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How to Use the Facebook Attribution Tool to Measure Your Marketing Impact : Social Media Examiner

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social media toolsWant to better understand your customer’s journey across devices and channels? Have you heard of the Facebook Attribution tool?

In this article, you’ll learn how to use Facebook’s new Attribution tool to measure the effectiveness of your ads.

How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure : Social Media Examiner

Nov 1, 2018
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social media how toNeed more exposure for your blog content? Wondering what your options are?

In this article, you’ll learn how to republish your blog posts on social networks and other platforms while protecting your original content’s search rank.

How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure by Erin Sanchez on Social Media Examiner.

How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure by Erin Sanchez on Social Media Examiner.

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How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions : Social Media Examiner

Oct 31, 2018
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social media how toDo you want an effective way to get more leads? Wondering how to nurture leads into becoming customers?

In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to improve your conversions.

How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions by Rand Owens on Social Media Examiner.

How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions by Rand Owens on Social Media Examiner.

Why Your Business Needs Both Facebook Ads and Email Marketing

For as long as I can remember, marketers have hailed email marketing as the best strategy in terms of ROI and difficulty. Done correctly, email marketing drives a constant stream of traffic to your content. It also lets you connect with your audience on a more personal level, maintain brand awareness, and schedule your marketing messages for more ideal times.

A recent survey by Ascend2, however, reveals that email marketing has been overtaken by four things: SEO, marketing technology, content marketing, and social media marketing. To most people, these findings would end the “email marketing versus social media marketing” debate once and for all. Smarter marketers, however, would take the comparative success of both tactics as a signal to look for ways to combine them.

Let’s look at the facts. The success of an email marketing campaign is tied to the number of leads who are subscribed to your list. To generate leads, the typical approach is to drive traffic to a landing page, which is something social media platforms excel at.

An Ascend2 survey reveals that email marketing has been overtaken by four things: SEO, marketing technology, content marketing, and social media marketing.

Other than social ads that let you take advantage of a network’s massive and diverse user base, social media websites serve as reliable content distribution channels for your lead generation landing pages. In return, you can leverage a growing email list to boost your social media followers. You simply need email templates with links directing subscribers to your social accounts—that is, of course, if they don’t already follow you.

So how do you design a campaign that seamlessly fuses these two components? Start with a solid Facebook ad campaign that promotes your landing page to as many people as possible.

#1: Set Up Facebook Ads to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

Effectively advertising on Facebook requires you to learn several audience-targeting options, different ad formats, and advertising practices that will maximize your results. The setup process is easier and more streamlined than ever, thanks to Facebook’s pre-configured options.

To get started, head to your Facebook page and click the Promote button below the navigation tabs.

Head to your Facebook page and click the Promote button below the navigation tabs.

To create a Facebook ad campaign that sends traffic to your lead generation pages, scroll down the list of goals and choose Get More Website Visitors.

Choose Get More Website Visitors as the goal for your Facebook ads.

In the Promote Your Website window, specify the URL of the page you’re promoting. Note that you can see a preview of your ad on the right for multiple placements.

You can also change the format of your Facebook ad if you want. In most cases, a single image ad should do the job of promoting a landing page. But if you have the right visual assets, you can opt for the video, carousel, or slideshow ad format.

In the Promote Your Website dialog box, specify the URL of the page you're promoting.

The other elements you can modify are your ad’s headline, copy, call to action (CTA), and target audience. Here are some tips for crafting these ad elements.

Headline

The role of your headline, along with the featured image in your Facebook ads, is to capture the attention of your target audience while giving them an idea of what your business can do for them. You can accomplish both goals by emphasizing your audience’s pain points, mentioning actual numbers, and instilling a sense of urgency. Facebook ad headlines have a 25-character limit, so choose your words wisely.

Text

Once you have your audience’s attention, the ad copy should fill in the details they need to know before they can take the next step. Some of the ground rules are to make sure the text matches what you show on the image and focus on a clear, concise value proposition.

To boost the impact of the copy in your Facebook ads, adopt the preferred communication style and language of your target audience. For the most part, a friendly, conversational tone is helpful in getting your brand’s message across to Facebook users.

CTA

The CTA gives the audience one last push into clicking. Facebook has simplified this process by providing pre-defined CTAs for all campaign types. Sign Up and Learn More are two of the CTAs that work well for lead generation.

Select a call to action button for your Facebook ad campaign.

Target Audience

After you finalize the look of your Facebook ad, the next step is to define your target audience. As an ad platform, the targeting options on Facebook are impressive. In addition to creating target audience profiles based on user demographics and interests, you can also set up a lookalike audience based on data gathered from the Facebook pixel, your page followers, or your app users.

Alternatively, you can build a custom audience to use information from additional data sources, like a linked Instagram account, a specific Facebook event, and offline event sets.

Create a custom audience for your Facebook campaign.

Pay attention to the audience you create for your Facebook ads. The rest of the steps in this article (from building landing pages to creating nurturing experiences) should be tailored to their preferences and goals.

The last thing you need to configure before you launch your Facebook ad is your budget. Check out this article to learn the ins and outs of efficient Facebook ad budgeting, such as specifying target revenue and creating custom conversion paths.

#2: Design a Landing Page to Convert Leads From Your Facebook Ads Into Subscribers

Creating Facebook ads that can turn the heads of potential subscribers is only a part of the equation. You also need to design landing pages that compel your audience to take action.

Naturally, a well-funded business with an in-house web development team should have no trouble with this step. If you’re a startup, solopreneur, or freelancer, on the other hand, you might want to use a dedicated landing page builder like Instapage, which eliminates the need for an experienced web designer to create professional-looking landing pages.

Instapage kickstarts the design process with ready-to-use landing page templates. The tool offers a 14-day free trial and paid plans start at $99/month (when billed annually). To quickly find a template that matches your goal, select the Lead Generation checkbox on the template selection page.

