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Aug

4

2017

Marketers Weigh In: Which Live Video Platform Should You Use, and When?

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

Do you like to argue?

I do. I come from a long line of debaters, negotiators, and general question-askers — and now, it turns out, sparking these discussions has become part of my job.

That often manifests itself during our team’s lively Slack discussions 

around everything between what’s for lunch and the latest marketing news — the latter of which often includes a healthy amount of debate around which tools and channels we prefer to use, both as marketers and consumers of technology.

So when my colleague, Marketing Blog Staff Writer Sophia Bernazzani, recently covered an entire discussion around which is better — Snapchat, or Instagram — I thought, “That’s a great idea. What else can we debate?” Download our free guide to learn how to create and utilize video in your  marketing to increase engagement and conversion rates. 

This time, the contenders were some of the major live video platforms out there: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. I opened up the discussion on Slack …

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 2.31.09 PM.png

… and, a la Bernazzani’s approach to her debate, decided to open it up to our inbound.org community members.

We asked marketers the following:

  1. Which is your preferred platform for live video?
  2. Do you use different platforms for different purposes?
  3. Why do you prefer this/these platform(s)?
  4. Do you particularly dislike the non-preferred platforms, and if so, why?

And now, we’re sharing some of marketers’ biggest reasons why they prefer each platform — read on for some of the highlights of the debate below.

Why Use Facebook Live?

1) There’s more engagement.

According to Facebook Head of Video Fidji Simo, about 20% of all videos on the channel are live, with the time spent watching them having grown 4X over the past year.

Video already makes for a popular content format on Facebook, with roughly 100 million hours of it consumed on the channel each day. So when you consider that 20 million hours of that is comprised of live video, the data speaks for itself — people are engaged with this kind of content. It’s no wonder that HubSpot marketers agreed:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 3.32.36 PM-1.png

2) There’s greater reach.

Notice that, in his quote above, HubSpot Academy Senior Growth Marketing Manager Eric Peters also spoke to Facebook Live’s reach.

To date, Facebook has 1.28 billion daily active users. On top of that, it continues to rank as Pew Research Center’s most popular social media channel. In other words — when content is shared on Facebook, it’s done so with a bit of a built-in audience.

With so many people already using Facebook, users often come across content from creators that they don’t already follow because it’s recommended by the platform’s algorithm, or one of their friends engaged with it or shared it, which shows up as activity on their feeds.

Therefore, when marketers share content on Facebook, viewership isn’t necessarily limited to the people who already like their Pages — it also has the potential to reach new audiences in the ways we mentioned above. HubSpot Social Media Marketer Nick Carney agrees:

NickCFBLive.png

3) It’s easy to use.

Carney also spoke to the fact that, when it comes to broadcasting live video with convenience, Facebook emerges as a leader once again.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.03.58 PM.png

As he points out, Facebook Live not only seamlessly integrates with a number of other platforms, but it’s also responsive across more than one viewing or recording medium — like desktop or mobile. And when you’re a marketer trying to capture an event unfolding, or provide a spontaneous look at what your brand is doing, that sort of translatable use is important.

Maybe that’s why social media strategist Christine Gritmon had the following responses to our questions:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.08.29 PM.png

4) The actual content outlives the live broadcast.

Gritmon also mentioned the somewhat evergreen nature of Facebook Live video content. Unlike other ephemeral content platforms, she explains, viewers can continue to consume her live video content long after the broadcast has ended.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.10.25 PM.png

Notice how she addressed the idea of repurposing Facebook Live content elsewhere. While non-live Instagram posts, for example, can be shared and embedded elsewhere — Stories and live video cannot. Using Facebook, Gritmon explains, allows this specific video content to continue existing elsewhere, long-term, so that it can still reach those who didn’t catch the live broadcast.

Why Use Instagram?

1) It’s good for short-form content.

When it comes to streaming live video on mobile, Fresh Egg’s Social Media Manager Mark Longhurst says that Instagram Live is his go-to platform:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.24.38 PM.png

Here’s where discoverability comes into play. Instagram, similar to Facebook, is a platform where users are scrolling through a feed of multiple pieces of consumable content. They’re not looking for anything in particular, and haven’t arrived at this destination as a result of searching for something. Rather, they’re here just to see what’s new and what might be interesting.

That’s especially true of Instagram’s “Videos You Might Like” feature, which includes hand-picked Stories, live, and pre-recorded videos that it’s determined a given user might like, based on her viewing behavior on the platform — and which, personally, has led to following more than one previously undiscovered profile.

IMG_0379.png

That said, people aren’t necessarily looking to consume a long piece of content while they’re scrolling, even if it does come in a live video format. About two-thirds of viewers prefer video that’s under one minute, and in a crowded feed of content, it’s likely to be even less. So as Longhurst says — when it comes to this platform, keep it short.

2) Sometimes, the content seems a bit more natural.

Pre-produced and formal live videos are great — in a certain context. If you’re hosting a webinar, for example, or a longer sit-down interview that you’ve teased or promoted in advance, viewers have a better idea of what they’re in for — in fact, they’ve probably already registered for or planned to watch it before the broadcast begins.

But there’s a time and a place for that, says Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors Director of Marketing Angela M. McMillan — and Instagram Live isn’t it.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.43.38 PM.png

When it comes to Instagram Live, focus on short, helpful videos with aesthetic appeal — and content that doesn’t need to stick around after its initial live broadcast has passed.

These criteria make Instagram an ideal platform for live videos that are update-like in nature — a way to say “hello” to viewers and show them what your brand and its people are up to. For example, maybe there’s a trendy industry event where you might have a presence — Instagram Live provides a great avenue for letting your audience know that you’re there and that you’ll be bringing them a glimpse of all the cool action that’s taking place. Later on, if you want to do a compiled review of the event that’s a bit less spontaneous in nature, find a different platform for it.

Why Use YouTube?

1) It’s valuable to those who already have an audience there.

When Gritmon was weighing in on live video platforms, she noted that “YouTube Live is wonderful for those who have an audience there,” but that it’s simply “not where my audience is.” For that reason, if you’re just starting out on YouTube, it might not be the best venue for your live videos.

However, if you already have an established YouTube presence and typically use it for pre-recorded content, it can be a valuable platform for a “special edition” of something, or an event that your audience should “tune in for” — which you can promote and tease with a non-live video prior to the broadcast.

Here’s an example of how Sony Pictures Entertainment did just that to tease its live Hangout with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 cast:

2) It’s better for long-form content.

As we noted above, YouTube is a better platform for longer live videos — especially when you’ve promoted them in some of the ways we’ve discussed above. That’s especially true on mobile, says Longhurst — in fact, check out the latest edition to the platform’s listing in the iTunes store:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 5.04.51 PM.png

That wasn’t always the case — according to TechCrunch, the listing previously read, “YouTube – Watch, Upload and Share Videos” — with no mention of live content. But from a consumption standpoint, we haven’t noticed anything remarkably different about the live viewing experience on here than on the other channels we’ve discussed. While it does allow users to minimize the video into a corner for continuous play while browsing elsewhere within the app, Facebook offers the same feature.

It seems, then, that the platform may be making an attempt to catch up with other platforms in the realm of live mobile viewership. And from a marketing standpoint, recording and streaming live video via mobile is currently only available to verified accounts with at least 100 subscribers — making it less than ideal for short-form, spontaneous content.

Why Use Snapchat?

Truth time: We didn’t hear from a ton of marketers who are too crazy about using SnapChat for live video.

For her part, Gritmon says she uses Snapchat for the sake of “staying in the game” as a social media strategist, and that she doesn’t believe it’s used by the demographic that she or her clients are trying to reach. She also noted that it appears to largely be used for sharing private content with a select group of friends — not for reaching new audiences with live content.

In sum, it seems the verdict is in:

  • Facebook = Good for engagement and reach, especially with longer-form live videos.
  • Instagram = Good for discoverability, with spontaneous, shorter-form live videos.
  • YouTube = Good for marketers with a pre-established audience on this platform already, who can upload pre-recorded videos on their channels to tease live broadcasts.
  • Snapchat = Good for sharing among friends — not new audiences.

Many thanks to the HubSpot and inbound.org community marketers who participated in this discussion. Where do you stand on the debate over the best live video platform? Let us know in the comments.

free guide: how to use facebook live

 

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Aug

3

2017

Marketers Weigh In: Which Live Video Platform Should You Use, and When?

Do you like to argue?

I do. I come from a long line of debaters, negotiators, and general question-askers — and now, it turns out, sparking these discussions has become part of my job.

That often manifests itself during our team’s lively Slack discussions 

around everything between what’s for lunch and the latest marketing news — the latter of which often includes a healthy amount of debate around which tools and channels we prefer to use, both as marketers and consumers of technology.

So when my colleague, Marketing Blog Staff Writer Sophia Bernazzani, recently covered an entire discussion around which is better — Snapchat, or Instagram — I thought, “That’s a great idea. What else can we debate?” New Call-to-action

This time, the contenders were some of the major live video platforms out there: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. I opened up the discussion on Slack …

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 2.31.09 PM.png

… and, a la Bernazzani’s approach to her debate, decided to open it up to our inbound.org community members.

We asked marketers the following:

  1. Which is your preferred platform for live video?
  2. Do you use different platforms for different purposes?
  3. Why do you prefer this/these platform(s)?
  4. Do you particularly dislike the non-preferred platforms, and if so, why?

And now, we’re sharing some of marketers’ biggest reasons why they prefer each platform — read on for some of the highlights of the debate below.

Why Use Facebook Live?

1) There’s more engagement.

According to Facebook Head of Video Fidji Simo, about 20% of all videos on the channel are live, with the time spent watching them having grown 4X over the past year.

Video already makes for a popular content format on Facebook, with roughly 100 million hours of it consumed on the channel each day. So when you consider that 20 million hours of that is comprised of live video, the data speaks for itself — people are engaged with this kind of content. It’s no wonder that HubSpot marketers agreed:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 3.32.36 PM-1.png

2) There’s greater reach.

Notice that, in his quote above, HubSpot Academy Senior Growth Marketing Manager Eric Peters also spoke to Facebook Live’s reach.

To date, Facebook has 1.28 billion daily active users. On top of that, it continues to rank as Pew Research Center’s most popular social media channel. In other words — when content is shared on Facebook, it’s done so with a bit of a built-in audience.

With so many people already using Facebook, users often come across content from creators that they don’t already follow because it’s recommended by the platform’s algorithm, or one of their friends engaged with it or shared it, which shows up as activity on their feeds.

Therefore, when marketers share content on Facebook, viewership isn’t necessarily limited to the people who already like their Pages — it also has the potential to reach new audiences in the ways we mentioned above. HubSpot Social Media Marketer Nick Carney agrees:

NickCFBLive.png

3) It’s easy to use.

Carney also spoke to the fact that, when it comes to broadcasting live video with convenience, Facebook emerges as a leader once again.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.03.58 PM.png

As he points out, Facebook Live not only seamlessly integrates with a number of other platforms, but it’s also responsive across more than one viewing or recording medium — like desktop or mobile. And when you’re a marketer trying to capture an event unfolding, or provide a spontaneous look at what your brand is doing, that sort of translatable use is important.

Maybe that’s why social media strategist Christine Gritmon had the following responses to our questions:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.08.29 PM.png

4) The actual content outlives the live broadcast.

Gritmon also mentioned the somewhat evergreen nature of Facebook Live video content. Unlike other ephemeral content platforms, she explains, viewers can continue to consume her live video content long after the broadcast has ended.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.10.25 PM.png

Notice how she addressed the idea of repurposing Facebook Live content elsewhere. While non-live Instagram posts, for example, can be shared and embedded elsewhere — Stories and live video cannot. Using Facebook, Gritmon explains, allows this specific video content to continue existing elsewhere, long-term, so that it can still reach those who didn’t catch the live broadcast.

Why Use Instagram?

1) It’s good for short-form content.

When it comes to streaming live video on mobile, Fresh Egg’s Social Media Manager Mark Longhurst says that Instagram Live is his go-to platform:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.24.38 PM.png

Here’s where discoverability comes into play. Instagram, similar to Facebook, is a platform where users are scrolling through a feed of multiple pieces of consumable content. They’re not looking for anything in particular, and haven’t arrived at this destination as a result of searching for something. Rather, they’re here just to see what’s new and what might be interesting.

That’s especially true of Instagram’s “Videos You Might Like” feature, which includes hand-picked Stories, live, and pre-recorded videos that it’s determined a given user might like, based on her viewing behavior on the platform — and which, personally, has led to following more than one previously undiscovered profile.

IMG_0379.png

That said, people aren’t necessarily looking to consume a long piece of content while they’re scrolling, even if it does come in a live video format. About two-thirds of viewers prefer video that’s under one minute, and in a crowded feed of content, it’s likely to be even less. So as Longhurst says — when it comes to this platform, keep it short.

2) Sometimes, the content seems a bit more natural.

Pre-produced and formal live videos are great — in a certain context. If you’re hosting a webinar, for example, or a longer sit-down interview that you’ve teased or promoted in advance, viewers have a better idea of what they’re in for — in fact, they’ve probably already registered for or planned to watch it before the broadcast begins.

But there’s a time and a place for that, says Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors Director of Marketing Angela M. McMillan — and Instagram Live isn’t it.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 4.43.38 PM.png

When it comes to Instagram Live, focus on short, helpful videos with aesthetic appeal — and content that doesn’t need to stick around after its initial live broadcast has passed.

These criteria make Instagram an ideal platform for live videos that are update-like in nature — a way to say “hello” to viewers and show them what your brand and its people are up to. For example, maybe there’s a trendy industry event where you might have a presence — Instagram Live provides a great avenue for letting your audience know that you’re there and that you’ll be bringing them a glimpse of all the cool action that’s taking place. Later on, if you want to do a compiled review of the event that’s a bit less spontaneous in nature, find a different platform for it.

Why Use YouTube?

1) It’s valuable to those who already have an audience there.

When Gritmon was weighing in on live video platforms, she noted that “YouTube Live is wonderful for those who have an audience there,” but that it’s simply “not where my audience is.” For that reason, if you’re just starting out on YouTube, it might not be the best venue for your live videos.

However, if you already have an established YouTube presence and typically use it for pre-recorded content, it can be a valuable platform for a “special edition” of something, or an event that your audience should “tune in for” — which you can promote and tease with a non-live video prior to the broadcast.

Here’s an example of how Sony Pictures Entertainment did just that to tease its live Hangout with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 cast:

2) It’s better for long-form content.

As we noted above, YouTube is a better platform for longer live videos — especially when you’ve promoted them in some of the ways we’ve discussed above. That’s especially true on mobile, says Longhurst — in fact, check out the latest edition to the platform’s listing in the iTunes store:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 5.04.51 PM.png

That wasn’t always the case — according to TechCrunch, the listing previously read, “YouTube – Watch, Upload and Share Videos” — with no mention of live content. But from a consumption standpoint, we haven’t noticed anything remarkably different about the live viewing experience on here than on the other channels we’ve discussed. While it does allow users to minimize the video into a corner for continuous play while browsing elsewhere within the app, Facebook offers the same feature.

It seems, then, that the platform may be making an attempt to catch up with other platforms in the realm of live mobile viewership. And from a marketing standpoint, recording and streaming live video via mobile is currently only available to verified accounts with at least 100 subscribers — making it less than ideal for short-form, spontaneous content.

Why Use Snapchat?

Truth time: We didn’t hear from a ton of marketers who are too crazy about using SnapChat for live video.

For her part, Gritmon says she uses Snapchat for the sake of “staying in the game” as a social media strategist, and that she doesn’t believe it’s used by the demographic that she or her clients are trying to reach. She also noted that it appears to largely be used for sharing private content with a select group of friends — not for reaching new audiences with live content.

In sum, it seems the verdict is in:

  • Facebook = Good for engagement and reach, especially with longer-form live videos.
  • Instagram = Good for discoverability, with spontaneous, shorter-form live videos.
  • YouTube = Good for marketers with a pre-established audience on this platform already, who can upload pre-recorded videos on their channels to tease live broadcasts.
  • Snapchat = Good for sharing among friends — not new audiences.

Many thanks to the HubSpot and inbound.org community marketers who participated in this discussion. Where do you stand on the debate over the best live video platform? Let us know in the comments.

free guide: how to use facebook live

 

Jul

15

2017

How We Generated 1 Million Facebook Video Views: A HubSpot Experiment

Published by in category A/B testing, Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

social-media-experiment-coverage-compressed.jpg

Gone are the days when social media publishing and engagement could be tacked onto the daily responsibilities of an intern — as were many of the first roles in social media.

Today’s growth-minded organizations need a team of people ideating, creating, publishing, and promoting content on social media to drive meaningful returns on investment — and this requires time, effort, and creativity.

Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Marketers are realizing this and dedicating more time, resources, and staff headcount to social media. In the 2017 State of Inbound report, more marketers said they planned to add social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to their marketing efforts than in the previous year’s survey.

Here at HubSpot, we’re constantly evaluating and changing the way we create content on social media to adapt to the way people want to stay connected. As our audience’s preferences for social media content evolve each year, so does our strategy.

