Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Top 10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media History Over the Last 20 Years

Do you remember your first social media profile? Or, how about your first social media post?

My first profile was on Myspace, my first friend was “Tom from Myspace,” and my first post was something like, “Myspace is awesome!”

The rest is history.

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come. How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts – Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers – who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems!

In light of #SMDay (6/30/2017), we’re teaming up with Bitly to share stories and celebrate the positive impact that social media has had on individuals, businesses, and the globe over the last 20 glorious years – all using the hashtag #impactofsocial. Check out the details at the bottom of this post about how you can join in on the fun!

Here’s a look at 10 powerful moments that shaped the social media history.

Let’s dive in!

10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media Over the Last 20 Years

Top 10 powerful moments that shaped social media history

There have been so many wonderful moments over the last 20 years on social media that it was quite a challenge to boil them down to just 10! But since we’re celebrating the positive impact of social media on people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history.

Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history!

The Birth of Facebook
Miracle on the Hudson
Going “Viral”
Ellen’s Selfie (and the Nuggets guy)
NASA’s #YearInSpace
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
#BlackLivesMatter
Arab Spring
Community Support during World Tragedies
Natural Disaster Relief

Let’s count down to the top moment in the social media history!

10. The Birth of Facebook

Facebook, the social media network that has an incredible two billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the earth’s population), is the only network that I’ll mention in this post for moments-sake. Given its sheer size, the impact it has made on families, friends, businesses, and world events, I felt as though I might be remiss without a mention of Facebook somewhere!

It’s amazing to imagine what the world might be like if Facebook had never captured the hearts and minds of so many people the way it did. One of my favorite Facebook moments, in particular, is during an early 2004 interview on CNBC with Mark Zuckerberg:

The anchor asks: “Now there’s a new form of cyber match-making, college networking websites. Is this perhaps the next big thing? The Facebook. Mark, if someone was to put the question to you about the magnitude of what you’ve launched; how big do you think your product or service is?”

We all know the rest!

A short six years after this interview (2010), Zuckerberg would go on to become Time’s Person of the Year along with many other accolades along the way. Facebook has changed the way we interact and communicate on all levels and only time will tell if another network will come along and take its place in social media history.

9. Miracle on the Hudson

It was January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York and struck a flock of birds on the way up. Moments later, both engines were lost and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, along with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were asked to pull off the miraculous landing.

When the plane finally landed safely in the frigid Hudson River waters, all 155 passengers on board were safe. The “Miracle on the Hudson” has been called the most successful ditching in aviation history.

But something else happened that day… Jeff Krums tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

— Janis Krums (@jkrums) January 15, 2009

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBC in 2013 how that changed Twitter and the way people get news.

It changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news—and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.

One small tweet began the Twitter revolution. Hundreds of millions of people now turn to Twitter as a source of news, a place to build a following, a place to share your stories and connect with others.

Twitter is also the platform that our co-founder, Joel Gascoigne, successfully built Buffer on back in 2010! This powerful moment in social media history has a special place in our hearts.

8. Going “Viral”

How many of you have sat around with friends or family and binge-watched several classic YouTube videos in a row? I know I have!

What is now one of the largest social media networks on the planet (more than 1.5 billion people log in every month), started with a few viral hits and began a trend that today we might call, “going viral.” This launched YouTube into a massive entertainment hub – complete with TV streaming, movies, music videos, tutorials, celebrities, vloggers, and of course, viral videos.

Let’s take a look at three early videos that helped to shape the viral side of social media history:

Charlie Bit My Finger (Published: 5/22/2007 – 851,140,074 views)

“Chocolate Rain” (Published: 4/22/2007 – 113,787,749 views)

Numa Numa (Published: 12/11/2006 – 26,800,130 views)

Honorable Mention: “Lazy Sunday” 

In December of 2005, the first “viral video” appeared online under the name “Lazy Sunday.” It was the second-ever SNL Digital Short aired and featured cast members, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Following its appearance on SNL, the video appeared on YouTube and was viewed more than five million times until February 2006 when NBC Universal asked the site to remove it.

7. Ellen’s Selfie (and #NuggsForCarter)

Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that took the social media world by storm is the epitome of everything that is awesome about social media.

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

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

First, it is the fact that this photo is in “selfie” form which has come to be a staple of how photos are taken and shared across social media platforms. Two, it shows just how light-hearted, yet powerful social media can be. A smiling group of beloved actors, actresses, and performers has the ability to touch the lives of the more than 3,400,000 people who retweeted it and the millions more that saw it. For more than three years, Ellen’s selfie held the title of the most retweeted tweet of all time.

That was until Nevada teenager Carter Wilkerson’s plea for free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s went viral.

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

— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017

The world watched as #NuggsForCarter swept Twitter like wildfire – eventually passing Ellen’s selfie as the most retweeted tweet of all time. And although the #NuggsForCarter tweet never quite reached 18 million, Wendy’s still awarded Carter free nuggets for a year anyways. A win-win!

In my experience, we as social media managers tend to take social media very seriously. But if we can learn anything from Ellen’s selfie and #NuggsForCarter, it’s that social media is meant to be a fun and sprightly place for people to share stories, connect, and be themselves.

If you’d like to hear more about the “Nuggs Guy” and how entrepreneurs and small businesses use social media, check out episode #47 of The Science of Social Media where we chat with Paul Jarvis. 

6. NASA’s #YearInSpace

Named one of the most influential social media campaigns of 2016 (and maybe of all time), NASA’s #AYearInSpace demonstrates the wildly powerful ability of social media to document the human condition.

Day 179. The #Nile at night is a beautiful sight for these sore eyes. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/eAMBZ9p428

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) September 22, 2015

What made the mission so unique is that NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly has an identical twin brother he was to be compared with (physically) upon his return in hopes to uncover what happens to the human body after long exposures in space.

Astronaut Kelly tweeted continuously using the hashtag #YearInSpace, which was followed closely by millions of intrigued spectators. While tumbling around in zero gravity aboard the ISS, he even hosted an AMA session on Reddit!

This was a powerful moment in the social media history because we were able to experience space first-hand from the comfort of our own homes. People from all over the world chimed in using #YearInSpace to express their support, marvel in the wonder of the cosmos, and share an interconnectedness of human activity.

5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wonderful testament to the power of social media to make a charitable impact on an important cause. Since 2014, largely due to social media, the ALS Association has raised more than $115 million for research towards Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, including celebrities like President Obama, LeBron James, Lady Gaga, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates. Within the first 15 days of the campaign taking off, the ALS Association had received $15 million in donations from 307,600 new, first-time donors.

What followed was an interesting study into viral content and how organizations might be able to repeat this virality in the future. And while no definite conclusion was made from Facebook’s study and visualization, many attribute the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge success to former Boston College baseball player, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 (helping to explain the concentration).

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Graph

The Ice Bucket Challenge can help to act as a guide or blueprint for achieving viral success via social media. As TechCrunch author, Sarah Perez writes, “Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose” and you have a recipe for success.

4. #BlackLivesMatter

Over the past several years, social media has become an important communication tool for political groups and social movements to organize and take action. One of those social movements, #BlackLivesMatter, has become one of the largest in the social media history. Used more than 12 million times, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is the third most-used Twitter hashtag around a social cause.

Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter Hashtag

#BlackLivesMatter is an incredibly powerful example of how a social media hashtag can ignite action in the real world and be tied directly to a major movement. The implications for something like this are huge considering that we are all only becoming more digitally connected by the day.

A quote from Bijan Stephen in WIRED helps to sum it up perfectly:

“In the 1960s, if you were a civil rights worker and you needed to get some urgent news out to the rest of the world, you would likely head straight for a telephone. If you’re a civil rights activist in 2015 and you need to get some news out, your first move is to choose a social media platform.”

3. Arab Spring

I’ll never forget the digital marketing course I took in college that examined social media’s impact on the Arab Spring. It was then, back in 2011 as a student, that I realized the true power and potential implications of social media. Up until that point, I thought social media was only for sharing pictures with friends and family!

There has since been a strong debate over the role and influence that social media played in the Arab Spring. Researchers at the University of Washington examined more than three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content, and thousands of blog posts and found that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring Map Overview

“Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising,” said Philip Howard, project lead and professor at the University of Washington. “People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.”

2. Community Support during World Tragedies

Social media can mean the difference between a few minutes or even a few seconds, and in unforeseen often-desperate situations, a few seconds can mean the world.

