Are You a Social Media Team of One? This Toolkit Can Help

You do it all. From planning long-term strategy and reviewing your analytics to wolfing down a sandwich while you create images for Facebook with one hand and reply to people individually on Twitter with the other. No matter what social media hat gets thrown at you—designer, analyst, copywriter—you’ve got to be ready to wear it.

The good news is that you can handle it all (and you look great in hats). To help, we’ve compiled these best practices and resources that anyone acting as a social media team of one can use. We’ve grouped them into five buckets: preparation, organization, efficiency, education, and community support.

Preparation

Focus your efforts

You’ve got limited time and resources to make social media work for your business, so make sure you’re investing them where they count. This means not stretching yourself too thin trying to make a dent in every social network out there. Focus in on where your strategy is working best, and double down on strengthening those communities instead.

Resources:

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

Create a monthly and weekly content calendar

You don’t have time to waste sitting around wondering what you should post on Facebook next. Plan ahead and create a content calendar for the month. Consider any events your business may have on the horizon, holidays, and promotions or other campaigns. In a weekly content calendar, you can go into more detail about what exactly you’ll be posting each day on each network.

Resources:

Download our content calendar template:

Organization

Organize and monitor your followers

As a team of one, you won’t be able to keep track of everyone on social media—and that’s true regardless of whether you have 100 followers on Twitter or 100,000. Create Twitter lists for various groups (such as current customers, local reporters, or thought leaders) and then set up a stream in Hootsuite for each list. This way, you’ll be able to organize and group people together on Twitter while still seeing every Tweet in one place.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Organize and monitor keywords and phrases

If people are talking about you, your competitors, or your industry on social—you want to see it. And the easiest way to make that happen is by setting up search streams in Hootsuite to track specific keywords and phrases. You may only be one person, but you’ll be able to monitor the conversations happening on social like a team of 20.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Efficiency

Create multiple posts for one piece of content

This is an easy way to extend the life of a piece of content on social (which is especially helpful if you’re also the one responsible for creating that content). For every one piece of content you have, create at least three different posts for it.

At Hootsuite, we look at our best performing Tweets on a regular basis to determine what our audience is finding useful. We then create various versions of those Tweets and put them into a regular rotation, following these guidelines:

  • Vary the copy in the Tweet to find the sweetspot for what works with your audience
  • Make changes to the image attached to the Tweet until you find one that works
  • Alter the hashtags associated with the Tweet to reach new audiences
  • Mix up the time and day that you post so you are connecting with different segments of your audience—this is particular useful if you have a global audience

Resources:

Schedule posts in advance

Scheduling posts is the number one time saving tool for any social media manager, regardless of how many other people are on the team. Planning content in advance and scheduling it not only helps you maintain a consistent social media presence, it frees up time for the critical task of  real-time engagement.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Running low on time to even decide when you want to schedule all your posts? Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule feature can do the work for you and automatically schedule your posts for you. To enable AutoSchedule, just toggle the switch to “on” under the Compose box in your dashboard.

If you click on the “Settings” icon beside the switch, you can also set parameters for when AutoSchedule should schedule your posts.

If you want, you can take scheduling one step further—and save even more time—using Hootsuite’s bulk scheduling tool to schedule up to 350 posts at a time.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Resources:

Share content faster with Hootlet  

You’re reading an article related to your business that you think your followers would love. But to share it with them, you have to copy the URL, open a new window in your browser, go to the social network of your choice, paste the link, write a message to go along with it, and then hit send. Our free Chrome extension Hootlet allows you to do this all in two clicks, without even leaving the original page. Boom.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Education

Social marketing training

It’s hard trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media, especially when you’re doing it all on your own. Through Hootsuite Academy, you can take courses to help develop the fundamental social marketing skills you need to drive real business results—even as a team of one—for free.

Hootsuite platform training

Arm yourself with the right tools and you can manage social so effectively people won’t believe you’re a team of one. To help you master the Hootsuite dashboard, we offer free training that covers all the skills and best practices you need to know.

Community support

#TeamofOne Facebook group

One of the hardest parts about being a team of one is not having anyone to brainstorm with or seek advice from. The #TeamofOne Facebook group is dedicated to solitary social media managers and is an open forum for you to ask questions, give answers, and network.

Twitter chats

Another great way of connecting with other social media professionals is through participating in Twitter chats. #HootChat takes place every Thursday, and focuses on a different topic each week. It’s the perfect chance for you to brush up on your skills, learn something new, and connect with other people facing the same kind of challenges as you.

Resources:

Learn how to make the most of the time you invest in social at Connect via Hootsuite, our virtual social media conference. Register for free to learn how to use social media at every stage of the buyer’s journey—from engagement and brand awareness, to driving leads and closing sales.

Connect via Hootsuite takes place October 5, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET/4:30 p.m. BST

Register for Free

The post Are You a Social Media Team of One? This Toolkit Can Help appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-team-of-one-toolkit/

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach

Facebook boasts a whopping 1.65 billion monthly active users. It remains the most-used social media site among all ages, accounting for one in every six minutes spent online and one in every five minutes spent on mobile.

Simply put: everyone uses Facebook and they use it a lot.

The Facebook algorithm determines what any one of those users sees in their News Feed at a given time. To say it has a huge impact on the Facebook experience would be a colossal understatement.

Fortunately, in the last few years Facebook has begun to tell us more and more about how the News Feed algorithm works, what it favors, what it doesn’t, and what it means for business Pages.

Become familiar with these levers and you’ll know which ones to pull to get your content seen by more people. Boosting organic reach is what it’s all about.

Table of contents

How to improve organic reach on Facebook

What is the Facebook algorithm?

Facebook’s core News Feed values

How does Facebook determine the algorithm?

What the Facebook algorithm takes into account

Other factors the Facebook algorithm considers

How you can impact what appears in your News Feed

 

 

How to improve organic reach on Facebook

The Facebook algorithm is a complicated beast—we go into detail about specific changes in a section below—but there are a few things brands can do to improve their organic reach.

We’ve compiled insights from Facebook’s News Feed FYI blog on what types of content the algorithm favors, so read on for some key takeaways on what brands can do to impact their chances of showing up in their followers’ News Feeds.

Quality content is key

What many of Facebook’s algorithm changes really come down to is quality. Sharing quality content is essential to not only being shown in News Feed, but having your content appear higher in users’ feeds.

Best practices in regards to quality:

  • Share high-quality content whenever possible
  • If you’re sharing links to articles or blog posts on your website, ensure that they’re quality content that readers will want to spend time with
  • Aim to be informative (in whatever way that makes sense for your business and your industry)
  • When you share videos, aim to choose ones that will resonate with your audience
  • Don’t reuse content from ads for organic Page posts as these posts will likely receive less organic distribution

Don’t be spammy

An extension of Facebook’s preference for quality content is its ongoing aversion to spammy content.

