The Complete Guide to Social Media for Marketers

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Current State of Social Media

Social media is a huge part of our daily lives. According to the Salesforce report “50 Best Social Media Practices”, 66% of internet usage is spent on social media sites. Users engage everyone from friends and family, to groups and brands. For brands and organizations, it’s an easy and effective way to get your message and products out to a wider audience in real time. The most widely used social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest. While they’re different, in many ways they’re becoming more and more like each other with each new update.

Facebook continues to be the most widely used platform, with nearly 8 in 10 online Americans using the platform on a regular basis. It’s still a great place for brands to connect and engage with their audience, as well as provide a better level of customer service. Twitter continues to be a good place for brands to share small snippets of information, and for users to position themselves as subject matter experts through posting relevant and valuable content for its audience. Instagram is still the place for telling a story through photos and short videos. You also still have niche platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest, which reach their respective audiences through live-captured and aggregated content. Throughout all of these platforms, live video is still and continues to be the most prevalent form of content for social media. We predict that long-form video and live video will continue to perform very well and drive social media growth in the coming year.

Current Trends

Technology is moving at a faster pace than ever before, and social media is no different. Many marketers and users are experiencing fatigue due to how they use social media to interact with their current and potential customers, friends, and family. This is something that’s affecting which social media platforms they predominantly use, and how they use those platforms. This has led to two major trends, so let’s discuss those here.

Niche Platforms

As more and more people become fatigued from the major social media networks, many people are moving to niche platforms like Kik, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Periscope, and Pinterest. Because users are inundated with so much content, they’re looking to be on platforms that help eliminate the noise and posts that aren’t relevant to them. This is important for brands to remember as they seek to connect with their audience, because now more than ever it’s important for you to be able to not only identify your target audience but know where they are on social media.

Live Video

All the major platforms are either running and encouraging live video or soon will be. Why live video? Because it’s native content that captures attention and increases the total time users stay engaged with their platform. In a time when content is king, new and original content is in high demand, and live video provides a seemingly endless stream of original content. First there was Ustream, then Meerkat, and then Periscope. Of those three, only Periscope, owned by Twitter, is still alive and relevant. Facebook has been touting its Live video in television commercials and billboards and, for a short while, had ratcheted up organic reach to incentivize marketers to leverage the tool (it has since been dropped back down to normal organic reach numbers.) Instagram recently launched Live video, a new function in its app for real-time video, and Twitter is slowly launching its version, too. Salesforce streamed its Dreamforce keynote live on Twitter in 2016. Live video is great for marketers who want to connect with their audience by giving them behind-the-scenes views of their company and team, as well as tips and tricks about their products.


Changes in social media happen almost daily, with each social network working to increase usage and engagement on its platform every day by analyzing the habits of its users, as well as trends in society. As our attention spans continue to decrease, and the amount of content and the number of channels increase, platforms are working harder to home in on what’s working better at that moment in time, even if it means copying features of other platforms. In the past year, the major social media platforms have copied each other on many of their key features and functions, and these regular platform updates can make it very hard for brands to keep up with all the changes.

How can you stay on top of social media platform changes? Your social media manager spends a great deal of time reading about changes in places like Mashable, Social Media Today, Digiday, and Social Media Examiner. Empower your social media staff to spend at least a few hours a week to stay on top of what’s working, what’s not, and what’s changed. There are social media professionals who are using techniques that were working two years ago, but aren’t as effective now. We will include links to some great resources at the end of this e-book, but you can also find great information on changes by visiting the pages and profiles of the individual platforms themselves.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

John F. Kennedy

Types of Content for Each Segment of the Funnel

ToFu, MoFu, or BoFu?

You might know that social media should be an important part of your overall marketing strategy, but do you know which types of content to promote to further each section of the funnel for customers and prospects? Your content should be different based on what part of the funnel your customers are in. Let’s think about the different parts of the funnel, and how to better target your content depending on where your customers are in the sales process.

