Tag: Tips / How To

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/

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/

How Huel Uses Social Media to Reach an Audience of 400,000+

How Huel Uses Social Media to Reach an Audience of 400,000+

It all started with a mission. Julian Hearn wanted to create a business he was proud of — a business that was about more than profit; that did the right thing for the planet, for its staff, and its customers.

That mission led to the launch of Huel.

Huel offers nutritionally complete food, delivered to your door. It’s flagship powder product is made from plant-based sustainable ingredients like oats, flaxseed, and coconut, and offers consumers a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional meals and snacks.

Since its launch in 2015, Huel has sold over 100 million meals and built up a passionate audience of over 400,000 followers across social media channels.

How Buffer helps Huel to connect with customers across platforms

Finding the right software is a challenge for marketers. It’s especially difficult in the social media space. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are constantly evolving, and as a result, the needs of marketers are always changing.

“It’s difficult to find something that does it all,” explains Tim Urch, Social Media Manager at Huel.

How Huel Uses Social Media to Reach an Audience of 400,000+
Tim Urch, Social Media Manager at Huel

But working with Buffer has enabled Huel to connect with its audience — and grow its presence — across platforms. “I’ve used Buffer since I started at Huel in 2016,” Urch explained, and Buffer has helped Huel to navigate the waves of organic reach and maximize every opportunity to reach its most passionate advocates in their social feeds.

“Because the reach of organic content on social media is limited, getting those messages in front of as many people as you can is essential,” according to Urch. To achieve this he uses a multi-platform approach. This ensures Huel is connecting with and building lasting relationships with its key target customer groups where they naturally choose to engage with content.

I’ve found that the type of follower across social media platforms is different. People have their go-to social media, so if we have a key message we want to get out, it’s important to share it cross platform

Huel uses Buffer to manage its global social media presence made up of 10 profiles across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

How Huel Uses Social Media to Reach an Audience of 400,000+
Huel uses Buffer to plan and share social content across their channels

It’s great for managing our social publishing schedule. We can easily tailor our messages to each social platform and review everything in one place.” says Urch

Keeping feeds filled with valuable content

When it comes to keeping Huel’s social media feed filled, Urch focuses on creating content that has a purpose beyond simply generating ‘Likes’. “[We] create content that first and foremost is useful or adds value for our audience,” he explains.

Whenever we think about content we’ve got to consider how it can be useful to our Hueligans [an affectionate term for Huel customers], why would someone want to subscribe to our content and have it appear in their newsfeed?”

For Huel, that content might be tips for product success, nutrition advice from its world class nutrition team, business advice from its founder, or simply fun, relatable content which makes the audience feel part of its unique tribe.

But there’s a balance that Urch aims for. “As a brand we also need to talk about our products, a bit,” he explains.

Creating a sweet spot between what we want to say and what our audience wants to hear is tough – when those two things are the same, we’ve struck gold

Tying entertaining content with the product is Huel’s sweet spot

Generating original content ideas

Anyone who has worked in social media will understand the challenge of keeping your content calendar brimming with ideas. It’s no small task, especially when you’re managing multiple profiles across platforms.

But over time, the Huel team has built up strong instincts about what will work on its social channels, and when planning content, Huel aims to challenge the norms.

A lot of our most successful content has been instinctive, stuff that just came to me or someone in the team,” says Urch. “It might feel a bit left of field, a bit wacky, like a meme or a bold statement that might ruffle some feathers.

Huel’s take on the #dollypartonchallenge

It takes time to build this type of understanding with your audience where you know something will just click — remember Urch has been with the brand for over four years — and as a brand learns more about its audience, its team can begin to lean on intuition a little more. “Something I’ve learned is to trust those gut feelings,” he says. “Part of Huel’s DNA is about thinking a little different.

Managing social media as part of a team

Content ideas are just one side of the coin for brands. The other is collaboration.

Content ideas can come from anywhere. Everyone uses social media and therefore, unlike in other more technical disciplines, everyone knows what could work

So as a Social Media Manager, Urch believes an important skill is to let go of the reins and utilise the team around you. “We have a team of marketing rock stars,” he says. “We brainstorm ideas together all the time, but what about the rest of the business?

To aid collaboration across the team, Urch recently was set up a Slack channel called #social-hit-squad. In this channel a group of about 15 teammates from all areas of the business come together to share ideas and inspiration. But Urch also uses it as a testing ground for his own strategies and content. “We share ideas and I temperature check my own ideas with them too. This has meant our content is more reactive, varied and successful.

From ‘check out’ to checkout

While striking the balance between keeping fans entertained and selling products is a challenge, Huel use Shop Grid to help their Instagram audience navigate their way from their Instagram page to their online store.

How Huel Uses Social Media to Reach an Audience of 400,000+
Shop Grid helps Huel connect their Instagram account to their website

If our Instagram content triggers something in our audience that makes them want to learn more, or buy one of our products, then we want to help facilitate that. Shop Grid is a really simple way for our customers to tap through from a post to our website. It’s qualified traffic with purchase intent,” explains Tim.


Managing a multi-channel strategy in the fast-moving world of social media is a huge challenge for any team. Buffer is proud to play a part in supporting Huel as it builds its brand and audience across social media channels. We hope you can find some inspiration from their approach!

https://buffer.com/resources/how-huel-uses-social-media-to-reach-an-audience-of-over-400-000/

How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

Launched in April 2020, Jot Coffee, a newly launched DTC (direct-to-consumer) coffee brand, has quickly picked up steam as the new at-home coffee brand that delivers an exceptionally delicious experience, both in-person and digitally. But how did they manage to generate so much interest and excitement for their launch?

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how Jot built excitement for its launch on Instagram and how to create a community from day one. You’ll hear directly from Jackie Modena, Director of Community at Jot, and you’ll learn:

  • Where to find inspiration for creating on-brand social media content
  • How to plan for a successful new brand or product launch on Instagram
  • How to generate pre-launch interest, UGC (user-generated content), and followers
  • How to engage with your brand’s community in a timely manner
  • How to stay up to date on social media trends and updates
How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

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 also have the ability to watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.


Who are you?

Hi, I’m Jackie Modena! I’m with Jot, a newly launched DTC company that makes a first-of-its-kind 20x concentrated Ultra Coffee from fair trade, organic beans. All it takes is one tablespoon of our Ultra Coffee to create delicious, café-quality drinks at home, like iced lattes, americanos, and cappuccinos. We have a small but mighty (and highly caffeinated) team based out of Boulder, CO.

I’m Jot’s Director of Community, where I oversee the strategic direction of our social media, develop content, engage with and grow our community, manage influencer partnerships, and work closely with PR, performance marketing and customer service.

How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

I’ve previously held in-house marketing and social media roles at other national CPG companies like Ripple Foods and ICONIC Protein, and prior to that, worked for a boutique PR agency that specialized in servicing natural & organic CPG food, beverage and lifestyle brands.

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

When we first started out with our social channels, we developed a set of creative guidelines to help inform the types of content, visual direction and aesthetic that we wanted to create.

We were also fortunate to launch with some amazing GIF, video and still content from an early creative shoot organized by our branding agency, Red Antler. Those assets really helped to set the foundation for the tone and visual direction of our social media. From there, it was easy to find content partners and curated content that fit our aesthetic. For inspiration, I follow relevant Instagram hashtags that either tie directly to our brand or to an aesthetic (ex. #coffeephotography, #coffeevibes, #morninglight, #lightsandshadows, etc.), look to other brand accounts (both competitors and other categories), and follow my favorite creator accounts for inspiration.

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

I try to consolidate things as much as possible, so that I’m not bouncing around from platform to platform all day. That’s what makes Buffer such a great tool—I’m able to manage our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all in one place.

While we typically have ‘themes’ or overarching content initiatives that we plan six months to a year in advance, I only look to schedule content a few weeks out—and even then, I consider it a rough plan. Things can change so quickly, and it’s important to be able to pivot quickly and adapt to the landscape.

While we typically have ‘themes’ or overarching content initiatives that we plan six months to a year in advance, I only look to schedule content a few weeks out

From there, as it relates to Instagram, my day-to-day looks like the following:

  1. I’m checking in on UGC via our tagged posts and hashtags, and engaging with members of community who share their Ultra Coffee photos and recipes. We try to encourage customers to use #jotcoffee and #justonetablespoon, and we’re currently running a #summerofjot campaign.
  2. I’m checking in on stories and DMs throughout the day, to engage with our customers, re-share stories to our own story, and field any customer service-related questions that might come in.
  3. I like to keep an eye on the engagement on Facebook and Instagram ads, both to moderate any comments that violate our community guidelines and to answer questions from consumers who might be curious about our product.

How do you plan for a successful new brand or product launch?

As a marketer, brand and product launches are some of my favorite initiatives to plan, strategize and execute.

With Jot, when it came to Instagram specifically, we were careful to start curating our feed with on-brand, aesthetic content (and I think this can be a great time to utilize more ambitious grid-style posts that span 3-, 6- or 9-feed posts in size) leading up to our launch, without showing the actual product.

How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy
Jot’s pre-launch grid-style post that spanned 6-feed posts.

While we planned to have a presence on all the major social media platforms, we knew that Instagram was going to be a main priority for us and where we’d be dedicating a majority of our resources when it came to content, influencer and community.

