Facebook Cheat Sheet
The Place: Facebook is where people connect with friends, family and brands. It’s also where people share photos, but the number of photos uploaded to Facebook has decreased with the introduction of sites like Instagram and Snapchat.
The People: Facebook boasts a diverse audience, but the largest segment is 18- to 29-year-olds. It’s somewhat more appealing to women; Pew Research Center finds 76 percent of women use Facebook versus 66 percent of men.
Facebook users include 45 percent of the 65 years old or older demographic, a number that is up from 35 percent in 2012. Some marketers fear that an older audience will cause teenagers to abandon Facebook, but data and research contradicts that concern. Tom Webster of Edison Research suggests growth has stagnated due to reaching a saturation point rather than abandonment. In addition, Facebook has a stronghold on the Internet. Webster calls it “plumbing” because many people use Facebook to log into sites requiring social logins.
The Challenges: Facebook, like other social networks, has introduced native advertising. Brands that use the network to market themselves will have to pay to stay in the social media game.
- Get your community involved. Starbucks posts photos from its Instagram account, but many of those photos aren’t original to the company; they’re taken by Starbucks brand aficionados.
- Make your content mobile friendly if you want it to be shared. According to Business Insider, Facebook is the most popular social media app on smartphones and accounts for 66 percent of total media sharing on iPhones.
- Optimize your Facebook page for Graph Search. If you want to be found on Facebook, have the correct category and contact information. You want your page to show up if someone searches for a term specific to your business.
- Invest some time and money in Facebook Ads and Offers. Organic reach has and will continue to decline. Even if you have a strong community, you’ll want to pursue paid advertising options.
- Facebook users like photos; they upload at least 350 million every day. Take advantage of their affinity. According to Ekaterina Walter, “Content with compelling visual content receives 94 percent more total views.”
- For official guidance, visit Facebook for Business.
Twitter Cheat Sheet
The Place: Twitter offers a social network and microblogging service that is the go-to place for real-time rumors, news, customer complaints and service. All messages or “tweets” are capped at 140 characters, which enforces brevity and clarity of thought. It’s also the originator of the hashtag, at least in the modern sense and current usage. Twitter is in the process of rolling out a major profile redesign, with a greater focus on photos and content cards.
The People: Twitter claims to have 18 percent of all Internet users as account holders. Its users tend to be city dwellers (20 percent). The numbers drop to 14 and 12 percent in suburban and rural communities, respectively. Users are usually younger adults, and they’re more likely to access the site on a mobile device (60 percent).
The Challenges: Twitter is rapid-fire copy. To stand out, brands need to consider clever wording and visual media. The new profiles will dedicate significantly more real estate to the header photo, offering brands additional space for creative imagery.
- Optimize your bio. You could fill your bio with hashtags and humor, but if you intend to use Twitter for business, your bio needs to be a miniature version of your LinkedIn profile. You can be funny but make sure to share essential information about who you are, what you do, and where to find you.
- Set up searches. If you want to turn conversations into conversions, you have to monitor mentions of your brand, as well as relevant and competitive keywords.
- Don’t forget the hashtag. If you want to track tweets and conversations, use a hashtag. It not only lets conversations be found more easily, but also allows you to measure your Twitter efforts.
- Use Promoted Tweets. If you want your message to reach more people, you’ll have to pay to do it. Two tips for Promoted Tweets: define and target your audience, and don’t run your promotion for too long. If you need to run it for an extended length of time, find different ways of stating your message.
- Implement Twitter Cards. You can share Vine videos or attach images to your tweets, but if you want to provide a richer experience, you’ll want to delve into Twitter Cards. By adding some HTML to your website, any tweets of your content will include applicable visual media.
- For Twitter’s official guidelines, go to Twitter for Business.
LinkedIn Cheat Sheet
The Place: This social network is where professionals connect with other professionals, join industry-specific groups, and search for industry-specific news.
