Category: Social Media Marketing

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

Buffer, the product, has come a long way since I joined the company in 2015. In the past twelve months alone we’ve added integrations with TikTok, Canva, and Google. Buffer is so much more than a social media scheduling tool!

In this post, I’m going to cover all the ways you can use Buffer to grow your audience on social media and beyond in 2022; every feature, every integration, and all the hidden gems.


Grab a cold drink and let’s dive in!

Which channels does Buffer support in 2022?

Buffer currently enables you to plan, create, and schedule content to the following channels:

  • Instagram.
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • TikTok.
  • Google Business Profiles.
  • Pinterest.

You can also connect your Shopify account to Buffer to analyze your store data alongside your social data.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

The beauty of Buffer is that you can manage and share content to multiple channels in one place – whether it’s tweets, stories, pins, or TikTok videos.
Here’s a bit more detail about the types of content you can schedule to each platform.

Instagram

You can schedule posts (including carousels), reels and stories to Instagram business accounts.

Facebook

Scheduling is available for Facebook Pages and Groups.

Twitter

Schedule tweets, retweets (RTs) and quote tweets (QTs) to Twitter profiles.

LinkedIn

Schedule content to LinkedIn Pages (company pages) or to personal profiles.

TikTok

Schedule videos to TikTok business accounts.

Google

Schedule updates, offers, and events to Google Business Profiles.

Pinterest

Schedule pins to your pinboards.

Buffer offers auto-publishing for all of the above channels, except for Instagram Stories. If you have the Buffer mobile app, you can also schedule stories and Buffer will send you a push notification when it’s time to add to your story, so that you can finish the post in Instagram.

Content planning

Marketing without a plan is like cooking without a recipe. You might whip up some content on the spot and it’ll work out fine but for most people, knowing exactly what to post and when is the secret to success.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

Here are all the planning features you can use in Buffer to feed your audience a steady diet of quality content.

Queue view

The queue is a simple way to visualize all the content you have scheduled for a particular channel. Think of it as a conveyor belt for your posts. This is a great option for scheduling evergreen content that doesn’t need to be shared at a specific date or time. You can pause your queue, shuffle your queue, and move content in and out of your queue.

Calendar view

With the calendar, you can see all of your content in a weekly or monthly view. This is great for spotting any gaps in your schedule and managing time-sensitive content. You can filter your calendar to show drafts, scheduled posts, sent posts, and posts that are awaiting approval.

Campaigns

You can group content together by adding campaign tags to content. For example, if you have a holiday promotion that involves multiple pieces of content, you can keep track of it by creating a campaign in Buffer and adding that tag to each piece of content.

Posting schedules

You can set up pre-determined posting schedules for every channel you connect to Buffer. For example, you might want to share to TikTok once a week, but to Twitter at specific times each day.

Content creation

What’s the hardest part of social media? Nine out of ten people will tell you that it is coming up with content. Buffer can make this easier for you in a ton of different ways.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience
Drafts

Got an idea that isn’t quite ready for the spotlight just yet? Save it as a draft and come back to it later.

Content integrations

Buffer can easily import your existing content from a variety of places, including:

  • Canva.
  • Giphy.
  • Google Drive.
  • Dropbox.
  • OneDrive.
  • Unsplash.

Some other quick ways to add content to Buffer:

  • Drag and drop files from your computer.
  • Use the Buffer mobile app to add content from your phone.
  • Use the Buffer browser extension to add images and text from anywhere around the web.
  • Use one of Buffer’s free image creation tools – Remix or Pablo.
  • Use an automation tool like Zapier or IFTTT to import content from spreadsheets or any other app you use to save content.
  • Use the WordPress plugin to add content from your blog to Buffer.
Image editing

Even if you create images outside of Buffer using Canva or another integration, you can edit them in Buffer using the simple editing tool in the Buffer composer. You can crop, rotate, blur, and enhance, among other things.

Hashtag Manager

When you’re posting to Instagram, you can use Buffer’s hashtag manager to save and insert groups of your favorite hashtags. You can add these to the first comment of your post.

Analytics

As the saying goes; if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Buffer’s suite of analytics is included in all paid plans.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

You can get in-depth insights on the following channels you’ve connected to Buffer:

  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.

You can also connect your Shopify store and Buffer will give you insights into customers and sales from social media.

Dashboard

On the analytics home screen, you’ll see the high-level metrics for all of your channels. This includes a quick glance at your total audience, total impressions, and total engagement combined. You’ll also see:

  • Your recent posts across, along with the reach and engagement rate for each post.
  • Followers, impressions, and engagement rate for each of your channels.
  • Links to your recent reports
Overview analytics

Each channel has its own set of analytics for you to explore. This includes overview analytics, which charts the performance of your channel based on a timeframe of your choosing. You can compare performance week on week, month on month, or a custom date range. You can also break down performance by various metrics; followers, reach, impressions, comments, etc.

Post analytics

Post analytics dive deeper into the performance of individual posts. It’s a great way to gauge how effective specific pieces of content are. This area also includes analysis of your hashtag performance.

Boosted posts

If you’re boosting your Facebook or Instagram posts with ad spend, Buffer will help you monitor your results.

Audience insights

Buffer will give you demographic data for your Facebook and Instagram audience, including gender, age, and location. This can help you tailor your messaging and strategy to these groups.

Answers

Wondering when is your best time to post? Or how often? Buffer provides quick, actionable, insights for each channel in the Answers section.

Reports

You can add any chart into an exportable report, which is ideal if you have clients or interested colleagues and you need to share your results with them. You can also add a logo and summary to your reports if you wish, and export them as PDFs.

Shopify

If you connect your Shopify account to Buffer, you can see key stats like your top social referrals, customer lifetime value, and your top selling products alongside your social metrics.

Engagement

Social media is called “social” media for a reason and when it comes to growing your brand, engaging in conversations is just as important as publishing content. With Buffer, you can view all of your unanswered Facebook and Instagram comments in a single dashboard on your desktop, with the most important comments highlighted so that you can answer them first.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience
Toggle between channels

Any Facebook or Instagram account that you have connected to Buffer will show up in a dropdown menu. You can easily switch between accounts.

Grid view

Your posts will be displayed as image thumbnails in a grid view, which makes it easy to see all your post history at a glance.

Unanswered comments summary

Above the post grid, you’ll see the total number of unanswered comments for that account, including a breakdown by sentiment – negativity, order, or question.

Sentiment labels

Buffer uses machine learning to identify specific types of comments that might need your attention; negative comments, comments about order/sale, and questions. If there is a comment on a post that matches any of these sentiments, you’ll see an alert on that post in the grid view.

Hotkeys

Buffer has a set of hotkeys specifically for managing comments – which is especially handy if you have a big backlog of replies to get through.

  • ‘Control + D’ to mark comments as Dismissed.
  • Up key to go to the previous comment.
  • Down key to go to the next comment.
Smart emojis

When replying to a comment, Buffer will automatically offer you a set of emojis to use in your reply. These are based on your history of replies. For example, if you use the 💜 emoji a lot, this will become a default emoji option for you. This is just another way that Buffer can help you reply to comments with speed.

Start Page

You’re probably familiar with the term “link in bio”. Having a landing page with all of your most important links and latest content makes it easy for your audience to connect with you beyond your social accounts. With Start Page, you can quickly build a beautiful page to add to your bio.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience
Templates

Not sure where to begin with your page design? Buffer has a series of page templates that you can use as the base of your Start Page.

Choose a URL for your page

One of the things that makes Start Page different from other link-in-bio tools is the structure of the URL. Start Page puts your brand first. For example, if your company is called Betty’s Burgers, your URL could be bettysburgers.start.page. Other tools typically relegate your brand to a page path; something like “manylinks.com/bettysburgers”.

Appearance

Choose your preferred theme, colors, and font packs to make your page stand out from the crowd.

Layout

You can adjust the layout of your page using the simple drag-and-drop interface.

Blocks

Building a Start Page involves adding “blocks” of content. There are a bunch of different types of blocks at your disposal, from a simple block of text to an embedded Spotify track. Block types include:

  • Text.
  • Link.
  • Button.
  • Image.
  • Subheading.
  • Social links.
  • Youtube video.
  • Spotify track.
  • Image gallery.
Statistics

In terms of page analytics, Buffer tracks page views and link clicks for you and these can be found in the Statistics section on the right-hand side of the page builder. Statistics include daily, weekly, and all-time page views, links with the most clicks, and social link clicks.

Multiple pages

You can create multiple Start Page in Buffer, which is handy if you manage multiple brands or have side projects. Each one will count as channel in your subscription.

Mobile Apps

Buffer has an iOS and an Android app to help you publish and analyze content on the go. These apps have all the core publishing features and some options that are exclusive to mobile. Examples include Siri shortcuts, queue count widgets, and a direct integration with Unsplash.

Buffer for iOS.

Buffer for Android.

More to come! What’s on the roadmap

There’s more to come in 2022, and you can view everything that is currently being explored on our transparent roadmap.

Buffer in 2022: 51 Features To Help You Grow Your Audience

Here are a few new features that are coming soon:

Ideas

A new place to save and collaborate on content ideas.

Twitter Threads

Schedule Twitter threads and watch your engagement soar.

Start Page scheduling

Keep your page up-to-date with the latest campaigns and content.

Get started for free

If it has been a while since you last used Buffer, now is a great time to give it another spin.

Learn more about the different subscriptions options here.

https://buffer.com/resources/buffer-in-2022-all-features/

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients

Enthusiasm, personality, accountability. According to Beccy Gibson, managing director at marketing agency Tempt, these characteristics can give a small agency the edge in delivering results for clients.

We spoke to Beccy about life as a marketing agency founder and how Buffer helps their team keep their clients happy.

Tell me a bit about your agency, Tempt, and how it came about?

I had worked both in-house and in agency teams for more than ten years, working with a whole range of brands. We started Tempt in 2018 with a vision to build a boutique-style agency that creates a spark in the industry, is influential, and partners closely with brands.

Today we manage 10 clients across various sectors but mostly hospitality and leisure brands. Social media marketing is a huge part of what we do for them, but we also help out with PR, branding, and events. It’s an exciting time to be working with clients, especially with hospitality brands that are coming out of a really tough time with the pandemic. The macro-environment still feels a bit shaky but with quality creative and thoughtful campaigns there are a lot of opportunities out there to cut through and make an impact.

The marketing agency world is a competitive space. How do you differentiate your own brand?

We’re a small, yet dedicated team, and we make it our purpose to deliver great outcomes, with full enthusiasm and accountability. Between the five of us, we have many years of marketing and PR experience, and when you combine that with our customer-focused attitude, we’re truly able to get results that our clients actually want. Not just in terms of brand-building but also driving a commercial impact and ROI – things like bookings or sales. We try to bring this to every collaboration, alongside new ideas and fresh approaches for the brands we work with. Overall our clients are happy as we’re a team that’s brimming with passion, personality, and accountability.

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients
The Tempt team.

How does social media fit into the broader range of services that you provide?

We know that social media marketing is one of the best ways to build a community around a brand and connect with potential buyers. But from planning and content creation to influencer outreach and daily inbox management, the scope can be huge. Our strategic process involves auditing our clients’ digital presence, helping them set clear objectives, and then recommending content ideas across the most effective channels, setting the foundations to help their profiles grow. We support them in planning, content creation, and management for organic and paid social media campaigns.

Why did you decide to use Buffer rather than other social media management tools?

Buffer as a social media management tool was our preferred choice as it allows us to manage all of our client’s social media in one place. It’s really simple and user-friendly – the interface is nice. We use Buffer for scheduling, engaging, and pulling analytics reports.

What role does Buffer play in your day-to-day?

Buffer as a day-to-day tool is so important for us as it means that we can manage all of our client’s campaigns and allows us to plan content across numerous platforms well in advance. It has become part of our everyday work life and a go-to tool for not only scheduling but client analytics and reporting.

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients
Tempt use Buffer to manage social media for multiple clients.

Do you have any favorite features?

Personally, the Buffer analytics tool has become a great asset for our social media management. The analytics in Buffer allows us to track client performance, analyze our posts, and report our results. This means that we can be transparent with our clients and ensure that our reporting is clear and concise. The efficiency of analytics reporting means that we can take learnings and adapt our future content to reflect those learnings.

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients
Buffer has a range of useful analytics reports.

What's the most effective or interesting social media strategy you've implemented this year?

From an organic perspective, our own brand refresh campaign has been really successful and well received. We took a very visual and informative approach to assets across socials and we’ve seen a huge spike in website visits off the back of it.

How a Small Marketing Agency Uses Buffer To Manage 10 Clients
The Tempt website.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to a social media marketer that wants to build their own agency/freelancing business?

The best advice I can give is to show up with purpose and make sure client expectations are set from the beginning. The scope for what social media can include is massive, there’s so much involved – it’s all about outlining the finer details from the outset with the client.

Looking for a better way to deliver social media results for your clients? Buffer has the most intuitive scheduling, engagement, and analytics features with agency-friendly pricing. Learn more at https://buffer.com/agency.

https://buffer.com/resources/small-marketing-agency-social-media-management/

How 6 LGBTQ+-Owned Businesses Celebrated Pride Month on Social Media

💡
This piece was a collaborative effort between me and Tamilore.

How 6 LGBTQ+-Owned Businesses Celebrated Pride Month on Social Media

The first-ever Pride parade – also known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March – occurred in New York in June 1970 during the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was a way for the community to reflect and honor the bravery of the gay, lesbian, and transgender activists who risked their lives during the uprising – an event that heralded the gay rights movement worldwide.

While Pride Month is a time for remembrance, it’s also about celebrating and championing the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. We’re proud to have great LGBTQ+ representation here at Buffer, and we hope to continue fostering a culture where every individual feels comfortable in their own skin.

To mark this year’s Pride, we wanted to showcase six LGBTQ+-owned small businesses and highlight the ways they’ve celebrated Pride Month on social media. We love how these brands are using their platform to amplify important conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ representation this June. An added perk is that these businesses also provide awesome products, making supporting them an easy decision in our book.

Deja Vu Beauty

Founded in 2021, Deja Vu Beauty sells makeup with the tagline, “beauty for everyone,” – an important distinction for founder Julie Vu. Before starting the brand, Julie was already known to many through her YouTube channel, Princessjoules. There, she speaks openly about the realities of transitioning and has provided viewers with updates on her journey since 2011.

As a proud and vocal transgendered woman, Julie has unfortunately been the victim of online hate and harassment, but she doesn’t let that detract her from her main goal – being a support system for others going through similar situations. Creating an inclusive makeup brand was another way for her to give hope to individuals who’ve felt excluded in the past.

For Pride, Deja Vu Beauty offered customers a 15 percent discount site-wide during the entire month of June.

Julie has also been highlighting the importance of the month through her personal social media. She partnered with the Canadian fashion brand RW & CO and other LGBTQ+-owned small businesses to have a round-table discussion about the inequalities faced within the community.

Julie has a clear goal of speaking up for the rights of transgendered people everywhere and infuses all that passion into Deja Vu Beauty.

Haute Butch

Haute Butch – a small business founded in 2012 –  creates clothing for those who identify as butch, androgynous straight women, and trans men – and they were one of the first U.S. brands to do so. Co-founder Karen Roberts said that one of her goals when opening her own company was creating masculine clothing specifically tailored to women’s bodies, something that can be quite hard to find in traditional clothing stores.

“Our fit and style preferences were not met in the mainstream retail arena and we weren’t necessarily welcome in the men’s department,” she said. “I wanted clothes that I could relate to and feel confident in.” Still, the brand markets itself as gender-neutral and offers suits, button-downs, and vests for all identities.

In honor of Pride Month, the company shared a video on Instagram highlighting 10 other LGBTQ+-owned small businesses. “We unite to show people that Pride should be celebrated every day,” the video caption reads, “while also showcasing some amazing LGBTQ+ brands that are changing the world.

The clip features the founders of each video holding up one of their products as they talk about the significance of this month and how they incorporate pride into their lives every single day.  The video wraps up with the various business owners together on a zoom call – displaying a real sense of solidarity between the group.

Ink Meets Paper

Ink Meets Paper, an LGBTQ+-owned greeting card, and stationery brand launched its Everyday Pride collection. The brand, in an Instagram post about the launch, shared that although the new collection is launching during Pride Month, it will be available year-round, “since celebrating community doesn’t end just because the month changes.”

The letterpress company was founded by Jamie and Allison Nadeau and has maintained its identity as an LGBTQ+-owned brand since its inception. As Jamie told LovetoKnow, "Pride is about living courageously as who you are. When you make the choice to tell people who you are while knowing you may lose people that you love, it's a big deal We wanted to take this collection, include our own life experiences, and put a beautiful product out into the world.”

The brand also conducted two giveaways, one in partnership with other LGBTQ+ brands, and another in partnership with Penguin USA to, in their words, “honor the journeys of LGBTQ+ individuals and the larger movement of love, acceptance, and equality for all.”

We Are Fluide

For Pride Month, We Are Fluide, an inclusive makeup and nail polish brand, released limited-edition makeup boxes and partnered with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education fund to donate a portion of sales to support their work for transgender people.

Over the course of Pride Month, the brand also shared posts and videos to promote the collection and the cause they are supporting. They put the spotlight on their customers, showcasing customer videos and content throughout.

@fluidebeauty

can't get over @delaneyssheehan using our new Pride Glitter Trio 😍🌈 #glitter #MakeASplash #queerbeauty #fluidefam

♬ original sound – We Are Fluide

As to what inspired their decisions for Pride Month, Laura Kraber the brand’s co-founder shared with Refinery29, “We Are Fluide was created to showcase queer joy and the beauty and lifestyles of LGBTQ+ people who have been vastly under-represented in beauty. There are countless ways to celebrate Pride, and most importantly Pride is about advocacy and celebrating our trans ancestors who started the movement.”

Leota

Leota is a size-inclusive fashion label founded by Sarah Carson. Sarah told Refinery29 her vision for the brand saying, "I wanted to change fashion for the better. I could make a brand that would inspire self-love and joy rather than diets and conformity. I could create a radically inclusive brand that celebrates femininity as a source of strength no matter what body it shows up in."

For Pride Month, Leota implemented several things, starting the month with their commitment to donate 5 percent of their monthly sales to The LGBT Center which is “advocating for the rights and wellness of Queer-identifying people.” They announced their commitment with an Instagram Reel featuring the founder explaining the history and motivations behind their decision.

The brand also hosted a “pre-Pride” party to “highlight the beauty of our community, to celebrate our identities and togetherness.” They spotlighted attendees, asking them questions like, “what is Pride to you” and “how do you express yourself”? and shared the resulting video interviews throughout Pride Month.

Boy Smells

The LGBTQ+-owned fragrance brand Boy Smells kicked off Pride Month with the release of their Forbidden Fruit collection. Through their campaign, the brand pledged to support GLSEN and the organization’s initiatives by donating 15 percent of sales from products in the collection in June and July, with a minimum donation of $50,000. One of the more elaborate campaigns on our list, Boy Smells created videos featuring queer actors Charlie Carver and Meg Stalter to showcase the products.

The brand is also including stickers created by queer artist Rooney Simmonds with every purchase from their new collection.

