10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking Candidates

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When I get a job interview, there’s a lot to prepare. I diligently research the company and my interviewers, pore over Glassdoor interview questions, and print out copies of my resume and portfolio.

When I interview someone else, it’s easier to prepare. I don’t have to put together the perfect outfit, I don’t have to worry about how to find the restroom, and at the end of the day, I don’t have to worry about if I got the job or not.

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A quick Google Search for job interview questions brings up some of the most common asks you might have already answered 20 times over the course of your career. They’re popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re good questions. In fact, they could be hurting your chances of the candidate accepting an offer.

Nobody wants to feel stressed out, put on the spot, or tricked during a job interview. After all, you wouldn’t want to experience that in your day-to-day job, so why do we demand it of candidates?

Be mindful of the different personality types, cultures, and backgrounds that are applying for open roles at your company, and consider retiring some of the more common interview questions in your arsenal. Instead, try these alternatives that might give you more helpful information about the candidate — without making them feel awkward in the process.

10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking (and What to Ask Instead)

1) What can you tell me about yourself?

You might be surprised to see such a traditional interview question at the top of our list, but it’s not as great of an opener as you might think. In fact, from the candidate’s perspective, it might tell them that you haven’t read their résumé, browsed their portfolio, or checked out their LinkedIn profile. Candidates don’t want to brief you on their entire job history during the short time they have to make a first impression — they want to have a conversation.

Instead, ask a question based on what stood out to you most from their resume and application. Show the candidate you’re taking them seriously and want to learn more about them, beyond what’s on paper.

2) Why are you leaving your current job?

This question could lead to an awkward answer that doesn’t cast the candidate in their best light. The answer could be highly personal, and it isn’t that helpful for learning more about the candidate.

Instead, ask them about their favorite part and biggest challenge of their current role. You’ll learn more about their priorities, dealbreakers, and culture fit — without the conversation becoming too negative.

3) What’s the project you’re most proud of?

It’s useful to learn what projects a candidate enjoys working on most, but you could take this question further by asking something broader. 

Instead, ask them to talk about how they produced a piece of work with multiple different teams. The answer will reveal how they work dynamically and as a project manager — useful traits for most marketing and sales teams.

4) What’s your biggest weakness?

Simply put, it’s presumptuous to assume that you understand what a candidate’s perceived weaknesses are. The answer could exclude candidates from other cultures or industries who aren’t familiar with yours, and it puts candidates in a negative state of mind.

Instead, ask them to describe a challenge they faced in a role and how they handled it. The answer will teach you more about their problem-solving skills, without putting them in the awkward position of personal self-reflection.

5) What’s your five-year career plan?

HubSpot Inbound Recruiting Manager Hannah Fleishman has made more inclusive hiring her mission, and she suggests replacing this interview question. “It can be a loaded question, especially for women, professionals who are thinking of starting a family, and even aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a company one day.”

Instead, Fleishman suggests asking candidates a more specific question: “How does this role fit into your long-term career plans?” The answer will give you the information you’re really looking for — if the role and your organization present opportunities for them to grow.

6) What makes you passionate about your work?

Candidates don’t have to be passionate to be successful in a role. Sure, it helps — but passion is such a subjective topic, it’s not necessary for a job interview.

Instead, ask them what makes them passionate about a company. The answer will tell you about their culture priorities and if they’ll fit with the larger team they’ll be working with.

7) Are you a team player?

Generally speaking, we advise against asking yes or no questions. Open-ended questions are more conversational and will give you more information about the candidate.

When it comes to this question, the answer is valuable, but a candidate is unlikely to self-identify as an individual worker. Likewise, your company probably doesn’t have any roles that are completely solitary — everyone has to attend meetings or work on campaigns at some point.

Instead, ask the candidate what their ideal team dynamic is. You’ll get the same answer you’re looking for — if they work well with others — while allowing them to elaborate on their preferred working environment.

8) How many people do you think flew out of JFK Airport last year?

Brain teasers might be entertaining to ask — and they might teach you a thing or two about a candidate’s problem-solving abilities — but brain teasing questions like this one create too much stress for the candidate. They’re usually ridiculously hard to solve and put the candidate on the spot — without revealing a ton of helpful information.

Instead, ask the candidate how they’d solve a problem that’s common on your team. The answer will be more useful, and it won’t take the candidate by surprise.

9) Sell me this pen.

If you’re hiring for a sales role, you should know: “Sell me this pen” has become such a frequently-asked question, it can be easily answered in a quick Google search before the interview. It might not give you the candidate’s true selling abilities — something you need to know before investing time and resources in training them.

Instead, ask them how they would handle a common roadblock your sales team faces. The answer will prove if they’ve done their research, and it will give you an idea of their persuasion skills if they were on a call. 

10) What’s your salary history?

Fleishman also suggests avoiding questions or discussions of salary or benefits until an offer has been extended to the candidate. “Salary history shouldn’t determine what a candidate’s offer package is,” she says. “This question can actually discriminate against minorities who are more likely to be under-compensated compared to their peers — which is why cities in New York and Massachusetts have banned it from interviews.”

Instead, scratch this question altogether from your list altogether.

The interview is only one piece of the puzzle for the candidate, but by asking more thoughtfully-phrased questions, you could be doing yourself and the candidate a favor. For more recruiting and hiring ideas for your next open marketing position, download our free ebook.

What’s a common job interview question you wish would be retired? Share with us in the comments below.

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The Top 8 Ways B2B Brands Are Reaching Customers in 2017 [Infographic]

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“Being a B2B marketer is a piece of cake,” said no one, ever. “A real walk in the park. Easy-peasy.”

The truth is, no marketer has it easy — but sometimes, it seems like B2B marketers have it especially tough. Their work doesn’t always get the same kind of spotlight that B2C marketing might, especially when it comes to things like word-of-mouth. Industry figures reflect this: Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, for example.

But that’s not to say being a B2B marketer has to be tremendously difficult. And there’s no reason why it can’t be fun, too. It seems like much of that success exists in marketing to the customer — not entirely unlike account-based marketing. That’s the philosophy behind Koyne’s 2017 State of Customer Marketing Report:

Customer marketing is not just renewal or repeat purchase efforts, but the complete set of activities undertaken by a company following a customer’s purchase of products and services in order to help those customers be successful and productive, as well as advocate for the company.”

Sounds good — but what does that look like? What are some of the best ways for B2B marketers to execute customer marketing, and why? To answer that question, Digital Marketing Philippines pulled some of the most interesting data from Koyne’s report and compiled it into the infographic below. Read on to learn more.


B2B Customer Marketing Trends


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15 Fashion Brands You Should Follow on Instagram for Marketing Inspiration

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No other B2C industry has thrived on Instagram quite like the fashion industry.

Between their carefully curated photos, expertly targeted ads, and decisive adoption of Instagram Stories, fashion and beauty brands have become masters of consumer engagement on the visual content platform. And brands from any industry could learn a thing or two from these inspirational feeds. 

Back in 2015, business intelligence firm L2 found that fashion and beauty brands were growing their community size and engagement rates on Instagram at a rapid rate. 


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Digiday

The L2 report also found that among fashion and beauty brands, Instagram had firmly become the social media platform of choice — far outranking Facebook and Twitter.


