Ephemeral Content: How & Why to Invest in Content That Disappears

Last year, Sony Pictures earned over 45 million impressions and made over a million in incremental movie ticket purchases.

While these metrics are impressive, the method by which these metrics were earned might be even more impressive — content that disappeared on Snapchat.

Snapchat Stories is a prime feature of the app. Stories is a form of what’s called ephemeral content, which is defined as content that goes away after a certain period of time. On Snapchat, for instance, stories disappear after 24 hours.

Sony used ephemeral content by promoting the release of their movie, Venom, with a red carpet Live Story Ad, as well as shoppable Snap Ads. Viewers of Sony’s Snapchat stories were given the option to buy tickets right from within the story itself.

Ultimately, as proven in the example above, ephemeral content is a highly diverse way to engage an audience.

Using ephemeral content can help you connect with your target audience and define your brand. Here, we’re going to explore why it’s so important, and how it can be useful for your own company.

Why Ephemeral Content Is Important

In 2019, Statista reported that Instagram’s story features have 500 million daily active users, with WhatsApp close behind with 450 million daily active users.

Stories across a variety of platforms — including Instagram, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, and Facebook — are all considered ephemeral content.

So why is it so popular, and why should you participate? Let’s dive into that now.

1. Interact with audiences.

Interacting with your audience is a fantastic avenue for ephemeral content. Audience scrolling through stories on major social platforms might be inclined to engage with your brand if your content provides actionable items.

For instance, one way social media planning tool Buffer uses ephemeral content is by holding Q&A sessions on Instagram Stories. By putting a Q&A sticker on a story, Instagram followers can ask a question through a story for it to be answered.

buffer question highlight

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Answering questions on stories keeps audiences engaged. Additionally, asking communities questions about what they enjoy, as Buffer did, helps gain insight on the type of content to produce to keep engagement numbers up.

2. Boost sales with shopping.

Many social platforms that host ephemeral content also host a feature for shopping, like Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Business accounts on the platforms can set up a storefront in stories — like with beauty brand Fenty Beauty.

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This ad is shoppable, which you can tell with the “See More” text at the bottom of the story. Online shopping takes on a new meaning with ephemeral content since viewers feel the pressure of the time limit. With a couple of taps from a shoppable story, you can make a new sale.

Facebook and Instagram have a feed for stories, where shoppable ads have the chance to appear. This is useful for reaching a broader audience with your products and brand.

3. Diversify content with authenticity.

Ephemeral content can introduce audiences to the personality behind your organization. Because this feed is separate from main feeds, you can post content that’s not as polished, and disappears later, giving customers the chance to feel like they caught a glimpse of a more special, exclusive behind-the-scenes look at your company.

To diversify content, you might try giving your audience a tour of your office on Snapchat, or posting templates followers can fill-in on Instagram, as LinkedIn did in the example shown below. You can post the answers and showcase your followers on your story to get them involved in your content.

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Ultimately, short-term content tends to feel more authentic rather than the sponsored posts in your feed. They don’t have to be perfect — instead, ephemeral content can give followers a genuine, honest look into your brand. It’s definitely something to embrace if you’re thinking of ways to personalize your brand.

4. Engage audiences.

Social media is a huge opportunity to garner user-generated content, and ephemeral content helps with that. Engagement rates show you how many people are seeing and interacting with your content, and the more people engage with your content, the higher chance you have at collecting new leads.

I have huge FOMO, or fear of missing out. This is where ephemeral content shines. It can be used for special offers or content that only users who view an account’s story can interact with. For instance, Coca-Cola added a World Cup geofilter after the Belgium Red Devil win on Snap stories during last year’s matches.

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This geofilter, according to the Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Belgium, connected Belgian teens and young adults and was also shared by influencers. It gained almost 5 million impressions and reached over a million accounts.

Ultimately, hose numbers surprised me — I had no idea Snapchat could have so much reach, but with a huge event like the World Cup, the opportunity to tie in marketing with a large audience was a great move by the beverage company.

Most of us don’t have the resources that Sony Pictures or Coca-Cola do. Ephemeral content doesn’t have to be a big-budget production, though. Investing in content that disappears means creating content that engages customers and highlights a brand’s uniqueness.

Think of how you can incorporate your next product launch or blog in ephemeral content. You can build hype with story ads leading up to the release and once it drops, you might try making shoppable stories. A few of the cards could ask customers’ opinions on features, i.e., a poll asking followers if they prefer green or red color variations.

Looking for more on story content? Check out our post about Instagram stories here.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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Essential Web Design Stats for 2020 [New Research]

As people spend more and more time online, the role of the web designer has become increasingly crucial.

As a web designer, it’s your job to stay on top of new techniques, technologies, and tricks that continue to emerge at a phenomenal rate. Additionally, you also need to run your business — including finding clients, filing accounts, and potentially hiring and managing staff.

Whether you’re a web designer or considering hiring one for your company, it’s critical you know about the current challenges and opportunities in the web design industry.

Here, we’ll cover some of the most essential web design stats for 2020 from Sitejet’s new State of Web Design survey for 2020 and beyond.

Biggest Challenges & Pain Points

We’ve touched on it already, but when it comes to daily challenges, customer acquisition is far and away the most commonly cited pain point.

In fact, nearly half of web designers say that, more than any other aspect of their job, they find it hard to discover new clients.

The next most commonly cited pain point was profitability and pricing, while other responses such as keeping up with industry standards (10%), time management (8%), difficult clients (7%), and team management (2%) lagged way behind.

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Things Web Designers Love

Unsurprisingly, when asked about their favorite parts of web design, the overwhelming majority focused on the creative process.

The actual process of building beautiful websites is what attracts most people into the profession, and it seems fair to say that it’s what keeps them motivated years later.

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Things Web Designers Dislike

When asked what they dislike about the web design process, customer acquisition was again the most common reply. This was followed up by just under one in four web designers who say that managing the business is their least favorite part of the job.

These results, when evaluated together, tell us that web designers tend to enjoy the creative parts of the role, but are forced to reluctantly take up the ‘other bits’ such as marketing and management, to help facilitate what they really love to do.

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How long does it take to create a website from scratch? 

In essence, the ‘product’ that web designers sell is their time. And, since so many cite concerns over profitability in pricing, it’s interesting to consider how many hours it actually takes to build a website with modern tools and technology.

The results here could hardly be more evenly split, with a wide and varied response. Incredibly, while one in five web designers say they typically build websites in 10 hours or less, one in 10 told us they take 61 hours or more.

However, the majority (60%) of respondents settled around the mid-range, between 11-20 (31%) and 21-40 hours (29%).

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How often do web designers update their clients’ sites?

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished — only abandoned.” That’s the case with great websites, too. After those hours invested in the initial build, web designers often have to continue running and managing their clients’ websites, actioning changes, communicating with clients, and generally keeping the websites they build fresh and up-to-date.

In fact, only 11% of web designers say their clients have the ability to update their own websites once built.

When asked how often they typically have to update their clients’ websites, the numbers again vary wildly. However, more than seven in 10 web designers say it’s at least quarterly, with the most commonly cited response (30%) claiming that they typically update client websites on a monthly basis.

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How do web designers communicate with their clients? 

For around 90% of web designers, there’s some element of ongoing client communication and collaboration. How is that managed?

The research suggests that the vast majority of client communication takes place via email, which is used by 96% of web designers. 83% supplement that with phone or video calls, while the numbers for SMS (29%), project management systems (15%), file transfer tools (15%) design platforms (14%) and Slack (13%) lag way behind.

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When we asked web designers to just select the main communication channel they used, around three-quarters chose email, followed by 16% who selected phone.

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In short, there seems to be a huge reliance on email.

How do web designers get new clients?

Ultimately, customer acquisition is a major challenge cited by a huge number of web designers.

It’s interesting, then, to consider which channels they feel are most effective at bringing them new business.

runaway leader here is word-of-mouth marketing, cited by 71% of respondents as being their number one channel for finding new clients.

Others have dabbled in content marketing and SEO (6%), social tools like Facebook (3%) and LinkedIn (1%), and email marketing (4%) but these are comparatively small numbers.

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How do consumers browse the web?

The Sitejet study didn’t just quiz web designers about their daily work. It also asked for the thoughts and opinions of the everyday web consumer.

We all know that mobile browsing is a big deal, but, interestingly, it feels like rumors of the death of desktop have been greatly exaggerated. When asked how respondents mainly browse the web, over 70% of respondents told us they mainly browse on desktop.

Of course, that’s not to say that they don’t also browse on mobile — but with so many people browsing mainly on desktop, it’s important to not put all your eggs into one basket.