Support the LGBTQ+ community through action

A common thread with the businesses on our list today is that, apart from being LGBTQ+-owned, they take action. Whether that’s by partnering with other LGBTQ+-owned businesses or donating to related causes, they’ve all included an element of giving back with their campaigns for Pride month.

LGBTQ+ people are still fighting to be seen and heard, and need support. There are many organizations and ways to give back throughout Pride Month and all year-round. Take a cue from the businesses on this list and look into how to support the LGBTQ+ members of your community.

https://buffer.com/resources/lgbtq-owned-businesses/

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts

One of the most tried-and-true social media strategies is to build a content calendar around celebrations, events, and holidays. This is especially the case for UK-based gifting company Letterbox Gifts. They’re a women-led business that aims to make sending gifts to friends & family easy and enjoyable, offering a range of curated and hand-wrapped gifts from independent producers.

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts
Letterbox Gifts co-founders, Eleanor and Michelle.

With so many gifting occasions throughout the year, their social media marketing revolves around celebrating each giving moment, big and small. Their robust calendar of events unlocks a regular heartbeat of content ideas, promotions, and new customers. We spoke to Eleanor Bagust, co-founder of Letterbox Gifts, about how they use Buffer to plan and schedule their social content throughout the year so that they never miss an opportunity.

We have been using Buffer for a number of years and it's been an invaluable resource to our social media strategy and how we communicate with our customers. One of the most important features we use is Buffer’s social media calendar. We have communications planned for those key dates like Mother's Day, Father's Day, and also for smaller celebration days that we like to recognize such as Employee Appreciation Day or even National Hugging Day!

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts
Letterbox Gifts use Buffer to plan out their content calendar

As you can see, the Letterbox Gifts social calendar is packed with quality content. How do they keep it up? It’s thanks to a collaborative process and a disciplined planning approach.

Buffer’s publishing queue allows us to get our plans and ideas 'down on paper' so to speak, so we can visualize our feeds, and use the drafts & editor functions to ensure we have a consistent voice and style behind our posts. We have multiple staff members upload and add content to all our social media feeds in one place, which makes life a lot easier than managing each social platform individually.

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts

Instagram is one of their key channels for building brand awareness and driving sales around gifting occasions. But when you have multiple people adding content, it’s important that everyone has visibility into upcoming content.

The ability to preview upcoming Instagram posts in the grid is one of our favourite Buffer features. It allows us to make sure it looks great and that it’s diverse and not overly repetitive, especially when the posts are added by more than one person.

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts
Letterbox Gifts use Buffer to preview their Instagram content.

Aside from planning ahead and using Buffer to manage their content, we asked Eleanor to share some tips for anyone looking to build marketing campaigns around holidays and events.

Tip 1: Get the timing right. “Social media marketing is largely about the build-up to the event; there's no point in marketing on the day of the event, as it will probably be too late for customers to purchase in time. That being said, nobody wants to hear about Christmas in the middle of June. For most occasions, around a month before is a good time to push the bulk of the marketing campaign.”

Tip 2: Repurpose existing products and campaigns. “Think about how can you market existing products for upcoming occasions, whether it's taking a picture or video of a product in a Christmas setting for a Christmas campaign or renaming a suitable product to sound romantic for Valentine's Day. You don't necessarily have to invest in lots of seasonal stock for holiday marketing.”

Tip 3: Be respectful of your entire audience. “Be sensitive around holiday campaigns, and avoid referring to relatives as 'your' to prevent upsetting people who may find special occasions difficult. For example, instead of saying 'This is the perfect gift for your Mum' use language such as 'This is the perfect gift for the special women in your life'.”

Tip 4: Get creative with product staging. “Staging scenes such as parties with your products and using videos and reels on social media to showcase these are a fun and creative way to generate interest around your brand for upcoming occasions.”

Planning Social Media Campaigns For Every Holiday: A Case Study with Letterbox Gifts
Creative product staging makes content more visually appealing.

Ready to create a calendar full of occasion-based social media campaigns? Buffer has a range of plans, including a free plan, to help you get started. Learn more about Buffer’s publishing and planning features.

https://buffer.com/resources/holiday-marketing-case-study/

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects

In 2021, TikTok user Trinidad Sandoval made a video showing the effects of an eye cream by skincare brand Peter Thomas Roth that went viral on TikTok and Twitter. The virality of a simple video showing Trinidad’s morning routine caused the product to sell out. The retailer said, “The amount that sold within less than a week is equivalent to what would normally sell in six months sold out.” This is perhaps one of the best examples of the possibilities of user-generated content.

@trinidad1967

♬ original sound – user3761092853451

User-generated content (also known as UGC or consumer-generated content) is original, brand-specific content created by customers (at no cost to you) and published on social media or other channels. It comes in many forms, including images, videos, reviews, and testimonials.

When consumers post about a brand on social media, they can influence their followers’ buying decisions. 85 percent of people say UGC is more influential than content made by brands directly, according to Adweek.

The most important thing about user-generated content isn’t that it exists — people will always talk about products they like. It’s how you decide to leverage it for your brand that matters. For example, the brand mentioned earlier acknowledged the creator and sent her free products to express their gratitude for the word-of-mouth marketing.

This article will dive into the benefits of user-generated content for brands and how you can get started connecting with your audience through UGC.

The value of user-generated content

The real value of user-generated content lies in its authenticity, and the statistics agree. Two reports, in particular, highlight the importance of user-generated content for forward-thinking brands.

  • The 2021 State of UGC report by Tintup found that “93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands. People trust people.”
  • And a report by Nosto found that “79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.” and “Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.”

Both marketers and consumers agree that peer-influencers are more effective than any other marketing method. To build a trusting relationship with your audience and community of consumers, incorporate the authenticity of user-generated content into your marketing strategy.

It’s worth noting that user-generated content and sponsored posts are very different things. Sponsorships imply that there’s been a transaction and usually need to be clearly disclosed. You may have seen those Instagram posts with a hashtag stating the creator is a partner or just plain ‘Paid partnership’ at the top. Those are typically sponsored monetarily or by brands sending them products to show off on their platforms.

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
An influencer's sponsored Instagram post

However, the lines between influencer-created content and paid user-generated content are blurry. The main distinguishing factors are usually audience size and where the posts are published. The wave of creators who exclusively focus on creating content for brands’ social platforms also shows the value and evolution of user-generated content.

Aptly called ‘UGC creators,’ these folks are paid to show off a brand’s products without needing the large following of an influencer. Sabra of @100daysofmarketing explains it best in the video below:

@100daysofmarketing

UGC income and everything you need to know about adding it to your content creator business

♬ original sound – Sabra | Digital Marketing

Sabra shares that creators with a small following don’t have to be limited by their platform size. They can offer product reviews, unboxing videos, and photography, among other things, directly to brands as a way to add another stream of income.

There are different ways consumers’ existing brand affinity and the content that comes from that relationship can help brands thrive. In the next section, we’ll look at how user-generated content impacts brands.

Case studies of user-generated content in action

There are many instances of user-generated content in action. For example, according to Vox, Maybelline, The Pink Stuff, and Aerie have something in common other than their status as consumer products – a product of theirs has gone viral on TikTok thanks to a user’s video. These brands have reported selling out at one point or other thanks to their virality, and this effort is replicated across multiple platforms. The following examples are great case studies of brands that benefited from user-generated content.

CeraVe

After skincare influencer Hyram started talking about the CeraVe brand on his platforms, the products started selling out. This was before the brand and influencer built a business relationship — the creator was only sharing his experience with the brand as a consumer. Even Google Trends corroborates his influence.

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
Hyram’s first video mentioning CeraVe
A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
Cerave Google Trends searches

Although we can’t directly link the creator’s videos to this uptick in searches for the brand, Hyram started sharing content about his preference for CeraVe in 2020, which is the same year the searches started rising.

According to WWD, CeraVe’s earned media value is up 128 percent year over year and had over 2,300 influencers talking about CeraVe products. Marc Toulemonde, president of L’Oreal’s North America Active Cosmetics division, has even told CNN the social media influence “absolutely boosted sales.”

Alpenglow

Another great example of the power of UGC comes from in-house at Buffer. Andy Yates, a Staff Engineer here, has worked on many software projects, but none have seen the success of his app, Alpenglow.

The app allows users to check sunrise and sunset forecasts for the perfect light quality for shooting photos, and in 2021, it went viral on TikTok – in Spain – thanks to a user’s video showing how the app works.

@bea_carpio_

Espero no ser la unica mega friki de los atardecer así que pls no me ignoreis #sunset #atardecer #españa #spain #lentejas

♬ Into Your Arms (feat. Ava Max) – Witt Lowry

Andy also kindly allowed us to share some statistics about the effectiveness of the UGC through a graph that shows significant spikes around when the user first published the video in July of 2021.

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
Alpenglow saw a significant rise in visits in July 2021

The app also increased in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) around the time of the video going viral in July. The graph below shows that sometime in that month, revenue rose sharply to just over $1,200, up from $200 earlier that year.

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
The Alpenglow app saw a sharp rise in MRR in July 2021

Since then, the TikTok hashtag for Alpenglow has grown to 2.7 million views, with more people creating videos featuring the app as well.

Alpenglow was a side project for Andy, but that one user’s video helped the app grow significantly. So if your business is your main project, UGC has the potential to deliver even more value for your brand.

How to make the most of user-generated content

When thinking of how to use UGC in your marketing, it’s important to frame it as modern-day word-of-mouth marketing. People ultimately trust other people more than celebrities or brands themselves, so your content must come from real advocates.

On that note, something to remember before we dive into this section: Don’t be tempted to fake your user-generated posts or campaign. Audiences can tell if you’re being fake, which could seriously damage your brand reputation.

Here’s how to make the most of your user-generated content:

1: Actively prompt customers to share

According to Tintup, 50% of consumers wish brands would guide them in creating content. Some ways to prompt customers include:

  • Starting a trend, challenge, or contest: ELF Cosmetics worked with iLLWayno to create a song called ‘Eyes. Lips. Face’ that took off on TikTok and reportedly led to over five million user-generated videos. You may not be able to create a whole new song, but adding gamification through a contest or challenge is a great way to get your audience to participate. There’s nothing quite like the spirit of competition.
@abbyroberts

maleficent is shaking 😌✨ #foryou #foryoupage #eyeslipsface

♬ Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.) – iLL Wayno & Holla FyeSixWun

  • Creating a hashtag and periodically reminding customers that it exists: Urban Outfitters shares customer-generated content through their  #UOCommunity hashtag, especially popular on Instagram. The brand also creates content with its users and shares it on its dedicated community blog.
A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
#UOCommunity on Instagram
  • Including requests for UGC within your website or app: Pulling from our earlier example, Andy shared that there’s an active UGC component within the Alpenglow app as well. Users are given the option to submit a ‘Field Report,’ a photo and score that lets Andy know if the forecast was right or wrong.

Rather than waiting for customers to show off your products on their social platforms, tell them exactly what kind of content you’re looking for and watch their creativity flourish.

2: Reward customers for sharing

The opportunity to get featured on a brand’s social media is a great incentive in itself, but a rewards system can accelerate participation in creating UGC. Some brands don’t need to do much to get users – for example, Aritzia receives a lot of user-generated content thanks to its status as a brand for a specific archetype.

For other brands, however, more effort might be required to get a user to share them on their social media. The answer: incentives, that is, implementing a rewards system to encourage more users to share. There are many ways to reward customers, from 50 percent-off discount codes to free concert tickets. Think of sustainable tactics that will work for your audience, brand, and budget.

For example, Fenty Beauty did a giveaway for their Fenty Parfum perfume line, encouraging participants to use a TikTok sound to create a video to win the product.

3: Let all your staff in on the fun

User-generated content can go beyond showing your product or service in use or highlighting a great review. If your goal is to be more genuine to your audience, don’t shy away from having your employees participate in creating UGC. After all, no one knows the product better than the people who work directly with it every day.

Weber Shandwick found that “33% of employees will post messages, pictures, or videos about their employer without any encouragement from their company – and that number increased to 50% with direct company encouragement.”

There are different ways to have employees organically create content featuring your brand and product(s), including content about their workday or behind the scenes looks into what goes on in the product creation process.

@kirsten_reads

Here’s a little vlog of what i do at work <3 #booktok #fyp #barnesandnoble #bookstore #bookrecommendations #newadult #romancebooks #booklovers #bookrecs #bookstan #slowburn #kirsten_reads #enemiestolovers #reading #bookclub #bookish #bookworm #booktoker

♬ Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse

@kirsten_reads shares her workday at Barnes & Noble.

4: Look for and implement user-generated content in more ways than just social sharing.

Instead of only retweeting or reposting customer content, take it a step further by asking for their permission to reuse and repurpose their content for your marketing efforts. Some ways to reuse UGC include:

  • Ads: Use customer content to make your advertising more authentic and relatable, whether you’re creating ads for social, web, or any other format. You may not always need a picture or video – sometimes, a customer’s tweet praising your brand is enough proof.
  • On your website: Take your customer photos outside social media by including them on your website in gallery format. Also, consider using customer content in product photos, as a way to show how the product looks when in use by a “real” person.
  • Email campaigns: The emails you share can provide another opportunity to feature user-generated content and engage your subscribers. Kai Collective periodically sends out an email showing customers’ UGC.
A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
One of Kai Collective's email campaigns

User-generated content also comes in more forms than images, videos, or even tweets – product reviews and testimonials also count. Look for ways to implement these alternative formats as UGC. For example, Big Barker Dog Beds includes reviews from different platforms right on its website.

A Straightforward Approach to User Generated Content that Connects
Big Barker Dog Beds review page

5: Implement best practices for working with UGC

While user-generated content can be valuable for your brand to engage with your audience, it can also cause you to alienate them if you don’t follow some important best practices.

  • Remember to ask for permission before using your customers’ content. Even if they shared it on their platform, they might not be open to having it on yours. Before posting something from a user, reach out to them in their comments, direct messages, or by email – this is so that you can have a record of a conversation with their approval in case any issues arise in the future.
  • As a follow-up to asking permission, always credit the original poster. It shows that you respect them and signals to others that they will have the same courtesy if they approve your use of their work.
  • You need a proper strategy in place. It’s not enough to retweet or repost user content. If you have a wide variety, it can become overwhelming to deal with the large content volume. For more guidance, check out this article on developing a proper strategy for user-generated content.
  • Think through diversity intentionally. More than sharing content from your users, you should also ensure that the content you’re reposting includes and features people from all walks of life.

Finally, user-generated content is a great form of social listening. You will not only understand how customers view and use your products, but you can also watch what the social trends among your audience are and how you can keep up with them.

Offer value to get your customers talking

The case studies that we shared are clear examples of valuable products. Those brands didn’t have to reach out to the user to get them to create content about their product – the product was so good that the user felt compelled to share it with their audience.

If you put the work in to create valuable products for your audience and market accordingly, customers will feel good about recommending your brand to other people. When you create and implement your strategy for user-generated content, remember to schedule it so you never miss an opportunity to share! So get started scheduling with Buffer today 😉.

https://buffer.com/resources/what-is-user-generated-content/

6 Instagram Story Ideas for Your Next Post

6 Instagram Story Ideas for Your Next Post

If you’ve ever gotten lost in the rabbit hole of swiping through Instagram Stories, you know that they can be impactful as a user. From signing up for a product waitlist to buying a product recommended by your favorite influencer, Stories are a great way to quickly share content, and engage and influence users on the platform. It’s just as great for users as it is for businesses – agencies report two to three times more engagement with Instagram Stories posts than with regular content.

However, to get the attention of the massive audience for Stories, you’ll need to get creative. Stories’ ease-of-use means that you need to grab the attention of your viewer quickly because as easy as it is to reach people, it’s just as easy to lose them.

6 Instagram Story Ideas for Your Next Post
Follow us on Instagram!

Thanks to Story Highlights (which are at the top of every profile), you can turn your temporary Stories into evergreen content. We’ve put together some great uses we’ve come across that you can apply to your next Story.

Guide your audience to the right products for them

Instagram can be a great tool for discovery – one in two people use Instagram to discover new brands and products. Using Stories, you can guide your followers down the sales funnel by showing them specific products for their specific needs. Then they won’t go to your website without a plan – they’ll just add the relevant product to their cart.

Examples of brands doing this:

  • Plantmade: Plantmade shared the different results customers can expect to see by using their different hair oils
  • Loft: Loft’s Style Assist series is focused on having different people from employees to influencers, share how they style their products for different occasions.
  • Hers: Hers uses their ‘skin care’ Story Highlight to what each of their products does for the skin.

Take your followers behind the scenes

Authenticity is a big part of what helps audiences connect to brands, and your Stories are a great place to do that. And showing the behind-the-scenes of your business doesn’t have to be limited to what goes into making a product. You can showcase different employees in different contexts – doing their jobs, showing what they do outside of work, answering prompts or frequently asked questions, and more!

Examples of brands doing this:

  • Djerf Avenue: In the Story we caught, the employees at Djerf Avenue shared what made them happy.
  • Youth Marketing: YMC’s ‘#YMCrew’ Stories throws a spotlight on different employees, showing who they are and what they like to do outside of work.
  • Mejuri: Employees at Mejuri share how they get ready in the morning while working from home in their ‘Staff Styling’ Stories.

Create anticipation for a launch

If you’re in the process of creating and launching a new product, or service, or even just publishing a blog post, Stories are a great way to create anticipation.

From the Countdown sticker showing how long till your launch to linking to where your customers preorder/join a waitlist, adding stickers to your Story is a great way to engage your audience while building anticipation.

Example of a brand doing this:

  • Good Molecules: Ahead of the launch of their new product, X, Good Molecules shared a series of Stories that explained what the product was and what type of customer would benefit from it.

Share tutorials and how-tos

If you want to keep your audience coming back to your Stories, it’s important to create content that adds value. This means providing your audience with something that they would find helpful in their day-to-day lives or their work – all while integrating your product or brand values.

Along with sharing tutorials, add a competition element to make it fun for your audience. You can encourage viewers to share their take on using your product and tag you for a reward.

Examples of brands doing this:

  • Caraway: Using Story Highlights, Caraway keeps a guide to storing your kitchen items (specifically, the ones you might purchase from them) forever pinned to the top of their profile.
  • Fur: The grooming brand communicates their views on sustainability in this Story, encouraging and showing viewers how to reuse their empty containers.

Share social proof

There’s nothing quite as effective to build trust as seeing regular people talk about a product for free. You can use your IG Stories to quickly highlight posts from customers and content creators that talk about your brand. Keep an eye on your tags so you can highlight those who mention you in their posts. You can also use Remix by Buffer to grab tweets that mention your brand and share them on Instagram.

Examples of brands doing this:

  • Arami Essentials: Arami, a skincare brand capitalizes on its audience’s excitement to use its products and share the results, by reposting mentions from their audience in a dedicated highlight.
  • Kai Collective: The fashion brand shares messages, tweets, and different social mentions of their brand as Testimonials on their page.

Highlight important dates and events

Creating Stories centered on events that your followers care about is a great way to strengthen your connection with them. You can use Instagram Stories to put a spotlight on people, businesses, and products themed around month-long observances like Black History Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, Pride Month, and so on.

