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Rules to Better Social Media - 45 Rules

Social media should be an essential piece of your business marketing strategy. It is important because it allows you to reach out to people locally, or even internationally if you want. Using social media platforms to promote your business will help you connect with current and potential customers, increase your brand awareness, and hopefully, boost leads and sales for your company. Of course, it all depends on your business strategy too. Marketing goals come from Business goals.

Using social media effectively is a must in Digital Marketing nowadays.

So, here's a series of social media rules to help you improve your online presence.

If you still need help, our team can help.

  1. Do you keep your social media updated?

    If you are wondering how many times you should post on your social media, the answer is: as often as you can post great and relevant content. You don't have to post every hour to be relevant, and in fact, you can be seen as a spammer on socials.

    As Neil Patel says: "If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed."

    Most marketers recommend at least 1 post a day, depending on the social media platform - you might find that this can hard on YouTube, for example. In general, consistency is key. Make sure you have a routine set to follow up your insights for a deep dive into your metrics and you will find out what works best for your audience.

    You can use a social media management tool like Buffer (see Rule “Do you use Buffer to post to social media?”) to post to your social media platforms at least 3 times a week (ideally daily) with upcoming events, information about products or services, relevant news, or anything else that you think your followers would be interested in.

    Tip: If you struggle with content creation, see rule Do you know the types of content you should post on your social media?

    These posts maintain your online presence and are great branding for your business!

  2. Creating content can be exhausting. Often you're planning it weeks in advance, with many different posts and platforms involved. This can lead to mistakes such as typos, or wrong URLs. It's always a good idea to get someone else to do a "test please" on your content before you post it. This will help make sure your content doesn't have any issues that will compromise the user experience while consuming it, or even affect your business goal with the post.

    Here are some helpful tips that you can use to improve your content approval process:

    1. Use a template that you can easily fill in and that is also easy for people to understand what you want to post, where and when
    2. Block a period in your calendar to work on the content to create a routine
    3. Define a process that you can follow: Create content > Get images approved by designers > Get content approved by Management OR improve content based on feedback. If your process is not efficient and adds a lot of blockers to your work routine, then it is not effective.
    4. Commit to a deadline - Try to work out what the timeline will be, from creation to review. This is particularly important if your content is timely.
    5. Use a branding guide to be consistent with the brand's look and feel
    6. Encourage specific feedback (Eg. feedback like "I don't like this design" won't help you improve it)
    7. Reduce the rounds of approval - In this process, you should include only people that have the skills and capacity to analyze your content goal, and consequently the content itself
    8. Always think of your personas when creating content - who are you trying to target?

    social media content approval
    Figure: Example of a template you can use to get approval for your social media content, note it shows what platforms it will be posted on, when, the test and how it will look. It will also help give you an idea of what your feed will look like to ensure it has a nice balance of images

  3. In this age of misinformation, it is easy to get swept up in online hype and share stories/posts that everyone else seems to be sharing. This, however, can get us into trouble as it can perpetuate said misinformation and impact how a situation is viewed by the general populace.

    It’s important to not only check that what you share on social media is correct, but also, that your opinions are based on fact.

    What if your view differs from popular opinion? It's OK to have a dissenting opinion, and it is OK to play devil's advocate, but you should:

    1. Acknowledge when you're not an expert in a particular area
    2. People's perspectives matter, for example, if someone has a history of C# it might explain why they like Blazor for a UI over JavaScript
    3. Acknowledge when you're unable to verify what you’re saying

    Here are some helpful tips to aid in fact verification:

    1. Go to Snopes.com or use other fact-checking sites
    2. Look at the author and what they’ve published in the past... notice that they will have a bias one way or the other
    3. Look at other authorities and see what they say

    What's equally as important as fact-checking is building your own public profile and becoming an expert in a specific area.

    Becoming an expert and a source that people can trust isn’t something that happens overnight, it's something that you must continually work on. Here are some helpful hints to get you on your way:

    1. Pick several topics and stick to them (be consistent). It’s better to home in on subject matter, rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none
    2. Use the above fact-checking tips and tricks. Make sure you know what you’re talking about, but also that you understand that other people's opinions may differ
    3. Engage with people. Initiate discussions, reply to comments, talk to people who have dissenting opinions
  4. Do you analyse your results once a month?

    Analyzing your results (click-throughs, engagement, and new followers, for example) lets you see what was successful and what people have engaged with the most.

    This helps you further streamline your content and provides an insight into trends and areas of growth. Remember, Marketing is an iterative process - the more you reflect the better you can tailor your content and allocate your time and resources to a campaign that is delivering results.

    1. First, you have to identify all your marketing efforts - E.g. Website, social media, blog, newsletter, chat.
    2. When you think of each marketing effort, try to think of what you are trying to achieve with that activity. For example, if you share a newsletter every month, what are you trying to get from it? Inquiries? Sales? Set a goal for them and follow up. This will help you identify which channel is working the most, even further, what efforts are worth keeping. You will be able to identify if, for example, your audience is not on a specific social media you thought you would perform well.
    3. The next step is to make sure your pixels, conversions codes, etc. are working properly.
    4. After this, create a spreadsheet that you can update every month to keep track of your marketing activities.
    5. Present this to your manager and your marketing team to encourage discussions and improvements. A quarterly marketing meeting would be ideal to look back and see what went well, and what didn’t go as expected. See our tips for good presentations.
      During this meeting, you can discuss:
    6. Marketing activities you worked on
    7. Results (Highlight key results)
    8. Plan for next month, including budget and spend
    9. After the meeting, send an email with what was discussed, what you worked on, and what results you have achieved. Of course, don’t forget to include the approved budget.
    10. Keep this information in a report-style document stored in your Intranet that hopefully, you can look back to compare results.

    marketing overview old
    Bad Example - Figure: tracking just a few information won't help you see the big picture

    Screen Shot 2020 05 01 at 4 17 26 pm
    Good Example - Figure: tracking all your marketing efforts will help you see where you can improve and what you are already on the right track

  5. Taking photos can be difficult when you don't have an available photographer urgently.

    So, don't discourage your team members that don't have the right skills to keep sharing photos with your Marketing team. Instead, we asked some hot photography tips from the SSW TV team to help you out!

    Here are the tips:

    Framing

    Being eye level with the subject and using the rule of thirds, which involves mentally dividing up your framing using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, as a professional camera would do – if you are not using one. Also make sure there isn’t too much empty space and that you are not missing anyone important, if you have a big group, for example.

    RuleOfThirds
    Figure: Rule of thirds visualisation

    Composition

    See the composition checklist:

    • What is in your photograph? Is it well-positioned?
    • Is the desk clean?
    • Are there things that shouldn’t be in the photograph? E.g. confidential information
    • Lighting: Get the most out of lighting, especially if you are taking indoor photos. Try to avoid taking photos behind bright windows.
    • Make sure your lenses are clean before taking photos.

    Perspective Choice

    If possible, use portrait mode on your camera for taking photos of developers, as there’s a better chance of making use of the whole frame and photo composition. Also depending on what you are trying to capture, choose from landscape or portrait (camera position) when taking the photo.

    Photo Style

    Regarding the photo style, it’s better to smile in photos, so try and get your models (aka employees) to naturally smile in their photos. This makes the business seem more inviting to clients, besides giving the photo a warmer tone. It’s always good to take natural photos as well, like a shot of our team working together. When possible, it’s great to show a bit of diversity, as the techie community is pretty much consisted by the male sex.

    sebprofile
    Figure: Bad Example – Bad framing and background

    mattgprofile
    Figure: Good Example – Good framing for a profile photo

  6. For a better visual across all your social media accounts, ideally, you should follow the standards that each platform requests.

    They have variations of sizes according to the placement, for example, banner, profile icon or a post. If you are creating an image for an advertising campaign on Facebook, they will offer you a hand full of placement options, like news feed, Facebook marketplace, video feeds, right column and many others.

    As all of them will have different specifications, so it’s best to check their support if you have any questions regarding this. Hootsuite is a reliable source, for example, check this guide: Social Media Image Sizes 2022: Cheat Sheet for Every Network. It is important to know this, as posting on social media with the correct dimensions impacts how engaging your posts will be.

