Tailor Your Brand Message to the Medium; One Size Does NOT Fit All

While we strive for consistency in brand messaging, the reality is that if your message ripples across multiple platforms, the actual content needs to change to suit the reality of the given social medium, the demographics of the audience or general bandwidth (like the character limitations of Twitter).

What works for LinkedIn, which is more text-based, does not work for Instagram which is more image-based. The message regardless of text or visuals has to be tweaked for each platform to accommodate the diverse range of audiences and stakeholders.

You can get away with corporate jargon on LinkedIn, but that is off-putting on Facebook, which is at once a more personal yet broader audience. Some platforms like LinkedIn are more B2B and some like Facebook are more inherently B2C.

Twitter is appealing because it is so timely, but striking the right tone is a challenge because wit and humor are rewarded on Twitter (but it has to be in good taste or there is blowback).

Because multimedia photos and videos are the “stickiest” and most engaging content on the web—if you are trained professional, your visuals should be a cut above—should stand above the rest of the non-professional content. The same is true on the writing side—your training should put your writing above the fray, make your words stand out in a sea of less polished, more amateur, untrained verbiage and it needs to fit the platform.

Contrast the huge volume of social media content out there with the fact that the scarcest resource we modern humans have is our attention span…we are being bombarded in every direction, every place we turn. Forget the diagnosis that many Americans have ADD or ADHD—our social environment is making us consume media as if we really did have a problem focusing. There’s a lot of competition for our eyes and ears.

Strategically, as communicators, this means we must adapt our strategies, to reach people in different ways, or in at least the ways, they want to be engaged. From a social media standpoint, that means constantly changing, updating, connecting and collecting data. Very often it’s more important about who you engage than massive numbers, because your audience has an audience of their own. Another way of saying this is that it’s not so much about who or how many people follow your brand, it’s about who follows those who do follow you.

To engage influencers, you don’t want to be “that guy”—the one that is always asking for something, begging for a favor, demanding someone re-tweet or re-post. Meaningful engagement is built over time. When you follow influencers, truly connect with them, commenting on their posts, interacting in a way that positively amplifies their messages so that they may one day return the favor.

Now, you have to consider all platforms, and how media is consumed through multiple devices in multiple places. It’s also a 24/7 cycle because consumers are taking their mobile devices everywhere. They aren’t just setting at their Desktop 9 to 5.

Just a few short years ago, a viable solution was a mobile app—build a special app that works on iPhone (then Android) that puts a wrapper for a mobile browser experience behind your branded icon. As it turns out, in my experience, this is a strategy that only seems to work for hardcore fans, doesn’t win new customers and since the average person has 26 apps, the app strategy often gets lost in the cluttered environment on most smartphones. As the core applications on smartphones become more powerful and reliable, the also-ran brand apps typically don’t compete well. The majority of companies don’t need an app. Examples of ones that do, airlines (with all the gate and flight changes) and shopping apps that provide discounts and updates on delivery. Most companies are better advised to spend their money on fresh content and updating all digital properties design to better work with new browsers with mobile in mind, and also taking advantage of all available geolocator features (helping your customers find the brick and mortar locations we still need in the real world).

One of the interesting things about the mobile revolution is that consumers have figured out they are more anonymous on their devices. Desktops and laptops have cookies which allow marketers to track consumer preferences and even figure out identities—that’s not so on mobile device browsers for the most part. That’s why so many of these mobile sites want to verify who you are through Facebook.

It’s important to remember the constantly emerging new mobile strategies aren’t just a channel to deliver the same old content. Now you have to deal with true real-time interactivity as marketing moves faster than ever before. Fasten your seatbelts, the mobile ride is going to get even bumpier. Thoughts, questions, comments—contact me through your mobile devices @bengarrettvid