Knowing Your Audience(s) on Social Media
Imagine me clapping my palms together and rubbing them together gleefully, and you’ll get a strong idea of my vehemence with regards to the audience in social media.
News Flash: You are going to screw up on social media. With the best of intentions and the most thorough social media strategy, you will still be human and forget which channel you’re updating or which list you’re posting to, and panic will ensue. However, the good news is: You can conquer social media, and it’s all about Pause and Control. Granted, there is far more to effective messaging on your social media channels, but for now, let’s focus on keeping your reputation intact and out of the danger zone.
You’ve just crafted a witty, timely, and even epic update on your social media channel. As much as you might want need to get the jump on a story, announcement, or insight, you need to do one vital thing before clicking on that Send button. Lift your hands off the mouse/keyboard and take a pregnant pause. Do two things quickly:
- assess what you’ve just typed, linked, or attached, and ask yourself if this update has any negative consequences tied to it.
- recall which channel you’re on, who can potentially receive your update, and how they might react.
If you’ve taken that pause and have no misgivings about how your audience will take this update, proceed to send it on its merry way with a clear conscience. (Disclaimer: This is no guarantee reactions won’t go completely awry from your prediction, but at least your odds are now better.)
- ask if your social media channel(s) of choice have announced any recent updates, and
- do the legwork to familiarise yourself with those updates and how they impact your social media messaging.
Media theory has posited that technology can rule the person, or vice versa, or a balanced flow of the two. I tend to agree with the last with the caveat that a person trumps tech, at least in the case of social media tools. Just as you choose your words in real-life interactions, you too must determine when, where, and how to project messages into the online conversation.