Channels and Communities


Channels and Communities are two fundamental ideas I like to get people to think about when it comes to Social Media Marketing. Whether you're a Business Owner or a Marketing Manager you'll be familiar with different marketing and communications channels. TV, Radio, Newspapers, Billboards etc are all channels you can use to promote your business. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are also channels and should be considered in much the same light. Except for one critical factor.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are Social. Yes Newspapers are kind of social, in that an article might create debate or conversations among friends, colleagues or talk back callers. TV is also kind of social in the sense that it can be a shared experience with friends and family. People will argue against this but those traditional channels are not open two way channels of communication. They may well create conversations among peers but only indirectly with the business or brand involved.

Social Networking tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can create communities; groups of people that can engage directly with the brand or business at their leisure.

Just like traditional channels, social channels require their own unique approach. What you say in your Radio advert is not usually the same as your TV advert or the copy on your Billboard. Each channel has its unique message, call to action and desired effect and the same is applied to social networks.

Twitter has its own unique user experience, etiquette and format, so your content, the media you use and the messages should be customised to suit all of those aspects.

When you advertise on TV or Radio you need to understand the viewer demographics, understand what else they might be doing or watching at the time your advert is playing; the same things must also be considered when you plan your content schedule on Twitter or Facebook.

So think about what your business does on Twitter or Facebook. When do you post your updates? Are they conversational? Are you fostering a community, enabling customers to share ideas, start discussions and voice their opinions? Do you understand the mechanics of each social network well enough to develop a unique channel strategy for each one?

Question for this week is? How to you differentiate your social networks? What do you do on Facebook that you don't do on any other network?

And if your business has any lingering social media problems or questions please leave them as comments below. You never know, that could be the topic for next weeks post.

Have a great week and get social. Your customers will love you for it!