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How To Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most active professional networking platform, with over 13 million companies vying for the attention of more than half a billion users.

Once seen primarily as a job-seeking tool, the platform now offers a rich media experience that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Many LinkedIn users log in daily just to bask in the knowledge of thought leaders and stay on the pulse of their respective industries.

As such, your LinkedIn Company Page represents a huge opportunity to steer the conversation in your field, carve out a space for your brand, and attract top talent in the process.

Here are six steps you can take today to optimize your LinkedIn Company Page and improve your presence, authority, and recruitment prospects.

1. Tell your story in pictures

Update your profile image

Your profile image is first thing people searching for your company on LinkedIn will see, so make a good impression. Company Pages with profile pictures get six times more visitors than those without.

Choosing a profile image is straightforward: take your company logo (the same one you’re using on your other social media channels) and resize it to fit with LinkedIn’s requirements.

screenshot of Hootsuite LinkedIn company page

Ideal LinkedIn Profile Image Specs

Set the tone with your profile banner

The profile banner above your company logo offers a bit more room for creativity, as there are no hard-and-fast rules for using this space (other than some sizing requirements).

Ideal LinkedIn profile banner specs

  • 1536 x 768 pixels
  • PNG format
  • Maximum 8 MB
  • Rectangular layout

How you choose to hang your Company Profile banner is up to you. Here are two completely different examples of company profile banners, and why they’re successful.

Sephora: simple, sleek and stylish

Screenshot of Sephora Company Page on LinkedIn

Even a simple graphic can add some much-needed flair to LinkedIn’s standard template. Sephora’s banner displays the clean black and white stripes that frame many aspects of their branding, both in-store and online.

Air Canada: active, engaging and actionable

Air Canada LinkedIn Company Page

Air Canada’s banner takes a more actionable approach, advertising their involvement in the 2018 Seoul Winter Olympics. It includes bilingual hashtags for a current social media campaign and reps Canadian colors, driving social engagement.

2. Use keywords

Write an “About us”

Carefully-selected images will hook a prospect, but it takes words to reel them in.

A well-optimized “About us” section on your company page is a tightly worded paragraph (2,000 characters or less) telling visitors everything they need to know about your company. Use simple, accessible language informed by keyword research to outline your business goals in words anyone will understand.

Like your other social profiles, the “About us” on your Company Page should answer six basic questions (which I’ve adjusted slightly for the LinkedIn platform):

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you based?
  • What do you offer?
  • What are your values?
  • What is your brand voice?
  • How can people contact you to learn more?

To see an “About us” done right, look at Shopify. Their bio accurately describes the scope of their main product without ever slipping into yawn-inducing wordiness.

My favorite part is how they snuck in “Being awesome” as one of their specialties. This is how you have fun with LinkedIn while keeping things professional.

Screenshot of Shopify LinkedIn Company Page

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Remember, LinkedIn is a professional space, and like every social media platform, it has its own set of unwritten rules. Don’t be the company sharing memes from five years ago in an effort to market to Generation Z.

INSERT GIF

Tailoring your content to a business-minded audience doesn’t mean it has to be boring; just read the room, and plan accordingly.

3. Create Showcase Pages

If the Company Page is a birds-eye view of your business and its core values, then Showcase Pages zoom in on your day-to-day activities.

These highly-customizable pages are essentially tailored news feeds on specific aspects of your organization. Depending on their interests, visitors might come here for content about your company’s individual brands and product ranges, ongoing charity efforts and sponsorships, or regularly occurring events like meetups, conferences, and expos.

Post, post, post

Real talk: Showcase Pages require upkeep. They have their own distinct sets of followers, separate from your Company Page. If you want these pages to be successful (and stay that way), ensure they’re regularly populated with articles, videos, slide presentations, and any other content that provides your followers with significant, long-term value.

Screenshot of Amazon showcase pages on LinkedIn

Showcase Pages are a great place to share Sponsored Content and get more value from targeted advertising.

You can target your posts by location and a recommended number of two other fields, including: industry, company, job type, seniority, group, school, and more. Because people following your Showcase Pages have already shown an active interest in that area of content by subscribing, they’re more likely to read it and share among their networks.

Here’s one last secret about Showcase Pages: they’re surprisingly underused. Capitalize on this! Even one Showcase Page puts you a step ahead of the competition, but you can have up to 10—enough to give you a serious advantage.

4. Build a career page

Glassdoor reports that 69 percent of job seekers are more likely to apply to a company that makes an active effort to promote its culture online. LinkedIn Career Pages are an amazing way to bolster your recruitment efforts by showing your company culture in its best light.

Located under the “Life” tab, Career Pages feature customizable modules where you can display high-quality images, videos and articles about the day-to-day at your organization. Try to include a URL in every post: LinkedIn reports that posts with links get 45 percent more engagement.

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Consider employee perspectives

If you’re looking for ways to frame your company as a think-tank for fresh ideas, look to the Career Pages “Employee perspectives” section, where you can publish thought leadership articles written by employees.

According to a survey by Jumpstart HR, the vast majority of job seekers value personal growth opportunities over anything else when considering a new workplace. By sharing content produced in-house, you’re showing your current employees that their perspectives are valued, and telling future talent that there’s plenty of room for recognition—and the opportunities that come with it.

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Explore other features

The Careers Page has a ton of other features, too many to list out in one blog post. Here are the major ones you should be aware of:

  • Create a virtual “meet the team” section from employee profiles
  • Collect and share employee testimonials
  • List the causes your employees care about and support on their profiles
  • Promote diversity by listing spoken languages
  • Track your recruitment analytics to improve your hiring process

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Like Showcase Pages, you should update your Careers Page regularly. This is a space to proudly represent your company as a hub of excellence and new ideas, so post whenever you can; the goal is to have people clamoring to work for you.

With a good enough Careers Page, you might even win over a few employees from the Dark Side…I mean, your competitors.

5. Collect and give endorsements

More than a billion peer-to-peer endorsements have been given on LinkedIn, the platform’s most powerful (and sometimes controversial) form of social proof. Gather recommendations whenever possible, and don’t be shy to ask for them—it’s almost always mutually beneficial.

Ask employees

If your employees haven’t connected with your Company Profile, encourage them to do so, and be sure to write them a great recommendation from your personal profile in return. Your employees’ networks will be notified of work anniversaries, new job opportunities, and other updates about your business. When they share content to their own networks, it’ll also appear with your company name attached.

Ask associates

Some of the most valuable endorsements will come from your B2B interactions—76 percent percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

Whenever you have a positive interaction with another company, whether that’s a vendor, an account manager, or someone you met at a networking event, reach out to them for a connection and recommendation, and offer one in return.

This “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” approach almost seems like cheating, but it’s a perfectly valid way to cement business relationships and grow your network. Just make sure you’re following endorsement etiquette by only endorsing people and businesses you have actually interacted with, for skills you can honestly attest to.

Ask customers

Another way to build your brand and gather recommendations is to engage directly with customers and followers. If someone comments on an article you’ve shared on your Company Page, or messages you with an inquiry, use it as an opportunity to create a dialogue and win an endorsement.

Similarly, if a customer posts about a positive experience they had with your company on another social media platform, you could message them privately and ask if they’d endorse your LinkedIn Company Page, too. Even if you don’t get the endorsement, the positive public interaction is its own form of social proof.

6. Keep Tabs on the competition

LinkedIn publishes an annual list of the 10 best Company Pages. Visit every one of those profiles and study how they’ve optimized their pages, especially if they’re direct competition.

Once your Company Page is set up, optimized and delivering a steady stream of content that follows these simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to networking greatness.

Optimizing your company’s presence on LinkedIn is easier with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks. Try it free today.

Get Started

 

The post How To Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Everything Social Marketers Need to Know About Generation Z

Marketers can no longer afford to undervalue Generation Z.

At an estimated 60 million, they make up 25.9 percent of the U.S. population. And while they have a reported $44 billion in buying power alone, when you factor in their influence on parent and home purchases, their real spending power is closer to $200 billion.

Who are they? Gen Z includes those born in the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. In other words, Gen Zers are today’s teenagers and the fastest growing cohort of tomorrow’s trendsetters.

Here’s what marketers should know if they want to be “in” with the cool kids.

Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to increase social media engagement with better audience research, sharper customer targeting, and Hootsuite’s easy-to-use social media software.

A long list of Gen Z stats that matter to marketers

They want marketers to get personal

Gen Zers have never known a phone that wasn’t smart or an ad that wasn’t targeted. They know brands have more access to customer data, and in exchange, they expect highly personalized interactions.

In Google’s report on Gen Z, 26 percent of teenage shoppers said they expect retailers to offer a more personalized experience based on their shopping habits and preferences. By comparison, only 22 percent of Millennials and 11 percent of Baby Boomers share that expectation.

But, they’re protective of their privacy

Gen Zers may crave hyper-personal experiences on social media, but they’re also keen to protect their privacy. They’re more inclined to cover the webcam on their laptops.

Marketers need make sure they connect with Gen Zers on their own terms so that they don’t come across as creepy or too invasive. Less than one-third of teens say they are comfortable sharing personal details other than contact information and purchase history, according to IBM’s survey Uniquely Gen Z. But 61 percent would feel better sharing personal information with brands if they could trust it was being securely stored and protected.

They give feedback

Though they prefer to keep private, Generation Z is offering more feedback than any other cohort. Almost half of Gen Z shoppers say that they give feedback often or very often.

Most of the time they’re writing comments on retailer websites, but they’re also reviewing on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, so brands with strong social listening strategies will curry more follower favor.

