The Definite Social Media Guide to Business Social Media Messaging

By William Flanagan
Modified September 6, 2021, Posted in

Intro

There is no marketing without social media anymore. Marketing strategies need to optimize social media posts in order to get the biggest punch. This means that social media messaging is critical. Hence, why we wrote this social media guide. 

A few home truths to begin: One tweet usually does not make all the difference. Although nowadays no one knows what will go viral next. There is often little rhyme and reason to it. But also: One thousand cuts can bleed you dry. Small mistakes can add up to friction. And, that friction can cost you visibility and authority in your market niche.

So, this article serves as a social media guide and covers how to use social media at its full potential to get the best results for your business.

This social media guide is a long piece of content. Buckle in.

The social media guide: Where most businesses should have a social media presence

These are the networks that most people use today when leveraging social media to drive visibility. None of these social media networks should be unknown to you. 

But, and this is a big ‘but’: don’t start with the social media network. That is like putting the cart in front of the horse. Rather, think about your customer first and what content they need. The medium is the message.

What can you publish that you can repurpose for each of these networks? What of your content can stretch the furthest? Then, pick a couple of social media networks to start with that you believe most align with your perfect buyer’s hang out location. Invest the majority of your time and energy there, and only expand as you get better and faster at providing valuable content.

Let’s start with Profiles: Your Home Page on Social Media Networks

First rule of this social media guide: Spend the necessary time on your social media profile. It goes without saying that your profile page on each social network is important.

Your profile should be business centric. Your brand is the star here, not you (unless your brand is a “person brand”). Your profile page should look and feel professional and designed. Put together. Just like you.

Profile Photo

The photo is the instantly recognizable visual identity of the brand. If your brand is a “person brand”, meaning you have a person that’s effectively the brand or representing the brand, then use their picture. If not, you should use a logo icon to represent your brand. This photo should be the same across all your social networks. Consider this another rule of this social media guide: consistency across social media networks to make your brand recognizable across the social media landscape. You want potential buyers or customers to find you easily across social networks.

Profile Background Photo

The background photo should reinforce and support your brand’s image. It’s a good place to put a visual or emotional image that conveys something important about your brand’s personality, culture, or beliefs. Depending on the brand and the social network, you can also embed your slogan or tag line into the background to give your brand some extra messaging lift. Don’t overcrowd your profile, though. Keep in clean and crisp.

URL

Most networks allow a URL. If they do, you should use it. But, instead of linking to your profile, the best practice is to link to a “link tree.” A link tree is a page that has a list of other links, formatted to work well for mobile consumption. Think of this as another rule of this social media guide: you cannot expect your potential customers and buyers to be browsing your social media messages on a desktop or lap top computer. Your profile needs to be formatted to work for mobile consumption. Make sure that whatever links you offer in your link tree are accessible for mobile consumption as well. Keep your link tree updated with the things you’re talking about in social media. Links to articles. Links to training. Links to offers.

Some businesses customize their link tree for each social network. That is commendable, but it is a lot of work. I would suggest you start with the basics and have a single link tree to use on all networks. Once you are more comfortable with providing content for different social media networks, you can branch out and customize your link tree for each social network.

The links should be URL shortened, and UTM parameters added for tracking. You want to be able to see what links work best. Dead weight links that do not provide click throughs should be eradicated. Track and Test. Track and Test. You must be willing to ‘kill your darlings’. Links that do not catch eyeballs are just a dead weight in your link tree. 

You can build link trees on your own website (a custom page optimized for mobile devices) and that’s what we’d recommend. But, if you are not comfortable building pages on your website, you can also use various other services. Just remember, these can cost additional money and be harder to track.

Mini Bio

Most networks have a short section for a bio. Your bio should be tight, and again written for who you serve. Usually, it contains what, who for, and why. Ideally, it should also be an inspirational call-to-action. Even in networks like Linkedin where your profile can be longer, you should start with a short bio. Then, fill in details as necessary. It is more important to have a bare bones bio up and running quickly than to spend a lot of time perfecting it before you publish. 

Remember, the mini bio is about you. But, it’s the ‘you’ in service to your tribe. Examples of a good short bio are: Restaurant: “great vegan food for health nuts because life is meant to be lived.” WiFi Equipment Vendor: “WiFi solutions for retail businesses because shopper experience makes retail work.”

Verification

At some point, many networks let you apply for verification. As soon as you can do this, you should. It gives credibility to your brand through the social networks. Think of it as a stamp of approval. And, in many cases, social network algorithms give more visibility to verified profiles. And it is hardly ever a negative to have more eyeballs land on your page.

Buttons, CTAs, etc.

Some networks let you build out contact buttons and other calls to action. In these networks, take advantage of the real estate and do it. Also, if possible, include any branded hashtags that you use. Again, you want to make sure that your buyers/ customers can easily find you across social media networks.

Now let’s get to the meat of this social media guide: the social media messaging strategies.

The social media guide: how to engage on social media.

You might expect that the next point of discussion of this social media guide would be on how to post on social media. But actually, I believe it is important to mention social media engagement before the strategies for posting on social media. The reason is simple: it’s MORE important.

Trust me on this. Social media engagement is the most important social media messaging strategy. And this holds true across the various social media networks. If there is one think you should take away from this social media guide, this is probably it.

The majority of content you produce for social media is comments on other creators’ work. When you engage on other peoples’ content, you help their content get more reach. And, you expose yourself to their audience. The Social Media comments are the first impression that someone has of your business. Make sure they’re helpful and in service to the person and the tribe.

When the creators review your comment, they look at your profile and other posts. They see your interesting content. And, they engage. And because you’re causing more activity on the social network which drives revenue for the social network, they reward you with more authority.

So, when you think about your social media strategy, assume that engagement is where you will spend the majority of your time.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 strategy is a great method to use. I’ve linked it for your review.

Next up in this social media guide: strategies for posting on the various social media networks.

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The social media guide: Social media posts

Let’s Start with the Basics—Archetypes, Audience, & Objective.

Excuse us for starting off this section of the social media guide with a deep dive into the fundamentals of marketing messaging.

Archetypes

Archetypes are a classification of common behaviors people have in general, and while it is not social media specific, the classification is very useful for messaging your perfect buyer. Using archetypes simplifies building out content and other materials that resonate with your perfect buyer. Most people use a version of Jungian’s 12 archetypes for this. But, for the purposes of simplification for this social media guide, I’ve shortened it down to the most common types you see on social media. If you want more information on Jungian archetypes in marketing messaging and finding your perfect buyer, watch out for a future blog post.

In general, when you show up in social media, you’ll lead with one of these archetypes. Some are obviously more in service of the tribe than others. And, sometimes you’ll “break” your archetype. But overall people crave consistency. Show up the same way in social media, aligned with your brand, and increase trust. When you look at many popular social media accounts, you will see this particular pattern emerge. Popular social media accounts are following a particular archetype that the creator has determined to best describe the intended audience.

Audience

First and most important: Write content to support your perfect buyer’s needs. It might seem like an oversimplification, but it’s so important and often overlooked. Many people use their social media profiles in a way that’s all about themselves. Me. Me. Me. And that might be fine for an individual person’s account, but not for a business social media account. Instead, you need to know your tribe and their needs. Your tribe is all the people in your market place.

