Your Social Media Presence Needs Substance, Not Just Style

“Twitter” isn’t a communications strategy. It isn’t even a social media strategy. As a company, having a Twitter account doesn’t even set you apart from the pack any more.

As social media’s golden-child-of-the-moment heads into the trough of disillusionment, we’re going to see more and more people vocalizing the same thing; Jennifer Leggio said it succinctly today: “I don’t care if your company is on Twitter.”

I’ve argued this for a while, but I’ll argue it again – Twitter (or Facebook, or FriendFeed, or blogging) isn’t a silver bullet for your company.

Plan properly

ToolkitInstead of wondering how best to use Twitter, try wondering:

  • “What are we trying to do?”
  • “Who are we trying to reach?”
  • “How do we best reach those people to achieve those things?”

Sometimes, the answer to those questions won’t include Twitter. Remember – Twitter is just one tool in your social media toolkit, and social media is just one set of tools in your communications toolkit. There are lots of other options.

Have a purpose

Just having a Twitter presence isn’t enough to make you interesting, either. Thousands of companies do nowadays. It doesn’t set you apart. You need substance to your presence, rather than just style.

Look at the companies we often look to as models of how to approach Twitter successfully – each of them uses the tool to accentuate their USP or to add something new to their communications (over-simplifying here to make a point):

  • Zappos uses it to shine a spotlight on their great customer service
  • Molson and Ford solve the problem of being large, potentially faceless brands by putting people and personalities out there
  • Dell uses Twitter to address a perception of poor customer service, while also putting a face on the company (along with sales generation)

These brands aren’t just there because they should be (in fact, they were on Twitter before it was the golden child) – each of them uses it for a purpose.

Stop and think

So, before starting a Twitter initiative, ask yourself:

Are we doing this for the right reason? Is it the right tool for the job?

Your thoughts?