How do you get more clicks from Facebook?

We’ve thought about this question lots before. It’s come up in our monthly reports and audits. Facebook marketing is one of the most exciting social media areas we’re eager to improve.

And this month, we may have hit on a strategy that works.

We’re happy to share with you all our latest social media stats and strategies from the last month—including what we’re trying with Facebook—in hopes that it may encourage or inspire some thoughts from you as well! Join us for a look at our trials and errors, experiments and mistakes. And feel free to share any thoughts that come up!

buffer report march

Inside Buffer’s social media marketing stats

Here’re our complete stats from March for each of Buffer’s four major social media profiles. We’re hopeful that the context and background is helpful as you build and analyze your social media strategies. Feel free to shout with any questions!

(All stats are from the past 28 days, and comparisons are made to the 28 days prior.)


We gained 15,288 new followers for a total of 302,183 followers. (Last month, we gained 12,006 new followers.)

We shared 379 tweets (not including #bufferchat and customer happiness) that earned a total of 60,050 total interactions. This was an increase of about 31 interactions per tweet compared to last month.

Out of everyone who saw a tweet, 2 percent of users engaged with the tweet by clicking, retweeting, replying, favoriting, or following the Buffer account.

  • Engagement rate – 2.0% (2.1% last month)
  • Average impressions per tweet – 12,604 (12,769 last month)
  • Average total engagement per tweet – 291 (clicks, retweets, replies, follows, and favorites) (311 last month)
  • Average clicks per tweet – 121 (101 last month)
  • Average retweets per tweet – 26 (28 last month)

If you’re interested in digging deeper into any of these stats, I’m happy to share our .csv of exported Twitter analytics


We gained 829 new page Likes for a total of 35,023 Likes. (We gained 836 new page Likes last month.)

We shared 60 posts that earned 3,946 interactions. This was an increase of 25 interactions per post compared to last month.

An average Facebook post reached 1,825 (1,200 last month). Of these, 1,134 people were fans of our page (700 last month), so each post reached an average of 3.2 percent of our total number of fans (was 2.1 percent last month).

  • Average clicks per post – 51 (+30 from last month)
  • Average likes per post – 10 (-3 from last month)
  • Average comments per post – 1 (-3 from last month)

If you’re interested in digging deeper into any of these stats, I’m happy to share our .csv of exported Facebook analytics


We gained 399 new followers for a total of 4,459 followers. (We gained 236 new followers last month.)

We shared 34 posts that earned a total of 334 interactions. (Very nearly the same interaction/post from last month.)

  • Engagement rate – 1.8%
  • Interactions per post – 10


We gained 43,211 new followers for a total of 735,895 followers. (We gained 51,142 new followers last month.)

We shared 52 posts that earned a total of 1,256 interactions.

  • Interactions per post – 24 (37 last month)
  • Clicks per post – 6 (14 last month)
  • Reshares per post – 4 (same)
  • Plus Ones per post – 13 (17 last month)

Referral traffic to the Buffer blog

march social referrals blog

The above chart shows the top six social referrers to the Buffer Social blog. Not pictured: StumbleUpon, which dropped to number seven after being number four last month. (Pocket and Pinterest each rose compared to last month.)

Referral traffic to the Buffer app

march social referrals app

The above chart shows the social referrer traffic to the Buffer app itself. Blogger (1,215), (800), Quora (725), reddit (688), and WordPress (611) rounded out the top ten.

Inside Buffer’s social media strategies

Along with the stats, I’d love to share a bit about the strategies we’re testing on different social networks. It’d be awesome if you find this helpful or if this sparks any ideas for you. And it’d be great to get your thoughts in the comments on ways we could improve or grow, too!

New style of Facebook messages

We’re excited for the chance to keep pushing ahead with different ways of growing our Facebook reach and engagement.

This month, we found a bit of success on the engagement front, growing our clicks per post on Facebook by more than double—21 clicks to 51 clicks.

Here are a few of the things we’ve done a bit different lately:

1. Share links instead of photos 

It just so happens that our greater number of clicks also correlates to a slight uptick in organic reach. More people are seeing our posts, so more people have the potential to click on them.

Lately, the trends on Facebook have been pointing toward video, statuses, and links, and pointing away from posting photos. Here’s an interesting bit of research from Socialbakers on the best types of posts for organic reach:

SocialBakers study

2. Use hashtags in the posts

Do hashtags work on Facebook? Some studies say no. Others have found that they work in moderation or in specific industries.

We’ve added hashtags to several of our posts this past month, and they’ve been among the most-clicked and most-viewed out of all our updates (see below). If you’ve yet to experiment with hashtags for yourself, it might be worth testing to see what works.

3. Write in a conversational tone—sentence case capitalization, less headline-y text

There is a dizzying array of ways to write a social media update (we counted 71 here). For Facebook, we’ve traditionally taken a headline approach, matching the update text to the posts’s headline or subheads.

This month has been a little different. We’ve tried some more conversational messaging in the updates, using sentence case instead of title case (e.g., “Social media is rad” vs. “Social Media Is Rad”).

Here’s the post that did the best for us in the past 30 days in terms of clicks.

most popular FB posts

Courtney has done a great job at identifying some top areas where we can experiment on Facebook, including video and posting frequency. We’d love to keep you updated on what we find out this month.

Sortable analytics

One of my favorite ways to keep our Buffer queue full is to discover the posts that have done best in the past.

And there’s a super easy way to do this in the Buffer dashboard.

Using the new sortable analytics, I can sort all the posts that have been shared to the Buffer queues, sorting by metrics like clicks and retweets, then filtering by date (past 7 days, past 30 days, or even a custom timeframe).

most-clicked posts gif

We then grab the ones that have resonated most with our audience and re-Buffer them to our queues, tweaking the message slightly or reworking the images or calls-to-action.

Facebook likes drop

Here’s quite the eye-catching chart:

facebook like drop

This shows our Facebook likes for the past 30 days—with a noticeable dip on March 13.

Has anyone else noticed a drop like this in your Facebook stats?

The drop is quite precipitous, losing nearly 400 of our 35,000 likes in one day. This likely can be traced to Facebook’s removing a host of fake and expired accounts this past month. The removal didn’t figure to impact any of the engagement metrics for our page or others: in theory, these are all inactive accounts that weren’t contributing to metrics like clicks and reach.

How to show your boss or client the value of social media

We talked a bit last month about creating social media reports that you can share with others. And I wanted to quickly mention one way that we’ve noticed the positive effect of social media and its impact for the Buffer product.

If you go into Google Analytics and click on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, you can see a breakdown of the different sources that send visits to your site.

Here’s what things look like for traffic to our main site at

referrals to app - all

Typically between 10 and 15 percent of Buffer visits come via social media. The raw numbers are quite telling also—200,000+ visits per month from social.

Regardless of the size and scale of your social traffic, the impact of social can often be clearly seen in charts like these.

What percentage of traffic does social media send to your site?

New visions and ideas for social media marketing

We feel grateful for the chance to work on so many amazing and fun social media strategies, and we’ve got even more that we’d love to try out. Here are a few that we’re thinking over.

Pinterest tips

We’re excited to forge ahead in some neat ways for our Pinterest marketing. As Pinterest sends us the 6th-most traffic from social, we’re keen to focus a bit more on the specific ways that we can best help our audience on Pinterest.

Some of our potential experiments include:

  • Creating Pinterest-optimized images for each blog post (aspect ratio of 2:3 or 1:3.5)
  • Trying out different captions (keyword-rich, long or short, etc)
  • Create a Pin-it-for-later link from your Pin and share that link in social media updates
  • Use multiple images within a pin
  • Create pins with text in them
  • Build Pinterest boards for your blog posts

We’ll of course be happy to report back with anything that we find here!

Sniply experiments

We’re grateful for a lot of wonderful information on growth hacks for social media. One of the ones that catches my eye most often is for, a call-to-action tool that adds a custom CTA to every link you share.

Here’s a bit about what the Sniply process might look like for our social accounts:

  1. Find a piece of awesome content to share.
  2. Write a great headline for the article.
  3. Go into Sniply to create the URL.
    1. Add the article’s URL.
    2. Customize a call-to-action message and button specific to your blog or brand.
    3. Grab the new, customized Sniply URL to add to the update.
  4. Share the update to social media

When your audience clicks on the link, they’ll see a custom CTA that you’ve created, hovering at the bottom of the page.

sniply example

Has anyone here tried Sniply with their social media sharing? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience!


Some of the most buzzworthy apps we’re chatting about at Buffer involve livecasting—the broadcasting of real-time footage of what we’re doing.

Specifically, what might this look like for sharing our work processes with a live audience?

Two of the trending livecast products are Meerkat and Periscope. I tried out Periscope by sharing a livecast of my writing process. The first day I tried it out, a livecast caught 120 viewers—and it took little more than my setting my device in front of my computer screen and pressing Go.


Social media content we’d love to write about (any thoughts?)

And finally, I’d love to share a few of the social media blog post ideas we’re considering for the next few weeks. If any of these topics jump out at you, I’d love to hear your votes!

  1. The Time It Takes to Write a Buffer Blog Post (And How We Spend Every Minute)
  2. You Have $100 to Spend on Social Media Marketing. Here’s One Way to Spend It.
  3. How to Turn Things Off in Social Media
  4. Should You Be On Snapchat, Ello, or Vine?
  5. How to Learn Social Media Marketing in 2 Minutes a Day
  6. The Great Guide to 100+ Words to Use or Avoid in Your Email Subject Lines

Over to you

I hope this look into our Buffer social media stats and strategies holds some insights or ideas for you as you build out your own strategies. I’d love to expand on anything here—and hear from you on any thoughts that come up.

What are you working on this month on social media?

Do any stats or strategies stand out here for you?

It’d be amazing to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Image sources: Pablo, Unsplash, Iconfinder

The post How We Doubled Our Clicks From Facebook, Plus All Our Stats and Strategies on Social Media appeared first on Social.

So much of digital marketing these days is about producing high-quality content that gets published and shared.

You can control the publishing part. Can you control the sharing part?

Sharing begins with promotion—the timing, targeting, and strategy behind solid distribution.

To achieve your social media benchmarks, you need to understand what type of content will resonate in specific verticals, and when.

Fractl recently partnered with BuzzStream to analyze 220,000 articles from 11 verticals over six months – June to November 2014 – to determine how and when to publish content in order to score big on social media.

We’re excited to share with you what we found and to hear your thoughts!

how and when to publish social media

Infographic: How and When to Publish Content in Order to Score Big on Social Media

We took the guesswork out of six months of content planning and created this social content calendar, which can help strategists determine the optimal month, vertical, and format for all of their content in 2015.