Top of Funnel (ToFu)

At the top of the funnel, you’ll find both interested prospects and casual window shoppers. It can be hard to tell these two types of people apart, so you’ll need to target them all to start. The content for ToFu will live on your website, social media channels, and blog. The types of content you should be sharing for ToFu are content pieces that add value to your audience. What helpful tips and tricks can you provide to them that will help them be more successful? Can you create some infographics that help them understand more about their business? Invite them into the funnel by providing value, which will inevitably pique their interest as to what other ways you could help them grow their business. Some of this content will be open, and some will be gated, which will allow you to track potential customers movement and help you give them the best content for where they are in the funnel. Because you need as many prospects as possible, creating content for your social channels and posting consistently and daily are imperative. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter are great places for ToFu content, giving followers enough teasers to check out the content and your products

This is an example of a top-of-funnel driver. It’s an e-book with tips from today’s top marketing leaders.



Types of Content for Each Segment of the Funnel

Middle of Funnel (MoFu)

As potential customers move to the middle of the funnel, you want to provide them with a full introduction to your products and gently share why these products would benefit their company. By this time, their interest has been piqued, and now’s the time to show them what you’ve got. Do you have product videos that you can post that show the features of your products? Do you have interviews with customers that highlight their success using your products? Are there webinars you can invite them to that give them value and show you as the subject matter expert you are? If you’re using a drip campaign such as in Pardot’s Engagement Studio, you should know exactly where your customers are and be guiding them with the right content at this point. The types of content you should be sharing for MoFu customers include customer stories, testimonials, case studies, and other assets that physically show them the reason why they should buy your products or partner with you.

This is an example of a middle-of-funnel piece of social media content, which drives to a Pardot blogpost


Types of Content for Each Segment of the Funnel

Bottom of Funnel (BoFu)

Congratulations, you’ve helped nurture your leads all the way down the funnel, and now they’re at the bottom, so close to become a sale you can feel it. The content you provide on social media at this stage is more important than ever, since you don’t want to let the sale get away. Now is the time to convert those leads into sales, and since they’ve already expressed interest in your product, maybe attended a webinar, or downloaded your demo, your odds are pretty good. The types of content you should be posting on social for BoFu are things that help customers make the buying decision: personalized reports and studies that show how sectors or markets are using your products successfully; and how-to guides, tip sheets, and content to help customers get started.

Pardot’s ROI Calculator, which helps users identify how much more they could be making using their Marketing Automation, pushing them closer to a sale.


Facebook is really pushing its streaming feature, Live, and especially long-form videos. With videos driving social media engagement across all channels, it’s not hard to understand Facebook’s desire to drive greater usage of its Live platform. Brands are using it to show off new products or features and to engage with customers. At Pardot we’re using Facebook to help provide tips and tricks for our customers through our weekly “Tuesday Tips with the Pardot Support Team.” Brands can use Facebook Live to host town hall meetings with their customers to get feedback, do product walk-throughs, and even conduct contests or surprise-and-delight campaigns. And while Facebook Live’s reach was very high initially, there is currently no difference in organic reach between a Facebook Live video and a video posted to the platform natively.

Facebook remains the most-used social media site among all ages, used by 64% of Americans age 12 and up.

Facebook’s algorithm for distributing content among followers includes more than 100,000 factors, including how often someone posts, how individuals interact with followers, the type of content, when it’s posted, and many more. The only real way to win the algorithm battle for brands is to post quality, shareable content that adds value to a follower’s timeline. Provide tips and tricks for your audience to help them drive more leads and sales. Also, videos posted natively will continue getting higher organic reach than video links posted from other social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and others. One sure way to increase organic reach is boosting posts with money. Brands can utilize boosting of posts with as little as $20 to ensure that content goes out to more than 5,000 people, depending on the targeting. Also, leverage Facebook Insights and Facebook Audience Insights to identify the best times for you to post for your audience. Tools like Salesforce Social Studio also offer great ways for you to figure out when the best time to post that video to Facebook is.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Capture live video to show your products and team
  • Post content around updates, new products, or important company news
  • Share small posts that tell the story of your brand and employees
  • Share relevant and industry-specific articles that add value to your fans’ timeline
  • Post infographics that share your product’s value, as well as infographics that are just for fun
  • Balance out content between things that are promotional and things that are not
  • Boost posts for optimal exposure, making sure targeting is set and specific to your targeted audience for the post




Twitter continues to be a great place for brands to communicate to their followers in real time around changes, updates and new products, using short pieces of content. Twitter is also a great place for you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your industry by posting links to relevant industry-related content, as well as your own content, which provides value to your followers. The key for brands leveraging Twitter efficiently is to remember that Twitter is a short attention span platform, made up of lots of small interactions, so whatever you’re posting should be succinct and valuable.

