13 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience in 2017 (via Social Media Today)

Instagram

Strategically comment on posts

To gain exposure and gain social media followers organically I always recommend getting out there and interacting with social media accounts from other brands, as well as your own your audience. I know, it’s time consuming, but in 2017 getting organized and strategic can help you with this task. Choose five brand accounts that are similar to yours and leave one genuine comment on their three most recent photos every week. Commenting will expose your account to people who are interacting with material that’s similar to your own.

Like post comments

Instagram recently rolled out an update which enables you like specific comments – just as you can on Facebook. This adds an extra (and easy) opportunity to get some more interaction going for your account.

Popular accounts can get hundreds of comments. Remember that list I suggested you make for the tip above? Look for a posts on those target accounts that resonate with your audience and go through and like the good comments. This will bring visibility to your account and help you gain social media followers organically.

Don’t forget to like comments left on your own photos as well.

Use Instagram Stories and Live stories

Instagram Stories and live-streaming can seem a little scary, but they should absolutely be part of your 2017 social media strategy. Not only will you be able to give more context about you, your posts or your business, but creating this kind of content can also see you featured in Instagram’s Explore section. Imagine all the exposure you can gain from that.

Facebook

Use Live Video

Again, video is a big deal and Live videos get the most reach by far compared to other content formats. There are so many ways to use Facebook Live Videos – you’re only limited by your own creativity.

Facebook is also rolling out 360 degree live videos and audio-only broadcasts.

Invite Post Likers to Like Your Page

A feature which has been around for a while (but not everyone knows about) is the option to invite folks who’ve Liked your posts to also Like Page. We’ve used this method with my clients and it’s an easy way to get some quick wins in 2017.

To do this navigate to your Facebook Page, click on the post Likers listing on any post and a light box will pop up. Next to each person’s name will be a little wheel, clicking on the wheel will give you the option to invite the person to like the Page if they haven’t already. Easy peasy.

(Note: This option only works for Pages with fewer than 100,000 total Page Likes)

Twitter

Use live video

Tired of reading that yet? Live videos add a layer of personality and an element of surprise and delight for your fans. You can create a live video on Twitter directly from the app and the video will stream on your Periscope account as well, which will help your following on that platform simultaneously.

Twitter’s also just launched the ability to post Live 360 degree videos to the mix for those of you more advanced content creators out there.

Take advantage of the 140 Character update

This past year Twitter released an update to their 140 character limit, meaning you can now use all of your 140 characters, even when including a link or photo.

The new update gives you more wiggle room to add hashtags, or just get a full thought out.

General Tips

Incorporate video

Since videos are getting so much reach and interaction I suggest adding more videos to your 2017 social media strategy. Don’t be nervous, you can create simple videos that still deliver great impact. Here are a few ways on how to easily create great video content.

Use high quality images

Keep your images as high quality as possible or use stock imagery where appropriate.

Keep Consistent

Remember that consistency is key and letting an account go dormant or not posting enough will not help your presence grow. My rule of thumb is to post at least three times a week.

Think about your story

When you develop your posts or campaigns think about the story you want to tell. This should help you craft ideas about content and messaging for you channels.

Have fun and test new features

Surprise and delight your audience (and show them you know how to use the network) by not being afraid to test new features that roll out. They may not always work out for your business, but if you can use them effectively they add an extra element to your social media presence.

Keep interacting

This is the most time consuming, but most effective way to get in front of new followers. Interact with brands similar to you, related brands, influencers, and folks from your target audience.

Good luck in 2017.

Read More at the Source: Social Media Today

Curiosity: Your Secret Sauce?

Curiosity is what fuels the search for new ideas and insights to fuel growth of every sort.

This is an article curated from Entrepreneur.com written by Stacey Alcorn, CEO of Boston-based Laer Realty Partners. Credit link is at the end of the article.

Some call me nosey, others deem me highly curious, but I have spent the last decade reaching out to business leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes and world changers, to inquire about how they have achieved their dreams. I have interviewed more than 350 people and since it’s easier to get interviews when there’s something in it for the other party, I share their stories in online articles. Real estate is my livelihood, but interviews are my passion. Although I get paid zero for the interviews, nothing has fueled my business more than my instinctive nature to be curious. Here are the five reasons why passionate curiosity has been a game changer.

“Curiosity — It keeps us moving forward, exploring, experimenting, opening new doors.” – Walt Disney

 1. Big thinking.

One of the greatest attributes I’ve garnered from interviewing so many successful business people is that I’ve learned to think big. When you surround yourself by the likes of Richard Branson, who is commercializing space travel, or Holly Daniels Christensen who has created an experiential jewelry line, Dune Jewelry, or salon guru, Marc Harris, who is reinventing the entire salon business model by partnering with massive real estate developers to create in-house salon services for the affluent, you tend to become the type of business person who no longer thinks in terms of what’s been done, but rather in terms of what might be possible.