Once you know your tribe, and once you realize that certain positions and certain phrases resonate different with different people, your social media account needs to be all about your perfect buyer. You might wonder who is this perfect buyer? How do I know who to cater to? Well, this is where the Jungian archetypes come in, they are a shortcut. They help you pick the right kind of phrases and positions to reach your target audience. If your perfect buyer is young moms, your content should be for young moms. If it’s for CEOs, then it should be content that would be interesting for CEOs.

Let’s face it, this is not rocket science. This social media guide is not re-inventing the wheel. It is, in fact, stating what should be obvious: Write for your perfect buyer. Don’t broadcast how innovative you are. The only ‘you’ here is the you in service to them.

Objective

Second, write posts to match your objective. Again, this seems obvious. But it is surprising how often we can forgot or get distracted by the thrill of the medium. Of course, we all want likes, follows, shares, and visits to our website. Leads and sales. But, these are goals. The destination. They are not the objective.

Instead, the objective is how this specific post will move your audience — the perfect buyers you have identified —  along the path to the destination. Your goal is to reel in the fish. Your social media post is the bait.

Objectives run along these lines:

  • Know. Make them feel like they know you and are familiar to you.
  • Like. Like as in “they like you” and like as in “they are similar to you”.
  • Educate. Establish credibility as knowledgeable and authoritative.
  • Mindset. Make people feel good. Make them feel like they can do it! Some people call this one Inspire.
  • Converse. Talk to them. Engage them in where they are and what they want.
  • Promote. Give people a secret way to transact because they’re special.

Now that we have discussed the basics, the next part of this social media guide will address the various individual social media networks and what types of social media posts will work for each network. 

The social media guide: The social media networks

Twitter (~ 330 million users)   

It is no coincidence that we open this part of the social media guide with Twitter. It is the social media platform of the moment. Twitter positions itself as a place of open, real-time communications. You see this throughout their platform, including the prompt for you to add a Tweet (“what’s happening?”).

People love or hate Twitter. There are a large amount of unused accounts. But, people that use it use it regularly, with over 86% of people returning daily.

Visual Style 

Twitter is following the general trend towards more visuals.

According to Khoros:

  • Animated GIFs get 3 to 5 times the number of likes.
  • Photos get a 313% increase in engagement and 35% additional retweets.
  • Videos receive a 6x bump in retweets over photos and 3x more retweets than GIFs. You can generally get a 28% increase in engagement with a video.
  • Visuals also let you include more text than the character limit.
  • Infographics are 30x more likely to be read than text content. And, charts and graphics get a 17% bump in retweets.

Content Types

All content objectives can be used. There is only one exception I would raise: If your primary role is “journalist”, you should not focus on ‘like’ content.

Posting Strategy and Frequency

Tweets have an incredibly short life. Minutes at best. So, when things are transient like this, you have to do it often. Frequency is key here.

For a business that’s active on Twitter, the strategy should be up to 15 times a day. No more than 1x per hour.

Twitter tweets 

Tweets are individual posts. They can also be threaded (similar to carousels on Instagram).

While research seems to state that you shouldn’t tweet more than 3 times a day, for a business account an increased frequency is key.

The most common tweet is a text tweet that links to a page.

According to Khoros, there are a few things you can do to optimize your tweets (apart from focusing on visual content styles)

  • Short. Tweets with less than 110 characters get 17% higher engagement.
  • Polls. Asking questions increases engagement, but not sure by how much.
  • Hashtags. Tweets with 1 to 2 hashtags receive a 16% boost. Hashtags with 3 or more receive a 17% drop in engagement.
  • Quotes. Generally a quote gets a 19% boots in retweets.

Twitter Threads

A thread is a series of Tweets that are usually published at the same time. They can also be a “live event” where you update the Tweets in real time.

In marketing, you generally list a series of Tweets on a topic. They work great for list articles (listicles) where each point is its own Tweet.

Generally, post the entire collection of tweets at the same time. By doing this, you’re publishing the entire article inside the Twitter platform.

The best practice is to end your Twitter thread with a call-to-action.

 

Twitter Moments

Twitter Moments are a curated set of tweets about some event. They can be tweets created by you, and also tweets you source from others. 

Moments are much like threads, but for tweets that you don’t own (or do). The other difference is that you can also put a headline and a cover story on the Moment. So, in that way, it’s much like an article posting with a title and a background title image.

At least to me, Twitter Moments feel tied to an event—something happening, maybe something rare, something symbolic, something of importance. It doesn’t have to be a live event or a news story, but it’s suited to the “news moment” style format.

The “moments” in the desktop interface of Twitter are also buried behind a … button. So, these aren’t as likely to get used or surfaced. And, they’re not available on the mobile interface of Twitter. So think about how much exposure you can genuinely expect from a twitter moment commensurate to the amount of time you invest in creating them.

The best practice for a Moment is that there should be no more than 10 or so Tweets in the moment.

Here is an update for you: Twitter recently replaced or rather subsumed Twitter Moments under the Twitter Explore category. So, Moments are still there — at least for the time being — but they are now clumped together under a consolidated tab with Live Video, trending hashtags and the search function. I will have more on this in a future blog post.

Instagram (~1 billion users)

Next up on the list of social networks in this social media guide is Instagram. Instagram has proliferated like crazy in recent years and spun off into stories, reels, shops and tv. According to Hubspot, many people are turning to Instagram versus Google to search for brands. So it is an important place to be.

Instagram Profile

First, you should be using a business account.

Second, make sure your account is public.

Your Instagram profile should link to your products and services. Make it easy to do business with you. You’ll usually do this with a link tree or a customized landing page. Or, you can create clickable/swipe-able posts and stories that allow the user to go directly from perusing the visual to purchasing the actual product.

When you post your bio, it’s common culture in Instagram to use emojis. But be professional.

Your account’s profile picture should be reflective of your business. Bonus points if it also interesting and memorable. Anything to distinguish your account from a myriad of others.

Note, when you post a story, it will be indicated with a pinkish ring around your profile picture. After 24 hours the story will disappear, unless you save it to your highlights area.

The “Highlights” area is below your profile. Highlights are circular pictures with a title underneath them. They can contain posts and stories that are about a particular topic. Or, a highlight could serve as a place to store coupon codes you offer to your products. In general, use the highlights area to organize your content into categories that make sense. Don’t overcrowd the area, and don’t make people search through the highlights area to get to stuff, i.e. be descriptive in your titular choice in what information is presented in each highlight

Below the Highlights area are the shortcuts to the various kinds of instagram posts that you have generated: The general ‘posts’ (everything that you posted in your feed and did not delete), the ‘tagged’ posts (posts that were highlighted), ‘Reels’ (the new Instagram version of TikTok), ‘guides’ (also a new feature that allows you to create list-like or Twitter thread-like content with commentary), and ‘IGTV’ (the longer form video content).

