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Planning a new product launch on social media can feel daunting, but it’s also a huge opportunity to attract new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers!

In this comprehensive blog post, I’ll be walking you through every stage of launching a new product on social media, from setting your goals to developing a creative concept, working with influencers, and planning a stunning Instagram feed that sells.

You’ll learn from real social media product launch examples in both the B2B and B2C space, and I’ll be sharing all of the product marketing secrets that have worked for us here at Later.

Ready to plan your new product launch on social media? Grab a comfy seat, and let’s go!

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #1: Define Your Goal

When it comes to planning a social media campaign, it’s important to start with the end in mind: your goals and KPIs!

If you want your new product launch to be a success on social media, it’s important that you define what success is.

Once you have a clearly defined goal for your social media campaign, you’ll be able to come up with strategies to achieve your goal.

For example, the cult beauty brand Summer Fridays recently launched a new face mask on Instagram. Since most of their marketing is focused on social media (and Instagram specifically), we can assume that their main goal was to generate sales of their new product through social media.

But just because you’re launching a new product, your goal doesn’t have to be ‘sales’.

Your goal could be building brand awareness, building engagement in your community, growing your email list, or having more people walk through your physical store.

For example, when we launched Instagram Stories scheduling for Later, our overall marketing goal was to encourage more Later users to upgrade to a Later paid plan so they could schedule stories.

But because we’re a B2B company, we have a longer customer journey than a B2C beauty brand, so we had different goals for our new product launch on social media.

Our social media campaign goal was to increase awareness about our new product, which meant that we focused more on driving impressions, traffic, and engagement instead of pushing upgrades through Instagram and social media.

Can you believe?

Storyboard your content, add captions or links, collaborate with your team, and visually plan & schedule Instagram Stories right from your desktop!

Everything you need to know: https://t.co/cUIyTHoKwr pic.twitter.com/WB133WTsl1

— Later.com (@latermedia) January 15, 2019

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get clear on what action you want to inspire with your campaign. Once you have that goal set for your campaign, make sure you keep that ambition front and center of your mind as you start working on the next steps to building your social media campaign.

(Editor’s note: we’ll be using both the Summer Fridays and Later campaigns as social media product launch examples in this post, so whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, or selling a physical or digital product, you’ll have concrete examples to learn from!).

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #2: Nail Down Your Timeline

Timing is everything when it comes to launching a new product on social media, and you’ll want to set your timeline well in advance of your launch date.

The big deadline you should be thinking about is the new product launch date – let that act as your starting point and then build your timeline backwards from there.

This will give you a clear idea of how much lead time you’re working with and the potential scope of the project. If you’re running to a tight deadline, you may have to scale back on some of your more ambitious ideas for your campaign.

But if you have plenty of time to play with (you super-organized marketer you!), you can really level-up your campaign to help you meet your goals.

To give some perspective, we started planning the general marketing campaign for our Instagram Stories launch about 2 months before, and started planning the social media aspect of the campaign about 1 month before launch.

But if you’re launching a physical product instead of a digital product or service, you may need to start planning 2 months in advance to account for photo shoots with packaging, influencer and media mail outs, etc.

When planning a new product launch on social media, it’s important to factor in how long your campaign will run. Remember to keep it snappy, creative and engaging!

You may want to think about a launch timeline that runs something along the lines of:

  • Day 0-7: Pre-launch hype
  • Day 8: Launch day
  • Day 9-13: Post-launch follow-up
  • Day 14-30: Integrating your new product into your regular content schedule, or planning additional activations to keep up the momentum

By breaking it down per day, or pre- and post-launch, you’ll be able to start thinking of creative ways to incorporate your new product into the campaign, without having dull, repetitive content.

For example, we spent a solid week promoting our Instagram Stories scheduling feature on social media, and then we launched our free Instagram Stories for Business course one week later.

The course acted as a free lead magnet for us to attract new customers, while also allowing us to indirectly promote our scheduling feature with a free course that was full of fun and helpful content to share.

Once you’ve set your timeframe, it becomes easier to plan out your content knowing how feasible it will be to deliver it on time. Plus you’ll be able to take an objective, bird’s-eye view on how long it will run and how your audience will respond to it.

To help ensure everything runs smoothly for your launch, we’ve created a free Social Media Product Launch checklist! Just enter your email below to get the checklist delivered to your inbox:

  

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #3: Choose Your Social Media Channels

Now that you have a goal and a timeline, you’re ready to start choosing what social media channels you’re going to light up when you launch your social media campaign.

Hint: You’re probably going to be active on most of your social channels to maximize on impact!

But each channel you choose – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and more! – should all have a slightly different strategy and approach, because of how your audience responds, and how the platform functions is different on each.

For example, what you create for your Instagram Stories will be hugely different to what you create for your Instagram grid, so they deserve different strategies!

Here’s an example of what our social media strategist Mel Brittner created for our recent launch:

Don’t be afraid to let your creative juices flow at this stage – get every idea down on paper and assign it to a suitable social channel. But, do keep in mind your timeline and just how feasible it is to create each idea — it’s always better to have less, but truly strong and engaging content, than more, poorly-executed content.

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #4: Decide on Your Creative Direction

Now that you have all the (kind of boring) details like goals, timeline, and channels locked down, it’s time for the fun part: what will your campaign look like?

It may sound like a fancy marketing term, but having an overarching creative direction is what separates your product launch campaign from your other day-to-day social posts.

The creative direction of your product launch is what’s going to make your campaign stand out and be seen on your social platforms, and it’s so important to get it right! Especially on Instagram, since it is such a visual platform.

We are pretty obsessed with the creative direction and overall concept for Summer Fridays’ new product launch of their R+R face mask. Their Instagram feed looks amazing, and their stories are both educational and beautiful, and it was all executed so well.

Here’s what their Instagram feed looked like when launching:

And here’s what their Instagram Stories announcement looked like:

Not sure where to start? There are two elements to your creative direction you need to think about.

Firstly, the overall visual style of your campaign needs to be defined in your creative concept. This should include a color palette, some inspirational imagery, a design style guide, or design templates that will work across your social channels.

If you need some inspiration or help to create a color palette for your product, you can use Adobe Color! You can choose the “color harmony” you want – whether you are looking for different shades, complementary colors, or a monochromatic look.

Your color palette can also come from your product or packaging itself. For example, Summer Fridays’ main color was the same dusty pink shade as the bottle itself, and the complementary blue shade came from their existing brand colors.

Mood boards are a great idea at this stage of planning! You can easily create a mood board by pinning inspiration images on Pinterest or check out this blog post from Canva on how to build a mood board for your future campaign.

So if you wanted an Instagram feed that looked like Summer Fridays’ feed, then you might have started with a moodboard that looked something like this:

Secondly, your creative direction should outline your campaign message and editorial style.

This will help you fine-tune your content and make sure how your introducing, explaining or selling your product throughout the campaign remains consistent. It’s a good idea to nail down a couple of terms or core messages you want to weave through each of your campaign assets.

For example, the Summer Fridays product launch was centered around the “refine your wild” concept, which was highlighted in both their imagery, copy, and brand hashtag. Without understanding what the product even is, you can start to understand how it will make you feel in their teaser video, which guides the rest of the visuals in their social media campaign:

View this post on Instagram

refine your wild.

A post shared by Summer Fridays (@summerfridays) on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:28am PST

If you’re running your own business, this might mean that you are coming up with the creative direction, managing the photo shoot, editing the content, and posting everything yourself – which is a lot of work!

But as long as you can stick to your timeline, and you’ve got a clear creative direction you’ll 100% be able to achieve a successful product launch campaign!

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #5: Offline Activations

When you’re planning a new product launch on social media, you’re probably focused on the digital planning: photos, videos, graphics, copy.

But in 2019, offline activations are becoming a big part of online campaigns.

