Twitter and Facebook have become engrained in the social fabric of society unlike any other technology since the invention of television. That being said, they are two sites who have a huge flaw in that they have been developed almost completely from a consumer’s point of view and they need to take the time to understand a global brands point of view to give us the tools to be able to take their sites to a new level.
Unified multilingual social media
Both Twitter and Facebook Twitter take the point of view of the average user will be self selecting when it comes to language and this obviously happens because I would only be Facebook friends or follow people on Twitter who speak the same language that I do. The problem comes when you turn that construct around and look at the interaction dynamic from the point of view of global brand that needs to speak multiple languages from one source. For example, if I wanted to have one of the global brands I lead have a global Twitter presence that talked to our consumers in ten different languages then I would have to set up ten different feeds with ten different names to speak those ten different languages. When I go through this process on one of our global web sites we serve a single user experience that can then be customized with a language drop down for those ten different languages and we even automate the process using something like an IP sniffer. I know there are hacks to get around this where you can use hash tags to mark the language you are using and then split the content when it is aggregated somewhere else but that is so clumsy and creates so much excess content for the consumer that it would make a traditional Twitter experience too overwhelming.
Brands are multi-dimensional
In a similar vein, both Facebook and Twitter need to realize that brands are multi-dimensional experiences that consumers bond with through different expressions of those brands both digital and physical. For example, a guest may bond with the global values and direction of W Hotels and/or they may bond with a physical expression of that brand like the W South Beach or W Global Glam at New York Flash Week. Right now I have to set-up different Facebook pages or different Twitter streams for every incarnation of the brand which requires a huge infrastructure to manage and keep as a viable community and communication channel. Brands need the ability to group all of these different global and local incarnations together to make it easier for guests to be able to move between this information and these experiences. I know there have been rumbling of something like this from within Facebook for years I see not tangible signs that this is a priority for them or that the brands concept will be rolling out anytime in the near future.
These sites and all social media channels need to give brands the ability to be able to manage global brand through a single Twitter handle or single Facebook experience with the tools and understanding that brands are global entities with multidimensional touch points that speak multiple languages and want to do it all through a single user experience. The value to the sites to invest in this direction is that if brands had these tools then we would be able to create infinity more engaging, more global and deeper experiences that would let consumers relationships with these site go to an even deeper level than they are now.