Celect the Lead Generation checkbox on Instapage's template selection page.

Although the lead generation templates vary slightly in terms of design, they all feature the same on-page elements necessary for conversions. Apart from the prominent headline and short value proposition, they also prioritize the visibility of the essential form fields and CTA.

To explore more of Instapage’s features, go with the Blank Page template.

After you give your landing page a name and go through a short tutorial, you’ll see the main Instapage editor. Here, you can start piecing together your landing page. On the main toolbar, click the elements you want to include, which range from CTA buttons to form fields.

Design a landing page from scratch with Instapage.

Because most landing page builders are capable of producing similar results, there’s no need to be picky. What’s important is that you follow design principles that provide your audience with a frictionless experience and encourage them to follow through with a conversion.

Feature Visual Content

Although the web design industry has been trending toward minimalism in recent years, businesses never truly omit the use of a featured visual asset in landing pages. Visual content is simply much more effective than text in capturing the audience’s interest, be it an explainer video, a background image, an infographic, or a product photo.

Remember, the visual content itself doesn’t always have to stand out. As long as it draws attention to the other conversion elements on your landing page, it should work.

Eliminate Distractions

A distraction on a landing page can be anything that breaks the engagement or diverts the audience’s focus away from the conversion path.

Excessive page elements such as sidebar ads, animations, large menus, and pop-ups are only a few examples of distractions you should eliminate. Also avoid unnecessary steps in your design such as entering an address or answering a survey so you end up with a hassle-free conversion process. Here’s an example of a landing page stripped of all distractions that can ruin the user experience:

A distraction-free landing page.

Present a Solid Value Proposition

Upon arriving at your landing page, most (if not all) users have one question: what’s in it for me? Your job is to provide them with a clear, solid answer as fast as possible. That’s why your main headline should highlight a user-oriented value proposition that’s centered on your target audience’s needs.

Here are a handful of tips that will help you write headlines that convert:

  • Use negative superlatives. Negative superlatives, like “worst,” “never,” or “lowest” can significantly increase click-throughs in headlines.
  • Cite real numbers. One way to pique your target audience’s interest is to mention exact numbers to back up your claims. For instance, rather than say “tips to generate traffic,” try expanding it to “tips to generate over 10,000 visitors in a month.”
  • Use top phrases. A 2017 survey conducted by BuzzSumo revealed that headlines that contain certain phrases like “will make you,” “this is why,” and “are freaking out” garner significantly more engagement on Facebook.

Design for Mobile Users

Don’t forget that you’re designing landing pages for users who click your Facebook ads. According to Statista, 75% of Facebook users access the platform on mobile devices, so it’s vital to optimize your landing pages for mobile displays.

The good news is that most landing page builders, website platforms, and content management systems support responsive design out of the box. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into mobile optimization. A great place to start is the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter the URL of your landing page, wait for the evaluation to complete, and look for optimization suggestions.

Run a Google Mobile-Friendly Test to optimize your landing page.

A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Even with an experienced team by your side, it’s virtually impossible to get a landing page right the first time. If you use the proven landing page tactics above, there will still be some trial and error involved in determining the best design and structure for your website.

An A/B or split testing tool can significantly reduce the time it takes to gather sufficient data regarding your landing page’s performance. It works by letting you test two or more variations of your landing page simultaneously.

Landing page builders like Instapage have an A/B testing tool built in, but you can also use external platforms like the free Google Optimize tool to test two or more versions of a web page.

Use the Google Optimize tool to test two or more versions of a web page.

#3: Design the Perfect Lead Nurturing Campaign

You now have all of the pieces in place to start generating quality leads. Your social ads are hard at work bringing in traffic, and your landing pages should help convert these visitors into subscribers.

But you’re not done just yet. You still have more to do to truly win the trust of your new leads and eventually convert them into paying customers.

Create a Welcome Email

First, make sure they’re fully aware of what they signed up for.

In lead nurturing, creating a welcome email is perhaps the easiest step. If you use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, you have the tools you need to build and schedule a welcome email.

A welcome email not only lets you show your appreciation for new subscribers but also set their expectations and make them more receptive to your future emails. It may seem counterproductive, but include an unsubscribe link in your welcome email. It will help you filter out unqualified leads early so you can accurately measure the growth of your email list as far as high-quality leads go.

Create a welcome email to new subscribers in Mailchimp.

Track Where People Are in the Sales Funnel

One of the most common mistakes businesses make with email marketing is treating all of their subscribers the same way. In a sales funnel, there are different stages of familiarity that dictate how users respond to certain emails:

  • Awareness: The awareness stage is where people are just discovering your brand. These are the leads who need a welcome email with links to useful resources to get them started, including blog posts, case studies, and other types of educational content.
  • Consideration: Leads in the consideration stage of a conversion funnel aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase yet. They still need more validation from product reviews, tutorials, free trials, and other product-centered content before they’ll have enough confidence to take the next step.
  • Purchase and repurchase: In email marketing, you can segment all existing customers into one list regardless of whether it’s their first purchase. At this point, your objective is to build brand loyalty with cross-selling emails, review requests, and special event offers.

Email subscribers you’ve acquired from social ads are probably in the awareness or consideration stage of the sales funnel. To segment them accordingly, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Drip let you automatically sort your leads based on activities such as page visits, purchases, or signups from specific sources.

Automatically sort your leads based on activities such as page visits, purchases, or signups from specific sources.

Get Inspiration From Others

Just like landing pages, you must constantly test and improve emails to reap their full benefits.

Modern email marketing platforms have built-in analytics tools that help you with this goal. If you want a head start, take a peek at the email campaigns of the top brands in your niche.

Really Good Emails is a straightforward free tool that lets you do this. All you need to do is enter a keyword that describes the kind of email you want to create and wait for suggestions to come in.

Really Good Emails lets you see the email campaigns of the top brands in your niche.

