Cross-Promote, Don’t Crosspost On Social Media
Pros and cons of social media automation and crossposting vs. cross-promoting
Social Media marketing takes up a huge amount of time and a social media managers tasks are never done. To stay in touch with your community, you will need to share consistently or you will go down in the endless stream of social media noise. To keep up with the accelerating pace of social media, you will sometimes feel like a hamster in a wheel. If you’re running out of time for your daily social media management, automation might seem to be a good idea.
There are several auto-posting and cross-posting tools available on the market. But there are several reasons why cross-posting isn’t the best choice, and why cross-promoting is a much better alternative. In this article I will show you how you can bring both concepts together, how to get the best out of your posts and still save a whole lot of time and work.
The difference between cross-posting and cross-promoting
I personally never thought of the difference between these two postings concepts of cross-posting and cross-promoting. Maybe it was because English is not my native tongue. There even is no equivalent term for cross-posting or cross-promotion in my language. Or, maybe it is because the very concept of cross-promotion is such a natural idea in my mind, that I never thought about stressing the difference. However, I think it is time to catch up on this topic.
So, what is the difference between cross-posting and cross-promotion and what is the impact of both on your social media strategy?
Cross-posting vs. cross-promoting
When people speak of cross-posting, they usually mean posting the very same content across multiple social networks. Cross-promotion also means, getting the same content to all of your networks, but there is a slight difference in approach. And that very difference may, however, have a great impact on your results and success. Cross-promotion basically means to promote your content in a way that fits each networks and communities characteristics and preferences.
What are the cons of cross-posting?
Those who are against cross-posting often stress that your followers do not want to read the same content on every network. Well, I would not stress too much about this. If you think about it, this is very unlikely ever to be the case. You will have followers that follow you on multiple social networks. But what are the chances, that all of your followers are present at exactly the same time in all of your social channels and actually see your post. No, this won’t happen. If it does, you can call yourself a lucky guy. Fact is, that whenever you publish a post, only a fraction of your followers will actually see your post.
If you promote your blog posts, I think it is extremely important that you do this across all of your channels. The biggest challenge of social media management is to get the right content on the right platforms at the right time. So, what is much more important is, that you do it exactly in the best way you may present your post on each network. And that differs from network to network.
So what are the real cons of cross-posting?
The human factor
Social media users are the most savvy audience you can have. If your posts sound robotic, your audience will quickly pick up you’re automating your stuff. This will give your account an negative perception. Successful social media posts are supposed to be personal and engaging to encourage interaction from your audience. Robotic posts will not achieve this goal.
Social Media Automation: Don’t automate everything. Stay human.
- Don’t send the same message over and over again.
- Don’t just blast out the same message. Tell your audience why you’re sending them this, ask questions, aks for their opinion, ask for likes and shares and engage them.
Though you might automate posting content to your networks, respond and interact personally with your audience.
Network specific features
Every network is different and every networks provides you with different features for presenting your post. A few social networks are pretty similar. For example Google+ and Facebook both offer unlimited characters for your post and both allow images and videos. But, whereas short comments work better on Facebook, Google+ followers react better to longer posts. Most networks allow #hashtags, but communities react very differently to posts with hashtags. Wheres Tweets work best with 2–4 hashtags for engagement, Facebook posts without #hashtags get more interaction than posts with hashtags. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and the more hashtags you use, the better.
- Despite the similarities in some platforms and their respective features, the audience will still react differently on those networks.
- So don’t just blast out the same message in the same form to all of your networks.
- Tailor your posts according to the network specific features and your audiences preferences.
- Don’t use auto-posting tools, that don’t allow you to customize your posts appropriately.
There is an implicit rule for every network for how often to post. Whereas it is ok to post up to 4 times per day on Twitter, doing the same on Facebook might drive away your fans. Overdoing frequency will be counterproductive. Mastering posting frequency aims at sharing consistently and connecting better with your audience and not annoying them. Whereas you may promote your blog posts up to 4 times per day for initial promotion, you should promote it only once on Facebook and your evergreen content once every 3–4 month. But you may promote your blog posts with all of your blogs posts sharable images successively on Pinterest and Instagram or Flickr.
So sharing the same content with the same frequency to all of your networks will probably cross that fine line between being informative and becoming an annoyance.
- Don’t post the same content with the same frequency to each of your networks.
- Post and re-post your content according to the frequency that is suitable for each network.
In social media, timing is a crucial factor for success. The best time to post is when your audience is listening. And every network has its own rush hour for engagement. If you send out the same message at the same time to all of your networks, you might miss the right time to post. And the right time increases your chance for engagement with your community. Otherwise your post might just go down in the endless stream of social media noise.
The half-life of a Tweet is 24 minutes, four times shorter than a Facebook post, so your window of opportunity is tight. Whereas Facebook posts get most engagement at midday and evenings, posts on LinkedIn get most reactions during business hours. Instagram and Pinterest posts get most engagement during evening hours.
- Don’t share your posts at the same time on every network.
- Schedule your posts for the best time to be noticed on each network.
Learn more about the best times to post on social media networks.
