Tips for Shaping Your Voice In Social Networks

I’ve seen a lot of brands using automated tools to pump out the same message across social networks to minimize the effort required to reach the broadest audience possible. This is an easy trap to fall into, but ultimately it’s counter-productive.
The way I think about social media’s and how it is used is by considering it the next evolution in how conversation is scaled. In every evolution there are companies that fall in love with the idea of reaching the broadest possible audience and as a result engage in activities that end up damaging their brand. For instance, with postage mail eventually came junk mail. and with email there eventually came SPAM. Here’s an infographic I found that illustrates my point a lot better than I can in words.
Evolution of Spam

Now social media is offering the same opportunity to scale conversation and impact a larger audience, but in a more targeted way. Some brands understand that the key to optimizing engagement in social media lies in delivering value to users and not violating a persons trust to advance the company agenda. The way to nurture that trust and increase advocacy is to engage in a personal level through social media. If users can see through automated postings or re-purposed content that seems contrary to the conversation that should be taking place in the network you shouldn’t be surprised when friends, fans, and followers begin to migrate out of your community.

Here are a couple observations I have made about the two most prominent social networks:


  • People don’t always talk about what they want to talk about, they share things they think they SHOULD be talking about. This is as true for face to face conversations as it is for social media. Depending on what your brand is this changes the type of content you should post here, but video and short articles often resonate the best. Continue reading

Obama Learns Valuable Twitter Lesson

Although congress was able to dodge a bullet and lift the debt ceiling we can let out a sigh of relief… at least for now. There are dozens of lessons we can learn on what not to do from the debacle in D.C. and one of those lessons actually relates to social media!

Twitter #Fail

The usually social-media savvy Obama administration attempted to channel the public’s frustration through Twitter to lawmakers in every state on the GOP side of the aisle. If it would have worked it would have been a powerful message. Ideally, the #compromise hashtag would have been strongly trending on Twitter with thousands of Americans pleading with congress to institute some reason on behalf of the country’s interests.

Unfortunately, the administration made a Twitter Faux Pas that took the air out of the effort like a punch to the gut. The mistake the usually social media savvy group made was individually tweeting each congress-person’s Twitter handle to the entire following. The response? Mashable has assembled a nice cross-section of reactions. My personal favorite:

“Dear @Twitter, I’d like to report a SPAM account —->@BarackObama”

Most of these people that expressed annoyance with the tactic were assumed to be supporters of Obama which makes it even more alarming that such a large backlash took place. While the idea was a good one, the execution was awful.

Lesson to be learned

Instead of individually Tweeting each handle, the administration should have Tweeted a link to a landing page with each lawmakers Twitter handle. A few additional tweets to make the message more powerful would have been fine to help drive uptake for the effort, but that’s where the line should be drawn. The very people that lashed out against the Tweet fatigue from Obama’s twitter handle probably would have been the biggest influencers for enabling the hashtag to resonate and receive some uptake. Instead, the crucial nodes that could have amplified the message were immediately turned off by the effort and transformed something positive into a message that reinforced an underlying belief that the government is out of touch with it’s citizens.

I have full faith that Obama and his administration will take this lesson in stride and do something great next time. But for now, consider this as a lesson learned for any attempts you make on Twitter with your brand.