To help generate pre-launch interest, followers and UGC, we launched a friends & family program in the weeks before our official launch, and encouraged participants to share their Ultra Coffee experience with us. This allowed us to start gathering early customer feedback and troubleshooting possible customer service and community questions.

To help generate pre-launch interest, followers and UGC, we launched a friends & family program in the weeks before our official launch, and encouraged participants to share their Ultra Coffee experience with us.

We also received a lot of great unboxing and other UGC content for social, which we started gathering and saving to ensure we’d have enough content on our launch day to really make a splash. Again, a tool like Buffer can be really helpful in this regard, because you can start to build up your content database and schedule out your launch day posts and stories (knowing how hectic launch days usually are, this can be a huge time-saver!).

In terms of other product launches I’ve worked on in the past for more established companies with an existing community, I think it’s fun to build anticipation with teaser posts leading up to the official launch. It gets the community engaged and involved and almost makes the launch into a game (you could even tie in a giveaway if someone guesses the correct new flavor/product).

What marketing/social media advice do you have for brands that are pre-launch?

I’d establish yourself on all the main social channels (and try to keep a consistent handle across all platforms) but figure out which channels are going to be your main focus.

For us as a DTC consumer product, it made sense that Instagram, and to an extent Facebook, would be an important part of our marketing strategy, so it was really essential that we nailed it on those platforms. We have more flexibility when it comes to posting cadence and strategy for our other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and TikTok, which allows us to be a little more experimental in our content.

When you’re a small startup, you’re only going to have so many resources—time, budget, manpower—to devote to your social channels, so invest wisely in your primary channels while maintaining relevant content on your secondary channels.

What’s your number one tip for engaging with your brand’s community?

Time is of the essence, so check in with your platforms of highest engagement frequently. If your priority platform is Instagram and that’s where you’re seeing the most engagement, you don’t need to necessarily be glued to Instagram all day but consider designating a few 15-minute chunks of time throughout the day as Instagram check-in time and even blocking your calendar as such.

Time is of the essence, so check in with your platforms of highest engagement frequently.

I do think it’s important to try and engage in a timely manner, whether it’s through DMs, a comment on a piece of UGC, or a comment on a post, because your followers are more likely to still be active on the platform and see your engagement.

I’ve also seen instances where follower conversations or questions can snowball in an unintended direction, or misinformation can be spread, if the brand doesn’t engage quickly enough with the community, so try to monitor and stay on top of conversations as they happen rather than being days behind and trying to do damage control later.

How do you stay up to date on social media trends?

I find that many of the social media scheduling and influencer platforms I utilize have fantastic blogs and email newsletters (including Buffer!) so make sure you’re signed up to receive their communications—they often have all the latest news & updates on the major social media platforms and trends in the space.

I have a few newsletters I’m subscribed to as well—The Hustle, Lean Luxe, and Morning Brew’s new marketing-centric newsletter, for a quick take on trends in retail, marketing and DTC businesses.

Finally, I’d recommend seeking out a few networking groups specific to your position or industry. I really like the Create & Cultivate and Women in Influencer Marketing Facebook groups—they’re a great way to share resources, ask questions, discuss ideas/approaches and meet others in the industry. Since conferences and trade shows are off the table at the moment, these kinds of groups can be a great stand-in for in-person networking opportunities and can lead to collaborating, brainstorming and sharing.

How do you take your Ultra Coffee?

My favorite everyday way to take my Ultra Coffee is in an iced latte—it’s as simple as 8 oz milk (I prefer Oatly Barista Style), ice, and a tablespoon of Ultra Coffee.

When I want to switch things up, I go for one of our new #summerofjot recipes: one tablespoon of Ultra Coffee, 6 oz water, one tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1.5 tbsp maple, and ice – for a refreshing and unique Cold Brew Lemonade.

View this post on Instagram

Iced coffee season has officially returned. To celebrate, we’re hosting our first Ultra Coffee recipe contest. It’s as simple as whipping up your favorite iced or cold Ultra Coffee beverage, snapping a photo or video, and sharing it using #summerofjot. ⁣ ⁣ We’ll be selecting three winners by 7/3 to receive a three-month Ultra Coffee subscription (3x bottles, every 4 weeks). ⁣ ⁣ In addition, as part of our ongoing efforts to support the Black Lives Matter movement, for every entry received we’ll be making a $10 donation to @thelovelandfoundation, an organization that brings opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls.⁣ ⁣ We’ll be sharing some of our favorite iced and cold summer-ready recipes over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out if you need some inspiration. ⁣ ⁣ For more details, check out our #summerofjot stories highlight.

A post shared by Jot (@jot) on


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

Have any questions for Jackie? Feel free to drop your question in a comment and Jackie, or someone from the Buffer team, will get to them as soon as possible.

https://buffer.com/resources/jot-coffee-social-media-strategy/

A Crash Course in Microcopy: How to Craft the Perfect Words for Social Media Captions


Copywriting is one of the most essential skills for a marketer to have.

Good copy is everywhere! Websites, advertisements, blog posts, and especially on social media.

We want to give you the tools to write exceptional copy for even the tiniest of things on social: captions, tweets, Stories, and more.

Consider this a crash course in copywriting for all the little things you write on social media everyday. Every word counts, and we want to help make sure even your small words have a big impact!

Keep reading for many tips on how to craft the perfect words and phrases in your captions, tweets, and Stories.


First things first: The basics of length and character limits

Let’s start at the top …

What’s the best length for your social media copy?

We sometimes bristle a bit at the notion of “best,” only because “best” seems to be more and more relative to each particular social media account today. Your best length of post is unique to you and is based on your social media stats. 

That being said, when you look in aggregate, these are some good guidelines and starting points for you to test with.

On Facebook, several studies have found that statuses around 40 to 80 characters perform best. (The previous sentence was right around 80 characters, if that helps you imagine how much to write.)

Headlines for Facebook ads are even shorter. An AdEspresso study found that the most popular headline length for ads was just five words.

Here are all the major character limits for Facebook:

  • Facebook Posts: 63,206 characters
  • Facebook Ads image/ video: body text – 125 characters
  • Facebook Ads (link) image/ video: headline – 25 characters
  • Facebook Ads (link) image/ video: link description – 30 characters
  • Facebook Ads (all types) – no image can be more than 20% text

For your Instagram captions, you can write reallllllly long … The caption limit is 2,200 characters. Again, your particular “best” length will be unique to you. But if you’re looking for a place to start, the team at Social Report found that captions less than 125 characters do best. 

This doesn’t necessarily include hashtags either. Many brands add multiple hashtags either to their caption or to the first comment of their post. Best practices range anywhere from 4 to 9 hashtags being ideal. 

We recently launched a feature within Buffer that lets you save hashtag groups to use again. You can start a free trial at buffer.com to give it a try. 

Here are the limits for Instagram:

  • Instagram Caption Character Limit: 2,200 characters
  • Instagram Hashtag Limit: 30 hashtags
  • Instagram Ads image/ video: text – 2 rows of text
  • Instagram Ads (all types) – no image can be more than 20% text

On Twitter, you have up to 280 characters to use. The most common lengths for tweets are somewhere between 71 and 100 characters.

And on Pinterest, you can write a title and description for your pin. For the title, you have up to 100 characters to use and with the description you get 500 characters. The first 50-60 characters are most likely to show up in people’s feeds, and if you don’t put in a title, then people see your description instead. So it’s definitely important to key in on those first words in your description.

Ok, now that you know the boundaries for your copy on social media, let’s talk about a couple more social-specific copywriting tips. These tie directly into your social media strategy, too, so they shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.


1. Begin your planning with copy (not visuals)

What’s your process for coming up with social media copy? 

We often think of the visuals being the primary asset in a great social media post, but …

What if you started with copywriting first? 

It might not be the way that everyone does it, but those that do, they swear by this process. On her blog, Karola Karlson shares her four-step process, which features copy before visuals:

  • Step 1: Plan what you want to say
  • Step 2: Plan the exact wording
  • Step 3: Develop the post’s design
  • Step 4: Upload and publish your message

You can definitely experiment with the order in which you set things up. Reach out to us on social with hashtag #bufferpodcast to let us know how you do it. 

2. Pay Attention to Trending Content

These trends can be incredibly helpful for that initial stage of “planning what to say.” For instance, you can check a social media event calendar to see what’s happening this week. Or, you can eye a section like Twitter’s trends to see what people are talking about right now. 

This is especially useful when you’re planning the exact wording of what to say because you might want to incorporate a popular hashtag or some new Internet lingo. 

Staying on top of the social trends will help your copy feel relevant and memorable. 

3. Be Aware of Keywords and Hashtags for Discoverability

This is where discoverability and copywriting combine. You’ll need to be thinking about both. 

Of course, there can definitely be times when you opt for a more clever wording over a clear keyword. And that’s okay — especially if it fits your brand voice, and particularly on personality-rich places like Twitter and Instagram. 

When you’re optimizing for discoverability and search — for instance, on a site like Pinterest — you’ll want to consider your keywords and hashtags. Pinterest engineer Heath Vinicombe recently shared how Pinterest’s AI comes up with keywords based on what you write in your captions, so it pays to be clear.

