How social platforms use other social platforms to win hearts and minds

Even the world’s biggest platform has to roam onto other platforms in the bid to shape opinion.

Facebook started to get very chatty on Twitter earlier this year. Not just the company’s executives tweeting to defend themselves in the wake of algorithm changes and the spread of fake news, @Facebook started tweeting a lot more than usual to share positive news about itself, to bid farewell to its comms chief Elliot Schrage and to respond to senators.

“Given Twitter is often the social equivalent of the water cooler gossip hangout for journalists, it’s no surprise a lot of Facebook bashing was driven far and wide by influential commentators there. Facebook’s fondness for tweeting makes sense and is no surprise. The only surprise is how long it’s taken them to do it,” said Matt Navarra, a social and digital media consultant.

Indeed, brands using social platforms as tools for marketing and for customer service is nothing new. But it’s constantly changing. Here’s a look at how platforms use themselves and other sites.

Facebook’s chattiness on Twitter seemed to begin as a correct the record campaign. When Digiday reached out to Facebook’s public relations team to ask them about their Twitter use, they responded with a single emoji: “😱.”

Facebook’s new style, at least on Twitter: defensive, straightforward and cutesy.

On July 12, Facebook’s account responded to CNN reporter Oliver Darcy’s tweet about Facebook’s struggle to explain why it’s kept InfoWars on the platform. Facebook shared a statement in the form of two tweets:

Other times Facebook will respond with fewer words.

“One piece of advice for Facebook: They may be able to copy Snapchat’s product with ease, but if they try to get ‘down with the kidz’ by going nuts on Urban Dictionary to help craft their tweets, Twitter users will go to town mocking them with no mercy,” Navarra said.

Facebook also runs Twitter accounts for Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus. These accounts appear to be more for sharing community-related posts and product announcements. Facebook also does customer support in each of them.

Facebook doesn’t appear to have a Snapchat account.

Facebook’s YouTube account includes interviews with employees and its ad campaigns.

Even though Google’s own efforts at creating social networks have been futile, the tech giant has been an early adopter to new platforms for marketing.

“We really aim to keep it real. What’s important to us is to stay humble. The tone is candid and transparent,” said Rachelle Lacroix, Google’s social media manager. “The older tweets are more old school Google-y, but it’s the same purpose. We tell stories about Google, about our product, the people who make them and the people who use them.”

Google uses Twitter to share news and customer service. It doesn’t have specific accounts for customer care, except YouTube has @TeamYouTube. But when YouTube TV went out during the World Cup game on July 11, the company shared status updates via the YouTubeTV account:

Google has used Snapchat for surprise announcements and an inside look at company events. For example, in 2016, Google revealed the name of its next version of Android via Snapchat.

Lacroix said Google it doesn’t use its Snapchat account as frequently now, but the company still buys Snap ads to promote various products. Lately, Google has been using Instagram and Instagram Stories to show behind-the-scenes of events such as its developer conference Google I/O and products.

Of course, Twitter uses Twitter. (It manages about 200 accounts.) Twitter’s main objective on other social platforms is to drive people to Twitter, said Helen Lawrence, Twitter’s global head of social media, and one of the most effective channels for that has been Instagram Stories.

“We use Instagram Stories in a particular way to show stories they may be missing out on whether it’s Beyoncé dropping a new album or the World Cup or the viral video of the lemon going down the street. We use Instagram Stories to drive people to moments,” Lawrence said.

Twitter does not have a Snapchat account and doesn’t buy ads there either.

Twitter does use Facebook and will share big announcements there. Most recently, Twitter posted about Teyana Taylor’s listening party for her new album KTSE, which was streamed on Twitter.

Twitter also uploads videos to YouTube. It’s treated as an archive of announcements like launching photos on Twitter and other events like South by Southwest and the NBA Finals.

Snapchat’s own snaps may disappear, but its posts on other social networks don’t. Snapchat joined Twitter in September 2011, the same month it launched.

Snapchat’s founding team used Twitter to chat directly with users in a fun tone. One of its early tweets was to EDM band Krewella:

Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel would respond directly to user requests. For example, he once revealed the secret way to get black and white color options for the pen tool:

But these days the now publicly traded company is a bit more serious. Snap now has handles for its company Snap and its separate products: the app Snapchat and its video-camera sunglasses Spectacles. It also has support accounts for Snapchat and for Spectacles.

A Snap spokesperson told Digiday that the company uses Twitter to show perspectives and creativity in the community. That includes retweeting people’s snaps from the main app and from Spectacles. Snapchat also shares users’ creations from lens studio, its augmented reality kit for developers.

Snapchat doesn’t use Facebook or Instagram. It does have an active presence on YouTube, sharing videos about new features like Snappables and Snap Maps.

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