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Aug

1

2017

The 2017 HubSpot Blog Redesign: A Detailed Look At What’s New

I have a long, interesting relationship with the HubSpot Marketing Blog.

Before I became editor, I was a full-time writer for this blog. And before I was a writer for this blog, I was a guest contributor to this blog. And before I was a guest contributor to this blog, I was a fan of this blog — I learned from this blog.

So when it came time to kick off the blog redesign I’m about to walk you through, I had a lot of strong opinions (and arguably too many ideas). You see, our last redesign launched in December 2014. To give you some context, since December 2014:

  • Blog.hubspot.com has more than doubled its monthly traffic, growing from under 2 million monthly views in December 2014 to over 4.5 million.
  • There have been over 20 updates made to the Google algorithm.
  • Snapchat has more than doubled its monthly active users, scaling from 71M at the end of Q4 2014 to 166M at the end of Q1 2017.
  • Facebook Live has been invented, released to influencers, and launched to the general public.

It’s safe to say, even though it’s only been a few years, we’re living in an entirely different time than we were back then. Our team is fresh-faced. Our editorial strategy is new and improved. And our audience is continuing to grow and demand new things.

Notice something different? Click here to learn more about the HubSpot blog  redesign process.

We’ve been overdue for a change for a while now, so a change is what we brought. Now let’s talk about what’s new — and why. 

Why We Redesigned the Blog (And What’s New)

Reason #1: To set the stage for new mediums.

During the back half of last year, we started to incorporate more video and audio content into our editorial strategy. 

We’ve experimented with “posts as podcasts”:

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And short video recaps of popular articles:

This shift in strategy came at a time where you couldn't visit a marketing or tech blog without bumping into a headline like, "Why 2017 Is the Year of Video." But that wasn't the only driving force.

Around this same time, we’d just started to think about overhauling our email subscription, too. In doing so, we collected a lot of feedback from our subscribers that suggested they’d been craving different content formats — such as audio and video — for a while now.

It quickly became obvious to us that this was long overdue. We needed to refresh the blog in a way that lent it to more than just written content. We needed brand new post-level designs that were specific to the medium we were using to tell a story, teach a lesson, share a finding, etc.

How the redesign solves for this:

To create some contrast around all of the different types of content we were creating, we decided that the redesign would offers three distinct post formats: written, video, and audio. 

Written 

Prior to the redesign, this was the only post type we had — though it lacked pizzazz. The new written post design incorporates large block quotes for highlighting key quotes and stats, easily shareable text, and a whole lot of white space to make for a clean, inviting experience.

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Video 

This new post format allows our video content to take center stage, so it feels less like a secondary element. The best part? When you start to scroll, the video shrinks and hops to the side of the screen so you can keep working through the content while staying tuned in. 

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Audio

Between our own audio experiments on the blog and the steady stream of amazing audio content coming from our podcast team, we needed a place to show it off. Our new audio-centric post type includes a sleek audio player that puts the focus on the medium. 

Audio Post

Reason #2: To solve for content discoverability.

After recognizing both a shift in the way search engines deliver results and the way searchers input queries, our in-house SEO experts introduced the team to a new way of looking at content mapping and search engine optimization.

The topic cluster model puts topics before keywords, allowing a single “pillar” page to serve as a hub of content for an overarching topic. From there, “cluster content” covering related long-tail keywords then links back to the main pillar to boost its authority. This approach aims to create a more intentional link structure across the blog properties, making it easier for Google to crawl and rank our content. 

Needless to say, this new approach changed the way we organize content on the blog — and ultimately helped to make related content more discoverable. With nearly 13,000 posts in just the HubSpot Marketing Blog archive alone, we’ve incorporated new functionality that helps us ensure you’re not missing out on any old hidden gems, while also helping you easily surface content you care about.

How the redesign solves for this:

Our blog posts are now systematically tagged based on their associated topic cluster. For example, all of the posts within the “Social Media Trends” cluster receive a “Social Media Trends” tag which links back to the cluster’s pillar page. This link helps to push the authority towards the pillar page, allowing it take more easily rank for the term we’re going after. 

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We also added a related articles section at the bottom of each post. This section pulls in articles from the cluster, allowing for more intentional link distribution. 

Reason #3: To introduce new ways of sharing content.

At the time of our last redesign, Slack — a real-time messaging app for teams — had just celebrated its first birthday. Since then, the platform has gained some serious momentum — so much so that it’s referred to as the fastest-growing business app of all time. Here’s proof:

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Source: Slack

As of October 2016, the platform boasts over 4 million daily active users — including us here at HubSpot. Internally, we use Slack to communicate across our global offices, spark discussions, host meetings, make announcements, and perhaps most often, to share and discover interesting content.

That’s why, when it came time to plan this redesign, we knew that we had to find a way to incorporate Slack into the blog’s functionality. 

And then there’s Facebook Messenger. With 1.2 billion monthly active users, this was another channel we’d had our eye on in terms of content distribution — especially after seeing the results from a few Messenger experiments some of my colleague ran. 

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After testing Facebook Messenger against email as a content delivery system, they saw an open rate of 80% and an average CTR of 13% — this was 242% and 609% better than the email controls.

How the redesign solved for this:

The redesign introduces both Slack and Facebook Messenger as two new channels for sharing content. These additions can be found in the sticky sharing options to the left of the content. As an added bonus, Facebook Messenger has also been added to the hovering share menu that appears when you highlight any string of text. 

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Reason #4: To refresh our branding.

A former boss once said to me, “We really need someone to come in here and call our baby ugly.”

Of course, he wasn’t referring to an actual baby. He meant our content. In a sense, it was our baby — and we’d grown so close to it that it was hard to pull out the flaws, missed opportunities, and so on. 

That was sort of the case here … except we were pretty well aware that our baby was, in fact, a little ugly.

The old blog felt dated and sort of stale. It wasn’t set up in a way that let our content shine (at least not anymore) and it didn’t mesh with some of the newer, more polished pages across the website. But perhaps most importantly, it didn’t reflect our current brand — let alone the direction our brand was going in. 

How the redesign solved for this:

If you’ve been following HubSpot for a while, you may have noticed that our branding underwent a bit of a makeover in the process of this redesign. For example, we’ve implemented new photo filters that reflect an updated color palette:

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These filters, and several other changes, serve as the first step in rolling out a larger visual brand refresh over the coming months — one that is true to our brand and values. Stay tuned. 

Feeling Inspired?

If you’re starting to think that it might be time for your own redesign, we’ve got just the thing. Check out this redesign planning guide for a behind-the-scenes look at how we tackled this project — from start to finish. We’ve peppered it with free resources — like editorial calendar templates and CRO advice — to help you kick off a redesign on the right foot.

Shoutout to the redesign dream team: Matt Eonta, Amelia Towle, Taylor Swyter, Brittany Chin, and Liz Shaw.Untitled design (25).png

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HubSpot Blog Design

 
HubSpot Blog Redesign

Dec

5

2016

30 Secret Santa Gift Ideas Your Coworkers Will Love

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They see you when you’re slacking. They know when you come in late. They know if you’ve been bad or good so be good for your work’s Secret Santa exchange.

But that’s not how the song — or the Secret Santa exchange — really goes …

You spend all day with your coworkers, but come time for your annual gift exchange, you’re stuck trying to figure out exactly what Suzie will want that’s also in your price range. Download more holiday resources to help your business succeed this season from  HubSpot's #HolidayHub

We want to help. We’ve compiled a list of awesome Secret Santa gift ideas that are bound to meet all different budgets and personality types. From hot sauce kits to leather mouse pads, this roundup should take some of the stress out of your shopping experience.

30 Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Your Coworkers

$10 and Under

1) Engraved Pencil Set

Price: $8.00

Whether you type your notes or take them by hand, these hand stamped pencils are just plain cool. The sets come in a variety of different themes — from motivational words to Harry Potter references — and they’re guaranteed to make putting together a to-do list a lot more fun.

Willing to chip in a few extra bucks? Pair a set of these pencils with a journal for a thoughtful and practical gift.

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2) Toaster Grilled Cheese Bags

Price: $9.99

While almost every office has a toaster, few have a stovetop. This rules fresh, delicious grilled cheese off the list of lunch options … or does it? When you give the gift of toaster grilled cheese bags, your recipient can toast up the perfect sandwich in minutes. The reusable, Teflon-coated bags can also be used for heating up other foods like pastries and leftover pizza.

Got a gluten-free coworker? They can even protect their food from cross contamination using these handy bags.

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3) Printed Socks

Price: $8.00

Nothing beats a great pair of socks, am I right? Not only does everyone need them, but there’s also such a wide variety of options available online that you’re bound to find a pair for any and every personality.

Know of a few pizza lovers in the office? This pepperoni-clad pair would make the perfect gift.

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4) Sushi Pushpins

Price: $9.00

Shopping for the office sushi addict? Look no further than this trendy desk trinket.

Stuck in a maki cushion, each pearl-shaped fish egg is a pushpin in disguise. Pin up your favorite notes, photos, and menus using these handy tacks — or just admire the holder on your desk.

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5) Waterproof Notepad

Price: $7.00

You never know when your next great idea is going to strike. In fact, it might even be the shower.

With a waterproof notepad from AquaNotes, you can jot down important shower notes before they slip your mind — perfect for whipping up impromptu grocery or to-do lists.

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6) Tech Cloth

Price: $9.99

Between oil, dust, spills, and smudges, our devices take a beating. But with a Smart Cloth on hand, you can polish up the screen on your smartphone, tablet, camera, or computer without having to worry about scratching the surface. No liquids or sprays needed.