And while we’re on the topic of social-specific copywriting, I wanted to mention a couple quick formatting tips, too:

  • You can use caps lock to highlight certain words in your text. 
  • Line spacing can help split long paragraphs into multiple text blocks. 
  • Same goes with bullet points and emoji — these can help break up blocks of text.
  • On Twitter in particular, our best-performing tweets use a line breaks and then an emoji as a bullet point at the start of each new line.

4. Use these tips to find the perfect word to use

The word might be a power word, one of those catchy words that convert and get people to click. Or maybe it’s just a word that sounds cool.

In terms of power words, we highly encourage you to check out the post above. Super quick, we’ll mention that the five most persuasive words in the English language are:

  • You
  • Free
  • Because
  • Instantly
  • New

We also love a few catchy ones like “Suddenly,” “Remarkable,” and “Announcing,” too.

But let’s come back to that concept of cool-sounding words.

How do you find a cool-sounding word?

One way is to consider the specific letters in the words you’re using, particularly when it comes to stop consonants and glide consonants.

Stop consonants are those that cause the vocal tract to block when pronouncing the consonant.

Glide consonants do not obstruct the vocal tract and are quite frictionless when spoken.

If you’re thinking, Huh? We were too! It’s a bit confusing until you hear some examples. 

Here’s an example that uses stop consonants. See if you can hear the staccato rhythm:

Somewhere a ponderous tower clock slowly dropped a dozen strokes into the gloom.

– James Thurber, The Wonderful O

And here’s one that uses glide consonants. Hopefully you can hear a smoother flow.

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.

–  Nathaniel Hawthorne

The effect of a stop consonant is to slow the flow of a word or sentence, thereby bringing a certain focus to a particular word or phrase.  Stop consonants help highlight what comes next. Stop consonants include:

  • t
  • d
  • k
  • g
  • b
  • p

Glide consonants, on the other hand, can lead to a really smooth flow from word to word and in the greater context of a sentence or paragraph.Glide consonants include:

  • l
  • r
  • j
  • w

So, now that we know how words are constructed to sound good and capture attention, next comes the work of …

5. Structure your words so that they have maximum impact (literary devices)

There are some interesting literary devices you can use here, too. One that I wanted to point out in particular though is parallelism.

With parallelism, you repeat words and sentence structures in a strategic way. There’s a really cool and catchy rhythm to this type of writing. Here’s an example you might have heard of:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness

Now, one of the most interesting parts of writing great captions is knowing where to put your strongest words and sentences. Do you put them at the beginning, the middle, or the end?

One way we like to think of it is that you want to guide the reader through your text. 

In order to do this, you need to capture attention first. You can do this by using a power word to start, by placing your key message in the first sentence, or by using short, “be”-sentences to start a paragraph. “Be”-sentences are those simple ones that include a “be” verb like

  • am
  • is
  • are
  • was
  • were
  • be
  • being
  • been

Once you have your reader hooked, you can keep them interested in the caption by using some of the methods we mentioned earlier about catchy words and phrases. Then, when you get to the end, try a “climax expression.” Basically: Whatever your most important phrase is within your sentence, have it come last.

Another way to capture people’s attention is to …

6. Try some proven copywriting formulas

There are a bunch to choose from. We’ll run through a few of our favorites, and link to a bunch of others in the show notes.

If – then

As you could probably tell, this formula begins with an “if” statement … If you have this particular need … and it follows with a “then” … then here’s the solution. 

What Most People Do…

The hook of this formula is that, unfortunately, people might be doing the wrong thing. But that’s okay! Your copy is here to show the right way. An example of this might be: “What most people do about writing social media captions is think of them as an afterthought. Yikes! Here’s why you should think copy-first.”

Imagine if … // You’re standing at a crossroads

Another popular construction is to get people to dream about the future. So formulas like “Imagine if …” can be really effective. 

And a related one is the phrase:“You’re standing at a crossroads.” This makes the reader feel like they are at a decision-making point, and then your copy can help them make that decision. 

Before – After – Bridge

The way it works is that you show your audience what life is like right now, then show them how things could be better afterward. Then bridge the two by explaining how your solution can help. 

We use before-after-bridge a lot with our blog post introductions, too.

We could go on and on for hours about more formulas and copywriting tips, but we imagine this might be enough to chew on for one day. We’ll link to a bunch of additional resources below. 


How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!


About The Science of Social Media podcast

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

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/yDaXyesTk4M/copywriting-microcopy

10 Important Skills and Traits Your Social Media Manager Will Need

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

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

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

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

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

social-media-manager-skills

Skills vs Traits

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

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

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

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

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

(Image from The Huffington Post)

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

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

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

Buffer T-shaped marketer diagram

7 skills top social media managers share

1. Copywriting

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

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

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

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

Before – After – Bridge

Before – Here’s your world …

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

Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

Example:

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

Resources

2. Design (Graphics and Videos)

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

43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content.

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

Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources

4. Customer Service / Community Engagement

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

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

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

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

Resources

5. Behavioral Psychology

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

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

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

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

Resources

6. Analytics

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

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

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

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

Resources

7. Budgeting

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

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

Paid advertising budget spreadsheet template

(Image from HubSpot)

Resources

3 personality traits great social media managers exhibit

8. Curiosity

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

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

Snap Spectacles a Buffer Review

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

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

Resources

9. Adaptability

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

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

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

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

Resources

10. Business Savviness

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

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

Resources

Skills and traits others think are important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over to you

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

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

Thank you!

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

We Analyzed 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the World’s Top Brands (New Stories Research)

An incredible 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing by the minute).

Besides being an interesting and fun way to connect with friends and family, stories offer businesses a unique opportunity to capture the direct attention of audiences and potential customers.

Instagram Stories Research - Stories Growth

But where do you start? And what makes for great stories content? We partnered with Delmondo to answer these questions, and more!

Together we analyzed more than 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the world’s top brands in one of the largest Instagram Stories research studies to date.

Today, we’re excited to share this brand new research with you (spoiler alert: Instagram Stories content is incredibly engaging) as well as proven best-practices on how your business can create content for Instagram Stories that both engages, and converts.

Let’s dive in!

Table of contents

Key findings from analyzing 15,000 Instagram Stories


Delmondo is a Facebook and Instagram Media Solutions Partner and was the first to launch Instagram Stories analytics in the summer of 2017. In doing so, they now have access to some of the most robust Instagram Stories data on the planet, which powers a ton of incredible research studies like this one where they shared findings from more than 5,000 Instagram Stories.

Earlier this month, we approached their team with one (not-so-simple) question:

How are Instagram Stories performing for brands and businesses heading into 2019?

Here’s what we learned…

1. One to seven stories is the optimal posting length

It’s long been debated whether or not posting more leads to better results on social media. Many brands report a positive increase in results when they post more, while others experience the opposite.

Which is exactly why we wanted to know what top brands are experiencing when it comes to optimal posting length. I.e., how many individual stories produce the highest completion rate.

Completion rate is determined by calculating the number of times your stories were watched from the first story frame all the way to the last story frame within the given 24-hour time period.

What we found is that one to seven stories is the optimal posting length:

Optimal Instagram Stories Length

After seven stories, completion rate drops to below 70 percent.

However, it’s important to note here that this is more of a guide than a hard limit on the best time to post to Instagram Stories. It’s crucial to experiment with various story lengths and use your own data to determine what works for you.

Even if your brand or business posts a longer story length, say 12 to 20 story frames, the results are still phenomenal. There is very little difference in completion rate between 12 and 20 frames as there is between one and seven.

Perhaps more incredibly, top accounts that post 20 or more stories still see a 55 percent or greater completion rate, proving just how engaging stories content can be at any length.

2. The best time to post to Instagram Stories is outside of work hours

One of the most interesting takeaways from our research with Delmondo is around the best time(s) to post to stories. Given the ephemeral nature of stories, brands that work hard to create great Stories content will want to maximize the reach of that content.

And while there are hundreds of different factors that go into the Instagram Stories algorithm, post timing arguably still plays a key role in the success of your content.

We found that there are four distinct spikes in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. In other words, outside of normal U.S. working hours (all times are Eastern):

Best Times to Post Instagram Stories - Instagram Stories Research

Based on the data above, the best times to post to Instagram Stories are:

  • 4am – 6am Eastern Time
  • 8am – 10am Eastern Time
  • 12pm – 2pm Eastern Time
  • 8pm – 10pm Eastern Time

One hypothesis for this finding is that people have more time to watch Instagram Stories before work, during their lunch break, and in the evenings after work. Posting during these prime hours will give your stories the extra boost they need.

3. More content leads to greater median reach and impressions

Another reason that Instagram Stories are such a powerful channel for brands and businesses is that the threshold for content consumption appears to be higher.

There is only so much space in the news feed. The more content that people and brands post, the less space there is for everyone else. Because stories disappear after 24 hours, that makes more room, so to speak, for fresh new content to be shown.

The data from our research shows that the more stories top Instagram accounts post, the more median reach and impressions they get. We can definitively say that stories posting length has a positive correlation with reach and impressions metrics.

Correlation between stories length and median reach:

Instagram Stories Average Median Reach

Correlation between stories length and median impressions:

Instagram Stories Median Impressions

We’re not necessarily suggesting that brands and businesses start to post a ton of stories content just for the sake of posting, but the data shows that you can increases both median reach and median impressions by posting more content on Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories research benchmarks for specific verticals

In an effort to make this research even more interesting and valuable, we looked at four unique verticals to compare a variety of data points such as completion rates, posting frequency, and more. Those four verticals are, brand accounts, entertainment accounts, media accounts, and sports accounts.

