Engagement Improved With 3 Tips

Engagement: Are You Leaving It On The Table?

If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I am not a fan of cross populating content from one platform to another. It can be a major engagement killer and it’s just not an authentic way to reach your audience.

I believe that posts should be made natively within the platform you are on. Recently I saw an example that points out exactly why I feel this way. Besides the fact I don’t like leaving one platform to go to another, I believe that you are hurting your own potential engagement when you ignore native posting.

By the way, I should explain a couple of terms before I go any further. Native posting means posting directly to a specific platform. Cross populating means posting on one platform and then using that platforms share functions to other platforms.

Randy Arsenault from the Toronto Police Service is one of my favorite officers because he knows how to build community on social and in real life. Check him out here: PCArsenault on Twitter

Recently Randy posted a picture on Instagram and used its auto-share function to also put the same picture on Twitter. It was a great picture. Naturally, to see the picture I had to click the Instagram link in the Tweet. What caught my eye was the massive difference in engagement between the two platforms.

Cross Population Post To Twitter From Instagram:

Instagram Native Post:PC Arsenault Instagram 2 engagement

What an incredible difference in engagement. 177 likes on Instagram, 16 on Twitter.

I talked to Randy and asked if he would help me out with a study I’m doing (this post) and post the picture again, but this time to Twitter natively.

He did and the results speak for themselves. PC Arsenault Twitter 3Even though it was virtually a duplicate post a second time directly in line to the previous post from Instagram, people could actually see the picture which no doubt led to the higher level of engagement. 7 ReTweets and 28 likes at the time of capturing this pic.

I know you might be saying, “Tim, that’s just a fluke and it’s only one picture.” I agree. So, Randy and I teamed up a few days later and replicated the same test.

Twitter From Instagram:PC Arsenault FridayTwitter Natively Posted:PC Arsenault Friday 3The two screen shots were taken about four hours after the posts were made. You can see by the time stamps on the pictures they were shared minutes apart but the engagement is dramatically different!

The only real argument for doing cross-platform posts is, “it saves time”. But, as you can see, the time you save, which is truthfully maybe one minute, is not worth the time-saving when you factor in the loss of potential engagement you are leaving on the table. If you’re using time as an excuse a reason in an emergency, are you willing to lose that much audience potential?

3 Tips For Better Engagement

1.) Post Natively…take the time to be authentic and actually post from the platform you are using.

2.) Be Personable…Randy is a shining example of how you can be an officer and relatable with humor and a message all in one post.

3.) Use Multiple Platforms…not all your audience is in one place. You increase the odds of reaching more people by using multiple platforms. If you’re looking for a place to be, go with the odds, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel about cross populating platforms. Let me know and hit me back with your comments. I read them all and always respond.

Other Problems With Platform Cross Population:

Instagram loves hashtags. When you use multiple hashtags in your Instagram post and cross populate to Twitter and Facebook, it makes your post look ugly.

If you tag someone on one platform using their ID on that platform, it won’t translate well to the other platforms.

Preference/Platform Bias:
Cross populating on some platforms creates a ‘penalty’ situation where your content isn’t favorably viewed by the algorithms of the receiving platform…ever wonder why some LinkedIn posts have prominent pictures and other posts have little pictures? That’s the reason.

Your primary target audience may be active on one platform at a specific time of day but they are absent on another platform at the same time. (H/T to “LS” for mentioning this one in an email to me.)

Thank you Randy for your assistance in this experiment to help other users learn.
Go follow him!! @PCArsenault

What are your thoughts? Agree/Disagree? Let me know in the comments and hey, if you have found value in this post other people in your audience probably will as well so take the second it takes and share this with them…it’s easy, just click on the sharing buttons below.

Have an awesome day everyone!

This post was modified from the original content I created around it shared originally with the people who subscribe to my newsletter. You can subscribe here to get information like this and more first! 

About Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including, IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing and crisis communications. Tim is available to assist you with your social media program and communication. Click here to contact him http://bit.ly/ContactTimBurrows
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4 Responses to Engagement Improved With 3 Tips

  1. Hi TIm… I agree so much about what you have said. I will take it one step further. If you post the same content on twitter and Instagram why do I need to follow you on both platforms? The reality is I do not. So it is always better to post different content on different platforms.

    The reason pictures always do better natively on Twitter is Twitter made changes many months ago to not share instagram pictures directly just a link. This started when Instagram was bought by Facebook. A little tip if you really want to get around this issue you need to use an aggregator site like IFFT. It allows you to setup rules and get around the issue of the link being posted. That said I still prefer to post natively.

    Thanks for a great article to make am excellent point.


    • Tim Burrows says:

      Thanks for the comment Rob.
      I do like IFTTT recipes for many different things and they can make posting in the manner you mentioned more effective.
      Like you, I prefer native posting though as opposed to using IFTTT for posts…it takes away from authentic engaged posting using IFTTT for that purpose.
      You said the key, “…post natively.”

  2. Very cool Tim! Thanks for taking the time to demonstrate this with Randy. I do find it time consuming to post natively as you put it, however all of the different social media platforms in essence speak different languages and so I think you are right when you say that it is always best to post natively. It does come across as more genuine and it does in fact look better. Keep up the great work that you do!

    • Tim Burrows says:

      Thanks for the comment Tina. I really appreciate your view and honesty about the time it takes to post natively across multiple platforms.
      You’re so right about how it does come across as being more genuine.

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