Moments after the tragic events in Brussels, friends and family members turned to Facebook and Twitter for information regarding anyone they might have known to be involved.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, one-quarter of Americans looked to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for information, according to The Pew Research Center. Boston community members offered complete strangers a warm bed, food, and a shower when roads and hotels were closed (via a simple Google Doc).

Boston Marathon Google Doc

Social media also provides essential communication channels after these tragic events. Thinking back to Paris in 2015, social media helped to give many people a feeling of comfort, of solidarity, and of solace knowing that they would not have to face this alone. It acted as a support system even though we were all thousands of miles apart.

1. Natural Disaster Relief

One of the biggest strengths of social media is the speed at which it can disseminate important information to a large number of people in a very short amount of time. For example, after a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, non-profits and relief groups used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and support the community in various ways.

According to a CNN report, social media – Twitter specifically – became a pivotal tool in the fundraising efforts that raised millions of dollars in aid for the country. By the end of the week, the use of social media helped to raise more than $8 million in relief.

Haiti Earthquake 2010

Photo: Yale Economic Review

Haiti is just one of many cases where social media played an integral role in disaster relief. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2011), Hurricane Irene (2011), Superstorm Sandy (2012), and the earthquake in Nepal (2015) are examples of the power of instant communication. During Sandy, 10,000 Instagram photos (#sandy) were uploaded per second, many complete with geo-tagged locations!

Social media provides real-time, first-person information so that people and organizations can make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts. A critical piece in ensuring that relief is provided where and when it is needed most.

Over to you

It’s quite hard to fathom that social media is only 20 years young and that the majority of growth and innovation has happened over the last few years. It’s even harder to believe that we’ve likely only just begun! As the world population continues to increase, communities become more connected, and the internet becomes available for more and more cities around the world, we will undoubtedly witness a deeper integration of social media into our everyday lives.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of amazing moments throughout social media history. And so it’s up to all of us to celebrate its positive impact on our lives whenever we can. Let’s encourage each other to not take this incredible tool for granted!

Here’s to 20 more years of powerful, wonderful, and world-changing social media history (and beyond!)

Feeling inspired? We’d love for you to share your story!

How has social media positively impacted you? On June 30th (#SMDay) and throughout the weekend,  share your social media story with us using the hashtag #impactofsocial! We’ll be retweeting some of our favorites and picking a few winners to receive some special Buffer swag. We’re also hosting five exclusive Facebook Live chats throughout the day, check out the awesome schedule we have planned below!

Facebook Live #impactofsocial schedule (Tune in Here!)

Tom Redman (Product Manager at Buffer) – 7:00am PT, 10:00am ET
Arielle Tannenbaum & Hailley Griffis (Community & PR at Buffer) – 8:30am PT, 11:30am ET
Mark Josephson (CEO at Bitly) – 10:00am PT, 1:00pm ET
Brian Fanzo (iSocialFanz) – 12:00pm PT, 3:00pm ET
Courtney Seiter (Director of People at Buffer) – 1:30pm PT, 4:30pm ET

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

new-twitter-features-update-compressed.jpg

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

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

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

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

7 New Twitter Features
1) The End of Vine … and the End of Periscope?

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Cheddar (@cheddar)
June 14, 2017

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

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

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

2) A New Layout

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

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

— jack (@jack)
December 29, 2016

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

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

Here’s a rundown of the changes:

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

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

Check-new-look-iOS Refresh Full Walkthrough.gif
Source: Twitter

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

3) More Comprehensive Anti-Harassment and Cyberbullying Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) Moments for Everyone

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

Squirrel sneaks into NYC building and things get nutty 🌰

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

twitter_moment_add.png

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

5) Explore Twitter

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

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

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

Explore-Screenshot1.jpg.img.fullhd.medium.jpg
Explore-Screenshot2.jpg.img.fullhd.medium.jpg
Source: Twitter
6) More Characters to Reply

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

new-reply-button-twitter.png

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

twitter-reply-example-uncheck.png

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

7) Safer DMs

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

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

— Twitter (@Twitter)
May 30, 2017

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

4 More Twitter Features You May Have Missed

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

1) The 140-Character Count Loophole

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

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

Tweets_With_Images_Stats.png

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

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

2) Accessible Images

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

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

— Jack (@jack)
October 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

3) Native GIF Search

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

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

Gif Search on Twitter
Source: Twitter

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

4) The Switch to Uncropped Photos

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


Source: 
Twitter

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

new_look_for_twitter.com_photos_2.jpg
Source: Twitter

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

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

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

free kit for growing followers on Twitter

3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO

Today, there’s little doubt among marketers that SEO and social media are two must-have components of any effective digital marketing strategy. After all, SEO is arguably the founding-father-tactic of digital marketing, and social media is the place on the web where our audiences gather, share and engage every day.

But over the years, there’s been some confusion on how these two tactics work together to achieve marketing results—and understandably so. Back in 2010, Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that links shared on Facebook and Twitter were used as a ranking signal. Then in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts released a video stating Facebook and Twitter pages were “currently” treated like any other web page for search—i.e. social media was no longer a direct ranking factor.

However, regardless of whether social signals are used as a ranking factor—when done right—social media can most definitely enhance your SEO efforts. How? Below I share three reasons why, as well as some tips to make your social content more SEO friendly.

#1 – Your social media efforts can lead to quality backlinks.

While ranking science on backlinks has evolved over the years, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines. As a result, link building or link earning is still a widely-used tactic among marketers—and your social media pages can be the perfect staging ground for enticing links.

The logic here is pretty simple. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best of the best content, and fostering engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, and the more opportunities people will have to find and link to your content.

#2 – Social media increases the visibility of your content—which is ultimately the goal of SEO.

Social media pages give your website and blog content another place to live and encourage discussion. And while your pages can be so much more than a promotional platform, one of the greatest social media benefits is the potential reach your content could get.

Of course, I asked my TopRank Marketing comrade Steve Slater, Digital Advertising & SEO Manager, to weigh in here, too. Here’s what he had to say.

“Whether or not social shares and metrics have an impact on ranking without them you are 100% at the mercy of Google organic,” he said. “Without social or paid or any promotional efforts, you are basically hitting publish and hoping for the best. You’re hoping that your content will just ‘go viral and take off.’ So, I think the question is not really, do social signals impact rankings? But rather, is anyone going to see this if I don’t promote it?”

#3 – Social media helps build brand awareness—which can carry over to users’ search queries.

Your social media pages add another digital space for your target audience to find you and engage with you, allowing you to build up your audience and your brand. Of course, when this happens people will more easily recognize you in search and be more inclined to click. In addition, that brand awareness you’ve built on social could mean more branded organic search traffic coming to your site or your other social pages (since those often rank in branded searches, too).

Quick Tips to Intertwine Social & SEO

While social media can add a nice little boost to your SEO efforts, the reverse—of course—is also true. Here are a couple quick tips for marrying social content and SEO.

Optimize your posts and profiles. Social media platforms are search engines. So, make sure craft your posts with both users and SEO in mind. In addition, optimize your social profiles with the same logic.
Leverage hashtags in the right way. Especially when it comes to Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are how people find the content they’re looking for; hashtags are their search queries. Research hashtag best practices for each platform to understand if and how to use them. In addition, make sure you understand what hashtags actually mean, so you can use them in the appropriate way for each platform. Use the native search box within social platforms, as well as tools such as Hashtagify.me or Hashtags.org.
Draft optimized social messages when you’re crafting new content. Any content you’re creating for your website or blog should have an SEO component. As you’re creating this content, create several optimized social posts to go along with it. This will help you create relevant messages that can be found in native searches.
Use mentioning and tagging to build more relevance—and signal influencers. Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll be more compelled to engage on your post or share your post with their audience. And as mentioned above, the more shares and engagement, the better the reach and the more potential for driving quality traffic and backlinks.

Be the Best Answer for Your Audience

At TopRank Marketing, we practice what our CEO Lee Odden likes to call “The Best Answer Strategy.” For marketers, this means crafting an integrated marketing strategy that helps you be the best answer for your audience—whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And a component of that strategy is certainly leveraging social media marketing and SEO individually, and together.

For more best answer tips, continue to peruse the TopRank Marketing blog, and feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments of any post.

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10 Things You Must Know Before Cold-Pitching Big Publications

10 Things You Must Know Before Cold-Pitching Big Publications

It goes without saying that getting something published on a big site like Entrepreneur can be massive for your brand and business.

It can open doors you didn’t know previously existed, boost your brand awareness and give you some serious SEO traction.

But how do you make that happen? What steps should you follow?

