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Experiment with ideas. Test and see which works better. Analyze your data.

These are phrases we often use on this blog. To us, social media marketing is a bit of a science. We recommend testing things, running experiments, and analyzing data — because it worked for us. This experimental mindset has helped us grow our social media results.

But one thing we haven’t done well is to explain the how: how to run social media experiments.

In this post, you’ll learn the six simple steps of running social media experiments. We’ve even included 87 ideas, which you can start testing immediately.

How to run social media experiments successfully

Running social media experiments can be hard when you’re not sure where to start and where to head to. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you hit the ground running.

Before we dive into the guide,...

Instagram now has more than 800 million monthly users and sky-high user engagement levels.

And with 80 percent of accounts following a business on Instagram, it seems like marketers might be more keen than ever to get acquainted with Instagram for their business2.

I know we are at Buffer!

Lately, we’ve been sharing, liking, and trying new ways to grow Buffer’s Instagram account, and it’s been so much fun. Since Instagram is a platform we’re keen to focus on, we thought it would be fun to research some ways to grow a following there.

Whether you’re growing your own personal account or working on behalf of a company, read on to find out the 10 best tactics (with tools and examples!) we uncovered that could help you grow a bigger, more relevant audience on Instagram.

Buffer for Instagram now comes with direct scheduling! Schedule single-image posts or set reminders to post videos and multi-image posts at your best times to grow your Instagram following. Learn more today.

LinkedIn Groups do not have a great reputation. Many of them are filled with self-promotion and spam rather than valuable discussions and meaningful interactions. Hence, it can be easy to turn down the idea of creating a one for your business. “It wouldn’t work.”

While it is true that there are few good LinkedIn Groups, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful for all businesses. With the shift in social media usage in the recent years, closed communities such as Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups might be the next best way to engage your audience.

In this post, we’ll explore why your business should have a LinkedIn Group and how to create and manage a successful group.

Read on to find out more.

Why LinkedIn Groups

If you’re still wondering if LinkedIn Groups are useful for your business, I hope the following reasons can convince you of its importance and power.

First, social media as we know it is changing. There’s a significant shift from simply broadcasting marketing messages to engaging fans. Instead of building huge public pages, more and more businesses are opting for niche...

When I was in university two years ago, Facebook was already intertwined with student life.

We heard about news and events through Facebook Pages and collaborated on group work through Facebook Groups. After graduating, I’ve been getting updates about the university through the alumni Facebook Page. Nowadays, it’s also common for prospective students to research on Facebook when deciding their university and course.

With Facebook being a part and parcel of university students’ lives, there are many things that social media teams at universities can do to market the university, engage students, and stay in touch with alumni.

Here are just some ideas I’ve found through my research that you can implement for your university…

10 Facebook ideas for universities that want to be social 1. Share news, achievements, and milestones

A great, easy way to get started with using Facebook for your university is to share news about the university, such as achievements of students and professors and milestones of the university. This way, prospective, present, and past students can stay up-to-date with the happenings in the university while they are on Facebook.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shares about an average of one post every weekday (which is a great frequency...

How do you know if your customers (and potential customers) are talking about you on social media?

If they tagged your social media profile in their posts, you could check your notifications. If they didn’t, maybe you could search on each social media platform every time you want to find out. Sounds tedious? Here’s a better way:

Use social media monitoring tools.

There’s a great deal of wonderful social media tools out there. Among them are tools built specifically to help you pick out relevant conversations on social media — social media monitoring tools. Some of these tools allow you to monitor multiple social media profiles on the different social media platforms from a single place. There are even some that let you monitor social media trends and keywords.

There’s likely one that suits your needs. Let’s take a look at the 20 best ones for small and medium businesses!

What is social media monitoring?

Social media monitoring is the process of listening out for social media conversations that are relevant to your brand. Businesses engage in social media monitoring for several reasons, such as to connect with their customers, to...

In speaking with thousands of marketers and businesses over the past several years, we’ve learned that marketing has an incredible potential to impact people’s lives.

In fact, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

“The activity, set of institutions, skills, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

I love that. We as marketers are benefiting society at large!

