LET'S GET STRATEGIC
Best Practices for Leveraging Content Across Multiple Social Media Channels
by Linda Pophal
There are a wide range of social media channels available to today’s marketers. There are so many that it can be challenging to decide which to use—and how to use them most efficiently and cost-effectively. Yes, there are costs involved in posting to social media, even if you do it yourself. Time is money, and, especially for do-it-yourselfers, time spent on social media means an inability to spend it on other potentially higher-value activities that uniquely require your expertise. Let’s take a look at some best practice recommendations from social media experts and business owners who have learned how to juggle posting across multiple channels.
DECIDING WHICH CHANNELS TO BE ON
David Bitton is co-founder and CMO of DoorLoop, a property management software for the technology-driven real estate industry, and a five-time entrepreneur with companies in tech, events, and services. The best channel mix, says Bitton, depends on how much your team can handle. “This refers to how much time, money, and resources you can realistically devote to each platform,” he states. With limited resources, it’s best “to excel on one or two platforms rather than spread yourself thinly over several,” and Bitton recommends concentrating on the platforms where your clients and customers spend most of their time. DoorLoop conducted a social media audit to determine which channels would be best for it to engage on, constructing a spreadsheet of potential networks and evaluating them based on user demographics. “We examined up-to-date web resources to gain a sense of the user demographics on each platform,” he says.
Daniela Andreevska, VP of content with Mashvisor, says that determining the right number and mix of channels has to be done empirically. While the right number will vary by industry and company, generally speaking, “two to four social media channels is the best,” she notes. Whichever channels you select, Andreevska says it’s important to commit to posting consistently, whether daily or weekly. On Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, she recommends posting at least once a day. On YouTube, Andreevska suggests two to three videos a week.
Getting the right mix, though, can be “a moving target,” says Paulana Lamonier. She is a social media strategist at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), which uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. Universities, notes Lamonier, have a wide range of audiences they hope to engage with—“prospective and current students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, community members, donors, and even employers who hire our students and graduates.” Each channel helps them reach different members of that broad community, she says. “As social channels evolve, disappear, or multiply, you need to keep a constant pulse on how your audience is consuming and engaging with your content,” Lamonier adds.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING UNIQUE ACROSS PLATFORMS—OR NOT
NYIT takes different approaches and posts different content to the various channels it uses based on the specific audience being targeted. For instance, Lamonier says, TikTok is used to showcase the student experience, while Facebook and Twitter are used as extensions of the school’s brand and website, and LinkedIn offers a mix of promotion and authentic engagement.
Not all marketers using social media will have the resources to post different content to multiple channels; if their audiences and objectives are relatively consistent, that’s OK. Bitton says that DoorLoop cross-posts among its five social channels. “This is beneficial since it helps us stay present on social media and produce consistent content streams to prevent engagement loss,” he notes. It’s also a time-saver. Cross-posting, he says, allows DoorLoop to “reach individuals who may have a preference for which social media site they use, ensuring that no one misses out on our material.”
Sophie Callahan, a content marketing coach and brand photographer, also says that it is “absolutely fine to repurpose content across multiple platforms, as long as you make sure you edit the posts so that they are native to the platform.” For example, she says, take links out when posting from Facebook to Instagram, and edit @ handles to make sure they work when posting from Instagram to Facebook. In addition, Callahan advises staggering posts so that they go live at different times or on different days. “This avoids anybody who is platform hopping over breakfast, for example, seeing the same post twice in 10 minutes and thus, your engagement being lower.” Whether using different approaches and messaging or very similar ones, having a plan and a process—as well as goals and objectives—are critical to achieving maximum productivity.
MANAGING CONTENT DEVELOPMENT AND DISTRIBUTION
Andreevska prepares a quarterly strategy for social media and other marketing efforts, tracking performance on a weekly basis. “Being an agile marketing team, we make adjustments as soon as we see that the strategy is not performing as needed or [when] we see a new opportunity,” she says. “As a startup, we don’t have the luxury to wait for the end of the quarter to reassess and adjust the strategy.” Despite Mashvisor’s small size and startup nature, though, Andreevska says that all social media work is done in-house. “I set up the strategy and the expectations, and then each member of the marketing team is responsible for contributing to the process,” she states. “For example, as a content writer or a video creator, you know best how to promote your own content on social media, so it makes perfect sense for you to be responsible for sharing your own work. Moreover, this additional task gives everyone a short break from what might be repetitive routine tasks otherwise.”
Basic social media tools such as Buffer, Later, and PLANOLY are “a great starting point for novices,” Lamonier says. “If you are managing larger teams and budgets, there are robust social media managing platforms like Brandwatch (formerly Falcon), Salesforce, and Sprout Social.”
Having a specific process for the type of content posted is an important way to be efficient and effective when posting. At NYIT, Lamonier says, the “posts largely cover five content pillars: success stories about our students and alumni, thought leadership from our faculty [members] and university leaders, the student experience, faculty and student research, and university news.” NYIT takes different approaches depending on the channel being used.
Callahan plans her content between 1 week and 1 month ahead of distribution; with the exception of Instagram stories, she rarely posts in real time. “I use content pillars and a social media planner to do this. This allows you to ‘reflect and correct’ if you need to,” she says. “It also means you are never having to come up with content on the spur of the moment, which is not a sustainable way to maintain a consistent social media presence” and is “a sure way to set yourself up to fail.” As far as the content itself, Callahan recommends using a hook at the beginning of your posts that will encourage people to click to read more and always including a call to action or question to make it easy for people to engage and continue the conversations you started. “At all times, seek to add value to someone’s life,” Callahan advises. “Whether that’s to educate, to entertain, to inform, to connect, or to simply make them smile. Make sure every piece of content adds value and serves your ideal customer, and you won’t go wrong.”
Social media has become an important and often very cost-effective element of most marketers’ communication strategies. Taking a strategic approach to channel selection, content creation, distribution, and engagement can allow marketers to effectively connect with the right audiences in pursuit of their unique goals and objectives.