In our survey, nearly half of respondents said they wanted to see more social media content — and more videos, especially. So we’ve run a few experiments digging into what our audience wants to see, how they want to engage, and where they want to interact on social media.

We have our strategies, process, and results to share that might inform your strategy, but our greatest piece of advice for any social media team — no matter the size — is to always experiment. The social media space changes so much every month — it’s important to figure out what works, but it’s also important to remain agile so you can try new things whenever you can.

How We Increased Video Views 20X by Creating Native Social Media Content

Social media has changed.

That might read like the biggest understatement in the world, but hear me out.

As part of our previous social media strategy, our posts were connected to lead generation goals — and most had a strong tie to our brand and promoting our content. Now, our content is all about our audience — and not all about us. We needed to refocus and remember that our audience members are people, just like us. If we wouldn’t want to see a piece of content in our Facebook News Feeds, why would our audience? We wanted to test the effect of focusing our content on our audience — what they want to learn about, what their goals are, and even what struggles they face.

In short, we wanted to be more social, and less promotional.

This doesn’t mean we recommend doing away with sharing blog content or ebooks on social media entirely. After all, it’s hard to come up with new ideas for creating social media videos to share every day of the week. We’re just saying you shouldn’t post a link to a blog post or ebook on Facebook and call it a day. Instead, get inspired by the ideas and salient points, and repurpose your content into Facebook videos, Instagram albums, or Snapchat Stories. You can still use the good ideas — but use them to create native social media content that performs better for the medium.

If your current social media strategy sounds like our previous, all-about-us approach, don’t worry — read on to learn how we’ve changed things up.

1) Different Video Topics

The Goal:

We examined our audience and learned what they did engage with in our previous social media strategy. Then, we researched the broader social media and digital landscapes. We wanted to learn what marketers and salespeople were already engaging with and finding relevant, and how we could create content more specifically for them, instead of distributing our content on social media channels for our goals.

The Experiment:

We created a list of topics and headlines we believed our audience would respond well to — that were more lifestyle and culturally-oriented — and immediately started creating content. Then, we started brainstorming culturally relevant and popular topics and saw how we could creatively present them to this audience in a way that makes sense for our audience and their world.

Our audience is made up of marketers and salespeople who want to learn how to grow and get better at their jobs — so instead of using our social media channels to simply push out content we were producing on our blogs, offers, and external channels, we’ve started creating content specifically for our Facebook audience based on what we know about what they like (like this video about making coffee to improve productivity — two things busy people love):

The Results:

We went from an average of 50,000 video views per month to 1 million views in our first month performing these experiments. Our engagement rate also shot up as the content resonated with our audience and they started liking, commenting, and sharing our posts.

Take a look at our engagement rates from our previous social strategy (orange indicates reach, and pink indicates clicks):

social-strategy-v1.png

And here’s what our views and engagement rate looked like under our new strategy:

social-strategy-v2.png

Pretty big jump, huh?

Key Takeaway for Marketers:

When you start evaluating how to generate more Likes, comments, and shares from your Facebook audience, think about how you yourself use the platform. You might not be as interested in sharing a post that’s highly specific to one brand or organization, but you might engage with a post that’s highly relevant to you, right?

Conduct some detailed persona research, analyze your Facebook audience insights, and learn more about how they’re spending time on the platform instead of simply using Facebook as a means to only promote what you’re doing. Create social media content specifically for your audience, and you’ll get better results.

2) Different Video Design Devices

The Goal:

We wanted to test our videos to see if different designs and formats would lead to different engagement rates.

The Experiment:

We tested the effects of some new design devices. These included starting videos with a human face, putting title bars throughout the duration of our videos, ensuring there were captions throughout, adding a “Best with Sound on” animation, and providing a CTA with the goal of audience engagement.

  • Human face: We felt that people would respond best to a human face as they would feel connected. Here’s an example.
  • Title bars: People are scrolling so fast we wanted to grab their attention and make sure they knew what our video was about in that quick motion. It also helps if someone gets distracted during the video, they will always know the topic. Here’s an example.
  • Subtitles: Our historical data showed that about 95% of people watched our videos without the sound on. We wanted to meet them where they were at and make sure that our videos could still be watched in that format. Here’s an example.
  • “Best with Sound On” animations: Knowing our audience primarily watches with the sound off, we wanted to make sure our videos that benefitted from sound were noted as such. Here’s an example.
  • Call-to-action: To help facilitate how people could engage with our video, we ask them questions, or ask them to respond in some way to our video. Here’s an example.

The Results:

In January 2017, the average Facebook view earned 4,500 views. By May 2017, our average number of Facebook video views had increased to 56,000 per new video. Additionally, our average number of video engagements (Likes, comments, clicks, and shares) during this time period increased from 100 to 496. Finally, our percentage of Facebook viewers who watched videos with the sound off decreased from 95% to between 60-70% per video.

Key Takeaway for Marketers:

The design devices we added are designed to make for an easier viewing experience for the audience and crafted based off how people are using social these days. We are serving up videos to our audience how our audience wants to see them, and the results show that it’s working. Use different devices and tools, such as the ones we tried, to make your videos easier to consume for your audience — no matter where or how they’re watching.

3) Different Video Sizes

The Goal:

We want to create videos that are eye-catching and attract our audience’s attention in the Facebook News Feed to increase our video views and engagement on the platform.

The Experiment:

We’ve started experimenting with different video sizes and formats to improve engagement and increase video views. The default Facebook video size has an aspect ratio of 16:9 (a rectangle), like the video below. When viewers click the video to watch on mobile devices (where roughly 90% of Facebook users access the platform), it only takes up part of the center of their screen in the News Feed:

facebook-aspect-ratio-vox1.png

And when viewers click in to watch the video, it takes up so little space that Facebook queues up another video for them to watch next — or potentially navigate away to if they get bored with the original video:

facebook-aspect-ratio-vox2.png

Conversely, when we post Facebook videos with a 1:1 aspect ratio, the video takes up 78% more space on the mobile News Feed — and it takes up more space when the viewer clicks to watch it, too.

          facebook-aspect-ratio-hubspot1.png        facebook-aspect-ratio-hubspot2.png

The Results:

We haven’t experimented with mobile Facebook video sizes enough to report on it — yet. Luckily, our friends at Buffer have us covered — they partnered with Animoto to experiment with optimal Facebook video sizing for mobile earlier this year.

Buffer and Animoto found that square videos (1:1) outperformed landscape videos (16:9) in both views and engagement. Over the course of the experiment, square videos achieved 30-35% more views and 80-100% more engagement than the landscape format. You can dig into all of the results in Buffer’s blog post for all of the findings — including the interesting note that landscape videos outperformed square videos for desktop users.

Since the odds are that most of your Facebook fans will access your content on mobile devices, filming videos in a square aspect ratio will most likely drive more engagement and more video views for your content on the platform. But, if you’re specifically targeting desktop users for a campaign or ad, landscape videos might be a better choice.

Key Takeaway for Marketers:

Film videos in 1:1 aspect ratios to take up as much space as possible on your audience’s mobile phones — because that’s where they’re interacting with you the most. Next, we’ll be trying to film in 9:16 aspect ratio to take up the entire screen — like an Instagram or Snapchat Story — and we’ll keep you posted how those perform in future posts.

Tl;dr: Native Social Media Content

Overall, we averaged 50,000 total Facebook video views per month last year, and this year so far, we’re averaging about 1 million total video views per month. Some of these additional views may be attributable to Facebook ad spend on another video campaign (more on that in a subsequent post), and although using paid ads and sponsored posts on social media is part of the game, creating good content matters too. And we think our overhaul of how we create Facebook videos was the primary growth lever.

Think about creating content for social media the way you think about optimizing blog posts with on-page SEO elements.

You know all about on-page SEO — how to create titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URL structures that help your blog posts and webpages rank in search engines. Think about these video devices and strategies like on-page SEO — but for social media.

Subtitles, title bars, animations, and video sizes all work together to make it easier for your audience to view your videos and interact with them the way they want to — primarily on mobile devices, and without turning up the volume. And of course, engaging topics get viewers interested in clicking and watching something on their News Feeds in the first place.

Next Steps

We’re going to keep iterating on what works, scrap what doesn’t, and brainstorm more ways to keep our audiences engaged and entertained by our content. The ultimate goal of social media is to be just that — social — and we want to hear from our audience, learn what they like and dislike, and keep creating cool stuff for them to enjoy.

What experiments is your social media team running? Share with us in the comments below.

free trial of hubspot's social media software

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Jul

13

2017

Marketers Weigh In: Instagram or Snapchat Stories?

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

snapchat-vs.-instagram-debate-compressed.jpg

Be honest: Do you spend a lot of time during your work day chatting with colleagues on messaging apps, like Slack?

It’s okay — so do we. And while some of our messages are GIFs and emojis (okay, the majority of our messages), we also get into lots of lively Slack discussions (okay, debates) about news stories and product announcements in the marketing technology space.

So when my colleague, senior growth marketing manager Niti Shah, sent around a link to Apptopia’s analysis of Snapchat’s slowing user growth, it sparked a discussion of who uses which app for sharing disappearing messages, and which is better — Snapchat Stories, or Instagram Stories.

New Call-to-action

snapchat vs insta hubspotters.png

The conversation evolved from there, so we wanted to open it up to our inbound.org community members, too. 

So we asked marketers the following:

  1. When do you prefer to use Snapchat, and when do you prefer Instagram for Stories?
  2. When do you use Snapchat vs. Instagram for different marketing purposes?

And now, we’re sharing some of marketers’ biggest reasons for why they prefer each platform — read on for some of the highlights of the debate below.

Why Use Instagram Stories?

1) There’s more engagement.

The most resounding point that came up again and again — on both inbound.org and on Slack — was Instagram’s size advantage: While Snapchat hit 166 million users earlier this year, Instagram Stories alone has already racked up an impressive 250 million users.

And that’s probably because any one of Instagram’s 700 million total users can click on Stories to start seeing ephemeral content from accounts they follow. So it’s no surprise that marketers at HubSpot and on inbound.org saw the advantages of leveraging their reach with existing audiences on Instagram to share ephemeral content.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta1.png

Marketers found that Instagram Stories achieved higher levels of engagement than Snapchat Stories, so their sharing habits have dwindled on Snapchat — and in some cases, dropped off significantly.

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Some even went so far as to delete Snapchat from their devices altogether.

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2) It’s is easier for individuals and businesses to use.

Because Instagram has been around slightly longer than Snapchat, users were already familiar with the interface when Instagram Stories was unveiled last August. So it’s no surprise so many members of our community found it easier to use compared to Snapchat.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta7.png

Benjamin Choy cited Instagram’s business tools, which are managed through Facebook’s impressive ads manager, as another compelling reason for marketers to spend more time and effort on Instagram.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta8.png

A couple of my colleagues cited the ease of permanent and Stories sharing all in one app, and my colleague, growth marketing manager David Ly Khim, made a great point about Instagram’s messaging capabilities compared to Snapchat: Individual direct messages don’t disappear, as they do on Snapchat.

insta-david aja.png

Others were more blunt about their opinions of Snapchat’s usability — or lack thereof.

insta-emma.png

3) It’s more visual for retailers on the platform.

Because Instagram is such a visual platform, some marketers have found their audience members and customers to be more engaged than on Snapchat — especially when it comes to sharing (or re-gramming) pictures of products.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta6.png

4) The audience is already there.

Like we mentioned earlier, because so many millions of users were already on Instagram when it introduced the Stories feature, many marketers find it easier to share content on the platform they were already using to share photos and videos.

insta-amanda.png

The built-in audience makes it easy for some marketers to prioritize the platform over Snapchat. Instead of rebuilding an existing audience of users, they can activate existing fans and attract new ones by sharing different types of content on Instagram.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta2.png

But one Instagram fan only likes Instagram — and not Stories.

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Why Use Snapchat Stories?

1) Users can share spontaneous, unpolished posts.

Snapchat was the original ephemeral sharing and messaging app, and it made its mark for showing a more authentic and unpolished side of social media, especially compared to the perfectly curated posts on Instagram feeds. 

And as it turns out, that original feeling is what keeps some of its users engaged to this day.

snap-karla.png

2) It’s a less competitive space for brands to stand out with customers.

While some think Snapchat makes it too hard to discover and follow other users, Richie de Wit thinks Snapchat audiences could be more engaged because they have to seek your brand out so intentionally. Plus, because Instagram is so saturated with accounts, Snapchat could be a way to grab people’s attention more easily.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta9.png

3) It’s a more personal, private space for sharing with friends.

The most commonly cited argument for using Snapchat was for private use to communicate with friends and family — not necessarily for brands.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta.png

My colleague, senior growth and acquisition marketer Lindsay Kolowich, uses Instagram for personal branding — and she doesn’t post Stories. Instead, she saves her authentic and spontaneous content for her private network of Snapchat friends.

snap-lindsay.png

And in such a connected and social world online, some marketers find it valuable to have one network that’s just for them, and not for personal or business branding.

inbound.org-snapvsinsta5.png

4) It’s popular among younger audiences.

One of Snapchat’s biggest value propositions has always been its appeal to younger social media users — like teens in high school, and college students in their early 20s. Younger millennials were among the early Snapchat adopters, and they’re still the Snapchat diehards today.

So it’s no surprise that when we asked our resident youth culture expert, Clifford Chi, about Snapchat, he was a big fan. 

(Just kidding — he’s an intern writing for the HubSpot Marketing Blog.)

snap-clifford.png

So while Snapchat might be on a user growth downturn right now, who’s to say how its demographics and popularity will change when Chi and his classmates graduate, start working in social media marketing, or purchasing ad space? They’ll probably start with Snapchat — and app they already know and love.

Why Use Instagram and Snapchat Stories?

This is only a sampling of a couple of discussions, but the vast majority of people I asked chose Instagram Stories for marketing and Snapchat Stories for personal sharing.

So, does that mean that Snapchat is out, and Instagram is in? Not so fast.

Marketers should always seek to meet their audience where they already are — and not recreate them on a different platform just for the sake of it. If you’re engaging with your audience and your customers on Snapchat, don’t stop simply because Instagram might be more popular. Both networks are constantly innovating (and copying each other) to offer more business tools to make products more competitive — so stay tuned for our coverage of social media news every month to see how Snapchat and Instagram stack up against each other.

Many thanks to the HubSpot employees and inbound.org community members who participated in this discussion. Where do you stand on the debate over Instagram versus Snapchat for ephemeral content? Share your opinion with us in the comments below.

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Jul

4

2017

June Social Media News: Snap Map, Twitter Revamped & More

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

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June is typically a time when people start booking vacations and travel, but in the world of social media, the work on innovation never stops.

In fact, just last Friday, June 30th was #SocialMediaDay.

So in honor of Social Media Day, we’ve rounded up the latest launches and announcements from different social media apps over the last month.

(Just kidding, we write this roundup every month, but hey, it’s fun to celebrate holidays.) Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

From Facebook to Snapchat, from new product launches to small tweaks, here’s a list of what’s new in social media this month. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.

9 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

Snapchat

1) Snapchat launched Snap Map.

In late May, Snapchat acquired Zenly, a French social mapping app that shows users where their friends are on a map so they can message and make plans to connect.

And sure enough, in June, a similar map showed up in Snapchat: a heatmap showing where users were posting Snapchat stories dotted with Actionmojis — or more detailed versions of Snapchat Bitmojis that update in real-time. Actionmojis also show if users are traveling in cars, listening to music, shopping, traveling to an airport, flying in a plane, and more activities. Check out the demo video below:

The Snap Map is another move by Snapchat to make content more discoverable and to keep users engaged in the app for longer periods of time. Snapchat is locked in a battle with Instagram that it seems to be losing — its user numbers are increasing slowly, so growth is decreasing, but increased engagement and more ways for content to be discovered could convince more people to share — and advertise — in the app.

If you’re getting creeped out by the thought of the Snap Map, don’t worry — users have to elect to be visible on the map to friends, and they can operate in Ghost Mode, where nobody else can see their locations.

If you swipe down on your Snapchat camera and tap the gear in the upper right-hand corner, scroll down to the “Who Can” section, tap “See My Location,” and choose if you want Friends to find you on the map — you can even choose a select group — or if you want to be in Ghost Mode.

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2) Time Warner Inc. invested $100 million in Snapchat TV shows and ads.

In an effort to reach younger audiences on the platform, Time Warner has reportedly invested $100 million to create Snapchat shows and ads over the next two years. Time Warner and its various properties — including HBO and Warner Brothers — will produce three to five-minute shows, and Snapchat will “air” three shows per day in its vertical video format within the app.

Bloomberg reported that Warner Brothers will advertise upcoming movies within the app, too — and will split the revenues with Snap Inc, according to The Wall Street Journal.

So, will HBO’s “Game of Thrones” now live on Snapchat next? I’ll be eagerly following these “shows” and if they take off on Snapchat. Almost 90% of viewers use a second screen while watching TV in the United States, so I’m curious to see if people will forego other smartphone capabilities to watch a three-to-five-minute Snapchat show or not. Either way, we’ll keep you posted.