2. Fresh lens.

As a business leader, it is natural to see the entire world through the very specific lens of your business. Tony Hsieh, author of “Delivering Happiness” and CEO of Zappos, has a very different take on customer service experiences than most because he has built a business around a culture of delivering extraordinary experiences to customers and employees. As business owners, we view everything from our specific business lens, but when we are passionately curious and inquisitive with other entrepreneurs, we start to see the world through their lenses too.

3. New ideas.

Sometimes the best ideas come from other industries. By going out and asking questions of other business leaders, you find new ways to engage employees, build client rapport, and scale your own business.

4. Not so lonely.

Every entrepreneur has major highs in their business, coupled with major lows, and sometimes it’s all on the same day. Going through a roller coaster of emotions in business can be draining and lonely, since there’s usually nobody nearby who understands what you are going through. If you are sick of feeling lonely in business, reach out and ask questions to other entrepreneurs and you’ll soon learn that there are others riding the same exact roller coaster as you.

5. Advocates.

What’s really cool about interviewing people is that when you ask people lots of questions about themselves, they tend to ask lots of questions about you. In under an hour, you can go from stranger to friend and massive business empires are more easily built with a little help from your friends.

Read More at the Source: Entrepreneur

Using Celebrity Buzz: Russia – The Scandal Trump Can’t Shake

Is there a better way to create user interest and website traffic than using celebrity news to build a buzz?

Probably not – unless it’s some fascinating viral social share that has momentarily become the latest raging social meme.

Celebrities, whether they are Hollywood, Bollywood, political or business personalities, can continue to attract an interest long after the heat of the latest viral message has cooled.

Pick a luminary, superstar, newsmaker, hero or pets – borrowing and sharing the most curious social web content is the fastest way to bring visitors to your website.

The following is an example of a notable celebrity who will continue to wag the tails of the main stream media long after this current newsreel spins out.

From the BBC/News website: A top Trump aide quitting over contact with Russia is just one element of a major controversy.

Trump Putin compositeImage copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption Donald Trump has been dogged by suspicion over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin

Throughout the confusion of Donald Trump’s campaign and the chaotic events of his early days in the White House, one controversy has clung to the Trump train like glue: Russia.

The sudden departure of Michael Flynn from his role as national security adviser in February and the revelations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Russia’s ambassador Sergei Kislyak are among a string of controversies tying the administration to apparent Russian interests.

In March, then-FBI director James Comey also confirmed for the first time that the bureau was investigating potential links between Mr Trump’s campaign aides and the Russian government as part of a broader probe into Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Mr Comey himself was sacked by President Trump on 9 May – in a move that shocked Washington, and raised suspicions that the dismissal may have been part of a cover up

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Early warning signs

It was back in May 2016 that the first reports emerged of hackers targeting the Democratic Party. Over the next two months, the reports suggested US intelligence agencies had traced the breaches back to Russian hackers.

In July, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks published 20,000 internal emails stolen by the hackers. US intelligence officials said they believed with “high confidence” that Russia was behind the operation, but the Trump campaign publicly refused to accept the findings.

Instead, at a press conference, Mr Trump caused outrage by inviting Russian hackers to target Hillary Clinton’s controversial personal email server, saying: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”.

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In this file photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre right, with retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, centre left,Image copyright AP

Image caption Michael Flynn dines with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in December 2015

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The first casualty

About the same time the hacking scandal was beginning to unfold, Mr Trump’s then campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of accepting millions of dollars in cash for representing Russian interests in Ukraine and US, including dealings with an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While Mr Manafort was running the campaign, the Republican Party changed the language in its manifesto regarding the conflict in Ukraine, removing anti-Russian sentiment, allegedly at the behest of two Trump campaign representatives.

Mr Manafort was investigated by the FBI and quit as Mr Trump’s campaign chairman. Like Mr Flynn, Mr Manafort, a political operative with more than 40 years’ experience, was supposed to marshal some of the chaos and controversy around Mr Trump, but ended up falling prey to it.

Subsequently, further allegations have been made in Ukraine about secret funds said to have been paid to Mr Manafort, and it has also been claimed that he secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to assist President Vladimir Putin’s political ends.

Mr Manafort has denied both allegations.

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At odds with the intelligence

In October, the US intelligence community released a unanimous statement formally accusing Russia of being the perpetrator behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Mr Trump continued to argue against the finding, claiming in a presidential debate that it “could be Russia, but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”.

The same day that the intelligence agencies released their finding, the explosive “Access Hollywood” recording emerged of Mr Trump’s obscene remarks about women in 2005. An hour later, Wikileaks began dumping thousands more leaked Clinton emails.

Mr Trump continued to refuse to acknowledge the consensus that Russia was behind the hack.

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Media caption Trump praises Putin’s leadership
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‘I always knew Putin was smart!’