From influencer events and launch parties to wall murals and coffee cups, more and more brands are starting to integrate an Instagrammable moment into their new product launches.

For example, Summer Fridays had two Insta-ready offline activations for their product launch, one in LA and one in New York City.

In LA, they set up this beautiful vintage phone booth and covered it in roses, which fit with the theme of their rose face mask.

They also integrated their branding into the phone booth, but in a very natural way that wasn’t overbearing, and they also ran a contest to get more people to tag the brand and share their brand message as well.

Who wouldn’t want to post a photo of themselves here to their Instagram? The key is that their branding isn’t overpowering, which inspires both customers and passersby alike to take a photo and share it to their Instagram feeds.

They also set up a beautiful rose display with matching coffee cups for their New York City fans:

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Believe it or not, it’s totally possible to save your marketing budget and grow your account by only using free Instagram marketing tools and techniques!

Instagram is an awesome platform to showcase your products, services, and overall business. But small businesses often spend a lot of their budget on social media marketing, where in fact, some of the best and most rewarding techniques are totally free!

To help you get started (and save some $$$!), we’re sharing 9 of the best free Instagram marketing tips, tools, and techniques that you can work into your strategy today!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #1: Curate Your Feed to Create a Balance Between Product & Lifestyle Shots

As a small business or startup, we know you’re super proud of your products and services. But when it comes to Instagram marketing, you walk a fine line between showcasing your products and coming across as a glorified sales pitch!

Remember that Instagram is a social platform first and an advertising medium second. So if you want to grow your following and sell more products, you have to strike a balance between showcasing your product and honoring Instagram’s social roots.

It’s all in the planning! Taking a birdseye view of how your feed currently looks and how you’d like it to look in the future is so important — it helps you identify when and where you’ve been pushing products too often, and where there are opportunities to incorporate other types of content.

To do this, try to plan a feed with a simple ratio of your different types of content. For example, if you’re a business that makes leather handbags for businesswomen, you may want to balance your feed with shots of a bustling city, lifestyle shots of women on the move or at work, and your product shots. So you could create a ratio of 1:3 — for every three ‘other’ lifestyle or city shots in your grid, you can include a clear product shot.

Take a look at how @wearefeelgoodinc creates a great Instagram aesthetic by mixing ocean scenes, lifestyle shots, and product shots of their sunscreens across their feed. It’s subtle marketing that really works on their grid!

The easiest way to do this is to use an Instagram Visual Planner like Later. Simply drag and drop your photos onto the visual planner, re-arrange them to see how your future feed will look like, and save to schedule them!

The best news? It’s completely free to use!

Plus, once you’ve identified the spots on your grid where you can showcase your products, you can really go all out with carousel or video posts to maximize on exposure while still maintaining a balance in your feed!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #2: Use Instagram Stories to Introduce Your Business

Your followers are savvy and inquisitive, and they want to know more about your brand!

So simply introducing your products with photos on your feed isn’t enough these days — you need to take the time to introduce your brand and business too.

Your followers are curious about how your products are made, the people behind the business, and what you have planned for the future — so take the time to share this info with them.

Not only does this open up great opportunities to create engaging content your followers will love, but it gives you another way to introduce your products and services without dipping into the marketing budget.

Instagram Stories is one of the best platforms for this — it’s short video clips allow for quick and easy insights into your day-to-day business life. Jewelry brand @mejuri is a great example of how they incorporate behind-the-scenes content of their business and product-based content.

Think about creating some of these Instagram Stories next time you want you’re planning a content calendar:

#1: Tell Your Brand Story

Don’t be afraid to share with your followers how, when, and why you wanted to create your business. Let them know about your struggles as a startup and some of your proudest moments to date.

#2: Take Your Audience Behind the Scenes

Think about bringing your followers along to your warehouse or introducing them to the manufacturing team or where you source your materials from.

If you’re selling a service  rather than a physical product, you could share a ‘day in the life of…’ post on Instagram Stories that shows glimpses of the inner workings of your business and who is involved in running the business each day.

If you’re already on a Later Business plan, you can schedule Instagram Stories! Just like your feed posts, you can now plan, schedule, and publish your Instagram Stories!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #3: Use Branded Community Hashtags to Stand Out

Instagram is a busy place, and for small businesses starting out on the platform, it can be particularly hard to be seen or heard.

But just like IRL business, word-of-mouth marketing really helps to build a brand’s reputation on Instagram. And one of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a community of engaged followers and a branded hashtag to spread the word!

A great example is @herschelsupply’s #welltravelled hashtag, which the brand created to connect like-minded users around their love of travel and travel photography.

While not directly promoting Herschel or its products, the hashtag has been used on nearly 4.5 million posts and has been key to growing Herschel’s community. Plus, followers of the hashtag and the brand know that Hershel is the driving force behind the hashtag so their products are regularly featured in the tagged images around the world.

It’s one of the easiest ways to have your audience and customers speak on behalf of your brand. If your followers share their love for your products, you’ll soon start to see a difference in your follower count and sales!

Looking to create a branded hashtag for your brand or business? Check out our free Instagram Hashtag Strategy Guide. Learn how to implement an effective Instagram hashtag strategy that not only grows your engagement but also boosts the effectiveness of your Instagram marketing campaigns!

 

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #4: Level-Up Your Product Showcases With Instagram Stories Templates

While your marketing budget may not stretch to the point of hiring a graphic designer or video editor, you can still make your Instagram Stories look awesome.

There are some amazing photo and video editing tools and apps out there that can really level-up your product showcases (and are completely free!). So when you do post stories that show off your products, you’re guaranteed that they’ll stand out from the crowd.

For Instagram Stories videos — try out Over app! Over’s free version is filled with great tools and templates to help you create better video content for your Instagram Stories. Later’s Social Media Strategist, Mel Brittner is a big fan of the easy-to-use app that can take a basic selfie video and make it more dynamic and engaging! 

For images, Canva (available on desktop and mobile) is packed full of ready-made Instagram Stories templates that are fully customizable so you can add in your brand colors, fonts, and product shots!

Looking for some other freebies? Check out Later’s Instagram Stories templates that are completely customizable using Photoshop!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #5: Launch a Regular Weekly Series

Having a weekly installment on your Instagram profile is a great way to encourage your follows to tune in regularly!

Plus, it’s a chance to cover topics you may not usually be able to on your feed or your Instagram Stories that your audience is interested in. And you can potentially weave in more info about your products and services!

Later has recently started hosting weekly tips on Instagram Stories where we share some insider hacks to creating awesome Instagram content. While it’s not always based around Later’s features (in fact, we share a lot of tips from other tools and platforms we use like Over and MailChimp!) there are times when we reveal a little-known fact about a Later feature!

Other brands like Airbnb and Beats by Dre are also jumping on the Instagram Series trend and are hosting a regular topic each week!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #6: Host Q&A Sessions with Your Audience

There’s no better way to get to know your audience than by listening to the questions they have about your brand, business, and products.

And to help you build a deeper connection with your customers, you can host a Q&A session on Instagram! The Instagram Stories Question Sticker makes it super-simple to collect your audience’s most burning questions, or you can host an Instagram Live so your followers can tune in and ask questions while you’re having a chat!

Not only is this a great way to research your audience while engaging with them, your followers could also have specific questions about your products or services, and you’ll be there to answer them! It’s an easy way to subtly introduce your audience to some lesser-known products in your line, or showcase newer products in your collection without spending a dime.

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #7: Plan a Collaboration Project With Other Brands

Instagram collaborations are a great idea if you’re looking to easily and cheaply market your products to new audiences.

While Influencer marketing does often require budget and strong strategies for success, teaming up with a like-minded and complementary business doesn’t need to blow the budget.

If you find a brand that you’d like to partner up with on Instagram, you could host an Instagram Stories Live session together and invite both your audiences to tune in as you discuss a topic that’s relative to both your industries.

