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Social media customer service is exactly what it sounds like. You use social media tools to provide online customer service and support.

In today’s digital world, people use social to channels to connect with businesses. And they expect businesses to be available on social to provide help when they need it.

You likely already have a solid strategy for social media marketing and a great customer service team. But do you have a strategy for how your brand will use social media customer service solutions?

Using social media for customer support is different from using the same tools for social marketing. Social media customer service can help improve relationships and protect your brand’s reputation.

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

Social media customer service stats

Why should you incorporate social media customer service tools into your business plan? The numbers don’t lie. People want the brands they interact with to offer social customer support. And keeping customers happy is the whole point of offering customer service.

Here are some social media customer service stats that show how important it is to offer social media customer service solutions:

Customers expect social service
  • 67% of customers have used live chat, social media or texting to contact customer service.
  • 20.8% of U.S. Internet users say social media is the best channel for customer service.
  • More than 150 million people message businesses through Instagram Direct every month.
  • 61% of daily messaging app user in the U.S. have messaged a business in the last three months.
  • In Brazil, that number increases to 81%.
Social customer support increases customer confidence and loyalty
  • 69% of U.S. residents said that directly messaging a company makes them feel more confident about the brand.
  • Customers who receive a brand response to their tweets are willing to spend three to 30% more on a future purchase from that business.
Social media customer service protects your brand reputation
  • Nearly half of consumers will discuss a bad customer service experience with friends. 24% will do do on social media.
  • 81% of Twitter users who don’t get a response from a company will not recommend that company to their friends.
Using social media for customer service and support: 11 tips to make it work 1. Make social customer service a priority

You have to view social media customer service as a business priority, not an afterthought.

At Bumble, customer service is the “backbone of the entire business.”

“Every tweet, they respond,” said Louise Troen, Bumble’s VP of International Marketing. “They’re the most important part of the company. They’re the people who listen to your users and help you innovate your product online and offline,” she said at the recent TNW Conference in Amsterdam.

Bumble’s social customer support team will even take action in the real world if warranted. That might mean sending a congratulations hamper to newly engaged Bumble users. Or it could be offering to pay for a makeup date after the original was sidetracked by—wait for it—a swarm of bees.

OMG! ???? We hope you two bees are a-okay, but also … ????????????
(P.S. DM us if there’s a do-over date planned. The next one's on us!) pic.twitter.com/7vHwq7Cccl

— Bumble Support (@BumbleSupport) April 26, 2019

2. Set up a dedicated social handle for customer service and support

Brands often use a separate handle to manage social customer support. This helps filter out support and service issues from your primary channel.

For example, Hootsuite uses @Hootsuite_Help, which is run by the support team.

If you  create a dedicated social channel for customer support,  include that handle in your brand’s other social profile bios. This lets people know where to reach out for support-related requests.

People will still use your main social marketing handles to contact you with support and service issues. They might simply use the brand handle they already know, rather than looking at your main profile to check for a support account.

Make it easy for the customer. If a service request comes into your main social channel, forward it along to the right team.

Respond from your support account to move the conversation to the right channel. This also makes sure other users can see the request was addressed.

3. Create social media guidelines

Social customer support has different challenges and opportunities than social marketing. It’s important that to have social media guidelines in place for customer support. These should align with your company values and with the social marketing team.

Your social media guidelines for social customer support should cover things such as:

  • Tone of voice
  • Response time for each channel
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Protocol on escalations or other customer issues
  • A message approval procedure and a permission management system

Zappos uses a casual but friendly tone of voice on its social customer support channels. This voice is appropriate to the company’s brand and aligned with its marketing style. You can be sure Zappos has a style guide to maintain that voice consistency.

Slide to left. Slide to the right. ???? *HH

— Zappos.com (@Zappos) May 12, 2019

4. Find and monitor conversations relevant to your business

When consumers mention brands online, they tend to use hashtags rather than brand handles. DigiMind found that hashtags were used 91% of the time in tweets that mentioned global brands. Compare that to only 9% for brand handles.

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

Get the free guide right now!

That means you can’t wait to be tagged in social media customer support requests. You need to monitor conversations about your brand. Then you can respond to customers who have a service issue—even if they didn’t reach out to you.

Best Buy does a great job of this. They use social listening to find brand mentions that merit a customer service response, even when no handle or hashtag is used.

Hey there! We see that you may be experiencing issues with your recently purchased TV. We'd hate for you to be stuck with a product that doesn't work properly, so let us know if you have any questions regarding our Return & Exchange Policy or manufacturer warranties. ^Allison

— Best Buy Support (@BestBuySupport) May 13, 2019

Lush UK recently took the unusual approach of essentially shutting down its social media accounts. The brand is directing customers to use a hashtag to get their attention instead.

This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.#LushCommunity – see you there.

— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019

Customers had mixed reactions to this announcement. Will it work out for Lush? That remains to be seen. The company has been mainly silent on its UK Twitter account since announcing the signoff on April 15. However, a customer service rep posted 10 responses to tweets on May 11. Maybe they’ve reconsidered. We’ll be keeping an eye on the @LushLtd account to see how this plays out.

5. Be proactive

Anticipate questions or potential support issues that people might have. Use those to create educational content that you can share on your social channels.

For instance, you could create a how-to video or a best practices blog post.

Your social media customer service channels are great places to share educational content. Help customers learn how to get the most from your products. If you offer an online service, you could also post updates about any known service issues.

Adobe uses its customer care Twitter account to share how-to information. This helps customers use its products more effectively.

New to @InDesign CC? This series of tutorials will teach you the basic tools and techniques: https://t.co/P9WyZPy4qz pic.twitter.com/Ssqo4PrSXn

— Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) May 12, 2019

These resources will help reduce the number of support requests that come in. They’re also an easy place to refer people with simple support questions.

6. Expand your idea of what customer service can be

Think broadly about what qualifies as a customer service issue.

For example, a Warby Parker customer tweeted three different glasses looks he was considering. He used the #warbyhometryon hashtag but didn’t include the brand’s social handles.

This might not be considered a typical customer service issue. Still, Warby’s customer service team popped in to let him know which frames they thought were the best pick.

Got it down to three. I'm really feeling Graham the best though but can't decide #warbyhometryon pic.twitter.com/q6wWJkshGS

— Jonathan M. Reynolds (@jreyreynolds502) May 2, 2019

That kind of above-and-beyond service delights customers. It’s no surprise Warby Parker gets rave reviews for customer service.

7. Always respond

This may sound obvious, but it’s a rule not all companies follow.

People asking questions of your brand on social media may or may not be your customers (yet). Answering all questions on social channels shows that you have responsive customer service. This proves to potential customers that you care about your clients’ needs.

Vancouver nail salon Classy Claws has built a loyal following in real life by being highly responsive to her followers on Instagram. In particular, she has built client relationships by responding to direct messages.

Clients may have questions about her service, or about how to book an appointment. Answering questions from existing and potential customers has helped Classy Claws become a destination nail studio with more than 56,000 Instagram followers.

8. Respond quickly

Simply responding is not enough. When customers reach out to brands on social, they expect a fast, friendly response.

A study by Twitter showed that 71% of  users expect a brand to respond within one hour. A Facebook study showed that people expect a faster response through social messaging than through other kinds of communication (including phone).

Your Facebook Page reveals right upfront whether you respond quickly to customer messages. If you respond to 90% of messages and have a response time of 15 minutes or less, you’ll get a Very Responsive to Messages badge.

That doesn’t mean your social customer service team needs to be available 24/7. But it does mean it’s a good idea to set expectations about when people can expect you to respond.

On Facebook, you can use Away Messaging and Instant Replies to provide an automated response. This lets customers know when you can respond. Get step-by-step instructions on how to do this in our Facebook Messenger guide.

On Twitter, make sure your social customer service hours of availability are clear. Let customers know when you’re going offline. Provide links to where they can find self-help solutions. Direct them how to reach other customer service channels (like your call center) in the meantime.

And just like that, Friday has arrived! Have a superbly awesomeness weekend everyone :) We'll be back here in the morning to help some more! Until then, have a look at the Neighbourhood for help with your questions: https://t.co/1sD8b94SzW pic.twitter.com/a9s8UvDiny

— TELUS Support (@TELUSsupport) May 11, 2019

9. Try a chatbot for common service requests

If millennials are your target market, consider this. Sixty-three percent of them are comfortable with “nonhuman customer service interactions.” That means chatbots.

Chatbots are a great way to offer basic social customer service 24/7. They give customers the information they want immediately, without involving your customer service team. They tend to work best for simple questions that you get often.

For example, Domino’s Australia created a Facebook chatbot to address one of the most common questions the pizza company received through its Facebook page. “What deal can I get on my pizza today?”

10. Use the right channels

For your social customer care to be effective, you’ve got to use the channels where your audience spends their time.

KLM first started offering social customer service using Facebook Messenger.

Once it mastered Facebook social customer care with the help of a chatbot, the airline expanded its care efforts to WhatsApp. KLM’s reps are also available on Twitter, WeChat and Kakao Talk, giving them extensive reach into existing communities of users.

Monitor mentions of your brand and products to see where people are already talking about your company online. This will give you a good sense of what channels to prioritize for your social media customer service.

11. Take public conversations private

Customers may contact you on your social pages for questions or requests that would be better addressed through a private channel. For instance, you might need confidential information like a booking number or account name.

Rather than asking customers to take the extra step of launching a private conversation through a direct message, you can use built-in tools to take the conversation private yourself.

On Twitter, you can include a “Send a Private Message” call-to-action button in a tweet. This allows a customer to contact you through a DM simply by tapping the button.

Spotify’s Twitter customer service account, @SpotifyCares, uses this feature when they ask customers to provide personal information.

Hey, help's here! Can you DM us the email address he's trying to sign up with? We'll take a look backstage /EF https://t.co/ldFdZRiNAt

— SpotifyCares (@SpotifyCares) May 12, 2019

To add the private message button, just add the following link to a tweet:

https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id=[your numeric user ID]

Note that you need to use your account’s numeric user ID, not your handle. To find your number ID, go to your Twitter profile and click Settings and Privacy, then click Your Twitter data. Your numeric ID appears just below your account name.

On Facebook, you can respond to a public comment with a private message. This takes the conversation to Facebook Messenger, where you can interact more confidentially. Below the customer’s comment, just click Message to respond privately.

Once you send your message, a note will appear under the comment that says “Page responded privately.” This shows other users that you addressed the request, even though your response is not visible.

Social media customer service solutions and tools Hootsuite

Hootsuite can help you with social media customer service in 4 key ways.

1. Identify conversations that require a service response

Use tabs and streams in Hootsuite to monitor multiple networks for conversations happening around your brand. Then, you can quickly respond to support requests, even when you’re not tagged. Here’s how to do it:

2. Store and share reusable support content

Use the Content Library to store, organize, and share pre-approved social customer support content. This helps improve response times while keeping things accurate and consistent.

3. Assign social messages to customer support team members

Assign incoming support requests directly to customer service team members. This makes sure nothing falls between the cracks. It’s a great way to connect customer support team members with messages that come in without tagging your customer support handle.

4. Track, measure, and improve your support performance

Hootsuite Analytics lets you measure and share the impact of your social customer support efforts. This lets you see what’s working and improve on what’s not.

