Think about how a comedian preps for a show. The language and delivery they use with a national audience on late night television is going to be completely different from the performance they give at a university. They cater their content to a specific audience, and so should you.

As a business, you have to be conscious of the purpose and technical regulations of each social network in order to maximize its usage. If you think you’re ready to conquer social media marketing on your own, here’s your complete guide to the top 5 social networks.

1. Facebook

Audience

Facebook is ever changing. Once primarily a hub for teenage socializing, it’s become quite obvious that the network’s top users are getting older. But more than the general trend, you should pay attention to your particular audience. It’s important to narrow down your ideal demographic and cater your voice and post content to them. Facebook advertising has a great amount of targeting options including interest, behavior, and education that will help you further the reach of your posts to those that matter the most.

Content Type

Once upon a time, studies showed that Facebook favored photo posts by allowing them to reach more people. It seems their newsfeed algorithms have grown more open to all post types. Your reach is limited to a small percentage of those who like your page no matter the post type, so focus on quality content vs. post type and boost the most important posts to your brand with a few dollars if possible.

Hashtags

Use hashtags sparingly on Facebook. If you want to promote a business-centric hashtag, that’s appropriate on this network, but studies show Facebook posts with hashtags perform the same, if not worse, so don’t overdo it.

2. Twitter

Audience

Twitter has 302 million users trending toward the younger generations, but in recent years, all generations have taken to the platform to share and read information in snippets of 140 characters or less, as this is the character limit of a tweet.

Content Type

The primary objective of Twitter is to give people a platform to share information instantly and without limits. Tweets are short enough to be digested fast, and speed is a key strategy in publishing content on this network. Keep things short and always include an image, as images minimize the effort it takes to digest the information. It’s also smart to interact with other accounts by favoriting and retweeting their tweets. With no sorting algorithm, it can be hard to keep track of what you really want to see, so use Twitter lists to track the most relevant accounts to your business.

Hashtags

Hashtags can be useful on Twitter, although I wouldn’t recommend wasting any of your 140 characters on hashtags over general content. Twitter has an intelligent built-in search algorithm that picks up keywords in your post even if they’re not part of a hashtag.

3. LinkedIn

Audience

LinkedIn’s audience is your professional network. Age isn’t exactly relevant on this platform aside from the fact that users tend to join the network later in their educational experience or post-grad.

Content Type

You can afford to be selfish as a business on LinkedIn. In fact, you should be. Keep in mind that if an individual is following your business on LinkedIn, they’re interested in the professional side of your business, namely your company culture and careers. Keep content narrowed to anything being produced by your business, not curated from other sources. This could include behind-the-scenes photos, blog posts, or announcements about new job openings.

Hashtags

Hashtags are not supported on LinkedIn.

4. Instagram

Audience

Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app, is the latest craze among younger audiences. A study conducted earlier this year showed over 40% of users were 16-24.

Content Type

On Instagram, you’re limited to sharing photos, although popular accounts have started using the app more like Twitter, taking screenshots of written words. The main focus of your content as a business should be to use the app as a platform to show real-time updates. What’s going on behind the scenes of your business?

Hashtags

Hashtags are the most effective tool to further the reach of your post. Ten to fifteen hashtags on any other network would be ridiculous on any other platform, but on Instagram, it’s become expected, because it just works.

5. Pinterest

Audience

Pinterest is a bookmarking tool and a common ground for people who tend to favor visual content to written content. They’re looking for information that’s easily absorbed visually. The audience on Pinterest is also often shopping, so it’s essential for a retail business (especially e-commerce) to have a presence on Pinterest. Keep an eye out for Buy It buttons, coming soon.

Content Type

Pinterest content should consist of high-quality graphics. Make sure your photos have great lighting. The smartest way for a business to pin is to use the Pin It browser button to pin the products or images from your website. Once clicked, these pins will lead the user back to its page of origin, driving traffic to your website and blogs.

Hashtags

Hashtags are not supported on Pinterest. Much like Twitter, the search technology Pinterest uses involves the link, caption, and the image itself.

Understanding each social platform will allow you to maximize the efforts you put into each one. Use this quick guide to shape the strategy and content you promote on each network.

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