54% of users surveyed by Twitter reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in tweets (including visiting the brand’s website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content)

As with most social media platforms, video is king, and Twitter is encouraging videos through both live video posting and longer-form video posting in the timeline. Salesforce livestreamed the Dreamforce 2016 keynote with Marc Benioff on Twitter, as one of the first brands to leverage the livestreaming capabilities of the platform. Twitter has also opened up its analytics and is making more of the data that’s useful for marketers easy to find and read. B2B marketers can and should leverage Twitter by posting every couple of hours with content that ranges from your own products and people, to content from other relevant sources, including influencers, advocates, and partners. The key is to provide a diverse selection of content throughout the day so followers don’t get fatigued, since they see a lot more content at one time on Twitter than on Facebook.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Post links to blogposts
  • Post vibrant infographics that stand out in the Twitter timeline
  • Post other industry-specific and relevant content that cements you as a thought leader in your space
  • Engage with your current and potential customers around relevant conversations
  • Post links to events and other activities and events you and your company are supporting and participating in
  • Add photos and videos to posts for optimal exposure and engagement


Instagram continues to drive massive engagement for marketers and brands, as it tell its story via photos and videos. Earlier last year, Instagram copied Snapchat’s “My Story” with its own “Instagram Stories,” which allow users to capture small snippets of their day that automatically delete after 24 hours. The idea was that this would allow the already large base of users a more unique and less permanent way to capture their day, sharing it with their friends and families. Adoption of the new feature was instantly successful, pulling away many previous Snapchat Story users. In 2016, Instagram launched “Instagram Live,” which gives users the ability to livestream from within the app. Most recently, Instagram opened up the ability for users to add up to 10 photos or videos in a single Instagram post. Instagram remains a great place for brands and companies to be, and should be included in your daily social media postings.

75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.

To provide the best experience for you, make sure you have set up your Instagram page as a business profile. This allows you the ability to view analytics for your page, as well as other cool features like targeting down the road, and makes placing ads easier. You can read about changing your page to a Business Profile here. Your followers will also have direct contact information to connect with you directly under the business contact information.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Share a behind-the-scenes look at your office or how your products are made using Instagram Stories or Instagram Live
  • Engage with customers and fans who are posting photos or videos of your products. You can do this by clicking on the heart next to their comment and by commenting on their photos, sharing your appreciation with them.
  • Leverage fan photos of your company or brand’s products by reposting on your own page, asking for permission first. (This is done by simply posting a comment like this on their post: “Thank you for sharing your love for us! We’d love to reshare this great photo with our audience. Would that be ok?” This gives you the permission you need to cover usage.) This is known as usergenerated content or UGC.
  • Identify users who post regularly about your products for “Surprise and Delight” (which you can read about in an upcoming section).
  • Post fewer stock photos and more real photos of your team and customers. Users have not cozied up to ads or commercial posts from brands and can spot promotional things pretty quickly
  • Use Instagram’s new feature that allows you to post multiple photos and videos in a single post to document your attendance at an event, or use it to highlight multiple employees or teams



LinkedIn is still the social media network for businesses and professionals. For B2B marketers, there’s not a better place for you to connect with your customers, and to confirm yourself as a subject matter expert or a thought leader. The content shared on LinkedIn every day is primarily business focused, so users don’t have to wade through cat pics and political rants to get to the valuable stuff they need to be more successful. Graphics, quotes, and informative content perform very well on the platform and are very shareable. B2B marketers can and should use this to their advantage by providing as much valuable content as possible on a daily basis. LinkedIn continues to be Pardot’s largest social media driver to our website. LinkedIn is also still a great place for recruiting talent for your teams and connecting with like-minded businesses.

