Say it Ain’t So: Don’t Use Hootsuite for Facebook Posts

by Monday, October 24, 2011
0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Buffer 0 0 Flares ×

A few months ago, a client asked me to stop using Hootsuite for his Facebook posts.

As a social media professional, I was mystified and also a bit peeved.  Why would he tell me which tools I should use? Wouldn’t I know what was best?

His complaint: when we posted an article on his wall, Hootsuite would also include the full link in the post and he didn’t like how it looked.  I explained that people tended to click more often when they saw (and trusted) the full link as opposed to just an image and short blurb.  It didn’t matter… he wasn’t happy and was adamant that I post all of his content manually (with no link).

Much as it grieves me to say this almost 5 months later, but my client was right.

Edgerank Doesn’t Like 3rd Party Apps

He was right about Hootsuite, although not necessarily for the reason he stated.

Since the date of my client’s request, new studies have shown that regularly using 3rd party posting applications (such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck) on Facebook actually decreases engagement.  

Many social media professionals fell in love with these apps when we realized we could schedule our posts on a multitude of social networks.  We were still doing the work our clients paid for (publishing posts), but this freed us from having to be in front of the computer at specific times of the day.  To me, Hootsuite was a godsend!

Then came the studies (here’s an article about one) demonstrating that Edgerank (the algorithm Facebook uses to determine which posts will show up in your fans’ newsfeeds) doesn’t respect the wonderful convenience of 3rd party apps.  In fact, Edgerank will actually penalize you for not doing posts LIVE from the Facebook wall, and decreases the likelihood of engagement by 80%.  Obviously Facebook wants you on the site as much as possible = more advertising dollars, so they edge out content from other apps. Ouch!

Lumping Them All Together

If you use a third party app on Facebook, your posts will be “grouped” with other posts that also come from those apps.  Two examples:

1. If you post 3 times a day from HootSuite, your fans will likely see ONE of those posts, with a link beneath it that says “More from HootSuite”.  Few people notice this, and those who are not social media savvy won’t know what that means anyway, driving down engagement.

2. If you post from HootSuite and someone ELSE posts from HootSuite – even if you are completely unrelated – your post may be grouped with the other post and not show up at all unless someone clicks the “More” link. A worst case scenario for engagement… fans may never even see your post!

Another way your posts get lumped together is demonstrated in this screenshot which Amy Porterfield provided during a Facebook Success Summit webinar:

This image demonstrates that when people right-click on a post, they can adjust the settings to block all postings done by that person or (gasp!) your 3rd party app.  This does beg the question… who would do this and why would they do it?  The only people who instantly know what that little logo is (next to the arrow on the left in the image above) are social media professionals and most of us wouldn’t completely hide all posts done by a 3rd party app.  Still, if this is the only way you are publishing your clients’ (or your own) posts, this is very unsettling.

Networked Blogs

Not so great for Facebook after all

Another popular 3rd party posting app is Networked Blogs which automatically syndicates your newly published blog post and places a small blurb about it on your Facebook wall.  Clients loved this… anything to remove an extra step for them (in this case, publishing your new blog post manually on the Facebook wall)! Sorry to say this, but Networked Blogs is just as bad. If you want your fans to see your blog post in your fans’ Facebook newsfeed, then post it manually.  I can no longer recommend this app.

No 3rd Party Apps on Facebook… EVER??

As somebody who loved Hootsuite, I found all of this news rather sobering.  To follow the advice in these studies, I had to give up one of my treasured tools.  Nonetheless, I made the decision to cut off Hootsuite cold turkey and manually post all of my clients’ Facebook posts from then on.  I quickly realized it was truly no more work than posting on Hootsuite… you were still publishing a post, just doing it LIVE.

Fortunately the studies show it’s okay to use these apps on occasion.  For example, if you are going on vacation or if something needs to be posted at a specific time and you know you won’t be in front of a computer (or iPad), it’s better to use a 3rd party app than to post nothing.  (So if I go on vacation and some of my clients see that little Hootsuite logo under their post, they’ll understand why!!)  

So now you know my new best practice.  And that’s what I’ll continue to do until I find something better.

One caveat: this prohibition on Hootsuite only applies to Facebook.  It’s still a wonderful tool for Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.

21 Responses
  • Kelly Garrett
    October 24, 2011

    Very interesting. What about sharing an article like this, using either the links at the end of the article or your wibiya bar at the bottom – do those show up as third-party shares?

    • ProjectSocial
      October 24, 2011

      Great question, Kelly.  I don’t think sharing using any of these tools changes anything.  I just checked it out on the wall of somebody who shared this article using the “Shareaholic” buttons at the end, and you can see below how this looks.

      • Phillip Dodd
        November 6, 2011

        At least with the shares, it’s better than the alternative of not being shared. Makes me feel a little bit better about that, at least.

  • Phillip Dodd
    November 6, 2011

    This is very disappointing indeed. I’d like to be able to schedule posts for Facebook without feeling like I was throwing a wet blanket on them.

    • karen
      November 6, 2011

      I understand how you feel, Phillip. When I realized how bad Hootsuite was for Edgerank, I felt like I’d had a bucket of ice cold water thrown on me. Fortunately, I’m finding that NOT scheduling posts isn’t as bad as originally thought.

    • ProjectSocial
      November 7, 2011

      I understand how you feel, Phillip. When I realized how bad Hootsuite
      was for Edgerank, I felt like I’d had a bucket of ice cold water thrown
      on me. Fortunately, I’m finding that NOT scheduling posts isn’t as challenging
      as originally thought.

  • Robert Caruso
    November 6, 2011

    So Funny!  I was reading this and got down to the example image and it was ME! LOL  Good article though.

    • Karen Naide
      November 6, 2011

      That’s so funny, Robert!  Just goes to show… you never know when an innocuous Facebook post will be used in a webinar or a blog by somebody you don’t know!  Glad you liked the article.  

  • Dave Doolin
    December 28, 2011

    “Obviously Facebook wants you on the site as much as possible = more advertising dollars, so they edge out content from other apps. ”

    Yep, makes total sense.

    Too bad about Networked Blogs. I happen know the developer, Waleed Abdulla, personally. We did a project together a few years ago. He’s a good guy.

  • Lauryn Doll
    April 26, 2012

    A friend just told me about this. I wish I had seen it earlier. I guess manual post automation is going to become very important over the next few weeks for me. It’s okay though. I will make time for it. 

  • Kyle Gardner
    August 12, 2012

    I noticed this as well. Though Hootsuite is nice for posting comments on posts still. 

  • Ellen
    October 11, 2012

    This is outdated information at this point.

    • ProjectSocial
      October 11, 2012

      Well, yes Ellen. This blog post was written almost a year ago and things have changed a lot in the last year. But that’s a good thing!

  • Kòmpiutertékniko Nv
    March 3, 2013

    hi, is it still like this, on facebook ?
    i mean, this article is great, but its been 2 years now.

    • ProjectSocial
      March 21, 2013

      No, it’s not. I realize the info in this post is outdated, but it was definitely accurate at the time I wrote it.

  • adm123
    March 21, 2013

    Do you have updated info on this subject?

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Buffer 0 0 Flares ×