Category: Social Media Marketing

5 Marketing Lessons from Daily Harvest’s Journey to Shipping One Million Smoothies

Launched in 2015, Daily Harvest has become one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumer food brands in the world. 

It’s an incredible story. But just how did Daily Harvest transition from solving a meal-prep problem for founder Rachel Drori to being in over 100,000 kitchens across the U.S.?

In this post, we take a look at some of the marketing strategies that have aided Daily Harvest’s incredible growth. 


Contents: 5 Marketing Lessons from Daily Harvest


1. Focus on target customers’ needs and create products to solve their problems 

Before starting Daily Harvest, Rachel Drori worked in marketing for Jetsetter. She wanted to find a quick, convenient way to prepare her week’s meals on a Sunday, so she didn’t have to think about what she would eat during busy weekdays. 

But after trying a number of options, nothing quite matched her needs. 

“Meal kits are perishable, they go bad in your fridge, and they take 45 minutes to prepare,” she told Entrepreneur. “And all convenient food is preserved in some way.”

As we touched on in the intro, Daily Harvest was founded after Drori began to make meals in batch and freeze them. Something that no company seemed to be offering. Seeing a gap in the market, she pulled together a website and started selling to people who were experiencing the same meal prep problems she’d had. 

The company has evolved a lot since those early days, but one thing that remains is its laser focus on serving a specific need for its target customers. 

“Our target consumer is one who subscribes to a healthy lifestyle, but is busy and has time restrictions,” Drori told Business Insider.

Drori expanded on Daily Harvest’s target customer during an interview with Inc. “Our customer wants to eat the way he/shes knows he/she should, but struggles with the challenge of making it happen.” 

“Our most common piece of customer feedback is that we’ve filled a need in the health food space that wasn’t previously being met. It works for the busy-bee or if you’re just looking for more nutrients in your diet but are unsure where to start.”

Consumer habits: The ease of buying healthy foods is one of the key pain points Daily Harvest solves. Shoppers want to buy healthier foods, but it’s not always easy — a survey of 1,017 U.S. consumers found that 95% of people ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ look for healthy food options, but finding healthy food is only moderately easy for most consumers.

But why is it so important for Daily Harvest to focus on specific customers? Why doesn’t it try to entice everyone to eat a little healthier?

“Focusing on a specific customer segment is critical to sustaining long-term growth,” says DTC Strategist, Marco Marandiz.

“Organizations that get distracted easily by emerging, yet unaligned, segments end up burning through their resources and creating value that doesn’t resonate with their earliest customers,” continues Marandiz. “For Daily Harvest, it’s important for them to keep digging into their core customers to really fulfil their needs in the kitchen.”

Having a clear understanding of who its customers are, and the problems it solves for them has enabled Daily Harvest to craft messaging, content, and products that are aligned with exactly what the customer is looking for.

Right from the hero section of its homepage, you can see its focus on target customer needs and desires: 

  • The heading ‘Eat More Fruits + Vegetables’ speaks to the target customers desire to boost their diet with healthy ingredients 
  • The subheading ‘We take care of food so food can take care of you’ also taps into the same desires, but from a slightly different level, letting customers know that all the hard work — sourcing and preparing healthy foods — is done for them. 

If you’ve ever interacted with the brand before the imagery on its site also feels incredibly familiar.

Daily Harvest has done a great job of creating its own unique brand style: 

Crisp images of its packaging containing bold, brightly colored ingredients, photographed against a solid background. It also uses lighting to create shadows quite frequently.

Here’s its look on Instagram — 

— and on a product page: 

Expansion is also important for most DTC brands. Many launch with one or two specific products — for example, Casper mattresses — and expand into other related products in order to grow — Casper’s pillows and bed frames. 

Daily Harvest is no different. It started out by selling frozen smoothie packs. But now it boasts a range of products.

And when it comes to launching new products, Daily Harvest ensures it keeps its focus on solving the problem of making healthy eating easier for consumers.

“It’s easy to observe their focus by taking stock of the product line expansions over the last couple years,” shares Marandiz. “They started with smoothies, but have moved into Harvest Bowls, Soups, Lattes, Chia Bowls, and Oat Bowls.”

The messaging around each of its expansion products is also hyper-focused on customer goals. 

Take its Harvest Bowls category page for example —

— the copy here continues to focus on the core mission of Daily Harvest: Making healthy eating simple. And no matter where you interact with the brand, that message remains consistent. 


2. Use Pinterest as a discovery engine to reach millions of potential customers each month

Pinterest is somewhat of a sleeper in the social media world. And though it might not make as much noise as platforms like Facebook or Instagram, its power to help brands connect with consumers is undeniable. 

In its S-1 filing ahead of going public, the company shared some insights into how people use the platform: 

  • Pinners don’t just dream about their futures; they explore real options and often want to bring their dreams to life. They browse ideas, visit merchant websites and eventually buy products and services; and 
  • People seeking inspiration use Pinterest in ways that mirror how they use magazines and catalogs.

So whereas consumers used to flick through magazines to find inspiration, they now turn to Pinterest — and this is why it has become such an incredible discovery engine for brands. 


Daily Harvest has 5,638 followers on Pinterest. That doesn’t sound a lot, especially when compared to its audiences on Facebook (260k) and Instagram (406k). But follower numbers are just a small part of the equation.

On Pinterest, discoverability is far more important than the number of followers.

Daily Harvest racks up a mouthwatering 4.1m monthly unique viewers on Pinterest — meaning its Pins appear on over four million screens per month, and it does this having just 136 Pins. 

Pinterest trends: Daily Harvest is in the perfect position to succeed on Pinterest. ‘Healthy habits’ is one of Pinterest’s trends for 2019, with searches for nutrition plans +475% year-on-year, showing that health-conscious consumers are using Pinterest to help them hit their goals. 

Its Pins tend to focus directly on Daily Harvest products in its brand style of stunning product imagery against a solid, light background:

According to SimilarWeb data, Pinterest is Daily Harvest’s third-highest refer amongst social networks, driving around 13,000 visits per month

— and much of this traffic is going directly to product pages (the link on each Pin takes the viewer to the corresponding page): 


3. Create a simple-to-navigate website and tell an engaging story to generate backlinks

SimilarWeb estimates that over 30% of Daily Harvest’s traffic comes from search

— that’s a pretty large chunk, and if SimilarWeb’s estimates are correct, that search traffic equates to around 270,000 visits per month for the brand. That’s a lot of potential customers. 

So what can we take away from Daily Harvest’s search success?

Firstly, usability and design are important: 

“The design, first of all, is obviously incredible. While I never consider design to be a direct SEO factor, having a positive experience on a site does make you more likely to talk about and link to it,” says Glen Allsopp, SEO consultant and founder of Detailed.com

And Allsopp certainly isn’t alone in praising Daily Harvest’s design, Unbounce has also featured it in its roundup of companies that have created best-in-class landing pages

But back to SEO… 

Simplicity is somewhat of a theme for Daily Harvest across its website, content and even its products — pre-made, healthy meals that are ready in minutes. 

And this theme carries over into its approach to SEO. 

“I like that their URLs are short and descriptive, which is in line with their title tags as well,” notes Allsopp. “Title tags don’t get much more simple and clean than ‘Lentil + Mesquite Soup | Daily Harvest’.”

Daily Harvest also manages to include plenty of information on its product pages, something that’s not easy to do well Allsopp told me. First, each product has a short description right under the title —

— a little further down the page, visitors can see key ingredients, nutrition information and preparation instructions — essentially everything a customer would want to know about this product, without it feeling overwhelming:

One downside to Daily Harvest’s beautiful imagery is the effect it has on load times. “According to Google’s mobile site speed comparison tool, it’s a lot slower than competitors sites,” Allsopp shared.

But with much of its search traffic coming in via branded searches, Daily Harvest has done a great job building its brand and creating a loyal customer base:

Possibly Daily Harvest’s biggest SEO-win is the quality of backlinks it has been able to obtain from leading publications — something that’s a challenge for almost every business. 

Link building is one of the hardest aspects of SEO — and I have no insider knowledge here — but I’d bet Daily Harvest has never sent out a batch of emails asking marketers to backlink to its site. 

Instead, it does link building the right way, by telling its story… and having a great product.  

“Daily Harvest’s founder, Rachel Drori, has been great at getting quoted in big publications,” Allsopp told me. “Some places that have asked her for comment include CNBC and The New York Times. Those aren’t easy links to get, so they’re likely to help the site for a long time to come.”

Because its products are high-quality and deliver on what it promises, it’s enabled Daily Harvest to be featured by industry experts and pick up links from high-authority sites like MSN: 

“While they still have improvements to make with their on-site SEO, that’s always a great position to be in. Seeing opportunities for improvement there means there’s a good chance of growing organic traffic across the board going forward as well,” said Allsopp. 


4. Use paid social to drive traffic to campaign-specific landing pages 

When Daily Harvest runs ads, it doesn’t direct people to its homepage. Instead, it has a specially created landing page aimed to convert visitors to customers. 

This isn’t a unique strategy. In-fact, creating specific landing pages for ads is a best practice for any brand investing in paid media. But the way Daily Harvest executes it is remarkable. 

Here’s one of the brand’s landing pages:

Keeping in line with Daily Harvest’s beautiful design aesthetic, the page looks super-clean and simple. But when you really dig in, there’s a lot going on.

Here are four takeaways from Daily Harvest’s landing page:

1. The hero copy builds on ad promises

Let’s start by breaking down the hero section at the top of the page: 

Daily Harvest is running a bunch of ads across Facebook and Instagram, and many of its ads are focused on these key messages:

  • Custom food plans
  • Quality, organic fruits and vegetables 
  • Speed of preparation

Here are a few variations of that messaging in ad form: 

Once someone has clicked one of these ads, they arrive at one of Daily Harvest’s landing pages and the copy builds on the key points mentioned in the ads. It reinforces that: 

  • The food is high quality, and good for you
  • It’s ready in minutes
  • Health eating that fits your routine

2. The CTA offer is very clear

In each of its ads, Daily Harvest mentions that new customers can get $25 off their first box using a promo code — 

— and when they reach the landing page, this 25% offer is featured in the hero section CTA: 

This makes the buyer journey feel super smooth as promises that were made in the first part of the journey (the ads) are being backed up as people move through the buying experience.  

3. The copy is all about you, the customer

As the visitor scrolls through the landing page they reach a ‘How it works’ section: 

The first title tag ‘Customize Your Plan’ puts the emphasis on you, the potential customer, and throughout this section of the landing page the reader is constantly reminded that Daily Harvest is a product that can solve your unmet needs.

Here are a few snippets of copy (emphasis mine): 

  • Pick a plan and fill your box with thoughtfully sourced, chef-crafted food 
  • Delivered when you want it
  • Make fruits and vegetables a daily habit

This copy also fulfils a need to let the customer know exactly how the process works. Many visitors want a hassle-free way to consume healthier foods, but prior to visiting this page may not understand how Daily Harvest delivers on this. 

Pay attention to the small details: Microcopy — the small pieces of text that provide extra information and provide context across websites and interfaces — is incredibly important, and can have a big influence on clicks and conversions.

For example, one company found that changing the phrase “Request a quote” to “Request pricing” resulted 161.66% increase in clicks to its lead gen form.

 4. It uses social proof to back up its message

Social proof is a powerful sales tool and helps to build trust. As Alfred explains in his post on the subject:  

“Often in situations where we are uncertain about what to do, we would assume that the people around us(experts, celebrities, friends, etc.) have more knowledge about what’s going on and what should be done.”

As a prospective Daily Harvest customer, I might not be an expert on healthy eating, I just know I want to eat healthier. So to back up its message, Daily Harvest features a range of well-known publishers that have covered its products to help build trust: 

You’re more likely to put your faith in a health product featured by Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Vogue, than one no publisher has featured, right? 

5. Build trust with new audiences through partnerships

Partnerships have become a key part of the direct-to-consumer marketing playbook. 

Why?

In its simplest form, advertising is about connecting relevant audiences with your message. But when marketers focus purely on reach they run into a problem: reach has become a commodity — anyone can now create a Facebook ad and put it in front of an audience.

As Morgan Housel wrote — 

Attracting eyeballs no longer sets you apart. Building trust among those who have their eyes on you, does. Getting people’s attention is no longer a skill. Keeping people’s attention is.

— and this is where partnerships come into their own: Building trust. 

Let me explain… 

When you follow a YouTuber, let’s say Casey Neistat, he’s built up your trust over hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of content and attention. 

So when a brand like Samsung works with Casey, it helps the brand to build trust with Casey’s audience. 

“If Samsung is cool with Casey, it’s cool with me.”

Daily Harvest takes a similar approach to partnerships…. 

YouTube drives significant traffic for Daily Harvest. You might recognize the below chart from earlier, but this time I’ve highlighted the YouTube numbers — 

around 23% of Daily Harvest’s social traffic comes from YouTube

Curious as to why so many people come from YouTube to Daily Harvest I done a little digging… and it seems partnerships have a lot to do with it. 

One the YouTube pages that appears to be sending a lot of traffic to Daily Harvest is from popular YouTuber, Wheezy Waiter (nearly 900k subs!): 

The video (as you can probably guess from the above screenshot) is about the host’s experience trying out a vegan diet for a month. 