They’re more guarded on social media

Having learned from previous generations that what goes on the internet stays on the internet (forever), Gen Zers prefer to browse as anonymous voyeurs.

Apps such as Snapchat, Whisper, Yik Yak or Secret are popular among teens for their ephemerality and privacy. On sites like Twitter or Instagram, teens may use aliases or create separate accounts to maintain different social media personas. And where private channels are available, such as Instagram’s direct message option, teens will probably use it instead of publicly tagging friends.

More established sites like Facebook, where it’s harder to conceal your identity and hide from parents, are less popular with teens. While they still use the site, 34 percent of US teens think Facebook is for “old people.”

However, anonymity creates a challenge for brands trying to create personalized content for Gen Zers. To develop accurate audience personas, brands should focus on private and direct channels to engage one-on-one with teenagers. Facebook Messenger has proven so effective for brands and users that Facebook is planning to spin-off a standalone Instagram messaging app called Direct.

They use different networks for each stage of their shopping journey

Market research shows that 85 percent of Generation Z learns about new products on social media and are also 59 percent more likely than older generations to connect with brands on social, too.

Instagram is the most popular app for brand discovery, with 45 percent of teens using it to find cool new products, followed by Facebook, which comes in at 40 percent. Before making a purchase, Gen Zers are two times more likely than Millennials to turn to YouTube.

YouTube is also the platform of preference when it comes to shopping recommendations, ranking first among Generation Z with 24 percent, followed by Instagram at 17 percent and Facebook at 16 percent.

Meanwhile, in real brick-and-mortar stores, teens are most likely to turn to Snapchat to document their shopping experiences.

Understanding how teens use social media throughout their shopping process is key to engaging them on the right platforms with the right message.

They’re OK with more ads on social

As digital natives, Gen Zers have developed a high tolerance for digital ads.

For example, even though 39 percent of teens think YouTube has too many ads, the video platform remains the most popular with this generation by far. There’s even more room for brands to advertise on Instagram and Snapchat, where only 11 percent of teens think there are too many ads.

Infographic from Forrester: % of US youth who say a social network has too many advertisements

That catch is that Gen Zers also tend to have way shorter attention spans. On average, marketers have about 8 seconds to reach a teen before they keep scrolling. So videos should deliver early impact and content should be packaged in bite-sized formats.

They want the option to opt out

Because of shorter attention spans, teens do not like non-skippable ad formats like pre-rolls and pop-ups. Perception flips to positive, however, when advertisers offer the option to play or not play an ad. And Gen Zers are the quickest to exercise that control, clicking skip on video ads after only 9.5 seconds, versus Gen Xers who wait 12.6 seconds.

And the option to opt in

Likewise, when brands provide incentives for interaction, Gen Zers will actually opt-in: 41 percent show a positive reaction to mobile ads that offer rewards. The creators of trivia app HQ quickly realized that reciprocating engagement with perks comes with its own rewards in the form of 1.9 million users.

They’re open to new concepts like virtual reality

Teens aren’t only open to engaging with brands: they’re ready to engage with new concepts, too.

In a poll by Accenture, 73 percent of Gen Z shoppers say they are currently using, can’t wait to try, or probably will try voice-activated ordering in the future. They’re also most enthusiastic about the potential of virtual reality.

This openness to experimentation gives marketers opportunities to surprise and delight teens with creative campaigns and concepts. Live video, 360 video and other formats have proven popular with younger viewers.

And anything that makes shopping seem easier or faster will have added appeal. For example, 71 percent of respondents aged 18-20 express interest in auto-replenishment programs.

They trust social influencers as much as mainstream celebrities

Celebrity endorsements are meaningful to teens, but they lose their luster if they don’t seem genuine or authentic. Likewise, teens expect a celebrity to be upfront with branded content and have a low tolerance for product placement.

When asked about their most acceptable type of branded content 79 percent of Gen Zers thought a celebrity talking about why they like a brand was “always acceptable or sometimes OK.” Least acceptable is when a celeb shows a brand in a post but doesn’t say anything about it.

And while nods from actors, athletes and musicians may bring star power to ad spots, there’s a new type of celebrity in town: internet stars, a.k.a. social influencers. Depending on the product, online celebrities can hold more sway with Gen Zers than more traditional celebrities.

For example, internet stars outshine mainstream celebrities when it comes to beauty product and tech gadget endorsements. Only when it comes to clothes and accessories do mainstream celebs squeak by with 43 percent of influence, versus 41 percent for online influencers.

Infographic from Nielson: Influence of Celebrity Endorsements

They’re the most culturally and socially diverse generation

For Gen Zers, RuPaul’s Drag Queens are role models, Teen Vogue is woke, and “girl bosses” are a done deal. For the most part, Generation Z welcomes diversity with open arms and expects marketers to do the same.

And it’s not just that they’re more liberally minded. Census data show that in the U.S., Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse population in history. When asked about workplace values, 76 percent rank a job with a company that is diverse and inclusive as important. In Britain, 1 in 10 respondents aged 16-22 say they are “equally attracted to both sexes.”

Brands looking to tap the cultural zeitgeist should take note of backlash over controversies like Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad, or Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl spot featuring a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. It’s not always easy to get it right, and this socially active group is quick to let companies know when they’ve got it wrong (see point on “giving feedback” above).

There’s a gender factor

Brands should also keep in mind which platforms are more popular among males and females. Girls are significantly more likely to use Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr, according to a survey from AdWeek and Defy Media. On the other hand, Boys are more inclined to spend time on Twitch, TV, and Reddit. They are also 24 percent likelier than girls to state that they can’t live without YouTube.

Then there’s the cool factor. Boys tend to measure the “coolness” of something based on fads and friends, whereas girls determine something is cool based on how it makes them feel.

Infographic from Google: What's Cool? According to 400 13-to-17 Year Olds

They’re more optimistic about their future than we think they should be

For Gen Zers, the outlook is bright. More than half of the cohort believes that they are going to be better off than their parents. That’s a stark uptick from earlier research that found only 27 percent of 2016 high school graduates felt the same way.

Perhaps Generation Z has good reason to feel positive about the future, given that they’ve already proven they’re fiscally responsible. 85 percent agree that it’s important to save for the future. Only 37 percent describe themselves as spenders versus 63 percent who call themselves savers.

Nonetheless they’ve embraced the Millennial YOLO mantra, prioritizing fun and experience over sacrifice. Their top three priorities include enjoying life, finding a great job, and becoming a better person.

Older people, meanwhile, are more pessimistic about the future for Gen Zers. Among Baby Boomers, 54 percent think life will be worse for Generation Z. But as we’ve seen with events like Brexit or the 2016 U.S. election, there’s a growing gap between young and old when it comes to their future outlook.

That age gap is something marketers should keep in mind, especially if it means that they could be underestimating the consumer confidence of this young and bullish generation.

Connect with Generation Z using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks. Try it free today.

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The post Everything Social Marketers Need to Know About Generation Z appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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How to Sell More Products With Instagram’s New Shopping Feature

Instagram’s latest feature could be a game-changer for marketers of business-to-consumer (B2C) brands.

While it’s not currently available to all business (it’s being tested by a select few in the U.S.), “Shopping on Instagram” allows you to tag products in a post. From there, every tagged item leads to a product detail view where potential buyers can learn more.

Shopping on Instagram screenshot

Excited about the prospect of trying out the feature? Here are four ways you could use Instagram Shopping to sell more products. Never will you have to say “Click the link in our bio to learn more!” again.

Make your content more discoverable

Shopping on Instagram starts with discovery. Nobody can buy from you if they don’t know you exist.

Here are some tips on how to get your brand and products in front of potential customers.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most common ways people search for content on Instagram and studies suggest that posts with at least one hashtag generate more engagement than those without. Indeed, using the right hashtags can expose your brand to relevant audiences. So, how do you know which hashtags to use?

Check out what hashtags your competitors are using. Maybe you’ll discover new hashtags to add to your collection. Or you might decide you don’t want to compete for the same audience, in which case you can search for other hashtags to use.

Use hashtags that influential people in your industry are using. These people are already well-established with your target audience, so why not learn from the best?

Consider related hashtags. Browse through posts containing a hashtag you’re already having success with. Do you see a trend of any other common hashtags that could be included in future posts?

Find out more about using the right hashtags to drive traffic to your Instagram post.

Use location stickers

The new locations stickers available for Instagram Stories will help you show up in more searches, making it easier for potential followers to find you. They also might land you in Instagram’s “larger story” for that location, a curated selection of stories tagged with that specific location sticker.

A larger story is indicated by the Instagram-colored ring around that location’s icon. Here’s an example from one of Hootsuite’s offices:

Instagram Explore tab

Create a consistent shopping experience

Shopping on Instagram still requires a user to leave the app in order to complete a purchase.

Going from one interface to another can get confusing. When the user experience is smooth and intuitive, it increases the likelihood of a purchase.

You can do this by matching your Instagram account to the look and feel of your landing page. If your Instagram account doesn’t match your landing page, for example, you risk confusing a shopper who might think that they’ve clicked onto the wrong page.

For example, Oak + Fort incorporates its brand’s style and color theme into its Instagram content, so that its Instagram profile and company website match.

Oak and Fort Instagram page

Oak and Fort website theme

Promote Instagram Shopping posts in your Stories

Giving users a behind-the-scenes look at your product can help build excitement around it.

Use your Instagram Story to film the creative process behind your product, or offer a demonstration on how it works. You can even host a Q&A by asking viewers to send in questions beforehand. At the end of your video, make sure to add a CTA that points users towards your latest post so that they can purchase with Instagram Shopping.

