Facebook Autoposting - A Social Media No-No

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

Posted on September 21st 2011

On average, Facebook Pages that show posts via a third party app such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, as opposed to linking the old fashioned manual way, receive 70% fewer likes and comments.

  Linking to your Facebook Page via auto post is a very common and time saving practice and while I have dabbled in it, for the most part I stay clear from it for the simple reason of posting via an auto post just doesn't look as good or as appealing as doing it manually - posting a link directly from your Facebook Page. Here's two screenshots of our Facebook Page. They are both in regards to a post I previously wrote - The CMO Survey From The Fuqua School Of Business - Behind The Numbers.

The first one was posted the old-fashioned manual way, the second via TweetDeck. Which one would you more likely to click on?

the star group 

 

 

the star group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You'll notice with the 1st one, the manual method, while admittedly more time consuming (but really how much time are we talking about here?) is clearly more appealing to a visitor because of several reasons. One being the fact that using the manual method, you can include copy, a lead in if you will.  You can do that via a 3rd party app but with TweetDeck for example, you are of course limited in the amount of characters.

The other noticeable difference is in the imagery. Via the manual method, you are able to pull in an image from a given post. That is not possible with a 3rd party app such as TweetDeck. The 70% reduction in Facebook Page Likes came from a study conducted by Applum, developer of Page tool EdgeRank Checker.

The study determined that compared to the engagement of posts published manually to Facebook’s web or mobile interfaces, the reduction in engagement ratios of the top third-party publishing APIs are:

  • HootSuite – 69% reduction
  • TweetDeck – 73% reduction
  • Sendible – 75% reduction
  • Networked Blogs – 76% reduction
  • RSS Graffiti – 81% reduction
  • Twitter – 83% reduction
  • Publisher – 86% reduction
  • twitterfeed – 90% reduction
  • dlvr.it – 91% reduction
  • Social RSS – 94% reductions

Roll all of the above numbers together and you get the 70% average. And I surely think with numbers like these and the possible impact an auto post can have, it would be well worth it to invest in the additional few minutes to post to your Facebook page via the manual method.

Source: insidefacebook.com, The Star GroupFacebook Autoposting - A Social Media No No 

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is currently a senior creative content strategist at Oracle Responsys. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Responsys.

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Comments

Posted on September 21st 2011 at 11:01PM

Is there no Greasemonkey script or Firefox Addons available that "acts" as if its you posting to your page? Pardon if it sounds confusing

MarketMeSuite
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 11:16AM

Steve, You know I love you, but a lot of these stats are skewed. I recently read a great commentary on this:

http://www.internetappdeveloper.com/?p=1238  - the post is great, but here are some key takeaways:

  • Facebook is fluid: Facebook is a rapidly changing platform. As Facebook evolves, your approach needs to evolve as well. Using a tool that lets you track closely what’s working and what’s not working is critical. I imagine Facebook is already planning changes that may affect much of what I write above. Facebook doesn’t comment on EdgeRank. Its data does. Watch your data and do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
  • Enterprise publishing applications for Facebook do more than just get content onto Facebook: Getting the right content to the right users in the right format onto Facebook is critical if you want to succeed. However, there are many reasons why your company may want to use an enterprise system. This includes granular rights administration, deep analytics, geo- and language-targeting, data privacy, security, auditing and more. Make sure your solution is the right one for you. One of the biggest issues for large companies with global fans and businesses is language control. Publishing in the wrong language to users is an easy way to hurt engagement. Take advantage of tools that let you control the language and location settings based on the user preferences.
  • Stay cool: When the EdgeRank Checker data was released and covered by Inside Facebook, we immediately started receiving phone calls and emails. This space is noisy. But remember, this is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. If you have the right tools and teams in place, you can make the right decisions for your business and don’t have to rely on stale data from businesses that are much different than yours.

~Tammy, CEO @MarketMeSuite

MarketMeSuite
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 11:17AM

I should also add that Tweetdeck is not posting dynamic updates to Facebook, which is why the image above looks different. 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 12:03PM

I'm just curious as to how this experiment was conducted.  No doubt, those statistics are staggering.  HootSuite operates and generates posts very differently than TweetDeck, yet the statistics are very similar.  In an ideal world, we all would post "live" if you will, but unfortunately, many companies and small businesses do not have the luxury of excess capacity.  Would you suggest they post less or take their chances with scheduling programs such as aforementioned?

