What Are Social Media Bots? Are They Bad?

July 27, 2020 / NoVa Digital Marketing

You’ve probably heard about social media bots and maybe even dealt with one, without even knowing. 

What are social media bots? Are they healthy for your digital marketing strategies? Is your social media at risk?

As most things, nowadays, social media bots can be good and bad, depending on you want to use it. There are good bots, which are often use for social media chats– Facebook has an option which allows you to use automated responses based on questions your customers usually ask, which helps a lot if you want to keep up with your rating response. 

Then, we have the “kind of bad” bots, which is what we often see as comments on social media, especially on Instagram and Twitter. For instance, on an flower store Instagram page, if you go to the comments section and find a comment such as “want to make money? @Joe111234 changed my life and now I’m making millions!” then, that’s definitely a bot. 

Although social media bots used for customer service purposes (such as Facebook automated messages) is good, the “human-like” comments bots are really dangerous for many reasons. 

 

The most dangerous way social media bots are used is for political purposes. In advertising, we say, you need to see an ad 7 times before making a decision to buy a product or service (known as the rule of 7). According to an article found at firstmonday.org, in the 2016 elections, they found that the conversations happening on social media were started by 400,000 accounts likely to be bots. So, if you see these conversations repeatedly on social media, you start to believe it and buy it, just like an ad.

Young people, who spend more time on social media, tend to recognize bots. If one of those bots mention your account, they will immediately “cancel” out your social media, which means one less prospective customer.

When it comes down to your business online presence on social media, it is 100% recommended that you interact with every single one of your customers. It is also recommended to write as if you are a human having an actual conversation with your customers. Interacting with your customers allows you to establish a trust relationship with them. However, by using social media bots, you are doing the complete opposite and severely affect your business online presence.

These are just a few things that a bad social media bot can do to your online presence. We do recommend using social media bots for customer service purpose such as Facebook Messenger automated messages because they keep your response rate high and customers like to get a prompt reply. On the flip side, we don’t recommend the excessive use of comment bots because they can be misleading  and/or arrive on the wrong Instagram account or post. Sometimes, they don’t attract the right audience which results in followers, likes, or comments that will decrease the traffic to your social media channels or website. 

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