94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Post content that establishes you and your brand as thought leaders
  • Post content that adds value to users timeline (tips, tricks, and product resources
  • Post product releases, updates, and news around your company
  • Connect with like-minded and relevant industry people
  • Post about events you’re hosting and organizing
  • Make sure you’re providing content on LinkedIn that meets followers at every step of the funnel



Once a social platform primarily used by women, Pinterest has shed that persona, and as many as of 40% new users are men, according to CEO Ben Silbermann. Pinterest continues to work as it has, with users creating boards and pinning things onto those boards, from design ideas to recipes, from photos to ideas. So, why should it matter to you, as a marketer? Well, Pinterest users number 150 million per month, and those users are looking to the platform for ideas, for new products, and to be inspired. Marketers can leverage the site to reach very specific and niche audiences, and to target specific content exactly where it needs to go. You can also tag products and items in posts to drive interest and sales. B2B marketers can win by posting very relevant and shareable content in strategic places.

87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Share easily digestible, short snippet content
  • Post photos, with clear, easy-to-read text
  • Create fun boards that you can share with your audience, boards that inspire, challenge, and motivate
  • Make sure pinned posts have shareable links attached
  • Create your own boards for you and your team to use as inspiration, allowing your team to pin things to the board that are giving them inspiration, whether it’s design or function
  • Research using Promoted Pins for new products
  • Make sure that if you’re using Pinterest that your website has Pinterest friendly posts and photos, adding a “Pin It” button to applicable posts
  • Know Pinterest’s image requirements



In a field of very open platforms with wide audiences, Snapchat started out as a niche player, allowing users the ability to share photos with other users, which itself wasn’t unique. But Snapchat photos have a built-in timer that causes the photos to automatically delete after a short amount of time. Originally thought to be the app for sexting, parents shunned usage for their kids, but Snapchat stayed with the concept, adding features to diminish the negative aspect of the app. A critical additional feature was “My Story,” which allows users to add photos or short videos to a 24-hour timeline that automatically deletes but tells a story of that user’s life in a 24-hour window. This bolstered usage by more adults, and Snapchat suddenly became a more rounded social media platform for marketers and companies to use to tell a brand’s story in real time.

Snapchat now has 160 million users per day

Snapchat remains mostly used by a younger audience, with the majority of its users between 12 and 24 years old. This means that if you’re a brand working to reach this target audience, you need to be on Snapchat. Because we recommend that you be active on social media networks where your target audience is, you may not need to be active on Snapchat. Snapchat does allow brands to tell a very good behindthe-scenes story through photos and videos. But for many brands, “Instagram Stories” do a better job of reaching their current audiences since Instagram’s audience is much bigger and more varied in age. B2B marketers looking to connect with younger target audiences should look at creating special Snapchat geofilters for events they’re hosting, as well as looking at offering coupons or special deals via Snapchat.

Tips for B2B Marketers

  • Target younger audiences by posting vibrant photos and videos that capture your brand’s story
  • Purchase geo-targeted filters for events you are hosting or are a part of, and make them part of your social strategy for the event
  • Share photos and videos of your teams and capture the behind-the-scenes experience of your brand
  • Create Snapchat-specific coupons or offers that disappear after a short amount of time to build excitement or hype for your product
  • Be consistent with adding new photos and videos to your Story, and you’ll increase your overall reach within the platform


Conclusion Metrics That Matter


Engagement is the number of actions taken by someone who visits or sees your social posts. This could be “likes,” shares, retweets, “hearts,” or comments. This can also include actions based on the post, which include liking the page or subscribing to the page.


Reach is a great way to see how many eyeballs the content was distributed to by the social networks. With Facebook and Instagram, that reach is determined by custom algorithms, meaning they push the content to which followers and how many of them they want to. With Twitter and LinkedIn, the content is posted for everyone who follows the page, but they have to be on the platform at that moment to see it in a timely manner. Reach doesn’t mean those eyeballs actually saw the content; it only measures the total potential for followers to see the content. So a reach of 24,000 means the content was pushed out to those 24,000 people, but those 24,000 people would have to have all been seeing the content in their timeline at the same time for the reach to be fully realized.