In this article, I’ve laid out the 10-step process that has helped me get published on Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, The Next Web, Elite Daily and many more.

It’s not a short process, but it does work.

Here is an infographic I created that summarizes this process for the visual learners:

Cold Pitching Publishers - Infographic

Infographic co-produced by Venngage Infographics and X3 Digital.

1. Have a track record

One of the first things editors are going to look at is whether you can actually write. They receive literally hundreds of submissions and most of them are from rubbish writers. If you want to get their attention, they need to know that you’re a good writer.

How exactly can you do that? By showing off your track record.

Have you written for any well-established publications already? Ideally, they will be related to the niche you’re pitching. If you’re pitching to Shopify, for instance, it helps to demonstrate that you’ve written about website builders and eCommerce before.

Even if you haven’t written for any major websites, make sure your pitch includes a list of your qualifications and links to any content you have had published online. I’d recommend having at least 3-5 strong published posts before pitching to a large website.

If you have absolutely nothing published online, don’t despair! You have two options:

Bring other value to the pitch. This might be social share numbers, hard-to-get interviews that you can obtain or industry connections you have. Don’t pitch just for the sake of pitching. If you can’t show a valuable track record, then quickly explain your history, and how your perspective and experience means you can add value to the publication’s audience.
Start your own blog. If you don’t have any live posts anywhere, you’re going to need to create a website and start publishing some high-quality pieces. Then pitch to smaller sites with the pieces you’ve written on your blog to showcase your ability. After you’ve guest posted on smaller sites, you can climb the ladder higher to bigger sites like Entrepreneur.

2. Build strong relationships

It can dramatically increase your odds of getting published on a popular website if you cultivate relationships with their editors or contributors.

How do you build relationships? Here are a few simple ways:

Engage with them on social media
Repost their top social media content
Comment on their blog posts
Backlink to them in your blog posts
Genuinely read their content

The goal is to make them aware of who you are and establish yourself in their circle of contacts. Building trust is key here.

After using the above tactics for a while, consider reaching out to them personally via email. If they’re an editor, send a professional email asking them if they are open to pitches. If they’re a contributor, ask them how they got started and if they can share the contact info of an editor.

On Neil Patel’s podcast, Marketing School, Neil suggests that building relationships with authors by providing advice that could help them with their own career is a valuable tactic. Did the writer make a small typo somewhere? Do you have a few pieces of content research that they might find useful? Let them know.

By going out of your way to help someone else, you stand a better chance of being noticed and appreciated as a result of your action.

3. Email people, avoid forms

Many websites or publications will ask you to fill out a contact form or Google form. This is okay when it comes to getting the attention of smaller sites, but I’d advise against doing it for larger publications.

The reply rate is nearly non-existent, and the success rate is even lower. Hundreds of emails pour in through these contact forms – making it extremely likely that yours will get buried under an avalanche of enquiries.

Personally, I make a point to never email ‘admin’, ‘hello’ or ‘support’. I always email a person. The odds of getting a response are astronomically higher if you contact an actual person. And not just any person, but the right person.

If you wish to contribute to a publication, the job titles you’re looking for are Editor, Contributing Editor, Managing Editor, Assistant Editor or Associate Editor. Check out the publication’s masthead, About page, team page or LinkedIn profile to find these people’s names and titles.

It’s easy to find email addresses using web tools like MailTester, Rapportive or FindAnyEmail.

Whatever you do, don’t start your email with ‘to whom it may concern’. Show that you’ve done your research or the editor will immediately hit the delete button. Acknowledge that they’re busy, tell them about your track record and the value you could add to their publication.

Pitching is selling, so act like it. You need to convince the editor that you’ll add some serious value to the lives of their readers. Don’t be wishy-washy about this. Keep your email short, sweet and concise.

Place a solid call to action at the end. Specifically, ask the editor to get back to you. Put some healthy psychological pressure on them to respond.

Here’s an example of how this looks in an email:

It’s not perfect, but it gets to the point, it’s personalized and it shows a good track record of writing for established publications.

4. Follow up like a pro

Becoming a contributor to large publications is like playing chess, not checkers. You’re in it for the long game, so be prepared to nurture your initial email with numerous follow ups.

I get hundreds of pitch emails a week for my web design agency publication, many of which contain an impersonal, low-quality pitch, then they never attempt to pitch or follow up again. This is not the way to get published.

I followed up with literally dozens of editorial contacts at Entrepreneur for at least five months before finally making my way through lots of forwarding and replies, to the appropriate editor.

You can follow up like a pro by automating your email workflow.

This streamlines sending repeated emails, typing the same text multiple times, and any other task that you will do repeatedly.
For email automation, you can usually integrate tools with a Gmail Chrome extension. There are several high-quality options like The Top Inbox, Streak and Hiver.
For repeated text, tools like TextExpander are fantastic.

Marketing thought leader Ryan Stewart has said that he saved himself hundreds of hours by automating most of his email tasks. Speaking of the thousands of email requests his agency gets per year, he notes:

We’ve managed to automate lead qualification, follow ups and appointment scheduling to the point where all I have to do is wake up and check my calendar for appointments. It’s amazing.

You can achieve the same ease of mind by automating your editor outreach efforts.

5. Bond on a human level

Listen, editors are real people with real emotions. When you start sending out a lot of pitch emails, it’s easy to forget this. You might be tempted to think of editors as just another email contact, but it’s important to remember that there are real people on the other end of your outreach email.

Digital marketing thought leader and CEO of Ignite Visibility, John Lincoln, writes frequently for large publications including Search Engine Land, Inc. and Entrepreneur. When Lincoln recently keynoted at a PRWeb event in Huntington Beach, he discussed the long-term value of bonding on a human level.

Lincoln recommends the following:

These are all great ways to personalize your relationship with the people that you’re pitching to. Just don’t forget to treat everyone with respect in your emails. Address them by their name. Thank them for their time. Be respectful of their position and acknowledge that they must receive loads of these emails.

This allows them to see that you’re not just mass spamming a bunch of editors.

6. Don’t submit garbage

This is huge. If you get a chance to submit a post, take it seriously. You have one, maybe two chances max to gain the editor’s good opinion.

Make sure your content is well-researched and high-quality, that it fits the guidelines, will be interesting to the target demographic and address appropriate topics.

If you submit a garbage post, you will never get another chance to write for the publication again. They can’t afford to waste their time with bad writers.

7. Be ready to revise

And don’t be offended when you are asked to rework your submission. There is a 99% chance that this will happen. It doesn’t mean the editor in question doesn’t like it. They just want it to be as good as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t push back against this. This is a surefire way to get blacklisted from their contributor list.

Thank them for their feedback and make timely revisions. Don’t ask questions about why certain style guidelines are in place. Don’t protest that your original edit was better.

Even if they want to cut a piece you slaved over down by 2,000 words, grit your teeth and don’t whine about it. Being adaptable and open-minded is much more likeable than being inflexible and pedantic.

8. Express gratitude

This one is hugely underrated. People rarely make time to go out of their way and show their appreciation for anyone, especially editors. When my first post on Entrepreneur was published following five months of back-and-forth emails and numerous revisions, I emailed this to my editor:

Simple, straightforward and effective. The modern version of a thank-you card.

Expressing gratitude will go a long way towards building a genuine relationship and connection with people, not just building a contacts book. In the long run, this is far more valuable to both you and the editor anyway. It opens the door for future posts and can even help you forge valuable business connections.

You don’t need to fawn, just acknowledge that they were invested in the piece, too.

9. Be prepared for rejection

Rejection is inevitable. It may not be Entrepreneur, but sooner or later, the person you contact at a website or publication will turn you down – or simply not respond to your numerous emails.

Don’t let it stop you in your tracks. Be insanely committed to your goals, regroup and keep moving forward.

Tim Ferriss had his book The 4-Hour Workweek rejected a staggering 26 times before it was published and became a massive bestseller, and we all know the story of how J. K. Rowling experienced loads of rejections before Harry Potter was published.

Rejection is simply part of writing for public consumption. Don’t let it phase you.

When you do get rejected, turn your attention to another editor.

Think of it as a numbers game.

It takes hustle and thick skin, but you will prevail.

10. Be generous

It’s easy to get caught up in the me-first culture we seem to be living in.

If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to write frequently for a large publication, treat the opportunity with care. Focus less on what you can get out of the post, and more so on how to create value for the publication’s audience.

Share the work with other talented people in your niche. Try to help the thought leaders you respect. Even selfishly, this works better in the long term.

Building a strong network of people who know, like and trust you is far more valuable than any set of incoming links will ever be.

