Last week, Mashable reported on a big update to the WordPress plugin Jetpack. Jetpack is a free plugin that you can add to your self-hosted WordPress blog that allows you to automatically share your posts with social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr… the list goes on. Although this is the most talked about feature of the plugin, Jetpack also comes jammed with many other useful features (statistics, shortlinks, forms, etc.), making it a robust (and don’t forget free!) solution for small and large blogs alike.
Since we’re big fans of Inbound Marketing and have been distributing our own content manually, we’ve been very interested in the pros and cons of switching over to automation.
You save yourself time. Depending on how many social networks and accounts you like to distribute your content to, an auto-posting solution can end up being a real time-saver. Link up your accounts one time at installation, and you’re all done once you hit that publish button.
You get more leads. HubSpot reported this summer that companies who automatically publish their blogs to social media get 50% more leads than companies who don’t. That’s nearly reason enough to install a tool like Jetpack right this moment! They do provide the caveat that scheduling your posts is even more important in this equation, so don’t forget to analyze the best days and times to reach your audience.
You lose customization. As with the automation of any process, a degree of control and customization is lost and that is certainly the case when it comes to distributing your blog. Twitter is a place where you need to be as to-the-point as possible, whereas you have more flexibility with your words on other networks such as Tumblr. More importantly, you may have different audiences or objectives on different social networks. By sending one message to all of these platforms, you can’t optimize your choice of words for each audience.
You can lose engagement. On Twitter, you want to carefully pick your hashtags or possibly even @mention someone else. If you wanted to link the same topic or person on Facebook and Google+, this isn’t going to work through an auto-poster. You must actually be posting through Facebook.com in order to tag others, and likewise with Google+. When you see a hashtag on Facebook, your audience knows that auto-posting is being used and that can make you look more bot-like and spammy. Also, Twitter is a place where it’s acceptable to post frequently (according to Social Media Examiner) and you likely don’t want to annoy your Facebook fans with that kind of frequency.
How this all balances out in the end depends on what your social media strategies are to begin with. Examine your objectives on each social network and the strategies that are successful in meeting those objectives. Depending on what your strategies are, you still need to find a solution that matches – whether that be a manual, automatic, or hybrid process.