 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 1:22PM

Interesting post, and I would be interested to know more about how the so-called research was conducted. While Tweetdeck may not allow you to pull in the image and improve the visual appeal for Facebook, Hootsuite most certainly does. You can also add commentary to your message and Hootsuite gives you more that the 140 characters to work with for FB.

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 1:57PM
Steve, Thanks for sharing!! It's certainly something to consider the next time I go to autopost to my social media sites. Lydia
jonbarilone
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 8:13PM

Steve, I can appreciate the topic, but need to point out something: not all third-party apps are alike. You mention that you have certain limitations with TweetDeck--true enough. But, if you're admitting that you don't use third-party apps much to handle Facebook posting, please don't make sweeping claims such as "That is not possible with a 3rd party app such as TweetDeck."

HootSuite offers you the exact same user experience when it comes to creating Facebook Page/Profile posts that contain links. You can edit the Link Title and Link Description, choose the image thumbnail you want, and create up to 420 characters of "lead-in copy."

Also, when you average the list of numbers you posted toward the end, it's above 81%, not 70%.

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:27PM

Thanks for the post, but I, too, would like to know some more details about how this research was conducted. I sometimes resort to autoposts not because a manual post takes too much time, but because I will be out of the office, perhaps consumed with a meeting and will be unable to get the post up at the right time. Also, I've used links to photos in my photobucket account so that the imagery is still there. Scheduling posts can insure that information goes up when it should, even when I know I'll be away from my computer. 

 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:29PM

A HUGE no no. The funny thing is, we see a lot of social media "experts" facebook pages just innundated with auto plug in's. And they wonder why they have no real engagement! When we attain a client (or introduce them to social media) to revamp their social media platforms and strategies, the first thing we do is disconnect every social platform and online media from each other, then "rewire" it properly. This means things will be interconnected to help with SEO and branding and functionality, but that each platform lives and breathes on its own accord. 

Some shortcuts are fine for the very busy business owner on a shoestring budget, but then we try to teach them to take the time you would normally cold call, or write a newspaper ad and put that time/money into their social media.

Being lazy becomes blatantly apparent in social media.

 

 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:34PM

As far as Hootsuite, many companies are using it to delay their Facebook posts until evening and weekends (50% or so of Corporate America blocks FB at work)    It's not auto-posting, it's just delayed posts.

I'd like to know why Facebook even bothers to show the source of a post anyway?

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:37PM

I can't help but wonder if this is a scientific study comparing identical posts, or if they are looking at all posts as equal. Perhaps people using auto-posting aren't writing engaging posts or sharing interesting items. Maybe there's some other factors at play.

And, frankly my Hootesuite posts look identical to my regular posts (accept the tiny owl icon, which most people don't even notice; and even fewer know what it is.)

 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:42PM
As a developer with a product (FYItag.com) that helps businesses manage their social media publishing, i read this article with a lot of interest. I think you have to dig deeper than just the surface results. If by autoposting you mean linking an RSS feed to automatically post for you then I agree 100% that will cause your engagement to go down. If you just mean publishing through an application like ours then I disagree. I tell our users to treat social media networks differently (e.g. no hashtags on Facebook), and to always add value to links they pass on, like you did in your example above. I think you can enjoy the productivity gains from automation while avoiding the negatives you get from "looking" automated.
Robbie Lucero
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:43PM

Thanks for the insight! I didn't notice any mentions on Tumblr? What is your thoughts on using Tumblr for autoposting.

 

~robbie

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 7:53PM

Steve, I am always a little sad when people think that an auto post is the same as an exchange. The way you frame an update, as you described, influences further engagement with your audience. If an enterprise can't carve out an extra 10 minutes to manaully connect with its customers it speaks volumes about how much importance they place on the people who have given them permission to "talk" to them. At that point, the social network becomes just another message channel and imho that is not "social media." 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 8:28PM

All apps for "posting" were not created equal.  Serious applications  for managing social media create the same visual representation as posting manually.  Also, "auto-posting" is different than just using a third part app to update your status.  I would consider something like connecting your Twitter to automatically populate your Facebook page as "auto posting".  Just using Tweetdeck is not necessarily auto-posting  (although it does do a crappy job visually)

 

Again, serious applications for managing social media let you tweak a message for a specific social media site.

 

Lastly when you are using a Social Media Management app, make sure they are whitelisted.  If not, Facebook groups the posts by the same application.

 

Full disclosure, my company sells an application for businesses  managing social media.

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 8:46PM

Steve, what I think the study fails to address is whether or not the user is customizing the message they are sending. I truly doubt that the number of likes, comments, or even retweets would be reduced as much if the messages that were posted in some way indicated authentic review on the behalf of the poster.

