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We’ve all heard the horror stories of an organization posting an untimely tweet in the wake of some unforeseen national tragedy (ex: NRA)… But the potential problems of scheduling social media posts goes way beyond that. An increasingly popular feature on social media monitoring applications is the ability to auto-post pre-written content.

For example, let’s take a look at Hootsuite suggestions, currently in Beta. The blog post introducing the tool describes the new feature:

    “This new content suggestion feature analyzes your posting history on Twitter and recommends articles that are relevant and interesting to you, your followers and friends. It then places them into the prime spots within your content calendar for easy editing and publishing.”

So the application provides you with a short, tweetable recap to instantly schedule, tiny link and all. Is this the busy/lazy social media poster’s dream? Not so fast… Here are 3 reasons you should think twice about auto-posting liberally

1. Bad Timing Can Make You Look Like a Fool

Autoposting tools are bad with timely information. When I logged into Hootsuite on Monday, I found lots of suggestions for posts about the super bowl. This might be interesting, relevant news for a day or two before the world moves on… But the tool went on to “suggest” content for up to ten days into the future.

If you’re still posting about the Super Bowl come Friday you’re not going to look great. The same goes for product release anticipation and any sort of breaking news. Your social media should be delivering timely, fresh content. Automatic content generation is not going to help you with that.

 

2. You Can Easily Lose your Voice

Every good social media plan should have a clear outline for how your organization’s voice will sound on social media: How casual is your tone? When do you use capital letters? One of the most important and basic principle of branding is consistency. So if you’re drawing from the voices provided to you from a tool, which are sourcing from tons of different content sources, you’re going to sound all over the place.

Autopost tools can be great at picking content for your targeted audience, but won’t be delivering the message in the voice you want.

 

3. It Quickly Becomes Boring!

As great as a tool can be, it’s still a robot. And it won’t be as good at posting as you.

For starters, it won’t diversify content enough. Automatic content generators are getting better at mixing up their sources, but they’ve still got a long way to go.  Often in Hootsuite Suggestions, I’ll find that an overwhelming number of suggested posts come from only two or three of the same publications. You’ll never find stories from the blog gems of the internet (Editovial IV for example). You should be constantly thinking outside the box and exploring beyond the big names to get great content.

Another way that these automated posts are boring is that they usually don’t include pictures. And we’ve all heard over and over how posts with visuals are more engaging. Some tools are moving toward adding pictures, others are completely ignoring any visual component.

The most important reason that automated content can make your social media boring is that the ease of “picking” instead of “finding” stifles creativity. The posts that are suggested might be good for your channel, but they’re designed to be good for a lot of other channels as well (including your competitors). The more you let robots do your work for you, the less you are flexing your writing muscles and expanding your imagination!

 

 

As a social media practitioner, you should not completely ignore these tactics. Hootsuite suggestions is a great toolwhen appropriate. Just don’t get sucked in by how easy it all is. If you want to dabble with automatic content posting, use sparingly.

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  1. Pingback: Don’t Just Hit “Schedule:” 3 Reasons to Avoid Reliance on Auto-Post Social Features | Kelly Miller

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