Why do we let a robot run our Twitter?

The best quotes strike the right chord at the right time, and this one we recently shared on our Twitter account spoke to me. It’s a quote that explains so well how our core value of Mindful Creativity is put in action every day at c|change. I couldn’t have chosen a better quote myself! And even though I hit “post” on that tweet, I didn’t choose it. I wish I could give credit to our wonderful copywriters, but their talents were being put to use elsewhere.

All credit for this tweet—as well as everything we post on our Twitter account—goes to a robot. Twitter Bot, to be exact.

Creating and implementing a plan to automate our Twitter account was not something we’d heard of other agencies doing, but it made sense with our social media goals and the service we want to provide to our clients. It all started with what Gen. Patton himself might call some surprising ingenuity (see, isn’t that quote great?).

Combining curiosity with necessity

Twitter Bot came about as a perfect storm of interests and needs. One of our web developers was interested in working with Puppeteer, a web-scraping technology from Google. At the same time, we had been tweeting infrequently—a common struggle for companies trying to keep up with the volume game that is Twitter.

After an all-hands brainstorm session, the idea for our own Quote Master 5000 was born. It was a perfect test case for our dev: promoting our core values seemed ripe for visual expression, and with the wealth of quotes around the internet, we had a healthy supply of material to scrape.

Plus, it added real value for the c|change team at large. We could share our core values—a message that felt right based on who we are—while working smarter and more efficiently.

Building the bot

Before Twitter Bot could scan millions of quotes for the one that speaks just right to one of our three core values, we had to build it. The basic workflow is that three days a week, Twitter Bot:

We ran into a few challenges along the way. Key amongst them was getting approval from Twitter to use their API; given all the spam bots on the platform, it’s not surprising the company is careful about who they give approval to. Without their API, however, our erstwhile quote composer couldn’t exist. After some wait and see, they finally got back to us: approval granted.

In addition, there were challenges around font scaling, getting the kinds of quotes we want, and the fact that this was our first go of building a bot!

Value for our clients in (automated) action

For us at c|change, getting an AI-assist with Twitter frees us up to focus more on face-to-face interactions, strategic development, and posting on our Facebook and Instagram accounts (where we see more results).

Our clients face similar challenges in trying to keep conversations going across a growing number of channels. By indulging our curiosities and testing out automated tweet-making on ourselves first, we’ve created another tool we can use to help our clients design the best social media strategies for them.

I’ll leave it to Twitter Bot to sum up my takeaway from this project:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter to see Twitter Bot’s latest work.

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