    Twitter

    On Twitter, we have the following variations for images:

    • Image post
    • Cover photo
    • Profile image

    Instagram

    On Instagram, we can have a lot of variations if we use all their placements. See next:

    • Image post can now be a variation of a square, vertical or horizontal photo
    • Stories
    • Reels
    • Profile image

    Facebook

    On Facebook, they have the following variations for images:

    • Image post
    • Images with Shared Links
    • Cover photo
    • Profile image
    • Facebook Stories post

    Facebook Ads

    Besides following the size of the images on Facebook Ads, you should also have limited text on images as there’s a better chance of your design or video getting approved more easily. If you need more information about Ads placement, check Facebook support for clarification.

    • News Feed Ads, Marketplace Ads and Messenger Ads
    • Collection Ads
    • Carousel Ads
    • In-Stream Video Ads
    • Search results
    • Stories (Instagram, Facebook and Messenger)

    jason2

    ::: goodFigure: Good Example – Our designer David Berkes created a set of images for ads on Facebook and Instagram that were consistent with SSW’s branding guidelines and also with the SSW's Clean Architecture Superpowers training solution sub-branding

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is like Twitter and Facebook:

    • Business Profile image
    • Cover photo
    • Post image
    • LinkedIn stories post

    YouTube

    On YouTube, you will find:

    • Profile image
    • Cover Photo
    • Video Thumbnail
    • Shorts
    • YouTube stories post

    TikTok

    On TikTok they have the following variations for images:

    • Profile photo size: 20 x 20 pixels (minimum size to upload)
    • Cover photo for your TikTok video (ideal ratio is 1:1 or 9:16)
  7. Sometimes it can be hard to keep generating content daily for your social media and even more when there’s not much going on. Here are a few types of content you could use for your next social media posts:

    1 - Internal projects, services or products that your business developed or offers

    teamwork
    Figure: SSW’s devs doing a scrum retro with General Manager Uly after working on SSW TimePro

    2 - Projects that your company worked on

    breast
    Figure: SSW's developer Kosta being recorded by SSW TV about the web app that SSW developed for Sydney University

    3 - Video content

    sswtv v2
    Figure: Adam Cogan and Matt Goldman Discuss Avoiding the Technical Debt Spiral on SSW TV

    4 - Events that your company organized

    promo azure
    Figure: Azure Superpowers - Paid training promotion on SSW's social media

    sswevents
    Figure: Angular Hack Day post-event post

    5 - External events that you and your team attended to

    ndc
    Figure: SSW’s team in our booth at NDC Sydney 2019 with Alumnus Tiago Passos

    6 - Team members profiles

    kikisprofile
    Figure: In profile photos, you can show your employees in action

    tom profile
    Figure: Another example of an employee action shot

    7 - Employees' blogs posts

    tim blog
    Figure: Use the same image from the blog post for consistency

    8 - Business blog posts

    blogpostssw
    Figure: When you promote your own business' blog post on your social media, try to use the same design & branding

    9 - General content written by your team on your website

    At SSW, we have many useful rules. They are our best practices that we share with everyone!
    If you follow an SSW rule, then you share it on your social media too. Use #ssw and #sswrules so we can see it! 📲

    rules v2
    Figure: Even though some of your content won't have a photo, you can either take one like this, or add a relevant one from a free stock photo service

    10 - Employment opportunities

    hiring v2
    Figure: Hiring post following branding guidelines

    11 - Teamwork, parties, etc.

    teamwork2
    Figure: A team shot just before NDC with part of the SSW China office

    covid teamwork
    Figure: SSW Melbourne - Following COVID-19 safety guidelines

    12 - Relevant news for your industry

    technews v2
    Figure: If you don’t have a catchy photo to represent your news, try free stock photo websites like Pexels or Unsplash

    13 - Memes (if they suit your industry)

    To see best practices for sharing memes on your socials, check out our Rule: Do you know why you should use memes as part of your business social media content?

    meme
    Figure: A meme once a week on weekends can help you boost your social media engagement

    14 - Application upgrades/updates

    When you do a major (or minor) upgrade to an application, you should let people know and identify the reason for the upgrade.

    Whether your upgrade is to take advantage of a new feature, fix a bug, or even just to keep yourself on the latest and greatest version, your followers might want to know why you upgraded. You should put a short announcement on Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. Your followers may not know about the changes and the ones who are grateful are likely to retweet or like your post.

    octopus upgrade
    Figure: Good Example - announcing the upgrade with a short note of the new feature
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  8. Memes are one of the greatest symbols of social media – fun fact: some people use social networks mainly for that reason. They’re funny and they usually carry personality, either to a person or a brand. They’re easy to engage with, but sometimes besides bringing some popularity to your account, they can also be risky for your business depending on its content. They can bring great results to your business’ social media, but you must plan it accordingly to fit your audience’s interest.

    Why do memes work?

    Memes are successful because they can tell something about your company culture. Memes can work to show our ideas, emotions, and actions in a simple communication manner that makes it easy to engage with, especially nowadays that people are usually running short on time.

    Here are some points that make memes great for brands & businesses:

    • They are an easy way to increase brand awareness and your engagement rate – people will like it, tag someone and share
    • They are great for giving your brand its own voice and sharing it on social media as a representation of your values and your company culture
    • According to research, they lead to higher engagement from your audience
    • They increase the chance that people will remember your brand when they see the meme elsewhere, and there’s an opportunity to impacting your audience

    While some companies have managed to successfully use memes to express their brands in a different way, not all businesses that have tried to implement the same strategy had positive results.

    What can go wrong and how to avoid it?

    A New York-based drugstore chain Duane Read got involved in a legal battle over licensing rights with Katherine Heigl when they decided to share a photo of her shopping at their store across their social media to promote their business.

    Although there’s no 100% right formula on how to use them, here are some tips to avoid problems for your business:

    • Check the rights on an image before using it: It’s important to be aware of the risks you’re taking, and how that could affect your brand image. Make sure you have the rights to use it.
    • Never, ever involve your business in problematic topics: don’t make jokes about race, gender or sexual orientation. Basically, don’t be discriminatory. Politics and religion are risky too.
    • Use an appropriate tone: It should be simple enough that most people can understand it without further explanation. Also keep in mind that if the meme is about your brand, it’s not quite a meme, it’s an ad.
    • Consider the alternatives: If you want to use a specific image but are afraid there might be implications, explore alternative options. For example, you can try licensing an image from a stock photo website that you want to feature as a major part of a marketing campaign if they are suitable for it.
    • Test it before posting: If you’re in charge of social media, ask a work colleague to check it before it goes live. Try to think of guidelines that everyone on your team understands and follows.

    Know your audience

    Start by making sure who your audience is and if they would engage with the memes. Learn who your brand followers are and what they care about, constantly check the insights of your social media. What are they telling you about your audience? Are they the type of people who would enjoy seeing a meme, or would they find it hard to understand it?

    Your brand values and personality hold great insights into the type of people who follow you on social media and the expectations they have over your posts. For example, if you are considered a popular brand for a younger audience, memes are probably a good strategy. However, if you’re trying to project a serious tone, a meme is probably not your way to go.

    Be aware that some businesses and industries are too serious to create and post that type of content. We also have to mention that some social media don’t quite have the right audience for a meme, for example: LinkedIn. We suggest a bit of research: check what your competitors are posting and if they use memes too, how do they approach it? It’s a great exercise to do market research if you want to add some personality to your socials.

    Correlating it to DevOps Culture, as a marketer, you should have a growth mindset on this. After testing a meme and posting it, you’ll learn from your experiments and gather insights on what’s the best way to implement this to your social media strategy.

    doritos
    Figure - Bad Example: Doritos usually creates their own memes blending humour with their brand, but in this one, the comments were clearly showing it was a bad idea

    nswpolice
    Figure - Good Example: By using a light-hearted tone, the NSW Police manages to get across their point on controversial topics

  9. Being consistent on your content across the different platforms you use is key to have a consistent online brand presence. It will help you grow audience engagement across the social media platforms you use for your business by following your branding guidelines, the personality you defined for your company.

    The content of your social media posts should be consistent across your different accounts, which means having the same caption (text), URLs, videos, images, and hashtags on each one. If your post exceeds the character limit of a site such as Twitter, you can write a separate, shorter version of the post to use instead.

    Be aware that if you decide to update or edit the content later, you might not be allowed to do so. No social media platform allows you to change the original image or video after it's published, and some sites have additional editing limitations. For example, on Twitter you cannot update anything, you would have to delete the tweet and start again. On LinkedIn, you cannot edit a video thumbnail (whereas you can on Facebook).

