Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Essential Social Ads Tools to Help You Run Successful Campaigns

AdEspresso by Hootsuite allows us to do a number of important things with our ads. First off, we can run split test ad sets, which is key to running the most cost-effective campaign. Within a few days of the start of a campaign we know what ad copy and creative is performing best and why—allowing us to optimize the campaign.

In our ad dashboard, we get an overview of performance over time, top tracking metrics, total amount spent, conversions, and the best and worst performing ads. We can easily pinpoint ads that are not working for us.

AdEspresso also allows us to boost posts directly from the Hootsuite dashboard. This makes it easy to put money behind our best performing organic posts. Then we set up our ad campaign, select the ad account, run split tests, and manage the ad from Hootsuite.

We use Evernote to share notes about ads among our team. Whenever we make a change to an ad or refresh our plan, we add notes so that we can time stamp our decisions and the reasons we made them.

Evernote is also great during the planning stage of an ad campaign because we can set out a timeline, roles and responsibilities, and outline a draft workback schedule. It’s also easy for us to link to other docs like strategy decks or calendars.

Hootsuite Enhance

When we’re creating ads, we often need access to images that we can we can quickly customize and resize for social. Using Hootsuite Enhance, we can use effects, filters, and fonts to create images for social.

All images for ads on social need to have less than 20 percent of the image covered by text, so we test our ad images using Facebook’s Image Text Check toolbeforehand to make sure they’re going to work.

UTM codes

Every ad campaign we run includes UTM parameters. That way we know exactly how much traffic and how many conversions are coming from specific ads. It also helps us identify the source of social traffic, i.e. which social network the ads sent traffic from.

UTM codes also help us group ads by type. We set up different tags by broad themes like brand awareness or campaign type like social ROI. This allows us to group ad performance and make observations. If we see that a certain ad group is performing best on a certain channel, we’ll shift our budget accordingly.

Messaging software Slack is awesome for cross-team collaboration. When we’re working on a big campaign, we can create a group, upload documents and resources, and get instant feedback. It’s an easy way for us to keep in touch with everyone who needs to know about our ad efforts.

We like the search box because we can go through our archives if we need to retrieve anything for reference, such as plans and notes from past campaign.

Facebook Blueprint

We run a lot of ads on Facebook, so having a learning resource like Facebook Blueprint is essential. It offers courses, guides, and training modules on the latest in social advertising.

It’s a one-stop-shop for all things Facebook advertising—whether you’re looking to try new ad formats, better optimize your ads, or refine your KPIs.


Searching for social media images can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why having a handy list of free stock photo image sites can help speed up the process.

Our favorites are Unsplash and Kaboompics, because we can search by keyword for thousands of images in their database. This helps us narrow down our selection a lot faster.

Hootsuite Impact

Hootsuite Impact is a powerful measurement tool that allows us to report on all of our paid and organic performance. It helps us see the overall health of our channels and our return on investment (ROI).

It also offers recommendations on things like daily ad spend, geographic targeting, and approximate cost per action. This is especially useful when we’re running multiple campaigns and need to make sure that we’re consistent across all channels when looking at results.

When you’re running next ad campaign, get your toolkit in order before building out your plan. It will help you stay organized and properly track all of your campaigns.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Productivity Apps for Social Media Marketers

Imagine your life without coffee. Even if you aren’t a caffeine enthusiast, imagine never smelling that stimulating aroma, or seeing the words “coffee lover” in every social media manager’s Twitter bio. This delicious elixir was discovered in the 10th century, when beans that had fallen into a fire and roasted were dissolved in water.

We then saw the birth of percolators (1818), the espresso machine (1822), and what became the household standard—the electrical drip coffee brewer (1954). However, the coffee world was turned upside down when the first single-serve coffee pod system was introduced by Nestle in 1976. Efficiency became the name of the game.

There may already be acceptable systems in place, but sometimes you just need to get things done faster. When it comes to social media, the introduction of new tools and apps mean that you can take your productivity levels up a notch. Continue reading for a guide to some of our favorites.
8 productivity apps for social media marketers
1. Evernote

Evernote is the classic note-taking tool. It lets you create project to-do lists, save image notes, set reminders for yourself, and much more. Evernote’s cross-platform capabilities add another level of efficiency to your note-taking, allowing you to take your ideas wherever you go. Take notes from a content brainstorm and easily share them with your social media team, or save images that you want to incorporate into future social posts.

