How to Find Paid Social Media Keyword Ideas From Top Hashtags

How to Find Paid Social Media Keyword Ideas From Top Hashtags

In the world of digital marketing, content is king. And keywords hold the keys to that kingdom.

They unlock connections to your target market—people who are looking for what you’re trying to sell.

When you’re setting up paid social media campaigns, keywords can help you make those critical connections and ensure your campaign’s success.

Knowing which keywords to use throughout the copy of your campaign can be a pain. If you’re not sure which ones are right, you might miss the mark and, by extension, your audience.

Popular hashtags can be the source of inspiration that gets your paid social media campaigns off the ground.

The Importance of Hashtags in Paid Social Media Campaigns

Why are the top hashtags important for inspiration and keyword ideas? Because they can provide a lot of information if you know how to look for it.

Here are the questions you should ask when looking for hashtags:

  • What are people talking about?
  • What’s the demand for a particular product or service?
  • Is there a rise in interest? Or is the trend on the decline?
  • Who is using those hashtags?
  • What’s the context of those conversations?

Researching popular hashtags can provide relevant insights into the conversations happening around a topic. Their power is in the data you can mine from real-life, real-time sources.

Top hashtags can also lead to other hashtags and keywords you may not have considered. As you continue to dig deeper, you may start to see some patterns to add to your campaigns.

Be on the lookout for:

  • New or up-and-coming hashtags
  • Hashtags used by other relevant target markets
  • Questions or concerns people are expressing
  • Phrases in the associated content that come up often

How to Use Trending Hashtags for Your Paid Social Media Campaigns

First, you have to find the top hashtags. Begin with what’s trending in your industry and go from there. We’ll go into more specifics on different social media platforms later.

As you dive in, explore the content surrounding the hashtags.

How do you use the information you found? It’s all about inspiration. The hashtags, phrases, and keywords you find can inform your paid social media campaigns in the following ways:

  • For text: What you’ve learned can be a launching point for your ad’s language. Look at the posts’ content in addition to the hashtags, and incorporate the language people in your target market use. Knowing how people talk about things can teach you how to best speak to the pain points they face and the solutions they love.
  • For images: What kinds of images are those hashtags often associated with? Whether you plan to use a stock image in your ad or create your own, let what you find attached to hashtags help determine the type of images you use. You may even find a meme that you can join in on, making your social media ad more engaging.
  • For target audiences: Use the hashtag research to inform the parameters of your social ad reach. Who is using these hashtags? Where do they live? How old are they? What else are they interested in? These stats can help you narrow the ad reach to your target audience.
  • For sponsored post research: In addition to helping your paid social ad content be more relevant, hashtags may also help pinpoint a recent post to put cash behind. Experiment with different top hashtags in your posts on each social platform you use. Those hashtags may help your posts perform well organically, and then you can choose to boost them with sponsorship.

Using Facebook Top Hashtags for Paid Ads

Let’s start with Facebook, one of the most popular platforms for online marketing.

With over two billion users per month, there’s got to be some great data out there for your hashtag research.

You are probably only connected with a tiny number of those people, but don’t let that stop you. In fact, you can choose who sees your Facebook ads:

Using Facebook Top Hashtags Screenshot of Facebook ad target market options

But, before you create the ad, you need to find the right words to use that are getting the most visibility. This is where hashtags come into play.

A quick search for #tacos on Facebook shows some drool-worthy meals from strangers around the world who made their posts public as well as from brand pages. You do this from your search bar.

Top Hasthags Facebook providing alternatives to the popular hashtag Tacos

That list shows you what words most commonly follow that hashtag. Additionally, when you submit the hashtag you’re searching for, Facebook shows you on the top of the next page how many people are talking about that topic:

Top Hashtags Facebook view of the popular hashtag Tacos

When you type in the hashtag that interests you, Facebook also auto-fills other hashtag options to explore.

You can also explore the bookmarks that Facebook makes available, including local events, crisis response, or other timely topics. These can provide insights into why people are using this hashtag.

Using Instagram Top Hashtags for Paid Ads

Instagram is a hashtag-heavy environment, making it ideal for top hashtag research.

Much like on Facebook, you can start by typing your hashtag ideas into the search bar. Instagram not only auto-fills suggestions but also shows you how popular those hashtags are based on how many posts include them.

Using Instagram Top Hashtags Instagram providing recommendations for hashtags about puppies

Instagram Explore

Are you still looking for more hashtags to dig into? Head to Instagram’s “Explore” section, with the compass icon, to see top posts related to content you have interacted with in the past. You may discover new or emerging hashtags that you didn’t know about.

Using Instagram Top Hashtags

Now is an excellent time to stop and talk about how hashtags don’t always translate directly into keywords and phrases for paid social media campaigns. You may have to convert from a succinct hashtag to a robust, natural way of talking. Here are a few tips for doing that:

  • Listen to What Influencers are Saying With Those Hashtags: Take some time to watch the video posts and Instagram stories associated with the hashtags you’re researching. Hear how they talk about the subject. What are some key phrases that come up often?
  • Read and Take Some Notes About What the Hashtags are Saying: Now it’s time to turn off the videos and read the actual content. What are they using those character counts to say? This is where you can learn about key phrases that everyone is using and the meat behind the hashtag topics you are researching. For instance, a top hashtag may be “#cleanbeauty,” but it’s not about skin cleanliness—it’s about toxicity in beauty products, congressional oversight, regulations in the industry, and how to know what’s safe for your family’s skin. Learning about the issues and conversations behind the topics can help you frame paid social media content in a usable way.
  • Talk Out Loud Using the Instagram Hashtags: Hopefully, you’re working by yourself because this could get a little awkward: It’s time to start talking to yourself. Go ahead. As you’re writing down ideas that we talked about earlier and starting to craft your social media ad content, actually saying it out loud may help disconnect you from “internet speak” and get you into using a more natural tone.

Using Twitter Top Hashtags for Paid Ads

If you’re using Twitter on your mobile device, you can hit the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your screen to see what’s trending. If you’re on your desktop, hit “#Explore” on the left side of the screen, then click “Trending” to see currently popular hashtags.

Using Twitter Top Hashtags

You can see what topics Twitter thinks are important now based on their editorial board and algorithms, as well as how many tweets are using those hashtags. Keep in mind some of these are promoted hashtags, not organic ones, though—they are labeled, as you can see with “#Godfall” at the top of this screenshot.

To learn more, click on “Show More” or the “Explore” section on the desktop layout to see more about these topics and find more currently in use.

You may need to dig deep to find hashtags that are relevant to your niche. When you see a conversation or post around topics pertinent to your industry, check out those hashtags.

Don’t be afraid to see a spark of inspiration, such as a new hashtag that’s just starting to catch fire, and get onboard that topic before it becomes a wildfire.

Using LinkedIn Top Hashtags for Paid Ads

Where do you go to find the top hashtags on LinkedIn? There are a couple of different ways to start your research.

You can look up hashtags in the search bar at the top, just as you do on other social media platforms:

Linkedin Top Hasthags LinkedIn recommendations for hashtags about fitness

And like other platforms, LinkedIn will auto-recommend other options.

When you choose a hashtag, LinkedIn shows how many people are currently following that hashtag. This data can help you understand how many people may see your posts that incorporate that hashtag. You will also see top posts with that hashtag.

LinkedIn Top Hasthags LinkedIn option for following the fitness hashtag

When you follow a hashtag you’re interested in, you can click on the three dots on the right of your followed hashtags and choose “Discover new hashtags.”

Using LinkedIn Top Hashtags

Now you’ll see all kinds of popular hashtags to inspire you.

LinkedIn Top Hasthags screen of other hashtags LinkedIn recommends

If you want to skip those steps and just start exploring, you can go straight to LinkedIn’s Follow Fresh Perspectives tab to see the top hashtags, accounts, and companies LinkedIn recommends to you.

Context Is Key When it Comes to Using LinkedIn

Here’s the critical thing to remember about LinkedIn: It’s a popular platform for content, but it’s also very specific in its contextual use. LinkedIn is generally about professional or career conversations.

Using Pinterest Top Hashtags for Paid Ads

Are you trying to reach a creative, DIY crowd with your paid social media ads? Pinterest can show you what’s hot right now.

With Pinterest, hashtags aren’t as critical and promoted as they are on other platforms. Keywords in a post seem to be just as crucial for searching.

Here is a search for the popular term “Hygge:”

Pinterest Top Hasthags Top posts on Pinterest for the search Hygge

And a search for “#Hygge:”

Pinterest Top Hashtags Top results for the hashtag Hygge on Pinterest

You’ll notice similar results. So, just searching around for popular topics on Pinterest and exploring the top posts may prove just as useful.

However, if you are looking for top hashtags, there is a workaround. You can log in to the mobile app, click to create a new pin, and type a hashtag into the description section. This will give you a listing of top alternatives and stats for how popular they are.

Pinterest Top Hasthtags

More Tools For Finding Hashtags

If you’re still looking for the right hashtag, you may want to try one of the many hashtag search tools. These online and app tools allow you to plug in hashtags you’re using, and find related and popular hashtags. A few options include:

Conclusion

The key to using hashtags for paid social media is to use them as a launching point. They should inspire relevant content for your very specific target market. Hashtags can help you understand who they are, what they care about, and how they talk online.

Popular hashtags can also open the door to new opportunities for your social media strategy as you join fresh, ongoing
Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/top-hashtags/

Best Data Visualization Tools

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

The right image convinces a conference room instantly. 

Sell that new client, get your boss’s approval, and rally the team behind you. Data visualization tools turn a whole mess of numbers into a crisp image that says it all.

With the right product, you can take command of overwhelming amounts of data to tell a clear and compelling story, while leaving your audience with a visual that resonates long after your presentation concludes. 

In this post, I’ll give a complete overview of the best data visualization tools, and what to look for as you make your decision. 

The Top 5 Options for Data Visualization

  1. Tableau – Best for Enterprise
  2. Infogram – Best For Collaboration
  3. Plecto – Best for Sales Teams
  4. Datawrapper – Best DIY Visualization Tool
  5. Highcharts – Best for Interactive Visualizations

How to Choose the Best Data Visualization Tool for You

I get it. There are a million tools to help you visualize your data. 

Then, when you start digging, it’s like, “Wait, do I have to know several programming languages to use this really cool product?”

Slow down. Don’t worry. You’re not going to have to go back to school to get amazing data visualizations.

Some of the high-end tools will require a little IT know-how to get off the ground, but those are really aimed at companies who can factor that into their budgets.

If that’s not what you’re looking for, no worries. There are really great data visualization tools a non-specialist can have up and running before lunch.

The key is knowing what you want your data visualization tool to do.

By understanding your local requirements, you can whittle down your options quickly by going through each of the major elements of data visualization products.

Visualization Capabilities

Are you looking for a nice tool that creates sleek reports, or a platform that lets you publish interactive dashboards?

Every vendor showcases data visualization examples on their site. Check these over and really reflect on your gut reaction. 

If you are in search of the “wow” factor, don’t settle until you find something that will give your presentations that aesthetic edge.

Connectivity

This is perhaps the biggest make-it-or-break-it factor on the list: What data types and sources are supported by the data visualization tool?

No data visualization tool is good enough to justify a massive migration. You need to find something that connects with your data, wherever it lives. 

Ideally, connecting data is an easy, secure, and highly-visible process. 

