Each social media platform is its own world. Seriously. It can be intense.
It’s intense. But…doesn’t have to be. Let’s talk.
Below is information that overall, each platform has in common. Knowing these basics can help you get the general idea of how social media marketing works and what you need to know to be successful.
What Platform Should You Be On?
You might have heard people say that you need to know where your audience and make sure you are on that platform to connect with them. This is true to an extent.
You don’t have to be on a platform you don’t like or won’t enjoy just because your audience is there. On average, the typical social media user interacts with 6.6 social media platforms. So, chances are, you can find a social media platform (or more than one) you like that your audience is also on and succeed there.
Once you know the platform(s) you want to be on, you need to make sure your profile is set up to serve you.
While each platform has different options of what you can and cannot do with your profile, one thing that is vitally important is that you need make sure your profiles are fully optimized. This means fill out every field out that is offered completely and make sure you use the right keywords you want to be known for. Remember you are promoting yourself.
It is all about the right impression.
When you have a fully optimized profile, not only are you seen as more credible, but fully optimized profiles also meet algorithm criteria which means they will get more views.
Also, make sure you stay on brand. On all your profiles, make sure to keep the same profile picture, banner, brand colors, logos, similar headlines/bios, etc. This helps with recognition, reliability and leaves little room for confusion when people are searching for you on other platforms.
Mix Up Your Feed
Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again. People will lose interest so make sure you are mixing up your feed. Below are a few ideas to get the juices flowing:
- Text only post
- Data and statistics
- Go live
- Share something that is personable (meaning has nothing to do with business)
Engagement is necessary.
If you expect engagement with your content, you must engage yourself. Content without engagement does not work. If you pay attention to nothing else in the article, please remember this: The algorithm does not support posting and ghosting. It is that simple.
If you want to grow your network, you must engage with other people consistently.
It is called social media – get social.
A Few Important Things to Remember:
- Videos need captions because people usually watch videos with the sound off.
- Use ALT text on images that contain information.
- Every platform has a different algorithm, so it is important to know how each platform works and operates.
- Social media rewards consistency.
- Analyze your insights so you can know what is working and what needs adjusting.
- Engagement is necessary.
Now that we got that stuff out of the way, let’s jump into the platforms.
This article is going to cover the major hitters:
There are many more, but this is meant to be an article, not a dissertation.
Twitter has more than 217 million daily users. It is the world’s seventh most popular social platform and is expected to grow to over 340 million users by 2024.
There are 350,000 tweets sent every minute. That’s a lot of tweeting.
It’s a face-paced network. The average lifespan of a tweet is between 15 and 20 minutes, but with the quickness of scrolling, a tweet can get lost in the sea very quickly. Best rule of thumb, if Twitter is one of the platforms you are using in your marketing strategy, I would recommend at least one tweet a day but more ideally three to five and engage frequently.
Fun fact, tweets with images get up to 3x as much engagement, while tweets with videos get up to 10x as much engagement. And don’t forget the beloved GIFs. People like those GIFs. They have a 55% increase in engagement.
Threads. By now you should have seen a thread or two. This is your workaround to the 280-character limit plus, the algorithm likes them. One thread a week is a good place to start.
We can thank Twitter for the hashtag which came to life in 2007. Do Tweets work without hashtags? Yes. You don’t have to use them, but they do help with organization and relevancy. Keep it to one or two hashtags at most. Here is more information with dos and don’ts about hashtags.
The original photo app.
Instagram now has 2 billion users and is the fourth most popular social media platform.
The timing of your posts is something to pay attention to on this platform. Usually between 8 am and 11 am is best but you can run your own tests and see what works best for you and your brand.
Tagging is a strategy many use on Instagram with positive results. It is cross promotion at its finest which in turn helps with more views and reach.
Vertical photos work better than horizontal and are favored more by the algorithm.
You might have heard that Reels is kind of a big deal on Instagram. “Reels account for 20% of time spent on the platform. And Hootsuite research shows that Reels get up to 300% more engagement than regular Instagram videos. The Instagram algorithm loves Reels, too.” (Source: Hootsuite) And while we are on the topic of Reels, don’t forget to show your face or the faces of your team. People connect with human faces and respond well to seeing the person behind the profile picture. Reels with people see a bump to 25% more views.
Have fun with text and stickers. This adds life to your videos and Reels and keeps people engaged.
Don’t neglect using highlights on your profile but make sure you keep them current and organized.