Social Content Calendar
Study by  Fractl and BuzzStream.

The 5 Types of Content (and Which Gets Shared Most)

First and foremost, know which content type performs best with your audience.

A successful campaign begins with great content, and the best content offers something new and valuable to your target audience while making an emotional connection. There are multiple ways to produce informative and engaging content, but if you want high social shares, your final asset depends on your promotion cycle’s month and vertical.

A successful campaign begins with great content, and the best content offers something new and valuable to your target audience while making an emotional connection. There are multiple ways to produce informative and engaging content, but if you want high social shares, your final asset depends on your promotion cycle’s month and vertical.

We divided the content of articles into five types: how-tos, lists, what-posts, why-posts, and videos:

The most consistently shared formats were lists and why-posts, varying less than 2.5 percent and averaging around 21,000 shares per month.

What-posts were the riskiest format, with a high variance at 13.45 percent, performing lowest in July with fewer than 15,000 shares, yet outperforming every other vertical in October with nearly 30,000 shares.

Further analysis of the six-month period revealed:

  • October was the most popular month for shares: all but one content type (videos) exceeded 20,000 shares.
  • Lists narrowly claimed the most social traction at 22.45 percent with why-posts in a close second at 22.32 percent.
  • Videos drew 18.94 percent of total shares and performed well in Q4.
  • How-to articles earned 18.42 percent and saw extra shares in August and November.
  • What-posts had the lowest social traction, earning 17.88 percent of total shares, but got the most shares out of every content type in October.

custom types shares per month

The content type also influenced social metrics depending on which vertical published the asset, proving that each audience has its own preference.

For example, lists earned 40 percent of total shares in the automotive vertical but only managed 10 percent in education. How-to posts did the best in the food vertical at 37 percent. And although they earned around 30 percent of shares in both the education and entertainment verticals, videos were one of the lowest-performing content types overall, coming in last in multiple verticals.

How Social Shares Vary by Month

  • News was the only vertical to see three content types reach more than 5,000 shares in June.
  • None of the five content types reached 6,000 shares in any vertical during July and August.
  • All content types exceeded 4,000 shares in October although not within the same vertical.
  • Only two content types – videos and what-posts – exceeded 6,000 shares in September.

A great example of a high-performing article in June is this feature on Twitter reading levels by state. Lists was one of only two content types that exceeded 7,500 shares during the month, and the campaign capitalized on this trend by including an interactive map that lists each state’s average IQ. The result? The article earned over 9,000 shares.

The Most Popular Industries for Social Shares

Next, get to know your verticals and their target audience.

An effective social content calendar looks at all channels for promotions in order to determine what is popular and timely for your target audience. Within each of the 11 verticals – automotive, education, health, finance, food, business, technology, travel, entertainment, news, and lifestyle – we identified the top 20 websites.

Filtering these results by content type and date, we saw that although the average number of social shares per vertical did not vary wildly – usually less than 10 percent each month – some verticals outperformed others.

For example, the news vertical saw the highest social traction, averaging more than 28,000 shares each month. Its high performance is likely due to it being the most all-encompassing vertical.

The second highest-performing vertical, entertainment, averaged more than 17,000 shares a month, while travel rounded out the top three with an average of more than 10,000 shares.

average shares per month


A breakdown of the other verticals revealed:

  • Lifestyle, tech, finance, business, and education averaged between 5,000 and 9,000 shares, nearly three times less than the news vertical.
  • Business was the only vertical to have a single-digit variance for all content types, emphasizing that its readers have a consistent sharing habit.
  • Automotive, health, and food averaged between 2,000 and 5,000 shares, food being the lowest-performing vertical with fewer than 2,500 social shares a month.
  • News was the only vertical that saw specific content types pass 5,000 shares.

A high-performing article that reaffirms the entertainment vertical’s high social traction is this feature on superhero style. Videos within the vertical were some of the highest-performing content type during the entire month of August, and this post earned over 5,000 views.

Content type vs. vertical

The type of content that performed well per vertical also reflected audience behaviors within the specific niche.

For example, lists proved the best content type for the travel vertical, claiming 32 percent of shares. The list format corresponded with what people do when planning for a trip: Write down where they want to go, what they need to pack, and other details.

Similar findings include:

  • Social shares within the technology vertical increased during the end of the year, possibly corresponding with when its audience searched online for the latest gadgets to complete their holiday shopping.
  • July was the lowest-performing month for the education vertical, claiming only 10.57 percent of total shares; this coincides with school being closed for the summer.
  • How-to articles were the most consistent performers within the automotive audience, corresponding with the highly practical and technical nature of the subject matter.

Final takeaways

With more than 128,000 shares, October emerged as the month with the highest social traction, while June and August seemed to have the lowest shares for most verticals.

But that doesn’t mean you should save your promotional efforts for the fall. A closer look at the data determined:

  • Automotive earned most of its shares in July, specifically with what-posts exceeding 3,000 social shares.
  • Social traction in the business vertical remained consistent for five months, between 8,000 and 9,000 shares, before dropping in November.
  • Lifestyle and finance both saw their highest monthly shares in September, with what-posts performing the highest in lifestyle and lists providing the highest social traction in finance.
  • Videos did best in September with more than 24,000 shares.

Great content is at the heart of successful content marketing strategy, but one of the biggest takeaways from our research is timing.

A month early or a month late can make your campaign less relevant and affect its overall social traction.

Using our social content calendar as a reference, you can create a promotions strategy that will deliver timely content to a highly-engaged target audience, especially if you want your content to “go viral.” Understanding what type of content will resonate with your audience and when to publish it will help you hit high social metrics, and continually monitoring these metrics is the best way for content marketers to create a successful outreach strategy.

Over to you

What stood out to you from this research?

Might the findings impact the type of content you create and when you schedule it?

It’d be great to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if there’s any questions I can help answer, too, I’d love to help.

Image sources:  UnSplash, Pablo, IconFinder

The post New Research: How and When to Publish Content in Order to Score Big on Social Media appeared first on Social.

Before you hit the Publish button or send an update to the queue, what do you do?

Quite often, I find myself publishing instinctively and sometimes failing to consider all the necessary questions and guidelines for what makes a wildly successful, viral—and valuable!—social media update.

To do right by your audience, to deliver the utmost value and receive the maximum engagement, there are a handful of qualifications that every social media post should meet. From our experience and our research, 12 items stand out, making for a super slick checklist. We’d love to share with you how this looks.

etiquette checklist social media

The 12-Step Social Media Checklist

  1. Is the message educational or entertaining?
  2. Is the voice correct?
  3. Is it too long?
  4. Is the URL correct?
  5. Should I target a specific audience with this message?
  6. Did I use the right keywords and hashtags to maximize exposure?
  7. How many times have I already posted something today?
  8. Did I spell check?
  9. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?
  10. Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out?
  11. Did I make the most of visual content—images, video, slides?
  12. Did I make the most of my update text—headline formulas, polls, quizzes?

social media checklist buffer

Exclusive Bonus: Download a free PDF of the Social Media Checklist!

12 questions to ask before hitting send

The foundations for this checklist come from a lot of the learnings we’ve had with sharing and scheduling to the Buffer social media channels. Also, we’ve taken a lot of inspiration from some great resources on the topic of social media post checklists.

Forbes contributor Ilya Pozin passed along some great advice from marketer Lisa Goeckler, who suggested 12 questions to ask before posting on social media.

Similarly, marketing strategist Gerry Moran of the Marketing Think blog, shared 9 ways to think of social media sharing through the lens of content marketing—specifically how it relates to adding value for your audience with each social media post.

I loved this quote from Gerry:

No matter the marketing goal or how well-built the “rails” of the system are, it is content that is king and is the fuel that will make the “train” run and a strategy succeed. I have found that a social media filter is a useful before-you-press-that-send-button tool to make sure that you are delivering the best messages possible for your readers, customers and prospects!

So without further adieu, here are the questions that we settled on for the social media checklist for sending your next post.

1. Is the message educational or entertaining?

We’ve found that the most valuable content on social media—the content that gets the most interactions, engagement, and virality—has one of these two components. It’s either educational or it’s entertaining.

We tend toward the educational with our Buffer social media posts (and our content strategy in general).

Jay Baer shared some thoughts on content marketing and social media, two overlapping areas that share a lot of similarities for businesses. As you create content to share on social, you’re dipping into a form of content marketing also.

Content marketing is a device used by companies to educate, inform or entertain customers or prospects by creating attention or causing behavior that results in leads, sales or advocacy. Social media is used by customers and prospects to communicate among themselves, and occasionally with companies.

A few other questions that can be helpful at this stage to determine the educational/entertaining element of your social media post:

  • Is your content interesting enough that users pass it on and post about it?
  • Will anyone really care about this content besides me?
  • If you were to see this post in your social media timeline, would you pause to read or reshare?
  • Does your post add value for the reader?

2. Is the voice correct?

We’re big fans of finding a consistent voice and tone for your social media content. In our case, each social media message we put out seeks to achieve the following:

  • Positive
  • Helpful
  • Actionable

Another way that voice can make a difference is with the pronouns and words you use in the post. Are you using language that others can easily reshare?

For example, a message like: “How I Write 4x Faster Thanks to This One Small Tip” could be a great headline coming from you. When others share it, does the pronoun cause more confusion than it’s worth?

3. Is it too long?

There’s been lots of great research into the ideal length of online content. In general, these guidelines are:

  • Twitter – 71 to 100 characters
  • Facebook – 40 characters (we’ve observed the other end of the spectrum—quite long posts—doing well also)
  • Google+ headlines – 60 characters

ideal length

The reason these recommendations are in place is because length matters greatly for posts that get viewed and reshared.

For example, tweets of 100 characters or fewer allow those who retweet to add their own commentary to your original message and stay within the 140-character limit themselves. And shorter posts on networks like Facebook and Google+ make it a bit easier on the reader to spend a quick second looking things over.

4. Is the URL correct?

There’re a couple parts to this one:

  1. Is the link accurate? Does it click through to where you intended?
  2. Is the link appropriate for the message and value proposition of your social media post?

It’s not all that helpful to have a catchy, clickable headline with a link that goes to the wrong place. And it also doesn’t feel great for your audience if the link doesn’t follow through on the promise of the tweet or post—or worse, if the link goes to a deceptive, salesy landing page!

When in doubt, click on the link in your social media post and see where it goes before hitting publish.

5. Should I target a specific audience with this message?

e.g., Who is my message for?

In most cases, your message will be intended for all your followers.

In some cases, the message might be better suited for a smaller group or an individual.

