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Crafting Your Message: Understanding User Intent of Each Social Media Platform

Any marketing and content strategy expert will tell you that you need to use social media marketing, but not every channel is the same. Users engage with each platform differently whether that is Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, or Instagram. As marketers, it's up to us to create messages that match how users engage with these platforms. Part of implementing a social media strategy is understanding the type of messages that are put out on different social networks.

By understanding the intent of different social media platforms, we can make strategic content choices, helping to ensure brand messages correctly reach the intended audience. Here are some key points to consider for your social media marketing strategy.


Facebook users spend about 50 minutes every day on their app. While many people still browse Facebook on the desktop, there is a growing majority of users who consume this content on mobile devices. As one of the more established social media platforms, Facebook appeals to both young and older users. Many people use Facebook to connect with extended family and value the detailed privacy settings.

Video content is considered the most engaging type of content on Facebook, and videos with caption do the best. Since many mobile viewers are watching video on autoplay in public places like the bus or the break room, the sound is often turned off.  Closed captioning is one way to add text to your video, but many content creators are now favoring open captioning hard-coded into the video itself. Remember though, this content is consumed in digestible, short sizes. If you're looking to share longer form content within your social media campaign, Facebook isn't the place for that. Facebook users tend to scroll through content quickly in an attempt to find something that captures their attention. 


Twitter is an excellent source for sharing out quick tips, facts, and infographics. This public forum is often the first to share breaking news and provides a public forum for discussion. It's quite easy to link to longer content through this channel, but initial tag lines and titles can take some additional crafting to make the most out of 140 characters.

Twitter provides a fast and easy way to interact with consumers, providing fast responses and shares. It's also easy to create a discussion about a specific topic that can be grouped with similar conversations using targeted hashtags. Many businesses use Twitter as part of their customer service strategy in addition to their social media marketing strategy. By showcasing your discussions with customers openly on social media, it's easy to be transparent about your business and how your business operates. 


Instagram is one of the most visual and simple ways to share images. Conversation can be limited, so it isn't always great for complicated topics or long discussions. Rather, Instagram provides a method for sharing day-in-the-life, motivational quotes, and quick infographics. Instagram highlights visual content, and is a great source for user-generated content that you may share in a different marketing campaign. 

Instagram Stories offers a new feature that's similar to Snapchat and allows for more narrative driven content. The use of multiple hashtags is a great way to make content highly searchable and target more users that may typically be available on Facebook or Twitter.

Interesting fact: Instagram is one of the top social media marketing platforms for the rising cannabis industry. Due to regulations on Facebook and Twitter, paid spend is not an option for medical or recreational cannabis. While the rules on Instagram are still murky, the platform seems to be the social media of choice for many in this industry.


Snapchat users tend to be young, responsive, and technologically savvy. Over 71% of Snapchat 100 million daily users fall between the ages of 18-34. Good for social media content that is "in the moment", chats expire within 24 hours, so users know that information is always fresh. The emphasis is placed on well-crafted timely messages, as opposed to more traditional evergreen social platforms.

The story feature is perfect for narrative content for brands that want to share an experience. Live events are another great opportunity to reach Snapchat users, as well as limited time concerts or special offers. Snapchat shares are a great idea for tours, introductions, takeovers, and so much more.

Choosing the right social media platform for your brand is about understanding the intent of the message you want to broadcast. Whether your audience is tech savvy 20-somethings, moms of toddlers looking to connect, or retired baby boomers working in the garden -- there's a match for you on any social media platform. If you're looking for the right audience for your messaging, we can help you develop your perfect customer persona. 

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We're a marketing agency located in San Diego that specializes in inbound marketing. If you're interested in developing a social media strategy, we can help. Download our social media editorial calendar if you're looking to start a sound social media marketing campaign. 

About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is the COO and co-founder of 41 Orange, inc, a marketing agency. She is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Balboa Park’s resident classical ballet school since 1945. Hailing from the agency world, Sam has worked with Fortune 500 tech, financial, and consumer brands, including Intel, Petco and LPL Financial, to shape their online presence and reach their target audiences more effectively through social media and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.