death of google plus

Google Plus Shuts Down: What You Need to Know (R.I.P. June 2011 – October 2018)

Another social media platform bites the dust.

Google Plus is shutting down.

Google officially made the announcement on October 8, 2018. Google is calling this move part of “Project Strobe,” an initiative they say is a review of their “philosophy” around third-party data access to the Google API.

Officially, as a result of this review, the social platform will be gone in 10 months’ time – by August 2019. (This timeline from DigiDay details the journey from Google Plus’s birth to its demise.)

screenshot of project strobe announcement by google | google plus shutting down

R.I.P, G+! 💀

But… What does this mean for us, marketers? What are the nitty-gritty reasons behind the shutdown? What are experts and Google themselves saying about this big announcement?

Google+ is shutting down. @JuliaEMcCoy outlines everything marketers should know about the platform's upcoming demise. #googleplus #ripgoogleplus Click To Tweet

It’s all inside this post, not to mention my own (rather lackluster) experience with the platform. Let’s get into it.

g+ shuts down 2018

Why Google Plus Is Shutting Down in 2018 (& Going Away in 2019)

According to the blog post announcement we already referenced, there are a few main reasons Google is pulling the plug on Google+.

Read insights on the demise of #GooglePlus, in @JuliaEMcCoy's blog. Featuring experts @mike_allton, @RebekahRadice, @wordstream, and @markwschaefer Click To Tweet

1. Nobody Uses Google Plus!

Google Plus had its devoted user base, but for most of us, it was a non-entity in our online social lives.

From Google’s own mouth, engagement on the platform was pretty abysmal. 90% of user sessions were 5 seconds long or less.

The only engaged audience Google+ found was with businesses and marketers, as this post by Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat explains.

The business audience valued it for these reasons:

  • It’s lack of ads
  • Its uncluttered format
  • Its communication and discussion tools
  • Most importantly: its power for combining social media with SEO

One digital marketer, Rebekah Radice, is quoted as saying that the platform was a “relationship marketer’s dream.”

marketer rebekah radice quote on google plus shutdown

“It became a major player in my social media and SEO strategy.” – Digital marketer Rebekah Radice via The Social Media Hat

Unfortunately, this value was not a universal experience. Most casual users on social media want to stay connected with family and friend groups. For those purposes, Google Plus failed spectacularly.

On that note, my own business experience with Google Plus was pretty mixed.

I had a volunteer, non-paid position helping moderate a group on Google+ in the six-figure range. I never found that group to be engaged or of real value, though. It was 100% spammed most of the time with outsourced providers trying to sell backlinks.

(Can you say S-P-A-M?)

The only real value was with Authorship at the beginning of Google Plus, where you could link your published content with a type of digital signature tying back to your account. Here’s an example via Search Engine Land:

google authorship screenshot | google plus shutting down

People actually called Express Writers from Google’s search results because they saw my picture in the SERPs, saw that I was a writer, and instantly thought we were more trustworthy – definitely an interesting and valuable side effect.

Authorship was the only real value at the beginning of Google Plus, but it didn't last long. This and more insights by @JuliaEMcCoy on Google+ shutting down #googleplus #ripgoogleplus Click To Tweet

That said, Authorship didn’t last long. In short, it interfered with AdWords revenue and Google didn’t like that. Not surprising, given Google’s reputation for randomly pulling the plug on various services/tools. An infographic from WordStream illustrates this perfectly:

the google graveyard - a resting place for great ideas infographic | google plus shutting down

Head over to WordStream to see the entire list of abandoned, dead projects in Google’s graveyard.

google graveyard | google plus shutting down

2. Google Found an Undisclosed Bug Related to Data Privacy in March 2018

In their blog announcement, Google buried a little piece of information: They discovered a “bug” in one of their Google+ APIs.

screenshot of report on google plus discovering a bug in one of their APIs | google plus shutting down

The New York Times reported on this bug, which Google kept quiet for 7 months. Why the silence for so long? Because it didn’t look like anyone had exploited it to gain access to users’ information. Hence, Google decided they weren’t obligated to report it under the current laws. Even GDPR wasn’t in effect yet when the bug was discovered.

Either way, the search giant cites this bug as one of the many reasons for Google Plus shutting down in 2018: With such low user numbers, the effort to fix it and maintain the platform wouldn’t be worth it.

What Can We Learn from Google Plus Shutting Down in 2018?

Mark Schaefer wrote a great, pointed post about Google Plus shutting down in 2018.

He unequivocally calls it as he sees it: a failure.

google plus tombstone saying "we never really had a clue" | google plus shutting down

No mincing of words here. Love it!

Along with this spot-on pronouncement, Mark walks us through a few lessons we can learn as marketers from this shutdown.

1. Google never solved a unique problem with Google Plus. The platform did what Facebook did, but everyone had established themselves on FB way before Google came along to challenge it. Google Plus didn’t really offer anything mind-blowing to make up the difference, either. There was no reason to leave FB.

2. They never gave people a reason to connect emotionally. Digital natives and tech trend-setters were never inspired to switch.

What’s the link between these two lessons?

Uniqueness.

That one factor that makes a brand, platform, product, or service different from every other option out there: the content differentiation factor.

Google+ is going away in 2019? What can content marketers learn from this shutdown? @JuliaEMcCoy shares her thoughts in this new post #googleplus #ripgoogleplus #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Google Plus had nothing totally unique to offer users. It was an alternative to Facebook that none of your friends were using, or it was a nice business tool if you knew how to leverage it.

Those things were not nearly enough to matter. It equivocates to one giant, halfhearted shrug. This is a great takeaway for all marketers.

Don’t follow in Google Plus’s footsteps. Lean into your uniqueness and invest in it! 🦄

cta seo guide

facebook algorithm change January 2018

What Facebook’s Social Media Algorithm Changes in January 2018 Mean for Content Marketers

When you are on Facebook, do you ever realize that suddenly, you see a post from a page that you hadn’t seen in a really long time?

In fact, you might have forgotten you’d liked that page at a certain point in near-obsolete history.

That scenario probably sounds very familiar, and also sometimes frustrating as we all try to understand the latest Facebook social media algorithms that have been put in place.

Businesses are worrying about losing interaction and a decrease in distribution—while on the flip side, consumers miss opportunities they don’t even know exist, because they didn’t interact with your page regularly.

With the latest changes, what does that mean for businesses and content marketers?

I’m diving in today. Grab a mocha, latte, or tea and come join me.

facebook algorithm change 2018

What’s Up with Facebook’s Social Media Algorithm? Why Facebook is Changing for Your Benefit

According to Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed over at Facebook, the goal for these changes is to create an environment for meaningful engagement on behalf of the end user.

The latest update will predict posts that end users do and don’t want to see based on individual interactions.

Posts that are seen are meant to inspire discussion between friends, communities, and other pages.

If you are a content marketer, this may make you say, “Well, how can I make sure that my business doesn’t tank like so many others? How does that benefit me?”

These changes will encourage you to step up your game by being more interactive with your audience, and the benefits of doing so can cause your business to grow exponentially.

Finding the Key that Opens the Door

Recently, I discussed just how to find the key to content marketing that will keep your business growing and thriving.

There are some trial and error approaches to see what works best for your audience, but you owe it to yourself to find the answer for your page.

It could be an active group that focuses on you or your service or product. It could be a source outside of Facebook like Twitter or maybe a regular webinar or podcast. It could be a combination of all of the above.

As long as your post is meaningful and not spammy, you are going in the right direction, but there is a bit more to it.

What Not to Post on Your Page or In Your Group: Defining Engagement Bait

People do not like posts that look like spam or seem like they are attempting to coerce interactions. Examples like “Like my post if you agree!” or “Like and share if you love cats!” are known in the content marketing industry as engagement bait.

Other phrases like “Vote for your favorite” and “Share with your friends” also fall into the bait category. Avoid creating posts or content that include a phrase like those because that is one of the quickest ways to make people want to unfollow you.

It may look like you’re getting engagement right now with posts like that, but along with the algorithms introduced in December 2017, Facebook is working on limiting anything that carries engagement bait phrasing.

Keep that in mind when you post a picture or an article because Facebook strives for authenticity from people and businesses when they post an update to their pages and groups.

The posts above from Parenting Hub, Wish.com, and even The Weather Channel are prime examples of engagement bait style posts, and these are well-known, established companies.

As the algorithms to remove these posts are recent, everyone has a learning curve to go through.

This includes larger businesses just as much as mom and pop shops that use social media as part of their content marketing strategy.

Use this knowledge to your advantage and get ahead of the game by learning how to produce authentic posts that people will want to see in their News Feed.

What Authenticity Means According to Facebook

Facebook is forever adapting to meet the needs and wants of its consumer base that includes over two billion people up from a mere 100 million users ten years ago.

According to them, their research shows that beyond seeing updates from friends and family, there are “two other strong expectations” which include posts being informative and posts being entertaining.

From a content marketer’s perspective, you need to look at your posts and what they do for your audience.

  • Is your content informative?
  • Is your content entertaining?

If you can answer yes to either of those questions, then your posts will be more meaningful, which means you are going in the right direction.

Understanding How Meaningful Posts Work

Meaningful posts on social media are relative to the people viewing them. When you’re developing your content marketing strategy, you need to have a handle on your target persona to be able to create posts that will be meaningful to your audience.

When you have the target persona defined, you can develop content that will be relevant to your consumer base.

As an example, if you are a cleaning product company aimed at the residential sector, your audience is likely going to be interested in the latest trends in cleaning items and ensuring safety for their families by using non-toxic recommendations.

You can be the voice that they listen to when you post content that contains information they want to read therefore making the post meaningful in its interaction.

Entertainment is Also Meaningful for Your Audience

People also enjoy being entertained, so if you leverage the desire for entertainment in your content marketing strategy with your social media posts, you will have a leg up on the competition.

Think about all of the funny pictures and videos that get shared by your friends.

If a post, image, or funny video resonates with you like this clip posted by Good Housekeeping and its viewer audience, it will be more likely to be shared.

Good Housekeeping knows their audience can relate to this particular funny video because their target audience is made up of adults that are parents with families. The video becomes a meaningful way to engage and generate conversation which is evident by the 29 million views this one video has had since August 5, 2017.

Generate Content that Generates Conversation

As a content marketer, you want to generate conversation with your audience, but the question remains as to how to make that happen.

With the updates that Facebook is putting into play, content marketers will see their reach, video watch time, and traffic decrease on the social media platform. To minimize the expected reduction, the most significant factors that will impact traffic are the content produced and the way that users interact with the content.

