Full Screen

Engaging with an Audience Using Social Media

More Free Lessons in

Social Media Marketing View All →

Get cutting-edge digital marketing skills, know-how and strategy

This micro lesson is from one of our globally recognized digital marketing courses.

Start a FREE Course Preview Start a FREE Course Preview
Global Authority

The Global Authority

12 years delivering excellence


245,000+ Members

Join a global community


Associate Certification

Globally recognised


Membership Included

Toolkits, content & more

Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Best practices

When posting content on social media platforms, what best practices should you follow?

  • Be succinct: First of all, your post should be succinct. Attention spans for humans are shorter than ever, so you need to make your point quickly.
  • Be relevant: Secondly, you want to make sure that your post is super topical and relevant to your audience. Part of your job as a social media marketer is to make sure that your posts are providing value.
  • Include CTAs: In addition to your posts being relevant and topical, you want to make sure that they include an explicit CTA or a link, so that your audience knows exactly what you want them to do with this information – for example asking them to comment, like, or share.
  • Include rich media: In today’s world, it's hard to capture people’s attention. People make fast decisions around what content they want to engage with. So be sure to include rich media, such as photos or videos, to make your posts stand out to your consumers in their cluttered newsfeeds. Consider asking questions of your audience, and add hashtags and emojis where appropriate.

Using stories

A story is temporary content on your social experience, so it's important to understand its ephemeral short-lived nature. Let's walk through some of the best practices for creating an optimal story.

Stories are a great way of showing an authentic, raw side to your brand. You can do this through sharing photos, interviews, and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. You can also use social influencers with your stories to assist with reach and credibility. Have them create story takeovers. This means they come onto your account and take over your story feed for a whole day. You can use them to grab users' attention and share messaging points.

Be sure to fully leverage any native platform tools that are available. For example, make use of all the editing features and customization tools that are native to stories.

You can diversify your story's content by adding videos, photos, and Boomerangs to keep it interesting. You can use “@mentions” to mention other users within your story. So when you're having a social influencer take over, or if you want to highlight a partner or business, you can tag them in your story.

Consider including a "See More" link to drive traffic from your story to an alternate location. That could be your business's website, somewhere that generates leads, or a promotion. Be sure to have a clear narrative about whatever event you're promoting in your story.

Lastly, be sure to include a clear CTA, like a promo code or a link to your website, that will drive a trackable action from your consumers.

Video best practices

When posting video content on social media platforms, what best practices should you follow?

Grab attention

Firstly, you can optimize performance by grabbing attention in the first three seconds. User attention is limited, so it's important to insert your key message in the first few seconds to drive recall and impact, which can be developed later in the videos.

Create for sound off

On mobile devices and in office environments, the majority of users have their sound off. In order to communicate your verbal message from your video, it's important to create for sound off. You can do this by using closed caption subtitles and onscreen text.

Align for mobile

An incredibly high number of users view social content on mobile devices and scroll vertically on their mobiles. Therefore, it’s essential that marketers align their videos to how the vast majority of users prefer to view them. Essentially, this means shooting for vertical views on mobile. Doing this will have the greatest impact on consumer engagement. It may mean that landscape or widescreen TV commercials need to be re-edited for portrait social video views on mobiles.

Include “play more”

To continue the engagement after the video has completed, marketers can build in a “play more” function, so users can view other related content after they finish watching your video. Think of it like brining the audience on a journey through your content catalogue.

Use “Live”

Finally, use “Live” to capture live events and add a greater degree of urgency for followers to engage with. Share the live video to your story for 24 hours before it disappears – or discard it immediately. The number of viewers for your live video includes everyone who watched the live video and the replay.

What are hashtags?

Hashtags are a very useful tool for marketers to use. A hashtag is a word or a phrase preceded by the number sign or hash sign, and it is used to categorize keywords or topics, allowing users to easily find or follow a specific conversation of interest to them. By clicking on a hashtag, you're able to display related conversations, and easily discover, organize, and track topics of interest.

Hashtags are great for marketers because they increase brand recognition, expand reach, and target new consumers. They also allow you to create, join, or impact conversations that are relevant to your brand or business.

If you’d like to use more than three hashtags, “hidden hashtags” is a useful technique to make your posts look cleaner and less spammy. You can hide hashtags by manipulating the number of characters in your post caption or by inserting line breaks in your caption.

Hashtag best practices

Hashtags come with their own set of best practices.

  • Use SEO keywords: SEO keywords – or search engine optimized keywords – that are relevant to your brand are very useful as hashtags, because they're often short and are easily searchable.
  • Don’t use spaces or punctuation: It's important to never use spaces or punctuation in your hashtags because it keeps them from being searchable or discoverable on the platform.
  • Capitalize hashtags correctly: Just like with punctuation, it's important to also capitalize your hashtags correctly in order to increase readability and legibility.
  • Avoid overuse: You should avoid using too many hashtags in a single post, as it may appear spammy and inauthentic.
  • Keep hashtags short: Try to keep your hashtags short, as it helps with memorability and searchability.
  • Use popular hashtags: It's also important to use hashtags that are popular on each platform. For example, if you're on Instagram, you may want to use the hashtag “Photo of the Day”. This is a hashtag that's popularly searched by users on the platform, and will make your content far more discoverable. Other popular hashtags include TBT, or Throwback Thursday, and No Filter. You can search for trending hashtags on social media and add them to your posts to leverage their popularity and insert your brand into the conversations.
  • Create branded hashtags: If you want to increase brand recognition on a platform, it may be useful to create a hashtag that's branded. A branded hashtag can be really helpful in getting your brand discovered on a particular platform. It’s something that is unique to your brand or business. So, it may be your company name, company tagline, a campaign, a contest name, or something else that's meant to drive participation and engagement.
  • Monitor other hashtags: And when you're creating these branded hashtags, search and monitor for any other hashtags in the community that may be relevant to your brand or business. You need to make sure that nobody is currently hijacking these hashtags or using them in a negative light that could reflect poorly on your brand.
Back to Top

Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Kristin Shine

Kristin Shine is Founder and General Manager of Shine Healthcare and Science Consulting. She advises clients in the healthcare space on digital strategy development, business development, strategic communications, and commercial partnerships.

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


    Social Media Marketing
    Kristin Shine
    Skills Expert

    This module introduces the key social media platforms for digital marketing and demonstrates how to set up a social media experience for a business. It explains the techniques and best practices for growing and engaging a social media audience and demonstrates how to create effective paid advertising campaigns on the key social platforms. It also covers how to extract and report on data from the platforms’ native analytics tools to derive deeper audience and campaign insights.