And as the video progresses, the host runs into a problem with finding vegan desserts he likes. But Daily Harvest, the video’s sponsor, sent him 24 smoothies to help solve his problem:

Incredible product placement (this video has been watched 1.5 million times and counting) but it doesn’t end there. In the video description there’s a link to Daily Harvest’s website:

The link also has a UTM specific to Wheezy Waiter so the Daily Harvest team will be able to attribute traffic and sales to this partnership: 

https://www.daily-harvest.com/?source=youtube&medium=cpc&campaign=inf&content=wheezywaiter&term= 

Breaking down the UTM: Essentially, UTM codes tell the story of how traffic is arriving at a website. Here’s a breakdown of the Daily Harvest UTM:

  • source=youtube: This tells Daily Harvest the traffic has been referred by YouTube
  • medium=cpc: Says this was a cost-per-click campaign
  • content=wheezywaiter: Lets the Daily Harvest team know exactly which piece of content creator the traffic is came from

This is something Daily Harvest has done with a number of well-established YouTuber’s: 

And:

But Daily Harvest’s partnerships aren’t limited to YouTube. It regularly runs Instagram takeovers with influencers and other brands in its stories — 

— and it also has an ambassador program enabling people with large followings to share exclusive discounts and coupon codes with their audiences

Daily Harvest is also very forthcoming with partnerships. Its website footer features a ‘Partnerships’ link:

This link then takes people to a simple form where they can register their interest in working with the brand: 


5 Takeaways from Daily Harvest’s journey to 100,000+ customers

1. Understand your target customer’s unmet needs:

Daily Harvest has a clear understanding of who its customer is exactly and what problems it solves for them. This influences how the whole business works: From its product lines to how it positions itself in the market.

2. Use Pinterest as a discovery engine:

Pinterest is a discovery engine for brands. People use Pinterest in ways that mirror how they use magazines and catalogs. By posting relevant content Daily Harvest reaches over four million people per month on the platform.

3. Create a beautiful, simple-to-use buying experience:

Consumers are spoilt for choice now, to stand out you need to create great experiences. Daily Harvest’s website does just that. Its focus on story has also helped the company to pick up some very important backlinks.

4. Drive paid social traffic to specific landing pages:

When using paid acquisition channels (especially on social media), Daily Harvest links to specific landing pages that build on the promises made in the ads.

5. Unlock new audiences through strategic partnerships:

When you’re marketing to new audiences, it’s not so much about reach as it is building trust. Daily Harvest works with partners and influencers to help it establish trust with new potential customers.

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Reddit Marketing Strategies for Those Who Don’t Have Time for Reddit Marketing


Reddit is one of the most vibrant communities on the Internet and a powerful source of attention. A positive Reddit mention can mean thousands of visits to your website or your product.

Your audience may be there. Opportunities certainly exist there.

Should you be there, too?

It’s a tricky question to answer because one of the first rules for marketing on Reddit — one of the first rules for marketing on any social media site, really — is that you have to be genuinely engaged and committed to the communities you’re part of.

But there’s good news. You can gain so much from the awesome people at Reddit whether or not you have the time to fully dive in. Yes, there are marketing tactics to drive meaningful traffic. But there are also a handful of other ways to benefit by learning from the community, engaging with the community, and building a thoughtful Reddit strategy.

We’ll talk about it all in this post. Come along!


About Reddit Marketing

Reddit is one of the most vibrant communities on the Internet. And one of the largest, with over 300 million active users. 

To put that in perspective, that’s more than …

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

Yet when you hear about strategies for marketing to social networks, you rarely hear about Reddit. 

This isn’t to disparage all the great guides that people have written about Reddit marketing. They’re really good! These guides have some great tips in them, which we’ll do our best to condense into the most actionable takeaways that you can put to good use today. 

So why does Reddit fly under-the-radar when it comes to social media marketing options? 

Well, one of the key things to note about Reddit is that it’s not exactly welcoming to organic, native promotion. Reddit wants authentic contributions — which of course makes sense. That’s how the best social networks thrive!

This ethos is really well-captured in this phrase from Reddit’s community guidelines:

It’s perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a reddit account.

Hmm, well, all of us brands and businesses are definitely websites. What are we to do?

One great thing about Reddit is that, while its guidelines are protective, they’re not meant to be exclusionary. There are ways for marketers to make use of Reddit in many ways, whether you’re interested in becoming a redditor or not, and whether you’re looking for organic or paid. Even if you don’t have time for full-scale Reddit marketing, there are ways you can gain from the Reddit community.


Reddit Marketing Strategies


1. Use Reddit as a Customer Research Tool to Find the Latest Trends

We believe this strategy can work for all marketers — whether you’re a redditor or not, and even if you only have small pockets of time to commit.

The great thing about this tip is that it doesn’t require you to devote yourself to becoming a seasoned Reddit contributor. Anyone can use Reddit for research, right now. It only takes a few minutes, and there’s a ton to gain for your marketing.

The premise is simple: 

You can gain marketing insight by using Reddit as a research tool to see what people are talking about and what’s trending right now. 

Step one: Find the subreddits that are relevant to your brand or business.

This will come in handy for the Reddit strategies we mention later on, too.

There are a couple different ways to search for subreddits. You can go straight to Reddit and search for the topics that you’re interested in. The search results will show you a list of suggested communities to join as well as a list of the most popular content related to your search term.

Another way to find subreddits is on a subreddit itself. The subreddit “find-a-reddit” is a place for people to ask questions about certain topics and then the community responds with ideas of subreddits to join.

Also, there are some great third-party options for subreddit searches. too.

One of the best is Redditlist which aggregates the most popular subreddits and lets you search for keywords. Also, Redditlist gives you some neat data on the subreddits, like how many subscribers it has and how fast it’s growing. 

Generally, the larger the subreddit, the faster you’ll be able to gain research insights. And of course, when you get into advertising potential, the larger the subreddit, the larger the audience.

Once you’ve found your “people” on Reddit, the next steps for researching are totally up to you.

You can go the super manual way and just navigate to each of the subreddits directly and browse them. If you go this route, I’d recommend setting up a regular reminder to visit things daily or weekly, depending on the volume of the subreddit.

And another way that works really well if you’re doing research or content at scale is to plug your subreddits into a content aggregator like Feedly. We do this for social media content on our Buffer feeds. This will pull in all of the subreddit threads directly into Feedly where you can browse them cleanly all at once. We’ve gained a lot of insights into social media trends by following Reddit conversations over the past months.

The one thing missing from the Feedly approach is going to be the upvotes and rankings for content. You won’t see this in Feedly. So what you can do instead is sort the content using Feedly’s popularity option, which scores posts according to their popularity on Feedly and other platforms. 

Then just like that, you’ve built your research engine. You can use it for things like:

  • Hearing what questions people are asking
  • Noticing what topics are getting the most attention
  • Keeping an eye on upcoming trends and competitor products, and 
  • Catching news stories you might have otherwise missed

While we’re on the topic of research, let’s go to our Reddit strategy number two, which you can also put to use whether you’re a redditor or not.


2. Use Reddit to get ideas on how to write catchy headlines

One factor into why content does well on Reddit — other than the quality of the content itself — is how something is framed or worded in the title. Redditors make great use of this space to show off what their post is about. Marketers can learn a lot from this!

You can observe the copywriting on Reddit to see what kind of styles are resonating with people and getting upvoted. Anything at the top of your chosen subreddits will be good to see. You can also go to the Reddit homepage or the subreddit “all” and check out the most popular posts across all of Reddit.

Then you can use these writing insights to feed back into your blog post headlines and email subject lines, just like that! 


3. Connect with people on Reddit who want to engage with your brand

Though Reddit might not want marketers in their midst, the topics do occasionally shift to products … maybe even your product. A good social media practice is to be present with your customers and audience wherever they are, which means lending a listening ear to Reddit. 

You can do this with a manual search, keeping tabs on any brand mentions that happen to come in. You can also look into some social support tools that have this functionality built in. 

When you’re choosing to respond, be sure you understand the context of the conversation you’re jumping into, then feel free to jump in and be helpful. There’s a fear with marketing on Reddit that the backlash for bad marketing can be swift and severe. But If you approach your conversations with authenticity, then you should be in good shape.


4. Get more traffic from Reddit (the right way)

When people talk about Reddit marketing, they’re often thinking of ways to get traffic from Reddit to their website. If you’re interested in using Reddit for referral traffic, then let’s start with some of the advice we mentioned earlier … 

First and foremost, you must be an authentic contributor to the Reddit community.

There’s no way around this. If you want to drive organic traffic from Reddit, then you can’t just show up and promote your stuff. You have to genuinely take part in the community. 

The only other shortcut to Reddit traffic is through advertising, which we’ll get to in a minute. But for organic referral traffic from Reddit, it all starts with you getting involved. 

And once you’re involved, here are the next steps to follow.

1. Find your ideal subreddits. 

Again, you can do this by searching Reddit or by using a tool like Redditlist.

2. Understand the Reddit demographics

On the macro scale, Reddit’s primary demographic is males between the ages of 25 and 44.  The overwhelming majority of users come from the U.S., in particular San Francisco and Seattle.

But that’s by far not the only crowd that’s on there.

Especially with Reddit’s subreddit system, you can find huge pockets of engaged communities that are specific to your niche. 

So when it comes to your Reddit traffic strategy, you can take a couple of different swings: 

  1. You can swing for the fences and aim to reach the front page of Reddit, where everyone can see your content. 
  2. Or, you can target specific niches on subreddits. These will have lower reach than the 330 million users we talked about earlier, but they do have significant sizes: Many subreddits boast 100,000 and more users.

Here are a couple more things to keep in mind if you’re looking to get traffic from Reddit.


5. Earn karma points by giving value to the community

image via Oberlo

Karma points function as a scorecard for Reddit users and are earned every time you share links and comments. These links and comments can be upvoted or downvoted, which corresponds to the rising and falling of your karma. 

To be successful on Reddit, you need to build up your karma points. At least a few hundred points are needed to show that you’re serious about taking part in the communities. Some subreddits even require a minimum amount of karma before you can post.

Karma points don’t necessarily affect the virality of your content, but they are a good signal to your fellow redditors of whether you’re on Reddit to genuinely be involved or whether you’re just there to self-promote. 
When you’re building up karma points, there are a couple of workflows that can help …

  1. Get involved in popular subreddits like today-I-learned and Ask-Reddit. These are some easy, breezy places to get started with commenting.
  2. And when you’re link sharing, you can build Reddit into your usual content workflow and share to Reddit anytime you would share to Twitter and Facebook, too. 

Ok, now when it comes time to post your content to Reddit, here are some ways to make sure it gets as much traction as possible. 


6. Reverse-engineer the popular headlines of your subreddit

Like many things on social, one of the key aspects will be the title. The same goes for Reddit threads.

Look at the structure of how these titles are created. Notice what gets upvoted and what doesn’t. Then you can take these insights and put them back into the title that you write. 

On the Grow and Convert blog, they talk about a couple of headline formulas that work really well on Reddit.

The first is … 

Need [x]? Here’s [y]

For example, you could say: Tensed shoulders? Try these few stretches (very work-friendly!)

And the second headline formula is … 

[specific time before] I [did something]. I will now [explain to you/share even more detail/teach you how/explain what happened].

And an example of this is: 3 months ago I posted the exact process on how I made $150,000 selling T-shirts on Amazon. I will now explain the exact steps you can take to earn your first $1,000,000 selling on Amazon via the Shopify integration with ZERO inventory.

The Foundation blog also did a study on Reddit titles, and they found some general rules to follow. 

  • Posts with titles between 60 and 80 characters got the most upvotes
  • Posts with titles that were longer than 120 characters or shorter than 20 characters fared the worst. 

And their overall advice probably sounds familiar: The best approach to ensure that you’re writing a title is to review the top 15-20 posts within a subreddit.

The research really pays off!

Additionally, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to some of the trends on Reddit. For instance, the most frequently used phrase in titles is “if you have …” which is very similar to the “need this? try this” formula that we mentioned a moment ago. 

And another favorite topic of redditors is year-end lists or year-ahead posts. Some of the most common numbers in titles are years like 2018 and 2019. 

So if you authentically engage with the community and write good content with titles that resonate, then you stand a great chance of succeeding on Reddit. One last tip we’ll mention is about promoting your content on Reddit … in addition to posting on your chosen subreddit, you can also 


7. Cross-post to other subreddits to make sure it’s seen by as many people as possible. 

When you do this, you can click the “cross post” button at the bottom of your original thread to cross-post it to any other subreddit. One thing to note: You’ll want to use this strategy wisely and not be overly promotional with every post you share. 


8. Use Reddit paid ads to place your content

Reddit advertising is in its early stages compared to other social sites, so there’s still room here to get good returns. 

Reddit advertising works on a cost-per-click basis. You can optimize your campaigns for reach, video views, traffic, and conversions. The video views are especially great because videos are one of the most engaging types of content on Reddit.

For targeting, you can choose to show your ad to all of Reddit or you can focus on certain subreddits. 

There’s a neat case study on how the search engine DuckDuckGo found really stellar success with Reddit advertising.


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About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

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If Likes No Longer Matter on Social Media, Then What Does?

You’ve probably heard the news: Instagram is in the process of removing like counts from posts in the Instagram feed.

At first blush, this might appear to be a massive change. They’re removing one of the most recognizable elements of social proof that’s ever existed. Likes are the way that we measure the world’s most popular posts, they’re a core element to engagement metrics, and they’re the easiest way to react to the people we follow.

It is a bold move, to be sure.

But it is an understandable one.

For I believe social media has already shifted away from the Like as the primary social currency. Yes, the era is of the like is ending, hastened by Instagram’s decision.

But the new era is already here.

And it will be defined by attention.

Keep reading to hear more about how user behaviors have changed and what marketers can do to adapt to the new environment of engagement and attention on social media. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!


The New State of Social Media Engagement

How “liking” has evolved on social media

The “like” used to be very strong social currency.

We used it to measure popularity for, say, the top tweet of all-time or the number one Instagram post.