The People: LinkedIn boasts approximately 84 million members in the United States and 227 million worldwide. Users are more likely to be male (24 percent of men versus 19 percent of women). Usage is higher among people who have a college degree or higher, as well as with people who have incomes of $75,000 or more. Usage also is higher with 50 to 64 year olds, which is not an odd statistic. The older demographic comprises upper management and people interested in making business-related connections.
The Challenges: LinkedIn may be the staid and stodgy social network, but it’s extremely helpful to people and businesses seeking to build stronger brands. People can associate their personal profiles with company pages, and both people and businesses can use keywords in their profiles so that they rank higher in search results. LinkedIn is also rolling out its publishing platform to members, which provides another channel of communication for individuals and the brands they work with.
- Make an interactive resume by adding rich media and detailed descriptions to your LinkedIn profile. You can add photos, presentations, and even demo reels. Not only will you stand out from people in your industry, but you’ll also increase profile views and requests to connect.
- Make your profile public. Nobody can connect with you professionally if you keep your profile hidden. Related notes: Make sure to use a professional headshot, set up a custom URL, and share where you can be found and contact information. Forget about endorsements. If you use LinkedIn, you know you can endorse and be endorsed for anything. Skip the endorsements and seek recommendations. They’ll speak better for you.
- Create or join industry or topical groups. If you want to network with like-minded individuals or find clients for your business, you’ll want to create or join a group. Participating in groups takes time, but the return is worth the investment.
- Maintain a lively company page. If you have a company page, don’t let it sit empty. LinkedIn company pages are where your employees and future employees come to connect. Showcase your company and its culture by sharing photos, videos, and other content.
- Use LinkedIn ads. With ads, you can promote products, positions and services to a targeted B2B audience.
- Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn has an official guide for business pages. It also has a page specific to advertising.
Google+ Cheat Sheet
The Place: Google describes Google+ as “one Google account for everything Google.” It could be considered the “one ring.” It’s meant to bind all things Internet together. While it is a social network, its value may be higher for search than for connections.
The People: Google+ has over 343 million active users. Usage at Google+ is higher with males (over 67 percent of the network), which isn’t surprising because of its popularity within the tech industry. While users tend to share more “newsy” content, they aren’t opposed to the animated GIF. According to Digital Insights, animated GIFs remain the most engaging type of post. The site doesn’t have the daily usage Facebook does; only 60 percent log in every day.
The Challenges: Despite the hype, Google+ remains a niche network. Businesses can find loyal communities on it, but they should do some research before committing to creating and maintaining a company page. That being said, it is important to have a page in order to reap the benefits of +1’s in search results.
- Create a Google+ company page. Pages are indexed, which means you increase both your company’s search visibility and your ability to be found by customers interested in your products and services.
- Take advantage of what Google+ company pages offer. With Google+, you can have Hangouts, start Campfires, and even email followers. You can’t do any of those things on its main unnamed competitor.
- Add the +1 button to your website. The button is used more than 5 billion times per day. In addition, it increases your search rankings.
- Set up Google+ authorship. If you want your individual content to be connected to you and to show up higher in search results, you have to have Google+ authorship. Once you do, you get not only higher search rankings but also a beautiful byline and thumbnail of yourself that accompanies your content in search results. On Google+, you can list the sites where you have authorship enabled and be noted as an official contributor.
- Use video. If you have a YouTube account, you’re ahead of the game. YouTube comments are now integrated with Google+. What does that mean? If someone comments on your video on YouTube, the comment and the video automatically show up in the Google+ news stream. In addition, Hangouts can be posted to your YouTube account, too.
- Like other networks, Google+ has official information for businesses. Rumors are still circulating that the social network may offer advertising that would appear in the Google display ad network.
YouTube Cheat Sheet
The Place: YouTube is home to most videos ranging from thirty seconds to fifteen minutes. Subjects range from crazy cat videos to fixing a running toilet. Because of its broad subject base, it’s the second-largest search engine in the world, a fact that may have more to do with its connections with Google and Google+ than anything else. The network may develop a kid-friendly channel soon.