If you prefer something more comprehensive, WhoSendsWhat might be the tool for you. It lets you bookmark emails for future reference, sort email samples by industry, and start your search with specific domains.

It also provides a more diverse selection of emails, including those that clearly didn’t use a design-oriented template.

WhoSendsWhat lets you bookmark emails for future reference, sort email samples by industry, and start your search with specific domains.

That’s it—real examples of lead nurturing emails you can borrow inspiration from. Pay close attention to how they present the key takeaways of their email, the focus of their headlines, and the overall tone of their content.

Conclusion

The steps above for designing successful email campaigns that complement your social ads look easy on the surface, and they are with the right tools. But only you can uncover the pivotal steps to success for your own brand.

Optimizing landing pages and developing email content are processes that don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to take the knowledge above, do your own experiments, and formulate a recipe that can accomplish your unique goals.

What do you think? Can you think of any steps to add that affect the outcome of a successful email marketing campaign? What strategies and tools do you use in your Facebook ads and email marketing campaigns? Feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments below!

More articles about Facebook ads:

Discover how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to nurture leads into becoming customers.



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7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses : Social Media Examiner

Oct 30, 2018
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social media how toAre you looking for ways to get more Instagram engagement? Wondering how to build stronger consumer relationships?

In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to improve your Instagram engagement.

7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses by Corinna Keefe on Social Media Examiner.

7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses by Corinna Keefe on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Follow Through on Follower Engagement to Stay in Step With Your Community

While it’s the first rule of social media marketing, lots of brands and marketers don’t follow through on follower engagement with their content. When you share a post on Instagram, be ready to answer questions in the comments, highlight them in stories, and refer to them in other posts.

Beauty brand Glossier spotted a great question in their post comments, so they shared a screenshot in Stories, offered an answer, and took the chance to share a shopping link with their followers.

Glossier answers a customer question in their Instagram story and includes a shoppable link to a relevant product.

True engagement goes beyond just reacting to your followers. You should actively invite them to participate and then respond. Set up a topic, hear your followers’ thoughts, give them feedback, rinse and repeat. In other words, have a conversation!

Instagram has a ton of features that make this easier. Question stickers, poll stickers, and emoji sliders are already popular tools for Instagram Stories. Run a poll to get clear-cut opinions or go deeper with an open question. Use these dynamics to entertain your customers, get quick product reviews, and even ask followers to choose the content they want to see in the future.

Food magazine Bake from Scratch gave their Instagram followers control of their content schedule with this quick poll.

Food magazine Bake From Scratch gave their Instagram followers control of their content schedule with this quick poll.

While Stories are great for having a conversation with all of your followers, the Quick Replies feature lets you connect on an individual level. With Quick Replies, you can write and store common responses to specific people in your DMs.

To visualize this, you can create a thank-you message to send to anyone who replies to your stories. It’s easier than giving someone a public shout-out. But a word of caution: make sure your replies don’t sound canned or artificial. The aim is to relate, not alienate.

#2: Incorporate Evolving Style and Platform Features Into Campaigns

Of course, every brand has its own unique style, voice, and values. While you don’t want to move too far away from those, it’s important to stay abreast of Instagram’s house style, latest design trends, and even memes. If you’re still posting content that looked good last year, your followers will lose interest.

Keep up with the latest Instagram features and releases, and watch your competitors closely to monitor trends. It’s worth doing your research into what content and styles are popular, too.

For example, it’s pretty common knowledge that photos with a single dominant hue and lots of texture score better with users. But you can also adjust your choice of colors and filters for the season, like L.L.Bean does below, or pick up tips from design experts to make your feed stand out.

Fall weather, fashion, and filters from L.L. Bean's Instagram.

Although Instagram is a visual platform, don’t forget about text. The way you use comments, captions, and text overlay can impact your posts. There are trends in text, just as there are in photo design. For instance, 2018 has been the year of deadpan humor for big brands on social media.

Hot Pockets has joined the trend for oddball humor and snarky replies. Posting this Twitter screenshot brings them in line with the multi-channel trend, too.

Hot Pockets Instagram post with trademark oddball humor.

#3: Cross-Promote Content and Offers to Move Followers Beyond the Instagram Feed

Social media is all about connections, and that includes your marketing. You can’t get the most out of Instagram unless you’re making links with other channels, brands, and tools. Most importantly, you need to connect your social media content to the point of sale.

Let’s start with the most obvious. Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the two networks have become ever more integrated. You can use Facebook ads to broadcast your posts on both Facebook and Instagram at the same time.

You can also achieve a lot by mixing features within Instagram. To illustrate, use your stories to highlight posts on your profile and vice versa. You can use stories or video posts as trailers for longer content on your IGTV, as Nike does here.

Nike Instagram post that promotes IGTV

But remember, it’s not only about increasing reach within social media. You can bounce followers among your social channels, website, store, and more. Introduce communities to a new range of content and encourage them to escape the “walled gardens” of individual social networks.

#4: Use Instagram Stories to Guide the Buyer’s Journey

Instagram Stories is the secret to the social network’s meteoric rise in the past year. More than 400 million users now watch stories daily.

As the name suggests, use Instagram Stories to tell a story. Just because the video format is short doesn’t mean you can’t build a narrative. Remember Vine? The short-form social network is long gone, but it taught us that you can tell an epic tale in 6 seconds or less.

Here’s a simple, effective story from magazine Travel Insider. With one image, a short text overlay, and a swipe-up link, they’ve set the tone and anticipation for a full article.

A simple, effective Instagram story that builds anticipation for a full article.

Try thinking about the story of the buyer’s journey. How can you guide your followers from seeing your content, to interacting with it, to making a purchase? Of course, the tricky part of Stories is transferring that connection off Instagram. Check out the next two sections for some story-specific tips.