Keep a calendar of relevant dates for your brand. Along with popular dates like Black History Month, go for something fun like National Pancake Day. And Drafts in Buffer can help you plan your content in advance.

Examples of brands doing this:

  • Apartment Therapy: For Arab American, Middle Eastern, and North African (AA+MENA) Heritage Month, Apartment Therapy used Instagram Stories to create a Small Business Spotlight series. In this series, small business owners like Dounia of @folks_and_tales who shares her story, telling people about her business and taking them through a day in her life as a small business owner.

Try different things to find what sticks

It’s highly likely that the brands and great Stories we’ve shared happened overnight. Experimentation is a big part of what makes social media management fun, so you should try different things to find what sticks. Not every idea will work for your brand or your audience, but you have lots of leeway with Stories to see the impact of different formats.

👀 Now we’d love for you to do our homework for us. Is there anything you’d like to see from us in Stories? Send us a DM to let us know!

https://buffer.com/resources/instagram-story-ideas/

Ask Buffer: Should I Hide My Likes on Instagram?

Ask Buffer: Should I Hide My Likes on Instagram?

Question: I’ve noticed some Instagram posts no longer have the number of likes visible anymore. I’ve been considering hiding my likes too, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea from a marketing perspective. Would doing so impact the way advertisers or customers view me and my business?

Anyone who has ever posted a photo or Reel on Instagram before probably knows the thrill of watching the likes trickle in. Receiving likes from friends, family members, or customers can be a dopamine-filled experience – a validation that whatever you posted onto your grid is satisfactory and appealing to your audience. On the flip side, when certain posts don’t receive as many likes, Instagram users can feel the opposite – like their content isn’t good enough. Low likes on Instagram have also been linked to a rise in anxiety and depression in users, especially teens.

In an attempt to combat the problem, Instagram released the ability for all users to hide likes on posts in 2021. The move has divided the internet, with some users appreciating this new approach and others finding it unnecessary. But for certain small businesses owners – many of whom depend on Instagram, deciding whether to hide their likes might be an especially conflicting process. There really is no clear-cut answer, but here are some things to factor in if you’re considering a life free of Instagram likes.

Creativity can flourish without likes

In 2019, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said the whole purpose of hiding Instagram likes was to create a more positive online environment. “The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them,” he said. Mosseri seems to be on to something as it turns out for many, taking likes out of the equation does allow for greater self-expression.

More originality

In 2019, when Instagram had first announced they were toying with the idea of no likes, influencer Casey Barker told Esquire that the change might allow him to take more risks as a content creator. “I think I’ll care less about getting the quality right every time and it’ll probably be a more natural feed than a perfect-looking feed … It can be a lot more raw, a lot more myself, rather than thinking: ‘Will people like this?”

According to Dar Meishi, a cognitive neuroscientist, it's normal for individuals to want to be liked on social media. “We’re hardwired to find social interactions rewarding,” he told PBS. Amassing likes and comments on Instagram gives our brains a dopamine boost, which, consequently, has us all craving more and more likes.

Oftentimes, people get so consumed by this need for validation that they’ll only post photos or videos they believe will please their audiences, essentially stripping away any originality. Cam B, a 20-year-old, told the Huff Post he knows people who’ve deleted Instagram posts solely because they didn’t get enough likes. Long gone are the days when Instagram was a platform for candid and authentic snapshots. A 2020 study found that only 29 percent of users would post an unedited photo of themselves on social media. A Guardian article entitled, “Facetune conquers Instagram,” uncovers how prevalent photoshop has become amongst ordinary users. But, with likes out of the mix, there’s a chance this pressure to be perceived as perfect will diminish.

Sarah Roberts, a 22-year-old, was one of the first to experience an Instagram without likes when the feature was first rolled out for testing in Canada back in 2019 and said it changed her relationship with the platform for the better. “Personally, I love not seeing the like count,” she told HuffPost. “I’ve also been more personal with the things I actually like versus what everyone else is liking. This feels like more of what Instagram should be rather than an advertisement of ourselves on our page.”

The change can be beneficial for small businesses, too. While it may feel safe to post what you already know does well with customers, not tracking the number of likes could allow brands to experiment with different types of content without worrying that followers will automatically judge a post for getting a fewer number of likes.

Highlight quality, not quantity

When Instagram first rolled out testing for hiding likes, users were met with this announcement on the top of their feeds. It reads, “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your post gets.” Our eyes often gravitate towards the likes on a post immediately, emphasizing the metrics of the content rather than the substance behind it. This can be seen across all social media platforms: Instagram likes, Reddit downvotes, and YouTube’s dislike button can all act as a kind of groupthink. The more likes a photo gets must mean it’s good while a video receiving tons of dislikes could give off the impression that it’s bad (partly why YouTube made dislikes private). Without this data, users will have to focus on the quality of an Instagram post instead of assigning a quantitative, predetermined value to it.

In 2021, photographer Brandon Woelfel tweeted about the change in his content that stemmed from using the feature. “Hiding likes on Instagram has me actually posting photos I like… a concept.” Today,  most of Brandon's pictures have the likes visible, but there are a few where he’s chosen to continue to hide likes, including this photo of a woman in a red dress. There’s a noticeable distinction between the posts that have likes and the ones that don’t. The actual shot – the vibrant colors, the model’s nimble pose, the shadowing in the image – becomes the start of the show rather than a bolded number.

Ask Buffer: Should I Hide My Likes on Instagram?
An instagram post by photographer Brandon Woelfel

A social media platform without likes can allow users and content creators alike to concentrate on the artistic element behind each post, rather than the arbitrary digits attached to it.

The potential downsides of hiding your likes

While doing away with likes can be beneficial for some, there are certain aspects, particularly from a business perspective, that could be negatively affected if an influencer or small business owner decides to privatize this data.

Partnerships and brand deals can be impacted

When Instagram first announced changing the way likes are displayed, most people immediately questioned how this move would impact content creators and brands who rely on Instagram as both a marketing tool and source of revenue. Oftentimes, large companies decide who they want to collaborate with based on the number of likes a business or influencer receives. And while there are other factors they consider too – follower count, click-through rate, story views, etc. – likes per post are one of the biggest contributors to sponsorship deals.

An early study done by HypeAudtior found that accounts that hid their likes and had between 5,000 to 20,0000 followers, experienced up to a 15 percent drop in likes. Fewer likes, publicized or not, could lead to fewer opportunities to work with advertisers and land sponsorships. Despite telling Esquire that he envisioned a life without likes as a positive change, Casey also said he was hesitant about the move for this very reason. “I just feel like when brands are looking at my page at the minute, the more likes I have in general, the more I think they’ll want to work with me,” he said. Looking at his account today – three years since the interview – his likes are still visible.

But even though likes won’t be observable by the public, the data will still be measured from the backend and can be sent to agencies who are interested in these numbers. According to Ben Jeffries, co-owner of a London-based marketing agency, if more and more people choose to disengage from their likes, however, this could cause a shift in the world of Instagram marketing, “ … what’s really important about it is that it will actively encourage advertisers to stop looking at metrics such as likes as the main important metrics within a campaign,” he said.

This shift could favor smaller businesses that may have a hard time securing brand deals over larger and more popular accounts, essentially leveling the playing field for everyone.

Lack of transparency

In the last few years, transparency between businesses and audiences has been a buzzword –  but for good reason. Even founders and CEOs have taken to their personal Twitter accounts to openly share their journey, something most followers appreciate seeing. Along with wanting more clarity, audiences are demanding to know that brands actually stand behind the initiatives they preach. Glossier –  a makeup company that markets itself as being diverse and inclusive – was called out for the alleged discrimination and racism taking place in some of their retail stores by former staff members who formed a collective known as "outta the gloss." In a statement, CEO Emily Weiss said the company would email former employees to “invite dialogue with anyone who has additional feedback and ideas to help move us towards our shared vision.” Though this wasn’t enough to assuage everyone, having an open conversation between staff was a step in the right direction for the brand to be more transparent with its own employees and slowly win back the trust of its customers.

One way to easily lose the confidence of customers is by withholding information and data. When platforms like Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter provided the option to limit replies and comments, the move was commended for giving users more agency over their content. But, when big retailers enabled these features, many customers felt like they were being silenced. This tweet from user Isabél calls out brands who limited comments on their posts during the summer of 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement was at the forefront of online conversation. “Keep watch of the companies that are disabling comments on posts right now, especially when asked about their plans to implement real change, anti-racism & inclusivity within their workplace. They’re silencing important conversations and valid criticism. #BlackLivesMatter”

Just like disabling comments feel suspicious to some, there is a chance privatizing likes could provoke uneasiness in customers. Followers might automatically assume that hiding likes mean there’s something wrong with the content. But one way to be cognizant of your followers’ feelings is to directly ask them their thoughts on hiding likes. You could take to Instagram Stories or make a poll on Twitter and have an open conversation to assure your community your business values transparency.

Hiding likes is still such a new concept for many, and there currently isn’t enough data to judge whether doing so is the right move for brands. However, it does seem like most people – businesses and content creators alike – have chosen to keep their likes visible for now. With that being said, it might take some time for others to feel comfortable ridding themselves of Instagram likes.

But if you’re considering hiding your likes, think about what matters most to you. Keeping your likes visible can lead to more transparency, but there’s also a chance it’s hindering your creativity. Doing a trial run could be helpful in this situation. Turn off likes for a one to two-week period and take notes on whether you observe a change in your engagement and creativity. Are you more open to posting new content? Did you notice a decrease in likes and/or sales? Has your relationship with your followers changed? Once you figure out the answers to these questions, you’ll have a better idea if making the switch to an Instagram without likes is the right move for you and your business.

Have you decided to hide your likes or will you keep likes visible? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram!

https://buffer.com/resources/hide-instagram-likes/

Ask Buffer: Is It Too Late to Get Started on TikTok?

Ask Buffer: Is It Too Late to Get Started on TikTok?

Question: I feel like I’ve waited too long to get started with TikTok because I didn’t originally think it would be a good social network for marketing to customers, it seems that’s not the case any more and now I’m wondering is it too late for me to start from scratch on TikTok? If not, how do I get started?

TikTok has already amassed over 100 billion active users, so it’s no surprise that businesses of all shapes and sizes have pivoted to include it in their marketing strategy. Research has found that TikTokers are 1.5x more likely to immediately buy something they’ve found through the app. So, creating a TikTok account if you run a business is definitely a good idea!

You may feel like you’re out of your element when it comes to the platform, but all types of businesses can thrive on TikTok. Even The Washington Post —  a prestigious news outlet — has found great success via the platform. The Post recently made headlines when their TikTok hit 1 million subscribers.

The account first launched in May 2019 and garnered over 280K followers within its first six months. Initially, video producer Dave Jorgensen, who goes by “Washington Post TikTok Guy” on Twitter, was the sole creator all of the TikTok’s, making roughly 10 videos a week. Jorgensen covered everything from the Trump administration to COVID-19 to health care via bitesized videos with the intent to, “deliver the news in a unique way and reach new audiences.” These TikTok's packaged breaking stories in a more palatable format for younger generations.

The medium became one of The Post’s fastest growing social media channels ever. The newspaper saw value in investing further time and money into the app in late 2021 and created new positions for their TikTok account. They now have an entire team dedicated to TikTok and have increased their output from ten videos a week to releasing over 4 videos in one day. The paper’s director of Editorial Video, Micah Gelman, said they’re expanding their TikTok, to, “… further grow, innovate and continue connecting with more people who may not regularly consume traditional news.”

While The Post was already an established media giant before launching its TikTok, smaller businesses with no prior exposure have also greatly benefited from the app. Jeremy Kim, cofounder of Nectar, a small business selling hard seltzer, spoke to Business Insider about the role TikTok played in their marketing strategy.

Originally, Kim was also worried that he was too late to TikTok but decided to post a story time video anyway, recounting how he and his partner started their business. To Kim’s surprise, the video received over 300K likes organically. Nectar’s online presence – coupled with on the ground efforts like pop up shops – eventually led to the seltzer company being acquired by BevMo. Their TikTok account now has over 50K followers and has amassed over a million likes. Nectar, proves there’s no “right time” to start on the app — truly anyone can succeed on TikTok.

That a distinguished newspaper with an older reader demographic and a small mom and pop shop can both thrive on TikTok demonstrates the app is suitable for all kinds of businesses, no matter the product or service! And while you may think you’re late to join the party, there’s still time to create a thriving TikTok presence for your brand. The great thing about TikTok is the most effective content is generated organically, meaning creating your videos can be done internally and without a large budget. More often than not, videos can be made entirely on your phone!

Here are some guidelines to consider when creating a TikTok for your small business:

Set up your TikTok account

Make sure you create a free business account for your company — rather than a personal TikTok — to optimize your brand’s presence on the app. TikTok Business launched in 2020 as a way to provide large and small brands alike with marketing tools and metrics to increase their reach. Business accounts also have the option to run paid ads. Creating a business account is simple. Once you’ve answered a few questions about your brand, you’re good to start posting videos!

A business account also provides additional perks as well like access to TikTok’s commercial music library also known as the CML, which hosts over 500 songs you can use in your videos royalty free.

Ask Buffer: Is It Too Late to Get Started on TikTok?
TikTok's Business account is designed for small and large businesses alike. 

Figure out what type of content best connects with your audience

Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve set up your brand’s TikTok, you can dive straight into creating content. TikTok thrives off of creativity, so there’s no wrong or right answer when it comes to making videos. The most popular TikTok’s tend to be the most authentic and original.

While it’s great to emulate certain brands, remember that every business is unique and what works for one company may not be the right direction for yours. There will be some trial and error as you figure out what content best suits your target audience, and that’s OK! As you start making videos, you’ll begin to understand which types of material is a good fit for your company.

Here are some starting points when thinking about the different types of TikToks:

Share a look behind the scenes

An easy way to come up with content is providing a behind the scenes sneak peak of your business! Not only does this provide customers with a better understanding of your brand, but it’s an entirely organic way to create TikToks. Instead of going through the extra step of creating new content, you can simply highlight the work you and your company are already doing!

Nowhere Bakery, a vegan and gluten free bakery, regularly posts behind the scenes content giving viewers a glimpse into the kitchen where all of their cookies, brownies, and treats are made. This TikTok shows the team baking a variety of desserts.

@nowherebakery

a sneak behind the curtain of what goes down in the NWB kitchen. #veganbakery #glutenfreecookies #cisforcookie #cookielover

♬ "C" is for Cookie – Cookie Monster

Behind the scenes content is also a great way to introduce your staff! Nowhere Bakery is an entirely women-owned and operated business, and they’re able to showcase their teammates, specifically their founder Saphira, through TikToks. Through behind the scenes videos, Saphira also delves into the mundanities of running a bakery like in this TikTok where she assembles dozens and dozens of cookie boxes.

@nowherebakery

Comment if you can relate 🙋🏼‍♀️ #fyp #entrepreneur #smallbusiness

♬ The Way I Live – Baby Boy da Prince

These kinds of behind the scenes moments can help your audience form a stronger connection with your brand.

Teach your customers a skill

Operating your own business means you’re an expert in your field, so why not create how to videos related to your products or services?

Jeremy Check runs a massively successful TikTok channel, ScheckEats where he posts quick and easy recipes featuring all kinds of cuisines. Scheck started his account in 2020 and now has over two million TikTok followers. A student at Cornell University, Scheck tailors his content for other young adults by including posts like recreating Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap.

What sets him a part from other foodie TikTokers, however, is his “how to” videos that are meant to teach college students basic cooking skills.

Watch as Scheck walks his followers through the process of caramelizing onions:

@scheckeats

you can even go longer if you want more flavor!! #caramelizedonions #onions #cooking #caramelisedonion #onionsoup #frenchonionsoup #soup

♬ Coffee Shop – Late Night Luke

Here, Scheck comes through with another college hack as he teaches his followers to make coffee at home, specifically cold brew — a lifeline for most students.

@scheckeats

you do NOT need any special equipment (I only showed the chemex as an option for straining, but you can do it with a coffee filter and a sieve just as well!) #coffee #icedcoffee #coldbrew #coldbrewconcentrate #latte #icedlatte

♬ Hey Lover – The Daughters Of Eve

No matter what you offer as a business or creator, consider producing informational “how to” videos that can be both entertaining and edifying for your audience.

Create a series

Before Nabela Nour became a sensation at @nabela, the author and entrepreneur had a YouTube channel with a relatively large following. But in a 2021 video, Nour addressed her absence from the platform and explained how she moved most of her content to TikTok. Specifically, Nour started a new TikTok series titled “Pockets of Peace.” The idea for the series was simple: showcase the positive moments throughout her day as a way to uplift viewers in wake of the pandemic.

Despite varying greatly in content, each “Pockets of Peace” video exudes calming vibes and is coupled with relaxing music. The series turned into an internet sensation and Nour gained millions of followers on her emerging TikTok channel — 7 million to be exact — surpassing the number of subscribers she’d amassed on YouTube over several years.

The TikTok’s displays Nour partaking in everyday activities like a date night with her husband, baking a cake, and refreshing her guest bedroom.

@nabela

reset our guest room with us 🏠🌿💕 #pocketsofpeace #couplethings #homeimprovement

♬ bread in french… – Sam Craft

“Pockets of Peace” regularly showcased Nour’s home, especially her kitchen and decor, connecting back to her brand all along — specifically, her lifestyle and home brand Saara & Begum. Nour even included a sneak peak of her first product, a candle collection, in one of her TikToks before officially launching the item.

Your videos don’t have to be as elaborately produced as Nour’s. As long as you can find a creative theme that fits within your brands identity, preparing a series can lead to great material for TikToks.

Not sure how to kick off a series? Here are some prompts:

  • Involve your team: Whether it’s your employee talking about their particular role, discussing new product launches, or even just introducing themselves, including your staff is an easy way to create content!
  • Think about your mission and goal: How do you want your clients to feel when they use your products or services? Try to see if you can capture that essence in your videos. If you’re a candle company whose mission is to provide aroma therapy for customers, you could create videos diving into the healing properties of each scent. A Yoga Studio, on the other hand, might create a TikTok series around mindfulness, prompting users to engage in meditations.
  • Ask your followers what they’d like to see: If you’re unsure of what content will be best for your series, you can always use interactive features on social media to get feedback from your customers.

Stay consistent

Once you’ve landed on the content you want to create try to stay as consistent as possible when posting on TikTok. Frequent posts will increase engagement and help your brand become memorable to consumers. TikTok’s algorithm also favors accounts that produce a steady stream of content and have established themselves as experts within a certain niche, so make sure there’s a common theme amongst your videos.

While it’s totally okay to have different kinds of posts on your feed, some content will likely resonate more with your viewers. As mentioned early, The Washington Post found most success with its sketch-based news videos while Nabela Nour’s audience flocked to her TikTok for its tranquil atmosphere. Once you figure out your niche, include the relevant hashtags to your TikToks.

Posting consistently can be easier said than done, especially when you’re a small business owner wearing multiple hats. Here are some tips to help you develop a rhythm on your account:

Make a social media calendar

Making a social media calendar can help you stay organized and on top of all of your posts! A calendar not only details how often you’ll post onto certain channels like TikTok, but it will also delineate the specific kind of content. Having a granular view of all of your posts will also help your social media feed become more cohesive.

