This post was originally published on Sachs Marketing Group.
It may be easy to create a single message to share across your social media channels – but that is far from being an effective way to reach your audience. There are several social networks people use – and all of them have a different “hook” to get their attention. Simply crafting a message and keeping it the same across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others doesn’t cut it if you’re looking to expand engagement and reach. So, how can you make the same general social media content applicable to the networks where you’re trying to build traction?
Adjust the Social Media Content for Each Platform
What works on Facebook isn’t going to perform the same way on Twitter. What works on Twitter won’t work for Pinterest. What works on Pinterest won’t work on LinkedIn, and so on. Whatever the content you have to share may be, it’s best to adjust it according to the style and nature of each network.
Familiarize yourself with the best practices for each social media platform. This way, you know what kind of adjustments to your messages for each of them. When you have something to post, think of the delivery method based on these broad concepts of what each social network responds to the best.
- Facebook: The most popular social network, with the most brand competition, Facebook strategies are harder to nail. Because you have a bit more freedom with text length – don’t be afraid to share more of a back story or context around a post. Facebook users want entertainment and value.
- Twitter: Twitter’s audience is there to learn more about what’s going on in the world right now and to connect with others. They want news, tips, how-tos, and interesting articles. Because updates disappear quickly, it’s normal to post the same update more than once, as long as it’s spaced apart, so don’t be afraid that it won’t get seen. And because of the immediacy of the network, it makes an excellent platform for customer service. With more people turning to social media to get an answer from businesses today – it’s a good idea to make use of it.
- Pinterest: This network is an audience of creatives – combining stunning images with instructions. The more content you can fit into that visual, the better. If you’re venturing into infographics, Pinterest is a great network for this. Create boards built around core topics associated with your business, and expand as you find topics your customers are interested in. Don’t write off Pinterest because you’re worried its core demographic won’t be interested in your brand; plenty of businesses are rocking Pinterest marketing in unconventional ways.
- Instagram: Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual network, but you can add video, too. Just make sure when you use it, you’re posting quality images that speak to your brand. Photos shouldn’t look overly staged, and shouldn’t be serious if you’re a funny, lighthearted brand. Use the platform to share experiences. Use hashtags to categorize content, and invite customers to share photos showcasing their experiences with your products or services. Choose the most visually pleasing part of your content, and share that. If you don’t have an image, use a tool like Canva to create one. (It’s great for those of us who lack mad Photoshop skills!)
- LinkedIn: Focused on business and job listings, this network is best for the B2B market, or those in the B2C market targeting an audience of professionals. You can share articles to your newsfeed, in groups, or the LinkedIn publishing platform. When sharing articles to a group, think about what information would be valuable to that audience. For example, I share articles on digital marketing and SEO to groups of marketing and communications professionals.
General Electric (GE) is a brand that’s over 100 years old, so you’d think they wouldn’t be able to rock social media like they do, but, they’re one of the brands that always stands out. Looking across their social channels, there’s a great mix of content, customized to each network.
On Instagram, for example, GE shows off their technology by using images to create experiences – while showing their engine factories and wind farms. On Twitter, GE focuses on sharing infographics, photos, and reports, designed to educate their audience on science and technology.
On Facebook, GE is more verbose, sharing a mixture of technology, company news, their products in action, and more.
On Pinterest GE has a wide collection of boards, related to all of their technology and products. Plus, they have science information, inside looks at factories, and even funny boards like this one.
In 2014, they took Best Brand on Vine (read the recent announcement about that platform’s demise.) from the Shorty Awards. But, they were also nominated in the Best Fortune 500 Brand on Social Media in the Twitter and Instagram categories.
Online home goods retailer, Wayfair.com customizes their messages for social media based on network quite well. They use Twitter for the immediacy and news focus, sharing seasonal, relevant articles from their own website, as well as from other related publications, like Real Simple.