Best practices to avoid being spammy:

  • Be particular about what you share and avoid content that doesn’t look reputable (such as content that could turn out to be a viral hoax)
  • Avoid clickbait tactics, such as overly exaggerated headlines or ones that withhold key information
  • Avoid encouraging users to take a particular action when they view a post—such as encouraging lots of clicks
  • Don’t like-bait (publish posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share the post)
  • When looking for content to share, watch out for frequently circulated content (photos or videos that have been uploaded to Facebook over and over again) as that’s considered spammy behavior
  • Avoid spammy links, such as stories that use inaccurate language or formatting to try to trick people into clicking through to a website that only contains ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads
  • Avoid sharing overly promotional posts as posts that solely push people to buy a product, install an app, take part in a promotion or enter sweepstakes without adding any additional context—these posts will likely receive less organic distribution
  • If you have a third party app, ensure that share settings are set up so that users take an explicit action to share, rather than share implicitly as explicitly shared stories are prioritized over implicitly shared ones

General advice

Post quality content. Avoid being spammy. What else? There are a few other things to pay attention to when using Facebook for your brand.

General best practices for Facebook Pages:

  • Post about timely topics (when it makes sense for your brand to do so)
  • If it makes sense for your brand, give live video a try—when a Page is broadcasting, its video is more likely to appear higher in News Feed
  • When relevant, tag other Pages in your posts because they may then be seen by a new audience (users who follow the tagged Page)
  • Avoid publishing pure text posts—instead focus on sharing rich media such as links, photos, and video
  • Make sure your Page profile is complete (yup, that matters to how Facebook assesses your Page)

One of the best ways to stay on the Facebook algorithm’s good side is to follow best practices offered by the network itself. Facebook’s media hub offers an on-going series of posts on best practices covering topics such as clickbait and live video.

On the matter of clickbait best practices, Facebook offers the following advice:

  • Share headlines that inform
  • Post headlines that set appropriate expectations
  • When curating content as a Page, share links that have clear, accurate headlines

When it comes to best practices for live video, Facebook offers these suggestions:

  • Tell people ahead of time when you’re going to broadcast
  • Go live when you have a strong connection
  • Write a compelling description before going live
  • Ask your viewers to follow you and receive notifications when you go live
  • Say hello to commenters by name and respond to their comments
  • Broadcast for longer periods of time to reach more people
  • Be creative and go live often


Now that you’ve read our tips on how to boost organic reach, we can dive into the details and evidence that support those directions.

What is the Facebook algorithm?

Facebook has said that the average user has access to more than 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300. The Facebook algorithm is the thousands of factors, or signals, that Facebook uses to determine which posts should be among the 300 that gets served up in a user’s News Feed. Basically, it’s how Facebook curates an overwhelming amount of content into a manageable chunk for the individual user.

Up until about 2011, this ranking system was known as EdgeRank.

Facebook’s original News Feed ranking system was based on three elements:

  1. Affinity: how close is the relationship between the user and the content or its source?
  2. Weight: what type of action was taken on the content?
  3. Time Decay: how current is the content—how recently was it posted?

While those three items are still included, Facebook’s current News Feed algorithm takes into account as many as 100,000 individual factors, according to Marketing Land.

Many of the factors are based on how users behave on Facebook and actions they take to indicate whether a piece of content is of interest to them or not.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of product management for News Feed, explained the need for an algorithm in a blog post: “When we launched News Feed in 2006, it was hard to imagine the challenge we now face: far too much information for any one person to consume. In the decade since, more than a billion people have joined Facebook, and today they share a flood of stories every day. That’s why stories in News Feed are ranked — so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends. If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied. So one of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right.”

Facebook’s core News Feed values

Facebook has gone so far to codify the priorities—what they call their “set of core values”—that they take into account when adjusting the algorithm for News Feed. As laid out in a blog post by Mosseri, those values are as follows:

1. Friends and family come first

“Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places, and things you want to be connected to—starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why if it’s from your friends, it’s in your feed, period—you just have to scroll down.”

2. Your feed should inform

“People expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them—and we have learned over time that people value stories that they consider informative.”

3. Your feed should entertain

“We’ve also found that people enjoy their feeds as a source of entertainment. For some people, that’s following a celebrity or athlete; for others it’s watching Live videos and sharing funny photos with their friends.”

4. A platform for all ideas

“Our integrity depends on being inclusive of all perspectives and view points, and using ranking to connect people with the stories and sources they find the most meaningful and engaging. We don’t favor specific kinds of sources—or ideas.”

5. Authentic communication

“The feedback we’ve gotten tells us that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most. That’s why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine—so we can show more of them in News Feed. And we work to understand what kinds of stories people find misleading, sensational, and spammy, to make sure people see those less.”

6. You control your experience

“Ultimately, you know what’s most meaningful to you—and that’s why we’ve developed controls so you can customize what you see… We take your actions as feedback to help us better understand what content is important to you.”

7. Constant iteration

“We view our work as only one percent finished—and are dedicated to improving along the way.”

How does Facebook determine the algorithm?

To decide when changes to the algorithm are needed, Facebook relies on its Feed Quality Program. This system includes “global crowd-sourced surveys of tens of thousands of people per day, as well as people who answer more detailed questions about what they like seeing in their feeds.”

Facebook uses the program to ask users to rate their experience and provide feedback.

What the Facebook algorithm takes into account

Mosseri explains what News Feed is, how it works, and what that means for publishers in this video from the 2016 F8 conference.

As the video explains, there are a few basic factors that the News Feed ranking takes into account. When deciding whether to serve a piece of content to a user, the algorithm considers:

  • Who posted it
  • What type of content it is
  • When it was posted
  • What interactions it has

But the algorithm is a lot more complicated than that and there are a number of other factors that Facebook takes into account when ranking News Feed.

Other factors the Facebook algorithm considers

The thing about Facebook’s algorithm is that it’s constantly in flux. Big changes are announced on the company’s News Feed FYI blog, but smaller changes happen as often two to three times every week, according to an article in TIME.

In 2015, Facebook published 12 posts on the News Feed FYI blog. By the end of August 2016, there had already been eight new updates posted.

The following factors are listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent changes listed first. In cases where multiple updates were made to the same (or a similar) ranking factor, those changes have been grouped together under a single header and included in the list based on the date of the most recent change.

Alongside each update, we’ve included insight into what it means for brands.

Stories that are useful to individual users

On August 11, 2016, Facebook made a change to News Feed to show users more “personally informative” stories.The update created a news ranking signal to predict what stories would be most interesting to each individual user.

Facebook explained: “Something that one person finds informative may be different from what another person finds informative. This could be a news article on a current event, a story about your favorite celebrity, a piece of local news, a review of an upcoming movie, a recipe, or anything that informs you.”

This algorithm factor is combined with one that takes into account how relevant a story might be to a user personally, using factors such as their relationship to the person or publisher who shared the post.

What this means for brands

This update isn’t expected to have much of an impact on Pages.

Facebook explained in the announcement blog post: “We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic, and some Pages might see minor decreases.”

Reducing clickbait

On August 4, 2016 Facebook announced plans to reduce clickbait in News Feed.

The update is a follow up to an August 2014 change. The earlier update reduced the distribution of posts with a high bounce rate, where people clicked on the post and then quickly returned to News Feed.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

The 2016 update uses a system that identifies phrases commonly used in clickbait headlines that are not used in other headlines, in a process similar to the way that email spam filters function.

Facebook defined clickbait as “headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer.”

