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We’re constantly connected. 24/7.

Whether it’s our phone or our laptop, there’s often little (or no) escape from red notification bubbles and buzzing pings. This is the case even if social media isn’t your full-time job.

Social media opens up a world of possibilities for brands. But with the ever-growing list of responsibilities and expectations for social media professionals, how can you keep your mental health priority #1?

How to identify social media burnout

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from social media burnout.

  • Feeling the need to constantly check your phone or computer
  • Lack of interest in other activities or hobbies that you used to enjoy
  • Feelings of anxiety or tenseness when at work or thinking about work
  • Trouble sleeping or changes in sleeping pattern

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to identify burnout. For more in-depth descriptions on symptoms and warning signs, we suggest taking a look at Psychology Today’s article on the same subject.

However, these seven tips from our social media team at Hootsuite can help you get started with battling social media burnout.

7 ways to avoid social media burnout 1. Set boundaries

Just because your phone is always connected, doesn’t mean you have to be. Set clear boundaries between yourself and social media.

You can do this by:

  • Setting ‘no social media’ times throughout the day. You can start small with half an hour. As long as you’re clearly making a space in your day that social media isn’t allowed in, your brain will benefit from the break.
  • Using apps to limit your social media time on your phone. There are loads out there you can choose from.
  • Not checking work streams (unless it’s an emergency) after 5 pm (or whenever your workday finishes). This is probably the toughest limit to set, but one of the most important. It creates a clear boundary between your personal and professional life.
  • Turn off notifications on your devices and apps. If you don’t see a little red bubble, you don’t get the urge to check what it’s trying to tell you.

These boundaries can take a while to get used to, but they’re worth the effort.

2. Give your eyes a rest

We might sound like your mom or dad right now, telling you not to sit too close to the TV. But according to a report by The Vision Council, it only takes two hours in front of a screen for your eyes to begin suffering from “digital eye strain.”

This can lead to issues like dry and irritated eyes, neck and back pain, and headaches.

So give your eyes a rest and take five.

Apps like F.lux can also help take the strain off your eyes. They work by adapting your devices’ color and light levels to imitate the time of day.

Bonus: These apps can also block blue light, which you should avoid in the evening to help your sleeping habits. Getting better quality sleep is often cited as a way to help relieve symptoms of anxiety.

3. Get up and move

Go forth into the forest for a walk (or to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea).

Take yourself away from your desk and your devices and move, even if it’s just to have a stretch. Humans were not designed to sit for long periods of time.

Plus, studies have shown it’s better for your mental and physical health to get up every half an hour.

A brisk walk around the block can help clear your mind and get your blood flowing. This is especially helpful if you’re dealing with particularly difficult or sensitive customers on social. It gives you time to consider your response and offer a little distance from the problem too.

4. Catch some Zzzs

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. In fact, getting less than 6 hours per night can lead to serious health issues.

Do yourself a favor and get a good routine in place to help you fall asleep too. Ditch the devices for at least an hour before bedtime, and try to go to sleep around a similar time every night.

Not only will you feel refreshed when you wake up, but you’ll also be more productive, alert, and calm at work.

5. Structure your time

We’ve all been there—endlessly refreshing social channels. It’s a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed and worn down. Plus it can be a hard habit to break.

Instead, structure your time by assigning parts of your day to specific activities.

For example, set aside one hour per day to each of the following tasks:

  • Review new mentions and posts, answer questions from followers, and resolve customer service inquiries
  • Find and share relevant content from followers
  • Post new content on each platform
  • Schedule posts for the evening, the weekend, or an upcoming campaign

Structuring your time on social media will not only make you more efficient, it will keep you focussed and working with a purpose. Then you can feel even better about putting your phone away at the end of the workday and taking some time for yourself.

6. Delete the apps

Do your phone’s storage a favor, and remove social apps from it. That can also include company emails.

We know this is a tough ask. Having them on your phone means you can be productive on the go. But the flip side of this means that you can never really switch off.

You can do almost everything on social media via desktop now, especially with third party apps like Hootsuite. Take advantage of that, and leave your phone to be your personal device—not an extension of work.

7. Digital detox

Book some time off for longer than one night and ditch your devices completely. We’d recommend a white sandy beach with a coconut drink—and maybe even a book in hand—or somewhere deep in the forest with no wifi.

If you’re really committed, you may even consider attending an official digital detox retreat—sometimes referred to as “tech-free wellness retreats”—where you entrust your gadgets to certified professionals.

These are just a few tips you can use to help keep social media burnout at bay, or get back on track if you’re already experiencing it. Remember, no job is more important than your own mental health.

Hootsuite can help you stay organized, focused, and prepared to handle anything on social media. Try it for free today.

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The post 7 Ways for Social Marketers to Avoid Social Media Burnout appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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The greatest education is often wrapped in entertainment, which is why Bill Nye the Science Guy made a deeper impression on me than any real-life science teacher ever did.

And when it comes to social media marketing, you’re in luck: there are a ton of valuable lessons to be gleaned from pop culture.

Here are nine movies and two TV series that every social media marketer should watch.

11 movies and TV series for social media managers 1. Eighth Grade (2018)

Simultaneously heartwarming and excruciating to watch (especially if you were ever a teenage girl), this movie follows quiet, sensitive 13-year-old Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) over her last week of eighth grade.

Social media is a constant presence in Kayla’s life, as she takes Snapchat selfies, uploads videos to her YouTube channel, or scrolls mindlessly through Instagram. For Kayla, social media is a source of anxiety, but it’s also an escape.

Eighth Grade really captures what life is like for the Gen Z teens who have never known a world before social media, and how hard it is for adults (like Kayla’s father) to understand their relationship to it. And while plenty of films capture the dark side of social media, Eighth Grade also shows that it’s a place where shy, awkward teens feel like they can express themselves and explore their identities.

If you want to understand how the average teenager is using social media, this movie is your field guide.

2. The American Meme (2018)

This Netflix documentary explores the seedy underbelly of internet fame and influencer culture.

It focuses on four social media celebrities—Paris Hilton , former Vine star Brittany Furlan, Josh Ostrovsky (a.k.a. The Fat Jewish), and Kirill Bichutsky— who talk candidly about the ways that fame has messed with their personal relationships and mental health.

The American Meme reveals the real people behind their carefully-constructed online personas, and the disconnect is striking. Even though these stars have tremendous influence and massive followings, they all experience feeling isolated, trapped and alone.

Considering that many Millennials would choose fame over a career or a college education, this movie should be required viewing for anyone who idolizes internet fame.

3. A Simple Favor (2018)

In this twisted, funny thriller, Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie, a “mommy vlogger” who befriends Emily (Blake Lively), a glamorous, successful PR executive, after their sons meet at school. After a few weeks of arranging playdates for their kids and drinking martinis in the afternoon, Emily suddenly disappears and Stephanie launches her own amateur investigation into what happened to her.

The two women are contrasts in how social media can be used to hide.

Emily is completely offline: she has no internet presence, and she refuses to even let Stephanie take her photo. In the words of her husband (played by Henry Golding, fulfilling his moral obligation to take his shirt off in every role), she is “a beautiful ghost.” In comparison, Stephanie uses her cheerful vlog full of crafts and baked goods to mask her own dark secrets.

You could take a few lessons from this movie (and its marketing) on how to stoke excitement and anticipation with a social media campaign. Blake Lively set off a flurry of interest when she deleted all of her Instagram photos and began only following accounts that shared her character’s name.

But you can also just turn off your brain and enjoy it for Emily’s wardrobe of incredible three-piece suits. Your call!

4. The Joneses (2009)

While this movie came out before Instagram even existed, it’s shockingly relevant to our era of social media influencers and #sponcon. It follows the Jones “family”, who are actually an unrelated group of stealth marketers. Their job is to use their social influence in order to convince friends and neighbors to buy things, from frozen food to golf clubs.

If you’ve ever bought a top because it looked great on your most stylish friend (or your favorite Instagrammer), you’ll understand the premise of this movie. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool because people make purchasing decisions based on the opinions of real people who they trust and admire.

The Jones family begins to fracture when they start realizing that they don’t believe in the integrity of what they’re selling. Similarly, when working with an influencer, it’s important to make sure your values are aligned.

Compromising what you believe in may help you make a quick sale, but it will ultimately erode your followers’ trust in you, and damage your reputation.

5. Moneyball (2011)

A sports movie that’s secretly a movie about analytics! That’s a spicy bait-and-switch.

Moneyball is based on the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the Oakland Athletics coach who had to build a strong baseball team without the money to hire top-ranked players. To do it, he hired Peter Brand (baby-faced Jonah Hill), a young analyst who proposed a new strategy: recruiting players using data about their in-game activity, rather than relying on the recommendations of baseball scouts.

While there’s no actual social media in this movie (Brad Pitt, sadly, never takes a single selfie for the ‘gram), it’s a perfect analogy for the value of data in crafting your perfect strategy. The Oakland A’s were failing by trying to use methods that worked for other teams, rather than measuring and understanding what could work for them. When they started recruiting strategically, they started winning.

Many companies try to find success by copying what’s worked for a competitor, rather than looking at what works best for them. There are many ways to refine your marketing strategy with data, like running A/B tests and researching your target audiences.

Another tip from Moneyball? Assess your marketing strategy as a whole (your baseball team) rather than focusing on stand-alone pieces (your individual players), so you can understand how the pieces fit together.

6. Ingrid Goes West (2017)

In this very dark comedy, the mentally unstable Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) becomes infatuated with Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), an influencer from LA who chronicles her glamorous beachy life on Instagram.

Ingrid packs up her bags and follows her new obsession to California, where she studies Taylor’s social media for clues to where she lives, shops, and eats, eventually manipulating her way into a real-life friendship.

Despite the time that Ingrid and Taylor spend together and the Coachella Valley photos they tag each other in, they never actually get to know each other. Ingrid is fixated on Taylor’s lifestyle and image, but doesn’t notice or care that the real Taylor is vapid and flaky.

“Why are you acting like this?” Ingrid’s quasi-boyfriend Dan asks. “You don’t even like these people!”

Both of them are so busy curating their own images that they never look deeper. It’s a reminder that you can’t build real relationships (with customers or with Instagram stalkers) if you’re 100 percent focused on your own content. You also need to engage meaningfully and show real personality. As Ingrid finds out (spoiler alert!), being fake only works for so long.

7. You (2018)

Continuing the stalker theme, You is a series best summarized as “Pretty Little Liars + Gossip Girl + murder.” If that phrase is meaningless to you, trust me when I say it’s an immensely entertaining combination.

Told from the point of view of Joe (played by Penn Badgley), a bookstore manager with an inexplicably spacious New York apartment, You is about his all-consuming obsession with a pretty blonde customer who wanders into his shop. He promptly Googles her name (Guinevere Beck, played by Elizabeth Lail) and finds her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and home address—a stalking starter kit.