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The importance of usability …

Usability is one of the big buzzwords in modern web design and it’s unsurprising that it seems to have such a big effect on website users. This mainly applies to responsiveness, design quality, and load speed.

We found that:

  • 93% of people have left a website because it didn’t display properly on their device.
  • 90% of people have left a website because it was badly designed.
  • 93% of people have left because a website didn’t load quickly enough.

Ultimately, these results demonstrate the critical importance of usability for any website’s long-term success.

In summary …

That’s a lot of numbers, right? Here are the key takeaways:

  • Web designers are ‘reluctant administrators’ who love to create – much more than they love to manage and market their businesses!
  • There’s an insanely wide variance in how much work is involved in creating and managing websites, and it’s difficult to shake the feeling that a lot of web designers are spending way longer than they need to on their work. This potentially explains why around a quarter of web designers struggle with profitability and pricing.
  • Email, for all its faults, remains THE dominant communication channel for web designers to work with their clients.
  • Desktop browsing is far from dead, with a size-able chunk of the online population still browsing mainly on desktop, rather than mobile or tablet.
  • Tolerance for shabby design, sluggish performance or unresponsive design is at an all time low, with more than 9 out of 10 people admitting they won’t hang around on a website that doesn’t tick these boxes.

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Author: Hendrik Köhler

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How to Conduct the Perfect Marketing Experiment [+ Examples]

After months of hard work, multiple coffee runs, and navigation of the latest industry changes, you’ve finally finished the next big marketing campaign.
Complete with social media posts, PPC ads, and a sparkly new logo, it’s the campaign of a lifetime.

But how do you know it will be effective?

While there’s no sure way to know if your campaign will turn heads, there is a way to gauge whether those new aspects of your strategy will be effective.

If you want to know if certain components of your campaign — like that sparkly new logo or the new employee takeover series — is worth the effort, consider conducting a marketing experiment.

Marketing experiments give you a projection of how well marketing methods will perform before you implement them. If you want to know the different types and how you can use them within your organization, keep reading.

What’s a Marketing Experiment?

A marketing experiment is a form of market research. It’s a test organizations run to discover possible marketing avenues that will improve a campaign.

For instance, a marketing team might create and send emails to a small segment of their overall readership to gauge engagement rates, before adding them into a campaign. Additionally, they might A/B test the design of these emails. In this example, the team is creating a hypothesis (that a certain email design will help promote their campaign) and testing the hypothesis in a marketing experiment. 

It’s important to note that a marketing experiment isn’t synonymous with a marketing test. Marketing experiments are done for the purpose of discovery, while a test confirms theories.

Ultimately, a marketing experiment can help you ensure your campaign or strategy will be effective. Next, let’s dive into how to conduct a marketing experiment.

How to Conduct a Marketing Experiment

Performing a marketing experiment lets you try out different methods of running a campaign to see which one will perform the best. It involves doing background research, structuring the experiment, and analyzing the results.

Now, let’s go through the five steps necessary to conduct a marketing experiment. 

1. Make a hypothesis.

Hypotheses aren’t just related to science projects. When conducting a marketing experiment, the first step is to make a hypothesis you’re curious to test.

Let’s say you want to make a marketing email that will improve engagement rates. A good hypothesis for this might be, “Making an email with emojis in both the subject line and copy will increase our engagement rates by at least 25%.” This is a good hypothesis because you can prove or disprove it, it isn’t subjective, and it has a clear measurement of achievement.

2. Collect research.

After creating your hypothesis, begin to gather research. Doing this will give you background knowledge about experiments that have already been conducted and get an idea of possible outcomes.

Researching your experiment can help you modify your hypothesis if needed. If your hypothesis is, “Making an email with an emojis in the subject line and copy will increase our engagement rates by at least 25%,” and research on trends in your audience on email subject lines show that to be true, you know you have a solid hypothesis. However, if other companies in your industry haven’t seen success from emojis in emails, you might want to reconsider.

3. Choose measurement metrics.

Once you’ve collected the research, you can choose which avenue you will take and what metrics to measure.

For instance, maybe you will run an A/B test. This method will allow you to measure the results of two different emails, and figure out which email performs better with your target audience..

For a marketing email test, consider measuring impressions, reach, conversion rate, or clickthrough rate (CTR). These email metrics can let you know how many people are receiving, opening, and reading your emails, and will help you analyze the results of your hypothesis.

4. Create and execute the experiment.

Now it’s time to create and perform the experiment. If you’re creating an A/B test to prove your hypothesis about emojis in emails, then you’ll want to create two emails — one with a plain text subject line, and an identical email with 1-2 emojis added to the subject line. Try to only make slight variations between emails A and B to ensure accuracy.

When you’re finished designing the experiment, come up with a timeline, and decide how you’ll monitor the results. That way, when conducting the A/B test, you’ll be prepared to swiftly figure out which email performed better.

Finally, choose your recipients and conduct the experiment. Next, you’ll analyze your results.

5. Analyze the results.

Once you’ve run the experiment, collect and analyze the results. Use the metrics you’ve decided upon in the second step and conclude if your hypothesis was correct or not.

The prime indicators for success will be the metrics you chose to focus on.

For instance, for the marketing email example, did engagement numbers appear higher? If the CTR, impressions, and click-to-open rates are at or higher than the 25% goal, the experiment would be considered one where the hypothesis was accepted.

Now that you know how to conduct a marketing experiment, let’s go over a few different ways to run them.

Types of Marketing Experiments

There are many types of marketing experiments you can conduct with your team. These tests will help you determine how aspects of your campaign will perform before you roll out the campaign as a whole.

1. A/B Testing

A/B testing is a popular marketing experiment in which two versions of a webpage, email, or social post are presented to an audience (randomly divided in half). This test determines which version performs better with your audience.

HubSpot’s email tool offers an A/B test feature for Professional and Enterprise users. Alternatively, check out 8 of the Best A/B Testing Tools for 2019 for options of other tools to help you perform A/B tests.

This method is useful because you can better understand the preferences of users who will be using your product.

2. Different CTAs

Experimenting with different CTAs can improve the number of people who engage with your content. For instance, instead of using “Buy now!” to pull customers in, why not try, “Learn more?”

You can also test different colors of CTAs as opposed to copy. Another CTA factor that I’ve been seeing around are ones that are animated.

To learn more about different types of CTAs, check out 8 Types of CTAs You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog.

For a CTA-related marketing experiment, you’ll want to either use PPC ads or landing pages to insert your CTA . From there, measure relevant metrics based on your hypothesis and design of the button.

3. Animated Ads

As a big purveyor of GIFs in the workplace, animating ads are a great way to catch the attention of potential customers. Animating ads don’t necessarily mean using GIFs — you might also try small videos or ads with multiple cards, which can catch the attention of web browsers.

This Instagram ad from Buffer, above, uses multimedia to make their post pop. If you’re testing out PPC advertising, try diversifying those ads to capture the interest of more audiences. Additionally, you might run different types of copy with your ads to see which language compels your audience to click.

4. Social Media Platforms

Is there a social media site you’re not using? For instance, lifestyle brands might prioritize Twitter and Instagram, but implementing Pinterest opens the door for an untapped audience.

You might consider testing which hashtags or visuals you use on certain social media sites to see how well they perform. The more you use certain social platforms, the more you can iterate based on what your audience is engaging with the most.

5. Experiment Globally

If you post on an Eastern Time Zone (ET) schedule, run an experiment that involves Pacific or Central Time Zones.

You might even use your social media analytics to determine which countries or regions you should focus on — for instance, my Twitter Analytics, below, demonstrates where most of my audience resides. If, alternatively, I saw most of my audience came from India, I might need to alter my social strategy to ensure I catered to India’s Time Zone, as well.

personal twitter analyticsWhen experimenting with different time zones, consider making content specific to the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re trying to reach global audiences, why not post something in a few different languages? Alternatively, if you have international offices, you might spotlight different employees from your offices all over the globe.

Ultimately, marketing experiments are a cost-effective way to get a picture of how new content ideas will work in your next campaign, which is critical for ensuring you continue to delight your audience. For more new content ideas, check out our ultimate round-up here.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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Smart Targeting: The Better Way to Reach Audiences & Customers

Have you ever visited a website you frequent and found that the text interacts with you?

For instance, when I log onto Mailchimp, my dashboard says, “Welcome back, Kayla” — this is because my account with the site has my first name in its system and uses smart targeting to make my interaction with the website more delightful.

Smart targeting provides a more individual experience for webpage visitors.