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L2

In 2017, the industry’s love affair with Instagram isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Digiday recently checked in with a number of fashion and beauty social media insiders at SXSW’s Decoded Fashion and Create & Cultivate events, confirming that Instagram remains a top priority in their digital marketing strategies.

“Instagram is always a priority for us,” Rosi Sanchez, a social media strategist at Fossil, told Digiday. “We have more reach and a larger new follower group there, so it leads to more conversions. Until we get to 1.5 million or 2 million followers, it’s going to be our number one priority.”

Fossil isn’t alone. Social media strategists from more established brands like L’Oréal USA, Shopbop, and Murad also indicated that Instagram was their top social media priority for the foreseeable future.

Brands from any industry looking to level up their visual storytelling chops should keep a close eye on fashion brands for inspiration. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 15 fashion accounts — both big and small — who are crushing the Instagram game. Take a look below, and start planning your next big Instagram push. For a deeper dive on how to build a presence on Instagram, check out our complete guide to Instagram marketing

15 Fashion Brands to Follow on Instagram

1) Everlane @everlane

While Everlane’s account has no shortage of beautiful product imagery, they also feature photos of their customers wearing Everlane clothes, inspiring travel photography, and tips on food and art destinations in different cities around the world. 

  
 

2) Nike @nike

The behemoth athletic brand has enthusiastically embraced video content, and can be regularly found sharing clips with their impressive 7.1 million follows on Instagram. Their feed features a motivational mix of professional athletes and regular, everyday fitness enthusiasts. 

  
 

3) Teva @teva

Teva’s Instagram feed is perfect proof that it’s possible to give your brand a modern update without losing the spirit of what made you successful in the first place. Their feed includes customer-generated photos of their sandals out in the wild, as well as sleek product shots highlighting their new styles. 

  
 

4) Zara @zara

Zara has made a name for itself by emulating the marketing of more expensive, luxury brands, and their Instagram feed is no exception. Their account looks like a high-fashion magazine, with professional editorial shots of their men’s and women’s styles.

  
 

5) Fossil @fossil

If you like photos of neatly organized items, then Fossil’s Instagram is definitely for you. The accessories brand curates an impressive feed of food, fashion, and celebrity influencers like Kristen Bell. 

  
 

6) Kate Spade @katespadeny

Despite being a well-established label, Kate Spade’s Instagram has a distinct personal touch that sets it apart from similar brands. Their social media manager shares daily outfit pictures, snaps from around New York, and behind-the-scenes shots of the design process at the Kate Spade studio.

  
 

7) Fjällräven @fjallravenofficial

The Instagram feed for Swedish outdoor apparel brand Fjällräven is less about their products, and more about the adventurous spirit that has defined the company for almost 60 years. 

  
 

8) Madewell @madewell

Apparel brand Madewell is known for their relaxed, classic styles, and their Instagram clearly reflects this aesthetic. With bright, sunny images of their latest products and collaborations with brands like Vans, their feed is a fashion lover’s delight. 

  
 

9) The Row @therow

Another account that focuses less on their products and more on visual inspiration, The Row features vintage photos of art, architecture, and fashion — only occasionally sharing images of their actual products. 

  
 

10) Asos @asos

British online fashion and beauty retailer Asos keeps their feed updated regularly with colorful and bold product images and editorial snaps from their latest campaigns. 

  
 

11) Aerie @aerie

Scrolling through Aerie’s Instagram feed is like taking a tropical beach getaway. The lingerie and bathing suit brand has been applauded for their commitment to unretouched photos in their print ads, and they continue the effort on their Instagram account by celebrating a diverse range of women and body-positive messages. 

  
 

12) Eileen Fisher @eileenfisherny

Eileen Fisher keeps the emphasis on their quality materials and environmentally friendly production processes Instagram presence. By featuring images of women from all walks of life, they prove that style is truly ageless. 

  
 

13) Anthropologie @anthropologie

With colorful close-ups of their brightly patterned styles, Anthropologie’s feed is a visual smorgasbord of inspiration. We especially love the travel shots featuring their clothes around the world. 

  
 

14) Girlfriend Collective @girlfriendcollective

This leggings startup has yet to even officially launch a full collection of clothing, but they already boast an impressive 60.2k followers on Instagram. Thanks to a free leggings promotion they advertised earlier this year on Instagram and Facebook, the brand has enjoyed explosive social media growth. Their feed keeps customers engaged with stunning product photography of their minimal styles, and screencaps from inspirational movies.

  
 

15) J.Crew @jcrew

J.Crew has mastered the art of follower engagement on Instagram. With daily-updated Stories and regular contests to select new styles for clothes and accessories, their vibrant feed keeps customers inspired and interested.

  
 

What fashion brands do you follow on Instagram? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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7 Design Podcasts That’ll Get the Creative Juices Flowing

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If you’ve worked among designers, or are one yourself, there’s something that’s quickly observed: Designers, it seems, are often working with their headphones on.

Much of the time, that’s the result of creative work presenting an opportunity to plug in, and tune out distractions. Whether it helps you focus, or you’re signaling to colleagues that you don’t want to be bothered, or you just think headphones look cool, many creative professionals appreciate a little welcomed background noise.

But what’s everyone listening to? And could that auditory activity serve as a learning opportunity? 

While listening to music on the job has been known to improve workplace performance, podcasts serve as a great way for graphic designers — and many other creative professionals — to both learn something new and get inspired as they work. But there are dozens of podcasts out there, even on design alone. So to save you some of the trouble of previewing every show, we’ve collected a list of 10 interesting design podcasts that you can start listening to, right now.

7 of the Best Podcasts for Graphic Designers

1) Design Matters With Debbie Millman

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

Design Matters was, according to Debbie Millman’s website, the “world’s first podcast” dedicated to design. With 281 episodes available at the time of writing this post, there’s no shortage of inspiring insights to be extracted from interviews with artists from every point on the creative spectrum.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You usually listen to music while you’re working, but want to learn something from a podcast instead.
  • You’re curious about the intersection of design and business.

2) 99% Invisible

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

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Serving as a “weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture,” podcast episodes from 99% Invisible don’t just scratch the surface of a dozen topics in a limited time frame. Instead, host Roman Mars uses each installation as an opportunity to dive head-first into one, single unconventional topic. Think: how the design of electricity grids, nature documentaries, and shipping containers work.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You’re the type of person who observes design everywhere — whether it’s during your commute or while staring at a row of condiments.
  • You want to know how every corner of design — including architecture and engineering — influence marketing aesthetics.

3) Adventures in Design

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“As a department of one,” writes one iTunes reviewer of Adventures in Design, “it’s nice to hear others ‘talk shop’ and not censor themselves.” 

Launched in 2013, this podcast is one that focuses on the projects, process, and inspirational ramblings of its talented guests — from logo design, to the struggles of finding and working with clients. And those guests? Well, they’ve ranged from hockey legends to the global creative director of an international athletic apparel brand.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You feel a bit isolated in your design work, and want insights from the folks who get you.
  • You work with a variety of clients and want to gain inspiration from a number of industries.

4) The Deeply Graphic DesignCast

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Deeply Graphic DesignCast

When it comes to tangible, immediately applicable advice, the Deeply Graphic DesignCast is a go-to resource for many creative professionals. Hosted by no less than six design professionals, the content comes with a diverse set of insights from each one’s real-world experience. That makes sense — it’s the product of web consulting agency The Deep End. Judging from the broad array of episode topics, from working with subcontractors to designing a mood board, these folks have seen it all … and, they’re sharing it with the world.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You could stand to hear some expertise from client-facing designers.
  • You work in an agency setting and want to hear from like-minded professionals.