We defined the industry verticals using the following criteria:

  • Brand: Consumer related products or service brand
  • Entertainment: TV/Movie networks, TV shows, movies, and similar
  • Media: Newspapers, news organizations, news websites, publishers
  • Sports: Sports or eSports teams, leagues and events

Hopefully the following Instagram Stories research will help shed some light into what the world’s top brands are experiencing in terms of results.

Average completion rate and stories length

First, we looked at how Instagram Stories performed for these four verticals in 2017 vs. 2018:

Year Over Year Instagram Stories Research Comparison

What’s incredible is that completion rate has risen by 12% for brands and businesses in just over one year. Meanwhile, accounts are posting slightly less stories content on average.

It’s worth reiterating here that all four verticals are seeing a 65% or greater average completion rate with Instagram Stories. Meaning that audiences are sticking around to watch this content at fairly high rates.

Average reach and impressions

Next, we wanted to know how Instagram Stories are performing for these verticals when it comes to reach and impressions (based on overall average follower size):

Average Reach vs. Impressions - Instagram Stories Research

It’s interesting to note that although average reach rate is 5.82 percent for all verticals, there is a huge swing between sports accounts and media accounts.

Still, in a social media world where average organic reach within the news feed is often less than four percent, a five percent (or greater) average reach rate is welcomed with open arms by many businesses.

Average posting frequency per month

Last, but not least, in addition to understanding how many individual frames per story (story length) are being posted by the world’s top brands on Instagram, we also wanted to know how often they are posting per month.

For this data point, we looked at how many individual days during the month, on average, these verticals posted to Instagram Stories.

Here’s what we found:

Instagram Stories Average Days Posting Per Month

Sports accounts are posting the most days per month (13.7), whereas brand accounts are posting the least amount of days per month (8.7).

Overall, we’re not at a point where brands are posting daily to Instagram Stories. However, as the popularity of Instagram Stories grows and businesses continue to see success with the channel, we predict that daily posting will become more of a common thread throughout different verticals.

Best practices for posting to Instagram Stories

Now that we’ve shared the data from more than 15,000 Instagram Stories, we thought it would be useful to provide a few actionable steps on what to do with all of this research.

Here are three key takeaways that your brand or business can get started with today.

1. Post your best stories content first

In their 2018 benchmark study, Delmondo found that, on average, more people exit on the first and last story frame than any other part of your stories.

Meaning, if your first story frame does not immediately capture the attention of your audience, they will quickly exit your stories content in search of something else.

Average Exits In Instagram Stories

Whether you’re promoting your product, giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or simply posting entertaining content, make sure that it hooks your audience in right from the beginning.

Airbnb, for example, slowly reveals content throughout their Instagram Stories in order to encourage users to move onto the next story frame – only revealing the answer on the very last story frame.

AirBnb Instagram Stories Example

Bonus tip: You’ll notice in the graph above that average exits decrease as users move through the story frames. For loyal users that make it all the way to the last story frame, we recommend including some kind of CTA to provide them with a “next step.”

2. Post consistently to stories

Today, Instagram Stories is one of the most engaging social media channels available. Completion rates are well-above 50 percent and more and more users are consuming stories content on a daily basis.

Now is the perfect time for your brand to experiment with Instagram Stories content.

The best part is, your stories don’t have to be complicated.

The Guardian found that for their Instagram Stories, simple static graphics and quick explainer videos outperformed their professionally-produced videos.

The North Face, for example, uses simple photos and text overlays to reinforce their brand using Instagram Stories:

The North Face Instagram Stories Example

Simplicity means:

  1. Using a background image to quickly tell a story
  2. Adding short copy to convey your message
  3. Decorating with minimal graphics and logos

And you’re done!

3. Calculate your own data

Of course, the research above is only the beginning for brands and businesses looking to improve their Instagram Stories content going into 2019.

In order to make the most out of this channel, it’s important that you accurately calculate your own stories data on a regular basis. Keeping a close eye on the following data points will ensure that you’re continually improving:

  • Completion rate
  • Reach and impressions
  • Exit rates according to story frame
  • Stories post timing
  • Stories length
  • And more!

One example of calculating data in action is when we began to experiment with Instagram Stories ads here at Buffer. Instagram Stories, compared to ads in the Facebook and Instagram news feed, have helped decrease our cost per click (CPC) to the Buffer Podcast landing page by more than 50 percent in some cases.

Other brands like Warby Parker are using Instagram Stories to promote their products in fun and interesting ways and comparing those results to traditional marketing channels such as email and content:

Warby Parker Instagram Stories Example

Before we go, a huge shoutout to Delmondo for helping us put together one of the largest Instagram Stories studies to date. If you’d like to learn more about all of the in-depth stories analytics and insights their platform provides, check them out at www.delmondo.co.

Tell them Brian sent you!

Over to you

I’d love to hear from you!

How are you feeling about your Instagram Stories strategy moving forward? Are you excited for the future of stories in general? What experiments do you plan on trying first?

Feel free to drop me a comment or question below about the data in this study or just to say “hello.”

I’m looking forward to chatting about this Instagram Stories research so that we can all learn from each other!

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/u1GnWmjdNG4/instagram-stories-research

7 Invaluable Marketing Skills That Help Teams Produce Consistently Great Content

In speaking with thousands of marketers and businesses over the past several years, we’ve learned that marketing has an incredible potential to impact people’s lives.

In fact, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

“The activity, set of institutions, skills, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

I love that. We as marketers are benefiting society at large!

But marketing skills and career growth don’t come easy in a field that moves at the speed of light. It seems like every week companies are demanding an evolved skill set out of their employees – giving rise to a new era of marketing roles such as the Full-Stack and T-Shaped Marketer.

Brands that can successfully bring a variety of people, marketing skills, and unique perspectives together have a huge advantage when it comes to providing value.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the incredible marketing team at Asana, a leading work management software, to break down the top 7 invaluable marketing skills that help some of the greatest brand teams on the planet produce consistently great content.

Let’s dive in!

7 Invaluable Marketing Skills for Team

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7 invaluable marketing skills for teams

As Sujan Patel writes on his blog, “the modern marketer has to be familiar with a lot, good at many, and master of a few.”

Having a variety of skills and tools not only provides ultimate flexibility as a team to create a variety of successful marketing campaigns, but it also allows each marketer to shine as an individual.

These 7 high-level marketing skills will help to ensure your team has ultimate flexibility and individuality.

1. Storytelling

There seems to be a general belief that marketing has always been about storytelling – and that marketers have always identified as natural storytellers.

But that may not be the case.

LinkedIn found that just seven years ago the number of marketers listing “storytelling” on their profile as a skill was obsolete. It didn’t exist at all as a respected marketing discipline.

Today, however, between 7 and 8 percent of all marketers on LinkedIn worldwide identify themselves as storytellers based on their profile descriptions and list of skills.

Storytelling Marketing Skills

As a marketer, storytelling doesn’t just mean telling your audience what your product or service does or what it has done. Effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to effectively communicate with them in an authentic and engaging way.

During the writing of this article, Asana CMO Dave King told me: “The best marketers are problem solvers and storytellers. Content creators should ask ‘what problem is this piece solving for my audience.’”

As marketers, there are endless ways to tell a story.

One of my favorite ways to develop a compelling story is to use “The Story Spine” formula created by professional playwright and improvisor Kenn Adams. Over the years, Pixar has won countless awards by using this formula, including 13 Academy Awards, 9 Golden Globes, and 11 Grammys.

The Story Spine - Pixar Marketing Skills

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

I encourage you to practice this formula for your own own brand, products, or services.

Let’s give it a shot with a brand we might all know of: Nike.

  • Once upon a time there was a passionate shoemaker that wanted to get his shoes into the hands of runners around the world.
  • Every day, he worked on perfecting his shoes so that these runners could perform at an optimum level.
  • But one day, this shoemaker realized that supplying shoes to thousands of runners around the world was no easy task.
  • Because of that, he worked harder and harder to ensure that he had the supply of products needed to be successful despite what critics said.
  • Because of that, his shoes continued to improve and more and more athletes started to wear them in prestigious competitions.
  • Until finally, it wasn’t just about running anymore. It became about something bigger – finding your inner champion doing what you love in gear that makes you feel great.

As Ken describes, “The Story Spine is not the story, it’s the spine. It’s nothing but the bare-boned structure upon which the story is built. And, that’s what makes it such a powerful tool.”

It’s up to us as marketers to fill in all the little nuances of the story.

2. Prioritizing

As many marketers know all too well – there is always something to be done.

Being an effective prioritizer is one of those marketing skills that doesn’t get talked about enough, but plays a huge role in the success of your team and content.

Producing consistently great content means saying yes to a handful of awesome content ideas/opportunities and saying no to others.

The Asana marketing team uses a project labeled “Content Opportunities” to which anyone in the company is highly encouraged to contribute ideas. Then, when their marketing team is ready to take action on a piece of content or campaign, they add it to their Editorial Calendar project.

