Why Twitter Auto-Replies Can Be Damaging

Twitter Bot

Twitter Bot


Twitter auto-replies are impersonal...

Recently I was talking to my husband about the amount of work and time it takes to “thank” my new Twitter followers. He asked, “why not use an automatic reply tool?” This is a great question! Many people or businesses don’t understand the repercussions of using such applications that post on their behalf. Auto-replies are frowned upon in the social media world and can actually be damaging to you, or your business.

The term social media is defined as electronic communication in which users create online communities to share information, ideas, and personal messages (1). The key term in this definition is personal: how can you be personal with something that is automatic? The #1 rule in social media is to be authentic, real, and engaging. This cannot happen if you use automatic applications that send responses to your followers. Twitter warns users not to use auto-replies as well. They state in their terms of use:

“if your account automation violates the Twitter rules (by re-tweeting spam updates, repeatedly posting duplicate links, etc.), your account may be suspended (2).”

Allowing another program to post for you or your business is a bad idea. Large companies have found themselves in trouble by using auto-replies on Twitter. According to Adweek, in 2013, Bank of America was chastised for using a computer robot in response to tweets made by Occupy protesters. The auto responses had nothing to do with the real tweets, but with customer service issues.

Bank of America's bad Twitter Reply


In 2014 the makers of Oreo cookies sent tweets using a derogatory username to people, before being caught and shut down.

Oreo Cookie Bad Twitter Response

Glitches and errors such as these can happen with auto reply tools.

Another reason to steer clear from auto reply applications, is these programs are void of any human aspect. Twitter followers feel as though they are just a number. A statistic that helps the tweeter climb in numbers. We all want to feel special, and sending a personal message to someone who follows you on Twitter helps accomplish this. Sending real messages creates authenticity, and a level of friendship, which is important in social media.

In order to succeed with Twitter, take the time to look at your followers. Try re-tweeting or favoring a post to show you are a real person worth following back. I know it can seem tedious to respond to each person: however, I suggest setting aside 15 min per day and thank people in a special way who chose to follow you. I promise your hard work and efforts will pay off.



(1) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media
(2) https://support.twitter.com/articles/76915