When working with clients to differentiate their social media platforms we like to focus on creating a unique “voice” and identifying the different types of content for each platform that the brand/business may be active on. The strategic concept is only posting the type(s) of content that fits each platform and speaks to the audience who spends the most time on a specific platform – which will help the brand’s individual platforms grow much faster than otherwise. But often this can be much harder to execute day in and day out than resources allow.
Recently when thinking about my own personal social media usage I realized that brands still too often base their social media success on reach totals and engagement numbers. One “fan” that sees a post, purchases a product and becomes a lifelong customer is infinitely more valuable than 100’s of “fans” that see a post and do nothing. To find and bring those lifelong customers out of the woodwork brands need to identify the right audience and how they use and consume content on each platform in order to know how to best communicate with them there.
In order to illustrate this idea I broke down the way I currently use and post on my favorite social media platforms.
Twitter – Twitter is my lifeline to the world and my interests. I use it follow my favorite sports, music, movie information, news outlets and individuals. I don’t follow or interact with many IRL (in real life) friends on the platform but there are people on the platform who I would consider friends. I’ll retweet things that I find interesting or humorous from time to time and I rarely post original tweets, even though I spend 1-2 hours a day on the platform.
Snapchat – Snapchat has quickly become one of my favorite platforms for sharing life’s mundane (but still fun!) moments with a select group of friends. Most of my sharing is peer-to-peer as opposed to posting in My Story. I follow mostly just friends and very few brands or organizations.
Facebook – My Facebook usage hasn’t declined as much as I thought that it would. I mainly use it to share photos of my family from time to time. I don’t post opinions there but I will occasionally like or engage with someone else’s. I do try and manage my Newsfeed so that there are relevant posts to peruse and I have edited my ad profile enough that I engage with and often purchase from an advertisement every 1-2 months. I turn on notifications for a few brands who provide value with each post and often purchase based on those posts.
Instagram – My Instagram usage has declined since the newsfeed algorithm was implemented. I only follow around 80 people and used to be able to read every post, but that is no longer the case. Now I only check-in when I have something to post (1-2 times per month) or have exhausted the content on the previous three platforms. I don’t typically engage with content and I do not use direct messages, stories or live.
LinkedIn – I use LinkedIn almost exclusively for doing research on individuals whom I may be meeting with or have met in a professional setting.
Think what about a user who is only reading the content that I posted on each of these platforms would know about me and how I prefer to interact. They likely wouldn’t have great insight into my likes and dislikes, and they would be missing a huge chunk of what makes me, me. If brands want to build real, lasting relationships with their customers they need to share more than the status quo and really let their fans get to know who they are and what they believe in.
To learn more about the portion of your audience that has no desire to comment or “Like” your posts use tools to analyze their demographics (a combination of the platform’s internal measurement tools and external products) and create experiences that allow you to measure, quantitatively or qualitatively, the success of your posts. For example, if you’re trying to drive customers into your location with a discount or promoted product; use coupons, codes or just ask how the customer heard about the promotion.