4 Quick Ways To Improve Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

Social media marketing has grown tremendously in the last decade. It has evolved from being a tool for friends to keep in touch to a powerful marketing opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Today, companies can’t hope to stay competitive if they’re not putting some effort into social media. As far back as 2014, 92% of marketers believed that social media was important for their company’s marketing success.

Social media marketing can be confusing. It can also be time-consuming and ultimately not very successful without knowing the best practices and keeping a consistent posting schedule. If you’re struggling with how to establish brand awareness and loyalty on social media, here are 4 tips to help you improve your social media marketing efforts.

Target Generation Z

Generation Z is becoming a powerful part of the economy. They’ve grown up with technology as a driving force in their lives. They’re social media savvy, and 70% of them buy products and services on these sites. If Generation Z is part of your audience, you need understand their behavior and to speak directly to them.

What does Generation Z want? They want brands to get to the point. Attention is a premium. It’s important to start off with powerful storytelling as a hook. They like to be engaged with the marketing process through interactive content, and they’re big advocates for social and environmental responsibility. Brands need to embody these values and create a consistent message across channels to engage with Generation Z.

Content Diversification

Getting enough content out into the world is a challenge for businesses without big marketing teams and bigger budgets.

Blogging can bring in traffic and play a key role in content marketing. But content diversification can help you keep things fresh and interesting. It will also keep you from running out of ideas and providing readers with more engaging content.

Making sure your content stays fresh and interesting will be essential for optimizing your digital marketing efforts, yet the landscape will be competitive.

“Companies will really need to adapt to this trend to stay in the game,” said Daniel Kempe, CEO of Quuu, in a recent expert round-up on the future of digital marketing.

Because of this competition, Kempe predicts that marketing firms will merge with creative firms. “We’ll see larger companies hiring video producers and graphic designers to collaborate with their marketing teams.”

Adding visual components can break up large amounts of text and create a more mobile-friendly experience. Video, screenshots, lists, and how-tos—your format can change from post to post. You can also use social media content to ask questions. Other options include prompting engagement and create engaging short-form posts that instantly get to the point.

Having a range of content will appeal to more potential customers and help keep you from getting stuck in a marketing rut.

Ask for Feedback to Improve Customer Support

You can’t improve your products or service and customer support without knowing what you need to work on. The first step in improving your customer support is to monitor what people are saying about your company on different platforms. After your initial audit, you can set up alerts for when people mention your brand in a specific way.

Social media has become an important channel for providing customer service. You need to have someone responding to both positive feedback and criticism, and use that feedback to improve your service and amplify what you’re doing well. Social media can be a powerful tool for gaining real-time feedback from your customers—both good and bad.

Remain Informed on Privacy Updates

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to consumer privacy. After Facebook’s recent scandals, people are more wary than ever about what is done with their personal data. Many sites have updated their privacy policies, and companies need to stay up to date with this information to avoid violating each platforms’ policies and terms of service. Now that Europe’s sweeping new data privacy policy is in effect, companies need to be extra diligent about handling data responsibly.

Companies that don’t adhere to applicable policies and regulation can expect negative consequences, whether from the sites themselves or unhappy consumers who feel violated. First and foremost, however, your reputation shouldn’t affect how you approach the ethics of the situation—your consumers deserve the respect you’d give your own personal data. Ethics in big data is still a topic that is being explored, but that doesn’t give marketers an excuse to exploit consumers’ data. Most people know what crosses the line and what doesn’t.

Trends are Always Shifting

When you’re trying to create better content and improve your social media marketing, it’s important to realize that things can change almost overnight. It’s key to keep up with shifting trends in the industry and constantly aim to adhere to best practices.

With that said, there are a few principles that never change in social media marketing. Using storytelling techniques to engage your audience and creating consistent, quality content on a regular basis never go out of style. Social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, but by implementing the latest best practices, it can become an important part of your marketing strategy.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

The post 4 Quick Ways To Improve Your Social Media Marketing Efforts appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/4-quick-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-marketing-efforts/

Do Twitter Ads Really Work? A Surprising Experiment: 17.2 Million Views From a Single Twitter Thread

As the New Year approaches, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. And that’s exactly how JotForm founder, Aytekin ‏Tank, felt as 2017 was drawing to a close.

As he walked along the Embarcadero, one of the liveliest and most scenic areas in San Francisco, looking back on the year, he was a little zoned out to everything happening around him. Meditative. Introspective. Contemplative.

He had many things to celebrate: JotForm had grown to a team of more than 130 people across the globe, it had more than 3.2 million users and its revenues continued to climb every month. It’s also worth noting that all of this happened without taking a dollar in outside funding — a not-so-common story in Silicon Valley these days.

But despite all the good news, there was something that didn’t quite sit right with him.

“Our competitors were super loud on the internet and their user numbers weren’t even close to ours,” he explained to me. “They were announcing one investment round after another, ending up on top of TechCrunch, and we were just quietly going about our business.”

During these moments of reflection, Aytekin realized that, like his competitors, he also had a story to tell.

So he decided to do just that — share his story. But in his own unique way.

Building a brand through stories

The first order of business for Aytekin was simple:

Write stories to share the JotForm journey.

With autonomous teams around him , he was able to dedicate his time to whatever tasks he felt would impact the business the most, so going all-in on content was an easy decision for him.

His first post — How NOT following my dreams enabled me to build a startup with 3.2 million users — was published in a popular Medium Publication, The Startup, and reached over +50K pageviews almost overnight.

His second post — Time off or the top of TechCrunch? — was equally as successful.

“I published these stories on December 18th and 26th respectively”, he explained. “Given their traction and how they resonated with a huge audience, I made my mind up. I was going to get serious about writing in 2018.”

Aytekin had found his niche.

His authentic, honest stories resonated with startup enthusiasts and he decided to write at least two posts per week throughout 2018 to share his journey as founder and CEO of JotForm.

Embracing Twitter: A $24,098 Twitter ads experiment

After his initial success on Medium, Aytekin was keen to share JotForm’s story across multiple channels in order to reach new audiences.

In July 2018, he decided to experiment with Twitter. Specifically, he was curious:

  1. If Twitter could be a great platform to repurpose content
  2. How Twitter ads could help him amplify his content.

After all, Twitter and blogging aren’t really too different:

“Apart from its character limit, Twitter isn’t any different when it comes to sharing your authentic voice,” he explained. “It’s blogging in 280 characters.”

As a platform, Twitter may not have changed too much since over the years — except increasing the character limit from 140 to 280 characters.

But what has changed significantly is the way people use the platform.

Twitter used to feel almost like an RSS feed, full of people sharing links and hashtags, trying to hijack every ounce of attention possible. But now, as Nathan Bashaw pointed out, things are changing:

Some of the best performing tweets nowadays are those that tell authentic stories.

For example, Rodolphe Dutel’s recent tweet about workplace culture really resonated with his audience (and beyond), picking up 31,265 retweets and 134,655 likes.

Would it have been as successful if Rodolphe had simply shared an article link and headline? Probably not.

Kicking off the experiment

Having seen various tweets and threads succeed like Rodolphe’s, Aytekin set out to reverse engineer a “viral” tweet of his own.

The plan was simple:

Repurpose a successful Medium post into a Twitter thread and boost it with Twitter ads to test the limits of Twitter as a platform to spread Aytekin and JotForm’s message. 

