Why cross posting is a bad idea You live in an age and place where technology allows us to increasingly automate countless daily tasks. But just because you can automate something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so.

Especially if those tasks require tact. For example, scheduling an update on Facebook to go live at an optimal time doesn’t require tact. But what that update says does.

The problem with cross-posting

Cross-posting the same content across various social media channels seems like a great idea on its surface.

You have a great piece of content, why not kill four birds with one stone by posting Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest with a single mouse click?

After all, this feature is available in every single social media management tool. Is not cross-posting an industry “best-practice?

Four reasons why cross-posting is a bad idea

  1. Technology – Many times third-party tools post in ways that are meaningless to both sender and receiver. For example, on Facebook and Twitter, updates say “via Tweetdeck” if you’re using Tweetdeck (PostPlanner allows branding). Also, tools like Hootsuite create an album for photos posted on Facebook called “Hootsuite Photos”. Again, meaningless.Why cross posting is a bad idea
  2. Culture – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are very different communities with various different uses that talk about very different topics. For example, finding and nurturing valuable partnerships makes sense as a focus on Twitter, but not on Facebook. LinkedIn is where you discuss professional topics in a professional manner, not so on Twitter or Facebook.
  3. Caring – When I see any kind of update on Facebook that’s posted from Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, I think, “This person is either not present or doesn’t care”. Admittedly, this is my own subjective experience, but I imagine many other Facebook users feel the same.
  4. Hamper Sharing – Research shows that cross-posting hampers engagement on Facebook, but not on Twitter. The reason why is that, while the use of third-party tools and posting short URLs is encouraged, Facebook users post content natively and are less likely to click on short URLs.Why cross posting is a bad idea

The solution

Ask yourself if the time saved outweighs the negative impact of cross-posting (yes is a valid answer). If not, find ways to repurpose or optimize content for each channel based on their culture and technology.

You might find that with a little creativity and preparation, optimizing each channel really doesn’t take as much time as you’re expect.

Why do you cross-post content?

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  1. I can’t stand it when people cross-post content. I wrote a similar post a couple of weeks ago, out of frustration at seeing @, # and RT on Facebook. http://www.smallact.com/blog/what-do-rt-have-in-common-they-dont-belong-on-facebook/ 

      1. That would be better! I actually love how Facebook automatically and discreetly shows you the source of the things you share with others – so much more elegant than the (albeit necessary) RT on Twitter.

  2. Yep. For me, it really comes down to pushing what you’d post on Twitter to other places, especially Facebook. You can probably get away with it otherwise. But it just looks freaking stupid when a post on Facebook (or anywhere other than Twitter) has hashtags, atsigns, RT, etc. It shows a lack of caring, as you say, since a very small percentage of Facebook users are actually on Twitter.

    At the same time, I get it. The person doesn’t think they are spending their time on Facebook wisely. In a way, I do the same thing on Twitter. Much of my stuff is automated there because I know that my time is valuable and I need to spend more of it on Facebook. 
    Still… Automation is so much more widely accepted on Twitter, isn’t as obvious, and we’re not talking about using a language on Twitter that makes no sense to its users.

    1. I spend my time very differently on Facebook and Twitter. And for very different reasons.

      Facebook is about friends, experimenting with content marketing, keeping up with Facebook technology, and occasionally getting a new customer or two.

      Twitter is about keeping in touch with partners, peers and blogging friends.

  3. John, thanks for this post but I have questions about using the blanket term “cross-posting”. I agree that “automatic posting” from a blog to Facebook or from Twitter to Facebook is a bad idea (for reasons you’ve stated). 

    But why shouldn’t I share my blog posts on Facebook? If I post original articles, videos and audio on my organization’s blog, it seems like I’d like to share these on Facebook (with thumbnail images) and ultimately drive traffic back to my website where people can learn more. But these original “cross posts” would be part of a mix of other things I’m sharing on Facebook as conversation starters. 

    1. @twitter-14205876:disqus Great point! Cross-posting is posting the same exact content in the same way to multiple social media sites. In terms of posting your blog to Facebook, I would argue that it depends how you do it.
      You can do it the smart way… For example, if you post a link to the article on Facebook, and make a comment about it. Or if you share a photo from the post on Facebook and link back to the post in the photo description.

      Or you can cross post the article to multiple social media sites with one mouse click. My argument is that this produces various problems, as explained in the post.

  4. If I didn’t use Hootsuite, I’d be absent from social media for days at a time when my calendar was jammed. Plus I write FB/T content for a dozen clients, so Hootsuite (or something like it) is a must. I’ll post, say, event information on Twitter several t mes over the course of a week, but only once on Facebook. Hootsuite lets me do that. 

    For my own accounts, I actually do share many of the same messages on FB/T/LI, but not with RT or @ notations.  I do spend time in each channel separately as well to respond to messages and shout-outs. I think those of us who are heavy users of social media forget that the average user is not glued to Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn all day long and they are just not paying close attention to the “via whatever” tag. 

    1. It sounds like you’ve found a good mix of modified cross-posting (not just blindly copying and pasting) and directly posting on each channel.

  5. I manage social media for a nonprofit organization, and I do cross-post at time through our Hootsuite account simply because we have two different audiences in Twitter and FB and want to share the same info with all of them. I have learned to post them separately – excluding the hashtags when posting to FB, etc… but I don’t believe that the fact that we’re posting the same info is a problem. This may just be a difference between personal and business strategies….