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Social consumers have more purchasing power than ever before.

According to recent social media statistics, Instagram and Facebook have become two of the top channels for folks looking to research and buy products online. Consumers have become accustomed to the concept of social selling, which is good news for budding businesses and big brands alike.

That doesn’t mean social sales are a foregone conclusion, though.

In fact, the number one challenge of brands in 2019 is aligning their social strategy with their business goals.

If you’re struggling for an ROI or want to generate more customers from social media, you need to look at your social conversion strategy.

In this guide, we cover the specific tactics and tools necessary to boost your social media conversion rate. These tips can help create more social customers no matter what stage they’re currently at within your marketing funnel.

With that, let’s dive in!

1. Make your landing pages seamless and mobile-friendly

With mobile ecommerce on the rise, the need for brands to appeal to customers on-the-go is a no brainer.

A brand’s ability to win over buyers via social boils down to creating a seamless experience. Think about how users navigate Instagram, swiping and tapping as they move from Point A to Point B. Your social landing pages should follow the same principles – easy to navigate with minimal interruption.

For starters, your social landing pages shouldn’t be hidden to customers. Check out how RageOn promotes their storefront in their Instagram bio. Pretty simple, right?

Upon clicking, it’s clear that their landing page is optimized with their social media conversion rate in mind. Swipeable and scrollable with large, bright buttons to boot, mobile shoppers obviously aren’t being treated as a second thought.

Here’s another awesome example from Bose, with an intuitive and interactive landing page is tailored for customers on-the-go.

Whether you’re promoting offers on Instagram, Facebook or anywhere in-between, having a mobile-friendly landing page is a game-changer. Not only can you appeal specifically to mobile consumers, but also better assess the behavior of your social shoppers.

If you’re not sure if your landing pages are up to snuff, a quick mobile test via Google can give you some peace of mind.

To further improve your social media conversion strategy, you can continuously split test your social landing pages and optimize them over time. Tools such as Optimizely allow you to A/B test elements such as imagery, copy and link placement to maximize conversions.

And if you need a better idea of what a fine-tuned social landing page looks like, you can check out some of Unbounce‘s mobile-friendly landing page templates for inspiration.

2. Get more eyes on your promotions via video

Product-related videos go hand in hand with a higher social media conversion rate.

Noted to increase conversions and time spent on any given page, there’s a reason why video-centric posts and ads are all the rage among brands. Videos do double duty of showing off your products in action and catching the eyes of social customers.

It’s no secret that social ads centered around video traditionally perform well. Here’s an example from BigCommerce, whose recent Facebook ad campaign tripled their free trial conversions through social video.

The same rings true on Instagram where Stories ads are killing it right now. This campaign from Nuxe scored 6x ROI with simple, stop-motion video.

Remember: video ads and content don’t need to be massive, big-budget productions. Anything you can do to catch your customers’ eyes and get them to stop scrolling is a plus. Video does exactly that.

Integrating video in any shape or form is crucial for your organic content, too. Whether it’s mini-commercials or creative product displays, video should be central to your social media conversion strategy.

3. Include compelling calls to action

Sometimes increasing your social media conversion rate means making small tweaks to your profiles and captions.

Asking for followers to check out your recent promotions is totally fair game, granted you’re tactful about it.

In other words, you can’t just scream “BUY OUR STUFF” and expect much traction. Instead, make a point to subtly encourage engagement with your calls to action.

For example, J. Crew invites followers to shop their Instagram feed in their bio. Straightforward, but effective.

J. Crew’s feed isn’t shy about promoting products. However, the brand makes a point to put a bit of personality behind their promotions with captions that sound like they were written by a human versus a bot. Either way, they point directly to their product page without being pushy about it.

Bear in mind that there’s some debate going on right now over how explicit brands should be about promoting offers, though. As noted by Rand Fishkin and a recent study by Agora Pulse, some marketers are speculating that Instagram might be penalizing posts that use variations of the phrase “link in bio.”

Whether the phrase is being actively penalized by the Instagram algorithm or it just isn’t a successful strategy, the takeaway here is that brands should experiment with captions and calls to action to encourage engagement and find what works. This includes questions, tag-a-friend posts and other less “salesy” messages to your followers.

4. Split test your social posts

Just like any sort of marketing metric, analyzing your social media conversion rate means looking at your data.

For example, do you know what types of content score the most engagement, clicks and traffic to your website? By understanding your posts by the numbers, you can adjust your content strategy to align with your social media conversion strategy.

And honestly? No brand is going to get it “right” from day one. Upping your conversation rate means playing the long game of analyzing and optimizing.

The good news is that tools such as Sprout can help speed up the process so you don’t have to endlessly experiment. For example, Sprout’s social analytics can help you understand what your top-performing posts are across all networks. Sprout’s reports include everything from your best hashtags to behavioral trends among your followers.

Based on these numbers, you better determine what content is resulting in engagement and likewise when.

Speaking of “when,” features such as ViralPost enable you to schedule individual posts based on when they’ll receive maximum engagement. The more eyes on your promos, the more potential customers that can make a purchase.

By regularly looking at your analytics, you can split test your organic campaigns to figure out which posts are most poised for engagement.

If you’re interested in running a paid campaign, Facebook and Instagram can actually allow you to split test your ads automatically. In short, you’re capable of running two versions of the same promo simultaneously and identify the winner based on performance. Here’s a snapshot from Facebook themselves.

5. Be consistent with your branding

This is a subtle tip, but definitely worth mentioning for the sake of your conversions.

As prospects and leads move through your funnel, there shouldn’t be any second-guessing where they’re coming from.

Creative elements such as your tone, imagery and color scheme need to be consistent as your customers approach the point of purchase. Although this might not seem like a make-or-break moment, pulling a creative bait-and-switch on your followers can be disorienting.

For example, check out this promotional post from Halo Top. Note the playful tone and brand creatives.

Notice also how their bio link is up-to-date with their latest promotion. So far so good, right?

When we click through, we’re brought to a landing page consistent with those same creatives and messaging.

See how that works?

As a result, it’s important to double-check the creative elements of your promotions before you roll them out. Doing so could be the difference between someone converting from a campaign or bouncing out of your funnel altogether.

6. Let your user-generated content serve as social proof to shoppers

As noted in our guide to user-generated content, customer photos are pure gold when it comes to conversions.

Serving as social proof and a much-needed sense of authenticity, user-generated content is second to none for driving social sales. Making user-generated content a cornerstone of your marketing strategy is a low-hanging way to boost your social media conversions. Check out how Keds gives their followers a shout-out.

Increasing your social media conversion rate doesn’t mean keeping those creatives confined to social media. For example, Keds features their satisfied customers on-site as a shoppable lookbook to encourage even more purchases.

Oh, and they also use their Instagram presence to convert customers through their email list.

See how much mileage you can get out of just a few user-submitted photos? Curating user-generated content is an expectation for modern brands and likewise a brilliant way to encourage sales.

7. Use social listening to stay on top of buying trends

No industry or customer base is totally static.

We mentioned earlier that scoring customers is about experimenting and evolving. This means keeping up with industry trends as well as the wants and needs of your customers.

Sprout’s social listening features make it a cinch to understand exactly what people want and expect from your brand. This ensures that your social presence never grows stagnant.

From what customers are saying about you to trending topics worth mentioning in your sales-related posts, these insights can directly influence your social sales strategy.

8. Track your social analytics and conversions

Last but not least, you can’t assess your social media conversion rate if you aren’t actually tracking conversions.

There are a few ways to do this, by the way. For starters, make a point to watch your social traffic in Google Analytics. You can set explicit social conversion goals as highlighted in our guide to scoring a better social media ROI.

 

Additionally, conversion tracking in Sprout Social allows you to generate links which allow you to track the conversion rates of specific campaigns as you roll them out.

With reporting and analytics, you can tie specific goals and outcomes to campaigns to understand what’s converting and what’s not.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

How are you improving your social media conversion rate?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: social sales don’t happen by accident.

Having a social media conversion strategy is essential to any brand who wants to generate customers from their social channels. The tips above and tools such as Sprout Social can help you do so by the numbers rather than treat social selling as a guessing game.

We want to hear from you, though. What are you doing to monitor your social media conversions? Notice any big difference between social customers and buyers from other channels? Let us know in the comments below!

This post 8 ways to boost your social media conversion rate originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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When YouTube first arrived in 2005, few likely had any idea how valuable it would become.

The first video, “Me at the Zoo,” launched on April 23, 2005, and the first ads followed two years later. By 2010, YouTube was generating more than two billion views each day.

As video has continued to grow as one of the most compelling channels for marketing and entertainment, YouTube has remained at the forefront.

By becoming familiar with some of the latest YouTube statistics, you’ll help ensure your marketing strategy for video content is on a path to success.

1.     There are 1.9 billion active users on YouTube

Currently, there are 1.9 billion active monthly users logging into YouTube. That’s one-third of all the people online and a heck of a lot of opportunity for any business.

YouTube’s popularity spans 91 countries and 80 different languages, covering about 95% of the global online population.

YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-olds on mobile alone than any cable TV network or broadcast.

As YouTube stats for marketers go, that’s great insight into where you could be spending your ad budget, or at the very least maintaining an active presence through video content of your own.

2.     YouTube is the second-most visited site in the world

According to Alexa rankings of the top 500 sites on the web, YouTube is second only to its parent company, Google, which is perhaps not surprising, but even more impressive when you consider the fact that it’s beating out Facebook, top Chinese search engine Baidu and Wikipedia, just to name a few.

Cisco predicted that video will make up 82% of global internet traffic by 2022, and with the year fast approaching, YouTube is one of the forces that certainly appears positioned to make it a reality.

Additionally, Google has revealed that YouTube users often search for ‘how to’ videos and other ‘search engine-like’ queries. This type of revealing user insight also makes YouTube a valuable source of social listening data that can help you pinpoint your audiences’ specific interests and needs.

3.     Millennials prefer YouTube over TV

According to a 2016 study released by Comscore and YouTube, 35% of the 2,940 respondents selected YouTube as their “one preferred provider,” while just 19% chose TV.

Additionally, a 2015 Forrester Research forecast predicted that by 2025, half of all TV viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a traditional pay TV service.

Users are watching more than one billion hours of YouTube videos each day, with over half of those views coming from mobile devices at upwards of an hour each day.

In 2018, YouTube viewership grew by its fastest rate in recent years, increasing by 60% year-over-year. Outside of TV, YouTube also holds the edge when it comes to other social and streaming competition. There are more videos on YouTube than Facebook video and Netflix combined and YouTube videos earn more valuable attention, too.

A study using eye-tracking technology found that YouTube ads hold visual attention 62% of the time, compared to 45% of TV ads.

4.     Mobile devices dominate YouTube views, but TV is gaining

Just like general online search trends, YouTube usage predominantly happens on a mobile device, with that total now amounting to more than 70% of all watch time. On top of that, the rise of video content through other networks’ newer features like IGTV and Facebook Live has led to an overall increase in mobile video engagement. While some of these formats favor a vertical viewing aspect ratio, seven out of 10 YouTube users prefer horizontal viewing on their phones.

However, with advancements in technology and ever-growing popularity in online streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku, there have long been other ways to access YouTube outside of a computer and phone.

According to a 2017 YouTube Earnings Call, users watched more than 100 million hours of YouTube by way of their living room television, up 70% from the year prior. Additionally, it also was noted that YouTube TV covered two-thirds of U.S. households as of Q3 2017, when it had only just launched in February of that year.

5.     The average length of a first-page video is 14 minutes and 50 seconds

Backlinko shared findings from a study in which 1.3 million YouTube videos were analyzed to identify various ranking factors potentially impacting YouTube SEO. Among one of the most actionable findings for marketers was the discovery that long-form videos, specifically those clocking in at 14 minutes and 50 seconds, outperformed their shorter counterparts.

This hasn’t necessarily been a well-kept secret, though, as in 2012 YouTube unveiled a focus on “watch time,” while its parent company, Google, has held a patent for “Watch Time Based Ranking” since 2013.

Among other interesting YouTube stats that emerged from the Backlinko study were that 68% of the videos included in the study were in HD, likes were significantly correlated with better rankings, and comment count proved to be a strong factor in a video’s ranking.

6.     Paid YouTube mobile ads are more likely to receive attention than TV ads

A mobile ad on YouTube will attract your customer’s attention 83% of the time. That’s even more impressive when you consider that TV ads only get the same level of attention 45% of the time. The same study also found that YouTube’s TrueView ads worked in synergy with TV ads to improve brand metrics like ad recall.

TrueView in-stream ads can be highly targeted, and Google found that relevant ads get 3 times more attention than the average video ad. This means that even though users can opt to skip these ads, catering to your audience with an attention-grabbing opening is likely to keep them viewing. What’s more, viewers who do watch an ad to completion are 23 times more likely to convert, subscribe to a channel, or share a video.

This means that if you strategically approach your video content, the outcomes could be phenomenal. When brands use the TrueView ad solution, they see their views of previous content increase by up to 500%.

Just remember that your YouTube ads will need to be robust–95% of YouTube ads are audible, compared to only 15% of Facebook ads. In other words, it’s not just about making your ads look good–it’s about making them sound right too. Google suggests that when ads are viewable and audible at the same time, they increase brand awareness and recall.

7. 46% of B2B buyers purchase something after watching video

A lot of companies assume that YouTube is strictly a B2C channel.

Currently, Smart Insights and Clutch rank YouTube as the 4th most valuable social channel for B2B marketers. YouTube stats for marketers don’t just apply to the B2C industry. The diversity of YouTube demographics extends to the B2B world too.

Past studies from the International Data Group state that 46% of B2B tech buyers purchase products after viewing videos. If you show a client how well your service works through video, then they’re more likely to make an informed investment in your offering.

To back those stats up, Forbes also previously reported that around 75% of Fortune 500 executives turn to YouTube to help them make more educated decisions.

8. There are more than 50 million content creators on YouTube

It’s clear that if you are thinking of running your own YouTube campaign, you will have some competition. There are about 50 million active content creators on the platform today. The content creator base on YouTube is the biggest in the world, with some people earning five or six figures a year.

The number of channels on YouTube with more than 1 million subscribers also doubled in 2018–advertising the ongoing popularity of these creators and their consistent output of content that keeps viewers coming back.

This means that YouTube is an ideal network to include in any influencer marketing strategy you’re planning across social media. Individual creators, many of whom are also influencers, drive about 92% of the total views on sponsored videos on YouTube. Partnering with the right people could be the best way to make sure that your content gets in front of the right people, regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand.

9. Marketers are increasingly focused on YouTube ads

These days, no-one can afford to underestimate the power of video, and YouTube is a valuable platform for kicking off any video ad strategy. According to Animoto, 93% of marketers say they have landed a new customer thanks to social video in 2018.

Brands of all sizes and backgrounds are beginning to embrace YouTube as a powerful way of telling their story through a popular channel. As an example of this volume, 4,680 brands sponsored 8,964 videos just during the week of September 16th, 2018. In 2018, video on YouTube generated around $3.36 billion in ad revenues.

Marketers’ belief in the power of YouTube ads appears to be proven out by consumer behavior. Think with Google suggests that 90% of people find new products and brands through YouTube. Additionally, around half of all shoppers use video to help them make a purchasing decision, showing the influence of video throughout the purchase funnel.

Making the most of these YouTube stats

For marketers, the YouTube statistics covered here demonstrate how valuable the channel is. After 14 years, the platform is one of the most valuable in the world, for B2B and B2C companies alike. These stats clue you in on some of the most opportune ways that you can integrate YouTube video into your overall social strategy.

What kind of an approach are you bringing to your YouTube or video strategy? Let us know on Twitter @SproutSocial!

This post 9 YouTube stats to inform your marketing strategy in 2019 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Many social media marketers today find themselves at a challenging crossroads–social platforms are growing increasingly complex, with more features, formats and content types, and audiences’ expectations for social content are developing alongside these platforms. On top of these growing demands, many social teams are increasingly pressed for time to dig through the wealth of data available to them and develop all-encompassing social strategies.

Social marketers who are on the frontlines of their feeds day in and day out have the data to understand better than anyone what content is resonating most powerfully with audiences and exactly who makes up those audiences. This leads to important insights about how social can fuel bottomline growth and organizational development. Social teams are also the first to note what trends are shaping the future of social, as well as customer insights that can shift an entire brand strategy.

Despite these valuable insights, social marketers are often overwhelmed between the demands of relatively small team sizes and the variety of daily tasks and ongoing tactical execution. This limits the full potential that social media marketers have to tell data-driven stories, collaborate with other teams, influence strategy and be crucial drivers of real business growth.

In the latest Sprout Social Index: Empower & Elevate, we uncover how marketers can take social strategies to the next level and how social teams can demonstrate impact across their organizations with the right support. While you dig into all of the data in this latest Index report, here are nine key stats you can bring to your boss right away to demonstrate why social media marketers are a business’s most valuable resource.

Social media marketing challenges

As a social media marketer, you know the value of the data and observations about your audience that can be uncovered every day through conversations, mentions and reporting. Boiling this all down into a story that can shape brand strategy across your organization is a much bigger challenge, especially with the demands social marketers face to keep regular tactics running and implement new campaigns.

1. 47% of social media marketers say developing social strategies to support overall business goals remains their number one challenge.

You’re not alone if your social team is feeling crunched for bandwidth and behind the curve in incorporating all of that valuable social data into a coherent strategy. Social marketers are consistently struggling to build holistic strategies that support overall business goals. Not only are social marketing teams failing to reach their full potential, their organizations are also missing out on added value. When social teams lack the time to share out data-driven analyses and develop strategy, they miss out on the chance to communicate findings that have impact across their organizations.

What to tell your boss: Social marketers need additional time and bandwidth to create impactful goals that utilize their full potential–read on to our next stat to find out why this matters to more than just the social team.