In order to craft the Twitter thread, Aytekin used his Medium analytics for inspiration:

With this data, he was able to see which articles had resonated most with his audience and tell a story that he was sure would connect with people on Twitter.

He chose to create a Twitter thread based on his post entitled: ‘Don’t listen to those productivity gurus: why waking up at 6am won’t make you successful’.

Here’s a link to the thread:

The results: 17 million impressions

The aim of this experiment was to test the limits of the Twitter algorithm, and the power of Twitter ads, so Aytekin decided to spend as much as possible on this ad: $24,098 in total.

The tweet generated 17,177,432 impressions on Twitter.

Here are the results in full:

Aytekin didn’t jump right in and spend $24,000 overnight. In fact, when the experiment started, the plan was to spend a maximum of $5,000.

But as the tweet began to take off, the budget was raised accordingly.

“We started this experiment by saying we wouldn’t exceed $5K in spend,” he explained. “But we kept a close eye on the Cost Per Engagement and Impressions, and raised budget accordingly.”

As the advert was seeing super high engagement rates (over 20 percent at times):

And low Cost Per Engagement:

Aytekin continued to ramp up the spend until results started to diminish. In the end, the experiment ran for over a month in total (between July 15 – August 24).

Due to the high engagement, the thread also received plenty of organic reach on Twitter.

Out of 17 million impressions, 4.7 million were organic — so in other words, 27.4 percent of reach was free vs 72.6 percent paid.

Some key takeaways from this experiment follow…

Lessons learned from this Twitter experiment

1. Twitter is a great place to repurpose content

If you’re creating content of any form: videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc, repurposing it across multiple channels is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

But repurposing doesn’t just mean copying and pasting a link over to Twitter.

If you want to be successful, you need to think about how you can tell each story natively to the platform you’re publishing on.

For this experiment, Aytekin could have simply shared a tweet linking to his blog post and boosted it, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have performed anywhere near as well as the Twitter thread.

By using a format native to Twitter, Aytekin was able to share his story in a way that Twitter users would respond to and be happy to engage with.

2. A Twitter thread can help you to achieve multiple goals at the same time

Impressions and engagement are awesome — especially when you’re quite new to the content marketing game.

But when you use a Twitter thread, you’re able to feature multiple types of content within your tweets and achieve various goals.

For example, in the fifth tweet in the thread Aytekin included a link back to the original article on Medium:

This tweet received more than 1.1 million impressions and over 35,000 clicks, helping to drive traffic back to the original post on Medium.

The sixth tweet in the thread mentioned @JotForm and 4,346 people clicked from this tweet to JotForm’s profile to learn more about the business:

Aytekin also picked up 5,752 followers from this thread.

When it comes to planning an experiment like this of your own, try to think about the goals you’d like to achieve:

  • If it’s all about impressions and engagement, you could tell the whole story on Twitter.
  • If you want to drive traffic, add a link back to your website.
  • To increase your following, @ mention your profile.

Remember: It’s important to tell a great story in a native format, so ensure you use your first few tweets to get people hooked into your narrative before including any links.

3. Twitter is a great place to start a conversation

With any highly shared tweet, you’ll always get a few trolls pop up here and there, but if you look past this, you’ll realize that Twitter is still an incredible place to start a conversation and build relationships.

Following Aytekin’s thread, he received plenty of questions about JotForm and how the business operates. This enabled him to build new relationships with people he previously wouldn’t have reached.

So, do Twitter ads really work?

This experiment was designed to test the limits of Twitter ads and the results speak for themselves:

  • Over 17 million impressions
  • 35,000 visits to the original article
  • 5,752 followers for Aytekin
  • 4,346 profile views for @JotForm

But that’s not to say everything was perfect.

Due to the way Twitter ads work there’s no real way to tell exactly how many unique people saw the ad and many people reached out to Aytekin to say they’d seen the ad multiple times.

And for every great conversation started by this thread, there was another slightly negative reaction. It seems that some Twitter users don’t quite accept ads in their feed like they do on Facebook or Instagram, where ads are more ingrained within the platforms.

Overall though, Aytekin sees the experiment as worthwhile:

“Even though the initial cost was high, the 5,000 followers we gained from this experiment are permanent,” he explained.

“Every time I publish a new post, I get clicks, likes, retweets and comments from these followers. So the results are compounding over time. I can’t be sure if they will become long-term, highly-engaged audience members, but they seem to stick around for now.”

And the great thing is that you can replicate this experiment yourself with a budget of any size.

Simply take a piece of content that’s been successful for you on another channel:

  • A highly-viewed Facebook video.
  • One of your top podcast episodes.
  • Your #1 blog post.
  • A copy of your email newsletter.

And repurpose that content into a succinct story on Twitter.

Even if you don’t want to invest any budget in it, repurposing content to Twitter is a great way to connect with your audience and share your stories to another platform.

Have you used Twitter ads? Do you repurpose content from other platforms to Twitter? I’d love to chat about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Want more content like this?

More than 45,000 marketers and small business owners subscribe to our newsletter to receive our blog posts and exclusive email-only content.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/etFWsW9vyYM/do-twitter-ads-really-jotform-case-study

Do Twitter Ads Really Work? A Surprising Experiment: 17.2 Million Views From a Single Twitter Thread

As the New Year approaches, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. And that’s exactly how JotForm founder, Aytekin ‏Tank, felt as 2017 was drawing to a close.

As he walked along the Embarcadero, one of the liveliest and most scenic areas in San Francisco, looking back on the year, he was a little zoned out to everything happening around him. Meditative. Introspective. Contemplative.

He had many things to celebrate: JotForm had grown to a team of more than 130 people across the globe, it had more than 3.2 million users and its revenues continued to climb every month. It’s also worth noting that all of this happened without taking a dollar in outside funding — a not-so-common story in Silicon Valley these days.

But despite all the good news, there was something that didn’t quite sit right with him.

“Our competitors were super loud on the internet and their user numbers weren’t even close to ours,” he explained to me. “They were announcing one investment round after another, ending up on top of TechCrunch, and we were just quietly going about our business.”

During these moments of reflection, Aytekin realized that, like his competitors, he also had a story to tell.

So he decided to do just that — share his story. But in his own unique way.

Building a brand through stories

The first order of business for Aytekin was simple:

Write stories to share the JotForm journey.

With autonomous teams around him , he was able to dedicate his time to whatever tasks he felt would impact the business the most, so going all-in on content was an easy decision for him.

His first post — How NOT following my dreams enabled me to build a startup with 3.2 million users — was published in a popular Medium Publication, The Startup, and reached over +50K pageviews almost overnight.

His second post — Time off or the top of TechCrunch? — was equally as successful.

“I published these stories on December 18th and 26th respectively”, he explained. “Given their traction and how they resonated with a huge audience, I made my mind up. I was going to get serious about writing in 2018.”

Aytekin had found his niche.

His authentic, honest stories resonated with startup enthusiasts and he decided to write at least two posts per week throughout 2018 to share his journey as founder and CEO of JotForm.

Embracing Twitter: A $24,098 Twitter ads experiment

After his initial success on Medium, Aytekin was keen to share JotForm’s story across multiple channels in order to reach new audiences.

In July 2018, he decided to experiment with Twitter. Specifically, he was curious:

  1. If Twitter could be a great platform to repurpose content
  2. How Twitter ads could help him amplify his content.

After all, Twitter and blogging aren’t really too different:

“Apart from its character limit, Twitter isn’t any different when it comes to sharing your authentic voice,” he explained. “It’s blogging in 280 characters.”

