By Carly Bauer, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

In my previous posts I wrote about the criteria to consider before choosing a social media platform.  Please check it out for more in-depth detail but here it is in summary.

Whether your marketing strategy is focused on brand awareness, promoting a product, or trying to grow your own personal following – there is a set of criteria you should consider and understand before choosing the ideal social media platforms to meet your goals.

We went over choosing social platforms based on where your audience is located to better understand how you audience receives information and what kind of information they are trying to obtain.

Secondly, choose platforms that are specific to your content type to optimize the shelf-life of your content with your audience.

Are you focusing on micro-content that is quick and easy to create but is only relevant for days at a time? or are you creating macro-content such as blog posts or videos that take longer to create but audiences can refer back to over time and takes longer for readers to digest? These different content pieces perform better on different platforms making it an important factor to consider when choosing the best platforms for your content.

The third criteria we discussed is limiting the number of platforms you choose. It’s not necessary to be on every platform; you may run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Each platform requires it’s own unique strategy in order for you to be successful. It’s best to ‘master the art’ of 1-2 social platforms before adding more into your strategy.

Now that you understand the criteria that lays the foundation to be successful on social media, we are going to dive into some of the different social media platforms – what makes them unique, popular content formats, audience geographics, and more – to help you determine which platforms are going to fit your marketing goals best based on the criteria we went over in my first post.

Twitter

Twitter is known as a short text social platform. The character limitation for posts, forces users to be creative with what you actually say. In general content needs to be quick, short, simple, creative, eye-catching or memorable to be successful.

What type of content is popular on Twitter?

  • Text – text is a Tweet is short and retweeting often happens due to interesting content, such as interesting facts, lifestyle tips/hacks, inspiring quotes, or asking for retweets.
  • Photos – pictures are worth a thousand words and can create a visual connection between your product and your consumer. Unfortunately, tweets with uploads such as photos don’t appear as a visual and viewers have to click the ‘view photo’ button in order to see the image. This doesn’t make the content eye-catching while users scroll through content.
  • Videos – media plays well on Twitter, when done correctly. Make sure to keep it short and simple. Behind the scene videos or short but informative pieces do well.
  • Slideshares – can provide valuable information to your followers, particularly if you are a B2B company. Slideshares provide added value to your clients and show your company as a thought leader.
  • News summaries – a new feature launched that allows businesses to share breaking news that pertains to their business, not just directly related stories which provides added value to your followers and customers.
  • Links – provides users with a way to learn about particular information. When posting links remember to keep it short, use relevant hashtags, and make the call-to-action clear.

Who is using Twitter?

Twitter has over 330 million active users. Their biggest demographic consists of people between the ages of 25-34, followed by 18-24 year old’s, and 35-49 year old’s.

Twitter is also not a platform known to have a high income or education holding audience but is good to reach consumers at large.

What’s unique about Twitter?

Twitter is a great platform to promote your brand by reaching and engaging with your audience. Hashtags allow you to follow and engage in conversations around trending topics that relate to your business, product and services, or industry. Using hashtags within your content help you reach out to new followers when they search for relevant content using those same hashtags.

Twitters digital advertising opportunities allow you to reach your target customers with multiple ad format options and you can customize your ad experience to fit your goals.

Try promoting your account or a tweet from your brand and it will show up in your target customer’s Twitter feed.

Twitter is well-known for its search engine. With over 2 billion search queries per day it may be an ideal source to help your demographic find your business when searching for specific keywords and content.

Facebook

Facebook is not the newest or the coolest (top trending, for the younger generation) social media platform but it is still the largest social media platform in terms of users with over 2 billion monthly active users.

What forms of content are popular on Facebook?

  • Image-based posts – are extremely popular and are best for featuring products and services. Ideal for important announcements or interacting and entertaining your followers.
  • Carousels – includes a group of 4-5 but can go up to 10 images shown as a series to tell a story, elaborate on a topic, or showcase a single product from different angles or multiple products. This format also has an ad option.
  • Events – announce and invite your target audience for an event to boost awareness and create opportunities for engagement.
  • Video Posts – short, quick, and easy-to-grasp videos are a great way to attract the right audience and boost engagement. Upload a pre-recorded video or start a Facebook Live, which has gained popularity in the last couple of years.

Who is using Facebook?

Facebook is used by a range of age groups with over half of teenagers and nearly half of people above the age of 65 on Facebook. Used by multiple generations, connecting you to a number of people from diverse backgrounds. Facebook is an ideal place to grow your brand awareness and expand your customer group.

What’s unique about Facebook?

In regard to features, Facebook does really well at targeted digital advertising. With Facebook ads, you are able to target audience members who are more likely and willing to purchase your products or services– Ensuring your ads are in front on the right users at the right time. Facebook’s social media ecommerce integration is another feature that makes the social media platform stand out as an ideal social platform option for businesses that provide online shopping. Facebook makes it easy for users to purchase from your company through the social media platform and allows you as the business to provide shipping updates and other order notifications to your customers through Facebook as well.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn got its start as a business and employment-based social media platform. It’s full of professionals across a wide spectrum of industries, especially B2B companies. LinkedIn currently boasts over 300 million active users on a monthly basis. Even though it is smaller than Facebook and Instagram, the smaller size is actually a major strength for LinkedIn – it’s news feed. LinkedIn’s newsfeed may not be as competitive as other platforms, but it allows businesses to reach more of their connections and followers without paying for advertisements.

