Tips and Tricks to get you started with Social Media Marketing





Just when you’ve decided to build your social media presence, you face the dilemma “where do I begin”. You have so many platforms, so many users to connect with, a plethora of content you can explore from various angles! You should know that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. It all depends on the nature of your business, the products and services you offer, the audience you want to target, your budget and so on. It takes some time to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.



Having said that, let’s begin with the tips that can get you started.

Know the various social media channels

These are the places which can get you the right audience for your business. So a deeper understanding of these platforms can help you get the edge over your competitors. Start with the Big Four – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

It’s safe to start with one or two of the platforms rather than jumping on all 4 channels at once. Many marketers have tried this and failed miserably.

A simple way to find a suitable platform for your business is to follow the influencers in your niche. Analyze them closely and check their followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and so on.

Survey your customers or clients to find out which platform they use and prefer the most.

Another way is to find the leading business in your niche and visit their social media profiles. Let’s say they have 10,000 followers on twitter and 1000 fans on facebook. This is a strong sign that twitter is a better platform for your business. But don’t stop there. Drill down to find their engagement level on these platforms. This will help you determine which one can produce better results.

Optimize your Profiles

Once you decide which platform you want to target, the second step is to optimize your profile. This is going to help you with your SEO and will also increase your followers/fans.

  • Update your profile and cover image

Use high-quality images which represent your business and your logo. Social media is all about connecting with people. Your profile picture will create the first impression of your business.

  • Keep your description catchy.

Your description should capture your expertise and Unique Selling Proposal. Try to keep it short. When you are writing your Twitter bio besides your main keywords, add relevant hashtags.



  • Include a link to your website.

Including a link will help your SEO. You can add it to the “About me” section of Facebook,“Website section” of Twitter and “Contributor section” of Google+.

  • Add your physical address and phone number.

Build Your Audience

 

Once you have set up your profile there are a few basic steps which you can take to build your audience. First, you can invite your friends, clients, partners, and employees to the page.

Make your Social Media Buttons omnipresent. Add social media widgets to your blog or website and social media buttons to your email signature. You should always link your social media accounts on your “About us”, “Contact Us” page, blogs, newsletter etc.  

Also, incorporate social media buttons to your website so when you add content to your blog, for example, readers can easily share it. There are various plugins which can help you do that. Always, make these buttons large in size so that they are easily visible and clickable.

Once you have connected with your current contacts try reaching a new audience. Target people with interests in your niche and potentially your product or service. Run social media ads which target the right audience for your business.

Now, let’s have a look at each platform and check some specific strategies:

Facebook:

  • Advertise – target under 50,000 people. Retarget your ads for people who have visited your blog/website once. Choose your “type of ad” based on your audience, budget, and product/service. 

Twitter:

  • Start following relevant accounts – mostly users follow you back when you follow them. So it can make a good strategy for those who are just starting on Twitter. Go through the list of followers of other influencers in your niche. Optimize this list and start following relevant users.
  • Use trending and relevant hashtags
  • Find interesting twitter chats to join. Contribute to the conversation and interact with other participants. People will follow you when they see your expertise and the interesting insights you have.

Google+:

  • Get involved in Google+ circles – find circles which are relevant to your niche, follow them and build a community.
  • Join and contribute value to relevant communities.

LinkedIn:

  • Ask all your employees to get involved
  • Always customize your invitation requests

Don’t rush into building your followers. If you are not already aware, let me tell you that twitter restricts the number of people you can follow per day. Also, on Google+ you can add/delete only a number of people from your circle.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for your social presence. You need to have some patience to build thousands of followers. Do not rush into it at the cost of breaking the rules. You might end up getting your account suspended.

I would suggest you build real followers. Then, concentrate on creating amazing content that people would love. This will not only help your SEO efforts but will also help you become an authority in your niche.

Share content that people will love

Content will remain king forever, and I always say interactive content is the hand of the king. The same goes for social media. When you publish interesting, unique and eye-catching content, people are bound to share it. The more people share it, the more visitors and followers you get.



But what do you post? I have compiled a list of interesting content that you can publish:

  • News posts and articles which focus on a controversial topic in your niche.
  • Customize quotes to your niche. (I would recommend using Canva for those)
  • Posting about any new research or stats in your area (of course by giving proper citations). Alternatively, make your own research and present your findings.
  • Create your own infographics – or if you are using someone else’s, make sure you mention them
  • Post videos – a “how-to” video tutorial is a good option to start with.
  • Use memes, GIFs and other trends. Share a joke once in awhile.
  • Include relevant hashtags. They make your content more searchable.

If you are not able to achieve the right amount of engagement in the form of likes, shares or comments, then you need to change your strategy.

One tested way to boost the engagement levels is adding images to your posts. Images catch the attention of your followers easily and help them comprehend the content better.  Your message becomes more clear and memorable.

You can look for blank images and customize them (include text in them). For example. you can ask a question and let your followers answer in the comments.

 

Post Consistently but don’t go crazy

Just because you got a million likes on your previous post does not mean that your task is done. You need to post consistently but don’t go overboard with it. Create a schedule and allocate specific time to social media marketing daily.

You can also make use of scheduling apps like Hootsuite and Buffer or use an editorial calendar. This will ensure you are not skipping posts and spending more than the required time.

Now, the question is how much should you post on each social media platform daily?

For Facebook, try once or twice in a day. For twitter, the more you tweet, the more exposure your business gets. For LinkedIn, try once in a day (avoid weekends). For Google+, I would suggest you post twice a day.

Social Media Strategies for Each Platform

Each social media network has a different set of users. Therefore, you need a different strategy for each platform. What works for Twitter might not work for LinkedIn.

For example, Facebook has a more diverse user base. Therefore, it can be used to promote any kind of brand. LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B companies. They can use it to promote business related content to corporate influencers.

Spend some time researching what people are looking for on various social networks. Then, align your strategies with these channels.

Now let’s dig into strategies that you could use for the major players:

Facebook:

  • Post Videos. According to TechCrunch, Facebook gets 3 billion views per day.
  • Use High-definition images.
  • Come up with posts that capture the mood of the season or a holiday
  • Change your cover to promote an event
  • Keep your post brief and interesting
  • Post Questions – it’s one of the best ways to strike a conversation (For example, “Which burger do you like the most? Bomb or Devi’s’?
  • Add call-to-actions

Twitter:

  • Optimize your bio – include a link to your website, tell people exactly what you do and how you can help them. Be precise.
  • Use the advanced search feature to search by keywords and find your ideal potential customers.  Go through their profiles and try to learn more about them. Then, customize your content when you are engaging with your target customers.
  • Incorporate images in your twitter posts – tweets with images 313% more engagement.
  • Engage with your followers on a regular basis – retweet and reply to their tweets.
  • Find experts in your niche and interact with them often.
  • Tweet regularly.
  • Use relevant and trending hashtags

LinkedIn:

  • Pick a niche (topic) that connects to your business and keep posting consistent and interesting content.
  • Come up with great headlines – this element creates the first impression of your business.
  • Use Rich media to effectively convey your expertise to your prospects. (videos, slideshare presentations and other interactive tools).
  • Plan your publishing times in a way that gives your posts maximum exposure.
  • You can go for a sponsored ad if your budget permits.

Google+:

  • Make sure you have claimed authorship with your personal Google+ page.
  • Link your website with your Google+ page. Incorporate a Google+ badge on your website, this will enable your users to follow your business on Google+ without  having to leave your website.
  • Try to use hashtags with every post, this will give you an added exposure. But make sure that the hashtag you are using is in sync with your topic.
  • Use clear and illustrative cover photos. You can use this picture to display your new products or advertise any upcoming event.
  • If you find webinars expensive, you can host Google+ hangouts. Although it supports only 10 active participants, you can stream it online to unlimited viewers through youtube.
  • Join communities in your niche. If you can’t find one, you can create your own using your personal profile page.

Instagram:

  • Optimize your profile – include a link, have a consistent name and an eye-catching bio.
  • Use a mix of short videos, graphics, images to know what type of content people react to the most
  • Comment on other people’s content – use industry-related and brand-related hashtags
  • Use fun images from your business – your office or your employees
  • Follow your followers and also, reward them sometimes
  • Keep a flexible posting schedule – use trending hashtags
  • Carefully choose your filters
  • Hold photo contests

Pinterest:

  • Make a business page (and not a profile). Thus, you can get access to analytics and advertising features which is not possible on a Pinterest profile.
  • Take some time out and comment on other pins – relevant pins in your niche where people commenting can be your potential leads.
  • Optimize your pins with a high definition images and classy text templates.
  • Add videos to your pinboard.
  • Organize all your client testimonials on a separate testimonial board.
  • Go for Rich pins – it will add extra details to your pins.

Youtube:

  • Use your keywords in your channel description and make sure you include a link back to your website.
  • Post simple yet unique videos.
  • Interact with your fans and subscribers – thank them for their support and always reply to their comments
  • Have a call-to-action at the end of every video
  • Link to related videos at the end of the video
  • Optimize your video description with important keywords and give a brief and precise information about the video content. Also, don’t forget to add a link your website.   

Now over to you.

What strategies would you recommend when taking your first steps in social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

5 Ultimate Webmaster Tricks to Deal with Unhappy Customers on Social Media (2018)





“You can’t make everyone happy!” Cliché but true! No matter how good your products are, or how awesome your services may be, there will be some customers who will be unhappy with you and will show their displeasure on different channels including social media. In fact as a business owner, you will be receiving negative comments on social media at some point or the other.



Yes, it is unpleasant and even uncalled for but the big question is – What should you do?

Should you simply ignore such comments?

Or should you choose to respond?

The answer is ‘Yes’! Of course, you should respond. Ignoring such comments won’t make them disappear from your social media accounts. Remember, running away from complaints or negative customer reviews would only show how ignorant are you towards your customers and business.

So, the next time you find one of your customers jabbing about your products or services on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you or your team responds quickly.

Do You Know?



  • 45% of customers share negative reviews on social media. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature. (Source: Adweek)
  • For every 1 customer complaint online, there are 26 other customers who share same feelings but don’t say anything. (Source: Groovehq.com)
  • 65% customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Churn rate can increase by 15% if organizations fail to respond to customers on social media. (Source: Gartner)

With these stats in hand, it’s easy to understand how responding in a timely manner can help you convert them into loyal ones.

If you’re confused on how to turn your angry customers into happy ones, here are 5 ultimate tricks that will help you turn unhappy customers into brand loyalists.

  1. Stay Updated on Conversations – As a marketer, you should have knowledge of what people think and talk about your brand. It is important that you be social and participate in all conversations about your brand. Remember, being a great listener will help you offer better response to your customers.

Here’s an example:

Check out how this yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica witnessed a massive decline in its revenue  because they did not pay heed to what customers are saying about their product on social media on time and respond to them.

You will find that a lot of people took to social media to talk about the brand. However, there was no response from the company on the social media platform or on their website that made the matter worse.

  1. Respond Quickly – According to an article published in Thunderhead.com, 25% customers migrate to competitors just after one bad experience. Therefore, you need to respond as quickly as possible and pacify your customers. It takes some micro seconds for an issue to get viral on social media platforms. Therefore, it’s better to take control of the situation before it gets worse. Don’t forget, 65% Twitter users expect a response within 2 hours, states an article published in Truconversion.com

Yeah, true! You may not provide them with a solution at that very moment, but it’s essential to address their concerns and let them know when their issue will be resolved and the reason for your taking so much time.

This will assure your angry customer that you are looking into the matter and that they are of prime importance to the company. According to Hubspot, if you respond quickly, 34% are likely to buy from you, and 43% are likely to encourage friends and family to do so as well.

Here’s an example:

Maker’s Mark reversed their decision of reducing alcohol content in their product after getting negative response from their customers. They quickly reverted to all the comments by issuing a social statement regarding their taking their decision back.  

 



  1. Deliver Authentic Apology – Cyberalert.com states that public apologies on social media and review websites significantly impact brand reputation and customer perception. Craft your apology in a way that looks genuine and earns respect. Remember, apologize and do not make an excuse, there is a difference between the two.

While a strong apology can turn your angry customers into loyal ones, a flimsy one can aggravate them further. Also, there is no harm in making your apologies public as this will only help in building your image of a responsible company.

Here’s an example:

A representative of FedEx was caught throwing a package over a customer’s fence, the company accepted its mistake by posting a blog “Absolutely, positively unacceptable” on social media. They also included a video from company’s senior vice-president Matthew Thornton in the post to make the apology more authentic.

  1. Behave like Friends – While handling unhappy customers, make sure that you talk to them as friends. According to Huffington Post, nurturing a friendly relationship with your customers is vital to growing a successful business. Don’t ever use fake names or pictures while talking with your customers as it gives a bad image. Similarly, you can address your customers by their names like their friends do.

Calm them down by offering them something that will make things alright. Just aim at bringing that smile back on their face.

Here’s an example:

See how Zappos deals with its unhappy customers in the friendliest way possible. Check out the way Zappos interact with its customers on social media sites, it’s as if two friends are talking. This is perhaps the reason for Zappos getting 75% of its purchases come from repeat customers!

  1. Show Your Efforts – Like we said earlier, apologize publicly so that people know what all you are doing to resolve a particular issue. Though there is nothing wrong in sending a personal email to the customer, people who must have read the negative post about your company will never get to know the efforts you made to fix the issue and retain the customer. In fact, there are chances that people think that your company is too careless to respond if you send a private message.

Remember, organization is the key to great apology email. Do well to ensure that vital branding elements such as your custom logo design and company name, etc. pop out. In addition, make sure that your contact details are easily spottable. Don’t forget to add social share buttons to make it easy for customers to share feedback about your brand on social media.

Here’s an example:

Graco’s transparent use of its Twitter account helped it get valuable information about serial number and repair kits out much more quickly and economically. Apart from this, majority of its customers were delighted with how the company kept them updated during its product recall.

Over to You

An article published in TruConversion.com states that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Therefore, building a healthy relationship with your customers by giving them a quick response is vital to the growth of your business.

No matter how angry a customer is with your product or service, you can make things better by interacting with them.

We are sure that these 5 strategies will work wonders in your efforts of dealing with unhappy customers.

All the best!

 

What is the Future of Blogging? Exploring Some Ideas





With blogging being such a vast industry, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve. This means to think about the future and start making the tweaks right now instead of later. This is how some of the MOST successful people in the world started because they visualized the world now and where they think it’s heading. With that said,



You have to explore and understand what direction blogging is going toward. For example, if many of us would have visualized mobile usage then we would have made mobile-friendly tweaks earlier on instead of waiting last minute…right? I’ve worked with many bloggers over the years, all with several different years of experience. Here’s what I noticed happening and what you can do to better equip yourself going forward. Let’s look at blogging and where it is heading…



Brand Awareness

Have you noticed many of the top bloggers are focusing more on brand, which is mainly their personal names? Here are some of the MOST popular blogs I can think of from the top of my head: JohnChow.com, ZacJohnson.com, NeilPatel.com and MatthewWoodward.co.uk. It’s not as valuable as to use a keyword as your domain like SEO.com, etc., because people still find it hard to identify with the author. However, by building your brand around your personal name, it means more when people throw around your name in forums, content, and other communities.

In the future, more focus will be given to your brand equalling your personal name because it’s this aspect that will build your credibility as someone valuable within your niche.

SEO

Over the years, we have seen enormous changes within Google and this has been catered toward the user experience. Search engines are all about the user experience and making sure people find what they are looking for. However, this is not enough because searchers have to find valuable content and one that provides a complete solution so it’s up to search engines to provide this. Google has already announced changes like LSI keywords, valuable content, freshness, “target” keywords, and mobile-optimized. What’s next?



Keep focusing on SEO and make sure you add a combination of different keywords within your content. For example, long-tail keywords, LSI keywords, and those that are highly targeted. Next, make sure you use a combination of different anchors to build links to cover all the different keywords you have within your content. This will help your page rank for different more “targeted” keywords, increasing the user experience.

Content = Value

It’s all about value because something has to separate the best from the mediocre…right? Google has invested a lot of resources into finding out which sites and content is providing the best value. For example, they look at things like activity, bounce rate, links, DA, and PA to establish some sort of value bar. Going forward, you should be focusing on writing the best content for your readers even if this means cutting down the frequency at which you’re posting. Nothing can replace value, no matter what niche you’re in, so follow these steps before you write:

  • Research
  • Outline
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Share
  • Tweak

This will allow you to have enough information to find out when you have created something special or simply mediocre.

Relevance

How do you stop websites from manipulative link building? You can give people control over links pointing to their website like the introduction of Disavow. You can also strategically make sure it’s difficult for them to build unnatural links by focusing on things that really matter. Google has put enormous value on relevance because this shows the right intent. For example, websites will only link to relevant websites when the value is there…right? Why else would anyone link unless they are trying to manipulate the search engines? Going forward, relevance matters and will continue to grow in importance, but there is a great way to make sure you find value in this. How? Write the best content because then people have no choice but to link to you.

How to Make Money on Facebook and Earn Your Fortune: The Ultimate Guide for Marketing Students





Since its release in 2004, Facebook has fundamentally altered the landscape of the internet. What was once a simple online hub for meeting and talking with friends has now become one of the world’s largest companies with over 2.2 billion individual users! That means that today’s marketing students have a new avenue that offers more possibility than any before. With a little bit of ingenuity and a few minutes, you — and your audience — will experience a surge. Looking to do more on Facebook than just post about your day? Learning how to make money on Facebook is entirely possible. Here are a few quick ways to make money on Facebook.
 

Sell Old Goods on Facebook Marketplace

Craiglist is a great way to make a quick buck and clear your room of any old or outdated goods. Unfortunately, it’s also accumulated a bit of a reputation.



Facebook, understanding that they had a unique opportunity, decided to stake a claim in the user-to-user marketplace with its own offering, Facebook Marketplace.

On Marketplace, users can sell virtually anything and everything for a price they set. And since Marketplace uses geolocation, you won’t have to travel far to offload your goods.

Hone Your Social Media Management Skills

If you’re a marketing student, (see page to find a great online MBA program) you’re likely learning a ton of marketable skills in school. However, learning those skills and putting them into practice are two very different matters.



Get a head start on your career by partnering with local businesses to manage their social media profiles. It has the potential to be a mutually beneficial experience.

The local business gets exposure and a bigger audience, and you have a chance to make some money while padding your resume.

Should you enjoy your experience as a social media manager, you may want to look into full-time career options. Per year, the average social media manager makes between $34,432 and $56,571.

Who knew you could make money on Facebook just by using the site?



Experiment With Affiliate Marketing

If you’ve spent any time learning about digital marketing, you’ve probably at least heard the phrase ‘affiliate marketing’ or ‘influencer marketing‘ in passing.

It’s a relatively new phenomenon that’s taken the web by storm, but it’s easily one of the most effective methods to make money on Facebook. Bloggers and vloggers get paid just to talk about products they like!

So how does it work?

Typically, a business will reach out to an influencer with a sizable audience. In your case, you may need to reach out first, but the idea is the same.

Then, once the details of the partnership are laid out, the influencer creates an original ad discussing the product or service in question. It may seem too good to be true, but influencer marketing is currently one of the biggest trends in the marketing world.

Final Thoughts on How to Make Money on Facebook

You may think of scrolling through Facebook as a waste of time, but figuring out how to make money on Facebook is quite simple!

 

 

3 Successful Ways to Get More People Sharing Your Content on Social Media (For Webmasters and Blogger) 2018

more-shares-social-media




When it comes to social media marketing, exposure is the name of the game. Having high-quality content is great, but it means nothing if there’s no one actually reading it. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that brands and businesses from all over the world are doing everything in their power to increase their exposure on social media. At this point, there are a variety of ways that you can do this. And while certain tactics, like using social media ads or relying on organic traffic, can certainly be helpful, there’s nothing quite like word of mouth to get people talking about your product or service.



The average consumer today is more likely to do business with you if there are other people willing to vouch for your business.

Just take a look at the data that Impact found, analyzing the importance of word-of-mouth marketing.

4.1

Social Media Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool, but it’s difficult to get because it’s so reliant on what others say about you.

One of the easiest ways to get this type of validation is by getting your audience to share your posts and content on social media.

Of course, getting them to actually do that is easier said than done.

The average consumer isn’t likely to stand by a product or service unless they truly believe in it. Before you ask people to share, you first need to be sure that your content is worthy of sharing.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to ask your audience (both directly and indirectly) to share your content.

I’ll be the first to admit that this can be tricky, especially since every brand on social seems to wrap their posts up with “don’t forget to like and share this!” these days.

