The three major social networks or as a Pakistani gentleman who repurposed my presentation calls them "The Three Amigos" Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be considered the essential social networks for most users. Niche Social Networks are a different beast altogether. I want to discuss the differences in 'Delivery' for the Three Amigos.
Linking together different social media profiles is all the rage these days and it does save time, but it may do damage to people's networks that they may not consider. Consider how you felt the last time you read something you didn't understand. This may be how your network on LinkedIn or Facebook feel seeing RT, @ or # in a message you post. They may not understand what it is.
Twitter is different from Facebook and LinkedIn in that it has symbols and key strings you wouldn't normally see when using the other networks. If you are someone who has only heard of Twitter but hasn't come to understand these words and symbols it can be challenging to understand and off putting. Remember what it was like the last time you read something that you didn't understand completely.
I recently linked my Youtube with Twitter and Facebook. The problem was when I favourited things or added videos to a playlist I do it a whole bunch at once flooding the stream. Once I saw it I changed the settings which had a lot of good options, like it would only update my networks when i uploaded a new video. Let's look at a few examples of messages across social networks.
This is an example of what a Facebook post looks like from April Smith. Notice the logo and the meta description pulled from the page automatically by Facebook. April has also posted this to the DNC Fan Page wall by using Facebook's mention function neither the graphic, the meta description nor the mention appear when cross posting as below:
I don't mean to call out my friend Jeremy Lim he is a busy professional in high demand so I understand him using cross posting to save time and get out his message but one just has to read the comments section of his post to understand the reaction of users who didn't know what a hashtag (#) was.
This post could have appeared on Facebook in this way:
The big difference about the social networks is the different audiences. We can't treat them all the same. On Twitter the hashtags become links to searches about the topic (EX). This is what Jeremy's post looked like on Twitter:
On Twitter the message looks perfect and fits in the Twitter ecosystem, but on Facebook it looks out of place and makes at least one person feel like they 'haven't learned the tricks'. Jeremy reveals that in fact he is cross posting to almost a dozen different social networking sites with the same message. I believe doing so is taking a risk.
Lastly, one of my favourite independent local marketing people, Rosa Meyers. Rosa cross posts from Twitter to LinkedIn. Rosa is starting out in marketing and LinkedIn is one the best places for her to find and connect with current and future clients some of whom may have never seen an RT or a # because they don't use Twitter. This is what her cross posted tweet looked like on LinkedIn:
Cross posting from Twitter to LinkedIn is a problem due to the differences in frequency for people using each platform as well. The biggest risk here is that the audience and potential audience on LinkedIn don't appreciate the 'cryptic' and very frequent updates as much as the audience on Twitter does. We only get one chance to make a first impression and when someone sees a status update on LinkedIn that they don't understand they may be less likely to connect with us.
In conclusion, as more and more people start using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn it's important that they feel like these ecosystems are easy to understand and I believe cross posting makes that more difficult. This post started out as one but will now be made into two: Delivery and Frequency, which I will cover in a later post.
For people who talk regularly these different messages are not a problem, they talk about it and someone learns something. It's when you don't speak to someone who only sees you on LinkedIn or Facebook, that the sight of these characters and symbols, which they don't understand, can put them off of communications and as the poster we may never know as they hide our updates on Facebook or LinkedIn. What are your thoughts on cross posting? What social networks do you use? Do you notice these differences in symbols and language? What are your feelings about it?