There’s a catch-22 in social media for those whose job it is to stay active and informed. On one hand, you have to constantly update Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Foursquare; slowing down on any of them can hurt exposure though the various ranking systems (such as Facebook EdgeRank) associated with them. On the other hand, you have to keep them somewhat diversified to both cater to the specific personalities in each as well as give a valid reason to be followed actively on multiple channels. Why would people follow your Google+ updates if they’re just carbon copies of your Facebook posts, for example.
It’s not just the “heavy update” channels that cause challenges. YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, blogs – they all require different types and frequencies of attention to keep them relevant as well.
Apps are helpful but are not always the solution. Instagram, for example, is fine for Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Flickr (if you have the iPhone App as it’s not on the Android version), but it does not appear as well on Facebook as native image posts and does not update Google+ at all. The Flickr App goes to Facebook and Twitter as a link, not an image, but for some reason is able to post directly to Tumblr. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ apps can all be hacked in some way to post elsewhere but again you get into diversity problems as well as how well the posts do on the different networks.
Diversified social networking posts as part of a best-practice to keep a pristine social presence simply doesn’t jive very well with apps and is often a mess when posting from a computer. To that end, here’s my recommendation to those who are facing similar challenges:
Social Media Posting Best Practices
Someday I’m sure I’ll put together a more-cohesive step-by-step plan for others to work with, but for now the best I can do is set up some basic rules that I’ll be following to make sure I’m properly social. Fine-tuning a social posting strategy is time-consuming but worth the effort. Here’s what I do:
- Mix Up Pictures – By the 3rd or 4th time I see the same picture of someone’s cat on various social media sites, I start to hate it. Don’t post every picture you take to every social media profile you have. Instead, use cross-posting as a strategy to entice cross-pollination of profiles. For example, you may be going to a convention and documenting it along the way through pictures. Post an image of the convention center’s outside view on Google+, then get some interior pictures up on Facebook. Check in with both services while taking the picture. Once the speaking starts, use Instagram to post it to Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Tumblr. Next stop – hit Google+ again, then Instagram again but add in Facebook to this particular update. Mix it up. Take lots of pictures and diversify. When the conference is over, you can consolidate all of the images into a blog post and then ship that link out to all of your social media profiles.
- Don’t Go App-Heavy on Facebook – The biggest mistake I see made on Facebook is when people use apps such as Instagram to do the majority of their posting. They believe that they’re building a strong presence on the site but they wonder why their pictures aren’t getting the same attention as other people. For better or for worse, Facebook gives much more weight to images that are uploaded through the native FB app or through the website itself. Despite the abundance of tools that can post to Facebook, it’s always best to post as much through the site or native app itself.
- Title Your Tweets – The biggest mistake I see made on Twitter is when people have “non posts”. They take a picture, update through Foursquare, or tie in their account through another social site or RSS feed service. The result is a bunch of Tweets that nobody will retweet, a bunch of links that nobody will click, and a bunch of pictures that nobody will see. The worst is when people use Tumblr or Pinterest to post but don’t take the time to add something personal to the Tweet. A message that says nothing does even less.
- Stay Disciplined – Multitasking in the real world is tough. It’s even tougher on social media as there are so many easy ways to automate or consolidate. Avoid the desires to make it easy and take the time to share appropriately. The only way to keep a truly-strong social media presences is to put real effort into each.