As a platform, Twitter may not have changed too much since over the years — except increasing the character limit from 140 to 280 characters.

But what has changed significantly is the way people use the platform.

Twitter used to feel almost like an RSS feed, full of people sharing links and hashtags, trying to hijack every ounce of attention possible. But now, as Nathan Bashaw pointed out, things are changing:

Some of the best performing tweets nowadays are those that tell authentic stories.

For example, Rodolphe Dutel’s recent tweet about workplace culture really resonated with his audience (and beyond), picking up 31,265 retweets and 134,655 likes.

Would it have been as successful if Rodolphe had simply shared an article link and headline? Probably not.

Kicking off the experiment

Having seen various tweets and threads succeed like Rodolphe’s, Aytekin set out to reverse engineer a “viral” tweet of his own.

The plan was simple:

Repurpose a successful Medium post into a Twitter thread and boost it with Twitter ads to test the limits of Twitter as a platform to spread Aytekin and JotForm’s message. 

In order to craft the Twitter thread, Aytekin used his Medium analytics for inspiration:

With this data, he was able to see which articles had resonated most with his audience and tell a story that he was sure would connect with people on Twitter.

He chose to create a Twitter thread based on his post entitled: ‘Don’t listen to those productivity gurus: why waking up at 6am won’t make you successful’.

Here’s a link to the thread:

The results: 17 million impressions

The aim of this experiment was to test the limits of the Twitter algorithm, and the power of Twitter ads, so Aytekin decided to spend as much as possible on this ad: $24,098 in total.

The tweet generated 17,177,432 impressions on Twitter.

Here are the results in full:

Aytekin didn’t jump right in and spend $24,000 overnight. In fact, when the experiment started, the plan was to spend a maximum of $5,000.

But as the tweet began to take off, the budget was raised accordingly.

“We started this experiment by saying we wouldn’t exceed $5K in spend,” he explained. “But we kept a close eye on the Cost Per Engagement and Impressions, and raised budget accordingly.”

As the advert was seeing super high engagement rates (over 20 percent at times):

And low Cost Per Engagement:

Aytekin continued to ramp up the spend until results started to diminish. In the end, the experiment ran for over a month in total (between July 15 – August 24).

Due to the high engagement, the thread also received plenty of organic reach on Twitter.

Out of 17 million impressions, 4.7 million were organic — so in other words, 27.4 percent of reach was free vs 72.6 percent paid.

Some key takeaways from this experiment follow…

Lessons learned from this Twitter experiment

1. Twitter is a great place to repurpose content

If you’re creating content of any form: videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc, repurposing it across multiple channels is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

But repurposing doesn’t just mean copying and pasting a link over to Twitter.

If you want to be successful, you need to think about how you can tell each story natively to the platform you’re publishing on.

For this experiment, Aytekin could have simply shared a tweet linking to his blog post and boosted it, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have performed anywhere near as well as the Twitter thread.

By using a format native to Twitter, Aytekin was able to share his story in a way that Twitter users would respond to and be happy to engage with.

2. A Twitter thread can help you to achieve multiple goals at the same time

Impressions and engagement are awesome — especially when you’re quite new to the content marketing game.

But when you use a Twitter thread, you’re able to feature multiple types of content within your tweets and achieve various goals.

For example, in the fifth tweet in the thread Aytekin included a link back to the original article on Medium:

This tweet received more than 1.1 million impressions and over 35,000 clicks, helping to drive traffic back to the original post on Medium.

The sixth tweet in the thread mentioned @JotForm and 4,346 people clicked from this tweet to JotForm’s profile to learn more about the business:

Aytekin also picked up 5,752 followers from this thread.

When it comes to planning an experiment like this of your own, try to think about the goals you’d like to achieve:

  • If it’s all about impressions and engagement, you could tell the whole story on Twitter.
  • If you want to drive traffic, add a link back to your website.
  • To increase your following, @ mention your profile.

Remember: It’s important to tell a great story in a native format, so ensure you use your first few tweets to get people hooked into your narrative before including any links.

3. Twitter is a great place to start a conversation

With any highly shared tweet, you’ll always get a few trolls pop up here and there, but if you look past this, you’ll realize that Twitter is still an incredible place to start a conversation and build relationships.

Following Aytekin’s thread, he received plenty of questions about JotForm and how the business operates. This enabled him to build new relationships with people he previously wouldn’t have reached.

So, do Twitter ads really work?

This experiment was designed to test the limits of Twitter ads and the results speak for themselves:

  • Over 17 million impressions
  • 35,000 visits to the original article
  • 5,752 followers for Aytekin
  • 4,346 profile views for @JotForm

But that’s not to say everything was perfect.

Due to the way Twitter ads work there’s no real way to tell exactly how many unique people saw the ad and many people reached out to Aytekin to say they’d seen the ad multiple times.

And for every great conversation started by this thread, there was another slightly negative reaction. It seems that some Twitter users don’t quite accept ads in their feed like they do on Facebook or Instagram, where ads are more ingrained within the platforms.

Overall though, Aytekin sees the experiment as worthwhile:

“Even though the initial cost was high, the 5,000 followers we gained from this experiment are permanent,” he explained.

“Every time I publish a new post, I get clicks, likes, retweets and comments from these followers. So the results are compounding over time. I can’t be sure if they will become long-term, highly-engaged audience members, but they seem to stick around for now.”

And the great thing is that you can replicate this experiment yourself with a budget of any size.

Simply take a piece of content that’s been successful for you on another channel:

  • A highly-viewed Facebook video.
  • One of your top podcast episodes.
  • Your #1 blog post.
  • A copy of your email newsletter.

And repurpose that content into a succinct story on Twitter.

Even if you don’t want to invest any budget in it, repurposing content to Twitter is a great way to connect with your audience and share your stories to another platform.

Have you used Twitter ads? Do you repurpose content from other platforms to Twitter? I’d love to chat about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Want more content like this?

More than 45,000 marketers and small business owners subscribe to our newsletter to receive our blog posts and exclusive email-only content.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/etFWsW9vyYM/do-twitter-ads-really-jotform-case-study

How Companies Like Bored Panda, REI, and Vox Are Growing Their Organic Reach on Social Media

In 2013, a Facebook Page could easily reach about 12 percent of its fans with each post.

Just a year later, in 2014, it would reach only about six percent of its fans.

Today, in 2018, that number is very likely to be smaller than six percent. That means for every 100 fans of a Page, an organic post will reach, on average, only five or fewer people1.

Is it the end of organic reach on social media?

I don’t think so.

Yes, the (average) organic reach on social media has been falling over the years. But I’m very optimistic that it’s still possible to get organic reach. Why? Because we’ve seen businesses, including ourselves, growing their organic reach on social media in the last few years.

How? Let’s find out.

How to (Still) Get Organic Reach on Social Media

How to (still) get organic reach on social media

1. Understand and stay up-to-date with the social media algorithms

Social media organic reach is very dependent on the social media algorithms. The algorithm determines what every user sees on their timeline. And that’s why it’s key to understand how the algorithms work so as to maximize your organic reach.

The algorithm is ever-changing, always improving to make sure that users see what they want to see most. For example, in the first half of 2018 alone, Facebook reported five major changes to the News Feed (and there are probably many more small tweaks that were not reported).