To get started, you can use Buffer’s social media calendar to have an easy and clear view of your content for the week and month!

Batch create content

Once you’ve figured out your TikTok schedule, it’s time to actually make the videos! As someone who might run a business, your plans are probably always up in the air as you have to tend to dozens of tasks as they arise. Instead of trying to find time to film TikTok’s everyday, it may be helpful to dedicate specific days or even weeks to batch creating content.

You can block out certain days in your calendar for filming multiple TikToks at once and then book another day for editing the videos as well. After these sessions, you’ll have created content for several days, rather than just one.

Have fun and experiment!

Most importantly, remember TikTok as a platform is all about having fun! As you start out on your channel, be open to trying out a variety of videos and feel free to experiment with trending content.

TikTok is known for viral trends — like the pet #blanketchallenge — and keeping up with these moments can optimize your brand’s exposure. Oftentimes, businesses can increase their reach by engaging with trending content.

Just remember, jumping on the bandwagon isn’t always a good idea. Though capitalizing on certain fads may help your business stay relevant, your content should always connect back to your brand’s core values and provide insight to your customers.

Hopefully this answered your question and showed that it’s never too late to start a TikTok account for your business! Though the app may seem a bit daunting at first, TikTok is a great marketing tool that can further your brand’s reach. Once your account is all set up, check out Buffer’s TikTok reminders where you can easily plan out your TikTok videos in one place.

Have a question for us to answer in a future Ask Buffer series? Send us a tweet!

https://buffer.com/resources/get-started-on-tiktok/

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022

Although anytime can be a good time to switch up your marketing strategy, the start of the new calendar is one that resonates with us quite a bit. With that in mind, we talked to 10 small business owners to learn about what they're changing in their marketing this year. No matter what time of the year you read this, we hope these insights can help inspire you with new ways to connect with your customers.

1. Prioritizing One-on-One Interactions

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Alison Hazinski, owner of One and Only Paper

Alison Hazinski, the owner and designer behind stationery and gifts brand One and Only Paper, has found that one-on-one customer interaction is the strongest channel for business growth, so she’ll be prioritizing those opportunities.

She plans to look for ways to improve the customer experience, as well as commit to more pop-up markets, where she’s found that the direct interaction has helped her business grow. Still, Hazinski recognizes that online interactions are a necessity, so she’s also looking for ways to bring this approach into the digital world.

My art feels very personal to me, and I've found that bringing customers into that experience helps them build their own connections to the products I create. – Alison Hazinski, owner of One and Only Paper

On social media, Hazinski describes her approach as "treating my customers like my friends." This means framing social media content as though if she's keeping her real friends up to date on her business. In addition to one-on-one interaction in person at pop-up markets, Hazinski direct messages with her customers on social media as often as possible. She answers questions, thanks them for their orders, and asks their opinion on products. In her own words, "I really want my customers to feel like they are part of this journey with me."

I've found direct interaction has really helped my business grow. – Alison Hazinski, owner of One and Only Paper

2. Serving Customers at a Deeper Level

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Tami Blake, founder and CEO of Free + True Skincare

Tami Blake of indie skincare company Free + True says connecting with customers this year for her is all about looking for ways to serve them deeply, not just telling them about great products. “The beauty industry is very saturated,” she explains. “In 2022, we are leaning heavily into our core brand values to serve our customers on a more personal level.”

Across all channels, we want to educate our customers and add value to their lives. – Tami Blake, founder and CEO of Free + True Skincare

A big piece of that will be creating educational content on skincare-adjacent topics—like wellness, holistic esthetics, and self-discovery—allowing Free + True to provide broader value to customers’ lives. “Whether it’s a simple facial massage tutorial, ingredient education, or a quick healthy recipe, we want to provide our customers with more than just clean, effective skincare,” Blake explains.

The team will also be rolling out a robust retail education and sampling program and nurturing long-term paid partnerships with new brand ambassadors to make sure they’re sharing this value with as many potential customers as possible.

3. Finding Influencers Who Align With Your Business

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Sheena Russel, founder and CEO of Made With Local

Sheena Russel, the founder and CEO of Made With Local, says the company is shifting the majority of its marketing spend toward partnerships with Instagram influencers over ad strategies, here's why:  “Many of the influencers we work with on Instagram are women and non-binary entrepreneurs. By supporting their work, our marketing dollars are supporting their families and small businesses,” she explains. “It’s a lot more work, but that human connection feels way more values-aligned than dumping tens of thousands of dollars a month into ad strategies.”

For us, it’s not about controlling reach or getting the biggest bang for our buck—it’s about our values and ensuring they are aligned in everything we do. – Sheena Russel, founder and CEO of Made With Local

It helps that this influencer-based marketing strategy has already seriously paid off for the company. “Years ago, we invested in two key influencer partnerships in the Calgary, Alberta area that continue to this day. Calgary is our number two market, and we’re quite confident that’s because of these long-standing relationships,” Russel shares.

4. Building Meaningful Relationships

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Daniel Choi, co-founder of Choice Art

Daniel Choi is building a new kind of social networking app to connect artists and art-lovers, called Choice Art. This year, he’s also rethinking everything he’s known before about building a successful marketing strategy.

“Over the last decade, I've produced commercials, I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad campaigns, and I've reached millions through emails and social media,” he explains. “Looking ahead to this new year, most of those approaches just feel out of touch with the real, day-to-day experience that people are living.”

It's been a tough few years for everyone. We're tired. We're stressed. We know too much about the Greek alphabet. Most importantly (with respect to marketing): we're distracted. To cut through this distraction layer, marketing needs to be more personal than ever. – Daniel Choi, co-founder of Choice Art

Choi believes that in times of uncertainty, we tend to tighten our circles of connections. His marketing strategy this year is all about building meaningful relationships and trust online through direct lines of communication. “By aligning our marketing strategy with our personal philosophy, we’re able to go deeper with our community and build authentic connections that truly serve artists’ needs,” he says.

Our marketing strategy is focused on individual relationships—with community leaders, with art organizations, and with every user on the platform. – Daniel Choi, co-founder of Choice Art

5. Investing in Values-Based Marketing

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Michelle Bea, co-founder and CEO of Rowan

In addition to many of the other strategies mentioned here, like creating educational content and building influencer relationships, Michelle Bea, CEO of Rowan, thinks marketing today is all about investing in your company’s (and customers’) values.

“We are placing the bet that retail and in-person events will be a welcome reprise in 2022 and are leaning into values-based retail partnerships to expand our relevancy and relatability in the pet parent’s life,” Bea explains, sharing that the company has already started working with Neighborhood Goods, Carbon Beauty, and The Verticale to connect with the right shoppers.

We believe the most efficient way to drive awareness is with relevant retail partnerships, but it’s critical that those partnerships reflect your values as this might be the first interaction someone has with your brand. – Michelle Bea, co-founder and CEO of Rowan

Rowan is also investing heavily into nonprofit partnerships. “This is rare for early-stage businesses (as cash is at a premium), but we believe it is the right investment,” Bea shares. “​​My co-founder and I have many years of experience building innovative brands in the CPG world, and we have learned the importance of investing behind our values.”

6. Getting Personal With Video

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Brothers Ryan, Austin, and Austin Gill, founders of Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

This year, the teenage brothers behind Frères Branchiaux Candle Co. are ready to put some energy behind video. “Our customers and core audience love to interact with us, so we would love to immerse them in the behind the scenes of our warehouse and our daily lives,” they explain, sharing that they have already seen significant response from the videos and reels they have pulled together.

We are hoping to infuse creativity mixed with originality to show the outside world who we really are beyond the Instagram pictures and press photos. – Brothers Ryan, Austin, and Austin Gill, founders of Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

By investing even more into this approach, they hope to increase brand awareness, gain new customers, and build a loyal following of folks who are excited to support their journey.

7. Connecting with Community Online

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Clara Siegel (CEO) and Kate Wallich (founder and chief creative officer) of Dance Church

Like many fitness companies, the team behind Dance Church—a dance-focused movement class for all led by professional dancers—was used to building in-person communities pre-pandemic. “Half of the value people get from Dance Church is in the class. The other half is the feeling of connection with the community,” CEO Clara Siegel and founder Kate Wallich explain. Now, they’re focused on finding that same feeling online.

We are creating welcoming spaces and bringing joy, in-person and online, and everything we do to support and engage our students helps them get more from us. – Clara Siegel (CEO) and Kate Wallich (founder and chief creative officer) of Dance Church

Many of their students naturally shifted to Instagram followers at the start of the pandemic, and it organically became a way for the Dance Church community to connect. Students loved sharing videos of themselves dancing around their houses with dogs, babies, and loved ones, and Dance Church loved resharing and celebrating them.

This year, they want to continue supporting this community feeling while also taking steps to expand their reach. “We’ve created new roles for our teachers that include community engagement and have showcased employees and community members,” Siegel and Wallich share, and they’ve also started to invest in some ad spend. “We want to keep this focused and balanced, with a lot more of our efforts going to the organic engagement.”

8. Rewarding Word of Mouth Marketing

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Emily Grey, founder of The Flourish Market

Boutique owner Emily Grey says this year is all about helping Flourish Market fans help spread the word, investing in incentives to encourage them to do so. She shares, “Since I founded my business in 2015, we have been 100% built on word of mouth marketing. In 2022, we plan to double down on these efforts, equipping our customers with easy buttons to share about us—and rewarding them for doing so.”

Our main focus will be getting our current customer base to bring in their friends to our brick and mortar store. – Emily Grey, founder of The Flourish Market

In practice, that looks like using an online rewards program to track referrals to the Flourish website, letting customers book free, in-store parties, and continuing to offer a high-touch shopping experience that has customers excited to tell all their friends.

The marketing strategy they’ll be letting go of this year? Online ads. Grey explains, “We cannot compete with the ad spend and sales offered by larger companies. Instead of trying to keep up, we’re going to focus on what continues to set us apart as a business.”

While I know that social media ads perform well for other businesses, as a retailer with smaller margins on our products, using our marketing budget on ads will not give us a favorable return on monetary or time investment. – Emily Grey, founder of The Flourish Market

9. Creating Immersive and Educational Content

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Julie Levin, medical herbalist and founder of Leaf People

Julie Levin, a medical herbalist and the founder of skincare brand Leaf People, knows that her customers might not be familiar with the ingredients she carefully chooses for her products. That’s why this year, her marketing is focused on going deep in customer education.

This includes deep dives into product ingredients, uses, benefits, and basic instructions, along with side-by-side product comparisons, so customers can more easily choose what is best for them and their needs. Levin explains, “We think this will help customers connect to the product line, understand why we choose specific ingredients for the individual formulas, and demystify our more complex products.”

The idea [this year] is to create more content that engages customers and makes them feel connected to (and a part of) the brand. – Julie Levin, founder of Leaf People

In particular, Levin hopes to leverage more video content to boost engagement and keep customers on the website longer. “When this happens, they’re not only further exploring our products, but becoming more invested in the brand as a whole,” she shares.

We were inspired to incorporate video content because it catches the attention of multiple senses and draws the customer in. – Julie Levin, founder of Leaf People

10. Going Deep on Data

10 Small Businesses on How They’re Doing Marketing Differently in 2022
Julie Schechter, co-founder and CEO of Small Packages

Julie Schechter, co-founder and CEO of gift box company Small Packages, says this year is all about using data to get to know customers better so the team can tailor their marketing and connect with them more deeply. “That hyper-specific messaging will make that relationship feel intentional and intelligent, which is crucial for a brand (like us) that's built on trust,” Schechter explains.

We’re not focused on bringing someone in to get one sale, but rather on building a trustworthy relationship with our customer, so they come back again and again.” – Julie Schechter, co-founder and CEO of Small Packages

Specifically, the Small Packages team plans to combine direct surveys and third-party data to build more comprehensive customer personas, and then use that information to tailor their messaging and product offerings.

All of that will lead to the type of customer interaction Schechter is aiming for: “We want to build ongoing relationships with our customers, so that instead of thinking of us for one-off gifting needs, they think of us as the first place they look when they're wanting to take care of someone they love.”

https://buffer.com/resources/small-businesses-marketing-2022/

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022

We’ve all seen the cute dog videos that flood our Instagram feed on National Dog Day and the artfully shot latte photos for National Coffee Day. These holidays might not be celebrated the world over, but they can be fun way to engage online.  

In this post, we’ve outlined a calendar of all of the official (and slightly less official) holidays in 2022 to serve as a blueprint for your content, plus fun social media post ideas to jumpstart your brainstorm.

Let's dive in ✨

Official Holidays

These are the holidays you might already know about, they often show up on your calendar automatically. A social media post for these holidays could be as simple as wishing your followers a happy [fill in the blank], alerting them to your holiday hours, providing a glimpse into how you’re celebrating with your team, or showing how your product fits into timeless holiday traditions.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
 Brightland olive oil shared Thanksgiving recipes using its products. (Source)

For observances, a great way to honor the group of people being recognized is to do your research and highlight relevant individuals or businesses. For example, we had a variety of posts for Black History Month, including a spotlight on Black-owned businesses and a call for followers to share their favorite Black social media marketers.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
We celebrated Black History Month by highlighting Black businesses. (Source)

January

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

February

Black History Month (U.S.)

February 1: Chinese New Year

February 2: Groundhog Day

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 21: President’s Day

March

Women’s History Month (U.S.)

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 18: Holi

March 27: Mothering Sunday (U.K.)

April

April 17: Easter

May

National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (U.S.)

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

May 8: Mother’s Day (U.S)

May 30: Memorial Day (U.S)

June

Pride Month

June 19: Juneteenth (U.S)

June 19: Father’s Day (U.S. and U.K.)

July

July 4: Independence Day (U.S)

August

September

September 5: Labor Day (U.S)

September 15 – October 14: Hispanic Heritage Month (U.S)

October

October 10: Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day (U.S)

October 31: Halloween

November

American Indian Heritage Month (U.S)

November 11: Veteran’s Day (U.S)

November 24: Thanksgiving (U.S)

December

December 18-26: Hanukkah

December 25: Christmas Day

December 31: New Year’s Eve

Unofficial Holidays

There are a lot of unofficial holidays out there, this list covers some of the big ones that are most applicable to small businesses, but there are plenty more. It’s definitely worth taking a scroll through ALL of the unofficial holidays

January

National Mentoring Month (U.S)

A great way to start out 2022 is to share your experience with mentoring. You could also ask employees to share ways they’ve been mentored and create a slideshow in Canva with their quotes. Or, tag your own mentors to thank them for the impact they’ve had on you and your business.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
Great North Air Ambulance tells a story of mentorship among its team. (Source)

January 10: National Clean Your Desk Day

Looking at someone’s desk can be pretty fascinating. For National Clean Your Desk Day you could ask a few members of your team to take photos of their desks and share the desk accessories that they can’t live without.

February

February 13: Super Bowl Sunday

This day means pretty different things for different people, so think about what your audience might love most from you, whether that’s sharing some team spirit, delicious snack recipes, or ideas on what to do when you don’t want to be watching the big game.

March

March Madness

While March Madness is a basketball tournament, there are endless ways you could turn this into a fun social media game. Create your own bracket and use the Instagram Stories vote function to have your followers vote on their favorite. Tie it back to your business by pitting products against each other (a great way to get user feedback!).

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
Here, Food52 has a cookie tournament in the works. (Source)

March 1: World Compliment Day

Do as the day says, and pay a frequent customer or neighboring business a compliment. Or, start a challenge for your followers to compliment a friend, co-worker, or stranger and post it.

March 4: National Employee Appreciation Day

This holiday is the perfect way to showcase your employees: Queue up a slideshow or multiple Instagram Stories sharing why they’re amazing. Not only will your employees appreciate it, but you’ll start (or continue) to build a culture of recognition.

March 8: International Women’s Day

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
On International Women’s Day, we asked followers to tag inspiring, impactful women. (Source)

March 20: International Day of Happiness

Spread some happiness today by sharing a funny meme that always brightens your day or creating a hashtag (like #whatmakesmehappy) and featuring things that make you and your team happy. Ask your followers to join in and use the hashtag for some great user-generated content, too.

March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

Although the term “mom and pop shop” is less used these days, it’s still a great opportunity to celebrate your small business and others you love. In fact, use the holiday to share the companies you buy from. Create a slideshow and tag your favorites so your followers can buy from them, too.

April

National Volunteer Month (U.S)

Are there any causes that are near and dear to you? If you volunteer, whether as a business or on your own, shine a spotlight on the cause this month. In a video or long-form caption, share why the cause is close to your heart and a bit about your volunteer experience.

April 1: April Fool’s Day and International Fun at Work Day

April Fool’s Day pranks can be fun or fraught, so a safer approach might be celebrating how you have fun at work. Host a company lunch or mini-golf tournament and show your followers what’s happening behind the scenes. Or, ask employees what they’ve found the most fun about working at your company and share snippets—it might even help you hire new people!

April 22: Earth Day

Does your company value suppliers, partners, or products that focus on sustainability? Today’s the day to spread the word.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
For Earth Day, Buffer showcased an organization that is working towards a more sustainable future, while tying it back to social media and building an engaged audience.(Source)

April 28: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Cute kids at work deserve their time in the limelight. You could stage photos of kids working at desks, kids taking or fulfilling orders, or greeting customers. Or, do an Instagram Stories segment asking the kids who come in what they want to be when they grow up.

May

May 21: Cultural Diversity Day

This United Nations holiday is the perfect time to share the cultural background and traditions that are important to you and your business.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
PPG People honored the diversity of its employees’ backgrounds on Cultural Diversity Day. (Source)

June

June 30: Social Media Day

This is a big one in our sphere! For Social Media Day you can showcase some of your favorite things you’ve posted in the last year or a big win that came from social media, or talk about the best posts you saw from your followers.

June 30: Work From Home Day

A lot more folks have experience working from home now, this is a good opportunity to share lesser-known or off-the-wall tips for being productive at home.

July

July 17: World Emoji Day

Fun fact, this date was chosen because the calendar emoji 📅 has a date of July 17th on it. There's an existing community around World Emoji Day so this is a great day to get involved. You can share the top emoji for your brand/business or ask your community to vote on which emoji best represents you. 🛍

August

August 19: World Photo Day

This is a great day to share your favorite photo or start an Add Yours sticker on Instagram Stories.

August 21: World Entrepreneurs Day

For small business owners, this is a great day to highlight your journey so far and share anything you haven't had the time to share yet. A few prompts: How did your journey start? What has been the biggest challenge so far? What's next for you and your business?

September

September 26: Love Note Day

While this could be interpreted in a variety of ways, an easy way to jump on this holiday is to send a note to your customers or community. You can design a quick graphic in Canva, and write a heartfelt thank you to your customers for their support.

October

October 7: World Smile Day

Sometimes, these unofficial holidays just call for a simple photo. You can post a meme of an animal smiling, or showcase team members smiling big!

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
Smiling faces—what could be better? (Source)

October 16: Boss’s Day

If you have managers who work at your business this is a great day to recognize them, or to ask a few teammates what they've learned from their boss. You could also share some of the best advice you’ve ever received from a previous boss.

November

National Entrepreneurship Month

This month is a great time to really dive into all things business. You could start a weekly “Ask Me Anything” series on all things entrepreneurship and answer any questions that your followers have about how and why you started your company.