#5: Make Every Link Opportunity Count

One of the biggest challenges on Instagram is the scarcity of live links. Unlike other social networks, you can’t share clickable links, except in your Instagram bio or via specific business tools. This helps keep the platform free of spam. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that users enjoy Instagram so much.

So if you want to make a positive impression, the trick is to work with Instagram’s limitations, rather than against them.

Make sure that every link counts. The way you use links depends on your industry, niche, and marketing strategy. You could connect to a landing page, update your link regularly with new content, or hedge your bets with a link channeling service such as Linktree.

Here are contrasting link strategies from two Instagram business profiles. ARCH Motorcycle sends followers to their main website, while The North Face’s Instagram for climbing enthusiasts links to the schedule for a film tour of the year’s best climbing films.

year’s best climbing films.

If you use your business profile to create ads, have more than 10,000 followers, or have a verified account, your options increase. You can add a swipe-up link to your stories or include links in ads.

However you share links, don’t lose sight of your strategy. Give users an attention-grabbing visual and a clear call to action. Make sure that the link is fully functional for mobile viewers.

An attention-grabbing visual and a clear call to action on an Instagram Stories post from Dollar Shave Club.

#6: Create Point of Sale Opportunities With Shoppable Tags

Shoppable tags are the most direct form of link marketing on Instagram. Users respond well to rich content and added-value links, but sometimes you just want a simple call to action and a sale.

Tags are also what differentiates Instagram from Snapchat. We all know that Snapchat’s popularity with mobile users, especially young people, is unmatched. But so far, it’s been impossible for most brands to monetize.

Instagram is the marketer’s compromise. It combines visual, valuable content with the chance to drive sales. The trade-off seems to work for users, too: 90 million users tap to reveal tags in shopping posts each month.

H&M shares Instagram Stories posts with shoppable tags.

The platform is currently testing a dedicated shopping channel on the Explore tab. You may have seen this rolled out already or might still be waiting for the update. There are even rumors that Instagram could launch a separate shopping app.

After a shaky start for IGTV, some are questioning whether a stand-alone app would get enough users. On the other hand, apps such as Pinterest and 21Buttons are testing the concept of social shopping with some success. Either way, you should be keeping a close eye on how new Instagram features and user reactions develop.

#7: Reward Active Followers With Giveaways

So far, we’ve mostly discussed practical tools to improve Instagram engagement. But let’s not forget the psychological side of things. You can promote user interactions with positive reinforcement. In other words, show your followers some love.

One popular method is an Instagram giveaway. You can highlight products and services, while encouraging engagement and showing followers they’re valued. Subscription beauty brand Birchbox treated their followers to deals, giveaways, and surprises to mark Customer Appreciation Day.

Birchbox's Instagram account treated followers to deals, giveaways, and surprises to mark Customer Appreciation Day.

The success of a giveaway depends on how you carry it out. You’ll need to publicize the deal in your posts, stories, ads, and even on other platforms. Include a clear call to action and give your announcements a sense of urgency.

Be sure to use all of the visual tools that Instagram gives you. Share a prize image, add filters, and layer on special effects such as Superzoom in your stories.

Subscription service Gentleman’s Box runs regular contests and co-branded promotions. They keep giveaway stories listed in their highlights so new followers get a glimpse of previous rewards and offers.

Gentleman's Box promotes a co-branded giveaway on Instagram Stories.

The prize you choose is key to your success. It has to be relevant, timely, and something that users will value. You can link prizes to themes or special events.

And don’t underestimate the power of co-branding: you can team up with other brands or influencers to offer a wider range of prizes. The NBA teamed up with sponsor Kia Motors to give away game tickets to celebrate the new season.

The NBA teamed up with sponsor Kia Motors to give away game tickets at the beginning of the season on Instagram.

The best prizes are things your followers love, but wouldn’t normally splash out on for themselves. Dollar Shave Club wins this one, with a prize that is literally out of this world.

Instagram giveaway from Dollar Shave Club.

Finally, choose an exciting dynamic; don’t ask users to follow you, spam their friends, or repost photos. In fact, reposting photos is explicitly banned in Instagram’s Community Guidelines. In practice, this comes down to a difference in technique. There’s a world of difference between sharing a single follower’s photo with the original image and proper credit, and asking followers to post thousands of grainy screenshots of your posts.

Instead, try asking users an open-ended question or encouraging them to share original content. This improves the quality of your interactions, which is the goal of rewarding active followers. It also reduces spam and creates user-generated content that you can repurpose.

Tips to Encourage User-Generated Content on Instagram

There are only two types of user-generated content that will be useful to you on Instagram: posts and comments. While stories with polls and question stickers can be a quick and easy way to hear user opinions, it’s much more difficult to record responses or share them with others.

In contrast, with the right tools, Instagram’s API allows you to collect comments, posts, and the usernames responsible. Stories are fun if you want to boost short-term engagement. If you want a long-term, data-driven social media strategy, comments and posts may well be more informative.

Let’s start with comments.

Many brands ask users to tag their friends in post comments, which may help to attract new viewers. However, you can go further and solicit more information. Ask followers how they use your products, what they think of the latest release, and why they love your brand. You can even enlist your followers as product designers and unofficial focus groups.

Artist ghost_puff uses a friendly, relatable posting style that invites community chatter on Instagram.

But let’s not lose sight of reality. The truth is that many brands and influencers have indulged in cheap, “like and share”–style engagement for a long time. This means your followers are often not used to sharing real, meaningful content. So to start, users may need an incentive. Tap into the popularity of giveaways and discount codes to encourage your followers to share.

Fashion brand ModCloth asked users to share their own designs in original posts and offered a generous incentive (in proportion to the assignment): the chance to win a $500 gift card.

ModCloth asked Instagram users to share their own designs in original posts and offered a generous incentive (in proportion to the assignment): the chance to win a $500 gift card.

