Once you know where to publish your content on social, the next step is determining how to post on each network. Here's our guide to 5 popular networks.

Guidelines to create winning social posts on 5 popular networks

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After you decide where to publish your content on social media, depending on its subject matter or format, you’ll need to know how to post on each network.

The cultures of the major social networks vary greatly: Each has its own restrictions, style and features, as well as its own user demographics. From crafting 140-character messages on Twitter, to posting pictures and videos that don’t need outbound links on Instagram, to formatting long-form blog posts on LinkedIn, your strategies in each network will determine how engaging your content is.

Leverage the culture of each network by using these guidelines to see the most results for your efforts.

On Facebook, you’ll need to create unique content to accompany anything you’re posting. Though there is no character limit like on Twitter, your best bet is to keep your writing interactive, upbeat and simple – usually under a paragraph’s length.

  • Don’t go overboard with tags. Tagging can be helpful, but the results aren’t as drastically noticeable as they are on Twitter – think of Facebook hashtags as stylistic choices more than cataloging tools.

“People aren’t really searching for hashtags on Facebook the way they are on Twitter.” – Bob McHugh, Associate Manager of Promotions and Engagement, Brafton

  • For linked content:

Compose a unique statement to accompany your link. Never use a sentence copied directly from your blog.

Proofread the auto-populated text to make sure it is displaying properly. You can select the text and make any needed edits.

Double check the image. If it is not displaying correctly, or at all, you have the option to upload a picture manually.

  • When posting videos or photos:

– Embed videos directly onto Facebook, rather than linking from YouTube.

Post several related pictures in an album, rather than individual uploads. If you want to highlight one in particular, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter will be better choices.

Caption your album with a unique description, and caption each individual photo in the set as well.

  • Don’t share too much in one day. When you excessively post to the News Feed, Facebook will penalize your posts’ reach.
  • Promote four posts each month. Facebook Pages’ display algorithm is designed so your posts only reach a small percentage of your fans. To counter this, you can choose, and target, your audience with promoted posts, especially if you have a mid-sized fan base and can’t always rely on strong virality like BuzzFeed and CNN can. Aim to promote two blogs and two larger assets monthly. Use Sponsored Posts, rather than Boosted Posts, for a wider reach.

“Boosting posts is more robust than it used to be, but it’s still not as robust or customizable as promoted posts.” – Bob McHugh

On Twitter, keep it short and to the point. Space is limited to 140 characters, and that’s including links to external pages, photos and other tweets. Depending on the URL type, links count as 22 to 23 characters. Photos and retweets always take up 24 characters.

As of April 2015, Twitter now allows users to add a 116-character “comment” when they retweet a post, turning it into a “quote Tweet.” The post is embedded with your additional comment, so you no longer need to leave space for others add to add commentary when they retweet you.

Similarly, this allows you to retweet others more easily, with enough character real estate to add your own opinion and additional custom content like tags, links and commentary.

  • Include multimedia content in your posts. Even though Twitter is a network designed largely for “soundbytes” – quick reading and skimming – these features will help make your content more engaging. Not only do photos integrate cleanly, but so do GIFs, videos and link previews.
  • Avoid using more than two hashtags in one tweet. While hashtags are a powerful discovery tool, and a great way of reaching new fans, your content should speak louder than your tags.
  • Take part in the Twittersphere. Retweeting, following and replying to other influencers on the network affords you the opportunity to share your content directly with them, and they can then spread your message further by retweeting it.

The network changes rapidly, so staying connected and active is the easiest way to make a splash.

On Reddit, don’t force it. Trying to fit into the dynamic (and often unforgiving) culture can appear strained and unnatural, and Redditors will recognize it, and tear you apart for trying it. The culture is finely tuned, and often exclusive – especially for brands. Taking time to explore the network’s landscape and participate in its community is helpful for any social platform – but none more so than Reddit.

Instead of jumping into the network with a link to your content, make an account and explore, vote and comment. In fact, one of the first things users do when they smell promotion on a post, is check to see if the OP (original poster) created their account that same day. 

  • Research and subscribe to subreddits that your content might best fit in.
  • Compare which style of post titles work the best to get upvotes and comments.
  • Take part in the community. Comment on posts, have conversations with other users, and see which types of interactions are met with the most positivity.
  • Check how posts are timed, and compare various posting practices to see which yield the best results.

Once you’ve established your presence on Reddit, typically after at least a month of active use, you can begin to post your content to the appropriate subreddits, according to their guidelines. Make sure to be transparent, especially if you are posting promotional content, and stay involved in the comments.

On LinkedIn, you’ll want to break out your most in-depth content. The average attention span is longer when people are browsing LinkedIn than on most other networks, and users often join targeted groups to find content centered around their industry or other topics that interest them. This makes it a great platform for promoting focused blogs and larger assets as well as building professional relationships.

  • Find relevant group discussion boards and participate. Don’t be “spammy” – be helpful, have a conversation, ask questions and, when relevant, include links to your content.
  • Tweet your article at @LinkedInPulse to be featured in their news aggregator.
  • Focus your topics to appeal to LinkedIn’s population of workers and professionals.
  • Publish links to your content as “updates” on your business page. Influencers from your company share or like the posts personally.

On Instagram, one of the biggest differences from other networks is that you can’t place outbound links in your posts. Instagram is for sharing your visual content, not driving traffic to your website. Successfully engaging audiences on Instagram means building strong, long-term relationships through high-quality pictures and video.

Part of getting users to engage with you on Instagram is to create your visual content in the style of the network. Not sure how to know what users like?

  • Follow relevant accounts and browse through your timeline to get a sense of Instagram’s look and feel. Photos or advertisements from businesses are well-received when they fit the aesthetics of the network.
  • Post first-person, casual, behind-the-scenes content, especially when your content is centered around lifestyle, company culture, travel and other fun topics.
  • Target millennials. Many younger users are dropping networks like Facebook, and picking up Instagram instead. According to Forrester, Instagram posts get 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook posts, and 120 times more engagement than Tweets.
  • Use tags more liberally than on Twitter. There is no character limit in Instagram posts, so you are free to use as many as you want. Buffer found that engagement and interaction are highest when pictures include 11 or more hashtags.
  • Stay visible under the new timeline algorithm. Like its parent company, Facebook, Instagram has moved away from reverse-chronologic order. Focus on local, employee-oriented and company-themed content to encourage sharing from within to boost presence.
  • Post custom graphics with quick interactions in mind. Since you can’t post links, graphics of time-sensitive promotions and coupon codes can boost engagement in the form of reposts and tags.
Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman is a former marketing writer for Brafton. His writing experience dates back to his time reviewing music for The UMass Daily Collegian at UMass Amherst. Ben comes from a background in marketing in the classical and jazz industries.

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