Social Media Bots Have No Value

December 1, 2014

My title is “Chief Listener” at Pipeliner CRM. What does that mean I do? I listen. To everything. I listen for emerging social business trends and signs of social media tool evolution. I listen to customers, partners, and influencers. I listen to startup CEO’s and VP’s at established companies. I’m listening specifically to my company’s prospects, too. Heaven forbid I get an earache. (insert laugh track)

I’m always listening. What do I do with all this information? I use my findings to make informed recommendations to a variety of departments. And most importantly, anticipate customer needs and wants. Knowing how your customer wants to be engaged before, during and after the buying cycle is the not-so-secret secret to a businesses success. And knowing and providing customers with what they need to be successful in today’s business environment is integral. And so my rant begins…

If you haven’t already, please read: Social Media Bots Offer Phony Friends and Real Profit. When this article crossed my radar I had to click. Bots and profit. I was intrigued. And it didn’t take long for me to become officially irked. Angry. Inflamed. Black hat tactics are short term wins for the impatient and ill-advised. It’s common knowledge that brands and celebrities leverage bots to increase their “influence.” I’m putting influence in quotes because wielding real power online has nothing to do with the number of fans and followers you have. And as bots have no feelings, they’re likely to be unaffected by messaging crafted to solicit action. A 0.001 engagement percentage is sad regardless of whether or not you were paid $ 5K to post a certain tweet.Social Media Bots Have No Value image Social Media Bots Rachel Miller 300x150.png

Acknowledging and promoting vanity metrics as signs of success is wrong. Wrong and incredibly frustrating for social media professionals fighting the good fight. True community builders are masters of their social universes and are simultaneously the glue that holds a brand together and the foundation on which it is built. Social media professionals who scroll through limitless amounts of data to identify and replicate social posts that generate the most traffic are wizards. Neither of these important players in the social game use vanity metrics to determine success. Last time I checked bots can’t buy anything. And if a fan or follower can’t ever generate revenue….They. Have. No. Value.

I’ve never been inspired to follow a social account simply because of its fan or follower count. Ooh, great. I’m Follower #19,564! And as the author correctly states, Instagram is flooded with bots – and it’s freakin’ annoying. No one, on any social network is asking for more bots.

Never has a customer told me,

“Man, you know what would make your product better? More Twitter followers with egg avatars.”

Not once has an influencer divulged that social media bots are the wind beneath their wings. Social streams are already incredibly noisy and amplifying this noise with millions of echoes (bots) creates a symphony that’s sure to drive any social network user crazy and eventually – away.

The clear downside of always listening is sifting through articles such as this one. And then scrambling to make sure no one is acting on the suggestions. If you do nothing else today be sure to tell one person this hard fact: social media bots have no business value.

Rant over.


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