What you want to do is create content that makes your audience stop and say, “Hey, that’s great! I need to share that!” or “Wow, I can’t believe that. I need to share it!” Either way will lead to sharing and generating conversation.

That means that you need to share educational and informative content that is relevant to your audience as well as content that entertains. The informative information is usually easier to develop into a meaningful post, but how do you make that work with funny material that is entertaining?

What Goes Into a Meme or Viral Video?

Some major points can’t be forgotten when creating an entertaining meme that you intend to share with the public including being aware of your audience and keeping the image relevant to you and your brand.

The first goes back to knowing your audience because your meme needs to have an image that your audience will understand. Just because you think it is witty and creatively funny doesn’t mean your audience will get it. Always put them at the forefront of your memes and videos to keep the scope of your post intact. Memes are used to spread cultural and relevant information while being simultaneously amusing.

Videos work much the same way.

In one example, there is a mom in Dallas, Texas who went on a rant about Red Ribbon Week. Melissa Radke’s video has been shared almost 200,000 times and viewed several million times since October 2016 because it touched a chord in a lot of people.

They either related to her, or they couldn’t stand what she said. Either way, it got people talking. Her video spread cultural awareness of how many parents feel and how at least part of the public feels about this campaign that has been a part of Texas culture for over 30 years. The video is still shared even today.

Make 2018 The Year You Create Your Best Content, & the Algorithms Will Have Nothing to Penalize

I’m going to discuss more on how to do live video next, but there’s something I want to say before that.

Create your best content this year, and stick to your most comfortable format.

Horse-blind yourself to everything else.

If that’s written content, stick to written content.

If that’s video content, stick to video.

Play with other formats whenever you want to, but you need a go-to format where you’re consistently building your online authority and presence.

No matter how many trends hit the market, the best creators are those that find their sweet spot and truly get comfortable creating their best content on their favorite platform. Time and time again.

For example:

Mark Schaefer holds the title of the world’s top five business blogger and author. He didn’t get there through live-streaming, podcasting, etc. In fact, he told me on my podcast with him that he stuck to blogging for years before trying anything else. Listen to my podcast with Mark.

The majority of our leads at Express Writers have come in through the 1,000+ blogs we’ve published over the last 5 years. Our primary content marketing focus is blogging. Everything else, from my Twitter chat to podcast to Facebook group, has come in secondarily to blogging.

Schaefer and my own story at Express Writers are prime examples of finding and building your core authority in one platform and area, instead of jumping around in order to not miss out on the trends. By doing too much of that, you might miss out completely on building an audience. 

Make Posts Even More Meaningful with Live Video

We’ve covered the idea that your content marketing posts, whether articles, pictures, or videos need to be informative or entertaining to create a meaningful post for your audience, but have you ever thought about doing live video feeds?

Live feeds have the potential to be an essential marketing tool for content marketers if they are done correctly. Facebook has declared that videos will receive priority in their News Feed if they meet at least one of the two following criteria:

What this means for content marketers is that it would be great to have reoccurring videos set up like shows in a series.

Facebook wants videos that people will seek out and visit repeatedly, so having a live video series that is both entertaining and informative is a win-win for you and your target audience.

Regularly Occurring Shows are Not the Only Way to Go

While video streaming set up with series-style predictability is a Facebook recommendation, there are other ways to do live streaming, too, which can also boost your visibility.

Facebook has a neat feature when it comes to videos – they send out a push notification to your entire audience when you go live. These notifications serve as great reminders when you are planning something like a live webinar you want to share with your audience.

As I found out first hand, planning your Lives is a good thing. I had an idea to be spontaneous about a live stream – it generated less than 200 views. Random live streams do not engage your audience as much as a live stream that has been planned and scheduled out in advance.

When I prepared for and scheduled a live stream for my book launch, with a guest expert to boot – Mark Schaefer, my Live attendance increased to more than 1,500 viewers.

Where to Find Viewers

You know what to do to increase your viewer audience and create meaningful engagement for your business, but you may not know where to find these viewers.

The answer is surprisingly simple – use multiple platforms to find them. Use Twitter, build community groups, broadcast podcasts, and blog regularly to establish an online presence. No, it won’t happen overnight, but with consistency and time, your audience will grow.

Blogging regularly is especially important because it gives you industry credibility, and research has repeatedly shown that blogging periodically has a positive correlation with overall incoming business.

Perhaps most importantly, at the end of every blog, podcast, and Twitter chat, you want to have a CTA or call-to-action to direct your audience to where you would like them to go. Facebook groups are a perfect place to send them because as a content marketer, you can have your audience at your fingertips, ready to read or watch whatever you send their way.

Action List Takeaways: 12 Best Practice Suggestions for Content Marketers

As Facebook makes these updates over the next few months, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you keep yourself in other people’s News Feeds.

  1. Keep your finger on the pulse of new social media policies and ever-changing algorithms.
  2. Think about the type of content you produce: create your best. If that’s written content, stick to written. If that’s video content, stick to video. Make 2018 the year you create your best. 
  3. Remind people to select “See First” in their News Feed Preferences for your page.
  4. Stay away from engagement bait.
  5. Be authentic in your posts to create meaningful engagement.
  6. Get to know your audience persona to publish relevant memes and videos.
  7. Trial and error is par for the course to figure out what works for your audience.
  8. Post content that generates conversations.
  9. Don’t shy away from live videos, keeping in mind my “create your best” theme from #2.
  10. Consider developing and creating a regular live video feed.
  11. Plan and post about future live sessions.
  12. Use multiple platforms to feed your Facebook communities, pages, and overall engagement.

Join our Facebook group to stay up-to-date on the latest content marketing strategies and keep finding ways to engage your community, all at the same time.

facebook algorithm change cta

facebook advertising strategy

Facebook Ads for B2Bs: The Insider Guide to a Facebook Advertising Strategy Mapped to Your Buyer’s Journey

Are you turning Facebook Likes into actual dollars in your company account?

Most marketers begin their Facebook advertising strategy with enthusiasm, watching as likes pour in from people active in their target niche, and waiting for the big payoff…

But more often than not, the payoff never comes.

Beyond some new Page Likes and a few extra clicks on the website, the ad campaign seems stalled. People aren’t buying your product. What gives?

In this article, we’re going to dive into what keeps people from flocking to your web page and buying your product or subscribing to your service.

We’re also going to examine successful ad campaign strategies and ask an architect of these campaigns – Dave from Magnificent Marketing – what the secret is.

As you’ll soon find out, the secret is to know your customer, and to position yourself to offer them the right ad at the right time. Facebook has tools that allow you to map your ad campaign to the buyer’s journey. This isn’t as hard as it may seem at first glance – so read on to find out.

Facebook Advertising Strategy Mapped to Your Buyer's Journey

Part One: What is the Buyer’s Journey and How Can a Facebook Advertising Strategy Follow it?

Before we go into the actual step-by-step procedure of mapping your ad campaign to the buyer’s journey, we should cover exactly what the buyer’s journey is and why it’s important.

Think about the last thing you bought. Whether it was a soft drink at a convenience store or the home of your dreams, you went through three distinct phases before purchasing that item:

  • Awareness. You became aware of a problem. This can be any sort of obstacle preventing you from achieving a sense of perfect contentment. Maybe you were thirsty. Maybe you fought with your landlord for the last time and decided you need your own house.
  • Consideration. You took some time to define the problem and looked for ways to solve it. You browsed the freezer section of the convenience store. You contacted a real estate agent and talked to banks about getting home loans.
  • Decision. You chose a solution that offered the greatest value towards solving your problem. You slid your favorite lime-flavored soft drink across the counter, or signed off on your home purchase.

As you can see, every purchase a person makes follows these three stages in some way. In many cases, the only part that changes is how deep the consideration stage goes. Your Facebook audience is no different, and if you advertise to them without taking these three stages into consideration, you are almost certainly losing money in the process – even if Facebook is one of the most cost-efficient ad platforms in marketing.

Facebook has a special tool you can use to tell which stage a user is in based on how they’ve interacted with your website. You need to organize your advertising strategies to show people different types of sponsored content to people based on their position along the buyer’s journey.

So What Does This Look Like in Practice?

Actually creating ads that cater to your users in this way is simple. Pay attention to the wording and specific offer that each boosted post advertises. Here are some examples, chosen from a random selection of advertisements addressing a single topic.

All of the following advertisements target Facebook users that like pages related to entrepreneurship and start-up culture. As you’ll see, each one takes a slightly different position on how much it assumes of the user.

1. Awareness

Facebook Ads for B2bs one

This ad is directed towards any Facebook user who likes pages related to entrepreneurship and start-up culture.

Notice that it starts with the words “Did you know that…” and then goes on to offer a statistic that showcases the company’s value.

It makes no assumption on behalf of the user, and offers free access to a general set of resources that should be useful to anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship.

2. Consideration

At this stage, Allied for Startups makes a number of assumptions about users who view this ad. The first few words specify that this ad targets data-driven startups and the people who run them.

It then goes on to assign positive value to Polish tech talent, presuming that the user runs a data-driven startup and is looking to hire talent.

This ad’s call-to-action is pretty vague. “Let’s fill Europe with startups” doesn’t really specify what you should do. Register your startup as a Polish company? Hire remote workers from Poland? Move to Poland entirely? You are meant to be sufficiently intrigued by this ad to click on it and find out more.

3. Decision

This ad not only assumes that you’re an entrepreneur, but goes so far as to presume the exact type of business you wish to open, and offers a complete solution that meets your needs precisely. This particular type of entrepreneur is not interested in tech, not interested in hiring, and not interested in forming a network – this advertisement’s target wants to grow and sell food.

The ad has gone so far as to specify that you don’t “need a green thumb” to use their solution, further narrowing down the target audience of the particular post.

Mapping Sponsored Content to Your Sales Funnel

Our partner, Magnificent Marketing, has cracked the code on getting the most out of sponsored content on Facebook. Not only do you need to generate content that speaks to buyers at each of these distinct phases, but you have to make sure that your audience sees that content at the right moment.

There is very little benefit to showing a decision advertisement to a customer who has never heard of your brand before, and who has no particular reason to trust you above any other name in your industry.

This means that you have to develop content in tiers.

Think of your sponsored content as being mapped to a reverse pyramid:

You should plan on generating less content for each step moving down the pyramid. Using a 10-to-1 ratio as you move from Awareness to Consideration and again as you move from Consideration to Decision is a good rule of thumb. This compensates for the number of readers who aren’t in your target audience – people who won’t end up buying your product no matter how much you advertise to them.

Part Two: How to Map Ad Content to Each Customer Individually

Now that we’ve covered the strategy for addressing your customers en masse, we need to find out how you can map this content to the buyer’s journey of each individual. For this, we got in touch with Dave from Magnificent Marketing and asked him how he does it.

