The Organic Revolution: Why APIs and Bots Are Dying
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The shutdown of Instagress, along with a cracking down by Twitter on aggressive follow / unfollow strategies, has resulted in a lot of people wondering how to grow their followers the old fashioned way. Instead of constantly following people, then unfollowing them, social media managers and individuals will have to work hard in order to boost their followers and also keep many of their current fans engaged.
Many social media marketers have follow / unfollow strategies in place, and not all of them are bad. Why shouldn't an ice cream store follow people that liked their competitors? Why shouldn't that same store follow people in their area that tweeted about ice cream? All of this is targeted and can be proper. The issue is when people get overly aggressive. If they do use an API, they may follow over 250 people per day, while also unfollowing near the same amount. Why is this a problem? For one, if you are following this number of people, you more than likely are following some individuals that are not your target audience, in fact they may have nothing whatsoever to do with your company. Automated programs will many times result in a lack of quality control and you will end up following people that haven't tweeted in years or don't have a profile image. These individuals will probably not engage with your posts, and will eventually unfollow you in the coming days. Many social media marketers will also get trigger happy, and will unfollow individuals that followed them back, just to make their follow ratio look good. All of this is called aggressive churning, and will eventually result in bans. Not to mention, unfollowing people that you just followed and got a follow back from is downright rude and bad for your brand image.
Aggressive following is also a result of buying into APIs. If an individual or company is going to pay money every month to use one of these products, they are going to get their moneys worth. Not all APIs are about following though. What about the programs that auto-post for you? These can be incredibly handy, especially if you have multiple clients or want to create a content calendar for months in the future. These programs, which are largely for organizational purposes, are not being cracked down on. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram want a product that is as free of spam as possible. Aggressive churning and auto-mentions or auto-messaging are the things that will turn you from social media manager into spammer.
Speaking about auto-mentions, marketers are utilizing this tool way too often and are again leaning towards spamming. It is very difficult to create an auto-mention or message that is natural and human in nature, especially when it is being sent out to a wide range of individuals. Auto-mentions can also result in a spike in posts created, which will trigger the social media platform and will result in bans or locks. If you follow someone that really resonates with you, then take the time to send a personal tweet that will get their attention.
So why is organic growth so much better? Since the APIs and the Bots are dying, how can you use organic growth to make sure your social media accounts do well. First of all, organic growth takes hard work. You will be forced to engage with individuals on social media, rather than just following people and auto-posting. You will begin to create conversations and life-long fans. Frankly, these devoted fans are worth 10,000 followers that don't engage with you. Even without APIs, you can still follow people. Instead of following someone with the intent of getting their follow, then unfollowing them, try just connecting with accounts that you believe are in your target audience or you are interested in. Worried about your follow ratio? Scan through your home feed and engage with people. I bet you will notice some tweets that have nothing to do with anything you're interested in. That is the perfect time to unfollow someone.
Somewhere down the road, marketers found out that social media is an amazing arena for sending a message. The problem is, social media is also a place for open conversation and making friends. You wouldn't storm into a random party (where you know no one) and hand out 1000 flyers, so why would you do it on social media? We feel that the organic revolution is finally firing back up. The elimination of Bots will result in social media managers focusing on creating great content and social listening, which will make social media better for everyone. You will also save a lot of money by not buying all of these online programs!
What do you think? Do you believe in organic social media? Do you think that APIs, the ones geared towards spam, are finally dying out? Let us know by commenting below or emailing us.