November 19: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

This day is all about recognizing women business owners. You could share wisdom from famous women entrepreneurs in your industry or highlight some of your favorite women-owned brands.

November 25: Black Friday

The biggest shopping day of the year always feels like a big deal, especially if your small business sells a product. If you’re offering a Black Friday promotion, let your followers know about it—you could even do a social media-only discount.

November 26: Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is solely dedicated to shopping small. If you are a small business you could share top products or host a special giveaway. The main takeaway of today is to show off your small business and the customers that keep you going.

Social Media Content Ideas for Every Official (and Non-Official) Holiday of 2022
Partner with other small businesses to create a special giveaway. (Source)

November 28: Cyber Monday

To round out the shopping weekend, you can talk about any e-commerce promotions you’re running, or offer a gift guide that curates a few of your favorite sale items.

November 29: Giving Tuesday

This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight charitable efforts or organizations that you support. We give back at Buffer every year, and love highlighting businesses like Frères Brachiaux, who donate 10 percent of their sales to homeless shelters.

December

December 14: Free Shipping Day

If you sell a product, this is a great day to offer free shipping today. You can post about the flash sale on all of your social media channels and frame it as an early holiday present or a way to get your loved ones their present in time for the holidays.

What Will You Celebrate?

The best way to go about deciding which holiday trends to jump in on is to consider your business and brand. What are your values? What do you sell? What matters most to your customers? Look for holidays and events that align with those aspects of your company and allow you to authentically showcase your business.

Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to post for every one of them. The goal isn’t to get overwhelmed by the options, but inspired by all the creative possibilities.

Ready to plan out your 2022 content calendar? See how Buffer’s scheduling tools can help.

https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-content-ideas-2022/

Ask Buffer: Should I Post Personal Content on My Business Account?

Ask Buffer: Should I Post Personal Content on My Business Account?

Q: I see so many influencers posting details of their personal lives on social media and I'm wondering if I should do the same. I'm the face of my small business so should I share personal posts (kids, pets, daily life) on my business account, or keep it totally separate?

Many influencers build their businesses based on their lives, so of course, their social media accounts share everything from their latest brand collaborations to videos of their home renovations.

But for small business owners, it’s a little different. You may be the face of the company, but you’re also not the sole defining element of it. In most cases, your business accounts should likely be just that: dedicated to business.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to keep yourself fully out of the picture. In fact, weaving in some personal content that’s also relevant to your business can help you build a more authentic, relatable brand.

The approach to take will depend on your audience, industry, and goals. Consider the following:

  • How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image?
  • Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences?
  • What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different?
  • Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience?

Let’s dive into a couple of scenarios based on what you might have answered:

The Personal Brand Turned Business

  • How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image? It relies on a good amount, and I’m okay with that.
  • Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences? Yes.
  • What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different? They’re somewhat similar.
  • Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience? Yes.

In this case, it’s likely that your business is an extension of your personal brand. Perhaps you’re a fitness buff who started a boutique gym, or maybe you run a community for new parents, a category that you and many of your friends fall into.

Your business and personal brands, then, likely have similar audiences, and while they might look for slightly different things on different accounts, people are used to seeing you as the face of the business.

By being regularly present on your company’s social accounts, you’re helping to build trust and authenticity with your audience and adding a human element to your works. Your business isn’t just another business, it’s a product and service with a real person and story behind it.

Still, you’ll want to stick mostly to content that relates to your business in some way. Here are a few ideas for founders looking to weave their own lives into a business account:

  • Show business trips or events that relate to your product or service. Vacation photos wouldn’t be right for every company to share, but a recent post on swimwear company Mara Hoffman’s account shows the founder on a beach. It works because she’s wearing one of the company’s suits, tying her experience back to the brand.

  • Film behind-the-scenes content. The founder of wellness food company Golde recently posted a casual insider look at a photoshoot, an approach that can help customers feel extra-invested in how the company’s products come to life.

  • Showcase your dog or child in the office. This approach works perfectly for Sonshine Baths, which was started because founder Tuanieha Simms couldn’t find a skincare solution for her son. He makes regular appearances on Sonshine’s Instagram—but even personal posts like these are tied back to the business in some way.

The Standalone Business

  • How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image? I want them to be mostly separate.
  • Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences? Not really.
  • What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different? They’re looking for different things.
  • Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience? Rarely.

In this case, you and your business are separate entities. There isn’t a big overlap in the audience, and you’d like to keep your personal brand mostly separate from that of the business.

To establish your business apart from you, build a standalone brand for it instead of lending your persona. Create and use a different personality and voice that’s unique to the brand.

There is, of course, still room for your presence, as long as it directly relates to your work.

Here are a few examples of content ideas that stay focused on the business:

  • Talk about your founding story. Shawn Askinosie changed careers and brought his daughter along with him when he started Askinosie Chocolate. Most of the business's social media is focused on chocolate, but here, he shares the business’s inspiring origin story.

  • Show how you use your product as a customer. Olive oil company Brightland has a brand of its own, but its “Founder” Story Highlight shows founder Aishwarya Iyer makes a few of her favorite recipes.
Ask Buffer: Should I Post Personal Content on My Business Account?
Source
  • Film a teaser video where you talk about a new product or launch. Farmgirl Flowers’ social accounts are devoted to their flowers rather than their founder, but she makes an appearance here showcasing one of the company’s Thanksgiving arrangements.

For Every Business

Remember, someone is following your business account to learn more about your business. Take the time to think through what your followers are looking for and the role you want your company to play in their lives. By thinking about your brand as its own personality, it’ll be easier to decide what personal content is relevant.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  1. Does this relate to my company?
  2. Will my audience care or benefit?
  3. Is it authentic to my business?

And finally, remember that your audience is always your best indicator. Do they love more personal posts, or do they tend to scroll on by? Keep an eye on your metrics to see what type of content your audience is engaging with most, and then adjust your strategy from there.

https://buffer.com/resources/personal-content-business-account/

How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

“Thought leadership” is one of those buzzwords that we’ve all heard roughly a million times. And while it may feel like one of those terribly overused cliches, based on my experience as a business owner and coach to corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, I understand why we hear it so often.

Because, done well, it works.

I tell you this from personal experience. I’ve also seen the payoffs of thought leadership among the clients I’ve served over the past 10+ years.

Building or affirming your thought leadership—in the right places and with the right audiences—can help you foster trust and credibility with customers, become a go-to voice in your industry, and open up amazing opportunities.

Here’s my story:

In 2010, I got this wild idea to build JobJenny.com, a platform that would offer professionals answers to their most pressing career questions, assist them in navigating business or job transitions, and inspire them to live their best lives.

My initial intention was to create a side hustle business that complimented my then-day job as head of a recruiting agency. I’d low-key answer the most common questions I heard about job search and career development, help people with their resumes, and support them in growing their small businesses.

What I didn’t see coming was this: By sharing my firsthand perspective on how recruiters think and work and lessons learned as I built my own business through my blog, LinkedIn, and subscriber newsletter, I was becoming a thought leader.

But that’s exactly what happened and, as it did, I was able to expand my services, raise prices (a lot), sunset my recruiting business, and attract lucrative partnerships, including one with LinkedIn Learning.

My thought leadership successes were, admittedly, rather accidental, but yours don’t have to be. In fact, if you apply some strategy and planning to this, you (and your business) may benefit from your thought leadership much more quickly than I did.

Here are five quick tips that’ll help you build thought leadership via LinkedIn—one of the best platforms out there for many small business owners (though they’ll work just as well is Instagram or TikTok is your platform of choice):

1. Think About Your Most Important Audience and What They Want to Hear

Certainly, you’ll want the freedom to share perspective and information that’s meaningful to you and aligns with the goals of your business. But, when you get down to it, what matters most is that you’re talking about things that your ideal audience wants to hear.

And, if you’re not sure what that is, try my very non-scientific technique:

Review the questions that come in via your contact page, email, and LinkedIn InMails weekly. What, specifically, are people requesting help with the most?

In my experience, posts inspired by real-life questions and pain points get the most comments, engagement, and shares. I’m guessing you’ll find a similar trend. So, dive into your inbox and start there.

The answers to “What should we talk about?” are, literally, right there in your inbox. Start there.

2. Consider Your Unique Perspective

Do you know what sets you and your business apart? You should. If you don’t, ask your best customers what they appreciate the most about you to help you get clear on your “secret sauce.”

My unique perspective, as a point of reference, is that I insist on showing up as an approachable and relatable human.

Certainly, I want to ensure it’s clear that I know what I’m talking about and I’m hyper-current on my industry. I also understand that the process of changing jobs or careers is stressful for nearly everyone. And so, I work hard to show up in a way that’s non-intimidating, non-boring, and incredibly actionable.

And, it’s working. It’s a key reason I was invited (out of a sea of roughly 3,273,204 job search experts on LinkedIn) to create video courses with LinkedIn Learning. My conversational, roll-up-your-sleeves style also helped me land me a long-term gig as a columnist for The Muse (one of the biggest players in the career space) and an upcoming, still-top-secret writing project, which you’ll see later in 2022.

Figure out what sets you apart, then make sure that the content you share honors your overall brand and your unique perspective.

3. Brainstorm What You’ll Share

Once you’ve got clarity on your audience and unique perspective, spend some time brainstorming topics that align with your goals and affirm your expertise. A few types of content that tend to resonate well on Linkedin in particular include opinion pieces, analysis of industry data, case studies, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and interviews.

I’ve recently begun using AMAs on LinkedIn (via LinkedIn Live) as a tool for helping potential customers as they contemplate their job search and to point them toward my paid offerings. (Here’s my first one.) So far, the results are incredibly promising. In just a short amount of time weaving video content into my messaging on LinkedIn, I can already see why 87% of those using LinkedIn video for marketing say it’s an effective channel for them.

As you brainstorm, create a list of your best ideas and draw from it over a period of weeks or months. We’re all so busy. Knowing what you’ll share on LinkedIn (and when) will help you stay the course.

4. Play to Your Strengths

Something that seems to create the most stress among entrepreneurs as they chart a course for building thought leadership is that dreaded imposter syndrome.

I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me, “But, I’m not a writer,” or “I’m terrified to speak on camera.”

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to write original content if that’s not your jam. Maybe you’re better off vlogging or doing Q&As on LinkedIn Live.

And, if you’re not a strong writer or comfortable on camera, guess what? You can still build thought leadership, as a curator.

Curators are those magical people we all have in our news feeds who seem to always find the most interesting articles, trends, and information. They pose questions based on what they read. They invite us to weigh in. They create thoughtful debate.

And, in doing so, we come to know them as people who are passionate, intelligent, and engaged in their particular areas of expertise.

We come to know them as thought leaders.

5. Show up Authentically, Always

You’ll probably agree with me when I say that there are plenty of “what not to do” examples of “attempts to build thought leadership” on LinkedIn.They’re everywhere.

When you look close at the stinkers, I’ll bet you’ll notice something. Most of those in your “worst of the worst” category are lacking an extremely important ingredient: authenticity.

You see, people align with—and buy from—those that they know, like, and trust. (In fact, 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.) And, if you get too hung up on showing up as all buttoned-up on LinkedIn (or any other social media platform), you run the risk that people won’t see who you really are, as an entrepreneur and a person.

Be strategic, for sure. But if you’re serious about leveraging LinkedIn to establish or affirm your thought leadership, you’ve got to show up as the real deal.

Trust me: You’ll be so glad you did.

https://buffer.com/resources/linkedin-thought-leader/

How to Build a Meaningful (and Massive) Community, From Someone Who’s Done it Twice

How to Build a Meaningful (and Massive) Community, From Someone Who’s Done it Twice

You probably already know the value of building a community behind your brand: more powerful word of mouth, stronger customer retention, better organic growth. And yet, I find many small business owners aren’t quite sure how to foster real communities or don’t believe they can if they don’t have the money to really do it successfully.

I’ve built two thriving communities on startup budgets, first as employee #1 and Director of Marketing and Community at theSkimm and now as the founder and CEO of puzzle company JIGGY. Here’s my advice for doing it right.

1. Find Ways to Support & Celebrate Your Organic Ambassadors

You probably already have a community of champions—people who love what you’re doing and want to tell the world about it—even if it’s just a small one. If the cheapest customer is always your existing one, the easiest community to build is the one you already have. So, look for ways to help your current advocates help you, and thank them when they do.

At JIGGY, we make it clear on our product packaging and website how puzzlers can share their progress on social, tagging us and the artist who designed the puzzle artwork. We also always react or share their posts on our stories to show how much we appreciate them (and encourage them to continue sharing!).

JIGGY’s customers love sharing their puzzling journey—and we’ve made it easy for them to help spread the word about our brand in the process.

At theSkimm, a simple prompt in our daily newsletter to share it with a friend evolved into an entire ambassador program (called Skimm’bassadors), with detailed guidance on how to best spread the word and tiered perks based on the number of referrals. For a long time, we even chose incentives that cost us almost nothing and further drove community engagement: access to a private Facebook group, invites to Skimm events, and the chance to meet the team.

Whatever you do, taking a little time now to support and appreciate your biggest fans will save you a lot of money in the long run when it comes to your community growth.

2. Bring Your Followers Into the Business-Building Process

Traditional marketing is a one-way conversation, but to build a strong community, you should create opportunities for your customers to feel like they have a voice, too.

Again, this doesn’t have to be complex. Our JIGGY team makes sure to respond to every customer email we get so our users know they are being heard. We keep an ear to the ground and make product decisions based on what our customers want, letting them know when we’ve addressed their feedback. We ask our followers for their thoughts on ideas we’re considering, rather than just trying to read their minds. Even a simple Instagram poll can be engaging and insightful.

When we released our first kids puzzle, we emphasized that this decision came from customer requests.

By treating your customer community as a very large board of advisors, you may also start to feel confident trying half-baked ideas to see what kind of reaction you get. For instance, when we were figuring out how to monetize our newsletter at theSkimm, we simply told our readers, “We’re going to start putting some ads in, let us know what you think!” By staying transparent and opening up this line of communication, our users felt more invested in what we were doing—and more forgiving as we figured it out.

3. Encourage Connections Within Your Community

The real magic of a brand community starts happening when you help users build connections with each other.

About a year after we started doing events for our Skimm’bassadors, we did a user survey, and found that a huge indicator of satisfaction was the people our users were meeting through the group: new friendships, professional connections, even some romantic relationships.

Early on with JIGGY, we saw a ton of organic engagement on social between our customers and the artists who create the work for our puzzles, and we found that it made both communities feel more dedicated to what our brand is doing. More recently, we noticed users having puzzle parties over Zoom—so decided to launch the Puzzle Club to help further encourage this kind of engagement.

How to Build a Meaningful (and Massive) Community, From Someone Who’s Done it Twice

Puzzle Club members get the same exclusive puzzle every month so they can all share their progress, as well as opportunities to interact with JIGGY artists—both great drivers of deeper community.

Think of ways to bring your community together, and then step back and watch the real connections start to happen.

4. Stay Guided by Your Why

Ultimately, none of this works if you don’t have a deeper why behind your brand. At theSkimm, that was about being informed and connected with current events in the world around you. At JIGGY, it's about reconnecting with downtime and practicing mindful self care while also supporting independent artists. People want to be part of these communities because they want to be around like-minded people.

It’s not just about stating your values—it’s about living them out in your branding, your copy, and even your business decisions. In the early months of Covid-19, we ran out of product and couldn't restock because of supply chain issues. All we had access to was blank puzzles so, after hearing about the financial struggles our artists were having, we had them draw one-of-a-kind puzzles on these blanks and auctioned them off for charity and artist relief. This didn’t benefit our bottom line, but helped puzzlers stay engaged with our company even when we couldn’t sell them anything, supported our artist community, and reinforced what we’re all about as a company.

During the early months of Covid, our Jiggy Originals campaign supported our artist community and drove a deeper connection with our puzzlers.

Communities don’t rally behind a product—they rally behind values that matter to them or a lifestyle they identify with. Figure yours out, live it out in the brand, and make sure you really care about your customers along the way, and you’ll be amazing at the dedicated following you can build.

https://buffer.com/resources/build-a-meaningful-and-massive-community/

Ask the Buffer Team: What If I Don’t Have Anything to Share on Social Media?

Ask the Buffer Team: What If I Don’t Have Anything to Share on Social Media?

Q: Help! I’m usually good at regularly posting to my company’s social accounts every day, but sometimes I’m at a total loss. Is it better to skip a day, or to post something just to stay on schedule?

The task of coming up with new, engaging content on a regular basis can make social media daunting—we know. Even if you have a solid social media strategy in place, you might still get stumped on what to share from time to time and be tempted to forgo that schedule you set out for yourself.

Running out of new content ideas is a common pain point, whether you’re just starting to share your brand on social media or you’re a seasoned pro. Here are a few tactics I recommend for overcoming that mental block.

1. Remember That Consistency Is Key

First thing’s first: I do suggest sticking to a consistent schedule of posts. By posting regularly, your brand will stay top of mind with your audience. Over time, they’ll even start to expect posts from you, which can lead to higher engagement. Not to mention, posting at a regular cadence will help you stay in the habit of creating content.

That said, a consistent schedule looks different for everyone. Some brands post three times per week, while others post three times per day. What’s right for you depends on many factors, including your audience, its size, and what your followers are looking for.

Each platform offers its recommendations for the best days and times to post, but typically, those are incredibly broad. Instead, seek to learn what works best for your specific audience.

Here’s how: Pick a platform, then post three times per week for an entire month. Then, up that to seven times per week for the next month, and 14 times for the month after that.

Three months of data will allow you to gather insight via Buffer’s analytics dashboard. Check out the “Answers” tab, and you’ll be able to see when, what, and how often to post to maximize your reach and engagement.

Ask the Buffer Team: What If I Don’t Have Anything to Share on Social Media?
Buffer’s analytics dashboard can show you exactly when, and how often, to post.

If you saw higher engagement during one month over another, commit to that cadence going forward. Continue to monitor your stats month over month to see what dates, times, and posting schedules work best. One last thing to keep in mind, though: Brands should strike a balance between being consistently informative and being annoying. If you’re seeing any decline in your numbers after upping your posting schedule, consider pulling back.

When you feel more confident about the best approach for your audience, it can inspire you to stick to your posting schedule and give them the content they’ve come to expect.

2. Think Big(ger)

You know you have to post a certain number of times each week, but how do you come up with new content?

Some weeks, this will be simple: You had a big product announcement, you wrote a new blog post, you saw a meme you just had to recreate. Other weeks, you’ll be staring at a blinking cursor on a Monday morning, wondering what to share.

But, instead of closing the tab and not sharing at all, push yourself to think outside the box.

If, for example, you published a blog post last week and shared it with a link and a caption, think about how you might reshare it differently. Create a short graphic that pulls key data from the post, or pull out a favorite quote and make a visual. Canva is a great tool to create engaging graphics (and Buffer’s integration with Canva makes it incredibly easy).

Ask the Buffer Team: What If I Don’t Have Anything to Share on Social Media?
We recently launched a new version of our social media calendar. To share the news again, but in a different way, we created a visual quote from our Product Manager.

