I’ve noticed a lot of people automatically cross-posting from one social media site to another lately. They have all their Twitter updates feed to Facebook, all their LinkedIn updates feed to Twitter, or all their Delicious tags updating Facebook. I’ll say right off the bat, that I find this frustrating (especially when it comes from savvy marketing people). Why? Because each of these audiences is different, and each tool is used differently. Facebook CrosspostingYou wouldn’t take a Coke ad that was specifically written for a Golf magazine and put it in Vogue, would you? No, because the audiences of each magazine are different and the brand’s message may be slightly different for each audience.

Similarly, each social media tool has a different audience, is used differently and has a different culture. For example, for me, I view each of these sites as follows:

  • Facebook – connecting with friends; not very businessy (when talking about personal profiles), updates are a few times at most a day
  • Twitter – connecting with people with similar interests (for me, mostly marketing and social media), somewhat businessy, updates are frequent (sometimes up to 20-30 times/day)
  • LinkedIn – connecting with people in order to network, very businessy, updates are infrequently used (starting to catch on though)

Linkedin Status UpdateGiven the above, if I cross-posted all my Twitter updates to Facebook, I would be doing a few things — I’m pushing my business stuff on my friends who probably have no interest in it, and I’m doing it at an overwhelming pace given the culture on Facebook.  In addition, I’m using lingo that my Facebook friends don’t know, such as RT, @, #, etc. Why would I want to do that??  It’s blatently ignoring how people operate on Facebook, why they’re there, and overwhelming their stream with posts that they probably have no interest in.  They have signed up to be my friend, not necessarily to hear about all of my business interests.

So, do I think there are some posts that work as cross-posts?  Absolutely!  And, that’s why there are a few applications that allow you to choose when it’s appropriate to cross-post.  For example, applications like Selective Twitter Status (use the hashtag #fb in a tweet to send it to Facebook), or using the hashtag #in in a tweet to send it to LinkedIn, choosing “Facebook” on TweetDeck or Seesmic when you want to update Selective Twitter StatusFacebook, or clicking the checkbox on LinkedIn to send you update to Twitter.

So, what about posting your business updates to your Facebook profile? While it’s a little off the topic of cross-posting, the concept is the same to me.  Have your friends signed up to hear about your business by being your friend?  No.  So, if you find yourself with over a quarter of your Facebook updates (a good benchmark to me) to be about your business, maybe it’s time to consider a business Fan Page so your friends can opt-in to receive your business updates.

The risk you run with not keeping these audience/culture factors in mind, is people will hide or unfollow you, and then they’re not seeing ANY of your updates. For example, I hide many people on Facebook because they overwhelm my stream, and unfortunately that means I don’t see any of their updates anymore. Update 4/30/10: LinkedIn has now added a “hide” option, so even more reason not to cross-post, or you’ll be hidden and never be seen again!

So, my final message is this… think about your audience and the culture before cross-posting!

What do you think?  Is it OK for people to automatically cross-post?  Why or why not?

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    • http://twitter.com/JohnFMoore John Moore

      This is a great topic and something I have struggled with myself. Each social channel that you participate on, be it facebook, twitter, slideshare, email, in-person, should be utilized in a manner that is mindful of your goals for that channel and the audience that you are reaching.

      Seems pretty simple, right? Here are my thoughts:

      - As I tell anyone willing to listen, Twitter is simply the doorway to deeper engagement and conversation. For me, I share thoughts, links to my blog (come through the door into my house to hear more). The key is to Keep the message simple, add value.
      - Facebook is a channel that I use to share a more personal view into who I am. The message, while still simple and still focused on adding value, is definitely low key, and more laid back.
      - My blog is my house, where I am free to explore topics more deeply, engage in great dialog through comments.

      In each of these channels the content you are delivering will be different. The tone may also differ from channel to channel. What does not change is the core of who you are, the core of your message. Social conversations only work if they are genuine so you must be genuine across each channel.

      John

    • rlevy2

      Great way to think about it (especially the “house”). Thanks for the
      comment!

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    • http://twitter.com/TPapi Thomas Trumble

      Great post and you are absolutely right about customizing your updates to your audience. I've been on all sides of this issue auto-blogging Del.icio.us bookmarks, auto-posting Tweets to Facebook and finally being more selective about the messages that I send to each audience.

      Another issue, beyond targeting your message, is the annoyance factor when you are friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter and therefore get an update in both locations. Why read this twice? Where to respond?