If you’re generous toward others, they’ll be generous in return.

In summary

I’m not going to lie: getting published on a large site like Entrepreneur can take a ton of work, but it’s worth it. It allows you to reach a larger audience online and it establishes you as an author. This grows your brand.

It can generate valuable incoming links for SEO purposes and all the hard work strengthens you as a person.

Trust me, with the above 10-step process, you’ll be on your way.

Guest Author: Alex Jasin is the founder and CEO of X3 Digital, a Google Certified digital marketing, and design agency, where he helps businesses grow through paid search, search engine optimization, web development, mobile apps, content marketing and branding. Alex is also the founder and the CEO of Metapress, a fast-growing publication where visitors can learn new skills, gain inspiration and discover more about what interests them. Alex’s writing can be found on Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS, The Next Web, Business.com and other leading publications. Connect with Alex Jasin on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The post 10 Things You Must Know Before Cold-Pitching Big Publications appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.


The Mobile Marketing Studio: 26 Apps to Help You Create Epic Social Media Content on Your Smartphone

What does it take to create incredible social media content?

Knowing you have to create new content for multiple social media channels every day can feel a little daunting, especially when you consider the range of disciplines you need to rock at in order to be successful.

Nowadays, every marketer has to be part designer, photographer, videographer, copywriter, editor and more.

Thankfully, there are now a bunch of tools out there to make these jobs easier for us all. What’s even better, with the right apps, you can create, publish and analyze the performance of all you content with just one device.

Your smartphone.

Small businesses are constantly on the lookout for faster, easier and more cost-efficient ways to create new content. And smartphones are now like all-in-one production studios, empowering us all to make world-class content using a range of fun and often simple-to-use apps.

In this post, we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt to guide you through the creative process and share 26 apps that’ll help you create incredible social media content using just your smartphone.

Ready to jump in?

To make it easier for you to find all these tools, we created a collection on Product Hunt. Feel free to read the rest of the article to find out how we use the tools or hop over to Product Hunt to check out the tools!

Create:
9 apps to help you shoot incredible photos and video

Mobile phone cameras are now incredibly powerful and we wanted to share with you some apps to help you capture and create social media content from scratch.

Here are 10 apps to get you started:

 1. MuseCam

MuseCam is a great app to help you shoot and edit your photos on iOS. It features a bunch of professional feeling camera presets, manual camera controls, and advanced tools like HSL and Curves.

➡️ Download Musecam for iOS (free, offers in-app purchases)

2. Boomerang

Instagram’s Boomerang app takes a series of photos and creates a GIF-like image. However, there’s one subtle, but super important difference between Boomerang and a GIF. A GIF loops a video over and over again. Whereas a Boomerang, plays a video forward, and then backward, and then loops that continuously.

Here’s an example Boomerang posted to Instagram by USA Basketball:

Squad up! 🏀🇺🇸🏀 by @usabasketball & @easymoneysniper

A post shared by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on Jul 20, 2016 at 5:15pm PDT

➡️ Download Boomerang for iOS or Android

3. VSCO

VSCO (formerly VSCO Cam) enables you to capture, edit, share and discover photos. The app features a bunch of high-quality filters to help you get the look you want and also offers a host of free editing tools like fade, clarity, skin tone, tint, sharpen, saturation, temperature and more, each with manual adjustments.

➡️ Download VSCO for iOS or Android (free)

4. Halide

Halide is a unique camera app that focuses heavily on enhancing the experience of taking photos on mobile.

➡️ Download Halide for iOS (currently $2.99)

5. Manual 2.0

If you’re looking for the ability to customize your photo taking experience, Manual could be a great option. Manual enables you to adjust shutter speed, ISO and exposure values to create the effect you’re after with ease.

Manual also gives you the option to capture images in RAW format, JPEG format, or both. If you choose RAW capture, you’ll be able to save images without compression, resulting in a higher quality photo.

➡️ DownloadCamera+ for iOS (currently $2.99)

6. Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse (by Instagram) enables you to create tracking shots and fast, time-lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.

It’s an incredibly easy-to-use app.  All you do is tap the screen to start recording, tap when you’re ready to stop and choose the speed you want the video to play at. You don’t even need to register to use the app.  Simply point, shoot, speed up and share.

➡️ Download Hyperlapse for iOS (free)

7. Camera+

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ can help you take beautiful photos.

Camera+ gives you the opportunity to set exposure separately from focus so that you can easily control how light or dark your shots come out. It also features a range of shooting modes, scenes and pre-set effects.

➡️ Download Camera+ for iOS (currently $2.99)

8. Camera FV-5

Camera FV-5 is one of the standout cameras available on Android. The app is based on a similar approach to DSLR cameras, putting photographic settings like ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, and metering at your fingertips.

➡️ Download Camera FV-5 for Android ($2.49)

9. Spark Camera

Spark Camera is a fun way to capture photos and video in full 1080p HD. It also features easy access to advanced camera controls for FPS and stabilization, over 20 filters and the ability to trim, reorder, and delete clips within a simple interface.

➡️ DownloadCamera+ for iOS (currently $0.99)

Bonus: Tips on recording content with your smartphone

Brian, our digital strategist here at Buffer, puts together most of the epic content you see across our social channels. And almost every video Brian produces is filmed from his iPhone 6.

Here are some of Brian’s expert tips for creating content using your smartphone:

Edit:
12 apps to bring your content to life

Smartphone apps can also help you to edit your footage and photos, turning them into great social media posts in just a few taps and swipes.

Here are 12 apps to help you edit your content:

1. Apple Clips

Clips is a new iOS app for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics and more, without much prior knowledge of video editing

The app enables users to combine videos, images and sound into a video ready to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or anywhere you choose (even iMessage).

➡️ Download Apple Clips for iOS (free)

2. Clippy

Clippy is the quickest and easiest way to create GIFs and clips from any web video on your iPhone. It’s equipped with many features and enables you to easily add text, emojis or stickers, on top of the GIFs. Clippy has also launched ClippyCam – A cool new way to share photos and videos.

➡️ Download Clippy for iOS (free)

3. Adobe Spark

Spark Video helps anyone create compelling animated videos in minutes. Easily add and trim video clips to make your videos stand out on social.

There are over 25,000 images and icons you can use to embellish your video. You can also select a soundtrack and Spark will automatically add striking cinematic motion to your video — no design experience needed.

If you’re editing photos, Spark Post could be ideal for you. Adobe Spark Post enables you to create stunning graphics directly from your phone using professionally designed, eye-catching templates you can easily tweak with just a few taps.

➡️ Download Adobe Spark for iOS or join the Android beta (free)

4. Vidlab

VidLab is an all-in-one photo editor that allows you to easily create professional videos. Add & animate text, artwork, music, and FX to your videos.

➡️ Download Vidlab for iOS (free)

5. Cameo by Vimeo

Cameo enables you to create full HD videos with powerful editing software. You can trim clips, adjust audio, and render HD files directly from your phone. You can also choose from a range of pre-set themes to give your videos a cinematic feel as well as adding titles and audio.

➡️ Download Cameo for iOS (free)

5. Over

Over is one of the most popular mobile apps for editing photos.

With Over, you can design a range of images, create a graphic, caption a photo, and more. There’s also a built-in store with add-ons like font and graphic packs, enabling even more customization. 

➡️ Download Over for iOS (free)

6. Adobe Voice

With Adobe Voice you can make stunning animated explainer videos in minutes. You don’t even need any footage to create your video as Voice features more than 25,000 images and animations.

➡️ Download Voice for iOS (free)

7. Layout

Layout (by Instagram) lets you easily combine multiple photos into a single image. Upload your photos, choose from a range of custom layouts, drag and drop photos to rearrange them, pinch to zoom or pull the sides of each photo to adjust its size and get your layout just right.

➡️ Download Layout for iOS or Android (free)

8. Canva

Canva helped you create professional designs and graphics. Edit photos, add text, elements, stickers, borders, frames and more. There’s also more than hundreds of professional templates and tweak them to suit your need.

➡️ Download Layout for iOS (free)

9. Priime

A tasteful photo editor developed in collaboration with some of the world’s top photographers. One of Priime’s killer features is its smart style filter recommendations based on your photo’s color palette, exposure, and more.

➡️ Download Layout for iOS (free)

10. Create

With Create you can develop sophisticated designs and graphics; communicate ideas easily using images, typography, shapes and icons; or draw your own shapes and lines. Create is awesome for adding graphics, text and arrow to photos. You can create your own  graphics, logos, stickers and even Snapchat geofilters from scratch using Create.