You can even toss The Smart Cloth in the wash, making it easy to keep germ-free.

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7) Reusable To Go Box

Price: $9.99

There’s no shame in brown bagging your lunch at work, but why opt for a brown bag when you can reheat last night’s homemade Pad Thai in style?

This eco-friendly container is reusable, microwavable, and dishwasher safe. What more could you want?
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8) Portable Hot Sauce

Price: $9.99

Coming from a hot sauce addict, there’s nothing worse than suffering through a bland meal without access to your favorite spicy condiment.

Thanks to this convenient set of Sriracha2Go key chains, you can carry a personal stash of the good stuff around with you at all times. Simply toss it in your purse or attach it to your keys to ensure you’ve got access to heat when you need it most.

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9) Dry Erase Sheets

Price: $6.16

Use these sheets as an impromptu discussion tool, a place to post motivational quotes, or a home for your to-do list. Each sheet has a full-adhesive backing that leaves behind no residue, making them easy and convenient to tack up in the office or at home.

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10) Cord Keeper

Price: $9.99

While the world of technology continues to push us in the direction of a more wireless world, we’ve all got a pair of standard headphones we keep holding on to — no matter how tangled the cord gets.

Lucky for all of us, these handmade cord “wontons” exist to help keep our headphones, USB cords, and other accessory wires nice and neat. They come in a pack of three, so you can throw one in your car, keep one on your desk, and toss one in your bag.

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$25 and Under

11) Salsa Grow Kit

Price: $12.00

Got a coworker with a green thumb? Gift them this awesome salsa growing kit, complete with six seed packets for Roma tomatoes, jalapeños, verde tomatillos, cilantro, scallions, and beefsteak tomatoes.

Once the seeds sprout in the recycled egg carton planter, transfer them into larger pots until they’re ready for picking.

Not sold on salsa? There are kits available for pizza and cocktails, too.

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12) Wine Infused Coffee

Price: $19.95

Gift hunting for a coffee drinker who also loves wines? Why not pick up a bag of Merlot-infused coffee beans.

This brew is made with 100% Arabica beans that are aged in oak wine barrels. Serving as the perfect post-meal treat, this unique gift will be a hit with any adventurous coffee enthusiast.

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13) Plant Nanny

Price: $16.95

Don’t let the burden of watering plants keep your coworker from taking time off to relax and recharge. With the help of these terracotta watering stakes, they can throw on their OOO message and hit the road without having to hire a plant sitter.

How does it work? It’s simple: The stakes house a recycled bottle that’s designed to release just enough water to keep plants alive and well.  

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14) Smartphone Card Game

Price: $19.99

The name of the game is “Game of Phones.” And the rules are pretty straightforward: Grab your smartphone and have one player (the judge for the round) draw a card. Everyone else gets 60 seconds to dig up a funny response to the prompt on the card using their phone. It’s like a digital scavenger hunt — and it’s bound to be hilarious.

This one’s perfect for anyone that loves to host friends or family for game night.

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15) Travel Cup

Price: $14.99–$19.99 (+$3.99 for travel lid)

There are a ton of travel mugs out there to choose from, but Tervis tumblers seem to offer it all: customization, portable cooling, self-warming system, dishwasher armor, and a lifetime guarantee.

Whether you’re buying a gift for an avid golfer, shopper, foodie, or Patriots super fan, there’s bound to be a Tervis that lines up with their interests and personality.

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16) Adult Coloring Book

Price: $12.18 (Paperback)

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Believe it or not, this trendy hobby offers more than a dose of nostalgia — adult coloring books are actually believed to relieve stress, too. In fact, while The American Art Association doesn’t think these books are enough to replace therapy for those who need it, it does support the use of coloring books for “pleasure and self care.”

There are a wide variety of books to choose from, but we recommend “Color Me Calm” by Lacy Mucklow: a Zen coloring book that supports meditation and relaxation. Trust us, your stressed out deskmate will thank you.

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17) Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Price: $18.65

Stay hydrated and enjoy the sweet taste of your favorite fruits with this handy water bottle from Fruitzola.

Fill the inside tube with fruit or a combination of your choice — strawberries, lemons, kiwis, watermelon, and mint all work well — and enjoy the taste of fresh, flavored H20 all day.

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18) Musical Pillow

Price: $19.19

For many, listening to music, a meditation app, or a podcast before bed can make it easier to drift off to sleep. Trouble is, it’s tough to get comfortable with a pair of headphones in.

Enter: The Sound Asleep Pillow.

Deep inside this unique pillow lies a built-in speaker that connects to your phone or music player via a headphone jack. The coolest part? The sound from the speaker is only audible to the person resting their head on it, which is great if you don’t want to disturb your spouse or significant other.

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19) Espresso Sampler

Price: $23.00

Treat your coworker to this four-part specialty espresso sampler from Seattle’s world-renowned roasters. Each sampler comes with tasting notes, roaster profiles, and brewing tips. (If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll share.)

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$50 and Under

20) Smartphone Projector

Price: $31.95

Transform your smartphone into a big screen projector with this retro-inspired cardboard structure. Simply slide your device into the compartment for an instant cinema-like feel.

You can make this gift even better by throwing in a box of popcorn to complete the viewing experience.

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21) Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit

Price: $34.95

Whether you’re making chili for a rainy day, wings for the big game, or tacos for Tuesday’s dinner, a little homemade hot sauce can make all the difference.

With this awesome kit, recipients can whip up six signature sauces that are seasoned to their exact liking. The kit even includes customizable labels for a fun, personalized touch.

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22) Bottle Loft

Price: $38.00

Seriously, how cool is this? These handy storage strips adhere to the ceiling of your refrigerator and can hold up to a six pack of bottles of your choice. Plus, the magnets are super strong: they can hold over 3X the weight of an average 12 oz. bottle.

With all the space you’ll save, you’ll have plenty of room for snacks. It’s the perfect gift for your office beer enthusiast.

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23) Leather Mouse Pad

Price: $36.00

Looking for a sophisticated, practical gift option? Grab a leather mouse pad from Ugmonk’s shop.

Not only does this sleek pad provide a smooth surface for your mouse, but the leather is also known to weather and darken slowly over time to take on a one-of-a-kind look. How cool.

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24) Gourmet Marshmallows

Price: $30.00

Step your hot chocolate game up with a box of gourmet marshmallows. From boozy flavors like bourbon to sweet flavors like eggnog, these handcrafted marshmallows are good enough to eat straight from the box.

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25) Streaming Stick

Price: $49.99

The Roku Streaming Stick works with any television that has an HDMI port, and offers over 1,200 apps, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and many more. It’s a perfect gift for nearly any coworker.

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26) Tea Drops

Price: $34.00

Enjoy hot and fresh tea on the go thanks to these dissolvable, pressed tea drops. Made from just a few simple ingredients — finely-sourced tea, sugar, and spices — these tiny morsels are perfect for a busy coworker looking for an easy, healthy beverage to sip on.

This particular sampler set includes five drops of each of the following flavors: citrus ginger, vanilla white, rose earl grey, sweet peppermint, and matcha green tea.

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27) Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Price: $35.00 (17 oz.) / $45.00 (25 oz.)

We’ll admit it, we actually have a crush on this water bottle from S’well. Yes, a water bottle crush. Not only is it sleek and stylish — it comes in tons of colors and prints — but it’s non-toxic, non-leaching, vacuum sealed, and BPA free.

What’s more, it keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12.

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28) Wireless Speaker

Price: $39.99

Wireless speakers are the perfect gift for anyone in your office. Whether they use it to listen to podcasts while they cook, bring tunes to the beach, or create a custom surround sound movie experience, this little Jam Plus speaker packs a big punch. (Full disclosure: I love this speaker so much I bought another one … and one for my brother.)

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29) Cacti Coasters

Price: $31.00

Help your coworkers keep their desk nice and neat with this buildable set of cacti coasters.

The set comes complete with six green leaf coasters that you can mix and match to create different landscapes within the pot. Build them up or stack them close, they’re there when you need a place to put your drink — and still look really cool when you don’t.

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30) Mobile Lens Kit

Price: $26.00

If you pulled your social media manager’s name out of the Secret Santa hat, we’ve got just the thing: Help them up their Instagram game with this handy mobile lens kit. The kit includes fisheye, wide angle, and macro lenses, complete with a universal clip that’s compatible with most smartphones and tablets.

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What are your go-to gift ideas? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Visit the holiday resource hub for all your holiday marketing needs.

Nov

23

2016

Instagram Launches Live Video & Ephemeral Messages: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Some of the greatest discoveries of all time came to fruition at the intersection between two ideas. Think about it: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pajama jeans, and sporks … just to name a few.

This week, Instagram proved the power of cross-pollinating ideas once more when it announced the addition of live video on Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct.

If those new feature announcements look and feel a whole lot like the experiences you’re used to on Snapchat and Facebook Live, your instincts aren’t wrong. Instagram’s new features directly reflect a larger shift in the user’s desire to share content “freely and in the moment,” as explained in the official announcement. Download our complete guide to using Instagram for business and marketing here. While these features will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks, we wanted to make sure you were equipped with the know-how to start planning your strategy right now. Below, we’ll dive into each of the new features in detail, covering everything you need to know about what to expect, how to get started, and what this means for social media managers and marketers.

What’s Different About Instagram’s New Features?

To answer the question that everyone is asking themselves right off the bat: Yes, the live content update does seem eerily similar to Facebook Live.

But there are actually some noteworthy differences that set Instagram’s live video feature apart. And from a technical standpoint, Instagram’s live content is better represented as a healthy mix between Facebook Live and Snapchat.