So how does each of the social media algorithms work?

Facebook algorithm

The Facebook algorithm consists of four key components that organize the content people see on their News Feed: inventory, signals, predictions, and relevancy score.

In our in-depth analysis of how the Facebook News Feed works in 2018, we realized that signals are what we marketers and brands can focus on to increase our organic reach. The more active interactions, such as shares, comments, and reactions, a post has, the more people will see the post.

Facebook algorithm factors

By posting content that connects your target audience or that naturally creates meaningful interactions (e.g. Facebook Live) or by building a niche community through a Facebook Group, you can likely get a higher organic reach. (You can read more about these tactics here.)

Instagram algorithm

Instagram recently revealed the three main factors that determine the posts a user sees on her Instagram feed:

  • Interest: Posts that Instagram thinks she will be interested in will appear higher in her feed.
  • Timeliness: Recent posts will tend to appear higher in her feed than older posts.
  • Relationship: Posts from accounts she has regularly interacted with will also tend to appear higher in her feed.

There are also three other factors that contribute to the ranking of Instagram posts, but to a smaller extent:

  • Frequency: Instagram aims to show her the best posts since her last visit.
  • Following: If she follows many Instagram accounts, Instagram tries to show posts from a wide range of accounts rather than many posts from a few accounts.
  • Usage: Instagram tries to show the best posts first. If she browses Instagram for a long time, she will see posts that might be less relevant or interesting to her.

Instagram algorithm

If you want to dig into the Instagram algorithm, here’s our guide on the Instagram algorithm in 2018.

Twitter algorithm

While the Twitter timeline seems mostly reverse chronological, it also uses an algorithm to show an individual the tweets that it thinks she might be interested in. Similar to Facebook, every tweet is given a score based on how relevant Twitter thinks the tweet is to her. According to Twitter, here are some of the factors it considers:

  • The tweet itself: its recency, presence of media cards (image or video), and overall engagement (including retweets, clicks, favorites, and time spent reading it)
  • The tweet’s author: her past interactions with this author, the strength of her connection to them, and the origin of her relationship
  • You: tweets she found engaging in the past, how often and how heavily she use Twitter

Once given a relevance score, the tweet is categorized into one of the three sections on her timeline:

  1. “Ranked tweets” (recent relevant tweets)
  2. “In case you missed” (older relevant tweets)
  3. Remaining tweets in reverse-chronological order

Twitter timeline algorithm summary

It seems that the Twitter algorithm prioritizes tweets with many interactions. So here are some ways to increase your Twitter engagement, and, in turn, organic reach.

2. Fewer but better posts

“I can’t compete with the big guys, so I have to do less articles but do them better,” said Bored Panda founder Tomas Banišauskas to WIRED.

In 2016, Bored Panda was visited by about 17 million people, on average, per month. By October 2017, that number grew to 116 million — mostly thanks to organic reach on and organic traffic from Facebook. How did Banišauskas and his team do it?

Fewer but better posts.

While his competitors were hacking the Facebook algorithm, using clickbait, and growing their Facebook Page and website, Banišauskas decided against such a strategy. He believes in the importance of delivering quality content, even if that means he has to do less.

This made Bored Panda’s Facebook Page the most engaged publisher Facebook Page last October, according to NewsWhip. (Bored Panda also received the highest average engagement on LinkedIn and Pinterest among publishers.) By writing and sharing fewer but higher quality content, Bored Panda managed to avoid the fall in organic reach and traffic due to changes in the Facebook algorithm. In fact, Banišauskas thinks that “the others were losing that traffic and we were getting it”2.

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

Using a similar fewer-but-better strategy, we also managed to grow our Facebook reach by more than three times in 2017.

When we realized that more than 100 of our posts were reaching less than two percent of our Facebook fans, we cut our posting frequency by more than half and truly focused on sharing only the best content we can find or create. This encouraged us to focus on quality over quantity and grew our Facebook reach.

If you want to implement this strategy, here are a few things you could try:

  • Experiment with posting only one to two pieces of content a day
  • Post only the best content you can find each day
  • Never do clickbait

3. Curate user-generated content

From 2015 to 2016, Brian Peters, our then social media manager, grew our Instagram following from 4,250 to more than 21,000. That’s an amazing 400 percent growth!

His secret? User-generated content.

The easiest way to think about user-generated content is this: “brands taking the best-of-the-best user content from around the web and featuring it on their own social media or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator,” said Brian.

This is the same strategy used by brands such as REI, Birchbox, and Fedex.

So how can you apply this strategy?

A great place to start is by hosting photo contests where your customers can submit (or share with your branded hashtag) photos of your brand to win prizes. You can also encourage your followers to share photos of your brand by mentioning it in your Instagram bio.

Birchbox Instagram bio for user-generated content

It can take a few weeks or even months for photo contests to pick up momentum and generate enough photos for you to re-post. In the meantime, you could do hashtag searches to find Instagram posts that are relevant to your brand and re-post them.

Next is the most important step for a user-generated content strategy. You definitely should reach out to the original creator and ask for permission to re-post their photo on your profile before reposting their work.

REI asking for permission

When resharing their photo on your own profile, you should also attribute the photo back to the original creator. Here are a few possible ways to attribute:

  • Photo: @username
  • Regram: @username
  • 📸: @username

If you want to run a user-generated content campaign, this blog post goes into the fine details, including examples and tools you can use.

4. Invest in groups

Imagine your fans actively posting constructive thoughts and participating in civil discussions on topics around your brand, besides simply liking your posts?

That’s what Vox has been doing with its The Weeds Facebook Group. It is a private, moderated Facebook Group for its semiweekly podcast, with more than 18,000 members, who added more than 100 new posts in the last 30 days3.

Vox Facebook Group

There has been a general trend towards niche and more active groups on social media, with Facebook, the largest social media network, leading the way to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”4.

And social media groups could become the next top channel for organic reach on social media. Members of a well-managed, active social media group, by definition, would share and comment on one another one’s posts often. Since most social media algorithms tend to show posts with lots of engagement to more people, there is a higher chance for posts from groups to show up on people’s timeline more often. More organic reach.

(I have to admit that I can’t seem to find concrete studies on whether having Facebook Groups will lead to higher organic reach. If you know of any studies or have any anecdotal evidence, I would love to hear from you.)

While it isn’t certain that having a Facebook Group would increase your social media organic reach, there is good evidence that it would boost your social media engagement. When talking about one of their Facebook Groups, Vox reported that it became a place for members to share stories and interesting articles, ask questions, and support one another. The discussions in the group also went beyond the group itself. The results of a poll in the group became a story about its members on the Vox website, another poll led to a Facebook Live Q&A, and a few members were selected to join an interview with former US president Barack Obama.

If you are interested in starting a Facebook Group (or even a LinkedIn Group), we have written some guides which you might find helpful:

P.s. Here’s another quick tip: Observe what news organization and publishers are doing on social media. Reach and referral traffic to their websites are key for their survival so they would likely figure out what works very quickly once things change. For example, Facebook Groups seem to be popular among publishers now.

5. Test new social media networks

Have you heard of Musically? Or Tik Tok?

If you have not, I’m just like you before I did my research. In fact, we are not alone. Musically, a social network for video creation and live broadcasting, was once described as “the most popular app you’ve probably never heard of” by Business Insider. (Musically has since been acquired and combined into Tik Tok.)

