Anyone who has Followed the New York Times on Twitter has no doubt realized they have been releasing automated Tweets. This is a great tool for companies that really don’t give a shit about their customers at all. It is the complete anti-social social media tool. Nothing says ‘UNFOLLOW ME” quite like an automated Twitter account.
The New YorkTimes is so far ahead of the curve that after a year of doing it wrong they have finally decided to try doing something right. This week they are using real humans to Tweet things about their stories and their newspaper.
A week. An entire week to undo what the corporate executives have been screwing in the ass for months.
Call me cynical, but how long do you think it will be until all the old school newspaper people are dead and buried and we can have some folks in charge who understand communication the 21st Century?
This week’s experiment “is about changing the perception, and it’s about being a little more strategic about what we put out there — finding the most engaging content.”
By calling this an “experiment,” the Times is implying that the outcome is yet unknown. I’d say it’s really more of a demonstration: an effort by the social media staff to prove to the rest of the newsroom that the paper’s main Twitter feed deserves additional resources to maintain this human-driven, personal approach.
Full-time, human hosting of a brand’s main Twitter account is unquestionably a better approach, said Zach Seward, the main voice behind The Wall Street Journal’s @WSJ account.
The @WSJ account has been run by people since January 2010, Seward said. “The metrics went up considerably and almost immediately after switching from automated to personal. We’ve seen the same effect with several other accounts.”
“What we’ve seen by measuring it closely,” he said, “is that human-powered feeds do much, much better than automated ones, by any relevant metric.”
I think the real challenge for Heron and her colleagues is not determining whether the human approach is better (it is), but convincing management that it is substantially better and important enough to convert another staff position to the social media team.
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