Let’s face it…
Online marketing can be a lot of work. Depending on what you hope to accomplish, it can be incredibly time-consuming. That, in turn, makes it difficult for people whose time is limited. As a result, lots of people turn to some or other form of automation.
Not to mention that many people are just looking for an easier way to get things done.
Some of these are “legal”, and simply meant to save you time – such as say, WordPress plugins that automatically syndicates your new post to various social networks. Scheduling tools are not classified as automation – because you are doing exactly what you would have done manually, but just post-dated the time of publishing.
So – when does “easy” become “bad”?
The moment you start automating something in an unnatural manner, it becomes a risk. Google and social platforms are getting better and better at detecting automated activity.
For instance – let’s say you are using a tool like IFTTT (if this then that) to send automated welcome tweets to new followers. How long do you think it will take Twitter to figure out that you ALWAYS “welcome” new followers immediately?
(Especially if it is the same message/tweet over and over, with just the username being different)
Not to mention the embarrassment about the “welcome tweet” your followers will see when someone with a NSFW username follows you.
(And those spammers DO use automation, so they follow people indiscriminately)
Here are a few reasons why automation = easy = bad for online marketing:
1. It kills your credibility
It’s easy to spot a fake social account. Anyone who knows a tiny bit about the online environment will be able to spot an automated account a mile away. And unfortunately, in most places, if you don’t seem like a real person, people will avoid you. Or just ignore you.
The result it the same.
2. It can get you banned or de-indexed
Social networks know that allowing automation will kill engagement. If they allow it to kill engagement, they kill their advertising revenue. As such, none of them takes kindly to any form of automation.
The moment you are caught out, your account will be closed. Period. And if it is backlinks for Google which you are trying to automate…
Prepare for having your site de-indexed. It might not be today or tomorrow, but Google has some of the most sophisticated software on the planet – and some or other time they will close your doors.
3. The tools you use may get shut down
If your whole business model is dependent on using automated syndication tools, losing access to your tools will be tough. Many online automation tools have been shut down over the past few years – just think of sites like Mass Planner, Instagress, and even BoardBooster (a Pinterest scheduling tool, which also had automation capabilities).
Mass Planner and Instagress were slapped by “cease and desist orders” from Instagram, while BoardBooster was simply blocked by Pinterest. Game over in all cases.
4. Loopholes close
That which you can get away with today, might not be acceptable tomorrow. Just look at how Google’s policies on backlinks have changed over the years – to the point where you are now penalized for spammy backlinks. As time goes by, everyone is getting better and better at scanning behavioral patterns, and detecting unnatural ones.
And the better they become at detecting it, the less tolerant they are towards automation.
The bottom line is this: Are you willing to risk everything you have worked for while building your online business?
Because if you do, someday, somewhere, somehow you will be shut down.
And you will be back to where you started – with nothing.
Not to mention all of the time you will have lost – time which you could have used to build a legitimate internet business.
Fair enough, you may be able to get away with it for a while. For a while, you may be able to increase your reach, with little additional effort. For a while, you may even make some money out of it.
But if it is bound to come crashing down some time, and if you won’t be able to use automation to establish any real credibility…
You have to ask yourself the question:
Do you want to make a quick and easy buck, with as little effort as possible?
(at the risk of losing it all at any given time)
Or do you want a business that will last for as long as it suits you, and that will keep on growing as long as you work on it?