Or you could work together to create a product for your audiences, like a podcast, ebook, or a weekly newsletter! Once you’ve found the right partner, the mutual benefits for both parties are endless!

Free Instagram Marketing Tip #8: Become an Industry Leader in Your Field

While Instagram is a great place to market your products, it’s also a great place for information sharing.

By making yourself an industry leader in your field, you’ll already be steps ahead of your competition while followers and potential customers turn to you for advice and guidance, as well as your product line!

One way to do this is to be generous with your information and resources — you could create free ebooks or guides, write knowledgeable blog posts and share them on your feed, or regularly produce how-to content on Instagram Stories or IGTV.

The aim is to become a point of reference for your followers so they know that when they tune in your stories or visit your profile page, you’ll always be sharing content that is relevant and useful!

Don’t forget to share the love and highlight others in your field that are doing good for your industry. Whether it’s an app or program you’re using for your business, or an innovative product just come to market, share as much relevant information as possible with your audience so they know they can always rely on you to help answer their questions! Check out how @instawithalex, Alex Tooby continuously provides current and trending information for her followers: 

Marketing your business online doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, especially if you’re focusing your efforts on Instagram.

With some forward planning, strategy, and great content, you’ll easily be able to optimize your product and business marketing on your feed, without having to blow your budget!

Ready to start? Sign up to Later today and you can begin planning, scheduling and posting all of your Instagram content for free!

The post 9 Free Ways to Market Your Business on Instagram appeared first on Later Blog.

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Is your Instagram in need of a little love right now?

It’s only February and businesses are already finding new and creative ways to enrich the lives of their followers. Dreamy aesthetics, creative content, and strategic stories are seriously catching our eye.

So here it goes: roses are red, violets are blue… here’s some Instagram inspo we’ve picked out for you!

Instagram Inspo #1: Supergoop’s Super-Cool Content Strategy

This year, skincare brands are poised to be cooler than ever — and Supergoop is making sure that includes UV protection.

The popular sunscreen brand has continued to shine on Instagram this year — and it looks like a lot of people are noticing (just check out their tagged posts)! The brand has nearly doubled its following in a year and developed quite the cult-following:

Their feed and Instagram Stories are filled with customer reviews, skincare tips from the pros and product demos. They even recently hosted a sleepover at the Nomad Hotel in Los Angeles, where influencers gathered for a day of selfies and self-care:

Supergoop has captured the essence of “cool,” making sunscreen a must-have no matter where you live. If you’re looking to grow your following this year and built a community of brand evangelists, you’ll definitely want to take notes from Supergoop. 

Instagram Inspo #2: Ritual Vitamins’ Engaging & Interactive Stories

When it comes to brand strategy, Ritual has it down to a science. From their brand messaging to their Instagram aesthetic, they leave no questions as to who they are or what they do.

The popular vitamin brand uses Instagram to showcase customer testimonials, health tips, product features and more, giving their audience an opportunity to really know the brand inside and out:

Ritual also uses Instagram Stories to their full advantage, creating weekly segments and using interactive stickers to connect with their audience. Their stories are seriously engaging, too. By making use of Instagram’s interactive stickers and creative tools, they’ve built a direct line to their followers and found a way to keep them tapping for more:

Ritual has even created their own set of Instagram Stories GIFs! This is a great way to draw attention to important elements in your Instagram Stories, like a call-to-action or the swipe-up button. You can access Ritual’s GIFs by simply searching “ritual”:

Check out our post, How to Create Your Own Instagram Stories GIFs to learn how to create your own branded GIFs!

TIP: Using Instagram Stories is one of the best ways to grow your following in 2019! If you want to learn how you can grow your business with Instagram Stories, watch our free 45 minute video course to create a strategy behind your stories:

Instagram Inspo #3: The Sill’s One-Stop Shopping Experience

If you’ve ever experienced plant envy while scrolling through your feed, you’re not alone. Direct-to-consumer brand, The Sill, has made a career of wow-ing their audience with gorgeous shots of household plants (which you can shop directly from the app!).

Their carefully curated UGC, creative product shots, and perfectly on-brand Instagram Stories will leave you feeling inspired to make your home a little more “green.”

If you don’t have product tagging set up for your profile yet, check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping to help you get started!  

If you’re worried about your green thumb (or lack-thereof), don’t worry! They’ve also created Instagram Stories Highlights full of care tips, myths, and best practices to help keep your new purchases alive:  

TIP: By treating your Instagram profile like a landing page for all things related to your brand, you can create Instagram Stories Highlights that share your most important information with your audience. And because your highlights are up indefinitely, you can continue to drive traffic and sales with your stories long after they’ve been posted!

 

Instagram Inspo #4: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s Up-Close and Personal Approach

You may not want to look at this one if you’re hungry — Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s mouth-watering feed is nothing short of delicious. Their colorful, creamy feed shows-off their variety of flavors, creative recipes, and shares what makes them great:

And the best part? You can shop their delicious ice cream right from their feed! Jeni’s shoppable Instagram posts make it easy to shop your favorite flavor directly from the app:

While many brands are still hesitant to jump on the trend, Jeni’s has even made their way onto IGTV to give their followers a look at new products, in-person events, and have a chance to get to know Jeni, the queen of ice cream, herself:

TIP: Don’t be afraid to give your followers a look behind the brand. Your audience is much more likely to form a deeper connection with your business if they know the personalities behind your brand!

Instagram Inspo #5: Marine Layer’s Mission For Good

Did you know the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing per year? Neither did we!

That’s why clothing brand Marine Layer has introduced a new program called Re-Spun, a revolutionary recycling program that’ll give your old tees a new life. Re-spun makes it easy to donate your old tees (you even get a $5 credit per tee), which they deconstruct and then re-spin into new, recycled tees!

When you click the link in their bio, you’re taken to an engaging landing page where you can submit your mailing address and receive a free prepaid mailer, or get directions to drop your tees off in any of their stores:

To help get the word out, the company is using Instagram to their full advantage — by spreading the message in creative ways on their feed, Instagram Stories, and with influencer marketing:

TIP: It’s important to think about your why  when creating your Instagram marketing strategy. By using Instagram as an outlet to spread their brand mission, Marine Layer is able to draw in new audiences and, ultimately, attract new customers.

Instagram Inspo #6: New York Public Library’s Interactive Instagram Stories Content

The New York Public Library is using Instagram to find new ways to connect with their audience and encourage followers to consume more offline content, by, ironically, bringing it online.

The New York Public Library introduced Insta Novels, a new way to share iconic stories with a new generation. The account includes digitized versions of classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Metamorphosis.

According to Forbes, the library has seen an increase of 100K new followers and over 40K views of their Insta Novel! By considering this “harder to reach” audience that wasn’t present in their following, they were able to re-imagine a new way to deliver their content and grab a younger generation’s attention.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Instagram trends are constantly changing, which could mean that it’s time to look hard at your strategy. There’s a good chance your tried and true marketing tactic that worked last year may not have the same effect in 2019.

Instagram Inspo #7: Summer Fridays’ Dreamy Instagram Aesthetic

Summer Fridays, the popular face masks created by bloggers Lauren Gores and Marianna Hewitt, has been all the rage on Instagram since their launch. However, since the launch of their newest product, the R+R mask, their feed is looking dreamier than ever:

The brand is even taking their new aesthetic off Instagram (but still sharing it on their feed, of course) by creating a real-life pop up where fans can snap a pic and experience the brand IRL:

The pop up has encouraged their followers to head out to Rodeo Drive and snap a shot in the beautiful phone booth. As you can see, it’s getting quite a bit of attention, too — with new posts being tagged with #ineedsomeRR every day:

TIP: Don’t forget to connect with your customers IRL! This year, brands are taking things offline and popping up in unexpected places to connect with their followers. By inviting your followers to come out and interact with your brand, you’re not only creating a stronger relationship with them, but also creating opportunities to connect with a new audience who may not know you yet.

