Home WordPress Now Syncs With Facebook Pages, But That Might Be a Bad Idea

WordPress Now Syncs With Facebook Pages, But That Might Be a Bad Idea

Putting social media on autopilot is very seductive, but is it a good idea?

Blog publishing platform WordPress announced this afternoon that its users can now automatically cross-post links to their new blog posts to a Facebook page. Previously, the feature only allowed publishing onto a Facebook account’s Wall. Pages are where organizations are supposed to communicate with a large number of interested parties.

WordPress.com’s Scott Berkun said that this was one of the features most requested by users. The new feature is fast and easy – but is it something that publishers ought to use? Experience and study of the results of this kind of automation don’t always make it look so good.

This spring, for example, The New York Times dumped its bot that automatically tweeted out links to all its articles in favor of labor-intensive human curation and publishing.

Last week our new Community Manager Robyn Tippins posted the results of a study she did comparing how our articles performed on Facebook when they were posted manually vs. when they were posted automatically. The results very clearly favored one approach over the other.

Put simply: when we posted each story both automatically and manually, we found that manually-posted links saw twice as much traffic and more than twice as much engagement in the form of sharing and links.

Tippins concluded thusly:

“Manual posting is a chore. What takes the app seconds to post may take me 10 minutes. And, because I am not continually at the computer, some of our content isn’t posted immediately after posting. There are definitely cons to manual posting, but the increase in engagement and page views back to our site is worth the additional labor.”

Some readers said in comments that Facebook ought to help publishers publish automatically at times when they will see the most engagement. Something like what startup SocialFlow does.

In fact, Facebook’s algorithm punishes publishers whose content gets little engagement by making future updates from that publisher less prominent in a user’s experience. Ought Facebook instead help publishers publish better? Perhaps the answer is self-evident: publishers seeking maximum engagement and traffic from their Facebook Pages need to post to those pages manually and make an investment of time and energy in cultivating community there.

So, WordPress publishers, now that you can automatically publish links to Facebook Pages – will you?

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