Why Posting to Social Networks in a One Size Fits All Format Is A Bad Idea

September 21st, 2011 by

There was a time when I thought Ping.fm was the greatest thing in the world. It allowed me to easily update nearly every social network I belonged to all at once, but there was one problem with that.  I was updating every social network I belonged to at once.  At the time I didn’t think about the fact that different social networks have different audiences and want different things from me as part of their network.  With so many networks and services allowing you to integrate your posts across multiple platforms, a lot of clients have asked me to help them set them up so that Facebook posts to Twitter or Twitter posts to Facebook, and the like.  Every time it comes up I strongly advise against it, and here is why.

Below is an image of a tweet I came across a few weeks back while doing some research.  When I saw it I was confused. Why was this doctor telling people to follow him on Twitter from Twitter. Sure, if they came across it the way I did it may entice them to follow, but let’s be honest, this tweet clearly wasn’t intended for his Twitter audience.

Twitter Status from @rsplastic

Sure enough, when I clicked through I found that this doctor had originally posted this on Facebook as a means to get his Facebook fans to follow him on Twitter, but it was being fed from Facebook to his Twitter timeline.  I did a little bit more digging and found that there was a lot of cross posting like this.  Some posts were fine this way, where others left me scratching my head as a user on Twitter.

Earlier this week I posted reasons why posting via third party apps can impact Facebook engagement, and one of the things mentioned in the study from Applum was that the content was not intended or optimized for the social network it was on, and this is a prime example.

Aside from looking ridiculous (Do you get as annoyed as I do when you see people post Twitter updates on Facebook full of @username and # in the status?), you are creating a content echo chamber that is repeating your message over and over to those that have connected with you on multiple networks.  That’s the social networking equivalent to calling or emailing a client to let them know you are offering a new promotion, and then doing it again, and again, and again. Talk about annoying.

Each social network is different and they should be treated as such.  Does this mean it’s not ok to share the same content on multiple networks? Of course not, but be conscious of what you are doing.  Does your LinkedIn network want to know that you just checked-in to your favorite Chinese food restaurant on Foursquare? Probably not.  Do you need to ask your Twitter audience to follow you on Twitter? Absolutely not.   So before you start integrating all of your social networks into each other, ask yourself, does this network want to hear what I have to say on every other network? In most cases the answer is going to be no.  To ensure you get the best engagement for your content on the social network of your choice, take a few extra minutes to post the proper messages into the proper channels, and if you are going to automate make sure the content that’s being fed is suitable for that particular audience first.

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