To Auto-Post or Not To Auto-Post? The Answer is somewhere in the middle.

Posted on May 24th 2012

To Auto-Post or Not To Auto-Post? The Answer is somewhere in the middle.

Are you setting your social media marketing on cruise control by auto-posting with third-party APIs?  I’ll offer a bit of advice.  Take the time now – after reading this informative blog post of course – to step back and rethink that strategy.

Going overboard with auto-posting is never a good idea.  It is bad social media etiquette and it is bad for your social marketing strategy.  When you treat Facebook and Twitter like an RSS feed, your fans and followers will flock elsewhere in a heartbeat.

In no way am I painting all social networking auto-posting as poisonous to your social media marketing success.  That would be unfair to third-party APIs like HootSuite and TweetDeck.  And after all, the technology is not the issue here.  The real problem is the laziness of those using the technology.  Read on to discover why relying too heavily on auto-posting software is never a good idea.

Don’t Show Up at a Star Trek Convention in a Star Wars Costume

Social media etiquette demands that those delivering content also understand the uniqueness of each social network and the eco-system within that network.  For example, Facebook fans don’t want to see a post littered with Twitter hashtags.  And your LinkedIn connections, well, they don’t want to follow links to videos and photos of your sister’s son’s third-grade play.

When you choose to hit a “Publish to All” button and blast your content in the same format across the entire social universe, you are going to ruffle feathers.  Think of this as if you were to show up at a Star Trek convention flaunting your new Darth Vader outfit.  That’s just not going to fly with the three hundred dudes dressed as Captain Kirk.

You must also understand that pushing bland, recycled content on your Facebook page and bombarding your Twitter followers with auto-post links and retweets is much worse than bad etiquette.  It also shows your true lack of understanding the psychology of engagement.  And an unengaged audience, no matter what social media channel and eco-system they reside in, can quickly turn your social network into a ghost town.

Is the Party Over (Again) for Facebook Auto-Posters?

Even if your bad social media etiquette doesn’t hurt your business, the folks at Facebook might give you further reason to question your reliance on auto-posting technology.  I use the word “might” because Facebook says they do not punish users of third-party APIs.  However, a recent study by Hubspot showed otherwise.

According to Hubspot’s data, brand pages using auto-posting software suffered greatly once Timeline was rolled out to all pages.  In fact, their study showed that content posted by third-party apps had 67% fewer Likes and 60% fewer clicks than similar content posted manually.   There is not definitive reason for this decrease but most fingers point to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

This is not the first time questions about Facebook penalizing users of third-party apps has reared its head.  In the past, the developers at Facebook made changes and tweaked the algorithm to create a more even playing field.  There are rumors that, even while denying EdgeRank punishes auto-posters, Facebook is once again tweaking their algorithm to close the gap created by the Timeline release.

Moderation and Quality Content Wins Out in the Long Run

As you move forward with your social media posting strategy, continue to use time-saving tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to auto-post to your social networks.  But as you do this, make sure to create a mix that relies more heavily on manual posting.  When you do set up your scheduled auto-posts, make sure to format your content differently and correctly for each social media channel.  And most of all, no matter if you auto-post or not, always deliver quality content that engages your audience.

Tell us…

Do you use Auto-posting in your business?

Shona

Shona Mackin

CEO, Socialface

All time chatter, communications manager, social advocate, lover of life and founder of conversation agency Socialface.
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Comments

Filip Galetic
Posted on May 25th 2012 at 7:20AM

Interesting topic. I balked at a request from a client who would send a list of prefabricated posts and demand I simply HootSuite them to Facebook with no regard to particular timing, context or order.

For Twitter, I could understand the usage as it requires on more frequent updates, but there was something so wrong about treating the Facebook wall (no timeline at the time) as a broadcasting channel.

I would say that I try to use Hootsuite for posting at a 1:2 ratio versus the real-time posting even though it may add up to less hours worked (paid hourly at the moment).

CodyMWard
Posted on May 25th 2012 at 4:48PM

Shona,


Great insight into taking the "human" element out of social media. By auto-posting and automating the process, you're making it less of a conversation and more of a shouting match.

- Cody