Facebook allows for audience customization with the messages you post from your personal profile. You can send to certain segments—friends, lists, or connections from a certain city, school, etc.—or you can send private direct messages as well.

facebook options

On Twitter, you can point your messages to a particular person (or persons) by starting the tweet with an @-mention.

evernote tweet

Also, Twitter direct messages can be sent privately to individuals who follow you (and whom you follow back) or sent privately to groups.

Good to know: For group messaging, those who are invited to the conversation can invite their followers also.

twitter dm

6. Did you use the right keywords and hashtags to maximize exposure?

In many ways, what this recommendation boils down to is this: Am I speaking the language that my audience understands?

  • Is this post too vague? Will everyone understand what I’m saying?
  • Am I using too many abbreviations in this post and starting to sound like a teenager?

You’re likely doing a great job of this already, if you have a sense for your niche and target audience. Focusing on the terminology that your audience uses will help your messages have maximum meaning and be easily found.

Adding hashtags to your messages can also help in terms of surfacing your content for those who follow you and for those who don’t. Users can search social networks for hashtags and click on hashtags to see other updates that use the same terms.

If you’re new to hashtags, we’ve enjoyed learning from one of our favorite browser extensions, RiteTag, which adds hashtag insight to the messages you’re composing.

Ritetag extension

7. How many times have I already posted something today?

Social media frequency is another area with a ton of great research attached. From what we’ve been able to find, these are some guidelines to consider when thinking about the volume of your social media posts:

  • Twitter – 3-5 times per day
  • Facebook – 2 times per day
  • LinkedIn – 1 time per day
  • Google+ – 3 times per day
  • Pinterest – 5 times per day
  • Instagram – 1 to 2 times per day

Of course, you’ll know best what is the right frequency for you and your brand. Feel free to use the above guidelines as a starting point for tests of your own.

8. Did I spell check?

It happens to all of us.

buffer tweet

There’re some handy browser extensions and plugins to assist with spell check if it’s something that bites you often. (I might recommend starting with the Grammarly extension.)

9. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?

Especially for those who post from a personal brand or profile, understanding the ramifications of this question can be huge. Not only do friends and family see your updates, so too might future employers, colleagues, teammates, and really anyone. Even one’s sharing history can be searched and found quite easily and screen captures taken of content that slipped out too soon.

10. Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out?

Sometimes, it’s good to pause and reflect on the emotion behind a post. Is the post a knee-jerk reaction to something? If it’s real-time, did I take a moment to pause and re-read before hitting publish?

Here are some more questions to consider for this one.

  • Will I offend anyone with this content? If so, who? Does it matter?
  • Is this appropriate for a social portal, or would it best be communicated another way?
  • Am I using this as an emotional dumping ground? If so, why? Is a different outlet better for these purposes?
  • Is this really something I want to share, or is it just me venting?

11. Did I make the most of visual content—images, video, slides?

Images are the No. 1 most important factor in optimal social media content. This according to an ongoing research survey conducted by Software Advice and Adobe.

If there’s a way to work in visuals—be they images, video, slides, or otherwise—then it’s likely to be best for the success of your message.

And if you’re short on ideas, we shared a big list of ways to create Twitter visuals, including screengrabs, Canva templates, rich media, and more.

12. Did I make the most of my update text—headline formulas, polls, quizzes?

Sometimes I find myself writing a post off the top of my head and neglecting to consider the proven benefits of the formulas and post types that have done well for us in the past.

We shared some fun and interesting types of Facebook posts as well as a host of headline formulas that can work great for social media (copywriting formulas, too!).

Another way to look at this one: Can anything be removed to make the message stronger?

If afforded the time, editing and revision can be a great asset to a social media post. Aim for simplicity. Remove a word here and there, if possible. It’ll make the meat of your message stand out even more.



Working from a social media checklist can be a helpful way to ensure the utmost quality for each post that goes out. And the more you share, the more intuitive this all becomes (until you might not even need the checklist any more!).

When posting, consider some of the following, or print out the checklist to keep by your side during social media marketing time.

  • Is the message valuable for my audience?
  • Is everything correct—voice, URL, spelling, length?
  • How many times have I posted already today?
  • Did I make the most of visuals and post styles?
  • How reactionary is this message? Would I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing it?

I’d love to hear from your side about what has been most helpful to consider as you’re composing your posts.

Feel free to share any experiences in the comments. It’d be a privilege to learn from you!

Image sources: IconFinder, Unsplash, Pablo

The post The Complete Social Media Checklist for Writing Winning Posts appeared first on Social.

Imagine starting a blog with zero overhead. Imagine having a place online to write your thoughts, tips, and learnings and share with a built-in audience and an immediate potential for viral traffic. Imagine a really great writing app.

This is Medium, a blogging platform from the creator of Blogger and Twitter. It’s slick and snappy and could very well be worth a deeper look for digital marketers and first-time bloggers.

We’ve enjoyed experimenting with the best way to use Medium here at Buffer, and we’re eager to learn more about what the best practices might be for helping the Medium community and engaging with an audience. If you’re new to Medium, I’ve collected an overview of resources here in this post, and for those who have been Medium users already, I’ve added several tips and learnings that we’ve discovered along the way.

how to use medium

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Medium

What is Medium?

Medium is a place to write.

One discussion that comes up often about Medium is whether it strives to be a platform or a publisher, i.e. a place for others to share what they think (like Twitter) or a place for Medium to share what it thinks (like BuzzFeed).

The answer isn’t all that important for marketers. Know this, Medium is a cool new place to share your writing or to start your writing, as easy as can be.

How it works—Medium for writers

Anyone (or any brand) can sign up for a free Medium account and start writing.

Writers can publish individual, stand-alone posts or contribute to publications of curated stories or curate a publication themselves.

Posts – Anything goes with the posts on Medium. Written by journalists, bloggers, companies, and brands, the articles on Medium range from short-form to long-form, light to deep, full posts or teasers of existing content elsewhere. The topics cover just about anything.

Here are a few popular Medium posts that highlight the variety of content on the network.

Publications – Formerly called “Collections,” publications collect articles into a curated set of posts. Any one post can only be included in one publication.

Here are a few Medium publications to browse.

How it works—Medium for readers

You’ll find a host of similarities between Medium and anywhere else you read content online. At Medium, you still have the ability to comment on (with a twist), recommend, and share posts, with a few added elements that are unique to Medium.

Find and follow – You can follow individual writers and publications, and the more you follow, the more variety you’ll see on your homepage. The Medium homepage displays recent and popular stories from the writers and publications you follow.

Comment – Medium’s unique approach to comments allows you to leave notes in the margins of the story at the exact location you choose.

notes medium

Here’re a couple of neat ways to use notes:

  • Request notes before you publish. You can invite collaborators and editors to look at your post before hitting publish. These folks can then add notes throughout the article, much like a collaborative document in Google Drive for instance. Bonus: Anyone who contributes to your final article gets a nice automatic mention at the end.
  • Use notes as footnotes. You can leave comments on your own articles, treating these notes as footnotes with extra context.

Recommend – Every post has a recommend button at the end.

Share – You can share to Twitter, Facebook, and email.

Bookmark – Save a post to read later. A reading list appears on your homepage.

Respond – Write a new post in response to an existing post.

Formatting tips

Medium is both a beautiful writing experience for the writers and a beautiful reading experience for readers. Here are a few great example articles that highlight the storytelling design elements you can include in your Medium post.

Writers can choose from a set list of different elements to spice up the design of a post.

First, there are different headline arrangements and styles.

Second, there are several different ways to display photos in your post, either as background images, full-width images, inline images, or aligned images.

All of these formatting options come available while writing and editing by either selecting text or by clicking the “+” button that hovers on the page.

About Medium’s blogging stats and metrics

Another unique thing about Medium is the way that it focuses its stats and metrics for posts. Instead of focusing directly on visits or views, Medium seeks to assess a post’s read ratio.

Julie Neidlinger of CoSchedule has a great way of summarizing the distinction this makes.

Instead of a focus on traffic, Medium is focusing on readers.

1. Medium is basing discovery of your content on whether or not people have read it. Not hits, not sexy headlines. Readability, not gimmicks or tricks, wins.

2. Do you notice how Medium, on its dashboard and elsewhere, does not refer to what you write as blog posts, or content? It calls them stories, and that’s the key here. Medium wants your stories.

One way that Medium emphasizes this focus on readers is in its ubiquitous display of reading time on all posts. Readers can know immediately how much is required of them to read through an entire story.

min read medium

For writers, Medium shows you a 30-day snapshot of all your posts and their views, reads, and recommendations. You can also drill down further into each post to see where the traffic came from.

  • Views – How many people saw your post
  • Reads – How many people saw your post and took the time to read it
  • Read ratio – How many people actually read your post out of all those who saw it
  • Recommendations – The number of people who recommend your post

Each of these factors works into the Medium algorithm, which helps determine the posts that get featured around the site and in email digests.

Time-saving Medium tips

Medium has a full list of keyboard shortcuts for working fast while writing and editing. Here’s a peek at the shortcuts for Windows.

Here’s the list of keyboard shortcuts for Medium on Windows:

Ctrl + Alt + 0 = Starts a new paragraph
Ctrl + Alt + 1 = Turns a text block into / starts a new Heading 1 style
Ctrl + Alt + 2 = Turns a text block into / starts a new Heading 2 style
Ctrl + Alt + 5 = Turns a text block into / starts a new BlockQuote style
Ctrl + Alt + 6 = Turns a text block into / starts a new Code style
Ctrl + Alt + 3 = Turns a text block into / starts a new Heading 3 style

Ctrl + b = Turns selected text into bold style
Ctrl + k = Adds a new link
Ctrl + i = Turns selected text into italic style
Ctrl + e = Centers text. This shortcut presumably replaces the now removed Pullquote shortcut, minus the font size (Ctrl + 7, no longer working)

Ctrl + : = brings up the shortcut menu with most of the keyboard shortcuts (not all).

In addition, Medium supports third party embeds, meaning you can share a URL from a favorite service and the media will be automatically included (in a smooth design) inside your post. Medium supports the following third-party sites:

  • Youtube
  • Vimeo
  • Twitter
  • Vine
  • Kickstarter
  • SoundCloud
  • Instagram
  • Github gists

Here’s an example of an Rdio embed.

rdio embed medium

Best practices for Medium authors

As the network has grown, Medium has done a great job sharing tips and tricks for writers to achieve success on Medium. (Their data post about optimal blog length is one we’ve referenced often.)

This advice took the form of best practices back in 2013, many of which still hold true today. Here’s the list, shared by Medium.