We used it to measure the popularity of our own stuff, too, lumping likes together with comments and shares and clicks to form an overall engagement number. Influencers certainly put the like to good use, making it a key part to the appeal of their impact and scope. The more likes, you would assume, the more interest.

But it’s also possible that the like was never really the right solution from the start.

The core challenge with liking is that everyone uses it in a different way.

As Chris Taylor writes in Mashable:

The like button has acquired a panoply of meanings in the social realm. It can be used variously to mean yes, I agree, I hear you, sure, why not, I guess. It can be used as a bookmark. And that’s just scratching the surface; there are a whole bunch of other reasons, personal and political, why we might be giving you a heart or a thumbs-up. 

To recap Chris’s list, a like can mean:

  1. “Yes, I agree”
  2. “I hear you”
  3. “Sure, why not”
  4. “I guess”
  5. Bookmark
  6. And many, many more

I’ve personally used the like to say “This is great” and “kthanksbye” and so many other random reactions. I’ve used it as a read-it-later reminder. I’ve even used it as a mechanic in automation recipes, sending liked posts to spreadsheets.

Likes have been co-opted by communities to mean different things in different contexts. For the most part this is healthy and normal. However, in some cases — for instance, when like-chasing affects mental well-being and self-worth — likes can be dangerous.


The New Engagement Metric: Attention

But moreso , likes have diminished in importance because our behaviors have changed.

We no longer need likes to signal that we are into someone’s content.

We have so many ways to signal engagement now:

  • Old standards: reshare, comment, click
  • Referral traffic that can be tracked throughout the customer journey
  • Shopping on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social sites
  • Following the brand
  • Deep-diving a feed
  • Checking out profiles and stories

And the list goes on and on.

This new era of attention is seen really clearly in the proliferation of Stories and in the way we talk about Stories analytics. When we talk about Stories, we gauge engagement with metrics like:

  • Reach
  • Completion Rate
  • Exits

What we’re really measuring here is how well our content is resonating with our audience. Is it engaging? Is it worth watching? We’re also measuring the affinity of the brand; people are more likely to stay and watch a Story from someone they trust and enjoy.

We also have metrics like video watch time where we can see precisely how long people have stuck with our videos. In the past, a video might have received a like, which tells us very little about whether or not someone stuck with our content til the end. Now, we have stats like Audience retention (a core stat on YouTube) that shows you where exactly people drop off from your videos.

Same goes for algorithms. Likes were definitely a signal of engaging content — but they were one signal of hundreds, maybe thousands. Algorithms take into account so many more data points when they calculate what to show next. Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, they can all assess how long we pause on certain posts, where we hover and what we click, even what our history of attention has looked like with a certain page or profile.

The like was a way to show we were aware of what was happening in our feeds (even if barely). Now, we have so many more ways to measure our attention.


What this means for marketers

The good news for marketers is that, while likes are fading into the background, your key stats have probably already shifted. You’re ahead of the curve.

(To be clear, your audience will still be able to like content on Instagram, and those like counts will be visible within your analytics. Just the like count in the feed is going away for now.)

When you think about successful social media content these days, you are already thinking of it beyond the lens of generic metrics like the number of likes you get. Yes, likes are a signal (one of many). But there is just so much more data available for social media managers now.

Your reporting dashboard will probably be unique for your brand. I bet it will include some combination of these attention metrics:

  • Completion rate for Stories
  • Video watch time and audience retention
  • Referral traffic and attribution
  • Engagement rate (total interactions divided by reach)

At the end of the day, when you use likes for measuring, what are you really measuring?

As we saw above, there are myriad ways that likes are used. You can guarantee that someone saw your post, yes; but beyond that, it’s a bit of a mystery.

What’s more actionable for your brand will be measuring attention. People give attention on social media in many different ways.

Now that we can measure so much of it, the era of attention has arrived for social media marketing.


Over to you

  • How will the removal of like counts affect your brand?
  • Do you agree that attention is the next big thing? How are you measuring this already?

It’d be great to hear your take! Feel free to get in touch with us on Twitter to share your thoughts.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/YcbxZB-8gpE/attention-is-the-new-like

Who’s Driving the Data Movement? Social Media Managers

What if the most valuable data person on your team is your social media manager?

It certainly might not seem that way at first blush. When you think of all the many data roles on a team, social media rarely bubbles to the top. Instead, you think of: 

Data scientists.

Growth marketers.

Analysts and quants.

Or maybe there’s no data team and it’s just you and your closest confidantes, poring over the numbers together. 

Regardless, teams with social media managers are sitting on a goldmine of data and information. And it’s data about the most important people in your company’s world: the customers and the audience. At the end of the day, this group of people will drive results and progress for your brand. They will be loyal to you (if you’re building genuine trust); they will purchase from you (if you’re delivering relevant value). It’s this group of customers and audience where you want the strongest relationship.

Shouldn’t we be listening to the person who understands this relationship best?

If you’re serious about making data-informed decisions for your brand, then give social media managers a seat at the table.

Here’s why.


1. Every bit of social media data is behavioral data

Steve Jobs had a reputation for taking customer research with a grain of salt. It’s a similar refrain to another visionary, Henry Ford, inventor of the automobile, who famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse.’” Jobs is known for a related, widely-circulated quote that picks at the same issue:

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. 

Well, on social media, guess what? You are constantly showing things to people!

Your data is REAL data.

It is data based on how people are literally responding to you. They’re clicking (or not clicking). They’re liking. They’re commenting. They’re congratulating. They’re complaining. 

Social media analytics dashboard from Buffer Analyze

If you want your brand to solve problems for people, then social media is going to tell you exactly what problems people have. 

We’ve seen this at Buffer with our social media data, which has informed products like Stories Creator and Shop Grid. We built these in order to solve problems for our audience. Similarly with the content we share, we can tell which content resonates most and what problems are real, today. Some of our most popular posts on social media are about Instagram marketing and data studies. Our audience is speaking to us in replies and comments, yes; but also with their actions.

2. Social media managers can see the future

When you think about all the many signals that social media managers pick up on a daily basis, you begin to get a picture of just how many leading indicators there are. 

Take a typical day in social media, for instance:

Morning: 

  • 8:30-9am: Check-in on all social media platforms
  • 9-9:30am: Measure social results and add to spreadsheets
  • 9:30-10am: Respond and engage with community
  • 10:00-11am: Read and learn
  • 11am-12pm: Content creation (podcast, writing)

Afternoon:

  • 1-1:30pm: Respond and engage with community
  • 1:30-2:00pm: Curate content
  • 2-2:30pm: Read and learn
  • 2:30-3:00pm: Schedule content to Buffer
  • 3-4:30pm: Content creation (video, graphics)
  • 4:30-5pm: Emails and voicemails
  • 5-5:30pm: Check Buffer queue

The very best social media managers are picking up data points all day long: what topics are resonating with audiences today, what posts are taking off and which aren’t, what conversations are people starting, what’s getting clicked, liked, and replied to.

Social media managers can condense all this data into trendspotting. They’re in the perfect spot for it: they’re on social, reading content and making content and talking to people all day long.

One of Gary Vaynerchuk’s best ways to get a pulse for new markets is to track how apps are trending in the iOS and Android stores. Guess which apps are the highest rankers and the movers and shakers? It’s the social media apps! Your social media manager is sitting at center court while the game is being played; they’re in the perfect spot.

Top apps in the iOS App Store, July 2019

3. Social media managers are in the sales pipeline

One of the more recent trends with the role of a social media manager is that more and more these teammates are tasked with directly influencing sales through organic and paid.

You can, of course, run paid ads for product sales on social media. 

Now you have a growing list of options for organic sales as well with shopping on Instagram and Pinterest.

The point is that the data of social media managers is not restricted solely to top-of-funnel, brand-oriented initiatives. Social media managers touch the full customer journey from top to bottom. 

3. Social media managers can optimize

When do you launch a marketing campaign?

When should you plan your tentpole product launches?

Let’s ask the social media manager!

On social media, you get specific datapoints on when an audience is most primed to receive messages, click, engage, and respond. You can look at weekly trends to find the most popular day and time to post. You can look at historic data to see when campaigns were most successful in the past and which trending topics and calendar events are on the horizon. 

Social media insights and answers from Buffer Analyze

At Buffer, we’ve used social media extensively to test headlines, either via an organic series of tweets or a paid ad set with multiple options. 

Social media is a playground for optimization.

4. Social media is one of the few places you get data on your brand

If you follow our weekly newsletter, then you’ve likely seen just how many unique and original social media strategies pop up daily. Brands are doing so much great stuff in online marketing. 

Where it can get tough to measure is how this all impacts the brand perception and positioning. 

Social media managers are one of the few roles with a strong sense for this. Case in point: sentiment.

Sentiment graph from Brand Grader

One of the great things about social stats is that they span the spectrum from micro (clicks on a single tweet, for instance) to macro. Sentiment falls into macro. It’s taking all the social conversations in aggregate and looking at the overall tone of them. Are they positive? Are they negative?

Social media managers can understand this on a gut level because they’re talking to people all day. (Your customer support team will know this data very well, too.) You can also get it from free tools like Brand Grader and Mention.

Beyond sentiment, social media managers can tell brand health by seeing how fast follower growth is happening, how well your ads are received, how engaged is an audience. They’re all signals of brand health, which can often be a tricky thing to measure. This isn’t the case with social media.


15 key stats from social media

Data and creativity are not mutually exclusive, and the idea that you can only create in a total vacuum is a farce. … We’re getting data inputs all the time. In no way is it replacing human decision-making; it’s just giving insights that we historically have never had.

This quote from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian speaks a lot of truth to the world of social media today (and the world at large). There are so many data inputs. 

Here are some of the ones from social media that could be big differentiators and decision-makers:

Referral traffic — Helps you understand what content drives people to your website

Owned vs. earned — A breakdown of how often the content you share on social media drives website traffic versus the content that others share is driving traffic (word of mouth)

Sales — You can track social media attribution through a typical funnel, or you can check sales numbers from direct social shopping

Sentiment — Are people talking positively or negatively about your brand?

Conversation volume — Track whether you’re being mentioned more or less often and how that’s trending over time

Clickthru rate (CTR) — A useful measure for advertising. Is your message resonating with people enough that they’ll click?

Cost per thousand (CPM) / Cost per click (CPC) — These ad measures tell how efficiently your copy, creative, and call-to-action are performing

Relevance score — Another ad measure. Are your targeting and your creative a match?

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) — Similar to Return on Investment (ROI), this looks at the dollars-and-cents impact of advertising

Budget spend — Useful for noting the trends in how social media and markets are shifting.

Reach rate — How many people does your average post reach

Engagement rate — How many people like, comment, click, and share your content

Completion rate — At what rate does your audience watch all of your Instagram Stories

Swipe ups — Does your Instagram Stories content drive conversion and action?

Followers — A good measure for brand health. Follower counts should rise if the brand is doing well


If You’re a Social Media Manager Looking for a Seat at the Table …

So a lot of this might sound great, especially if you’re a social media manager. Being among decision makers is a great place to be.

Some companies might be ready to embrace social as a key data source right now. Certainly some of the best DTC brands out there are already doing this (Away, Warby Parker, etc.). That being said, you might find yourself needing to give your role a nudge into these discussions.

Step one: Stay data-minded (or get data-minded if you feel that you’re not quite there yet).

Beyond that, there are a couple of different ways to take a proactive approach to advocating for yourself and your role.

1. Report on your area and show what the data says

If you’re not already doing it, start making reports to share with your team and your boss about how social media is performing.

A sample social media report from Buffer Analyze

On these reports, you can include an executive summary: a few bullet points about what you’re seeing in the numbers and how it might impact the business. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of a TON of data. Make it easy for others to see what you’re seeing by listing it out in a shortform summary.

2. Experiment consciously

You can lead by showing.

Begin with the basic systems you have for the way that you experiment and try new things on social media. One of the ways we do this at Buffer is framing our hypotheses in a certain way. The construction looks like this:

If we do this, then this will happen because of this

The key, data-informed part of this sentence is “because of this.” Ideally, your “because of” is based on data and evidence. Not only will this make the hypothesis stronger, it will show good on your abilities to make data-informed decisions with the reams of data you have at your disposal.


Over to you

  • Does this emphasis on data resonate with what youre feeling on social media?
  • Where does social media sit within your company and among your stakeholders?

Id love to learn from your experience and opinion. Feel free to leave me a comment here on the post or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram. It’d be great to hear from you!

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The Meme-ification of Instagram

Social networks change and evolve, rapidly.

We’re seeing this happen on Instagram today: less polish, more authenticity.

In particular, we’re noticing an embrace of memes — that historically unpolished, yet highly relatable category of social media content.

Recently, we’ve picked up on the proliferation of memes across many major Instagram profiles, and we’d love to share how brands are making the most of this form of visual marketing and what it could look like for you to give it a try with your brand.

Keep reading for examples, inspiration, and directions on the meme-ification of Instagram and how to ride the wave.


The Trend on Instagram: Less Polish, More Authenticity

Especially at scale, there is an art to noticing the trends as social media moves.

One trend on the horizon: A shift in Instagram’s style.

Taylor Lorenz in The Atlantic wrote about the decline of the “Instagram aesthetic:” those images that look well-staged, highly-produced, and dripping with polish. In their place, a new style has taken over, and it’s largely moving in the opposite direction. Instagram seems to be embracing more raw, organic, and natural images on the platform.

According to an Instagram user quoted in the article:

“It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.”

And Lynsey Eaton who co-founded an influencer marketing agency added this:

“Previously, influencers used to say, ‘Oh, that’s not on brand,’ or only post things shot in a certain light or with a commonality. For the younger generation, those rules don’t apply at all.”