Q: Hi Dave, so what’s the secret to sponsored content on Facebook?

Dave: Well, as you know, getting sponsored posts to the right people at the right time is the most valuable part of any content distribution strategy. If you’ve categorized sponsored posts as awareness, consideration, and decision posts, you’re halfway there.

The tricky part is that Facebook doesn’t tell you whether any individual user has visited your page before, or whether they’ve liked or commented on your posts. You have only a few general behaviors to choose from – like people who have bought an online product in the last week, for example.

You don’t have access to user interaction data on an individual level on Facebook, but you can implement user interaction tracking on your website using Facebook Pixel, and then use that data for sponsored content.

Q: What’s Facebook Pixel?

Dave: Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code that you place on your website. This code tracks user interaction from Facebook ads, which lets you collect data and target specific visitor categories with sponsored content once your users are back on Facebook. It’s the key to successful Facebook content distribution.

Here’s an example: I’m running a B2B business and I have dozens of Awareness ads targeting people in my industry out there on Facebook. These ads point to blog posts covering general topics that are useful and interesting to people who may eventually become my customers. Every time a user clicks on one of those ads, Facebook Pixel tracks that interaction.

After an individual user reaches a threshold of, say, five Awareness posts. They’ll start to see Consideration content in their feed. This content is a bit more direct. It could be product comparisons, coupons, case studies, testimonials, you name it.

After this particular user reads five of those posts, they’ll start seeing Decision content on their Facebook News Feed. This is when we go with the direct call-to-action, offer free samples, or provide consultations.

By the time a user starts seeing Decision posts in their feed, they already know what you’re all about, and they are legitimately, genuinely interested in the value you offer.

Q: That’s amazing! How do you categorize this content on your website?

Dave: The key to making this strategy work is tagging every one of your website’s pages as either being an Awareness, Consideration, or Decision page. A blog post on a broad subject related to your industry would definitely be Awareness, whereas a specific product page with a great, big Buy Now button would be a Decision page.

By tagging all of your website’s pages in this way, you can connect them to sponsored posts that target visitor categories tracked by Facebook Pixel. This lets you do really granular things like show people sponsored content related to items they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart. You can also let Facebook advertise to people with similar interests to your most dedicated visitors – those who fall in the Decision category.

Q: So, not only do your Facebook ads map the buyer’s journey, but your website does too?

Dave: Exactly. The buyer’s journey continues whether your customer is on Facebook or on your website. Facebook Pixel is the tool you need to create sponsored content that speaks to individuals based on how they’ve interacted with your website.

Now, every industry operates a little differently when it comes to the thresholds between Awareness and Consideration, or Consideration and Decision. If I’m marketing for a heavy equipment company that sells products worth tens of thousands of dollars, I’m not going to jump the gun and go straight to the Decision category after someone reads a couple blog posts – I’ll have to wait and really draw them in over dozens of articles so that they know everything about my company and products before I make the final pitch.

If I’m selling inexpensive retail consumer goods, on the other hand, it wouldn’t make sense to wait that long. You might want to get to the Decision category as fast as possible, it all depends.

Q: Does this strategy apply with any other social network?

Dave: So far, Facebook is the one that offers the greatest power and flexibility when it comes to this advertising strategy. It’s also by far the cheapest, and that’s a huge advantage.

However, you can use this Facebook strategy in tandem with other social networks. Just as the buyer’s journey continues whether your customer is on Facebook or on your website, it also continues when customers are on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.

In fact, you can use this strategy to engage Awareness and maybe even Consideration on Facebook before switching to a more expensive platform like LinkedIn for the final pitch. For B2B companies, the boost of confidence LinkedIn inspires could help you close a deal, but the platform is far too expensive to spend advertising dollars on Awareness content.

Q: This is some very useful information. Thanks for your time, Dave!

Dave: My pleasure.

How to Use Facebook Pixel

At this point, it should be clear that Pixel is the secret key to the kingdom of successful content distribution on Facebook. However, getting started with Pixel can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with code.

Follow these steps to create, install, and use Pixel. This will be enough to get the most important conversion tracking metrics running so that you can see immediate benefits when creating and posting sponsored content.

1. Create Your Site’s Pixel

Open up your Facebook Ads Manager menu and click on Pixels. Click on it and you’ll see a pop-up like this one:

Click on Create a Pixel to get started.

2. Name Your Pixel

The first thing you’ll need to do is name your website’s Pixel. Importantly, Facebook assigns one pixel to each ad account, so you’ll want to name it after your business, not a specific campaign or a group of websites. If you want to connect Pixel to multiple websites, you’ll need to set up multiple Facebook Pages and Ad accounts – that’s just how it works.

3. Add the Code to Your Website

This is where it pays to be comfortable working with code. Facebook will ask you whether you want to install your code using a sales platform that offers Facebook integration (Shopify, for example) or to copy and paste the code directly into each of your website’s pages.

In order to achieve the strategy Dave outlines above, you’ll want to copy and paste the code on each page of your website. This isn’t that difficult, but if you’re totally unwilling to work with code, your website developer or administrator should be able to handle it for you without trouble.

For obvious reasons, we’ve edited out the code on this specific pixel – each code is unique and you will want to make sure yours only goes on your website. Copy the code and paste it anywhere between the <head> tag and the </head> tag on each page.

This isn’t the only code you need to place on your webpages. You will also need to copy a specific event code for each page. Facebook offers three options, and we generally agree with the Recommended one, but this page in the Facebook Help Center may help you decide best for yourself.

You will have to modify the Pixel parameters to fit your website’s specific type of content. Once you have done that, you can track specific actions by users. In the example above, the Search event tracks and optimizes searches for “leather sandals”. You can modify this term for any product or category you choose.

Just below the Search event, you have the View Content event, which triggers whenever a user views content on your page. This is the one that you need to embed in your pages.

Now all you need to do is paste the appropriate event code on the pages you wish to track. Since our primary goal is determining when users open tagged pages, you can post the View Content event code below the </head> tag on any of those pages. When prompted, choose Track Event on Page Load.

4. Ensure Pixel is Installed Correctly

If you followed all of the above steps, Facebook Pixel should immediately begin capturing user data from Facebook users who visit your website by clicking on ads. However, you will need to test this to be sure. Fortunately, this is easily achieved on Google Chrome.

First, download the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome extension. Install the extension and visit one of the pages you installed Facebook Pixel on. The extension should find the Pixel code and trigger a popup that tells you how many Pixels are on the page. It will also tell you if the code is working correctly and offer help if it finds an error.

If you see a message like the one above, then you are in good shape as far as Facebook Pixel goes. The only thing that’s left is to create content that speaks to buyer personas and begin sponsoring content that attracts leads and gets your website seen.

Part Three: Make the Most of Your Sponsored Content Using Buyer Personas

Now that we have a tried-and-true strategy for generating audience interest in a brand and a vehicle for converting that interest into sales, it is time to address the last piece of the Facebook advertising strategy puzzle: content.

What are you going to say to your potential customers and leads? What subjects are appropriate for Awareness, Consideration and Decision blog posts? Who will read them? Who will write them?

This is where many Facebook marketers and B2B retailers make a big mistake – they start with the product first. This might seem like a reasonable thing to do, but sales-oriented content will always lose out to customer-oriented content.

The buyer is your best starting point for Facebook marketing. Forget about your product and your company for a moment and imagine who the buyer is.

How Well Do You Know Your Customer?

Developing buyer personas lets you really get to know your customers. As Hubspot defines the term, buyer personas are “semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

In practice, this just means that instead of broadly targeting a demographic, like “women between the ages of 25 and 40 who speak multiple languages”, you are narrowly targeting a specific type of person. For instance, if a travel agent were constructing a buyer persona that fits this demographic, it might look something like this:

“Elizabeth Nguyen is a 31-year old Los Angeles native who works as a Risk Analyst for an insurance broker. Although she was born and raised in California, Vietnamese is her first language. This is the language her entire family speaks with the exception of her American-born father, who is not Vietnamese. She also speaks French with limited proficiency thanks to her grandmother, who lived in French Indochina.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from UCLA, makes $80,000 per year, and briefly advised the local Asian American Business Association before quitting due to stress and differences of opinion with leadership. She is a practicing Catholic who dreams of someday visiting the Papal Palace in Avignon with her family, but can’t afford to take time off and bring her entire family along.”

It’s easy to see that as a marketer, creating this persona gives you a huge advantage when developing a Facebook advertising strategy. Using this as an example buyer persona, you can generate content that speaks to this individual and many thousands of people like her – you can connect with her based on her job, the languages she speaks, her family history, her religion, or even her frustration with a particular non-profit business association.

You can go even further with buyer personas, such as identifying how they prefer to consume content and what social network platforms they’re most active on. Read our guide on target personas for an in-depth look at this powerful tool.

Most importantly, a good buyer persona identifies the following critical points:

  • Goals. What does your ideal consumer really want?
  • Motivations. What motivates your customer to act? What do they care about?
  • Obstacles. What gets in your customers’ way when it comes to achieving their goals?
  • Demographics. What is your ideal customer’s place in society? To what groups does this individual belong?
  • Behaviors. How does your customer act? How does your customer treat other people or organizations?

The amount of data this exercise gives you is of incredible importance when developing a content distribution strategy for Facebook. Recall that while your Awareness content is suitably broad to meet any number of potential customer demographics, your Decision content has to be laser-focused on the specific person it addresses.

The better you know that person, the more information you have to draw from. Facebook ad targeting lets you target people using a dizzying array of interests, behaviors, and demographics.

If you are not sure where to start when crafting your buyer personas, Facebook Insights is one of the most useful tools available. It gives you broad demographic information about people who like your Page, which will give you the underlying data you need to create a story. You may also choose a specific real-world customer that you know personally, and start with that individual.

Create a Content Strategy that Speaks to Buyer Personas

With one or more buyer personas in place, you can now begin generating content that speaks to those individuals’ needs. You have the data you need, a proven method for getting the right information in front of the right people, and a highly developed Facebook advertising strategy for converting leads into sales.

Now the only thing left is the content. Recall that each level of the sales funnel should have around ten times the volume of the level above it. This means that for every Decision page you promote, you may have 10 Consideration pages and 100 Awareness pages – that’s a lot of content!

Fortunately, you can double up your pages and tags between ads. Try changing up your ad copy and use that information to find out what works best. Just make sure you don’t accidentally show users sponsored content they’ve already clicked on before – that’s wasteful advertising.

Making the most of Facebook means dedicating resources to the consistent creation of high quality content that speaks to your buyer personas. Only the most valuable information and the most poignant advice will cut through News Feed clutter. Don’t forget that when it comes to Facebook, you’re directly competing with cat pictures and that’s never an easy task.

