” apps that you should definitely look at and see how one might help with your time management by performing some of the tasks for you.
Using Automation without Losing Touch
It’s important that when you do use automated features for your business that you don’t over-use them. You want to use social media as a tool to let your customers get to know you and what you have to offer – and that will never happen if you use automation to shower your list with mindless and useless postings.
Remember these valuable tips when using automation in your business:
Always reply personally to your customers. Never send an automatic post and then forget about it. You should always be available to respond to someone in a timely manner.
Target each audience. Some of your customers may want more professional content than others, whereas some may enjoy content that’s light and fun. Never automate posts and content to go to all audiences.
Use automation to schedule evergreen posts, content and videos. Evergreen information is always appreciated by your customers, both old and new, and they can be automatically scheduled to give you more time for other tasks.
Keep your content up-to-date. Our Internet marketing businesses are always changing and there’s always something new to report. Don’t automate old information that your customers have seen before.
The main message I want you to take away from this post is that automation can be a good thing if you don’t misuse and abuse it. It can save you time and effort and set you free to accomplish more.
Just don’t miss connecting with your customers. That’s the most important thing we can do to build our businesses with purpose and integrity and helps everyone.