For more, check out our post on the expert tips for using Instagram Stories.

Focus on driving quality engagement

The Instagram algorithm favors posts that gain more likes and comments, with comments weighing more heavily than likes. That’s because comments take more effort from the user.

To get your Instagram Shopping content seen by as many as your followers as possible, use compelling captions that inspire readers to interact with your post. Try posing questions to your followers, ask them to share thoughts or experiences, or request that they tag a friend.

Tag a friend who loves pink, stripes and a classic #monkistyle shirt – we got your easy spring fix covered. Tap the link in profile to shop 🌸

A post shared by Monki (@monki) on Jan 9, 2018 at 12:46am PST

You can also host an Instagram contest or giveaway that asks users to comment and tag a friend to enter.

Contest Alert! In celebration of Daily Hive’s new creative agency Colony Digital, win a 3 day cleanse from The Juicery Co ($210 value)! To enter, just follow @colonydigital.ca and @thejuiceryco and tag a friend below. Contest ends Jan 18. Good luck! #dailyhivevan #sponsored photo by @christiegrahamphotography

A post shared by Daily Hive Vancouver (@dailyhivevancouver) on Jan 15, 2018 at 9:17pm PST

Instagram’s 800 million active users are already using the platform to discover new brands and products—it’s about time they start being able to purchase those products, too.

Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram, engage the audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

Get Started

The post How to Sell More Products With Instagram’s New Shopping Feature appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works (And How to Make it Work for You)

When you log in at LinkedIn.com or use the LinkedIn app, you’re immediately taken to your homepage feed. This page acts very much like the Facebook feed, where you see updates from your friends or Pages you follow.

You’ll notice, however, that your LinkedIn feed doesn’t show everything your network is posting by default. That’s because it’s only showing content it believes is relevant to you.

Note: users can switch the posts they want to see based on “recent” activity (but this has to be done manually).

Screenshot of how to switch your LinkedIn feed settings to "recent" instead of "top"

So, how can you, as a social media marketer, ensure your content appears in as many feeds as possible?

Bonus: Download a free guide to discover four time-saving tools to help you grow your LinkedIn network faster. Includes one tool that lets you schedule a week’s worth of LinkedIn updates in just three minutes.

How the LinkedIn algorithm works

LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to make homepage feeds more enticing and user-friendly. The social network has published a lot of articles on the updates and improvements they continue to make to the algorithm, including:

Note: there are other LinkedIn algorithms that may affect things like search, or spam messages in your inbox. But those are not what we’re talking about here. We are specifically focusing on the algorithm that organizes the homepage feed.

To begin with, your LinkedIn feed has a spam filter, which determines:

  • Whether your content shows up in the feed (it’s rare it will be taken down, though)
  • How far of an audience it reaches within LinkedIn (the most important part)
  • Whether to take you down as a spam user (also rare)

Below is a diagram showing how the LinkedIn algorithm works on the feed, and the four stages of the content review process:

Diagram of LinkedIn spam fighting strategy

Keep in mind these stages are not completely sequential or divided. Multiple factors affect how far a post spreads throughout the network, and these algorithmic decisions happen over time, sometimes moving the post backwards and forwards in the process.

Stage 1: Content is posted and passes an initial, computerized filter

Every time you post an update to LinkedIn (even if it’s an image), a bot immediately places the content into one of three categories:

  • “Spam”’
  • “Low-quality”
  • “Clear”

You want to be in the “clear” category. But if for some reason your content gets placed the “low-quality” category, you may still have hope, and could still move on to the next stages.

Stage 2: Content is left on the feed temporarily to measure engagement

At this stage, indicators of initial engagement from your audience (such as likes, comments and shares) will signal that your content is good enough to pass to stage 3 of the algorithm’s spam filter.

However, if users flag your post as spam, or hide it from their feeds because they don’t want to see it, LinkedIn’s algorithm will draw more negative conclusions.

To avoid having users “hide” your content from their feeds, consider the following:

  • Is my post annoying or offensive?
  • Am I over-posting?
  • Would people in my network care about this post?
  • Is my post so unique and insightful, people would want to share with others?
  • Is my post relevant to others’ professional lives?

When determining your answers to the above, you may want to re-think your post, or tone it down a bit. We’ll give more tips on hacking the LinkedIn algorithm below.

Stage 3: Content passes a computerized “virality” check

After users engage with your content to signal its quality score, the algorithm looks for clues as to the quality of the poster and the poster’s network to determine if the content is spam or not.

This is because a spammer could technically have posted garbage and gotten hundreds of other spam accounts to like and comment on the post within an hour, still successfully making it to stage 3.

Besides checking your credibility, the algorithm may also be determining the relevance and usefulness of the post to the network (i.e., the connections and followers receiving the post in their feeds) at stage 3.

As such, this stage is also when the algorithm decides whether to “demote” your content, sending it backwards in the queue for another chance at winning credibility. If your post looks “suspicious,” but the algorithm doesn’t want to make a definitive call on it (giving you the benefit of the doubt), it will remain in the feed but not show very highly or very frequently. At this point, it’s up to your audience to give your content the engagement metrics mentioned in stage 2. If it gets more engagement, it moves back to stage 3.

PRO TIP: This is why posting at the right time, plus optimizing your headlines and images for click-through-rate (CTR) are important. See below for more on this.

Stage 4: Content is reviewed by human editors

Part of the LinkedIn algorithm’s uniqueness is that it uses real humans to filter through user-generated content, and to learn more about what makes a post noteworthy (or not).

This is the stage where those humans determine whether your post is valuable enough to continue displaying in the LinkedIn feed. If your post continues to get engagement, the cycle continues, and it keeps getting shown.

There’s a lot of speculation that, at this stage, if your content is amazing, it may get a boost and reach more people. It might even show up on a LinkedIn Channel (see below for more on this).

Take a look at the sample post below. At the time of the screenshot, it was two weeks old. But, it had plenty of likes and comments (i.e., LinkedIn engagement signals). It was also liked by someone in my own network, and was relevant to content in my personal profile (such as marketing). You can’t see it in the screenshot below, but this post was ranked above another that was up for less than a day!

As a result, the post kept showing up in my newsfeed, exemplifying the recirculation power of the LinkedIn algorithm:

Screenshot of a LinkedIn post that is two weeks old but still showing up in news feed

Note: Pulse is now integrated into your homepage feed. But Pulse articles from the LinkedIn Publisher tool work a little differently when being shown to your audience, or on Pulse Channels.

8+ tips on how to “beat” the LinkedIn algorithm

Now the fun part: learning how to make the algorithm work in your favor (a.k.a. getting your posts seen by as many people as possible).

1. Understand the type of content that LinkedIn craves

LinkedIn sources are fairly clear on what they want the focus of their platform to be: the professional world.

Instead of animated GIFs, Ellen videos and “texts-from-my-mom” screenshots, the LinkedIn algorithm aims to show users news, job posts and timely, popular content related to your career (or those of peers you’re connected to). This kind of content can be images, videos, LinkedIn article posts, external webpage links or text updates.

Any content you post should:

  • Be of value to someone’s career (whether as a business owner or employee)
  • Offer a tip related to business growth, or a career
  • Inspire someone in their work life
  • Be relevant to the industry in which you operate in
  • Come from a credible source

For examples, take a look at the types of content LinkedIn promises to deliver in its Pulse app.

Also, remember that part of the LinkedIn algorithm is designed to find a factor of relevance to the audience a post is being shared with.

How does LinkedIn determine relevance? By looking at people’s profiles. And user profiles are all about their careers and businesses.

Take a look below at some of the posts that LinkedIn thought I’d be interested to see on my homepage feed.

An inspirational leadership quote (22 likes in 15 hours):

Example post of a leadership quote on LinkedIn feed

An article from the BBC (a credible source), trending in an industry I work in (1,078 likes and 18 comments):

LinkedIn trending story from BBC in home feed

A blog post written on LinkedIn by one of my connections. It only had 1 like in 7 hours, but notice the hashtag usage. Can you guess what stage in the algorithm this post was likely in, at the time of the screenshot? Hint: it’s possible it was stage 1 or 2!

LinkedIn feed showing a post with little engagement but lots of hashtags

An article by a LinkedIn Influencer that someone in my network had commented on. It had 60,715 likes and 1,846 comments in seven days (LinkedIn influencers pre-pass stage four in the LinkedIn algorithm, but other posts that get this far would surely have passed the human editor check).

LinkedIn post published by Bill Gates with lots of comments

You get the idea.

2. Build your audience (personal or business) strategically

We know that relevance, credibility, followers and connections play a big part in the LinkedIn algorithm. So, it goes without saying you should be growing your personal or business audience (or both) on LinkedIn.

Whether you run a personal profile or a Company Page on LinkedIn, be sure to:

  • Fill out your personal profile and Company Page as completely as you can, and keep them updated.
  • Add connections (people you know, or think would be interesting to see updates from).
  • Encourage employees to indicate they work at your company.
  • Follow others and attract followers (these are different than connections on LinkedIn).
  • Participate in LinkedIn Groups, or host your own.
  • Give and receive recommendations.
  • Make sure your profile is public, so more people can find you, add you and see your posts (especially Publisher or Pulse posts, explained below).
  • Join conversations and be active on the network, generally.
  • Promote your LinkedIn profiles and Company pages on your website and in other appropriate spaces (e.g., employee bios, business cards and brochures, email newsletters, email signatures, etc.). Setting up customized URLs is useful for this.