Don’t have the time to plan and write your own content? If you want to get the Facebook advertising strategy ball rolling fast, speak with an Express Writers content strategist and let us know you’re looking to map your Facebook ads to the buyer’s journey – we’ll take care of you from there!

facebook ad copy

twitter 280 characters

Is Twitter Changing Up the Web with 280 Characters?

Twitter is all about brevity. It’s been this way since… well, always.

It’s kind of Twitter’s calling-card.

Pretty soon, all that may be changing.

If this makes you immediately confused, I don’t blame you. Twitter has only ever been about those famed (and infamous) 140-characters – no more, no less. You have to mold your words to this limit, get creative with a succession of tweets, or simply not tweet at all if you can’t be concise.

Now, Twitter wants to experiment with doubling the character limit.

Yes – they want to give 280-character tweets a whirl.

So, what will this mean for the Twitter-verse?

As NPR puts it, “…more words, less wit.”

How Are People Reacting to the Twitter Change-Up Around the Web?

Of course, the Twitter news has been circulating the web.

There are some good points to think about in the scope of the matter.

Twitter Chats Won’t Look the Same

Madalyn Sklar, a top influencer on the platform, recently shared her thoughts on the doubled character limit.

A great point she made is the fact that Twitter’s original limits are what made it so cool. An example she gives is Twitter chats. Often, chats accumulate hundreds of tweets in lightning-quick fashion. They’re fast-moving, but that’s part of the reason they work.

You can easily blip through 140 characters and move on to the next when hundreds of tweets are flying in. Now, imagine trying to sift through tweets in a Twitter chat that are double the length.

All of a sudden, we have a problem, and one of the best parts of Twitter is compromised. Instead of participating in a lightning-round talk, you’ll get bogged down in meandering posts. It will be like you’re in a bloated discussion thread with people posting novels instead of comments.

(…That situation sounds familiar. Facebook, anyone?)

Madalyn addresses that point, too. She says, “Twitter doesn’t need to be another Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.”

She couldn’t be more on-target. The way it is now, Twitter is unique, and this is one of the reasons lots of people make it their social network of choice.

I personally agree, especially since we at EW have a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat. What will that chat look like with 280-character tweets? Probably nothing like it does now, which is concerning.

Our Community at #ContentWritingChat Says “Don’t Do It, Twitter”

We asked the question as an icebreaker in yesterday’s #ContentWritingChat:

Most of the people who answered voted the change down.

contentwritingchat twitter characters

280 Characters = Less Creativity?

I have spent six years molding my writing to Twitter’s limitations.

Guess what? It’s not a roadblock or a hurdle. It’s a creative challenge, and it’s made me a better writer.

You want proof of how the 140-character limit forces you to get to the meat of what you want to say, and say it well? Look at this fantastic example. Somebody took Jack’s initial announcement and cut out all the unnecessary wording:

The result is brilliant (AND it’s 140 characters!). It really showcases how Twitter’s brevity is an asset.

Why Is Twitter Testing the Waters for Longer Tweets?

All this chatter around Twitter’s announcement brings us back to the question of why. Why is Twitter doing this? Haven’t they ever heard the cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

Nah. As with most other things, this is about money.

According to NPR, Twitter has discovered through research that people tend to tweet more when they have extra space to write. Of course, when people tweet more, the company makes more money.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s stocks have been on a downward slope for quite a while. You do the math. Suddenly, this whole issue seems to be less about improving the user experience, especially since the platform has been ignoring a bigger user plea for quite some time: Let us edit tweets!

Or, as this Twitter user sums it up:

The Other Side: How Are 280 Characters a Good Thing?

Twitter, of course, says that the update is about helping people “more easily express themselves.”

They say that English users regularly run into the problem of trying to “cram” their thoughts into a tweet. The solution is to edit it down rigorously, omit a word that’s important to the overall meaning, or abandon the effort altogether.

Meanwhile, users in other countries like Japan (where they can fit more information in a tweet because of language differences), seem to have it easy-breezy. They type out their thoughts with “room to spare” and no stress.

Twitter also presents this graph, which is supposed to mean something and explain why they’re excited about the change-up:

Apparently, it’s better for more users not to constantly hit the character limit (I think).

The Atlantic has gone on the defensive for the change, too. They say users have gone beyond Twitter’s original boundaries anyway, forcing the platform to shift (for instance, adding the ability to attach pictures to tweets). People have found ways to work around the limitations, too (posting screenshots of longer texts, numbering their tweets, etc.).

Less stress is great, no question. And it’s absolutely true that increasing the 140-character limit will make a lot of users’ lives easier.

(If you’re in this camp – more intrigued than dismayed – you can test the broader limits with this clever workaround.)

Still, my initial objections remain. Twitter is losing a piece of its identity with this change. In the process, it’s inching closer to being like the other social media networks.

For those of us who respect the current character limit for what it is and use it to say what we mean (and mean what we say), it’s not particularly good news.

However, change is always inevitable. We’ll adjust.

We’ll just miss the “character” and flavor the old Twitter limitations gave our posts and conversations.

free course cta

brand social media presence

How to Build a Valuable, Strong Social Media Presence For Your Brand that Earns Leads and Return

Social media is your ticket to a broader following, more exposure, and improved online ROI for your brand.

Your content marketing strategy can really get a boost from a strong social presence, in particular.

In fact, BrandWatch calls social media + content marketing “the dynamic duo.”

For example, the more engaged and the bigger your social following, the more readers you can draw in with every new content piece you put out and promote.

That’s exactly what you want from this powerful combo.

You want social media to serve your content marketing, and your content marketing to enhance your social platform.

Of course, for the partnership of social + content to work this way, you have to build up each on their own.

That’s why we’re going to tackle how to build a strong social media presence today on the blog.

Ready? Grab a latte, coffee or tea and join me. Let’s start with the first steps.

how to build a brand social media presence

The First Steps for Scoring on Social: Know Your Audience, Choose Platforms, Set Goals

Ready to get going with a content marketing strategy that includes a strong social presence? Ask yourself key questions and begin with these steps:

1. Go Where Your People Are

“Where does my audience live?” is the first question you should ask yourself when you’re ready to start building up your social media presence.

Of course, to answer it, you have to know your audience. You need to understand who they are, what they do, and where they hang out online. Thus, at this point, you should be relying on your audience personas, or those imaginary human beings who are composites of your target audience.

Here’s a sample persona from Hubspot:persona-template-demographicsBased on what you know about them, which social network(s) do your personas use the most? Go there.

Have you signed up for my FREE course, Turbocharge Your Content Marketing in 5 Days? I teach the basics of persona building in this course.

2. Choose Your Platforms Judiciously

Maybe your personas are social media gurus who have accounts on nearly every channel. In this case, where should you go?

Do you create accounts for your brand on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest? Do you set up an account on that new network that hasn’t gained much traction yet (these come and go, but there’s always one out there)?

The answer is no, you shouldn’t. Instead, ask yourself this question:

“Where can I reach my audience effectively?

If you sign up for every social media account you can, you’ll just spread yourself too thin. Instead, choose a select few, ones where you can have a demonstrable impact on your audience.

According to Inc., quality is better than quantity for social media, especially if you don’t have the funds for a dedicated social media manager. So, stick to one or two platforms, and get the hang of them before you add any more.

Choose platforms that will support the kind of posts you plan on doing, too. For instance, if your posts are going to be image-centric, Instagram could be better for you than Twitter.

Once you figure all this out, go ahead and secure your accounts (using your brand name as your handle) on your chosen platforms.

3. Set Goals to Stand Out

Here’s the final question you need to ask yourself on this quest for social media victory.

How can I stand out above everyone else while reaching them?

For one, plan the content you will post on each platform, and optimize that content for ultimate success.

Don’t just share links to your other content on the web. Create content just for social media, too. Think video, images, interactive content, and more.

Don’t just regurgitate links. Give your followers a little more reason to stay connected to your feed.

Finally, plan that content with a posting calendar, and set goals for yourself. Will you try to add X number of new followers per week? Will you aim for a base level of likes on each post? Will you try to engage with others X times a day?

Planning and setting goals can help push you toward success on social. It’s just that simple.

3 More Tips to Rock It Out on Social Media

So, you’ve got the basics of how to grow your social media presence on lock. Now you may be wondering: How can you go the extra mile?? (like Forrest Gump?)

1. Go Live

Going live means pushing “record” and rolling with it. It’s just you and your audience – no script, no text, just your face and your voice, talking to them.

It sounds scary because it is. I tried it myself for the FIRST time ever recently, and I’ve been in content marketing for six years!

To get myself comfortable, I went ahead and say “yes” to going live two days in a row in the middle of September. Once I got past the nerves of “going live,” I really enjoyed it.

I went live on Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang’s show, Classroom Without Walls, speaking SEO content tactics. She is a social media professor that holds a FB Live every Wednesday at 5 PM.

The NEXT day, I was live on Madalyn Sklar’s awesome #TwitterSmarter afterchat, sharing Twitter strategies to earn more business.

Each appearance racked up over 500 views, and, my Facebook page went from 600-odd page likes to over 800 that week. Wow! It was well worth it.

The fear, of course, is tied to the “live” part of the deal, and it understandably holds many people back.

However, it can be HUGELY valuable for your brand’s reach on social media, because platforms serve live content first – just like I found out!

Look at Facebook, for instance. They know that people are more likely to stop and watch a live video, or watch it longer, so they serve that content to you first. Crazy, right?

To get a taste of the difference between live and standard video posts, think about some stats. On average, people watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than other types of video. Users also comment on them at a 10x higher rate.

Going live can be a powerful way to build a stronger presence on social media. You just have to work up the nerve to hit “record.”

2. Creatively Engage Your Followers

If you want to boost your presence, another strategy is to creatively engage your followers. Give them opportunities to interact with you and the community you’re targeting.

Here at Express Writers, we went the extra mile on Twitter to engage our followers and created a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat.

People have really taken this chat and run with it. I have been shocked at the amount of engagement each of our chats gets! (In a really, really good way.)

Along with running the chat itself, we also post weekly recaps that condense all of the great ideas shared, featuring fantastic community responses to the questions we throw out each week.

contentwritingchat2

Engaging our followers through a Twitter chat has really been fun – for both us and them.

Why not try creatively engaging your own followers with a similar idea?

You could start your own chat around a topic relevant to your brand. You could create your own hashtag and encourage followers to post with it, hold contests and giveaways through your accounts, and more. The only limit is how far your imagination can go.

