Libraries, Marketing, Nonprofits, Training

Social Media Strategies: To Cross Post or Not?

I have recently noticed a bit of a divide among my clients and library marketing colleagues when it some to social media. While some libraries and organizations cross-post their content, others shy away from this practice and create separate and/or unique content for each platform.

When I was a Library Marketing & Communications Director, I saw the value in cross-posting certain types of content. We used a “hub and spoke” model, where our website was the “hub” for content, and the “spokes” were the different social media platforms. For certain types of universal content, such as the marketing of services and programs, we would frequently create a landing page or blog post on our website, and then cross-post that content to all of our social media platforms with a link back to the site. We would tweak the format for the platform, but essentially it was the same. Sometimes we would use Google trackable links to see which platform drove the most traffic back. My team found this to be efficient and effective.

On the other hand, we also had some members of our social media team who were particularly good at creating unique content for specific platforms. One staff member was an excellent photographer who would come up with great images for Instagram. Another was really good at Twitter posts that incorporated relevant hashtags. Still another would find funny library-related memes to post to Facebook. So in this way, we had what felt like a healthy mix of unique content and cross-posted content.

Several years have passed since I left that job to start consulting, and recently I have been hearing examples of libraries or other organizations who do not use cross-posting. That got me wondering, have social media best practices changed? I decided to do some reading among thought leaders in the industry.

First, I read the article, “Is Cross-Posting on Social Media a Bad Thing?” by Ana Gotter on the website for Agorapulse. She makes a case that cross-posting is fine, as long as you customize your content for each platform. “If you post on Instagram and include 15 hashtags, that’s not going to fit on your Facebook Page or your YouTube videos, or on LinkedIn,” she says. She then points out that some audiences may only be active on one platform, so if you don’t post a piece of content to that platform, they may miss it. “Cross-posting allows you to share your best content to your entire audience, no matter where they’ve chosen to follow you.” The article ends with five tips for successful cross-posting, such as staggering posts, understanding the audiences for each platforming, and customizing your content for each platform.

I then read another article, “Cross Posting on Social Media: Is It Useful in 2022?” on the website for SocialChamp. This post reiterates the need to customize content to different channels. This article also offers tips such as picking an optimal time to post, being thoughtful about hashtags, and including a call to action (that’s where trackable links can help you know if people act on your post!).

Finally, I read an article from HootSuite – the social media aggregator I find most commonly used among libraries and nonprofits, due to its reasonable cost and ease of use. In “A Guide to Cross-Posting on Social Media (Without Looking Spammy),” author Claire Beveridge says, “Crossposting is also beneficial if you’re looking to increase brand awareness because it’s an opportunity to get your message shared on various channels where it has a higher chance of being seen by your target audience. ” This article emphasizes the efficiency aspect of cross-posting while also recommending that you customize your content and speak in the language” of the different platforms. She cautions, “Your followers aren’t the only ones who’ll notice when you repost the same content; the platforms are catching on too.” She also includes some valuable insights into the demographics present on each platform. I always, say, start with your audiences, and social media is no exception!

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