Posted on February 25, 2016, at 5:15 p.m.
by Eliza Sheffield.
With an ever-growing toolkit of social media platforms, organizations have more options than ever to share their messages and build their brands online. Unfortunately, brand-building through social media is easier said than done.
Mastering social media certainly creates long-term positive brand impacts, but it’s hard to devote enough time and thought to effective messaging. As an answer to the constant pressure to stay relevant and active, many organizations with limited time choose to cross-publish identical content across their platforms. For example, the same exact phrasing might appear on a group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which leave trail-off tweets that reroute readers to Facebook.
This method certainly saves time. However, not creating original messages can damage brands’ ability to connect with audiences effectively, according to Elizabeth Lowder, social media strategist at al.com.
“As far as having the same message go out on two different platforms, that’s just never a good idea because the reason those platforms have formed into the separate entities they are is because they are two different ways people want to get information,” Lowder said.
Randall Huffaker, an advertising professor at The University of Alabama, agreed, adding that copy-and-pasting content can come across as lazy.
“It’s like putting a text message on Instagram: It’s not the platform for it,” Huffaker said.
Figuring out how to use outlets depends on the type of message and the audience. While Twitter is more urgent and continuous, Facebook lends itself to less frequent but lengthier content. Both platforms have become increasingly news-driven as more people look to social media for news updates and commentaries. When organizations link their Twitter and Facebook pages, they risk alienating their audiences because the culture of the networks is different, according to Social Times.
Edelman account executive Sophia Feleke shared that having an organized social media presence is increasingly relevant today because millennials care deeply about the core of the brands they follow.
“You’re always looking to get the background on who a person is, on who a company is, on the brand, so having that helps because it helps you understand them,” Feleke explained. “It’s kind of like having your résumé and portfolio. This is your social media portfolio of who you are online.”
In order to build a stronger brand, a company has to present a unified message that’s tailored to fit various platforms. One way organizations can practice this balance is by cross-promoting instead of cross-publishing.
As a social media strategist, Lowder deals with target audiences who respond to content differently by region, and engaging with them revolves around finding where they exist online.
“Knowing your audience is key for pretty much any communication methods,” Lowder said. “You have to know who you’re speaking to and how they want to receive that message.”
When companies know their audiences, social media mastery becomes a lot less elusive. For many businesses, directing content to fit each social media platform is the first step to tackling the complex process of brand-building.
Huffaker advised practitioners to find a way to work better, not harder.
“It’s challenging,” Huffaker said. “That’s why you have to know exactly where your audience is.”