Is Cross-posting to Social Media Channels Worth It?

Cross-posting has become a way for marketers to scale their social media presences by leveraging the content from one platform and reposting it elsewhere. It's become clear that this is the case for many brands with a Google+, in particular. You don't need to spend too much time to realize that many brand Google+ pages feature duplicate content from Facebook and Twitter presences. Why? Too many marketers do not understand Google+ but feel the need to be present because of the myth that Google+ brand pages have a direct impact on SEO.

Posting content and being present on Google+ does not improve SEO. Matt Cutts of Google recently came out to reveal that social signals, including Likes, retweets and +1s will not have a short-term impact on search performance. In addition, recent reports from groups like Search Engine Land have found no correlation between having and using a Google+ account and improved search rankings.

Google+'s user base just isn't very active. Sure, it boasts 250 million users, but a small percentage of that user base is actually engaged. Most of them are simply logging in to YouTube or Gmail or other Google service. This lack of engagement on the actual Google+ platform means social signals from Google+ would provide a rather circumspect input into search rankings--not a very Google-like datapoint.

Google+ can play a role in website strategy. It does create social signals for brand and site content, but so does Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Google+ does not get special treatment. One benefit is that people who have circled your brand on Google+ will see brand posts in relevant search results.

That being said, marketers should not steer away from Google+. It allows marketers to expand their organizations' social presences to another platform and potentially a new audience or an audience that prefers engagement on Google+.

Cross-posting, however, is not the way to do that.

You're Opening a New Door, and People will Come In.

The first part of of social media is social. Cross-posting to another platform implies a 'set-it-and-forget-it' attitude. Content is posted, and the platform is viewed as taken care of. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Opening your doors to a new platform invites people to come in, ask questions, raise criticisms, give praise and so on. People will talk back. A brand using any social network to broadcast will see low engagement and ineffective outcomes from their efforts. The gain is not worth the potential damage to customer relationships. Any brand establishing a presence on a new platform needs to be prepared to curate that community and engage with them.

Duplicate Content Can be Detrimental.

What's interesting about expanding into Google+ with duplicate content is that it actually has the potential to hurt SEO. Duplicate content can be viewed as spammy by search engines and actually have the opposite effect of what brands are hoping for.

Different Spaces Mean Different Approaches.

Platforms have different sets of users and different strengths and weaknesses. No platform is the same, and they can't be treated that way. Google+ is different from Facebook, which is different from Twitter, which is different from every platform out there. Every platform should feel like a unique experience, and a copy-and-paste approach to content is not valuable to your audience or your business. If you must, duplicate the idea behind the content. Don't say exactly the same thing but provide a different take on the same idea on each social network.

There are No Shortcuts.

Shortcuts don't exist in this space. Duplicating efforts may seem like a simple way to more success, but it has the potential to harm overall business initiatives. Instead, use each effort to inform every other effort by leveraging learnings, the ideas behind content and the strengths of each individual platform.