This is all in the first ten minutes; the rest of You chronicles Joe’s deranged efforts to attain a romantic relationship with Beck by any means necessary, including extreme measures like voluntarily assembling IKEA furniture and murdering her ex-boyfriend.

You is trashy fun, but it will also make you think twice about privacy and security settings.

When Joe steals Beck’s phone so he can read her email and monitor her text conversations, you’ll be screaming, “Why don’t you have a passcode?” at the TV. Soothe your resulting paranoia with these social media security tips.

8. The Circle (2017)

In this thriller adapted from the Dave Eggers’ novel, Emma Watson plays Mae, a young employee of a tech company called The Circle, which is helmed by CEO Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks).

The Circle is a Facebook-esque company that encourages both employees and users to embrace absolute transparency and share everything about their lives. Mae embraces the company’s values, and chooses to broadcast her life 24/7 through a wearable camera, despite the fact that it makes her friends and family uncomfortable.

The movie is a cautionary tale about what happens when users lose faith in tech companies, and underlines the difference between choosing to share your personal data with the world and having it shared without your consent. It’s a reminder to brands that building trust and championing integrity should be an essential part of your strategy.

9. Up in the Air (2009)

In this comedy, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a travelling consultant for a job he loves: flying around the country firing employees for other companies.

It sounds bleak, and the employees he meets are understandably distraught, but Ryan really believes in what he’s doing. He wants to convince them that losing their job is a good thing in the long run, because it’s freeing them to do something that actually makes them happy.

It’s surprising this works—ask yourself if you’d really believe someone who told you, as they were firing you, that it was a gift—and part of the magic is definitely George Clooney’s charm. But the other reason it works is that Ryan is helping people through a tough moment by offering them comfort, honesty and encouragement. There’s a lot to learn about navigating difficult conversations.

Every company will eventually face an uncomfortable situation, whether that’s unhappy customers or PR disasters. But if you treat your customers with empathy and compassion, you can have a positive impact. When Ryan’s new colleague introduces a digital system of performing the layoffs remotely, it fails because it’s impersonal and scripted.

10. Black Mirror (2011-2019)

The episodes in this sci-fi anthology range from funny to touching to (mostly) very disturbing.

Each one takes place in the present, or a very near future, and explores the possible consequences of technologies like social media, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Every episode stands alone, so you can start anywhere in the series, and all of them will give you a lot to think about.

Nosedive is one of the lighter episodes, and one of my favorites. It imagines a world where every single personal interaction can be rated on an app (like Instagram combined with the Uber’s five-star rating system).

High ratings give users privileges, like express lines at the airport; low ratings come with penalties.

Because of the system, everyone is incentivized to be polite, friendly and totally shallow. Everyone is nice, but they’re also being painfully inauthentic, and the result is a world you definitely wouldn’t want to live in.

11. FYRE (2019)

The subtitle for this Netflix documentary says it all: Fyre Festival was “the greatest party that never happened.”

A destination music festival in the Bahamas dreamed up by entrepreneur (and scammer) Billy McFarland and Ja Rule sold thousands of pricey tickets with the promise of a luxury festival filled with swimsuit models and beach-front cabanas.

Fyre was promoted almost entirely through an Instagram influencer campaign, with an early boost by a promotional video that featured celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner frolicking on the beach. The chance to party with Instagram celebrities on a white-sand beach was irresistible, and the festival quickly sold 5,000 tickets.

But behind the scenes, the FyreFestival team was scrambling with logistics and insufficient funds, unable to deliver on the extravagant promises they had made to attendees. Even as it became obvious that Fyre Festival would fail, they continued posting luxurious and misleading photos on Instagram, promising a world-class experience.

When festival-goers arrived, they found wet mattresses, hurricane relief tents, and not a single bikini-clad Victoria’s Secret Model. All the bands had pulled out abruptly and the influencers had stayed home. Instead of the “Bahama-style sushi” they were promised, they were fed infamously sad sandwiches.

Here's the dinner they fed us tonight. Literally slices of bread, cheese, and salad with no dressing. #fyrefraud #fyrefestival #dumpsterfyre pic.twitter.com/NmNXakSFlq

— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017

As stranded attendees began posting panicked tweets, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Messages, the entire world saw the Fyre Festival implode in real-time on social media.

The Fyre fyasco is the most obvious reminder in recent history that faking it on social media will always come back to bite you. Unless you’re the Oceans 8 crew, all scams are eventually discovered (hello, free bikini offers on Instagram). Even if you don’t end up going to prison like Billy McFarland, you’ll erode your customer’s trust and ruin your reputation.

If one documentary isn’t enough to sate your curiosity, Hulu also released a documentary just weeks before Netflix, called Fyre Fraud.

Once you’ve watched all of these movies and TV shows, use Hootsuite to easily manage all your social media channels from one dashboard. Grow your brand, engage customers, keep up with competitors, and measure results. Try it free today.

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The post 11 Movies + TV Series Every Social Media Marketer Should Watch appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Social media compliance: Three words that can strike fear into the heart of any marketer in the regulated industries. At its most basic, social media compliance simply means following the rules when using social media to engage with the public.

But the truth is that social media compliance is hardly ever that simple. The rules are a complicated mix of industry regulations and federal, state, and local laws. Marketers using social media for regulated industries need to understand their compliance obligations. They need to work within the rules to use social media as an effective and appropriate marketing tool.

“A good social media compliance program is an extension of a company’s communication and data governance strategy,” says Angus Chan, Hootsuite’s senior staff developer, product and privacy. “Having a program in place to establish processes and make decisions quickly is essential as the public becomes more aware of how their information is being used.”

In this post, we’ll look at how marketers can craft an effective social media compliance program. This will help address the most common social media compliance requirements and threats.

Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working in your current strategy, what’s not, and what to do next.

Common social media compliance threats

Social media compliance requirements vary by industry and by geographic region. That means the threats and challenges vary, too. Here’s a quick primer on just some of the compliance requirements you may need to be aware of.

Financial services and insurance

A recent study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research found that all of the commercial banks in the Fortune 500 have both corporate Twitter accounts and corporate Facebook pages. Financial services companies are using social. That means they need to understand how compliance requirements apply to social channels.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), for example, provides different compliance requirements based on whether a social post is considered static or interactive content.

Static content is considered an ad and must go through pre-approval for compliance. Interactive content, on the other hand, goes through post-review. Both types of posts must be archived for at least three years.

What exactly is a static versus an interactive post? That’s a question each firm will have to answer for itself, depending on its risk tolerance. The compliance strategy should involve input from the highest levels of the organization.

Compliance is everyone’s job—not just a compliance officer’s job. Senior managers, in particular, have to be committed to compliance – Steve Cutler at #FinraAC

— FINRA (@FINRA) May 22, 2018

The U.S Security Exchange Commission (SEC) also monitors social media for compliance violations. For example, they recently issued a charge against social media superstar DJ Khaled. He failed to disclose that posts on his social accounts were paid for by the cryptocurrency company mentioned in the posts.

In the U.K., the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has its own regulations for compliance on social media. Those regulations can vary based on whether a social post is “real-time” or “non-real time,” but the distinction may not be as obvious as you’d think.

All posts require disclosure, even when there are word count restrictions. FCA provides some good examples of compliant and non-compliant posts in its guidance document.

In a tweet, signpost text and image must be individually compliant. See the example from our publication #smfca pic.twitter.com/6bKkM4oSLR

— FCA (@TheFCA) August 6, 2014

You can find more details in our post on how to use social media for financial services.

Marketing and advertising

Social marketers need to follow rules that govern who they can and cannot engage with. Some of those rules are:

The GDPR has very strict rules about how advertisers handle and use personal data. The regulation also specifies how to notify people when you are collecting data using cookies or other methods.

Are you ready for the data protection rules #GDPR? See what the new rules mean for businesses, organisations and citizens → https://t.co/E8MqO8FFl7 #DataProtection pic.twitter.com/RRW3ddCV9Z

— European Commission ???????? (@EU_Commission) March 25, 2018

On the content side, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) both have regulations in place. These affect what marketers and advertisers can say on social media.

The FDA, in particular, monitors advertising claims related to food, beverage, and supplement products. The FTC often focuses on endorsements and testimonials. In the social sphere, that often means influencers. Here’s a very basic overview of the FTC guidelines for compliance when working on an influencer campaign.

Wondering about @FTC’s official tips for influencers? Check out Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking: https://t.co/3KoYpdI6Ll + the handy do's and don'ts infographic for social media influencers below pic.twitter.com/dDnsXmoEXX

— FTC (@FTC) May 24, 2018


The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public records laws require the public to have access to government records. That includes government social media posts. That means all social posts must be archived.

It also means government social accounts should not block followers, even problematic ones. Recent court decisions have said that even politicians’ personal pages must not block followers, if they use those pages to conduct political business

Political advertising has its own set of compliance challenges.

While the Honest Ads Act is not yet in force, expect to see new rules and legislation related to political advertising in the coming year. Facebook and Twitter have both announced that they are on board with the Honest Ads Act. They have started implementing some of its requirements already.

Twitter is moving forward on our commitment to providing transparency for online ads. We believe the Honest Ads Act provides an appropriate framework for such ads and look forward to working with bill sponsors and others to continue to refine and advance this important proposal.

— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) April 10, 2018

Find more in our post on how to use social media for government.

Health and pharmaceutical

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides strict rules for how organizations use patient health information.

In short, you must keep that information in strictest confidence. You cannot share patient information without explicit patient consent. That includes photos and videos in which a patient or their records are identifiable in any way. Simply resharing a patient post without a signed consent form could be a HIPAA compliance issue.

Guidelines for health professionals on social media:
Remember HIPAA. If you wouldn't say it in an elevator, don't say it online #AAAAI17

— Dr. Dave Stukus (@AllergyKidsDoc) March 3, 2017

The requirement for privacy also includes social posts in which a patient is not identified by name but may be identifiable based on other factors.

A Houston nurse was fired in August after posting about a measles case at the hospital where she worked. She did not mention the patient’s name, but her profile specified her workplace, where the boy she posted about was being treated. There were enough details that her posts were considered a HIPAA violation.

The FDA also has rules that healthcare and pharmaceutical companies need to follow on social. And they’re not only about what you post yourself. You also have to keep an eye on what your fans and followers are posting. For example, companies must report any adverse drug effects reported on social channels. They must also document and respond to off-label information requests.

For more details, check out our post on using social media for healthcare.

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. These are just some of the most common social media compliance requirements and challenges to be aware of.

Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working in your current strategy, what’s not, and what to do next.

