Automated Social Media Responses

According to TechCrunch, this will be the next move for the big brands as they struggle to keep up with their fans. Just as brands have found a way to create genuine interaction with their customers using social media, they want to go and spoil it all by getting a robot to interact with their fans rather than an actual person. After all, paying a real person to talk to your fans would cost money.

Although this is highly cynical of me, as the real issues stems not from an economic standpoint, but because brands cannot keep up with the high level of attention they’re receiving from their fans. It’s also worth pointing out that, at this stage, we haven’t actually seen any evidence of brands automating their responses, it just seems that this is the direction it will take.

Not all automation is a bad thing, as post scheduling programs like Hootsuite would fall under this umbrella. Likewise, optimising your content and posting times for social media exposure would also be considered automated, as it involves another layer of technology in addition to the human influence. However, can we still call it social media if brands begin automating responses?

In response to this news, this blogger speculates that it will be the usual suspects who automate their responses. Industries that receive a large volume of complaints via social media, such as airlines and insurance companies, may begin to automate their responses as a way to wade through the masses of feedback they get every day from disgruntled customers.

While this would be a palpable shift in the way we perceive the ‘social’ element of social media, it would also pave the way for other companies to stand out and differentiate themselves as open and caring. In the same way that it’s almost impossible to reach a real person when trying to contact an airline via telephone, it will become similarly difficult to reach them via social media. All the brands will be providing is yet another way to access their frequently asked questions, which very rarely provide the answers we’re looking for.

How do you feel about automated responses? Will this create a two-tier system for brands on social media?