You can also create different Instagram profiles for topics, instead of your brand. So, if you are a “curator” archetype, you’d have an Instagram feed that covers your topic (like shoes). You’ll see a lot of these. You can also have a brand Instagram and a “personality” Instagram, and have one link to the other (usually such connections are referenced in the little bio blurb).

Visual Style

Instagram content is challenging for many businesses. Why? It’s visual. And, it is often hard for a person to visualize what to post to be effective. And effective here means ‘distinguishing’, or ‘compelling’. Something that lifts you above the mass of visual content a user sees on social media, especially on Instagram. Something that catches the eyeballs and ideally turns an Instagram peruser into a customer.

Most Instagram users are ‘scrollers’. To catch their eyeballs you need to stop the scrolling in its tracks. How? By posting visually engaging content. This is the key to effectiveness on Instagram.

An individual post’s look is decided by the content type. In general, it should always look clean and professional. Beyond that, really, the sky is the limit.

And it will be very different depending on:

  1. the purpose of a post
  2. the product or service that is being offered or discussed
  3. the overall aesthetic of the feed
  4. the general visual design consensus on instagram on how to market a particular product.

There are certain types of posts that seem near obligatory when hyping specific products or topics: such as the flatlay, the amusing everyday capture, the 1-2-3 option carousel, the posing-in-the-street shot etc. You should familiarize yourself with standard and standout practices for your product category. Try them out for effectiveness. Find the ones that first, catch the most eyeballs, and second, convert best to purchasing.

But, you also need to think beyond an individual post. Whenever you post something, think about the aggregate: your entire feed. There are a lot of different strategies for how to present your feed. You need to determine what aesthetic works for you and your business.

Be honest about how much time you are willing to invest. Maintaining an interesting feed is not easy. It is time consuming. It involves research and production values. Creating a feed that converts is a long term effort. It takes time to attract, acquire and maintain followers (the eyeballs), and to turn followers into customers.

In addition, you need to stay on top of any potential algorithm changes. Your content is only effective if people actually see it. People need to do more than just follow your feed. They need to click on individual posts. They need to comment on posts. They need to ‘like’ posts. How much people comment on and like your posts is very important for keeping your content visible. So, make sure that 1. you don’t disable your comments, 2. you actually post content that people want to comment on, and 3. engage with your commenters to encourage even more comments.

Content Types

Instagram content works with all the content objectives we push through publishing. It’s an open place.

Posting Strategy & Frequency

According to Coschedule, most brands post 1.5x per day. They post at 8a-9a and then again at 2pm.

Unlike other networks, you don’t curate content and repost it. Instead, the culture is to modify the content using a reaction video, or something similar. You may link to another Instagram account or post, or even create a collaborative post. You may highlight a tweet thread or a selection of borrowed visual content in a content carousel, a story or a guide. But in general, Instagram is more of a remix culture.

Instagram Feed

The feed is the first impression that a person has of your brand on Instagram. It contains basic image posts, stories, videos, and carousels. Looks are super important here.

And keep in mind that a lot of people scroll through the feed on a mobile device (most often a phone), not on a laptop computer, at least not at first. That means that the visual punch that the thumbnails create need to work regardless of scale.

The keys to the feed looking great are:                   

  • It needs to be visually consistent. It shouldn’t appear slap dash or disorganized. Why would anyone want to buy from someone that doesn’t have their act together? Colors, lighting, filters. Have a consistent aesthetic and approach.
  • It needs to have visual contrast. When you have busy photos, you need to have simple photos that act as a kind of “white space” between the photos. This is a good place for Mindset content, where you post quotes and or statistics.

Think of your feed as your “curated” best content. It’s your greenfield.     

When someone scrolls over the feed, it leaves an impression. The thumbnails of your posts create that

impression. What does your impression say?

As an example, let’s look at Julie’s Kitchen. I don’t know Julie from anyone, but she has a very pretty Instagram profile.

Highly contrasted food photos with kids and dishes.

She has highlights and has presented her categories of food and other topics in a visually interesting way.

Instagram Posts

You can choose to post a photo, video, or a carousel. On Instagram, these are all considered posts.

Usually, these will come from files that already exist on your phone (versus live). You record them using your phone’s camera app or a third party creator app. Then, you select them when you create a new post.

  • Photos–After you select a photo, you have the option of selecting filters for the photos. You write your captions and you share.
  • Videos–Like photos, you choose a video. Then, you add a filter and a cover for the video. The cover shows on the feed page, and a video will have a “play” icon in the corner of the image to indicate that it is a video rather than a photo post.
  • Carousels–carousels have more than 1 photo and/or videos combined into a single “post.” Viewers can swipe through them. The first photo or video cover shows on the feed with a “multiple pages” icon in the corner.

Once you’ve selected your type of post, you can use a filter to set your style. There are a ton of filters available, but remember, less is more. Make sure you use the same filters consistently throughout your feed.

Then, you can edit your post caption. Let’s cover the best practices.

Hashtags

Hashtags are used on Instagram. In most posts, there will be 5 to 10 hashtags embedded. Posts with at least 1 hashtag have been reported to get a 12%+ bump in engagement.

People can follow hashtags on Instagram, and they can search for specific hashtags as well. So, it is important that you pick hashtags that have traffic to maximize the value of exposure.

Location

Instagram users often look for images around a location. So, it’s a good idea to add location to your posts as well. This would be extra true if your business is local retail or geographically-centric.

Caption

Your post caption should include keywords and hashtags that match the post. Hashtags have always been the keywords of Instagram. And, now that Instagram has released keyword search, other keywords are important as well.

Alt-Text

When posting, click Advanced Settings and write your own Alt Text. This is used for screen readers and it cannot be left blank. If you don’t write the Alt Text, then Instagram’s AI system will insert this based on the picture’s content. So, it’s a good practice, especially now that the caption is keyword searchable.

Tags & Mentions

These aren’t something you post. But, they’re still critical to your posts. When someone tags you in another post, or mentions you in a post, it’s like a “backlink” for their algorithm. The more you’re mentioned and tagged, the more prominent your content will be.

Social Media Ties

You have the option to announce new Instagram posts on your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr feeds. To do so, you first, need to have accounts for these social media feeds that are tied to your Instagram account, and second, you need to have the apps loaded on your mobile device.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are Instagram posts that vanish after 24 hours.

If your feed is your curated content, your stories are your “fresh” content. If something works here, it’s possible to “move” it to your posts.

What’s special about Stories is that they can appear at the top of your follower’s home page feed for 24 hours. When the person taps on your profile pic the story shows on their device in full screen. They see everything you’ve posted to your “story” for the 24 hours.

In Stories, there are no likes or public comments. They show and then they are gone (unless you specifically save them to your highlights).

You can use stickers in Instagram stories. They are not available in Instagram posts.

If you’re using stickers as, well, stickers, then you can use any third party photo editor.

But, stickers can do a lot more. There are a few different types that have custom functions.

  • Polls–Ask a question with 2 options and get the answer.
  • Questions– You ask a question, and people can answer (which you can see).
  • Sliders–A person can rate something on a scale from bad to awesome.
  • Quiz–You can ask a question giving multiple-choice options for answers.
  • Hashtags–you can put a nice sticker that will embed a hashtag for discoverability.
  • Links–you can link if you have more than 10,000 followers or a Verified account.