The People: YouTube boasts over 1 billion unique monthly visitors. According to Social Strand Media, the network is capable of reaching more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network. The age demographic may be a factor in mobile use; 40 percent of YouTube videos are watched on mobile devices.
The Challenges: YouTube is on-the-go video, which means it needs to be optimized for all devices, and easily shared or embedded.ant to have a page in order to reap the benefits of +1’s in search results.
- Choose your advertising route. With YouTube, you can advertise with a brand-specific channel, ads embedded in videos, or both.
- Develop your channel. If you create a brand-specific channel, spend some time personalizing it. Add pertinent contact information and other places to find you.
- Optimize your videos. Properly categorize your uploaded videos. Add industry keywords in the title, description and keywords box to make them more searchable. Include a transcript of each video to add to its SEO value and link back to your website so that viewers can obtain more information or contact you.
- Target your ads. Don’t let your ads appear on just any videos; make sure they relate to the videos themselves. For instance, if you sell specialty dog food, you’d want your ads to appear on the silly dog videos and dog show recaps rather than how-to videos about vegan meals or eyeshadow application.
- Make your content public. YouTube is for sharing, not hiding. If you’re interested in being mobile-friendly, the public status is even more important. Users will abandon your videos for another’s if they can’t easily share them. And don’t forget to share them on your other social networks.
- Quality is important. More to the point, audio is important. Users may forgive a shaky camera, but they aren’t going to be as lenient about tinny or crackly audio. Invest in decent audio equipment if you plan to create videos for your brand.
- Take advantage of YouTube’s Video Editor. You can combine existing videos and images to create a new video; trim clips to custom lengths; add music to your video from a library of approved tracks; and customize clips with special tools and effects.
- For more information, visit YouTube’s tips page.
Flickr Cheat Sheet
The Place: Flickr offers a massive repository of photos. Because photos can be stored at full resolution, the site is popular with photographers. The site features free and Pro versions. Since adding 1 terabyte of free storage that’s available on any device, the site has seen a 170 percent increase in the daily sharing of photos.
The People: Flickr has over 87 million users, a number that has grown since a mobile and desktop redesign and the addition of free storage. While many of the users are “traditional” photographers – that is, they use a Canon, Nikon or other camera – the iPhone is the most popular camera on the platform, which is followed by smartphones generally.
The Challenges: Flickr is a place to archive and catalogue photos. Businesses using the site should invest time in adding descriptions, captions and keywords so that their images are more easily found and increasingly shared. They should also add a watermark to their images to keep their brands at the forefront of viewers’ eyes.
- Use Flickr for visual storytelling. Facebook may be emphasizing visual media, but if you truly want to tell a visual story, Flickr is the place to do it. You can present your story in its full glory, not in the reduced resolution version that Facebook offers. Even Google+ pales in comparison to Flickr. While you can upload full-resolution photos to Google+, they count toward the space available with your Google account.
- Make your photos easy to find. If you want your story found, catalogue your photos intelligently. Use tags and relevant keywords so that your images will appear in search queries. Sets let you group photos by subject area or events.
- License your photos and make them shareable with a Creative Commons license. Flickr may be a good place to archive your photos, but a primary result is sharing. Get earned opportunities by allowing people to share and use your photos.
- Use groups. If you want to create connections and empower your fans, join or start groups. Groups are a way for people to unite around a central theme, and to find and share images and stories that are relevant to them.
- Flickr is for enjoying photos. Photos are a means for social interaction at sites like Instagram and Snapchat. Flickr offers a richer experience, which means you will want to post print-quality photos. You also want to avoid “salesy” photos; Flickr is adamant that you use the site to share photos, not to sell things.
- Flickr offers business accounts and ways to advertise. If you haven’t noticed the ads, it’s because they’re less obtrusive than the ones found on sites like Facebook. They also don’t appear on paid accounts.
