Twitter Auto-posting Services hurt your brand

After two years of Tweeting, I’m still seeing a lot of services designed to post to Twitter for you – Hootsuite, dlvr.it, Ping.FM, and worst of all, the Twitter API to serve an RSS feed. If you are using these services and you follow me, you are BEGGING ME not to follow you back.

I don’t have a problem with these services used as part of your overall approach to Twitter. I don’t ignore someone just because I see, “via dlvr.it” at the end of a post. But I do if every post is.

The reason is obvious: Let’s say you do this, and you follow me, and I follow you back. I will occasionally see these automated posts of yours, but you’re never going to read anything I share. This works for you, because you don’t care what I’m posting. You only want me reading what you’re sharing. You want a one-way delivery of information.

But why in the hell would I ever want that? I’m on Twitter to have chats with a lot of people. I’m there to be social.

You’re there to broadcast. And I have no use for you.

Social networking is a blessing and a curse to businesses – there’s a lot of people using it, but unfortunately, you’re also asked to actually talk to those cretins whose money you want. Can you see where most of us would find that vaguely insulting?

The only reason for me to follow you is because you’re following me – so I can brag about the number of people following my magical tweets. That probably does work for people who think a follow count is important. (Hint: It isn’t. Not even a little bit.)

If that’s how you get people to follow your business Twitter account, what do you think is the quality of those follows? They have no interest in what you’re RSS feed is tweeting for you, they’re just glad to have one more follower. They won’t click on your idiotic links, they won’t come to your site, they won’t buy anything.

By trying to get more customers through social media, you’re really just spinning your wheels.

If you are hiring an agency to do your social media for you, and they’re doing it this way, you’re being ripped off. They will claim they’ve increased brand visibility on Twitter by X% month by month. They will say that because, frankly, it’s the only deliverable they can quantify. The real result of a campaign run this way is that the mass of people tweeting know your brand doesn’t care enough about them to do social well. That, and you’ll have a Twitter account followed by all the other businesses and consultants who do nothing but self-promote. They won’t click on your links any sooner than you’ll click on theirs.

I do some version of this same post every six months or so. Mostly because I cannot believe no one has yet figured out that auto-posting 100% of the time doesn’t work. I’m not the only one decrying this, either – do your research. Read some case studies. If you really care about making your brand known on social, you cannot be lazy about it and expect it to work.

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