You’ll see how long it takes your team to respond to and resolve incoming tweets, Facebook comments, and private messages on Twitter or Facebook.

Zendesk

The Zendesk app for Hootsuite allows you to create tickets in Zendesk from social messages found on Twitter and Facebook. You can route tickets to other team members and respond directly to social posts from Zendesk.

You can access ticket details such as the issue’s status, requester, subject, description, comments, groups, and assigned team members. You’ll be able to add internal notes and update and edit tickets directly from your Hootsuite dashboard.

Freshdesk

With the Freshdesk Hootsuite app, you can convert social conversations into support tickets. You can then manage those tickets as they work their way to resolution.

You can add notes to the ticket within the Hootsuite dashboard. Then you can search and filter tickets based on name, date created, keywords, and ticket number.

Chatkit

Chatkit uses artificial intelligence to automatically handle common customer support questions on Facebook Messenger. It also identifies questions and comments that require a human response.

Save time building an efficient customer support system on social media with Hootsuite. Respond to questions and complaints, create tickets from social conversations, and work with chatbots all from one dashboard. Try it free today.

Get Started

The post Social Media Customer Service: Everything You Need to Do it Well appeared first on

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Why perform a social media competitive analysis? So you can better understand the organizations you’re going toe-to-toe with.

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

Well said, Michael Corleone.

Though let’s replace ‘enemies’ with ‘competitors’.

Why? Because you can learn from everyone. And should.

Some things they’re doing, you should be doing. Other things, maybe not. Hard to know unless you keep an eye out.

This guide will help you perform a practical social media competitive analysis.

I said practical, not scientific. That would require more data, more gathering, more analyzing—more time and bucks too. This is something more realistic, simpler and affordable for the entrepreneur or small business.

Before plunging into the how, let’s look at the what.

Bonus: Get a free, customizable competitive analysis template to easily size up the competition and identify opportunities for your brand to pull ahead.

What is competitive analysis?

A competitor or competitive analysis is an evaluation of the competition’s strengths and weaknesses relative to your own.

For social media specifically, a competitive analysis will help you:

  • Identify who your competitors are on social media
  • Know which platforms they’re on
  • Know what they’re doing on those platforms now
  • Know what they did before
  • Know how well their social strategy is working for them
  • Know their threats to your business
  • Identify gaps in your own strategy

We good? Make sense? You’ll learn more as we dig in. Starting right now.

How to conduct a competitive analysis on social media

To do your analysis, you’ll need to learn more about your competitors.

Learn how they’re behaving on social, by gathering intelligence, then making sense of the data.

No need to go all Sherlock Holmes. But some useful investigation techniques will help you help your brand.

Use whatever tools makes sense to capture your notes and information. I’m suggesting a spreadsheet to keep track of it all in a single place.

Here we go.

Identify your competitors

This might be a no-brainer for you. Or maybe not. This is more challenging if your business isn’t localized. Or, if you offer products or services online or internationally.

Either way, here’s some ways to know who to keep close.

What keywords are they using?

Got a restaurant? Or a bike shop? Or do you teach acting classes?

Bring up Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Type in some keywords or phrases you want to rank for.

“Spicy food nearby.” “Titanium bicycles in NY.” “Classes in Seattle to learn how to act like a star.”

You’ll see who’s ranking for these terms.

Maybe geography doesn’t mean much to your organization. Fine, do a search based on your business to identify your online competitors.

For each search result that looks interesting, click the link to visit their site. See where they hang out on social media. Most websites list this in their header or footer.

Look through their social networks. Here’s one.

All worthy competitors make it easy to be found and heard. So it’s easy to find them using this approach.

Who are they following?

Bring up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn—any or all your social media accounts.

Look at your top followers. Who are they following? Make a note.

Who are you going after?

Now that you’ve identified a raw list of some competitors, select a few. Say 3 to 5 strong ones you want do social battle with.

If you select too many, you’ll get overwhelmed with information. Too few, and you won’t have enough data for a clear picture.

Gather intel

Now you know who. Let’s get to know them better.

Time to get at least a little Sherlock Holmes about this, by investigating and answering these questions.

What social networks are they on?

Some are on all of them. Others, only on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Note which competitors are on which social networks
  • Note if they are using or updating those accounts
How big is their audience?

And how quickly is it growing?

  • Make a note of how many followers, on each network, for each of your competitors
  • Check back each week to see how many more, or less, followers
  • Note the trend: is it up or down?
  • Same for the rate
How often do they post?

To help know how often you should post.

  • Note how much they post on each network. A lot? Or a little?
  • Which networks do they post on most often?
  • Which ones least often?

That data and this guide to find the best time to post can help determine how often you should post.

How much do they engage?

For your competitors, on their networks…

  • How many likes are they getting?
  • How many retweets or shares?
  • And comments too

Knowing this will help you know how successful they are on social.

No need to tally all that manually. There are online tools for this. You’ll see in a moment. Hard to wait, I know. And glad you’re so excited, Sherlock.

Do a SWOT analysis

SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

It’s a way of performing a structured analysis for any business strategy. I works well for a social media competitive analysis, too.

To keep everything tight and tidy, use your spreadsheet to plot your SWOT… data. This makes it easy to show and share with others, and to see things at a glance.

What are their strengths?

Are your chosen competitors good at:

  • Finding and posting relevant & timely content?
  • Promoting their business that’s friendly, not intrusive?
  • Using social in new and interesting ways?
  • Being clever, maybe even sassy, promoting their ‘boring brand’?

Tabulate this data to continue gaining a clear picture. And, maybe get inspired with new ideas for your social sharing.

What are their weaknesses?

It’s useful to know what they’re not so good at too.

  • Where do they fall short?
  • Do they post inconsistently?
  • Got spelling mistakes?
  • Crappy customer service?
  • Come off as bragging or overpromotional?

Whatever it is, make a note, and add it to your spreadsheet.

What opportunities do they present?

Now’s a good time to look back at your spreadsheet.

Note your chosen competitors’ behaviors, attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses.

See any opportunities? Getting any ‘ah-ha’ moments? Something worth seizing to plug a hole in your space?

Dig. There’s something there. I promise.

What threats do they pose?

Are there things your competitors are doing well… that you aren’t?

Could this be a threat to your brand?

If so, identify them and create a plan to ‘do better’. Combine your plan with the opportunities you identified. Then execute.

Competitive analysis tools

Don’t waste time figuring out what your new data means on your own. Get help. Here’s a few tools to help do the heavy lifting.

No single tool does it all. Blend some together to tell the story with data.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo helps you determine what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Use it to:

  • Discover your competitors’ most shared content? From the past hours to years.
  • See trends for that content for several key categories
  • Examine backlinks, identify influencers, and see what questions people are asking
Hootsuite Streams

Use Hootsuite Streams to:

  • Follow your competitors’ Twitter activity
  • Look for specific keywords and hashtags
  • See how their customers perceive them
Brandwatch

Use Brandwatch to learn how your brand performs against your competitors. Gain and use your new insights to shape and improve your social media strategy.

  • See how the size of your presence compares to your competitors. Real-time, for any given period.
  • Learn where, when and how customers talk about your brand vs. theirs
  • Discover new opportunities and risks. Measuring customer perceptions and sentiment will add context to your analysis.
Unmetric

Guess less and learn more about your competitors—backed by data.

Use Unmetric to figure out what to create, and who to create it for. And…

  • Learn what other brands are doing
  • See how they are engaging with their audience
  • See any gaps too
  • Learn what others are posting
  • Track those posts to see how they’re performing
  • Set up a dashboard to monitor everything—from days to years gone by
Mentionlytics

Want to know what people are saying about your brand competitors?

Use Mentionlytics to scan and monitor mentions on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. All web sources too (news, blogs, forums, etc).

Bonus: Get a free, customizable competitive analysis template to easily size up the competition and identify opportunities for your brand to pull ahead.

Get the template now!

And, see them in your Hootsuite stream.

  • See what’s being said, both positive and negative
  • Monitor keywords (in any language)
  • Learn who your top influencers are
  • Filter what you see based source, sentiment, country and language
  • Reply to all that right from your Hootsuite dashboard
Digimind

Use Digimind to see the whole picture of your competitors’ digital footprint.

This app will show you the most relevant conversations across 850 million types of web sources. Listen in, then chime in, with their customers from a single screen.

  • See similar and viewed mentions at a glance
  • Engage with customers across 60 languages
  • Apply loads of filters for sentiment, ranking, media types, language and more

As you can see, there’s differences and overlap in social media competitor analysis tools. They’re all easy to use. Jump in, try them out, see what works best as you hone your PI skills.

5 tips for conducting your social media competitive analysis

I presented you with a lot of questions about your social media competitors. I’ll ease up and leave you with some tips for slaying social.

1. Inspire, not copy

Your competitors do some things well—very.

Including the many little things that make their social media presence successful.

What works for them might not work for you. Remember, everything you do, say, and share is part of your brand voice.

Rather than copy what they do, learn the why.

Be and stay you-nique.

2. Notice your biases

Because if you don’t, you could be telling yourself the wrong story.

Which happens when we humans jump to early conclusions about data.

Instead, seek and keep an open mind to understand what’s happening. Give the data a chance to breathe. It trumps opinions. Every. Time.

Then you’ll learn why some organizations succeed, why others don’t, and where you can fill a gap.

Here’s a good piece to learn more about data biases.

3. Find (and fill) the gaps

It’s just business basics, right—being where others aren’t?

Same goes for social. Look for any gaps to fill (those tools above will help detect some).

  • Are they slow on the draw with their customer service?
  • Are their social profiles incomplete?
  • Do they do what you do, but sound boring, dull, or uninspiring?

Or do they lack social etiquette? Get an upper hand on them for this.

What other opportunities are staring right at your digital face?

4. Keep at it

Because your brand is playing the long game. Over years and years.

Developing a strong brand voice, a clear strategy, ruthlessly optimizing, and thoughtful ways of talking with your fans takes time to build into your social DNA.

Your competitive analysis will help with all that. You can start and learn quickly. And keep at it to evolve.

5. Stay organized

Clearly, you’ll be accumulating and analyzing plenty of data.

Keep your spreadsheet updated. And simple. So you can glance, use, and evolve it.

Share it with your boss, to show you’re on top of it. And to get even more insights about what’s going on with you and the competition.

It’s one thing to walk into his-or-her office to talk shop. It’s quite another to show-and-tell based on data. Oh yeah.

In fact…

Bonus: Get your social media competitive analysis template

At Hootsuite, we love keeping you informed on all things social—with our tools, posts, and guides.

So we’re keeping up the love with a free template for you to stay informed and organized.

Bonus: Get a free, customizable competitive analysis template to easily size up the competition and identify opportunities for your brand to pull ahead.

The post How to Conduct a Social Media Competitive Analysis (Includes a Free Template) appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Using Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) might be the most profitable decision you make for your business.

This is not an exaggeration. Google owns nearly 75% of search engine market share. People turn to the platform to search 3.5 billion times a day for all their search needs. That means every second there are 2.5 million searches happening.

That’s a lot of opportunities to get your brand in front of people—increasing web traffic, leads, conversions, and sales.

Let’s take a look at what Google Ads are, how they work and how you can set up a successful campaign for your business.

Table of contents What are Google Ads?
How Google Ads work
Types of Google Ads
Google advertising cost
How to use Google Keyword Planner for your ads
How to advertise on Google
How to track your Google Ads in Google Analytics

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

What are Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords)?