Look for products that clearly explain how to manage and connect data sources. Official partnerships with the database products you use is a big plus. 

Cruise a few reviews to see if people are finding that the connectivity is as good as advertised. Also, be sure to walk your sales team through your desired deployment to make sure it’s going to work as planned.

Skill Requirements

Not so long ago, complex data visualization required familiarity with structured query language (SQL), Python, or another language.

Today, great data visualization products like Tableau allow users to search vast databases using natural language. They provide drag-and-drop functionality that lets non-specialists drill down into the most complex questions.

That said, if you have complex data flows coming into real-time dashboards, it’s a good idea to have someone in-house who can ensure that everything is running smoothly. 

Mobile Compatibility

Look for something that will appeal to your clients and customers, however they browse. 

Does your data visualization tool support touch and multi-touch? 

Good interactive visualizations take a lot of effort, and the last thing you want is for users on iOS or Android to be barred from the experience because of incompatibility. 

Quality data visualization software delivers a final project that looks good on desktop, tablet, or smartphone. You can’t really budge on this unless you are committed to developing visual content for internal use. 

Another thing to think about is collaboration. Will your remote and on-the-go employees be able to stay current with their team projects?

The Different Types of Data Visualization Tools

This product category is highly diversified, ranging from modest software that turns a spreadsheet column into a pie chart to interactive dashboards that interpret data flows from multiple sources in real time.

Although data visualization tools don’t break down into completely neat tiers, there are definitely recognizable categories.

I’ll start out with the lightweight tools and work up to the best business intelligence software, capable of handling the most complicated data analysis.

Simple Charts and Graphs

Simple chart tools have limited connectivity and few data visualization options. The draw is that they are often free and easy for anyone to use. Here’s an example from Google Charts, which is free forever:

For teams in constant communication, these lightweight data visualization solutions can come in handy. 

If you are presenting to clients or company leadership, however, the reports generated by a simple chart might not cut it.

Infographics

Infographics are really great for making compelling visual statements. 

I like them because you can tie multiple charts, images, and streams of information into a cohesive presentation that can be shared on a billboard or a smartphone screen.

Plus, these are great for your content. Adding original infographics increases shares and retweets because they make your posts stand out.

Infogram is a really popular infographic tool, and looking at the examples above, you can see why I chose to review it. Your teams get a whole new dimension of artistic and creative freedom to present data in an eye-catching way. 

Using Publisher or Google Docs to achieve an end result that looks this good would be tedious, if possible at all. 

Generally, infographic tools come with many options for visualization out of the box. 

They don’t tend to have the connectivity or analytic capabilities that come with business intelligence software, though they are far more robust than a simple chart tool.

Interactive Visualizations

Want people spending time on your site? 

Interactive visualizations let customers and visitors play with your data in a controlled way. 

Below, in the data visualization example from Datawrapper, the chart displays information based on the county the user hovers over. The county itself is also highlighted, and the average income is adjusted on a sliding scale:

Consider these products a blend or midway point between infographics much more powerful business intelligence tools. 

There is nothing complex about interactive visualizations for end-users to understand, yet they allow users some degree of control over the data, which an infographic can’t support.

Business Intelligence Tools

Business intelligence (BI) tools comb through massive amounts of raw data and turn it into actionable insights. As part of their reporting features, many BI tools come with data visualization tools designed to support the most complex analysis.

BI tools connect to a large number of disparate data sources, and usually require a higher-degree of technical skill to deploy and manage. Most often, however, end users like executives and sales managers can easily manipulate data within a dashboard once it is set up.

Customizable dashboards and robust reporting features allow different people within a company to pay attention to relevant KPIs in real time, picking up on trends and patterns that would otherwise be hidden.

Deploying and maintaining a BI tool represents a significant investment, whereas tools from the previous product categories tend to be a lot less work. 

That said, there are BI options for small and mid-sized businesses that provide cross-organization connectivity and data visualization at an affordable price.

#1 – Tableau — Best for Enterprise

Tableau is a best-in-breed BI tool with phenomenal data visualization capabilities. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but you get both an intuitive UI and the ability to drill down into virtually any data source.

In other words, you don’t have to make the typical sacrifices. Tableau is ultra-powerful in terms of supported visualizations, but it’s really user-friendly once you get it set up.

Many companies elect to use Tableau in order to encourage a data-driven, transparent, collaborative culture. It’s also one of the most secure products on the market, with enterprise-grade governance tools and the option for on-premises deployment.

For the most part, Tableau can do everything that any other data visualization tool can, but better. Some of the standout capabilities include:

  • Combine different data sources without writing code
  • Drag-and-drop statistical analysis, forecasts, and trendlines
  • Optimize dashboards for all screen sizes
  • Natural language queries of any published data source
  • AI-powered data analysis 
  • Publish data sources as encrypted extracts on Tableau Server
  • Robust data management tools
  • Support and solutions from an active community of over 1 million users

Team pricing for Tableau is role-based, which lets large organizations economize their subscription. The roles are:

  • Creator: $70 user/month
  • Explorer: $35 user/month, 5 user minimum ($42 if fully hosted by Tableau)
  • Viewer: $12 user/month, 100 user minimum

Creators have full author/edit privileges, and can connect new data sources and flows. Explorers can work with most existing assets and create their own visualizations. Viewers can interact with data and collaborate with colleagues, though they cannot author or prepare data.

Tableau Public is a free forever version of the product and the company offers a free 14-day trial that lets you test drive some of the premium features.

#2 – Infogram — Best for Collaboration

Infogram is an intuitive data visualization tool that delivers stunning reports, slides, dashboards and social media visuals. 

First-time users are going to love the UI. Basically all of the visualization building can be accomplished via drag-and-drop. 

Infogram makes it easy for teams to share and produce consistent work with customizable branded templates, role-based permissions, and file versioning..

You can see who’s editing your projects in real-time and you can add comment threads directly to an image within the infographic. 

Teams can get up and running with Infogram quickly, taking advantage of its incredibly deep design capabilities::

  • 1 million stock images and icons, as well as animations, GIFs, and video
  • More than 35 interactive charts and over 550 interactive maps
  • Preset and customizable branded design themes
  • Data integration with Google Analytics, Amazon Redshift, OneDrive, MySQL, Oracle, and more
  • JSON feed to import live data
  • WordPress plugin

The streamlined features don’t stop there. Tasks like embedding projects, for example, involve no more than copy/pasting embed codes into your CMS

Infogram can be extremely beneficial for companies of any size. In addition to a free forever version, Infogram offers several pricing tiers:

  • Pro: $19/month for an individual
  • Business: $67/month for an individual
  • Team: $149/month for 3 users
  • Enterprise: contact sales

With Team and Enterprise subscriptions, you get the ability to invite members, set flexible permissions, share projects, and collaborate in real-time. Connect your data, get the input you need, and start publishing great looking content before the end of the week.

#3 – Plecto — Best for Sales Teams

Plecto is a great tool for promoting a data-driven team culture. The idea is to involve everyone in the constant flow of data by making all relevant KPIs available in a real-time, highly-visible dashboard.

Okay, plenty of other tools can do that. Gamification is where Plecto really separates itself from the crowd. 

Gamification? Yes, it’s a word, and a hot one these days. With Plecto, it’s super simple to create contests using your KPIs as benchmarks. This could be sales closed, employees hired, lists built—whatever metric you need to drive, use Plecto to enable the spirit of competition.

Plecto is built for this. It’s easy to set goals and achievements that are directly tied to the numbers you care about. Increase transparency and motivation at the same time.

The platform’s capabilities work exceptionally well for sales teams, yet other departments across the organization can benefit from the unique mix of features and functionality, which include:

  • Unlimited dashboards and data sources
  • Custom KPIs
  • Display multiple dashboards on the same screen
  • Integrations with Microsoft SQL, Oracle SQL, PostgreSQL, and MySQL
  • Notifications based on thresholds and other milestones
  • One-click integration with more than 60 leading cloud services
  • Create and track individual performance agreements in private employee-manager dashboards

There are three plan options for Plecto:

  • Medium: $100/month for 5 licenses, $20/month per additional license
  • Large: $350/month for 10 licenses, $20/month per additional license
  • Enterprise: Contact sales, minimum 100 licenses

Some of the important data visualization tools (like SQL integration) are not included with the Medium plan. You only need to buy licenses for users who send their data to Plecto (view-only users are free).

#4 – Datawrapper — Best DIY Data Visualization Tool

Datawrapper has a simple chart tool feel, yet it’s got the ability to deliver interactive and responsive charts, maps, and tables. 

It’s not designed for BI so much as mass producing next-level data visualizations to capture attention on feeds and pages.

Lots of companies, like The New York Times, for example make use of Datawrapper every day to improve their content. Using striking visuals, the Times can convey complex ideas to consumers about voting data, consumer preferences, and so on.

Datawrapper has a clean, intuitive interface that makes it easy to engage with the cloud-based product’s full range of functions, which include:

  • Copy data from Excel, Sheets, or the web into Datawrapper
  • Create live-updating charts by uploading CSV/XLS files or linking to a URL
  • Embed different types of interactive and responsive charts, maps, and tables
  • Export as PNG, PDF, or SVG
  • Colorblind check for all images
  • Live-updating graphics for maps
  • Collaborative tools and shared team folders
  • On-premise creation to comply with regulatory requirements

You have to purchase premium plans to create custom charts and white-label projects. Custom, the first tier above free, starts at $599/month and really allows companies to reach their audience with on-brand, original visuals.

Datawrapper’s free version is excellent for internal or team use, but less attractive for public-facing visualizations.

#5 – Highcharts — Best for Interactive Visualizations

Highcharts is a wonderful tool aimed at helping developers add interactive charts to web and mobile projects. It’s a clean, SVG-based, multi-platform, JavaScript charting library.

Upload multiple types of data and use official wrappers to work in:

  • Microsoft .Net
  • Python
  • PHP
  • R
  • iOS & Android
<img width="700" height="420" src="https://neilpatel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/image8-3.png&quot; alt="" class="wp-
Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-data-visualization-tools/

How to Engage Your Audience with Live Streaming

How to Engage Your Audience with Live Streaming

Are you missing out on a huge section of your target audience? If you’re not using live streaming to engage with your followers, then you might be.

The numbers behind live streaming are impressive, and if you’re not already, you should be incorporating this medium into your marketing strategy. Here’s how you can leverage live streaming to create crazy levels of engagement with your audience.

What Is Live Streaming?

Live streaming is a powerful way to connect with your target audience and personalize your message in a way that’s unique compared to other marketing mediums. It’s a simple process to send a live feed over the internet to your audience, but it can have big results.

By utilizing your social media reach, you can stream live footage to a huge audience and give your followers a unique glimpse into your company.

The growth of live streaming has been exponential, with the market increasing from $30 billion in 2016 to an expected value of $70 billion in 2021 and $184 billion by 2027. That’s a huge amount of growth, and it’s something that’s forcing marketers to sit up and take notice, with 28% starting to invest more in live streaming.

Why Your Company Should Be Using Live Streams

Live streaming is a great way to connect with your audience in a genuine, personalized way. It allows your audience to see the faces and voice behind the brand in an unfiltered medium that drives brand association and loyalty.