Beside the Big Six (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat), there are many up-and-coming social media networks that are garnering the attention of people around the world. And being on them early gives your brand a first-mover advantage before the networks become crowded with other brands.

Coca-Cola Musically social media campaign

For example, Coca-Cola launched a social media campaign on Musically in 2016, making them the first brand to engage on that platform. They challenged Musically users to create Musically videos with the songs found on their Coke bottles at that time. The campaign generated more than 900,000 Musically videos and 134 million views. #ShareaCoke also became the number one trending hashtag on the platform.

Buffer Flipboard

Over the last year, we also had a few successes sharing our blog posts to Flipboard. Flipboard drove between 1,000 to 3,000 visits for each of the blog posts! (Interestingly, we only have about 2,000 followers on Flipboard at the moment.)

All this isn’t to say that you should create an account for your brand on Tik Tok or Flipboard right away. But that you should keep an eye out for new (or less known) social media platforms and jump on them when it’s appropriate for your brand. Maybe that’s Tik Tok or Flipboard. Maybe it’s something else. Here are some that you might want to research into:

  • Vero – an ad-free and reverse-chronological social media app
  • Tik Tok (Douyin) – a music video platform and social network
  • Amino Apps – a network of niche communities
  • Anchor – a podcast and short audio social network
  • Flipboard – a news and social network aggregator
  • Medium – an online publishing network

How are you getting organic reach?

I believe that it is not the end of social media organic reach (and I also recognized that I might be biased!) Many brands and organizations, such as publishers, are closely watching the changes on major social media platforms and the rise of new social networks to adapt and grow their organic reach. Their successes are an encouragement that we can do the same if we pay attention to changes and test new ideas constantly.

It might be weird asking this since it’s such a competitive space on social media but I thought it might be worth a shot. How are you getting organic reach on social media? What tips and advice would you share with your fellow social media managers reading this blog post? I’m sure they will be grateful for your generosity. 🙂

Image credit: Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

This blog post is an adaption of Kevan Lee’s presentation at DTDConf.

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How Companies Like Bored Panda, REI, and Vox Are Growing Their Organic Reach on Social Media

In 2013, a Facebook Page could easily reach about 12 percent of its fans with each post.

Just a year later, in 2014, it would reach only about six percent of its fans.

Today, in 2018, that number is very likely to be smaller than six percent. That means for every 100 fans of a Page, an organic post will reach, on average, only five or fewer people1.

Is it the end of organic reach on social media?

I don’t think so.

Yes, the (average) organic reach on social media has been falling over the years. But I’m very optimistic that it’s still possible to get organic reach. Why? Because we’ve seen businesses, including ourselves, growing their organic reach on social media in the last few years.

How? Let’s find out.

How to (Still) Get Organic Reach on Social Media

How to (still) get organic reach on social media

1. Understand and stay up-to-date with the social media algorithms

Social media organic reach is very dependent on the social media algorithms. The algorithm determines what every user sees on their timeline. And that’s why it’s key to understand how the algorithms work so as to maximize your organic reach.

The algorithm is ever-changing, always improving to make sure that users see what they want to see most. For example, in the first half of 2018 alone, Facebook reported five major changes to the News Feed (and there are probably many more small tweaks that were not reported).

So how does each of the social media algorithms work?

Facebook algorithm

The Facebook algorithm consists of four key components that organize the content people see on their News Feed: inventory, signals, predictions, and relevancy score.

In our in-depth analysis of how the Facebook News Feed works in 2018, we realized that signals are what we marketers and brands can focus on to increase our organic reach. The more active interactions, such as shares, comments, and reactions, a post has, the more people will see the post.

Facebook algorithm factors

By posting content that connects your target audience or that naturally creates meaningful interactions (e.g. Facebook Live) or by building a niche community through a Facebook Group, you can likely get a higher organic reach. (You can read more about these tactics here.)

Instagram algorithm

Instagram recently revealed the three main factors that determine the posts a user sees on her Instagram feed:

  • Interest: Posts that Instagram thinks she will be interested in will appear higher in her feed.
  • Timeliness: Recent posts will tend to appear higher in her feed than older posts.
  • Relationship: Posts from accounts she has regularly interacted with will also tend to appear higher in her feed.

There are also three other factors that contribute to the ranking of Instagram posts, but to a smaller extent:

  • Frequency: Instagram aims to show her the best posts since her last visit.
  • Following: If she follows many Instagram accounts, Instagram tries to show posts from a wide range of accounts rather than many posts from a few accounts.
  • Usage: Instagram tries to show the best posts first. If she browses Instagram for a long time, she will see posts that might be less relevant or interesting to her.

Instagram algorithm

If you want to dig into the Instagram algorithm, here’s our guide on the Instagram algorithm in 2018.

Twitter algorithm

While the Twitter timeline seems mostly reverse chronological, it also uses an algorithm to show an individual the tweets that it thinks she might be interested in. Similar to Facebook, every tweet is given a score based on how relevant Twitter thinks the tweet is to her. According to Twitter, here are some of the factors it considers:

  • The tweet itself: its recency, presence of media cards (image or video), and overall engagement (including retweets, clicks, favorites, and time spent reading it)
  • The tweet’s author: her past interactions with this author, the strength of her connection to them, and the origin of her relationship
  • You: tweets she found engaging in the past, how often and how heavily she use Twitter

Once given a relevance score, the tweet is categorized into one of the three sections on her timeline:

  1. “Ranked tweets” (recent relevant tweets)
  2. “In case you missed” (older relevant tweets)
  3. Remaining tweets in reverse-chronological order

Twitter timeline algorithm summary

It seems that the Twitter algorithm prioritizes tweets with many interactions. So here are some ways to increase your Twitter engagement, and, in turn, organic reach.

2. Fewer but better posts

“I can’t compete with the big guys, so I have to do less articles but do them better,” said Bored Panda founder Tomas Banišauskas to WIRED.

In 2016, Bored Panda was visited by about 17 million people, on average, per month. By October 2017, that number grew to 116 million — mostly thanks to organic reach on and organic traffic from Facebook. How did Banišauskas and his team do it?

Fewer but better posts.

While his competitors were hacking the Facebook algorithm, using clickbait, and growing their Facebook Page and website, Banišauskas decided against such a strategy. He believes in the importance of delivering quality content, even if that means he has to do less.

This made Bored Panda’s Facebook Page the most engaged publisher Facebook Page last October, according to NewsWhip. (Bored Panda also received the highest average engagement on LinkedIn and Pinterest among publishers.) By writing and sharing fewer but higher quality content, Bored Panda managed to avoid the fall in organic reach and traffic due to changes in the Facebook algorithm. In fact, Banišauskas thinks that “the others were losing that traffic and we were getting it”2.

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

Using a similar fewer-but-better strategy, we also managed to grow our Facebook reach by more than three times in 2017.

When we realized that more than 100 of our posts were reaching less than two percent of our Facebook fans, we cut our posting frequency by more than half and truly focused on sharing only the best content we can find or create. This encouraged us to focus on quality over quantity and grew our Facebook reach.

If you want to implement this strategy, here are a few things you could try:

  • Experiment with posting only one to two pieces of content a day
  • Post only the best content you can find each day
  • Never do clickbait

3. Curate user-generated content

From 2015 to 2016, Brian Peters, our then social media manager, grew our Instagram following from 4,250 to more than 21,000. That’s an amazing 400 percent growth!

