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May

18

2017

How to Transform Your Blog Content into Compelling Videos

Published by in category Blog, Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

video-blog-content-compressed-1.jpg

Here at HubSpot, we’ve told fellow marketers about the importance of creating compelling video content to engage your busy audience. And for the most part, video content lives on social media channels — like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

But we wondered if video content had a place on our blog as well.

soi-anchor-cta-2017

Marketers are prioritizing visual content, but many marketers don’t know how to start — and others worry that video will disrupt and replace written blog content altogether.

Changing content preferences are an opportunity to innovate, not a reason to be afraid. Read on for our latest data about how content marketing is shifting and for a deep-dive into our first experiment turning blog posts into compelling video content.

The State of Video Content

We surveyed more than 6,000 marketing and sales professionals to learn how they’re changing their strategies to meet the preferences of the modern consumer. And a lot of the chatter was on the subjects of video content and social media.

Almost 50% of marketers are adding YouTube and Facebook channels for video distribution in the next year.

SOI-video-1.png

33% of inbound marketers listed visual content creation, such as videos, as their top priority for the coming year.

Video content fell below the top two priorities — growing SEO presence and creating blog content — but it occupies the minds of a large part of the marketers we surveyed. It was on our minds too, which inspired the experiment. Read on for the details and the results.

Can Blog and Video Work Together? Our Experiment

What

My colleagues Jamee SheehyNick Carney, and I wanted to learn if producing video content would improve traffic to HubSpot Marketing Blog posts and social media channels.

Why

I kept hearing that our audience wanted more video content. In a 2016 HubSpot Research survey, almost 50% of respondents said they wanted to see more video content and social media posts, so I wanted to start there.

When

Between February and May of 2017, I worked with the team to publish video content for seven new blog posts.

How

We published video content on YouTube, Facebook, and on Instagram Stories. For some blog posts, we published videos on both YouTube and Facebook. The YouTube and Facebook videos were then embedded into the blog posts for cross-promotion, and all of the videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube linked to the blog posts.

Results of the Experiment

Videos on Facebook and YouTube

1) How to Be Productive After a Long Weekend

What We Published:

We embedded a YouTube video in the blog post and published the same video natively on Facebook.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,395 1,770 2,196
YouTube Views 267 335 429
Facebook Views 3,900 6,100 6,229
YouTube/Blog Views % 19% 19% 19%
Social Referral Traffic 221 305 372
Social/Total Traffic % 16% 17% 17%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. YouTube Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 30 seconds or more
  3. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  4. YouTube/Blog Views % = % of blog post visitors who watched the YouTube video
  5. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  6. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • The YouTube video achieved a 55% view-through rate: The average watch time was 0:41 of a 1:14-long video.
  • The YouTube video contributed more blog traffic than the Facebook video.
  • The topic choice reflected in the lower-than-typical number of blog post and video views across the board — video topics should be either highly visual or more universally compelling.

2) The Ultimate Social Media Calendar for 2017 [Resource]

What We Published:

We embedded a YouTube video in the blog post and published the same video natively on Facebook.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 4,366 16,509 28,882
YouTube Views 409 1,242 1,673
Facebook Views 12,320 16,000 16,456
YouTube/Blog Views % 10% 13% 6%
Social Referral Traffic 262 1,369 2,019
Social/Total Traffic % 6% 9% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. YouTube Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 30 seconds or more
  3. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  4. YouTube/Blog Views % = % of blog post visitors who watched the YouTube video
  5. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  6. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms

Key Takeaways:

  • This was the highest-performing blog post and YouTube video, and the second-highest performing Facebook video in the entire experiment. The topic is interesting whether you’re a marketer or not, and there is a lot of search volume around the topic. The video isn’t highly visual, but the interesting topic helped drive video and blog post views.
  • The YouTube video contributed more blog traffic than the Facebook video.
  • The YouTube video achieved a 72% view-through rate: The average watch time was 0:53 of a 1:14-long video.

Videos on Facebook

3) March Social Media News: Facebook vs. Snapchat, WhatsApp for Business & More

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,287 3,124 3,725
Facebook Views 6,066 6,872 7,001
Social Referral Traffic 177 286 340
Social/Total Traffic % 14% 9% 9%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • Although neither the blog post nor the Facebook video achieved a huge number of views, the Facebook video drove a meaningful portion of views to the blog post on the day it was published.
  • A technical difficulty forced us to re-upload a new version of the Facebook video, which lost us a few thousand views.

4) April Social Media News: AR on Facebook, Ads on Snapchat & More

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 2,278 2,912 3,115
Facebook Views 10,847 12,039 13,214
Social Referral Traffic 123 179 215
Social/Total Traffic % 5% 6% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • The video featured video b-roll and animations instead of talking heads — and it performed well on Facebook (thanks to Nick Carney‘s video editing skills).
  • The video was published on a Friday, when people might be more willing to browse Facebook and watch videos — this could account for the first-day jump in video views.
  • A cool video doesn’t necessarily mean viewers will click through to read a blog post — this video was so informative, it stood on its own and didn’t impact blog traffic much.

5) Brain Typing & Skin Hearing: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s 2017 F8 Conference

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,107 1,855 2,114
Facebook Views 15,765 16,991 17,401
Social Referral Traffic 83 128 150
Social/Total Traffic % 7% 7% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • We published this blog post later in the day to cover the conference, so it wasn’t sent out with our daily subscriber email — the likely reason for low traffic on the day it was published.
  • This is another example of a high-performing Facebook video that didn’t translate into high blog post performance.

Instagram Stories

6) February Social Media News: Weather on Facebook, SNL on Snapchat & More

What We Published:

We published an Instagram Story with the option to swipe up to read the blog post. The Instagram Story wasn’t published on the same day the blog post was published, so attribution numbers aren’t as straightforward.

How It Performed:
  Day of Instagram Story End of Experiment
Instagram Story Views 2,372  
Instagram Story Clicks 149  
Blog Post Views (Day of Story) 726  
Blog Post Views Overall 2,031 2,580
Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) 154  
Social Referral Traffic Overall 199 243
Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) 21%  
Social/Total Traffic % Overall 10% 9.5%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Instagram Story Views = # of times people viewed the Instagram Story
  2. Instagram Story Clicks = # of times people swiped up on the Instagram Story to view the blog post
  3. Blog Post Views (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  4. Blog Post Views Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits since date of publication
  5. Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  6. Social Referral Traffic Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
  7. Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) =% of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  8. Socia/Total Traffic % Overall = Cumulative % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms total

Key Takeaways:

  • The Instagram Story generated the vast majority of referral traffic, and it was a big driver of traffic overall.

7) Are Notifications Driving Us Crazy?

What We Published:

We published an Instagram Story with the option to swipe up to read the blog post. The Instagram Story wasn’t published on the same day the blog post was published, so attribution numbers aren’t as straightforward.

How It Performed:
  Day of Instagram Story End of Experiment
Instagram Story Views 2,300  
Instagram Story Clicks ~ 100  
Blog Post Views (Day of Story) 186  
Blog Post Views Overall 1,626 1,979
Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) 120  
Social Referral Traffic Overall 341 433
Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) 65%  
Social/Total Traffic % Overall 21% 22%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Instagram Story Views = # of times people viewed the Instagram Story
  2. Instagram Story Clicks = # of times people swiped up on the Instagram Story to view the blog post
  3. Blog Post Views (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  4. Blog Post Views Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits since date of publication
  5. Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  6. Social Referral Traffic Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
  7. Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) =% of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  8. Socia/Total Traffic % Overall = Cumulative % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
Key Takeaways:
  • Here’s another example of a high level of Instagram Story engagement. The blog post achieved a low number of views overall, but it’s meaningful that Instagram Story viewers clicked through to read the blog post and weren’t just absently scrolling.
  • The Story drove 65% of social traffic on the day of and contributed to the final social referral percentage — which is a higher than other posts in this experiment.

Going Forward: 3 Lessons Learned

We’ve already learned a lot from the experiment — here are the biggest lessons we’ll take into the next phase of turning blog content into videos.

1) High-performing Facebook videos didn’t necessarily result in a lot of blog traffic.

In a few cases, the Facebook video’s performance far outstripped the performance of the blog post — and didn’t drive a lot of traffic to the blog post, either. (Facebook doesn’t share data on the sources of video views, so the blog post embeds could have helped increase the number of views.)

A big part of the videos’ high view numbers on Facebook is undoubtedly thanks to the filming and editing skills of our team. But I think it’s also a reflection on how thorough and engaging the videos were — the viewer might not have needed to click the blog post to read more about a topic they’d already watched a video on.

Facebook videos might better serve as standalone pieces of content rather than traffic drivers to blog posts in our case, but in some cases, both the blog and Facebook worked symbiotically.

2) What goes “viral” can depend on the medium.

The best-performing blog post and YouTube video topic — as well as the second best-performing Facebook video — was the social media holiday calendar. In this case, the blog post views and the Facebook views increased rapidly alongside each other. I chose the topic based on keyword search volume and created a blog post and video that are useful and interesting to anyone on social media — which contributed to the high number of video views and a large amount of organic search traffic — 20% of the total traffic to the post.

Still, there was a relatively low amount of traffic to the blog post from the Facebook video — another reason to believe that Facebook posts might not be the biggest blog traffic driver.

The blog recap about the F8 conference achieved a smaller number of views, but the Facebook video was the best-performing in the entire experiment. Based on this experiment, news coverage and lifestyle content perform best on social media, while keyword-specific content performs better on the blog. For future video blog content experiments, we’ll try to create content that checks off both boxes to get another hit for both media.

3) Instagram Stories drove a high percentage of clickthroughs to the blog posts.

We found that the Instagram Stories we published resulted in a high percentage of clickthroughs to the blog post. In these examples, the blog posts didn’t achieve a high number of views overall, but a huge portion of social traffic the day of posting could be attributed to the Instagram Story. 

This means viewers weren’t just clicking through Instagram — they were watching stories and following the desired call-to-action to read the blog post. We’ll continue using this engaged audience to promote content on Instagram.

Next on the Blog

For the next installment of this experiment, we’re focusing on a keyword-based strategy. We’ll experiment with updating older, high-performing blog posts with new video content on YouTube and optimizing the post and the video for Google and YouTube search, respectively. We’ll publish more tactical, instructional videos for people conducting YouTube searches, and we’ll experiment with a greater variety of video creation and editing skills. And on our social media channels, we’ll cover more breaking news in the technology space and more lifestyle content we’ve seen do so well.

Next on the blog, we’ll cover more resources for how to create video content on your own, and coverage of more interesting experiments we’re doing here at HubSpot to learn more about our audience. In the meantime, download the 2017 State of Inbound Report to learn more about the latest data and insights from marketers around the world.

Have you started experimenting with video content on your blog? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

16

2017

Social Media Copywriting: How to Compose Text for 5 Different Channels

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

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Most of us know that social media is an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. After all, 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. And yet, managing it continues to be a source of frustration for many.

That’s understandable — there are many moving parts to a successful social media strategy. There’s knowing the right frequency with which to post. There’s the measurement of any ROI on these efforts. And, there’s determining what the heck to post to each channel.

There’s technology available, for example, to post the same content to multiple social media channels. But should you be posting identical messages to each network? As it turns out — no. Different channels have different audiences, peak times, and character limits. And each one is built for a different style of writing, which means there’s one more thing to consider: What should the copy for each social network look like? Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

That’s why we put together the guidelines below to compose copy for five different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat. So read on — and start writing.

How to Compose Text for 5 Social Media Channels

1) Facebook

Let’s start with a look at Facebook’s audience:

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-02.pngSource: Pew Research Center

With 79% of all online adults on Facebook, it continues to be the highest-utilized social network of those measured in Pew Research Center’s 2016 Social Media Update. But out of the channels we’ll cover here, it also has the highest rate of usage among the 65+ audience.

When you’re composing text for Facebook, it’s important to keep these data in mind — especially if that’s who your brand is targeting. Let’s say you’re creating a marketing budget and want to decide how to allocate a portion for social media. While we encourage having a presence across all channels, if you’re aiming for the attention of the 65+ audience, this might be the best network for an ad spend or a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Focus your energy here, and then repurpose that content for other channels.

Less than half of marketers believe that their Facebook efforts are effective — and we have to wonder if that might have something to do with the content they’re sharing on that particular network. So let’s go over some basic ground rules:

  • Make sure your formatting is correct. That’s a big reason why we discourage auto-posting duplicate content across multiple channels — you risk including an “@user” tag that’s only fitting for Twitter or Instagram.
  • Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal. Generally, people don’t visit Facebook to consume long-form text or stories — that’s what your blog is for. In fact, Buffer has found that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement.
  • Plus, less text allows greater focus to be placed on any visual content that accompanies it. Posts with images, for example, see 2.3X more engagement than those without.

Facebook is a particularly good vehicle for promoting your external content — things like blog posts, reports, or videos. That’s what 76% of users seek when they visit Facebook: interesting content. But don’t just post a link without a description. Be sure to accompany it with brief, attention-grabbing text that signals what the content is about, or poses a question that it answers.

2) Twitter

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-04.pngSource: Pew Research Center

Tweets have long come with a maximum of 140 characters, but that doesn’t include images, videos, polls, or tweets that you quote. Plus, according to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, the ideal length is actually around 120-130 characters — those tweets showed the highest click-through rate (CTR).

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-02.pngSource: Buffer

When you’re composing copy for tweets, remember that hashtags are an effective way to indicate and summarize what your message is about. Plus, it’s a nice way to become discovered by users who might be using hashtags to search for tweets pertaining to a certain topic — Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement.

But exercise some restraint with hashtags, and make sure the text that accompanies them comprises the majority of the tweet. Limit it to one or two — these tweets have a 21% higher engagement than those with three or more.

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-02.pngSource: Buffer

Notice how music site Pitchfork uses Twitter to promote its Facebook content:

Today at 1:15pm EST: We’ll be live streaming @SlowdiveBand‘s private session at a recording studio in Brooklyn https://t.co/QoPu1cazZL

— Pitchfork (@pitchfork)
May 9, 2017

Let’s say you have a bigger audience on Twitter than on Facebook, but you want to build your presence on the latter. Twitter can be a good vehicle for driving traffic there, by promoting things like live streams that will be taking place on your page.

3) LinkedIn

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-05.pngSource: Pew Research Center

LinkedIn has become an interesting content distribution channel. Users can share simple post updates, usually business-related (think: job openings and professional conferences), and push them to Twitter at the same time, though we don’t recommend that — see our note on the problems with identical content across different channels.

But in 2012, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Eventually, that platform became open to all LinkedIn members in 2014, positioning it as an outlet for people to share original content with an audience much larger than they may have received on their own domains.

That’s part of decentralized content: A concept that allows users to share their work that has been published elsewhere on a content creation platform. Unlike most social media — where limited content is displayed — the full text and images of the work are shared, with the original author and source credited, on a site different from its origin.

That makes LinkedIn a good place to re-post and link back to your blog content. But why make the duplicate effort? Well, consider this: 29% of all online adults use LinkedIn. Does your blog have that kind of reach? If it doesn’t, you can reach LinkedIn’s larger audience by syndicating your own content on their platform, drawing more attention to your work.

According to Andy Foote, the character limits for these posts are 100 for the headline, and 40,000 for the body.

4) Instagram

PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-03.pngSource: Pew Research Center

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus should typically be on your visual content. But it’s helpful to provide context that lets users know what they’re viewing — within reason.

Like many of the other channels we’ve discussed, people don’t use Instagram to read long-form content. And while Instagram doesn’t appear to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it’s cut off after the first three lines. That’s why we recommend limiting captions to that amount, and if you require more text, make sure the most important information — like calls-to-action — is included in the first three lines. Hashtags, @mentions, and extraneous details can go toward the end of the copy.

Here’s a good example from New York Magazine. Without pressing “play,” the post appears to just be an image of a laundry basket — something that could mean any number of things without context. But the caption is used to indicate that the magazine recently did a roundup on the best socks for every occasion. Cute, right?

Using your caption to provide context is especially important when sharing videos. These typically automatically play without sound, so use the description to let them know what they can’t hear — and maybe even motivate them to listen.

And about those hashtags: Unlike Twitter, it’s okay to use more than two here, but it’s advised to use less than eight. According to research conducted by Piqora, the sweet spot seems to be around seven hashtags — those Instagram posts seem to get the most engagement.

Instagram-Study-Piqora2.jpgSource: Social Fresh

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there but because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

5) Snapchat

While we’re on the topic of not obscuring visual content, let’s discuss Snapchat. Again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post. The word “snap” implies brevity, so try not to ramble. The same goes for your Snapchat story: “a compilation of Snaps that a friend has posted to their Story over the last 24 hours.

Here’s a fun example of how the Food Network created an entire Snapchat story based on the idea of coffee. It began with a small promo on “3 Ways to Step Up Your Iced Coffee Game” under Featured Stories:

Featured Snapchat StoriesSource: Social Fresh

Then, it shared a series of animated images and videos all pertaining to the topic, ranging from recipe tips to clips from the network’s show, “Cutthroat Kitchen.” It took a simple topic — coffee — and expanded it into engaging, consumable content to highlight what the brand does best.

Notice that for certain parts of the story, there’s a call-to-action at the bottom to “Watch” or “Read.” While Snapchat doesn’t make this entirely clear, it seems like that’s strictly a feature of ads, and not something that can be added organically. However, if your budget permits, adding these CTAs is another way to drive attention to you longer-form content.