  1. While there is no designated word count for any story on Medium, stories of 400 words and up have generally been the most popular.
  2. Write a headline that best reveals the gist of your story.
  3. Choose a high-quality photo (minimum 900 pixels, or 900×900) for the top of the story. Horizontal images work better than vertical.
  4. Where appropriate, make use of Medium’s formatting features: two levels of headlines, Notes for footnotes, hyperlinks, and section separators.
  5. Get feedback on your draft, and proofread for grammar, punctuation, and formatting.
  6. Submit to relevant Medium collections (now called “publications”).

Should you use Medium for your writing?

As we dive into the stats on Medium (see below for even more), one of the ones that stands out initially is this: Medium has more than 650,000 users.

(All users by default follow the Editors Picks collection, which has 651k followers, we can assume the number is somewhere around there.)

For those just starting out with a blog, Medium has a huge built-in audience. It cuts out the pressure of setting up and maintaining your own blog, and the potential for a viral hit appears to be great with the mechanisms and audience already in place.

For those who are new to blogging, Medium is a great choice to get started.

For those who already have a blogging presence online, there’s likely more to consider.

One of the most interesting discussions I’ve heard on the topic is the idea of sharecropping (HT to Julie Neidlinger for the term). Sharecropping is publishing some place you don’t control.

It’s a question of owned media (a blog on your own server) versus earned media.

I like the way that Ann Friedman puts it in this answer about where she publishes her uncompensated work.

I try to only publish uncompensated work on platforms that I own myself. I’ll post something to my own blog, for example, rather than have it run for free on the Huffington Post or Medium, because I want people to at least see my name at the top of the site, and perhaps look at more of my work—which is an advantage I don’t enjoy if I write for free on someone else’s site.

Should you join Medium if you have a separate, owned channel to share your writing? I can definitely see the case for either way, and as you’ll read below, there may even be some good go-between options that cover both sides.

The Medium Guide for Marketers

The amount of traffic you can expect on a new post

What kind of traffic can you expect to get from Medium?

Actual numbers on this are a bit hard to come by. A few folks have been kind to share their stats, and I’ve bundled up all the stats from our various team member posts here at Buffer to help give you an idea of the volume that’s out there at Medium.

A few of the posts we’ve written have taken off more so than others. There’s a pretty good representation of a variety of success here in the list. Take a look.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 2.36.04 PM

How well does content do on Medium? Or, does it do well enough to publish your stuff there?

The answer will likely depend on what you’re able to get on your personal blog.

Mike Essex tested the results for his writing on Medium and found that publishing there was well worth his time.

Within 6 hours my post on Medium had surpassed the average number of views a post on my site would get in its entire lifetime. Within 24 hours those numbers quadrupled.

Medium Stats

How to write a Medium headline

Another unique part of Medium is the way that headlines are built. The SEO headline is less common on Medium than on other blogs around the Internet. Since content is found inside the network, it’s more about writing a headline that resonates with the reader.

For this reason, the Top 100 list of Medium posts will have a wide assortment of different types of headlines.

  • How to
  • Full sentences
  • Super short
  • Super long

I pulled a list of the character counts for the Top 100 stories from January and found that the average length is 42 characters. For reference, this headline from the Top 100 is 41 characters:

I Almost Let My Failed Startup Destroy Me

And of course, one of our best headline tips for headlines anywhere (blogs or tweets, etc.) is that your first three words and your last three words will be noticed the most. Make those six words count.

The average length of the most-read stories

Likewise, I also looked at the reading lengths of the Top 100 Medium stories from January. Since reading time carries such an emphasis on the network, it might seem that there’d be a good recommendation on exactly how long to write a Medium post.

The average length of a Top 100 post: 7.25 minutes

There was a huge amount of variety on this list as well (the median was 6 minutes). In the Top 10, there were posts as short as 3 minutes and as long as 28.

Also, some of the best advice on length, timing, etc. with Medium posts comes from the Medium data team. There is a direct correlation to how long people spend on their posts and how well the posts perform. Quality trumps all.

5 Growth Hacks for Medium

1. Repost your content on Medium

One of the most obvious growth hacks—and one that we’ve tried ourselves at Buffer—is to repost your content on Medium. You expose it to a new audience and give it a chance to gain traction anew.

The team at Unbounce tried this on a recent post and received 144 additional views, a great number for little effort.

Other places that aim for this include The Physics ArXiv Blog, Edible Manhattan and Fader.

2. Link back to your website or blog

Medium gives you huge amounts of creative liberties with the way you create your posts. One interesting method that I’ve seen used a lot is to leverage the end of your post as a place to link back and share a call-to-action or a referral to your blog.

KISSmetrics shared a neat example from Raymmar Tirado who links to his website at the end of each article, and he sometimes includes links to his site in the middle of his posts.

Tirado says:

[One thing I appreciate about Medium] is the ability to link to content outside of Medium inside of my articles. This allows me to drive little pockets of highly engaged traffic to places on my website that correlate with the information inside of the article.

You can also think about adding a CTA to follow on social media or join an emailing list or try out a new product/download.

follow on social medium

3. Create a publication for your brand

We’ve built a Buffer publication where we house the articles written by the team at Buffer.

You can do the same for your brand, creating a publication of content from your team, content on a particular topic, or any other theme you can imagine.

The Physics ArXiv Blog made Medium its permanent home. The List is another site that does this.

4. Explore visual content

Medium is for writers. Writers can be visual artists.

Some of the popular content on Medium amounts to little more than a cartoon or series of images. This visual content is striking in its place beside written content. It looks great beside articles of 5 to 7 minutes, while it stands at 2.

Check out comics from Gemma Correll or the I Love Charts publication for some inspiration.

gemma correll

5. Track visits back to your website with UTM parameters

Another great tip from Chloe Mason Gray at KISSmetrics is to see which posts on Medium are bringing the most traffic back to your website by tracking with UTM parameters.

Go to Google’s UTM tool to place tracking links on the URLs that link back to your site.

This can be helpful in iterating on the text in your calls-to-action as well as finding the spots within your post (in the intro, in callouts, etc.) that are best used for links back to your page.


Medium is a really unique part of the social tools landscape—a mix of collaborative software like Blogger and social reading experiences like Twitter and others.

For those just starting out with blogging, Medium is a simple and easy place to get going.

For brands looking to expand their reach to a built-in audience, there are some really neat ways to do so with Medium.

For others curious about what Medium offers, feel free to grab your name and reserve your spot and build a bit of a presence by reposting content or engaging with your audience that’s on there.

What has been your experience on Medium so far? Any tips to share? Feel free to share in the comments.

Image sources: IconFinder, Blurgrounds, Unsplash

The post How to Use Medium: The Complete Guide to Medium for Marketers appeared first on Social.

Have you ever wondered why, in spite of your best intentions, you just can’t resist a clickbait headline on Buzzfeed?

What was it about #TheDress that got everyone up in arms? And what is it about Malcolm Gladwell that makes his work so interesting?

Is it possible to replicate this kind of remarkability, or is it entirely unpredictable?

The truth is there is compelling science behind the success of shareable content. The stuff that gets people talking isn’t quite as random as you might think. From a marketing perspective, understanding what makes for compelling content and what does not could be the difference between seeing your message succeed or fail.

As marketing expert Seth Godin says, “Ideas that spread, win.” And what he might as well have said after that is this: Ideas that don’t spread, die. So if you have something to share — a message, a product, even a cause  — then you have a responsibility to get that idea to spread. And if you don’t, we just might never hear about it.

The interesting index

Getting an idea to spread is not something that should be left to chance. Of course, there are those instances when somebody has a world-changing idea and just doesn’t realize it. And in spite of the author’s intention, the idea somehow succeeds.

But those instances are few and far between.

The truth is interesting books and articles tend to follow a tried-and-true formula for creating content that we just can’t help but share. Incidentally, this is the same formula that makes some books bestsellers, catches a person’s attention in the grocery checkout, and creates breakthrough momentum in a crowded market.

As it turns out, getting people to talk is not just a roll of the dice. There are some practical things you can do to make your message spread, and it begins with the message itself.

In a paper titled “That’s Interesting!,” researcher Murray Davis lists 12 characteristics that make a theory or idea interesting (hat tip to Adam Grant for first pointing this out).

So let’s look at five of them.

secrets of shareable content

1.Organization: When chaos has a hidden order

When something looks disorganized but has a hidden organization to it, that’s interesting.

That’s what the scientific journal PLOS ONE uncovered as it studied selection bias in the NHL draft.

The study discovered that, compared to those born in the first quarter (i.e., January–March), those born in the third and fourth quarters were drafted more than 40 slots later than their productivity warranted, and they were roughly twice as likely to reach career benchmarks, such as 400 games played or 200 points scored.

draft bias in hockey players

A more recent phenomenon is #thedress—the mysterious garment half the Internet says is one color while the other half swears it is the opposite. That in itself, looks random, but when you view it through the lens of science, understanding why some people see one color and some see another, suddenly it becomes compelling.

the science of the dress
Wired asked its photo and design team to work with #thedress image in Photoshop, to uncover the actual red-green-blue composition of a few pixels.


2. Generalization: What appears to local is actually global

So when you look at the random guesses of an uneducated crowd and realize they were more accurate than individual experts and then apply that to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, you have something more than an interesting anecdote. You have a phenomenon.

James Surowiecki explores this in his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, in which he demonstrates time and time again that the more people you gather, the more the collective intelligence tends to increase.

Condorcet's theory, explored in "The Wisdom of Crowds," says that the probability that the majority of individuals are correct correlates with the size of the group.
Condorcet’s theory, explored in “The Wisdom of Crowds,” says that the probability that the majority of individuals are correct correlates with the size of the group.

When something that looks like an isolated incident is, in fact, part of the greater whole—that’s interesting.

3. Evaluation: What seems bad is actually good (or vice versa)

When you attack a commonly-held belief, like the idea that fat is bad for you or that being strong is better than being weak, then expose why such an idea is wrong or not always right, you have something people will talk about.

This what we see in Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb Diet from his best-selling book, The 4-Hour Body. Whereas most diets have you counting calories, Ferriss says you can eat as much as you want, four times a day, but only of a certain kind of food.

slow carb diet

But that’s not all. Tim takes it one step further and gives you a “cheat day” in which he dares you to gorge yourself on thousands of calories in ice cream and pizza and whatever you want in a single day. And he claims it actually increases your weight loss.

Can you imagine how people might respond to such a claim? First, they reject it. Then they explore it. And finally, as many of Ferriss’s fans have done, they rave about it. That’s the power of turning a common belief on its head.

4. Function: When failure leads to success

When what’s commonly thought of as an ineffective means of accomplishing a goal turns out to be effective, that’s interesting.

At the end of the movie Moneyball, Jonah Hill shows Brad Pitt a video of a baseball player who has never run to second base. He only hits singles. Then one day, he decides he’s going to go for a double, but as he’s rounding first, he wipes out. Crawling back to first base, ashamed, he notices all the players shouting at him.

