It’s tempting to link all of your social media accounts together. If you post something to Facebook, it’s simple to have it automatically feed to Twitter. Or when you pin that perfect picture to Pinterest, why not have it send a link to Facebook? While linking accounts may feel like a way to simplify your work flow, I would argue it’s weakening the community and impact of your social media accounts.
Each social media account has a different kind of audience. People that connect with you on Twitter are most likely not the same folks who are fans of you on Facebook. They could be different ages or groups looking for different kinds of updates. Even if you’re sharing the same content across different platforms, like a link to the weekly events calendar, the way you present that link changes based on your audience. Blanketing the same post across platforms means you’re not trying to serve the needs of your audience. Social media communities work best when you look at who your audience is and get a feel for what they’re interested in. You’re there to add value and be helpful, not to force your content on someone.
If you’re just auto-feeding to a social media account, do you really need it? Whenever you add a communications tool, you should always ask: What need is it going to fill and what group am I trying to reach? Social media outlets are a response to a need. More is not better. Less is okay. You don’t have to be on every social media site. Embrace the ones that make sense and put your best effort into that.
People realize when something is automated. They really can tell. Tweets that started as a Facebook post feel different. Twitter forces you to be cleverer in what you say because of its character limitations. And Facebook users are always confused by #hashtags that end up on Facebook posts sent from Twitter. Beyond that, there are technical glitch giveaways, too. My friend just started a new business where she linked Facebook to Twitter. More than half the auto fed tweets get cut off mid sentence. Another fourth end up saying, “Facebook syndication error.” In general, savvy social media users can tell when content is forwarded from one site to another.
Social media takes work. Creating good content takes thoughtful effort. We all have limited time. While short cuts are tempting, they rarely pay off. You don’t have to be everywhere in social media. Do what makes the best sense for your congregation and do it well.