These stickers are awesome because they create engagement and even call-to-actions. You can do a lot with them.

For example, an Instagram Story poll allows people to select options. Polls are a great way to get feedback on things before you invest time and energy to write content. And, they’re a great way to engage an audience. Take a poll and post the answers the next day.

Stories also can have Boomerang effects.

Boomerangs are mini-video clips that go from start to end and then back, like a boomerang.

  • Classic–front to back in the same speed
  • SlowMo–like classic, but a bit slower
  • Echo–blurred effect
  • Duo–glitch effect

A few other newish features of stories are:

  • Layouts–layouts let you see 2 or more videos at one time. They are used for reaction videos etc.
  • Hands Free — You don’t have to hold onto the button to record a live video.
  • Audio–this used to be called music. You can add music that will be in the background. This is to use someone else’s sound or music as the background of your clip.

Stories are discoverable by others, and can increase your reach. There are two primary ways to do this: Hashtag stickers and location tags.

Hashtag stickers

To maximize reach, you can add up to 10 hashtags. The recommended best practice is to add them in very small text. Then, to put a sticker over them. Yes, it does sound like a hack. But it works.

Location tags

Like Posts, you can expand the reach of your Instagram Story by adding a location tag. Adding location makes your story more likely to show up for people near this location.

Instagram Reels

If Stories are the Snapchat of Instagram, Reels are the TikTok of Instagram. Honestly, they’re more like “Stories-lite.”

Reels are 15- or 30-second video clips (compared to Instagram videos that can be up to 60 seconds long). They can be sped up, slowed down, and effects added. You can also attach audio to them.

The editor in Reels is where the significant differences are to Stories. There’s a timer function that let’s you start a video at a point in the clip, run it for a period of time, and then stop. It lets you build up a clip from many short takes (a la TikTok).

Like Twitter, the fact that you’re condensed to a smaller amount of time and text forces you to get to the point. And that makes for more sticky content (all 30 seconds of it).

With the Reels creator in the Instagram app, you can post the finished product to your Feed, Stories, or to the Reels subheading. So, where do I see Reels? They’re at the very top of the Explore page, which is the tab that has the search icon.

If Reels are just “stories-lite”, why should I bother with them? Because they can increase eyeballs, a video however short tends to get more engagement than a static photo. And because of their short time span, Reels feel like less of an investment than a story for those perusing Instagram.

Like for stories and posts, hashtags, keywords, and location tags matter.

In short, Reels are a good replacement for some of the static content and photos in your feed. They tend to get a lot more exposure precisely because of their nuggety nature.

Instagram Guide

Instagram Guides are a relatively new format for sharing curated, scrollable content. This feature allows you to create a curated flow of posts with commentary. It is an easy to use, flexible tool that allows users to share and consume recommendations, tips, step-by-step guides, tell stories, provide guidance, and shopping lists.

Go to your profile page (and again, you need to have a public account), click on the + icon in the upper right hand corner and select one of the three guide formats currently available: places, products and posts. Note, you can only curate products that are available in an Instagram Shop.

You can share any Guides you create to Instagram Stories or directly with other users by tapping the paper plane icon.

Why should you care about Instagram Guides? Because it allows you to add extra context or commentary to your shop-able products. It is also a great tool to add influencer partnerships to your content and so increase the number of mentions and backlinks to your curated content.

Instagram Shops

If it makes sense for you business (i.e. if you are selling easily perusable and shop-able products) then you should set up a digital storefront in Instagram. Why? Because Instagram marketing is essential for e-commerce business. An Instagram shop allows you to directly sell your products and promote them with curated shop-able content. Your products will be instantly perusable and available to shop to every single one of Instagram’s 1 Billion plus users.

Setting up a shop is easy. You need to have an Instagram business or creator account, connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account, and sign up for a business manager account. Then you set up your shop in Commerce Manager or another supported platform, upload your product catalog (or create one), and et voila.

Instagram allows users to search for specific shops or shop-able content through the explore tab. There is also a ‘shopping bag’ icon, that links directly to Instagram shops and editor promoted content. Instagram will also indicate what content is shop-able through the same ‘shopping bag’ icon superimposed on the content thumbtacks.

You can create ads, collections and special tags for your shop-able content.

IGTV

IGTV is the YouTube of Instagram. It’s the long form video app of Instagram, supporting videos up to 1 hour long.

Instagram recently introduced IGTV ads to a select group of creators. Ads are expected to be widely available for brands and companies to monetize their IGTV channels in early 2021. Details about how to create IGTV ads are still slim, but it will probably be similar to the general advertising process for Instagram.

Want to really get a leg up? Make sure you know exactly how to advertise on Instagram now (check out Instagram Story ads), and be ready for creating video ads to Instagram specifications as the features become available.

Until then, IGTV is being more deeply integrated into the Instagram accounts. Instagram is promoting IGTV as the place where “deeper storytelling” happens. IGTV’s big claim to fame is that it’s mobile first.

A couple of things to note: IGTV is a separate application from the Instagram feed. You consume IGTV through the “watcher” app, so you are essentially running two different apps. Yet, it is run using the same Instagram account, and you can direct eyeballs from your profiles page through the IGTV tab, which yes, can be really confusing.

If this seems too much of a bother, focus on stories and Reels instead for starter, and slowly work your way up to IGTV.

Here are a couple of quick rules:

  • if your video is longer than a minute, it should be on IGTV.
  • IGTV titles need to be short: each title is only 2 lines of text with around 20 characters per line
  • Descriptions are buried in the viewing of the video itself. So it is all about the title.

Right now, IGTV is only searchable by the channel (creator name). So, people will only find you on IGTV if they are looking for you. I expect that this will open up over time to the same hashtags, keywords, and location tags that are available on Instagram proper.

A little hint: there is a way to search by topic on IGTV but you have to do it outside the app, using Google to search for specific content rather than creator.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is where you can go live and do a screen share and conversation with someone. People can join your feed, and you talk to them live.

Right now, they are only designed for followers. It’s pretty hard to find live programming unless you’re following the particular creator. But, it is a good strategy for getting a person to follow you. You live programming will have to be so tempting that people stop lurking and become actual followers.

I’ll update this content as I wrap my head around Live more.

Facebook (~2.3 billion users) 

Of course we cannot leave out Facebook on this social media guide. After all, Facebook. We all know it. We all love to hate it. It might not be the young and hip place to be anymore, but it is still the biggest social media site around. It has more than a billion people using it every month. There are more than 65 million businesses using it. And, more than 6 million advertisers. Lots of commerce!

Visual Style

The new Facebook UI has greys and whites. Given this, it’s a good idea to be contrasty to this. So, visuals should be high contrast. Think YouTube video thumbnail styles. Skip white backgrounds.

Content Types

Like Instagram, all content types are supported.

Posting Strategy & Frequency

According to Social Media Today, posting up to 5 times a day produces optimum organic reach.

