dog eating thanksgiving turkey

Ask a Social Media Director #5: The Give Thanks Edition

By: Justin Buchbinder, Social Media Director, FINN Partners

November 7, 2019

Well hello, Social Shake-Up friends! What’s shakin’? …I’ll show myself out. Just kidding! You’re stuck with me for the remainder of this column. My name is Justin Buchbinder and I’m the Social Media Director of FINN Partners, a global integrated marketing agency. This isn’t my first time at the “Ask a Social Media Director” rodeo; you can check out my first two columns here and here. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.

It’s November and it’s time to be thankful. And you know what I’m thankful for? Your fantastic questions every time I come around. (Also, to The Social Shake-Up for inviting me back time and time again to answer those questions!)

Now, let’s dig in to this month’s cornucopia of curiosity. I’m famished.

director of social media, finn partners, justin buchbinder

Justin Buchbinder, Director of Social Media, Finn Partners

Dear Director,

How do you create content that has appeal to multiple audiences? 


People Pleaser

Dear People Pleaser,

Stop! Haven’t you ever heard of Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None? I wouldn’t recommend creating a piece of content targeting multiple audiences. When you get down to the post level of social media, you need to ensure that you are speaking to a single persona or audience. That’s the social part of social media—you’re not broadcasting, you’re speaking directly to one person (or type of person).  If you try to stretch and bend yourself to communicate with more than one target, chances are you will miss the mark, and end up speaking to nobody.

However, that’s not to say that you can’t take a birds-eye view and target different audiences on different channels. For instance, perhaps target a younger audience via Instagram, and an older audience via Facebook. Additionally, you can speak to all of the audiences you want with the magic of paid social. Create numerous target audiences, write something for each one of  them and boost those posts in their general direction.

And finally, from a philosophical and practical level, please make sure that you’ve mastered speaking to one of your audiences before you set your sights on another. So often I’ll see businesses jump right into that Jack Of All Trades approach before they’ve conquered even one.

Dear Director,

How do you determine what kinds of negative posts or comments warrant a response, and when to leave things alone?


Keep Calm And Comment On

Dear Keep Calm,

A very touchy question! This is where a crisis communication plan comes into play. Every business and organization should have one, and within it, a sense of what’s beyond the pale and requires a response or action, versus what’s common trolling and can be left to fade into social obscurity.

For example, one of my clients is a billion-dollar digital B2C company. Their hundreds of accounts are followed by millions of people. They only respond to something when it reaches a fever pitch. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are engaging in active social listening daily…but they also know that a lot of hot air gets blown around in comment sections, and aren’t interested in burning daylight (and nighttime) hours engaging in pointless battles with trolls.

Hear more from Justin and a host of social media leaders at The Social Shake-Up, May 12-14, 2020 in Atlanta. Get your ticket today before prices go up!

Conversely, if you’re at a pharmaceutical company, you’d have to formally report a comment about the adverse side effects of a product, for example. That’s not just a personal preference—that’s the law. But if you run social for a CPG company, and someone keeps posting that your cupcakes suck, you can go ahead and let them yell. No harm, no foul… and no one else will care, either.

I’ll also bet that you have a gut sense of when something is serious, and when something isn’t. If the negative comment is about customer service, pick it up, and address it! Maybe you’ll turn a detractor into an evangelist.  If it’s an accusation, alert your higher-ups and ask them for guidance—you may have gotten a glimpse of the tip of a crisis iceberg that will soon get far more serious. And if it’s just someone fighting boredom by being a jerk, let them hang there; soon enough they’ll find another social account with another social media manager that will respond to them to occupy their time.

Dear Director,

How do you empower others in your organization who manage their own social pages to be more proactive and plan ahead?


People Pusher

Dear People Pusher,

If there’s one thing I love doing, it’s teaching someone to fish! If you’re trying to encourage colleagues to be more active, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Lead by example—do what you want employees to do, and show them what you’re doing. Some will follow.
  2. Publicly commend and brag about those who follow the path, and others will want to get into that spotlight.
  3. Stay on them about it! Behavior takes a long time to change, and habit-forming takes even longer. This is a marathon, not a race.
  4. List the benefits of the behavior, and the costs of not adopting it. Nothing beats offering proof to encourage change.
  5. Step in and do it with them! Sometimes people just need a little help to get started. Once you give them that push, they’ll take it from there.
  6. Smile, and be excited! Enthusiasm is infectious. Make it fun. The less it feels like work, and the more enthusiastic you are, the more likely others will join you.

… and that’s it! The column is over. This was fun! Thanks to everyone for your great questions. Thanks to Social Shake-Up for the invite back. And Happy Thanksgiving to the lot of ya! Hope to see you soon.


The Director

At The Social Shake-Up