Some things are way better automatic.
Coffee makers. Direct debit. Toilets.
But other things, not so much. In fact, doing some things the old-fashioned way can be a HUGE improvement over having them automated.
And this is especially true in your business.
Not everything you do goes better when it happens all on its own – and unlike those automatic toilets, there are some things you want to just get your grabby little hands all over. Things like customer service, for example, practically demand a highly personal touch.
So what are some of the things we do the old-fashioned way here?
What are some of the things YOU can do the old-fashioned way to make a better connection with your fans and customers?
Obviously, marketing automation can go a long way toward improving your social media strategy. You waste less time multitasking, you’re more consistent, and you’re able to easily use your evergreen content as an endless source of new traffic. Heck, you can even pre-schedule the type of real-time marketing posts that stand to double your usual engagement.
Once you start automating your social media, things can go one of two ways:
And while that second way of doing things can absolutely save you a lot of time, it isn’t necessarily the best way of doing things.
Take the auto-DM, for example. Go a-Googlin’, and you’ll find no shortage of tools that’ll automatically blast direct messages to your audience:
Great, right? All the benefits of sending a one-on-one message to a follower, with none of the heavy lifting!
Except for the small catch that users hate automated DMs and cite them as the #1 reason they’d unfollow someone.
Chalk it up as one of those things that Twitter technically allows, but you shouldn’t necessarily do just because you can.
And speaking of treats…
When’s the last time any aspect of your business existed outside of a computer screen? Between your site, your marketing, and paying for literally everything online, it might seem like your business lives in some alternate dimension, completely siloed off from the tangible world.
Your company might live on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean it always has to stay there – and making an appearance in the real world can leave a real impression.
(So can making an appearance on MTV’s “The Real World,” but that wouldn’t necessarily be a positive impression.)
Handwritten notes, for example, have made a serious comeback – they’re a way of creating a bridge between the online world and the real world, and to show your fans that they’re worth a little extra effort. (Because seriously, they are.)
At VidCon last month, web and entertainment pioneer Fred Seibert explained that traditional media values numbers, but the Internet values loyalty. The point? Despite the fact that data is more abundant than pretty much ever before, there’s a lot to be said for maintaining your humanity as a brand, and recognizing your fans as actual living, breathing, caring people – not just leads and clickthroughs.
Which brings us back to snail mail.
Here at Edgar, we make it a point to send out the occasional surprise using the good old postal service. Is it because of a study showing that it increases retention, or something? Nah – we just do it because it makes people happy, and that makes us happy, too.
— Frances B (@Frances_M_B) July 15, 2015
Activities that reinforce your brand’s humanity are every bit as important as those that improve its bottom line – and taking your business offline is a great way to stay in touch with reality.
Of course, you don’t have to stray from the security of your laptop screen to keep your brand’s sense of humanity strong. In some cases, it might be as simple as maintaining a personal connection with someone even after they become your customer.
For example, we send personal emails to our users to see how they’re getting along with Edgar – what they love, what might be throwing them off, and so on. When our users reply – and a lot of them do – it gives us a chance to continue a one-on-one dialogue, so we can learn more about how they’re using Edgar and give them personalized tips.
And while we are a SaaS company, personal check-ins are valuable even when you don’t stand to lose a customer. Touch base with the people who have given you business. Be sincere, and demonstrate that you value their opinions and care about their happiness. After all, you do – it’s just a matter of showing it.
Social media isn’t the only place where it pays to be both hands-on and hands-off.
Everybody researches, learns, and processes information differently. Some people like to do it all on their own, while some prefer a little more interaction. Just ask anyone who’s ever worked retail and had to ask strangers, “Is there anything I can help you find today” – you just never know how someone will respond.
Make things easier for yourself by giving people the means to answer their own questions, and make things easier for others by helping those who want you to.
We may have a YouTube video that gives a quick tour/tutorial of Edgar, but we also offer live demos several times a month so people can see it in action and ask questions as we go. We have a massive, searchable database of help documents, but we also field a lot of questions via email, and on social media. Our blog (you know, where you are right now) shares information and strategies for social media marketing every week, but we also offer live webinars that do the same thing.
You can create all the evergreen content and resources you want, but they’re no substitute for live interaction. By creating opportunities to engage live with your audience and allowing them to interact with you, too, you ensure that you’re reaching as many people as possible in the way that they like best.
No one’s saying you should invest in a butter churn or chisel your newsletters into stone tablets, but sometimes, doing things the old-fashioned way – without just letting automation run its course – has big advantages. When you do automate tasks that can be planned in advance, it just means that you have more time for the live, manual, good-old-fashioned stuff!