Should Your Messaging Vary Across Social Media Platforms?

“Social media” is often referred to collectively as though “social media” is a single entity. Of course, it’s not. Each channel is different—reaching different people and sharing messaging in different ways. LinkedIn is very business-focused. TikTok is based on short, entertaining video clips. Facebook is highly social—a place for people to connect with friends and relatives.

Many organizations and individuals using social media for business purposes, to connect and engage prospects and customers, use multiple channels.

One foundational question they face is: “Should my messaging vary across social media platforms?”

On the one hand, it would seem logical to say, “yes, your tone/personality should change” across social media platforms because the tone/personality of the platforms are so different—consider the difference between Twitter and Pinterest, for instance.

On the other hand, though, varying a brand’s tone/personality too much could create “cognitive dissonance” and water down the personality of the brand. Consistency in brand communications and messaging across all platforms is very important, of course. Iconic brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Mayo Clinic, etc., provide ready examples of that.

Finding the Right Brand Balance

I believe what is required is finding a balancing point between two extremes. I would liken this to how we all act individually in terms of conveying our own personalities in different settings—we certainly communicate differently in a work setting than at home or with close friends. At the same time, though, we all have “a personality” and straying to far from that core personality in any setting would cause dissonance and potentially negatively affect how we are perceived.

So, a brand for example would always adhere to its overall mission, vision, core values, and key messaging while also taking steps to ensure connection and alignment with their audience across whatever channel they’re using. That might mean being a bit more formal on LinkedIn than on TikTok—but it wouldn’t mean having an entirely different personality on these platforms.

You Are Who They Say You Are

I would propose that the primary variation across platforms might be more in how the message is delivered than what the message says. Brief, attention-getting and entertaining videos on TikTok, versus more text/image-based messaging on LinkedIn, for instance.

Going beyond these subtle shifts threatens to negatively impact the strength and authenticity of your brand. Keep in mind that your brand identity is determined not by you (although you can, and should, manage your brand identity), but by your audience. If there’s too much variation in your messaging, your brand will be tough to define—your audience won’t be able to clearly understand your brand personality.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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