Social media content gives everyone a headache. We know that content for each channel should be personalized and distinct, but at the same time it should all promote the same core messaging. So, how is this even doable? The key is to tell the same story in multiple different ways.
It’s important to match the message to not just audience but also channel – so don’t make the common mistake of just pushing the exact same message out via LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Just as you would personalize the message for your target audiences, you should also personalize by channel.
As long as it’s not too personalized. Here’s a classic case study for that:
DVM 360 is a website for veterinarians, and it’s full of great information for anyone running a vet practice. DVM 360 has actually won marketing awards for its content, which is shared primarily via the website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The company does a good job in each channel, in fact I would agree that it is award-worthy content, but the overall message is not working in synch to promote the brand messaging.
Let’s look at a day in the life of DVM 360’s content. This is the same day, with three different messages in three different channels.
Instagram: A photo of a cute kitty smartphone desktop stand.
Facebook: A post about a dangerous horse feed recall.
Company website: Feature story sharing “our worst mistakes that you can learn from.”
None of these are bad posts. They each showcase interesting and useful information for their target audience that is tailored to each channel – the Facebook message has a link to the company website; the Instagram image is kind of fun; and the web piece is good reading.
The problem is that there’s no overall cohesive story here. So, what happens if the client only follows the company on Instagram? DVM’s messaging on that channel is fun but not very deep. The client really has to follow all channels to receive a cohesive brand message.
Let’s look at a powerful alternative.
Each social media channel should have a channel-specific message that reinforces the brand’s core content. Set a goal for each channel based on its personality, demographic and strength. For example:
Facebook is a consistently powerful conversion channel, so Facebook messaging should always feature a link to drive readers to the website.
Instagram won’t even let you add a link to photo captions, so that messaging should focus on gorgeous images that reinforce the brand identity.
Twitter is great at creating community, so Twitter posts and chats should focus on shares or conversational topics designed to encourage engagement and participation.
Mainstream consumer magazines do this really well. Let’s look at an example from Bon Apetit. These are three different posts from the same day:
Facebook: Link to a feature story roundup of readers’ favorite recipes, leading with the image of a gorgeous radicchio salad;
Instagram: Same salad image, bigger and richer, with a note about summer recipes in the current issue;
Twitter: Image of a different salad with a snarky “sorry, not sorry” note about how yummy the salad dressing is.
One core message, three different posts. You can see that if the target customer only follows one channel – say she prefers Instagram because she is a visual person – she is still going to get the same messaging as that person who follows the brand on Twitter. Likewise, if a reader follows you on all three channels, they aren’t going to see the same repetitive post three times that day. Each post is different, but all of these links send readers to the same core story. This keeps the content for each channel personalized and distinct, but gets all social media channels working together for the same overall content goal.