Tracy Petrucci: Social Media: How to Avoid Automation Overkill

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social Media: How to Avoid Automation Overkill

These days things are seamlessly connected. When you post one thing somewhere, you can usually opt to have it post everywhere at the same time. But be careful- doing so can cause your followers to see too much of a good thing or quite frankly, not enough.

Facebook to Twitter
There is an app available on Facebook that automatically puts all your posts over to your Twitter feed. This is a great time saver, as you won't have to post things twice.

But some businesses stop there, and it's apparent when you visit their Twitter page. You won't see any conversations happening, and you'll see the famous dot dot dot after the message cuts off mid sentence.

You'll also see this every time you upload new photos: I posted 2 photos on Facebook in the album "xyz".

Is that how you'd announce your amazing new photos? Take the time to actually log on to Twitter and talk about the pictures you just uploaded, or reword a recent Facebook post at a different time of the day. Just because you've set up the tweets to automate, doesn't mean you'll cultivate a following, and many fellow tweeters will be turned off when they visit the page and see you're never participating in real time. It is easy to identify that I'm having conversations when you view the image below. Note the most recent comments fall on the top of the feed, and the older ones below.

Oh and when I say "ditch the baby" I mean sweetly place her in the arms of a loving grandparent on my way out.

On a side note- for the busy small business owner, automating your tweets from Facebook to your Twitter feed is better than nothing at all. But to generate leads, build relationships, and to find value in social media for your business, you'll need to avoid automating everything

Blogs to Twitter
Let's say you write a blog post. Some blog platforms allow you to publish the post to Twitter at the same time as to your blog. But be careful. Most likely you're going to also put your new post on your Facebook page too, right? If you do, and you're also using the Facebook to Twitter automation mentioned above, you're double posting the same thing.

I usually skip the automated blog to Twitter feature and let Facebook take care of it. You don't need to post the exact same thing twice in a row. You can post the same content at a different time of day when you might have a different audience online, and simply reword it to attract other eyes. But a word of warning- don't over do this. Some may begin to distrust you and become annoyed if you are hiding the same content under misleading titles. Nobody likes being duped!

Scheduling Tools for Facebook and Twitter
Scheduling tweets and Facebook posts from a third party website is the perfect solution for ensuring your message gets across. And if you don't have the time to login to each site every time you need to post, platforms such as Hootsuite (used as an example because it's the one I'm seeing most often right now) allow you to pick the dates and times you want each message to post, all from one centralized location.

BUT! If you are going to do this, instead of writing one message and selecting to post it on Twitter and Facebook, take a few extra seconds and write two different messages for each. Plus, it's unattractive to see hashtags on a Facebook post, and lots of your fans might not know what is going on if they aren't tweeters.

Twitter to Facebook
This same philosophy I just mentioned can apply to automatically having your tweets go to your Facebook stream from your Twitter. Things don't link on Facebook the way they do on Twitter if you've automated it, so all it will do is look unattractive or obtrusive to read. Those fans who don't use Twitter will not know what RT @whoever means or why there is a #thingstodo in the middle of your sentence. I don't want to use specific examples of businesses I see doing this, so just use your imagination and pretend my Twitter post below is on your Facebook home page. It's just not what you want to see on Facebook and the "links" won't take you anywhere.

So in closing, these are the big sites where automation is most abused, but the same can be said for almost any social media site that allows publishing to other platforms. Take a few minutes and think about where you might be double, or even triple, content posting.

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