Intro to Social Media and Where Your Business Should Be Focusing

Social media should be a part of your marketing strategy, but how big and what platform and why?  Customer conversion is 129% higher when social media is part of the buyer's journey so why wouldn't you participate in some way?  And 70% of consumers will call out a brand on social media to help them raise awareness among other consumers.  But this doesn't mean that you need to use all the channels.  In this post, we'll dive into Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to share the audience on each platform and how to best use the platform for your business.

There are some general guideline to remember regardless of the platform you are posting on.  

  1. Be authentic.  Remember to be true to your brand.  You're talking directly to your audience, so also remember to be conversational, genuine and approachable.
  2. Be educational. Social media is not for constant promotion of what you're trying to sell.  Remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of your posts should be educational and provide value, and 20% of your posts can be promotional and make an ask of your followers.
  3. Be engaging.  All the platforms are looking for posts that their users want to see.  The best way for them to gauge that information is by user engagement.  The more you get people to retweet, comment and share your posts, the more likely you are to get more organic reach for your post.  So be sure to ask questions to encourage responses.
  4. Be consistent. Train your followers on what to expect from your feed.  It's better to show up consistently on one platform than all over the place on several platforms.  
  5. Be on brand.  People should see your posts across your different channels, websites, ads and wherever else you are promoting, and see that they are similar in look and language.  Create template posts for types of posts you create regularly (ex. quotes, product shots facts) so that they look the same and cohesive.

Facebook

Without a doubt, Facebook has the largest audience of any social media platform.  With 2.23 billion users worldwide, most likely your audience lives on Facebook.  If you use only one platform, Facebook is definitely the one to use.

Video is king here so the more you can engage with your audience in this way the better your posts will grow with organic reach.  Now, organic reach (non-paid) traffic on Facebook has definitely declined with the algorithm change on January 11, 2018, but this is really just an opportunity to make sure that your posts are quality and will really help you learn what your audience really likes to see.  It also means that you'll need to pay a bit to Facebook in advertising to get more reach for your posts.  This can be as little as $10/week!

So, let's get into some demographics.  

  •  2.23 billion monthly active users worldwide.
  • 50% women and 48% male.
  • 58.3 million users in the US are 25-34 years old.
  • 42.4 million users in the US are 35-44.
  • 40.74% of users in the US communicate in a group.

What type of content should you post?

Facebook is all about engagement and the more your audience interacts with your posts the more often your post will be served to others.  The best way to do this is with video, and more specifically, Facebook Live video.

Now if you aren't comfortable with live video, then the video you create should be uploaded directly to Facebook, instead of via link like YouTube or Vimeo.

If you have no video content, that's ok too, just make sure your posts include images.

How often should you post?

This is definitely something you should test with your audience, but a great place to start is once a day.  Remember that the algorithm means that your audience may not be served the post right when you post it.  If you're posting a ton in one day they may only see one or two of them.  We don't recommend posting more than once a day.

When should you post?

Use your audience insights on your Facebook page to determine when you should post.  It will give you information on when your audience is online most so you can maximize the reach of your post.  Facebook also has a great function where you can schedule your posts ahead of time so you can plan ahead and have your posts go live when you want them.

Instagram

There are so many features to Instagram that can allow you to really showcase the personality of your brand.  Photos are really the name of the game with this platform, but with Instagram Stories and IGTV there is a great opportunity to showcase your video skills here as well.  Hashtags are important here for getting people to discover your brand, and determining the best hashtags for your brand will be essential.  More on that below.  But before we get to that – let's look at some basic Instagram stats.

  • 1 billion monthly active users worldwide.
  • 50% women and 50% men.
  • 64% of the US users are 18-29.
  • 40% of US users are 30-49.
  • 400 million daily worldwide Instagram Stories users.

Instagram Feed

This is the area where you post photos and videos under 60 seconds.  The overall look and feel of your brand's feed are important for consistency.  However, don't overly stress about the quality of your photos.  It's also about the content you're writing in your posts that provides value and encourages people to engage. 

If you sell a product or service and have it in your Facebook store, then tagging that product in your posts is a great way to connect you webs store and link product for easy purchasing.  Follow @warbyparker to get a great example of this!

Instagram Stories

Stories are 15 sec clips or images that disappear after 24 hours (however you can keep them longer as story highlights in your main profile).  Instagram Stories are a great opportunity to let loose a little bit and showcase your personality.  These are often a combination of personal and professional posts, depending on the brand, and have lots of fun features like fun filters, ask a question and poll features, and stickers and emojis.