➡️ Download Layout for iOS (free)

11. Snapseed

Snapseed is a powerful photo editing app by Google. Users can edit pictures using swiping gestures to select different effects and enhancements. Alternatively, users can opt for an automatic adjustment of color and contrast.

➡️ Download Snapseed for iOS or Android (free)

12. Legend

Legend lets you craft text animations with just a few taps. Each template is created by professional motion designers and there are hundreds of combinations of typography, animations, backgrounds, and colors to play with.

➡️ Download Legend for iOS (free)

Publish:
5 apps to share your content across networks

Once you’ve crafted the perfect piece of content, the next step is to publish it across your social media channels.

Here are 5 awesome apps to help you with publishing your social media content:

1. Buffer for iOS and Android

Share and schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn – all from one place with Buffer.

Any link, text, picture or video you want to share, just add it to your Buffer. Your updates will automatically be scheduled and spaced out throughout the day to post to your favorite social networks. Plus, you can custom schedule or “post now” right inside the app.

Our mobile apps can help you to:

Share to multiple Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts from one place.
Get analytics for each update you share: Clicks, Retweets, Repins, Likes, Shares, Mentions and more.
Schedule your posts automatically so you never have to worry about setting a time and date. Just hit “Buffer”.
Schedule your posts using a Custom Time to schedule for specific events or campaigns.
Share from all of your favourite apps using our iOS extension. Including scheduling native retweets from Safari, Tweetbot, Twitter & more!
Never run out of amazing content with Instagram Reposting.

➡️ Download Buffer for iOS or Android (free)

2. Hootsuite

Use Hootsuite’s free mobile apps to schedule, publish, and monitor conversations from anywhere.

➡️ Download Hootsuite for iOS or Android (free)

3. Sprout Social

Manage all of your team’s social profiles from one mobile app—access your content calendar, mentions and more from anywhere at anytime.

➡️ Download Sprout Social for iOS or Android (free)

4. Facebook Pages Manager

Pages Manager helps you to manage activity on multiple Facebook Pages, all in one place.

➡️ Download Sprout Social for iOS or Android (free)

5. Sendinble

Maintain your presence on social media when from your mobile. Publish content, manage posts and review performance from anywhere.

➡️ Download Sendible for iOS or Android (free)

Over to you

Thanks for checking out this post. I hope you find some of these apps useful for creating content on the go.

I’d love to hear what your mobile marketing studio looks like. What are you favorite mobile apps for creating, editing and publishing content?

Let us know in the comments below.

How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Every Major Social Network

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with the latest tips and tricks to grow your following on every social media network. It also includes the latest podcast episode from The Science of Social Media! 

You’re taking the dive into a new social network, or you’re itching to grow your existing profile. You’ve got a social media strategy in place and a plan in mind. You’re raring to go.

What would be one of the most encouraging signs when you’re first starting off? We’d imagine it’d be gaining followers!

So how do new social media accounts do it? How do you gain your first 1,000 followers on social media?

Follower count is one of those metrics that has tons of meaning – both for the confidence of the social media manager and for the distribution of the content you share. If you want to grow your followers, there are tons of useful tips to try. Here are some key learnings we’ve drummed up about how to get that first initial batch of followers on some of the major social media networks (specifically Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn)

How to get your first 1,000 followerson social media

[Interested in listening to this post in podcast format? We invite you to check out Buffer’s very own podcast – The Science of Social Media!] 

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

Quick tips: The best general strategies for growing your audience

Regardless of the social network you choose, there seem to be some similar, high-level strategies that apply to getting new followers on every network—Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

If you’re looking to build your profile and add new followers, here are some of the standard best practices. Lots more detail on each of these below.

Fill out your profile completely
Share a link to your profile via your other networks and via email
Place follow links and widgets on your blog or website
Add your new social profile to your email signature

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Twitter

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

This includes:

Writing an awesome bio with one or two select keywords or hashtags

Adding your URL and location – URL is great for adding context, location is great for getting found via search and geographic tools

Uploading a profile picture and cover photo. Check out the image below for what it looks like when someone clicks your username from Twitter’s desktop site.

Seeding your Twitter account with 5 to 10 original Tweets

Experimenting with adding emoji to your name

Setting Up Your Twitter Profile

If you want to get your profile even more optimized, you can use the Pinned Tweet feature to pin a tweet to the top of your profile page. Choose a tweet that embodies what your Twitter profile is all about or shows a lot of social proof, i.e. one with a lot of favorites and retweets.

Step two: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Share with your Facebook friends that you’ve started a Twitter account. Add an announcement to your next company newsletter or in an email to friends.

Step three: Include a Follow button on your website or blog

Twitter offers four types of buttons that you can use to help visitors connect with you on Twitter.

Share a link
Follow
Hashtag
Mention

The Follow button is the most direct means of gaining more followers. You can place it in a popular place on your website or blog. For instance, we’ve added the follow button to the author profiles on the Buffer blog.

Follow Button on Twitter - Example

Step four: Find relevant accounts to follow

Many users on Twitter will follow back those who follow them. This is a popular strategy for those just starting out on Twitter to help connect with others, and thanks to Twitter lists, users can customize the information they see on Twitter, which makes following tons of people all the easier to manage.

Sign up for a free tool like Tweepi or Followerwonk so you can see a list of followers for other users in your niche.
Optimize this list of followers by sorting it by recent activity.
Follow up to 100 of these new folks per, whoever seems relevant and interesting to you (any more than 100 per day and you risk a Twitter ban).
Every so often, to balance out your follower/following ratio, you can check into a tool like JustUnfollow to unfollow any accounts that haven’t followed you back. JustUnfollow has a whitelist option, too, so you can skip over the accounts you wish to keep following no matter what.

Step five: Use relevant hashtags

When you use a hashtag, people outside of those you follow will be exposed to your tweet. To find the best hashtags to use, there’s a great app called Focalmark that allows you to generate relevant hashtags based on the topic or theme you’re looking for.

Focal Mark App

Step six: Join a Twitter chat and contribute value

If you’re in the digital marketing space, we’d love to have you join a #BufferChat, which takes place every Wednesday at noon ET/9:00 a.m. PT and 4:00pm AEST/8:00am CEST. Other great resources for finding a relevant Twitter chat include:

Chat Salad is a great place to find chats that are currently happening or taking place in the near future.
Tweet Reports also has a great listing of Twitter chats.
Twubs, a website where you can register a hashtag, has an easy-to-read and thorough listing of chats.
This huge Google doc spreadsheet includes hundreds of Twitter chats.

Summary

Fill out your profile completely
Share a link to your profile
Place Twitter follow buttons on your site
Find relevant accounts to follow
Use relevant hashtags
Join a Twitter chat

How to get your first 1,000 fans on Facebook

Step one: Fill out your page completely

Facebook pages offer an incredible level of detail and information. Many businesses even use them as their main website. To maximize your chances of gaining as many fans as possible, you’ll want to fill out your profile as thoroughly as possible.

About section
URL
Profile picture & cover photo/video
Profile theme or template (new feature from Facebook!)
Call-to-action button
Address (for brick-and-mortar businesses)
Long description and mission
Phone number and/or email address
Create several updates so there is content on the page

One helpful tip for getting Facebook fans that we shared in our Facebook Page starter guide is to make a great first impression by maximizing the eye-catching ability of your Facebook Cover Photo. We’ve included a video on the Buffer Page which now has more than 2,700 views!

Step two: Invite your friends to the page

From your Facebook page, you can select the option to Invite Your Friends and then browse through your friend list to send an invite. It might be best to select a handful of friends you think would be most interested rather than blasting the invitation to all.

If possible, it’d be great to get to 25 fans via this method. Once you hit the 25-fan threshold, you can then claim a vanity URL for your page (e.g., facebook.com/yourbrandname), which will look more appealing when you share the URL in later steps.

Step three: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Tweet your Facebook page URL to your followers, or share your Facebook page

Step four: Add Facebook buttons to your website

Facebook offers a huge helping of buttons and widgets that you can add to your site. Here’s the complete list of their social plugins:

Save Button
Like, Share, Send, & Quote
Embedded Posts & Video Player
Page Plugin
Comments
Follow Button

If you’re looking to get more fans on your Facebook page, the Like button and Share button are two of your best bets. (The “Follow” button, while it sounds enticing, is more for individuals with profiles who want to offer people the chance to follow rather than friend.)

