Social media is largely a top of the funnel channel, serving the supportive, storytelling aspect of digital marketing. Over 4 billion users are on social media worldwide and the adoption rate in 2020 alone increased 12%. Plus, more than 40% of consumers use social media as a discovery engine.
Social needs a lot of attention, but that attention pays off in customer engagement, brand awareness, audience reach, and social listening (the opportunity to have your ear-to-the-ground and hear what customers say about your brand, products, or competitors).
Today, we’re comparing the most popular social media platforms, sharing best practices, and providing a list of handy tools used by our Whereoware social media team to drive social media engagement and success. Let’s go!
Our A-to-Z Social Media Strategy Guide covers:
Popular Social Media Platforms
Best Practices for Your Social Media Strategy
- Content Pillars & Posting Cadence
- Community Management
- Hashtag Strategy
- Helpful Tips & Tools
The Big Ones: Popular Social Media Platforms
Arguably one of the most important social media platforms for B2B businesses and jobseekers, LinkedIn is an excellent network for professionals to connect.
According to a HubSpot analysis, LinkedIn’s lead conversion rates are 3x higher than other major ad platforms, including Google Ads. Four out of 5 members drive business decisions, and LinkedIn’s audience has 2x the buying power of the average web audience, making this platform a favorite amongst marketers.
LinkedIn is the first-place potential customers and candidates will check out your company, so grab attention by sharing behind-the-scenes peeks into your culture, photos, open positions, upcoming events or awards, project updates, and other news.
These posts should embody your brand and reflect your businesses’ mission, goals, or accomplishments to drive excitement for both jobseekers and customers.
Harness LinkedIn’s many tools to:
- Share news, announcements, and job postings.
- Connect with your employees to drive brand advocacy and build community.
- Connect with fellow businesses.
- Convert quality leads.
- Shameless plug! Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn! We would love to connect.
King/Queen of the social media platforms, Facebook still reigns supreme in terms of popularity and monthly active users globally at 2.90 billion. Yes, billion. Facebook offers extensive tools and superior targeting capabilities than other platforms, gaining favor among both B2B and B2C advertisers and marketers.
Facebook is best used to:
- Build community and engagement around your business page.
- Share video and photo content, easily digested by your followers.
- Promote thought leadership to drive traffic to your website.
- Share events and webinars.
- Casually connect with your audience to build awareness.
- Launch Facebook Ads to support paid initiatives.
- Go live to showcase your brand and perspective.
- Sell through Facebook Marketplace.
Often overlooked as a millennial social media platform, Instagram is rapidly growing in popularity and brand opportunity. In fact, 6 in 10 (about 63%) of American adults log in daily. Because high impact visuals, video, and a well-researched hashtag strategy are key, Instagram is best for B2C businesses, but we recommend B2B join in if it makes sense for your audience.
Although linking capabilities within Instagram Story are reserved for verified accounts or accounts with 10,000 followers, you can still take advantage of driving traffic back to your website by utilizing the #LinkInBio workaround. Ecommerce businesses can also take advantage of Instagram’s in-app shopping feature, which we detail here.
How can you lean into Instagram successfully?
- Post to Instagram Story regularly to tune your users onto your brand.
- Incorporate video content on IGTV and Instagram Reels.
- Develop a carefully curated feed to showcase your products, keeping colors balanced. (Instagram users judge a book by its cover, and expect your feed color palette to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.)
- Curate quality user-generated-content (UGC) using geotags and general tags – not only for social media, but for your website as well (always ask permission!). See more about UGC and geotags below.
With a big following amongst celebrities, politicians, and media (cough: also bots), Twitter is the only platform where more is more – Tweet volume, that is. High-frequency posting is crucial to this channel, where a 280-character count limit may require multiple Tweets to get your point across.
93% of Twitter users can get behind brands utilizing the platform, as long as it’s done the right way. So, how would you go about that?
For one, content shared on Twitter must be meaningful and quick to absorb. Think of Twitter as a conversation – how can you add to an existing conversation or share a thought-provoking message that motivates others to share and respond?
Twitter is often used by brands to:
- Enact social listening, to gather a deeper understanding of your audience.
- Drive website traffic when sharing promotions, blogs, news, etc.
- Drive brand awareness and discoverability through curated hashtags.
- Reach a broader audience through Twitter Ads.
Through native search and related Pins, Pinterest is a huge opportunity to aid product discovery and grow customer acquisition. Pinterest users curate or “pin” images to different “boards” reflecting categories like recipes, travel, hair styles, fashion, or, quite literally, anything they want.
Each pin links to content on an external website (although Pinterest is getting better at keeping people on their platform with capabilities like Shoppable Pins.) With 2 million people pinning product pins daily, you truly can’t afford to overlook Pinterest as a source of revenue within your digital marketing strategy.
How should you use Pinterest for your business?
- Prioritize photo and video, as this content is shared at a higher rate than plain text.
- Tap into Pinterest Ads, which are incredibly easy to use in the platform.
- Write descriptive, keyword-rich pin descriptions and titles to aid discoverability.
- Keep your content on the lighter side – positivity pays off.
- Nurture a loyal audience and drive traffic back to your website.
YouTube is a favorite destination for unique video content. B2B and B2C marketers alike can flourish on the channel, known for being the world’s second largest search engine. In fact, in 2020 60% of marketers said they would be increasing their YouTube budget.