In December, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security published a report of the US intelligence findings linking Russia to the hack.

In response, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and levied new sanctions on Russia. The world awaited Mr Putin’s response but he chose not retaliate. Mr Trump, by then the president-elect, sided with the Russian president, tweeting: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”

Mr Putin’s decision not to respond in kind struck many as a canny PR move, but reportedly set off suspicions among US intelligence officials that Russia was confident the sanctions would not last.

The same month, Mr Trump picked Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state, arguably the most important job in the cabinet. The biggest hurdle for Mr Tillerson’s confirmation? Close ties to Mr Putin.

As CEO of the ExxonMobil oil company, Mr Tillerson cultivated a close personal relationship with the Russian leader, leading many to speculate on whether he was fit to serve as America’s most senior foreign diplomat.

Mr Tillerson was sworn in as secretary of state on 2 February.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobilImage copyright AP
Image caption Rex Tillerson has cultivated close ties with Vladimir Putin
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The ‘compromising claims’ dossier

In January, Buzzfeed published a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official and Russia expert, which alleged that Moscow had compromising material on the then-president-elect, making him liable to blackmail.

Among the various memos in the dossier was an allegation that Mr Trump had been recorded by Russian security services consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.

Mr Trump dismissed the claims as fake news.

CNN revealed that President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on the existence of the dossier by intelligence officials, and Buzzfeed went one further, publishing the entire thing.

The document went off like a hand grenade tossed into the already febrile political scene and generated a backlash against Buzzfeed for publishing what were essentially unverified claims.

Retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn at Trump Tower in New YorkImage copyright AP
Image caption A former Hillary Clinton aide took a dig at Michael Flynn over his resignation, as well as the sacking of his son, Michael Flynn Jnr (L), at the end of last year
Michael Flynn arrives at the White House in Washington, February 13, 2017Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption Michael Flynn encouraged a softer policy on Russia
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The evidence against Flynn…

In February, the most concrete and damaging Russia scandal finally surfaced, months after suspicions were raised among intelligence officials.

A Washington Post report said Mr Flynn had discussed the potential lifting of Mr Obama’s Russia sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, before Mr Trump took office.

Mr Flynn, who had appeared regularly on Russian propaganda channel RT and once attended dinner with Mr Putin, resigned as Mr Trump’s national security adviser, saying he had “inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador” late last year.

It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.

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… and Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being accused of lying at his confirmation hearing when he said he had had “no communications with the Russians” during the election campaign.

It has now emerged that he too had met Mr Kislyak – at a private meeting in September and as part of a group of ambassadors in July last year.

The Alabama senator was one of the most prominent players in Mr Trump’s bid to take the White House.

But he says his meetings with Mr Kislyak were related to his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and had nothing to do with the election campaign.

The Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says he lied under oath and should resign, and Mr Sessions is also under pressure to recuse himself from an FBI investigation into the Russian hacking claims, an investigation he is overseeing.

Mr Trump has made no secret of his regard for Mr Putin and his desire to establish closer ties with Russia. But the more pressing question, and one which the president just can’t seem to shake, is just how close those ties already go.

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FBI investigation confirmed… and Comey fired

On 20 March, Mr Comey confirmed at a rare open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee that the agency was investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

It is an “ongoing” investigation that began in July 2016, he said.

James Comey. Archive photoImage copyrigh tREUTERS
Image caption James Comey has been “terminated and removed from office” by President Trump

The probe includes examining possible links between Mr Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

Mr Comey said the FBI would look into any collusion and assess whether any crimes were committed.

But he added the inquiry was “very complex” and he could not give a timetable on its completion, nor which individuals in the Trump campaign might be subject to it.

“We will follow the facts wherever they lead,” he said.

FBI confirms Trump-Russia investigation

President Trump’s argument in firing Mr Comey was over his handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The move came a week after it Mr Comey had given inaccurate information on the issue to Congress.

But Democrats said he was sacked because the FBI was investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Read More at the Source: BBC News

Social Proof 18 Ways!

Social proof is a powerful ingredient for marketing. Here are 18 creative ways to use social proof on social media to boost your brand and drive more sales.

Social proof.

The use of social proof can be found in many areas of both offline and online marketing. In this post, we’ll focus on the use of social proof on social media to boost your marketing effectiveness.

Let’s get started!

19 Ways to Use Social Media Social Proof to Boost Your Marketing Effectiveness

6 Types of Social Proof

Before we go through the strategies, let’s go through what social proof is and the science behind it.

Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people follow the actions of others to make sure they are doing the “right” thing.

This happens often in situations where people are uncertain about what to do, and they assume that the people around them (experts, celebrities, friends, etc.) have more knowledge about what’s going on and what should be done.

On top of that, we often make judgments based on our overall impression of someone — A.K.A. the halo effect. For example:

  • We think anything that experts use is great because they are probably more knowledgeable than us in their area of specialization
  • We buy products endorsed by celebrities because we want to look like them
  • We trust user reviews because they have experienced the product or service, unlike ourselves

In general, there are six types of social proof.