Facebook Like - Share - Send Buttons

If you’d prefer the Like or Like Box button, you can set your Facebook page URL and edit options for showing a feed of your posts, the height and width of the box, and a handful of other options. The box will take up a bit more space on your site, but you get the added value of your Facebook profile picture appearing the box, too.

brainpickings like

Step five: Spend a little on Facebook advertising

Facebook lacks many of the organic options of getting your name out there. With a news feed algorithm and the sheer mass of users, paying a bit for extended reach and boost can help.

A couple of tips:

Advertise to those interested in your niche. When in doubt, go more targeted. Fewer than 100,000 people is generally best.
Retarget the ads to people who have visited your website or blog.

Step six: Try a Facebook call-to-action on your blog. 

We have a handful of calls-to-action on our blog, including our HelloBar at the top of the page and a slideup box that appears as you scroll. Either of these could be repurposed for Facebook calls-to-action as well (or any other social network, for that matter).

Summary

Fill out your profile completely
Invite your friends
Share a link to your profile
Add Facebook buttons
Spend a little on Facebook ads
Calls-to-action on the blog

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Pinterest

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

Pinterest creates a distinction between individual users and business users. You can switch your individual account to a business account at any time and then enjoy features like rich pins, customized Pin It buttons and widgets, and more.

To fully complete the information on your profile, when viewing your profile click the gear icon and then “Account Settings.” Clicking the “Edit Profile” button lets you edit only the basic information and nothing deeper.

In Account Settings, you can fill out the following:

Email
Business type
Contact name
Business name
Profile picture
Custom username and vanity URL
About section
Location
Website
Connected social networks
For the website, Pinterest can step you through verification options that will help with their Rich Pins services as well as add a verified icon to the website on your profile, which may give potential followers more confidence in following you.

Step two: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Publish an update on Twitter or Facebook with a link to your Pinterest page. Share your new page with your email list. Pinterest makes it super easy to do so. Here’s a quick peek at what it looks like from Buffer’s Pinterest Profile:

Pinterest Share Options

Step three: Include a Pinterest button on your website or blog

Pinterest offers five different styles of buttons and widgets that you can place on your website.

Pin It button
Follow button
Pin widget
Profile widget
Board widget

The Pin It button is helpful for getting the content on your website more traction on Pinterest. There are also some helpful WordPress plugins that can help add Pinterest functionality.

If you’re interested in boosting your followers, something more akin to the Follow button or the Profile and Board widgets might come in handy.

The Follow button is super simple. Enter your Pinterest URL and your full name, and build the button. You get an HTML code to place wherever you’d like the button to appear.

The Profile and Board widgets let you display an interactive preview of all your pins or just the pins from a particular board. You can choose the layout size—square, sidebar, header, or custom.

Buffer Social Blog Pinterest Board

Pinterest Board Widget Preview

Buffer Pinterest Profile

Pinterest Profile Widget Preview

Step four: Follow the boards of your competitors’ followers

Matthew Barby has a number of neat strategies for getting more initial followers on various social networks. Here’s a strategy that he tested with great success for Pinterest:

Find a selection of your competitors’ Pinterest pages and click on their followers.
Go through and follow around 50-100 of their followers’ boards each day (do this for around 2 weeks). You can also search for users based on hashtags relevant to your niche.
Now create between 5 and 10 boards of your own that span across a range of different topics. Each week, you should aim to create another 3-4 boards.
Pin as much content from your website as possible into a selection of your different boards. Add long descriptions to each pin with 2-4 hashtags. Try to space this out – don’t pin too many things at one time or you’ll flood everyone’s feeds. Try to stick to no more than 10-15 pins in an hour.
Now, on a daily basis, go through your feed and repin around 10 pins onto your different boards – do this twice a day.

Summary

Fill out your profile completely
Share a link to your profile
Include a Pinterest button on your site
Include Pinterest Board and Profile widgets on your site
Follow the boards of your competitors’ followers

How to get your first 1,000 followers on LinkedIn

There are a couple unique ways to look at the climb to 1,000 followers on LinkedIn. Are you seeking followers for your personal profile or for your company page? The advice below touches on each.

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

LinkedIn places great value in its users filling out their profiles completely. Your profile likely has a Profile Strength icon that shows you how thoroughly you’ve filled in your information.

linkedin profile strength

The more information you add, the more likely it is that someone may find you. Fill out as much as you’re comfortable with, and be sure to take advantage of LinkedIn’s new cover photos and rich media options for your profile. For instance, you could add a relevant industry image as your cover photo and place portfolio images and links into your profile. Here’s what Brian’s profile looks like to the public:

This same concept goes for businesses. The profile options are a bit more limited, but you can still add cover photo and profile picture, URL, about information, and the specialties with which you’re involved.

Step two: Post frequently to increase awareness. 

LinkedIn offers a few different options for individuals to post great content to LinkedIn to increase awareness and page growth.

One of my favorite publishing avenues is via LinkedIn Pulse. Similar to Medium and Facebook Notes, the content appears native within the news feed. And in addition, each time you post to Pulse, the article appears at the top of your profile – showcasing your work in a beautiful way.

Step three: Create a business Showcase Page

LinkedIn now offers a new option for businesses to create a Showcase Page and extend their reach:

Step four: Invite your coworkers to join LinkedIn and fill out their profile

This tip comes in handy for company pages on LinkedIn. When employees add you as their current employer on LinkedIn, your logo appears on their profile and it links directly to your LinkedIn company page.

Step five: Send an original connection request, and accept requests from everyone

Chris Lee shared an interesting strategy about how he handles the giving and receiving of LinkedIn requests.

Be indiscriminate about accepting connection requests. I accept all requests – they could potentially endorse you for multiple skills, share your profile to their network, and expand your reach. You should aim to have 500+ connections on your profile.

When sending out connection requests, try to modify the default message to something more personalized to increase the chances of your request being accepted. You can include your LinkedIn profile URL in your signature, “Connect with me.”

Here’s an example of a request he might send.

linkedin request

Summary

Fill out your profile completely
Share a link to your profile
Create a Business Showcase Page
Get your coworkers involved
Accept all requests, and customize the requests you send

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Instagram

Update: You might enjoy our an advanced guide for getting even more followers on Instagram!

Step one: Fill out your Instagram profile completely

What might Instagram users consider when they decide whether to follow you? Chances are good that they’ll check out your profile first.

To that end, if you want to get followers on Instagram, be sure you have completed your profile with a profile picture, a description, and a link to your website.

What’s more is that you want the photos themselves to look complete and professional. Instagram’s header section is composed of seven of your most popular images. Be sure that you’ve taken at least seven images before you begin promoting your profile. Lifestyle and personal images tend to do best.

Buffer Instagram Profile

Step two: Connect your Instagram and Facebook account

Doing so will help your Facebook friends find you and follow you on Instagram and allow you to advertise on Instagram through the Facebook Ads Manager.

Step three: Come up with a commenting strategy

Any given second on Instagram, there are 575 likes on a picture compares to 81 comments. A comment figures to get noticed (and appreciated) much more than a like.

Comment from a computer, using a tool like Iconosquare. This way you can leave comments quicker and easier than typing out on a mobile device.
Search for a relevant hashtag.
Comment on photos posted within the last day or two.
Comment on photos with fewer than five other comments (to make sure your comment is seen and appreciated).

Step four: Like a lot of posts

Neil Patel tried out several Instagram strategies to gain more followers, and his number one takeaway was this:

If you want to grow your account by a few hundred followers a day, the best way to accomplish it is to randomly like thousands of images a day.

Step five: Discover the best hashtags

Find out what the influencers in your industry are tagging. For a more scientific view, check into the Webstagram Top 100 to see the overall trends and top picks for hashtags on Instagram. (You can gain more Instagram followers by using the hashtags people are looking for!)

Step six: Place a hashtagged feed of Instagram posts on your website or blog

This way, visitors to your site can notice your Instagram account and send you follows. There are some helpful sites—Webstagram and Instansive, for instance—that assist with getting the feed on your site. WordPress users have a lot of plugin options as well.

In addition, Instagram also offers five different types/sizes of badges that you can place on your website.

how-to-get-followers-instagram-badges

Step seven: Tag people

Tag and mention the accounts that are relevant to you. This could lead to the accounts themselves following you back or with these users paying the love forward by mentioning you on one of their photos.

Step eight: Share a link to your profile on other social channels and email

You can pick up more followers by sharing a link to your profile with the people who are already following you on other social networks.