Google Ads is a paid online advertising platform offered by Google.

Originally called Google Adwords, the search engine company rebranded the service as Google Ads in 2018.

The way it works is simple: When users search a keyword, they get their results of their query on a search engine results page (SERP). Those results can include a paid advertisement that targeted that keyword.

For example, here are the results for the term “dog walker.”

You can see that all the advertisements are on the top of the SERP. They also look nearly identical to organic search results.

This is good for advertisers because the first results on Google typically get the vast majority of the traffic for search queries.

How do Google Ads work? Bidding and setting a daily budget

Google Ads operates as a pay-per-click (PPC) model. The way it works is simple: Marketers target a specific keyword on Google and make bids on the keyword—competing with others also targeting the keyword.

The bids you make are actually “maximum bids”—or the maximum you’re willing to pay for an ad.

For example, if your maximum bid is $4 and Google determines that your cost per click is $2, then you get that ad placement! If they determine that it’s more than $4, you do not get the ad placement.

Alternatively, you can set a maximum daily budget for your ad. You’ll never spend more than a specific amount for that ad per day, helping you get a better sense of how much you should budget for your digital ad campaign.

Marketers have three options for their bids:

  1. Cost-per-click (CPC). How much you pay when a user clicks on your ad.
  2. Cost-per-mille (CPM). How much you pay per 1,000 ad impressions.
  3. Cost-per-engagement (CPE). How much you pay when a user performs a specific action on your ad (signs up for a list, watch a video, etc).
Quality Score

Google then takes the bid amount and pairs it with an assessment of your ad called a Quality Score. According to Google:

“Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

The score number is between 1 and 10—with 10 being the best score. The higher your score is the better you’ll rank and the less you have to spend converting.

Ad Rank

Your Quality Score combined with your bid amount creates your Ad Rank—the position your ad will appear in the search results page.

And when a user sees the ad and clicks on it, the marketer pays a small fee for that click (thus pay-per-click).

The idea is that the more users click on a marketer’s advertisement, the more likely they will accomplish the advertisement’s goals (e.g., become a lead or make a purchase).

Now that you know how Google ads work, let’s take a look at the different types of Google ads you can use for your campaign.

Types of Google Ads

Google gives you a variety of different campaign types you can choose from to create your ad— and all the campaign types fall in two buckets:

  1. Search Network
  2. Display Network

Here’s how each of them work.

Search Network

Ads in the Search Network appear as a text ad in the results page for the keyword.

For example, here are the Search Network ads for the keyword “running shoes”:

These are the ads you’re probably most familiar with. They appear on the search result page with the green “Ad” symbol on it. But text based ads aren’t the only type of ads in the Search Network. You can also have your ads appear in Google Shopping.

These ads can appear as images on the search results page:

And they can appear in Google Shopping:

There are benefits to using both. But if you have a physical product, Google Shopping ads can get qualified leads by showcasing your product directly to customers.

Display Network

The Display Network leverages Google’s vast website partners to showcase your ad on different websites all over the Internet.

And there are a variety of different ways they appear. First, your ad can appear on third-party websites like so:

You can also have a video ad appear as a pre-roll before YouTube videos:

Google also allows you to advertise your ad on its email platform Gmail:

Finally, you can have your ad appear in third-party apps on Google’s app network:

Benefits of Display Network ads

Some benefits of using the Display Network is its reach. Google partners with more than two million websites and reaching more than 90% of all Internet users to help ensure your ad gets in front of the most eyes as possible.

The ads themselves are also flexible in terms of style. Your ad can be a GIF, text, video, or image.

However, they don’t come without their downsides. Your ads might end up appearing on websites you don’t want them to or in front of videos that you don’t want your brand associated with.

If you’re careful about where you’re putting your ads, though, the Display Network can be a great place to garner leads.

Now that you know the types of ads you can create with Google, let’s take a look at cost.

Google advertising cost

The cost of your Google Ad is going to be determined by the quality of your site and how much you’re bidding. As such, the ultimate cost is going to vary from ad to ad.

To understand how much Google advertising is going to cost your business, you need to first understand the Ad Auction system.

Remember how the Ad Rank determines where Google places your ad? This is where that system comes into play. When a user searches a keyword you’re targeting, Google automatically jumps into auction mode and compares your Ad Rank with that of every other marketer targeting that keyword.

But it doesn’t just take a big ad budget with large maximum bid amounts to rank well. Google’s Ad Auction and Ad Rank system favors websites that help users most with a high Quality Score over lower ones.

So your CPC might be lower than a huge Fortune 500 company with a big ad budget just because your advertisement was of better quality.

Now that you know the cost, the types of ads you can make, and what Google Ads are, let’s finally learn how to start advertising on Google.

How to advertise on Google

In order to advertise on Google, you must first have a Google account for your brand or business.

If you don’t have one yet, that’s okay! Follow this link for instructions on how to create one.

Once you have your account up and running, you’re ready to advertise on Google. The steps for that are:

Step 1: Define a winning goal and target audience
Step 2: Craft a captivating ad
Step 3: Select a smart budget
Step 4: Set up your billing

NOTE: Google essentially offers you two ways to create your campaign.

There’s “Express campaign” where they hold your hand a bit more throughout the entire process—very convenient for new marketers.

There’s also an opportunity for more experienced marketers to jump in and have a bit more control on the granular aspects of their campaign.

Both methods work! But for now, let’s take a look at what goes into the Express campaign. This will take you through the process of creating an ad for the Search Network.

Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Define a winning goal and target market

First, head to the Google Ads homepage.

From there, click Start Now in the middle of the page or the top right hand corner.

Google Ads will then send you to the page where you can choose your primary goal. Choosing this goal will let Google know the type of audience you want to target, as well as how they’ll get your bid money.

Choosing a good goal is crucial for your business.

A solid, well-defined goal can mean the difference between creating a lead generating machine with your Google Ads campaign, and seeing your time and money wasted.

And to set good goals, you need to learn how to set S.M.A.R.T. objectives.

With your goal chosen, you can move onto the next page where you’ll be asked to enter your business name and website.

Enter in your business name and website. Then click Next and then you’ll be taken to this page.

Here you can choose where exactly you want your ad to appear.

It’s natural to think that the bigger your radius, the more business you get—but that might not be the case. In fact, the more clear and defined your target is, the more leads and conversions you’ll be able to make.

It’s paradoxical, but the smaller your net is, the more fish you’ll catch.

It also makes sense to target a smaller area if your business is based primarily in one city. Like if you offer physical products or retail in Chicago, you probably wouldn’t want to include Los Angeles in your target.

For more on this topic, be sure to check out our article on finding your target market.

Once you choose your target area, click Next and you’ll move onto defining your product or service.

Here, you’ll pick your business category as well as the specific products and services you want to create an advertisement for.

The categories as well as the products and services you enter will act as the keyword you’re targeting. This is important to keep in mind. Google values quality. You don’t want to pick a keyword that isn’t germane to your business and, ultimately, not help users who are searching the term.

Pro Tip: Check out our article on SEO tools for more on how to target the right keywords.

Once you’ve picked the right services and products, click Next. Now it’s time to move onto the next step…

Step 2: Craft a captivating Google Ad

Now it’s time for the fun part: Creating the ad itself.

In this section, you’ll be able to create the ad’s headline as well as the description. This is especially easy with the ad preview box on the right side.

Google also offers helpful tips and sample ads for you to jumpstart your ad writing.

There’s only one thing you need to know about writing great ad copy: Know your audience.

That’s it. There’s no big secret or trick to writing captivating copy. Once you know your target market and exactly what their pain points are, you’ll be able to create copy that’ll send them click on your ad faster than you can say, “Don Draper.”

Need a little help getting to know your audience? Check out our guide to creating audience persona, which comes with a free template.

Once you’ve crafted your captivating copy, click Next. Now it’s time to choose images.

This is a completely optional step—but keep in mind that images have the opportunity to really elevate your ad.

Consider this: When people hear or read a piece of text, they tend to be able to retain just 10% the information three days later. However, when the text is paired with an image, people are able to retain a whopping 65% of that information!

That means that by adding an image or a logo, you can make your ad more memorable and, therefore, more effective.

Once you’ve chosen your images, click Next and move onto the next step …

Step 3: Select a smart budget

Now it’s time for the least fun part: Budgeting.

Here is when you choose how much you’re willing to spend per day and month on your ad.

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If your brand is on Instagram, it’s important to keep up with the latest Instagram photo editing trends.

Instagram users post over 95 million photos each day, and spend an average of 32 minutes scrolling through posts and Stories.

With so much content, users’ tastes evolve fast. And they’re always looking for different, interesting photos to hold their attention.

That means you want to ensure your photos don’t look stale and dated. If you’re still favoring the classic Instagram aesthetic, we’re sorry to tell you that your followers are over it.

Here’s a round-up of what looks fresh on the platform these days, and how to incorporate it into your content strategy to keep those likes coming.

Take a look at these 10 Instagram editing trends below, and learn how to apply them to your own photos.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

10 top Instagram photo editing trends 1. The #nofilter edit

Instagram users are starting to get filter fatigue. The Instagram presets that dominated influencer accounts in the past have worn out their welcome.

As this article in Shape points out, “there is a fine line between editing and altering.” Altering photos to an unrealistic degree sets up users to feel bad about themselves. Their sunset photos are never that vibrant!

And when every photo on Instagram is retouched to perfection, the polished photos begin to lose their allure.

Instead, 2019 Instagram users prefer to see more natural photos. In these, people and objects have real texture. They’re more interesting and engaging than airbrushed images.

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Good ole red lip ????????

A post shared by Molly Blutstein (@accidentalinfluencer) on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:56am PDT

You don’t need to abandon all editing to make this trend work for your brand. You can clean up your photos by removing blemishes or dirt with an app like TouchRetouch.

Adjusting brightness or contrast will also subtly improve your images. Learn more secrets to editing your photos while retaining their natural look.

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Gabbriette for Orseund ????????

A post shared by O R S E U N D I R I S (@orseund_iris) on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:16am PDT

Retaining a little imperfection, like shiny skin or a wrinkled shirt, is key. Perfect images have become so ubiquitous that a “flawed” image provides refreshing contrast.

2. The digital “film” photo

Continuing the theme of authenticity is the digital “film” photo. This is another Instagram photo editing trend dominating the platform.

If you’ve wondered whether influencers and brands are actually scanning Polaroids or uploading film images, the answer is probably no.

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Made of magic ???? @anuthida #storyluxe

A post shared by Storyluxe (@storyluxe) on Apr 2, 2019 at 10:56am PDT

Instead, they’re using apps that create film-like effects for photos and videos. These include light leaks, vignettes and blurs.

Maybe the most well-known of these was Huji Cam, which NY Intelligencer called “the trendiest photo app” of 2018. But there are tons of other options, like RNI Films, VHS Cam, or Storyluxe. All give your photos that dreamy, vintage quality.

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Lots to look forward to in 2019. I can’t wait to share the projects I’ve been working on with you. The first one is here: Cali ???? BY @pumasportstyle

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Jan 15, 2019 at 9:01am PST

Nostalgia is a powerful force, and these apps are basically time machines to the late 90s, when disposable cameras were king.