For Android

For iOS
2. Todoist

If you’re a social media manager who lives by your to-do lists, Todoist is an app you’ll want to add to your phone ASAP. One Hootsuite team member swears by Todoist thanks to the gamification aspect it includes when you finish a task (or not). You can also assign tasks to other individuals and group them by project, as well as add notes, files, and track tasks over time. Get ready to start crossing tasks off of some lists.

For Android

For iOS
3. Pomodoro Time

As a social media marketer, you know that every second of your workday counts. Enter: the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a time-management system that involves working in 25-minute intervals divided by short breaks. The idea is these small breaks can improve productivity. To work according to the Pomodoro Technique, use an app such as Pomodoro Time, which lets you manage your time, set goals, and maximize productivity.

For iOS

For Android (Comparable)
4. Canva

Visuals are a huge part of any social media marketer’s strategy, and anything that can make the image creation process more productive should be added to your mobile toolbox. Canva is used by over 10 million people around the world, and for good reason. Use the app to create social media images on the go with Canva’s countless templates and designs. You can add text, graphics, effects, and other engaging additions to your images (or one of Canva’s own).

For Android

For iOS
5. Dropbox

Once you’ve created or sourced images, you don’t want your productivity to be derailed while you try to find these images to add to your social media posts. Instead, use Dropbox to keep all of your files in one place that you can access from any device. You can also share large files quickly with your teammates so that you can get that video up on your Facebook page without waiting for a huge file transfer.

For Android

For iOS
6. Hootsuite

When it comes to productivity apps for social media marketers, we can’t help but toot our own horn. The Hootsuite dashboard and mobile app allows you to easily view, share, and schedule social media posts with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn so that you dedicate more time to actually creating content that gets you results.

For Android

For iOS
7. Noisli

Noise can have a huge impact on productivity—just ask those trying to meet a deadline in an open office. Noisli provides background noise that will “help you improve focus and boost your productivity” because as The Wall Street Journalexplains: “A moderate level of noise the equivalent of the background buzz of conversation prompts more creative thought.”

For Android

For iOS
8. Hemingway App

Hemingway App is a tool that will help you improve your writing skills so that you can create clear and quality posts for your social media audience. The tool will highlight any unclear or long-winded sentences, grammatical errors, or the use of passive voice in your writing. Simply copy and paste your text into the Hemingway App and find the areas of your writing that need work.

The right tools can make all the difference for a busy social media marketer. Whether you need help creating an image, sharing files, or writing the best Facebook post, the apps above will equip you to craft the most engaging content for your business.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ignoring a Social Media Network Can Damage Your Social Media Presence

How many social media network accounts does your business have? Every week, we recommend businesses to hop on the latest trending social network bandwagon, whether it’s to promote brand culture on Instagram or engage your audience with Vine videos. According to the eBizMBA Guide, there are currently 15 social networking sites with over 30 million unique monthly visitors; depending on the size of your business, your company may be required to join at least half of these to maintain a steady social media presence.

It’s not a surprise that sometimes, the pressure to maintain all accounts results in neglecting your brand’s social media presence on at least one social media network. And it doesn’t have to be completely abandoned in order to be considered neglected—a decreased frequency in posts and lack of replies to your audience’s comments is enough to tarnish your brand’s online reputation. To make sure your time is evenly distributed among all your social media accounts, we’ve come up with a list of reasons why neglecting a social network hurts your social media presence—and how to address these issues.
3 ways ignoring a social media network can damage your social media presence
1. Ignoring a social media network betrays your audience’s expectations

Remember what lead to your brand to joining the social network in the first place—it’s a great way to interact with current customers and educate potential customers about your company. But if your Twitter followers are greeted by the default egg display picture, and witness sporadic updates, they receive the opposite message: you don’t have time for your social media audience, and you don’t finish what you started. My guess is that’s not how your brand wants to be perceived.
2. Ignoring a social media network can cost you online followers—and potential customers

