How To Choose The Best Social Media Distribution Channels

best social media distribution channelsWorried that your social media distribution won’t achieve your content marketing goals?

Yes–BuzzSumo’s 2018 research found that, on average, articles attract a measly 4 social media shares, down 50% from in 2015.

But don’t lose sleep over selecting the best social media distribution channels because we’ve got you covered!

While social media distribution requires people, tools and budget, even tight-fisted marketers can improve results with these 5 steps.


5 Steps To Choose The Best Social Media Distribution Channels

Waiting until you hit “publish” to plan your social media distribution is heartbreaking. 


Because, after spending hours crafting quality content, you shortchange its reach. Without time to assess your distribution options, your content will remain invisible to many potential readers.

So don’t postpone selecting the best social media distribution channels.

Although organic social media reach is down, you can still use different networks to increase traffic, engagement and followers.

3 Social Media Insider Secrets:

  1. Consistently post social media content on the same schedule  for each platform to build audience expectations. BUT the scheduling time varies by social media network.
  2. Discover your audience’s habits on each platform by tracking your results.
  3. Re-promote your best performing content like Dustin Stout of Social Warfare.


1. Select social media platforms based on audience usage

While providing an entryway to your content, each social media network offers multiple content format and engagement options. #socialmediaClick To Tweet


To maximize social media distribution, understand your target audience and build your network. Ask these questions:

  • Who are your social media readers? Specifically discover which platforms they frequent and when? Why do they use each network?
  • By platform, what content do they seek and why do they want or need it? And, who do they follow on social media and who influences their decisions?
  • When and where do they check social media? Specially determine their physical location and device.

Test a variety of platforms to determine which ones yield the best results for your business! Consistently showing up, participating and sharing matters.

You don’t need to use every aspect of a specific social media site. The major players offer a variety of content and participation models.

  • Facebook offers Business Pages, Facebook Groups, and Facebook Live
  • Twitter offers TwitterChats
  • LinkedIn offers Business Pages, LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Pulse  and Slideshare
  • Instagram offers IGTV
  • Google+ (Yes it still works. Additionally I’ve heard this from promotion experts.)
  • Pinterest (Use it as a visual search engine.)
  • YouTube (Use it as a video search engine.)


CoSchedule’s Nathan Ellering has compiled and analyzed the best times to post on social media. (Even better, he updates it regularly!)


Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Use your initial email responder to gather information about readers’ social media habits.
  • Respond to reader emails to get deeper information.


2. Optimize social media content creation

Tailor your content for each social media platform. Social media content is NOT one size fits all. #socialmediaClick To Tweet


Based on content type, the best social media distribution channels include:

  • Text, links and image: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • Videos: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and your blog
  • Audio (including podcasts): Your blog (include full transcript to aid search), iTunes and podcast networks
  • Long form content: Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Slideshare, your blog and Amazon (for ebooks)
  • Secondary platforms: Reddit, HackerGrowth, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, Slack, Quora and others.
Best social media distribution channels by content format

Social Media Distribution Platforms By Content Format-Chart by Heidi Cohen

Improve your social media  headlines

Crank out at least 25 titles before choosing the best. Also try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Further, tap into the power of these Top 25 Headline Phrases (via BuzzSumo).

Write Better Headlines with these phrases

Top Headline Phrases – BuzzSumo Analysis -2017-Chart

Always add eye candy to social media posts


Create attention-getting visuals to pull readers in and tailor them to each specific platform. Size matters! Use Hootsuite’s Guide to ensure that your images are picture perfect.

Use tools like Canva and PikMonkey to create images, even if you’re not creative!

Take care when using “free” stock photos or it can cost you a lot!


Optimize content for reader shares

Make it easy for readers to share your content.

