I was listening to a recent episode of eMarketer’s Behind the Numbers podcast when the host made a claim that I cannot source, but still believe. He claimed that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he doesn’t think of Twitter as a social network, but rather as an ‘interests’ network. As a place where everyone comes to discuss their interests. Such as TV shows, events like the big Wilder – Fury fight this weekend (Go #BombSquad).
Two points. First, Twitter has always been uniquely situated as the one social site that can best facilitate live ‘in the moment’ conversations around breaking news. Whatever the event is, planned or not, Twitter is where you go to learn what’s happening and what people are saying about what’s happening. No other social site can match Twitter’s ability in this area.
Second, Twitter has always tried to push its users toward using the platform to discuss events and interests rather than as a direct communications or networking tool. Twitter’s users have been smart enough to figure out ways to leverage the platform for their own needs, but Twitter’s leadership has always attempted to re-position the site away from simply being a platform where we go and talk to each other. They have always wanted us to be using Twitter to talk about someone or something else. That’s been how they view many of their monetization opportunities.
I mention all this because it’s important for any company using social media sites to consider two things:
1 – How are users engaging on the site? Why are they there, what are they trying to do?
2 – How would the site like to see its users engage with each other? How does Facebook want users to use the platform? How does Pinterest? How do these sites want to position themselves as being different from the competition? What unique experience do they want users to have?
Too many companies view social media sites as an homogeneous pot where every platform and user is the same. Nothing could be further from the truth, and one of the biggest reasons why most companies have lackluster results with their social media strategies is by not having platform-specific strategies as well. Social media is not one-size-fits-all at either the user or platform level.
Smart companies know the users are different, but I don’t think enough thought is given to how these platforms want to position themselves as being different and how they want to encourage different user behavior. It’s worth considering and factoring into your social media strategy.