Creating Different Social Media Personas
No one would think of visiting the President of the United States in jeans and their favorite rock concert T-shirt. The Oval Office itself deserves respect. The different social media communities on the Web have their own conventions as well.
Think of one of the most prevalent business social media platforms: LinkedIn is a community for professionals. Some professionals are known to you while others are not. Think of meeting the boss for dinner at a fine restaurant downtown…formal…button down…reserved. One would dress well for the dinner engagement and leave the running clothes on a hook in the bathroom.
The Facebook community is more casual, think of having a social gathering of family and friends at your home. Everyone knows each other and would be sharing stories and photos. Twitter is similar to attending a neighborhood block party. Some of the people attending would be friends while others look unfamiliar.
Let’s look at how the dialogue might take place in these different social media/social networking communities.
- Visiting a profile will alert the person of your visit (You can change your own profile settings to a private mode so you don’t reveal to them who you are).
- Conversations can begin before actual contact is made via profile viewing (and then subsequent messaging to complete connection).
- Messaging icon appears on homepage (Click to send a message to up to 50 connections).
- Paid/Premium InMail feature allows for private messaging – You can contact or be contacted by another LinkedIn member, while protecting the recipient’s privacy.
- InMail messages are limited to 200 characters for the Subject Line and 2000 characters for the message body.
- Send images, videos, and files.
- LinkedIn lets you customize your homepage with articles and updates from your connections.
- Share content with connections from any page.
- There is a “What’s on your mind?” section on each Facebook member’s main page. Seems like the person sending the message out can be pretty long-winded. I stopped counting at 1,000 words.
- Twenty Facebook friends at a time can receive a 1,000 word message as well.
- Videos and pictures can also be exchanged.
- Messages are 140 characters. The message needs to be clear, concise and to the point. If you consider adding in a shortened link to a landing page or blog (http://bit.ly/1237CIS) along with “Please RT” which stands for “Please ReTweet” or pass along this Tweet along to your followers. Now the message can only be approximately 110 characters. A lot of thought needs to go into the message before sending it out.
- Videos and pictures can also be traded.
Now we understand that the conversations in these social networking communities are similar yet they vary. We need to cover two more items; the timing and tone of the conversations within the various communities. Let’s cover timing first without getting too far into the weeds.
- As regular messages are received from LinkedIn members they will drop into your Inbox and also be routed to your email client if that is the way your settings are arranged. The messages will sit in the LinkedIn inbox until disposition. The conversation basically always remains ongoing as your conversations are logged and remain in the messaging section of the website.
- Facebook works much the same way. Messages are received and routed to the inbox and the email client. The messages need to be disposed at some time. Again, the only gap in communication is not logging into your Facebook account on some regular basis.
- Three different types of messages can be sent or received. 1) DM or Direct Messages (D + handle + message) to you that no one else will see or be able to read. 2) Mentions where other Twitter followers mention your handle (@JohnLeavy mentioned somewhere within a message) in their message. 3) Messages sent out to the world that you will see if you are following that person or if you happen to be searching for some topical information and that’s what their message is about. The Direct Messages and Mentions stay available to you in folders along the right side column of your Twitter page.
- Think of the Twitter messages coming in to be much like a river of communication and thoughts. A standard Twitter page holds twenty messages. When the twenty-first message (tweet) is received the last message at the bottom of page 1 falls to page 2. If you have a few dozen followers, that chat occasionally, the chance of not seeing their message on page 1 is small. But think of having thousands of followers and receiving hundreds of tweets per day. If you do not have time to scroll to the back pages things people are talking about won’t be seen.
- Don’t worry about being out of the loop on some conversations. No one can keep up on every conversation at a business forum. People typically walk from group to group listening to what the conversation is about. When they hear something of interest they may hang around for some time. They may even join in the discussion. That’s the way the conversation on Twitter works. If a Twitter account is only accessed once or twice a week much of what their followers are talking about will not be seen.
The bottom line is that you need to be strategic in your use of social media. Keep business and personal friends and colleagues separate. Also remember that if you create phony social media personas you’ll be found out sooner than you think. We have lots more information about social media marketing at the Fusion Marketing Partners website.
By John Leavy