“Things that look like shortcuts are actually detours (disguised as less work).”
– Seth Godin
I cringe every time I see a social media application offer to auto-post messages across multiple social networks. They all do it, even though it is one of the biggest pitfalls to success. Why? Simply put, people like shortcuts. Shortcuts to thinking, working, and winning. What most people don’t realize, and only the truly successful understand, is that shortcuts are detours to long-term & sustained success.
The worst shortcut in social media is auto-posting the same message across multiple platforms. Brands that partake in this practice are known as ‘echo chambers’. Because that is what your message amounts to – a blind scream down the empty chasm that is your social network presence.
Auto-posting links, articles and messages across social networks have dire consequences that occur on multiple levels. Here are a few reasons to avoid this practice:
1. It’s Bad for Social Engagement
Different social media platforms communicate in different tone & voice, have different user perspectives & expectations and have different peak usage times. Being an echo chamber results in the posting of irrelevant messages (in voice, perspective, focus, and time) which pollute information streams on social networks. Even if your message has been watered down to fit on any social platform, the result is so bland that you have still achieved irrelevancy! It doesn’t take a business expert to know that if you try to be everything to everyone, you end up providing nothing to anyone.
Value is the seed of business-oriented engagement. In social media, value is demonstrated by providing relevant help, information, conversation, or guidance with respect to the turf on which you are engaging. Replicating messages, otherwise known as spam, simply cannot drive value across multiple social turfs.
2. It’s Bad for Brand Reputation
People want to be respected, whether it’s online or in your brick & mortar location. But social media engagement goes even deeper than that. Engaging users on social networks is different because you aren’t in your store or on your website – you have ventured onto someone else’s turf. Nobody wants a brand to crash the party with an irrelevant message. Crashing someone else’s party frequently results in a backlash that is difficult to overcome. If the best-case scenario of the echo chamber strategy is irrelevancy, then what’s the point?
3. Social Networks are Fighting Back
Facebook has specifically targeted users that post content via 3rd party applications. Hubspot proved through experimentation that the messages posted through 3rd party apps resulted in fewer likes, shares, and comments than the exact same message posted manually through Facebook. This is a drastic measure that probably has many reasons for it’s implementation. However, this measure will most certainly achieve the goal of stopping echo chambers in their tracks.
4. It’s Bad for Search
Hated by search engines and users alike, duplicating content is one the oldest forms of spam. Google’s Panda update squashed brands that were creating ‘thin’ content, and absolutely obliterated others that were duplicating content. Hopefully the consequences in search will cause brands to drop the echo chamber practice out of self-preservation, since they clearly don’t have the decency to stop spamming social networks on their own!
Respect Your Audience & Their Turf
Not being an echo chamber doesn’t mean you need to do five-times the work. For example, you can promote the same relevant industry news article across multiple social networks. However, it must be pitched and presented in very different ways. For each social network, extract the unique value proposition or intriguing point from your message. Then you will have a targeted message that will drive interest and engagement on multiple ‘turfs’ even though it is the same resource.
In achieving real success in life, you simply can’t get around real hard work. Shortcuts are detours through darkness, not alternate routes to success. Resist the temptation of replicating your message across multiple social networks and respect the foreign turf. Your audience will reward thoughtful and targeted messages with meaningful engagement that grows your brand following, drives online leads & revenue and grows positive brand awareness.
Image Credit: transworldexpedition.com