“Run!” the players from the other team cry. “Run! You hit a homerun!”

The player, who had been so used to failure, didn’t realize that he was actually succeeding.

It’s similar to the old Looney Tunes version of “The Tortoise and the Hare” fable, in which the tortoise outruns Bugs in spite of the bunny’s blistering pace.

Of course, what we find at the end is that there are hundreds of lookalike tortoises who are all running the race, but the point is this is what catches our attention—things that seem one way and are, in fact, another.

5. Composition: When individual is holistic

When you have a remarkable individual achievement or some sort of outlier experience and it ends up proving to be the norm, that’s interesting.

Malcolm Gladwell’s treatment of “the 10,000-hour rule” is a treatment of this technique. First, he identifies the story of the Beatles, then Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and countless others, until you as the reader are convinced that this is more than coincidence.

10,000 hours rule
An illustration of gradual increase in expert performance from K. Anders Ericsson’s research

(Note: Many researches have called into question some of Gladwell’s treatment of K. Anders Ericcson’s study of deliberate practice, from which he extrapolates the 10,000-hour rule. Regardless of whether you agree with the science behind this, the point is that the way he presented the data made it incredibly compelling.)

The importance of counterintuition

Why do these techniques and strategies work? What is it that actually makes such statements interesting?

“It has long been thought that a theorist is considered great because his theories are true,” Murray Davis wrote, “but this is false. A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.”

All interesting theories, he claimed, are “an attack on the taken-for-granted world of their audience.”  We tend to accept beliefs that align with our biases, but according to Murray, we reject the value of these findings. Why? Because they don’t teach us anything new.

In order to grab the attention of an audience, you must make a proposition that negates an accepted one. In other words, we all had some subtle suspicion that things are not exactly what they seem. This is the root of all suspense in any great story, philosophy, or message.

Let’s apply this to what you do

So what does this look like? How can you apply this to your blog, business, or cause? It’s all about finding an idea worthy of being spread, but how?

First, do your research:

Don’t go in search of the phenomenon. Just consume a lot of content.

Ira Glass, host of NPR’s “This American Life,” has said the hardest part of telling a good story is finding one worth telling. Read articles, academic studies, and books about a certain subject. Become an expert in a specific domain.

Second, look for trends:

What feels a counterintuitive idea you might explore in your own field? Consider any commonly held beliefs those in your industry tend to have, or entrenched ways of doing things that might be ripe for disruption.

  • Are there things that at first looked chaotic but now appear to have some kind of hidden order?
  • Have you found something that initially looked like a local phenomenon, something particular to your context, but is actually more universal?
  • Is there something you initially thought was bad but realized later was good? Or vice versa?

Third, put it all together:

In popular science writing, it’s typical for authors to follow a story-study-lesson methodology in how they form their arguments. This looks something like the following:

  1. Tell a compelling story.
  2.  Introduce the reader to a new piece of research or an interesting anecdote that illuminates a hidden truth.
  3. Apply the lesson from the research to a broader context.

This was precisely the process I went through in writing my latest book, The Art of Work. After reading tons of biographies and hearing hundreds of people share their stories on how they found meaningful work, I wanted to counterintuitively attack the idea that “you just know” what you’re supposed to do with your life.

Of course, this kind of writing takes practice, and I’m sure I made lots of mistakes. But I’ve already started hearing from readers who told me how “interesting” or “compelling” the stories in the book are. Apparently, this stuff works.

That’s how you write like Gladwell and grab someone’s attention like Buzzfeed. It’s how you take something as simple as a dress and break the Internet with it.

Do any of these “theories of interestingness” resonate particularly with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

The post The Scientific Secrets of Shareable Content: What Buzzfeed, Malcolm Gladwell & #TheDress Have in Common appeared first on Social.

If you feel challenged by Facebook marketing these days, you should know you’re not alone.

In an increasingly crowded news feed, Facebook’s algorithm updates can make it tough for brands to get much notice.

In fact, brands are now responding to plunging organic reach on Facebook by posting more content to Instagram than they are to Facebook, according to a report by research firm L2.

But don’t despair; there’s plenty of life left in Facebook yet. We’ve been scouring the web to find out what’s working on Facebook right now—all the tactics, new additions and post types you need to know today.

Here are 12 top tactics to take a look at adding to your Facebook marketing toolbox.

Facebook tactics

1. Post native videos

Our Number One strategy for your Facebook marketing right now? Video.

We got this tip straight from Facebook queen Mari Smith back in February, when she said:

“Let’s talk about video: Facebook is absolutely taking traffic from Youtube right now with video.

What happens with autoplay, it’s all psychology. They come in through your newsfeed, start to see a tiny bit of movement, boom, it draws them in. They’ll stop and play your video. Make it short, quick and easy, with a call to action.”

Since then, even more evidence of video’s prowess has emerged.

Social media analytics company Socialbakers looked at more than 670,000 posts by 4,445 brand pages to find that video posts had organic reach of 8.71%, far higher than text-only statuses’ 5.77%, link posts’ 5.29% and photo posts’  3.73%.

SocialBakers study


Here at Buffer, we’ve seen the video effect firsthand. Notice anything about the two posts from our Facebook Insights with the highest reach and interactions? Both videos!

Buffer video analytics

3 ways to use video on Facebook:

Post it natively: Posting directly to Facebook seems to provide better results than linking to video from sites like YouTube or Vimeo

Choose a featured video: Facebook allows you to pick one featured video that gets a prominent place on your Page. Here’s ours right now:

featured video

Create video playlists: Group related pieces of content together in a Facebook video playlist (Note: This one may not be available to everyone just yet)

2. Share quote photos

A tactic that is still going strong is creating and sharing quote photos. Mike Gingerich, writing at Social Media Examiner, does a great job of explaining the perennial popularity of these pics:

“People love inspirational quotes that motivate them or elicit a particular emotion, which in turn can lead to post interaction, especially shares.

A Facebook share plays a huge part in social proof and can result in many new friends of fans finding (and liking) your page. These new eyes are an opportunity for you to start the relationship-building process.”

I really love the awesome job Kim Garst of Boom Social is doing with shareable quotes. Check out the engagement she gets with images like these:shareable quotes:

At Buffer, we believe so strongly in the future of social media images like these that we created a new tool to help you make them quickly and easily.

We’ve also written about lots of other image-making tools so you can be sure to find the best one for you.

Note that there’s some evidence that posting photos to Facebook might not be the best strategy right now, so your mileage with this tactic could vary.

3. Target your organic posts

If Facebook is limiting your posts to a smaller audience, why not make sure it’s exactly the audience you have in mind?

Targeting was once more of an ads feature, but since Facebook has rolled out new tools for publishers, more brands seem to be experimenting with targeting audiences for even organic posts.

Social Media Examiner did some experimenting with mixed results: They discovered that some targeted posts “definitely had higher engagement than posts that didn’t use targeting.”


The authors at SME concluded that this tactic seems to have potential particularly for smaller pages.

If you might fall into that category, here’s a great guide to getting started targeting from Social Media Week:

Jon Loomer has quite an in-depth guide if you’re interested in diving into this topic at length.

4. Engage your CTA button

Late in 2014, Facebook introduced a call-to-action button designed to bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence.

For visitors landing on your page for the first time, make sure you make the most of this addition and add the most appropriate CTA available.
At present, page admins can select from seven calls to action:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Use App
  • Play Game
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video

CTA button

5. Try dark posts

Dark posting on Facebook is publishing a post that does not appear on your page’s timeline. Instead, these posts are targeted to a select audience of your choosing.

Why might this be helpful? Split testing is one great use of dark posts. You can create three or four different variations of the same post, then send them out to see which type performs best (without flooding your timeline with each and every variation).

Here’s how to find this Facebook tool:

Click Power Editor in the left column of your Facebook ads manager. (Note: Power editor is only available for Chrome browsers.)

power editor facebook

From here, you’ll want to click Download to Power Editor at the top of the page to download the accounts you want to manage.

Strata Blue has put together a list of very detailed instructions on where to go from here in order to build your dark posts. You can follow their instructions to try this out.

6. Zero in on your key topics

A recent Moz whiteboard Friday focused on the topic of driving traffic from Facebook and included lots of solid tips from Buffer pal Rand Fishkin.

One I’d like to highlight here is Rand’s tips to learn what works for you on Facebook by using Buzzsumo:

“Learn what does work in your topics in Facebook. There’s a great tool for this. It’s called BuzzSumo. You can plug in keywords and see the pieces of content that over the past six months or a year have performed the best across social networks, and you can actually filter directly by Facebook to see what’s done best on Facebook in my niche, with my topics, around my subjects. That’s a great way to get at what might work in the future, what doesn’t work, what will resonate, and what won’t.”

You can search for specific keywords on BuzzSumo, or filter by your own domain to see what you’ve created that did well that you could drive inspiration from:

Buzzsumo for Facebook idea generation

7. Up your posting frequency

Another no-nonsense tactic to counter lowered Facebook reach is to simply up your posting frequency.

Writing on Social Fresh, Dennis Yu observed that overall, total interactions per day on Facebook increase linearly with posts per day.

At the same time, negative feedback doesn’t seem correlated to posting more frequently:

negative feedback

Dennis notes that some pages post 30-40 times per day and get less negative feedback as a proportion of total engagement.

If you’re able to keep a close eye on your Facebook Insights, why not try upping your Facebook frequency?

8. Get creative with Trending Topics

As Facebook moves ever closer into real-time when it comes to Trending Topics, I find myself clicking on these newsy topics more and more often.

And when I do, I notice that right below the details of whatever news item I’m checking out are more posts from others I’m connected to or even a few degrees away from. For example, checking out the latest news on “The Walking Dead” brought me this post from marketer (and future Buffer Social guest post author!) Jeff Goins.

Jeff Goins trending topics

Jeff’s post is a great example of taking advantage of Trending Topics in a way that feels personal and organic, not spammy and forced. Could you something similar?

9. Study your negative feedback

Sometimes discovering what your audience didn’t like is one of your best strategies for making them happier with your content in the future.

Facebook Insights offers up four types of negative feedback (find it under the “Posts” section):

  • hide post
  • hide all posts
  • report page as spam
  • unlike page

negative feedback

Facebook offers you these stats as a raw number; however it might be handy to think on this number as a  ratio relative to your overall interactions as well.

Studying negative feedback can help you better identify which types of posts your audience perceived as spam or chose to hide at a higher rate. Over time, you might discover patterns to help guide your post types, themes and language use.

10. Keep testing

No doubt Facebook is a different place for brands than it has been in the past, but success is still possible. Facebook offers this as a guiding strategy:

Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.