Not every content is suitable for every network
There are contents you might post across all of your social channels for example if you want to promote your blog post, you should share it to all of your channels. But there are contents that will not be suitable for all of your networks. For example comments on live events might be suitable for Twitter, Facebook and Google#, but not necessarily for networks like Medium or Tumblr. Curated content from other sources might be suitable for your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles, but not necessarily for your business page and not for networks like Medium or Tumblr. Whereas you will essentially promote an excerpt with a link to your post on most social networks, you may actually re-publish your complete post on networks such as Medium, Tumblr or LinkedIn Pulse.
So don’t publish the same content on every network. Choose the appropriate networks wisely everytime you post.
Cross-promote, don’t crosspost
Now we understand the cons and risks of cross-posting, here is what I do: I often post the same content and links across multiple networks. But I not just cross-post the same message in the same way to all of my networks, I cross-promote my content tailored to each networks specifications.
I have to manage 5 corporate blogs and a lot of social networks out there, my personal profiles as well as our business pages, focus pages and groups, such as:
Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages), Google+ (profiles, pages, groups), LinkedIn (profiles, pages), XING (profiles, pages, groups), Diigo, Delicious, to Tumblr, Medium, Torial for re-publishing, as well as for sharing images on Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest.
I couldn’t manage this without a nitty-gritty strategy for cross-promoting and automating my social media management.
I tailor my posts based on the respective network and networks’ audience before sharing them. And I use tools that help me doing so with minimum work, but optimum output, so it doesn’t feel like cross-posting anymore.
My tools for crossposting and cross-promoting to social media
For cross-promoting my blog posts I use Blog2Social. The Wordpress plugin allows me to cross-publish and schedule my post directly from the Wordpress dashboard. The plugin turns my blog post into the suitable format for every network I select for sharing. It displays an excerpt of my posting text with the available number of characters on each network with an image and link. However, I can still edit and customize each of the posts with personal comments, hashtags or handles I wish to add. This takes me less than 5 minutes for all of my networks and I would always recommend to do spend this extra time. Blog2Social provides me with a simple one step workflow for all of my networks. This still saves me the time consuming and tedious work of copy & paste my texts manually on each network.
This is what I do for customizing to cross-promoting my blog posts:
- Twitter: I add #hashtags to keywords. I also add @handles if I want to refer to a specific Twitterer for this post.
- Facebook profile: I add a personal comment to introduce my post. I ask questions or ask to comment on my post to encourage engagement.
- Facebook page: I edit my text for my business page slightly to give it a more formal touch. And I schedule it for a different time (the Best Time Scheduler does that automatically).
- Google profile: I add a slightly longer introduction for my post. Longer comments work better on Google and I use #hashtags for keywords.
- Google page: I take the same text as for my profile, but I schedule it for a different time.
- Google group: I do the same as for my page. I often post to groups on different days.
- LinkedIn profile: I use the same text as on Facebook, but with #hashtags
- LinkedIn page or focus page: I use the same text as for the the Google page, also with #hashtags
- Instagram: I sometimes add call for shares or comments, if appropriate and check the #hashtags. Blog2Social turns the tags of your post automatically into #hashtags
- Pinterest: I just check the text and add #hashtags to keywords
- Flickr: I just check the text and sometimes add #hashtags
- Medium: I re-publish my post, but I sometimes change the headline and the opening paragraph and I sometimes shorten my post. And, I publish my post on Medium 3–5 days after i publishes my original post.
- Tumblr: same as Medium.
- Torial: same as Medim
- Diigo: I publish as is
- Delicious: I publish as is
For sharing content from other sources I use my RSS-Reader to curate content, Pocket to save and tag, IFTTT and Zapier to set up the rules. And I use CM-Gateway to tailor my post and cross-share and schedule them to my various channel. This process I will talk about in a future article.
Set up your cross-promotion strategy
Cross-posting may appear as a convenient, quick and easy way to save time posting. But if you care about your fans and followers, you should take some extra minutes to tailor your message. Customize your posts according to the respective platform you’re posting to and to their specific audience.
There are several auto-posting and cross-posting tools available on the market. But beware of the tools that don’t give you the full control of your post. Choose a tool that allows you to customize your posts.
I do recommend posting your content across all of your social networks. But cross-promote rather than just cross-post your content. Don’t push the same message to all of your channels.
Whenever I publish a new blog post I do share it to all of my social channels. Whenever I find something great to share with my audience from other sources, I post it to as many networks as I find suitable for this specific content. However, I always choose my channels wisely and I always take the time to tailor my posts.
With a smart automation and cross-promotion strategy you will get your work done much quicker and more effective than you might think.
Cross-promoting your content across multiple sites will give you more outreach and brings your content upfront to a much wider audience than posting to single social networks.
When done automatically, cross-sharing and cross-publishing will bring your content much faster and easier to multiple accounts. Your content will reach more people in less time and with less effort than doing this manually by copy and pasting your content manually.
So, when you set up a social media automation strategy, don’t just fill you streams with any content. Always think about your audience first. Feel free to cross-share but make sure you tailor your posts according to the specific characteristics of the respective networks and their audience.