Instagram Inspo #8: Outdoor Voices’ Inspiring UGC and Brand Voice

If you’re having trouble sticking to your fitness resolutions, you’ll want to take a look at Outdoors Voices’ Instagram profile.

They’ve built a loyal community of followers who love to show off their favorite products while they’re out #DoingThings. The brand’s UGC is seriously inspiring, and encourages followers to get moving and have some fun:

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Responding to your Instagram DMs is about to get easier, faster, and more efficient!

Facebook just announced that it’s rolling out the ability to receive and respond to Instagram DMs from your Facebook Page Inbox! 

In the coming weeks, Facebook Page admins will be able to manage all of their Messenger and Instagram Direct messages from a single, unified location. Which is great news if you’re managing conversations and engaging with your audiences across both platforms!

Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook’s new Pages inbox:

How to Respond to Instagram DMs on Facebook

With Facebook’s new unified Pages inbox, you’ll be able to respond to messages from both Facebook Messenger and Instagram!

For the time being, the new Pages inbox is only being rolled out to businesses in the United States and Brazil.

Once you get access to the feature, you’ll see options for both “Messenger” and “Instagram Direct” when you open your Facebook Pages inbox.

The new unified inbox will also be available on mobile through the Pages Manager app, making it easier to respond to messages even when you’re on the go!

Need some advice on how to manage your Instagram DMs more efficiently? Check out 6 tips on how to manage your Instagram DMs!

What Facebook’s New Pages Inbox Means for Businesses 

Receiving a healthy influx of direct messages on Instagram and Facebook is a great indication that your audience is engaged with your brand and the content that you’re posting.

But splitting your attention between both Facebook and Instagram messaging platforms (and other platforms too!) can be time-consuming and difficult to monitor. Now, you’ll be able to quickly respond to comments and inquiries from a single location! 

This is sure to speed up your workflow and facilitate better communication with your audience — especially during busy times like sales events and promotions.

But beyond saving you time and energy, Facebook’s integration of Messenger and Instagram Direct also hints at (potentially) bigger things to come.

The New York Times recently reported on Facebook’s goal to build a deeper integration between Instagram Direct, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp — possibly bringing all three under a single roof.

While the plan is still in its early phases (according to Zuckerberg, they’re still a year or more away from completion), Facebook’s new unified Pages inbox might be the first step in that process.

Plus, Facebook recently announced that it was beta testing the ability to view your Instagram Account analytics directly on Facebook — a big move that could signal that Facebook is planning to invest even more into analytics in 2019. Watch this space!

What do you think of Facebook’s new unified inbox? Let us know in the comments!

Want to stay up-to-date on Instagram in 2019? Subscribe to the Later newsletter to get the latest Instagram features and trends right to your inbox:

The post You Can Finally Reply to Instagram Direct Messages from Your Desktop appeared first on Later Blog.

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Later Blog by Nikki Canning - 1w ago

Wondering how to manage Instagram DMs without spending your whole day on the app? You’ve come to the right place!

As your account grows, you’ll naturally see an increase of Direct Messages in your Instagram inbox, and that’s great! It’s a sign your audience is engaged and looking to spark a conversation with your brand.

So to help you stay on top of your inbox, we’re sharing 6 tips to manage Instagram DMs without stress and build stronger relationships with your audience!

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #1: Set Your Tone and Style for Your Replies

Knowing how to say something is just as important as knowing what to say!

And when it comes to your Instagram DMs, you need to make sure your tone of voice reflects the overall Instagram aesthetic and style of your profile.

So whether that tone is formal or fun, it’s important to maintain a consistent tone across every message. And if you have a larger team and multiple people managing Instagram DMs on your profile, make sure everyone is aware of the chosen style, or have an editorial guide to help explain how to respond.

Once your tone is set, then you can decide whether you can take advantage of Instagram’s playful DM features like GIFs, and of course emojis!

We’re big fans of using GIFs in our Instagram Stories, feed posts, and sometimes when we respond to followers’ DMs. And what we’ve noticed is that people love sending one back!

It’s a great way to build a stronger relationship with your followers and inject a little bit of fun to an otherwise basic response.

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #2: Set Aside Time Every Day to Reply to Your DMs

It goes without saying that Instagram is a pretty fast-paced world and your Instagram DMs should follow suit.

It’s really important that you don’t leave your followers waiting when it comes to DMs, so set aside time every day to open your inbox and respond.

Once you get into a routine, you’ll easily be able to pop in and respond to all your messages without having those unopened messages build up! 

Don’t worry if a follower has asked a question that you can’t respond to immediately. Just let them know that you’re looking into it for them, or you’re getting in touch with the right team who can help them.

They’ll appreciate the immediate response and will be patient knowing that their message has been read and is being looked into.

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #3: Use the Filter Function to Organize Your Inbox

Once you’ve set aside time every day to check your Instagram inbox, using the new Filter function, will really help you organize your messages and your time spent replying.

The filter button, on the top right-hand corner of your DM inbox, can easily arrange your message in order of Unread or Flagged (we explain how to flag a message in Tip #5 as it’s really useful for managing your messages!). 

Once you set your filter, Instagram will show you only the unread or previously flagged messages in your inbox, making it even easier to respond and manage your DMs!

It’s a good idea to start your day, or at whatever time you’ve decided to dedicate to DMs, by filtering your messages to unread. That way, you’ll only see the messages that are yet to be opened in your inbox (including responses you may have received to messages you’ve already opened, and replied to!) and you’ll quickly and easily be able to read and respond.

Once you’ve opened all your unread messages, Instagram will let you know you’re all caught up!

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #4: Create Quick Replies

If your business uses Instagram as a customer service tool, you could find that your followers are regularly asking similar questions like “hey, what time do you open?” or “when will this be back in stock?”

It’s so important to respond quickly when it comes to Instagram DMs, so to help you speed up the process, you can create quick replies!

And there are two ways to do this:

Firstly, Instagram has created a Quick Replies feature that allows you to create messages for your most frequently asked questions!

To create a quick reply, you’ll need to open your profile and tap the button with three lines in the top-right corner of the screen. This will open the sidebar menu where you can access your Instagram settings.

From here, tap the settings button and scroll down to Business Settings. Here you should see an option for Quick Replies.

Then tap the “+” button in the top-right corner to create a new quick reply.

Once you’re happy, tap the Save button in the top-right corner. Don’t worry, you can still edit and update your reply once it’s saved!

Now when you want to use your quick reply, all you have to do is type the shortcut you created earlier in your response. This should cause a blue Quick Replies button to appear in the message box.

When you tap that button, the message you wrote earlier as your quick reply will automatically appear! Easy peasy!

This can really help speed up the replying process and answer your most frequently asked questions without hassle!

If you manage multiple social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter for example, and you’re seeing similar questions appear on those channels too, you may want to create your own quick replies from your phone settings.

For iOS users, you can easily set “canned responses” using your keyboard settings so you can easily reply, regardless of where your DM came from!  

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your Instagram settings and select “General” and then “Keyboard” and “Text Replacement”
  • From here, you’ll see a list of pre-populated keyboard shortcuts. Click the + sign in the upper right-hand corner
  • In the “Phrase” section, type the generic response you would like to create, for example: “Hi there! We’re open from 9 am to 6 pm every day. Pop in when you can!”
  • In the “Shortcut” section, type a word or abbreviation that will represent that full phrase, like “IGopening”

Now anytime you want to use that specific comment, type out your shortcut and your phone will automatically create the full phrase!

Looking for an easier way to manage all your social platforms? With Later, you can plan, schedule, and post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all from the same place!

