Every social network has a unique purpose and target audience. Anyone using these platforms for business purposes should be up-to-speed on what that purpose and audience is, and what type of content to share with them. Unfortunately many people paint with broad strokes when it comes to social media and they simply post the same message on every single platform. Well, you’re doing it wrong.
Know Your Platforms
For the most part social is social, and there can be some overlap between the platforms you use, but the reason there are so many social networks to begin with is because each one of them is supposed to solve a very specific communication problem. Twitter is best for short-form blasts of information to “followers”, Facebook is for connecting with old friends and loved ones, and LinkedIn was built to further your professional career. You shouldn’t be saturating each one of these with the same type(s) of content. No one on LinkedIn cares about what you had for breakfast, just as no one on Twitter cares when you update your resume.
Oftentimes I’ll log in to LinkedIn and I’ll see status updates from people that are very personal in nature or that contain meme images or YouTube videos. This is not what this platform is intended for, and by doing this you are putting yourself in a very bad position. People take note of things like this, and while I suppose it’s your prerogative to post whatever you want on your profile, it still very much goes against the nature of what this network was intended for, and thus makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
Know Your Audience
Another piece of the social media puzzle is know one’s audience. You should be well aware of the types of connections you have on every network you participate in. Most networks include some form of analytics tool that will allow you to get into the nitty gritty of who your audience is, where they’re from, how old they are, and at what time are they most active. You should use this data to better serve your audience on these various platforms.
If you Google “best time to post on social media” you will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the amount of infographics and blog posts on the subject. However, if you actually take the time to read a few of them you’ll begin to notice a trend. For instance, Facebook users are more active during the afternoon, Twitter users in the morning, and LinkedIn during lunchtime and evenings. These all directly correspond to how these networks are being used and by whom. Facebook is being used by parents and kids after school, Twitter is a news source before you head off to work, and LinkedIn is being used by people with 9-to-5 jobs. The formulas are pretty simple, but you have to put in the effort in order to truly understand them and take full advantage. Here’s a link to a great infographic on this subject for your reference.
Speak the Language
Just as the content on each network should be different, so too should the language and grammar that you use. I’m amazed at the amount of people that don’t take the time to learn the lingo of a given platform. While it might be ok to use abbreviations, hashtags, and “internet speak” on sites like Instagram and Twitter, it’s certainly not ok to do the same on a site like LinkedIn. On short-form networks you’re often given a pass for bad grammar and spelling because of the character limitations of the message window. Just remember, brevity doesn’t have to equal sloppy. Do your best to keep your messages free of serious grammatical gaffes.
I’ve misspelled words on purpose to make them fit into a tweet, but as long as people can discern what I meant I’m willing to let that go. When I’m developing a blog post, sending a Facebook message, or creating a post on LinkedIn, however, I almost always double check my spelling and grammar, and many times I’ll even keep a thesaurus handy to make sure I’m using things in the correct context.
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
The types of images you use in your social media posts should also be carefully chosen. If you’re syndicating content across multiple networks, make sure that the images you choose are appropriate for all audiences and networks. You’ll notice most of the images that I use for my posts fit within a general them of the content that I’m sharing, but at the same time are relatively benign, which allows me to use them across many ecosystems.
Stock photography is a great way to get high-quality images for your social media posts. Just be sure that you’re checking the licensing information beforehand and that you are also customizing the images in some way so that they fit a little better into your posts. Most stock photos are generic, even if they depict something very specific they don’t really relate to you and your business. Add things to your photos like text and graphics (your logo, etc.) so that it gives the image a bit more context. Again, be careful with hashtags, as those aren’t necessarily a big thing on every network that you’ll be posting on.
Creating compelling and complementary content for social networks is difficult. You have to be willing to invest the time in order to understand the needs and wants of the individual user base of each platform that you choose to use. If you’re not doing that, your social efforts will be seen as nothing more than a generic attempt at over-saturation.