We’ve recently discussed the importance of an effective social media marketing strategy – which is an essential part of defining your brand’s digital presence. Now that you have your strategy, though, how do you ensure the content you’re sharing is the best it can be?
Every social media platform – be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest or any other – has its own set of rules, which businesses must adhere to in order to make the biggest impact in their chosen channels. Optimisation is an important – and often overlooked – part of posting on social media for business.
In this blog, we’ll break down best practices for each channel, which will allow you to leverage your social media to drive revenue for your business.
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Why does optimising your business’ social media content matter?
Investing in social media – both financially with paid ads and time-wise by ensuring organic posts are well-optimised – is something that every modern business can and should be taking advantage of.
In a nutshell, if your competitors are making a splash on social media, you should be aiming to outdo them. Consumers use social media to find and research new brands and they expect a personalised experience from the brands they care about, so
actively immersing yourself in each platform and ensuring your posts adhere to each platform’s best practices is vital.
When it comes to defining how to use each social media platform for your business, we’ll need to look at each platform separately – as they all differ in terms of what stands out to users engaging on those platforms. Social media for brands is always changing, with customer expectations constantly evolving, but there are rules of thumb which have remained consistent on key channels.
Social media best practice: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Adapting a piece of content for individual channels is not a daunting task; it just requires that you’re aware of best practices for that channel. Taking the time to ensure content is channel-optimised can make a massive difference in audience engagement, so it’s always worthwhile.
This guide will cover content best practices for the following platforms:
The list is by no means exhaustive, but these are some of the most common players that your typical user engages with on a daily basis.
Facebook has over 1.5 billion daily users. That alone says all you need to know about the importance of using this channel to its best effect.
As a social media channel, Facebook boasts a range of multimedia formats for engaging with audiences.
Video content on Facebook
Video content on the platform can range in length, but audiences typically prefer shorter-form content to that found on YouTube (but longer than Instagram and TikTok). Practically, this means videos of between 2 to 5 minutes in length.
Engaging users with attractive post-production editing and hard-coded subtitles is a must, as the majority of video is watched without sound. It goes without saying, but this also means you should make the first 5 seconds of every Facebook video as engaging as possible.
When optimising the video file, make adjustments to keep it as compact as possible. Some standard optimal settings to use are:
- MOV or MP4 format with AAC audio
- Compressed with H.264 encoding
- Portrait orientation with a framerate of around 30fps
Imagery on Facebook
Imagery on Facebook is much more forgiving, and there’s scope to be more experimental with your brand image. Single-post memes are extremely popular, as are multi-photo posts that users can engage with in an album-like format.
Above all, keeping it authentic is essential – authenticity is valued on all platforms, but with the community-led format of Facebook, this is emphasised further, with the focus not being around ‘that perfect shot’.
Instagram can be used as a powerful marketing tool, with a variety of content formats to make use of including Posts, Stories, Reels and IGTV.
As a mobile-first platform, content on Instagram should always be
mobile-optimised. In fact, this goes for pretty much any social media content – optimising for mobile first is not only most appealing to the majority of audiences, but the platforms themselves encourage this as well.
Make use of influencer campaigns
Across the formats, it’s possible for brands to make use of influencers to shout about their products/services to boost their visibility – so consider employing influencer marketing in your social strategy, and brush up on the rules of influencer ads to inform your approach.
Lean into the power of Instagram Reels
Instagram reels offer the opportunity for brands to use vertical video on the platform
– a trend pioneered in recent years by TikTok. Reels are extremely popular for brands posting on social media, both from a UGC and marketing perspective, so don’t ignore them!
Much like TikTok, Instagram Reels are extremely effective when they make use of trending sounds and capitalise on popular themes and formats. Showing that your brand can position itself within popular trends – and make them its own – will go a long way with your audiences.
Reels are your brand’s opportunity to be real with its audience. Show what you get up to behind the scenes, be unfiltered (within reason!) and have fun with it.
What to avoid on Reels…
In addition to steering clear of Reels with low video quality, one key thing to avoid is the use of watermarked content reshared from TikTok. While the format and even theme of the content can be quite similar, Instagram will penalise watermarked Reels shared from other platforms and ultimately reduce their visibility, so bear this in mind when creating content.
Regularly produce content according to a defined schedule
It’s no secret that brands need to be regularly producing social content to have the greatest impact. Audiences expect to see sustained activity from brands they trust. Aside from Reels, Instagram’s primary content types are standard grid posts and Stories.