For example, if I visit a web page that’s not in my first language, in some cases, I’ll receive an option to translate that web page into my first language based on my location. That’s smart targeting at work.

Targeted content is an opportunity to reach audiences with a custom experience that’s personalized to their interests. A common form of this is the targeted ad you saw on Facebook for PetCo after browsing Target for new dog food.

Alternatively, if you visit an e-commerce store you frequently shop at, you may notice an option to “Order it again.” This shopping experience, making re-ordering a quick and painless process, is another example of smart targeting.

For instance, this is an example of smart targeting on Amazon:

smart targeting on amazon

Because I’ve recently searched for pink office supplies, Amazon picked out suggestions for me based on my browsing history on the subject. The website changed based on my past behavior.

Businesses might incorporate smart targeting into their websites to make customers feel like their experience is tailored to their interests.

Here, we’re going to go over what smart targeting is, and how businesses are using it to connect and grow their audiences.

What is Smart Targeting?

Smart Targeting predicts the interests of internet browsers using artificial intelligence (AI). This technology then uses those predictions to provide relevant content offers. Using smart targeting gives your audience a more personalized experience and allows you to grow your reach.

Smart content displays different versions of content based on previous criteria you set for your contacts. In general, smart content is setting targeted content rules — for instance, you might create a smart form so your website visitors don’t have to answer the same question twice.

When you set smart content rules and assign them to contacts, they’ll qualify for the first rule you set. And, for each of the rules you set, you can preview your text before publishing.

For example, if you want a contact to view specific content you’ve set up based on their country, you can assign the “Country” smart rule to their contact display. Other smart rules you might find in a CRM include:

  • Device Type: This smart rule lets you set the medium your content is viewed in — mobile, tablet, or desktop. You can always preview this medium after creating this smart rule.
  • Referral source: Based on how visitors on your site found it. This will formulate your content based on whichever site they came from.
  • Preferred language: With this rule, the user can view web page content based on the language set in their browser.
  • Contact list membership: By setting this smart rule, a contact in your database will be shown content based on the list they’re in. For example, if you set a smart rule that only visitors who are in your “Marketing Qualified Lead” list can see, contacts in that list will be able to see it.
  • Lifecycle stage: This will display relevant content based on the lifecycle stage of the contact.

Next, let’s explore some examples of smart targeting. 

Examples of Smart Targeting

1. Monarch Music Hall

I am an avid concert-goer. Oftentimes, when I purchase tickets from certain music venues, I begin to receive targeted emails for shows of the same genre of the artists I see.

For instance, check out this email I got from Monarch Music Hall:

I’ve seen the group X Ambassadors before, so because they’re making their way back to Chicago, I was notified of their show due to my previous purchase.

This is a great example of smart targeting analyzing my purchase history, spotting a trend, and using AI to make a more streamlined ticket-buying process for me.

2. Thrive Market

When the weather gets nippy, sometimes I order my groceries online instead of braving the cold. I use a website called Thrive Market because I love their smart targeting. Because I’m a person of routine, its so easy to visit the website and pick which items to purchase again, like here:

thrive market smart targeting

The targeting here is working by pulling up my past purchases and displaying them on the homepage. That way, I could easily add them to my cart if I wanted to. Not only does this improve customer experience, but it also gives me, the consumer, more time to browse other products on Thrive.

3. Vineyard Vines

Social media is a huge culprit of smart targeting. The ads some platforms show you look at your browsing history and use that data to suggest actionable websites for you to browse.

This ad from Instagram is a perfect example:

instagram smart targeting

Making a recent purchase is a great indicator for smart targeting to choose ads from websites that will give you a more streamlined process of visitation or ordering products in the future. Here, Vineyard Vines is attracting its customers with a sale, and spending less money on the ad by ensuring it only reaches past visitors to its site.

Part of the customer experience is feeling separate from “Just another consumer.” Though on the surface, it seems hard to do in a more digital-facing world, things like smart targeting are making that transition an easy one.

Just like your favorite local coffee shop will greet you by name and ask if you want your regular, your Starbucks app can now do that, as well.

Smart targeting is also a great way to keep customers coming back to your website. For more ways to drive traffic to your website, check out our article here.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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How One Social Media Consultant Builds Her Clients’ Brand Influence on Twitter

As a social media consultant, I help entrepreneurs and businesses unlock the power of social media marketing.

With over eight years experience spanning across both B2B and B2C industries, I’m passionate about everything involving social media — especially Twitter.

Twitter is exceptionally exciting to me because it’s a fantastic tool for building a brand and brand influence. It’s easy to find and take part in conversations, stay on top of news (stories usually break on Twitter before anywhere else), find content, connect with people, and actually be social on social media.

Additionally, it’s a fast-paced network, which allows you to continuously drive traffic and share information without the content fatigue you find on other social media networks.

Here, let’s explore the nine strategies I’ve used to help myself, and my clients, build brand influence on the platform.

9 Effective Strategies to Build Brand Influence on Twitter

1. Optimize your profile.

The first thing you can do to start building brand influence on Twitter is to fill in your biography, choose a profile image, and create a header image for your profile.

Building influence begins with the basics of your profile because that’s what your potential followers will look at (aside from your content) to decide if they want to follow you. Your profile will also help you come up in searches, so it’s important to have it be optimized for your success.

Be sure to make your profile more searchable by using keywords in your biography and use the link in your bio to promote specific posts or landing pages.

Twitter gives you one link space and you can always sneak one more link into your bio, so use these to your advantage! When you have a new product, blog post, or landing page to promote, pop your link in your bio with a call-to-action. If you have folks clicking around your profile, this can be a great way to generate a little more traffic.

2. Tweet consistently.

Tweeting and showing up consistently is essential in building a following on Twitter. Ultimately, social media marketing is a commitment. Post consistently to stay in front of your audience’s eyes and keep growth going.

Try starting at three tweets per day and go up from there. There are so many subjects you can tweet about, including quotes or industry statistics, quick tips related to your industry, or new blog posts you’ve published.

Here are a few additional ideas to get you started:

  • Ask questions
  • Run Twitter Polls (with the built-in Twitter Polls tool)
  • Tweet a series of blog posts as a list
  • Use GIFS
  • Try Live Videos
  • Use Twitter Moments to recap an event or compile a few tweets around tips or tools
  • Use Twitter Events in the analytics dashboard to know what events are coming up that may be relevant for your brand to tweet about

Remember that not all your tweets need to be original. Include shares from other sources and retweet others, as well. I love using the “Retweet with comment” feature to add my own ideas to a re-tweet.

Lastly, it’s important to note — there are so many ways to tweet with 280 characters. You can create multi-link posts like lists or mini round-ups, have fun with emojis, and much more.

Twitter really lets you get creative with how you tweet.

3. Engage with others.

The most effective way to build a following on Twitter (and on every social network) is to engage with others.

There are many opportunities for engagement on Twitter — for instance, you might consider joining a Twitter chat, looking up and following event hashtags, or keeping an eye out for trending topics related to your brand.

Interact with other’s tweets by liking, retweeting and responding to posts.

4. Pin posts to your profile.

Pinning posts to the top of your profile is an effective strategy for getting more eyes on your content.

You can create a newsletter sign-up, a tweet linking to your new blog post, or any piece of content that could be compelling to your Twitter followers. Pinned tweets remain at the top of your profile until you take them down. Try pinning tweets to your latest download, newsletter, or company website.

5. Participate in Twitter chats.

Participating in Twitter chats is an effective strategy that helps you engage with your target audience and build brand influence on Twitter.

There are Twitter chats for just about everything (and if there isn’t one in your niche, why not try starting one?). Get to know your audience, and figure out which chats they might be hanging out in, then go ahead and participate in the chat.

Don’t sell or push your links using the chat hashtag, however, since that can come across as insincere. Instead, actually take the time to be part of the conversation and focus on adding value.

6. Use Twitter lists.

Twitter lists are used for grouping Twitter users. They are a simple way to “curate your own timelines”, cutting through general timeline chatter. Twitter lists can help you organize the people you follow, and are a great tool to build your Twitter following and social media relationships, as well.

You can create private or public Twitter lists based on whatever topic you want, add people or brands (even ones that you don’t follow), and look at only the tweets from users you have added to your list. You also have the ability to subscribe to other users’ lists, and others can subscribe to yours.

Besides helping you keep you up-to-date with tweets from your favorite accounts, there are many benefits for growing your following, building relationships, and creating more value for your followers.

