Tuesday, 30 June 2015

5 Facebook Advertising Tools That Save Time and Improve Your ROI

Do you advertise on Facebook? Looking for more efficient ways to manage your campaigns? Facebook ad tools can make a world of difference in the amount of time, effort and money you spend on your ad campaigns. In this article you’ll discover five Facebook advertising tools that save you time and boost your return on […]

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How to Craft Instagram Posts That Drive Sales

Do you use Instagram to promote your products and services? Interested in ways to drive sales with your posts? A good Instagram post is not as simple as just snapping a photo, applying a filter and posting it to your news feed. To have a real impact, your posts need to be carefully crafted and […]

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How to Use LinkedIn Publisher Statistics to Refine Your Marketing

Do you use LinkedIn Publisher? Want to get deeper engagement from your posts? LinkedIn Publisher now offers the ability to review stats for your published posts, which helps you refine messaging, target the right audience and directly engage with the people who interact with you. In this article I’ll share how to access LinkedIn Publisher statistics […]

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7 Ways to Track Your Social Media Marketing Activities

Are you tracking your social media marketing results? Do you know where to find metrics to help you improve? Tracking social activity helps you attract a higher-quality following, communicate more effectively and provide content that resonates with your audience. In this article you’ll discover seven ways to track metrics and improve your social media marketing. […]

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56 Digital Marketing Experts You Should Follow on Social Media


Want to know more about specific aspects of digital marketing, but not sure who to follow? There are tons of digital marketing experts to choose from—the doers, the speakers, the writers, the researchers, and so on. In this post, we’re going to look at the top digital marketing experts you can follow in specific areas (use these links to navigate):

Note that while some experts only talk about their area of expertise, others talk about digital marketing as a whole. Experts were discovered using a combination of Klout topic expert rankings, Followerwonk Twitter bio searches and Twitter account searches.

Content Marketing Experts


Content marketing can be a part of your overall digital marketing strategy. You can optimize your content for conversions, email content to your list, drive traffic to content through paid advertising, optimize content to rank for specific keywords in search and use content to keep social media accounts active. Here are some of the top recommended experts in content marketing.

Arnie Kuenn

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Arnie Kuenn is the founder and CEO of Vertical Measures. He is author of “Accelerate: Move Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social, and Content Marketing”; and co-author of “Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform your Business.”

Heidi Cohen

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Heidi Cohen is the Chief Content Officer at Actionable Marketing Guide and President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. She is co-author of “Instant Content Marketing Success: 10 Tips from Leading Content Marketing Experts.”

Robert Rose

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Robert is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute and a senior contributing consultant for Digital Clarity Group. He is co-author of “Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing and Managing Content Marketing.”

Michael Brenner

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Michael Brenner is the founder of B2B Marketing Insider and Head of Strategy at NewsCred, a leading content marketing software platform.

Jeff Bullas

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker. He has been recognized by Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, LinkedIn, and others as an authority in digital marketing, content marketing and social media marketing.

Joe Pulizzi

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World. He is author and co-author of several books including “Epic Content Marketing,” “Managing Content Marketing” and “Content Inc.” He also runs two podcasts on content marketing on iTunes: Content Inc. and PNR: This Old Marketing with Robert Rose.

Jay Baer

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert. He is author of “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype” and “The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social.” He also runs the Social Pros Podcast on iTunes.

Ann Handley

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and co-founder of ClickZ. She is also the author of “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” and “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars and More That Engage Customers.”

Lee Odden

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Lee Odden is the founder of TopRank Marketing. He is author of “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing.”

Conversion Rate Optimization Experts

conversion rate experts

If you are driving traffic to a website that is not optimized for conversions, then you are likely throwing all of your marketing dollars down the drain. Here are some of the top recommended experts in conversion rate optimization.

Angie Schottmuller

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Angie Schottmuller is an inbound marketing thought leader skilled at wielding magnetic content optimized for search, social, conversion and mobile.

Peep Laja

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Peep Laja is the founder of ConversionXL. He is author of “How to Build Websites that Sell: The Scientific Approach to Websites”; “Master the Essentials of Conversion Optimization: Experts’ Approach to Optimization”; and “How to Persuade People: Hidden Secret Mind Tricks.”

Chris Goward

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Chris Goward is the founder of WiderFunnel, the full-service marketing optimization agency that pioneered landing-page and conversion-rate optimization methods. He is author of “You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit.”

Brian Massey

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences, the agency whose conversion optimization process will generate more sales from your website. He is author of “Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Formulas of the Conversion Scientist.” He also runs the Conversion Scientist podcast on iTunes.

Oli Gardner

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Oli Gardner is the co-founder of Unbounce, the popular marketing tool that allows marketers to build, publish, and A/B test landing pages without IT.

Craig Sullivan

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Craig Sullivan is the Optimizer in Chief of Optimal Visit, helping increase conversion and improve the UX of their multi-channel and multi-platform businesses.

Joanna Wiebe

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Joanna Wiebe is the founder of Copy Hackers, the home of conversion copywriting.

Tim Ash

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Tim Ash is the CEO of SiteTurners and founder of the worldwide Conversion Conference events. He is co-author of “Landing Page Optimization.” He also runs the Landing Page Optimization podcast on iTunes.

Rich Page

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Rich Page is the founder and principal consultant for Website Optimizer. He is author of “Website Optimization: An Hour a Day” and co-author of “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions.”

Bryan Eisenberg

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Bryan Eisenberg is the co-founder and CMO of IdealSpot. He is co-author of several books including “Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide”; “Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results”; “The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist Period”; “Persuasive Online Copywriting: How to Take Your Words to the Bank”; “Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer”; and “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing.”

Data and Analytics Experts

data analytics experts

You can’t expect to do digital marketing without looking at some data to ensure that your strategies are making a positive impact on your bottom line. Here are some of the top recommended experts in data and analytics.

Dan Zarrella

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Dan Zarrella is the award-winning social media scientist at HubSpot. He is author of “The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies,” “The Social Media Marketing Book” and “The Facebook Marketing Book.”

Daniel Waisberg

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Daniel Waisberg is an Analytics Advocate at Google and the Founder of Online Behavior. He is author of the upcoming “Google Analytics Integrations” book.

Annie Cushing

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Annie Cushing is the founder of Annielytics and former VP of Marketing at YourTango.com. She oversees analytics and all reporting efforts for her clients.

Brian Clifton

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Brian Clifton is a measurement strategist, advisor and renowned practitioner of website performance optimisation and former head of Web Analytics for Google. He is author of a series of books on “Successful Analytics” and “Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics.”