TDLR; – A “Worth It” Social Presence Requires Elbow Grease

If you want traction on social media, you can’t just post a couple of links once in a while and expect anything good to happen.

Instead, you need to plan, set goals, do your research, and implement it all.

Once you start growing your presence on social, your content promotion and marketing will grow, too. The relationship is symbiotic – content marketing and social media can help each other out, and that’s ideal.

It’s also so, so worth it.

If you’re looking to take your social media presence to the next level, Express Writers can help you rock it out with expertly crafted social media posts and visuals. Get yours right here.

content strategy course CTA03

how to write facebook ads

Your Nutshell Guide on How to Write Facebook Ad Copy

Ads on social media are hot, hot stuff right now.

I think it all started when “organic” reach on social media declined to scarily low ground.

A steep  50% + organic decline in Facebook page reach, identified across a short time span in 2014, was an eyeopener for a lot of marketers (benchmark study from [email protected]):

Ogilvy said in the same study:

“Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.

In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more.

By February 2014, according to a [email protected] analysis of more than 100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October. For large pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2 percent in February.”

That’s rough.

So, what can marketers do?

The answer: pay a small sum and start doing ads on the platform. Facebook ads are, according to Wordstream, one of the most cost-effective advertising platforms. Check out their CPC (cost per click) study. $1.72 is an extremely low advertising cost – but that’s the “average” cost!

And there have been incredible, inspirational success stories from marketers making BIG income using Facebook ads:

And there are tons more stories like these.

critical element to the success of a Facebook ad is the copy in that ad.

Double whammy: it can also be the hardest task on your list.

Writing ad copy is a different animal from writing blogs, articles, or other content.

Looking for more social media hacks? Download our FREE resource, A Handy Dandy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts: Best Practices, Length, & More

how to write facebook ad copy

It’s not a predictable, plodding cow. It’s a wily horse.

Meanwhile, Facebook ad copy is like a zebra in a herd of wild horses.

Don’t be fooled. It looks like a horse, but it’s not.

It’s something else, a totally unique task. To learn how to write Facebook ads that work, you have to know how to approach the zebra so you don’t make it shy away. You have to use a strategy separate from what you’d use for other types of ads.

Let’s start with a basic question…

How Important is Ad Copy on Facebook Ads?

Rule of thumb: ad copy is nothing without great visuals. (The same can be said vice versa: you need great ad copy for a great ad visual.)

The proof is in the stats.

Take this oft-cited BuzzSumo finding, for starters: Facebook posts with an image get 2.3 times the engagement as posts without an image.

On Facebook, ads show up in the news feed and look like posts. Ergo, if your ad has no image, not even a placeholder, we have an issue.

facebook_adplacement

The image takes up the most real estate, and has the most impact, in a Facebook ad.

facebookads_format

Facebook Ads Manager has a variety of ad formats to choose from, but note that all of them are image-centric.

Okay… So, What Role Does Ad Copy Play?

You may be wondering why we’re worrying about ad copy at all in the face of the facts.

Here’s why:

The ad copy supports the image. The two play off of each other.

The image is what draws the eye, but the ad copy is what seals the deal for the click.

Facebook says as much on their Ad Copy Cheat Sheet:

facebookadcopycheatsheet_copyandimage

Without the ad copy, your ad will be much more confusing. Users won’t know what to do with it. Users won’t have a reason why they should stop and pay full attention.

With the ad copy, you provide that reason. You provide the essential why. You answer the customer’s dearest question: “How does this benefit me?”

How to Write Facebook Ads, Step-by-Step

Knowing the rules is the first step to complete knowledge.

Picasso, for instance, didn’t begin his foray into abstract art without first intimately knowing the rules of drawing from life.

In the same way, to write great Facebook ads, you have to understand the basic rules first.

Know your limitations, then stretch them with your imaginative, creative, effective copy.

Step #1: Begin with the Image

Before we dig in, we need to qualify something. Steps one and two are interchangeable.

Sometimes, you’ll start with a great image and can pull inspiration for the copy from that. Other times, you start with a great idea. This means you flesh out a catchy concept and find the perfect image afterward.

If you’re beginning with the image, think about three things:

  • Use as little image text as possible, if at all. Facebook only allows text to occupy 20% or less of your image. Images with more text get less exposure. (Check that your image fits this rule with this little tool.)
  • The headline needs to match up with or echo the on-image text (if you’re including any).
  • If you use on-image text, make sure it’s a value proposition, according to SEMrush. In other words, what will viewers get out of the deal? (A discount? A freebie? A better life?)
  • Users will see your image first, your copy second. Make sure your image is relevant to your entire ad message.

Here’s an example of an Amazon ad that uses image text properly:

amazon_ad

Step #2: Move to the Headline

In Facebook Ads Manager, you may notice that you’re presented with one text box to enter your ad copy. Don’t start there, though.

Instead, check the box underneath that says “Add a website URL” to access more options. You’ll see something like this:

facebookads_text

The text box for entering your headline is further down the page. Don’t worry about doing things out of order – you’ll want to create your headline first to give your copy a general direction.

The headline is most likely what a user will see second, after the image. As such, this becomes a huge focus for your copy creation.

Here are some keys for a great headline on a Facebook ad:

  • Make it actionable – It should serve as an underscore to your actual call-to-action. To encourage action tenfold, start with a present-tense verb. I.e. get, do, go, look, save, shop, buy, etc.
  • Think about formulas for great headlines – You probably are aware of the different formulas and power words you can use to craft a great blog headline. The same principles work here, too. Two can’t-fail techniques are to use numbers or ask a question.
  • Keep it short and snappy – Kissmetrics recommends keeping your headlines down to five words or less. (That’s… not a lot of words.) If you’re struggling with this limit, you can give yourself a bit more wiggle-room as long as your message is still clear and concise.

Another tip from the Ad Copy Cheat Sheet.

Step #3: Add Supporting Text (the Body Copy)

Annnnd we’ve returned to that first text box. (“Text” on Facebook is essentially your body copy.)

facebookads_textbox

Since you’re only saying one thing in your Facebook ad, use the body copy to reiterate your headline. That’s right: Echo your headline and image, but say it in a different, compelling way.

Need an example?

Let’s say your headline is “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way” for an online grocery service.

Your aim for the ad is to grow brand awareness. You want to tell people what you do succinctly.

Now what?

Think of the audience you’re targeting. In Facebook Ads, you have to choose this audience before you can get to the ad-writing part.

For instance, are you targeting midwestern moms in their late 30s? Think about the problems your service solves for them. Think about what they have to deal with while grocery shopping – rowdy kids, a long list to get through, not a lot of extra time, tiredness after a long work day, etc.

Boom.

There’s what your copy can address. It answers the question, “Why will this make my life easier?” It focuses on the benefits of using the service, not the features – a proven sales technique.

Here’s the resulting body copy:

“Skip the errand-running hassle. Shop for groceries from the comfort of your home.”

You can have as many as 90 characters in your body copy, but a 40-character limit is regularly touted as best-practice for good results. In general, shoot for short and sweet.

Step #4: Include a Call-to-Action

Always include a call-to-action with your ads. Always.

You need to tell the customer what to do with the information you’re giving them. You have to direct them, let them know where to go from here.

Just make sure your call-to-action is simple and direct. It should also match up with your headline.

For example, if my headline is “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way,” my call-to-action should be “Shop Now.” Too many directives, like if I used “Learn More” as a CTA in addition to “Shop” in my headline, is just confusing.

Facebook gives you the option to include a call-to-action button on your ad. You choose the appropriate text:

facebookads_calltoaction

Definitely include this feature! People love the satisfaction of clicking a good button. Don’t deprive them of that on your ad.

Step #5: Write a Supporting Link Description

Don’t skip this next part in our lesson on how to write Facebook ads.

It’s the ominous box called “News Feed Link Description.”

You may be thinking, “What does that even mean?”

Really, you should think of it as more supporting copy for your ad. Here’s where it shows up when you choose to run news feed ads:

amazon_ad_linkdesc

Think of it as secondary body copy that can lead your viewer to your CTA. As such, you need to use it to keep driving your message home.

For reference, our example ad so far has the headline “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way” with body copy that reads “Skip the errand-running hassle. Shop for groceries from the comfort of your home.”

What else can we say that supports the assertion that this will make life easier for moms in their 30s?

The best strategy is to continue espousing the benefits of your product/service/what-have-you.

The news feed link description line can be up to 200 characters long. But, for accommodating smaller screens, Facebook recommends keeping it to a brief 30 characters. However long you go, that’s valuable extra space to help sell your message.

For instance, we might write, “No need to hop in the car, schlep the kids, or waste gas. Shop from home and get everything you need – fast.”

If we wanted to keep it under 30 characters, we could go with, “Check off your list – fast.”

Step #6: Double-Check the Ad Preview

Nothing is worse than spending eons of time writing a great ad, only to realize you made a stupid error after hitting “publish.”

That’s why the ad preview feature is a lifesaver. You can check that everything is the right size, length, and category. (Like if you accidentally mixed up the “Text” section with the “News Feed Link Description.”)

If you’re blanking on character limits and what section goes where, bookmark or save a handy cheat sheet that breaks everything down at a glance. Facebook provides quick recommendations for image sizes and character limits. Refer to these so your ad looks good no matter where it appears on the site:

facebookads_designrecs

4 Extra Tips for How to Write Facebook Ads with Punch and Pizazz

The general gist of writing ad copy isn’t too hard. Once you know your boundaries, often that can spark more creativity than if you’re working without rules.

So, you get how to write Facebook ads. You’ve got the basics. Now you might want a few extra pieces of wisdom to help take your copy over the top.

1. Know Exactly Who You’re Writing For

We can’t stress this point enough. Once you’ve figured out exactly who you’re writing for, you’re halfway to a fantastic, conversion-generating, wow-worthy, absolute machine of an ad.

Let’s reiterate for good measure: It will make your life 100,000,000,000 times easier to have this specific person in your mind while writing the ad copy.

If you don’t know who they are, stop reading this and start researching.

2. Pretend You’re Writing to One Person in Your Audience

Targeting a specific audience helps keep your writing honed, focused, pointed, and deeply relevant for the reader.

When you pretend you’re speaking to one person, you increase all that. Their concerns, needs, hopes, and wants become immediate. You’re not talking to an auditorium full of people whose faces you can’t see; you’re sitting across from someone and making eye contact.

The difference is huge, and it matters for writing good ad copy.

3. Don’t Be Shy

You’re writing an ad. You have zero time to hedge. You have to say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Your length and space restraints will help you be more to-the-point, but you have to also figure out the best way to say what you need to say.

