Quit the damn spam! Why automating tweets can hurt your business - Utter Digital
Twitter Fail Whale

Twitter brings with it a wealth of opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers and potential customers, generate sales leads, network, build relationships, create awareness and ultimately drive sales. If used correctly, Twitter can be one of the most valuable additions to your business marketing armoury. Use it wrong though, and you could have the reverse effect. You can alienate the very people you want to woo, lose credibility, gain enemies rather than brand advocates, and those potential customers could be lost as prospects forever, all in 140 characters.

There’s a host of Twitter tips and advice we could cover, some of which you can find in this previous list of Twitter dos and don’ts, but this time I want to focus on just one thing. My greatest pet hate about Twitter. It’s automated, spammy tweets.

For the record, I’m not necessarily opposed to using tools to automate some of your social media updates. It can be a useful time saving method of updating your accounts when used well. My problem is quite simple. I don’t want to receive DMs and tweets which are clearly only coming my way based on the fact that I’ve followed you, or I’ve tweeted using a particular keyword. Tweets and messages that are not tailored to me, that show me you haven’t even looked at my profile or know anything about me or my business. Tweets that are just spam. And I’d bet my house that your potential customers don’t either.

Should know better..

There are so many examples of these tweets out there. I’m going to use just one Twitter account as an example; the account which prompted me to write this piece by sending one such automated tweet to @utterdigital. That’s @WebMediaU, or Web Media University. Their name was what piqued my interest – a ‘Web Media University’ using spam to market themselves via social media? Oh, the irony!

Utter Digital and Web Media Tweet

They asked the question, ‘how do you manage social media?’

‘Not the same way as you clearly’ was my first thought. No point tweeting that to a robot though! But, with the tweet screeching at me like nails down a blackboard, I had a poke around to see what else they’ve been tweeting, and what kind of response they’re getting. Not in any great detail I hasten to add, but enough to give me a flavour of how they use their Twitter account.

Their tweets are a field of automation. I’ve no issue with the content they share which actually adds value to their audience, such as sharing the tweets and content of industry experts. I’ve no issue with them including tweets to promote their products either – this should all be part of your tweeting strategy. It’s the damn spam!

They’ve automated a concoction of tweets aimed at getting followers on their other social media accounts, direct sales pitches, and seemingly encouraging interaction. I say ‘seemingly’ with very good reason. Of course, interaction is what you want to achieve, and asking questions is an effective way of starting those conversations.

But robots can’t have proper conversations, not like a real person. Not even Siri has managed to reach the intelligent conversation capabilities of the likes of Terminator or even Red Dwarf’s Holly. Conversations are for humans – end of. And if you’re going to start a conversation, you better be able to keep it up.

So the fact that @WebMediaU completely ignore the few responses they do get to their automated tweets is not only a missed opportunity to really engage their audience, add value, solve a problem, and earn new customers, it’s more than this..it’s a complete social media fail.


Not responding to tweets - Twitter fail

Falling on deaf ears


The fact is, most of their automated tweets are simply ignored, except for perhaps prompting some to block or report…

Automated tweets don't work on Twitter

Twitter Tumbleweed…


And another thing that happens when you’re simply using automation instead of a brain is the complete lack of tact or judgement. When is it appropriate to join a conversation? Should I engage with this individual? No, these questions aren’t considered here, which has resulted in this account joining conversations inappropriately, and in fact, just tweeting other automated accounts – over and over.

Automated tweets gone wrong Twitter fail

Is anyone actually listening?!


Perhaps they’d be wise to read some of the advice being doled out by those they’re actually spamming, or take some of the advice they’re sharing with their followers, such as this simple tip from an article they tweeted:

“By showing that you’re an actual person instead of just a machine that’s programmed to sell, you can make it easier for prospects to connect with you.”

So, the majority of these automated tweets are being ignored, a handful of people are responding but getting nowhere, and then there is the other type of response – the response where someone tells them exactly what they think…

Twitter automated tweets

Train the trainer?

Negative reaction to automated tweeting

No ambiguity here!

So there it is, my Twitter pet hate, made even more frustrating by the fact that the culprits are claiming some sort of expertise in social media marketing. If this is the kind of stuff they’re teaching in their ‘university’, I’ll pass, thanks.

I’m sure some of you will have a view, or other pet hates. I’d love to hear them – good or bad, so just comment below…

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