2. This is in spite of the 71% of social media marketers who say they are able to provide insights from social to other departments.

Social marketers know that the data they get from regular conversations and interactions with audiences is a powerful measure of what customers want from brands and where they expect them to be headed. Social data is about more than Likes and follower counts–it also reveals sentiment and industry insight that can be transformative for all areas of an organization. Even though 71% of marketers say they have these insights, 39% of marketers say they struggle to demonstrate the value of social across their organizations.

When social media marketers are given the resources and support they need, they can in turn support other teams with these valuable consumer insights. These insights are more important than ever as consumers continue to raise their expectations for what they want from brands on social.

What to tell your boss: Your social team is in touch with customers’ needs and concerns every day, and should be empowered to tell these stories and shape strategies across your business.

Consumer behavior on social media

Social media marketers know that authentic engagement is more important than ever as network algorithm changes reward relationship building over clickbait strategies. With many social teams feeling like they just don’t have the time or resources to fully dive into all of the possibilities of social, every data point on what audiences want from brands and marketing strategies can help make a difference. These are just a few of the key consumer insights we uncovered in the Index.

3. When consumers follow brands on social, 67% say they are more likely to increase their spending with that brand.

The social media team’s role is about more than just increasing likes. Authentic connection drives actual revenue for brands. The right social strategy helps build relationships that keep brands top-of-mind when consumers are ready to spend. It also keeps them coming back–an additional 78% of consumers say they’ll recommend that brand to a family or friend and 77% will buy from that brand over another when they follow on social.

What to tell your boss: Follower counts are more than a vanity metric–building relationships on social with customers leads to revenue and repeat conversions.

4. 53% of consumers follow brands on social that they don’t shop with, representing a missed opportunity to grow revenue.

Just getting eyes on your posts isn’t enough to ensure you’ll be audiences’ first stop for shopping, however. 46% of consumers follow brands just for their inspirational content. While a beautifully curated feed helps draw eyes, social media marketers also need to engage with their followers to form relationships that convert. To do this, you’ll want to find out what your audiences’ needs are and be ready to engage and respond when they reach out–whether they tag or mention you or not.

What to tell your boss: Social teams can’t just blindly follow trends when posting social content–you also need the tools to dig into what leads your specific audience to convert.

5. 50% of consumers follow brands on social to learn about new products or services.

Entertaining and inspirational content is great for building your brand voice and demonstrating your personality, but valuable relationships with consumers come from understanding why they’re taking the time to follow brands in the first place. A majority of consumers want to learn about new products and services, while 48% follow brands on social to be entertained.

These stats are not only insights into what consumers want, they also show the multiple directions social media marketers and teams are pulled in to ensure they meet all of these needs. Your social media content strategy needs to pull together both informative and entertaining posts. Tapping into your brand’s unique audience profile is key to maximizing your strategy by learning exactly when and how your audience is engaging with the content you post.

What to tell your boss: You need a highly developed content plan to reach potential buyers throughout their customer journey–and your team needs the resources to create and execute it.

6. 45% of consumers are more likely to research a product or service when a brand’s employees post about that product or service.

Even with these consumer behaviors in mind, your social strategy doesn’t exist in a vacuum exclusive to the social team. Employee advocacy is a key piece of a complete, holistic social strategy. Employee-generated content helps build trust and reinforce the messaging about your culture and brand voice, all of which play a role in developing relationships that lead to conversion with customers. As customers explore posts around a product or service, employee advocacy helps move consumers through the funnel by building on your brand narrative with individual employees’ unique and trustworthy voices.

What to tell your boss: Your social team has the power to activate an employee advocacy strategy that tells your brand story and builds trust with audiences.

2019’s key social marketing trends

In addition to reviewing the current state of social media consumer behavior, the Sprout Social Index also identified key trends on the horizon. Here are three top trends you’ll want to arm yourself–and your boss–with right away. If you want to be ready for your social team to meet your followers where they are, be ready to factor these trends into your strategic planning.

Download the Sprout Social Index

7. 45% of consumers say they would like to see more live video from brands on social.

It’s clear that live video will become a must-have for social media marketing, and with live streaming options available across all the major social networks, there’s no easy way for brands to overlook this feature going forward. While live video has unique advantages like the ability to be more spontaneous and less produced, there can still be a disconnect for many social teams between the importance of adding it to their strategy and the bandwidth to actually implement it. 63% of social media marketers believe live video will become more important in the upcoming year, yet only 24% intend to create a strategy for YouTube Live. Audience insights specific to your brand are critical to determine what platforms your social team should focus their efforts on.

What to tell your boss: Your social marketing team needs the resources to identify where and how they can make the biggest impact with live video, and then create that content.

8. 40% of social media marketers believe private community groups, like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, will become more important.

Private groups represent a unique opportunity where people self-identify as highly interested in not only a topic, but also your brand–46% of consumers join private groups specifically to communicate directly with a brand or business. Private communities like Linkedin or Facebook Groups also allow social marketers to get in-depth insights from the most passionate audiences–two-thirds of consumers join a private group because they want to connect with people who are similar to them. Private groups shouldn’t be overlooked just because they don’t have wide organic reach–for the 48% of social marketers whose goals for social in the upcoming year include increasing community engagement, they’re they perfect space to cultivate a highly invested and motivated community with the potential to become brand advocates.

What to tell your boss: Initiatives to increase community engagement lead to more than just more Likes–they can also put you in touch with your most dedicated and outspoken customer base.

9. 63% of social media marketers believe listening will become more important over the upcoming year.

One recurring theme running through all of these stats is the need to know your brand’s specific audience in-depth. Consumers’ expectations out of social are growing more sophisticated, demanding a mix of content types and formats across many networks. Plus, social media marketers know their potential customers are often discussing them, their products and their competitors without any direct tags or mentions. Social listening lets marketers drive customer research at scale by providing the ability to filter relevant information out of the large datasets that social messages represent. By distilling these recurring themes into actionable insights that can impact a variety of teams, social media marketers bring value back to the rest of their organization. As social media marketers increasingly engage with data analysis to prove the ROI of their efforts, advanced tools like listening become must-haves in their toolkit.

What to tell your boss: Social listening can be a source of opportunity across your entire marketing structure, offering insights into your audience, industry and competitors.

These nine stats are just a few of our findings in the Sprout Social Index–download the report to read our full insights on how you can empower your social team and elevate your social strategy

This post 9 stats social media marketers need to show their bosses ASAP originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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When working to create a successful social media content strategy, it’s important to pay attention to best practices on each individual platform. What works well on Twitter isn’t the same as the high-performing content you see on Instagram. And Pinterest is no different.

So, in order to achieve your own success on Pinterest, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of the specifications and content tips distinct to the social media platform. What started out as a great way to find new recipes and DIY projects has turned into a wildly popular visual search engine and driver of referral traffic.

In order to see the best results from your pins, follow these Pinterest content tips and best practices.

What to post on Pinterest

First and foremost, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the types of content that perform best.

Pinterest is an interesting platform for its various content types that can help with promoting your business, selling your products/services and driving traffic to your website.

Products 

Since many Pinterest users are on the platform specifically for shopping and finding new products, sharing product photos is a must. The platform even has a section specifically for shopping and product pins.

DIYs 
Take your product pins a step further by showcasing a finished DIY project for inspiration, demonstrated by Lion Brand Yarn in the pin below.

Recipes/Food 

Everyone loves a good food photo. This strategy works well with regards to meal delivery services, food brands and other relevant businesses within the food and drink industry.

Infographics 

Infographic is short for informational graphics. While they can be any size, the optimal Pinterest infographic size tends to be thin and long in length, housing a ton of great visually represented information.

This type of content is incredibly versatile, and can cover nearly any topic. Because they’re long and thorough, visual graphics that contain valuable information tend to do well on Pinterest as opposed to other platforms where space and screen size may be limited. In fact, some of the best performing infographics are 5-9 times longer than their width.

How-to guides and photo tutorials

Another great type of content to share on Pinterest is a how-to guide or tutorial. And the best way to show it off in your pin graphic is by putting together a photo tutorial or montage as the main image.

Displaying your informational content is this manner helps to draw in searchers with an enticing preview that will help ensure they click to view more detailed instructions on your site.

Vertical graphics

According to Pinterest itself, vertical is the way to go in terms of pins. Fortunately, there are several different kinds of content perfect for utilizing vertical graphics.

Blog Posts 

While it may require some extra design work, it will absolutely be worth it to create vertical graphics that accompany the promotion of your latest blog posts. Pinterest is a powerful platform for driving website traffic, so promoting your blog posts should be a large focus in your Pinterest marketing strategy, and with that will come images optimized for the platform’s feed.

Promotions 

It’s also a worthwhile strategy to create Pinterest graphics to promote different facets of your business. This Rawpixel graphic is a great example of a promotional pin graphic.

Lead magnets 

If you’ve created lead magnets to help grow your email list, creating vertical graphics to promote them on Pinterest is a great strategy. This can lead even more people to your business and onto your email list.

