Jun 5, 2020

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Creating Platform-Specific Social Media Content

Creating Platform-Specific Social Media Content

We're delighted to offer another Member Spotlight piece written by DMI member Lyndsey Hall. It's all yours to play for, so if you want to get in the digital marketing game and make an impact Share your Own Work for publication in our Community Insights!

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach never works in social media marketing, and not all content is suitable for every social media platform. When you’re communicating a message across multiple channels, creating platform-specific content is key to maximizing your impact, as is simply playing by the rules of each platform.

Many tools and plug-ins allow you to publish your posts across all platforms at once, but sharing the same piece of content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn will negatively impact your results, and make your channels look unprofessional.

There are multiple elements to consider when you create platform-specific content to ensure it:

  • displays correctly on each channel
  • meets audience expectations
  • maximizes results
  • displays correctly on mobile devices
  • successfully positions you and your organization in the social and digital space.

Why do we need platform-specific content in social media marketing?

Audiences

Every social media platform caters to its own particular audience. This can be as clear-cut as the obvious demographic differences across platforms – e.g. younger audiences favor TikTok and Snapchat rather than Facebook and LinkedIn. As well as this, while you may find the same people on multiple platforms, each one operates its own bubble. Therefore, each audience has particular expectations for the content they anticipate and want to see on the platform. So you should carefully tailor your content across platforms based on its audience’s demographics, interests, and expectations.

 

Style of Communicating

It’s natural for most of us to communicate differently depending on who we are talking to and the setting we are in. Social media is no different, and different platforms all have different styles of communicating. These can be across delivery specifications such as use of hashtags and emojis, and caption length, but also across tone of voice, style of writing, and the messages we communicate. You might write medium length captions with a light-hearted tone and lots of hashtags on Instagram, while on LinkedIn you’ll want to go for a more formal tone, lengthy captions, and only a couple of hashtags incorporated into your caption.

 

Format Specifications

This point is very important – it’s great to tailor your messages, communication, and style across platforms, but you simply have to make sure that your assets are adapted properly for each platform. Why? Because each platform has detailed format specifications for images, graphics, and videos.

At the end of this article we will link to format specifications for the main platforms.

Tailor your content output to fit each platform

Strategy

At the strategy development stage of a social media management project, you must carefully research and define your particular messages, objectives, and target audiences in order to select the best possible content formats across different social media platforms. This is where you plan not only what platforms you will use, but what types of content you will need to communicate your message to your chosen audience, and how you will adapt those content pieces across each platform.

 

Videos

Make sure to create platform-specific outputs of every video you create. You simply cannot share the same 2.5 minute, horizontal format campaign video across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Insta Stories, Snapchat… Produce different length cuts of the same video for each platform – on Instagram the maximum video length is 1 minute, while on Twitter it’s 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and so on. You can also create different sized versions of every video – a vertical version for Snapchat and Insta Stories, a square version for Instagram, and more. That’s not to mention different recommendations for captions and thumbnails. There’s so much to consider when adapting video content across social media platforms.

Takeaway: If you produce a 2 minute campaign video that you want to publish across social media, here’s a few of the ways you might customise that video for each platform.

  • Facebook and Twitter: The full 2 minute video, 16:9 format, with a custom thumbnail and srt file.
  • Instagram: A 1 minute version of the video, 1:1 format, with burned-in captions, and choose a cover image at the upload stage.
  • Instagram Story: A 15 second cut of the video, 9:16 format, and ‘Link in bio’ or ‘Swipe Up’ CTA at the end, to push to your campaign landing page.

 

Graphics sizes

This one is very important – if you don’t create social media graphics correctly sized for each platform, your content will lose its impact and some of your messaging might even get cropped out. Make sure you output all your graphics into the correct size for each platform: vertical versions for story content, square for Instagram, perfect Facebook event cover images, specific sized graphics for Twitter (the worst culprit for cropping). Basically, a simple square or rectangle graphic won’t work across all social media platforms and placements.

Takeaway: If you are working with a designer to create a suite of social media graphics, you’ll want them at the very least to create a 1080x1080 version for Instagram and Facebook, a 1024x512 version for Twitter, and a 1080x1920 version for Instagram.

 

Content Type

Sometimes it’s necessary to communicate one message in very different ways across social platforms. For example, graphics work well on Twitter, but on Instagram they are best left in favour of high quality images. Blog links are great content for LinkedIn and Facebook, while on Instagram you’ll have to adapt by sharing a relevant image to your feed and putting a link in your bio. An infographic will be great on LinkedIn but definitely not for your Insta feed or story. So when communicating one message across social media often the best approach is to adapt the content type completely for each platform.

Takeaway: You’ve created a beautiful mini documentary video and you’re planning on sharing the video across your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Or, you could share the full video on Facebook, while on Twitter you might share a 15 second snippet and link to the full video on YouTube. Meanwhile on LinkedIn, you might share a link to a blog where you explain the process behind creating the documentary (with the video embedded), and on Instagram, you might share some high quality stills from the video and include a link to the full piece in your bio, with a bonus behind the scenes clip on your Instagram story.

 

Copy and Delivery

Part of your campaign management process should be to develop social media content schedules, where you map out your content for every platform on each particular day. It’s at this stage that you can tailor your copywriting style, approach and delivery for your chosen platforms. This means adapting your tone, use of emojis, caption length, and amount of hashtags, and even the particular angle or hook of the message we want to focus on, depending on where the content is going.

Takeaway: Say you are creating a social media content schedule for a targeted campaign, and you are planning to push a link to your campaign landing page across all your social platforms. Write bespoke captions for each of your platforms, to make sure you are adopting the right tone and style for each one.

Useful Reference

A handy guide from Sprout Social

Facebook Ads guide, Photo and Video

Twitter Ads 

Instagram Ads

TikTok Ads

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Lyndsey Hall
Lyndsey Hall

With a background in digital marketing and social media management in a variety of industries, Lyndsey has experience in online campaign management, content creation and communications. Lyndsey is Social Media Manager at Piquant Media. 

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