 

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #5: Flag DMs That You Can’t Respond to Immediately

Sometimes a question may come in that you’ll need to check with the wider team or research before responding.

Don’t let these messages get lost in your inbox and forget to reply!

Instead, reply to your follower straight away to acknowledge their message – a simple “Thanks for reaching out! We’re just checking on this for you, and will be back in touch by the end of the day!” can help set expectations and let your follower know you’re working on their query.

Then, you can use the Flag message feature to highlight that it needs your attention. It acts as a good reminder to come back to it later.

To do this, open a message that you would like to highlight, and tap the flag icon in the top right corner of your screen.

This will then appear with a small orange tag in your inbox so it’s easy to find again!

Just like using the Filter function to sort your inbox by unread, it’s also a good idea to finish your day by filtering your messages by flagged messages. That way, all your important messages can be easily found and you’ll be able to see which messages are still waiting for a reply!

Once you’ve responded to your message, you can remove the flag simply by tapping the flag icon in the top right corner of the screen again. The message will stay in your inbox, but this time without the orange highlight!

Flagging messages is also a great tool if multiple team members are managing your DMs — they can quickly see where you left off and what still needs to be addressed!

How to Manage Instagram DMs Tip #6: Don’t Forget About Comments

Don’t forget that your Instagram comments are another way for your followers to reach out to you, so you need to respond to any questions there too!

Plus, the more comments on your posts, the more the Instagram algorithm identifies it as interesting content, and will more than likely favor it when it comes to positioning your post in your follower’s feed. So if you can build a conversation with comments, you’re going to help your engagement rate too!

If you set up quick replies using your phone’s keyboard this can really help you save time responding to more generic queries. But even a simple like on a comment, quick emoji response or “thank you!” can go a long way to building stronger relationships with your followers!

You can also manage your Instagram comments with Later! From your Later dashboard on the web, you’ll be able to view, respond to and delete comments to stay engaged with your followers!

When it comes to building a stronger relationship with your followers, taking the time to manage Instagram DMs really does pay off!

Spend some time actioning some of these tips this week and you’ll never leave a follower on read again!

Looking for more advice on how to manage your Instagram account? Join 1 million+ others and subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the best Instagram strategy and marketing tips & tricks!

The post How to Manage Instagram DMs appeared first on Later Blog.

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Are you wondering how to plan Instagram content in advance, without spending hours at your laptop? You’re not alone!

For busy brands and businesses trying to leave their mark on Instagram, finding time to prepare, schedule, strategize, and optimize your Instagram content can be very difficult.

Luckily, there are several ways to streamline your process and save time while planning Instagram posts and stories!

Ready to win back some time? Check out these top tips on how to plan Instagram content for your feed!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #1: Curate Your Instagram Feed 2-3 Weeks in Advance

While there’s no right or wrong way to plan your content, making sure your Instagram feed is planned in advance is non-negotiable in our eyes!

Creating a cohesive Instagram aesthetic for your feed is one of the best things you can do to level-up your strategy, boost your engagement, and gain more followers. And if you really want to deliver a feed that wows, you need to start thinking in ‘grid’ format and start planning your Instagram posts about 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

This way, you’ll be able to easily see what your images look like side by side, on top of and below one another, and even diagonally across. What’s important is that you start looking at your feed from all angles, so you can easily plan what and when to post to Instagram.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with a tool like Later’s Visual Planner. It allows you to quickly drag and drop your photos and videos around your feed so you can select the layout that looks best. Plus, once you’re happy with the way your future feed looks, you can automatically schedule the posts on your calendar, so posting to Instagram is one step closer!

 
Just remember: when you’re planning this far in advance, you want to give your schedule a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to unforeseen events that couldn’t be anticipated.

When you start planning your Instagram posts in advance, you’re giving yourself much more time to edit and be selective in your content to curate your feed. All this planning in advance will result in a far more professional, curated, and aesthetically pleasing feed, which will definitely draw in more followers!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #2: Craft Your Captions Before Publishing

The story you tell on Instagram is just as important as the images and videos you use, so it’s worth spending time crafting your captions.

Today, Instagram users want to hear more about the brands and businesses they follow — they’re curious about the behind-the-scenes, the personalities behind the brand, as well as your product info! So when it comes to planning your Instagram posts, you need to allow yourself enough time to write and edit your captions.

Plus, by giving yourself some editing time, you’re more likely to catch any typos or errors that might have slipped through the net in your first round of writing. So you’ll be able to deliver even more professional and engaging captions that can tell the story of your brand.  

If you use Later, you can write and edit your captions in advance, and save them with your posts ahead of schedule. So even if you’ve scheduled a post for 3 weeks’ time, you can still jump in and make changes to your copy!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #3: Manage Collaborators All in One Place

If you regularly post user-generated content (UGC), or if you work with photographers to populate your feed, keeping track of all the media for your Instagram page can be hard.

And if you find yourself juggling multiple media sources, you run the risk of posting the same image twice or scrambling to get images from your contributors and collaborators at the last minute. And that’s one stress you can live without!

Last year, Later created Contributors, a brand new media submissions tool to help streamline your process for collecting photos and videos for Instagram from your photographers, influencers, or other sources!

If you’re managing multiple Instagram profiles, as well as contributors, this tool really is a huge time saver and a great way to project manage your account!

With our new Contributors feature, you can share a link with your photographers, influencers, or anyone who contributes to your content, who will be able to upload photos and videos directly into a content library for your Instagram.



You can then accept the content you like, and it will go straight into your Later media library to make it easy to schedule to your social profiles.

Contributors is available now on all Later business plans, starting at $19/month.

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #4: Plan and Schedule Your Instagram Stories

With 400 million daily users and the launch of IGTV, there’s no denying video content is taking over Instagram.

And while Instagram Stories posts are suited to behind-the-scenes content and spontaneous posting, that doesn’t mean you can be slack with the planning!

To plan and schedule your Instagram Stories, you might want to consider creating a test Instagram account to see how your stories flow and appear on the screen for your users.

You might be able to spot text placement errors — like when the text runs off the screen or is hidden by your profile’s username in the top-right corner.

Plus, if you use Instagram templates to create the layout for your stories or use apps like Over or Canva to create your stories content, you’ll be able to easily plan and tailor your content before it goes live on your feed.

And ICYMI: We have a huge-time saving solution!

You can now schedule your Instagram Stories with Later! So just like you would with posts, you can upload your stories to the media library, plan your content calendar and schedule your Instagram Stories to go live at the times you want!

Then you can step away from your phone or laptop knowing you’ve got awesome content ready to go live, at the times you’ve selected! Check out our video below to learn how to schedule Instagram Stories with Later.

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #5: Stay Ahead of the Trends with a Social Calendar

While you may have key dates in mind to roll out campaigns for your brand or business, it’s important to plan for global, national, and social media events too.

No one wants to miss out on an international celebration or social media holiday that will dominate Instagram feeds around the world thanks to a trending hashtag!

And there are so many ways you can incorporate the social holiday into your content and feed. For example, you may think #NationalDonutDay may not be directly related to your brand if you run a homewares business. But with a bit of forward planning, a curated image of donuts on your tablewares could find itself on the Explore page if you use the right hashtags!

Once again, it’s all in the planning!

One way to stay ahead of the game is to spend time researching and collecting all the national and international events that you could leverage for your Instagram campaign. Or you could download Later’s 2019 Social Calendar and save yourself some more time!

From #NationalDonutDay to #InternationalCoffeeDay, our calendar highlights all the important dates to mark in your Instagram content calendar. And it’s completely free!

Did you know that there’s now an easy way to keep track of these dates and special events in your Later content calendar? 

With Later’s new calendar notes feature, all you have to do is right-click anywhere in your calendar to create a new note. Here, you can insert reminders or notes about upcoming dates so you’ll have them handy and viewable when you’re scheduling!