    Across all platforms, you will find that they have some limitations and recommendations regarding character limits. See them on this blog post from HootSuite.

    Also, Sprout Social has an interesting social media character counter that you can test your content before putting your post out.

    Some tips:

    • Hashtags are really popular on Instagram and Twitter, but not as much on LinkedIn or Facebook.
      Note: that this does not apply to Social Media Ads. If you run campaigns with repetitive ad copy, you will fail in every single campaign. To be able to prove that you have a good ad copywriting on a certain campaign, you will need a variety of text to see which ad is performing better and driving more conversions.
    • LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it is good sense to avoid using emojis or sharing memes where possible. For more information on this topic, check out our Rule Do you know why you should use memes as part of your business social media content?
  10. You spend a lot of time and money creating great video content, so you need to make sure that you get the most out of your time and money.

    Content creation wizard Gary V (Vaynerchuk) has shared a great model for this on his blog called the 'reverse pyramid' where you start with a video, that you are able to repurpose into dozens of smaller pieces of content, contextual to the platforms that you distribute them to.

    This could take many different forms — for example, if you’re not comfortable on video, you could record a podcast. You might even film yourself recording the podcast so you could have a video out of it as well. And from that video or audio clip, you can create content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

    You can find an explanation of the Gary V Content Model at:

    STEP 1: CREATE PILLAR CONTENT

    This is the content that will be used to create all other types of content. They include:

    • Interview
    • Q&A
    • Presentation
    • Educational Video
    • Daily Vlog
    • Demo

    Video: An example of a smaller video you can be used to drive traffic to your YouTube Channel

    1. Create a Quotable Card with a great background image:
    2. create a version of the video for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

      • write the copy for the update ASPNETCORE30 ENDPOINT AUTHORIZATION WITCHCRAFT

    Figure: Good example, create a version of the video for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram

    1. Create a Giphy with one of the main points and a moving background video from the pillar content

      • write the copy for the update 4. Create a blog post from the audio
    2. use Trint.com.to transcribe the video file and re-write the transcript as a blog post
    3. Post the blog post to Medium.com, LinkedIn Articles, and your blog

    STEP 4: DISTRIBUTE CONTENT

    At 12:00pm you should post your pillar content on all platforms. At 12:01 pm you should post all your micro-content.

    Remember the micro-content should promote your pillar content.

    You should also publish the blog post. You will republish the blog post on other websites in 2 weeks in Step 6

    STEP 5: MONITOR COMMENTS AND REPLY TO ALL

    You must reply to all comments and use these comments to find out what content should be created next.

    STEP 6: EMAIL THE BEST VIDEO TO LIST

    At the end of the week, you will email the best video out to your list with a listing of the other videos.

    STEP 7: PUBLISH BLOG POST

    You need to wait 2 weeks before republishing the blog post to other platforms so Google knows that your website is the source of the blog post.

    The sites you will republish to are:

    • Medium - Using the WordPress publishing tool
    • LinkedIn Articles
    • Quora
  11. Posting regularly on social media is important to continue to build your brand and engage with your customer base.

    The best social media posts always include an image or a video, as this is more engaging for your users and helps your followers to associate with your brand more easily. You should try and vary these images depending on the text of the post, for example, a post about an event would be complemented by a promotional image for the event or shots from previously held events.

    Social Media Strategist Jeff Bullas reports that Facebook posts with photos receive an average 37% increase in engagement, and Buzzsumo found that posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without.

    Be aware that just sharing random or any images will not set your social media apart from your competitors. You have to think of several aspects of the photo/video, such as:

    Screen Shot 2020 04 23 at 3 42 25 pm

    Bad Example: Social media post without an image - Less engagement

    Screen Shot 2020 04 23 at 3 45 49 pm

    Good Example: Social media post with a video - Better engagement

  12. Hashtags identify the keyword or topic of interest that the post is about. They allow searching for similar posts on the topic. They were popularized on Twitter and now work on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. On Twitter, it is possible to "track" (aka Subscribe to) a tag.

    The best tweets will use a combination of @mentions and #hashtags where appropriate to properly leverage the platform – that way readers can check out the people involved OR join the conversation about a topic. See our rule Do you know when to use a hashtag vs. a @mention? to see how to best leverage them in combination.

    Tips for companies

    Tip #1: Encourage people to use the correct hashtag by adding the hashtag to your sidebar or footer.

    hashtag stream
    Figure: On www.ssw.com.au/ssw/netug you can see the sidebar shows a feed with the hashtag used

    Tip #2: When creating your own hashtag to promote a service, product or event, check if it isn't already in use for anything else.

    Tips for everyone

    Tip #3: Don't use too many hashtags – 4 is a good number if you have relevant hashtags, or you may appear to be "spammy" and turn people off. On Instagram, you can share your hashtags on the first comment and they will appear "hidden", so you can use more here. Just remember to alternate between the hashtags you use. If you use the same hashtags on every post, they will not be as relevant.

    Tip #4: Keep your hashtags on topic – you might seem "spammy" if you use hashtags that are unrelated to your post.

    Tip #5: For more readability, capitalise the first letter of each word, for example, #SocialMedia.

    Examples of hashtags we use

    • #SSW - For our company-related posts
    • #SSWRules - For our public standards
    • #SSWTV - For our video channel
    • #SSWTraining - For our training programs
    • #NETUG - For our .NET User Groups
    • #AngularHackDay or #AIHackDay - For one of our "Hack Day" training events
  13. Do you know the text limit for images?

    When advertising on Facebook means you will have to adhere to the guidelines Facebook has created: Advertising Policies. One of the most important guidelines to follow is the 20% text rule on all ad images. You can also follow this for your organic content, as this will make your feed look cleaner - save the text for the post.

    In Facebook Ads, this requires that there is no more than 20% text on any image used in your campaign. This limit includes logos and slogans. Failure to meet this guideline will result in your ads not being approved by Facebook and will require you to adjust the text amount on your image before they can be run.

    Have a look at Facebook's Best Practices For Image Ads.

  14. Do you make URLs short and readable?

    Readability of URLs is important, so you should consider making a short URL. However, it is not just making the length as short as possible - it should be friendly.

    If you use a unfriendly and long link people can't see what they are clicking through to. In fact, this is what most spammers rely on.

    Thanks Bob, that is great.

    Link: blogs.msdn.com/b/briankel/archive/2010/06/25/now-available-visual-studio-2010-rtm-virtual-machine-with-sample-data-and-hands-on-labs.aspx

    Bad example - People can’t easily type or remember this URL... it is too long and hard to clearly see what it will take you

    Thanks Rob, that is great.

    Link: https://bit.ly/aC5Lb2
    Made a bit.ly per Do you make URLs short and readable?

    OK example - Short URL, but hard to remember

    When you can, take the more readable option:

    Thanks Rob, that is great.

    Link: bit.ly/VS-2010-VM
    Made a bit.ly per Do you make URLs short and readable?

    Good example - Short URL, and easier to remember

    So you should only 'Auto Shorten URLs' when it is too long and you need the space.

    However, it is becoming more prevalent for the software to support showing the full URL on rollover.

    RulesSocialTwitterReadableURL
    Figure: Good example – the application does the heavy lifting for you

  15. Do you share every blog post?

    You should always publish your blog posts to all social media platforms you use. It helps boost traffic and visibility for your site.

    Don't simply share the URL and maybe the title, as it won't make people get interested in taking an action. On social media, nowadays, you have an average of 5 seconds to get someone's attention on the feed – sometimes even less than that. So, you should put the effort in carefully choosing a catchy image to make your blog post interesting visually on someone's feed and adapting the content to different social networks. For example, if you use Twitter, you will have fewer characters. A good starting point is to choose a statement or a statistic from your blog post to share on the social media post and give the user a snippet about the content they are about to read.

    The combination of a good image and an explanatory caption providing enough (and interesting) information from your content will make the user want to visit your blog to find out more about what you have to share.

  16. A conversion pixel will help you understand if your ads are generating leads.

    A conversion is an action you want the user to make while visiting your website.

    This could be filling in a form, watching a video, or indeed making a purchase. To track if users are doing the action you want them to do, you should use a conversion code. This is a code (unique for every campaign you will do) that will check if every single user has performed the action directly on your website or via another one.