With that in mind, I enjoyed this case study from Search Engine Journal of a set of experiments that grew organic reach 219% in a month. The article offers plenty of inside peeks to help you recreate a similar testing strategy:

Facebook case study

Two more tactics to keep an eye on for the future

I thought I’d leave you with a few really creative examples.

These two up-and-coming tactics may not be available to all of us right now, but they’re a good sign of where Facebook could be headed soon.

11. 3-D ads


For Saint Patrick’s Day, Jameson promoted its whiskey with the first 3-D video Facebook ad—an attention-grabbing video of a shot glass skating across a bar.

I happened to be targeted by this ad, and the autoplay of video plus the breaking of Facebook’s visual frame definitely caught my attention!

12. Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs — still photographs that incorporate subtle, looping video elements — could be another future eye-catcher on Facebook, taking utmost advantage of Facebook’s video autoplay.

AdWeek reports that Facebook is banking big on the stylized GIFs as it introduces them to advertisers, and the Wall Street Journal notes that Heineken has been used cinemagraphs on Facebook for the past few months.

HubSpot has collected a bunch of neat cinemagraphs on their blog. Here’s one:
cinemagraph example

Can you imagine using images like this in your marketing one day soon?
 Have you been experimenting with any new tactics or types of posts on Facebook? I’d love to hear what’s been working for you in the comments!

The post ‘What Should I Post on Facebook?’ 12 Facebook Tactics Working Right Now appeared first on Social.

If the concept of social media ROI feels rather enormous, you’re not alone.

I am amazed—and sometimes astounded—at the breadth of the topic.

So that’s made the exercise of writing a “delightfully short” guide to social media ROI all the more fun and challenging. I’ve given myself under 1,000 words to provide an overview of social media ROI and how to apply it to your social media marketing efforts. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!

social media roi

What Does Social Media ROI Look Like?

ROI has its roots in business finance. Businesses use ROI to calculate the dollars-and-cents return on a dollars-and-cents investment.

Social media ROI is what you get back from all the time, effort, and resources you commit to social. And it’s best calculated with dollar amounts.

Of course, there are no dollar signs dangling from retweets or likes. Twitter, Facebook, and others are no-cost marketing channels to join, potentially a zero-dollar investment (which makes any return exponentially fantastic, right!).

So in order to track ROI, the key elements would be:

  1. Identifying your monetary investment in social media
  2. Attaching a dollar amount to your social media goals.

Difficult? Possibly.

Possible? Definitely.

How to Measure Social Media ROI

ROI = (return – investment) / investment 

This straightforward formula has just the two parts: Return and Investment. Here’s how to figure out each of the two values on social media.

How to Calculate Your Return

“Return” is one of the trickier elements of social media ROI because it can mean so many different things to so many different marketers. For instance, we stopped calculating direct social media ROI at the Buffer blog when our conversion goals changed.

So first things first: What do you want to achieve?

What is your overarching goal with social media? And how can you specify the right actions that meet this goal?

Then, how much are these actions worth to you?

Step one: Choose a goal

There’s a whole host of possibilities for choosing which goals and actions to track. Troels Kjems at Think Digital shared a great list. Here’s a bit from Troels’s list and a few of our ideas, too.

  • New followers
  • Clicks on link in update
  • Online purchases
  • Filled out contact form
  • Signups for newsletter
  • Downloads of .PDF file
  • Time spent on important webpage

Step two: Track your goal

Choose one or more of the above conversion goals, and start tracking. You can track website actions (sales, downloads, signups) in Google Analytics by setting up goals and event tracking. You can track social media interactions (shares, likes, follows) in Buffer.

Step three: Assign a monetary value

Once you’ve chosen a goal and tracked the actions, it’s time to tackle the dollars-and-cents side of ROI. There are several different methods to choose from here:

  • Lifetime value – How much do you earn on average from a customer? (There’s a quick calculator here, and a helpful article here.)
  • Lifetime value, multiplied by conversion rate – How much is each potential visit worth to you?
  • Average sale – How much is the average purchase through your site?
  • PPC costs – How much would you end up paying if you were to use ads to achieve the same social media actions?

Here’s an example chart from Think Digital about what these values might look like in a report:


The PPC costs seem particularly interesting to me. Basically, you compare the amount you would pay in advertising for a new follower, click, impression, etc. and extrapolate for what you actually earn via your organic (i.e., not paid) social media sharing.

If it costs $0.50 to gain a single new fan to your Facebook page, then your organic gain of 50 fans is potentially worth $25.

Through experimentation and research with the Buffer accounts we found some benchmarks that might be helpful for comparison. (You can run a 5-day campaign with social ads to get a baseline specific to you.)

  • Facebook like average – $0.50 per page like
  • Facebook reach average – $0.59 per thousand impressions
  • Facebook click average – $0.50 per click
  • Promoted tweet – $3.50 per thousand impressions
  • LinkedIn – $2.00 per click

How to Calculate Your Investment

While it’s true that participation on Twitter, Facebook, and the like is free, your time is not. Your social media tools may not be. And your ad spend is worth real dollars.

  • Your time – Multiply labor-cost per hour by the number of hours you’ve committed over a given period (depending on whether you’re measuring social media ROI for the week, the month, per campaign, etc.). found the median hourly rate for social media managers to be $51. You can also look up salary levels for social media managers in your are using Glassdoor.
  • Your social media tools – Add up the costs of all the tools and services you use for social media. Find the weekly or monthly costs using a bit of math (divide annual fees by 52 for the weekly cost, by 12 for the monthly cost).
  • Advertising spend – The amount you spend on social media advertising—boosting Facebook posts, promoting tweets, etc.

All these costs added together will equal your investment.

A quick example

Big thanks to Neil Patel and Quick Sprout for putting together this infographic on measuring social media ROI. There’s a specific example in the graphic for how ROI might look for a fictional business.

How to Calculate the ROI of Your Social Media Campaigns
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Additional reading


Hopefully this helps show that measuring social media ROI is doable, with a bit of critical thinking and planning. I love the conclusion that Convince & Convert comes to:

Figure out what you want to track, where you can track it, think about both current customers and new customers, and go do it.

What questions do you have about social media ROI? Which methods do you use to track things? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Image sources: Pablo, Death to the Stock Photo, IconFinder, Think Digital

The post The Delightfully Short Guide to Social Media ROI appeared first on Social.

Hey Tech Savvy Agent Fans!  We thought you might want to check out this FREE offer by VScreen. is now offering FREE personally branded national Market Videos to all users, providing every real estate professional in the country, regardless of their budget, with the ability to create a one minute snapshot video of national market trends to share with consumers through social media, email, and YouTube.  If you are going distribute the video/s you create via email, consider using an effective “video email” service like, which many Tech Savvy Agent fans are already successfully leveraging to increase their lead conversion and to stay in “personal” touch with their client base.


“Over 70% of homebuyers forget the first name of their real estate agent within one year of purchasing their home” said Stephen Schweickart, CEO of VScreen, the parent company of “There’s no easier way for agents to stay top-of-mind with their prospective clients and become the local go-to real estate expert, than with free agent-branded video content, which is statistically proven to generate more referrals and capture more leads.”

As part of the turnkey and newly upgraded platform, users also now have the ability to; choose from four different video marketing plans (ranging from free to $49/mo), create multiple hyper-local Market Videos under one account, have English or Spanish narration, select from eight different video design templates, and any real estate professional can now take advantage of the service.

This release marks the first major update to the platform, since the proprietary portal made its original debut almost two years ago. For more information, or to subscribe to the automated video marketing service, visit

If you are already using the service or if you create a video after reading this post, please share your experience in the comments section below.

One of the first things I do when I join a new social network is to upload a profile picture.

But which profile picture should I choose? Is there a best one?

Profile pictures have always been a bit of a gray area for me inasmuch as I post a picture I think looks good without knowing its actual effect on my audience.

Is there such thing as a perfect, best profile picture?

Interestingly, there’s been some rather great research about the different elements of profile pictures that have the biggest impact on an audience. The psychology and science behind a perfect profile picture leaves some great guidelines on how to influence your audience and possibly gain more followers.

I’m happy to share what we’ve found about the perfect profile picture, based on the best science, research, and psychology out there.

perfect profile pics

The 7 Elements of the Best Profile Pictures

In 40 milliseconds, we’re able to draw conclusions about people based on a photo.

That’s less than one-half of one-tenth of a second. Wow!

This finding from Psychological Science underscores the vital importance of a profile picture and the effect it has on making an impression.

There’s been a host of research done on the various elements of a profile picture—how to look, how to not look, what to wear, whether to smile. The specifics of these studies are outlined below.

Here’s an overview of all the best practices for coming up with the best profile picture on social media:

  1. Smile with teeth
  2. Dark-colored suits, light colored buttondowns
  3. Jawline with a shadow
  4. Head-and-shoulders, or head-to-waist photo
  5. Squinch
  6. Asymmetrical composition
  7. Unobstructed eyes

Worth trying out:

  • Facing the camera (or not)
  • Bright background

And things to avoid:

  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Hair, glare, and shadows over the eyes
  • Laughing smile
  • Sexiness

Here’s a bit more about the science, research, and psychology behind these recommendations.

How to appear approachable, helpful, and attractive

Researchers at the Department of Psychology at University of York analyzed 1,000 images of faces in order to find the specific facial tics and features that help make a good first impression.

They came up with 65 different features that could affect one’s perceptions, things like “nose curve” and “cheekbone position” and “head area.” For each of the 65 features, they noted the effect of each on the following three distinct dimensions:

  1. Approachability – “Does this person want to help or harm me?”
  2. Dominance – “Can this person help or harm me?”
  3. Youthful-attractiveness – “Might this person be a good romantic partner or a rival?”

(It’s amazing the level of detail the researchers found. They created cartoon-like faces based on every possible variation.)

Here were the findings:

data chart

(How to read this chart: App stands for Approachability, Yo-Att stands for Youthful-attractiveness, and Dom stands for Dominance. A positive number means a positive correlation, and a negative number means a negative correlation.)

Overall, the researchers noted that the most meaningful factors in each of the three dimensions seemed to group around common traits.

For approachability, the mouth was key.

  • Mouth area
  • Mouth height
  • Mouth width
  • Mouth gap
  • Bottom lip curve

This is consistent with previous research that smiling is a key component to approachability.

For youthful-attractiveness, the eyes were key.

  • Eye area
  • Iris area
  • Eye height
  • Eye width

This is consistent with previous research that relatively large eyes link to a youthful appearance.

For dominance:

  • Eyebrow height
  • Cheek gradient
  • Eye gradient
  • Skin saturation
  • Skin value variation

These all link to stereotypically masculine appearance.