Businesses like Entrepreneur (@entrepreneur) and Hubspot (@hubspot) do a great job of providing educational material in their stories.  Others like Tyler J McCall (@tylerjmccall), Instagram Strategist, and business coach for female entrepreneurs Angie Lee (@angieleeshow) do a mix of personal life with their business to engage and get more personal with their audience.

Do what makes sense for your brand and how exposed you want to make your team.  But if Instagram is part of your strategy, then stories should be as well.  This is for several reasons!  One is that real estate it gives you at the top of the feed.  The other is that the number of active users of stories is on the rise!

IGTV

This is the newest feature to be rolled out by Instagram.  This allows you to upload long form videos (15 sec to 10 minutes) into the platform.  If you have a verified account or a larger following than you can upload up to 60 min.  Vertical video is the key here.  For all thingsIGTV checkout the Instagram help center.

This is a newer feature and still rolling out so don't feel the pressure to make this a part of your strategy right away unless you are already creating lots of videos already.

What type of content should you post?

Photos are definitely most important here although, with new features like IGTV and increasing popularity of Instagram Stories, video is definitely becoming more valuable.

How often should you post?

Again, testing is important here as well.  Facebook owns Instagram so the algorithm is similar.  They will show you what they think you want to see and that can mean seeing several posts from one account all in a row, even if they posted them days apart.  Again, we recommend starting once a day.

When should you post? 

If you have an Instagram business account, then you can see insights on when your followers are online most.  Use that as a tool and then test, test, test!

LinkedIn

This is an often overlooked platform for business that are targeting B2B businesses.  Posting on LinkedIn gives you a great opportunity to share educational content for your industry and build yourself up as an authority.  In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn and with it some new functionality.

While the majority of the platform is free, there are some premium options that allow you to target and find your ideal client.  Paid memberships also get access to Lynda, which is a great training platform with lessons on digital marketing, website design, branding, running a business and so much more.

We recommend signing up for their Premium account, which is free for 30 days. Learn all you can and target your audience during this time.  Some stats on Instagram:

  • 250 million monthly active users worldwide (500 million users total).
  • 43% women and 57% male.
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn.
  • 44% of users make more than $75,000/year.
  • The average CO has more than 930 connections.

What type of content should you post?

This platform is all about educational and business orientated posts.  This is a great place to share articles you've seen that are valuable or blog posts you've written on your blog.  You can also post your blogs in full glory in the articles section of the platform.  Changes are constantly coming to LinkedIn and video is becoming more and more prevalent.  If you haven't noticed, video is more and more preferable, from both platform and consumer, so figure out a way to add it to your strategy.

Hashtags have recently shown up here as well. The platform makes recommendations based on the copy in your post.  Time will tell how many you should use to drive engagement.

How often should you post?

A general rule of thumb here is once per day, Monday – Friday.

When should I post?

Like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn has an algorithm that they rely on to serve the content you post to others' feeds.  And on top of that, analytics are not very robust here.  We like to post in the morning when possible to try and get in front of people throughout the day.

Twitter

There are so many reasons to use Twitter, and not just for brand awareness.

Twitter is a great place to stay up to date on the pertinent news in your industry.  Creating lists of influencers is a great way to easily see tweets of people you want to make sure you don't miss.  This can also help you when you are looking for articles to share on other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.  This is also a great platform to drive customer service.  Many big brands utilize Twitter as their help desk.

There is an algorithm that defines what posts you see, however, Twitter is the closest to a true time feed of the platforms discussed in this article.  Engagement is key here though as well.  Posts that have more retweets, shares, and comments will get more visibility.  Some Twitter stats:

  • 330 million active monthly users.
  • 67 million users in the US.
  • 80% use Twitter on mobile devices.
  • 37% are between 18-29.
  • 25% are between 30-49.

What type of content should you post?

Twitter is a great combination of personal and business.  People love to feel like they have a direct connection to the CEO or the brand itself to ask a question and interact.  You can still post text-only content here and drive great engagement.  The key is to provide value to your followers and ask questions and give them insight into your daily operations.

How often should you post?

Based on the nature of the feed with Twitter, you can safely post 3-4 times a day if you choose. Remember you can also repurpose content.  Share the same blog at different times of the day throughout the week.

When should I post?

Posting several times throughout the day is great here.

Conclusion

There are benefits to utilizing different platforms for your business.  And using ALL of them doesn't make you more successful.  Start with one that you know you can execute well, and when you start to see results, then move on to the next one.  Do not feel that you need to be at all places all the time.  

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