Here are some resources to help you get started on the above:

3. Strive to be an Influencer

LinkedIn’s Official Blog made a clear statement in 2016 that feeds would intentionally contain Influencer content.

Influencers are credible users (usually company leaders) writing content approved by LinkedIn editors. They automatically pass the “no spam” test as a result.

LinkedIn Influencer content shows up on the LinkedIn feed with a special icon next to the poster’s name. It’s akin to a verification badge on a platform like Twitter.

Post by Ryan Holmes highlighting LinkedIn Influencer icon

So, how do you become a LinkedIn Influencer?

It used to be that you could apply to be one. Nowadays, it’s a select club of invite-only users.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope.

LinkedIn gives advice on how to get yourself to the top echelons of LinkedIn content creators. Follow their lead (and our tips in this article), to start producing amazing content they’ll notice.

4. Optimize your content for engagement

Content you post on LinkedIn should be optimized for engagement and quality. Below are LinkedIn’s actionable tips for producing the best content for its network.

  • Include puns or fun jokes to make professionals laugh—usually at their industry.
  • Provide useful, career-related tips.
  • Show impressive industry or company stats.
  • Keep it short and include a link, image, or video.
  • Evoke an emotion.

Next, check out these tips on our blog:

How do know if your content is performing well, even when using the tips above? Look to the data:

Remember, when you do get those hard numbers, it’s important to learn something from them. Keep revising and experimenting until you figure out what works best for your audience (and in your industry) on LinkedIn.

5. Post to the LinkedIn feed at the right time

If you’re posting at 2 a.m., when most of your network is asleep (time-zone nuances aside), your post can be up for hours before receiving likes or comments, no matter how good it is.

This is why posting to the LinkedIn feed at the right time is important.

But when is that time? A popular hypothesis is “working hours,” because LinkedIn is a professional network, and most people work 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

However, some suggest that posting when workaholics are likely to take a break and visit LinkedIn is better.

The LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions EMEA Blog says the best time to post is 8 p.m., but that you need to find your own “8 p.m. moment.” That’s when decision-making is supposedly done, even if it’s at home.

According to yet another LinkedIn article, the best time to post is going to depend on tests you perform. This is because location, time zones and people’s daily habits affect when they’re on LinkedIn—and that differs in any given audience segment.

In fact, 50% of LinkedIn users check their accounts through mobile devices, implying you have as much of a chance of reaching people after hours as you do during the workday.
6. Share other users’ posts, and they’ll probably share yours

Remember that LinkedIn is primarily a social network, so it helps to be social!

Be kind to others by sharing their posts, or embedding their videos on your site. You’d be surprised at how many will like your share, comment to say thanks, or reshare your posts to give you credit on their network. These actions increase your profile reach.

Plus, if you’re striving to be a LinkedIn Influencer, making friends on LinkedIn is a good idea.

6. Share other users’ posts, and they’ll probably share yours

Remember that LinkedIn is primarily a social network, so it helps to be social!

Be kind to others by sharing their posts, or embedding their videos on your site. You’d be surprised at how many will like your share, comment to say thanks, or reshare your posts to give you credit on their network. These actions increase your profile reach.

Plus, if you’re striving to be a LinkedIn Influencer, making friends on LinkedIn is a good idea.

7. Use the LinkedIn Publisher tool

There’s no doubt that LinkedIn is pushing posts that originate from their Publisher tool (which end up on LinkedIn Pulse, now integrated with the homepage feed).

The Publisher tool on LinkedIn is like a blogging platform—it’s made for users to publish as individual authors (not hiding behind a company name). You or your employees can write blog posts through Publisher and share them to your network(s).

The Publisher tool on LinkedIn is like a blogging platform—it’s made for users to publish as individual authors (not hiding behind a company name). You or your employees can write blog posts through Publisher and share them to your network(s).

LinkedIn’s Corporate Publishing Playbook recommends you use your employees’ expertise as your brand “assets” in this regard (see slide 6 on this Slideshare presentation).

The Editor-in-Chief at LinkedIn explains that Publisher posts show up in the feed for your connections and followers based on time. So, be sure to follow our engagement tips above, to keep the post circling through the LinkedIn algorithm.

However, Publisher posts get even more exposure outside the homepage feed on LinkedIn. They are shown on:

  • Your profile
  • Highlights emails to your connections and followers (if they are signed up for them)
  • Notifications (sometimes, if they’re relevant), including on the LinkedIn Pulse app (now integrated with the feed)
  • Channels

Note: Channels are curated categories of Publisher posts found within LinkedIn Pulse. If your content is good, it could be placed in these featured areas for more eyes to see.

8. Promote your LinkedIn Publisher articles

Below are some tips to get your LinkedIn articles in front of people, benefiting your rank in the LinkedIn algorithm.

@mention other LinkedIn members

When you write a Publisher post, be sure to actively share it, and use the @mention feature to tag relevant LinkedIn members. This will notify other users, and their networks, when your content is applicable to them (you don’t need to be officially connected to do this).

For example, you can @mention someone you quoted in your article, or whom you linked to. They’ll likely be flattered may even reshare it to their audience.

Or, you can @mention personal connections you feel would benefit from the article (but never spam a bunch of random users for exposure!).

Use hashtags

Hashtags will make your post discoverable by other users who are looking for information on that topic (when using LinkedIn’s search bar). They might then share it with their networks, increasing your exposure.

Use common SEO and content marketing tactics

Search engines, at one point or another, need to rely on factors like keywords to determine what a URL is about. And, good internet marketers know the value of a strong headline and image.

With that in mind, freshen up your SEO and content marketing skills before posting to LinkedIn. Here are some resources to get you started:

Ask for a follow

This may sound somewhat forward, but hear me out. Since people can now follow, and not just connect with you on LinkedIn, there’s no harm in asking for the follow when you publish a striking article.

When you share your post, try adding a short sentence—with a clear benefit—like, “follow me for more on this topic next week!”
The more followers you have, the more people are likely to see your future posts in their homepage feed. Your content will have more potential to get those engagement signals we now know are so crucial to the LinkedIn algorithm.

Share on outside social media

Use the tools LinkedIn gives you to share on Twitter. Plus, use a platform like Hootsuite to syndicate your article to multiple social media profiles, giving it an extra traffic boost.

Share to LinkedIn Groups

If you’re part of LinkedIn Groups (and you should be), use the opportunity to post your Publisher articles to those groups when it contains useful content for group members. The benefit here is that you’ll show the article to group members who may not be your 1st degree connections or followers. If it’s useful, they’ll hopefully share it to their networks or become a follower.

For example, you can use your articles to answer someone’s question, or use group member questions to inspire your content. You can also start a post on the group page, inducing a conversation about your enticing, topical and relevant article.

Try sponsored content

While you could use paid advertisements to help share your LinkedIn Publisher posts, you may get better conversions by leading ad-clicks to your website blogs, with specialized calls-to-action (CTAs). See our section below on repurposing your website content on LinkedIn.

Plus, follow our guide to LinkedIn Ads for more on this topic:

A Guide to LinkedIn Ads: How to Run a Successful Campaign

Keep in mind that the guidelines for sharing any LinkedIn content still apply to sponsored posts. See this ad from SharpSpring, and notice it stays within the realm of being useful, professional, and targeted for a LinkedIn audience:

Example of a promoted post from Sharp Spring

Users can treat ads like any other piece of content, to further personalize their feed:

Example of a promoted post from Sharp Spring with LinkedIn user options

Paying to promote spammy or irrelevant content won’t help you. Always keep your audience in mind when sharing content on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog published a post that emphasizes the importance of audience targeting when setting up ad campaigns on its network.

Allow comments on your articles, and reply to them

While you may fear spam and negative trolling, keep in mind comments are an engagement signal for the LinkedIn algorithm. That makes them necessary to keep your content in the LinkedIn feed.

Keep your audience engaged and let them know you’re listening. When appropriate, respond to comments to keep those engagement signals going.

Use LinkedIn analytics

Like we mentioned above, always use data and analytics to continually improve your content and its reach. Test the headline, photo, teaser text, share text, and even the time you shared a post. LinkedIn provides analytics to its users for this purpose.

Hootsuite also offers a tool to help you gauge the effectiveness of your team’s social media efforts.

Repurpose content from your website’s blog, within reason

We know what you’re thinking when repurposing content: what about SEO? That’s a very good question. Traditionally, SEOs will say you should avoid duplicate content on your website, which can cause ranking dilutions in the search engines.

However, you can be safe from duplicate content issues when posting through LinkedIn Publisher in two ways:

  1. A reliance on search engines to understand the original source of content, and the intended reuse on other domains.
  2. A nifty HTML linking trick SEOs use, called the Canonical rel link.

This process is explained more fully, with examples, in the following article I’ve written to answer this question:

Should you re-publish your blog articles on high quality websites?

So rest easy. You don’t need to create separate posts for your website and your LinkedIn profile. You can tactfully repurpose the same posts, but only if they’re worth the effort.

Don’t overuse this strategy though—you still want to attract people to your website for original content!

Key takeaways

What have we learned about how the LinkedIn algorithm works?

  • Engagement is critical to the LinkedIn algorithm.
  • Engagement is dependent on relevancy, the reach of your network, the times they are checking LinkedIn and your credibility within that audience.
  • Using the LinkedIn Publisher platform is a good idea. Sometimes, you can republish posts from your blog, but not always, and only when you know what you’re doing.
  • Reciprocity wins on any social media, including LinkedIn.
  • Use analytics and experiments to refine your LinkedIn posting strategy, further improving your algorithm hacks.