But marketing skills and career growth don’t come easy in a field that moves at the speed of light. It seems like every week companies are demanding an evolved skill set out of their employees – giving rise to a new era of marketing roles such as the Full-Stack and T-Shaped Marketer.

Brands that can successfully bring a variety of people, marketing skills, and unique perspectives together have a huge advantage when it comes to providing value.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the incredible marketing team at Asana, a leading work management software, to break down the top 7 invaluable marketing skills that help some of the greatest brand teams on the planet produce consistently great content.

Let’s dive in!

7 invaluable marketing skills for teams

As Sujan Patel writes on his blog, “the modern marketer has to be familiar...

When was the last time you watched a video on social media?

Videos are becoming increasingly popular on social media, especially on mobile. Over the past year, the time people spent watching Facebook Live every day has increased by four times and Instagram videos by 80 percent3.

To create engaging social media videos, Facebook recommends creating videos as short as 15 seconds2. Sounds easier? But where do you start?

In this guide, you’ll learn step-by-step how to create short social media videos — anything from a few seconds to a few minutes. We’ve also included many tools and examples to help you get started.

How to create engaging social media videos

Creating videos can be more challenging than writing a blog post or designing an image. But it isn’t as difficult as you might have imagined. Here’s how you can create effective short social media videos easily:

Do you know how much an influencer marketing campaign costs? Or how much you should be paying an influencer?

If you’re not quite sure, don’t be worried. I’m like you. I didn’t know much before I did the research for this blog post.

And in truth, there’s no exact science to figuring out how much you should pay influencers, as one social media executive explained to Digiday: “We have no idea what to pay them. That’s the problem.”1

While there isn’t a clearcut answer to this question, there are some guidelines used by marketers, agencies, and influencers themselves. There are even tools to help you calculate how much to pay specific influencers.

We are going to share all these in this blog post. If you are interested, let’s dive in.

6 factors that affect the cost of influencer marketing

Before we dive into the guidelines used by marketers, agencies, and influencers, I would love to briefly cover the factors that affect the cost of each influencer marketing campaign.

This is because the guidelines below might not always apply to your influencer marketing campaign. Understanding these factors allows you to adjust your rates accordingly so...

There are times when we all run out of content ideas.

I’ve been in this situation many times myself — feeling unsure about what content to create and share.

However, after much trial and error, I’ve managed to find a few solutions to help keep a constant stream of content ideas flowing. These strategies help me uncover the types of social media content that our audience loves to engage with and share.

And in this post, you’ll learn about six ways to discover the content your audience craves.

Let’s dive in.

1. Use your analytics

One of the best ways to find out what your audience likes (or what works for you) is to use your analytics.

Your social media analytics can tell you what’s working and what’s not.

What you’ll want to do is to study your top-performing posts and re-create them. Here’s how to find your top posts with the native analytics in Facebook, Instagram, and more.

Facebook

One way to find your top-performing Facebook posts is to go to your Page Insights > Posts and manually look for posts with high reach or engagement.

As Instagram has grown it’s become an integral marketing channel for more than 5 million businesses worldwide3.

But as a busy social media manager, it can be difficult to find the time to consistently post to Instagram.

This is where scheduling comes in.

Learning how to schedule Instagram posts is one of the biggest time savers and productivity hacks for social media managers today. And what’s more, scheduling your Instagram posts has many benefits.

Studies have shown that consistency is key to growth on Instagram, so scheduling your Instagram posts and ensuring regular updates can be a win-win situation—both boosting your reach and engagement as well as saving you valuable time throughout the day.

This guide will explain exactly how to schedule Instagram posts (and how scheduling can benefit your business).

Let’s dive in 

Buffer for Instagram now comes with direct scheduling! Schedule single-image posts or set reminders to post videos at your best times to grow your Instagram following. Learn more today.

3 benefits of scheduling your Instagram posts 1. You can save time

Crafting and posting the perfect Instagram post can be time-consuming — especially if you’re creating your posts...

What’s in store for the social media industry in 2018?

