An Introduction to Social Media for Brands

INTRO TO SOCIAL PLATFORMS

Social media platforms are communication tools at their core—their goal is to connect users. As platforms like Facebook and Instagram grew, brands took notice and joined the bandwagon in hopes of connecting with new consumers.

Although each brand’s goals for their social media accounts will vary, we feel that there are a few universal truths about why a brand uses social media:

  1. Serves as an opportunity to personify the brand

  2. Opens a two-way communication between a brand and its customers—one that does not exist with traditional media (tv, radio, print)

  3. Provides validity to your brand and can positively impact your SEO

HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE ALGORITHMS?

If you’ve been on Facebook for awhile, you may remember a time when you would see everything your friends posted in chronological order. But, several years ago Facebook realized that not everyone want to see everything that their friends posted. The platform understood that certain content was more interesting to certain people and that they preferred to see this content in their feeds, while remaining friends with those whose content they do not necessarily enjoy. The understanding of this prompted the development of algorithms, used by social platforms to serve users with the content they want to see, from both friends and the brands they follow.

These algorithms make it more difficult for brands to reach their followers organically—encouraging brands to be creative with the content they develop and distribute to their fans.

A LOOK AT HOW SOME ALGORITHMS WORK

Facebook gauges a post’s success by the following:

  • Time spent on a piece of content

  • Number of shares

  • Comments

    • Longer comments hold higher weight

  • Reactions

  • Total engagement

  • Sharing content over private message

The whole point is to create and distribute content that starts conversations and connects friends and family—that’s what Facebook is looking for.

Stay away from:

  • Explicitly asking for fans to like and share

Instead:

  • Look for ways to encourage engagement that are fun for audiences to participate in

The green arrows on the Facebook post below point out the reactions (bottom left), the comments and shares (bottom right), and a fun way to encourage engagement from fans (top right).

Instagram’s algorithm operates similarly to Facebook by showing a post to a small group of your followers to gauge its performance, before showing it to more users. Here are some other features of the platform’s algorithm:

  • Instagram prioritizes content categories in users’ feeds. For example, the types of content (i.e. memes, sports, etc.) that a user engages with the most (likes, comments, shares, etc.) will be prioritized in their feed

  • The platform encourages consistent posting—this is good because the more content you have available to users, the longer they are likely to spend viewing your content

  • If you take the time to engage with followers and their content, you’re likely to drive traffic and engagement on your content

CONCLUSION

As a brand, understanding the algorithms of the social platforms you distribute content on can help you increase your exposure and build new relationships with fans. Although your goals for each social platform will vary, it’s important to place an emphasis on providing value through your content for your followers. Think about the pain points they may have and how you can solve those paint points through the messages you share. We know that your users are online—now it’s time to connect with them.