Social media: Tailor the message for each individual platform?

Within the current social media landscape it is quite easy to connect every platform to share messages across all platforms. Even when the platform provider does not provide a way to connect there are often third party tools that will allow for easy sharing of status messages anyway.

In my setup Twitter basically is the backbone. When I see an article of interest on the web I write about it and share it on Twitter, when I write an article on my blog it will automatically be shared with a short link on Twitter. Subsequently these tweets are then being pushed to other platforms and will appear on Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Hyves and maybe some more locations. It is easy and you are present everywhere.


Now the question for this article, and I would love to read your input in the comments, is it the right setup to have the same message everywhere? Every platform will have it’s own purpose and users, hence should one tailor the messages per platform. For instance on LinkedIn the corporate focussed messages, on Ecademy the messages tailored for business people, on Facebook the lighter kind of messages and on Hyves messages for my kids? I know I am exaggerating the positioning of these platforms but you will get the point.

I think for both approaches something can be said. In my case I have a congruent appearance on every platform and I think for me that is a good approach. The brand of my company is strongly build on me as a person, separating business and personal messages do not make much sense from that perspective. After all what is a personal brand without the personal touch? Still I am thoughtful in what I post, it needs to be in line with the image that I want my brand to represent.

For some organizations it may make sense to tailor the message. A large corporation with a well known brand selling consumer goods will send out different messages to a platform focussed on younger children than a platform focussed on the individual professional. Some brands simply have to be only on a few of the platforms as a brand, for instance on Facebook, and will as a brand stay away from other platforms with other purposes, like LinkedIn.

What is your strategy and what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments: Should every message be similar on every platform or should also the smaller businesses tailor their messages to the separate social networks?

12 Responses to “Social media: Tailor the message for each individual platform?”

  1. tomhalle1

    I guess I have a bit of a different perspective on this – although I am among other things a businessman, and of course hope that a customer or prospect will stumble across my words of wisdom and follow the trail back to my web site and choose to do business with me, that is not the principal purpose of why I post on various social media sites.

    I post for two reasons – 1) to get my own voice out into the world (and who doesn’t want to do that?), and 2) to raise general awareness and skills in my own area of expertise (commercial alliances). Because of this, for me the message is always the same – and the site or medium where the message appears simply serves to meet the reader at the place where he or she prefers to consume information.

    The only variation that makes sense for my purposes is to vary the length, not the voice or content – i.e. shorter posts for media such as Twitter, and longer posts for media such as blog posts/comments or LinkedIn group posts.

    There is also a second factor influencing this point of view – I believe that the explosive growth in direct personal publishing, unfiltered by editors, PR, or the Legal department, is ushering in an era where there is no distinction between one’s personal and professional personas – and the marketplace is shifting as well, bestowing credibility on those who speak authentically and dismissing as “cheesy” those that engage in marketing-speak.

    We warn our kids to “watch out what you say on line – it will follow you for life” – but isn’t that precisely the point? Perhaps our advice instead should be – “always speak the truth from your heart – then you can never say the wrong thing.”

    • Good point Tom, we make our children indeed aware of what they do on the web and naturally we should follow those guidelines ourselves too!

  2. tomhalle1

    I guess I have a bit of a different perspective on this – although I am among other things a businessman, and of course hope that a customer or prospect will stumble across my words of wisdom and follow the trail back to my web site and choose to do business with me, that is not the principal purpose of why I post on various social media sites.

    I post for two reasons – 1) to get my own voice out into the world (and who doesn’t want to do that?), and 2) to raise general awareness and skills in my own area of expertise (commercial alliances). Because of this, for me the message is always the same – and the site or medium where the message appears simply serves to meet the reader at the place where he or she prefers to consume information.

    The only variation that makes sense for my purposes is to vary the length, not the voice or content – i.e. shorter posts for media such as Twitter, and longer posts for media such as blog posts/comments or LinkedIn group posts.

    There is also a second factor influencing this point of view – I believe that the explosive growth in direct personal publishing, unfiltered by editors, PR, or the Legal department, is ushering in an era where there is no distinction between one’s personal and professional personas – and the marketplace is shifting as well, bestowing credibility on those who speak authentically and dismissing as “cheesy” those that engage in marketing-speak.

    We warn our kids to “watch out what you say on line – it will follow you for life” – but isn’t that precisely the point? Perhaps our advice instead should be – “always speak the truth from your heart – then you can never say the wrong thing.”

    • Good point Tom, we make our children indeed aware of what they do on the web and naturally we should follow those guidelines ourselves too!

  3. Gianluca, Dave, Ross, thanks for your great contribution. There will probably be no one methodology that fits all, everyone will choose his/her own implementation, based on needs and effort. I agree with you Ross that return on effort, or keep it manageable as Gianluca said, is the measurement we should follow. At least I will for my own presence, but indeed larger organizations should at least put in the resources needed to tailor the presence per platform. And is seems that for you Dave you already choose that separating the identities is something that pays off the effort?!