    You may have heard about a tracking pixel too. ClickMeter explains the difference well:

    • The Tracking Pixel (not to be confused with Conversion Pixel) is an image of one pixel that you place on a webpage or in an email and let you track how many times the webpage has been viewed or the email opened. Check this SocialMediaExaminer blog post to find out how to install it with Google Tag Manager. If you need more help setting this up, check hotmart's blog for furthers instructions, including Facebook pixel.
    • The Conversion code is a piece (snippet) of code you place in the thank you page to track conversions. The Conversion Code can ALSO be a Conversion Pixel.
  17. Social media management tools are a must-have marketing tool these days. They are software, web applications and apps that help a company to successfully manage content and engagement across different social networks. These tools offer many helpful features, like content scheduling, social analytics, teams collaboration, content creation, and many more.

    We will go through a few options you can choose - each has different plans/prices and features that suit different businesses needs.

    Buffer

    Buffer is a great tool for managing multiple social media accounts across a range of sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

    It allows you to choose which accounts to post to, can post to multiple social media accounts at once, and even lets you write and schedule your posts to be released over the course of a day or even over the next few weeks, so you don't need to be at your computer while maintaining an online presence. It also offers URL shortening and provides analytics so you can track the success of your posts across multiple sites.

    You can either visit the Buffer website or install the Buffer extension for your browser that sits next to the address bar of your browser.

    buffer browser extension
    Figure: To use the Buffer app from your browser, simply click the symbol

    post example
    Figure: You can select as many Social Media accounts as required and post to each platform at once using Buffer. You can also use the "Customize for each network" button to modify the content for each platform before you post it

    The content of your posts should be consistent across accounts. When making a post that exceeds the character limit of a site such as Twitter, you should write a separate, shorter version of the post to send to that site only. You can also use the "Customize for each network" button on Buffer to modify the content to better suit the platform for each post. This means that you could write the content for a Tweet and then modify it to remove things like #Hashtags to post it to LinkedIn where they don't make sense.

    tweet example
    Figure: Bad example - only Tweeting using Twitter alone and not using a scheduler to post across the different media platforms at once. This is time-consuming!

    Buffer2
    Figure: Good example - posting using Buffer to modify your content between platforms - much faster than posting individually to each platform every time

    #Hashtags

    Hashtags are used across social sites such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for similar posts on the topic.

    Establish a short #hashtag that can be easily associated with your brand, company, or campaign and ensure this #hashtag is used consistently across social networks, along with any other keywords relevant to the content of your post.

    For more on SSW #Hashtags, check out Do you know how to use hashtags?

    Custom URL shortening

    Buffer uses bit.ly for shortening URLs. You can create custom URLs at no cost by joining bit.ly and going into Settings | Advanced. This will allow even your shortened URL to carry your unique brand without the look of a long, untidy URL.

    For more on bit.ly and URL shortening, check out Rules to Better bit.ly.

    Tip: Buffer does not tag people on Facebook. You will need to manually go onto the Facebook page you posted through and edit the post to tag the people you wanted.

    SocialPilot

    A SaaS product, SocialPilot is another really cost-effective option with many features, even under their most basic plan. They offer functionalities like a social media calendar, a social inbox, social media analytics, client and team management.

    They allow you to connect to social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google My Business. SocialPilot also integrates with platforms like Zapier, Canva, Snip.ly and Bit.ly.

    linkedin analytics social pilot
    Figure: SocialPilot analytics reporting can help you understand better if your content is working towards achieving your goals

    HootSuite

    Available since 2008, Hootsuite is a really complete tool for managing your socials. Besides the basics, Hootsuite also helps keep an eye on the latest social conversations, trends, and brand mentions. Hootsuite offers integration with Zendesk, Canva, Slack, Monday, and others, if you need app integration to manage your social media. Hootsuite also offers training through Hootsuite Academy’s industry-recognized certifications, depending on the plan your company chooses.

    However, all of that comes at a price, and Hootsuite is one of the most expensive options.

    Figure: Hootsuite allows you to add chatbots for Facebook Messenger. You can combine automated and human responses to answer user questions, comments, etc.

    Sprout Social

    Out in the market since 2010, Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management platform, with product tools from Publishing and Scheduling to Employee Advocacy. Sprout Social allows you to connect to many networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tripadvisor and even Glassdoor.

    Besides three options of plans, they have three additional and optional premium solutions: Listening (below), Premium Analytics and Employee Advocacy.

    Figure: Sprout Social has a Listening feature that allows you to build a deeper understanding of your audience, discover trends and apply insights from your social media in your business strategy

  18. Getting attendees at a course or presentation involved has many benefits:

    • They can share ideas with the presenter and each other
    • They can provide feedback for improvement of the material
    • They can share key points that they learn

    The easiest way to get attendees involved is to promote a social media hashtag at the beginning of every presentation or course.

    presentation promote bad
    Figure: Bad Example – Presentation title slide does not promote attendee involvement

    presentation promote good
    Figure: Good Example – Promoting a Twitter backchannel promotes online discussion and feedback

  19. Do you know how to weed out spammers?

    Maintaining a public profile on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn is a free and easy way to connect with users and keep them updated your products, services or events. The downside to this is that not all who want to connect with you and your groups are real people – some are spammers or bots who will clog up your group, forum or event listing with unwanted advertisements or even links to sites that contain malicious code.

    Before approving a membership request, consider:

    • How old is the account?
    • Is the account profile properly filled out?
    • Do the name and picture match the listed gender?
    • Does the profile picture look “real” (as opposed to a picture of a model that the spammer has stolen from elsewhere)?
    • Does the account show real status updates or are they gibberish?
    • Are they a member of many incongruous groups that don’t fit with their location?

      Note: These are only guidelines, not a hard and fast rule. Use your initiative when approving membership requests.

    For groups on Facebook, there is now a tool that allows admin to ask up to 3 preset questions of all users wishing to join. This can be helpful in establishing in separating spammers from legitimate users.

    facebook screening questions
    Figure: Asking a screening question is a good way to separate real people with a genuine interest from those who just want to spam the group

    suspicious profile
    Figure: an example of a suspicious profile

    Some sites will allow you moderate comments so that only approved posts are displayed. If you're experiencing ongoing problems with spammers, this might be a good option to use as it keeps your site friendly and professional and gives you the final word on what content is shared with your members or followers.

  20. Sometimes the photo you want to share is not ideal to include texts and/or your logo. Adding overlays on these images creates a professional look to any photo, helps to hide messy desks or floors if needed, and it gives it a consistent contrast and feel to the post.

    It’s a good way of adding text to a photo as well following your branding guidelines at the same time.

    See some bad and good examples from SSW's social media below: badexampleandreas

    Figure: Bad Example – An overlay could have made this post look nicer

    goode5videos

    Figure: Good Example – Overlay on a social media post used to have some text on it

    goodeteamphoto

    Figure: Good Example – Overlay on a social media post to fill in the 4 square gaps that a wide photo can have

  21. Facebook has a call-to-action feature that helps Pages drive business objectives. These call-to-action buttons link to any destination on or off Facebook that aligns with a business’s goals.

    Page admins can select from a group of call-to-action buttons:

    • Book Now
    • Contact Us
    • Use App
    • Play Game
    • Shop Now
    • Sign Up
    • Watch Video

    For services or apps, you should use the "Watch Video" one. Video is flooding the online marketplace and is quickly becoming a marketing standard to convey your message. If you don't have a video yet, visitSSW's Video Services pages to make a creative and engaging video for your company.

    watch video facebook
    Figure: Good Example - Take the Facebook visitor to watch your video

  22. How are you going to have a successful event if no one shows up?

    You will have to promote your event in a way that makes sense to your topic and approach. The most cost-effective way is to use a large variety of online services that are available.

    Meetup

    This is the best way to increase the discoverability of your event. Meetup provides the following:

    • Allows people to search and discover events
    • Allows people to join your group to get updates
    • You can easily list your upcoming events and have people join them
    • Comes with an automatic mailing list so you can send out announcements

    Word of Mouth

    Don't underestimate the power of one friend or colleague telling another. DDD Melbourne sold out in 10 hours with almost no promotion except for Twitter and Word of Mouth. If you are creating a recurring event, Word of Mouth becomes extremely important as past experiences flow through the grapevine.

