Despite this being a persistent idea that hasn’t gone away since 2012, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Instagram don’t punish you for posting to their platforms using third-party tools. In fact, they wouldn’t provide the option for you to do it, if they didn’t want you to use them.

Back in 2012, there was briefly a period where Facebook did tighten up their API access. This is the “hole in the wall” of Facebook’s platform that the provide as a way for apps like Buffer, Sendible, Hootsuite and others to access your Facebook profiles, business pages and Instagram profiles. At the time, the makers of these platforms felt like Facebook was trying to force them out of the way, especially since Facebook had just started to include some of the features of those third-party apps into their own apps. Things like scheduling your posts ahead of time in Facebook, or allowing Instagram to post directly to your Facebook page. This gave rise to the rumour that Facebook was going to punish people who posted using third-party tools with lower reach. This never actually happened, and still doesn’t happen today.

There was a little nugget of truth in there being an issue with less reach or less effect when posting using a third-party app. But this wasn’t because you were using a third-party app. It was to do with the process that content creators and page owners would go through when using a third-party app. These were people who generally did all their social media posting on one particular time of the week, every week, whether they felt like it or not. They might find themselves having to write 3 posts a day for 7 days. That’s 21 posts. 21 times in a row that you need to be creative, convincing, writing from the heart, staying on brand and being awesome. You might pull off the first few posts perfectly. But as you get further along; say, at number 12, you start to get bored. Or tired. Or you cut corners. Or you start to rush it because you have other things to do, or other things you’d prefer to be doing. You only need to read over what you’ve written so far and see how it degraded somewhere between post number 1 and post number 12. It’s not the app you’re using that is being throttled, punished or penalised; it’s most likely lazy posting.

The other thing that you may find has brought about a downfall of your post reach is the fact that the platform has got more busy, more noisy, more full of content than ever before. When that happens, it’s the best, most interactive, most interesting and most loved posts that are going to cut through. And the best posts are the ones that are the most relevant to the person you’re trying to reach. In a quieter Facebook of 2009, you could get away with posting just about anything. Right now, you need to give people what it is they want. Not just what you want. This is hard to get through our heads because we have objectives that we want to achieve, targets we need to meet and margins we want to get to. Your potential customer doesn’t care about your margin, your dreams, or your objectives. They only care about the things in their life that you might be able to help solve. The companies that understand this, and, can tap into focusing on what their potential customer wants to see on social media, are the ones, who invariably, after a while, win on social media.

Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms don’t punish you for using third-party apps, websites and systems to post to them. In fact, they love you posting to them whichever which way you can. The platforms love content coming to them. Especially content that keeps their members on their platforms. But there is the danger that throwing all your posts in to a system at one time for a week, a month or even longer, can take the edge of the quality of your posts and content, and then means less interest from viewers and lower reach for you.