When it comes to hashtags, you can include up to 30 hashtags on a regular post, and up to 10 hashtags on a Story. As time has gone on, we have seen less hashtags being better than maxing out. Keeping them to between three and 11 is a good spot to stay.
And lastly captions. Captions matter. Your first sentence is the most important. Use storytelling and add a CTA. “In its simplest form a good Instagram caption is one that provides context, adds personality, educates your audience, and inspires your followers to take action.” Taylor Loren, in an edited excerpt from the course How to Make Money on Instagram.
P.S. If you are a photographer who doesn’t like that Instagram is favoring Reels over photos, check out VERO. You might like the simplicity of it and the fact there are no ads.
Our beloved LinkedIn has 875 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Once seen as a job posting and hiring site, LinkedIn has become so much more than that today.
One thing to keep in mind with LinkedIn, since it is used largely as a professional network, you will want to make sure you use your time on it wisely. Most people are active and engaging during business hours, so posting earlier in the day is going to be a good strategy (however, I have seen some success with a 4:00 pm post).
And just as important as sharing content is engaging. Most people recommend spending 10 minutes engaging with others, adding thoughtful and insightful comments before posting your own content. This can be seen as “warming up” the algorithm.
You should keep it to one post per day, occasionally two but make sure you have at least 4 hours between them. You don’t have to post every day, but whatever you do, make sure you are consistent.
It is advisable not to post links in your content as it takes people away from the site (which no site likes) so if you want to share about something, put the link in the comment section. However, this isn’t a hard fast rule. You know what ultimately the best thing is you can do – write amazing, helpful content. Helping others will always be the best practice.
Right now, carousels and selfies (yes, I said selfies) are ranking high on the platform. But that is always subject to change. What will always matter more than any “tip” will be the quality of your content and the quality of your ongoing conversations.
And even though LinkedIn is seen as a professional network, it doesn’t mean that you should skip the use of photos. Posts with photos can get 21x more views than without.
And for those curious about leads, because everyone wants to know about that, HubSpot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. It is seen as a trustworthy platform, which is why more people gravitate toward it for business and connection purposes.
Facebook sits at the number one social media platform at the writing of this article. There are 2.9 billion monthly active users, so you could say it is still doing well despite controversies.
Contrary to popular belief, the platform is still used largely by a younger demographic.
There are many advantages for using Facebook but one of the biggest advantages for business owners is the marketing capabilities.
Having a profile that is dedicated to your business serves as a website. The functions are incredible. You want to make sure though that you have fully set it up to run and work for you when you are not online.
Depending on your business, that will determine the best time for you post, however, research has found the best times to post are between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those days and times are a very general overview as there are many businesses out there posting outside of those dates and times and having success.
You also have the option to boost posts with your business page. If you don’t know about boosting, you can read up on it here, but the short version, you get more out of your top performing posts when you boost correctly.
Can you believe that YouTube is the second most popular platform! It actually sometimes beats Facebook, depending on the day. YouTube is also owned by Google which means it can act as another search engine. And it also has the highest ROI of any video content platform.
A few major things to keep in mind here:
- Create visual appealing thumbnails – this is what gets your audience’s attention so pay attention to what grabs people’s eye.
- Make sure you are targeting keywords for each video – if YouTube acts as a search engine, then the keywords you choose will ultimately make a big difference.
- Longer videos work only if you catch the attention immediately and then keep people engaged – three- to five-minute-long videos work but so do 30 minutes so long as all the good stuff is delivered immediately.
- Get yourself on camera – people want and need to see your face as this creates connection and trust.
- If you really want to dive deeper, check out this article by SocialPilot. In it they discuss YouTube’s algorithm which can be helpful when wanting to grow on the platform.
Notable mentions: TikTok and Snapchat
TikTok’s organic reach is like none other which can make is enticing for businesses. It is all about short videos so you will want to become familiar and comfortable with creating and editing videos.
Between 2018 and 2023, Snapchat users in the United States are forecasted to grow by 18 percent. Snapchat is ranked 2nd worldwide based on overall mobile usage.
Social media marketing can feel overwhelming but when you break each platform down, they aren’t as intimidating. Knowing the basics can be really helpful Also, when you see someone crushing it on 5+ platforms every day, chances are they have a team working behind the scenes making this happen. So cut yourself some slack and know you don’t have to be on every platform out there. That isn’t realistic. You only need to focus on taking care of your audience and providing the most helpful content you can.
Find a platform or two that you want to be on, and that you enjoy. That is what is sustainable. That is what works. That is protecting your mental wellbeing.