In the final report, the researchers put together composite faces that show the range in each of the three dimensions—e.g., from least approachable to most approachable, left-to-right. Can you notice the variations in the aforementioned facial features from one face to the next?

twitter profiles

How to appear likable, competent, and influential

PhotoFeeler, a neat tool that lets you get feedback on your profile pictures via feedback from actual people who vote on your picture, shared their learnings from over 60,000 ratings of competence, likability, and influence that were left on photos submitted to the PhotoFeeler app.

Here’s a quick overview of what they learned:

  • Don’t block your eyes. Sunglasses drop likeability score, and hair, glare, and shadows drop competence and influence.
  • Define your jawline. A shadow line that outlines the jaw all the way around helps with likability, competence, and influence.
  • Show your teeth when you smile. A closed mouth smile has a small increase likability. A laughing smile increases likability even more, but you lose ground in competence and influence. The best smile, according to PhotoFeeler, is a smile with teeth. This leads to gains across the board in likability (nearly twice that of a closed-mouth smile), competence, and influence.
  • Try formal dress. Dark-colored suits and light-colored buttondowns (with ties, for men) had the greatest effect on competency and influence out of all other factors.
  • Head and shoulders (or head to waist). Close-ups on just headshots brought scores down, as did full body shots.
  • Try a squinch. A squinch is a slight squint. The idea behind it is that wide eyes look fearful, vulnerable, and uncertain. Slightly squinted eyes may come across as comfortable and confident. PhotoFeeler found that squinching eyes has an increase across the board in competence, likability, and influence.

(The photo on the left is the normal, wide-eyed headshot. The one on the right is a squinch.)


What avatars can teach us about profile pictures

Researcher Katrina Fong of Toronto’s York University conducted a study on 2D avatars, coming up with some neat observations that could extrapolate to profile pictures.

Participants were more interested in being friends with people whose avatars had

  • open eyes
  • oval face
  • smiling expression
  • brown hair

A few characteristics that turned participants away—going so far as to signal traits like intorversion, neuroticism, and disagreeableness—included

  • neutral or negative expression
  • black or short hair
  • hat or sunglasses

Should your profile picture be alluring?

Former Oregon State psychologist Elizabeth Daniels polled 118 teenage girls and young adult women about their impressions of a 20-year-old woman’s Facebook profile. Half of the participants were shown a sexy profile picture; the other half saw a more conservative image.

The results: The conservative image won out in all three categories.

  • Attractiveness: “I think she is pretty”
  • Social: “I think she could be a friend of mine”
  • Competence: “I have confidence in her ability to get a job done”

Caitlin Dewey of the Washington Times had a great takeaway from the study:

It demonstrates the degree to which, even among footloose digital natives, edgy photos are seen as a sign that the subject isn’t credible or competent.

Which matters more: Profile pic or bio?

Dating website OkCupid is well-known for its data analysis. Last year, they released some interesting details on the influence of profile pictures compared to text descriptions. How much of each matter for a person’s overall impression of your profile?

OkCupid hid their profile text for a sample of users, showing just the profile picture. This gave the site two sets of data to analyze: one for “the picture and the text together” and one for “the picture alone.”

Their takeaway:

Essentially, the text is less than 10% of what people think of you.


Guy Kawasaki’s 4 keys to profile pictures

Canva’s Guy Kawasaki, an early evangelist for all things tech and social media, has found four factors to be key for a profile picture.

  1. Faces only. No family, friends, dogs, logos, etc.
  2. Asymmetrical. Use the Rule of Thirds to create your profile picture
  3. Face the light. The source of light should come in front of you.
  4. At least 600 pixels wide. There are varying shapes and sizes of profile pictures on social media. A 600-pixel image will look great no matter where it’s viewed.

The asymmetrical advice in particular has a lot of solid psychology and design history behind it.

The Rule of Thirds is a method for composing the elements of an image to be visually pleasing and to be in sync with the way our eyes prefer to scan an image. Photographers know the Rule of Thirds well; it is a foundational piece of photography.

The way it works is by dividing an image into a grid of thirds both horizontally and vertically. Basically, put a tic-tac-toe board on an image.


The tic-tac-toe board creates intersections of lines, and according to Rule of Thirds, these intersections are where the eye is most likely to be drawn.

The design lesson here is to place your key elements along these intersections. Avoid placing a key element right in the center.

Blogger, author, and speaker Rebekah Radice does this to great effect with her profile picture.


To face the camera or not to face the camera

Another study from OkCupid looked at the profile pictures of over 7,100 users and noted which effects brought the most contacts. One of the most interesting takeaways here was the effect of looking at the camera vs. looking off-camera.

For a woman’s profile picture, the greatest effects were noticed when looking at the camera.

For a man’s profile picture, the greatest effect came when looking away from the camera.



What eye-tracking studies say

“You look where they look.”

This title from a Usable Word blog post provides a great synopsis for the research on eye-tracking studies.

We follow the eyes of the people we see on screen. Looking directly into the camera can help make a direct connection with someone. Looking to the left or right will help guide the reader’s eyes in that direction (toward a “Follow” button maybe?)

KISSmetrics has done a great job of explaining a bit about this reasearch:

Human beings have a natural tendency to follow the gaze of others, and we have been coached since birth to follow arrows directing us to where we should be looking/going.

And this picture helps put it into great perspective:


Try a bright, orange background

Orbit Media dug up this gem from Rand Fishkin of Moz: Test different background colors for your photos.

Brightly colored backgrounds are Rand’s recommendation. For his personal profiles, he found that orange worked best. (Rand has since changed to a green background.)



What have you found to work best for your profile picture?

The recommendations here cover all sorts of research, science, and psychology. They may be great jumping off points for research of your own. If you’re interested in trying something new with your profile picture, consider trying images where you’re

  • Smiling
  • Squinching
  • Asymmetrical
  • Head-to-shoulders
  • Head-&-torso
  • Facing the camera

And feel free to report what works best! If you’d like to share any possibilities for profile pictures, it’d be great to see them and hear your thoughts in the comments.

Image sources: Pablo, The Noun Project, UnSplash, OkCupid, KISSmetrics, PhotoFeeler

The post The Research & Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture appeared first on Social.

Back when I started my career in SEO, content marketing didn’t exist—at least not in the way it exists now.

We used strategies to boost traction and traffic to websites through the creation of great content—it was content marketing before the term even existed. And it worked.

I’ve carried the lessons with me ever since. And I’d love to share them all with you—everything I’ve used to successfully help hundreds of companies benefit from content marketing over the past five years.

Here are 37+ tips and resources you can use to build a fine-tuned content marketing machine from the ground up.

build a content machine

The Key Concepts of Content Marketing

In 2009, I founded a company called Single Grain. It started as a part-time consulting gig but very quickly grew into a powerhouse digital marketing agency. In the early years, we were successful because we were able to help businesses of all sizes–including a few Fortune 500 companies—gain more traction online by implementing what we referred to then as link-building strategies.

Here’s how it worked:

  1. Search for a particular term or phrase that our clients wanted to rank for
  2. Find old pieces of content that showed up
  3. Create better (original) content that our clients could take and publish on their own sites in order to start ranking for the term or phrase

What we found in implementing this strategy over and over again for clients was that well-written, relevant content always gave us the best results. In addition, we found that great content did wonders for building brand reputation, establishing authority, and increasing sales.

Sound familiar?

This is essentially the same tactic that companies and agencies still use to this day in order to gain traction online, only now everyone refers to it as content marketing.

Today, content marketing is an essential part of building and growing a business. It’s one of the best ways to increase traffic, build a community of loyal customers, and move the needle.

How to Build a Content Marketing Machine: 37+ Tips and Resources

The 6 Best Articles for Learning the Basics

The best way to really dive into the world of content marketing is to start reading.

There are a ton of valuable resources online from influencers, experts, and other business owners who all started right where you are now. It’s up to you to take advantage of the free value they offer.

Here are six of my favorite “content marketing 101” articles that you can start with:

beginners guide

1. The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing – This KISSmetrics post by Joseph Putman provides readers with a fantastic overview on what content marketing is, why it exists, and how to get the most out of your efforts. The nice thing about this article is that it’s not super lengthy, so only have to spend a few minutes on it before diving into some of the meatier posts I’ve included below.

2. The Complete Guide To Building a Blog Audience If you have zero experience blogging before, either for yourself personally or for your business, this QuickSprout guide from Neil Patel & Aaron Agius is a great resource to explore. In it, you’ll learn things like how to build your community, the differences between paid and organic search, how to incorporate social media into your blogging efforts, and more.

3. The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research You might be surprised to learn that a lot of research has been done on the ideal length of online content. In this widely popular and overwhelmingly valuable guide by Buffer’s own Kevan Lee, you’ll learn how long your tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates, and subject lines should be in order to be effective.

4. 31 Infographics For Everything Content Marketing You could spend a lifetime reading through all the articles that exist online about content marketing. But who has time for that? As you probably already know, you can digest information in infographics and visuals a lot easier and faster than you can information in a really meaty and lengthy blog post. If you can’t spend as much time reading up on content marketing as you’d like, skim through this Uberflip resource from Hayley Mullen. It’s a collection of the best infographics on content marketing.

5. How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business When you’re ready to start really diving deeper into higher level content marketing topics, check out this resource from the Copyblogger team. It’s a collection of fantastic content marketing guides that will educate you on subjects such as how to do research, how to develop a working strategy, and how to actually promote your content once you’ve created it and published it on your site.

6. The Power of Storytelling: How We Got 300% More People To Read Our Content – When it comes to content marketing, stories rule. You don’t have to take my word for it though. Instead, read through this fantastic case study by Groove CEO Alex Turnbull. In it, he illustrates the importance of storytelling by shedding light on how he used storytelling to grow his blog audience by 300%.

7 Tips for Building Your Team

How To Build a Content Marketing Team

When it comes to content marketing, your ability to be successful ultimately depends on the team you build.

When I decided to start offering content marketing services at Single Grain, I knew that it meant I would have to hire people who knew more about it than I did. I needed people who were experts—people who were passionate and motivated to continue learning. I felt it was the only way we would be able to actually help the businesses that were reaching out to us for help.

Are you ready to build your content marketing team? If so, follow these tips:

7. Hire someone who knows SEO better than you. SEO plays a big role in content marketing. You need to hire someone who has experience and knowledge in the field who can help you make sure you’re writing about the right things and taking advantage of the right opportunities.

8. Find a solid writer who has marketing experience. This tip is important. You must hire someone—freelance or full-time—who has strong writing abilities. Google doesn’t like lazy or bad copy, and neither do your prospective customers.