    Social Media

    In some circumstances, it is worth setting up one or more accounts on social media for promoting and corresponding as the event identity. In technical circles, it is especially popular to use Twitter as a way to create awareness about events. SSW uses a combination of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote our events, that way we have a much larger and diverse audience to draw from.

    Tip: Get your staff to Tweet at events and to Re-Tweet your events to help reach a larger audience! 

  23. When it comes to Facebook advertising, we can be looking at a wide range of industries and strategies. For this reason, we could be talking about different metrics according to each scenario/strategy/business.

    Depending on your business and strategy goals, you might be considering changing your main metrics for different campaigns. Let's say you are in retail and you sell tangible products - in this case, you would consider sales as your main metric for conversions. However, if you sell services, you could be looking into engaging conversations with your audience. In that case, a conversion could be a contact form submitted, which would be your leads, for then converting them into sales.

    Also, note that Facebook ads have a limited run. Often, ads will work for a certain period and then become ineffective. It is important to monitor ads regularly to see if they are still performing.

    Underperforming ads should be paused and tweaked before resuming use. The smaller the potential audience the quicker the ad will become less effective. Testing can be carried out on the copy, image, demographics and interest groups – altering these variables will give you a range of different results.

    Reporting is vital to determining the success of any campaign, as it allows us to clearly see and compare each campaign and decide which should be altered as they are ineffective and which are performing well.

    Facebook allows you to customize your reports, allowing you to measure the success of your campaign based on your goal. If your goal was post engagement you may want to customize your report to show Post Shares, Post Comments Post Engagement, Post Likes, Frequency, Cost Per Post Share, cost per Comment, Cost per Engagement and Cost Per Like.

    All of these factors are important to be looked at to provide a full overview of the campaign.

    Enagagement Report
    Figure: Post Engagement Report

    Other goals for Facebook Ads may be Page Likes, Conversions, and Website Clicks. An overview provides you with a basic report of your campaign, featuring; Results, Amount Spent, Frequency, Page Likes, Website Clicks, Post Shares, Post Comments, Post Engagement, and Post Likes.

    Overview report
    Figure: Overview Report

  24. LinkedIn is the main business and employment-oriented social networking service available. It's important to keep it up-to-date and link it to your company's services.

    edit featured final
    Figure: In the Featured section, use the "+" and then "Links" buttons to include the URLs for the main services your provide

    linkedin services bad example
    Figure: Bad example - Profile with no links

    linkedin services good example
    Figure: Good example - Profile with links to main services provided

  25. Outlook (and other Microsoft 365 apps) has a great feature that shows users' LinkedIn profiles - but only if the user has connected their Microsoft account to LinkedIn.

    linkedin bad
    Bad: LinkedIn profile is not connected to a Microsoft account

    linkedin good
    Good: LinkedIn profile is connected to a Microsoft account

    To connect your Microsoft account

    1. In Outlook, hover over your name (for example, in an email to you) and click on the LinkedIn logo

    linkedin hover
    Figure: Click the blue LinkedIn logo

    1. On the LinkedIn page that appears, click "Yes, let's go"

    linkedin signin
    Figure: Sign in to LinkedIn

    Note: If your Microsoft account is already connected, you'll see your LinkedIn profile here instead.

    1. Follow the prompts to sign in to LinkedIn, and allow access to your account
    2. Hover over your name again, click the LinkedIn logo and see your profile appear

    You can also check this within LinkedIn. go to LinkedIn | Settings | Account Preferences | Account Management | Microsoft, and view your account connection.

    linkedin linked
    Figure: Microsoft account connected


    See also: Microsoft's Support page on this topic

  26. Twitter lets anyone request a verified account (the blue tick goes public). Twitter says that an account will be verified if it is deemed of being of public interest.

    As outlined on the Twitter website:

    Request to verify an account

    The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. 

    We approve account types maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas . If you believe your account is of public interest and should be verified, this article outlines information about submitting a request.

    Submitting a request

    To be able to complete the form, your account must have the following:

    • A verified phone number
    • A confirmed email address
    • A bio
    • A profile photo
    • A header photo
    • A birthday (for accounts that are not company, brand, or organization accounts)
    • A website
    • Tweets set as public in Tweet privacy settings
    • Profile and account recommendations

    Some common characteristics of verified accounts include:

    • If the account belongs to a person, the name reflects the real or stage name of the person.
    • If the account is a corporation or company account, the name reflects the real name of the corporation or company.
    • The profile and/or header photo reflects the person, the corporation’s branding, or the company’s branding.
    • If the account is a corporate or company account, the email address associated with the account is a corporate or company email address.

    In order to verify your account, fill out this form .

  27. Your tweets should be interesting to your target audience. People aren't going to follow you for long if you make off topic and low value tweets.

    bad twitter
    Bad Example - "Having lunch" is not an interesting tweet

    Some good examples of things to tweet about:

    • One week before an event, tweet about the event to raise awareness
    • One day before an event, tweet about the event and what you are talking about
    • On the day of the event, check-in on foursquare when you arrive (gives people a nice map)
    • When something good happens to you. E.g. You beat your boss in an arm wrestle
    • Tweet before and after installing new software or after an upgrade eg:

      • Installing #SharePoint for the first time
      • #SharePoint install done - found a great guide to follow here: mysharepointsite.com

    good twitter
    Good Example - An informative tweet with hashtags and relevant links for a targeted audience of IT followers

  28. If someone's blog post is interesting or inflammatory enough that you want to comment on it, then it is probably worth a tweet.

    @MrHinsh I missed this...John Liu, making sense, something to see https://bit.ly/9wzSVT  less than 20 seconds ago via bit.ly

    Figure: When you comment, tweet the other person's blog. It's only polite

  29. When at a conference change it to the conference's hashtag:Eg. Todd Gardner at #NdcOslo

    When traveling change it to the area you are in:Eg. Todd Gardner in Norway 🇳🇴

    This tip also works well on all social media platforms. Eg. Facebook, Instagram etc.

    twitter name
    Figure: Changing name when traveling

  30. #Hashtags are used when talking about something – a topic or keyword. Using a hashtag creates a link that leads to a page displaying an aggregated list of posts about that thing.

    On the other hand, @Mentions are used when talking to or about someone (the user account of a person, brand, group, etc.). The link created by a mention goes to that user account. The user is notified when they have received a mention in a post so that they can respond.

    The best tweets will use a combination of @mentions and #hashtags where appropriate to properly leverage the platform – that way readers can check out the people involved OR join the conversation about a topic.

    tweet with mentions and hashtags
    Figure: Figure: This tweet utilises @mentions, #hashtags, and an external link, which will create higher engagement and let the reader further explore the topic

    Small companies: If the brand is not big you don't need it diluted. So find the profile and use the @ not the #. E.g. @firebootcamp is preferred over #firebootcamp

    Large companies: If the brand is big, you will see a difference between the @ and the #. So if you want to tweet about a subject that is also a username – such as #VisualStudio / @VisualStudio - then the content of your tweet will decide whether to use a hashtag or a @mention:

    • If you are talking to someone directly, or mention a specific user in your tweet, you should use the @mention.
      E.g. Thanks to @visualstudio for the map to Bill Gates’s house – I’m looting his safe right now!
    • If it is about the topic, then the hashtag is the way to go.
      E.g. Microsoft releases #VisualStudio 2013 Update 2
  31. There are some best practices you should be aware of when creating ad campaigns on Twitter.

    Below are listed some good resources you can use to get the most out of your ad campaigns:

  32. When others mention you on their blog or podcast and if they re-tweet you then you should always thank them.

    twitter thanks reply
    Figure: Good example, always thanking someone is not just good practice and polite, you both get Google juice as well

    Remember to say something constructive, and not just "thanks" to build on the engagement.

  33. Twitter - Do you tweet rules that you follow?

    If you follow a rule, then tweet it. Use  #ssw  and  #sswrules

    Figure: Good Example - Tweeting about a rule you use using the right hashtags

    You have just tweeted your first rule…

  34. Twitter - Do you tip great content creators?

    'Tips', from Twitter, is a recently released feature that allows users to tip great content creators that they follow to show support and encourage them to keep creating content.

    You can use 'Tip' to anyone you follow that has enabled this feature in their Twitter account, from journalists to digital influencers, and more. Tips can be sent in the form of money or Bitcoin via third-party payment services, which may charge fees.