Asana Dashboard - 7 Invaluable Marketing Skills

This management of ideas, projects, and initiatives is what allows them to be super focused and productive on a consistent basis.

So how can you develop prioritization as a marketing skill? And how can you prioritize content and campaigns that will perform at a high level?

That’s where the importance of goal-setting comes into play!

At Buffer, we’ve experimented with a variety of goal-setting frameworks such as OKRs, Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal-Setting, BHAGs, and lots more.

Today, our marketing team is using two types of goal-setting methods depending on the scope. For long-term planning and strategizing, we use a modified Warren Buffett Framework, and for short-term (experimental content), we use a framework called ICE.

The Modified Warren Buffett Framework

My colleague Hailley has long admired the original framework for setting goals from Warren Buffett – a method where you write down 25 things you want to accomplish in your career, and from that, pick the top five as the focus and put the other 20 on an “avoid at all costs” list.

We’ve since adopted a modified version of this goal-setting framework. Here’s a quick overview of how it works (with a real-life example goals from one of our 6-week cycles):

Step 1: Choose 10 goals

Brainstorm a list of 10 goals related to your work on the team that can be accomplished in a certain, predesignated timeframe.

Remember to focus on goals and not tasks. A good way to remember this is that tasks describe how you spend your time, whereas goals are your results.

Ex:

Warren Buffett Framework Step One

Step 2: Assign a “tag” to each goal

Next, go through and add a tag to each goal with the category that it falls into. The tagging system should be unique for each person.

Come up with your tags, and assign them to each of your 10 goals.

Ex:

Warren Buffett Framework Step Two

Step 3: Pick three goals to focus on (P1s)

This is the most difficult portion of the exercise! Refining the list from 10 to the three that you will focus on during the specified time period.

Pick one goal for each tag that you have on your list.

Ex:

Warren Buffett Framework Step Three

Then, add a P2 and a P3 to prioritize the rest of your goals within the list.

That doesn’t mean you have 10 goals all competing with each other at the same time.

It means that as soon as you complete a P1 in any one of the categories, you then (and only then) move onto your P2 and P3.

ICE Score Framework

“ICE” stands for Impact, Confidence, and Ease.

Below is a description of each element directly from the creators of the ICE Score Framework at GrowthHackers:

  • Impact: The possible impact the idea could have on the business if considered a “win
  • Confidence: This relates to how confident you are in whether it’ll result in a wi
  • Ease: This relates to how many resources, and what kind, are needed to implement the idea

For each idea, give each factor a score from one to ten. The overall score is determined by taking the average of the three scores. You should start with the idea that has the highest score.

ICE Score Framework - Marketing Skills

For example, let’s say you wanted to run a content partnership experiment with a peer or influencer within your industry (similar to this one!) Your ICE score might look like this:

  • Impact: 8
  • Confidence: 7
  • Ease: 7
  • Total: 22

Comparing that to other ICE scores, you can quickly determine which ideas to tackle next and which ones to table for the time being. Over time, you’ll be able to score ideas quickly and efficiently.

3. Collaborating

Why is team collaboration necessary?

Part of the answer, according to research from strategy professor Benjamin Jones at the Kellogg School, is that our individual knowledge base is becoming more and more specialized.

Jones gives a great example of the Wright Brothers and building an airplane:

“In 1903, two people designed and flew an airplane. Today, a Boeing 787 has dozens of specialists working on the engines alone. Then there are the controls, the hydraulics, the airframe itself. There is an incredible range of specialized skills needed.”

Generalist vs. Specialist Employee

There is an ever-growing need for collaboration among specialists (teams) within companies to get a product or service off of the ground.

In our experiences at Buffer and Asana, the most successful marketing teams coordinate on two important levels:

  1. Messaging: Ensuring there’s consistency in what is being said across channels (blog, website, social, etc.
  2. Distribution: Planning and sequencing content rollout for maximum impact across channels

By combining the right set of marketing skills in both messaging and distribution you are setting your campaigns up for a much higher rate of success.

Messaging

Whether you’re launching a full-on marketing campaign or simply posting a video to Facebook, creating a consistent message across channels is an important part of building your brand.

We’ve found that having effective collaboration tools in place makes all of the difference.

Here’s a quick example of some of the tools and workflows we use in order to help our teams create consistent messaging:

  • Kick off a conversation in messaging app, Slack, about the proposed idea or campaign:

Slack Screenshot

  • Start a doc in Dropbox Paper with additional details, comments, copy, etc:

Dropbox Paper Flow

  • Create a project within Asana and assign tasks to team members across the organization:

Asana Project

These three tools are invaluable for transparent and cross-functional collaboration and communication among teams within your organization. They’re especially important for us at Buffer as a fully remote company!

Distribution

Without a solid distribution plan in place, your messages may never reach their intended audiences. Having the skills to not only create the assets, but efficiently deliver those assets across multiple channels, is an important quality for any marketer.

Here’s a quick look at some of the tools and workflows we use to distribute consistent content:

  • WordPress for hosting and creating blog content:

Buffer Blog

  • Discourse for internal distribution, information, and announcements:

Discourse Overview

  • Buffer for social media planning, scheduling, and analytics:

Buffer - Social Media Tool Dashboard

At the core of any great team collaboration is trust. Trust is the willingness and openness to intentionally communicate with teammates on your direct team and across the company.

It’s up to you to make space (physically or virtually) for people to meet and share ideas. Pixar is a perfect example of this in action – they designed their offices so that artists, designers, programmers, and marketers would purposely bump into each other.

4. Visualizing

Humans are, by nature, very visual beings.

In the brain itself, there are hundreds of millions of neurons devoted to visual processing, nearly 30 percent of the entire cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing.

In other words, the most successful marketing teams are not only able to communicate messages in written form, they’re also able to create stunning designs that aid in telling a compelling visual story.

Social Media Design Principles

We wrote an article in 2017 titled, “Why Every Marketer Needs to Be a (Part-Time) Designer” and the general theory still remains true, even more so, today in 2018.

The best part is there are tons of free resources our there to get started! Here are some of our favorites:

Visual storytelling is one of those marketing skills that often goes overlooked, but plays a massive role in the success of every single piece of content.

5. Experimenting

Have you ever wondered how some marketing teams come up with so many great ideas?

Their secret…

Behind every one successful marketing idea or campaign, there were dozens (if not hundreds) of little failures along the way.

It reminds me a lot of what is known as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in product development. A MVP is a product that has the minimum amount of features required to validate if people want it or not.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The same theory holds true for marketing experimentation and testing.

A marketing team that is unafraid of failure and willing to run hundreds of different tests in order to quickly validate ideas will often succeed over a marketing team that puts their eggs (ideas) into one basket (channel/campaign).

The Information, for example, might have hundreds of potential story ideas in Asana at any one time — prioritizing experiments and ideas based on competition, importance, opportunity costs, and lots more.

Although there isn’t a true scientific way of running marketing experiments, this is the formula we’ve come up with at Buffer to systematically test ideas:

How to Run Marketing Experiments

We start with setting clear goals and then work backwards from there.

Let’s say we wanted to increase Buffer blog traffic by 10% in one year (goal).

Our marketing team would start by getting together and brainstorming all of the different ways we could accomplish that – SEO, social media, affiliates, etc.

We’d then prioritize ideas based on impact (Warren Buffett Framework / ICE Scores) and begin testing.

Then, we’d constantly measure and analyze results along the way while making incremental improvements.

Approaching experimentation and testing with a growth mindset, similar to developing a product, is a marketing skill that will help take your team to the next level.

6. Analyzing

As marketers, we’re all somewhere on the analytics expertise scale (whether we know it or not!) From the analytics wizards to those of us just starting to dip our toes in data analysis, we all have a base layer to work from.

Our Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan Lee, puts it perfectly:

“The great thing about deepening your skills in analytics is that we all have a base layer to work from. We all know how to build intuition. And intuition is just an absorbed history of data. Add to that the ability to ask good questions, and you’re well on your way. (The tools themselves matter far less than you’d think.)”

Asking good questions, when it comes to data and marketing analytics, is an invaluable marketing skill to have on any team.

This graphic from Moz shows just how many BIG questions there are to ask:

Moz - Asking Great Data Questions

At first, asking all of these questions can be a bit intimidating.

What if I don’t know the answers?

That’s okay!

One way we like to think about approaching analytics is this idea of “Crawl, Walk, Run” – It might look something like this if you’re just starting out:

  • Crawling: Which channels get the most engagement?
  • Walking: Which tactics and/or strategies are contributing to this engagement?
  • Running: Which channels, tactics, and strategies should we implement to increase engagement?

Data Analysis - Crawl Walk Run

Another great way of thinking of analytics is the “Hierarchy of Analytics” model made popular by data wizard Christopher S. Penn:

Hierarchy of Analytics - Christopher Penn copy

In the beginning, you might experiment with various analytics platforms and tools in order to get a feel for the basics of marketing analytics. Understanding what data is available, its limitations, and what you can report is a great start.

Then, as you become more skilled and confident with data, you might dive into things like understanding why something happened or what might happen in the future based on your findings.

There are some incredible data analysis tools out there from companies like Google, IBM, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft that can help you do just that!

7. Learning

I like to think that the path to becoming a great marketer is a lifelong journey and never truly complete.