Get That Copy Right

Managing your brand’s social media presence is no simple task, but it’s more than possible. And now, writing creative, compelling copy for your various channels can become a fun task.

Draw some information about your audience composition for each social network. Then, see how that compares to the usership data from Pew Research Center. From there, you can see where you have the most active audience, and how you can repurpose content from one channel to draw attention to another one — and attract website traffic.

How do you create and repurpose copy for social media? Let us know in the comments.

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May

13

2017

9 Clever Ways to Get More Comments on Instagram

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

how-to-get-more-instagram-comments-compressed.jpg

If you’re not a total Instagram addict like me, you might go a day or two without checking your app. And when you check your feed, you might notice that some posts from friends were shared mere minutes ago, while others might be a few days old.

So, what gives? Why isn’t your Instagram feed chronological anymore?

Like many other social networks, Instagram’s algorithm changed.

Download our essential guide to Instagram for business for more helpful tips  and tricks.

In this post, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what’s new with the algorithm, along with tips on how to create the most engaging posts possible to get more comments on Instagram — which help you jump higher in the feed and get discovered by new users.

Guide to the Instagram Feed Algorithm

In June 2016, Instagram announced it was changing its algorithm to show users content they cared about first — no matter when it was posted. This could make it tougher for social media marketers to get organic Instagram posts seen because most users miss 70% of the content on their feeds.

That’s where engagement comes in. There are a few factors that influence a post’s ranking on the Instagram feed, and the number of likes and comments a post achieves is one of them. Here’s what matters when it comes to ranking on an Instagram user’s feed:

  1. The number of Likes and comments a post has
  2. If that user has interacted with your content in the past
  3. How recently you posted

If your organic Instagram posts get engagement from your followers, it creates a positive feedback loop: the more people like and comment on a post, the greater likelihood it will appear on the Explore tab, where users who don’t already follow you can check out your popular content.

Before we jump into strategies for attracting more comments, there are a few things you need to do:

1) Make your account public.

Make sure new followers can find your content by opening your account. Navigate to your profile, tap the Settings gear icon in the upper right-hand corner, and toggle the Private Account button to the Off position.

instagram-public-account.png

2) Enable push notifications.

Turn on push notifications so you can quickly reply to or like your followers’ comments. Remember, the more users interact with your account, the higher on their feeds your content will appear.

Navigate to your profile, tap the Settings gear icon in the upper right-hand corner, tap Push Notification Settings, and choose which Instagram actions you want to be notified for.

instagram-notifications-1.pnginstgram-notifications-2.png

3) Curate excellent content.

People aren’t going to comment on uninteresting content, so enlist one team member to manage the scheduling and editing of Instagram content, but open it up to a larger team to source different photos, videos, and ideas to keep your Instagram feed fresh and interesting.

4) Develop an Instagram editorial calendar.

Figure out an Instagram publishing cadence that works for you — and we recommend posting no more than once per day. Remember, timing is a factor in the algorithm, so you don’t want posts from earlier in the day to get lost in the shuffle. Download our social media content calendar to keep track of what you’re posting across other social platforms so you’re not repetitive and you’re covering all of your bases.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s dive into strategies for getting more comments (and likes) on Instagram.

9 Ways to Get More Comments on Instagram

1) Host a giveaway or contest.

A fun and easy way to get followers to comment on your Instagram posts is by hosting an Instagram contest or giveaway. You could post on Instagram promoting the contest, then ask users to enter by commenting on your post. You could make your contest a weeklong campaign, where users have to comment each day. You could even incorporate user-generated content (UGC) and ask followers to post their own photos and to tag/mention your brand in the post.

Here’s an example of an Instagram contest we ran for our attendees at INBOUND 2016, HubSpot’s annual marketing and sales event:

Social Media Examiner has a great guide for running Instagram contests — check it out here.

2) Host an Instagram takeover.

Instagram takeovers are a fun way to get fresh content on your Instagram and to work with colleagues and influencers. They’re a smart way to generate more Instagram engagement, too.

Takeovers involve one Instagram user taking over another’s feed, usually for a day, and posting from their point of view. Takeovers are often done from the perspective of:

  • A colleague
  • An influencer
  • Another organization in your industry

These takeovers help generate more Instagram comments whether it takes place on your account or you’re taking over another account. Here’s an example of a takeover we hosted with our friends over at WeWork. WeWork was able to share brand and member stories to a whole new audience of HubSpot’s engaged followers.

WeWork closed the takeover with a call-to-action (CTA) to follow its Instagram account — where new followers will start liking and commenting on new posts. And over at HubSpot, we enjoyed comments from WeWork fans and others interested in the takeover.

Takeovers are a win-win for hosts and guests. Learn how to host one with help from Buffer.

3) Ask users to engage in the comments.

A simple way to get more Instagram comments is to ask for them.

Post content on Instagram that lends itself to sharing, and ask users to answer a question or tag their friends and coworkers in the comments. It’s a fun and easy way to interact with your audience, and it helps you garner more comments, too.

Here’s an example of an Instagram post we shared in which we asked our followers a question. You can caption posts with simple questions like “Agree or disagree?” or “What’s your advice?” to prompt responses and earn more comments.

4) Post something funny, surprising, or provocative.

In a study of what makes content go viral, research revealed some of the most viral internet moments also provoked high-arousal emotions. Among the most common were posts that created anticipation, surprised the viewer, and provoked curiosity and uncertainty. Emotions that incited feelings of joy were also among the most common, so think about content you could share on Instagram that makes people feel an emotion so strongly that they’re compelled to comment on it.

Is there content you could post about a surprising fact, a happy moment, or an intriguing industry trend? It doesn’t need to be specifically about your brand, either — content that’s enjoyable for a broad audience will likely attract more comments.

It can be silly, too — here’s our teaser video for our April Fool’s Day prank about “gorilla” marketing that attracted a lot of attention — while building anticipation and a sense of surprise.

 

Is this week dragging for you, too?

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:11pm PDT

5) Post videos.

Time spent viewing videos on Instagram increased 40% in 2016, and now, users can post videos up to one minute in length. Post this engaging content to get followers to stop scrolling through their busy Instagram feeds and watch your video — and make sure it’s intruiging. Your audience wants more video content — especially on social media — so if you share something compelling and ask viewers to comment on it in the caption, they’ll most likely do it.

Create short videos for Instagram that tease longer videos on other platforms — like Facebook or YouTube — or post longer video (up to 60 seconds) as we did here:

 

What’s new with Facebook? Before you tune into today’s F8 keynote, catch up on what happened on Day 1.

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Apr 19, 2017 at 9:03am PDT

6) Use relevant hashtags.

When you post your content with relevant, popular Instagram hashtags, your posts appear in searches for those hashtags and the Explore tab. In fact, posts with at least one hashtag typically attain more than 12% more engagement. Influencers and interested users might organically comment when they see you talking about topics they’re also interested in, or you could combine some of the strategies above to generate engagement.

Ask followers how they celebrated #SundayFunday, acknowledge a #ThrowbackThursday, or use one of the hundreds of hashtags relevant to your industry or your content to get new audience members involved in the conversation. We did this with Earth Day hashtags in the example below:

Here’s a guide to finding and using Instagram hashtags, as well as a massive list of the most popular hashtags you can use.

7) Publish at the right time of day.

There’s a lot of debate over the best time of day to post on social media, and that’s because the answer varies depending on your industry, your followers, and what type of content you’re posting.

Our best advice is to test out your engagement rates on Instagram when you post at different times throughout the week, and determine your publishing schedule based on the results. Whether it’s bright and early on Monday morning or later in the afternoon, try to figure out the time when your followers are more willing to stop and leave a comment to maximize the engagement of your posts each day. Use a social media content calendar to track scheduling and results.

8) Post photos of people’s faces.

Let’s face it — selfies are fun. And as it turns out, they’re good for your Instagram strategy, too.

An analysis of more than 1 million Instagram posts by Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that posts with human faces are 32% more likely to attract comments — and 38% more likely to garner likes. There isn’t a ton of insight into why this is, but the researchers suspected that it’s partly because faces are effective sources of nonverbal communication that people respond to — even as infants.

Post Instagram content featuring selfies, group shots, and candid photos, and see if your audience likes the human side of your brand, too. Here’s a post featuring the faces of our recruiting team that generated a lot of comments:

9) Post photos of animals.

There isn’t a lot of research to back this one up, but you know as well as I do that animals on social media are powerful. Animals have been popular on the web for a long time, and animal influencers can earn just as much money as human influencers on Instagram, Whether you have animals in your office or a cute picture of a coworker’s pet, try posting lighter, fun content on Instagram accompanied by a furry friend to see if your audience likes commenting on animals, too.

Here’s one of our favorite dogs here at HubSpot — he racked up 24 comments and almost 800 likes.

 

Some days you just need to hug a pup to help get you through the work day. 🐶 📷 @mmsmall

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Mar 15, 2017 at 7:51am PDT

Engagement Is Key

Likes, comments, and video views are valuable on Instagram because they influence where your posts sit in the feed. Additionally, your content will be discoverable on the Explore tab if a lot of users interact with your posts — so test out these methods for attracting more responses on Instagram. For more ideas, check out our guide to Instagram for business.

What are your strategies for getting more comments on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

10

2017

How to Use Facebook Live: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Canonical, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

facebook_live_guide_compressed.jpg

In April 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed.

Since its launch, live streaming video has grown in popularity, with 16% of marketers broadcasting it in 2016. Facebook Live is particularly popular — videos see 3X the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platforms, and millions of users live stream on Facebook around the world.

Why are marketers getting so excited about Facebook Live? Because it’s a fun and simple way for them to use the power of video to communicate their brand stories and build authentic relationships with fans and followers — in real time.

However, for such a simple concept, Facebook Live has a lot of little nuances that marketers will need to learn if they want to get the most out of the platform. This guide will help you learn the best tricks and tricks that can make a big, big difference in how many people see your live broadcast, how they engage with it, and how it performs.

Download our Facebook Live guide to learn how to increase your social  following and brand awareness through live video.  

In this post, we’ll walk through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and several tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform. (Click here to skip down to the tips.)

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live

Facebook Live started as a mobile-only broadcasting feature, but now, Facebook Pages can broadcast from either mobile devices or desktop computers. We’ll go over how to broadcast from mobile and desktop devices in the sections below.

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Mobile

To get started, get out your mobile device and open up the Facebook app.

Step 1: Go to the News Feed, and tap the “Live” option denoted by the FB_Live_NewsFeed.png icon.

FB live newsfeed_1.png

You can also go live from your own Facebook profile. Open up the status bar by tapping the text that reads “What’s on your mind?” Then, select the “Live Video” option from the menu.

live_video_status.png

Step 2: Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.

You’ll stop receiving these prompts after the first time you use it.   camera_permission.png

Step 3: Choose your privacy setting.

If you’re posting for a brand, you’ll probably want to make it public. If you’re posting as yourself, you might want to reserve your broadcast for friends. But if you’re new to Facebook Live and want to test it out first, or want to see what something will look like, then switch the privacy setting to “Only Me.” You can find the “Only Me” option by clicking “More” and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

fb privacy settings.pngprivacysettings2.png

Step 4: Write a compelling description.

Give your broadcast a description, which will show up on people’s News Feeds like a status update above the video. To get people to tune in, write an attention-grabbing headline and help them understand what your broadcast is about. Check out the example below from The White House’s live broadcast.

FBlivedescription.pngwhite-house-facebook-live-description.jpg

Image Credit: Facebook

Step 5: Tag friends, choose your location, or add an activity.

Tap the icons at the bottom of your screen to tag people who are in the Facebook Live video, add the location from where you’re shooting, or share what you’re doing in the broadcast. These touches can add more personalization to your video, increase discoverability, and make people want to tune in.

personalizationFBlive.png

Step 6: Set up your camera view.

Before you click “Go Live,” be sure your camera’s pointing in the direction you want it to. The background of your setup screen will show you what your camera sees. If you want to change the camera view to selfie or vice versa, simply click the rotating arrows icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

camera view.png

The video will be a square, so it doesn’t matter whether you hold your mobile device vertically or horizontally.

Pro tip: You can choose if you want the image to be horizontally or vertically mirrored, too. Tap the magic wand icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, then tap the tools icon at the bottom of your screen to film from a different view or to adjust the video’s brightness.

toolbox-1.png

Step 7: Add lenses, filters, or writing and drawing to your video.

Tap the magicwand.png icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, and choose if you want to add lenses to your face, change the filter of the camera, or write or draw to make the video more whimsical.

lenses_FBlive.png

filters_FBlive.png

drawingFBlive.png

Step 8: Click the blue “Go Live” button to start broadcasting.

Once you click it, Facebook will give you a countdown — “3, 2, 1 …” — and then you’ll be live. As soon as you start streaming, your live video will appear in your News Feed — and others’ News Feeds — just like any other post.

Go Live button.png

Your broadcast can be up to 90 minutes long. Keep in mind that the longer you broadcast, the more people who are scrolling through their News Feeds on Facebook will stumble upon your post.

Step 9: Interact with viewers and commenters.

To keep your viewers engaged, encourage them to interact with your live video (which will help your ranking in others’ News Feeds). You can also interact with them both by speaking directly to them in your video and, if you want, by having someone else respond to comments from a desktop computer elsewhere.

Where can you see these comments? While you’re broadcasting, you’ll see the time elapsed on the top left along with the number of viewers, and comments will show up live on the bottom of your feed. They’ll appear in reverse chronological order, like on Twitter, so keep in mind that the earlier ones may be farther down.

Facebook_Live_Comments.png

Image Credit: Facebook Newsroom

Note: You can also block viewers during a live broadcast by tapping the profile picture next to a viewer’s comment and then tapping “Block.” You can unblock someone you’ve previously blocked, too.

Step 10: Click “Finish” to end the broadcast.

Once you do this, the video will stay on your Timeline or Page like any other video post.

Step 11: Post your reply and save the video to your camera roll.

Once you finish your broadcast, you’ll be met with a screen similar to the one I’ve screenshot below. If you want to post it, that will enable others to view your video once you’ve stopped broadcasting. Then, tap the download button to save the video to your camera roll so you have a copy of the original for safekeeping.

FBlivepostreplay.png

Step 12: You’re done.

You can always go back to the post on your Timeline or Page and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

FBlive_post.png

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Desktop

If you’re an admin or editor of a Facebook Page for your brand, you can also broadcast live from a desktop computer. This isn’t as spontaneous as broadcasting from a mobile device (and, obviously, isn’t as mobile), but this could be a good option for filming more static broadcasts. For example, we recently broadcast a Facebook Live panel in celebration of International Women’s Day. The panelists and interviewer sat in place the entire time, an example of when broadcasting from a steadier device could be more effective.

Step 1: Go to your Page and tap the “Write something” box, as if you’re writing a new post.

FB_live_desktop_see all.png

Tap the menu option to “See All,” and click on “Start a Live Video.”

FB_live_desktop_1.png

Step 2: Write a compelling description of your video that will appear on your Page’s Timeline and in the News Feed.

Choose a descriptive and enticing summary to draw viewers in and make them unmute your Facebook Live to start watching.

FB_live_desktop_2.png

Then, click “Next.”

Step 3: Give Facebook permission to use your computer’s camera and microphone.

You won’t be prompted for this again once you do it for the first time.

fb_live_desktop_3.png

Step 4: Check to make sure your description and video view are final before starting your broadcast.

fb_live_desktop_5.png

From here, you also have the option to share live video from an external device, such as a video camera or other recording device. Tap “click here” to set up that connection.

Step 5: Press “Go Live” to start your broadcast.

Facebook will give you a “3, 2, 1 … ” countdown before going live. Tap “Finish” when you’re ready to end the broadcast.

Step 6: The broadcast will appear in the News Feed and on your Page’s Timeline, where you can edit it by tapping the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner.

From here, you can change the description, change the date of posting, or create a new Facebook post featuring the broadcast. If you want a video to garner more engagement, you can also pin it to the top of your brand’s Page so it’s the first post visitors see when they visit.

hubspot fb live.png

Now that you know how to broadcast from all devices, let’s dive into how to analyze Facebook Live videos.

How to Analyze Your Live Video’s Performance

How to Access Video Analytics on a Facebook Business Page

To get started analyzing your Facebook Live broadcasts, head to the “Insights” tab at the top of your brand’s Facebook Page:

Facebook Insights tab.png

Then, head to the “Videos” section of your analytics on the left-hand side of the screen.

facebook insights video.png

From there, scroll down to the “Top Videos” section, and either choose a video from that menu to look into, or tap “Video Library” to look at all of the videos your Page has ever posted.

hubspot top videos insights.png

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

The performance analytics available for Facebook Live videos are similar to those of normal videos on Facebook, with some neat additions.

  • For Pre-recorded videos: Facebook lets you analyze minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, average % completion, and a breakdown of reactions, comments, and shares.
  • For Facebook Live videos: Facebook lets you analyze all the metrics listed above, plus peak live viewers, total views, average watch time, people reached, and the demographics of who watched your video.

FBLIve_analytics1.png

In addition to all of these static numbers, you can click in to each metric to see how it changed over time when the video was live. For example, if we click into “Peak Live Viewers,” we’ll see this interactive graph of video viewers over time:

FBlive_peakviewers.png

You can even see who your typical viewer was during your broadcast, based on their Facebook profile information:

fblive_demographics.png

Now that you’ve got the steps down, let’s get into some tips and tricks.

