A friend of mine who owns his own business recently told me that he likes Instagram because he can post from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare at the same time.
Totally cringe-worthy. This means that he is sharing the exact same content to all of his followers regardless of network or audience.
Every platform is unique
Each social network has its own purpose, and is different enough from the others to offer something special. By blasting the same message across all platforms, you are not taking advantage of the unique offerings of each platform.
Why is your company on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks?
You want to share valuable content.
If you share content on more than one social media network, why are you on each of them? Why do your followers choose to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest? If you’re sharing the same content on each platform, then why should one person follow you on all three?
There are different reasons for each platform, and this depends on the way information is shared, the audience type, and it’s purpose. When we develop content for our audiences, we have to decide which network will best service that content.
Reasons not to cross-post
The main problem with posting the same exact message at the same exact time, is that you’re not making the message special for an individual network. And frankly, it makes you look lazy.
Everyone who follows you on two or more of your social networks is likely to see that one message across all of them. Who wants to see the same thing twice?
Amy Donohue also sees cross-posting as a bad idea. In her blog, The Fab Social she writes:
“Twitter is for information sharing and engagement one-on-one. You don’t get the thread you get on Facebook.”
Let’s say you want your community members to interact with each other, and build off of each other’s ideas.
Facebook and Instagram are good for this because of the way they show threads. Others can easily see, and respond to comments in a single thread.
You can try to do this with Twitter, but some people won’t include everyone’s Twitter handles in their replies, making it difficult for others to see their comments. You are also limited by character count.
Reasons to cross-post
Cross-posting saves time.
Rather than reposting a message everywhere, with a couple clicks, just broadcast the same message to all your platforms at once. Voila! Your afternoon social media message is posted to all your sites. Saving time is good. But don’t do it at the expense of a well-planned strategy.
A valid reason to cross-post is to get followers who follow you on one site to also follow you on another. By posting from Pinterest to Twitter, your Twitter followers will see the link to your pin, and may decide to follow you on Pinterest in addition to Twitter.
By gaining more followers on another network, you are adding to the times that this one person is seeing your messages, and keeping you on the top of their mind. Someone may not react to something you tweet, but will react to a pin.
Social media consultant and correspondent Sean Gardner benefits from cross-posting. He likes posting links to his Google+ page from Twitter. He’s gained a lot of new followers on Google+ by cross-posting this way.
In Two Great Ways to Cross-Post in Social Media, Sean points out that he’s been told not to cross-post the same content on different platforms because they all have different personalities. He says that’s why you should cross-post.
As you can see, there are reasons for and against cross-posting. I still think it’s a bad idea, but maybe you think differently. Do you cross-post? Why or why not?
Audrey Schroder is the Social Media Marketing Strategist for e-cig company Vapor4Life, and serves on the Social Media Club Chicago board of directors. Tweet her at @audreyschroder.