Inbound Marketing Social Media RelevancyThis post is inspired by a recent guest post on the TechNMarketing blog by Shoshanna Jaskoll titled Why I love Google+ from a Non-Techie, Slightly Rage-Inclined, Working Woman.

We’re all marketers, salespeople, employees, and contributors. But we’re also individuals.  As Shoshanna says in her post “… where do we end and our businesses begin? How can we be us without always having to wear heels?”

Whether you use the Big 4 social media platforms for business, personal, or a mixture of both – how can we be more successful in communicating with our audiences on each platform and with what ratio of differentiation? Klout attempts to address the differentiation with their influence rating. But we took a closer look at being rewarded a higher algorithmic score with what can be perceived as anti-social behavior in a previous post.

We all want to build our personal brands with the highest level of relevancy, but we often struggle with how to be ourselves in social media when we’re off the clock in our flip flops on the weekend. We have opinions, hobbies, favorite bands, and photos to share – but they shouldn’t have to all fit into one “safe” and “socially-accepted” bucket.

  • A crash on your rollerblades might be the funniest thing your Facebook friends have read about in a long time, but do your Twitter followers want to know about it?
  • Or, you published a great blog that was RT’d and shared by hundreds of influencers on Twitter, do your Facebook friends care?
  • Think of your Facebook friends that sell real estate or Pampered Chef. Don’t you feel taken advantage of when they’re constantly peddling their wares in your newsfeed or business associates are filling up your Inbox with private messages to attend their webinars?

Yes, Facebook has the “lists” option but it’s more than tough for the average user to figure out. And as Shoshanna explains in her post, Google+ makes it a lot easier to segment content – but it’s unlikely that everyone is going to abandon the other platforms anytime soon. In the meantime we can address content relevancy across the Big 4 based on data, audience and platform evaluation, and differentiation.

In social media, whether you realize it or not, as an individual, you have a reputation that your connections determine. Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella) backs this up in his latest Science of Social Media 2011 Webinar. Just as we segment our products and services to industry-related audiences and targeted demographics, we should do the same across various social platforms.

How to Evaluate and Differentiate:

1.    Consider the purpose of the platform.

  • Facebook: Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.
  • LinkedIn: Over 120 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities.
  • Twitter: Twitter is the best way to discover what’s new in your world.
  • Google+: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web.

2.    Consider your personal vs. professional ratio.

  • If most of your Twitter followers are business associates – posting blogs and sharing industry-related resources will likely work for you. If most of your Facebook friends are personal connections, try sharing things that are interesting to you personally, rather than just your business blogs or cookie-cutter content like the top news of the day that everyone is likely already aware of.
  • If you, as an individual, are a brand – you should have a page for your fans and followers. Example: Cleveland Chef Michael Symon. Most of his posts are food-related but he also posts community-related news and shares some personal thoughts, likely due to the enormous amount of likes and comments he garners by doing so. Also, see our last post regarding “liking” vs. “friending”.
  • If you work for Coca-Cola and all you post is Coca-Cola-related content – don’t you think your friends might get bored with your content and “hide” you? They would “like” Coca-Cola if they wanted to have real-time updates about their products.

3. Consider the demographic of the platform.

  • For example, considering that Google+ currently has a user-base that is 70% male and is dominated primarily by engineers, designers and developers, only after students, as shared in an infographic on Brian Solis’s blog. Many of the first people you will connect with are social media influencers. So, share only the best-of-the-best must-read blogs and articles. More likely than not, most of these early-adopters are subscribed to the same blogs as you are, so don’t dilute the newsfeed with posts that this demographic likely has already read or shared.

Takeaway >> You can’t please all of the people all of the time – especially if you post the same content across all platforms. Separate your buckets and fill them each up with relevant content. Otherwise, you’re just pushing, not sharing.