IMO, this is too often. It takes time and energy to produce good facebook posts, you cannot just post any crap, and to achieve this five times a day is difficult. I recommend an approach of 2 times a day, around 10am and 3pm. This maximizes the morning and evening exposure. If you can do more, great, but don’t sacrifice content minimum quality for frequency.

You should also keep in mind that you have to post regularly. Research studies found that posting less than 1x a day causes a negative drop off in engagement.

Sharing other people’s content works well, but make sure you link back to their content. The 80/20 or 90/10 strategy applies here. Give your post context.

Now, let’s break down the types of profiles and content you can post.

Profile. Page. Group.

When you create a Facebook account as a person, you have a Facebook Profile.

From your personal profile, you can create a “page” for your business. You can either maintain the page yourself, or delegate that responsibility to someone within your business, or give administrative rights to an agency to maintain the page on your behalf.

Then, there’s Groups, which are essentially discussion threads around topics. Every group is ‘owned’ by a person. And, there can be admins and moderators within a group. A facebook groups is a great way to build a community in your market niche but it takes time and energy to maintain it. Be clear about how much time you can invest before you take on additional responsibilities. It is better to be dominant in one social media aspect, rather than dapple in everything.

There are other sections in Facebook (like Marketplace), but for the purposes of this article we’ll skip them for now.

Facebook Post

The Post is the simplest format you use on Facebook. You can post from both a Profile and a Page (and into a group).

Facebook Posts have a text part, as well as a few Instagram-like engagement options to attach to a post.

These engagement options are:

Profiles & Page Options

  • Photo/video – You can upload a photo.
  • Feeling/Activity – This is essentially emojis.
  • Watch Party – You can jointly watch and chat about a video or a live event.
  • Raise Money – You can raise money for a non-profit.

Profile Only Options

  • Live Video – You can stream live to your followers.
  • GIF – You can post an animated GIF based on a search of Memes.
  • Write a Prompt – You can ask a question and solicit a response. It’s much like a Poll in Instagram.
  • Tag Friends – You can reference other Facebook “friends” in the post.

Page Only Options

  • COVID-19 Update – You can update on changes to your business related to Covid.
  • Get Messages – You can upload a photo or a video with a button that allows people to talk to you on Facebook Messenger.
  • Gift Card Options – You can sell gift cards for your business.
  • Check In – You can check in at this place.
  • Host a Q&A – You can host a Q&A and answer questions.

Group Only Options

  • Ask for Recommendations – You can ask for recommendations from the group.
  • Tag Event – You can search and find an event, and tag the post with that event.
  • Create Doc – Create a shared document with others.
  • Add File – You can share a file with the group.
  • Create Event – You can create and share an event with the group.
  • Poll – You can ask a question and provide a set of answers.
  • Write a Prompt – You can ask a question and solicit open ended responses.
  • Check In – You can check in at this place.

In Facebook, how visible your posts get without paying money is called “organic reach.” Unlike Google, though, it’s not about searching with intent. On Facebook, people are scrolling.

Your content should match this scrolling behavior. It’s curiosity-based. It’s freshness based, and it’s relationship-based.

Optimizing for Facebook is really optimizing for your network reach–assuming you’re producing good, topically relevant content.

Facebook Stories

Stories are a different news feed, but one that is more visual. They are only shared with followers, and are only available for 24 hours.

Like Instagram Stories, there are a few options with names identical to Instagram

  • Text – A text story.
  • Music – You can put music or other audio in the background and then make a video or picture story.
  • Boomerang – A loop
  • Selfie – You can take a video or picture selfie, and apply effects.
  • Poll – You can ask a question and provide 2 options.

Stories are only shown to your followers.

Since we’re more focused on business, we’ll leave these here for now.

Facebook Note

Notes has been deprecated by Facebook. So, you should no longer use this.

For your information, Facebook Note WAS was a place where you essentially could post a longer, more well formatted piece of content. Basically, Facebook Notes functioned like Medium.

Facebook Creator Studio

Some time ago Facebook introduced the Facebook Creator Studio. This is a web-based creator that you can use to create Facebook and Instagram content.

It’s not perfect. But, it might be good for you to transfer content from Instagram to Facebook and vice versa.

LinkedIn (~303 million users)   

Next up on our social media guide is LinkedIn. Linkedin is the social media network for business.

If you’re B2B, this network should 100% be part of your strategy.

And even if you’re not, Linkedin is the place you’ll often go when you start brand or content collaborations. So, it’s important to make sure your content here is spot on.

There are entire courses and industries built on generating business through Linkedin. So I will save all the lead generation techniques for another time.

Linkedin Profile

Linkedin profiles that are complete perform better in the search results. People go to Linkedin to search for potential vendors. So, it’s good for you to rank here.

Fill out your overview, making sure to include keyword details. It’s important to put your most important information first. Why? Because Linkedin will only show the first 150 characters or so, and will require a “more” click. The content should be there. But, make sure your most important short bio is above the fold.

Add hashtags. You should add 3 hashtags. 1 is the main hashtag for your type of business: what you think people will see or find most. You can see which hashtags are trending by going to My Network and explore hashtags there.

Add a Call-to-Action Button. You have the following call to action buttons available:

  • Contact Us
  • Learn More
  • Register
  • Sign up
  • Visit Website

An important note: make sure you use a UTM parameter on them so you can track their results.

Add all necessary Languages. You can have your company name and description in more than 1 language. If you service other languages, include them here.

Add employee profile pages. Ensure that you get your employees to link their profile pages to the company profile page. Ensure every employee has their own page. This allows your employee’s professional networks to see your business profile page.

Visual Style

Content that is posted on Linkedin should be professional. It should be light and bright.

Content needs to look good on mobile and desktop. The general approach is square or 4:5 content. People will be scrolling.

Visuals matter and perform better. But, Linkedin’s algorithm leverages alt text and subtitles. So, make sure visual content has alt text or subtitles written.

 

Content Types

When posting to Linkedin, you should post both content that is yours, and content that can help your Perfect Buyer. Think of your posting on Linkedin as a place to deliver helpful, professional value.

If you’re trying to recruit employees, you can make it more fun feeling. But above all it should be professional.

Neil Patel in his post about Linkedin gave a good summary. Think of your network (which are the primary people seeing your content) as a mastermind group. When you post, it’s your turn to speak. Say something that matters. Something of depth and quality. A good place to start might be to focus your content on business education and industry news updates.

Here is the bullet point list of content that does well on LinkedIn:

  • blog posts
  • in-depth and how-to lists
  • industry news and research posts, for example whitepapers or case studies
  • third party content relevant to the business
  • quick tips
  • photo updates
  • company updates
  • short videos of interviews or recap

 

Posting Strategy & Frequency

When using Linkedin, the company posts the content.

The recommended posting frequency is up to 1x a day. The Linkedin algorithm surfaces your content based on when a person is scrolling. If you’re in network, with fresh content, you’re more likely to surface.

Also, employees should share the content on their own Linkedin pages. You do this because their networks extend yours. And, early engagement makes the algorithm surface your content to larger audiences.

Let me reiterate again how important it is to ensure your employees have profiles and have connected to you. Get team members to build their own networks. Client side connections matter. It’s extra important for sales and marketing teams since it helps reach perfect buyers.

