Publishing has become a part of almost every social media network recently. LinkedIn launched its Publisher platform to everyone in 2014 and has now seen over 1 million people post to the platform. Facebook recently launched a revamped Notes, which allows sharing of media-rich long-form content. Medium may claim to be a social network, but their main functionality is publishing. Even Twitter has changed to allow 240-chartacters and enbraced long-form. The more time these companies can get you to spend on their sites, the more opportunities they have to make money from you (by selling ads and monitoring activity).
It’s clear that everyone is embracing publishing. But what are the advantages to investing in publishing on social over your own website? Should you consider putting some of your resources into creating content for these platforms? Here are the pros and cons of publishing on social platforms.
Pros Of Publishing On Social Media Platforms
There are quite a number of great reasons to publish on social media platforms. Let’s take a look at a few of the pros involved in doing so.
Social media reaches all corners of the globe and offers an audience you won’t find anywhere else. Facebook alone has over 2 billion members and they’re potential eyes on your content. Publishing on these sites means more opportunities for your content to be seen.
Keeping viewers on the social network site can often mean a better experience. The load times associated with going to a piece of on-site content are far less than sending viewers to your own site and loading the same piece of content. There are numerous studies that show the negative impact load times have on viewership. The big social networks have the infrastructure to ensure that load times are as minimal as possible and provide the best experience for users.
Users also have a quicker way back to doing what they were doing on the social network when they first came across your content. Not ever leaving the site means they can get back to looking at other updates faster but also means they may be more willing to check out your content, because it doesn’t mean the additional time spent going to a 3rd party site.
More SEO Opportunities
Though most links from social media sites are no-follow, many still believe that Google does pass a bit of value even from such links. Social media sites rank well, and there’s a good chance that your content on a social site may rank too, even if the same content doesn’t do so well on your own site.
Having additional pages outside of your own site linking to your pages (such as republished articles on social networks) may benefit the linked pages by creating additional inbound links.
Cons Of Publishing On Social Media Platforms
There are certainly a lot of good reasons to publish on a social platform. But while there are many benefits, there are also some drawbacks. Here are a few that you’ll want to consider.
Less Control Of The Content
When publishing on your own platform (such as a blog on your company site), you have total control. You get to determine the exact look and feel of each page published. You can include whatever elements you like, in any way you choose. The same can’t be said for publishing on social media.
Social platforms allow you less control of not only your content but the overall feel of the page itself. Where offering next-steps on your own blog may be easy, it’s more challenging to do so on a social platform.
By publishing on a social site, you give up the total control you enjoy on your own sites. Consider how this lack of control may impact the success of your content and how you can work with the lesser control, to still see success.
Getting Viewers Where You Want Them
For most businesses, getting viewers to your site offers the best chance of conversion. When publishing on social platforms, you have an additional step in getting viewers to your own site, and to a conversion.
Consumers generally need multiple touch points before the final purchase happens. Consider how 3rd party publishing can be one of those touchpoint, but also consider how it could add an extra step low in the funnel, which could negatively impact conversion rates.
Think of how this additional step to your platform may impact conversions and how you can better move viewers to your high converting pages from social content. Ask yourself where social platform publishing should sit in your marketing funnel strategy.
On your own site, you get to control everything. There are no distractions on a page unless you want there to be. This isn’t true of social platforms.
Social networks are full of distractions. While reading content, viewers see ads for other products (even competitors), additional articles of interest from others, updates from friends, pictures of someone’s cat, and more. There are countless distractions aimed at keeping people looking, but also distracting from your own message.
Social platform publishing offers less control over what viewers see and added distractions which can easily draw them away. Consider how you can overcome these distractions and keep your viewers so engaged that they can’t look away.
This one won’t apply to most businesses, but for many blog owners, monetizing your site means a bit of revenue to reward you for your efforts. Publishing on social media sites generally means that you can’t show ads, though Facebook does allow ads within their Instant Articles for publishing partners.
If you’re looking to monetize your content, you may want to consider using social publishing platforms to draw viewers in with a bit of a tease, and then on to the full meal on your own site. But keep in mind that many don’t like to be teased if the reward isn’t worthy of the action. Be sure you give them an end-product that lives up to their expectations and be aware that you’ll likely lose some viewers along the way.
Most social sites offer some basic metrics for measuring the success of your published pieces, but none offer the level of insight that you can find on your own site, through analysis platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.
Be aware of the added difficulty this lack of analytical data will bring. Integrate the social site analytics with your own website reporting to be sure you’re measuring performance of publishing on social platforms, and making the changes needed to see the best results.
Test To Find The Best
When considering publishing to a social platform, there is no right or wrong. Most likely, the best answer is a balance of publishing a bit of content everywhere. Maybe you find that top of funnel is fine for both your site and social platforms, but middle and bottom of funnel are best left on your own site. Find your own balance.
It’s less about where you publish and more about being aware of the advantages and drawbacks of each place you publish. By considering these pros and cons, you can better position and publish content to drive the intended action and overcome any disadvantages that may be present.
Good or bad, social publishing platforms have the potential to tap a huge audience that’s looking to consume content. Develop a social platform publishing strategy and keep these factors in mind when you begin diversifying your publishing.