Here are a few Twitter list methods to build your following:

  • Curate lists by topic: Create lists of employees, event attendees, etc. They will get a notification that they’ve been added to your list, which informs them of your brand while making them feel special. You can add someone to your list without actually following them, which is ideal if you’re concerned with your following-to-follower ratio.
  • Never miss a tweet: Because Twitter lists only show you the tweets from the members you’ve added to it, it’s easier to find content in your feed that you care about, making it easier to share high-quality and relevant content with your network.
  • Create resource lists: Have a favorite brand-related blog, or influencers you admire? Resource lists can help you provide your followers with more value, while also enabling you to capture the attention of influencers if you include them in your list.
  • Thank you lists: Yet another way to engage with customers — if someone mentions you, checks into your restaurant or event, or shares your content, you can add them to a list and let them know you appreciate them.

Each Twitter list has a unique link — which gives you some versatility when it comes to sharing the list with others. Again, lists are all about adding value.

7. Use visuals.

Visual content is important on Twitter. Be sure your images are sized correctly and create a signature look and feel for your account. This is great for engagement and attracting eyes to your posts in a cluttered feed.

Additionally, decide how you want your account to come across visually. This means choosing the right colors, specific filters, and giving photos a consistent look.

8. Use relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are such a major part of Twitter — in fact, they were even invented on this network.

Hashtags are used for searching, which means an opportunity to get in front of new eyes. When you choose hashtags for your next post, think about how people are searching for your content topic.

You’ll also want to consider how saturated a hashtag might be — targeting is the name of the game. The Twitter rule of thumb is to use no more than two hashtags per tweet, so using them strategically for growth is essential.

9. Leverage videos and live videos.

Videos have such amazing reach on social media, and the same goes for Twitter. Link your YouTube videos and create shorter videos specifically for Twitter.

I also suggest sharing Twitter videos in the same way you’d share Instagram Stories — go behind the scenes, share different parts of your day, etc.

10. Analyze your account.

My last tip, and one I feel is incredibly critical to your success on Twitter, is staying on top of your Twitter analytics. Keep track of followers, engagement rates, retweets, and more with Twitter’s very own analytics dashboards.

Keeping up with your analytics will help you build your audience by repeating what’s working and getting rid of what isn’t.

Twitter offers deep analytics via analytics.twitter.com. The Twitter analytics home page gives you a nice overall snapshot of your account, including your top tweets, mentions, tweet impressions, and profile visits in one-month increments.

The dashboard also lets you know if activity is up or down for a 28 day period. You can click on “view tweet activity” to dive further into analytics for individual tweets.

Make it a habit to check your analytics on a regular basis to see what days you garnered the most impressions and what you tweeted, so you can repeat the magic.

Ultimately, there is really no “hack” to building influence and growing your followers on Twitter.

Using a combination of the things we covered in this post, you will see growth and increased engagement on your Twitter account. My goal for 2020 is to leverage Twitter Videos more often — so I’ll hopefully be seeing more of you by going live from my Twitter account, as well.

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Author: Dhariana Lozano

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What is Double Opt-In in Email Marketing?

Are you thinking about the quality of your email list? Or do you want to make sure your subscribers are intending to read the email marketing you send out?

You may have found your answer in double opt-in, which is a process that ensures the best experience for your subscribers. Rather than single opt-in, double opt-in offers an extra step in the verification process.

To ensure the best results from your email marketing campaigns, keep reading to learn what double opt-in is, and how to set it up.

Double Opt-in vs. Single Opt-in

In one step, users can subscribe to emails that use single opt-in. This means that the only thing users have to do to subscribe is type their email address into the required field. Single opt-in is helpful for marketing teams that want the process of signing up for automated emails to be as quick as possible. 

A great benefit of single opt-in is the opportunity to grow your email list faster. The simplicity of automatically subscribing users is helpful if you want an expansive contact list.

On the other hand, double opt-in offers an extra confirmation step to verify each email address added to your contact database. When this setting is enabled, contacts who are created will receive a follow-up email with a link to confirm their email subscription.

This extra step could be useful for generating higher-quality leads for your email campaigns. Someone who has inputted their email in a text box might not realize they’ve subscribed to your email newsletter, and feel frustrated when they begin receiving emails. By using double opt-in, you’re ensuring each site visitor wants to subscribe to your newsletters. 

Another great asset to double opt-in emails? You can create them right in your HubSpot CRM, no matter which version you have. After creating them in HubSpot, you can send them to your contacts that are created in HubSpot.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, keep reading to learn how you can enact double opt-in for your emails today. 

HubSpot users can configure both single and double opt-in by creating an email campaign and setting it up within HubSpot’s CRM. This feature is available for free marketing tools, Marketing Hub Starter, Basic, Professional, and Enterprise.

It’s important to note that in HubSpot, double opt-in forms are specific to the email account that confirmed the subscription, so if contacts update their emails, they will have to re-subscribe.

Now, let’s walk through how to set up double opt-in.

How to Set Up Double Opt-In

For this walkthrough, all you’ll need is your HubSpot dashboard and copy for the double opt-in. The entire process should only take around 20 minutes.

1. Access email options

In the upper right-hand corner of the HubSpot toolbar, access your email options by clicking the “Settings” graphic. The picture below illustrates what you should see when you open Settings.

Screenshot of accessing email options

On the left side of the toolbar, you want to click “Marketing,” > “Email,” > “Subscriptions.” If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see double opt-in features and customization tools. From here, you will create and publish the email.

2. Create an opt-in email

Before enabling double opt-in, you will have to create an email that contains the subscription option. To do this, click “Publish opt-in email.” I provided an example of this below and noted three important factors that should be in the email.

Screenshot of double opt-in copy

First, clicking “Edit details” lets you customize the subject line and preview text. Second, ensure the “Confirm your subscription” option is in the body of your email. Third, click “Next” > “Update” to ensure that your email has been published and saved.

3. Customize the feature

Back in the “Subscriptions” tab, (I just clicked the “Back” button), enable the opt-in switch by toggling it to “On.” From there, you can customize the ways your email is seen by filling in a few fields, pictured below.

How to enable double opt-in

Under “Enable options,” you can choose how customers will see your email.

  • Enable for some pages only: Choosing this will ensure certain HubSpot pages you have are enabled for double opt-in.
  • Disable for some pages only: This will enable double opt-in on all HubSpot pages. New contacts created through an API or import will have to confirm their subscription type using their email link.

If you choose, you can also create a new page in the dropdown menu fields and publish a follow-up email that subscribers will receive once they confirm their subscription.

And from there, you have double opt-in fully set up to send to your contacts. On the contacts controls, you’ll see an option to send them the double opt-in email. Remember, in order for a subscriber to sign-up for your marketing emails, they’ll have to open your double opt-in to confirm their intent manually.

Double opt-in is an excellent way to get a feel of the contacts who are most interested in your content. This can make your metrics more accurate when reporting email marketing ROI. Further, you’d be able to tailor the emails based on the response rate, making them even more targeted towards your audience.

For more information on email marketing, check out our ultimate guide here.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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How to Build, Run, & Analyze Marketing Reports [Examples + Templates]

As marketers, we’re making important decisions on behalf of our company and team every day. In addition to using our best judgment when it comes to making these decisions, it’s ideal to also utilize data and metrics when we can.

Now, you’re likely already tracking marketing metrics such as traffic, leads, and customers — these are all critical parts of the bigger picture of your marketing funnel and flywheel. But as critical as these metrics are, they’re not enough to inform broader marketing decisions that impact your entire organization.

This is where marketing reporting comes into play. This guide will help you further explore the marketing reports you can run to properly analyze your data and make truly informed decisions.

Marketing reports vary depending on what data you’re reviewing and the purpose of each report. They can assess where your traffic and leads are coming from, what content they interacted with, if and when they converted, and how long it took for them to become a customer.

Take our free, 20-minute HubSpot Academy course on marketing reporting to measure success and optimize your efforts.

To reiterate: Marketing reports inform decisions. You wouldn’t run a marketing report to review data performance or check on an ongoing goal — for these purposes, you’d glance at your marketing dashboards.

Let’s look at it this way. Compiling a marketing report for knowledge’s sake is synonymous with scheduling a meeting to simply review a project. Who likes to attend a 30-minute meeting to simply review what could’ve been shared via email? Not me.

The same goes for marketing reporting. Reports should help you make a decision or come to an important conclusion — similar to how a meeting would help your team deliberate about a project or decide between project resources.

In short, marketing reporting is a highly valuable process if used and crafted properly. In the next section, we’ll dive into how to build a marketing report.

