Targeted messaging for personal branding in social media can be tricky. The types of messaging that are appropriate for Facebook may not be right for LinkedIn. A one size fits all approach to personal branding may not be the right tactic when you have multiple social media platforms which each have a different audience profile. You don’t want to use the same kind of messaging for casual acquaintance networking as you do for professional networking and job search networking.

And to further muddy the networking waters, what do you do when you have a significant social media overlap? You may have professional contacts and former professors who are also Facebook friends. When you add casual acquaintances and family members into the mix, personal brand messaging can become unnecessarily complicated.

It can become far too easy to lose track of the fact that you’ve got professional contacts included among Facebook friends. Breezy status updates which may be perfectly compatible with personal brand messaging for more intimate acquaintances may be entirely inappropriate for consumption by professional colleagues or academic peers. And LinkedIn status updates which should be focusing on a more serious manner of reflecting your personal brand should normally never be used in the casual relaxed way that can be entirely appropriate for much of your Facebook audience.

Google+ may prove to be a personal branding tool that could avoid these mixed audience pitfalls. Instead of using multiple social media sites, Google+ offers the potential of using just one platform for crafting tailored messaging to distinctly different audiences. Google+ has a series of ingenious circles in which you can place contacts according to the type of relationship you have with each individual.

All of your professional contacts can be placed in one circle making it easy to target specific messaging appropriate for professional networking. A more relaxed approach to personal branding through less formal messaging can be accomplished by addressing friends and acquaintances with the appropriate forms of communication based on the specific kinds of relationships you have with them. And the ability to build distinct circles based on relationship type is infinite.
One possible advantage of a single social media platform approach is that none of your contacts will know which circle they’re in. If a Google+ contact has you in their acquaintance circle, but you’ve placed them in the less intimate professional networking circle, they have no way of knowing. Google+ also allows room for a lot more nuance in social media interactions. If managing your messaging is most easily accomplished by keeping individuals in one circle only, that’s fine.

But if you want to incorporate a bit more nuance into the mix after noodling about on Google+ for a while, you can do that too. You may have situations where someone is a work colleague as well as a close personal friend. You can have them in your professional networking circle as well as in your friend circle. Many professional contacts may not be friends, but it may be entirely appropriate to include them in an acquaintance circle.

Google+ certainly has the potential to be an extremely effective personal branding tool going forward. But whether its potential can be realized is uncertain. Google has a track record of producing excellent services which are sometimes not big hits with the public. Among some of the more memorable Google offerings which never lived up to their potential are Google Buzz and Wave. No matter how great the potential of Google+, if people don’t recognize how great the platform is and flock to it in great numbers, it could result in another well-conceived and brilliant product that never reaches its true potential.

Author: Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of coloradotech.edu and has a keen interest in blogging and social media. He also writes for professionalintern.com. 

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