Does using third-party apps to post social media content lead to reduced reach or engagement?
What are these third-party scheduling apps?
Basically, they are a software application for the web and mobile, which is designed to manage accounts in social networks. They work by providing the means for a user to schedule posts across multiple Social Media Networks using the one platform. So, you can load all the content into one place and decide a date and time to publish it to say, Twitter and Facebook.
So, what is the issue with this?
Many people say that using these software applications can reduce reach or engagement and others say it doesn't.
There is so much information on the internet about this subject with various people blogging about the studies they have done and who is right and who is wrong. It also gets called a Myth or gets associated with new algorithms in the Social Media Platforms that penalise those that use a third-party scheduling app to post on social media.
At Signpost Media we like to keep things simple. We've looked at lots of evidence from all the studies and it appears to be 50/50 on what you could believe. It may also depend whether the person writing it has a reason to benefit from you believing what they want. But a couple of things stand out from everything we have read about scheduling social media content using third party apps.
Social Media reach versus engagement!
Reach is basically the measure of how many feeds a post is displayed on. Whereas engagement is the measure of how many people have interacted with a post by liking or commenting on it for example.
One study of Facebook that looked at over 500 million posts found a reduction in engagement of up to 90% when using third party scheduling apps. But this may not be because Twitter, Facebook and such are actively penalising you for using them. It's more likely due to another reason.
Why would using a social media scheduling app reduce engagement?
It isn't the use of a social media content scheduling app itself that is the problem, it's how the use of it can end up presenting the posts. All the following can have a negative effect on social media engagement-
1. The content may be posted long after the subject is relevant on the Social Media Networks. It's very fast paced, people move on.
2. If the content is posted across several platforms then it may not be tailored as well to one as it may be to another. An image on one platform may not display as well on another, or the hashtags you added for Twitter just look right on Facebook.
3. By posting ahead it may be less engaging content than if it had been current.
4. If you use a scheduling app then you may be less inclined to be looking at what's happening there and then. It effectively gets forgotten about.
5. It may be because these apps are used a great deal by Social Media Management companies and as such they need to make the job cost effective and profitable, so points 1-4 may apply.
We can't ever be 100% sure on all the factors that could affect this. But one solution is just to look at the points above and then try and make sure that when you are creating posts for your Social Media Platforms you understand what they are about. They aren't just a place to slap a picture and some text twice a week to look good. They are about slowly building a community through engaging in conversations in very much the same way as you would at a face to face networking event. They aren't just a one-way street.
At Signpost Media we have made the choice not to use third party scheduling apps to send out our client's social media posts. But we are also a smaller Digital Marketing Company based in Cambridgeshire that offers a more personal service to fewer clients. With that in mind, we are able to make the choice we have. But we also believe that it's the right choice.
We hope you enjoyed the blog and found it engaging as well. Please feel free to visit the rest of our Website to find out more about us.