When it comes to the reasons your company should be using live streams, the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Live streaming topped 1.1 billion hours in 2019 (Livestream)
  • 80% of audiences prefer to watch live video than read a blog (Livestream)
  • Enjoyment of video increased brand association by 139% (Livestream)
  • Consumers are 39% more likely to share video content (99 Firms)
  • 82% of audiences prefer to watch a live video over standard social media posts (Hubspot)
  • Live broadcasts account for one in five Facebook videos (Facebook)

People use live streaming to create a deeper connection with your brand, and through your social media presence, it’s likely you already have a platform to leverage it.

Which Social Media Platforms Have Live Streaming?

One of the good things for businesses that aren’t already utilizing live streaming is that it doesn’t take a lot to get set up. For the most part, you can live stream from platforms you’re most likely already using, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and many others.

Each platform offers slightly different features and the opportunity to reach a different audience. If you’ve already got a big presence on these platforms, then you will find you can immediately reach a large audience through live streaming, but even if you don’t, it’s a great way to build your presence.

Facebook Live Streaming

99Firms states that 52% of live streams happen on social media, and with 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular. Facebook Live has been around since 2016, and in those years, has made a big impact on the platform.

Live videos get 10x more comments than regular videos and 3x longer watch time. This shows the power of live streaming on Facebook and is why 42.7% of businesses use live streaming on this platform.

Instagram Live Streaming

Instagram (1.15 billion active users) might not be as big as Facebook in terms of monthly users, but it does allow your business to reach a different demographic. Popular with people aged 18-34, Instagram Live allows you to make use of one of Instagram’s biggest benefits – being a very visual platform.

Although you’re limited to live streaming from a mobile device, this allows you to offer a very personal glimpse into your brand and tailor your content to your audience.

YouTube Live Streaming

In many ways, YouTube was the original video-based platform, and today it plays a big role in live streaming for marketers. With an active audience of 2 billion monthly users, it’s second only to Facebook as a social media platform and is widely considered to be the second biggest search engine in the world behind Google.

live streaming youtube

This offers huge potential for marketers, and as you might expect, live streaming performs particularly well on this platform. To put the numbers in perspective, Red Bull’s live stream, “Stratos Jump,” had 2.3 million concurrent views. When you realize that the average NBA game in the 2017-18 season attracted 1.93 million viewers, it’s easy to see the potential of live streaming.

On YouTube as with Facebook, your live videos are saved after you stream. Here’s an example of a live stream that was then automatically saved to this sport channel’s YouTube:

Periscope Live Streaming

Periscope is a live streaming app that allows users to broadcast live events to Twitter. We often think of Twitter as being a more text-based platform, but this certainly isn’t the case anymore, and video (live video in particular) creates a huge amount of engagement.

Video has seen huge growth on Twitter in recent months and attracts 10x more engagement than regular tweets, making it a great way to boost your Twitter profile.

Tips and Tools to Optimize Engagement with Your Live Streams

As with anything in marketing, there are lots of tools to help you optimize your live streaming. What’s important with these tools is not going crazy and signing up for lots of subscriptions, but doing your homework and finding the package that best suits your business.

To help you with this, here are some of my favorite live streaming tools.

Restream.io

If you were reading along thinking, “it’s great there are so many platforms to live stream on, but what if I want to use them all simultaneously?” then restream.io is your answer.

livestreamingRestream

When it comes to live streaming, Restream does pretty much everything. It allows you to stream to over 30 social media platforms at the same time, schedule your live streams and pre-recorded videos, engage your viewers through chat, and bring all your analytics together in one place.

With a free forever starter plan and packages ranging up to a professional plan for a very reasonable $41/month, Restream gives your live streaming the ability to take off and engage a huge audience.

One of the best things about Restream is just how easy it is to get set up and start streaming.

Once you’ve made an account, you will arrive at your dashboard, where you will be prompted to add your channels. From here, you will be able to choose from a list of different platforms and connect your accounts in just a few clicks.

live streaming Restream apps

When you’ve synced all your accounts, then you’ll see the option to go live in your dashboard. You can easily connect all your accounts and broadcast live to your followers in just a handful of minutes.

live streaming go live

Another great tool that Restream offers is the ability to schedule an event so you can let your followers know you’re going live. This gives you a chance to make sure your followers are online when you go live so they don’t miss out.

However, it’s not just live video where Restream can help. It’s also useful for scheduling pre-recorded videos. This allows you to plan your posts, rather than logging in each day.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest benefits is having all your analytics in one place. You don’t have to flick between Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to understand how your streams are performing because Restream gives you all the in-depth insights you need.

Social Media Scheduling Tools for Promotion 

To get the most out of your live streams, you want to reach as big an audience as possible. To do this, you’ve got to build your following and make sure you promote your live videos.

You also need to be consistent with your social media. Social media marketing depends on producing consistently engaging content, and the easiest way to do this is by utilizing scheduling tools. You’ve still got to come up with great content, but at least with these tools, you can schedule your posts without having to log in to each social media platform.

While Restream has you covered for videos, tools such as Hootsuite, SocialPilot, and Buffer can help make sure you’re staying consistent with your other social media posts. A lot like Restream, all you have to do is sync your accounts and then you can immediately post to each platform and schedule all your content.

live streaming tools hootsuite

This can help you create a large, engaged audience who are eager to interact with you, which is perfect for your live streams.

Image Creation Tools

Images are going to play a big part in how you promote your live streams, and you’ll see in Restream you have the option to add a thumbnail to the reminders you send out.

It’s important to remember the images you use have to reflect the quality of your live streams. There’s no point putting all this effort into creating a great live stream if you’re going to use low-quality posts to promote it. You’ve got to look at it as a package and invest in your marketing as well as the execution of your live stream.

Posts with relevant visual content get 94% more views than content strategies without it, and this is where your custom images come in.

Tools such as Pablo and Canva allow you to create amazing visuals and edit them so they are perfectly optimized for your audience. Add text, filters, and other design elements that grab your target audience’s attention and make them aware of your future live streams.

live streaming tools pablo

Both of these tools offer free accounts that allow you to make awesome custom images to promote your live streams.

Video Editing Tools

Although the whole point of a live stream is that it’s live, you still want to save it for future use. Once you’ve saved a live stream, it can be used like any other video and incorporated into your marketing strategy.

You might find that once you’ve saved your video, there are some small edits you wish to make. You’re no longer live, so you’re in complete control of how you present your video, and with video editing tools such as Lumen5 and WeVideo, you can add helpful extras such as graphics to make points clearer, and format your video to suit your needs.

live streaming tools lumen5

This allows you to repurpose your live streams and make sure you’re getting added value from them.

Equipment You’ll Need for Great Live Streaming

You don’t need fancy equipment to create a great live stream. If you’re streaming to channels like Facebook and YouTube, then all you need is a phone to create engaging content.

If you are planning on producing something on a bigger scale though, you will need to look at getting the right equipment. Important things to consider are the quality of your laptop, lighting, camera, and microphones.

Audio is a key component of any live stream, so you want to make sure you’ve got microphones that can offer clear, crisp sound. Microphones like the Shure MV88+ Video Microphone Kit that work with your smartphone are easy to use and can add the extra level of professionalism that can help your live streams stand out.

How to Make Engaging Content for Your Live Stream Videos

As with any marketing strategy, your success is going to be dependent on the quality of your content.

To drive engagement, you first have to understand your audience, the questions they have, and the pain points they might be facing. Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, then you can create a rough plan for what you want to achieve with your live stream.

Remember these important points:

  • Live streaming is an inclusive medium: Engage with your audience before you go live and ask them what they would like to see you address. This can guide the theme of your stream, and help make sure you’re answering people’s questions.
  • You should have a rough plan: You need to be prepared enough so that you feel comfortable; however, this is an opportunity to improvise and show your character. People like live video because it’s not staged, and it hasn’t been perfectly optimized and edited. It’s a raw look at you, your brand, and your company, so you need to be flexible.
  • Be responsive to your audience: This is an opportunity for your followers to feel truly connected to your brand, and one of the ways you can achieve this is by allowing them to drive the discussion. Be responsive to comments and feedback, and allow them to guide you.
  • Remember your goals: The goal of live streaming generally isn’t to push your product; it’s about building valuable relationships. Always be aware of the value you offer the viewer and look to maximize this wherever possible.

Conclusion 

Live streams are growing in popularity, and it’s not by chance; this is a technology with an amazing ability to engage targeted audiences and boost your marketing. Businesses around the world are eager to make the most of it.

Thanks to tools like Restream, getting started with live streaming couldn’t be easier, and you’ve got lots of ways to engage a large audience. It’s important to remember it’s not just the live stream itself tha
Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/live-streaming/

When (and When Not) to Outsource Link Building

Posted by Alex-T

Have you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?

To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.

When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.

Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.

Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.

As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.

Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.

At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.

When is outsourcing the right choice for you?

Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.

The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.

Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.

So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.

1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive

The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.

To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.

2. If you need to get links straight away

The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.

However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.

I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.

3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way

The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.

Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.

For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.

By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.

So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.

4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself

Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.

Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.

But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.

Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.

5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts

Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.

Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.

When outsourcing isn’t your best option

As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.

However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.

1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.

Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.

As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.

From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.

Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.

2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links

Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.

What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.

Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.

Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.

3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark

Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.

Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.

Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.

The same problem can occur in a few other cases:

  • You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you.
  • You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site.
  • You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.

So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.

4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you

Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.

Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.

In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.

In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.

5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency

If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.

With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.

So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.

6. You don’t have a sufficient budget

If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.

To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.

What’s the verdict?

All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.

There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.

Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.

However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Source: https://moz.com/blog/outsource-link-building

What is Video Search and How Can it Help Your Business?

What is Video Search and How Can it Help Your Business?

Studying how people use video search to find the content they want is an essential but often neglected area of marketing.

When we understand how video search engines work, we can begin to devise marketing strategies around this traffic source. When you understand your audience’s search intent and properly optimize your videos, you unlock new means of generating leads for your business.

In this guide, we break down video search engines and how you can use them to increase your traffic.

What Is Video Search?

What is video search

The first thing we need to think about is why people search for videos in the first place. What makes someone look for a specific video? Why are they searching for that video? What are they looking to accomplish?

All of these questions are important to answer, and we’ll address them, one by one.

According to Google, people look for videos for three different reasons. They either want to reflect, connect, or learn. So, what does that mean exactly?

An Opportunity to Reflect

Video in any form has provided us with a way of escaping reality. For many decades, it’s been in the form of television. Many people use video to see life through a different lens, which helps them reflect on their own life.

This could be one reason someone might search for a video.

To Connect with Someone

Another reason someone may use video is to foster connections. 51% of people in a study completed by Google say they feel the need to connect with others through video content.

A great example might be someone struggling with addiction to alcohol. Their first response would be to retreat and hide from friends and family because that’s what they’re used to doing.

A quick video search displays hundreds of videos of people going through the same thing, and now they can relate to someone. We seek video to connect with our community and to meet on common ground.

To Learn Something New

Videos have become a way for us to learn about anything we might be interested in, and there are nearly no limitations to what we can find with a quick video search. Whether you’re looking to touch up on something you know already or dive into something completely new, there are millions of videos on the internet to help you accomplish your goal or explore your hobbies.

How People Search for Videos

Now that we understand the “why,” let’s look at the “how.” How do people search for videos on the internet, and what does that tell us as marketers?

One very common way people search for videos is in traditional search engines. A quick Google search for something actionable will supply hundreds of videos revolving around that topic. For example, if someone wants to learn how to properly tape off a living room to use a residential paint sprayer, it might be easier for them to watch a video on how to do it rather than read up on it.

