Twitter Users Hate Bots – Do You Sound Like One?

By on May 11, 2011

There’s a fine line between human and bot interaction these days. If your Twitter community suspects that your page is run by one, it won’t grow – in fact it may become less over time. A bot is an automated program that businesses use to keep their Twitter pages fresh with original, real-time content.

You create the content and schedule it in – the bot runs free. The goal however, was never to let your bot run your Twitter page. It’s supposed to be used as an ‘assist’ not as a solution. We all use bots to help out with marketing messages. The trick is to make your automated messages sound manually published. Here’s how not to sound like a bot on your Twitter page!

#1: A Spambot is The Worst Kind of Bot

When automated content is scheduled to fire off too often, your content naturally becomes spam. People don’t want to read marketing messages from you 20 times a day. If that’s the only kind of Tweet you’re scheduling – stop. It’s not helping your Twitter community grow, and it’s chasing away the people that do give your business a chance.

Twitter is all about timing. Schedule in 1 or 2 marketing messages a day, along with 10 other, more important, educational or opinion tweets. That way when people click through to your profile they don’t peg you as a spambot. No-one wants to connect with a spambot. They don’t reply or interact, and they are only concerned with selling. It’s like following a salesman that keeps shouting the same thing at you!

#2: The 20 Minutes a Day Rule

By taking 20 minutes a day to check your Twitter page and respond to your community, or to open new lines of communication – you are proving that your entire business feed is not run by a robot. Even if all your tweets are educational and well spaced – people will still get the message that you’re a spambot if you aren’t personally communicating with people on Twitter.

Just being on Twitter puts people on guard. It’s littered with useless bot nonsense – to the point where many community members actually test your response time. They’ll send you a hello, or a question – if you don’t reply within one day, they unfollow you.

#3: Repetition is Bad For Business

Bots like to repeat marketing messages – or at least silly marketers that use Twitter, schedule them to do so. Constantly repeating the same message, no matter how good, is a bot red flag. It’s better to schedule in different versions of that message, so that your profile feed doesn’t look littered with repetitions.

#4: Unwanted Communication

As a Twitter user, building up your community or starting conversations can be a tough thing to do. Sometimes you try to connect with someone, and they don’t reply. So you try again, and again. If you try too many times, you sound like a spambot trying to connect with that person for marketing reasons.

Even the humble question can anger certain Twitter users. As a rule, never directly contact people more than once. If they don’t reply – move on. You can still answer their questions, or comment on their observations, just don’t keep sending them yours.

Sticking to these rules is a great start. Remember that manual interaction at least once every day or so, will go a long way to ensuring you are seen as a person and not a robot.

What irritates you about bots on Twitter? Leave your comments below, and let’s spread the word about incorrect auto-program use!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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