As well as comments, original posts from users are a key form of user-generated content. Take a look through the examples in this article: you’ll see brands using their followers’ content for photo posts, product design, and promotional material. And until now, it’s been easy to collect user posts by asking them to share content with a branded hashtag.

However, Instagram has programmed a major change to the API, coming up on December 11. It’s part of the ongoing campaign on social networks to improve privacy and quality of engagement. When the full Instagram Graph API comes into effect, you won’t be able to collect user content from hashtags alone. But this doesn’t mean that user-generated content is over.

Instagram has introduced some API changes earlier than expected.

As always, the best strategy is to work with Instagram, not against it. The stricter API is an opportunity to demonstrate again that you have a good relationship with your followers, and they can trust you. Updated apps are already available that allow you to collect user content, with up-to-date permissions. You may even be able to get more contextual information than before, such as email addresses.

Your treatment of user-generated content is also a chance to show your respect for your followers. Make sure your privacy and data policies are up to date, readable, and fair. Give users a clear idea of how you want to use their content. Above all, announce any competition winners in a timely and transparent fashion. False promotions do happen on Instagram, and users are quick to call them out in public.

Conclusion

What does engagement on Instagram mean to you? For too many brands, it’s as simple as getting likes and follows. But in 2018, that’s no longer enough for a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Users’ feeds are flooded with content and it’s possible, even common, that someone could follow your profile and then never see your posts again. So how can you increase visibility and improve engagement for your posts?

Instagram’s algorithm favors posts based on interest, recency, and your relationship with others. So you need to be posting attractive content on a regular schedule. And most importantly, you need to foster a genuine relationship with users online.

Quality engagement takes more effort than likes and follows, but it brings greater rewards.

What do you think? Which of these tactics do you use to engage with your followers? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles about Instagram marketing:

Discover seven ways to improve your Instagram engagement and build stronger consumer relationships on the platform.



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How to Improve Your Facebook Ads Relevance Score: 7 Methods That Work : Social Media Examiner

Oct 15, 2018
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social media how toWant to raise your Facebook ads relevance score? Wondering how to create Facebook ads that drive positive engagement and social proof?

In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to quickly and significantly lift your Facebook ads relevance score.

How to Improve Your Facebook Ads Relevance Score: 7 Methods That Work by Ben Heath on Social Media Examiner.

How to Improve Your Facebook Ads Relevance Score: 7 Methods That Work by Ben Heath on Social Media Examiner.

What Is the Facebook Ads Relevance Score?

Facebook’s relevance score is a rating on a scale of 1-10 that demonstrates how well your Facebook ad is being received by your target audience. Once an ad has received 500 impressions, Facebook will generate a relevance score for it, with 10 being the highest.

Your ad’s relevance score is a significant predictor of Facebook advertising success. Ads with low relevance scores (4 or less) rarely generate great results, at least not for very long.

facebook ads with low relevance scores

Ads with high relevance scores (8+), on the other hand, often deliver fantastic CPA (cost per action).

The two ads below have high relevance scores of 9. The cost per purchase for these ads is significantly lower than the three ads above, which had much lower relevance scores.

facebook ads with high relevance scores

Why the Facebook Ads Relevance Score Matters

Facebook grades ads with their relevance score system to provide advertisers with useful feedback, and more importantly, to ensure their platform isn’t cluttered with annoying advertising.

Ads with low relevance scores are punished with higher costs, and ads with high relevance scores are rewarded with lower costs. The difference in cost between low and high relevance score ads can be significant, which encourages advertisers to stop running ads with low relevance scores. The more attention you pay to the relevance score of your ads, the more likely your campaigns will succeed.

What Influences the Facebook Ads Relevance Score?

Several factors are used to determine an ad’s relevance score including ad engagement and social proof. The most important factor, though, is positive and negative feedback from your target audience.

Positive feedback is a catchall term that describes people taking your desired action. For example, if your Facebook campaign is designed to generate link clicks, then a link click is your desired action. In this case, more link clicks would equal more positive feedback and therefore increase your relevance score.

Negative feedback refers to ads being hidden or flagged by your target audience. Some of this is inevitable, because most people don’t want to be advertised to. Hiding ads on Facebook is the equivalent of fast-forwarding through TV commercials.

Hide ad on Facebook.

But if your ad is relevant to your target market and displays something your audience is interested in, more people will take your desired action (positive feedback) and fewer people will hide or flag your ads (negative feedback). This in turn will increase your relevance score and decrease the cost of your Facebook ads.

Now that you understand what Facebook’s relevance score is and what affects it, let’s look at some techniques to improve it.

#1: Shorten Retargeting Windows

Retargeting website visitors on Facebook can be incredibly effective. The highest ROAS (return on ad spend) numbers I see consistently come from retargeting website visitors.

Facebook will let you target people who have visited your website within the last 180 days, and that’s the retargeting window most advertisers use. However, if you’re consistently retargeting your website visitors, 6 months is an awfully long time to see the same ad from the same company. Ad fatigue can easily set in and negatively impact your relevance score.

You can achieve better results from shorter retargeting windows. I prefer to use 30-day or even 14-day retargeting windows if a website generates a lot of traffic. To create a 30-day website custom audience to retarget, head to the Audiences dashboard within Ads Manager.

Open the Audiences dashboard in Facebook Ads Manager.

Then click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.

Click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.

In the Create a Custom Audience window, select Website Traffic.

The image below shows the default settings for a new website custom audience. Because you want to target all website visitors in the past 30 days, simply give this audience a name and click Create Audience. After 30 minutes or so, this audience should be populated and ready for you to retarget.

Default settings for creating a Facebook website custom audience.

#2: Target Cold Audiences With Lower-Cost, Top-of-Funnel Offers

As mentioned above, you need people to take your desired action to receive positive feedback and achieve a high relevance score. So if you directly advertise a $5,000 product to cold audiences, very few people will click on your ad and make that purchase. That means low positive feedback and a low relevance score.