Linkedin Text Post

Linkedin Posts are a lot like Instagram feed posts. You add a caption. You can embed a photo, video, or attach a file. And, you can include hashtags.

A Linkedin Text Post is limited to 1,300 characters.

Because people are visual, it’s important to have something that’s visual. A good picture, a video.

Note that when you link to a page, Linkedin will bring in a snippet. It’s a good idea to make sure this looks good.

There’s customized “actions” on the post that you can use as a business. They are:

  • Celebrate an occasion
  • Create a poll
  • Offer help
  • Share that you’re hiring
  • Add a profile

Each of these have custom options that let you inform the algorithm about what your goal is with the post.

Linkedin Photo Post

Linkedin Photo posts are really about tagging other Linkedin Profiles.

The best option is to make square posts. Think about someone scrolling on their phone.

When you post a photo, there’s the ability to add Alt text. You want to do this, as Linkedin’s algorithm might not be able to pick up relevance.

Also, the system will offer the ability to tag other profiles in the photo.

Linkedin Video Posts

Video uploads on Linkedin can work really well.

The default format is square. So, it’s a good idea to do your own formatting in a video editing tool to add optional content above and below a 16:9 formatted video.

When you upload a video, you have the option of including a subtitles file. This file gives Linkedin an ability to listen to your video, and will help it show up more places due to relevance.

You can also upload a video thumbnail. You definitely want to do this as well, as you can customize the format for maximum visual punch.

Linkedin Article

While a Linkedin Post can only be 1,300 characters, a Linkedin Article can be 125,000 characters.

The strategy should be to repost your entire articles and white papers here. Articles posted on Linkedin keep the person on Linkedin, and algorithms like that. As a result, Linkedin Articles tend to do better than posts. They also give your business profile page more relevancy and authority for keywords. All in all, it is a good strategy.

Two quick notes: Ensure any article is indexed by Google before you post on Linkedin. And, write at the top “This post originally appeared on _____”.

Pinterest (~250 million users)

At this point in our social media guide, we have reached Pinterest. Pinterest has increased in authority in recent years. In fact, many people have started thinking of Pinterest as the “visual search engine.” Pinterest is a great place to engage with potential buyers.

Pinterest Profile

It’s important that you set your profile to a Business Profile. A business profile enables analytics (and an editor) so you know what’s working. It also lets you run ads, etc.

Setup your Pinterest profile exactly like an Instagram profile. But, instead of Highlights, you have “boards.”

On your profile, below your picture, you will have a couple of tabs: created (all your pins), saved (boards), and tried (which I guess is doing something).

In my research, no one is really using the ‘tried’. So, skip this for now.

Organize your boards into major categories. Pick things that are relevant to your perfect buyer.

Visual Style

Because it’s visual, visual content works better. The more, the better. In fact, a few tips are:

  • lighter images work better than darker images (by about 20%)
  • images without faces get more repins
  • images that are less busy get better results.
  • the ideal pin size is 735×1102 pixels.

Net: Be simple, light, and powerful. Only choose images that pack a visual punch.

Content Types

In Pinterest, given that it’s emphasis is on photos, you’d expect that visual how-tos would work well. And, yes, they do. Infographics that instruct (“instructographics”) are the second most popular category.

In general, you will post educational and motivational content. Because pictures without faces do better, it’s a good idea to limit the pictures of oneself.

Posting Strategy & Frequency

The recommendations are to post 11 pins a day.

Yes, that feels like a lot. And, it’s recommended that you don’t post these all at once, they should be spread out throughout the day. Because of this, you’ll likely use automation to post these out. The vast majority must be other peoples’ content that you curate.

Content curation is a big thing on Pinterest. If you don’t have much content, their platform will show you stuff you can post. So, it does make getting to those numbers pretty easy.

Given Pinterest posting frequency, it’s worth mentioning a tactic: When you encounter a list article, each item in the list is its own pin. So, a common list article will produce 10 pins.

Another important point with Pinterest. Your first 5 pins of the day have priority for distribution. So, try to post your own content first.

Now, let’s cover the posting options and configuration.

Pinterest Pin

Most of the pins you make will be made from either Pinterest directly, or from their Browser add in.

When you are on a page, and you use the Pinterest save button, you will get an option to click up to 10 images. When you do this, and save it to a board, each image becomes a pin.

When you go into this pin in Pinterest, you’ll only have the option of changing the title. It is important that you do so. Why? Because titles and descriptions should be written to match how they work in SEO. Meaning, keyword rich. Hashtags don’t have any special capabilities, so you should focus on keywords. If you post a perfect description from Instagram and it has hashtags that’s fine, though.

Unlike Instagram where you worry about your feed, there’s less of an issue with this on Pinterest.

Pinterest Board

The board’s title and board description affect the pins on that board. So, your boards titles and descriptions should be keyword rich and built to help the Pinterest Pixie surface your content.

Boards are also indexed by Google (as are pins). So, when you write for Pinterest search you’re also writing for Google search.

For example, I searched on Google for “site:pinterest.com twitter.” The first entry was a person with 152 followers and a board of Twitter quotes. I found her because the board ranked on Pinterest.

So, if you’re familiar with page architecture, think of the board as the pillar content. And, the pin as the leaf or post.

 

Snapchat (~287 million users, 238 million daily users)

Next up in our social media guide is Snapchat. Another social media network that is popular among a younger crowd. In my experience, Snapchat has more of a “private messaging” feel than a discovery feel. So, at this point it is not an easy fit for business social media messaging.

This might be changing. Snapchat is trying to make a move on TikTok with the addition of Spotlights. But, the discovery of people and things that are interesting to you is still pretty hard. But, it’s still a place to be if you’re targeting younger people. 82% are younger than 34. In 2019, according to Hubpost, Snapchat reached 75% of 13 to 34 year olds in the USA.

According to Hubspot, 238 million people use Snapchat every day. Almost half of those users (101 million) are in the USA. 61% are female. So, Snapchat users are frequent users. Active Snapchat users check the platform over 30 times per day.

Snapchatters don’t view the platform as a place to learn or get news. That seems to be changing. In a quick review of the top public accounts, as of late, there are news sources in the top 10.

You can also use URLs in Snapchat. This is cool because you can link to your blog posts (or sales page) directly.

Messages only last 24 hours, then are gone forever. There’s no need to worry about a lasting impression. You’re not delivering long form content. This is about all hook and curiosity.

Profile

Set your account to public

On your profile, it’s important to make it a public account. By default, Snapchat accounts are private. Click your picture in the left corner, then click the settings in the right corner.

Posting Locations

Something different about Snapchat is that it’s a cross between a social network and a messaging app. When you create a Snap, you choose where you’re going to post it.

You have a number of options:

  • Spotlight – Publish into the feed where it can be discovered.
  • My story (public) – Where anyone can find it.
  • My story (friends only) – Where only people that are your friends can see it.
  • Snap Map – Post it onto a map for others to find it. If your profile is public, then they can find your profile and add you as a friend.
  • To a friend – Send the message to an individual friend.