How to create the perfect pin 

When it comes to creating content for Pinterest, there are a few very specific tactics that you need to utilize. Pinterest users are picky–they only want to save the best, most visually appealing and most useful pins to their boards.

Make sure to utilize each of these tactics within your Pinterest content creation strategy.

Optimal sizing

As mentioned previously, Pinterest recommends vertical pins over horizontal pins. Part of this is because vertical pins take up more space in the feed, creating a cohesive look and feel.

The optimal size for a Pinterest graphic has a 2:3 ratio. For infographics and longer photo tutorial collages, a pin can use up to a  and still follow best practices. The maximum size a pin can be before getting cut off at the bottom is a 1:2.8 ratio.

Logo placement

For brand strength and recognition, you want to make sure you put your logo on every single one of your pin graphics. Placing it towards the very top or bottom of your pin is a great way to ensure your mark is on it without being overwhelming.

High-quality imagery

Put yourself in a position for success on Pinterest by using beautiful, high-quality imagery within your pins. There are endless online resources for stock photos for promotional graphics, but you should utilize professional photography whenever possible and especially for any products you’ll be showcasing.

A good pin uses photography that is well-composed and in focus so there’s no strain to tell what’s in the image. Using multiple photos together in a collage can also help your pin’s performance, but try to keep it around four images or fewer so it doesn’t look overcrowded.

It’s also important to ensure that your images are at least 600 pixels wide to look best on the platform. (To keep in line with the 2:3 ratio, this would be a minimum of 600 x 900 pixels.) Images that are smaller than 100 x 200 pixels aren’t even pinnable, so the larger, the better.

Bold text

Although you want to keep any text on your pin to a minimum, it’s important to use bold for any text you want to stand out against the rest. It should be read easily on both desktop and mobile devices and not blend in with the background image.

When adding text to an image, your title should appear in large font at the top or middle of your pin. If you add a description of your product, service or company to the pin, make sure it’s below the title in a smaller font.

Additional content tips and best practices

On top of creating quality pins, no Pinterest content strategy is complete without thinking about the best times to publish.

Plan seasonal content in advance

Pinners plan things out twice as early as users on other platforms, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to plan and publish seasonal content. This chart from Pinterest shares exactly which time of the year pinners are sharing content specific to each season or holiday so you can get an idea for how early to start planning your content.

For the most part, you should plan between 30-45 days ahead of time throughout the year. However, pinners start planning for the holidays and the new year six months early, so you shouldn’t be getting your gift guides and holiday content out at the beginning of December. Instead, entice prospective buyers with content that will get them shopping as early as possible.

Create a content calendar

You’re probably not new to the idea of a content or editorial calendar. You may even have one for your other social media platforms, like Facebook or Instagram. But when it comes to Pinterest content, the way you create and share your pins is very different.

You’re sharing your products, services, blog posts, lead magnets and other promotional items onto your Pinterest account, alongside repins and content curation to increase the number of pins on your account.

It’s worth noting that the first five pins you save each day will be prioritized, so saving your own pins before any curated content is a smart strategy. You can also choose to schedule your pins with Sprout Social so that you’re spreading them out and sharing five great pins each day.

Use your Pinterest content calendar to plan out your pin images and descriptions, when you’re going to start promoting various content, whether seasonal or new, as well as which boards you’re going to share content to.

Use promoted pins

While you can still create a successful organic strategy with Pinterest, every platform performs better when ads are involved. Pinterest’s promoted pins allow your business to get your content, products or services in front of new pinners based on what their search terms are.

Promoted pins are denoted by a “Promoted by [business]” caption at the bottom of the pin.

Don’t forget your pin creation best practices. These elements are even more important when creating graphics for your promoted pins.

When it comes to social media marketing, Pinterest is a breed all its own, but by following the various content tips and best practices covered throughout this post, you’ll be well on your way to success using the platform. Learn more about how Sprout Social can help you with your Pinterest content calendar and beyond.

This post Pinterest content tips to help you create the perfect pin originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Sprout Social is honored to be recognized as one of the 50 Highest Rated Private Cloud Computing Companies To Work For in a list released by Battery Ventures, a global investment firm and cloud investor, with data specifically provided by Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites. This is the third year Sprout has appeared on the list, which highlights privately held B2B companies where employees report the highest levels of satisfaction at work, according to employee feedback shared on Glassdoor.

“We put a lot of care into creating an inclusive and engaging workplace that our team can thrive in,” said Maureen Calabrese, Chief People Officer. “Recognition from Battery Ventures for a third year affirms the collective work and dedication of Team Sprout to scale our culture and innovate amidst rapid growth and expansion.”

Over the past year, Sprout has grown to a team of more than 500 employees and expanded its global footprint to include an office in Dublin. These changes have presented opportunities for Sprout to strengthen its culture across countries and time zones, resulting in an environment where everyone can feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work. As Sprout continues to evolve, we look forward to uncovering new ways to support our team’s professional and personal growth.  

Thank you to every member of Team Sprout for their passion and commitment to this company and each other.

Want to join us? We’re hiring.

This post Sprout Social named a highest rated private cloud computing company to work for by Battery Ventures originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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With a rapidly growing user base of 610 million professionals, LinkedIn provides organizations with unique opportunities. Beyond being a prime place to share content and showcase thought leadership, LinkedIn performs almost 3 times better than Facebook or Twitter for generating visitor-to-lead conversions. Creating and maintaining an up-to-date LinkedIn Page is crucial for any marketing strategy.

At a glance, running your LinkedIn Page might seem pretty simple.

But growing an engaged following on LinkedIn is apples and oranges compared to any other social network.

As a certified LinkedIn Marketing Partner, Sprout is now the second company to release “real-time” notifications for comments in the Smart Inbox, making it even easier to build connections with your consumers. “We are continually looking for ways to collaborate and happily worked with LinkedIn to roll-out this new feature so brands can more quickly and easily connect with their customers,” says VP of Global Partnerships, Andrew Caravella.

And given the platform’s best practices and new slew of business features, there’s perhaps no better time to revisit your LinkedIn presence for optimal engagement.

Below we’ve broken down the anatomy of the perfect LinkedIn Page whether you’re looking to optimize your current profile or start from scratch.

Creatives and copy for your LinkedIn Page

First things first: businesses need to cover the basics of their profiles. Although setting up your LinkedIn Page is straightforward, there are some important decisions to make in terms of optimizing your creatives and profile copy.

Choosing a logo and cover photo

Chances are you already have the creatives on deck for your logo and cover photo. In addition to your tagline, this is what users will see “above the fold” when checking out your business.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter where you might use a cover photo of your team, clean and colorful imagery is your best bet on LinkedIn. When in doubt, keep it simple.

Here are some examples of optimized LinkedIn Pages which take different creative approaches to their profiles.

For starters, MailChimp uses a yellow color scheme and a minimalist background that’s on-brand. Nothing fancy, but effective nonetheless.

Drift’s cover photo actually promotes an informational product which is totally fair game on LinkedIn. This tactic shows off their expertise and also serves as a call-to-action for anyone who lands on their page.

Meanwhile, Zapier uses their cover photo to hype up the fact that they’re hiring. This makes perfect sense given that LinkedIn is top spot to recruit talent. Unlike the two previous examples, Zapier uses a text-only version of their logo.

The approach you take to your creatives is totally up to you, though we recommend coming up with a cover photo that’s exclusive to LinkedIn for the sake of giving your profile some flavor.

And just as a refresher, here are the social media image sizes to remember for your LinkedIn Page.

  • Logo (300 x 300 pixels)
  • Square logo (60 x 60 pixels)
  • Cover image (1536 x 768)
Filling out your LinkedIn profile

Any given LinkedIn Page contains a series of subsections. Businesses should ideally fill all of these sections out 100%, with the exception of the “Jobs” section if you aren’t hiring.

About

This section highlights your organization’s basic information, including a brief “About” blurb and a place to list industry-specific keywords in the “Specialties” field. The information here is more akin to a Facebook “About” section versus a stylized Twitter or Instagram bio.

Life

The “Life” section is an opportunity to show off your organization’s culture. Here you can highlight your organization’s values, provide a snapshot of your workers’ day-to-day lives and explain what separates you from other organizations in your space.

Jobs

If you’re hiring via LinkedIn, this section will aggregate and house your job listings.

People

The “People” tab will populate based on which workers have your organization listed as their employer. There’s also a brief demographic breakdown based on your employees’ location, education, roles and skills. This section is valuable for potential prospects and people interested in reaching out to your organization.

Coming up with an effective LinkedIn content strategy

LinkedIn is a unique beast when it comes to your content strategy.

How so? Well, consider how your LinkedIn Page needs to simultaneously speak to totally different audiences.

Current customers and prospective ones? Check.

Employees and recruits? Double-check.

Industry players and competitors who want to watch your latest moves? Yep, they’re checking you out, too.

