Marketing Director

Understanding Social Networks: Delivery

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?


    1. You know, when you asked me if you could use this in a blog post, I thought you meant the tweet in question. That aside, you're 100% right in saying I'm taking a risk - but with only 24 hours in a day, it's one I'm willing to live with.

      This wasn't the first time someone asked about the hashes, and it certainly won't be the last. For the most part, I try to minimize the confusion by using self-explanatory hashes; most of the time, people pass them off as typos, but when it comes to acronyms though (e.g. #3TYVR), that's when things get confusing. Confusing to the point of hiding your feed? Hopefully not - but definitely plausible.

      What can we do? Well - there are selective cross-posting tools. For example (and I can't remember its name), there's one that posts to Facebook only when you add the hashtag #fb. Mind you, that ruins the purpose of hashtags, but you've got to give somewhere.

      Alternatively, there are lots of social media tools and plugins out there that let you be more selective about your message. Tweetdeck lets you select where your posts go (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and so do a myriad of other social-media apps and plugins. It's just a matter of finding one that connects to all of your favourite networks.

      P.S. Just a heads up - if you're plugging into Facebook via Twitter, any tweet starting with an @name will not be carried over, meaning you're safe with replies, unless you decide to get creative.

    2. Great post Kemp. I think you've touched on a really important issue here.

      I've heard a great number of people actually complain about the spammy-ness of cross linking a twitter account to facebook.

      My philosophy on this is that twitter and facebook (and all other social media tools) occupy their own separate niches and are actually best suited for entirely different types of communication. In other words, there is a reason (and a good reason) why I post certain content on twitter and other, completely different content, on facebook.

      Some platforms, like hootsuite and tweetdeck, allow you to post the same content across different social media sites simultaneously -- BUT JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES'T MEAN YOU SHOULD!!!

      I've seen people actually lose friends on facebook because they linked their account to twitter; people seem to find that really obnoxious and annoying. Facebook wasn't really intended for promoting professional interests to your friends (unless via facebook groups). Twitter on the other hand is perfectly suited for promoting professional interests.

      If people are not understanding cryptic tweets which are being fed to facebook, or are becoming irritated by the high frequency of facebook status updates being generated by your twitter account, doesn't this defeat the whole purpose of linking the two accounts together in the first place?

      The point of social networking is to develop relationships, not to spam your existing ones right?

      That's just my two cents.

      Jonathan Becker

    3. Kemp,

      A very well written post!

      Cross-hashtags do present a level of confusion for only casual social media users. Correct me if I am wrong, but hashtags seem to have originated from the idea of categories in blog posts. They are used as a way of tracking and organizing information for improved SEO purposes.

      For the reasons and examples that you bring up with Jeremy’s post, that is exactly why I keep my Twitter & Facebook feeds separate. For one, I don’t like having #fb connected to each of my tweets if a tweet is destined for facebook rather than Twitter. Second, I am able to provide more information on Twitter that is relevant to my followers and myself. On Facebook, a lot of my friends don’t care to be inidated with information that I post on Twitter. Yes, I can separate groups on Facebook as to who see’s my status updates, but I can’t create separate feeds destined for different groups of Facebook friends.

      For these reasons, I keep my social networking platforms separate until there is a better way of cross-posting on multiple platforms.

    4. Great post. I'm glad to see someone bring up the issue of delivery across different platforms.

      For the most part I think people have learned to tune it out or ignore it, but, like you mentioned, that can have a negative impact on the message being delivered.

      Another social network that deserves mention in this discussion is FourSquare. Personally, there's nothing more annoying than getting a location update on Twitter. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of the location sharing phenomenon, but having to read a location Tweet is about as exciting as reading about someone's dinner description.

      I really don't see the value in being able to cross post content from Foursquare to Twitter.

    5. Very good point. Although I am one of the guilty parties, (at least on LinkedIn - I don't send my tweets to Facebook) I can certainly see the wisdom in keeping accounts separate.

      My rationale for linking my LinkedIn profile to twitter is that I don't visit LinkedIn nearly as often as I do Twitter and Facebook so if I didn't link to something, my connections on LinkedIn would get very little content from me. Basically, sometimes confusing content might be better than almost none?

      Now I'm thinking this might actually be a little short-sighted of me seeing as, like you said Kemp, these social networks serve distinctly different purposes. LinkedIn visitors aren't expecting the same amount of content as people viewing a Twitter feed.

      Food for thought anyways... thanks!