How Ecommerce Brands Can Drive Qualified Leads from Social Media

Effective lead generation is key to success in ecommerce businesses. But you don’t want just any leads for your business—you need highly-relevant and sales-qualified leads. How do you accomplish this?

With an ecommerce business, you spend loads of time and money in digital marketing, trying to get your website found and used by consumers. Are you happy with your results?

To truly attract and retain customers to your ecommerce website, you need to be strategically active on social media. More importantly, you need to know how to use social media to drive qualified lead generation.

With this article, you’ll learn eight ways you can use social media marketing to generate leads for your ecommerce business. You’ll see that the time and resources you put into social media can lead to a valued return on investment as long as you follow these best practices.

1. Know your audience

An ecommerce business would want to attract buyers to their site, but how do you know which consumers would be interested in what you offer? Having a clear understanding of who your audience is and what their needs are is critical for social media marketing success.

To truly know your audience, you need to research them thoroughly. Understand the difference between consumers based on the buying cycle. You’ll want to use social media to reach people at each stage of the funnel.

When researching your social media audience, keep the following points in mind.

Fill a need

Look for what is missing or needed in your consumers’ lives that you can offer. Your ecommerce website offers products that can help your social media audience resolve a need or problem. Use audience research to find which social users would be most likely to buy from your site. You’ll then be able to focus your efforts on them.

Create personas

Create an actual persona document for each of your consumer types. A social media persona document should be a fictional but research-based description of your ideal consumer. This persona represents a buyer category for your business. A persona can help you pinpoint the actions to take that’ll attract qualified consumers to your website.

Make use of tools

The tools available to you for proper audience research will give you what you need to monitor and respond appropriately to targeted actions. You can focus on specific keyword mentions or your own brand account mention. This will allow you to respond to those users in a timely manner, offering your solutions to their problems. Use tools to help you better understand your audience and their pain points, such as Hootsuite and Mention.

Only when you know your most qualified audience will you be able to bring in the right consumers to your site via social media.

2. Optimize your profiles

Your social media profiles, especially your bios, are what can attract and keep potential buyers. Each social media platform has its own profile design, but let’s go through how an ecommerce business can optimize two of the biggest ones: Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook

Your Facebook Page gives you plenty of options for how to make it fit your business type and the audience you’re targeting. Start by choosing a page template. For an ecommerce business, you’ll likely want to choose the Shopping theme. This will allow you to create a user experience targeted toward online shopping.

In your About section, you have several sections you can use to attract buyers.

First, your Mission is where you can explain your business’ purpose in a way that is benefits-focused for your ideal consumer. Keep your mission pinpointed on how your business helps the consumer.

Your Company Overview is probably the best place to give your page visitors a reason to click through to your website. Explain who you are and what you have to offer. This isn’t the place for self-promotion but rather for explaining how your business is designed to solve [insert problem type] for [insert buyer type]. This section is a good place to add a call-to-action (CTA) that prompts people to go to your website. Add a URL to make it easy for people to click through.

Facebook offers businesses a place to list their various Products. In this section, you can highlight your best or most popular offerings (or all of them) for your visitors to see. This section is URL-friendly, so give your visitors a reason to click.

You also have a section for Contact Info. Many times, you’ll see this section neglected, but it’s important that you fill this out as much as possible. Give visitors a phone number that’s answered by a human being and an email address leading to a person that gives prompt replies. Even if it’s just a 1-800 number or an info@ email address, make sure it’s monitored before you include it.

The last section of importance in the About tab is your business’ Story. Use this section to share information about your business’ origins or fun facts about your workplace setting. It’s a good place to make your business sound more human, so add content here that shows personality.

On your Facebook page itself, you have the CTA button, which can be customized based on what works best for you and your visitors. Yes, this works both ways. Your CTA needs to work for your business goals, but if it is set up in a way that your visitors don’t like, they won’t click on it. To say it another way: if your visitors prefer to contact you by phone, don’t make your CTA an email link.

For an ecommerce business, your CTA will likely work best if you choose a type that leads people to your site. “Shop Now” is pretty standard and quite effective, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Also on your Facebook page, you have your own visual elements. Your profile icon should be recognizable as your business logo. This is not the place for other types of imagery, but you can always tweak your logo based on a promotion or a season of the year as long as it’s still recognizable.

Your cover image is different from your logo. This is prime real estate for convincing anyone on Facebook—whether they’re fans or just visiting your page—that your ecommerce website is worth their investment. Use custom imagery that shows anything convincing, even if it involves some words, to give people a reason to seek more information. Some brands even include arrows to their page’s CTA for good measure. You can use tools like Canva or your own graphic designer to make these images.

It’s important to note that your cover image can, and should, change regularly. Use the space for a sales promotion or change it based on a thought leadership offering. Whichever you choose, make sure you have your audience personas in mind.

One last point about your Facebook page’s setup: Facebook offers businesses the opportunity to verify their account. Although you have more than one way to do this, the fastest is to use a phone number. With a verified account, you get a check mark next to your name, which makes your page more legitimate and trustworthy to your fans and visitors.

Twitter

Your Twitter profile has highly effective opportunities for attracting other users to your account. You have several areas of your profile that you can optimize as an ecommerce business to attract the right audience.

You want your Twitter name and handle to be your business name, as long as it isn’t too long. If your name is, in fact, too long, find a good way to shorten it without making your account unrecognizable. Be careful with these two profile sections because they’re not easy to change later on.

Your Twitter bio is the best place for targeting your ideal audience. You have 160 characters to use, and you should use as many of them as possible to fully optimize your bio. In this section, you can add hashtags, other Twitter handles, and website links. You can explain who you are and what you have to offer.

In your Twitter bio, try using relevant, targeted hashtags to reach the right audience (the people who are likely to buy products from your website). As an ecommerce business, you likely want to focus on hashtags that relate to the products you offer. You also can use hashtags that you know shoppers are using from their accounts. Both of these methods will help you attract potential buyers.

Also in your bio, you may want to add your customer service handle, if you have a separate account for it. People will then know which account to contact should they have a question or issue. In addition to this, you may want to include a shortened link that leads to a relevant landing page on your website. Use this as an opportunity to promote certain products or offerings.

Always include your website in the section reserved for it. Ideally, you should use the full URL, and hopefully it’s short enough to appear in full on your profile. Most of the time, your website homepage will suffice.

As an ecommerce business, you may not have a single location to include in your bio. Thankfully, Twitter allows you to write whatever you want in this space. You can even just write “online” or “global,” if that’s what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be a geographic location. If you prefer not to include a location at all, that’s fine too.

Now, there are the visual elements: your profile icon and cover image. Your profile icon should be your business logo, and it should match with your other social media accounts to maintain consistency. Your cover image can be used the same way as with Facebook. You can use the space for a simple design or make it more promotional. As long as the image is high-quality and relevant, it will work.

The last part about optimizing your Twitter profile is very important: you want to get it verified by Twitter. When you do this, you’l get a blue checkmark next to your name. This will show other users that you’re a legitimate business account which can help you increase your follower count and improve the reach of your tweets. This, in turn, will increase the click-through rate to your website.

Other accounts you can optimize as an ecommerce business include:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Note: LinkedIn may not work for your business unless your target buyers are B2B. You should focus your efforts on the platforms where your buyers are actively searching for what you offer.

3. Work closely with your sales team

The sales team is often an untapped resource and a missed opportunity for useful, proven lead generation strategies. Sales staff handle the qualified leads you bring in. They get to know what makes your customers tick. In the later stages of making a sale, they are the ones who discover what can and cannot convert leads into customers. This is highly valuable information for you as a marketer.

Ask your sales colleagues what they know about your existing website shoppers. What are they most interested in? What do they like about your website? What is it about your business that gets them to buy from you? These are all questions that can help improve your lead generation efforts.

An ecommerce business cannot grow in silos. Marketing and sales teams need to work together to complete the full customer picture. It starts with marketing, attracting and converting leads. Then sales picks things up to close the deal. Both sales and marketing need to work together to nurture and support your customers—working together throughout the inbound process is key.

