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Published May 28th 2014

Not All Social Media Was Created Equal

Not all social media sites are created equal. It’s something that every social media manager recognizes.

Yet few have actually defined what those differences mean and how to navigate the various channels.

At the BDI’s Beauty & Fashion Forum last Thursday, Rue La La revealed that they actually did have a clear outline for the content they posted on each site.

For Facebook, they provided expertise and tips.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 4.59.12 PMOn Twitter, Rue La La was more focused on engagement through direct tweets regarding deals or products.


Their Instagram is centered around an idea of beauty or aesthetic that is connected to the Rue La La’s products and consumers.UntitledRueInsta

Lastly, they described Pinterest as an area for creating inspiration around their products, such as offering ways to wear a scarf.RuePinterest

Rue La La felt that each platform warranted a unique approach to content. We agree!

Yet before social media managers can define what type of content is best for a given platform, they must first have a strong understanding of the spaces they’re operating in.

They must know how the followers they have, as well as those they are trying to capture, differ across the various platforms.

The Pew Research Center and Information is Beautiful both provide a great foundation for understanding the demographics on each site.

Facebook is by far the dominant network with over three times as many users as any other network, a higher percentage of daily users, and a significant representation from all age groups. Brands looking to target older demographics should rely heavily on Facebook.

Yet the numbers can only tell a fraction of the story.

Most social media strategies seem to rely more heavily on feeling and instinct than on numbers and research.

Often, social media managers well versed in the various social platforms will develop their strategy by consciously or subconsciously asking themselves: How do my friends and I engage with this platform? And what information or content would we be interested in on each?

The answer to these two questions will be drastically different for a financial institution than they would be for a fashion brand as the content, audience and expectations are different.

Deciding how to use each platform requires not only a solid knowledge of the various social media sites, but also a high level of emotional intelligence – someone who can put themselves in another’s shoes.

OptionsWhile no single rule can be applied across all brands, there are some obvious distinctions between the sites.

Facebook is a slower platform with the largest reach. For many (but not all) brands, their Facebook page operates much like a website.

On the other hand, information flows very quickly through Twitter, which is also the most successful platform for connecting celebrities, politicians and brands with people.

The rules often seem to be looser on Twitter and engagement; flash deals, goofy accounts and randomness all can be appropriate for the right brand.

Pinterest is indeed about inspiration. Successful accounts generally capture and promote images or content that connects with the audience on some emotional level.

Instagram is at its foundation simply about aesthetics. Brands need to understand what defines the ideal aesthetic for them and create content that appeals to their audience.

The real challenge is in evaluating an image’s fit with the brand’s ideal.

While most social media managers, having had experience with each platform, naturally make distinctions between the type of material they use on each website, taking a step back to truly understand why these differences exist helps ensure a clearly defined presence on each site.


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