Knowledge, passion, and expertise are intangible qualities that we usually don’t acquire overnight. These are often developed as result of years (even decades) of hard work, mistakes, self-reflection, and personal growth.

Even a virtuoso like Michelangelo was quoted as saying, “I am still learning” late into his career.

Michelangelo quote on Learning

At Buffer and Asana, we aim to build our marketing teams around folks who are naturally curious, hungry to learn, passionate, and open to new ideas.

“A love of learning is one of primary skills we look for in marketers because it tells us a couple things: do they love what they do, and are they curious about the world?” explains Kevan Lee. “Those two factors alone can take you quite far!”

Just like food nourishes our bodies, information and continuous learning nourishes our minds.

But where do you start on your learning journey as a marketer?

We’ve found that having a framework in place allows us to identify opportunities for growth. We call it the T-Shaped Marketer Framework:

Buffer T-Shaped Marketer Framework

T-Shaped Marketing at Buffer. Feel free to grab a download of the Sketch file or Canva template we used to build this, if you’d like to customize it for your company.

I encourage you to create one of these templates for yourself. It’s an incredible, eye-opening activity that will provide you with a clear path forward.

Then, we suggest forming habits around the marketing disciplines you’re most excited about:

  • If you want to get better at data analysis, try taking a course on Udemy or Skillshare to expand your skills
  • If you want to dive into video marketing, experiment with creating a video in Animoto or take a free Adobe Premiere tutorial on YouTube.
  • If social media is your passion, we’ve got a ton of great learning resources on our Social Blog, Skillshare, and the Buffer Podcast.
  • If you want to improve your organization, workflow, or project management skills, Asana has created a ton of great resources and best practices for work management on their blog.

If you’re curious, inquisitive, genuine, and if your intent is sincere, there will always be people who will support you in your journey.

Experiment and try out new things – some of them might even scare you! Once you gain some momentum, keep it going. That will set you up for a lifetime of success in marketing.

Over to you

Thank you so much for checking out this post!

If you’re interested in learning more about career and marketing skills from some uber-talented professionals in the industry, feel free to check out the Asana blog. It’s packed with some incredible insights.

We’d also love to continue the conversation with you below!

What skills are we missing from this list? What has helped your team create consistently great content? What would you suggest to those looking to hire marketers?

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What a Real-Life Social Media Style Guide Looks Like (and How to Make Your Own)

What do all of your favorite social media accounts have in common?

Most likely they are consistent, and you can immediately recognize their style when they pop up in your feed.

To ensure this consistency, they’re probably following a social media style guide.

A social media style guide is your map to guide how your brand appears on social media. Your style guide will relate to and be part of your overall marketing brand guidelines. It should be a living document that can evolve over time.

But why do you need a style guide?

The importance of having a style guide

No matter your team size, a social media style guide is a must — even if you’re the only person posting on your brand’s social media accounts, you need a style guide.

Social media managers are often juggling many things, so having one source of truth for yourself to reference is important. Also, if you’re on vacation or someone has to step in and fill in, they’ll be prepared to keep your social media going without a hitch. Finally, in the case that you hire more folks, the onboarding process will be so much easier with a style guide in place.

So when should you create a style guide?

The answer: Before you think you need one!

Trying to remember all the components to keep your social media presence consistent is almost impossible. A guide that’s got everything in one place sure beats a bunch of post-its on your computer screen.

Let’s take a look at what goes into a style guide. I’ll also be sharing Buffer’s social media style guide. Feel free to use it as a reference but remember to keep yours unique to your brand!

The components of a social media style guide

Here are the eight key components of our social media style guide:

  1. The style guide tl;dr
  2. Voice and tone
  3. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  4. Formatting
  5. Emoji usage
  6. Hashtag usage
  7. Multimedia usage
  8. Breaking news

There isn’t one fixed format for a style guide. You can have as few or as many components as you like. Ours is just one example out of the many. In fact, what you’ll see below are sections taken out from our overall brand content style guide.

If you like the following style guide and would like to follow it (we’ll be honored!), here’s a free template for you. →

Social media style guide template

1. The style guide tl;dr

The first section of our style guide is a tl;dr (too long; didn’t read). We include this section so that if someone doesn’t want to read everything in the full style guide, they can at least come to this section and get the gist.

Here’s our tl;dr:

  • Buffer’s voice is relatable, approachable, genuine, and inclusive. Buffer’s tone varies, based on the situation. We let empathy inform our tone.
  • Write succinctly, for the most part. Experiment often.
  • Be thoughtful and intentional with the use of emojis, hashtags, and multimedia
  • Don’t alter the spelling or punctuation of words in order to reduce the number of characters. Don’t abbreviate beyond standard abbreviations (like “info” for “information”).
  • Never use first-person singular pronouns, unless you’re replying to someone (and your first name is included in your reply).

2. Voice and tone

Voice is the overall defining sound for your brand personality and that tone refers to the specific implementations of voice. Simply put: You have the same voice all the time, but your tone changes. There is lots of nuance to the distinction between the two, but we choose to see it in broad strokes. Voice and tone matter: they humanize your brand and let you take part in conversations naturally. When establishing your voice and tone, there are a few exercises you can try.

Buffer’s voice is relatable, approachable, genuine, and inclusive.

We speak with clarity. We strive for expertise. Our goal is to fully understand the needs of the other person (customer, user, reader, listener) and to deliver delight, assurance, direction, or love as appropriate.

Buffer’s tone varies, based on the situation. We let empathy inform our tone.

By default — and whenever appropriate — Buffer’s tone is friendly and positive. The way we speak encourages people to tell us more, and it invites people to get to know us. Because of this, we take a conversational tone with our writing: no big, dictionary words, just everyday talk that is easy to understand. We seek to inform rather than entertain. We don’t want to be the center of attention; we feel like our customers deserve the spotlight.

Here are some examples of the voice and tone of well-known brands:

Target – upbeat, playful, and celebratory

Wendy’s – witty, satirical, and humorous

Dollar Shave Club – humorous, laid-back, and straightforward

3. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Nothing is more cringe-worthy than a spelling fail on social media. You’ll want to carry over many of your spelling and grammar guidelines from your overall content guide, but keep in mind you may want to modify for social media constraints.

Our north star: Write succinctly, for the most part. Experiment often.

In general, we choose to keep our social media updates crisp and to the point, which is partially a response to the character limits on social media and also a reaction to the way our audience chooses to communicate in these communities. We tend to approach social media updates from a conversational place by asking questions, using familiar words, etc. We want to clearly communicate our point while being engaging.

Here are our main grammar takeaways:

  • Always use an Oxford comma.
  • Use emoji on social and with emoji-loving customers.
  • Don’t use emoji as punctuation or as a stand-in for vocabulary.
  • Be aware when you’re writing about people. Labels are for boxes. Avoid gendered terms.

4. Formatting

With so many different platforms, formatting on social media is especially important. Having a dedicated section for formatting will ensure you are consistent and make your brand recognizable.

Here are our formatting guidelines:

  • No title case in the updates
  • One or two short sentences. Then bullet emoji.
  • Conversational sentence case with a Twitter card. Place emoji before any hard return (not in the middle of a sentence)

5. Emoji usage

You’d be hard pressed to find anything that can inject as much fun and personality into your social media as emoji! With Buffer’s tone being friendly and positive, we naturally love emojis! 😍

It’s also another area we want to be thoughtful and intentional.

When and how we use emoji:

  • Overall: Place emoji at the end of a line (just before a hard return). Not in the middle or at the beginning.
  • Twitter: Use often and liberally in tweets and replies. Emoji can be especially great when used in place of bullets within lists.
  • Facebook: Use as needed in updates and replies. We are a bit more reserved with emoji on Facebook versus Twitter. Emoji will typically come at the end of the update text to add some visual interest and pop.
  • Instagram: Use at the end of your update text as needed. Use often in replies.
  • LinkedIn: No emoji.
  • Pinterest: No emoji.

6. Hashtags usage

You can’t talk about social media without talking about hashtags, they’re important for everything from campaigns to joining in conversations. These will be particular to your brand and personas and you can include a list of branded and campaign specific hashtags.

When and how we use hashtags:

  • Twitter: No more than one hashtag per tweet.
  • Facebook: No hashtags.
  • Instagram: No more than two hashtags in the body of the post. Up to 15 hashtags in the first comment on the post.
  • LinkedIn: No more than one hashtag per update.
  • Pinterest: Up to five hashtags.

7. Multimedia usage

From photos to videos, graphics, and other visuals, it’s key to decide what feel is right for your brand and have all of your visual asset guides in one place. This can include the content, context, and style (informational, whimsical, etc.).

Here are our multimedia guidelines:

  • Overall:
    • Use available templates.
    • Try to make images of people as diverse as possible.
  • Follow brand guidelines for colors and fonts.
  • Twitter: Use Twitter cards when possible.
  • Instagram: User-generated content is appropriate.

8. Breaking news

In today’s increasingly connected world, it’s imperative that your brand be mindful of how you’re perceived on social media, particularly in relation to breaking news stories. Having a strategy in place can keep your brand from looking tone-deaf or insensitive.

What we do with breaking news:

  • Be aware of what’s going on in the news when you’re publishing social media content.
  • Pause the queue for major breaking news events. If you’re unsure if the news is big/breaking enough, seek advice in Slack. When in doubt, default to pausing.

