Have you ever tuned into ESPN to watch a cooking show, gone to the movie snack bar for filet mignon or cursed in front of your grandmother? No? And, do you know why? Societal expectations mould (shame) us into acting and expecting a certain level of behaviour from others.
We expect cute dog pictures on Facebook and would question the sanity of someone who posts the same on LinkedIn. When creating your social media presence, prudence suggests that you tailor your message and communication style to the appropriate communication channel. For our purpose we’re going to split the social media world into three types of channels: broadcast, long form and special interest.
I call it “broadcast” but what I really mean is Twitter. Think of Twitter as your own personal newswire minus the $700 placement fee, with a whole lot more features and a lot fewer distribution nodes when you first login. Twitter also lets you see what other people are saying and join the conversation. Try doing that with Canada Newswire! If you add value to the conversation, folks will think you’re pretty awesome and follow you, adding nodes to your distribution network. The more nodes, the further a message will go.
The concept that everything you need to communicate can fit within 140 characters is quite limiting. So, once you broadcast the latest and greatest, where is your audience going to go for more info? You thought, “our corporation/project/personal website,” right?
Now, you’re feeling pretty squeamish because you don’t know the name of the person who manages the corporate website much less where they are located in the office. Well, my friend, you are going to have to go on a treasure hunt to find the web geek. (Hint: Geeks tend to avoid sunlight, human interaction and people wearing neckties.)
Once you find your soon-to-be new best friend, ask them what process is undertaken to get new information up on the website and how you can help get things posted in a timely manner. Keep in mind that timeliness is the currency social media runs on so make sure you understand what the geek needs and how to help. Also, don’t be shocked if the conversation includes phrases like “social sharing” and “inbound referral links.” He/she is just trying to share his/her enthusiasm. Play nice and the power of the web will be yours forever.
Also, depending on your creativity/access to creative resources, video can be a very effective long form communication channel. As a rule, video is much more compelling than images or text. Next time you have a major announcement to make, consider making a video and linking to it on Twitter.
With the very basic channels covered, here are some other options you might want to explore. Remember to tailor your message and communication style to the channel. Also, no cross-posting please, we’re professionals.
Facebook: The granddaddy of social media. Great for B2C (business to customer) and employee communication. Engagement can be a tough fight.
Google+: Still gaining mass appeal. Can be a lightning rod for your SEO. Seriously consider this platform.
LinkedIn: Your profile here says more about your professional work than your paper resume. Treat it with care. LinkedIn Answers can be a great knowledge exchange.
Pinterest: If Facebook is the granddaddy, Pinterest is the blushing ingénue. Great B2C communication possibilities, limited B2B (business to business) success. Can be done. Prepare to sweat.
Quora: My personal preference for a knowledge exchange network. Expert driven and not a lot of flakiness. If you have a keen passion and want to push deeper, check this network out.
YouTube: YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web and their embed code works. Always.
Social Media Masterclass is a collaborative initiative developed by Reed Construction Data and EllisDon. Christine Zakrajsek is EllisDon’s social media manager. Social Media Masterclass appears every Monday in the Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce. Please send any emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com