How to Build a Marketing Report

As we said above, there are plenty of different marketing reports you can run; we’ll be reviewing some examples in the next section. For this reason, this section won’t focus on what specific data to put into your marketing report — that will depend on what type you decide to run. (Remember, if you’re building a marketing dashboard, that process is a bit different.)

We’re going to discuss how to build marketing reports that inform your decisions and benefit your audience (whether that’s your team, CEO, or customers).

Most of your marketing reports will contain a few of the same elements:

  • Title. What is your marketing report analyzing? Whether you’re running a report on campaign performance, quarterly blog performance, or monthly leads, be sure to title your report so the intent is clear. This is especially important if you’re sharing your report with people outside of marketing.
  • Reporting period. Your marketing report should reflect a certain time period. This period can be a few days, months, or even years. Analyzing your data within a time period allows you to compare performance to past periods.
  • Summary. Your report summary should reflect the key points of your report, including your wins, losses, and goals for the next reporting period. It’s basically the TL;DR of your report.

Next, let’s dive into the report specifics. Valuable, insightful marketing reports recognize two distinct components: purpose and audience.

Choosing a Purpose for Your Marketing Report

A marketing report should help you make a decision. Choosing the intent of your marketing report (i.e. the data you’re analyzing) is simple; however, it’s how you’re going to use this data to make a decision or draw a conclusion that’s more difficult.

This is true for two reasons:

  1. Marketing reporting is more often than not performed to simply review data, which is a waste of time.
  2. Data points can be used to draw multiple conclusions or make multiple decisions, so you should know precisely how you’re going to use the data before you draw it.

You should determine the goal of your marketing report before you pull any data. Once you make this impending decision, list all the data that might be relevant. From there, you’ll have a much better idea of what reports to run and how to use said data.

Choosing an Audience for Your Marketing Report

Marketing reports are highly valuable because they can inform so many different decisions — decisions made by a wide variety of people across your organization. Whether you’re delivering a marketing report to your team lead, department manager, or CEO, your marketing report must be tailored to whoever may be reading and using it.

Here are a few ways to do this:

    • Ask your audience what they need. If you know the decisions your audience needs to make, you’ll know what data you need to pull and analyze. Knowing this will also help you avoid running reports your audience doesn’t care about.
    • Speak in their language. Marketing involves a lot of acronyms and jargon. While your team members understand what you’re saying, your executive team and co-workers outside Marketing may not be so fluent. Consider your audience when writing your marketing report and be sure to choose words and descriptions that they’ll understand.
  • Don’t mix audiences. If you’re creating a marketing report for a mixed audience, it’s best to create separate reports for separate audiences. For example, you wouldn’t create the same report to give your CEO and Marketing co-workers; you’d likely break this into two reports with different data and verbiage. This will allow your audience to be able to focus on the data and analysis that’s most relevant to them.

Marketing reporting can take up a lot of your time. Here are some best practices to help you work smarter, not harder.

1. Schedule your marketing reports.

Whether you create a recurring reminder on your calendar or set your reports to automatically run, schedule your marketing reports ahead of time. This will take the guesswork out of when to run your reports and when to send them to the relevant audiences.

Schedule daily, weekly, or monthly reports and send them directly to your team’s inboxes with the HubSpot Marketing Hub Reporting add-on.

2. Collect feedback from your audience.

As you send out your marketing reports, ask for feedback from your audience. Whether you ask an open-ended question like, “How did this report help you?” or provide a short Google Form, gathering feedback from those using your reports can help you improve them in the future.

3. Create marketing report templates.

If your marketing report will be designed the same way each and every time you send it out, consider turning it into a template. This will save you time and energy building each template and provide a reliable, predictable report design for your audience to read.

Make your monthly reporting faster and easier with these free monthly marketing reporting templates.

4. Put your most valuable data first.

Long marketing reports are fine as long as all the data you include is valuable and helpful for whatever decision you or your team need to make. However, you should place the most impactful data first so that your audience can stop reading once they’ve made up their minds. Nobody wants to read an entire report to only utilize the final page.

5. Visualize your data as much as possible.

Did you know that humans process visual data 60,000x faster than written data? Illustrated data (e.g. graphs and charts) are also more believable, according to this study by Cornell University.

When possible, include visual data in your marketing reports. Not only does this help your reports pack a greater punch with your coworkers and executives, but it trims down the time and effort needed to digest your data. To do this, include charts from Excel or screenshots from your reporting tools (like HubSpot Marketing Hub). You can also use heat maps if you’re reporting on website performance.

Marketing Reporting Examples

There are hundreds of reports that you can run to dig into your marketing efforts. At this point, however, you’re likely asking, “Where should I start? What are those basic marketing reports I can run to get more comfortable with all the data I’ve been tracking?”

Well, we’ve pulled together these five marketing reporting examples for you to use to get started.

Note that you will need some type of marketing software (like HubSpot Marketing Hub) to do this. You should also make sure your software allows you to export the data from your software and manipulate it in Excel using pivot tables and other functions.

Learn how to create an Excel graph, make pivot tables, and use VLOOKUPS and IF functions with this free guide and video.

Since we use HubSpot for our reporting needs, I’ll show you how to compile these reports using the Marketing Hub tool. (The data below is sample data only and does not represent actual HubSpot marketing data.)

1. Multi-Touch Revenue

As a marketer, you’re a big part of your company’s growth. But unless you can directly tie your impact to revenue, you’ll be forever underappreciated and under-resourced. With multi-touch revenue attribution, you tie closed revenue to every marketing interaction — from the first-page view to the final nurturing email.

That way, marketers get the credit they deserve and marketing execs make smarter investments rooted in business value instead of vanity metrics. As a bonus, multi-touch revenue attribution can help you stay aligned with your sales team.

HubSpot customers can create multi-touch attribution reports quickly; HubSpot’s attribution tool is built for real people, not data scientists. (It also connects every customer interaction to revenue, automatically.) Navigate to your dashboard, and click Add Report > Attribution Report. Select from the set of pre-baked best-practice templates, or create a custom report of your own.

Note: Enterprise HubSpot customers can do this in their software if they have their Salesforce integration set up with Account Sync turned on.

multi-touch revenue attribution marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Revenue Reporting

To analyze revenue reporting, figure out what’s working and double down on it. Look at the revenue results from different channels and see where you had the most success. Use this information to decide what marketing efforts to invest in moving forward. For example, if you notice that your Facebook campaigns drove a ton of revenue, run more Facebook campaigns!

Multi-touch attribution reports should be run monthly to understand the broader business impact of your marketing channels. While revenue is important, you should also dig into some of your other metrics for a more complete picture.

2. Channel-Specific Traffic

Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you make strategic decisions as you invest in different marketing channels. If you see strong performance from one particular source, you may want to invest more resources in it. On the other hand, you may actually want to invest in some of the weaker channels to get them on pace with some of your other channels. Whatever you decide, source data will help you figure that out.

HubSpot customers can use the Traffic Analytics report (under Reports > Analytics tools in your navigation) to break down traffic by source.

Want to get an even deeper understanding of your traffic patterns? Break down your traffic by geography. (Example: Which sources bring in your most traffic, in Brazil?) You can also examine subsets of your website (like your blog vs. your product pages).

channel-specific traffic marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Channel-Specific Traffic

Take a look at what channels are performing well. Based on your goals, that could mean looking at the visitor data or focusing on the visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are a couple of different ways to think about your data:

  • If you get a lot of traffic from a certain channel, but the channel is not necessarily helping your visitors move down the funnel, it may mean that you should invest more in other channels or optimize that underperforming channel for conversion.
  • Think about how you can invest resources in your strongest channels. Did you run a campaign that helped the channel perform well? Was there a piece of content you created that set it off? Consider how you can replicate your past success.
  • If you haven’t worked on a particular channel, it could be a good time to test it out. Think about how you can incorporate multiple channels into the same campaign.

Pulling this data weekly will allow you to stay up-to-date on how the channels are performing. If a channel took a turn for the worse, you’ll have enough time to remedy the situation before it gets out of control or you waste resources. Pulling the report daily may be a bit overboard since some channels take multiple days to be effective and pulling it monthly would prevent you from responding with agility — so, weekly data is ideal.

3. Blog Posts by Conversion

Blogs have become a marketer’s best friend. There’s a direct correlation between how often a company blogs and the number of leads they generate (not just the amount of traffic they drive). So, it’s critical you monitor how well your blog is helping you grow that critical metric.

Reporting on your blog leads is a quick way to see how many leads you’re generating on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — and by what channel. This report is a great way to understand what channels are strongest for your blog, where you should spend more promotion time, and how well your content is performing over time.