Eric Peterson

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Eric T. Peterson is the founder and senior partner of Analytics Demystified, a web analytics and optimization consulting firm. He is author of “Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business”; “Web Site Measurement Hacks: Tips & Tools to Help Optimize Your Online Business”; and “The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators.”

Avinash Kaushik

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Avinash Kaushik is the co-founder and Chief Education Officer for Market Motive and Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google. He is author of “Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour a Day.”

Email Marketing Experts

email marketing experts

It’s becoming harder to reach your customers through organic search with so many changes to the Google search algorithm. It’s also harder to reach your customers on social media due to the decline of organic reach. This is why your email list is more important than ever. Here are some of the top recommended experts in email marketing.

Ragy Thomas

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Ragy is the founder and CEO of Sprinklr, where he empowers companies to reimagine their customer-facing operations to manage consumer experiences across every touch point.

Tink Taylor

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Tink Taylor is founder and COO of dotmailer and dotDigital Group. He serves as a key and influential member of the UK Direct Marketing Association’s Email Council and also the International Advertising Bureau.

Justine Jordan

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Justine Jordan is the marketing director at Litmus. She organizes the Email Design Conference in Boston and London.

Jordie Van Rijn

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Jordie van Rijn is the founder of Email Monday and a email marketing consultant. He was recognized as one of the Top 50 Email Marketing Influencers in 2014 by Cision.

Dr. Dave Chaffey

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Dr. Dave Chaffey is the co-founder of Smart Insights. He is author of “Digital Business & E-Commerce Management”; “Emarketing Excellence: Planning and Optimizing Your Digital Marketing”; “Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation, and Practice”; and “Total E-mail Marketing.”

Chad White

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Chad White is the Research Director at Litmus, a provider of email creation, preview and analytics tools. He is author of “Email Marketing Rules: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Practices that Power Email Marketing Success.”

Loren McDonald

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Loren McDonald is the Vice President of Industry Relations, where he educates clients and prospects on best practices and emerging trends in email, mobile and social marketing and marketing automation. He is author of “Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Email Marketing.”

Dennis Wakabayashi

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Dennis Wakabayashi is the Director of Digital and Social Strategy for the McDonald’s account with Morach Partners.

Mark Brownlow

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Mark Brownlow is the founder of Email Marketing Reports, a freelance business writer and speaker.

Pay Per Click Experts

ppc experts

Sometimes, organic tactics are not enough. When you start paying for advertising, the rules change—you have to find the right combination of commercial keywords and conversion-optimized, highly targeted landing pages to get results. Here are some of the top recommended experts in PPC.

Lisa Raehsler

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Lisa Raehsler is the founder of Big Click Co. She was recognized as one of the most influential PPC experts in 2012, 2013, and 2014 by PPC Hero Blog.

Kim Clinkunbroomer

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Kim Clinkunbroomer is the Executive Vice President of Paid Search Marketing and a Partner at Philly Marketing Labs.

Matt Umbro

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Matt Umbro is the Senior Account Manager in charge of Community at Hanapin Marketing. He oversees content production for PPC Hero. He also runs the popular #PPCChat Twitter hashtag.

David Szetela

WebsiteSocial Profiles

David Szetela is the founder of Clix Marketing. He is author of “Customers Now” and co-author of “Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day.” He also runs the PPC Rockstars podcast on iTunes.

Melissa Mackey

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Melissa Mackey is Search Supervisor at gyro, the largest independent B2B agency in the world. She is author at Beyond the Paid, a blog on PPC strategy.

Brad Geddes

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Brad Geddes is the Founder of Certified Knowledge, a company dedicated to PPC education & training. He is the author of “Advanced Google AdWords” and the only person selected by Google to conduct the Advanced AdWords seminar series. He also runs the Marketing Nirvana podcast on iTunes.

Jennifer Slegg

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Jennifer Slegg is a Search Engine Marketing Consultant and regular contributor at the SEM Post. She regularly speaks at Pubcon, SMX, ClickZ and other industry events on search engine marketing.

Larry Kim

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Larry Kim is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of WordStream. He was recognized as one of the most influential PPC experts in 2013 and 2014 by PPC Hero Blog.

Search Engine Optimization Experts

seo experts

Search engine optimization touches all aspects of your digital marketing strategy. From the start, your website should be optimized for your top keywords. To ensure your website ranks well for additional keywords, you have to create keyword-optimized content. To help customers find you on social media, you must have keyword-optimized social profiles. Here are some of the top recommended experts in SEO.

Julie Joyce

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Julie Joyce is the owner of and Director of Operations for Link Fish Media, Inc., a link building company based in Greensboro, that specializes in creating custom link building campaigns for clients. She is also a founding member of the SEO Chicks and Avant Greensboro.

Wil Reynolds

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Wil Reynolds is the founder of Seer Interactive, a Philadelphia-based SEM/SEO consulting firm that puts equal focus on doing great things for its clients, its team and the community at large.

Michael King

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Michael King is the founder of iPullRank and leads teams covering consumer insights, content, social strategy, SEO and marketing automation. He is a regular speaker at SEO industry conferences including SMX East, SearchLove NYC, Seattle Interactive, SMX Israel, SMX West, SES New York, LinkLove London, SMX Advanced and MozCon.

Ann Smarty

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Ann Smarty is the Community and Brand Manager of Internet Marketing Ninjas and founder of MyBlogU, a collaboration network for creating epic content. She is a contributor for Search Marketing Standard magazine, a premium online marketing publication delivered via print.

Danny Sullivan

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Danny Sullivan is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series.

Barry Schwartz

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales.

Rand Fishkin

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz. He is co-author of “Inbound Marketing and SEO: Insights from the Moz Blog” and “The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization.”

Social Media Marketing Experts

social media marketing experts

Social media is an important part of your business’s branding. You can use it to connect with your potential customers, current customers and brand advocates. You can use it to show the human side of your brand. And, of course, you can use it to promote your content, your products and your services. Here are some of the top recommended experts in SEO.

Sandi Krakowski

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Sandi Krakowski is the founder and president of A Real Change International, Inc. and Sandpaper Tablet, Inc. She is author of “#BeMore” and “Read Their Mind: How to Hear What the Marketplace Wants and Build a Huge Business.”

Peg Fitzpatrick

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Peg Fitzpatrick works with Guy Kawasaki on social media marketing strategy and is the director of digital marketing for Kreussler Inc., covering the online brand management and as well as traditional marketing. She is co-author of “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users.”