Get the free template now! How to stay compliant on social media: 9 tips and best practices 1. Understand the regulations for your industry

It’s impossible to cover all the social media compliance regulations for all industries in one post.

If you use social media for regulated industries, you likely already have compliance officers on staff. They are your in-house compliance experts and should be your go-to resource for any questions about what you can (and can’t) do on your social channels.

Your compliance officers have the latest information on compliance requirements. As a social marketer, you have the latest information on available social tools and strategies. When the compliance and marketing departments work together, you can maximize the social benefits for your brand.

You also minimize the risks.

2. Create a clear social media policy

On that note, make sure you have a good, up-to-date social media policy. This important document guides your social media activities and helps keep the team compliant.

Put your policy in writing, and make sure the team knows it is the foundational document for all social activity. This can help prevent honest mistakes made based on incorrect assumptions.

“For example, say you find a public post that includes a photo with your brand,” Hootsuite’s Angus Chan says. “That doesn’t always mean you can repost it without permission.”

In fact, sharing such a post could be a serious violation, even if your brand is tagged. Clear guidelines about how to interact with patients and customers on social channels could prevent this type of well-intentioned mistake.

At a minimum, your social media policy should include:

  • A primer on the relevant rules and regulations
  • An outline of social roles and responsibilities, including the approval process
  • Guidelines to keep accounts secure, such as how to spot phishing attacks

We’ve got an entire post to walk you through creating a social media policy. It includes examples for health care and government.

3. Create an acceptable use policy

Your social media policy guides your staff and contractors on how to use social media appropriately. An acceptable use policy helps guide fans and followers to interact with your firm in ways that will minimize your compliance risks.

In Australia, for example, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has created a sample social media acceptable use policy that it encourages Australian advertisers to copy and paste.

The sample policy explains how the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code affects a company’s social channels. For example:

“We love when you comment and tag your friends and family on our posts but we ask that you do not … make comments about how a product works for you outside of its intended purpose, as these comments can be dangerous or misleading—our products are developed for particular purposes, as stated on the label and/or in our advertising.”

This code is specific to Aussie rules and regulations. Still, it gives a good sense of the kinds of guidelines that could be more broadly applied.

4. Control access to your social accounts

“Controls over your communication play a key role in a social media compliance program,” Chan says. “Understanding who is able to access and approve messages to your your social media accounts is essential.”

Using a social dashboard like Hootsuite as a compliance management system, you can give team members access to create social content while limiting final approval to appropriate senior staff or compliance officers. You can also lock down access to social channels in case of a crisis.

5. Monitor your accounts—and watch for imposters

All businesses using social media need to monitor for comments and questions from fans and followers. After all, social media is not very social if your followers find themselves talking into a void.

When using social media for regulated industries, monitoring is even more important. You may need to respond to certain types of comments within a set time. You may also need to report comments, such as those involving adverse drug reactions, to a regulatory body.

Automated compliance software tools like the AETracker app for Hootsuite can help by identifying, tracking, and reporting potential adverse events and off-label usage in real time.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for social accounts that appear to be associated with your organization but are not under corporate control. This might be a well-intentioned advisor creating an account that uses your brand name but is not tied into your compliance management system. Or, it might be an imposter account. Each can cause its own kind of compliance headaches.

When the Swiss financial technology provider SIX conducted a social audit, it discovered and shut down 80 unofficial accounts, all of which were exposing the company to compliance risk.

“We detected a large number of fake accounts we had no idea existed,” said Claudia Holfert, head of external communications at SIX.

Start with a social media audit to uncover any unused or unofficial social accounts. Then implement a regular social monitoring program to keep an eye out for new accounts as they come online.

6. Catch non-compliant posts before they go live

It’s much better to catch potentially non-compliant posts before they’re posted to your social media channels.

Automated compliance software tools can help.

For example, the Social SafeGuard integration with Hootsuite pre-screens all user posts and attachments. It checks to make sure they comply with corporate policy and applicable regulations. Non-compliant posts will be flagged for review and cannot be posted.

7. Archive everything

When using social media for regulated industries, all communications need to be archived.

An automated compliance software archiving system makes archiving much easier and more effective. These tools classify content and create a searchable database.

8. Create a content library

With a large network of employees and advisors, it can be tricky to keep social content under control. A pre-approved content library gives your people access to compliant social content, templates, and assets that they can share across their social channels.

9. Invest in regular training

Compliance requirements are not always intuitive, and they are not set in stone. Make compliance training a part of onboarding for any new employees who will have access to your social accounts. Then, invest in regular training updates to make sure everyone understands the latest developments in your field.

Work closely with your compliance team so that they can share the latest regulatory developments with you. They also need you to share the latest changes in social marketing and your corporate social strategy so they can flag any new potential compliance risks.

Hootsuite’s permissions, security, and archiving tools will ensure all your social profiles remain complaint—from a single dashboard. Try it free today.

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The post Social Media Compliance: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Compliant appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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As most digital marketers know, viewers are no longer giving the TV their undivided attention. In 2019, people are spending more time multitasking on a second (usually mobile) device while they watch TV.

The term “second screen social” refers to the habit of people using social media on a mobile device while consuming other types of media—typically television or movies—simultaneously. A study by Facebook shows that 94 percent of viewers have a smartphone in hand while watching TV.

But while brands may have once shuddered at the idea of a consumer’s wandering eye across multiple screens, for many, it’s proving to be an advantage.

Second screeners are 30 percent more likely to discover brands via recommendations and comments on social networks and 50 percent of viewers use social media for product research.

Far from being passive observers, second screeners are actively engaging with the content they see on TV through searches, conversations, and research on social. Savvy brands have developed strategies for how to engage this audience in new ways—and we’ll explore some of the best examples in this post.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

6 brands that have mastered second screen social 1. Tide

In 2018, the Super Bowl had over 100 million viewers and 170 million social media interactions.

For big brands this event is a prime opportunity to engage second screeners in North America.

Tide took the top spot at the Super Bowl by running a creative campaign that was cleverly integrated across TV and social media. They combined witty TV ad spots—”Every Ad is a Tide Ad”—with a social media war room that was ready on the day with pre-planned posts and GIFs. The team jumped in for lots of in-the-moment banter with their audience. The hashtag #TideAd was trending on Twitter for the entirety of the game.

I've been without a TV for a while but it appears every ad is still a #TideAd. #WinterOlympics pic.twitter.com/UDn3E8FoPG

— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) February 24, 2018

Lesson: Joining a real-time conversation can be a great way to engage second screeners, so be prepared ahead of time with content that will engage people for the whole event.

2. Netflix

It’s no accident that Netflix is a top streaming service provider. They have embraced the changing digital behaviors of their viewers.

Netflix understands that viewers are using social to discuss characters, exchange theories about plots or events, or fan-out over their favorite series. They’ve created a GIF library of their most popular shows so that viewers can share reactions on social.

Netflix also engages their followers as fellow fans, posting inside jokes when they know people will be watching their shows.

For example, on the week of Canadian show Schitt’s Creek season premiere, Netflix Canada posted a throwback video of the much-loved character Moira Rose. It spurred on a fun-loving conversation among viewers.

do you ever stop and think about how Catherine O'Hara's performance as Moira Rose on Schitt's Creek is beyond perfection pic.twitter.com/o2ulmHs5B5

— Netflix Canada (@Netflix_CA) January 11, 2019

Lesson: Netflix is masterful at using data to build relationships on social. Research your customers to better engage second screeners in your target demographic.

3. Burton

For outdoor apparel brand Burton, having halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim sport their snowboard at the winter Olympics was pretty much a dream come true.

But Kim took this shining moment one step further, engaging second screeners around the world. She started live tweeting to her fans about ice cream in the middle of the competition and the internet blew up. This spontaneous conversation between Kim and her followers felt natural and unplanned—it would be very difficult for a brand to do this from its own channels.

Could be down for some ice cream rn

— Chloe Kim (@ChloeKim) February 12, 2018

Whether by design or happy accident, Burton’s iconic branding is now associated with Kim’s viral moment on Twitter. Kim’s engagement with her audience shows a major shift in how athletes—and by extension their sponsors—can delight their fans on social.

Lesson: Sponsors and influencers can act as an extension of your brand by engaging with your audience during live events. Give them as much creative freedom as you can in order to benefit from their star power.

4. ABC

ABC has two of the top ranked social TV programs in the U.S.—The Bachelor and American Idol—so they understand the importance of second screeners to the popularity of their shows.

New year, new #AmericanIdol journey! ???????? Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy 2019! pic.twitter.com/ilsnkfqq9X

— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) December 31, 2018

The concept of second screening is already built into shows like American Idol because they ask viewers to participate in the program by voting for artists via call or text.

As American Idol has evolved (and digital behaviors have changed), ABC has done an excellent job at extending its interaction with the audience to include conversations between artists, judges, and the audience on Twitter. Most of the contestants and judges are active on social, which acts as an extension of the ABC network.

Whether viewers are outraged over a finale or sharing their favorite moments from the season, it’s clear that social viewers are invested in the show.

Lesson: If you’re running a campaign on TV and social, increase engagement by creating a live voting element so that viewers are tuned in to your social posts.

5. Academy Awards

Social media engagement is an important part of (and potentially even a predictor for) movie popularity and ticket sales.

Every year the Academy Awards garners millions of second screeners, who are discussing outfits, potential wins, and casting their unofficial votes. The Academy Awards capitalizes on this engagement by jumping in with GIFs and jokes. Celebrity attendees often post live from the event as well.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ansel Elgort (@ansel) on Mar 4, 2018 at 6:19pm PST

They’ve also built a community on Twitter where movie buffs can chat all year round. They don’t just post on the night of the event, but keep an always-on presence for their audience until next awards season rolls around.

Lesson: Engaging with second screeners is more than in-the-moment outreach. It’s about creating a community that people can return to whether they’re watching TV or not.

6. NBA

The NBA has tapped into the power of second screeners by allowing fans to vote for their favorite player to join the all-star game.

Viewers can vote via Facebook or Twitter, and their ballots count for 50 percent of the final decision. NBA uses the hashtag #nbavote to promote the campaign to fans.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.2'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

2017 #NBAAllStar Voting presented by @Verizon endsJanuary 16th! NBA.com/vote or the NBA app

Posted by Nba All-Star Voting on Monday, January 2, 2017

This campaign not only increases online engagement for the NBA, but it also allows fans to feel more invested and engaged in the experience. It’s a smart strategy to bring superfans together on social around an annual, much-anticipated event.

Lesson: Run contests or polls that allow second screeners to feel like they’re part of your event even if they aren’t attending in person. Use an easy-to-remember hashtag so people can follow the outcome.

As digital consumption continues to rise, second screening will become the new reality for TV audiences. Brands that understand and embrace this change will win the hearts (and likes) of their followers.