    Tips is only available for users on iOS and Android for now. To tip someone, just check first if they have a little money icon on their Twitter profile pages. For Android users, you can also find it on their profile while in Twitter Spaces.

    twitter tips
    Figure: A money icon on someone's Twitter profile page means you can tip their account through Tips ✅

  35. To maximize reusability and minimize costs, it’s best to avoid including dates as text in graphics for promotional videos.

    events dates bad
    Figure: Bad example - dates shown as text in graphics (creates extra work to change every time)

    events dates good
    Figure: Good example - no dates shown as text in graphics (can be re-used without editing)

    If there is some particular value/purpose in including dates there may be exceptions to this rule.

  36. Do you take great profile photos?

    Your employees are the face of the company, so having profile photos that are consistent and high quality will improve your company's profile.

    Camera Settings

    Profile photos are used to provide a human connection element, so it is best to have a photo that is as close to real life as possible.

    1. Focal Length: 35mm – 50mm lens (full frame equivalent) As per The Camera Versus the Human Eye, the closest focal length to a human eye is 43mm, so profile photos in the above range will look the most realistic.
    2. Shoot in RAW: Many cameras (and some phones) allow you to shoot in raw mode, which captures all the sensor data, instead of compressing it to a small image file like jpg. This allows more flexibility when editing.
    3. ISO: Ideal ISO 100 – 800 (or the camera’s native ISO), Max ISO 6400 The ISO is the sensor input sensitivity levels (or gain). A higher level will capture more light, but will also make the image noisy/grainy:

    Figure: Noise/grain levels increasing as the ISO increases

    Background

    1. Use a plain background (e.g. white or a light neutral colour). This will provide a nice clean aesthetic, and will make it easier to edit out the background for transparent assets (e.g. for creating graphics, presentations, and video thumbnails).
    2. Keep the subject a few steps in front of the background to avoid shadows (see lighting plan below)
    3. Ensure the subject is surrounded by the background to reduce the load for editing.

    2021 10 05 18 15 51
    Figure: Bad example – Subject’s body goes beyond the edges of the white background.

    2021 10 05 18 29 19
    Figure: Good example – Subject has all sides within the white background & lit with 3-point lighting.

    Lighting

    1. Use three-point lighting to ensure the subject is dynamic and well-lit:

      • Key light: Primary light source in front of subject that highlights one side.
      • Fill light: Diffused even light source in front of subject to illuminate all dark areas.
      • Back light/ Hair light: Accent light source behind the subject to separate them from the background.

    ssw profile photos lighting plan
    Figure: 3-point lighting plan.

    Posing

    There are 2 poses suitable for the profile photos:

    • Direct to camera
    • ¾ angle to camera

    Below are instructions to give to your subject to get them in the correct position:

    Direct to camera

    1. Point your hips towards the camera (this will align them straight to camera)
    2. Keep your shoulders back (this will straighten their posture)
    3. Point your chin towards the camera (this will elevate their head & reduce neck wrinkles)
      2021 10 05 18 00 22
      Figure: Good example – a direct and professional look.

    ¾ angle to camera

    1. Point your hips a quarter turn towards the fill light/away from the key light (this will give their body a more dynamic posing)
    2. Keep your shoulders back (this will straighten their posture)
    3. Look towards the camera (this should rotate their head to face into the camera)
      2021 10 05 18 17 26
      Figure: Good example – a more dynamic and friendly (but still professional) look.
  37. Do you manage your photos?

    Using Google Photos - The awesome way to find any image.

    Please watch the video to know more:

  38. We want a world of great user interfaces so when purchasing online cast a critical eye (or complimentary eye) over your experience. If you see something painful (or cool), then take a screenshot and tweet and share your experience.

    More info on Customer Experience on Adam's blog: From UX to CX – Improving the Customer Experience.

    Figure: Positive shopping tweet

    The above was also posted on Facebook.

    Figure: Negative shopping tweet

  39. As social media becomes more and more popular and accessible, people leaving comments expressing their opinion about something they saw online is becoming more common.

    The manner by which companies handle negative and inappropriate comments says a lot about the brand, so managing comments on social media should also reflect the company values. Don’t forget that positive comments should have the same relevance and should be replied to with the same amount of effort.

    Here are some points on handling negative comments:

    1. Don’t block people who don’t agree with you

    Unless you’ve received a disrespectful or hateful comment, don’t block users that have a different point of view to yours.

    2. Understand the situation, apologize and fix the problem

    A negative comment could be due to bad customer experience. In that case, first, understand what happened, show in your reply that you are sorry that a certain situation didn’t go as expected and that you understand how your client feels, as Neil Patel suggests. Then show your client that you’ve fixed the problem, or that you are working on it (if it’s a long process to fix it). If a customer has raised an issue publicly, addressing it publicly is the way to go as it shows transparency and builds trust with your community. Responding to clients that have had a bad experience with your product or service is crucial on social media to encourage others to keep purchasing from your company.

    3. If the problem is serious, reach out to the client through a private message

    From the first comment, we can identify if a problem can escalate quickly, or if it’s harder to handle publicly. In cases like this, you can ask the client to contact you privately via email or direct message. This will hopefully take the damage offline and allows you to engage with the customer in a more personal way. It also allows other clients to see that you still responded and that you took action on a client's concern.

    4. Remember that some people are just trolls!

    If you got a new comment that is not from a client or a potential client, remember that some people are just trolls and want to make fun of everything. If the customer is unreceptive to your helpful replies or they start posting anything offensive or inappropriate on your page, it is perfectly reasonable to block them – but this should be the last option in most cases. If you can, verify that they actually were a customer of your business using your CRM system. Finally, keep in mind that replying could mean poking the bear, and you’ll only feed their need for attention even more. Some comments could be either about your product/service or about a meme you posted. If you get a discriminatory comment e.g. containing sexism, homophobia or racism, discuss it with your team to see if you should hide, reply, or just ignore it. For more, check this article from Hootsuite with 9 tips for handling trolls on social media.

    Making sure everyone from your team is on the same page about how to approach these situations is the best way to go.

    1. Use a social media management tool

    You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of the comments you get on social media, like Zendesk or Hootsuite. commentsonzendesk Figure: This is Zendesk UI to help you reply to comments on social media - You can reply, mark as solved, open or pending through the platform engagement new streams Figure: This is Hootsuite UI to manage comments (more expensive) ** **

    5. Use the hide functionality (Facebook only)

    Facebook has a nice functionality where if you hide a comment, the user who posted it (and the page manager) can still see it. This hide functionality is useful as it doesn’t inflame the situation. On other platforms, you have to either publicly comment to indicate that the message is against your company’s values or report the comment to hide it.

    Screen Shot 2020 06 02 at 8 37 31 am
    Figure: Facebook allows you to hide or report a comment

    Screen Shot 2020 06 02 at 8 38 01 am
    Figure: A few options Facebook gives you when reporting a comment

  40. The biggest mistake most western companies make when embarking on a business journey in China, is assuming that their current Social Media strategies will work over there.

    China is different. There are different rules, platforms and of course, they have a government controlled firewall that blocks many western platforms your are familiar with, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. *Uh oh*. That's right - none of the platforms you currently use everyday now work in China, you need a new plan.

    China has a huge amount of social media users, there are over 911 million active users - which is huge! In comparison, the U.S.A only have 207 million users, a small fraction compared to China. It is a huge opportunity for market growth, particularly for app owners who would like to expand their product to millions of users.

    DigitalInChina 1024x576
    Figure: According to Social Media experts Hootsuite, there are 911 million active social media users (yellow), 65% of the overall population (red)

    There is one big problem - the digital market in China also has hundreds of social media platform options. With no big platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to focus on, so who do you target? The biggest platforms in China are WeChat (instant messaging and social media), Baidu (similar to Google search engine), Weibo (like Facebook and Twitter combined), Youku (similar to YouTube)… but there are others that are now trending.

    However while we often try to draw comparisons with these platforms with their western counterparts, be aware that even though these Chinese platforms may take the basic concepts and functions from the West, they are equipped with much more diverse features.