Clicks to Website

This is by far one of the most useful metrics for brands and companies, as it measures the number of people driven to your website from social media, either through links or landing pages. Depending on the goal for the content, this may be the most important metric, since a brand’s website contains much of the information needed to start the user down the funnel and is a gateway into the sales process. What’s the most important metric for you? That depends on your goal, but these are the top three metrics for determining the value of your social media posts. These will vary depending on your audience, location, age groups, time of posting, and other variables.

Social Listening

One of the greatest tools available to marketers leveraging social media is social listening. Social listening is using commonly available tools (as well as social-specific tools) to uncover and identify conversations that include your brand or company. This can be done as easily as using Facebook or Twitter’s native search functions, as well as Google and other search engines. There are also social-specific tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and TweetDeck. Leveraging these tools to uncover customer service issues, conversations you should be a part of, and other opportunities for you to engage with current and potential customers is a very good reason you should make social listening an important part of your social media strategy. Search for usage of your brand’s name and company’s name, as well as product names. You might even include key stakeholders of your company to identify conversations relevant to the brand in other ways. Also, search for opportunities to join conversations around your industry from people asking about features or advantages of your industry. An example would be if you’re a marketing automation platform, look for conversations around “marketing automation” to see if there are questions being asked that you could answer, without being too pushy with sales tactics.

An example of a post uncovered through social media, which didn’t include an @ symbol for tagging. This was uncovered with a native search of the term “Pardot.”

Here’s another example of a post uncovered using social listening, natively in Twitter. In this case, your brand would engage in the conversation by thanking the follower for attending and letting him or her know you’re there to provide any other resources.

Engagement Strategies

It’s always important to remember that whether you’re posting as a person or a brand, social media is a conversation, and that means it goes two ways. Have you ever found yourself inundated with brands posting content that they don’t respond to? Have you ever posted a comment or question on a brand’s page and to not receive a response? How did that make you feel? That’s why it’s important for you to monitor your pages to make sure you’re responding promptly and properly to whatever is being asked or commented on. Be personal, use your brand’s voice and tone, and make the engagement as human as possible. Reserve response matrices for major issues where you’ve had to be careful about responding due to a crisis or issue with your company or products. Those responses usually have to be crafted by your PR teams and approved by your legal team. What are some great ways to leverage engagement on your social media posts?

Surprise and Delight

“Surprise and Delight” is the art of identifying individuals who engage with your brand or share their love of the brand, and once identified, sending them something special to show your appreciation for the advocacy. This looks like this: You notice that “Jason Dominy” is regularly sharing photos of your newest product on Twitter. You reach out to him on Twitter “Hey Jason, thanks so much for sharing your love for our new mobile device! DM us your address; we’d like to send you something fun.” From there, you send something you’ve chosen, this can be anything from a smartphone cover with your logo on it, to books, to brand T-shirts, just something that your fans would find valuable and actually use. That means no koozies or pens.

Commenting and Responding

One of the easiest ways you can increase page engagement is by responding and liking comments and showing your fans and followers that you appreciate them taking the time to go to your page. Did they post a photo of your products or company? “Like” the photo, and comment “great photo, thanks for sharing!” And do this across all social platforms, from Facebook to LinkedIn. At Pardot we try to comment and show our appreciation any time someone shares our posts on LinkedIn. On Instagram, when we’re tagged in photos, we “like” the photo and comment to them. This is something simple that you can do to help your social media engagement, and which can go a long way to building loyalty and greater advocacy.

Contests and Giveaways

Another great way to increase engagement on your social channels is through contests and giveaways. People love free things and winning things, and social media is a great place to hype up new products, features, or updates by giving fans and followers a chance to win products or things before they’re released to the public. You can also leverage giveaways to increase engagement on platforms by posts like this: “We’re feeling generous today. Comment below what your favorite feature of our software is and why, and we’ll randomly select a few folks to receive this great gift.” Remember to check for rules and laws around giveaways and prizes on each platform as they differ and require different “official rules” to be posted. There are three different classifications for these promotions: prizes, chance, and considerations. Know which promotion you’re running and follow the proper platform rules, and you’ll be legally OK. For example: Facebook frowns upon promotions that require users to “like” a page for entry.

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Source: Salesforce Pardot

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