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Social Media isn’t single and it isn’t a couple either. It isn’t accurate to describe the Social Media space as one thing. Yet we are all guilty of doing so. Many of us, when speaking about Social Media, refer to it as if it were a singular item – even though all of us know that isn’t the case. There are many different Social Media platforms that make up what we all call  “Social Media“.

The Social Media platforms that make up the space are as diverse as radio stations or TV channels in any given market.

 

There’s a tendency to generalize and paint all these channels with the same brush – no matter how broad it is – and that’s not a valid way of thinking about the channel. Every platform on Social Media, from those that started the momentum like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to those that have followed are all unique and deliver very different experiences to their audiences. That’s a beautiful thing. These Social Media platforms that “make up” this exciting channel are not the same. They also don’t deliver on the same set of objectives, and any business entrepreneur and marketer needs to keep this in mind.

The Social Media platforms are beautiful things.

The individual qualities, audiences and engagement experiences enable each platform to be viewed as a unique marketing channel, able to deliver on specific objectives and on niche target markets. Each platform has its specific “state of being”, offering its audience a unique type of experience. That is why Social Media platforms should not be lumped together. It would be like saying all TV shows speak to the same audience and in the same way. You wouldn’t air a TV ad for a women’s product on a channel that only targets men. But that’s where the comparison to TV and radio ends.

Social Media platforms make up a very complex marketing channel and that’s a good thing.

It provides marketers with the ability to really dig deep and speak intimately to their niche segments. It allows marketers to propel brand tone and persona visually with movement and words. Social Media is a very diverse space. Here are just a few of the many platforms and what they each deliver:

Facebook: Well what can I say that hasn’t been already said. It was the beginning and now it is still a staple. Facebook evolved from a youth cult channel to now a parent and grandparent channel. You can find any target segment on Facebook. It’s social at its best. It’s fun. It’s personal. It’s connective. And, it’s relationship forming.

Pinterest: Originally designed for brides to organize their weddings, Pinterest can’t help but be a very visual and organized platform. Yet, it’s playful. It’s also full of appetite appeal, high fashion, design and decor. It’s the visual expression of anything on the planet. It transcends language, culture and borders.

Twitter: How can you achieve critical mass? Just tweet. It’s fast. It’s short and sweet. It’s consensus. It’s voyeurism. It’s immediate. It’s visual. And it’s especially powerful when coupled with traditional media and star power. It was during the 2014 Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, that the most popular tweet in the History of Twitter was shared.

LinkedIn: It’s professional. It’s networking. It’s engaging. It’s helpful. And it’s a soapbox. How professionals use it varies depending on whether they’re a job seeker, a head hunter or just trying to connect with like-minded professionals. LinkedIn allows for everything from sharing opinions and asking questions to hearing new points of view. It’s an amazing platform for professionals.

YouTube: It’s film. It’s humour. It’s emotional. It’s trendy. It’s video and it’s viral. It doesn’t require high production value, but it does need high impact messaging. It’s a free channel. And it’s up to marketers to leverage it.

Instagram: It’s visual. It’s a showcase. It’s artistic. It’s popular. It’s cool. It’s shareable on other social platforms. It’s power lies in it’s ability to integrate with other platforms, making it very viable for marketers to combine photos or videos into their promotional context.

So now when you think about Social Media, don’t refer to it as singular, think of it as plural. When it comes to business or branding, it’s important for marketers not to lump all the varied Social Media platforms together. A brand doesn’t have to be a hit on all Social Media platforms especially if it doesn’t make sense for the brand. Instead, a brand needs to define it’s objectives and simply be a hit on the Social Media platforms or platform that will assist it in achieving it’s objective.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that blogs are a significant part of the Social Media space. As such, my business objective is to drive people to the 3H hoopla blog and have them register, comment and subscribe. I hope you’ll do all three, but I would be happy with just two!