Andrea Vahl

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Andrea Vahl is a social media consultant and speaker who is passionate about helping small businesses understand and leverage the power of social media to actually grow their business.  She is co-author of “The Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies.”

Pam Moore

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Pam Moore is CEO and co-founder of Marketing Nutz, a full service digital marketing, experiential branding agency based in Orlando. She has been recognized by Forbes as a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer.

Rebekah Radice

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Rebekah Radice is a social media strategist, speaker and digital marketing specialist, the Chief Experience Officer of Imagine WOW, a digital marketing agency. She is co-author of “Fire Up! Taking Your Life and Business to 11.”

Mari Smith

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Mari Smith is one of the world’s leading social media thought leaders, widely recognized for her Facebook marketing expertise. She is co-author of “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web and Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.”

Viveka von Rosen

WebsiteSocial Profiles

Viveka von Rosen is the CEO of Linked Into Business and co-founder of LinkedProspecting. She is author of “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.”

In Conclusion

These are not, by any means, the only digital media experts and thought leaders out there. This list could go on and on and on. If you want to find more experts in a particular area of digital marketing, you can do so by logging into LinkedIn, visiting the profiles of people mentioned above and looking at the People Also Viewed column at the right of their profile. You will find up to 10 more suggested people who have similar expertise. Enjoy!

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Monday, 29 June 2015

15 Instagram Marketing Tips for Engagement

instagram marketing tips for engagement

Referred to as “the king of social engagement” by Forrester, Instagram enables brands to share photos and videos with fans on a platform that boasts an average per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. As you create an Instagram marketing strategy for your brand, engagement should guide your plans for content, community management and more.

To help you on your way, we’ve gathered some of the best Instagram marketing tips for growing an authentic and engaged following. Read on for our take, and add your own advice in the comments.

1. Be Consistent

Post fresh content on a regular basis, establishing a frequency for new posts that keeps your brand in front of the people who want to see it. You don’t need to post like clockwork, but keep your feed active by posting at least once a day—sharing new photos and videos daily will help build your following and give fans something to enjoy. Locowise found that brands typically post 2.3 times per day, with larger profiles posting even more frequently—7.24 posts a day on average.

2. Optimize Your Profile

Your profile is the first thing potential followers see when they click on your handle, so make sure you put your best face forward. For the profile photo, use your actual logo or avatar so people will immediately recognize your brand, and make sure that the dimensions are square with enough room around the edges to allow for Instagram’s circular cropping.

The link in your profile is your one chance to have a live link on the platform, so think carefully about where you want it to point. Many brands use Instagram to drive traffic to their blog or site by linking to it in their bio, then including “link in profile” in each post’s caption or as a custom geo-location. People may be shy about commenting on blog posts, especially if they need to log-in or include an email address, but they are quicker to engage on Instagram through likes and comments.

If you plan to curate content tagged with a specific hashtag, include the hashtag in your profile to raise awareness among new followers—just know that it won’t be a clickable link, the way it would be in a caption.

nyu instagram marketing example

3. Start a Conversation

Through analytics and social listening, you can learn a lot about your followers’ interests and the types of content that resonate with them. What big events are they celebrating this time of year? How are they using your products in unique ways? Use a combination of photos, videos and captions to tell stories that elicit emotion or spark a discussion. Once you have kicked off a discussion, make sure you are moderating the comments and responding to questions that arise, like Whole Foods does in this example.whole foods instagram marketing example

4. Make the Most of Your Captions

Your visual content should be the star of the show, but captions add depth to the story. Don’t fear the hashtag—using relevant hashtags in your captions helps new people find your brand. While Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in a post or comment, one study found that posts with 11 hashtags receive the most interactions.

Identify a few hashtags relevant to your content themes that you will use regularly, as well as hashtags commonly used by your target audience and others in your market that you can use for outreach. Both hashtags and @mentions in captions have been shown to increase engagement, so consider using an @mention when appropriate to credit UGC photographers, featured photo subjects, brand collaborators and others.

5. Respond to Comments & @mentions

Part of encouraging engagement is simply being engaging: taking part in conversations, responding in a timely manner and offering fans a chance to connect. While a comment that merely reads “😍” may not require a reply, do respond to Instagrammers who ask questions or leave thoughtful comments on your photos—and make sure you include their handle so that they receive a notification. Take it one step farther and monitor your notifications to learn when other users @mention you in their captions and comments, and share your gratitude with a like or comment of your own.

6. Show Customer Appreciation

Visual media offers unlimited creative opportunities to thank your customers and fans. Express your gratitude by engaging with photos customers share or showcasing them on your website, using captions to explain what was special about their photo. You can also surprise and delight your customers by turning Instagram milestones into an opportunity to celebrate.

When Huckberry, a men’s gear and clothing deal site, reached 100,000 followers, they ran a giveaway and shared the photo below thanking everyone who has joined them on their Instagram journey.huckberry instagram marketing example

7. Share Exclusive Offers

Another way to show appreciation for your followers is to share Instagram-only deals, contests and discount codes through the platform. While cross-promotion can work well for some of your content, providing platform-specific offers gives people a reason to connect with your brand on Instagram in addition to other social networks. If you would like to share exclusive deals with specific people, you can use Instagram Direct to send specific offers or rewards directly to individual users or groups of up to 15 users at a time.

8. Create & Monitor Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags serve a few purposes: they are a way to organize and track photos related to your brand, they allow you to run and measure campaigns, and they give fans a way to join a larger conversation when sharing their experiences with your organization, products or services. Regularly using hashtags in your own captions, as well as incorporating them into replies to comments when appropriate, teaches fellow Instagrammers which hashtags to use and when, ultimately helping raise brand awareness.

Not sure what hashtags to use for your brand? Our #SproutChat community weighed in on how to create successful hashtags.

9. Use & Engage With Popular Industry Hashtags

To find out which hashtags others are using, search for words and phrases relevant to your content—and be ready to fall down the rabbit hole from there. Find the hashtag you want to research, look at posts using that tag, then examine the captions to see what other hashtags are used alongside. Start using those hashtags in your own captions, and make sure you include monitoring and engagement for key hashtags in your Instagram marketing strategy.Instagram-15-Ways-Engage-05

10. Curate Content From Your Fans

Who said you had to create all of your own Instagram content? By monitoring branded and industry hashtags as well as your @mentions, you will hopefully find fans organically sharing their experiences with your brand. Encourage them to keep sharing by Regramming their photos, adding a unique caption that tells other fans how to get their own photos featured on your brand’s feed. Just be sure to get permission and give attribution when sharing content created by someone else.

