Respect the social media rules – Each network has its own language
Why saving time should not be the sole focus of your communication
There are various options for posting to social networks. Very popular is, for example, the automatic forwarding of posts on Facebook to Instagram and vice versa, as well as scheduled posts via Buffer or Hootsuite. This article explains why you can do yourself a big favor by following a few simple rules.
In this day and age, we like to talk about efficiency and saving time. If you’re a little older, the subject of saving time might bring to mind Michael Ende’s book “Momo,” in which the gray gentlemen of strangers capture time and smoke it as cigars. A beautiful analogy and a social critique that was far ahead of its time. But that’s what we’re here to discuss only in passing: It’s more important to understand that in any social network, there are rules to follow when communicating. Saving time is positive in its entirety, of course, but if it comes at the expense of the good rules of communication, you’re saving money at the wrong end. A plea for more self-reflection in terms of automated network example.
As time (perceived) often runs away from us in our increasingly fast-moving world, we are desperately looking for solutions that make our everyday lives easier, automate things and ensure that we still have some day left at the end of the day. Or vice versa. There are both good and bad ways to save time: Automating unnecessary processes that don’t need intervention is a good idea. Having postcards sent over the Internet is also a good idea, at least for those with horrible handwriting. What is not a good idea, however, is to hold one’s community in low esteem by not respecting the rules of the particular network out of delusions of time optimization. In fact, that’s not only not a good idea, it’s simply presumptuous.
The rules of social media networks demand respect
A simple example: a company has set its settings on Instagram and Facebook so that posts from one network automatically appear on the other. Sounds like a good idea to you? But it is only to a limited extent: because even though both services belong to the same group, the rules, the language of the platforms, are clearly different. On Facebook, you can also write somewhat longer texts for a picture, and since they are displayed above the photo, there is at least a chance that some people will read them. Hashtags are possible on Facebook, but they don’t have nearly the effect they have on Instagram and should therefore be used primarily for accentuation. Also, Facebook has a square or landscape format, with which images look good here, with the typical app Instagram the portrait format is the means of choice.
From these first points alone, it is already clear that a post pulled automatically by Facebook on Insagram does not look clean and cannot work well: It has too much text, too few hashtags, tags within Facebook (@) no longer work, the image format is suboptimal. Exactly the same applies in the reverse case: a post from Instagram is immediately recognized as such on Facebook, because it has too little to no text, far too many hashtags and a not necessarily pretty-looking image format, where it is then neatly cut off. Automated, by the Facebook algorithm. In both cases, the community on the respective channel rightly gets the impression that someone has made it pretty easy for themselves here and doesn’t like to take the trouble to respect the rules and customs of the network.
Optimization yes, maximum optimization no
There are also numerous companies that undoubtedly use sensible tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to pre-schedule postings on various networks. The very lazy ones do not pay attention to the customs of the networks here either and do copy + paste across all channels – not a faux-pas, but a saving at the absolutely wrong end. Of course, there is often a lot of time pressure in business, I know that from my own experience. I too have saved at the wrong end due to time pressure, I admit it. But you notice this mistake immediately in the reach and the lack of interactions. The use of Buffer and Hootsuite is not wrong and even downright practical, nevertheless postings should be controlled after publication and optimized manually if necessary, if e.g. @-links should be integrated, which still do not work cleanly with Facebook automated, in contrast to Instagram.
If one uses the planning tools that are superior to several networks, one should pay attention to network-adapted communication formats that adhere to the respective rules. Even if it means additional effort. The community will thank you in the medium term and then everyone will benefit. In terms of automated posting between Facebook and Instagram, there are two possible solutions: Number one, you leave it in place and manually adjust the posts after they are published. However, this takes just as long as if you manually set the post directly on the respective network, but it definitely looks better once again. Consequently, variant 2 is the means of choice, even if that now means one less cigar for the gray gentlemen. So please consider for yourself how important your external impact is to you in terms of engagement with your fans and followers. The decision should then no longer be difficult.