The key difference between live video on Instagram Stories and Facebook Live is that live Instagram video disappears once the publisher finishes the broadcast, creating the transient experience offered by Snapchat.

“It’s a bi-directional experience, and you only get that when you’re actually live with someone,” Instagram’s Head of Product Kevin Weil told Recode.

But that’s not the only difference. According to that same Recode article, Instagram has no plans to pay media companies or celebrities to hop on a broadcast. This suggests that live Instragam content is intended to be less about creating important moments that need to be saved, and more about sharing unscripted, real-time experiences with friends and family.

Wired Staff Writer Davey Alba echoed this in her recap of the announcements:

With Instagram Stories, Facebook seems to be trying out a tack it used (to great effect) with messaging, splitting the use cases for Facebook Messenger (a tool for expression, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains it) and WhatsApp (a “more utilitarian” messaging app). Similarly, Facebook Live looks to be a more robust tool for archiving important video, while Instagram Stories is for your friends’ eyes only.”

As for the introduction of disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct, the divergence from Snapchat’s functionality is less obvious. In fact, one of the only major distinctions between the two is that Instagram makes it easier for users to continuously send disappearing messages to a set group of friends, whereas Snapchat requires you to manually select recipients each time.

In other words, the process for sending Instagram’s ephemeral direct messages mirrors a “group text” experience, which is informed by the company’s knowledge of users’ adoption of Instagram Direct over the last year. Since that launch, users have grown from 80 million to 300 million people around the world — and many of them are using the messaging feature to share content with group threads, according to the official announcement.

Ready to see these updates in action? Let’s walk through each step.

How to Get Started with Live Content and Disappearing Messages on Instagram

How to Go Live on Instagram:

1) Open the Instagram app and navigate to ‘Your Story’ in the top left corner.



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2) Toggle left at the bottom of the screen to select the ‘Live’ option. Then, tap ‘Start Live Video.’

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Just like on Facebook Live, comments will appear in a feed at the bottom of the screen during your recording. Here’s an example we captured:

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In the live view, you can also keep tabs on the number of viewers checking out your broadcast by referring to the number in the top right corner.

3) Once you end the broadcast, you’ll see the following screen, complete with a final view count and timestamp. To return to your feed, tap ‘Done.’

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We recommend taking note of the total number of viewers and the duration of your broadcast to inform your strategy in the future.

Looking for more ways to inspire your videos down the line? Check out the Explore tab to view live stories from others. Simply tap ‘Top Live’ to watch live stories unfold in real time, and swipe right and left to skip ahead or go back.

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How to Send a Disappearing Message on Instagram:

1) Open the Instagram app and swipe right to open the camera view. You can snap a photo by tapping the white circle button, or hold the button down to capture a video.

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2) To add text or doodle on your photo or video, use the annotation icons in the top right corner.

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(Need artistic inspiration? Check out this roundup of clever Snapchat drawings.)

3) When you’re ready to send the message, tap the white arrow button.

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4) Time to select your recipients. You can either select one or several people to send the message to directly or tap ‘New Group’ in the top right corner to create a group message.

To select users to add to a direct message, simply tap the circle next to their name to turn it into a blue check mark. If you’re creating a group, tap ‘Create’ in the corner once you’re done adding recipients.

(Note: You have the option to name the group, too. This makes it easy to find and use it again when you want to send a message to the same people.)

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5) To view your direct messages, tap the new airplane icon in the top right corner of your feed or swipe left.

A few things to note about sending and viewing messages:

  • A blue ring will appear around a new message in your inbox.
  • In a group message, you can see others’ responses, as well as who else has seen them.
  • To send a response, simply tap the user’s faded profile photo.
  • You’ll be notified if a friend replays or screenshots your message.
  • You can only send disappearing messages to those you follow — regardless of whether your account is private or public.

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So now you know how to get started, but what does this all mean for marketers and the future of Instagram? Let’s walk through all of that below.

The Era of Ephemeral Marketing Is Here

As marketers, you already know the importance of catering your social media content distribution to the platform you’re publishing on. You might turn to Twitter for snappy, 140-character breaking news, or Snapchat for a selfie of you and your coworker disguised by a funny filter. But the etiquette on Instagram was in a league of its own — until just recently, at least.

“Each social network has its differentiating factor, and Instagram has always been a place to showcase the most beautiful, curated version of your life,” explained HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager Marissa Emanuele in a post following the announcement of Instagram Stories back in August.

The introduction of Instagram Stories was the social network’s first foray into a more authentic and open sharing environment, as it lowered the stakes for those feeling pressure to produce the perfect Instagram post. Unlike the traditional Instagram post, Stories could be unpolished and even a little silly.

By opening up the platform to live video and disappearing content, it’s clear Instagram is making a more aggressive shift towards becoming a network where users have the freedom to share whatever they want — whether it be raw, picturesque, or somewhere in between.

“We want Instagram to be a place where you share all of your moments,” Weil told Recode. “[That includes] the more private moments or the inside jokes that are relevant not for your entire Instagram following but for a smaller group of folks.”

Depending on your industry and audience, Instagram’s move towards a more consolidated platform for capturing and sharing moments could mean a few different things for your strategy.

“If you’re a one person marketing team, managing an ongoing Snapchat presence and an ongoing Instagram Stories presence is a little crazy,” noted Emanuele during a Facebook Live recap of the announcements yesterday afternoon. (Check that out below.)

It might not make sense for you to stretch yourself thin across every single platform. Emanuele’s rule of thumb: Don’t be on a channel just to be on a channel.

So how do you determine which channels are right for you?

“I think it’s all about testing,” explained one of HubSpot’s Content and Growth Marketers, Katherine Boyarsky, in the same live broadcast. “I probably wouldn’t [have] bet on our audience being on Snapchat. But they are,” she added.

In other words, take what you’ve learned above and give it a try — the response might surprise you, or at the very least validate your instincts about your audience’s preferences.

And whether these new features are right for you or not, Instagram’s announcement signals a larger sea change in marketing. Authenticity and real-time, ephemeral experiences are beating polished and hyper-produced content, and you should be thinking strategically about how to incorporate them into your marketing efforts.

Need help getting up to speed on some of the other real-time advancements on social media? Check out our guide to Facebook Live here, as well as our guide to Instagram Stories here. And for more on our reaction to these new Instagram announcements, check out the two-part Facebook Live recap from Emanuele and Boyarsky below:

Part One:

Part Two:

What questions do you have about the latest Instagram news? Share them in the comments.

how to use instagram for business

Nov

23

2016

Instagram Launches Live Video & Ephemeral Messages: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Some of the greatest discoveries of all time came to fruition at the intersection between two ideas. Think about it: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pajama jeans, and sporks … just to name a few.

This week, Instagram proved the power of cross-pollinating ideas once more when it announced the addition of live video on Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct.

If those new feature announcements look and feel a whole lot like the experiences you’re used to on Snapchat and Facebook Live, your instincts aren’t wrong. Instagram’s new features directly reflect a larger shift in the user’s desire to share content “freely and in the moment,” as explained in the official announcement. Download our complete guide to using Instagram for business and marketing here. While these features will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks, we wanted to make sure you were equipped with the know-how to start planning your strategy right now. Below, we’ll dive into each of the new features in detail, covering everything you need to know about what to expect, how to get started, and what this means for social media managers and marketers.

What’s Different About Instagram’s New Features?

To answer the question that everyone is asking themselves right off the bat: Yes, the live content update does seem eerily similar to Facebook Live.

But there are actually some noteworthy differences that set Instagram’s live video feature apart. And from a technical standpoint, Instagram’s live content is better represented as a healthy mix between Facebook Live and Snapchat.

The key difference between live video on Instagram Stories and Facebook Live is that live Instagram video disappears once the publisher finishes the broadcast, creating the transient experience offered by Snapchat.

“It’s a bi-directional experience, and you only get that when you’re actually live with someone,” Instagram’s Head of Product Kevin Weil told Recode.

But that’s not the only difference. According to that same Recode article, Instagram has no plans to pay media companies or celebrities to hop on a broadcast. This suggests that live Instragam content is intended to be less about creating important moments that need to be saved, and more about sharing unscripted, real-time experiences with friends and family.

Wired Staff Writer Davey Alba echoed this in her recap of the announcements:

With Instagram Stories, Facebook seems to be trying out a tack it used (to great effect) with messaging, splitting the use cases for Facebook Messenger (a tool for expression, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains it) and WhatsApp (a “more utilitarian” messaging app). Similarly, Facebook Live looks to be a more robust tool for archiving important video, while Instagram Stories is for your friends’ eyes only.”

As for the introduction of disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct, the divergence from Snapchat’s functionality is less obvious. In fact, one of the only major distinctions between the two is that Instagram makes it easier for users to continuously send disappearing messages to a set group of friends, whereas Snapchat requires you to manually select recipients each time.

In other words, the process for sending Instagram’s ephemeral direct messages mirrors a “group text” experience, which is informed by the company’s knowledge of users’ adoption of Instagram Direct over the last year. Since that launch, users have grown from 80 million to 300 million people around the world — and many of them are using the messaging feature to share content with group threads, according to the official announcement.

Ready to see these updates in action? Let’s walk through each step.

How to Get Started with Live Content and Disappearing Messages on Instagram

How to Go Live on Instagram:

1) Open the Instagram app and navigate to ‘Your Story’ in the top left corner.



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2) Toggle left at the bottom of the screen to select the ‘Live’ option. Then, tap ‘Start Live Video.’

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Just like on Facebook Live, comments will appear in a feed at the bottom of the screen during your recording. Here’s an example we captured:

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In the live view, you can also keep tabs on the number of viewers checking out your broadcast by referring to the number in the top right corner.

