Hi Everyone in Communityland!
I'm one of the hosts of our weekly webinar, The Power of Social Media, SEO & Email, held Thursdays at 4 pm EST (shameless plug: sign up for the webinar on our Constant Contact webinars page). We get a lot of great questions every week and I'd like to share a few of them that we talked about yesterday.
Q: Can you talk about automatic posting and the pros and cons of using it for Facebook and Twitter and other social media?
A: I’m so glad that one of our webinar attendees asked this question because there’s been quite a debate going on among social media marketers about using automatic posting. For those of you who are not familiar, there are tools and apps you can use to automatically post in one social media; you can set those tools to automatically send those posts from that social media to your other tools. So you could have all your Twitter posts appear on your Facebook page, your LinkedIn page, and your blog, etc. You send one update to Twitter and your other sites are instantly updated with that same information.
Here’s my take on auto posting: It’s a good tool to use if you’re just getting started in Facebook, and you’re a small business or nonprofit. It saves you time. But, as you start to develop your social media marketing plan and your voice for each tool, and as you try to increase engagement, I highly recommend turning off the auto post tools. Why? Each tool has its own tone and etiquette. With Twitter, you have only 140 characters to share your information. You’re writing in headline-speak, not using complete sentences, and sometimes you’re using text abbreviations (believe me, I’ve done it and I cringe!). All of that is acceptable in the Twitterverse. On the other hand, Facebook posts give you more room to expand/explain, allow for complete sentences, and essentially talk to your fans and have a conversation instead of offering soundbites. LinkedIn is a more buttoned-up social network, dedicated to more career-oriented, professional conversation. If your posting everywhere based on what you wrote in Twitter, you might be breaking some etiquette rules in these other spaces.
Timing is an issue as well. Let’s say you’re auto posting based on your Twitter feed, and you post to Twitter a LOT. You might make your Facebook fans mad because you’re oversharing and they don’t want their news feed to be dominated by all these posts. And if you’re auto posting, that means you’re not on the individual sites and you might miss a chance to notice and respond to comments or questions that you’re audience has shared, and to respond to comments that are made about what you’ve just posted.
As you use the tools, you’ll develop your voice and find out how you like to share your personality in each space. And you’ll find out how your audience reacts as well, and what tone to share with them. I think the original, custom post for each site is best. It keeps that personality and voice going, and is a better, more personal way of engaging with your audience.
If you're interested in more on this topic, I recommend this blog post about how one Facebook user increased their traffic by 650% by turning off auto posting. And check out this blog post from SocialMedia.biz, which talks about that user and other factors that affect engagement on Facebook.
Q: What would be the best tool to use for a construction company? We are a general contracting company, and we need help generating more customers to our website.
A: I think one of the tools you might want to explore first is a blog. With a blog, you can talk about the hot topics in your industry. You can answer questions and solve problems that your customers have. It’s also a place where you can invite experts in your field to share their knowledge, or for you to profile a customer and how you helped them create a successful project. You don’t always have to write on a blog either. Blog posts don’t have to be all text, by the way. They can be imbedded videos – interview your customers and spotlight your work. Link all of your posts back to your website and point potential customers to the relevant information they need. All of this will make you a go-to source for knowledge of your industry. And it’s definitely valuable for your customers. If you help them with their needs, and if they see how you’ve helped others achieve success, they’re more likely to click through to your website and contact you.