You have (or plan to have) your social media profiles for your business, but now you need to figure out what content to post to those social media channels. When planning for social media content, you need to plan for and make decisions about things like promotional vs. non-promotional content, upcoming events and promotions, and curated vs. original content. Once you make those decisions, you need to decide what format each of those pieces of content will take on, and how each media and post type will work on your social media channels.
Meaning, the content you post to any given social media channel needs to “work” for that channel.
You shouldn’t create a YouTube channel if you aren’t producing videos, and it’s going to be difficult to cultivate a following on Instagram if your content plan is link heavy vs. photo and video friendly.
It is important to note that as time has gone on, 3rd party tools and apps have been created to help facilitate a content format posted on a social media platform that doesn’t otherwise natively support it. But for many small business owners, you don’t have the time, budget and/or inclination to incorporate something beyond using the basic features of any given social media platform, so I kept that focus when writing this post.
With all that being said, let’s look at types of content to share on your social media profiles, and what platforms they work best on.
What Type of Content do I Post on Social Media?
- Photos There are so many types of photos you could post on behalf of your business. Photos of products, people who work for you, ‘behind the scenes’ looks, services as they are being provided, before & afters, just to name a few. Photos work very well on Instagram (square crop is best!) and Facebook (single photos vs. 2+ photos tend to get a higher organic Reach). You need a photo (and link) to post anything to Pinterest, so if you have some photos you’ve taken that you want to share on Pinterest, you’ll need to click on the red + (plus) sign, upload the image and then attach a link to a page on your website. You can upload a photo to a tweet and doing so does increase engagement. You can also post photos on LinkedIn and Google+. Google+ is a fantastic place for multiple photos organized into albums.
- Videos Videos are the “in” thing in social media right now. A great thing about videos is that they can be used across multiple social media platforms so the work you put in to make the video can be well worth it.
- Video links You can share a video link to most social media platforms but to mixed results. Video links work best on Pinterest. On other platforms that accept video links (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, but not Instagram), you have much less control over optimizing and customizing the video for that platform, and lose out on features like auto-play (in comparison to native video).
- Native video If you can make a video and upload it directly to a given social media platform, that’s the better way to go. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have time limits on uploaded videos (140 seconds for Twitter and 60 seconds for Instagram). YouTube is a powerful video network given its platform search capabilities, YouTube videos showing up in Google search results and YouTube being the 2nd most used search engine itself. Facebook prefers uploaded videos vs. shared videos links because it wants to be the one to host the video. Because of this, you get better organic Reach and more customizability with your video, plus auto-play. You can also create your own Video Library on your Facebook Business Page with your native videos. Most recently, LinkedIn (finally) added the ability to upload video files to Profiles (not available yet for Company Pages).
- Live video Speaking from the standpoint of what’s best for most small business owners, I’d only recommend live video if it has lasting power. Disappearing content like on Snapchat or videos (or photos, for that matter) that can be accessed for a short time only like Instagram Stories usually is too much work for the short life of the media. However, if you create live video content and then download it to repurpose it, that can make those live videos far more worth your while. Facebook Live videos are available on your Profile or Page shortly after concluding your live video session. They remain on your Profile or Page, and also can be downloaded to use elsewhere. I recommend that anyone who is recording Facebook Lives, to download and upload to your YouTube channel.
- GIFs GIFs are supported on many platforms, but you often need to take extra steps to search for and share links to GIFs in order for them to appear (this is true for Facebook and Instagram). The best place for GIFs is Twitter, which offers GIFs as a native option with each new tweet you compose. GIFs spotted on Pinterest show the GIF label next to the pin description and move after being clicked on, but not while in the Pinterest main feed.
- Articles/Blog Posts Links are great on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook. Instagram does not allow for clickable links in a photo caption (without it being an ad), but you can somewhat alleviate the link challenge with a tool like LinkTree.
- Online Catalog Pinterest is a wonderful platform if you have an online store because you have lots of links and images to pin to your Pinterest boards. Twitter works very well here, too (just remember to set up your Twitter Cards or upload an image with your links for better engagement). Also good places to use links to your online store: Facebook and Google+, and in the video description area of your YouTube videos if the product links are discussed in the video itself.
- Text Only Posts Though not the most engaging of post types (except for Twitter), you can post a text-only update on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
So now that you know what types of content work best on which social media platforms, does that make you change either your social media content strategy or plans for what social media profiles to use for your business?