People sometimes find it more convenient to tweet a comment or a concern using the brand’s official Twitter handle, instead of putting in a phone call or submitting a comment card. By ignoring your online audience’s feedback you risk not only losing those customers, but also failing to address the potential hurdles in your services or product development. Not paying attention to your online audience can cause you to lose followers on your social networks, and even potential customers.
3. Neglecting a social media network can tarnish your brand’s online reputation

Your brand’s online reputation management isn’t so hard if you don’t neglect the social media networks you’re on. Decreased attention means a higher chance of committing one of many social media faux pas that could seriously threaten your brand’s reputation. To make matters worse, if you don’t regularly monitor your accounts, you miss the opportunity for timely correction or removal of the culprit post, thus risking an even bigger backlash.
How to avoid neglecting a social media network
1. Create social profiles on the same networks as your audience

The most prominent reason why people neglect their social media presence is because they chose a social media network that’s not the top choice for their audience. The best way to avoid this situation is by creating a social media profile that aligns with your company’s objectives. Most importantly, follow your target audience to the social media network of their choice: for example, if your goal is to talk to professionals in the marketing industry, then you should definitely be on LinkedIn. If you don’t think you can spare more time or effort on another social media network, it’s better to avoid making an account altogether. Absence from a social network is better than neglected social media presence.
2. Create a social media content schedule

Once you’ve created your social media profiles that you have committed to maintaining, the next step is to create an effective way to manage your social media content. One way to do this is by creating a schedule for engaging content to publish on your social networks. This will help you keep track of planned posts across all of your brand’s social media networks. Once you’ve created your social media content plan, you can start scheduling Twitter messages and other social media posts to ensure your social media profile doesn’t lay dormant.
3. Use a social media management tool

An easy way to ensure no social media network gets left behind is to use a social media management tool. The Hootsuite dashboard allows you to manage social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and much more, all in one place. You can monitor, engage, and converse with your audience in one place. Additionally, it can complement your social media content planning by scheduling posts in advance.

Common Social Media Strategy Mistakes: What Not to Do:

We often write about things you should include in your social media strategy: tips, tricks, hacks, trends, and other topics that anyone working in social media should know. But what about the things you shouldn’t do? Many common tactics are ineffective at best, and can be damaging to your brand at their worst.

We’re going to touch on those things—the darker side of social media strategy. When it comes to social media blunders, there’s certainly no shortage of examples. Here are some of the more common ones.


Like-baiting, much like click-baiting, is the practice of using provocative or controversial headlines to stir up social attention for likes and clicks. More often than not, the content rarely provides the reader with any new or insightful information, and has nothing to do with your business objectives. Sure, it’ll get you a few likes, shares, and retweets here and there. It borders on spam, does very little for engagement, and most of your audience will see right through it. Recently, Facebook adjusted their algorithm to curb this kind of behavior, too. Avoid it on all your social networks.Image courtesy of Facebook

Buying Likes And Followers

Did you know that you can buy followers and likes for certain social networks? Yep! Is it a good idea? Nope! Yet it’s still a widely followed practice. Acquiring followers in the triple and quadruple digits with little-to-no work on your end is tempting, but it’s an empty number. They don’t care about what you’re saying or what you’re doing. The quality of your audience diminishes, as does the real impact of your social media posts. A lose-lose practice, through and through.

Posting Too Much

People follow you because they like you, what you do, or what you make. That’s a great thing because it means that they’re engaged with and receptive to your brand. But their loyalty does not make them immune to post fatigue. Use restraint when posting to your social channels. You might have a lot to share with your audience, but before posting something, ask yourself, ‘Do they even care?’ If they don’t, there’s no quicker way to lose them than spamming their feeds. What defines ‘spamming feeds’ is difficult to quantify. But you can use HootSuite’s analytics toolsto determine which posts resonate with your audience, and which don’t.

Ignoring Social Media ROI

Sure, social media is a relatively inexpensive marketing channel. But if you consider how many hours go into planning, engaging, and executing, the dollars add up. Measuring your ROI is crucial to ensure that not only is your social media strategy working, but that you’re not actually losing money on it. HootSuite Pro includes very powerful analytical tools that can help you measure just about every facet of your social media campaigns.