It can be helpful to see what other people are posting, too, or if anything relevant is trending. If a news story broke that will have an impact on your industry, share your thoughts. If it’s International Coffee Day and you sell alternatives to milk, create a graphic that ties the two of them together.

Ask the Buffer Team: What If I Don’t Have Anything to Share on Social Media?
In the month of October, everyone’s talking about scary movies. Snack brand Partake Foods jumped on the trend by creating pairings between film favorites and their treats.

Also look at your best-performing posts to see what topics your audience enjoys, then make use of each platform’s different features to test out new content along those themes. Try carousels on Instagram’s feed, or use the engagement tools in Stories. Go live on Facebook, or write a LinkedIn article. You might discover that your audience engages more with a different kind of post, and you would never have known that if you didn’t push yourself to try something new.

Bonus: Buffer’s Head of PR, Hailley Griffis, offers even more ideas for consistently coming up with new content in this article.

3. Create a Backlog

As you continue to brainstorm content ideas, create a running list of things you like and want to test. These aren’t action items you need to do something about right away. Instead, they’ll offer inspiration the next time you’re stuck for something to post.

Create a saved folder on Instagram of things you’ve seen other brands do, take screenshots of Facebook posts you like, or pull links from LinkedIn that you’d like to emulate. These will be great thought-starters and reminders of how to push yourself the next time you need it.

Creating content can feel like a monumental task, for small businesses and massive influencers alike. The next time you feel stuck, use it as a growth opportunity. Push yourself to stick to your cadence, brainstorm something new and different to share, and then see how your audience reacts. You just might be onto something.

Need some help planning your content? Check out our recent post on “How to Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content.”

Have a question you'd like us to answer? Send us a tweet and use #AskTheBufferTeam.

https://buffer.com/resources/ask-nothing-to-share-social-media/

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4 Tips for Consistently Generating High-Quality Social Media Content for Your Small Business

4 Tips for Consistently Generating High-Quality Social Media Content for Your Small Business

These days, a strong social media presence is key for building a reliable brand, standing out, and gaining traction with potential customers. I recently learned that 43% of consumers always search a brick-and-mortar business online before visiting for the first time, that's a huge number. And while all companies can benefit from being on social media, it’s especially crucial for small businesses who typically don’t have the advantage of being a household name.

A strong social media presence, though, requires consistent content creation, which can take a lot of time. If you’re a smaller business or even a company of one, you may be wondering how you can compete alongside companies that have entire teams for social media. It's never going to be an even playing field but we've seen small businesses embrace what makes them unique and they shine on social media as a result, without needing to spend huge amounts on ad dollars or hire a whole social team.

Here are a few ideas that I’ve seen work for individuals and businesses over the years.

1. Learn From Your Customers (and the Data)

A good starting point is paying attention to what your potential customers are talking about. What are their pain points? What questions do they have in relation to your line of work? How do they feel about certain topics? This is all good material for content ideas like quick Q&As on Instagram or more in-depth instructional content on Facebook or LinkedIn.

To get inside your audiences’ heads, you can:

  • Scroll through the comments section of your social media pages and those of other businesses and brands you admire. (We made a list of these lately, Twitter, Doist, and Ben & Jerry's were all mentioned.)
  • Leverage the polls feature that’s available on most platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to ask your audience questions.
  • Send out a more formal survey via your newsletter, I recommend making it a short one so folks answer.
  • Use market research tools like AnswerThePublic or Google Trends to see what people are searching for.

You should also regularly assess which of your previous posts have performed best. Which resonated most with your audience? Which have more likes, comments, shares, retweets, and saves? Find the patterns among them, and you’ll quickly be able to tell what’s working. (Note: Using an analytics tool can help surface popular posts more easily.)

After you've gathered all of this information spend some time reviewing it. What does the best-performing content have in common? Does your audience prefer videos or memes? Are inspirational posts or actionable instructions more popular? Once you identify some patterns, lean into them and create new content that gives the people what they want.

2. Leverage the News and Your Own Stats

Being in the know about what’s happening in your industry is important for many reasons, not the least of which is that it can provide you with endless content inspiration.

I use Twitter lists to quickly get a handle on the topics the media is currently covering. Create your own lists, full of reporters, experts, news sites, and influencers in your space, and if you’re at a loss for content ideas, scroll along to see what they’re talking about. You can repost their takes on what’s happening or create your own.

You can also be part of the news by collecting your own data and sharing the findings with your community. For example, earlier this year we released our 2021 State of Remote Work, which we created by surveying customers and potential customers. Each data point (such as the fact that 98% of respondents want to continue working remotely) can be its own interesting, engaging social post. We’ve also used the report to create complementary content, like tips for managing remote teams, our favorite remote collaboration tools, and advice for unplugging when you work from home.

4 Tips for Consistently Generating High-Quality Social Media Content for Your Small Business
Our State of Remote Work report provided endless opportunities for interesting content. Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLHcaFQLFpn/

3. Go Behind the Scenes

Consumers love learning more about how a business works and the people behind the brand. Simply put, showing the humans who are running the show humanizes the business, and that can be a pretty powerful marketing tool.

Plus, showing how you’re developing your products or company (also known as building in public) can add a lot of value in the long run. In this episode of Buffer’s Small Business, Big Lessons podcast, Paynter Jacket Co. shares how their building in public and sharing behind-the-scenes footage has impacted their business for the better, they now have a devoted group of followers and sell out of their jackets within minutes of them becoming available.

4 Tips for Consistently Generating High-Quality Social Media Content for Your Small Business
Paynter on Instagram. Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWAZPeBocv0/

Video, like Stories, Reels, and IGTV, is a great medium for behind-the-scenes content, and they don't have to be highly produced to grab someone's attention. It’s also easier to create since you’re filming elements of your regular operations. Consider sharing:

  • A day-in-the-life of a teammate
  • Steps of the manufacturing process of your product
  • Tours of your workspace (this works even for remote teams!)
  • AMA sessions with team members
  • A happy customer using your product

4. Make it Easy for Yourself

Of course, coming up with unique ideas is great, but you can supplement your custom content by reposting things you see around the web. Sharing articles about industry trends, inspiring images that relate to your brand, or even relevant memes can add to your feed without taking valuable time out of your day.

Pro tip: If you stumble upon an article, an image, or another piece of content that you’d like to share, you can do so from right within your browser with the Buffer browser extension. Schedule it right then and there, and then get back to doing the rest of the things on your to-do list.


Putting together a solid social media plan as a small business can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Set aside 30 minutes or so a few times per week to focus on content, pick one or two of the tips above to start with, then keep building from there. The results will speak for themselves and inspire you to keep going.

Do you have any methods for coming up with content that works really well for you? Reach out on Twitter and let us know!

https://buffer.com/resources/generating-social-media-content-small-business/

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Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content

There’s no denying that content creation is time-consuming. You have to think of what to post, create a graphic, write a caption, choose hashtags, post the content, and engage with your audience in the comments—and then do it all again, and again, and again.

While the challenges of social media content creation may feel daunting, showing up consistently has big benefits for your business. By posting valuable content consistently, you can:

  • Grow your audience
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build authority in your industry
  • Improve engagement

If you are looking to achieve any of the benefits listed above, it is worth figuring out a sustainable strategy for saving time planning and creating social media content. The key to achieving this is twofold—planning in advance and batch working content creation.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
@stilclassics

Multitasking—A Cautionary Tale

Let’s take a moment to talk about something we all do—multitasking. Multitasking often feels productive because you are doing “all the things”, but in reality, multitasking is one of the least productive things you can do.

It has been estimated that only 2% of the population is actually proficient at multitasking. When you switch from task to task, it actually takes 50% longer to accomplish a task. (John Medina, Brain Rules).

“Only 2% of the population is actually proficient at multitasking.”

So what are the 98% of us that are not proficient multitaskers supposed to do? The answer—when it comes to social media content creation—is creating a system and batch working. Below is a process that you can repeat each month to save time planning and creating your social media content.

Content Planning Process

Each month, set aside time to map out your social media content for the following month. By outlining the content topics you want to cover for the entire month, you can look at your content from a higher level and be more strategic about your content plan. Plan on spending 1-2 hours each month mapping out your content for the following month.

Plan on spending 1-2 hours each month mapping out your content

Things to include in your content plan:

  • Number of posts. How often do you post (or want to post) each week? Keep in mind that quality and consistency are more important than the number of posts. Stick to a schedule and frequency you can sustain long-term.
  • Goals. What are your overall business goals for the month? How can your content support those goals?
  • Any important dates. Do you have a new product or service launching, or an event? Plug those into your plan first, so you can fill in supporting content around them.
  • Social media holidays you want to “celebrate”. Are there relevant social media holidays you want to celebrate on your social platforms? This list has a good roundup of these types of holidays, or you can always research those that are specific to your industry.

With this content roadmap, you can confidently go into the month knowing what content needs to be created each week (more on that later).

What Types of Social Media Content Should You Create?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to social media content is knowing what to post. When creating content for social media, it is important to share a variety of types of content. Your content should educate, entertain, or sell.

Below are a few examples of businesses balancing content that educates, entertains, and sells.

Bulletproof (@bulletproof)

Bulletproof balances entertainment, education, and sales very well in their content. They highlight their products, share recipes and answer FAQS, and create funny, relatable GIFs.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Screenshot of Bulletproof's Instagram profile.

Shopify (@shopify)

Shopify shares inspiring personal stories of their customers, encourages conversation and engagement by asking questions, and sharing video content with “how” and “why” motivating life hacks.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Screenshot of Shopify's Instagram profile.

Flodesk (@flodesk)

Flodsesk highlights new features, shares tips and best practices for email marketing, and encourages engagement from their audience by asking “this or that” and “would you rather?” questions.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Screenshot of Flodesk's Instagram profile.

Another advantage of planning your content for the entire month is that you can better distribute and plan the types of content you will be sharing. Rather than scrambling to come up with something to post and potentially posting too many sales-focused posts or too many funny memes, planning in advance allows you to be more intentional and strategic with what you post. That ensures you are hitting all the marks building the know, like, and trust factor with your audience, serving them, and ultimately converting them.

Let’s say you want to share four posts per week. To balance your content types, you could share two educational posts, one sales-focused post, and one entertaining post each week. As you plan your month of content, you can start to plug in your content ideas according to that cadence and flow.

Bonus tip: This step of the process does not need to be high-tech. Simply use a monthly calendar (you can print one at Print-a-Calendar.com if you don’t have one) and grab some sticky notes and a pen and start jotting down your content topics. This process allows you to move things around as needed to better balance and distribute your content. Alternatively, you can plan in digital form on a Google calendar or in software like Asana, Trello, or Cickup. Choose the tool that works best for you so that you are more likely to use it.

When planning content, it is important to remember that content doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Really anything can be content if it is valuable to your ideal audience. Share your knowledge, take your audience behind the scenes, introduce your team, share customer testimonials or reviews, answer frequently asked questions. Know that you have insight that your audience craves—they told you that when they chose to follow you.

Streamline Content Creation With Batchworking

Let’s circle back to batch working and how to apply the tactic to content planning.

What Is Batch working?

Batch working is a highly focused, topic-specific form of working. When batch working, you divide your work into different hours/days and focus on only one thing at a time. Batch working can be applied to all areas of your life and work, but here we will focus on how to utilize it for content creation.

The idea is that by focusing on one task at a time, you can get into a flow state which is when your productivity and creativity truly flourish. The end result is better quality content in less time. A win-win!

Step 1: Plan a Month of Content

As outlined above, the first step in planning and creating social media content is to map out the entire month on content.

Assuming you have your monthly content plan and roadmap ready to go, each week you should follow the steps below to streamline the content creation piece of the puzzle.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Photo by @stilclassics.

Step 2: Create All Visual Content

With your content roadmap, decide what visuals need to be created for the week. Write a list of everything you need from stock photos, custom graphics, videos, Reels, cover images, etc.

Once you have the list, it’s time to start creating. For custom branded graphics, you can use a tool like Canva. Create (or purchase) a library of templates you can easily customize with different content each week. This keeps your branding consistent and also saves you time as opposed to starting designs from scratch each week.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Photo by Canva.

Step 3: Write All Captions

Captions do not have to take a long time to create. By batching captions and following a caption formula, you can quickly write captions that convert your audience. A good caption should include:

  • Hook: Grab their attention right off the bat. Think of the first 7-14 words of your caption like an email subject line. You have to inspire your audience to click “read more”.
  • Value: Deliver on what you promised in your hook and share content that educates, entertains, or sells.
  • Call to Action: Tell your audience what you want them to do next (i.e. share, like, comment, click, buy, sign up, tag, etc.). Keep your calls to action simple and fun to increase the likelihood that your audience will follow through.
How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content
Photo: Luke Southern via Unsplash

Step 4: Schedule Posts

Now that you have your visuals and captions, it’s time to schedule your posts according to your content calendar. Using Buffer’s Publishing tool, go to Settings and set your posting schedule.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content

Then navigate to your queue, drag and drop images and copy/paste captions and click “Schedule Post” or “Add to Queue”. Depending on the type of post, your post will either automatically publish at the scheduled time, or you will receive a push notification at the scheduled time to post yourself.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content

Step 5: Add Hashtags (if posting to Instagram)

If you are posting to Instagram, when you schedule your post, you also have the option to add up to 30 hashtags to the first comment of your post. Buffer’s hashtag manager allows you to save hashtag groups right in the platform. This makes it easy to choose the right hashtag group(s) to add to your post. When used thoughtfully and strategically, hashtags are a great way to extend the reach of your content.

How To Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content

Enjoy The Benefits of Planning & Scheduling Your Content in Advance

Imagine not having to constantly be wondering, “What should I post?”. As you get into the habit of planning and scheduling content in advance, you will start to see your efforts pay off. Not only will your content strategy benefit you, but you will also save yourself time and reduce stress around social media content. Instead of “posting just to post”, adopting a content batching routine allows you to create high-quality content when you are in your “content zone” and schedule it according to your social media strategy.

When you plan content in advance, your content can better support your overall business goals. If you have a product or service that you want to promote, an event or a company milestone, planning in advance lets you work backward to create strategic social media content that supports those goals.

Finally, by freeing up time and energy in the content creation process, you allow yourself to spend more time in other areas of your business. That extra time can be spent building connections and relationships with your social media community, or in other areas of your business like sales, admin tasks, networking or growing your team, or even on self-care. Think about what you would spend those extra hours on each month, and use that as motivation for sticking with your new content process.

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses. By planning in advance, you can leverage social media strategically and thoughtfully.

https://buffer.com/resources/how-to-save-time-planning-social-media-content/

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

Today’s youth is craving to be at the forefront of successful movements, tearing down and rebuilding structures and enacting positive change around the world. Increasingly, nonprofits are leveraging this desire and turning to younger generations to drive change and become the future leaders of the world. Their main catalyst of change? Social media.

This is the driving notion at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a young, vibrant, and growing organization that is pushing for bolder actions to make universal access to modern and clean energy happen by 2030. They believe that the younger generations are the driving forces of the current climate action movements; they ask the most challenging questions, are open-minded, and use their own network to reach new audiences of leaders and supporters. Through their platforms, SEforALL truly hopes to channel the right mindset and influence the future leaders of the world.

In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Meriam Otarra, Communications Specialist at SEforALL, and you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important for nonprofit organizations to appeal to younger audiences nowadays
  • How to connect on a deeper level with younger audiences through reader-friendly, modern, dynamic content
  • The marketing tactics that work best to reach younger audiences
  • Tips on building awareness and community around important causes via social media
Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer Social Media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.

There are so many great nonprofits working hard to make the world a better place. We want to help a tiny bit when it comes to their social media marketing efforts. We offer a 50% discount to all registered nonprofit organizations. Here’s how you can apply for the discount!


Tell us more about you! What’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) all about and what’s your role there?

Hi my name is Meriam Otarra and I’m a Visual & Digital Communications Specialist for international organizations. I currently lead the creative communications and social media for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). SEforALL is a young, vibrant, and growing organization that works with the United Nations, international organizations, governments and the private sector to ensure we achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) — access to modern, clean, reliable, and sustainable energy for all — by 2030. We’re soon celebrating a decade of SDG7 progress since SEforALL was initiated by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Since then, there has been an increasing demand for SEforALL platforms and products, and that’s why as part of the communications team, I make sure that these digital products are:

  • Reader-friendly, modern, dynamic;
  • Reaching the right audiences!
Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action
Meriam Otarra, Communications Specialist at Sustainable Energy for All

Tell us about the “This is Cool” campaign! What has made this campaign so successful?

From where I’m from, which is the Philippines, a day never passes by without hearing someone say, “It’s hot.” (Either that, or “Oh my god, it has been raining non-stop for 7 days!”) And without urgent actions to the climate crisis, the rural and urban poor in developing countries in Africa and Asia are getting more and more at risk of the consequences of heat, because they can’t access or afford whatever cooling technologies are available out there.

SEforALL started the #ThisisCool campaign last year after releasing one of the household reports called Chilling Prospects, which tracks the global development of delivering universal sustainable cooling. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the current cooling situation (last year it was found that around *1.02 BILLION* people are at high-risk due to lack of access to cooling!), its challenges, and what can be done across the world to make sustainable cooling for all a reality.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

As part of the campaign, we created a microsite with Greenhouse PR, with different cooling case studies—from cool rooftops to farming innovations—and provided a nicely illustrated toolkit that can be used by anyone and everyone to start the conversation on sustainable cooling. Check it out at thisiscool.seforall.org!



Why do you believe it’s important for nonprofit organizations to appeal to younger audiences nowadays?

We’ve said it before at SEforALL (and we’re definitely not the first ones to say it!), but youth are the driving forces of the current climate action. They aren’t afraid to speak out and demand better policies or a better response to the pandemic that’s affecting us, youth, both short- and long-term. As social media managers, sincere engagement is what we ultimately aspire to build, and at least for what I can say as the frontline of SEforALL social media, youth are the ones who ask questions, are open-minded, share ideas, and use their own network to help SEforALL reach other audiences who may have otherwise not heard about SEforALL before. Through our platforms, we can only hope to channel the right mindset and influence the future leaders of the world.

As social media managers, sincere engagement is what we ultimately aspire to build, and at least for what I can say as the frontline of SEforALL social media, youth are the ones who ask questions, are open-minded, share ideas, and use their own network to help SEforALL reach other audiences who may have otherwise not heard about SEforALL before.

As a nonprofit international organization, how do you connect on a deeper level with younger audiences?

We’re not scared to dive into conversations with youth. That’s why we created the SEforALL Youth Summit last February, organized by the SEforALL youth representatives ourselves, to show that youth voices are needed to be heard and that SEforALL is here to listen. The outcomes of that Summit are also going to feed into the high-level meetings on energy happening this September.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

What marketing tactics have you found work the best to reach younger audiences?

We found showing data and infographics that hit closer to home for younger people have had better engagement and reactions than most other content. Two good examples that we’ve pushed out during the Summit were (1) showing data through an infographic on the amount of energy the whole country of Senegal uses versus the amount of energy Californians use playing video games; and (2) no energy access, no internet.


We found showing data and infographics that hit closer to home for younger people have had better engagement and reactions than most other content.

