• Tommy Holstein

The Executive's Guide to Social Media

Have you ever met somebody that signed their text messages?

Often times, we’ll see grandparents be guilty of this.

“Hi Greg missyou cant wait 2 c u — Grandma”

You can’t help but laugh. You’re glad they’re learning to text, but it’s funny because they’re going about it all wrong.

Miss you too, Grandma! Btw, you don’t have to sign your texts. I know it’s you.
“OK Greg but what is btw — Grandma”

Oh, Grandma.

Like text messaging, social media has its own… language. It has its own list of social norms that one must follow to “do it right”. Moreover, each individual platform has its own language.

Facebook is not LinkedIn. Twitter is not Instagram. YouTube is not Tumblr.

You get the idea.

If you’re running/marketing a business or a brand, you need to make sure you understand the language of each platform before you start turning a lot of people off.

Let’s dive in.

1) Facebook

Right now, Facebook is the king of social media. It currently has 2.38 billion users, so if your business doesn’t have a Facebook page, stop reading this article and go make one now.

Facebook rewards share-ability. On Facebook, the goal is to get as much engagement (likes, comments, shares) as possible so that its algorithm will recognize that content and show it to more people. The more engagements, the more your content appears on other people’s timelines. Shares, though, are perhaps the number one priority.

Since people find your content on Facebook through shares, a good rule of thumb is to look at your content and think, “Would I want to share this with a friend?”

If the answer is “eh, probably not,” maybe change some things.

A good place to start is story-telling. Everyone loves stories. Humans of New York, for example, has created a massive audience strictly through telling stories.

Otherwise, what purpose does your content serve? Is it:

  • Educational?

  • Inspirational?

  • Emotional?

  • Humorous?

2) Instagram

Unlike Facebook, you can’t share other people’s content on Instagram.

“But, Tommy, how will I ever get new people to see what I post? How will I grow my audience?”

Enter, hashtags.

To find new content on Instagram, you must search via hashtags. It’s important to load your posts up with a whole lot of them if you want your content to be found by people outside your network.

By load them up, I mean load them up.

If you’re looking to grow your audience, I wouldn’t post anything on Instagram without at least 10 relevant hashtags.

Your hashtags have to be relevant to your post.

A great way to find hashtags is to press the “#” symbol and start writing your hashtag. Then, a list will appear that will give you popular hashtags starting with what you’ve typed.

Try to use hashtags that have 1 million+ posts attached to them.

3) LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as a Facebook for professionals.

You won’t find pictures of babies and cats here (please, do not post pictures of babies and cats). Rather, people share job updates, industry news, and career insights.

LinkedIn is one of the best places to post educational blog articles. People aren’t on LinkedIn to socialize; they’re on LinkedIn to network and educate themselves. If you can consistently provide your LinkedIn audience with free educational content, you’ll position yourself as an invaluable resource.

To get the most “bang for your buck” with your LinkedIn articles, here’s a tip: don’t post the entire thing.

Yep. You heard me.

Let’s say you’ve got an article on LinkedIn titled “5 Secret Tips on ______”. Instead of posting the entire thing, post just the first tip, then include a link prompting people to read the remainder of the article on your website.

See what we did there? Now, you’ve got people on your website!

Now that you’ve got them there… What else might you encourage them to do? Hmmm…

4) YouTube

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, sitting just behind Google.

Oh, and it’s owned by Google. Imagine that!

YouTube can be one of the trickiest platforms to gain a decent following on, but also one of the most rewarding if you’re successful.

It’s got a complicated algorithm that you must cater to in order to get your videos to pop off. It changes often, but there are a few boxes to check no matter what they’re prioritizing in any given month.

  • Include an eye-catching and interesting thumbnail and title.

  • Like hashtags for Instagram, include as many video tags as YouTube will allow.

  • Write a detailed description of what the video is about.

  • Include End Screens/Cards to encourage people to continue watching other videos on your channel (many people skip this one).

Additionally, YouTube is very kind to channels that are posting consistent content. If you’re uploading sporadically, you’re actually hurting your channel. Create an upload schedule that you can stick to, and do it as much as you can.

For more on how to optimize your YouTube videos, visit YouTube’s Creator Academy.

5) Twitter

Twitter can be difficult to understand, but use it correctly and you’ll create a stellar brand.

The platform is interesting because it utilizes share-ability like Facebook (called “retweets”) and hashtags like Instagram. Unlike Instagram, though, you don’t want to load your tweets up with hashtags. One to two hashtags is enough for each tweet.

Despite the 280 character limit on tweets, Twitter is best used to join in on conversations. Search for hashtags related to your industry — and other trending hashtags in general — and find out what people are talking about. Then, give your two-cents.

Take advantage of what's currently trending on the internet.

Finally, don’t worry about tweeting too much. A single tweet has a lifespan of around 18 minutes. It’ll still exist on your profile page, but it’ll only be showing up on timelines organically for this long. So, if you’d like, you can literally tweet all day.

As a final word for each of these platforms, I’ll say this: engage with your audience as much as possible.

Like and reply to as many comments as you’re able to.

Give actual feedback to customers.

Encourage meaningful discussions.

Your goal is to grow an audience, is it not? Do you want a loyal fan base? Millions of raving fans?

Interact with them. When you have a smaller audience, that’s exactly when you need to treat each and every one of them like gold. If you do, people will flock to you in no time.

This guide is not an exhaustive list of platforms, nor does it cover every single nook and cranny of the platforms listed. If you’ve got any hot tips for others, please share them in the comments.

I promise I’ll respond to you.



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