There are a few reasons behind this:

  1. As highly-polished photos have proliferated, the “Instagram aesthetic” has come to feel bland and cookie-cutter.
  2. We’ve spoken before about the red vs. blue ocean strategies, picking a strategy where there is less competition. Staged Instagram photos are achieving mass scale, and it’s harder to compete for attention.
  3. We’ve reached “peak perfection.” Ugly Drinks’ social media and community manager Brittany Zenner calls it “influencer saturation.” There can be too much of a good thing.

The “standard” way to post to Instagram with your very best pictures of your very best self is no longer the only way to get engagement. And with this lowering of the bar comes a welcome to many different types of content.

Memes included.

Having seen memes pop up across social media before, we’ve found there to be a few defining characteristics of what makes this type of social media content so engaging. Memes are …

  1. Relatable. This is a core element of a successful meme. They summarize a widespread feeling that everyone can relate to.
  2. Witty. Memes are clever. They have a way of putting obvious things succinctly in a way that we hadn’t thought of before.
  3. Entertaining. With the combination of relatability and cleverness, memes can be an incredibly fun piece of content, like being in on an inside joke shared with thousands of others.

For example:

"This is fine" meme
The famous “This is fine” meme

It’s especially important to note:

Not all memes need to get a laugh. 

And you can use memes in your feed and in your Stories, in DMs, and anywhere else you communicate with your customers.

Like a customer service interaction with an MVP customer?

 

Because of these factors and more, brands have began experimenting with memes on their Instagram profiles. Here are some examples of memes in the Instagram feeds of top brands.

10 On-Brand Examples of Memes in the Instagram Feed

1. Glossier

The beauty brand has over two million followers and often sprinkles in memes among its standard posts about beauty tips and products. Often times, you’ll see Glossier highlighting messages from its community, like in this tweet-turned-Instagram-post:

View this post on Instagram

✨🕳

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

2. BarkBox

BarkBox delivers subscription boxes of dog toys, treats, and chews. Their Instagram feed is almost all memes. They’ll often add captions to photos of dogs, and these captions speak from the dog’s perspective. BarkBox has taken advantage of trending topics, too, posting memes related to the latest Taylor Swift song or Avengers movie.

Here’s an example of their capitalizing on a popular Instagram meme and featuring user-generated content:

View this post on Instagram

so get your likes in now 🌟⁣ ⁣ @tikatheiggy

A post shared by BarkBox (@barkbox) on

3. Curology

Curology, a skincare company, has the best of both worlds on its Instagram. In addition to a collection of beautiful photography and professional graphics, they sprinkle in the occasional meme:

Curology is a good example of a mix of social media content types. They cross-post community tweets as testimonials, they show before-and-after images of their customers, they have marketing graphics and staged photos. And they use the occasional meme.

4. Ritual

Like Curology, Ritual places memes right alongside the more polished studio photography in its feed. Here’s a view of their feed at the moment:

The vitamin company uses memes to get across messages like “take your vitamins” along with empathizing with its audience when you’re just not feeling yourself.

5. Hims

Hims does a LOT of memes on their account. One of their specialties is reposting tweets:

View this post on Instagram

make 👏 future 👏 you 👏 proud 👏

A post shared by hims (@hims) on

Hims does a great job of finding tweets that are relevant to its brand message: Use Hims products to protect your skin, prevent hair loss and erectile dysfunction, and sleep better. These health problems are rife for memes because they’re relatable. As you can see from the Hims accounts, there are lots of examples to choose from.

6. Burrow

This example from Burrow combines the meme trend with user-generated content. The post is a reshare from @meme_love_you_long_time’s account, and it fits with Burrow because the furniture company sells fancy furniture like leather couches.

7. Ugly Drinks

Ugly Drinks has a really stellar approach to brand-building and creating a unique voice on social media. Part of that unique voice is sprinkling in memes to their Instagram content. Alongside pictures of their product (cans of flavored, carbonated water), Ugly adds memes with captions related to bottled water:

8. Slim Jim

The entire Slim Jim account is memes, many of which reference their snack foods directly. Slim Jim has a strong focus on many of its branded hashtags and communities like the #LongBoiGang. This meme below is one of the more obvious Slim Jim CTAs:

View this post on Instagram

Boom shakalaka

A post shared by Slim Jim (@slimjim) on

9. SparkNotes

SparkNotes understands its core audience: students and learners who can resonate with pop culture memes. The company creates study guides for a variety of topics, and their Instagram content is rife with empathy for the experience of the student: what it feels like to study, to pass a test, etc.

The majority of SparkNotes’s memes are related to TV shows like The Office, Arrested Development, and Parks and Rec. Here’s one from The Office:

View this post on Instagram

EVERYBODY DANCE NOW. 📣🎶🕺 #sparknotes

A post shared by SparkNotes Official (@sparknotes_) on

10. Bustle

Bustle, a premium publisher reaching millennial women, has built its Instagram audience with a content stream full of memes. This includes their primary Instagram Feed as well as Instagram Stories, where they routinely get 90%+ completion rates on their Stories content.

Much of their feed is full of Twitter memes or photos that resonate with their audience, like this Monday post:

View this post on Instagram

i am Leslie & Leslie is me 😑

A post shared by Bustle (@bustle) on

 

Resources for Meme-ifying Your Instagram Profile

If you want to hop on this trend, first consider:

  • Do memes resonate with my target audience?
  • Are memes a fit with my brand’s voice and tone?

We’ve found that the majority of brands who make memes work are speaking to a younger demographic of consumers and that the brands themselves have a more personable, casual voice and tone. It’s more rare to see memes used with B2B brands or with brands that have an older demographic … at the same time, it could be interesting to evaluate as a competitive advantage.

Regardless, if you’re interested in getting started with memes, here are a few of the resources we’ve found to help make your meme-finding fast and efficient:

1. Source memes from popular tweets

Twitter can be a useful space to hear about the latest memes as well as find content that you can repurpose for Instagram (note how brands like Glossier do the latter with user-generated content and testimonials). One of the best places to begin is by looking at a list of popular tweets from sites like Zeitgeist.

If you’re thinking about repurposing tweets as Instagram content, then you can rely on a feed of your brand mentions via an engagement tool like Buffer Reply.

2. Source memes from meme aggregators and Reddit

Memebase and Memedroid are just a couple of the sites that collect popular memes. You can get a good overview of what’s trending by looking here. In addition, some of the biggest communities on the Internet are also home to the latest memes. If you check out Imgur and Reddit, you’re likely to find a good pulse on which memes are popular now.

3. See what the top Instagram meme accounts are sharing

Instagram meme channels are a thing, too. You can find a solid list of these IG accounts in this story from Media Kix.

And the number one rule we’ve seen with memes: Tie the meme back to the product.

This can be a direct tie-in like the Slim Jim sample above, or it can be a subtle, emotional one like how SparkNotes does it. Either way, it can be tempting to use memes for the sake of using memes (they are quite enjoyable); the best brands find ways to make memes that engage with the audience and build brand loyalty.

Over to you

  • What are some of your favorite meme accounts on Instagram?
  • Do you find the meme strategy to be effective for brands?

It’d be great to hear your perspective on this. Feel free to leave a comment below or come find us on social media!

https://buffer.com/resources/the-meme-ification-of-instagram

10 Important Skills and Traits Your Social Media Manager Will Need

A decade ago, the role of a social media manager might not have even existed. Today, however, almost every company is involved in social media one way or another.

A quick look at Google Trends shows the rise in interest in the term “social media manager” over the years, and it seems that people have never been as interested in the term as they are today.

Google trend search for social media manager - interest in the term has been increasing since 2004.

But what does it take to be a great social media manager? What are the skills to master and traits to have? How can you work on those areas?

In this post, we’ll try our best to answer all those questions. We’ll share 10 skills and traits that are crucial to being a great social media manager and relevant resources to help you improve in those areas.

social-media-manager-skills

Skills vs Traits

Throughout this post, we’ll discuss the various skills and traits we feel are most important for social media managers. But before we dive in, I quickly wanted to share some of my learnings about the difference between skills and traits.

Here’s a great explanation of skills vs traits from Red Letter Resumes:

Skills are tangible factors that you actually bring to the table. Things such as HTML, PowerPoint, Tax Preparation, Medication Compounding, Social Media Management, Lesson Planning, Accounts Receivable, Contract negotiations, etc. They are things that require you to develop a certain level of understanding, productivity or efficiency to claim expertise.

A trait is therefore defined as, “a quality that makes one person or thing different from another”. These are the things that make you who you are, that are part of your personality: the things that make you different from other people. The difference is that these are subjective. One person’s definition of being hard-working is not the same as another’s. Traits come without a quantifiable or standard measure. They are often, but not always, amplifiers of how you do or complete something that is a skill.

Hard skills involve specific knowledge and abilities. Soft skills focus on attributes and personality traits.

(Image from The Huffington Post)

When it comes to finding your ideal social media manager, I feel you may be looking for the right mix of tangible skills (things like copywriting and analytics) and traits (such as curiosity).

In addition, we feel that the role of a social media manager these days owes heavily to the concept of a T-shaped marketer. We use the T-shaped marketer framework at Buffer to describe the depth of skills each of us has as well as the breadth of experiences and knowledge that we all hold.

Here’s a n example of how this might look for someone with a depth of skill in content:

Buffer T-shaped marketer diagram

7 skills top social media managers share

1. Copywriting

Copywriting is a fundamental skill for social media marketing (and probably all areas of marketing). Writing good copy is required in many areas of a social media manager’s role, from filling up your social media profile description to crafting tweets and Facebook posts.

To drive engagement and clicks, you have to fit a captivating story into your social media post and without great copywriting skills that can be difficult.

To enhance your copywriting skills, I’d highly recommend studying a few copywriting formulas to help you craft inspiring copy. Finding a copywriting formula (or two) that works for you can be a great productivity boost and also improve the quality of the social media content you publish.

One of our favorite copywriting techniques here at Buffer is the ‘Before – After – Bridge’  – you may recognize it from a few of our blog posts and social posts. Here’s how it works:

Before – After – Bridge

Before – Here’s your world …

After – Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved …

Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

Example:

For more great tips on copywriting, be sure to check out Kevan’s great post: If Don Draper Tweeted: The 27 Copywriting Formulas That Will Drive Clicks and Engagement on Social Media

Resources

2. Design (Graphics and Videos)

Research has found that social media posts with images receive more engagement and 43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content in the future.

43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content.

Social media evolved a great deal over recent years, and we have moved away from mostly plain text based updates towards visual content such as images and videos. Designing and creating visual content is becoming an essential skill for social media managers.

Resources

3. Public Speaking (confidence in front of an audience)

With features and apps like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Periscope, live videos are becoming more and more important on social platforms. And marketers have noted this change, with 42 percent of marketers saying they want to create more live videos.

42 percent of marketers would want to create more live videos if they were not restricted by time, resources, or budget.

Why are marketers excited about live video? I believe the answer is two-fold: reach and engagement. Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in the News Feed when those videos are live than after they are no longer live. From an engagement perspective, live content also provides opportunity for high-engagement and 1:1 interactions with audiences.

To tap into the live video trend, social media managers have to be confident enough to go live on social media to connect with their audience. Having public speaking skills will help you to present your ideas, interview guests, answer impromptu questions, and chat with your followers in real-time.

If you want to see our awesome Social Media Manager, Brian Peters, in action, you can find his live videos here. And below is a short clip of Brian discussing viral content:

Resources

4. Customer Service / Community Engagement

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care, but only 21 percent of businesses use social media for customer support. This means there’s a huge opportunity here to provide remarkable customer service experiences.

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care

As the face of your company on social media and the person who is likely to be responding to at least some of the messages your brand receives on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it’s important for social media managers to have conversational skills and empathy to help you customers on social media.

Community engagement is quite similar in many ways. A great social media community manager is able to ask the right questions to facilitate engagement and answer questions about the product, company, or industry.

Resources

5. Behavioral Psychology

With data and analytics, you know what type of social media posts do well. Behavioral psychology tells you the why — for example, why are people attracted to certain posts? Why do people share certain posts?

Knowing the what allows you to spot trends and try to repeat past successes; knowing the why enables you to understand the underlying causes for those trends in order to try and create future successes.

For example, your data might tell you that your tweets with images are doing better than tweets with only text. Based on just that information, you might create more tweets with images. However, it could be that your followers prefer visual content. Without knowing the psychology behind trends, you might miss out on opportunities to create other types of visual content such as videos and GIFs.

You certainly don’t need a degree or high level of expertise in psychology to be a social media manager, but a keenness to learn and understand psychology at some level is an important skill.

Resources

6. Analytics

The term, ‘Analytics’, is used quite broadly here, referring to both social media metrics (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) and business metrics (e.g. traffic, leads, conversions, revenue, etc.). A great social media manager is able to understand both types of metrics and tie them together to give an overall view of the company’s social media performance against business goals.

A social media manager should be the guiding light in your business when it comes to measuring your performance across various social channels. As such, learning the ins and outs of social media metrics and judging which ones are meaningful for your business is essential for a social media manager.

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic from social media channels to your website and drive sales, being able to attribute traffic and conversions back to channels and even certain posts will help your team to understand what content is helping you to achieve your goals.

Knowing how to read and interpret data is now an important skill for social media managers.

Resources

7. Budgeting

As a social media manager, you might be allocated a budget to work with. Apart from paid advertising, you might have to pay for things like a social media management tool, designs, images, or courses to improve yourself. Having some basic financial and budgeting knowledge can make you better on the job.

While you might not need to be an Excel expert, understanding Excel and knowing what you can do with it can be very valuable.