With that said, start experimenting with posts on LinkedIn, and start spending time on the LinkedIn feed, to get acquainted with the audience you’ll be interacting with. Get to know their likes and habits, and be known as a producer of engaging content yourself!

Schedule posts and manage your brand’s LinkedIn presence with Hootsuite. Try it free today.

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15 Apps and Tools for Social Marketers on the Go

Imagine every time you needed to make a phone call you only had a landline. It’s a feverish thought—but that’s the marketer’s equivalent of not having the right apps and tools on their mobile device.

The right combination of apps will make your life a lot easier and won’t force you to be tethered to your desk. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite mobile tools for doing social on the go. If you’re looking for a list of the best social media apps, we’ve got you covered on that front too.

Bonus: Download a free guide to discover how to get more sales and conversions with social media monitoring on Hootsuite—no tricks or boring tips.

1. Hootsuite Mobile

Best for: Managing social networks

Hootsuite Mobile gives you the flexibility to manage your social projects and collaborate with your team while on the go.

Whether you need to make a last-minute edit to a social post or monitor customer conversations away from your desk, Hootsuite Mobile can help. Schedule content, publish posts to all major social networks, connect with customers, and approve posts from your team–all from a single app.

2. Evernote

Best for: Note sharing, tagging projects

Evernote is a simple and intuitive note-taking app. If you’re drafting copy for social posts, writing notes for an upcoming campaign, or adding a team workback schedule—you’ll want to use Evernote.

Evernote has some other handy features that allow you to share documents, tag projects by date or campaign type, and add links to other documents like decks or calendars. It’s great for personal use and team sharing, which makes it an ideal app for marketers.

3. Hootsuite Enhance

Best for: Image editing and effects

Hootsuite Enhance is a photo editing app for iOS that allows you to edit and share photos on social. You can resize, crop, add filters or text to create the perfect visual.

Enhance also takes the guesswork out of image sizing, with templates that meet the spec requirements for each social network.

When your images are ready, share them directly from Enhance across your social networks, or schedule them for publishing later through Hootsuite.

4. Canva

Best for: Image editing and design templates

Canva has a photo editing app for iOS that allows you to edit photos, add text, stickers, frames and effects to your social media photos. Canva benefits from a huge collection of free and paid photos so you can find images quickly depending on theme or style.

Canva also offers pre-designed templates so if you’re in a rush, you don’t have to worry about choosing fonts or designs for image overlay. You can share photos directly to social or through a social media management tool.

5. TouchRetouch

Best for: Basic photo retouching

TouchRetouch is a retouching tool that allows you to remove unwanted content from your photos. It’s quick and easy to use (you don’t have be a professional!), allowing you to take out anything from power lines to stop lights in just a few taps.

If you post a lot of branded content on Instagram, this may become your go-to app, allowing you to turn any photo into an Instagram-ready post.

6. Adobe Premiere Clip

Best for: Editing social videos

Adobe Premiere Clip is a video editing app that allows you to create, edit, and share social videos. You can easily edit clips, add titles, transitions, slow motion effects, and audio to create high-quality social video on the go.

With Adobe Premiere Clip you can sync your videos across all your devices and upload content directly to social. The app has more simplified features than the desktop version, but you have the option to send it to Premiere Pro on your desktop to make changes or do final touchups before posting.

7. Quik

Best for: Editing live-action or GoPro videos

If you take a lot of live action videos for your brand, then Quik for mobile is a great video editing tool. Created by GoPro, it allows you to quickly and easily edit your GoPro videos (or other photos and videos) from a phone or other device.

Quik also has a unique audio feature. You can choose from almost 100 free songs (or upload a song of your own) and Quik will automatically sync your transitions to the beat of the music.

8. Clips

Best for: Editing short social videos

Created by Apple, Clips is a handy tool for creating and editing square video. It’s best for capturing short videos on your iPhone and doing basic edits before uploading to social media.

Once you’ve recorded a video, you can easily add text, effects ,and graphics. The Live Titles feature allows you to you add animated captions and titles simply by talking.

All videos in Clips are synced with the iCloud, so you can edit your videos across all your devices.

9. Slack

Best for: Team communication

Messaging app Slack is super useful for cross-team collaboration. If you’re working on a social campaign and need to share documents, get feedback, or come to a group decision quickly, you should use Slack.

Slack has lots of useful features that allow you to set up working groups, tag campaigns, and search for old projects or campaigns in your conversation archives.

10. Asana

Best for: Team collaboration and productivity

When you’re working on a social campaign with multiple team members, it’s important to assign roles and responsibilities to make sure projects get done. The Asana app lets you organize and track your team projects from start to finish.

With the Asana app you can create tasks, add documents and due dates, assign roles, and have conversations around the project. Asana works best if your team uses the G suite.

11. Trello

Best for: Personal to-dos and project management

Trello is a useful app that will help you cross off items on to-do list while monitoring the tasks and workflow of your team.

If you’re someone that prefers to see your work laid out visually, then Trello’s boards are a good option. You can create boards according to different projects and teams, and arrange the subtasks in a way that’s most useful for you.

Trello also has the option for you to build out an advanced editorial calendar, which is super useful for social marketing teams.

12. Narro

Best for: Listening to articles

Narro is a text to speech podcast app that will take your bookmarked articles and read them back to you. You can subscribe to your Narro readings like a podcast, so you can listen to your articles from any podcast player.

If you’ve got a long commute, a crazy day at the office, or need something to listen to at the gym, this is a great option to catch up on your favourite readings.

Narro can detect over 10 different languages and allows you to choose from a variety of voices.

13. Facebook Pages Manager

Best for: Managing multiple Facebook Pages

If you manage several branded Facebook Pages, the Pages Manager app will help you respond to customers faster. You can also connect your Instagram account to manage Facebook and Instagram comments or messages from one inbox.

If you need to check in on the performance of a post, Page Insights is also available through the app.

14. Google Drive

Best for: File storage and collaboration

The Google Drive app is a safe place for your files and makes them easily accessible from a mobile device. If you need to catch up on some work or review shared documents on the go, Google Drive will sync any changes across your devices.

Similar to the desktop tool, you can create and share docs, slides, and sheets, set viewing and sharing permissions, and update documents.

15. Dropbox

Best for: File storage and sharing

The Dropbox app is an easy way for you to share and collaborate on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents from the cloud.

Dropbox also allows you to share large files with other people who don’t have Dropbox, which can be really handy for project-sharing with external clients. You can also set up shared folders, set permissions, and collaborate on projects.
Choose the right apps for you

There are lots of apps out that will make your life easier. The trick is to choose the ones that work best depending on your role and working style. That’s how you will cut down time and get tasks done more efficiently.

Increase your productivity with the Hootsuite mobile app. The easy-to-use social media app allows you to schedule, publish, and monitor conversations from anywhere.

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Why the internet laughs at my face—and other things we learned in 2017

At Hootsuite, we’ve published hundreds of blog posts and crafted thousands of social posts. Some work wonderfully. Others fail miserably. Today, I’d like to skip over the mountains of mistakes we’ve made in the past and focus on Hootsuite’s most successful social posts of 2017.

Stick around and you’ll find out more about:

  • Our top-performing social posts of 2017 and what we learned from them
  • Successful examples of Facebook video, LinkedIn, and Instagram content
  • Why the internet loves to laugh at my face on LinkedIn (a true story, I’m afraid)

Let’s jump into what worked in 2017.

Bonus: Download our free guide that shows you how to 10X your social media performance and beat your competitors. Includes the tools, tricks, and daily routines used by three world-class social media experts.

Our top-performing Facebook video:

TED Talks Facebook Post Screenshot | Hootsuite Blog

Our top-performing social video of 2017 was a listicle of TED Talks for social marketers. This video was based on a successful blog post (written by Hootsuite’s Dara Fontein).

How it performed:

Video views: 132k
Shares: 1,051
Link clicks: 2,551
Comments: 353
Likes: 2,402

Why did it work?

If you look at the copy in the social post, you’ll notice a very clear promise to the reader: we did work so you don’t have to.

This value proposition—“we spent 10 hrs hunting down the best TED Talks for social media marketers (so you don’t have to)”—came from Dara’s original blog post. It’s a good reminder that the content format doesn’t really matter. It’s more important to have a compelling concept and simple story that can be told across multiple platforms—whether text or video.

In terms of promotion, we invested a bit of paid budget. “Our secret here,” explains Hootsuite’s social marketing lead Amanda Wood, “was targeting the ads to people who are interested in TED Talks and social marketing. This helped us gain traction with a specific audience who would appreciate the value of the video.”

How we’ve replicated this success:

As we saw success with the TED angle, we created a similar social video called “3 TED Talks to Boost Your Creativity.” It wasn’t as successful. Guess you can’t win them all.

We also use Hootsuite’s social video integrations—including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram—to schedule successful video content again and again. This feature is included in all our plans including for free users.

Our top-performing Facebook post:

Screenshot of Facebook post featuring an article on Instagram Hacks

Instagram is a fast-evolving network with an endless amount of new features. And we know that our audience of social media professionals need to keep up with these changes.

In this Facebook post, our goal was to use curiosity to attract readers to our blog post, enticing the reader to make sure they know all of these helpful tricks.

How it performed:
Link clicks: 14,194
Likes: 1,656
Shares: 477
Comments: 45

Why did it work?

If you look closely at the metrics above, you’ll notice that this copy was incredibly successful at driving one particular metric: link clicks. This is the holy grail for promoting blog post content on Facebook as you obviously want people to click through to the post, not just comment or share.