A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines to determine if they were clickbait by considering two key points:

  1. If the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is
  2. If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader

The change is intended to reduce the prominence of posts with headlines such as these:

  • When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions and Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!
  • He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going to Bed and What Happens Next is Hard to Believe
  • The Dog Barked at the Deliveryman and His Reaction Was Priceless

The system not only identifies posts that are clickbait, but also looks at which web domains and Pages the posts come from. Over time, links posted from domains or shared by Pages that consistently post clickbait will appear lower in News Feed.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained in a News Feed FYI blog post: “We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this change. However, websites and Pages who rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease.”

Mosseri told The Verge that the system doesn’t mean publishers will have to write dry, information-dense headlines in order to be seen.

He explained: “We’re not trying to make sure all headlines are the same, or uninteresting. We’re trying to respond to feedback from the people who use Facebook every day—they really don’t like seeing these headlines that mislead them… If you’re a publisher, or you’re a content farm, and you post 50 things a day and 48 of them are clickbait, you’ll see a significant drop in referral traffic and reach.”

Stories from friends

On June 29, 2016, Facebook announced a change to News Feed ranking to prioritize content from friends. The update means that content posted by “the friends you care about” will appear higher in News Feed.

This change is an extension of updates Facebook implemented in April 2015. At that point, Facebook made a first step towards ensuring that users wouldn’t miss content posted by friends they care about.

That update was accompanied by two related ones:

  1. In order to improve the experience for people who don’t have a lot of content available to see, Facebook has relaxed a rule that prevented users from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row.
  2. Due to feedback from users, Facebook decided to rank stories about friends liking or commenting on a post lower in users’ News Feeds or not have them appear at all.

What this means for brands

Reach and referral traffic may decline for some Pages, said Facebook engineering director Lars Backstrom in a blog post. But the “specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience.”

The impact for Pages from the 2015 change was expected to be similar.

Time spent viewing an article

On April 21, 2016, Facebook updated the News Feed ranking to take into account the time users spend reading or viewing content they click on from News Feed.

The update factors in the time users spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article.

It looks at time spent within a threshold to prevent unintentionally treating longer articles preferentially and it does not take into account loading time.

Additionally, Facebook also said that they would reduce how often users see articles from the same source back-to-back their News Feeds.

The change was in response to feedback that the actions that users take on posts—such as liking, clicking, commenting, or sharing—don’t always indicate what posts they’d like to see. For example, people may not take these actions on an article about a serious current event or a post from a friend that contains sad news, but users do still want to see that content.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained in the announcement blog post: “We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic, and some Pages might see minor decreases.”

Live Video

On March 1, 2016, Facebook announced that it’d be changing the News Feed ranking to take Live video into account.

First introduced in December 2016 and expanded to all users in early 2016, Live video has been a very popular feature. Facebook considers it a unique content type, distinct from other videos shared on the platform.

The algorithm update means that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when they are in fact live (they can still be discovered and viewed after the broadcast is over). Facebook says people spend more than three times longer watching broadcasts when they’re live compared to when they’re not.

“This is because Facebook Live videos are more interesting in the moment than after the fact,” Facebook explained in the announcement blog post

What this means for brands

Facebook says they expect the impact to publishers to be minimal: “We do not expect Pages to see significant changes as a result of this update.”

It’s worthwhile to note that this is a good incentive for brands to give live video a try—you could see a significant boost in organic reach.

Reactions

On February 24, 2016 when Facebook rolled out Reactions globally, they explained how the News Feed algorithm would take Reactions into account.

Facebook explained in a News Feed FYI post: “In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, ‘wows,’ or ‘sads’ a post—we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”

Facebook has not yet announced any further iterations of this algorithm ranking factor.

What this means for brands

For all intents and purposes, Reactions will be treated the same as Likes, a treatment that extends to their effect on advertising.

Facebook explained: “Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as likes.”

While Facebook hasn’t made any statements regarding how they might differentiate Reactions from Likes, these new signals can still be useful to brands in terms of gauging how your audience is responding to a piece of content.

Qualitative feedback

On February 1, 2016, Facebook explained how they’re using qualitative feedback to show relevant stories in News Feed.

The social media giant has a Feed Quality Panel comprised of more than a thousand people. This panel is tasked with rating their experience on Facebook every day and giving feedback on how Facebook can improve the content they see in their News Feeds.

Additionally, Facebook surveys tens of thousands of people around the world on a daily basis. These users are asked to rate each story that appears in their feed on a scale from one to five in response to the question: “how much did you want to see this story in your News Feed?”

Facebook says it uses this information to determine what stories people would like to see near the top of their feeds, even if they don’t click, like, or comment on them.

Facebook explained: “News Feed will begin to look at both the probability that you would want to see the story at the top of your feed and the probability that you will like, comment on, click, or share a story.”

What this means for brands

Facebook explained: “The impact of these changes on a story’s distribution will vary depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In general this update should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages; however some Pages may see some increases in referral traffic, and some Pages may see some declines in referral traffic.”

Furthermore: “Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed.”

Facebook advises brands to avoid encouraging users to take a particular action when they view a post—such as encouraging lots of clicks—because such tactics are likely to cause only a temporary spike in the Page’s metrics.

User connection speed

On October 6, 2015, Facebook announced a >change to News Feed ranking that would take into account connection speed.

Facebook uses an open-sourced Network Connection Class which it developed in order to determine how fast a user’s connection is. With this update, Facebook began to retrieve more stories and photos while a user is reading News Feed on a slower connection, a change that’s intended to ensure that stories are available as a user keeps scrolling.

Facebook explained: “For example, if you are on a slower internet connection that won’t load videos, News Feed will show you fewer videos and more status updates and links.”

Additionally, if a user is on a poor internet connection and their News Feed is loading slowly, Facebook will download the story they’re currently looking at rather than a series of News Feed stories. And if a user has a congested or poor quality connection and Facebook is unable to load any new News Feed stories, it will display stories that loaded on a previous visit.

What this means for brands

This update is specific to user experience and shouldn’t affect Pages.

Viral hoaxes

On December 4, 2015, Facebook announced a change to News Feed prioritization aimed at reducing the prominence of viral hoaxes.

The change came about as a result of the platform’s daily user surveys.

Facebook explained in a News Feed FYI post: “With this update, if a significant amount of people tell us they would prefer to see other posts more than that particular viral post, we’ll take that into account when ranking, so that viral post might show up lower in people’s feeds in the future, since it might not actually be interesting to people.”

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

This update follows a January 20, 2015 change regarding hoaxes. That update reduced the distribution of posts that users had reported as hoaxes. It also added an annotation to posts that had received many of these reports. Facebook was clear to specify: “We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy.”

What this means for brands

Facebook explained in a News Feed FYI blog post: “As viral posts are typically anomalies, and not an important part of distribution for Pages, we don’t think this change will impact your Page’s distribution.”

Hide

On July 31, 2015 Facebook made an update to how News Feed takes into account stories that people have chosen to hide. Facebook explained that a small subset of users hide a high number of stories in their News Feed, including ones that they’ve liked or commented on.

In general, News Feed recognizes hide as a signal that a user wishes to see less of a certain type of post. In the case of users who hide most of the stories that appear in their News Feed, Facebook says it won’t take hide into account as strongly as before.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained in a News Feed FYI post: “This update means that the small group of people who hide many stories will start to see more stories in their News Feed, and so will likely hide more stories overall. This means that the total number of hidden stories across Facebook will increase—so Page admins may see an increase in this metric in their Page insights. We do not expect Pages to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.”