His secret? User-generated content.

The easiest way to think about user-generated content is this: “brands taking the best-of-the-best user content from around the web and featuring it on their own social media or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator,” said Brian.

This is the same strategy used by brands such as REI, Birchbox, and Fedex.

So how can you apply this strategy?

A great place to start is by hosting photo contests where your customers can submit (or share with your branded hashtag) photos of your brand to win prizes. You can also encourage your followers to share photos of your brand by mentioning it in your Instagram bio.

Birchbox Instagram bio for user-generated content

It can take a few weeks or even months for photo contests to pick up momentum and generate enough photos for you to re-post. In the meantime, you could do hashtag searches to find Instagram posts that are relevant to your brand and re-post them.

Next is the most important step for a user-generated content strategy. You definitely should reach out to the original creator and ask for permission to re-post their photo on your profile before reposting their work.

REI asking for permission

When resharing their photo on your own profile, you should also attribute the photo back to the original creator. Here are a few possible ways to attribute:

  • Photo: @username
  • Regram: @username
  • 📸: @username

If you want to run a user-generated content campaign, this blog post goes into the fine details, including examples and tools you can use.

4. Invest in groups

Imagine your fans actively posting constructive thoughts and participating in civil discussions on topics around your brand, besides simply liking your posts?

That’s what Vox has been doing with its The Weeds Facebook Group. It is a private, moderated Facebook Group for its semiweekly podcast, with more than 18,000 members, who added more than 100 new posts in the last 30 days3.

Vox Facebook Group

There has been a general trend towards niche and more active groups on social media, with Facebook, the largest social media network, leading the way to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”4.

And social media groups could become the next top channel for organic reach on social media. Members of a well-managed, active social media group, by definition, would share and comment on one another one’s posts often. Since most social media algorithms tend to show posts with lots of engagement to more people, there is a higher chance for posts from groups to show up on people’s timeline more often. More organic reach.

(I have to admit that I can’t seem to find concrete studies on whether having Facebook Groups will lead to higher organic reach. If you know of any studies or have any anecdotal evidence, I would love to hear from you.)

While it isn’t certain that having a Facebook Group would increase your social media organic reach, there is good evidence that it would boost your social media engagement. When talking about one of their Facebook Groups, Vox reported that it became a place for members to share stories and interesting articles, ask questions, and support one another. The discussions in the group also went beyond the group itself. The results of a poll in the group became a story about its members on the Vox website, another poll led to a Facebook Live Q&A, and a few members were selected to join an interview with former US president Barack Obama.

If you are interested in starting a Facebook Group (or even a LinkedIn Group), we have written some guides which you might find helpful:

P.s. Here’s another quick tip: Observe what news organization and publishers are doing on social media. Reach and referral traffic to their websites are key for their survival so they would likely figure out what works very quickly once things change. For example, Facebook Groups seem to be popular among publishers now.

5. Test new social media networks

Have you heard of Musically? Or Tik Tok?

If you have not, I’m just like you before I did my research. In fact, we are not alone. Musically, a social network for video creation and live broadcasting, was once described as “the most popular app you’ve probably never heard of” by Business Insider. (Musically has since been acquired and combined into Tik Tok.)

Beside the Big Six (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat), there are many up-and-coming social media networks that are garnering the attention of people around the world. And being on them early gives your brand a first-mover advantage before the networks become crowded with other brands.

Coca-Cola Musically social media campaign

For example, Coca-Cola launched a social media campaign on Musically in 2016, making them the first brand to engage on that platform. They challenged Musically users to create Musically videos with the songs found on their Coke bottles at that time. The campaign generated more than 900,000 Musically videos and 134 million views. #ShareaCoke also became the number one trending hashtag on the platform.

Buffer Flipboard

Over the last year, we also had a few successes sharing our blog posts to Flipboard. Flipboard drove between 1,000 to 3,000 visits for each of the blog posts! (Interestingly, we only have about 2,000 followers on Flipboard at the moment.)

All this isn’t to say that you should create an account for your brand on Tik Tok or Flipboard right away. But that you should keep an eye out for new (or less known) social media platforms and jump on them when it’s appropriate for your brand. Maybe that’s Tik Tok or Flipboard. Maybe it’s something else. Here are some that you might want to research into:

  • Vero – an ad-free and reverse-chronological social media app
  • Tik Tok (Douyin) – a music video platform and social network
  • Amino Apps – a network of niche communities
  • Anchor – a podcast and short audio social network
  • Flipboard – a news and social network aggregator
  • Medium – an online publishing network

How are you getting organic reach?

I believe that it is not the end of social media organic reach (and I also recognized that I might be biased!) Many brands and organizations, such as publishers, are closely watching the changes on major social media platforms and the rise of new social networks to adapt and grow their organic reach. Their successes are an encouragement that we can do the same if we pay attention to changes and test new ideas constantly.

It might be weird asking this since it’s such a competitive space on social media but I thought it might be worth a shot. How are you getting organic reach on social media? What tips and advice would you share with your fellow social media managers reading this blog post? I’m sure they will be grateful for your generosity. 🙂

Image credit: Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

This blog post is an adaption of Kevan Lee’s presentation at DTDConf.

Want more content like this?

More than 45,000 marketers and small business owners subscribe to our newsletter to receive our blog posts and exclusive email-only content.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/j18OAIueuzc/social-media-organic-reach

50% OFF – Social Media Marketing Offer…

We will manage your Social Media (2 Accounts, 1 Twitter Account and One Facebook Page or One Instagram Account & One LinkedIn Account etc.) for 12 months for just £600 or £50 per month (usually £1,200 – saving you £600 over 12 months)!

Or we will manage your Social Media (4 Accounts, 1 Twitter Account, 1 Facebook Page, 1 LinkedIn Account & 1 Instagram Account etc.) for 12 months for just £1,200 or £200 per month (usually £2,400 – saving you £1,200 over 12 months)!

Call Mike on 07517 024979 or Email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com for setup link or enquiries.

https://welshbizuk.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/50-off-social-media-marketing-offer-2/

How to Master Vertical Video and Stories: Introducing Our New Email Series

Today we’re launching a short email series enabling anyone to understand the importance of vertical video, and how to get started with the format.

The Stories format, first popularized by Snapchat, has changed the social media landscape.

The format, which encourages users to share short, vertical videos and images has presented marketers, creators, and individuals with innovative, interactive storytelling experiences — and has spearheaded the vertical video revolution.

More than one billion people use Stories on Facebook-owned properties alone. And at Facebook’s F8 conference, it was revealed that the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share stuff with their friends sometime next year.

This meteoric growth has created incredible opportunities for marketers.

That’s why we built this series from the ground up: To help you fully understand the rise of vertical video and its importance in the social media landscape, as well as how to get started — even if you haven’t produced video content before.

“Vertical video is an essential part of a modern social media strategy. If you want to be current, if you want to engage your audience, you need to invest in vertical video.” – Kevan Lee, Marketing Director, Buffer

How to Master Vertical Video: Series outline

Seventy percent of digital media time is now spent on mobile devices and 96 percent of mobile consumption is vertical. So if you want to succeed in the mobile-first world of social media, vertical video content is a must.

