You know that social media marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy, but do you really know how to get the most out of each platform that you post on?
Create winning content for: Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter
If you find that your social media strategy involves pushing the same content out to each platform it might be time to refresh your thinking. This is a crime for two reasons:
- If I’m following you on all the platforms it’s boring to see the same image, headline or content piece in every social feed.
I visit different platforms for a reason, so I don’t necessarily want to see your Instagram post in my Twitter feed or on my Facebook wall (subtle cross-pollination is acceptable, we’ll get to that later).
- Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Content that is crafted to get results on a platform like LinkedIn will perform very differently on Twitter. You need to craft content for each platform with the strengths and weaknesses of that platform in mind.
In this insight, we’ll be looking at each platform individually and discussing how you can get the most out of each one. My hope is that these insights will give you a way to think about each platform when crafting your content.
The medium is the message
When researching social media strategy I found there to be a wealth of advice on setting up artwork for each platform and content ideas in general. There is, however, a lack of knowledge on the benefits, drawbacks and nuances of each platform; in other words, what makes each platform unique and how that affects the content you post on it.
Creating winning content goes beyond getting the correct dimensions. Each social platform has innate differences that affect how content should be conceived and created to be successful.
In 1964 Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message” in his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, by which he meant that your marketing message should be primarily informed by the medium in which it will be presented.
Back in the 60s, he was referring to the differences between newspaper advertising and a crazy new invention called colour television and the first commercials.
His message is even truer and just as important today as the number of marketing channels has increased to include a vast range of social media platforms with even more intangible differences.
The advice I’m giving in this insight may seem to be counter to advise you’ve received in the past about gaining traction online by sharing content across platforms to “cross-pollinate” and grow your following. Well, platforms change and so do we. We use and interact with brands on social media much differently now than how we did 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago.
Cross-pollination is still acceptable if done right and the best way to attract followers from one platform to the other is actually to create unique content for each platform, that way they’re getting something new and worth following.
Apps like Canva and Hubspot allow you to quickly and easily post to all of your social accounts with the click of a button. As social media becomes more and more saturated with branded content brands have to be tactical about the content they post if they want to stand out.
The good news is that with small, purposeful tweaks to your content you’ll end up with a reinvigorated social media marketing strategy and stand out on social.
Facebook was not the first social media platform by any means (being preceded by LinkedIn, Blogger and Friendster) but it was the platform that defined the way that we all use social media today.
If you’d like a comprehensive history of the platform then you’re probably best off watching the 2010 film The Social Network.
Facebook began in American universities as a way to connect with classmates before it opened its doors to everyone and their mums (literally). It is still the largest social media platform with over a billion active users and is probably the most widely adopted on this list.
Rich status updates
Facebook has been gradually developing its status feature and now allows you to create a wide variety of posts types including text only, images, videos, location check-ins, polls, recommendations, charity fundraisers and more!
Using these can be a great way to connect with your audience in new ways that are unique to Facebook.
Hashtag or no hashtag?
While the hashtag was invented on Twitter and subsequently adopted by other platforms like Instagram, Facebook didn’t get on board until much later. While they do now support the hashtag users still associate it more with Twitter and even Instagram. I would consider not including them in your Facebook posts.
Video is key
While this is true of most social media platforms today, stats show that video performs better than any other type of content on Facebook and this is not to be ignored. Facebook also offers the functionality to share live video which many brands now do to build a strong and active community.
Core millennial user-base
Being aware of the demographics of each social media platform is key to finding where your audiences hang out and targeting your tone of voice and key messages effectively.
The majority of Facebook users today are millennials who were in their early-mid teens when the platform really took off. Now in their mid-late 20s and early 30s, Facebook provides a key point of access to this valuable generation.
Successful content on LinkedIn has a very different tone of voice to most other social platforms, and when you contrast it with Snapchat or Instagram, it becomes obvious that adjusting your social media marketing to match the platform is crucial if you ever want your marketing messages to land.
LinkedIn first appeared in 2003 and has, in contrast to Facebook’s rapid and exponential growth, been a slow builder, gradually gaining momentum in the background. LinkedIn has benefitted from an increasingly career-driven culture and growing rates of participation in higher education, meaning more graduates seeking their dream job.
Get to the point
Users of LinkedIn are often in work-mode when they browse the platform and many of them are in positions with the real decision making influence for their business. This makes LinkedIn the perfect place to target B2B marketing. But these individuals often have a well-trained nonsense filter so it’s important to be clear and precise in your content, whether that’s in organic content or paid ads. If your brand is clearly presented with accurate messaging, you might just hit the right person at the right time to make the next big deal.
Sharing human stories
Users of LinkedIn are not suit-wearing robots, they turn to LinkedIn for the same reason as any other social platform, for human connection. LinkedIn is a great place to share blog posts and stories that give insight into colleagues or clients, stories that focus on people with your brand in the background.
Demonstrate and teach
Another great way to grab attention and interest while indirectly promoting your brand and services is to offer value in the form of teaching or demonstration. Show your potential customers how you solve their problems and make their life easier. This can be done through writing or in a more engaging visual way such as video, animation, photography or graphics.
The brain-child of Jack Dorsey, Twitter, which was launched in 2006, is a “micro-blogging” platform designed for sharing brief snippets of text. Now a fully developed social network, Twitter allows users to share longer updates including images and rich text up to 280 characters.
King of the hashtag
Now a widely adopted practice of linking content on all major social media channels, the hashtag was first seen in tweets. Create your own hashtags to link or contextualise your content or join a larger conversation by using trending hashtags.
More than any other social platform, Twitter gives its users unparalleled access to people and brands. Twitter users have come to expect a prompt reply from the brands they interact with on the platform.
Some brands like Wendy’s and James Blunt have become widely known for their humorous and informal interactions with their audience on twitter. It’s not all fun and laughs though, users will often take to twitter first if they are not happy with their experience.
According to Edison Research, only 3% of customers will @ you when they complain. This means you may have to put some work into seeking out the true perception of your brand.
The core principle of Twitter is brevity, sharing ideas in their most concise format. For this reason, content that is compact and succinct always does well on Twitter (despite the tweet length limit being doubled in 2017).
Creating content that communicates in it’s smallest form often requires a bit more thought. Often when sharing links or longer statuses from other platforms across to Twitter they can get cut off, forcing Twitter users to leave the platform to get the full meaning.
Asking users to leave the platform to learn more is not a bad thing, but you should always ensure that you’re providing value within the confines of the platform too.
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