Video

Facebook announced changes intended to improve video ranking in June of both 2014 and 2015.

The ranking factor introduced on June 23, 2014 considers both whether someone has watched a video and for how long they watched it with the intent of discovering whether that user would like to see more or less video content in their News Feed. Previously the Facebook algorithm for videos took into account likes, comments, and shares.

The update applies to all videos uploaded to the social network by users and Pages, but does not include links to other sites, such as video sites, as those are covered by different ranking factors.

On June 29, 2015, Facebook further updated how it ranks videos. Now the algorithm also takes into account certain actions that users take on a video, such as choosing to turn on sound, making the video full screen, or enabling high definition.

What this means for brands

In terms of the impact to Pages, the News Feed FYI post about the 2015 update explained: “This improvement means that videos that people choose to watch will reach a larger audience, while videos that people ignore will be shown to fewer people. As always, we recommend that Page owners post stories and videos that will resonate with their audience on Facebook.”

In contrast, the 2015 News Feed FYI post explained that Facebook does “not expect most Pages to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.”

Time spent on stories

On June 12, 2015 Facebook announced a change that would take into account the time a user spends viewing a story in their News Feed.

This ranking factor does more than simply look at time spent on an individual story: it looks at the time a user spent on a story in their feed in comparison to the time they spent viewing other stories.

What this means for brands

Facebook said that they don’t expect Pages to see significant changes as a result of this update to the algorithm.

Reducing overly promotional Page posts in News Feed

On November 14, 2014, Facebook announced changes to the algorithm intended to show users more stories from friends and Pages they care about and less promotional content.

There were already controls on the number of ads users see in their News Feed, but no such controls existed for promotional content posted by Pages.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

According to the feedback they’d received from users, Facebook shared the consistent traits of overly promotional organic posts:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

What this means for brands

This was a significant change for many brands.

Facebook’s News Feed FYI post explained: “As we’ve said before, News Feed is a competitive place—as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

Facebook noted that the change would not increase the number of ads that appear in users’ feeds.

Timely stories from friends and Pages

On September 18, 2014, Facebook made a change to the algorithm intended to show more timely stories in News Feed.

It included two new updates.

One factors in trending topics to ensure that if a friend or Page posts a story about a hot topic, that post is more likely to appear higher in News Feed so that the user sees it when it is relevant.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

The other takes into account the rate at which people are liking and commenting on a post. News Feed FYI explained: “If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date.” If posts are determined to be less timely based on this ranking factor, they’re more likely to appear higher in News Feed early on and lower at a later time.

This signal will also be taken into account when Facebook considers which stories to ‘bump’ in News Feed. The post explained that bumping is when Facebook resurfaces “stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see but are still getting lots of engagement.”

What this means for brands

Facebook said that they don’t expect the updates to have a significant impact on Pages.

The News Feed FYI post explained: “If a Page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time.”

Feedback about ads

On September 11, 2014, Facebook made changes to how the algorithm factors in ads.

This change, along with the one prior to it, takes into account ad hides—when users indicate they don’t want to see a piece of advertising content.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

With their earlier update to the algorithm (announced on September 27, 2013) Facebook placed more emphasis on the feedback they received from users about ads, including how often people reported or hid an ad.

The September 2014 change added another layer to this ranking factor. Facebook decided to also take into account the specific reason a user gave for not wanting to see an ad to use as a signal to determine whether or not they should show the ad to other users.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

Additionally, Facebook announced it would also be paying more attention to feedback from users who don’t often hide ads as a stronger signal.

What this means for brands

For the earlier update in September 2013, Facebook explained that the changes were intended to ensure that ads are shown to the people who want to see them most:

“This means that some marketers may see some variation in the distribution of their ads in the coming weeks. Our goal is to make sure we deliver the most relevant ads, which should mean the right people are seeing a specific ad campaign. This is ultimately better for marketers, because it means their messages are reaching the people most interested in what they have to offer.”

For their more recent changes, Facebook explained the impact for brands in a News Feed FYI blog post: “Most advertisers will see no change to the delivery of their ads or how their ads perform on Facebook. These updates are designed to affect the ads that a small set of people give us negative feedback on, and allow us to show people ads that we think are most relevant for them, and make sure advertisers are getting their messages in front of the right people.”

Implicit vs. explicit third party app shares

On May 27, 2014 Facebook made a change to the algorithm to prioritize explicitly shared stories from third party apps over implicitly shared ones in News Feed.

What this means for brands

If your brand has an app that publishes stories implicitly, Facebook for Developers suggests considering the following options instead:

  • Share Open Graph stories explicitly
  • Share in a more personal way with the Message Dialog

Spam

On April 10, 2014 Facebook announced a series of improvements intended to reduce spam.

The update targeted three types of spammy behavior:

  1. Like-baiting—posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share the post
  2. Frequently circulated content—photos or videos that have been uploaded to Facebook over and over again
  3. Spammy links—stories that use inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

Facebook has since zeroed in on “spammy links,” also known as “clickbait.”

What this means for brands

In terms of the impact for brands, Facebook explained: “The vast majority of publishers on Facebook are not posting feed spam so they should not be negatively impacted by these changes, and, if anything, may see a very small increase in News Feed distribution. A smaller set of publishers who are frequently and intentionally creating feed spam will see their distribution decrease over the next few months.”

And looking specifically at like-baiting: “This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, comments, and shares.”

Topics users like

On February 24, 2014 Facebook updated the algorithm to show users posts from Pages that Pages they follow have been tagged in—something that already occurs with updates from friends. When a user is tagged in a photo, it may be shown to their friends, even if those friends aren’t connected to the user who uploaded the image.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained: “This means some Page posts that tag other Pages may be seen by new people.”

This is an update that brands can use to their advantage by sharing the love and tagging other Pages in their updates—so long as they’re relevant mentions!

Text statuses from friends and Pages treated differently  

On January 21, 2014 Facebook changed the algorithm to treat text status updates from Pages differently from ones posted by friends.

This is because Facebook realized that text status updates from Pages did not prompt the same behavior as those from friends (users who see more status updates from friends are more likely to write status updates).

The update means that text status updates from Pages will be treated as a different category of content.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained in News Feed FYI: “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”

Simply put, text status updates posted by brands will likely not be seen by as many users as updates that include rich media, such as photos, videos, or links.

Relevant articles in feed

On December 2, 2013 Facebook made an algorithm change to prioritize high quality articles in News Feed.

They explained: “We’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on these stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”

This update also added related articles, which are displayed to a user after clicking a link to an article.

Additionally, Facebook updated bumping—a process that resurfaces stories a user didn’t scroll far enough to see—to highlight stories with new comments: “As a result, people may start seeing a few more stories returning to their feed with new comments highlighted.”

What this means for brands

Facebook gave no indication that this change would impact brands.

Organic Page content

On August 23, 2013 Facebook announced plans to prioritize “high quality” content in News Feed.

Facebook built a machine learning system that uses over a thousand factors to determine if content is high quality. Those factors include:

  • How frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (by being hidden by users)
  • How complete the Page profile is
  • Whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base for other known high quality Pages

What this means for brands

Facebook explained the impact of the change on Pages in a News Feed FYI blog post: “For most Pages the impact should be relatively small, but Pages that are seeing good engagement on their posts could see further increases in reach.”