3) Users can now create Snapchat Geofilters without leaving the app.

Before this month, Snapchat users could create custom Geofilter designs and submit them to Snapchat for approval — for parties, weddings, and other events.

Now, users can create custom Geofilters using the creative tools they already use to decorate their Snaps — like emojis, the drawing tool, Bitmojis, and more.

mobile-odg.jpgSource: Snap Inc.

Using the mobile creative studio, users can create Geofilters, decide when and where they want the filters to appear on Snapchat (for a one-day event, for example, or for a weeklong conference), and submit the filters for approval and payment, which starts at $5.99. The studio can be easily accessed by tapping the Settings gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Snapchat app.

Twitter

4) Twitter redesigned its website and mobile app.

Twitter has completely revamped its desktop site and app to make Twitter feel “lighter, faster, and easier to use.” Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new and improved:

  • More organized UI: Twitter now offers a sidebar where users can quickly and easily navigate to their profiles, lists, and personal settings.
  • Clear typography: Twitter changed the in-app font, made some headlines bolder to attract attention in the busy feed, and changed the “Reply” button to a conversation bubble (so it didn’t look like a back arrow anymore).
  • Real-time reply, retweet, and like counts: Users can watch the numbers roll in within the app, instead of having to refresh and reload tweets to see how they’re performing.
  • Rounded avatars: Profile images are now rounded instead of square.

And here’s what these changes look like on the platform today:

Check-new-look-iOS Refresh Full Walkthrough-1.gif

Source: Twitter

Many of the changes were mocked relentlessly by users — where else, but on Twitter — and this tweet is possibly my favorite among them:

what new twitter looks like pic.twitter.com/ANFOLvIv8N

— pool party reb 🍹🌴 (@serinide)
June 15, 2017

We’ll see if a slicker interface attracts new users and keep existing Twitter users engaged.

Instagram

5) Instagram launched the Archive feature.

Instagram has launched an Archive feature to give users the flexibility to hide — but not permanently delete — photos and videos they’ve posted on the platform. This feature gives users the flexibility to customize their page and hide posts — or reintroduce old content at a later point. Simply tap the ellipses at the top of a post to try it out:

instagram-archive-feature.png

Source: Instagram

The Archive option was likely introduced in response to younger users permanently deleting pictures that didn’t garner enough likes — many of whom think having more than 25 posts on an Instagram account isn’t cool. With the Archive feature, users will have the option to come back to old pictures — and Instagram won’t lose its engagement numbers. Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me.

6) Users can replay Instagram Live videos for 24 hours as an Instagram Story.

When Instagram Live was launched last November, users had to be very strategic about when they broadcast. Why? Because people could only watch a live broadcast while it was happening — the videos would disappear from Instagram once the creator was no longer live-streaming (unlike Facebook Lives, which automatically exist as posts on a user’s timeline).

But now, users can choose to post their Instagram Live broadcasts as Instagram Stories, which are viewable for 24 hours, or discard them so they disappear from the Instagram feed as normal. It’s as easy as toggling a button:

instagram-live-story-option.pngSource: Instagram

Facebook

7) Facebook reached 2 billion global users.

Yes, you read that right — that’s billion, spelled with a “b.”

Facebook is now used by 2 billion people around the world — and that’s just Facebook, and doesn’t include the other apps it owns. Between Facebook itself, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Facebook is responsible for the social media networking of close to half of the earth’s population. Here’s what the global spread of Facebook friendships looks like:

friendsmap_2017-06-27.pngSource: Facebook

Considering the fact that Facebook was created less than 15 years ago, that’s mind-boggling.

8) Facebook changed its mission statement.

Facebook’s new mission statement is fitting, given the announcement of just how far the platform has penetrated around the world.

CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s new mission statement last month:

Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Zuckerberg only just revamped the mission statement back in February from the previous mission statement: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” But in February, he acknowledged the role his social network had played in the 2016 U.S. election and other geopolitical events that involved constant, real-time global communication.

Zuckerberg published a letter in February noting the social network’s new purpose: “develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.”

So it makes sense that this new mission statement still echoes similar themes — with the emphasis on community, globalization, and bringing people closer together. We’ll keep you posted if it changes again — as well as keep you up-to-date on new changes related to the new mission.

9) Friends can create group Spotify playlists within Messenger.

Facebook users can now create collaborative Spotify playlists in group Messenger chats. You can set it up by adding the Spotify extension for Messenger and going through the process below:

spotify-messenger-process.gif

Source: Messenger

Friends don’t need a Spotify account to add songs to the playlist, so it’s a fun way for users to spend more time in Messenger. Plus, it’s an easy way for Spotify to attract new users from the vast Facebook and Messenger audiences and get them to spend more time streaming tunes.

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

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Jul

1

2017

7 New Twitter Features (and 4 Others You May Have Missed)

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

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In an industry fixated on rapid growth, any slowdown in user acquisition or monetization sounds alarms. And Twitter, whether it likes it or not, has been sounding a lot of them lately.

After a few years of stagnant monthly active user growth and disappointing the market, Twitter has been on an upswing thus far in 2017 — beating investor projections by generating more money and adding more new users than initially anticipated.

In the face of a negative narrative, the company has been quick to take action and focused predominantly on changes geared toward the user — and it seems to be working. Download our pre-sized Twitter cover photo template here to create a brilliant  header photo of your own. 

Over the last year, Twitter has made a number of changes, small and big, to drive user engagement and improve the overall onboarding and experience of the platform. But we know how tough it can be to keep up with these types of updates, which is why we put together a list of the more notable features and changes below. Marketers, take note.

7 New Twitter Features

1) The End of Vine … and the End of Periscope?

When technology companies are struggling to grow, as was Twitter for much of 2016, they will usually do one of two things — cut staff to make financial ends meet, or develop new innovations to attract and engage users.

In Twitter’s case, it did both — Twitter sunsetted Vine and launched an in-app live video streaming feature — thereby eliminating the need to stream from Periscope for many users.

Vine paved the way for the popular short-form and infinitely-looping videos we see on Snapchat and Instagram today (like this one), and in the fall of 2016, it was ultimately shuttered as Twitter shifted its focus to live video content.

Vines are still available to share and watch (and rewatch), but now, six-second looping videos must be recorded and shared directly to Twitter or saved to the creator’s camera roll.

Then, in December 2016, Twitter launched its own in-app live video streaming and recording function — effectively eliminating the need to live-stream from within the Periscope app.

Fed chair Janet Yellen explains decision to raise interest rates. #CheddarLIVE #Periscope #GoLive https://t.co/5WfFBeiWyf

— Cheddar (@cheddar)
June 14, 2017

Twitter hasn’t discontinued Periscope the way it did so with Vine, so users can still download the app and live-stream videos to their audience there. But these changes in such rapid succession disappointed a lot of avid fans and users — and reflected Twitter’s growing need to keep users within its app.

It’s no secret that video is no longer just popular — it’s also a requisite element of any successful social media platform. Twitter is trying to innovate its video creation, broadcasting, and sharing tools to give users the types of content they want — short-form, looping, and live broadcasts — to compete with other platforms, attract new users, and keep existing users engaged.

We haven’t seen Twitter jump on the bandwagon of creating an ephemeral video stories feature like most of the major social media platforms — yet. But we should expect more features and announcements — like Twitter’s deals to live-stream professional sports and breaking news — that signal its continued emphasis on video content in the future.

2) A New Layout

In June 2017, Twitter completely redesigned its desktop site and mobile app to make Twitter feel “lighter, faster, and easier to use” in response to user feedback:

Following in the footsteps of Brian Chesky: what’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017? #Twitter2017

— jack (@jack)
December 29, 2016

Twitter’s user base has been slowly growing — and sometimes dipping — over the past few years, and these UI and UX innovations could help attract people to Twitter, while also preventing users from leaving it.

how-many-users-does-twitter-have_large.pngSource: The Motley Fool

Here’s a rundown of the changes:

  • Decluttered UI: Twitter now offers a sidebar menu where users can more easily navigate to their profiles, lists, and personal settings — instead of having to tap through the app more than once.
  • Real-time reply, retweet, and like counts: Users can now watch the engagement numbers with tweets increase in realtime within the app, instead of refreshing and reloading tweets.
  • Clearer typography and iconography: Twitter changed the in-app font, made some headlines bolder to attract attention in the busy feed, and changed the “Reply” button to a conversation bubble (so it didn’t look like a back arrow anymore).
  • Round avatars: Profile images are now round instead of square.

And here’s what these changes look like in action:

Check-new-look-iOS Refresh Full Walkthrough.gifSource: Twitter

Most of the changes were widely panned by users, but this is the internet, after all — and Twitter will never make everyone happy. Some users pointed out that cosmetic UI changes are not nearly as important as improving users’ abilities to report and challenge abusive language on the platform — and that’s next on our list.

3) More Comprehensive Anti-Harassment and Cyberbullying Features

One of the biggest complaints against Twitter is how easily harassment can spread and exacerbate on the network — and there was no better test of this hypothesis than political rhetoric surrounding recent global elections. Historically, tweets aimed at threatening or scaring individuals on Twitter have gone unfettered and caused a number of users to delete their accounts or even fear for their safety — as blogger Ariel Waldman has chronicled.

Twitter Rules prohibit the kind of abuse we mean here — threats, hate speech, bullying, and harassment on the basis of users’ race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, disease, or nationality. However, until as recently as March 1, 2017, there haven’t been a lot of options for users report and stop abuse they were experiencing in real-time. Twitter has begun to respond to harassment and threats on the network with a series of features and services aimed a keeping people safe. These additions include:

  • Notification filtering: Users can specify which accounts they don’t want to receive notifications from. For example, you can filter out notifications from accounts without profile photos and with unverified email addresses.
  • Mute option: Users can mute specific keywords and phrases, and they can choose how long they don’t want to see that type of content.
  • Reporting transparency: Users now receive notifications when — and if — Twitter intervenes on an abuse report the user files.
  • Time-out: Users who are reported are sometimes temporarily put in “time-out” while Twitter investigates the report to prevent the further dissemination of abusive content.
  • Safe search: Machine-learning technology will prevent users from being served potentially abusive content when they search for tweets on the platform.
  • Hiding abusive tweets: Twitter has started identifying low-quality tweets from potentially abusive accounts so users see high-quality content first. The tweets will still be on Twitter — they’ll just be harder to find.
  • Preventing new abuse: Twitter has started preventing reported and flagged users from creating new accounts with the same contact information in an effort to prevent repeat offenders on the platform.

These updates are critical to ensuring Twitter stays a welcoming place for all users. In a leaked memo last year, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo underscored the importance of this move, saying:

I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.

We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them. Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.”

4) Moments for Everyone

Twitter introduced Moments — curated tweets about a single topic or story, all in one place — back in 2015. Moments allowed publishers and brands to pull together their tweets and tweets from other users about a topic to tell a story in one story collage — and in August 2016, Twitter opened up Moments to any user who wanted to create them. Here’s what they look like:

Squirrel sneaks into NYC building and things get nutty 🌰

Now, whether you want to feature your own tweetstorm, content from other people on the platform, or both, anyone can easily make a shareable Moment to tell a story. You can go into the Explore tab (or the Moments tab on Twitter’s desktop site), and create a new Moment there. Or, you can find a tweet you want to feature and create a Moment while you’re scrolling or on your own profile:

twitter_moment_add.png

Moments present another opportunity for users to get discovered and shared on Twitter, so opening this publishing capability up to everyone was a smart move.

5) Explore Twitter

In January 2017, Twitter axed the Moments tab and created the Explore tab on the mobile app, which combined Twitter trends, Moments, and search — all in one place.

It was a simple new feature that combined features already in existence, but by putting these all in one tab, Twitter made it easier for users to find and engage with new content on the platform — and hopefully, stay in the app longer.

Here’s what it looks like (if you haven’t already noticed it):

Explore-Screenshot1.jpg.img.fullhd.medium.jpgExplore-Screenshot2.jpg.img.fullhd.medium.jpgSource: Twitter

6) More Characters to Reply

Twitter made a big change to the way users can directly reply to one another. Whereas before, users had to @mention the account they wanted to reply to, the mention is now built directly into the reply button. This gives users more characters with which to reply, because they don’t have to type in the username and cut into their precious 140 characters. Check it out:

new-reply-button-twitter.png

This change has been met with some criticism, though — because users can’t specifically one-off reply to particular people. So if you’re included in a tweet with multiple other users, everyone will get a reply notification — even if the reply isn’t specified for them. To specify who you want to reply to, you can click the hyperlinked Twitter handles and check or uncheck the users you wish to send a notification to, like so:

twitter-reply-example-uncheck.png

So while Twitter is giving users more room to express themselves, it might also give them the ability to communicate with too many other users if they don’t choose the feature above — especially if bullies and abusers are replying-all to tweets.

7) Safer DMs

If you receive private Direct Messages from users you don’t follow, users now have the option to approve or deny the request to connect — and report the message if it’s inappropriate.

If you’ve opted-in to get Direct Messages from anyone, messages from people you don’t follow will go into requests. https://t.co/n1qasb7JZC pic.twitter.com/HQY20T5f6t

— Twitter (@Twitter)
May 30, 2017

This feature is a win on a couple of levels. It helps users better screen for and identify abusive content — and choose if or when they want to engage. It also prevents the need for a tweet back-and-forth of asking someone to follow you before you reach out to them via DM. Instead, you can simply shoot them a message — and they’ll approve it if they wish.

4 More Twitter Features You May Have Missed

I wrote the original version of this blog post back in 2016 with a different set of new features, and wanted to make sure you still knew about those neat new(-ish) capabilities, too.

1) The 140-Character Count Loophole

As far as debates go, Twitter’s 140-character limit is about as contentious as the Oxford comma. Some say the character limit on tweets is essential to Twitter’s identity. It secures Twitter in place as one of the fastest available ways for ideas to spread. Others are ready to see it lifted, arguing that removing the 140-character cap would open Twitter up to a new and engaging range of content and possibly new users. One area where the pain of the character cap is particularly sharp is in adding media to your tweets.

By default, media links used to take up 23 characters in a tweet, which is about 16% of your allotted characters — no small portion. That said, images are a boon for interactivity on your tweets: HubSpot conducted a study and found that tweets with images resulted in 18% more clickthroughs and 150% more retweets.

Tweets_With_Images_Stats.png

Last year, Twitter announced that media (e.g., images, polls, videos) attached to tweets would soon no longer count against your 140-character count. The same rule would apply to the @handle when replying to someone else’s tweet.

This update makes a couple of changes to the way replies and retweets are handled. Users will no longer have to add a character prior to a reply — for example, “.@meghkeaney” — to ensure their reply is seen by all followers. Not to mention, users will be able to retweet their own content if they want to add a thought to a previous post.

2) Accessible Images

Back in October of 2015, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a public appeal to developers to submit ideas for product enhancements:

Developers on Twitter: please tweet your ideas and requests using hashtag #helloworld. We’re listening!

— Jack (@jack)
October 21, 2015

One of the ideas generated out of that invitation focused on making Twitter more accessible to users who are visually impaired. In other words, people using Twitter’s iOS and Android apps can now add alt text descriptions to images within tweets. Websites have long used alt text to help visually impaired visitors understand the messages conveyed by images, using assistive technology like a screen reader or Braille display.

The accessible images feature has to be set up at the user level, a drawback for it gaining mass adoption, but it’s easy enough to set up. In an Android or iOS device, go to your Twitter settings (the gear icon) and follow these steps:

  1. Tap Accessibility.
  2. Next to Compose image descriptions, turn that feature on.
  3. From there, when you add an image to your tweet just tap Add description to insert descriptive text.

Adding accessibility may seem like a smaller win, but it’s a best practice across the board for businesses and organizations looking to grow their audiences and do the right thing.

3) Native GIF Search

Even though this list isn’t weighted for significance, it took real willpower not to place this at number one. As someone whose reliance on GIFs is beyond description, this feature release was a big one for me. In 2015, people shared more than 100 million GIFs on Twitter. When you think about the steps it previously took to share an animated image on Twitter, that number is even more impressive.

Previously, you had to leave Twitter, search for the appropriate GIF on any number of GIF search engines, save that image, go back to Twitter, recompose your tweet, and finally, upload the image. Today, with Twitter’s new GIF feature, you just click a button and conduct the search there — no saving or uploading needed.

Gif Search on TwitterSource: Twitter

(By the way, if you like GIFs, I highly recommend this post by my colleague. It’s a fascinating history and analysis on why exactly GIFs became so popular.)

4) The Switch to Uncropped Photos

Twitter may have started as a text-based platform, but images are a source of some of its top engagement. That’s why the news that Twitter had adjusted its image size requirements to not force-crop most images came with such praise. The resulting experience means that Twitter is more visual and engaging right off the bat. See the before and after shots provided by Twitter below:

Source: 
Twitter

Along with the uncropped photo update, Twitter also introduced a new view for multi-photo displays. This update allows users to see even more of the individual photos included in a collage.

new_look_for_twitter.com_photos_2.jpgSource: Twitter

In all the punditry on the current and future state of Twitter, most of the narrative to this point has focused on the competition. Twitter’s response, however, has been largely focused on its users. While some of these updates may seem small, in aggregate, they signal a move to a much more intuitive user experience fed largely by user feedback. Time will tell if this focus on fan-favorite features amounts to a measurable increase in usage and revenue.