  1. Expert: Expert social proof is when an expert in your industry recommends your products or services or is associated with your brand. Examples: a Twitter shoutout by an expert or having an expert on your Twitter chat.
  2. Celebrity: Celebrity social proof is when a celebrity endorses your products. Examples: an Instagram post or tweet about your product by a celebrity or influencer.
  3. User: User social proof is when your current users recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your brand. Examples: praises on social media or positive ratings on review sites.
  4. The wisdom of the crowd: This type of social proof is when a large group of people is seen to be endorsing your brand. Examples: having thousands of customers or millions of followers on your social media profiles.
  5. The wisdom of your friends: This type of social proof is when people see their friends approve your product. Examples: seeing their friends use your product or follow you on social media.
  6. Certification: This type of social proof is when you are given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure in your industry. Examples: the blue checkmark on Twitter or Facebook.

Now let’s dive into how you can use social proof in your marketing…

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18 Easy Ways to Use Social Proof in Your Marketing

1. Invite experts to take over your social media

Having industry experts take over your social media profiles can be a great way to tap into their influence and the positive association their followers have with anything they do (i.e. halo effect).

For example, when an expert takes over your Instagram account to post an educational content, tell Instagram Stories, or go live, people who know her might like your brand more as her presence on your social media creates a positive influence on them.

The best part of such collaborations is that they are often a win-win situation as the industry experts also benefit by getting to reach your audience.

Example:

Every now and then, we invite experts or influencers to take over our Instagram account to interact with our followers and share educational content. Recently, Ryan Hoover and Niv Dror of Product Hunt took over our Instagram Stories to share how they use Buffer and give our followers a tour of their new office. Here’re some snippets of their story:

As a bonus, Product Hunt also tweeted about the takeover to tell their Twitter followers about it.

2. Collaborate with experts for a social media event

Similarly, you could invite experts as guests for your social media events, such as Twitter chats or Facebook Live video discussions. Such collaborations can allow you to tap into the experts’ positive influence and give your social media audiences an opportunity to hear and learn from experts in the industry.

Example:

Almost every week, we host someone knowledgeable about social media, marketing, or workplace culture on our Twitter chat, #bufferchat. We’d ask the guest (and the community) a series of questions to get her insights on the topic.

Recently, we had our Director of Marketing, Kevan Lee, as a guest to discuss the topic of being a T-shaped marketer.

Twitter chat on being a T-shaped marketer

3. Show appreciation for mentions

Every so often, you might receive a nice mention from the press, a big brand, or an influencer in your industry. This is a great form of expert social proof.

There are many ways to share such social proof on social media. At Buffer, we like to show our appreciate for such mentions and avoid coming across as being boastful. Here are some phrases we like to use:

  • “Grateful for the mention”
  • “Honored to be featured”

Example:

Earlier this year, Tesla received the Best Car Award in Germany for the third year in a row, and they showed their appreciation with this tweet:

Tesla showing appreciation on Twitter

I like that they also showed their gratitude to the 124,000 people who voted for them.

4. Share milestones

Another quick way to create social proof is to show gratitude for your user or follower milestones. Reaching milestones is a fun occasion to celebrate and a great time to thank the people who have helped you achieve that.

Here are some of the milestones you can celebrate with your audience:

  • Reaching X users
  • Reaching X customers
  • Reaching X downloads of your app
  • Reaching X followers on your social media profile
  • Anniversaries

Example:

When Piktochart turned five, they celebrated the occasion and thanked their users with this tweet (and a giveaway contest):

Piktochart sharing their milestone

5. Experiment with (micro) influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can be a cost-efficient way of getting celebrity social proof.

This is usually more prevalent on Instagram. Brands would sponsor micro-influencers — people with a strong social media influence in a niche area and who aren’t celebrities — to post about their products.

Because of their social media influence, these people are often deemed as celebrities within the niche area. When others see them with a particular product, they would transfer the positive attributes they see in these “celebrities” to the product.

Example:

Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watch company that is known for their elegance and minimalistic watches, often sponsors micro-influencers on Instagram to promote their watches. They would usually offer a unique discount code to each micro-influencer, too.

Instagram influencer marketing by Daniel Wellington

6. Explore having brand ambassadors

Social media ambassadors provide a mix of expert, celebrity, and user social proof, depending on the ambassadors you select. They could be industry experts (expert social proof), social media influencers (celebrity social proof), or passionate users (user social proof).

Ambassadors would usually “wear” their ambassador badge proudly on their social media bio and include any branded hashtag in the relevant social media posts.

Example:

Specialized, a global cycling brand, has an ambassador program where they sponsor top cyclists and passionate cyclists all around the world. They even provide social media and personal branding training for their ambassadors.

