Social Media: Context is King – By Nathan Smith

by Colleen on February 13, 2013

Successful marketing via social media requires being mindful of the context in which you are delivering your message. When a visitor navigates to your website, they are lenient about how you choose to market to them, because they understand it’s your house.

Contrast that to a social network interface, which the user considers to be their domain. Just as if you were entering their actual house, they expect you to act a certain way.

Here are a few examples of common indiscretions, as well as alternative strategies to effectively leverage social media, without alienating users.

Don’t do this… use contrived Twitter auto direct messages

We’ve all seen a DM similar to, “Connect with me on Facebook, and visit my website tiny.url/blahblah!”

Do this… craft a DM that doesn’t appear automated.

Consider something like, “I’m curious, what is your favorite method for brewing coffee?” By asking an open-ended question, I am coaxing a response from the user. While I didn’t provide a link for them to follow, I disarmed them by composing a genuine message.

Don’t do this… link Twitter to Facebook

Twitter users are accustomed to seeing multiple, daily tweets from the same source, while Facebook users will tolerate a limited number of posts from any single profile.

Think about your family member, who is playing Farmville, and sending you requests for nails. Additionally, every time you view your news feed, you learn that she has built a chicken coop or some other accomplishment that is meaningless to you. What do you do? Either you hide all Farmville posts, or all posts from the offending person.

How much more likely would a user mute a brand page for annoying posts? 52% of users report having “unliked” a Facebook page, because they found the posts to be annoying or repetitive (SMI 4/2012). I advise clients to limit Facebook posts to twice per day. If your time to post is limited, consider using the scheduling feature.

Do this… link Facebook to Twitter

Since Twitter users are acclimated to multiple posts, cross-post your Facebook content to Twitter. It offers links back to your Facebook profile, and doesn’t upset users.

Don’t do this… direct Facebook promoted posts to the default setting of, “friends of those who like your page”.

Facebook’s has a more personal tone than Twitter. If a brand is not invited into the user’s news feed, that user will perceive your message as intrusive, which may increase the amount of negative feedback, causing an EdgeRank algorithm penalty.

Do this… target promoted posts to the optional, “People who like your page”

You will get the same overall reach, but your message will only display to those who have previously “liked” your page. This gives you an opportunity to recapture the fans that are no longer seeing your content in their news feed, while also giving your content priority positioning on the page.

Nathan is founder of Zynali Marketing Solutions and

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