Back to the Basics: Overviews and Updates of 5 Social Media Platforms

  • Your organic reach on Facebook is decreasing rapidly. If you post regularly, your audience won’t see your posts. Facebook prioritizes content from friends and family over pages. You should be using Facebook Ads to combat this new algorithm.
  • Instagram is the second largest platform behind Facebook with 1 billion monthly active users. You can create content for Instagram daily without having something that photographs well each time.
  • Twitter is the best platform available for communicating and engaging with your audience. It is great for building community, but it does take a lot of work due to the new algorithm change.
  • LinkedIn isn’t as noisy and fast moving as the other platforms. Posts and content hang around a lot longer there than on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, making it great for engaging with B2B companies.
  • Pinterest isn’t only for pinning home décor and recipes. Instead, it is a great tool for business use by driving traffic. The whole point of Pinterest is finding content outside of the platform. Use it for things like blog posts, checklists and tools for your audience.

When you are marketing on social media, you are on borrowed ground. If the platform makes a change and you have pinned your marketing on one platform, it will negatively impact your success. Think about how to move your social media followers to your own email list.

  • Platform #1. Facebook – 02:58
  • Reap the benefits of using Facebook groups – 05:43
  • Platform #2. Instagram – 07:26
  • You may be surprised to know who uses Instagram – 12:02
  • Platform #3. Twitter – 13:02
  • Don’t repeat your content on Twitter – 15:06
  • Platform #4. LinkedIn – 18:14
  • Platform #5. Pinterest – 22:07
Transcript below


Hello and a super warm welcome to this week's episode of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast. I'm your host, Teresa Heath-Wareing. I hope that wherever you are in the world you're having a great day and that you're getting ready for summer. I suspect that because we've had such lovely weather in the UK that actually our summer's been gone. However, we have got the children summer holidays coming up and then breaking from school. My daughter actually broke up last Friday. So if you're a parent, you've got that tricky time of year where you've got to work out what to do with them for the six or eight weeks they're off while you carry on working. As a business owner, that is just as difficult. I am very lucky that I work from home so my daughter can certainly hang around here while we're working, but it doesn't make it any easier I can assure you.

Anyway, I want to jump straight in and get on with today's podcast episode because it's going to be a good one. Today I am going to take you back through the main five platforms of social media. We're going to be looking at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and I'm just going to give you a quick overview and a very quick update and how am I feeling about these platforms today, because one thing that I talk about when I train is whatever I tell you today, in two, three weeks', months' time could be completely different because social media is one of the fastest moving industries in the world. If you are on any of the apps personally, you know you will go to your phone today and it will look a little bit different to how it was yesterday, which means it's constantly changing and evolving in terms of how we use these platforms for business, which means that my advice and my content constantly changes as well.

I was really aware that we're 21 episodes in and I haven't done a kind of back to basics overview. So that's what we're going to cover today, and I hope it's going to be really helpful to help you think actually, is my strategy still correct? I didn't know that that change happened and actually now that makes a change as to how I use it, or should I consider a platform that I haven't considered before? Let's dive straight in.

The way this episode is going to work is I am literally going to talk you through those five different platforms, each one at a time, and then I'm going to kind of give you a quick overview and a little bit of what's good and what's bad and what strategy I'm using right now.


Platform #1. Facebook


Let's get started with the biggest, Facebook.

Facebook has 2.19 billion monthly active users, which means it is far and away bigger than every other platform out there. Although over recent months Facebook hasn't shone itself in glory and has had a few problems in terms of data breaches and the way they're using data in Facebook, however, they are still huge and they still have loads of monthly active users.

My strategy on Facebook has changed because of the facts that the algorithm, we've talked about this before. In fact, if you go back to episode 14, I do a whole podcast just about the algorithm. But basically your organic reach on Facebook is declining even more than it has already done, which was huge anyway, to the point where hardly anybody is seeing your post.

One of the downsides of Facebook is that if you're posting regularly people are not going to be seeing your post, because Facebook want to make their users happy and in doing that they want to show them content that they're interested in, so they are going to prioritise content from people's friends and family over content from pages. As I said, it's a huge platform, but organically i.e., without paying, you are struggling for people to see your posts.

