5 Epic Social Media Automation Fails: Bots Just Aren’t People

5 Epic Social Media Automation Fails: Bots Just Aren’t PeopleSo you’ve set up your social media automation bot and it’s plugging along automatically updating your favorite social media outlets and even responding to tweets and posts—now you can just sit back and let your social bot do its thing, right? Not quite. While social media automation can be a godsend for any busy marketer, it can also hurt your brand if you aren’t paying attention.

Here are 5 examples illustrating why relying too heavily on social media automation can be disastrous.

1. Life doesn’t always allow for scheduled posts; there’s simply no way to foresee everything and anything…and frankly, life just gets weird sometimes. Let’s say you’re a B2B company located in a city with an MLB team and you regularly send out enthusiastic GO TEAM posts. It works out great because sometimes the team and players respond or retweet and it’s really helped you build your social reach.

But let’s say you schedule all your GO TEAM posts in advance, and one of your messages on game day is, “John Jones is gonna hit one out of the park today!” with a photo of the player in mid-swing. However, a few hours before your post goes live, something bad happens. Maybe John Jones is in a horrific car accident or arrested for beating his child. You forgot to take down your scheduled post and it goes live. Now your innocuous message is suddenly stunningly insensitive.

2. Trolls are everywhere and bots are fodder, as Coca-Cola recently learned when they had to suspend their Super Bowl automated #makeithappy campaign after Gawker pulled a scandalous prank. The intent of the campaign was to turn negative messages to positive by turning tweets into ASCII art. Unfortunately, the bot was unable to filter intent, so Gawker made its own bot called @MeinCoke which tweeted lines from Mein Kampf with the #makeithappy hashtag…and the Cokebot responded in the only way it knew how, by turning Hitler’s words into happy cartoons.
5 Epic Social Media Automation Fails: Bots Just Aren’t People3. Bots don’t get sarcasm…or any other human emotion. Some social auto-responder programs are pretty great; they can run out a whole string of automated responses based on simple keywords and commands. Welcome to the future of social. BUT, be aware those bots can’t interpret emotions or create an emotional connection with your target audience. In fact, their attempts to do so can get pretty ugly, and fast.

For example, a bot response to something like, “Oceanic is such a great airline. You never know where you’ll end up.” might be, “Hey, thanks! We’re glad you enjoyed your flight.” …and it could go on from there. It’s not hard to imagine your Twitter feed flooded with sarcastic trolls baiting the bot, followed immediately by industry blog posts pointing out your gaffe. Ouch. Credibility blown.

4. Bots can go completely nuts. AT&T hired an agency to publicize a Ticket Chasers’ campaign. The intent was to identify and tweet to people who met the following criteria:

  • Bloggers (who would help spread the news about Ticket Chasers)
  • People who live in the cities where the promotion is running
  • People who mention basketball or March Madness

The ideal recipient might be a popular Boston blogger who writes about March Madness. The bot, unfortunately, was set up improperly, and the result was spamtastic. It sent a flood of tweets to anyone who met any one of the conditions. AT&T wound up apologizing for social media gone wild. Repeating the same mistake can get your business banned from Twitter search results.

5 Epic Social Media Automation Fails: Bots Just Aren’t People5. Autoreplies can get you in trouble and draw unwanted attention. Without a human to screen posts, your bot may misinterpret, reply to, or repost an inappropriate or brand-damaging (or worse, obscene) message. Take, for example, when Bank of America’s help bot (@BofA_Help) tried too hard to “help” members of the Occupy movement by responding to their tweets. Yikes.

The lesson here is that automation can save you time and money, but careful monitoring is a must. Schedule posts that simply can’t backfire, watch ALL responses to ensure your replies are in line with their purpose, and check in often to respond to anything unexpected. You might also want to set aside time to go over replies in person. A bot might miss a warm lead by misinterpreting a reply—and that’s just plain bad for business.

Knocking Modern Manufacturing Up a Notch: How to Attract Top Talent

In the 1950s, manufacturing was the answer to the American dream. High paying, secure jobs with benefits meant a strong middle class and a booming economy. In the aftermath of World War II, nearly 40% of Americans worked in the manufacturing industry. Youngsters aspired to a career in manufacturing and a nice split-level ranch house in the ‘burbs…and there were plenty of trade programs and schools to help them get there. Career aspirations have changed a lot since then, and the idea of a career in manufacturing just isn’t as appealing as it once was.

With a limited talent pool and the competition heating up, how can you attract top talent?

Some companies are successfully using modern marketing tactics to polish up their company’s image and convince more bright young minds that manufacturing is a fulfilling and rewarding career path. Check out how these companies are knocking modern manufacturing up a notch—and how you can, too.

Nobody Does It Better Than GE

General Electric (GE) has fingers in a lot of pies. As a conglomerate manufacturer producing everything from lightbulbs to jet engines, GE needs a constant influx of skilled employees—many of them engineers. Worldwide, GE employs roughly 305,000 people with 134,000 employed in the U.S.

Their social media is widespread and all about making manufacturing look cool. Check out this video from GE Aviation about aircraft engines.

The branding on the video is subtle, but very clear: Work for GE and you get to do cool stuff. Slogans like “Imagination at work.” and “GE is committed to innovation.” reinforce the point.

But GE doesn’t stop at YouTube. They have active Twitter accounts full of photos and info, plus you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and on Vine. They even invite followers to see the manufacturing process in person with #GEInstaWalk. What a great way to inspire followers…and create buzz! What GE does best is remind people that manufacturing is about ideas and innovation.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the ROI on all this social media output, GE credits their smart content marketing for 30% better returns.

Like GE? Check out Siemens

Siemens is another industrial giant that uses content channels to enhance its image. Far from being mired in the past, Siemens uses website and social media content to emphasize a corporate culture that embraces sustainability, innovation and the future.

Here’s a recent tweet:

There’s even a free app to download for people who want to follow news and articles across various Siemens publications.

The Common Thread

What do Siemens and GE have in common (aside from the obvious)? Instead of using social media and web content to sell their end products, they connect to their target audience in meaningful ways—and in the process, enhance their hiring process by showing students interested in computer science and engineering that there’s more to life than trying to develop the next Halo. They show how it’s possible to create awesome real-life technology that works…and not just in the virtual realm.


Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers: How Top Manufacturers Are Driving New Revenue By Attracting More CustomersYou can create a workable content marketing strategy for your manufacturing enterprise—and you don’t have to be an industry giant to do it. Learn how by downloading our FREE, step-by-step guide: Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers. The guide also includes:

  • 5 key marketing strategies used by leading manufacturers
  • 20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
  • Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers


No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Get ahead of the curve.