Part of the beauty of LinkedIn is the freedom organizations have in terms of what they can post, though. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common types of content we see on LinkedIn Pages:

Question-based content

Picking your followers’ brains is a smart move to encourage likes and comments on LinkedIn. Oddly enough, text-based posts can actually stand out on LinkedIn in a sea of articles and external links.

Articles and industry-specific posts

Unlike other social networks where posting article after article might be looked down upon, doing so is embraced on LinkedIn.

There’s no better place to drop your latest link, granted you couple it with a meaningful caption. Here’s a good example of a conversational caption from Hubspot that eventually leads readers to click through to a new blog post.

Resources and case studies

Considering that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, publishing your organization’s resources, freebies and lead magnets is a no brainer. This does double-duty of signaling your influence within your industry while also serving as a helping hand to your followers.

Event coverage

Attending an event or conference? Take your LinkedIn followers along for the ride. This sort of behind-the-scenes content is authentic, easy to create and is a welcome change from solely promotional posts.

Employee showcases

Recognizing your employees on LinkedIn allows you to show off the human side of your business. This example of employee recognition from Lemonade managed to score great engagement while also highlighting their organization’s values.

Culture-centric content

Again, not everything on your LinkedIn Page needs to be promotional. Whether it’s off-the-cuff office content or examples of your organization giving back, anything that shows off your organization’s culture is a big plus. Doing so is powerful for positioning and making an emotional impact on your followers.

Best practices to maximize your LinkedIn engagement

Now that you have an idea of how to fill out your LinkedIn Page and what to post, it’s time to think about how you’re going to maximize your profile’s reach.

Want more followers? Looking to attract the attention of industry players and influencers? Here’s how you do it.

Get your employees involved

Okay, this is the big one.

Employee advocacy is the absolute best way to grow your LinkedIn presence and exponentially increase your content’s reach.

Think about it. When you restrict your organization’s content to your Page, you’re only being seen by your current crop of followers.

But let’s say you have a few dozen employees with a couple hundred followers each. Even if there’s some overlap between your page followers and theirs, this enables your posts to be seen by thousands who’d otherwise miss out on them.

Rather than manually have employees post organization content, platforms such as Bambu or LinkedIn Elevate allow organizations to curate and amplify social content within a single platform. This encourages a uniform approach to sharing content that ensures that as many eyes are on your organization as possible.

Prioritize video content

Video content is quickly taking over social media itself and LinkedIn is no different.

LinkedIn released its video capabilities in 2017 and has been stressing the importance of video ever since. It’s no surprise that video content is among the most popular and LinkedIn and appears to be prioritized by the platform’s algorithm.

From educational video to commercials, organizations should step up their video production ASAP in an effort to stand out on the platform.

Come up with a consistent content calendar

Consistency counts with just about any social network.

Based on our data regarding the best times to post on social media, engagement appears to shift between mornings toward the late-afternoon throughout the workweek. Typically we see most organizations post at least once daily, although we encourage businesses to experiment with frequency.

Having an understanding of your timing and frequency can help you put together a comprehensive content calendar specific to LinkedIn. With the help of Sprout, you can then publish directly to your LinkedIn Page and schedule your content alongside your other social profiles.

Stay tuned for opportunities to connect

Whether your content strategy focuses on posing questions or sharing thought leadership, your audience is expecting to hear from you. 55% of consumers say that liking or responding to a consumer’s post on social media helps brands connect with consumers.

Now with “real-time” notifications for comments in the Smart Inbox, it’s easier to create connections with your consumers with more ease. Think: shorter response times when cultivating conversations or answering questions directed towards your brand. Acting quickly in those moments inspires more engagement from your audience.

Understand your analytics

According to Sprout’s 2018 Social Index, audience insights and data-driven strategy should be the top priority of any organization looking to thrive on LinkedIn.

In other words, you need robust analytics.

What posts are your top performers? When are you scoring the most shares and followers?

Although the platform has adequate native reporting, a third-party reporting solution like the one we offer at Sprout can dig even deeper into your LinkedIn analytics.

For example, Sprout is capable of tracking impressions, engagements and clicks to clue you in on what’s working and what’s not. Based on these numbers, you can fine-tune your LinkedIn presence accordingly.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

Does your LinkedIn Page look like a million bucks?

Growing on LinkedIn is truly a one-of-a-kind endeavor versus any other social network.

As a result, you need to know exactly how to properly run your Page.

From creatives and content to understanding your data, these pointers can put you on the right path toward building a more engaging profile.

We want to hear from you, though. What has your organization’s experience been like on LinkedIn? Are you experiencing more engagement than usual these days? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to build the perfect LinkedIn Page originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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There’s no better time than now to figure out how to promote your YouTube channel.

Why “now,” though?

For starters, YouTube recently overtook Facebook as the second most-visited site on the web.

In a day and age where we’re spending up to six hours per day consuming video, the writing is on the wall: we need to appeal to our customers’ binge-watching tendencies.

Of course, the boom of video content has resulted in a flood of brands trying to master YouTube channel marketing all at once.

And so if you want to stand out on YouTube, you need to take advantage of as many promotional tactics as possible.

Below we’ve broken down step-by-step how to promote your YouTube channel to maximize your viewership. Whether you’re just getting started or want to see your numbers tick upward, these tips are all fair game.

1. Write engaging, must-see titles

YouTube marketing is all about presentation.

Like, literally.

Titles are make-or-break when it comes to your video’s performance. Ask yourself: are you presenting your content as “must-see” or “meh?”

The key to crafting killer titles is grabbing your audience’s attention without resorting to clickbait headlines. People crave content that’s entertaining, and they likewise want to know what your video is about from the word “go.”

For example, you can take a page out of the playbooks of YouTube giants like BuzzFeed and WhatCulture. Such videos often rely on listicles, question-based titles or hyperbole (“insane,” “…of all time”) to rack up the views.

Athlean X’s fitness-based videos are another good example. The channel’s content manages to sneak in relevant keywords in its titles while also coming across as conversational.

“Best-of” lists and “how-to” titles are always a safe bet, too. Here are some click-worthy titles from Disney Food Blog:

The takeaway here is that you should definitely spend time mulling over engaging titles rather than sticking with the first idea that pops into your head.

In terms of specifics, an oft-cited study from Tubular Insights notes that YouTube video titles should stick between 41 and 70 characters. Meanwhile, tools such as CoSchedule’s headline analyzer recommends 55 characters for an engaging headline. CoSchedule’s tool isn’t specifically meant for video titles but is awesome for brainstorming YouTube-friendly titles to help promote your YouTube channel.

2. Step up your YouTube SEO

Here’s some food for thought: YouTube videos show up in 70% of the top 100 Google search results.

Heck, see for yourself. Any given product or “how-to” query on Google will return something from YouTube.

In fact, YouTube results sometimes even pop up before traditional blog posts or websites.

Listen: YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world in and of itself. Just like people search for products and need problems solved via Google, the same rings true on YouTube.

Think of your YouTube videos like any other piece of content that needs to be optimized in terms of keywords, tags and so on.

In order to increase your chances of showing up, you’ll want to follow some of the best practices for YouTube SEO:

  • Titles and description: Include target keywords in your titles and descriptions. You can use a tool like Keywordtool.io to help you find keyword ideas.
  • Mention keywords in your video: According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, saying your target keywords in your video can help YouTube better understand what your video is about.
  • Engagement: YouTube uses engagement (likes, comments, views) to help determine where videos rank in its search results.
  • Categories: Use categories to help YouTube get a better understanding of who to show your videos to.
  • Tags: In addition to categories, you can also add tags to your videos to give YouTube more context about your content. You can use quite a few tags, so add as many as you can think of.

Just like with SEO for your website, don’t keyword stuff. Use keywords when it makes sense, not just for the sake of having them. You can check out our guide on how to optimize your YouTube videos for more specifics.

3. Figure out what your audience wants

With any type of content you produce, you want to make sure it’s aligned with what your audience wants. Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating a video, start by getting to know your audience and what type of content they want to see from you.

If you’re just starting to promote your YouTube channel, take a look at your competitors or other video creators in your industry. Look at which of their videos get the most views and engagement. This will give you an idea of what topics your audience wants to learn about and what style of videos they prefer.

Another solution is to look at your YouTube Analytics if you’ve already uploaded videos. YouTube gives you detailed information on audience demographics, location, engagement and other helpful stats.

4. Engage with the YouTube community

Although you might not think of YouTube as a social network per se, the platform does represent a thriving community where users are engaging via content via profiles, “likes” and comments.

Sounds pretty “social” if you ask us.

As noted earlier, any sort of interaction with your viewers is seen as a positive signal to YouTube. If nothing else, engaging with your subscribers can help you foster a stronger connection with your audience. “Liking” comments only takes a few seconds, as does pinning a top comment as a sort of personal note to your subscribers.

For example, music channel Artzie Musik regularly “likes” and responds to comments on its recent uploads. The channel’s creator regularly goes back-and-forth with subscribers to show appreciation and answer questions, too.

Just as you’d respond to comments and engage with your followers on any other social network, YouTube is no different.

5. Customize your thumbnails

One of the simplest yet effective tactics to promote your YouTube channel is creating custom thumbnails.