This four-part email series will take you on a journey through the world of vertical video and Stories, helping you to understand why vertical video is important for your business, what platforms to use and exactly how to get started.

4 free lessons to help you become a Stories expert

Here’s a breakdown of the content you’ll receive as a part of How to Master Vertical Video:

  • Part One: Dive into the science behind why vertical video is so popular and how it’s become the default for social sharing and consumption.
  • Part Two: Take a closer look at the benefits of vertical video and why it’s important for all businesses and creatives to embrace.
  • Part Three: Breaking down all the major platforms that support the stories and vertical video formats.
  • Part Four:  Everything you need to get going with vertical video, including our favorite tips, and things to be aware of as you’re starting out.

Oh, and, don’t worry about a commitment — once the emails are complete, we won’t add you to our mailing list forever (unless you want us to, of course).

Meet your host

How to Master Vertical Video is written by Owen Williams. Owen is a technologist with a background wearing different hats, as a writer, developer, engineer, and marketer — these diverse experiences make Owen the perfect person to help you explore the world of vertical video from various perspectives.

“Vertical is a compelling new storytelling format that can help you connect with your audience in new ways and is yet to be embraced fully by marketers, leaving you a great opportunity to start today.”

Owen Williams (@ow)
Writer, How to Master Vertical Video

 

Sign up below: ⬇

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/7khvLtEpa48/how-to-master-vertical-video

Social Media Marketing Video…

img_4117

https://welshbizuk.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/social-media-marketing-video/

Marketing Efficiency – Why you should take time to blog…

In this ever increasing world of innovation, technology and social media there are many options for business owners and marketers to use for promoting their business, products and services.

Social Media Marketing 

Social media is a very popular medium for doing this but there are so many social media channels that it can be difficult to choose which ones to use and how much time to spend on each one.

Social Media Marketing issues

There are also issues with login in and out of all of the social media channels and accounts that you have which can also be time consuming and problematic.

And worse still, all of this is set against a back drop of hyper competitiveness for most businesses, especially those in saturated markets where the need for optimal operational efficiency grows greater and greater each day.

Social Media Automation

Many people turn to social media automation tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to help them improve their marketing efficiency and I myself have done this in the past and still use them from time to time, but I have found blogging to be a much better way.

Social media automation tools cost, and usually have some sort of limiting factors to your posting and scheduling.  There are also large steps ups from a small business user to a large agency users with very little in between for the business that is rapidly expanding and diversifying and expanding their social media portfolio but certainly not of Agency size and budget (just yet).

Also social media automations tools are just that, social media tools and marketing is a lot more than just Social Media Marketing.

So the reason why I blog, and why I teach blogging and recommend blogging to the world with lots of blogging articles including this, “why you should take time to blog” article is because I find it to be the best Social Media automation tool around but it comes with so many more marketing benefits and additional marketing efficiency benefits.

Blogging Platforms

Before I cover the so much more, I need to explain something in a little more detail.  Not all blogging platforms are the same and provide the same marketing and marketing efficiency benefits. I have tried tumblr, blogger and WordPress as well as other web design and build platforms that have built in blogging platforms and as yet, I have only found WordPress to have a built in social media automation feature – social sharer.

Therefore the reason I use WordPress and recommend WordPress and in fact only build websites using WordPress is for the social media automation feature and built in marketing efficiencies.

The social media sharer or automatic post and share feature saves time.  With other blogging platforms you have to post your content,  grab the link and share it around your social media universe whilst creating posts and titles etc. which can be quite time consuming, maybe even taking up half an hour or so per post.

Posting the same content via WordPress which is already linked and set up to all of your social media universe (or a large portion of it) and automatically creates the posts and titles can in comparison take just a few minutes.

People say to me “that they can’t find the time to post” but I say; “I can’t find the time not to post”.

Some marketing efficiency and social media automation has been covered but what are the other marketing benefits I hear you cry?

Free Social Media Automation!

Well we already covered the fact that Social Media Automation tools cost and one of the great things about blogs, especially WordPress blogs, is that they don’t. They all have free versions although do have paid for options as well.

Extra Google Traffic Benefits

The other great things about blogs is that you post the content on to the internet and get SEO and Keyword benefits that you just wouldn’t get with social media automation.

Website Benefits – SEO

If posting on a website you improve your own ranking in the search engines and spread of keywords and content that you can get found for and if posting on a deprecate blog site you get to build up the value and domain authority of a completely separate domain.

Join the Largest Blogging Community in the World and be inspired and build contacts…

Also if blogging on WordPress you are also part of their global blogging network, the largest in the world and can follow and take inspiration from this blogger network or blogger community as well as network with these other bloggers and build your own following!

Summary

So there we have it, to improve on Social Media Automation, to gain many additional marketing benefits and to improve on the marketing efficiency of your business are the reasons why I blog and the reasons why I recommend that all business owners or marketers should take the time to blog.


Written By Mike Armstrong founder & owner of MA Consultancy and the online WelshBiz brand!

If you need help with blogging including a content marketing strategy, setup or tech issues, training or blogging services gel free to contact me at MA Consultancy.

https://welshbizuk.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/marketing-efficiency-why-you-should-take-time-to-blog/

Q4 Content Calendar: Important Dates and Campaign Ideas for Small Businesses

The last quarter of the year is always a busy one for marketers.

Between October and the end of December, we have the holiday season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and more.

Each of these dates provides an opportunity for your business to connect with your audience and target customers. And though it might seem like there’s too much to keep on top of, with a bit of advance planning, it’s possible to ensure you don’t miss a beat in Q4.

To help, we’ve put together this Q4 content calendar to break down some of the key dates and events from October 1st to December 31st, giving you important data and a few marketing ideas for each.

Ready to jump in?

Q4 content calendar [Downloadable]

[Download full-size image]

Q4 key dates and campaign examples

Note: You might not want to shoehorn your brand into every single event, but hand-picking the opportunities that make sense for your business can help make Q4 hugely rewarding.

31 October – Halloween 🎃

When people come together to celebrate Halloween, they love to share their experiences on social media.

Globally, more than 500,000 Halloween events were planned on Facebook in 2017. And in 2016 there were more than 41 million Halloween related tweets — in fact, more than half of all Halloween related conversations online happened on Twitter.

Total spending for Halloween 2017 was expected to hit $9.1 billion in the U.S. alone, with more than 179 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities.

When it comes to marketing over Halloween, it can be a fun time to get super creative and think about how your brand could enhance celebrations for consumers.

For example, Guinness released some quirky, shadow-shaped coasters for Halloween 2015:

Asda also got into the Halloween spirit by creating an online hub focused on Halloween party ideas, foods and cocktails:

As Nikki Gilliland explained on Econsultancy:

“The comprehensive campaign means that consumers are likely to think of Asda in relation to Halloween in future, with its extensive product selection likely to satisfy shoppers as they head in-stores or buy online.”

Pro tip: Share fun, DIY advice, and party tips

From creating costumes and decorations to home baking sweet treats and planning parties, there’s a lot of DIY happening over Halloween. People are often looking for content that will help them get ready for the day and make the holiday super fun for all their friends and family.

November 1 — Holiday planning starts 📝

Facebook found that planning for the holidays starts as early as November 1st.

The majority of people aren’t quite in buying mode at this stage, though — especially with some of the biggest discount shopping days of the year still to come later in November.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about your holiday promotions.

Take advantage of this time to start building towards your holiday campaigns by raising awareness of your brand and products before the big rush starts in December.