But multitasking apps like Afterlight 2 and VSCO also have tons of tools for giving your photos that retro, analog look.

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A post shared by Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey) on Apr 24, 2019 at 3:22pm PDT

3. The photo-doodle

Yes, we let Ned Flanders name this photo trend.

In contrast to some of the other Instagram editing trends on this round-up, this one is not subtle or natural at all. Instead, it’s all about adding flair to your photos.

It’s the Instagram equivalent of decorating your textbook covers in high school. These posts include brushstrokes, stickers and text for a playful look.

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Are you a star ✨, moon ????, or a sun ????person? | When you’re in Santa Cruz, you can not not get a mocha from @vervecoffee. They’re my fav. Can’t wait for the one in Palo Alto to open.

A post shared by Nancy Q (@andnancysays) on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:30am PDT

A popular app for achieving these effects is A Design Kit, which comes with presets and tools for adorning your posts.

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When it comes to aesthetics of joy, magic is all the invisible forces and illusions you see. You can spot it in mysterious lights and movements, translucent or iridescent color, or anything that feels ethereal and elusive. You can create it in your space by hanging a prism in a sunny window, choosing iridescent furnishing, accessories or textiles, and using mirrors to play with reflections.

A post shared by ban.do (@shopbando) on Apr 22, 2019 at 9:16am PDT

Typic is another popular app that lets you create typographic images.

This trend is fun and youthful. It’s well-suited to brands that have a vibrant, energetic aesthetic. If you don’t feel like the #noedit vibe is a fit for your brand, this trend might be more up your alley.

4. The vertical photo

Many things have changed on Instagram since it was launched way back in 2010. (Do you suddenly feel ancient?? Me too!)

For a long time, square photos were the only option. Even after the platform began allowing different dimensions, square photos reigned supreme. Posting any vertical images was considered an amateur move. But that’s finally changing!

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Photographing the elusive reindeer on the South Coast. Our new @strohlworks online workshop with @benjaminhardman is going on early pre-order tomorrow. There will be limited spots for early bird pricing. ⁣ ⁣ If you want to save your spot, signup at Hardmanxstrohl.com and we’ll send you an email right when we open. Link is in bio too! So excited to share this new monster workshop with you guys ????

A post shared by Alex Strohl (@alexstrohl) on Apr 23, 2019 at 7:51am PDT

Vertical photos are growing in popularity, as more and more people access the web on mobile. In 2019, three-quarters of all web traffic will come from mobile devices.

Instagram has always been optimized for mobile. But this photo trend is emerging there as well, with more posts that mirror the dimensions of a user’s phone screen.

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One of my favorite cities is Paris, for 48hours, I travelled using @goeuro to Paris to experience the city like a local, (first I bought my flight tickets). I found many places based on their locals guide (if you need help visit tye link in my bio). • Paris is a city with some iconic sites, but one of the best things I found, the GoEuro people, can help you see it from a new perspective, or maybe booking your next train, bus or flight… (By the way, I found everything with the app) #ad

A post shared by Oliver Vegas (@ovunno) on Sep 20, 2018 at 8:11am PDT

Vertical photos give your images more impact, by filling the screen and eliminating distractions. They also give you new opportunities to play with composition and framing to create amazing images.

Before posting, make sure that the square version of your image that appears on your account grid still looks good! Even in a full-length photo, the center of the image should be compelling and not awkwardly cropped.

5. The collage photo carousel

Carousel images have been around on Instagram for a few years now. But it’s only recently that creative use of the format has taken off.

Increasingly, influencers and brands are posted carousels with a collage-like format. They look like scrapbook photos, inviting you to scroll and see what’s just out of view.

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back to try something new ???? . . . #scrlgallery #Artsofvisuals #Sanfrancisco #Igerssf #Nowrongwaysf #Mkexplore #Createexplore #Illgrammers #Exploreeverything #Visualgang #vscocam #huffpostgram #igdaily #peoplescreative #grammaster #justgoshoot #liveauthentic #livefolk #lifeofadventure #canonrebel #Makeportraits #pursuitofportraits #sanfrancitizens #canonrebelt5i #vsco

A post shared by @ mgermono on Mar 24, 2019 at 12:15pm PDT

SCRL is an app designed for making carousel layouts. It allows you to design a seamless panorama for Instagram, making it perfect for lookbooks or visual storytelling.

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tuesday cheks ????

A post shared by Adelya ✨ (@saintagln) on Feb 12, 2019 at 3:18am PST

6. The uncurated candid photo

A clear subject framed by plenty of white space has long been an unbeatable Instagram formula. And for good reason: it’s refreshing, clean and pleasing to the eyes.

But inevitably, users want something new and interesting. Minimalism is great for your sock drawer (ask Marie Kondo), but not so much for your feed.

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A pollen filled patio ????

A post shared by Reese Blutstein (@double3xposure) on Apr 7, 2019 at 7:19pm PDT

Instead, Instagram users are responding more to casual, candid images. And if you’re tired of arranging every element of your photos, that will come as a relief to you!

This trend is evident in travel and portrait photography too. Photos with action in the foreground and the background, as well as multiple subjects, look more interesting and fresh.

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They call him Maradoninha. He’s 11. His family is staking its hopes on him. Maradoninha — whose real name is Leandro Gomes Feitosa — is from Palmas, Brazil, and was discovered by a soccer scout 2 years ago. His family moved 1,200 miles to help him get first-class training from the Fluminense soccer club in Xerém. “God willing,” he said, “I’ll become a big player to help my family in Palmas, my family here and those in need.” Fluminense has since let him go. Maradoninha, photographed here by @dadogaldierihilaea, was one of many young players in Brazil’s youth #soccer system, a brutal apparatus that chews up untold numbers of players for every star it mints. And still, they keep coming. A recent fire at a Brazil soccer club that killed 10 boys has raised questions about the industry. Visit the link in our profile to read more.

A post shared by The New York Times (@nytimes) on Apr 9, 2019 at 1:11pm PDT

The goal is to take a photo that doesn’t seem like it could be endlessly reproduced. Instead, you want to capture something true and specific.

It might seem like this is easy to achieve, but there’s skill to it. You might need to take a lot of photos before you find one that works.

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Day and night

A post shared by Matt Weitz | Chicago Based (@mattbweitz) on May 5, 2019 at 7:46am PDT

7. The muted color palette

If you’ve been dialling up the saturation and contrast on your images, it’s time to change gears! Soft, muted tones are appealing to Instagram users in 2019.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Get the free checklist right now!

Think white, warm beiges, and subdued colors. Similar to the resurgence of film-like photos, this palette has an appealing vintage look while staying clean and polished.

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Introducing the newest, limited edition JH nail polish: NECTAR (and it’s now online on jhannahjewelry.com!) Huge thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate the launch and revealed the secret color today in LA, NYC, and Austin. Such a great day connecting IRL — see a bigger recap in our Instagram Story! (PS: hey @caitlynperkins, you’re the winner of the $1000 JH gift card!)

A post shared by J. Hannah Jewelry —Jess Hannah (@j.hannah) on Apr 28, 2019 at 6:28pm PDT

This color trend is particularly relevant for fashion and beauty brands, as it mirrors the runway trends for 2019.

The feed for vintage shop Hey Jude is another example:

When taken together, photos in this muted palette have a calm, relaxing vibe. It’s a soothing break for your overstimulated eyes.

If you like the softness of faux-film photos, but you want to keep your photos sharp and polished, this trend might work for you.

8. The real food photo

This is the edible counterpoint to the no-edit portrait photo. If you’ve been on Instagram for awhile, you’ve probably seen enough Pinterest-worthy pastries and artfully stacked pancakes for one lifetime.

Now, users are hungry for real food photos. They may not be as pretty, but they do look like they’re actually made to be eaten. In some cases, they already are! In 2019, you can do away with the rule that “the camera eats first.”

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Colorful, perfect lunch yesterday at @nyumbai with @nadobbs ????‍♀️ This is honestly one of the best restaurants in California. Go. Eat. There. (And then go around the corner to @reemscalifornia for dessert!)

A post shared by Samin Nosrat (@ciaosamin) on Feb 27, 2019 at 7:15am PST

Of course, it’s still important to consider the tenets of good photography. Focus, lighting and framing your subject will still improve your photo.

For restaurant accounts and food influencers who want to share real, accessible content, this trend is a refreshing change.

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I’ve fallen ???? with Vada Pav – A classic Mumbai street snack consisting of a fried spiced potato ball in a bun served with chutney…I can’t stop eating these…they seem to be on every corner and each spot makes them different. Even the bad ones are great. So much to learn about ???????? – Season 2 @uglydelicious #uglydelicious ps – where can I get great Vada Pav in nyc (Jackson heights?) or LA? I want to eat one everyday. I think its currently my favorite cheap street food. See you guys at @thebombaybreadbar

A post shared by Dave Chang (@davidchang) on Dec 19, 2018 at 8:01am PST

9. Black-and-white photos

If your brand is refined and sleek, you may worry the 2019 Instagram photo trends for grainy, casual images aren’t a great fit.

Don’t worry: there’s another trend that might work for you. Black-and-white images look better than ever on Instagram in 2019. They provide an editorial, polished look that’s clean and minimal.

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I love you all and I’m so happy to have you sweet followers so this kiss is for u

A post shared by H A N N A . S C H Ö N B E R G (@hannaschonberg) on Apr 18, 2019 at 9:13am PDT

These photos feel modern and vintage at the same time. Just like the sexy 1990s Calvin Klein ads I used to cut out of magazines (and then hide from my parents).

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Wondering how to draw more customers to your brick-and-mortar business? Try adding design details that will boost its Instagrammability.

When people post photos of your space on Instagram, you benefit from the free advertising and positive word of mouth. Plus, having an Instagrammable space is an asset when it comes to attracting customers, especially those who are willing to make a trek for the perfect photo backdrop.

We know not every business can emulate Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, which has literal giraffes hanging out with the visitors— maybe the most Instagram-worthy concept I’ve ever seen.

But there are lots of attainable (and affordable!) ways to make your business Instagram friendly. Here are a few tried-and-trued ideas from some of the platform’s most-tagged spaces.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

10 ways to make your business Instagrammable 1. Go green with plants and flowers

Churchill Arms is a classic British pub in London— in that sense, there are a million other pubs just like it. But it’s become a photo landmark thanks to its floral exterior:

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The perfect bar doesn’t exi-

A post shared by John Resig (@johnresig) on Aug 12, 2018 at 10:28am PDT

If that’s a little ambitious for your taste, Vancouver restaurant Botanist pulls the greenery inside in a more attainable way:

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The most inspiring interiors I’ve seen for a while! If you’re ever headed to Vancouver, you’ve got to check out @botanistdining for brunch or dinner

A post shared by Vladimir Zhukovskiy (@vladizhuko) on Apr 8, 2019 at 10:43am PDT

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It's a jungle in here ???? Photo by @dorringtonr at @botanistdining #dishedvan

A post shared by Dished Vancouver (@dishedvancouver) on Aug 10, 2018 at 9:07pm PDT

Plants and flowers will brighten up your space and add cheerful, colorful accents for photographers seeking the perfect shot.

Worried your Instagram investment might wither and die? Fake plants look almost as nice online!

