This post aims at explaining what is the best approach for a brand (consumer, political or institutional) to handle the main social media platforms. This is solely based on my experience (ie: don't ask me about the scientific proof!)
I've realized that many people find it difficult to grasp what are the key differences between the various social media platforms, and how they can leverage each to promote their messages. I find that the best approach is a simple comparison to what most people/brand managers know instinctively: traditional media.
Think of YouTube as your TV digital subscription. You have access to a number of channels: news, entertainment, oldies etc...You can zap, record your favorite movie, pause, go to the bathroom and playback anytime.
Let's face it, most of us look at Facebook for the pictures of our friends. Without images, Facebook would definitely not be Facebook. They are what videos are for YouTube; the backbone of the entire structure. Facebook is very similar to fashion magazines: a model based on still images with short text. Brand pages resemble more the "letter to the editor" section that most major magazines have: the brand manager (or magazine editor) selects what to show, edits, highlights...and sometimes can even answer.
If you follow around 300 people, you can expect to get every 5 minutes around 20 new tweets (or short messages) The whole format of Twitter is based on these snippets of info thrown at you from the various people you follow. Genius....but rehashed genius. You actually consume Twitter in a very similar manner than what you do when listening to radio: you can do two activities in parallel; read the NY Times in one Tab, and check Twitter every 10 seconds in another tab (more difficult to do in Facebook or YouTube)
To be honest, I haven't caught up with Google + that much yet. I think their model is closer to the town hall meetings so familiar to the anglo-saxon culture.
What does that say on using these various platforms and their users?
- On YouTube:
The audience: a very captive audience that will stay long on the site, but one that keeps zapping from channel to channel.
To capture the attention: create your own unique and attractive content, or make them watch your ad to get access to their movie (like pay -per-view makes you pay to see the movie)
To advertize: targeted inserted ads, branded content, brand placement
- On Facebook:
The audience: a mildly captive audience, flipping from page to page. Sometimes reading sometimes just looking at the pictures (image yourself reading a magazine)
To capture the attention: as in magazines, you have to have either a shock message or a very attractive visual
To advertize: see before
- On Twitter:
The audience: people doing various things at the same time. Their attention is minimal. They will only stop and "listen" if the topic seems interesting (as in radio)
To capture the attention: Short bursts of repetitive messages (think of the annoying supermarket ads on radio: today - and today only- special discount of 20% on frozen fish!)
To advertize: Manage to place these short repetitive messages with special offers all day long
- On Google +:
Like any Town-hall meeting, be the best speaker you can be ! (= I don't know what to say here)