Tag Archives: social media outposts

Third-Party Apps: Do you really need them?

If you’re a small business owner or running a personal site or blog, it can be tempting to buy into the marketing copy of third-party apps that promise to ease the confusion of the mighty Interwebs. There certainly are a lot of social platforms out there right now, but you don’t need to be on all of them.

twitter iconsFigure out which platforms are relevant to the content you’re producing (are getting you the most traffic, conversation, sales, whatever is important to you), and get rid of the others. Focus your energies on outposts that will benefit you. There shouldn’t be more than a few.

To keep your social media outposts updated and relevant, you can either post updates manually by visiting your desired platforms or integrate updates via third-party apps. It’s really up to you and how you want to run your updates. Just make the decision in an informed way. Here are some pros and cons. It’s the best way to make decisions, right? Right.

third-Party Apps

  • Fewer clicks – You don’t have to visit each different platform and sign into them all (if you’re not automatically remembered). You can update all of your social media from one convenient location.
  • More room for error - If you’ve got a few different platforms to update and you’re using an app to make it go faster, it’s much easier to accidentally post an update to the wrong platform, for the wrong day, too many times, to the wrong person, etc.
  • Automation – A big feature of many third-party apps is automation, or the ability to schedule social media updates ahead of time. It’s a very handy way to grab the reins of what would otherwise be a very overwhelming job.
  • Third party stamp – Many third-party apps include a small stamp or indicator that you’re using their service. Some feel this looks unprofessional, some don’t mind at all.third party platform stamp
  • Decreased relevance – Sometimes *gasp* third-party apps automating updates can lower the priority of updates from third-party apps. This is just how some social platforms’ algorithms (like Facebook) are written; Social platforms would prefer that people engage with them directly rather than via some other website.
  • Lose touch - Unless you’re very careful, being able to update all of your platforms quickly without even visiting them can lead to you doing a lot more sharing and a lot less listening. Just be vigilant, yo.

Updates by hand

  • Takes longer - Ok, we’re not talking very much longer, maybe a couple of minutes, but some people just don’t have those few minutes to spare every day. In my opinion, those people need to reassess their direction in life (but that’s a whole different blog post for when I’m social media guru that’s starting to stray from concrete marketing advice into lofty spiritual guidance.)
  • Absolutely free – When you’re using your social platform directly you don’t have to worry about paying for a fancy service. Sure, there are a lot of free third-party apps (or free versions without full  functionality of pro-versions), but many find ways to monetize their best software.
  • Simple – If the whole point of all of this is to simplify your social updates, why on earth would you add the complexity of learning a whole new platform? If the sound of this just turns you off, third-party app updates might not be for you.
  • Working as intended -  Why mess with a good thing? If a social platform is written to work in a certain way, why trust a third-party platform that doesn’t necessarily have access to those algorithms?

So where do you fall? There’s a whole industry around managing social media which I don’t especially buy into. Sure, I use some platforms to automate some things, but I’m honestly not as big a believer as some. If you’re interested in learning more about some third-party apps, check out this very detailed slide show from InformationWeek’s social business section, the Brain Yard: Top 20 Apps for Managing Social Media.

Post by Cricky Cicchetti