Why B2B brands shouldn't schedule tweets

Automating your tweets isn’t a genuine way to encourage conversation and engagement, argues Liz Greene

After scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, I unfollowed three brands. Why? Because I found their scheduled tweets irritating. Not only do these automated tweets stick out like a sore thumb, they also reek of inauthenticity. 

Running a successful marketing campaign is no easy feat, and when you throw social media into the mix, it’s tempting to turn to automation. After all, cutting corners where you can is how you stay on both time and budget. 

However, scheduling tweets is a recipe for disaster. With Twitter, there are far too many variables involved to just set your account to autopilot and turn your attention elsewhere. If you do, you risk losing both current and potential clients alike.

Let’s look at a few reasons why scheduling tweets is a bad idea.

Because tragedy can strike

The world moves at breakneck speed, and unfortunately, tragic events take place far too often. If you’re not following the news, or simply forget to turn your automation off, you leave yourself open to two possible scenarios:

You never know what may happen between the time you compose a message, and the time it is sent out. Since tweets are out there where the entire world can see, share, and respond to them, the last thing you want to do is to put your company in a position where it might be labeled as tactless and coldhearted.

Because it’s clear you’re not listening

Twitter is more than just a way for your clients to keep track of the goings on at your company; it’s also a way for them to get in touch with you when things go wrong. 

Ben Dards, CTO at Market Force Information says, “Feedback is a gift. Listen to what your customers say, respond consistently and effectively, and use the insights to hold your teams accountable to delivering exceptional service.”

There are three key things to take away from that statement, none of which can be handled by automation. One, listen to your clients’ feedback. Not only will they thank you for it, but it will also inspire loyalty to your company. Two, a real person should always respond to feedback, and those responses should be genuine. Three — and here’s where automation is blown out of the water — use human insight to find a solution to their problem; one that is both effective and shows you honestly care that they took time to contact you.

Trust me, if you set up automated responses to comments, you’re likely to end up regretting it.

Because you’re not engaging

It’s impossible for a business to be on Twitter all the time — that’s how automation services like Hootsuite make their money. But, here’s the thing they don’t want you to know:

Your company doesn’t have to be online 24/7 in order to impress clients.

The trick is to simply be real when you are there. Chat with your followers. Educate — and be educated by — them. Share valuable information. Interact with other companies in your industry. Thank your clients.

The entire point of Twitter is to engage in real-time, not to blast followers with thoughtless, scheduled nonsense. 

Don’t think you can get away with pre-scheduling posts that are meant to launch conversations. This is one of the worst things you can do. People will know you’re not really there the moment you fail to respond. When you pretend to be present online when you clearly aren’t, you lose credibility big time.

Allison Graham put it succinctly in her article on Fast Company;

“After a six-month experiment, my belief is you can automate content, but you can’t automate connection.” 

Listen, automating your tweets simply isn’t a genuine way to encourage conversation and engagement. It’s inefficient, ineffective, and insincere. Either take the time to build real relationships via Twitter, or skip that particular social network altogether. Automation isn’t worth risking your brand’s reputation over.