Should I join you on Facebook or visit your web site or follow you on Twitter or connect with you on LinkedIn?

It’s intriguing that with the maturation of social media, organisations are now asking their audiences or customers to join them in multiple places online.  Many companies promote their online presence by asking customers to like them on Facebook, visit their web site for more information, to follow them on Twitter or join their YouTube channel.

Then they’re disappointed if people don’t do all four.

The question I asked a client last week, in terms of how to structure an online presence, was to ask the simple question, ‘where should people connect with you on the web?’

Their answer was: ‘everywhere.  We want people to join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, our web site – everything ’.

Is that realistic?  Also, it is worth it?

I don’t think it’s realistic.  People are time-poor and don’t have spare time stashed away that they can spend communicating with you via four or five different platforms.

At this point of the discussion, the techies usually jump in and say ‘Don’t panic!  We’ll link up your Twitter feed to populate your web site and link your blog to your Linkedin profile so it is automatically updated.’   Is that the right approach?

As with so many things when it comes to communication on the web, I don’t think a technical solution automatically fixes a communication problem.

The key behind the strategy of an integrated online presence is that you are using the channel to reach people who a) are in that channel anyway or b) like the style that that platform produces.

I’ve set up social media programs where the organisation has used Facebook as a research tool and Twitter to make announcements particularly to the media.  If their customers don’t follow both, then that’s fine.  The communication channels are playing their role.

I have prospective customers who we refer to this blog because it showcases my expertise in social media or web writing and I don’t then push them into joining our eNewsletter or follow me on Twitter. And that’s okay … I am still connecting with them.

Social media has enabled us to connect with people in a different way but on the downside it has also fragmented the overall communication with them online.

So where do you want people to connect with you on the web?

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