2. Provide an accent wall

Often, Instagrammers are looking for an ideal backdrop for their selfie. Or the popular “holding up my food for the camera” photo:

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this place has quickly turned me into the biggest gelato fan EVER???? . . ????La Casa Gelato, Vancouver ???? Vanilla Cookie Dough + Peanut Butter Cup . . . #lacasagelato #gelato #vancouver #downtownvancouver #socalsoph #yvr #eatyvr #eatvancouver#foodblogger #foodie #foodphotography #visitvancouver #eatbc #yelpvancouver #buzzfeast #vancityfood #nomnomyvr

A post shared by Socal Soph (@socal.soph) on Apr 10, 2019 at 5:00pm PDT

Give them what they want with an accent wall. Choose a well-lit location in your space, and add some visual excitement with a mural or bright wallpaper. Planta Toronto’s leafy wallpaper is a popular choice:

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Happy place???? @plantatoronto • • • #plantatoronto #bestplacestogo #foodtrip

A post shared by CHRISTINA SCHMIDT ???? (@christinalovesthiscity) on Nov 29, 2018 at 11:00am PST

You’ll want to go with bright colors or patterns, as Instagrammers are looking for something that will stand out on the feed.

Neon signs are also popular on Instagram, if you’re not inspired by paint or wallpaper. Little Bean in Portland, which makes vegan non-dairy desserts, has a cheeky sign celebrating their surprise ingredient. It makes many appearances on Instagram:

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I wasn’t planning on going into @littlebeanpdx last night but when I walked by there was no line‼️A foodie miracle It was short lived though because the line was out the door within minutes so I totally lucked out I picked the Szechuan strawberry ???? chickpea (not) ice cream ???? and it was so good I couldn’t resist getting the S’mores tart too ????

A post shared by Hungry B (@hungry_in_portland) on Apr 5, 2019 at 4:06pm PDT

3. Add a patterned floor

Instagram is really into floors. For proof, just check out the 800,000+ posts tagged #IHaveThisThingWithFloors.

They’re ideal for a selfeet (that’s a selfie of your feet), and they’re also nice for people who feel a little self-conscious taking photos in public. After all, no one can tell if you’re taking a photo of the floor or just looking down at your phone.

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Fruity Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm

A post shared by ▲RMEN (@hey.armen) on Dec 28, 2017 at 10:05am PST

Patterned tiles are especially popular choices, if you want to upgrade your entire floor.

If you want more of a spot-upgrade, writing on the floor is also very Instagram-friendly. A few coffee shops have figured this out, like Reunion Island Coffee. Their apt floor message has been Instagrammed hundreds of times:

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First things first… ☕️ #coffeeTO

A post shared by blogTO (@blogto) on Apr 20, 2018 at 4:29am PDT

So has the friendly welcome at Safehouse Coffee.

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Hi! Maybe you are new to the @OntarioTravel community or maybe you've been following along for years. Either way, we want to hear from you! What do you want to see more of on this page? Let us know in the comments! ????: @fringeandfair #DiscoverON #ExploreCanada

A post shared by Ontario Travel (@ontariotravel) on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:02am PDT

For the budget-conscious business owner, you could even try a graphic area rug or bright carpet. Ensure your floor has breathing room (don’t put your best rug under a table) so photographers can find the best angle.

And if you’re installing an accent piece, like a tiled message, make sure it gets good light.

4. Don’t forget about products and packaging

Packaging is another opportunity to shine. To-go containers, cups, and bottles should have an appealing and distinct look to build brand recognition.

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Here’s one of the three delicious new releases that we’ll be crushing this weekend… Curious what the other two are? Visit our website: thegrowler.ca. ???? @dennisthefoodie

A post shared by The Growler (@thegrowlerbc) on Mar 23, 2019 at 5:47pm PDT

Glossier is one brand that does packaging extremely well. The pink pouches that they use for shipping (a Millennial-hued twist on bubble wrap) have become status symbols, thanks to Instagram:

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Feels like summer ???? @glossier pouch, I adore you #pinkpouchchallenge

A post shared by skincare reviews & routines (@italianskincare) on Apr 26, 2018 at 8:35am PDT

You can also consider special touches for the items you serve or products you sell. La Glace serves their ice cream in slim chocolate cones that look dreamy on Instagram:

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Weekends are made for scoops of heaven????

A post shared by The Vancouverite | CINDY YU (@thevancouveriteblog) on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:14am PDT

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LECHE FLAN The flavour of crème caramel with a hint of lime. Now scooping this weekend. . . . . . . . . #bettersharedwithsomeonecherished #frenchicecream #madeinvancouver

A post shared by La Glace Ice Cream (@laglaceicecream) on Mar 23, 2019 at 10:37am PDT

These details set your business apart from competitors, online and offline.

5. Light up the room

If your business has good windows or amazing natural light, take advantage of it! Ensure your most well-lit spaces are also carefully curated. Don’t crowd them with too many products or boxes that will throw shadows around and make it hard to see (and photograph) details.

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???????? I can’t think of a harder outfit decision. Went wedding dress shopping for my good friend and totally loved the relaxed, gorgeous @truvelleflagship boutique in Gastown, Vancouver. Such a great combination of boho and rustic beauty. Plus when you have wedding dresses from @laudaebride that have a new collection inspired and named after Palm Springs streets… I die! ????

A post shared by Emily ???? (@emily.ave) on Aug 27, 2018 at 9:38pm PDT

Natural light is ideal, but if you don’t have it, fake it with warm and gentle lighting. No matter how beautiful your products are, if the lighting resembles a department store changing room (too harsh, too dim, or too fluorescent), no one will want to take an Instagram Story there.

Beyond bulbs, add reflective surfaces like metal and glass to diffuse light and illuminate your business from all angles. Designer Craig Stanghetta points out that lighting from below is more flattering than shadowy overhead lights. That’s part of why Kissa Tanto, a restaurant he designed, is so Instagram photo-friendly:

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Friday night mood ⚡️

A post shared by The Wild Bunch (@the_wildbunch) on Feb 22, 2019 at 7:02pm PST

6. Go all-in on a theme

This one requires a little more commitment, but it can really pay off. Going hard on a theme that’s a signature color, mood, or concept pays off with a big “wow” factor when executed well.

NYC restaurant Pietro Nolita is a perfect example. Everything in their space, from the napkins to the exterior walls, is bright pink. Their restaurant motto isn’t “Pink as F***” for nothing!

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Spreading #springvibes ???? ——————— #pietronolita #pink #smile #behappy

A post shared by Jelena Salikova (@jelenasalikova) on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:01am PDT

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A month since New York and I’m only just posting the most instagrammable food place…also I really miss my wedding nails ???? #whoami ???????????????????? • • • • #pietronolita #food #pinkaf #elizabethstreet #photography #newyork #pretty #pinkaesthetic #fashion #ny #red #newyorkcity #foodporn #manhattan #sweet #nolita #photooftheday #eeeeeats #nyc #pinklover #hpbride #instafood #latte

A post shared by Meghan Blake Fenton (@meghanbryony) on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:00am PDT

Similarly, The Standard hotel in LA boasts a buttercup yellow restaurant. It’s irresistible Instagram bait:

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Sunshine and scrambled eggs — part of a well balanced diet. ☀️????☺️

A post shared by Erin Fong (@erinlovesfun) on Jan 19, 2018 at 8:14am PST

7. Selfie-friendly mirrors

Are you selling apparel, jewelry, or anything else people put on their bodies? Make sure you’ve added mirrors for selfies. Your customers will need to try on your products, and flattering reflections can help boost sales.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

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Position them to maximize natural lighting, or add warm lighting around the frame. Ensure they’re large enough for group or full-body photos, and make sure there’s nothing unsightly in the background.

Take a tip from apparel retailer Outdoor Voices, who adds their signature hashtag #DoingThings to every store mirror. This detail provides new customers with hashtagging hints, and makes it easy to identify an OV selfie.

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#DoingThings

A post shared by @ m.maarria on Apr 5, 2019 at 1:52pm PDT

Likewise, cosmetics company Glossier adds a recognizable company motto (“You Look Good”) to their store mirrors. This means that even selfies that aren’t tagged with the location or account help to build brand recognition.

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I think mais looks good in NY too… bye richmond?

A post shared by C A M E R O N (@cameronscovell) on Jan 14, 2018 at 2:24pm PST

8. Create a lounge area

Give your products or tables breathing room by creating a photogenic lounge area for your customers. It provides a place to break from shopping, or an inviting spot for customers to sit (and photograph!) their food and drinks.

It’s also an alternative to conventional table-and-chair seating that offers more versatility in photos.

Aritzia is a pro at providing thoughtful seating areas, complete with stylish furniture and reading material. It’s like being in a very hip living room where you can also spend a lot of money.

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Are you shopping today? Check out our Flag Halyard Chair at the @aritzia flagship store in Vancouver . . . #vancouver #yvr #flaghalyard #myrove #roveconcepts

A post shared by Rove Concepts Furniture (@roveconcepts) on Apr 15, 2017 at 1:47pm PDT

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When in doubt, wear red ???? #red #ootd

A post shared by Charmmie Vu (@charmmie.vu) on Jan 30, 2019 at 7:29pm PST

Lovenote Bride in Calgary combines on-theme wall art with a chill seating space, which looks great in photos with or without shoppers.

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noted ✔️ ps – brides, this new store in Inglewood looked amazing ????

A post shared by Kelsey Smith ???? (@kelseykristyn) on Mar 15, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

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Got to play dress up at the cutest bridal shop in town today ????????

A post shared by Tola G (@tolaawhitney) on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:24pm PST

9. Add some charm to your bathroom

Why is there always a line for the ladies’ room? Because if it’s cute in there, people are taking selfies.

A bathroom is a very attainable space to beautify, partly because it’s typically small. A little wallpaper, a nice mirror, and good lighting are all you need!

Grey Gardens in Toronto doesn’t even have Instagram but is well-represented on the platform thanks to many, many selfies in its gorgeous bathroom:

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Florals ???? • #GreyGardens

A post shared by danielle black (@danielleblack) on Feb 16, 2017 at 4:28pm PST

Bao Bei is another shining example! There’s something about a floral wall and a round, antique mirror.

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Favourite spot for a piña colada and a gratuitous bathroom selfie #baobeibathroom

A post shared by Jessica Napier ????????‍???? (@jess_emma_) on Apr 6, 2019 at 10:28pm PDT

10. Dress up the outside, too

So..

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Since its debut, Instagram Stories has been a place where casual content thrives. But with an audience that’s swelled from 100 million to 500 million daily users in less than three years, a little primp and polish may be in order.

That’s especially true for brands since one in every three of the most viewed stories come from businesses. As the name implies, Instagram Stories are a place for storytelling. And the brands that have mastered the ephemeral, 15-second clip format know that good storytelling starts with a storyboard.

Storyboarding ensures you deliver your message in the best way possible—even if you’re shooting on-the-go. With a storyboard, you won’t forget to include all your Story’s key details, from hashtags to logos and geotags.

Download your free pack of 20 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

When should you storyboard your Instagram Stories?

A storyboard is a frame-by-frame outline for your social narrative. A typical storyboard will consist of a sequence of squares—or in this case vertical rectangles—that depict the content for each post.

Another way to think of a storyboard is as a story strategy. For that reason, it’s good practice to always have at least a rough sketch for every post. There are a lot of free tools, such as Canva, that can help with storyboarding. But really, all you need is a pen and paper or a Google sheet.

