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Making an Argument for the Social Media Junk Drawer

How much “junk” do you put online?

Stuff that just doesn’t belong.
Random thoughts, ideas, photos.
Content that has little or no context.

Where does it go?

Personal Facebook page
Business Facebook page
Wordpress
Posterous
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Somewhere else?

Enter the junk drawer

A junk drawer is a valuable thing. It’s where all the extra pieces go; things that don’t quite fit within the normal bounds of your company’s communications or branding strategy. An extra Tumblr and Twitter account combo can make for an excellent junk drawer. It doesn’t really matter where, but there’s a lot of value in having an extra place to store tangent ideas and information. Not every idea generated by the CMO needs to finds its way to the business’s public facing blog or Facebook page.  For larger organizations an internal company blog or wiki might be a smart choice.

Separate with care

A photo of last weekend’s camping trip fits into the category of personal.
A 500 word article about a new product release goes in the category of professional.

Although a social media junk drawer can be beneficial, it should be ushered in with a few words of warning. Many online marketers tend to think in terms of either/or, in/out, personal/professional, and leave little little room for grey area. The danger of having two containers (personal and professional for example) is that the risk emerges of desensitizing the human element behind the brand. Many business blogs and Twitter feeds end up being dull because they have no distinguishable human touch to them. It’s as if someone took away the welcome doormat and replaced it with bold signage stating this is a place of business. This is where SERIOUS business happens. These places tend to get boring and stale quickly. Amber Naslund, the VP of social strategy at Radian6, is a great example of someone who knows how to perfectly mix personal and professional elements over on her Brass Tack Thinking blog. Naslund will often share a personal story, but in the end ultimately ends up bringing it full circle back towards the online community and social media topics that her readers care about. It’s a rare example of a near perfect balance between hiding everything and revealing too much.

The alternative to not having a social media junk drawer is that all stray ideas, unfinished thoughts, and misplaced content is out in the open, leaving onlookers with the burden of sorting through it. Speaking on behalf of online consumers everywhere, most of us don’t have nearly the amount of patience or time necessary to deal with it. Make relevancy a priority and try to picture yourself subjectively from your audience’s shoes.

Does this really belong here? Does it contribute to the overall story that my brand is trying to communicate? If not, put it in the junk drawer where it belongs.

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