Y2K came and left in more or less a drunken murmur. Sixteen years and multiple “end of the world” warnings later, we have found ourselves in the middle of the Social Media Age.
If you’re reading this at all, you probably clicked on it through a link on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Crazily enough, those are the EXACT platforms that I’m going to cover today! What are the chances?
To begin, yes, you probably know plenty about each platform to make it through your day-to-day life happy and carefree. BUT what if you want to promote an event, a show, a business, or a random cat video? Knowing how, when, and where to share content like this is necessary in order to have a successful presence online.
Think of it this way, your social media presence is an online portfolio (at this point, the word “online” is redundant) for your friends, family, and potential employers to view who you are, what you stand for, and what poorly landed jokes you think are actually funny. If anything, they know more about you due to this online presence than they know about you in real life, unless you’re constantly physically seeing all 1,038 friends you have on Facebook.
So without further ado, let’s look at each platform in more detail.
Ahhh, the epitome and crux of the ever-changing digital media age. Oftentimes ahead of the game, Facebook evolves faster than the consumer wishes, changing preferences and layout seemingly on a whim without care for the angry user.
Facebook is the foundation for everything else that occurs, linking the other channels together in one cohesive place. Taking advantage of this opportunity is paramount to its usage and effectiveness, but understanding how to utilize it appropriately is way more difficult.
Many could argue that there is no right or wrong way to use Facebook, but those people are the same people that think the tomato is a fruit.
Facebook is the modern day scrapbook. For those who don’t know what a scrapbook is, it’s what couples in the ’90s sometimes made each other in a relationship to remember all the memories they had with each other breaking up, leaving a book of broken memories gathering dust in a rarely opened cabinet.
As a scrapbook, it is a place for pictures, text, news, and trends to work together in a synthesized way. So don’t post just text. Don’t post just pictures. In fact, Facebook is much smarter than your scrapbook. It knows the difference between each of these posts and will give some more power than others (yes, not all posts are created equal). Videos have the most pull, as they keep users on the app longer than pictures and words do. Pictures have less of a say while simple text posts have the least power.
“So do I always just post videos on Facebook?” Absolutely not, self-rhetorical question. A variety of posts and interactions allow for a more synergized experience for yourself and your friends as they navigate the never-ending newsfeed and sneakily creep on your personal timeline.
As for businesses or those intrigued by selling their personal artwork on Facebook, think of it in the same way! As a community scrapbook, readers do not want to be seeing those ugly looking hot dog ads that cover half of your favorite magazine up. Annoying ads like that don’t belong in scrapbooks, even of the digital variety. Yes, ads are ever-important in building brands and selling services, but avoid clickbait in these scenarios that involve “Buy now, Click now!” promises. Those promises make people sad and we do not want to make people sad.
What this all means:
- Steer away from “Buy now, Click now!” posts.
- Use pictures and video as much as you can while keeping simple text posts to a minimum.
- Vary the types of posts and interactions.
Say something meaningful in 140 characters or less…AND GO. Just the previous sentence was 60 of your maximum 140 characters! So how do you create the perfect tweet that will reach the far ends of the site through constant retweets and the freshly termed “likes”?
Be honest. Honesty is key. Your followers are followers because they already know you to some degree. At the same time, DON’T tell them when you’re making lunch or taking a walk. Instead…
Be funny. Take those monotonous moments and make them silly or add something you thought about that experience. It goes right along with honesty. The simple moments in life are often the funniest.
Be real. This goes right along with the first two, but must be reiterated more directly. Twitter’s voice is rawer than Facebook’s. Take advantage of that openness and interact with people who matter to you. And every once in awhile, take part in a “Twitter-rant”, which allows you to blow past the “140 character rule” and instead, post a string of related tweets about a single subject that holds mighty importance to you. #Realness
Be trendy. Hashtags and trends are way more effective here than on Facebook as it currently stands. Follow the current trends and make a statement. You have a voice that can reach farther than it could just 15 years ago so do something about it. Let people know what you think.
What this all means:
- Use hashtags.
- Speak succinctly and with your own voice.
- Be trendy
Aww, it’s Facebook’s baby brother! Although the photo editing and posting application has been around for quite awhile now, it recently has been placed under the Facebook brand, thus leading to changes to the medium like the classic algorithm that shows the user what the site believes would rather see over pictures most recently posted.
While Twitter and Facebook are made for multiple posts a day, Instagram must be checked to one, MAYBE two, posts a day. Albums are for Facebook and memes are for Twitter. Keep pictures engaging, interesting, and most importantly, YOU, with a relatable or catchy caption that could only be found in the country’s best magazines.
If you’re a business, show behind the scenes moments here. Pretty those pictures up with filters and additions, but at the same time, don’t oversaturate it. Not only does that specifically deal with the “Saturate” feature on the app, but it deals with all aspects of the pictures. Setting “Shadows” to 0%, “Warmth” to 100%, and “Sharpen” to 100% on a Lo-Fi filter does not automatically make your picture better, but surprisingly gives your face a creepy “Donald Trump Orange” vibe to it (sending color idea for “Donald Trump Orange” to Crayola currently — patent pending).
Connect your photos to Facebook sometimes! Your friends on Facebook will learn you have an Instagram and you will suddenly gain followers!
Use hashtags and your location! There’s a nifty little button on your personal page that shows where you have been and how many photos you have posted from each location. It is the best.
What this all means:
- Show some behind-the-scenes moments for your followers.
- Use hashtags.
- Use filters carefully and sparingly.
This is going to be big! I mean, it’s already beginning to take over the social media landscape in an aggressive way, but here’s a way to truly tell a story in the most literal sense.
In the same way that Instagram can give you the behind-the-scenes glance, so can Snapchat. With followers on this live video and picture application, you can make something so simple, fun and engaging. And now with geofilters taking over more and more, you can show off an event or a location or a business that you’re currently at! Snapchat is constantly involving from its humble and risque beginnings into a beautiful app of location sharing and puppy filters.
What this all means:
- Post interesting content with a variety of video and photos.
- Take advantage of filters and especially geofilters.
- Jump on this bandwagon NOW! It is only growing in its prominence so learn how to utilize it today.
Social media now, for better or for worse, defines us. You cannot escape it if you try. By ignoring social media’s presence in our lives, you’re ignoring a gigantic portion of what makes us human and how we communicate and interact with others.
No matter which medium you prefer, remember these simple tips and most importantly, don’t add your boss on snapchat. Don’t. Please, for the love of God, do not do it.