Business owners need to save time on social media, because it’s a giant time vacuum. Like all of you, I have limited time, so I’m always looking for ways to make things more efficient, and give myself fewer tasks.

Customers are busy people too, so we know they probably won’t see everything we post on every channel – so it makes sense to repeat things in different places so that we can extend our reach as far as possible. Today I’ll introduce you to four activities you can do to reduce the risk and maximise the rewards of cross-posting your social media content. We’re going to talk specifically about FB and IG today, but you can apply this approach to any combination of social media channels.

How do people use Facebook and Instagram differently

As usual, your customers are the very first point of consideration. How are they using each platform differently? How people overlap between your different channels? You’ll find most people are on more than one channel, but each channel is fulfilling a different need. They use them all in different ways. Talk to people you know – friends, family, customers, who all fit your ideal customer persona. Find out the specifics of what they do and where. If you’ve not considered your customer persona before, download the template below.

Most people are on Facebook to look for family and friends and see what they’ve been up to. They may also be using Facebook Groups to connect with wider communities where they can ask for recommendations and advice.

Instagram is generally for sharing the coolest parts of their lives, and people are interested in a broader circle of friends and acquaintances too. People are more likely to follow, see and engage with content from influencers and brands. There’s a move towards vulnerability and sharing more of our feelings too, but more asking for emotional support than for recommendations.

Make a separate plan for Facebook and Instagram

Sit down and work out how you want to represent yourself directly to people at the moment their on each channel. Each channel will be different, because of the ways they use them.

If you’ve been using both channels for a while, have a look through the types of content you’ve posted on both channels, and where it’s performed best, relative to the size of your audience.

Consider also what your plans are for your business, and how each channel can help you reach those goals. Where do you have the bigger audience, where is it easier to grow that audience to meet your goals, etc. If you’re seeing a real difference in success between the two platforms, that suggests you need to change your approach for the one that’s lagging behind.

Choose specific content types that you want to use for each platform. In episode 2 we talked about selecting content types for Instagram – selfies, product shots, quotes, lifestyle pictures, etc. Do that separately for Facebook and for Instagram, based on the way you want to present yourself.

See where there’s overlap between your plans for each channel.

Once you’ve considered each channel individually, it’s now safe to go on to making a joint plan. For example, you might want to post lots of selfies on Instagram along with a few product pictures. And then on Facebook, you plan to post lots of products, but also quotes and conversation starters. Where there’s overlap (with the product pictures) then these are the smart places to cross post. Don’t cross post the other stuff just for the sake of ‘putting something up’. Sometimes the content would have a negative effect, if you were to post it on a channel it’s not suited.

The frequency of posting on each channel will also be different. On Instagram, the ‘optimal’ is once per day, whereas on Facebook, your page might do better with 2 or 3 posts per week. Not everyone is the same, of course, so set your own posting frequency based on what works best with your audience. But if you post content a lot more often on Instagram than you do on Facebook, then your cross-posting frequency should reflect that too. What feels like ‘a little’ on Instagram can be ‘lots’ on Facebook.

The best way to cross-post between Instagram and Facebook

To cross-post successfully, you need to do some set up. Read our blog post on how to make sure your Facebook and Instagram pages are connected correctly. Then you can follow the instructions here.

If you are creating the post on Instagram, it’s best to leave your hashtags out of the caption, because they’ll look odd on Facebook, where people don’t use hashtags. Instead you should add a comment immediately after you create the post which has all your hashtags listed. As long as you post it right away, Instagram doesn’t mind the difference. To get the post on Facebook, you simply turn on the toggle (so it’s blue) on the last page before you publish the post.

If you’re creating a post across from Facebook, you can share it to Instagram by selecting the option at the bottom of your post, before you publish. Once you’ve shared it across, go directly to Instagram and add in the list of hashtags in the first comment on the post. If you leave it, you’ll miss out on your chance to be the most recent post in each of the hashtags you’re using, particularly the ones which are quite busy.

The alternative to this is to use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts on to each of your social media channels, instead of using the built-in features. The more channels you’re using the more helpful this can become. Even just for Facebook and Instagram it can help to keep you organised, although they do have a cost. Alongside Hootsuite, you can also consider Later or Sprout Social.

Using a scheduling tool will give you a better overview of the content going out on each channel in a single screen. It also gives you flexibility. You can use different sized images, for example, or adjust the call to action to match the platform. You can also keep your hashtags in your Instagram captions without having to edit posts after you’ve shared them across.

An even simpler solution to your marketing strategy

If all this seems like a lot of work, don’t worry, there’s a solution for that too. Pick ONE social media channel, and focus your efforts there. If you want it to seem like less work, choose a channel you enjoy using. If you want to get the most return on investment, choose the one your audience use to find and buy from businesses like yours.

Whichever platform you choose, focus on building genuine connections with your audience and make sure you’re doing everything right. If Instagram is where you choose to double down, make sure you grab our checklist to get everything set up and running properly. It’s called the Instagram MOT – click the button below to get your copy.

Get in touch

Thanks for joining me today to talk about sharing content between Instagram and Facebook. Instagram is one of my favourite topics, so if you have any questions you’d like me to answer, feel free to get in touch. Send me a direct message on Instagram @thewhinco. Or you can send me an email through the contact form. I’d love to feature some listener questions in future episodes!