Standing out on social is going to directly influence how much exposure you gain through this method.

That’s why  I’ve put together a list of my favorite original ideas to increase sharing on social.

If you use the same tactics as everyone else, you’re going to end up with the same results and the same exposure.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to put in a bit more effort if it means having a more successful social media marketing strategy.

By the time we’re done here, you’ll be on the path to increased social media engagement and exposure.

Use influencers properly

For whatever reason, business owners (and certain pockets of the social media marketing world) seem to think that the use of influencers is some type of fad.

Honestly? I’m not sure that those people are looking at the big picture.

When you look at the role that celebrities have played in the world of marketing, it’s no surprise that social media influencers as we know them today have become so popular.

Consider for a moment the life of the modern consumer.

They most likely grew up listening to ad after ad on the radio or TV. They’re used to brands leading them on with inaccurate advertising.

The celebrity endorsements they’re familiar with typically involve an athlete or movie star talking about a product they don’t believe in or would never use.

It’s pretty depressing, right?

Then suddenly, the Internet came along and changed the way consumers interact with advertisements.



More specifically, they don’t have to interact with that many anymore. Ad blockers mean they only see a fraction of the ads they used to deal with.

Music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music market their premium services as ad-free listening experiences because they understand how much people dislike annoying ads.

The reality of the current advertising market is that the only hope you have is providing a compelling piece of content and hoping for the best, right?

Wrong.

Social Media Tactics

Tactics like the celebrity endorsements still work — they’ve just become significantly more targeted now.

Instead of trusting a vaguely familiar face for advice on what kind of headphones to buy, people are more likely to take their cues from an industry professional with a strong reputation.

Why? Because authenticity matters, especially when you expect to develop the level of brand loyalty necessary for a consumer to consistently share your content.

Social media influencers, or micro-celebrities as they’re sometimes called, are perfectly suited for the needs of the modern consumer.

For starters, they’re not just random recognizable icons. They tend to have a history with their audiences that puts other celebrities to shame.

Take your typical YouTuber. Aside from the content they post on their channel, they usually have at least one other method for engaging with their audiences.

Sometimes it’s a vlog channel that shows behind-the-scenes content or just snippets from their daily lives. Other times, it’s a personal Instagram account with completely unique content.

The point is that influencers aren’t just powerful because of the content they produce. They’re impactful because audiences feel a deeper connection with their brand and what they represent.

Speaking of the content they produce, it’s worth noting that it’s infinitely more targeted than most celebrities.

When a movie star does a commercial for a watch or car, no one expects them to be an authority on the industry in question.

But when you’re dealing with influencers on social media, you can bet that the person plugging that product knows a thing or two about the industry.

If you’re looking to understand the influencer scene on platforms like YouTube, look no further than Casey Neistat.

21.2

Here’s Casey Neistat teaming up with Samsung to promote the Samsung Galaxy.

21.1

And that actually leads me to my final point about influencers.

You’re not just investing in the size of their following or their brand recognition on the platform. You’re gaining exposure to a targeted audience.

When a random celebrity promotes a phone or a camera, you’re banking on their star power.

When Casey Neistat promotes your phone or camera, you’re banking on the size of his audience and the faith that his audience has in him.

Don’t just hire as many influencers as possible. Quality and relevancy are the order of the day when deciding who to work with to promote your brand.

If you manage to choose the right influencers for your brand, you’ll be amazed at the level of validation your brand will receive.

And why does that matter?

Because an increase in validation today means there’s a higher chance that your brand’s content will be shared on social tomorrow.

If you want that audience to share your content, there’s no better way to convince them your content is worth sharing than having their favorite influencer stand by your brand.

Contests, coupons, and UGC

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of keeping things simple and direct.

With that in mind, I’ll introduce my second method for getting more shares on social media: embrace the giveaway format.

Embrace the giveaway format.

I’m sure there are some people who’ll read this and completely dismiss the idea of giving anything away for free.

I can hear it already. “I’m trying to run a business here, Neil! I can’t just afford to give away free stuff!”

Listen, I get it. And if you can get the kind of exposure you want without having to resort to creative tactics, more power to you.



But if you’re struggling to increase the amount of exposure you get, a contest can be a great way to pump up your social media shares.

Mind you, the prize doesn’t have to be something enormous. It all depends on how you want to approach the process.

Just take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s Instagram page to get a better understanding of what I mean.

21.4

His #60secondclub rewards people who’ve turned on their notifications for his content by giving them a free book or T-shirt for commenting.

21.5

You could offer a single major prize for the contest to keep things simple.

Offer several small prizes to reassure your audience that there’s a chance they’ll win.

Mix these two approaches together by offering every sharer a small discount code with a major prize at the end of the contest for one random person.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Increasing your social media shares

If you’re really looking to increase your social media shares, you can combine the contest tactic with user-generated content (UGC).

A surprising portion of Airbnb’s most engaging images on their Instagram page are actually UGC.

21.6

For those of you who need a quick refresher on UGC, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Content that your audience puts together, which you then use as promotional material.

The only real problem with UGC is the fact that it’s a marketing strategy that relies almost entirely on your audience’s willingness to create content.

In other words, if they don’t feel compelled to create anything, you can expect a barren wasteland of content during your campaign.

Sounds like it’s high-risk, high-reward, right?

Social Media Solution

The solution that most businesses use is trying to come up with a compelling idea and promising to share the best content on their official social media platforms.

And while you should definitely still focus on those solutions, incorporating the content into your UGC campaign all but guarantees it’ll be successful.

The actual execution of your UGC can vary, obviously. All that matters is that the activity is compelling or engaging in some way.

Here’s a look at the Starbucks Red Holiday cup, which they use to encourage consumers to creatively customize and share with their friends.

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Create a UGC marketing campaign with a contest where the only way to enter is by sharing their UGC on social media and you’ll be one step closer to increasing your online authority.

CTAs and social media share buttons

If you really want people sharing your content on social media, you need to understand the concept of friction.

At its core, friction is the thing that gets between your user’s actions. There are plenty of definitions for friction, but what’s important for you to understand is that it’s the enemy.

Anything that gets between your audience and the actions you want them to take is going to end up being something you want to get rid of.

The harder it is for your audience to take action, the less likely they are to take it.

If you want to increase the chances that your audience will take a particular action, try to remove as much friction as possible between where your audience is and where you want them to be.

Enter the call-to-action (CTA).

 

A truly efficient CTA revolves around your ability to guide your readers and ask them to do something specific. The more specific the ask, the more likely they are to actually do it.

The beauty of the CTA is that it doesn’t just have to focus on sales. There are few different types of actions that brands want their consumers to take.

Sales are obviously one of them, but there are other types of conversions like e-book downloads and email newsletter sign-ups that benefit your business without directly contributing to sales.

For the purposes of our example, we’re going to talk about a CTA that’s all about getting users to share your content on social media.

In order to pull that off, your CTA should be a few things.

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • One step

By ensuring that your CTA is straightforward and not convoluted, you end up with a CTA that clearly shows your audience what their next step should be.

I’m also a firm believer in the one-step CTA because multiple steps tend to complicate things unnecessarily.

Since this is about content, it’s likely that your CTA will be at the end of your blog content or video content.

No matter which you’re using, keep in mind that your CTA is more about making a value proposition than it is about presenting people with an ad.

 

People are going to need a reason to share your content. It can be something as simple as, “share this with someone thinks they’re always right,” or, “share this with any of your friends headed to college”.

CTAs may not be subtle, but they’re the solution to friction when it comes to increasing social media sharing.

Another important tool that you should be using to increase the number of shares you get on social media is the social media share button dashboard.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited pages that ask for social media shares at the end of their articles only to find that they don’t have any social media share buttons on their page.

This is one of the easiest ways to encourage people to share your content on social. The buttons basically remove any of the barriers between the user and the action.

Conclusion

If you’re worried about getting more shares for your content on social media, it’s important to understand what makes people share content.

Typically, it’s going to be 1 of 2 reasons. Either they were compelled by your brand or they were compelled by the content itself.

Assuming you’re already making content that’s compelling enough, the question then becomes, “How can your brand encourage people to share your content?”

Well, they can start by leveraging the social proof that comes from aligning with industry influencers.

Appealing to a targeted audience is definitely going to help increase your social media shares.

But you can go beyond that. Recognize that offering value via contests and giveaways is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your audience has a reason to share your content.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, learn to combine UGC and contests to end up with a campaign that’s as unique as it is compelling.

Make sure that you’re addressing the basics of social media sharing by providing your audience with easy-to-follow CTAs and a panel of social sharing buttons to reduce friction.

Getting people to share your content on social is 50% the content you produce and 50% the way you promote that content through your own social media platforms.

What’s your favorite method for encouraging social media sharing?

 

 

Followers 2 Income: How to Create a Killer Instagram to Funnel Customers (For Online Marketing Pros) 2018

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More than 800 million people across the world use Instagram every month to share and view photos or videos. But they also use the platform to shop. According to Statista, Instagram will generate $6.84 billion in mobile ad revenue in 2018. That’s a huge increase from the $1.86 billion that they generated in 2016. Brands also receive four times more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook. Better yet, as many as 14% of users are likely to buy items directly from the app itself. Whether you want to sell products directly or to boost your brand’s exposure, Instagram is the best platform to do it.



Here’s how you can create a killer Instagram to funnel customers.

To get started, you should integrate Shopify with your Instagram account so that you can sell products right from your page.

Sell directly from your account with Shopify

Shopify is currently testing shoppable Instagram posts that allow customers to buy items directly off of Instagram.

This is a similar concept to what we’ve already seen with Buyable Pins on Pinterest.

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With shoppable Instagram posts, you can turn any post into a buyable one.

E-commerce stores can sell to buyers right in the Instagram app, and users will never have to leave the app to go to an external website.

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However, since this feature is only available to some brands as a beta release, LIKEtoKNOW.it is an alternative that you can start using right now.

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The service allows users to take screenshots from the Instagram platform and shop right from the app.

If you want to send users to your website from Instagram, you need to add a call to action (CTA) and a link in your bio.

Put a CTA in your bio to direct users to your website

There aren’t a ton of places to add in extra text on Instagram.

That’s why you should use the space that is available, like your bio, to add texts and links.

Use this space to insert a CTA that directs followers back to your website like this example from Topshop.

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They added “Click to shop” with a link to their site.

Your CTA doesn’t have to send people right to your site’s product page. You can use it to promote anything you want, like an app or a new blog post.

If you want to share multiple links from your bio, try using a paid tool like Link In Profile. With this tool, one single link on Instagram takes users to tons of alternate links.

Here’s what the single link will look like in your bio:

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Once a user clicks on the link, it will take them to a page that looks something like this:

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Another easy way to funnel customers is by working with influencers to gain impressions and increase your brand’s reach.

Collaborate with influencers to gain impressions and boost engagement

The Instagram influencer-marketing industry is worth over $1 billion.

Top influencers like Selena Gomez, who has over 122 million followers, can earn over $550,000 per post. Kim Kardashian earns an average of $500,000 per post.

The average cost of a sponsored post on Instagram is much less. It’s about $300.

Desi Perkins is a great example of an effective influencer. Perkins works in the beauty industry and has 3.6 million followers.

One of her sponsored posts from July 2017 earned over 72,000 likes.

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Your brand can find the same kind of success if you create partnerships with the right influencers in your industry.



You can leverage their following to bring awareness to your brand or products. And since their followers trust their voice, it won’t feel like an ad. It will feel like a recommendation.

To get started on your search for the right influencers, use a free tool like BuzzSumo.

Enter the topic that relates to your desired post, navigate over to the “Influencers” tab, and you’ll see tons of related influencers to choose from.

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Buzzsumo will give you statistics about each influencer, including their total number of followers, reply ratio, and the average number of retweets.

However, just because an influencer has tons of followers, doesn’t mean that they’re successful. A large portion of their audience could be fake.

That’s why the next step is to type an influencer’s username into Social Blade to view their analytics.

If their following is legitimate, you should see a steady increase.

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If there are a ton of increases and decreases, they’ve probably paid for a large portion of their followers.

The higher an influencer’s following, the more a sponsored post will cost. Choosing a user with a modest-sized, engaged following is probably your best bet.

Your followers can also raise brand awareness for you.

Boost brand awareness with user-generated content

User-generated content is an easy way for you to interact with your followers while also boosting your exposure.

A quick and simple way to do this is to create a shared hashtag that encourages users to share photos of your products.

 

For example, Wayfair’s hashtag is #wayfairathome.

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The tag is full of users sharing photos of products purchased from Wayfair.

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Brands can then repost this content and tag the customer who posted the photo. This allows you to get the most engagement possible out of one user-generated photo.

And as you’re building awareness, don’t forget about Instagram ads. They’re an obvious way to funnel customers. But there are a ton to choose from, which can be intimidating.

Target buyer personas in every stage of the funnel with Instagram ads

Facebook Ads Manager creates and manages Instagram ads. But you have to connect your brand’s Instagram page to your brand’s Facebook page to get started.

Once you’ve connected them, you can use all of the ad-targeting options that Facebook allows on your Instagram account.

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Once you select your audience, all you’ll have to pay for is the cost per acquisition.

If one of your Facebook posts got a ton of love, try using that post to create an Instagram ad.

Stories ads will appear in the “Stories” area of Instagram.

Create single-image and single-video Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads are the ads that users see between their followers’ stories. Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat stories since they disappear in 24 hours.

There are recommended sizes for images and video in Facebook Ads Manager that you should check out before you create an ad on Instagram.

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With Stories ads, you can choose between single-image or single-video ads.

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When creating your ad campaign, select “Reach” as your objective. Then, choose “Stories.”

Single-image ads allow you to create as many as six ads with one image in each ad. Every ad will look like a regular Instagram story, but it will have a “Sponsored” tag on it.

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All you have to do is upload your images. Be sure to check out your selections in the “Show Advanced Options” area to turn on advanced tracking features.

Single-video Stories ads consist of a 15-second GIF or video.

1499966252 844 this man is taking instagram stories to mind blowing new levels

To create a single-video Stories ad, begin by uploading your video or GIF. Just like single-image Stories ads, you’ll want to check out your selections in the Advanced Options area.

If you have over 10,000 followers, you’ll also be able to add links to your Instagram stories

This means that you can inserts CTAs in your stories that direct followers to “swipe up” or “read more.”

If you want viewers to check out a product, blog post, or page on your site, all you have to do is insert the link on your photo or video.

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Here’s what a post directing viewers to a blog post might look like:

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You can also include hashtags in your Stories.

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You’ll want to make sure that the hashtag you use relates to your brand and the photo or video that you post.



Aside from Stories ads, feed ads are another way to funnel customers right from the platform.

Use photo, video, carousel, and slideshow feed ads

Instagram feed ads are made up of photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and slideshow ads.

Photo ads are single-image ads, much like single-image Stories ads, but they will appear in a user’s photo feed. You can create as many as six ads with one image each.

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Single ads are probably the easiest ads to make. Start by choosing the images you want to include.

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Next, you’ll want to add a caption for the ad in the text field. You can add up to 300 characters, but Facebook recommends using around 125 characters per ad.

Add a website URL if you want to send people from the ad to your site.

The Display Link, Headline, and News Feed Link Description fields don’t apply to Instagram ads, so you can leave those blank.

Single-video ads, on the other hand, are made up of a GIF or video.

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Choose a video from your library or upload a new one to get started. Then, select a thumbnail generated by Facebook or upload a custom one.

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Include a caption in the text box just like you would with a photo ad. Add your website URL and a CTA button if you want to direct traffic back to your site.

You can also create carousel and slideshow ads. Both of them show off more than one image or video at a time.

Carousel ads include two or more videos or images.

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You’ll need to create cards for your ad. You can add as many as ten cards per ad. The headline, which is the first line of your caption, will be different for every card.

Captions, on the other hand, stay the same for all images and videos.

Add a destination URL for your CTA button and leave the description blank. Your CTA button will be the same for each card.

You should also leave the “See More URL” and “See More Display URL” sections blank. Those are for Facebook carousel ads.

Slideshow ads are basically carousel ads that scroll on their own. You can add up to ten images to a slideshow ad.

slideshow example

To make a slideshow ad, upload a premade slideshow or create a new one in Facebook Ads Manager.

You can customize the aspect ratio, image duration, and transition.

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You can also arrange your images and insert music.

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Once you choose a thumbnail, create a caption and insert a URL if needed.

Another unique way to showcase your products to funnel customers is to let users build their own products.

Let users build their own products

If you want to take your Instagram ads to the next level, use the picture and interactive navigation ad.

With this ad, users can build their own customized product right from the Instagram platform.

Mercedes-Benz created interactive navigation ads that allowed users to build their own Mercedes-Benz GLA.

The ad began with a welcome page, and it gave users the ability to select the color of their car, the wheel type, the roof, the grill, and more.

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For every selection, the ad took users to a new Instagram page with choices for their model until the car was complete.

You can create a similar picture and interactive navigation ad to grab the attention of users.

Be sure to add lead forms to your ads on Instagram, too.

Add lead generation forms to all ads

No matter the kind of ad you choose to run, you should add lead forms to each one. Once you create one lead form, you can reuse it.

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Lead forms allow you to run lead-generation campaigns on any Instagram ad that you post.

These lead forms include a contact form that users can fill out to get in touch with a brand or business. This is a quick way to gain email or newsletter subscribers.

Aside from asking users for their email address or contact information, you can also ask people custom questions.

To create a new lead form, fill in welcome-screen details such as your headline, image, layout, and button text.

Next, select your questions, add a privacy policy or disclaimer, and create a “Thank You” screen.

You can also add a website link for people to click on once they have completed the form.

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Click “Finish” once you’ve filled everything out, but note that you can’t edit a lead form once you hit this button. If you’re still working on a form, click “Save” instead to edit it later.

You can download leads directly from Facebook once visitors begin completing your lead forms.

You can also connect leads to a custom relationship management system (CRM) like Salesforce or MailChimp.

By integrating a CRM, you can download and use leads faster than downloading them from Facebook since a CRM monitors leads in real time.

Then track how you’re doing by using an Instagram analytics tool to monitor the overall performance of your page.

Use an Instagram analytics tool to measure performance

After trying every tip on this list and spending money on Instagram ads, you’ll need a way to track your progress.

Sprout Social is a simple-to-use analytics tool that combines management tools with content creation tools.

With this tool, you can schedule new content on all of your social media accounts, including Instagram.

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You can also view the performance of individual hashtags or geotagged locations. Then, you can compare the performance for each metric by creating a downloadable report.

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And here’s the best part: Sprout Social offers a free trial, so you won’t have to pay anything to try out all of the features.

The Premium package is $99 per user per month for up to ten social profiles. The Corporate plan will cost you $149 per month for up to 15 social profiles. And the Enterprise plan is $249 per month for as many as 20 social profiles.

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You can change plans or cancel at any time.

Conclusion

Instagram is far more than just a social media platform. It generates billions of dollars in revenue for brands year after year.

Brands also get four times more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook.

That’s why Instagram is the best place to funnel customers, build sales success, and create brand loyalty.

The platform allows you to build a lasting, engaging, and convenient relationship with your customers.

For instance, you can sell products directly from your Instagram account or add a CTA to your bio to push users to buy.

If your goal isn’t to send users over to a product page, you can create a CTA that directs them to read your latest blog post or download an app.

Collaborate with influencers to leverage their following. Boost your brand awareness through user-generated content.

Target buyer personas with Instagram ads to reach users at every stage of the funnel.

Then create single-image and single-video Stories ads or feed ads like photo, video, carousel, and slideshow ads.

Let users build their own custom product by creating interactive navigation ads. And don’t forget to add lead generation forms to every ad you create.

Finally, use an Instagram analytics tool like Sprout Social to measure your progress.

If you do all of this, you’ll transform your Instagram into an effective funnel that turns your prospects into paying customers.

How do you funnel customers with Instagram?

 

 

How to Use Lifetime Value to Create a Facebook Audience That Actually Creates Conversions (for Online Marketing only) 2018

facebook lifetime value converions




Facebook has been in hot water lately. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news, you know what I’m talking about. And it doesn’t help that 62% of small business advertisers on Facebook don’t find successful conversions. More specifically, they “miss their targets.” Their audience targeting is flawed, and they can’t reach the right users to sell their products and services. Facebook simply doesn’t work, right? Wrong. I’d be willing to bet that the number one cause of failing or giving up on Facebook Ads is audience-related. After all, you can’t sell PPC agency services to an audience that only cares about SEO. Audience targeting is the bread and butter of Facebook.



