It's a long-debated topic, and will continue to be... what social media platform is any given follower the most valuable to you on?
This might be controversial, but as of right now, May 2017, we're going to say it's the most worthwhile to have any given follower on Facebook, than any other social media platform. Yes, a Facebook follower right now is worth more to you from a marketing standpoint, than a follower on Twitter or Instagram.
Why would we say that?
1. Facebook currently has by far, the largest amount of users. It's on track to reach 2 billion users, this year. By comparison, Instagram has less than a third of that, around 600 million, and Twitter has around 300 million. As a matter of fact, as a side note, Tumblr has significantly more users than Twitter does right now, at 500 million. By user metrics alone, you hypothetically have the best chance of reaching the largest audience on Facebook.
2. On Facebook, you can do considerably more with any given post, than on Instagram and Twitter, practically infinitely more-so, right now. On Facebook, you can include just about as much text content as you want, as many external links as you want, individual photos, photo albums of practically unlimited sizes, videos, it allows the ability for multiple sorts of reactions from users, the list goes on and on. Instagram is nice, in that it's comparatively easy to build a large following on (in large party because it's less commitment from a follower's side, and less personal), but you're constrained by your text being almost immediately truncated, short video length, no ability to post external links (how many times can you read "See link in bio", and actually go check it out?) On Twitter, you're limited to 140 characters, and a photo or video or link will start directly eating into that limit. So judging on a metric of how can your followers engage with you? Facebook, by far, gives them the greatest opportunity to interact with you, in the largest ways possible.
3. Which brings us to our third point, Facebook users are accustomed to significantly longer engagement times, categorically - and they're becoming even more-so. Instagram largely consists of scrolling through photos at an athletic pace - you might have a person who's actually interested in your post see it for a matter of seconds, then move on to the next photo - the most interaction you might get is a "Like", and maybe a comment, which is sort of awkwardly presented on Instagram's side. As for Twitter, the users are more engaged with individual posts than Instagram, but again, it's for such short lengths of time, it puts Facebook ahead of the pack, significantly. Using the metric of who is most engaged on any social media platform right now - Facebook users are far-and-away in the lead.
This can also be gauged in almost a sense of social media exchange rate. It's not uncommon to see Instagram and Twitter accounts with astronomical amounts of followers. Part of that is because followers on those platforms are much easier to get - a less engaged audience, on lesser used platforms, seeing less individual content, that you don't even have to use your actual name on. What you don't see as much is inordinately large followings on Facebook, because people are on it more.
We're willing to guess that if you're reading this right now, and you have a Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account representing an online presence - you likely have less followers on Facebook than the other two. The reason being, on Facebook, a follower has to really, actually like whatever you're promoting, to make the sort of commitment to almost bring you into their online life. Instagram and Twitter are great, but they've almost taken on a more public and less serious model than Facebook has. If you get a follower on Facebook, it will be worth more than one anywhere else - just make sure you retain them, and create content that they'll want to engage with.
To be clear, growing a significant following on any social media platform that's well engaged is worth an inordinate amount to you, as a marketer. Having a solid social media presence has quickly become the standard of any business represented online. However, you can do the most with a follower on Facebook, than anywhere else, right now.
They've gotten so embedded in pop culture that they've almost become cliché, but depending on the social media platform you're using, hashtags can be invaluable. If you're not familiar with what a hashtag is, it's the same symbol seen on a standard touch dial phone button that is the "pound" or "number", and denoted by #.
At the moment, hashtags are by far most relevant on Instagram and Twitter. Facebook as a platform does make use of them, but most of Facebook users do not. Chalk that up to chaos theory, or that they enabled them a lot later in their life-cycle than the other two, as to why that is, but they are no where near as commonly seen on Facebook, currently.
While they were popularized by Twitter, currently, Instagram seems to make the most use of hashtags (or simply "tags", as they refer to them), and is currently the primary way of searching for photos on it.
The format for hashtags are pretty straight-forward. For example, if you want to post about something related to social media, you'd include it written either as: #socialmedia, or #SocialMedia, and people specifically looking for posts related to social media could potentially find your post. While capitalization doesn't matter, a space between the words will not work. So, if you do want to differentiate between a number of words, you can use capital letters.
Historically on Twitter, the most popular and relevant hashtags were all that used to be featured in their "Trends" section, though, currently, it's about evenly split between keywords (actual, unformatted words) and hashtags. If you use a hashtag in your tweet that's currently trending, it's more likely to be seen by a higher number of people, and in turn, interacted with by more people, so long as the tweet is relevant to the hashtag.
The platform where hashtags can make the most difference right now is on Instagram, where it could be the difference between your photo getting a significant amount of interaction, or none. If you don't use a hashtag, the only people likely to see your photo will be those on your friends list, and perhaps, their friends, if and when someone interacts with it. On the other hand, if you make appropriate use of hashtags (making sure to include only tags that are relevant to the photo, itself), anyone on Instagram searching for that tag at the moment could potentially see it - which significantly increases the size of your potential audience. What's more, it will primarily appear to people who are specifically interested in it.
