Don’t Buy The Hat

I remember “Field of Dreams” pretty vividly from my childhood, possibly because it’s a good movie, but probably because I was creeped out by the ghosts. Either way, the phrase “If you build it, they will come” has kind of stuck with me. In fact, it stuck with me so much that when I started to work on my company’s social media strategy, I took that approach to all of them. I figured that I could use the same content on all the social media sites, and as long as we had a presence there, people would flock like the salmon of Capistrano. Turns out that Field of Dreams was full of crap, in this case (seems like a no-brainer now, but at the time, it was a revelation). Since then, I’ve come to realize several reasons why that approach failed.

Account For Your Audience

You see, each one of these social media sites has a slightly different value proposition for its users, and a one-size-fits-all strategy is ineffective. What’s good for Twitter is not necessarily great for Facebook. Facebook users are looking for something different than Twitter users, and YouTube users are definitely looking for something that can’t be found on Twitter. Basically, I’m just saying you have to account for your audience.

Create Unique Value

Another issue with the one-size-fits-all strategy is that if you’re providing the same stuff on all your channels, what’s the incentive for a user to follow you on Twitter, fan you on Facebook, and subcribe to your YouTube stream? None. It’s all the same. So what if, instead, you provide each platform with its very own tailor-made value proposition? What if you have videos that are exclusive to youTube, insider information that can only be gotten as a Facebook fan, and coupon codes that can only be found on Twitter? All of a sudden, you’ve created a very real value for each of your channels that will encourage customers to connect with your brand on each of them.

Signal, Not Noise

This may seem obvious, but I have to say it anyways. Make sure that the value you’re trying to provide really is valuable. Hopefully you know your business and your market well enough to know what your users would consider valuable. This could be as simple as understanding the humor of the group you’re trying to reach so you can make YouTube videos they would enjoy, or as complex as researching your target userbase in-depth and developing an app that ties into your product and addresses a major need your target userbase has.

So anyways, for future reference, unless you live in the Midwest, have a close friendship with James Earl Jones and you’re building a baseball website, the “If you build it” approach might not be for you. Trust me on this one.

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