  • Incorporate a sharing tool. Select the buttons that apply to your business. Avoid using too many or readers will leave without sharing! 
  • (BTW, I use Social Warfare.)
  • Pre-populate shares. Include images, Twitter handles and hashtags. (Social Warfare helps with this!)
  • Use Click-to-Tweet for quotes and data points. Make it a no-brainer for readers. My readers love them.
  • Add “Pin It” buttons. For share-worthy images, include your logo and article URL. Help people can find the original source.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Optimize  social media profiles (business and personal). Post a professional photograph, add a bio with keywords and hashtags, and provide a call-to-action (CTA). Include contact information, URL, and social media hours. Where appropriate optimize employees’ profiles.


3. Test and track initial social media distribution (aka: Content Amplification)

In this content amplification phase give your content rocket fuel by tapping into the power of secondary social media platforms and other groups.

The most under-utilized content amplification approach: Personal outreach via email and messaging. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


Use this content delivery to determine which headlines and images work best on each platform. Include tracking codes to simplify analytic activities. For mega-content, invest up to $50 in Facebook ads to get quick feedback on the best headlines and images.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Schedule time to engage with people who comment and share your content. For his Crowd Pleaser Content, Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat fuels and expands the social media conversation.
  • Reach out to content contributors via email. Alert them to its publication and provide pre-formatted shares.
  • Batch create social media content to save time.
  • Thank people who share your content. It makes them feel good and encourages them to share your content again. Further engaging with them gives their followers another chance to join the conversation.

4. Improve and schedule social media distribution over time


 To keep your content visible on social media requires on-going distribution.

Continually change your social media content format and presentation to prevent your shares from becoming wallpaper to your target audience.

Further, here’s how different platforms support your social media distribution at different phases:

  • Secondary platforms: Support initial content amplification
  • Text, links and image sharing:Promote throughout the distribution process.
  • Long form content: Use after 2-4 weeks on the original publication platform.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Use social media scheduling tools to save time. Options include Buffer, CoSchedule, AgoraPulse and Hootsuite. BUT don’t use these tools  as a substitute for being present in real time.
  • Monitor and respond to social media mentions. Among the tools to use are Brand 24.


5. Cross-platform content promotion

Cross-platform promotion exposes your content to different audiences on other platforms. It grows your audience and extends the life of existing content at no cost!

Republish long form content on Medium and/or LinkedIn Pulse


Most commonly, marketers cross-promote content by republishing long form content on Medium and/or LinkedIn Pulse. Since these platform audiences differ, you can use both options. 

But wait at least 2 weeks post-initial publication to ensure that Google has crawled it.

Ryan Holiday got a third distribution boost 6 years after initially publishing on Copyblogger. In addition, he got to promote his latest book. (BTW, Holiday joined Medium in June 2018!)

Best social media distribution channels

How to get additional social media distribution from Medium-Ryan Holiday example


3 Long form content republication success tips:

  • Improve the headline.
  • Use a new image to attract attention.
  • Include a link stating: “This post was originally published on [DATE] on [URL of original post.] This directs Google to the original source to avoid duplicate content.

Keep a portion of your content exclusive to your site. This gives readers a reason to visit your site via internal links.

Use Cross-platform promotion in real time

Madalyn Sklar moves her #TwitterSmarter chat discussion every Thursday at 1pm ET to Facebook Live for the last 10 minutes.

Sklar continues her conversation with the guest via livestream while attendees use the comment section. As a result, she builds an engaged audience on a second platform while creating user-generated video content.

Best Social Media Distribution Channels

How to cross-promote your content on different social media platforms – Madalyn Sklar

Here’s Sklar’s “After Chat” with Vincenzo Landino on Facebook Live. Further, the After Chat remains visible on Facebook as video content.


Actionable Social Media Tips:

  • Promote your best content on longer tail social media platforms. Don’t assume your audience saw them!
  • Let contributors know that you republished content. Use email outreach. Your personal touch helps.


The Best Social Media Distribution Channels Conclusion

When it comes to the best social media distribution channels, one-size-fits-all doesn’t work.

As my accounting professor in business school taught me, “The correct answer is always it depends.”

To increase social media reach, use a combination of platforms. Further, change your social media presentation for each distribution iteration and platform.

Even better, you’ll save resources! Because modifying social media content uses less time and budget than brand-spanking new content.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


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