Paid advertising budget spreadsheet template

(Image from HubSpot)

Resources

3 personality traits great social media managers exhibit

8. Curiosity

A curious social media manager would immerse herself in the social media world, staying up-to-date with the latest development and experimenting with new social media marketing strategies.

Brian Peters is an epitome of this quality. When we discovered that videos, especially live videos, are becoming popular on social media, Brian immediately started making more videos on Facebook and Twitter. When Snap Inc. launched Spectacle, Brian got it as soon as he could to try it out and figure out how marketers can use it in their social media strategy.

Snap Spectacles a Buffer Review

HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson said this really well when she described her ideal social media hire:

“We really look for people who have their finger on the pulse of how social is changing. It is one of the most rapidly changing industries right now, and I want someone who is paying attention to it, who is enthralled by it and fascinated by it. … Things shift so fast. If you think about the social media channels that were dominant two years ago and the social media channels that are dominant today, it’s just a totally different world.”

Resources

9. Adaptability

Adaptability complements curiosity. When you discover something new or spot a trend, being able to quickly adapt to it can keep you ahead of the curve.

For example, the most engaging type of social media content has shifted from texts to images to videos. In a Fast Company article, Mark Zuckerberg was reported to have said,

“Most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now it’s quickly becoming videos,” Zuckerberg said, justifying Facebook’s aggressive push into the area. “I just think that we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.”

A great social media manager is able to keep up with such changes and pick up the necessary skills (e.g. graphic design, video making, etc.). (Imagine when virtual reality becomes the most popular type of content!)

Resources

10. Business Savviness

Being able to generate likes and shares is great; knowing how social media fits in with the entire business strategy is even better! A business-savvy social media manager sees the bigger picture and understands the role of social media in the company.

They understand which metrics are most relevant and crucial to the business and how social media can help to push them higher. For example, a B2B social media manager might focus on generating leads for her sales team while a B2C social media manager might focus on increasing customer purchases directly. This way, her impact goes beyond just social media but to the entire company.

Resources

Skills and traits others think are important

To give you an unbiased view on this topic, I’d love to share the skills and traits that other companies and individuals think are important:

What the Best Social Media Community Managers Actually Do in Their Jobs by HubSpot

  • Content creation
  • Marketing analytics
  • News junkie
  • Customer service
  • Community management
  • Funnel marketing
  • Project management

Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot also mentioned the necessary skills for each of these areas in this article.

10 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Needs To Have on Their Resume by Jeff Bullas

  • Strategy planning
  • Tactics and execution
  • Community management
  • Understand how content works on a social web
  • Optimizing content and technology
  • Creative mindset
  • Writing skills
  • Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends
  • Analytical skills
  • Leadership and communication skills

How to Build A Social Media Strategy Dream Team by HubSpot and Sprout Social

  • Patience
  • Technical aptitude
  • Proactive
  • Daring
  • Passion
  • Level of Experience
  • Customer-first mentality

Over to you

While you might not need to be proficient in every single area mentioned above, being good at a few of them would make you a great social media manager and a valuable asset to your company.

What other skills do you think is important for a social media manager to have? Would you be up for sharing some resources for improving those skills, too?

Thank you!

https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-manager-job-description

Ugly Drinks’ Four Secrets to Disrupting a $392 Billion Industry

Great businesses see the future differently.

  • Apple made CD’s redundant, and gave us 1,000 songs in our pocket
  • Airbnb took travel, and made us all feel at home across globe
  • Netflix made video rentals a thing of the past, and disrupted the Oscars

And now, Ugly Drinks is creating a new, healthier future for the $392 billion soft drinks industry, challenging giants like The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Red Bull head on.

From the outside, it may seem like a David v Goliath battle. But Ugly isn’t a plucky underdog. It’s a confident competitor with a different view of the world, and an unassailable belief in its mission.

Its product — a sugar, and sweetener free, natural flavoured sparkling water — launched in 2016, and has since built up strong sales, and a core of die-hard fans, on both sides of the Atlantic.

So, how has Ugly grown from a startup idea to challenging billion dollar brands?

Keep reading to uncover the four key steps Ugly has taken to build an industry-disrupting, global business in under five years…

1. Build a unique brand

Ugly believes that its audience is tired of ‘perfection’ and seeks a more sincere view of the world

Ugly’s founders, Hugh Thomas and Joe Benn, are no strangers to the drinks industry after working together at Vita Coco, and over the years, the pair had grown tired the way many soft drinks were marketed.

“The founders were sick of seeing brands selling sugar-filled products, made appealing by marketing that masked what you’re actually drinking,” Brittany Zenner, Ugly’s New York-based Social Media and Community Manager explained to me.

The belief that many brands are propped up by misleading marketing sparked the concept of the ‘Ugly Truth’, the brand’s mission to spread the truth about the world we live in.

So for consumers who are craving the truth, especially in the socio-political, fake news, world we’re in at the moment, we have positioned Ugly as a brand that tells every truth. — Hugh Thomas, Ugly Drinks co-founder

“Whatever newspaper you read, whatever news sources you’re getting, there is uncertainty on both sides, and I think that’s led to a lot of tension,” says Hugh Thomas, speaking to The Challenger Project. “So for consumers who are craving the truth, especially in the socio-political, fake news, world we’re in at the moment, we have positioned Ugly as a brand that tells every truth.”

Ugly doesn’t make any claims it can’t live up to: “No unobtainable lifestyles. No ridiculous promises. We’re not a dream, we’re a drink,” the brand stated in a 2018 advert.

Telling ‘every truth’ means that Ugly has to take a stand on topics outside of the drinks industry too. “The Ugly Truth started as a product message, but has broadened out to become about society. ” Zenner shared.

Ugly has partnered with Girl Up, a gender equality charity, to drive positive change and tackle global gender inequality. 1 cent of every drink purchased is donated to Girl Up’s leadership development program which trains teenage girls to take action for gender equality.

“The fact that we stand up for things can be divisive,” Zenner says. “Not every consumer supports the idea that brands should speak out about real life issues but we always try to stick to our values. Our mission, to expose The Ugly Truth, is something we all believe in passionately.”

2. Market where your customers are

Marketing to a young, rebellious audience means embracing social media channels for Ugly

Ugly’s customers are known as ‘GenZenials’ internally. “It’s a mixture of Gen-Z and millennials, 16-24 is our target audience range,” Zenner shares.

The brand seeks to connect with consumers who are socially engaged, and ‘a bit rebellious’. “But but not in a destructive way,” Zenner continues. “We’re more about positive rebellion, standing up for things and making changes in the world.”

Ugly, like many of its ‘GenZenail’ audience, was born in the age of social media, and when Ugly combined its unique brand message with social media channels like Instagram, it found a recipe for success.

“Social media has been an amazing tool for us to spread the Ugly word since launch,” says Thomas. “We are a high visual brand with a strong opinion and Instagram has been particularly successful for us in terms of building a following and engaging with our community.”

Ugly’s world view, and its focus on calling out the Ugly Truth guides all of its marketing from its tone of voice to the content it shares. “We call out marketing BS,” explains Zenner. “We’ll even make fun of ourselves if we’re using stock imagery or really polished videos. We poke fun at the brands that sell the dream and aspirational lifestyles. We’re about living at authentic life.”

But what does that look like in practice?

A great example of this is Ugly’s National Sibling’s Day post on Instagram. The playful copy, accompanying a professionally shot image, says: ‘In honor of #NationalSiblingsDay here’s a photo of two people who aren’t related enjoying some Ugly.’

“We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Even when we make announcements or tackle serious subjects we try to be lighthearted,” says Zenner.

Ugly tries to steer clear from perfection, something that Zenner sees as growing trend in social media. “We went through this period of influencer saturation, where everything was hyper-polished and staged,” she explains. Consumers, Zenner believes, are bored and have switched off from this type of content, instead craving reality again. “We’re now bringing social media back to real-life,” she says.

The content Ugly creates is a mix of memes the team produces internally and professionally shot images, but Zenner believes that the amount of money you spend on content creation doesn’t tend to correlate with results.

“Honestly some of best performing content are the memes that we’ve created internally. It’s really low-fi but it’s the kind of stuff you would share with a friend,” she says. “We’ll take a popular meme format or just an image we think is funny, and add our own text onto it. When we put that up on our feed or story it tends to get better engagement that the content we’ve spent a bunch of money on.”

Pro Tip: When it comes to keeping on top of ever-changing internet and meme culture, the Ugly team has a Slack channel where they share content they stumble upon online. The team also keeps a close on on Reddit for the latest memes and trends.

3. Encourage your customers to become advocates

Thanks to Ugly’s customer-centric approach, people love to share their experiences with the brand on social media (and beyond)

Ugly has a passionate community of fans and customers it affectionately calls the ‘Ugly Mob’, and this community has been key to the growth of the business.

In the company’s early days, co-founder, Joe Benn, realized that building a community of brand advocates would help them to spread the world about their alternative, challenger brand.

“Our fans love to be seen with the cans,” Benn explained to a UK business site last year. “They buy our merch from the website and they stick our stickers everywhere! This word of mouth excitement around The Ugly Truth platform has been our best marketing by far.”


Another aspect of the community that Zenner says is hugely important to Ugly is user generated content on social media, with the brand often re-sharing social media posts from its audience to Instagram stories.

“We want to feel like we’re part of the community, not just speaking to the community,” Zenner says. “By re-sharing photos and videos of people enjoying Ugly and interacting with the brand it’s showing people authentically engaging with the brand [and product].”

“We care deeply about our community in both the U.K. and the U.S. and use social media to speak to consumers on a 1-1 basis as often as possible,” says Thomas. For Zenner, this means focusing on engagement on social media: “We try to at least like every comment and we always reply if we feel like there’s something to reply to. We like to show people that there is someone real on the end of the content we’re producing and that we’re seeing their messages.”

“To us, comments and DMs are even more important than likes, because they allow us to open up two-way communication with our audience.”

4. Listen to your customers

Speaking honestly and transparently with customers has helped Ugly to shape its business and build a brand people love

“We’ve built our entire brand at Ugly around being customer-centric and digitally native,” Zenner says.

Ugly makes key business decisions based on the feedback it receives from the its community, the ‘Ugly Mob’, and it actively seeks out this kind of feedback across channels — from social media to surveys and email.

One example of this is how Ugly sourced its three newest flavors — Watermelon, Piña Colada, and Pink Grapefruit. “All three of these were top voted options in surveys we sent out to our customers via email and surveys we posted on Instagram Stories and in our highly-engaged Facebook Group,” shares Zenner.

Ugly has also used surveys and customer feedback to make decisions about the merchandise it sells — yep, a drinks brand can also sell merch — and the content Zenner and the team at Ugly produce.

It’s also incredibly valuable for Ugly team members to take the time to speak with customers in detail, outside of email, surveys and social media. “I personally have gotten on the phone with a select group of customers to discuss what they love about Ugly and what they would like to see us improve,” says Zenner. “Those conversations have been invaluable and have opened our eyes to possibilities that structured surveys might miss.”

Creating the future of soft drinks for a more health conscious generation

A Nielsen study found the majority of consumers are trying to ditch sugar and embrace healthier lifestyles, and Ugly is a perfect fit for younger, more health conscious consumers.

Further to this, a poll conducted in conjunction with USA Today reporter Bruce Horowitz which surveyed more than 30,000 consumers in more than 60 nations, revealed that younger consumers are far more concerned about healthy living that older generations. The study found that the most health-centric group of consumers is Generation Z, part of Ugly’s GenZenial market.

With healthy and clean eating and drinking on the rise, Ugly is ideally positioned to continue its growth across the globe — especially if it sticks to the four tactics that have served it so well on its journey so far:

  1. Build a brand: Ugly believes that its audience is tired of ‘perfection’. It seeks a more authentic view of the world, and shares the ‘Ugly Truth’ about its industry and other global issues.
  2. Market where your customers are: Marketing to a ‘GenZenial’ audience means that Ugly embraces social media, and channels where its audience hangs out online.
  3. Encourage your customers to become advocates: Ugly’s customer-centric approach, encourages people to share their experiences with the brand on social media (and beyond).
  4. Listen to your customers: Speaking honestly and transparently with customers has helped Ugly to shape its business and build a brand people love.

It’ll be a few years before Ugly reaches the heights of the soft drinks industry Goliaths like The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, but the journey will be fascinating to watch.

———-

You can follow Ugly on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. A special thank you goes to Brittany Zenner, Social Media and Community Manager at Ugly, for sharing a ton of great insights for this story.

https://buffer.com/resources/ugly-drinks-growth

The Evolution of Storytelling with Video: What Works on Facebook, Won’t on Instagram (Or YouTube)

Successful social media content isn’t one size fits all. In 2019, telling the same story across all social platforms isn’t the most effective way to drive results. That’s why when it comes to crafting social videos that tell a story and stand out, it’s the platform that’s key.

Here’s some insight into what successful storytelling looks like on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and how you can create your own platform-specific videos.

On Facebook, share news and updates

About  88% of Facebook users browse on their mobile device and most watch videos without sound. Additionally, most users spend about 10-to-12 minutes on Facebook per visit. So you’ve got a limited amount of time to stop viewers from scrolling past your content.

How do you engage the Facebook audience? Stick to news and updates.

Consumers on this platform are expecting to stay updated or learn something new. For that reason, it’s the right platform to talk about something new, like a product, offering, launch, or location. Also, keep in mind that square videos take up 78% more space in the Facebook News Feed. To optimize for engagement in the Feed, stick to square video.

On Instagram, inspire with eye-catching videos

Instagram is the up-and-coming platform on social. In 2018, Instagram showed higher engagement and ad spend than Facebook. Furthermore, in a recent survey, 48% of consumers said they made a purchase after watching a brand’s video on Instagram— that’s up 17% from the previous year.

