The Platform Equation: Spreading Your Brands Identity Across Social Channels 

By Kadia Francis | August 25, 2019 | Guide | 5 Min Read

 Social Work Out - Platform Equation

Social Media Workout by Petra Sitaru

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to forensically break down social media platforms. I will be looking at what they are, how they work and how Jamaicans in particular can leverage these platforms to create opportunities for themselves. This article is an excerpt from my soon to be released Instagram 101: A complete Guide to Instagram for Jamaicans booklet.

A rule of thumb when it comes to social media is that not every platform will be right for your brand. The only real way to find out if a particular channel is compatible with your brand’s identity and message will take time and diligent effort which may or may not yield much at the end of the day.

What’s more is being a brand with multiple identities. If your a business it may be that you have distinct products operating under the same brand name (e.g Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max). Or you may be a multinational brand operating in different regions globally (Digicel Jamaica, Trinidad etc.). Or, your brand may have a charitable arm or organization (The Grace Kennedy Foundation) that needs its own space to develop and grow.

If you are a personal brand you may have different interests, skills requiring varying types of content (podcast, blog, speaking) that just cannot fit under one profile.

How can a multifaceted brand, personal or business go about fully realizing all their identities online? Do they develop one profile for all  identities or is it better to spread out across platforms depending on the particular identity. In other words, would one identity be more compatible with one particular platform as opposed to another?

Even if you’re not a big brand this is a problem you will run into. This was a major issue for me when creating a strategy for my podcast and presentation graphics service.  Should I create a separate account or can I integrate this new medium into already existing profiles? Creating a separate account would mean building from scratch. Would I have the time (or patience) to do that knowing all the work it will require for my efforts to be realized?

Trying to house all your identities under one profile can all get a bit hairy when putting together a digital strategy. Especially when taking into account content, engagement, campaigns and promotional activities.

So if like me you’re struggling with these decisions here are three options to consider. I have also included some tools and resources that may help depending on the option you choose.

The Octopus Approach

The Octopus Approach: Platform Equation

Illustrated Gif by Gyfcat

The octopus approach is when you create multiple profile on a singular platform. This is only useful if that particular platform is the best suited to successfully carry all your brand identities.

With this option although each profile operates on the same platform they grow independently with separate strategies and objectives.  For this to be successful however there must be enough similarities with the ‘mother’ profile to the overall brand tying it all together.

In the video below I explored Nike and their nine  Instagram profiles, what you’ll notice is that each profile is highlighting a different aspect of the brand. However,  there are commonalities such as the overall athletic theme that ties it all back to the Nike brand.

Now you may not want nine profiles on just one platform, that’s extraordinary and takes a lot of strategic planning to pull off.  Having multiple profiles takes a lot of time and management having to switch between, monitor, cultivate and engage audiences.

In App Profile Management Features

The major platforms have caught on to the multiply trend and has made it easier to manage all your profiles.  Instagram has adapted it’s mobile app to allow for viewing and easy switching between multiple profiles. Fcaebook has even more options from a stand alone manager app that collects all your pages in one place making managing easier to now being able to switch between profile and pages right from the menu bar in the app.

Downside to the Octopus Approach

Even with all the in app options available it can become cumbersome and frankly hella time consuming to manage each profile. Keep in mind that even though it’s one brand each standalone profile requires it’s own strategy which has to tie eveything together.

That’s a lot of work to do, and because it’s an independent profile you can’t be lazy and post the exact same content across all profiles.  And, if you’re not dedicated to the task or if you’re just busy something is going to give and that may affect your brand overall.

The Separate But Equal Approach

Digital Personalities - Platform Equation

Illustrated Gif by Karan Singh

The seperate but equal approach  is when you spread your brand identities across social platforms. This is only useful if the different aspects of your brand requires more or different features than one platfrom can provide.

 

The secret to making this method work is in understanding how each platforms algorithm works and the type and format of content that works for each. Because, content performs differently across platforms which means while a particular type or format may work swimmingly on say Instagram, it mat not perform so wonderfully on another say Twitter.

Also, user behaviour differs across platforms, while someone on say LinkedIn will sit and read a long blog post (like this one) you may find it difficult to get a user of Instagram to click on a link to a blog post much less read the actual post.

It will take trial and error, time and a lot of swearing before you fully grasp the rhythm of each platform. Understanding your numbers (analytics) goes a long way too in determining the ROI on your efforts and a short cut to that is using a third party software (there are many) to help you figure it out.

The secret to making this method work is in understanding how each platforms algorithm works and the type and format of content that works for each. Because, content performs differently across platforms which means while a particular type or format may work swimmingly on say Instagram, it mat not perform so wonderfully on another say Twitter.