3) Once you end the broadcast, you’ll see the following screen, complete with a final view count and timestamp. To return to your feed, tap ‘Done.’

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We recommend taking note of the total number of viewers and the duration of your broadcast to inform your strategy in the future.

Looking for more ways to inspire your videos down the line? Check out the Explore tab to view live stories from others. Simply tap ‘Top Live’ to watch live stories unfold in real time, and swipe right and left to skip ahead or go back.

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How to Send a Disappearing Message on Instagram:

1) Open the Instagram app and swipe right to open the camera view. You can snap a photo by tapping the white circle button, or hold the button down to capture a video.

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2) To add text or doodle on your photo or video, use the annotation icons in the top right corner.

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(Need artistic inspiration? Check out this roundup of clever Snapchat drawings.)

3) When you’re ready to send the message, tap the white arrow button.

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4) Time to select your recipients. You can either select one or several people to send the message to directly or tap ‘New Group’ in the top right corner to create a group message.

To select users to add to a direct message, simply tap the circle next to their name to turn it into a blue check mark. If you’re creating a group, tap ‘Create’ in the corner once you’re done adding recipients.

(Note: You have the option to name the group, too. This makes it easy to find and use it again when you want to send a message to the same people.)

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5) To view your direct messages, tap the new airplane icon in the top right corner of your feed or swipe left.

A few things to note about sending and viewing messages:

  • A blue ring will appear around a new message in your inbox.
  • In a group message, you can see others’ responses, as well as who else has seen them.
  • To send a response, simply tap the user’s faded profile photo.
  • You’ll be notified if a friend replays or screenshots your message.
  • You can only send disappearing messages to those you follow — regardless of whether your account is private or public.

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So now you know how to get started, but what does this all mean for marketers and the future of Instagram? Let’s walk through all of that below.

The Era of Ephemeral Marketing Is Here

As marketers, you already know the importance of catering your social media content distribution to the platform you’re publishing on. You might turn to Twitter for snappy, 140-character breaking news, or Snapchat for a selfie of you and your coworker disguised by a funny filter. But the etiquette on Instagram was in a league of its own — until just recently, at least.

“Each social network has its differentiating factor, and Instagram has always been a place to showcase the most beautiful, curated version of your life,” explained HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager Marissa Emanuele in a post following the announcement of Instagram Stories back in August.

The introduction of Instagram Stories was the social network’s first foray into a more authentic and open sharing environment, as it lowered the stakes for those feeling pressure to produce the perfect Instagram post. Unlike the traditional Instagram post, Stories could be unpolished and even a little silly.

By opening up the platform to live video and disappearing content, it’s clear Instagram is making a more aggressive shift towards becoming a network where users have the freedom to share whatever they want — whether it be raw, picturesque, or somewhere in between.

“We want Instagram to be a place where you share all of your moments,” Weil told Recode. “[That includes] the more private moments or the inside jokes that are relevant not for your entire Instagram following but for a smaller group of folks.”

Depending on your industry and audience, Instagram’s move towards a more consolidated platform for capturing and sharing moments could mean a few different things for your strategy.

“If you’re a one person marketing team, managing an ongoing Snapchat presence and an ongoing Instagram Stories presence is a little crazy,” noted Emanuele during a Facebook Live recap of the announcements yesterday afternoon. (Check that out below.)

It might not make sense for you to stretch yourself thin across every single platform. Emanuele’s rule of thumb: Don’t be on a channel just to be on a channel.

So how do you determine which channels are right for you?

“I think it’s all about testing,” explained one of HubSpot’s Content and Growth Marketers, Katherine Boyarsky, in the same live broadcast. “I probably wouldn’t [have] bet on our audience being on Snapchat. But they are,” she added.

In other words, take what you’ve learned above and give it a try — the response might surprise you, or at the very least validate your instincts about your audience’s preferences.

And whether these new features are right for you or not, Instagram’s announcement signals a larger sea change in marketing. Authenticity and real-time, ephemeral experiences are beating polished and hyper-produced content, and you should be thinking strategically about how to incorporate them into your marketing efforts.

Need help getting up to speed on some of the other real-time advancements on social media? Check out our guide to Facebook Live here, as well as our guide to Instagram Stories here. And for more on our reaction to these new Instagram announcements, check out the two-part Facebook Live recap from Emanuele and Boyarsky below:

Part One:

Part Two:

What questions do you have about the latest Instagram news? Share them in the comments.

how to use instagram for business

Jun

28

2016

Why Your Brain Craves Vacation Time [Infographic]

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When’s the last time you took a real vacation? Not just a long weekend, but a real vacation — one with some serious rest and relaxation time?

If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, workers typically fail to take even five vacation days a year.

But you’re not doing yourself any favors by riding out the wave at work. As it turns out, 77% of HR professionals believe that employees who use most or all of their vacation time are actually more productive on average than those who don’t.

When it comes down to it, your brain actually craves — and depends on — that time off to help you reboot your concentration and satisfaction. Check out the infographic from Expedia below to learn more about the importance of vacation time and how it affects your brain. (And read this list of clever out-of-office replies to use when you do finally book that trip.)



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Jun

27

2016

7 of the Best Facebook Live Videos We’ve Ever Seen

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This week, Facebook announced grand plans to take their already successful live broadcasting platform to great heights. The announcement included product updates like two-person broadcasts, waiting rooms for viewers, and Snapchat-esque filters all in the works.

With these updates in mind, carving out a strategy for Facebook Live seems like a no-brainer.

Oh, and did we mention the potential live video has for Facebook engagement? Initial data from Facebook revealed that people comment 10X more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

Now, we get it. Going live, well, it’s kinda scary. What if you mess up? What if the camera wigs out? There are a number of things that could go wrong. But while you’re contemplating the risk, a ton of brands are out there engaging their audience in some really exciting and personal new ways.

To help you shake the nerves, we put together a list of some of the best Facebook Live broadcasts we’ve ever seen. From live debates to intense trainings, you’ll get a little taste of everything to inspire you to fire up a stream for your own company.

(And read this article for more tips on how to get started with Facebook Live.)

7 of the Best Facebook Live Videos We’ve Ever Seen

1) Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder is an endurance event series known for its military-style obstacles and enormous sense of community. A few weeks ago, they took to Facebook Live to broadcast their Merrell Michigan Training Event with Coach T. Mud, a.k.a. Kyle Railton. Infectious energy aside, this stream made the list for a few reasons.

For one, it serves as a great use case for how to keep your community engaged — even when they can’t make it to your event. By bringing the event right to their audience’s desktop or mobile device, they can choose to follow along with the training, or simply get a sense of what they might be signing up for.

At the beginning of the broadcast, Coach T. Mud gives a shout out to the Tough Mudder Snapchat handle to encourage those at home — and at the event — to follow along with the training there. This is a great way to cross-promote your channels and increase overall engagement.

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Around the six-minute mark, the person filming chimes in to reiterate where they are streaming from. She does the same thing again around the eight-minute mark. This is a great strategy for keeping those who might be joining mid-stream in the loop.

Finally, we really love the way Coach T. Mud gets up close and personal with some of the attendees around the 18-minute mark. While he mainly uses this time to get to know the Tough Mudder community a little better, he also sneaks in some subtle promotions, like this:

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Well played, Coach.

(Want to learn more about Tough Mudder’s growth strategy? Check out this episode of The Growth Show featuring Tough Mudder Founder and CEO Will Dean.) 

2) Benefit

One really interesting route brands have taken with Facebook Live is the series approach. In other words, they broadcast a themed video series on a set date and time, usually weekly.

Why does this work so well? As Author Laura Vanderkam explains: “TV shows come on at certain times so people get in the habit of watching them. You can do the same with Facebook Live.”

One of my favorite examples of this come from the folks at Benefit, who host a series called “Tipsy Tricks” every Thursday at 4:15 P.M. Here’s one of the episodes from a few weeks back:

One of the most interesting things they do throughout this particular video is ask questions of the audience to inform how the video will play out. For example, around four minutes in, the host polls the audience to determine which product they’d like to see them use in the makeup look they’re creating.

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Then, they give a couple of minutes to let the audience weigh in before following through based on the responses — it’s sort of like a beauty-themed, choose-your-ownadventure game.

This strategy aims to keep those watching engaged, while also helping the folks at Benefit learn more about their audience’s product preferences.

Another way they’re keeping the audience involved? Benefit allows their viewers to submit ideas via Facebook Live comments or Snapchat to help the hosts brainstorm future topics to cover. You can see this in action by checking out the comment thread on this video, where they ask viewers to Like the comment if they’d like to see an episode about concealing:

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3) Jason Carr

The next Facebook video on the list comes to us in two parts. In an interesting series of events, Jason Carr, a former news anchor for FOX 2 in Detroit, takes Facebook Live viewers on a ride to his new gig at WDIV-TV, Local 4 News … but he doesn’t tell them that. At least not in the beginning.

The first video begins with Carr explaining that he’s going Live to follow up on a promise he made during his final broadcast for FOX 2 earlier that morning. This was his first right move: Using Facebook Live to extend the conversation following something like a webinar, interview, or panel discussion is a great way to connect with your audience while they’re already engaged.

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Viewers watch as Carr — who is broadcasting live from the back of a Cadillac — takes a trip to what he refers to as “parts unknown.” During the first half of the stream, he provides some context around leaving the station, while engaging with viewers in the comments and continuing to build suspense for where he’s headed.

The whole suspense aspect is key, as it helps Carr spark his audience’s curiosity. After all, a little curiosity can go a long way: Research from the University of California revealed that sparking participant’s curiosity with the right question helped to prepare their brain for learning, while also making learning a more rewarding experience.