5) The Accidental Creative

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Accidental Creative

One of the coolest things about The Accidental Creative is that it seems to have come about, well, by accident. It’s the product of (and hosted by) author Todd Henry — an expert, speaker, and consultant on design, architecture, and other applications of creative work in business. That content is reflected in the podcast itself, with subject matter ranging from productivity tips for creative professionals, to explaining your job to non-designers.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You could use the help of a creative consultant, but can’t quite pay for it yet.
  • You’re great at what you do, but want to know how to be even better.

6) Typeradio

iTunes | Stitcher

Accidental Creative

It’s a bit difficult to classify exactly what Typeradio is about, and it seems that its creators wish to keep it that way. The website and production alike are no-frills, and it appears to be recorded all over the place: Moscow, Amsterdam, and via Skype, to name a few.

Each episode seems to explore different issues experienced by designers around the world, from their work, to their interpersonal relationships at work and at home — the September 2016 episode with graphic and type designer Ilya Ruderman explores everything between his “first typographic memory,” and how his relationship with his wife influences both his routine and creative work.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You want to listen to something that, as one iTunes reviewer put it, “Often revelatory. Sometimes silly and irreverent. Usually very entertaining.”
  • You’re looking for audible design content that’s profoundly unpretentious.

7) Design Story

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

Design Story

Does it sometimes seem like B2C designers get to have all the fun? It doesn’t have to be that way — we know that B2B design can be just as exciting, and that both categories can draw ideas from each other.

That’s why we love Design Story — the monthly podcast from Fulcrum, an agency that helps clients align their business policies and creative goals. And that’s what each episode does, by exploring and sharing the stories behind the point where design intersects with things that we traditionally see as leaving little room for creativity: science and leadership, for example.

Listen to this podcast if:

  • You’re a creative designer who also wants to succeed in business — or a manager who wants to better leverage and embrace creativity.
  • You love both data and good stories, and love it when they’re combined.

Tune In

Got those headphones ready? Good. It’s time to start listening.

One common thread that surfaces among all of these podcasts is their shared relatability. Each one explores the trials and tribulations of people with heavy exposure to design at work and at home, and who want to share how those experiences can benefit other creative professionals.

So, what do you say? Let’s turn up the volume.

What are your favorite design podcasts? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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9 of the Biggest Google I/O Keynote Announcements

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Each year, bonafide tech geeks and enthusiasts gather or tune in for one of the biggest events of the year: Google I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference.

It’s a learning opportunity for many, with sessions and talks creating what Google describes as “an immersive experience focused on exploring the next generation of tech.”

But it’s the annual opening keynote that really has everyone paying the most attention. That’s when the company’s leadership, from the CEO to various VPs, unveils and describes the newest technologies, devices, and product features released by Google. Download our guide on how to advertise on Google for free now.

If you missed this year’s opening keynote, fear not: We’ve got you covered with the nine biggest announcements from it. And each month, we’ll continue to bring you a digest of what big Google news you may have missed. So read on — and stay tuned.

What You Missed From the Google I/O Opening Keynote

1) Google Lens

Anyone else remember this video from July 2015?

As “La Bamba” plays in the background, mobile device cameras hover over various words that are then translated into another language. It was a preview of something huge — something that’s finally come to fruition: Google Lens.

There are those moments when you see something that you don’t recognize — like a bird or plant, or perhaps a new cafe somewhere — but can’t identify specifically what it is. Now, with Google Lens, all you have to do is point your camera at it to get the details you want. Check out this super short video to see how that works with a storefront:

Source: Google

But it doesn’t stop with plant species and restaurant information. With this technology, you can also join a home WiFi network by hovering the camera over the name and password. From there, you’ll be prompted with the option to automatically connect.

According to TechCrunch, Lens will be integrated with Google Assistant — “users will be able to launch Lens and insert a photo into the conversation with the Assistant, where it can process the data the photo contains.” That’s a pretty concise summary of what the Lens technology is able to do: understand what a photo means. During the keynote, Google’s VP of Engineering, Scott Huffman, used the example of being able to add concert information to your calendar by taking a Lens photo of the marquee.

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2) Google for Jobs

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Anyone who’s ever undertaken a job search knows that there’s an overwhelming number of outlets where openings are listed. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” many job seekers asked, “if all of this information were readily available in one, central place?”

Ask, and ye shall receive. Google set out to synthesize job listings from a number of posting sites — as it’s wont to do, after all — and display it within search results. From there, writes Jessica Guynn for USA Today, “job hunters will be able to explore the listings across experience and wage levels by industry, category and location, refining these searches to find full or part-time roles or accessibility to public transportation.”

Google for Jobs addresses “the challenge,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the keynote, “of connecting job seekers to better information on job availability.” It helps to make the application process that much more seamless, by pulling listings from both third-party boards and employers, and sending users who find a listing that interests them directly to the site where they can apply for it.

3) Google.ai

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those inevitably cool areas of technology that’s talked about by many, but thoroughly understood by — or available to — few. That was part of the motivation behind the launch of Google.ai, or what TechCrunch describes as an “initiative to democratize the benefits of the latest in machine learning research.”

In a way, the site serves as a centralized resource for much of Google’s work in the realm of AI, from news and documentation on its latest projects and research, to opportunities to “play with” some of the experimental technology. Much like the open source software TensorFlow, which allows aspiring AI developers to create new applications, a major point of Google.ai is open access to the documentation that helps professionals from a variety of industries — like medicine and education — use AI to improve the work they do.

4) Google Assistant Is Coming to the iPhone

Some of the features announced during the I/O opening keynote either require or are heavily enhanced by Google Assistant — technology that previously wasn’t available to iPhone users. Now, that’s all changed. Google Assistant is, in fact, at the disposal of iPhone users, and available for download in the iTunes store.

Many are comparing the iOS version of Google Assistant to a slightly better, but underwhelming version of Siri. We took it for a spin, and here’s how it went:

Not bad, but it might also require a bit more tinkering with to discover all of the features. Its biggest advantage over Siri, writes Romain Dillet for TechCrunch, is its ability to let users “ask more complicated queries,” as well as its third-party integrations and connected device control capabilities.

5) New Google Home Features

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CNET

A number of new features available on Google Home were also unveiled during the I/O opening keynote — here are the ones that stood out.

Hands-free calling

Recently, it was announced that the Google Home had new voice recognition capabilities that could distinguish one user’s commands from another. That technology is now aiding its new hands-free calling feature, which allows you to call any U.S. or Canadian landline or mobile phone, by linking your mobile phone to your Google Home profile and asking the device to make the call. And, because of that voice recognition, it knows whose mother to call with the command, “Call Mom.”

Proactive Assistance

Like the best human personal assistance, Google Home can now proactively bring important things to your attention, without having to be asked. For example, if your next meeting requires a commute and traffic is bad, the device will suggest leaving a bit earlier. (Google Calendar users might recognize this feature from the more primitive “leave at X:00 to arrive on time” mobile alerts.)

Visual Responses

They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” — because sometimes, information is better explained visually than verbally. Now, Google Home can do that, by redirecting a visual response to your mobile device or TV (via Chromecast). So if you ask the device for directions, for example, they’ll be sent directly to your phone.

