9 Best Practices for Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter

Last updated: October 10, 2020

These five giants are all different beasts. What flies on Insta just might not fly on LinkedIn. This article will help you avoid those dreaded facepalm moments that stem from wasted time using strategies that aren’t one size fits all. Topics covered below include: audience and tone considerations, content to post, post frequency, geo tagging, hashtags, length of posts, sharing, tags, and best time of day to post.

There’s a lot to cover so I’m going to aim for short and sweet whenever possible.

Facebook

Audience + Tone Considerations
Be deliberate with the words chosen. Consider best SEO practices because Facebook uses natural language processing to sort information.

Content
30-60 second videos work best. Video popularity is increasing, especially native content. Live videos are three times more popular. Images capture attention more than posts without them. Memes perform well. Click here for the Facebook image sizes guide.

Frequency (Times Per week + Number of Posts)
Once per day max, three times per week minimum. Accounts with less than 10,000 followers are prone to 50% less engagement when posting more than once a day so beware! 

Geo Tagging
This feature is available but there have been safety concerns. Use this feature wisely when it contributes to the content of the post.

Hashtags
2 hashtags in the visible text and unlimited in the annotations section where no one will see it. Make sure they’re relevant. Searching the hashtag will show how many people are talking about it.

Length of Posts
80 characters or less for organic posts. Short and sweet is better and increases engagement by 66%. 5 to 18 words for paid posts: 5 words for the headline, 14 words for the main text (located above an image or video), and 18 words for the description (right below the headline). Source: Hootsuite

Sharing
Can connect Instagram to Facebook and share Insta content to Facebook and stories. Pages with higher engagement

Tags
When tagging in a professional context on Facebook it must be deliberate and clear as to the purpose. Context is key and it should only be done when necessary.

Time of Day
Best day: Wednesday at 11am and 1pm

Lowest engagement is Sundays

Instagram

Audience + Tone Considerations
Captions should be full of personality. The Instagram version of a brand is the more relaxed and relatable version. Likely not what you would see on LinkedIn.

Content
Image driven but the captions can really allow personality to shine. Images with more blue than warm tones perform better. Tell a story- especially with stories. Click here for the Instagram image sizes guide.

Frequency (Times Per week + Number of Posts)
1 post per day, three is pushing it. You don’t want to spam your audience when they’re already sifting through tons of content. Personally, I’ve muted people who post excessively in one day. It’s too much and prevents me from getting to other people’s content. Stories are a different… story. Feel free to update those throughout the day.

Geo Tagging
Best use cases are letting followers know where an event or public stunt is located, if it’s part of a narrative, mobile photography, and connecting with creators in the area. This feature should be used with a purpose and is not as effective when you’re just sitting at home- also a safety hazard.

Hashtags
There’s debate on this one. Some say 5 to 9 per post with 24 characters each (Hootsuite). Quality vs quantity.

Others say this: Up to 30. 27-28 is a sweet spot. Smaller accounts benefit from smaller hashtags with less than 500k posts because it increases the chances of content being shown to people. If a smaller account uses hashtags with 18 million posts for instance that account’s content will be shown to less people if any and get lost in the sea of content. But still, it doesn’t hurt to try large and small hashtags. After all, ya get thirty shots. Instagram is a great place to get creative with hashtags in contrast with the other platforms mentioned in this post. That’s why using a lot of hashtags on Instagram is common and welcome by the algorithm. It’s a place to have fun and experiment and the use of hashtags helps to categorize content to be shown to the appropriate people. 

And then you have this, Social Media Examiner’s “Effective Hashtag Recipe”: 

This is one of those situations where you have to do what works best for you and your brand and see what the category is doing. A personal art account may use a ton of hashtags while an established retail brand might decide to keep things on the lighter side.

Length of Posts
138 to 150 characters

Sharing
Try this: post other people’s content to your story and let other people post yours. Keep your audience engaged with your stories and try to keep it relevant to them. Knowing your audience is important. If you begin sharing relevant content you may be muted or worse, unfollowed.

Tags
Can be used to tag people related to or within an image.

Time of Day
Wednesday at 11am and Friday 10am – 11am

Least engagement: Sunday

LinkedIn

Audience + Tone Considerations
Human and relatable yet professional. This is not a place for “text speak.”

Content
Clickable content. Industry specific. Think about who you’re targeting and who you envision reading this. Career related. Visuals will cut through the noise. Videos prompt more action 65% of the time. Industry events. Keep it fresh. Click here for the LinkedIn image sizes guide.

Frequency (Times Per week + Number of Posts)
2 times per week, once per day max. Just be sure to keep content fresh and engage with the community.

Hashtags
3-5 max, spaced out as to not appear overwhelming. 1-2 hashtags when commenting on a post if relevant. 

Length of Posts
According to Hootsuite the recommended length is 25 words because texts fall below the “see more” button after 140 characters. However, in my experience I’ve seen longer form posts perform exceptionally well. Especially when there’s storytelling involved. Hootsuite does admit that their data on LinkedIn isn’t as up to date in this specific area though. LinkedIn limits the amount of characters per post so don’t worry about going over. Max characters: 1300. 

Articles between 1,900 and 2,000 words perform best.

Sharing
Share other people’s content more than your own. Don’t use Hootsuite. Engagement is negatively affected when using Hootsuite for LinkedIn so it’s best to post natively. Posts from Hootsuite ten to look less personable and more auto generated which affects people’s perception of your brand.