Pinterest Cheat Sheet
The Place: Pinterest, the online scrapbooking site, is a walled-off garden in many ways. Most users repin images or share pins internally. Although users can connect other social networks (namely, Facebook and Twitter) to Pinterest, only six percent have connected Facebook with their accounts. Food is the top category while Nordstrom is the most popular brand because it ties its pins to physical rewards such as free shipping. Pinterest has proven to be uniquely friendly to certain types of e-commerce; pins have a longer half-life than Facebook updates or tweets on Twitter.
The People: Pinterest use has grown from 15 percent of online U.S. adults in 2012 to 21 percent in 2013. That percentile predominately comprises women; 33 percent of online women use Pinterest as opposed to eight percent of men. The women of Pinterest tend to be higher educated and affluent. They also are slightly more likely to live in suburban areas rather than urban or rural ones.
The Challenges: Businesses need to consider how they will use the social network to direct traffic back to themselves. While it is fun to pin things, it’s a useless endeavor if the pins don’t bring bottom-line results.
- Tell a story. If you have a Pinterest business account, share pins that tell your business’ story. Do remember that if you’re looking for attention (repins), you’ll want to pin images that immediately connect with viewers.
- Don’t “pin ALL the things!” Organize your pins by themes so that your followers can find images and information easily.
- Use descriptions and hashtags. Pinterest will pull metadata from the images you pin, but you can edit the caption to something more relevant to you and your brand, and add hashtags to help with indexing.
- Add a “pin” button to your content. If you want to know why Modcloth and Polyvore have some of the most pins on Pinterest, it’s because both sites have integrated a Pinterest button.
- Link back to your website. If you don’t pin images directly from your website, upload images on Pinterest and add links back to your website to direct traffic back to you.
- Brand your pins. Adding a logo to your pins creates visual cues and reminders. Be forewarned – an oversized logo or watermark will be a turnoff to most pinners. Be subtle in the placement of your logo.
- For more help with Pinterest business accounts, which include analytics tools, visit the Pinterest for Business page.
Instagram Cheat Sheet
The Place: Instagram offers a wholly mobile platform that has demographics distinct from its parent company Facebook, which bought the social network in 2012. The photo and video social network allows users – both people and brands – to share photos and 15-second videos called “Instavids.”
The People: Instagram boasts 150 million users. According to Pew Research Center, minorities are more likely to use the site than Caucasians. Users are younger; they tend to be 18 to 29 year olds. In an odd twist to the story, substantial overlap occurs between Instagram and Twitter user bases, a phenomenon that may be explained by both networks’ predominance on mobile devices.
The Challenges: Instagram is for shared visual experiences. Brands will need to give some control to their followers in order to increase awareness, engagement and other activity.
- Think quality over quantity. While Instagram may outpace Flickr in terms of daily volume, the site only accounts for seven percent of daily photo uploads in the U.S.
- Think device diversity, not exclusivity. Instagram may be mobile, but use that factor to complement and broaden the reach of your other content to smartphones and tablets.
- If you don’t have a strong visual product, you can still use Instagram. Follow the example of American Express. An Instagram of a credit card isn’t attractive, but one featuring the latest exploits of the mysterious CF Frost? In the words of MasterCard, “priceless.” Other ideas include showing outtakes at your business or ways you’re giving back to the community.
- Don’t forget the hashtag. Clever captions may earn you comments and fan love, but hashtags will help your content get found. In addition, hashtags are paramount if implementing a user-generated content campaign as Starbucks, Chobani, and other brands do.
- Instagram isn’t just for photos. Instagram has added videos and, more notably, some decent video editing capabilities. If you want to share more polished videos than you can with Twitter competitor Vine, Instagram deserves a look.
- Instagram is participatory. Encourage customers to share photos of your products and to use your company’s hashtag in the photo’s description. Then reward customers by “regramming” the best ones.
- Instagram does a fantastic job of providing guidance to businesses, so make sure to check out the company’s blog.
