December 2, 2010 | By:

To Automate or Not to Automate

There is a common practice businesses are using when trying to come up with the perfect workflow for how to manage their own business website, blog and social media. This practice involves setting up the business website to feed blog content they post directly to their social networks automatically. The news they post on their blog is sent almost instantaneously to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with the click of a mouse. This frees the business blogger from having to post in multiple places. It is the perfect setup for those who are too busy to give more attention to their online presence. Or is it?

The problem here is that the goal is to utilize social media to help promote the business, however the business is not contributing the amount of time and effort it truly requires to make these outlets bring in traffic.

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn all have something that sets them apart from one another. They all co-exist for a reason. They do not all offer the same service, otherwise there would be no need for more than just one of them. As they are all different and should be treated differently.

Sure, it’s very convenient during busy times to allow your blog to auto-feed content to all of the social networks without the user having to put in any extra effort. If the ultimate goal is to use blogging and social media for business, the business needs to take a little more time and effort to make them more appealing and effective in the various social sites.

There may be certain things your business needs to appear on the blog but not be broadcast over social networking sites. There may be certain ideas or stories which would be great for Facebook and Twitter but perhaps not be appropriate on, say, LinkedIn -or your company’s professional business blog. There will also be times that the intent would be to have the same content appear on both social networking sites as well as business or professional sites, e.g. LinkedIn, the blog, and all of the social networks, but they all will appear differently to the detriment of the effectiveness of the article.

Sacrificing the appearance and effectiveness of what is posted on a company’s social networks may not be worth saving a little time and effort. The fact is that hand-posting on social media sites provides better functionality, better looks and an overall better experience for the end user. For example, Facebook will allow for an image to be pulled and selected from certain links and then you can change titles and descriptions before posting it. The image gives it a better look, and the links and description allow for more functionality. Twitter only allows 140 characters, but they also provide some advanced functionality, such as @ signs to mention other users, and # hash tags to pick up search terms. The limitations of twitter can mangle an autoposted article eliminating much of the intent. The business blogger may have spent a lot of time to create the perfect blog post with a pretty picture, great title, rich text and cool images, so why would they not have their social media presence reflect just that.

If a business wants to have a successful online presence and optimize social media to their fullest advantage, there must be investment of time and effort. If you feel like you haven’t been seeing positive results on any of your networks lately, why not try to be more active and hand-post content instead of filling your social media outlets with what looks like a boring, text heavy, automated mess. Steer your company image away from being too busy, and craft an image of a caring, informative authority by using social media more effectively.

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