Automation online can be a wonderful thing. It can help us to speed up processes that otherwise take time. For example, I created an email series using a company called ConvertKit (Affiliate Link).
I wrote 15 emails that walk the reader through a step-by-step process to find a new job or launch a side business. The email series automatically delivers a new message every few days. This method is a wonderful way to automate the process of email marketing campaigns.
A few weeks ago, I experimented with sending automated direct (private) messages to my new Twitter followers using Crowdfire. This has commonly been considered a no-no in the minds of Twitter's original users, but Twitter has changed since 2007 when I began using it. As a marketer, it's my job to test how new tactics perform so I can relay this information to my clients.
I sent a simple automated tweet to each new follower, "Thanks for the follow. What are you working on today? — via @crowdfire."
The last part was automatically affixed to the tweet using the service. I felt it helped to relay that the message was automatically generated. To my surprise, I began to get replies.
I ended up having a brief chat with several people who replied to my question. I even got into a debate in a Twitter #mediachat about using automated direct messages. I have always disliked them in the past but I felt it was worth testing for myself.
I don't always have time to review each new follower, so I had hoped this would work to speed up those connections and get to know them a little faster.
My ultimate decision was to disable the service. Not enough people responded and I feared annoying others who received my message.
I sometimes see people trying to automate high-priced services via email automation. This makes me cringe because it takes time to build a relationship and earn trust to do business together.
In the case of my free email series, my intention is to help people find jobs. And it's working. I've already heard from some of them directly. And no, I did not reply with automated messages. Each message was original and sent straight from little ol' me.
It's important to understand why you want to use automation in your marketing efforts. Always put yourself in the recipient's shoes to consider whether this process is right for them. Test different methods to see what works best for you.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.