For our #ThisisCool campaign, we also reached out to youth influencers in the climate action sphere in Africa and Asia by commenting on their posts related to passive cooling (see example below). And only when they follow us back do we actually send them a personalized message on Twitter telling them about our campaign and ask them for their emails so we can send the toolkit directly to them. It’s important for us to know that they believe in our message as we do with them before we bombard them in their inbox. With the support from Greenhouse PR, we selected them not just based on their following count, but also the quality of content that they put out.


Which social media platforms have successfully driven SEforAll’s missions forward and why?

As far as advocacy goes, our Twitter and LinkedIn profiles have had the most impact on SEforALL projects. Twitter is fast-paced and straight to the point and easy to connect with our audiences in the international organization sector. As we (and our partners) always have events, knowledge products to release, it’s usually the first platform we utilize for any campaign. And while LinkedIn is quite the contrary, we’ve used our LinkedIn to establish thought leadership in the energy access scene, as well as show value and appreciation to our staff. It’s also quite surprising but a lot of our youth audiences are mostly on LinkedIn.

We’ve used our LinkedIn to establish thought leadership in the energy access scene, as well as show value and appreciation to our staff. It’s also quite surprising but a lot of our youth audiences are mostly on LinkedIn.

What advice do you have for other organizations that want to build awareness and community around the causes they care about via social media?

Two words—timely and timeless. At SEforALL, we don’t want to be just quick, we also want our content to be relevant yesterday, today, tomorrow. It helps to create content that puts the cause into proper context, one that is straight forward, relatable, short.

At SEforALL, we don’t want to be just quick, we also want our content to be relevant yesterday, today, tomorrow.

We recently did a 2-minute explainer on why we need universal energy access or Sustainable Development Goal 7. It was also created to reach out to those who are not yet familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals in general. We talked about current events, why energy is needed for cold chains for vaccine deployment, why children need energy to access online education, etc. Art and copy have to go hand in hand. At SEforALL, I’m lucky to work with multimedia wordsmiths that make my work easier.


What actions can businesses and individuals take today to make sustainable cooling a reality?

When we think about cooling, the first thing that comes to mind is air conditioning. But cooling for all depends on many different solutions and with the climate, economic, health crises that we are facing, we need to make sure we prioritize efficient and affordable solutions that (1) won’t spike energy demand, and (2) don’t have negative environmental impacts.

Business, corporations, individuals—all stakeholders—can think about cooling solutions in four ways:

  • Passive cooling solutions: no-energy solutions like trees that provide shade or natural ventilation in buildings
  • Policy solutions: governments prioritizing passive cooling in building codes or cities ensuring enough green space to keep the city cool
  • Financial solutions: making energy-efficient refrigerators and air conditioners easier to purchase by the mass public
  • Service solutions: training people and companies how to be more sustainable and how to create sustainable products

To find out where we are in delivering sustainable cooling for all and what the newest cooling innovations are out there, we’re having a virtual event on the release of our 2021 Chilling Prospects report this May 5!


We hope this interview with Meriam helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow Sustainable Energy for All on Instagram here and on Twitter here!

https://buffer.com/resources/empowering-younger-generations-to-take-action/

Mike Armstrong is looking forward to attending, speaking at and teaching at this event today – #MikeArmstrong

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Please register here before 4pm UK time today.

Join Mike Armstrong #MIkeArmstrong a.k.a the #WelshDragon on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 11 am – 1:00 pm Eastern Time Zone (4pm to 6pm GMT) for a SPECIAL show of Networking plus the Singer and Actor Showcase.

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INVITE FRIENDS.

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Join the Room of your Choice!

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How The Clubhouse Phenomenon Could be Utilized as a Marketing Strategy

If you don’t happen to be familiar with the unique audio-based social network, Clubhouse, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many haven’t had the chance to use it because they’re either not on an iOS device or they haven’t received an invite. However, it’s likely that marketers will soon wake up en masse to the potential of this platform as a unique opportunity to win new leads and leverage fresh conversions for their business. 

Despite launching in May 2020, by the end of the year Clubhouse was enjoying having over 600,000 registered users, despite a lack of presence on Android devices and online. 

Clunhouse User Growth

(Image: Backlinko)

As we can see, in early 2021 Clubhouse downloads have spiraled past six million thanks in no small part to Elon Musk’s advocacy of the platform. The growth of Clubhouse appears set to continue to spiral due to the network’s unique invite-only framework, where users are unable to simply sign up to the app without first receiving a user invitation. 

Clubhouse non-us markets

(Image: Backlinko)

While the vast majority of Clubhouse users are based in the US, the market is expanding rapidly across Germany, Japan, and the UK. Other English-speaking nations like Canada and Australia are experiencing an increasing number of downloads while Turkey’s relatively young population is among another significant nation of large early adopters. 

But what actually is this new social media network that’s spent the past year steadily embarking towards global domination? And why could Clubhouse provide marketers with a golden opportunity to connect with their audience in a brand new way? Let’s look at how Clubhouse can be utilized as a marketing strategy:

What is Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a social audio chat app where users have the ability to tune into interviews, conversations, and discussions between people on various topics. Think of the platform as a podcast, or a streaming service like Twitch, only the content is live audio. Once the discussion has finished, the content is gone and there are no recordings available afterward. 

For the time being, only existing users are capable of inviting others. This means that to sign up, users will need to know somebody who has already registered to the platform themselves to get in. Meanwhile, anybody can download the app on iOS to reserve a username – and then it’s a case of waiting to get an invite to dive in. 

The reason behind this rather unique approach to Clubhouse stems from the fact that the creators are still developing the platform and working to develop safety features and guidelines ready for more broad adoption. When the app can handle large audiences, plans are in place to open it up for everyone to use. 

This closed-circuit release of Clubhouse may have inadvertently – or indeed deliberately – become an excellent marketing ploy by its creators. The scarcity of invites has created a buzz around the app that may not have existed to the same extent if everybody had the chance to join in and eavesdrop on conversations from the word ‘go’. 

Furthermore, a number of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the sustained popularity of podcasts, the free time that remote work has generated and general widespread video fatigue appear to have combined to make Clubhouse the ideal social app at the ideal time. 

Ray Wang, Constellation Research principal analyst and founder described Clubhouse as “the modern version of AM talk radio democratizing a digital society. The other unwritten part of the business model is a way to reward content creators with a new platform.”

Clubhouse taps into the popularity of podcasts while allowing users to multitask as they engage in the app. Unlike with copy and video, listeners to audio can do tasks like exercising, cleaning, or checking our inboxes as we hear the individuals we follow talk live. 

The Potential That Clubhouse Holds for Marketers

So, what makes Clubhouse a great fit for brands? The answer to this depends on your business, and what you’re looking to achieve from your campaigns. 

At the moment, Clubhouse has displayed significant potential for boosting users as thought leaders and expanding audiences within their respective niche. 

In terms of use cases, it’s been reported that some attorneys have already been able to find new clients via Clubhouse by using the platform as an opportunity to share their expertise and demonstrate their value to followers within dedicated rooms – while some brands have even begun sponsoring discussions on the app and sharing business insights in rooms of their own. 

This appears to be the most significant benefit for brands. The platform is a hub for sharing knowledge and insight through the means of various discussions that can build on community connections. These demonstrators of value could hold significant value too with Clubhouse rooms currently seeing high levels of engaged, active users. 

As a marketer, you could ensure that your brand sparks the right topic of discussion and use it to draw in a refined and engaged audience – helping, in turn, to boost your presence and maximize audience reach. 

How to Run Campaigns on Clubhouse

While it’s reasonable to expect Clubhouse to introduce some form of advertising opportunities for businesses in the near future as the app grows, there’s real value in creating your own campaigns that are geared towards demonstrating expertise and engaging with a new audience. 

By using Clubhouse to set up a room of your own, you can use the app to grow your own community of followers who are interested in your business’ content and thus more likely to act on their interest and make a purchase. To get started on Clubhouse – assuming that you’ve managed to access an invite – here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own room:

1. Find People, Rooms, and Clubs to Follow

 

 

Start a room

(Image: Social Media Examiner)

One of the most significant things you can do as a marketer on Clubhouse is to be strategic with who and what you follow. Following too many random accounts can lead you to have access to too many rooms that you’re not interested in. Take care in who you follow – the hallway will generally show you only rooms that match your perceived interests. 

2. Begin Building a Vibrant Network of Users

 

 

Network

(Image: Social Media Examiner)

When you enter rooms, you’ll see a breakdown of the individuals around you. The people in the room are broken down into three categories. Firstly, you’ll have the stage which consists of those speaking to the audience. Then, there’s the front row. The front row consists of the individuals in attendance who the speakers themselves follow. Finally, the third section is the audience. 

When you click on the people on the stage and the front row, you can access information about them. This can help you to determine who to follow and how you can build your connections within the app. 

3. Optimize Your Portfolio to Build a Following

Your Clubhouse bio is where you can tell your audience exactly what you want to be known for. What you include in your bio will play a key role in how people find you in the member directory, so be sure to use a healthy array of keywording to get you noticed. 

Rather than a traditional online bio, invest time in creating an extended informational bio, and don’t be afraid to include emojis. Here, you want to stand out. Mention where you work, your title, content channels, and social profiles – as well as any clubs you’ve already launched. 

To build a following, enter rooms that are relevant to your industry and get to know the people who regularly visit them. As you get more active and show up more, the people who host those rooms could invite you to come on stage where your audience will notice you. The more time you get on stage, the more followers you’ll attract

Don’t waste time when you’re talking. Don’t introduce yourself or your field of work, or even your business. Simply ask or answer a question clearly and succinctly and offer value based on your expertise alone. When you effectively engage with your audience, they’ll feel compelled to click on your bio and read more about yourself and your business. 

4. Begin Hosting Your Own Rooms on Your Terms

 

 

Host

(Image: Good Housekeeping)

When you create a room, you automatically become a moderator for that room. As a moderator, you can control who comes up on stage, who gets muted, and who can join you in the role of moderator. 

Here, your goal is to bring order to the room and anticipate what the audience wants and needs. Sometimes that could mean taking a short break, where you can ask your audience to give moderators a follow. When the audio content resumes, you can even suggest listeners ping their contemporaries into the room to listen along. 

Having your own room means that you get to curate your content. You can invite your business’ industry experts to the stage in a bid to demonstrate why their knowledge can be a vital component in earning clients money, or you can tap into the diverse qualities of Clubhouse’s global audience by including voices from all around the world. 

New event

(Image: WikiHow)

To start a room, all you need to do is to create an event and schedule it. There are two caveats to creating your room that need to be addressed. Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’ve networked enough to begin drawing an audience into your room. Preaching to an empty room can be a waste of valuable time spent on campaigns elsewhere. 

It’s also key to ensure that your room is scheduled well enough in advance and at a convenient time that doesn’t clash with any competitor discussions that could take your audience away from you. 

Building a Vibrant Community With Clubhouse

The explosion of Clubhouse onto the social media scene has come at a time when users are looking to favor companies with authentic and trustworthy branding rather than corporate giants with decades of accumulated brand loyalty. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a time of deep financial uncertainty and a steady stream of news events. In this era, consumers want to find confidence in brands that appear to share the values of their consumers. In creating live, uncensored and unscripted rooms through Clubhouse, your brand has the chance to demonstrate genuine value while offering users the chance to benefit from your expertise for free. 

HubSpot’s social media community manager, Krystal Wu explained that “Clubhouse offers a lot of opportunities for connection with celebrities, a vast variety of people in different industries, and even close friends. It opens the door for live conversations allowing people to be vulnerable within a community space. This type of connection is unique to deliver audio content with small to large groups of people. Its unscripted content that anyone can be a part of.”

By setting up rooms to discuss your industry and your brand’s position and potential to deliver leading service, it’s possible to win dedicated fans and followers who are more likely to reward your willingness to share your knowledge by choosing your business to make a purchase. 

As marketers utilize this early and largely untapped market, it’s vital to bring in analytics platforms to observe your progress. Insights provided by Google Analytics and Finteza can map how audiences receive your Clubhouse content and use it to inform their purchasing decisions. You can build a custom funnel that will show you exactly how visitors from Clubhouse navigate and behave on your website, how many of them convert and where they exit. 

Conversion funnel

Through studying the flow of traffic and subsequent conversions, you can make informed decisions on how to approach the market and how much time to commit to the app. 

Brands that use Clubhouse have a brand new opportunity to earn credibility by discussing topics that they’re experts on. However, they could also earn greater trust because they’ve made themselves available to listen and talk candidly with their audiences. 

This level of trust-building with potential customers is a chance that shouldn’t go begging in the value-driven climate of 2021.

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The post How The Clubhouse Phenomenon Could be Utilized as a Marketing Strategy appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/03/how-the-clubhouse-phenomenon-could-be-utilized-as-a-marketing-strategy/

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

The best marketers today are building loyal fans by engaging with their audience in the comments and in messages. By approaching every conversation with genuine interest, they are leveraging social media to drive a remarkable and unforgettable customer experience that has fans coming back over and over again. But how exactly can you create this remarkable customer experience on social media?

One marketer that has mastered the art of social media to drive a better customer experience is Bryanna Evans. She’s the Social Media Manager at Southern Elegance Candle Company (SECC), a home fragrance and budding lifestyle brand that captures the warmth and hospitality that the South is known for. Not only has her focus on engagement helped them build loyal fans, but it’s also helped them double or triple their revenue, as its founder and CEO D’Shawn Russell told us: “Our social media makes us a lot of money… We went from doing maybe $20,000-30,000 a month just posting pretty images to well over a $100,000 a month now simply by engaging people more.

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how SECC creates a positive customer experience on social media that has customers coming back over and over again. You’ll hear directly from Bryanna Evans, Social Media Manager at SECC, and you’ll learn:

  • How a positive customer experience on social media can bring significant value to your business
  • How your audience can help you with your business’ marketing and product development strategy
  • The tool Bryanna uses to more efficiently engage with SECC’s audience
  • What social platforms are most successful for customer engagement
How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer social media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.

Tell us more about you! What’s Southern Elegance Candle Co. (SECC) all about and what’s your role there?

Southern Elegance Candle Company is a home fragrance and budding lifestyle brand that captures the warmth and hospitality that the South is known for. The fragrances we offer are inspired by our CEO, D’Shawn Russell’s experiences growing up in the South. Through our products, individuals are able to experience the joys of southern-living no matter where they are.

My name is Bryanna Evans and the role I play at Southern Elegance is multifaceted, but my major responsibilities include social media management and overseeing customer service. Although many think of them as separate entities, I feel that they overlap quite a bit. Both assist in my process for developing strategies that appeal to consumers, content creation, and building authentic connections with our audience.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

Why does customer experience on social media matter?

In this digitally charged age, everything is at the touch of our fingertips. We’ve been conditioned to expect information just as quickly as we consume it. The same holds firm for customer experience on social media. It’s often the first impression potential consumers have of the company and whether it’s worth investing in them, (browsing their social media platforms, following accounts, purchasing products). It can make or break a brand.

How does SECC create a positive customer experience on social media?

We use our platforms to cultivate a welcoming environment centered around unity and inclusivity. Our tagline ‘Modern Values, Southern Charm’ plays a huge role in our content creation process- from graphics to captions, we try our best to ensure that anyone who comes across our feed feels accepted. We engage with our audience as if we’re long-time friends whether they’ve been following since the beginning or just visiting out of curiosity. That energy also translates into how we approach questions, answer comments, email, and DM’s.

We engage with our audience as if we’re long-time friends whether they’ve been following since the beginning or just visiting out of curiosity. That energy also translates into how we approach questions, answer comments, email, and DM’s.

What are SECC’s most successful social platforms for customer engagement and why?

Instagram and Facebook are our most successful platforms, with TikTok on their heels. I would credit our success to our genuine interests in our audience. The internet has made many skeptical- It’s often hard to know if a brand really cares about you as a consumer or just your money. This feeling can be amplified through robocalls and chatbot assistants. If someone comments on our posts, we comment back. If they call they’re met with a welcoming voice. We spark conversations through quizzes, videos, contests & giveaways.

I would credit our success to our genuine interests in our audience. If someone comments on our posts, we comment back. If they call they’re met with a welcoming voice. We spark conversations through quizzes, videos, contests & giveaways.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Instagram post found here.

How do you learn from your community to help guide your marketing and product development strategy?

Our community is very vocal about what they desire from us. We often get messages regarding fragrances and products they want to return or see. However, in the event that we decide to launch a new product or scent, we try to include them in the process as much as possible. We allow them to test scents, vote for new fragrances, and name candles. We actively seek their feedback and test interest in future projects through story polls, surveys, and asking questions.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Facebook post found here.

How does managing SECC’s social media account and community look like on a day-to-day basis?

We always have a lot going on, so content is planned on a weekly basis. Personally, organization is key. I have to manage my time wisely; to do so I use a personal planner, a social media planner, and two whiteboards. One whiteboard has a tentative time-based schedule written out. This allows me to pivot if something arises and I need to help out on the floor or have an influx of calls for the day. The other contains important reminders for upcoming projects and tasks.

My workday usually starts at 8 AM. When I arrive I review my planners, and reminders for the day. The next hour of work is dedicated to answering customer service emails. For the next half-hour, I create any graphics I need for the day and schedule a few posts, if I haven’t done so over the weekend. Afterward, I dive straight into our Instagram and Facebook DMs. I also reply to comments from anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour. I then take a bit of time to check my work emails and knock out a few things on my to-do list. I also take this opportunity to plan and execute at least one TikTok video for the week for the company account.

We post to our Instagram and Facebook stories daily- depending on what’s happening on the floor I post behind the scene footage around 11:30 AM or 1:00 PM. Throughout the day I share stories we’ve been tagged in or important announcements like sales. After lunch, I go back to answer any new customer service emails, schedule any other posts if needed, answer DMs, story replies, and comments. My day typically ends at 4 PM. Before I leave for the day, I make sure to answer any lingering emails.

We post to our Instagram and Facebook stories daily- depending on what’s happening on the floor I post behind the scene footage around 11:30 AM or 1:00 PM. Throughout the day I share stories we’ve been tagged in or important announcements like sales.

Walk us through how you use our new engagement tool. What are your favorite features?

Buffer’s new engagement tool has really helped to boost the efficiency of replying to comments. My favorite engagement feature by far is the alerts, as they’re a huge time saver. I love how they allow me to prioritize which ones I need to reply to ASAP. When I see a shopping cart or question icon I know that may need to have detailed information available for that individual. An added perk is that the tool makes it easy to scroll through comments on each post and locate those pesky spambot comments so they can be removed or hidden.


What advice do you have for brands that want to start using social media to build a community of loyal followers?

My advice for brands looking to use social media to build a loyal community is to start conversations, gather feedback, and be real with your followers. Social media can be intimidating but at the end of the day, there’s no wrong or right way to go about it. What works for Southern Elegance, may not work for another company. It’s all trial and error. It’s important for brands to experiment with different approaches and see what sticks. A good start is looking into the topics, trends, and habits of your target audience and using that information to curate engaging content.

What works for Southern Elegance, may not work for another company. It’s all trial and error. It’s important for brands to experiment with different approaches and see what sticks. A good start is looking into the topics, trends, and habits of your target audience and using that information to curate engaging content.