The network says that the ideal Page strategy focuses on producing high quality content and optimizing for engagement and reach. They offered the following tips:

  • Make posts timely and relevant
  • Build credibility and trust with your audience
  • Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
  • Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

And be sure to fill out your business’ Page profile completely—Facebook cares if you’re missing information!

Resurface old stories

In their first News Feed FYI blog post on August 6, 2013, Facebook announced a change to the algorithm that would allow old stories that a user didn’t scroll far enough to see to reappear near the top of News Feed.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

Stories would only be resurfaced if they were still getting lots of likes and comments. The update applies to organic stories only and does not impact how paid content appears in News Feed.

What this means for brands

Facebook explained the impact of the change for Pages in a News Feed FYI blog post: “For Page owners, this means their most popular organic Page posts have a higher chance of being shown to more people, even if they’re more than a few hours old.”

How you can impact what appears in your News Feed

The Facebook algorithm takes into account a ton of factors when deciding what to show in a user’s News Feed, including who posted the content and whether the user tends to like, comment on, or share similar content. But Facebook also offers some tools for users who want more control over what appears in their feed.

Facebook first introduced News Feed controls on November 7, 2014, then updated and expanded those controls on July 9, 2015.

The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook.

With News Feed preferences, users have the option to:

  • Select friends and Pages to see first in their News Feed so that they don’t miss any of their posts
  • Find new Pages to connect to through Page suggestions based on the types of Pages the user has liked in the past
  • Select friends and Pages to unfollow via a list of the top people, Pages, and groups that have appeared in their News Feed in the past week
  • See a list of all the friends and Pages they’ve unfollowed and re-follow any they wish to get updates from again

A lot goes into managing an effective brand presence on Facebook. Simplify the process by using Hootsuite to share video, schedule posts, monitor engagement, and track the success of your efforts.

Learn More

The post The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-algorithm/

Keeping Your Business Safe on Social—Expert Tips from Proofpoint

We talk a lot about the opportunities offered by social media, but there’s no denying that there are serious risks that come along with it too. From a damaged reputation to financial losses, there are many ways that social media could potentially end up being more harmful than helpful.

Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom. We spoke with David Chan, strategic alliances director at Proofpoint, a leading cybersecurity company, about the biggest risks facing businesses on social media—and how they can be avoided.

To hear more from David and other social media and marketing experts, join us at our free online social media conference, Connect via Hootsuite, on October 5.

Q&A with David Chan from Proofpoint

Let’s start by talking about employee advocacy. Having employees posting on social media on behalf of your brand is a great way to increase reach, but it also comes with risks. How can businesses avoid these risks while still empowering employees to be advocates on social?

It takes more than just money to create a successful and safe employee advocacy program; it requires an investment of time and human resources. You need to assemble a team to vet the platform that employees will use, provide training, and launch the program through a pilot.

Once you’ve launched a pilot program, you need to spend time evaluating the initial results and closely monitor the content being posted while continuing to train your employees. This is where an automation tool can make a huge difference, since it ensures your team doesn’t have to spend all their time monitoring the conversations that are happening. Our solution, SocialSight, is designed to support these types of employee advocacy programs through automated monitoring.

We’ve seen how quickly one misguided Tweet can spiral out of control and damage a company’s image on social media. But aside from brand perception and reputation, are there other risks to using social that can hurt a business?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, there are financial, physical, and personnel threats that businesses need to be aware of when using social media.

Financial threats can often come in the form of fake accounts. We’ve seen many cases where fake accounts offer free coupons for things like subscription services or software licenses, for example. In one case we had a very large media company that was losing about a million dollars a month in cheap licenses that were given away for free to trusting customers through these fake accounts.

Physical threats are another big risk that can develop on social media—threats to buildings, events, or even cities. A lot of potentially dangerous conversations happen on the internet; not just on social media but on what’s being called the “dark web,” online places that are somewhat hidden and out of sight from the public.

And then finally, there are personnel threats. There can be threats to executives of brands who, for whatever reason, have angered consumers. Many of those threats happen on the dark web as well, but we can control those. We can find them and we can shut them down through monitoring both social media and the dark web.

How can businesses avoid these financial, physical, and personnel risks?

There are three key components to protecting your business against these types of threats. One, you need to identify high profile targets—whether that’s your product (i.e. software licenses), physical sites, or executives.

After you’ve identified those targets, you should be using tools that automate the process of monitoring these conversations on social and surfacing threats.

Finally, you need to have a remediation process in place so that everyone knows what to do when a threat is found. Who gets informed? What’s the process to shut them down? And how is the situation communicated across the organization?

Are there risks for businesses that are specifically conducting customer service on social? How can businesses protect customers?

Spammers and hackers often create fake social media profiles using a real brand name and logo, and pretend to be the customer service arm of a company. As they interact with unknowing consumers, they often get financial information or other sensitive data from them. Businesses need to be able to quickly identify these fake social accounts and determine whether any dialogue is happening between them and their customers in order to protect them.

A monitoring solution can help stop these accounts in their tracks. Proofpoint, for example, can identify fake accounts through the logos used and the type of communication happening between the fake account and the customer. We can determine whether or not sensitive data like credit card information has been exchanged, and quickly shut them down.

Are these risks just as big for small to midsized business as they are for large enterprise organizations?

Absolutely. Anybody—any brand that’s on social—can run into these issues. Since most businesses are on social to reach their customers and drive more sales, the question is: does the cost of handling these threats manually outweigh the cost of investing in solutions like automation tools? Any business—big or small—can benefit from using automation tools to reduce the risks and magnify the benefits of using social media.

Learn how to connect with customers safely and effectively with Proofpoint’s presentation at Connect via Hootsuite, our virtual social media conference. Register for free to learn how to use social media at every stage of the buyer’s journey—from engagement and brand awareness, to driving leads and closing sales.

Connect via Hootsuite takes place October 5, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET/4:30 p.m. BST

Register for Free

The post Keeping Your Business Safe on Social—Expert Tips from Proofpoint appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/keeping-business-safe-social-expert-tips-proofpoint/

How #StoriesOfTheGirls Raised Breast Cancer Awareness Using Social Media

In the U.S., one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. If detected early, breast cancer can be treated. Mammography appointments are associated with a 19 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths. Unfortunately, according to one study, more than 50 percent of women don’t get their recommended mammogram screening.

Advocate Health Care, the largest health system in Illinois, set out to make an impact in the communities it serves. Their goal? To educate women about their breast health and increase the number of mammography appointments.

Four years ago they launched an annual six-week campaign during breast cancer awareness month called Stories of the Girls. It has evolved into #StoriesOfTheGirls, with an increased focus on social and digital—leading to their most successful year yet.

Advocate Health’s #StoriesOfTheGirls digital strategy

Using social to promote this significant annual campaign was very important to Advocate Health Care, according to Sarah Scroggins, Advocate Health’s manager of social media.

“#StoriesOfTheGirls is a unique campaign where one of our primary goals is to engage women in conversations about their breast health and encourage them to be proactive about their health by getting their annual mammogram,” Scroggins said. “And we believe social is the best opportunity for us to have those conversations and it will only continue to grow as we see our follower base and engagement increase across our platforms to reach the women in our communities.”

