How to post on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
There are many different social media platforms out there, and each one has its own quirks when it comes to posting to the platform. This guide focuses on posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn because those are the platforms most often used by our clients — small to medium-sized western Canadian businesses.
If your business is new to social media, don’t feel as though you need to post to all four platforms. Each platform has different audiences and attracts different industries; see more about this in the descriptions below.
No matter where you’re posting, make sure you have a picture. If possible, it’s best to have professional photography, but second best is a sharp, high-resolution photo, which is easy enough to take with a cell phone these days. (Though there some exceptions with Twitter.)
If you don’t have an original photo, a stock photo can work in some cases, but avoid using stock photos on Instagram.
Videos also do exceptionally well on any platform. Again, professional is the gold standard, but a phone video shot with a steady hand and a clear picture can do well, too.
A note on hashtags: While some hashtags work across multiple platforms, many do not, so you’ll need to do hashtag research for each individual platform.
- Best for: Business-to-community (B2C) companies, and companies targeting older demographics.
- Hashtags: None. Facebook doesn’t have a robust hashtag searching system and it’s not part of the posting culture.
- Photos: Definitely use a photo, but people are tolerant of and even enjoy less polished content (e.g. phone photos of behind the scenes at your workplace).
- Types of posts: Facebook is great for sharing links to articles, whether those are your own or curated from related sources. The only types of posts that tend not to perform as well are plain text posts.
- Challenges: It can be difficult to gain traction on a new page without advertising and/or having engaged leadership who can invite their friends to like the page. Also, you’ll want to be actively monitoring comments and reviews because negativity is common, and you’ll want to respond appropriately.
- Benefits: While it’s not as trendy as it once was, Facebook is still one of the most widely used social media platforms. People expect businesses to have a profile here. Facebook and Instagram also integrate well, and can even be managed through the same Creator Studio platform.
- Best for: Certain industries. Do some research to see if your industry is active here. Because journalists spend time here, it may be a good place for you to be if you’re looking for media coverage.
- Hashtags: Choose two to three strong hashtags.
- Photos: Images are great to have, but it’s also one of the few platforms where text-only posts perform well.
- Types of posts: Short and sweet. Twitter has increased the amount they allow for text but it’s still limited, which can make it a bit of challenge to write what you say in one tweet. Tweet threads have gained popularity (where someone writes one or more tweet in succession, numbering them), giving you more space to share your thoughts, but if you go this route, ensure each tweet can stand on its own.
- Challenges: Twitter can be one of the more toxic platforms. Be prepared to respond your business’s behalf with grace and equanimity.
- Benefits: If your industry is here, you should be here, too. People who use Twitter tend to use it pretty religiously.
- Best for: High-quality photos.
- Hashtags: The more the better but make sure they’re relevant by searching them first. Always double check hashtags as sometimes spammy tags can get banned, hiding your post.
- Photos: Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform, so this is the best place to post high-quality photos. High-resolution, well-shot phone photos can also do well here but avoid posting stock photos as they stick out in this environment and don’t get many likes.
- Types of posts: Great photos! Note that you can’t link from a post, so if there’s something on your website you’d like to post people to, you need to point to the link in your bio.
- Challenges: Some people find it difficult to take or supply good, high-resolution photos. If you know you’re in that camp, you may want to avoid this platform.
- Benefits: It’s easier to build a following on Instagram because people tend to follow pretty widely, and you can target specific interest groups through hashtags. If you’re the kind of person who works exclusively from your phone, this may be a good platform for you as well as the app is designed for the phone. Additionally, it integrates well with Facebook.
- Best for: Business-to-business (B2B) companies
- Hashtags: Aim for up to about five relevant hashtags.
- Photos: Like Facebook, photos are important on LinkedIn, but the audience is tolerant of less-polished images.
- Types of posts: LinkedIn is much like Facebook in its posting practices, so it’s a good place for curated content and behind-the-scenes type posts.
- Challenges: You can only invite people to like your page if they’re already a connection, so it’s important to have a large network already built up there.
- Benefits: It tends to have a friendly and supportive community. No one wants to look bad while networking!