“This was very much intentional,” explains Wood. “The copy specifically called out a specific audience—people who run a brand’s Instagram account. We knew they’d click through as they want to make sure they are up-to-date on Instagram’s hidden tricks and new features.”

As a side note, if you’re wondering how we gather data about our social media performance, we use our own solution Hootsuite Impact. With Hootsuite Impact, it’s pretty easy to gather data on different content formats (like video or paid posts), quickly create reports, and simplify UTM tracking.

How we’ve replicated this success:

Love them or hate them, the concept of “hacks” work. We’ve used the “hacks” format for other social networks with similar results. It’s easy to hate on these types of posts—but the reality is that our minds enjoy the pull of curiosity.

Our top-performing Instagram post:

Screenshot of an Instagram post featuring a puppy asleep at a desk | Hootsuite Blog

As my first creative director used to scream at me, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. James, the secret to success in advertising is DOGS, DOGS, DOGS.”

Our top-performing Instagram post of the year included—as you’ve likely guessed—a dog. Hootsuite, of course, is a dog-friendly workplace. Posts like these are part of our Instagram strategy—sharing customer stories and glimpses of our workplace culture. Though, we didn’t expect a simple photo of a dog to do so well.

How it performed:

Likes: 1,033
Comments: 32

Why did it work?

I think we’ve covered this.

How we’ve replicated this success:

When Instagram content performs well, we reschedule it. By the way, you can now schedule Instagram posts directly from Hootsuite. No workarounds. Just click and schedule from your dashboard. This feature is included in all plans including our free plan.

Our top-performing Instagram Story:

Instagram Story of a live event at Hootsuite | Hootsuite Blog Instagram Story of kombucha bottles at live event | Hootsuite Blog

As I mentioned, we use Instagram to share customer stories, build our employer brand, and share education with customers.

Our top Instagram Story for the year was pretty simple: a behind-the-scenes look at one of our customer and industry events held by our advocacy team.

How it performed:

Opening views: 3,179

Why did it work?

Instagram and live events are a powerful combination. This Instagram Story was widely shared by attendees, helping to share a few tips about measurement and ROI strategies with our broader Instagram audience.

How we’ve replicated this success:

“This event was on Social ROI, a topic that we knew would resonate with our audience as we’ve seen high engagement in 2017 on this topic,” says Wood. “It’s a good example of social data being used to inform event strategies and an example of how all of our content—whether Facebook Live, social videos, social posts, blog content—tends to always be replicated and extended into many different formats throughout the year.”

Our top-performing LinkedIn post:

LinkedIn post on LinkedIn Etiquette Fails featuring a man with a funny expression | Hootsuite Blog

In our final post—a successful blog article about LinkedIn etiquette tips—I am faced with the rather odd professional job of explaining why the internet loves to laugh at my face.

As you can see above (or from the comments on the post), it is the photograph that helped to make this one of our most successful LinkedIn posts of the year. The good news is that this photograph worked, bringing lots of engagement every time we share this post.

The bad news is that photograph is of me. As I wrote the article, I sent our social team a picture of myself looking like an off-balanced professional—or, as one commenter on Facebook put it, “like looking into the eyes of Satan himself.”

How it performed:

Link clicks: 15,337
Shares: 65
Comments: 13
Likes: 365

Why did it work?

Apart from me nailing the look of a workplace weirdo, the copy also uses a sense of urgency to make sure you’re not making one of these mistakes.

“From spammy salespeople to clueless networkers, everyone has experienced some form of questionable etiquette on LinkedIn,” says Wood. “It’s a hilarious photo and universal fear of people—that they’re making a mistake that might be embarrassing in a professional context.”

How we’ve replicated this success:

As I covered in our Social Trends 2018 webinar, we’ve seen LinkedIn evolve their social features. This means that LinkedIn offers a bigger platform of content beyond white papers or your standard career advice posts.

We’re looking for more ways to balance this humor and emotional-style content on LinkedIn, while also making sure we’re delivering practical things that help people do their job better.

Our social toolbox:

If you’re interested, here are a few tools that Hootsuite’s social team uses to manage our campaigns and report on ROI.

Scheduling Instagram content: As mentioned, we use Hootsuite to schedule Instagram content. It’s a feature of all of our plans, including free. Schedule your first Instagram post here.

Hootsuite Impact: we use this solution to track UTMs, gather data about content performance, and measure the revenue impact of our content. As you can see below, it’s easy to analyze different content formats including video, text, photos, and paid social. Learn more about Hootsuite Impact here.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's Social Media Dashboard with top posts and metrics | Hootsuite Blog

AdEspresso by Hootsuite: this tool helps us easily optimize and test different Facebook ad formats. It’s an amazing product—and now, the AdEspresso team works at Hootsuite, so we’ve been able to learn a ton about paid social from them. Learn more about our tool (and download some helpful paid social resources) here.

Social video integrations: we schedule and manage our Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter videos using our native video tools. This feature is also included in all of our plans, including free. Use our video tools here.

Connect with your audience using Hootsuite. Easily manage your social channels and engage followers across networks from a single dashboard. Try it free today.

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6 Smart Ways to Drive Conversions on Social Media

Are you looking for new ways to drive conversions—signups, product demos, website visits, etc.—on social media? Of course you are.

That’s why we sat down with Hootsuite’s social marketing lead, Amanda Wood. She gave us the dirt on the best ways to drive conversions based on her experience with Hootsuite’s social media strategy.

1. Write clearly and succinctly

With all the noise on social networks these days, you need to get your point across quickly.

“Clear and crisp copy is always the goal,” says Wood.

You only have a few seconds to get the reader’s attention and convince them to take an action.

Here’s how to ensure your writing is as clear as possible:

  • Simplify. Take out unnecessary words and replace longer ones with shorter alternatives (write “use” instead of “utilize,” for example). We like to use Hemingway App to make sure our copy isn’t overly complicated.
  • Edit (at least twice). Whether you’re an expert writer or a beginner, everyone makes mistakes. By carefully reviewing your work, you might notice inconsistencies. If you don’t have time, ask a colleague to proofread for you. Or check out these 12 Quick Editing Tips for Social Media Pros.
  • Remove jargon. Jargon makes your copy harder to read. Swap out industry-specific terms for plain language. For example, instead of “Use our cloud computing software to uncover insights about your target consumer,” try “Use our platform to better understand your customers.”
  • Write for your audience. When you understand who you’re speaking to and why, it’s much easier to tailor your copy to your audience’s needs.
  • Include an effective CTA. Your call to action should set an expectation for what’s coming next and clearly state how the reader will benefit, as most of us are driven to do things based on incentives. In Wood’s words, “Your audience should always know what to expect when they click through. Nothing should be a surprise to them…otherwise that’s clickbait!”

2. Put money behind your top-performing organic content

Social media marketers are often running multiple ad campaigns at once. It can be hard to keep track of them all. To save time, Wood uses AdEspresso’s Automatic Page Post Promotion feature to automatically boost content that’s doing well organically.

You can choose the type of posts you want to boost, how long they’ll be promoted for, and when to boost them with ad money. For example, you could decide that posts that contain a link to your website are automatically boosted once they receive 10 or more shares.

Our social team uses shares as a top metric as they are among the most “difficult” engagement action. A like or view is a more passive action than a share. Judging content based on shares usually means the most quality content will get picked for automatic promotion.

“It’s a system to have in place to get the ball rolling—without you having to attend to your ad constantly,” explains Wood. Automatic post promotion is not only a time-saver, it also ensures that successful content is getting more visibility—ultimately driving more conversions.

3. Try Instagram Story ads

After trying Instagram Story ads, our social team was pleasantly surprised with the amount of conversions—like content downloads and webinar registrations—they received.

4. Unleash the power of social video

Instead of using a block of text to explain what your product or service can do, put it in a video. It’s a smart way to get a message across in 15 to 30 seconds and studies show that video resonates well with audiences.

“When brainstorming content for our social videos, we look at the Hootsuite blog posts that are already popular,” Wood explains. If a piece of content is already driving conversions in one format, generally it performs well as a video.

Learn more about creating the perfect social video for your brand.

5. Use eye-catching visuals

If people don’t even notice your content, you can’t expect it to drive conversions. And when it comes to creating content that stands out, the right image, video, or GIF can make all the difference.

Here’s how you can make sure your visuals stand out:

  • Be consistent with your choice of color. Assign certain colors to topics or content. According to Wood, it helps your audience know what to expect. For example, if you color-code your video tutorials with a green background, users will know at a glance what the video is about. This is helpful when users are looking forward to your next piece of content—they can spot it quickly on their feed. You should also avoid using colors that match the platform’s color scheme. “They’ll likely blend in,” Wood explains.
  • Avoid poor stock photos. If you have a boring stock photo that’s already being used by a handful of brands, there’s a chance your content will go unnoticed. Make sure you know the best practices for using stock photos.
  • Use a moving video or a GIF. Try something engaging to grab your reader’s attention. Wood likes to use a video or a GIF because they stand out in feeds. If you’re stuck, read our guide on choosing the right GIF for your social media content.

6. Make a mini infographic

An infographic is an easy-to-digest visualization of data or information. Our social team has seen great success using them to drive conversions:

These graphics do a great job of teasing content, compelling the reader to click through for more.

Wood explains that the conversion can come immediately or at a later time: “If we can win our readers over by helping them do this one thing, that’s great. Hopefully they’ll keep that in mind and down the road they’ll convert as a customer or follower.”

Hootsuite’s design team uses Adobe Illustrator to create our infographics. There are also free tools like Canva Infographic Maker and Visme that you can use as well.