9. Make sure you have a data person on your team. There’s a lot of data that can be measured, analyzed, and evaluated in relation to content marketing. You need to have someone on your team who can cut through the noise and find the information that’s going to help you keep making the right moves.

10. Bring a graphic designer on board. You can try to do design work on your own for a while with convenient and easy-to-use tools like Pablo, but ultimately you need to hire someone who has an eye for what works and what doesn’t. In content marketing, visuals are king. Hire someone who can help you create original, compelling visual content that you can use in your blog posts and on social media.

11. Hire a community manager who participates everywhere. In order to build a community of loyal readers, prospects, and customers, you need to hire someone to help you participate on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Find someone with community management experience that you can put in charge of reaching out to and engaging with people online.

12. Put someone in charge of partnership marketing. One of the best ways to grow your blog fast is by working with other partners on content projects. To do this, you need to put someone in charge of partnership marketing—someone who can help you build relationships with other like-minded businesses that would be willing to partner up on blog posts, webinars, infographics, and other types of content.

13. Find an experienced front-end developer. Finally, you need to hire a developer who can help you build squeeze pages, bigger content resources like this Email Marketing Best Practices Guide from Jimmy Daly at Vero, and other front-end marketing projects.

7 Tips to Keep Your Budget In Check

If you don’t have a clear plan in place, it’s pretty easy to spend a lot of money on your content marketing efforts in little to no time at all. When you’re just getting started, it’s important not to let things get out of hand in terms of the money you spend.

To keep your budget in check and make sure you’re putting the right dollars in the right places, use these tips:

14. Take advantage of free trials. You might be hesitant to search for and try content marketing tools and apps because of your limited budget, but keep in mind that a lot of the tools available to you offer free trials.

chartbeat trial

Take advantage of them and do your best to actually use them. Figure out which tools would be worth your money, and which ones you can pick up at a later time.

15. Do some things yourself first before hiring or outsourcing. In the previous section I talked about the importance of building your team, but it’s really only something you should do once you’re absolutely sure that it’s something worth investing in. Until then, save money by doing some of the work on your own first when possible. It is possible (to an extent) to “fake it until you make it.” There are a lot of helpful, actionable, and easy-to-understand resources out there that you can use to give content marketing a spin on your own first before giving the reins to someone else.

16. Be willing to spend (a little) money on Facebook. It’s important that you take the time to authentically and consistently participate with your community of followers, prospects, and customers on Facebook, but if you really want to build your blogging audience and get the most ROI out of the site, you need to be willing to spend some money creating paid campaigns that help you promote your content. Start with a small daily budget and adjust going forward based on results.

17. Work with college students and interns. Most college students are eager to gain additional experience that they can add to their resume. If your business is relatively new or you’re simply strapped for cash, consider hiring and working with college students or creating internships for content marketing positions. It’ll save you money and give you the opportunity to work with some of the brightest up-and-coming minds in the industry.

18. Build organic relationships as much as possible. Another great way to save money is by building organic relationships with influencers as much as possible (as opposed to putting a lot of money into building and launching expensive advertising and promotion campaigns). Get started by reading this article on the subject from KISSmetrics.

19. Remember that your budget allocation can change month-to-month. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your budget month-by-month. You’ll learn things along the way that will help you make more informed decisions about where and how to spend your content marketing budget.

20. Don’t be cheap. You want to make sure that you don’t let your spending get out of control, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to be cheap. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to spend some money if you want to use content marketing as another way to connect with prospects, build brand awareness, and ultimately grow your business. The trick is to constantly be testing and evaluating ideas in order to determine what tactics are actually worth the money.

6 Content Marketing Tools

Picking the right content marketing tools is almost as important as picking the right team members. The problem is, there are are a TON of tools out there and they aren’t all created equally. So how do you know which ones should you take the time to test out?

Here are six tools that we use on a regular basis to streamline our content marketing efforts at When I Work:

21. Buzzsumo This is probably my favorite tool to use for ideation and outreach. Buzzsumo makes it incredibly easy to analyze which content performs best for any topic or competitor. You can also use it to see who has shared a specific piece of content and how likely they are to actually engage with people on Twitter. To see what else it can do, check out these use cases.


22. Google AnalyticsThis tool is a must-have if you’ve made the decision to invest in content marketing. It’s really the only way to get a complete and accurate picture on how the content you publish is performing and be able to make informed decisions about what to publish next.

23. Mailchimp – Email marketing is an important piece of building your community and getting your content in front of new faces. With Mailchimp you can launch an rss email campaign that sends your new posts out to subscribers as soon as you hit publish.

24. CoSchedule – This is my preferred tool for creating content calendars. It’s a great tool because it allows you to work right in WordPress—so you don’t have to leave your blog when it comes time to decide when and how often you want to share the blog content you create.


25. Zemanta – This is the main tool I use for paid content promotion and syndication. Zemanta distributes content across a wide variety of platforms and sites, which helps increase your brand exposure and brings new readers to your site.

26. Content Marketer – This tool that I created (shameless plug) can be used to automate your content promotion efforts. It streamlines the process of finding contact information of influencers that you’ve mentioned in your blog posts, saving you a lot of time and headaches.

Content Marketer

7 Tips for Creating a Content Process

Once you have your team, tools, and budget in place, the next thing you’ll want to do is start creating repeatable processes for all your content marketing campaigns and projects. This is an important step, especially when it comes time to start scaling your efforts.

Content Marketing Processes

Here are seven tips that will help you be successful:

27. Standardize your ideation process. Ideation is one of the most important steps you need to take when creating content for your website or blog. If your idea is bad, your content will be bad. Build a standardized the process for coming up with your next ideas by including repeatable steps, tools, and tips. Need help getting started? Read what Alex Turnbull at Groove does to come up with great blog ideas week after week.

28. Create a repeatable process for content creation. It’s also important that you take the time to standardize the actual content creation phase itself. In order to be as intentional and purposeful with your content as possible, you have to give yourself time to think and plan. A step-by-step process will make it possible. If you need help getting started, check out this guest blog post from Jennifer Bourn on the CoSchedule blog.

29. Create editorial and social media publishing calendars. When it comes to content marketing and social media marketing, you never want to feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants. Everything you do needs to be formulaic. That means you can’t just publish blog posts and social media updates when it’s convenient to you. You can add a lot more strategy and thought to your efforts by creating editorial and social media publishing calendars.

blogpost ideas

Not sure where to start? Read through this comprehensive guide from Buffer’s own Kevan Lee.

30. Create an outline for how you want engagement to happen. Similarly, you should also create a process for engaging with people on your blog and on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It makes scaling a lot easier and it makes it possible for you to easily hand the responsibilities over to someone else once you’re ready to hire more people to help you.

31. Put a step-by-step content promotion plan together. Unless you have a clear strategy in place for how you intend to promote each piece of content you create on your blog, you’re not going to see the level of engagement or traffic that you want to see. Putting together a repeatable promotion process can ensure that you’re getting the most out of every piece of content that you publish on your blog. If you need help creating a plan, read through this post I wrote on the subject.

32. Create outreach templates. A big part of the promotion plan you put together should involve manually reaching out to influencers and other people through email who can help you promote your content. Creating and using outreach templates can save you a lot of time and energy during this phase. You can find a ton of great outreach/promotion templates throughout this KISSmetrics post written by Aaron Agius.

33. Design a process for measuring and evaluating success. Finally, you should have a clear process in place that details how to measure and evaluate the overall success of every piece of content you publish. Not sure where to start? Read this post on the SumAll blog written by marketing expert Brian Honigman. In it, he outlines seven metrics you can look for and evaluate in order to measure your content marketing efforts.

7 Tips for Evaluating Success & Scaling Your Efforts

At the end of the day, you can implement every tip and tool that I’ve outlined up to this point in the post and it will mean nothing unless you are willing and able to measure, evaluate, and scale your efforts. A lot of people are intimidated by numbers, analytics, charts, and growth in general, but you don’t have to be.

Here are seven tips to help you evaluate and scale:

34. Set KPIs and goals ahead of time. You can’t measure what you don’t track, and you can’t evaluate whether or not goals have been met if you never take the time to set up clear goals or KPIs in the first place. Think about what you want to get out of the time, energy, and money you put into content marketing for your business (ex. more traffic, more conversions, more social engagement). Decide how you’re going to determine what can be called a success and what can’t.

35. Become obsessed with data or hire someone who can be for you. For content marketing to work for your business, you have to be obsessed with data. It’s the only way you’ll be able to benefit from your efforts and ultimately scale. If you’re just not a numbers guy (or girl), hire someone who is and put them in charge of collecting, interpreting, and reporting to you on relevant data.

36. Don’t be afraid to give up on something that isn’t working. In marketing and in business, you have to be comfortable with giving something up that isn’t working. You can’t take things so personal that you end up making the wrong decisions or keeping an idea alive for too long. You have to try to be as objective as possible. If you put a lot of time and energy into something and the needle never moved, don’t be afraid to drop it and move on to something else. It’s OK if your idea didn’t work—that’s what testing new tactics and ideas is all about.

37. Don’t fall into the “vanity metrics only” trap. It can be tempting to hold vanity metrics such as “likes,” “pageviews,” or “shares” above everything else when you’re participating on social media or regularly publishing content on your blog, but try not to ignore other “less sexy” data when it comes time to deciding whether to call something a success or not. Try to get the whole picture and think about the goals you originally set before you started working on your project. For more on this subject, read through this post from Lars Lofgren at KISSmetrics.

38. As you scale, don’t forget about quality. It’s so important that you don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of scaling as you continue to build your content marketing machine. I can’t stress this enough! Your followers, prospects, and customers want only the very best content from you, and that’s exactly what they deserve from you. Give them content that helps them, that keeps them talking about you, and that keeps them coming back for more.

39. Use tools to streamline your efforts. I touched on this a bit above, but it’s worth mentioning again. There are a ton of excellent, time-saving tools out there that can be used when it comes time to scale your efforts. They won’t all be right for you and your goals, but you won’t know until you try them for yourself.

40. Be open to trying new things. Things change fast in the world of content marketing. What worked yesterday might not work today. What works tomorrow might not work a year from now. In order to stay ahead of the game, you have to be open to trying new things. If you read about a new tactic that worked for someone else, decide if you want to try it for yourself. If something that worked well for you in the past but it doesn’t seem to be working well for you anymore, start hunting for new strategies and tactics to try. Talk to business partners, read blog posts, participate in forums like, and find something that you can test.

Over to you

What other tips, tools, or resources would you add to this list? I’d love to get your thoughts. Leave a comment for me below, or reach out to me directly on Twitter—I’m @SujanPatel.

Image sources: Pablo, UnSplash, IconFinder

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