Crossposting is a vital component of modern social media strategy. In basic terms, it's the practice of posting one piece of content on multiple platforms. But there are several important things to keep in mind when crossposting content.
Oh, and TikTok has a new feature that makes this practice simpler! Read on to the end to hear more about it.
Where You Should Crosspost Your Content
For starters, let's talk about the main places any content creator should be posting their content. For the sake of this article, we're going to mostly focus on short-form vertical video.
But the theories behind crossposting still apply to things like blog posts and longer video, too. Crossposting the same article on your own site, Tumblr, Medium, your Facebook page etc. is functionally very similar to crossposting the same vertical video. But right now (and arguably, always) video is king. So even if you're mostly focused on the written word, short-form video still matters a lot.
The primary sites (throughout most of the Western world) for vertical video right now are TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Facebook Reels. After that you have sites like Twitter, Snapchat, and Triller, all of which are *slightly* more niche with a bit less discoverability. And then you've got seemingly endless platforms like Ultimate Guitar Shots, LinkedIn, Pinterest Watch, LinkMe etc. — all of which allow users to upload short-form video, and all of which could have value for some (but probably not all) content creators.
If all of this is a bit overwhelming to you, stick with the largest platforms: TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. They got as big as they did because they work for every type of content creator. But pay attention to what else is out there, too. If you're a musician, Ultimate Guitar Shots could be a great avenue for you. If everything you do is very visually pleasing and focused on aesthetic, Pinterest could be the place. The great thing about creating content like this is that you'll have the ability to go back and crosspost old content on new platforms once you decide to be on them.
Why Vertical Video?
For a long time, social media platforms won by differentiating themselves from their competition. Twitter was unique and interesting because it was all about brevity — 140 characters or less — and the ability to go global in a matter of minutes thanks to retweets. Facebook was all about personal connections. Instagram was about prioritize visuals over text. Snapchat was about fleeting content and funny filters. Musically/TikTok was about short-form vertical video performances. YouTube was about long-form horizontal video.
You get the idea.
But now, pretty much every platform is rallying around the idea of short-form vertical video. That's not to say the original reason they existed went away — it's just acknowledging that in this moment in time (and for the foreseeable future), short-form vertical video unites all the platforms and satisfies the zeitgeist. It's all about short attention spans, various (often clever) content, and top-of-funnel discoverability.
That's the key word, here: discoverability. Social media is and always will be valuable to creators for its ability to introduce them to new potential fans. So while YouTube's bread and butter may still be videos going 8 minutes and longer, a YouTuber's ability to get people to watch those longer videos increasingly hinges on getting discovered with shorter vertical content first.
Why You Should Crosspost Your Content
As content creators, the one thing we're usually short on? Time. That's why this homogenization towards short vertical video is actually really helpful for us. And why crossposting your content allows you to save time and increase your odds of a discoverability boost.
At the end of the day, these videos are just scratch off lottery tickets. Every time we post, we're hoping to land in front of thousands (preferably millions) of new people. Each platform has its own algorithm and its own audience. When you crosspost your content, you're basically just increasing the number of scratch off lotto tickets.
Crossposting your videos allows you to see which type of videos do best and where. A video may not get the reaction you wanted on TikTok but could go gangbusters on YouTube Shorts. Likewise, some platforms may skew more heavily towards certain types of videos. But you'll just never know unless you consistently post the same video to different platforms.
At the end of the day it's just more data. It also helps you take things less personally. If you go all-in on one platform and struggle there consistently — even when you really believe the content is good — it can be disheartening and lead you to make poor decisions in the long run (like changing your content style altogether).
When you crosspost your videos, you're giving yourself more opportunities to really analyze what is working and where. It provides a necessary perspective.
Crossposting Do's And Don'ts
- Use the same description text on every video. When we test things, we want to limit our variables as much as possible. This is not the time to test different descriptions.
