What are Facebook, Pinterest, etc. all about? A non-tactical approach.

The basic intro to some digital media platforms that you need to hear BEFORE you start thinking tactics.


Let’s talk platforms. As in, back to basics style. Because if your foundation is rotten, building a house is a risky endeavour. Before you start thinking about tactics like ‘ideal time to post’, you need to get some things straight.

A lot of companies tend to copy paste their Facebook or Twitter post to every other social media channel/digital platform they use. That’s not how it works. The platforms are different, as different as TV and radio. Would you use the same commercial for TV and radio? (I hope that’s a deferent no.) So why do it on social media?

Each platform has a different audience with a different mind-set; once you know the differences it’s easy to tweak your messages so you can use the same content on the various platforms (link). You need to speak the language that the platform and its people speak – that’s called being native.
In this article, we’ll look at the identity of several mainstream platforms and the importance of having the right mind-set and being native on them. I hope it helps you make sense of the bigger picture, once and for all.


Twitter

Twitter is a remarkable place on the interwebs: it’s the internet’s cocktail party. It’s perfectly acceptable to make short conversation with random and/or unknown people and then move along.

You get 140 characters for your message, but the real challenge lies in using fewer characters. Less is more! Twitter isn’t the place for compressed press releases; this is all about short, genuine, rapid messaging with anyone.

That opens up a host of possibilities, so the question is what feels native and useful to both you and your audience. From customer service to value-creating link-curating, from short stories to searching out people with a question you might be able to answer. Options galore. Do act (cocktail-party) natural though.


Facebook

Facebook is all about connections, updates, and entertainment. People come to Facebook for one of the following three reasons: to know what is happening in their world, to pass the time with snappy entertainment, and to build their relationships with other people. That means that whatever you do, you need to facilitate at least one of those three things.

Can you provide them a portal to entertainment or information that they (they, not you!) would consider relevant? And –more importantly – can you help them connect (more deeply) with the people they care about? That last one is super important and effective. If you can help people connect with other people, you benefit too.

When of Facebook, think of ‘the big F’: Facilitate. Facilitate entertainment, updates, and especially connection. Work from there and you’re on the right track on the book of faces.


Pinterest

Pictures, pictures and more pictures — it’s all about visuals. Especially visuals that appeal to the imagination. People are on Pinterest for only one reason: to drool and dream about the stuff they see. They come on Pinterest with a mind state that screams “I WANT THAT.’’.

So how can you use that for your product? How can you visualise your stuff in a deliciously desirable way? Is there something about your lifestyle that people may love? Or the bigger things your organisation is all about? Find the things you and others care about and make them visual. Added bonus for being helpful (how-to’s, tips etc.).


Instagram

Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is all about pictures. The difference lies in the engagement. Instagram makes it easier to engage with people. Hashtags play an important role in this and are just as big a part of the post as the picture is.

Generally, people come on Instagram just as they would come on Facebook. Passing some time scrolling through the feed on their phone. Again, the question is, what can you do to make your content visually awesome? Furthermore, how can you create the best hashtags? (Bonus: user-generated content and behind the scenes-images work great on Instagram).


Medium

I couldn’t pass on Medium of course. Medium allows you to tell your genuine story to an audience that wants to read. The subject of your article doesn’t matter much, not even if you normally write about planes and your next article is about a chicken riding a donkey. What Medium asks for are real stories, with little fuss, presented in a visually appealing way.

What insight or experience can you write about? What discoveries do you want to share? Alternative ways to aid in others’ discovery process include curating collections and adding useful notes and/or further reading suggestions to your own articles or those of others. Work from a mind-set of shared discovery, and you’re good.


The real basics in using these and other platforms don’t lie in tactics like best time to post and ideal number of characters in links – the key is the right mind-set, forming the foundation for value-creating, purposeful use.

Next time when thinking about your tactics and strategy, what will your mind-set be? And did I miss any other great applications for these platforms? Medium is all about shared discovery, after all… ;)


Think others need to hear this BEFORE thinking tactics? Hit ‘recommend’ — that’d be amazing.

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