    Do you know the best platforms to use in China? Here is a list of our top 5:

    1. WeChat (The Chinese Super App)

    WeChat started as an instant messaging app similar to WhatsApp but has morphed into a ‘super app’ that now allows you to do just about anything! Users can perform a wide variety of activities such as making transactions, ordering food, booking movie tickets, calling a taxi, even playing games. It now has more than 1 billion active users.

    We chat
    Figure: Taken from Statistica.com - the Graph shows how much WeChat is growing every year. WeChat is now one of the most popular, well rounded apps available in China, growing in popularity every year

    Why you should consider using it:

    • 68M videos are uploaded every day
    • WeChat users send averagely 38 billion messages daily
    • On average, users spend more than 66 minutes on WeChat daily.
    • 60% of WeChat users open the app more than 10 times a day.
    • By the end of 2019, the number of WeChat’s Official Accounts surpassed 20M.
    • Flexible media – you can upload pictures, text, short videos, articles etc.

    There are 4 types of Official WeChat Accounts; “Subscription Accounts”, “Service Accounts", “Enterprise Accounts" and the “Mini Program”. Each of them has unique functions and uses, which are outlined in more detail in our Rule: https://rules.ssw.com.au/how-to-create-wechat-official-account.

    WeChat Mini Program
    Figure: SSW's SugarLearning WeChat Mini Program Log-in page & Mini Program

    2. Weibo (The Facebook of China)

    Weibo is an social media platform where people go not only post, share and interact with each other, but also follow trends and see the news. This is the place for content to go viral and for Chinese Influences, known as KOLs, to build their online communities. Like Facebook Live, It has its own live stream platform which is often used for product promotion. Conveniently it also has E-commerce integration which mean that people can link their accounts to Alipay and purchase products with one click.

    Why you should consider using it:

    • Number of Weibo active users: 465M (2019)
    • Number of daily users: 203M (2019)
    • 50% increase in livestream sessions
    • Q&A postings increased by 400% in 2018 compared to 2017
    • 82 per cent of Weibo users shop online

    3. Youku (The YouTube of China)

    Often referred to as the YouTube of China, Youku is a video hosting service that is great for long-form videos. While there are popular short-form video platforms, like Tik Tok, Youku has remained the popular source of videos for people who want to gain greater knowledge in a subject, or to watch the news.

    Why you should consider using it:

    • 580M active users, who on average visit it daily 39 times.
    • Over 1 billion video views per day
    • On average people stay for around 4 minutes per video
    • It will help you reach a wider audience and build a reputation as a source of knowledge
    • It’s great for brand awareness via video content
    • It can be used to drive traffic to your website and increase sales

    Youku
    Figure: Youku would have a very familiar feel for our Western audience as seen from this video feed

    4. Baidu (The Google Search of China)

    93% of online experiences in the Western world begin with a Google Search. In China it is search engine Baidu that dominates with 90% of online search starting there. That’s *billions* of searches per month!

    Why you should use it:

    • It’s cheaper than Google! Strangely it is on average 25-50% cheaper for the same keywords on Google*.
    • It has 665 million active monthly users
    • Reaches 1 billion mobile devises
    • The Baidu app has 200 million daily users
    • Rapidly growing with new users every day

    * The Cost per click is lower but be warned - Baidu does have some strict payment terms, requiring an initial deposit of at least RMB 20,000 (USD $2,952) if you are a foreign company. But the overall cost of your campaign should be comparatively lower.

    Baidu
    Figure: A search for 'SSW' using Baidu, we are organically No 1 on this page

    5. Bilibili (Up & coming alternate to Youku)

    We all know that the best marketers are using video to sell their products and directly engage their audience online. Brands should not overlook the usefulness of branded online video for their audience. Similar to how YouTube experiences huge popularity in the West, China’s video platforms such as Youku and iQiyi are successful with the local Chinese audience. But one live streaming platform that is often overlooked is the video-sharing platform Bilibili.

    What started as a China's largest Anime streaming platform, it has grown to be one of the most popular video sharing platforms for China’s Millennials and Generation Z with over 100 million monthly active users, where users can view, submit, and add commentary to videos.

    Bilibili also recently launched a premium membership enabling access to special shows, e-commerce deals, and HQ video streaming. If you want to increase your long-term success in China, it is important to penetrate Gen-Z consumers who have an expanding purchasing power. Bilibili, uses mini programs (multi-page application containing a complete application feature), livestreaming, and e-commerce to benefit brands looking to market to younger consumers.

    bilibili user growth
    Figure: Bilibili is continuously growing it's audience becoming a great place to host videos and advertize

    According to Bilibili's annual report to investors, their top 5 most watched video categories are:

    1. Entertainment
    2. Lifestyle
    3. Gaming
    4. Anime
    5. Technology

    Technology videos are now in the top 5 most watched category on Bilbili, and SSW China have discovered that Bilibili is a great platform to live stream and record our Fire User Group, with over 300 viewers joining us online to share our technology talks.

    Why you should use it:

    FireUg Bilbili
    Figure: A recent recording from FireUG, “Intermediaries design patterns and MediatR” by Victor Yu, SSW China

  41. If you have an office in more than one country, a great way to show your diversity and connect with your different audiences is through posting multilingual social media. 

    Building and maintaining a multilingual social media presence is not an easy undertaking, but when done properly it is well worth the time and effort. It allows you to truly connect with your audience regardless of which language they speak. International customers will appreciate the fact that your brand has taken time to communicate with them in their native tongue, it will also help establish their trust in your ability to understand them, and shows that you don't have to rely on dodgy automatic translations that often go wrong. 

    For example, at SSW, we have an awesome office in Hangzhou, China, that offers a Chinafy Consulting Service to help Western companies adapt to the Chinese business environment. It is important for us to show that we understand our customers, and their target audience - our social media reflects our ability to do this.

    https://m.facebook.com/SSWChina/photos/a.107206364185357/188065469432779/?type=3

    Good example: SSW China post their social media in both English and Chinese 中文, because it helps establish trust with our audience that we understand them, helps us target a wider audience, and proves that we can help bridge the language barrier. 

  42. How to create a WeChat Official Account?

    Want to register a WeChat Office Account for your company? Check the following 7 steps:

    WeChat is an all-in-one messaging app developed by Tencent, which also provides games, online shopping, and financial services. Users can get almost everything they need from there within the app, leading to its classification as a “Super-App.” Due to these reasons, it’s risen to become the most popular social media in China.There are different types of accounts on WeChat. Personal accounts are used by individuals, while businesses can create WeChat official accounts to stay in contact with their customers and post promotional information.

    Before registering a WeChat Official Account for business in China, make sure you have:

    • A local company with a Chinese business license or a WFOE (Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise)
    • A Chinese ID card with WeChat payment account

    Here're the simple steps to create a WeChat Official Account.

    1. Go to WeChat Official Accounts Page, click 'Register Now' on the top right corner.

    wechat o a 1
    Figure: WeChat Official Accounts register page

    1. Select an account type to continue.

    wechat o a 2
    Figure: Choose which type of account you want to register

    There're 3 different types of WeChat Official Accounts -- Subscription Accounts, Service Accounts and, Enterprise Accounts. WeChat Mini-Programs are essentially apps that live within the WeChat ecosystem, are different from the other accounts.

    Subscription Accounts (订阅号)

    WeChat subscription accounts focus on information and brand communication. They are used much like a daily news feed. They can publish once a day to subscribers and publish1-6 articles each time. All updates are sent to the users’ subscription folder with no push notifications.Subscription accounts are the only type of WeChat Official Account that is open to individuals, such as bloggers and celebrities, as the others require a company business license. This type of WeChat Official Account is most suited to individuals and brands that are content-based or information-oriented, such as media publications.

    Service Accounts (服务号)

    Service Accounts can publish up to 4 times per month, with 1-6 articles each time. When the posts are published, the updates appear as push notifications in followers’ chat lists. Compared to subscription accounts, the posting frequency of service accounts is lower, but the visibility is higher due to push notifications.Verified service accounts can also register for WeChat Pay and set up a WeChat Store.

    Enterprise Accounts (企业号)

    While subscription accounts and service accounts target external markets, WeChat enterprise accounts are primarily for internal communication and management. This makes this type of WeChat official account similar to Slack and Workplace by Facebook.

