I hadn’t intended to write yet another article weighing the pros and cons of tying all social networks together to distribute the same information to different channels, but after reading MediaBistro’s article on the why it’s better not to update networks via auto-feeds, I realize this is still a topic that needs to be addressed. If you are serious about social marketing, you have the Twitter feed, the Facebook fan page, and probably now the Google Buzz attached to your GMail. A click of the mouse will integrate each with the others, plus you can add all three RSS feeds into your FriendFeed account for added exposure.
As the Media Bistro article intimates, however, somebody who keeps track of you via all social outlets may tire of seeing the same information everywhere he goes. Of course, one must consider that one’s Twitter readership may sorely outnumber the Facebook, or vice versa, and therefore an important tidbit shared in one place could be missed by the larger audience.
Are auto-feeds worth the risk of losing readership, especially if one estimates a person willing to track all of your social profiles is apt to patronize your business? Do you risk less conversion, or even neglect of a particular profile, if you pull the system apart?
Adding Variety to Your Social Marketing
It’s said in advertising that a consumer usually sees a product or service 5-7 times before making a decision to buy. So it is with eCommerce, where people bounce off and on a site for days while they discern if the company is worth their spending dollar. As I peruse Twitter, I find it’s not uncommon to see the same tweets recycled by certain account every several days. In theory it is probably a good practice, as I find the Twitter clients I use don’t necessarily catch every post added to my follow feed. When marketing to especially busy people, too, it never hurts to send reminders.
If you are concerned about alienating current and potential fans, there are methods to market that can help retain your sanity without forcing you to log into every single profile you own to make updates. As you map out your strategy, you have the opportunity to present the variety multi-account followers crave without skimping on information that needs to be widely broadcast.
Limit what social networks are connected: rather than link your Twitter to everything, choose what feeds into it. If you want to emphasize your presence on Facebook more, connect those two and leave your blog/RSS free. For times you want to really promote a blog post, do occasional manual Twitter udpates.
Make use of widgets: Rather than blast the same information to all networks, create a home base for visitors to check all of your profiles. Set up your blog sidebar with various widgets for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. As you attract readers, you can keep them on longer with the different information you provide there.
Use different profiles to emphasize different aspects of your business: For the multi-faceted company, experiment by assigning different branches of the business their own social network. Build a focus that attracts visitors and gradually promote your other interests through occasional cross-promotion.
Connecting all of your profiles provides ease of use, but only you can determine its effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to unlink chains on occasion to test analytics, and watch activity across the board to see what visitors prefer.