Why do I post the same thing everywhere?

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

Disclaimer: I’ll start off by saying that the way I do things is only right for me. It isn’t right for you (without testing) and it’s certainly not a “best practice”, except for me and my peculiar workflow. Do test it, but don’t accept it as “the right way”. There is no such creature.

I was recently asked why I post the same general content everywhere. For example, in my morning sharing routine, I post #the5. Folks on LinkedIn and Twitter get just the headline, while folks on Google+ and Facebook get the “extended edition”. But each of the 5 major news items on all the networks are the same. This annoys some people, and understandably so – if you happen to follow me on all 4 networks, you’re effectively getting 2x redundant content. (2 of each version)

So why do I do this? Two reasons. First: not everyone is on the same networks, which the data illustrates nicely. Take a look at a day of traffic on my website by referring source (remembering that I share one of my posts in #the5):

Referral Traffic - Google Analytics

We see that Twitter’s about 20% of the day’s traffic, but it’s not the only social network in there. Google+ and Facebook make up another 14% or so of the traffic. LinkedIn didn’t love the content as much that day, so it’s lumped into the “other” category. What does this tell us? It says that people find the content on the network that suits them best. Sharing #the5 identically across networks helps them get what they want, where they want it.

The second reason I share across networks is the same reason I share a weekly roundup of #the5 in my newsletter, and why all those links that have been previously shared that week still garner large quantities of clicks. People miss stuff.

WhatCounts Publicaster Edition: Click Thru Performance Report

If everyone were paying attention all of the time, the links I share in my newsletter each week would get zero clicks. Everyone would have seen them already and it’d all be old news, totally not worth reading. However, everyone isn’t paying attention all of the time. Or even some of the time. That’s why my roundup newsletter works for me, and that’s why posting on all the different networks also works for me.

Let me illustrate with my friend and colleague, DJ Waldow.

Here’s a quick summary of DJ’s social presence:

  • Twitter: following 11,089 people
  • Google+: following 494 people
  • LinkedIn: connected to 1,140 people
  • Facebook: friends with 597 people and an unknown but large number of Pages

If you look carefully, these are the people DJ is following, not the people who follow him. This is important because each person he follows is effectively a channel. That means that my chances of him seeing my Tweets are 0.009% (assuming all 11,089 people he follows Tweet equally, which is likely not the case). But you get the idea. I represent a tiny portion of his Twitter universe. On Google+, I’m 1 out of 494. That means I’m 0.202% of his audience there. Again, for comparison purposes, if we say that everyone on Google+ shares 1 thing, the likelihood of my 1 update being seen is 22.4 times greater than on Twitter.

I’d bet your network distributions look like this, too. You’ve got one or two networks that are blowing up, and two or three networks where things aren’t nearly as busy. If I just posted #the5 on Twitter and did something completely different on Google+ or Facebook, the chances of it being seen go down significantly. By sharing some of the same content across all 4 networks, the chances of it catching your attention on a less-busy network go up.

Does this mean you should run out right now and start sharing everything everywhere? Not without testing. Test it for a week, then look at your web analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. If after a week of posting across networks you don’t see a marked increase in traffic, then it’s probably not worth doing and you should resume sharing the way it’s always worked best for you.

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