Engage your followers on social media whether they’re watching TV or not. From a single dashboard you can schedule posts, share video, engage your audience, and measure the impact of your efforts. Try it free today.

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The post 6 Brands Tapping in to the Power of Second Screen Social appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Unless you spend every waking moment on social media, it’s tough to keep up with all the new terminology and trends in the space. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive list of social media definitions.

This glossary will help you stay on top of the latest concepts in social marketing (and understand what the kids are talking about today).
Bookmark this page! It’s a living document that will evolve as we add and subtract entries, expand our definitions, and provide more context for the most important terms.


Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

All the social media definitions you need to know # @

A ubiquitous symbol thanks to its prevalence in email addresses, the “at” symbol is one of the most important characters in how we communicate today. If you don’t see why, well, don’t @ me.


That’s an octothorpe. Also known as a pound sign, if you’ve ever used a phone. Also known as a hashtag. Also, it kind of looks like a tic-tac-toe board.

See: Hashtag


See: Subreddit

—A— Abandonment rate

The percentage of social customer service issues that customers abandon before they are resolved.


Intelligence exhibited by machines (i.e., artificial intelligence). The role of AI in humans’ everyday lives is increasing exponentially, from chat bots on your favorite retailer’s website to Alexa learning to recognize your voice commands over time. (I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.)

Learn more: 5 Practical (and Unpretentious) Ways AI Will Change Marketing by 2020


A rules-based procedure for making calculations or solving problems—they’re everywhere in computer science! In social media, constantly shifting algorithms control which content its users see (and don’t), as well as what topics and hashtags are trending.

To the chagrin of social marketers everywhere, algorithms have tightened up in recent years to favor organic content created by humans. Apparently the world needs more video recipes for hEaLtHy BlAcK bEaN bRoWnIeS. This has contributed to the need for brands to “pay to play” with social media advertising and boosted content to be visible online.

Learn more: How the Facebook Algorithm Works and How to Make it Work for You


Short for “Ask Me Anything”

On Reddit, an acronym for “ask me anything.” In an AMA post, a user will answer questions posed by the Reddit community. The most popular AMAs feature celebrities—President Barack Obama did one in 2012—but anyone can do one. (Remember Ken Bone, the mustachioed undecided voter in the red sweater from the 2016 presidential debate? He did an AMA, too. It was kind of a disaster.)


Data, and the patterns found in that data, often used to make marketing or advertising decisions. A website or application gathers data for its analytics using a cookie or other tracking tag that monitors users’ behavior. The tag activates when users begin their visits then stores data about what pages they visited, what actions they completed, and how they interacted with different elements such as clicking on buttons or performing a search.

Learn more: Social Media Analytics: A Guide for Beginners


Short for “Application Programming Interface”

In layman’s (read: non-technical) terms, a “middle man” that allows two applications or platforms to “talk” to each other. As an example, Hootsuite uses Twitter’s API to publish tweets to a timeline through the platform.


complianceThe practice of retaining an organization’s social media messages and associated metadata, often for the purpose of regulatory . (Most social networks also maintain archives of user data and interactions.)

Archiving has become increasingly important as more and more business is conducted via social media. Organizations can save records of social conversations in their own secure databases, the same way they store email and other documents. This data can later be retrieved and analyzed to track the effectiveness of social media activities. It can also be referenced during legal discovery, if necessary.

Audience selector

A tool that allows you to choose which audience you want to share something with on Facebook, including Pages you own. To learn more about Facebook’s privacy settings for sharing content, see this Facebook Help article.


The practice of using a tone and voice online that expresses who you really are. For brands, being open and authentic on social media means a great deal to those who want to engage with you. Conveying your brand’s values through your content and replies, and interacting with followers in a way that’s relatable and human, all contribute to your sense of authenticity.

Learn more: Ways Brands Can Be More Authentic On Social Media


A user’s visual representation of themselves, usually a photo but not always. (Be wary of social media users whose accounts still feature the platform’s default avatar—troll and spam accounts often don’t bother to personalize.) In the age of digital activism, changing your avatar or adding a custom profile-photo frame or filter has become a popular way to show support for a variety of causes.

Average handling time

The average time it takes a company, team, or individual to resolve customer issues on social media, from beginning to end.

Average response time

The amount of time it takes, on average, for a company, team, or individual to reply to a customer’s messages while resolving an issue.

—B— Big data

Large sets of unstructured data that can be powerful if leveraged properly. Much of the data social marketers encounter has already been parsed into a digestible format (such as customer-data spreadsheets or your social analytics dashboard). So-called big data is complex and requires sorting, analyzing, and processing—but with the right analysis, the potential for insight is endless.

Learn more: Social Data 101: Simple Techniques Anyone Can Master


The small portion of any digital profile that tells new or prospective followers who you are. All social platforms offer space to write a bio. It’s the first thing users see when they discover your profile, and a good one can greatly improve how often you show up in keyword searches.

Learn more: How to Write a Great Instagram Bio


Customized avatars that can be added to Gmail, Messenger, Slack, and social media networks. Bitmoji lets you create an animated representation of yourself then offers a variety of versions of it in different situations that you can share with an app or smartphone keyboard extension.


A Twitter feature that allows you to prevent another user from:

  • Following you
  • Sliding into your DMs
  • Adding you to their lists
  • Tagging you in photos

Blocking a troublesome or harassing user allows you some peace—if they mention you, those tweets won’t appear in your notification, and the user receives a message letting them know they’ve been blocked. However, Twitter cannot prevent anyone from seeing your public tweets. If you need someone out of your digital hair completely, use a protected account.


See Pinboard

Brand advocate

A customer who loves your organization so much that they become an extension of your marketing team. They evangelize your products or services without being asked and can become even more valuable if you connect with them directly to engage and empower them. Social media is filled with brand advocates and detractors—if you take the time to find your advocates,

Learn more: Social Media Advocacy: How to Build a Brand Advocate Program


The hijacking of a person or organization’s name or likeness to promote an agenda or damage the target’s reputation. Brandjackers don’t hack their targets’ social accounts—instead, they assume a target’s online identity with fake accounts, promoted hashtags, and satirical marketing campaigns.

—C— Caption

A brief description that appears beneath a photo on Facebook or Instagram (and a great opportunity for savvy #hashtag use).

Learn more: How to Write the Best Instagram Captions


A Twitter reference to business news about a publicly traded company. Launched in 2012, cashtags can be tracked in the same way hashtags are. For example, typing $NFLX in the Twitter search bar will show news related to Netflix and its stock.

Center of excellence

A steering committee or dedicated team of social media leaders within an organization that establishes policies, processes, and support through best practices, education, and training. A center of excellence may also serve as an operational hub for the organization’s day-to-day social media activities.


A type of bot that live in messaging apps (such as Facebook Messenger) and use artificial intelligence to perform tasks via simulated conversation. A chatbot can be used for customer service, data collection, and more. Facebook is one of the leaders in chatbot integration.

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Using Facebook Messenger Bots for Business


A pronouncement that a user has physically visited a geographical location or event. Checking in allows the user to let their friends know where they are—and is especially useful when visiting somewhere warm in the dead of winter, when everyone else is shivering at work.


Web content with misleading or sensationalist headlines that entices readers to click through to the full story, which is generally a disappointment. Clickbait’s goal is usually to generate pageviews and advertising revenue. The technique once infested social media so thoroughly that Facebook actually took steps to exterminate it. (Clickbait headlines also remain a prime target of parodies, especially on The Onion’s Clickhole.)

Learn more: How to Get Clicks Without Resorting to Clickbait: 5 Easy Tactics

Click-through rate (CTR)

A common metric for reporting on the number of people who viewed a piece of content then took an action, such as clicking on an ad or link. CTR is most commonly used for pay-per-click advertising and other performance-driven channels. The general philosophy is that the higher your CTR, the more effective your marketing is.

CTR is calculated by comparing the number of clicks to overall impressions. (For example, if 100 people saw your Google Ad, and one person clicked on it, your CTR is one percent.)

Community management

The practice of developing relationships around a common interest, done by monitoring and engaging with those who engage with the common interest. The goal is to nurture relationships so that the community acts as advocates on behalf of the common interest.

Learn more: 8 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Must Have

Competitive benchmarking

The act of comparing your organization’s performance to another company’s against a defined set of metrics.

Learn more: How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis on Social Media: A Quick Guide

Competitor sentiment

The practice of monitoring how users feel about other organizations in your space through social media monitoring. Whether positive or negative, this intel can provide important context that helps you to make strategic business decisions to stay ahead of the competition.

See Sentiment analysis


Adherence to rules, regulations, or laws. Social media compliance is particularly relevant to organizations in regulated industries like healthcare and finance. These businesses face strict rules governing what they can (and must) be communicated to the public, and numerous regulatory agencies have confirmed that these rules extend to social media.

Among other requirements, regulated organizations must be able to demonstrate that they are archiving social communications and supervising the use of social media by their employees.

Learn more: New Technology for Regulated Industries to Deal with the Complexity of Social Media Compliance

Content curation

The process of scouring the Internet for the best, most relevant content for an audience and then presenting it to them in a meaningful way. Unlike content marketing, content curation doesn’t involve creating new content. Instead, it’s about creating value for your audience by saving them time and effort. There’s no shortage of content out there, but not all of it is worth reading. Organizing relevant content into pinboards, newsletters, or weekly roundups can help you build an audience and demonstrate your subject-matter expertise.

Learn more: A Beginner’s Guide to Content Curation

Content discovery

A process used by marketers to uncover valuable content and trends relevant to their audience. Content discovery helps shape a successful content marketing strategy and can be executed in numerous ways.

Learn more: 5 Ways to Find Trending Topics (Other than Twitter)

Content management system (CMS)

An online application that allows you to draft, edit, share, schedule, and index your content. Popular web content management systems have polished interfaces that allow you to publish content without knowing code. Hootsuite is a CMS.

Content marketing

The practice of attracting and retaining customers through the creation and distribution of valuable content, such as videos, white papers, guides, and infographics. Marketers hope to earn customer loyalty and influence decisions by publishing useful, entertaining, or educational content.

Take the Michelin Guide, first published by the tire company Michelin in 1900. Rather than simply advertising their tires, Michelin provided maps, car-repair advice, lists of hotels, and other valuable information that would encourage more driving. Over time, the Michelin Guide evolved into the world’s most influential guide to restaurants—and has driven massive brand awareness and loyalty for Michelin. With the rise of social media and search engines, content marketing is now a vital technique for businesses of all sizes.

Learn more: Content Marketing 101: Your Guide to Creating Successful Campaigns

See Social media marketing


A positive action taken on a website. The action demonstrates that the visitor is “raising their hand” and becoming a lead or customer. Sales are just one type of conversion; other examples include webinar registrations, newsletter signups, gated-content downloads. Once a conversion takes place—usually involving the capture of a name and email address—a lead can be nurtured into a customer. In social marketing, conversion tracking is crucial to properly attributing revenue to social-media efforts.