4. Provide value first

Social media is a conversational, value-based platform where sales pitches are frowned upon. It’s important to offer assistance more often than you promote yourself. You’ll still be able to generate leads by offering value in exchange for visitors’ info.

Social media is all about being social. Use it to communicate value in the form of real-time conversations, blog content, gated offerings, promotions, and more. Focus first on helping shoppers solve a problem, and the sales will come with time.

The important point to remember is that social media isn’t a broadcasting tool. It isn’t one big press release platform. You need to offer something to help your target audience until they feel ready to buy from you.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your ecommerce offerings at all. You certainly should. It’s about balancing your content in a way that attracts customers instead of pushing them away. If you’re wondering how to determine this balance, hop on over to this SEMrush article, where they dive into the “perfect” ratio of social media posts.

When you focus on value before promotion, you can still bring in leads to your website. People are more likely to give you their private information when you offer something of value that they can use immediately. With your products and website as a whole, you can create a limited-time offer that can generate an immediate sale. Alternatively, you can create a gated resource behind a landing page, requiring contact information to acquire the asset. The sales team can then approach this new lead to work on turning them into a customer.

5. Use persuasive calls-to-action

Your social media content should always have some form of call-to-action (CTA). It’s with these social CTAs that you drive your fans and followers to your online store. These are just a few of the best practices for using CTAs on social media:

Fit the CTA to the platform you’re on

What works for Facebook may not fit well with Pinterest, for example. Twitter has a restrictive character limit while Instagram offers more room. Your CTA should be formatted to fit with the different platform features as well as the audience there.

Use to-the-point, actionable copy

Especially on Twitter, where the feed moves so quickly, you need to grab attention right away. Your CTA needs to convince users to click or respond, but it won’t work if your copy is too long or vague.

Tell your audience where the link will lead them

Clickbait and deceptiveness will only hurt your lead generation efforts and may even hurt your brand image. Be clear why people should go to your website by promoting the value of the destination.

Speak directly to the individual

If you’re thinking of writing in the third person, you’ll be making a mistake. Using second-person language, such as “you,” targets the person as an individual. People want to see brands speaking directly to them, and taking this approach will help.

Make sure you’re tracking and testing your CTAs

When you’re using a standard CTA and not seeing results, it’s important that you test changes (one at a time) to it. Track the metrics that you can acquire in the platform analytics or Google Analytics to see how your CTA performs. You don’t want to keep the same CTA design and copy forever, so make sure you’re experimenting and measuring regularly.

Your call-to-action as an ecommerce business may often lead to a product page. That’s fine if your CTA copy effectively shows that product’s value. However, as a social media CTA, it may prove more worthwhile in the long-term to lead people to your blog offerings or a gated resource. This is as long as your social media purpose is to build relationships first, lead generation second.

6. Send your audience to optimized landing pages

Above, you learned the importance of persuasive calls-to-action. Now it’s time to learn where those CTAs should lead to and how to optimize these pages for lead generation.

When you’re sharing something on social media, such as a promotion or event notice, you’ll need to include a link. This link should lead to a landing page relevant to that topic. It shouldn’t lead to your homepage or an off-topic product page. You don’t want to trick your audience if you want them to become customers.

Your landing page must be fully optimized to make the user experience flawless and effective. Your landing page has important elements—copy, website reliability, responsiveness, and overall design—that must be of the highest quality.

Landing page design

When you’re promoting a free trial, ebook, discount, or anything from your ecommerce website, make sure your social media design matches well with your landing page. This is true for your copy as well, which we’ll dive into next.

Your landing page should catch people’s attention and keep it as soon as they arrive on your site. Website design is key for that.

You may want to focus on these design elements:

  • Colors
  • Imagery or video
  • Formatting

Landing page copy

When you’re creating a social media post, you’re trying to convince your audience to click through to your landing page. But what if your social media copy doesn’t match with your landing page? People are more likely to bounce right off your website.

On your landing page, make it clear what the page’s purpose is and how it will benefit the visitor. On social media, you may have told them that they can get a free trial of your loyalty program. Your landing page should clearly say that filling out the form or making the purchase will give the visitors what they came to get.

Landing page reliability

People expect fast website load times and that’s not just true for desktop browsers anymore; mobile responsiveness is now essential too. If your product pages or free trial page doesn’t load immediately, you’re going to see a much higher bounce rate in Google Analytics.

As an ecommerce business, you’re trying to get people to shop from your website, so it needs to be reliable and responsive. People don’t have the patience for glitchy, slow, or anti-mobile websites, so make sure your landing pages are fully optimized for performance on all devices.

7. Advertise your best offerings

Social media advertising is now essential for getting your content seen by a large audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have feed algorithms that dramatically reduce organic reach. Advertising has now become an integral part of any social media marketing strategy.

When you have an ecommerce website, you want to attract your social media audience to products, trials, and any other key offerings you have. Use advertising to bring the attention from those social media users you can’t reach organically. This primarily includes those users who aren’t currently fans or followers of your accounts.

When you’re trying to make a decision, focus your advertising on your best-performing organic content or any gated offerings where you can collect contact info. You may have published a new product line post on Facebook that you want to boost. Or, you may have a new loyalty program for shoppers that you can advertise via a full lead generation advertising campaign.

Before you commit to an advertising campaign, always check your purpose to see if it aligns with your overall social media goals. You want to drive social media users to your ecommerce website with the goal of seeing them make a purchase. Your advertisements should clearly support that. Otherwise, you’re going off track, wasting resources, and missing opportunities.

8. Keep going strong

Social media lead generation takes time for any business, including ecommerce. It’s important that you commit to the process over time. Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. You need to continuously work on your strategy to see the return on investment you’re seeking.

To keep your social media focused on lead generation, you have options for what you can do:

  • Participate in social trends, such as #MotivationMonday, when appropriate, to reach people beyond your followers. As an ecommerce business, this is an effective way to promote your offerings in creative ways. This, in turn, will attract people who otherwise wouldn’t know who you are and what you offer.
  • Engage in real-time conversations with your prospects and existing customers. Don’t just respond to them. Remember to initiate conversations when possible.
  • When setting up your online store, ensure a seamless user experience. Make the transfer from social media to shopping quick and easy. It helps to have a connector on your website that relates well to your social media content. Landing pages are great for that.
  • Monitor mentions of your business and any relevant keywords that relate well with your online store products. This is an important opportunity to engage with prospects and bring them to your website. In exchange for offering value, your social engagement may increase your conversion rate.
  • Be sure to have a customer support strategy in place for your current customers. There’s nothing worse than seeing a complaint go viral on social media. To prevent this, have a system in place where both complaints and praise are recognized. Resolve the issue quickly to keep your customers happy. Show gratitude for praise to build brand loyalty.

You now know eight helpful ways to bring in leads to your ecommerce website from social media. These are proven ways to increase the quality of your lead generation. Your marketing leads will be more likely to become qualified sales leads, which helps you see the return on investment (ROI) of your social media activity.

No matter what platform you’re using, Hootsuite can help you drive—and track—leads from social media. Try it free today. 

Learn More

How to Schedule Facebook Posts to Save Time

The sound of your alarm goes off. It’s 2 a.m. PST.

You rub the sleep out of your eyes. “It’s time to publish that Facebook post for my readers in London,” you say quietly—barely feigning enthusiasm.

Suddenly you remember what’s next on your social media content calendar. It’s a Facebook video for your audience in Dubai—an hour later at 3 a.m..

You begin to weep softly.

Don’t cry. We’re here to help. We’ll teach you how to schedule Facebook posts ahead of time to make your life easier.

Why should I schedule Facebook posts ahead of time?

As a social media pro, you probably have a lot of content to share—and not a lot of time to do it. Scheduling your Facebook updates in advance can save you time and hassle.

