If you caught last week’s post, The Top Social Networks for Marketers, then you know that while there are many, many places businesses can connect with consumers via social media, understanding the differences between each platform and user base is key. This week we’re discussing not the where, but the what—what types of content you should share, with whom, and on which platform.


Photo & Video

Visual content sharing is a must. A user is much more likely to click on a post with a compelling, eye-catching image than one that’s simply text. Properly formatted, visually appealing posts enjoy the most success on social media—in fact, posts of content utilizing Open Graph can have click-through rates increase by as much as 39%. The actual contents of your photo or video will obviously need to be tailored to your audience and their interests.

When you post on Facebook, add in a quick sentence of your own to draw them to click—users are far more likely to click on a post when its poster has added some kind of explanation or commentary.

You’ll need to be as concise as possible when you post photo or video to Twitter, due to the character limit; this is where sharp copywriting skills come in handy. If posting content from your website, make sure you’ve got Twitter Card set up correctly so that your shared media will be crisp, correctly sized for desktop and mobile, and compelling.

On Instagram you’ll have the space to write a more detailed caption (which is useful for explaining the rules to a promotion, for example) and incorporate multiple hashtags.

Pinterest is an obvious choice for photo, video, and GIF sharing. Remember that anything you pin should have an informative and keyword rich description that’s relevant to the content—descriptions are searchable and can help users not only discover your pins, but also understand their context. In addition, descriptions may also contain links.


Infographics & Downloads

Infographics are great posting material on most platforms, though due to the typical size and dimensions of an infographic, the entire thing won’t fit as a post in most feeds. But there are ways around this. Take a screenshot of the section of the infographic that would be most compelling (or surprising) for your audience, and crop to the appropriate dimensions (see this guide to the proper sizing of images on different social platforms). Share the edited image with a link to the full infographic along with a description of the infographic and its contents.

If you’re offering a download (free or otherwise) you’re likely posting to drive traffic to a landing page where the conversion will happen. To give the user an idea of what they’re getting, take a screenshot of the title page or a section of the download that illustrates the content well. You’ll also want a short blurb or description that’s written to persuade the user to click.


Long Form Writing

Longer content sharing—editorials, essays, how-tos, data analysis, and the like—can work well on most platforms (yes, even Pinterest, though likely not on Instagram), as long as it fits the interests of your audience there.

On LinkedIn, high-quality, polished content centered around business news, human resources, career development, marketing and networking is popular fodder for the Long-Form publishing platform.

Facebook allows for lengthy article-length text statuses, though according to a study by BlitzLocal, it’s not the ideal format for user engagement (which was found to be between 100 and 119 words).

Long form posts on Google+ are a tool that many Googlers themselves use to make announcements and summarize recorded Hangouts.

Pinterest allows users to pin articles for later consumption, as well as create their own boards to group content by topic. If you’ve got active readers using Pinterest in your target audience, this could be a good place to offer up the articles that will interest them.

Because long-form content requires more of an investment of time and attention from the user, at the end of the day, it’s not so much the platform that will make the difference as the topic and its relevance to the audience there.


Everything Else

Due to its sheer size and diversity, virtually everything is shared on reddit. If you’re going to use it to promote any type of content, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the subreddit you’re targeting, its users, and the rules—every subreddit has its own rules about posting behavior, and violating them could get your link removed or your account banned by a moderator. In addition, some subreddits accept only certain types of submissions (photos, or audio files).

Remember that the types of content you share will also rely heavily on your industry, and the audience you want to attract. Knowing the optimal uses and limits of the tools at your disposal is an important aspect of digital marketing, but it’s only one of many that will factor into a given campaign’s success.

Come back next week for our final social series post, where we’ll discuss the key metrics to analyze for gauging your social campaigns’ success.