You can add calendar notes for upcoming product releases, social holidays, campaigns, Instagram Lives, or just use them as reminders for yourself or your team!

Calendar notes is available on all Later Business plans starting at $19/month, and you can learn more about how to use them here.

Planning Instagram Posts Tip #6: Know Your Best Time to Post

If you’re taking your Instagram strategy seriously (which we know you are!), you’ll have put a lot of time and effort into creating great content for your feed.

But you want to make sure this awesome content is actually reaching your audience. That’s why finding your personalized best time to post on Instagram is so important!

There are two ways you can do this:

Firstly, visit your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar-chart icon on the top right of your profile page. Here you’ll find all the analytics for your account and you’ll want to look under the Audience tab.

Under the Followers section, you’ll find a breakdown on the times of day and the days of the week when your audience is most active. The windows where you see spikes in activity is when you want to schedule your posts!

Alternatively, you can use Later’s Best Time to Post feature, which automatically calculates your top 7 posting times for the most engagement. It takes all the guesswork out of figuring out your best time to post completely!

Your best times to post are displayed in your content calendar, and you can then create time slots, so that your posts will automatically be scheduled for your best times – saving you from having to choose the time and date over and over again for every post.

When it comes to Instagram marketing and building a content calendar for your feed, it can start to feel overwhelming. But with some planning and time-saving hacks in place, you’ll soon get ahead of the game!

Try out some of these tips the next time you’re working on your Instagram feed and you’ll soon start to see the difference in your profile’s performance, engagement and growth rate!

Ready to get organized and plan out your Instagram content in advance? Start scheduling with Later, the #1 Instagram marketing platform trusted by over 2 million businesses! Sign up now – it’s free

The post How to Plan Instagram Content: 6 Tips for Captions, Stories, & More! appeared first on Later Blog.

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If you’re just getting started with Facebook Stories, one of the best ways to hit the ground running is to repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories.

If you’re looking to test Facebook Stories for your brand, re-using the content that you’re already creating for Instagram Stories is a great place to start.

Plus it’s super easy to do!

Ready to get started? In the following post, we look at 3 different ways that you can repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories:

What is the Difference Between Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories?

While Facebook Stories hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success as Instagram Stories, it’s still proving to be a huge asset for businesses looking to grow their organic reach and stand out from their competitors.

Unfortunately, a lot of brands and businesses are still at a loss when it comes to using Facebook Stories.

Do Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories work the same way? Do they have the same tools and features? Can you repost the same content to both channels?

While we definitely think it’s important to create original content for Facebook Stories, you can and should repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook, especially when you just start starting out!

Here are the differences between Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories:

Instagram Stories vs. Facebook Stories #1: User Interface

Save a few minor differences, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have a pretty similar user interface.

When you open the Facebook Stories camera, you’ll find options for Live video, Boomerang, Normal and Video on Facebook Stories (only Type, Superzoom, Rewind, and Hands-Free are missing).

Both allow you to add AR filters to your photos and videos, although Facebook actually edges Instagram out in this field.

Whereas Instagram Stories offers around 50 different filters (not including the custom branded AR filters you can access by following accounts like Kylie Cosmetics and Off-White), Facebook has over 100.

Both channels let you upload photos and videos from your phone’s gallery — including ones that are older than 24 hours. But Facebook Stories doesn’t allow you to upload multiple photos and videos at once, which you can do on Instagram Stories. 

On the viewer’s side, you can leave a comment, DM and share both kinds of stories. Instagram Stories lets you reply with a story, while Facebook Stories features a “Follow” call-to-action on the stories of accounts you don’t follow yet.

Instagram Stories vs. Facebook Stories #2: Features & Creative Tools

When it comes to tools and features to customize your stories, Facebook Stories is a bit more limited than Instagram. At the moment, they only offer location stickers, time stickers, GIF stickers, name stickers, and poll stickers.  

As for drawing tools, Instagram Stories also come out ahead, offering several different pen styles while Facebook Stories limits you to two.

Instagram and Facebook Stories both offer 5 different fonts. And despite having different names, they’re actually quite similar.

When it comes to filters and backgrounds, Facebook Stories definitely takes the prize.

While Instagram Stories offers 12 different filters, Facebook Stories has dozens of user-created backgrounds, filters, and effects that you can apply to your stories — something that isn’t currently available on Instagram.

Instagram Stories vs. Facebook Stories #3: Stories Insights

Finally, let’s talk about analytics. Both Instagram and Facebook collect insights about your stories, but the amount and quality are quite different. 

In your Instagram Insights, you can find metrics for impressions, link clicks, exits, calls, profile visits, replies, shares, and a whole lot more.

Facebook Stories, on the other hand, only displays a limited amount of insights about your story’s performance — and they can only be accessed from the desktop version of Facebook. These include unique story opens, forward taps, backward taps, forward swipes, and exits.

Alright, now that we’ve covered the differences between Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, let’s look at how you can repurpose your stories content for both channels!

How to Repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories

With all of the above in mind, it’s actually really easy to share Instagram Stories to Facebook. Here are three different ways to do it: 

Option #1: Automatically Cross-Post Your Instagram Stories to Facebook

The easiest way to repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook is to simply use Instagram’s built-in sharing tools. Just know that in order to share your story to Facebook, you first need to link your Instagram account to Facebook in your settings.

Once you’ve linked your accounts, open your Story Controls in your Instagram settings:

Now tap the switch next to Share Your Story to Facebook. And voila! All your future Instagram Stories will also be shared as Facebook Stories.

By automatically sharing your stories to Facebook, that means that you can schedule to both Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories using Later’s Instagram Stories Scheduler, saving you even more time!

Note: If you have over 10,000 Instagram followers, this might not be the right option for you if you’re posting a lot of “Swipe Up” content, because your CTAs may not carry over to Facebook Stories if you don’t have the ability to add links.

Option #2: Manually Re-Share Your Instagram Stories to Facebook

A second option is to save your Instagram Stories to your device and then manually publish them to Facebook Stories.

It’s a little more time-consuming, but it’s a good alternative if you don’t want to automatically republish all of your Instagram Stories to Facebook.

Right before you publish an Instagram story, tap the download icon at the top of the screen. This will save your story to your device’s camera roll.

Note: Keep in mind that any interactive elements on your Instagram story (like poll stickers, hashtags, and more) won’t work when you share it on Facebook. So if you plan on adding any stickers to your story, it’s best to download the story from Instagram before you do so — that way, you can add a sticker to the story in Facebook instead!

Next, open the Facebook app and swipe up to open your saved photos and videos.

Now you just have to select the story you just shared and you’re all set to publish to Facebook Stories!

Option #3: Use Instagram Stories Templates to Easily Repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories

A lot of brands and businesses use apps like Canva to create Instagram Stories templates

These templates are basically pre-made layouts with graphics, text, or animations that you can edit to fit each new story. 

If you’re going after a specific look with your stories, using Instagram Stories templates is a great way to build a more consistent and unified brand aesthetic.

Another big benefit to using Instagram Stories templates is that you can easily repurpose the content you create for Facebook Stories as well!

All you have to do is download your story from the design app that you use (Canva and Adobe Photoshop are both popular options).

And then open the photo in Facebook Stories like you normally would.

And that’s about it! Cross-posting your Instagram Stories to Facebook is super easy to do, and it’s a great way to build an audience on Facebook Stories while you’re still learning the ropes!

Are you repurposing Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to grow your business on Instagram and Facebook in 2019? Schedule your photos with Later – it’s free!

The post How to Repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook Stories appeared first on Later Blog.

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Love them or hate them, Facebook Stories are set to be big in 2019.

In fact, Facebook Stories is on track to beat Snapchat with 150 million daily active users, according to data from Facebook!

That’s a huge, active audience that your brand should be reaching out to and building a community around.

