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The Platform Matters: How To Best Tell Your Story

John Lahr
December 13, 2018

When it comes to staying competitive in the marketing landscape, most businesses know that social media is no longer just an option. Social networking is necessary for establishing relationships, ranking in a search engine, engaging in conversations with customers, influencer marketing and perhaps most importantly, telling a brand story.

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Despite knowing the importance of using multiple social networking sites as part of one’s marketing strategy, it can be extremely time consuming to do social media marketing well. Specifically, it's time consuming to listen to customers across your social networking sites to figure out what they want and when and where they want it.

Because of the effort it takes to manage multiple media platforms, many companies choose to focus on doing a few social media sites well or attempting to use many media platforms but doing it ineffectively. Using multiple social media accounts increases your general social media presence allowing you to reach the largest target audience possible, so it’s necessary for a business’s success.

Let’s delve into how a business can effectively manage their story across multiple social media channels.

How to Tell Your Story:

Telling your story across multiple social media platforms starts by understanding your audience and how your audience differs between social media platforms. This includes both your followers and your potential followers defined by your competitors and your self-proclaimed industry.\

Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn vary in the number of active users, the type of audience, and the trending topics that perform best on each. For instance, social media users on Twitter will use different social media tools than users on LinkedIn. Choosing how to tell your story on each platform has a lot to do with these differences. In addition to the general differences between the platforms, there are also more business specific differences.

The people you are reaching and the people you could potentially be reaching differs greatly from platform to platform. 

The implications of these varying audiences are different visual content and viewing preferences.

It takes time to understand your customers on even one social platform. In order to make informed content decisions you need to understand what they want to see, when they want to see it, and how often they want to see it. While this can be extremely time consuming and inaccurate when done using human analytics, AI can streamline this process.

The most important factor in the audience differences is a company’s individual social sites, however there are some general statements we can make about the audience of a platform in general.

Facebook is by far the largest social platform with over 2 billion active users. The majority of this audience range from 25 to 54 years old. Facebook is diverse in terms of best content as photographic; text and video content all perform well on this channel.

Instagram and Snapchat both offer similar content options. Snapchat has about 200,000,000 active users. Snapchat users also fall into a younger demographic, the majority being 18-24 years old. Instagram has about double the number of active users when compared to Snapchat and is used by a wider range of ages.

Most of Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users are under the age of 50. A notable part of Pinterest’s general audience is that it skews heavily towards women, who create user-generated content for women. LinkedIn is one of the only popular social media networking sites with more users above 30 than below. YouTube is the most popular video media network.

We discussed how these network-based audience differences influence general visual choices in an article on using social media photos to tell your story.

We discussed how these network-based audience differences influence general visual choices in an article on using social media photos to tell your story. 

But to really tell your story effectively, you need to look at how an individual companies’ audiences vary from network to network. Marketers must realize the differences in social platforms to enhance audience engagement. For instance, social interactions on Instagram are different than those on LinkedIn.


Social media is the perfect place for visual storytelling. But if you are tempted to use the same photos across all of your social networks, don’t. A large part of media marketing is knowing your target audience.

On a business specific level, there are key creative choices that play to the audience preferences of one social platform versus another.

Cortex uses AI to analyze a brand’s social content for thousands of different features including image topics, image colors and copy. It then groups content that has similar features into clusters and analyzes the engagement data to find the best and worst performing “type” of content. These cluster reports are done for each social media channel and are used to find patterns in how the different elements of content affect how the audience receives it.

We gain a lot of insight into how the content preferences of a brand’s different audiences varies depending on the social channel by looking at the top performing clusters for each channel.

For example, the cluster report for one of our clients revealed that images of cities performed drastically different depending on the platform.

It found that while city photos ranked as the 2nd highest cluster group on Twitter, bringing in a performance score 42% higher than the median performance score, on Instagram the same general topical cluster was one of the least effective ones, ranking 16% below the median performance score.

Ritz Instagram

 ritz twitter

While the clusters of city photos also differ on many other features that the software takes into account, the fact that a general trend such as the main topic of a photo can produce such drastic differences in engagement ratings is still evident of important audience differences between the two socials. 

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Looking at content, audience, and engagement information on a channel-by-channel basis, Cortex is able to become a social media examiner to identify broadly what content choices work, and which don’t. This includes broad trends in the industry, what is working for your competitors that you aren't doing, what you are doing well, and what content is performing poorly. By keeping the data for each channel separate, it is able to offer data backed content solutions for each individual channel based on the types of content your target audience for each channel.

Marketing Strategy:

The best way to tell a story across different social media sites all starts with the story you are trying to tell. A social media strategy fits inside of your larger marketing campaigns. As your social media channels back up, your other marketing efforts should collectively tell a cohesive message. So, what do you do when your social media audience isn't engaging with the content that shares this story?

This was the dilemma that Visit Utah found themselves faced with when Cortex identified that despite skiing being their largest tourist industry, skiing related content was their lowest performing content on Instagram. Taking into consideration the goals of promoting the skiing season, Cortex delved into how to make skiing related content as effective as it possibly can possible. By giving suggestions on features to include or not to include, color schemes, and more, Cortex grew engagement for Utah on Instagram by 23%.

By analyzing a brand’s competitors and the industry as a whole, AI identifies the key ways that people are connecting with your intended target audience. This allows for content suggestions on the best way to share your brand story.

Time and Cadence: 

When looking at the data backed suggestions, timing and cadence is where we see the most variety between platforms. Creating fantastic content is not enough to get people to pay attention to it. You need to post at a frequency that keeps you at the forefront of your audience’s mind without being repetitive. You also need to post at the time that your audience is using the social platform, so it can be seen by the maximum amount of people.

People use different social media platforms in different ways and at different times. So, the time and cadence for a brand to post has quite a bit of variety. A content schedule is vital is scheduling around these metrics. With a simple automation calendar like a Hootsuite dashboard you can manually schedule various social posts all at once.

Cortex's content calendar brings this a few steps further by filling in a content calendar for you based on the best data backed content choices, times to post and amount of time to post.

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