While that sounds like an enticing feature, your entire campaign will depend on it. Even simple mistakes in targeting will throw your audience off, potentially targeting the wrong segment or users too early in the funnel for sales.

Thankfully, I’ve been there and done that. I wasted tons of money on Facebook Ads that never reached my targets.

But I also found a surefire way to reach the right audience on Facebook:

Customer lifetime value lists.

What is customer lifetime value and why should you care?

What even is customer lifetime value anyways? Does it matter? Why should you care?

Well, I am here to answer those for you.

Customer lifetime value is perhaps the most important metric you can ever track.

According to Google, it’s defined as the prediction of net profit associated with the entire relationship for a single customer.

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In more simple terms:

Customer lifetime value is how much a single customer spends with you before leaving.

It’s that simple, but it’s of the utmost importance.

Lifetime value literally guides every decision you make in business.

Let me give you an example:

You run an online e-commerce store, and you sell relatively cheap products like discounted sunglasses and cheap style items like necklaces.

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Your average product costs about $25.

So you begin advertising with PPC to drive some traffic and hopefully convert some sales.

You realize that the average cost per click for retail sales is $1.35. Doesn’t seem too bad at first, right?

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But the cost per click doesn’t matter. It’s actually irrelevant.

Why? Just look at the conversion rate for retail advertising: 3.86%

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That’s a pretty low conversion rate compared to other segments.

For the sake of this example, let’s round the conversion rate up to 4%.

It would take 25 clicks to drive a single conversion if your conversion rate is 4%.

Now multiply the clicks needed (based on the conversion rate) with the cost per click:

25 * $1.35 = $33.75

Oops.

Now you can’t expect to turn a profit because your average sale is just $25.

And this is where lifetime value comes into play.

This is why lifetime value is the most important metric in any campaign:

Doing the simple math on a single order, you can’t afford to bid on AdWords for what you sell.

But that’s not true if you have a good lifetime value. For instance, how many times a year does that customer return? Two? Three times? Ten times?

If they do, you’ve only paid $33.75 to acquire them one time. And if they spend $25 multiple times, you’ve quickly doubled, tripled or exploded your original acquisition costs.

And then it becomes easier and easier to sell to them. You’ve already acquired them, giving you tons of free ways to sell: email, phone, etc.

You can launch a new email campaign to existing customers for free in just minutes to increase sales and drive up their CLTVs.

Increasing the lifetime value of your current customers is the key to driving massive profits.

Once you’ve done that, you begin to see compounding effects in every other metric.



Increased lifetime values mean you can spend more on acquiring customers because you know that they will spend $XX over their lifetime with you.

And you can begin to ignore CPC.

When it’s all said and done, lifetime value reigns at the top and should always be your guiding metric.

But Neil, what does this have to do with Facebook audience targeting?

Let me show you.

Lookalike audiences on Facebook are key

Using CLTV as a metric, you can create lookalike audiences on Facebook that target only the best of the best customers you currently have.

Lookalike audiences are simple in nature, yet highly effective:

They utilize your current customer data to find new, alike targets on Facebook.

Matching demographic data with affinities, interests, and more, you can create whole new audiences with the same background as your current customers.

It’s one of the best ways to generate an audience quickly.

And they work.

AdEspresso conducted a $1500 test on Facebook to analyze the performance of lookalike audiences. To do this, they tested 1%, 5%, and 10% audience matching:

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With lookalike audiences, you can customize the audience size by % of the country/area you are targeting.

For instance, selecting “1” would be 1% of the country you advertise in.

AdEspresso put these to the test, finding that 1% audiences, while obviously smaller in nature, converted best.

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According to AdEspresso, the lookalike audience at 10% had a 70% higher cost per conversion than the 1% size audience.

Because of the extra costs, the 10% audience produced 40% fewer clicks, too.

The 1% audience drove 115 leads with just $500 in ad spend.

That’s a cost per lead of just under $4. That’s pretty cheap for high-quality leads.

One company found a 2x increase in conversions and an overall ROI of 186% using lookalike audiences to grow their sales.

By incorporating lookalike audiences, Andrew Hubbard was able to produce nearly $40,000 in revenue from $4,159 in ad spend, generating an 876% return on investment.

Simply put:

Lookalike audiences are amazing.

Here’s how you can set them up using lifetime value to increase their effectiveness and create a Facebook audience that finally converts.

Step 1. Set up your custom audience

To get started with using lifetime value to create a Facebook audience, head to your Facebook Business Manager dashboard and navigate to the “Audiences” section:

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In the audience manager, create a new custom audience, not a lookalike audience:

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While you can do it either way, I prefer creating a custom audience first, as you can select LTV right off the bat instead of after creating your audience.

Next, select “Customer File” as the type of audience you want to create:

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Customer file simply means that you will upload a batched list of customer data on your current customers.

This is the file that Facebook will then take to match other customers and potential audiences for your campaign.

Next, select “Include LTV for better performing lookalikes.” This option will allow you to create a file with lifetime value metrics.

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So, how does that work?

Essentially, you will be assigning each customer on your list a different value.

Depending on what platforms and products you sell, this will either be very fast and easy or somewhat time-consuming.

If you run an online e-commerce store with Shopify or BigCommerce, you can find your lifetime value data easily:

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In any of these customer data sections of Shopify (or BigCommerce, if you use that) you can find customer data on lifetime value and how much they have spent.

If you can do this, you’ll be able to export your customer data easily.

If your business is more consulting or lead-based and focused on landing clients or accounts, you will have to do a bit of digging.

Look at your current clients and see how much they spend with you per month. For instance, does their current contract with you show a spend of $1,000 a month on services?

Or maybe you sell software online. You can then look at their current tool plan to see how much they spend each month and how long they have been a customer.

That’s lifetime value.

Once you have lifetime value for your customers, you will plug that data into your spreadsheet and Facebook will target the highest lifetime values in their matching process.

This simply means that customers on your customer file with high LTVs will be matched first. Facebook will look at their individual data and match to similar users who have a high chance of spending a ton with your business.

Next, read through the lifetime value information that Facebook gives you if you still need a clear understanding of how it works. It’s sometimes complex:

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After you’ve accepted the terms and conditions, you can now begin to create your custom audience.

In this step, you will need to create a list that you can export in CSV or TXT file formats. These are the only two formats that Facebook currently accepts for uploading a custom file.

The data that goes into your customer file should be plentiful:

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Try to fill in as many of the custom identifiers as you possibly can.

Remember: more metrics and identifiers = higher specificity and better matching.



This may take some time to get depending on what systems you use, but it’s going to be well worth the effort.

When adding this data into a spreadsheet, you want to follow Facebook’s Customer Data Prep Guide.

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In each new column for each data type, enter the column header first, followed by the format of each under “Examples.”

Be sure to format correctly according to their guide and the image above.

Once you’ve added all of the data that you need, you can create a final column for customer lifetime value:

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For this data type, your column header in your spreadsheet should be: “value.”

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Under the “value” column, enter the customer lifetime value for each customer in the following two formats:

  1. $500
  2. 500.00 USD

Either one of these will work just fine. Keep the data consistent if you can.

If you are struggling to format your spreadsheet, you can always use Facebook’s file template to your advantage:

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Once you’ve created your list, you can take a deep breath! The hard part is finally over.

Give your new audience a familiar name to ensure that you can find it in your account:

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In the second step of audience creation, select the value column you created for your list as the “Customer Value” type:

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Next, confirm on the “Edit Data Mapping” screen that all of your identifiers are cleared and ready to go with the green checkmark:

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Now upload and create your audience!

Now comes the fun part: creating amazing ads that will speak to your new audience.

Step 2. Ad creation for your new lookalike audience

The first part of the process is done. Creating your lookalike audience with LTV as the main factor is the perfect starting point.

But now the second part requires you to get a bit more creative:

Creating ads that appeal to your new audience.

But before you jump into ad creation or default to what you have done before, here is something critical to keep in mind:

Funnel stages.

Since you are targeting a brand new audience that likely hasn’t heard of your brand before, the creation of your ads along with your calls to action will be critical for success.

Sending this new audience an ad that asks them to buy from you immediately probably won’t work that well.

Why? Well, they aren’t brand aware. They haven’t engaged with you enough to know about your products or consider them yet.

The key here is to warm them up. To get them familiar with your brand and get them engaging with your content.

Keep in mind, since this audience is a lookalike, they will have knowledge of your industry. They have probably even researched products that you sell before.

Meaning you can offer them something in the middle of the funnel.

That means anything from lead magnets to coupons to webinars and more.

Anything that incentivizes them to sign up for your email list or to get them to become a lead without asking them to buy too fast.

For example, you could start off by sending them ads for a webinar if you sell digital products and services:

I use this strategy all of the time.

It’s a great way to offer tons of value to new people without over-selling in the beginning stages of their journey.

If you sell too fast, you risk them opting out quick.

Another great example of a successful middle-of-the-funnel Facebook Ad is from HubSpot:

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Offering free, value-based content, they can hook in users to give them their email information.

It’s the perfect lead magnet that doesn’t ask the audience for too much but provides tons of value in return.

Brainstorm ideas that will promote engagement with your brand without selling too hard.

 

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to split test your ideas with ease.

Step 3. Split test your creative to find your perfect value proposition

Thanks to Facebook, A/B testing has never been easier. With ad split testing directly on Facebook, you can quickly test multiple ad variants against the same audience to see which resonates better.

This is one of my favorite tactics when brainstorming new ideas to see how an audience reacts.

When it comes to lookalike audiences for LTV, you know they’ve done research in your space. But they aren’t brand aware.

This means you are skating a thin line between the awareness and consideration stages of the buying process.

While it sounds good, it also makes it difficult to nail down the proper call to action that will resonate with them.

And that’s why split testing is key. With split testing you can find the right value proposition for the audience, leading to massive wins.

Split testing works, too: One company split tested ad types to the same audience, finding that one variant outperformed the other by 336%.

To start split testing on Facebook, head to your Ads Manager and create a new ad set based on your goals, enabling the split test feature:

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After selecting “Create Split Test,” choose the variable that you want to test:

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In this case, “Creative” is what you want to select.

On the left-hand side, you should now see the following:

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You can begin to create different ad variants for Ad A and Ad B.

If you want, you can even test another ad.

If you have multiple ideas that you want to explore with your new audience, run 2-3 (maximum) at a time. Otherwise, you risk spreading the results too thin.

When running this A/B split test, be sure that you only tweak the creative.

Don’t mess with your audience or placements. Keep the same lifetime value lookalike audience and the same placements, and you will get clear results on how each offer was received.

Run this test until you get a minimum of 250 conversions. That’s the formal guideline from CRO experts at ConversionXL.

Having a minimum of 250 conversions will result in better statistical significance in your tests.

At the end of the test, analyze which ad drove more revenue and profit and proceed with that creative.

Step 4. Remarket non-converting users to close the gaps

Remarketing is one of my most favorite ways to bring back users that didn’t convert.

And while this lookalike lifetime value audience is going to convert great for you, it’s unfortunately not possible to convert everyone.

Trust me. I sure wish it was.

To combat this, remarket the audience you just created, capturing traffic from all non-converting prospects.

In the Ads Manager, you can create a new custom audience based on your lookalike audience.

Depending on how you structured your ads in the lookalike audience campaign, you will choose how you want to create the new audience:

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One of my top ways to remarket on Facebook is by targeting people who engaged with my Facebook Ads in the past few days.

I then exclude anyone who interacted with my CTA button to weed out potential converters.

If you want, you can also create a secondary remarketing list of just people who engaged with your call-to-action button but didn’t convert.

These two remarketing options can go a long way in regaining lost traffic and potential conversions.

After you create those, you have just created a fullscale funnel-optimized lifetime value audience.

You can’t go wrong with this setup, and you’ll be driving conversions faster than you thought possible.

By targeting for LTV, you are ensuring that your new lookalike audience is primed and ready to convert.

Warming them up with split testing will help you narrow down your value proposition and find the right creative elements that appeal to users.

Then, close the gaps with remarketing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

 

Conclusion

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world.

And it packs amazing features to reach your target audience.

But even so, missing your audience is still relatively “easy” to do.

Most small businesses report having this problem of “missing their targets.”

And I’ve had the same thing happen to me: wasting advertising money on audiences that don’t convert.

But I’ve found a surefire way to drive sales on Facebook from all of that testing:

Customer lifetime value audiences.

Lifetime value is the most important metric there is. It can inform acquisition and all of your advertising spend.

Try creating this customer lifetime value audience on Facebook to capture the most interested users and drive your profits through the roof.

Set up your new lookalike audience with the lifetime value feature on Facebook. This will help you target customers most like your top spenders for increased revenue.

Next, create the most compelling ads and split test them for better performance.

What audiences have you tried and found success with on Facebook?

Social Media is ‘Pay to Play’ in 2018 (How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck) – For Influencers Only

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Remember MySpace? It was one of the first social media platforms that revolutionized how people interact online. In those days and even in the early days of Facebook, people were still trying to get comfortable with online “friendships.” Some people didn’t join until a significant portion of humanity had already signed up. And even then, they were a bit hesitant. Now, however, people are acquainted with social media, how it works, and why it’s fun. They trust it and they enjoy it. Therefore, they use it. And in the days of social media discovery, everyone sort of wondered, “How are these platforms making money?”



Well, now we have the answer.

In a word, advertisements.

The more people that these platforms have access to, the more money they make from businesses wanting to sell those people their products.

And today, 62% of people living in North America have a Facebook account.

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Since Facebook sells all of that user data to advertisers, they make a lot of money.

Unfortunately, that also means that growing an organic audience on social media platforms is only becoming more difficult.

Because Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram want you to pay them money to reach your audience.

They don’t want you to be able to do that for free. At least, not easily.

While social media platforms might look like a simple and fun idea on the outside, the reality is that each one is a business.

Still, though, paying to play is well worth your time.

Not only does a massive portion of the human race use social media, but they use it regularly.

Over 75% of Facebook and Instagram users visit the platform at least once per day.

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And that means if you advertise on the platforms, people will see you.

Social media is attracting people like crazy, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

For that reason, many marketers and advertisers are still using the platforms to spread their products and message, despite the “pay-to-play” models.

Just take Facebook, for instance. 93% of social media advertisers use Facebook Ads.

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However, even the massive number of marketers and advertisers who use social media to sponsor their businesses struggle to quantitatively measure their effectiveness.

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And that’s a damaging truth.

Not just to your spirit, but to your pocketbook. Maybe if you’re only trying to grow an organic following on social media, then it isn’t as detrimental.

After all, you’ll probably invest less money while trying to grow an organic following.

However, social media platforms are intentionally trying to get you to pay.

So first, I’ll discuss why and how that’s happening on social media platforms and then lay out some strategies to help you get the most bang for your buck on your advertising efforts.

Why social media is “pay-to-play”

It used to be that you could grow a social media following with some creativity and determination.

Now, however, you also need dollar bills.

And the more you have, the better you’ll be able to reach your audience.

That is, of course, on purpose.

Social media sites want you to pay to reach your ideal market. They don’t want you to able to reach it for free, and they definitely don’t want you to be able to go viral without paying for it.

Over the years, that truth is only becoming more prevalent.

As social media platforms establish themselves, they can require businesses pay more to reach their target markets.

And they are doing so. Vehemently.

In fact, on average, brands only reach 6% of their fans without using paid advertisements.



Clearly, that isn’t very promising.

Additionally, average Facebook engagement is on a downhill slope.

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In other words, not only is it difficult to reach your ideal audience, but it’s almost impossible to get them to engage.

The answer, of course, is to run paid advertisements.

As Facebook’s stock price has increased, the average organic reach of business pages has decreased.

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Why is that?

Because, again, Facebook doesn’t want you to build a following for free. They want you to pay for it.

Just consider this promote button that they constantly encourage businesses to click.

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If you have a Facebook page, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You probably even receive occasional notifications telling you to boost your post for $5 or $10.

That is a great way for Facebook to make money. But it might not be a great way for you to make money.

And that boost button becomes even more tempting when you find out that Facebook won’t even show your post to all of your current followers.

Just consider this post. My page has almost 920,000 followers, but Facebook has only shown the post to about 15,000 people.

Is that just because only some people have been on Facebook at the time of the post?

No. No, it isn’t.

It’s actually because Facebook intentionally restricts how many people a page can reach with their posts organically. They want you to click that boost button, and they want you to do it as often as possible.

The more you do, the more money they make.

That is, of course, only one example of the increasingly expensive social media climate that advertisers find themselves in.

So what can you do to get the most bang for your buck this year?

Specifically, five things. Here’s what they are.

1. Understand your advertising goals

Since every advertisement is going to cost you cold, hard cash, you shouldn’t run one unless you’ve first determined what the goal of the advertisement is.

If you don’t know, then it’s probably best for your bank account to forego paying for an ad.

The process doesn’t need to be complicated, though.

Just start by taking a look at your funnel, from awareness to consideration to transaction.

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Then ask yourself where the advertisement falls within that funnel. What is the end goal of the ad?

Traffic? Conversions? Brand awareness?

The goal of your ad should directly impact the copy, image, and message that you send. If you don’t have a direct goal for your advertisement, then you shouldn’t run the ad in the first place.

Especially since an unsuccessful ad will cost you loads of money and time.

Naturally, there are a variety of different goals you can choose from.

This ad, for instance.

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Is trying to do something far different than this ad.

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One is trying to build brand awareness and strengthen Buffer’s brand image, while the other is trying to actually sell Buffer’s SaaS product.

One is top-of-funnel and the other is bottom-of-funnel.

Sometimes, you’ll want to run ads to a piece of content you created on your website.

Other times, you’ll want to simply sell your product.

Which goal you choose for your advertising campaign will also impact the audience you target.

If you’re trying to build brand awareness, then you might try to target people who’ve never heard of your business.

But if you’re trying to generate conversions, then it’s probably a better idea to run ads to people who already know about you and have indicated that they are interested in buying.

One thing’s for sure, though. If you don’t know what the goal of your advertisement is, then you don’t really have an advertisement at all.

Start with deciding a goal for your advertisement and don’t run the ad before you’ve determined it.

2. Choose the right social media platform

Each social media platform is different.

Some social media platforms are great for B2B advertising while others are great for B2C advertising. Still, some work for both.

Not only that, but each platform also offers different advertising options.

On Facebook, you can target custom and lookalike audiences, which we’ll talk more about it in a bit.

And on LinkedIn, you can target matched audiences.

With Pinterest, you can use Shoppable Pins.

Above all, though, Facebook shines through as the preferred option for marketers and advertisers everywhere.



In fact, 95% of marketers said that Facebook produces the best ROI for their advertisements.

As you can see, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn fall into second, third, and fourth place.

If you’re looking to advertise on social media, then you should at least consider those top four platforms.

Still, one platform will work better for B2B while another works better for B2C. And one will work better for SaaS while another works better for physical products.

How can you decide which platforms to use and which to ignore for the sake of your business and your ROI?

Well, if you’re marketing for a B2B company, then LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube should stand at the top of your marketing list.

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However, keep in mind that, on LinkedIn, you can’t do a very good job of selling your actual products.

For generating leads, the platform is remarkable. But for generating conversions, not so much.

Twitter is great for quick advertisements that drive leads and conversions. And YouTube is perhaps the best platform for building a meaningful connection with your audience since it’s based in video content.

Here’s a quick overview of each social media platform and their specialties.

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In particular, you’ll notice:

Pinterest is great if you have a female audience, Twitter has the largest penetration in the U.S., Facebook is mostly on mobile, Instagram is all about images, Google+ has 300 million active users, and LinkedIn is B2B oriented.

Those unique differences should impact the place you advertise and the advertisements you use.

And each one will cost you money because each social media platform is a business.

So you need to choose the platform that will provide you with the best ROI. That way, you’re not wasting your hard-earned cash on a platform that simply doesn’t work with your business.

3. Target custom and lookalike audiences

Here’s what you don’t want to do.

You don’t want to pay for advertisements, run them for weeks on end, and receive little-to-no attention.

Unfortunately, that’s often what happens when marketers run advertisements without taking the necessary precautions. Or at least, having the necessary knowledge.

Take, for instance, the audience you choose to target.

You can target everyone in the social media world with the right interests. Or, you can target people who are similar to your current successful audiences.

In most cases, the latter option is far more effective.

Fortunately, most social media platforms offer a variation of what Facebook calls custom and lookalike audiences.

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LinkedIn calls it matched audiences and Twitter calls it tailored audiences.

But the feature is largely the same across the board.

So what exactly does the feature do?