The way consumers use social media channels is constantly evolving and as marketers and entrepreneurs, we need to adapt to these changes.

To better understand these changes, plus what’s ahead for 2018 and beyond we teamed up with Social Media Week to collect data from over 1,700 marketers and create the State of Social Media 2018 report. The report shows us how marketers, from businesses of all sizes, are approaching social media marketing.

Ready to jump in?

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world. Contents: – Key takeaways – State of Social 2018 full report – Essential insights for marketers – About the data – Your thoughts + downloadable data & charts 3 Key social media takeaways to guide...

Now that 2018 is here and in full swing, you might be looking for new social media tools to add to your marketing stack.

According to Scott Brinker of the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog, there are now more than 5,000 tools in the marketing technology landscape2.

So where do you start?

As part of our State of Social Media 2018 campaign, we partnered with the team at Product Hunt to put together a list of the latest trending social media tools for marketers to try in 2018.

Keep reading to see the full list and learn how to use the tools, or click over to the Product Hunt collection with all of 2018’s best social media tools.

The 20 best new social media tools to try in 2018

Here’s an overview of all the 20 social media tools (not arranged in any order). Feel free to click on any that catches your eye to skip to it!

How often do you read and share an article on your phone? Or how often do you snap, edit, and share a photo with your phone?

If you like creating and scheduling social media posts with your phone, we would love for you to try our mobile apps. They will make social media marketing on the go super easy and smooth for you.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the Buffer mobile apps (Android and iOS) and the top 10 features for smarter social media marketing.

Let’s get started!

Getting started with Buffer on mobile

If you don’t have our app installed on your phone already, you can download the Android version from Google Play or the iOS version from iTunes.

Adding your accounts

When you open up the app, select “I’m new to Buffer, let’s signup” if you are new to Buffer. You’ll be able to sign up with one of your social network accounts (Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn) or your email. Tap on your preferred signup option, and log in to give Buffer access to your account.

“@buffer, you’re invited to our beta program”

Late last October, we received an email from Twitter with the above subject line. We were lucky to be the few selected for Twitter’s new automated ads beta program, Promote Mode.

The idea is simple:

For $99 a month automatically promote your Tweets and profile to expand your audience and attract new followers.

At Buffer, we are always excited to experiment with new things, especially around social media marketing. So we jumped right in! We paid $99 upfront and tested the Promote Mode for 30 days.

In this post, you’ll learn about how Twitter Promote Mode works, and we’ll share our results from the 30-day experiment.

What is Twitter Promote Mode?

The official name for Twitter’s automated ads program is Twitter Promote Mode. Here’s how it works:

For a flat monthly fee of $99, Twitter will automatically promote your tweets according to your preferred targeting (interests or locations).

This program is great for people who want to promote their brand or products on Twitter and want to save time and hassle from running Twitter ads manually.

According to Twitter,accounts with up to 2,000 followers will see the...

Putting your trust as a marketer or brand in 3rd-party social media tools to manage all of your posts can be a bit scary.

You might be wondering:

  • Are my posts getting optimal reach and engagement?
  • Do social media platforms penalize 3rd-party tools?
  • Are 3rd-party tools really worth the cost?

These are some of the most common questions our Customer Advocates receive on a daily basis. And up until this research, we haven’t had any concrete data to say “yes” or “no” to whether or not 3rd-party tools affect the reach and engagement of posts.

We’re hoping to change that.

For an entire month, with the help of several awesome marketers and brands, we tested more than 200 posts across 35 profiles to see exactly how 3rd-party social media tools stack up vs. native posting.

Today we’re excited to share the experiment setup and results in their entirety!

Brief summary of results: 3rd-party tools don’t seem to negatively affect the reach of posts

We’d love to share a quick summary of what we found (you can find the full results and more on how we ran the experiment below!).

Facebook:

  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 81,639 total reach / 9,071 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 79,380 total reach / 8,820 per post

Twitter:

  • 3rd-Party Tools: 45 posts / 949,890 total impressions / 21,108 per post
  • Native Posting: 45 posts / 975,223 total impressions / 21,671 per post

LinkedIn:

  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 63,221 total reach / 7,024 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 54,646 total reach / 6,071 per...

