At the risk of offending many of my friends, colleagues and even clients, I’d like to go on a bit of a rant. Please stop auto-posting your thoughts, comments and links to all of your social media accounts. Please. Stop it now.
I know how hard it is to manage and maintain all of you various social media accounts. Heck, when things start getting extremely busy around here, regular posting becomes irregular pretty darn quick. And I know that tools like Hootsuite or even Twitter itself makes it so damn easy to update everything all in one place. So simple it takes almost no effort at all.
But as Hunter S Thompson said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right”. So, if you are currently using Twitter to post to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Facebook Page simultaneously, I’m going to try and make the argument for WHY you should update your social accounts individually wherever possible.
It Is Annoying
The first and probably least rational argument is my lead argument, to stay with my “rant” approach on this topic. As in life, our personal, business, political and many other sides to our social media lives often overlap. If you’re anything like me, you have many of the same contacts on each of your social network accounts.
And when you autopost to each and every account, your contacts get to see the same content over and over. And over again. It’s like you keep repeating yourself with the same story everywhere you go. And I haven’t even started about how annoying it is to see hashtags, @ mentions and Twitter links on Facebook when you’re supposedly “sharing your content.” Too bad I can’t see any of it without leaving Facebook. But I’ll continue that on Reason #3.
Different Accounts Have Different Audiences
This may seem to go against my first argument, but in fact it doesn’t. Yes, there may be the same people within your network engaging you on each of your accounts, but I assert that different people come to those social networks for different reasons. The audience on LinkedIn is different than the community on Facebook. You have different followers on Twitter than you do on, say, Tumblr.
In addition, the method of communicating is different for each: some allow you to utilize content such as videos, @’s or links. Some have character limits, while others do not. Why would you post the same content the same way on each account? I can tell you that the content I post on my LinkedIn account, for example, is tailored to a business community. Sure, I sometimes cross-post, but that is intentional. For everything I share, I try to tailor to the audience at hand wherever possible.
Your Engagement Will Suffer
Remember how I mentioned that your Twitter posts don’t really translate all that well on other mediums? Well, there’s an even more important reason not to use Twitter or Twitter-centric software like Hootsuite to post to other accounts. Most people like to “try before they buy” before clicking on a link. With ow.ly, bit.ly or t.co URL shortener services, your users don’t get a preview of what you’re linking to.
That is going to decrease your engagement level. In fact, that is the #1 reason why I don’t use Hootsuite, which is otherwise an excellent social media dashboard. Why would anyone click on a link without knowing what it is or where it leads to? This is even more important for Facebook Page admins who rely on regular engagement to keep their content in front of users. I talk about that here.
Further, if you are autoposting to save time, do you then have the time to respond to those who engage you on each of your accounts? Notifications can help with this, but I see a marked difference in the engagement level of those who post original content for a particular network versus those who send out one post for all at once. Often, I’m not sure they even see my response.
You Look Lazy
Now, if the other points don’t grab you, let me take this one for a spin. At the very least, you should try to at least appear that you are making an effort. If not, why would anyone take time out of their day to make the effort with you, if you won’t?
Time and again, research shows us that you get out of your efforts what you put into them – that holds true for personal (offline) relationships, client relationships. Heck, even going to the gym. So, don’t be surprised if the relationships you create on your social networks truly are “weak ties”, as Malcolm Gladwell coined the term.
A future post will cover the workflow I created to make it possible to post to various social accounts without it taking up all of my day. But I hope this at least give your pause when your social media dashboard of choice integrates Google+, Pinterest and a host of other new hot social networks you signed up for.