14 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Live

There are a lot of little things you can do to squeeze the most out of your Facebook Live videos. Below is an example of one of the earliest Facebook Live videos from Refinery29. This was the first video of a five-part live video series called “Chasing Daylight,” showcasing a typical night out for women in five different cities around the world. My colleague, HubSpot Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich, tracked this one down, and we refer to it in some of the tips below.

Warning: Some NSFW language.

1) Test out live video using the “Only Me” privacy setting.

If you want to play around with live broadcasting without actually sharing it with anyone else, you can change the privacy setting so you’re the only one who can see it — just like with any other Facebook post.

To switch the privacy setting to “Only Me,” follow steps 1–4 in the instructions above.

fb privacy settings-1.pngFBliveonlyme.png

2) Space out live videos with other Facebook posts.

Here’s a tip from HubSpot’s Social Video Manager Chelsea Hunersen. Because Facebook ranks Live videos higher than other videos and other types of posts, Hunersen recommends spacing out your Facebook Live videos with other Facebook content you post.

“Wait at least two hours before or after you post a Facebook live video,” she says. “Otherwise, your Facebook Live video may cannibalize additional traffic.”

3) Keep reintroducing yourself.

When you first start the video, take a minute to introduce yourself and what the video’s about. But keep in mind that when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers. As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to reintroduce yourself a second, third, and even a fourth time to catch people up.

For example, in the Refinery29 video above, the host Lucie Fink introduces herself three times in the first few minutes, and several more times after that.

One second in:

Hello, Facebook Live! Hey! Lucie Fink here. I don’t know if we have anyone on the broadcast yet, so I’m going to wait about one minute to see who joins us.”

One minute in:

Hello to the 309 viewers in here right now. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29. Just to recap what’s happening right now, this is Episode One of Refinery29’s new global initiative, ‘Chasing Daylight.'”

A few minutes in:

Just to give a quick recap on who I am, in case you guys don’t know — I’m Lucie Fink. I work at Refinery 29. Today, I’m doing this whole new series, and this is essentially giving you guys a glimpse into the lives of women all over the world.”

15 minutes in:

So now that we have 3.5 thousand people in this broadcast, let me just start from the top because some of you might not know what is happening. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29, and you might know me from some videos, you might not. Either way, it is nice to meet you. Today, we are starting a new video series on Refinery’s Facebook Live platform. It’s called ‘Chasing Daylight,’ and it’s gonna be on every night this week.”

25 minutes in:

That’s what I think is so cool about ‘Chasing Daylight.’ For the people who are new and don’t really get why I’m sitting on my toilet, the answer is, I am Lucie Fink, and [this is] Episode One, the New York version of ‘Chasing Daylight,’ which is Refinery29’s new live Facebook series that’s starting right now.”

4) Make the video visually engaging.

Although all videos on Facebook auto-play in people’s News Feeds, they’re on mute until the viewer manually turns the volume on. That means you have to be visually engaging — not just at the very beginning of your broadcast (although that’ll be important for when folks view the video later), but throughout the video as more and more people join in.

The more visually engaging you can be, the more you can entice people to stick around. That means keeping the camera moving and not just sitting in one place — something Lucie did really well in that Refinery29 video.

Not only will you get more viewers this way, but you’ll also get your broadcast ranked higher in other people’s News Feeds. Facebook started monitoring signals of video engagement — like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition — interpreting that as users enjoying the video. As a result, they’ve tweaked the algorithm so videos that are engaged with in these ways will appear higher up on the feed.

5) Make it spontaneous.

What makes a live video special? The spontaneous, interactive nature of it.

“People love the ability to interact,” says Hunersen. “They love the novelty of viewing someone in a live moment when anything could happen. It’s the new reality TV.”

A big part of what makes Refinery29’s live video so great is how much Lucie and her friends embrace the “live,” spontaneous nature of it. For example, at one point, Lucie calls on her friends to reenact a scene from the Broadway show Hamilton. It was scrappy, unrehearsed, and really funny. Her other friends were laughing at her. It reminded me of a fun night with my own friends. “This is literally what we do at the office,” Lucie said about the performance through laughs.

These moments are what make live video special, and they’re exactly what differentiates it from scripted, edited, or otherwise pre-recorded videos. Embrace the platform. Banter is always, always good.

6) Don’t worry about mistakes or stutters.

Spontaneity works — even if your Facebook Live doesn’t go according to plan.

Let’s face it, we’re all human. And when humans and technology mix, there can sometimes be technical difficulties.

If you’re recording a live video, things might go wrong — your equipment could malfunction, you could lose your train of thought, or you could get photobombed by a random passerby. You can’t call “cut” if things happen — you have to roll with them and keep filming and talking.

The good news? These things help keep your broadcast human and real. If you wobble your phone while filming, laugh and call it out. If you forget what you were saying, make a joke. The key is to keep the broadcast like a fun conversation, so if mistakes happen, keep it light and keep the lines of communication open with your viewers.

For example, if you make a mistake during your Facebook Live, ask viewers to write in the comments if they’ve made the same mistake, too.

7) Encourage viewers to Like and share the video.

One of the primary ways Facebook’s algorithm ranks a post is by how many people Like and share it. The more people who Like and share your live broadcast, the more it’ll show up in people’s News Feeds.

But when people are watching a video, they may be more distracted from Liking and sharing it than they would a text or photo post. (That’s something the folks at Facebook noticed about video content early on, which is why they began monitoring other video engagement signals as well, like turning on the volume.)

In Refinery29’s video, you’ll notice Lucie explicitly asks viewers to Like and share the video many times throughout. Here are a few examples:

  • “If you like this broadcast and share it right now, you guys will be part of this brand new series that’s starting right now on Refinery29.”
  • “If you guys share this broadcast, you’ll be part of history. And what’s better than being part of history?”
  • “Thumbs up if you like Hamilton.”
  • “Thank you guys for all these Likes. My screen is absurdly blue right now because I’m getting tons of thumbs up.”
  • “Share this with your best girlfriend who you think is strong and powerful.”

I like the last example the best because she’s asking viewers to share it with a specific type of person — in this case, a best girlfriend. This might prompt viewers to think, “Hey, she’s right, my friend Stacy might like this” and then share it with that specific friend.

8) Engage with commenters, and call them out by name.

The number of comments on your broadcast is another way to get Facebook to give it a higher relevancy score, making it more likely to show up on people’s News Feeds. So encourage your viewers to comment, and engage with people who are commenting by answering their questions and calling them out by name. Not only will it get more people to comment, but it’s also a fun way to include your viewers in the live experience, which could make them stick around longer.

“Your audience will be thrilled to hear you mention their name and answer their questions when you are live,” says Hunersen.

In the Refinery29 video, Lucie was constantly engaging with viewers and commenters. At one point, for example, she said, “We’re so excited to see you guys! Do you have any questions for someone who lives in New York City?” Then, she read a few of the comments that came in and responded to them — using commenters’ first names.

We do this here at HubSpot with our Facebook Live broadcasts, too. Check out all the chatter in the comments — we used those questions to keep our discussion going.

9) Have someone else watching and responding to comments from a desktop computer.

When you’re the one holding the camera for a Facebook Live video, it’s really hard to see the comments popping up on the mobile screen. If the comments are coming in fast, it’s especially easy to lose sight of them as they disappear below the fold. Plus, you’re probably occupied by recording and entertaining viewers.

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have an additional person logged into the primary account to monitor the comments on a desktop computer. That way, they can take care of responding so the person recording the video can concentrate on creating a great experience.

10) Subtitle your broadcast in the comments section.

Your viewers may be tuning in and out to watch your video during the work day, or they might simply be watching your video without sound. Either way, periodically subtitling the video in the comments section is a great way to keep people engaged. This also allows people who are tuning in late to catch up on what’s going on.

Take some inspiration from Refinery29 — it captioned the video with some of the most snackable one-liners and quotes from the broadcast in the comments section:

FBliverefinery29comments.png

11) Ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications.

In addition to asking for Likes, shares, and comments, ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications. To do that, all viewers have to do is click the small, downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the live video post, and choose “Turn On Notifications.”

You can also ask them to Like your brand on Facebook, which will make it more likely that they’ll be notified of your next live broadcast. Lucie does this in the Refinery29 video.

12) Broadcast for at least 10 minutes.

As soon as you begin recording your live video, you’ll start slowly but surely showing up in people’s News Feeds. The longer you broadcast — especially as Likes, comments, and shares start coming in — the more likely people are to discover your video and share it with their friends.

Because timing is such an important factor for engagement in these live videos, we recommend that you go live for at least 10 minutes, although you can stay live for up to 90 minutes for a given video.

13) Say goodbye before you wrap up.

Before you end your live broadcast, be sure to finish with a closing line, like “Thanks for watching” or “I’ll be going live again soon.”

Lucie from Refinery29 checked a few other engagement requests off the list at the end of her broadcast:

So, we are about to sign off. It’s been such an amazing first episode of ‘Chasing Daylight.’ . . . Don’t forget to share this to your friends right now so you can always find this series and go back to it. . . . We’re so happy that you tuned into our episode in New York. . . . Goodnight from New York City!”

14) Add a link to the description later.

Once you’ve finished the live broadcast, you can always go back and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

Here’s where you can add a trackable link to the description in the post, which can direct future viewers to your live video series page, the site of whatever campaign you’re using the video to promote, or somewhere else.

To edit the description of a video: Find the video on your Timeline or Page and click the downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the post. Choose “Edit Post” from the dropdown menu, and edit the description accordingly.

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We hope this has been a helpful guide. We’ll keep you posted with any new developments and tips for connecting with your audience in more cool ways.

What strategies have brought you greatest success using Facebook Live? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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May

9

2017

How to Make Quotes for Instagram: 7 Apps to Try

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

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When you come across a beautiful sight — be it a beach, a mountain, or your pet’s face — sometimes, it inspires you to think bigger about what certain sights and experiences mean.

For those moments, you might consider posting a photo on Instagram with an equally inspiring quote as the caption. But you could take it even further — and save characters — by posting the photo with the quote.

Download our essential guide to Instagram for business for more helpful tips  and tricks.

You’ve likely seen quotes on Instagram posts before, but you may never have created one for your brand’s account. Here’s a recent Instagram quote we shared here at HubSpot:

 

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Apr 17, 2017 at 7:21am PDT

See what we mean?

Posting quote images on Instagram can diversify your content on the platform and humanize your brand a little, too. Everyone could use a motivational quote during a busy Monday morning or a slow Tuesday afternoon, so try out an Instagram quote for your next post with the help of these free apps. 

7 Apps to Easily Create Quotes for Instagram

1) FaceGarage

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FaceGarage is a browser tool that helps you create Instagram images with quotes overlaid in just a few simple steps. You can upload an image of your own or use one of the site’s stock background images, type in your quote, adjust the font, text size, color, and formatting, and voila — you generate your image and download it to post on Instagram. Our favorite thing about FaceGarage is the images don’t come with a watermark, so you can create more beautiful posts that don’t have a logo in the corner.

2) Recite

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Recite is another quick and easy browser tool you can use to create quotes for Instagram. Its two-step process involves selecting one of the ready-made background themes, typing in your quotation, and pressing “Create.” From there, you can upload the image to a variety of social networks (not including Instagram) or download the image to upload and post on Instagram. The downside to Recite’s ease of use is the highly visible watermark in the bottom-center of each image, but you might be able to crop it out using your phone’s photo editor before uploading to Instagram, depending on the design you choose.

3) InstaQuote (iOS or Android)

InstaQuote.jpg

This free app offers a lot of options to customize your quote image, font styles, and color schemes. You can use your own photos or one of InstaQuote’s, and it allows you to automatically upload your image to Instagram so you don’t have to download it and then upload it. The downsides to many free apps — including InstaQuote — are the prevalence of ad interruptions, and that many features are locked unless you upgrade to the paid version.

4) Text2Pic (iOS or Android)

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Text2Pic stands out from the crowd in a couple of ways. It has the widest variety of font style and formatting options — including 3-D and shadowing capabilities to add more effects to your text. It also auto-connects to Instagram for seamless uploading and posting on the platform. The biggest downside we’ve noted is the inability to upload your own photo as a background image, but Text2Pic makes up for that with a ton of different background options to choose from.

5) Quotes Creator (iOS or Android)

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Quotes Creator has a neat feature that suggests quotes to use — including their attributions — to take the work out of creating an inspirational post for you. We also like how subtly transparent the watermark is to make it as distraction-free as possible. This is another easy-to-use app that creates quotes for Instagram in just a few simple steps — with an easy tap to upload to the platform. Quotes Creator’s stock background options are a little cheesy, so we recommend finding your own and uploading them.

6) Quote Maker (iOS or Android)

Quotes Maker-1.jpg

Quote Maker is another free app that tries to upsell its Pro version to unlock more background and style options, but you can always upload your own background if you feel too limited. Where Quotes Maker takes the cake is its cool font styling and effects. You could add neat decals to your brand’s name or a stamp-like effect to a company motto or mission statement. We recommend exploring the app, but another warning — it’s slightly glitchy and crashed a couple times during the making of this image. 

7) Text on Photo Square (iOS)

Text on Photo Square.jpg

Text on Photo Square is only available on iOS devices (for now), but its distinction from the rest of the pack is that users can add quotes to videos, in addition to photos. You can upload your videos and add quotes to create a neat audio and visual experience for your Instagram followers. A cool quote-video might distract from the watermark, which is admittedly one of the larger ones on this list.

Some of these apps might be worth investing in the paid version to create more unique images — without the watermarks — to post quotes on Instagram. But for now, try out these free options during the next social media holiday to see if your audience is ready to be inspired.

What tools do you use to create special effects on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

5

2017

8 Snapchat Mistakes to Avoid (and How to Fix Them)

Published by in category Daily, featured-1, Social Media | Comments are closed

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Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone — just tapping away at your various apps to see what’s going on?

It’s my go-to method for killing time when I’m commuting or waiting for my TV show to return from a commercial break. And I’ve found that when I’m bored, I’m more likely to breeze through the content I’m consuming without really looking at it. Do you know the feeling?

The name of the game when it comes to producing exceptional content on social media is to be eye-catching. Literally — your content needs to jump out from busy social media feeds to make me stop my scrolling and read, watch, or click on it.

To that end, we wanted to help you learn from mistakes we’ve seen on Snapchat that don’t make us want to click to learn more. Read on for common problems — and solutions — for making your Snapchat Stories as compelling and clickable as possible.

8 Snapchat Mistakes You Might Be Making

1) Your Stories are too long.

The problem: Your Story is made up of too many images and videos.

The solution: Keep your Story to 10 Snaps or fewer, and make them impactful.

Clicking is hard work.

Well, it’s not exactly grueling labor, but Snapchat users don’t want to spend a ton of time clicking through a myriad of Snaps to get to the meat of what you’re trying to communicate. If your message can’t be quickly told, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important message — it just might not be the best fit for an ephemeral Snapchat Story.

Here’s a Snapchat Story from Netflix (@netflix). It’s made up of 10 Snaps that effectively tell a story without taking too long or boring the viewer:

2) Your Stories are too short.

The problem: Your Story is so short as to be uninformative.

The solution: Make sure your stories have enough context to make sense.

Don’t go overboard with being concise, either. Make sure you’re posting enough Snaps that your Story is just that — a clear narrative. Use text, emojis, and narration to provide context for the viewer so your Story is memorable and helpful. 

Here’s an example of a short and sweet Snapchat Story from the United States White House (@whitehouse). The Story is only made up of two Snaps, but text and filters provide enough context for the viewer:

3) You post Stories too frequently.

The problem: You’re posting Snapchat Stories too often.

The solution: Post more impactful Stories at a lower frequency, and spread out Snaps throughout the day.

All social media platforms are different, and you should post on them differently. What works on Twitter won’t work exactly the same on Snapchat, and we recommend that you plan to post only once or twice per week on Snapchat.

Additionally, the more recently you’ve posted a Snap to your Story, the higher your brand’s name sits on the “Recent Updates” list. So when you plan out your Snaps for a Story, don’t post them all at once. Spread them out over the course of the day so absentminded scrollers (like me) see your brand’s name at the top of their feed whenever they log in.

4) Your Stories offer no way to engage.

The problem: Your Snapchat Story doesn’t include a call-to-action.

The solution: Include prompts to reply, take a screenshot, or visit a website.

If you’re using Snapchat for a brand, make sure there’s a call-to-action for your viewer to drive your goals. We suggest asking viewers to interact from within the Snapchat app by replying to Snaps, screenshotting images, or tuning in for more news at a later time. You can drive viewers to your website by asking them to screenshot a URL, too. Just check out this example from NASA on Snapchat (@nasa) that drivers viewers to its website:

5) Your Stories are too similar.

The problem: All of your Stories features the same people or themes.

The solution: Source content from other team members, and brainstorm creative one-off events to keep your Stories unique.

We know it’s hard to spice up your Snapchat Stories if you’re a one-person social media team. To help diversify your content and keep intriguing your visitors, invite your team members to submit pictures and ideas, and ask other people to “host” Snapchat Stories from time to time. You can plan out unique content for company events or social media holidays, too.

6) Your Snaps aren’t creative.