Advocate’s #StoriesOfTheGirls campaign boosted mammography appointments across  the system by 37 percent year-over-year and increased website visits by 431 percent year-over-year. Here’s the strategy that helped them do it.

Combine online and offline experiences

An 18-foot support bra toured various locations in Illinois for four weeks. To encourage people to raise awareness of breast cancer, Advocate donated to the American Cancer Society for every photo of the bra uploaded on Twitter or Instagram.

The Support Bra is back and better than ever! We're kicking off #breastcancer awareness month today at Tribune Plaza! A big thank you to @bennythebull & @chicagoluvabulls for helping us raise awareness! #SupportYourGirls #breastcancer #breastcancerawarenessmonth #StoriesOfTheGirls #AdvocateHealth #chicago #igerschicago #mychicagopix #health #october #gopink #chitown #seered

A photo posted by Advocate Health Care (@advocatehealth) on Oct 1, 2015 at 6:12am PDT

Advocate managed their dedicated Twitter and Instagram campaign feeds through Hootsuite. This allowed them to keep a tally of their donation total in real time, respond to questions, and quickly engage with people who uploaded photos. Using geolocation search streams in Hootsuite for event locations, Advocate was also able to find photos and posts that didn’t have the hashtag. Over 3,500 photos were uploaded on Twitter and Instagram with the #StoriesOfTheGirls and #SupportYourGirls hashtags. Advocate donated $5,000 to the American Cancer Society, all thanks to these social efforts

Tell impactful stories to raise awareness

Survivor stories were a powerful part of the #StoriesOfTheGirls campaign. Each woman talked about her own battle with breast cancer and Advocate shared the videos on YouTube and Facebook. The survivors became ambassadors for Advocate by emphasizing the importance of early testing.

Advocate managed online discussions across their social accounts and quickly responded to questions in Hootsuite, which was vital to the campaign’s success. Their campaign videos received over 1 million views across YouTube and Facebook.

Focus on education to inspire action

Education was also a key component of the campaign. Advocate communicated to women how to do regular self-exams, learn the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and access to resources about their breast health. Advocate distributed this content through videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and their #StoriesOfTheGirls commercial on YouTube.

How #StoriesOfTheGirls Raised Breast Cancer Awareness Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

Image via #StoriesOfTheGirls’ Website.

Advocate’s content distribution was fast and effective. They used Hootsuite’s Content Library to create a toolkit of pre-approved content for 11 social media contributors—each representing their hospital sites—to draw from. It saved time by removing a manual process and ensured that they were on-brand, which alleviated a lot of anxiety for the team. Advocate’s content had a huge impact on their audience. They increased their Facebook engagement year-over-year by 100 percent and followers across all Advocate social accounts by 25 percent.

Partner with influencers to get more exposure

Advocate partnered with influential brands like the Chicago Bulls for a #BreastCancerAwareness night to raise awareness and celebrate survivors.

We are honored to partner with @advocatehealth for #BreastCancerAwareness night and have 3 survivors as our Honorary Captains! Share your photos from tonight's game using #StoriesOfTheGirls.

A photo posted by Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) on Oct 12, 2015 at 4:57pm PDT

Three survivors acted as honorary captains for the evening and more than 25 survivors and their guests joined the ‘Pink Out’ at the United Center. Their posts received thousands of likes and contributed to the lift in engagement and follower count.

Key takeaways from the campaign

  • Combine the buzz of an in-person event with the reach and engagement offered through social media to increase your audience
  • Share the stories of real people—and let the stories speak for themselves
  • Focus on educational content that has a clear call to action
  • Draw from a bank of pre-approved photos, posts, and images—using a system like Hootsuite’s Content Library—to save time and stay on-brand during campaigns
  • Partner with influencers and ask them to share your content on social with campaign hashtags

#StoriesOfTheGirls success

Advocate ran their campaign across numerous social channels to drive awareness and engagement. In addition to the 37 percent year-over-year increase in mammography appointments, visits to StoriesOfTheGirls.com increased by 431 percent and they’ve had thousands of submissions on social for #StoriesOfTheGirls.

The campaign strategy makes the most of Advocate Health Care’s available channels and connections, according to Mayura Kumar, Advocate Health’s director of digital marketing.

“One of our core values at Advocate Health Care is to build lifelong relationships with the people we serve,” Kumar said. “Social media is one of the ways we achieve this. We leverage social channels to raise awareness and drive loyalty for our physicians and services; as well as providing a platform for our patients to share stories and experiences. It’s a key part of our overall digital strategy designed to drive profitable volume and a strong brand for our system.”

The team is already looking forward to their 2016 campaign.

Find out why leading health care providers, insurers, and life science companies worldwide use Hootsuite to manage their campaigns.

Learn More

The post How #StoriesOfTheGirls Raised Breast Cancer Awareness Using Social Media appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/advocate-health-care-case-study-breast-cancer-awareness/

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business

Since Pinterest ads only recently became available to small and medium-sized businesses, you may not have a fully developed strategy for advertising on this important social platform that reaches 100 million monthly active users.

It’s time to change that. Pinterest is a social network that users often visit specifically to gather information about potential purchases: 93 percent of Pinners use the platform to plan purchases, and 87 percent of Pinners have already made a purchase after seeing a product on the platform.

Why your business should advertise on Pinterest

Still not sure Pinterest is a valuable ad platform for your business? Consider this: 75 percent of saved Pins come from businesses, and 2 million people pin product Pins every day.

And Pinners can well afford the products brands are showcasing on the platform: nearly 40 percent of Pinners make more than $100,000 per year, and the average order value of a sale coming from Pinterest is $50, the highest of all major social platforms.

Pinterest’s internal data shows that Pinners who see Pinterest ads have 40 percent greater awareness of new products and 50 percent higher purchase intent than Pinners who have not.

There’s just one catch. For now, Pinterest ads are only available to businesses in the United States, Canada, and the U.K. But with a strong appetite among businesses worldwide, watch for more areas of the globe to be added soon.

3 types of Pinterest ads aligned to your business goals

Pinterest ads, known as Promoted Pins, are essentially regular Pins that you promote to more people by paying for exposure. Pinterest offers three types of ad campaigns to align with your business goals:

1. Awareness

Awareness campaigns aim to get your business in front of new eyeballs—people who have not heard of your business before, do not really know what you do, or are not already interested in your brand. You pay per 1,000 impressions.

2. Engagement

Engagement campaigns are designed to encourage Pinners to interact with your content within the Pinterest platform by repinning or clicking your Promoted Pins. You pay per engagement action: a closeup, repin, or click.

3. Traffic

Traffic campaigns send people from your Pinterest ads directly to your website, and you pay per click.

The process is the same for creating all three types of Promoted Pins, so let’s dive in and get you started on your first Pinterest ad campaign.

How to create a Promoted Pin

Pinterest summarizes the process of creating a Promoted Pin as follows: Get a business account, pick a Pin, decide who sees it, pay for results, and track what’s working. Sounds simple, right? But you need a few more details to get your first campaign up and running. Here’s your step-by-step Pinterest ads guide.