You can also go to the video section on the search result page to see just video results.

Video Search Screenshot of Googles search results for a keyword phrase.

You can type your search into the Google search bar and then choose from the recommended videos, or you can click the videos tab and search strictly for video rather than text results.

video search on Google

Another popular method people use to search for videos is social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and others all make it simple for you to search for videos in various ways.

For example, Instagram uses hashtags to tag videos. This feature makes it easy for people to come in and search the specific hashtag and find your video if you’ve optimized it correctly. 

video search Instagram screenshot of hashtags to help with search

On Facebook, hashtags aren’t as popular, but you still have video descriptions and closed captions that can be searched.

How to Use Video Search to Grow Your Business

As marketers, it’s our job to bring the right content to the right audience at the perfect time.

To do this, we need to have a firm understanding of a few things.

#1: Understand Your Video Search Audience

You need to understand who your target audience is, but this gets a little more advanced when talking about video search. This task isn’t as simple as optimizing a landing page for your organic search audience. We have to talk about a complete overhaul based on the platform you’re using.

There are a few levels to this.

The first level is choosing the platform you’re using to promote your videos. For example, the audience on Facebook is much different than the audience on TikTok. No matter how hard you try, you’re not reaching many seniors on TikTok, even if you have the perfect piece of video content for that demographic.

Once you understand the platform’s overall demographic, you need to break it down and learn who your specific audience is. What is your buyer persona? What types of videos do they like to watch? Are they looking for entertainment, information, connection, etc.?

The last level is, what types of searches are they making? Once you know where and who they are, how can you connect them with your video? What are they typing into the search bar, and how can you direct that to you?

The easiest way to understand all of this is to reverse engineer it the same we do with organic SEO. Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and search for a video within your wheelhouse. Figure out what search phrases lead where and what you need to do based on your competition to jump ahead of them.

#2: Connect With The Video Searcher

This point piggybacks off the previous one, but it goes a little deeper. Connecting with the searcher means understanding what they’re looking for so you can be the one to provide it.

Attention spans are short, so you need to provide the right answer as soon as possible in your video; otherwise, people will turn somewhere else.

Another key to video search is giving the audience exactly what they want, right away. If the first few seconds of your video doesn’t pique the viewer’s interest, they’ll move on to the other hundreds of options available to them.

#3: Know Your Chosen Video Platform

Another point to consider is the chosen platform you’re using from point one. How well do you understand how to use it? Do you know how the video search process works? Do you understand the basics of the algorithm and methods used to determine which videos show up and how they rank them?

In the same way that we try to understand everything about Google’s algorithms for SEO, we need to do the same with each platform, and if you don’t understand it, you might get left behind.

#4: Time it Correctly 

Timing is a huge factor. The length of your video will play a significant role in who chooses to watch it and how well it ranks. There isn’t an “end all be all” for video length because the ideal length depends on the platform.

That said, if someone is looking for a quick solution to a problem, throw that case out the window. For example, when someone is trying to figure out how to upload a featured image on WordPress, they don’t want to watch a 15-minute video because they’re going to know there’s a lot of fluff.

Your video would likely perform much better if it was only one minute because people will assume it is straight to the point.

Google even pinpoints in many video searches where the result you’re looking for is in the video in their search results.

video search how to time it correctly

They pull a snippet out for you to get the answer you’re looking for without having to watch the whole thing.

#5: Optimize Properly 

Lastly, you need to optimize your videos. There’s a whole guide to video SEO here, but there are some important factors pertaining to video search specifically.

First, your thumbnail:

The thumbnail of your video is like the trailer for your upcoming movie. If the trailer sucks, chances are, no one is going to see the movie.

If your thumbnail sucks, fewer people will click through to your video. Your thumbnail needs to contain keywords, and it must instill confidence in the viewer that your video will solve their problem.

Second, you need to optimize your video descriptions on all platforms. Every video search platform uses keywords to determine how relative a video is to what the user is searching. You need to make sure you’re following fundamental SEO principles when it comes to video search as well.

The Most Popular Video Search Engines

most popular video search engines

Many people wonder what the top video search engines are but keep in mind, it’s unique to the individual. What’s a hit on Facebook might tank on TikTok and vice versa. When choosing from these top six video search engines, make sure you factor in everything we’ve discussed so far.

Facebook Video Search

Video marketing on Facebook is all about interrupting patterns. If you’re targeting an older demographic, your content is a bit more serious, and you’re able to grab attention quickly, Facebook might be an excellent place for you.

The problem that I’ve seen with Facebook video is the implementation of intrusive ads. That’s why I recommend sticking to short, sweet, and direct videos on Facebook. If your primary purpose of creating the video is to sell something, keep it super short, ideally less than 60 seconds.

One area where Facebook has shined is in e-commerce. I see videos all the time of people using a product they purchased online, and they do such a great job of making the video appear organic.

The key to getting your video in front of your audience on Facebook is to make sure you include the right keywords in your description and have a very refined target demographic.

YouTube Video Search

Understanding Youtube video search is all about understanding video SEO. There are also various tools and extensions out there to use alongside the manual work and knowledge you obtain.

One thing about YouTube is that they reward continuous creators. Consistency is essential, and if you plan on having success with YouTube, you need to create videos every week so the algorithm sees that you’re a consistent creator.

I see YouTube marketing as an excellent way for affiliates, content creators, and artists to display their work. If you produce something as a product or you’re an affiliate or something, YouTube is the place to show your stuff.

The platform also puts much more emphasis on longer videos. Plus, if you’re creating high-quality content, the longer videos will increase your watch time, which has a positive impact on ranking.

Instagram Video Search

Instagram is built on discovery, and if you’re looking to go from nothing to something, Instagram seems like the place to be. Video search on Instagram is made possible through the use of hashtags.

When someone wants to find something specific or they want to filter content, they search using hashtags.

One great way to get discovered on Instagram is by capitalizing on trends. Throughout the year, Instagram has a plethora of hashtag trends that explode in terms of search volume, and if you find one that’s relevant to you and your audience, you may be able to create a viral video or “reel” (their version of TikTok) in no time.

Twitter Video Search

Capitalizing on Twitter video search is similar to Facebook; it needs to be interruptive without being intrusive. You’ll want to have the proper key phrases in your video’s description because users will search for content relating to that phrase.

Also, keep in mind that platforms like Twitter choose which videos to display on users’ Twitter feeds, so having relevant keywords pertaining to the content in your video may end up on the feed of your ideal client.

Vimeo Video Search

Vimeo is very similar to YouTube, but Vimeo has an advantage with smaller boutique-style audiences. There’s less competition, the quality of videos is better, and viewers are more dedicated to the videos they watch.

Another recommendation for marketing on Vimeo is to stay on top of the engagement with your viewers. Because the audience is so much smaller, there’s a lot less spam and bots, which means more actual conversation from people who may have questions about whatever it is you’re selling or promoting.

TikTok Video Search

Content is king on TikTok, and compared to all the other platforms, this app is the only place where you can post a video with no followers and get millions of views if you know what to post.

It’s essential to understand your audience and tap into their feelings, emotions, fears, and desires. Who are you looking to target, and what do you want them to feel when watching this video?

Once you’ve got that figure out, put in a proper description, add some hashtags, and see what happens. There’s no proven formula because the content is so important on this platform. If your content resonates with the right people, it will get likes and shares, and the sky’s the limit from there.

Conclusion 

Now that you understand video search, how people search for videos, why they search, and how to reach them, how do you feel? Do you feel like any of the previous video platforms could work for your brand?

If this all sounds like a lot of work, consider learning more about what we’ve done to help other marketers get their videos in front of the right audience.

Which platform do you think is the best for video marketing going forward?

The post What is Video Search and How Can it Help Your Business? appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/video-search/

How Can iPaaS Help Your Digital Marketing?

How Can iPaaS Help Your Digital Marketing?

If there’s one thing you need from your digital marketing toolbox, it’s efficiency. You need access to real-time data so you can quickly make the most effective decisions and convert those all-important leads into paying customers.  

You can start by deploying iPaaS, or “Integration Platform as a Service”. It’s a little tricky to understand at first, but don’t worry. I’ll break it down for you. So, let’s go over how iPaaS works, starting with some fundamentals.

What Is iPaaS?

Let’s be clear on some terminology before we dive into what iPaaS is.

Chances are you’re already using various apps, or Software as a Service (SaaS), across your organization. Statistics show that small businesses use 40 apps on average, and larger businesses use many more.

SaaS examples include Monday, Trello, Salesforce, and Gmail. You usually need to switch between these SaaS applications to complete tasks, whether it’s assigning someone a project in Trello, or responding to a customer in Gmail.

The problem? It’s time-consuming and inefficient to constantly move between these different systems. Since over 82 percent of customers expect almost instant solutions to their problems, this is time you can’t afford to waste.

How does iPaaS help? It’s simple. iPaaS integrates your SaaS applications and cloud services. In other words, it brings all these different apps together so they’re accessible from one place.

With iPaaS, you can read an email from a prospective customer in Gmail, and immediately assign someone a follow-up task on Trello. You can track inbound and outbound marketing in real-time and quickly update a lead’s status on Salesforce.

From a marketing perspective, what’s most important is why iPaaS can work for you. Here’s what you need to know.

What is iPaaS?

The Benefits of iPaaS

Whatever the size of your company, there are three key benefits of iPaaS:

  1. Cost savings
  2. Business efficiency
  3. Security and compliance

Let’s go over these one at a time.  

iPaaS Could Save You Money

If you’re looking to streamline your IT budget, iPaaS could be a great option for you. Here are three specific reasons why.

Flexibility of iPaaS

First, it’s flexible. It’s pretty easy to scale your services to suit your particular business needs at any given time without overstretching your IT budget.

For example, if you’re experiencing high seasonal demands, you can quickly scale up your iPaaS platform to handle the volume. You can ramp up marketing campaigns and manage high numbers of leads without sacrificing speed or efficiency.

How does this flexibility help you cut costs? Again, it’s simple. The more agile your company is, the quicker you can onboard new customers, and the fewer resources you waste in the meantime.

Autonomy of iPaaS

There’s no need to worry about scheduling software updates because iPaaS handles these updates for you. Automatic updates:

  • Helps minimize your maintenance costs
  • Enhances your system reliability

Put simply, automated updates indirectly reduce downtime. More than 17 percent of small businesses have lost customers through downtime, and 37 percent have lost revenue. The upshot? Automation helps protect your bottom line and your customer base.  

Simplicity of iPaaS

Many businesses find the whole concept of rolling out an iPaaS platform daunting.

My advice? Don’t be. iPaaS solutions are user-friendly. They’re designed with the “novice” coder in mind, so you don’t need specialist IT skills to set up the integration.

Since there’s no need to hire an outside developer to help you deploy the service, you can save money in the short term.  

  • All you’re doing is accessing a cloud-based service. There’s little technical installation required.
  • You can quickly install or delete app integrations without spending extra money.
  • You don’t need system permissions to make changes, either. It’s all designed with cost-effective efficiency in mind.

The best part? Since it’s easy to use, you’ll spend less money training employees on how to work the service.

Your Business Efficiency May Increase with iPaaS

Efficiency is a real selling point for these platforms. Here are the key reasons why.