The problem: Your Stories are simply point-and-shoot images.

The solution: Use drawings, stickers, emojis, filters, and lenses.

Snapchat is far too fun to keep things simple. Instead of just shooting and posting raw photos and videos, make sure to explore the different creative features to make your content more unique.

Use creative features in moderation, and don’t go too overboard. Geofilters, emojis, and lenses are fun ways to make a selfie more interesting, add context to a Snap, or to show the lighter side of your brand’s personality. Just look at how Refinery29 (@refinery29) does this with emojis and drawings in its Snapchat Story interview:

7) Your Stories require sound.

The problem: Viewers have to turn up the volume to get the message of your Stories.

The solution: Use text and writing so videos can be consumed with or without sound.

Most videos on social media are watched while users are scrolling through their feeds, where videos auto-play on mute unless the user clicks to turn up the volume.

What does this mean? Your videos on Snapchat must be compelling and communicative, even without sound. Use captions, doodling, emojis, and filters to make your images say 1,000 words — without your followers needing to plug in headphones. If you need lots of text or narration to get your point across, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad story — it just might not be the best fit for Snapchat. Consider a post on another text-based social media platform, like Facebook or Twitter, instead.

Here’s an example of a thorough Snapchat Story from Sephora (@sephora). It’s narrated if you turn up the volume, but viewers still get all of the information they need just from watching:

8) You aren’t recording important Story metrics.

The problem: You’re only recording Story views and screenshots

The solution: Track Story clickthrough rates to analyze how viewers like your Snaps.

Snapchat’s analytics leave something to be desired for marketers wanting to track growth and engagement. As it is now, marketers can only track the number of story views and screenshots their Snapchat Stories earn, and these numbers must be recorded manually within the 24 hours before a Story disappears.

Another valuable metric that isn’t as self-evident? Story clickthrough rate change.

If you post a Snapchat Story made up of 10 separate Snaps, analyze how many views your first Snap received compared to your last Snap. If the number of views drops over the course of your entire Story, that’s a sign followers are tapping through the first or second Snaps — and then navigating away.

You can roughly calculate this by subtracting your last Snap’s number of views from your first Snap’s number of views. So for example, if your first Snap earned 100 views, and your final Snap only earned 80 views, your clickthrough rate declined by 20%.

Analyzing this, in addition to your number of views and other engagements, will give you an idea of who’s watching your Stories from start to finish. If you observe a lot of dropoff between your first and last Snaps, that’s a sign you need to experiment with shorter Stories or different content to keep followers paying attention.

Happy Snapping

These are just a few ideas for how to create compelling and engaging Snapchat Stories for your brand. We suggest referring back to tip #3 often and analyzing how your followers engage with your content. If you aren’t getting many screenshots or clickthroughs, your Snaps could be falling victim to people like me — the mindless tappers.

For more ideas on how to create engaging Snapchat Stories for your audience, read our Snapchat for business guide, and learn more from our experts in the video below:

What are your hard and fast rules for brand Snapchat Stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

3

2017

A Quick Guide to Snapchat for Nonprofits

Published by in category Non-Profit, non-profit marketing, Social Media | Comments are closed

Snapchat-banner-1.png Snapchat is on the rise in a big way. The popular photo-sharing and messaging app is becoming so big that even other social networks – like Facebook and Instagram – are beginning to incorporate their own versions of Snapchat’s unique features.

Check out some of these statistics: 158 million active users creating 2.5 billion Snaps per day, with 9,000 Snaps every second. That’s a huge user base that you can leverage into potential supporters!

But first things first: How can you use a photo app to communicate your nonprofit’s story to the masses? Organizations such as Ocean Conservancy, Human Rights Campaign, and Girl Guides of Canada are all embracing this social network, and setting it up is more simple than you might think.

Snap to it

Snapchat’s two most famous functions are “Snaps” and “Stories”. The former is a quick photo you can take with the app that gets sent via messaging to friends, but then it deletes itself after 10 seconds. When it comes to Snaps, you can still save good ones before they disappear forever by saving them to your Memories tab – that way, anyone can view your curated collection of individual Snaps.

And then there are Stories – a feature which, as we mentioned, is rapidly spreading across other social networks as well. Stories are little video collections of your Snaps that you can put together which only last for 24 hours. Stories don’t have to be sent directly to your friends – instead, they can be visible for everyone to watch.

How nonprofits can use it

On the surface, these two functions seem pretty Millennial-focused and probably more used by teens sending each other selfies. But your nonprofit can leverage Snapchat to give a creative spin on visual storytelling – something that’s very important in terms of inspiring people.

For example, if you’ve got a peer-to-peer event happening, why not collect a few Snaps to Stories or Memories that show off how much fun everyone’s having and what a big impact the event is having on the community?

If it’s new donors and participants you’re looking for, try putting together some Snaps that tell a cohesive narrative when you put them into Stories. For example, if you work at an animal shelter, you could assemble Snaps of cute animals that are up for adoption. If you have a charity that works with impoverished people, put together some before-and-after Stories that show how your company is helping change lives for the better.

Geofilters!

Geofilters are another clever way to use Snapchat to promote your nonprofit. To understand geofilters and how they work with Snapchat, let’s break the word down: filters and geofencing.

First, filters in Snapchat are one of its defining – and super dynamic – features. They allow you to overlay fun animations or special effects on top of the photo you’ve snapped. (There are also lenses, which put the effects overtop of the photo while you’re snapping it.)

A geofence refers to the GPS coverage of geographical area, putting boundaries around it like a virtual fence. It’s perfect if you’re looking to restrict usage of a filter to only a specific region or venune.

Combining geofencing with an exclusive Snapchat filter for an event – also known as a geofilter – is a prime way to get supporter-created content online. Geofilters have a few restrictions: namely, you can’t put your nonprofit’s email, phone number, or hashtag on it, and you can’t use more than two lines of text. But what you can do is make it look pretty, exclusive, and fun, so even people who aren’t familiar with your nonprofit will want to use it!

For example, at FrontStream, we put together a geofilter for P2P Forum back in March. Here’s what it looked like:

People located within the radius of the P2P Forum venue were able to have access to this geofilter through Snapchat, and we encouraged everyone to try it out.

There are two options for geofilters. A community filter is free, so if there’s something happening in your town, like a parade or a run or an awareness day, you can submit your artwork for free as long as you don’t have a brand or organizational logo in there. The Snapchat team will decide whether or not to approve your filter based your content and what other filters are already available in the area.

The second option is a paid one, and it lets you include your NPO or charity’s logo. As an advertiser, you are more likely to be approved. Our Snapchat filter was created under this option, and coverage of 36,000 square feet for three days only cost $60 USD, so it can be very affordable for your nonprofit!

If you’re looking for additional ways for your nonprofit to use geofilters, check out this informative list of tips. Some suggestions include using a geofilter to make a virtual prop for people, to promote an international “day”, or simply foster a sense of inclusiveness when you use the geofilter.

Get promoting

Once you’ve set up your nonprofit’s Snapchat account, it’s important to get the word out and start building your friends list! Take this example from the Animal Humane Society – they use the “ghost” code image for easy access to their adorable feed of animal photos. Be sure to set up your own ghost code and start showing it off on all your nonprofit’s social networks!

There’s no reason to be wary of trying out new social media for your nonprofit – in fact, something like Snapchat could be just the thing to get new prospects interested as well as engage your current donor base. Give it a try and see what creative fundraising promotions you can come up with!

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May

3

2017

Need to Convert Traffic Into More Leads? Experts Bust Common CRO Myths [Live Hangout]

Published by in category Business, Daily, Promo, Social Media | Comments are closed

Many marketers have to find out the hard way that more website traffic doesn’t always translate to more leads.

Unless your site is optimized to drive visitors to take action and engage, you can attract thousands of visitors and never see one of them convert into a lead. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a systematic approach to increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.

Marketers can drastically increase the returns on their marketing activities by examining every conversion point in their website experience and making CRO a part of their day-to-day work.

Unfortunately, many marketers are trying their luck at conversion rate optimization without a holistic and scientific approach, which can do more bad than good. That’s why we’ve invited Unbounce‘s Senior Conversion Optimizer, Michael Aagaard, to debunk common myths for our audience in a live hangout with HubSpot Academy.

Michael began his career in CRO in 2008 as a freelance consultant, learning and applying these tactics in a variety of industries and companies. He routinely speaks at digital marketing conferences on CRO, and has published numerous informative posts on the Unbounce blog.

In this HubSpot Academy Master Class, Michael will explain the most common misconceptions around conversion rate optimization, and how to adopt a CRO mindset that can dramatically improve the marketing results you achieve through optimization.

Whether you’ve been tinkering with CRO on your website for years or you’re not sure how to get started, this Master Class will include new insights and actionable takeaways you can use right away. Click here to save your spot! 

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Apr

29

2017

April Social Media News: AR on Facebook, Ads on Snapchat & More

Published by in category Social Media | Comments are closed

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April showers bring May flowers (depending on where you live). This April also brought an onslaught of augmented reality, or AR, from a few of your favorite social media apps.

Just like last month, Facebook and Instagram continued to compete with Snap Inc. in April, with all three apps launching new products and features to keep more users and marketers spending their time there.

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This is good news for marketers: Social media platforms are making it easier to do your job well. The tricky part will be figuring out where your audience wants to hear from you most, and where to best spend your time and resources producing and promoting content.

We’re here to help. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights in the social media space this month — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers. And if you’re too busy to read the full roundup, here’s a quick video recap:

10 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

1) Facebook announced new AR, VR, and AI initiatives at F8 2017.

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Source: Facebook

At the annual F8 Facebook Developers Conference, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s next act would be further steps into the worlds of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). With the launch of new products like the Camera Effects Studio, the AR Studio, and Facebook Spaces, Zuckerberg hopes to make the Facebook camera “the first augmented reality platform.”

Down the line, Facebook plans to launch AR glasses and new 360-degree capable cameras, in addition to some truly mind-bending Building 8 initiatives, such as technology to type with your brain and hear with your skin. These announcements caught most of the headlines, but we think what was left off of the F8 agenda is just as important.

With almost no mention of Facebook Instant Articles, publishers, or Pages, it’s clear that Facebook is doubling down on high-tech visual content. So what does this mean for marketers? It’s tough to outsmart the News Feed algorithm and to drive content views and engagement. Our advice is to publish no more than 3X per day, to invest in live and native video content, and to connect with your audience and customers on Facebook Messenger (but more on that later).

2) Facebook surpassed 5 million monthly advertisers.

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Source: VentureBeat

Facebook also announced this month that it had achieved more than 5 million monthly advertisers — 75% of which came from outside of the United States. Digging into this massive number reveals even more interesting insights: 50% of these advertisers are mobile advertisers, and Facebook amassed more than 1 million new advertisers in less than one year.

These advertisers only represent about 8% of businesses with Pages, so it’s likely that Facebook will keep updating its Ads Manager to make advertising on Facebook more enticing, especially on mobile. Read our ebook for ideas on how to optimize your brand’s Facebook Page for more effective advertising on the mega-popular platform.

3) One in five Facebook videos are broadcast live.

Facebook’s head of video, Fidji Simo, shared a video announcing just how rapidly Facebook Live had grown in popularity — both among publishers and among viewers. One in five videos on Facebook is a Facebook Live broadcast. What’s more, Facebook Live watch time has increased more than than 4X longer over the last year.

Last year, Facebook announced it would start giving Facebook Live broadcasts greater weight in the News Feed algorithm as a result of its popularity. This increase in watch time could precede another algorithm adjustment favoring live broadcasts, so if you aren’t already doing so, recording Facebook Live videos could help your content earn more engagement and discovery in the News Feed. Read our guide for going live on Facebook here.

4) There are 100K active bots on Facebook Messenger.

facebook-messenger-bots

Source: CNBC

Facebook Messenger was another hot topic at the F8 conference, and one of the biggest announcements about the messaging app was that there are now 100,000 active bots deployed on the platform every month. Furthermore, Facebook announced that 2 billion messages per month were shared between Messenger users and businesses.

Messenger is becoming popular for customer service and content distribution, so Facebook announced changes to the platform to make it more discoverable and easy to use as a standalone product. These changes include a Discover tab on the home screen of Messenger and “smart replies” businesses can use to auto-answer frequently asked questions.

Marketers might consider using Messenger as part of their customer service or content distribution strategies — especially if their audiences are already highly engaged on Facebook. You can subscribe to HubSpot content using Messenger here.

5) Apple Clips achieved 1 million downloads in four days.

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Source: TechCrunch

Apple launched Clips, a media editing app designed to create photos and videos specifically for social sharing, and it rapidly achieved up to 1 million downloads in the four days after its launch in the App Store.

It’s still early to tell how the app will continue to perform, but App Annie noted that Clips was beating out Instagram’s own photo editing app, Layout, in the App Store during that period. This data is only based on United States numbers, but stay tuned for more coverage from us on media editing apps you should be using for easy social media sharing.

6) Pinterest kills the Like button

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Source: Pinterest Blog

In a blog post published this month, Pinterest announced it would be removing the Like button from the visual search platform and sticking with the Save button as an indicator of Pins’ popularity. Pinterest put this change into practice with an email to Recode: It stated, in no uncertain terms, that Pinterest isn’t about virtual reality or connecting with friends. Instead, it’s about visual content discovery.

If marketers are spending a ton of time using Pinterest as a social networking tool, they might want to rethink their strategy and metrics now. Instead, consider shoppable Pins if you sell products as a better use of Pinterest’s discoverability capabilities.

7) Snapchat added Geofilters to its ads API.

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Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat announced it would be adding Sponsored Geofilters to its ads API this month, making it easier for brands to customize and launch Geofilters for specific locations and events.

This is a big win for Snapchat. Now, advertisers can track the performance of Sponsored Geofilters within the Snapchat Ads API and get more insight into advertising ROI on the platform. We’ve talked before about how Snapchat’s analytics aren’t as robust as the other social media platforms it’s competing with, so this change makes almost all Snapchat advertising options available within the API for easy customization and performance analysis. Now, only Sponsored Lenses aren’t available in the API, and we’ll keep you posted if and when that changes as Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., grows.

8) Snapchat started measuring foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

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Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat has started using a Snap to Store measurement tool that lets advertisers see how much foot traffic to physical locations was generated by Snapchat ad views. The measurement shows which visitors used Snapchat while in the brick-and-mortar location, how many people who visited had seen the ad on Snapchat, and the difference in foot traffic between visitors who saw the ad on Snapchat and visitors who hadn’t.

The Snap to Store measurement tool is still in the experiment phase with a few large brands for now, but we’ll keep you posted when it rolls out to all users. The measurement doesn’t distinguish between different locations if your brand has a chain of stores, so this might be a better fit for smaller businesses to test out.

9) Snapchat launched AR world lenses.

On the first day of Facebook’s F8 conference, Snapchat announced new AR lenses users could start adding to their photos and videos. With world lenses, users can add 3-D moving shapes and images to content to add another layer of fun and variety to their Snaps.

AR and VR features are the next logical step for Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company that rebranded itself as a camera company back in 2016. The announcement of world lenses just before Facebook announced its own AR camera capabilities at F8 was smart (and sneaky) timing, as marketers around the world start to consider how to incorporate AR into their visual content efforts.

Our advice — as always — is to experiment and iterate based on results. See if your audience responds and engages with world lenses on Snapchat and AR filters on Facebook, figure out what works, and replicate it in future posts.

10) Instagram Stories beat Snapchat’s user numbers.

instagram-stickers.pngSource: Instagram

Instagram Stories have officially attracted more users than Snapchat’s entire user base, hitting 200 million users this month. With roughly 161 million users to its name, Snapchat continues to face increased competition from its virtual replica on Instagram.

Case in point: In the same blog post announcing the user milestone, Instagram also demonstrated its new Selfie Sticker feature, which lets users take a mini-selfie that they can attach to images and videos in other Stories. If this sounds familiar, you’re right on the money — Snapchat introduced Scissors, which do the exact same thing, in December 2016.

More advertisers and marketers are turning to Instagram over Snapchat for their ephemeral marketing efforts. We suggesting focus your efforts on which platforms audiences are most engaged on, while still keeping a pulse on other platforms that might experience a resurgence if new tools or products are announced.

It’s not exactly a news story, but we wanted to make you aware of a new social media content creation tool, too. This month, HubSpot and Shakr teamed up to create StoriesAds.com, a platform to easily create videos for Instagram’s vertical format. Using StoriesAds.com, brands can easily create vertical videos for Instagram Stories and ads directly in a browser, so check out the tool the next time you plan to launch an Instagram campaign to make better content, more easily.

Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

27

2017

How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

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Where most social media feeds are almost distractingly busy — full of photos, videos, and text updates from friends and brands you follow — Instagram is different because you can only look at one post at a time.

And while this simple, clean interface makes to easy to focus on the beautiful photography and interesting videos on Instagram, it also leaves something to be desired: the ability to easily repost other users’ content.

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But fear not: for every problem, the internet has afforded a solution. We tested out four different ways to repost content on Instagram in a few simple steps. All of these methods are free, but some require you to download an app from the iOS App Store or Google Play first.

How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Methods to Try

1) Use Repost for Instagram

Download Repost for Instagram for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:

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Open your Instagram app, and find a photo or video you’d like to reshare.

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(Psst — do you follow HubSpot on Instagram?)

Tap the … in the upper-right hand corner of the post. Then, tap “Copy Share URL.”