Learn more: Smart Ways to Drive Conversions on Social Media

Related: Social media ROI

Cost per click (CPC)

See Pay per click

Cover photo

The large, horizontal image at the top of your Facebook profile or business page. As with profile photos, cover photos are public. This prime real estate is a great place to display a unique representation of who they are, what their business is, or what they care about.

Learn more: Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network

Creative Commons

A license that allows the public use of otherwise copyrighted material. For social marketers, Creative Commons licenses are helpful when sourcing images to illustrate content. Unless you are using your own images or have purchased the rights to an image, you can use only Creative Commons images (search.creativecommons.org aggregates a number of search options). There are different levels of Creative Commons licenses that restrict whether an image can be used commercially, modified, or remixed, and whether attribution is required.

Learn more: Can I Use This Photo on Social Media? Understanding Image Copyright


The practice of whiling away the hours browsing someone’s profiles, photos, and videos on social media. Need to stalk your latest Tinder match—I mean, read up on the person who’s interviewing you for that job you want? A good creep will give you the details you need. (No judgment—it’s RESEARCH!)

Crisis management

The social media governance measures a company has in place to manage social media risk and react in the event of a crisis. The definition of crisis can be wide ranging, from security hacks to Freudian Twitter slips (hello, accidentally posting a personal tweet to the company account) and even external events that result in an influx in social mentions. A crisis-management strategy is vital to organizations of any size that want to manage their social media risk and respond effectively.

Learn more: Social Media Crisis Management: How to Prepare and Execute a Plan


Leveraging your online community to assist in services, content and ideas. Business applications for crowdsourcing include getting your audience to help translate your product, or asking industry experts to contribute tips and tracks for an upcoming blog post.

—D— Dark social

Any social media content that is shared outside of what can be attributed to a known source. For example, if you pasted this blog post’s URL and shared it with your entire iPhone contact list, the resulting visits would be categorized as dark social.

Learn more: Everything You Need to Know About Dark Social


In a social relationship platform, a single screen where marketers can view their feeds, see and interact with ongoing conversations, monitor social trends, access analytics, and more.

Learn more: Hootsuite Dashboard Overview

Deflection rate

The percentage of customer-service issues that are transferred from social media to another communications channel, such as email, telephone, or live chat.

Direct message

A private Twitter message. Direct messages can be sent only to Twitter users who are already following you—and you can receive direct messages only from users you follow unless you have opted into receiving direct messages from anyone in your user settings.

Disappearing content

Content that vanishes after a set amount of time (such as Snaps and Instagram Stories).

See Ephemeral content

Learn more: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories—Which is Right For You?

Display ad

Typically, small visual advertisements that are shown on websites. Common formats include images, Flash, video, and audio. They can also be text-based (for example, Google AdWords lets you build text-based display ads). In general, display ads are used for large audience-based media buys or retargeting.


The (very frowned-upon) practice of searching for and publishing the personal information of a private individual. Doxers use these attacks as a means to threaten or intimidate their targets

—E— Electronic discovery (e-discovery)

The gathering and exchange of relevant electronic records (such as social media communications) during a legal case or government investigation. Many organizations are required to securely and consistently archive all digital communications so that they can be produced in e-discovery.

See Compliance

Embedded media

Digital media that is displayed outside of its native setting, such as within another piece of content (e.g., a GIF embedded into a Facebook comment, or a YouTube video shared in a tweet).


Tiny images used to convey a wide spectrum of emotions across a variety of digital channels, from text messages to social media. Emoji evolved from their more primitive predecessors, emoticons, which were made using characters already on the standard keyboard. They first appeared in the Japanese digital lexicon in the late 1990s. In 2010, the Unicode Consortium (an..

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Trying new things doesn’t always pay off (hello, bangs), but Instagram has made it easier than ever to get results from their shiny new offerings. With new features and updates announced so frequently, the possibilities on Instagram seem endless.

But, this can get tricky for social media marketers who want to make sure they’re spending time and budget on features that actually drive results.

In this post we’ll outline seven Instagram features that are worth trying in 2019.

Continue reading to find out:

  • How to build hype for product launches and new businesses
  • The Instagram features that will get you new followers and grow your community
  • How to create an Instagram-friendly business that delights your customers

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

1. Use the countdown sticker on Instagram Stories

Users first noticed the addition of a countdown sticker for Instagram Stories in December 2018. Since then it’s been used by brands in tons of creative and clever ways.

For example, BravoTV used a Countdown sticker to get their audience excited about a new episode of their hit show VanderPump Rules.

Source: AdWeek

The Countdown sticker is available in your Instagram Story deck, near GIFs and Polls. Once you add the sticker to a Story, you can customize it with a title (such as “New store launch” or “Mid-season sale”) and set your end date and time.

The best part of the Countdown sticker? Your followers can tap to either set a reminder and receive an alert when your countdown ends, or share it with their followers.

This is as close to actually setting a branded reminder in their phones as you can get.

Wondering how your brand can use the Countdown sticker? Here are a few ideas:

  • Promote upcoming sales and specials
  • Announce new store openings
  • Remind followers about holidays such as Valentine’s Day (that your followers might need to buy their loved ones gifts for)
  • Build anticipation for a contest
  • Grow excitement around new employees starting
  • Celebrate your company’s anniversary
2. Create a branded filter

Augmented reality (AR) is a buzzword we’re hearing a lot about lately, and your brand can stay on-trend with an Instagram branded filter. That’s right—the cute puppy filter you’ve been using on Instagram is actually a version of AR.

Through Instagram’s closed beta program, select brands are able to create their own custom AR filters for Instagram stories. As users must be following a brand to have access to the custom filter, this is the perfect way to not only gain new followers, but engage your existing community.

An example of how brands can use these customized filter is the streetwear brand Off-White. They launched a fun sunglasses filter to help promote their upcoming show at Paris Fashion Week, allowing users who visited their page to try on different styles from their collection.

While this feature is still currently in the closed-beta phase available to select third parties, it’s a good time for your brand to consider whether custom AR filters are a fit for your business—and start brainstorming engaging ideas.

3. Try Instagram Stories Ads

More than 400 million people use Instagram Stories every day, meaning they’re the perfect place to advertise your business.

One-third of the most viewed Stories actually come from businesses—and one in five Stories results in a Direct Message from the viewer.

If you still need convincing, check out this example from publishing powerhouse Condé Nast. They saw 20 percent of the total paid social subscription volume come through Instagram Stories Ads used to drive sales for their iconic September issue.

They also saw a 77 percent higher click-through rate than ads placed elsewhere, and a 20 percent lower cost-per-acquisition.

While your Instagram Stories Ads might not feature Beyonce, you can use the same tactics Conde Nast did to get results. For example:

  • Use a variety of ad formats. Conde Nast ran video ads in Instagram Stories and 3-panel carousel ads. As Instagram explains, “The advantage of these vertical full-screen formats is a more immersive and intense visual experience.”
  • Pay attention to your top-performing organic content and redesign it for Stories Ads. Look at what content from your feed is engaging your audience the most, and use the creative for Ads. There’s a reason people are paying attention!
  • Include an enticing call-to-action button. Each Conde Nast ad had a subscribe button that, when swiped up, led to a special offer on the Vogue subscription page. Whether you want to drive people to your website, a specific product, or an event, make it as easy as possible for them to get there.
4. Create an Instagram-friendly business offline

When it comes to growing your business, it’s important to look for ways to incorporate offline tactics alongside your digital strategy.

If you have a bricks-and-mortar location, add a feature wall, backdrop, or other interesting interior design elements into your business. Make sure you have a recognizable and relevant hashtag and encourage customers to take photos and share them on Instagram for an easy way to gather user-generated content featuring your space.

One business that has done this perfectly is Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco. While planning a trip to the city last year, I kept seeing the same pink neon sign pop up on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Carbs need affirmation too. P H O T O : @anniecasale

A post shared by Mr Holmes Bakehouse (@mrholmesbakehouse) on Sep 19, 2018 at 6:05pm PDT

The bakery created the perfect Insta-worthy backdrop for their customers to share—something you can see with a quick glance at their tagged photos. Numerous travel blogs mention the bakery as a must-visit due to the sign, and one even calls it an “Instagram classic.”

How can you create an Instagram-worthy business?

  • Add a feature wall or backdrop. Check out popular businesses in your area and look at their tagged posts to see the kinds of things customers are focusing on, or search Pinterest for great ideas that don’t cost a lot of money.
  • Use aesthetically pleasing packaging. If you’re a cafe or restaurant, make sure your napkins, cups, and to-go containers are branded with your business’ logo or another appealing, instantly-recognized symbol. Mr.Holmes’ Bakehouse also does this well. Their to-go bags are labelled “Health Food” in the business’ iconic pink font, and their pastry boxes donning the same “I got baked in San Francisco” message as their famous sign.
  • Spruce up the exterior of your business. The outside of your business gives customers their first impression, so make sure it’s photo-worthy. Our own Hootsuite office in Vancouver became a work of art when artist Scott Sueme painted it for the Vancouver Mural Festival. Whether adding a new coat of paint, new plants and flowers, or a full-on mural transformation, delight your customers from first sight.
View this post on Instagram

From start to finish… Thanks @scottsueme, we love our new colourful HQ ???? #vanmuralfest ????: Greg Williams

A post shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:04am PDT

5. Set up your Instagram Nametag

If you’ve ever tried to find somebody’s Instagram account after a networking event (or first date) and had no luck, only to discover they’re under some random username, you’ll love Instagram’s Nametag feature.

Introduced in October 2018, Instagram Nametags make it easier than ever for you to find specific users—and to get others to follow you.

To see and customize your own Instagram Nametag, go to your profile and click on the menu (the three lines). You’ll see the Nametag option under the ‘Your Activity’ button.

From here, you can either scan a Nametag, or customize your own Nametag.

Customize your nametag by clicking on the top button to select either a color background, emoji background, or selfie background.

If you are a brand, I suggest you take a photo of your logo in the selfie option to create a tiled background.

Once your nametag is customized, it’s ready to be shared. Click on the arrow in the top right hand corner to save the image or send to others.

As a business, you can include your Instagram nametag on promotional materials, in your email signature, on your website, and anywhere else you want your customers to find you. They’ll simply have to open Instagram or their phone’s camera to scan the nametag and start following you, which lets them start liking and commenting on your posts as quickly as possible.

6. Use alternative text descriptions

Accessibility should be a given—not a bonus. As Instagram explains, “With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.”

In November 2018, Instagram introduced two new improvements for the visually impaired.