What do you think about Twitter’s latest features? What else would you like to see? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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

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Jun

23

2017

What We Learned From Spending $100k On Facebook Ads

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

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For a three-person digital marketing team like ours, the prospect of having a big ad budget seemed like a distant dream. So when we were suddenly given $100K to spend on Facebook ads, we were positively giddy.

And unbelievably nervous.

As a lean SaaS startup, we have to be very wise with our marketing investments. Couple that with our low cost-per-sale ($24/monthly for our starter plan), and you can see that being cost-effective while still spending on ads is a challenge.

In May of 2016, we had the honor of working with Facebook Canada. We received a small grant to kickstart our advertising initiatives, and had the opportunity to spend two full days with one of their ad reps.

Other than working with the Facebook team, we are completely in-house. On one hand this was an advantage — since we could make changes to the program in seconds rather than days — on the other hand, we were on our own for creative, landing pages, and analytics.

We ran an early prototype campaign with some decent success. In fact, it performed in the same neighbourhood as our other digital advertising initiatives. Cool beans.

But that was just the start. We’d tasted success, and knew that we were only scratching the surface. So, naturally, we made a pitch to our company’s executive team to increase our digital marketing budget so we could prove that Facebook was a viable avenue for growth. Our commitment to the business: generate trials at a cost-effective rate of $50/trial.

Our pitch was a success, and we found ourselves with a considerable ad budget. Now it was real — it was time to build out an end-to-end Facebook Ads strategy.

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Admittedly, we were quite nervous. Our credibility was on the line.

Here’s what we ended up learning from that process, wrinkles and all. Read on to the end to see our results.

Lesson 1: Fully commit resources or your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will rise swiftly.

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We received our first lesson early on. We had become complacent with the success of our ad creative in May 2016, and tried to replicate that again. Using the same ad creative from AdWords, we launched on Facebook Ads. Initially, it worked. We generated trials at an acceptable rate.

But we mistakenly saw this initial success as a sign that we could set it and forget it. We went back to focusing on our other digital marketing strategies, like creating organic content, while our CPAs gradually rose.

Facebook CPAs have a nasty habit of rising suddenly — I mean, literally blowing up overnight. One morning, we logged into our marketing dashboard and saw that we were generating trials at twice our target CPA of $50/trial. This was crazy business, and we needed to act fast.

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Fixing this problem took a lot of time and resources, and a few calls with our dedicated Facebook Ads guru (shout-out to the brilliant Mike Empey). The problem was Ad Frequency

What happened was that our Facebook ad frequency had risen so high that our addressable market was seeing ads 3-5 times a day. Ugh. So of course CPAs rose accordingly — we were irritating people to no end.

We resolved to take two actions: first, we swapped in new creative. In fact, we created 5 new ads to push into market. This had an immediate impact, and gave us a deep understanding of how detrimental ad fatigue can be.

Second, and more importantly, we committed to a new process for our creative. We call it “the conveyor belt.” Here’s how it works:

  • Week 1: Design and launch new ad creative in 1-3 ad sets. Test and analyze results.
  • Week 2: Push all variations to all ad sets. Turn off old ads. Analyze initial results.
  • Week 3: Pick winning variations from ad sets. Analyze and deconstruct results.
  • Week 4: Assess week 1-3 learnings. Apply those learning to new ad creative.

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The side benefit of this process is that we’ve tested so many ad variants that we now have a repository of “winning variants” that we can quickly call out of retirement if our CPAs rise.

Lesson 2: Segment your audiences to effectively manage ad set CPAs.

Initially, I think we underestimated the amount of ad sets we’d need to manage. Looking back, I cringe to think we only launched our prospecting campaign with three ad sets: USA, Canada, and Europe (today we manage between 50 and 70 ad sets, depending on ad performance).

We weren’t even going beyond some basic audience targeting.

No age specification. No regional targeting. No device targeting. Just a giant ad campaign.

We were confident in our ad creative and landing page conversion rates, but forgot the importance of audience profiling. 

It’s no wonder that our results were really hard to interpret. I remember naively saying to Valerie Hamilton, our digital marketing specialist, “Europe is performing well today. What’s the story?”

We didn’t know. Were women converting better than men? Was a certain age bracket doing better than another one? We had no clue.

And at this point our CPAs were still floating about 25% higher than our target. It would have been a dramatic understatement to say we had some optimization work to do.

We started to analyze our lead generation activities across demographic lines. We used a combination of Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce data. What we found out was that we did remarkably better with people aged between 24-45. This totally makes sense, too.

Folks older than 45 are typically in a more senior role, and rarely the ones actually building or trialing our product. Instead, they are often the ones marshaling their team to demo our software.

Our first action was to split out this age range and only focus on where we saw the most success. By cutting more expensive CPA audiences, we were able to reduce our CPA.

Since then, we’ve adjusted our messaging to the >45 crowd by including more language about “their team” and “data transparency.” We’ve also focused a lot more of our ad buys on video assets instead of advertising our free trial.

It’s worth mentioning that we had good reasons for avoiding audience segmentation. First, we didn’t have the capacity to manage dozens of ad sets. Second, we wanted to keep our addressable market as large as possible and let our learnings help us figure out where to whittle down.

Lesson 3: Geographic bidding makes sense when you know regional lifetime values (LTVs).

The other side of the demographic coin for us was splitting out geographies. Treating Europe as a homogeneous advertising market just didn’t make sense for our business at the time (see Lesson 8, where we experimented with world-wide delivery).

While our European campaign was performing well enough, it was clear that we were missing an opportunity. For instance, we knew that leads from specific geographies often convert to customers at a much higher rate, and that their LTV was much higher on average.

In broad outreach campaigns, for example, we saw that we were attracting a high number of leads at $15/trial from Greece and Hungary. But while we have great customers in that part of the world, we’ve run a number of internal reports that show paid leads from that region convert at a much lower rate.

Despite paying such a low CPA, these leads were not converting and we were paying far too much for them. Internal reports (plus complaints from our sales team) had us digging deep into the data.

This is when the lesson clicked for us; we realized it was okay to spend a lot more on leads from, say, the Netherlands, because their LTV and conversion rates were much, much higher.

By splitting out different geographies, we enhanced our ability to match CPA targets to an appropriate LTV.

Lesson 4: Matching ad creative and landing pages.

This is textbook digital marketing, true. But it was a challenge for our scrappy digital marketing team to prioritize this while managing a $100K budget and driving all the day-to-day campaigns required for a fast-growing startup.

Plus, we could rationalize pushing this aside because our landing page was performing reasonably well.

But when you’re spending $100K and your CPAs continue to fluctuate, every conversion opportunity is magnified ten-fold.

With our small team and only one dedicated designer, we needed to call in the big guns. We went with Unbounce, and it’s had a measureable impact on our landing page conversion rates, helping us grab an 18% conversion rate for Facebook Ads leads. 

As we design ad creative, we create its sister landing page. From there, we can make tweaks to the page to improve conversion rates. Little things like form position, who we featured in our testimonials, and even which button colours we chose amounted to some big improvements.

Lesson 5: The one-two punch of video advertisement.

We’ve always been huge users of video to demo the product and create awareness. We’ve created explainer videos that talk about our primary unique selling proposition and give a glimpse into the product, and these videos have been quite successful in garnering views, holding attention spans, and increasing conversions.

As we launched on Facebook, we put ad dollars behind one particular video. Again, good success, but we felt like we could do better. 

This decision was more on gut feel (it still counts!) that video had a big role to play. I mean, just scroll through your Facebook feed right now. The challenge for us was that we’d committed to the business that we’d generate trials at or below our target CPA for that entire $100K. 

Video doesn’t have that wonderful direct line to trial that a prospecting campaign does. So, we took a chance, and our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, called up an Ottawa video production company we now affectionately call “The Rascals.”

We created a fun, 35-second explainer video that we thought would play well on Facebook and Instagram. The fact is that we generated a hundred thousand views before we could blink.

How? People were actually sharing the video with friends and family, even tagging others in the comments section. We noticed lively conversations taking place directly on the posts themselves, as if the videos weren’t advertisements at all. Here’s that video:

Facebook makes it easy to create remarketing programs by creating lists of users that engage with your video. We set up a list for anyone that watched more than 10 seconds of the video. This was a new cost-effective avenue for generating leads well within our target CPA. Video remarketing leads typically come in at about $30/trial, including the initial video buy.

More importantly, it expanded our reach on Facebook and Instagram exponentially. And we’ve seen traffic to our site go up as a direct result of these ads.

Lesson 6: Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.

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When we launched on video, we didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of views? Engagement? Shares?

As a metrics-obsessed company, we knew we needed to establish a KPI. After doing some research and chatting with peers and the account team at Facebook, we decided on Cost-Per-10-second view.

We chose this KPI to help us drive better video engagement and brand recognition. If someone was interested enough to pass over cat videos and baby pictures to watch 10 seconds of our B2B software video, then we were doing something right.

This KPI has fed directly into our production process, too. We’ve worked with The Rascals to ensure that each video includes text to account for the fact that Facebook’s default setting is to mute video. We’ve also added captions to the mix because videos on Facebook autoplay with the sound off; a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played with no sound. We would have had disastrous results if we’d relied entirely on the audio within the video to tell our story.

The overall result has been slashing our Cost-Per-10-second view by 50%. This is huge because it means for the same dollar of spend, we’re effectively doubling our reach. And you can bet this metric is front and center on our internal social media dashboards.

Lesson 7: Ask for advice and trade ideas.

I could rant for days about how much we learned from Facebook— they were truly fantastic, and the attention we received ensured we’d be successful. That said, there are no special or secret tricks. You can find everything through a Google search for “Facebook Ads Tips.”

Putting all those tips and best practices together into a single campaign, however, is where the real challenge lies.

Throughout the process we sought advice from those who’ve been there before us, who have been learning from others years before we even thought of going this route. It probably comes as no surprise that our team now pays close attention to what other advertisers do on Facebook. In particular, I think Shopify is a leader in this respect. They do a great job of integrating video.

We’ve also struck up a friendship with the team over at PageCloud , and have enjoyed freely sharing ideas. Many of those conversations have spawned new ad campaigns and experiments. Which leads me to …

Lesson 8: Boldly experiment.

We allocated a percentage of our budget towards experimentation. When we heard about a new product from Facebook called World-Wide Delivery (WWD) we sort of rolled our eyes and remembered what we had learned about geographic bidding from Lesson 3.

But our friend Mike Empey at Facebook persuaded us to give it a try. So we did. What did we have to lose?

The experiment was a huge success and with just a small percentage of our daily budget we were able to practically double lead volume. In fact, this contributed to us setting daily trial record numbers for 3 days in a row.

When the dust had settled, we analyzed the lead quality, made adjustments to our copy and landing pages, and added WWD campaigns to our arsenal of ads.

Lesson 9: Advertising is still top of the funnel.

Asking someone to start a trial of your software is a lot like calling a friend and asking them to catch up with you over coffee in an hour. The message is out of the blue and entails a time commitment. No matter what their interest level is, they simply may not be able to do it right then.

As we stressed about hitting our trial CPA numbers, we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions.

In chasing those numbers, we ended up making a series of small decisions that led to us making a big mistake: we’d cut so much content from our landing page that it had basically become just an image with a signup form.

Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off. Some people were getting so upset that they were commenting on the ads themselves.

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At this point, we’d driven down CPAs to about $10 under our target CPA. Our hands were sore from the amount of high-fives we’d collected and shoulders we’d patted. But in that process we committed an egregious error: we forgot about the customer.

We were so caught up in the metrics that we forgot that leads are people.

So, we did the only reasonable thing. We added essential content back into our landing pages (including video content from Vidyard into every landing page), and worked on optimizing that content so the customer could wring as much value from it as possible.

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Of course, CPAs rose. But our ad relevance and positive scores rose along with it.

That was the kind of customer-centric tradeoff we were willing to take.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: a version of this post first appeared on Inbound.org, HubSpot’s community for inbound marketers. 

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Jun

22

2017

14 Essential Tips for an Engaging Facebook Business Page

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

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Whether you’re setting up a brand new Facebook Page for your brand, or you just want to make the most of your existing one, it’s probably a smart move — Facebook is home to nearly 2 billion monthly active users.

It should be easy enough, right? Just slap together a photo, a couple of posts, and expect the leads and customers to roll on in, right?

Wrong.

If you’re not creating a Facebook Page with a comprehensive strategy to get noticed, Liked, and engaged with, the chances of actually generating leads and customers from it are pretty slim. For example, you can’t just choose any picture — you have to choose one that’s the right dimensions, high-resolution, and properly represents your brand. Download our Facebook Live guide to learn how to increase your social  following and brand awareness through live video.  

But it doesn’t end there — so we compiled the tips below to make sure you’re creating an engaging page that takes full advantage of everything Facebook marketing has to offer.

14 Facebook Business Page Tips

1) Don’t create a personal profile for your business.

We’ve come across many well-meaning marketers and entrepreneurs who create personal profiles for their brands, instead of an actual Facebook Business Page. That puts you at a huge disadvantage — you’re missing out on all of the content creation tools, paid promotional opportunities, and analytics/insights that come with a Facebook Business Page. Plus, a personal profile would require people to send you a friend request in order to engage with you, and the last thing you want to do is make that more difficult for customers.

And while you’re at it — don’t create an additional public, “professional” profile associated with your business. For example, I already have a personal profile on Facebook that I largely keep private; the practice I’m talking about would be if I created a second, public one under the name “AmandaZW HubSpot,” or something along those lines. People usually do that to connect with professional contacts on Facebook, without letting them see personal photos or other posts. But the fact of the matter is that creating more than one personal account goes against Facebook’s terms of service.

2) Avoid publishing mishaps with Page roles.

We’ve all heard those horror stories about folks who accidentally published personal content to their employers’ social media channels — a marketer’s worst nightmare. So to avoid publishing mishaps like those, assign Facebook Business Page roles only to the employees who absolutely need it for the work they do each day. And before you do that, be sure to provide adequate training to those who are new to social media management, so they aren’t confused about when they should be hitting “publish,” what they should be posting, if something should be scheduled first, and who they should be posting it as.

To assign these, on your business page, click “Settings,” then click “Page Roles.”

Also, when sharing content on behalf of your brand, make sure you’re posting it as your brand, and not as yourself. You can check that by going into your settings and clicking “Page Attribution.”

3) Add a recognizable profile picture.

You’ll want to pick a profile picture that’s easy for your audience to recognize — anything from a company logo for a big brand, to a headshot of yourself if you’re a freelancer or consultant. Being recognizable is important to getting found and Liked, especially in Facebook Search. It’s what shows up in search results, pictured at the top of your Facebook Page, the thumbnail image that gets displayed next to your posts in people’s feeds … so choose wisely.

When choosing a photo, keep in mind that Facebook frequently changes its picture dimensions, which you can find at any given time here. As of publication, Page profile pictures display at 170×170 pixels on desktop, and 128×128 pixels on smartphones.

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4) Choose an engaging cover photo.

Next, you’ll need to pick an attractive cover photo. Since your cover photo takes up the most real estate above the fold on your Facebook Page, make sure you’re choosing one that’s high-quality and engaging to your visitors, like this one from MYOB’s Facebook Page:

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Keep in mind that, like profile images, Facebook Page cover photo dimensions also frequently change, so we advise keeping an eye on the official guidelines. As of publication, Page cover photos display at 820×312 pixels on computers, and 640×360 pixels on smartphones.

5) Add a call-to-action (CTA) button.

Since Facebook first launched the feature in December 2014, the options for brands to add call-to-action buttons to their Facebook Page’s have vastly expanded. These are things like “Watch Video,” “Sign Up,” or “Book Now” — and each can be customized with a destination URL or piece of content of their choosing.

It’s a great way for marketers to drive more traffic to their websites, or to get more eyeballs on the Facebook content they want to promote. This is a great way for marketers to drive traffic from their Facebook Business Page back to their website. Check out how Mandarin Oriental uses the “Book Now” button in this way, to make it easier for viewers to make reservations.

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To add a call-to-action to your Page, click the blue “Add a Button” box.

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You’ll then be able to choose which type of CTA you want to create, and which URL or existing content on your Facebook Page you want it to direct visitors to. To get data on how many people are clicking it, simply click the drop-down arrow on your button and select “View Insights.”

6) Fill out your ‘About’ section with basic information, and add company milestones.

We’ve arrived at one of the most important sections of your Facebook Page: the ‘About’ section.

Although visitors no longer see a preview of your “About” text when they land on your page — instead, they have to click on the “About” option on the left-hand column next to your content — it’s still one of the first places they’ll look when trying to get more information about your page.

