One of the main factors of success for any business is being able to accurately define your target market. Being specific allows you to craft a message that will speak directly to your customers in their language.
A 2018 study by the Pew Research Center shows that 69% of adults in the US use at least one social media site. With social media accounts being free, it makes financial sense to take advantage of these channels to get your message in front of many different audiences.
One thing many businesses overlook, however, is that not all social media sites are the same. It’s important to understand that while it is acceptable to share the same offering or message across multiple channels, you must tailor the post to the audience of that channel in order to maximize engagement.
Below I’ll share with you the differences between social media platforms and what works best on each channel given the demographics and format of each.
Who is Where?
With 1.4 billion daily active users at the end of 2017, Facebook leads the way in social media. While adults age 18-29 are the most active users of social media across the board, you will find more people from every age bracket on Facebook, since 68% of US adults use this site. It’s also the best place to find Americans from older demographics. A whopping 41% of US adults 65 or older use Facebook, as opposed to only 8% using Twitter.
This begins to demonstrate how important it is to know where your audience spends their time. Who do you want to see your message? Younger people tend to find themselves more at home with the brevity of Twitter and Instagram, whereas college graduates and business professionals keep up an active presence on LinkedIn. Knowing your audience will help you determine which social channels your business should be including in a social media strategy. Developing a buyer persona of your ideal client before moving forward is a must.
Once you know where to talk though, how do you speak to individuals on that channel? The message needs to vary by medium in order to utilize the functions of each platform and be intriguing to the people who use the site. Improving interest in each post, regardless of channel, will help you maximize social media engagement.
Those spending time on Facebook are typically connecting with friends and family and sharing stories. Users are very unlikely to be stopped mid-scroll by a text-only ad for a new product. Pictures and videos work the best on this entertainment-based medium. As with all social media messages, if you want more engagement, ask for it! If you are sharing a list or giving advice about a topic, ask if anyone out there has tried one of your techniques or has something else to add. Starting the conversation is the best way to get interaction, and the larger character limit for Facebook posts allows you to add more information and ask questions of those who view your posts.
Another Facebook-specific tip is to use the emojis offered by the site. They are a great way to make your post stand out and have a bit more fun with your content, since that is what the users of this site are looking for. You might also consider posting a Facebook Live video, which allows you to produce entertaining and educational content while connecting with your viewers in real time.
Once the home of the hashtag, Twitter has evolved into more of a news-driven site these days. Users here are looking for resources with up-to-date information on what is happening in the world around them. They want to quickly soak up as much information as possible. Think of Twitter as a source of discovery.
Everything on this platform is concise, so be prepared to write intriguing captions and headlines to accompany the link or graphic you want to share. Twitter is an excellent way to monitor and be a part of the conversation about your brand. With #hashtags and @mentions, it’s easy to interact specifically with a brand or person. The best companies use this platform to maintain a customer service focus, and are on top of responding and reaching out to users interested in their brand or line of business.
The most sophisticated tone of all platforms, LinkedIn brings together business-minded people from around the globe. Don’t forget to use full sentences and proper punctuation if you want to be taken seriously here. This is a great place to develop yourself as a thought leader in your market and draw attention from other professionals.
When posting to this site, industry-related information and news about your business will perform the best. Users of this site will spend the time it takes to get through a lengthy article if it is relevant to them, but don’t flood them with irrelevant posts. It is also one of the best places to find new talent if your company is looking to grow. Take advantage of the professional atmosphere to make some new, beneficial connections.
Much like Twitter, this platform is all about how much you can say quickly, but with images instead of words. People here are drawn to beautiful aesthetics and thought-provoking quips displayed graphically.
More women than men use Instagram (39% of US women vs 30% of US men), but with a user base that has been on the rise for the last five years, Instagram is hard to ignore for businesses.
The hashtag has found its new home here, sorting images into categories of interest for viewers, but use them with purpose and tact. It may be tempting to throw every hashtag you can think of on an image to get more views, but the overall look is distracting and spammy. The best way to use this platform is to offer brand-specific tips or give a behind-the-scenes look at something your company does. While a hardware store probably won’t be posting about a #landscape, they might be offering a safety tip on how to not hurt yourself during your next #diy project. Be thoughtful, and remember to always add value for your audience.
This is the hardest-to-measure outlet of major social media, as anyone who has a Gmail account has a Google+ page. It’s a platform that mostly centers around building communities.
The best way to use this platform is to find groups relevant to your line of business and post your blogs here, as Google indexes blogs from this site almost immediately. It’s the best way to gain traction in Google’s search ranking. Users tend to be less interactive than on other platforms, but the boost for original content through their search engine is worth having a presence here.
Why is this all relevant to me?
Now that you have an idea of what the different social media platforms are designed for and how to get more interaction out of your visitors, it’s pretty clear why you need to tailor your message as you post content on each platform.
If you post a message with a taco emoji in the caption across multiple platforms, your Facebook audience might be entertained, but your LinkedIn connections may question your level of professionalism. Similarly, posting a picture with a few hashtags works wonders on Instagram, but looks out of place on Facebook.
Also, remember that some of your viewers may be on multiple platforms. It is fine to share a link for a new blog post on multiple channels, but seeing exactly the same phrasing in different places looks like a paid ad. Take the time to consider how the audience of each site will be viewing your post, and how to best capture their attention. Each platform gives you a unique way to engage with your audience, and tailoring your message to each opportunity will give your audiences more ways to interact with you.
Are there any platforms or tips you think are missing? Let us know what has worked the best for you or what you found surprising!