Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about how to find out which social media channels you should be on.
I wrote on this topic about a year ago. That post just had general tips about how to figure out which social media channels you should be on, but I thought it would be more helpful if I were to specify which social media channels do better with which industries and which types of marketing efforts. So here goes:
LinkedIn is great for reaching out to other professionals. I find it to be really helpful because I target a lot of small businesses, business owners, and CMOs, most of whom are on LinkedIn. While a lot of the social media sites have gotten really political, I think LinkedIn has remained pretty focused on business. You can share links to articles, write an article yourself on LinkedIn (although I don’t recommend that), and find people and companies in just about any industry.
Who’s on LinkedIn? Business professionals. It’s probably the only social media site where baby boomers and slightly younger tend to be the most active, although more millennials are getting on board as they develop their careers.
Should you be on LinkedIn? If you’re looking to connect with other business professionals, you should absolutely get on LinkedIn. Keep in mind, that doesn’t have to mean your potential customers (although it certainly can). Using LinkedIn to find professionals in similar industries with whom you can team up is also extremely beneficial.
How often should you post on LinkedIn? In order to be considered active on LinkedIn, you only need to post once a day, and you probably don’t get anything more from posting on evenings and weekends than you would from sticking to regular business hours.
Hashtags? I don’t recommend using hashtags on LinkedIn if you can get away with it, since hashtags have actually been shown to reduce a posts visibility on LinkedIn. That said, LinkedIn has recently decided to start forcing users to use hashtags, a move that has made me (and plenty of other users) really unhappy with them.
Facebook’s core user group is the millennials, although older groups have joined in, largely so they can keep up with friends and see photos of the grandkids. Like LinkedIn, Facebook is great for sharing links and articles, but you can also share photos, GIFs, and videos. You can also do live videos, which are a great way to hop online and talk directly to your followers. Facebook loves that and will help promote those videos, so you might want to consider that as a way to get around the fact that Facebook recently decided to stop showing their users as many posts from businesses.
Who’s on Facebook? Pretty much everyone. Millennials are still probably the most active, but don’t discount their parents and grandparents, if your target market includes boomers and senior citizens. Generations after millennials tend not to be on Facebook.
Should you be on Facebook? Probably. It has such a huge audience right now, even after the recent data scandal that the value of being on Facebook is not to be ignored. If you’re targeting Gen Z and younger though, the Facebook might not be as beneficial for your business.
How often should you post on Facebook? In order to be considered active on Facebook, you only need to post once a day. People are on Facebook all day every day, so don’t feel the need to restrict your posting to weekdays, especially since Facebook doesn’t show posts in chronological order.
Hashtagas: No. Like LinkedIn, hashtags can reduce a post’s reach on Facebook.
Twitter is great for sharing short updates, although they’ve made it easier to create longer posts, not only by upping their maximum word count, but by allowing you to string a series of tweets together into one story. You can post photos, videos and GIFs, as well as links to articles, and I would say the biggest benefit to Twitter is that it’s probably the easiest platform where you can interact with other people. Of course all the social media sites allow for commenting and people certainly take advantage of that, but it seems more prevalent and easier to do on Twitter, largely because of the immediacy of the platform.
Who’s on Twitter? Practically everyone these days, although millennials tend to be most active.
Should you be on Twitter? Probably. Not only does it help increase your general visibility, but it’s ideal for targeting the audience you want to reach and interacting with that audience. Practically every industry has something that can be said in one or two short sentences, and linking to your site on Twitter is a great way to increase your online visibility. Because photos and short videos can also be posted on Twitter, you can take advantage of those as well if yours is an industry that does well visually. They’re really eye catching and are likely to get more engagement.
How often should you post on Twitter? If you do decide to get on Twitter, you do need to post literally every hour of every day. People are on Twitter a lot and they’re on at all hours of the day and night. I’m not saying you have to get up in the middle of the night to post on Twitter because, first of all, that’s what social media management services are for, and second, you only need to post in the middle of the night if your audience is up all night or if they live on the other side of the planet. Twitter is popular all over the world, so don’t discount the possibility of reaching someone in India.
Hashtags: Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags, so you should definitely use them to improve your visibility on Twitter. No more than 2 hashtags per tweet, as an overuse of hashtags can 1) reduce the visibility of that post and 2) annoy everyone who sees your tweet.
Instagram is designed for sharing photos and videos. They’ve also started doing some live videos, so if you have a business that looks good on camera (restaurant, interior design, graphic design, art, furniture, clothing and accessories, travel, entertainment, etc.) you should be on Instagram.
Who’s on Instagram? Like Twitter, Instagram users tend to be a little younger than Facebook users, but again, more people are getting on Instagram, especially small business owners who recognize its potential to help them reach customers.