Even within the “About” section, however, there are many options for copy to add. Consider optimizing the section that best aligns with your brand — a general description, a mission, company information, or your story — with brief, yet descriptive copy. By doing so, your audience can get a sense of what your Page represents before they decide to Like it.

You might also want to populate sections that allow you to record milestones and awards — like when you launched popular products and services — as well as the day/year your company was founded, or when you hosted major events.

7) Post photos and videos to your Timeline.

Visual content has pretty much become a requirement of any online presence, including social media channels. After all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

And while photos are a wonderful way to capture moments and an actual look at your brand, you should probably invest a good amount of time and other resources into video. The 2017 State of Inbound report cited video as the “main disruptor,” with 24% of marketers naming it as a top priority.

“Watch video” is one of the CTAs that Facebook allows brands to add to their Pages for a reason — because it’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content. But it’s not just pre-recording videos. According to the social media channel’s newsroom, “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.” So don’t be afraid to give viewers an in-the-moment look at what your organization does, but do make sure you’re prepared.

Not sure what your videos should look like? Here’s a fun one that we put together on business lingo.

8) Determine the ideal timing and frequency for your posts.

An important consideration in your Facebook content strategy should be how frequently you post, and when. If you don’t post frequently enough, you won’t look as reliable or authentic — after all, how much faith do you put in a brand that hasn’t updated its Facebook Page for several months? Post too often, however, and people might get sick of having their feeds flooded with your content.

Here’s where a social media editorial calendar can be particularly helpful. Like any other online content, it can help you establish a schedule for when you share particular posts according to season or general popularity. You’ll probably have to adjust your calendar several times, especially in the earliest stages of setting up your Page, since you’ll want to check the performance of your updates in your Facebook Insights (which you can navigate to via the tab at the very top of your page). Once you’ve observed popular times and other analytics for your first several posts, you can tailor your posting frequency and strategy accordingly.

Wondering how to schedule posts? You can either use an external publishing tool like the Social Inbox within HubSpot software, or the Facebook interface itself. For the latter, click the arrow next to the “Publish” button and click “Schedule Post.”

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9) Leverage Facebook’s targeting tools.

Facebook allows you to target certain audiences with specific updates — be it gender, relationship or educational status, age, location, language, or interests, you can segment individual page posts by these criteria.

Just click the small bullseye symbol on the bottom of the post you want to publish, and you can set metrics for both a preferred audience, and one you think might not want to see your content.

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10) Pin important posts to the top of your page.

When you post new content to your Facebook Page, older posts get pushed farther down your Timeline. But sometimes, you might want a specific post to stay at the top of your page for longer — even after you publish new updates.

To solve for this, Facebook offers the ability to “pin” one post at a time to the top of your page. You can use pinned posts as a way to promote things like new lead-gen offers, upcoming events, or important product announcements.

To pin a post, click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post on your page, and click ‘Pin to Top.’ It will then appear at the top of your page, flagged with a little bookmark. Just keep in mind that you can only have one pinned post at any given time.

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11) Decide whether you want Facebook fans to message you privately.

If you want your Facebook fans to be able to privately message you directly through your page, definitely enable the messages feature. You can do so by going to your settings, clicking on “General” on the left-hand column, and then looking for “Messages” on the list of results.

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We recommend enabling messaging on your page to make it as easy as possible for your fans to reach out to you — but only do so if you have the time to monitor and respond to your messages. Facebook Pages now have a section that indicates how quickly a brand responds to messages, so if you don’t want that section saying that you’re slow to answer, you might just want to skip enabling that feature.

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12) Monitor and respond to comments on your page.

Speaking of monitoring the interactions your fans have with your page, don’t forget about comments. You can monitor and respond to comments via the ‘Notifications’ tab at the very top of your page. While it may not be necessary to respond to every single comment you receive, you should definitely monitor the conversations happening there (especially to stay on top of potential social media crises.

13) Promote your page to generate more followers.

Now that you’ve filled your page with content, it’s time to promote the heck out of it.

One of the first things you can do is to create an ad promoting your Page. To do that, click the three dots at the top menu bar above your posts and select “Create Ad.” From there, Facebook will let you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals — things like reach, traffic, or general brand awareness. Choose yours, then scroll down and click “continue.”

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After that, you can choose your targeted audience (similar to what you did with your promoted posts above), where on Facebook you want it to be placed, and your budget — you can learn more about paying for Facebook Ads here.

You’ll probably also be asked to add some creative assets or copy. Remember, you’re paying for this, so choose something that’s going to grab attention, but also has high quality and represents your brand well.

14) Finally, measure the success of your Facebook efforts.

There are a couple of ways to execute this step. You can use something like the social media reports tool in your HubSpot software, and you can dig into your Page’s Insights, which allow you to track Facebook-specific engagement metrics. Here, you’ll be able to analyze things like the demographics of your Page audience and, if you reach a certain threshold, the demographics of people engaging with your page and posts. As we mentioned earlier, the latter is especially helpful to modify your Facebook content strategy to publish more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. You can access your Facebook Page Insights via the tab at the top of your page.

How have you set up top-notch Facebook Pages? Let us know in the comments.

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

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Jun

17

2017

How to Make an iPhone Video: A Step-by-Step Guide

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

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You might know that video is important, that your audience wants to see it, and you might even want to make it a part of your strategy. But you’re still asking the big question:

“How?”

If you aren’t producing video content because you don’t think you have the ability, time, or resources to do it, we have some good news: Your answer to the video content question could be sitting in your pants pocket. (Hint: It’s your iPhone.)Check out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

You or a member of your team most likely already owns a great video camera — one that’s easier to use than a traditional, high-tech setup. In this post, we’ll walk you through our tips and best practices for filming high-quality marketing and social media videos with your handy iPhone and a just a few other tools. And if you don’t have time to read them all, we’ve demonstrated how to do it in the video below.

P.S. We filmed it with an iPhone.

How to Shoot Videos with an iPhone

1) Find a quiet place to film.

This might seem obvious, but if you’re filming at work or out in public, the sight of a phone might not tip people off to keep the volume down if they’re nearby. If possible, book a conference space, hang signs telling people to steer clear of where you’re shooting, or bring a coworker with you to block off the area where you plan to film.

2) Make sure your iPhone has enough storage space.

Have you ever experienced the dreaded moment when you were unable to capture a video because you got this pop-up notification?

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If this notification pops up while you’re filming a video, your phone will stop recording, and you’ll have to start over. To prevent this, make sure you have enough space before pressing “record.” Delete as many unnecessary files and apps as you can, and if needed, purchase iCloud storage for files to free up more space on your device itself.

To do this, navigate to “Settings,” select “General,” “Storage & iCloud Usage,” and tap “Manage Storage” to buy more space for as little as $0.99 per month.

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3) Turn off notifications.

Another distracting iPhone feature that could interrupt your filming is how frequently your device receives notifications. Before you start filming, set your iPhone to Do Not Disturb mode to keep notifications going in the background so you can film uninterrupted.

Swipe up on your phone and tap the crescent moon icon to put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, and tap it again when you’re done to return your phone to normal settings.

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Pro tip: Do Not Disturb is a great way to watch YouTube videos, play games, and sleep uninterrupted, too.

4) Use a tripod.

I don’t care how steady you think your hands are — they probably aren’t steady enough to film a video. 

Now, it’s one thing if you’re scrappily putting together a Snapchat Story, but if you’re filming a video for your brand — especially one that will live permanently on your blog, YouTube channel, or other social media assets — you’ll need the help of a tripod to keep the video steady and clear.

You can purchase full tripods, or smaller versions for your desk on Amazon, at Best Buy, or other vendors.

5) Light your video.

This point is especially important if you’re filming in an office building with lots of overhead lighting. You don’t need to buy anything fancy for this step — in fact, our friends at Wistia put together this guide to a DIY lighting setup. You need enough light to give the impression of natural light, which means it’s coming from a variety of different light sources, and not just directly overhead. 

If you don’t have the time or budget to purchase a lighting setup, find a room or location with plenty of natural light — and remember to turn off the overhead lights — to keep your video subject looking good.

6) Use a microphone.

Make sure you use some sort of microphone to minimize the impact of distracting ambient noise. The expression “the silence is deafening” is real — especially when it comes to video production. 

You don’t need a fancy microphone and boom setup like in the movies, although those would be a great investment to make if you plan to film a lot of videos. You can use something as simple as a microphone that plugs into your iPhone’s headphone input to get great audio for your videos — and you can buy one here.

7) Film horizontally.

When people view videos on mobile devices, the video automatically rotates according to the orientation of the device it’s being viewed on. So, it makes more sense to film horizontally so your video can be viewed if the user rotates his or her phone, or is watching on a large tablet or computer screen. If you film vertically and the viewer’s screen is rotated, the video will appear more constricted.

There are exceptions to this, of course — if you’re filming a video specifically for Snapchat or Instagram, for example, you should film your video vertically on your iPhone, because that’s how the videos will be consumed. But if you’re filming for Facebook, YouTube, or another video hosting site, film horizontally to help viewers get the best possible viewing experience, no matter what device they press play on.

8) Don’t use the iPhone’s zoom capability.

Simply put, iPhone’s zoom will most likely make your video look bad.

We’ll elaborate: Unless you have the ultra-fancy iPhone 7 Plus camera, zooming in on an iPhone will simply enlarge the image — it won’t get you closer to what you’re filming — so it’ll make your final video pixellated and blurry-looking.

Instead, physically move your filming setup closer to your subject to eliminate the need to zoom in.

9) Lock your exposure.

The iPhone does a fantastic job of finding the subject to focus your camera’s exposure — which is great for taking a photo. But when it comes to filming a video, its super-powered exposure will continue adjusting and readjusting according to movement — leaving your final video occasionally blurry and out of focus.

You can solve this problem by locking the exposure while you’re filming. Before you press record, hold down your finger on the subject of your video until a yellow box appears around the person or object and the words “AE/AF Lock” appear:

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10) Edit on a computer.

Once you’ve filmed your video, you need to edit it and get it ready for publication. And although the iPhone offers a lot of visual editing tools within its interface, it’s best to use editing software on your computer to fine-tune the images. Software like iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro let you add sound, captions, and adjust filtering to make your video look (and sound) as professional as possible. 

Lights, Camera, Action

You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment to film and edit engaging videos — you just need to follow the steps above to film something that looks professional with the help of your handy iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone, never fear — we’ll create some guidance for Android devices soon. In the meantime, download our guides to creating videos for social media to get started distributing your content today.

What are your tips for filming videos on the iPhone? Share with us in the comments below.

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Jun

15

2017

Does Influencer Marketing Actually Work? A HubSpot Blog Experiment

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

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I ran my first experiment in influencer marketing in middle school. My mom had bought me a pair of practical (her words) but hideous (my words) sneakers — and insisted I wear them to gym class.

Believing — maybe rightfully — that my reputation hinged on having cool footwear, I convinced my mom to buy a second pair as a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday. Kelly was the coolest girl in sixth grade. Everything she did turned into a trend.

Kelly wore her sneakers to gym, probably at behest of her mom. Next thing I knew, everyone was rocking my ugly shoes. I was trendy, not lame. The experiment was a total success.

I didn’t think about influencer marketing again until I joined HubSpot. On the blog team, we’re always looking for ways to scale traffic — which gets continually harder as your audience grows. We’ve already captured much of the “low-hanging fruit.” Partnering with influencers could help us reach new readers while bringing our current ones fresh insights and promoting worthy thought leaders. Win-win-win.

When I started experimenting with influencer marketing strategies for the HubSpot Sales Blog seven months ago, I was operating under a few key assumptions:

  1. If one influencer is good, 23 is better.
  2. A huge name on a standard quality blog post is better than an unknown name on a great quality post.
  3. Partnering with influencers is an efficient and scalable way to grow traffic.

Turns out, those assumptions were mostly — even completely — false.

Experiment #1: Is Influencer Marketing a Silver Bullet?

Let’s go back to November 2016, when I set out to create a blog post that received 10,000 views or more in its first 30 days.

For context, average views per Sales Blog post for November was 3,180.

I decided to create an influencer round-up (a type of post gathers quotes from multiple influencers on a single theme or topic). Harnessing the reach of some of the biggest names in sales through their social shares would surely push the post over the 10K line.

Since there are relatively few sales influencers, and their expertise is pretty varied, I chose a broad theme for the round-up post: How to Have Your Best Sales Year Yet. Each month received its own section and covered a different aspect of selling, from qualifying to giving demos.

Then it was time to get the influencers on board. First, I identified 30 sales experts and thought leaders, and wrote a personalized email to each one.

Twenty-three influencers agreed to participate. That’s approximately 77% of the 30 I approached — a great response rate that was likely bolstered by the personalized emails.

Next, I wrote custom questions for each influencer based on their area of expertise. I collected their interview answers for the post through a combination of phone and email interviews. I also asked each influencer to commit to promoting the post on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as their email newsletter if they had one.

After the post went live, I created custom tracking URLs for each influencer to use for their share(s). This step allowed me to see exactly how much traffic every individual was responsible for. I also created a custom image for social media each influencer with a quote from their interview:

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From start to finish, the entire post took me roughly 18 hours. A standard, non-influencer post takes me 45 minutes to an hour. That’s a big difference in time.

The Results:

The post ended up getting around 9,100 views in the first 30 days. The influencers were responsible for 4,143 of those views — each sharing their link on Facebook and Twitter within three days of the launch date, with several sharing the link on LinkedIn as well.

Sounds like our influencer strategy worked, right? Well, not quite.

When I dug deeper, I discovered the influencer traffic wasn’t distributed evenly. In fact, one person was responsible for 77% of all influencer traffic.

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Some influencers drove less than 20 views each.

These results killed my first assumption: If one influencer is good, 23 is better.

Experiment #2: Is Targeted Influencer Marketing a Silver Bullet?

With this in mind, I had two goals for the next post in my influencer marketing experiment:

  • Feature as many “heavy hitters” as possible.
  • Feature the influencers’ products — giving them a clear incentive to promote the piece beyond being quoted as a thought leader.

I chose The 20 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time as the theme, since it would enable me to satisfy both criteria. I sent an email to each author with a custom URL and a polite request for them to share it.

The Results:

All in all, the influencers drove around 5,700 views. Guess who was responsible for 60% of those views? The same influencer who was responsible for 77% of the traffic for the first post.

It’s not surprising this influencer is such a reliable source of traffic. He has more than 1.7 million Facebook fans. A mere 0.002% of them clicked on the link to the HubSpot Sales Blog.

What is surprising is that the other influencers are driving such little traffic. It takes roughly the same amount of time to get a quote from the other influencers as this superstar one, but the results are completely disproportional.

Experiment #3: Looking for a Scalable Solution

Is the solution to concentrate solely on massive influencers? Unfortunately, there aren’t enough out there in the sales space.

What if we skipped the time-consuming process of picking a theme, finding experts, reaching out to them, developing questions, transcribing and editing their answers, and putting everything together into a post? What if I started with content that already existed, cutting out the creation process entirely?

I started handpicking influencers based on their network size and asking to publish their original content and/or repurpose some of their existing content — along with a social share, of course.

This strategy requires much less time. Each post would receive fewer page views, but I’d be able to produce more in the same amount of time — meaning we’d drive more overall traffic.

It’s also great for the influencers. They’ve already done the hard work of content creation; now they can sit back and enjoy its amplification. We send their posts out to our 50,000-plus email subscribers and give them the option of adding in-line links and a CTA to their website or virtual offers.

I started this experiment with an excerpt of a book from a well-known author, who has a sizable audience.

The Results:

The post got 2,143 views — and 1,200 of those came from the HubSpot Sales Blog email subscribers. Because the author didn’t use the tracking URL I sent her, I can’t say definitively how many views her Facebook and LinkedIn posts generated, although it’s likely around 300. Not that impressive.

We see similar results whenever we publish posts for “the name” versus the content. If the writing isn’t relevant, insightful, or helpful, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s got the byline — the post tends to strike out.

There goes my second assumption: A huge name on a standard quality blog post is better than an unknown name on a great quality post.

Experiment #4: Content First, Influencer Second

With that in mind, I decided to focus on content first, influencer second. I looked for sales experts with unique perspectives and ideas and largely ignored the size of their audience.

A sales leader I found on LinkedIn is a perfect example. He’s not a recognizable name, but he’s built a solid following (almost 10,000 followers) by consistently posting entertaining, helpful articles on LinkedIn.

His posts we’ve published get an average of 4,600 views.

Tom Niesen, CEO of Acuity Training, belongs in this category as well. He wrote a post about upfront contracts that generated roughly 6,000 views before Sandler Training shared it on social and drove 1,000 more.

These partnerships might not create one massive traffic spike, but they’re lightweight for me to manage, generate content I’d be happy to share with our readers no matter who wrote it, and are a scalable way to work with influencers to produce content that consistently performs above average.

My third assumption: Partnering with influencers is an efficient and scalable way to grow traffic — still true, if it’s the right influencer.

3 Influencer Marketing Takeaways

It turns out influencer marketing has gotten a bit more complex since middle school. After running these four experiments, here are my three main takeaways.

