“To cross-post on social media, or not to cross-post. That is the question.” — Hamlet, maybe
When you have a message you want to get out, it’s tempting to post the same exact thing in as many places as possible, particularly on social media. You want your followers everywhere to receive the same information, so it would make sense to post the same thing in all those places, right? Well, no. Not quite.
While cross-posting — the act of posting the exact same message to multiple social channels — might make sense in theory, it’s a social strategy that can reduce the impact of the message you want to convey. Instead, cross-share! This method delivers the same content to your social channels, with variables like image, copy, timing, and more tailored to each channel and the audiences that follow you there. There’s a subtle difference between the naming of two methodologies, but the outcomes can be sizable. Let us explain:
Why would you cross-post?
For one, it’s easy. It takes less time to write one post and share it in numerous places than write different copy for each channel. Some platforms even allow for automatic cross-posting with the toggle of a switch.
In some cases, cross-posting can be a perfectly fine strategy. If you’re looking to test new branding imagery or types of copy, cross-posting can be a good testing method with the purpose of customizing future posts.
Why is cross-sharing more effective?
More than likely, the same group of people are not following you across all channels. As such, you can expect the audiences for each channel to have different consumption habits, including when they are active on social media, whether they’re using desktop or mobile, and what type of content they are most likely to engage with.
When you cross-share, you’re still providing the same core content, but you’re doing so in a way that’s customized to each channel’s audience. In doing so, you can take into consideration things like:
- Channel selection
- Copy length and tone
- Hashtag and emoji use
- Post timing
- Asset type and design — link, photo, graphic design, GIF, video
- Audience preferences
Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, for example, will only show a certain amount of copy before users need to click a “Read More” button to view the rest. On Twitter, however, the entire copy is displayed. The various platforms also display images in different sizes, and you are likely to find certain image dimensions capture certain channel audiences’ attention better than others.
In terms of timing, there are numerous studies on the best days and times to post on each channel, but you’ll want to analyze your own audience’s behaviors to determine what is most effective for you.
Tips for Cross-Sharing
Over time and continued analysis, you’ll hone content style for the channels you’re active on and find what works best for your followers. That said, here are a few things to consider when designing channel-specific posts:
1. Custom messaging. As stated above, this comprises things like length and tone of copy (e.g., short or long; casual or formal, or a mix of both; multi-paragraph or formatted as a list; etc.), use of emojis and/or hashtags, and more.
2. Link previews. If you’re including a link, check beforehand to see how it will display. Facebook and Twitter both have tools for visualizing this prior to creating a post, and LinkedIn will show you a link preview when crafting your post. Several third party tools will also allow you to preview your post ahead of time.
Keep in mind that options for customizing link previews will vary from one channel to the other. If you’re sharing content from your own website, work with your web development team to ensure link previews are as visually appealing as possible.
3. Use third party tools to expedite publishing. Social publishing tools like Loomly allow you to create and schedule a single post with fine-tuned copy for each channel, as well as view a preview of how your post will appear once published. If you cross-share often, a third party tool can make doing so more efficient.
4. Consider audience targeting. Facebook and LinkedIn both allow for organic targeting; that is, you can target a post to reach specific subsets of your existing followers based on age, gender, location, language, interests, industry, and more. For major announcements or other important content, also consider paid promotions or ads, which can ensure more of your followers see the post or help you reach beyond your existing audience.
5. Analyze and iterate. Your audience and their preferences will evolve, as will your social media goals and the way each channel operates. Regular analysis is key to ensuring your posts are designed for maximum visibility and engagement.
Each of your social audiences is unique, and you’ll sell yourself short by delivering the same exact content to them all. Each brand will have different audiences and goals, so there is (unfortunately) no winning recipe everyone can follow to maximize social performance. Consider best practices, like the ones we’ve shared here, in addition to your own analysis, when designing your social strategies. If you’re strapped for time or resources, our social media strategists are here to design and execute a top-tier social plan.