Don’t provide useless facts, don’t waste time bragging about features, and don’t get too descriptive and lose your audience. Simple and bold is better for memorable ads that stop a mindless scroller in their tracks.

4. Listen to Facebook!

Facebook provides recommendations and guidelines to help you create the best ads possible. It would be foolish to overlook them. Here are a couple more worthy tips from the Ad Copy Cheat Sheet for good measure:

facebookadcopycheatsheet_extras

How to Write Facebook Ads Like a Pro: Done

It’s a lot of information to take in, but, like we said, Facebook ads are in their own category for copywriting. They need a special approach.

Of course, the only way to get good at any task is to get in there and get your hands dirty. Jump onto Facebook Ads Manager and start playing around. Practice your approach for different campaign goals like brand awareness, conversions, or lead generation. You can always test out different ads to see what lands and what flops.

When you write your own Facebook ads, you may even come to relish the unique creative challenge they pose.

Hey, stranger things have happened!

If Facebook ad copy is still giving you grief, don’t despair. Our copywriting experts here at Express Writers can take the reins and make ad magic. See our ad copywriting services here.

ad writing cta

social media posts

A Handy Dandy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts: Best Practices, Length, & More

Imagine this:

You’re standing at a crossroads.

Facebook is open.

You’re ready to write a social media post for your brand, but you don’t know how to write social media posts strategically.

What do you do?

It’s not as easy as it looks. Writing and posting on social media is a whole different story when you’re a business versus an individual.

You have to know posting practices to get the most out of social: the way you write your posts can affect your authority, reach, and more.

Don’t just compose a post and call it done. You need to conform to best practices to get the most rewards for your efforts. To fit into each social network niche, you have to post in expected ways.

Follow the below formula for creatively (and correctly) posting to each social outlet, and people are more likely to see and discover your posts. Let’s delve in!

a guide to social media posts

How to Write Social Media Posts That Hit the Mark, Every Time

Stick to proven best practices when thinking about how to write social media posts. Stay true to the best structure for each different network. Then, get creative within that post content and use your own ideas, content, and visuals.

Here’s a rundown of best practices on how to write your social posts for each network, from Facebook to Pinterest.

1. How to Write Engaging Facebook Posts

Facebook can be tricky, as lots of different posting techniques work. Here are some general guidelines. Play around with them until you find a method that works for you.

Post Length

In general, shorter posts are better for social media. However, when it comes to Facebook, you can go a little longer with no worries. For twice the engagement, 80 words is a good sweet spot to shoot for, but you can get as lengthy as 120 words.

Best Practices

A good best practice for Facebook is to include a visual with every single post. Even if your post is a text post, add a graphic or photo to increase engagement. Videos are good complements, too.

You can also boost engagement by ending your post with an exclamation mark. Positive sentiments do well for Facebook posts. Similarly, ask your audience a question to get more reader involvement, like comments.

Hashtags

Using hashtags on Facebook is a good way to connect your post to a larger discussion. It may also get more notice if you choose hashtags wisely.

That said, hashtags aren’t huge on Facebook, so limit yourself to one or two. You can create your own brand-related hashtags and use those, as well. For instance, a marketing campaign with its own hashtag is excellent for getting engagement.

 facebook_innocentdrinks

Example: Innocent Drinks

The British juice makers behind Innocent Drinks post stuff that’s short-but-sweet. Yet, it still falls in line with their trademark “innocent” humor.

They keep their average post length pretty short, use photos in every other post, and occasionally use hashtags. Their engagement level on every post speaks for itself.

2. The Best Way to Tweet on Twitter

Twitter is notoriously harder to get right because of its length requirements, but when you do nail it, you can really soar.

Post Length

Twitter only allows you to post up to 140 characters at a time. Obviously, your tweets need to be short and to-the-point. Twitter itself recommends only posting about one topic at a time. You won’t be able to fully address multiple topics.

A good length to shoot for is 120-130 characters. This way, there will be room for your Twitter handle at the end if anyone retweets your post.

Best Practices

If you have more to say than what Twitter allows, include a link to a blog post or article. TinyURL can shorten long web addresses so they don’t hog your writing space.

Another good practice for Twitter posts is including compelling images with your tweets. These types of posts get more engagement than other kinds.

Finally, did you know you can tag up to 10 people in a photo on Twitter? This is great for directing their gaze to your post, but make sure the tag is relevant to both the post and the photo. Tagging somebody as a random grab for attention will not win you any favors.

Hashtags

You don’t have much space in Twitter posts, so use hashtags wisely. This does not, under any circumstances, mean you can hashtag every other word. For example, this type of hashtag usage should make you cringe:

I love #coffee! My #favorite #coffeedrink is a #hazelnutcappuccino from the #localcoffeeshop.

Instead, go for one or two hashtags that are relevant.

Example: Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar did a few things right, here. They used one hashtag to participate in a fun holiday, they posted a relevant joke, and they included a playful visual that’s their own content. Win, win, win.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn the best practices for creating amazing #socialmedia content via @ExpWriters!” quote=”Learn the best practices for creating amazing #socialmedia content via @ExpWriters!”]

3. How to Write Instagram Captions That Complement Your Photos

Posting photos on Instagram is one thing, but what about the other half of the equation, the caption? Turns out, a good caption can do a lot of work for your post and get it noticed! Here’s how.

Post Length

On Instagram, your caption length doesn’t matter too much. However, there is a character limit, so you can’t write a novel.
As for what to write, feel free to describe your photo and put it in context. Or, ask your followers questions to increase engagement and encourage comments. In fact, any call-to-action in your Instagram caption is a great idea.

Best Practices

If you like longer captions, hit the “return” key a couple times after each point to make them easier to read. You can also use emojis creatively to break up your caption.

Emojis work great in Instagram posts, as they mesh well with the general lighthearted nature of the platform. You can even use related emojis as hashtags.

Hashtags

You can go wild with hashtags on Instagram – up to 30 are allowed with each post. Add them in a new comment on the post to keep things cleaner.

When using emojis as hashtags, as always, keep it relevant. For instance, a post about Earth Day could include a hashtag with the globe emoji, or a hashtag with a plant or tree emoji. This is the best way to help interested people find your posts, discover your account, and, by extension, discover your brand.

Planning perfection! Get more @BritandCo cuteness via link in bio.

A post shared by Target (@target) on

Example #1: @Target

Target has a super short caption, but they have all the right elements. Their post includes a catchy description, relevant emojis, a tag to a related/featured brand, and a call-to-action.

Example #2: Obvious State

Bookish goods and stationery sellers Obvious State get everything right in this post featuring one of their products. Note how they posted their hashtags in a new comment and kept their caption engaging.

4. How to Write Good LinkedIn Posts

For a business, LinkedIn is a good platform for sharing news and insights from your industry. Here’s how.

Post Length

LinkedIn is a good platform for longer posts. Try posting company updates, new ideas, and insider experiences. Any other enlightening topics about your work will do. Don’t forget to post about company events, either.

Link-sharing related to your business will work well, too. Describe your link and add a few insights of your own. Or, ask your followers a question about a trending topic.

Best Practices

Format your long-form posts like blog posts. Include a headline and subheaders, and generally make sure you organize your ideas so the post is readable. Stay professional and avoid rants or casual posts. For more engagement on your posts, include related images.

Hashtags

LinkedIn posts benefit from 3-5 related hashtags plugged in at the end unobtrusively. This will help you contribute to larger professional conversations as well as get you more notice.

Example: TED Conferences

5. Tips for Posting Original Pins on Pinterest

Yes, there is a formula for writing pin descriptions/captions on Pinterest, too. Follow them for best results!

Post Length

Much like Instagram, the picture is the focus of the post on Pinterest. However, you can boost your post with the right description.

Don’t be afraid to use detail when describing your pin. 150-300 words is a good standard, depending on the pin. Make sure you include relevant keywords in the description. Provide more information about the pin and make users want to click on it to learn more.

Best Practices

When posting for your brand, Pinterest is not the place for internet slang, acronyms, or text-speak. For all descriptions, use correct punctuation and grammar, and keep your tone informational. Strictly avoid salesy language or anything that sounds inauthentic.

Hashtags

Don’t use hashtags. Pinterest doesn’t recommend it, and it’s not a common practice. In fact, pins with hashtags look strange and out of place.

Ancestry.com describes their pins naturally and with minimal fuss.

ancestry

Example: Ancestry.com

Note how the pin description asks the reader an interesting question. Intriguing!

Now that we’ve covered the right formula for writing for various social networks, let’s get into some general do’s and don’ts.

How to Write Social Media Posts: 3 General Best Practices

Keep to these general best practices for writing on social media and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition.

1. When in Doubt, Keep It Short

If you’re ever waffling about how long your post should be for Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platform that allows length, go shorter.

Shorter posts always do better than longer ones in terms of engagement. If your post does get on the long side, include an image to draw in your audience.

2. Be Authentic

Don’t ever be salesy or overly promotional in your social media posts. Quite frankly, nobody wants to listen to your sales pitch. Instead, practice authenticity. Be a real human with opinions, emotions, and ideas.

3. Consider Evergreen Posts

The lifespan of a social media post is brief. You only have a limited amount of time to catch people’s fancy before the post gets lost in the endless scroll.

Try posting content on social that will stand the test of time to combat this. If a post ever misses out on notice for some reason, you can also try posting it again. Try a different time of day, try different hashtags, or reword your description. You’ll quickly find out what lands – and what doesn’t.

[clickToTweet tweet=”What are the three best practices for #socialmedia content? Find out via @ExpWriters!” quote=”What are the three best practices for #socialmedia content? Find out via @ExpWriters!”]

Your Social Media Posts Can Be Better

If you’re scratching your head wondering how to write social media posts that stand out, you’re not alone. Social media is one of the hardest avenues to cruise down without speed bumps.

Follow this guide to help you get your outline down, then branch out and find the best way to fill in the blanks.

If you need a cheat sheet, download our Quick Handy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts below!

how to boost your business on social media

Engage! How to Get Customers and Boost Your Business on Social Media

Social media is the popular kid on today’s marketing block.

For your business, it’s one of the most integral tools at your disposal.

Social media helps get you noticed – and stand out, if you’re creative enough to do your own thing, and mix in a little bit of social media platform knowledge on top of it.

It’s useful for promotion, engagement, and building a following.

The one key benefit social media does better than any other tool, for a business?

It humanizes your brand. It puts a face and a voice to a name. It makes you approachable, relatable, and trustworthy.

However, this is only possible if you’re using social media the right way.

Let’s talk social media & a nutshell guide on boosting your business for more ROI, customers, and action from your time there.

how to boost your business on social media and get customers

A Nutshell Guide to Boosting Your Social Media Presence for More Business & Return

If you want your business to have a voice and a presence, you’ve got to jump into social media and get going. Here’s how.

