How to tailor your content for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Posting on social doesn’t mean you should post the same thing on every social platform. Different audiences live on various platforms, and their expectations for types of content, tone and information can be wildly different. 

Each platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.,) has unique qualities, different strengths and purposes, and a specific best use case. Here's what you should know about content that connects with different audiences:

Facebook

  • More than half of the active users see content on mobile, not desktop
  • Currently emphasizes live video and other video content, which means it's more likely to promote your video
  • Huge sharing audience
  • Algorithm determines news feed
  • Tone can be fun or serious but people are particularly sensitive to bias 

Twitter

  • Brevity is king
  • Great for breaking news: Not only can you share your reporting, but you can see what is unfolding in a news event 
  • Moves quickly in reverse chronological order
  • Creativity within character-count constraints is rewarded 
  • Harsh critics: People will call you out on typos or other mistakes
  • Tone is often more brief or direct: You can make a statement with your tweet

Instagram

  • Explosive user growth
  • Must show before telling: Lead with your visual and make sure it’s strong 
  • Highly visual
  • Algorithm determines what users see
  • People use the Explore page and hashtag searches to discover content
  • Tone is fairly casual, sometimes clever or explanatory, and is emoji-friendly

Taken from Tweet This, Not That: How to Write and Edit for Social Media, a webinar replay with Alysha Love at Poynter NewsU. Want to learn more about metrics? Join our one-day workshop on Nov. 10 in Chicago, led by Joy Mayer. 

Have you missed a Coffee Break Course? Here's our complete lineup. Or follow along at #coffeebreakcourse.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.

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