Think of your title and thumbnail as a sort of one-two punch to grab a viewer’s attention.

By default, YouTube snags a screenshot from any given video and uses it for the thumbnail. Unfortunately, sometimes the image it grabs will be a blurry shot of you adjusting the camera or a transition.

Not a good look, right?

Creating thumbnails yourself not only makes your videos look more appealing at a glance but also signals a certain sense of professionalism.

Thumbnails don’t have to be rocket science, either. You can even create a template with a particular font and style to make it more consistent and on-brand. This is made especially easy with the help of image creation tools such as Canva. Here’s a good example from Binging with Babish:

6. Cross-promote your videos on YouTube

Chances are you’re covering similar topics on YouTube that overlap with each other.

To squeeze more out of your older content, make a point to cross-promote your videos when it makes sense.

For example, you can drop links in the description of a video and encourage viewers to check them out as a sort of call-to-action. Although some might be disappointed by the recent removal of YouTube’s annotation system, linking in your description encourages viewers to watch your videos all the way through without clicking away.

7. Target the SERPs

As noted, YouTube is totally killing it when it comes to SEO.

And while you shouldn’t totally create content for search engines versus people, you should promote your YouTube channel with SEO in mind.

Specifically, product reviews, how-to’s and long-form (10+ minutes) videos covering keyword-specific topics tend to rank well. If you’re strapped for content ideas or want to capitalize on a trending buzzword in your industry, consider how you can do so through your YouTube channel marketing.

8. Run a contest or giveaway

If there’s one thing YouTube users love, it’s a giveaway. Host a YouTube contest or giveaway to encourage people to subscribe to your channel and engage.

To keep your contests simple, have people like your video, leave a comment and subscribe to your channel to enter.

Follow some of our best practices for running any social media contest:

  • Make sure you’re following YouTube’s policies.
  • Give away a gift that’s related to your brand: you want to attract more than just freebie-seekers.
  • Get creative by incorporating user-generated content and other non-traditional entry requirements.

Be careful with hosting frequent YouTube contests, though. You want to make sure you’re getting results from your efforts: otherwise, you’ll end up wasting time, money and resources. After doing one contest, wait a while and look at your subscriber drop-off rate and engagement numbers. If you aren’t bringing in engaged subscribers, you could just be attracting people who want free prizes.

9. Encourage viewers to follow your series

A smart way to promote your YouTube channel is by creating a specific video series that covers a recurring theme or topic.

Popular foodie channel Bon Appétit actually has a variety of different series that make up their YouTube presence, including their ongoing “From the Test Kitchen” videos.

Series are a win-win for creators and viewers alike. For creators, you hold yourself accountable for creating fresh YouTube content and don’t have to rack your brain for ideas. For your audience, they have something to look forward to and likewise a reason to keep returning to your channel.

10. Embed your YouTube videos on-site

Some of the best places to promote your YouTube channel are beyond YouTube itself.

Case in point, video content is proven to improve conversion rates and lower bounce rate on-site. If you want visitors to stick around a product page or blog post longer, embed a video (like we did below).

Remember: any opportunity you have to funnel your on-site (or social!) traffic to YouTube is a plus.

11. Create playlists to organize your YouTube content

The more videos you create, the more difficult it becomes for people to navigate through your channel.

That’s why playlists are so important. Not only do playlists allow you to group your videos into categories to organize your channel, but also appeal to your viewers’ desire to binge.

For example, Beardbrand’s grooming channel uploads daily and therefore has amassed hundreds of videos covering tons of topics. The channel’s various playlists help guide subscribers to relevant content without having to dig for it.

12. When in doubt, ask for engagement

Sometimes simply asking for engagement is the best way to get your videos spread.

After all, not everyone who enjoys your video is going to drop a “like.”

Especially if you’re an up-and-coming channel, there’s no shame in asking for some love directly. In fact, asking visitors a question to answer in the comments suggestion or to check out another video are perfect ways to keep the engagement rolling. You can likewise link to other videos or drop an external link to your site to serve as a sort of CTA.

13. Give live streaming a try

Live video is one of the biggest social media trends and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

With apps like Facebook, Periscope and Instagram making it easier than ever to stream live video, more and more brands are getting on board.

YouTube has been offering live videos for years but has only recently started picking up steam. You can take a look at some popular YouTube Live videos to get a sense of how other brands are using the platform.

Some examples of how you can use YouTube Live are:

  • Webinars
  • Live tutorials
  • Q&A sessions
  • Product demonstrations

Don’t worry if your streams don’t go as smoothly as you’d like. Part of the fun (and risk) of live video is you never know what’s going to happen. The unpolished, organic nature of live video is exactly what makes it compelling. For more tips on how to get started with YouTube Live, check out Google’s introduction to live streaming.

14. Collaborate with other creators and brands

A tactic some of the biggest YouTube stars used to grow their following is collaborating with other users. Each collaboration gives you exposure to a new audience. And the best part is those new viewers are more likely to subscribe to your channel since you’re working with a content creator they already know, like and trust.

The key to a successful YouTube collaboration is finding the right partner. You want to collaborate with content creators that share similar passions with your brand so your video comes off as authentic. This now-classic collaboration between BuzzFeed and Purina is a prime example of a thoughtful collaboration that doesn’t feel overly promotional.

15. Run a paid YouTube ad campaign

With marketing in general becoming more pay-to-play, you always have the option to promote your YouTube channel via ads. YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to choose from:

  • Display ads: These ads show up on the right-hand sidebar of videos, and are only available on desktop.
  • Overlay ads: These are semi-transparent ads that are displayed on the bottom part of a video. They’re only available on desktop.
  • Skippable and non-skippable video ads: These ads show up before, during or after a video. Skippable ads can be skipped after five seconds, but non-skippable ads have to be watched all the way through before the viewer can watch their video.
  • Bumper ads: These are non-skippable ads that have to be watched before the viewer can watch their video. They can be a maximum of six seconds.
  • Sponsored cards: These are cards that get displayed within relevant videos. You can use them to promote your products or other content.

For your ad creatives, you can either use an existing video or create something new for a specific campaign. The advantage of using an existing video is you can choose a clip you know has been effective in the past. If a video has already gotten a lot of views and engagement organically, running paid ads can amplify your results.

On the flip side, creating a new video for your ads will allow you to create a more targeted piece of content that you have more control over. For instance, you can create an ad with a specific call-to-action at the end to direct viewers to a landing page or another video. You can learn more about YouTube’s video ad formats here.

16. Regularly publish your YouTube content to social media

It’s no secret that video content crushes it on social media in terms of engagement and performance.

As a result, you should regularly promote your YouTube channel to your social followers to encourage them to become subscribers. As soon as a video goes live, make a point to let your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn know about it. You can likewise create snippets or previews for each social platform that also link to your latest production.

With the help of Sprout Social, you can schedule your content and cross-promote it without having to jump from platform to platform. Features such as ViralPost can also help ensure that your content goes live based on when your social audiences are engaged.

And with that, we wrap up our guide to YouTube channel marketing!

How do you promote your YouTube channel?

Growing a YouTube audience doesn’t happen by accident.

And yes, it can certainly feel like a grind if your space is crowded with competition.

That’s exactly why it pays to have a variety of promotional tactics in your back pocket. Although some of the tips above require more effort than others, each one can help you get more eyes on your channel and more subscribers as a result.

We want to hear from you, though. Are you struggling to promote your YouTube channel? Any advice to fellow creators? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to promote your YouTube channel to maximize views originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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If you’re a regular Facebook user, you might have noticed a surge in the number of video ads on the platform. While businesses still use photo ads and carousel ads, they’re growing increasingly fond of the video advertising format. And there’s a good reason for that – people love watching videos. In fact, Facebook has an average daily video view of eight billion.

The case for Facebook video ads

A study by Locowise found that video content managed to reach 13.4% of a Facebook page’s total audience while photo content reached 13.13% of the total audience. Although the difference in reach isn’t much, videos have an impressive lead in engagement rate. The study found that videos engaged 5.49% of the audience reached while the engagement rate for photos was 4.67%.

Source: Locowise

Best practices for more impactful Facebook video ads

With the above stats in mind, here are five best practices you should follow if you want to create Facebook video ads that have an impact.

1. Establish the value of your product

Your video should be able to establish the value of your product by demonstrating what it can do for the audience. If you want people to take action after watching your video, make sure it’s not just entertaining. Otherwise, they’re just going to keep scrolling, looking for the next piece of content to consume.

Create videos that showcase exactly what your product is capable of and what problems it can solve. This will give the audience a better idea of how your product can be of value to them.

Adobe Spark, for instance, created Facebook ads using videos created by its users. Since the ad is trying to promote the platform’s video creation feature, showcasing an example of the end result is the perfect solution to demonstrate the types of videos that can be created using Adobe Spark.

2. Include a teaser summary

Sure, your video may already have a headline and subheading, but that’s not always enough to engage your audience. You will need to include additional context that sets up the video in a compelling and captivating way.

