Using Facebook and Twitter to Get Your Message Out
If you’ve been in the social media game for awhile, you’re likely dabbling in multiple channels by now (Facebook and Twitter, at least). If you’re extra savvy, you’re posting multiple times a day in each place, and you might even be using a tool like HootSuite to manage it all in one place.
Inevitably, now and then, you will sit down and think, “Ugh. I should probably tweet something.”
And then, after you’ve thought of your golden nugget of wisdom or quirky one-liner, and you’re exhausted from the mental exertion, you’ll think, “Can I just post the same thing on Facebook?”
The answer: probably not. And here’s why.
How Cross-Posting Hurts Your Message
- It bores people. No one wants to see the same message twice, and you don’t want to punish the people who are devoted enough to follow you in multiple places. Anyone who notices a repeat message from you will see right through your well-meaning exterior, directly to your seemingly apathetic, shortcut-seeking core.
- It shows that you don’t understand how to best use each platform. Twitter is not just a skinnier version of Facebook. Each tool has very unique features that you need to be taking advantage of. Smattering identical messages across multiple platforms prevents you from doing that, leaving you with some middle-ground, non-custom message that might suggest that you either don’t really get it or don’t really care.
- It shows that you don’t know your audience. You probably have a unique crowd following you on each channel. Maybe you have more locals and people you know personally following you on Facebook, with more national businesses and people you don’t know following you on Twitter. Catering your message to each group makes you sound more personable and approachable, rather than distant and salesy.
- It dilutes your message. Something that was powerful and attention-grabbing on Twitter can sound lifeless and unoriginal when it’s later seen on Facebook (or vice versa). The minute you’re perceived as repetitive or irrelevant, you’re at risk of losing precious clout—or worse, followers.
Facebook vs. Twitter: What’s the Dif?
Sure, there are technical differences between Facebook and Twitter—people can use hashtags (meaningfully) on Twitter and they can like things on Facebook, Twitter has a character limit while Facebook does not, and so on. But a lot of the most crucial differences are in the way people currently perceive and use these channels.
People mostly use Twitter to connect with influencers and cohorts in their industries, and they often follow lots of people and companies they don’t know personally. Because the Twitter stream is more saturated and real-time in nature, people are less likely to see tweets unless they happen to be checking Twitter in a certain window of time after the tweet is posted. For this reason, more frequent tweeting is less taboo. The most critical tweeting skill is the ability to entice readers to click links.
Facebook is still used primarily to connect with people you know and, to a lesser extent, brand personalities you want to be associated with. It’s great for asking open-ended questions and generating discussions, since the threads are packaged together nicely and therefore easier to follow than they are on Twitter. Facebook content still tends to be more personal and include more pictures. Unlike tweets, frequent Facebook posts are considered spammy, and are grounds for blocking and unliking.
How to Customize Your Message for Each Channel
So we’re all on the same page that direct cross-posting is bad. But you still want to share the same general messages across your social media platforms. Where do you begin?
- Look at your audiences on each channel. Who are these people, how did they find you, and why are they following you? Are they primarily looking for industry knowledge, entertainment, or exclusive deals on your products?
- Identify the goal of your message. Are you trying to start a discussion, inform or entertain, make an announcement, or share a link? Think about how your goal compares to the audience goals you just identified and whether this message is truly appropriate for both platforms.
- Draft your message. I usually start with a tweet, since frequent posting is more acceptable on Twitter. Then, if I’m still confident that my tweet is “critical” enough to be translated for Facebook, given that I want to keep my Facebook update quota much lower, I’ll continue to the next step.
- Translate your message. If I’m translating a tweet into a Facebook status, I’ll remove any hashtags, add an image that supports the post, and rewrite the message in a tone that’s more appropriate for my Facebook audience. Because I’m no longer restricted to 140 characters, I can add an additional teaser or detail if I feel it’ll help attract attention.
When posting on Twitter or Facebook, there are different aspects of your presentation that become more critical. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when translating content between these platforms:
Twitter Posting Checklist
- Use hashtags that relate to your audience and what the tweet is about (but don’t use them just for the heck of it or make them up left and right)
- Use teasers to get users to click links
- Include an interesting line or actionable tip from an article rather than the article title
- Feel free to tweet more frequently
Facebook Posting Checklist
- Ask questions and encourage discussion
- Post appealing images
- Pick timeline cover and profile pictures that really show your brand’s personality
- Post less frequently, but make ‘em count
General Posting Checklist
- Be unique and likeable
- Focus on building your brand personality rather than direct sales
- Do not spam!
- Post as a person, not a company
- Respond to EVERYONE who reaches out to you, even if just to say hello or thank you
- When posting blog posts on Twitter, include a teaser that entices people to click through. On Facebook, make sure the image you attach to the link is the one that best describes the post or is most likely to attract interest.
Fine Tune Your Results
Perfecting a cross-platform social media strategy takes time and plenty of tweaking.
Use analytics reports to figure out which posts people are interacting with the most and which ones are falling flat. If no one ever clicks on your blog posts when you post them on Facebook, stop posting them to avoid losing followers. If no one ever clicks your links on Twitter, think about how you can spice up your teasers—“new post!” might not be enough to get folks in the door.
Do you cross-post? What have you found helpful in customizing your messages for each platform?