    Looking forward to additional comments!

  4. Peter

    Gianluca, Dave, Ross, thanks for your great contribution. There will probably be no one methodology that fits all, everyone will choose his/her own implementation, based on needs and effort. I agree with you Ross that return on effort, or keep it manageable as Gianluca said, is the measurement we should follow. At least I will for my own presence, but indeed larger organizations should at least put in the resources needed to tailor the presence per platform. And is seems that for you Dave you already choose that separating the identities is something that pays off the effort?!

    Looking forward to additional comments!

  5. The key issue is effort and return on effort.

    Ideally messages would be tailored to the platform. However that requires substantial effort. Personally I also use Twitter as my message hub, and for many individuals who use Twitter that would make sense. However any company that sees value in investing into social media should put in the resources needed to have a tailored presence on each platform.

  6. The key issue is effort and return on effort.

    Ideally messages would be tailored to the platform. However that requires substantial effort. Personally I also use Twitter as my message hub, and for many individuals who use Twitter that would make sense. However any company that sees value in investing into social media should put in the resources needed to have a tailored presence on each platform.

  7. These are great perspectives and good advice, though I’m not sure I agree with the distinction between small and large business. Each social media “outlet” represents a different channel. To be effective, the message has to be tailored to the channel. Perhaps we should go further, the networks we create, may be different for each channel.

    For example, I have several twitter identities, one that reinforces the brand image and messages our business wants to establish, one the is purely social and intended primrarily for close friends to communicate casually. Likewise, my current facebook reprsentation is purely social, family and friends. We are establishing a business presence on facebook, and our messaging on that will be tailored to our target audience and those we hope to friend in facebook.

    Good discussion.

  8. These are great perspectives and good advice, though I’m not sure I agree with the distinction between small and large business. Each social media “outlet” represents a different channel. To be effective, the message has to be tailored to the channel. Perhaps we should go further, the networks we create, may be different for each channel.

    For example, I have several twitter identities, one that reinforces the brand image and messages our business wants to establish, one the is purely social and intended primrarily for close friends to communicate casually. Likewise, my current facebook reprsentation is purely social, family and friends. We are establishing a business presence on facebook, and our messaging on that will be tailored to our target audience and those we hope to friend in facebook.

    Good discussion.

  9. First, I agree with the significant distinction between large businesses and small or individual businesses you draw above. Let me focus on small businesses or individuals:

    Yes, it is key to keep the pieces of your online brand and presence orderly, as you do by choosing one master and how updates flow from some other “platforms” to the master, then on to other platforms.

    Then you can create different, separate flows for different subjects – for instance, business and personal, or different areas of your business. If you want.
    The main benefit here is to reduce clutter and increase relevance for each of your audiences. This is the equivalent of what a larger organization can achieve with different persons posting updates on separate subjects through different profiles on different platforms

    If you do so, you can assume each platform has a role and assume a corresponding audience, and use these criteria to define what to post where, and what platform to connect to what other platforms in what flows.

    Ideally, and maybe some platforms support this already, I would like to use tags rather s to choose where each piece of content posted goes, rather than direct it based on what platform am I posting it to. Then I can really take one single platform as master and still choose what other platforms, and audiences, will get what post.

    What do you think?

    To the risk of stating the obvious, whatever you do:
    – keep it manageable, so you will have the time to produce meaningful and relevant content, as well as focussed
    – keep all content, however personal, suitable for all audiences. It will be dug out and reviewed by unintended readers.

  10. First, I agree with the significant distinction between large businesses and small or individual businesses you draw above. Let me focus on small businesses or individuals:

    Yes, it is key to keep the pieces of your online brand and presence orderly, as you do by choosing one master and how updates flow from some other “platforms” to the master, then on to other platforms.

    Then you can create different, separate flows for different subjects – for instance, business and personal, or different areas of your business. If you want.
    The main benefit here is to reduce clutter and increase relevance for each of your audiences. This is the equivalent of what a larger organization can achieve with different persons posting updates on separate subjects through different profiles on different platforms

    If you do so, you can assume each platform has a role and assume a corresponding audience, and use these criteria to define what to post where, and what platform to connect to what other platforms in what flows.

    Ideally, and maybe some platforms support this already, I would like to use tags rather s to choose where each piece of content posted goes, rather than direct it based on what platform am I posting it to. Then I can really take one single platform as master and still choose what other platforms, and audiences, will get what post.

    What do you think?

    To the risk of stating the obvious, whatever you do:
    – keep it manageable, so you will have the time to produce meaningful and relevant content, as well as focussed
    – keep all content, however personal, suitable for all audiences. It will be dug out and reviewed by unintended readers.