At the moment I am putting a lot less effort into posting on Facebook as I am in some of the others because it's getting much harder to see my posts because that algorithm is getting even stricter. However, on the plus side the one reason I will always continue to use Facebook for my business, not just because it's huge, but because it has an amazing advertising platform. So for me if you're using Facebook, you really, really should be advertising because without the advertising it's kind of pointless.

Now I say this. If you're using Facebook today and you're getting engagement and it's working for you, then obviously I am not saying to you stop, don't it use anymore. But I'm just saying go back and have a look at your last few posts, think about how much time and effort you're spending on Facebook and is it really reaping those awards. Don't necessarily just think of, “Right, that's it. I'm going to come off,” but have you looked at the advertising tool? Are you doing anything on that side? Because like I said, the advertising tool on Facebook is amazing.


Reap the benefits of using Facebook groups


The other thing that Facebook is really good for is groups, and community is becoming even bigger in marketing. If you can create a community or a tribe around you, your product, your service, then this is a fantastic way to start marketing to people, adding that value, creating a group where you provide people value around what you do and that will help start to increase that following.

Notifications are different on a group. If you do put someone in a group or someone chooses to be in your group … Actually on a side note there, please don't just add people to groups. It's a horrible tactic. In fact, my episode last week where I said the four things I really didn't like about social media or four things that businesses do that I didn't like, I should've added adding people to your groups. Anyway, other than adding people randomly to your group, groups are really effective tool within Facebook. Also, things like Facebook Lives are still really good.

The other good thing about Facebook is it has a real mix of demographics. So even though on the outside looking in lots of people think that they don't have a very young demographic because they're choosing to use things like Snapchat and Instagram, actually Facebook have the widest demographic. They really are still attracting people of all ages. But as I said, unless you're advertising, getting any kind of reach or any kind of interaction is really difficult. For that reason, like I said, I am not working as hard on it as I have been but I am still using it to advertise.


Platform #2. Instagram


Okay, onto social media platform number two and now we're going to be talking about Instagram. If you didn't know, Facebook owns Instagram and it's now the second largest platform behind Facebook and has just announced it has one billion monthly active users, which is huge. In fact, the last updated date was back in September and it was 800 million, so it's growing really rapidly and it's certainly growing in popularity really rapidly as well.

Now I have to say I am putting a huge amount of my attention to Instagram at the moment. I love it. My attitude changed about it because I used to talk about Instagram and say that I only posted when I had something interesting to post, or I could take a good photo of something. For me and my business that wasn't very often. In fact, I used to say to people, I told you things change all the time. If you had heard me probably six months ago, I probably said to people, “Actually Instagram isn't for a business like mine.”

Then back in February I went at Social Media Marketing World which is the whole point to learn about these platforms and get trained by the best in the world, and Jasmine Star was there and I did a few sessions with her and she changed my mind completely. I realised that I wasn't working hard enough on the platform and being considered enough. I was just posting photos when I thought I had something interesting to post. When actually you can be creating content for the platform. It doesn't have to be a really natural thing. Also, I used to have the belief that Instagram was only for businesses that had attractive products or services, i.e., something that photographed really well, and that just isn't the case anymore.

Instagram for me is a platform that I'm working super hard on and it is hard work. I'm not going to lie to you. I think sometimes when I go and train people or when I speak, people think there is some secret tool or tip or tactic that they haven't used that makes social media so easy. And yeah, don't get me wrong, I've got load of different tools and tips that can help, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it actually takes effort. Every day I'm having to think really hard about why I'm posting, I have to think really hard about my captions, and I am purposefully taking photos or having photos taken in order to use on Instagram.

However, the hard work on Instagram really does pay off. From February, well, by the time I got back it was March, so from March I vowed to post on Instagram every single day and work harder at it. I try and have a similar theme and look. If you head over to Teresa Heath-Wareing on Instagram, you will see that I have a fairly curated page, i.e., I work hard to make it look nice, and I have managed to grow my followers, it was a new page that I created. I started off with something like 300 followers and I managed to grow it from 300 to now I'm just short of 1,000, and that is purely through posting and being active on the platform every single day.

