Being a small business in the age of social media can be daunting. The internet is a sea of mass content and that means you are a small fish in a very big pond. Social media platforms are even more populated and busy. Every platform has a different landscape. Every platform requires different techniques to stand out. This article will help you familiarize yourself with the major social media platforms of today: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Then I’ll give you basic tips on how to disrupt the content stream of each platform.
Twitter is a social media platform giant. Politicians, businesses, activists, and consumers all utilize this website to express and respond to public opinion. Words are the most powerful tool on Twitter. Other forms of media can be shared on Twitter, but the caption will play the largest role. Users only have 280 characters to express their thought or idea (previously, the limit was 140 characters, but the company decided to double it in November of 2017). You could write a few long sentences within that limit. However, the Twitter environment is instantaneous and overcrowded with content. Maintaining a user’s attention is difficult with long-winded posts.
Twitter is the perfect platform to perfect the art of conveying a lot about your product or service in a few words. A prime example is the hashtag. One or two words is all you should need to create a memorable presence. Some large companies do this with their slogan or an idea that they want people to associate with their brand. For example, Nike would use a hashtag like #justdoit. If Coca-Cola tweeted with the hashtag #openhappiness, most users would recognize the meaning. Hashtags also serve as a filter for the abundant stream of content. When a user searches a hashtag, every post that contains it will be gathered into a feed. With this tool, your content could go from being one in a million posts to one in a thousand. You get the idea. It makes a difference. But be careful not to overdo it. The ideal number of hashtags in a tweet is one or two. More or fewer than that will decrease your engagement.
The power of an image is especially present on a platform like Twitter. You can incorporate an image for just about any type of tweet. Posting an article? Share an image from the article alongside the link. New product? Proudly present it with an image that will grab the attention of potential buyers. Your posts will stand out in a stream of text-only tweets. In fact, tweets that include an image get twice as much engagement than tweets with just text.
If one image can outperform a text post, imagine what a video could do! Videos always surpass image and text posts in user engagement. Something as simple as a five-second ad is more likely to engage readers than a long text post.
The best way to disrupt the content stream of Twitter is to utilize the platform’s strengths. Text posts should be concise. If you choose to make a wordier post, use line breaks to catch users’ attention. Develop a hashtag or two that the consumer can associate with your company. Always aim for a visual post. That will help you be concise and attract more viewers.
Facebook is a whole other playing field from Twitter. Instead of a feed-oriented design, Facebook offers the user an organized landscape for friends, pages, photos, events, groups, etc. Personalization is prime. On this platform, businesses can cater more to a target audience. Users can also be pickier with who and what they follow. This makes customer-interaction crucial. Large or small, businesses are evaluated by how they interact with their followers. For this reason, Facebook is a social platform that requires more time and effort from the marketing team. On top of posting content, the admins must be reading comments, replying to questions, and communicating with consumers over Messenger. Your company’s voice plays a significant role in this. Any direct response a consumer receives should be professional but friendly and personal.
Facebook is a great platform for images and videos. Photos can be arranged into albums which makes for easier viewing. Personal and professional pages both have access to video ads. Facebook’s algorithms share your ads using thorough audience-targeting. Your page will be found by more people who are interested in your content. The Facebook Live feature is a popular tool for pages to give big updates or just connect with their followers. Filming your announcement in real-time will show your followers that you put serious time into your social presence. It will also give you a good idea of the level of your follower engagement (the live-stream feature shows your real-time viewers, comments, and reactions).
The best marketing you can do on Facebook, besides posting great content, is showing consumers your best face. Take time to learn about your audience and engage them authentically. Reply to comments and messages quickly and directly. Make sure the tone of your responses matches your brand. Be organized with your visual content with Facebook albums. Grow a customer base that fits your target audience using the ad feature. Take your personal connection with your followers to the next level by engaging with them over a live video.
Instagram is the new age of storytelling. What began as a photo sharing platform quickly evolved into a hub of creativity and aesthetic. If your business contains an artistic element at all, make Instagram your virtual gallery. Visual presentation is the focus. It’s not possible to include links in Instagram posts so the image and caption must carry the entire message. You are not limited to just photo sharing though. The story feature allows accounts to give real-time updates on what’s going on. In fact, it’s fair to say that Instagram is the best platform for real-time and real-life. Don’t worry so much about being modern. Just be personal. Show your followers the people behind the brand. Action shots of you providing a service or creating a product will take your marketing to the next level. Tell a story with your content. A popular medium for artists is a time-lapse video of them creating a piece. It’s a 3-in-1. It promotes the product, it displays the person’s skill, and it invites the viewer to be a part of the process.
Having an eye for detail is a huge advantage on this platform. Reinforce your image with creative graphics and photography. Establish a theme in your gallery, whether it’s a slogan, a color, or a logo. Appeal to your followers by taking them behind the scenes. Instagram is a purely mobile app; it’s meant to be used on the go. Document your business as it occurs daily.
Having an active presence on this professional networking platform is a must, especially if you focus on business-to-business marketing. LinkedIn is specifically designed for showcasing the value of your business. LinkedIn’s publishing platform supports a variety of media types. You can post articles, videos, photos, presentations, links, files, and blogs. The best way to stand out? Use all of these mediums on your page. This will make your business profile busy, in a good way. Potential clients will see that you’re not limited to a single form of media. A well-cultivated and varied content stream will also tell people that you’re proud of your work.
Consider your LinkedIn profile the way you would consider your company building. If you’re proud of your building, it will have a large, clear sign in front and an appealing façade. It should be the same way with your page. Your profile photo should be a clear identifier. It can be your company’s logo—upload the right image type and size to get the best results. If you are the face of your company, use a professional and current headshot. For the header, you can get a bit more creative. Greet page visitors with your company slogan as the header. Or use a wide-view shot of your company building to familiarize visitors with your workspace.
Your LinkedIn profile leaves an impression on potential clients. Don’t hold back when presenting your best work and value. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s variety of features. Keep your profile photo and header updated and polished.
Large or small, new or old, small businesses can disrupt the content stream. Use your experience as a social media consumer to develop your social media strategy as a business. Some platforms will require more engagement with your followers. Others will require content that goes beyond just promoting a product. Put your company’s best face forward by combining each platform’s tools and your strengths as a business.