Benefits of scheduling your Facebook posts:

  • Reach multiple time zones—Schedule Facebook posts in advance to reach audiences around the world.
  • Improve consistency—Being consistent with your updates—how often you post and when—will tell your audience when to expect new content. Avoid pauses or sudden breaks in your social media schedule to help ensure maximum engagement.
  • Build anticipation—Draw your audience towards a big event, announcement, or product launch. Scheduling multiple messages to promote an event is a great way to build anticipation.

How to schedule Facebook posts

You can schedule Facebook posts through the platform itself, or you can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to schedule updates and manage your page alongside your other social channels.

Let’s walk through each option.

How to schedule Facebook posts on Facebook

Here’s a step-by-step on how to schedule future posts for your Facebook Page:

How to schedule a post on Facebook:

  1. Start creating your post at the top of your Page’s Timeline
  2. Click the dropdown button next to Publish and select Schedule
  3. Below Publication, select the date and time when you want the post to publish
  4. Click Schedule

How to reschedule, edit, or delete a scheduled post on Facebook:

  1. Click Publishing Tools at the top of your Page
  2. Click Scheduled Posts in the left column
  3. Click the post you want to edit
  4. Click Edit to edit the post, or click the dropdown button to choose to publish, reschedule or delete it

Note: All times for scheduling correspond to your current timezone.

How to schedule Facebook posts using Hootsuite

If you’re looking for some sort of Facebook auto poster tool, Hootsuite’s easy-to-use scheduling functionality is here to help—just follow these seven easy steps.

How to Schedule Facebook Posts to Save Time | Hootsuite Blog

How to schedule a Facebook post on Hootsuite:

  1. Click Compose Message
  2. Type your message and if you need to include a link, use the URL shortener
  3. In the left-hand box, select the desired Facebook profile(s) from the profile picker
  4. Click the calendar icon
  5. From the calendar, select the date for the message to be sent
  6. Select the time you want the post to be scheduled for
  7. Click Schedule

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

How to view and edit your scheduled message on Hootsuite

Where’d all those scheduled messages go? Want to edit any of them after the fact or delete one altogether? Don’t worry, we’re one step ahead of you.

  1. On the left-hand side of your dashboard, click the paper airplane Publisher icon
  2. Click the Scheduled button
  3. In here, you can view and edit any message that you’ve scheduled simply by hovering over the message and clicking the edit icon
  4. This will open up an Edit Scheduled Message window where you can make and save your changes

How to schedule Facebook posts at optimal times;

Can’t decide when to schedule your social? Use Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule feature to schedule your messages based on optimal times. This allows you to go on about your day, knowing that Hootsuite has your back when it comes to publishing at the best time.

  1. Choose your social network
  2. Type your social message in the compose box
  3. Click the calendar icon
  4. In the drop down menu, the AutoSchedule feature will be set to OFF by default—toggle it ON
  5. Press AutoSchedule

The do’s and don’ts of scheduling Facebook posts

When you’re about to post a ton of social media content, remember your Facebook etiquette.

Do: Stay true to your brand

Consider how your Facebook posts will appear on your followers’ News Feeds. Is it relevant and appropriate to your brand? For example, your message might not come across if you’re posting cat memes and world politics within the same hour.

Don’t: Overwhelm your audience

Avoid bombarding your Facebook audience with too much content. The same goes for duplicate posts. Make sure you’re not overwhelming your readers by sending out the same message over and over again.

Do: Be mindful of what you post

Be well-informed of sensitive topics. You don’t want to be the brand posting about a big sale in the middle of a global crisis. In light of a crisis or other major event, go in and cancel or reschedule any scheduled posts that might be interpreted as insensitive.

Do: Take time to craft meaningful messages

There’s a reason creating and sharing relevant content is a social media best practice that never gets old. It’s one of the best ways to boost engagement and social reach.

Do: Schedule your posts at the right time for optimal engagement

The more people that see your Facebook updates, the more opportunity there is to boost engagement, drive traffic, and gain potential new followers. Our own social team has found that the best time to post on Facebook is between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That being said, the best time for you to publish your posts will depend on who your audience is. Use Facebook’s Page Insights or other measurement tools such as Hootsuite Analytics to test and track results.

Hootsuite makes scheduling all your social media content easy. Manage updates and interactions on all your platforms from one place.

Learn More

How to Schedule Facebook Posts to Save Time

The sound of your alarm goes off. It’s 2 a.m. PST.

You rub the sleep out of your eyes. “It’s time to publish that Facebook post for my readers in London,” you say quietly—barely feigning enthusiasm.

Suddenly you remember what’s next on your social media content calendar. It’s a Facebook video for your audience in Dubai—an hour later at 3 a.m..

You begin to weep softly.

Don’t cry. We’re here to help. We’ll teach you how to schedule Facebook posts ahead of time to make your life easier.

Why should I schedule Facebook posts ahead of time?

As a social media pro, you probably have a lot of content to share—and not a lot of time to do it. Scheduling your Facebook updates in advance can save you time and hassle.

Benefits of scheduling your Facebook posts:

  • Reach multiple time zones—Schedule Facebook posts in advance to reach audiences around the world.
  • Improve consistency—Being consistent with your updates—how often you post and when—will tell your audience when to expect new content. Avoid pauses or sudden breaks in your social media schedule to help ensure maximum engagement.
  • Build anticipation—Draw your audience towards a big event, announcement, or product launch. Scheduling multiple messages to promote an event is a great way to build anticipation.

How to schedule Facebook posts

You can schedule Facebook posts through the platform itself, or you can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to schedule updates and manage your page alongside your other social channels.

Let’s walk through each option.

How to schedule Facebook posts on Facebook

Here’s a step-by-step on how to schedule future posts for your Facebook Page:

How to schedule a post on Facebook:

  1. Start creating your post at the top of your Page’s Timeline
  2. Click the dropdown button next to Publish and select Schedule
  3. Below Publication, select the date and time when you want the post to publish
  4. Click Schedule

How to reschedule, edit, or delete a scheduled post on Facebook:

  1. Click Publishing Tools at the top of your Page
  2. Click Scheduled Posts in the left column
  3. Click the post you want to edit
  4. Click Edit to edit the post, or click the dropdown button to choose to publish, reschedule or delete it

Note: All times for scheduling correspond to your current timezone.

How to schedule Facebook posts using Hootsuite

If you’re looking for some sort of Facebook auto poster tool, Hootsuite’s easy-to-use scheduling functionality is here to help—just follow these seven easy steps.

How to Schedule Facebook Posts to Save Time | Hootsuite Blog

How to schedule a Facebook post on Hootsuite:

  1. Click Compose Message
  2. Type your message and if you need to include a link, use the URL shortener
  3. In the left-hand box, select the desired Facebook profile(s) from the profile picker
  4. Click the calendar icon
  5. From the calendar, select the date for the message to be sent
  6. Select the time you want the post to be scheduled for
  7. Click Schedule

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

How to view and edit your scheduled message on Hootsuite

Where’d all those scheduled messages go? Want to edit any of them after the fact or delete one altogether? Don’t worry, we’re one step ahead of you.

  1. On the left-hand side of your dashboard, click the paper airplane Publisher icon
  2. Click the Scheduled button
  3. In here, you can view and edit any message that you’ve scheduled simply by hovering over the message and clicking the edit icon
  4. This will open up an Edit Scheduled Message window where you can make and save your changes

How to schedule Facebook posts at optimal times;

Can’t decide when to schedule your social? Use Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule feature to schedule your messages based on optimal times. This allows you to go on about your day, knowing that Hootsuite has your back when it comes to publishing at the best time.

  1. Choose your social network
  2. Type your social message in the compose box
  3. Click the calendar icon
  4. In the drop down menu, the AutoSchedule feature will be set to OFF by default—toggle it ON
  5. Press AutoSchedule

The do’s and don’ts of scheduling Facebook posts

When you’re about to post a ton of social media content, remember your Facebook etiquette.

Do: Stay true to your brand

Consider how your Facebook posts will appear on your followers’ News Feeds. Is it relevant and appropriate to your brand? For example, your message might not come across if you’re posting cat memes and world politics within the same hour.