Well, it allows you to target audiences that are similar to your current successful audiences.

Imagine, for example, that you have an email list that is incredibly successful. Your open rate, click-through rate, and engagement rate are remarkable for your industry.

With customer and lookalike audiences, you can leverage that email list.

The feature allows you to do one of two things.

  1. Target your email list or some other predetermined audience.
  2. Target an audience that is similar to your email list or other predetermined audience.

The benefits of those features are obvious.

If you have an audience that is already successful, then targeting those same people or people with a similar attitude and demographic is likely to pull results.

In the case of Facebook lookalike audiences, advertisers experience higher-quality and scale than other advertising options.

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However, using the feature for one of your social media campaigns will usually require you to install a tracking pixel on your website.

This is what that looks like on Facebook.

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Fortunately, that’s quite simple and anyone can do it.

Most social media platforms will walk you through the steps to do so, and all you have to do is follow.

Once you’ve installed the pixel, that social media platform will receive data from your website to understand how your ad is performing.

How many people visit your website? How many people convert? Or how many people abandon their shopping cart?

That’s all available information if you install the required pixel.

Then you’ll be able to use custom and lookalike audiences, giving your advertisements the best bang for your marketing buck.

4. Run retargeting ads

Similar to customer and lookalike audiences are retargeting ads.

These allow marketers to show advertisements to people who have taken (or not taken) certain actions on their website.

Again, you only have access to retargeting ads if you install the corresponding social media pixel on your website.

Most social media websites, though, will allow you to run retargeting ads with ease.

Here’s how they work.

Someone visits your site, and the social media pixel tracks their actions. Let’s pretend, for instance, that they put an item in their shopping cart, but leave before buying.

Then, when they go on Facebook, they see an advertisement that targets them with the exact item they added to their cart, maybe offering an additional discount as an incentive.

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For obvious reasons, retargeting ads are more successful than their less-targeted counterparts.

But just how successful are retargeting ads?

Well, on average, they receive three times more clicks, and they are four times more likely to convert new customers.

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Here’s what a retargeting ad sometimes looks like. The person visits the website and then they see a sidebar ad on Facebook of the exact same item.

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The other regard in which retargeting ads help your marketing success is across different devices.

In today’s world, people use multiple devices. They view your website on their laptop and then Facebook on mobile.

As you can see in the chart below, the device percentages are almost evenly split.

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With retargeting ads and a social media pixel, the ads don’t depend on cookies, which are device specific. But they often identify the actual user.

That means even though the person visited your website on their laptop and then Facebook on their phone, the pixel sees the person instead of the different devices.

Clearly, that’s a win for your marketing strategy.

Here’s a retargeting ad, for instance, in which J. Crew Factory offers a discount for a user who abandoned their cart.

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And another example.

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And one more.

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Do that and you’re sure to get more bang for your buck out of your advertising dollars.

Retargeting ads are less risky than most other advertisements because they target people that, you know, are already interested in your product.

You just have to give them a little push before they buy.

Conclusion

As time goes on, social media is only going to get more expensive.

Each platform is trying to run a business, which means that they are trying to make money.

You are their customer.

And your customer is their product. Fortunately, the story isn’t all bad.

Social media is remarkable at finding and targeting your audience.

Even though you now have to “pay to play,” as long as you use your dollars wisely, you can use social media to advertise your products and grow your business.

The four things you want to focus on are understanding your advertising goals, choosing the right social media platform, targeting custom and lookalike audiences, and running retargeting ads.

Then, and only then, will you get the best bang for your buck in the expensive social media climate you find yourself in.

What strategy do you use to get the best ROI from your social media advertisements?

 

 

 

9 Ways to Beat Instagram’s Algorithm For More Followers and More Likes (For Influencers Only) 2018

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Social Media platforms change with alarming frequency these days. For years, Instagram was a haven of chronological posts that almost guaranteed engagement as long as you timed your post correctly and shared something interesting. But that Instagram reality is no more. Recent changes offer users more control over their feeds, which means it may be getting more difficult to engage with your audience. Instagram’s users may be able to see fresher posts, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever see your content. That means you’ll need to change your approach if you want to stay at the top of the Instagram pile. And to do that, you have to know what actually works for other brands who have cracked the code.



This post will give you nine ways to do just that.

But first, you have to understand Instagram’s current landscape and how it affects your brand.

Breaking down the Instagram landscape

In 2016, Instagram announced their efforts to favor the moments you “care about the most” in your feed.

Since then, marketers have been looking for ways to optimize their content and stay ahead of the Instagram algorithm to keep engagement levels high.

As you’re no longer guaranteed to show up in a chronological feed, you have to find a creative way to stay in front of your online audience.

And as the press release indicates, Instagram’s current algorithm filters content based on your user’s previous behavior.

So in theory, the more your audience interacts with your brand, the more they’ll see your posts.

That isn’t exactly great news for most marketers though.

The overwhelming tendency is to treat engagement as the number one metric on Instagram, and all of these changes have caused engagement to go down.

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So success on Instagram requires brands to find new ways to continue building engagement and follower count.

But to start engaging with Instagram users in the first place, you have to know who they are and what they’re like.

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First and foremost, Instagram users are predominately young.

Your audience is primarily millennials for now, and they have different shopping patterns than previous generations.

And perhaps even worse, the average user misses over 70% of their feed.

That means even your best content isn’t guaranteed to be in front of your audience no matter what you do.

So if it’s so hard to get views and engagement, why focus on Instagram at all?

To understand that, you have to understand the raw marketing power of visual engagement.

According to research, visuals are a more retainable form of sharing information and news.

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We retain vastly more information from things we see, which means visuals are important.

That makes Instagram, which is a primarily visual channel, an essential part of many brands’ digital presence.

Brands that create visually-appealing or artisan items often rely on Instagram to engage with their audience when blogging.

They use Instagram as an essential piece of their social media sales funnel, so success on this platform is life or death.

And studies have shown that people buy items they see on social media all the time.

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More than 42% of social media users have made a purchase simply because they saw it in their feed.

So finding a way to break the algorithm in your favor and increase your engagement can help your brand push sales through Instagram.

And to do that, you have to create content that resonates with your audience and fosters interaction between your followers and your brand.

Thankfully, there are plenty of proven methods that will let you accomplish that on a regular basis.

The nine solutions in this post are data-backed and brand-approved methods for boosting engagement.

And the first one you can start using right now.

Solution #1: Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the Snapchat-esque element of Instagram that allows users to create and share content that disappears after 24 hours.

Launched in late 2016, it’s quickly become a favorite of brands and users alike to share their days with their followers.

By October 2017, more than 300 million users were creating Stories on a daily basis.

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Plus, more and more marketers are using Stories to help drive engagement with their brand.

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But are Stories actually an effective way for brands to engage with their audience?

According to this case study, the answer is yes.

The designer brand Revolve has used Instagram Stories to create and share powerful campaigns on their profile.

In the case study linked above, they launched their #Revolveme campaign.

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The point of this effort was to find and share user-generated content that centered around their brand.

Customers could purchase clothes and then upload their own photos with the hashtag #revolveme in hopes of being featured in the brand’s Stories.

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While you might think that most of the Stories they share look like professional models, the reality is that they’re all user submitted.

That means they’re not only sharing their audience’s content, but they’re also getting free, high-quality content at the same time.

And the results speak for themselves.

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According to the study, the brand started having an average of more than 66,000 impressions on each Story.

With an exit rate of only 6.27%, it’s clear that their efforts were successful.

And since the brand is still sharing the #revolveme Stories, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll drop the campaign anytime soon.

So if you’re struggling to boost your engagement, start sharing your own Stories.

Solution #2: Hire a professional

Not everyone is destined to be a photographer, and that’s okay.

But Instagram is a visual platform.

Therefore, visuals are the heart of your work.

So if you’re not the best photographer, you may actually be hurting your brand’s performance in the long run.

And to make matters worse, you may not even have a camera that shoots a good picture according to today’s standards.

Just look at the quality difference in these two images from an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 8.

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This iPhone 6s image might look good at first glance.

But when you post it next to its successor from the iPhone 8, the differences really stand out.

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The newer phone offers brighter colors and much better focus.

But if you’re stuck with an older model phone, chances are your audience will notice in your image quality.

So you have a few options when it comes to hiring a professional photographer.

You can certainly find someone local or even see if someone already in your organization has a talent for photography.

Or, you can turn to the online gig economy using a site like Upwork.

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These freelance Instagram marketers can help guide the imagery that your brand uses to help you engage with your followers.

And since they all offer something a little different, you can probably find someone who matches both your needs and your budget.

But does a professional photographer actually make a difference?

According to Vulpine Interactive, it certainly seems so.

Vulpine Interactive was working on the digital presence of one of their clients called Sixthreezero Bicycle Company.

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When they first started working with them, they noticed that the photography on their Instagram wasn’t quite on-brand.

One of the first recommendations they made was to change the photography and optimize their Instagram, which involved hiring a professional.

By combining their new Instagram approach with some other website initiatives, Sixthreezero saw a 300% growth in website traffic over seven months.

So if it helped this brand to hire a photographer, it’s worth looking into for your own business.

Solution #3: Stay true to trends

If you’re in an industry that changes a lot, you know how hard it is to stay current with just those trends.

So when you start exploring new trends in an unknown arena, it can get overwhelming very quickly.

And every year sees plenty of visual trends change and evolve as they go.

Just check out some of these images that are considered a part of this year’s trends.

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This image is meant to be a powerful visual that attempts to make a statement.

It’s dramatic, tells a story, and makes the viewer wonder what’s actually happening here.

But just look at that picture in comparison to this one:

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They couldn’t be more different.

The second photo is deadpan and almost static compared to the first, yet both are considered trendy.

While it may not suit your personal style, learning and adhering to these visual trends can help you engage with your Instagram audience and stand out from the crowd.

What’s more, you can also look at established trends on Instagram that other brands have seen success with.

60% of the top brands use the same filter and lighting for all their Instagram photos. It’s about creating a photo strategy.

Just look at Gucci.

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Or, Oreo.

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There’s consistency and strategy behind both.

Two of Condé’s publications, Vanity Fair and GQ, were able to drive traffic and see a return on investment after partnering with Dash Hudson by harnessing visual storytelling.

Condé Nast’s Director of Digital and Social Strategy, Rochelle Stewart, says, “Instagram is a natural fit for us as it allows our brands to tap into what they do best — visual storytelling, beautiful photography, imagery that is both inspirational and aspirational.”

It’s clear that creating a visual strategy for Instagram is crucial.

Posting with a consistent filter, images with faces, and tagging your location can help you engage more and stay in your audience’s feed.

You can even base your Instagram filter on your location if you want to get specific.

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The point here is that other brands have noticed trends through trial and error that you can take advantage of.

If you focus on following these established trends with your own Instagram, you’re more likely to see the results you want.



Solution #4: Fire up live video

Live streaming is quickly becoming one of the most important things your brand can do.

According to a recent study, video streaming currently accounts for more than two-thirds of Internet traffic.

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That means it’s not only being created in vast quantities, but it’s also being consumed as well.

And since 2016, Instagram has allowed brands to launch their own Live videos natively on their app.

The results have been more than most could ever imagine, including the people behind the Old House Vintage Market profile.

In just one event, they gained 1,151 followers.

That’s almost 80% of their current following, and they got it in less than one day.

They even went back and re-recorded the video on a phone to make sure they could keep it.

If a small brand like this can use Live video so effectively, imagine what it could do for a brand that already has thousands of followers.

By engaging with a larger audience on Instagram, you encourage interaction and push yourself to the top of the news feed.

It doesn’t even have to be planned either.

Just fire it up and share what you’re doing right now or look for ideas that you can share.

As long as you can engage with your followers, you can grow your brand and crack the Instagram algorithm.

Solution #5: Post at the right time

If you’ve been around social media for a while, you’ve likely seen study after study that seeks to find the perfect time to post.

Instagram has plenty of those studies, and they’re definitely worth your time and attention.

According to this post from Sprout Social, Instagram sees the most traffic during the midday periods in the middle of the week.

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That may mean that plenty of people are sitting at their desks browsing Instagram, but it also means you should be looking to highlight your posts at those times too.

But don’t take the above image as the final word on when you should actually post.

The above graph looks at engagement, not necessarily posting times.

To find that out, you have to take a look at what CoSchedule has cooked up.

best times days to post on instagram

This points you in the direction of posting early in the morning and just before rush hour traffic hits.

If you post in times where there’s too much congestion (or not enough), you could potentially miss out on engagement due to heavier filtering.

Posting for off-work hours seems to be the solution favored by brands that use Instagram, which means you may be sharing your content at the wrong time.

Instead, follow the advice above and try to find the times that give your brand the greatest amounts of engagement.

Solution #6: Reach more people with hashtags

If you’re like me, you’ve probably scratched your head a bit when it comes to hashtags.

While it seems like everyone is using them, they’re not always beneficial when it comes to social media.

But Instagram is an altogether different matter.

The uniqueness of Instagram’s visual platform makes it the perfect platform to utilize hashtags.

When a user clicks on a hashtag from a post they’re viewing, they’re taken to a page that shows more custom hashtags.

For example, check out this recent post from actor Chris Pratt:

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In it, he uses #farmlife.

When you click the hashtag, you’re taken to a list of every post that’s used that same hashtag.

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This invites the user to scroll through, find more images they like, and engage with more profiles.

So using popular hashtags appropriately can help you extend the reach of your brand and find new audience members.

And to do that, I highly recommend using a Chrome extension like Hashtest to help you find high-volume hashtags.

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All you have to do is input the hashtags you’re thinking about and it will give you instant feedback on how useful it is.

When you find the right hashtags, include them in your posts on a regular basis.

Your images will have greater reach, and you can appear more often in more feeds over time.

Solution #7: Use an influencer

When it comes to influencer marketing, no other platform comes close to Instagram.

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By far, influencers love to create and share brand collaborations on Instagram.

The visual, product-driven nature of the platform makes it the perfect place to create and share content that followers want to engage with.

That means you can use this trend to your advantage by finding influencers who are interested in your brand.

And influencers are seeing some major growth in just the past few years alone.

influencers

With new influencers and creators continually coming on the scene, the opportunities for your business are plentiful.

Take a look at how the ASOS Insiders campaign utilized influencers to help them sell their product.

This campaign focused on an exclusive group of young adult influencers who were hand-picked to show off the ASOS brand clothes.

ASOS Insiders Fashion Tips Style Advice ASOS 2

By tapping into the audiences that these influencers already had, ASOS created a global phenomenon that’s still very much alive today.

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As of right now, ASOS has more than seven million followers on their Instagram account.

That means with every post they share, millions of viewers have opted in to see their content.

But you don’t have to have a huge budget to pull this feat off.

You can find influencers with thousands of followers who would be willing to help share your brand.

It’s one of the fastest growing Instagram marketing areas, and you would be wise to start using it for your own efforts.

Solution #8: Share user-generated content

We looked earlier at how a brand used user-generated content in their Stories, but the application for user-generated content is much larger than you may have previously imagined.

Studies have shown that sharing user-generated content makes your brand more authentic and humanizes your company.

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That means that the more you share the content your users provide, the more they’ll feel that you’re actually relatable and worthy of their attention.

What’s more, it’s seen as “helpful” or “invaluable” to 99% of marketers.

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So sharing more user-generated content is the perfect way to help bring your brand back down to earth.

If your audience sees the opportunity to feature on your page, there’s a much better chance they’ll want to interact with you and create content for you.

Rent the Runway saw a huge amount of success when they started focusing on sharing user-generated content.

Over the course of their study, they discovered that they were also saving five to ten hours per week on creating content.

And more importantly, their engagement went up by 21% over their original content.

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Simply by sharing more of their user-generated content, they were able to see measurable improvements in their Instagram page’s activity.

So save time and boost your own engagement by utilizing your own audience’s content.

You’ll likely find that this strategy can help you see the same type of success in your own efforts.

Solution #9: Host a contest

Instagram contests are the final tactic that can help your brand beat the algorithm and increase your overall engagement.

And according to the State of Instagram report, 39% of businesses plan to do more contests in the coming years.

contests

And when you look into the success that some brands have experienced, there’s no wonder why more businesses want to try this approach.

Take for example the MyNeoShoot contest hosted by Adidas.

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In this contest, Adidas asked its followers to create images that were inspired by their brand.

The best photos were then invited to model in a professional photoshoot, and they even got Selena Gomez to help them spread the word about the contest.

As a result of the contest, Adidas generated 71,000 mentions of the #MyNeoShoot hashtag and gained 41,000 new followers.

So using a creative contest for your own brand can lead to similar results.

Just make sure you establish clear rules, or the whole process could backfire.

rules

Even if you don’t gain thousands of new followers, you’re almost guaranteed to get engagement from your current audience.

And that means you’ll be one step closer to breaking the Instagram algorithm, which means more reach and more engagement.

Conclusion

Instagram is a highly versatile platform that allows brands to engage with and sell to their online audience.

But changes to the algorithm in the last few years have raised a lot of questions about what actually works.

And with engagement being the number one goal of most Instagram brands, finding innovative ways to engage is more important than ever before.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that your brand can consistently engage on Instagram.

Utilizing Stories can help you create a brand that’s always on and sharing.

If you’re lacking in photography skills, consider hiring a professional to help you bridge the gap.

Staying in tune with recent trends will also help you know what type of imagery seems to work best for your audience, which will be more appealing in the long run.

And creating live video can help you stay in the limelight and boost your brand in ways you never imagined.

Then, by focusing on posting at the right time, you can increase your overall engagement and always be present when your audience will see you.

Don’t forget to utilize hashtags, and make sure that you’re looking for influencers who can help promote your brand.

If possible, share user-generated content to humanize your brand and be more relatable to your followers.

And finally, don’t hesitate to create a contest that promotes sharing and engagement even further.

You have plenty of options to choose from if you want to see success on Instagram.

All that’s left is for you to create your plan and execute it.

What are your favorite Instagram engagement strategies?

 

 

 

Twitter Hack Your Way to 10,000 Twitter Followers with 7 Tips (For Twitter Users Only) 2018

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What if I told you that you could get 10,000 Twitter followers by optimizing your Twitter strategy? What if I also told you that it would be pretty easy to do? Well, I’ve got nine simple, straightforward, and super effective tips to hack your way into having a huge Twitter presence. But isn’t Facebook the biggest social network? Shouldn’t Facebook be where you’re concentrating your efforts and growth-hacking endeavors? Absolutely not. Twitter is still among the top social networks today for users with over 330 million active users.



Yes, Twitter could be the secret ingredient to connecting with the biggest possible audience.

And I’m going to help you do it.

But first…

Why do Twitter followers matter?

Sure, Facebook is the biggest of the conventional social networks with the most monthly active users.

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But you shouldn’t underestimate Twitter’s importance or utility just yet.

It’s a global powerhouse.

Even though nearly a quarter of Americans use Twitter regularly, much of Twitter’s user base — an impressive 79% of the user base to be specific — consists of international users.

This means that Twitter allows you to connect easily with a global audience.

And it’s a global audience that continues to grow quarter to quarter, year over year.

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There are other factors to consider, too.

Such as how Twitter’s millennial audience is a coveted one from a marketing perspective.

The data shows that about 40% of all American millennials are on Twitter — a larger percentage than any other generation.

It also shows that most Twitter users are college-educated with annual salaries of $75,000 or more per year.

The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials Infographic

Not only are there tons of millennials on Twitter, millennials more frequently use social media as a tool for discovering new brands.

Statistically speaking, millennials are an ideal target demographic for many companies because they’re stronger consumers.

So why not reach out to them where they live?

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Millennials eat out more, love trying new products, and they’re always looking for unique experiences with brands and companies.

In fact, the rise of the millennial generation has forever changed the world of marketing, from the strong focus on video to the rise of influencer marketing, and the emphasis on emotional connection.

There’s another reason Twitter is so attractive to marketers, and that’s because it gives you 100% reach.

But there’s a caveat.

When you post to Twitter, your tweets are only seen by your followers or when your tweets are shared with others’ followers.

You have 100% reach only with your followers and their followers.

This means 100% reach on Twitter doesn’t matter if there aren’t people seeing your content.

And according to recent research, 74% of the people who follow small and medium businesses on Twitter are following these businesses because they want updates on future products.

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Additionally, nearly half of those who follow brands and businesses are more likely to visit those companies’ websites.

So your Twitter followers will often become people who visit your website and invest in your brand through purchases.

Fortunately, I can help you get followers quickly and effectively.

