The Medium is The Message
Updated: Feb 25
The Medium is The Message
Canadian Professor and Philosopher, Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message," a theory applied to media and communications studies. Although his theory was not developed during the digital age, it applies now more than ever.
The medium you use to deliver your message has just as much impact as the message delivered. This is especially true when it comes to social media and other digital media formats. If your message is not catered to the specific platform, you alter the integrity of your message altogether!
Your audience's interpretation of your messaging will depend not only on what is being said, but the medium in which it is being delivered from. With the rising popularity of social media platforms, it is essential that you deploy your message according to the nature of the platform you are using in order to be effective.
Social media marketing must carefully utilize a balanced mix across multiple channels to develop strong relationships with your audience and gain credibility. Here's a look into the three biggest social media platforms, and Facebook Ads Manager in order to properly cater your content to benefit your business:
Facebook has the largest number of active users, as well as the greatest reach compared to other social media platforms. It is an excellent medium to grow brand awareness, familiarity and foster engagement with consumers to gain business. When posting content to Facebook you want to post quality and entertaining content that your audience will happily engage with. We can tell you from experience, that a bad pun or dad joke goes a long way in developing connections with consumers.
Facebook is also a great tool to increase your website traffic. This platform allows you to enter a link preview for your audience in order to take them directly to a page on your website. Looking to promote an event or new blog? Post a preview and eye-catching caption to Facebook to get attention directed to your website.
While the Facebook character limit is 63,206, we highly recommend keeping your posts far shorter and avoid industry jargon. Best practices are to keep your posts to a 4th grade reading level, the simpler your post is to understand, the higher likelihood your audience will remember them.
Hashtags on Facebook have become a common practice but vary from its use on Instagram; we recommend using a maximum of 2-3 hashtags per post on Facebook. While they can help your visibility when the consumers use the Facebook search engine, you don't want to spam 30 hashtags in one aspect of your post. Use hashtags to participate in important conversations or put emphasis on one aspect of your post. Most commonly we use hashtags on Facebook to participate in National or International days such as #GivingTuesday or #BellLetsTalk.
When it comes to your Facebook visuals, make sure your dimensions fit the platform. There is nothing worse than your visual content being cropped by Facebook to fit the platform; this will significantly impact the integrity of your message.
Minimum size: 200 x 200
Profile picture size: 180 x 180 pixels
Image post size: 1200 x 630 pixels
Ad size/ Link Preview: 820 x 462 pixels
Event image size: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Instagram is a medium that focuses on content with a visual interest. Similar to Facebook, it is a platform that provides you with an opportunity to humanize your brand, build relationships and awareness as well as foster engagement with consumers. Showcase your company values, work environment, services/ products, staff and so much more to connect with your audience. When you highlight aspects of your business and humanize your brand, your audience will feel they have something in common with you and engage with your brand.
Be sure to use Instagram stories! These quick snapshots give your audience a look into your everyday life as a business and how you solve problems for your clients.
Instagram also has a large character limit, 2,200, but we recommend keeping your caption in a similar manner to Facebook, to the point and simple to understand. Remember, Instagram is a visual platform, ensure your photo embodies the message and your caption is only meant to add context to your image.
For a uniform look, we recommend keeping all Instagram content to a 1 : 1 square ratio. This will create synergy in your thumbnails, nothing will be cropped, and it will allow you to keep branding in the same position throughout your content.
When using Instagram stories, keep your format vertical. The biggest screen affect is more engaging to an audience rather than posting a landscape photo that is difficult to see. Dimensions for stories is 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Twitter is a medium meant for bite-sized flow of information, if needed you can provide an option for your audience to click a link and read further if the content is interesting enough. It is a platform meant for efficiency and urgency; it quickly gives people insight on events occurring around the globe at that very moment.
A business's goal on Twitter is to be helpful and provide value to the audience's life, not sales pitch your newest product/service. Use Twitter as an opportunity to showcase your expertise, build a community and engage directly with your audience. In order to stand out, the key to an effective Twitter strategy is consistency in sharing.
Twitter has the smallest character limit by far with only 280 characters (double from its original limit of 140). This limit helps depict the urgency and efficiency of Twitter. Your message needs to be quick and clear in order to succeed. If your message is longer, use click bate tactics and input a link below to take people to your site in order to read further.
FACEBOOK ADS MANAGER
To be successful on social media, you need more than just an organic strategy, you need a paid advertising strategy! Here is where Facebook's Ads Manager comes into play. Create campaigns on Facebook and Instagram through this medium to reach an audience that is not yours. This medium is no joke, when used properly it can grow your audience, brand, business and profits for campaigns of only $50!
However, this medium is the epidemy of catering your content to the medium. To successfully create a campaign, you need to edit the same content in various formats depending on its placement. Is the ad going on Facebook/ Instagram feeds? You'll need landscape or square content. Are you also placing it in stores? You'll need a vertical format of 1080 x 1920.
There's nothing more soul crushing than seeing a landscape sponsored as cross your vertical Instagram Story. If there is writing within, your message could be lost in translation or passed over all together due to it being difficult to make out.
Another common mistake is creating vertical (9 : 16) ads and paying to have them placed on news feeds where the platform crops your visual component taking away from its glory.
While creating any campaign for Facebook or Instagram, use Facebook Ads Manager and be diligent when choosing each and every setting placement. Think "How will my audience perceive the content on this platform?"
The Medium in the message is a theory that provides insight when developing your social media strategy. The platform determines the type of content you will share as well as its accompanying visuals. Don't let your content get lost in translation simply because you did not deploy your content to follow the format of the platform. Each platform is unique, the medium you choose to deliver the message will impact its interpretation.
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