I actually follow some of my professors from college. They regularly post articles, start conversations around emerging trends, social media, public relations, and marketing practices. I try to stay active on social media- Even if I don’t post daily, I set time aside to go through each platform, take note of memes, recurring topics, trending hashtags, etc. If I see something I think I can apply or rework to fit Souther Elegance I take notes and dig deeper.

Additionally, in my free time, I take online courses, and attend “YouTube University.” Social media is constantly changing and I’ve found that the best way to keep up with the algorithm changes, updates, and latest strategies is to just put time aside to actively learn.

What’s your favorite SECC product and why?

My favorite Southern Elegance product would have to be our wax melts and warmers. I just turn my warmer on, pop a wax melt in, and go about my day. My favorite fragrances are our Charleston: Sweet Tea and our Savannah: Peach & Champagne as they remind me of my time spent growing up in Georgia and attending my alma mater Georgia Southern University.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Instagram post found here.

Have any questions for Bryanna? Feel free to reply with your questions to the Twitter post below and Bryanna or someone from the Buffer team will get to them as soon as possible.

https://buffer.com/resources/how-to-use-social-media-to-drive-a-better-customer-experience/

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

As the buying power of Gen Z grows, marketers at businesses of all sizes are searching for novel ways to connect with this audience and build lasting customer relationships.

It’ll come as no surprise that social media platforms are of the best ways to connect with this generation — which includes today’s teenagers and those in their early 20’s. But marketing to Gen Zers means much more than simply posting pretty pictures and memes.

So what does it take to stand out and connect with this valuable audience in 2021?

One brand that has mastered the art of marketing to Gen Z is Blume, a fast-growing skin, body, and period care brand on a mission to break boundaries and smash taboos.

In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Janice Cheng, Brand and Community Manager at Blume, and you’ll learn:

  • How to build a brand that connects with Gen Z
  • How to market and sell on social media
  • The key to understanding Gen Z’s preferences on social media
  • Successful strategies to use when marketing to Gen Z
Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer Social Media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.


Tell us more about you! What’s Blume all about and what’s your role there?

My name is Janice and I’m based in Vancouver! I’m the Brand Manager at Blume—a fast-growing skin, body, and period care brand on a mission to break boundaries and smash taboos. I joined the team back in June 2019 as the 3rd hire and EA to our founders Taran & Bunny. Now, I’ve been in this Brand role for almost 9 months.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

Why do you think your Gen Z audience connects with your brand?

Gen Zers are conscious (smart) consumers and the most connected generation ever. Growing up with social media, they want transparency, community, and look for brands that align with their values. I think Blume checks off all those boxes in a really genuine way! Since day one, we’ve been more than just our products. Blume is breaking stigma by having conversations about extremely normal, yet still taboo topics, like acne, puberty, periods, and sex ed. As I’m sure most of us know, these are “issues” that carry well into adulthood, so a lot of our audience are millennials as well.

Gen Zers are conscious (smart) consumers and the most connected generation ever. Growing up with social media, they want transparency, community, and look for brands that align with their values.

We’re also a brand that cares. We launched the thestatesofsexed.com, Future World Shapers Award (created for Gen Z change-makers), and generally produce engaging and shareable content. More importantly, we prioritize using our platform to amplify the voices of our community and speak up on issues important to us; this includes climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and even our pandemic response. Our audience teaches us a lot, and more than anything, they’re our friends! This is all translated through our brand voice cohesively across all channels.

Tell us about a recent social media campaign. What made it so successful?

We’re only about 2.5 years old but one of my fave moments was our in-house Blume Celebrates Skin campaign (a campaign focused on being confident in our own skin is undefined and unrestricted by our physical appearances or the bumps and blemishes on our skin). We were only about five people then (half of our team now) and it was so much fun because it came from our hearts. Quickly and organically, it grabbed the attention of Allure and Daily Mail UK. Sometimes metrics are tricky with these kinds of campaigns. Say someone comes across this campaign and finds new strength and bravery in their natural skin. Although can’t quantify feelings, the reviews and customer testimonials are invaluable to our team.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Instagram post found here.

BUT! Meltdown (our best-selling acne treatment) continues to be our top community favorite and campaigns like Celebrate Skin reinforce that. Ultimately, our social media goal is to increase engagement, and this campaign accomplished that for us. We’re about to have some of our biggest campaigns this new year! So stay tuned.

Where do you find inspiration for Blume’s social media content?

Recently, a lot on TikTok (obviously), community pages like Girlboss, and also meme pages. We have an #inspo Slack channel where we share things we see on our feeds and Explore pages and what’s circulating in our own friend’s groups! Pro tip: start an #inspo channel whether just for yourself or with your team.

How does Blume leverage user-generated content to connect with its Gen Z audience?

Community is core to all we do. Beyond our products, for us, it’s about adding value to Gen Z, and user-generated content (UGC) is a huge part of that. Using UGC is more impactful than using traditional models or lifestyle images because UGC is by actual people in our community—reflecting a range of real skin. It’s the best way to relate to this audience!

Using UGC is more impactful than using traditional models or lifestyle images because UGC is by actual people in our community—reflecting a range of real skin.

Also, Gen Zers are so creative because producing content is second nature to them so partnerships together are so fun. I love looking through our tagged posts every week and seeing people embrace their shelfies and natural skin. We give them full creative freedom! So rather than believing what we have to say about our products, you should believe our community through UGC, their captions, reviews, and experiences.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Instagram post found here.

How does Blume embed UGC, customer testimonials, and reviews across all its marketing channels?

We have an incredible tiny team of two that keeps the rest of the team, especially marketing, up to date with all inquiries, trends, and themes of the week. For example, our Meltdown before & after shave has always been highly effective for us because a photo equals a thousand words.

In skincare, especially clean beauty care, it’s really important for us to spotlight the effectiveness of the product and how our products actually work. We’ll use before/after photos and other UGC in ads, Instagram story features, and email newsletters. With permission, of course.

On a regular week, we try to post UGC and/or testimonials about 3-4x on our social media channels.

In skincare, especially clean beauty care, it’s really important for us to spotlight the effectiveness of the product and how our products actually work.

What are Blume’s most successful social platforms for selling and why?

Definitely Instagram—still cracking the code for TikTok. Ultimately, Gen Zers are the trendsetters and determine what’s next. Something can come and go overnight so we have to be quick to pivot, adapt and execute. We can plan all we want but our best performing posts often tend to be non-product focused ones. If we had a Meltdown post planned on a day where the world actually needs more empathy and love, we’ll swap it for a journal prompt post or check-in.

What advice do you have for brands that want to start selling on social media?

Make a list of brands that you love and dig deep into the “why.” For Blume, the core criterion for selling on social is based on value; we focus our marketing on educational content about our products and brand, community building through UGC campaigns and partnerships, and aesthetic shareable graphics.

Also, GET. ON. TIKTOK. Whether to start your brand page or just to get in touch with Gen Z culture, it’s worthwhile I promise you. Here are three easy things you can start right away: write copy like a human (not a robot), have fun with emojis, and start following people to bring eyes to your page!

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Fllow Blume on TikTok here.

For Blume, the core criterion for selling on social is based on value; we focus our marketing on educational content about our products and brand, community building through UGC campaigns and partnerships, and aesthetic shareable graphics.

Personally, I follow Gen Z brands that I admire, read lots of Glossy and Beauty Independent, and ask our awesome Influencer, Lead Eman, for the 411 on what’s cool and what’s not. I also used to scroll TikTok for 4 hours a day (lol) for simultaneous entertainment and market research.

What’s your favorite Blume product and why?

I’d like to say Meltdown because that’s everyone’s #1 and I’ve had a lot of stress acne through 2020, BUT my runner-up is definitely Hug Me, our natural deodorant. Random fact: the probiotics, our secret ingredient, has adapted to my body so well I hardly need deodorant anymore. It’s also unscented so I recommend it to EVERYONE. I might be biased but these two are also my faves because their names are so fun to play with when copywriting. 👋

Thanks for Bluming with us, Buffer friends! ❤️


We hope this interview with Janice helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow Blume on Instagram here!

Have any questions for Janice? Feel free to reply with your questions to the Twitter post below and Janice or someone from the Buffer team will get to them as soon as possible.

https://buffer.com/resources/how-blume-markets-and-sells-to-a-gen-z-audience/

How to Win Social Media Conversions After The Holiday Rush

If only the world of marketing came with a little respite once in a while. As a chaotic, tumultuous holiday season packed with desperate brainstorming sessions for new holiday slogans, themed ads and special offers draw to a close, marketers find themselves tasked with campaigning their way through the new year lulls. 

While the transitional months from winter into spring are typically quiet for many businesses spanning retail and eCommerce, more companies are assembling marketing campaigns in order to win customers and maximise profits during the spending downturns of January, February and March. 

Retail Sales

(Image: Statista)

As we can see from the chart above, drops in retail sales from the build-up to the festive season into the new year can amount to a 30% fall in purchases among consumers. The chart, which has plotted out the recent history of retail sales in the United Kingdom, shows that while spending has steadily increased, peaks in spending around Christmas time have been consistent until 2020. 

The arrival of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, however, pointed to a significant disruptive influence in retail sales online in the UK. With more citizens facing more time spent indoors while social distancing and isolating away from the pandemic, it appears that more online shoppers chose to spend their money on goods and services.

With the pandemic culminating in a widespread shift towards workers transitioning away from office commutes and towards working-from-home (WFH) and the continued prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic around much of the world, marketers may be facing a fresh opportunity to create successful marketing campaigns during this traditionally slow period for sales. 

Realizing The Greater Roles of Social Media in the WFH Landscape

The rise of WFH looks as though it’s here to stay, and this could carry significant ramifications for the world of marketing – especially as social media campaigns continue to gain traction among marketers aiming to generate greater brand awareness and loyalty alongside advertising campaigns. 

Social Media Usage

(Image: Marketing Charts)

According to the metrics above, social media usage in the US was set to accelerate significantly in the wake of COVID. With more citizens across the world unable to interact with friends and family in person, social media usage became more prevalent. With one social network, TikTok, experiencing a huge increase in users. 

Social Media During Covid-19

(Image: Marketing Charts)

The height of the pandemic saw more marketers take to tapping into the potential of this huge new network of active social media users. In fact, as much as 84.2% of CMOs looked to use social media to build brand awareness online, while customer retention and acquisition both ranked high. 

While businesses can certainly tap into social media for continued campaigning following the conclusion of the festive season, one of the most significant drawbacks of this time of year amounts to how best marketers can utilize their social media campaigns to draw in new and returning customers. 

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the key ways in which CMOs are looking to keep things fresh when it comes to content in the new year: 

Champion Community Interactions

There are few better ways of entering the new year successfully than to work towards championing community-driven content. By opening your business up to its community, you can not only share their content but also build a significant level of brand loyalty and awareness online. It’s even possible to build a space for dedicated users to interact with each other and share their experiences and ideas using platforms like Mighty Networks or Zapnito

Kristen Baker, a marketing manager at HubSpot explained that “in today’s highly digital and connected society, it’s funny to think people can still feel disconnected from others. This goes for personal relationships as well as business relationships – specifically between brands and their customers as well as brands and their employees. So, what is it that has people feeling a disconnect to others and the companies they do business with? It’s a lack of community.”

One key example of an organisation building a huge cross-platform community through marketing can be found on Netflix. When the company teamed up with content marketing agency, Mustache, the result amounted to a series of new social media accounts using the @NetflixIsAJoke handle to post funny videos, memes and other forms of content. 

The campaign prompted a vibrant community across a range of platforms and generated around 3.5 million new followers for Netflix in the process. 

By spending the quieter months following the festive period working on building a community and engaging more with your social media followers, you could not only establish more brand loyalty but build a deeper understanding of who your customers are and the sort of content they would like to see. You could even invite them to create content on your behalf and share the best entries in return for a prize. 

As marketing budgets tighten following the holiday season, user-generated content can pay dividends in keeping your social media followers engaged and continually clicking on your brand for updates. This, in turn, can lead to a healthy boost to website traffic, conversions, and much more engagement later on when new promotions kick-off. 

Work on More Organic Promotions

There are many reasons why the new year is a good time to start interacting more with your customers. In the age of WFH, it’s likely that they’ll have more time to spend on social media, and in those long drawn out winter months, they may actually crave some interaction with people – even if that ‘someone’ actually turns out to be a brand. 

You can help to foster a sense of loyalty by introducing a more evergreen promotion in the form of a loyalty scheme. As a new year arrives, customers may be looking for new challenges, and a loyalty or referral program could be perfect for keeping them engaged in those early months. 

There are plenty of ways in which you can introduce a loyalty program specific to your business. The classic approach made popular by both coffee shops and bookshops is a stamp card where every purchase equals a stamp. After a pre-determined number of stamps, the customer can receive a free product or service – or a freebie. 

If your business is more heavily dependent on service subscriptions, then it’s possible to run a referral program where customers get discounts for referring friends. You could also introduce tiered loyalty schemes where customers can move through tiers based on the purchases they make. The higher the tier they’re in, the greater the discounts. 

Naturally, these more organic and evergreen promotions encourage customers to convert more often, knowing that they’ll be rewarded for their loyalty. At a time that’s traditionally much more tranquil following the frantic festive season, loyalty rewards can bring a significant boost to conversions. 

Promote Self Improvement

The rise of the pandemic has led to a widespread increase in self-improvement measures. Whether it’s eating healthily, regular exercise or mindfulness, it seems that these trends are likely to continue in the age of WFH. 

This could be a significant opportunity for social media marketers who are looking to increase brand loyalty in the new year. Your social media marketing efforts can resonate with consumers more by promoting self-improvement. 

Be sure to generate trust in your brand by sharing your expertise, creating tutorials to share across social media (these can be video-based or textual), or even creating online courses central to your content. 

These approaches can add value to your business on social media, and followers will feel emboldened in following you and taking on the information that you share. 

The notion of self-improvement can be a significant tool for businesses to use in their marketing campaigns in January and February, where New Year’s resolutions remain fresh in the minds of consumers online. Position your online self-improvement materials on your social media accounts as a means of offering your followers the opportunity to learn through your company’s expertise. 

This social media marketing approach can be created as a freebie or as a paid service, but as long as it demonstrates value to your customers, it’s an effective way of resonating with their mindsets following on from the festive period. This boost in loyalty and awareness among your social media follower will lead to more click-throughs on to your landing page and subsequently more conversions from users who were content with your self-improvement content. 

Content Trial and Error

Of course, it’s vital at this time of year to continually monitor the performance of your campaigns. Raw metrics are likely to show drops in the number of conversions being made with your company, so it’s important to look elsewhere for key indicators surrounding how your campaigns are taking shape. 

By running links to your website’s landing pages from social media, you can actively review each step of your sales funnel through dedicated analytics engines like Google Analytics and Finteza. Both platforms are capable of providing rich insights into the causes of page and cart abandonment and various bouncebacks. 

Google Analytics

(Image: EasyAutoTagging)

At a time of year where consumer spending is largely frantic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your funnels are kept squeaky clean and free of any potential sticking points for non-committal visitors. 

Be sure to regularly monitor your social media links and posts, and always compare and contrast your performance by looking into the various impressions you’re getting and the click-through rate that they’re generating. 

It may even be worth setting up different landing pages for each social media platform so you can better identify the best-optimised campaign for each network. 

As the frantic festive period and the huge marketing pushes of companies become a memory, it can be much more difficult to generate campaigns that can see similar levels of traction. In markets with a little less consumer spending power, the process of trial and error can really pay dividends in spotting newly emerging trends and capitalizing on them.

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The post How to Win Social Media Conversions After The Holiday Rush appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/01/how-to-win-social-media-conversions-after-the-holiday-rush/

5 Insights to Boost Your Brand’s Social Presence in 2021 and Beyond

It’s been a whirlwind of a year and anticipating what lies ahead is no easier to navigate. Our friends at Hootsuite launched their 5th annual Social Trends report illuminating the top trends set to shape brands in 2021 and how to adapt and thrive. You can download the full report here, but here’s a peek at some of the high-level insights backed by the brightest minds in marketing and data.

A shift to short-term ROI

This year saw a rush to deliver a short-term return on investment (ROI) to recoup lost sales from the upheaval of the pandemic. In fact, 73 percent of all marketers ranked “increased acquisition of new customers” as their top outcome for social in 2021, compared to only 46% last year, marking a 58 percent year-over-year increase. This has led to a very transaction-focused year.

But transactions alone don’t create memorable brands or long-term growth.

That’s why you need to innovate to win long-term loyalty and engagement. How? By bringing back the fun to the buying process, making shopping more social and using social as a way to connect with customers, foster loyalty, and prevent disjointed experiences.


Finding your place in social conversations


The uptick in social media use in 2020 translated into numerous opportunities for brands. Unfortunately, many faltered by jumping in too soon instead of taking crucial time to listen to their audiences. The reality is, many people want to engage with each other, not brands. Those that let their audiences guide them were able to find spaces where they could fit into the conversation in a meaningful and authentic way. 



Brands who will find success in 2021 are not necessarily the ones leading the conversation, but rather finding creative avenues to fit into it and break through the walls of indifference.

To join the conversation instead of just interrupting, lean into user-generated content (UGC) in lieu of costly content production, bolster social listening to find where you fit, and pick your time and place for engagement and participation. 



The tipping point for baby boomers

Baby boomers are spending even more time on social platforms now as a result of the pandemic, yet marketers still overlook and under-represent this lucrative group in favor of targeting younger demographics.

Why? For one, we have a tendency to fall prey to the irresistible chase of newness—rather than pursuing effectiveness. To capitalize on boomers’ growing tech enthusiasm, look to smart segmentation and thoughtful representation. That’s how savvy brands like yours will leapfrog over companies still stereotyping. 




Tying engagement data to identity

Social media isn’t simply about racking up likes, those are just a means to an end. You want to make sure your social efforts drive real results for your business. To do it, move beyond reactions and dig deeper to see how social data can help you understand your customers better.

Linking social media engagement to identity is more critical than ever for marketers. After so many traditional approaches fell by the wayside, it’s become the strongest bridge between brands and customers. To achieve this, look to establish a solid UTM framework for both paid and organic ads and integrate your data into your CRMs. This will ensure greater visibility into customer touchpoints and untapped opportunities.

Success will boil down to taking steps — big or small — to gather key insights from quantifiable data. Be sure to map these back to your broader marketing objectives to avoid getting lost in a pit of attribution or stuck measuring social in a silo.

Becoming a purpose-driven brand

While 2020 wasn’t the beginning of the shift towards purpose-driven marketing, it kicked things into high gear.

Now 53 percent of people say they want brands to proactively make the world a better place.

Becoming a purpose-driven brand isn’t something you can fake or simply mimic on social media. You can’t tick a box and be done. Brands must be cognizant of what is going on in the world and take into consideration the conversations already unfolding. If you’re going to take a stance, make sure your actions back it up.

In 2021, the strongest brands will balance the twin demands of building a better business and better world. This strategy must start in your boardroom and should use social listening to learn and gain intelligence.

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The post 5 Insights to Boost Your Brand’s Social Presence in 2021 and Beyond appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/12/5-insights-to-boost-your-brands-social-presence-in-2021-and-beyond/