Linking Facebook to Twitter? Bad idea for brands

This seemingly brilliant shortcut might be damaging your online reputation and costing you customers. Here’s why.

Given the array of tasks you face every day as a business owner, you’re probably on the lookout for ways to save time.

One social media shortcut seems like a no-brainer: linking your company’s Facebook account to Twitter. In other words, when you post on Facebook, it automatically shows up as a tweet from your Twitter account, too. Sounds brilliant, right?

Though this might seem like a great solution, Facebook and Twitter are completely different animals and require entirely different management. User behavior, consumption of information, structure of posts/tweets, and the ways fans and followers engage vary dramatically between the two platforms.

Twitter can be a powerful tool for connecting with your established and potential customers. It’s an excellent platform for making real connections, gathering and responding to feedback about your business, resolving issues or complaints, expanding your customer base, and more. However, it must be managed properly to reap these benefits.

Although its benefits are clear, Twitter too often is treated like an afterthought. Too many business owners are falling into this trap, and I’m on a mission to educate them about the pitfalls.

Let’s look at four reasons why you should not link your Facebook and Twitter accounts:

It’s antisocial

If your business takes the shortcut of having your Facebook posts show up on Twitter, what are the chances you’ll actually log into Twitter to follow up, reply to mentions, interact with others, expand your following, and so on?

I’ve tested my theory by responding to numerous tweets by businesses that that link their Facebook accounts to Twitter. Nine times out of ten, I never hear back because they’re not actually logging on to Twitter.

Not engaging with others on Twitter is antisocial and defeats the purpose of using it to market your business. It can irritate potential customers that reach out to you, resulting in lost sales opportunities. Even worse, if you are not responding to customer concerns or complaints, it can tarnish your reputation beyond repair. It sends the message that you don’t care enough to connect with others, which defeats the very purpose of social media.

It’s unauthentic

People on social media are looking for genuine communication. When you don’t manage Twitter as a standalone medium, you’re using it in an unauthentic way.

If people are connected to you on both Facebook and Twitter, what’s the motivation for them to continue to follow you on both networks if you’re blasting out the same content at the same time? It comes off as robotic, which can put folks off.

Linking your accounts to save a little time can work against you in the arena of public perception. It shows that you have little understanding of how to use these social networks for business purposes.

It looks sloppy

Formatting on Facebook and Twitter are entirely different. Facebook posts allow up to 5,000 characters; Twitter allows a mere 140 characters. Facebook posts of more than 140 characters don’t show up very nicely on Twitter.

Messages that are cut off because of Twitter’s character limit look sloppy, which makes your business look bad and could deter people from following you. In addition, some Facebook posts show up only as links on Twitter with no descriptive text whatsoever. Images without descriptions that are posted on Facebook show up as tweets reading, “I posted a new photo to Facebook,” which is incredibly annoying.

It hinders your progress

In most cases I’ve observed, businesses that link their accounts have far fewer followers, receive less engagement with tweets, and miss out on the powerful potential of Twitter.

Next steps

Now that you understand why your Facebook and Twitter accounts are different creatures and should not be linked, make sure you take the time and effort to manage them individually. If you’re already doing this, I congratulate you for a job well done.

Brett Heitz is the president of Such Great Heights Marketing, a marketing company serving small businesses in the Detroit area. A version of this article first appeared on Social Media Today.

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