While no single formula can promise conversions for any business, following some or all of the tips above will set you on the path to success.

Want to watch your social media content convert in real-time? Hootsuite Analytics can give you easy-to-understand results about your growth and performance on social.

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31 YouTube Stats That Matter to Marketers

The way we consume video is changing fast. Rather than gathering around the TV to watch our favourite shows, we’re gathering in virtual communities to share both short- and long-form video tailored exactly to our in-the-moment wants and needs.

YouTube’s first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005. It has been watched more than 45 million times. The content? A young man at the zoo observing that elephants have very long trunks.

Of course, YouTube content has become much more sophisticated since 2005, but the network still offers a platform in which everyone from kids to major brands can develop a loyal subscriber base.

For marketers, the YouTube opportunity is clear: tap into a massive audience that’s actively searching for and sharing video content online. In this roundup of YouTube stats that matter to marketers, we’ll examine the numbers you need to know to guide your YouTube business strategy.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence with Hootsuite.

YouTube user statistics

1. YouTube has more than 1.5 billion users

Among social networks, YouTube’s number of users is second only to Facebook.

2. They live all over the world

YouTube offers localized versions of its site in 88 countries and offers support for 76 languages. Only 16.6 percent of YouTube visitors come from the United States, according to Alexa, with India (8.3%), Japan (4.6%), and Russia (4.1%) being the next-largest markets.

3. More of them are male

YouTube has more male users (55 percent) than female (45 percent). That differentiates the network from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, all of which have more female users.

4. YouTube is the most popular social media site for teens

Ninety-six percent of online U.S. teens use the site, according to Forrester Research—yes, almost all of them. That’s up from 87 percent in 2014. For comparison, 76 percent of the same demographic uses Facebook, the next most popular social media site.

31 YouTube Stats That Marketers Need to Know | Hootsuite Blog

5. Millennials “can’t go without” it

In a recent comScore survey asking which three apps are most essential and would be the hardest to give up, 18- to 34-year olds named YouTube behind only Facebook and Facebook Messenger when it comes to social networking apps.

31 YouTube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Even more specifically in the millennial demographic, 86 percent of millennial dads use YouTube for parenting guidance.

6. It’s also one of the more popular social sites for seniors

Only 11 percent of YouTube’s users are 65 or older, but that ties it for first place among social networks with Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of percentage of senior users. The other social networks have far fewer senior users: Twitter has 6 percent, Instagram 2 percent, and Snapchat less than 1 percent.

7. Generation X watches more than 1.5 billion YouTube videos per day

And 75 percent of those aged 35 to 54 watch YouTube at least once a month.

8. More than half of all U.S. adults use YouTube

Fifty-eight percent of American adults use the site, according to Pew Research Center. Compare that to the 26 percent who use Instagram and the 15 percent who use Twitter and it’s clear YouTube is delivering a much-desired service. Among social media sites, only Facebook is used by more U.S. adults (66 percent).

9. Users have likely been to college

More than two-thirds (67%) of YouTube users have at least some college education.

YouTube usage statistics

10. People watch a ton of YouTube content

A billion hours per day, to be exact. That’s more than 114,000 years of YouTube video watched every single day.

11. The best videos rack up millions of views

The 10 top-viewed videos in 2017 collectively amassed more than 630 million views, adding up to more than 40 million hours of viewing time.

12. And so do the best ads

The top 10 ads on YouTube generated 539 million views and 14 hours of viewing time, plus 3.6 million Likes.

13. Self-directed learning rules

Seventy percent of viewers use YouTube to help solve a problem with work, school, or hobbies, and 86 percent said they regularly use YouTube to learn new things. When asked about the reasons they visit YouTube, the most common response (65%) was “to help me fix something in my home or car.” Entertainment was the second-most popular response, at 57 percent.

Among millennials, the numbers for self-directed learning are even higher: 93 percent of them use YouTube to find out how to do things.

14. People also use the site to get news

YouTube ranks behind only Facebook in terms of the social sites American adults use to get their news. Eighteen percent of U.S. adults get news on YouTube, compared to 45 percent on Facebook and 11 percent on Twitter.

Social media sites as pathways to news

15. It’s by far the multimedia app leader

YouTube accounts for 68 percent of time U.S. adults spend using multimedia apps, according to comScore. The closest competitor is Netflix at 21 percent.

16. And the preferred online video provider

A study by Google and comScore found that 48 percent of online video viewers name YouTube as their top video site, followed again by Netflix at 29 percent.

31 YouTube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

17. YouTube is the second-highest ranked website worldwide

Alexa ranks YouTube behind only Google in its “top 500 sites on the web” list, which is based on a combined measure of unique visitors and pageviews.

18. AI is pulling viewers in

More than 70 percent of the time users spend on YouTube is spent watching videos recommended by the site’s artificial intelligence algorithms.

19. Mobile views are the majority

More than half of all YouTube views come from mobile devices, and the average mobile viewing session is more than an hour long.

20. TV usage is up

People are also watching YouTube on much larger screens. Users are watching more than 100 million hours of YouTube videos on their TVs every day, an increase of 70 percent since last year.

YouTube now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any American cable network. During prime time, more people in that demographic watch YouTube than watch the top 10 prime-time shows combined.

YouTube for business statistics

21. Copyright is serious business

YouTube has paid out more than $2 billion to rightsholders who have made claims through Content ID, which helps identify videos using copyrighted material.

22. The highest-paid YouTube star earned $16.5 million last year

Daniel Middleton, known on YouTube as DanTDM, has more than 17 million subscribers to his channel of gaming videos.

The top 10 highest-paid YouTube stars combined earned $127 million, according to Forbes.

YouTube ad statistics

23. More than half of U.S. marketers run YouTube video ads

Fifty-one percent, to be exact. And 62 percent say they plan to increase their YouTube video ad spend in the next 12 months.

31 Youtube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

24. That represents a quarter of digital ad spend

YouTube accounts for 27.1 percent of digital ad spending share by U.S. senior marketers.

31 YouTube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

25. The six-second rule

A third of YouTube’s large advertising customers use its six-second bumper ads. The number of customers using the ads increased 70 percent in the first two quarters of 2017.

YouTube’s own figures show those short ads are working, with 70 percent driving “a significant lift in brand awareness,” and 90 percent driving a lift in ad recall.

26. Both audibility and viewability of YouTube ads are over 90 percent

Ninety-five percent of YouTube ads are audible, meaning the audio level is at or higher than 10 percent at some point during the ad playback. Ninety-three percent of YouTube ads are viewable, meaning at least 50 percent of pixels are viewable on screen for at least two seconds.

27. People pay more attention to YouTube ads than to TV ads

In a study commissioned by Google, Ipsos Reid found using eye-tracking data that 62 percent of ad time on YouTube mobile receives the viewer’s attention, compared to 45 percent of TV advertising time. For paid YouTube ads (that is, ads that are watched in full or for at least 30 seconds, rather than being skipped), 83 percent of ad time receives the viewer’s attention.

YouTube performance statistics

28. Marketers are confident YouTube videos convert

Seventy percent of U.S. marketers are confident they can create YouTube videos that lead to purchases, and 81 percent are confident they can create engagement with YouTube videos.

31 Youtube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

29. Value for both B2B and B2C

YouTube is in the top three most valued social media platforms for B2C marketers, and number four for B2B marketers, according to research from Clutch and Smart Insights. In this research, it was the only network where the value was perceived to be basically the same whether marketing to consumers or business.

31 YouTube Stats That Matter to Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

30. Combining ad formats improves results

YouTube’s internal figures show that using bumper ads to remarket to TrueView ad viewers increased lift in ad recall by 42 to 104 percent.

31. YouTube ads increase engagement on the site itself

YouTube found that viewers who see TrueView ads are 10 times more likely to engage with the brand on YouTube—for example, by subscribing to the brand’s channel, watching more of the brand’s videos, or sharing their videos.

Grow your YouTube audience faster with Hootsuite. It’s simple to manage and schedule YouTube videos as well as quickly publish your videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—all from one dashboard. Try it free today.

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6 Instagram Accounts You Wouldn’t Expect to Be Awesome But Totally Are

We all know the brands. They’re cool, they’re fun—and they never seem to run out of ideas for creative Instagram content.

The reality is that not every brand has a product or service that’s as easily “gram-able” as a company like Airbnb, with their endless supply of gorgeous user-generated travel photos. But that doesn’t mean a security company or a bank can’t also create engaging content that their customers love.

I spent some time searching for unexpectedly great Instagram accounts and found some truly excellent content. Continue reading to find out:

  • Real strategies that work—from brands with all types of budgets
  • The type of content any business can post for maximum Instagram engagement
  • The simple technique a flour company uses to gain followers

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear. Plus we’ll show you how you can use Hootsuite to grow your own following on Instagram and other platforms.

1. King Arthur Flour

You wouldn’t expect a flour company to have over 190,000 Instagram followers, but King Arthur Flour’s social media team knows what they’re doing.

Not only are the photos of delicious baked goods mouth-watering, but many of them are provided by King Arthur Flour customers themselves.

The brand’s Instagram bio encourages their audience to tag their baking pictures with the #kingarthurflour hashtag for a chance to get featured on the brand’s page.

Using a branded hashtag is an effective way to curate user-generated content while building brand awareness. To do this for your brand:

  • Create a hashtag that embodies your brand (this doesn’t necessarily have to be your company’s name).
  • Add a line in your bio encouraging your audience to use the hashtag in their relevant content.
  • Repost the best submitted content and highlight the fact you discovered it with the hashtag.
  • Make sure you use the hashtag on your own Instagram posts.