1) If you’re trying to drive traffic, use your time and energy to get one major influencer on board rather than five to 10 mid-level ones.

An influencer’s impact depends on both their audience size and engagement — you can get similar results from an influencer with tons of followers and low engagement and one with a medium following but crazy-high engagement.

I recommend looking at the influencer’s average Facebook post performance. If they’re receiving 600-1000+ reactions and 500+ shares on any given post, they’re probably a major influencer. Validate this by giving them a dedicated tracking URL to share and seeing how much traffic they drive.

2) That being said, quality still matters.

Weak content rarely performs well even with a “big name.”

When evaluating content for the Sales Blog, I ask myself these questions:

  • Are the ideas relevant?
  • Have we covered this material in other posts?
  • Does the author give enough explanation, detail, and instruction that the reader can immediately apply the concepts?
  • If they make a controversial argument, do they sufficiently back it up with research?
  • Is the post engaging from beginning to end?

If the answers aren’t all “yes,” then I’ll ask the author to edit the piece.

3) Prioritizing content leads to posts that get traffic on their own merits.

I’m proud of our readers. They’re not star-struck — if a post is great, they read it and share it, regardless of the byline.

Ultimately, our best “hack” for growing traffic? Publishing great content. That’s an assumption I’m happy to operate under.

How does your content team approach influencer marketing? Let us know in the comments.

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Jun

14

2017

The 10 Best User-Generated Content Campaigns on Instagram

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

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When it comes time to make a purchasing decision, who are you more likely to trust — a brand, or a fellow consumer who uses the product?

We’re more likely to take recommendations from friends and family members than brands when it comes time to make buying decisions — and that’s the logic behind user-generated content on social media.

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User-generated content, or UGC, consists of any form of content that’s created by users and consumers about a brand or product. UGC isn’t paid for, and its authenticity makes the user the brand advertiser as well.

UGC is particularly prevalent on Instagram, where brands can easily repost and regram UGC from users’ accounts. And it’s worthwhile for brands to do this — 76% of individuals surveyed said they trusted content shared by “average” people more than by brands, and nearly 100% of consumers trust recommendations from others.

In this post, we’ll discuss just how successful UGC on Instagram can be — as well as review 10 brands using it successfully.

Why User-Generated Content?

In this year’s Internet Trends Report, Mary Meeker presented some compelling data about the success of UGC for brands on Instagram. Check it out:

Internet Trends 2017 Report from
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

UGC can generate more engagement on Instagram — meaning more comments and likes on posts. And engagement is critically important to brands’ success on the platform — because the more users engage with your stuff, the higher your posts are prioritized in the Instagram feed, and the more likely it is that new users will find your content on the Explore tab.

A lot of global brands are sharing Instagram content reposted, or “regrammed,” from fans and users. Take a look:

Internet Trends 2017 Report from
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Now that we understand the importance of UGC, let’s dive into how some of these brands are killing the UGC game on Instagram.

10 Examples of the Best User-Generated Content on Instagram

1) The UPS Store

No, we don’t mean UPS, where you might go to send care packages or holiday gifts to your loved ones. We mean The UPS Store, which uses its Instagram to showcase the customers you might not think about as readily — small business owners. Small business owners on Instagram post content using the hashtag #TheUPSStoreCustomer, which The UPS Store then shares to its own account, like so:

 

With materials sourced only in the U.S., @mindseyedesign creates delicate pieces of jewelry that make strong statements. #design #jewelry #maker #designer #madeinUSA #shoplocal #smallbiz #love #beautiful #TheUPSStoreCustomer #craft #gift

A post shared by The UPS Store (@theupsstore) on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:03am PST

This is a clever UGC campaign other B2B brands should take note of — especially if the products and services themselves aren’t especially sexy. Instagram posts featuring packing tape, shipping peanuts, and cardboard boxes might not be visually interesting, but behind-the-scenes stories of real people and brands The UPS Store is helping are.

 

To answer your question: Yes. It is very difficult to ship @littleredkitchen’s products without eating them. #cook #chef #kitchen #baking #yummy #delicious #TheUPSStoreCustomer #goodeats #ordernow #brunch #honey

A post shared by The UPS Store (@theupsstore) on Apr 13, 2017 at 12:38pm PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Use UGC to showcase an unexpected or unique aspect of your brand. Whether it’s content from your customers, your users, or members of your community, ask other Instagrammers to submit content that shows “the other side” of what your brand is all about.

2) Aerie

Women’s clothing company Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign is #UGCgoals. The campaign is simple, but powerful.

 

Hats off to this #AerieREAL girl! Post your unretouched swim photos with #AerieREAL & we’ll donate $1 (up to $15K) to @NEDA.

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on Jun 9, 2017 at 6:01pm PDT

There’s been broad debate and outcry over the excessive use of photo editing in marketing advertising — centered around its impact on the young women consuming magazines and images on social media. There’s been particular concern around the impact edited photos can have on women’s self-esteem and sense of a healthy body image.

So Aerie made a pledge to stop retouching photos of models in its bathing suits. And for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves in a bathing suit (using the hashtag #AerieReal, of course), Aerie now donates $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

 

🎉 Thanks to YOU, we’ve raised $10,000 for @NEDA! 🎉 And thanks to you, we’re not done yet! Share your unretouched swim photos with #AerieREAL & we’ll donate $1 (NOW up to $15K!) to the National Eating Disorders Association. We love you all & the swim you’re in!

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on May 26, 2017 at 1:49pm PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Give people a reason to get involved in your campaign that’s bigger than Instagram itself. Whether it’s an awareness campaign or a donation drive like Aerie, customers want to buy from companies that support important causes. If you can, partner with a cause or charitable organization your message resonates with to get Instagrammers excited about your UGC campaign. You’ll do good for the world, you’ll drive engagement on the platform, and more people will learn about your brand via word-of-mouth if it catches on.

3) Buffer

Social media scheduling tool Buffer uses the #BufferCommunity to showcase the photographs and personalities of its many different users around the world. These images aren’t promotional — or even remotely brand-centric — and that’s what makes them so effective (okay, the cute puppy probably helps too).

 

Getting ready for a brand new week…. We’re all smiles 😆🐶🛶🌲🏔 . . Puppy love with #BufferCommunity member @davesarazen 📸

A post shared by Buffer (@buffer) on Jun 11, 2017 at 7:21pm PDT

Buffer’s tools are about making it easier to share and strategize on social media, and these photos implicitly share the message that Buffer’s community members can work from anywhere, on a variety of different projects, thanks (in part) to its ease of use.

 

Just when we thought we knew what the perfect workspace looked like… we stumble across this 😍🌸 Share your favorite spots to work using #BufferSpaces for a chance to be featured! . . In the heart of Mykonos with #BufferCommuity member @margarita_karenko 📸

A post shared by Buffer (@buffer) on May 31, 2017 at 12:05pm PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Cultivate a brand personality so strong that your users want to share their life with you on social media. Create a great product, excel at helping customers succeed, and curate a presence on social media your users want to keep engaging with. Then, ask them to share with you so you can continue adding personality and diversity to your content to show what your community is all about — helping people be better at social media, in Buffer’s case.

4) Wayfair

Online furniture store Wayfair has a fun UGC campaign that lets customers showcase the results of their online shopping sprees. Using the hashtag #WayfairAtHome, users can post their home setups featuring Wayfair products:

 

The versatile drum design of these modern tables make it easy for @bridepauw to switch up her living room design as needed. Don’t you love when beauty and function align? {shop link in profile} #wayfairathome #homedecor #design #regram

A post shared by Wayfair (@wayfair) on Mar 8, 2017 at 5:52pm PST

Then, Wayfair reposts UGC and provides a link so users can shop for the items featured in a real customer’s home — an ingenious strategy for combining customer testimonials and design inspiration all-in-one.

 

Tray #chic! We love how @waitingonmartha uses her rattan tray to store #beauty products. #linkinprofile #wayfairathome #regram

A post shared by Wayfair (@wayfair) on May 23, 2017 at 6:39am PDT

Wayfair has another UGC campaign that’s not as popular, but it’s an adorable effective way to show its products in action with the help of the #WayfairPetSquad.

 

So much room for activities! #wayfairpetsquad @nala_cat

A post shared by Wayfair (@wayfair) on Apr 9, 2017 at 6:16am PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Leverage UGC to help Instagram users find and shop for your products. Remember, people trust customer testimonials, and if you show them being successfully used by real people, it’s easier to get them to your website to start shopping.

5) IBM

Software giant IBM uses UGC on Instagram primarily from its customers and community members using the hashtag #IBM. Its UGC strategy is simpler than some described previously, but it does a great job at providing an inside look at one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

 

Visiting from Austin, Texas, AJ Joplin from #IBMDesign discovered one of the many quiet nooks at the brand new #IBM San Francisco Studios. This one overlooks a southern view of the SOMA district. 📷 by @up.and.adam #IBMStudios #WatsonWest

A post shared by IBM (@ibm) on Nov 21, 2016 at 1:49pm PST

It’s cool to see real humans working at IBM and using its products and services to do things you and I do every day — like taking artfully posed photographs and conducting group brainstorms.

 

The output of some serious brainstorming and design thinking at a recent IBM Innovation Workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. 📷 @four_by_two

A post shared by IBM (@ibm) on Feb 21, 2017 at 6:49pm PST

Takeaway for Marketers: Showcase the human side of your brand — especially if your product or service can’t be easily visualized, as in the case of IBM. Source content from customers, employees, and community members to show what your product looks like in action so other Instagrammers can picture themselves using it, too.

6) Netflix

Popular video streaming service Netflix uses UGC to promote fans’ posts about specific shows and movies — and hashtags the title to help spread the word about new premieres.

 

“HEY, WHERE MY BAE’S AT?” 🎤🙆🏻~@mirandasingsofficial #HatersBackOff via @ginalee

A post shared by Netflix US (@netflix) on Oct 14, 2016 at 3:22pm PDT

Netflix is leaning into creating more original programming, so getting the word out about new releases is a key part of its social media strategy. UGC shows other people are getting excited about new shows too — and makes Instagrammers coming across Netflix’s Instagram intrigued to see what the fuss is all about.

 

Brunch in Stars Hollow. Via @alovelybean #GilmoreGirls

A post shared by Netflix US (@netflix) on Nov 26, 2016 at 9:42am PST

Takeaway for Marketers: If you’re making an announcement or releasing a new product, use UGC to get the word out about your fans and customers trying it out for the first time. You’ll help create a feedback loop to help more and more people on Instagram learn about you — and what new product they can get involved with.

7) Hootsuite

Social media management software company Hootsuite uses the hashtag #HootsuiteLife to promote UGC about what it’s like to work at Hootsuite around the world.

 

Laptop ✔️ Notebook ✔️ Owly ✔️ Hootsuite essentials for the work week #hootsuitelife 📷: @dennis_deee

A post shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on Apr 17, 2017 at 3:33pm PDT

Hootsuite’s culture is something the company is proud of — and it uses this fun way of living and working to attract talented people to come with them. #HootsuiteLife is all about employees and community members showcasing how much fun it is to work at Hootsuite all over social media. It uses the hashtag to empower employees to share their days with the rest of the world on social media.

A secondary UGC campaign — #LifeofOwly — lets employees show off the company’s lovable mascot in action, too.

 

Here we have the rare Owly in its natural habitat. What a fantastic opportunity to observe its at home behavior! 🔎 How many Owly’s can you spot? 📷: @andykwleong #lifeofowly

A post shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on Mar 28, 2017 at 11:09am PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Collaborate with your recruiting and HR teams to see if you can combine forces to drive social media engagement and help hire new people simultaneously. If your organization has a lot to offer and you want to showcase your culture, events, and perks, team up to create an employee UGC campaign that empowers employees to share and helps attract great new talent.

8) Starbucks

Every December, Starbucks launches the latest #RedCupContest to promote its holiday-themed seasonal beverages and — you guessed it — red cups. It encourages coffee drinkers to submit shots of their coffees for the chance to win a pricey Starbucks gift card — and drinkers always deliver (there are more than 40,000 posts of red cups and counting).

 

Ooo cozy. Just a few more days to share your Cozy up to Red Cups photo using #RedCupContest. Thanks @ktnewms for the beautiful photo. ❤️ For more cozy moments see our story.

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Nov 22, 2016 at 2:25pm PST

The #RedCupContest is a smart UGC campaign. It incentivizes fans to participate and engage online by offering a prize, it promotes a seasonal campaign, and it helps generate sales — because you have to buy a red cup to take a picture first.

 

To the sea. To the mountains. To the rivers and falls. To the outdoors you ventured… looks like you had a ball. #RedCupContest faves so far for “Adventure” in our IG story. (Keep ’em coming!) 🏔 Regram: @photosbylancelee

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Dec 1, 2016 at 10:07am PST

Takeaway for Marketers: Use a contest to promote and generate buzz around a UGC campaign. Offer a prize for participation (using a branded hashtag, of course) to get people excited about commenting, posting, and sharing on Instagram.

9) Adobe

Creative software company Adobe uses the hashtag #Adobe_Perspective to source and share content from artists and content creators using its software to do their jobs every day.

 

Have you ever had an IRL #Escher moment? Photographer @tanosm did in this labyrinth-style complex in Spain 🔹

A post shared by Adobe (@adobe) on May 21, 2017 at 9:27am PDT

It can sometimes be hard to imagine what you can do with a software without seeing it in action, and this UGC campaign lets Adobe show off its capabilities while engaging with its community of users.

#Adobe_InColor is Adobe’s Pride Month-themed UGC campaign that’s already generated nearly 300 posts in just the first few weeks of June. This UGC campaign lets Adobe showcase the talent of its customers and the values and culture of its community clearly and easily on social media.

 

All the colors of citrus ❤️ Link in bio for more of @wrightkitchen’s work.

A post shared by Adobe (@adobe) on Jun 9, 2017 at 9:12am PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Encourage customers and users to share their results from successfully using your product. These images will help give prospective customers an idea of what they can expect, and great results will speak for themselves to promote your product. And if you’re doing a cultural campaign, open it up to your entire community, and not just employees, to generate awareness and buzz around a culture initiative you’re proud of.

10) BMW

Car company BMW uses #BMWRepost to share Instagram posts of proud BMW owners and their wheels:

 

Make everyday feel like a holiday. The #BMW #3series Sedan. #BMWrepost @bmwf30driver

A post shared by BMW (@bmw) on Jun 11, 2017 at 1:01pm PDT

BMW sells luxury cars to owners who are undoubtedly proud of their achievement, and this campaign gives owners the opportunity to show off — and lets BMW show off its proud and loyal base of customers. If I were on the hunt for a car and saw this many happy BMW users, I might consider one of its cars for my purchase. (I don’t know how to drive, but you catch my drift.)

 

A trustworthy partner to take you around the globe. The #BMW #X5. #BMWrepost @hunterdreier

A post shared by BMW (@bmw) on Jun 10, 2017 at 8:12am PDT

Takeaway for Marketers: Give customers and users a platform from which they can brag about their purchase. You don’t need to sell luxury items — there are plenty of everyday brands with cult followings who love to get engaged on social media about why they love shopping and buying from certain brands. Create a hashtag that lets customers share why they love you, and they’ll love you back.

What’s your favorite UGC campaign on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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Jun

7

2017

How to Work with Influencers: The Ultimate Guide

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

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How much digital content do you consume on a daily basis?

It’s tough to put a number on that, isn’t it? Here’s an even tougher question: How much of that content do you genuinely trust — especially when it comes to an investment in a product or a service?

According to Twitter, if you really only trust your friends and family for this information, you’re part of the majority. But if you also have the highest trust in influencers for these recommendations, you’re far from alone — 49% of survey respondents are right there with you.

But what is an “influencer”? According to NeoReach, it’s “an individual with an online presence who has the potential to influence the opinions and behaviors of your target audience.” Because these folks — like bloggers and social media personalities — build a following over a long period of time by producing interesting, quality content, people begin to trust them. They’re relatable, and their opinions become respected. New Call-to-action

That’s why brands see the value of turning to influencers to reach or engage new audiences — it’s a way to broadcast their messages as told by an authoritative source that people actually pay attention to. And no matter your industry, there’s likely an opportunity for your brand to connect and collaborate with influencers. Below, we’ve outlined seven tactics to try.

7 Ways to Work with Influencers

1) Gifting Goods and Services

One of the easiest way to expose your brand to potential customers is to get it into the hands of the influencers it listens to. Identify bloggers who share the same aesthetic as your brand — if they love your gifted goods and services, that’s likely to give them a reason to share positive feedback about it with their readers and viewers. That makes research a crucial first step to finding an influencer, since you’ll want an influential partner with whose audience you’ll resonate. For example, if you work for a company that manufactures auto parts, it might not make sense to partner with a fashion blogger.

But whether you’re gifting a tour of your facility or free product, you’ll want to work with bloggers that produce high-quality content — the goal is to make the influential messaging about your brand highly shareable.

