You’ve probably heard it said that social media marketing is really just about developing a relationship with others on social media and then holding a conversation. This is always a good starting point for any type of social media marketing.
However, if you’re already on more than one social media network and you’re looking for ways to streamline that process and be more effective, then you’ll want to look at some smart ways you can cross promote instead of spinning your wheels doing the same work for multiple channels.
What is cross-promotion?
Cross-promotion is simply taking one goal and adapting it slightly for different social media networks. So, if you want to tell readers about an amazing article you just posted on your blog, you will target your posts to the readers who would be most interested in that article and then you’ll adapt your wording slightly to make the best use of your promotional time.
We all only have so many hours in the day. Cross-promotion helps you make the absolute best use of the social media marketing time you have at your disposal.
Understanding the Platforms
One of the keys to cross-promoting on social media is understanding the different platforms and the typical audience you’ll reach for each one. Understanding these dynamics will also allow you to make smart decisions on where to promote based on similar audiences.
Platform #1. Pinterest
Pinterest works a bit differently than some of the other social media platforms because it started as an image-centric platform. If you’ve ever had a chance to spend time on Pinterest, you’ll notice your homepage is typically populated with projects, recipes, and similar pins. There is a reason for this. Pinterest is dominated by women and things that interest them.
Out of the estimated 72.5 million users on Pinterest, 71% are women. However, men are starting to use the platform more, with the number of men using it doubling in 2014. Interestingly, in countries like India, Korea, and Japan, there is a 50/50 mix of men and women using the platform.
What to Take Away: If you are targeting women in the United States, Pinterest should be on your list of social media marketing choices.
The top category on Pinterest is food, so if you can somehow tie food into your niche, you may have an opportunity here to reach new readers. An example might be if you have a product that can tie into cooking in some way.
Platform #2. Facebook
Facebook is the largest of the social media networks at this time. There are an estimated 1.65 billion Facebook users who are active in any given month. The number increases by an average of 15% per year. With numbers like that, your target audience is likely to be on this social media giant, so this isn't one you want to overlook when it comes to online marketing.
Trying to reach adults in the mid-age range? The most common age group on Facebook is 25 to 34 years old, according to a 2012 Emarketer report.
If you're trying to reach users outside of the United States, Facebook can be a valuable resource since 84.2% of daily active users are not in the US or Canada but in another country.
Platform #3. Twitter
Twitter is a platform that allows super-short posts of 140 characters or less. You can also tweet out an image, video that is on Vine, etc. Twitter has an estimated 310 million users as of April, 2016. Around 65 million of those users are based in the USA.
About 26% of teens state that Twitter is their favorite social media platform, so if you are trying to reach a younger crowd, it can be a great presence. However, there are people of all ages on Twitter, so also consider it as a promotional tool to reach adults.
The makeup of male versus female on this social media site is fairly close to 50/50.
Even though Google+ has 2.2 billion users, only 9% of them actively post on the site. This can mean a couple of things for your marketing purposes. First, you aren't going to be just another voice shouting into the void, because there aren't that many voices clamoring for attention. However, it might also signal that this social media network is not engaging users the way other channels do.
One thing that was interesting to note in the research is how people utilized YouTube to engage with others via Google+. That means that if you want to target this particular network, you will want to consider how you can do so with a YouTube video or by sharing pertinent videos from others.
Platform #5. LinkedIn
As of the first quarter of 2016, LinkedIn had approximately 433 million members. Known as the social media platform for business professionals, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B type promotions. If your blog has any content geared toward business owners or professionals in any industry, then this might just be the perfect place for you to promote.
About 63% of marketers surveyed in Regalix's State of B2B Social Media Marketing for 2015 reported that they saw positive sales results from marketing to other businesses via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn advises that users who want to truly engage their followers post new items a minimum of 20 times a month. This will help you reach those in your connections list.
Platform #6. Instagram
Instagram features about 300 million active users every month. It is another image-based platform, with people taking photos, uploading them, and adding short captions to go along with the image. More than 30 billion photos have been shared on the social site and currently about 70 million new ones are shared every day.