Nine ways to get Twitter followers fast

1. Optimize your Twitter profile

The first thing you need to do is complete and optimize your Twitter profile.

Due to the platform’s redesign, you’ll approach certain aspects of your Twitter profile a little differently than you might’ve before.

For example, profile photos are now round instead of square, which helps to distinguish user profiles from the square images that appear in tweets.

round twitter profile picture

Many of the changes are cosmetic and served as a simple update, helping Twitter be more 2018 and less 2000-and-late.

For all the power you stand to gain by using Twitter for your business, not having a professional, up-to-date profile can be a major turn-off to prospective followers.

So one of the first steps on the road to amassing tons of followers is to make sure your Twitter profile rocks.

Your profile picture is the centerpiece of your Twitter profile.

It’s the part of your Twitter profile people probably notice and look at first.

Aside from your username, it’s the one profile element that doesn’t just appear on your profile. It’ll show next to your tweet in the other users’ feeds when you post.

So you should choose a photo that’s appropriate for your business or brand.

Whether you’re using a professional photo of yourself or your brand’s logo, you want to make sure that the most important elements appear toward the center of the image.

Due to the circular format, anything that appears toward the edges of your profile photo won’t show on your profile.

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It’s even a good idea to resize your image. Although you can upload higher-res files, your profile image doesn’t need to be any bigger than a 400px by 400px square.

Here are some examples of how these profile image best practices can be implemented:

Bitfinex — a cryptocurrency exchange company — uses their logo for their profile image.

Bitfinex bitfinex Twitter

Similarly, you can see New York Magazine’s iconic logo as the profile pic used for their Twitter account.

New York Magazine NYMag Twitter

However, Virgin Group founder and colorful businessperson Richard Branson uses a photo of himself. The photo looks professional yet casual and relatable.

Richard Branson richardbranson Twitter

Not only is this smart for promotional purposes, but it also helps people make stronger associations between your brand and logo.



Your profile photo should draw attention because it will be the identity that your followers will come to see behind all the content you post on Twitter.

Using a branded logo as a profile image, like Louis Vuitton, is an easy and quick way to get followers to recognize your posts instantly.

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But beyond the profile photo, there’s the ‘Bio.’

This is the area of your Twitter profile where you provide a little — just 160 characters in total — information about your brand or business.

Here’s an example from the Washington Post’s Twitter profile:

Washington Post washingtonpost Twitter

As you can see, the goal of your profile is to give a prospective follower an idea of (a) what your business is and (b) what they can expect by becoming a follower.

But there’s another reason why your bio is important: it’s searchable.

Of course, you’ll want to include all the essential info, such as your website, location, and possibly a phone number.

You’ll want to include keywords that are relevant to your brand or company in your bio.

A great example of the use of keywords in a Twitter bio is PlayStation.

PlayStation’s bio includes common variants of the company’s name as well as their products’ names, such as “PS4” for “PlayStation 4.”

A consumer tech outlet called Gadgets Now uses keywords in the bio, too.

Another element you can include in your Twitter bio is hashtags.

News network CNN incorporates a single hashtag in the bio.

CNN CNN Twitter

CNN’s hashtag is a great example because “Go There” happens to be a slogan for the network, emphasizing ingenuity and tenacity in journalism.

So the hashtag reinforces the network’s desired brand image.

Additionally, your bio can be an opportunity to show some personality, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.

Content marketer and author Ann Handley’s profile is an excellent example.

Ann Handley MarketingProfs Twitter

Ann’s use of the phrase “waging a war on mediocrity in content marketing” is accurate and effective while also showcasing her personality.

Once you’ve chosen your profile photo and written your bio, the next step in a great Twitter profile is to find (or even create) your header image.

Jay Baer jaybaer Twitter

Though it changes from time to time, the current dimensions that your Twitter header image should be are 1500px by 500px.

This can be a great opportunity to reinforce your brand or to promote your latest product or service.

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If you have trouble finding the right image with the appropriate dimensions, you can use a tool like Canva to create your own header image for free online.

The great thing about Canva — besides it being free I mean — is that there are tons of existing templates you can use as a starting point.

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By either searching for a specific type of template or browsing by category, Canva makes it extremely easy to create a great-looking header image for your Twitter profile.

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Using the diagram I’ve provided here, you can make sure all the essential elements of your header photo don’t cross into any of the grey areas.

The blue part is the “safe zone” where all your important and branded information should be.

Creating a strong profile with a great picture, header photo, and bio is the first step toward conveying credibility and trustworthiness.

Now that you’ve spent some time ironing it out, your profile will leave a strong impression on visitors who view your profile, making them much more likely to follow you.

2. Engage with your followers

Although your follower count is a convenient metric, many social media marketers have begun putting more stock into engagement than followers.

In fact, Socialbakers account manager Jeraldine Tan actually considers follower growth an outdated metric.

“It is extremely important for brands to stop looking at outdated metrics like fan growth,” Jeraldine said in a recent article posted on LinkedIn.

“The overall fans number doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming your content.”

So if you have a million Twitter followers but your posts get zero engagement, what are those followers really worth?

Jeraldine’s perspective is reinforced by Incite Group’s State of Corporate Social Media Survey, conducted in 2017.

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According to Incite’s data, there’s no correlation between the number of followers and engagement, meaning that more followers doesn’t mean more engagement.

But when followers interact with and share your content on Twitter, their followers see that engagement and often become curious. The engagement serves almost as an endorsement.

So engagement does lead to increased reach and visibility, which, in turn, yields more followers.

In his recent Forbes article, Joe Escobedo says, “Shares build customer confidence in your brand.”

We even see engagement “given a higher weightage than likes” on social media such as with some of Facebook’s recent algorithm changes.

But interactions your followers are having with your Twitter content isn’t the only type of engagement you should care about.

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If you really want to grow your Twitter audience, you should be actively engaging back with them.

Responding to the comments and mentions of your followers reinforces their engagement and makes them more inclined to engage with you in the future.

Engaging with your audience yields more tangible results, too.

Brand social actions

According to data from Sprout Social, 48% of social media users cite responsiveness as the top characteristic that prompts audiences to purchase from a brand or company.

Fortunately, engaging with your Twitter audience is easy to do and something you can start doing right away.

There are three main strategies for actively engaging with your audience:

Responding to comments and mentions

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Direct messages

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Live chats” on Twitter

Buffer Chat session

Responding is certainly the simplest and easiest of these strategies, but it’s also effective.

It’s as simple as this:

When a user tweets to you or comments on one of your tweets, respond.

The acknowledgment will give them a sense of validation.

If you can make the exchange memorable in some way, they may actively seek out your content in the future. So don’t be afraid to show a little personality.

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In a similar vein, you can take this concept to the next level with Twitter’s DMs, or direct messages.

A lot of big brands and companies are finding success with DMs, including 1-800-FLOWERS and T-Mobile.

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Finally, you have live Twitter chats.

Public relations professional Janet Murray considers live chats an incredibly effective marketing strategy for Twitter.

According to Janet Murray, one way to get even more out of your live chat is to like and retweet other participants’ replies.

“Retweeting the posts of [other users] is a great way to build relationships,” Janet says.

She offers another useful tip: When you’re responding to other participants’ tweets, “don’t forget to use the hashtag so people can follow along.”

Or if you want to tweet someone privately, simply “don’t include the hashtag.”

Buffer — a well-known social media management app — hosts weekly Twitter chat sessions using their own hashtag, “#BufferChat.”

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As far as actually hosting the chat, tools like Tweetchat, tchat.io, and Twchat can turn your hashtag into a more chat-like live stream.

You can access the live Twitter chat directory on Twubs without even needing to register for a free account.



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Additionally, you can put your own live chat on Twubs so that others can find it more easily.

Another tip is to either post your questions or ask your followers for some questions ahead of time.

Buffer Chat Questions

When it comes down to it, actively engaging your audience reinforces the decision to follow you.

Plus, their own followers can see how interactive you are with your audience, which makes a strong impression at large.

3. Stay active by creating daily/weekly/monthly Twitter routines

If your goal is to gain followers, I can’t stress enough the importance of staying active.

It’s not enough to post a few times a week or even once per day like you probably do on Facebook.

You could even lose followers if you’re not tweeting regularly.

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According to CoSchedule, you should post curated content — quotes and retweets — three to seven times per day. Including your own original content, it should be about 15 tweets daily.

But do you have time to sit on Twitter 24 hours per day to make sure you’ve got awesome tweets going out at all the right times?

That’s where your routine can be a life-saver.

The best way to create your Twitter routine is to create separate daily, weekly, and monthly routines.

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Automate and schedule out your posts in advance with a tool like IFTTT.

Your daily Twitter routine should consist of things like following and unfollowing other users, replying to DMs and mentions, and responding to comments on your tweets.

On a weekly basis, you should focus on broader and more long-term aspects of your marketing strategy.

Your monthly routine should include things that could result in big payoffs down the road.

As such, it largely includes networking with industry influencers, which tends to increase your Twitter reach and visibility.

4. Plan and schedule your Tweets

Compared to a non-chronological network like Facebook, the time of day you post on Twitter matters.

Because if your tweets are posted when your followers aren’t on the platform, those tweets won’t be seen.

And less visibility means less engagement, less traffic, fewer followers.

So the logical solution to this problem is to post when the most users are on the platform.

Recently, Sprout Social compiled data and found that average global engagement on Twitter is highest on Fridays from 9 to 10 AM.

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During that time, there are as many as 350,000 tweets sound out per minute.

The problem is that during that time, you’ve simply got more tweets to compete with, too.

That’s where knowing your audience comes in handy.

Different demographic groups have different usage habits when it comes to Twitter.

For instance, there are differences between businesses and consumers.

Twitter content that targets businesses — or B2B content — performs best during business hours.

Content that’s consumer-oriented — or B2C content — performs better on the weekend, according to CoSchedule.

The same study also found that branded content does better overall on Wednesdays.

Branded content like this tweet from Coca-Cola:

Branded tweet

So optimal performance on Twitter means knowing your audience and knowing when you can reach them.

Twitter gives you an audience overview right inside the Twitter platform. With this information, you can tailor your content to your audience’s demographics and interests.

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Just go to analytics.twitter.com for information about your audience, including what topics they’re into, what type of consumers they are, and even the wireless carriers they’re using.

Additionally, you can use Tweriod to find out which times of day your followers are most active.

Once it has the chance to pull your data from Twitter, you’ll see something like this:

Best time to tweet 1

The graph provides a different-colored line for different days, showing you the times and days when you’ll have the most exposure.

In fact, Tweriod leaves no room for error as it will clearly tell you when you should be posting on Twitter.

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With this information, you can choose the best times to tweet to your audience for optimal engagement and reach.

 

From this point, you can proceed in one of two ways:

You can make sure your daily Twitter routine coincides with your audience’s most active time of day, or you can schedule your tweets to post during that time.

Just know that you need a constant flow of content posting to Twitter, and the best resources to make that happen are readily-available data and possibly a tweet-scheduling app.

5. Make sure there’s value in your tweets

Twitter marketing is like any other type of marketing in that you’ll experience the greatest success with high-quality content.

With so much competition in most industries, great content helps you stand out from the crowd.

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Great content is even more important when you’re trying to build your audience on Twitter.

It’s as simple as this:

Good tweets get likes, comments, shares, and followers. Bad tweets don’t.

So what separates a good tweet from a bad tweet?

Value.

Every time you tweet, you must provide value to your audience.

Because when your content is deemed valuable and relevant, your audience is more likely to connect with your brand.

But isn’t value subjective?

Yes, but only to the extent that what’s considered the most ‘valuable’ can vary from one person and demographic to the next.

It’s no lie that people tend to prefer content that’s informative or educational.

This can include an infographic, how-to article, or even current events coverage.

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Others put more value on entertainment.

This can include things like memes, gifs, funny videos, or even the actual entertainment industry.

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Then there are those who want to be inspired.

Inspirational content largely equates to popular quotes as well as inspirational true stories (weight loss, rescued animals, etc.).

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But let’s not forget interactive content.

Interactive content refers to things like polls, quizzes, web browser-based games, etc.

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Interactional social media content posted by Buzzfeed brings in more than 75% of all total traffic.

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Another common type of content on Twitter is promotional.

Typically, promotional content consists of advertisements, coupons, customer testimonials, etc.

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Each of these types of content represents a particular perspective in regards to value.

And when people find value in your tweet, it gets more engagement. That’s just the way it works.

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Of course, this is another reason why knowing your audience is important.

You gain a better sense of what they find valuable and can personalize your content accordingly.

6. Pick the right tweet to pin to your profile

Pinning a tweet is like putting a spotlight on that tweet, calling the attention of anyone who visits your Twitter profile.

There are a couple of ways you can approach choosing the right tweet to pin to your profile.

The first strategy is to pin a tweet that has performed particularly well.

If it gained lots of attention from your followers when you initially posted it, the tweet will probably appeal to others who are visiting your profile.

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It will certainly get more views and is likely to get more likes, comments, and shares as well.

Since new tweets push older tweets further down in your timeline, your newer followers are unlikely to ever see your best ones.

That would be a real shame.

But pinning a tweet that was well-received by your followers will ensure that profile visitors and potential followers get to see it, too.

It’s also common to pin a tweet that highlights a temporary promotion or an upcoming event that your business is involved with.

Pinned tweet

When the promotion or event is over, you simply unpin the tweet and pin a new tweet for your next one.

Another strategy for choosing the right tweet to pin is to pick a tweet that promotes your business or brand.

For example, if you tweeted a link to an interview you participated in.

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In effect, it’s actually someone else’s promotion of your brand or business, but you’re pinning it to highlight the value that others have placed on what your brand offers.

Another strategy for tweet-pinning is to pick a tweet that contains some sort of call-to-action at the end.

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Calls to action are just as great a strategy for tweets as they are for blog posts and long-form content.

You want to make sure the tweet provides real value.

Much like a job interview or a business pitch, a pinned tweet gives you a small opening to make a big impression.

7. Link to your Twitter account on your website and other social media profiles

It may seem counterproductive to be diverting traffic from your website to your Twitter profile.

After all, don’t you want traffic going to your website so they can make a purchase?

But recent surveys have shown that your social media profiles are just as effective for content marketing as your own website.

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This makes a lot of sense.

So to a large degree, sending traffic to your website actually gives you more opportunities for conversion.

Of course, you don’t want to simply drop a raw link into the body of your website.

Instead, you should link to your Twitter profile in a way that’s a bit more professional.

It could be as simple as attaching the link to an icon.

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If you want something a little fancier, you could even link to your Twitter profile by embedding a tweet into your website or blog:

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Simply go to publish.twitter.com where you’ll find options to embed a grid, tweet, timeline, or a button.

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All you need to do is copy the link you want to use and paste it into the prompt at the top of the page.

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Similarly, you should link to your Twitter profile on other social media.

For example, Facebook gives you the option to include your Twitter username in a specific section of the ‘About’ section on your Page.

It gives any of your Facebook followers who also happen to use Twitter the ability to access your Twitter profile easily.

Because if you have people following you on other social networks, there’s a good chance that any of them using Twitter would want to follow you on that platform, too.

Conclusion

You might think that Facebook is where you should be focusing all of your efforts to build an engaged audience.

But Twitter is an international platform with millions of users. It’s just as valuable (if not more valuable) for racking up an audience.

Getting as many as 10,000 Twitter followers doesn’t have to be hard.

First, you need to optimize your profile. Add a high-quality profile picture, since it’s the first thing people will see when they come across your brand on Twitter.

Complete your bio and don’t forget a header image, too.

Start engaging with your followers by responding to comments, mentions, direct messages, and live chats.

Create a Twitter routine you can stick to. If you aren’t active, your engagement will dip. Make a daily, weekly, or monthly Twitter schedule.

Make sure that what you’re sharing is valuable. Share interactive content, like a poll, quiz, or infographic for best results.

Pin a relevant tweet to your profile. If you have an ongoing promotion or upcoming event, tweet about it and pin it to the top of your page.

Finally, be sure to link your Twitter account to your website and on your other social profiles for maximum exposure.

Each of these pieces of advice would yield substantial growth to your Twitter following.

But when they’re all employed, you stand to see some pretty phenomenal gains and an overall boost in your brand’s performance.

What are your favorite Twitter growth hacks?

 

 

YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram – Create Your Own Affordable Social Videos – 3 Simple DIY Tools (2018)

affordable-social-videos




It’s staggering to think that every day, people around the world collectively watch one billion hours of YouTube. That’s over 114,000 years of video watched in just one day. And that’s just YouTube. It doesn’t even touch Facebook, Vimeo, or any other online-sharing platforms. But that number is a small indicator of just how much video is consumed in one day. Cashing in on this billion-hour trend should be a no-brainer, but I get that you might have some hesitation. Perhaps you’re camera shy. Or, you think that the equipment you’ll need costs thousands of dollars, which isn’t really affordable. That just isn’t true.



Chances are you already have most of the tools at your fingertips. You just haven’t been taught how to use them.

I’m going to show you how to create affordable DIY social videos in this post with some of the tools that you have in your home, office, or even in your pocket.

But first, I want to dig a little deeper into why creating viral content with video is so important.

 Why social videos are important

Using video marketing is a proven way to bring new traffic to your website and help you find untapped lead sources.

Videos can boost your revenue and drive sales with even the simplest format.

How do I know?

Video marketing is one of the top revenue sources for my business.

43% of users want to see more video content according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound

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And an overwhelming majority spend more than one hour on YouTube.

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You can see that almost one-third of younger Internet users spend more than four hours watching YouTube content.

So your audience is looking for video.

But there’s more to it than the amount of time spent watching video:

I believe video marketing is one of the cornerstones of thought leadership.

Building your brand’s reputation as a trusted source of high-quality information requires you to put yourself out there. Hoarding information is no good.

How do I use video to foster thought leadership?

 

But I don’t just stop at creation. I also curate content by creating playlists on my channel.

This helps viewers who want access to all of my videos on a certain topic as quickly as possible.

That’s thought leadership.

And it doesn’t require you to have a background in broadcasting either. It’s just being who you are and sharing your expertise in a different medium.

You can also establish yourself as a video expert and thought leader by tapping into a service like Facebook Live.

It’s one of the only areas on Facebook that still has organic reach. And using a service like Facebook Live can even boost your engagement and lead generation.

Why? People tend to watch live videos 3x longer than regular videos.

They’ll tune into your video, get helpful tips, and then think “Well, I’m already watching…” and so they stay.

 

So what are some of the steps you can take to start creating video?

Let’s start with one of my favorites: Live video.

What good social videos look like

There’s one thing that’s true of all good social video.

It’s got to be in the right place.



You can pick from dozens of platforms.

Facebook, Twitter, Livestream, Twitch, and YouTube are just a few.

But where is your audience? Where do they go to watch a video like yours?

According to this Business Insider and Statista study, the most popular sites are Facebook and YouTube.

video streaming sites

And that means your best bet is to start on one of these sites with any video content.

So what’s the solution?

Video School Online recommends the following format for tutorials, but you can use it for other types of video with a little creativity:

  • Short introduction
  • Provide a quick outline. Verbally is typically best!
  •  Walk through the steps ELI5 style.

eli5

  • Conclude with a call to action.

So let’s say you’re getting started on Facebook with a Live video. What should it look like?

Start by creating an outline that has everything above. Then include a few more secrets to maximize effectiveness.

It should offer education or a benefit for watchers.

As you’re educating, transition to a bonus offer.

Ask your audience if they would like to learn more, or give them a chance to work one-on-one with you by going to a certain landing page.

Once your video is done, you should boost it and promote it to get more visitors to your website.

You’ve now created a short, content-rich, effective video that’s ready to share.

Well, almost.

You know what it looks like, but how do you create it on a budget?

Let me show you, starting with what’s probably already in your pocket!

Use a smartphone

According to Pew Research, more than three-fourths of adults in the United States own a smartphone. I’m willing to bet you’re one of them.

smartphone stats

Smartphones are everywhere these days. They’re even linking up to our houses and cars to help us stay organized and on top of things.

They’re also one of the primary ways we consume social media content. According to Statista, there were over 159 million people browsing Facebook on the mobile app: mobile social

And you can see that Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are high on the list as well.

So creating video that can be viewed on mobile smartphones is a wise choice. That makes it all the more ironic that you’ll be using a smartphone to create that content!

Not all smartphones are created equal though. Some hold to their iOS (or Apple) devices with unwavering brand loyalty, while others choose to own an Android.

There are a few others, but according to another Statista study, the majority of smartphone owners have either Android or iOS (Apple) devices.

smartphone ownership

So chances are, if you’ve got a smartphone you’re either running with an Android or iOS device.

