Why Social Media Sites are like Countries

When I was a kid, we went on a family holiday to New Zealand. One day I popped around the corner to the fish and chip shop and asked for a bucket of chips.

I got an odd stare.

Bucket + Chips“We don’t sell them in buckets” was the reply.

Apparently, in New Zealand, when ordering chips you ask for a scoop. I can just imagine the guys in the shop wondering what this stupid Aussie wanted to do with a 15 litre bucket of chips.

So here’s the thing: We both spoke English. We both drove on the correct side of the road. (Notice I didn’t say the right side?) There were lots of similarities. But there were also differences. And they stood out.

Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, the USA. We all speak English and there are lots of similarities. But visitors and new arrivals can stand out because they don’t know the slang. They don’t know the local customs. And different¬†social media sites are very much like this.

What works on Facebook doesn’t cut it on LinkedIn. Your Instagram posts only half work on Twitter. And the list goes on.

A one size fits all approach won’t work

Be careful of shortcuts!
Be careful of shortcuts!

Repurposing content across platforms gets written about often. If you just take a blanket approach though, you will surely look like a tourist. Each piece needs to be modified (or maybe excluded altogether) to suit.

If I can give you one piece of advice here it’s this: Don’t try to use any social network for business unless you first have a personal account and understand the local customs.

As tempting as all those shortcuts are, you’ll find much greater engagement and relevancy on each platform if you tailor each update to the local “tribe”. I’ve found success with this recently – things I post to LinkedIn aren’t going anywhere near Facebook, and vice-versa.

So if you’re thinking about the next social network, sign up for a personal account and dip your toe in. Get a feel for the local customs and jargon.

And don’t even think about using it for business until you understand that.

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