Their ambassadors often mention the brand and use their branded hashtag, #specializedambassador, in their Instagram posts.

Specialized Ambassador Program

7. Curate user-generated content

User-generated content is our favorite strategy on Instagram because it has helped us grow our following (and engagement) from 4,500 to 21,000 within six months. It is also a great strategy for generating user social proof.

You could either encourage your users to use a branded hashtag (like Herschel Supply Co) or re-post users’ social media posts (like Boxed Water).

Example:

Boxed Water, a sustainable drinking water company, re-posts their customers’ Instagram photos onto their Instagram account. In fact, almost all of their Instagram photos are from their customers.

User-generated content by Boxed Water's customers

8. Share customers’ love for your product

Receiving shout-outs on social media from your customers can be one of the best things about being a social media manager!

A fun way to generate user social proof is to share these shout-outs on your social media profile, showing others the love your users have for your product.

Example:

Slack receives tons of love for their product on Twitter. To share this love with others, Slack created a Twitter account, @SlackLoveTweets, which retweets shout-outs from their users. (I believe they used a separate Twitter account as retweeting shout-outs might not be part of their main social media strategy. You could just use your main account, too, if it’s appropriate.)

Slack love Twitter retweets

Inspired by Slack, we also started a Twitter account, @bufferlove, to retweet the kind words from our users.

9. Use shout-outs in your content

Another fun way to generate user social proof with these shout-outs is to use them in your content.

Example:

We’re grateful to receive amazing shout-outs from our users. Brian Peters, our digital marketing strategist, had a fun idea of reading them out as Nice Tweets — a twist of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets videos.

This video generated 74 reactions, four comments, and 18 shares and reached more than 9,000 people organically on Facebook.

10. Display testimonials on your website

The third way of using your customers’ shout-outs is to display them as testimonials on your website.

Example:

Apart from retweeting the shout-outs on Twitter, Slack compiled the (8,647 and counting) tweets and put them on a landing page: https://slack.com/love.

Slack user testimonials on a landing page

(At the bottom of the landing page, Slack also included logos of prominent customers such as Airbnb, Pinterest, and Harvard University. This is a form of expert user proof. When one knows that such great organizations are using Slack, she would likely feel more compelled to try Slack in her organization.)

11. Mention the size of your customer base in your bio

If you have a large customer base, you could mention the size of your customer base in your profile bio. It is a great example of the wisdom of the crowd social proof. When people see that many others are using your product, they would likely have a positive first impression of your product.

Apart from the size of your customer base, here’re a few other stats you could mention:

  • Number of countries your company serves or your customers are in (e.g. in 100+ countries)
  • Number of goods sold every day, week, month, or year (e.g. 100 rooms booked weekly)
  • Number of recommendations given (e.g. more than 100 5-star ratings on Yelp)

Example:

Companies like HubSpot and Help Scout include the size of their customer base and the number of countries their customers are in, in their Twitter bio.

Size of customer base in bio

12. Reach the friends of your Facebook Page fans with Facebook ads

If you have the budget for social ads, here’s an easy-to-implement tactic: target your Facebook ads at the friends of the people who like your Page. This is assuming that this target audience is similar to your current Facebook Page fans and would also like the products you sell.

When you are defining your target audience in the Facebook Ads Manager, scroll down to “Connections” and select “Add a connection type”. Then, select “Facebook Pages” > “Friends of people who like your Page” and enter your Page name in the field provided.

Reach friends of fans

Facebook will automatically add the wisdom of friends social proof for you.

Example:

Recently, I chanced upon a Facebook ad by Netflix. At the top of the ad — possibly the first thing that caught my attention as I viewed the ad from the top to the bottom — was a line telling me how many of my friends like Netflix.

Wisdom of friends on Facebook ad

13. Use social proof on your ad copy

Another way to use social proof in your ads is to include it in the copy of your ad. You could choose among the various types of social proof:

  • Expert social proof: Feature an expert recommending your product
  • Celebrity social proof: Feature a celebrity or micro-influencer endorsing your product
  • The wisdom of the crowd: Mention the number of customers you have

Example:

In their recent Facebook ad, SkillShare, an online learning platform, mentioned that there are more than two million students learning on their platform.

Wisdom of the crowd on Facebook ad

14. Encourage customers to leave a good rating on your Facebook Page

If you are a local business, you can enable ratings and reviews on your Facebook Page. Good ratings and reviews are a great form of user social proof.

A study by G/O Digital found that:

  • 80 percent said they’d be more likely to purchase if they saw positive user reviews on the company’s Facebook page.
  • 41 percent said the most important factor in engaging with a local business’ Facebook page is seeing customer reviews or ratings.

Here’s an additional bonus: Facebook has launched a local search feature where you can find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings. Having a good Facebook Page rating will help you rank higher in the search results.

