Ah yes, social media. Depending on which generation you belong to, this topic either excites you or makes your head spin. Facebook this, Twitter that, Instagram for pictures, LinkedIn for business…what exactly does Snapchat do again? With so many different platforms with their own unique hallmarks and content tweaks, it’s definitely easy to get lost. However today we’re going to make some sense of this mess, one platform at a time…join us!
Facebook, the Grand Daddy of Them All
Starting in roughly 2004 or 2005, Facebook is the most widely-accepted social media platform that we all are familiar with. Facebook from a content angle is an interesting union of user-generated content mill, branded posts, ads, rich media, and long-format prose. Users have the ability just to dump newslink content, write statuses and wall posts, as well as upload massive event galleries of photos and videos. From a business perspective, Facebook is the perfect place to build your community of loyal brand followers. The following rules of thumb might help you with developing content for Facebook:
- The 80/20 Rule: When using Facebook for your business, it’s essential that 80% of your posts should feature and involve your brand. 20% of your posts should be unrelated content that humanizes the people behind the company itself. At the end of the day, people want to do business with other people, so having a branded stream of content and a more personal stream of content is key.
- Create Conversation: Facebook as a platform is all about engagement – you want to provide an open space that drives your followers to participate, comment, and interact with your brand. Polls, open-ended questions, hypotheticals, and calls for feedback and suggestions will get people talking. Once you build an engaged community online, you can source this crowd for research data, demographics, or even testimonials.
- Tell Stories – People remember brands because of their personal connection to them
- Industry Trending Topics – Weigh in with your take, use Facebook’s news feed algorithm to your advantage
- Behind the Scenes – Humanize your operation, people want transparency
LinkedIn…Let’s Get Down to Business
LinkedIn is primarily a business and employment-driven social media platform. Believe it or not, LinkedIn started around the same time as Facebook, but caters more to a professional market. While it is designed for peer-to-peer connection, there’s incredible value in creating branded content to share on behalf of your organization. The following tips might help you develop content specifically for LinkedIn:
- Long Format Content: As a more serious channel, you can expect a more sophisticated user on Linkedin. Long format content like white papers, case studies, eBooks, informational videos, and blog posts is absolutely essential for this channel. You want to capture people’s attention and educate them to the moon and back on the subject matter – they’ll respect your brand for doing so.
- Post Timing: This piece could be a whole other blog post, but take a moment to appreciate the channel and audience you’re working with. LinkedIn, while still a social networking site, is considered a “work-safe” channel, meaning people browse during their work day when they have a free moment. Tailor both your content and scheduling to those natural lulls in the day where you have a 5-10 minutes to kill, but not enough time to start a whole new task. Posting at times like before or after the start of the workday (7:40-8:20am), before or after lunch breaks (11:30am or 1:30pm) and at the end of the day (4:15pm) can make or break your engagement on LinkedIn.
- Industry FAQs / Myths / Misconceptions explainers
- Vertical Insights – Develop a voice and authority on issues that matter while reiterating your brand value
- Corporate Social Responsibility Outreach – Event sponsorship, charity work, cause-marketing pieces
Twitter: 140 Characters or Else
As far as social media platforms go, Twitter is definitely one of the shorter-format, faster-paced derivatives. Twitter was late to the party in 2006, but branded itself as a unique hybrid of status update site and microblog. Growing steadily over the years, Twitter is now an information superhighway, collating content under hashtags and connecting users based on subject matter trends. The following tidbits could help you with your Twitter strategy:
- The Pace: Twitter moves quickly…really quickly. Your timeline will look vastly different every 30 minutes; this means short format content is the ticket here. 140 character or less blurbs about discounts, offers, redeemables, service outages, product launches will keep it fresh and moving along. Save the long videos, big images, frequent link-outs, and word-heavy prose for your other social media channels. Twitter is all about fast and digestible content.
- Conversation Conversation Conversation: For a lot of brands, their Twitter feed ends up being one big branded broadcast of information. While some of this has inherent value, Twitter is really about connecting and engaging with your followers – it is not the place for dry ad messaging or constant link outs. Host twitter chats with a branded hashtag and answer your followers’ quirky questions. Tweet out open-ended queries related to your brand or make a poll on a common objection. Make 30-40% of your timeline just replies to people that are chatting with you. Tweet directly to your audience and give them an open door to communicate.
- Product or Service Updates – Bugs, Patches, Hotfixes, Launches, Sales, Closeouts
- Polls, Q&A, Discussion Openers – Start the Conversation
- Live Event Coverage – At a conference or product launch? Tweet from your 1st person, insider angle.
Instagram – The Trendy Photo Blog
Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform that combines the visual aspect of Facebook with the timeline and hashtag pieces from Twitter. Starting around 2010, Instagram is a “lite” social media platform that is defined by the “always-with-you” and “selfie” culture that grew out of smartphone use in the early 2000s. When it comes to Instagram, a lot of brands are confused on what to post, when to post, and what to say. The following suggestions might help you make some sense of Instagram:
- What Do You Do, How Do You Do It?: Instagram is all about showing how your branded solutions fit the bill in a creative fashion. No, this doesn’t mean endless amounts of boring product or service shots with stock captions. Show customers using your product or benefiting from your service – humanize your brand. The most important element on this social media channel is human – put engaging, energetic people in your visual content to sell the sizzle of the lifestyle, not necessarily the features or specs. Go behind the scenes and give your potential customers an avenue to understand the development, tooling, or quality of what you do.
- Create Exclusive Content: Far too often, both business owners and marketers try to shoehorn content they have on hand into the various social channels to limited success. Instagram represents a completely different world of content engagement, a place where you should feature things like teaser photos, hype/buzz videos, and custom content that builds tension for product releases, new service offerings, rebrands, or events. Develop exclusive, Instagram-only content that drives excitement, engagement, and anticipation…it will make your followers feel special and keep them returning for more “insider” information.
- Office / workplace showcase – Team member spotlights, company culture posts
- Behind the scenes posts – Meetings, white boards, sketches, planning documents
- On location photos and videos featuring your brand
In conclusion, social media can be really confusing if you’re not familiar with the proper practices for content, copy, and format on all of the different channels. However, once you get the hang of it, your business will definitely benefit from all the branded social media work you put in behind the scenes.
Still not seeing the results you’re looking for? Give the social media standouts at Digital Vitamin a ring…you’ll be glad you did.
About Digital Vitamin
Digital Vitamin is a creative branding and marketing firm based in Los Angeles, California. Whether it is brand vision, digital platforms, performance marketing and advertising, or social media management, we know how to grow your brand in a hyper-connected world. Sick of the same old song and dance in your marketing? Get in touch with us today and find out how we can supercharge your business.