Social Media Marketing 101: What to Know

02/21/2024 8 min read Written by Megan Combs

Running your brand’s social media accounts can be a busy job, so it’s understandable if you have the urge to hit “copy and paste” across all your channels. Yet, posting the same content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media isn’t doing you any favors.

In fact, research shows nearly 4 out of every 5 people have recently unfollowed a brand/person on social media because the content they find is irrelevant. That could range from your post not aligning with your brand to the content not making sense for the platform. But why would they take the drastic step of unfollowing you in response? Just put yourself in their shoes. If you saw a massive infographic on X (formerly Twitter), you might get annoyed — the same thing goes if a post doesn’t match the company’s vibe or looks out of place on a channel.

Simply put: Audiences are vastly different across different social media platforms, so you should try to cater to them. But how? Here are some ideas on what content performs best for each and some guidance on improving engagement.

What is Social Media?

Let’s start at the very beginning. Social media is an online platform where people can share and exchange ideas and information. The platforms are also largely used for communication. 

The first social media platform, Six Degrees, debuted in 1997 and later shuttered in 2001. From there, Friendster was born in 2001, and LinkedIn in 2002. Tom Anderson’s Myspace came on the scene in 2003, followed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook in 2004 and Jack Dorsey’s Twitter in 2006.

Fast forward to today, and more than five other major platforms are vying for the attention of more than 4.7 billion social media users: Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.  

Benefits of Social Media

Using social media gives you access to an audience you may not have tapped into with other traditional forms of marketing. Social media is also a great way to build brand awareness, boost website traffic, and educate your audience. 

Some other benefits include:

  • Access to advertising tools
  • Community
  • Access to a larger audience
  • A cost-effective way to share information
  • Increased visibility
  • Connection with your audience anytime
  • Real-time interaction with your customers

How to Do Social Media Marketing

As you ramp up your social media efforts, the most important thing to ensure is that your digital presence resonates with your target audience and aligns with your business objectives. If your posts are not authentic to your brand, people will unfollow you.

To do this, create a content calendar that includes your most important messages for the week or month. Seeing all your posts in one place will help you keep a clear brand voice and ensure that every post serves a purpose. It’s OK to throw in entertaining posts occasionally, as long as they aren’t too far outside of what you normally share.

When it comes to choosing which platform is right for you, focus on where your audience spends its time. It’s also better to choose fewer platforms to focus on rather than be spread too thin. After all, not all your content will work well on all the platforms.

Don’t forget to tailor your messaging to each social platform. A static image won’t really work on TikTok unless you use it as a background and have a person talking or doing something in front of it. Lingo you use on Instagram may not resonate with the more business-minded audience on LinkedIn. Keep reading to learn about the best posts for each platform.

How to Use HubSpot for Social Media Marketing

HubSpot makes posting to your social media channels easy. To find it, click on Marketing in your main navigation bar, and then click Social. Once you connect your social accounts, you’ll be able to create posts, schedule in bulk, and compare the analytics for your posts. 

Use the Monitor tab to watch conversations and interactions and be notified about new followers. The Analyze tab is a customizable dashboard that will show you audience size, reach, interactions, impressions, and more. 

The best part about using social media in HubSpot is that you never have to leave. All the information is right at your fingertips.

What to Post on Each Social Media Channel

Posting the same content across all social media platforms is easy, but it will not translate well and can even turn some users away.

We’ll explain what types of posts work best on the top 6 most popular platforms below — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.

What to Post on Facebook

At one point, you could post almost anything to Facebook and engage with your users. However, over the years, it’s been more challenging to find organic reach here — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

An extensive range of content will still work well with this platform, but posts that tell a story will stand out, especially if it’s video. Facebook’s posting algorithm rewards videos, so they will rank higher than other content. If you can’t produce just video, these ideas may help:

  • Pets
  • Transparent content about your brand and values
  • Questions and polls
  • Holidays and current events
  • Product showcases
  • Quotes
  • How-to-guides
  • Company blog content and third-party content
  • Customer support
  • High-quality images
  • Company news

For more engaging Facebook posts, you can use lists in your copy and headlines, emojis, minimal characters, and a few hashtags. You should also try not to use an aggressive amount of images in a carousel, or users may be swiping forever!

What to Post on Instagram 

When it comes to Instagram, visuals are your best friend. All different kinds of photos perform well, ranging from professional photography to text graphics and screenshots of X posts. 

Remember the infographic example from earlier? You can make that work for Instagram, too, by breaking it down into individual pictures and posting them as slides. Or you can post multiple images in a single post and have users swipe to see them all in progression. For examples of specific topics, try:

  • Quotes or motivational sayings
  • Open-ended questions
  • Tutorials (these work well in Stories or Reels)
  • Product posts and videos (try adding product tags)
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • User-generated content
  • Influencer content
  • Employee spotlights
  • Announcements
  • Contests or giveaways
  • Seasonal messages
  • Polls

For Instagram, you can enhance the performance of your posts by using hi-res photos, not overdoing your caption, and using relevant hashtags. Also, be mindful of what’s going on globally, so you don’t appear insensitive.