We are grateful for people who share what worked (and what didn’t) for them on social media. And we’ve learned a lot from their experiences.

With 2017 coming to an end, I thought it might be helpful to do a review of our social media performance and share the findings with you.

In this post, you’ll find our top five posts of the year of each of our social media profiles and what we’ve learned from them. Plus, you’ll also learn about our top 100 most shared blog posts of 2017. I hope you’ll find this information helpful!

Our top social media posts of the year

We think social media is becoming more for engagement and brand building than referral traffic and revenue. So a top social media post to us is one that generates the most reach and engagement.

These social media posts are ordered according to their reach rather than engagement as it’s easier to get that data. Having said that, we found that the higher the reach, the more engagement a post likely gets.

Let’s jump...

“How did you get into marketing?”

At Buffer, members of our marketing team are often asked this question. And the truth is, the path looks different for each of us:

  • Alfred was in the army
  • Arielle was a health coach
  • Kevan, our Marketing Director, was a sports reporter

But for those of you out there who want to start a career in marketing or maybe build from where you are in 2018, we’d love to help you figure out:

  • How can you transition from your current role into marketing?
  • What should you focus on learning?
  • What skills do you need?

To help answer these questions (and more!), we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt, who recently published their first book on careers. The book highlights the best insights from top founders and investors on mentorship, overcoming challenges, and the best and worst career advice they’ve received.

In this post, we’ll share some of the insights from Product Hunt’s book — including lessons from Tim Ferriss and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian— as well as some advice on building a career in marketing from the Buffer marketing team.

Ready to jump in?

7 Tips for building a career in marketing 1. Form habits around your strengths ...

We often recommend crafting your social media posts according to your audience.

But how do you know who the individuals that make up your social media audience are? And how do you know what content they like?

Answering these two questions is essential if you’re looking to execute a successful social media strategy. And often, you’ll find the answers by turning to data and social media analytics.

In this post, I’ll share a few ways of using data to find out more about your social media audience across the major social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.


How to learn more about your social media audience on the major social media platforms

Here’s an overview of the tools that you can use to help you understand who your followers are. Feel free to click on any of the social media platforms to skip to its section.

Facebook: Audience Insights, Page Insights, and graph search Instagram: Instagram Insights and SocialRank Twitter: Twitter analytics, Followerwonk, and SocialRank LinkedIn: Linkedin...

What if I told you that LinkedIn, a social media platform that is now 14 years old, is the next big opportunity for marketers and brands?

While much of the focus over the last few years has been on perfecting our Facebook and Instagram marketing strategies, LinkedIn has been silently growing their user base to more than 500 million users.

The reason for this sudden growth?

LinkedIn is no longer known only for their résumé and job searching capabilities. It’s evolving into a thriving network of incredible content, influencers, and networking opportunities unmatched by other social media platforms.

In episode #69 of The Science of Social Media, we explore the many features that make LinkedIn such a powerful platform for brands and what marketers need to know going into 2018.

Let’s dive in!

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

At Buffer, we’re big fans of using data and research to guide our social media strategy. So when it came to finding the best Instagram strategy, I turned to social media studies.

I read through more than 20 studies on Instagram marketing from companies like Facebook, Simply Measured, and News Whip. Some analyzed the top Instagram accounts while some even studied tens to hundreds of thousands of Instagram posts.

Here’s what I learned from my look at the research.

8 Actionable Instagram Marketing Tips, Backed by 20+ Studies

The studies contain a ton of great information, and I distilled the key findings into eight actionable tips. Here are the eight tips to guide your Instagram strategy:

  1. Instagram’s young audience likes current, creative, and useful content
  2. Posting frequency is not as important as posting consistency
  3. There isn’t a universal best time to post on Instagram
  4. Businesses cannot ignore Instagram Stories
  5. Using both hashtags and location tag drives the most engagement
  6. Videos might overtake images as the most engaging type of content
  7. User-generated content drives growth and conversions
  8. Caption length doesn’t affect engagement