First, did you know that 80 percent of customers expect consistent information when they speak with different members of your team? iPaaS makes this possible through:

  • Automatic data syncing across systems
  • On-the-go access to data
  • Centralized communications between departments
  • Streamlined campaigns
  • Improved access to real-time data for critical decision making

This means you’re improving your customers’ experience with your company and boosting operational efficiency, all at the same time.

This also makes it easier for you to see exactly what’s going on in your company at all times. Whether it’s tracking weekly targets or assessing customer behavior, you can access everything you need from one simple interface.

It usually takes far less time to deploy iPaaS than installing all your software tools separately.

iPaaS Can Help With Security and Compliance

Did you know that cyberattacks cost the average business $200,000? One of the best ways to avoid costly data breaches is by improving your cybersecurity. Here’s how iPaaS can help.

  • Automatic security updates keep your data and infrastructure safe.
  • It’s easier to protect data since it’s all stored in a central location.
  • iPaaS solutions generally include advanced security tools to find threats, like fraud detection and intruder alerts.
  • You can quickly cancel an employee’s user profile if they leave the business, meaning there’s less chance they’ll still have access to confidential data.
  • iPaaS security tools can offer the levels of protection you need to meet many compliance requirements across industries.

Essentially, iPaaS is great for cyber-safe functionality and connectivity because it makes it easier to perform day-to-day tasks, and it facilitates seamless communication across your company. Most of all, iPaaS helps you comply with various industry security standards.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of iPaaS, you might think it’s the right option for your business. A key question remains: How do you pick the right iPaaS solution for your company?

Choosing Your Ideal iPaaS Solution

Choosing the right iPaaS integration comes down to these two things.

  1. Understanding your company’s specific data needs. For example, some iPaaS tools are best suited to automating contact and lead management, while others work best for automating day-to-day workflows.
  2. Finding a suitable iPaaS platform to meet these needs, at the right price point.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a good place to start your iPaaS provider research. But before you get started, here’s what you should do first.

  • Identify what you need from iPaaS, whether it’s customer analytics, employee management, enhanced security, or something else.
  • Set a realistic price point. How much can you afford to spend on iPaaS? Think carefully about your iPaaS budget, which we’ll cover later.

Once you’ve given those key issues some thought, it’s time to choose a suitable iPaaS integration for your specific marketing and commercial goals. Here’s my step-by-step guide.

Be Sure Your Favorite Apps Can Integrate With iPaaS

Let’s start with something simple: not all iPaaS platforms work with every app. With that in mind, the right solution for you should work with most (if not all) of your day-to-day apps.

First, just list all the apps you’re using right now, and decide which ones you need to integrate. This helps you narrow down your research so you’re only focusing on compatible tools.

To narrow your search even further, you need to think in the medium to long-term. Which apps do you plan on integrating as your business grows? What’s important for your marketing strategy?

Your iPaaS solution needs to work for you in the years to come, not just the short-term.

Decide What You Want to Do With Data in iPaaS

On its own, a piece of raw data doesn’t tell you much. Sure, you might have some customer analytics and a few employee reviews, but unless you translate this data into information, you can’t use it to improve your marketing efforts or grow your business.

Remember, that’s the whole point of iPaaS: integrating data from across your company so you’re turning it into useful information. Once you’ve confirmed which apps you’re using and which platforms are compatible, you need to think about where your data fits in.

  • Establish what data you have, whether it is names, promotional tickets, emails, reviews, or something else.
  • Confirm what data you need to integrate to achieve your business goals, because again, not every iPaaS can integrate all types of data.
  • Identify which apps contain this data, because these apps must be compatible with the iPaaS.
  • Check which iPaaS tool makes it easiest to migrate this data.

Make Sure the iPaaS Is Easy to Use

This one’s important. Some iPaaS solutions are more user-friendly than others, so be sure to consider your employees’ IT skills.

  • The more training your team needs, the longer it’ll take to get the system up and running.
  • Without proper training, your employees might accidentally corrupt or delete important data. If there’s no contingency plan in place to handle the learning curve (such as cloud or hard copy backups), you could suffer permanent data loss.

The real problem? Steep learning curves can affect productivity, which impacts everything from customer service to daily workflows. So, factor in employee technical expertise before you choose a platform.

As an aside, if you’re looking for a user-friendly tool to assess your recent marketing efforts, check out my A/B Testing calculator.

Find Out About iPaaS Security and Updates

Sure, iPaaS is pretty safe overall. However, it’s not foolproof, so here’s what to bear in mind.

  • Check the service provider’s track record. Are customers happy with the service? Does the provider have the experience to manage your sector-specific compliance requirements?
  • You should also check the vendor’s record for downtime and data loss. If it’s an unreliable platform, your data may be compromised, and performance may suffer.
  • Confirm how often updates are installed, and ensure they’re applied automatically.

Security is extremely important, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Figure Out Your iPaaS Price Point

iPaaS is a business investment, so you must get it right.

  • Go back to your IT budget and confirm what you can afford to spend.
  • Research the options in your price bracket. List the pros and cons of each platform.
  • Decide if you’re better off paying a fixed monthly or annual fee, or if you’re looking for a more flexible pricing structure. The same provider can sometimes offer different programs for different prices, depending on your needs.

Many iPaaS platforms offer free trials, so it might be worth testing one for 30 days or so before you commit. That said, if it’s a complicated platform, installing and learning it for a free trial period might be more trouble than it’s worth from a financial perspective.  

iPaaS Tools

Are you still wondering where to get started? Let me leave you with some examples of popular iPaaS tools to choose from.

Zapier

With Zapier, businesses of any size can design customized and streamlined workflows. You don’t need tech knowledge either, since there are plenty of premade templates to choose from and integrate as you wish.

For example, you can send notifications to Slack from other apps:

iPaaS Zapier

You can also quickly generate tasks without opening each app individually:

iPaaS Zapier2

The best part? Zapier is wallet-friendly and there’s even a basic free version available.

Oracle Integration Cloud

If compliance is a priority for you, check out Oracle Integration. It has iPaaS templates for many industries, from financial services to healthcare:

Oracle iPaaS

It’s also simple to track leads at every stage of the process from the one platform:

Oracle iPaaS example

You can pay-as-you-go or choose a custom pricing plan.  

Jitterbit

Jitterbit is designed to unify your workflow so you can easily track everything, from marketing performance to subscriber engagement from one location. It’s also compatible with popular services like Salesforce and Microsoft:

Jitterbit iPaaS

You can request a free trial or contact Jitterbit for custom pricing plans.

Conclusion

iPaaS is a great way to streamline data flow within your company, monitor conversions in real-time, and improve your customer response speed. It’s a solid addition to any digital marketing toolbox.

Remember, though, that what’s right for one business may not work for yours. That’s why it’s so important to spend time researching vendors, and ask as many questions as you need before committing to a service contract.  

One final thing: if you need help boosting traffic to your website and optimizing your content to improve conversion rates, don’t forget to check out my consulting services.

Have you deployed iPaaS across your business yet?

The post How Can iPaaS Help Your Digital Marketing? appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/ipaas-marketing/

Generative Media: The Future of Visual Marketing

Generative Media: The Future of Visual Marketing

Every minute, Facebook users upload 147,000 photos, and Instagram users post over 347,000 stories. That’s a tremendous amount of content entering the digital space every day—which may be a problem for digital marketers.

In a world where everyone seems to be creating content, it’s simply not enough to develop everyday content anymore.

You need to produce visually appealing, unique content at a high volume, all without overextending your marketing budget.

Let me introduce you to generative media and all its possibilities.  

What is Generative Media?

Generative media is computer-generated art or “photographs” as shown below. In other words, it’s not an artist drawing the pictures or creating the design. It’s all made by artificial intelligence (AI). Here’s how it works:

  • The artist “instructs” the machine to create content within specific parameters or algorithms.
  • Following these algorithms, the machine generates images.
  • The artist can change the parameters for creating content at any point.

You can see it as a collaboration between artists and machines—there’s still a creative process that could benefit from a professional artist’s eye. In this medium, the artist hands over some control (and labor) to a computer.

But if you’re not the artistic type? You can give the machine complete control. Here are some examples from Generated.Photos of AI-generated stock photos of faces:

generative media stock photos

Think of a conventional artist. They can spend hours, days, or even weeks working on the same piece. While this might be okay for personal endeavors, it may not be great for producing scalable marketing content.

Generative media lets this same artist create hundreds, if not thousands, of quality pieces in this same timeframe. All they need to do is set some rules for the computer to follow. The machine will then keep generating content within those parameters until the artist turns the program off or the program runs out of new possibilities.

This isn’t just a visual technique, either. You can use generative media to create music streams, slogans, dialogue, and marketing videos. Let’s take JustEat as an example.

JustEat is a platform to order food straight to their door from their mobile devices. The company collaborated with Snoop Dogg to launch a new ad campaign, and it wanted to extend this to its Australian subsidiary, MenuLog.

The solution? Use AI technology to switch out the name “JustEat” for “MenuLog” and make Snoop Dogg’s lips move differently.

Remember, generative media isn’t just about art or image creation. You can successfully use these techniques across various media to boost your marketing efforts.

The takeaway? Generative media is extremely diverse and works effectively across various mediums.  

Are Companies Currently Using Generative Media?

Yes—and far more than you may think! In fact, the worldwide generative media market is expected to reach almost $398 million by 2025. Here are just a few examples of other companies already deploying generative media:

Yelp’s Use of Generative Media 

Yelp is a popular website where people post reviews of businesses. As part of its marketing strategy, Yelp uses generative media techniques to:

  • Compile vast numbers of images
  • Identify textures, colors, and shapes in user-submitted photos and generate lists of places with similar features that might appeal to the same users
    • Examples might be users who visit a lot of kid-themed restaurants or relaxing bars

Malaria Must Die and Generative Media

The charity “Malaria Must Die” used generative media to allow David Beckham to speak in nine different languages across its campaign videos. They employed video synthesis technology to dub Beckham and made him appear to be speaking those languages.  

How Baidu Uses Generative Media

Baidu, a Chinese search engine, uses a generative technique called “Deep Voice” to create synthetic voices to communicate with audiences. The algorithm “clones” someone’s real voice to be used for everything from marketing videos to campaign slogans.

Where it took an extremely long time for even one voice to be created in the past, now it takes less than 30 minutes of data training for each—and they’re working on thousands.

Other Terms for “Generative Media”

You might see other terms like “generative art” and “code art” around the internet. They are just different names for generative media. Here’s a list of terms currently used for generative media:

  • Generative design
  • Generative art
  • Algorithm art
  • Evolutionary art
  • Synthetic art
  • Code art
  • Procedural art

This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it gives you an idea of how broad and varied generative media can be across different industries.

Why Should Marketers Care About Generative Media?

Generative media is not just about content creation in the strictly artistic sense. It’s about improving the overall user experience visually. Let me give you an example.

Say you’re hosting an event to showcase your brand. Rather than opting for static, unchanging backdrops, you may want eye-catching backdrops to draw crowds. Additionally, you could want people to engage with the display, whether it’s by taking photographs or videos to share on social media or merely immersing themselves in a stunning visual experience.

Generative media makes this possible because you can somewhat easily (and cost-effectively) program algorithms to generate new patterns, images, and videos on-screen.

The best part? There’s no need to draw all these patterns yourself or employ an artist to create them. The algorithm does the work for you.