There are some occasions that call for an Instagram storyboard more than others. These include:

Q&As

Instagram Stories offer a great format for a question and answer, whether that’s a traditional interview or ask-me-anything using the questions sticker. A storyboard will help you decide the best way to parse questions and answers across a series of 15-second clips.

Contest announcements

If you’re announcing a contest on Instagram, a storyboard will help ensure entry requirements, terms and prizes are clearly communicated.

Multi-part narratives

According to Instagram, two or more scenes are better than one. Even a single 15-second video post can contain multiple frames. And the more frames you plan to have, the more useful a storyboard will be.

Event coverage

Without a game plan for event coverage viewer interest can wane. Go into events with a strategy in mind, and apply that mindset to a flexible storyboard for your event-specific stories.

Your plan could be as simple as planning to ask different attendees a question, as Vogue did in its coverage of the Met Gala.

Influencer takeovers

A storyboard can be a great collaboration tool when working with Instagram influencers. You may ask the influencer to provide an outline of the Stories content they will provide, or you may share a storyboard as a loose template for the content you’re expecting.

How to storyboard your Instagram Stories

Here’s how to storyboard Instagram stories, in five steps.

Step 1. Start with a concept

Before putting pen to paper, decide on a concept or format for your Instagram Story. Ideally your concept should be closely tied to at least one of your social marketing objectives.

Download your free pack of 20 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

Download the templates now!

For example, Sephora’s Foundation Poll likely accomplished two social objectives: obtaining feedback from Sephora’s customers, and promoting the sales of its foundation products.

Get inspired by these brands that have mastered the art of Instagram Story storytelling.

Step 2. Pick your theme and style

Stories should have a cohesive look and tone. Decide on what templates, fonts, and colours you plan to use so that you can apply them to your storyboard.

After sketching things out you may come back to this step and make some changes, but it’s good to at least start with a general theme.

This example from Bon Appetit shows that the team had a consistent template and colour palette in mind for its Highly Recommend series. Templates can make it easier for viewers to follow stories and understand how to engage. For Bon Appetit, it’s simple and consistent: Swipe up.

Need some help? We’ve got some free Instagram Stories templates (plus tips on how to use them).

Step 3. Storyboard your scenes

Now that you have your concept and theme, it’s time to apply them to a storyboard. Here’s where you’ll fill in your squares (or rectangles) one frame at a time.

Each frame should roughly illustrate the scene, whether it’s a graphic, image, poll, boomerang, or video. Make sure to label each frame in successive order (e.g., Scene 1, Scene 2) to avoid confusion down the line.

Other details you may wish to include under the frame are:

  • Brief description: What’s happening in this frame?
  • Media: Is this a boomerang, image, or illustration, etc.?
  • Copy: The text that will be included. This may be a poll question, caption, or call-to-action.

Remember, the Instagram Stories channel isn’t the place for epic narratives. Completion rates are highest for 10 frames or less.

Step 4. Add the extras

Storyboarding safeguards you from overlooking important social details. If you plan to include logos, hashtags, geotags, or stickers in your Story, be sure to include them in your storyboard.

This is particularly important if you’re working with a large team and someone else will be responsible for creating or publishing the content. A good storyboard leaves little room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Step 5. Conclude with a branded call-to-action

Plan to leave viewers with a concluding call-to-action, whether that’s swipe up, visit our profile, or buy now. In fact, Instagram recommends that businesses bookend their stories with their product or brand message for extra reinforcement.

The Instagram Story for Sex Education’s premiere teaser does this well, opening and closing the story with the show title and logo.

Pro tip: Make sure to archive all your Stories so you can refer to them later.

Learn the basics of creating Instagram Stories here.

Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Hootsuite to schedule and publish posts, grow your audience, and track success with easy-to-use analytics. Try it free today.

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The post How to Storyboard Your Instagram Stories in 5 Easy Steps (Free Template) appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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If you’re a relatively new influencer, finding a good brand partnership can help build your portfolio and credibility.

However, lots of pitches fall flat because they haven’t been thoughtfully crafted and tailored for the specific brand. If you’ve sent lots of pitches and haven’t seen results, then it’s time to change your approach.

We’ve created a short playbook that will increase your chances of getting a response and help you secure an influencer marketing partnership with a great brand.

Bonus: Get the influencer marketing strategy template to easily plan your next campaign and choose the best social media influencer to work with.

7 things every brand pitch should include 1. Well-crafted subject line

Most emails go unread. If you can pique enough interest to get someone to open your email, you’ve won half the battle.

Your subject line should:

  • Be clear and concise
  • State the benefit to the brand
  • Be personalized (no copy and paste)
  • Create a sense of urgency

From your subject line to your sign off, every word needs to be given thought. Whoever you’re sending this to doesn’t have a lot of time.

Pro tip: Use a business email address. It’s hard to get taken seriously without one.

2. A link to your influencer profile

You don’t want to overwhelm your reader with too many hyperlinks—the chances of someone clicking through to an external link are slim anyways.

Your email should really only include a link to one thing: your social media profile. Since you’re positioning yourself as a social influencer, your account should already align with everything that you’re saying in your pitch.

3. Stats that show you’re the real deal

With social media influencers, the proof is in the pudding. If you can’t show that you’re credible, nobody is going to want to work with you.

Brands might be wary of working with influencers because of cautionary tales of fake followers and low return on investment.

To show you’re a real influencer with a legitimate following, include these stats in your pitch:

  • Engagement rate: The best influencers aren’t always the ones with the biggest followings, they’re the ones with the most engagement. That’s why you need to show that you have a loyal, sustained following that enjoys your content though likes, comments, and shares.
  • Monthly views: By sharing average monthly views, you’re showing that you have consistent interest from your followers. If you can also show year-over-year growth, that’s even better.
  • Follower growth: If you can show strong follower growth within the last year, then you’re able to better highlight the potential reach of your content. Brands are going to be looking for steady growth—you’ll raise eyebrows if there’s a huge follower spike for no reason or your engagement/follower ratio is off.
  • Conversion rates: Brands love to see metrics like conversion rates because it shows that you’re able to inspire action. If you use the swipe up feature on your Instagram Stories, be sure to include conversion rates.
4. The three Rs of influence

Brands want to know that you understand what’s involved in a partnership. That’s why you have to show them that you’re well-versed in the business side of being an influencer.

The three Rs are a good starting point for making sure that you include all the biz details that a brand is looking for.

  • Relevance: You’re sharing content and have an audience that is relevant to the brand you’re pitching. It’s great that you have thousands of followers—but are those followers going to be interested in the specific brand you’re pitching?
  • Reach: You have an idea of the number of people you could reasonably reach based on your follower base and the type of partnership you’re pitching.
  • Resonance: You understand how your content will resonate with the brand’s audience. What level of engagement do you expect to get from your partnership project?
5. Examples of partnerships you’ve done

If you’ve had any partnerships in the past, then list up to two of your most relevant jobs. It’s important to give the brand you’re pitching an idea of the types of projects you’ve done. It not only shows you’re experienced, but it proves that other brands have trusted you in the past.

Bonus: Get the influencer marketing strategy template to easily plan your next campaign and choose the best social media influencer to work with.

Get the free template now!

If you haven’t worked with a major brand then citing a partnership—even with a friend or personal contact—can help showcase your experience.

How to include a partnership mention:

  • Name the influencer or brand (or industry of brand if you don’t have permission)
  • Give a one-liner on how you worked with them
  • Share success metrics, revenue accrued, or other outcomes
6. Specifics on how you want to work together

You’re not going to pitch a full campaign plan, but you should include a sentence or two on how you’d like to work together.

Show that’s there’s a reason you’re reaching out and that you’ve done your homework. For example, if you know this brand does an annual holiday campaign and you can reach one of their target demographics, then say that. You should frame your idea in a way that clearly states the benefit to the brand.

Pro tip: Include a small, genuine compliment. What do you admire about the brand? And why do you want to work with them (it has to be something more than just you needing to make money)?

7. A signoff that includes next steps

Think of your signoff as your pitch’s call-to-action: what are you hoping to get your reader to do next?

Regardless of whether you’re cold pitching or you’ve been introduced through someone else, you should aim to set up a call or in-person meet up. Be specific (but brief) about what you’d like to accomplish in that meeting.

Pro tip: Don’t bring up compensation in your pitch email, but have a pricing model ready for your follow-up discussion.

Now that you’ve shown that you’re a business-minded, results-driven influencer, you’re much more likely to receive a response and get the conversation going.

All that’s left to do is a thorough edit of your email and SEND.

Make your influencer marketing activities easier with Hootsuite. Schedule posts, engage with influencers, and measure the success of your efforts. Try it free today. 

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The post The 7 Key Items Every Brand Pitch Should Include appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Knowing how to save Instagram videos can help you:

  • Share helpful content with your users
  • Increase engagement on Instagram
  • Interact and collaborate with other users

Plus, you can download adorable puppy videos to watch later.

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“When you and your nephew like to stick to each other while going for walkies… but now you have this baby girlfriend to take care of so you both stick to her” writes @kleinemilo #dogsofinstagram

A post shared by DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:15am PDT

If that sounds up your alley, we want to help out. Here are five easy ways you can save Instagram videos today.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

5 simple ways to save Instagram videos

Note: If you’re saving another person’s video to share it on your own social feed, make sure to credit them in the post!

Not only is it the right thing to do, but you can avoid the kind of backlash that happened to Jerry Media in early 2019. The brand and their Instagram meme account came under fire for repurposing users’ tweets and posts without getting permission or crediting them.

Consider reading Instagram’s in-depth copyright policy before reposting any content from other users.

1. Save Instagram posts to your Collections

This method helps you save videos to your private Instagram profile. You can further organize the posts you save via “Collections.” Collections organize all the videos and pictures that users save on Instagram.

And it’s a simple: When you see a video you want to save, click the save icon below it.

Once you tap the icon, it’ll be available to view in the Saved page of your profile. You can access that by going to your profile page, clicking the hamburger icon in the top left side, and selecting Saved.

If you want to save the video to a specific Collection you’ve created, tap and hold the save icon and choose which collection you want to save the video to.

This method allows you to return to a video any time you want and watch it again. But, you can’t repost content to your own feed from Collections.

2. Save your own Instagram videos

If you have a video you created on Instagram for your profile or story, you can easily save it when you’re finished making it.

Simply record your video, and click on the download button at the top before you post it on your feed or story.

This works with videos you create for your feed and the ones you create for your Instagram story.

Luckily, if you’ve already posted the video to your Instagram Story, you can still save it.

Start by going to your Story and viewing the video. In the lower right hand corner, click on the three dots for more options.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Get the free checklist right now!

You’ll then be taken to a menu where you can tap Save Video.

Your video will then download directly onto your phone.

Pro tip: Go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Story Controls and then toggle on Save to Camera Roll to automatically save all your Instagram Stories to your phone.

3. Manually record Instagram Stories

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow you to download videos you find on your feed or on other users’ stories.

But, as long as you have the original poster’s permission, there are several workarounds for that. One easy way to save Instagram videos is to record your screen while the video is playing.

For iOS users, you can do this in five steps:

  • Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone to reach the Control Center.
  • Press the circular Record button.
  • Tap Start Recording. A three second countdown will now begin before recording.
  • Record your video.
  • Open the Control Center again and tap the red circular Record button to stop.