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Open Repost for Instagram. The post you copied will automatically be on the homepage.

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Tap the arrow on the right-hand side of the post. There, you can edit how you want the repost icon to appear on Instagram.

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Tap “Repost.” Then, tap “Copy to Instagram,” where you can add a filter and edit the post.

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Tap “Next.” If you want to include the original post’s caption, tap the caption field and press “Paste,” where the original caption will appear with a citation.

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When you’re ready to share the post, tap “Share” as you would a regular Instagram post. Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

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2) Use InstaRepost

Download InstaRepost for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:

Open InstaRepost, log in using your Instagram credentials, and authorize it to access your account information.

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InstaRepost will only show you a small selection from your Instagram feed. If you know what post you’re looking for, head to the search magnifying glass to look at the Explore tab or enter a username.

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Once you’ve found a post you want to reshare, tap the arrow in the lower right-hand corner. Then, tap “Repost,” then “Repost” again.

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Navigate to your Instagram app, and tap “Library.” The post will be saved to your camera roll.

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Add a filter and edit the post as you would any other. Then, tap “Next.”

instarepost-step7.png

Tap the caption field to paste the original caption. The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.”

instarepost-step8.png

Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

instarepost-step9.jpg

3) Use DownloadGram

DownloadGram lets Instagram users download high-resolution copies of Instagram photos and videos to repost from their own accounts. Here’s how to do it:

Open your Instagram app and find the post you want to repost. Tap the … icon in the upper-right hand corner of the post and click “Copy Share URL.”

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Navigate to DownloadGram and paste the URL into the field. Then, tap “Download.”

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Tap the green “Download Image” button that will appear further down the page.

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You’ll be directed to a new web page with the downloadable image. Tap the download icon, then tap “Save image.”

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Return to your Instagram app. The image will be saved to your camera roll, so edit it as you would any other Instagram post.

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The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

downloadgram-step8.jpg

4) Take a Screenshot

This method doesn’t require any or other websites to repost on Instagram. It’s worth nothing that this method only works for reposting photos. Here’s how to do it:

Find a photo on Instagram you’d like to repost, and take a screenshot:

  • For iOS: Press down on the home and lock buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.
  • For Android: Press down on the sleep/wake and volume down buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.

Tap the new post button in the bottom-center of your Instagram screen. Resize the photo so it’s properly cropped in the Instagram photo editor.

screenshot-step1-1.png

Edit and filter the post like you would any other Instagram post.

screenshot-step2.png

The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

screenshot-step3.png

Do It For the ‘Gram

Now that you’ve learned how to repost on Instagram, you can diversify your profile with content sourced from friends, family, and brands. Use the methods above — being sure to cite the source of the original post — to quickly and easily reshare your favorite content. And if you’re looking for more ideas for sourcing and creating Instagram content for your brand, download our free guide to using Instagram for business here.

Do you use any of these methods to repost on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

26

2017

The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More

Published by in category Blog, Canonical, Content Marketing, Daily, SEO, Social Media | Comments are closed

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When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.

For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place. Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.

The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet

1) Blog Posts

1-6nX_PYNpn0Ajc0tardzIkg.pngSource: Medium

Quick reference:

  • Post length: 2100 words
  • Title: Under 60 characters
  • Meta Description: Under 155 characters

Post Body

When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:

  • According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.
  • The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.
  • At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.
  • That aligns with research previously conducted by serpIQ, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.

That means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.

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But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.

Title

The length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.

Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.

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Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.

headline-length-vs-social-shares.png

Meta Description

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

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Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.

Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.

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2) Facebook

Quick reference:

  • Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
  • Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes

Status Updates

Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.

But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.

“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.

Video

While Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.

According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”

b3c077ee5e1cad372628b599fceca8c7717cd4ba.jpgSource: Wistia

However, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.

Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.

3) Twitter

Quick reference:

  • Tweets: 140-character maximum
    • Does not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweets
    • Ideal length is 120-130 characters
  • Hashtags: No more than two
  • Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds

Length of Tweets

Marketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.

Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment.

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Ideal Length Overall

Like so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):

Screen-Shot-2013-08-16-at-10.51.12-AM.pngSource: Buffer

The same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.

Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-06-at-6.45.50-AM.pngSource: Buffer

Videos

You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.

4) LinkedIn

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Profiles

Here’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:

  • Professional headline: 120
  • Summary: 2,000
  • Position title: 100
  • Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)
  • Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.”

Original Content

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:

  • Post headline: 100
  • Post body: 40,000

5) Instagram

Quick reference:

  • Bio: 150-character maximum
  • Hashtags: Maximum of 30
  • Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.

Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:

Captions

While Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

6) Snapchat

Quick reference:

  • Character limit: 80 per post

Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:

7) YouTube

Here we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.

That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.57.09 PM-1.png

In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.

Show Your Character

As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.

Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.

How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Apr

25

2017

8 How-To Videos We Love (and Why)

Published by in category Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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Have you ever learned how to do something with the help of an internet search?

The answer is most likely a resounding “yes.” Most recently, I taught myself how to fold a fitted sheet with a helpful video from homemaker extraordinaire and friend of Snoop Dogg Martha Stewart.

Videos are an especially compelling way to learn how to do something online because, well, the video shows you exactly how to do it. I’m not alone here, either — 4X as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product, rather than read about it. So if you’re among the many marketers producing more video content this year, there could be a lot of value in making videos specifically for those in your audience who are trying to learn how to do something, too.

In this post, we’ll explore just how popular these searches are on YouTube and what you can learn from eight how-to videos about how to make great teaching videos of your own.

How-To Video Searches Are Popular

How-to searches are incredibly popular. Think about just in your own life for a moment, and reconsider my question at the beginning of this blog post.

As it turns out, 91% of smartphone users consult their various devices seeking help completing a task. But these searches aren’t all happening on Google. People are searching for videos to learn how to do things on YouTube.

According to Think With Google, how-to searches are increasing 70% year-over-year on YouTube, and more than 100 million hours of how-to videos were watched in North America alone in recent years.

8 How-To Videos on YouTube to Learn From

1) How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

You may recognize the title of this how-to video — it’s the one I mentioned earlier in this very blog post. Are you always gets stymied when putting away fitted sheets on laundry day like me?

What I love about this video is how it showcases personality. It’s a simple how-to video of humans demonstrating how to do something, without any animations or high tech features, but it’s still extremely effective at teaching the viewer. Stewart and her guests make jokes about how hard it is to fold the sheet — Stewart even joking that her inability to do so led to her divorce — and they show the viewer how easy it is to get tripped up in the process. Stewart and her guests also have empathy for the viewer and show exactly how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

Takeaway for marketers: If you want to create a how-to video “hosted” by a real, live human, make sure they act like a human. Videos are an easy way for brands to showcase personality, so put yourself in the shoes of your viewer, and infuse humor, sincerity, and empathy into your instructions. If the concept you’re explaining is complicated, tell the viewer that. If you had no idea how to use your product at first, share that. Speaking like a human — instead of reading off a script like a robot — will make your video memorable, effective, and enjoyable, too.

2) How to Cook Perfect Pasta

Tasty on BuzzFeed shares cooking and recipe videos that frequently go viral on YouTube and other social media and reach millions of people every month. But this video isn’t one of Tasty’s trademark recipe videos — it’s one of several how-to videos that break down common or difficult cooking skills step-by-step. 

In this video, Tasty uses hyperlapse to speed up the cooking demonstration and get the viewer the information they need as quickly as possible. This fast-paced filming style is eye-catching if it starts auto-playing in a social media feed, too. Tasty chose a smart how-to search term, too — there’s a ton of search volume around the phrase “how to cook pasta.”

Takeaway for marketers: Viewers prefer YouTube videos on the shorter side, so sped-up hyperlapse filming helps conserve time and creates a neat visual effect. Work backward and conduct keyword research to learn what terms your audience is searching for to find a topic to make your video about.

3) How to Escape Quicksand

Evidently, Princess Buttercup’s tragic fall into quicksand in The Princess Bride wouldn’t have been quite as terrifying in real life.

In this how-to video, Tech Insider uses captions and animations to break down a complicated concept. I wasn’t exactly searching for information on how to escape quicksand when I found this video, but the unique subject matter made me instantly click, intrigued. What’s more, the sound isn’t required — although it does add dramatic effect — which might make people more likely to click and watch all the way through, since many social media videos are watched on mute.

Takeaway for marketers: Your how-to videos don’t necessarily need to be about a dry topic related to your industry. If you create a fascinating piece of content that goes viral, you’ll generate interest in your brand that way. Animations and captions help to show — rather than explain — trickier concepts like quicksand, so consider these visual elements for high-level explanations. And if there’s a way to make your videos volume-agnostic, do so. Some videos will require narration or other sounds, but the visual elements mentioned previously could do the talking for you.

4) How to Blow Out Curly Hair

Anyone who’s ever gotten a blowout knows that it can be expensive and time-consuming to have it professionally done.

So Bustle cleverly made a how-to video that teaches viewers how to DIY and save money — a motivating factor behind many how-to online searches, I suspect. This video is also short, which MiniMatters suggests for enticing viewers to watch videos all the way through. YouTube counts a view as once a video has been watched for approximately 30 seconds, so viewers with short attention spans might be more likely to stick around for that long if they see a video is shorter, like this one.

Takeaway for marketers: Almost everybody wants to save money where they can, so think about ways your how-to video could help viewers do that when brainstorming topics. When filming, try to keep videos as short as possible to attract viewers and keep them watching all the way through to steadily increase your number of YouTube views.

5) How to Add a Friend to a Group

In this short and sweet how-to demonstration video, Facebook infuses humor to provide context for the topic it unpacks. It gives the viewer a chuckle, and research shows that content that elicits strong positive feelings makes the material more memorable and sticky.

Takeaway for marketers: Don’t be afraid to be humorous and silly in your videos — even if it’s a little dorky, like in this example. It helps place the lesson your video teaches in context for your viewer and shows off the more personable side of your brand.

6) How to Asana: Planning with Asana calendar

Asana cleverly brands its how-to video series as “How to Asana,” and all of the videos in the series feature a consistent theme. All of the videos in this series are under two minutes in length, are hosted by the same person, and feature an eye-popping yellow background. The meat of the video consists of a screencast of someone using the Asana calendar tool, but these branding details bring life to what would otherwise be a rather boring video.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re thinking about creating a how-to video series, take the extra time to make it memorable and recognizable. These efforts will make videos look more professional and will make viewers want to keep tuning in for more helpful videos if they know they can expect more.

7) How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop

Who else here loves GIFs? That’s right — everyone loves GIFs.

But before I watched the video above, I had no idea how easy it was to make my own. That’s the ideal reaction to a how-to video, by the way — “that was so easy.”

Adobe’s how-to video is a great example of a software demonstration video because it zooms in on only the necessary information. Instead of confusing the viewer by showing the entire Photoshop interface, the video features magnified animations of only the buttons and tools they need to accomplish the task at hand.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re making a technology demonstration how-to video, consider how it will appear to any first-time product users watching. Try to minimize any confusion by only filming elements of the technology needed for your video so viewers can follow along on their devices.

8) How to Increase Your Facebook Reach and Outsmart the Algorithm

You might be hesitant to create videos to explain a complicated subject matter, but that could actually be the most effective medium to help your audience understand something.

In this video, my colleague Megan Conley breaks down the many nuances of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm in a clear and concise manner. Then, graphics, animations, and screencasts supplement what she talks about with data visualizations to make the stats and figures more memorable for the viewer. Finally, the video ends with helpful next steps viewers can take to solve the problem outlined in the video. The video isn’t about how to use HubSpot software at all — it’s only in the business of helping people get better results.

Takeaway for marketers: The most compelling how-to video might be one that doesn’t mention your product at all. Think about what questions your audience might be asking and establish your brand as a thought leader with helpful videos that don’t end with a sales pitch.

How to Make How-To Videos

Now that you have inspiration from real-life B2B and B2C brand videos, start thinking about how you could create helpful content for your audience.

Create buyer personas and use these to inform your strategy. What types of questions does your audience ask about your product? What questions do they ask about your industry? What problems does your product solve that you could demonstrate in a video? Use tools like Google Trends and HubSpot’s Keywords tool to learn more about the types of searches your audience is conducting and what content you could create to answer those questions.

What’s the best how-to video you’ve ever seen? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

21

2017

Brain Typing & Skin Hearing: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook's 2017 F8 Conference

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

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Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has been the leader of social media innovation and change. We’ve seen Facebook change the way we talk, text, share, and connect around the world.

Today, Facebook is no longer an option for marketers. Globally, almost 2 billion people use Facebook, and more than 1 billion people use Messenger. What’s more, over 1 billion users log onto Facebook every day. People go to Facebook for news and content consumption more than ever, and they use Facebook to connect with brands and publishers, as well as their friends and family.

Simply put, if you’re not using Facebook for advertising, video marketing, and content sharing, you’re behind the curve.

Each year since 2007, Facebook has hosted Facebook F8, its annual Developers Conference. This event is when Facebook typically announces new products and innovations marketers and developers can use to connect in different ways. In this post, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest announcements from F8 2017 and major themes marketers should pay attention to as Facebook continues to evolve.

What is F8?

F8 is the Facebook Developers Conference. F8 2017 was held on Tuesday, April 18th and Wednesday, April 19th, and it included numerous announcements about new products, new features, and future initiatives Facebook would be working on. Although it’s titled for developers, previous F8’s have included product announcements and demos that are meaningful for social media marketers, too. Facebook also announces changes to other platforms and products it owns during F8, most notably on Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

In previous years, Facebook used F8 to announce products and features as ubiquitous as the launch of Facebook Live, Messenger bots, Instant Articles, and the mobile Like button, among others. It’s hard to imagine Facebook without these things now, right?

Where is Facebook now?

For the purposes of this blog post, it’s valuable to quickly recap some of the major changes that have taken place since F8 2016 — because a lot has changed. If you’re caught up to speed, skip ahead to the latest announcements from F8 2017.

Facebook Journalism Project

In January 2017, Facebook launched the Facebook Journalism Project to identify and prevent the proliferation of fraudulent content (“fake news”) on the platform. Additionally, the Facebook Journalism Project entails Facebook creating more tools for media publishers to analyze content performance and continuing to improve Instant Articles.

News Feed

In June 2016, Facebook adjusted its algorithm to display content from users’ family and friends first in the News Feed — ahead of content from publishers and Pages. Publishers now have to think more creatively about how to generate engagement and reach on the platform.

Live Video

Facebook Live was announced at F8 2016, and since then, it’s exploded in popularity. In fact, Facebook learned that users were spending 3X more time watching Facebook Live videos than traditional videos, so it adjusted the News Feed algorithm again to give Facebook Live videos more News Feed real estate. Additionally, Facebook Pages can now broadcast live from desktop computers in addition to mobile devices.

Facebook also launched Instagram Live in November 2016. It’s different from Facebook Live in that live Instagram videos disappear once the broadcast ends. But like Facebook Live, Instagram pages that are broadcasting live get first priority at the top of the Instagram feed.

Ephemeral Messaging

Facebook has borrowed a significant amount of “inspiration” from Snapchat since F8 2016. Facebook has replicated Snapchat’s key feature — ephemeral, or disappearing, photos and videos — on Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and on Facebook itself. At the time of F8 2017, more people are using Instagram Stories than the entire Snapchat app, so it will be interesting to see the moves Facebook and Snapchat make to keep competing next.

Now that we’re all caught up to speed, let’s dive into some of the biggest announcements from F8 2017.

The Biggest Announcements from F8 2017

At the start of his keynote address, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that the 10-year plan for Facebook was made up of three endeavors: augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and connectivity. Let’s dive into product announcements and future projections from F8 2017.

Augmented & Virtual Reality

One of Facebook’s biggest pushes at F8 was improvement upon reality with the help of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

For those of you who might be confused on the difference (don’t worry, so were we):

Augmented reality is a real-world view superimposed with technologically-generated images, sounds, and other effects. Recent examples of augmented reality include Pokémon GO and Snapchat’s world lenses:

Virtual reality consists of digitally-simulated three-dimensional images that people can interact with by means of headsets and wearable sensors. Recent VR use cases include video gaming and experiential marketing.

Here’s how Facebook plans to invest in AR and VR in the coming year:

1) Camera Effects Platform

Facebook is taking its camera to the next level and creating the “first augmented reality platform.” Within the camera on Facebook and Messenger, users can already add filters, frames, drawings, and emojis, but Facebook wants to take it even further.

Frames Studio

The Facebook Frames Studio lets anyone design custom frames to surround their profile pictures or other pictures taken with the Facebook camera. You can create custom frames for events and communities or make public frames for anyone on Facebook to use. Here’s a draft of a frame I made featuring the HubSpot sprocket. It’s very basic (I’m a writer, not an artist), but you get the idea — you can add any art or effects to a frame that you’d like.

hubspot frame.png

AR Studio

The Facebook AR Studio helps create augmented reality elements Facebook users can incorporate into their photos and videos. Think 3-D images and responsive masks — Zuckerberg’s example was filling an office with 3-D Skittles. Developers can create different camera effects that respond to movement, geography, and surrounding objects. This feature is currently in beta, but developers can apply to start experimenting and creating now.

