A recent example of what happens when you remove humans from an integral part of the decision-making process occurred recently on social media, which also happens to be one of my areas of expertise.
Earlier this week, in an effort to celebrate reaching one million followers on Twitter, the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team learned a valuable lesson on automation and social media management. They decided to use an automated script that found tweets containing the hashtag “#CanadiensMTL1m” and replied to them with videos of Canadiens players thanking them for their support (as seen here). Pretty cool idea, in theory, except for the fact that it’s easy to get past filters (by replacing a letter with a number, for example) and create accounts and tweets that derogatory, before they are taken down. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen, as the four-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots experienced nearly the exact same blunder back in 2014.
Marketing and social media management teams need to take a step back and think carefully about what should and, more importantly, what shouldn’t be automated. Automation makes campaign tracking and social measurement possible, but when it comes to engagement, there is no substitute for human intelligence and interaction.