Also, user behaviour differs across platforms, while someone on say LinkedIn will sit and read a long blog post (like this one) you may find it difficult to get a user of Instagram to click on a link to a blog post much less read the actual post.

It will take trial and error, time and a lot of swearing before you fully grasp the rhythm of each platform. Understanding your numbers (analytics) goes a long way too in determining the ROI on your efforts and a short cut to that is using a third party software (there are many) to help you figure it out.

edSocial Media Management Tools

Social Media Management Tools _ Platform Equation

Integrating social media management tools into your strategy is a short cut method to gathering the necessary you’ll need to optimize your profiles. Along with useful features like post management, scheduling and content automation these tools collect analytics. This type of data provides important information such as post impressions (the amount of time your post was shown) reach (the amount of persons who saw it).  It also can tell you the best time to post and breaks down your audience into most active times, demographic and region.

With the plethora of management apps/software available you’re spoiled for choice. So, if you decide that your strategy is best served with this option then you’re covered. But, remember input will still be needed from you to pull it off, not every aspect of your profile can or should be automated.

Automation (Bots)

 

Illustrated Gif by Karan Singh

Generally speaking main stream social media mangement software can’t (or adequately) help you with the two most important aspects of your online brand building efforts, engagement and community building.

There are however ‘alternative’ software on the market that purports to help you with that too. This is where social media bots come in. There are actually reputable third party AI powered software that’ll allow you to automate your activities, making your community building and engagement efforts easier.  And, as you can imagine saving you a lot of time. Using bots to communicate is ok as long you’re being transparent.

Where it becomes problematic is when users are unaware they are interacting with a bot. Ever noticed a spike in followers after following  certain accounts, or random likes and comments (short or with lots of emojis) on particular posts?

 

Bots can be programmed to target particular accounts based on actvities such as hashtags used, accounts followed or searches. This can quickly turn into spamming, which can be frustrating or even detrimental to that targeted accounts profile.

Using bots can also cause real problems for your brand too, not only does it damages your reputation, it’s just not a good way to build trust. Ont op of which a lot of bot activity on your profile can see your profile being suspended or worse deleted. 

Downside to the Seperate But Equal Approach

Dealing with multiple platforms is pro level stuff. To maximize all the features of any paltform you need to really be putting in the time and crunching those numbers. You have to be constantly keeping up with updates and changes and adapting different personas for each profile. This makes staying in your lane hard as you run the risk of either diluting or confusing your brands messaging. 

The Housing Approach

One platform to Rule them All

Illustrated Gif by Giphy

The housing approach is when all your branding efforts is concentrated on your website with social media only providing a supportive role. This is useful because you own your web platform which frees you up to do a lot more. 

Here is a quick tip for you, while a call to action (click link in bio, sign up today) is great for your social media profile a sales copy isn’t. You have heard me say time and time again social media isn’t for hard selling, that’s what your website is for.

The other thing to consider is that you don’t own your social media profile, it’s rented space that can be snatched away without notice for any obscure breach of  some unspecified ‘rule’ that not even the administrator can explain (I’m looking at you Twitter, still not over it).

Your website is like your bed, you can ‘spread out’ as much as you want because it’s your own space that you can pretty much do with as you please. In fact your website is the heart of your digital identity, social media should really only be playing a supportive role. And, ultimately your profile should act as a funnel for your site

Personally, this is the method I have incorporated into my platform strategy because frankly it’s less work. That and I feel I am now in control of my content, I am free to write long ass posts like this packing as much value in as possible.

Besides you won’t find me on social media preaching, it has been done and honestly dropping a tip on social media without fully explaining what it means is pretty useless. So I use my blog to fully air out a topic or piece of advice with the added benefit of showcasing my expertise and range.

Downside to the Housing Approach

Having your own website requires some extra steps and admittedly can be frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing. If you’re going to go the professional route that requires purchasing a domain, setting up hosting and security, building out your CRM platform and writign a kickass sales copy.

If you plan on doing this yourself it can get tricky as I learned when building this platform. I would strongly recommend (if your pocket allows) off-loading this to a professional web developer. If not then YouTube is your friend, there are tons of helpful videos there to help you figure it out. 

If you’re more interested in a DIY, not so professional but not terrible option then there are several free drag and drop platforms you can use like WordPress.com, Wix or Weebly. Here’s a sample of a free Wix site I built some time ago, it took em less than 2 hrs to get up and running.

That aside your website is a set it and forget it space requiring very little upkeep except security and maybe theme and platform updates. Overall I still think this is the best option for content delivery and management as well as brand growth online.

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