If you're trying to reach users in countries other than the US, about 70% of active users are outside of the States. About 32% of teens use Instagram more than other networks and consider it important. Instagram is heavily populated by people in the 12-24 year old age range. If you are trying to target younger customers or build future customers in the younger generation, you'll definitely want to include Instagram in the mix.
Understanding Best Time to Promote
Now that you understand the different social media platforms, it is also important to understand when the best time to promote on each one is. In a bit, we will chat about some tools you can use that make this process much easier so that you can schedule your posts ahead of time and have them hit the right social media network at the right time every time.
If you’ve studied the target audiences for each platform, then the results below will probably not surprise you. However, you can print out this table and keep it nearby when scheduling your posts to get the most mileage possible out of your social media marketing.
Use this guide as a rule of thumb, of course. Depending upon what country you are targeting and other audience specifics, you may need to adjust your promotions a bit.
Optimum Times to Post
Best time to post
Saturdays & Sundays 12-1 p.m.
Wednesdays 3-4 p.m.
Thursdays & Fridays 1-4 p.m.
Monday through Friday 12-3 p.m.
Wednesday 5-6 p.m.
Tuesdays 7-8 a.m., 10-11 a.m., and 5-6 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays 7-8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m.
Do not post on Mondays and Fridays
Mondays through Thursdays anytime but 3-4 p.m.
Monday through Friday 2-4 a.m. and evenings
Fridays 5 p.m.
Saturdays 8-11 p.m.
Connecting with Influencers across Multiple Channels
If you want to get true traction on social media, you have to develop relationships with influencers.
These are typically people who have a strong following in a similar target demographic. When they share or retweet something, people pay attention. It makes sense to use some of your social media time attracting these people to your following. Even more importantly, follow them across more than one platform for additional opportunities to get your information in front of them. You will definitely want to follow these people and share their posts without necessarily expecting anything in return. They may or may not return the favor, but you won't know until you try. You'll likely find that the social media world is a pretty narrow one and that favors do tend to be returned, especially if you are consistent in your promotional efforts and in sharing things the influencer posts.
Your first step is to seek out influencers in your niche. You don’t want a direct competitor but someone who is doing different work in a similar industry. An example of this might be that you host a recipe blog, but you see an influencer who reviews cookware and kitchen appliances. The two of you are almost a perfect fit for one another. You’ll have similar audiences and the topics are related without competing with one another.
One excellent way to capture the attention of an influencer is to write a post where you link back to a particularly useful article of theirs. You can then email them and share the link and thank them for providing valuable insight to help you on your way. Let’s go back to that example above of a recipe blog. Let’s say you come up with a recipe for crepes and you use a copper pan that the influencer has reviewed on his own site. Mention that you read the review of the pan on influencer’s site and you agree with his assessment that it simply does not allow food to stick. Then, link back to the influencer’s review.
Since you are linking to him, you can be fairly certain that he is more likely to pay attention than if you just said, “retweet me”.
Tools to Help Easily Cross-Promote
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that will help you easily cross-promote your posts. Not only that, but you can schedule them at optimum times to reach the biggest audience and get the most shares.
Christina-Lauren Pollack, editor of online lifestyle magazine Inspirations & Celebrations, shared some thoughts on using tools for social media promotions.
“As an Editor of an online lifestyle guide, I'm often busy researching, writing, and doing photography for my site. In addition to being a content creator, I also handle social media for the site. This means I need tools that help with time management. That's why I love Hootsuite. It enables me to schedule social promotions in advance, and publish across multiple platforms. This helps me plan accordingly and manage my time better. Inspirations & Celebrations is a contemporary lifestyle guide for women, educating and empowering them through tutorials, expert tips, and guides.”
Hootsuite sinks up with more than 35 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.
You can see what others are posting at a glance or organize into different channels.
You can learn what your audience is saying about you and engage with your followers.
You can tag on extra team members to help you cross-promote.