You also can use the space to give additional information about the product that didn’t make it into the video. Or you could even add a short teaser phrase or question that compels people to watch it.

Take for example the following ad from Lensball. They’ve included a summary with a brief explanation of what the product is and ended it with a call to action (CTA) to visit the brand’s site.

3. Design videos that resonate without sound

A 2016 internal Facebook study found that 80% of people have a negative reaction to the unexpected playing of loud video ads, though through the same research, Facebook also found that 41% of videos were meaningless without sound. And according to Digiday, roughly 85% of video views on the platform happen with no sound. So if you want to create video ads that have an impact, you need to design for sound off first. Fortunately, Facebook gives you the ability to easily add captions to your video ads, including the option to enable automated captions.

The Lacoste Facebook video ad is an excellent example of one that’s designed for sound off. Titled “Timeless,” the ad told a love story spanning decades and showed the characters growing and evolving by displaying an evolution of their style. The only constant was the protagonist’s polo shirt, signifying that it’s a timeless style choice.

Source: Facebook Business Success Story

4. Aim to engage in the first 3 seconds

The first three seconds of your Facebook video ads are the most critical. If you can’t immediately intrigue the audience during this period, there’s a good chance they’re not going to watch the rest of the video. According to Facebook, 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will continue watching for at least 10 seconds. And 45% will continue watching for 30 seconds.

For America’s Test Kitchen, switching from still images to animated videos had a significant impact on their lead ads. They ran a test on three different types of motion: animating a recipe, animating a logo and animating a still image of a fried egg. All of these motions were added during the first three seconds of the video.

They found that the bold food image seemed to resonate most with the audience. And the animated version of the fried egg performed much better than the still image. Their leads increased by 45% and they were able to reduce their cost per lead by 31%.

Source: Facebook Business Success Story

5. Avoid landscape videos

There are three Facebook video ad specs you can use–vertical, square and landscape. If you want your ads to have a bigger impact, you’re going to need either vertical or square videos. This is mainly because a majority of Facebook users access the platform on their smartphones, as opposed to desktops and laptops. And square and vertical formats are more suitable for mobile screens, leading to their success.

Compared to landscape videos, square videos take up 78% more space on a user’s News Feed. This means your ads will be fully on display and easy to see. Aside from that, a study by Animoto found that square and vertical formats outperformed landscape videos in terms of views, engagements and completion rate.

For example, the Jane Goodall Institute decided to run an A/B test using square and landscape videos for their Facebook ad. They spent $50 on each version but  square video proved to be the big winner. The square version recorded twice as many views and three times as many shares as the landscape version.

Source: Animoto

Square and vertical videos look better on mobile, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be sacrificing your ad aesthetics on desktops and laptops. The following screenshot of a vertical MUBI video ad is from a laptop. It looks just as attractive as it would on a smartphone, so you won’t be making any compromises if you switch to square or vertical Facebook video ads.

Have you tried any of these best practices to improve your Facebook video ads? Which one’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

 

This post 5 best practices to amplify your Facebook video ads originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Incorporating others’ content into your Instagram feed is a common and effective Instagram strategy. User-generated content (UGC) is often used by brands to showcase their customers and influencers. To find UGC, read up on how to listen and monitor on Instagram.

To use UGC, you’ll need to know how to regram on Instagram. In this article, we’ll walk you through a few of your regramming options. Options vary from free to paid tools and apps.

Can I regram without leaving Instagram?

No – unlike Twitter and Facebook with their easy Retweet and Share features, Instagram does not have a repost button. Since its inception, Instagram has maintained a preference for original content. But that certainly doesn’t stop its users for finding creative ways to regram.

As you can see above, sharing to other networks is easy but it is not possible to regram without the help of another app or program. Later on in this article, we’ll provide you with several different ways to regram.

When it comes to directly publishing to Instagram with an app, it’s important to note that it’s offered for business accounts and official Instagram Partners. Be wary of apps that are not part of the official program but still offer the service.

How to regram manually with a screenshot

Without the use of another app, you always have the screenshot option.

Here’s how to regram with a screenshot:

  • Find the post that you want to regram.
  • Screenshot on your phone.
  • Crop the photo to take out all extra materials.
  • Create a new Instagram post with the fresh photo.

User beware, though, this method is limited by your phone model’s resolution. If you have an older model, your photo may display a little blurrier to someone using a new model.

How to regram with Sprout Social

Because Sprout Social is an official Instagram Partner, we can offer both the repost function and the auto-publishing function via our mobile app.

Here’s how to regram with Sprout Social:

  • Find the post you want to repost.
  • Click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the post.
  • Click copy link.
  • Open the Sprout Social app
  • Click the in-app notification “Found Instagram Share Link! Tap to Reshare.”
  • It’ll open up a prompt. Choose “Schedule or Queue” or “Repost Now.”
  • The account’s name, username and first few caption lines will be copied over. Edit to suit your brand’s voice.
  • The Instagram post will be automatically published.

The beauty of using Sprout for your regramming efforts is that you can save posts as drafts. There’s no need for you immediately repost the photo. Secondly, the photo that’s reposted does not have a watermark. This is important if you want to keep your feed looking seamless.

In addition to this method of regramming through Sprout, you can also republish posts found with your monitored hashtags through the Feeds tab on the iOS app.

How to regram using Repost for Instagram +

There are many regramming apps out there. Many of these apps are free with paid features, such as removing a watermark. You may also need to contend with watching ads or having them in corners of the apps. Repost for Instagram + is one such app that is free to use.

Here’s how to regram with Repost for Instagram +:

  • Find the post you want to regram.
  • Click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the post.
  • Open up the Repost for Instagram + app.
  • The post will appear. You’ll have a choice on which corner to place the repost overlay. You can also have no overlay.
  • Choose if you want to copy the caption or not. Click repost. If you do choose to copy the caption, the app will add “Posted @withrepost •”.
  • The app will request to open up Instagram.

There are a few pros to using this app. If you aren’t able to invest in a social media management solution yet, a free app is an easy choice. You’re also able to keep potential reposts in the app without publishing them immediately. When you copy a link over to the app, the post will appear in the app along with previously reposted photos. When it comes time to repost, select the one you want and publish it.

Finally, if you only want to only save the images and upload to a social media publisher, go through the motions for reposting. After you click on repost, the image will be saved to your photos.

How to repost with Later

Another free service with paid plans, Later offers a “Search & Repost” feature. You’ll need hashtags to find the post.

Here’s how to regram with Later:

  • Find the post you want to repost. Look at its hashtags and identify one to use to search by (the least commonly used would be the easiest).
  • Open up Later online.
  • Navigate to the left sidebar and find “Search & Repost”.
  • Enter one of the hashtags used on the post.
  • Find the post and click “Add to Library”.
  • The first few lines of the caption and hashtags the user used will be copied over.
  • In your library, find the post to schedule it.
Image: Later

Later’s Instagram publishing features are robust. You’re able to upload photos and videos, schedule them as you’d like and preview your Instagram grid. Its free plan limits you on the number of posts you can make in one month.

How to repost in Stories

We’ve been discussing a lot about how to regram in the Instagram feed, but what about Stories? You may find yourself with lots of potential content but it might not fit into your feed for a number of reasons. The post could be too visually off brand for you. Or you want to reshare someone’s Story that mentioned you. Here’s how to repost with Stories.

Reshare from feed to Story

It’s easy to reshare an in-feed post to your Story. Keep in mind that if you are sharing from a private account and you have a public one, you will only be able to share the post in DMs and not in your Story. If you’re unsure if the account is private, a warning will appear when you try and reshare.

  • Find the post you want to share.
  • Click the airplane share icon.
  • Select “Add post to story”.
  • Instagram Story will appear in edit mode with the post’s photo embedded in the center.
  • If you tap the post, it will change the design and offer the first few words from the caption.
  • Add what you’d like to the Story and then click “Your Story” to post it.

When someone sees your Story, they can click the embedded item and it’ll take them directly to the original post.

One fun twist on this is to place the UGC in the Story itself. Converse created a roundup of posts that mentioned them and the result is an entertaining recap.

Repost from Story to Story

Maybe someone’s Story is so good that you want to repost it into your own. Or maybe they mentioned you and you’d like to repost that. For the former, we recommend asking permission to repost and then taking a screenshot. For the latter, it’s easy to do.

  • If they mention you, the Story will appear in your DMs.
  • Find the DM. Click the “Add this to Your Story” prompt that appears on Stories that can be shared.
  • It’ll take you to the Story creation screen where you can resize the Story and add items to the background.

A good example of this tactic in use is Whole Foods’ recap of the best Story mentions they’ve had. See the above video to see how this was put into action.

Reshare from Story to feed

Maybe your Instagram Story had a lot of traction and you think it’d do well in your feed. It’s possible to repurpose your Instagram Story into a feed post.

  • Open up the Instagram Story you want to post. It can be a current Story or one in your Archive.
  • Select “Share as Post…”
  • This will take you to the screen where you can start a new post.
4 Best practices for regramming

Now that you know how to regram, you need to learn about best practices. We do not recommend reposting whatever you want. Be thoughtful and be kind.