Hyatt, the global hospitality company, uses photos by fans to show different experiences at their properties around the world. Their Instagram feed is full of tropical getaways, breakfasts in bed, interesting architecture and views, including many photos shared by customers.

Hyatt-Instagram-Screenshot copy

11. Host a Contest or Promotion

One way to connect with new followers is to host a contest or promotion. Brands often ask for people to enter by leaving a comment tagging a friend—a practice that may help your brand connect with new people in your audience’s networks. Before hosting any kind of promotion, make sure to comply with both Instagram’s promotion guidelines and applicable rules and regulations governing your promotion and prizes.

12. Follow Related Accounts & Connect With Influencers

If you want to grow your brand’s Instagram community, there are several ways to connect with others who share with related interests. Instagram’s Explore feature (accessible via the magnifying glass icon) suggests accounts for you to follow as well as photos and videos you might find interesting. You can also search for popular hashtags in your industry. Use these discovery tools to start following new users, especially those are are influential in your industry, and start liking and commenting on their posts.

13. Monitor Location Tags

When viewing a post on Instagram, users can click on the location (if one is listed) to see all other photos posted from that place. If your organization hosts or participates in events in different locations, add your photos to the photo map, and monitor who else is posting in those areas. Especially during large industry events, like conferences or exhibitions, location monitoring is a great way to identify accounts of people and brands with similar interests.

14. Cross-Promote Instagram Content

While your audience on Instagram may be different than your following on Facebook or Twitter, people who follow you elsewhere are likely to be interested in what you’re sharing. Make sure your customers and followers know that your brand is active on Instagram by cross-promoting your content. Instagram allows you to share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr directly from the platform, but don’t hesitate to link to your account from your website, blog and elsewhere too.

15. Assess & Adapt

To increase your engagement and reach new followers in an authentic way, continuously assess your efforts periodically to find out what’s working: what type of posts have the highest engagement rate, which hashtags have the most active communities and what type of impact building relationships on Instagram has made on your brand’s presence.

Instagram is a newer platform for many brands, but the potential for engagement alone makes it an exciting part of your social media marketing strategy. As you apply these tips to build an active, engaged following, let us know what successes and challenges you find along the way.

Download a free PDF version of “15 Ways to Engage on Instagram” below.

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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Snapchat Native Video Ads: This Week in Social Media

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Snapchat Launches Native Video Ads: Snapchat’s new native video ad product, 3V, is “built from the ground up […]

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Facebook Groups: How to Nurture a Community on Facebook

Do you have a Facebook group for your community? Are you considering starting a Facebook group? To learn how to use a Facebook group to build a loyal community that helps your business, I interview Jared Easley. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media […]

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Social Media Etiquette and Best Practices

social media etiquette best practices

Social media etiquette and best practices for each channel are becoming more and more important with the increase of users and content posted on social channels. While some may see the Internet as a lost cause for civility and politeness, there’s still an unspoken responsibility for professionals in the industry to maintain some sense of order.

As social media/community managers there has probably been more than one instance where you’ve cringed at the format of a post. With knowledge of settings and algorithms, it’s hard not to critique every piece of content you see, as well as scrutinize all of your own posts for perfection.

Organizations have an even bigger duty to get social right. With a number of invested employees and investors, the perception of the brand through social is sometimes the most widely known.

During a few recent #Sproutchat Twitter chats, the group discussed social media etiquette and best practices. Per our community’s insights, here are a few rules to memorize to get the most out of social media by being a welcome and respected contributor.

What Not to do on Social Media

Being mindful of social media don’ts is a great place to start. Also, proper etiquette will get you off to a good start with your online reputation.

1. Don’t straight sell through direct message

When someone follows you, first establish a relationship. Find commonalities, bond and build trust. Offer your skills or services for free and be nice. Once you get to know each other a bit, then you can soft sell, but only if they’re a good fit.

2. Avoid automation

You should never use a robot to do a human’s job. There are certain things that just need to be done person-to-person. With automation, you run into the possibility of posting something when you really shouldn’t be. For example, when there’s a national tragedy, promotion of your brand looks bad. If you’re a well-known organization with company-related updates publically available, any scheduled content might seem awkward or ill-placed with ongoing announcement. And above all else, never schedule or post then fail to follow up on responses to it.

3. Show gratitude, but in moderation

You don’t need to thank everyone for sharing your content. It may actually seem too automated and even robotic. A few personal tweets of gratitude is much more genuine than thanking every single person.

4. Don’t go overboard on the hashtags

You’ll waste valuable characters and your message will get lost and appear confusing to the viewer. Sure they assist with the viral factor, but too many just kill your intention.

5. Never badmouth or talk smack about a competitor publically

You might think you can get away with the negative comments, but there’s likely always someone who will catch it. If they are bringing hate upon you, take the high road. Don’t let them bring you down and sink to their animosity. Or if you can think of an incredibly clever (clean) comeback, say that.

Social Media Best Practices

There are certain agreed upon practices that should be followed by just about all individuals and brands. Follow these and earn respect and attention of fellow professionals.

1. Be genuine and most importantly, be yourself

Don’t let social generate a different, disconnected version of your personality. People want to get the real deal. And if the opportunity arises to meet in person, you’ll want to be the person that your audience has had the pleasure of getting to know.

2. Be interesting by being interested in others

Something they didn’t teach you in kindergarten, but you should have learned along the way is that you should take an interest in other people. Everyone wants to talk about themselves. Listen instead of talking, you’d be surprised by how much more people like you when you show interest.

3. Use first names

The most beautiful sound in the world to anyone is his or her own name. Use someone’s name and you have his or her attention. Use it frequently and you’ve gained their trust. When you say someone’s name, it establishes that you’re acquainted. Use this to the benefit of your relationship.

4. The ratio of promoting others content to promoting your own should be thoroughly considered

While it’s hard to keep track of exactly what the spread is, providing value and relevance should be priority. Keep in mind your audience likely won’t see all of your content and do the math themselves, but visiting your page or profile should offer a decent mix of information.

How to be an Awesome Social Media Manager

There are a number of tactics that aren’t as widely used, but are still essential to success in social.

1. Research what kind of posts work best for your content

Use A/B testing to try different tactics to see what resonates with your audience. This can be as simple as changing a few words or sentence structure. Be sure to keep the factors of the experiment as constant as possible to ensure results that you can compare and then point to specific criteria of success.