If you’re using HubSpot, creating a blog leads report is easy. Navigate to Add Report from any of your dashboards, and choose Top blog posts by contact conversion. This report shows the posts that were most often seen by contacts immediately before filling out a form on your website.

top blog posts by contact conversion marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Blog Posts by Conversion

Look at how many leads you’re generating from your blog over time. If you see spikes in leads, you know to dig into your content to see if certain topics are more successful at generating leads than others. The more you can run these reports to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, the better off your marketing and blogging will be.

This type of data should be pulled on a monthly basis to ensure you’re writing the most relevant content over time.

4. New Contacts by Persona

Every marketer needs to be well-versed in their buyer personas — but you need to do more than just understand them. It’s important to track how many new contacts you’re actually adding to your database based on each persona. This will help you determine how accurate your buyer personas are and how successful your marketing is in targeting and reaching them.

To report on this in HubSpot, plot your contacts by Create date, which will show the date on which you added a new contact to your database. Then, break down your report by persona.

contacts by persona marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze New Contacts by Persona

Did you run a marketing campaign around a particular topic? Did you focus on promoting your content through specific channels? What did you do that led to an increase or decrease in persona acquisition? Digging into this report can help you allocate resources more wisely to grow different segments of your business.

Pulling this report on a monthly basis can give you insight into how your campaigns affect new contacts by persona — and might even shed light on an imbalance in resources dedicated to certain personas.

5. Lifecycle Stage Funnel

Another way to segment your contact database is to look at how they appear by lifecycle stage. This will give you a sense of how many leads, subscribers, customers, and opportunities you have in your database in a certain time period. This data will help you understand if you need to generate more leads or if you should be more focused on closing your current leads. It will also give you a general understanding of the quality of your contact database.

As a HubSpot customer, create a funnel report by clicking Add Report from any dashboard, then choosing the Funnels category. Pick which stages you’d like to include, select your visualization, and you’re off and running.

lifecycle stage funnel marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze a Lifecycle Stage funnel

This report will give you an overview of how your leads are progressing through the buying process. Use this report to see what areas of your funnel you need to address for greater efficiency.

For example, if your report shows that you’re doing a great job of generating leads, but not converting any to MQLs, update and optimize your nurturing program. Pulling monthly funnel reports can help you stay on top of the efficiency of your marketing process

Marketing Reporting Helps You Grow Better

Marketing reporting is a vital part of your marketing efforts and the growth of your business. By understanding how efficient and effective your marketing is, you can better allocate time, resources, and money — and make well-informed decisions, to boot. Start with these marketing reporting examples and expand your reporting as you begin to utilize more data.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How One Instagram Influencer Built Her Brand and Attracted 40K Followers

This article was written in the first person by Rafaella Aguiar, Director of Marketing at Kicksta, following an interview with Erin Marie.

Building a big following on Instagram, and doing it fast, takes hard work and dedication — but it’s also one hundred percent possible, and I have the proof.

My name is Erin Marie. I’m from Portland, Oregon and attended Emerson College in Boston to study journalism and marketing communications.

Now, I’m a 26-year-old who lives in Jersey City and works in NYC — and, in my spare time, I run a fashion/fitness-based Instagram account that has hundreds of thousands of followers.

Here, I’m going to tell you how I got started and how you can grow a following for your own brand.

But first … why Instagram?

Why I Focused on Instagram Over Other Social Media Platforms

When I was in the transition phase of being a college grad but still looking for full-time work (about three years ago), I decided to start focusing on building my Instagram following. During the first phase of my social media influencer journey, I tried other platforms in addition to Instagram, but I discovered that Instagram was really the easiest way to reach my target audience.

Lots of influencers have blogs, which is great — except driving traffic to a website is a lot more difficult than driving traffic to your Instagram page (which is, after all, why brands pay influencers to link to their websites).

Ultimately, Instagram posts are highly searchable. People can find you via hashtags, location, brand tags, and more. So there are a ton of different opportunities for users to discover your content.

Initial Setbacks to Instagram Growth

Growing my account was difficult at first. Like with any new project, the beginning is always the hardest.

Initially, I only had a couple of hundred followers. It was hard to get my significant other and my friends to understand why I was working so hard on something that, at the time, showed little to no return.

In business however, you have to spend money to make money. I spent money on a camera, editing software, and new clothes in addition to spending many precious hours shooting, editing, and reaching out to brands.

It was hard to overcome these challenges and boost my following. At first, I tried using giveaways to get Instagram followers — I would collaborate on giveaways with fellow fashion, fitness, and health bloggers to get my Instagram profile in front of my target audience.

I also tried automated commenting robots, but that was a complete bust. It’s always better to cultivate a long-term strategy than to settle for quick wins.

Like-for-like, comment-for-comment, follow-for-follow, you name it — I tried every strategy in the book. Eventually I found the methods that work for my page, and used a growth service to help me get Instagram followers.

Throughout the whole process, I learned that hard work pays off. Everyone on Instagram starts at zero. If becoming an influencer was easy, everyone would do it. I put in the time and effort, and now I’m seeing an ROI on my investment. Nobody questions why I invest so much time and money into my Instagram account anymore.

Let’s dive into some of the best practices that worked for me.

3 Instagram Best Practices For Attracting Followers

1. Find the right tools for you.

Thanks to all the hard work I put in upfront, I’ve now figured out how to keep my Instagram running like a well-oiled machine. I spent hours and hours researching tools other Instagrammers were using, and eventually honed in on the tools that work best for me (including Later, a tool I’ve used in the past to schedule my posts).

2. Stay organized.

Since I work 50 hours a week on top of Instagram, it’s all about planning, tracking, and strategizing to save myself time. Tracking collaborations and planning ahead helps me stay sane!

I use an extensive Excel chart that I update daily with upcoming posts, collaborations in the works, spending, payment details, and posting dates. This was especially important, I discovered, as I continued to grow. I shoot all of my products and outfits on Saturday and edit the photos and write captions on Sunday.

3. Create content tailored towards certain brands.

Another Instagram best practice I’ve learned through trial-and-error is to edit my content so it can catch the eye of big brands. I notice that I get a lot of free publicity (and subsequent growth) from brands reposting my content on their pages.

To increase my chances of being noticed, I’ll spend time studying brand pages and their content.

If I can nail down a certain brand’s look and feel, I’ll have a good chance of getting my picture reposted. That means more exposure and a larger reach — in other words, more followers.

Surprising Results

Along the way, I’ve seen some surprising results from my Instagram journey. When I first started out and was looking for the best growth method to get Instagram followers, I used automatic commenting bots that would leave comments on other peoples’ posts.

It was a funny surprise when I realized the bot was well, just a bot — and it was leaving awkward, insensitive comments on posts, such as “LOVE THIS!” on a post that wasn’t meant to be loved at all.

While it can be tempting to purchase these tools and services in the hopes of “quick wins”, it ultimately won’t foster the kind of community engagement you want. Instead, focus on long-term strategies that can help you meaningfully connect with your ideal audience. At the end of the day, those relationships are the only ones that will result in increased customers for your business.

Overcoming Instagram Growth Challenges

I’ve also built a stockpile of advice on overcoming Instagram growth challenges. My number-one piece of advice is to be flexible and willing to evolve. Instagram is always changing, so your methods need to constantly change and improve, too.

There’s no “right way” to grow your following and become an influencer. Just keep experimenting until you find something that works for you — and when that doesn’t work anymore, go back to the drawing board and find something else.

If you work hard and strategize, eventually you’ll begin to see growth. The biggest follower jump I’ve ever experienced in a month was 10,000. Now I have my eyes set on getting 100K followers total, and I think I’ll see a big jump in collaboration opportunities with brands once I reach that number.

If you’re feeling down about your Instagram chances, take a step back and make sure you aren’t comparing yourself to anyone else. I’ve heard friends say, “How can I compete with all these perfect Instagram influencers?” The truth is, it’s easier to stand out on Instagram if you remain authentic rather than trying to compete with what other brands or influencers are doing.

Instead, your best chance at becoming a successful influencer is to find what makes you unique and then embrace it.

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Author: Rafaella Aguiar

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26 TIkTok Stats to Know in 2020

If you feel like the app TikTok came out of nowhere, you’re not wrong.

Since launching in early 2018, TikTok’s been covered by seemingly every major news publication and racked up millions of downloads globally.

Despite TikTok’s major early success, the app still feels like a bit of a mystery, especially to marketers. In fact, until recently, its parent company, ByteDance, hasn’t disclosed many metrics at all.

