Social media is a reflection of your organization — don't make the mistake of putting your efforts on autopilot

Many organizations, large and small, already have enough work on their plate each day before adding social media to the mix. To accomplish it all, a lot of companies and people look for what shortcuts they can take to get it all done, and often they decide to put their social media efforts on autopilot.

Now, I’m not talking about engaging some helpful tools like HootSuite, Buffer or BrandWatch to make the process of posting or monitoring more efficient. I’m talking about complete hands-off approach, such as:

  • Linking social media platforms together so what’s posted on one site is automatically posted on all sites. An example would be if I would post something on LinkedIn and my accounts were all linked, the exact same content would show up on my Twitter feed…and my Facebook homepage…on my Instagram account… This tactic, in theory, isn’t a bad one, and I don’t fault people for considering it. But let me caution this: There is not a distinction when you post the same content on multiple sites between the different people consuming the content. What’s appropriate for connections on LinkedIn may not be what my friends on Facebook really want to see from me. It’s important to consider your different audiences when choosing what to post and when.
  • Trying to share on too many platforms. The reason there are so many social media platforms is because each cater to different demographic, a different set of people in your life. For me, LinkedIn is my professional network. I would never post updates about my kids on LinkedIn, that’s what my Facebook account is for…but I do have some professional contacts on Facebook so along with my kid updates, I also am posting work-related stuff too. I do have other social media accounts, but I focus most of my efforts on keeping my LinkedIn and Facebook active because I feel that’s where most of the people I want to reach are finding me. My point is: Understand, who your different audiences are for each platform, and then pick the one or two that make sense for your organization and stick to them. Don’t try to be on every platform doing everything. Focus and specialize. Your audiences will appreciate it!
  • Only pushing other’s content — retweeting and sharing someone else’s helpful information is great, and I think it’s one of the greatest abilities we have with social media platforms. I do it myself from time-to-time. The flip side, though, is that if you want to be a thought leader, you have to post your own content too. Don’t let your “voice” be tied only to what others are saying. Give your audiences your insights and opinions too. 
  • Going dark for long periods of time and then suddenly resurging for awhile — Zig Ziglar has a great story about “Pumping the Well”, which I think applies well to social media. His premise in the story is: If you want to get something out of social media, you need to put something in. The only way to do that is by consistently sharing content that you think others will find valuable. The key is to be regular with your efforts. Don’t just do it when you remember it’s been a bit since you posted. Schedule a specific time each day/week that your audiences should expect to hear from you and then post on that schedule. Your audiences will catch on and be waiting for you! 

Those are just a few examples of putting what your social media efforts on autopilot look like. Again, I’m not saying that automating your social media efforts is a bad idea. We are all busy, and it is nice to know that there are tools available to help make sure we can continue to be visible even when we don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to our efforts. But, I do caution you against completely taking yourself out of the efforts. When you try to take shortcuts, it reflects badly on you/your company and hurts your brand. You need to stay personally involved!