Actually one of the great things about Instagram is organically you can grow a following, you can interact with people easier, and it's a much easier platform to do that on than say Facebook. It still has an algorithm. Don't get me wrong. You will still struggle at times for people to see your post. In fact, Instagram started off by being historic, i.e., it would literally go back in time as to what post happened when and if you went back far enough you would see everything. Whereas that's not the case now.

The other thing about Instagram that I love is Instagram Stories, these snippets of a world which you can show yourself in or that you can give people an idea of that helps them kind of connect with you and engage with you. In fact, if you go back to episode eight of my podcast, you will find an episode all about Instagram Stories and how you can use them to elevate your business.

A few other things to note about Instagram. You are able to advertise on Instagram through the Facebook advertising tool, which basically means the amazing tool that's on Facebook also gets included on Instagram. That is obviously another big advantage.


You may be surprised to know who uses Instagram


Also, people believe that Instagram have a very young following. When I went to find stats for this, it actually proved that point. It actually said that 90% of their followers are under 35. However, that was back in 2017. Obviously I'm recording this podcast as of July '18 and I think that's probably not the case so much now. My gut feeling is that the age bracket is moving up and my gut feeling is that it will continue to do so. So if you're thinking, “Well, my customers are in their 40s, they're not going to be on Instagram,” I would probably think again.

The other really good thing about Instagram is that it's stated that 53% of people follow brands. I think there is a much more natural mix between following brands and businesses as opposed to also following friends and celebrities on Instagram as well. I think if you were to ask me what's my favourite platform right now, I'd probably say Instagram. Don't tell the others though.


Platform #3. Twitter


Okay, onto platform number three and we're talking about Twitter. This was previously my favourite, and I still love Twitter and I feel like it gets a bit of a bad rap because people think that it's dying or is dead or it's no good. But actually Twitter is still an amazing platform, especially if you're using social media for business. In fact, episode 15 of this podcast I talked about the five ways in which you should be using Twitter for your business because I'm such a big fan.

But let's quickly go over Twitter. 37% of Twitter users are aged 18 to 29 and 25% of Twitter users are aged 30 to 49, which I thought was really interesting because I expected that to be a much older age bracket. I don't know why. They currently have 336 million monthly active users. Just quickly recapping, you've gone from 2.19 billion monthly active for Facebook, 1 billion for Instagram, so Twitter is lagging quite far behind. However, they are still growing not at the rate of the others granted, but they are still growing.

The other thing I find funny about Twitter is often they come up with the ideas first but Facebook seems to have more money and better tech guys maybe, I'm not sure, but they seem to do it better than Twitter. It's like Twitter come up with an idea and then Facebook take it and do it even better.

I love Twitter for connecting with people. There is no platform out there that does it like this. You are able to speak to people so easily and connect with them, include them in your tweets, have conversations with them. From a community building point of view, Twitter really is fantastic. Also, if you're trying to connect and reach out to people, again, it's a great platform to use, far better than Facebook. With Facebook you can't connect to people like that, whereas on Twitter you can.


Don’t repeat your content on Twitter


A few months back now Twitter did an update to their algorithm and basically made a fairly hefty change, which meant that you could no longer repeat content. Let me explain. Because Twitter is so fast-moving, people used to repeat content. And I didn't mind that so much. If I was going to repeat content, I would make sure that we had over 100 bits of content to schedule and therefore once it got ranked repeating it, it wouldn't be a problem because the chances of you seeing that content again or recognising it would be slim to none.

However, people used to really take the Mickey out of this if you like because people would repeat content all the time and they wouldn't have 100 bits of content, they'd have five and they would post it five times a day, which meant every single day they're repeating the same content. And it was getting so clogged up of bots and spam and rubbish that Twitter wanted to put a stop to it. So they basically said that they were going to penalise you i.e., either shut your account or ban you for a bit if you repeated content. All the systems that had been built that worked with Twitter were made to stop doing this.

It made it fairly big difference to a) the amount of stuff that was getting posted, and b) how people used Twitter. And it certainly made a difference to our world because like I said, we had spent a long time creating what we would call evergreen content, i.e., it doesn't matter if it goes out today or in three months' time, it's still relevant. And we used to post this on Twitter. Whereas now of course we can't. You can't even post the same picture. You need to amend that. You can't put the same text. You need to amend that.