They have a built-in analytics that will allow you to see if the times and types of posts you are utilizing are truly engaging your audience.
Hootsuite is my tool of choice at the moment. Below is a screenshot of my dashboard. You can see how at a glance I can do everything from see who is retweeting me to what I’ve recently posted to creating a post and scheduling it.
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It is an interesting platform where you can set up any number of “recipes”. For example, you can set up IFTTT to send out a tweet every time you post to your blog. Or you can set it up that when you post on one social media platform, it cross-promotes to another.
IFTTT is a nice way to automate some of your social media marketing without having it impact every single social media channel. There are many different ways you can utilize the tool. It is completely customizable and works on the go with a smart phone.
This is actually an extension for the Chrome browser. It syncs up to Google+, allowing you to schedule posts via your browser. Not all platforms sync up to Google+, so this can come in handy for those times when you need to schedule out your Plus posts.
Everypost is an excellent tool that allows you to do just about everything you need in one place. You can add visual content, schedule posts customized to each platform and share on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumbler, Twitter and Facebook. Works with smart phones.
Below, I am going to show you some examples of how you can cross-promote easily across multiple channels. We will use mock companies to illustrate. You should be able to adapt these examples easily to your own business model.
Example # 1: Life Coach for High School and College Students
This mock company is a one-woman operation small business. The owner serves as a life coach to high school and college students, helping them with everything from college resumes to choosing a career path to what goals they might have for their careers after college.
After much research, she has found that her target audience is both young women between the ages of 17-24, but also their parents on a smaller scale. Some good choices of social media platforms for her would include:
Let’s say that she decides to come up with a series of posts offering quick tips on how to write a better college application essay. The first tip is to write something very personal. So, she might do the following similar but slightly different posts for the three platforms:
Instagram – A photo of a young lady with her arm in a victory pump and a caption that reads “Colleges want to know about your challenges and victories.”
Twitter – Learn how to write an application essay about your personal challenges and victories.
Facebook – I teach young women how to nail their college application essays. Did you know it is vital to write about both your challenges and your victories?
Do you see how the message changes only slightly? This is what you’re going for. A similar but different message. This combined with the tools to schedule the messages at the appropriate time will help build your brand.
Example # 2: Recipe Blogger
Our second example is a pretty common one, that of a blogger. In this particular instance, the blogger writes about recipes and cooking. Her best targets are going to be:
Pinterest (remember that Food is their # 1 category)
Facebook (there are many groups devoted to recipes and food)
Now, because a photo is worth a thousand words, for a recipe, craft, garden, etc. type blog, the photos become vitally important. A professional looking photo of the finished dish is a must. Along with the photo, she might want to:
Pinterest – Include a description of the perfect occasion for the dish, the health benefits, or other captivating details and a link to the actual blog post with the recipe.
Facebook – Include a question to capture the attention of others, such as “What are you cooking for dinner? Why not try our one pot vegan lasagna?”
Again, your message may change slightly from platform to platform, but the overall theme (look at this lasagna recipe and the amazing photo of this dish) remains the same.
Example # 3: Business Blogger
Our last example is for a blogger who writes material targeted at small businesses. This is a very specific segment of the population, so you’ll want to be able to narrowly focus in on your target audience. There are two platforms that feature a lot of businesses.
These are your best bets to start with. You can always expand to other social media networks later. So, let’s say that you plan to offer some tips on how to increase your website’s rank on Google. You might come up with the idea of sharing an infographic offering statistics on Google’s algorithm and a few tips. You would then adjust your posts just slightly:
LinkedIn – You might send a private message to key influencers and tell them they can view your infographic at (insert your hyperlink). You can also post a quick note on your status, but many LinkedIn users rarely look at statuses.
Facebook – A good plan of action with Facebook is to post on your business page and then to pay for a targeted ad where you narrow down the audience to business owners in a certain region of the world or even of the country. Again, you can always expand your reach later. Your goal right now is to reach your target demographic.
