We know all too well that small business owners usually have a million things on their plate. You’re likely playing the role of manager, accountant, customer service rep, among other things– and now to top it off you have to add social media to that list. Depending on your company and what social platforms you’re using, you may or may not have quite a bit of content to generate and post everyday. Guess what? There is an easier way to do it that will save you a lot of time in your daily routine. What is the miraculous thing? Automation. But like with anything else, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There are two types of automated content that we generally see being posted on Facebook. Both can save you time, but both can also work against it when it comes to building a community around your brand.
1. Twitter feed imports. This is easily one of the biggest mistakes most small businesses make when finding their way into social media. They link their Fan Page and Twitter profiles so that one update goes to both places automatically. Sounds nifty, right? Wrong. This is very quickly going to annoy any customers that follow you on both sites who will be bombarded with the same messages from your company over and over. Additionally, Twitter only has an 140 character limit while Facebook’s is much bigger. What this means is people reading your Facebook updates on Twitter are usually going to be missing part of your message, and to get it, they might have to log into Facebook. Be aware that some companies don’t even allow these employees to log on to Facebook, much less spend their time chasing down the rest of your message. Solution: Be mindful that Facebook and Twitter each have unique audiences that behave and use these channels differently. It is important to customize your content for each platform.
2. Third party apps. Customers can spot these types of posts from a mile away. When you post to Facebook using a third party app, it shows up under the post. When you post multiple times from a third party app, all the posts get grouped together and it becomes much harder for customers to see your content, let alone put a voice to it. More so than anything, it comes across as very insincere. Regardless of what your content is, if your customers see 10 posts from Hootsuite or Tweetdeck in a day, and no engagement with your audience and no “now” RT’s (retweets), they’re probably going to begin feeling like yours is just a stream of blathering spam. Solution: Use your third party apps with care. Everyone understands a few messages being automatically queued, but if that’s all there is, rethink your strategy and infuse it with a little more “real time” content.
It really comes down to one thing and one thing only: You’re going to have less authentic engagement if you choose to use automation as your primary means of posting. Recently a study found that using 3rd party apps to post can reduce fan engagement by 88%. The purpose of social media is to humanize your company in an age of technology. While pushing out content like a well-oiled machine may save you time, you’re losing all the value that genuine social media provides. When it comes to social media, it’s usually best to avoid translucent shortcuts. Only with time and dedication will you begin to see the great things it can do. If you’re wondering what a real strategy looks and feels like, get in touch with us.
Photocredit: Salty Soul