Just before the stream wraps up, we see Carr arrive at his secret destination — his new station — where he announces that he’ll pick back up once he has a chance to go in and get settled.

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A little over an hour later, Carr fires up his stream again to give viewers a behind the scenes look at his first appearance on the new job.

Talk about a creative way to announce a new hire.

4) Grazia UK

This Grazia/Facebook collaboration just might be the most interesting use case for Facebook Live on our list. This month, the team at Grazia UK, an Italian women’s magazine with international editions, headed off to Facebook’s London headquarters to piece together their first “community issue.”

They took to Facebook Live to document a week’s worth of behind-the-scenes footage, allowing their audience to participate in things like their editorial meeting, cover shoot, and GraziaxFB Brexit Debate.

While all of the footage really helped to pull back the curtain for Grazia’s audience, the GraziaxFB Brexit Debate was one of the most successful broadcasts of the week — and for good reason.

The debate, chaired by The Guardian’s political editor Anushka Asthana, was centered around the UK’s decision to remain in or exit the European Union. The panelists were each given time to discuss their views, while also leaving time for questions from both the live audience and Facebook audience.

Asthana encouraged Facebook Live viewers to submit their ideas via the hashtag #GraziaxFB at the beginning of the broadcast.

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Note: If you’re hosting a live debate, discussion, or training, coming up with a hashtag in advance is a great way to organize the submission process for questions. (Read this article for tips on how to use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

Overall, the discussion was timely, well executed, and helped to get the Grazia community talking about not only the Grazia/Facebook collaboration, but also the larger political issue at hand.

In the words of Grazia Editor Natasha Pearlman: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring Grazia to life for our readers, and at the same time launch our real-life community, in partnership with the biggest social media network in the world.”

“The Grazia audience aren’t just readers, they are part of the brand – their views and opinions shape our content and really matter,” she went on to explain. “Now they can participate with us in real time.”

5) Tastemade

When you live in an apartment and Boston (or any city, really), you quickly learn how to make the most of a small kitchen. But this video from Tastemade takes that concept to a whole new level.

According to Tastemade’s Head of Productio Jay Holzer, the tiny cooking concept was inspired by one of Tastemade’s Japanese partners. As it turns out, miniature cooking is quite popular in Japan, as a result of kawaii — the quality of ‘cuteness’ — which is plays a prominent role in Japanese pop culture.

While Tiny Kitchen started as a pre-recorded series, the folks at Tastemade tested their luck with Facebook Live by recording this real-time cooking demonstration:

What’s great about this particular use case is that it can be enjoyed without sound. In other words, viewers can tune in without having to stop and adjust their volume, or put on headphones.

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The strangely fascinating footage is really easy to consume, which likely contributed to the success of the original episodes. By going live, Tastemade simply added a unique interactive element. And 3.7 million views later, they’ve proved it works.

The lesson? Sometimes, less it more. 

6) BuzzFeed

While BuzzFeed recently made headlines for their not-so-perfect Facebook Live attempt with none other than the president of the United States, we can assure you that they know what they’re doing.

On a much less serious note, the folks at BuzzFeed took to Facebook Live this past March to host an epic live dance battle.

But this wasn’t just any old dance battle: “Dance Craze Battle: Live” was an interactive competition that required the audience to vote on performances and submit suggestions for dance moves.

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In between the first two rounds, the host took time to get to know each of the contestants a little better by asking them a few questions. This was really smart for two reasons:

  1. It created an opportunity for BuzzFeed to show off their team and humanize their brand.
  2. It gave time for viewers to submit ideas for the second round of dance battles.

With the help of user submissions in round two, viewers watched as their ideas came to fruition in the form of some pretty interesting dance moves, like “crying college student”:

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After each dance, the person monitoring the comments section prompted viewers to cast their vote:

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And the entire thing came to a close with a spirited dance party … because why not, right?

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Even though this broadcast carried on for half hour, the level of engagement likely helped them keep viewers interested all the way through. When you’re planning a Facebook Live video, keep in mind that length isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it provides you with a chance to reach more people. 

7) Callaway Golf

The folks at Callaway Golf are no strangers to live video. In May 2015, Callaway debuted a live show hosted by their SVP of Marketing and Brand Management Harry Arnett. While this particular live series didn’t unfold via Facebook Live, it’s likely that it made the transition to broadcasting content live on Facebook much easier.

According to Arnett, the experience of live video brings Callaway back to their roots: “We felt like if we could figure out a way to be unique in it, provide utility to it, and be a contributing citizen in the community of golfers, we could become sort of the people’s brand,” he told Golf Digest, “which was very closely connected to the DNA of the company when it got started 20 years ago.”

A great example of their segue into Facebook Live is this exclusive tour of Arnold Palmer’s office, led by Palmer’s assistant and longtime friend Doc.

For golf enthusiasts, this is a dream come true. After all, Palmer is known to be one of the greatest players of all time. But it’s the experience that the video delivers that makes it really interesting for those tuning in.

For one, the person behind the camera makes an effort to keep viewers involved throughout the tour. For example, around five minutes in, he thanks the audience for tuning in and checks in to see if they have any specific questions or things they’d like to see. This is a great way to keep people who might be thinking about dropping off engaged.

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Around the 20-minute mark, the cameraman also takes a minute to reintroduce the tour guide, Doc, to clarify his relationship with Palmer for those just tuning in.

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While there are mentions of Callaway products throughout the video, it’s by no means the main focus. Instead, the cameraman works to surface interesting facts and stories from Palmer’s assistant to keep those geeking out at home both entertained and engaged. For example, around the 23-minute mark, he prompts Doc to tell the story behind Palmer’s infamous umbrella logo:

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Pretty cool, right?

If you’re just getting started with Facebook Live, make note of Callaway’s tactics. And remember: Your broadcast doesn’t have to be all about your product or service for it to be successful. At the end of the day, you want people to remember the experience you provided them, which will ultimately help to keep you top-of-mind. 

Getting Started With Facebook Live

Now that you’re feeling inspired, it’s time to get out there and try it for yourself.

If you’re feeling up to it, but still think you need a little training, check out this post from my colleague Lindsay Kolowich. She’ll walk you through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and the top tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform.

Have you experimented with Facebook Live? What is your favorite example? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

free guide: how to use facebook for business

May

6

2016

The ABCs of Compelling Visual Ads [Infographic]

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This year, 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content, while 55% plan to prioritize creating visual content, according to a report from Content Marketing Institute. 

This means more infographics, more social media images, more video content, and more visually appealing advertisements. What constitutes as visually appealing advertisement?In short: A lot of things. It needs to be simple, on-brand, targeted, actionable, understandable … the list goes on. 

To help you and your team better understand the underlying mechanisms that go into the creation of a compelling visual ad, check out the infographic below from Bannersnack. They’ve provided everything you need to know about visual ad creation in one infographic — and they’ve alphabetized it. 

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Apr

13

2016

How to Create an Infographic Using Poll & Survey Data [Infographic]

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A well-executed survey has the power to uncover insights that you can use to hone your strategy, shape your product, gauge customer satisfaction, and more. 

While it’s temping to share your findings right away, sometimes it’s better to pause and reflect. By taking time to find the story in your data, you might find a way to share your findings that is far more valuable than a bunch of jumbled stats and takeaways. 

One great way to present your data? By way of an infographic. Even if the data itself is complex and overwhelming, when you create an infographic, you’re forced to illustrate that information in a manageable, digestible visual that your audience can easily grasp. (Download our free infographic templates to get started.)

To walk you through the process, the folks at Venngage created the infographic below. They’ve outlined a ton of helpful design tips and tricks to keep you on the right track.

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15 free infographic templates in powerpoint

Apr

11

2016

8 Time-Saving Excel Shortcuts Worth Memorizing [Infographic]

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If I had a nickel for every hour I wasted trying to figure something out in Excel, I’d have quite the coin collection. 

Don’t get me wrong: Excel is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to collecting and analyzing data. But unless you’re a power user, it can be tricky to get the hang of it. If you’re not well versed in the tool’s functionality, even little things like resizing columns and inserting comments can cause you to have to stop and think. 

Download our free guide to Excel here to learn the essential skills you should know.

Luckily, the folks at Best STL put together the following infographic on time-saving Excel shortcuts. While the shortcuts are pretty basic, they’re guaranteed to simplify the way you navigate the tool. Check ’em out below. 

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Mar

30

2016

How to Be Happier: Tips for Developing an Optimistic Outlook on Life [Infographic]

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Whether you tend to see the glass half full or half empty, there’s plenty of research that suggests optimistic people experience a number of physical, social, and emotional benefits.

For positive folks, it’s easy to tune out negative news, embrace life, and welcome new social connections. But for those who find themselves leaning towards a more pessimistic demeanor, it can be tough to silence that inherent level of negativity and skepticism. 

This presents an especially interesting workplace dilemma, as it’s easy to give up on challenging obstacles when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But is it possible to train yourself to turn your frown upside down? Sure is.

In fact, Happify put together the following infographic to bring to light some helpful tips and tricks for becoming more optimistic — both personally and professionally. Check it out. 

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Mar

29

2016

Are You Stressed Enough? [Infographic]

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“I wish I were more stressed.” 

I’d guess that you’ve never heard anyone utter that phrase. Almost everyone is on the hunt for ways to avoid or better manage the amount of pressure they experience. 

But what if I told you that introducing a little stress into your routine might make you more productive? 

According Yerkes-Dodson Law, increased mental arousal can actually help improve performance, but only to a certain degree. You see, this positive form of stress — known as eustress — marks the highest peak in the human performance curve. However, most people struggle to achieve such balance, leaving them feeling either under-stimulated or distressed.