We love seeing all your homemade star breads, like this gorgeous version from @peacefulcooking. Keep ’em coming and tag #kingarthurflour to be featured!

A post shared by King Arthur Flour (@kingarthurflour) on Jan 22, 2018 at 6:30am PST

2. Dictionary.com

There are at least 143,000 Instagram users smarter than you. At least that’s how many are following Dictionary.com’s account for their word of the day.

The popular vocabulary site has a simple but effective approach to their Instagram account. Every day they post a word and its definition on a brightly colored background.

While this exact format won’t work for every brand, there are key takeaways that can be applied to most business’s Instagram accounts:

  • Use text in posts. Whether you’re sharing an inspirational quote or a piece of advice, switch up your Instagram content by including posts that use text. If you’re looking for new tools to help you design visual content for Instagram, Hootsuite integrates right into Adobe’s Creative suite.
  • Share educational content. It would be hard to find anybody who doesn’t want to be smarter. Like Dictionary.com, make a habit of posting valuable content that boosts your audience’s knowledge on a certain topic.
  • Work with the format. Instagram was built for quick and easily-digestible content. Don’t try to fit feature-length films or lengthy paragraphs of text into your posts as you most likely won’t be able to keep your audience’s attention.

Today’s Word of the Day is quodlibet. #wordoftheday #language #vocabulary

A post shared by Dictionary.com (@dictionarycom) on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:02am PST

3. 3M

If you hear the name 3M and immediately think about tape, it’s time to check out their Instagram account.

3M is a leader in industries “from health care and highway safety to office products and abrasives and adhesives.” In other words, they’re about a lot more than tape.

Their Instagram feed is a carefully curated mix of fascinating science and technology posts, along with more lifestyle-oriented content.

Step inside The Cube & help @donorschoose #SciFest #STEM

A post shared by 3M (@3m) on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:45pm PDT

You can defy expectations like 3M by:

  • Carefully curating content. Give your audience an interesting mix. For example, if you are a furniture company, you could mix up beautiful interior design photos with content that shows how a couch is made.
  • Highlighting what defines your brand. 3M is about innovation and science, and they are constantly finding new ways to feature both in their content. Figure out what makes your brand unique, and think of different ways you can highlight these qualities.
  • Standing behind relevant social justice issues. 3M shares numerous posts featuring their diverse culture and commitment to equality and inclusion. While I don’t recommend trying to tie your brand to every social issue, championing those that you genuinely care about and practice is a great way to differentiate your business.

4. Trader Joe’s

How exciting can a grocery store’s Instagram account be? Just look to Trader Joe’s page to find out.

It’s generally recommended that brands not fill up their Instagram feeds with images solely featuring their products, but that’s exactly what the quirky American grocer does.

This would typically make for a boring account, but Trader Joe’s does it in a creative way that keeps their audience of over 234,000 followers engaged.

Make your product or brand the star of your Instagram by:

  • Focusing on lifestyle. Show your followers how your product would fit into their life—or the life they want. For Trader Joe’s, this means sharing posts of elaborate charcuterie boards using their products, romantic table settings featuring their wines, and healthy breakfasts fit for world-class athletes.
  • Know your audience. You need to know who your target audience is and what drives them in order to be able to engage them. For example, Trader Joe’s knows they’re reaching many busy parents, so they create content showing tiny luxuries (such as a glass of uninterrupted wine) that this audience can easily obtain.
  • Mix up the format. While their Instagram page is full of beautiful photography, Trader Joe’s also incorporates fun videos, clever illustrations, and slide shows. Don’t be afraid to pepper your Instagram account with a mix of formats, as long as your overall aesthetic stays on-brand.

“Shooting Stars”: Interplanetary meteoroids that spark trails of visible light as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. • “Shooting Stars Cookies”: Star-shaped sugar cookies (striped with semi-sweet chocolate, and sprinkled with popping candy crystals) that spark audible excitement as they enter your mouth. #traderjoes #galilejoe #sizzlesparklepop 🇺🇸

A post shared by Trader Joe’s (@traderjoes) on Jun 30, 2017 at 5:02pm PDT

5. Sharpie

Sharpie is a big brand with a small product—and their Instagram account brings it to life with incredible creations by employees and fans of the pens. Like King Arthur Flour, Sharpie encourages their audience to share relevant posts with their branded #StartSomething hashtag.

With this hashtag, Sharpie is able to find and share compelling content made with their products. For example, lettering artist Adam Vicarel designed a denim jacket with Sharpie markers and pens. He accompanied his post of the jacket with a story about his struggle to become a professional artist, and Sharpie was able to share his story.

"I’ve worked tirelessly over the past 3 years trying to make what started as just a hobby of lettering into a full-time career. I’m not ashamed to tell you that it has been a bumpy road; I think it’s important to be bold and run face first into what you fear the most. Thanks to #Sharpie, I’m wearing this experience as pride!" -Sharpie Squad artist, @adamvicarel

A post shared by @ sharpie on Jan 15, 2018 at 6:38pm PST

How can your brand follow Sharpie’s steps to creating engaging content?

  • Share a story. Consider the story your brand is telling. Sharpie’s story is one of creativity without limits, and they share this with their artistic posts and user-generated content. Your customers are an endless source of powerful narratives, you just have to know how to get them to tell them.
  • Inspire others to use your product or service. Showcase the possibilities of your product and encourage your audience to think outside the box. Sharpie features clothing, shoes, and non-traditional canvases for their markers.

6. TSA

A mere mention of the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can make you sit up straighter. But this traditionally no-nonsense organization uses Instagram to show the lighter side of their business.

While any organization associated with security is liable to have a top-secret vibe, the TSA pulls back the curtain with their personable, behind-the-scenes content.

Besides their humorous Q&A posts, the TSA shares images of confiscated items, interesting (and permitted) luggage, and other snapshots of their day-to-day experiences on the job.

Bor is very excited to inform you that the TSA Instagram account is back in action. Bor is an explosives detection canine at the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). He’s been known to #BingeScroll through the TSA Instagram account on his breaks. When he’s on the job with his handler, he’s helping keep our transportation systems safe. Good boy, Bor! … TSA trains, and deploys both TSA-led and state and local law enforcement-led canine teams to secure our Nation’s transportation systems through effective explosives detection, visible deterrence, and timely, mobile response to support rail stations, airports, passenger terminals, seaports, surface carriers, and other facilities. … #DogsOfInstagram #TSACanines #WorkingDogs

A post shared by TSA (@tsa) on Jan 23, 2018 at 8:45am PST

If your organization’s Instagram content could use more personality, consider these questions:

  • What makes your brand unique? The TSA deals with countless travelers (and their interesting luggage) everyday—a goldmine for content.
  • Is there an internal part of your business you wish others could see? While I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re a butcher, the behind-the-scenes content of many organizations makes for great Instagram fodder.
  • Who are your employees? The TSA often features their own employees on the account, which helps bring a personal touch to a giant organization. Think about your employees and their stories, and consider sharing these on a regular basis.

As Henry van Dyke once said, “If only the best birds sang, the forest would be silent.” Even if your brand isn’t frequently classified as fun or exciting, there are no limits when it comes to creating engaging Instagram content for your customers.

Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish photos directly to Instagram, engage your audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

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How to Get Verified on Instagram (Is it Even Possible?)

Everyone likes to feel validated, whether it’s unanimous support of your idea in a meeting or winning an award for the most perfect cartwheel in the fourth grade (I still have the trophy).

For social media marketers, validation is often synonymous with verification. Most major social networks have a system of verification that sets certain accounts apart from the general population—Instagram included.

Unfortunately, getting verified on Instagram isn’t an easy task. Read on to learn about the current state of Instagram verification and what you can do to ensure your audience knows your profile is authentic to your business.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear. Plus we’ll show you how you can use Hootsuite to grow your own following on Instagram and other platforms.

Benefits of getting verified on Instagram

Being verified means your account has been confirmed as authentic by Instagram. This helps people avoid imposters and easily find the brands or public figures they want to follow. Verified accounts have a little blue check mark beside their name.

How to Get Verified on Instagram (Is it Even Possible?) | Hootsuite Blog

This seal of approval from Instagram is in high demand, which is precisely why they don’t verify just any account. If everyone could get verified on Instagram, the designation would lose its value.

Can I get verified on Instagram?

As per Instagram, “right now, only some public figures, celebrities, and brands have verified badges.” So if you manage a well-known figure or brand that has a high likelihood of being impersonated, you may be able to get that little blue check mark. If you have a contact at Instagram, let them know you’d like to be verified and hopefully they can work their magic (but no promises).

If you don’t have a contact at Instagram and the chances of your business being impersonated aren’t super high, you’re unfortunately out of luck. For now, there’s no way to request or purchase a verified badge on Instagram.

What are my other options?

If you can’t get verified, there are other ways to convey the authenticity of your Instagram account.

  • Link to your Instagram account on your website and other social profiles. Not only will this help more people find you on Instagram, it will clear up any confusion about which accounts are your official ones.
  • Aim to get featured on the Explore tab. Have a crystal-clear idea of your audience, pay attention to the type of content getting featured on your own Explore tab, and post content that encourages engagement.
  • Use Instagram’s little-known features. Do you archive your posts? Use UTM codes in your Stories? Your audience will feel confident about interacting with your brand on Instagram if you’re actively using the newest features to give them relevant, exciting content.

Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish photos directly to Instagram, engage your audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

Get Started

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