2. Take note of others’ failures

Investigate why it failed and learn what not to do. There’s certainly no lack of examples of epic failures. Analyze these lapses in judgment and take mental note for content or copy to avoid. While the public and the media can blow these mistakes out of proportion, there typically is something glaring that led to all the negative attention.

3. Screw up

In the same vein, know it’s OK if you aren’t the perfect social media manager. Learning from your mistake the hard way can be an incredibly valuable lesson. Whether you hit a nerve with your audience or your post gets absolutely no engagement, it teaches you what to avoid for next time. Social media is still relatively new and no one has it down like a science yet.

4. Find an (experienced) mentor for advice or just to follow and learn from

Bonus points if that person has worked for several different organizations or started their own (either successfully or unsuccessfully). You’ll learn much more from them than someone with a straight and narrow path.

5. Be open to cross promotion

Though it can be a scary concept since there’s the fear that the same people will see it and then turn on the brand. I, personally, have never heard of this happening and especially with the vastness of each social channel and the number of brands and people each person is connected to, the likeliness of this happening is slim. Just be sure to strategize so you’re not just posting blindly (or in the wrong format) to different channels.

At the end of the day, practicing etiquette on social media is a responsibility to be kind and gracious to each other. Being a skilled social media manager means observing others and testing until you get it (close to) perfect. If everyone minded these common sense guidelines, all of social would be a better place.

The post Social Media Etiquette and Best Practices appeared first on Sprout Social.

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How to Use Facebook Custom Audiences for Increased Reach

Looking for new ways to reach people on Facebook? Have you explored custom audiences? Facebook custom audiences provide many ways to increase your chance of getting your content in front of the right people. In this article I’ll share how to use Facebook custom audiences to increase visibility and reach. #1: Upsell Products and Services […]

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Win Free Membership in Social Media Marketing Society

Want to win a free membership in the Social Media Marketing Society? Social Media Examiner has launched an exclusive new membership community designed to keep marketers like you on the leading edge of social media. And we’ve come up with two fun ways for you to get involved. First, what is the Society? The Social Media Marketing […]

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Building an Employee Advocacy Program to Gain Trust & Drive Referrals


So you’ve decided to roll out an employee advocacy program. Smart move. One of the biggest benefits is getting your brand in front of a large, trusted audience. In fact, according to Nielsen, 84% of global respondents said recommendations from people they know are still the most influential—ranking word of mouth marketing the No. 1 most effective form of advertising. No doubt, this is a large initiative for your organization, so here are five tips that will help keep you on track as your program takes shape.


1. It’s an Employee Advocacy Program—Treat It Like One

Program management is often closely associated with change management, and that is exactly what you need to be successful. Most organizations have pockets of social success (some are quite large) but are not inherently social themselves. Is this your organization? Some form of change management is what you will need to be successful. Keeping people on track, meeting deadlines on deliverables, maintaining support from multiple internal stakeholders—these are all aspects of successfully rolling out an employee advocacy program. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be complicated—just properly managed.

2. Legal, HR & Procurement Are Your Friends

Related to the program management tip, be sure that your legal, HR and procurement teams understand what is involved when rolling out an employee advocacy program. Legal will have questions about your current social media policy; HR about the ability to better fill open job requisitions (Hint: You can become their best friend with a solid program); procurement on the contract and nature of the relationship between you and your employee advocacy vendor. Keep these teams informed, aware of your deadlines and actively involved in the process.

3. Integrate All Content Channels

Deciding what content to publish based on how it will resonate with your intended audience might seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry. You have plenty of options for content when it comes to your employee advocacy program. Just to name a few:

  • Your company blog
  • Brand and influencer Twitter accounts
  • PR contacts (They are writing stuff for third-party publications. Find it.)
  • Customer content (Your customers have blogs, brand Twitter accounts and PR contacts just as you do.)

On top of this quick list, you also should plug your employee advocacy program into existing content and broader marketing initiatives. Use the content generated from these activities to make sure that your employee advocacy program is an amplification tool.

4. Set Context With Your Employees Before They Ask Why

Excitement. Trepidation. Anxiousness. Confusion.

Wait, what? Simply telling your employees that they can share stories in social based on the rollout of an employee advocacy program is not enough. Many will dig into the tool du jour (probably out of curiousity), use it for a few days/weeks and then ask why they should continue. This is because we failed to answer the long-term question for them. Why is participating in an employee advocacy program good for them and good for the company they work for? What are the long-term benefits? Are there rewards for participation?

Answering these questions will help a large employee base understand the fuller context associated with rolling out an employee advocacy program. Just sending an email might not be enough.

5. Answer the Important Questions With Key Metrics

You want to track metrics that will act as leading indicators. This will help you quickly deduce—both for you and for your leadership team—whether the initial rollout of an employee advocacy program is successful. For example, during the rollout, pay close attention to the average number of shares per employee. This number will continue to rise until you hit a natural plateau. While rising, the average number of shares will tell you that adoption is going well and more employees are taking to the system each day.

Grow Even Stronger

Of course, there is more to an employee advocacy program than just five tips, but it’s details like these that are often overlooked during the rollout of an employee advocacy program. Considering these tips (and the others you no doubt already know about) will help you build a stronger program for employees, as will having the right tools.

The post Building an Employee Advocacy Program to Gain Trust & Drive Referrals appeared first on Sprout Social.

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5 Unusual Tips to Improve Your SEO With Social Media

Do you want to rank higher in search engines? Interested in ways to use your social accounts to improve your SEO? Social media has a significant impact on your search results, and a strong social presence can boost your search rankings. In this article you’ll discover five ways to use social media to improve your […]

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11 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for More Exposure

Are you getting the most out of your LinkedIn personal profile? Interested in ways to drive traffic to your website? LinkedIn offers many overlooked ways to optimize your profile, helping more people discover you and promote your business. In this article you’ll discover 11 tips you might not be using on your LinkedIn profile, but […]

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Monday, 22 June 2015

How to Build a Blogging Team

Are you struggling to publish regularly to your blog? Have you thought about bringing in other writers? With a team of bloggers, you can share the workload and keep your blog updated with fresh content. In this article you’ll discover how to set up and support a blogging team for your business. Why a Team? […]

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How to Launch Your Product Using Facebook

Are you launching a new product or service? Want to create buzz and get the word out to the right people? Facebook is a great way to promote the launch of a product or service and generate excitement. To be successful, you need to plan your content, write your posts and make good use of […]

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Sunday, 21 June 2015

17 Powerful Facebook Stats for Marketers and Advertisers

17 powerful facebook stats

Every second there are 20,000 people on Facebook. That number alone makes it a valuable website for marketers, whether you’re promoting a service, releasing a product or conducting market research.