Don’t: Overwhelm your audience

Avoid bombarding your Facebook audience with too much content. The same goes for duplicate posts. Make sure you’re not overwhelming your readers by sending out the same message over and over again.

Do: Be mindful of what you post

Be well-informed of sensitive topics. You don’t want to be the brand posting about a big sale in the middle of a global crisis. In light of a crisis or other major event, go in and cancel or reschedule any scheduled posts that might be interpreted as insensitive.

Do: Take time to craft meaningful messages

There’s a reason creating and sharing relevant content is a social media best practice that never gets old. It’s one of the best ways to boost engagement and social reach.

Do: Schedule your posts at the right time for optimal engagement

The more people that see your Facebook updates, the more opportunity there is to boost engagement, drive traffic, and gain potential new followers. Our own social team has found that the best time to post on Facebook is between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That being said, the best time for you to publish your posts will depend on who your audience is. Use Facebook’s Page Insights or other measurement tools such as Hootsuite Analytics to test and track results.

Hootsuite makes scheduling all your social media content easy. Manage updates and interactions on all your platforms from one place.

Learn More

How One Brand Created a Hashtag That Attracts Millions

Retailer Herschel Supply Company’s #WellTravelled hashtag attracts millions of users from around the world—and has become a shining example for how to do effective marketing on Instagram.

In this episode of our Hootcast podcast, we sit down with Herschel’s community manager, Sheila Lam, and global marketing director, Mikey Scott, to chat about the strategy behind this powerful hashtag.

Hootsuite’s social media marketing coordinator Christine Colling follows up with tips on how to create and market a branded hashtag for your business.

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • The story behind one of the most successful hashtags on Instagram
  • How to inspire your audience with great content
  • Tips on how create a hashtag for your brand

Press play to hear the show in its entirety, or if you don’t have a set of earbuds handy, read the transcription of our conversation below.

Q&A with Herschel Supply Co.

How has social media played a role in the development of your brand story?

It was pretty natural. Instagram had just started blossoming. We were already on Facebook, but didn’t really have official Pages. So we reserved all the names. We said, let’s wait a second until we know what we want to do. We knew we wanted to celebrate our photography, which we already celebrate internally.

We started showing how we travel through our community of users, which created momentum for a travel vibe. We elevated that into #WellTravelled and now #CityLimitless. We’ve built other different storytelling platforms and content series through different partnerships, too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the #WellTravelled hashtag and the story behind it?

The #WellTravelled hashtag is a route of escapism on Instagram for us. We can showcase not only where our product goes, but the stories and people behind it.

The hashtag allows you to see the world from your phone. So we promote far off destinations. We’ve got a great series in the Faroe Islands and Fez, along with places that are little more well-known like Sydney and New York. It’s an inclusive community of people who love to travel.

What do you want people to feel when they’re looking at your #WellTravelled photos?

A sense of wonder. The imagery we promote—both that we’ve produced in-house and the user-generated content—it’s beautiful. It’s a painterly landscape or insane cavernous cliffside. It’s all these moments that take your breath away.

It is difficult to use the user-generated content because the content may not always reflect your brand, but Herschel has done such an amazing job at effectively using customer-submitted content. What’s the process and criteria for choosing what content ends up on the channel?

Our director of photography, Stephen Wilde, has set a precedent of having such amazing visuals. To promote user-generated content, it has to match that. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to curate the images that meet those standards.

A surreal view of Gásadalur. #WellTravelled Faroe Islands. Link in bio. Photo: @leonardfong_travel

A post shared by Herschel Supply Co (@herschelsupply) on

Would you say that’s probably one of the biggest ways that you inspire your customers to share great content?

Yeah, absolutely. When you see Herschel you know the quality of content that you’re receiving is at a high level. There’s always consideration behind it—even when it comes from an amateur photographer, it’s about the framing or the subject or how it’s been edited or shot.

It’s all these things that go into making a beautiful image. I don’t want to say that our followers necessarily aspire to us, but they aspire to that. So it’s that quality, that type of content that they they can identify with and want to produce.

The #WellTravelled hashtag is a branded hashtag. Is there a reason that you chose not to include your brand name in the hashtag when you were conceiving it?

I think that instead of getting people to just talk about your brand, they inherently talk about something that’s so embedded inside your brand that it ties back to it. #WellTravelled has 1.8 million hashtags on it and Herschel Supply has 225,000. On the basis of looking at both of them you could say that we’ve created something that’s bigger than our brand, which is pretty awesome. And it’s the same thing with #CityLimitless.

We really looked at, first of all, the whole purpose of a hashtag and what people do when they go through it. A hashtag lets people direct back to your brand without you having to advertise the name of your brand. It allows people to become a part of a movement versus just a number one brand fan. I think launching these types of hashtags creates a path for people to be involved in your brand and all the moments that come with it.

A long weekend is a good weekend. #HappyThanksgiving Canada. Photo: @arikajean

A post shared by Herschel Supply Co (@herschelsupply) on

It definitely worked because you can see that it has become a community.

So much stuff is about the moment and then every once in awhile I’ll come across our product. I’ll start to see these waves where there’s lots of product and lots of moments and lots of products and lots of moments. For me, that’s cool because it’s like a red thread that ties everything together and it’s great to be part of that.

On the topic of world travel—you guys have become a pretty global brand in the last few years. Does your strategy and content differ from region to region?

We are in just under 80 countries and over 180 territories. That’s great for a seven-year-old brand. That being said, we have great partners in all these regions and we need to give them a strategy to localize. Somewhere along the line, being global and acting local became hard.

We need to make sure that we’re engaging and working with different types of partners. We’ve started different hashtags where it’s Herschel Supply HK for Hong Kong, Herschel Supply PH for Philippines, and we’re actually searching those to pull content from.

We’re trying to keep things consistent without opening up the floodgates to have a page for this, a page for that, a profile for this, a profile for that. We want to make sure that there’s that red thread. If someone who travels starts out on the other side of the world and they make it over to this side, our brand looks the same, but there is a little bit of a nuance that they can see and understand.

Thank you for joining us here and we hope to see you guys again soon.

Listen to the Full Episode

How to Turn Your Pinterest Profile Into a Money-Making Machine

Pinterest has 150 million monthly users—and 93 percent of them use the site to plan or make purchases.

As a discovery and research tool, Pinterest is a key part of the buyer’s journey. Continue reading to learn how you can use Pinterest to make money and grow your business.

6 ways to drive revenue and make money on Pinterest

1. Promote Pins to boost traffic and sales

Promoted Pins are the core of Pinterest’s advertising options. A Promoted Pin looks just like a regular Pin, but a company pays to have it seen by more audience members. With Promoted Pins, you get access to:

  • Top placements on Pinterest
  • More desired audience targets
  • Greater creative ad units
  • Higher reach

These benefits drive awareness, engagement, and traffic—which collectively help increase revenue. An internal brand study found people who saw Promoted Pins had 40 percent greater awareness of new products and 50 percent higher purchase intent than those who hadn’t.

To make money on Pinterest, you first need an audience. Run a traffic-generating campaign with Promoted Pins to people to your website and boost sales. Advertisers who run traffic campaigns see an average of 20 percent more clicks in the month after the start of their campaign.

Lingerie and lifestyle brand Adore Me saw a whopping 4,000 percent increase in Pinterest-referred revenue thanks to a Promoted Pins campaign. Not only that, but they saw a 50 percent increase in their click-to-purchase rate on Promoted Pins when compared to other channels.

For more information on Promoted Pins, check out our post Pinterest Ads: The Complete Guide for Business.

2. Make purchasing easier with one-tap Promoted Pins

Instead of being given the choice of whether to save the Pin or go to the source, users are automatically taken to the Pin’s origin. Twice as many Pinterest users are finding items to purchase through the new One-Tap Promoted Pins since the feature launched.

One-Tap Promoted Pins can be identified by a small arrow in the right-hand corner.