How do you use this technology to your advantage?

With just a few more basic pieces of equipment, you’ll be able to crank out high-quality video content with ease.

First, you need to find a way to hold your camera steady.

You could prop it up on a book or your coffee mug. But if you want to have a little more flexibility, I’d recommend a good tripod like this LOHA:

tripod

You’ll have a hands-free and portable method of keeping your smartphone stable while you record.

The ability to worry less about if your face looks good at a certain angle will help you focus more on the content. Plus, your arm won’t get tired.

Next up you need to figure out audio.

You’ll need to invest in a good microphone because most smartphones still don’t have great audio-recording capabilities.

The embedded mics might be great for conference calls, but video recordings can sound thin and lack clarity.

If the audio is bad, it’s pretty much guaranteed that people will ignore your video.

So investing in a simple recording device like a lapel mic can make all the difference in the world.

If you have a bit of money to spend, I’d recommend something like a Rode or Audio-Technica mic that works well with your smartphone.

The ability to plug-and-play is what makes this simple.

Here’s the Rode mic:

rode mic

Or for the budget conscious, the Audio-Technica microphone:

audio technica mic



Now, let’s discuss the differences between iOS and Android video capability.

iMovie

If HD-quality video is on your wishlist, you’ll be excited to know that the newest iPhones let you shoot in 1080p with iMovie.

If you’re an Apple user, you can use iMovie to create videos and immediately upload them to a sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

You can shoot, edit, and upload all in the same place.

imovie

And the best part? It’s free.

You can also use iMovie cross-platform, which is a great feature if you want to shoot on-the-go and then edit when you get back to your desk.

It’s hands-down the best video-creation method for Apple lovers.

But what about Android?

Users love Android technology for its flexibility, innovation, and all-around utility.

There are a few options for Android users.

FilmoraGo

The first of which is an app called FilmoraGo.

filmorago

This app does all the basics you would need in video editing. You can trim, add music, or even throw in a theme overlay if you think it fits the content.

One of the best features of this app is the ability to crop your video to the best size for whatever platform you’re sharing on.

If you’re making a video for YouTube, you can set the video’s size to 16:9. For Instagram, you have the option to make it 1:1.

Little details like that make a difference.

Action Director

The second option for lightweight video editing on an Android is called Action Director.

actiondirector

 

Action Director is unique because it’s one of the few apps that supports 4K video.

So if you opt to go with this app, you’ll be able to stay with it when smartphones push to that level of recording capability.

Much like the other options, you can import clips, edit them, and render the video. You can do things like add your own music, trim and cut video, add text, and employ slow motion.

The biggest downside is that it’s not supported on every Android device. So you’ll have to check if your device is included.

But whichever editor you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the platform.

You probably won’t need much more than the basics, but it’s nice to have a few extra bells and whistles when you need them.

So you’ve downloaded an editing app, and you’ve got your smartphone in hand. What now?

Record and share your video! It really is that easy.

But smartphones aren’t the only way to record. Let’s look at another way: screencasts.

Record a screencast

 Another way to show off your expertise and engage with social videos is to do a screencast or screen recording.

This is a great way to walk your viewers through a presentation while you do a voiceover to complement.

You can also show off solutions to online problems this way. Or teach difficult subjects by showing instead of speaking.

You’ll notice in a lot of my videos that I share what’s on my screen to help viewers understand how to accomplish a task.

Like in this video where I share my screen to show you how to use LinkedIn to get more sales leads.

screenshare

So if you’re feeling camera shy, you’ve really got no excuse not to create video content.

But if you plan on doing numerous videos like this, I’d recommend investing in a service dedicated to this style of video like EasyVideoSuite or Camtasia.

easyvideo

The added benefit of a paid product is more frequent updates, better service, and usually an easier-to-use user experience.

But if you’re looking to keep your budget lower, a free option would be OBS Studio.

OBSDemoApp

Keep in mind that since it’s an open-source streaming software, you’ll likely have a bigger learning curve than a more intuitive option.

But if you’re dedicated to making it work, free is free.

And let’s not forget the audio.

Since you’re using your computer instead of a smartphone, your range of microphones is a little broader.

You’ll still want to find one that’s high-quality, and if you’ve already got a lapel mic, it will still work. But since you’re not in the video yourself, you don’t have to stick with a lapel mic this time.

Using something like the ever-popular Blue Yeti will ensure your audio stays perfect.

blueyeti

Once again, it’s a bit of an investment. But it’s not a $2,000 microphone, right?

That’s a win for your budget, and you’ll get all the mileage you need out of a good USB microphone like this.

Plus, the quality will shine through in your screencasts, which is good for your engagement.

Screencasts aren’t the only option available to camera-shy marketers, though.

Use an animated template

If your topic isn’t suited to the how-to style, or if you simply want to change things up, animated templates are a good way to fill in the gaps.

Sometimes getting in front of a camera or giving a presentation isn’t the most engaging way to get a message across. You might not even need to speak.

Animated template videos are easy to create and even easier to share. Plus, they can perform just as well as the other videos you share.

Here’s a screenshot of one of VideoMakerFX’s example templates:

videomakerfx

You can see it’s short: only 46 seconds long.

It gets straight to the point, and if you go check out the rest of it, you’ll find a few other things:

  • It’s pretty generic, which means it’s flexible.
  • There are no spoken words.
  • The music is engaging.
  • The visuals still pull you in and engage you in the content.

All of these reasons make them a very popular option for the introverted marketing crowd.

Of course, if you’re looking to keep your budget close to zero, there are always free options like Biteable:

biteable

By investing time or money in a tool like this, you can create professional animated videos in just a few minutes.

Everything is mostly done for you. All you have to do is type in some text, upload your logo, and then share.

It’s very similar to a screencast, but you’ll spend less time making the video which is a plus. I wouldn’t recommend only using this format though, but it’s a great tool nonetheless.

Conclusion

Social videos are proven to help boost sales, and far too many marketers aren’t using them because they’re afraid it’s too much of an investment.

I use video all the time. B you don’t need expensive HD-recording equipment, there are plenty of tools that allow you to do it yourself and keep a small budget.

So it’s time for your business to cash in on a billion-hour industry. And it shouldn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars to do so.

Video is a powerful way to spread your brand, boost engagement, and win new leads. It’s got huge potential for everyone.

If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need to get started at your fingertips. Simply write a script that engages, educates, and calls viewers to action. Then hit record!

Or, if you’re a little camera shy, download a screen-sharing platform or tap into the animated template market. You’ll be able to easily share your expertise with the same results.

So what are you waiting for? Now that budget’s not an issue, your audience is waiting.

How do you create actionable video content for your business?

 

 

10 Must Do Powerful Instagram Marketing Tips That Actually Work (For Influencers Only) 2018





Since Instagram’s creation, it has grown into the ultimate platform for sharing photos. Over 800 million monthly users are active on the site. More than 60 million photos are posted each day, and 1.6 billion daily “likes” are given. There’s also a large number of influencers at Instagram with a massive amount of followers. And with the right plan, you can become an influential brand, too. You need to post the right kind of content to stay relevant to current followers while also bringing in new ones. But it can be hard to know which kinds of posts work best for growing your audience.



Here are ten powerful Instagram Marketing Tips (that actually work) that you can use to milk the popular platform for all that it’s worth.

First, you need to switch to a business profile.

1. Switch to a business profile ASAP

Before you start thinking about your Instagram marketing plan, be sure that you have an Instagram Business Account.

It’s easy to switch your current profile to a business account.

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Just head to your settings and click on “Switch to Business Profile” to get started.

There are some clear benefits to having a business profile.

For example, followers can click on your contact button to get in touch with you right from your Instagram page just like they would from your website.

A business profile allows you to create and publish Instagram ads without needing to use Facebook’s advertising tools.

You can also access Instagram analytics tools, called Insights, that provide stats about the impressions and reach of your posts.

Once you’ve unlocked the free perks that come along with a business profile, you need to start using them to track metrics and understand your audience.

2. Use free Instagram tools

Business profiles on Instagram aren’t all that different from Facebook business profiles.

Through Insights, you can view statistics like impressions, engagement data, and more.

You can even get a breakdown of the demographics of your followers, including information on their age, gender, location, and most active hours.

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Insights aren’t just generalized, either. You can get specific insights on posts for the week that show you how many impressions you earned for that time period and what your top posts were.

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These free tools are priceless because you can use them to understand exactly how users are interacting with your content.

The more that you know about how users are interacting with your posts, the better you can adjust your content to boost engagement.

One category of posts that is almost always attention-grabbing is product teasers.

3. Post product teasers that will (gently) urge people to buy

What if you could sell more products just by posting product teasers on Instagram?

Well, you can.

Instagram is a great place to advertise your products. And if you play your cards right, you won’t annoy users or scare them off with advertisements, either.

If you’re too pushy, followers will drop like flies. But product teaser posts are a simple way to talk about your product and increase excitement without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Here are two posts from Gilt Man’s Instagram page that don’t directly try to sell a product, but offer a free app where users can shop all of the brand’s inventory.

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The brand offers a 70% off discount while showing you photos of some of the items that are available to purchase.

And the posts received thousands of likes each, which is huge in the advertising world.

The ads work because they aren’t pushy. They’re laid back. They tease users with the discount and product image to download the app and shop around.

This works for almost any industry. Starbucks teases their audience by announcing seasonal drinks with sharp imagery and without trying to force people to buy them.

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When you tease people about products they are interested in, and you don’t push them into buying anything, they’ll be more likely to pull the trigger and actually buy something.

If not, they’ll at least engage with your post by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it with a friend.

So don’t be afraid to show off the goods by posting product photos. Just do it gently.



It also helps to create some sponsored ads.

4. Create sponsored ads

Instagram ads have become commonplace on the platform. The best part? You can control exactly how much you want to spend on them by setting an ad budget.

You can showcase just one sponsored ad or multiple ads with the carousel feature.

This gives brands the ability to target their audience in a whole new way. Before sponsored posts, only users following your account could see your updates and photos.

Now, brands can promote their photos to anyone that fits their target audience to increase their reach further than ever before.

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For sponsored ads, use content that is engaging while also appealing to the target demographic you want to put the ad in front of.

You can turn existing posts into sponsored ads, too, so keep an eye on your top posts.

You can push these high-performing posts out later to potential customers in the form of sponsored ads.

Run multiple posts to different audiences simultaneously for even more engagement. Keep in mind that there are many different forms of sponsored ads that you can post, such as:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel/Dynamic Ads
  • Stories
  • Stories Canvas

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Instagram Stories, sponsored or not, are another great way to connect with followers.

5. Use Instagram Stories

If you want to generate leads, Instagram Stories are here to help.

Instagram stories differ from regular Instagram posts because they come in a “slideshow” format.

They’re only live for 24 hours, but Stories can be saved to any of your devices and reused at a later point.

This feature is very similar to Snapchat Stories (and is even a direct competitor).

Rather than appearing in the news feed, Instagram Stories appear in a small area above it.

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Once a user clicks on your photo at the top, a window will pop up where they can view your Story.

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The benefits of Instagram Stories for brands are truly endless. For starters, Stories are displayed at the top of follower timelines where users already look daily.

Brands can use stories to capture behind-the-scenes insider posts that may not be as “high-quality” as regular posts.

And you don’t have to worry as much about posting content that aligns with the “aesthetic” of your brand or your Instagram page when it comes to Stories.

Instagram also makes it easy to experiment with different types of content in the Stories feature, like photos, short video, rewind video, live video, or Boomerangs.

Boomerangs are GIF-like images that play on a loop.

You can also tag other accounts in Stories, which is great if you’re collaborating with another brand or influencer.

Face filters, text, or stickers make it easy to edit images or create fun, eye-catching visuals.

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Every photo and video you add will play in the same sequence that you added it.

The amount of posts that you can add to Stories at any given time is unlimited, and the feature is available to all businesses globally.

Stories are only available on the mobile Instagram app, and it’s not currently possible to send Instagram Stories as direct messages.

But since most Instagram users access the site via the smartphone app rather than the website, this isn’t really something to worry about.

If you haven’t partnered with influencers who are already making a killing on Instagram, find a few that you want to work with and reach out to them.

6. Partner with influencers for a wider reach

If you want to reach potential customers on Instagram, the fastest way to do that is through influencers who have already built an audience with a large following.

More and more people are buying services or products based on what they see in their feed from the influential people they follow. They trust them.

If you partner with the right industry influencer, you can get your brand out in front of those users.

The first step is to try and identify a few influencers that have an audience that is relevant to your product or service.

Here’s an example of how Gravity Blankets used influencer Jessi Smiles to promote their product on her Instagram page.

The post has thousands of likes.

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The brand sells weighted blankets for sleep and stress. Their Instagram page has under 10,000 followers.

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But Jessi’s page has 493,000 followers that will likely trust her recommendations.

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That means that the brand just exposed themselves to thousands of potential customers (and new followers) through one post.

If you throw aside the short-term gains and direct sales that you can make from an influencer campaign, there are even more long term-benefits.

If you build a relationship with each influencer, you’ll build lasting brand awareness with a new audience.

And if you play your cards right, you could even work with a top influencer in the future to gain millions of likes, like Coca-Cola did with this post from Selena Gomez.

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Your existing customers might not be influencers, but you can still use their posts to influence people to buy your products by collecting user-submitted photos.

7. Collect user-submitted photos

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to create great content for your Instagram page without doing any of the hard work?

Through user-submitted photos, there is.



You already have an engaged audience. Whether it’s hundreds of people or thousands, you can leverage your audience to generate useful content for you.

And your followers will probably enjoy user-generated content even more than they enjoy yours because it’s authentic and unpredictable.

Cosmetics brand MAC uses tons of user-generated content that they promote on their Instagram page to show off products.

Here’s a photo one of their users posted that they then added to their Instagram page. Notice how they used the hashtag #regram and tagged the user in the image.

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You might be wondering exactly how you can get your users to create engaging content without being pushy.

It’s actually fairly simple. Your audience probably wants to grow their own following, just like you do.

Just let them know that you’ll tag them in your post if you choose their photo to regram, then they’ll have an incentive to post user-generated content on a consistent basis.

It’s a win-win for you and your customers.

GoPro is notorious for this. The brand chooses a #FeaturedPhotographer every week.

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The brand (and their followers) treat this like a weekly competition.

If you try something similar, you’ll probably be surprised at just how eager your followers will be to participate.

Remember to choose the photos you want to post wisely. This can be difficult, but try to remember these things when considering a winner:

  1. Does the photo fit in with the brand image you’ve already created or are trying to create? Or does it go against it?
  2. How big of a following does the person whose photo you want to share have?
  3. Is the photo appropriate for your current audience and following?

When you’re running a business, you have to be sure that everything you post is in tune with your brand’s message (and audience). Even on Instagram.

If someone shares a user-generated image with a large following, those followers will probably be interested in checking your page out, too.

Look at how this user-submitted photo from Boosted Boards aligns with the brand’s aesthetic. It’s high-quality, intriguing, and unique.

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Choose images that successfully mimic your brand’s tone, like this one.

That being said, try not to be too biased about the content you want to post. Mix it up and watch your follower count and engagement grow.

It also helps to come up with some kind of branded hashtag that encourages Instagram users to be more interactive with your company.

8. Come up with an interactive branded hashtag

If you’re looking to create instant engagement, interactive hashtags are a great way to get it.

Red Bull has racked up over 299,612 posts featuring their tag, #itgivesyouwings.

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Customers can then use the tag to post user-generated content. This allows users to search through all posts relating to your brand.

It also lets you easily search through images that you might want to consider re-posting on your own page.

Creating a hashtag that your company (and other users) can search for is essentially free advertising.

Every time someone posts a photo using the tag, they’re exposing your company to their followers.

If you already have a popular brand slogan or phrase, consider making that your branded hashtag. Coca-Cola successfully accomplished this with their hashtag, #ShareACoke.

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But no matter what you’re posting, you need to post at the right times and refrain from over-posting.

9. Post at the right times (and don’t over-post)

Over-posting on Instagram is a surefire way to turn off your existing followers.

If all they see is your brand on their news feed, they’re probably going to unfollow you as fast as possible.

But you want to post on a consistent basis so that you stay in their news feed regularly.

One of the best ways to do this is to only post during peak days and hours when your followers are online.

According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post.

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And according to research from CoSchedule, the best times of day to post are between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, as well as 2:00 AM.

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The hour between of 8:00 and 9:00 AM correlates with the time of day when people are getting ready for work or commuting to their jobs (and checking social media for the day).

And 2:00 AM is the time of day when most folks are up scrolling through Instagram when they should be sleeping, so this makes sense as a second most popular time to post.

You can find when your followers are most active in Instagram Insights, so your best days and times to post might be a bit different depending on your specific audience.

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Schedule your posts to go live during these days and times with a tool like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, or Sprout Social.

The research also shows that you should post between one and two times per day, but no more or less.

If you’re tempted to post more, then use Instagram’s carousel album feature to post multiple images in a slideshow format.

That way, you won’t overwhelm your followers’ feeds.

After you’ve made these changes, track your metrics to keep an eye on areas where you can improve.

10. Make sure you track the right metrics

You can’t improve your Instagram performance and optimize it unless you know how well your page and posts are performing (or underperforming).

When you have measurable results, you’ll know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Begin by tracking your follower growth rate.

The total amount of followers you have is commonly seen as a vanity metric. And it is.

But your follower growth rate isn’t.

When you keep an eye on what the growth rate of your followers looks like, you can see how the kind of content your posting (or your posting frequency) is affecting things.

Track your follower growth rate with a tool like Influencer Dashboard.

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Next, measure engagement rates. This includes likes and comments.

You want to find out the average engagement percentage of your total followers as well as the average engagement rate of each post to get a clear picture of how your page is performing.

If you’ve got a smaller following, your engagement rate should be higher. Here’s what your rates should look like based on your follower count:

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Finally, you need to track your URL click-through rate.

If you don’t already have a link to your website in your Instagram bio, add one ASAP.

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Then, measure how many people are clicking through to your URL.

The average CTR on Instagram is 0.94%, according to Conversion XL.

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The more effective your Instagram marketing techniques on your audience, the higher your CTR will be. If it’s low, work on improving your approach.

A tool like Sprout Social will measure just how many clicks that your link is getting in comparison to impressions and engagements.

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Conclusion

Instagram has dominated the social media world. It’s the go-to place for image sharing, with over 800 million monthly users.

Billions of likes are handed out each day, so you need to do your part to scoop some of them up.

First, switch your profile to an Instagram Business Profile if you haven’t already. This will give you tons of free tools and insights.

Next, start taking advantage of those free tools. Check out your audience’s demographics, like their age or top locations.

Post product teasers to urge people to buy your products or services without being overly pushy. They’ll be more likely to buy if they don’t feel pressured.

Turn your posts into sponsored ads to reach target audiences that may not be following you yet. One post might just have them hooked.

Use Instagram Stories to post behind-the-scenes photos or videos. Followers will appreciate the insider posts, which builds your relationship with customers.

Partner with influencers that have a wide reach in your industry. Their followers trust their recommendations.

Be sure to leverage the power of user-generated content by reposting images that your customers share. You can turn this into a contest with an interactive branded hashtag.

Choose a photo to share every week or every month that aligns with your brand’s message.

Post at the right times and avoid overposting. Post one to two times every day and check out when your followers are most active. Schedule posts to go live during those days and times.

Finally, be sure that you track the right metrics to see how your Instagram marketing efforts are paying off.

Keep an eye on follower growth rate, engagement rate, and your URL click-through rate.

What Instagram marketing techniques work best for you and your brand?

 

 

4 Social Media Hacks You Overlooked That Will Skyrocket Your Website Traffic (for ‘Webmasters only) 2018





The growth of 21st-century businesses owes a lot to social media. If it weren’t for social media, my brand would not be what it is today. Why? Because these modern platforms have been pivotal for outreach, engagement, and development of authority. There are millions of businesses out there. Social media makes them accessible. It also separates the “weak” from the strong. Digital presence is important. But what’s more important is knowing what the best methods are to leverage that presence in your favor.



If you aren’t sure whether your social media methods are working, you are not alone.

In fact, a recent study has shown that 45.9% of small business owners are unsure if their marketing strategies work.

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A further 16.6% reported that they know their strategies do not work.

That’s a whopping 62.5% of business owners in total that are not confident in their methods.

Even the best of us remember those days. I sure do.

But I soon recognized the importance of getting the greatest return on my investment when it comes to social media.

Whether that’s in the time I invested, resources I invested, or other’s time and resources invested in digesting my own work.

