At Astute, so many clients come to us wondering why their social media efforts aren’t working. They post consistently and they might even have decent content, but the numbers are stagnant. It’s like watching a montage of bad first dates. Creating engaging content is only half the battle. Finding the best platform to showcase that content is where things get tricky—and here at Astute, we consider ourselves quite the matchmakers.
Social media platforms have evolved over the years and will continue to do so, often stealing ideas from one another, seemingly offering the same abilities. And while the functions may be similar, there’s are unwritten rules for what’s acceptable for each platform—and it’s important to follow them. Knowing which content pairs well with which platforms is crucial. Like eligible bachelors anxiously waiting behind doors, let’s meet our platforms.
facebook: the first love
Facebook was invented in 2004 and changed the way we communicate. Though its creation and purposes remain surrounded by controversy, there is no arguing that Facebook has transformed cultures not just in America, but around the world. Today nearly 2.19 billion users log into Facebook at least once a month—that’s 58% of American adults. But as other platforms were developed, Facebook had to adapt. Mix in the recent privacy storm engulfing the company, it’s safe to say this love story has been tested.
Facebook, for better or worse, has become a search engine of sorts. From restaurant hours to concert tickets, used furniture or even roommates, Facebook has built datasets for information we used to have to Google. Now, more than ever, having this information on your business’ profile is crucial. Someone should be able to visit your Facebook page, see what time you open, where you’re located, what your current specials are, and how to contact you. In some ways, it has replaced the need for an actual website.
Your posts here need to build off of this framework. Your content needs to be informational and engaging. Utilize all of the functions this platform offers: make events, add a menu, showcase your facilities, explain changes or updates. Facebook content needs to be relevant for someone seeing it that exact moment, or someone trying to learn more about your business a month from now. Your content marketing should always offer a call to action (ie. RSVPing to an event, encouraging comments or shares). Facebook’s algorithm (at the time this was published…) delivers content based on a mutual friend’s interest, or customer’s potential interest, not chronological order. Engaging content trumps frequent posting when it comes to Facebook.
instagram: the skin-deep connection
Instagram continues to change on a daily basis. Like a surface-level attraction, Instagram is all about presentation. The now Facebook-owned platform has pivoted from its original intent. As its name suggests, the beginning of Instagram was all about capturing real moments in real-time. “Instantly.” But as it has evolved, the focus on a single image (or 10 images if you’re really bad at choosing) has born a new kind of platform; one more curated, thoughtful, artistic and singularly impactful. One to feast your eyes on.
Instagram offers the biggest opportunity for businesses, but not always in the way they think. This image-focused platform gives you the unique opportunity to bring your business to a potential customer, right in their hand. They can experience the feel, the mission, the heart behind a project from a beautifully crafted photo. The problem with this though is that content that is not beautiful can negatively affect your business as well. I always say that you should never post just to post, and this is especially true for Instagram. I am much more likely to leave an Instagram account dormant for a week than posting a subpar image. Instagram is all about standing out from the crowd, and if you’re doing that, you want it to be standing out for the right reasons.
twitter: the fleeting fling
Twitter is the love that’s perfect for right now. And then it’s gone. The immediacy and cadence that rules the Twittersphere creates an environment for quick, and often, short-lived connections. Twitter can sometimes be the trickiest platform to master because it’s often less about what you post and more about when you post. I’ve seen the most success by merely joining in. Twitter is about sparking a conversation, and when people have gathered around, you should have something to say.
This is a hard task for any marketing agency or business that schedules content ahead of time. Most successes I’ve had on Twitter came from messages sent on the fly. Trending topics, live events, and location-based thoughts are what Twitter was built for. It can be hard for companies to wrap their heads around a platform that offers little intimacy and often feels like your screaming in a crowded room, but the key is being apart of something. People love seeing businesses with a point-of-view, or businesses that participate in relevant conversations. The more times you talk, the more people see you. And sometimes being seen is all it takes.
linkedin: the shared-interest flame
What started as a virtual networking event has slowly started to transform. For many companies, there isn’t a place for them on LinkedIn… yet. I have no doubt the time will come, but for now, LinkedIn functions on two planes: first, it’s a place to post job openings and apply to those openings, but secondly, and more recently, it has become a place to become a thought leader. LinkedIn offers companies to share their expertise, and be a resource to others. Content like this blog was built for LinkedIn. It both offers a utility to our followers while providing examples of our credentials. And more so, it’s become a place to share the wealth of knowledge. Active members within your company have the ability to extend your reach to other industry leaders or potential customers.
no relationship is truly perfect
It’s important to remember that content can be fluid. It can provide huge opportunities on several platforms. Sometimes, all you need is to tweak the wording or add an image, and it has transformed to fit on another platform.
Even the content that is expertly-crafted, seemingly made for a specific platform, will have its quirks. Much like any real marriage, the relationship between your content and platforms is one that is built. It takes strategy and hard-work. It is willing to learn and adapt. It is part instinct and evidence. Don’t be afraid to try new things and monitor the results. It may end in analytic heartbreak, or it may surprise you. Your perfect match may have been in front of you all along.