Social media

Which social media platform is right for you?

Learn more about the five most popular platforms for content creators, including tips on growing your following and readership based on each platform’s algorithm.

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Many physicians and health care professionals who are curious about getting their start on social media are often intimidated by the choices of how many platforms there are to choose from.

Or perhaps they started their social media journey and haven’t had the growth they thought they would, and may think, “Does anybody see my content? Do they find this valuable?”

Well, I assure you that if you fall into either of these categories, your thoughts and feelings are completely normal. In this article, I will cover the five most popular platforms for content creators and include some tips and tricks for you to grow your following and readership based on each platform’s algorithm!

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. Over 2 billion people use Facebook every month, making it a great platform for thought leaders and businesses of all sizes.

Facebook allows you to create both a personal and professional page for your business. You can engage in many ways, which include sharing updates and information with your family, friends and/or patients.

In addition, you can create a Facebook group to build a community that you lead around any topic of your choice. Whether it is a private group for your patients in which you offer curated information, or a group for your colleagues and/or staff to build camaraderie, community engagement is a key feature of Facebook. 

In fact, Facebook changed its mission statement in 2017 from “Making the world more open and connected” to “Give the power to people to build community and bring the world closer together.” The company realized that it needed to create tools for Facebook members to use communication and connections for the good of society. 

Facebook has often been categorized as a platform for Generation X, which is partly true. According to recent data, just over 40% of Facebook users are ages 35-64; however, a third of all Facebook users are under the age of 30, which means there’s a large diversity of ages on the platform. 

Facebook is a powerful platform for content creators. Here are some tips to help you be successful:

1. Create interesting and engaging content: Readers will lose interest if you post the same thing repeatedly. Be creative and come up with new ideas.

2. Use videos and images: Videos and images are more engaging than text-only posts. They also take up more space in people’s news feeds, so your content is more likely to be seen.

3. Engage with your followers: Respond to comments and questions from your followers. This helps you build a relationship with them and makes them more likely to stick around.

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows you to share short updates (280 characters or less) with your followers. Twitter is great for promoting your business and sharing news and links.

Whether you’re looking to connect with friends, share news and information or promote your business or personal brand, Twitter can be a great way to reach a large audience.

Twitter has over 320 million active users, and it’s growing every day. Most Twitter users are from the U.S., but the platform is popular all over the world. In fact, there are more than 100 million active users in Japan, and Brazil is close behind with over 85 million active users. 

Twitter is used by people of all ages and from all walks of life. However, some groups are more likely to use this platform. Young adults are more likely to use Twitter than older adults, and men are more likely to use Twitter than women. 

Those who choose to grow on Twitter will likely be more successful if they do the following things:

1. Have a completely filled-out bio and clear profile picture. The bio should have keywords that will be easy to search, for others to find and follow you.  

2. Follow relevant people and organizations. Twitter is all about networking, so follow people and organizations that interest you. You can also use Twitter lists to organize different groups of people into one feed.

3. Share interesting content. Twitter is a great way to share news, insights and other interesting content with your followers. Be sure to tweet regularly and use hashtags to help people find your tweets.

4. Be able to tell a story or share important information concisely in one tweet or a series of tweets that will leave readers wanting to hear more of your opinions and expertise.

Instagram

Instagram is owned by parent company Meta, which also owns Facebook, but functions differently than Facebook. Historically, it has been a photo-sharing platform that allows you to share photos and videos with followers.

Instagram is great for sharing visual content and it has long been home to models and influencers who post amazing, edited photos.

However, recently the platform has been prioritizing raw and authentic video content such as Instagram LIVEs, in which you can livestream interviews, or “Reels,” which are short, pre-taped videos.

Here are some tips of how to grow your Instagram account:

1. Use hashtags wisely: Using a hashtag allows users to search for relevant content. Hashtags are a great way to get your content seen by more people, but you need to use them wisely. Try to use hashtags that are relevant to your niche and that have a lot of activity. Don’t go overboard with the number of hashtags you use though – three to five are usually enough.

2. Post regularly: One of the best ways to grow your Instagram following is posting frequently. Try to post at least once a day or a few times per week, and make sure that your posts are high quality and relevant to your niche.

3. Engage with others: Engaging with other users is another great way to grow your following on Instagram. Like and comment on other users’ posts and join relevant conversations. This will help you build relationships with other users and attract new followers.

4. Collaborate with influencers: Working with influencers can be a great way to grow your following on Instagram. Find influencers in your niche and offer to partner with them to grow both audiences.

