Substack's New Auto-Post on Twitter Feature is a Mistake
Right Intentional, Wrong Execution!
I understand the intent behind this new feature. Of course, it’s in Substack’s best interest to help all creators grow on social media and in turn, grow Substack.
Here is the official feature announcement:
Autoshare to Twitter: When your Twitter is connected to your Substack and you go to publish a new post, you now have the option to automatically share your new post to Twitter. Sharing your posts on other social media platforms gives potential readers a taste of your writing and can be effective in growing your email list.
Is posting about your newsletter something you should do on Twitter? Absolutely! But simply announcing your newsletter is not going to bring in traffic unless you have an existing audience. It can also come across as spammy and actually turn people away from your Twitter and newsletter.
Breaking Down Substack’s Autoposter
As soon as the feature came out, I tried it myself using my previous issue. Here is what it posted on Twitter:
The auto poster grabs your issue’s title and links your article. Pretty simple!
I’d be surprised if any creator has truly benefited from this Substack auto-share feature. 99% of the time, this is not going to be a good social media post! The title of your issue is never going to double as an engaging tweet. Not to mention, including an external link that leaves Twitter will always result in fewer impressions. Twitter wants to keep people on their platform and will not promote posts with external links as much.
If a viewer isn’t already familiar with your brand, then the announcement that Substack’s autoposter generates can come off as quite spammy. There is nothing wrong with announcing new content, but it is not going to bring in new subscribers or followers unless you have an existing large audience on Twitter.
Instead of announcing new issues, do this
Repurpose, not reference
The Wrong Way: Most writers only post announcements on Twitter with the end goal of getting people to click on their links. Then, readers get value from your writing and if it’s a good fit, they subscribe.
A Better Way: Treat social media as a new form of your newsletter. Bring the content that would convince someone to subscribe to your newsletter to social media. Talk about and repost the content of your newsletter without ever linking to your newsletter.
It’s ok to announce new issues, as long as you are also bringing over the value of your newsletter to social media. But make sure to be careful about how you make the announcement.
Don’t seem spammy
In a world where every company, creator, and brand is competing for our eyes on social media, it can be super easy to accidentally come off as “spammy” or “self-promoting.”
You should only ask for favors from your followers every once and a while. Most people follow you and/or subscribe to you because you are providing them value. Saying things like “please read” or “please subscribe” turn people off to the feeling of value and seem spammy and ungenuine.
A non-spammy autoposter
Newsletter to Socials just added a fully customizable auto-poster for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Design a message that is non-spammy, personalized, & matches your brand. Then, use that to automatically (and effectively) announce each new issue on all of your social channels.
We hope that this issue gave you ideas on how you can better announce and promote your newsletter on social media! Happy writing and happy growing!
Honestly the customization of the autoposter is one of the best things I've ever experienced in a social media post scheduler. I've spent a lot of time on Buffer, Hootsuite and similar tools down the years. The level of customization, (with a few added emoji) can go a long ways.
What would be the click-rate benefit of this vs. an RSS embed? It would be considerable on Twitter alone over time and the life-cycle of a Newsletter.
Completely agree with your assessment. Personally I've always hated how heavily substack leans into twitter. I don't think the audience for every niche exists there. I write about the outdoors, and even huge names in the space get no action.
I'd love to see better tools and integration with Instagram