I Thought Each Social Media Service Was Different. Shouldn’t I Approach Each One With A Different Strategy?
Each social media service is different; each requires a different approach to both creating and posting content and interacting with followers and the public. But one mistake that many individuals and organizations make with social media is failing to develop a cohesive, universal social media strategy before posting.
Twitter requires short (less than 140 total characters), concise posts, or “tweets”. Facebook allows longer, more detailed posts. Both services allow an individual or organization to “retweet” or “share” posts and content from other users. Many post their content first to Facebook, including a full paragraph or two of text and a photo, then tweet a link to the Facebook post through their Twitter account. If an individual or business posts videos to YouTube, the video can be linked through both Twitter and Facebook.
Depending on both the format and the length of new content, individuals and businesses can create a virtual web of social media activity, using various services to compliment and support each other. With a universal media strategy, this activity can be organized, focused, and very successful in reaching the maximum number of readers and viewers. Without a universal media strategy, this activity can quickly become disorganized, unfocused and ultimately confuse readers and viewers. Services can become neglected, content can be quickly misplaced and readers and viewers will lose interest in your content and your accounts.
So Where Do I Begin?
It is important to begin by writing a summary or a mission statement describing exactly how you want to present yourself and your organization. This will be the centerpiece of your universal strategy. The goal is to adapt each social media service to you and your organization, not adapt you and your organization to each social media service. You should determine from the outset whether you want to present yourself and your organization in a serious fashion or more informally. You should determine if you want to interact more with others or focus more on just presenting your own content.
Next, review the strengths and weaknesses of each social media service and designate which service or services should be used for various types of posts and updates. In our last blog post we examined some of the strengths and weaknesses of social media services currently popular in the U.S. For example, if you and your organization need to update your followers with an important announcement, such as a change in your organization or a new product or service, it would be best to post a full update to Facebook and then post a very short summary and a link to the Facebook post on Twitter. This plan of action should be used consistently in the future for all similar announcements, therefore it is important to document it from the outset.
I Have Decided I Want To Be Professional On Facebook and Silly On YouTube. Is This A Good Strategy?
It is generally a bad idea to promote disparate personas on different social media networks under your name or brand. You can quickly lost focus on your universal strategy and you can confuse followers who may not understand why you are acting differently from one service to another. Remember, you are representing yourself and your organization as professional entities. It is understandable that an accounting firm would not market themselves on social media the same way as a skateboard company. But it would make no sense for the accounting firm to act like themselves on Twitter but act like a skateboard company on YouTube.
If you want to break free from a professional persona and be more creative with social media, it may be beneficial to create multiple social media accounts on the same service to promote your brand. You can maintain a professional persona on your main account and create a second account featuring a product or even a mascot. A good example of this is a set of Twitter accounts maintained by The Coca-Cola Company. The main account, located at CocaCola, is formal and professional – the voice of the company on Twitter. The second account, DocPemberton, is presented as a personal twitter account of “Doc Pemberton”, the creator of Coca-Cola. This second account is both creative and often silly and irreverent. By using multiple accounts, Coca-Cola can present themselves in different ways on Twitter to different followers and yet still maintain a cohesive social media voice and strategy.