Actually in terms of creating enough content for Twitter it actually makes that job quite hard. Because I've talked before in the past that if you're going to be posting to Twitter, then I try and do or in the past I've tried to do sort of four to five tweets minimum a day and now that is just being made a whole lot harder. That has changed things somewhat.

Also, the other kind of downside to Twitter is it takes work. Again, I've built a fairly big following on Twitter. I'm at to about 12,000 I think last look. But it took really hard work and took me posting all the time, following people, commenting on stuff, so again, wasn't just a kind of case of easy access to those people and I got lots of followers. It took that time and effort. Since my focus has moved over to Instagram, I've noticed that those followers are slowing down. I'm still getting followers, but not at the rate I used to.

I love Twitter and I think if you get it, it's a great tool, but lots of people don't get it. But it might be one to go back and have a look at, especially if you want to connect and if you're business to business especially.


Platform #4. LinkedIn


Platform number four, LinkedIn. My opinion of LinkedIn's changed quite a bit over the time. I think I kind of go in and out of LinkedIn in terms of liking it, using it. But I think one of the things I really like about it is that when you do post, it does get interaction. LinkedIn isn't as noisy, it isn't as fast-moving, and the algorithm actually can work in your favour because it does make things hang around quite a lot. For instance, I could be posting and you could be seeing that post two or three times because of how the algorithm works. For me, if you are producing good quality content, i.e., blog posts, podcasts, anything like that, then actually LinkedIn can be a really good place to share those things.

LinkedIn has currently got 500 million users in total though. For whatever reason they are not promoting their monthly active users, and I would suspect because people don't go in there as often as they go into the other platforms. For instance, obviously because this is part my job and part I like it, when I wake up one of the first platforms I look at is Instagram. I will look at Facebook throughout the day and several times a day, I'll also look at Twitter, but actually LinkedIn I tend to only go and have a look when I've got a notification, i.e., if someone has connected with me or something's happened, but I don't go in as often as I go into the others.

I would suspect if they actually put their monthly active users out there, it wouldn't look as good as the users. On first sight it could appear that LinkedIn is the third largest, but actually I would suspect if we're talking monthly active users which we were with the others, I would suspect that Twitter's probably just ahead.

Of course the other great thing about LinkedIn is it's a great place to connect from a business to business point of view. If you are dealing with people of a certain job title, you're going to find them with ease. Also, LinkedIn are a bit slow at bringing functionality that the other platforms have got. A little while back they put in native video. What I mean by native video is that when you create a video, you can upload it directly to the platform, and the reason you want to do this on all the platforms rather than just put a YouTube link in it's because the native video will play automatically and that's what you want because a) no one wants to click a link and be taken somewhere else while they're in a platform, and b) you're going to have a much better chance of catching someone's eye if something is moving, whereas if it's just a static post then potentially it will get missed more.

If I'm honest, I'm a little bit disappointed that since Microsoft took it over I was really hoping to see some big changes with LinkedIn. It's always struggled. It's never been the most easiest platform to use and aesthetically again it's never been great. My hope was because Microsoft don't own a social media platform, and this was their chance to get into that space, I really hoped that they would do something or make some big changes or I don't know just make a big difference to it and they didn't. They have obviously made some changes, but not as many as I would've liked.

The other last thing to know on LinkedIn is they do do advertising but boy is it expensive, and for me it doesn't seem to give the results that the other platforms do. For me, I wouldn't advertise on LinkedIn. But from an organic point of view I think you could probably still have some good results.


Platform #5. Pinterest


Okay, onto the last platform, and this one is going to be my tip for the future and something that I want you to pay attention to, so Pinterest. Now back in the day when Pinterest first started out, I loved it. But I mainly loved it for decorating ideas, interior design, nice food, nice clothes, ideas for my daughter, and I never really saw it as a business tool as such. However, surprisingly it's having a resurgence and at Social Media Marketing World back in Feb-March there were quite a few people talking about Pinterest and the success of it and why businesses should be using it more.

Pinterest lags behind with only 200 million monthly active users. I say only. That's ridiculous. That's 200 million people. That is still a lot of people that are using the platform. It used to be very female heavy because of the type of things that people used to pin. However, Pinterest is now 30% male. Maybe it's starting to grow on that side as well.