1. Engage and Be Human

My number one tip for mastering social media is this: engage.

You’re a human being, and your audience wants to see evidence of that. If you don’t personally engage, you’re not providing that evidence.

Of course, you can’t engage without being approachable and friendly. Don’t keep yourself at a distance from your followers. Be real and be human!

This ties in nicely with my next tip…

2. Get Your Hands Dirty

To engage and be human, you have to get in there.

In short: do some work to build that relationship.

Get your hands dirty.

Start conversations yourself. Ask your followers questions, comment on others’ posts, and follow up personally.

A great example of this in action is the Twitter chat we host weekly, Tuesdays at 10 a.m. CST. It’s called #ContentWritingChat and it’s a fantastic way to talk to people about a topic we’re passionate about. Rachel, our Content Specialist/Social Media Manager, even writes weekly recaps on our site about the live chat hour.

It’s a favorite method of mine to nurture a lively, active community around a single social media event. Anybody can join in and give their opinions, advice, or insight.

To get conversations going, start your own Twitter chats surrounding a relevant topic. Engage industry voices as well as customers. The interaction that comes out of it will surprise and delight you.

Search #ContentWritingChat on Twitter, and you’ll see some highlights of our conversations.

From the 7/25 #ContentWritingChat, here’s a top tweet (I love the point Nicole makes – social media CAN get you out of your shell, in a great way!) —

Other ways to engage on social media:

  • Tag people in your posts – Tagging people in your posts is a good way to respond to their content and keep the conversation going. On Twitter, this is how you stay engaged.
  • Don’t forget to log in, yourself – Don’t let a “tool” be YOU. Don’t fall back on your scheduled posts via software, and let that be it. Remember to manually log in to your accounts, check your notifications, and respond to people.
  • Comment – Respond to people through comments, and start conversations through engaging with comments.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Get more customers + boost your business on social media with these tips from @ExpWriters!” quote=”Get more customers + boost your business on social media with these tips from @ExpWriters!”]

3. Set Goals for Interactions

If you find yourself forgetting to log-in or neglecting your business accounts for social media, start setting goals.

For instance, you might create a simple objective to have at least five interactions on social media each day of the work week. This forces you to pay attention to how you’re engaging and how much. You’ll understand where you need to improve and what you need to do it.

As you get better and more consistent about engaging, you can up your ante. Make your goals harder and keep track of your progress. Pretty soon, you won’t need goals to stay active and interactive on social.

4. Start Talking

It can feel intimidating to jump into social media and put yourself out there. This is especially true if you’re introverted or haven’t done much interacting online.

Don’t worry, though – you just need a place to begin.

To start engaging, you have to start talking. Here are some ideas:

Jump in on Trending Topics

If you want to get in on a larger conversation, post about trends and use hashtags. More importantly, tie together the trends with topics in your industry.

Take a look at how Denny’s used the Kentucky Derby to post and poke a little fun at the trending event at the same time. Plus, they reinforced their main draw: They have really good breakfast and really good pancakes.

Celebrate and Create Events

Along with casual events like Twitter chats, you can also host and celebrate any other event or holiday you like.

For instance, celebrate your business anniversary with a themed post and a coupon code for your online store. Or, honor a noted figure relevant to your industry with a post.

Out of Print did something like this in celebration of Cormac McCarthy’s birthday. They didn’t use the opportunity to self-promote. Instead, they created a graphic quote that appeals to their book-loving audience. It’s an interesting one that invites conversation. Plus, it’s totally shareable:

out of print instagram

For the Best Social Media Conversations, Don’t Overthink It – Just Genuinely Be Yourself, & Be Present

All these social media tactics have one thing in common…

They’re fun.

If you’re not having fun chatting, sharing, and conversing on social media, you’re missing the point.

The point is to build relationships and enjoy interactions.

Be yourself – and be present!

If you don’t interact with a healthy bit of this friendliness and lighthearted attitude, it’s going to be harder for you to build trust. This means you won’t be using social media to its full potential, and that’s a shame.

And, if you don’t show up consistently, you won’t get anything real from it – just like in a real relationship.

In short, don’t overthink social media. If you go at it with the intention of enjoying the interactive elements, you’ll pull your audience in naturally. This means lots of interesting conversations, engagement, and time well spent for your business.

If you need a new playbook for your social media game, Express Writers can help. Check out our social media services that can lay the foundation for better engagement.

fly cta express writers

pinterest seo

Pinterest SEO: How to Optimize Your Content For Pinterest

Today, Pinterest is one of the hottest social platforms out there.

Valued at more than $11 billion, Pinterest is home to more than 75 billion ideas and more than 5% of total referral traffic to websites.

As if that weren’t enough, Pinterest’s recent addition of the “rich pin” feature has made it a powerful purchasing platform, as well.

As it stands now, upwards of 2 million people purchase “rich pin” products daily.

As you can imagine, these things make Pinterest a POWERFUL weapon for e-commerce companies.

While there’s no doubt that Pinterest is a valuable platform on its own, brands that want to use it effectively still need to learn to optimize their content for best results.

Here’s your complete guide.

pinterest seo

Pinterest SEO: Why Optimization on the Pinning Platform Matters

While Pinterest offers huge potential for e-commerce companies, it also features the same challenges as any other social media platform: it’s easy to get lost in the fray.

According to some estimates, Pinterest users create roughly 5 million pins per day.

That’s a massive amount of content, and it’s more than enough to drown out anything that’s not high-quality or relevant.

Even content that is high-quality needs optimization to feature as prominently as possible on the platform. Better Pinterest SEO optimization means more views, more interaction and engagement, and, potentially, more sales.

Pinterest is an intensely visual platform, and it stands out as one of the top social channels for visual material. (Stat below from Shareaholic)

[clickToTweet tweet=”Pinterest is the #2 website referral traffic driver #social platform, coming in only behind Facebook. #stats” quote=”Pinterest is the #2 website referral traffic driver #social platform, coming in only behind Facebook. #stats”]

pinterest statistics

As such, brands that know how to optimize their content for Pinterest are in a better position to take advantage of the perks the platform offers, and grow their presence as a result.

How to Optimize Your Blog and Content for Pinterest

Recently, Kissmetrics published a post called “How I Got 1.7 Million Pin Views To My E-Commerce Pinterest Account In 2015.”

The article breaks down how Brian Lang, founder of the Small Business Ideas blog and prominent e-commerce developer, managed to build more than 1 million views and 10,000 followers for his Pinterest account, not to mention ranking in the top two results places for competitive terms.

Intrigued? You should be!

If you want to drive the same results, follow these tips:

1. First, Pin Consistently

Pinning consistently is the basis for all your optimization practices. If you’re not creating consistent content, it’s impossible to optimize it accordingly. And even the best optimization doesn’t count for much if you’re only posting a single pin every three months.

With this in mind, make your first commitment pinning frequently. Not only does this keep your followers engaged, but it provides an optimization boost by upping your long-tail SEO value and views.

While the ideal pinning frequency will depend on your brand and focus, CoSchedule recommends pinning at least 11 times each day, between 2:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. For a healthy mix of original and curated content, 80% of these pins should come directly from your own blog, while 20% should be outside content from third-party sources.

2. Do Your (Keyword) Research

Keyword research is essential in blogging and digital marketing as a whole, so why not Pinterest? Because people search Pinterest using search terms, optimizing your pins with your target head terms and keyword phrases can help ensure your pins pop up where they’re supposed to.

If you’ve already done some keyword research using a tool like Google Keyword Planner, you have a head start. If not, now is the time to begin. To get an idea of which keywords you should be targeting, type your target keywords into the Pinterest search bar.

The head (broad) term “recipes,” for example, renders several suggested long-tail keywords, such as “recipes for dinner” and “recipes with ground beef.”

Each of these terms is one you could target for increased Pinterest visibility.

keyword search pinterest

You can take your keyword research one step further by visiting the pins that show up for these long-tail phrases. Do the boards they’re associated with have lots of followers? Are the keywords popular enough that you could benefit from making an entire board devoted to them?

Remember that on Pinterest, just as in blogging, it’s smart to cluster your content around “topics rather than terms.” In other words, find a keyword phrase you want to target, and cluster content around topics surrounding it. For example, “recipes with ground beef” becomes “Slow-cooker taco meat,” “How to drain ground beef the right way,” and “Ground beef meatloaf with balsamic glaze.”

3. Create Separate Images for Each Blog

If you’re writing blog content, you can optimize it for Pinterest quickly and easily by creating separate images for each post. We do this here at Express Writers. Each blog we upload to our Pinterest profile features a unique image that meets the requirements of the social platform.

Because Pinterest is a highly visual tool, this is non-negotiable. Original and unique images catch more attention and help Pinterest users make a visual distinction between your content and everyone else’s.

If you’re going to create custom images, though, you’ll want to be sure they adhere to size and formatting standards.

According to Canva, the ideal size for a Pinterest graphic is 735PX wide and 1102PX high:

best size for pinterest

Stick to this size for best presentation.

Remember that any custom image you create is just another opportunity for branding. With this in mind, incorporate your company’s color scheme, typeface, and voice to ensure your graphics have your brand written all over them.

4. Target Seasonal Trends

Pinterest is a go-to for seasonal events, costumes, and ideas, and brands in virtually all industries can take advantage of this. Instead of overlooking holidays like Halloween and Christmas, use them to your advantage.

Around these big days, create some seasonal content on your blog and prepare it for Pinterest. Include a fun, seasonal graphic and target holiday-specific keywords, like “Halloween candy recipes” or “Kid’s Easter outfits.”

Brian Lang notes that none of his competition thought to target seasonal trends, which was one of the major factors that allowed him to soar to Pinterest fame.

5. Allow Search Engines to Discover Your Boards

If your boards aren’t visible to search engines, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. Without this little functionality working on your behalf, you can optimize until you’re blue in the face and it still won’t matter. To check whether your boards are discoverable, follow these tips:

  • Head to Account Settings. Click the “profile” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and then the “settings” icon, which looks like a metal nut.
  • Scroll Down to “Search Privacy.” You’ll see a bar that looks like the one below. Be sure the slider is turned to “off.”

Secret board screenshot

  • Check Your Individual Boards. You can also check that your individual boards aren’t hidden from search engines by opening the board, clicking the “Edit” icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, and making sure the slider isn’t turned to “Secret,” as pictured below.

Search Privacy PInterest

If you’ve had your boards hidden from search engines, be aware that it may take several weeks for them to start appearing in major SERPs.

