Is Using 3rd Party Social Media Posting Tools Killing Your Engagement?
Are the apps designed to make your marketing life more manageable, making it more challenging?
We're all aware that social media networks are essential marketing tools for promotion used by almost every company worldwide. Marketers working on social media platforms could post to up to ten or more different sites up to a dozen times a day.
The process would be highly time-consuming if you had to do this manually for every platform. So naturally, as social media marketing evolved, auto-posting programs and 3rd-party scheduling tools were developed to streamline the process.
3rd-party scheduling tools make it much easier for businesses to manage multiple platforms while still getting high-quality content posted regularly and on time.
However, debate still rages among marketers about whether or not 3rd-party scheduling tools are killing engagement on posts, particularly on Facebook. In the following article, we'll take a closer look at some of the studies done by 3rd-party scheduling tools such as Buffer and Sendible.
What Does the Data Say About 3rd-Party Scheduling Tools?
You often hear rumors that Facebook punishes people for using 3rd-party scheduling tools.
The biggest argument for those that believe this is that manual posting of content is more reliable, and by using 3rd-party scheduling tools, you're ruining both your reach and engagement.
But will using 3rd-party scheduling tools really do this?
Let's check out the results of studies done by Buffer and Sendible.
Facebook Research Study
Sendible analyzed 58 different Facebook pages and 5,000 posts. They considered the following data points:
Was the post added manually through the platform or using a 3rd party tool?
The total number of engagements.
The total number of Facebook users that saw the post.
What content was posted, link, video, or photo?
Their key findings were:
Posts published using 3rd-party tools got 10.3% more engagement than those posted naturally on the platform.
Posting links to Facebook via Sendible achieved 52.9% better engagement than those posted naturally through the platform.
Photos posted using 3rd-party tools got 32.2% less engagement than those posted naturally through the platform.
Posting videos to Facebook via Sendible resulted in a reduction of engagement of approximately 20%.
Posts sent to Facebook via Instagram had a reduced engagement level of 5-10%.
The overall conclusion was that posting using 3rd-party tools didn't negatively impact Facebook post engagement or reach. However, it's important to note that engagement could be lower if posting to Facebook via Instagram.
Multi-Platform Research and Findings
Buffer and their team tested 200 posts across 35 different profiles, and Buffer wasn't the only 3rd-party tool used for the testing.
They considered the following data points:
Numerous 3rd-party social media tools were tested.
Similar types of content, including links, images, and videos, were used.
Consistency was used for posting frequency and times.
3rd-party tools: 9 posts achieved approximately 9,071 post engagements per post.
Native posting: 9 posts achieved approximately 8,820 post engagements per post.
3rd-party tools: 45 posts achieved approximately 21,108 post engagements per post.
Native posting: 45 posts achieved approximately 21,671 post engagements per post.
3rd-party tools: 9 posts achieved approximately 7,024 post engagements per post.
Native posting: 9 posts achieved approximately 6,071 post engagement per post.
As you can see, using 3rd-party tools achieved better engagement per post on average. However, they also concluded that different types of content performed better than others, depending on which platform it was posted on and the quality of the content.
The research showed that social media platforms, particularly Facebook, weren't punishing marketers for using 3rd-party posting tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sendible.
The Importance of Engagement When Posting on Social Media
It's easy to blame 3rd-party posting tools for reduced engagement. However, fundamentally social media platforms want to increase engagement. They're called 'social' media for a reason. Social media platforms want consumers to spend more time interacting with each other on their platforms.
They may not be biased toward how you post your content, but they do take into account how much time you spend on the platform, other posts you interact with, and how you interact with them.
While creating a month's worth of content may be convenient, scheduling it into a 3rd-party posting tool and not looking at the accounts again for another month could be killing your engagement.
Social media platforms take a lot of factors into account, which all feed into their algorithms. So the next time you create a photo to post on Instagram, take ten minutes to turn the post into a story and promote it. Check out the content that's relevant to your hashtags or topics and interact with it.
While 3rd-party posting tools can make your life as a marketer easier, they aren't going to do your job for you, and scheduling a month's worth of posts and then sitting back and waiting for the numbers to come rolling in isn't the best strategy in the world.
Another factor that can significantly influence your engagement on social media platforms is what you're posting and where you're posting it. For example, videos and photos may work better on Instagram, while articles and links could potentially be better suited to LinkedIn or Facebook.
And don't just use the same old style of content day in and day out, even if you're posting multiple times daily. If it's not grabbing someone's attention because they've seen something similar ten times that day already, it's not working. Instead, take your time and create meaningful and thoughtful content.
Reach, Review, Renovate, and Repeat
Remember, the numbers don't lie. Regularly check your insights and analytics to see what's working for your brand and what's not. Unfortunately, there's no 'one size fits all' approach to social media and marketing.
If you invest more effort into creating meaningful and engaging content that suits specific platforms, you should see a better return on investment from your marketing.
Want to learn more about the effectiveness of your social media marketing? Check out our article 5 Questions to Test Your Social Media Marketing Today!
About 6° Media If you want to create a digital culture for your company that wins over customers' hearts, 6° Media is here to help. Our skilled marketing experts can foster your business's continuous growth at scale, on-budget.