How can you weave YouTube into your marketing strategy?
- Create videos to answer questions about your products, industry, or business. How-To videos, interviews, or behind-the-scenes can be simply made without a big video budget.
- Promote videos through your website and other social channels.
- Upload video content to be indexed by Google and Bing.
- Optimize your videos with eye-catching thumbnails, keyword-rich descriptions, and strong titles to boost audience reach.
- Tap into the many tools YouTube has available for marketing, including YouTube Ads.
- Provide short or long-form content tailored to your YouTube audience.
Best Practices for Your Social Strategy
Social media changes rapidly and staying on top of algorithm and platform updates is key, paired with the best practices we share below.
Dig Into the Data to Understand Your Audience
Social media offers unparalleled access into customers’ thoughts, frustrations, and preferences. It gives brands the opportunity to engage directly with the source or use social listening to understand audience segments and what makes them tick.
Audience insights and behavioral data are the foundation for every digital marketing strategy, and social media is no different.
Review Google Analytics data to understand the social platforms driving traffic to your website and use in-platform analytics to see growth in followers and connections. Analyze the posts driving the most engagement and look for patterns in theme or format.
After digging into your data across the different social platforms, you’re ready to build a compelling social strategy.
Content Pillars & Posting Cadence
Once you’ve got a pulse on your social audience, it’s time to set expectations. Social media users expect consistency in sharing cadence and topics from brands and influencers.
Carving out dedicated content pillars (content themes), along with a regular posting cadence, is a great first step to building a solid content strategy and setting expectations for your audience.
Once the content pillars are decided on, form a calendar, and stick with these posting dates.
For example, if you’re a retail company, you may dedicate weekly pillars to product announcements on Mondays and Wednesdays, inspiring lifestyle content on Tuesdays, and user-generated content (UGC) curated from existing customers on Thursdays and over the weekend. You may also want to tap into universal themes, like #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday.
Humans are creatures of habit, so being stringent about your posting schedule is crucial for success.
Keep in mind that cadences will vary across platforms. Twitter is a high-frequency posting platform with a sweet spot between 3-5 tweets a day (retweets count). LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram work well with 3-4 post per week.
Social media is all about engagement, and not a “post it and leave it” channel. Nurturing your community is critical for customer acquisition and retention.
Set aside daily or weekly to dedicated community management time – responding to inbox messages and commenting. Respond to all comments, preferably within the first hour of posting, even if it’s just with an emoji. Take this a step further by commenting on other accounts’ posts and searching your company geotag and branded hashtags to engage with users away from your profile.
We can’t stress this enough: community management is critical to a successful social media strategy.
Develop a dedicated branded hashtag for your company to drive brand awareness and discoverability. You’ll use this branded hashtag in almost every post, so do your research and ensure it’s not in use by another business. (Ours, for example, is #Whereoware.)
Include your branded hashtag in social posts and across other channels – this will only help drive brand awareness, so don’t be afraid to tastefully plug your social media!
In addition to branded hashtags, try community hashtags and campaign hashtags.
Community hashtags are mostly on Twitter and Instagram and are specific to your field of business. For example, a retailer might use #ShopSmall or #LocalBusiness to reach users searching those broader topics.
Campaign hashtags are individual to your business and used when you’re running a campaign for a set amount of time. A restaurant might be launching a new weekly Pint Night for the summer and will want to use #RestaurantNamePintNight on posts marketing the event.
Whatever direction you choose to go with your hashtag strategy, be sure to do your research and choose hashtags most likely to be searched among your audience.
Keep in mind that the more broad or general the hashtag, the higher the competition, so it is less likely your content will be seen by new eyeballs (or the right eyeballs for your audience).
People trust brands when other customers share pictures of their products or content, as opposed to perfectly staged professional photography – the social share is an implied testimonial, boosting your credibility.
Sourcing quality user-generated-content (UGC) is a crucial part of social media marketing. Tap into that branded hashtag and encourage customers to share their happy purchases from your business. You may also want to search your business geotag to find content posted on-site.
Many of our clients showcase user-generated-content on their website, like Creative Co-Op’s #CreativelyYours campaign.
Always ask permission before resharing content that you do not own, and credit the original poster. This simultaneously builds trust and community.
Helpful Social Media Tools
- Tools like Canva simplify design for social posts, with branded color palettes, social feed/story post templates, and branded fonts. Canva also features a robust music and video library, perfect for marketers just getting started with these features.
- Websites like unsplash.com and pexels.com offer libraries of free stock photography.
- Emoji libraries, like Emojipedia, make it easy to copy and paste emojis – an excellent, eye-catching copy tactic (just try not to overdo it. 😉✨👍)
- Tools like Hubspot, HootSuite, and more simplify posting and scheduling for multiple channels.
- Track performance in-platform and monitor social traffic through Google Analytics.
- Win the Instagram #LinkInBio game using tools like LinkTree or SkedLink.
- Shameless Plug! Sign up for Whereoware’s newsletters to stay in the know with all things digital marketing.
Supercharge Your Social Media
We hope you’ve found Part 1 of our comprehensive guide to all things social media helpful! Remember, take it seriously – but never too seriously. Do your best, keep an eye on the data, and always be sure to publish quality content. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our guide to learn how to efficiently measure and perform a comprehensive social media audit.