Dropshipping failure story; automation gone wrong!
In this article I want to share my dropshipping failure story and why decided not to automate my dropshiping marketing ever again!
I tried dropshipping automation because I wanted to free up some time for myself and while automating some dropshipping operations can be a good thing. Automating social media marketing is a big No for me!
The results of automating social media marketing was that I got banned from multiple social media accounts for violation of the social network’s policy, my store’s SEO dwindled and there was rarely any considerable traffic to my dropshipping store from my social media automated promotions.
In the end, my dropshipping failure story thought me not to leave everything for the bots. Now you have the summary. I’d go into the details of my experience with social media automation in the rest of this post.
Automating my dropshipping social media marketing got my Facebook Ad account banned;
Here is a short summary of the background. One of my dropshipping store was built on wordpress with the Woocommerce plugin.
I had attached a blog to that store primarily for content marketing of the products. I installed a plugin “WP blog to social” which automatically reposted my stores’s marketing content to my social media pages.
My goal was simply to build up brand awareness and generate organic traffic for my store.
In as much as I wanted to convert buyers using facebook ads, I also wanted to build up awareness for my store so I could continually generate sales even on days where I wasn’t running PPC advertising.
I also needed the revenues from brand recognition and returning customers.
In all honesty, building up my dropshipping store felt like there was too much work to be done.
Store optimization, ad testing, checking my analytic and tweaking my ads, product sourcing, product listing, negotiating fast shipping times with a Chinese private agent and all this stuff was already eating up my on time!
I was basically the only one on my team at the start, I couldn’t afford to outsource anything at the beginning. So, learning that there was a way to at least automate my content marketing efforts across my social media network was a relief.
I just set up the social media automation plugin and forgot about it!
Each time I created a brand content, I just hit publish on my “automation plugin” and got feedback on my wordpress dashboard that my brand content has successfully been published across multiple social media platforms.
What this means for me was that product featured pictures alongside my branded captions were auto published on Facebook, Linked in, Pinterest, Reddit, Medium, Bloglovin, Tumblr, imugur, XING and VK.com. Flickr and Instagram !
The plugin could auto publish my product picture, caption and a link to my content or store across many well known English and russian social media sites in a click of a single button!
All I did was set up these branded social media pages, Installed the plugin and felt a relief whenever I hit auto-publish and got the feedback that my product was auto-published across all these platforms.
I was happy this gave me the time I craved to focus on Facebook PPC advertising among other things.
The tragedy occured the day I went to promote an ad from my business manager dashboard and got the erro message;
That my Facebook ad account has been suspended and that I needed to request a review.
Once hit the review button, a timer started counting notifying me that I needed to complete the review within 30 business days else my FB Ad account would be permanently banned.
It prompted me to upload a copy of my ID card, which I did.
After a few days I got a feedback on my Facebook business manager dashboard notifying me that my ad account had been permanently disabled because FB couldn’t verify my identity.
I suspected the automation plugin was the primary cause of this issue I was experiencing because the issue came after I started using the plugin.
I tried to reach out to Facebook by email and chat! However, the options were not working…
I started watching many YouTube videos on how to reach Facebook support and it suggested I go by the “report a problem form option” on my Facebook dashboard. I tried this option and sent a message but it’s been months and I still haven’t gotten a response.
What is most devastating is that I have been using that Facebook account for more than 10 years! It’s a very old account.
To keep business going, I have had to create a new Facebook Account and Business manager Account.
Since Facebook is very important to my dropshipping marketing efforts, I’m still in search of how to restore my old Facebook ad account or find a permanent and ethical work around.
Automation got my Reddit, and linkedin business account banned;
One day, when I clicked auto publish using my social media automation plugin for my dropshipping store. I just got the feedback that my post failed to publish on Linked in!
I tried to access my Linkedin page directly but unfortunately, I found out that my linked account has been suspended! I appealed but never got back any response from LinkedIn support.
The worst part was that this was an aged LinkedIn account of mine. Gone just like that!
My reddit ban was a funny story. I felt my reddit marketing was successful for a long time because the plugin kept on telling me that it was until I got the shocker of my life!
I decided to manually login to Reddit to check my progress and was hit by the message.
“Permanently banned from Reddit”
I mean I have been posting on Reddit believing the post was published on Reddit successfully because that’s what this automation tool made me believe.
Not knowing that I have been banned from Reddit all that while? Nah automating social media marketing for your dropshipping store, content marketing or blog is clearly not worth it!