It’s much better to advertise lower-value offers, lead magnets, or content to cold audiences. That way the barrier to entry for your prospects is much lower and more people will take your desired action.

#3: Promote Video via Page Posts

Video ads are more time-consuming and costly to create than image, carousel, or slideshow ads. And because of that, a lot of Facebook advertisers don’t use them. But the vast majority of the time, video ads are significantly more effective. In fact, videos are much more popular than any other post format on Facebook.

When it comes to video ads, quality is very important. Your videos don’t need to be shot in a studio, but the lighting and audio quality must be decent. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional.

To get better results, it’s helpful to make your ads look more like regular Facebook posts. With this technique, you’re not trying to trick anyone; your target audience will still see the little “sponsored” tag by your ad. However, when implemented correctly, you should avoid getting your prospects’ guard up and high levels of negative feedback.

Facebook video ad example from Target.

This tactic is particularly relevant for video ads. When you create a video ad, you’re able to add a headline and a call-to-action button, but both of those features very clearly mark your ad as an ad. You’ll often see better results when you omit them.

To do this, it’s best to publish your video to your Facebook page and then use that post to create an ad, instead of creating a video ad within Ads Manager.

Navigate to your ad within Ads Manager, highlight it, and click on Edit. Then click Use Existing Post instead of Create Ad.

Click Use Existing Post instead of Create Ad.

Now select the post you want to use as your ad. Click the down arrow and choose your post from the drop-down menu of your Facebook page posts. Your ad is now good to go.

Click the down arrow and choose your post from the drop-down menu of your Facebook page posts.

#4: Target a Broader Audience

One of the most attractive features of Facebook advertising is the specificity with which you can target people. Unfortunately, a lot of Facebook advertisers go overboard narrowing their target audience, and that can adversely affect their ad performance and lower their relevance score.

Facebook audience size message: Your audience is too specific for your ads to be shown.

Targeting larger audiences on Facebook is becoming increasingly important as the ad platform becomes more sophisticated. When you first launch an ad, Facebook will start the learning phase. During the learning phase, Facebook will try to work out which users within your target audience are most likely to take your desired action. If you use a larger target audience, Facebook has more scope to find high-converting segments within it.

So if you find that your relevance scores are low and you’re targeting a relatively small audience, try increasing the size of your audience first. I’m now very reluctant to target a cold audience of fewer than 100,000, and prefer to target cold audiences that include 250,000 people or more. Of course, this isn’t always possible, particularly with local businesses.

#5: Use Multiple Ad Variations

Facebook ad frequency refers to the average number of times someone within your target audience has seen your ad. Once frequency climbs too high, your target audience will become bored with your ads and your relevance score will start to drop off as negative feedback increases.

Facebook ads results for frequency and reach.

What constitutes “too high” depends primarily on what type of audience you’re targeting. Warm audiences will tolerate much higher frequency numbers than cold audiences.

When targeting cold audiences, I tend to see a dropoff in relevance score when frequency reaches 2.0-2.5. At that point, it’s best to target a new group of people or make significant adjustments to your ads.

A great way to combat this is to run a number of different ads to the same target audience at once. Varying the ad creative helps keep things fresh and prevent ad fatigue. This is particularly important when you’re targeting relatively small audiences.

The Facebook ad campaign below is retargeting people who have visited a specific webpage. The total audience size is roughly 3,000 people, so having many ads running simultaneously prevents the frequency of any one ad from climbing too quickly and impacting the relevance score.

Run multiple Facebook ads to the same audience to reduce ad fatigue.

#6: Qualify New Campaigns With Social Proof From a Warm Audience

A warm audience consists of people who are already aware of your business. This includes website visitors, email subscribers, Facebook page likes, video viewers, and a number of other options.

Because these people have interacted with you previously, they’ll almost certainly respond better to your ads than cold audiences. They’re also far more likely to leave positive comments, and like and share your ads. Lots of social proof on an ad helps convince people to take your desired action. This makes sense because social proof acts as an online endorsement.

For these reasons, it can be beneficial to promote your ads to your warm audiences before promoting them to cold audiences. Targeting Facebook page likes is an effective way to quickly and inexpensively build social proof.

To target a warm audience of your followers, navigate to the ad set level of your Facebook campaign and scroll down to the Connections section within Audiences.

Connections section in Audiences section of Facebook ad campaign.

Click Add a Connection Type and select People Who Like Your Page from the drop-down menu.

ALTClick Add a Connection Type and select People Who Like Your Page from the drop-down menu.

I recommend that you spend around $5 promoting this ad to your Facebook page likes to quickly acquire a lot of social proof. Once you’ve done so, your ad will perform better when it’s promoted to cold audiences, which will increase your relevance score.

#7: Limit Ad Image Text

Facebook doesn’t want advertisers to use ad images that contain more than 20% text. Most of the time, they’ll allow you to do so, but they’ll limit your reach.

If your ad image contains too much text, you’ll see this warning message above your ad.

Facebook ad warning message of "Your Ad May Not Run."

Limited reach will obviously reduce the amount of positive feedback your ad receives, which will lower your ad’s relevance score. To ensure this issue doesn’t affect your ads, it’s best to steer clear of ad images with more than 20% text.

Bonus Tip: Boost Engagement With Emojis in Your Ad Copy

Because you need people to take your desired action to improve your relevance score, the first step is to grab your audience’s attention. One tactic that may help is to use emojis. A lot of advertisers avoid emojis because they have a reputation for being frivolous or unprofessional; however, on Facebook they’re effective.

Ad copy with emojis stands out more than ad copy without them. Here’s an example with and without emojis. As you can see, the emoji version of the ad copy is much more noticeable, fun, and engaging. Most people would prefer to read the copy in the first ad than the second.

Facebook ad copy with and without emojis

The easiest way to include emojis in your Facebook ads is to use a tool like Emojipedia. Simply copy the code of the emoji you want to use and paste it into your ad.