When you look at their Facebook page, you see the same kind of information, presented in a format better suited for the Facebook audience. The page also includes embedded versions of their Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Wayfair uses Instagram to showcase their products in actual use cases, and uses stunning, visually appealing content – both images and video. This not only promotes what they have to sell, but makes it easy for customers to envision how the products would look in their own homes, and provides guidance for how to style them once they’re purchased.
Wayfair uses Pinterest to organize topics their customers find interesting. And, to keep things fresh, they build promotions around themes to encourage user generated content – like Turkey Day Table Challenge.
Ultimately, GE and Wayfair want to engage and inform their audience regardless of which social platform they use – and they want to sell products. The different strategy with each network still allows them to showcase products in ways that the audience will respond to.
Simply posting the same text/photo to each network at the same time gets stale quick. and doesn’t yield the highest possible return. Match each network for the benefit to customers – use Twitter for customer contact and chatting back and forth. Use other networks for showcasing benefits, contests, and generating buzz. Change headlines and text accordingly.
Keep The Content Visual
It’s no real secret people respond to visual content better than they do plain text. After all, research shows colored visuals increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80%. (That’s why I have so many images in this piece, you know.) While networks like Instagram and Pinterest are built around visual content – don’t forget to factor it into Facebook and LinkedIn, too.
Stock photography is obvious these days, especially where people are featured. It’s okay to use it in a pinch, so long as it’s appropriate. When possible, take your own photos, or if your budget allows, have a photographer do it for you. If you don’t have products or people to feature in photos, create your own.
Avoid Posting Too Many Updates at Once
Even though you should not assume that everyone who follows you on Twitter, also is a Facebook fan, a Pinterest follower, and so on, it’s best to stagger your updates so not too many are posted at once. Posting too often is considered one of the most annoying social media habits, so do what you can to stick to a schedule that’s best for each network.
If there’s time-sensitive information, by all means, post it whenever and wherever you need to, but stick to the varying the content in accordance with the network.
Include a Call to Action
Never assume your audience knows what you want them to do, or that calls to action have no place on social media. Calls to action are helpful to increasing conversion rates. Adding calls to actions on your Facebook page can increase your click through rate by 285%. If you want your social media channel to drive traffic to your website, then tell your audience to visit for more information. You should see a burst in traffic compared to leaving the call to action off – because only a portion of visitors will visit without being “told” to do so.
Create a Social Media Content Calendar
Going into social without a plan is like going to the grocery store without a list. You can do it – but you’re either going to spend too much money, or you’re not going to have anything to show for your trip when you get home.
Planning your updates in advance has a number of benefits:
- Know what you’re posting and when so you can keep on top of promotions, holidays, and other relevant themes.
- Schedule updates in advance so your social media content is never quiet. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help accomplish this for you. Schedule Instagram posts with something like ScheduGram or Latergramme, bearing in mind the whole concept of the network is “instant.”
- Allows multiple team members to have input on the social media content.
That said, you shouldn’t schedule all your updates. Be available to your customers in real-time when you can, and interact accordingly outside of your scheduled updates.
Start with a spreadsheet that details the message you want to send, with a tab for each network. Include the text of the update, and links to any photo or video assets, and any links to articles/content. It’s also helpful to include the date and time of the post so you know you’re posting at the right intervals and frequency in accordance with your strategy.
You Can Craft Unique Content Without Wasting Too Much Time
Though it may seem like a waste of time to craft individual status updates for each network, having content suited to each platform is the best strategy for your social media marketing. With these tips, the process becomes a bit easier to manage. You’ll develop a streamlined workflow for your social efforts once you determine the best course of action.
Keep an eye on the analytics built into each platform, but also pay attention to what Google Analytics tells you about your social activity. Use this information alongside what you know about your target audience and sales history. Then, when you see patterns in what’s working, stick to it as you refine your social strategy.
Which social channels do you use for your business? How are you finding that varying your content is affecting your engagement? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo credit: StockSnap.io, Screenshots from respective brand social media accounts.