5. Host Instagram LIVEs and Post Reels: As I mentioned above, the platform is starting to prefer video content in its algorithm. For Instagram LIVEs, you can host regular conversations on a topic of your choice or present information that is valuable to your audience. For Instagram Reels, many have been cross-posting videos they made on Tik Tok; however, videos with the Tik Tok watermark have been rumored to not get as many viewers, which is likely due to Instagram’s competition with Tik Tok’s platform.

TikTok

TikTok is a social media app that is popular with teenagers and young adults. The app is designed for making and sharing short videos. TikTok has been downloaded more than 500 million times, and it is estimated that around 200 million people use the app each month. The demographic for TikTok users is primarily teenagers and young adults.

The app has become popular with this age group because it allows them to share their creative content with others in a fun and easy way; however, that is not to say that there aren’t physician creators on the app. In fact, many physicians are posting both fun and serious content in short videos on the platform as a way to relay important medical information.

Tik Tok has grown tremendously over the last two years and many people have found it easier to create an audience on this platform because of its unique algorithm.

According to many resources, once you publish a video, the app pushes out your content to a small focus group of members. Depending on how this small group interacts with your content (“liking,” commenting on, sharing or downloading your video), your content will be pushed out to a larger audience. 

This process is done repetitively and eventually you may end up on the “For You Page,” or FYP, which is the app’s general newsfeed that users see when they log onto the app. 

All successful TikTok accounts have the following things in common. 

1. Hone in on passionate content: One of the most important things to remember when creating content for TikTok is to be passionate about it. Viewers can tell when an account is fake or forced, and they’re not likely to stick around for long. Instead, focus on creating content that you’re truly excited about. This will help you come across as more authentic and engaging.

2. Have a clear focus: It’s also important to have a clear focus when creating content for TikTok. This means knowing who your target audience is and what type of content they would be interested in watching. Trying to be all things to all people will only result in confusion and lost followers. Instead, focus on creating content that appeals specifically to your target audience.

3. Engage with your followers: This is self-explanatory, but to be successful on social media, you must be…. social! 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media platform that many people use to connect with others in their industry. LinkedIn is most popular among professionals and business owners. In fact, 93% of LinkedIn users are employed or self-employed.

LinkedIn is also popular among job seekers; 80% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. Due to its demographics, LinkedIn can be used for a variety of purposes such as networking, finding jobs and growing your business.

There are many different types of content creators on LinkedIn. However, some are more successful than others.

Passionate content creators tend to be successful on LinkedIn. Passionate content creators are always looking for new and innovative ways to share their ideas with the world. They are also very active on LinkedIn, sharing new articles and insights regularly.

Strategic content creators are also generally successful on LinkedIn. Strategic content creators take the time to understand their target audience and create content that resonates with them. They also use LinkedIn to build relationships with potential customers and partners. 

Here are some tips for being successful on LinkedIn:

1. Use high-quality images and videos: LinkedIn is a visual platform, so it’s important to use high-quality graphics in your posts. This will help you stand out from the crowd and capture attention.

2. Write interesting headlines: Your headline is the first thing people will see when they scroll through their LinkedIn feed, so make sure it’s interesting and catches their attention.

3. Share valuable content as it relates to professionals: LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it’s important to share valuable content that helps people learn and grow their businesses.

4. Engage with your audience: We are seeing a theme here, right? Respond to comments and questions and be active in groups relevant to your niche. LinkedIn does have groups like Facebook, though they are not the main feature of the app.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the above question. Every content creator has their own unique approach to LinkedIn that works for them. However, the key to success is always being creative and engaging with your audience.

So, which platform is right for you?

As I mentioned at the start of this article, these companies are the top five social media platforms based on the number of users on their apps. The suggestions above are general guidelines, and there are many people who don’t follow any of these recommendations and yet are still successful.

For myself, I post about my life in general, including my professional life as an emergency medicine physician and personal journey as a mom to five children, including two sets of twins. My posts range from COVID-19 public health information to social justice awareness, life as a working mom, sexism in medicine, products I love to use, the importance of life coaching and so much more.

Each of these platforms is so impactful and my advice is to start with one that has the demographic of people you are trying to reach. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect. In fact, social platforms reward vulnerability and relatable content creators. So don’t be afraid to go out and start building your audience today.

Related reading:

The intersection of social media, social justice and medicine

Residency and the social media dilemma: Advice from the trenches

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