2021 Best Practices for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube & Pinterest
Social media is ever-changing. Keeping up with the trends is challenging but necessary to succeed in digital marketing. Here is our list of the social media best practices for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube in 2021, including hashtag strategies, content direction and the best times to post on each platform.
Social Media Best Practices
While best practices vary due to factors like location, industry and sponsored content, there are still some general guidelines that will help you see increased engagement compared to posts that do not fall within the latest best practice suggestions.
Before we get to platform-specific best practices, here are the different types of hashtags you can use to post across platforms:
Companies use general hashtags for posts related to their product and service offerings.
For example: #sweater or #coffeeshop
These help you build a community specifically around your brand. This may be a slogan, the name of a specific product or even the name of the business.
For example: AllBird’s shoe brand’s hashtag is #WeAreAllBirds.
These can hint at what you do while providing inspiration to users.
For example: Nike’s #JustDoIt
For targeting users in a specific region, you can include names of places.
For example: #America, #California, #LosAngeles
If you’re running a sponsored ad, you can use a unique hashtag to keep track of activity relating to the campaign.
For example: the Tezza App’s #12DaysOfTezzaApp to promote their holiday campaign.
These usually have a theme, such as #MotivationMonday, #WellnessWednesdat and #ThrowbackThursday. They are a fun way to keep your profile relevant surrounding different content. To find out which hashtags are trending daily, Get Day Trends is a great website.
Platform-Specific Best Practices
According to Bloomberg, businesses spent about $20 billion to advertise on Instagram last year, $1.7 billion on Instagram Stories alone.
Instagram Hashtag Strategy
- The more specific the better. Choosing niche hashtags specific to a brand or image will get the right kind of followers.
- Instagram’s algorithm will penalize you for using the same hashtags on every post. Set up a hashtag cycle if you want to use the same hashtags.
- Some hashtags are banned, but it’s not always clear why some are, like the hashtag #pushups for example. Always search a hashtag before posting to make sure it isn’t flagged or banned. To do so, search for a hashtag in the search bar in the Instagram app. If it does not appear as a hashtag in the search results, the hashtag is banned – either temporarily or indefinitely. If temporarily, it means that one day it might be blocked but might be back another day. As seen below, the #beautyblogger hashtag was banned, then reappeared with a warning saying “recent posts for #beautyblogger are hidden because some posts may not follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”
- “The more the merrier” is not the case with Instagram hashtags. Instagram allows up to 30, but it’s recommended to stick to 11 or fewer hashtags per post.
Instagram Content Direction
- Instagram captions are cut off after the first three lines, so the ideal character length is under 125 characters. If you’d like to include a lot of information, consider writing two paragraphs with the most important information in the first.
- Placing your hashtags in the comments leaves more room for your caption. This can be a good idea if you don’t want your captions to distract from your post but you still want people to discover your post through certain hashtags.
Instagram Best Time to Post
- The best overall time to post on Instagram is generally between 9-11 a.m. EST, but the best time to post also depends on the business type and location.
- Monday: 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST
- Tuesday: 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and EST
- Wednesday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST
- Thursday: 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. EST
- Friday: 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST
- Saturday: 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST
- Sunday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST
Facebook Hashtag Strategy
- The best way to do research on hashtag popularity is to look on Instagram first. Facebook doesn’t show current post count totals for hashtags. Instagram will give you an understanding of the relevance of the hashtags you’re using.
- Use a mix of widely popular hashtags (1m+), mildly popular hashtags (100k+) and a few niche ones. For example: #fyp #foryoupage #viral (popular) #dogsoftiktok #dogmoms (niche).
- Add 3-5 key hashtags. If you wish to use more, try to stay within 10-15 hashtags.
- To find out which hashtags are trending daily, visit Get Day Trends’ website.
Facebook Content Direction
- Posts that contain 40 characters or less earn 86% more engagement, according to SproutSocial.
- Similar to Instagram, long posts get cut off in users’ feeds. It’s best to be clear and concise, only using a few short paragraphs to convey a message.
- For Facebook Ads, the body should not exceed 14 words and the ideal headline length is five words. Ads should stick with 18 words or less for the link description.
Facebook Best Time to Post
- Studies differed in results when determining the best time to post due to different factors such as industry, location, sponsor, etc. As a base suggestion. Facebook posts should be published between 1-3 p.m. during the week and on Saturdays for higher engagement rates.
LinkedIn Hashtag Strategy
- Use three hashtags, two broad ones and one niche.
- Identify the most successful and frequent hashtags by typing them in the search bar on LinkedIn.
- Unlike Instagram, hashtags don’t work when posted in the comments so they must be included in the copy itself.