Here’re a few tips on asking customers for reviews:

  • Ask in person
  • Reach out to repeat customers
  • Add a prompt to your surveys
  • Offer incentives or hold a contest
  • Spotlight customers who give reviews

(Hat tip to Marketing Land, Business 2 Community, and American Express for these tips.)

Example:

I did a quick search for “Pet Sitting in San Francisco, California” using Facebook’s local search, and Year of The Dog Walking & Sitting Service came up first on the list.

Even though it doesn’t have a full 5-star average rating, it ranked higher than all other pet sitting services in the area likely because it has the most number of 5-star ratings.

Facebook Page search results

15. Get verified

On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can get verified and receive a blue checkmark on your bio.

Having a blue checkmark by your bio is a form of certification social proof. The social media platform, as an authoritative figure, deemed that you are popular, influential, or interesting enough to be awarded the checkmark — usually reserved for celebrities and top brands.

Apart from gaining credibility and respect from the community, you would also gain access to new features reserved for verified accounts or Pages only.

If you wish to get the checkmark on Twitter, here’s our guide to getting verified on Twitter.

Example:

Mari Smith is a well-known thought leader in the field of Facebook marketing, and her Facebook Page has a blue checkmark to reflect her public figure status.

The additional benefit of being verified is that you might rank higher on the platform’s search engine. You are also more prominent in the search result with the blue checkmark.

Blue checkmark on Facebook

16. Be responsive

On your Facebook Page, you can choose to state how responsive you are on Messenger. If you provide customer support on Twitter, you can state the time period when you are most responsive. It can encourage people to message you, knowing that they would quickly get a response from you.

Here’s how you can set it up for Facebook and Twitter:

  • Facebook: Go to your Page settings and select the “Messaging” tab. Scroll down to “Response Assistant” and choose the response time that best represents how fast you reply to messages. You can also set it to update automatically.
  • Twitter: Go to this direct link: https://business.twitter.com/i/settings/support and click on “Add business feature”. To show that your account provides support, you’ll need to accept direct messages from anyone. Once that’s done, you can set your most responsive hours and customize a welcome message when they direct message you.

Example:

Many businesses, especially those with a support Twitter account, use this feature. Some examples are Apple Support and Medium Support on Twitter and Mari Smith and HubSpot on Facebook.

Responsiveness of brands

17. Display social share count

Showing the number of social share count is a form of the wisdom of the crowd social proof. People are more likely going to read and think highly of an article that has been shared by thousands.

But lower social share count can have the opposite enough. People might think that the article isn’t good enough, even if it was very well-written. To counter this, you could use a tool like Social Warfare, which displays share buttons but hides the share counts until the article received a certain number of shares.

Example:

Social Media Examiner uses Sumo’s Share tool to display the share count of the articles on their blog. With thousands of shares for almost all their articles, they are able to generate the wisdom of the crowd social proof.

Social share count on Social Media Examiner

18. Host Twitter chats

To trend on Twitter is another form of the wisdom of the crowd social proof. When your hashtag trends on Twitter, it might attract people to find out more about it and even join in the conversation.

One of the best ways we have found to trend on Twitter is hosting Twitter chats. We’re grateful to the hundreds of people who participate in our #bufferchat every Wednesday and have helped us trend on Twitter several times.

Trending on Twitter has helped us reach more people, and hopefully, several of them were curious enough to check out (and maybe even) use Buffer!

Here’s more about trends on Twitter, including Twitter’s rules for trends.

Example:

A good news about Twitter trends is that they are determined by an algorithm, and, by default, customized for individuals based on who they follow, their interests, and their location. This means that you don’t have to compete with everyone around the world to trend on your target audience’s feed. As long as your conversation is popular enough and relevant to your target audience, Twitter will show it to them.

During a recent Buffer meetup, #buffermeetup was trending on a teammate’s Twitter feed.

#buffermeetup trending on Twitter

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How have you been using social proof in your marketing?

Social proof can come in many shapes and sizes. I hope these 18 ideas can help you get started with using social proof in your marketing and also help you generate more ideas.

I’d love to learn from you, too. It’d be great to hear how you have been using social proof, social media-related or not, in your marketing. How well has it been working for you?

Credits: The featured photo was taken by Paul Dufour, and the person icon in the header image was taken from Fast Icon.

Read More at the Source: Social

Grab Attention Subject Lines

Subject line for emails can be the most important area in your email marketing. If your subscribers doesn’t open your email, then what?

How to Grab Attention in an E-mail’s Subject Line

It’s been said time and time again that first impressions count. That’s not just for in-person meetings anymore. In a technologically-inclined world, first impressions via a subject line for emails can mean the difference between being read by a potential client or being deleted immediately.

Numbers Game

The average subject line for emails holds about 90 characters. When reading emails on a computer or tablet about 90 characters appear, this includes the subject line and, depending on the subject line’s length, the first few characters of the e-mail body.