Check out a few examples:

facebook-ar-studio.png

Source: Facebook AR Studio

2) Facebook Spaces

On the VR side of things, Facebook Spaces is a new virtual reality app where users can hang out with their friends — in full VR — with the help of the Oculus Rift VR headset. For now, it’s only launching in beta, but the idea is that users can interact with their friends in Facebook Spaces the same way they would in person. It goes to show you how heavily Facebook is investing in VR.

Discover how detailed and advanced some of the movements are in its explainer video here:

3) AR Glasses

They haven’t arrived yet, but during the second day of F8 2017, Facebook’s Chief Scientist of Oculus Research Michael Abrash said fully AR glasses were on the Facebook horizon. He envisioned glasses that improve vision and hearing, bolster intelligence, and are socially acceptable enough to become ubiquitous. So far, Google and Snap Inc. have created wearable glasses cameras — with varying degrees of success — so we’ll keep you posted on any Facebook glasses developments.

4) 360-Degree Camera

Facebook announced new Surround 360 technology that will allow users to film highly immersive 360-degree videos with “six degrees of freedom.” The circular camera allows videographers to rotate the camera viewfinder like a person’s head would to film in full 360-degree capabilities. Here’s what the two cameras look like:

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Source: Facebook

Below is our video recap from the first day at F8, featuring most of these AR and VR announcements:

Connectivity

In his opening keynote, Zuckerberg also prioritized Facebook’s commitment to helping the world connect online — by means of Facebook, of course. Facebook plans to do this with Terragraph technology; here’s the scoop.

6) Terragraph

Facebook is testing its Terragraph technology to increase data accessibility and transfer speeds around the world. It’s set new records in data transfer speeds and is testing a citywide mesh millimeter-wave data transfer system in San Jose, California. Technology like Terragraph helps more people get online with the help of their smartphones, so while there isn’t a direct takeaway for digital marketers here, it’s neat to see Facebook helping get more people online.

Artificial Intelligence

Facebook’s camera platform — for Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram — is now “AI-infused.” This means it can understand facial expressions, surroundings, and movement, as well as understand and annotate videos.

Facebook’s new Camera Effects Platform gives developers the tools to use AI for more creative photography and video recording. It’s also partnering with companies like Amazon and Microsoft to run AI algorithms on mobile phones.

Building 8

Building 8, Facebook’s research team dedicated to creating social-first consumer products, is working on silent speech communications projects that will let users type 100 words per minute — with their brains. (That’s 5X faster than the average smartphone user can type.) Building 8 is also creating hardware and software so users can hear information — with their skin.

These projects are still works in progress, but the announcements remind all of us that AI isn’t right around the corner — it’s now. Read more about how AI could change your job in a recent HubSpot Research report.

Messenger

Over 1.2 billion people use Facebook Messenger, but the platform isn’t just for humans. There are over 100,000 monthly active Messenger bots, and they’re changing the way businesses communicate with prospects and customers. Facebook reported at F8 that 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month. To that end, it’s created new tools and features to make it easier for Messenger users and businesses to get in touch on the platform.

7) New Facebook Messenger Features

Below are some of the biggest Messenger announcements marketers should take note of. You’ll notice that most of these changes are designed around getting users to spend more time in Messenger:

  • A Discover tab on the Messenger home screen so users can easily search for bots that will point them in the right direction
  • Messenger Codes, which users can scan with the Messenger Camera to easily connect with businesses
  • Messenger’s AI assistant, M, can suggest ordering food from delivery.com when users are talking to friends and bring up getting dinner, for example. (Creepy, or delicious? Both?)
  • More bots for playing games
  • Smart Replies, which allow businesses to let bots automatically respond to frequently asked questions submitted via Messenger

Below is our video recap of the second day at F8, which centered heavily on these big announcements from Building 8:

Key Takeaways from F8 2017

Facebook vs. Snap Inc.

Facebook has been copying Snapchat features, and now it wants to take those features and do them bigger — and better — than its competitor. Coincidentally (or maybe not), Snapchat announced AR world lenses on the first day of F8. To me, the two cameras appear to be neck-in-neck in terms of capabilities. Facebook and its respective platforms claim significantly more users than Snapchat, so keep your eyes peeled for a race to innovate between these two social media titans.

All About AR, VR & AI

If you’re daunted by the idea of buying more equipment, taking more photos, and making even more videos, don’t rush to experiment with a bunch of new tools and technologies all at once. Start small — maybe by creating a custom frame in the Frames Studio — and add AR elements to photos you share on Facebook to see if your audience responds positively. If you can’t determine good use cases for experimenting with AR or VR, don’t waste your time and resources, but keep an eye out for events or settings in which these new technologies could be a good fit for your audience on Facebook.

No News for Publishers

Most conspicuous to me was the lack of mention of publishers on Facebook. It doesn’t appear that much is changing when it comes to the News Feed algorithm or Facebook Instant Articles anytime soon, which could be meaningful for marketers. It could be that Facebook will start prioritizing AR and VR visual content in the News Feed over links and status updates — much like how Facebook Live videos are now prioritized. As always, we’ll keep you posted on any algorithmic changes that could impact your organic Facebook performance.

Until next year …

We know this is a lot of information, and it isn’t immediately clear how, if at all, these innovations will change the way marketers use Facebook. When it comes to new technology and social media innovation, our advice is usually this: Experiment with any and all new technology. If your audience engages with it, keep going. If they ignore it, don’t try to force it.

In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on more news from Facebook and our suggestions for how to keep tailoring your approach to Facebook marketing. And since F8 didn’t make much mention of Instagram, we wanted to launch a product of our own: We partnered with Shakr to create StoriesAds.com, where marketers can automatically create vertical videos tailored for the Instagram Stories platform. Try creating an engaging Instagram video — in under two minutes — today. No video skills required.

What were your impressions of F8 2017? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

14

2017

19 Statistics About Multicultural Millennials Marketers Should Know [Infographic]

Published by in category branding, Daily, IGSS, Social Media | Comments are closed

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Millennials, or people between the ages of 18 and 34, make up the largest population group in the United States. There are more than 75 million millennials in total, and that number is projected to increased to more than 81 million by 2036. Additionally, this age group is the most active and engaged across social media platforms.

So it should come as no surprise that marketers are eager to learn more about how to capture millennials’ attention, time, and spending dollars.

Download our guide to branding for modern marketers here.

Buzz Marketing Group, an agency dedicated to marketing to this demographic, surveyed multicultural millennials to learn more about their content consumption, purchasing, and social media habits. Among other surprising statistics, 83% of respondents said they like when brands take a public stand on issues they feel strongly about, and 28% reported they went on “digital diets,” or breaks from technology, every month.

Read more about multicultural millennial media and purchasing habits in this infographic from Adweek.

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Apr

14

2017

What Do Snapchat Emojis Mean?

Published by in category Daily, Social Media, Tactical | Comments are closed

snapchat_emojis_compressed.jpg

There are hundreds of emojis available on iOS and Android mobile device keyboards. Everything from tacos to national flags to artists is represented in cartoon emoji form.

But let’s be real here: Most of us just use the same few emojis over and over.

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If you know me, you know I love two things more than anything: cats and sleeping. So it’s fitting that the two emojis I use most often in my texting keyboard are:

                                                       cat_emoji sleep_emoji

Another thing you may already know about me is that I love using Snapchat. So when emojis started popping up in my list of chats with friends in the app, I needed to get to the bottom of it.

In this post, we’ll dive into the history of Snapchat emojis and what they all mean. Bear in mind that these emojis vary slightly across iOS and Android devices, so we’ve written out what the faces look like, too.

What Do Snapchat Emojis Indicate?

Snapchat emojis track the activity and behaviors between Snapchat users and their friends. The frequency, timing, and pattern of your Snapchat interactions with other users will determine which emojis, if any, appear in your list of Snapchat chats.

Not sure what I mean? Check out my list of Snapchats, along with a few different emojis you might see in your own app. To access this page, open up your Snapchat app, and swipe right.

snapchat_emojis_chat.png

When Snapchat was first created, the app used to show who users’ best friends were publicly (best friends are the users they sent the most Snaps back and forth with). You can imagine why users took issue with this. Can you imagine the awkwardness of finding your best friend or significant other was best friends on Snapchat with somebody else?

So in 2015, Snapchat (now Snap. Inc) axed this feature in the name of user privacy and hid the lists of other users’ best friends — to more outraged reactions. Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel has said that the app will bring back public best friends, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

In the meantime, the friend emojis we decode below have replaced the list of best friends — and provide greater detail. Now, there are more insights into how users interact with friends — you just need to know how these behaviors are represented in the app.

Let’s dive into understanding your Snapchat contacts list better. And remember: These emojis are only visible to you.

What Do Snapchat Emojis Mean?

1) Smiley Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: This user is one of your best friends on Snapchat. You frequently send Snaps back and forth to each other.

2) Yellow Heart Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: This user is your #1 best friend. You send the most Snaps to this user, and they send the most Snaps to you.

3) Smirking Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’re one of this user’s best friends, but they aren’t one of your best friends. They send you more Snaps than you send them.

3) Grimacing Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Your #1 best friend is their #1 best friend, too. You both send lots of Snaps to the same user.

4) Sunglasses Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: One of your best friends is one of their best friends. You send a lot of Snaps to someone they also send a lot of Snaps to. 

6) Red Heart Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been #1 best friends (yellow heart status) with this user for two weeks in a row.

7) Pink Hearts Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been #1 best friends with this user for two months in a row.

8) Fire Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You and this user are on a Snapstreak — you’ve been sending each other Snaps for several days in a row. The number of days you’ve been on a Snapstreak will appear next to the fire emoji.

9) 100 Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been on a Snapstreak with this user for 100 days in a row.

10) Hourglass Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Your Snapstreak with this user will end if you don’t send them a Snap very soon. You can send them a Snap or a Chat to keep it going.

11) Baby Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You and this user have recently added each other as Snapchat friends.

12) Gold Star Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Someone has replayed this user’s Snap within the past 24 hours.

13) Gold Sparkles Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’re in a Snapchat Group Chat with this user. Learn how to start a Snapchat Group in this article.

14) Birthday Cake Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Today is this user’s birthday. This emoji will only appear if the user indicated their date of birth in their Account information. Learn how to add your birthday to your account in this article.

How to Customize Snapchat Emojis

If these emojis aren’t speaking to you, you can change them within your Snapchat account. For example, your best friends could be represented by a pizza slice instead of a yellow heart if you really love pizza (and your friends, I suppose). Here’s how it’s done:

1) Open up your Snapchat app and swipe down. You’ll see your profile screen and Snapcode.

2) Tap the Settings gear in the upper right-hand corner.

snapchat_snapcode_settings.png

3) Select “Manage” under the “Additional Services” menu.

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4) Select “Friend Emojis.”

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5) From there, you can tap into each signifier and choose a new emoji to represent what it means.

snapchat_emojilist.png

Source: Snapchat Support

And there you have it. We’ll keep this post updated with new developments in the world of Snapchat emojis. In the meantime, keep snapping to see how your emojis change, and let us know how long your longest snap streak is.

What’s your greatest Snapchat emoji achievement? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

13

2017

The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Outsmart the Algorithm

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

If you’ve been managing a Facebook Page over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a drop in how many of your fans have been viewing and interacting with your organic posts. This decline in organic Facebook reach came to a head in 2014, when marketers started picking up on (and complaining about) the situation in droves, prompting a response from Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland.

“Over the past few months, I’ve read articles and answered questions from many people who are concerned about declines in organic reach for their Facebook Pages,” Boland wrote in June of 2014.

He continued, “My colleagues and I at Facebook understand that this has been a pain point for many businesses, and we’re committed to helping you understand what’s driving this change … “

The two main reasons Boland cited for the organic reach decline? First, there’s simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. Second, Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the content available.

The good news in all of this is that there’s a lot you can do to counteract these changes, like being more selective about what you publish, paying attention to when you publish, and putting money behind your posts (a.k.a. “boosting” them).

Download our free Facebook guide here for more tips on maximizing your Facebook reach.

Before we dive deeper into how you can improve your Facebook Page’s organic reach, let’s explore exactly what happened during the Great Organic Reach Decline of 2014, and how Facebook decides what content gets surfaced nowadays.

How (And Why) Facebook Reach Has Declined Over Time

Facebook defines organic reachas “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.” Prior to 2012, that number used to be much, much higher than it is now.

From the moment “Fan Pages” launched in 2007, anyone could create a Page for their company or organization, start collecting fans, and post unlimited messages to their fan bases with the assumption that they would see those messages. But when 2012 rolled around, Page managers learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average — were seeing their Page posts in their News Feeds. And that fraction has only gotten smaller and smaller since.

A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Research from Social@Ogilvy, meanwhile, suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%.

Based on the figures above, that means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds. For a Page with 1 million fans, about 20,000 would end up seeing posts (based on the 2% figure).

SocialFlow analyzed over 3,000 posts by publishers on Facebook and found that organic reach dropped 42% between January and May 2016.

Then, later in 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm again — to further prioritize content from friends and family over Pages. In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that Pages could anticipate a dip in organic reach — which could leave reach lower than that earlier 2% estimate, in some cases.

After this algorithm adjustment, SocialFlow adjusted the decline in organic reach — which had dropped further. Between January and July 2016, publishers saw a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook.

Fewer people seeing your Page’s organic posts on Facebook means fewer clicks, comments, and shares. And having fewer of those interactions means fewer conversions, leads, and customers. Understandably, this has annoyed the crap out of many a Facebook Page manager. So why would Facebook decide to decrease organic post visibility in the first place?

We already touched on Facebook’s official response to this question in the introduction: There are simply too many Pages producing too much content for too many fans, which means competition for visibility on the News Feed is high. What’s more, Facebook is trying to make sure people are only seeing the best content — the stuff that is relevant to them.

Some publishers have cracked the code when it comes to engagement on Facebook: by publishing and broadcasting video. (And we’ll get into that later in the post.) But many in the marketing world suspect that Facebook had (and still has) an ulterior motive: to get people to start spending more on ads.

More Money = More Reach

As Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one, Page managers are realizing they’re now expected to pay for ads yet again to reach those newly acquired Fans, even if those Fans have seemingly elected to see a brand’s posts by liking their Page in the first place.

In a 2014 interview with Digiday, James Del (who was the head of now-defunct Gawker’s content studio at the time) summed up the general sentiment:

Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

Of course, Facebook has denied that this is the case. Boland even had a section in his 2014 organic reach update post titled, “Is organic reach dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money?” Boland’s response:

No. Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people that use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses.”

From Facebook’s perspective, it’s simply not an ideal user experience to flood the News Feed with posts just because a Page has lots of Likes and is publishing prolifically.

Nowadays, Facebook is encouraging marketers to look at their fan bases as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel. Additionally, Facebook says you should assume organic reach will eventually arrive at zero. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to supplement your organic efforts with some paid advertising.

Additionally, Facebook advises marketers to expect things to keep changing, and often times for the better. Facebook has never been stagnant in terms of innovation, so no marketer can figure out a formula and then stick with it forever.

That being said, knowing how Facebook currently surfaces organic content in the News Feed can be helpful for understanding the broader Facebook marketing ecosystem.

How Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Works

When Facebook first launched News Feed back in 2006, the algorithm was pretty basic. Different post formats were assigned different point values — so a post with just text might be worth one point, while a post with a link in it might be worth two points, and so on. By multiplying the post format point value by the number of people interacting with a given post, Facebook could generate a ranking system for determining the order in which posts would appear.

As the years rolled on, the News Feed algorithm evolved to factor in the recency of posts, as well as the relationship between the person doing the posting and the person interacting with said post. This iteration of the algorithm was known as EdgeRank. But in 2011, Facebook abandoned EdgeRank for a more complex algorithm that incorporates machine learning.

That machine learning-based algorithm is what’s responsible for surfacing content on your News Feed today. Unlike its predecessors, which assigned generic point values to post formats, the current algorithm adapts to individual user preferences. So, for example, if you never, ever, interact with photos in your News Feed, Facebook’s algorithm will pick up on that and show you fewer photos over time.

On the other side of the coin, Facebook has identified for marketers the content formats that drive engagement and sharing — native and live videos. Facebook ranks live videos higher in the News Feed, as well as videos with higher watch and completion rates and videos that are clicked on or unmuted as signals of viewer interest.

Ultimately, there are thousands of factors that inform Facebook’s algorithm, which range from using trigger words that indicate important events (e.g., “congratulations”) to whether or not you’ve actually clicked a link in a post before liking it.

Facebook’s end goal here is to have its algorithm match News Feed content to the individual needs and interests of each and every user. As Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, told Time in a 2015 interview:

If you could rate everything that happened on Earth today that was published anywhere by any of your friends, any of your family, any news source…and then pick the 10 that were the most meaningful to know today, that would be a really cool service for us to build. That is really what we aspire to have News Feed become.”

How to Deal With Declining Organic Reach

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how Facebook surfaces content, let’s explore some tips for dealing with the decline in organic Page reach.

1) Be more selective about what you post.

Marketers have to switch gears from untargeted, frequent publishing to targeted, selective publishing. The goal is no longer to spray and pray — it’s to get as much interaction from a single post as possible. Each post published to a brand Page can be targeted to a specific audience regardless of whether or not it’s sponsored, which may improve overall interaction with that post among other people who are likely to find it more interesting and relevant.

2) Remind your Fans they can go to Pages Feed on the left sidebar of their News Feed to see content from Pages they’ve Liked.

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3) Educate your super fans that they can update their notification settings from your Page.