3. Promote your app to drive downloads

If your revenue comes from the purchase of paid apps, Promoted App Pins make it easier for your target audience to find you. As Pinterest explains, “These Pins link directly to the store so you can download the app and start using it right away.”

Make money on Pinterest

Promoted app Pins round out Pinterest’s offerings for app developers and marketers. In addition to promoted app Pins, Pinterest users can click on regular App Pins to install iOS apps without leaving Pinterest.

Pinterest explains: “With more than 75 percent of traffic to Pinterest coming from mobile devices, we wanted to make finding apps for all types of interests a little bit easier.”

4. Showcase your products with Promoted Video

Pinterest video has the power to convert. Sixty-seven percent of Pinterest users say video inspires them to take action, compared to 32 percent of users on other social media platforms.

Pinterest’s Promoted Video Pins play within the platform and save the user from having to click away. Once the user watches the Promoted Video, they are given a selection of related ideas—such as pages to visit and Pinterest boards to follow—that show them how things work, or where they can buy the products showcased in the video.

To make the most of this ready and willing audience, Pinterest provides the following tips:

  • Use one of two best-performing video types—storytelling or how-to
  • Prioritize quality over length
  • Optimize for action, not views

Footwear megabrand Hunter Boots used a storytelling format with their Promoted Video ads on Pinterest to launch a new collection. They used longer videos to celebrate the joy of rain and shorter videos to highlight specific products.

During their Promoted Video campaign, Hunter saw Pinterest branded search traffic rise by 30 percent. More searches mean more people seeking out a product—a boost that’s reflected in your sale numbers.

5. Search ads to get your products in front of new customers

Search marketing allows brands to engage with customers earlier in the buying journey. Over 2 billion searches per month happen on Pinterest—most of them for products or services people are looking to buy.

Pinterest partnered with digital advertising leader, Kenshoo, to launch Search Ads in January 2017. “With Search Ads on Pinterest, our clients can promote visually engaging ads as consumers search for relevant products,” Will Martin-Gill, Kenshoo’s Chief Strategy and Development Officer says.

So if your customers are searching for athletic wear, and you’re an athletic wear company, your products will appear in their search results. Search Ads’ suite of features includes:

  • Keyword Campaigns
  • Shopping Campaigns
  • Targeting options
  • Enhanced reporting capabilities

Seventy-two percent of users say Pinterest has introduced them to a new brand or service. Brands who advertise on Pinterest using formats such as Search Ads are able to reach consumers before they’ve made final buying decisions. This fuels audience growth and higher sales.

Make money on Pinterest

An Oracle Data Cloud study found CPG brands who advertised on Pinterest saw five times more revenue per impression. What’s more, 70 percent of retailers’ additional sales came from new customers who found them through Pinterest’s advertising options such as Search Ads.

6. Make in-platform purchasing possible with Buyable Pins

Buyable Pins let users purchase products or services with just a few clicks—without leaving Pinterest. Buyable Pins are recognized by their blue price and a “Buy It” button in their description. Thanks to integrations with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, customers can checkout without leaving Pinterest and sellers can track their Buyable Pins’ performance.

Buyable Pins helped ethical shopping site FlyAway BlueJay boost their sales, especially among new audiences. The online shop used Buyable Pins to reach new customers, increase leads, and achieve sales goals.

“Pinterest is the number one source of social traffic and sales for the shop,” shares Holly Feld, FlyAway BlueJay’s owner and founder.

By creating boards that included a mix of Buyable Pins and non-Buyable Pins, FlyAway BlueJay inspired audiences and highlighted their products at the same time. Thanks to this, 100 percent of their Buyable Pin sales came from brand new customers, with Pinterest driving 20 percent of their overall sales and 28 percent of their overall web traffic.

“Buyable Pins make Pinterest more user-friendly for both people shopping for the perfect gift and for businesses trying to reach new clients,” Feld explains.

Make money on Pinterest

 

For more information on Buyable Pins, Pinterest offers a resource helping you learn how to get started with Buyable Pins, as well as a Pinterest Board sharing tips and tricks for using Buyable Pins.

Pinterest offers powerful ways to drive sales and leads—generating revenue for your business. With a variety of promotion and advertising options, you can pick and choose the solution that makes the most sense for your brand.

Create new Pins, schedule drafts for later, or Pin to multiple boards at once—all from within the Hootsuite dashboard when you install Tailwind from the Hootsuite App Directory.

Download For Free.

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers

The results are in. You won the award for Most Impressions on LinkedIn, Most Clicks Within a 24-Hour Window, and Overall Highest Engagement Award of the Year.

We’re kidding. These awards don’t exist (from what we know). But if they did, they’d be determined by LinkedIn analytics, as they’re a means of measuring your social media success.

Why do we care about metrics? Hootsuite’s senior manager of customer success, Gerard Recio, says it best: “Without measuring your social media efforts, how are you able to tell if your social strategy is working? Use analytics to establish baseline targets, then create short and long term goals to work towards.”

We’ve given you the rundown for analytics across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest—so it’s about time LinkedIn got in on the action. To help you get the most out of LinkedIn analytics, we put together the following guide.

What are LinkedIn analytics?

What do analytics look like on LinkedIn? Like most social media platforms, it’s often represented in followers, shares, clicks, and impressions.

For now, LinkedIn only offers insights for Company Pages.

What can you measure with LinkedIn Analytics?

As per LinkedIn, Company Page Analytics are split up into three sections—Updates, Followers, and Visitors:

1. Updates

Updates

A table showing the most recent updates and the following data:

  • Preview—Shows the first few words of your post if it included text.
  • Date—The date each update was posted.
  • Audience—Indicates whether the update was sent to all followers or targeted.
  • Sponsored—Shows which campaign(s) you’ve sponsored content in. Learn more about sponsored content.
  • Impressions—The number of times each update was shown to LinkedIn members.
  • Clicks—The number of clicks on your content, company name, or logo. This doesn’t include interactions (shares, likes, and comments).
  • Interactions—The number of times people have liked, commented on, and shared each update.
  • Followers Acquired—How many followers you gained by promoting each update.
  • Engagement—This percentage shows the number of interactions plus the number of clicks and followers acquired, divided by the number of impressions.

Reach

A graph showing the trend on the number of times your updates were seen both organically and through paid campaigns on a daily basis.

Engagement

A graph displaying the number of times members clicked, liked, commented on, and shared your content in both organic and sponsored campaigns.

2. Followers

  • Total—The total number of LinkedIn members following your Company Page. The number displayed here is updated only once a day, so it may be different from the current number on your Overview tab, which is updated in real time.
  • Organic—Followers you gained without advertising.
  • Acquired—Followers you gained through Sponsored Content and/or Company Follow Ads.

Follower Demographics

A breakdown of who’s following your company using five types of demographic data: seniority, industry, job function, company size, and more.

Follower Trends

Showing how your number of followers has changed over time.

How You Compare

Your number of followers compared to other companies.

Hot tip: How You Compare is a good insight to include in a competitive analysis. You can also use it as a benchmark to set goals in your social media strategy.

3. Visitors

  • Page views—A graph showing how many times your Company Page was viewed.
  • Career Page clicks—If you have a Career Page, this graph shows you how many times viewers clicked various elements of your Career Page. This metric might be useful for someone in your Human Resources department who’s looking to see how much interest is being gathered by a job posting.
  • Unique visitors—A graph showing how many LinkedIn members visited your page, not including duplicate visits to a single page.
  • Visitor demographics—This is a graph showing a breakdown of who’s visiting your Company Page based on seniority, industry, function, and company size.

Benefits of using LinkedIn analytics

1. Understand more about your audience

The key to engaging your LinkedIn audience is knowing as much as you can about them.

As a brand, you should have an idea of who you’re speaking to—a buyer persona. Make sure your target audience is on LinkedIn by familiarizing yourself with the LinkedIn demographics that matter most.

The good news is that LinkedIn Analytics provides all the information you need to zone in on your target audience. With its Followers and Visitors sections, you get a good idea of what current and potential customers like about your brand.

