Every Social Media Platform Is Different. Treat Them That Way
Every social media platform is different. If you want to maximize your use of social media to promote your business or brand, you need to treat them differently. Understand the ecosystem on each platform – and also learn to understand the quirks and subtleties.
My first forays into social media came when I was opening my dojo, and I totally missed the boat on this point. I got my hands on social media automation tools and tried to use them to send the exact same content to multiple platforms. That didn’t work out very well. Over time I learned what made each platform unique by focusing on one at a time until I felt like I had a handle on it. Here are a few tips for how to deal with different platforms differently.
Don’t over-automate it. Facebook has tools that can auto-share your Facebook posts to Twitter. Twitter has similar tools that can share your tweets back to Facebook. I recommend skipping them. It seems like a great plan – write your social media content once and then you’re done! But they’re not friendly to your followers. Facebook’s “share to Twitter” feature basically ends up Tweeting something like, “look at my Facebook post!” Well, your Twitter followers don’t want to. They’re on Twitter. They don’t want to switch to an entirely different platform to see your content. The reverse option is not as bad. But I still recommend tailoring your content to each platform individually.
Facebook is more personal and intimate. Facebook is all about “friends.” Most Facebook users aren’t following a thousand celebrities. The people on their “friends” lists are mostly people they have some sort of actual relationship with. This is a side-effect of Facebook requiring the “friend” designation to be two-way: both users must approve it, and it opens up both users to see each others’ feeds. As a result, the relationships between users are generally high trust and close. This in turn amplifies the “pre-selection effect” – ie, the effect that when one person says something is good, his friends think it must be good because he said so. This is a tremendous help for my dojo, which is a very personal business that cultivates personal relationships. Most students like it when I share stuff about their achievements, such as belt test photos and the like. Also, their friends see that and think, “hey, that looks cool.” It’s better than any advertisements I’ve ever paid for.
Facebook is also more local than most social media. It’s not hyper-local. People have lots of friends all over the country, and even the world. But the bidirectional nature of Facebook relationships keeps it more local than many other social media. This again makes it great for my dojo. But it’s less effective (though not ineffective by any means!) for national or global branding and promotion.
Twitter is much less personal. The one-way nature of following people means that there are quite a few people who follow brands, celebrities, artists, companies… you name it. It’s also heavy on the “news” content (I use the term lightly; “gossip” is often more accurate). That makes it great for pushing out info about your brand.
Twitter is very fast paced. Twitter is all about the “now.” Instant updates, very current events. A lot of people use it for news these days, and very often you’ll find news there that’s far more up to date than any other source. You have to keep up. One or two posts a day can be plenty on Facebook. On Twitter, nobody will even notice you if you’re that infrequent.
Google Plus is kind of a weird hybrid of the two. It’s the far smaller social network, and it lives in its own world. It’s got some of the intimacy of Facebook (though not as much) and some of the globalism of Twitter.
Instagram is all about the visuals. Nobody even cares about anything that’s not a picture. That makes it awesome for certain kinds of businesses and almost useless for others.
LinkedIn is all about professional connections. It’s a great way to network with other professionals in your field. If you’re in business-to-business sales, it’s probably useful for marketing. Outside of that, I have yet to find a good use for it.
This list is hardly exhaustive, of course. The trick is to know your platform, and to know how it applies to your brand.