The Unbearable Lightness of Being Social

A key aspect of tuzag’s new website is social media connectivity. Brands absolutely must be easily accessible wherever their customers choose to engage. I’ve always counseled clients to take their social media presences seriously and tuzag is practicing what we preach.

File this under “Easier Said than Done”: establishing a social media presence from scratch is no small feat. Maintaining tuzag’s presence feels pretty Herculean now that I’m responsible for keeping everything fresh and differentiated on a regular basis. If you can afford to retain a PR team to take this on, consider it money extremely well spent.

What follows is a “warts and all” description of my recent travails. I’m a fairly intelligent guy, but stand here as a cautionary tale for not assuming creating business presences are as straightforward as building personal presences.

First up, not all social media venues make it easy to establish unique business presences. I’m still trying to decouple a couple of tuzag’s presences from my personal presences. Suggestion: pick a single browser for your business presences and keep it segregated from your personal accounts. Some of my trouble was cookie-related. Because I was logged in as me, certain pages (like Facebook) are tied to me. Starting clean would have definitely helped.

Next, pretty much every social media venue has its own size parameters for image uploads. I ended up creating different logo files for each venue. Usually, though, only after uploading a file with the expectation that it could be adjusted through the uploading tool, then seeing some garish, oddly cropped version appear live. Having no followers beyond friends and family is a plus in this particular instance. I also realized just how few visual assets tuzag has when trying to populate cover art. Stock photography will do for now, but moving forward I have to remember that content development involves images and video as well as copy.

Finally (that’s a poor word choice; never-ending is more apt), generating enough content to adequately populate all venues without simply cutting and pasting one thing everywhere is tough. I believe it’s important to tailor content for each venue. LinkedIn is more corporate-focused, whereas Facebook is more consumer-oriented. Twitter falls somewhere in between and I’m still trying to figure out just where Google+ nets out. I think we did OK for launch, but I am seriously concerned about being able to do right by tuzag’s followers on a regular basis.

So, an editorial calendar is Job #1. For me, it’s a grid that lists all of our presences (column headings), topics we want to cover over the next quarter by date (row headings) and key message points by topic and presence (cells). An accompanying project plan also takes into account time for engaging in conversations with visitors kind enough to leave comments. We’re hoping to provide content that provokes commentary; the best part of social media is the back-and-forth that follows a post.

At this point, tuzag is largely a one-person startup with intern support on the programming front, gracious friends helping with visual design and an advisory group for strategic counsel. My Quixotic confidence has propelled me through juggling management, marketing, fund-raising, product development and programming tasks. Maintaining a social media presence is the first time I’ve been forced to admit that the thing in front of me might be a windmill.

My advice: maintain your social media sanity by partnering with a reputable team who can translate your business and marketing strategies into a robust social media presence. It’s a mission critical endeavor that can completely swamp your boat without a solid plan and expert support.