In TikTok’s first year, all we really knew was that an odd-ball video app was going viral, topping global app store charts, and gaining a huge fanbase from Gen-Z.

But now, shortly after TikTok’s first birthday, we know a lot more about it as sites like Digiday, AdWeek, and our own Marketing Blog regularly cover it.

Even if you still aren’t quite sure what TikTok is, you’ve probably seen a video meme on social media that was created and published in the app first. Here’s one for example of a TikTok post which went viral on Twitter:

When making decisions about your social strategy, you’re probably more interested in numbers than virality as proof of an app’s staying power.

As someone who’s gotten sucked into the app, blogged multiple times about it, hearted hundreds of posts, and even made a few embarrassingly mature videos of my own, I’m fairly certain that this platform will stick around for quite some time. But, luckily, with mounting data on TikTok, you don’t just have to take my word for it.

To help you make informed decisions about your strategy and whether TikTok is right for your brand, I’ve compiled a list of 26 interesting stats and facts to know before venturing on to the app.

26 TikTok Stats to Know in 2019

Userbase, Downloads, and Growth

Within TikTok’s first year, it reportedly reached 500 million monthly active users. Wondering if this was just a fluke or a viral trend that will simmer down? Think again. According to TikTok and its company heads, the audience might be larger and more promising than we think.

  • According to a leaked advertising pitch deck from October 2019, TikTok reports having 800 million monthly active users worldwide. (AdAge)
  • Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app which ByteDance purchased and merged with TikTok, reportedly had 100 million monthly active users when it was purchased by TikTok in 2018. (The Verge)
  • Douyin, TikTok’s original standalone app in China, had 300 million users at the time Musical.ly merged with TikTok. (The Verge)
  • As of early 2019, TikTok is the third-most downloaded app globally. (Business of Apps)
  • By February 2019, TikTok hit 1 billion downloads, beating Instagram and Facebook in app stores. (Business Insider)
  • As of late October 2019, TikTok was the Top Free App in the Entertainment section of the Apple App Store. (Apple App Store)


While TikTok’s user base is dominated by Gen-Z in the United States, many millennials have adopted it around the world.

And, although it might feel like TikTok is huge in the U.S., the app’s biggest audience actually comes from China, where the platform is called Douyin.

Here’s a breakdown of TikTok’s major demographic stats.

  • Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24. (MarketingCharts)
  • Just over one in eight adults have joined TikTok. (MarketingCharts)
  • 56% of TikTok users are male. (AppApeLab)
  • TikTok is now available in 155 countries. (Oberlo)
  • Over 500 million of TikTok’s monthly active users are Chinese. (AdAge)
  • The app has 26.5 million monthly active users in the U.S. (Digiday)
  • 60% of TikTok’s U.S. audience is between the ages of 16 and 24. (Digiday)

User Behavior

TikTok is a fast-paced app. The second you log in, you see a video at the top of a feed that’s algorithmically curated around your interests. If you enjoy the video you’re watching, you can follow, comment, and like the content directly from the video post. If you’re not loving what you see, you can keep swiping in an upward motion to immediately see more odd videos.

From my own experience, I’ve found that TikTok can easily cause you to spend more time than expected watching an endless stream of often comedic videos. Since these videos are usually between 15 seconds and one minute, it makes the app ideal for people who need quick entertainment on their morning commute or when they’re bored at home.

Because of TikTok’s quick pace and entertainment factor, the stats below aren’t that surprising:

  • The average user spends 52 minutes per day on TikTok. (BusinessOfApps)
  • 90% of TIkTok users visit the app more than once per day. (GlobalWebIndex)
  • Users open the app eight times per day on average. (Digiday)
  • TikTok claims that the average session is nearly 5 minutes, which is longer than Snapchat or Instagram’s. (Digiday)

Viral Trends and Influencers on TikTok

Like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, as well as other past and present video apps, TikTok has opened doors for influencers, comedians, meme creators, and even some brands. While it’s still a bit too early to see how successful its influencers and trends will be in the long run, here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • The most followed individual on TikTok is a comedic poster and influencer named Loren Gray. She has 34.4 million followers. (TikTok)
  • One of the earliest branded hashtag challenges was Guess’ #InMyDenim challenge. According to TikTok, videos marked with this hashtag have received a grand total of 38.8 million views. (TikTok)
  • Rapper Lil Nas X credits the success of his song “Old Town Road” to TikTok. The song was propelled to #1 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2019 after the artist uploaded it to TikTok. (BuzzFeed News)

Here’s a compilation of TikTok’s #CowboyChallenge where people wearing normal clothing cut to themselves in cowboy costumes to the song “Old Town Road.”

Business, Revenue, and Competition

The launch of TikTok not only put its parent company, ByteDance, on the map, but it also resulted in competition from apps like Facebook, which launched a very similar app called Lasso shortly after TikTok went viral. While TikTok and ByteDance are less transparent about revenue and other major details, here’s what we know:

  • TikTok now offers five advertising tiers aimed at big brands. One of which, a branded hashtag challenge, reportedly costs $150,000 per day. (TikTok Pitch Deck Notes First Reported by Digiday)
  • TikTok’s revenue more than tripled between 2017 and 2018. (Sensor Tower)
  • In 2018, TikTok made $3.5 million on in-app purchases from users. (Sensor Tower)
  • TikTok has a 4.7-star rating in the Apple App Store with over 2.1 million reviews. (Apple App Store)
  • Lasso, a competing app launched by Facebook in November 2018, has been downloaded by over 70,000 users. (Sensor Tower)
  • Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company is valued at $75 million, making it the world’s most valuable startup. (CBInsights)
  • ByteDance’s collection of apps, including TikTok, has a total of 1 billion monthly active users. (CNN)

The Mysteries of TikTok

Although TikTok is a top social platform and is ramping up its options for advertisers, it’s still rather new. When a company or startup is new, it’s not uncommon for leadership to hide early numbers, even when a brand is successful. In fact, we’ve seen this with other major companies like Snapchat and Netflix.

There’s still a lot more to learn as TikTok’s global teams and ByteDance continue to remain hush-hush about major metrics. In the coming years, as TikTok tries to woo advertisers, it wouldn’t be surprising if we started to see more transparent information about the app and its user base.

In the meantime, If you want to learn more about TikTok, you can read up on its short history and early success in this post, or click here to find a how-to guide for using the app.

Want to see what other businesses are doing on TikTok? Check out this roundup of brands on TikTok.

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The Anatomy of a Perfect Instagram Profile

With 500 million daily users and more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts following a business account, it’s crucial that marketers include Instagram as a part of their social media marketing strategy.

It all starts with your Instagram profile.

The best Instagram profiles have a few things in common, including easily identifiable usernames, a recognizable profile picture, a steady stream of Instagram Stories and photos, an informative yet delightful bio, a link to a relevant landing page or campaign, and more.

Keep reading to learn how to customize your Instagram profile so it looks good, tells your potential followers who you are, and gives them a reason to follow and engage with you.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Instagram Profile

1. Public (Not Private) Profile

By default, your Instagram profile will be public — meaning anyone in the world can view your profile and posts on Instagram.

If you’re creating an Instagram profile for business, then that’s what you want: You want anyone to be able to view your posts and follow your brand if they want to. (Otherwise, if you keep your profile private, anyone who visits your profile won’t be able to view your photos, which could deter them from following you.)

To ensure your profile is public: Open “Options” (the gear button on iOS, or three dots on Android) and make sure “Private Account” is turned off.


2. Recognizable & Searchable @Username (i.e., Handle)

Start by making sure your username is recognizable and easily searchable, like your business name. If your business name is already taken as a username, try keeping your business name as the first part of your username so that people searching for your business are more likely to come across your account. For example, the Australian activewear line Lorna Jane uses the username @lornajaneactive.

To edit your @username: Go to your profile page and click the “Edit Profile” button to the right of your profile photo.


Next, click on the text or open space to the right of the person icon and enter your desired username. 


3. Easily Searchable Business Name

Next, make sure to add your full business name to the “name” section of your profile. This will appear under your profile picture and under your username in search.


To edit your business name: Go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.” Then, click on the text or open space beside the clipboard icon at the top and enter your desired business name.


Instagram Profile Picture

4. An On-Brand Instagram Profile Picture

Your profile photo is one of the first things people see when they visit your Instagram profile, as it’s displayed prominently in the top right-hand corner. It should be something easily recognizable — something that’s on-brand with your other social networks.

For most companies, this will be your company logo.