Authentic review is essentially the magic behind social media communication. Users share things they value, and others take that into consideration at the time of choosing whether or not to click.

However, I do understand how one could come to such conclusions without a full understanding of the technologies driving such posts... Hootsuite has a bookmarklet tool and allows for RSS auto-posting. My OLD social media process used a bookmarklet "auto post generation" feature, which took the article's TITLE and URL, shortened the URL, and made a Tweet-ready post.  I'd copy that into a CSV file, repeat the process 30+ times, plan out an entire month's worth of posts, and schedule them all in with Hootsuite. I could have done the same with Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Sendible, SOCIALDEALER, Argyle Social, Sprout Social, or any other social media management application on the market.

Some people even take auto-posting to the extreme so as to have one service post to a second service which in turn posts to several other services... essentially auto-posting many different networks with a single click. Of course, the less personalized the content is that is getting shared, the less likely people will consider it content of value. This, in turn, affects their decision of whether or not to click.

I don't think that it is very accurate to claim that posting with a social media management counsole is solely responsible for a reduction in viewer interaction. I honestly believe it is the genuinity of the content being posted that is ultimately responsible for how likely viewers are to interact.

Solution: Add some of your own thoughts to a post before updating! Instead of "Today's news about the stock market, *link*", consider "Looks like the market's headed for another crash! What do you think? *link*".  The difference here is that I've added my own thoughts, asked users for a response, and then linked them to the content. This looks like it came from me, therefore validating the fact that I have read, reviewed and approved this content.

Regards,

Michael Sim

http://thesocialsource.tumblr.com

http://twitter.com/chicagodesign

 

Courtney Hunt
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 9:00PM

I agree - the example doesn't explain the findings. As Barb noted, posting via HootSuite looks almost identical to posting directly. Even when I'm posting live, I use the HootSuite interface because it lets me edit a link post in a way I can't through FB (e.g., editing the items title).

I too would like to know more about the study and its findings. Can you provide a link to the Applum study so we can examine the research a bit more closely? Thanks.

Courtney Hunt - Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community 

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 9:11PM

But do you know why? See it's not a good idea to draw a conclusion about the numbers if you don't know why they look like that....

Basil C. Puglisi

http://dbmei.com

thekencook
Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 9:15PM

If you're posting for likes and comments alone the goal of your Facebook presence should be re-evaluated. This discussion, like most others on the topic, totally skirts SEO and click through. Screw likes, I want prospects for my clients. I'll add that I can get more likes and comments with nonsense on topical or even irrelevant issues than I can with meaty, direct postings. Likes don't pay the rent and neither do comments.

Posted on September 22nd 2011 at 9:57PM

Thanks for posting. This is something people don't often think about, so it's good to read something on the topic.

While some of these low/no cost tools are simply linking through without added media (the preview pictures) or the ability to comment beforehand (what I like to call the lead text), there are plenty of tools out there that do allow for this.

For brands that want to manage their presence in social across multiple channels, according to a master editorial calendar, there are a number of options. I wrote about a few that we've used on our blog: WTH is Social CRM? The Social CRM Toolbox.

While posting via Facebook.com is a little more pure way of doing things, it doesn't scale well. That's where these tools come in handy.

I'm always happy to discuss this growing sCRM tool space. Feel free to hit me up.

Cheers,

Ron Schott

@ronschott

http://springcreekgroup.com/blog

Posted on September 23rd 2011 at 1:03PM

As a regular user of Hootsuite, I want to point out the inaccuracy of this article.  Hootsuite allows the exact same posting experience as Facebook -- with a few advantages:

1. You can choose your thumbnail image, just like Facebook

2. You are not limited to a certain character number, just like Facebook

3. You can respond to/comment on/like posts, just like Facebook

3. You can change the title of the link that displays - advantage over Facebook

4. You can change the description of the link that displays - advantage over Facebook

5. You can schedule your post to run at the optimal time for your audience - advantage over Facebook

Hootsuite allows us to customize our posts in a way that Facebook doesn't, while also posting to as many Twitter and Facebook accounts that we want at the same time.  I am failing to see why this is a "No-No. "I have not seen any evidence of a reduction in click rates since we started using Hootsuite.

RonHeimbecher
Posted on September 23rd 2011 at 2:28PM

Posts that are obviously auto-posts can often seem as intrusive as telemarketing calls at dinnertime. Nothing social about that at all, and it just shows the marketer's total disrespect for prospective customers.