Customize Your Message for Each Channel

This week, I want to share a story with you about message customization.

I once worked with a client on an advocacy effort to improve local public safety. Because they'd been told to try more online messaging, they were using Twitter to try and reach all of their messaging goals. Not unexpectedly, it wasn't quite working.

Use multiple channels to get your message out.
Lots of ways to get the message out. Photo: Kevin Poh.
I encouraged them to think of the overall campaign, and all groups they wanted to reach - local government officials were the primary targets, but they also wanted to move petition-signers, public safety workers, crime victims, and local media.

We discussed the best channel for outreach to each group, based on the makeup of the group and the action we needed them to take. We found that most of the local officials we needed weren't active on Twitter, but we knew they were reading the local paper, and that journalists from the local paper were on Twitter, so we tweeted at targeted members of the media instead, in conjunction with some more traditional media outreach.

We also used Twitter to listen to local discussions of crime and public safety, and inserted ourselves into that dialogue.

When it was time to reach out directly to the officials, who had seen our news stories thanks to our media outreach, we found it was actually more effective to use a combination of more traditional channels to get the officials to act. They were more receptive to our emails and phone calls because they had seen the news stories we'd been able to get.

Facebook, we found, was a great place to reach our petition-signers and also to collect victim stories. These victim stories and petition activities then became online content, that we used in our continued email outreach.

Your takeaway?

Consider your overall goals and align the channels you use to those goals. Not every channel can address every goal. Don't discount traditional channels because they're not new. It can take a combination of messages to get the results you want.

Related Posts

How to Use Twitter for Listening
Using Social Media Strategically

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