If I had not recognized this and done what’s needed to get the most out of each of those, I doubt my brand would have the impact it does today.

So, how do you separate yourself from the pack?

Optimize your social media use with hacks you have overlooked in the past.

What effect will this have on your business?

Measurable impact that will skyrocket the traffic to your site.

The potential of your social media is only untapped because nobody has taught you the most useful ways to harness it.

Until now.

1. Measure the analytics of your social media use

Progress is not made until you know what’s working and what isn’t, right?

Nearly 75% of small businesses are planning to use social media as part of their marketing tactics in 2018.

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Collective efforts may likely be futile if the right data is not properly gauged.

Let’s tackle this by focusing on how to gather analytics for your social media accounts.

I suggest initially establishing which metrics are most relevant to your specific business.

The next step is choosing which service to use to analyze the metrics you have just laid out.

While there are several freemium and premium options available to track and analyze your social media marketing, I am going to elaborate on a favorite of mine.

I admit it. I love data. The more, the better.

Cyfe is a comprehensive business dashboard that tracks all sorts of relevant data.

This will be of use to determine what is and isn’t having a direct effect on driving traffic to your site.

This is an important part of finding what provides a true value return in your social media.

Here’s an overview of what the social media tracking portion of Cyfe offers:

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It will show you relevant insight into metrics, engagement, and even measure your return on investment (ROI) of your social media use.

This is just one of nine separate individual dashboards Cyfe offers to track. You can click through to get an idea of what the full package provides.

For this, I’m only focusing on how it will help measure your social media efforts.

While there is a premium subscription option of $20 per month, there is a free version you can use to get a feel for things without making any commitments.

Let’s sign up.

First, go to www.cyfe.com and locate the “sign up” button, in one of two places:

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Both buttons require you to provide the same information.

Enter your name in the designated area. Next, enter your professional email. Finally, choose a secure password.



Pretty simple, right?

I suggest recording your login information in a safe place, although account information may be recovered if needed.

Click the “sign up” button and get started.

You will start off with a blank board, directing you to get started by adding the widget relevant to what data you wish to track.

Click where it designates, seen here:

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A window will show in your browser, listing neatly organized widgets. It opens to the featured list.

You will become familiar with which widgets are right for the metrics you wish to measure as you explore different options.

Here are the categories I suggest starting with that will help track your social media use and its effect on your traffic:

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Monitoring and site analytics will generate real-time data and provide insight into how users are reacting to your content.

This will make it easy to know what content they respond best to and how much your traffic increases as you implement these hacks.

The social media section will manage individual analytics for each of your social media accounts. This will make it easy to collect relevant data.

Add whichever ones you feel are relevant to the metrics you laid out.

Use this service to track what does and doesn’t get the ROI you are looking for. It does the math for you.

Attaching a dollar amount to your social media efforts is essential in today’s digital world.

Just see what Arizona-based bicycle manufacturer, State Bicycle Co found.

They discovered 12% of their website traffic comes from Facebook. That’s a fifth of the cost per click compared to other channels that they use.

The best part?

$500,000 of sales came from Facebook coupon codes.

Now, let’s switch gears.

2. Use plugins to harness the power of mobile sharing

So, what’s the next step?

Giving your audience the ability to share your content easily and quickly without compromising design and usability.

Since the start of 2018, it’s reported that there are 3.196 billion active online social media users worldwide. This is up 13% year-over-year.

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Of 5.135 billion unique mobile users worldwide, 2.958 billion are active mobile social users.

Meaning, 57.6% of all worldwide mobile users are active social media users.

Mobile users also outrank Internet users by over one billion. That’s a whole lot of zeros.

What I am getting across here is not only the sheer magnitude of active social media users.

It’s also how many are mobile users. Which is the majority.

Why is this relevant?

Sharing content is more often conducted by mobile users rather than Internet users.

We know this because it’s projected that 70% of digital media time is mobile.

This means that the approach to how your audience can share your content should always cater to mobile users.

Especially considering 95% of adults in the US have a cell phone of some type.

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Over three-fourths of those are smartphones.

I have said before that the harder it is for an audience to share your content, the less likely they will.

To set yourself up for success, use plugins on your blog to make sure your content can be easily shared across any device.

But especially mobile.

A majority of social share buttons that float to the side of content are either lost offscreen or cover your content’s text when read on mobile devices.

Take a look at these social icons on mobile compared to desktop.

Mobile

floating mobile

Desktop

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Nobody is going to read what they can’t see on mobile, right?

My favorite plugin that solved this issue and helps promote content sharing across any device is Warfare Plugins.

This is a WordPress plug-in launched in 2014 that offers three options: free, pro, and affiliate.

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To begin installation of this plugin to your site, let’s go for the free version first to see if you like it as much as I do.

First, go to www.warfareplugins.com/products/ as seen above.

Next, click on the “VIEW” button seen under Social Warfare of the three options.

This will take you to the landing page for the free version of Warfare’s plug-in. Scroll down, just a little, and you will see this:

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To the right, you will see License Options.

Underneath that is a button that says, “FREE DOWNLOAD.”

Click on this button, and it will redirect you to the official WordPress site where the free version of Social Warfare is hosted.



When you are ready to download, click here:

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A pop-up will show saying that you have chosen to open social-warfare.2.3.5.zip. This is the name the current version of the program.

Select the option to save the zip file and press OK.

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After you have the file saved and have located it, you are ready to complete the installation directions outlined by the developers.

Once installed, you will be able to use the Social Warfare plugin to optimize and customize content shares across any device.

You will even be able to collect individual analytics per post, courtesy of their data-tracking for each piece of content.

81% of marketers plan to increase their use of original written content because it is key to constant traffic from new and existing subscribers.

3. Manage a successful social media editorial calendar

Now that you are tracking metrics important to your company and have made your content easily shareable for mobile users, let’s shift our focus to scheduling.

I want to make this clear: knowing the equation of what can make content viral is only half of what it takes to have an actual impact in making content go viral.

The other portion is timing.

And consistency in both quality and posting timeframes.

Staying committed to a solid approach will increase your skill and impact year after year.

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Social media and messaging accounts for 1 in every 3 minutes users spend on the Internet.

This means there is ample opportunity to capitalize on the attention users are willing to give to social media.

This also means that you must keep the content you share current, consistent, and maintain a standard of quality.

First, you need to set up your calendar.

One of my personal favorite ways to do this is a mixture of a Google spreadsheet, Google Calendar, and Trello.

Trello even built this social media editorial calendar template.

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Check out how these three services are synergistic to each other with step-by-step directions in setting up your editorial calendar.

Proper use of these tools will help make you a powerful influencer.

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Now that you have a functioning system on hand, I am going to show you how to cater it to social media and generate loads of traffic to your site.

Of over 400 social media leaders interviewed, a resounding 84% track and measure the effectiveness of their efforts in utilizing social media.

29% are still attempting to prove and/or justify that using social media translates to actual value.

It’s a matter of understanding how often to post and what material to share with your followers.

Sharing at the right frequency with quality content, consistently delivered.

This is ultimately what gets any of us top marketers the most traffic to our sites.

This will streamline your process and ensure your content engages users and spikes traffic.

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Research on 14 different studies conducted has compiled the average of how often and what time to post on leading social media sites.

Here are the stats:

  • Facebook: 1-2 posts per day between 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare a post every other day.
  • Twitter: 1-51 tweets per day between 2:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    • Bonus: Retweet or curate around seven tweets a day.
  • Pinterest: 3-30 pins per day, with one pin every hour between 2:00 AM – 4:00 AM, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, and 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
    • Bonus: Repin or curate a minimum of five pieces of content from others every day. Some even suggest that 80% of pins shared should be from sources other than your own blog.
  • LinkedIn: 0-1 posts per day between 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare a post every other day.
  • Google+: 0-3 posts per day between 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare one post every other day.
  • Instagram: 1-3 posts per day between 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM and at 2:00 AM
    • Bonus: Only curate posts when necessary and if it is beneficial to your audience.

Make sure that your content is engaging, one-of-a-kind, and relevant.

This will optimize your interaction with followers and drive the right traffic to your site.

Buffer is an ideal example. They increased their blog visits to 1.5 million with social media posts like this.

Driving traffic and generating leads is the biggest content challenge, according to 63% of marketers.

4. Launch original content, data, and executive insights

I have shown you how to hack into your social media, use plugins to make your content shareable, and how and when to manage your social media editorial calendar.

So, what’s left?

The final trick is publishing content that performs better than anyone else’s.

Because, let’s face it.

There are over eight billion gigabytes of data uploaded and downloaded every year.

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This essentially equates to one gigabyte of data for every human being on Earth every year and growing.

This is a 300% increase in growth in only three years and it’s only just started.

It’s projected that by 2025, 463 billion gigabytes of new data will get created every day.

Wow, right?

That’s staggering.

I’d go so far as to say mind-boggling.

How in the world are we supposed to stay competitive when the markets flood with so much data at such high rates?

Easy. You don’t stay competitive.

Instead, you lead.

Like Pillsbury did with their Crescent-Wrapped Chicken Parmesan video. This video has over 1 million shares since January 2017.

Or, consider how Wendy’s got the most retweeted Tweet in history with help from Carter Wilkerson.

 

Creating content as compelling as this gives others a choice: to compete or not compete. No other way around.

86% of leading B2C marketers use content marketing.

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For B2B, it’s even higher – 91%.

Position yourself as an authority in your industry.

If you don’t, someone else will.

It’s calculated that content leaders who are a voice of authority in their field receive 7.8 times more traffic than those who don’t.

After all, that’s why you came here, isn’t it?

Curating your own, original content that utilizes the social media hacks I have outlined for you is what will ultimately set you apart from the pack.

Easier said than done is what I have heard a lot of in the past.

I am here to burst that bubble. In fact, that’s what a lot of the material I have written over the years aims to do.

No, really.

I have written an outrageous amount of original content telling others how to write their own original content. Just take a look at this.

And, for good measure, here is a video on how to write engaging content for boring industries:

 

Better content has the potential to drive traffic to a blog by up to 2,000%.

Sure, you’ll need to invest your time (if you’ve got the skill set) and/or resources (if you’d rather outsource), but is it worth it?

Yes.

Yes.

Say it with me.

Yes, it is.

Conclusion

Social media is the first invention to unify brands directly with consumers.

So, it’s no wonder there’s such an influx of business owners searching for ways to ensure their social media efforts return the greatest ROI and boost their site’s traffic.

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In this article, I outlined four hacks you may have overlooked that will have direct, positive impact on the traffic your website brings in.

First, I walked you through a step-by-step process on how to get Cyfe ready to track relevant metrics and analytics for your content.

This is important because you must know what is and isn’t working in order to know which methods are worth your time and which ones need a different approach.

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Second, I explained why optimizing for mobile users is so necessary.

Third, I outlined how to manage a successful social media editorial calendar.

This will keep your content publishing organized, consistent, and reliable while optimizing the amount of interaction your social media use receives every time you post.

Fourth, I put into perspective how much data consumption there is and why it is so important to position yourself as a voice of authority.

Every single one of these social media hacks has a common denominator.

Driving engaged traffic to your site.

The happier your followers, users, and clients are, the happier you’ll be.

This is a fundamental truth when it comes to business.

One that I operate by still to this day and always will.

Which social media hacks have you used to skyrocket your traffic?

 

 

Social Media Traffic Share Boost Through These 10 Headline Formulas

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Want to know something scary? No one is reading your blog posts. But they are reading the headlines you put on them on Social Media. It’s true. And a rather silly satirical article that went viral is a perfect example of how I know this. That link is to an article by the satire site The Science Post entitled “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.” Rather ironically, it’s been shared 67,000 times. Want to know the best part? Most of the copy of the article was just “Lorem Ipsum” filler text. Thousands of people shared nonsense. We judge books by their cover. Or, to be more specific, we judge books by their title.



And that means we judge blogs by their headline.

Have you ever considered that? Your audience will only gravitate toward the most attention-grabbing headlines.

So in this post, I’m going to show you how to boost your social shares with headline formulas that get you the clicks and social shares you’ve been trying to win.

But first, you need to understand just how powerful the right headline can be.

Here’s why you should care about headlines

Headlines leave a lasting impression on your audience, whether you want them to or not.

Copyblogger found that 80% of users who see your post will read the headline, but only 20% will actually read the content.

And if you want further proof, I was able to improve my conversion rate by 40% just by improving headlines.

But how does that work?

 

A large part of it is because headlines actually help determine how we think about the contents of an article.

New Yorker published an article back in 2014 that contained information from an Australian study that undeniably proved this point.

They tested a group of participants by presenting the same article to them with vastly different headlines.

The article itself talked about an anomalous increase in burglaries for that year but emphasized an overall downward trend.

The headlines indicated two completely different stances though.

One read “Number of Burglaries Going Up” while the other read “Downward Trend in Burglary Rate.”

The headline not only succeeded in reframing the article, but it also impacted the reader’s ability to recall information in the piece.

Crazy, right?

And this isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve been crazy about headlines for centuries.

For example, Newspapers have been creating and recreating the way we read the news since their inception.

Even when they mess up, like the famously wrong “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline, newspaper headlines had a powerful influence.

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Perhaps even more powerful is the headline examples we see from propaganda.

Even though we typically see propaganda as a bad thing, we instantly recognize some of the more famous pieces of it.

Like this American poster influencing young men to find their nearest recruiting station:

i wnat you

We remember these tags and headlines because they leave an immediate impression.

It’s an all-out attempt to capture and keep our attention on a specific topic and keep it long enough to ask for something.

And now, the baton has been passed to the digital nomads, marketers, and journalists of our time.

It’s our job to find and create the headlines that capture the imagination and inspire action.

So I want to teach you how to write better headlines that engage your audience and intrigue them enough to read your post.

These ten formulas will help you achieve your digital goals and generate a stream of social sharing that will help your brand go viral.

Formula #1: Show your audience the future

Anything that offers your audience a future that is better than their present will always be intriguing, exciting, and worth a gander.

This may sound selfish, but people want to know that things can be better.

If you can inspire someone to get out of bed in the morning with the quick dose of brighter future, you’ll have an advocate for life.

And this is verified with data, too.

Buzzsumo found that the number one phrase in a viral headline is “will make you.”

TopHeadlinePhrases

That means your audience is looking for things that will make them different.

Maybe it will make them stronger, faster, or a better person.

Whatever it is, your promise to show it to them will be intriguing.

For example, you could create headlines like:

  • Be the most influential person in your neighborhood!
  • Get paid to see the world in 6 months.
  • You can get any job you want with this month-long class.

All of these promise something unique and growth-oriented.

As long as you follow through on these promises, your audience will be inclined to share this with anyone they think it can help.

Here’s an example of how this could work from The Art of Manliness.



art of manliness

By tapping into a topic that many guys hate (shopping) and promising a way that you can save money, AoM does a wonderful job of catching your eye.

They also tantalize the prospect that by learning one simple concept called the Style Pyramid, you can make these changes permanent.

All in all, it makes you want to at least see what they have to say, right?

Let’s look at another example from TedEd Video, but this time in the negative.

teded

This one catches your eye for a completely different reason, right?

Not quite.

It’s still attempting to show you the future.

It promises that you’ll see something so bad that you won’t be able to keep yourself from being angry.

And doesn’t that make you want to test it? I know it does for me.

That’s why it’s so effective, and why it has more than six million views.

When someone sees this, gets angry (like promised) and then shares on their own social media, you’ll have created a viral storm.

Formula #2: Tell the reader what they will get from you

This formula is a more feature centric approach, but that’s sometimes useful.

Why? Because sometimes we like to start with benefits rather than features.

When your audience is more interested in learning the what rather than the how, this is a perfect way to grab their attention.

Start with the various features of your offering.

Phrase them as so earth-shattering that it’s unignorable.

Create a tantalizing image that conveys power and utility.

Then watch the magic happen.

Take this Slate article on what you can expect from Apple’s new iPhones:

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If you’re a fan of Apple’s phone products, this could be interesting to you for any number of reasons.

Maybe you want to see how the camera has been updated.

Or, if there are any new improvements to their Facial Recognition software.

At the very least, you’re intrigued by the fact that the image says “It can swim, too.”

All of this makes you want to read more.

But that’s not all because now I’m going to show you how you can break the rules with this formula, like in this Buffer article:

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That’s right. Now we’re using this formula to offer a benefit and insight on Instagram’s features.

It’s a two-for-one deal that works like a dream.

You get the benefit of not having to sift through 20 whole Instagram studies.

And you get to share in the insights about how to properly use Instagram.

The trick here is not to do this too often.

But properly it can yield great results.

Formula #3: Hit where it hurts

Hitting on the direct fears of your audience is a perfect way to grab their attention and show them there’s a better way of accomplishing their goals.

You see this a lot in more B2C industries that want to show customers a highlight of their product or service.

But you can use it for B2B too, with a word of caution first.

Don’t go too negative here.

This style of post can easily backfire if you’re too negative or directly insult someone.

That’s going to be even worse for your brand and will have people sharing for the wrong reasons.

Here’s how to do it well:

PsyBlog, a popular psychology blog with over 50,000 subscribers, recently posted this article:

psyblog

I think this is a great example of how you can thread the needle here.

It hits where it hurts because a reader with depression will be able to empathize and then see what advice the article gives.

But it doesn’t shame individuals with depression at all.

It merely builds curiosity by targeting a sensitive spot: eating habits.

Do you see how brilliant this approach can be?

And here’s another example from Psychology today that attacks another sore spot:

psychology today

The idea that you could be losing money, even accidentally, is frightening to almost everyone.

That fear makes you want to click, read, and share with your friends who are perhaps in a similar predicament.

But again, it doesn’t try to make you feel bad about yourself.

And it promises a solution to your issues.

Use this formula when you’re targeting your audience’s biggest pain points, and make sure it’s follow up with some awesome copy and imagery.

Formula #4: Share the love you’ve been getting

A testimonial headline is a proven method of grabbing attention and proving value to your audience.

When Basecamp switched a few of their headlines over to testimonials, they reported a 102.5% increase in conversions after they launched.

landing page headline formula tips

Notice that it also simplified the design of their page.

They went from confusing and jumbled imagery to a single shot of a very happy customer.

They showed the actual review right where you can read it and highlighted their favorite excerpts.

Which would you rather click? I think the results speak for themselves.

But how can you use this in a blog post that encourages social sharing?



Take a look at what Match.com does on their blog:

match

As you scroll through their posts, you’ll find hundreds of these Match Made posts.

All of them are real stories from how real users found a partner on their site.

And there are so many. You can’t help but think that something must be working on this site.

Finding ways to use your own success stories can create a powerful impulse for someone to click and read your posts.

We gravitate toward success and what we can achieve, remember?

Use this formula to share success and spread the positivity of your brand.

Formula #5: [Do something] like [world-class example]

This social proofing formula comes at the recommendation of CopyBlogger.

It was too good not to share.

Think of all the brands that have milked a headline like this.

The “Be Like Mike” campaign of the 1990s comes to mind immediately for me.

It was such a powerful attempt to tap into the image of one of the most famous basketball players of all time.

But you don’t have to have a celebrity endorsing your brand to use them as a comparison.

In fact, I use this formula myself in this post encouraging you to Be Like Bond.

neil patel

As cool as I am, I’m in no way the level of super-cool that super spy James Bond is.

So I use his image to capture your imagination and show you ways you can keep tabs on your competitors.

It’s an effective tool that, as you can see, has almost 400 shares.

And I’m not the only one who uses this approach.

This Quartz article is another great example of how you can tap into the image and habits of the rich or powerful.

be like

In this case, the admonition is to find ways to learn and grow as an individual.

The implication that it will bring you wealth and satisfaction is what makes you click through, and it influences what you’ll expect to find.

Use this formula as a way to piggyback on an established and reputable name to help your audience learn something useful.

Formula #6: Tell them what everybody should know about…

Curiosity is a huge magnet for anyone.

One way you can tap into your audience’s curiosity by implying that there may be a few things they don’t know about a beloved topic.

Or, in the case of the examples I want to show you, you can give a more general overview of “helpful life tips.”

Like in this headline from LifeHack.

lifehack

It draws you in with the promise that there might be even one thing on the list that you don’t know how to do.

When you compliment an article like this to helpful guides, it’s a powerful way to spread thought leadership.

Here’s a second look from Mental Floss.

mental floss

I really like these, because of the inherent challenge inside of them and the unlimited amount of shareability.

Posting this on your social media channels with a directive to “share what you don’t know with your friends” can make it explode overnight.

