Cross-posting is the act of creating content and sharing it across multiple social media platforms. Whether you’re a small business owner or a social media manager for a large company, your main goal is to connect with your followers, gain new ones and stay active online.
Social media is essential to maintaining an active and trusted online presence by allowing you to build your brand. So, cross-posting the same content across your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social accounts can be very tempting. It not only keeps you active, which typically leads to a higher popularity rate, but it saves you time and it allows you to share your content across a wider audience. Seems like the best strategy, right? Wrong.
Social media is complex. And because there are such a wide variety of platforms and different limitations, it’s important to understand how to effectively share your content to ensure your brand stays relevant. Want to learn more? Keep reading to gain insight on the top reasons you should avoid cross-posting and what you should be doing instead.
Not all platforms are created equal
Things like caption length or character count, image and video formatting, vocabulary and calls-to-action vary depending on the platform.
For example, Twitter allows you to “retweet” to your followers, while Facebook allows you to “share.” If you create content that invites your followers to retweet, and then cross-post it to Facebook, or vice versa, you’re inviting them to take an action that’s not possible or specific to that platform - causing confusion and disengagement.
The same goes for caption lengths and tagging handles. Let’s say you craft a beautiful and well-written caption on Instagram that successfully tags another relevant account. What happens when you go to cross-post it to Twitter, who has a significantly lower character-count limit and where that tagged handle doesn’t exist? You end up sharing content to your followers that has only part of its caption and a tagged handle that is unclickable and no longer relevant to your original post. How do you think that looks?
The result is content that looks spammy and lacks attention to detail. Your followers will notice and it will lead to your brand becoming untrustworthy - causing your followers to disengage and ultimately unfollow your account.
Know your audience
According to Pew Research Center’s most recent survey, Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women (41% of whom say they use the site) than with men (16%).
When it comes to Instagram, users under the age of 35 make up more than 70% of their 800 million active accounts.
And with 106 million monthly users, there is no social network more catered to business professionals than LinkedIn with over 75% of its users earning over $50,000 per year.
Why does this matter? Because your content on each platform needs to be designed for and catered to the majority of the audiences using that specific network. If you post an inappropriate or irrelevant piece of content to a particular social platform, it will be ignored or even worse – it could cause followers to unsubscribe.
In order to remain reputable and build engagement, you need to know your audience. If you don’t take the time to care about your content, why should they?
Mix it up!
By now, you should have an understanding of why cross-posting is never a good idea. So what should you do instead? Mix it up!
The best way to stay engaged with your followers on social media is to post regularly and consistently. But instead of repeating messages word-for-word, you should be crafting new and unique messages for every platform, every single time.
That doesn’t mean you can’t post the same image to Instagram as you do to Twitter. And it doesn’t mean you can’t invite your followers to connect with you or check out special content on other platforms by cross-promoting. But that does mean you should be switching up the caption, image or link and using a voice that is particular to each social site.
Here are some tips to help you craft unique messages:
1. Optimize your content
Do your research! Check your captions, use the right terminology, adjust your images and videos to the right dimensions and use relevant hashtags and tags.
2. Edit, edit, edit
Attention to detail is everything. Watch out for typos, broken links, and hashtags that don’t mean what you thought they did. And have someone else take a second look for you to get a fresh pair of eyes.
3. Use a scheduling tool
Creating new and unique content each time you post can take a lot of time. Using a tool like Hootsuite can get you back that time by allowing you to schedule in advance, manage your posts in one place and measure their results.
4. Have a clear call-to-action
Your posts shouldn’t just be about sharing information. They should inspire your followers to take action. Writing a clear call to action is key for getting your audience to take the next step. Whether that’s buying your product, visiting your shop, or reading your blog, your post should make it clear to your audience what you’re offering and why it’s valuable to them.
It’s important to use a variety of fresh content and graphics to keep your brand circulating in your followers’ feeds and to remain reputable. As tempting and it might be to cross-post to save time and keep you active, it will benefit both you and your followers to put in the extra effort to create different posts for each social platform that you use. Your users will be more engaged and they will likely recommend you to their peers - the ultimate goal. Afterall, don’t you use each social platform for different reasons?