Want to learn how to better measure and manage workplace stress? Check out the infograpic from Bryan College for more detailed research, as well advice on how to leverage positive stress in the workplace. 

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Mar

23

2016

6 Ways to Make Your Commute a Lot Less Stressful [Infographic]

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It’s 7:30 a.m. on a Monday. It’s raining. And the subway is uncomfortably crowded.

In fact, it’s so crowded that I’m desperately trying to grip the pole with one measly finger, while strategically shielding my nose from the morning breath coming from the man to my right. 

Isn’t commuting a pain?

Whether you’re traveling 20 minutes or well over an hour, making your way to and from work can take a big toll on your mood. Between traffic jams, unexpected delays, car troubles, and inclement weather conditions, people often find themselves having to get out the door even earlier to account for extra travel time. (If you’re not a morning person, this can be seriously stressful.)

So what can you do to reduce commuter-induced stress? The folks at Auto Insurance Center put together the following infographic to help you apply a more mindful approach to your commute. 

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Mar

15

2016

7 Speaking Habits That Will Make You Sound Smarter [Infographic]

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For many people, even the thought of public speaking can lead to panic. The crowd. The lights. The dreaded Q&A session. It’s a lot to deal with.

But allowing these apprehensions to silence our voice can be crippling to our careers. If we want to be seen as smart and articulate professionals, we need to walk the walk and talk the talk. After all, our intelligence is often best conveyed not in what we say but in how we say it, according to a recent study from the University of Chicago.

Rather than keeping quiet to avoid saying something foolish, it’s important that we’re actively identifying ways to overcome self-doubt. 

To help get you started, check out this infographic from the folks at WriteMyEssays. They’ve compiled some awesome speaking habits designed to make you sound smarter. (Check out this post for even more tips on how to rock your next speaking engagement.)

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Mar

14

2016

Is All Press Good Press? How PR Wins & Fails Impact SEO [Flipbook]

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In business, getting ahead often hinges on our ability to get noticed. We need people to pay attention to our brand if we want them to listen, complete an action, change a behavior, and so on.

Trouble is, there are two types of attention: good and bad. And the brands below know a thing or two about both. Remember the dress that broke the internet? What about the time REI boycotted Black Friday for its #OptOutside campaign? And we’ll certainly never forget the moment when Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong Miss Universe winner, right? 

But what happened to these brands after the fact? The folks at Fractl and Moz teamed up to explore the impact that these stunts — both planned and accidental — had on seven different companies that made big news in the past year. Armed with a handful of tools, they dug into the data to determine exactly how media coverage affects press mentions, organic traffic, and backlinks.

So is it true that all press is good press? Check out their findings by scrolling through the flipbook below.

free press release template

Feb

24

2016

9 Apps That’ll Take the Stress Out of Your Morning Routine

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You know those people who obnoxiously set their alarm clock in five-minute intervals nearly an hour before they actually have to wake up?

Well, I’m one of them. And even after mentally preparing myself for an hour, I still shuffle my way to the coffee pot looking like a character out of a zombie movie. 

Trouble is, I — like many people — actually do my best work in the morning. Not to mention, there’s a ton of research that suggests that waking up early can have a positive impact on your success, ability to anticipate problems, organization, and so on.

In an effort to take back my mornings, I dug in to the app stores to find nine of the best apps for iOS and Android designed to help people get up and going. From fetching the weather report to pushing you through your morning workout to reminding you to take a minute to pause and reflect, these apps should help you de-stress your morning routine and get up on the right side of the bed.

9 Apps That’ll Make Your Morning Less Stressful

1) Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

  • Price: Free for iOS (Premium available for $1.99/year), $0.99 for Android
  • Available for: iOS | Android

Waking up isn’t always easy, but it sure helps when the timing is right. 

With this in mind, the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock closely analyzes your sleep and wakes you up during the lightest sleep phase, which occurs during a 30-minute window that ends at your set alarm time. (This window can be adjusted to anywhere between 10–90 minutes, but the app recommends 30 minutes.) This ensures that you wake up in a more natural way, feeling both well rested and ready to start the day.

The app does this by using the built-in microphone in your device to monitor your movement, while ignoring all other sounds, such as your spouse snoring or your noisy roommate. Once you set an alarm, the app prompts you to place your phone screen on your nightstand or on your bed next to you so that it can tune into your movement. 

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When the alarm sounds the music will begin to play softly, increasing volume as time continues. If you want to snooze the alarm, simply tap twice or pick up your phone. The app defaults to “Intelligent” snooze mode, which means that you can snooze until the end of your wake up phase. However, you can opt for “Regular” snooze mode, which lets you choose a time between 1–20 minutes.

The app also records your sleep activity, so you can learn more about the quality and quantity of sleep you’re getting each night. 

2) Morning Ritual

According to behavioral psychologist BJ Fogg, there are three ways to change behavior in the long term: have an epiphany, change your environment, and take baby steps. The Morning Ritual app caters to his third suggestion, as it makes it easy for users to create daily activities and set a designated time for each of them.

For example, let’s say every morning I want to meditate for five minutes, read for 10 minutes, and then check my email for 15 minutes. I’d start by setting these activities in the app with corresponding time limits. Then, all I’d have to do is and simply hit the “Start” button to begin a timer for my first task. 

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The app will let you know when it’s time to move on to your next task, but you can also prompt it to skip ahead. Once you’ve completed your routine, the app pulls together a graph to show you how you allocated your time. You can track your progress by comparing this graph to ones from the last week or month. 

3) Poncho

Checking the weather in the morning helps you better plan your commute, outfit, hairstyle, etc. But why settle for any old weather app when you can get your updates from a cat in a yellow raincoat … amirite?

Poncho offers playful personalized weather forecasts, commute predictions, and a handy alarm clock that wakes you up with weather-related music. Heck, it’ll even send you pollen, allergy, humidity, and bad hair day alerts. (If you’ve got frizzy hair, this feature alone should be a selling point.)

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One downside is that you need to keep your app open and your screen unlocked for the alarm to work. However, the app automatically dims down your display when you hit the hay. 

4) Spotify

  • Price: Free (Premium available for $9.99/month)
  • Available for: iOS | Android

Okay, so Spotify is a great app no matter the time of day … but there are some really cool “morning-friendly” features worth mentioning.

For example, last year, Spotify teamed up with music psychologist David M. Greenberg to piece together the perfect, science-backed morning playlist. Designed to help people rise a little easier, this playlist includes songs like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind,” and Imagine Dragon’s “On Top of the World.” Check it out below:

 
Another handy feature that’ll get your blood pumping in the morning? Custom workout playlists. The folks at Spotify have curated killer playlists for any workout you can imagine, from spin class to Crossfit.
Here’s one filled with high intensity tracks to get you up and moving:
 

(Read this blog post for a list of six Spotify playlists proven by science to improve your productivity throughout the day.)

5) Calm

  • Price: Free (Premium available for $9.99/month or $39.99/year)
  • Available for: iOS | Android

We’ve highlighted the benefits of mindfulness and meditation before … and we’ll highlight them again. In an effort to set a positive tone for your day ahead, the Calm app offers over two-dozen guided meditation session for you to choose from. 

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The sessions range anywhere between a few minutes to around 30 minutes, so you can squeeze in some “me” time no matter what your schedule looks like. 

The app also offers 7-21 days guided meditation programs that keep track of your progress, as well as unguided meditation lasting up to eight hours. 

I started using this app at night to help me wind down and I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my ability to fall asleep quickly and wake up feeling more refreshed. 

6) Stylicious

Depending on your dress code at work, picking out something to wear in the morning can be a pain. Will people notice that you wore the same shirt two Wednesdays in a row? Does your blue tie look okay with that grey shirt you just bought? And don’t even get me started on the “is this too wrinkly?” debate. 

The good news is, Stylicious helps you manage your closet and create outfits — while you’re still in bed. To get started, simply add items to your “virtual closet” by taking a photo or using an existing one. (We recommend doing this once a week to keep tabs on what’s clean.) Once you’ve cataloged your wardrobe, you can mix and match pieces until you come up with a combination that looks just right. 

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(Image Credit: Aptoide)

Once you’ve landed on a few looks you like, you can add them to your “Fashion Calendar” to keep track of what you’re wearing. The app even has a handy vacation planner to help you plan and pack outfits for your next business trip. 

7) Wunderlist

  • Price: Free (Pro available for $4.99/month or $49.99/year)
  • Available for: iOS | Android

One of the best ways to take a little chaos out of your morning routine? Get situated the night before. Whether you need to piece together a grocery list, map out a presentation, or prep for a meeting, a task management app like Wunderlist can … well … do wonders. (I’ll be here all week.)

Thanks to the app’s clean, user-friendly design, it’s easy to make your way through the impressive range of features — from setting due dates and reminders to sharing lists with your friends, family, and coworkers. 

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Wunderlist syncs between your phone, tablet, and computer, so you can create your list on one device and wake up and browse it from your phone in the morning. 

(Check out our list of nine other handy to-do list apps here.)

8) Pocket

I’ll be the first to admit that I have zero patience when it comes to technology. This is especially true during my morning commute on the train, where spotty service prevents me from catching up on some reading. 

But thanks to the Pocket app, I’ve managed to reduce this a.m. frustration by gathering a bunch of articles in advance that can be read offline.

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Here’s how it works: Pocket lets you save articles, images, and videos from your browser or from a library of 1,500+ apps to be viewed on any device, regardless of your WiFi connection. (Check out this article for more ways to stay productive without an internet connection.)