      Targeting updates and from my laptop is easy, I use Digsby and can send an update to one or more social networks. From my BlackBerry there is no app with the same functionality that I have found. Selective Twitter Status works, but I dislike the #FB, #IN suffixes that indicate to your audience the update routing. I'm still looking.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      I haven't tried Digsby, except for an IM client on my website a while back.
      I'll have to check it out. Yes, I agree about the double reading… happens
      to me all the time. I usually reply on twitter (because it looks like it
      was a Twitter update)

    • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

      Don't get me started. I tweeted this frustration the other day, focusing on seeing irrelevant tweets on LinkedIn, for instance: http://twitter.com/ariherzog/status/5922902937

      You can also see http://www.ragan.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&type=g… for both my and other people's perspectives.

    • http://doughaslam.com doughaslam

      A while back, I sent all Tweets to Facebook, for 2 reasons:

      1- frustration with the tools for being selective;
      2 – the audiences were not differentiated.

      #2 changed rapidly on Facebook, so I reconsidered. Seesmic and Selective Tweets helped me solve #1- with some minimal re-training of how I send messages. Twitter is the hub (my “Lifestream” for people who must use that silly term), but I have better control as to how I distribute those messages.

      The addition of the LinkedIn connection has been easy to integrate. Also, even fewer of my Tweets (ones where I say smart things about my profession– so VERY few) get the “#in” hashtag to appear on my LinkedIn profile.

      it's working. One just needs to think.

    • rlevy2

      Thanks for the comment Dough. Yes, thinking is key :-) I'm glad you left
      the dark side!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555802396 facebook-555802396

      I agree each channel has a different purpose, but as a result, there is relatively little overlap between my friend/follower/connections lists across the networks. Unless an update is specifically geared to say my friends or business contacts, I find cross-posting to be valuable. Of course, sometimes I modify the post to fit the medium (longer than 140 characters, less use of hashtags on Facebook, for example).

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    • Jayna

      Great post! I have two friends who cross post on Facebook and Twitter often. But neither work in Marketing – so their perspectives are very different.
      One does use Twitter as a Marketing tool, but is a photographer and I find her volume of “tweets” to be lower than an average Marketer. When she does cross post, she gives us content that is engaging, personal and appropriate for either audience. I do think her business, one that is socially oriented (what's more personal than cherished photographs), lends itself to cross-posting. The other uses Twitter socially, as he does Facebook. So he's got content that works in a similar manner than the photographer. It was an interesting insight because as a Marketer, I agree with you completely. Having these two friends engaging in the channels, I find I was able to get a different perspective on how the tools are used when their core competency is not Marketing.
      All that being said, these two individuals are very rare circumstances and anyone using these tools as part of their day-to-day business strategies, needs to be mindful of how to use the tools. Your thoughts on this are a great guideline for using these tools.

    • http://twitter.com/DeKoning Brian DeKoning

      Great post. I agree with a lot of what you've said. I think businesses using twitter and facebook fanpages should automatically feed tweets to FB. I think showing up often in the FB feeds of fans is acceptable and wise given that people rarely look through older posts and you never know when you're going to catch someone checking FB. Thanks for the advice in this post!

    • SouthLemon

      I selective cross post twitter to Facebook those activities I think mainly friends and family are interested in, concerts for example. This way my local twitter people might use it and others for example might check it out when that band comes to their town. I don't do any twitter business and I do not cross post politics, science, sports, ie general news items unless I'm in the news (not very often).
      Nothing from LinkedIn goes back or forth to twitter/Facebook.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      I agree when it comes to business related tweets. But, how about a personal
      tweet from a business account? (i.e. Going to walk my dog now — it's
      beautiful out) The culture on Facebook Fan Pages is NOT to have those types
      of updates, but it IS on Twitter.

    • http://twitter.com/MikeLangford Mike Langford

      I break it down to a little more basic level. I use social media tools to engage in conversations that are relevant to me and my business. I cross post tweets to Facebook because the audiences are largely different. There is a large number of my friends who do not use Twitter but with whom I love to engage in online conversation.

      Example: The other night I tweeted “Question for non-vegetarians: If you had to do without beef, chicken, or pork which would it be?” I ended up having fun and lively conversations on both channels.

      I'm not sure it's a valid assumption to state that the audiences are different so the tools must not commingle. Increasingly the lines between work, family and play intertwine and people are getting better at digesting the information that is relevant to them when it is presented. Heck there's a reason there are so many brands on Facebook right?

      Lastly I think it is important to remember that all of these tools are opt in. If someone doesn't think the content you are sharing is worth seeing they can simply unfollow on Twitter or hide your on Facebook.