Copy emoji from Emojipedia.

Warning: Don’t overdo it with emojis. Facebook doesn’t like it if you include too many, so you may struggle to get your ad approved if you do. Too many emojis can also make your ad copy difficult to read.

Conclusion

The Facebook ads relevance score is a key indicator of ad success. Adjusting your Facebook ad campaigns to achieve high relevance scores of 8 or more can make a significant difference in your results.

What do you think? What’s your experience with Facebook’s ad relevance score? Have you implemented any of these techniques to boost your relevance score? What tips can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles about Facebook ads:

Discover seven ways to raise your Facebook ads relevance score and drive positive engagement and social proof.



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How to Create a Content Marketing Plan Using LinkedIn : Social Media Examiner

Oct 11, 2018
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social media how toDo you need to improve your LinkedIn marketing? Wondering which content types will perform best for you?

In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step process to help you create a LinkedIn content marketing plan.

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan Using LinkedIn by Tim Queen on Social Media Examiner.

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan Using LinkedIn by Tim Queen on Social Media Examiner.

Why Content Marketing on LinkedIn Deserves a Second Look

LinkedIn is a thriving community of more than 500 million members around the globe, with more than 100,000 new users joining the network every day. More than 20% of users are senior-level influencers and decision-makers. And it’s incredibly easy to get in touch with high-profile decision-makers on the platform.

But there’s a challenge: Most users have their shields up because many people are aggressively selling on LinkedIn. How do you get around these shields? By standing out, positively, with a strong profile and thoughtful content marketing.

Most people require six to eight touch points with a business to build enough trust and confidence to make a buying decision. Content marketing is a long-term lead generation strategy that focuses on the consistent creation of high-quality content that is highly relevant to your ideal target audience.

By sharing great and useful content on social media, you create opportunities to nurture and educate your ideal audience over an extended period during their buying journey. Then when customers are ready to make a buying decision, your content has pre-suaded them that you have the skills and experience to solve their pain points—and closing the deal becomes much easier.

There are many forms of content marketing, each with unique features and benefits, including blog articles, images, videos, tutorials, how-to guides, and podcasts, among others. Here’s how to get started with content marketing on LinkedIn.

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#1: Define Your Marketing Goal

Before diving into content marketing strategies for LinkedIn, think about your content marketing goal. You goal could be to:

  • Generate more leads for your business.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Promote your products and services.
  • Connect with ideal customers and clients.
  • Build a community around your brand.

#2: Choose Your LinkedIn Content Media and Content Types

To succeed on LinkedIn, you need to be familiar with the content types on the platform, and the content media from which you can publish your content and interact with potential customers.

LinkedIn Content Media

Within the LinkedIn platform, you can publish different content types from different media:

  • Your personal profile
  • Your company page
  • Groups
  • Direct messages or InMails
  • Emails
  • Other people’s content

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LinkedIn Content Types

As with most other social media platforms, LinkedIn prioritizes native LinkedIn content, which is published on the platform itself and doesn’t require users to leave LinkedIn to view it. As such, native content tends to outperform external content (for example, a link to an article on your website). So create native content to take advantage of this.

LinkedIn frequently changes its algorithm and prioritizes different content types. For a long time, LinkedIn articles had the highest reach in views. In 2017, LinkedIn started to prioritize text-only posts. At the beginning of 2018, the focus switched yet again to native videos.

Pro Tip: Maintain a good content ratio: 10%–20% promotional and 80%–90% high-quality content. And create a content mix of all native content types with a focus on videos. That way, algorithm changes won’t wreak havoc on your marketing.

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At this moment, the following native LinkedIn content types exist:

LinkedIn Articles

You can create articles only on your personal profile, not on your company page. At the moment, articles have a very low priority in the news feed. In your articles, you can embed many types of multimedia content such as videos, slideshows, and even other LinkedIn posts.

I recommend that you use LinkedIn articles as an intermediate step between LinkedIn videos, texts, and photos on one side and articles on your website on the other side.

  • A LinkedIn video, text, or photo can give a short and concise summary of a topic.
  • Each piece of content can promote one of your articles.
  • Each article can link to content upgrades and articles on your website or blog.

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LinkedIn Text and Photo Posts

Text and photo posts are still very important on LinkedIn and come in second place. Try to avoid adding links to external websites within your post text. Instead, you can add them in the form of a comment to avoid punishment by the algorithm.

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You can safely link to other LinkedIn content (anything that is hosted on the linkedin.com domain). This allows you to re-promote your native LinkedIn content, such as videos and articles, in context.

LinkedIn Videos

LinkedIn videos have a high priority in the news feed at the moment because LinkedIn is actively trying to compete with YouTube and Facebook videos as the top video platform for business content.

But not everyone has time to watch a 10-minute video. Especially in a work environment, it’s not possible to listen to the audio track of your video. To overcome this, include subtitles in each video and add a summary of your video in the video description. Also use videos to promote other content on LinkedIn, such as a LinkedIn article.

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#3: Choose Your Topics and Themes

Wondering what to publish on LinkedIn? Great content has three characteristics: Your audience will love it, it demonstrates your expertise, and it qualifies your audience.

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It’s important to have a good content mix of different topics and themes to maximize engagement. If you only write about one topic over and over again, you’ll exhaust your audience. One way to avoid this is to use a different theme for each month, a unique theme for each week based on your monthly theme, and a different content type for each weekday.

Refrain from using corporate-speak. It will instantly kill any engagement with your content. Instead, communicate in a personal and conversational way, just as you would to a friend. Here’s a list of topic ideas to get you started:

  • How-to content
  • Opinion pieces
  • Industry news
  • Achievements
  • Events
  • Announcements
  • Life and business lessons

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  • Knowledge and skills
  • Mindset
  • Leadership
  • Strategies and tactics
  • Productivity
  • Soft skills

Good content can be both educational and entertaining, create “aha” moments, and evoke emotions. Check out this article about storytelling for LinkedIn marketing with more than 54 additional topic and theme ideas.

