As social media use of all kinds continues to grow, so does the amount of noise. A lot of this is made up of great content, insightful comment and passionate debate but gradually more and more of the notifications appearing on your device are coming from the increasingly automated social marketing efforts of brands.

While there is doubtlessly a place for occasional automation in the social space, a lot of common automated practices can be highly detrimental in the way they present a brand to an individual for the first time. They just add to the unwelcome online clutter that needs to be cut through every day, while providing little in the way of value. Are you putting off your followers with any of the approaches below?

Automated welcome DMs

An automatic message welcoming a new follower to your Twitter account might sound like a nice idea in principal, but in most cases it serves to do little more than immediately demonstrate that you’re taking a robotic approach to what should be a highly human platform.

Your new follower has already shown an interest by following you in the first place. Don’t come across as over-keen by immediately shouting your brand’s life story at them or instantly requesting that they follow you on your other channels (nothing comes across as more disingenuous than ‘hey, let’s connect on Facebook too’) – let them find out more about you at their own pace through your tweets and then identify opportunities to engage on a more personal level.

Even a simple ‘welcome’ or ‘thanks for following’ message merely provides the follower with another impersonal notification to clear from their device.

The next two ‘techniques’ group together:

Automated tweet ‘likes’

A tool tells you it can automatically ‘like’ all tweets that include a certain word, phrase or hashtag. Sounds great right? Using minimal effort to get your online marketing business’s name in front of loads of potential new relevant followers or customers who are talking about social media or digital comms? Well that’s just it – an automated ‘like’ tends to stick out like a sore thumb among the other notifications from someone’s usual interactors, and it immediately tells people that you are indeed putting minimal effort into your social media marketing efforts. If you want to tell relevant people about yourself and your services, look for the relevant conversations taking place and engage personally.

Automated Instagram comments

‘Truly awesome!’ or ‘Great!’ might seem like perfect comments to automatically add to Instagram posts featuring a certain word or hashtag that’s relevant to you – until it turns out that ‘you’ keep commenting on pictures of someone’s kids or are appearing overly enthused about tragic aftermath shots of an earthquake in New Zealand. There is no way of guaranteeing what kind of images your automated comments will appear on, and as a result they can appear a little weird at best and downright offensive at worst. Likewise, automated Instagram likes can result in your perceived approval of some truly unpleasant content.

Both of these approaches are akin to the digital equivalent of walking into a crowded room and tapping random people on the shoulder until someone finally turns around to acknowledge you. It makes you look insincere and impersonal. People use social media to be just that – sociable – and the most successful brands apply the same personal touch to their social activity, they don’t behave like robots with an automated and scattergun approach to reaching as many people as possible in their notifications.

People curate, develop and tune their social media personas and surroundings to suit themselves and reflect their personality. If you are going to enter their personal space, you’d better have something good (and not robotic) to say.