    • http://twitter.com/MikeRobert Mike Robert

      Hey Rachel- Great topic! Surely something all marketers have pondered at least once ;)

      I think the biggest considerations are: who is your audience? what content do you share?

      If your Facebook/Twitter audiences are the same and your content is too, then sure why not cross-post.

      If your audiences are not the same, I think it's best to tailor the content you share. In this case, automatic cross posting seems less genuine — more like link-dumping on a Twitter account with no engagement.

      However, that's not to say you couldn't post those tweets over to Facebook — it might just be more appropriate to @reply some friends in the status or keep it to a Facebook message :)

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      I agree with the example tweet you noted below… as it's not specific to
      Twitter or Facebook. But, taking a look at your Facebook stream… “Caught
      episode 22 of @QuicknDirty tonight. @AaronStrout & @MediaPhyter gave my
      @NomX3 cohost @JeffCutler some props. http://is.gd/504nW“ – do you think
      that's something Facebook people understand? What are these @ symbols? etc.
      It's very Twitter focused.

      Yes, there are tons of brands on Facebook, but you're not a brand…
      TweetWorks is. I am friends with Mike on Facebook to see Mike the person,
      not Mike the business. Does every one of your friends in real life care
      about Tweetworks? If they're not on Twitter, they probably don't care! (no
      offense).

      All I'm saying is that every update deserves a *decision* if to crosspost,
      if not it's just mass marketing, ignoring audiences and culture.

    • sarahwallace

      As someone who ghost blogs, tweets and Facebooks for clients in a variety of industries. I do cross-post but NOT automatically. I post the same news on Twitter or FB but I post them differently. Twitter only allows 140 characters whereas FB allows much more of an explanation.

      And, the reason for cross-posting, why not? Many people of FB aren't on Twitter or some prolific Twitter users hardly check their FB. There's nothing wrong with redundancy.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Thanks for yout comment A few key words in what you said … Not
      automatically and client. Yes, I think selectively cross posting is
      fine. Also , if you're talking about a business account and a fan
      page, I think cross posting is more appropriate, but still raises 2
      questions for me. Is the VOLUME appropriate for facebook? Are personal
      updates on a business Twitter account also the culture on facebook? In
      most cases, I'd argue no on both.

    • sarahwallace

      For my clients, they have a business Twitter and Facebook fanpage.

      For me, my Twitter represents me both personally and professionally and I think I find a nice balance in my posts.

      For Facebook, I have a personal account which is just my close family and friends and then I have a professional account which is anyone I've met through business or networking. With the second account, I make friendly comments but mostly post about my business and my business blog.

      If you find FB to be so difficult, you try two accounts such as I did. Hope this helps. – Sarah

    • http://twitter.com/MikeLangford Mike Langford

      Hmm…I would love to see how many clicks this post got from Facebook. :)

      One subtle subtext I'm hearing here is “Facebook users are unsophisticated and incapable of digesting information from an outside source.” I'm just not sure that is true. People have the opportunity to ask questions or to simply skip over the post.

      Do you really think that people on Facebook who do not use Twitter can't read the above tweet and understand what it means?

      I think the personal branding folks like Dan Schawbel and Gary Vaynerchuk might disagree with you that I am not a brand. We all are. On Facebook, as elsewhere, I am Mike Langford and Tweetworks is a part of who I am and what I do. It's one of the major things going on in my life and those people who are interested enough in me to connect on Facebook are given the opportunity to share in my excitement about everything. When I tweeted a few weeks ago that Tweetworks was celebrating its one year birthday I got a few congratulations from people on Facebook who have never been on Tweetworks. They care because they care about me.

      I'm always leery of absolute proclamations of “This is how it's done because this is how I like it.” Which carries with it a “I am smarter than you, that's why.” connotation. Who the heck are we to tell other people how to use social tools? I still think it is laughable and moronic that people get all heated and start spewing self righteous BS about auto-DMs on Twitter. My argument is that maybe it is you (the person morally offended by the auto-DM not you Rachel you) that needs a lesson here. Why on Earth would you follow someone you weren't interested in and then get mad because they had the nerve to DM you? Maybe you should pay a little more attention to whom you are connecting.

      Everyone uses these tools differently. I've noticed you use Twitter as a replacement for Google even for things that would show up on page one of the results. I personally tend to go to Google first and then turn to Twitter either for sentiment or for help after I've exhausted search. Neither approach is wrong if it works for you.