Whenever I find something I know I’d like to read later, I put it in my Pocket to revisit during my commute. This helps me kickstart my day with some fresh reads and a whole lot of inspiration. 

9) Happier 

To stay present and positive throughout the day, set aside a few minutes every morning to remind yourself what you’re grateful for. 

Sure, it might feel a little silly at first, but it’s a better use of your time than you’d think. In fact, there’s a wealth of research out there suggesting that keeping a gratitude journal can significantly increase your well-being and overall life satisfaction.

One of our favorite apps for recording and reflecting on special moments is Happier, which combines a gratitude journal with a positive social community.

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With the Happier app, users can share happy moments with the community to gain both support and encouragement, or reserve their moments for self-reflection by keeping them private. It’s less about who see them, and more about actually getting them down in writing. 

The app also offers snackable, expert-led courses designed to help users uncover new ways to find joy, calm, and satisfaction. 

What are your favorite apps to wake up to? Share them with us in the comments section below.

free productivity tips

Feb

24

2016

How to Create Online Surveys People Will Actually Take [Infographic]

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Even a goldfish can pay attention for longer than most people can nowadays. The ever-decreasing human attention span is one of the the biggest challenges marketers are faced with today.

For those looking to conduct market research through surveys, the fight for our audience’s attention can seem incredibly discouraging. How can you expect to improve participation rates when people can’t sit still long enough to make it through your questions?

If you want to encourage participation and avoid diluting your data, you’ve got to find a way to make people want to engage with the content. To learn how, take a look at the infographic below from the folks at qSample. It’ll walk you through four interesting and helpful things to consider when crafting your next online survey. (For more help, check out this handy guide on how to use online surveys in your marketing.)

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using surveys in marketing ebook

Feb

23

2016

A Simple Guide to Successful Email Outreach [Infographic]

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On any given day, the average businessperson receives 91 emails, according to a report by The Radicati Group.  This number is expected to rise to 95 emails per person per day by next year, and reach almost 100 by 2018.

That’s a lot of email.

While it’s no secret that we all know how to send email, the newer challenge is figuring out a way to actually receive a response from the people we’re sending these emails to. With all of those emails taking up space in their inbox, how can we reach out in a more meaningful way to ensure our messages are heard?

This is a bit of a loaded question, as there’s a lot to consider when sending a proper outreach email: subject lines, send times, email length … the list goe son.

To help answe rthis question, check out the infographic below from Online Course Report. They’ve detailed everything from what day and time is the best for sending outreach email to how many attempts you can expect to send.

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optimizing email marketing ebook

Feb

19

2016

Does It Take Money to Make Money? See What 25 Successful Entrepreneurs Started Out With [Infographic]

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Ever catch yourself making a silly excuse to get out of doing something?

I do it all the time: I can’t go to the gym because I need to do the dishes. I can’t finish that book because I’m too busy. I can’t organize my closet because I’m too tired.

Trouble is, when you’ve got an excuse for every little thing, it’s really hard to make any progress. And at the end of the day, excuses cause you to miss opportunities that could potentially change the course of your life.

But don’t just take it from me: The list of entrepreneurial folks below are living proof that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, no matter what limitations you’re faced with. Rather than looking at their lack of funds as an excuse not to go after their dreams, they just went ahead and chased their dreams.

Check out the infographic from LendingTree below to see how some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs turned credit card debt, loans, and limited funds into thriving businesses.

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Learn more about HubSpot Classroom Training!

Feb

11

2016

20 Nerdy Valentine’s Day Gifts for That Special Someone

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Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentine’s Day is coming … and you didn’t think this one through.

With everyone’s favorite “Hallmark holiday” right around the corner, we had a hunch that some of you might have forgotten to pick up something special for that special someone.

So rather than defaulting to a box of chocolates, we’ve come up with a list of creative, useful gifts that are sure to impress. Now, we’ll be the first to admit that some of them are kind of nerdy … but aren’t we all a little nerdy, after all?

We’ve accounted for all types of budgets by listing the gifts in ascending order by price. All the following items might not ship in time for the big day, but you can still use the following list as inspiration for a last-minute in-person shopping trip.

20 Nerdy Valentine’s Day Gifts for That Special Someone

1) Cable Labels

Price: $9.99

Give the gift of organization this Valentine’s Day with these adorable little “cord huggers.” They cling onto wires to make it easy to sort through that tangled mess behind monitor or under your desk.

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2) Heart Headphone Splitter

Price: $12.00

This festive headphone splitter allows you to plug your headphones into one of the dual aux inputs, leaving the other open for a friend or special someone. The best part? It comes on a handy keychain so you can bring it with you everywhere.

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3) Sweetheart Cord Tacos

Price: $12.00 or 5/$40.00

Is this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, or is this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Seriously. We all know the tangled headphone situation all too well, and these conversation-heart-inspired cord tacos solve for just that.

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4) Seed Money

Price: $12.50

For the pun-lover, I present to you: seed money. Cleverly disguised as change, these coins are minted from handmade paper embedded with seeds. Plant them, water them, and watch your investment grow. (Get it?)

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5) Apple Juice Power Pack

Price: $13.00

The fear that accompanies a depleted phone battery is no walk in the park. Make sure your special someone never has to experience this misfortune by gifting them this handy backup battery.

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6) Plant-o-Gram

Price: $13.99

Flowers are great, but why not opt for the gift that keeps on giving? Long after the petals on that overpriced bouquet of roses have shriveled up, this unique air plant will still be thriving. Plus, it comes in a festive package with a personalized message of up to 100 words.

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7) Spicy Honey

Price: $15.00

Serving as the perfect blend of raw honey from independent beekeepers in the Hudson Valley and specially selected chili peppers, this sweet and spicy treat is sure to delight your valentine.

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8) Chili Herb Infuser

Price: $17.00

Enhance the flavor of your favorite soup or stew with this chili-shaped herb infuser. This reusable pepper holds all of your herbs together so that you don’t have to worry about having a pesky piece of green stuff between your teeth.

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9) Catnip Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Price: $18.00

Now, I’m a dog person … but I work closely enough with a few hardcore cat ladies to know that in order to win them over, you’ve got to win over their cat first. And these catnip chocolate-covered strawberries are sure to do the trick.

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10) Heart Beat Camera Strap

Price: $19.95

Help your valentine keep their camera close to heart with this unique camera strap. Embroidered with a healthy heart rate design, this strap will remind your valentine just how much you care.

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11) Star Wars Cookie Jar

Price: $24.99

Step 1: Buy cookie jar. Step 2: Bake cookies. Step 3: Place cookies in the cookie jar. That’s it.

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12) Bluetooth Beanie

Price: $29.99

This beanie will keep your head warm while keeping your ears happy. Thanks to the built-in microphone, your special someone can talk hands free for up to six hours. Pretty cool, right?

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13) Sushi Slippers

Price: $34.00

Nothing says I love you quite like faux fish for your feet. In all seriousness, this is the perfect gift for the sushi-lover in your life. And it’s guaranteed to make them feel all warm and fuzzy … at least from the ankle down.

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14) Wireless Speaker Gem

Price: $40.00

This awesome wireless speaker proves that there’s more than one way to gift diamonds on Valentine’s Day. Perfect for the office or the great outdoors, this gadget allows you to bring your favorite tunes wherever you find yourself.

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15) 3D Printed Cufflinks

Price: $41.50

Cufflinks have always been an elegant and stylish gift for any occasion … but these ones are just plain awesome. The folks at Love & Robots combine a passion for design with innovate 3D printing to make it easy for you to customize a totally unique gift for that special someone.

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16) Red Converse Sneakers

Price: $50.00

These iconic sneakers make the perfect gift for both men and women. Not only are they comfortable and durable, but the festive pop of color will add a little somethin’ somethin’ to any outfit.

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17) Smart Water Bottle

Price: $60.00

Show your valentine how much you care by keeping them hydrated … in a cool way. This Bluetooth water bottle from Hidrate Spark pairs with an app on your phone to track your water intake. The bottle will glow to remind you to drink more in order to hit your goal.

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18) Mini Instant Film Camera

Price: $69.99

Give the gift of nostalgia with this instant color film camera. Simply point, shoot, and shake it like a Polaroid picture to preserve memories with your special someone.

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19) Smart Ring

Price: $195.00

Believe it or not, this fancy ring doubles as a really cool piece of technology. Integrated with over 80 apps on iOS and Android, users can set custom color and vibration patterns via the corresponding app to receive notifications through the ring.

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20) Customized Keyboard

Price: $250.00

There’s a lot to love about this keyboard, even if it is on the pricey side. What makes it so special? Well, the folks at Orée will hand lacquer the corresponding keys for you and your special someone’s initials and engrave a love inspired poem of your choice on the backside of the keyboard. How romantic.

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What gift idea is your favorite? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.

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Feb

10

2016

22 Handy Slack Hacks Everyone Should Know

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A couple months ago, the HubSpot team made the switch to Slack (one of the hottest real-time messaging apps on the market). 

Initially, it was hard to get used to uttering phrases like “Just Slack me” or “We were Slacking” in passing. But once we got more comfortable with the platform, we started to realize just how powerful it really is.

The more we used Slack, the better our discoveries got — GIFs, reminders, files … they were all just a click or two away. 

But that’s just the thing: Slack is capable of so much that it’s hard to uncover what features you really should be using. To help, we put together some of the best Slack hacks below. From creating to-do lists to customizing your theme, these pro tips are worth showing off to your team.

22 Handy Tips for Using Slack

1) Conduct advanced searches.

One of the great things about Slack is that messages and files are easily searchable. Because channels move so fast, you can use these advanced search commands to pull up exactly what you’re looking for without wasting any time.