Step nine: Use geo-tagging for your pictures and your store

Instagram revealed a photo maps feature which lets users see the pictures that were taken from a certain location. If you enable geo-tagging on your pictures, you can be part of this map. Same goes for a brick-and-mortar store you own. Connect your Instagram via Foursquare to turn on this feature.

Summary

Fill out your Instagram profile completely, and make sure that you have at least seven high-quality images on your account
Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account
Comment on as many images as you can
Like as many images as you can
Share your profile across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and email
Use geo-tagging in your picture to increase awareness

[Interested in listening to this post in podcast format? We invite you to check out Buffer’s very own podcast – The Science of Social Media!] 

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

Over to you!

Which tips might you try to get more followers on these social channels?

What have you found that has worked well for you in the past?

We’re curious to try some of these tips out on our Buffer social media profiles! Many of these we’ve tried-and-tested; others are new. It’d be great to test them all out and report back with what works. And we’d also love to hear your feedback on this episode from The Science of Social Media. Thanks for listening!

The Simple Test That Doubled Leads in One Week

double-leads-2.jpg

We’ve talked about the best practice of matching your offer and blog post topic as tightly as possible many times on the HubSpot Marketing Blog. But just in case you haven’t heard of this best practice before, I’ll give an example.

Let’s say you have a post explaining different types of commercial cooling systems that gets a steady amount of organic traffic each month. The best fit offer for this post would be a quiz to determine the right cooling system for your business, or a cooling systems pricing comparison sheet.

Because the offer closely aligns with what brought the visitor to your blog post in the first place — an interest in learning about commercial cooling systems — it’s natural for visitors to want to consume this additional content and convert on a lead form. On the other hand, an ebook on ventilation best practices probably wouldn’t convert traffic as well, since it’s not as well-aligned with the topic of the blog post.

A few years back, we did an audit of our highest organic traffic posts on the HubSpot Blog to see if our offers were as optimized for conversion as they could be. We found several areas to more tightly align blog post topic with offer topic, and saw CVRs climb. For example, conversions from this post increased considerably when we swapped a generic marketing offer for a press release template.

press-release-post.png

press-release-template-cta-1.png?noresize

The bottom of the post CTA

Fast forward to today. It had been a while since we took a look at those posts. After all, all of the optimization work that could be done had been done, right?

But then I started digging into the conversion rates of the offer landing pages themselves … and discovered a whole new gold mine of opportunity.

Here’s the quick and dirty of how I doubled leads from 50 of our top-performing blog posts in one week by analyzing landing page CVRs.

Gathering the Data

First, I created a massive spreadsheet that included data on:

Blog post traffic
Leads generated from blog posts (HubSpot customers, you can do this via attribution reports. Learn how here.)
Conversion rate of offer landing page

Here’s what that looked like (this snapshot features some of our worst-converting blog posts — clearly, there’s some work to be done):

spreadsheet-nick-1.png

Blog data: URL, views, leads attributed, and CVR

spreadsheet-nick-2.png

Separate tab with offer LP submission rate data

Then, I sorted by highest number of blog post views and highest number of leads generated, and started comparing to offer landing page CVR. This helped me prioritize my optimization efforts so I could see where the potential to move the needle was the greatest — i.e. an offer with a 70% submission rate but 800 monthly views wouldn’t be as good an opportunity to increase raw leads as one with a 45% submission rate and 15,000 monthly views.

The sweet spot was high blog post views + low number of leads generated + low landing page submission rate.

Auditing the Offers

Then, for the top 150 viewed blog posts, I manually audited and noted the URL of which offer LPs were being used. I found that some offers were tightly aligned to the topic of the blog posts while others were not. I also found that some of the offers we were directing visitors to were out of date — not the best experience.

Next up? Some VLOOKUP magic to match offer landing page submission rate to the blog posts that offer was being linked from. It quickly became clear that some of our best-performing blog posts were pointing to some of our worst-performing offers. I also spotted a few trends in subject matter among our lowest performers, such as social media, career development, and content creation.

spreadsheet-nick-3b.png

Finally, I went through our offers library and identified the content offers with the highest submission rates, and sorted them by topic category. These would be the replacements for the laggards.

The Results

After all this number crunching, I was able to identify 50 blog posts that represented our lowest-hanging fruit. I went through and swapped out these posts’ CTAs (or created new ones from scratch) for the most tightly-aligned offers with the highest submission rates.

The results were even better than I expected. After one week, these posts generated 100% more leads than average — even while post traffic was down 10%. This seemingly small tweak made a big impact on our leads.

We’ll be keeping an eye on how this pans out long-term. But in the meantime, here are a few takeaways and lessons learned I hope will be as valuable for your team as they were for ours:

When deciding what offer to pair with what blog post, don’t neglect to check the submission rate of the offer landing page. As we found, this is an easy way to quickly increase the number of leads you’re generating from your best-performing blog posts — especially if you have multiple offers on the same or similar topics.
Regularly audit your offers to ensure the content isn’t out of date. Outdated content will create a negative visitor experience and hurt your conversion rate.
Regularly audit the conversion paths of your top blog posts. Set aside time for optimization every few months so you can ensure you’re using your content to generate the most possible leads. Optimization isn’t a one-and-done thing.

Have you ever done a similar optimization project? Comment below with your best experiments and hacks to increase conversion rate below (and hey, we might even feature your experiment on our blog).

HubSp

Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

The Hipster’s Guide to ROI [Infographic]
Marketing lingo has expanded and with all of the acronyms, it’s hard to decipher and differentiate combinations of letters. This infographic will show you the most common acronyms and esoteric language related to marketing ROI, giving you an explanation of what they are and why they matter. (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog)

SEMrush Ranking Factors Study 2017
Google ranking factors constantly updates with every major algorithm change. In this report, the 12 most substantial and controversial factors (including website visits, pages per session and content) were chosen to show what impacts search results and to identify consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism that could be helpful to the SEO community. (SEMrush)

Check Out Our New Look!
Twitter has listened to the feedback from its users and have made some updates to the design. Some of the new features include: Typography has been refined to be more consistent with bolder headlines and rounded profile photos, Tweets are now updated instantly on the mobile app with replies, retweets and like counts so you can see real-time conversations and links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in iOS so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into. (Twitter Blog)

LinkedIn Adds Images in Comments, New Opportunities for Job Listings
There have been many small yet impactful new updates to LinkedIn recently, due to audience demand. One new feature is you can now add images into comments on posts within the LinkedIn platform. Another boost for LinkedIn is Google’s new tool which helps people find jobs directly through Google search, which sorts through various listings, including LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)

Instagram Stories Now Has 250 Million Daily Active Users, Heating Up Its Rivalry With Snapchat
Instagram Stories is the section of disappearing posts, which recently pulled ahead of Snapchat with an increase of 50 million users in just two months. Instagram also announced that users are now allowed to replay live video instead of it immediately disappearing. (AdWeek)

Google’s Job Listings Search is Now Open to All Job Search Sites & Developers
Google is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings in Google search. Although it doesn’t have an official name, it’s part of the Google for Jobs initiative. You can also track how well your job listings are doing in Google search with a new filter in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. (Search Engine Land)

Oh, How Pinteresting!
Pinterest rolled out a fresh new look for Lens, and instead of only being able to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes at home, Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas including shoes, shirts, hats and other styles. The new interface and built-in tools make it easy to Lens the world around you. (Pinterest Blog)

The Most Important Skills for B2B Tech Marketers
B2B technology marketers rely on many skills for their niche market. The most important skills among Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were soft skills, including communication and people management and writing skills. Others included digital media marketing and content marketing. (MarketingProfs)

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news stories. Craving more news in the meantime? Check out TopRank Marketing on Twitter @toprank!

The post Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


25 Days, 25 Expert Social Media Growth Strategies [New Email Course for Marketers]

What’s working for you social media these days?

One of our goals at Buffer is to always be iterating and experimenting with what we do on social media and in marketing. Whether it’s cutting our posting frequency, curating content, or creating square videos, we’re always up for trying new strategies! Lots of times these experiments fail (and we learn valuable lessons) and other times they end up revealing great opportunities to grow.

So what are you experimenting with on social media this week? This month? This year?

We’d love to help with some ideas!

We’ve collected our 25 most effective social media growth strategies that have helped us move the needle over the past year. These tips and strategies are straight from our Buffer playbook and have helped people (including us) find great success on social media! We’re excited to deliver these strategies to you in a free daily email.

Social Media Strategies email course
Buffer Email Course: Social Media Growth Strategies

Join us for 25 days of social media growth strategies!

We’d count it an amazing privilege to share with you these strategies over the next several days. You can join for free by visiting the landing page below.