So what kind of content resonates with the Instagram audience? Think visually stunning imagery, and inspiring stories.

When approaching video creation for Instagram, start with something visually striking.Tell a story that inspires or intrigues or share a memorable quote. Posting the kind of content your audience prefers to consume helps your brand stand out on social.

On YouTube, educate with longform content

While sharing a longform video on Instagram or Facebook may not hold your audience’s attention, longer video content excels on YouTube. And since its what viewers expect on this platform, they are more likely to stay engaged till the end.

It’s also worth noting that your YouTube audience is looking for specific information, and most likely watching with the audio on. So, share educational content such as how-to videos or top 5 lists (2 out of 3 of consumers favorite types of videos on social) that’ll provide value to your audience.

On social, the success of a story is linked to the platform on which it is shared. And, catering your video content to viewers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube fosters a memorable connection to your audience. Incorporate these insights into your marketing strategy to create effective storytelling videos for each platform.

For more on effective storytelling with video, check out my session at Social Media Week NYC.

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5 Ways Gen Z Has Changed Social Media (and How Brands Have Taken Notice)

With over 61 million people in the United States alone, Generation Z is poised to bring about some significant changes. Indeed, CNBC’s Chris Morris covered how those born after 1996 are already changing the workplace and other aspects of day-to-day life.

Because members of Gen Z have grown up in the digital age, they are more comfortable with it than older generations — and as a result, they are also more inclined to influence and reshape it.

Anyone hoping to succeed in social media should be especially mindful of how Gen Z has already had an impact. Here’s a closer look at some of the ways Gen Z is changing the social media landscape, as well as how some brands have taken notice:

1. Channel Hopping

Unlike other groups, Gen Z isn’t always going to stay on the same social media platform for hours on end. As AdWeek’s Brittany Hodak explains, “Gen Z tends to find new products on Instagram, with 45 percent using it for brand discovery. They then turn to YouTube for product research at twice the rate that their millennial brothers and sisters do. Once Gen Z decides to make a purchase, many head into brick-and-mortar stores, where they’re more likely than any other generation to share their shopping experiences on Snapchat.”

This doesn’t just require that brands have a strong presence across several different social media channels — it also means that companies need to find ways to deliver smaller, bite-size pieces of content, such as by using shorter video pre-roll ads.

“If there is one thing Gen Z values most, it’s time,” writes Gen Z influencer and marketing expert Connor Blakley. “The best brands leverage new technology to provide customers with an added layer of functionality and convenience.”

2. The Rise of Digital ‘Third Places’

Third places” have long been viewed as important elements of building community—the places where we spend our time when we aren’t at home or at work. While third places have traditionally been physical locations like malls or coffee shops, Gen Z is leading a trend that sees digital software becoming its own third place.

One need only look at the wild success of Fortnite to see that digital spaces can become a legitimate third place. Other brands are also seeking to establish themselves in this same way.

For example, the app Squad lets users screen share from their smartphones — perfect for browsing apps together, watching videos or even collaborating on school projects when users aren’t in the same physical location. The app has already seen notable success among teen girls, thanks to its ability to create a digital hangout space.

3. The Power of Internet Influencers

Though athletes and pop stars still gain lots of headlines, Gen Z is far more likely to be influenced by social media celebrities. This could include anyone from fashion bloggers to Instagram travel photographers.

These mini-celebrities often have followers numbering in the thousands, rather than millions. But because they form closer connections with their niche audience, they are often viewed as more trustworthy and engaging when involved in marketing partnerships.

For example, Fiji Water partnered with fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein to create a series of workout videos, linking the influencer’s fitness and style credentials with the brand. Such partnerships will prove even more essential in communicating brand values to Gen Z — 57 percent have made purchases based on online influencer promotions.

4. Seeking Content First

Though connecting with friends through social media is still important for Gen Z, surveys have found that they are far more likely than other groups to use social media “to fill up spare time” or “to find funny or entertaining content.”

The phrase “content is king” may feel like it has been overused in recent years, but Gen Z’s social media habits prove that providing great content is crucial to connecting with this audience. Gen Z isn’t going to appreciate intrusive ads that disrupt their entertainment experience. However, brands that provide quality entertainment in their own right can quickly build a huge following of their own.

Red Bull’s YouTube channel doesn’t simply pump out ads for its drinks …

Instead, it focuses on lifestyle videos built around the extreme sports community. With over 8 million subscribers, it is clear that a content-first, rather than marketing-first approach will yield superior engagement.

5. Visual Content Dominates

Gen Z seeks visual content more than anything else when online, and their preferred social media networks are a clear reflection of this. A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are by far the most popular platforms for teens. In comparison, only about half of teens use Facebook, while less than one-third use Twitter.

The key commonality between the most popular social media platforms is their visual-first function. Videos and photos are more engaging and easier to consume, especially when viewed on a smartphone.

As Gen Z entrepreneur Deep Patel writes, “This opens the door for brands to share more human stories of their own, which will inspire audiences to try out their product. Storytelling feels real, immediate and personal, but it also demands a mix of more time-intensive video, images and graphics, and requires brands to be more creative and thoughtful in the intent.”

Incorporating your brand’s core messaging into visual content will make it much more likely to stand out and appeal to the younger generation.

By 2020, it is expected that Gen Z “will account for 40 percent of all consumers and influence nearly $4 billion in discretionary spending.” Savvy brands understand the importance of adapting to the changes Gen Z is bringing now so they will be better poised for success in the years ahead.

As you learn to leverage social media in a way that appeals to Gen Z, your brand will be far better positioned in our increasingly digital world.

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6 Outdated Social Media Strategies That Repel Gen Z

Are you ready for the next generation of consumers? Gen Z brings over $143 billion in spending power plus influence over their parents’ buying decisions. But, if your social media strategies are outdated, expect to get left behind.

As 2020 approaches, a new generation of consumers is taking over the global marketplace. Poised to become the most influential generation ever, Gen Z’s direct spending is an estimated $143 billion, while 90% of them also influence their parents’ buying decisions.

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z (born from 1995 – 2015) is the first generation of digital natives.

They have high expectations of brands and make lightning-fast decisions when sizing up web pages.

If your social media marketing is outdated, Gen Z will swipe and tap their way to your competitors in seconds – and probably take their millennial parents and friends with them. Find out if your brand is ready for the next generation. Below are 6 outdated strategies for social media that may be chasing away Gen Z’ers.

Outdated Strategy #1: Following “Best Times to Post” Guides Too Closely

“Best times to post” guides can be misleading. Use them as a starting point, but don’t’ stick to them religiously.

Run a Google search on “best times to post to social media”, and you’ll uncover pages of tips and advice. While best posting suggestions can be helpful, you should use them with caution, and only as a starting point.

Best posting times can be misleading because:

  • Studies are often based on when brands post content or when users are online, instead of when people interact with brands.
  • Many publishers form recommendations based on dated statistics. Your “2019 Guide” may contain data that can be traced back 3-6 years (a lifetime in the social media world).
  • Most recommendations are based on averages, which overlook low-competition, high-engagement opportunities.

Even the highest-quality guides can’t predict the quirks of your target audience.

Solution: Update Your Posting Schedule With Analytics

Social media insights offer data that helps you form the best, most productive posting schedules.

For example, you can find out what days and times your Facebook followers are online by visiting your FacebookI nsights page and search under Posts > When your fans are online.

Source: Sharelov

Then, conduct A/B testing to discover when they’re most likely to engage with your brand.

Find what works best for your brand and achieve a higher level of engagement than the best posting guides can offer.

Outdated Strategy #2: Focusing Too Heavily on Self-Promotion

Millennials and Gen Z have a low tolerance for brands that constantly self-promote.

Review your last 10 posts on Facebook. What percent of them include a link to your product, landing page, or website?

If the answer is 100%, your social media marketing strategy is outdated.

Solution: Update Your Social Media Content Plan

Gen Z and millennials want to feel that your brand cares more than just making money. Today’s followers look for content that informs, entertains or supports a social cause.

Instead of constant promotions, update your content plan to include some of the following:

Encourage User-generated Content

More than 40% of millennials and Gen Z expect to see user-generated content before making a purchase.

UGC stats

Source: Statista

There are many types of user-generated content that work well for social media, including:

  • Reviews
  • Images
  • Testimonials

To encourage sharing, use hashtags to promote contests, rewards, and giveaways.

For example, to promote its Marie Kondo series, Netflix encourages followers to create posts about what sparks joy for them.

netflix marie kondo

Source: Netflix on Instagram

Users who tag their posts with #gotjoy get a chance to meet Marie Kondo.

Offering prize incentives is an excellent way to encourage user-generated content.

Create Polls And Questions

Polls and questions are a fun way to connect with your audience.

For example, HelloFresh’s “Just for Fun” stories section packs fun and entertaining food-based trivia questions.

hellofresh IG stories - create polls

Source: HelloFresh on Instagram

Tell Other People’s Stories

Sharing stories about other people never gets old and inspires meaningful conversations.

Uber shared a heartwarming story about one of its drivers who collects doodles and signatures from all of the people that ride with him.

twitter uber - share stories

Source: Uber on Twitter

Uber’s stories turn everyday people into heroes, in a way that’s relevant to its brand.

This is a great way to inspire engagement and shares.

Share Breaking News and Trends

Sharing news related to your industry is a popular way to engage B2B audiences.

Post Relevant Curated Content

Curated content serves 3 purposes:

  • Helps balance out self-serving links
  • Enables you to build relationships with other businesses by sharing their content
  • Keeps your pages fresh and fun to browse

Recommend Tools or Books That Help Your Followers

Recommending helpful tools and books is also a great way to engage B2B audiences.

instagram recommendation

Source: Von Wrede Real Estate on Instagram

The post description explains why the book is relevant to the company’s followers.

Support Social Causes

Millennials are drawn toward brands that take a social stand, but Gen Z raises the bar by expecting brands to support social causes.

A leader in social cause marketing, TOMS actively develops initiatives to help provide basics such as clean water, medical procedures, and local education.

TOMS’ business model also includes social activism. For example, the company delivered over 700,000 postcards and spoke with members of Congress to help end gun violence.

toms on facebook

Source: TOMS shoes on Facebook

Outdated Strategy #3: Faking Likes, Followers, or Engagement

Paying or trading for social media engagement is an outdated strategy that can get you banned, repel millennials/Gen Z, and throw off your data.

There are many ways to “fake it” on social media, but these defeat the purpose of social marketing as they don’t help build authentic relationships with your audience.

Using auto-engagement bots or buying likes/followers are only some of the dishonest tactics. Others include:

  • Mass-following accounts to encourage people to follow back, only to unfollow them the next day
  • Mass-following accounts and unfollowing those who do not reciprocate
  • Mass-commenting on public social media posts and asking for follow

Over time, dishonest strategies compromise your reputation and may also get you banned from social channels.

Blackhat techniques also invalidate the most useful tool at your disposal — social media insights.

Without reliable analytics, your brand may never discover what motivates your audience, what posting schedule works best, or who your biggest fans are.

Solution: Update Your Approach with Meaningful Conversations

It’s good to expand your reach, but don’t forget to that developing meaningful conversations is the priority.

Seek a higher standard of engagement. This includes those sparked by:

  • User-generated content
  • Reviews
  • Customer service inquiries

It’s better to have one valued customer than 100 distant followers. Focus on attracting the right type of followers that are active and engaged.

Follow only legitimate accounts that are relevant to your brand and work toward developing genuine connections by inspiring meaningful conversations.

Focus On Your Revenue

There’s high earning potential in social marketing.

Here’s what some brands do every 60 seconds online:

  • Walmart sells $30,000 of products
  • Apple sells $23,000 of products
  • Amazon Fulfillment delivers 1,902 parcels

You can’t cash in on social media likes, so remember to focus on strategies that drive revenue.

Create a well-written social media marketing strategy to avoid getting caught in the “Like” trap.

A documented strategy requires you to put goals and objectives in writing, helping you stay on track during the planning and execution stages.

10 goals your brand can achieve on social media

Source: Sharelov

Outdated Strategy #4: Getting Stuck on Facebook

Don’t let Facebook become your entire social media world.

Facebook may be the biggest social network, but Generation Z’s favorite, YouTube, is a close second. Some experts predict Instagram may surpass them both.

Additionally, new social platforms are expected to launch in 2019, so sticking to just one (or even two) social platforms could mean missed opportunities.

Solution: Update Your Social Networks For 2019

Align your most active social media channels with your target audience.

When choosing your social channels, pay attention to your underlying purpose: increasing revenue.

Monitor your insights and ROI to determine which channels are most profitable.

Outdated Strategy #5: Relying Entirely On Organic Reach

Organic reach is no longer effective without paid advertising to enhance it.

While organic posts are crucial for building relationships with your audience, algorithms have come to require paid advertising for organic posts to get seen.

Solution: Update Your Organic Strategy with Paid Social

As organic reach declines, brands must supplement their social media efforts with paid advertising.

Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram make it easy to place ads. The price range is within reach for most small businesses, and audience targeting is sophisticated yet simple to use.

Outdated Strategy #6: Missing out on Multiculture

If your brand image doesn’t include a variety of cultures and personality types, you risk losing younger audiences.

Do the images on your website, ads, and content include people of different cultures and personalities? If not, you’re already old-fashioned and outdated.

People of all ages now recognize when brands lack diversity.

Generation Z is especially turned off when brands don’t demonstrate a multicultural and inclusive mindset.