- Use personal hashtags. Personal hashtags are regularly used on LinkedIn by individuals looking to develop their personal brand.
- Hashtags should go below the caption, but could also be worked organically into the copy.
LinkedIn Content Direction
- Like other platforms, LinkedIn has a “See More” button if a post has more than approximately 25 words. Try to stay at or below 25 words so viewers can see the full content of the post.
- Articles are another post option on LinkedIn. To perform well and gain the greatest number of post views, LinkedIn likes comments and shares, try to write around 1,900-2,000 words.
- LinkedIn videos can be as long as 10 minutes, but it’s recommended to stay at 30 seconds or less.
LinkedIn Best Time to Post
- LinkedIn posts should be posted within business hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Posts published on Tuesdays through Thursdays should be posted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST.
- The worst time to post on LinkedIn is on the weekend and outside of business hours.
TikTok Hashtag Strategy
- There are no limits to the specific number of hashtags you can use on TikTok, but be mindful of the small character limit (150 characters).
- Use a mixed combination of popular and niche hashtags.
- Hashtags specifically on TikTok rise and fall, so we recommend double-checking to make sure the hashtags you’re using are still relevant.
- Branded hashtags on TikTok go much further than branded hashtags on other platforms.
- Ten of the most popular hashtags on tiktok are: #tiktok, #foryoupage, #fyp, #foryou, #viral, #love, #funny, #memes, #followme, #cute.
TikTok Content Direction
- Captions are limited to 100 characters.
- Add emojis to the caption to enhance the post and boost it on TikTok’s algorithm.
- TikTok is a mobile-first video platform, so keeping captions short and catchy will enhance results.
- TikTok’s algorithm becomes very specific in that it gives users videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. For this reason, we recommend thinking about captions that the TikTok algorithm can easily put in front of your target audience.
TikTok Best Time to Post
- The times in bold below are the times of especially increased levels of engagement.
- Monday: 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- Tuesday: 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
- Wednesday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
- Thursday: 9 a.m., 12 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Friday: 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sunday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Twitter Hashtag Strategy
- Tweets with one to two hashtags have a 21% higher engagement rate than tweets with three or more, according to Marketing Week.
- Hashtags should have under 11 characters. The shorter, the better.
- Paid advertisements without a hashtag or a mention generate 23% more clicks, according to the Search Engine Journal. They say to do this so that your audience doesn’t click away from your ad.
Twitter Content Direction
- Tweets with 120-130 characters give the highest CTR (click-through rate).
- Avoid writing copy in all-caps.
- Posts with a conversational tone often have better engagement.
- Include a clear call to action where applicable.
- People are three times more likely to engage with tweets that include visual content.
Twitter Best Time to Post
- The best days to post on Twitter are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Tuesday: 9 a.m.
- Wednesday: 9 a.m.
Pinterest Hashtag Strategy
- Pinterest hashtags offer an additional form of searching for Pinterest users, alongside regular “keyword” search terms. This gives even more opportunities for promotion and categorization.
- It’s recommended that you add hashtags to the end of the description text.
- Hashtags can be added to the comments so they don’t take away from the description.
- Pinterest allows up to 20 hashtags. Try to stick to two to five hashtags per post.
- Try to switch up Pinterest hashtags to reach different audiences.
Pinterest Content Direction
- Short captions and descriptions help to increase engagement.
- Descriptions should stay between 100-200 characters.
- Pinterest does cut off text after 40 of characters, so be mindful of what information you put first.
Pinterest Best Time to Post
- Between 8 and 11 p.m. and between 2 and 4 a.m. are the best times to post on Pinterest, although it greatly depends on the content, audience and boards you follow.
- If most of your audience works a 9-5 job, the best time to post on Pinterest is before or after work hours and lunchtime; avoid posting pins during working hours.
- Between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. are also good times to post for those who browse before bedtime.
YouTube Content Direction
- YouTube allows 1,000 characters in the description. While this platform is more focused on video content, viewers should be able to understand what they’re watching.
- Captions can help give viewers an idea of what they are about to view and explain information further that you briefly touched on in the video.
- Posting relevant links in the description can point viewers in the right direction, especially if you mention specific products in a video.
YouTube Best Time to Post
- The best times to post on YouTube depending on the day:
- Monday: 2-4 p.m.
- Tuesday: 2-4 p.m.
- Wednesday: 2-4 p.m.
- Thursday: 12-3 p.m.
- Fridays: 12-3 p.m.
- Saturday: 9-11 a.m.
- Sunday: 9-11 a.m.
As you can see, best practices vary across platforms and there are lots of things to keep in mind during content creation and posting. What are your favorite social media best practices tips? Let us know in the comments below! If you have any questions, contact us at 816-221-1040 or visit our website. We’d be happy to help with your strategy!