A friend recently passed along a Facebook application with the tagline “Facebook posting made easy.” While I got a chuckle out of it (Facebook posting in and of itself is easy – social strategy, monitoring etc is the challenging part), I couldn’t help but check it out.
Upon first glance, the Post Planner application, seemed pretty standard. With Post Planner, Facebook Page administrators pay a small monthly fee to schedule status updates, posts and view in chronological order. That’s fine and dandy as a lot of services allow you to do the same. But Post Planner’s competitive advantage is that it’s a Facebook Application, so you schedule your posts from inside the Facebook platform.
For mom and pop businesses, Post Planner could be a useful tool. It could encourage them to plan ahead with an editorial calendar and keep an active Facebook presence alive. A word of caution, however, as Facebook applications are notoriously unstable. Perhaps this isn’t the case with Post Planner, but I’m not testing it because we already use trusted enterprise solutions to manage our accounts.
For the reasons listed above, I can see why a trusted social media blog, Social Media Examiner, recently listed Post Planner as a Top 10 Small Biz Pages nominee. Now that I’ve given it props, it’s time to share where my beef lies with Post Planner. I’m not a fan of their “Bonus.”
“BONUS! Access over 3000 pre-written status updates in the world’s first Status Ideas database for fan pages”
Status Ideas Database? Now this I had to see. So I logged in to Post Planner and sure enough, with the click of a button (and $4.95 Pro Plan subscription fee), I gained access to 3000 pre-written status updates. This is the point I felt a disgusted ick in my stomach.
Why? Well, several reasons. Post Planner touts the pre-written updates as way for you to “increase engagement” and “interaction” with your fans. Sure, asking questions will get you answers. Ask too many or go off-topic and it could also get you a lot of unsubscribes. Also, are they the questions you should be asking via your organization’s Page? In my opinion, canned questions and updates don’t count as “engagement.” While there are no specific rules of engagement, there are a few no-no’s. Untailored content being one of them.
When creating content, you should be talking to your audience in a manner that resonates about content that makes sense for your Page. You should be providing value, insight and sometimes even direction. Do pre-written updates provide value to your Page? What about voice? Do pre-written posts match the identity, personality and character of your brand? Do they match what you’re doing in other places – your website, print, broadcast etc.?
It also highlights another issue at hand, the content currently being pushed out by lots of Pages. I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of Pages asking me about the weather, or my favorite movie, or what color shirt I’m wearing that day. It usually happens from the over-posters who seem to have a lack of strategy. Of course, there are exceptions. I don’t want to come across as hating conversation – because it is absolutely important on Facebook – but again, the type of conversation should make sense for your Page. No one wants to hear someone talk just to talk offline, why would they want that online?
And finally, what if your audiences other “likes” also use a database service? What if they start seeing the same Page status updates in their news feed? I suspect they’ll unsubscribe. Consumers are savvy. It might work for a short while, but they’ll quickly catch on.