HubSpot's Instagram profile picture and bio

Now, notice that HubSpot’s profile photo in the image above is a circle. That wasn’t our choice; Instagram actually crops your profile photo into a circle (110 pixels in diameter) when you upload it to the app.

You don’t have to create the circle image yourself. In fact, since you’ll have to crop your photo into a circle in the app, you’ll ideally want to upload a square photo with your logo in the center, placed so that the corners of the photo can be cut off without a problem.

For reference, keep in mind the minimum profile picture size for Instagram is 110 x 110 pixels — a perfect square. Don’t deviate too far from this minimum; staying below 200 x 200 is encouraged so users don’t see a blurry or stretched photo when visiting your profile page.

In the example below, you’ll see the corners are shaded, meaning Instagram will cut them off in the actual profile photo:


You can move that circle around or pinch-to-zoom until it’s cropped just the way you like it.

To add or change a profile photo: Go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.” Then, tap “Edit” in the top right. (This will appear under your current profile photo if you have one.)

From there, you can import a photo from Facebook or Twitter, or choose one from your library. (We don’t recommend taking a new one on the spot.)


Also consider the seasonal trends that take place over the course of the year, and don’t be afraid to alter your image temporarily to honor a monthly theme. For example, because June is Pride Month, we gave our logo a temporary color change. Here’s what it currently looks like on desktop:

Hubspot's Instagram profile picture with rainbow background for Pride Month

Cool Instagram Profile Pictures


This Instagram, which highlights different cats on Instagram, hosts a profile picture which looks like that of a hipster cat. 

Cats of Instagram Profile Picture


Unlike most brands on Instagram, JetBlue shares a unique, but on-brand, color pattern rather than just their logo.

Jetblue Instagram Profile Picture


Kylie Cosmetics, which has a logo that features lipstick dripping off of voluminous lips, shook up its main image with some added holiday flair for. By simply added a Santa hat to the lips, the company instantly looked more festive.

Kylie Cosmetics Instagram Profile picture


5. Delightful, Actionable, Informative Bio

Like your profile photo, your “bio”  (i.e., the description at the top of your profile) is one of the first things visitors to your profile will see.

You have a max of 150 characters: Use them to let people know what you’re about and give them a reason to follow you. Include who you are and what you do, and be sure to add a hint of personality.


Here are a few examples for inspiration:

  • WeWork: “WeWork provides you with the space, community, and services you need to make a life, not just a living.”
  • Oreo: “See the world through our OREO Wonderfilled lens.”
  • Califia Farms: “Crafting, concocting and cold-brewing up a delicious, plant-based future. Califia Farms Loves You Back”
  • Staples: “We make it easy to #MakeMoreHappen”

You can also use this space to encourage some action, like using a certain hashtag or clicking a link in your bio. Here are two examples:

  • Lorna Jane: “Welcome to the home of #ActiveLiving – be inspired to #MoveNourishBelieve EVERY DAY. Show us how you live active – tag #lornajane to be featured 💗”
  • HubSpot: “All-in-one marketing & sales platform. We help businesses GROW. Follow for content, contests & more. Tag photos with #HubSpotting to get featured! ⬇️”

6. Trackable Link in Your Bio (That You Change Regularly)

One of the biggest frustrations people have with Instagram — especially businesses — is that it isn’t exactly a great platform for driving traffic away from the app to a website, a Twitter page, or somewhere else. That’s because clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio.

That’s why you’ll want to add a link to the “website” box in your business’ Instagram bio. This makes it easy for people to go straight from Instagram to your website, blog, or a specific campaign.

One sneaky way to get people to click the link in your bio? By referring to that link in individual photo captions. Ever seen captions that say something like “Link in bio”? They’re trying to direct you to their profile page so you click the link in their bio.

Engage users by updating that URL frequently to point to your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer. For example, are you running a contest, or want to increase subscribers to your blog? Just change the link, and then post a photo that mentions the new link in its caption.

To change the link in your bio: Go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.” Then, simply insert the URL of your choosing into the URL box.


You can change the URL on your profile page as often as you’d like.

Note: I’ve read before that shortened links often get blocked by Instagram, but we haven’t had that problem at HubSpot. In fact, we recommend using shortened links that include UTM tracking codes so you can see how much of your traffic came from your Instagram page. (Learn how to create UTM codes to track your URLs here.)

Once you’ve changed the URL, simply publish a photo related to the URL with a caption that references the link in your bio. Here’s an example below, where we wrote in the caption, “FMI about Grow With HubSpot, visit the link in bio.”

7. Enabled Notifications

Before you call it a day, check your “Options” settings to make sure notifications are enabled so you can see when people share or comment on your photos. This’ll let you engage with them more quickly and easily, just like a lot of companies do on Twitter.

To enable notifications: Go to “Options” and then “Push Notification Settings.”


Select “From Everyone” for every category. (Except perhaps “Friends on Instagram,” which automatically sends a friend request to your Facebook friends who also have Instagram, and “Instagram Direct Requests,” which accepts photos sent from individual accounts. That could get a little spam.)

8. High-Quality Photos

High quality photos are a huge part of an optimized Instagram profile. When people visit your profile, chances are, the first thing they’ll do is scroll through the first ten or so photos in your feed. The quality of those photos will be a big factor in whether or not that person follows you or not. Your Twitter followers might forgive a few bad tweets, but you do not want bad photos on your Instagram account.

So, always be thinking of your Instagram photos this way: If you don’t have anything beautiful to post, don’t post anything at all.

The ingredients for a beautiful Instagram photo are threefold: an interesting and relevant subject, a well framed and well shot photo, and a solid editing job.

Ingredient #1: An Interesting & Relevant Subject

When you’re picking a subject, think about your buyer persona. What would they find interesting in a photo? Coca-Cola’s target market includes young people who value fun, friendship, and sports, for example. That’s why they post pictures of young people doing fun, adventurous things — like DJing at a concert, or snowboarding on a beautiful day. (With bottles of Coke in hand, of course.)


Image Credit: Coca-Cola Argentina

Another great way to garner Likes, comments, and followers? Make people laugh. Sometimes, funny photos are the most memorable and the most shareable.

hi-haters.png pug-eating-toy.png

Image Credit: Baddie WinkleJeremy Veach

Check out this list of 16 of the best brands on Instagram for more photo inspiration.

Ingredient #2: A Well Framed, Well Shot Photo

Don’t worry … you don’t have to have a background in photography to take really awesome Instagram photos. All you really have to do is take some time to learn the best practices, like lining up your shots, finding interesting perspectives, and taking advantage of symmetry, patterns, “leading lines,” and more.

What are these best practices? Start by reading this blog post on tips for taking great pictures on your smartphone

Ingredient #3: A Solid Editing Job

Instagram has some basic editing capabilities, but oftentimes, they aren’t adequate to make a picture really, really great. Most of your photos should go through at least one or two other photo editing apps on your mobile phone before you open them in Instagram for the first time.

But don’t worry: Once you have the right apps downloaded, editing the photos isn’t that complicated. It just takes a little bit of practice. (Trust me, it’s well worth it.)

Start by reading this blog post for a step-by-step tutorial on editing your Instagram photos. That post will teach you how to take advantage of Instagram’s best editing tools, and it also lists the two or three essential photo editing apps you’ll need to take your photos from good to great.



For a list of more advanced editing tools, read this blog post for a list of the 11 best photo and video editing apps for mobile devices. These apps will let you do everything from sharpening specific parts of a photo to brightening certain hues to make your photo look fresher.

9. Consistent, Regular Posts

An optimized Instagram profile is an active one. Because photo quality is so important, you don’t need to worry about posting to your Instagram account multiple times a day like you do for most other social media networks. Instead, focus on creating high quality content — and then posting them at the right times for your specific audience.

To make sure you’re posting consistently, download this social media content calendar template and start planning out your Instagram posts. Over time, you’ll want to build up a backlog of photos for times of need, like the weekends or when you go on vacation.

So, what time of day is the best time to post to Instagram? Because Instagram is primarily an app for use on mobile devices, users tend to use the network all the time, any time — although research shows that many users engage with content more during off-work hours than during the workday.

The very best times to post on Instagram were Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3:00–4:00 p.m. for the time zone of your target persona. (For a United States audience, your best bet is to combine Eastern and Central time zones, as they represent almost 80% of the U.S. population. For audiences located outside the U.S., use whichever time zones your target audience uses.)

However, you’ll want to experiment with these to see if they work with your audience.

Editor’s Note: This blogpost was originally published June 5, 2018, but was updated in November 2019 for comprehensiveness.

how to use instagram for business

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