Use this if you want to gain some traction as an expert and want to tap into new audiences on social media.

Formula #7: Use a listicle

You were probably expecting this one, and here it is.

For good reason though. An impressive 36% of people prefer list-based headlines to other types.

And OkDork even found that lists just underperformed infographics. Shares by Content Type

So whether it’s helpful Twitter tips or a huge compilation of jokes,  lists have been proven to boost social shares.

Besides this very post promising ten formulas, I want to show you some ways you can use this approach.

This example from HelpScout shows you how you use a list to liven up an otherwise less than exciting topic:

helpscout2

Live Chat software may not be the highest priority on your list, but the promise of 15 quick takeaways makes this easy to browse and digest.

It also helps it stand out as a guide you can return to when you do get around to tackling live chat software.

But that’s not the only way you can use this formula, as Buffer shows us.

buffer

Not only are they giving you a six-step framework (list), they’re also giving you 87 ideas you can use (an even bigger list).

It’s another two for one deal.

You create curiosity with a simple list and inspire action with the promise of a vast resource.

And what makes this even better is that Content Marketing Institute showed us back in 2011 that odd numbers really stand out.

Use a listicle as a way to grab attention and almost promise too much.

When your information is as good as you promised, your audience will want to share.

Formula #8: Go with a how-to

Once again, it can sometimes be difficult to create an interesting spin on an otherwise heavy or boring topic.

When all else fails, consider a classic how to post.

Like this post, again.

This is a great default for anyone in a technical field because “how to” is one of the most popular phrases in viral posts.

People visit Google every day to find how-to posts about something, so why not create one for your brand?

Here’s an example from WPBeginner’s blog.

wpbeginner

This is a great example of how you can take a complex topic and create a step-by-step guide to success.

Online marketplaces require a lot of patience and know-how, but using this guide promises to make it easy.

And here’s another good look at a heavy topic from HelpScout.

helpscout

Without a guide like this, would you know how to create a multichannel customer support strategy?

You might be able to, but why not click and see if they know something you don’t?

Creating the right how-to will boost your brand and help you stand out as an expert in your industry.

And when someone has a question, who do you think they’ll come to?

Formula #9: Leave a cliffhanger

According to Buffer “This is” also ranked as one of the most popular phrases in a viral headline.

Using any variation of this puts a powerful tool in your hand.

Creating a cliffhanger and tantalizing a juicy story will compel your audience to click and learn more about your topic like I did in my Your Bounce Rate is a Lie post.

bounce rate

By claiming something contrary to popular thought and then teasing a new opinion, I aimed to snag curiosity.

It clearly worked too, as you can see this post has over 500 shares.

But you don’t have to use a contrary opinion with this formula.

Travel blogger NomadicMatt has a great example of this from his announcement of a highly-anticipated contest winner.

nomadicmatt

The idea here is to create suspense.

Give your reader an immediate reason to click and learn something exciting or helpful.

As long as you engage quickly and provide a solid resolution for your cliffhanger, your audience will be happy to share your post.

Formula #10: Show a quick way to solve a problem

Everyone loves a quick solution to a persistent problem.

It’s one of the easiest formulas you can use.

But if you do it right, your audience will forever be grateful.

Especially if you can show a shortcut for something that they aren’t particularly fond of.

Like math, as this example from Prodigy teases.

prodigygame

A student that struggles to learn and implement math will love any advice that helps shorten the burden.

Even though this post is directed at teachers, it’s just as likely that a student can find it and teach themselves.

If it’s as helpful as promised, that student will share with his friends.

Which helps Prodigy increase their organic audience.

Pretty smart, right?

And you see a lot of examples of this on your social media feed.

Like this post from NDTV Food.

hair gorw

You might not need hair growth tips, but I bet you know someone who does.

The promise of a faster solution than the natural route is sure to draw some interest.

And where there’s interest, you can expect people to share.

Conclusion

Headlines are the part of your post that nearly everyone is reading.

Are you paying enough attention to them?

Just because something sounds good to you doesn’t mean it will resonate with your audience.

Finding the formulas that work is the only solution to capture your audience’s attention and hold their gaze long enough to convey your thoughts.

By using the ten formulas in this post, you’ll create new opportunities for your brand to reach your audience.

You’ll be able to generate new page views and shares.

And ultimately have a powerful brand with an enormous following.

What headline formulas have you used to inspire your readers to share?

 

Social Media Traffic Analytics: 12 Hidden Reports to See if Your Social Strategy is Working (for Webmasters only) 2018

Social Media Analytics




Social Media Traffic is a huge opportunity for growing your business. From organic reach to paid ads, social media gives you the ability to build traffic, engagement, and sales. The problem is that even when you follow all the steps to create profitable campaigns, how do you really know they’re working? Only 43% of B2C marketers measure their ROI. Why? The main reason given is that it’s just too hard. They say they need an easier way. You could pay for a social media tool or service to do it for you. Or you can use these 12 different hidden reports I’m about to show you. This way you can see for yourself, for free, if your social media marketing strategy is working.



But first, let me ask you a question.

Why is social media analytics so important?

More than 3 billion people are using social media and close to 3 billion use mobile social media.

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This means that roughly 2 out of every 5 people on this planet have an active social media account, and most of them use it on their phone.

Not only are we online, and on social media, but we’re on it a lot.

The average amount of time spent on the Internet every day is 6 hours and 30 minutes just here in the US.

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Out of that, close to a third is spent on social media.

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It’s not just one social media platform either.

73% of US adults now watch YouTube and 68% are on Facebook.

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If your target audience is teenagers, your social media analytics are even more important.

94% of teens are on YouTube, 80% are on Facebook, and 78% are on SnapChat.

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People are using social media platforms multiple times a day.

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With such widespread use, social media presents an incredible marketing opportunity.

If you’re not succeeding at social media marketing, you’re going to lose in the long run.

But how do you know if you’re succeeding?

Only 6% of B2C marketers feel that the metrics that they’re using are an excellent way to measure their progress towards their goals.

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Add this to marketers who feel their metrics are at least good, and you still only have 53% of people.

That means almost half of respondents are not properly and successfully measuring their success.

If you can’t tell if your latest Facebook Ad is tanking or knocking it out of the park, how do you adjust?

You can’t improve your business if you can’t measure your results.

85% of marketers are already using analytics tools. But almost half still have no idea if their strategy is working.

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This is why not just any analytics tool will do.

The following are the 12 reports you should be using to make sure your social strategy is succeeding.

Google Analytics Custom Reports

Google Analytics offers a ton of ways to monitor how your social media efforts are paying off.

Unfortunately, the default dashboard on your homepage doesn’t give you a lot of valuable information.

It can tell you how much traffic is coming from social media.

However, the more valuable information can only be gathered through custom reporting.

Here are the top 5 Google Analytics custom reports I recommend using in 2018:

1. Attribution Monitoring Report

One of the first things you’re going to want to understand is exactly how customers are arriving at your website.

If you want to understand how your social strategy is working, you need to isolate the traffic coming from social media.

The default way Google Analytics tracks conversions can be very misleading.

Currently, it defaults to the Last Interaction Model.

Here’s an example of how this Attribution Model works:

  1. John is researching affordable sedans and finds your website via Google Search. He browses around and likes some of the cars you sell, but he’s not ready to buy yet.
  2. John clicks to “Like” your company’s Facebook profile and then leaves your site.
  3. Your company writes a blog about how happy one of your customers is with their new affordable sedan purchase. You post a link to your Facebook page. John clicks on the link and reads the article on your site. Then he once again leaves.
  4. John’s back researching on Google and this time he sees a pay-per-click (PPC) ad for your website. He clicks on it and buys a sedan.

The last interaction model would attribute the sale entirely to the PPC ad.

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You can see how this is a bit misleading when it comes to the success of each marketing channel.

John twice interacted with your company through social media. This report wouldn’t let you see that your social strategy was in fact working.

Thankfully, there are other options.

Here’s a look at the other available attribution models:

attribution models

In the example above, the First Interaction Model would look like this:

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It gives the first interaction with the customer all of the credit.

This is useful if you want to know which channels are driving awareness.

For more information about different types of attribution models, read this.



The Last and First Interaction Models are fairly straightforward.

Time Decay is a model that gives more attribution to recent interactions and less to those further in the past.

Be aware that analytics aren’t perfect.

Any report can be skewed by people switching devices, deleting cookies, or blocking javascript.

This particular report also only looks back 90 days. If your customer’s first interaction was more than three months ago, the report won’t catch it.

I recommend trying a few different attribution report models to see where and how social media is showing up.

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Which one you find most useful will depend on your goals.

If you primarily use social media to target CTAs at consumers who are ready to buy, then the last interaction model might suit your purposes.

2. Dark social media traffic reporting

If you share a link through social media, such as on your Facebook profile page and a consumer clicks it, that interaction gets attributed to social media.

Let’s say that consumer then visits your page and reads something they think is awesome.

Instead of using your social share buttons on your site, they copy the URL and paste it into a Messenger conversation with their friends.

Any friends who click that link won’t be attributed to social media by the default Google Analytics reports.

They’re “dark social traffic” since GA can’t tell where they’re coming from.

Being able to track this type of traffic is more important than ever in 2018.

Social messaging is now more popular than social media. More and more people will choose to share info through messaging apps over social platform sites.

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In fact, if you’re adopting the use of chatbots, you’ll be increasing the volume of dark social traffic.

To identify dark social traffic, you need to create a new segment inside Google Analytics to isolate it.

Now drill down into “Audience” and “Overview.” The next thing you’ll want to do is select “Add Segments,” followed by “New Segment.”

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You need to create a new segment of traffic for people who are currently being reported as Direct but are actually likely dark.

The first thing you need to do is identify all of your visitors that Google currently believes are Direct traffic.

In Google Analytics, on the left-hand side, select Traffic Sources.

Then under ‘Source’ select contains (direct). image 75

Now filter out the ones who may actually be typing in your URL directly.

Start by ruling out your homepage.

Since your homepage is generally your shortest and most well-known URL, it is the most likely one to actually have direct traffic.

To exclude it from this dark traffic report choose ‘Conditions’ on the left, under the advanced section.

Then go to the ‘Landing Page’ filter and select “is not one of” or “doesn’t contain” and then add a forward slash “/.”

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Now you can save this segment, and you will be able to track all traffic that is likely “dark.”

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3. Social media performance analysis reporting

You can download this report here, rather than building it yourself.

The report has three tabs: summary, content analysis, and device analysis.

The summary will tell you where social media traffic is coming from, how often, if they find what they’re looking for, and if they purchase.

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The content analysis report will tell you what landing pages are most popular and which types of content are most valuable.

You can drill down to see what social networks tend to lead to which landing pages.  content setup 568x296 1

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The device analysis tab tells you which devices people are using when they come to your site through social media platforms.

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4. Google Cohort Analysis

Cohort simply means a grouping of similar people.

It compares what a group of similar customers bought now compared to last week or last year.

Tiny changes can have a big impact on the bottom line.

This report helps analyze trends and patterns to help show you which changes resulted in different results.

Comparing traffic or time spent on a page from now compared to a year ago might not be very relevant if it has undergone a huge visual change in the meantime.

Cohorts can help add context.

Pull up Google Analytics, click the Audience drop-down in the left-hand sidebar and look for Cohort Analysis:

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Here’s how the Google Analytics cohort analysis report will look like at a glance:

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I selected Acquisition Date for this cohort type, so the graph sorts it that way.

Here are the main factors you can analyze using cohort reports:

  • Acquisition Date
  • Metrics by category
  • Goal completions
  • Pageviews
  • Revenue
  • Session duration
  • Sessions
  • Transactions
  • User retention
  • Total users

cohort analysis metric dropdown

If you want to know how many pageviews each user had by day for the last seven days, you simply enter the following into the drop-down menu:

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Which brings up the related graph:

acquisition date cohorts by pageviews

You will see:

  • The May 9th cohort of users had 1.5 pageviews per user
  • That same May 9th cohort also had an average of 0.03 pageviews per user the next day (Day 1)

This means only a tiny percent of first-time visitors are returning the next day.

You’re probably wondering what you can do with this info.

To obtain actionable data from it, Google Analytics allows you to break it down further.

At the top, you can add different segments to break down our report further:

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You can select Mobile and Tablet traffic, for example.

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Now you can see a comparison from your original dataset vs. the Mobile and Tablet traffic:

mobile and tablet traffic google analytics cohort

You can see that the report is now showing groups or cohorts of people by date, and it has separated out mobile and tablet traffic.

It illustrates the percentage of visitors that came back to your site the next day, broken out by device.

This may indicate that your site is mobile friendly or is appealing to the mobile crowd in some way.

Of course, our conclusions are limited because it’s a tiny sample of a small date range.

Hopefully, you can see the potential here.

5. Daily eCommerce Traffic Report

This report is essential for e-commerce sites.

It gives you a complete at-a-glance overview of your performance per source.



You can import this report directly.

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You can also add the conversion rate metric.

When you drill down, you’ll be able to see specific campaign information.

Here’s how your report will look:

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“Average Order Value” and “Per Session Value” are very powerful.

They allow you to measure how buying behavior changes depending upon the traffic source.

This way you can see how your social media traffic is performing and make sure your social efforts are being rewarded.

Social Media Custom Reports

The largest social media platforms are now offering their own free analytics reports.

Facebook is currently boasting the most powerful analytics reports.

It’s not really surprising since they’re the leading platform for marketers.

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I’m going to walk you through 5 social media reports you can use to monitor your social strategy on each individual platform.

I’ll use Facebook as an example but keep in mind that other platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest offer similar reports.

6. Real conversions

Your Facebook Ads Dashboard offers a ton of potential metrics you can report on.

You can find them all under the ‘Customize Columns’ option.

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If you tried to run reports on all of these, you wouldn’t have any time left to run your business.

I recommend you just focus on the main reports. Don’t get sidetracked by vanity metrics.

The first one you should be reporting on is conversions.

This should be your main focus.

Conversion reports tell you how often your ads are making people complete the action you wanted them to.

Remember that conversion rate is more important than conversion number.

5 clicks and 5 conversions is incredibly more significant than 1,000 clicks and 5 conversions.

Conversions are also one of the only metrics that you can easily tie back to ROI to understand Ad performance.

Conversions on Facebook are diverse and not every metric gives the same value.

For example, the Ads Manager allows you to track tons of different conversion-style metrics:

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You want to focus on conversion metrics that tell you end-goal results.

Depending on your goals, you should be tracking metrics like website leads, website purchases, and website conversions:

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These all tie back to sales and ROI so you can easily tell if your social strategy is working.

7. Cost Per Result (CPR) Report

Conversions should be your starting place, but they’re not enough on their own.

You can’t just base your efforts on how many sales your campaigns bring in.

The problem with looking at just sales is that it can easily lead to you spending too much.

What happens if you spend $1,000 to promote your product and it only brought in $800 in sales?

Even though you increased your sales, you actually just cost yourself $200.

Cost per result helps you understand how much you’re spending on each conversion.

When you log onto your Facebook Ads Manager, the report will look like this:

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The lower your CPR is, the more efficient your ad campaigns are.

High CPRs tell you that you are spending too much money on acquisition, which hurts your profits.

You can monitor your CPR and prevent it from getting too steep by creating a new rule in your Facebook Ads dashboard.

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Go into your Campaigns, then ‘Create Rule.’ Then select ‘Conditions’ and change your chosen action to be ‘Cost Per Result.’ pasted image 0 124 1

Once you’ve done that, choose a value for your condition criteria. pasted image 0 136 1

This number should be whatever amount you’re not willing to spend more than per sale.

If your product costs $50, you wouldn’t want your cost per result (conversion) to be greater than $50.

Then decide what the action will be if your cost per result is greater than that specified number:

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For example, if your cost per result goes too high, you can do any of the following:

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Once you’ve selected your appropriate response, here’s what it should look like:

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Cost per result is just as important as conversion metrics.

It warns you if you are spending too much to acquire conversions and can help you manage your ad spend.

8. Ad frequency reporting

If you have a daily Facebook Ad spend of $50 or more, this metric is definitely one you should track.

Your Ad frequency is how many times a single consumer sees your ad over the course of the campaign.

This is something you need to track since no one wants to see something too many times.

Your audience can actually get annoyed by you and react unfavorably if they feel like they see your ads too often.

According to Ekaterina Konovalova, a frequency of 10 results in the lowest possible relevance score.

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This means that if a single viewer sees your same ad 10 times, they will respond negatively.

The more you show them the ad, the more annoyed they can become, resulting in a lower relevance score and higher costs.

AdEspresso found similar data on how devastating ad frequency can be:

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As frequency increases, CTR decreases and cost per click increases.

According to AdEspresso’s results high frequency leads to a steep increase in CPC and a nosedive in CTR after just four views.

To get started, navigate back to your Facebook Ads Manager and create a new rule:

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From the dropdown list select “Frequency” as your new condition:

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Apply “4” as the greater-than value.

This will guarantee that once your frequency passes 4, your end action will automatically kick in.

For the action, I’d recommend pausing the ad set:

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Frequency reporting and control is crucial for lowering ad costs, staying in the good graces of your customers, and increasing conversions.

9. Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is a simple yet critically important metric.

Facebook describes it as the number of people who clicked your ad, relative to impressions.

It is calculated by taking the total number of clicks on your ad and dividing it by the total impressions.

Why is CTR so important?

A high click-through rate tells you that a high percentage of the people seeing your ad are taking the desired action.

This means you’ve put the right content in front of the right people and you’ve done it in such a way as to make it elicit responses.

You know your offer is good enough to get people to drop what they’re doing and click your ad.

If your ad CTR is low, it’s telling you that something just isn’t working.

CTR packs tons of data beneath the surface of what seems to be a vanity metric.

According to WordStream’s 2017 Facebook Ad CTR Study, the average CTR in Facebook Ads across all industries is .90%:

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If your CTR is even in the 2-3% range, you have struck gold.

Keep in mind that the average CTR for e-commerce and retail ads is under 2%.

This means that a ‘high’ or great CTR is 2% or more. Don’t expect click-through rates in the double digits.

If one of your campaigns suddenly starts showing CTRs of 2% or more, you need to take advantage of it.

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We know 2% or more is good.

So, for example, you can create a rule like this one that will automatically increase your daily spend by 25% if your CTR jumps over 2%.

Why increase your budget?

You know this ad is working and a higher than average amount of the people seeing it are taking action. You don’t know why.

Since you don’t know why there is no guarantee that extending the campaign will extend the CTR rate.

CTR is extremely informative for understanding how well your ads resonate with your audience.

Be sure to track this in your next advertising report.

10. Focus on PPC

When you shift from “more is better” to “being more specific is better,” you start to drive more sales with less traffic.

To do this, perform a basic audit of your current pay-per-click platform and campaign.

The goal is to look for indicators of wasted ad spend or a focus on the wrong metrics.

Look at your overall campaign dashboard for current keywords or ads and look for trends in traffic and sales:

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Do you notice any trends?

Is there anything glaring that jumps out at you?

One thing I noticed in the example above is that some ads are generating conversions, but they are crazy expensive compared to others.

This might point to poorly targeted traffic.

In other words, you’re getting a lot of people to see your ads, but they’re not the right people.

Let’s say your audience size is 100,000 people, but your target market was poorly defined. Here is how to boost your social media followers.

Since most of those people aren’t going to be interested in your product, you may end up spending $1,000 on an ad campaign, and only 500 people (0.05%) end up converting.

This gives you a PPC of $2.00.

Now let’s say you had an incredibly well-defined target market. Your audience size is only 50,000 but 2% convert. This means you have 1,000 conversions.

Assuming your campaign cost the same, now your PPC is halved (1,000 / 1,000 = $1.00 PPC).

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If you see that some of your campaigns have higher PPCs, consider either retargeting them or pausing them.

Focusing on the right analytics can generate significantly more sales with less traffic.

Conclusion

Having a successful social media strategy is critical for business success.

But almost half of all marketers struggle with properly measuring the success of their campaigns.

I’ve now shown you ten different types of reports you can use to see if your social strategy is working the way you planned.

You can start with modifying Google Analytics to make it more powerful. Take advantage of their custom reporting options around attribution, dark traffic, behavior flow, and custom funnels.

Track where people are coming from to your site, understand what’s driving your real conversions, and what your click-through-rates and cost-per results are.

Measure the frequency your audience is seeing your campaigns and how your pay-per-clicks are trending.

Don’t forget the free analysis tools provided by social media platforms.

Use all these little known, free analytics tools, and you’ll see results in no time.

What hidden reports do you use?