Lately the internet has been swarming with badly composed automated bots to either sell something to you or simply grow audiences. Many of these bots are irrelevant and end up being blocked by their target audiences. Here’s how you can spot them.
Automation is great. In fact, I try to automate a decent amount of all my manual tasks. For example, all of my finances, both personal and business, are on 100% autopilot. No manual interaction required. I’ve recently also started automating my emails and social media by scheduling messages and posts in advance, such that they are sent at the precise time that I want them to.
Automation works well, but only when it’s done the right way. Lately I’ve noticed too many badly implemented automation tasks that are crawling all over social media. How do I know, you ask?
This is Milo:
Milo has an instagram page (@milo_kitkat). Milo gets likes, comments and new followers all the time. On a random Sunday at exactly 4:00pm, Milo gets a direct message:
Hi milo_kitkat! Love your page! We are currently offering great discounts on dog collars, made specifically for you! Don’t wasting time, buy yourself the best dog collar now and be the goodest boi of all.
This message is clearly scripted, coming from a bot. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with scripted messages (ignoring the grammatical errors) for business development – we all use them!
- There’s such a thing as knowing your audience.
- There’s such a thing as knowing how to implement automation the right way.
You might say, well it’s Instagram, so you should expect junk.
Fair enough. Let me give you another classic example, but on LinkedIn this time:
Hi Paras Daryanani ✈, Engineering Project Lead for AKKA UK, WOW, you have your hands full there. Love to connect! Cheers Janine
Surely if Janine wasn’t a bot, she would know that my name isn’t Paras Daryanani <airplane icon>. Moreover, commenting about me having my hands full here, by quite literally copy/pasting my job title into the message, doesn’t really tell me what she’s after or why she would like to connect.
And another, my personal favourite that got me excited for a second:
Paras, I’m John Smith, one of the co-founders of <RandomVeeCeeCorporation>. I’m writing because I see that you’re running a Drone company. We invest in Drone co’s through our <RandomService>.If you’d like to know more, I’d be happy to discuss. Thanks for reading my connection request!
John Smith’s message got me excited for a moment… “Ooh – I just got sent a message from a VC!”
Then I got to line 2. “Wait… I don’t run a drone company. Wonder what made him think that…”.
So I go to my profile and do a search. CTRL + F, type “drone”, enter.
Zero results for “drone”.
I get at least 10 messages a week on LinkedIn, out of which 7 are scripted bots, with an unclear request or call to action, either wanting to connect or telling me to apply for a random accounting job that I am apparently “perfect for” based on my profile that they haven’t even seen or read.
Bottom line: If you are going to automate, bring a little more human aspect to your bots. Look for the right keywords, make your sales script less generic and don’t waste your time sending messages to the wrong audience, as they will never convert and just mute your LinkedIn incoming messages, effectively making you invisible to them for the foreseeable future.
When Artificial Intelligence isn’t done the right way, it’s Artificial Ignorance.
I often say, when Artificial Intelligence isn’t done the right way, it’s Artificial Ignorance.
Of course, these bots don’t implement any AI – but they do lay the foundations of it as most data scientists (including myself) start off by implementing simple automation projects before moving on to hands-on machine learning. Let’s fix the problem here before it grows.
This article is cross-posted on my LinkedIn profile.