What can we take from this? Generative media may improve your engagement levels because the technique provides an immersive experience.

Still not entirely convinced it’s worth checking out? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

  • Over 70% of people prefer personalized ads. By combining generative media with other techniques like machine learning, you can customize everything from emails to videos with names and individual preferences, giving users a deeply immersive ad experience.
  • On Facebook, over 500 million people watch videos every single day. Customize your videos, use them to showcase your brand personality, and make them engaging to try to capitalize on this high traffic volume.
  • Including fresh, interactive content in your email marketing can boost click-to-open rates by 73%.
  • Around 72% of people prefer videos and visual content to text marketing, which means visual media should be central to your marketing strategy.

Identifying Opportunities for the Use of Generative Media

Speaking of digital marketing strategies, here are some tips for identifying ways you can use generative media across your business:

  • Does your marketing strategy rely on high volume content creation? Integrating AI or generative art can help you produce the quantity of diverse content you need—without compromising on quality.
  • Consider customer reach. If you’re trying to reach audiences across the world (for example, if you’re a vlogger or you frequently use videos), generative media may help you communicate in various languages by generating voice scripts, as we saw earlier.
  • Are you customer-focused? Using generative media to personalize ads and videos could help you build brand loyalty.
  • Use generative media to stand out and boost your brand profile at one-off events. For example, you can deploy algorithm art on jumbotrons or posters.

In other words, generative media may help you build the story behind your brand, expand your customer reach, and increase engagement levels by providing a highly immersive experience.

And it doesn’t matter what kind of company you run. Take Yelp, for example. At first glance, it’s not the kind of brand you’d commonly associate with generative media or machine learning. But that just shows there’s no limit to which companies can adopt generative media into their marketing strategies.

Creating a Generative Media Project

Whether you’re ready to tackle your own generative media project or you plan on outsourcing the work to a freelancer, you have some steps to take. Let’s take a look at both of these options.

Creating Your Own Generative Art

Want to flex your art skills and design your own project? First, you need to get some tools.

You can choose open-source software that lets you create your own coded art or assistive creative apps for building songs and icons. These tools are relatively cost-effective and easy to use if you have some basic coding knowledge.

Once you’ve figured out your way through the new tools, you can either let the computer “decide” what designs to create, or you can set your own parameters. Check out platforms like YouTube for hints and tips. You can also download premade generative art from websites like Generated Photos.

Outsourcing Generative Art Projects

If you’re not artistic, don’t have time to learn the trade, and there are no team members you can use, it may be best to outsource content creation. Hire a freelance artist to work with your team—check out platforms like Creativepool to find talent.

Alternatively, if you’re only looking for one or two pieces, you can buy some premade generative artwork from platforms like Etsy.

Using Generative Art in Your Marketing Strategy

Ready to use generative media in your digital marketing campaigns? Here’s how I’d move forward.

  • Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. How will generative art support your marketing goals? Are you using it for a one-off event, or will it become part of your brand’s story?
  • Set a clear budget for how much you can spend. If you plan on distributing posters or creating pamphlets, don’t forget to factor in the cost of printing and materials. You’ll also need to cover artists’ fees or subscriptions to software platforms, if applicable.
  • Check out your competitors. What are they working on? How are they using social media?
  • Consider how you will promote your use of generative media. Will you take to social media to tell your customers about it? Or will you take it one step further and work on a press campaign?

Don’t forget to set a schedule for reviewing your progress and tracking your metrics, too. What are you looking for?

Marketing aims to convert leads to customers, so you need to know if your generative media is working for you. Consider tracking:

You could also try A/B testing, which lets you compare one version of an ad campaign against another. Does your generative media campaign outperform your other campaigns? My A/B Testing Calculator can help you here.

Popular Generative Artists

If you want to check out generative media for yourself, here are some of the most popular generative creators changing the art scene:

GMUNK

Bradley G. Munkowitz, or “GMUNK,” uses a blend of light projections, artwork, and other visual effects to create programmable displays and adverts for events, conferences, exhibits, and concerts.

gmunk generative media

With a client list including Dolby, Maserati, and Nike, it’s safe to say GMUNK is a top artist in this field.

Michael Hansmeyer

Hansmeyer uses generative techniques to create 3D architecture. His exhibits can be found across the world, from Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum to Design Miami/Basel.

hansmeyer examples from website | generative media

He uses generative art to explore the intersection between the unexpected and the expected and believes in the power of AI to speed up and enhance the creative process.

Taryn Southern

Taryn Southern is best known as the first artist to use AI to compose and produce an entire album. Named one of the Top 20 Women in VR, she’s performed at major events, including Google’s AI Summit and VidCon.

Mike Tyka  

A co-founder of Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence (AMI) program, Mike Tyka is one of the first artists to “draw” portraits using generative media. They’re created by a neural network trained to “visualize” imaginary people and draw what it “sees.”

Tyka example generative media

Conclusion

From Instagram to e-commerce stores, generative media may improve the overall user experience and boost your marketing strategy. I believe whatever industry you’re in, it’s worth exploring.

How are you finding generative media? Have you tried it out yet?

The post Generative Media: The Future of Visual Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.

Best Customer Service Software

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When your human team has trouble managing your customer service needs with sticky notes and cluttered inboxes, you need a new solution. 

Customer service software lets you keep all of your tasks in the right baskets without losing track of anything. It also boosts your customer satisfaction and lightens your agents’ load.

These customer service software options will help you organize your company, whether you’re a startup or a seasoned business owner.

The Top 7 Options for Customer Service Software

  1. Hubspot’s Service Hub—Best for Free Software and Deals
  2. Zendesk—Best for a Complete Support Suite
  3. Groove—Best for Small Businesses and Startups
  4. TeamSupport—Best for B2B Support
  5. LiveAgent—Best for Live Chat Service
  6. Salesforce Service Cloud—Best for Remote and On-Site Support
  7. Freshdesk—Best for a Streamlined System

How to Choose the Best Customer Service Software for You

Customer service software isn’t one size fits all. Choosing the right customer service software means considering your customer’s needs and what the software offers your business.

Features Offered

Do you mainly do customer support over live chat? Are your agents constantly fielding phone calls? Do you need software to connect with agents in the field?

When you get the right features in your software, you boost your team’s ability to create positive customer relationships and increase customer satisfaction. Getting the wrong features can be just as bad as having no software at all.

Customer Preference

Consider which support channels fit your customer’s needs. Offering call support alone to a Millennial or Gen Z audience will probably create some unhappy customers since both of these groups prefer live chat and social media.

Knowing your customers saves you money and helps streamline your customer service process.

Your Current Customer Support System

Your new software should focus on improving your current customer service practices. If you have a dedicated customer service team, make sure your software supports them, too.

If multiple people have their fingers in the customer service pie, purchase a system that clearly defines each person’s role, and prevents overlap.

All-in-One vs. Specialized Systems

Some systems offer several services for your customers, but sometimes you don’t need them all. If you provide online-only support, you don’t need the frills of phone, video, and other options. So don’t buy them.

All-in-one systems encompass different types of software, including:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM): CRMs focus on sales and interacting with people to bring them in as customers and retain them long-term.
  • Customer experience management (CEM): CEMs deal with the customer’s experience throughout their buying journey, from marketing to purchasing to customer service. In other words, you want them to leave positive reviews and become repeat customers.
  • Marketing automation software (MAS): MAS systems concentrate on marketing efforts, communicating information about products and services, and generating leads.

The type of software you get depends on your business and customer needs, so choose carefully.

The Different Types of Customer Service Software

Different types of customer service software fulfill various purposes and conform to specific customer needs. 

There are three basic types of customer service software.

Helpdesk

Helpdesk software functions pretty much as its name suggests. It keeps track of everything in one convenient location and can automate processes like ticketing and store canned replies, so you don’t have to retype the same response to all those customers asking the same question. 

Helpdesk software lets agents juggle different customer service actions in one place, so they have easy access to everything when they need it.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software gives you a more comprehensive view of customer service and related information. It builds a database for sales purposes and helps customer service agents manage various accounts differently depending on customer needs and habits.

CRMs are usually more comprehensive than helpdesk software. They’re also more marketing-focused than other customer service software and tools. If you don’t need too many bells and whistles, opt for something simpler.

Live Chat

Live chat sticks to online modes of customer service. It lets your reps respond quickly and conveniently to customer questions.

This type of software doesn’t offer anything as broad as CRM or even helpdesk software, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve you well. I’d recommend it for any business that values efficiency and a streamlined approach.

1. Hubspot’s Service Hub—Best Free Software and Deals

Hubspot doesn’t just offer marketing services. Hubspot’s Service Hub gives you all the tools you need to organize your services. 

The best part is that you can get a free version of this software without worrying about it expiring. Most other software companies give you less than a month to try theirs. With Hubspot, you might not need to pay at all to get what you need.

Hubspot makes it easy for your team to communicate with a conversations inbox and team email, so everyone stays on the same page. It even has email templates, so agents don’t have to waste time crafting the same email over and over.

Live chat and chatbots save time and work to help customers in a way that’s convenient for you and your team. You can also connect the software with others from Hubspot, like their sales software and CRM.

If you need more than what the free plan offers, you can buy this software in three tiers:

  • Starter: $40 per month
  • Professional: $320 per month
  • Enterprise: $1,200 per month

Each tier offers different features and supports two, five, and ten users, respectively. The Starter package comes with meeting scheduling, agent productivity reports, calling, and canned snippets, so agents don’t need to repeat themselves for each customer.

With the Professional and Enterprise packages, you can get everything from automation, pipelines, and custom reporting to a knowledge base, hierarchical teams, and integration with Slack. While each tier has a significant price jump, the features that come with them make the cost worth it if your team needs the additional support.

Pros

  • Integrates with other Hubspot software
  • Established and popular brand
  • Offers more free software

Cons

  • Costly for the features and tiers offered
  • Limited number of users

2. Zendesk—Best for a Support Suite

One of the most established customer support software options available, Zendesk offers a whole support suite to give you all the tools you need to click with customers. 

It offers convenience with live chat and messaging, so you give customers a personalized experience. You can also connect Zendesk to your social channels without managing a ton of different platforms.

With a ticketing system that includes tracking, solving, and a priority system, Zendesk creates agent efficiency. Tickets don’t get buried in anyone’s inbox, and you know the status at any given time.

The software’s integrated voice system allows you to makes each customer’s voice experience unique. You can create a new phone number or use an existing one, so your call center works for you.

Zendesk offers solutions for businesses of all sizes with solutions like:

  • Answer Bot—An AI bot that suggests articles to help customers
  • Zendesk Guide—A smart knowledge base to help you find resources
  • Zendesk Gather—A forum for customers to connect with each other

You can get five software levels for smaller businesses, ranging from $5 to $199 per agent per month, including Essential, Team, Professional, Enterprise, and Elite.

Larger businesses will benefit most from the Professional Support Suite and Enterprise Support Suite. With these options, you get omnichannel support, social messaging, and dashboards, and reports. Reporting and analytics are vital to know how your agents connect with customers and your customers’ satisfaction with their experience.

Plus, with the Enterprise Support Suite, you have access to special features like multi-band support and 24/7 support for your agents if anything goes wrong. You also get a chat widget, roles and permissions, and content cues. The higher the tier, the more convenient Zendesk makes the customer service experience for everyone.