Only Using Social Media To Advertise

Along the same vein as posting too much is using your social networks only to advertise your products and services. It’s a practice that can quickly dull engagement and customer trust. Having a big sale? Launching a new product? Go ahead and mention it. But avoid reminding your followers over and over again. Trust us, they know. More than promoting, social is a channel for engagement. That means sharing great curated content, interacting with followers, and simply helping your business or brand stay at the front of the consumers mind.

Deleting Negative Comments

One of the biggest mistakes those new to social media make is deleting negative comments. It seems counterintuitive to let these damning testimonials be seen by all. But it also represents a great opportunity to 1) make a customer happy in a very public place, and 2) publicly address a problem within your business that perhaps you didn’t know about. You won’t always be able to make every customer or client happy, but you can certainly use social media to soften the blow and look good while doing it. By responding publicly, you can even sometimes turn the conversation to your favour. (Note that when we say ‘negative comments’, we’re excluding abusive, threatening and otherwise hateful comments. Delete those.)

Not Keeping Up To Speed

Social media is a constantly changing world. What was true yesterday may not be true tomorrow. It’s up to you to not only get up to speed, but to stay there. At first, this will seem like a daunting task. But there are endless resources available to help you along the way (like, for example, HootSuite University, or following blogs through the HootSuite Syndicator). All you have to do is put in the time.

Not Having A Social Media Strategy At All

Social media is no longer optional. It’s the first—and in many cases, only—point of contact for consumers. As such, it should be treated with the same level of care and thought as every other mission-critical part of your strategy. Take the time required to consider what you want to accomplish with social media and how you’re going to get there, rather than going in blind.

There’s no silver bullet approach to building your social media strategy. There are endless ways to build one that depend on variables like your business size, business type, brand, location, and demographics. Organic growth and engagement are the core of any successful social strategy. The above points will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of those newer to the social game.

How to respond effectively and social media engagement

Engage with your audience efficiently

Manage your social media accounts across more than 35 global networks

Reply with a single click

Anyone on your team—in any region or department—can quickly respond to messages, mentions, and comments through a single dashboard.

Identify influencers and leads

Listen closely to the people that matter to your business. Create, import, and share lists of social influencers and important clients.

Save time with pre-written responses

Quickly respond to common questions or customer requests by saving pre-approved and on-brand responses for future use.

Engage consistently—across any sized organization

Manage engagement workflows

Mirror your existing workflows so people see the posts that matter to them—ensuring responsive engagement and avoiding missed messages.

Track interaction history

See all interactions with a contact—across your organization—so conversations are in context and consistent, no matter who engages with them.

Search by location or language

Monitor social conversations across the globe or around your neighbourhood—in multiple languages—and be exactly where your audience is.

As we launched our social media program, we knew we needed a platform that would be able to handle and scale with our increasingly complex needs. Hootsuite absolutely accomplished this for us.

How to Respond Not-So-Nice Comment or Online Review?

Your online reputation can make or break your business, as the internet is often the first and last place potential customers go to find out more about you. Even the most reputable organizations deal with bad online reviews, posts on social networks, as well as blogs and other online forums. The one thing you can learn from these organizations is that it’s not so much the complaint or poor review that defines your reputation, but rather the way it’s handled. Here are 6 things you should do when confronted with a scathing comment.
Step 1: Stop. Breathe.

When someone attacks your small business— the thing you pour endless hours of blood, sweat, and tears into— it feels personal. It’s not. Take some time to think it about the situation. It’s impossible to be pragmatic or genuinely apologetic when you’re emotionally charged. But if you give yourself some time to mull it over, you’ll be able to see the situation with more clarity.Perhaps the finest example of someone reacting to criticism in the worst way possible.

Step 2: Look into it.

Some online reviews or complaints aren’t valid. Some of them are. You’ll never figure out where you stand unless you investigate. And knowing what really happened will help dictate your course of action. Did your customer have a bad experience with the product or staff? Who was in the wrong? Find out anything and everything you can about the situation before making any decisions.
Step 3: Is the complaint legit? Apologize. Is it bogus? Apologize anyway.