Use LinkedIn’s demographics graphs to get a breakdown of who’s viewing your Company Page.

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

The demographics categories—seniority, industry, function, and company size—tell you about your audience’s professional background. This is key to engaging them.

Let’s say you’re a publishing company that produces thought leadership content targeting the C-suite. LinkedIn Analytics will let you know if a CMO clicked on your last post. This is where you study their interactions with your brand and figure out what people are most interested in. Is it announcements on career movements within your company? Articles on industry trends?

Use these insights to start posting content your target audience wants to see. Curating and sharing relevant content with your audience is one of the best ways to boost engagement and spark more interest in your brand.

2. Replicate your success

You spent the last week creating a blog post on women in tech and you’re excited to see how it’s doing. How does it compare with other pieces you’ve published? Is it worth putting paid advertising behind it?

You can find this out from LinkedIn Analytics in the Updates section. With insights on likes, comments, shares, and clicks—you can figure out what content is doing well and what isn’t.

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Analyze the updates with the most impressions and interactions—these are the posts receiving the most engagement. Check for similarities. What kind of content was in each update—images, copy, maybe a SlideShare presentation? What topics did they cover? A job posting? A product launch? What was the CTA, if there was one?

Use this data to tweak your social media content strategy to fuel engagement. It’s also an opportunity to decide if you want to sponsor an update so it reaches more people. Under Followers Acquired, LinkedIn Analytics lets you know exactly how many new followers you gained through paid advertising.

3. Visualize your data

LinkedIn Analytics visualizes your data so can you see your social media performance at a glance. It makes identifying trends easy—such as spotting any dips or spikes in your data.

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Hootsuite’s social team likes to use the Engagement and Reach graphs to see a month-to-month comparison of specific metrics, such as clicks, likes, comments, and shares.

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

For example, in the picture above, we’re measuring shares. By setting the date range to the last six months and hovering over the data points on the graph, you can see the total number of shares for January. This trick makes it easy to compare your social media efforts throughout the months.

Want to know more about data visualization? We know all about presenting data to prove the value of social.

LinkedIn analytics tools

1. Company Page Analytics via LinkedIn

Integrated right in the platform, LinkedIn provides company pages with data insights. To access it, you have to be the Company Page administrator on your LinkedIn business account.

If you need help creating a Company Page on LinkedIn, our post, LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide can help.

2. Hootsuite Analytics

Hootsuite Analytics lets you compare LinkedIn metrics alongside all your other social media profiles.

Our analytics tool also lets you build an unlimited amount of reports, taking your social media metrics and turning them into shareable visuals.

3. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a social listening tool for every one of your social media handles. It even has coverage channels such as RenRen, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Taringa, and Xing. One of its coolest features? Metadata, which offers a deeper analysis with details such as location, positive or negative sentiment, and user demographics.

Gain insight into your LinkedIn presence—and your other social media efforts—with Hootsuite Analytics. Try it free today.

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How URL hijackers are disrupting banks’ PPC campaigns

I usually write about search marketing, analytics and conversion optimization, but I felt it was important to share a discovery I made recently.

I noticed a major phishing scam hijacking the paid search ads of financial and banking companies on brand keywords. The activity was discovered by an alert I received from BrandVudu, a third-party risk compliance and brand protection tool.

The alert uncovered paid search ads that look like official bank or credit card brand ads, but when a consumer clicks the ad, the landing page is a phishing website.

In this example the tactic follows this pattern:

1. An ad is triggered on brand or brand-plus searches for popular bank and credit card keywords (e.g., brand + “ login” or “low APR credit card offers”)

2. The ad contains a display URL for the financial institution, and therefore appears genuine and official.

3. Consumers who click on the ad are misdirected to a phishing site which attempts to get the user to call a phone number. After this the following events take place:

  1. The site claims that malware has been downloaded onto the user’s machine, along with a troubling pop-up, and loud sound effects including warning bells.
  2. The user is directed to call 844-813-5760 or 800-646-0707, which identifies the virus as the ZEUS virus, in order to get assistance from either Apple or Microsoft support.
  3. In some cases, the pop-up or the tab can be easily closed. In other cases, the entire computer screen is blocked by the warning message and the only way to get out of it, if you are a Windows user, is to use Task Manager to kill your browser program.
  4. The landing page looks like the below, depending on whether you are a Mac or Windows user:

BrandVudu identified the following URLs where consumers are being directed.  These URLs seem to rotate daily, with new URLs being used every few days:

Source: BrandVudu

Why aren’t these scams being caught?

Misleading ads are a problem, as evidenced by the 2016 Bing Ads Quality Review showing millions of ads needing to be blocked.  You would think that popular malware solutions would find these phishing scams and alert users, right?

I thought the same thing, but a scan of the above Destination URLs using several top malware scanners revealed green “all-clear” good grade for each site.

The phishing sites are fooling the scanning companies by misdirecting the scanner to a legitimate URL. When they’re visited by a crawler used by malware scanner tools, they usually send users to the actual financial institution website. Scans are performed and land on the legitimate site, therefore a good grade is returned.

Specifically what happens is the phishing site performs a check on the visitor and sends the visitor in one of two directions:

  • If the visitor is an anti-virus scanner or ‘crawler’, the visitor is pushed to the proper financial institution landing page or other real site, which looks legitimate and fine; or
  • If the visitor is a person (i.e. using a detectable browser), then the phishing site directs the user to the malware phishing site.

This misdirection is the likely culprit as to how the phishing scam can circumvent the search engine’s own audit checks.

The financial implications for bank advertisers

While you might view this simply as a nuisance to be expected in the world of online ad fraud, the implications are in fact much more serious. Financial institutions could potentially be subject to regulatory inquiries plus the erosion of good will in their brand names.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), for example, is the government watchdog that makes sure financial ads are not taking advantage of consumers. They’ve been very active in the last two years, filing multi-million-dollar lawsuits against offenders.

Further, the lawsuits are made public, so even if advertisers can pay the fine, they suffer a huge black eye in the press with already wary consumers.

Takeaway

If you are on the paid search team of a financial institution, government site, or credit card company, it is recommended that you take the following steps to ensure your ads are not being attacked:

  • Use a third-party risk assessment tool to monitor your brand and brand plus keywords. There are many options for this; I used information from BrandVudu for this article. Other tools include The Search Monitor, iSpionage and AdGooroo
  • Report issues to the search engine’s trademark compliance team for immediate take down
  • Document your findings to protect against an audit by a regulatory agency.

If you are reading this article and you are a search engine e.g. Google or Bing, your editorial teams may need additional tools to catch these scams.

Related reading

Vector graphic of on/off sliders.

How to Master the Art of the Professional DM

The familiar sound of a Twitter notification echoes on my phone. I’ve received a direct message from another user.

“Thanks for the follow! Click this link to learn more about me,” the automated words populate on my screen. This is the written equivalent of a pre-recorded voicemail and they’re asking me to drive traffic back to their site.

Aren’t we past generic messages and overly self-promotional content?

A direct message (DM) is a private message sent to a user on social media. They’re often used for getting in touch with a prospect, contacting a hiring manager, or simply establishing a business connection. They show up in a user’s personal inbox—so shouldn’t they be personable?

At Hootsuite, our human resources and sales teams are constantly reaching out and being contacted over social media. We spoke to the experts—Cassie Loewen, our global employer brand specialist, and Mike DeCastro, an enterprise development representative—who gave us the 411 on sending professional DMs.

4 tips for sending the perfect social media DM

1. Reach people through various touch points

Recruiting expert Cassie Loewen has a theory about connecting with people on social media.

“It’s kind of like dating,” she says Explaining that it’s better to have built a rapport before asking someone on a date so that the interaction is as seamless as possible.

Thankfully, social media is designed for socializing—built on likes, shares, replies, and comments. It’s not strange to engage with the same user multiple times—and on different social media platforms—before reaching out to them directly.

Could you imagine doing that over email? It’s more acceptable to receive five retweets from the same user than it is to receive five emails.

