If you’re feeling unsure about how to navigate multiple social networks, it’s important to remember one thing they all have in common: social networks connect people in a way they were never able to connect before.
When used correctly, social media can be a powerful marketing tool for engaging existing customers and becoming more visible to new ones.
Each network offers a unique point of connection: Facebook’s statuses, wall posts, and pictures make it “the yearbook of social networks,” while Twitter’s short format, rapid fire, newsy posts make it the place to be in the know about the here and now, and LinkedIn takes professional networking to a whole new level.
Understanding the differences between these three networks will help you share content that will reach the right audience and help you achieve the full potential of social media marketing.
1. Know what each network and audience expects from you
Facebook: Create consistent posts that are informal and friendly. Engage your fans with posts that are “shareable” or likely to prompt a user to share with their friends. Don’t be afraid to ask your fans questions or even ask them to share a post directly!
You can also try to draw your fans in with multimedia. Posts including images or videos produce 93-96 percent engagement for small business Facebook Pages.
People will want to connect with you here, so let them get to know you better by sharing images of new products, a video from your latest event and links to places where they can find out more about your product or services.
Twitter: It’s best to actively tweet throughout the day if possible. Twitter has a much faster stream than other networks. Followers will expect you to tweet multiple times a day and they’ll be more likely to see your tweets if you do.
Responding quickly is important too! Since Twitter moves at hyper-speed, 72 percent of users expect mentions to be responded to within one hour. Just as you should be actively posting, expect to be actively responding as well.
LinkedIn: Support your business’s brand with posts that are professional and display thought leadership in your field. If Facebook is like your business on its lunch hour, then LinkedIn is your business during work hours.
That doesn’t mean you have to check your personality at the LinkedIn door, it just means you present yourself in a different tone. Share your goals, your accomplishments, your new hires and open positions, as well as what makes you the best at what you do.
2. Understand what kind of posts will be the most successful
Facebook: Posts can range from very short to longer (although keep the novels on the shelf). The ultimate goal is engagement, so think about what kind of posts you enjoy to interacting with.
Some businesses share short stories that their fans really enjoy and comment on, while others keep their posts short and sweet. Let your personality and unique voice shine through. This is your chance to be real and authentic.
To get in front of a larger audience, consider adding some hashtags to your post. Hashtags used to be just for Twitter, but Facebook recently added the ability to use and search hashtags as well. Hashtags should be used in the same way they are on Twitter, sparingly and to the point. Try adding a few relevant hashtags to your next post, making sure everything is still easy to read and relevant to your message.
Twitter: Tweets are limited to 140 characters and are retweeted more often when around 100 characters (leaving room for the retweeter’s handle). Posts on Twitter do best when they include a link or an image, as well as a searchable hashtag.
The “perfect tweet” consists of a link, an image, and two hashtags. But this doesn’t mean every one of your tweets should follow an exact formula. Mix it up and see what happens!
LinkedIn: Status updates should contain a link to rich content or thought provoking images or text that will spark conversation. LinkedIn also gives you the capability to target the audience of each post by using a Company Page.
A Company Page allows you to create posts for a specific segment of your audience and give them the opportunity to weigh in on company/industry news and other hot topics. This can encourage a dialogue between you and others in your industry.
It might seem like a lot of different posting at first, but remember that your content can often be reused across multiple channels. An article you posted on Twitter can also be shared on Facebook and LinkedIn with a slightly different presentation or word choice.
Don’t limit your content to one channel. Repurpose your hard work across all of your social pages to get it in front as much of your audience as possible.
3. Know your audience and respond to them
It doesn’t matter what social networks you’re active on, you need to know your audience (or be actively learning about it) and respond to interactions.
Fans and followers aren’t going to come right out and tell you to post more at one time of day vs. another, but they will show you in their responses. They’ll also respond (whether it’s in the form of a favorite on Twitter, share on Facebook, or comment on LinkedIn) to certain posts more than others.
Track your engagement to see what your audience is most interested in and what time they are most interested in seeing it. Test and track until you feel confident that you know who your audience is and what they want to receive from you on that specific social network.
I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to approach each social network.
Tailor your content so it’s the perfect fit for both the specific network and your unique audience and you’ll be rewarded with the engagement that makes social media so powerful!
Ready to get started? Find out how to build a social media posting schedule for your small business.
About the Author: Cami Bird is the Head of Local Success for MarketMeSuite, the social media marketing and engagement platform for small businesses. She is an expert in social media engagement and inbound marketing, and loves Welsh Corgis. MarketMeSuite was the first company to pilot Constant Contact’s Small Business Innovation Loft.