I recently had a conversation with a client about AI and his Twitter account. He’d been approached by a company whose software can analyze the types of followers he currently has and the types of commentary he uses, and can find more people to entice them to follow him.

Let’s begin with “I question this.” I’m not saying AI is the wrong way to go. But I am saying I’m not sure about it.

What we do versus what artificial intelligence does.

Our team prides itself on providing real, authentic voices to the brands we represent. We engage with the audience – on both large-scale broad announcements and one-to-one conversation. Not everything we put out there is polished “marketing material.” On Twitter, specifically, a lot of what we do is conversational, not like like a brand talking to the masses but a person talking to another person. We keep it real. Much like my image on this post, people can look different and sound different from day to day. We keep it real. Consistent, but real.

I remember years ago when we started and auto-responses were a new thing, they irritated me to no end. If I followed someone and immediately got an auto-response with something like “Thanks for the follow! Our company handles XYZ,” it was a reason to almost immediately unfollow. I was interested in something you were saying, that’s what led me to follow you. But now, you don’t even have time for a genuine, “hey, nice to meet you, I’d love to hear more about you” but instead just sling a marketing message at me. Thanks but no thanks.

I’d prefer no “thanks for the follow” than that. And that was just the beginning of artificial intelligence on Twitter, as I remember it.

The plus side: AI can speed things up.

I get it. There are clients who want their numbers up, way up. They want thousands of followers overnight. Why? Why is this important? Well, it’s not all vanity, there actually IS a reason why having a solid number of followers is important. If you are growing your community, people are more likely to follow you if – for lack of a better phrase – everyone else is doing it. Having a lot of people interested in what you’re saying actually CAN give you some credibility.

BUT – there’s always a but – what I will always argue is quality over quantity. If you gained a bunch of followers last night but can’t tell if they’re actually real people (their profile picture isn’t updated from what Twitter gave them, they haven’t tweeted… ever) then they might not be a real person. They might be a bot. And all they do is inflate your numbers of followers (and, by the way, tank your engagement numbers).

So.. yeah. If you want an overnight quick-fix to the number of followers you have, these fake accounts might do it for you, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Now, not all followers brought in by AI are bots. A lot of them are real people who could maybe, possibly, be interested in what you’re saying. But I question whether the AI knows this for sure, or if it’s just a guess.

How we have always done it, and will continue to do it.

We rely on our team to build audiences and communities for our clients. For us, a community is not just a quantity of people who click like or follow, they are people who will engage back, ask and answer questions, be genuinely interested in what it is we are saying as our clients.

So do we engage with AI?

At this point, our team has not used AI to support our efforts. We believe in slow growth – of real people – and will continue down that road. Now. I always say “never say never” so there could be a reason to institute an AI campaign from time to time. My recommendation, however, would be to collaborate so that we don’t completely forgo our real voices, but instead, use some AI to support our efforts, specifically as it relates to growth.

I don’t know about you, but when I call a call-center and just want to speak to a real person I end up pressing 0 over and over and by the end I am almost yelling “REPRESENTATIVE” into the computer system. Sometimes you just need a real person to talk to… and I don’t see Twitter (especially as a brand) being any different.

I’m curious about your thoughts on this – do you use AI? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it.

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