You can see that the social media marketing and the even the platforms is a bit different than for a business targeting those who like to cook, for example. It is impossible to offer a scenario for every type of business out there, but hopefully you’re starting to see how to narrow down the social media networks to the ones that will work best for you personally.
Some Tips from the Pros
Jason Myers, Senior Account Executive for The Content Factory, has a lot of experience with social media marketing and has worked with big companies like Fairtrade America.
He shared these insider tips about choosing a social media channel:
Quantifiable difference in demographics for each social media channels
Not only is each client's social media following completely different from the other client's fans — but there's a quantifiable difference in demographics within each channel of a client's social portfolio.
For example, it's not unusual for a brand's Pinterest or Snapchat following to be comprised of 75% more females than males. Twitter, by comparison, skews more toward male users while LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have a more even split of male to female users. One mistake many businesses make is thinking they can post the same content across all channels and expect a positive result. While it may save time from a marketing perspective, you could actually be hurting your brand by blindly pushing messages to an audience who will not respond.
Each channel's algorithms work on a different set of triggers, but one thing is certain… If your content doesn't organically produce a reaction with your followers, there's no way that channel is going to risk pushing it (or future) posts through to other people's timelines. You'll be forced into a pay-to-play mode, which can become a costly way to exist on social media.
One simple tip is to take advantage of each channel's built-in analytics (such as “insights” on Facebook or “Audience” on Pinterest). In a few clicks, you'll be able to graphically see what that channel's audience looks like demographically. With Pinterest, they even show you other topics and brands your following is looking at. You can then tailor your posts to speak to the right audience in a language they're responding to. There's no need to stray from your client's brand guidelines, but by adjusting the type of images you promote, the text you include in the posts and the things about your brand that you accentuate, you're likely to find a sweet spot on every network with a bit of trial and error.
Also, third-party social listening platforms like Sprout Social allow you to compare multiple channels in one look. Keep in mind there are other variables that play into your engagement, such as ensuring your images are sized properly (Canva.com is a great way to optimize that for free). Above all, keep detailed weekly and monthly reports of your analytics so that you can tweak your strategy as you go until you find what voice works best on each channel and which channels are a good fit for your brand.
Susie Anderson, Vice President of Social Media and Influencer Relations at 451 Marketing, offers some tips that will take your social media marketing to the next level.
Tip # 1: Imagery Is King
“When promoting your blog content on social media, always be sure to include an image and to make sure the image is optimized for each individual platform. Yes, it takes time to re-size images to each platform's specifications, but it will pay off with clicks and engagements!”
Tip # 2: Optimize Hashtags (or don't use them at all):
“When posting to each platform, be sure to consider which hashtags will perform best in terms of getting eyes on your content. The optimal hashtags to use are likely not the same on both Twitter and Instagram, so be sure to do research on each platform. And don't utilize hashtags on platforms where they're not necessarily relevant, like Facebook and Pinterest.”
Tip # 3: Use Custom Trackable Links across Platforms and Pay Attention to Analytics
“Creating trackable links for each piece of content on each platform will allow you to see what type of content is working best on what platforms. Be sure to dig into your blog's analytics regularly and build custom reports for yourself. This will help you tailor your cross-promoting strategy for the future.”
Tip # 4: Do More than Only Promote Your Own Content
“The key to any blog promotion strategy is to focus on more than just promoting yourself. On all platforms, you should work to engage with and promote others, whether it's tweeting out another blogger's content, commenting on their Instagram post, pinning imagery from their blog, or including them in a Facebook post roundup. Promoting others will not only help vary your content, but it will also allow you to build valuable relationships that will ultimately pay off in your own promotion strategy.”
The Importance of Improving your SSM Strategy
Social media promotions are probably one of the fastest changing online content platforms out there. It is driven by relationships and the interest of readers. The best way to figure out what to post where is to get on your platform of choice and begin interacting with influencers in your niche and to watch what they are doing.
With a little bit of creativity and being observant, you'll become a social media cross promotional pro before you know it.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.