6) Android O

Android O is a new version of the Android operating system which, while nothing too fancy, “focuses mostly on the nuts and bolts of making the software work better, faster and save battery,” according to CNET.

The publication does a nice job of breaking down the most important features of the new operating system, but to us, there’s one major highlight: picture-in-picture. We’ve all had those moments when we’re watching a video on YouTube and realize that there’s something else you’re supposed to be doing. Now, with Android O, instead of having to exit out of the app, just press the home button and the video will collapse into a smaller, movable window, but continue playing while you attend to the other task you have to complete.

7) From GPS to VPS

When you’re lost, or can’t figure out how to get somewhere, GPS has been there to save dozens of us. But what about misplaced objects — like when we’ve misplaced our keys, headphones, or sunglasses?

Now, there’s technology for that: the Visual Positioning Service, or VPS. Using Google’s Tango augmented reality (AR) platform, it’s a “mapping system that uses augmented reality on phones and tablets to help navigate indoor locations,” writes Raymond Wong for Mashable, using the example of holding up a Tango-enabled phone in a large warehouse store to locate a specific product.

One of the best parts of the VPS, Google noted, is its potential use to individuals who are visually impaired to help them find their way around places that are historically difficult to navigate.

8) Smart Replies Come to Gmail

When we return from vacation, one of the most daunting tasks is sifting through and responding to the deluge of emails that came in while we were out. Of course, there’s always the option of indicating to senders via auto-response that you’ll be deleting everything when you come back. But for those occasional urgent emails that arrive during our time of leave, many of us long for a more automated way to address them.

Now, there’s Smart Reply for that: a new Gmail feature that uses smart technology to suggests quick responses based on the text of the email you received. Here’s a look at how it works:

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Google

Right now, it’s only available in Inbox by Gmail and Allo, but according to Google’s official blog, the technology is slated to “roll out globally on Android and iOS in English first, and Spanish will follow in the coming weeks.”

9) Standalone VR Headsets

Google is no stranger to the world of VR. It started with Cardboard, some might say, and expanded into more advanced and expensive headsets. Now, in partnership with HTC and Lenovo, Google is developing its first standalone VR headset.

What does that mean, exactly? Previously, becoming fully immersed in Google’s VR experiences required the power of a computer or smartphone. Now, using something called WorldSense technology, these new standalone headsets can “track your precise movements in space,” according to VRScout, “without any external sensors to install.”

Until Next Time

We’ll be keeping an eye on all things Google, including the rest of the big announcements from I/O 2017. Next month, we’ll bring you those top news items, algorithm updates, and other trends that can aid your marketing.

Until then, enjoy those May flowers — we’ll see you in June.

Which I/O announcements are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

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15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features Everyone Should Know About

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Instagram has become the favorite social network of many — and not just for teens or Millennials. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 32% of online adults use Instagram — up 5% from the previous year. Compare that, for example, to 24% on Twitter.

Plus, folks don’t just use Instagram casually — 35% of them use it several times each day.

But for those who have never used the platform before, or those who just want to take their usage to the next level, Instagram has some lesser-known tricks and features. That’s why we set out to find them and list them all in one place.

Whether you’re a recruiter looking to showcase your company’s culture, a marketer in the ecommerce industry, or an individual who’s just looking to use Instagram in the best ways possible, there are tips and features here for you.

And for a quick overview of these hacks, check out this rundown from HubSpot ‎Content Marketing Strategist Megan Conley.

Note: Before getting started, make sure you’re operating on the latest version of Instagram. At the time of posting, the latest version is 10.20 on iOS, and varies according to device.

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features

1) Get notifications when your favorite people post.

Never want to miss an Instagram post from your favorite influencers again? You can choose to get a notification every time a specific user posts a new photo. All you have to do is turn on notifications for each user individually.

To turn on these notifications, visit a user’s profile, click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post, and choose “Turn on Post Notifications” from the menu that appears.

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Want to turn post notifications off? Just follow the same steps. It’s important to note that you must enable notifications from the Instagram app in your phone’s settings — here’s how.

  • To allow notifications on iPhone/iPad: Go to “Settings,” then “Notifications.” Choose “Instagram” and then turn on the setting to “Allow Notifications.”
  • To allow notifications on Android: Go to “Settings,” then choose “Apps,” then “Instagram.” Select the option to show notifications.

2) See all the posts you’ve Liked.

Ever wanted to see the posts you’ve Liked, all in one place? All you have to do is go to your own profile and click the “Options” button — a gear icon on iPhone/iPad, and three dots on Android — then, click “Posts You’ve Liked.”

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To un-Like any of the posts you’ve Liked, simply go to the post and deselect the “heart” icon below it. Don’t worry — the user won’t be notified that you’ve un-Liked the post.

3) Create a collection of saved posts.

In addition to being able to view all of the posts you’ve liked, Instagram also has an option to save or bookmark certain posts in collections that you create.

Start by going to your profile, and tapping the bookmark icon on the top-right menu above your photos.

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Select the “Collections” tab, and tap “Create Collection.” Below, I’ve created one for food-related posts I particularly like.

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Hit “done,” and you can start adding photos to your collection. To do so, tap the bookmark icon below the post you want to add.

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Then, go back to your saved photos by following the previous steps. You’ll see the photos you’ve saved — to add them to your collection, select the collection you want to add to, and tap “Add to Collection.” From there, you can add any of your saved photos.

4) See the posts your friends have recently Liked or commented on.

When you’re looking to discover new people to follow on Instagram, there’s nothing like asking your friends. There’s a quick way to do that — by viewing the recent liking and commenting activity of the people you follow.

To do that, click the heart icon at the bottom of the home screen — the first thing that should appear is a list of likes and comments on your photos. Choose the tab near the top that says “Following,” and you can see the activity of users you follow.

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5) Look through pictures without worrying about accidentally Liking them.

This step is more of a hack than a feature. To look through someone’s Instagram photos without “double-tap paranoia” — the fear of accidentally liking a post you didn’t mean to engage with — scroll through Instagram feeds with your phone set to airplane mode. Without internet access, you won’t be able to Like a photo, even if you accidentally double-tap it.

The pictures won’t load in the first place if you start on airplane mode, though. You’ll have to go to the feed first to load the posts, then turn on airplane mode, then start scrolling. When you reach the end of the first rows of posts and want to load more, simply turn airplane mode off, let more load, and then turn it on again. Cumbersome? Maybe a little, but it could be worth the paranoia mitigation.

  • To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone/iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and click the airplane icon. Or, go to “Settings” and then “Wi-Fi,” and switch “Airplane Mode” on.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an Android device: Swipe down from the top of the screen. Then, swipe from right to left until you see “Settings,” and then touch it. Touch “Airplane Mode” to turn it on.

6) Clear your search history.

We swear — this blog post isn’t all about how to convince people you’re not an Instagram creeper. But many of us can relate to the desire to clear our online search history everywhere, including on this particular social channel.Luckily, you can.

To clear your search history, go to your own profile and click the “Options” button (a gear icon on iPhone/iPad and three dots on Android). Scroll down and click “Clear Search History.” When prompted, click “Yes, I’m sure.”

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7) Reorder filters, and hide the ones you don’t use.

