Week 6: Picking platforms

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu from Pexels

Without a dedicated team of social media pros, it’s impossible to be active as a content producer (in an effective way) on *every* social media channel. So you need to choose the right ones for your content and your audience.

Digital transformation specialist Fred Cavazza writes an annual post about the social media landscape (you can translate it from French to English in Chrome). He divides different social platforms according to their purposes.

A summary:

NetworkingLinkedIn,Tinder, Grindr, Eventbrite
PublishingBlogs (WordPress, Blogger, Medium, SquareSpace); wikis (Wikipedia); hybrid publishing/sharing (Tumblr)
SharingVideo (YouTube, Vimeo); live video (Twitch, Insta, Facebook); documents (SlideShare, Scribd); photos (Insta, Flickr, Imgur, Giphy); music (Spotify, Soundcloud)
Mobile messagingWhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, iMessage, Skype, Facetime; classic messaging/mail (GMail, Outlook)
Professional messagingSlack, Facebook Workplace, MS Teams; collaboration tools DropBox, Evernote
DiscussionGithub, Reddit, Facebook, 4Chan; collab platforms Quora, Ask

NB: The biggest and most popular platforms now operate in each of the categories e.g. Facebook (discussion, messaging, sharing, live, mobile messaging, professional, etc.)

According to Fred, the most popular social platforms in 2021 are YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

But people’s use of socials is dynamic and changes over time, which is really well illustrated in the video below (NB the omission of YouTube).

There are very good reasons to include Twitter and LinkedIn in your social media strategy, even if they’re not the top platforms at the moment. And it’s clear that TikTok is charging up the popularity chart.

Choosing your social platforms depends on your purpose and the audience you defined, as well as the resources you have available.

Setting up great social media profiles

People will decide within 2-3 seconds whether you are worth paying attention to (ouch!) so it’s worth working on a really good profile.

Pick a good screen name

  • Make it simple and logical – if it’s not your name, make it fit the personality you defined in Week 2
  • Keep it neutral – don’t align yourself with anything
  • Think long-term

Choose a good avatar

  • Put some effort into the choice
  • If your avatar is a portrait of you, make sure it’s well lit (front lighting is good)
  • Make your face the focus – don’t crop from a wider photo. The quality needs to stand up to people enlarging it to look closer (sounds creepy but you know what we mean!)

Perfect your profile

  • The purpose of your profile, along with your avatar, is to present yourself as competent, likeable, and trustworthy
  • Use your profile to tell the story of who you are
  • Your cover photo should help tell that story
  • Profile text should too. You can add a short single sentence that gives people an idea of your account in a nutshell.

Find some social media account profiles you think are good. What makes them work well? Consider:

  • Account name
  • Avatar/profile photo
  • Cover photo
  • Content quality (photos, videos, graphics, text)
  • The language and tone used in posts/other content – is the account serious? Humorous?
  • Does this account also have accounts on other platforms? If so, are they similar in design, tone, language?
  • Does the person or organisation engage with followers?
  • Choose a social platform and set up your profile; OR
  • make changes to an account you already manage so it reflects your content strategy

Things to think about:

  • Is the platform one used by your likely audience?
  • Is your account name available on other social platforms you also want to use in your social strategy?
  • Does your account name fit your desired personality, and align with the tone of voice and design of your WordPress site?
  • You can change account names later 😘
  • You can manage multiple Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts/pages in mobile apps and on desktop (e.g. I manage my own and Off Campus Instagram within the Insta app, ditto with Twitter)
  • If you’re a Journalism or Social Media student you must know how Twitter works, so even if you don’t use it for your content creation, get to know it well. Read Using Twitter to find out why you should sign up and how to get started.

If you don’t already have them, download the relevant mobile apps for your chosen platforms.

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