However, if readers check their e-mails on mobile devices, only about 40 characters are displayed, oftentimes this means just the subject line. Those first 40 characters are critical in a first impression. How do you make them increase the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing?

Subject Line for Emails Dos and Don’ts

– Do keep it short and sweet.

Studies show shorter subject line for emails (41 characters or less), tend to be opened more often than longer subject lined e-mails. This might be due in part to the aforementioned character limit in the inbox menu, or is representative of busy readers preferring shorter e-mails. Readers may associate a longer subject line with a longer e-mail that they might not have time to read and will simply delete. Stick to shorter to increase your chances of being opened! 

– Do ask relevant questions.

email2

Asking a relevant question in the subject line gets readers thinking of a response. Bonus points for zeroing in on potential problems your customers may have like “What’s slowing down your productivity?”

Getting really relevant may mean breaking down your e-mail list into groups categorized by industry, age, or most purchased services. The categories depend on your business. E-mail software like SendLane can help keep everything organized and send out automated e-mails every time new clients subscribe.

– Do give the audience a taste of something delicious.

Have your ever been offered a bit of something tasty: a perfectly cooked piece of steak, a bite of decadent dessert, or a sip of an expertly made beverage, then wanted more? That’s what your subject line should be: a taste of something interesting and worthwhile that persuades your reader to learn more. In the e-mail body, the persuasion continues into a rich newsletter, to a landing page, or call to action.

How do you make a subject line delicious? Figure out what makes your audience tick. A great way is presenting a problem that your services or goods can solve. For example:

“Five recipes to make sad berries shine” works for a food-centric business that has clients stuck with lots of end-of-summer berries. Readers who don’t want to waste food, or are just interested in learning new recipes will continue reading.

“Dry, brown lawns can be green in no time!” is ideal for a home improvement store or landscaping service pushing lawn care products and services. Busy readers who think green, lush lawns take lots of time will be intrigued by this time-saving promise.

Remember, a good e-mail is benefits rich, so try giving a taste of the benefits in the subject.

– Don’t use spam vocabulary.

Avoid using spammy vocabulary such as sale, buy, free, help, etc. A good rule of thumb is verbiage that is repeated constantly on infomercials. You can also test yourself by perusing your e-mail’s spam folder and identifying possible culprits for the spammy categorization (just don’t open anything that looks like it contains a virus.)

– Don’t be misleading.

There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a subject line promising one thing, but opening an e-mail to find something entirely different. That’s a sure fire way to lose trust with recipients and possibly end up on their blocked e-mails list.

– Don’t underestimate the power of a verb.

People, whether they’ll admit it or not, like to be told what to do. That’s why marketing is filled with calls to action and requests to retweet, share, and comment. Just take a look at these two subject lines:

Without a verb: “This Thursday night’s event”

With a verb: “Eat, drink, and be merry this Thursday”

Which Thursday event sounds like more fun?

It also goes without saying the kind of verb matters. If we changed the first example to “Join us this Thursday” there’s a verb, but it’s still not as exciting as the second example.

Try Out a Few Methods

Now that you have an idea of what to write, you will also need tools to keep track of your progress.

Read More at the Source: Email Marketing Blog

Millennial Email Marketing

Millennials are the most tech-savvy, internet-friendly, multiple email-having generation in history. Do you have a strategy for millennial email marketing?

The world talks a lot about millennials these days. That’s partially because the millennial generation (that’s anyone born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) is entering the workforce in record numbers. Forbes estimates that by 2025, this age group will make up at least 75% of the American workforce. Even more importantly, millennials are the most tech-savvy, internet-friendly, multiple email-having generation in history. And with $200 billion in buying power as of 2017, everyone is trying to figure out just how to reach them.

Lately, there’s been a trend that says to connect with millennials, companies should abandon ship when it comes to email marketing and put all their eggs in the social media basket. (Sorry to mix metaphors on you, but hopefully you get the point!) While it is true that millennials outpace every other generation when it comes to social media use, there’s one vital thing to remember: email is still very much in the marketing game. Why? Two reasons:

#1 – It’s a good bet that millennials are going to end up using email for the vast majority of their working lives. Even with instant messaging apps like Slack, email still remains one of the most common ways to send and receive communications within an office setting.

#2 – Social channels are primarily used for social engagement. From Snapchat to Instagram to Facebook, millennials primarily use social media for connecting. That being said, they pay attention to email when it comes to consumer-to-brand communication!

Okay, so if we can all agree that email marketing is still vastly important for the millennial generation, how do you make sure you’re reaching them effectively and efficiently?

Here are three easy ways to make sure you’re doing it right:

1 – Make It Mobile

In a world where 88-percent of millennials check their email on a mobile device, if your email marketing isn’t optimized for every screen, you may as well just stop now. And mobile optimization goes far beyond just making sure all your content shrinks down to iPhone size. Every email you send should be visually-based and quick to load. If you want to make sure your message gets across while millennials are on the go, don’t ignore this! And keep them short! No one likes to open an email only to scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and … you get the picture!

