Social media platforms are not created equal. Content creators need to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and types of messages that are appropriate for their platform(s) of choice. Understanding the differences in platforms is critical to creating successful content. Let’s explore the big two: Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook is a closed community and is used to communicate with people who already know about you (and have liked your page). This is Facebook’s weakness: it cannot be used to reach a pre-customer.
The great thing about creating content for Facebook is that your posts can be longer than 140 characters. You can go in depth about the new dish at your restaurant, give concrete examples of how your nonprofit fulfills its mission, advertise the upcoming events at your resort, and so on. While you can have longer posts on Facebook, don’t be verbose. It’s not the place to write a novel (that’s what blogs are for).
Calls to action, to like a photo or share a post, are common on Facebook. Use them sparingly. Too many calls to action make it seem like your company is insincere, and only cares about likes (people as numbers) instead of the conversations created by your content (people as people).
Visual content works well on Facebook. Make sure your images are the proper size and good quality. If you have multiple pictures from the same event, don’t clog people’s feeds by posting one after another. Make an album instead.
Twitter’s strength is that it is an open platform, a 21st century town square. You can use Twitter to converse with people who already know about you and people who have no idea who you are–with customers and pre-customers. It’s okay to talk to strangers on Twitter, as that’s how you can foster conversation around a similar goal, interest, or cause.
Use hashtags in your tweets to connect with people who have similar interests, whether they follow you or not. Make sure the hashtags you use already exist and are relevant to your conversation. Unless you are an influencer with conversation authority, don’t expect to be able to create your own hashtag and have it take off. If you haven’t already, brush up on hashtag etiquette.
Since Twitter is an open platform and hashtags can be well utilized, another one of its strengths is that relevant messages can be easily communicated and seen in real time by all of the Twitterverse. This works particularly well with breaking news, political events, big sporting events, and live-Tweeting television shows.
The 140 character limit can be a drawback to Twitter. It can also be a time to use creative problem solving. Have a tweet you want to send that’s 170 characters? Think of condensing your thoughts as a challenge. Have a post that you can’t shorten? Then Facebook!