When developing a strategy to get to know someone over social, try using a layering technique. Find the person you want to reach out to on different social networks and interact with them in different ways., You could share one of their LinkedIn articles and then give them a shoutout in one of your tweets.

Mike DeCastro, one of Hootsuite’s sales experts, likes to tweet at potential prospects on Fridays with a simple, “Have a good weekend!” He combines this with liking and commenting on a few of their social media posts. Only then does he follow-up with a request to connect.

The key is to reach that person at different touch points so that when you send a DM, it feels like a natural progression of your relationship.

2. Be strategic with your message

So you’ve commented on someone’s tweets and you’ve shared a couple of their articles on LinkedIn. Now you’re ready for the next step in your relationship—crafting that pivotal direct message. This is your shot at making a good first impression.

Tips for planning your attack:

  • Make it short and sweet. People are busy and don’t have time to read a novel. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm them with information.
  • Be professional. Avoid spelling mistakes, skip the jargon, and don’t use internet slang. “Wassup? Hey how r u?” doesn’t exactly translate to “I’m a qualified professional.” Especially on a platform like LinkedIn, using too much slang or jargon won’t get your message the respect it deserves.
  • Be clear. State why you’re reaching out and give them incentive to respond. If you’re contacting the hiring manager at your dream company, be clear that you’re hoping to land a position, explain why you’d be a great fit, and suggest a means of connecting offline.
  • Don’t make them do extra work. You already want a reply, so think about what you’re asking on top of that. Do you want the person to comb through your resume and then to match you with available positions at their company? Asking for too much might turn the person off from responding to your DM.
  • Include a CTA. Have a call-to-action that provides actionable next steps. Without a CTA, your DM might go unanswered. What are they supposed to do with the knowledge of your existence? Try, “Let me know if you’re interested.” Or if you want to get specific, “How about a call on Thursday at 3 p.m.?”

3. Know your audience

Loewen and DeCastro are both huge fans of personalized DMs. They demonstrate effort and care.

Getting to know your audience is necessary to separate yourself from the crowd. If you’re reaching out to a sales lead or an HR person, there are probably hundreds of other people doing the same.

How you can personalize your DM:

  • Do your research. Take a least five minutes to scan the contact’s profile and gather information on them. Check out their bio, what kind of content they’re posting, and what might be top-of-mind for them at the moment. Is it their favorite sports team? A book they’ve been reading? Use that intel to add a personal spark to your message.

For example, one look at Loewen’s Twitter profile will let you know exactly what she’s interested in. (Hint: it’s donuts.)

How to Master the Art of the Professional DM | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Cassie Loewen on Twitter.
  • Tailor your message to their communication style. Do they use emoji? Do they share a lot of jokes? Do they refer to themselves as something other than their real name? Incorporate some of those details into your message.

For example, if you’re thinking about contacting Hootsuite’s SEO specialist—Zak Ramdani—you might want to refer to him as The Great SEO Owl instead.

How to Master the Art of the Professional DM | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Zak Ramdani on LinkedIn.
  • Avoid templates and automated messaging. “Once I notice a template, I immediately unfollow them,” DeCastro tells us. People want a well-thought-out message, not something generic. Nobody wants to talk to a robot and nobody wants to be subscribed to a bunch of broadcasted messages.

Sending out a professional DM is a give-and-take process. If you don’t put in the work to get to know them, why should they put in the work of replying?

4. Tailor your message to the platform

Each social media network caters to a specific kind of interaction and a different level of privacy. When connecting with someone you’ve never met before, be mindful of the nuances of the social network you’re using and the expectations for privacy on that platform.

Networking approaches best suited for each platform:

  • Twitter. Best for casual interactions. It’s where you can do some mingling by liking and retweeting a few of their posts.
  • LinkedIn. Best for professional interactions. LinkedIn is meant for business networking, so it’s also where you’ll find the most competition when trying to connect with someone directly.
  • Instagram. Getting personal. People are posting pictures of their personal life, but might also be looking at branded content. Although Loewen prefers to have met someone in person before letting them follow her on Instagram, she also finds it great for sharing what #HootsuiteLife is all about.
  • Facebook. For personal use. People use it to connect with family and friends, so it’s not the best place to reach out to a potential business contact. Keep in mind there’s also a chance that someone might not receive your DM, as Facebook files messages from outside your “Friends” list in in “Other” inbox.
  • Snapchat. The most personal. Cassie says if she’s met someone in person a few times, exchanging Snapchat handles seems appropriate. If you’re trying to connect with a sales prospect or potential candidate, it’s can be a great way to showcase some of the behind-the-scenes of your brand.

Even though social media is a public space, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own personal boundaries. Some good rules of thumb are to avoid digging deep into someone’s social media activity and commenting on their personal lives.

Use Hootsuite to discover new leads, monitor real-time conversations, and manage DMs across all your networks in one place. Try it free.

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13 Facebook Live Tips from Hootsuite’s Social Media Team

Facebook Live introduces an audience to the people behind a brand—an experience that builds real human connections.

To discover other ways Facebook Live can benefit a business, we spoke to Hootsuite’s social media marketing specialist, Amanda Wood, and social media marketing coordinator, Christine Colling.

Emphasizing the importance of authenticity, Wood shares, “Facebook Live is a way for marketing to be less polished, and more raw and authentic. With so much competing noise on social, content can often come across as an advertisement. Facebook Live gives insight into the brand personality and culture.”

Continue reading to find out what Hootsuite’s social media team learned from doing Facebook Live video.

13 tips for Facebook Live success

1. Test your equipment

“You can make your Facebook Live broadcast private at first for testing,” Wood explains. “This lets you see what it will look like and how it will sound.”

Many issues can easily be avoided with a brief run-through and test.

Before every one of Hootsuite’s Facebook Live broadcasts, we test out our tech equipment, check our lighting, ensure all microphones are working properly, and monitor external sound levels. As far as equipment goes, our team recommends using an external microphone (especially for interviews) to ensure optimal audio performance. A tripod is also important to ensure you capture a steady shot.

2. Don’t focus on perfection

A big part of Facebook Live’s appeal is the authentic content. Maker Studios’ chief content officer Erin McPherson declares, “The new authority is authenticity.” This is especially true if you’re targeting millennials, as only six percent of this age group trust traditional online advertising.

Colling says, “Don’t be stressed out if it’s not perfect! The appeal of Facebook Live is its unedited and raw nature, and your audience is much more forgiving here.”

3. Prepare talking points

Appearing authentic is not the same as being unprepared. To avoid any uncomfortable moments in your Facebook Live broadcast, think about what you’re going to say in advance. If you hit a lull in the discussion, you can easily turn to your talking points to spark interesting conversation.

4. Schedule a ‘Go Live’ notification

A “Go Live” notification is a great way of to ensure your audience knows when to tune in. In your video settings, simply toggle the switch from off to on.

Once you’ve done this, your followers can subscribe to your channel and will receive a push notification when your broadcast begins streaming.

5. Promote your broadcast

In addition to scheduling a notification for our audience, we make sure to promote our broadcasts through our other social channels.

We schedule regular Facebook and Twitter posts letting people know when to tune-in. Wood shares, “We also create Snapchat and Instagram Stories with a sneak preview of the content we’ll be covering in our Facebook Live broadcast to spark our audience’s interest, as well as a clear call-to-action inviting viewers 30 minutes before we go live.”

6. Reintroduce what you’re talking about often

If you’ve ever walked into a meeting late, you know how frustrating it is to not know what’s going on. To avoid making your audience feel this way, Wood recommends reintroducing your topic often.

“Give yourself a buffer time at the beginning so that people have time to join the video, and then get others up to speed by repeating the topic and current discussion at least once again,” she advises.

7. Have a dedicated engagement person if possible

A Facebook Live broadcast is a fast-paced event where many things are happening at once. When we run our Facebook Live broadcasts, we have a person dedicated to monitoring and responding to comments.

Colling recommends streamlining this process by having a list of resources and key messaging ready.

