144731101_acf0f08202_mI was sitting in a meeting one day and the conversation turned to how to approach social media marketing. A person on the call was asked to address the problem of how to keep an engaging presence on so many different platforms. At the time we were talking about Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The person replied, “Well, there are ways to set up your social media accounts so that when you post in one place, all of your other platforms are fed with the same content. This can save a company a lot of time in the long run.”

A lot of companies probably have gotten this advice over the years. In fact, we see evidence of it every day. Back before Facebook started using hashtags, a dead give-away was when a company page was loaded with posts that had hashtags after them. Twitter does not help mask this technique much either. You start reading a tweet that might seem interesting only to watch it peter out with an ellipses and a Facebook.com URL.

Imagine you’re at a party. You walk up to one person and you make a joke that you know will play with them. Next you walk up to a complete stranger whom you have no connection with and you make the same exact joke. Whereas the first person laughed hysterically, this second person is looking at you with a shocked expression. They’re offended. You tell the same joke to a third person whom you don’t know and they simply ignore you because they’ve heard you tell it the first two times.

Hopefully you would opt for being a wallflower over this kind of party strategy, but if you are cross-posting content to your different social media outposts, this is essentially what you’re doing. You’re saying to your Facebook community, “Yeah, you may feel like a community here that is unique and special, but I am going to share this *exact* same content at the *exact* same time with my Twitter community, my LinkedIn page, my YouTube community, and everywhere else I post content.” You might be saving time, but what are you losing in the process?

The fact is that as we interact with other people on different social media sites, we establish unique relationships with those people, both as individuals and eventually (hopefully) as a group or community. You begin to learn that your Twitter followers tend to like certain kinds of content that perhaps does not play as well with your Facebook community. Treating each group as special is integral to creating not just a community but also the kind of community that will increase its loyalty to your brand over time.

Finally, it’s important to note that certain kinds of posts work better on different sites. Visual posts are great for Google Plus and Facebook but don’t tend to work as well on Twitter and LinkedIn. Less formal posts are great for Twitter and Facebook but don’t work as well in the more professional LinkedIn environment. Trying to make your content fit into every single platform can be a bit like trying to make a square peg fit a round hole.

Instead of trying to save time, perhaps consider what your most important platforms are and make sure you have enough time to truly dedicate yourself to those areas. Why risk turning people off everywhere when you could be building a real sense of community in a couple of specific places?

What do you think? Are you a believer in cross-posting?

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelleramos/144731101/ via Creative Commons