6. Make Your Pinterest Account a Business Account

To optimize your pins and boards as much as possible, switch to a Pinterest for Business account. Introduced recently and designed to cater to the needs of e-commerce sites and small business owners, Business Pinterest accounts offer a few key differences from your standard account.

For one, they make analytics and visitation trends easier to view and verify. You also get access to the site’s rich pin feature, which allows customers to purchase a product directly through a pin and is indispensable for e-commerce sites.

Pinterest for Business accounts are free, easy to set up, and easy to use. What’s not to love?

7. Optimize Your Pinterest Name

Instead of going for a kitschy handle when you set up your Pinterest account, use your full business name. Include this business name in your Pinterest URL and throughout your profile, as well. If your company name is long, shorten it a bit. According to Wishpond, the optimal length of a Pinterest username is between 3-15 characters.

Just keep in mind that, if you intend to shorten your username, you’ll want to ensure it’s still easy for your customers to recognize.

8. Incorporate Keywords in Your “About” Page

You’ve done your keyword research and included target phrases in the names of your pins. Now it’s time to take it one step further by adding relevant keywords to your “About” page, as well.

Check out how intimates company ThirdLove has done this on their Pinterest page:

ThirdLove Screenshot

Keep in mind that you don’t have much room in your “About” section, and it’s best to keep it short and sweet, so any keywords you include should blend naturally with your content and provide value to your readers, rather than making your blurb feel unauthentic and plastic.

9. Write Good Descriptions

If you want to optimize your Pinterest presence, don’t skimp on your pins’ descriptions. While many people leave the default description intact on Pins they re-post, it’s essential to add your personal touch (and keywords) to this content.

As such, take the time to write a unique description that adds value to the pin. Tell the user why it matters or how it will help them. When you pin your original content, provide a short blurb about what people can expect to learn from it and how it will improve or enhance their lives.

Be sure to include relevant keywords in each pin description you write, as this will help your pins appear in search results and feature more prominently online.

The Case for Smart Pinterest Optimization

Today, Pinterest is rapidly rising to the top of the social media pyramid. Thanks in large part to its highly visual platform and simplicity, Pinterest has exploded well outside the boundaries of recipes and kid crafts.

Today, companies from General Electric to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Use the platform, and many small businesses and e-commerce sites have found it indispensable for the success of their operations.

Just because Pinterest has millions of monthly users and a high conversion rate, though, doesn’t mean it’s brainless.

If you want to succeed on the platform, you have to learn to optimize your content accordingly. Not only does this make your material more visible for customers, but it also gives you the tools and experience you need to build a productive Pinterest presence that lasts for years to come, and helps your business grow all the time.

While many marketers believe optimizing their Pinterest presence will be difficult, these eight tips go to show just how simple and intentional it really is. By doing smart things like conducting keyword research, posting frequently, creating original images for each blog, making boards discoverable in the search engines, and adding keywords to your Pinterest name and About section, you can ensure that every blog you post offers the maximum value for your customer, and the maximum visibility for you.

 

Get a completely managed social media plan from our copywriters and social media experts at Express Writers (includes Pinterest as an available platform). Original, high-quality written social posts and custom imagery included in the cost!

social media posts creation

10 Key Ways to Craft Engaging, Fun Social Media Posts for Your Brand (With Examples)

When it comes to social media posts, from writing to visuals and publishing, every brand wants to create the content that fans want to follow.

This is far easier said than done, though.

To be a truly “likable” brand, a company needs to master the art of social media content creation.

Think, for a moment, about why you would follow a brand on social media. Maybe it’s because you are interested in the industry that they post within, know and personally like them, or you just found them and simply fell in love with the fun, unique content they were posting on social media.

Either way, social media follows are typically about a desire for content – and that follow means you have an active fan or reader that will come back for more, so consistency is key.

creating social media posts

How to Write Engaging, Fun Social Media Posts for Your Brand (Consistently): 10 Key Ways & Examples

Fans don’t want to follow brands that post dry, boring content and, in light of that, it’s wise for brands to put in the work that it takes to learn to create fun and engaging social media posts.

Here are a few key tips I’ve put together to get you inspired, thinking, and started out on the right foot.

1. Be real about your industry, add tasteful humor

One of the best ways to create engaging social media content is to be real.

The fact of the matter is that most brands, regardless of which industry they work in, deal with something that is taboo, awkward, confusing, or just plain funny on a daily basis.

What better way to make a great social media post than to capitalize upon those things?

For example: Charmin, a toilet paper company, wins on social media – especially Twitter. They’re simply real about who they are, what they do, and bring in a lot of humor consistently about it.

They have a consistent Twitter column #CharminAsks that sparks humor:

And, one thing I love is that they even engage back with their punny fans:

By posting lighthearted content that makes their fans laugh, Charmin earns many more follows, re-tweets, and favorites than you might imagine a toilet tissue company would.

2. Use color to stay consistent with your brand

Take a moment to consider brands that have tied color into their branding schemes:

  • Coca-Cola, red
  • Evernote, green
  • The Honest Company, bright blue
  • Content Marketing Institute, orange

…To name a few. These brands have figured something out that the rest of us can do well to learn from. Namely, that using a trademark color scheme across social media can be a fantastic way to draw more attention to your posts and earn more readers.

cmi twitter

Because social media is a very fast-paced world, people using on social media platforms are often scanning through their newsfeeds quickly.

This means that anything that isn’t immediately different, eye-catching, or unique is likely to get skimmed past. To save your content from meeting this fate, brand your company with a trademark color scheme and use it in your social media posts. In addition to making your brand’s content more immediately recognizable, this will also go a long way toward making readers slow down and interact with your social media posts.

3. You can be promotional if you’re also being helpful, generous, and authentic

In order to create the best possible social media content, brands can enhance their reader ship by being generous with information. And here’s the secret: you CAN blend that with a mention of you and your products, provided you don’t oversell and stay helpful during the mention.

Fans come to your page hoping to find something to engage with and when you hit the nail on the head and address a problem they can relate to or a struggle that everyone has, you’re likely to earn a spot on their social media short list.

Think of it this way: each time you interact on social media, you’re provoking some reaction from your readers – be it interest, laughter, or curiosity.

This means that all of your social media posts should be aimed at creating a helpful, generous, and funny presence as often as possible. Look at how Poopourri blends a mention of their product with a fun Halloween costume idea:

While you don’t have to solve all of your readers’ problems, a few social media quips that show them you relate to their lives will go a long way toward making them want to engage with the rest of your content.

4. Spark curiosity in your social audience

Any good marketer knows that the headline of an article is the most important part. While 80% of people read headlines, only 20% read body copy, which means that a great headline can go a long way toward earning you more traffic, and more engagement.

To make your social media posts more fun, consider toying with your headlines a bit. Instead of writing a dry, information-only few words, consider playing with headlines that will provoke your readers’ curiosity or make them laugh.

For a great example, consider Innocent Drinks, a smoothie brand whose social media is decidedly not focused on smoothies.

While nobody is advocating making your headlines and short tweet body all about laugh-grabs, it’s clear that incorporating funny, attention-commanding headlines and photos into your social media strategy is a fantastic way to boost your readership and engagement.

For some additional help crafting great headlines, check out these headline analyzer tools and generators:

5. Include custom visuals

It’s a well-known fact that including visuals in social media posts is a fantastic way to draw more engagement and promote more social sharing (including visuals in social media posts increases a reader’s willingness to read by 80%), but what if you took it a step beyond stock photos? By creating custom visuals for your posts, you not only provide readers with value that they can only find from your company, but you also create a solid piece of marketing material that is likely to get passed around the web, spreading the word about your brand.

To get started with custom visuals, consider creating an infographic with the help of a designer or using a service like Canva to create unique images for your posts. Read our SME’s guide on how to use Canva.

Keep in mind that any image you create should match the tone and topic of your post – informational images for informational posts and funny images for attention-grabbing headlines, for example – and that each visual should also be relevant to your audience.

6. Ask for reader response

If you want to reach the ultimate in fun, engaging social media posts, look no further than conversation starters. Everything from caption contests to calls for user-generated photos, videos, or artwork can be a fantastic way to start a conversation and get your social media page popping.

Consider Happy Family as a great example and how incorporate user-generated content on their social media account:

happy family facebook

7. Shout out to readers

If you’re playing your cards right, chances are you have some faithful social media followers that read virtually everything you post. In light of this, one of the best ways to make your content more fun and engaging is to ensure that the people talking about and responding to your brand know that you notice.

On most social networks, it’s easy to respond directly to a comment (Facebook, for instance) or to simply “@” someone (Twitter) to make it known you’re talking directly to them.

This is an effective way to not only enhance the interaction with that specific user but also to encourage other users to reach out as well, which they’re more likely to do if they see you responding to other users.

Plus, the level of customer-brand interaction has increased markedly over the last few years, so it’s a good time to make this move.

SproutSocial recently found that the number of private messages sent from customers to brands on social media increased 110% between 2014 and the end of 2015.

8. Encourage your team to participate

For the most engaging social media posts possible, consider switching up your posters a bit. If you have a team in departments like sales, marketing, or customer service, give them a chance at the wheel for a post or two a week. In addition to the fact that your customers will likely love hearing from these seldom-aired sectors of your company, it’ll also help make your team feel more cohesive and engaged, which is good for everyone!

My team and I live tweet from our Twitter, @ExpWriters, when we’re at events. This October, I tweeted while at #SEJSummit, tagging all of our team present with me on Twitter:

On other days, Rachel, our social media manager, tweets from our brand Twitter account.

9. Tell a story, consistently

For a great series of social media posts, consider breaking your content up into a serialized narrative. This gives your readers something to look forward to on a daily or weekly basis and creates a fun and anticipatory environment.

JetBlue has done this beautifully in their social media profiles. Check out their Twitter, and here’s a sample tweet:


Just remember to be consistent with your social media presence. If you start telling great stories then suddenly stop posting, your readers will think you’ve dropped off the face of the earth and no one will want to check back.

10. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your content!

No two brands are exactly alike and what is going to resonate with your customers is different that what is going to resonate with someone else’s customers. In light of this, it’s important to be creative and playful when it comes to your social media posts.

Depending upon what industry you work in and who your target audience is, you may need to experiment a bit in order to find the perfect social media outline for you.

Have Fun, Interact, and Be Social – Consistently

When used correctly, social media, from writing to publishing, can be a powerful tool for companies in all industries. Whether you choose to interact on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram or a combination of any of these platforms and others, fun social media posts are some of the best ways to get your audiences to engage with your brand and spread the word about your company.

Remember to set a strategy in place and maintain consistency with your social media posts.

 

Need great social media copy and visuals? We can help! Check out our single posts here or total social media management packages here.