      In the end, you are never going to like everything your contacts share on social channels. Some people share too much, some share too frequently, some share stupid stuff and some pimp a little too hard. It's my belief however that if the connection is genuine you will focus on the stuff you like and overlook the stuff that doesn't interest you.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      I definitely didn't mean to say Facebook users are unsophisticated at all.
      It's just very out of context to see Twitter language on a different tool.
      With all marketing tools, we need to take into account who our audience is.
      So, if our audience isn't a Twitter crowd, speaking to them in code doesn't
      make sense. Sure, they can understand it if they want to, but why make them
      work for it?

      The other issue I raised in the post is the VOLUME issue… tweets are
      usually at a much higher volume than Facebook. They overwhelm people's
      streams more than on Twitter, where many people are tweeting a lot. Again,
      it's just out of context/culture.

      You're right, you ARE a brand… I didn't mean to say that the way I did
      above. But, there's a way to establish yourself as a brand (let's say,
      “someone who knows about social media and owns a company called Tweetworks”)
      without giving everyone all the details that they might not care about. So,
      to be specific, do your non-Twitter friends need to know much more about
      your social media brand/company than that's just who you are, and be
      occassionally reminded of it and what's going on in your world? Do they
      need to see 20 tweets/day to know that? I'd argue no! :-) Is updating them
      occassionally about a particular blog post or your Tweetworks anniversary
      important? YES! But, that's being selective…. and not funneling
      EVERYTHING through to facebook. On my personal facebook with business stuff
      occassionally – I update with my blog posts, when something exciting
      happens, events I'm promoting, etc., but not every tweet.

      Re using Twitter as a google replacement… good thought. I have thought
      about that before, but continue to do it because it makes up a small portion
      of my tweets, it gives people an opportunity to help and interact, and I
      prefer the personal recommendations/answers!

      We may need to keep this up over a drink, or should we continue here? :-)

    • http://twitter.com/fairminder Jim Spencer

      I saw the tweets about this post.
      I cross post Twitter to Facebook. My Twitter account is me, meaning neither business nor personal, but both really.

      Why do I cross post? Because I am me and I post in a pretty well rounded fashion, meaning not limited to business or personal or anything else. The concept of having multiple Twitter accounts is a real challenge for me. Maintaining different personas across many sites would make me schizophrenic, which I am not. Everyone gets to see it all. There are so many good things in life demanding my attention that this is the best that I can do. Besides I hate using Facebook because the user interface is very poor.

      I see the different social media properties (twitter, facebook, linkedin etc) as outposts where people gather. I am there, where they can find me or block me. ;-) My only regret is for those friends to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Sorry people.

      Should Nordstroms do what I am doing. No, they should not. They should have a dedicated account giving away 50% off coupons.

    • http://twitter.com/peplau Derek Peplau

      Good post, Rachel. I don't think it's one size fits all for this. As a reasonably heavy user of twitter, I don't mind seeing the Twitter updates of the few people who engage in this cross-posting while I'm scanning facebook activity. I don't catch every tweet from my A-Listers on Twitter (of which you are one!), so I often catch them in the relatively slower stream of Facebook.

      That said, most of the people I'm friends with on facebook don't roll w/ Twitter. I tried doing it for awhile, but I *personally* have opted not to cross-post. When friendfeed is working, (most of) my tweets can be seen on my profile page, so if people really want to see my tweets in facebook, they can go there to see them.

      For people who use Twitter more for business than personal reasons, it makes more sense to peg one to the other as your audience will probably appreciate them more. But you are correct; tweets can be gibberish to those who don't use Twitter.

      Depending on how you use Twitter and who your friends are, cross-posting may work (in large part) for some. But I don't think it's a black and white social media faux pas to do it.

    • http://jimstorer.posterous.com/ Jim Storer

      I saw this last night via Mike Langford's tweet, but I was on a self-imposed “no social media” for my anniversary evening so my response had to wait.

      I'm totally on the fence. Rachel – love you post and appreciate your perspective, but there are two things that have been pointed out in the comments that are important to highlight.

      1. Everyone uses these tools differently. Your use case for FB might be completely different for my use case, including frequency and types of posts, audience, etc.
      2. These tool are all opt in. If someone doesn't like the way I use them they can stop listening. It's a bit harsh, but it's true. I had a friend in real life who started following me on FB tell me he wasn't sure he could be my friend on FB because of the volume of my updates. We remain friends both in real life and on FB to this day.

