On Friday 24 Feb (Today) I went live on Facebook for the first of what will be regular fortnightly installments. The first session was looking at the differences of social media platforms, something I have written about previously one here. Next time I will be explaining Hashtags, what they are and how to use them.
Watch the video via this link or below.
If you can’t listen and watch right now, here’s an overview of what I said.
Typical mistakes that many make
The biggest mistake made by many small business owners is that they don’t treat the platforms that they use differently. Some may post from Instagram across to Facebook and Twitter – although this saves time it probably won’t lead to the results you’re after.
I showed my viewers one of my favourite graphics that I think shows the differences in social media platforms really well.
It simply tells you that the different platforms have different purposes. Although a little old – it does do a good job of demonstrating my point.
Difference number one – Etiquette
Each Platform comes with its own rules of engagement or etiquette. Most require being social – responding when people contact you, sharing content and the infamous like. But, there are other rules in each platform.
In general, it’s always best to be polite. If done well, social media could end up being the voice of your business – so make sure opinions stay positive. At this point I want to blow some false claims out of the water. If you are followed by an account on Twitter, you don’t have to follow them back. I always look at who they are and what they say – is it of interest to me or my business? With this in mind. Don’t start following lots of accounts with the aim of increasing your following. Follow for a follow can just be plain annoying.
Difference number two – The Algorithms
The algorithm is a word of fear for some. It’s the clever way that the companies who run the platforms decide what content should go where.
Instagram for example wanted to make sure that you never missed out on posts from your ‘family and friends’ and rolled out a new algorithm across the platform last year. This change means that your followers are more likely to see posts from you if the regularly like or comment on them.
I suppose the fear I have held over the world algorithm – or at least the way that these changes affected me as a marketer – started with Facebook. When the business pages launched in 2007 most pages were on a level playing field – with the same chances of gaining a following and building new client relationships. Then, Facebook Ads grew, business pages started to reach less and less people until finally Facebook decided to move its focus back to ‘family and friends’.
Along with different rules of engagement each algorithm is another reason to make sure that you’re using each platform differently.
Difference number three – Audience
Think about your own behaviour on each social media platform – do you go to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn for the same purpose? No? Your audience aren’t either. They behave in different ways on each platform and, in some instances, it will be a completely different audience all together.
For example – my Twitter account is predominantly followed by others in my industry. They are looking to engage in conversations about the latest trends and tools to do our job as Digital Marketing Experts. But, Facebook is where I interact most with new clients – that’s why I’m streaming here rather than via Twitter – treating each platform differently is what most of us live and breathe, they don’t need to hear about it.
As today I am focusing on the differences of each platform, now is the time that we look at them individually.
Taking a look at Facebook
In the last quarter of 2016 Facebook saw over 1.86 billion monthly active users. Due to the sheer number of people using the platform daily Facebook is somewhere that I think you should be. But, don’t be fooled it will be a long a tough road ahead to build that following and be heard in that huge crowd.
So how do you make it work?
Make sure that your Facebook Page is promoted through other channels – on your website, at the bottom of leaflets, in posters etc. Objective number one, is to build as big a following for your page and in turn your business as possible.
Engagement is key on Facebook – as I mentioned earlier it has become harder and harder for business page posts to be seen. One way you may be able to overcome this is to try and encourage some of your biggest fans – these might even be your family and friends – to regularly engage with your posts and share what you’re saying with their network. Get them to be the pebble that create the ripple.
Earlier I mentioned one reason that Facebook changed its algorithm was the launch of Facebook Ads. This is something that you should be doing, but you must do it strategically. Would you be interested in a workshop on Facebook Ads? Tell me in the comments below.
Taking a look at Twitter
Many people that I speak to, seem to be confused by Twitter. And I get it, I was at one point to. I often hear the same phrase – I just don’t get it.
So here is a brief explanation. Twitter is a fast-passed social media platform set up perfectly for concise debate and a quick way to share your thoughts on a topic and link to a more detailed blog post or video. But, there are quite a few people that just don’t use it – mainly because they don’t get it. In the last quarter of 2016 Twitter saw 319 million monthly active users that’s significantly less than the 1.86 billion actively using Facebook during the same time period. If you’re thinking of starting on Twitter then, before you begin make sure that there is an audience for what you are planning to share and say.
If you’re on Twitter already here’s some tips you might like to try.
Tweet and Repeat. As humans’ we are drawn to consistency and take comfort in routine. This tactic isn’t about constantly sharing the same tweet though. It’s about building a base of tweets from which to grow and build. For that matter, on Twitter it is important to ‘stay on brand’. Creating a few key messages that you stick to will help with this.
For example, if you run a company that fixes computers, is it within your interest and that of your followers to start Tweeting about the FA Cup? Your followers need and want to know what to expect from you.
Taking a look at Instagram
Instagram was originally used as an app for people who took great photos and wanted to share them with the world. Now, the platform sees over 600 million monthly active users – that’s almost double the monthly usage of Twitter in the last quarter of 2016. The platform and the way it’s used has changed since the early days, now many industries have what we call niche’s, a butcher from Turkey has over 4million followers!
Now, how do you find that niche? It’s not easy. You need to work hard to connect with other accounts and of course great quality imagery is still a must.
Taking a look at LinkedIn
The vision for LinkedIn is to create economic opportunities for everyone in the global workforce. This is the main difference it has when compared to other social media platforms or networking apps. The platform is used based for Business to Business networking and is also a good tool to use to link back to your website. For now, it’s a bit cumbersome in my opinion and I hope that its sale to Microsoft will bring a much needed refresh to the platform.
Taking a look at Pinterest
Pinterest is perhaps the most unusual of social media platforms (notice I haven’t and won’t in this session mentioned snapchat). Pinterest, is an image led pin board as its name suggests. The aim of the game here is to create attention grabbing images that will lead to new visitors on your site. As with Instagram, on Pinterest it’s only the best quality images that gain traction. But, it’s not just about the image. The robots that crawl the internet to bring up results for your search query can’t, as yet, read images. When posting a pin, you must make sure that your caption will increase your chances of turning up in the search.
I hope that you’ve gained some insight from this session and that you’ll join me next time when I go into detail about Hashtags, what they are and when and how to use them. If you’ve enjoyed this I hope you invite a friend to tune in with you too.