5 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Cross The Streams In Social Media

Social media comes with a ton of benefits, but to make it work you need to invest heavily, and the most important investment is your time.

For brands and marketers that are already overextended, syncing up your Twitter updates with Facebook, your Facebook updates with Twitter, and your Google+ updates with Twitter and Facebook – and vice versa – before mass-broadcasting your message seems like a smart idea on paper, but it’s actually the worst thing you can do.

Here are 5 reasons why you should never cross the streams.

1. Twitter Isn’t Facebook Isn’t Google+

Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are each very different social networks with different communities, expectations and norms.

To maximise the ROI on each platform you need to be sure to tailor your brand presence accordingly. While some things should stay the same – notably any logos and avatars you use, and the ‘voice’ of your brand – mass-repetition of your message is a sure-fire way to poison the well and diffuse the interest level of your community. If you have lots of the same people across each of your social channels, there are few quicker ways to irritate them than seeing the same robotic updates from you everywhere they go.

2. All Status Updates Are Equal (But Some Are More Equal Than Others)

A tweet is limited to a maximum of 140 characters. Facebook status updates have a limit of 63,206 characters. Google+ has no limit whatsoever – you can publish messages of any size.

This means that unless you’re intentionally writing for Twitter on Google+ and Facebook and ensuring all your updates are 140 characters or less – and, really, who does that? – your longer synced messages will be cut short on Twitter, ending with ill-advised (and decidedly ugly) ellipses.

Syncing messages from Twitter to Facebook or Google+ is even worse, as functions such as @mentions and #hashtags that work brilliantly on Twitter don’t work (and look very out of place) everywhere else.

The only time it’s okay to cross the streams. And even then you should probably think about it.

3. Put The Social Into ‘Social Media’

By adopting a ‘copy and paste’ approach to your message you quickly give the appearance of broadcasting (as opposed to engaging), which cheapens the experience for you and your audience.

It’s the equivalent of rotating 360 degrees on the very top of a skyscraper, using a megaphone to ‘connect’ with your customers.

4. How Much Time Are You Actually Saving?

Consider this: Even if you continue to cross-post your updates, you’ll still need to regularly check Facebook and Twitter and Google+ to listen, react and engage with the respective communities on each. You know, the actual social stuff. So any time saved is pretty minimal, as it’s impossible to funnel the different responses into one place where you can mass-reply.

5. You Look Like A Spammer

Mass-updating and cross-posting between different social networks with no regard, consideration or (let’s face it) interest in or about the differences of each makes you look like a spammer. It’s that simple.

If this is actually who you are, then fine. Everybody else needs to be a little more courteous.

“I Don’t Have The Time!”

Look, I get it. You’re busy. But here’s your wake-up call: I’m busy, she’s busy, everybody is busy.

And everybody is competing with everybody else for attention. So if you’re too busy to invest the time and the effort to do things properly, why would you expect anybody to invest the time and the effort to pay attention to the things that you say? With social media, you’re better off staying out of it altogether than taking the sort of half-hearted approach that makes you look like a complete amateur. Or worse.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having the same messages on your different social channels from time-to-time, but blindly cross-posting everything at all times to all platforms (certainly when it’s automated) should be avoided at all the costs.

Bottom line? If you want results then you have to do the work. There are no short cuts to success.