Your social platform cheat sheet

Is it just me, or does it feel like every day we’re inundated with a new platform that we need to create content for? And every time a new platform pops up, we’re stuck asking ourselves, “should I use this platform for my brand?” We feel like we're already kind of stretched thin across every social platform. So, how do you determine which platforms to use for your brand? And how do you figure out where to prioritize your time?

Let's get started

I created this mini-guide to help you evaluate the most talked-about social platforms so you can determine what makes the most sense for your brand.

Keep in mind we’re evaluating organic (i.e. non-paid) platforms in this issue. Also, these recommendations are purely my opinion 😉

- you should always ask yourself this question committing to a new social platform for your brand: “Does my target audience live here?” and if you don't know your target audience, we'll save that for another issue...

Before we get started...

A quick takeaway from the book The One Thing.

Often times we try to be perfect, and find short-term success, on multiple platforms at the same time.

But author Gary Keller argues that multitasking is a lie, and something always has to give.

So instead of spreading yourself (and your brand) so thin, try focusing on creating a new habit. He notes that creating a habit takes 66 days.

So within 66 days, can you focus on becoming successful on one new platform, as opposed to just being mediocre across multiple platforms? Let that be your new challenge for the next few months and see where it takes you...

Nail your approach on: Facebook

Then vs. now: remember when you used to try and get people to like your Facebook page? 😂 Well, that doesn’t matter anymore as Facebook has reduced organic reach by such a drastic percentage that now, posts rarely get seen by fans.

While the platform demographic skews older, it really doesn’t matter at this point, as your brand won’t have a great chance of reaching anyone unless you spend money on ads.

Sam’s reco: make it easy on yourself. Share whatever you post from Instagram to your Facebook page.

Facebook is best for: brands to keep the lights on, Facebook Groups (branded groups with passionate fans like this one do particularly well), Marketplace, and running ads.

Nail your approach on: Instagram

Then vs. now: Instagram used to be a fun place to share personal photos. Now, it’s a grown-up playground for Gen Z and Millennial influencers and brands. In my opinion, you get more organic reach on Instagram than Facebook purely because you can add additional reach levers like location tags and hashtags. But don’t expect to grow significantly overnight. It takes time.

Sam’s reco: focus on a 2-1 Reels to static content ratio (so more video vs. photos) and try posting to Stories at least a few times a week. Pro tip: go out of your way to follow and engage with new people who would fall into your target audience by following and engaging users who have followed your competitors.

Instagram is best for: brands focused on reaching Gen Z and Millennial audiences, especially for brands within the B2C space. With that said, Instagram has become the catch-all social media platform, and most users expect to find most brands on there, regardless of industry.

Nail your approach on: Twitter

Then vs. now: the platform’s foundation has always stayed the same: Twitter is a hub for real-time content and news. Brands mostly find success on the platform by posting real-time tips or tricks or finding a way to tie current events to their brand. Some brands also use the platform as a way to do quirky one-off tweets.

Sam’s reco: if you’re not on any platform as a brand, I wouldn’t start with Twitter unless you’re in the media or publishing space. But if you’re looking to get real-time engagement and hop on trends, Twitter might be a good consideration in the long run.

Twitter is best for: brands that can be scrappy and are quick to react, or brands who want to insert themselves into real-time, relevant conversations.

Nail your approach on: Pinterest

Then vs. now: true story, Pinterest might be the most underrated social platform out there. While its user base is predominantly female, the buying power of its users is undeniable. Pinterest has always served as a place to get visual inspiration and is considered by marketers as the visual search engine of the social media platforms (search results are driven by keywords and intent.)

Sam’s reco: don’t neglect to include relevant keywords in your pin title and description, which will help your brand show up in more results. It's also recommended to pin at least 10-20 times a week, a mix of video and static content.

Pinterest is best for: brands in the B2C space who can inspire users through beautiful photography, tips, and tricks. Pinterest is also great for linking back to blog posts or products on your site. Pro tip: you don’t have to always link to new content to be successful on the platform.

Nail your approach on: YouTube

Then vs. now: just like Pinterest is the visual search engine, YouTube is the video search engine (and it’s owned by Google.) Most people go on YouTube to learn something new or be entertained, so if you want to create content as a brand, think about how you can bring value to viewers. YouTube’s demographics are evenly spread out across age, household income, and more, so it’s not as much about “does my audience live here?” but more so about “can I deliver valuable content that keeps viewers engaged?”

Sam’s reco: there's a time commitment when it comes to creating long-form video content. It’s recommended that videos be at least 10 minutes long to play nice with the platform’s algorithm. And don’t skimp on production quality - viewers expect to see high-quality content, which of course can be cumbersome for brands to create.

YouTube is best for: brands that can provide value in the form of entertainment or education (whether you’re B2B or B2C.) Want a quick win? Try posting a demo or tutorial for your brand.

Nail your approach on: Snap (formerly Snapchat)

Then vs. now: do you remember when Snapchat was like, the hottest platform? Over the years, Snap (like other platforms) has gotten its features copied by Instagram. Unlike other social platforms, there’s not much of a point to reserve your brand name on Snap as conversations are private, so unless you’re planning on running ads, Snap isn’t really a worthwhile investment of a brand’s time (right now.)

Sam’s reco: reserve Snap for ad opportunities.

Snap is best for: brands looking to reach a young demographic (Gen Z and Millennial). But, like I’ve said 12 times: through ads.

Nail your approach on: LinkedIn

Then vs. now: LinkedIn is notorious for being THE platform for professional networking. It’s also good for B2B brands looking to reach companies and employees, so if you’re a B2B brand, make sure to have your company brand page set up and consistently posting with new updates. If you’re a B2C brand, just make sure to have your brand page set up in case you ever want to create job listings.

Sam’s reco: don’t spend too much time on LinkedIn outside of professional networking. You won’t see massive growth trying to grow your B2C brand on the platform.

LinkedIn is best for: networking with other professionals and acquiring new customers for B2B brands.

Nail your approach on: reddit

Then vs. now: hey, it's my favorite platform! So many people think that reddit is still for hackers and developers. But the truth of the matter is - you can find any kind of community on reddit and within specific niches, from TV shows to gardening. The challenge is that posting organically about your brand will get you roasted by the platform's users. Brand promotion is frowned upon and will typically get you kicked out of the forums.

Sam’s reco: use reddit as a research tool to discover what people are talking about when it comes to your competitors or niche. Then, if you find that your audience is on the platform, use ads to elevate your brand.

reddit is best for: research and ads.

Nail your approach on: TikTok

Then vs. now: last year we were all convinced that TikTok would be going away with the Trump administration, but as time goes on, it's clear that TikTok is here to stay. TikTok focuses on short-form video content (8-30 seconds) and user-generated content performs best. TikTok is primarily geared toward Gen Z and Millennials but is slowly making its way toward being more widely adopted by a range of demos.

Sam’s reco: if you can provide value/education/entertainment in short-form videos, TikTok is a good fit for brands looking to reach new customers. I’d suggest posting 3-5 times a week to start populating your account, and then test different types of content from there.

TikTok is best for: brands with a younger target audience who can provide short-form, quick and snappy value, entertainment, or education.