If you use Instagram a lot, chances are, you have a few favorite go-to filters, and others you never touch. To make editing photos easier, you can reorder the filters in your editing window, and hide the ones you never use.

To reorder or hide filters, add a new post and begin editing it. When you get to the filters page, scroll to the very far right of your filters options and click “Manage.”

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To reorder filters, hold your finger down on the three grey lines on the far right of the filter you’d like to move, and drag it to reorder. To hide them, deselect the checkmark to the right.

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8) Use Instagram as a photo editor (without having to post anything).

Perhaps you love Instagram’s filters and editing capabilities, but aren’t quite ready to post the photo to your account — right now, or ever. To use Instagram as a photo editor without posting anything, all you need to do is publish a picture while your phone is on airplane mode.

First, be sure you have “Save Original Photo” turned on in your settings.

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Then, turn on airplane mode — see instructions in #5.

Next, follow the normal steps to post a photo to Instagram: Upload the photo, edit it, and press “Share.” An error message will appear saying the upload failed, but you’ll be able to find the edited image in your phone’s photo gallery.

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9) Insert line breaks into your bio and captions.

When you write a caption in Instagram, you’ll see the keyboard doesn’t give you an option to press “Enter” or “Return.” The same is true for your bio. So how do all those people put line breaks in there?

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It turns out that all you have to do is press the “123” key in the bottom lefthand corner of the keyboard, and the “Return” key will appear on the bottom right.

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I know this tip sounds simple, but a lot of people miss it — myself included, until a colleague clued me in. We’ve seen some elaborate solutions out there for hacking through this problem, like writing the caption copy in another app, then copying and pasting it into Instagram. Thankfully, it’s much simpler than that.

10) Hide photos you’ve been tagged in.

When someone tags you in a photo or video on Instagram, it’s automatically added to your profile under “Photos of You,” unless you opt to add tagged photos manually (see the next tip).

To see the posts you’ve been tagged in, go to your own profile and click the person icon below your bio.

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Then, to hide the posts you’ve been tagged in from other users, click the three dots in the top right of your screen and choose “Hide Photos.” Select the posts you’d like to remove from your profile, and when you’re done, tap “Hide Photos” at the bottom of your screen. When prompted, tap “Hide From Profile.”

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This won’t remove the posts themselves from Instagram, but it will remove them from your profile, so you and others can’t access them.

11) Adjust your settings to approve tagged photos before they show up in your profile.

As we mentioned in the previous step, when someone tags a photo or video of you on Instagram, it’s usually added to your profile automatically. But, you can change your settings to enable manually selecting which photos you’re tagged in that show up on your profile.

To add tags manually, follow the same steps above to get to the photos in which you’ve been tagged, and click the three dots in the top right of your screen. Tap “Tagging Options,” and select “Add Manually.”

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You’ll still be notified when someone tags you in a photo. Once that happens, to manually add a tagged photo to your profile, tap the photo you were tagged in, then tap your username and select “Show on My Profile.” And if you’d rather it not be visible, choose “Hide from My Profile” instead.

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12) Browse posts from certain locations.

One fun thing you can do on Instagram is browse photos and videos from a specific location, or taken near your current location. I like to do that when I’m planning a trip somewhere, or want to check out a new restaurant and scroll through the pictures taken there.

Here’s how to do both of these things.

To Browse Posts From at a Specific Location:

You can either search for a specific place, or you can click into a geotag on an existing photo.

To search for a specific place: Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring you to the general search page. When you click into the search bar at the top, four tabs will appear. Choose “Places,” and type in the name of a place. When you press “Search,” it’ll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.

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To look at posts with a certain geotag: Go to the photo that’s geotagged with that location, and click the geotag. It’ll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.

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Browse Posts Near Your Current Location:

Follow the same instructions above to get to “Places.” Tap the search bar, and select “Near Current Location.”

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Choose which geotag you’d like to browse from the options that appear. Let’s say I chose to browse posts with the Museum of Science geotag. When I click “Museum of Science, Boston” on the menu, I’ll see the top and recent posts that were geotagged at that location.

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13) Drive traffic to an external website.

One of the biggest frustrations people have with marketing on Instagram is that clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio. If you put a URL in a photo caption it’ll appear as plain text, meaning users would have to painstakingly copy the URL, open a web browser, and paste or type it in there.

One sneaky way to get people to visit your Instagram profile, which is where that one clickable URL is allowed, is to use your photo captions to encourage people to visit your profile for a link. Then, update that URL frequently to point to your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer.

Check out the example from food magazine Bon Appétit below. This photo’s caption provides a text call-to-action to visit the user’s profile so you can click the link related to the post.

Then, in Bon Appétit‘s profile, you’ll see the link itself. Update this link frequently to point to your latest content or offer.

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Plus, if you have a verified Instagram account, you can also add links to your Story. Right now, that feature is still being tested, so you can read more about it here.

14) Hide ads you don’t find relevant.

Instagram tries to show you ads that are interesting and relevant to you. You might see ads based on people you follow and things you Like on Instagram, or the third-party websites and apps you visit.

If you see sponsored posts you don’t find relevant, though, you can let Instagram know and slowly teach its algorithm what you like and don’t like to see.

To hide ads on Instagram, tap on the three dots to the right of a post labeled “Sponsored,” and choose “Hide This.”

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From there, it’ll ask you to share why you don’t want to see the ad anymore.

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You can also opt out of seeing ads based on sites and apps off of Instagram and Facebook from your device’s settings. Note that even if you choose to opt out of seeing these types of ads, you’ll still see ads based on your Instagram and Facebook activity.

  • To limit ad tracking on an iPhone/iPad: Go to “Settings” and choose “Privacy,” then “Advertising.” From there, choose the option to “Limit Ad Tracking”

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  • To turn off interest-based ads on Android: Go to “Google Settings,” then “Ads.” From there, choose the option to “Turn off interest-based ads.”

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15) Send photos privately to your friends.

Posting photos with all of your followers or with the public isn’t the only way to share content on Instagram. You can also share them with individual or multiple users, kind of like a Facebook message or group text message.

You can either send a new photo to friends, or send a photo that you or someone else has already posted.

To send a new photo privately, upload a photo and begin editing it, as you would when editing a new post. When you get to the “Share” page, tap the top where it automatically says “New Post,” but when prompted, select “Direct Message.” From there, you can pick and choose whom you’d like to send the photo to.

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You can access your direct messages at any time by clicking the mailbox icon at the top right of your homepage.

To send an existing photo privately, start by opening the post you want to share — it can be your own or someone else’s, as long as the latter has a public account. Next, click the paper-airplane-like icon below the post, then select who you want to receive it when the “Send to” box appears.

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Insta-Hacks

I might be biased, but Instagram is one of the most fun (and visually appealing) social apps around. And now, with these tricks, you can use it to an even fuller extent.

Plus, many of these features can help to enhance your brand’s presence on Instagram. Now, you know how to use the app more efficiently, to make sure you’re only tagged in photos you want to appear on your profile, and have even more ways to engage with the people who you’d like to be discovered by.

What other lesser-known Instagram features do you love? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Don’t Fall For These 24 Myths About Facebook Ads [Free Guide]

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Facebook Ads can help you increase your social following and boost the reach of your organic posts. But arent CPC rates skyrocketing and lead generation ads taking over?

Not so much. To help you distinguish fact from fiction as you start designing your Facebook Ads strategy, we’re dubunking 24 common myths about Facebook Ads below. 