 

Visual Style

Visual style on Snapchat is different. It’s much less polished.

There’s no meaningful way to save snaps (other than

downloading) after 24 hours. So, people don’t expect perfection.

In fact, in this medium, it might be better to NOT be too polished.

It’s also important to understand that content you push won’t last long, so don’t over invest.

Content Types

So, like TikTok, you can post short videos with a lot of graphics. The one rule of thumb seems to be that they should capture attention.

Posting Strategy & Frequency

The general approach to take with Snapchat is to create short “highlight” videos that link out to other content. Post a highlight video when you post to a social media network like TikTok, and do it from your camera roll.

If you’re a local business, or if you’re at an event, post it to the Map. And, always post it to Spotlight.

Right now, most of the people you will reach on Snapchat will have come from your own networks. Over time, People might start adding you from another social network. Spotlight, which is new, opens up a new avenue for reach out, it will be interesting to see how things evolve.

Photo or Video Snap

Like many other networks, you can post a photo or video taken either live from your camera, or from your camera roll. You get to your camera roll by swiping up in the camera.

Like most other social networks, you can use filters, add text and stickers, and make edits to your photo.

For the less obvious edits, they are:

  • Timeline – Allows you to record many little videos and merge them together into 1 snap.
  • Multisnap – Add more than 1 photo or video together. Think Instagram carousel.
  • Timer – You can set a timer before you take the picture.
  • 3D – Snaps that show 3d as you move your phone. It’s a bit gimmicky.

Something unique is that all accounts can link to a URL in their snaps. This is great for off network engagement. You can create a quick snap that sells your post. Then, link to it in the snap.

As mentioned, a photo or video snap can be posted to any number of locations.

Lenses, AR, and locations

Snapchat has emerging Tech that’s AR focused. You can create experiences in your stores using AR. They’ve also released a free Lens Studio that allows you to create Lenses.

They are good to be aware of and play with. Think of it as an emerging opportunity. I’ll cover these in an update if they become something everyone should use.

 

YouTube (~ 1. 8 billion active users) 

We are approaching the end of our social media guide, but not quite yet. Next up on our social media guide is YouTube. Youtube has over 1.8 Billion monthly users consuming over 1 hour of content per day. That’s a mind boggling statistic.

With so many users and content, it’s likely your perfect buyers are watching.

But, with that much consumption, there’s a TON of noise. So, the key to success in YouTube is to identify how to get your perfect buyer to see your content. And, how to keep them watching your content into the future.

Being discovered

Unlike most social networks, YouTube is a place where people search. This means you have searcher intent. You can answer their search with a specific video that answers their question.

And, if YouTube’s algorithm thinks your content is the best choice, it will surface it to the viewer.

The algorithm on YouTube surfaces content in three distinct ways:

  • YouTube search. When a viewer searches and you come up at the top of the search, your video will be seen.
  • Suggested videos. At the end of a video playing the algorithm recommends other videos. Your goal is to keep people binging your content on YouTube (i.e. that YouTube’s algorithm recommends more of your own videos).
  • Google search. Google promotes videos a lot. Pages with video, according to Forrester, are 53x more likely to rank on the first page of Google.

When you post content to Youtube, you’re posting into a “channel.” A channel page is your profile page. On this page, a viewer can see a bit about the channel, and see all its content.

When a viewer subscribes to a channel, they do this so that the content from that channel will show up in their subscribed feed. Think of a subscription as a bookmark or a follow on Twitter. When you follow someone on Twitter, their tweets show up in your feed. Subscribing is the same thing.

Sometimes people that don’t visit YouTube often will also subscribe. They might do this as a show of support.

To subscribe to a channel, the person needs to have a Google account. Any Google account will do.

When a visitor subscribes, your channel’s content gets added to the subscription’s tab when they visit YouTube. When you post new content, you’re at the top of this page.

YouTube creators don’t receive any money or compensation for it. And a subscriber can unsubscribe at any time.

But, a person that subscribes is NOT notified of any new content. This is handled by Notifications. Notifications are alerts sent if a channel publishes a new video. They are sent as an alert to an app, or an email. You have to keep in mind, that Youtube by default doesn’t send 100% of notifications. They send them occasionally.

As a channel, you want people to receive notifications.

Social Profile (“Channel Page”)

Besides obvious items such as pictures, you need to do a few special things to your channel page.

Your “About us” page

The first 48 characters of your About Us page displays in search results. So, it’s important that these words match the buyer intent. Doing this increases your search visibility.

Channel Trailer

Your channel should have a short promotional video of about 30 seconds in length. It should basically be your short bio–delivered in a punchy way. Why should they subscribe? What’s in it for them?

Visual Style

Make your videos clear and easy to watch. Good colors. Good lighting. Make the resolution as high as you can produce. 4K is ideal.

Ensure your audio is good quality.

Ensure that thumbnails are punchy and do your best to stand out from the crowd.

Content Types

Your content on YouTube should be either educational (how tos) or entertaining. Save know, like, and other types of content for other channels.

Publishing Strategy and Frequency

Longer videos do better. The average page 1 video on Youtube is almost 15 minutes long. Content in this range does the best.

In auditing channels that have performed well, they generally publish longer videos 2 to 3 times per week.

Nail the opener. The first 15 seconds make or break your video. If you can hook them in the first 15 second, they’ll watch a lot longer. The algorithm is watching this stat as well.

Publish groups of videos and thread them. This method has been proven to increase watch time, which is YouTube’s top ranking factor.

YouTube attempts to crawl the words said in the text, as well as transcripts and titles. Ensure that you say the target keywords in your videos. And, they should be in your meta (titles, descriptions, transcripts) as well.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Always remind people to share and like. Ask for comments. The more people interact with your video the better.
  • Customize video thumbnails. Banners. Dynamic colors. Bold text. A face with a surprised open mouth expression does well.
  • Optimize titles. You have 70 characters for the title. Match these to your buyer intent.
  • Always include subtitles and closed captions. Not only are they good for people, they also create opportunities to embed keywords.

 

YouTube Video

To create a video, you upload it. From there, you configure its meta.

Title – Should be 70 characters or less. Make sure this ties to what your perfect buyer might be searching for.

Description – This shows under the video when the viewer is watching. Ensure it includes your keywords and if possible crowd these keywords to the front of the description.

Thumbnail – Add a striking thumbnail that will be used in place of the first frame of the video.

Tags – Tags are useful for helping people find your content when it’s commonly misspelled.

Subtitles and Closed Captions – Add subtitles and closed captions for your content. You can upload your video, and once its processed, YouTube’s editor allows you to modify and add timings for the subtitles.

Playlists – You should have a playlist per series of videos.

Once you post this video, if it’s backed by a post on your website, you should embed it into this page.

YouTube Shorts

It is TikTok on YouTube.

The limit is 15 seconds for uploaded content.

At the time of this writing, shorts is only available in India, but it is expected to extent to the US and other markets over the next few weeks. So for now, simply use the normal video upload and edit your videos to fit within the time limit. And, you add the tag #Shorts in the title or description to have the content included in shorts.

The strategy we’d recommend in North America and Europe is to re-upload TikTok or Instagram short videos under the branding for now. Make them a part of a “shorts” playlist.