First, Instagram launched automatic alternative text so users can hear photo descriptions through their screen reader. As described, “This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app.”

The second new feature is custom alternative text so users can add a more-detailed description of posts when you upload a photo.

In addition to features for the visually-impaired, many users are now captioning their Instagram Stories and video content for those who are hard of hearing and deaf.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought attention to this with her November 2018 Twitter post. She reveals that members of the deaf community reached out to her, and now she uses tools such as Clipomatic to caption all of her video content.

Advocates for the deaf community hit me up to connect me with tools (i.e. Clipomatic) to better serve all of us.

Thanks to them, I now caption all my IG stories so our deaf brothers and sisters can follow along too. https://t.co/WhwNNgSeHy

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 16, 2018

How can your business make your Instagram content more accessible in 2019?

  • Make sure you’re adding alternative text descriptions to your Instagram posts. When posting a photo, click on ‘Advanced Settings’ and type in a description that will allow all of your followers to experience your content.
  • Add captions to your video content when possible. Captions don’t only boost accessibility, but can increase viewership. Facebook found that more than 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound, regardless of the audience’s hearing abilities. Making content more accessible benefits everyone.
7. Create Close Friends lists

Sometimes you don’t need your in-laws viewing your latest Instagram Story. Or, if you’re a business, you have content that you know would be perfect for certain customers but won’t engage others. This is where your Instagram close friends list comes in handy.

The Close Friends list allows you to share Instagram Stories with a specific group of people. You can add and remove users from this list whenever you want, and customize it depending on what you’re using it for.

Don’t worry—users won’t be notified when they’re added or removed from your close friends list.

To create your Close Friends list on Instagram, go to the menu bar on your profile. Tap “Close Friends” and then tap “Add” next to the usernames of the people you want to add to the list. Click “Done” when you’ve finished adding users.

How can your business use a Close Friends list on Instagram?

  • Exclusive content. Create a list of VIP members who you only show specific content to. For example, you could provide early access to new products or features of your product to a select group of customers.
  • Influencers. Create a close friends list consisting of influencers you work with (or want to work with) and share information they can use to help grow your brand. Instead of having to email each influencer separately, having a close friends list will save you tons of time here.
  • Localization. If you have multiple offices or store locations, you can create a close friends list for a particular geographic area. For example, if your store in New York is having a sale or event you can create a list of users or influencers you know from that location and share a Story with them—without bothering those who aren’t close-by.

While it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your Instagram content, these new features and capabilities can give your 2019 strategy a total refresh. Let us know what new things you’re looking most forward to trying on Instagram this year!

Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram, engage the audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

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On social media, things can move blindingly fast. Sometimes, it’s an Instagram post of an egg going inexplicably viral. But sometimes, it’s a PR crisis that seems to come out of nowhere.

Your best chance to make it through a social media crisis is to prepare ahead of time. Have a solid plan, a list of key stakeholders and responsibilities, and a clear chain of command.

Of course, it’s even better if you can prevent a crisis before it begins.

In this post, we’ll look at methods for spotting potential issues as they emerge and how to shut a problem down in the early stages. If that doesn’t work,  we’ll show you what to do if you end up with a full-blown social media crisis management situation on your hands.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

9 social media crisis management tips for businesses and brands 1. Create a social media policy

Some of the worst social media situations start with an employee posting something inappropriate. Fortunately, these are also some of the easiest crises to avoid.

The best way to prevent this type of social media crisis is to create a solid social media policy for your company. It should provide clear guidelines for appropriate use, outline expectations for branded accounts, and explain how employees can talk about your the business on their personal channels.

The details of your social media policy will vary based on factors like your industry and the size of your company. Here are some subjects all social media policies should include:

  • Copyright guidelines. Don’t assume employees understand how copyright applies online. Provide clear instructions about how to use and credit third-party content.
  • Privacy guidelines. Specify how to interact with customers online, and when a conversation needs to move to a private channel.
  • Confidentiality guidelines. Describe what business information employees are allowed (even encouraged) to share, and what should be kept under wraps.
  • Brand voice guidelines. Do you maintain a formal tone? Can your social team get a little goofy?

Lockheed Martin’s social team got a little too casual on social media for World Photo Day 2018. The world’s largest arms producer posted a tweet asking followers to share a photo of one of their products. The now-deleted tweet said:

“Do you have an amazing photo of one of our products? Tag us in our pic and we may feature it during our upcoming #WorldPhotoDay celebration on Aug. 19!”

This carefree tone from an arms manufacturer would probably have brought in some challenging replies in the best of circumstances. But just a few hours later, CNN broke a news story that a Lockheed Martin bomb has been used on an attack that killed children in Yemen. People seized on the story and started responding to Lockheed Martin’s photo request tweet with CNN’s photo of a bomb fragment from the attack.

2. When Lockheed Martin got shut down hard on #WorldPhotoDay

Lockheed Martin is the world’s biggest arms manufacturer, and a top American defence contractor.

This tweet received intense backlash. What a surprise ???? pic.twitter.com/traJXp9awz

— Josh@PerkyMarketing (@PerkyMarketing) October 3, 2018

Lockheed Martin’s response was basically not to respond. They simply deleted the original tweet. The challenge of trying to make a problematic post disappear is that screencaps live on in the many news stories about the blunder. Consider this an example of how not to handle a social media crisis.

2. Secure your accounts

Weak passwords and other social media security risks can quickly expose your brand to a social media crisis. In fact, employees are more likely to cause a cyber security crisis than hackers are.

The more people who know your social media account passwords, the more chances there are for a security breach. Don’t share passwords among the various members of your team who need access to your social accounts. I use a centralized system like Hootsuite to control use permissions and grant the appropriate level of access.

Centralizing access also allows you to revoke access for employees who leave the company or move to a role that no longer requires them to post on social.

When the New York Daily News laid off half its employees, a departing member of the social team started posting strange GIFs to the paper’s Twitter account.

Aww, someone deleted the .gif. But —the internet is forever! ???? pic.twitter.com/VHK8vNQgCp

— Rebecca I. Allen (@rebeccaallen) July 23, 2018

The Tweets were relatively harmless. A situation like this could quickly turn into a social media crisis, though. What if the rogue employee posted confidential or inflammatory material?

A similar situation happened back in 2013, when HMV laid off a large portion of its staff. The company’s Twitter feed was a play-by-play of the mass firings, beginning with “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!”

But here’s the key HMV Tweet you can learn from:

“Just heard our Marketing Director (he’s staying folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?’”

Hey @hmvtweets – deleting the tweets and ignoring the situation doesn't mean it didn't happen: http://t.co/beiwPaMN #hmvxfactorfiring

— Lily Sangster ???? (@lilysangster) January 31, 2013

It’s critical to have control of your social channels. Managers to know how to limit or revoke access in a social media crisis management situation.

3. Use social listening to identify potential issues

A good social listening program can help you spot an emerging issue on social media well before it turns into a crisis.

Monitoring brand mentions can give you some advanced warning of a surge of social activity. But if you really want to keep an eye out for a potential social media crisis, you should be monitoring social sentiment.

Social sentiment is a metric that captures how people feel about your brand. If you see a sudden change, that’s an immediate clue to start digging into your listening streams to see what people are saying about you. A sudden spike in brand mentions is always worth investigating, too.

Using Hootsuite Insights, you can set alerts so you’re automatically notified if there are major changes in sentiment or volume of mentions. This gives you advance warning of a crisis while it’s still in the early stages.

ZeroFOX is another great software solution for advance warning of a potential crisis. Integrated with your Hootsuite dashboard, it will:

  • send you alerts about dangerous or offensive content targeting your brand
  • malicious links posted on your social channels
  • and scams targeting your business or your customers

4. Define what counts as a crisis

People are going to say rude things about you online. That’s a fact, not a crisis.

But if enough people are saying the same negative things about you on social, all at the same time, that might be a crisis—or a potential crisis waiting to explode. What really identifies a social media crisis is a major negative change in the online conversation about your brand.

In order to identify a change from the norm, of course, you have to know what the norm is. Your ongoing social listening work should give you a pretty clear idea of what a normal day looks like for your brand.

For negative comments to count as a crisis, there also needs to be potential long-term damage to your brand. Even if a large number of people are posting negatively, it may be best to respond through customer service channels.

As an organization, you should define how much of a change in sentiment you need to see before you can start thinking about the event as a potential crisis. Once the numbers hit that threshold, review the situation with the appropriate people to decide whether you should implement your crisis communication plan.

On that note…

5. Craft a crisis communication plan

A company-wide social media crisis communication plan allows you to respond quickly to any potential issue. Instead of debating how to handle things, or waiting for senior managers to weigh in, you can take action and prevent things from getting out of control.

Acting fast is important. More than a quarter of crises spread internationally within just one hour. But it takes companies an average of 21 hours to defend themselves in any kind of meaningful way. That’s nearly a full day for the crisis to make the rounds on the web with no meaningful intervention from your team.

On December 23, 2018, a security guard at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland called the police on a black hotel guest for “loitering” in the lobby while taking a phone call. The guest posted video of the event to Twitter, sparking a #boycottDoubleTree hashtag.

The hotel’s first tweet after the incident was a tone-deaf Happy Holidays post. That post got 403 comments from angry Twitter users, with no response from the hotel.

For Christmas this year, I’ll be telling all my friends to avoid your hotel, and to tell their families not to stay there when they visit. Instead of wasting time trying to ignore what happened, why don’t you fire the security guard in question and make some real changes?

— Katie Steele (@k8eesteele) December 26, 2018

It took three whole days for the hotel to even acknowledge the incident on Twitter. Yes, it was the holidays. But three days is too long.

Your plan should describe the exact steps everyone will take on social media during a crisis—from top executives to the most junior employees. Include a list of who needs to be alerted at each stage of a potential social media crisis.

Your social media crisis communication plan should include:

  • Guidelines for identifying the type and magnitude of a crisis.
  • Roles and responsibilities for every department.
  • A communication plan for internal updates.
  • Up-to-date contact information for critical employees.
  • Approval processes for messaging posted on social media.
  • Any pre-approved external messages, images, or information.
  • A link to your social media policy.

No matter how well you prepare, the nature of a crisis means you won’t be able to resolve everything with just one or two social media posts. But people expect to hear from you, and it’s important for you to acknowledge the problem right away. Even during holidays, you need to be able to respond quickly in case of an emergency.

A couple of humble and informative posts buy you the time to put the rest of your social media crisis communication plan into action. Simply acknowledge that there’s a problem and let people know that more information is coming soon.

6. Stop all scheduled posts

During a social media crisis, scheduled posts will at best make you look goofy.

Take, for example, this App Store tweet encouraging followers to download the New York Times cooking app. It’s a perfectly reasonable tweet to send out the day before Thanksgiving.

