Data farming services aren’t new. They’re specifically designed to ease the time requirements and creative burden of “posting” to Facebook for business page owners. Really? Engaging with like-minded business people and interested potential customers personally is so full-on taxing that one needs a fake robo-poster to do it for them? Seriously?
A Bit of History (and why I warn against content produced by data-farms)
Over the past six years, a large amount of the content I’ve produced for the web and print has been for law clients, specifically, personal injury, workers’ compensation, class action, and the painful realities of nursing home abuse and neglect.
As a writer and content manager for the web, I’m always amazed by the number of law firm websites that are managed by large, legal directory-oriented, development and hosting services that stack all their clients sites with the same scrolling tickers and sidebars featuring headlines (and links) from across the nation, typically obtained from the AP (Associated Press) wire; headlines collected by data farmers and re-posted again and again, of legal cases having little to do with the actual cases handled by their clients firms.
But hey, it’s new daily or weekly content for the search engines to rank, right? Who cares if its sterile or meaningless to a prospective client searching for a good fit …an attorney who will “get them” and provide solid representation?
Such national stories, in and of themselves, typically have little, if any, relevance to a firm’s local community or case experience, or a potential client’s needs. And, I would argue further, offer nothing to prospective clients in the way of insight about the firm itself, or produces an emotional buy-in …something that says, “Yes, this is the firm I want to represent me!” Authenticity and a sense of the firm’s personality and integrity (via real and locally relevant stories) was something I insisted my clients strive for.
(Google) Justice Arrives!
In my mind, data farmed content is a lazy, non-personal, generic form of content creation, and worse, says, “We don’t care enough about you to generate meaningful, relevant content that you might connect with.”
So you can imagine my delight when Google came to the same conclusion and decided to downgrade the ranking of websites that relied on content supplied by data farming services, as well as content placed the old fashion way that has no local relevance. Instead, give higher ranking to those websites that speak in a more authentic, unique and personal tone and offer content relevant to local searches. Sadly, a great many law firms still haven’t gotten the “Memo”.
Experts I Trust Agree
William DeRosa, co-founder of Talking Finger (a social media consulting firm of experts who help businesses expand and manage their presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other social networks) agrees.
“The idea of social media,” says DeRosa, “is that you post things from a personal perspective and engage. Doing this with auto posts defeats the purposes of building relationships. We can tell immediately what pages use these auto programs because they “sound” automated.”
As for the common complaint regarding the time needed to pro-actively engage others on the platform, DeRosa adds, “No time? Well, shift your marketing focus. Instead of that e-newsletter going out every 4 weeks, expand it to 6 weeks. Cold calling? Drop it. People don’t do that anymore and it doesn’t work in today’s marketplace. Or, hire an agency to do this work for you. Good ones (like Girl on Point and Talking Finger) will work with you to plan a three-month strategy and help create content for you. They will map out what to say and do it with human emotion and interaction. This “no time” excuse will hurt you as competitors grab market share by building true relationships while you find time to market on increasingly antiquated platforms.”
Think about it this way: The drive-through or a frozen dinner popped into the microwave may be quick and effortless, but you’ll be sacrificing the nutritional benefits of quality food that actually nourishes your body and health.
The same is true when feeding your Facebook wall with less appetizing information generated by an automated, data-posting service.
Instead of growing your community (and business), your reputation may suffer a bout of post-poisoning. Beware! Once your Facebook fans learn of your sincere lack of regard for engaging them personally, they’ll likely drop you and may even damage your reputation further with a few disparaging posts to Twitter …that other social networking site you’re probably not spending much time on either!
If you need help, there’s plenty of sources out there that care about your success and can help you get up to speed — and stay there with less time and effort.