You could use Facebook Ads’ Brand Awareness and Video Views objectives to create demand for your product before promoting it again in December with an eye on making sales.

For example, Luxy Hair created a video showcasing a holiday hairstyle in November 2017. It could have used this video as a way to build an audience of people who might be interested in purchasing its products later on in the holidays:

Pro tip: Remarket to existing customers

This is a perfect time to begin marketing to your current customers with an eye to making it on to their holiday wishlists. You could run email campaigns to your current customers, or even set up custom audiences on Facebook for people that view your videos or visit your website; then retarget them with adverts featuring products that they might be interested in.

Toy Market, a toy store in southern New Jersey, used this approach by creating custom audiences based on existing customer data and managed to increase its holiday sales by 20 percent year-on-year.

The key thing with remarketing is not to overdo it, you don’t want to be so aggressive with your targeting that you end up putting people off your business.

November 11 — Singles Day 🛍

Singles Day originated in the 1990’s in China, but it really started spread across Asia and the rest of the world when Alibaba turned the day into a discount shopping festival. It has now become the largest shopping event of the year worldwide.

In 2017, Single’s Day shoppers in China bought more products during the 24 hours period of Single’s Day than during the entire 4-day period running from Black Friday to Cyber Monday,

The below chart shows the percentage of people who report shopping on key shopping holidays — in the U.S. 7% of people surveyed by Facebook reported shopping on Single’s Day:

November 22-26 — Thanksgiving shopping weekend 📦

November 22 – Thanksgiving 🦃

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time spent with friends and family. It’s about unwinding and taking a moment to be thankful for all that we have before the busy holiday schedule and shopping season kicks off.

Over Thanksgiving, you might want to use your social media channels to help people come together, relax and make this time of year even more special.

For example, as part of its “Share a Coke” campaign, Coca-Cola shared a video of personalized bottles being used as place cards for a family meal:

Coca-Cola also shared this content on Twitter and Instagram.

Airbnb also took the time to showcase how appreciative it is of its community over Thanksgiving by sharing an on-brand message about feeling at home:

November 23 — Black Friday 🛒

Black Friday falls on November 23rd in 2018, but data from Facebook has found that 39% of posts about Black Friday take place in the four days leading up to the sales starting. This means you should be looking to build excitement for any Black Friday offers or sales in the week leading up to November 23 — or maybe even further out.

For example, as Shopify Plus reported, eyewear brand, Blenders, began to promote it’s giveaway 10-days before Black Friday:

 

November 24 — Small Business Saturday 🏡

Small Business Saturday is held in the U.S. on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Whereas Black Friday and Cyber Monday tend to focus on online retail, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to visit smaller, local stores in their local area.

If you’re a local, small or brick and mortar business, this is the perfect day to build some extra awareness and boost your sales.

Some ways to make the most of Small Business Saturday include:

  • Host an event: Consider hosting an event to help attract new customers to your business. For example, if you run a homeware store, you could run a fun DIY class.
  • Run a giveaway: A promotion in Oakland County, Michigan offered shoppers the chance to win $5,000 if they shared receipts of their Small Business Saturday purchases.
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags are a great way to extend the reach of your content on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to include #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday in all relevant posts.

November 26 — Cyber Monday 💻

In 2016, Facebook found that conversions peak on Cyber Monday (with Black Friday in the second spot):

With Cyber Monday being one of the biggest online shopping days on the calendar, this isn’t too surprising, but it’s a great reminder that shoppers are keen to spend their money and happy to engage with social media ads during the event.

With so many businesses sharing offers to shoppers, try to think about how you could stand out and do something a little different on Cyber Monday. For example, you could take your customers behind the scenes like Amazon did in 2017:

Pro tip: Embrace mobile video

Thirty percent of mobile shoppers say video is the best medium for discovering new products. And over Thanksgiving shopping weekend in 2017 there were more than 450 million views of Black Friday and other related videos on Facebook.

People in the U.S. also shop more on mobile on weekends and holidays, making mobile video the perfect way to connect with your target audience and potential shoppers.

December 1 — Last minute shopping kicks off 🎁

By the time December rolls around, shopping season is in full swing.

A Facebook survey found that 62 percent of people do their shopping in December — with as many as one in four people making their holiday purchases between December 11‑20th.

As a kid, I remember spending hours flicking through all of the Christmas gift guides we’d receive in the mail, and now, plenty of brands take this experience online. For example, Zara shared its gift guide and some beautiful images of products on Facebook:

Video is also a great way to showcase your products, here’s an example of Baskin Robbins using Facebook video to promote its Ice Cream Cake:

And one often overlooked aspect of successful holiday campaigns is social media engagement. It’s important to keep an eye on your mentions year-round, but the holidays give your team the chance to add a bit of festive cheer to your replies.

Pro tip: Experiment with self-gifting

Facebook’s 2016 ‘Holiday Study’ found that more than half (52 percent) of festive shoppers also buy gifts for themselves. With this in mind, it might be worth experimenting with content that encourages shoppers to indulge themselves.

For example, you could test out 2-for-1 deals so shoppers can get a present for a loved one and treat themselves at the same time or focus on how self-gifting could help shoppers enjoy the season more (e.g. maybe a soothing candle could help them unwind after a busy day preparing for the holidays).

December 1-4 — Christmas tree chatter 🌲

Facebook IQ found that discussions around buying and decorating Christmas trees peaks on in the first week of December. This is a great time to tap into festive feelings as people start to think about how they’ll be decorating their tree and house for the festive season.

One great example of content focused on this theme comes from Distinctive Gardens an Illinois-based plant and landscaping business. The company ran a three-day campaign on Facebook to attract people to its annual Christmas tree fundraising event. Over the three day period, it increased total sales for the fundraiser by 2.8X (on the previous year).

December 24-26 — Christmas celebrations ✨

Sharing replaces shopping on once the Christmas celebrations begin.

Christmas is the most active day of the holiday season on Facebook, with over 800m holiday-related posts generated — and 86 percent of those posts are shared on mobile.

For brands, this is a great time to simply wish your followers all the best for the holidays:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#MerryChristmas 🎄 📷: @mrs.marilyngries

A post shared by Target (@target) on

December 31 — New Years Eve 🎉

As the start of a new year approaches, the conversation turns to new beginnings and party preparations.

Facebook found that discussions related to New Year’s resolutions were the highest on December 31 and accounted for 34 percent of total conversations from December 22nd to January 9th.

This is a great time to simply wish your followers a Happy New Year, like STA Travel:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Hope everyone has a magical New Year! 🎇 Use #StarttheAdventure to be featured!⠀ 👻 Snapchat: STATravelGlobal⠀

A post shared by STA Travel (@statravel) on

You could also launch a campaign focused on how you can help your followers to achieve their goals for the year.

For example, Virgin Active UK kicked off 2017 with a campaign alongside 21 influencers who would all try to build a sustainable fitness routine across 21 days (21 is the number of days it’s believed to take in order to form a new habit):

Over to you

Q4 really is one of the busiest times for marketers — and though you probably won’t want to run a campaign for every single event, you could see great results by carefully planning out your Q4 content.

If you want to keep a handy reminder of everything that’s coming up, you can grab a copy of our content calendar here

How early do you tend to plan your content in advance? What’s the best Q4 or holiday-themed campaign you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below. 💬

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