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#4: Create Processes and Systems to Organize Your Editorial Workflow

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Content creation can quickly become overwhelming. To ensure a smooth content creation flow, it’s important to organize your team. Everyone needs to be on the same page and know what’s expected of them and when. The same is true if you’re a team of one.

Assign topics from your content strategy to specific writers and plan each writing project carefully. Be sure to set specific content goals such as the number of words. Also, establish deadlines for when the content needs to be managed, planned, researched, created/written, edited, reviewed, approved, and published.

To divvy up different tasks, assign one or more roles to different team members, including:

  • Project manager
  • Plan creator
  • Researcher
  • Visual creator or curator (photos, infographics, graphs, diagrams, or videos)
  • Content writer/creator
  • Content editor
  • Reviewer
  • Content approver
  • Publisher/scheduler

If you’re a team of one, assign all of the tasks to yourself.

#5: Use Your Native LinkedIn Content to Populate a Sales Funnel

Now that you understand the different content types and media, it’s time to put everything together. Your primary goal is to increase the number of touch points with every reader, listener, and viewer, and then to move people away from LinkedIn to your website.

How do you do that? Create as many touch points as possible across all of your channels and publishing media. For each piece of content you publish, create a content upgrade and place it on your website. Include the link to your content upgrades in each native content post. Require people to submit their email address to download it and build an email list of the people who opt in.

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LinkedIn Content Marketing Growth Tips

To get more from your LinkedIn content marketing, keep these tips in mind.

Target the Right Audience

Your ideal target audience should be as similar as possible to your ideal customer avatar. Identify people who will benefit from using your products and services, have the capacity to pay for them, and lack knowledge in areas you can cover in your content marketing.

Engage With Others on Your Content

In addition to publishing your content on the platform, it’s essential to engage with other people. If someone is liking, commenting on, or sharing your content, connect with them, reply to their comment, thank them for their share, and start a conversation.

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Encouraging engagement with your content will help grow your network. Whenever someone likes, comments on, or shares your content, people in their network will see it in their news feed. Your content can then spread from your direct, first-level connections to second- and third-level connections.

Engage With Other People’s Content

When you engage with other people’s content, enrich the conversation with your unique perspective. Always think about adding value, never about promoting your content when you engage with other people.

If you leave high-quality, meaningful comments, other people will notice and click through to your profile and follow you. The content creator will often connect with you and engage with your content in return. When this happens, some of their followers will receive a notification in their news feed that the content creator engaged with your post, and will hopefully check out your content and engage with it as well.

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This is how you grow an engaged following on LinkedIn.

Optimize Your Content for Engagement and Visibility

Structure your content in a way that maximizes engagement:

  • Always include a question at the end of your content to encourage comments.
  • Actively ask people to follow you and share your content, and tell them what kind of content they can expect from you in the future.
  • Use the power of hashtags to get discovered by people who are interested in specific topics.

Also, consider creating your own brand hashtag similar to the way HP uses #ExploreHP in the post below. People can click on your hashtag to check out more of your content and follow you.

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Optimize Your Profile for Business

To get the most out of your LinkedIn content marketing strategy, think of yourself as a brand. People don’t want to connect with companies; they want to connect and form relationships with other people.

As such, it’s crucial that you optimize your profile:

  • Get a professional headshot.
  • Upload a header image to your profile that communicates authority.
  • Create a great headline.
  • Personalize your profile URL.
  • Write a compelling description in each section of your profile.
  • Add descriptions to all of your experiences.
  • Include multimedia content for each entry.
  • Add skills.
  • Ask for recommendations.

The three most important factors are your profile, header image, and headline. They’re displayed near any content you post on LinkedIn (as you can see below) and have a significant impact on whether someone decides to follow or connect with you.

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Conclusion

Understand your readers, and create a LinkedIn content strategy that speaks to and connects with your ideal audience. Keep the algorithm in mind at all times and make sure you mix up content types to appeal to different consumption styles.

Block out time to create content and publish on a regular schedule. Each content piece is the springboard to initiate a conversation or to deepen relationships. From there, nurture these relationships and convert them to buy from you.

What do you think? What types of content do you publish on your profile and company page? Do you regularly engage with people who comment on your content? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles about LinkedIn marketing:

Find a step-by-step process to help you create a LinkedIn content marketing plan and discover which content types will perform best for you.



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How to Use Twitter Cards for Business

Are you maximizing your Twitter marketing exposure? Have you heard of Twitter cards? Twitter cards help you attract more attention in the news feed, mine valuable analytics, and get better results from your ads. In this article, you’ll discover how to use Twitter cards to enhance your exposure. #1: Twitter Cards for Your Website First, […]
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4 Pinterest Tips to Reach a Local Audience

Are you a local business on Pinterest? Looking for ways to connect with customers in your area? There are some simple tactics you can use to reach locals via Pinterest without using promoted pins. In this article, you’ll discover four ways to connect with local customers using Pinterest. #1: Target a Locale With ShortStack’s Pinterest […]
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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle
Source: Social Media Examiner

6 Tips to Optimize Your Facebook Page

When was the last time you updated your Facebook page? Interested in creating a more professional and engaging experience on your page? There’s a number of tactics you can use to create a more comprehensive Facebook presence for your business. In this article, you’ll discover six tips to optimize your Facebook page. #1: Provide Complete […]
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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle
Source: Social Media Examiner

How to Customize Your Videos for Popular Social Networks

Is video a part of your marketing? Wondering how to best tailor your videos for the top social networks? When you play to each social network’s audience’s expectations, your video will get more views and engagement. In this article, you’ll discover how to optimize your video for better performance on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. […]
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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle
Source: Social Media Examiner

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