What to Post on X (Twitter)

Twitter, now X, began as a text-only social media platform — and that still works well for this channel! Links to blog articles and the latest news, like press releases, also work well here. And just because X is text- and link-heavy doesn’t mean you should skip videos, images, or gifs. Informational or heartfelt branded videos with captions are worth a try. While not all of these ideas may work for your business, consider these other topics:

  • Questions
  • Industry news
  • Announcements or milestones
  • Memes (and gifs!)
  • Promo codes or discounts
  • Visual and blog content
  • Events
  • Holidays – including social media-based holidays like National Cat Day
  • Trends

You can take your X posts to the next level by trying NOT to use all 280 characters, not overloading the post with hashtags, and checking out what’s trending in your area.

What to Post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered the optimal channel for B2B companies and professionals. Because of this, thought-leadership content works best here. For example, you can post direct links to in-depth articles as individuals or share links to some of your business’s more premium content. With the right content, you can easily engage and build your audience. Try these suggestions:

  • Company announcements
  • Job openings
  • Answers to common client or lead questions
  • Short video series
  • Video case studies (or written)
  • Images with stats
  • Posts about company leaders
  • Events with registration
  • Third-party content

Posts that have unique, specific titles and use professional language perform better. Also, if you are going to use pictures in a post, try not to use too many!

What to Post on Pinterest

Sometimes, it feels like the creators behind Pinterest made it solely for recipes and workout inspiration — but it’s much more than that. Anything inspirational or educational will work here. However, it’s important to note that your format should be visual and vertically aligned. Horizontal imagery doesn’t mesh well with the layout of the channel. 

The good news is you can get lengthier with your visual content here. Try posting:

  • Infographics
  • Step-by-step guides
  • How-to’s
  • Lists
  • Individual products in motion
  • Style guides
  • Motivational quotes or passages

As noted, try to keep your pins vertical to achieve higher performance. They’ll also need a good description with purposeful language and calls to action (which you should consider throughout your channels). 

Another thing you should be mindful of for every channel and not just Pinterest? Using the correct image sizes as this will ensure your content doesn’t appear pixelated.

What to Post on TikTok

TikTok is a video-heavy platform, so this is your chance to showcase what your brand is all about. Be sure to target the right audience by posting relevant content and using relevant hashtags. 

Try posting:

  • Tutorials
  • Helpful tips
  • Day-in-the-life videos
  • Pet videos
  • Products in action
  • Q&As

Related: Do’s and Don’ts of Nonprofit Social Media 

Social Media Best Practices

You may have picked up a few best practices as you read this blog, but we’re here to lay them all out. Follow these guidelines for a successful social media marketing strategy.

⛔ Don’t allow just anyone to act as social media manager. An intern may not know your business as well as regular employees in the same way that a tech-savvy person may not know how to market your business. Choose someone familiar with your business, marketing, AND social media for best results.

✅ Do create a social media plan. Get your team together to brainstorm ideas and take turns posting (if they are qualified — see above). Your plan needs to outline clear objectives, ROI, and an overall strategy.

⛔ Don’t post the same content across social media sites. See above.

✅Do tailor your messages for each platform. Think about who you’re speaking to.

⛔ Don’t always post the same types of content. Think about the different segments of your audience. While infographics may resonate well with one crowd, they may not resonate well with another.

✅ Do schedule posts for optimal reach. Take a look at your analytics to find out when your audience is hanging out online, and plan posts around those times.

⛔ Don’t rely too heavily on automation, as it takes away some of the human element and spontaneity. Include one-off posts with questions or polls for maximum engagement.

✅ Do use hashtags to reach the right audience.

⛔Don’t, however, go overboard on the hashtags. It makes the post hard to read and can come across as spammy.

✅ Do be you! At the end of the day, authenticity will help build brand loyalty and trust. The more helpful you are, the more people will share your posts, and your audience will expand.

Social Media Marketing 101

Social media can help your business connect with your audiences and propel your brand forward…  if you’re taking the time to tailor their experience on each channel — which is understandably tricky! If you find yourself eager to get started with our guidelines but lack the time or resources, we can help. 

Just reach out to our team, and we can work on a comprehensive social media strategy for all your channels.

By: Megan Combs

With a background in magazine journalism, Megan channels her love of the English language and grammar into her writing and editing. Before joining Lynton, Megan was a top content marketer at a digital marketing agency, where she helped clients translate their brand promises into strategic digital and social media messages.

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