If you truly want to provide value and compelling reasons for people to interact with you in different social channels, don’t just make them carbon copies of each other. Why like you on Facebook if it’s just a feed of your Tweets? Why connect on LinkedIn if you just cross-post from Facebook. To make areas more valuable, consider dividing up the social spaces you participate in by function and content. Some spaces will be obvious – you’ll post location data to Foursquare or Gowalla. But what will I get if I follow you on Twitter? What will I get if I Like you on Facebook?
Here’s how I do it. You should do it however it best suits your own workflow:
- LinkedIn. Mainly about the Marketing Over Coffee group there. That’s the juice on LinkedIn. Every day of every week, smart listeners are answering each other’s questions and submitting questions for the show. I also entertain myself by dropping the banhammer on spammers in there.
- Facebook. My Facebook page is all about tools and techniques. As I find useful things, I put them there as a way to catalog and remember them. If other people happen to like it and enjoy it, excellent!
- Twitter. You get #the5 on Twitter, along with in-the-moment conversations when I’m logged in.
- My blog. You get longer-form pieces here that don’t fit in other areas.
- My newsletter. Rounds up the pieces from all of these channels so that if you don’t want to have to follow me and friend me everywhere I go, you can just get the highlights every month.
There’s another reason for managing your content like this, for dividing up the pieces. It’s a trick I learned from ninja master teacher Stephen K. Hayes: if you have information of value, split it up over a wide area and see who puts together all the pieces. See who completes the puzzle. Back in the day, An-Shu Hayes would publish individual pieces of knowledge in books, newsletters, live teachings, etc. and if you had the vision to see the big picture, you’d glue them all together. Some fellow practitioners would go so far as to photocopy his books and cut out all the text sections, then rearrange them all together to form one larger narrative about an area of practice.
That’s sort of the secret with how I divide up my content. Each channel, each platform is valuable, but if you have all the pieces together, your capabilities should be greater than the sum of the parts. Why do this? I’m always looking for smart people to hang out with. I’m always looking for people more clever than me, more informed than me, more connected than me, more capable than me because that’s the only way I’ll learn and grow. If I leave pieces all over the place, some people will take the time to reassemble the puzzle.
It’s those people I’m looking for, those people who follow and friend all the different pieces and are sewing them together, the digital marketing Voltrons, because those are the people who are more likely to have the sorts of problem solving skills and detective work abilities to be successful today – in other words, the kind of people I want to learn from and hang out with. That’s my personal ROI of all these platforms.
My content strategy shouldn’t be yours. It may not work for you at all, or it may be counter-productive. The lesson here for you is to do something other than blindly carbon copy your social networks – have a purpose for each one, because different people will interact with you on the different networks. Figure out what works best for each one!
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Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful analysis of your social media activity, Christopher. I see a lot of folks posting the same information, making the same pitches, doing the same thing, at all those different digital touchpoints. And I get bored. Why would I PURSUE this person through the interwebs and try to connect if I realize that this person is spamming his or her own accounts?
This practice doesn’t lead to a sharper, better-defined web presence. It makes the owner of those accounts seem less personal. Understanding the nuances of each community, posting unique content there, and interacting with other people in a special way—in each place—is more time consuming, yes, but it’s also more effective in tribe-building, and, I might add, more humane.