Tags
It’s recommended to tag people and companies within the body copy of the post. Seamless integration works best here. Tags can be a bit finicky on LinkedIn so bear with them.

Time of Day
The data below ranges from 12am to 11pm

Overall winner: Wednesday 9-10am and 12pm

Lowest engagement falls on Sundays

Pinterest

Audience + Tone Considerations
People are one Twitter to be inspired and to potentially plan for the future. Think about inspiring the audience. Remain personable.

Content
Pins should include context. Include your logo anywhere but the bottom right corner. Add short text overlays. When adding video it should be able to communicate without audio. Any content, especially articles and videos for instance, should be posted with longevity in mind. This is in contrast to a Tweet that is relevant for only three hours. High quality, vertical images at a 2:3 or 1:3.5 aspect ratio are recommended. Click here for the Pinterest image sizes guide.

By: Eddie Shleyner at Hootsuite

Frequency (Times Per week + Number of Posts)
3-30 pins per day. 30 max.

Hashtags
Less than 20. 2-8 is ideal. The fewer the better. Pinterest uses keywords so no need to overdo it with the hashtags. Focus more on SEO. Use direct hashtags only that are specific to the post. They should not be vague or misleading. On other platforms you may be able to get away with loosely related hashtags but Pinterest is not the place. Treat hashtags like keywords. No acronyms. Hashtag suggestions are currently only available in the mobile app. Keep in mind that if a hashtag is saturated with very recent posts it may be better to choose another one because the feed is constantly refreshing and your content will get buried.

Length of Posts
200 character description 

Sharing
Adding Pinterest share buttons to your website is recommended by sharethis.com. This helps to promote awareness outside of Pinterest and is easy for the consumer. It’s important to engage with other pins so others want to engage with yours.

Time of Day
When people aren’t at work. 8pm-11pm.

Twitter

Audience + Tone Considerations
Twitter is a great place for brand voice to shine through. Feel free to be a bit more casual than you might be on LinkedIn. Buttoned down vs. buttoned up. FOMO language might compel clicks. Think about who your audience is and craft the language around them. Be genuine.

Content
Have a simple handle. Optimize bio with relevant hashtags you want to be found under. Short and concise. Focus on one thing, not multiple per tweet. Incorporate striking images, GIFs, or videos to cut through the noise and increase engagement probability by 3x. Conduct polls to engage audience and ask questions. Tweets are good and fresh for about three hours before it’s on to the next. Something that provokes emotion is more likely to get engagement. 30 second videos work best. Click here for the Twitter image sizes guide.

Frequency (Times Per week + Number of Posts)
3 to 30 times per day is modest. Top accounts post around 100 times per day.

Geo Tagging
This feature is seldom used and seldom useful on Twitter. Why? This platform is all about the content and a simple user experience. Photos have a geo tagging feature for precise locations but posts don’t.

Hashtags
1-2 hashtags per post. 6 character hashtags work best. Needs to be easy to remember and spell. Shouldn’t have another meaning than intended. Search to find out. Should provoke discussion and a reason to share. Don’t use all caps. Please.

Length of Posts
71-100 characters recommended. Using the full 140 characters allowed maximum will likely drive down engagement by 17%. The shorter, the sweeter. It’s about getting the message across in a concise way. 

By: Eddie Shleyner at Hootsuite

Sharing
Use pinned tweets. Retweet and engage with other posts.

Tags
To tag is to, “mention” on Twitter. This is usually done when you want the mentioned person/ account to interact. Tagging within a photo is just called regular old tagging and should only be done if the tagged party is directly involved.

Time of Day
Best day: Wednesday at 9am and Friday at 9am

Least engagement: Saturday

Some Resources I Used:
LinkedIn Hashtags
https://www.theconversioncompany.com/how-to-effectively-use-hashtags-on-linkedin/

Don’t use Hootsuite on LinkedIn
https://linkedselling.com/best-practices-for-sharing-content-on-linkedin/

Frequency
https://louisem.com/144557/often-post-social-media

Tagging
https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/8-best-practices-social-posts-get-noticed-infographic

What to post to Twitter
https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/what-should-i-post-on-twitter

Pinterest best practices
https://business.pinterest.com/en/creative-best-practices

Pinterest best hashtags vs. Insta Hashtags
https://www.wptasty.com/blog/pinterest-hashtags
https://www.planoly.com/blog/portfolio/pinterest-hashtags-best-practices/
https://louisem.com/214795/pinterest-hashtags

Ideal post length
https://blog.hootsuite.com/ideal-social-media-post-length/

Insta hashtags
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-instagram-hashtags-for-business-strategy-for-visibility/

Pinterest best practices
https://sharethis.com/best-practices/2019/01/pinterest-marketing-tips-best-practices/

Best time to pin
https://www.seoinc.com/seo-blog/best-times-post-pinterest/
https://louisem.com/6630/best-time-to-pin-on-pinterest

Instagram Geotagging
https://www.guidingtech.com/14581/uses-of-geotagging-instagram/

Insta Sharing
https://hi.photoslurp.com/blog/instagram-best-practices-content/

Facebook
https://www.marketingdigibook.com/blog/facebook-best-practices-business
https://pulsemarketingagency.com/7-ways-to-reach-your-audience-on-facebook/

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