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Automated Status Updates on a Facebook Business Page: Pros and Cons

June 27, 2011

Second in a series of 3 posts dedicated to the topic of Facebook business page updates, this one gives you some food for thought about using automated updates.

Used with prior permission of Peg Corwin, Using Facebook for Business Marketing.  She is a SCORE Chicago business mentor.

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Both a Facebook Fan and Mashable blogger have recently advised that page admins NOT to use automated status updates on a Facebook business page, such as imports of blog posts or Twitter feeds.   As my Facebook Fan Steve Palmer said, “If you are using a third party tool to syndicate your posts to FB, you should stop now.”  Why?

Automated Status Updates on a Facebook Business Page

An automated status update is content automatically pulled from one online source to another.  (See also next week’s post on pros and cons of scheduled status updates.)  Types of automated imports are:

  • Blog post imports, using the Networked Blog and other Facebook apps.  For example, if you import blog posts into your Facebook page using the Networked Blogs app, you automatically post links to each blog post on a special tab of your Facebook page, and you have the option to create a status update with that content on your wall.  See more on importing your blog posts to your Facebook page.

Pros and Cons of Automated Facebook Updates

Automated updates have advantages and disadvantages.  The pros are that it:

  • Increases the productivity of page admin by eliminating repetitive manual postings.
  • May provide more resources to Facebook page Fans just because it requires less staff effort.

However, there are significant downsides to automated status updates.  The cons are:

  • Fans may not engage with automated content.  As Ekaterina Walter says in a post on Mashable, “Your fans can also distinguish between ‘auto’ posts and customized ones. For a lot of brand pages, auto posts do not engender engagement.”   Note that logos of third party apps are displayed below the automated update copy, i.e., Aweber in the update shown below.

Status update from Aweber with its logo

As Walter says:”We all understand the value of saving time, but respect your customers enough to manually post customized copy. You will get far better engagement and show your fans you care. Some folks who use Facebook don’t really like Twitter and get irritated when they see hashtags or other Twitter-specific content in their Facebook stream.”

  • Too many updates turn Fans off. In 6 Points to Ponder before Using Automatic Status Updates, Ching Ya says “People don’t want to talk or listen to a robot.  My advice is do not schedule too many updates before you manage to get in and start conversations or reply to feedback.  A stream without engagement is monotonous.”

Advice on Automated Status Updates to a Facebook Page

Don’t import all your online activity to your Facebook page.  Decide approximately how many updates you want on the page a week, other than interactions with Fans, and which would be must useful.  Don’t over-share using apps.

With regard to blog imports, both online networking expert Larry Brauner and Facebook marketing consultant Mari Smith use the Networked blog apps on their Facebook pages.  I queried Larry on whether he was concerned with these posts not showing up in news feeds.  He replied that he both uses the automated import and writes a status update on each post to maximize the chance that Fans will see his posts.  That’s a good compromise for blogs.  It’s my new strategy.

I personally don’t think that live feeds like Twitter should be imported to any page’s wall.  The apps I am familiar with allow admins to create a tab with the feed and then choose whether or not to post individual updates to the page wall.  I recommend not doing that for live feeds.  Those Twitter updates I have seen on Facebook make no sense out of context.  If you think your Twitter feed might be useful, you should let Fans click the Twitter tab, or you might selectively re-post particular content to an update.

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