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April 7, 2010

Automating Twitter with a Human Touch — SEM Synergy Extras

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We all recognize the awesome potential of Twitter for business. But considering the amount of time I devote to cultivating my personal Twitter account, there’s a realization that some businesses won’t have the resources to put a full-time staff member on the job.

Last week I shared 5 Things You May Not be Leveraging for Twitter, which focused on developments in the platform and Twitter strategies that may be overlooked to a business’s detriment. One point made was that automation can be done right, to which I received a thoughtful request from Wynne Pirini of DrivingOnlineSales.com. He commented:

“It’s interesting that you suggest automating some things in twitter. I think there is some truth to this and it depends upon what you should automate. I want to hear more of your thoughts on this topic – ‘how to automate, without losing quality, and without spamming’. Something like that anyway.”

twitter automation

Your wish is my command, Wynne! Today on our podcast, SEM Synergy, I talked to Tracy Falke, head of Internet marketing at the UK-based digital agency Freestyle Interactive. I met Tracy at Search Engine Strategies New York, where she presented automation tactics for Twitter. She generously agreed to give SEM Synergy listeners a private encore of her recommendations for Twitter automation.

Here’s a run-down of what you’ll be missing if you don’t check out today’s show.

Auto-Tweet Guidelines that Generally Apply

  • Twitter automation is about using Twitter as a push channel.
  • Fill your tweets with topics of interest and topics that relate to your industry.
  • Use your traditional SEO research to determine your keywords. Including keywords will help you optimize tweets for real-time search.
  • Include links in tweets for traffic generation.
  • Topics appropriate for auto-tweets are any kind of content publication, such as blog and campaign updates.

When a Human Touch Really Matters

  • Use a friendly and casual tone. You can push your agenda but it has to feel genuinely human.
  • When people respond you with retweets and replies, communicate back.
  • If someone regularly retweets or interacts, follow them back, thank them, and DM them. Never auto DM, though!
  • Respond to negative feedback.

Putting a Crisis Management Plan in Place

  • First assess your organization’s best crisis representatives, be it a complaints department, customer service, a sales representative, those in public relations, those with social media abilities, or anyone capable of speaking on behalf of the company.
  • When criticism on Twitter is first recognized, don’t react immediately. Take a moment to assess the situation.
  • Investigate the source of the criticism. What does the person generally talk about on Twitter? What are their interests? How many followers do they have? A person with a large following is an influential user.
  • Follow the Twitter user that has made the complaint as well as any friends of theirs that are involved in the conversation.
  • Carefully consider the effect of your response.
  • If possible, divert this issue to an account dedicated to customer service. With the main campaign account, you may want to reply to criticism with “Thanks for the feedback! Why don’t you speak to @ourcustomerservice?” This way you can bring the topic of discussion back to the message of the campaign.
  • Keep a log of criticism management. Use this log to follow up with the unhappy Twitter user.
  • If the issue is resolved satisfactorily, bring the conversation back to the main account to start a dialogue in which the once-critical user can act as a success story.
  • If the criticism is part of a larger crisis, address the situation within the organization. You may have a larger responsibility to fulfill, and this may be an opportunity to make a major improvement.
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3 responses to “Automating Twitter with a Human Touch — SEM Synergy Extras”

  1. Wynne writes:

    This is massive. Thanks again for the excellent information. I’m working hard to get my head around effective social media marketing. To honest it seems like the hardest form of online marketing that I’ve encountered so far.

    But guides like this are helping to speed up the process.

  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    I was hoping you’d find this post, Wynne, and I’m glad it’s helpful! You may want to follow @tracy_falke on Twitter too, as she’s the automation wizard. :)

  3. Wynne writes:

    Great, I’ll check out Tracy’s profile.



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