In the last few months I have worked with a few clients that really took an aggressive stance with their social media strategy or their proposed social media strategy. They basically wanted to create social media outposts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) for different products that their company provided and then with some of those, break them down even further and created outposts for sub products of the products.
At the heart of it they wanted to give people the ability to get the news and the information they wanted about specific items they produced. It is a legitimate idea and I think their intentions were pure. However, when you looked at their current social media usage you saw that they could barely manage their single outposts or the handful that they had. It was a struggle to create content and to get any traction. If they were to do this they would really dilute their brand by splitting things up that much.
I’m not saying the idea of breaking up your social media presence by vertical or product is a bad idea. For example, if you are a Proctor and Gamble you need to do this because most people are more familiar with the individual brands than the company, you have way too many products and companies to just fold under that umbrella and you have marketing teams for each of them to produce good content.
Proctor and Gamble have the infrastructure, the need, and the people to pull it off. The companies I was talking to did not.
Before you begin to split up your social media you need to consider these things:
1) If it creates more work, do you have the ability to do it? If you are having problems creating content for one page, imagine creating it for six. Are you going to have the ability to keep the content flowing and make it interesting when you begin splitting up your outposts? If the answer is no or you see it being a struggle don’t even consider making the move because you will be spreading yourself thin and killing off your brand.
2) Sometimes it is a sign of other problems either workflow or control. A lot of the time when different divisions or locations want their own outposts it is a sign of a communication, workflow, or control issue. For example, if a resort in the Bahamas had people controlling their amenities and they felt the person updating their social media outposts weren’t posting things about those amenities they may want to create their own outpost. Soon when people would look for that resort they would find pages and profiles for each amenity. At that point they had to choose what they wanted to follow,watering down the brand and missing out on key information from the other places. Creating a social media workflow and improving internal communications could have stopped this problem.
3) What is the value of doing this? – Most of the time people answer this question by saying, “Well customer A only cares about product B, so we are just giving him the news they want.” That is fine, but when your company only puts out three tweets in a day and only one of those tweets are about product B only, I am sure customer A is fine with the other two tweets. If you feel strongly that people only want information about a single product, but don’t want to water down your brand, create custom feeds or other things that you can aggregate on the outpost. For example: If you have a Facebook page, create a tab with different feeds you have available by product or vertical. There you can blend together news from Twitter by a hashtag, posts from your blogs and other outposts. There are ways to give people options of just following one piece of news without watering down your brand.
A diluted presence means you have a diluted base of fans, friends, and followers. It is harder to activate them, it is harder to get good conversations going, and it is harder to hold their interest if everything is so watered down. You really need to think long and hard about splitting up your brand in social media, the last thing you want is for things to die slowly.