Pros

  • Many self-service options
  • Complete support suite
  • Can integrate social media with software 

Cons

  • Not many options for larger businesses

3. Groove—Best for Small Businesses and Startups

Groove is newer than many of the options here, but don’t walk away from it just yet. Its modern, intuitive design has boosted its popularity fast.

Groove is designed to learn quickly, so you don’t have to take time out of your day to figure it out, giving your customer support team the ability to get up and running quickly. After all, the whole purpose of customer support software is to streamline your operations.

This software doesn’t have tiers. Instead, you pay for the core software, which includes:

  • Rules
  • Tagging
  • Canned replies
  • Custom folders
  • Conversations
  • Performance
  • Customer reports
  • Mobile compatibility
  • Integration for almost any app

Because you pay for only the basic package, you can customize it however you want. Small businesses won’t get overwhelmed with a million options, but that does mean you have to think a little harder about how you want to set it up. Once you do, you can make it easy and intuitive for your agents to get in the groove. You can also try a free 15-day trial of Groove to test it out.

Pros

  • Intuitive interface
  • Works well for small businesses
  • Customizable
  • Integrates with most apps

 Cons

  • The basic package has fewer features
  • Takes more setup

4. TeamSupport—Best for B2B Support

Built for B2B customer support, TeamSupport lets you tailor your service options to business owners. You can group users into organizations, so you know who is part of which team and track common issues between businesses.

The Product Section feature allows you to put customers who use the same products together, so agents spend less time searching and more time resolving issues. With the Customer Distress Index, you can see how agents have helped customers and their satisfaction with their experience.

The Water Cooler brings agents together to communicate internally to resolve issues, but TeamSupport also has customer self-service options. The software only offers two price tiers, but they are cheaper than most other software.

The Support Desk version costs $50 per agent per month, and it lets you assign, track, and manage customer support requests using help desk operations. You can also customize and automate tasks to provide excellent end-user customer support.

The Enterprise package only costs a little more at $65 per agent per month. It works well for software and technology companies, allowing you to track products, support issues, and product defects, ideal for B2B customer service.

Pros

  • Used by industry leaders
  • Cheaper than many other options
  • Great for B2B customer support

 Cons

  • Only two tier options
  • Less adaptable for B2C support

5. LiveAgent—Best for Live Chat-Based Customer Service

LiveAgent is an award-winning customer service software that has been recognized for its B2B- and SaaS-friendly service and live chat interface. This helpdesk software focuses mainly on remote work.

LiveAgent includes a universal inbox and automated ticketing, so agents get assigned tickets and can also see what everyone else is working on. It eliminates overlap and uses gamification to improve existing customer service practices.

With a live chat and call center, your agents have the tools to respond to customers when they need help. Unlike other customer service software, LiveAgent also offers video calling support, rather than just phone and live chat. Unfortunately, its interface isn’t as intuitive as others on this list.

Your agents get the support they need with 24/7 customer support for all four of its packages:

  • Free
  • Ticket: $15 per agent per month
  • Ticket+Chat: $29 per agent per month
  • All-Inclusive: $39 per agent per month

With a 7-day ticket history, the Free package gives you one email address, a live chat button, and a phone number. It also offers basic reports, a knowledge base, and ticket options like merging, splitting, exporting, and mass actions. For a free package, it’s reasonably comprehensive.

The Ticket package upgrades you to unlimited ticket history and email ticketing, plus advanced reporting. You also get templates and canned answers, along with gamification to streamline the customer experience.

Ticket+Chat gives you all the features of Ticket, plus unlimited live chat, chat invitations, and chat satisfaction surveys. You can also keep track of who looks at your website with the real-time visitor monitor.

The All-Inclusive package does seem to give you everything you could possibly want in a customer service software. You’ll have all the features of Ticket+Chat, plus unlimited call center support, video call, and call routing and transfers. Essentially, any call feature missing from the lower tiers you can find in this one, along with social account connectivity.

You can add specific features for an additional cost with every tier, such as an additional knowledge base or time tracking. The same applies to connecting social accounts, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $39 each per month.

Pros

  • Great for remote support
  • Offers video calling options
  • Many tiers and features
  • Low cost

 Cons

  • Clunky interface

6. Salesforce Service Cloud—Best for Remote and On-Site Support

Many well-known companies use Salesforce Service Cloud to boost their customer connection.

It’s designed for field service so that you can answer customer questions anytime, anywhere. You can even tailor your software to your company’s location, which helps local businesses.

Salesforce Service Cloud uses AI, chat, voice, and field service to help agents customize their customer’s experience. As the #1 CRM, Salesforce focuses on all aspects of the customer experience, so agents can keep up with customer needs with less effort. 

The product has four tiers:

  • Essentials: $25 per user per month
  • Professional: $75 per user per month
  • Enterprise: $150 per user per month
  • Unlimited: $300 per user per month

The downside to this product is that the price sometimes more than doubles when you jump tiers without offering too many more features. With Essentials, you get case management, service console apps, a knowledge base, and phone integration.

While that might be worth the money for you, the only additional features you get with the Professional software are service contracts and entitlements. From there, Enterprise gives you web services API, and with Unlimited, you get 24/7 support and configuration settings.

Essentially, each tier only gives you one more feature. Whether you spend the money on them depends on how badly you need them. Nonetheless, Salesforce is a widely-known and trusted software, and many of your employees have likely used it before, which will cut down on the learning curve.

Pros

  • Excellent for field support
  • Most flexible software available
  • Has more AI options than other software

 Cons

  • High prices for few features
  • No 24/7 support for tiers below Unlimited

7. Freshdesk—Best for a Streamlined System

Freshdesk can help you streamline any inbox disaster. Alternatively, if your current customer service software looks more like a virtual maze, Freshdesk makes it easy to switch.

Freshdesk’s ticketing system comes with a team inbox, including agent collision detection. Its collaboration feature uses Team Huddle so agents can discuss tickets and share ownership when the project is too big for one person. Plus, with Omniroute, you can auto-assign customer service tasks to agents based on their bandwidth.

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How to Level up Your Writing Skills for Irresistible PPC Ads

How to Level up Your Writing Skills for Irresistible PPC Ads

Marketers and business owners alike know the inherent value of PPC ads. With 64.6% of consumers interacting with Google ads when online shopping, it’s no wonder PPC ad creation is growing exponentially.

While you may have aced your keyword research, gotten to know your budget intimately, and A/B tested relentlessly, your PPC campaigns may still be falling short of their desired goal.

How can you craft PPC ads that stand out from the crowd with such a highly saturated market?

Strong, compelling writing skills.These should be nurtured to drive conversions.

The Importance of Good Writing Skills for PPC Ad Copy

Google and Bing both reward superior writing with higher quality scores, earning you increased visibility and decreased cost per ad.

While lowered cost is always a good thing, the real importance of good writing skills for PPC ad copy is audience reach and interaction.

With limited character space at your disposal, you need your PPC ad copy to attract audience attention and hold that attention long enough to result in the desired reaction to your CTA.

Which component of your ad is attracting and holding that vital attraction?

Copy.

You need to ensure your copy is doing three things: working hard enough to earn that initial attention from your desired audience, speaking toward a specific pain point or need for that audience, and providing a clear, actionable CTA.

Without these three factors at work compellingly on the page, your PPC ad copy will more likely than not be lost to the ether of the internet.

How Can You Identify “Good” Writing in PPC and Ad Copy?

To best learn how to improve your own ad copywriting skills, look no further than existing ads that have achieved their purpose.

Maybelline Example:

Screenshot of Maybelline PPC ad copy writing skills

Here, the purpose is simple: purchase the Maybelline BB cream.

The writer drives the searcher to this desired action through copy that is clear and concise.

The copy also draws on the emotional promise of “A good skin day, every day,” promising an ideal vision.

From selecting the CTA to the product description to the harnessing of emotion via the value proposition, this PPC ad is a lesson in strong writing skills.

Field Company Example:

The Field Company PPC ad screenshot writing skills

On the other end of the product spectrum is an ad for a cast iron skillet from Field Company.

Here, the purpose is also to drive a purchase, but this ad is missing key components to make it successful.

This ad lacks a strong CTA and is not making a clear bid for the searcher’s next step.

While the writer takes a stab at an effective emotional trigger by sharing the organization’s family-owned background, this piece of information is not as compelling as the Maybelline advertisement.  

Although these two ads offer customers quite different products, they harness the same writing skills to sell their product, relying on language to attract, hold, and, ideally, convert.

Writing Skills PPC Copywriters Should Have

Above all, the successful PPC copywriter must be deeply familiar with their target audience.

Successful identification of this audience and a deep understanding of their wants and needs is integral to success.

You may be the best writer in the world, but without a clear understanding of who you are speaking to, what you say doesn’t matter at all.

In addition to audience awareness, PPC copywriters should possess:

  • Understanding of user experience
  • Polished writing skills
  • Marketing awareness
  • Specialization

These four writing skills support the creation of direct, compelling content. By harnessing all these capabilities, writers can not only reach but also convert their intended audience.

5 Tips for Improving PPC Copywriting Skills

Some of the best ways to improve your writing skills is to make sure your copy speaks to what users are looking for during their buyer journey. Here are some of the top ways to make sure your writing is converting ads into paying customers.

1. Conversational Conversion Writing Skills

While the following tips all address the more technical aspects of honing writing skills for PPC ad creation, the most important factor to keep in mind is your audience.

You are speaking directly to a targeted individual, so you want to ensure all the crafted copy underlines this individual’s interests and challenges and solves the query they were, consciously or subconsciously, seeking.

This can be achieved by using shared language that is specific to your audience.

In this way, the best writers are also the best researchers. You need to truly understand the terminology associated with the product you’re trying to sell.

By incorporating terms specific to your chosen audience, you establish a silent rapport with your audience, building trust and interaction.

2. The Devil Is in the Details  

Good writing is in the details. Whether you’re writing a CTA or crafting an ad in response to a history of search queries, you need to be specific and detail-oriented.

When you’re sharpening your writing skills for ad copy, you want to be sure to meet each search at its level of detail.

The more specific the search, the more precise the ad. By the same principle, the less specific the query, the less specific the copy.

Every time a search is queried, a potential customer is identifying what they want.

When you note the level of detail present and respond in kind, you’re infinitely more likely to satisfy that customer’s need.

3.  Creating a Call-to-Action

Your CTA needs to do a lot of heavy lifting in your PPC ad copy.

It should be clear, direct, and concise. These conditionals that all rely on strong writing skills.

Remember specifics? They’re important here, too. Your CTA should specifically share what your intended action is for the would-be consumer.

Whether it is “read now” or “enter to win,” the potential customer needs to be clear on their next interaction with the PPC ad.

To sharpen awareness of that next step, be sure to start your CTA with a strong action word.

“Download,” “shop,” and “discover” are just a few examples of many verbs that can encourage your audience to take the intended action.

4. Emotional Charge Writing Skills

In addition to the specificity of action, it’s also important to inspire your audience with the specificity of emotion.

Everyone knows emotions can impact advertising success.

By using words that elicit enthusiasm or emotion, you incite a reaction in your audience, driving them to take the next step.

A Buffer analysis of the IPA dataBANK, which contains 1,400 case studies of ad campaigns, found that campaigns with emotional ad content performed twice as well as their rational counterparts.