Vine Cheat Sheet
The Place: Vine is the home of the so-called “micro-video” and “stop-motion video.” Vine, a Twitter property, began as a wholly mobile platform but has added a desktop experience. The network consists solely of six-second videos, what its founders call “abbreviated moments” that are shared on the network itself and often on Twitter. According to Advertising Age, nine Vine videos are shared on Twitter every second.
The People: Approximately 40 million people use Vine. The network draws a younger crowd that ranges from late teens to early 20s. Gender isn’t a point of differentiation; females and males are almost evenly split. Users tend to have lower incomes, which probably has to do with their age. The age may also explain why personalities such as Justin Timberlake and Kim Kardashian, and brands like Taco Bell, BuzzFeed and PacSun are followed.
The Challenges: Vine’s challenges are the short time frame and limited video editing. Brands wanting to produce quality six-second videos will want to edit their videos elsewhere before uploading them to the social network with a third-party app.
- Create teasers that lead to more in-depth content. As trailers are to movies, Vines are to online content.
- Solve a problem in six seconds. Think it can’t be done? Visit Lowe’s Vines. The company features Vines called #LowesFixinSix.
- Strip commercials to their bare bones. Oreo, for instance, advertises its cookies in only six seconds.
- Use objects that either are synonymous with your company or display your company logo. You only have six seconds, so your audience has to immediately recognize what is being shown.
- Create a video flipbook with a Vine serial. If Vines are “abbreviated moments,” turn them into a story. Draw in your audience with a sympathetic protagonist. Think about how to encapsulate the elements of story – inciting incident, rising action, and resolution – in short, short pieces.
- Vine doesn’t have a business-related section yet, but it does offer a helpful guide for getting started.
Snapchat Cheat Sheet
The Place: Snapchat offers a mobile-only application where people can share instant photos and videos, and thereby their experiences and emotions of the moment. The network’s founders call such content “ephemeral”; it disappears after 10 seconds of being viewed. Snapchat has added what it calls “Stories,” a collection of photos, or “snaps,” and video that can be viewed for 24 hours. The introduction of Stories has turned the network from a solely private one into one of interest to brands.
The People: Pew Research Center estimates that Snapchat has 26 million active U.S. users. Of that number, 70 percent of Snapchatters are female. Users are between 13 and 25 years of age. They share, on average, 400 million snaps per day.
The Challenges: As with Vine, the challenge with Snapchat is time. The “Stories” only last for 24 hours, so brands have to think about how to capitalize on urgency and demand.
- Promote your Snapchat account on other networks. You can’t share snaps or Stories with users unless you’re friends with them, so you’ll need to let people know you’re on Snapchat to get started. It’s a bit like building an email list but for Snapchat.
- Create teasers for upcoming content. HBO’s show “Girls” uses Snapchat to share teasers about the upcoming season as well as the current state of affairs both on and off the set. HBO says Snapchat has increased online engagement and watching of the show.
- Offer strong calls to action. The urgency of a 10-second photo or video shared with a “friend” means that you have a captive audience. Provide a strong call-to-action to drive visits and increase sales. According to Sumpto, 67 percent of college students like to receive discounts or promotions from brands on Snapchat.
- Involve your audience. Once you’ve started a Snapchat community, reward it for its involvement. 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain in New York, uses Snapchat to target its core audience. People who snap themselves enjoying the yogurt are rewarded with 16 Handles’ snaps of discount coupons.
- Use hashtags to measure campaigns. Snapchat doesn’t offer analytics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t track your efforts. Chat Sports, a sports ticket provider, enticed new subscribes by offering a chance to win tickets to a game. Entrants had to get five friends to add Chat Sports on Snapchat, and those five friends had to send a snap to Chat Sports with the name of the person who wanted to win the tickets with the hashtag #gimmietickets.
- Don’t forget to enable “Smart Filters.” Go to Settings > Manage > Smart Filters and turn on the options “Special Text” and “Replay.”
- Need help getting started? Visit Snapchat’s Support.