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Are You Penalized for Using Third Party Tools to Post to Social? Myth Debunked

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 22:18
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If you’re in the online publishing world, you may have heard some buzz about being penalized for using a third-party tool, like Buffer or Hootsuite, to publish to your social platforms.

Fortunately, this is not true.

Here’s what you need to know about this now-debunked myth and the reality of posting to social with the help of a third-party app.

The Two-Week Buffer Study

To answer the question of if Facebook and other social sites punish people who use third-party posting apps, I want to talk about some recent research from Buffer, one of the tools that so many people use to post to social media.

To determine once and for all if Facebook punished sites that use a third-party tool, Buffer ran a quick, two-week test. From Nov. 15-21, Buffer used the scheduling tool embedded within Facebook to schedule all of its posts. The posts for the week reached 3.2 percent of its audience and earned about 66 engagements in the form of comments, shares, clicks, and likes.

The next week, content for Facebook was scheduled using Buffer. Those posts reached 3.8 percent of its audience and earned 70 different engagements.

While it’s true that this is anecdotal evidence, it’s something to pay attention to. If anything, the Buffer posts performed better than the native posts, so it seems as if Facebook is definitely not punishing the third-party apps.

How Facebook’s Ranking Algorithm Treats Third-Party Apps

If the Buffer evidence was not enough to convince you, there’s also the fact that Facebook itself made a statement back in 2011 confirming it does not penalize third-party apps, although it’s true that it used to.

What’s more, Facebook has even gone so far as to remove the attribution from the third-party posts it features. This is important to many business owners since the posts appear to users as if they were published natively. While third-party apps work wonders to save time and streamline social, the fact remains that many business owners don’t want to do anything that could make their company seem robotic or impersonal, so the dismissal of attribution is a big deal.

In addition to benefitting brands, the removal of the attribution also helps make it clear that Facebook isn’t concerned about sites that use third-party posting apps, and intends to not punish people who do.

The Third-Party Tool Bias

Some of the buzz around the penalties facing third-party tool users come from the fact the studies that claim it’s true haven’t always done a great job of leveling the playing field when it comes to the tools they evaluate.

Here’s what I mean, according to Buffer, some third-party tools get more engagement than others. Hootsuite, for example, sees 78.45 average engagement, while an enterprise tool like Adobe Social sees 1,420 average engagement. This is a massive difference, and it could be easy to interpret this as Facebook punishing certain tools when, in fact, the case is simply that enterprise-level brands (the ones using enterprise-level tools) simply have larger and more engaged audiences, and larger content budgets – all of which translate to higher engagement and a broader reach.

Don’t Fear Your Third-Party Tools

We, at our business, love our social media management tools. We’ve even written a comprehensive resource on the top 10 out there. For a busy, growing business, they’re an incredibly useful way to plan social media, push out posts to various platforms, and ensure that you’re engaging your audiences on all of your different channels.

While the buzz about if Facebook has been punishing third-party posting apps has been flying around for a while, Buffer’s native study, Facebook’s own comments, and the fact that the “yes they are” info hasn’t always taken the concept of enterprise-level tools into account would all suggest that there’s nothing to worry about here.

Facebook, like so many content platforms, has made it its goal to help users produce, access and enjoy high-quality content, and it’s not in the platform’s best interest to punish users who utilize third-party apps for their posting. In addition to the fact that these users are often Facebook’s most copious posters (After all, why use a social media management tool if you’re not dealing with significant amounts of information?) These users care deeply about their content, and the engagement they’re producing through it only serves to benefit Facebook.

With all of this in mind, you can stop worrying about if Facebook will punish you for using Buffer or Hootsuite. It won’t, and your life will be a whole lot easier when you adopt a social media management tool.


Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.

The post Are You Penalized for Using Third Party Tools to Post to Social? Myth Debunked appeared first on SiteProNews.


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