It’s easy to schedule social media posts so that they appear automatically when you’re busy or traveling. WordPress lets you schedule posts to appear in the future, Twitter lets you automate direct messages, and applications like Sendible and Ping.fm let you pre-post to just about any social media site you belong to.
But just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The ability to automate your posts can be a huge convenience for busy professionals, but used in the wrong way, it can be a nuisance, an insult to friends and followers, or even unethical.
If you plan to schedule your posts, keep these considerations in mind:
- Don’t send an automated Direct Message to everyone who follows you on Twitter, especially one that says something like “check out my website” or “buy my product.” It’s inauthentic and many people on Twitter hate those automatic DMs.
- Don’t autopost every Twitter message to Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter followers expect frequent posts all day long, but constant posting can be annoying on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Honor the application. If you must post to several sites at once, make sure your post is relevant. A message that’s perfectly OK on Facebook, for example, may be highly inappropriate on Linkedin. Likewise, lengthy blog posts sent to Twitter are silly.
- Don’t repeat the same Twitter message over and over again. It turns you into a pest. Repeating Twitter messages to impact the workday in other time zones is OK, but limit your repeats to 3 or 4 spaced 8-10 hours apart.
- Don’t schedule automatic posts so that they come one after another. Instead, space them throughout the day.
- Never use automatic posting to fake, deceive, or pretend you’re something or somewhere that you’re not.
- Beware of autoposting schemes that will use your account to spam friends and followers.
- Avoid autoposting schemes that scrape or steal content from other people and post it as yours. If an autoposting service is offering some spectacular result that seems too good to be true—it’s probably not true.
- Don’t use autoposting exclusively. Use it from time to time when your schedule keeps you from posting when you want to, but be sure to also post live so you can interact with others.
- Don’t autofollow everyone on Twitter who follows you. Instead, interact in a personal way with as many new followers as you can. Remember, its called social networking for a reason.
- Don’t just set it and forget it. Monitor your autoposts to be sure they’re presenting you in the way you intended.
- By default, autoposting is about me (what I’m reading, what I’ve written, what I’m doing), but social networking should really be about others. This is one more reason to limit your autoposting and to interact live.
- It’s OK to use automatic birthday reminders, but be caring and real enough to send a live birthday message to friends instead of one you schedule in advance.
What else should be included?