Apologize directly and publicly to those affected, whether it’s in a Tweet or a reply comment on the site where you found the bad review. Let them know what you’ve done about it (you have done something about it, right?). In the event the complaint isn’t a valid one, tell your side of the story and see what you can do to resolve the situation. Sincerity goes a long way here. You may not be able to correct something for one particular customer, but reaching out publicly shows you care and that you’re being proactive.An example of a good apology from Delta Airlines

One thing to keep in mind about online reviews and complaints: whether they’re legitimate or otherwise makes little difference to the masses. It’s all about perception. A quick apology will do more for you than a denial of wrong-doing.
Step 4: If possible, continue the conversation privately.

At this point, you should have acknowledged the complaint and made any necessary corrections. Someone might attempt to further engage you publically. Ask them to take the conversation to email or a direct/private message. For example “We’d like to know more about what happened, would you mind sending us a quick email? We’re looking forward to resolving this issue for you.” You’ve just made yourself look good while resolving a situation quickly. Social media engagement is important to your social presence, but not when it’s back and forth, he-said-she-said banter with a single online entity.
Step 5: Look for patterns.

If you’re seeing a string of bad online reviews coming in from all over the place, there’s a good chance there’s something wrong on your end. You need to put the brakes on, stat. Though it seems like bad news at first, it’s great opportunity to identify a fundamental problem with your business and stop the trainwreck before it happens.
Step 6: Avoid the non-apology apology.

You’ve seen these a hundred times before. “Our company has been supplying our product to our customers for 100 years. We’re sorry that your experience did not match your expectations.” See what they did there? Reinforce their leading market position while telling the customer they were wrong for expecting more in a roundabout way. There was no real apology and the lack of sincerity was as transparent as a freshly-cleaned window.

Every business is different. Every customer is different. And every reason for a bad review is different. These 6 steps combined with a bit of common sense, courtesy, and a genuine desire to help your customers can turn a conflict into a positive experience for everyone involved, and look good while doing it.

Social Media Advice That You Shouldn’t Follow

Image result for Social Media Advice That You Shouldn’t Follow

There are many occasions in life where you will hear or be given the same advice over and over again. Often, this advice is conflicting and you feel as if you’d have been better off not hearing anything at all. The moment you get engaged, you’ll hear all of the reasons for having a large wedding, as well as why a small, more intimate gathering is best. Announce your pregnancy, and you’ll hear unsolicited advice on everything from whether you should find out your baby’s sex to whether you should use pain medication during the birth. As a social media manager or content marketer—yes, I’m comparing marketing to giving birth—you can probably relate to the feeling of trying to sift through an overwhelming amount of advice.

As someone who stays up to date on social media news and best practices, you have probably heard some form of the following pieces of advice. With a focus on staying critical of all popular opinion, I challenge these commonly shared tips.
Success is measured by followers

One of the most popular topics in the social media marketing world (and the actual world) surrounds the number of followers one has. While there is a grain of truth to perceptions around an official social media account having enough followers to support their authority, if all you are concentrating on is the number of followers your brand’s account has, you are most likely missing huge opportunities for growth.

The success of your organization’s social media strategy should not be focused on the quantity of followers you have, but rather the quality of these followers. If you approach your plan with the aims of increasing engagement amongst your followers however, you will naturally see this community grow. I have too often heard people get worked up and obsessed with how many followers they have, or companies using this number as an indication of whether their social media strategies are successful. This is misguided, and can lead to not only missed opportunities for community growth as mentioned above, but to questionable practices such as purchasing followers. What’s more embarrassing for your brand—Having under a certain number of followers, or getting caught buying followers? The answer here is clear.
Keep your accounts clean

When I was on the job hunt, one of the top pieces of advice I heard was to scrub my social media accounts clean. Keep everything super professional and conventional, unless you never want to find that dream job. As someone who was using my Twitter account to post ridiculous quotes from my dad, feminist and social justice articles, and countless photos of cute animals, my account wasn’t exactly working as a purely professional resume.

