Why you need to understand the social networks you’re using


This morning I felt a great disturbance on the web, as if a millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. Social media managers everywhere found a great source of user generated content was gone. Yes, Reddit has gone dark. Here’s what social media managers can learn from disaster.

There has been a long period of discontent on the website for a while, with ‘higher ups’ meddling with the status quo. I’m not going to talk about that today because its an essay in itself and frankly a debate on racism, sexism, fatism and free-speech isn’t something I don’t want to weight into today.

Instead, I’ll be talking about the importance of understanding the social networks your using, as the issues currently facing Reddit seem to stem from management and board members making changes to the rules and structure of the site which go against the brand as understood by its users.

It’s all well and good knowing that you and your brand need to be on a network, its a whole other thing understanding the network, using it well and engaging with the audience well. This ad from Adobe paint the frightening reality we operate in…

Before getting stuck into posting and tweeting and sharing its important you understand your demographics and the networks they use. Marketing to millennials? Best get on Instagram and stay off Facebook. After stay at home mums? Pinterest and Facebook are key.

Done that? Figured out where you need to be active? Good. Now its time to understand what type of content performs well on those networks. Facebook users love video. Instgram users want pretty pictures (obviously). Pinterest users want the pretty pictures too but they want that picture to be linked to relevant websites or blogs with content useful to them!

Do you know the language to use on these sites? Basically its the language of your demographic but with extras thrown in, like hashtags on Twitter and the slang of Instagram – TBT? OOTD? FoodPorn? (Throwback Thursday, Outfit of the day, awesome pictures of food).

What is happening on Reddit right now is (apparently) the result of management not understanding the users, and as anyone who has spent any time online will know – the internet will eat you alive if you mess up. You must understand your audience. And you must understand how to communicate on your chosen platform.

This post may not have provided many of the answers, frankly because its so subjective and dependant on what your brand represents and who you’re trying to target. But hopefully these questions will help guide you to finding the answers on your own.

And hey, with Reddit defacto down you might actually get some work done today.

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