It’s important to note, however, that gifting goods and services doesn’t guarantee exposure. While many influencers will accept gifts, that doesn’t equate with a promise of editorial coverage. In fact, some prefer to be paid for coverage in addition to any gifts they receive — some influencers with followers in the millions, for example, receive an average of $100,000 for a earned post (that’s what it’s called when a brand receives, or earns a mention from an influencer). So if you’re new to influencer partnerships, or your budget is limited, don’t be afraid to start on a smaller scale.

Communication is imperative throughout the process of discovering and working with an influencer. If you don’t have a ton of merchandise to give away, get in touch with the blogger before sending out gifts to agree on specifics first. That way, if the person really wants to charge you, you can do some math on your end to determine the ROI of the partnership.

Here’s an example of this technique. When TomTom gifted influential “lifestyle and fitness enthusiasts” with its new fitness tracker, 47% of whom shared it, that helped the brand gain exposure from numerous posts:

Source: IMA

2) Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts serve as a less labor-intensive way for brands to work with influencers — bloggers in particular. Essentially, a sponsored blog post is one that a blogger is paid to publish about a brand, on her own blog, in her own voice. And while you can supplement the influencer with important points you’d like her to cover in the post, writing the content in her own voice can help maintain a consistent appeal to her readers.

If the blogger is following FTC guidelines, however, she’ll have to include a small note somewhere in the post to indicate that the story was sponsored by the brand, but that the opinions expressed in the post are her own.

Partnering with bloggers on these types of posts can be great for gaining awareness and securing a few valuable links from authoritative domains.

Children’s book author Chiêu Anh Urban enlisted parenting bloggers to promote one of her activity books. Here’s an example of one such sponsored post from the blog Toddler Approved:

Chiêu Anh Urban.jpg

3) Product Reviews

While this technique is often a result of gifting, product reviews from influencers that align with your brand can serve as a powerful way to convince potential customers to buy your product or service. Remember, influencers have grown to become one of the most trusted online resources. And with 81% of shoppers conducting online research before making big purchases, the discovery of these reviews can — pardon the pun — influence their decisions. Here’s an example of how TechnologyAdvice reviewed accounting software platform Xero:

Again, merely sending your product to an influencer doesn’t guarantee coverage — you have to build communication and nurture the relationship. Also, make sure your brand will be portrayed in a positive light. While you can’t necessarily stop someone from producing a negative review of your product or service, you can get an idea of how a given influencer might talk about your brand by looking at her other reviews. If she’s generally not receptive to your type of product, then it might be best to look elsewhere.

4) Giveaways

At risk of sounding like a broken record: Sending products to an influencer, even for a giveaway, does not guarantee coverage. However, if an influencer agrees to work with you on a giveaway, it’s a great way to build excitement around your brand. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?

It’s especially important here to partner with an influencer who aligns with your brand identity — if her audience isn’t a good fit for your product, there might not be a ton of enthusiasm around a chance to win something from you, even if it’s free. And when it come to deciding what to give away, we suggest a few guidelines:

  • Offer something of real value. You want to make it worth the audience’s time to enter.
  • Make sure it’s something you can afford to give away.
  • Remember that the influencer ultimately knows her audience better than you do, so be receptive to feedback regarding what she thinks you should be giving away.

As for the process of entering the giveaway, don’t make it too complicated for people to participate — but do require them to do something low-effort that somehow benefits your marketing goals. For example, if you want to increase your social media following on a specific channel, you can ask participants to post a photo on Instagram with a caption about the giveaway and a branded hashtag. Here’s an example of how the South Florida Lifestyle blog partnered with a number of brands on social media for a giveaway:

 

Summer Giveaway! HOW TO ENTER: 1.FOLLOW ALL OF US @south.florida.lifestyle @mumidesign @petite.chic.mom @active.sfl @me_and_kay @cocomingos @devonmariephotography @makeupbyrorylee @ourgirlsenrich 2.LIKE this photo on all accounts 3.TAG a friend and leave a COMMENT when you have completed the loop. Must be following ALL accounts in the loop to qualify. *Tagging of celebrity accounts, yourself and same person repeatedly, or other giveaway contestants will lead to disqualification. Must be 18+ to enter and have a US mailing address. This is not affiliated with Instagram in anyway and contestants must agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Giveaway ends Friday, June 2 at 6:30am. Winner will be messaged Friday night. . . . Lululemon Running hat, socks, glass water bottle from @active.sfl , large and small S’well Palm Beach Water Bottles and pool float from @south.florida.lifestyle ,set of 5 packing Cubes @mumidesign , $50 Nordstrom Gift Card from @petite.chic.mom , toddle dress and unisex baby onsies, teething toy from @cocomingos , girls bathing suit and necklace from @me_and_kay @devonmariephotography , makeup palette from @makeupbyrorylee , Dream book, pens, play makeup brushes and lip balm from @ourgirlsenrich . . #Giveaway #LoopGiveaway #FreePrizes #Shopgiveaway #SummerGiveaway #IGloops

A post shared by Active South Florida Lifestyle (@active.sfl) on May 31, 2017 at 3:30am PDT

If an influencer wants to be paid in exchange for including your brand in a giveaway, think about the work required on her end — she has to tease it, promote it, track responses, and pick a winner. Of course, compensation could be negotiable, but if this person has the right kind of reach, don’t immediately turn away a potential partnership because of the cost.

5) Influencer Competitions

Then, there’s another kind of contest — the kind that invites the influencers themselves to participate in a competition. The prize? That can be anything ranging from exclusive brand features on your channels, a chance to travel (on your dime, of course ) somewhere on behalf of the brand as an ambassador, or the opportunity to sit on a “best of” list, just to name a few options.

But remember, the best influencers get approached a lot, so be prepared to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Go equipped with information about your own reach, audience, and the ways that participation in a contest ultimately benefits the influencer.

Skype executed a promotion like this one with its “Your City, Your Passion” competition. Influencers around the world were encouraged to share why they’re so passionate about their respective cities, with the hope of winning a Skype session with a famed expert within their given field — for example, Epic Mealtime creator Darren Morenstein.

6) Guest Posts

When it comes to influential bloggers, one of the strongest ways to reach their respective audiences is by contributing a guest post on their publications. Not only can it help to establish you as an industry expert — one that’s legitimate enough to earn a byline on a highly-trusted platform — but also, it’s a way to gain backlinks from a high-authority site.

Again, this approach requires some research to find out whether or not a given blogger even accepts guest posts. Once you find one who does, the site might have editorial guidelines. Read those closely — editors are extremely busy and likely receive a high volume of pitches.

Back when his company was in its early stages, Videofruit founder Bryan Harris earned quite a name for himself after penning a guest post on the influential OkDork blog. According to Entrepreneur, Harris saw “astronomical” results within the same day his post was published:

  • A 500% increase in pageviews
  • A 600% increase in unique pageviews
  • A 6% decrease in bounce rate

7) Affiliate Marketing Programs

As a marketer, you may have come across the term “global affiliate network.” According to Rakuten Marketing, it’s essentially a system to “connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases.” In other words, it helps brands that join the network connect with the influencers that best align with their products and services.

Many of these programs work on a cost-per-sale or cost-per-acquisition model, which means that you could incur a cost when you earn coverage from an influencer. Each network is different, so it might be worthwhile to explore those that have been named as top-ranked, like this list from mThink.

Invest in Influencer Marketing

There is a shift in how marketers are reaching consumers. With so much digital “noise,” especially from brands, customers like the marketing they come across to personally resonate with them — maybe that’s why, for example, the open rate for personalized emails is 6.2% higher than those that aren’t.

And that’s why consumers also turn to people that they know — or, at least, are familiar with, like influencers — for product and service recommendations. There’s reason to invest in partnering with content creators who fall within these trusted resources, to build awareness of your brand and what you produce. The options are plenty, but the key is finding the right partner, with the right audience.

How have you worked with influencers? Let us know in the comments.

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Jun

3

2017

Why Generation Z Should Be Included in Your Content Strategy [Infographic]

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

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I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a bit befuddled by the letters assigned to generations. In fact, I remember the day that I lamentably found out that I wasn’t a member of Generation X. I had missed the mark by just a hair, and growing up in the 90s, learning that it wasn’t me who the Spice Girls were singing about in soda commercials was very sad news.

But now, pop musicians are singing to one of the newest populations, and as marketers, it’s time for us to turn our attention to it: Generation Z.

If you’re asking, “what is Generation Z?”, here are a few fun facts, courtesy of Adweek:

  • Generation Z is comprised of those born between about 1996 and 2010.
  • Members didn’t witness the dawn of the online era like Millennials did — they were born into it.
  • Half of them say they “can’t live without” YouTube.

But why should marketers pay attention to this particular generation? Well, like every other one before it, Generation Z is steadily gaining some degree of purchasing power, especially those who were born in 1999 or earlier. Many of them are about to start or graduate from college and enter a new phase of independence and decision-making. And who’s there to help guide those decisions? Brands, of course.

But what’s the best way to reach them? To find out, look no further — Adweek broke down the digital behavior of Generation Z into this helpful infographic, which we’ve shared below.


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Jun

1

2017

What Makes Content Go Viral? 3 Experts Weigh In

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

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When was the last time you created something online that went viral?

Whether you’re new to content marketing or are a viral content maven, you probably know that it can be nearly impossible to predict which tweet or video or meme might go viral. Often, it feels like virality is just completely random.

We asked three content marketing experts to weigh in on what they think makes some content super-popular while other content goes straight to the internet graveyard.

Drawing from their own knowledge and experience, they share their perspectives below. Learn what they think sets viral content apart.

What Makes Content Go Viral?

We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.

— Megan Conley, Content Marketing Strategist at HubSpot

When creating new content, seriously ask yourself two questions: “Why would anyone share this?” and “Will this help someone better express themselves?” If you can’t answer either of these questions, that content has no chance at going viral. People share content that strikes an emotional chord with them. Your job is to identify and articulate that emotion-driving element.

— Nadya Khoja, Director of Marketing at Venngage

There are two interdependent sides to the notion of viral content. On the human side, when a piece of content excites its audience, triggering an emotional response, to the point that they can’t help but to share it. In other words, it’s “remarkable” content. From the engineering side, social technologies measure engagement, map it over time down to the millisecond, and then surface content deemed high quality to get more impressions and even more engagement. The interplay between those two mechanisms is what makes content go viral.

— Eric Peters, Growth Marketer at HubSpot Academy

Get more expert insights about creating viral content in our upcoming live video master class, 12 Principles of Viral Content. 

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Jun

1

2017

May Social Media News: The Fight Over the Disappearing Message Continues

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

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In life, there are a few certainties: death, taxes, and Facebook.

This month, we’ve seen the competition continue to heat up between Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat over how to create the most engaging and marketable disappearing message.

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Instagram and Snapchat continue to innovate — and copy each other — to win when it comes to user base and engagement. Instagram Stories have millions more users than Snapchat, but Snapchat has the advantage of entrenchment with millennials. In fact, 35% and 46% of Snapchat users can’t be reached on Facebook or Instagram, respectively.

Snapchat versus Instagram isn’t all that’s new in the social media world this month. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.

13 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

Snapchat News

1) Snapchat launched new features.

Snapchat launched a ton of brand-new features this month to innovate in the face of heightened competition from Instagram and Facebook. Here’s a rundown of what’s new in the app:

Sponsored world lenses: Last month, Snapchat launched World Lenses, which let users add augmented reality (AR) elements to their Snaps. Now, brands can get in on the action by buying AR ads users can get creative with. Adweek notes Warner Brothers, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Netflix are the first brands to purchase these elements, so keep an eye out for them in your app.

Magic Eraser: (No, not the cleaning sponge.) Snapchat’s new Magic Eraser lets users erase elements from Snaps with the click of a button. Here are before-and-after shots of the same Snap — one of which I used the Magic Eraser on. It’s not perfect, but it does the trick for a quick edit on the go:

snap-eraser-1.pngsnap-eraser-2.png

Custom Stories: Users can now create Snapchat Stories that are viewable only for a certain group of friends. Custom Stories can also be further customized with Geofences, which limit Story viewing to a specific location. Here’s the demo video from Snapchat:

Now that Snapchat is part of a company in fierce competition with much larger social media apps, it’s doing all it can to be at the cutting-edge of innovation to keep users engaged on the app. There’s no telling when, but we can be almost completely assured a version of these new capabilities will be rolled out on Instagram soon.

2) Snapchat launched Instagram-inspired features.

This isn’t to say Snapchat is completely innocent: It’s also launched a couple features that might look familiar to fans of Instagram Stories. Here are the features that were “inspired” by Instagram and Instagram Stories:

Looping videos: Inspired by Instagram’s Boomerang, Snapchat now lets users create looping videos that play infinitely — instead of expiring and needing to be replayed after the maximum length of 10 seconds. The sender has to make this option available when editing a Snap, and if it’s enabled, the viewer doesn’t send a notification they’ve replayed a Snap.

Self-serve ads manager: This isn’t strictly Instagram-inspired, but the rollout of a self-serve Snapchat ads manager is a nod to its desire to maintain and grow its user base among smaller brands, too. This will make it easier for brands without the budget of Coca-Cola or Walmart to advertise on Snapchat — and without having to go through a sales team to do it.

3) Snap Inc. hosted its first earnings call as a public company.

Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, hosted its first earnings call for investors since its initial public offering (IPO) back in March. Here are a few of the highlights we gleaned with the help of The Motley Fool:

Snap Inc. raised $3.4 billion last quarter. That’s the largest social media IPO since Twitter’s back in November 2013.

Snap Inc. experienced slowed daily active user (DAU) growth. DAUs are growing 36% year over year, but Snapchat added only 8 million more DAUs in its first quarter as a public company — missing analysts’ target growth of 9-10 million users. User growth is highly concentrated in North America and Europe, which will make it tough to grow at the pace needed to keep up with the competition.

Snap Inc. invested heavily in research and development, and increased its engineer headcount by 260%. This further reinforces our previous notes about the competition heating up — facing increased pressure from Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat is trying to innovate and create new things as quickly as possible.

Revenue decreased and losses increased — making its path to profitability even longer. Snap Inc. is spending so much on R&D, and the ads business is in still in such a nascent stage, that analysts don’t predict Snap’s profitability anytime soon.

TL;DR: Snap Inc. is growing slower than anticipated. It’s responding to increased competition by hiring like crazy to innovate and roll out new, differentiating features, but it will need to expand worldwide to keep growing its user base.

Instagram News

4) Instagram launched a new feature.

Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) launched a new feature for Instagram Stories, its own Snapchat-inspired answer to the ephemeral messaging craze. Here’s what’s brand-new with Instagram this month:

Archive option: Users are starting to archive Instagram posts — instead of deleting altogether. For whatever reason, if you want to hide a post from view, you can now archive it, where you can view it privately or restore it to your feed if you change your mind. This change hasn’t been rolled out to my app yet, so it’s safe to say it’s still in a testing phase, but stay tuned.

5) Instagram launched Snapchat-inspired features.

Like Snapchat, Instagram lifted a few features from the playbook of its biggest competitor. Here are a few of Snapchat’s greatest hits, now living within Instagram Stories:

Face filters: In a move that’s possibly the biggest Snapchat ripoff (er, we mean, “inspiration”) yet, Instagram unveiled face filters for the front-facing camera. Like Snapchat Lenses, users can add augmented reality filters and masks to their selfies to make them silly and fun. Here’s what a few of them look like in action:

instagram-face-filters.pngSource: Instagram

Location and Hashtag Stories: In a nod to Snapchat’s Story Search, Location and Hashtag Stories let users search to see what other users are posting about. You can now search content across cities and hashtags used — the one differentiator between Snapchat’s search feature launched earlier this year. Here’s what it looks like in action:

instagram-hashtag-stories.pngSource: Instagram

With these two changes in place, there isn’t much left that’s proprietarily different about Snapchat over Instagram, so it might start coming down to user preference. Instagram has been advertising on the platform longer than Snapchat — plus, verified brands can add links to posts on Instagram Stories — which might continue the wave of brands and publishers that are choosing Instagram for their ephemeral messaging needs.

Facebook News

6) Facebook updated the News Feed algorithm.

Facebook has made more adjustment to its News Feed algorithm this month. Here are the biggest changes to how Facebook adjusts what you see when you log in every day:

Facebook will further downgrade publishers that publish clickbait headlines. The algorithm will now start downgrading posts based on individual instances of clickbait and based on a Page’s past history of being clickbaity (if that’s a word yet). Additionally, posts will be downgraded in the News Feed if the headline overexaggerates the content in the link itself — a nuance that signals a deepened commitment to its position as a news site.

Facebook will downgrade links to sites that provide a low-quality experience or are inundated with disruptive ads. This means pages that post links to sites that offer “little substantive content” or disruptive, “malicious” ads will be downgraded in the News Feed and may be ineligible to be promoted on Facebook.

TL;DR: Don’t publish clickbait and don’t link to low-quality sites when you post for your brand on Facebook for maximum reach and exposure in the News Feed.

7) Facebook is testing joint notifications across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.

