I know, it’s convenient to use the exact same, exact content for your library’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. And, yes, I know social media takes a lot of time!
But, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And that means that your library needs to stop cross-posting the exact same content. Here’s why:
- The audiences are different. If they weren’t different, why would you bother having accounts on both? There may be some cross-over, but people tend to gravitate to one or the other. They choose one over the other because they are different. They have preferences about the type of communication they like to engage in. Short and quick? Twitter. More in-depth, with threaded comments? Facebook. Respect your patrons’ choices and gear your content to the medium.
- The cultures are different. What communities expect in communication differs between Twitter and Facebook. As an example: If you’re promoting a book around a current event, you can bet there’s a Twitter hashtag to go with that event. Users often don’t like when these hashtags appear on their Facebook Walls. And, Twitter users are likely to miss your current-event-related tweet in a search, without the hashtag.
- Cross-posting on Facebook can actually hamper sharing. On Twitter, you need to keep those URLs short to save characters. On Facebook, people are far less likely to click a shortened link. When you’ve got the space to show a full URL on Facebook, people are leery of clicking something when they can’t readily identify the source. (UPDATE: This one may no longer apply to most Facebook users, since Facebook now includes titles and thumbnails for most URLs. Thanks to Carleen Huxley for the heads-up!)
- There’s no value added. For the few you might have who follow the library on both Twitter and Facebook, what do they get out of being a loyal fan in two places? If you’re cross-posting, nothing. Then, what’s the reward for them? There’s no incentive for anyone to follow your library on more than one network.
- It’s clear to social media regulars that you’re lazy. Blogger and stand-up comedian Amy Donohue writes of cross-posting: “It makes me stabby and drives those of us who actually know what we’re doing BONKERS. By bonkers I mean that I picture myself as one of those super balls that you bounce on the floor and it hits the ceiling and everything else in the room. That’s how cross-posting makes me feel.”
What does this mean to me, Laura?
It’s time for libraries to stop taking the easy way out and to do social media like it matters. If someone follows your library in multiple places, that person should be rewarded for that, not punished with redundant or irrelevant content. This isn’t an easy commitment to make, granted. It might be time to think really, really hard about why your library is in the social media sphere at all. Is it to simply broadcast programs constantly, or to actually use it as it is intended, to engage patrons?
There are 2 comments
Great article! But what about the small libraries trying to use social media but they don’t have the time or resources to post to Twitter and Facebook independently? I am pretty much the only person that does social media marketing as well as a number of other responsibilities.
I often tell libraries that, if they don’t have the resources to do both well, they shouldn’t do both. Look at your stats and demographics and figure out where your patrons are more often: Facebook or Twitter? Chances are, FB will be the more likely keeper, especially in small communities. Libraries, too often, try to do everything for everybody, and fail to please anyone. Focus on one social network where you can succeed.
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