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Channels and direct messages

  • in:channelname – Searches only the messages and/or files in a specific channel.
  • in:name – Searches your direct messages with a specific user.

Messages or files from a specific person

  • from:username – Limits your search to messages from a specific person in any channel or direct message.
  • from:me – Searches only messages you’ve sent, anywhere in Slack.

Links, starred items, and emoji reactions

  • has:link – Narrows your search to messages that contain a specific URL.
  • has:star – Pulls messages you’ve starred.
  • has::emojiname: – Searches messages that contain a specific emoji.

Dates and times

  • before: Use words like “yesterday” or “today.”
  • after: Use words like “week,” “month,” or “year.”
  • on: or during: Use specific dates and range keywords, such as “Monday,” “February,” or “2016.”

(Pro tip: To use very specific dates, use the MM/DD/YYYY (United States) or YYYY/MM/DD (International) format.)

For more on searching in Slack, check out this resource.

2) Use the /remind commands to create a to-do list.

Set a Slackbot reminder to help you keep track of what you need to get done. To get started, simply enter /remind into the text box, followed by your task. (Note: Only you will be able to see the command and the reminder.) You can schedule a reminder for a specific time or set a date using the MM/DD/YYYY format.

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If you want to review your list of reminders, simply use the command /remind list. From there, you can mark certain tasks as complete or delete the ones you no longer need.

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3) React with a GIF.

Let’s face it: We all love GIFs. And thanks to the Giphy integration, you can share hilarious GIFs with your coworkers using the /Giphy [emotion, word, or phrase] command.

To set up the Giphy app, visit this page. From here, all you’ll have to do is click “Install” next to your team name, then click “Add Giphy Integration.”

Note: Giphy can be a hit or miss … sometimes the GIFs are NSFW or not quite right for the situation. But, if you don’t mind gambling with the results, this hack is very easy to set up.

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4) Use the /collapse & /expand commands to open and close files.

Weeding your way through a sea of GIFs to get to the comment you’re looking for? You can collapse all inline images and video by using the /collapse command. When you need to reference the visuals again, simply enter /expand to make them reappear.

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5) Add text formatting to your messages.

Want to call out text, make edits, or share code? Reference the following syntax:

  • Emphasis: To create bold text, surround your word or phrase with *asterisks.* To italicize text, place _underscores_ around a section.
  • Strikethrough: To strike out certain words, use ~tilde~ to surround the text.
  • Lists: To create lists, select “Shift” + “Enter” to add a new line. To add bullet points, select Opt+8 (Mac) or Alt+0149 (PC).
  • Blockquotes: To add angle brackets at the start of your message for indents and quotes, type “>” to indent a single lines or “>>>” to indent multiple paragraphs.
  • Code blocks: To display a section as inline fixed-width text, use single `backticks` around the selected area. To create a block of pre-formatted, fixed-width text, use triple “`backticks.“`

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6) Toggle between statuses using the /away command.

Don’t leave your coworkers hanging. If you have to step away from your computer or head to a meeting, make it clear by adjusting your status. To quickly toggle between “away” and “active,” use the /away command.

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7) Add notifications for keywords and phrases.

Whether you’re managing a specific project or trying to keep tabs on a certain department or activity, adjusting your settings to enable custom notifications can be a huge time saver.

To get notified when a specific word or phrase is mentioned, start by selecting your name from the top left corner, then clicking “Preferences” from the drop-down menu. From there, select “Notification Settings” and scroll down to “Highlight Words.” In the text box, add words or phrases that you’d like to be notified about (making sure to separate them by commas).

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8) Quickly send a private message using the /msg command.

Sometimes we find ourselves with questions that warrant the attention of everyone in a specific channel. You know, important things such as, “Does anyone have a stapler?” or “Who is free for lunch?”

After you ask a question, avoid any further disruption by following up with people via a private message. For example, once you know Steve is free to grab a bite to eat, use the following command to quickly open up a private message to hash out the details: /msg @user [your message].

9) Edit messages you’ve already sent.

We’ve all said things we wish we could take back. And with Slack, you can … kinda. To quickly edit a message you’ve sent in a conversation, press the ↑ arrow key, edit your message, then press “Enter.”

This feature is especially useful when you do something terribly embarrassing, like use the wrong form of “their”:

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10) Connect your Google Drive to Slack.

A lot of teams are already using Google Drive to create and store files online, so why not get the best of both worlds? When you connect your Google Drive with Slack, you have the ability to read and index imported files, and quickly search for them whenever you need them. 

There are two ways to connect your Google Drive to Slack:

If you have a Google Drive link you want to share, simply paste it into a message box. This will prompt Slackbot to deliver the following message:

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Click “Yes” to grant Google Drive permission to read the file. 

If you don’t have a file you’re ready to share, but want to connect Google Drive for future use, visit the Google Drive app page. From here, click “Configure” next to your team name, then click “Authenticate your Google Drive Account” > “Allow.”

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11) Customize your Slack theme.

Whether you use Slack for different groups and want to stay organized, or you just want to personalize the look and feel of your account, you can adjust your theme by selecting your name in the top left corner. From the drop-down menu next to your name, select “Preferences” > “Sidebar Theme.” From here, you can explore and select themes or scroll down to “Custom Theme” to put in your own HTML color values.

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12) Connect IFTTT to Slack to automate tasks.

Serving like a universal adaptor, IFTTT is a handy tool that allows you to automate tasks between two services. And when you connect IFTTT with Slack, the possibilities are seemingly endless. To do so, start by signing up for IFTTT or signing into your existing account. Then, activate the connection here.

Once the two are hooked, you can browse “recipes” or create your own to begin automating tasks. To get you started, check out a few of our favorites:

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(Or get notifications about assigned Trello cards.)

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13) Create your very own emoji.

To get started, click on your name in the top left corner and select “Customize Slack” from the dropdown menu.

Fill out the form to create your custom emoji. First, you’ll need to provide a name for the icon — this is what you will enter to display the emoji. Next, upload an emoji image. Slack asks that you use a square image no larger than 128px in width or height, with a file size smaller than 64K. To remove the background from the image (as seen in the Ryan Gosling example below), check out this tutorial

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14) Create custom triggers for Slackbot responses.

Make Slack your own by customizing Slackbot’s automated responses to certain words or phrases. To do so, click on your name in the top left corner and select “Customize Slack” from the dropdown menu. Select the second tab from the left labeled “Slackbot” to access the message customization field. Insert one or multiple input phrases with commas, and then add a Slackbot response or responses by adding each one to its own line (“Shift” + “Enter”). If you insert multiple responses, Slack will call up one at random when it’s triggered.

For example, this automated Britney Spears response for the word “Oops!” turns mistakes into smiles.

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15) Add custom loading messages.

Ever notice the witty messages and tips displayed when Slack is loading? Well, you can add your very own loading messages for a fun, personalized experience. To start adding new messages, click on your name in the top left corner and select “Customize Slack” from the dropdown menu. Click on the third tab from the left labeled “Loading Messages,” add a message in the text box, and hit “Add Message.”

Pro tip: There’s never been a better opportunity to Rick Roll your coworkers than this.

Load_Messages.png

16) Jump to any conversation in seconds using Slack’s Quick Switcher. 

If you’ve got a really big team, it’s likely that you’re involved with quite a few Slack channels. To quickly and easily switch from a channel to a private message back to a different channel, simply hit ⌘ + K (Mac) or Ctrl + K (Windows and Linux). A popup will appear where you can begin typing a person or channel’s and select the correct option to open the conversation.

Quick_Switcher.png

17) Pose as a celebrity to fool your team.

Troll your coworkers using Slacker — a handy tool that allows you to post funny replies as your favorite character. Slacker comes with a ton of built in characters, from Kanye West to Marge Simpson. 

You can even add your own character by selecting the green “+” icon. Simply add a name, image URL, and default message to add them to your collection. 

Slack_Celeb.png

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18) Use emoji reactions to take a quick poll.

Words are hard. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to let our coworkers know how we feel by reacting with an emoji. And on Slack, it’s easy. Simply hover over a message and select the smiley face icon with the plus sign to select an emoji.

Want to take things a step further? Reaction emojis make it really easy to quickly poll your team. Here’s a great example from the folks at BetterCloud:

19) Pull swatches using HTML color codes.

Collaborating with another team member on a design project? Make quick color suggestions using HTML color codes. When you type out a code — #F7761F, for example — you’ll see a tiny swatch appear, like this:

HTML_color_code.png

20) Created a to-do list using stars.

Starring an item on Slack is a way to mark a task as important. To star an item, simply move your mouse of a message or file and select the grey star to make it turn yellow. To view your starred items, click the star icon in the top right corner.

Starring requests and files that you need to work on makes it easy for you to create a to-do list on the fly.

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21) Shake it off with a shruggie.

Don’t know the answer? Made a little mistake? Need to signal to your coworker that you actually have no idea what’s going on this meeting? Send ’em a shruggie.

Serving as the “default Internet feeling,” a shruggie will say everything you need to say … without saying anything at all. To pull it up, enter the /shrug command.

Shruggie.png

22) Edit your name in your profile to show when you’re OOO.

Whether you’re OOO on vacation or out on maternity or paternity leave, you can signal this to your coworkers by adjusting your last name on Slack. For example, I’d change my first name to “Carly Stec,” and add “OOO” in the last name field — as seen in the example below.

To edit your name, click your team name in the top left corner to open up the Team Menu. Then, select “View Profile & Account” to open the team directory and click “Edit” to open the profile editor.

OOO.png

What are your favorite Slack hacks? Share them with us in the comments section below. 

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