You see what’s even funnier is that this tool has a premium upgrade and is all over the internet with great reviews and I do believe these reviews exist because of the high paying affiliate commission for automation softwares.
Regardless of all promotional reviews for tools that automate dropshipping social media marketing, in my experience, I can simply tell you it’s bad news.
Dwindled organic traffic for my dropshipping store;
This was another bad hit for me to find out that after all the work and sweat I was putting into my dropshipping store, my store just wasn’t ranking organically.
If I needed to make sales I had to rely completely on PPC ads which of course costs money!
I started to dig in on why my store wasn’t ranking organically in google especially since I was also implementing content marketing for that store and SEO optimization!
My findings was that my store organic traffic may have dwindled as a result of scrapped content!
Let me explain what scrapped content is;
Basically if you have content on your website for example; product description, product titles, marketing content etc that has been published word for word or similarly on other websites before they were published on your site, then it could be seen as “Scrapped” or “copied” content.
Copied or scrapped content can lower your SEO ranking and I find that ranking preference can be given to sites where you presumably “scraped” the content from as against your site!
I automated my content marketing efforts for my dropshipping store and the auto post to social media was scheduled immediately as I published the content on my own site.
My dropshipping store started getting faulted for having scrapped content and I was able to discover this scrapped content using copyscape.
My social media pages also appeared to be ranking higher than my store.
The lesson I learnt here is that social media marketing is good but its better to post your products listing and description on social media using words that convey the same message but aren’t exactly the same words with the descriptions on your website.
Automating social media marketing didn’t result to a good ROI;
I think it’s important to talk about return on investment and time on investment!
“Quality is generally better than quantity” (this is my opinion, feel free to disagree). I was auto publishing all that marketing posts on all this different social media yet no one was engaging with it!
If anything they were down voting and reporting my account for spam and I had no idea because I was not organically present on those social media platforms (if that english is even correct, “organically present” lol)
Simply put I had a good quantity of posts across social media pages but there was no quality, no engagement, no trust in the brand and therefore no return on my investment in using these automation tools.
I didn’t know better then! I was just starting out and wanted the earsier route to social media marketing success.
I didn’t understand the community around each social media platform. How they like to interact and connect!
For example; I didn’t know that reddit hates marketing content and would easily shadow ban an account or that ladies products sold better on Pinterest as opposed to male products.
I didn’t know that it was harder to build Pinterest followers. If I wasn’t engaging with the community by following, commenting or liking other people’s pins!
I didn’t understand what it meant to spy on your competitor’s social media audience and convert them to yours. (A trick yeah!)
I didn’t understand that when getting started, it is better to secure your brand name across relevant platforms but focus on organically growing one social media at a time.
I was ignorant of the need to understand the behavior of each social media community and to be able to interact with them in a way that feels natural and engaging!
Building a brand name organically is not a marathon, it is a sprint that I was clueless of at that time and that cluelessness made my dropshipping failure story.
Ethical social media marketing;
The lessons I learned were that to see results I needed to take the time to learn how things work. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to success.
Organic marketing for any dropshipping store although free of cost, remains a slow and steady marketing process!
It’s mostly about consistency and finding ways to truly engage with your audience. It doesn’t pay to be spammy.
It takes time and truly being helpful to your social media community to build trust and an engaged following.
Making sure that your products aren’t crap, that your site is optimized, that you are always available to answer customer questions and that you can especially deliver on your brand promise!
Approved social media automation tools and scheduler
“For the most part of this article, I have bashed automating social media marketing but let me make one clear distinction”
It’s something I’d like to call “approved automation” if you just took some time to read through your social network’s policy.
You’d find that they do not frown on all social media automated schedulers and they in fact expressly approve of some schedulers.
You can read up on the approved Pinterest schedulers on their website. You’d find out that certain automation softwares like tailwind and canva pro, are expressly approved by Pinterest!
In this case, if your targeted social network has expressly listed it’s approved schedulers then you can very well use them to automate your social media posts.
The social network would not ban your account if you are following their policy and using a scheduler which they have expressly approved.
Nevertheless, I would strongly advise that you don’t leave everything in the hands of automation! That you regularly monitor your progress, read your analytics, engage with the community and just ensure that everything is going smoothly.
I hope my droshipping failure story does not discourage your hustle but instead motivates you to learn from my mistakes and hopefully avoid same!