Medical Branding & Marketing Blog

Put PEOPLE Back in Social - Enough with Social Media Autoresponders 0

Posted in the Category 'Social Media'

Ashley Libby
Brand & Marketing Strategist | Principal & Founder, The Anca Group


Ahhh, the autoresponder...

If I remember correctly, at one time, before the days of mass use of smart phones and tablets, they were reserved for email - used by people who were out of the office or on holiday and knew that they couldn't respond to another person in a timely manner.

I'm sure we've all done it, set up an autoresponder to let senders know we would answer their messages upon return to email access. I have. 

Fast forward to today, when it seems autoresponders are used all too often in social media - not as a courtesy to let someone know that a real, live person will be in touch ASAP - but as a phony attempt to try to sell something or get someone to do something else for someone else.


Last Friday, I tweeted a few messages about WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, and their new Book Club and WOMMY Awards with which I am involved. In response, perhaps, I got serveral new followers - people I didn't and still don't know. I looked at their pages and some of their recent tweets, visited their websites, and decided to follow a few of them that appeared to be relevant to me and The Anca Group. 

And then it happens...

Twitter DM No. 1: "Thanks for the follow! Want to be friends on Facebook? Find me at [link withheld]."

Twitter DM No. 2: "Thanks for the follow! If you could ask me 1 questions what would it b? Otherwise check out my blog [link withheld]. Have a gr8 day!"

For clarification, the '1 questions' is not a typo - or, I should say, my typo.

Excuse me while I BARF. Did they forget that an actual human might be at the other end of this message and that social media enables PEOPLE to connect to other PEOPLE?

If the two behind these messages knew that the only response they evoked was a touch of nausea, maybe they would think twice. Hard to say. Could be they don't care. Could be they missed the point of SOCIAL media. Could be some people actually buy this baloney. Could be I'm the only one that feels this way (I hope not).

Either way, I'm definitely not the first to write about it - or putting people back in social. Just this morning for instance, in the New York Times Small Business Blog, in a post entitled, "How Not to Pitch Your Business in Social Media," Melinda Emerson, the blog's author and small business guru, writes about the importance of building relationships in social media, just as in real life, and the added time and effort to it takes to build those relationships via social media.

My point is, social media shouldn't change us or the way we interact and relate with other people. We're humans, inherently social beings. Online social media outlets offer us new tools to help us connect, just as telephones have been helping us connect with one another for over a century, but they shouldn't change the way we communicate. Would you ever call someone you've never spoken with before and start the conversation with, "Hey, want to be friends?"  

Let's do away with the autoresponders. Give us real human contact. People deserve that much.

What do you think? Anyone else tired of social media autoresponders?


ASHLEY LIBBY is a brand and marketing strategist, word of mouth and inbound marketing proponent, and the principal and founder of The Anca Group.

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