We've seen people with amazing photos that have absolutely no interaction, just because they failed to use hashtags. Some people are "too cool" to use them, but if you want your photos seen by the most amount of people, we highly recommend using them, and as many as are relevant, at least while you're initially establishing your following. The current limit for number of hashtags you can include on an Instagram post is 30, so, make them count!
Increasing the number of "Likes" on your Facebook business page is important for expanding your reach and built-in audience, and many people spend a lot of money trying to do just that.
There is however, a long and easy method of continually increasing your page's "Likes" that isn't nessarily obvious. We say long and easy, because it can be time-consuming, but it's absolutely straight-forward, won't cost any money, and actually attracts "Likes" for your page that are already interested in it. The feature we'll be discussing doesn't show up on some versions of the app. So, we recommend using a browser, to do the following.
On any of your page's posts, if it has gotten any reaction, whatsoever, you're currently able to "Invite" anyone who doesn't already like your page. To do this, click on the number of reactions, and you'll see a list of everyone who reacted. To the right of their name and profile picture, you will see an "Invite" button. Click it, to send an invitation
If there's one thing we'll be reiterating on this site, it's this... in the world of social media, audience engagement is more important than the number of followers you have. Having a large number of followers is great. It can not only give you a potential built-in audience to speak directly to, but it can also improve your credibility and likelihood of gaining even more followers. However, a large number of followers doesn't mean much, if they're not interacting with you.
It could be because we're currently still in the early years of social media (think how long television has been around... how different is it now from the way it was in the 1940's? That's where we are all at in social media, at the moment), but we see so many established businesses strictly using their number of followers as a primary metric in their media kits, when in reality, they should be making sure they include what their actual recent engagement and reach is, too. That's their actual following. We hope and expect engagement and reach will be featured more and more prominently in media kits, as groups and businesses begin to understand the gravity of why they're so important. For example, if someone has 10,000 followers, and their posts are only being interacted with by dozens of people, to professionals in social media with years of experience, that doesn't reflect well on the quality of their posts, and it certainly doesn't reflect well on the quality of their social media presence. When approaching or being approached by another group or business to collaborate, feel free to tell them what your engagement and reach is, and be sure to ask them what theirs is. The more consistent the engagement and reach is, the better.
Certainly, focus on growing your base of followers, but pay equal, if not more attention to how many people are interacting with your posts, and how many people the posts are been seen by. These numbers might be vastly different than what your following is. This will mean so much more in the long run. There are social media accounts with more than a million followers, who only get several hundred reactions per post, sometimes much less. Then there are accounts with less than 100,000 followers, who are getting thousands and thousands of reactions per post, and those posts on accounts with less followers are actually being seen by more people. Which sort of presence would you like to have?
How do you get more engagement? By making posts with short, relevant, appealing content that your audience will have a reason to react to. Think about what you would want to see, and think about what your audience would want to see. Remarkable photos can go a long way, solid, short videos can, too. When your audience interacts with your posts more, those posts are in turn seen by more people. That's one of the beautiful things about social media!
A username can be one of the most valuable assets of your social media presence. It's one of the first things a person may see. Depending on your username, people may be more likely to follow and engage with you. In this post, we'll outline a few general guidelines for creating one.
1. Try to keep it as short as possible. The less anyone has to type in to interact with you, the better. Shorter usernames, like many things in life (license plate numbers, domain names, etc), also appear to be more authoritative.
2. Aim for something memorable, and easy to type. Using non-alphabet characters can be an avoidable hindrance. Always keep in mind that phone-friendliness (i.e. real life conversation appeal), can be a major plus. If you meet a contact, it will be much easier saying a word or two or three, rather than having to say "underscore", "dot", or any numbers (which can get more confusing if you spell them out, instead). If the username you want is taken, take the time to think about ways to express the same idea, that still sounds natural. It's worth it.
3. Continuity of branding can be invaluable. If at all possible, especially if you have a website, try to have the usernames match the website address, across as many social media platforms as you use. This may take more creativity on your part, to get a domain name that's unique enough to be available on social mediums - but it will establish another level of authority for you. Best case scenario, the words in your URL will also be your username. It will make finding your social media presence exponentially easier.
A display name or simply "Name" on most social media formats is actually different than a username. A username is more like a specific address where people can find you, and typically begins with an @ symbol. A "Name" is what is displayed on your account, typically somewhere above your username, usually in just letters. For example, your username on any given social medium might be @genericexample, but your display name would be Generic Example. Some people do have display names that are completely different from their usernames, but many individuals and groups of authority have both their display name and username identical (with the exception of a space or two). Again, that falls into the concept of continuity of branding. Take note of it, next time you check out a brand you like, on social media.
In the event you absolutely could not get the username you wanted, you can compensate somewhat, by setting your display name to be it. But, if it varies too much from your username, you may risk losing credibility, especially when first establishing your social media presence.
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