What began as a way for college students to connect has grown into one of the world’s largest social networks, and one of its greatest marketing resources, too. But in order to be successful on Facebook, you have to dig below the surface and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the platform.

Here are some important Facebook statistics—broken down by users, Pages, ads, geography and industry—to help guide your social media strategy.

Facebook User Stats

Before we dive into the really interesting Facebook stats, here are some important numbers you should be aware of. As of Q1 2015, Facebook has:

  • 1.44 billion monthly active users
  • 1.25 billion mobile users
  • 936 million daily active users
  • 798 million mobile daily active users

To put things in perspective, Facebook now has more active users than China’s entire population (estimated to be 1.40 billion).

For a more in-depth breakdown of Facebook user demographics—including age, gender, income and education—see our previous article, Social Media Demographics for Marketers.

In addition to those, here are a few other stats to keep in mind when creating your Facebook strategy.

The Average American Spends 40 Minutes Per Day on Facebook.

When you consider how much time Americans spend engaging with digital media–nine hours a day—40 minutes on Facebook might not seem like a lot of time. But let’s compare that to the amount of time spent on other social platforms.

  • Tumblr—34 minutes
  • Instagram—21 minutes
  • Pinterest—20.8 minutes
  • Twitter—17 minutes
  • Snapchat—17 minutes
  • Ello—13 minutes
  • LinkedIn—9.8 minutes

average time spent on social networks

In terms of capturing your target audience’s attention, Facebook presents a great opportunity since you have a larger window of time to work within. That said, people share 1.3 million pieces of content on Facebook every minute of every day so yours had better stand out. Make sure you’re up to date on the latest tips and tricks to help reach your audience.

Younger Facebook Users Have Significantly Larger Networks Than Older Users

According to data from Pew Research, 27% of adults 18-29 years old have more than 500 friends in their network, while only 15% of 30-49 year olds do.

An individual’s network can be just as valuable to your business as the individual. Networks are created around similar interests, and word-of-mouth referrals are valued more than ever before. If someone is talking about your brand or interacting with your Facebook Page, that activity will be displayed to their connections, effectively extending your reach.

24% of Non-Adopters Use Someone Else’s Facebook Account

Something else to consider: you’re not always reaching the person you think you are. Slightly more than half of people without Facebook live with someone who has an account. This is important because 24% of those non-adopters look at photos or updates on that person’s account.

With the unpredictability of the News Feed, it’s hard to say whether the creator of that account will see your post once the non-adopter scrolls past without engaging. For this reason, and many others, use Facebook’s feature set to your advantage instead of relying on a single status to get your message across.

Facebook Mobile Stats

Although Facebook lacked a strong mobile component as little as two years ago there are now, on average, 486,183 people accessing the social network from their mobile device every minute. As you build and refine your Facebook marketing strategy, be sure to keep these mobile users in mind.

75% of Facebook Video Views Occur on Mobile Devices

Consumers are watching and uploading videos to Facebook more than ever before. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s users view more than four billion videos a day—that’s up from just one billion in September 2014. Sheryl Sandberg went on to say that now 75% of those video views occur on mobile devices.

As a business, you must be sure that your company’s assets are mobile friendly. Some of those viewers will visit your website or product page after watching your video, and they’ll do so from their mobile device. It could have a major impact on your sales if your site doesn’t display or function properly.

Two-thirds of smartphone users said that a mobile-friendly site made them more likely to buy a company’s product or service, according to a survey conducted by market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger. Half of respondents went on to say that even if they like a business, they’ll use its site less often if it doesn’t work well on their smartphone.

581 Million Facebook Members Are ‘Mobile Only’

facebook mobile only user stats

Of the 1.44 billion people who use Facebook each month, 581 million only log in using their mobile devices. That means whether they’re commenting on a Page post or watching a video, they’re only doing so from mobile. If your call-to-action works and they go on to read more about your company’s backstory or make a purchase, then that process had better be compatible with their device.

It also means that advertisers can have even more precise targeting for Facebook’s Mobile App Ads. With targeting around specific devices and operating systems, you can now deliver ads to people specifically using an iPhone 5S with a minimum OS version of 7.0 who are on Wi-Fi, for example.

Facebook Page Stats

Your Facebook Page is the heart of your presence on the social network. How you approach it can mean the difference between an engaged community of fans or an audience of one, which unfortunately would be you. In 2014, Facebook revealed that there are 40 million active small business Pages. Don’t let your message fall on deaf ears; use these stats to rise above the noise.

49% of Consumers Like a Facebook Page to Support the Brand

When it comes to crafting content for your Facebook Page, it’s helpful to know why people are there in the first place. If you can understand what it is they’re hoping to get out of a Like, then you can deliver the most relevant and appealing content in order strengthen your relationship with those individuals.

stats for becoming a brand fan on facebook

According to a 2013 study from Syncapse, the most popular reason why people Like a Facebook Page is to support the brand. This is notable because it means that some people are willing to align themselves with businesses and endorse their products without any kind of financial incentive. These are the people you want to identify when looking for brand ambassadors.

40% of Consumers Don’t Like Brands At All

Being active on Facebook and engaging with branded content aren’t mutually exclusive, however. In this 2014 study, Kentico asked people how many brands they Like on the social network. Here are their responses:

  • 39% said 1-10 Pages
  • 7% said 11-20 Pages
  • 6% said 21-30 Pages
  • 40% said they don’t Like Pages at all

Trying to reach the 40% of people who don’t Like Pages is challenging, but not impossible. Your Page posts won’t reach them, but your Facebook Ads might.

The 1-10 group appears to be more selective in which Pages they align themselves with. This is an audience that you want to connect with. Not only do they put thought into which brands they engage with, but they probably favor loyalty over one-time-only interactions.

Video Posts Average 62% More Engagement Than Photos

facebook stats for post types

Research by Quintly found that photos were the most common type of content posted by Facebook Pages, accounting for 54% of posts worldwide. But while photos continue to generate strong engagement, videos return significantly higher numbers.

The company analyzed 72,194 Facebook Pages over the course of a month and found that videos averaged 2,183 interactions, compared with 1,358 for photos—that’s a 62% increase. At the time of the study, videos only accounted for a 3% share of the total content amount.