1. Ask for permission and give credit

Instagram policy states that the original photographer owns the right of the photo. Using their photo without permission is a violation of this policy. Original photographers can file an intellectual property violation against you, which may lead to post deletion or account disablement with repeat offenses. For more information on what copyright on Instagram means, review their help page.

There are a couple of ways to ask for permission:

  • In a comment: post under the photo and ask if you can repost with credit.
  • Send the post as a DM to the account and ask for permission.
  • Go a step further and add a link to your terms of use like Airbnb does.
2. Keep true to the original photographer

This means you should keep edits at a minimum. Try not to crop or add filters in a way that would take from the original work. Additionally, pay attention to the original caption. If there’s a caption that was written to emotionally match the photo, don’t just take the photo and write about your upcoming sale.

A simple credit line like Girlboss does above is a great way to give credit to the original post.

3. Mix up original and regrammed content

A feed that features only regrammed content is really just a repost account. If you’re a brand with services and products, content is still king and original content still performs well. Using UGC in your strategy should be more about highlighting your customers’ feedback and uses of your product.

4. Keep it on brand

Visually and in writing, you want the items you repost to still be relatively on brand. For example, if you have a brand color of green and it shows up throughout your account’s feed, then you wouldn’t want to repost something that is mostly bright pink.

For captions, if you’re quoting the original post, you’ll want to make sure that it still positively reflects your brand and the brand voice. Check out the user profile to ensure that they’re also a good account to repost from. While it’s not a formal endorsement, reposts still work as a boost for the creator.

Topshop uses a mix of original and regrammed content. You’ll notice that the visual feel of their feed is still relatively the same, though.

Conclusion

Regramming on Instagram is pretty simple now with a variety of apps available to you. The strategy is not only great at creating stronger bonds between you and your customer, it gives you additional content. With this guide, we hope you learned the basics of how to regram and the best practices to use when doing so.

This post How to regram on Instagram originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Reality check: conducting industry analysis doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

In fact, it’s arguably easier than ever.

And we have social media to thank for that.

Whether it’s competitor activity or trends dominating your space, industry analysis through social media provides real-time insights for businesses.

How so? According to data from the Sprout Social Index, the following two types of posts receive the most engagement via social:

  • Content that educates followers
  • Content that highlights new products and services

The takeaway here is that social media is a prime place to conduct industry analysis. If you want a better understanding of what your competitors are doing or what your customers want, the information is out in the open.

That is, if you’re listening for it.

What is industry analysis, anyway?

Industry analysis involves researching your target audience, competitors and customers to uncover relevant product and content insights.

Social media manages to highlight the happenings of your industry in real-time without any sort of filter.

Want to know what your competitors are promoting? Curious about what your customers are buzzing about? Chances are you can find the answers in your social feed.

Just as consumers adopt trends at a break-neck pace, businesses are expected to keep up. Think about industries like fashion and food which are so time and trend-sensitive. Whether it’s the latest festival fashion or the milkshake IPA craze, brands that don’t have a pulse on the social space are definitely missing out.

Social media industry analysis isn’t just about what your competitors are doing, though. To figure out where you stand in your industry, it’s crucial to look inward. This means digging into customer insights to see what you’re doing that’s winning over actual buyers to uncover new trends as well.

When people think social media, they often think “likes” and follower counts, right?

But we’re not talking about vanity metrics here. Instead, social media industry analysis involves answering three specific points:

  • What products is your audience currently interested in?
  • What are the challenges and desires of your audience?
  • Where do you stand versus your competitors when it comes to addressing the two points above?
Why you need to conduct social media industry analysis right now

Although there are benefits to reading through in-depth reports and white papers, social media has its own distinct set of advantages for industry analysis. Here’s a quick breakdown of why modern companies need to mind the social space.

Authenticity. Again, social media allows businesses to engage with actual customers with real desires and challenges. You don’t have to second-guess what your audience wants: they’re more than happy to tell you directly.

Accessibility. The amount of data available via social media industry analysis is absolutely staggering. Popular products? Your competitors’ content strategies? Sales objections and opportunities? They’re all available via public posts across social.

Timeliness. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of social media industry analysis. Whereas more time-sensitive research or analysis can date itself quickly, social media highlights real-time insights and conversations.

How to conduct industry analysis with social media

The beauty of social media analysis is that there are endless conversations to analyze.

Therein lies the challenge, though.

How do you see the forest through the trees? Below are some key steps to conducting industry analysis and how businesses can tap into their most valuable conversations.

Understand where your competitors and customers are talking

Industry analysis involves looking at both competitor and consumer behavior.

Social media allows you to dig into both simultaneously.

For starters, following companies and industry publications on LinkedIn makes sense for both competitor analysis and uncovering how your customers are changing based on data. Here you can track competitor milestones as well as breaking news relevant to your industry.

 

On the flip side, platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great for spotting real-life insights and experiences for actual consumers. These networks will clue you in on pain points people are actually facing which can affirm (or challenge) the trends you see from industry players.

The takeaway here is that social media industry analysis means being in multiple places at once. Confining your presence to a single platform means that you’re inevitably letting conversations fall by the wayside. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to be active on every single social network but at the very least have your ear to the ground across the web.

And hey, that leads us directly to our next point.

Discover and uncover relevant industry conversations

There’s no denying that navigating social media can be daunting, which is why businesses need to hone their search when conducting industry analysis.

Not unlike traditional search, industry terms and keywords are a solid starting point. Hashtags are more or less the social equivalent across most social networks.  Relevant terms (#fallfashion, #contentmarketing, etc) can highlight trends, conversations and influencers.

 

With the help of hashtag analysis, businesses can spot related conversations coming from consumer and competitors alike.

Speaking of competitors, much of industry analysis involves keeping an eye on your competitor’s milestones and content. While follower counts and “likes” certainly matter, they shouldn’t be your top priorities.

Following competitors can clue you in on milestones, initiatives and new product roll-outs as they happen. Why are they scoring mentions? How does your positioning compare to theirs?

Take for example Herbal Essences’ recent cruelty-free product initiative. This announcement scored them some seriously positive press and resulted in a flurry of competitor call-outs from their satisfied customers.

Being aware of competitor activity and positioning as it happens makes it easier for your business to respond and adapt. To help organize your industry analysis efforts, check out our competitive analysis template.

Beyond direct competitors, also mind the major bloggers, influencers and publications that cover your industry. For example, competitor analysis tools such as BuzzSumo can help highlight blogs and industry players scoring major social shares. Although these people might be neutral toward your business, their opinions certainly hold weight in your space.

Talk to your customers

This might seem like a no-brainer but your customers are one of your best sources when it comes to industry analysis.

Think about it.

They know you. They trust you.

And they’re the ones who are going to give you honest, unfiltered feedback on what they want from your business.

Besides, the majority of consumers support brands that are open, transparent and honest. Social feedback, whether it be positive or negative, is key to determining where you stand in your industry.

That’s why you can’t afford to ignore social mentions and comments. Every shout-out or complaint is a potential data point regarding what your business is doing right or needs to improve upon.

And hey, that’s exactly why social listening goes hand in hand with industry analysis.

How to conduct actionable industry analysis with social listening

For the sake of capitalizing on customer conversations and uncovering trends, strategic social listening is a game-changer.

Rather than sift through thousands of posts, Sprout can help you conduct industry analysis in the fraction of time it would take to do so manually.

For starters, Sprout’s query builder allows you to track mentions and keyword phrases related to your business as they happen in real-time. This analysis includes hashtags, too.

 

Look at your share of voice

In addition to seeing what people are saying about you or your competitors, you can dig even deeper by analyzing your share of voice. In short, you can figure out how your mention volume compares to other businesses in your space. These touchpoints speak directly to how well your brand is engaging its target audience.

See what your sentiment is

Just because you or a competitor is scoring a ton of mentions doesn’t necessarily tell a complete story.

Because behind every mention of your brand is some sort of emotion. That’s where sentiment analysis comes in handy. 

Sprout’s sentiment analysis features track over time how your brand is perceived by its audience. This helps ensure that you’re seen as a positive force in your space and stay in the good graces of potential customers. Likewise, this can help you spot potential problems with your social presence and nip them in the bud.

Track your growth

Of course, the end-game of industry analysis is to grow your influence and customer-base. By measuring your engagement volume with the help of Sprout, you know exactly whether or not you’re building buzz or free to push new initiatives. Our social listening performance report lets you know at a glance how your brand is performing and whether that growth is happening.

 

And with that, we wrap up our guide to industry analysis!

Ready to conduct social media industry analysis?

Through social media, there’s more industry data at your fingertips than ever before.

And while there may indeed be a lot of noise, there’s also a treasure trove of business intelligence to gather which can help you stand apart from your competition.

Digging through that data means taking a strategic approach to analyzing and listening to your industry’s conversations. With the tips above and tools such as Sprout, you can translate that data into action.

This post How to one-up your competition with social media industry analysis originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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