Your video recording will now be available in your photos app. Check out the gif below for a full breakdown of this.

Androids don’t currently have a built-in function that allows you to record a screen. But there are some great apps out there that allow you to do it. Here’s a few of them:

Any of these apps will give you a good screen recording experience—and they’re free.

4. Use an app to save Instagram videos

The easiest way for you to save an Instagram video to your phone in order to repost and share with your users is with a third party app.

The good ones will allow you to easily download videos from another user’s feed or Instagram Story (again: as long as you have their permission). With it, you’ll be able to share it or save it to view at another time.

To help you out, here are a few great apps to download Instagram videos.

Note: For each app, we’ve included a link for either the Android or iOS download.

StorySaver (Android)

A free app that allows users to download videos and photos from Instagram stories. Users can download the images from the stories of users they follow. The app is very intuitive and easy-to-use. It takes just a few taps to download a video.

Once downloaded, you’ll be able to post the video on your own Story or feed (with permission from and credit to the original creator, of course).

Story Reposter (iOS)

Another great iOS app that allows you to download videos from users’ Instagram stories. Like StorySaver, you’ll be able to save and repost videos and images from different Instagram Stories.

All you need to do is search for the profile you want to rip the video from, and click on it before choosing the video you want to download.

Quick Reposter (iOS)

An app that allows you to both repost images and videos, as well as save and download them.

It has a very intuitive interface and simple design. Simply copy the link to the image or video you want to download, and it will save it to your device.

Quicksave (Android)

Another great app that’s similar to Quick Reposter. To save a post, simply copy the image or video URL and start downloading.

Also, with more than three million downloads, you’ll be in plenty of company with this popular Instagram video download app.

5. Use a web downloader

There are a number of great websites out there that allow you to download and save Instagram videos to your computer.
The catch is that you won’t be able to repost them on Instagram without importing them to your phone first. It’s a handy trick if you want to save Instagram videos and images for posterity.

Here are a few good websites that allow you to download a video with an Instagram link:

And don’t forget: Make sure you have the original poster’s permission to download their video, especially if you are going to repost it on your own account.

And that’s it. You now have the tools and know-how to save videos on Instagram.

Now go make great content (or repost great user-generated content).

Manage your Instagram presence alongside your other social channels and save time using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts, engage the audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.

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The post How to Save Instagram Videos to Any Device: 5 Simple Ways appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Need more of the best Chrome apps for your social media marketing?

Chrome extensions helps us social marketers do things faster, better, while having more fun. Heck yeah.

I’m sure you have some favorites.

I’m also sure you’ll add some new ones after scanning this list.

Let’s get right to it.

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

The 15 best Google Chrome extensions for social marketers 1. Momentum

Your day is going to be busy. Like always, right?

Posts to write, images to create, hashtags to monitor, followers to reply to. All that and (much) more for your busy social marketing day.

But first…

Open a new tab in your browser. Momentum will show you something beautiful. It’s a soothing way to start your day. And to plan just the right amount.

  • See a land that’s gorgeous
  • Read a quote that inspires
  • Write your one big goal for the day
  • Then a few tasks to achieve that goal
  • Check out the local weather, too

Now… go do your busy work. With a focus. And see this each time you open a new, blank Chrome tab.

2. Muzli

Muzli is another way to be inspired every time you open a new Chrome tab. It’s centered around design.

I bet you’re always looking for new, visual inspiration for your social media posts.

Muzli presents you with a visual feed of the latest, hippest, most excellent designs of the day.

  • See and scroll the images on your new tab
  • Click one you love
  • See more about it in a new browser window
  • Start over, choosing something from one of the 20 or 30 feeds. Or create more of your own.

And don’t keep what you see to yourself. I use Muzli to show and share great designs with others, too.

But, you can only use one ‘new tab’ extension at a time. Which one will you choose?

3. Evernote Web Clipper

Work can become a blur when you’re doing your social media thing, right? From left-to-right brain tasks all day long. While viewing inspiring, interesting and useful things in between.

Then being baffled by… where to put this?

Got it.

And so does Evernote. With their web clipper to save web pages, links, comments, screen shots, ideas, and anything else you see in your digital view.

  • Hit a button
  • Select your clip format—For the entire or partial portion of a page
  • Give it a title (optional)
  • Same for a tag
  • Click Save

…Then find it later.

Out of site, out of mind, but not out of reach. No need to change your brain gears every time you see something worth capturing or sharing.

4. Grammarly

Spelling and grammar errors happen (just ask my Hootsuite editor).

But stop this you must, because your social fans and followers will frown. And so will your boss, as your personal and brand credibility suffers.

But don’t cry. It’s an easy fix with Grammarly.

This extension catches spelling and grammar errors galore.

  • Hit a key to open the Grammarly editor
  • Type away
  • See what Grammarly has to say about it
  • Review, accept or reject the suggested changes
  • Paste everything into your new post, page, comment, or share

Polish before you publish.

5. Figure it Out

A handy tool if you work with people around the globe. Because it’s not easy keeping track of different time zones.

In your brain, it goes something like this…

“It’s 3:30 here, minus (or is it plus) 8 hours there (I think)… equals… Wait, is it daylight savings here? And over there?”

Ouch.

Figure It Out to rescue.

Use this extension to make scheduling posts or meetings around the globe super (duper) easy.

  • Add a timezone, up to 10
  • See the current and correct times for each location
  • Post and schedule away, quickly and confidently

I told you it was easy.

However…

Like Momentum and Muzli, this extension shows up as your new tab screen. Now what?

Fine. Use their online, instant web page.

6. LastPass

Do you ever want to share access to an account? Say for a social network, SEO tool, or Google Analytics? But without having to share the password for that account?

I’m sure you do, like many social media marketers. LastPass will help.

Use LastPass to remember only one master password, while sharing accounts with your colleagues.

The extension will store everything else and autofill fields when you arrive on a login page. You can also add and remove users, auto generate strong passwords, and save everything in a secure, searchable vault.

Sleep well knowing you’ve got a secure handle on all your social accounts and users.

7. Session Buddy

You spend loads of time scouring the web for great content. And arranging each tab, ‘just right’, right? For blog posts, news articles, videos, and other pieces of inspiration for your upcoming posts or campaign.

Then, a call or email comes in, or your boss walks over and you have to switch gears to work on something completely different. Opening up even more browser tabs. Five, 10, 15 tabs now open, scrambled all over your screen.

Now what?

Here’s what. Using the Session Buddy extension I…

  • Do my search thing
  • Arrange browser windows as I please
  • Something else comes up, fine…
  • I save and name the session
  • Close the windows
  • Then work on that something else

Later, to resume…

  • Click on the session buddy icon
  • Select and open the named session
  • Everything appears like before, instantly
  • My most-used chrome extension
8. Copy All Urls

Think of this as Session Buddy lite.

You’re zooming around the web, filling up browsers tabs and instances with pages along your digital flight path.

Then, you’re either filled up, tired, bored, or distracted.

You want to keep the urls for those pages you collected. But get those browsers windows out of your face right now.

That’s what this extension is for.

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

Get the free guide right now!
  • Click the Copy All Urls extension icon

That’s it. Really. All URLs, across all browser tabs, across all browser instances are copied to your clipboard.

Okay, one more step—to copy those links somewhere to check out later.

Session Buddy is my favorite, but this might be yours.

9. StayFocused

Sometimes it takes brute force to stop the things worth stopping. Because we lack the will to do so on our own.

Sure, it’s your job to be on the sites other people waste time on—while they procrastinate.

But not you. Not with the StayFocused extension.

StayFocused limits you on time-wasting websites (the ones you visit instead of doing work).

  • Specify what to block (by site, subdomain, path, pages, or even in-place content)
  • Specify an allotted time
  • Play as you do
  • Then get blocked—for the rest of the day

Because it’s time to get back to your ‘day’ (vs dream) job.

10. Pinterest Save Button

You’re busy combing the web, seeking ideas and doing research for your next marketing campaign, post, or strategy.

You see an eye-catching visual on a web page you’re perusing. It’s interesting to you. But you don’t have time to stare at it now.

Got it.

Click the Save button to save the page to Pinterest. Then, keep moving onward.

The Pinterest extension won’t slow you down.

  • Mouse over an image on a web page
  • Click the Pinterest icon that hovers
  • Specify a Pinterest board (or create a new one for ‘this project’)
  • Give it a title (if you want)

Done, that web page is saved, ready for you to look at later. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

11. RiteTag

Are you guessing at which hashtags to use for your story or event? Not sure which ones will add value to your message?

Introducing the RiteTag extension.

Use this to generate hashtags for images and text on your screen.

  • Right click an image
  • See a list of hashtag suggestions
  • Click and pick one you adore, or…
  • Highlight any text on a page
  • Right click it
  • Choose from a list of suggested hashtags

Learn more about using hashtags to grow your social media following here.

12. Giphy

Sometimes, the social media marketer in you wants some motion in your message. To make things more memorable. And exciting.

People often click more of your posts and shares, too, when they see a cute little girl dancing. Or a kitty sniffing. Or a rhinoceros flying.

No need to leave your browser to search for and attach humorous animations that make people snicker.

  • Click the extension icon
  • Type something in
  • See what you get
  • Drag what you like onto your page or post

Silly made easy. Which may (or may not) be just right for your brand.

13. MozBar

Is SEO a part of your digital marketing strategy? (It could be even if you focus solely on social.)

The MozBar extension makes it simple for people new to SEO. Get insights about different websites without leaving your web browser.

With one click, you can find search ranking and link coding information about all the search results on a results page.

  • Do a web search
  • See the info bar for data on page and domain authority
  • Click the bar to see more page analysis (like inbound links)

SEO made easy.

14. Yellow Highlighter Pen for Web

Social marketers read and scan a lot of web pages.

Maybe you don’t need to capture a whole page—just the highlights. Or perhaps you want to share some important parts of a page, say for an upcoming campaign.

It’s pretty darn simple with the Yellow Highlighter extension.

Just…

  • Click the extension icon
  • Highlight something compelling to show, share, or save
  • Notice the link to a new page with your highlights
  • Copy and share it (with proper credit, of course)

Sharing made easy.

15. WhatFont

When browsing pages does a font ever attract your eyes and attention? And you want to know what it is? Because you want to use it for your next social media image?

You need WhatFont.

The WhatFont extension tells all:

  • Click the extension icon
  • Hover over any font on the page
  • Notice the font
  • Click to see more details (like family, style, weight, size and more)
  • Repeat for other fonts on the page

I love fonts. WhatFont tells more about what I love. So I can swipe and add it to the text on my visuals. You can, too.

Bonus: Here’s more tools and resources for creating beautiful social media visuals.

And there you have it. A list of some of the best Chrome extensions for social media marketers, like you. I know there’s loads you must be using, too. Tell us about them, please. Maybe my editor will hire me to do a follow up post on this. Ha.

Want to know what’s working, what’s not, and what to improve for your social media posts and campaigns? See all your data from a single dashboard, using Hootsuite. Try it free today.

Get Started

The post 15 of the Best Chrome Extensions for Social Media Marketers in 2019 appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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Social media acronyms are the airport codes of the Internet. You need to know them to get where you’re going, and you usually have to pick them up on the fly.