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4) Encourage fans to engage with your posts when they do see them, so they see more of them.

This can be as simple as adding a reminder to “Please Like and share” at the end of your posts.

5) Share engaging videos on Facebook.

Videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.

According to a recent study by quintly, native Facebook videos have an 186% higher engagement rate and are shared more than 1000% more than videos linked to from other hosting sites. Take the extra steps to publish videos for the platforms you’re promoting them on for best results — distribute your content on Facebook, YouTube, and other social platforms you’re trying to leverage.

6) Broadcast on Facebook Live.

If you’re not already doing so, start broadcasting on Facebook Live. Users spend 3X more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos on the platform, so start experimenting with live content if you’re concerned about your organic reach. Advertise what you’re doing on different platforms to generate buzz, broadcast for several minutes (at least) to help your broadcast get surfaced in the News Feed, and share authentic, behind-the-scenes content to attract and interest your viewers.

To learn more about Facebook Live broadcasting strategies, check out our free guide.

7) Re-allocate your time and effort toward your owned assets.

Since the only constant with Facebook (and the larger digital media landscape) is change, it’s always safest to focus on the digital channels you entirely own and control — your website and blog. Spend the vast majority of your effort creating content (blog posts and long-form content such as ebooks, case studies, or videos) that will continue to garner inbound traffic, leads, and customers long after they’re first created. If you have time and budget, share those assets to Facebook for additional reach.

8) Start treating Facebook like a paid ad platform.

If you’re going to pay-to-play, get your targeting right. Once you’ve built an audience of relevant fans, focus on advertising the content assets you’ve created — blog posts, ebooks, etc. — and use ads to amplify them to targeted users. Remember: It’s likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now, which brings me to one final recommendation …

9) If you do advertise, go beyond the basics.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities have gotten considerably better over the past few years. You can now pay to reach your ideal persona based on demographics, interests, web behavior, and more. Additionally, there are a bunch of tools and features that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, including:

To learn more about how you can improve your Facebook Page’s reach, check out our free guide: How to Attract Customers with Facebook.

What are your thoughts and experiences with Facebook’s organic reach decline? How have you adjusted your inbound marketing strategy accordingly?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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Apr

7

2017

6 New LinkedIn Features You May Have Missed

Published by in category Daily, Editorial, Social Media | Comments are closed

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If you’ve logged into LinkedIn over the past few weeks, you may have noticed something different. Actually, everything is different, because LinkedIn completely overhauled its desktop site.

After Microsoft acquired the job search and networking website in 2016, LinkedIn announced it would redesign its desktop website to more closely mirror its mobile apps.

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LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform, with more than 467 million members worldwide. However, LinkedIn members aren’t actually spending much time on the site. In fact, only 23% of LinkedIn users visited the site every month at the end of 2016. That’s not a great monthly active user number, and the website redesign was meant to “create more value” for LinkedIn members — and, hopefully, make them want to spend more time on the site.

For example, the LinkedIn desktop homepage used to look something like this:

linkedin_old_homepage.pngSource: LinkedIn

And this is what my LinkedIn homepage looked like when I wrote this article:

new_linkedin_homepage.png

There’s a lot behind this slick interface. Let’s dive into some of the biggest changes to the site since the redesign and how marketers and users might take advantage of them going forward.

6 Changes to LinkedIn You May Have Missed

1) A new homepage feed

Using a combination of human editors and new algorithms, LinkedIn will start surfacing more content and fewer status updates. The homepage feed will start suggesting organic, sponsored, and native advertising content users might be interested in reading. The feed will also help users follow trending stories … sound familiar? If LinkedIn is trying to make its user base engage more on the platform, modeling a feed in the style of Facebook is a safe bet.

2) More analytics

LinkedIn now provides more analytics about how other users interact with the content you share — not just who views your profile or who likes one of your posts. Now, users can see not only who likes their content, but which companies they come from and what roles they’re in.

Here are analytics from an article I posted recently on LinkedIn:

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The platform also suggests other articles I might share with my network for even more engagement.

3) New (and missing) search features

LinkedIn refined its search capabilities so users can search all of LinkedIn with a single, unified search experience based on certain keywords. Now, users can easily toggle between different categories related to search terms without having to move between different categories of the site.

Check out what the results look like when I search for “content marketing:”

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Whereas previously, LinkedIn users had to go into each of these sections (“People,” “Jobs,” “Companies”) in order to conduct searches, now users can search from one place to get all of the results they’re looking for.

Notably, LinkedIn removed some of the Advanced Search filters that were previously available on LinkedIn Premium and are now only available for the more expensive Sales Navigator tier of LinkedIn Premium. These filters include “years of experience,” “function,” and “seniority level.” 

4) Chat-like messaging

Soon, LinkedIn will roll out messaging that allows users to send InMail like a chat instead of an email. Users won’t have to navigate to another pane to send a private message — instead, they’ll be able to send a direct chat without leaving the LinkedIn homepage feed, as shown in the image below:

linkedin_messaging.pngSource: TechCrunch

In another nod to Facebook’s Messenger layout, this change helps users easily spend more time clicking around the site. Plus, users might be less likely to send the dreaded default InMail message if they know it will appear like a chat instead of an email.

5) Calendar chatbot

Next, LinkedIn is introducing a chatbot. It will look at two connections’ calendars and find and set times for them to meet directly within LinkedIn’s messenger platform. It hasn’t been rolled out as of the time of this posting, but in another nod to Facebook Messenger and other bots, this is an addition designed to keep users spending time on the site. Stay tuned for more news when the bot launches fully.

6) New blogging interface

LinkedIn also now features a slick new publishing platform. Before, publishers had to navigate to LinkedIn Pulse to write an original blog post. Now, users are one click away from a slick, easy-to-use blog publishing platform.

Check it out:

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Blogging on LinkedIn could garner more attention to your brand’s site if LinkedIn grows in popularity. In fact, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased over the last few years, so marketers should consider LinkedIn as a platform for reproducing or creating original content.

What’s Next For LinkedIn?

Amidst these changes, marketers should keep an eye on where their audience is spending time. If LinkedIn’s number of monthly active users increases in its next quarterly report, it might be worthwhile to invest more resources in running campaigns and creating content for the site.

We’ll keep you posted on more changes to the platform and its usage as that news unfolds. In the meantime, click around the new website and experiment with the new analytics capabilities to see if your audience wants to spend time on LinkedIn with you. And if you need guidance for running a strong LinkedIn ad campaign, download our guide here.

Do you publish original content on LinkedIn? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

6

2017

Help! My Brand Went Viral: 12 Small Brands That Made It Big

Published by in category branding, Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

When you think of viral marketing, your mind probably wanders to that Oreos “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet, which garnered an enviable 40,000 retweets and Facebook likes during 2013’s Super Bowl power outage. Or perhaps you think of the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches,” a video with more than 67 million views to date.

When these global brands go viral, it’s not a huge surprise.

They have agencies and well-staffed marketing teams standing by to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly that can result when brands go viral. But what happens to the little guys? What happens to small brands that hit on marketing gold, kind of by accident?

Below, we’re taking a look at how small brands have handled their 15 minutes of viral fame. Some struggled, some succeeded, but all of them earned a spot on this elusive roster. Here’s what they did, and what you can learn from their stories.

12 Small Brands That Went Viral

1) Dominique Ansel Bakery (The Cronut)

Image Credit: CNN Traveler

Pastry chef Dominique Ansel was not a doughnut devotee. The French-born, New York-based bakery owner had tasted a few, but he was far more familiar with the croissants he had grown up eating. When someone pointed out that he didn’t have a donut on the menu of his New York bakery, Ansel decided to head back to his roots and invent a new kind of pastry.

Enter: the Cronut.

Ansel’s new confection really gained steam after a food blogger from Grub Street tried a Cronut and documented the experience. Traffic to the bakery website rose by more than 300 percent, and hundreds would line up every day to get their hands on the trendiest pastry around.

Viral Best Practice: Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Each batch of Cronuts took Ansel’s team three days to prepare. They could make about 350 Cronuts every day in their bakery, which meant the numbers were limited.

By managing the output of his pastries and avoiding the draw of producing more than his team and facility could manage, Ansel created controlled demand that he could meet without sacrificing the quality of his product.

Four years later, you’ll still find a line outside of Ansel’s bakery before their 8:00 A.M. opening. But the true secret to his success? Ansel claims that he’s had one Cronut every day since their invention. I’m really hoping that’s the key to my next promotion as well.

2) ALSA (The Ice Bucket Challenge)

Image Credit: Iconosquare Blog

In 2014, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association launched one of the most successful viral campaigns of all time. Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates were a handful of the celebrities who took the challenge and dumped buckets of ice over their heads to raise funds and awareness for ALS research.

By the time the videos had stopped filling newsfeeds around the world, the campaign had raised more than $220 million for ALS organizations worldwide. Awareness of the disease rose and it reached the fifth most popular Google search for all of 2014.

In 2015, a year after the the ice bucket challenge went viral, money from the campaign was said to fund research that identified a new gene, NEK1, that contributes to the disease.

Viral Best Practice: They Looked Outside Their Target Audience

True, most of those who made a donation during the video craze have never made a second. But overall A.L.S. contributions have stayed about 25 percent higher than the year before the challenge, and the average donor age has dropped from above 50 to 35.

By shooting outside of their target demographic and trying alternative marketing tactics (video) that might normally take a backseat to more traditional fundraising efforts (galas, email marketing, etc … ) A.L.S.A. was able to bring in millions in one-time donations, raise brand awareness, and gain an overall contribution baseline of 25 percent. I’d say that’s enough incentive to shake things up in your next campaign.

3) Roman Originals (The Dress)

Image Credit: Wired

What happens when your company isn’t even the one behind a viral sensation?

“We woke up one morning and had the world and media coming down upon us,” says Peter Christodoulou, the co-founder of Roman Originals. It started with a wedding photo posted online. A young woman was pictured standing next to a bride, and no one could agree on what color her dress was.

What followed was an international debate dubbed #DressGate.

Christodoulou explained that his company had hoped to sell 200 of the lace-detailed dresses per week, but the UK-based retailer sold 3,000 in just 10 days. Celebrities, global brands, and just about everyone else was tweeting, sharing, and talking about “The Dress.” At its height, the controversy sparked 10,000 tweets per minute.

Viral Best Practice: Other Brands Can and Will Capitalize on Your Success

Brands around the world capitalized on the craze and amplified the popularity of “The Dress.” Dunkin’ Donuts, Legos, and Tide were just a few of the brands that came out with clever dress-themed ads of their own.

A few months later, Christodoulou said his company “won the social media lottery. We’ve had a brilliant year … Hopefully our spring/summer 2016 range will be well-received.”

While the line might not have sparked the global frenzy the original $74 dress had, Roman Originals showed the marketing world that virality can happen to anyone. And retailers everywhere showed that jumping on trending topics can do as much for you as it does for the company that originated the trend.

4) Metro Trains Melbourne (Dumb Ways to Die)

Screen Capture from DWTD on YouTube

Are you already humming that catchy little song in your head? You’re welcome for that all day.

Melbourne’s metro system didn’t have a safety campaign in market before “Dumb Ways to Die” (DWTD). They had information at stations, but nothing that was really influencing safe behavior or showing that the company cared, so they brought agency McCann Melbourne on to help.

Metro Trains’ Chloe Alsop explained, “We kept coming back to the same thing: it’s really hard to get hit by a train. A wrong or careless behaviour is required.” Without a serious tone or tugging at heartstrings, an impactful, memorable, and shareable campaign was built.

By April 2014, the campaign had been viewed 77 million times on YouTube. The accompanying game became the No. 1 free app in 101 countries, and in six weeks, DWTD had garnered an estimated $60 million in earned media. The most important stat that came out of the campaign? A 21% reduction in railway accidents and near misses following the campaign.

Viral Best Practice: Launch Outside Your Target Market to Build Buzz

McCann created the original campaign using North American voices and characters because “the video had to go viral first, later it would catch the attention of the real target audience.”

Today, the campaign has become a franchise used by metro transit around the world. The takeaway for us? As McCann spokesperson John Mescall says, “It used to be ‘Think global, act local.’ That’s no longer true; we need to think and act global.”

The next time you launch a campaign, try thinking about where you might launch outside of your target market to build buzz.

5) Invisible Children (Kony 2012)

Image Credit: NPR

Invisible Children was around for eight years before Kony 2012 turned them into a household name. They got their start by showing a short film called “The Rough Cut” at high schools and community centers around the United States.

The goal was to raise awareness of Joseph Kony, a war criminal responsible for a decades-long civil war in Uganda and surrounding countries, and most maligned for his kidnapping and use of children as sex slaves and soldiers.

The group flipped Kony 2012, a 30-minute YouTube video, to public on March 5, 2012. It was not their first or their last video but it was their loudest. In six days, it garnered more than 100 million views becoming (for the moment) the fastest growing viral video of all time. As the days passed, however, criticism of the video, the organization, and its founders grew.

The San Diego-based company wasn’t ready for the deluge of attention, traffic, or critique the video brought upon them. Invisible Children’s co-founder and star of Kony 2012 received the brunt of the criticism, culminating in a public mental health breakdown a few days after the video’s infamous launch.

Viral Best Practice: Have a PR Plan in Place

In 2015, three years after Kony 2012 ignited the internet’s attention, the company shuttered most of its US operations. Joseph Kony is still at large, and Invisible Children’s downsized African programs have honed their focus to early warning systems and defection messaging.

Kony 2012 is still a divisive subject, but it’s also a cautionary tale for organizations whose aims to go viral may not match their infrastructure or readiness. Site traffic, man-power, and the lack of a PR agency/strategy all contributed to the chaos in the days following Kony 2012’s launch.

6) Sphero (Makers of BB-8)

Image Credit: Shorty Awards

How did a small, Boulder, Colorado-based robotics company become the creator of spherical droid BB-8? Sphero was part of the inaugural class of Disney’s Accelerator tech-development program, which helps companies expand creatively using Disney’s impressive resources.

They happened to be in a meeting with Disney CEO Bob Iger as he was scrolling through offerings for Force Friday, a September 2015 toy and merchandising event held in anticipation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Iger asked the crew if they could make the rolling droid, BB-8, and they spent the next 10 months working on the product in time for a Force Friday launch. They sold more than a million robots in 2015 alone, more than doubling their all-time selling record.

Viral Best Practice: Use Social Media in New Ways (and it doesn’t hurt to have Disney on your side)

Sphero hit the jackpot with their Snapchat marketing campaign for Force Friday. The droid’s creators waited in lines with throngs of Force Friday patrons, snapping the hype and excitement of fellow fans.

They leveraged the cast of The Force Awakens, along with Snapchat influencers at five flagship Disney stores around the world to build buzz about the movie and their robot.

It’s been labeled the first global product launch using Snapchat, and the results were impressive with 10.3 million views, 4.76 thousand screenshots, 69.1 million seconds watched, and 411 thousand social engagements.

Sphero also handled media requests and newfound attention with Brandfolder, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform that kept their product photos, company information, and tech specs easily accessible and accurate. For your next product launch, how could you leverage social media in unexpected or nontraditional ways?

7) Niantic Inc. (Pokemon Go)

Image Credit: Niantic

Are you still recovering? Is it still too fresh to talk about?

Niantic Inc. was as surprised as you likely were when Pokemon Go became a global obsession. The company had prepared their server load for game launch with a ‘worst case’ estimate of five times the normal volume.

What they got was an astounding 50 times the expected traffic — within 24 hours of the game’s launch. But frustrated players and downed servers eventually gave way to 2016’s hottest trend.

Viral Best Practice: Focus on Quality and Innovation

After launch, the creators of Pokemon Go ironed out those kinks and continued to innovate on their product. They still release special, limited-time offerings like their ghost-themed Halloween event which saw a 1.3 billion increase in Pokemon caught by players, and a user spike of 13.2 percent globally.

Niantic also resisted the urge to monetize things too soon on a large scale. Instead, they focused on “core game mechanics, learning things on the technical side, the ops and customer support side, the community and marketing side.”

A more natural way for them to monetize early on? Quigley says, “We’re encouraging people to get out and about in their neighborhoods, their cities, their communities — what more natural way to integrate someone into the game than to have these paid sponsor locations that are interleaved among their other locations?”

Pokemon Go is a success story of a company that wasn’t expecting success but, by focusing on creating a quality product and resisting the urge to monetize too soon, was able to create not only a global sensation but a lasting one.

8) Cards Against Humanity 

Image Credit: Cards Against Humanity

You know it, you love it, and you’re embarrassed by it when your mom asks what it is. Your answer is invariably, “It’s like Apples to Apples … but different.”

This self-proclaimed “party game for horrible people” did not come from some hip Silicon Valley incubator. Instead, it was the brainchild of eight friends who’d known each other since grade school in their hometown of Chicago. They had no major outside investment, unless you count their one small crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, and it took them a while to even have a business address. “Our main priority is to be funny — and to have people like us,” says game co-creator Max Temkin.

Viral Best Practice: Know Your Brand Voice (and Stand By It)

Cards Against Humanity has always taken an unorthodox approach to marketing. You can download the full game for free on their website (something more than 1.5 million people have done). They once ran an anti-sale for Black Friday where they priced the game, normally $25, at $30 a box. With a tagline of “Today only! Cards Against Humanity products are $5 more. Consume!” the company inexplicably sold more cards. Their marketing strategy (or anti-strategy) would make most marketers cringe, but it works for them.