      I'm on the fence because I see some amazing conversations start on FB from something I typed into Twitter… and sometimes it includes people who actively use Twitter. They don't seem to have the same volume of friends on FB, so it makes it easier to see something I've said (my guess). I haven't tried the relatively new convention #in and #fb on Twitter and might, but I'm very conscious about what I say on Twitter that's going to end up in FB. I send so many @replies on Twitter that never make it FB. I haven't started feeding into LinkedIn yet, so I can't comment there.

      So, I don't have a lot of answers, except it's all evolving and we need to be constantly looking at the way we use these tools. I remember when I first started using Twitter @pistachio and @chrisbrogan where a major % of the tweets in my stream (sometimes annoyingly so)… as I've grown my followers and they've evolved the way they use the tools it's no longer an issue.

      I don't feel like sharing Tweets on Facebook is noise, given the way I've chosen to structure those tools for my use. YMMV.

      Jim | @jimstorer

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    • http://twitter.com/TPapi Thomas Trumble

      Was just reading a post from Chris Brogan on Ways to Be Human at a Distance and came across this tip with is apropos.

      Make each conversation unique to the platform – By this, I mean that I prefer individual conversations on Facebook that aren’t cloned into Twitter and/or back again. I believe it’s more authentic to be in one place at a time. Even if you say similar things in both places, I prefer it that way than to blanket automated clatter.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Great quote. I couldn't agree more! Thanks.

    • leanneclc

      Rachel –

      I agree for the most part. But I think it does depend on your audience. I really feel my twitter and my LinkedIn audiences are very similar so I do double post those.

      Also, I believe LInkedIn is not used like Twitter. It's a tool you go into now and then when you need something. Not one you have open much of the day. So most of my linked in contacts never even see the updates to my status. But it's nice to have them there to give a little more business information out.

      I also have a Facebook business page that I have linked to my business twitter account. This is simply all about business and so are my audiences there.

      So, having been in marketing for many years, I agree – it seems odd that some people double post to very different audiences. But sometimes it's simply a way to not have to duplicate efforts and interact a bit more with similar audiences.

    • http://marketingyoursmallbiz.typepad.com/ Judy Dunn

      Rachel,

      A timely topic. I just realized that my twitter updates were going automatically to my LinkedIn profile. I'm changing that because it just doesn't make sense. Now I need to figure out the hashtag thing so I can send selective ones there.

      Just had a (seemingly) friend point out what I was doing on his blog, using me as a “bad example.” (Screen shot of the twitter stream, my face, my LinkedIn profile and all!)

      A little off point, but kind of irritating. He now is a self-proclaimed “social media expert” (as of four months ago) and is trying to build his rep, I guess.

      I do not send any of my tweets to Facebook. My friend there are just that—my friends. I get tired os seeing people's tweets again on Facebook. There's enough noise out there as is.

      Thanks for starting this discussion. Will be intersted in what others have to say.

      Judy
      @CatsEyeWriter

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Thanks for the comment Judy. You can use #in to post certain tweets to
      LinkedIn (a great option in my mind!). Sorry your “friend” called you out
      like that… it should have been done anonymously.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Thanks for your comment. I see your point that most people don't check
      LinkedIn for status updates. But, given that most of us on Twitter post
      updates that are not business updates as well, do you still think that's
      appropriate. For example, today I posted on Twitter that I was taking my
      dog to the vet. Seems OK on Twitter, but wouldn't that be odd on LinkedIn,
      given the very business culture on there?

    • http://twitter.com/Plankmatsnmore Doreen Hing

      I like the differentiation, I kind of use SM as you outlined but your explanation helps to have it defined more succinctly. I do wish my friends would use either medium more. You did bring up a point of FB & “HIDES”,I would like some settings so that Friends or Fanpages who tend to be one track posters, could be infrequently updated, sometimes they do go off track, admittedly not that often.

    • http://twitter.com/Plankmatsnmore Doreen Hing

      I like the differentiation, I kind of use SM as you outlined but your explanation helps to have it defined more succinctly. I do wish my friends would use either medium more. You did bring up a point of FB & “HIDES”,I would like some settings so that Friends or Fanpages who tend to be one track posters, could be infrequently updated, sometimes they do go off track, admittedly not that often.

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    • http://michelletripp.com michelletripp

      I totally agree, Rachel. Great post! I've been on the fence lately as I watch more and more Linkedin contacts posting frequent updates into their stream. But I'm glad you wrote this post because it just confirms what I was leaning toward: Keeping social media channels focused and relevant. Overwhelming your contacts with too much information (or the wrong kind of information) creates a time suck, and ultimately decreases your value to them. Thanks again for a great post!