1. Get a business account and choose your goal

You can convert an existing Pinterest account to a business account, or create a new account to use for your business. Since you can only promote Pins you have already posted to your profile, you need to add some Pins—including those you want to promote—before moving on to the next step.

Then, to create a campaign, click on the + button from your profile and select “Create ad,” or go straight to ads.pinterest.com. This is where you select what type of campaign you want to create: awareness, engagement, or traffic.

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Pinterest.

Simply name your campaign, select the start and (optional) end dates, and set your daily budget.

2. Pick your Promoted Pin

If you’re not sure exactly which Pin to promote, try using the filters on the “Pick a Pin” screen to see your most clicked and most repinned Pins from the last 30 days. This can give you a sense of what content is already working for your business on Pinterest.

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Pinterest.

3. Decide who will see your Promoted Pin (and what they see if they click)

The name of the next screen you’ll see is “Add more details.” This is where you’ll choose who sees your Pin (more on that in a moment). But first, you need to determine where on your website you’ll send Pinners who click on your promoted Pin.

Think carefully here about how best to maximize the traffic you generate. Link to a page specifically targeted to Pinterest visitors, preferably one that directly corresponds to the Pin they’ve just clicked. And be sure to use UTM tracking parameters to collect tracking information.

Now, decide who will see your Promoted Pin by choosing your Pinterest ads targeting strategy based on interests (from a list of 420 choices) and keywords. Pinterest will provide recommended keywords based on trending searches relevant to your Pin. You also have the option to manually add keywords or import an existing keyword list.

You can also choose a specific audience: people who have already visited your site or app, existing customers, people who have engaged with Pins that link to your site, or an “actalike” audience that is similar to Pinners who are already engaging with your content.

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Pinterest.

Finally, you can fine-tune who sees your Promoted Pin by using the Pinterest ads targeting options to select specific locations, languages, devices, and genders.

4. Pay for results

Before you leave the “Add more details screen,” you’ll need to enter your maximum bid. This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each desired action on Pinterest.

The interface provides bid guidance and will let you know if your bid is too low, or if it puts you in a good position to compete with other advertisers in your niche. Pinterest uses a “second-price auction model” for ad bids. While that sounds complicated, it just means that you only pay the amount needed to top the next-highest bidder, so you won’t be charged your full maximum bid unless it’s required.

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Pinterest.

Review all the information on the right side of your screen to make sure it’s correct and click “Next” to send your Promoted Pin for review.

You’ll have to wait up to 24 hours for Pinterest to review your Promoted Pin for compliance with its rules for advertisers. In the meantime, you will need to set up your billing details so that there’s a payment method available to cover your daily budget once your Promoted Pin is approved.

5. Track what works

Pinterest’s conversion tracking allows you to track page visits, sign-ups, purchases, and custom conversions like repins and closeups. To set it up, click on “Conversion tracking” under the Ads menu on your profile, then select the types of conversion you want to track.

Pinterest creates a snippet of code that you can add to your website, just before the closing <body> tag on the page you want to track.

Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Pinterest.

Pinterest ads best practices to maximize your budget

When you’re paying to showcase your Pins, you want to make sure they highlight your best brand content. Pinterest, too, has a vested interest in making sure that Promoted Pins are effective and that they don’t disrupt the user experience. After all, Pinners who are annoyed with Pinterest ads won’t engage with them, which would reduce ad revenue for Pinterest and results for advertisers.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have a thorough read through Pinterest’s advertising standards to make sure you’re following the rules and maximizing your ads’ chances of success. Here are some key Pinterest ads best practices for all Pinterest advertisers.

Be authentic

Your Pinterest ads should reflect your true brand promise. Pinterest specifically prohibits misleading or exaggerated claims and requires advertisers to be honest and straightforward about what they’re advertising and what Pinners can expect from your business both on and off of Pinterest. But you didn’t need Pinterest to tell you that’s how you should do business, right?

Promote high-quality content

Pinterest encourages advertisers to keep Promoted Pins “beautiful, actionable, and interesting.” Since you’re paying for your Promoted Pins, they should be some of your best. Pinterest has clear quality standards that prohibit Promoted Pins with, among other flaws, “improper grammar or lots of capitalization and symbols.”

Use vertical images

While this is not an advertising requirement, of course, it is a best practice that marketers should keep in mind. Vertical pins (that is, Pins that are portrait-oriented rather than landscape-oriented) take up a lot more screen real estate in the Pinterest results and are therefore more likely to draw Pinners’ attention. For mobile views in particular, vertical images appear much larger than horizontal images, which can be cut off or appear too small for users to fully appreciate.

This Pinterest ads guide focused on how to use Promoted Pins to showcase your business on Pinterest, but keep in mind that the platform offers many free ways to help promote your business, too.

You can use the Tailwind for Pinterest app in the Hootsuite App Directory to schedule Pins and manage your Pinterest presence. Install the free app today.

Learn More

The post Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/pinterest-ads/

How to Connect With Your Customers Using Curated Content

It’s no secret that social media can help you connect with your customers. From addressing customer support issues to receiving feedback in real-time, social media gives brands the power to converse one-on-one with their fans. As a result, it is critical to develop a social media strategy that optimizes these opportunities.

Curated content—when executed properly—is a powerful tool to include in your social media efforts that will help to build a stronger rapport with prospects and current customers.

Here are five ways curated content can help you better connect with your customers:

1. Curated content demonstrates your understanding of your audience

The key to success on social media is knowing your audience inside and out. This knowledge not only helps you create original content that your customers will love, but it also informs what content you curate. If you consistently post a mix of relevant, interesting, and valuable content, your newsfeed becomes a trustworthy hub of information for your customers. Now your customers don’t have to go far to find the content they are looking for. Delivering a personalized experience that saves your customers time helps to build trust and loyalty.

Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina.Com is one of the most well-known and respected solopreneurs in the blogging industry thanks to her dedication to providing consistent value to her customers. One peek at her Twitter profile shows a jam-packed feed full of useful and applicable third-party content that she knows her audience will love. She is consistently praised for both creating and curating killer content.

2. Curated content supports your customers’ content

Whether you already follow many of your customers on social media or you take time to click through their engagements on your own posts, it’s easy to find out what your customers are working on.

Including your customers’ content in your curated content mix can go a long way towards making a big impression. Share a customer’s blog post with their take on the industry or regram their inspiring picture—and don’t forget to give them credit. Knowing that you took the time to celebrate their individual efforts humanizes your brand and lets your customers know that you care.

GoPro has taken this approach to heart on Instagram by fueling their feed almost entirely with curated posts from their loyal community. Though these photographers are using GoPro products, the focus is entirely on the incredible shots and the stories behind them.

#GoPro Featured Photographer: @rorykramer I'm @rorykramer, professional life liver, free spirit, and freelance #photographer + #videographer. I'm passionate about living life and I love to explore and push the limits. To me, if you're not living life on the edge you are taking up too much space. #Runit About the shot: Time Lapse mode at 0.5. I placed the camera vertically to give it more height.

A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on Aug 26, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT

3. Curated content builds relationships with influencers who may become customers

Sharing outside content can help foster new relationships with prospects. When you share content and tag the original author, especially along with a positive sentiment, they will likely take notice and pay attention to who you are and what you do.