Now one of the things that Pinterest has always been really good for and I think lots of people underestimate it and don't spend time on it, me included, I'm going to hold my hand up there and say that other than pinning for my own sheer joy I don't use Pinterest, and I am going to try harder to. Because one of the things it's amazing for is driving traffic because that's the whole point of the platform.

Now you have to understand that when someone is in a social media platform, they tend not to want to leave and the platform itself doesn't want you to leave either because if you go off to a website you might forget to come back and carry on engaging. When you're trying to drive traffic, it can be really difficult. Facebook in fact a long while ago made your reach even lower if you did a link post, so we try not to do too many link posts now when we do do them. Instagram doesn't have any other links than the bio, and Twitter actually, they don't seem to mind you linking to somewhere.

But Pinterest, that's the whole point. The whole point is that you're looking for something and the image takes you to where that is found on the internet. A) they actively encourage clicks to website, and b) people using the platform are aware that that's what the platform is for, so they're not going to mind being taken off to your website.

Now I watched a webinar the other day about Pinterest. Jenna Kutcher who I think I've mentioned before in probably an Instagram episode is also a huge Pinterest marketer, and she was trying to explain the benefits to me in terms of why you should be using Pinterest on this webinar. I get it. I get that actually it could be an amazing tool and I'm probably not spending enough time on it. But basically use it for things like blog post, tips, checklists, sheets, that sort of thing, so things like five ways in which you can blur. Kind of look at it as a search engine, that's what she was saying, which I thought was really interesting. Not so much as a social platform, but people go to Pinterest and type how do I, how can I, they ask questions rather than just searching on things. If you think of it more as a search engine, then maybe you might start to have a different opinion and it might be a tool that you're looking at.

Again, though Pinterest is pretty and beautiful and therefore you want to make those images look really good. But like I said, this is the one that I am kind of saying now that I think we're going to see some changes and I think we're going to see this grow. I've always been a big fan of when something new happens that if you jump on it and become one of the first, then you are ahead of the game and hopefully you will reap the rewards.

The other thing that I guess Pinterest has had a bit of a bad rap for is the fact that people just used it to pin fashion and beauty and those sorts of things and that it wasn't taken that seriously, or if you weren't in one of those industries that it wasn't really helpful to you. But I really don't think that that's the case anymore and I think that maybe you should be looking at Pinterest as a potential for the future.

There you have it, the five platforms, and a bit of an overview about what I think of them today in July 2018. Of course tomorrow everything could change and if they make them change to an algorithm or remove something or include something, then it can suddenly mean that my opinion has changed and we need to refocus again, which actually brings me back to one last point before I finish.

When you're marketing and using social media, you are on borrowed ground. This doesn't belong to you. Those followers aren't your followers. They are Twitter's followers, or Facebook's followers. So therefore, if they do make a change, and you have pinned all of your marketing on one platform and the success you're having, then it could really rock your world.

My advice to you would be think about how much you really put into that platform and how much your business is based on it, and then think about great, use the social media platforms, but how do I get them off and on to my own email list.

Again, I'm going to direct you back to some previous episodes. In episode six I did five tried and tested strategies to build your email list. And in episode two right back at the beginning, which I probably sound dreadful on now, in fact, I'm not going to go back and listen because I think I would then want to re-record them and no one's got time for that. But back in episode two I did how lead magnets can help you build your list and stay connected with your followers. Both of those should help you with strategies to get people off social media platforms and onto your email list.

Now obviously I am on every platform because I can't not be really being this is what I do as a job. It is a bit exhausting at times, I won't lie, and sometimes I don't want to do it. Sometimes I just want a break and for two whole days I didn't post on Instagram the other day, which is like, “Wow, what a shock.” But obviously I have to be on everything to make sure that I know how to use them, and what to do with them, and what's good and what's bad.

So please, come and find me. If you search Teresa Heath-Wareing anywhere on any platform, you're going to find me. Please come along on whatever your chosen platform is and follow my page and say hi. I would love to hear from you. Anyway, I really hope that's given you a bit of an insight as to what's going on now and where I'm putting my focus on social media at the moment. I can't wait to connect with you. I hope you've enjoyed this week's episode and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Have a great week.