Facebook wants to make it easier than ever for its users to stay within its apps by launching joint notifications for Messenger and Instagram within Facebook notifications. In a statement to CNET, Facebook said it was running a “very small test” of this feature — here’s what it will look like if it’s rolled out everywhere:

facebook-instagram-messenger-notification-integration.pngSource: CNET

8) Facebook Live launches — now with friends.

Facebook Live launched something new, too. Now, users can go live with another Facebook friend in a shared screen. This could make interviews easier conduct via Facebook Live, a highly engaging content format on the platform, or it could be a fun way to connect with friends. Either way, it looks like Google Hangouts and FaceTime on the News Feed:

9) Facebook inked a deal with Major League Baseball to livestream games.

Facebook made a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to livestream 20 free games this summer — roughly one per week. This is a clear nod to Twitter’s dominance in livestreaming — the app broadcasts pro football, hockey, baseball, and basketball games, as well as live news coverage that attracts millions of viewers. You can watch the live stream of the first MLB game on Facebook here.

We’ll see if viewers gravitate toward Facebook and away from Twitter to watch baseball for free this summer — we’ll keep you posted. (And I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to root for the Boston Red Sox.)

10) Facebook announced it will hire 3,000 Facebook Live monitors.

In response to growing backlash against the lack of oversight over Facebook Live videos depicting violent crimes, Facebook announced it would start the process of hiring 3,000 people specifically to monitor live video content. In a Facebook post, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said monitors will serve to get people help if they need it and remove offensive content from the platform.

It’s unclear how effective these monitors will be — and Facebook certainly can’t prevent violence in the first place — but Zuckerberg cited the fast prevention of a suicide mentioned on a live broadcast, so we’re cautiously optimistic this will decrease violent incidents on the platform.

Twitter News

11) #NuggsforCarter set a new record for the most retweets ever.

It started as an innocent question — Carter Wilkerson wanted to know how many retweets would be a high enough achievement to earn a lifetime supply of free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s.

HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3

— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm)
April 6, 2017

When the Wendy’s social media team gave him a number, Wilkerson made it his mission. And although he hasn’t hit 18 million retweets yet, he hit another milestone: This month, his tweet dethroned comedian Ellen Degeneres’ infamous Oscar selfie to become the most retweeted ever on Twitter.

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow)
March 3, 2014

12) Co-founder Biz Stone returned to Twitter.

After selling visual search engine Jelly to Pinterest earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced in a Medium post that he was returning to Twitter to focus on company culture, team morale, and people operations. Twitter has experienced a lot of executive turnover in recent years — in addition to intense scrutiny over abuse and dissemination of fake news on the platform — so a morale boost is coming at a good time for Twitter.

13) Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o inked a movie deal — based on a tweet.

This news might be the best of all, depending on your music and film tastes: Hollywood might see its first film that originated thanks to a simple tweet.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o and musician Rihanna were spotted sitting together at a Paris Fashion Week runway, and someone tweeted a photo of them that spawned into a discussion — looping in director Ava Duvernay — of creating a heist movie together.

Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans https://t.co/PhWs1xd3nj

— kateria 🌸 (@1800SADGAL)
April 18, 2017

I’m down if you are @rihanna https://t.co/vwHBWeCbFZ

— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo)
April 21, 2017

I’m in Pit’z https://t.co/Kz0o3lBEmL

— Rihanna (@rihanna)
April 23, 2017

@MikelleStreet @rihanna Lights set. Camera’s up. Ready to call action for these #queens. 👑 pic.twitter.com/NVgqpFeTnu

— Ava DuVernay (@ava)
April 24, 2017

No word yet on when this inevitable blockbuster is coming out, but Netflix bought the rights to it — making it what might possibly be the most 2017 movie of all time.

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

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May

30

2017

How to Host an Instagram Takeover in 7 Easy Steps

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

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Influencer marketing is a trendy topic these days, but it doesn’t require a lot of work or a ton of money to harness the power of influencers on your brand’s social media channels.

One of the lowest-effort and most organic ways to work with another person or brand to advance your marketing goals is by hosting an Instagram takeover.

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Not sure what we’re talking about? Instagram takeovers involve a person or brand posting on your Instagram channel to give followers a peek at new and unique content from another perspective. Here’s an example of our friends at WeWork taking over our Instagram account:

In this post, we’ll dive into how to host your own Instagram takeover to drive engagement, brand awareness, and more positive outcomes for your brand.

What’s an Instagram Takeover?

Instagram takeovers consist of one user taking over another Instagram account temporarily and sharing original content with their audience. Takeovers usually take place between influencer and brand Instagram accounts within the same industries or geographic locations. For example, here’s a post from a one-day Instagram takeover when we hosted Wistia on HubSpot’s Instagram and Instagram Stories:

Other types of Instagram takeovers can include:

  • Employee takeovers
  • Customer or community member takeovers
  • Event takeovers
  • Product or offer promotions

Instagram takeovers are mutually beneficial for the guest Instagrammer and the host account. The host can bring valuable new content to their followers without having to create it themselves, and the guest is able to reach an entirely new audience by posting on another account. Plus, Instagram takeovers help cultivate good-faith relationships between influencers that can create inroads for future collaboration and cross-promotion.

Now, let’s dive into how to get started with your Instagram takeover.

How to Host an Instagram Takeover

1) Choose what you want to accomplish.

It’s important to determine what you want to get out of an Instagram takeover before choosing a guest and executing. Ideally, your Instagram takeover will achieve multiple positive results, but choosing a primary goal of the campaign will help determine which type of guest to invite.

Instagram takeover goals could include:

  • Increasing brand awareness. This can be measured by the number of new followers of the Instagram account as a result of the takeover.
  • Promoting a product, event, or offer. This can be measured by the number of event registrations, offer redemptions, or lead form submissions as a result of the takeover.
  • Driving engagement within the Instagram community. This can be measured by the number of likes, comments, video and Story views, and link clicks as a result of the takeover.

2) Pick your guest Instagrammer.

Determining the goals of your Instagram takeover will help you decide who to choose to host it. For example, we wanted to increase brand awareness and promote working at HubSpot, so we hosted a takeover by our recruiting team on our Instagram Story:

But we don’t always do employee takeovers. There are a few types of guest Instagrammers you can invite to create content for your takeover:

  • Influencers within your industry
  • Employees at your company
  • Community members or customers

Now, this isn’t to say that these Instagram takeover guests can only accomplish one of the goals we outlined in the previous section. But generally speaking, we recommend choosing your guest with the most effective strategy in mind.

  • Influencers will draw their audience of followers to your Instagram with their endorsement of your brand, so they’re the best fit if your primary goal is to increase brand awareness by growing followers.
  • Employees will attract interest from their friends and colleagues who want a behind-the-scenes look at what they do at work every day. They’re the best fit if your primary goal is to drive engagement on Instagram.
  • Community members and customers will post enthusiastically about your brand and show the value of your product. They’re the best fit if your primary goal is to promote a product, event, offer, sign-up, or download.

Again, these goals aren’t mutually exclusive. Ideally, the content your guest creates will be highly engaging, shareable, and compelling to the viewer. 

3) Decide on the content format and takeover logistics.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish and who will host your takeover, it’s time to nail down the specifics of how the takeover will run. Below are our suggestions of questions to answer when you meet with your takeover host:

  1. When are you hosting the Instagram takeover? Will it last one day, or one week?
  2. Who will manage the account? Will the guest get access to your Instagram credentials, or will they send you content and captions to post on their behalf?
  3. How many times per day will you post takeover content? If you have an optimal publishing schedule in mind, what times per day will the host need to post?
  4. What hashtags will be used? Will you create a custom hashtag to promote the takeover? Is there a maximum amount of hashtags you want the guest to use in any given caption?
  5. Which types of content will be shared during the takeover? Will the guest post photos, videos, Instagram Stories, or live videos? Will they post a combination of these formats?
  6. How will both the guest and the host promote the takeover on Instagram? Will you agree to promotion on Instagram or other channels leading up to the event?
  7. Are there any guardrails? Is there anything the guest shouldn’t record or mention over the course of the takeover?

Once the details of the takeover are nailed down, decide how you’ll measure success over the course of the event.

4) Determine metrics to track during the takeover.

Depending on the goals of your Instagram takeover, some of these metrics will be more important than others. Below are the metrics we recommend tracking over the course of your takeover:

  • # of new followers
  • # of likes
  • # of comments
  • # of mentions
  • # of direct messages
  • # of Instagram Story views
  • # of live video viewers
  • # of Instagram Story clicks
  • # of offer redemptions/app downloads (if you promote a landing page)
  • # of attendees or sign-ups (if you promote an event)
  • Total social referral traffic to your website

Qualitative metrics to keep track of could also include positive comments on Instagram.

5) Promote the takeover across multiple platforms.

Once you’ve figured out the details of your Instagram takeover, it’s time to start getting people excited about it. 

Start promoting your upcoming Instagram takeover within a day or two before the event. If there are any contests, giveaways, or other incentives for people to follow along, make those clear in your promotions.

Promote the takeover on Instagram — especially if the takeover is happening within Instagram Stories or Instagram Live, and you want to drive visitors to view those spots within the app.

Promote the takeover on other social media channels to get as many eyes on your campaign as possible — especially if your brand’s Instagram account isn’t as developed or engaged as other channels.

Here’s how we promoted an employee Instagram takeover last year:

And here’s how the employee promoted it on her Twitter handle:

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER FOR @HUBSPOT TOMORROW. BE THERE. #insta https://t.co/0gQxYa4K4P pic.twitter.com/JFthjtZKON

— Katherine Boyarsky (@katboyarsky)
February 24, 2016

The host and the guest should promote the takeover on a few of their channels leading up to the event to get both audiences as engaged and excited as possible. 

6) Launch the takeover.

On the day of the takeover, it’s all systems go.

Make sure you have one team member monitoring comments and one team member uploading content to Instagram (if applicable). You can now upload content from desktop computers in addition to the mobile app to make the process easier from the office.

Throughout the day, cross-promote content that the guest is posting on their channels to help draw new people to your own Instagram takeover event.

Make sure to communicate when the takeover is starting and ending. Note in captions when the first and last posts are happening so viewers aren’t confused or abruptly left in the lurch, wondering if there’s more content forthcoming. 

7) Analyze the results.

Once the takeover is over, analyze how it performed, and use those learnings to determine how (or if) you’ll do your next takeover differently. Here are some questions to ask in your post-mortem analysis:

  1. Did we achieve our goal? Did you earn more Instagram followers, achieve high levels of engagement, or get visitors to sign up for your offer?
  2. Did we achieve secondary goals? Did the takeover result in other net benefits for your brand and your business?
  3. Was the takeover worthwhile? Did it save you time and energy creating your own content, or did it create extra work? Did it drive a push of traffic and engagement, or did numbers remain mostly the same?

Even if the takeover doesn’t drive hard numbers for your business’s bottom line, takeovers are authentic and real, and they provide an inside look at an aspect of your brand or community followers don’t normally see. Social media is about being social, so pay attention to qualitative feedback, too. If commenters respond positively to the takeover, take their feedback and use it for ideating future Instagram campaigns.

Now that you’re armed with a simple checklist for launching your takeover, follow up with us if our suggestions bring you success. For more ideas on how to drive results for your brand, follow us on Instagram, and download our guide to Instagram for business here.

Has your brand ever hosted an Instagram takeover? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

24

2017

Clips 101: How to Use Apple’s New Camera App

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

how-to-use-clips-google.png

Marketers and readers agree — videos and social media make up the next great frontier of content marketing and distribution.

The harder question to answer: How do we quickly and easily make those shareable videos our audiences want to see on social media?

Check out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

There are a lot of ways to create video content directly within social media apps. Think: Facebook Live, Periscope, and Snapchat Stories. But these videos are live, spontaneous, and unpolished. They’re authentic — but sometimes, you might want to create something more technical and creative.

Here’s where Clips comes in — Apple’s solution to easy social media visual content creation. Read on to learn all about the app, what you can do with it, and how to use it.

What is Clips?

Clips is a mobile photo and video editing app that helps users quickly and easily create shareable visual content for social media and its Messages app.

Its simple interface features a record/capture button, filters, emojis and geotags, and cards. If these features sound familiar, it’s because Clips borrows some of the most popular and engaging features from apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

But Apple isn’t trying to create another photo and video sharing app that would inevitably compete with these other platforms. Instead, it’s created one to easily film, edit, and upload visual content to apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

Apple takes Clips a couple steps further with two other cool features: automatic subtitling and a widget to add music from Apple Music. Let’s dive into how to use all of these neat video editing tools to make a highly shareable social media video.

How to Use Clips

Download Clips free of charge in the iOS App Store. As the name of the parent company might suggest, Clips is currently only available on iOS devices.

How to Record

When you open up Clips, you’ll see a big, red recording button. You can toggle between photo and video recording, or you can select a photo or video already recorded on your device. Tap the red button to capture a photo, or hold down the red button to record a video.

clips-step-1.png

You can record Clips up to 30 minutes in length at a time.

How to Add Automatic Subtitles

Tap the bubble text icon on the top of your Clips camera view, and choose the font style the way you’d like your subtitles to appear.

subtitles-clips.jpg

Then, when you start recording, Clips will automatically subtitle the words you’re speaking. I had to record this video several times to get it right — you have to speak very clearly and slower than usual into your device’s microphone. Here’s what a short Clip with automatic subtitles looks like:

How to Add a Filter

Tap the triple Venn-diagram at the top of your Clips camera view and different filtering options will appear. Tap the one you like, then record your photo or video as normal.

clips-filter.jpg

How to Add Emojis & Geotags

Tap the star icon at the top of your Clips camera view and choose a sticker to add to your photo or video. Here’s what one looks like in action:

How to Add a Card

Clips has a few options for static or moving images you can customize with your narration or music (more on that next). Tap the letter T at the top of your Clips camera view and select a card you want to use for your photo or video. Here’s an example I chose to wish someone a happy birthday:

How to Add Music

Clips gives you the ability to add music from your own library, or its library of stock soundtracks, by tapping the music note in the upper right-hand corner of the Clips camera view. Tap a track to download and select it for your Clip

How to Share Clips

Tap the downward-pointing arrow in the upper-left hand corner of your Clips camera view to look at your work. From there, you can create a new video or share the Clips you’ve already created.

clips-share-3.jpg

When you record several Clips in one sitting, they’ll be woven together into one large recording when you go to share. To avoid this, tap the arrow after each recording to create a new video project altogether.

Next, tap the sharing icon in the lower right-hand corner to pull up the screen below:

share-clips-1.png

From here, you can easily share your Clips via Messages, email, or you can save your Clips to your device.

Where to Share Clips

In addition to the channels above, you can easily share Clips where they were designed to be shared — on social media. If you tap the “More” ellipses, you can add other social networks to your sharing options, as shown below:

share-clips-2-1.jpg

Clips is a fun, easy-to-use app that allows you to create highly shareable images and videos. By adding a few embellishments like subtitles, filters, and emojis, content is easier to consume and share on a variety of platforms — without having to film and edit a video with professional equipment and software.

Have you tried creating video content using Clips yet? Share with us in the comments below.

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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

Writing-copy-for-social-media-compressor.jpg

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?

 

Whether you are working out at home or hitting the town, there’s a sock for every occasion. And yes, #TheStrategist even found knee-high no-show socks, kind of like Peds on steroids, to wear with heels. From colorful and soft to non-slip and functional, your feet will thank you later. Go ahead and tap the link in our bio to see the best socks for women.

A post shared by New York Magazine (@nymag) on May 6, 2017 at 10:29am PDT

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

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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:

 

Thursday #CaptionContest: Leave a comment with your caption for a chance to win an OpenTable gift card! See link in bio for full contest details. #INBOUND16

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Nov 10, 2016 at 9:48am PST

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.

 

And there’s no better time to do just that. Happy Valentine’s Day, all. It’s the @wework team here, taking over the #HubSpot Instagram account. Hang with us for the day for all things #dowhatyoulove. Link in bio.

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Feb 14, 2017 at 5:38am PST

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.

 

And we’re out. ✌️ Thanks for spending the day with us! For more office inspo, work hacks, and tips for creating your life’s work, connect with us over at @wework. Here’s to creating work we’re passionate about and proud of. #dowhatyoulove

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Feb 14, 2017 at 5:06pm PST

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.

 

What’s your favorite tip for business travel? (We recommend fitting everything in a carry on. Saves time & you won’t worry about lost luggage!) ✈️ 🛫 via @egmphoto

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Mar 16, 2017 at 4:55am PDT

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:

 

Normally our favorite color is orange, but today its green. 🌲🌳🌎 #earthday #gogreen #EarthDay2017 #Earth #EarthDayEveryday #Ecology #Green #GoGreen #GreatOutdoors #GoOutside #Nature #Recycle #🌎 #NatureLovers #ClimateChange

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Apr 22, 2017 at 7:41am PDT

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:

 

Today we have an Instagram takeover from our recruiting team! They’re holding a source-a-thon to find great candidates for us as we continue to grow. Check out our story for their tips on recruiting and what we look for in candidates! #bestplacestowork #werehiring

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Mar 24, 2017 at 10:14am PDT

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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