The following is an excerpt from 24 Facebook Marketing Myths, a free guide we created with the experts at Socialbakers. If you’d like to access the full guide, click here.

24 Common Myths About Facebook Ads

Myth: Facebook Ads are best for bottom-of-the-funnel marketing tactics.

Fact: Some marketers think advertising is primarily a bottom-of-the-funnel tactic, but Facebook Ads can actually work well for each stage of the funnel.

Think about setting up your ad campaigns with the funnel in mind. While your middle and bottom of the funnel campaigns might be retargeting campaigns to get users to come back to your site and either convert or buy, your top-of-the-funnel campaigns should be content that’s focused on awareness, just like any other organic post.

Focus top-of-the-funnel campaigns on post engagement and promoted posts for content specifically geared toward your Facebook audience. Leave your ad campaigns for farther down the funnel to focus on conversions.

Myth: The competition for Facebook Page Like and Facebook Post Engagement Ads are at an all-time high.

Fact: Socialbakers extensive Facebook ads data reveals that In North America, not only are the Cost-per-click rates for Post Engagement and Page Like Ads decreasing, advertisers are also allocating less of their budget towards these campaigns.

As more Page Like ads have saturated people’s News Feeds, click-through-rate (CTR) on these ads have decreased. Just because CPC is going down, doesn’t mean marketers should use more of these ads. Instead, use Page Like ads to retarget users who have previously engaged with your content.

Post Engagement Ads are all about getting your audience to share and comment on your posts. Given that these ads are becoming more valuable to marketers, now is a great time to start making use of post engagement ads.

Figure out what your most remarkable content is, and use it to your advantage to expand your reach. Don’t just spray and pray with your posts. Focus on writing attention-grabbing headlines, and write posts for your target audience so that your ads are directed towards their needs. And if you’re wondering why your Facebook Ads aren’t converting, this post has a few ideas about what you should look at.

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Myth: Most advertisers use Facebook Ads to increase their followers and engagement with their posts.

Fact: According to Socialbakers data, Facebook advertisers are spending more on and creating more Website Conversion ads than any other type of ads.

Although advertisers use Facebook ads for many different purposes based on the options available, many marketers are focusing the majority of the budget on getting people to convert on their website.

Although Website Conversion ads have an important place in your ads budget, remember that because they’re the most popular ad form, they also saturate user’s News Feeds. Don’t just focus all of your ads effort on one type. Instead, reserve your Website Conversion ads for retargeting campaigns and use other ad types for awareness-driven campaigns.

Myth: CPC on all ad types are skyrocketing as more and more advertisers are competing on the Facebook for Business Ads platform.

Fact: Except for Mobile App Installs and Post Engagement ads, most CPC rates have remained relatively steady in recent years.

With CPC rates remaining relatively steady, dont miss out on the opportunity to invest in Facebook advertising. Even though rates arent skyrocketing now, that doesnt mean they wont in the future.

Keep in mind that CPC rates arent the same for every ad type, so if you have a low budget to spend on Facebook ads, look into trying out ads that might have a lower CPC and optimize your strategy accordingly.

Myth: Since youre only paying for clicks, its okay to spray and pray.

Fact: Just because youre only paying for clicks to your ads doesnt mean you shouldnt focus heavily on ad targeting to make sure its getting in front of an audience that is actually a fit for your product or services.

While some advertisers opt to reach a maximum audience, we recommend focusing on the ROI of your ads by targeting those users who actually fit your buyer persona. Need help figuring out the targeting options available to you? Check out this post.

Myth: Website Conversion ads are becoming obsolete with the availability of Lead Generation ads.

FACT: As of 2016, Socialbakers found that less than 1% of advertisers budgets was spent on Lead Generation ads. Meanwhile, budget allocation for Website Conversion ads increased by 50% in one year.

Despite being possible for advertisers to generate leads without forcing users to leave the app, so far, adoption of Lead Generation ads has been minimal. Whether marketers dont like lead ads or just arent sure how to use them, we recommend trying it out. Want help? Check out this full guide to using Facebook lead ads.

Myth: With the rise in popularity of video, most advertisers are spending the largest chunk of their budget on Video ads.

Fact: Although budget allocation for Video ads increased by 150% from 2015 to 2016 according to Socialbakers data, they still only made up 12% of total advertising spend for marketers.

Facebook continues to encourage marketers and users to post more and more video content. However, that doesnt mean marketers are putting the majority of their budget behind Video ads.

Why? Video takes more resources and effort to produce than other content. Use this to your advantage. Get the most ROI out of your ads by putting the resources into Video ads that will (ideally) convert at a higher rate. Since video content isnt making up the majority of ad space, its not overly saturated in the same way.

Myth: Advertisers prefer to spend most of their budget on ads that keep users on the Facebook app.

Fact:  In February 2016, Website Conversion ads made up 39% of all ads on Facebook, and 39% of total spend.

Thats the largest chunk of marketers Facebook ads budgets. Website conversion ads take users away from Facebook to the advertisers tight in an effort to get users to convert.

Facebook wants its users to stay in the app, but marketers clearly still prefer Website Conversion ads to similarly-goaled ads, like Lead ads, that keep users in the app. Use this to your advantage and try using Lead ads to increase conversions without forcing users to leave.

Worried about leads from Facebook not making it to your CRM? Dont worry, Facebook has you covered. Get the whole scoop on how to use Facebook lead ads in this guide.

Ready to learn about organic search, PPC, and video myths? Click here to access the complete guide: 24 Facebook Marketing Myths. 

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Women Shave Because of Marketers: How the Industry Created Demand for Women’s Razors

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If you’ve spent time in front of a television lately, you’re probably familiar with the formula for many women’s razor ads: A woman shaves and gets glowing legs that attract positive attention from her male counterpart. You can see the formula at work here, here, and here.

If you roll your eyes when you watch these ads, you’re not alone. But this formula has been highly lucrative for more than a century.

Effective advertising taps into the viewer’s emotions to compel them to take an action with a product. And in the case of the women’s razor and shaving industry, product messaging and ad campaigns tapped into emotions like shame, fear, and love to create an entirely new market and demand for a product previously restricted only to men.

Today, women in the United States spend roughly $1 billion dollars on razors per year — and it’s estimated that women spend between $10,000 and $23,000 on hair removal over the course of their lifetimes. Personal care trends come and go, but this one’s been growing for the last 100 years. Let’s dive into how marketers used effective advertising to get women to change their grooming routines — and budgets — forever.

The History of Women’s Razor Marketing

1910s: Armpit Hair Is Embarrassing

With the 1901 invention of the safety razor and the U.S. Army contract to supply every soldier with a razor, Gillette was a household name at the beginning of the 20th century — but it was only being used by men. Women’s fashion was starting to transition from 19th century-era buttoned-up, conservative gowns to more relaxed sleeveless dresses for dancing and going outside.

Then, when Gillette created the first women’s razor in 1915, it took advantage of the advertising opportunity presented by more exposed skin. Below is the first ad for Gillette’s Milady Décolleté that specifically targeted underarm hair shaving in 1917:

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The ad copy effectively makes women feel embarrassed and left out of the trend if they aren’t already shaving their underarms. The razor “solves an embarrassing personal problem” and is “welcomed by women everywhere. Gillette used its product to create a problem and provide the solution — a genius marketing strategy, if you ask us.