- Use similar but not always identical hashtags. All the major platforms utilize hashtags, but some platforms may have a few tweaks you need to pay attention to. For instance, if you're posting a cooking video, you may use #cooktok for TikTok but want to make sure you properly change it to #cookinsta for Instagram etc. Just do a little bit of in-platform research when typing your hashtags to keep them as consistent as possible while still honoring the trends of each platform.
- Post them at the same time (as much as possible). If you copy and paste your descriptions and hashtags (while making the necessary platform tweaks to hashtags) you can knock this part out in less than 5 minutes.
- Try to be consistent with platform features. If you're using a trending sound from one of the platforms, do your best to make sure you've identified that sound and associated it with your video in the other apps, too. If you're baking the captions into the video with a different app, that's cool. If not, try to keep the captions you're typing in-app the same (even down to text color). Remember, we want to limit our variables when crossposting in order to determine what works best where. The differing platforms should be the main variable we're changing and everything else should be as close to the same as possible.
- Post the video on one platform, download it, and then post it to other platforms. Having watermarks from other platforms on content is a massive no-no and a really good way to limit reach. Instagram and YouTube have even said as much — if they detect watermarks from other platforms they'll actively reduce the reach of those posts. There are two ways around this. The first is to record and edit the video outside of any of the apps you post on. The second is to download your post using one of those (admittedly sketchy) third party sites that remove the watermark. We're not going to link to them, but Google it and you'll see what we mean. If you already have a lot of posts on one platform, this may be the only way to repurpose that content on other platforms right now. READ ON TO THE END TO SEE A COOL NEW FEATURE ON TIKTOK ALLOWING A THIRD OPTION.
- Try different filters or captions for different videos. Remember, this is about giving the same piece of content an opportunity on multiple platforms and then identifying what is working the most and where.
- Stop posting content that doesn't seem to be working on one platform but is on another. You need months posting consistently on all platforms to really identify a trend. Even if you go viral with one type of content, don't suddenly switch up your strategy and only post that type of content everywhere. Of course you definitely want to post more of that type of content — but still in a rotation with other forms of content until you have enough data to truly understand. Plus, algorithms change. Most of the engagement on these platforms comes from new viewers (just take a look at your TikTok analytics for proof of this). What's cool now may not be cool in two months.
- Get discouraged. Content almost never works universally well on all platforms. It's fun when you see a certain video outperform on all platforms. It's a bummer when something you think is great doesn't work that well on any of them. It's perplexing when a video gets 200 views on one platform and 10,000 views on another. But just remember to stay consistent and don't make any judgments before you have hundreds of pieces of content to analyze.
- Worry about fans seeing it twice. In most cases, the same person will follow you on multiple accounts. That's great! Don't worry about the fact they'll see the same video multiple places. Often times they'll like it everywhere they see it. If they get tired of you, that's their fault. The point of these platforms is first and foremost to use as a top-of-funnel for more discoverability. There are of course elements of social media used to nurture existing fan bases and usher them down the funnel to something better (like an email list), but when it comes to short-form vertical video, we should always be thinking about discoverability.
How TikTok Just Made Crossposting Easier
TikTok just rolled out a new feature to select users allowing them to actually save a video using all of TikTok's fun filters, trends, and sounds without posting it. This means you can actually save a video to your camera roll before it ends up with a watermark.
This is a huge timesaver for anybody who likes to start their content out in TikTok. And while there are a lot of benefits to shooting and editing videos outside any app, using TikTok's different features is a great way to test out different ideas — usually with pretty low lift. Now that you can try out all these features without actually posting them it means you can create a backlog of content to post later.
And it means you can try some features that other apps don't have without having to go through the precarious route of using third party watermark removers. Hooray!
If you've got the feature, you'll see a download arrow up in the top right corner of your video after you film it but before you choose to post to your account. TikTok hasn't rolled this out to everybody just yet, but it should be on its way!