With an estimated 3.6 billion people using social media in 2020, it’s critical that businesses and brands are familiar with social media posting basics. But, as you’ve already discovered, the best practices of social media posting are a highly contested topic. There’s a variety of opinions regarding what to post, the appropriate number of hashtags to use, and how to increase social media engagement. But the question remains – whose opinion should we trust?
As a PR professional primarily serving B2B clients, I wanted to help communication professionals out (especially my fellow PR peeps) by researching reputable social media management and optimization tools and resources.
In this post, I will take you through what I’ve found to be the consensus for social media best practices for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and share them in a series of quick little bites.
LinkedIn – The ideal platform for lead generation and networking.
Posting on LinkedIn: How much is too much?
LinkedIn posts should be quick text-based posts that grab the reader’s attention and drive engagement, and at most, you should post once a day because, according to HubSpot, after posting more than once in a day, engagement significantly drops.
When determining what you’re going to post, it’s widely recommended getting your point across quickly, with Trajectory recommending you keep it under a 140-character count. Otherwise, professionals using LinkedIn will have to click the “See More” button to view your entire post and react to it. A good rule of thumb is to make your post 25 words or fewer. Because with less, it’s easier to impress.
Using Hashtags to Connect with Your Professional Network
Hashtags on LinkedIn operate to help users find content on a specific topic (#hashtag). It helps your content get seen by new users #DiscoverMe.
When you’re determining what hashtags to use, the pros at Social Media Today recommend using no more than 3-4 hashtags per post and ensure your hashtags are at the end of the post and cover relevant industries, topics or interests mentioned in your post.
The secret sauce to increasing engagement
Be sure to tag anyone specifically mentioned in the post, especially if they're a thought leader and not in your connected circle. And don't forget to include a multimedia asset, aka art visual, at the top of your post that resonates with the LinkedIn audience you're going after.
Additionally, be sure to cast the net wide by incorporating at least three relevant hashtags. We recommend using one niche, one medium and large sized hashtag to amplify your exposure.
Twitter – Quick commentary on what’s happening in the world right now.
Staying conversational is the Key to Tweeting
According to Twitter insights, you want to be conversational in your tweets while keeping the copy short and compact. Twitter also encourages users to use images, GIFs, and videos whenever possible, while using 1-2 hashtags per Tweet.
When you’re determining how often you should post on Twitter, please remember the average lifetime of a tweet is only 18 minutes (unless you’re Kanye), so you must tweet more than 10 times a day to maximize the reach of your content.
When tweeting, make sure your posts are topical by monitoring events and trending topics daily. However, if you haven’t got anything interesting to say, don’t say anything.
Hashtags get you into the “conversation party”
Incorporate timely and relevant hashtags that allow you to expand your reach and tap your company into relevant conversations. Focus on keywords that are relevant to your business and stick to one or two hashtags per tweet. When in doubt, try using Hashtagify or RiteTag as tools to help you generate the right hashtag.
Retweet, Engage and Clapback when necessary
Retweeting relevant content and replying to tweets are great ways to maintain a robust Twitter presence. Retweet positive customer feedback, reviews, and ideas that align with your business identity. Be responsive to mentions. However, switch to Direct Messages to resolve complex issues.
Every time you tweet be sure to include a call-to-action. Design the tweet to prompt an immediate response or encourage immediate action from your audience. The key to increasing your engagement is always to be clear and concise about what you want your audience to do next. Additionally, be sure to respond promptly to any reaction your tweet receives.
Facebook – The most popular social platform in the world, which enables you to connect with customers on a more personal level.
The art of storytelling has never been more appreciated than on Facebook
Facebook is a social platform where you’ll want to be sure your posts tell a story that resonates with your target audience and can hook them on a deep and personal level.
Being the most popular social media platform globally does come with some drawbacks as there are more posts than the average user can read. So, it is suggested by HubSpot to only publish between two and five times per week on Facebook. If you have a large following or multiple marketing strategies, you could get away with posting more than that, but we would not recommend doing so.
More than two #Facebook hashtags are too many #facts
According to the most recent Sprout Social data, 1 to 2 hashtags on Facebook posts help generate more awareness, and hashtags with more than ten characters see more engagement.
In Facebook posts, you can include hashtags in any part of your copy, but Facebook recommends using hashtags within your post's sentence and having it flow like a conversation. For example, "Is anyone else excited about the #NFL season?"
Clever and conversation starting captions increase Facebook engagement
Captions on Facebook are an essential component of your post, enabling you to connect with your audience quickly. According to Social Media Today, each time you create a caption, you should do so to either tell a story, encourage a conversation with an open-ended question, or by giving your audience a call-to-action.
Instagram – Showcase your brand's uniqueness with visuals
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to posting keep the caption under 150
Instagram is a highly visual experience, so be sure to tell your business story through quality photos and videos while incorporating creative captions. Make sure all your posts are consistent with your business personality.
While you are deciding how often you should post, you can refer to the Social Buddy study that suggests publishing at least once a day. However, it is essential to stay consistent with how often you decide because having a regular schedule can affect your content's visibility.
Don’t spam your post with 30 hashtags
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags for every post, but we don’t recommend using the max number of hashtags allotted every time. In fact, according to Sprout Social, the optimal number of hashtags to use is between two to five, which enables you to focus on the specific terms you are targeting.
Being witty and shrewd will bring your picture to life
Compelling Instagram captions lead to more user engagement and is a critical component in the Instagram algorithm for picture discovery. Of course, creating compelling Instagram captions is easier said than done. Focus on making them attention-grabbing and easy to read and follow. Be sure to encourage conversations to your post by including a call to action or asking a question.
With more than half of the world using social media, it has never been more critical to maximize your business and brand presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Knowing the basics of social media posting will not only amplify your efforts and guarantee better results but is also an effective and free way to grow your business and connect you with consumers all over the world.
I hope this set of best practices will be helpful and give you a great starting point when getting ready to post. But if you disagree with anything I said, please let us know by reposting this blog on your own account with a comment. Because a blog about social media would not be complete without social interaction and a healthy argument in someone’s social media comment section.