While that percent has likely grown with time, and there’s more video to compete with today than a year ago, a well-crafted piece of content can go a long way. Experiment with different themes and lengths of time to find the sweet spot for your audience.

Posting 1-2 Times Per Day Yields More Engagement

It might seem counterintuitive, but posting less frequently can actually help your engagement. Not surprisingly, it’s quality not quantity that helps you get ahead on Facebook. Research shows that brands that post just once or twice a day get 73% more comments and 32% more Likes than those who post three or more times.

This can help you to be more strategic with your content strategy. Rather than posting for the sake of populating your Timeline, plan your updates around milestones, product launches or initiatives from other departments (such as sales, human resources or customer support).

Facebook Advertising Stats

One thing that has definitely been on the rise recently is the importance of ad managers. Facebook is first and foremost a social network, but marketing and advertising are becoming much more intertwined than ever before. Now it’s not enough to do just one or the other; your campaigns have to seamlessly blend together for maximized effect.

Facebook Ad Prices Have Increased By 247%

Due to higher quality, Facebook reported during its Q3 2014 earnings call that price per Facebook Ad has increased 247%. Businesses, especially the 40 million small businesses using the platform, need to have a much better understanding of who their target audience is in order to generate a better return on investment from their ads. It’s no longer cost effective to throw together an ad and cast it out using the widest net. You really have to dive into your audience segments and tailor your ads to best meet their interests.

The Overall Click-through Rate Lift From Using a Call-to-Action Button Is 2.85x

Great for business objectives, call-to-action (CTA) buttons help your audience clearly understand the action you want them to take after viewing your Facebook Ad. Currently you’re able to choose from the following:

  • Shop Now
  • Book Now
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Download

After a one-month review of AdRoll advertisers’ running Facebook campaigns with CTA buttons, the company found that those ads experienced a 2.85x higher click-through rate compared to ads that didn’t have a CTA.

facebook cta button stats

As you can see, 74% of advertisers preferred the “Shop Now” button, while only 10% preferred “Learn More,” which outshined the former in terms of performance.

Adding a CTA to your News Feed ad doesn’t cost extra, so be sure to consider the option when creating your next ad.

Click-through Rates Are Higher for Custom Audiences Than Facebook Exchange

According to research from Kinetic Social, click-through rates for Website Custom Audiences (WCA) were outperforming those on Facebook Exchange (FBX). In December 2014, the average CTR for U.S. retargeted display ads run on WCA was 1.25% compared to 0.12% on FBX.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t exactly a fair comparison; FBX ads are desktop-only while WCA placements support desktop and mobile. That said, eMarketer expects mobile to account for 61.5% of time spent on Facebook per day by U.S. adults this year, so choosing an option that supports mobile is in your best interest.

Facebook Drives Almost 25% of All Social Referral Traffic

shareaholic facebook referral stats

Facebook is the clear leader in social referral traffic, driving almost 25% of all referral traffic. The social network’s total share of visits to Shareaholic’s network was 24.64% in December 2014, far above Pinterest which came in second place at 5.06%. In fact, according to Shareaholic’s data, Facebook drives more referral traffic than Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.

Of course, not all of these referrals are paid—it’s likely a mix of organic and paid with views coming from both Pages and Facebook Ads. When you consider the audience size of these Pages, this metric really speaks to their ability to target highly relevant content to people who are the most interested in it. If everyone could tap into that segmentation power, we imagine that this stat would be much higher.

Facebook Geo Stats

Aside from its size, what makes Facebook so attractive to marketers is its reach—you can deliver messages to the neighbors down the street from your shop, or across the ocean.

More Than 70 Translations Are Available

In order to support its global audience, Facebook has more than 70 languages available thanks to a framework that lets community members translate text on the platform. At this time, more than 300,000 people have contributed translations for different languages and dialects.

Global brands need to take this into consideration. Use analytics to help you understand the demographics of your audience, and keep an eye out for where large fan bases live. From there you can target your Page posts by location or language.

For example, if you limit the language of your post’s audience to Spanish, only people who have Spanish set as their language on Facebook or list Spanish as one of their languages on their profile will be able to see your post on your Page as well as in News Feed and search.

The U.S. and Canada Are Only a Small Subset of Facebook’s Global Reach

facebook monthly active user stats

Facebook’s 1.44 billion users are spread around the world. Of those, only 208 million monthly active users are located within North America—according to data from Q4 2014. Europe has another 301 million, while Asia Pacific tops the bill with 449 million. The rest of the world accounts for approximately 436 million.

Facebook itself has revealed that 82.8% of its daily active users are outside of the U.S. and Canada. This just reconfirms that global brands need to think more strategically about their content—a one-size-fits-all kind of approach won’t be successful. If you have an international presence, your social media managers need to be well versed in a range of languages, dialects, time differences and cultures.

Facebook Industry Stats

Another appealing feature of Facebook is its diversity among businesses. Not only can you reach a remarkably varied group of people, but businesses across industries can participate. From the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry to hyper-focused utilities, there’s something here for everyone.

Media and Entertainment Brands Receive the Most Engagement

facebook engagement rate stats by industry

Salesforce tracked more than 2.4 million Facebook posts and found that the media and entertainment industry posts received the most Likes, comments, shares and links clicked. On average, this industry received:

  • 412.0 links clicked

While it could be difficult to recreate those numbers—in terms of comments, the second-place industry didn’t even come close—it’s a good reminder to share the kind of content that your audience wants. Pay close attention to the information provided by Insights to see what post types your fans are engaging with the most, and tailor your content appropriately moving forward.

Engagement is 29% Higher on Sundays For the Finance Industry

One of the greatest challenges is determining the best time to publish content on any social network. While there’s no surefire formula, a 2013 infographic fromLinchpinSEO could shed some light on the conundrum.

According to the infographic, the best day for financial brands to post to Facebook is Sunday. This might seem counterintuitive since most banks aren’t open on Sundays, but that doesn’t mean your customers aren’t online. If your social media manager isn’t available, rely on a social media management tool to schedule your posts.

Most of the industries included in the infographic saw high engagement rates on weekends. The technology industry, however, is one of the few that received higher engagement during the week. In fact, for technology brands, engagement is 30% higher than average on Mondays. Don’t let a case of the Mondays stop you from interacting with your customers.

There’s a lot more to discover about Facebook and all of its tools, but these stats are a great starting point. And don’t forget that you can conduct some of your own research by keeping an eye on Facebook Insights or requesting your own Facebook Report through Sprout Social.

