Social Media Platform Purposes for 2021
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
As COVID-19 has shifted every inch of our lives, it has also changed our primary ways of communication. B2B brands don’t have conventions and business card exchanges to source leads. Brands can’t simply put up a sign at the storefront to bring customers in with their latest promo. One thing is consistent across the board: Businesses are finding themselves in need of a digital doorstep that converts.
Does your brand need to be on social media? Absolutely. Does your brand need to be on every platform? Absolutely not.
Gone are the days of “Also post to Instagram.” Social media platforms have evolved from just pretty pictures, and into entire ecosystems that allow users to consume, engage and purchase — all in the same spot.
Social media is a complicated layer cake where every ingredient has its own function and its place at the table. So, where does your brand fit into the social media machine? We’ll go through the best ways to use the most popular platforms for business: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. (Need to skim? CTRL F and search "TLDR")
With the biggest active user population, Facebook is the largest social media platform that can reach far and wide to get your name out there. While some may think of Facebook as the old guard in the toolkit, this mighty platform has big potential when used properly.
If you feel like you’ve been burned by Facebook in the last 12 months, you’re not alone. Organic reach and engagement has drastically reduced to practically zero on content that used to be surefire in the past. The problem? Less than 10% of your Followers ever actually see your post. You read that right. If you want the other 90% of the eyeballs, you better be ready to grab your credit card. Capitalism, am I right?
Facebook is designed to be pay-to-play compared to its fellow platforms. It is not an ideal place for organic content (unless it's hyper-relevant and timely) as it often prioritizes paid content above anything else. Mark Zuckerberg has gotta make some bank, after all.
So, now what? Use Facebook primarily for your paid content initiatives and supplement your Page with some organic content. The platform can reach massive populations at home and internationally when using paid tools. However, it is very time-consuming to establish a brand organically on Facebook, so don’t bother. The deck is stacked against you and you’re better off investing that time and effort on a platform that rewards organic content.
Facebook TLDR; Keep the lights on with some organic Page content and support it with a healthy paid budget with your best creative. Always have a strong CTA to encourage users to click away from Facebook and onto your site. Don’t spend too much effort on making organic Facebook content - less than 10% of your Followers will ever see it.
If Facebook is the pinnacle of paid, Instagram is the opposite. Since it moved away from the chronological feed a few years back, Instagram rewards content that earns its spot on Feeds. When it sees that many people are commenting and liking your post, the algorithm will boost it to the top and send more eyeballs its way. It’s that simple. Content is king.
Instagram rewards authenticity, creativity, eye-popping visuals and content that gets people to engage. If you’re a brand that is B2C, Instagram is the place to be. The platform has doubled-down on its desire to become a one-stop app that includes in-app Shop functions, shoppable posts with the products tagged right in the photo and quick replies to customer service DMs. Your Instagram handle will automatically integrate with your Shopify site so users can purchase your products without ever leaving the app and thus reducing the steps required to make that sale.
There are many ways to make your content visually appealing with filters and new tools like Reels, which brings me to my next point: If it’s not aesthetic or genuinely interesting, it’s not worth posting. Just before you click Post, really ask yourself, “If I saw this, would I engage with it?” If the answer is no, don’t post it. Keep your feed fresh and worthy of engagement - it is not a place to repurpose a print flyer or share what you had for lunch. Sorry not sorry.
How do you get more people to see your content? Develop a solid hashtag strategy that includes 30 hashtags from a variety of relevant topics and at varying levels of usage. This increases your chances to get discovered by users who aren’t already following you - but be sure to avoid the extremely popular hashtags that are 1mil+, as you’ll be immediately drowned out by the noise. We also recommend cycling hashtags every few months to get your brand into many different verticals.
Also, leverage new tools as they come out. Reels is the perfect example of why hopping on the bandwagon is worth it. Instagram wants to push its new tools and encourage usage, so the algorithm has been prioritizing Reels above still images on the Feed. So when building content, think about whether it can live as a Reel to get even more exposure on it. On that note on a more tactical level: Whenever you can, make your post a Carousel. It serves your post twice for everyone who didn’t engage with it the first time. You’re welcome.
Instagram TLDR; Organic content is gold on Instagram. Tag your products so users can shop them and try out Reels to help optimize your content for the algorithm. Only post the creme-de-la-creme organic content, and once you see what works, boost those pieces to gain more exposure.
LinkedIn is more than just for stuffy execs to toot their horns. Particularly if you are a B2B business, you can position your brand as a thought leader in your industry by using LinkedIn’s many functions for Businesses. If you are having trouble making consistent visual content for Instagram, you may find that LinkedIn is the better platform for your business. Non-tangible products like SaaS organizations or products that ship wholesale exclusively to other businesses, this is a fantastic place for links out or redirection to your site.
LinkedIn has organic targeting tools that are unlike anything that other platforms have. This tool allows for brand Pages to geotarget specific Followers in certain cities or by their seniority level to really tailor the content for these certain users. So if you’re a career coach that teaches people how to interview for new jobs, you can target your organic content to all of your unemployed or entry-level Followers so they can view the resources you have to offer.
This targeting is also unique to LinkedIn paid content initiatives, which makes this social platform the go-to lead gen for sales and conversation starters. For example if your key demographic is for high-level CEOs and executives, you can target these exact seniority levels across LinkedIn profiles to see your sponsored content. A level of targeting that is this hyper-relevant is key to converting while also not clogging the LinkedIn feed with the wrong content for the wrong audience.
LinkedIn TLDR; If you struggle with making visually appealing content for Instagram, LinkedIn is a better platform to share information about non-tangible goods and connect with fellow B2B leads. Also a great place if you need specific audience targeting for certain levels of employment (even if you don’t have a big paid budget!)
Blink and you’ll miss it. Twitter is a fast paced platform to share quick quips of info or to jump onto trends and gain popularity points. Twitter’s unique Feed system provides ample opportunity to hop onto trends and gain massive brand awareness without too much effort. Brief, concise and snappy copy combined with relevant creative (or even better, memes) is the secret recipe for a tweet. On Twitter, great ideas win - and fast ideas win even more.
The main concern when adding Twitter to your social media mix is whether you have the capacity to do so. It involves constant community management in order to stay on top of trends and leverage them to your advantage. There are trends that have massive potential to bring your brand some serious exposure, but the window is narrow: some of these trending topics and memes have lifespans of days or even mere hours.
Twitter is the best place to connect with your community on a frequent basis and have your brand in many different conversation circles, but it requires quite a bit of elbow grease to build your organic presence. Once you do, it’s all gravy from there. It also has paid ad tools, but in our opinion they are not as robust as other social platforms. What they do make up in, is their native Analytics and Media Studio creator tools. You can also schedule tweets directly within the app now which does help alleviate your content mapping labour, but again, that’s not where you’ll see the most interaction anyway.
Twitter TLDR; if you have capabilities to prioritize community management on Twitter, you can grow an authentic organic audience in the blink of an eye. Go bold with your content and be willing to hop onto trends the second you catch wind of them. Avoid if your social team capacity is already at its brink.
While it may be difficult to manage different content streams for each platform, remember the golden rule: It’s better to be great at one thing than mediocre at many things. Focus your efforts on platforms where you can show up with 100% gusto and then slowly start adding new ingredients to the mix once you get the hang of it.
Lastly, make sure that it’s fun! Social media is a wonderful place that is filled with people from all walks of life and experiences. Build boundaries for your screen time and make clear distinctions between your brand socials and your personal socials so you don’t feel burnt out by the whole experience. Now get out there and create that content.
Michelle Nguyen Lead writer and social media strategist at Super Duper Studios.