Below are the top ten emotions to evoke when you’re writing ad copy:

List of ten emotions that drive a response in readers writing skills

The best ad campaigns harness this emotional power, so be sure to include emotionally charged language in your copy.

5. The Art of the Arc

Every good writer knows that every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This tenet shouldn’t only be present in narrative but also should exist in every piece of writing you execute.

Whether you’re crafting a tweet, an Instagram post, or a PPC ad, your copy should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

As consumers, we’ve been taught this structure since infancy, so it’s a pattern we’re accustomed to recognizing.

When employed in your PPC ad copy, you create a familiar structure for your audience, allowing them to interact with the ad in a known way.

This familiarity is beneficial as it gives the reader an intuitive path to follow, which ends with the action explicitly stated in your expertly crafted CTA.

3 Tools to Improve PPC and Ad Writing Skills

If you’re looking for more guidance on sharpening your writing skills, there are plenty of resources available.

The Hemingway App helps identify clunky or overly complicated sentences, allowing you to be more concise and direct in your copy.

Try the Copyhackers’ Conversion Copywriting 101, a free course that teaches you how to prioritize purpose and conversion in your writing, regardless of medium.

To improve your headline prowess, check out the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. This tool helps you optimize your blog headlines for maximum performance and can work for ads as well.

Conclusion

The tools and tips highlighted in this post can make your ads outshine those of your competitors and lend you a creative edge in drafting other marketing copy.

As you start getting more comfortable with these writing practices and deploying them in your work, you’ll see your PPC ads start to perform better than ever before.

After all, with practice comes PPC success.

What is the best PPC ad campaign you’ve seen?

The post How to Level up Your Writing Skills for Irresistible PPC Ads appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/writing-skills-ppc/

How to Create the Best Facebook Cover Photos for Your Business

How to Create the Best Facebook Cover Photos for Your Business

It seems like every week there’s a new article about how people don’t use Facebook anymore. You may hear that it’s only for “old people,” that it’s not relevant, that brands are abandoning it.

Thing is, that’s just not supported by the user data. In reality, Facebook has barely seen a slowdown in audience growth at any point in the last 12 years. It’s been super consistent:

Facebook cover photo Monthly active users worldwide

With approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is comfortably bigger than Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, and Instagram combined.

Facebook cover photo Facebook is the worlds most popular social network

So what does this tell us?

Simply put, if you’re a brand, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook. It might not be your audience’s favorite social platform, but they’ll almost certainly be on there, which means you need to be, too. You should be using it to promote your products, advertise your brand, and generally represent your company.

The starting point for all of those things is your Facebook Business Page. Your current and prospective customers or subscribers will visit it to check you out, see what you’re talking about, and engage with your content.

What’s the first thing they’ll see? Your Facebook cover photo. Read on to learn how to make a Facebook cover photo that shows off your brand in the best possible light.

Steps to Create an Effective Facebook Cover Photo

Ever heard of Hitchcock’s rule? Named for the legendary movie director, it states that the size of an object on-screen should be proportional to its impact on the story at that specific moment.

Well, given that your Facebook cover photo takes up almost half the page on desktop …

Facebook cover photo takes up almost half the screen

… it’s reasonable to say Facebook considers it pretty important! You’ve got a whole lot of digital real estate to play with, so you definitely want to make it count.

Designing a Facebook cover photo for your business page is much more than just choosing an eye-catching picture, cropping it to the right dimensions, and publishing it. Here are five key considerations to creating a cover photo that draws your audience in.

1. Keep Your Facebook Cover Photo Simple

Facebook used to say only 20 percent of your cover photo could be made up of text, but it dropped that rule in 2013.

With all that space to play with, and no limit on the amount of text you can include, it’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible. Don’t do that.

When it comes to creating an impactful Facebook cover photo, simplicity is your friend. Focus on communicating a single message as clearly as possible, so your audience is in no doubt of what you’re trying to say.

Apple does this better than most. While the tech giant famously doesn’t really “do” social, its branding on Facebook is still spot on.

Apple Awesome facebook cover photo

Apple’s Facebook cover photo is an exercise in simplicity: no words, just one clean and instantly recognizable product image showcasing its iconic MacBook. The use of color is super effective, naturally drawing your eyes to the center of the image.

2. Complement Your Brand Through a Facebook Cover Photo

Can you sum up your entire brand in a single image? It’s not as simple as it sounds! But that’s exactly what you need to do with your Facebook cover photo. If it doesn’t complement your brand, you risk confusing your audience.

Adidas is a huge brand that sells everything from skateboarding sneakers to golf attire. It’s pretty tricky to encapsulate such a huge brand in one picture, so Adidas has chosen to combine three separate images for its Facebook cover photo.

Adidas Store Facebook cover photo complements its brand

This works really well, allowing the brand to speak to three different markets at the same time. In one cover image, Adidas encapsulates men’s and women’s sportswear, plus streetwear.

3. Keep Your Audience Front of Mind

As humans, we find it easier to connect with people than abstract concepts or inanimate objects. That’s why so many of the best Facebook cover photos feature images of people.

Of course, if you’re going to represent and speak to your audience through your cover photo, you first need to understand who they are. Fortunately, Facebook gives you a couple ways to find this out:

Facebook’s Audience Insights tool allows you to deep dive into the demographics, page likes, location, and Facebook activity of people who follow your page, are based in your area, or are interested in brands like yours. For instance, here’s a bunch of demographic information for people who like Major League Baseball:

Facebook cover photo audience insight tools are important

By visiting your Facebook Business page, you can find out who engages with it most in the Actions on Page section. It shows you who clicked your contact information, call-to-action (CTA) button, or website, and segments the information by age, gender, device, and location.

So what does all this information tell us? Well, say you discover 80 percent of the people who follow your page are men, 75 percent live in Mexico and speak Spanish as their first language, and 90 percent are between the ages of 18 and 25. Your Facebook cover photo should probably incorporate a young Mexican man and maybe some Spanish text.

Here are a couple of examples of how Google targets its various audiences through its cover photos. First off, the brand’s UK Facebook page incorporates a bunch of cartoony imagery featuring recognizably British landscapes and structures like the Angel of the North, Stonehenge, and a red London bus.

Facebook cover photo example how Google targets its audiences through cover photos

Meanwhile, the Google Students cover photo features pictures of young people from diverse backgrounds, often working in teams, and all using technology. In other words, they’re exactly the sort of people you’d expect to be interested in a Google page aimed at students.

Google Students Facebook cover photo

4. Pair the Facebook Cover Photo With Your Profile Pic

Just as your Facebook cover photo should complement your brand, it should also go hand in hand with your profile picture.

That’s really important because they sit alongside one another at the top of your Facebook Business Page. If they don’t fit together naturally, the results can be pretty jarring.

Nike is America’s most famous clothing and footwear brand, with 99% audience recognition, so it’s no real surprise that the company gets its Facebook branding perfect.

nike awesome facebook cover photo

With just three words, two colors, and the classic “swoosh” logo, Nike somehow manages to encapsulate its whole brand across its cover photo and profile picture.

5. Promote Your Products and Events Through a Facebook Cover Photo

When your cover photo takes up so much space, why wouldn’t you use it to talk about the things you want to promote? Whether that’s a new product, a special offer, a big piece of content, or an event, your cover photo is a fantastic place to show it off.

For example, PlayStation uses its cover image to showcase a high-profile new release for its PS5 console. Notice how the brand combines this with a CTA urging people to play the game, effectively transforming the top half of its business page into an interactive advert.

playstation awesome facebook cover photo

Taking things in a different direction, Gucci’s Facebook cover photo and profile picture are given over to promoting an online event, Guccifest.

Gucci awesome Facebook cover photo

Again, the fashion brand has added some interactivity by including a scannable QR code in its cover photo. The whole image is extremely text-heavy, which isn’t what you’d expect from a brand selling a physical product, but in Gucci’s case, this just makes the cover photo even more striking.

4 Steps to Designing an Impactful Facebook Cover Photo

Now that you understand the theory behind creating a striking Facebook cover photo for your business, it’s time to make it happen for your brand. Follow this simple four-step process to turn your Facebook cover photo vision into reality.

1. Pick a Facebook Cover Photo CTA Technique That Works for You

Take another look at all those Facebook cover photo examples I included above. None of them could appear in all five sections.

The PlayStation example is really effective at promoting a product, but it arguably doesn’t pair up well with the brand’s profile picture. Nike keeps things simple, complements its brand, and matches its profile image, but doesn’t directly feature its audience or showcase a product.

Does that mean they’re all bad cover photos? Far from it. Instead, this demonstrates that your Facebook cover photo shouldn’t be all things to all people. Pick out one or two of those techniques and use them to inform your image. For instance:

  • About to launch a high-profile new product? Use your cover photo to promote it.
  • Got a really specific audience? Speak directly to them in your cover photo.
  • Have a recognizable logo or slogan? Keep your cover photo super simple; let your branding do the talking.

2. Choose a Facebook Cover Photo Editing Tool

You don’t need to be a skilled graphic designer to create an effective Facebook cover photo. There are tons of easy-to-use, free photo editing tools that do all the hard work for you.

Arguably the most popular is Canva. It’s free to sign up and features a bunch of Facebook cover photo templates cropped to the correct dimensions. To find them, create your own Canva profile, select social media imagery, and choose the dedicated Facebook Cover option:

Use Canva to create a Facebook cover photo

Just one word of caution here: While Canva is free to use, you’ll need to pay for some of the design elements.

There are lots of other options, too. If Canva isn’t working for you, try PicMonkey, Visme, Snappa, Bannersnack, or countless others.

3. Start With a Photo

Again, unless you’re a qualified graphic designer (or have access to one), you’re likely looking for the simplest possible way to create an impactful Facebook cover photo.

In that case, you definitely want to start by finding a suitable image. Something that encapsulates your brand and speaks to your audience.

Just as there are lots of brilliant graphic design tools available online, there are also tons of fantastic free stock image libraries packed with hundreds of thousands of visuals you can use to design your cover photo.

Alternatively, feel free to incorporate your existing website imagery if you’re planning to use your cover photo to showcase a product or service.  

4. Remember to Use the Right Facebook Cover Photo Size

Last but not least, you must use the right dimensions for your cover photo. Otherwise, Facebook will crop or stretch it and all your hard work designing a beautiful, eye-catching image will be wasted.

So what are the right dimensions? There’s no easy answer, as frustrating as that sounds. Because 70 percent of Facebook users access the site on their phones, your cover photo has to work across both desktop and mobile. Yet cover photos display differently based on the device you’re using:

  • On desktop, the cover photo displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall
  • On mobile, it displays at 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall

If you want to use a single image that works across both formats, Buffer recommends cropping it to 820 pixels wide by 462 pixels tall.

As an absolute minimum, Facebook says your cover photo should be 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. It also advises keeping your image to less than 100 kilobytes for the fastest-possible loading.

Conclusion

Remember that your Facebook cover photo isn’t just a striking image. Choosing the right one for you isn’t necessarily about utilizing the brightest colors or the boldest copy.

It has to tie into your brand, speak to your audience, and effectively communicate your message. Ideally, anyone who knows your brand already should find it instantly recognizable.

If you’re struggling, remember the value of keeping things simple. Don’t try to be too abstract or clever. A basic image that clearly represents who you are and what you do will be much more effective than something complex that leaves people scratching their heads.

How are you using your Facebook Business Page to generate leads or sales?

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