Because you are intentional about what you curate, chances are you and the author will share many common interests and goals and they will be interested in learning more about your brand.

4. Curated content is not overly self-promotional

Brands that only focus on selling themselves aren’t winning on social media. Avoid this negative impression by curating content that balances out more promotional content.

The percentage of curated posts versus original content should be dependent on you and your audience. But your followers will appreciate your commitment to sharing the best content, not just your own content, and supporting others who can provide additional value.

5. Curated content is a starting point for deeper, more meaningful conversations

Sometimes it’s easy to forget one of the main benefits of posting curated content on social media, especially when you automate the process: using content as a starting point for interesting discussions.

Don’t just post the link to curated content and move on; instead, share your own commentary along with the link and then reply to any comments with additional questions or insight to keep the conversation flowing.

Planning to integrate content curation into your social media strategy? Read our post, Improve Your Content Curation Strategy with These 5 Tips, for more info on how to get started.

With so many ways to connect with your customers on social media, content curation is a no-brainer. Be sure to include it in your social media strategy to make stronger first impressions, boost brand loyalty, and engage more frequently and effectively with your audience.

Learn more about content curation and connect with your customers like never before with UpContent’s presentation at Connect via Hootsuite, our virtual conference. Register for free to learn how to use social media at every stage of the buyer’s journey—from engagement and brand awareness, to driving leads and closing sales.

Connect via Hootsuite takes place October 5, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET/4:30 p.m. BST

Register for Free

The post How to Connect With Your Customers Using Curated Content appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/connect-with-customers-using-curated-content/

How to Use Snapchat Memories for Business

Whether you’re a newbie learning how to use Snapchat or a seasoned Snapchatter looking to up your game, you should know about Snapchat Memories.

Snapchat Memories is a huge update that will have a big impact on your brand. It has changed Snapchat’s core functionality from a self-destructing photo-sharing app to a sophisticated social network that will allow you to share, store, and repost content.

In this guide to Snapchat Memories, we’ve outlined how to use it and how it will change your business.

Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to easily create and use a custom Snapchat geofilter to promote your business for as little as $5.

What are Snapchat Memories?

Snapchat Memories are a way for you to save your Snaps or Stories on Snapchat in the cloud for later viewing and sharing. You can find old Snaps by searching for keywords such as “cat” or “holiday,” and Snapchat will pull it up for you.

You can also send Snaps and Stories from Memories to your friends. You can re-upload old Snaps and Stories you’ve taken, mix and match them, or share them as something new.

3 Things You Should Know about Memories

  1. When you share a Snap from your Memories, people will know. If you share a Snap that was taken more than a day ago, it will appear with a thick white border around it as well as a timestamp showing when it was taken. This will alert your friends that you’re sharing a Memory.
  2. Private Memories can be marked with “My Eyes Only.” Worried about scrolling through your Memories and accidentally showing people the wrong one? Snapchat has you covered. You can move Snaps into a “My Eyes Only” category for private viewing.
  3. Snapchat won’t back up photos or videos from camera roll. Snapchat Memories only saves Snaps and Stories from Snapchat. It won’t back up any of your other media, unless you’ve uploaded it to your Story.

How to set up Snapchat Memories

  1. Launch Snapchat.
  2. Tap on the small white circle underneath the Snapchat camera button. A “Welcome to Memories!” screen will pop up.
  3. Tap “Start Using Memories.”
  4. You’ll be prompted to import Snaps that you’ve saved from your phone’s camera roll (it’s optional).
  5. Import chosen Snaps from camera roll.

Get familiar with the Memories tab

In the Memories tab, Snaps are displayed as rectangles, and Stories as circles. There’s a “Search” icon (top left) and “Select” icon (top right).

How to use Snapchat Memories for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Snapchat.

How to save Snaps and Stories to Memories

For Snaps:

  1. Take your Snap.
  2. Click the download button.
  3. Select “Save to Camera Roll & Memories” or “Save to my Eyes Only.”

By default, Snapchat will save your Snaps to Memories and camera roll, but you can change that in your settings if you’d like to save Snaps separately.

How to use Snapchat Memories for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Snapchat.

For Stories:

  1. Swipe right to your Stories.
  2. Click on the three-dot menu and tap the download button.
  3. Save Stories to your Memories and camera roll.

Snapchat will also save your Stories to Memories and camera roll. You can change your settings if you want to save separately.

How to repost Snaps and Stories from Memories

  1. Go to your Memories.
  2. Hold down on the Snap or Story.
  3. Edit the Snap or Story with filters, text, or emoji.
  4. Send to individual people or post to your Story. Remember, if you post an old Snap to your Story, it will appear with a thick white border.

Edit-Snap-in-Memories

How to create new Stories from Memories

  1. Tap the checkmark in the top right of your Memories screen.
  2. Select the old Snaps you’d like to compile into your Story.
  3. To save this new Story to your Memories, press the circle icon at the bottom of your screen.
  4. To post your new Story, press the arrow icon.
  5. To add Snaps to an existing Story compilation in Memories, hold down on the Story, tap the menu button, and tap Add to Story.
  6. To post an individual Snap within a Story in Memories, hold down, edit the Snap, and tap the arrow icon.

How to make Memories private

  1. Tap the “Select” icon in top right corner.
  2. Tap the Snaps and Stories you’d like to make private.
  3. Tap the lock icon, then tap “Move.”
  4. Once you’ve locked your desired Snaps, they will be in the “My Eyes Only” tab in Snapchat, a password protected area for your viewing only.

What does Snapchat Memories mean for your business?

For the individual user, sharing disappearing content can be a lot of fun. For a brand, creating an endless amount of content that you can’t easily save or store is a frustrating experience. (Before Memories, when you wanted to find old Snaps, you had to dig through your camera roll.) If your brand isn’t on Snapchat, this may be the reason why.

How to use Snapchat Memories for Business | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Snapchat.

Snapchat Memories has completely changed the sharing experience for brands. You can easily save Snaps and Stories to Memories, repost old Snaps, and create new Stories from old Snaps. Here’s what that means for your business:

  • Increase brand awareness: By sharing old Snaps or adding them to new Stories, you can repurpose Snapchat content to reach more people and increase visibility.
  • Save time creating and sharing content: You might not have the resources to dedicate an entire social team to Snapchat. If that’s the case, Snapchat Memories can save you valuable time by allowing you to reuse and repurpose old content.
  • Create new brand stories with old content: We all love a good #ThrowbackThursday post on social. Brands that can tap into the power of nostalgia can significantly increase engagement on social and generate interest in their brand.

Try Snapchat Memories for your brand

Snapchat Memories offers a completely different way for your brand to interact with customers on social. If your brand isn’t on Snapchat yet, this update may give you the push you need to get started.

New to Snapchat? Check out our beginner’s guide to get started. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can start figuring out how to use Snapchat for business. Then you can take your Snap game to the next level—build a strategy based on the platform’s demographics, learn how to craft the perfect Snap Story, discover great Snapchat hacks, and get more Snapchat followers.

Hootsuite’s on Snapchat! Click this link on mobile to go directly to Hootsuite’s profile or scan the Snapcode below to add Hootsuite as a Friend on Snapchat.

hootsuite-snapchat-snapcode (2)

The post How to Use Snapchat Memories for Business appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-snapchat-memories/