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TAKING IT PERSONALLY #1: stop sucking at social media.

stop sucking at social mediaThis morning on Twitter, I noticed several local business accounts I’ve recently followed tweeting things like this:

[insert name here] posted a new photo to Facebook.

For that particular account, it happened five or six times.

Several other accounts auto-tweeted a status update that got cut off, and trailed an ellipsis with a link to that post on Facebook.

This happens a lot, especially with newer-to-social-media businesses. I could not keep my mouth shut — because it’s annoying to see, and because it’s bad practice for online business — so I said something.

I feel bad for new-to-social businesses who have been given some bad ‘shortcut’ advice.

Nobody in your target market is going to click your Facebook link if they are currently on Twitter. If someone’s going to click a link you posted, it’ll be something they’re genuinely curious about. If they want to see what you’re doing on Facebook, they’ll go find you on Facebook.

Nobody on Twitter wants to know you posted a photo to Facebook. If you want us to see the photo, post it to Twitter so we can see it in our tweet stream.

It’s not good business practice to post the same exact update to Twitter and Facebook, or to Twitter and LinkedIn, or to Facebook and Google+, or any combination of those things. Exceptions include new post links (where the post is on your actual website), or situations where your business needs to push a very specific one-sentence message to every social platform they have — for instance, emergency services or weather warnings.

You may disagree.

Albert has a point — time and cash are your two most valuable and most finite assets as a small business.

However, it does not take that much time to plan a few things to say on each platform you occupy, and you can even schedule some of those posts. Tweetdeck handles scheduling for tweets, Facebook has a native schedule utility on business pages, and you can also use something like HootSuite or Buffer if you want to have it all in one place.

Ask yourself: why do you have a Twitter and a Facebook? Because someone told you that you should? Or because you are willing to use each platform the way they work best?

My point this morning on Twitter is that it’s disingenuous to post the same thing everywhere. It makes your business look lazy, clueless, or both.

Albert took it personally when I said this to him, which I hadn’t intended. However, I am not going to be precious with you about potential stupidity in your business practices. The moment that I — or anyone else — is precious with your business or your brand, you’re no longer being told the truth.

Don’t be a lazy, clueless business. Be an engaged, interested, interesting business.

Post things that are relevant. What is relevant? Only you, your target market, and your business knows what that is.

Engage in conversations when you can. Don’t butt in and be a weirdo, but DO notice what your people talk about. If they’re really your people, you’ll have something useful, interesting, or relevant to say too.

Be a lifelong learner. Try out what you learn, kick the tires, see if it works. If it doesn’t work, throw it away and try something else until you find your sweet spot.

You don’t need to be a rockstar at social. You just need to be present.

Which, in the end, is both more difficult than you expected and easier than you were told.

Throw away what doesn’t work. Do more of what does. Repeat.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Annie Sisk June 1, 2014, 12:53 pm

    OK. I think you’re conflating two different things – and each has different analysis that goes with it, thus possibly leading to two different “best practices” if you will pardon the horrible, horrible corp-speak. There’s “posting the same thing to different channels” – and there’s “hooking up accounts so that an update on one channel gets sent as a notification on other channels potentially creating a rapidly expanding supermassive black hole at the center of the universe and triggering the apocalypse.” I don’t have a problem with folks posting the same *item* to different channels. I do this with some clients and it works for them – but I usually change up *how* it gets shared on each. (Pithier on Twitter, more thoughtful on FB, inclusive of what I’ll optimistically term “thought leadership” on LI.) But what triggered this post for you – the “so and so posted something to FB” appearing on Twitter – yeah that shit drives me bonkers, too. My two cents, YMMV, etc.

    • Rhiannon June 1, 2014, 1:33 pm

      You’re right, Annie — I was conflating both things, for the most part. Thank you for taking the time to explain the difference, which is something I wish I’d included in my original post.

      It’s not that audiences on different platforms are not going to be interested in the same information — it’s that it needs to be framed for the platform in question, which often means that posting the exact same stuff to two platforms is going to, at worst, result in overwhelm or confusion; and at best, make you look like you don’t know how to social media.

      • Annie Sisk June 1, 2014, 1:39 pm

        Yes. This. Exactly this. If you’re in tune with your audience, then *wherever* you find them, they’re going to be interested in what you’re sharing. But if you share it inartfully, they may miss it completely, or not “get” what you’re saying. Ignore each channel’s parameters at your own peril, etc.

  • Juliemarg August 30, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Also, photos are 3 times more likely to be retweeted – so, if you just have a dumb link stating what you did on Facebook, you’re missing out on the retweet potential.

    Does anyone know how you de-couple facebook and twitter if you connected them in the past? All the instructions I can find are applicable to the old Facebook layout.

    • Rhiannon August 30, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Julie, I think it depends on which one you’re decoupling from which. If you have Twitter posting to Facebook, I believe you need to find approved apps in your account and unlink Twitter. If you have Facebook posting to Twitter, you find which apps/sites are pre-approved and delete Facebook from there.

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