Social MediaWhen small to medium-sized businesses come to me with limited budgets they often focus their attention on Facebook. They figure if they are going to dip their toes in social, they might as well direct their efforts to the site grabbing the most attention. I can understand this desire to simplify matters, but if participating on Facebook is synonymous with social strategy at your company, you’re missing out on opportunities to earn revenue and connect with consumers.

Don’t get me wrong, some social is better than no social, but the most fruitful social media strategies are diversified, targeted, and planned across multiple channels. When Fred Wilson talked about a recent lecture he gave at Yale on the subject, he put it this way:

I am totally convinced that the world of social media is not consolidating around one “winner takes all” social platform. Instead, the world of social media is fragmenting into dozens of social platforms that are best of breed for a certain kind of social engagement. If you are building a social media strategy today, you absolutely need to address Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr. And you should also consider Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest and Path. If you are in the music business, you need to consider SoundCloud. If you are in the book business, you need to consider Wattpad. If you are in the TV business, you need to conside GetGlue. And so on and so forth. Many of the companies I just mentioned, but not all of them sadly, are USV portfolio companies.

In other words, the world of social does not start and end with Facebook. In fact, the most influential people on social media are active across at least ten different social channels, meaning it takes a multichannel approach to truly earn clout.

In a similar light, social media effectiveness can’t be measured only in volume. As Yale Professor Dina Mayzlin found when studying how TV popularity translates on social media, it isn’t just the sheer amount of conversation that indicates popularity, but the depths and reach of that conversation. Wider and broader discussions indicate popularity, and so we must reach further in our marketing efforts.

How to Create a Diversified Social Media Marketing Strategy

We’ve established social marketing requires a multichannel approach, but how does this work when brands are already cash strapped and short of time? The answer is to learn or hire a social media specialist who understands the dynamics and inner workings of social channels. Ask them how your business personality fits on different social channels, and develop a strategy for bringing your offering to multiple audiences.

One of my favorite methods for doing this is to start with a brand personality audit. If your brand were a person, what would it do? Where would it shop, what would it like? Answer these questions and then epitomize your brand across channels. Create a blog and use that blog as the hub for everything else you create.

Then proliferate your message across social channels in way that tells the consumer what’s in it for them. Communicate a value proposition or entertain the heck out of them, because at the end of the day consumers spend the most time on things that either waste time through entertainment or promise to make their life easier.

Finally, weave these multichannel communications together around one call to action at a time. Keep it simple so that someone who experiences your brand only on Twitter still knows what’s going on, but build something engaging enough to encourage conversation across multiple platforms.

Sign up for an Instagram account, for example, and lavish your customers in wonderful imagery. Then post those Instagram photos on your Facebook page or blog with additional commentary with a purpose. Suddenly you’ve added value to two social channels without much extra work. In the end its this kind of multichannel synergy that helps brands win on social.

To learn more about social media or get help figuring out how to create a social media strategy for your brand, check out some of my social media consulting packages.