Grid posts are any posts that show up in users’ feeds when scrolling, and on your profile they appear in a grid format. Reels you produce also appear in your grid, but for users they occupy their own section in the app’s navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
For this reason, it’s well worth your time to plan out your grid to ensure it adheres to your brand’s aesthetic. Ensure there’s variety in your posts without them seeming too eclectic, and don’t be shy to experiment with colour schemes. Your grid should be attractive to users arriving on your profile page, so don’t just create posts based on what looks good when scrolling through the main feed.
For planning your grid layout, Later is an excellent social content planner that’s worth investing in if you’re looking to take your business’s socials to the next level.
Instagram’s Stories offer the opportunity to update your followers with specific moments throughout the day, not dissimilar from Snapchat’s format. The difference is you can also share posts and photos to your story, but they will disappear after 24 hours.
Stories are great for sharing timed content with users that you don’t want to disrupt the flow of your grid with. Video stories allow your brand the opportunity to give insider access to your viewers, bringing them closer to your business with unfiltered, honest video content.
Stories are excellent for sharing by-the-minute updates on events or reminding users of promotions or campaigns you’re currently running – or just producing reactive content throughout the day.
When it comes to optimising stories, it’s best to keep them honest. There’s nothing wrong with editing them to give them some production value, but unfiltered content that resonates with users works best through this medium.
Like other social media platforms, Twitter presents the opportunity to leverage both organic and paid campaigns.
With organic campaigns, the power of trends again comes into play, with techniques like community management and brand-ter becoming key to driving awareness for brands. Ensuring your social media team has the clearance to be reactive to trending hashtags and
get your brand’s voice heard on those that may be relevant to it is vital for standing out amongst the crowd.
Of course, Twitter is more text-focused than the visual-first approach that other platforms demand. Keeping tweets concise, topical and engaging is key, with call to actions encouraging users to engage in turn. Being heavy-handed with marketing tactics is discouraged in favour of instead establishing your brand as a proven communicator and trusted voice within its community.
Twitter – general best practices
The following are organic best practice tips that come directly from Twitter:
- Keep messaging short and sweet
- Use no more than 1 or 2 hashtags per tweet (Twitter will categorise trending tweets that contain key phrases, regardless of whether the phrases are hashtagged or not)
- Avoid all-caps content (it looks shouty!)
- Remain conversational and relaxed in your tone of voice
- Use emojis! They’re a great tool for drawing the eye and generating engagement when deployed effectively
Using visual media on Twitter
While written content is a key draw of Twitter, that doesn’t mean visual media is obsolete on the platform. Twitter’s best practice recommendations for media are as follows:
- Don’t use images with walls of text
- Ensure video content is 15 seconds (or less!)
- Use buttons on media to make images/videos clickable
- If a video contains dialogue, ensure it makes use of closed captions (this tip should be applied to all social media video content)
As a final point, keep in mind the power of community management at every step along the way of your business’ social media journey. Engaging with your social
media communities is key. A like or reply to your users’ comments can go a long way to establishing your brand as being active within its community and developing trust with your followers.
No matter what social media platform or platforms your business uses, be sure to test, test, test! Keep track of the data behind your campaigns, and don’t take an unsuccessful campaign as a failure. Learn from the data and evolve your approach as you go – look back at any successful brand campaign and you’ll see evidence of this approach.
Paid social media advertising
In addition to producing organic content, paid social media campaigns are a great way of enhancing your visibility on each platform. Sometimes, you just need to get the jump on competitors with a well-placed promoted post.
Paid ads on social media often take the appearance of regular posts, albeit with a ‘Sponsored’ badge that distinguishes them from normal organic posts. In addition, app users don’t need to be following your account to see ads you put out, so they’re an excellent way of bypassing your follower count.
In terms of post format, paid social ads should still adhere to the rules of organic posts, so giving users what they expect is important. The best-performing paid social ads are almost indistinguishable from organic posts.
However, they can afford to be a bit more ‘salesy’ – which is to say, don’t be shy to shout about the benefits of your brand to users who aren’t already familiar with it. If you’re pushing a product, you can look at paid ads as a sales pitch for said product, aimed at enticing users to click through to your website.
Need help with your business’ social media?
We get it – posting on social media can be a time-intensive undertaking for your business. Knowing what to post can also be tricky – but the experts at Wild Card are on hand to help your social media PR campaigns stand out from the crowd.
We specialise in organic and paid social media campaigns, and can integrate both into your strategy to ensure an aligned approach that enhances your business’ visibility in the most beneficial way.
Get in touch with us today for expert advice on your brand’s social media presence and campaigns.