In another ad, Gillette posits its razor as serving “the modern woman” to further convince women to start using its product or be left behind. The tagline drives home the importance of buying a razor and shaving: “A Refinement which has become a Modern Necessity.” It acknowledges the novelty but emphasizes the urgent need for women to start shaving.

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1920s: Shorter Hemlines Mean Shorter Hair

During the 1920s, flapper dresses got shorter, and women even started swimming in more revealing bathing costumes that started to show off other body parts that could be shaved. In 1922, Harper’s Bazaar ran one of the first magazine ads specifically targeting underarm hair:

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Magazines were consumed during this era for fashion advice, household tips, and women’s advice, so a spread like this signaled to readers the continued importance of underarm hair removal.

During this period, magazines also started targeting leg hair removal. In Christine Hope’s paper, “Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture,” Hope surveyed older editions of Harper’s Bazaar and found that 66% of ads mentioned leg hair removal and that most ads ran seasonally during summer months when women exposed more skin.

1940s: No Nylons, No Problem

By the time the 1940s rolled around, leg hair removal had become more ubiquitous. All hair removal ads in Harper’s Bazaar mentioned leg hair, and 56% of ads were specifically about leg hair removal.

Then, during World War II, there was a shortage of nylon used to make stockings, which drove more women to shave their legs and use depilatories so they could go bare-legged. Remington started selling the first electric women’s razor, which was presented as a faster alternative to manual shaving and keeping legs bare.

1950s: Hairlessness Is Classy and Feminine

Once leg and underarm shaving was more widely accepted, advertisers started using language and imagery to conflate shaving and hairlessness with femininity and classiness. In the ad below, the “Debutante” makes the razor an aspirational, ladylike product women feel like they have to buy.

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1960s: Shaving Is Normal

By 1964, 98% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 reported they removed some body hair, and advertisers were determined to make sure that number inched up to 100%. Ads featured shaming and scare tactics to get all women on board with the shaving trend.

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The ad is designed to make women feel more comfortable with shaving by advertising a starter kit, but some of the copy is a little more intimidating: “Stop shaking. Sharp blades give you the best shave.” It’s meant to challenge readers to woman up and use Gillette to shave their legs — and it worked.

1980s: Shaving Is Sexy

1980s razor advertising seemed to be focused on women shaving to make themselves hairless to be more appealing to men — just check out Gillette’s “Just Whistle” ad below.

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Subtle, huh?

1990s-2000s: Shaving Everywhere Is Normal

In the 1990s and 2000s, ads and commercials shifted to tell women about the importance of shaving to keep their entire bodies hairless — still to the appeal of men — for all of the occasions when they’re in short skirt, swimsuits, or wearing nothing at all. Razors bore new features to shave legs and bikini lines, adding to the list of body parts ads encouraged women to shave.

2010s: Shaving Needs to be Disrupted

Nowadays, razors are an expensive industry — especially for women. Women’s razors are subject to the “pink tax,” wherein women’s products are more expensive than the male versions despite identical functionalities. The disposable razor market is worth $34 billion and isn’t environmentally ideal, so other companies are trying to compete with the giants like Gillette and Schick. On-demand services, such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, are advertising razors primarily to men, but the products are unisex, and the ads appeal to different motives — like price, convenience, and a better solution to traditional razor shopping.

If You Build it, They Will Shave

Razor companies used fear, shame, loneliness, and sex appeal to create a massive women’s shaving industry from scratch. And however frustrating that is for the modern buyer, women’s razors are a fascinating case of effective emotional advertising. It will be interesting to see if newer, on-demand razor companies can disrupt such an entrenched industry, and we’ll keep you posted on more fun ads from disruptors like DSC.

Can you think of other industries that were created with the help of marketing and advertising? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Credit: Razor Archive, Farmer’s Wife, Vox, Bustle

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15 Questions to Make You a More Empathic Person

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We know empathy — the ability to understand and relate to the emotions of others — is a core competency of creativity, leadership, and being an all-around happy, successful person.

Consciously approaching situations with an empathic perspective enables us to devise more inventive, impactful solutions to problems, form meaningful relationships, and ultimately, understand ourselves more thoroughly and with more self-acceptance. 

But is empathy a static trait? Or are we capable of improving our own capacity for empathic thinking?

“You can learn [empathy] with time and dedication” said Annie McKee, author of Primal Leadership and Happy at Work, in Harvard Business Review. “It starts with having a dream– a vision of the future that means enough for you to put in the hard work needed to change old habits. And, you need to accept how important empathy is at work — and perhaps […] the realization of the damage done by not having it.”

So what does strengthening our empathic fitness look like in practice? The team at Sub Rosa, a strategy and design practice based in Manhattan, believe it begins with asking yourself some tough questions. To help more people embrace an ongoing habit of acknowledging and consciously improving empathy, they developed Questions & Empathy, a card deck with 49 questions designed to provoke authentic discussions and strengthen empathic thinking.

The deck has been used in workshops across a number of different industries and disciplines — from the Fast Company Innovation Festival to West Point. Each question is aimed at uncovering a deeper truth about the way we navigate the world — one we might not have discovered without direct provocation. 

“Some of us are naturally predisposed empaths, but for the rest of us, it’s a skill that is learned and developed,” explains the guidebook for Questions & Empathy. “It requires curiosity and imagination, and it’s a muscle that we must constantly train. Doing so will help you discover greater purpose, inform sound decisions, build deeper relationships, and create better solutions.”

In their ongoing work with empathy, the team at Sub Rosa has identified seven key components of empathic thinking, and given each archetype a title and core purpose:

  • Inquirer: Interrogate assumed truths
  • Convener: Anticipate the needs of others
  • Alchemist: Test and learn at all costs
  • Confidant: Summon the patience to observe and absorb information
  • Sage: Inhabit the here and now
  • Cultivator: Purposefully nurture and actively develop
  • Seeker: Be confident and unafraid to take risks or pivot

The Questions & Empathy deck is designed to put you in the mindset of each archetype, challenging you to explore different areas of empathic thinking through uncommonly direct questions and self-reflection.

We’re sharing 15 of our favorite questions from the deck below, broken down into sections corresponding to five different components of empathy. So gather your team, your friends, or just a pen and paper, and approach each of these questions with an open mind. There are no right or wrong answers.

15 Questions to Strengthen Empathic Thinking

Interrogate assumed truths.

Challenging preconceived notions enables us to better navigate a world of diverse belief systems and conflicting opinions. Part of embracing empathy in your daily life means pushing to discover the big, messy, underlying reasons behind the beliefs and patterns you’ve always accepted without question.

Sometimes, we need to excavate the “why” behind seemingly fixed points, and demand contemplative responses from ourselves and others. 

1) When have your instincts led you astray?

2) What are your personal biases that most interfere with finding truth?

3) What types of questions make you most uncomfortable?

 

Creatively anticipate the needs of others.

There are times in your professional and personal life when it’s up to you to intentionally cultivate space for other people to grow and thrive. This means learning what others need to be successful, and figuring out how to give it to them without compromising your own sense of well-being. 

4) What about you most comforts others?

5) What makes an experience meaningful?

6) How do you balance being self-serving and selfless?

 

Constantly test and try.