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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Pinterest Search Gets Smarter: This Week in Social Media

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Pinterest Introduces Smarter Search Features: Pinterest is “rolling out a couple changes to search that will make it […]

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Agency Insight: Keeping Your Social Team Nimble Amid Growth


Finding the right combination of personalities and skills for your agency’s social media team can seem like an act of staffing wizardry—especially with resources at a premium. But it’s imperative to strike a balance so that your team can execute great campaigns, both for your clients and for your own social presence.

To help managers optimize their social teams for success, we asked four professionals out in the field for some advice. Below are their thoughts on how to assign responsibilities, how to avoid burnout and how to plan for future growth.

Putting Clients First

Pure Visibility

At Pure Visibility, a digital marketing agency of about 13 people, Social Marketing Lead Meredith Brandt runs the bulk of her agency’s social media efforts, with some support from a summer intern. Together, the pair manages about 17 social media accounts in all for their clients, tackling a range of duties—from content creation and community management to advertising and analytics—and Brandt would have it no other way.

“In my previous experience at a much bigger company, the more team members who had to be reached, the higher the chance of a miscommunication,” she said.

On the other hand, with only two people, Brandt said it can challenging for her to take full advantage of all the social media platforms out there.

“For instance, participating in Twitter chats has proven to be extremely helpful for building followers, but it can often occur at a time that we are in a meeting or busy with another project,” she said.

“The more team members who had to be reached, the higher the chance of a miscommunication.”
—Meredith Brandt, Pure Visibility

Spyglass Digital

With just seven employees—half of whom are dedicated solely to social media—Spyglass Digital is a tight-knit operation broken up as such: Agency Principal Katie Mayberry manages strategy and client relationships; two full-time employees manage the social content, which includes everything from graphic design to posting; and the fourth person acts as a community manager.

Like Brandt, Mayberry said agility is one of the main benefits of having a smaller team, enabling her staff to react more quickly to client needs and market trends.

“There’s no red tape; we just adapt continually,” she said.

But Mayberry said that can also come with frequent spikes in workload.

SoMe Connect

Aalap Shah’s team at SoMe Connect consists of 10 full-time staff and about a dozen freelancers. Teams are divided up to provide each client with a partner-level, manager-level and associate-level team member, with specialists as the account requires. Clients respond well to this setup, Shah said.

“We find that our larger brands that we work with love the size, nimbleness and efficiency of a smaller account team that can execute quickly and rapidly to changing landscapes almost instantaneously without much red tape,” he said.

Still, Shah said this is not without its challenges.

“While our small size can be a huge advantage, it can also be an obstacle from a company operations perspective, as we often have to hire and ramp up new team members and contractors extremely quickly,” he said.

Leading by Example

Blue Fountain Media

So what about managing the social channels for your own business? It’d be a tough sell, after all, for an agency that doesn’t have a stellar social presence to secure clients.

At Blue Fountain Media, an agency of about 150 people, two people run the social marketing team. One person manages all content creation, from working with designers to aggregating outside posts. The other handles all content marketing, such as promoting blog posts and thought leadership by Blue Fountain employees.

“The biggest strengths of a team this size is that everyone is involved in the strategy, planning and creation of the content we release in some capacity,” said Austin Paley, Blue Fountain’s Corporate Marketing Communications Manager.

Still, while the small size is a boon for communication, it does put a hard cap on Blue Fountain’s available resources.

“This often means that we have a backlog of great ideas that we can pursue,” Paley said, “which is useful when we’re short on content or waiting on design resources but can be very maddening, as we can’t do everything we would like.”

Preventing Burnout

With a small team, preventing burnout is key. To that aim, here are the two main things our experts recommended.

1. Watch for Warning Signs

“Often it is the little things that signal burnout on the team—not taking the time to proofread new posts, not being as proactive on some of the new initiatives we’re putting to use and coming up with new ways to take the account to the next level or not sweating the details of the content we’re releasing,” Paley said.

On the other end, Shah said he’s mindful of overzealous efforts as a warning sign.

“I look for excessive hours on site or late emails from the team to recognize work overload and/or participation in company/team events to monitor burnout,” he said.

Tracking results with the right reporting tools can also alert you of potential pitfalls.

“We make sure to keep an eye on what’s being produced and how it’s performing with audiences,” Mayberry said. “When communication gets delayed or deliverables aren’t returned on time, then you know there’s a potential problem either with workload or something else and it warrants a conversation.”

2. Invite Feedback

Shah emphasized that the small size of SoMe makes it easier to have open communication about potential workload fatigue.

“Because we are a smaller team, we are pretty close knit and encourage open communication as much as possible to mitigate burnout type of situations,” he said.

To that end, SoMe Connect schedules regular check-in times with employees to discuss potential problems and solutions.

Growing Smart

With a small social media team, the decision to add a new hire is a delicate one. You need to strike the right balance between staying nimble and not overloading your workers—all while making sure your team members have the right disposition and skill.

“As a small company, we look for well-rounded entrepreneurial people when looking to add team members,” Mayberry said. “Everyone who works with us needs to be not only comfortable with but excited about wearing a lot of hats. A balance between analytical and creative is important.”

The details of the decision-making process can also change depending on how long your team has been in operation. For Blue Fountain, that means starting with generalists and then building out to find people with more acute knowledge and expertise.

“I’d advise any new social team to make sure that the first hires are people who have a broad understanding of all of digital marketing,” Paley said, noting that specialized employees should be among the second stage of hires.

Your hiring choices can also be guided by the needs your clients share. Shah’s team takes this approach in hiring for a particular area of expertise.

“We recently, in the past three months, have added two new team members,” he said. “Generally, it’s in response to our confidence level in new business, our contracts renewing or for a specialized skill we may need.”

“I’d advise any new social team to make sure that the first hires are people who have a broad understanding of all of digital marketing.”
—Austin Paley, Blue Fountain Media

Brandt’s group at Pure Visibility also looks to client needs in hiring.

“The majority of our clients use us for monitoring at the moment (content creation and curation), but I have a feeling that the paid advertising clients will tip the scale in the near future,” she said.

Those two types of client take different skill sets, and Brandt said she’d keep those responsibilities in mind when the hiring process begins.

“I’ll be looking for someone with an analytics or advertising background and a penchant for crafting insights from data, not simply just regurgitating numbers,” she said.

No matter what your agency needs, if you’re smart about how you handle your growth, you should be able to strengthen the bonds between your team members and, in doing so, deliver even greater results for your clients.

The post Agency Insight: Keeping Your Social Team Nimble Amid Growth appeared first on Sprout Social.

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