After my Friday night 'eureka' moment about simplifying our social media output as professionals and cutting out the unnecessary white noise, this morning I've decided to start making the changes I'm trying to encourage my clients and everyone else to do. This morning I have disabled one of my oldest automated processes; the quote posting tool.
When I first started out on my own, selling my services to people that needed social media advice and management it was a commonly held opinion amongst other professionals that to get yourself noticed, you needed to be posting around the clock. "Social media never sleeps" they'd say, "It moves in real-time" with the inference being that if you weren't posting in your sleep then you'd get left behind. The answer that so many of my colleagues turned to, to mitigate this perceived problem, was the automated quote sharing tool.
There are many to choose from, and I am guilty of jumping on this fear-induced band wagon myself in the early days. And it's all too easy. Simply connecting any of these applications to your Twitter account allows them to post unlimited amounts of inspirational or thought-provoking quotes to your account. Those of you that know me well, will already know that I'm all for positivity and inspiration and that I enjoy the occasional thought provoking statement. So you might be wondering why I'm now so against these applications. Well, I'll tell you why. For me, it comes down to several key things; impact, dilution and credibility.
As a social media professional I'm constantly telling my clients to tell their story, not anyone else's. I tell them to craft carefully worded posts, designed to engage with their audience and provoke a positive response. One inspirational quote may well achieve that desired effect, but five in a row has very little impact. A user's first impression of you is likely to be 'wow, these guys really like quotes'. Which is great if your business is all about quotes or perhaps selling books. If it isn't, then a constant stream of quotes gives your real content less impact and essentially dilutes your message, rather than complimenting it.
If your message is weak, diluted or drowning in a sea of quotes, what do you think that does for your credibility on social media? What does it say about your business? If your message is distorted by all this white noise, how do you know your customers will be able to hear you?
I'll be honest, since Friday I have begun to question everything I've ever learned about social media. It's made me re-assess every 'rule' that we social media professionals live by. It's time to change the way we use social media and it's time for those of us who work in social media to set an example.
So I've turned the quotes off.
And that's just for starters...