Join this course — 25 unique, social media growth strategies, delivered a day-at-a-time, for free!

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We’ll send you one email per day, Monday through Friday, for the next 25 days.

All of the lessons contain detailed knowledge-packed information on how you can get started with that specific strategy immediately. These are real strategies, resources, and tips that we’re currently using here Buffer or that we have used in the recent past.

A huge shoutout to the amazing folks who are blazing trails on social media marketing and inspired many of the strategies that you will read about in this email course. Lots of them have been guests on the Buffer Podcast – The Science of Social Media!

Bonus: Many of the social media growth strategies include a short video tutorial!

Course preview

Here’s a quick look at what’s in store for our social media growth strategies course in the first 15 lessons:

The “Why” and the “How” behind social media marketing
The web’s top (free) social media content curation tool
Tools for creating videos on a budget
5 hidden Instagram marketing features
Must-have image creation tools for savvy marketers
The power of resharing content on Facebook
10 incredible stock photo websites to bookmark
Building your brand through content curation
Sell your product through educational screen recordings
Less is more with Facebook posting (preview below)
Understanding social media algorithms
6 time-saving social media tools
Social media analytics and benchmarking
5 secrets of successful video marketing
Strategies for sharing content across social media

Join our 25-day social media growth strategies course to see these lessons in detail and receive the remaining 10 lessons! 

A sample lesson

We’re excited to make sure that you get all of the information and takeaways you want from these emails and so I’m happy to share here a sample of one of the lessons from the course. Here’s lesson #10 (in-full) – Less is more with Facebook posting: (View full email in browser)

Less is more with Facebook posting
In October of 2016 we dramatically changed our Facebook posting strategy.

A gradual, but noticeable shift in many social media algorithms and an influx of brand advertising on Facebook meant that it was important for us to either start experimenting or we’d continue to see a decline in organic reach and engagement.

We needed to make a change.

We cut our posting frequency by more than 50% on Facebook and began to truly focus on quality over quantity. What happened next, even the most optimistic social media manager couldn’t have expected:

Our Facebook reach and engagement began to increase even though we were posting less!

Facebook Engagement Videos

We’ve written a detailed breakdown on the impact this change has had on our Facebook results – But in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of our current Facebook strategy that we hope will help to spark some inspiration:

One or two posts per day maximum
The main reason why I believe we’re seeing such a dramatic increase in reach and engagement is that we’re only posting one or two pieces of content per day on Facebook.

This serves two valuable purposes:

1. It forces us to only share the best of the best content because we literally have limited space
2. It allows the Facebook algorithm to focus on delivering one piece of content (vs. multiple) to our audience

Curated content
Previously, we used to shy away from curated content because it didn’t directly affect the bottom-line: traffic, subscriptions, sales, etc.

However, sorting our Facebook posts by “Most Reach” shows exactly the impact it has had on our Page and growth: 7 of 11 of our most successful posts throughout the last 14 months are curated (not created by Buffer). These posts have combined to reach more than 750,000 people, averaging to about 107,000 people per post.

Curated content may not “directly” affect our bottom line, but it plays a significant role in reach, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and page growth.

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement
Focusing on brand awareness and engagement vs. driving traffic to our website has become a staple of our strategy as well.

We’ve witnessed a shift in many social media networks over the last year. It used to be that brands and businesses could post links to their blog posts and watch the traffic flow in. And while that’s still the case for many publishers, savvy marketers can benefit from thinking about their content strategy as a whole – focusing on both direct traffic as well as engagement.

Posting content that aims to drive engagement only helps to build an activate Facebook audience. Then, right when you need them most, you can deliver a piece of brand content that will help move the bottom line.

Boosted Posts
Last, but not least, I’d love to address how important Facebook boosted posts have been in increasing reach and engagement on our Page.

Currently, we spend roughly $40 per day boosting our best-performing content on Facebook.

Boosting posts takes content that’s already performing well and amplifies it on a huge scale. As that implies, the key is to focus on boosting great content, not necessarily posts that aren’t doing well and “forcing” them with advertising dollars.

You Can Do It
Head over to your Facebook Analytics and calculate your average post engagement for the previous 7 days (total number of engagements / total number of posts).

Then, cut the number of times you post over the next 7 days by 50% and really focus on only posting your best content. Once 7 days is up, calculate your average post engagement again.

Did your engagement rate and total engagements go up or down? We’d love to hear!

Thanks for joining us,
Brian & the Buffer Team

F.A.Q. – Frequently Asked Questions about this course

Does the course cost anything?

It’s 100% free!

We’re excited to give these strategies away in hopes that might be helpful for you and your social media marketing efforts.

Who is it for?

Everyone! It’s not tied to Buffer accounts at all, so both current Buffer users and yet-to-be Buffer users can join.

What happens at the end of the 25 days?

At the end of the 25-day course, we’d love to send you a congratulatory email (on a job well done!) plus details on where you can continue your education and connect with peers online. I’ll also be around to answer any follow-up questions you might have about the emails and subjects included in this course.

Will you be signing me up for other newsletters or lists, too?

Nope, we will not sign you up for other email lists without your express permission. Your email’s safe with us. 🙂

Help! I haven’t received my confirmation email yet!

If you can let us know the email you signed up with, I’d be happy to look you up in our system to see if all’s in working order. The first email should be headed your way shortly after signup, or first thing on Monday if you’ve signed up on the weekend. If you’re yet to see anything, I’d be very happy to investigate for you!

(Often times, some folks experience a bit more of a delay than others, depending on email service provider)

We’d love to invite you to join this course!

It would be awesome to have the opportunity to share these social media growth strategies and connect with you over the next 25 days.

If this course interests you at all, you can sign up directly online here!

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We’re excited for the chance to share with you!

Feel free to leave any thoughts, questions, or comments here on the article, and I’ll hop right on them!

Digital Marketing News: State of Content, Direct Ads on Twitter, Google Attribution

Content Marketing Stats: The State of Content Marketing in 2017 [Infographic]
This infographic from our friends at MarketingProfs uncovers top content trends for B2B and B2C marketers in 2017. You’ll find insights on everything from top channels to budgeting and content goals.  (MarketingProfs)

Twitter is Offering Advertisers More Tools to Engage Consumers With Direct Messages
Twitter’s new Direct Message Cards that can include as many as four CTA buttons that will send users to specific content. The cards can also be used in organic tweets and are designed to encourage one-on-one conversations, making it easier for brands to connect with their audience. (AdWeek)

Hello Google Attribution, Goodbye Last-Click
Marketers around the world are rejoicing after the announcement of the new Google Attribution tool. While the tool is still in beta, marketers will soon be able to measure performance across devices and channels all in one place, for no additional cost. That means that marketers will soon have a better understanding of what marketing tactics are most effective at moving prospects through the customer journey. (Google Adwords Blog)

Introducing Location and Hashtag Stories on Explore
For users interested in what’s going on around them, Instagram now displays stories happening based on your location. Additionally, users can also search interest based hashtags to find groups of stories related to that specific topic. (Instagram Blog)

Snapchat Adds Collaborative Stories, Which Could Help Boost Exposure Through the App
Story collaboration on Snapchat just got a whole lot easier. Snapchat’s new custom stories features lets users invite other people to contribute to a story without having to host a takeover.  The stories will remain on the Stories page until no one has added for 24 hours, or the creator deletes it. (Social Media Today)

Bing Launches Bots for Local Businesses
Microsoft has started integrating chatbots into search results to make search more interactive. For now, this feature is only available to restaurants but Microsoft envisions rolling these bots out broadly in the future. The bots will answer common customer questions, be available across multiple channels and requires virtually no technical requirements from business owners.  (Search Engine Land)

Promoted Video Gets Even Better on Pinterest
Pinterest introduced promoted videos less than a year ago, and are already releasing three big enhancements. They have added an autoplay feature, better accessibility to video content (search and feeds) and improved reporting through a new partnership. (Pinterest Business Blog)

Google is Speeding Up Search Ads With AMP Technology
Google is speeding up AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for search in two different ways: a new beta where advertisers can use AMP pages as landing pages and the entire Google Display Network is getting hit with AMP technology. (Search Engine Journal)

What Were Your Favorite News Stories This Week?

Thanks for watching and reading our weekly news roundup. Please feel free to share your favorite stories of the week in the comments below or send us a message on Twitter to @toprank.

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Digital Marketing News: State of Content, Direct Ads on Twitter & Google Attribution | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Marketing News: State of Content, Direct Ads on Twitter & Google Attribution appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.