With easy-to-use features, a prime viewing location on Facebook’s News Feed, and ample opportunity to promote your brand and business to new audiences, now’s the time to tap into Facebook Stories as a valuable marketing resource for your brand!

Ready to jump on board with Facebook Stories? Here’s everything you need to know to get started:

Table of Contents:
  1. Why Use Facebook Stories for Business
  2. How to Use Facebook Stories for Business
  3. Creating Content for Facebook Stories
  4. Using Facebook Stories’ Creative Tools
  5. Sharing Your Facebook Stories
  6. Tracking Your Facebook Stories Analytics
  7. How to Create a Facebook Stories Strategy for Your Business
  8. What to Post to Facebook Stories
  9. How Often to Post to Facebook Stories
  10. When to Post to Facebook Stories
Why Use Facebook Stories for Business

When Facebook first announced that it was creating a native stories tool in late-2016, everyone was a little bit surprised. Especially because Facebook just launched Instagram Stories a few months earlier!

Fast-forward to May 2018, and Facebook Stories has managed to draw-in over 150 million daily active users — just 40 million shy of Snapchat’s 191 million daily active users.  

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

With no signs of slowing down, we think it’s definitely time to start creating and sharing content on Facebook Stories!

For brands and businesses, Facebook’s organic reach continues to decrease. A frustrating trend that’s only likely to continue thanks to Facebook announcing that they’re de-prioritization marketing content on people’s News Feeds.

But the good news is that Facebook Stories could be the best opportunity for brands to grow their engagement, build brand awareness, and strengthen their relationship with their Facebook audience. 

And a lot of it has to do with where Facebook Stories are located.

Unlike regular Facebook posts, which appear on people’s feeds, Facebook Stories are displayed right at the top of the Facebook app. So when one of your followers opens their profile, your stories will be the first thing they see! 

This is prime real estate for businesses trying to catch their audience’s attention.

And while user adoption rates for Facebook Stories are growing, the number is still low enough that you can stand out from competitors and grow your organic reach!

Plus: It’s super easy to cross-post your Instagram Stories to Facebook! Meaning that if you’re already sharing stories on Instagram, the transition to Facebook should be a pretty easy one.

So if you have great content on Instagram Stories, with minimal effort, you can begin to share it with your Facebook community.

At the end of the day, Facebook Stories presents a new way to share fun and lighthearted content that’s more likely reach your target audience — so it’s definitely worth investing in if you haven’t already!

How to Use Facebook Stories for Business

If you’ve ever shared a story on Instagram, the process is almost the exact same for Facebook Stories — except for the first step.

Whereas anyone can create a story on Instagram, if you’re a business, you need to create a Facebook Page before you can start sharing stories with your audience.

There are a few other differences between Instagram and Facebook Stories — we’ll discuss these a little later on. But for now, let’s jump into a step-by-step guide to setting up for Facebook Stories for business:

Step #1: Create a Facebook Page

In order to share Facebook Stories as a business, you must be the admin or editor of a Facebook Page. (If you already have an active Facebook Page for your business, feel free to skip to step 2).

Start by clicking here to create a Facebook Page and select a category for your business.

Next, you’ll be prompted to give your page a name (if you’re a business, it’s best to use the actual name of your business) and provide more details, like your address, phone number, and more.

Once you’ve submitted the required information, you can pick a profile picture and cover photo for your page.

And that’s it!

Step #2: Getting Started with Facebook Stories

With your Facebook Page live, you can immediately get started with stories!

Unlike Instagram Stories which can only be shared from the mobile Instagram app, you can create and share Facebook Stories from your computer, the Facebook app, Facebook Lite, and even the Facebook Messenger app!

We recommend using the Facebook app for creating and sharing your stories — it offers more options and tools than Facebook’s desktop version.

When you share a photo or video to your Facebook story, it can be viewed in the stories section at the top of your friends’ or followers’ News Feed on Facebook and in a row at the top of your Messenger inbox.

And like Instagram, your Facebook Stories will be visible to your selected audience for 24 hours.

Once you’ve downloaded the Facebook app and signed into your account, tap the hamburger button (three horizontal lines) in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Here you can select the Facebook Page that you’re creating stories for.

To get started with Facebook Stories, you can either tap the ellipsis button in the top-right corner of the screen, which will open several options including Open Camera.

You can also scroll down to find the Your Page’s Story section and tap the Add to Your Story button, which will also open the Facebook camera. However, if you follow this option, you won’t be able to access the Live or Video shooting options.

Step #3: Creating Content for Facebook Stories

Let’s start by reviewing the Facebook Stories camera and the creative features you get access to.

The great thing is that, save a few differences, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have a very similar user interface. So if you’ve ever created and shared a story on Instagram before, you shouldn’t have much trouble adapting to Facebook Stories.

1. Front and Rear-Facing Camera  

Like Instagram Stories, you can switch from front-facing camera to rear-facing camera and vice-versa by tapping the flip-camera button.

Unlike Instagram, however, you can actually change camera views while you’re recording! This is a great little feature that can help you add context to your story and easily swap in and out of selfie mode!

2. Lighting Settings

You can select from three different lighting settings when creating a story for Facebook: flash on (the lightning bolt icon), flash off (the moon and x icon), and low-lighting settings (the moon and cloud icon).

3. Camera Settings

Tapping the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen will open your Camera Settings — although they shouldn’t really call it “camera setting” since you’re only given one setting option:  the ability automatically save the content you create to your device.

You can also tap the “Something isn’t working” if you run into a problem.

4. Face Filters

Facebook has invested a lot into AR (“Augmented Reality”) Filters in the past year. And while we’ve already discussed the impact it’s made on Instagram, they’re actually way more advanced on Facebook!

Facebook currently offers dozens of user-created filters for stories. All you have to do is tap the smiley face icon and you can scroll through all of the options.

Note: Like Instagram, in order to access some branded AR filters, you first need to follow the account that created the filter.

5. Uploading Pre-recorded Content

You can also upload a previously taken photo or video from your camera roll by either tapping the photo icon in the bottom-right corner or by swiping up on the screen.

6. Facebook Stories Recording Options

Facebook currently offers four different recording options: Normal, Video, Boomerang, and Live.

With Normal, you can tap the record button to take a photo. Or you can press and hold the button to take a video up to 20 seconds in length.

If you select the Video mode, you can tap the record button once to start a video and tap again to stop it.

The Boomerang option works just like it does on Instagram. All you need to do is tap the record button to stitch together a burst of photos to create a short animation that plays forward and backward.

And Live! Just like Instagram, when you select the Live option, you’ll be prompted to start a live video broadcast that your followers can tune into.

Step #4: Using Facebook Stories’ Creative Tools

After you’ve recorded a photo or video, you can use multiple creative tools to make your Facebook story even more awesome — like stickers, text, drawing tools, effects, and backgrounds!

And while Facebook Stories doesn’t offer quite as many tools as Instagram Stories, there’s still a ton you can do. For example, you can use name stickers to highlight other accounts or poll sticker to gather feedback from your audience about your products.

You can also tap the magic wand icon in the bottom-left corner to access dozens of cool effects and animations.

Facebook also recently released a new set of CTA stickers for Pages that make it easier for people to interact with your stories, whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Call Now,” “Book Now,” or “Get Directions.”

Unfortunately, Instagram’s “swipe up” feature that lets you drive traffic to a specific URL is currently missing from Facebook’s arsenal of stories tools. But we expect clickable links to make their way onto the channel in 2019!

Step #5: Sharing Your Facebook Stories

Once you’re done adding some creative touches to your story, you can easily save it to your device (this will happen automatically if you toggled this option on earlier), share it to your News Feed and page’s story, or share it with individual followers.

Step #6: Tracking Your Facebook Stories Analytics  

There are a few ways to track the performance of your Facebook Stories.