“You’re likely to get the same questions or comments more than once, so this is a great way to save time and maintain consistency,” she explains.

8. Boost your content right away

If you have the budget, there’s no better way to promote your Facebook Live event than by giving it a boost. As Wood explains, “Make a bigger impact and reach more people with your Live video by boosting it after you’ve ended the broadcast. You can set your spend and choose the audience you want to target. Using a tool like AdEspresso can help a lot with this!”

It’s important to stay on top of your efforts, and keep an eye on the post to make sure you’re reaching your target audience. Wood recommends checking your boosted post for responses every day and adjusting if needed.

9. Repurpose content for your other channels

When you’re planning your Facebook Live event, consider how you will be able to repurpose the content.

Our social team will shorten the video for regular Facebook and Instagram video, and share any tips to the appropriate social channels as posts.

Colling shares, “It’s also a great idea to think about how you can turn the content of your Facebook Live broadcast into a permanent piece of evergreen content, like a blog post or guide.”

One of the best ways to repurpose your broadcast is to highlight key tips and the most valuable information, and create a piece of content your audience can refer to and use as a trusted resource.

10. Make sure you have visible branding

While you might find it hard to forget your brand, others who are tuning into your Facebook Live broadcast might need a reminder. Ensure you have visible and easily recognizable branding representing your company throughout the entire broadcast.

At Hootsuite, we add a watermark of our logo to the corner of the video and shoot on a set that contains branded merchandise, like Hootsuite t-shirts and Owly plush toys.

11. Keep your intro short

“Our first broadcast had an intro that was almost five minutes long,” Colling shares. “We realize we should have limited the intro to one minute, at the maximum.”

While it’s important to have an intro in order to acquaint your audience with the topic, you don’t want it to be so long that your audience drops off.

12. Track the right metrics

Facebook counts a video view at three3 seconds, but at Hootsuite we focus on viewers who reach the 10 second mark of our Facebook Live stream. This means that the viewer has not only surpassed the autoplay mark, but stayed an extra seven seconds.

In addition to counting the number of viewers who stayed for 10 seconds or more, we measure the average watch time, and the percentage of viewers who watch with sound on and off.

To measure engagement, we look at the number of comments we received as well as shares. As Wood declares, “If you’re getting shares, you’re getting views.”

13. Know how to drive traffic

Facebook Live can bring big attention to your brand and help drive traffic in many ways. Colling explains, “When you publish your video, you can edit the copy to include clear CTAs encouraging your audience to visit your other channels.”

Provide links to resources such as your blog, guides, website, and webinars, and encourage your viewers to check them out.

There’s no one size fits all key to success for Facebook Live, but the above tips can guide you in the right direction. Test and adjust your approach as necessary, and find the best fit for your brand.

 

5 Expert Tips For Presenting Social Media Data Effectively

Hopefully you’ve established the social media metrics that matter the most for your business (and if not, we can help you figure out the ones that do).

Now you’re thinking about how to present the results to someone else—your manager, an executive in the company, or a client. In order to sell the value of social media, you need to know how to present the data clearly in order to make a persuasive case.

We sat down with Hootsuite’s manager of business insights and analytics, Dan Piecuch, to find out his top tips for presenting social media data.

5 tips for visualizing social media data

Know your graphs

Let’s take you back to STATs 101. All graphs aren’t created equal—each one is designed to display data in a certain way and some are better than others.
Here’s what you need to know about graphs and what they’re used for.

  • Scatter plot—To show correlation.

social media data visualization

  • Pie chart—To show proportion. Piecuch recommends that you have no more than five slivers. If you need more, you’d be better off using something other than a pie chart.
  • Line graph—To show trends and patterns. This is sometimes known as a timeseries graph.

social media visualization

  • Bar chart—To show comparisons.
  • Table—To show precise values.

Let’s apply this to social media data. A pie chart can display how an ad campaign budget is being spent. Because budgets add up to 100 percent—a definite value—a pie chart will clearly show what percentage of the money is being spent where.

Keep color in mind

“Get it right in black and white,” is one of Piecuch’s go-to quotes when he hosts Hootsuite’s workshop on data visualization. Piecuch actually starts all of his graphs in black and white, then adds color if necessary.

While it’s tempting, using a ton of color to make a data chart more attractive isn’t recommended. Too many colors in a graph can be distracting and unnecessary for your audience to understand the information being presented to them.

Here are some smart ways to incorporate color into data visualization.

  • Avoid red—Red has a negative connotation to it. For example, even if you’re highlighting something good—like a rise in Instagram engagement—when our minds see red, we initially think that something went wrong.
  • Use color gradients to display a time series—Taking a shade from lightest to darkest can signify past to present. As the color fades, it can illustrate how data from previous years might become less relevant.
  • Highlight—A strong hue can emphasize a particular value that you want your audience to pay attention to, such as a surge or drop in click-throughs.
  • Give each color a value—This is handy for when you want to use color to represent a range. For example, blue for anything over 90 percent and orange for anything below 10 percent.
  • Use color to group relevant data together—For example, you might use blue for Twitter, yellow for Facebook, and pink for Instagram.
  • Use company colors—This will ensure you don’t go overboard with too much color.

Know your audience

Just like when it comes to delivering social media content, knowing your audience is key if you want to effectively engage them. Tailor your presentation to the people you’re presenting to, whether they’re stakeholders, colleagues, or executives.

According to Piecuch, the C-suite often prefers a high-level overview of key performance indicators (KPIs). And it makes sense why—executives are busy. Don’t overload them with information.

This report will differ from one created for a director who would likely be interested in both the high-level KPIs and the specific figures that drove them.

In this case, you want a visual that compares values that are very precise. Piecuch recommends tables for this kind of data, especially when you need to show decimal points. They might not be as aesthetically-pleasing as an infographic—but what they do offer is hard data on metrics such as leads, conversions, and more.

Make it easy to understand

Looking at data isn’t like using an app or navigating a website, but the user-experience is just as important. To deliver data insights effectively, Piecuch insists on taking an audience-centric approach when it comes to data presentations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering the user-experience.

  • The mind works left to right—This is specific to charts that are meant to compare values. Make sure the values are presented in an ascending or descending order—you don’t want the user to have to go back and forth between values just to compare them.
  • Do the work for your audience—That means taking the time to sort data in sequential order, group values together when it makes sense to, and highlight important points.
  • Don’t be overly focused on aesthetics—Resist the urge to use too many colors. Refrain from using a pie chart when simply writing out numbers will do.
  • Keep it simple—Stay away from clipart, imagery, and logos that will clutter your presentation. Let the data speak for itself.
    Use the right tools

We asked Piecuch as well as Hootsuite production designer Brenda Wisniowski what kind of tools are best for presenting data. Here are some of their favorites:

  • Tableau—Tableau makes it easy to take an enormous amount of information and turn it into a dynamic visual. They’ve catered to industries of all kinds and businesses of different sizes. There’s also a free version available online.
  • Adobe Illustrator—This is great for the designer on your team, as they’re probably using Illustrator in their role already. With that mind, getting the most out of Illustrator’s graph-making feature will come easy. The program offers nine customizable graphs to suit your needs.
  • Hootsuite Analytics—You saw this one coming. When reporting for business, the Hootsuite dashboard takes your social media metrics and turns them into shareable visuals.
  • Boards are good for live data—things like campaign management or social media listening. Reports are customizable documents, which makes them great for KPIs, campaign effectiveness, or competitive intelligence.

Here’s a Hootsuite Analytics report that visualizes our data team’s predictions for the 2017 Oscar.

And if all else fails, we’ll leave you with this handy quote from Hootsuite’s data expert: “Stick with the tools you are comfortable with,” says Piecuch. “But if it’s Excel, stay away from the defaults.”

Before you go ahead and visualize your data—you’re going to need to collect it first. Try Hootsuite Analytics to see real-time results about growth and performance on social. Take everything you’ve learned about presenting data, assemble your insights, and you’re on your way to selling the value of social.