To constantly improve yourself and your work, you need to be willing to test, fail, and pivot accordingly — often over and over again. Remaining curious and patient in the face of failure is not without its emotionally charged challenges, but it creates resilience, focus, and a deep, first-hand appreciation for the victories and losses of those around you. 

7) When does your curiosity create difficulty?

8) Who has challenged you to be better than you once were?

9) How does iteration inform the outcome of your work?

 

Summon the patience to observe and absorb information.

Understanding is formed in those silent, observant moments of a deep conversation — when we stop planning what to say next, and focus instead on absorbing everything we can. You might be surprised how much you come to understand about the people around you when you give them a secure, nonjudgmental space to confide. 

10) What role can silence play in a conversation?

11) What should people better understand about you?

12) When are you most observant?

 

Inhabit the here and now.

“Be present” isn’t just a self-help mantra — it’s a reminder to acknowledge how you feel in a given moment, and recognize the feelings of those around you. When you feel yourself becoming untethered from the present moment or clouded with concerns about the past or future, make a conscious effort to bring yourself back and check in. 

13) Where do you feel most present?

14) When negative emotions arise, how do you deal with them?

15) How do you stay grounded when the world gets overwhelming?

 

How do you plan to strengthen your empathy this year? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Helpful Insights You Can Find Using Twitter Analytics

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When it launched in 2014, Twitter Analytics marked a solid (if long overdue) move towards greater transparency and measurement abilities for all users. And since then, Twitter has continued to make upgrades to the tool, most recently by creating a standalone analytics app called Engage, and launching analytics for Twitter Moments.

Though users now have more insight into their Twitter account metrics, they might not be using them to their full potential.

They’ve poked around the Twitter Analytics homepage and figured out they can track impressions and metrics by promoted or organic activity … and that’s about it.

The good news is there’s much more you can discover in your Tweet activity dashboard — you’ve just got to know where to look. Beyond the basic metrics, here are some incredibly important things you can discover about your Twitter account and audience using Tweet Analytics.

How to Use Twitter Analytics

You can access Twitter Analytics by tapping your profile and selecting “Analytics” from the dropdown menu:

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1) See Which Content Resonates With Your Audience

Understanding which types of content and topics your audience members most enjoy can help drive your social marketing and content strategy. What’s the point in sharing content no one cares about or enjoys?

On the “Tweets” tab, you can see Impressions, Engagements and Engagement Rate (Engagements divided by Impressions) for each tweet, for paid and organic posts. Engagements include all activity on the tweet: retweets, follows, replies, favorites, and all clicks on the tweet, link, hashtag, etc.

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For a more granular view of the volume of each type of engagement, you can click on the specific tweet:

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Understanding which content items get the most engagement on Twitter is huge. If you can even commit 10 minutes a week to recording your top five or ten tweets by engagement so you can start seeing trends over time — and then applying those insights to future tweets — you’ll be able to better connect with your audience.

2) Understand How People Interact With Your Tweets Over Time

This is a really common question among social media marketers and brands: What made my tweet take off?

Some tools can analyze your Twitter followers and recommend the best day of the week for you to tweet. There’s also research out there showing when people are most likely to be active on Twitter. But of course, the best way to get to know your own audience is from your own account data.

On the Tweets dashboard, you can customize the date range you want to analyze to see when you published your highest-performing tweets:

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Twitter used to offer the ability to view a tweet’s engagement over the course of a day, and I think it was a mistake to remove that feature. I hope they bring it back in an update soon so users can analyze the best time of day to tweet from their account.

3) Get to Know Your Followers

Twitter’s audience data in the “Followers” tab contains a ton of valuable and useful insights. This is where you can really get to know the people who follow you.

You’ll find answers to questions like: Are your audience members more likely to be male or female? Which countries and cities are the majority from? What are their top interests? You can also see who your followers follow as well as your follower’s top five most unique interests. Answering these questions can help you better identify what content to create and share on Twitter — and when to share it.

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You can also compare your Twitter followers to different segments — for example, to all Twitter users total:

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4) See Whether Your Follower Base Is Growing (or Shrinking)

I’d call myself a Twitter power user now, but it wasn’t always so. For several years, I slowly grew my following up to about 8,000 followers. In the past few years that I’ve really focused on my Twitter presence, I’ve picked up another 704,000.

Now, Twitter allows you to track your follower growth. Twitter Analytics shows you how many followers you had on any given day with the interactive timeline pictured below. Hovering over various points on the timeline will show you the exact follow count on that day. It spans back to the day your account was started.

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If you’re seeing blips in your follower count over time, it’s important to revisit your activity in those periods and see if you can learn from it. How often were you posting then — and what were you posting about? Were you taking the time to reply to folks, too? Answering questions like these can help you explain these blips — and avoid the same mistakes in the future.

5) Determine If Your Twitter Ads Are Worth the Money

I’ve been experimenting recently with paid promotions on Twitter. After reviewing my own data in Twitter Analytics, I realized my ads weren’t as effective as I thought they would be.

In the Tweets tab, right at the top, there’s a chart that gives an overview of your paid and organic tweet performance. Like other Twitter Analytics charts, this one is interactive, so hovering over specific parts will show you more precise numbers, as in the example below. Keep in mind that the data only goes back 91 days, so take advantage of the ability to export it regularly. You can make comparisons over longer periods of time in another program.

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I’m not spending a ton on paid promotions — around $100 a day when I use them — but at a glance, I can see that compared to organic posts, they’re not having a huge effect. If I were running specific promotions, I’d be interested in the Conversions information available in Twitter Analytics. But for getting more impressions on my content, it doesn’t seem worth it because I could get that exposure for free by just tweeting a few extra times per day.

Obviously, this will vary for every user, but this panel in Twitter Analytics is a pretty simple way to see what you need to make that decision.

Just below that chart, you can click “Promoted” to see all of your paid promotions in chronological order. This shows you how many engagements and impressions each one earned, helping you pinpoint which paid promotions are working (and which ones aren’t).

Exporting Data: How to Discover Even More Trends in Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics is great as an interactive dashboard for accessing increasingly granular data about your Twitter account performance.

The most useful feature I’ve found is the ability to export data from the Twitter API as a CSV file. Even power users with a ton of account activity can fairly quickly export their Analytics data.

To export your data, select the timeframe you’d like to use, and click the “Export Data” button in the top right corner of your Twitter Analytics Dashboard.

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You can then sort through your exported data using Excel in ways not possible within the platform itself. For example, I extracted the time of day of my last 2500 tweets and plotted the tweet engagement rate vs. time of day, as shown here:

time-of-day-vs-engagement-rate

What I found was that the engagement rate (i.e. the # of engagements/impressions) held steady (on average) regardless of the time of day — possibly because I have a ton of international followers. It got me thinking that I really ought to be scheduling my content for all hours of the day, not just during business hours in my local time zone. Sure, fewer people will see my updates at 2 a.m. local time, but those who do are just as likely to engage with the content as those who see it during business hours.

There are so many other columns of data in the CSV export, including the number of favorites, retweets, link clicks, replies, URL clicks, follows, etc. So you can do this kind of customized analysis on whatever metrics you care most about.

Ultimately, the best data is your own, so make time to check out Twitter Analytics and see what you can learn and do with it. Figure out which tweets resonate and why. Then, work those insights into your social media marketing strategy for a more successful way forward. For more ideas, download HubSpot’s guide to getting more Twitter followers.

What are your must-know tips for using Twitter Analytics? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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