Over to you

We hope this will give you a starting off point for your own social media style guide!

Did we leave anything out? What would you add? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

P.S. If you did want to use our social media style guide template, you can grab a free copy here. →

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/QcRmUhRqttw/social-media-style-guide

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

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

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

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

Is it the end of organic reach on social media?

I don’t think so.

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

How? Let’s find out.

How to (Still) Get Organic Reach on Social Media

How to (still) get organic reach on social media

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

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

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

So how does each of the social media algorithms work?

Facebook algorithm

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

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

Facebook algorithm factors

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

Instagram algorithm

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

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

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

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

Instagram algorithm

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

Twitter algorithm

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

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

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

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

Twitter timeline algorithm summary

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

2. Fewer but better posts

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

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

Fewer but better posts.

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

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

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

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

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

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

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

3. Curate user-generated content

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

His secret? User-generated content.

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

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

So how can you apply this strategy?

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

Birchbox Instagram bio for user-generated content

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

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

REI asking for permission

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

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

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

4. Invest in groups

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

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

Vox Facebook Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Test new social media networks

Have you heard of Musically? Or Tik Tok?

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

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

Coca-Cola Musically social media campaign

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

Buffer Flipboard

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

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

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

How are you getting organic reach?

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

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

Image credit: Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

Is it the end of organic reach on social media?

I don’t think so.

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

How? Let’s find out.

How to (Still) Get Organic Reach on Social Media

How to (still) get organic reach on social media

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

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

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

So how does each of the social media algorithms work?

Facebook algorithm

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

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

Facebook algorithm factors

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

Instagram algorithm

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

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

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

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

Instagram algorithm

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

Twitter algorithm

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

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

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

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

Twitter timeline algorithm summary

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

2. Fewer but better posts

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

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

Fewer but better posts.

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

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

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

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

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

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

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

3. Curate user-generated content

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

His secret? User-generated content.

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

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

So how can you apply this strategy?

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

Birchbox Instagram bio for user-generated content

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

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

REI asking for permission

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

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

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

4. Invest in groups

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

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

Vox Facebook Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Test new social media networks

Have you heard of Musically? Or Tik Tok?

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

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

Coca-Cola Musically social media campaign

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

Buffer Flipboard

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

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

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

How are you getting organic reach?

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

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

Image credit: Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

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

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The Simple Twitter Strategy That Helped Us Generate 90% More Clicks

  • After Twitter changed its rules on sharing identical tweets, we set out to experiment with new ways to boost the reach of our best tweets.
  • This strategy helped us to generate 122 percent more impressions, 87 percent more engagements, and 90 percent more link clicks for our top tweets.
  • It’s incredibly simple to implement this strategy  — you just need to identify your best tweets and retweet them — and it can be done using Buffer or directly on Twitter.com (and Twitter apps). 

Keep reading to see a full breakdown of this experiment and how you can implement it for your own Twitter accounts…

In February 2018, Twitter updated its rules to prohibit sharing tweets that are identical or substantially similar to one another.

Before this rule change, re-sharing top tweets (sparingly) was one of our favorite strategies for increasing our Twitter reach and engagement here at Buffer. And while it was a shame to forgo this strategy, we understand the rationale behind the new rules and are fully supportive of them.

So, rather than dwelling on what used to work, we started searching for other strategies to try.

Here’s one experiment we’ve been working on (and our results in full)…

Coming up with the experiment idea (and testing my theory)

After Twitter had made its rule changes, I noticed that Matt Navara and a few other accounts had started retweeting their own tweets as a way to boost top posts.

This made me wonder if retweeting my own top tweets could be a good way to increase my reach and engagement on Twitter.

So I tested this idea — retweeting my best-performing tweet the following day — with my own account.

Alfred's retweet

And it worked!

According to my Buffer Overview Report, my tweets in June received, on average, 2,356 impressions, 93 engagements, and 30 likes. Whereas this particular tweet received 9,697 impressions, 203 engagement, and 94 likes after I retweeted it:

I saw the same pattern with several more tweets too. And as this strategy worked amazingly well for my personal account, I wondered if it would also work for our Buffer Twitter account.

So with my teammate, Bonnie’s help, we ran a more formal experiment with our Buffer Twitter account…

A Twitter retweet experiment

The plan

The goal of our experiment is to see if retweeting our best-performing tweets could become part of our Twitter strategy. We had two success criteria:

  • Retweeting our own tweets should substantially increase the reach and engagement of each tweet. One of my hypotheses is that the retweet could reach a different audience when it is retweeted at a different time from when the original tweet was published. The second hypothesis is that the existing likes and retweets on the tweet act as social proof, which makes more people want to engage with it. When they do, the Twitter algorithm would, then, show the tweet to even more people.
  • Our followers should find this acceptable. We were looking out for comments on our retweets to see if our followers noticed the retweeting and had an opinion on it.

We had a very straightforward plan:

  1. Tweet like we have been
  2. After one to two days of tweeting, use the analytics in Buffer to a top tweet from recent days
  3. Record the performance of that tweet by taking a screenshot of the stats
  4. Buffer that top tweet to be retweeted one to two days later
  5. After one to two days again, record the performance of the retweet

We started the experiment in June and concluded it in July. Over the period of about a month, we retweeted 10 of our best-performing tweets. And we are very excited to share the results!

A quick note about retweeting

You can only retweet a tweet once.

You could technically undo a retweet and retweet it again (by clicking on the retweet icon twice). I do not have any conclusive evidence that this is beneficial and am not certain that retweeting multiple times is what the Twitter team had intended for that feature.

The results

Drum roll 🥁

I think it was a resounding success!

On average, our retweeted tweets received 122 percent more impressions, 87 percent more engagements, and 90 percent more link clicks. The three tweets with video also had an average boost of video views by 92 percent.

Buffer retweeting experiment data

(We didn’t get many replies for these tweets both before and after retweeting them. I thought I would mention this for completeness.)

Besides the increase in reach and engagement, we were also glad that our followers seem to have found the retweets of our own tweets acceptable. (Or perhaps they just didn’t voice their objections. If you saw our retweets and have an opinion, we would love to hear from you!)

Overall, the experiment validated the idea of retweeting our best-performing tweets to boost their reach and engagement, and we’re excited to integrate this into our Twitter strategy going forward.

So how can you do this for your brand’s Twitter account?

How to retweet optimally

There are two ways to retweet optimally. When I say “optimally”, I mean retweeting your top tweets at the right time to obtain the best result.

The easier and better way, in my opinion, is to use Buffer. With a combination of the analytics in Buffer and our browser extension, you can quickly identify the best tweets to retweet and schedule them for the perfect time.

Here’s how:

Schedule retweets with Buffer

Step 1: Tweet as per usual

Easiest step. 😉 Done? 👍

Step 2: Find your best-performing tweets

Once a week or once every few weeks, go to your Posts Report in the analytics section of your Buffer dashboard. (This feature is available on our Pro and Business plans.)

Your Posts Report will first show you your recent tweets, with the latest tweet at the top. You could scroll down and identify your best-performing tweets with a “TOP TWEET” label. An easier way is to click on the “Most Popular” filter, and we’ll show you all your top tweets in the past 90 days in the order of descending performance.

Top tweets in Buffer Posts Report

If you are on one of our Business plans, you can adjust the timeframe in the upper-left corner.

Step 3: Schedule your retweets

Next, click on the timestamp of the tweets you want to retweet. The tweet will be opened in a new tab.

Tweet's timestamp

Then, with the Buffer browser extension installed, you’ll see an additional Buffer button at the bottom of the tweet. Click on it.

Add to Buffer (with Buffer browser extension)

You’ll see the Buffer composer with a preview of the tweet you want to retweet. You could add a comment to the retweet but for this purpose, we just want to retweet the tweet. So select the right Twitter profile and hit “Add to Queue”.

Buffer retweet

A quick note about timing

For our experiment, we waited only a day or two before retweeting a tweet. That’s because we wanted to experiment with at least 10 tweets but didn’t want the experiment to take too long. My hunch is that it’ll be ideal to wait a few days or even weeks before retweeting a tweet. This will prevent your followers from seeing the same tweet twice within a short timeframe.

Also, you’ll want to space out your retweets with your usual tweets. This is so that you are sharing a mix of regular tweets and retweets, and not a burst of retweets in between regular tweets.

And you’re set!

The helpful thing about using Buffer is that you can schedule retweets in advance without having to wait until a particular day before you can retweet a tweet. If you have found your best times to tweet and added them to your posting schedule, your retweet will be published at one of your best times.

My other favorite advantage is that you can easily rearrange when your retweets will be published (or tweets retweeted), along with your other scheduled tweets.

If you don’t use Buffer, no worries. This can be done manually through Twitter, too.

Retweet manually through Twitter

Step 1: Tweet as per usual

Step 2: Find your best-performing tweets

Whenever you want to retweet your best-performing tweet, go to your Twitter Analytics’ Top Tweets. (Direct link to your Twitter Analytics: https://analytics.twitter.com/)

Twitter will show you your top tweets in order of descending impressions for the past 28 days. If you wish, you could adjust the timeframe in the upper-right corner.

Twitter Analytics' Top Tweets

Step 3: Retweet

Click on the timestamp of the tweet you want to retweet. A good rule of thumb is to pick tweets with a high engagement rate.