    1. Choose Subscription Account as an example (the register steps for other options are similar)

    wechat o a 3
    Figure: Fill in with required information – each email address can be registered for only one WeChat product which means if you use an email to register WeChat Subscription Account, you can’t use it for WeChat Service Account or WeChat Mini Program registration

    1. Choose where your business is registered

    wechat o a 4
    Figure: So far WeChat only accept China mainland, so click “Confirm” to continue

    1. Select your account type

    wechat o a 5
    Figure: Choose “Subscription Account” as we planned

    1. Fill in the registration info

    wechat o a 6
    Figure: As a company, we choose “Corporation” to continue

    wechat o a 7
    Figure: The admin person of this account should be a Chinese because the verification will need his/her personal ID and WeChat payment account

    wechat o a 8
    Figure:System will remind you that all the information you submitted cannot be changed afterwards

    1. Pay the verification fee of CNY¥300 (Approx. to AUD $60) to the specified account, waiting for 5-7 working days, and your WeChat Account is available. Login by your email and password on WeChat Official Accounts Page, you will go to your Office Account operation interface and start to use it.

    wechat o a 9
    Figure: a WeChat Office Account operation interface

  43. TikTok has rapidly become one of the most popular social media platforms around the world since it was launched in 2016, but do you really need it?

    Let's learn a few reasons why a business should be on TikTok:

    1. Exposure – Over 1.2 billion active users per month.
      TikTok is used in over 150 countries. the top 5 are:

      1. 120M United States
      2. 87M Indonesia
      3. 72M Brazil
      4. 48M Russia
      5. 41M Mexico
    2. New Audience base – Get access to the under 25s, as well as a large female audience.

      1. 28% of the users are under 18, and 35% are aged 19-29 (that is 63% under 30)
      2. 60% are female
    3. Maximize Creativity – Explore a different side of your business, like what makes you fun and interesting. The people and culture at your company are important, and putting a fun video of your employees on TikTok is more appropriate than say LinkedIn, where the same video would be potentially received poorly as it is not "business" enough.
    4. Unique Algorithm – TikTok will recommend videos that match your interests. It uses data like your location, hashtags you follow or use, and of course videos you like. TikTok gives you a personalized feed ‘For You’, which is similar to your Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page.
      As TikTok explains:

      "When you open TikTok and land in your 'For You' feed, you're presented with a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user."

    5. Paid Ads – There are a few different types of ads that you can launch on TikTok, depending on your goals and audience. You can view a guide to paid TikTok advertizing.
    6. Real-time analytics – Track your profile’s performance, understand your audience demographic, and measure your success.

    fortune magazine survery on tiktok users
    Figure: TikTok is popular among teenagers, according to Fortune 55% (28%+26%) are 24 and under

    Source: TikTok to the moon? The app is outgrowing its Gen Z stereotype

    Know more on Adam Cogan Blog: Tech World on TikTok - Is it for you?

  44. Starting from zero on a new platform is a big challenge, especially if you are not entirely sure if it feels right for your business or personal brand.

    Let's check out some of the top tips for growing your brand awareness, audience, and user engagement on TikTok.

    1. Strategy - Determine your goals

      1. Define goals that align with your business objectives
      2. What kind of content are you going to post?
      3. Does it align with your brand, culture, and identity? This will help you keep in tune with your target audience.
    2. Share original and valuable information – TikTok encourage users to make original videos and the algorithm tends to recommend original videos to the audience, even if they don’t follow you.
    3. Be consistent – Post every day or every 3 days. Remember that showing up often is important for growing any profile on social media.
    4. Participate in TikTok challenges – This is an easy way to increase engagement and visibility.
    5. Be creative and interesting – Avoid being overly formal and stiff.
    6. Objective – Keep the video short and snappy.
    7. Follow trends – Examine prevalent trends amongst users in your target audience​. Research your target audience to find out what content they are engaging with most, and use this information to attract new followers.
    8. Live streaming – This is one of the best ways to grow the audience and get potential customers.
      Note #1: Currently, TikTok doesn't allow live streaming from third-party tools.
      Note #2: The live sessions are recommended by TikTok to be under 30 minutes, and you need to have more than [1,000 followers to access this feature].(https://digitalmarketersworld.com/how-to-live-stream-on-tiktok/)

    Know more on Adam Cogan Blog: Tech World on TikTok - Is it for you?

  45. TikTok - Do you edit your videos for TikTok?

    TikTok is a great way to engage with your audience via social media. TikTok is a more fun, informal, and relaxed social media platform compared to the likes of YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. It allows for a different style of creative freedom and spontaneity in your videos.

    However, to effectively engage with your audience, it is important to format and edit your videos following editing best practices that are optimised for TikTok. Doing this will ensure your videos are noticed exactly by whom and how you intended them to be seen.

    tiktok logo
    Figure: TikTok Logo

    Tip 1: TikTok video length

    TikTok videos can be as short as 2 seconds to a maximum of 10 minutes. The most effective TikTok videos range from 15 seconds to 3 mins. Here are some of the most-watched TikTok videos of all time:

    While creators are able to make longer videos, the above video lengths suggest that around 20 seconds is perfect.

    Source: CLIPPED: I watched the 100 best TikTok videos to find the optimum length of a clip

    tiktok pie chart
    Figure: On TikTok the most watched video lengths are 11 seconds - 20sec

    Tip 2: TikTok Music: Can I add music to my TikTok Video?

    • Yes - If it's your unique music
    • Yes (not recommended) - If it's “copyright free” or “free for-profit” music, then technically you can use it. However, it might come with complications. This is due to it being very hard to find truly copyright free music - there is almost always a copyright attached to a work
    • No - If it’s someone else’s song you desire to upload which isn’t already on the TikTok library

    TikTok has a solid copyright policy, and they use a AI to enforce it. If any content material in the video is auto-detected as copyrighted, the audio in the video could be muted, or the platform may prohibit the video from being uploaded altogether.

    If you've got the necessary license to use the music in the video, then you can file a counter-notification via TikTok's Intellectual Property Policy and supply papers proving that the correct rights to use the music was purchased.

    Your safest option is to only use sounds and music that is already on TikTok, unless you own it. If you’re a verified business, you're only permitted to use TikTok's royalty-free music under their updated policy. But don't worry - it is very common to not upload any music at all and just have the unique dialogue and sounds from your original video itself.

    Fun Fact, the most popular music genre used on TikTok is Hip-Hop/Rap making up for about 60% of the pie!

    tiktok songs chart
    Figure: Music Genres used in TikTok Videos for 2020 with 60% of videos using HipHop/Rap (dark pink), followed by Pop (light pink) Source: TikTok

    Tip 3: TikTok captions

    Captions are an excellent way to open your TikTok videos to a broader audience. They increase a video's general accessibility, prompting more users to like your content. Users might include:

    • Commuters or those in a general loud area
    • The deaf or hearing impaired
    • Those with Learning disabilities
    • Users that have Attention deficit disorder
    • People with Autism

    Top 5 reasons for including captions:

    1. Improve average watch time - Captions hold the attention more of the viewer
    2. SEO - Backing up your video with captions and a transcript of the audio helps you rank on Google
    3. Accessibility - As mentioned above, it makes your content more accessible to people who may have a disability or learning difficulty
    4. User experience - Studies show users find more clarity in the content when captions are included
    5. Helping ESL learners - Captions and subtitles makes it easier for non-native English speakers to understand and comprehend your message

    When you allow captions for every video you make, the sound no longer becomes a necessity for the video to give value.

    adam tiktok
    Figure: Good Example - Adding captions to a video for SSW TikTok

    Tip 4: TikTok Orientation - Vertical or horizontal?

    The best orientation for recording is vertical. However, you can also record horizontal and then reframe and crop it to a vertical export for TikTok. You might do this if you want to post the same video to both YouTube and TikTok.

    Tip 5: TikTok overlay reference guide

    You should use an overlay reference guide when editing TikTok videos. This allows the editor to ensure the videos are formatted correctly, keeping in mind TikTok’s User Interface. Once the video is ready to export, you can turn off the guideline layer. See below images:

    tiktok reference
    Figure: A video on TikTok that shows all of the things that might cover your video content

    tiktok reference guide
    Figure: TikTok guide for editing

    overlay guide
    Figure: The template overlay we use on our videos to ensure we don't cover any important stuff - like the captions or the name of the person speaking

    guide turned off
    Figure: The same image with the overlay turned off - everything fits nicely

    Know more on Adam Cogan Blog: Tech World on TikTok - Is it for you?

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