How often should you post on Instagram? Once per day, every day, including weekends, and don’t discount the benefits of posting in the evenings either.
Hashtags: Yes. Hashtags are invaluable for discovery on Instagram and you can use up to 30 hashtags after a few spaces between the comment you want people to read with your photo. The spaces mean people won’t see all your hashtags unless they click the “more” button and scroll down, but those hashtags will still help your post get in front of everyone searching for all those hashtags. If you try to use more than 30 hashtags, Instagram will simply delete all of them, plus your comment, when posting your photo, so watch out for that.
Instead of putting the spaces between your comment and your hashtags, you can simply publish the post without any hashtags, then comment on the post and put all your hashtags into that comment. It will have the same effect and some people think it looks better than leaving the spaces, but it’s really just a matter of personal preference
It’s also worth noting that, while Instagram does allow you to use as much as 30 hashtags, posts with around 10 hashtags tend to perform the best.
Pinterest is a photo-based social media app that allows people to post, pin, search, and share photos.
Who’s on Pinterest? Mostly millennial women, although millennial men are also quite active on Pinterest. Families are also on Pinterest, so if they’re part of your target market, Pinterest could be beneficial for your business.
Should you use Pinterest? Pinterest is ideal for restaurants, spas, clothing and jewelry, beauty and hair-care products, and travel destinations. In addition to photos, people tend to share recipes, resolutions and how-tos. Crafts are also really big on Pinterest, so if you’re in that space at all, or anything you do can be made into a craft, consider getting on Pinterest.
How often should you post on Pinterest? People are on Pinterest all day, every day, and you should probably post 5-10 times per day.
Hashtags? No. Hashtag use on Pinterest has been shown to decrease a post’s visibility, rather than increase it.
The youngest social media users are on Snapchat. A fair number of millennials are also on Snapchat, but few people older than that tend to use this particular social media app. It’s great for sharing photos and videos and adding little comments and personalized stickers to whatever you’re posting. Snapchat’s big thing is that each post is only available for 24 hours before it disappears. You can have a conversation with friends on Snapchat, but you can’t view the entire conversation like you can on any other social media site.
Who’s on Snapchat? The youngest users tend to be on Snapchat, from millennials down to teenagers and even preteens.
Should you be on Snapchat? If your target audience is younger and your stuff looks great in photos and videos, then you should absolutely be on Snapchat.
How often should you post? 1-5 times per day, and remember people are on Snapchat all the time because of the immediacy of the posts, so stay active on evenings and weekends.
Hashtags? No. Discoverability is a completely different game on Snapchat because in order for people to see your stuff, they have to add you as a connection on Snapchat and you have to add them back (and vice versa). Honestly, one of the best ways to get discovered on Snapchat is to talk about your Snapchat account on your website and your other social media profiles and encourage people to go to Snapchat and add you there.
Honestly, I think the best part about Google+ is the fact that it’s related to Google, which means posting there also helps to boost your Google rankings.
Who’s using it? Mostly men 35 and older who live in the U.S., and those who do use it, use it a lot.
Should you post on Google+? I recommend everyone sign up for Google+ because it can help with your overall SEO strategy. That said, it won’t do much good if you just sign up and don’t post anything. Make an effort to post at least three times a day. Follow other accounts and get active in conversations so you can build a following like you would on any other social media site. And if your target is men who are middle aged and older, then you should definitely be using Google+.
How often should you post on Google+? 3 times per day, and yes to posting on evenings and weekends.
Hashtags? Yes. Hashtags have been proven to be effective in boosting discoverability on Google+ and if you start to type a hashtag in your post, Google+ will even bring up suggestions for you.
YouTube is more popular than ever right now, especially for educational videos. Everyone (of all ages) knows if they want to learn something, they should go to YouTube to search for a video on it, which is what YouTube is great for.
How often should you post? Once a week.
Who uses it? Everyone, although the heaviest users tend to be millennials and younger, and the younger the user, the more likely they are to use YouTube.
Should you post on YouTube? Anything you have that looks good in a video can and should be put up on YouTube, especially educational videos, because YouTube is generally America’s first stop when they want to learn something new. That said, competition is stiff because there are a lot of people making professional-quality videos on YouTube. The rougher stuff can go up on Instagram and Facebook Live, but if you want to play with the big dogs on YouTube, you’d better have the right talent and equipment.
Hashtags? Yes. Like Instagram and Twitter, adding hashtags to the description (and even the title) of your video can make it easier for viewers to find it.
Keep in mind that, while some social media sites may be better for visibility than others, they all help. There are countless stories of people searching their own names and the first thing that comes up on Google is their Facebook profile. The more active you are on any social media site, the more your visibility will increase.
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