2016’s Black Friday campaign featured live video of the company “digging a holiday hole” and asking people to donate to its “cause.” They raised close to $30,000 with the stunt. Most recently, they launched their first-ever Super Bowl ad featuring nothing but a potato and a clever article about why the ad “failed.”

Cards Against Humanity is one of the clearest cases of knowing your brand voice and sticking with it. Their copy, creative, and campaigns are uniquely their own, and uniquely unapologetic about it, just like their game.  

9) Chubbies

Image Credit: Chubbies on Instagram

Love ’em, hate ’em, or loathe ’em, Chubbies is here to stay. The founders were four Stanford buddies who bonded over their mutual love of short shorts. Says co-founder Tom Montgomery, we noticed that “If you had a really cool pair of shorts, people would talk about it.” They decided to test their idea for Chubbies out at a Fourth of July beach party before going all in. They donned their “Chubbies,” headed to Lake Tahoe, and quickly found “the shorts struck the same emotional chord with other people that it struck with us.”

Their website launched in September 2011, just a few months before winter, giving them time to prepare for the busy spring months. Chubbies’ team spent that time building up inventory and marketing to their target audience: fraternities.

Witty emails, unapologetic copy, and bro-friendly photography set them apart, and their guerilla-style email tactics spread their name and their product through college towns everywhere.

Viral Best Practice: Build a Strong Narrative Before You Go Viral

In 2014 they raised a $4.4 million round of funding and a steady growth curve followed. They’ve expanded beyond their signature shorts but continue to build the brand around what made them successful in the first place — the weekend. “We’re constantly building this brand around the weekend and the feeling you get around Friday at 5 p.m. When a guy throws them on, the stress and rigors of the work week can be put on hold for a bit.”

That connection to their brand identity creates a strong narrative in their marketing efforts across channels. They speak to their audience unwaveringly, and their audience responds.

10) James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)

Image via: Amazon

Author James Frey had an explosive product launch in 2005. His book, A Million Little Pieces originally marketed as his memoir, was catapulted to overnight success after being named on Oprah’s television book club.

Two million copies were sold, making it the fastest-selling book in the club’s 10-year history. It topped the New York Times Best Seller list for 15 straight weeks and was published in 28 languages by 30 different publishers all over the world.

Unfortunately, months after Oprah lauded his bravery as well as his book, it was revealed that his memoir was more fiction than fact. Winfrey publically chastised Frey on her show, famously asking “Why would you lie?” Frey was dropped from his publishing house and he was hit with lawsuits from many readers.

Viral Best Practice: It’s Never Too Late to Refresh Your Brand

Frey continues to write books, with successes like I Am Number Four being made into movies. Even Oprah apologized for how she turned on him so suddenly. While he enjoys renewed success, Frey maintains a life decidedly out of the spotlight. The lesson here? Well, make sure your marketing isn’t full of lies, and be prepared to stand by your content if Oprah ever picks it up. But it’s also never too late to reinvent yourself and still have a successful career, even after a bad viral moment.

11) Dollar Shave Club

Image Credit: Dollar Shave Club on Instagram

At this point, Dollar Shave Club‘s (DSC) inaugural video is legendary. My first reaction to a shaving subscription service was, “huh?” But with a single video, DSC flawlessly spoke to shaver pain points, poked fun at themselves, and announced to the world that they were ready to shake up a previously forgettable industry

Co-founder Michael Dubin wrote the video, starred in it, and had a friend shoot it in a single day for less than $4,500. It crashed the company’s servers 90 minutes after it went live and catapulted the company to become the second-largest men’s razor seller in America.

Viral Best Practice: Don’t Be Afraid to Poke Fun at Yourself

That video has been viewed over 22 million times, and DSC has 1.1 million subscribers and growing. They earned a $615 million valuation in 2015, and in 2016 they were acquired by Unilever for $1 billion dollars cash. They continue with successful marketing, expertly branded packaging, and a unique presence in an industry that has finally been woken up. All thanks (in part) to a video that poked fun at the company while educating their consumer.

12) Chatbooks

Screen Capture from Chatbooks on YouTube

A four-minute viral video? It goes against every 15-, 30-, and 45-second best practice in the book, but boy did it pay off for Utah-based subscription photo service Chatbooks. The video educates its viewer on how to use a relatively new app that turns your photos into albums so you don’t have to.

Why was it so successful? They nail their buyer persona. The video features a busy, realistic mom. She speaks to the audience with all the advice, sarcasm, and “I get it, I’ve been there” relatability that you’d look for from a fellow cool mom. It closes with a catchy tagline: “done is better than perfect.”

Chatbooks sold 1 million subscriptions in its first 18 months. It’s racked up over 1 million views on YouTube and the company is pushing 200,000 “likes” on Facebook. They continue to put out honest, pain-point driven videos featuring the same now-recognizable mom.

Viral Best Practice: Get Detailed and Personal with Your Personas

It’s easy to phone in your user personas. Instead of just targeting “moms,” Chatbooks clearly thought through how that mom thinks, what she worries about during the day, how she’s spending her time, and how photos figure into her hectic schedule. The result? A video their target audience couldn’t help but share.

The Next Time Your Boss Asks for a Viral Campaign …

It’s nearly impossible to know what will go viral, and trying for that elusive result will usually come across as forced and futile.

Instead, research your target audience, decide if you can expand that audience, and create campaigns that are thoughtful, actionable, and relevant. But before you launch, make sure you’re prepared for the maelstrom that could follow. It’s always smart to have a PR plan in place should the worst (or the best) happen.

And finally, don’t expect for every piece of content you release thereafter to be equally as successful. Continue to create content that resonates with your audience and you’ll do just fine.

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Apr

1

2017

March Social Media News: Facebook vs. Snapchat, WhatsApp for Business & More

Published by in category Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

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March is known for a few major holidays and events. St. Patrick’s Day, U.S. college basketball tournaments, and the start of spring, to name a few.

After this year, in the marketing world, March 2017 will also be known as the month when Facebook officially took on Snapchat.

The world’s biggest social network launched ephemeral sharing apps on Messenger and Facebook itself to compete with Snapchat’s key feature. Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram have also recently launched disappearing sharing features on Status and Stories, respectively.

But Facebook isn’t the only story in social media this month. We’ll discuss new features on Instagram, a new social video app by YouTube, and of course, Facebook. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights in the social media space this month — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.

Check out our quick roundup of what’s new in social media below, and read on for more in-depth explanations and insights:

13 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month 

1) Facebook launches Messenger Day

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Source: Facebook

Facebook launched Messenger Day, its answer to the popularity of Snapchat Stories. Facebook previously launched ephemeral, or disappearing, messaging features on Instagram and WhatsApp, and this installment is the latest attempt to dominate Snapchat in the photo and video-sharing space.

Facebook is likely banking on Messenger’s huge user base — 1 billion people worldwide — to propel Messenger Day to popularity. It’s also positioning Messenger Day differently: Instead of sharing what they’ve been doing, Facebook wants users to share what they’re going to do later so they can make plans with friends. 

2) Facebook starts experimenting with Stories

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Source: Business Insider

Soon after the unveiling of Messenger Day, Facebook unveiled Facebook Stories — located at the top of the News Feed. Facebook confirmed to Business Insider that Stories would function identically to Instagram Stories — users could post them to Facebook, where they would disappear after being available for viewing for 24 hours. At this point, Facebook Stories are being rolled out to only a few countries, but we’ll report more when we can.

TL;DR: Facebook is coming for Snapchat. Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, cited the rise of Instagram Stories as a major hindrance to its user growth in its S-1 filing for its massive initial public offering (IPO) earlier in March. We’ll keep you posted if these innovations by Facebook are on the way to taking down Snapchat, or if Snapchat’s popularity among millennials and user engagement will keep it afloat.

3) Research demonstrates native Facebook videos are shared 1000% more than other formats

2.+share-of-video-formats-per-post.jpg

Source: quintly 

Quintly analyzed over 6 million Facebook posts to gain insights on how many videos, and of which type, were shared on the platform. It found that 90% of Facebook profiles and Pages analyzed shared Facebook native videos, or videos created and uploaded on Facebook, and not hosted on another platform that the user links to on Facebook. On the other hand, only 30% of the analyzed profiles and Pages had shared a YouTube video on Facebook during the months the study was conducted. Furthermore, quintly found that native Facebook videos were shared 1055% more than other videos and achieved an 186% higher interaction rate overall.

The lesson here for marketers? Take the extra step to upload videos into Facebook to earn higher engagement rates. We recommend a distributed content strategy to earn new followers from different audiences, so you could even promote video content on Facebook and other hosting sites and analyze the results.

4) Facebook introduces a 360 app for Samsung Gear VR

Facebook 360 - Login Screen.png

Source: Facebook 

Another Facebook launch this month comes from its video team, which created a Facebook 360 app for Samsung’s Oculus Gear VR (virtual reality) device. The app creates a more immersive 360-degree viewing experience for Facebook users, who can comment, interact with, and share posts they like within the app while wearing the device. In the announcement blog post, Facebook also notes that users have shared 26 million 360-degree photos and videos to date. These VR devices are fairly affordable at $79.99, so we’re curious to see if this app makes 360 sharing, or Gear VR use, increase. 

5) Facebook allows more ads on Instant Articles

facebook_instant_articles-1.png

Source: Facebook

Facebook announced it would give advertisers more freedom to monetize Instant Articles — by letting them place ads every 250 words instead of every 350 words, as were the previous rules. Facebook Instant Articles let publishers create and republish content within Facebook to get more readers without asking them to leave the social network. 

This news isn’t the best for anyone who enjoys reading online content uninterrupted — but it also reflects Facebook’s growing interest in collaborating with journalists and news publications. Earlier this year, Facebook launched the Facebook Journalism Project to address fake news, but also to collaborate with the people making the news. A huge percentage of Americans get news primarily from social media — especially Facebook — and this move notes another attempt to make it more appealing for publishers to work directly within Facebook so Facebook can grow and strengthen its user base.

6) Instagram rolls out “Suggestions for You”

 instagram_suggestions.png

I noticed this change while scrolling through my Instagram notifications. Instagram now suggests users to follow based on your Instagram friends, Facebook friends, and other posts you’ve liked. Instagram is honing its algorithm and making it easier for users to discover other profiles they might be interested in. This is great news for marketers publishing content on the platform — keep it up, because now, you might be found even more easily by new potential customers.

7) Geostickers now available in Instagram Stories

instagram_geofilters.jpg

In another step toward total Facebook domination of disappearing messages, Instagram started offering Geostickers for Instagram Stories. One of the only remaining differentiators between Snapchat Stories and its imitator on Instagram, these Geostickers are more customizable than those on Snapchat, which might make them more appealing to Snapchat users considering a switch.

Stars are already starting to move from Snapchat to Instagram for sharing ephemeral content, where their content can be more easily searched for and discovered. Snapchat cited Instagram Stories as an obstacle in its quest for user growth, and it will be fascinating to see how new, seemingly copycat features, impact that trajectory.

8) WhatsApp to allow businesses to chat with users

s3.reutersmedia.jpg

Source: Reuters 

Reuters reported that WhatsApp has started testing letting some businesses communicate directly with WhatsApp users as a potential future revenue model. WhatsApp is testing this feature with businesses that are a part of Y Combinator, a competitive startup incubator that fostered Airbnb and Dropbox in previous years. WhatsApp is also surveying users to ask them about spam messages they’ve received on the platform.

We’ve started to see other businesses using messaging apps — such as Facebook Messenger — to communicate with customers. These experiments likely signal WhatsApp’s first foray into that space, so if you’re a user, keep an eye out. And if you’re a marketer with a global audience, WhatsApp could be a path to communicate with customers — WhatsApp has over 1 billion users worldwide.

9) Pinterest acquires search engine Jelly

pinterest acquires jelly.png

Source: Biz Stone 

AskJelly.com is a human-powered search engine (think Quora or the now-defunct ChaCha) where users can submit questions and answer them for other users. Co-founded by Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter and Medium, Jelly was recently acquired by Pinterest.

Pinterest launched Lens last month, a new in-app camera that lets users shoot an object and get suggested pins based on what they photographed. This acquisition of a search engine could be Pinterest’s effort to improve the app’s search capabilities. Alternatively, The Verge suspects it was a talent acquisition to bring new developers, and Stone himself, on board.

10) Many Twitter accounts are actually bots

twitter_stats.png

Source: Twitter 

A study released by the University of Southern California revealed that 9-15% of Twitter users are actually bots, capable of liking, retweeting, and replying like a human Twitter user. If the high end of this estimate is true, that means roughly 48 million of Twitter’s 313 million active users aren’t real people — which spells trouble for the microblogging site. 

Twitter’s user growth is on the decline, along with its share of global social media users overall. It’s launched live video streaming within the app and forged partnerships with major news and sports networks to increase user engagement and attract new people to the site — especially those millennials who aren’t using cable TV packages.

11) YouTube launches social video app, Uptime

uptime_youtube.png

Source: The Verge 

Google’s new startup incubator, Area 120, was created so employees could spend time creating their own business ideas. This month, Area 120 announced the launch of Uptime, a social video app wherein users can watch YouTube videos in group messages with their friends. Like other live-streaming apps and features, such as Periscope and Facebook Live, users can comment, like, and interact with videos they’re watching in real-time with friends. At this point, it’s only available for iOS devices with an invitation, but we’ll keep you posted on new developments with Uptime.

12) YouTube will end unskippable 30-second ads next year

youtube_unskippable_ad.png

Source: YouTube

Do you ever find a YouTube video you really want to watch — only to realize you have to sit through a 30-second ad that you can’t skip after five seconds? 

The good news: Those are on the way out. The bad news: You still have to wait a while longer.

A Google spokesperson told BBC YouTube will no longer support 30-second unskippable ads in 2018 and will shift focus to ads that bring revenue for advertisers without creating a bad experience for the viewer.

YouTube will still offer some unskippable ads — in 5 and 15-second increments — as well as ads between 30 and 60 seconds that can be skipped, but this is great news for everyone. By focusing on shorter and more engaging formats, YouTube will create a better experience for viewers, and potentially better results for its advertisers.

13) Heinz Ketchup adopts social media and ad campaign from Mad Men 50 years later

50 years later, and we still don’t believe you should settle for fries without Heinz. #passtheheinz https://t.co/OpJNjMLwGM pic.twitter.com/FjfLS70xUZ

— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US)
March 14, 2017

Any Mad Men fans reading this post? Heinz Ketchup has decided on a new advertising campaign — the one fictional creative director Don Draper pitched on Mad Men nearly 50 years ago.

If you remember the episode, Draper didn’t win the account with Heinz, so it’s neat to see his pitch coming to life in the modern era. Heinz is putting up bold billboards featuring the “Pass the Heinz” tagline in New York City, as well as running the campaign on social media channels. Keep an eye out for promoted tweets and Facebook ads featuring this neat union of popular culture, great copywriting, and creative advertising.

Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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Mar

31

2017

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet of Social Media Photo & Image Sizes [Infographic]

Published by in category Daily, Design, IGSS, Social Media | Comments are closed

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When you’re selecting cover photos, shared images, and other social media assets, knowing the basic image dimensions might not cut it. What if you want to make sure a certain part of your cover photo isn’t obstructed by your profile photo? And what’s the difference between shared link thumbnails, or in-stream photos — are the dimensions different for those?

As it turns out, sizing images correctly for social media is no simple task. Even just among your Facebook marketing, photo dimensions vary according to where and how it’s shared — from cover photos, to timeline images, to profile pictures.Download our pre-sized Facebook cover photo template for free here to create  and optimize your Facebook cover image.  

But if you’re looking for a detailed guide on social media image sizes, you’re in luck — this infographic from Spredfast has you covered. It’s a valuable resource to keep on-hand for the next time you’re designing or selecting visual content for your social channels. And for quicker reference, scroll down to seea written list of essential social media image dimensions.

So, without further ado — let’s get visual.



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Quick References

All dimensions below are in pixels, width x height.

Facebook

  • Cover image: 828 x 315
  • Profile image: ≥180 x 180
  • Shared image: 1200 x 900
  • Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628

Twitter

  • Header image: 1500 x 500
  • Profile image: 400 x 400
  • Timeline image: 506 x 253

Google+

  • Profile image: 250 x 250
  • Cover image: 1080 x 608
  • Shared image: 506 pixels wide
  • Shared video: ≥506 x 284
  • Shared link image thumbnail: 150 x 150

Instagram

  • Profile image: 110 x 110
  • Image thumbnail: 161 x 161
  • Shared images: 1080 x 1080
  • Shared videos: 1080 pixels wide

Pinterest Image Sizes

  • Profile image: 180 x 180
  • Board cover image: 214 x 100
  • Pin preview: 238 pixels wide

LinkedIn

  • Banner image: 1850 x 200
  • Profile image: 400 x 400
  • Cover image: 1536 x 768
  • Shared image: 350 pixels wide
  • Shared link preview: 180 x 110
  • Logo image: 400 x 400

YouTube

  • Channel cover images: Varies by viewing platform
  • Channel icon: 800 x 800
  • Video thumbnail: 1280 x 720

Tumblr

  • Profile image: 128 x 128
  • Image post: 500 x 750 | 1280 x 1920 maximum

Snapchat

  • Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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