Should you auto-post?

If you’re on Facebook, you might have noticed Facebook asking if you wanted to connect your Facebook Fan Page automatically to your Twitter account. Here’s how it works: every time you post a status update on your Fan page, that same update will appear (in a shortened 140 character version, of course) on Twitter (assuming you have an account). Click this link to do it.

Hmm…. could be a useful tool, right? Think of all the time it could save….

Yes. But.

First of all, I love that all of these automatic-posting widgets are popping up. The key to getting people to share your information (ie: retweeting) is to make it really easy for them. If you have a Retweet button on your bog posts, there is a better chance that folks will use it, rather than them having to copy the URL and then link-shorten it and paste it into their Twitter update. I’d encourage you to get one of those, or, at the very least, a ShareThis widget.

And, as I’ve previously shared, I use a service called Networked Blogs to import my blog’s RSS feed onto my personal profile on Facebook. This tool also works with Fan pages. I love Networked Blogs more and more all the time, because I feel like it is introducing my blog to a new audience.

Having said that, I don’t think that it is always a good idea to have your Twitter account automatically connected to your Facebook account and your blog.

Here’s why:

  • If you share fans on both FB and Twitter (and you will), they might get sick of seeing exactly the same thing on both updates. Even if your information is basically the same (ie: a new blog post), try to think of different ways of sharing it with a different audience.
  • You may have a difference audience on Facebook than on Twitter. For me, Facebook is highly personal. Twitter is more business.
  • Automatic posting may lead to complacency: you might think “I’m covered on Twitter and Facebook because I’m auto-posting, I don’t have to do additional tweets, or check in with my Twitter stream.” Dangerous. People could be responding to your Tweets, unaware that they were automatically generated. Or, perhaps they are re-tweeting you, and it is commonly thought to be polite to acknowledge and thank people that retweet your links.
  • People often write longer status updates on Facebook than are allowed on Twitter. Facebook allows you just over 400 characters for your status update, whereas Twitter limits you to 140. Your Facebook post will be truncated, and then FB creates a link that takes the reader back to facebook to read the rest. Extra clicks=you lose readers. Similarly, if you post something to Facebook and include a link, when Facebook generates your automatic tweet, it will send the reader back to Facebook, not to your link.

So, while I don’t use auto-posting on my own personal accounts, I do see its use. For example, if you are new to social media, and are feeling really overwhelmed by it, this could be a great way to ease your way into it. On the other end of the spectrum, if you manage a lot of social media (I have set up something like 10 or so Twitter accounts), auto-posting can be a huge time-saver. The recently redesigned Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society website, for example, automatically posts to Twitter every time I upload one of Babz’ new posts.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. And that’s part of what’s so great about social media: it is constantly growing and changing and morphing.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 6

  1. Hi Rebecca –

    Thanks for the post. I’m not sure if this applies here or not but I tell you one thing that is becoming a major pet peeve of mine as I delve further into the social media world is the linking of tweets to facebook pages with a links to another site.

    Is this what happens with auto-posting because it is currently driving me bonkers.

    When someone has a link in their tweet I want to be taken to that link directly not to some facebook page where I have to sign in and then click again in order to get to the actual link.

    Please, skip the middle man.

    Link to facebook if you have written something new or have updated your fan page or whatever. But don’t link to facebook when what you really is for your fans/followers to go directly to the information whether that is a newspaper article, blog post or whatever.

    Is this making any sense? I’m not sure if I am referring to the same thing as what your post is about but I’ve just found recently that I read someone’s tweet and go, “huh, that sounds interesting” so I click on the link only to be taken to facebook rather than the article/site itself.

    Anyways, that was a bit of a ramble but if this is what happens with auto-posting that I, personally, would advise against.

  2. Hey, Sabrina;
    It *could* be auto-posting, or it could just be folks trying to drive traffic to their blog/site. That’s a tricky one–but yes, I agree, for the most part, if you are sharing a link out of the goodness of your heart, than just share it, don’t make people go through another link to see it!

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