Twitternation and Automation – SES San Francisco

Twitter and automation, eh? Hmmm… Sounds like milk and orange juice to me. Lovely Matt McGowan will be moderating speakers, Tracy Falke (Freestyle Interactive), Paul Madden (Crea8 New Media), and Jeff Pulver.

I’m sitting here as a skeptic, so prove me wrong people.

Jeff is up first. He believes that everyone on Twitter is a brand. The biggest difference between marketing on e-mail and marketing on Twitter is that real users on Twitter are real entities, with thoughts and feelings. He’s been on Twitter since 2007, and he uses it for business and life.

I’m going to follow Jeff on Twitter because he wishes his followers good morning every day and the US Airforce (who have 6 tweeters, based out of the Pentagon) says good morning back to him! Awesome.

His mantra is to listen, connect, share and engage. Twitter attracted him as a platform as it was a place to have conversations and share a piece of his soul. Jeff is a soulful kinda guy.

If you spend the time to invest in yourself as a brand, and invest in what you say, it can make a difference. Jeff says follower count is b.s. — what matters is how you represent yourself. If you have three followers, and all of those followers buy from you, then that is more of a success than having 1 million followers and have none of them buy from you.

Tracy is up next. She uses automation on Twitter as she works for a bunch of big clients who don’t even understand social media. Tracy believes that you need personality and voice on Twitter, but you also need structure.

The problem with social media is resource — there aren’t enough people in-house and never enough budget. This is where automation comes into play.

Recommended Tools

– Co-tweet to manage multiple accounts
– HootSuite to manage multiple accounts, segment topics and keep an eye out for opportunities
– Social Oomph to bulk upload updates and auto-follow people

Rules about Social Media Automation

The only rule about social media automation is to be social. Remember to be nice, polite, interested, and respond.

Don’t just push out information and know the limits. For example, tweets that say “thank you for following me” doesn’t add much value. Similarly trying to push out your product to someone without getting to know them first doesn’t leave a good impression.

Paul is up next. He’s going to look at creating fake profiles, automating tweets, and creating bots.

Types of Automation

– Keyword response
– Mass DM
– Bots that masquerade as people

Keyword response and mass DM isn’t recommended. So he’s going to look at “Bot People” to get messages in front of many people. The challenge is, people don’t retweet bots, they retweet interesting information from interesting people. So Paul uses a hybrid approach where automated tweets are loaded in, but responses are done by a person.

So How do you Make a Bot Person?

– Create a clear and consistent avatar
– Put together a style sheet (all about your bot person’s essentials and personality)
– Build a following (the follow/unfollow game still works)
– Make some general tweets, questions and links
– Use hashtags
– Build in some engagement points with questions

Paul created an avatar with a bio that said “I’m a bot, don’t follow me”. He followed 1,000 people and 50 percent of people followed back. I’m quite surprised this stuff still works.

Paul says adding realism is easy on Twitter… his bots even check in on Foursquare (since no one ever clicks on the link!). The tweets he shows us look really realistic… seriously, these bots live more interesting lives than most of my Facebook friends! Paul has a bot with over 400 followers and on two lists! Jeff calls Paul evil.

It is evil, yet brilliant. The audience can’t help but give a nervous laugh and wonder, how many of Paul’s bots am I following?

This live blog post was written by guest blogger Imelda Khoo. Imelda is the E-Marketing Manager at Tektronix, responsible for global SEO, PPC and social media. Imelda blogs at SEM Booty and is also on Twitter @imeldak

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