Solution: Update Your Marketing to Reflect an Inclusive Culture

Review your business’s communication channels by asking the following questions:

  • Are our brand images reflecting a mix of people from different cultures?
  • Do we embrace a diverse approach in our influencer campaigns?
  • Do our products and services cater to people of all cultures?

If you answered no to any of the above, you need to reinvent your brand’s core values.

If you want to resonate with younger generations, taking a multicultural approach is a must.

Review Your Plan for Outdated Social Media Strategies

As Millennials and Gen Zers take over the global consumer market, marketers will need to make changes to their social strategies.

Brands that update their social media approach are set to win over the younger generations and can expect to reap the rewards.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post 6 Outdated Social Media Strategies That Repel Gen Z appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/6-outdated-social-media-strategies-that-repel-gen-z/

6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing

Is your remarketing getting the results you’re looking for on Facebook?

No matter how good you’re doing, you could be doing better. Facebook is constantly evolving, and given its recent struggles with public image and algorithm changes, you have to stay constantly on top of any changes.

Targeting people who’ve engaged with your content or your business before is a time-honored and proven marketing strategy, even pre-web. Online retargeting first began to be a thing with the advent of the cookie, a piece of data stored on a user’s machine that could relay information back to a site owner.

Today, online retargeting is one of the most common tactics in a marketer’s tool box, and one that most users are fine with. Thirty percent of all users appreciate retargeting, and only eleven percent object.

Facebook has had a rough few months, but it’s still one of the platforms of choice for most marketing professionals. Its robust tools and user data make it a great choice for anyone trying to reach a potential audience. If you’re trying to retarget users through Facebook, it’s an extremely useful platform—and there are some new ways you can take advantage of the retargeting options available to you, too:

1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Especially for those starting out with Facebook advertising (for example, small businesses that started offline), it’s an easy temptation to run “set it and forget it” campaigns.

You can’t do that if you’re going to make the most of your Facebook retargeting. For each stage in your sales funnel, you have to create a separate campaign—maybe several. The old adage that you have to touch someone seven times before a conversion still holds true, but the deeper truth of it is that if you give them content they’re NOT interested in, you might turn them off.

If your customer is still in the information-gathering step, don’t send them product offers. If your customer’s ready to purchase a product, don’t send them a link to your blog. You might still get a bump, but you need to tie each retargeting campaign to a specific stage in the sales funnel.

2. Create Dynamic Product Ads

If you sell a product, your best bet for retargeting those who’ve browsed your selection is probably a dynamic product ad. This Facebook specialty serves up a small gallery or carousel of the products that the person was already looking at.

Eighty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when they receive a personalized experience. If you’re utilizing dynamic product ads to touch potential purchasers or abandoned cart shoppers, you can capitalize on that.

3. Target Your Repeat Customers

Forty-one percent of United States e-commerce revenue comes from returning customers. That’s a staggering amount. Once people find a company or a store they like, they return to it, over and over again.

You can drive that behavior yourself by targeting past purchasers with news about new products, special offers, different services you offer, and upsells they might be interested in. Utilizing your knowledge of what they’re interested in already can help you build Custom Audiences that can help you narrow this even further.

Think outside the box a little bit, too—cross-reference interests with people who’ve purchased before to find those who are interested in a new product or service.

4. Remarket Based On App Actions

If you want a really interesting option for retargeting, use app actions. When you create an app specific to your company, you can target actions taken within the app and create campaigns based on those actions.

For example, you could send remarketing ads to people who had gone through a tutorial step to remind them of the different useful features your app has. Or you could reach abandoned-cart shoppers who’ve gone through several of the steps to purchase but not taken the final step, same as you could with a website. Make sure you’re going after mobile specifically, as you already know your customers are browsing mobile …

They downloaded the app, right?

5. Touch Base With Your Free Trial Users

Maybe you offer free trials for your software or service. That’s another super useful remarketing tool. Create a free trial user campaign—either while they’re on the free trial or when the trial has run out.

If you’re retargeting them while they’re still in the free trial, some good options can be reminding them when the trial runs out, or giving them a discount if they sign up now.

You can even give them an easy portal to enter their payment information to convert from the free trial to the full version. There are plenty more ways out there to reach them—the only limit is your imagination.

6. Send Relevant Content to Landing Page Visitors

You’ve been sending people to your landing pages, right? If you want to nudge people a little further down the sales funnel, try creating a retargeting campaign that serves blog posts to those people that are similar to the content they were looking for. It’s a great way to get them that little bit more engaged.

Remarketing is a hugely helpful tool in every marketer’s toolbox. You can make the most of Facebook retargeting—it just takes time, effort, dedication, and a willingness to try new things. With these tips, you can bring your Facebook retargeting game to the next level and make the most of the audience that’s already engaged with your content.

The post 6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/02/6-new-and-improved-facebook-retargeting-ideas-to-boost-your-brands-marketing/

6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing

Is your remarketing getting the results you’re looking for on Facebook?

No matter how good you’re doing, you could be doing better. Facebook is constantly evolving, and given its recent struggles with public image and algorithm changes, you have to stay constantly on top of any changes.

Targeting people who’ve engaged with your content or your business before is a time-honored and proven marketing strategy, even pre-web. Online retargeting first began to be a thing with the advent of the cookie, a piece of data stored on a user’s machine that could relay information back to a site owner.

Today, online retargeting is one of the most common tactics in a marketer’s tool box, and one that most users are fine with. Thirty percent of all users appreciate retargeting, and only eleven percent object.

Facebook has had a rough few months, but it’s still one of the platforms of choice for most marketing professionals. Its robust tools and user data make it a great choice for anyone trying to reach a potential audience. If you’re trying to retarget users through Facebook, it’s an extremely useful platform—and there are some new ways you can take advantage of the retargeting options available to you, too:

1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Especially for those starting out with Facebook advertising (for example, small businesses that started offline), it’s an easy temptation to run “set it and forget it” campaigns.

You can’t do that if you’re going to make the most of your Facebook retargeting. For each stage in your sales funnel, you have to create a separate campaign—maybe several. The old adage that you have to touch someone seven times before a conversion still holds true, but the deeper truth of it is that if you give them content they’re NOT interested in, you might turn them off.

If your customer is still in the information-gathering step, don’t send them product offers. If your customer’s ready to purchase a product, don’t send them a link to your blog. You might still get a bump, but you need to tie each retargeting campaign to a specific stage in the sales funnel.

2. Create Dynamic Product Ads

If you sell a product, your best bet for retargeting those who’ve browsed your selection is probably a dynamic product ad. This Facebook specialty serves up a small gallery or carousel of the products that the person was already looking at.

Eighty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when they receive a personalized experience. If you’re utilizing dynamic product ads to touch potential purchasers or abandoned cart shoppers, you can capitalize on that.

3. Target Your Repeat Customers

Forty-one percent of United States e-commerce revenue comes from returning customers. That’s a staggering amount. Once people find a company or a store they like, they return to it, over and over again.

You can drive that behavior yourself by targeting past purchasers with news about new products, special offers, different services you offer, and upsells they might be interested in. Utilizing your knowledge of what they’re interested in already can help you build Custom Audiences that can help you narrow this even further.

Think outside the box a little bit, too—cross-reference interests with people who’ve purchased before to find those who are interested in a new product or service.

4. Remarket Based On App Actions

If you want a really interesting option for retargeting, use app actions. When you create an app specific to your company, you can target actions taken within the app and create campaigns based on those actions.

For example, you could send remarketing ads to people who had gone through a tutorial step to remind them of the different useful features your app has. Or you could reach abandoned-cart shoppers who’ve gone through several of the steps to purchase but not taken the final step, same as you could with a website. Make sure you’re going after mobile specifically, as you already know your customers are browsing mobile …

They downloaded the app, right?

5. Touch Base With Your Free Trial Users

Maybe you offer free trials for your software or service. That’s another super useful remarketing tool. Create a free trial user campaign—either while they’re on the free trial or when the trial has run out.

If you’re retargeting them while they’re still in the free trial, some good options can be reminding them when the trial runs out, or giving them a discount if they sign up now.

You can even give them an easy portal to enter their payment information to convert from the free trial to the full version. There are plenty more ways out there to reach them—the only limit is your imagination.

6. Send Relevant Content to Landing Page Visitors

You’ve been sending people to your landing pages, right? If you want to nudge people a little further down the sales funnel, try creating a retargeting campaign that serves blog posts to those people that are similar to the content they were looking for. It’s a great way to get them that little bit more engaged.

Remarketing is a hugely helpful tool in every marketer’s toolbox. You can make the most of Facebook retargeting—it just takes time, effort, dedication, and a willingness to try new things. With these tips, you can bring your Facebook retargeting game to the next level and make the most of the audience that’s already engaged with your content.

The post 6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/02/6-new-and-improved-facebook-retargeting-ideas-to-boost-your-brands-marketing/

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

The State of Social 2019 Report: New Data and Social Media Marketing Research

https://buffer.com/state-of-social-2019

What 777,367,063 Facebook Posts Tell Us About Successful Content in 2019 (New Research)

Facebook marketing in 2019 isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s far from it.

Now removed from the dim outlook that businesses faced at the beginning of 2018, Facebook has and will remain an essential tool for brands’ marketing strategies moving forward.

In our upcoming State of Social Media 2019 Report (releasing January 16th) we found that 93.7 percent of businesses use and are currently active on Facebook — the most among any other social media network.

Most Used Social Media Platforms 2019

And although we continue to see a dramatic rise in the usage and effectiveness of Stories content, traditional posts in the Facebook News Feed offer a powerful outlet for brands looking to generate engagement and traffic.

Which is why we asked our friends at BuzzSumo to help us put together a massive data set looking at the top Facebook posts over the past year. In total, we dwindled down more than 777 million posts to 500 of the most popular, according to total engagements. The top 500 Facebook posts represent more than one billion engagements across Facebook.

Today we’re excited to share everything we learned about the most successful posts to help guide your Facebook marketing strategy in 2019.

Table of Contents

Let’s dive in!

Key takeaways from 777 million Facebook posts

BuzzSumo has access to some of the world’s most robust Facebook data, which powers lots of incredible research studies like this one where we analyzed content from 20,000 influential Facebook Business Pages.

They’re also the company behind one of my personal favorites, The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement, an annual report that analyzes everything you need to know about the tactical side of Facebook marketing.

Needless to say, their product offers some eye-opening insights into the world of Facebook marketing.

Key takeaway #1: Video performs better than all other types of Facebook posts

When it comes to taking your Facebook strategy to the next level, there is no better way to do so than through the use of video content.

On average, video posts on Facebook get at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

In fact, when looking at what types of content made up the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018, more than 81 percent were videos!

Images only accounted for 18 percent of the top posts, while Links made up a mere 0.2 percent.

Top 500 Facebook Posts of 2018 and 2019

On the other hand (quite shockingly), link posts received 76 percent less engagement than videos on average. This includes links with images. In other words, not even images are helping link posts to perform better.

We’ll get into Facebook video themes and content later in this article, but for now, it’s clear that brands should be investing heavily in video content in 2019.

Key takeaway #2: The most common reactions to top Facebook video posts are LOVE and HAHA

You might be wondering why we chose to analyze the most common reactions to top Facebook posts.

Great question!

Reactions give us a unique look into human psychology and a better understanding of “why” people like certain types of content on Facebook. Plus, it helps point us in the direction of what to create for our own brand in the future.

The reactions LOVE and HAHA made up 81 percent of the total Facebook video reactions in 2018 (Likes not included in the data set):

Top 500 Facebook Posts of 2018

Clearly, people are interacting with content that they find inspirational, funny, or a mix of both (more on that next). Brands that focus on creating content around these emotions are more likely to produce successful content for their Page moving forward.

Though it’s important to note here that, more often than not, content isn’t necessarily loveable or funny to everyone. In other words, something that is “loved” by one person might be “funny” or even “sad” to another.

Which is great news for brands and B2B businesses because it means that content doesn’t need to be overwhelmingly funny or inspirational.

Brands and marketers just need to know what their audience will find personally entertaining, which starts with an understanding of who they are.

Key takeaway #3: Inspirational, funny, or practical content generates the most engagement

In order to hone in on the exact types of content brands and marketers should be creating more of in 2019, we attempted to categorize the types of content from the data set. In conjunction with the most common reactions on Facebook and a subjective analysis of the top 500 Facebook posts, three common themes started to emerge.

The most successful content could be categorized as inspirational, funny, or practical.

For example, the number one most successful post on Facebook in 2018 was one from speaker and storyteller, Jay Shetty:

Shetty accounts for several of the top 500 posts because he creates content that inspires people. Inspirational content leads to a greater amount of reactions, comments, and shares, which in turn, leads to greater organic reach.

The best part is that any brand is capable of creating this type of content. All it takes is a renewed understanding of what people are looking for on social media (specifically, your audience as we mentioned above) and how you can deliver that to them on a consistent basis.

Which leads us to a breakdown of some of the year’s most successful Facebook posts and the psychological reasons behind why they worked.

Four examples of the year’s most successful Facebook posts

In an attempt to make this study as relevant as we could to a variety of brands and industries, we decided not to simply cover the top 10 Facebook posts from 2018. Instead, we hand-picked several posts from the top 500 that teach us something valuable about the art of Facebook marketing.

But if you’re curious, here are the official top 10 Facebook posts of 2018:

Note: We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on why you believe these posts worked so well. Let’s help each other improve!