Need some help planning your #Thanksgiving feast?

Try the @NYTimes cooking app: https://t.co/zlAMOoUS3R pic.twitter.com/kfWN3H1RPG

— App Store (@AppStore) November 21, 2018

One problem: Apple was facing a major outage at the time, and the App Store was down.

In this case, Apple just looked a bit silly, and the tweet gave followers more ammunition to complain about the outage.

But a pre-scheduled post that goes out in a social media crisis situation can also make your brand look ignorant and insensitive. The DoubleTree Happy Holidays post mentioned above could well have been a scheduled tweet.

In a worst-case scenario, a scheduled tweet during a crisis could completely derail your crisis management plan. It’s critical for all communication to be planned, consistent, and appropriate in tone. A scheduled post will be none of those things.

Shut down all scheduled posts as soon as you activate your social media crisis communication plan.

7. Engage—but don’t argue

Once you’ve posted that initial response, it’s time to get key staff working on more in-depth messaging. That might mean a press release, an official statement, or a letter or video from your CEO

But since we’re talking about social media, simply issuing statements won’t cut it. You’re going to have to engage with people who may be saying very negative things about you online.

Keep it short. Avoid getting pulled into a long discussion of what went wrong. Instead, try to move the conversation to a more personal channel, like private messaging. You could also offer a phone number, email address, or other means of communicating outside of social media.

When Johnson & Johnson faced a crisis of allegations about asbestos in its baby powder, the company created a webpage and a Twitter thread specifically addressing the main concerns people were expressing both on and off social media. The social team actively responded to concerned tweets, and referred people to the webpage for consistent information.

Hello there. We understand your concerns about the headlines you’ve been seeing, and we want to put your mind at ease – our talc is safe. We are committed to the highest safety and quality standards in every Johnson’s product. Please visit https://t.co/aCzCAGe46R to learn more.

— Johnson & Johnson (@JNJNews) December 29, 2018

Of course, some people will simply keep arguing with you until you stop responding. When it’s clear you’re not making progress, acknowledge the concerns and frustrations, but stop taking the bait. Getting pulled into a fight online will not improve the situation. During a social media crisis, people are watching, so you’ve simply got to take the high road.

8. Communicate internally

Communicating internally is a crucial part of your crisis management response. This keeps everyone on the same page and helps to prevent misinformation and the spread of rumors.

Make sure everyone in the organization knows exactly what they should (or should not) say about the crisis on social media. Hootsuite Amplify offers an easy way to distribute pre-approved company messaging to all employees that they can share on their own social accounts.

9. Learn from the experience

Once you make it through your first social media crisis, take the time to debrief and examine what happened. Keep a detailed record of everything you did, and how well it worked.

This is a good time to get the whole company together to talk about the experience you’ve all been through, and share knowledge and experiences from different teams. Maybe the customer service department had some important insight. Or maybe public relations has some new guidelines that need to be incorporated into your social media plan.

Take the time to examine your social media plan. Think about anything you could add that would prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. And review your crisis communication plan to look for opportunities to incorporate lessons learned.

Use Hootsuite to manage and monitor all your social profiles in one place. From a single dashboard you can see what people are saying about your brand and respond accordingly. Permission, compliance, and security features will also come in handy when handling or mitigating any PR crisis. Try it free today!

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A mind-blowing 500 million Stories are posted on Instagram every day.

Whether you’re part of the 50 percent of brands who are already creating Stories, or the other 50 percent who should definitely be thinking about it, you’re probably wondering: how do you keep your content fresh and exciting?

One way is to make sure your Stories are interesting and interactive by adding features like Polls that allow viewers to engage with your content.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve rounded up 7 great ways brands using Polls in their Stories.

Save time editing photos and download your free pack of 5 customizable Instagram presets now.

How to use Polls in Instagram Stories

Polls allows you to pose a question to your followers, with a choice of two responses. Here’s how to add this feature to your Stories:

1. Find the stickers icon in the top-right corner of your screen, and tap the Polls icon to add it to your Story.

2. Add your question and responses. The default responses are “Yes” and “No,” but you can customize the text and even add emojis.

There’s no character limit for questions, but each response is limited to 22 characters (we tested it ourselves).

3. Check your results! You can swipe up from your Story to check how people are voting in the Poll and see the total number of views.

4. Your Poll will last for 24 hours with your Story. Don’t forget to share the results with your followers after it ends! That’s one way to show that you’re listening to them and valuing their engagement.

5. If you want to keep your Poll alive longer than a 24-hour period, add it to a Stories Highlight.

7 creative ways brands are using Instagram Stories Polls

As SNL producer Lorne Michaels said, “There’s no creativity without boundaries.” Similarly, the simple Polls feature offers limitless opportunities to create fun and dynamic content.

Here are just 7 examples to spark your own creativity.

1. Make a quiz

Media giant Buzzfeed is probably best known for their quizzes, as anyone who has discovered what kind of sandwich they are can attest. So naturally, Buzzfeed News thought to use Polls to create audience quizzes in their Instagram Stories too!

Quizzes aren’t just for Buzzfeed, of course.

Vanity Fair also proved how fun the quiz format can be when they created a Royal Wedding quiz to prepare audiences for Meghan and Harry’s nuptials.

The quiz was enjoyable all on its own (did you know daffodils are an emblem of Wales?) and also complemented their extensive Royal Wedding coverage.

That’s the secret to a good quiz: making sure it contributes to your overall content strategy. The content should align with your other posts and your brand identity.

Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong In?” can work for Buzzfeed, but it might not be a good fit for you.

2. Show off your product catalog

“Show, don’t tell” is an essential rule in storytelling, and for good reason. Why tell audiences about all the amazing products you offer when showing them off makes a bigger impact?

IKEA USA used Polls to show followers their range of kitchen options and asked them to vote for their favorites. This approach can work for all kinds of products, whether you make dog-patterned sweaters or sweaters for dogs (as long as you have at least two products to compare).

It’s especially helpful if you want to boost visibility of a product line or a special promotion.

In IKEA’s case, they were promoting an upcoming sale on their kitchen lines. The Polls drew audiences in, and were followed by a discount code and more info about the sale.

This kind of product poll also provides valuable insight into your customers’ preferences.

That brings us to another clever use of polls…

3. Do customer research

Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball so you could see what your customers really want?

Well, the next best thing is an Instagram Poll. It’s a simple form of customer research that allows you to ask your audience important questions, while still providing them with quality content!

For example, swimwear brand Mimi Hammer used Polls to ask customers what swimsuit designs they preferred.

Even though they were essentially creating a customer survey, Mimi Hammer still used high-quality visuals to frame the questions. No matter what your Poll is about, you should always maintain your brand’s visual consistency and include striking images to catch your audience’s attention.

4. Drive traffic to your website

Is getting audiences to click through to your website one of your social media goals? Polls can help you direct audiences to your website t!

Elle Magazine did this to great effect with their Polls about Netflix rom com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. In a cute series of Polls, they teased the content of their article on the movie and provided incentives to swipe up and read it in full.

Even those who hadn’t seen the movie could participate in the Poll, making it inclusive of their full audience.

5. Encourage social responsibility

Audiences (especially millennials) expect brands to share their values, such as sustainability, giving back to the community, and honesty. Polls are one way to share your company’s values, and encourage followers to take action on important causes that you both care about.

Refinery29 did this well when they encouraged their followers to register to vote in the November 2018 midterm elections. They ran several Stories reminding audiences about key dates and deadlines, and added Polls asking whether they’d registered yet.

Here, the Poll encouraged audiences to vote by providing a reality check on how many of their peers had already registered. (Gentle peer pressure is an effective tool!)

It also made it clear that Refinery29 cares about civic engagement and democratic process, and they believe their followers share that value.

Your company may want to avoid getting into social and political issues altogether, but if you decide to engage, here are a few tips from a successful case study.

6. Educate your followers

Chances are part of your company mission is informing your audience about your services, products, or mission.

Education is an important part of your content strategy, and Polls can be a valuable educational tool.

Meditation app Headspace knows a lot about this: a big part of their work is educating users about mindfulness and reflection. To that end, they used Polls in a series of Stories teaching audiences about mindful eating.

The Poll also served as an introduction to their blog content on the same topic, and viewers could swipe up after participating in the Poll to learn more.

7. Just for fun

Sure, it’s important to set goals and track your metrics. But don’t forget that the reason your audience is on Instagram is because they enjoy it.
Sometimes, you can keep it simple and just try to have fun with your Stories too!

Break up a long series of Story posts with a fun Poll to keep audiences from zoning out, like MOMA did with their #ArtSpeaks series.

Or pose a silly question to complement a funny caption, like REI did with this dad joke. (These are also great examples of how to use the “Slider sticker” in a similar way to Polls.)

You can also dig into important topics… like Grub Street did, with their donut flavor Poll.

However you decide to use them, Polls are an easy way to connect with your Instagram followers and spice up your Stories.

Want even more inspiration for your Instagram content strategy? Find out how brands are using the Questions sticker, and see who’s knocking it out of the park with their Stories.

Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts, engage the audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

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Facebook Lookalike Audiences can help you find your new best customers.

The tool draws from learnings about your most successful customers to find new people who are likely to be good customers, too.

Think of it as a sophisticated audience matchmaker for marketers. You tell Facebook what you like in a customer, and Facebook a delivers a new audience segment filled with prospects that meet your criteria.

Ready to find the audience of your dreams? Read on to learn how to create a Lookalike Audience for your Facebook ads, plus tips that will help you find the best match.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to save time and money on your Facebook ads. Find out how to reach the right customers, lower your cost-per-click, and more.  

What are Facebook Lookalike Audiences?

Facebook Lookalike Audiences can be used to reach people who are similar to your current customers. They increase the probability of generating high-quality leads and offer more value on ad spend.

Lookalike Audiences are formed based on source audiences. You can create a source audience (also known as a seed audience) using data from:

  • Customer Information. A newsletter subscription list or a customer file list. You can either upload a .txt or .csv file, or copy and paste your information.
  • Website Visitors. To create a custom audience based on website visitors, you need to have Facebook pixel installed. With pixel, you create an audience of people who have visited your website, looked at a product page, completed a purchase, etc.
  • App activity. With active Facebook SDK event tracking, app administrators can collect data on the people who have installed your app. There are 14 pre-defined events that can be tracked such as, “added to the basket” for retails apps, or “level achieved” for game apps.
  • Engagement. An engagement audience is comprised of people who engaged with your content on Facebook or Instagram. Engagement events include: video, lead form, canvas and collection, Facebook page, Instagram business profile, and event.
  • Offline activity. You can create a list of people who interacted with your business in person, by phone, or another offline channel.

Multiple Lookalike Audiences can be used at the same time for the same ad campaign. You can also pair Lookalike Audiences with other ad targeting parameters, such as age and gender or interests and behaviors.