However, I was told shortly after being hired that my Twitter presence actually helped rather than hurt my chances of getting the job. In having an online presence that wasn’t super sterile, my future employer was able to recognize that I had a personality and a (debatable) sense of humor.

It’s also a widespread belief that when you actually have the job, your social media accounts should act as a reflection of your most professional self. Many imply the belief that one should not post anything that even remotely suggests you have a life outside of work. All that you do is think of marketing plans, KPIs, and content strategies, right? Obviously, wrong. Your followers know that your life is not 24/7 work, and to suggest anything otherwise comes across as inauthentic. Our own Ryan Holmes even wrote a comprehensive piece on the subject, Why employees shouldn’t have to sanitize their social media accounts, where he explains “People have private lives outside the office—lives full of family, friends, goofy selfies, bar nights, and all the rest. Why, then, do we insist employees’ social media accounts reflect some buttoned-down ideal of an office drone? Honesty in the workplace means moving beyond that and understanding that employees are people first.” Of course, I trust it’s understood this doesn’t mean posting a racist rant, sharing prejudiced beliefs, or inappropriate content on your accounts. As Holmes states, “There’s no reason a company or organization should tolerate racist or insensitive content shared by its employees.” Use your judgment, but let your personality and interests show.
Delete negativity

While this advice is usually presented as common sense, it’s truthfully more of a knee-jerk reaction. Although it’s understandable that you may naturally feel that it is best to immediately delete or hide any kind of negativity aimed at your brand on social media, complaints or insults (when respectful and without offensive language or content) can act as a great source of information. If, for example, a customer complains that the flowers they had delivered arrived looking less than perfect, your company has a wonderful opportunity to showcase your stellar customer service skills. As we explain in our post about what not to do on social media, a negative comment enables you to:
Make a customer happy in a very public place.
Publicly address a problem within your business that perhaps you didn’t know about.

Here, when you reply to the negative comment and offer a remedy that goes above and beyond, you are publicly highlighting your organization’s dedication to their customers, as well as allowing transparency. If you saw a branded social media account or page that had only 100 percent positive and gushing comments or interactions, you’d start to get suspicious and probably not fully trust the sources. Through responding to legitimate complaints and fair negativity in a respectful and helpful way, you are adding value and authenticity to your organization.
Be present on every platform

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a real thing and can be hard to ignore when you keep hearing about the newest and greatest social media networks. The truth is that if you’re looking to grow and nurture your social media presence, you don’t need to immediately jump on every social media network bandwagon. The quality over quantity principle rings truer than ever here, as it’s much better to have a consistent, reliable, and engaging presence on a select number of key social media networks rather than trying to do the same on too many and failing. As our previous post on how to manage your social media presence explains, there are three key ways that trying to be present on every platform can do more harm than good.
Ignoring a social media network betrays your audience’s expectations

If someone follows you on Instagram or Twitter, they expect that you will be posting regularly and with valuable content. If your last Instagram post was 58 weeks ago, your followers will notice this and question the legitimacy of your accounts and the trustworthiness of your business.
Ignoring a social media network can cost you online followers—and potential customers

With social media customer service becoming more common and expected by the day, if you aren’t keeping up to date and active on any of your channels, you are inviting the possibility of missing and seemingly ignoring customer inquiries. As we previously explained, “By ignoring your online audience’s feedback you risk not only losing those customers, but also failing to address the potential hurdles in your services or product development. Not paying attention to your online audience can cause you to lose followers on your social networks, and even potential customers.”
Neglecting a social media network can tarnish your brand’s online reputation

As a result of these factors, you risk your brand’s online reputation being damaged. As we explain, “Decreased attention means a higher chance of committing one of many social media faux pas that could seriously threaten your brand’s reputation.” With the aim of an organization’s social media being to enhance a reputation and engage with customers, if you can’t satisfy these two key areas it might be time to rethink your current strategy.

With all of this said, my main piece of advice would be to question everything. I don’t mean this in a tinfoil hat-wearing way, but as a suggestion to always think critically about information you see, read, and hear and use your own judgment. All businesses are different, so test out various pieces of advice and find what works best for your specific industry and brand.