What are Bots? And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

Bots, that thing half of our population loathes and half aren’t quite sure what they are.

A bot, in its online form,  is automated software that can replace human interaction through executing commands, such as online searches, liking and replying. Bots can be found anywhere online. You see them in places like video games and twitter. Even Google uses bots to crawl the web and index new content on webpages.

But while bots can be a helpful tool in Google’s case, a majority of the time bots are not helpful to a company. Bots are used on social media to cut down on marketing time. Bots can be seen mass tweeting, sending automated DM’s, favouriting, liking, and commenting.

For example, that Utah based discount footware store that commented “Nice Pic!” on your Instagram post of your Grandmother wearing new years sunglasses is a bot. Bots aren’t all used for writing DM’s or tweets. They are also used to keep engagement up on social media platforms and gain followers.

As a general rule, brands should never use bots. Here is why:

1. They’re Usually Generic and Unbranded

When a bot slides into the DM’s people can tell. They all usually go like this:

Hello and thanks for follow!

________ is a company that helps ______ do _______. We __________ through________. If you require any  ______ let us know or head to our website http://www._______.com

While some automated responses are more “edgy” they all follow this basic guideline and they usually avoid using anything specific so they can cater to a large demographic of social media accounts.

2. Brands Look Silly and Sometimes Pretty Terrible

Bots are programmed to leave likes and comments all over social media platforms in order to gain engagement and followers.  We recently saw one of the accounts we follow post a picture about losing a loved one. There were lots of comments about condolences and support, except from one brand which posted “Cool” with a sunglass emoji beside it.  Obviously this is a bot because no one in their right minds would think its cool a loved one died, but unfortunately these bot slip ups happen all the time. Bots can be programmed to avoid content like #Rip but content with no hashtags or hashtags your marketing team forgot (There are a lot of hashtags to avoid commenting on social media) will ultimately make your brand look silly or just pain terrible.

3. Brands Look Disinterested

We get excited when a brand actually reaches out to us to talk and have a conversation, not send us spam. When brands use bots it makes their engagement with their audience more meaningful.

For example, here are two different comments on one of our posts about Snapchat:

“Nice Post!”

“Good to know conversions are not that high on Snapchat. We’ve considered using it but IG has shown to have high engagements and conversions. Plus, it’s actually fun to use!”

The honest and thoughtful comment made us want to reach out and form a business relationship, not the generic one.

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