The social media world recently got a bit more cluttered with the introduction of Google+ and there is a lot of talk about it being a ‘Facebook Killer’ (insert here the shower scene from Pyscho), or how everyone will abandon Twitter leaving it to the tumbleweeds, the bots and the news media (bless their cotton socks).

If you haven’t given Google+ a whirl then you definitely should – if only to form your own opinion about whether its another timesink or something actually useful. My favourite, favourite, favourite feature of G+ is the Hangouts – group video chat for free. But this blog is not about the merits of Google+, there are over 100,000 blogs on that topic, just… errrr… Google them.

Even without the introduction of another social platform it is worth putting some thought into what content you post and where. The ‘one size fits all’ rule doesn’t work for a number of reasons:

  1. Different audience (and your relationship to them)
  2. Different frequency
  3. Different timing
  4. Different formats

Some people hook up the integration between various platforms – for example automatically publishing tweets from Twitter to LinkedIn. Can I just say that I hate that? When I look at Linkedin, I do not want to see the trivia and witty quips that are acceptable on Twitter. Linkedin is for professional networking and unless that is only what you use Twitter for, you should disconnect them. Now.  (You know who you are). Instead use the #in and #fb hashtags on Twitter which allows you to selectively publish content from Twitter into Linkedin or Facebook where appropriate.

Some brands have a feed from their Twitter account into their Facebook Wall which is sooooo wrong. Facebook communities don’t appreciate too many posts – more than 2 or 3 a week and you’ll find interactions with your posts start declining. Why? Because your community have clicked ‘Hide’ in their Facebook Newsfeed so even though they still Like your page, they are not seeing any of your posts (and never will again). If you are following the rule of a couple of posts each week then timing is important as you don’t want your precious posts to get lost in the noise of all the other updates from the 600m others on there as well. Some Facebook communities are online either very early in the morning (ie before work/school) or later in the evening after dinner, but not much in between. However stay at home mothers may be online at baby naptimes – the point here is that it differs for each community so test out different post times and track the results. Also keep in mind how many companies block Facebook access from work, meaning posts during business hours may get less interaction.

Twitter is a lot more forgiving when it comes to frequency. In fact it’s beneficial to keep up a steady stream (not a firehose though!) of tweets and responses with your followers. It is very harsh (but unfortunately true) to realise that if you didn’t turn up on Twitter one day then hardly anyone would notice. So you have to do the leg work – there are no free lunches on Twitter – unless you are already famous, like, In Real Life. The 140 character limit forces you to be concise (don’t use tweet lengtheners like deck.ly or any other .ly service – they are just wrong). Being concise does not mean it OK to use txt lingo though – except if you are 13. Not everyone will click on links either, and remember that many Twitter users are using their phones to view their feeds (not all of which will open links easily). Photos which are supported by most apps (eg twitpic, yfrog, instagram) and can be easily viewed without being sent off to another app or browser tab are very popular.

On Google+ you have the luxury of choosing who to publish your content to (pick a circle, any circle), so you can deliver more relevant content to the people in those circles meaning there is less chance of spamming people with irrelevant messages. You can also choose to mute each post (rather than the person who posted it) so you can selectively opt out of posts which are not relevant to you. Frequency is developing as Google+ is more Facebook-like, so repeated posting through the day will probably be frowned on, however as you can target selective groups you have a lot more freedom and control. Access via mobile phones will increase once Apple gets round to approving the iOS app – not high on their To Do list it would seem.

So try out posting at different times and using different content on your social media platforms, track the results to see which works best for you. And don’t forget to give Google+ a whirl. Circle me and we can Hangout!

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