How to use Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Step 1: From the Facebook Ads Manager, go to Audiences.

Step 2: Click Create audience and choose Lookalike Audience.

Step 3: Choose your source audience. Remember, this will be a custom audience you’ve created from customer information, Pixel or app data, or fans of your page.

Note: Your source audiences needs to contain at least 100 people from the same country.

Step 4: Select the countries or regions you would like to target. The countries you choose will determine where people in your Lookalike Audience are based, adding a geo-filter onto your Lookalike Audience.

Note: You don’t have to have anyone from the country you want to target in your source.

Step 5: Choose your desired audience size. Size is expressed on a scale of 1-10. Smaller numbers have high similarity and larger numbers have high reach. Facebook will provide you with an estimated reach for the size you choose.

Note: It can take between six and 24 hours for your Lookalike Audience to be finished, but you can still proceed to ad creation.

Step 6: Create your ad. Go to the Adverts Manager and click Tools, then Audiences, to see if your Lookalike Audience is ready. If it is, select it and click Create Advert.

9 tips for using Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Find the right source audience and use these tips to reach new people on Facebook.

1. Use the right source audience for your goals

Different custom audiences match different goals.

For example, if your goal is to drive awareness of your business, a Lookalike Audience based on your Page Fans may be a good idea.

If your goal is to increase online sales, then a Lookalike Audience based on website visitors will be a better choice.

2. Get creative with Custom Audiences

You can create custom audiences around a variety of parameters. Drill down on the options that best align with your campaign goals.

Ideas for Custom Audiences include:

  • Video audience. If you’re launching a video-based campaign, create an audience based on people who have engaged with your videos in the past.
  • Recent website visitors. All website visitors may be too broad of a list, especially if conversions are your objective. Target people who have visited your website in the past 30 days, or visitors who have put something in their cart.
  • Email audience. Newsletter subscribers are interested in receiving news and deals about your business. Use this audience to get more subscribers, or if you’re planning a campaign with similar content.
3. Test your Lookalike Audience size

Consider different audience sizes for different campaign goals.

Smaller audiences (1-5 on the scale) will most closely match your custom audience, whereas large audiences (6-10 on the scale) will increase your potential reach, but decrease the level of similarity with your custom audience. If you’re optimizing for similarity, aim for a smaller audience. For reach, go large.

4. Choose high-quality data

The better the data you provide, the better the results.

Facebook recommends between 1,000 and 50,000 people. But an audience of 500 loyal customers with always perform better than an audience of 50,000 good, bad, and average customers.

Avoid broad audiences like “all website visitors” or “all app installers.” These large audiences will include great customers along with those who bounce after a short time.

Hone in on the metrics that determine your best customers. Often these are further down the conversion or engagement funnel.

5. Keep your audience list up-to-date

If you’re providing your own customer information, make sure it’s as current as possible. If you’re creating a custom audience with Facebook data, add date range parameters.

For example, if you’re adding a custom audience based on website visitors, you may only want to target those who have visited your website in the last 30 to 90 days.

Lookalike audiences update dynamically every three to seven days, so anyone new who visits will be added to your Lookalike Audience.

6. Use Lookalike Audiences in combination with other features

Enhance your lookalike audience targeting by adding more targeting parameters such as age, gender, or interests.

To launch its home theatre speaker, PLAYBASE, Sonos developed a multi-tier campaign that used Lookalike Audiences in combination with video ads, link ads, and Facebook dynamic ads. Phase one of the campaign targeted existing customers and new ones based on their interests, and phase two retargeted video viewers and Lookalike Audiences based on phase one engagements.

The one-two punch campaign delivered 19 times the return on ad spend.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to save time and money on your Facebook ads. Find out how to reach the right customers, lower your cost-per-click, and more.  

Get the free guide right now!

Make sure to take full advantage of the hyper-targeting capabilities of Lookalike Audiences with high quality ads. Read our full guide to Facebook ad formats and best practices.

7. Optimize bids with a set of Lookalike Audiences

Use your most effective audience to segment Lookalike Audiences into non-overlapping tiers.

To do this, click Advanced Options when selecting your audience size. You can create up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from just one source audience.

For example, you could segment an audience based on the most similar, second most similar, and least similar lookalikes, and bid accordingly on each.

Source: Facebook 8. Pinpoint the right locations

Lookalike Audiences are a great way to target expansion in new global markets.

Most often marketers know where they’re looking for new acquisitions. If global domination is your aim (or you’re not sure where to focus), consider creating a Lookalike Audience in app store countries or emerging markets.

Source: Facebook

Facebook will always prioritize similarity over location. That means your Lookalike Audience may not be evenly distributed between your locations.

Sunglasses retailer 9FIVE wanted to extend their US campaign to Canada and Australia, so it created an international Lookalike Audiences based on current customers in both countries. Ads were also segmented per region and targeted with unique dynamic ads. They lowered cost per acquisition by 40 percent, and achieved 3.8 times the return on ad spend.

Source: Facebook 9. Try the Customer Lifetime Value Option

If your business involves customer transactions and engagements that take place over a longer period of time, consider creating a customer lifetime value (LTV) custom audience. But even if not, Value-based Lookalike Audiences can help separate your big spenders from the not-so-big spenders since they factor in consumer CRM data.

To optimize for its The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land release, Next Games created a standard Lookalike Audience of paying app users and a value-based Lookalike Audience. By comparison, the value-based audience delivered a 30 percent higher return on ad spend.

Source: Facebook

“We saw a measured uplift in performance when comparing value-based Lookalike Audiences with standard Lookalike Audiences built using identical seed audiences and would recommend testing value-based Lookalike Audiences,” said Next Games CMO, Saara Bergström.

Important links

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The post How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences: The Complete Guide appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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This is an edited version of Simon’s complete Digital 2019 analysis, which you can read in full over on DataReportal.

The new 2019 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that there are now 4.39 billion people around the world using the internet.

That’s well over half the world’s population. It’s also an increase of 366 million people (or nine percent) since 2018, with more than one million people coming online for the first time each day over the last year.

But what does that mean for social media?

With more people online than ever, there’s also more people on social media than ever—3.48 billion to be exact. And more than 9 out of 10 of those people access social media via a mobile device.

We’ll explore all of the key trends and insights from this year’s reports below, but here are the essential headlines you need in order to understand ‘Digital in 2019’:

  • There are 3.48 billion social media users in 2019, up 9% year-on-year
  • 3.26 billion people use social media on mobile devices in January 2019, up 10% year-on-year
  • There are 4.39 billion internet users in 2019, up 9% year-on-year
  • There are 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world today, up 2% year-on-year

A big thank you to the data partners who contributed to this year’s reports, including:

Our full suite of Digital 2019 reports includes extensive insights into people’s use of the world’s top social platforms in more than 230+ countries and territories around the world.

For now, here are the highlights.

45% of the world uses social media

Worldwide social media user numbers have grown to almost 3.5 billion at the start of 2019, with 288 million new users in the past 12 months pushing the global penetration figure to 45 percent.

Social media use is still far from evenly distributed across the globe though, and penetration rates in parts of Africa are still in the single digits.

Countries in the Middle East top the social media penetration rankings, with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar tied for top spot.

Most social media platforms prohibit use by children. So, we’ve also analyzed what we’re terming ‘eligible penetration’—i.e. social media use amongst adults aged 13 and above—to get a more accurate idea of social media’s global penetration.

The number of social media users around the world at the start of 2019 equates to roughly 58 percent of the total ‘eligible population’, but this figure rises to more than 70 percent in almost 100 countries around the world.

Even when adjusted for age, social media penetration in many parts of the developing world still lags below 30 percent, and 16 countries around the world still register less than 10 percent eligible penetration.

Cuba and Ethiopia have witnessed strong social media growth this year.

China added the greatest number of new social media users over the past 12 months, with the country’s total rising by close to 100 million new users since this time last year.

India also saw strong growth, with more than 60 million users signing up to social media for the first time during 2018.

The total number of global social media users has almost doubled since our Digital 2014 reports.

Most social media users are around the age of 30

The global social media audience has matured considerably over the last five years, with people around the age of 30 now accounting for the largest share of the world’s social media users.

Senior audiences are now better represented too, and Facebook’s various platforms report a greater number of users over the age of 55 than users below the age of 18.

There’s still a meaningful gender imbalance across overall social media audiences too, but this varies from platform to platform. In general, countries with the lowest overall social media penetration are also those countries with the greatest male skew.

As an essential resource for education, financial inclusion, employment and empowerment, ensuring more equal internet access for women must be a priority for the next phase of internet development.

People spend more time than ever on social media

GlobalWebIndex reports that the average social media user now spends 2 hours and 16 minutes each day on social platforms—up from 2 hours and 15 minutes last year—which equates to roughly one-third of their total internet time, and one-seventh of their waking lives.

People now spend 40 minutes—and 40 percent—longer each day on social compared to this time in 2014.

The average user now has an account on almost nine social media platforms, but they don’t necessarily engage with every one of these accounts each month.

People are also increasingly using social media for work activities, with almost a quarter of users saying they’ve done so in the past month.

Facebook is still the top social media platform in 2019

Despite a troubling year in 2018, Facebook maintains its top platform ranking in early 2019, and people don’t seem to be leaving the platform in any significant numbers.

In fact, Facebook’s monthly active users (MAU) numbers grew steadily across the past 12 months.

YouTube comes in at number two in this year’s rankings. It looks set to be the next social platform to break the 2 billion user mark.

Instagram and WeChat (Weixin in China) both joined the prestigious “billion users club” over the past 12 months.

Twitter had a disappointing year in 2018, losing 4 million users over the last year.

However, China’s Sina Weibo has proven that microblogging definitely isn’t dead, with the platform reporting user growth of almost 20 percent over the course of the past 12 months.

Snapchat’s user base is also in steady decline. The platform’s advertising audience has seen significant drops in recent months.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger dominate messaging

The latest data from SimilarWeb show that either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is the most-used app in 208 out of a total of 234 countries and territories for which they have data.

Viber is the top choice for Android users in 10 countries across the globe. However, both WeChat and LINE have yet to gain popularity outside their home countries.

We’ve highlighted a small selection of interesting social media data for this post, but it only represents a sliver of the data you’ll find in the complete suite of 2019 Global Digital reports—which analyzes all the individual social platforms in detail.

It also covers global internet and mobile usage growth, including all the essential numbers social teams need to understand current internet, social media, and mobile behaviours all around the world.

Download the 2019 Global Digital reports for free here.

If data and charts aren’t your thing, check out the 2019 Digital Yearbook for the most important local headlines.

The post People Spend 1/7 of Their Waking Lives on Social Media (and Other Stats) appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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