YouTube Tools

There are a number of tools that are worth checking out. I’d recommend you look at VidIQ.

TikTok (~ 800 million active users) 

Next up in our social media guide is TikTok. TikTok is the infamous short video social network. It could not be more popular among the younger generation.

TikTok has grown to over 800 million active users worldwide. And, the app has over 2 billion installs worldwide. It’s a pretty popular place. That only keeps getting more popular.

41% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24. So, it skews to Gen Z.

Videos on TikTok are 1 minute or less. Like Snapchat and other apps, TikTok has a ton of filters to modify the look of your video. You can add text, and do time-based short segments like the Timeline function on Snapchat.

Unlike Snapchat though, TikTok’s big reason for success is its algorithm and discovery engine. When you launch the app, you’re immediately thrown into an endless list of short, nugget-y videos.

The algorithm itself is also quite quick to adapt. As you start, you’ll see lots of teenagers and dancing. If you hit the button and search at all, you’ll start seeing content related to your search in your main feed. So, it quickly locks into content that you’ll watch for a while.

 

TikTok Profile

On your TikTok profile, you can include a small snippet about yourself and a profile pic. Then, your videos are listed in your feed below your profile details.

Most people add a link.tree that links to the the items they are discussing in the videos.

Visual Style

The visual style, I’d say, is similar to YouTube.

The first second or so of the video is called a “cover” and it loops like a LivePhoto or Cinemagraph. Make your cover showy and loop it to make it more interesting in your profile.

Increasingly, there is a lot of text, or even closed captions on the videos that show the text being spoken.

Hashtags and Text are used frequently as well.

Content Types

There’s a lot of educational and entertaining content. I’d contend that all types of content will work here equally well. The limit of 15 or 60 seconds also forces you to get to the point. This means, things tend to be nugget-y. Easily consumable.

Publishing Strategy & Frequency

Most of the largest creators are publishing daily. This gives enough content to be of value, without throwing crazy stuff up. The content is usually a mix of Know, like, and Trust. The key is to mix according to your content schedule.

When you post, you’ll use hashtags. These are used by the discovery engine and people often search for these terms.

In addition, as discussed above, the $1.80 strategy is actively used in TikTok.

TikTok Video

To publish a TikTok video, you can use your camera to record the video, or you can upload an existing video.

If you do use the camera, the app has a “beautify” button that will remove wrinkles. 🙂

It has the ability to use a timer, and to record small bits and merge them to make a “full length” 60 second clip.

Once the raw video is uploaded or recorded, you move to the second “phase” of editing.

On this editor, you have a number of options:

  • Filters – Further adjust how you look.
  • Voice effects – Change your voice higher or lower.
  • Voice Over – Record audio speaking over a video you’ve uploaded
  • Sounds – Add backing music or other sounds. TikTok gives you trending options, and you can search for others.
  • Text – You can add text with backing and sticker outlines, and basic stickers as well.

Then, you move onto the third panel for meta information.

You can add a caption for the video. This includes a lookup for hashtags and @mentions to get the right ones. You should add 3 to 5 of these.

You set the video to public. You can share videos to just friends, but for marketing purposes you don’t want to do this.

Allow people to mix and share your content. Enable contents, and post.

If you click save to device, your final output will be downloaded. Then, you can save a copy of it for future reference.

Reddit (~330 million active users)

Last but not least in our social media guide is Reddit. Reddit is a slightly unusual choice for business social media messaging. Is Reddit even a real social media network? When trying to connect with their perfect buyer, people usually do not think of Reddit. Why? Because the whole point of Reddit isn’t the posts, it’s the comments and discussions. Think of reddit as a community of users focused around topics (“social news”). If you can think of it, there’s likely a community for it. If not, you can create one and get others to join.

Unlike most networks above, Reddit is text driven. In most engagements, someone will post something, and others will make comments on it. They will upvote it or downvote it. And, based on these upvotes, the algorithm for Reddit will move posts to the top of Reddit. Reddits posts can be very long, very old and lay dormant for a bit until a new comment picks up the topic.

Because Reddit is a user-driven community, Reddit tends to be very negative toward spamming-like activity. In Reddit, you need to be giving first. And, giving means real value, not just spamming.

Recently, Reddit has been moving to position itself as more of a social network. It’s added the Reddit Public Access Network (RPAN) where users can broadcast to communities. There’s also live chat as well as live discussion rooms.

Most people use the communities and that’s where you’ll spend your time.

Visual Style

The content that you post to Reddit can be visual as in a photo or video, or more likely, text. No matter what it is, make it interesting.

Content Types

Because Reddit is more of a social news aggregator, this isn’t the place generally to post personal items. Instead, you should be focused on providing content that serves the community. For example, in /r/marketing you will see a lot of question and answer style formats. In /r/awww you will see lots of posts of cute animals. Each community has its own culture and ethos that you need to respect.

Posting Style and Frequency

Because you spread posts across many different communities, there isn’t a real standard for how little or often you post. People are commenting all hours of every day. So, post as often as you can, given that you’re helping and contributing something valuable to the community.

In general, you want to provide helpful posts when there’s a lot of value and it doesn’t feel overly spammy. People often will post their entire article directly into Reddit. Then, use this as an outpost to their own website.

Reddit Post

There are 4 primary types of Reddit posts you can make:

  • Post – This is a text post. You can write detailed text, and include pictures and video. You can post content directly, or you can ask questions. Anything really, as long as it is text-based.
  • Images & Video – Sharing one or more pictures and videos to a community.
  • Link – This simply shares a link with a title. The expectation is that comments will be driven from this link.
  • Poll – You can ask a poll, and set options for people to select. You can also set the number of days on the poll.

There are a few options, depending on the community, you can use to complement your post.

  • OC – Marks your post on Reddit as original content. If you didn’t copy and paste it from somewhere else, mark it as original content.
  • Spoiler – If the discussion is about a show and you’re spoiling an ending or major plot point, then mark it. Most of the time, for business we won’t use this.
  • NSFW – Unless you are in particular industries, you’ll likely not be checking this box.
  • Flair – Flair is an interesting thing. It’s basically used like tags to allow content in a community to be filtered. People can also “flair” their profiles.

Reddit posts are written in Markup. So, you can post whatever you can layout. Links are accepted and encouraged.

Conclusion

And we are done with our social media guide. No, this list is not comprehensive, there are other social media networks on the fringes that we have not touched upon. As new networks emerge and become popular for business social media messaging, we’ll add them to the list and update this content.

For now, peruse this social media guide as it is intended. As a guide to the most commonly used social media networks of the moment. If you familiarize yourself with the social media networks listed in this social media guide, then you will have a pretty good grasp of the current social media domain. And how to pack a bunch in this domain with your social media messaging. 

Now, go ahead and engage with your perfect buyer.

Resources

Stock Social Profile Hero diagram on Miro

Social Media Audience and Objective diagram on Miro

10+ years of marketing agency experience. 10+ years (4 exits) of VC-funded startup experience. Dad. Musician. Coffee-lover. E-bike aficionado.
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