Because Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and some of these other bigger platforms are so crowded, they use specific algorithms to determine what content is actually showed in your newsfeed and your followers newsfeed. LinkedIn doesn’t do this, thus providing businesses and professionals an opportunity to build massive awareness and engagement on their platform.

What forms of content is popular on LinkedIn?

Overall content on LinkedIn does well when it is informational and provides readers with insight and knowledge that may better their own business or personal development.

  • Videos – short clips that are between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long that provide industry insight, interviews with industry leaders or field experts, and tutorials
  • Text – simple, straightforward, short generic posts. Shorten content is more manageable to consume and can lead to small actionable discussions as an immediate response to your content and can lead to more likes and comments on your posts.
  • Links and Articles – sharing documents that explain something step-by-step, share tips, or even providing deeper perspective.
  • Case Studies

Who is using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals between the ages of 30-49 yeas of age. However, about a quarter of professionals around the age of 22-29 use LinkedIn – career progressors, and another quarter of people between the ages of 50-64 use LinkedIn on a daily basis.

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn has a larger high-income audience and a good majority have college degrees. These demographics make sense since the platform was specifically made for companies with businesspeople in mind.

One of the best qualities of LinkedIn is that it’s audiences are business-minded. They are often open to networking opportunities and hearing about ways to improve the way they work or make their job easier. This provides a great opportunity for B2B brands to connect with business decision-makers across different industries.

What’s unique about LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has many digital advertising opportunities. Although digital ads are more expensive on LinkedIn compared to Facebook, B2B brands are able to specify specific campaign objectives, utilize various ad formats, and target specific audiences’ members, groups, and industries.

LinkedIn Groups is another special feature users can join and participate in based on their industry, job function, or career interests. This is a great opportunity for brands to drive real engagement with influencers and decision-makers across different industries through organic post engagement, conversations, and ad targeting.

Instagram

Centered on storytelling, Instagram has become a popular social media platform to share pictures and videos with followers, and has allowed businesses to get creative in how they emotionally connect with their audiences.

What content formats are popular on Instagram?

Instagram’s unique social media platform can allow you to tell your brand’s story with creative and engaging visual content. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram is heavily focused on visuals, both images and videos. No matter what industry your company is in, you can use Instagram to showcase your products and tell your brand story in a way that’s visually appealing. Because of this, Instagram is not meant for content that requires lots of reading. Keep it visual focused with short captions that are straightforward.

Instagram was the first and is the most popular platform to create and share ‘Stories’. Take live videos, post pre-created images or videos, and share other content in 24-hour long ‘reels’ to your followers. Instagram stories are meant to be quick easy content that is relevant short term. It’s a great way promote brand awareness, sales or special product deals, and announcement updates.

Who is using Instagram?

If you are targeting a younger demographic, Instagram is an ideal platform to promote your business. Because of the younger demographic of Instagram users, there are fewer users with a college education and high income compared to Facebook and other platforms.

What’s unique about Instagram?

Like Facebook, Instagram also allows you to message users directly. This can be a great tool for quick customer service to answer questions and address concerns instantly.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the longest running social media platforms out there. New platforms come and go and others try to mimic one another to stay relevant but no one has dared try to replace YouTube. With over 1.9 billion people using YouTube on a regular basis, this puts YouTube above Instagram and almost eye-to-eye with Facebook in terms of usage.

Just behind Google, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Giving to the ability to reach a broad audience, but also be reachable for people searching for you.

What content formats are popular on YouTube?

YouTube is a video-based platform which is great since video is a highly preferred media format nowadays, but it does take a lot of work to create content.  Just to create the content alone it can require an entire video setup, with a camera, lighting, microphone, and video editing.  The level of professionalism you want determines the level of work that needs to be done to put your video content together.

On the other hand, it’s important to keep in mind that video content has been known to have some of the highest levels of audience engagement, especially when done live, you can see the immediate results of your content through real-time audience engagement and conversation. If pre-recorded videos, podcasts, or other live streaming video content is something you can see promoting your products, services, or help with brand promotion and you are willing to put the time and work into, YouTube may be a platform for you.

Who is using YouTube?

People of all ages use YouTube, there isn’t one specific demographic that dominates over the others.

Since YouTube is used by all ages, we see a high percentage of users with high-income and college degrees using the social media platform.

What’s unique about YouTube?

One of the best perks about YouTube is that it allows brands to access an unlimited amount of video hosting, making it an affordable way for businesses to publish video content to drive engagement.

YouTube content can also be easily integrated with other social platforms and websites for greater reach.

Content posted on your YouTube channel is also searchable in both YouTube and Google, making it easier for your audience to find your content. Let’s not forget, YouTube can also help with your search engine optimization (SEO), helping your content  appear higher up the results page for keywords you’re trying to target.

 

I hope this tidbit on different social media platforms was helpful and gave you the necessary insight to optimize your social media marketing strategy.