Let’s get the elephant out of the office right away here. No-one enjoys seeing automated comments on social media. Spam bots that fill your feed with generic comments and fake likes are ubiquitous and are here to stay. A report in 2016 by Incapsula found that over half of internet traffic is made up of bots. If you’re familiar with monitoring website traffic you’ll be well aware of unnatural traffic and how it can affect your data. Startups can often see 50% or more of their website traffic coming from automated services such as search engine bots and web scrapers.
Regardless of personal opinion or there’s no getting away from it as a marketer, social media automation is a necessary evil. We have abroad range of tools available to save us from the daily grind of interacting with audiences on social media sites. There are the established players such as Hootsuite which have the resources to integrate the APIs of leading platforms so that you don’t have to leave the comfort of their UI. Having all of your accounts in one place is a good start but what of content creation?
Emerging social media platforms like Ghostit offer a range of content templates,scheduling plans, and even bespoke content creation in a subscription package that allows you to focus on growing your business. The business of content creation is one that I feel should not be handed to artificial intelligence. In my experience users can and do spot automated content, they engage with a writer’s voice and value real-world perspectives over regurgitated spun blog posts.
The advent of image-based social media such as Instagram – which reached over a billion users in 2018 – provided content creators with an easier path to automating effective content. Over 80% of those 1 billion users follow at least one brand, presenting an opportunity that marketers cannot afford to miss. While schedulers and post planners make it easy to create a marketing plan, they lack the depth of interaction with users, people love to get a like or a new follower.
With the average user becoming aware of bots and spam the personal touch is more important than ever. So how do we marry the two approaches? Enter custom solutions like the one I’ve been using recently - Phantombuster. It’s a powerful set of tools that allows you to automate everything from LinkedIn likes to Facebook follows. The user interface is friendly even for beginners and the service is easy to use though may not be suitable for tech novices.
In just a few minutes I was able to create and run a test campaign which immediately started attracting post and page likes. Are they likely to be other bots returning the favour? Sure. Browsing the catalogue I was able to find a number of tools which automate the daily grind without creating that fake content we’re all tired of. For a low-cost solution that offers such a wide range of APIs to tap into Phantombuster is a valuable tool for any digital marketer’s arsenal. While I’ll always be passionate about sharing my experiences in genuine blog posts like this, I am a firm believer that we should work smart and not hard.