The first option is to navigate to one of your active stories and tap the eye icon in the bottom left-hand corner. This will pull up a list of people who viewed your story.

You can also see stats on how your Page’s stories are performing once you turn on your Facebook Stories Insights. To do this, head to your Page on desktop and click on Insights at the top.

In the left column, click Stories and then click “Turn On.”

Now when you return to your Insights (which can also be accessed from the Facebook mobile app), you’ll be able to see more information about:

  • Publish Date: When an admin or editor of your Page created the story.
  • Story Items: A thumbnail of what your Page’s story looks like.
  • Status: If the status of your Page’s story is active, it means that an admin or editor of your Page created the story in the last 24 hours and it’s still
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Knowing what Instagram metrics to track can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the world of Instagram analytics.

But you can expect a big payoff once you jump in!

Instagram analytics help you better understand your audience’s likes, dislikes, and behaviors online. Plus, you’ll be able to identify actionable changes for your brand’s Instagram strategy based on the picture your analytics paints.

To help make it easier, we’re sharing the top 5 Instagram metrics to track to improve your Instagram strategy and performance:

Instagram Metrics to Track #1: Engagement Rate

Your Instagram engagement rate is a key indicator of how well your audience is responding to your content. If your followers are liking, commenting, and sharing your content, your engagement rate will show it!

But how do you calculate your engagement rate?

The verdict is still out on the definitive answer to this question as every social media manager, analysts, and Instagram tool has a slightly different way of doing things. But the general consensus is that, overall, it’s related to this calculation:

Divide your total number of likes and comments by your follower count, and then multiply by 100 to give you a percentage.

But the good news is that if you use Later, your engagement rate is automatically calculated for you. So you can put down the calculator and easily get a snapshot of all your best performing content!

Keeping track of your engagement rate for your posts is one of the easiest ways to identify what type of content resonates the most with your audience. And if you can pinpoint what works best for them, you can integrate that type of content more into your calendar and strategy.

Instagram Metrics to Track #2: Best Time to Post

Did you know that you could be losing followers and hindering your engagement rate simply by posting at the wrong time?

It’s such an easy change to your Instagram strategy that could make a huge difference to your account’s growth!

But don’t fret, Later has analyzed over 12 million Instagram posts to come up with the best times to post!

Of course, every account will be slightly different depending on your business and your audience, but it’s good to use this data as a starting point and then really focus in on the best time to post for your followers.

You can do this is two ways:

Firstly, take a look at your Instagram Insights. Under the Audience tab, you’ll find a breakdown of when your followers are most active online broken down by days of the week, and times of day.

Secondly, you can use your Later Analytics to hone in on your audience’s behaviors. Your Later analytics dashboard has a super-detailed breakdown of when your audience is online and you can use that info to tailor your Instagram publishing calendar.

Or you can remove the guesswork completely and use Later’s Best Time to Post feature that automatically calculates your top 7 posting times each week based on your audience’s behavior and then displays these times in your content calendar.

Instagram Metrics to Track #3: Reach

If you want to grow your Instagram account this year (who doesn’t, right?) you want to keep track of your reach metrics on Instagram.

Reach rates are the number of unique views your posts, Instagram Stories, video posts, and ads get. It’s a great indicator of whether your account is growing and reaching new audiences.

Not to be confused with your impressions metrics, however. Your impressions rate is the total number of times your post has been seen. This number includes users scrolling by in their feed, clicking through to your business’ profile to view a photo, or viewing content directly through an Instagram Direct Message. So over time, your impressions count may be higher as the same followers see your post multiple times.

To find your reach stats for your posts, start by going to your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar chart icon from your profile page.

From here, navigate to the Content tab and select See All.

Now you’ll be able to filter and break down your content by type (photo, video, shopping, carousel) and by Instagram metrics (in this case, you’ll want to select reach).

You’ll then see a breakdown of your posts in order of which has the best reach metric.

If you’re not seeing improvements in your reach metrics over time, consider looking at your hashtags, captions or if you could be better optimizing your posts with location and mention tagging.

Don’t sweat it if you see some big fluctuations in your reach rates as even small changes to how and when you post could make a real difference. Start experimenting with other strategies to improve your reach, and keep an eye on what post really make that metric spike!

Instagram Metrics to Track #4: Instagram Stories Audience Retention Rates

One of the toughest parts of creating content for Instagram Stories is generating ideas on what will interest your audience. You want to create stories that really resonate with your followers and hold their attention from start to finish.

Once you know what kind of content has your audience hooked, you can better strategize and continue to create content that works for them.

But how can you tell what content performs best?

Again, it all comes down to your Instagram Stories reach metrics, and at what point your posts lost viewers.

If you’re creating content on Instagram Stories — like skincare brand Alpha-H’s Tip Tuesday content series — you’ll want to know how many people watched through to the end.

To help explain how to calculate your metrics, we’re going to call every post that makes up your Instagram story – whether that’s a video, photo, or boomerang post – a ‘slide’. Each slide that’s posted to Instagram will have its own individual metrics. And when you’re posting multiple slides to Instagram Stories that are all related to the same topic, like Alpha-H’s Tip Tuesday, that makes up your overall Instagram story.

So now you can use the metrics for each slide to tell you how your overall story performed in a 24-hour period!

Here’s how to get a clearer picture of your audience retention rates on Instagram Stories:

  1. Calculate your Instagram Stories drop off rate: This is the percentage of people who stopped watching your story somewhere between the first and last slide. Calculate this by taking the reach stat of your first Instagram Stories slide, subtracting the reach metric of your last slide, and then divide by the first slide’s reach. This will give you a percentage of how many people dropped off before reaching the end of your story.
  2. Calculate drop off rate after your first slide: Your first slide in an Instagram Stories series really needs to grab your viewers’ attention, so they want to stay tuned and keep watching! To gauge how engaging that first slide is, you can calculate the percentage of people who stopped watching after just the first slide. To do this, take the reach metric of the first slide, subtract the reach of the second slide, and then divide by the first slide’s reach!
  3. Calculate your Instagram Stories completion rate: This is where it gets interesting — just how many of your viewers stayed till the last slide of your story! Your completion rate in Instagram Stories is a really good indicator of how engaging your content is, whether you’re posting too much or just the right amount, or whether it was the right type of content to captivate your audience! To calculate this, take the reach metric of your last slide and divide it by the reach metric of your first slide!

With these calculations and percentages, you’ll have a benchmark metric to continuously improve your engagement and watch rates of your Instagram Stories.

Instagram Metric to Track #5: Traffic and Sales from Instagram

Instagram shopping is only set to get more popular, thanks to shoppable stickers in posts, Instagram Stories, and even a shopping channel in the Explore page!

When you’re creating content specifically for product posts, you want to make sure you’re tracking what shoppable posts perform the best.

If you can really focus in on what kind of content — whether that’s shoppable Instagram Stories, video posts or carousel product shots — you’ll be able to better tailor your content for your audience in the future.

You can see engagement and tap through metrics on both shopping posts in your feed and Instagram Stories. But we suggest separating out your metrics for Instagram shoppable posts and Instagram Stories so you can clearly identify what type of content works best on each.

To find out more, tap View Insights on a shopping post or swipe up on shopping stories in self-view to see the insights.

From here, you also have the option to sort top shopping posts on various metrics through Insights on your business profile. It really is that easy!

Jumping into the deep end of Instagram analytics is definitely worth it if you want to grow your account and reach new audiences.

But if you’re finding it overwhelming, just focus on these top 5 Instagram metrics to track this year and see how your Instagram strategy and content improves in the future!

Ready to start tracking your Instagram’s progress with analytics? Sign up to Later and explore the Instagram Analytics dashboard!

The post Top 5 Instagram Metrics to Track in 2019 appeared first on Later Blog.

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