Sunday, December 4, 2011

Social Media is the Vehicle, not the Destination

In the welter of tools to help you focus your Social Media strategy and tactics, to measure the results, and to increase your audience, there is an unfortunate tendency to act like Social Media is a single thing.

"Which is best for my company, Facebook or Twitter?" is a question I see all too often on professional networking platforms, as if there could be a single answer that covers all needs.

We don't presume there are only one or two models of car that fits all needs. Social Media is the vehicle - the means by which you communicate with your audience, engage them and reward them when they go to bat for you. Picking the right vehicle to communicate with your audience is critical to effective use of Social Media.

You might be targeting casual users of Social Media, people who share birthday greetings and jokes and life events and photos. Facebook, Groupon and Email Marketing is the way to go to reach out to these people. It's not that these users object to learning technology, but they don't want it presented *as* technology. Your Social Media tactics need to focus on saving these people time and money.  It's not about ad aesthetics, design or's about rewards and convenience.

Perhaps your audience is on the go. They are tethered to their phone and their phone is tethered to their computer. These people want speed, simplicity and convenience. Twitter, mobile marketing, a proprietary app that gets them in touch with you quickly, is perfect for this crowd. This Social Media strategy needs to be about compelling, targeted content, plain and simple.

If your audience is hands on, with their fingers in a lot of Social Media platforms, you need to be ultra-responsive. These people will know if you don't understand Social Media, and have 15 layers of decision-making before a simple "yes" can be tweeted. These people also bring with them a large audience of their own on multiple platforms. Obfuscating or delaying will end up in one way - with egg on your face. If you get a comment on Twitter from someone with 15,000 followers, think twice before you blow them off.

If your audience is minimalist, they have one or two platforms they rely on and no more. They live off their phone, but don't necessarily like mobile marketing. Build in privacy controls so that you're not facing negative feedback when your cool new ad sends itself to their phones.

Luxury users are rarely cutting edge and want big rewards for their involvement. High-end shopping means high-end privacy and one-on-one personal connection. These people are not communicating with you on Facebook.

Just as there's a vehicle for every personality, there's a vehicle for every message. The medium *does* matter, but in the end, the message had better be what your audience wants to hear. Get the right Social Media vehicle to drive that message home.
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