10. “An amazing moment in African enterprise history” – Strive Masiyiwa

9. “Hero Boy Saves Chicken” – Life Changing Videos

8. “When your dogs smells another dog on you” – Funny in Public

7. “Tianmen Mountain, China” – Inspire Uplift

6. “Common Dental Procedures” – Science Nature Page

5. “Wow” – Penoy Rap Radio

4. “Before You Take Someone For Granted Watch This” – Jay Shetty

3. “Scalloped Potato Roll” – BuzzFeed Tasty

2. “7 Super easy ways to keep your food fresher, longer!” – So Yummy

1. “Before You Feel Pressure Watch This” – Jay Shetty

Now, onto a more detailed breakdown of some of our favorites.

The Norfolk Police Department (Humanizing your brand)

You wouldn’t normally classify your local police department as having one of the best Facebook Pages and content of 2018, but the Norfolk Police aren’t your typical department.

Generating more than 3.2 million engagements and growing their audience to well-over 180,000 fans in the past year, the NPD is the perfect case study for how to approach Facebook marketing with limited budget and resources.

(Here’s the link to the lip sync challenge video, which has over 78 million views as of writing. The video can’t be embedded — likely due to copyrights of the music.)

Why it works:

The Norfolk PD offers a variety of inspiring and funny content that caters to their local community. And while they aren’t “selling fun” per se, they’re building a considerably large and loyal following with fun content.

Most importantly, the NPD makes their content relatable and human. In each one of their posts, you get a behind-the-scenes look at the officers and staff that make up their department. Then they take it to the next level with vulnerability.

It’s not easy to get in front of the camera. And it’s not easy to go out on a limb with experimental content, especially as a local police department. However, the NPD threw every traditional rule aside and decided to go for it.

In the end, they were rewarded for their efforts.

Brainy Crafts (Hacking your way into people’s hearts)

It wouldn’t be a top Facebooks posts of 2018 roundup without mentioning the wonderfully engaging world of “practical life and cooking hacks.”

Pages like BuzzFeed Tasty, 5-Minute Crafts, DIY Crafts TV, and lots more have taken full advantage of people’s unending desire to improve their lives in one form or another.

Here’s a great example from Brainy Crafts of how to hack your way to being more resourceful in the kitchen:

Episode 11: Kitchen Life Hacks

16 Life Hacks That Will Make You More Resourceful In The Kitchen

Posted by Brainy Crafts on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why it works:

As we discussed earlier, “practical” or “how to” content makes up a significant majority of the top Facebook posts of 2018.

Educating your audience on Facebook isn’t just about teaching them a new skill, it’s about what they will do with that knowledge. More often than not, they’ll share it with their friends and family.

When Fast Company asked Tasty global GM Ashley McCollum why this type of content is so popular, she responded:

“We didn’t set out to build a food network. We didn’t sit in a conference room and say, ‘Oh, let’s do some market research.’ What we did is build content around the concept that people would share it with people in their lives. It’s not just how to make the recipe, how to chop the onion. It gives you a reason to reach out to your friend. It allows you to connect with another person.”

One simple suggestion to make this actionable is to repurpose your most-shared blog posts into a standalone Facebook video post.

For example, one of the most popular Buffer Blog posts of 2018 was “The New Facebook Algorithm 2018: Everything Marketers Need to Know” – We turned the text into a one minute explainer video that was viewed and shared more than 16,000 times.

The best part is it only took us about one hour to create since we already had the blog content to work from!

Strive Masiyiwa (Rise of the active CEO on social media)

One Page that accounts for a whopping 33 of the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018 isn’t a brand at all. It’s the Executive Chairman & Founder of the global enterprise Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa.

Masiyiwa has racked up more than 3.5 million fans to his Page, ranks 437 among all Public Figures in the world, and generated 108+ million engagements to his posts in 2018.

And the most interesting part is that he’s done all of this through images and captions (not videos). A lot of his high ranking posts are more like micro-blogs, averaging well-over 300 words per caption.

Why it works:

According to data from OkToPost, only 40 percent of CEOs are active on social media. Of those users, 70 percent use LinkedIn only. However, this number is expected to grow significantly in 2019 as people turn to authentic sources of information.

In an era of distrust in the news, CEOs and other top executives have a unique opportunity to be more social. This can help boost your brand’s reputation and build trust among your users.

Finally, Strive Masiyiwa proves that video isn’t the only type of content that works on social media. But it’s important to note that in examining his content, every single post is extremely detailed and informative.

Funniest Family Moments (Curating the best content from around the web)

The Funniest Family Moments Page managed to snag 22 posts in the top 500, generating a total of 51,546,121 total engagements in 2018.

Baby and animal videos certainly don’t hurt their case, but there’s something else at play here that all brands can use to improve their Facebook marketing strategy in 2019: curated content.

It’s incredibly simple to get started with curated content and the perfect way to supplement your in-house content strategy. Take, for example, Funniest Family Moments’ top post from 2018:

Dog and baby

Good nannies!❤

Posted by Funniest Family Moments on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why it works:

At its core, the post is nothing more than a compilation of videos from around the web. However, it has garnered more than 129 million views and five million engagements – and counting.

Content curation is all about finding and organizing existing content artifacts to create new insights and shared value for your audience.

If you can do that consistently, your audience will look to you as a continuous source of inspirational, funny, and practical content (there’s that theme again). Plus, curated content helps to establish your brand as a thought leader in your space. Instead of “talking about yourself” all of the time, you’re demonstrating that you’re willing to add value in different ways.

Incorporating these learnings into your Facebook strategy

Now that we’ve examined some of the top Facebook posts of 2018, you’re probably wondering:

How can I apply these tips to my own Facebook strategy?

Even if you’re not a top Page or generating millions of engagements per month, you can still find a ton of success on Facebook. In fact, it just might be the biggest opportunity for brands in the coming year!

We recommend following these three guidelines:

Consider your own behavior and posting habits on social media

Before reading this section, I encourage you to visit your own Facebook profile (plus a few family and friend’s profiles) and take mental notes on the type of content shared.

  • Did you notice any trends?
  • What types of content did you/they share?

At a high level, our personal Facebook profiles are our individual “story.” They are an ever-evolving record of our lives and interests. Most of all, they’re a direct reflection of who we are – at least who we want people to think we are.

As brands and marketers, we need to consider how to create content for Facebook that uniquely mirrors our audience’s stories and personalities. This requires constant experimentation and improvement to our marketing strategies. What works one day might not work the next as people are continually changing based on both internal and external factors.

“When the marketers move in, the members move out. The secret, therefore, to social media success is to act, and think, and feel, and behave like a member FIRST. A member first, and a marketer second.” – Mari Smith

There are tons of ways to find out exactly who your audience is and then tailor content around those specific demographics.

Perhaps the quickest and cheapest way to get to know your audience is through Facebook’s free tool: Audience Insights.

Facebook Audience Insights - Top Facebook Posts

In less than five minutes I was able to find out that followers of the Buffer Facebook Page also follow pages such as Marketo, Moz, Hootsuite, as well as several others. I also found out that 37 percent of our followers are women between the ages of 25-34, 72 percent graduated from college, and four percent live in either San Francisco or New York.

From this data, I’m able to begin creating a list of content that our target demographic will find interesting. I also have the option of exploring similar Facebook Pages to see what content is resonating most with these folks and generating ideas from those themes.

There are lots of other ways to gather valuable data on your customers as well. Some of the most effective techniques we’ve used are:

  • Surveys
  • Customer interviews
  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • Trade shows and conferences
  • NPS scores
  • Chat widgets like Drift or Intercom

Research, ideate, create, learn, and repeat.

Create content for Facebook that is both human and story-forward

Did you know that 84 percent of marketers believe that building trust will be the primary focus for their marketing efforts in the future?

That’s because consumers are looking for brands with a purpose – brands that are mission-driven and stand for something important.

Shallow marketing campaigns aren’t going to cut it in 2019. What will cut it are authentic, human-forward stories that allow your brand to connect with customers on a personal level. Smaller brands, in particular, have an opportunity to double or even triple engagement with this personal approach.

Take local shop Coffee Hub Xenia, for example. This simple video gave their community a behind-the-scenes look at the faces behind their brand as well as a why the business exists.

405 reactions, 221 shares, 63 comments, and 14,000 views aren’t too shabby for a Page with only 2,400 Likes. In looking at the comments, it’s clear that this video had an emotional impact on their audience as well.

This Facebook post didn’t succeed because of the production quality or gaming the Facebook algorithm, it succeeded because it told the inspirational story of a small business and the important part they play in their community.

Remember that effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move your audience.

Play the long game by focusing on building an engaged community

Social media is changing right before our eyes.

Mobile usage, short attention spans, and the increasing influence of Millennials and Generation Z’ers on social media continue to pave the way for short-lived, in-the-moment content in 2019. It also highlights an effective social media marketing strategy: community building.

There has been a general trend towards niche and active groups on social media, with Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, leading the way to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

The challenge (and opportunity) is understanding the role social media plays in brand awareness vs. sales.

If you’re a Digitally-Native, Vertical Brand (DNVB), social media ads might be a critical piece of your overall acquisition strategy – as they should be! But if you’re also looking to grow your audience and engagement organically, then it’s worth investing the time and resources into building a community.

As Tarah Boyleston, marketing and design lead at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, explained to us in a recent interview:

“No one wants to follow a brand that is only trying to sell them something. We share personal stories, family recipes, and behind the scenes imagery of our lives at the bakery. These glimpses into the ‘life of a biscuiteer’ are free!”

That approach has allowed Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit to grow both on and offline.

Callie's Biscuits - Top Facebook Posts 2019

The first step in building a community on social media is freeing yourself from always having a sales or traffic goal tied to each post. This will immediately help your content to be human and entertaining as people won’t feel like they’re being sold to.

The second step in community building is creating meaningful conversations and interactions with your customers. Ensure that every time they reach out to your brand on social media (or elsewhere) that you provide a memorable experience. This will increase the likelihood that these people share the positive experience with their friends.

And finally, the third step in community building is understanding that it’s a long journey to success. Growing your brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen through a few posts or interactions. Real growth comes with consistency and providing your customers with a wonderful experience each time they come in contact with your brand.

Over to you!

Where do you think Facebook marketing is headed in 2019?

Are brands and businesses poised for success?

We’d love to hear what types of Facebook posts are working for your brand! We’ll gather each one of your tips and share them with the community in a big roundup.

Wishing you the best in the coming year!

https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-marketing-2019

Why Social Listening is Essential to Your Marketing Plan

Creating the perfect marketing plan is far from simple. It is essential to determine your target audience and strategize on the best way to assemble your marketing plan. Are you going to focus on a specific group? Are you looking to attract new customers to your brand or business? If you do, then you need to have an “in” with your customer base, which means you need to be paying attention to social media and do a bit of social listening.

Social Listening 101

To use social listening as part of your marketing strategy you need to know what social listening entails. Simply put, social listening relates to listening to what people are saying about your company, your products and services, your overall brand, and of course your competitors. Social listening takes into consideration other categories that may prove relevant to your customers or potential customer base.

Social listening is not just about interaction with customers on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It involves listening to what people are saying, both positive and negative. Social listening means more than just basic keyword searches, although keywords can play a considerable role locating new customers and reaching out to customers unhappy with your competitors.

Where Social Listening Assists Your Marketing Plan

As previously mentioned, social listening is all about using social media to find out what people are saying about your company, your brand, products, services, as well as your competitors and other points of interest to your customers. Utilizing social listening, or social monitoring, is a way to find out not only what people are saying, but find out what they are looking for from your company and others in the same niche.

  • Determine where you have erred or succeeded – Through social listening, you can determine when you have failed or hit the ball out of the park. For example, you make a post on your social media accounts that generate a lot of negative feedback. Go to that post and determine what the problems were and how you can fix them in the future. Conversely, if you have a post that generates a lot of positive feedback or business for your brand, consider what you did at that moment and focus on utilizing that technique in the future.

 

  • The Competition – Monitoring what people are saying about your company and brand is essential. Another essential aspect to social listening is finding out what current or potential customers are saying about the competition. If you determine that they are failing their customers through products, services, or even customer service, use that information to improve how your company handles different situations. Furthermore, you can use the unhappiness expressed by customers of your competitors to develop your products or offer them services the competition lacks.

 

  • What are your customers saying? – Do you think you have a handle on what your customers are saying? You might think you do, but in reality, in most cases, customers are continually making complaints regarding a company’s customer service. Social listening affords your business with the opportunity to see what your customers think about your products, services, overall brand, and customer service relations. Paying close attention to what your customer base is saying helps determine where changes in customer engagement need to be made, as well as deciding what customers want from your brand.

 

  • Product & Services Feedback – Through brand tracking, mentions, etc., you can determine what customers are saying about your products and services. Sometimes the feedback received can help improve a current product, service, or even a company policy. On other occasions, it is possible to pass on this information to your company’s development team. This is one way to create a product or service your customers have been searching for but never came across.

 

  • Hunt New Customers – Social listening also helps your company locating people who are upset or unhappy with your competitors. Utilize this information to make a play for a new potential customer. Avoid trying to sell the potential customer on your product and services while discussing their unhappiness with your competitor. Leave the door open for contact and see where that takes you.

Get a Step Ahead: Implement Social Listening into your Marketing Plan

When it comes to creating a marketing plan more has to be taken into consideration than just your products, services, brand name and how your competitors are faring. Social listening affords your marketing team with the ability to find out what people are saying, determine how to initiate conversation, and target potential new customers. Social listening is a powerful tool that should be utilized by all marketing teams, as the rewards for using this tool are innumerable.

The post Why Social Listening is Essential to Your Marketing Plan appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/12/why-social-listening-is-essential-to-your-marketing-plan/

King of Marketing – King of Marketing

Posts about King of Marketing written by Mike Armstrong News – MAN Media!
— Read on kingofmarketinguk.wordpress.com/category/king-of-marketing/

https://welshbizuk.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/king-of-marketing-king-of-marketing/