You Can’t Put Social Media on Autopilot

by Vered DeLeeuw

Remember Ping.fm? It was a social media tool that allowed users to post to multiple social networks simultaneously. Back in 2010, I had to gently wean a new client off Ping.fm, and off the general assumption that social media can be put on autopilot.

The client had created different social media accounts, and then mostly forgot about them. He never bothered following anyone on Twitter, for example. He never initiated any conversations. All he did was create the account, and then send occasional updates via Ping whenever he posted a new blog post to his blog or updated his site.

Needless to say, the client was convinced that “social media doesn’t work” and that “it’s a waste of time.” It took me a while to convince him to allocate part of his marketing budget to real social media, where you network, connect, and communicate.

Creating a Twitter account and never using it to follow the people that are relevant to your business is indeed a waste of time. Sending the same update to multiple channels at the same time also doesn’t work, because each social media channel has its own unique character, and what works in one channel will not necessarily work in another.

For example, Twitter is all about info, while Pinterest is all about images. Facebook is somewhere in the middle, but relies heavily on images, especially for brands. I can’t imagine posting the exact same content to Facebook and to Twitter – it just won’t work!

You don’t necessarily have to log into each social media account separately. You can use tools such as Hootsuite, that allow you to post to various social media accounts. But you do need to take the time and craft a separate message for each channel that’s appropriate to that channel.

Social media, when done right, can create important connections overtime. But it takes time, patience and effort. If you’re looking for immediate results, or if you’re expecting to see results from inactive social media accounts that you put on autopilot, then you’re going to be disappointed. But if you take the time to connect with people online, chances are you’ll be rewarded with a growing base of loyal fans that believe in your product and are willing to serve as its ambassadors, spreading the word to their own friends and followers.

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