There was a time when it seemed to make sense to post one update to all your social networks at once. You would use tools like ping.fm to do this. It seemed smart and efficient to build broad exposure for your business.
Only problem is that each social network has its own character, which makes things a little more complicated. And time consuming! Why can't anything be easy? Well, I'm sorry, but effective marketing is rarely easy.
Here's my guide to understanding how to effectively post to the various social networks to get the most engagement.
The first thing that I want you to understand is my idea of a "Social Media Continuum". Imagine a line going from left to right with one end being very personal and the other end being very professional. Which leading social network would you place on the personal end?
If you said, Facebook, you're right. When people log on to Facebook they are thinking personal. They are looking for the latest news from their friends, family, co-workers, fellow club members and so on. They aren't thinking about work, nor are they thinking about businesses all that much. I'm not saying they have no interest in businesses, but it's not where their head's at.
Now what social network is on the other end, where it's totally professional? Yes, LinkedIn. No pictures of vacations or kids in judo tournaments there. When people are logged on to LinkedIn they are thinking about their jobs, businesses and careers. Thus, if you're wanting to have a professional conversation, you're in the right place.
Where do you think Twitter fits? My theory is that it's somewhere in the middle. People use Twitter for a variety of reasons, and one of them is to connect with brands directly. I find it very interesting that companies that use Twitter right engage with their followers person to person. Do a search for @jetblue on Twitter and you'll see this in action. While it's true that one can connect with companies on Facebook and LinkedIn, the direct interaction just isn't on the same level.
YouTube is as professional or personal as you want it to be. However, the comments seem to be less about engagement and more about random thought sharing about the videos. While I highly recommend creating a channel on YouTube and posting videos about you or your business, it's not because of the engagement possibility but more for the exposure and traffic-driving benefits.
So, what are you to do with "The Social Media Continuum" idea of mine? Use it to guide you in what you post. Don't post the same thing repeatedly to all the social networks at once. If it's your latest blog post, then it's understandable, but apart from content marketing, think different. When you're on Facebook, think more creative, personal, funny or thoughtful. Think often about posting pictures and videos. People on Facebook love visual content and will consume it in large quantities. Go with the trend.
When you're on Twitter, think short, pithy posts that stimulate one quick thought. Otherwise, drive traffic with Twitter to your blog, website or YouTube channel with compelling headlines and trackable links. You see, people expect to leave Twitter by following links to interesting content. If they like the content, then they'll share it with their networks.
As for LinkedIn, think professional and serious. People will leave LinkedIn for information that's going to help them with their jobs or careers. They're expecting updates about your work or business and links to helpful information. Other than that they're not expecting much save for interaction within Groups.
If you'll work within the existing context on the various social networks and post unique content that makes sense, you should be much more successful at engaging people. As I said earlier, it's not easy, but it's smart. Let me know if you're following my approach now or have contrary thoughts. I'd love to engage with you about this.
I recommend Socialoomph and Hootsuite as tools for social media marketing. These tools can really help you in managing several social networks easily.