by Christine Scott and Brianne French-Sorgini

As our spring internship program quickly comes to end, VPM’s marketing intern, Christine Scott, talks to us about the difference between using social media platforms for business and pleasure, and what she’s learned about how to utilize each platform differently and effectively as a marketing tool.

Check it out below!

Before starting my internship at VPM, I primarily used social media was a way to connect with friends and to keep up with the Kardashians (pun intended). But learning how to use it as a marketing tool has given me a new found respect for the Kardashians. It’s actually serious business when it comes to sharing and engaging on social networks. The very first thing I learned is that the platforms are not all one and the same; utilizing all of the available platforms is a must in today’s industry, but copying and pasting the same content to each isn’t enough.  The format of your content and engagement method should be tailored to each account you use, while displaying a consistent brand image across all platforms. Now, I don’t think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as a whole, but as separate entities that must be treated and used as such. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to effectively utilize each of these social platforms as marketing tools in the business world.

According to CNN, Facebook is one of the largest social networks to date with 1.86 billion monthly active users as of late 2016. Because of the large audience pool it is the best tool to create a strong personal brand and to grow a personal network.  Adweek says “Facebook posts tend to have a pretty opinionated bent … offers more exposure to bold new ideas and unexpected ways of thinking.” Therefore, we know the people who are using this platform engage in stronger and deeper conversation in comparison to other platforms.

Focus on the following:

  • Fill out your business page with precise and accurate information. A complete profile makes your page easily identifiable.
  • Post regularly. You have more freedom on what types of post to display without the hassle of limitations on word count and video length. Try to mix up the types of post as well.
  • Reply to comments as quickly as possible even to the occasional troll. The longer you wait the less likely it’ll turn into a conversation.
  • Link your Facebook page to your website as well as your other social network accounts.

Twitter revolves around quick and concise conversation that is constantly changing and evolving. With about 500 million tweets being generated per day, it’s easy for your words to get lost in the sauce so you’ll have to work hard and at a fast pace to stay in the loop. You could think of it as a manic Facebook.

Focus on the following:

  • Create a dialogue or become a part of a pre-existing conversation. Engaging in conversation allows others who aren’t following you to see your thoughts and ideas, and potentially join your network in the future.
  • Try to post multiple times a day. Posting once daily is sure to get you lost in the sea of tweets and retweets.
  • Hashtags help your tweets get discovered, but can easily clutter up a post if you use too many of them.
  • Take part in trending topics, but only to those that pertain to your tweet and your industry. If Kim Kardashian’s new beauty product is trending and you’re tweeting for a law firm, don’t try to jump in the conversation just for the sake of getting in on it. Stick to topics that are relevant to your brand’s content.

For most social networks, photos and videos are used to enhance written content. When it comes to Instagram, the visuals are the content. This is a platform to visually shine and showcase the look and feel of your products, services, and brand.

Focus on the following:

  • Create a style pattern for your Instagram. A color scheme and precise content style helps to create symmetry and further pushes brand image.
  • Post regularly. At the most, post once a day, every day. At the very least, post once a day, three times a week. Also, pay attention to the time of day you post because this actually does matter (something I never thought about as a college student).
  • Interact with others through the comment section, direct message, or simply liking their posts.
  • Instagram stories are your new best friends. Although we love Snapchat, utilizing Instagram Stories allows you to share more content more efficiently because your follower doesn’t need to leave the platform in order to see it. Post daily with content that is easy to follow , fun to look at, and keeps your followers interested.

LinkedIn is not like the other social networks. This platform is concerned solely with business. Think of it as a trophy case for your company; you want to show off all of its best assets and awards here.

Focus on the following:

  • Highlight your company’s culture, recent news about it, events, job openings, and content helpful for professionals seeking opportunities or a business to partner with.
  • Publish interesting articles to further support your expertise in your industry.
  • 160,000 new articles are published on LinkedIn every week. When it comes to publishing original content, using a quality, high-resolution photo to accompany your article increases the likelihood of it being read.
  • Follow and engage with LinkedIn groups that are connected to your industry. This is a great place to make relevant connections.

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