I’m often asked how I feel about services such as Ping.fm that will update all of your social media sites at the same time. I do NOT recommend using such a service if your goal in creating a business presence is to be authentic, engaging, and responsive.
Ping.fm and similar services allow you to type in a status update, notice about a blog post, inspirational quote, whatever you like, and it will “copy” it to Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Here’s why I don’t like them:
- It’s not very “social” – you are talking TO people vs. WITH them. It’s passive, not personal.
- It actually annoys people who are following you on more than one of the sites since they get identical updates from you.
- It becomes obvious that you aren’t really there but using a ‘bot’ to post.
- The unspoken assumption is that you are either only there to sell something, or only broadcasting information (like a news outlet). Social media is not meant to be used as a billboard.
- The lingo, netiquette, format and style vary among the social media sites. They service different purposes and typically involve different audiences. There is no cookie cutter format that flows naturally between them.
- When you use Twitter talk (RTs, @s, etc.) on Facebook, for example, it’s like having a conversation with one group of friends in front of another group of friends. Kinda icky.
That said, I do think it is acceptable to use them very sparingly and only for non-conversational posts once in a while. Letting all of your networks know you have a new blog post is OK, as long as you are also posting about plenty of other things in a non-broadcast way. For example if you aggregate 1 post a day but have at least 4 or 5 other original posts, replies, comments or shares, that might be OK. It only takes once to come across like a spammer and begin to lose credibility from your followers or friends. You don’t want to be that person whose posts receive eye-rolls instead of curiosity!
My general opinion is that if you do not have time or choose to spend time being “live” on each of the sites you want to participate in, then don’t! You do not have to have a presence on ALL of them. I would much rather see someone having quality conversations on one or two services on a regular basis over time than to see multiple impersonal broadcasts over many. Consider using something like Seesmic Desktop if you’re concerned about saving time but still want to be interactive.
The management of social media is tricky for most small business owners, but in my personal opinion, using an aggregation service as your primary connection to the world is a bad move! Let us know your thoughts, or solutions you’ve come up with!
Until next time,