We’ve all experienced that awkward moment when we have no idea what coded language people are talking. Worse is when you get it wrong. Every office employs someone who thinks WTF stands for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

To help you crack the code, we’ve collected the top social media acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations every marketer should know. They’re broken into four categories:

  • Network specific abbreviations
  • Business specific social media acronyms and abbreviations
  • Technical acronyms and abbreviations used on social media
  • Gen Z social media acronyms and abbreviations

So, WYD RN? It’s time to up your social vocabulary FTW.

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

Network specific abbreviations

FB: Facebook
G+: Google +
IG: Instagram
LI: LinkedIn
TW: Twitter
YT: YouTube

DM: Direct Message
On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, users can “slide into” someone’s DMs by sending a private message.

MT: Modified Tweet
Tweets that begin with MT indicate that the Tweeter has edited the content they’re retweeting for brevity or other reasons. Also called a Quote Tweet.

PM: Private Message
Private messages are the same as direct messages. If someone asks you to PM them, they’re essentially asking to move a public convo into the private realm.

RT: Retweet
Instead of hitting the retweet button, or retweeting with a comment, some Twitter users repost a tweet and use “RT” plus the user’s handle for attribution.

Popular social media acronyms and abbreviations

AMA: Ask Me Anything
AMAs are social question and answer sessions. Companies and brand representatives host often host AMAs on Twitter, Reddit, or in a live stream.

It's HAPPENING! Our AMA is starting now on Reddit! We'll start answering questions at 1 pm EST. Get your questions ready and join us here: https://t.co/Emo2GeuwTi

— Wendy's (@Wendys) December 14, 2017

BRB: Be Right Back
This relic from the chat forum era finds its way back on social when the right occasion calls for it.

brb changing my name to Netflib

— Netflix US (@netflix) June 11, 2018

BTS: Behind the Scenes
Offer your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your brand with this shorthand.

‪Day 2: LIVE from #LAX w/ our Panasonic Technical Services Team. #BTS #PTS #PanasonicAvionics #PanasonicJobs‬

Posted by Life at Panasonic Avionics on Thursday, March 8, 2018

BTW: By The Way
An abbreviated way to add extra info, go on a tangent, or throw some shade.

BTW, Hutchinson now requires waivers if he were to be re-assigned to Marlies. Also, Sparks not eligible to play for the Marlies in the playoffs and would require waivers to be sent down. So, it would appear, three goalies from here on in for TOR. Marlies lose their No. 1. https://t.co/Eg3uDFyYc9

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 5, 2019

DYK: Did You Know
Did you know the DYK abbreviation is a great way to offer a fun fact?

ELI5: Explain It To Me Like I’m Five
To put it simply, this popular-on-Reddit abbreviation calls for a straightforward explanation of something complex.

FBF: Flashback Friday
FBF is a way to throw it back to the past on a Friday.

View this post on Instagram

I’d love to tell you about my dear friend, the iconic photographer Herb Ritts. Herb began his career in the late 70s as an American fashion photographer and director. His work showcased the human form yet defied all the norms of gender, race, and society. It was a real privilege to work with him over the years and be captured in so many different lights Xx #FBF

A post shared by Nicole Kidman (@nicolekidman) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:57am PDT

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out
If you haven’t heard of FOMO, you’ve been missing out. This social-bred phobia expresses the anxiety of absence. For homebodies there’s the antonym acronym JOMO, which means Joy of Missing Out.

Everyone is saying Fomo. What is Fomo? I need to know so I can join in. Please help me.

— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) November 13, 2012

FTW: For The Win
A sometimes sincere, sometimes sarcastic, acclamation used at the end of a post.

FTW! #DoItBig pic.twitter.com/XWSG7ZNKXy

— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 22, 2018

FYI: For Your Information
Just FYI, this informative abbreviation is often (but not always) delivered with a hint of sass.

View this post on Instagram

FYI you can now get Ref stuff with @afterpayusa. Go forth and probably live your best life.

A post shared by Reformation (@reformation) on Apr 3, 2019 at 10:10am PDT

H/T: Hat Tip
Sometimes just HT, a hat tip is a virtual nod that credits an original source for intel or an image.

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
A re-up of content or news that might have been missed in the everlasting blitz that is social media.

ICYMI: Sephora is the answer to everything ???? ???? Tag a Beauty Insider member who would have nailed this. @Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/kEzwPX2eF8

— Sephora (@Sephora) May 9, 2018

IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion
A disclaimer for a hot take on something. Opinions are divided on whether the H stands for humble or honest. IMHO, why would anyone be sharing their dishonest opinion?

chimps always spark joy IMHO

— Netflix US (@netflix) January 25, 2019

IRL: In Real Life
Sticklers will insist that the Internet is real life, and away from keyboard (AFK) is a better way to refer to things that happen offline. But IRL is also used occasionally to take a jab at the fronting that’s done on social media.

Are you watching the #SuperBlueBloodMoon #IRL or live online? It’s happening now, so don’t miss it! Earth will continue to block the Sun’s light, casting a reddish hue onto the Moon until around 9:07am ET/6:07am PT. Take a look: https://t.co/r6X6SoMfLn pic.twitter.com/J9UfDz2NTF

— NASA (@NASA) January 31, 2018

LMK: Let Me Know
When someone uses this, they’re usually waiting for feedback.

Please lmk what you’d most like improved/fixed about your Tesla. Thanks!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2018

NBD: No Big Deal
Often used as a humble brag for something that is actually a big deal.

Just walking on air… NBD. #AGT pic.twitter.com/s6g1rgHPWz

— America's Got Talent (@AGT) July 9, 2015

NSFW: Not Safe For Work
This one is literally not safe for work. Think twice before using it on a corporate account. Here are a few other words to avoid, too.

WFH: Working From Home
Often used in online chats with colleagues, but useful for social media as well.

#NSFW unless you’re #WFH. Filth is #NowOnNetflix pic.twitter.com/IhfRPJeRWa

— Netflix US (@netflix) September 13, 2014

SMH: Shaking My Head
For the times when it’s necessary people know that you’re shaking your head behind that screen.

Couldn't even do it in every burger. smh

— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 29, 2018

TBH: To Be Honest
Abbreviated padding for a humble flex or a negative opinion.

TBH, we've always been on a first-name basis with Dunkin'. #NationalCoffeeDay pic.twitter.com/G0E1apUVde

— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) September 29, 2018

TBT: Throwback Thursday
Social media’s designated day of nostalgia.

TFW: That Feeling When
Precedes an often relatable experience, usually accompanied by a meme.

TFW yo beef’s still frozen pic.twitter.com/C0lgiNo9Ca

— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 8, 2018

TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday
Because everybody’s working for the weekend.

TGIF: Thank Goodness It's FLY-day!

Posted by Japan Airlines on Thursday, November 23, 2017

TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read
Usually used to offer a pithy summary on something too lengthy for Internet attention spans.

Long story short: 'TL;DR' is now in the dictionary. https://t.co/JM5L4uY6CI pic.twitter.com/UhQF0IfOk9

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 4, 2018

WBW: Wayback Wednesday
Wayback Wednesday takes a trip down memory lane on hump day.

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

Get the free guide right now!

Some views never get old. #ClassicMini #WBW #Heritage pic.twitter.com/TqkBfjb3zi

— MINI USA (@MINIUSA) September 12, 2018

Business specific social media acronyms and abbreviations

B2B: Business To Business
Shorthand for a company with business-facing priorities.

B2C: Business To Consumer
Describes a company that offers products or services directly to customers.

CMGR: Community Manager
Community managers cultivate a brand’s relationships on social media. Not to be confused with social media managers, community managers engage and nurture the company’s community.

CTA: Call To Action
A call-to-action is a verbal, written, or visual prompt. It offers people a directive on what to do next, whether that’s “Sign up,” “Subscribe,” or “Call us today.”

Here’s how to write an effective CTA.

KPI: Key Performance Indicator
A key performance indicator is a broad measurement that tracks how effectively a company is accomplishing its goals.

These are the Social Media KPIs That You Can’t Ignore.

ROI: Return On Investment
Return on investment measures how much profit is delivered for given corporate initiatives. ROI is one of the most common ways businesses assess the success of campaigns and ventures. Learn how to track and improve your social media ROI.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing refers to a method of advertising on the Internet that involves purchasing ads on search engines in order to increase website traffic.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization aims to improve organic search engine results and increase the visibility of content on the web.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page
These are the paid and organic page results that are displayed by a search engine after a user performs a search.

SMB: Small and Midsize Businesses
Small businesses are classified as businesses with less than 50 employees, while midsize (or medium-sized) businesses typically have less than 250. They also are sometimes referred to as small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).

SMP: Social Media Platform
An abbreviation that is sometimes used to refer to the site of a particular social network.

SMM: Social Media Marketing
The practice of increasing brand awareness and consideration on social media, with the objective of building relationships and generating leads.

SMO: Social Media Optimization
Similar to SMM, social media optimization involves the use of the appropriate platforms for brand marketing.

SoLoMo: Social, Local, Mobile
Social, local, mobile describes the convergence of mobile and locally targeted social media marketing that’s grown in popularity thanks to geo-location technology.

SRP: Social Relationship Platform
An SRP is a centralized platform that uses enterprise-grade technology to allow companies to publish on multiple social media sites, as well as monitor, moderate, and analyze.

Looking for an example? Look no further: Hootsuite is a social relationship platform.

TOS: Terms Of Service
The terms of service are the legal rules users agree to follow to use a social platform.

UGC: User-Generated Content
User-generated content refers to any content, such as posts, images, or videos, that is shared by the end users of a social media platform or other site.

WOM: Word Of Mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing refers to the buzz and viral passing of brand conversation online through the active encouragement of a company.

Technical acronyms and abbreviations used on social media

API: Application Programming Interface
An API is a set of tools, definitions, and protocols that allows software developers to backend one system with another. For instance, Google Maps has APIs available for web browser and app integration, so that different companies can integrate map technology.

CMS: Content Management System
A content management system is a platform that hosts the creation and management of digital content. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

CPC: Cost Per Click
Also known as pay per click (PPC), cost per click refers to the price an advertiser pays for each click earned on a campaign.

CR: Conversion Rate
The conversion rate measures the percentage of people who have taken an action on your campaign such as views, registrations, downloads, purchases. Conversions are a key metric when it comes to calculating ROI.

CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization refers to measures taken to improve conversions.

CTR: Click-Through Rate
A click-through rate represents the percentage of people who click on a link after being presented with the option.

CX: Customer Experience
Customer experience refers to the relationship a customer has with a company through various interactions and touchpoints. Mapping out the customer journey is a good way to ensure a customer will have a good experience with your company.

ESP: Email Service Provider

In simple terms, an ESP is a third-party company that offers email services, such as newsletter deployment or marketing campaigns. Popular companies include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Drip.

GA: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an analytics platform for websites. Tools allow marketers to track website visitors, referrals, bounce rates, and more. Read our guide to tracking Google Analytics.

PV: Page Views
Page views is a tally of how many visitors have landed on a given page. Overall page views stats often tracked alongside unique page views.

RSS: Rich Site Summary
Also known as: Really Simple Syndication, RSS is a format for syndicating web content. Podcasts, blogs, and publishers rely on RSS feeds to share their content with a wide audience.

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