How To Maximize Your Social Media Communications

5 Key Types Of Social Media Communications And How To Use Them

Social Media CommunicationsSocial media communications are a conduit for information exchange.

As defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary:

“Communication is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Social media communication is the transmission of a message to others via a platform.

For marketers, social media is key to distributing their content and messages more broadly while enabling them to interact directly with their target audience. To do this quickly and cost efficiently you must understand where your target audience spends their time on social media.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to encourage your employees to participate on your behalf.

Social media communications direction flow

Social media communications flow between participants and organizations such as businesses and brands occurs in one of three directions. 

1. One-to-many

This is the traditional marketing broadcast model. Use it to get your message to the largest possible audience.

One-to-many social media communications may require additional paid advertising support.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Use hashtags to attract a broader audience. This aids findability when you use keywords.
  • Mention others in your comments. Only do this if you’ve explicitly mentioned the people in your content or they’ve expressed an interest in it. Don’t do this just to get the attention of an influencer.
  • Build relationships with influencers. When they comment or share your content, it reaches a larger audience. This has the added benefit of their endorsement.

2. One-to-one

This is the prime form of personal interactions. It’s a great way to reach out to people you already know. You can use this to contact people with whom you want to engage. But understand that you must be willing to provide value to the person with whom you’re seeking to connect.

Additionally, marketers can send targeted messages to answer inquiries and customer service questions.

BTW, Don Pepper and Martha Rogers popularized this concept in The One to One Future and Seth Godin took this idea a step further in his book, Permission Marketing.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Use private messaging to engage prospects, customers, fans and influencers. These are hyper-targeted messages. Most social media platforms require you have permission to communicate with individual members of your audience.
  • Be available when you first publish your content. Reply to comments and shares to keep the momentum going.

3. Many-to-many

This form of communications is unique to social media. Communications go in multiple directions concurrently among participants.

Unlike other forms of communication, they can happen in real time or lapsed time. Participants respond when they’re interested and/or available.

Most of the activity tends to occur instantaneously, up to a few days or even longer on some platforms such as blogs.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Monitor social media for brand mentions. Reply to people who contact you via social media. Understand that customers’ time expectations are short on social media. They expect you to respond immediately.


5 Key types of social media communications and how to use them

To maximize your marketing efforts, use a mix of the 5 key types of social media communications.Horn blower-Social Media Communications

1. Notices or status updates

These are time sensitive, short one-to-many communications. They can be targeted at your connections or more broadly to everyone on a specific social media platform.

Status updates keep your name top of mind with your fans. This can be useful on platforms like Facebook and Google+ where followers are notified via email of your message.

From a marketing and customer service perspective, they’re useful for time sensitive information or to announce promotions.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Add keyword related hashtags to your status updates to broaden your audience. Be consistent with what’s appropriate for each platform.

2. Information distribution

This is a one-to-many method of delivering your content to a broader audience, often by placing it on a variety of social media platforms.

When distributing content, make sure that you’re maximizing your social media distribution by using a checklist.

Add social sharing to distribute information to your readers’ followers.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Tailor your content to the specific social media platform. Understand the different social media nuances to maximize your results.
  • Craft attention getting headlines. Don’t assume that your followers read everything you publish.
  • Add social media bling. For most platforms this means visual content including photos or video. People are visual beings.

3. Commentary

An individual or a brand representative provides their unique perspective on a piece of content or product. It can be in the form of a social share, like or comments.

Encompassing likes, comments and reviews, commentary provides a conduit for interactions with your connections and other participants more broadly.
Depending on the platform, this form of social media communications can be an influential factor in purchasing. Includes review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor as well as Amazon customer ratings.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Be attentive and responsive on the social media entities where your audience engages. Regardless of whether the information is positive or negative, answer it. You don’t want to show up only when you’re on the defensive responding to negative reviews.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. Beware of participants who just want to rant. As Jeff Goins pointed out, spend your time on the people who already love you. In other words reward the people who love you. (It’s the opposite of Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters.)

4. Discussion

Conversations occur on social media. They’re a form of interaction and engagement.

Their distinguishing factor is that they’re many-to-many since multiple conversations occur at the same time.

They’re exemplified by Twitter Chats, LinkedIn Groups, blog comments and forums.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Participate and respond to participants who mention and contact you. Show you’re paying attention and care.
  • Target your interactions by letting followers know where the conversation is. Copyblogger did this by closing their comments and their Facebook page. The conversation occurs on Google+.

5. Messages

This is what is we conventionally consider communications. It’s information that’s timely and more in-depth.

Messages are one-to-many or one-to-one. They provide information the recipient wants and, often, actively seeks. The more targeted the communication, the better.

Don’t forget that email is still the king of social media.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Respond promptly to social media messages. Otherwise followers think no one is home.
  • Provide recipients with a reason to respond. Give them the “What’s In It For Me.” Remember social media is about your audience’s needs not yours.


Target your messages based on platform and type of communication in order to maximize the effectiveness of your social media communications. Make it easy for your customers and influencers to support and share your messages.

And don’t forget to add bling in the form of images and video where appropriate.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire via

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