Social Media Marketing is about Emotion not Automation

Posted By on Dec 27, 2008 | 4 comments

Doug Karr at the Marketing Tech Blog has a post this morning called You Know Your a Smippy When…

Before we get started into the Smippy world. I’ve known Doug for quite awhile and would count him as THE one that helped me get into social media specifically blogging. I pretty much take everything Doug says as fact and trust his judgment without fault. He is def. one of my SM mentors.

Part of his post is a rebuttal against my Twitter Auto DM Petition.

Now… I am not going to take offense to the Smippy comment. I actually think it is pretty hilarious. The beauty of social media is that you can freely express your opinions and other people have the right to disagree.

There is one thing I am NOT against and that is social media marketing. My company’s future is built off the concept that you can use social media for brand exposure, as well as, increased sales. Though I think there is a fine line with taking a marketing medium and bastardizing it by setting up direct responses without any regards to the person on the other end.

I’m going to cite an article by Seth Godin called  The Rapid Growth (and destruction) and Growth of Marketing.

Social media, it turns out, isn’t about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell. Social media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led.

The business owners and marketers that were focused in mass marketing in the past try to systematize processes, “How can we take this tool and automate it to get the most BANG for the BUCK?” When you use Twitter Auto DMs you are not respecting the fact that I chose to follow you. I don’t want to know about your new e-book. I will find it on my own if you were that compelling to follow in the first place.

Any product that automates social media tools is slowly sucking the personality out of your brand (personal or corporate). You cannot try and automate a tool that is rooted in permission based marketing.

If you aren’t taking the time to personally thank people for following you…

Aren’t you just collecting another mailing list?

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  1. You’re a good sport, Kyle! I don’t believe you have to make a choice between emotion or automation. You can successfully do both! Automation need not be yelling. Automation doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice authenticity.

    On the contrary, automation is a necessary part of marketing to ENSURE that your followers, customers, and prospects experience your emotion and authenticity.

    I want people who follow me on Twitter to get to know me beyond my tweets. 140 characters isn’t enough to get to know me. I want people to subscribe to my blogs to get the total picture. The advice I provide will benefit them! So… I have an auto-reply that lets them know that.

    It’s sincere, it’s authentic, and it carries emotion. And it’s automated.

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  2. Three cheers for emotion. As someone who formally studies emotion, it is exciting to see you make this explicit connection.

    One of the classic experiments in emotion science involves showing people affective photographs and measuring their physiological responses.

    What is so cool about humanity is the way that we respond to other people. When we see a photograph of friendly people — especially with big smiles or babies — the entire physiological set of our body changes.

    Our heart decelerates to facilitate stimulus intake (a long story, ask me why if you care), our sympathetic nervous system begins to activate so that we could approach the person/people, and the muscles that draw up the corners of our mouths and eyes activate in the beginning moments of a smile.

    Now THAT’s automatic!

    And these are photographs of strangers. Nonetheless, other humans make us happy.

    Social media sites allow us to make these connections online. Just today I have had conversations with people from Canada to Vermont to California, and here I sit in rural West Texas.

    So it is easy to make meaningful connections online. We can do so with companies, too, as I almost gave Burger King the advice they solicited online (I declined).

    And I agree with you that automaticity short-circuits these connections. Whenever I DM a new follower, I always add some fact from their bio so that they know it comes from a real person.

    Mr. Karr is not all wrong — and I added him on Twitter after reading his comment. Although he followed me back, I don’t have his DM yet. I see that he is from Indianapolis.

    And because I earned my Ph.D. at IU, I like him already. See, that’s a human connection I made by looking at his actual Twitter page. Interestingly, I blew past his blog once I found the Twitter button. Maybe I’ll go back.

    But automaticity screams “machine,” and that’s not very human.

    And a company especially needs to make those human connections because they are a thing and not a human. So if you’re paying someone to work the Twitter feed, pay them enough to write back real DMs.

    THAT would be amazing PR and a great emotional connection.

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  3. I dunno. I’m having trouble feeling “authentically emotional” about auto-DM’s, one way or the other.

    However, I prepared a rant anyway — and since I promised not to auto-DM it to the public at large, I’ll just plug it here:

    The short answer: The most important part of marketing is tracking the metrics. So, the question is: Does auto-DM work or not?

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  4. Hey Kyle,

    Great article this morning. I can’t agree more. I see the automation popping up in so many places on twitter already, and it unfortunately mimics the way a lot of folks network/socialize in real life; just running a room to collect as many business cards as they can, as quickly as possible, but with as little substantive conversation as possible.


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