 

2 – Grab Their Attention from Start to Finish

Millennials pay attention to the details so you should to. Make sure that your marketing email draws them in before they even click open. Start with a catchy subject line that will hook them before they can hit delete with a poignant question, quick-witted teaser or a personalized greeting.

When they open the email, make sure they won’t want to look away. Remember that millennials are the generation that grew up with YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat and adjust your email marketing accordingly in a few key ways:

#1 Text  – Switch out long text blocks with chunks of “snackable” content that readers will be able to quickly scan.

#2 Color  – Add it! Draw readers eyes with links and buttons that pop and enforce brand recognition by using your company colors.

#3 Images – Make sure your images are high-resolution and not pixelated when opened!

#4 Videos – If a picture says a thousand words, just imagine what a video can do! Just remember to keep your videos SHORT … better yet, try a gif! some of the best email marketing campaigns use those meme-based videos to draw millennials in and encourage sharing on social media.

 

3- Don’t Ignore Social Media

While we’re big believers that email connects with millennials better than social media channels, that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore it. In fact, some of the most successful email marketing campaigns are the ones that seamlessly sync with socials.

With the Pew Research Center reporting that 75-percent of millennials have at least one social media account, you must make it easy for them to continue the conversation with your brand on these networks. Including links to your own social profiles is only half the game.

Don’t just encourage millennials to follow you, make them actual ambassadors for your brand. Embed social sharing buttons into your emails so readers can immediately share your content with their own networks.

Millennial email marketing may not be all about social media, but it does play a huge role – especially when it’s combined with a killer email marketing campaign!

Read More at the Source: Email Marketing Blog

10 Places to Find Social Media Jobs Online (via Dream Home Based Work)

If you spend lots of time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, this post can help you find several social media jobs online.

There are many companies and people who need help to grow their social media presence by promoting their products, services and brands to their targeted audience.  Just about everyone has at least one social media account, so why not use it to earn good money.

What Are Online Social Media Jobs?

Social media jobs involve helping companies of all sizes, blog site owners, and entrepreneurs to build an active and engaged audience. Corporations and people from around the world know how important it is for them to use the power of social media. Knowing what to post and when, how to create engaging content and run social media marketing campaigns to build an active and engaged audience can be overwhelming. Keeping up with various social media platforms requires a lot of time and effort.

What Type of Tasks Will I Perform?

Depending on the client, jobs may require you to provide various services, including:

  • Monitoring social media accounts and profiles of the clients
  • Getting relevant followers
  • Managing their Facebook page and Facebook ads.
  • Getting more relevant Twitter followers
  • Google+ and LinkedIn management
  • Social bookmarking submissions
  • Commenting on forums and chat rooms
  • Creating content like articles, messages, etc.
  • You may work as a content curator, proofreader or moderator depending on the social media job and your skills.

Where To Find Social Media Jobs Online?

If you are interested in earning money for a company by managing their social media accounts, check out the following companies below:

1.  eaHELP

As a social media assistant with eaHELP, you will manage and execute your client’s social media campaigns. The company has been in business since 2010 and service the needs of their clients nationwide. They offer competitive pay which is not advertised anywhere on the internet. EaHelp mainly looks for self-motivated individuals that are comfortable with navigating through various computer programs.

2. Digital Trends

Digital Trends is seeking freelance social media news writers with a love for tech-related topics. The job requires you to write 4-5 stories per day, devoting several hours daily. This is a part-time gig with the potential to go long term.

3. Modsquad

If you know how to moderate a website, blog, forum site or social media site, becoming a Modsquad social media moderator can be a great way to work from home. You will work as part of an experienced team of managed professionals to help companies stay on top of their online presence in respective industries. As a social media moderator, you will interact with your client’s customers via chat, email, social media channels and forums.

4. Appen Butler Hill

Appen is a global company that hires social media moderators along with search engine evaluators, transcriptionists and translators. This is a work from home opportunity that offers a  flexible schedule. Your job will be to improve the relevancy of the client’s newsfeed. You will be required to work 1-4  hours a day, 5 days a week.

Some projects may require you to work at least on one of the weekend days. If you are a daily social media user, able to follow instructions, work independently and are a good communicator, working as a social media evaluator can be a rewarding job for you.

5. Time Etc.

Time Etc is a reputable virtual assistant company that also hires social media assistants for their clients. You will use your social media experience to help clients promote their businesses. Tasks can include writing posts on Facebook, tweeting and retweeting, and much more. This position generally offers flexibility as long as you are available to work during normal business hours as needed by the client.

6. Indeed

Indeed.com is a massive job site where you can find social media jobs advertised by smaller brands or companies, startups and other clients. You can search the site to find any available social media jobs. Many clients, particularly small companies post remote social media jobs on this site.

Read More at the Source: Dream Home Based Work