Everybody likes a good shortcut but not all social media shortcuts are created equal. Social media automation tools have been getting a bad reputation over the years for taking the “social” out of social media and there are certain practices that are doing you more harm than you may realize.
I have to thank a few people for helping me come up with some of the ideas for this blog post from a discussion in our group on Facebook, Social Media Marketing Strategies. A special thank you goes out to Ravi Shukle, Liz Azyan and Joaquin Hernandez! I’m always amazed and grateful for the engaging discussions we have in the group and I highly recommend that anyone reading this blog join us.
Here’s my list of 12 social media shortcuts that cause more harm than good. Be sure to comment at the bottom with any additional suggestions you have.
1. Pre-Scheduling Posts For Real-Time Events
This can so easily backfire that it’s just a better idea to simply avoid it all together. If you want to engage with a live event, don’t do it by scheduling your tweets. You’ll run the risk of being severely out of context if something unexpected happens.
2. Auto-Replies or Auto-DMs on Twitter
It was only a short year ago that American Airlines reminded us how auto-replies on Twitter can be utterly disastrous. You should not automate any form of one-on-one communication. It’s almost as enraging as when somebody turns their voicemail message into a perfectly timed conversation. Don’t be that person.
3. Creating Fake Profiles To Increase Your “Engagement”
It is a sad, sad world that we live in. This does happen and let me please tell you, it does not do anything that you think it will do.
4. Using Hootsuite To Post The Same Message Across Multiple Networks
This applies to any existing social media tools that allow you to compose new messages and select to schedule or post them to profiles across multiple networks at the same time.
You should always optimize posts for each social network individually. This allows you to adjust things like the link preview on Facebook or LinkedIn or addressing the various character limits for social networks.
5. Sending LinkedIn Invites Without Personalizing
I do a lot of speaking and training on LinkedIn and this is the one thing I always bring up without fail – do not connect with someone on LinkedIn without personalizing your invite. Ever! This is bad news for people who like using the LinkedIn mobile app to connect with others on the go because it currently does not allow personalized connection messages. Sending impersonalized LinkedIn messages isn’t just impersonal, it might just get your LinkedIn account restricted.
6. Auto-Posting Your Tweets To Facebook
There are some social media automation tools that are okay, depending on how you use them, but this should no longer be happening in 2014. Don’t ever post your tweets to Facebook. Each social network is different and tweets still do NOT belong on Facebook!
7. Don’t Automatically Feed Your Blog Content To Social Media
There are tools such as NetworkedBlogs that allow you to automatically feed new posts from your blog or website to your social media profiles. These are never properly optimized and look terrible when posted, especially on Facebook.
8. Using A Simple Password For Your Social Logins
Yes, this is a bit of a different type of shortcut but it’s not just major companies and celebrity Twitter accounts that get targeted by hackers; people like you and me have their accounts completely taken over all the time.
Back in 2012 I wrote about my experience with my Twitter account being victim to such an attack. It took me over a month to get access back and it only happened because I had someone with a connection to the CEO of Twitter and was able to pull some strings. Many others have not been so lucky.
Check out this extremely useful guide to creating a strong password to keep your social media profiles safe.
9. Buying Fake Likes or Fake Anything
A controversial viral video (shown below) made a strong case against fake likes, if anyone still needed a reason. Although there are many people, such as Jon Loomer, who have come out against the video creator’s arguments but there is one message that is clear on both sides: buying fake likes is a waste of money.
Even worse, fake likes can have a devastating effect on your Facebook organic reach.
10. Retweeting Is Your Primary Engagement Method on Twitter
Retweeting other people barely qualifies as engagement. You should do it if you want to selflessly promote someone else’s content, cause or message. You should especially avoid doing it if you’re only doing it to promote your customer testimonials. The occasional awesome customer tweet is okay but the retweet button should be used sparingly.
11. Inviting EVERY Friend To Like Your Fan Page
You don’t want every one of your friends to like your fan page, unless they are in your target market. With the decline of Facebook organic reach, it’s more important than ever to be reaching the right people, not just random Facebook users. Each time you create an ad that targets fans of your page it will result in wasted money if you don’t get the right fans to begin with.
12. Tagging Irrelevant People In Updates To Get More Reach
This is among the most unprofessional social media shortcut and extremely taboo. You should never associate people with your brand or company that have not previously given you permission. Yes, you’ll likely get much more exposure on your post but anything that is irrelevant is perceived negatively.
Which Social Media Shortcuts Turn You Off?
Share your opinion in the comments below about any social media shortcuts that strike you as unprofessional or ineffective. We want to hear from you.