(Note: You have to click on the timestamp. Clicking on anywhere else will only bring up a window of the tweet’s activity)

Tweet timestamp in Twitter Analytics

The tweet will be opened in a new tab. Click on the retweet icon, and you’ll be asked if you want to retweet that tweet to your followers. Select “Retweet”.

Retweet to followers

The tweet will be immediately retweeted so you would want to time your retweet. Try to wait a few days or weeks from the day that the original tweet was published and preferably choose a different time from the original published time.

If you wish to schedule your retweets, we would love for you to give Buffer a go. Here’s a 14-day free trial.

And that’s it!

Over to you: What do you think of this strategy?

Whilst we loved re-sharing our top tweets, it’s best to avoid doing that now since Twitter has updated its rules. The next best alternative we have found is to retweet your top tweets. A simple, well-timed retweet can increase the reach and engagement of your tweets, without annoying your followers. This is a strategy that few brands are taking advantage of right now. So I would recommend experimenting with this and see how well it does for your brand (especially before this becomes a common practice!)

Let us know how it goes for you? 😊

(If you disagree with this practice, we would love to hear from you, too. It’s always helpful to have thoughtful discussions, and we can learn together.)

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5 Tried and True LinkedIn Tips to Grow your Company Page Followers 600% Faster

While much of the focus over the last few years on social media has been on Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn has been steadily growing its user base to more than 500 million users.

And we’ve seen first-hand that businesses are working hard on perfecting their LinkedIn marketing strategy so that they can tap into the world’s largest professional network.

A few months ago, we asked you (our readers) to let us know which social media networks you would like to learn more about – LinkedIn (53%) came in a close second, just after Instagram (62%).

To get started, we teamed up with LinkedIn to share with you tried and true tips on how to leverage one of the most valuable online resources for your business: your LinkedIn Company Page.

With this simple 5-step strategy your business can accelerate the growth of your Company Page by up to 600 percent.

Let’s get started!

5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips to Grow Your Company Page 600X Faster Cover Images5 LinkedIn marketing tips to grow your Company Page 600% faster

LinkedIn is only just getting started!

CEO Jeff Weiner plans to “develop the world’s first economic graph” with the hopes of “digitally mapping out the global economy.” A goal not far from reach seeing how LinkedIn has an in-depth dataset of company, industry, and individual contact information for more than 500 million members.

In the long-term, LinkedIn marketing will be a game-changer for businesses and brands in the B2B space. Here are 5 tips to put your business of the forefront of this trend.

1. Complete your LinkedIn company profile (fully)

Did you know that Company Pages with complete profiles receive up to 2X more visitors than those with incomplete page profiles?

Make sure your page has the following seven items completely filled out:

– Logo
– Company description
– Website URL
– Company size
– Industry
– Company type
– Location

In order to fully complete your profile, head to your Company Page on LinkedIn and select “Overview”: LinkedIn Marketing Strategy - Company Page Overview

From there, you’ll be directed to your company’s information page where you can update all of the most important details about your business, including:

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy - Company Page Information

Make sure to upload a high-resolution company logo and a cover image that captures your brand as well as fill out the “About us” section to provide visitors with more information.

Below the “About us” section you’ll find even more important fields to complete:

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy - Company Page Details

Having a complete company profile (website URL, company size, industry, type, and location) are all important components in helping to make your Company Page look more legitimate and professional.

Legitimacy and professionalism are critical for brand image, and provides visitors with all the information they need to connect with your company when they’re ready.

2. Create a consistent posting schedule

According to LinkedIn, businesses that post at least once per month have been shown to gain followers 6X faster than those that don’t.

In addition, Company Pages with at least 150 followers typically get 5X more Company Page views than those with fewer followers!

You should aim to post at least once per week to your Company Page to keep your followers engaged (we post twice per week). To help you post consistently to your Company Page, set up a posting schedule so that you can easily schedule posts for your Page:

LinkedIn Posting Schedule

We’ve found that our LinkedIn content performs really well if we include the following:

  • Descriptive caption: Helps to provide people with extra context around your content
  • Eye-catching images: Clean, simple aesthetic helps your content to stand out
  • Hashtags: A great way to increase the visibility of your content to new audiences
  • Bonus: Add emojis, questions, and bullet points to switch up the look and feel of your content

Example of LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Pro tip: Use RSS feeds

If you’re unsure what to post to LinkedIn, or if you’d like a steady stream of quality content, we suggest taking some time to add a few RSS feeds to your content inbox.

Buffer RSS Feed Preview

(Quick note: RSS feeds are only available in our paid plans).

We’ve been using RSS feeds in tandem with our LinkedIn marketing strategy for years and we’ve found that it provides us with a solid supply of content to share all the time. The key with RSS feeds is to customize the content  using some of the tips we shared above.

Try to avoid simply posting the headline and image provided with the article in the RSS feed. The same best-practices that you implement when posting your own quality content also apply to curated content shared on LinkedIn.

3. Re-Buffer your top content

If you find that your business is running out of content ideas, we recommend to (sparingly) re-share, or Re-Buffer, your top posts from the past. Due to sophisticated social media algorithms, it’s likely that only a very small percentage (2-6%) of your followers have seen your posts in the LinkedIn Feed.

If you have a backlog of successful social media content, it’s likely that the content will perform well again in the future.

You can find your top posts under the analytics section on your Buffer dashboard. Select your Posts Report and click “Most Popular”.

Top Posts in Buffer Analytics

(Quick note: The Re-Buffer feature is only available in our paid plans).

LinkedIn Pulse – or the LinkedIn Feed – no longer operates as a separate application within LinkedIn. It’s seamlessly integrated into members’ feeds as articles to help enhance the content-first experience.

It’s working, too! More than 100,000 organic articles are published weekly on LinkedIn, many of which are written by top-level executives at brands around the world. However, more content means less space in the News Feed, which means your business needs a rock-solid LinkedIn marketing strategy.

Set yourself up for success by re-sharing your top-performing content on a consistent basis – a crucial piece in growing your Company Page.

4. Engage your colleagues and employees

One of the most influential groups of people that can help you with your LinkedIn marketing is your colleagues and employees. When activated, they can boost your Linkedin content while simultaneously increasing the visibility of your Company Page on LinkedIn.

Help them help you! Here’s how to get your colleagues and employees involved:

Encourage colleagues to engage with your content

According to LinkedIn, encouraging your colleagues and employees to engage with your posts will help to spread to the content their networks, therefore increasing your company’s reach on LinkedIn. As it turns out, the people closest to you could be the biggest asset in amplifying your LinkedIn marketing strategy and growth.

At Buffer, we use Slack to get employees engaged in real-time. Recently, I was looking for some upvotes on GrowthHackers for a recent Facebook study that we conducted with BuzzSumo:

Ask for Content Upvotes on GrowthHackers

We also use group brainstorming to help decide headlines for upcoming articles (with emoji!):

Slack Headlines Emoji Vote

Statista found that 42% of LinkedIn users have between 300-999 connections. Multiply that by the number of employees at your company and that’s a lot of potential reach!

At Buffer, we also send out a weekly internal newsletter with relevant links and stories for Buffer employees to share as well as “internal report” in Dropbox Paper for the latest new in social media.

If employees and colleagues understand the importance of sharing and what to share, they’re much more likely to do so.

Encourage employees to fill out their LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn offers a perfect explanation of how your individual profiles influence your brand and LinkedIn marketing strategy:

Your LinkedIn profile – and the profiles of everyone else at the company – are the peaks that come together to form the mountain range that is your brand.

Linkedin Marketing Profile Page Details

We’re all a mountain peak!

Ensuring that all members of your team’s profiles are filled out completely is a wonderfully simple way to spread awareness of your brand. If you are in a company of 50 people, that’s 50 profiles with your company’s name with a quick link to your Company Page. And according to LinkedIn, it makes your company more visible in search results both on and off LinkedIn.

Encourage your colleagues to add your company in their current work experience on their personal profiles and engage with your Company Page posts.

5. Promote your Company Page beyond LinkedIn

No great marketing channel lives in a silo. It takes a coordinated effort across all of your digital platforms in order to see consistent growth over time.

LinkedIn recommends a few cross-promotion strategies in order to experience the maximum growth rate:

Link to your Company Page in your marketing communications, email signatures, and blogs

Email is one of the few remaining marketing channels that businesses truly own (i.e., you’re not subjected to changing algorithms and news feed updates).

One great example of this in action is when we were able to grow the Buffer Podcast by 109% in just two months by cross-promoting it on social media and email:

Buffer Podcast Email Example

We also encourage all of our employees to add the LinkedIn button to their email signatures and often link to our Company Page in blog posts (see what I just did there?).

Add social media buttons or a LinkedIn “Follow” button to your website

Another great way to cross-promote your LinkedIn Company Page is to make it easy for your readers to share content at any point throughout the reading experience or while browsing your website.

By adding the LinkedIn “Follow” button to your landing pages or using sticky social media sharing buttons within your blog posts, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success and reach.

What’s your LinkedIn marketing strategy?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below?

Did we miss any LinkedIn marketing strategies that have worked particularly well for your Company Page?

If you’re interested in reading more, check out these awesome resources:

Image credits: Unsplash

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