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Some Great Holiday Shopping Stats For You

Some Great Holiday Shopping Stats For You

One of the first things I do before I start writing about a topic or idea is search for supporting statistics. Why? Stats are a great way to support the positions you take and the advice you share.HolidayShopping (1)

When I started writing ShortStack’s holiday eBook (be the first to get it here!), my process was no different. I immediately started hunting for the most up-to-date holiday shopping statistics. I quickly found my way to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) website. To date, they are by far the best source for holiday statistics I’ve found.
Every year, the NRF releases a holiday guide, in tandem with their annual holiday forecast, which includes the most relevant data about historical holiday sales, employment and consumer trends. These resources, along with the holiday destination they call “Holiday Headquarters,” are amazing troves of information.
This year, after coming across so great many holiday statistics I decided to create this blog post to share the ones I found most insightful.
Take a look at them below!
Shopping Behavior and Spending Stats
• 28% of consumers plan to spend more than 50% of their total holiday shopping budgets November 28 – December 1 (aka Black Friday weekend).
• Consumers will spend an average of $459.87 on gifts for their family, up 6.5% from $432.00 last year, and $80.00 on gifts for friends, up from $75.00 last year.
• A typical person celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah will spend $804.42, up nearly 5% over last year’s actual $767.27.• Those celebrating the holidays will spend more on gifts for their co-workers ($26.23 vs. $24.52 in 2013), and others such as their babysitter and even their pets ($30.43 vs. $26.65).
• 40.9% of shoppers will begin spending in November, up slightly from 38.8% last year; 15.5% will begin in the first two weeks of December.
• 42.3% of those polled say free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors.
• Consumers say that helpful, knowledgeable customer service (30.3%), convenient locations (47.9%), low prices (41.2%) and sales or price discounts (74.7%) also play a role in their decision to shop at a particular retailer.

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• 6 in 10 say quality of merchandise (60.9%) and selection of merchandise (59.4%) are important factors in their decision to shop somewhere.
• For the eighth year in a row gift cards are the most requested gift item among those celebrating the holidays.
• 62% say they’d most like to receive a gift card, followed by clothing (52.5%), books, CDs, DVDs or video games (43.1%), and electronics (34.6%).
• One-quarter (24.8%) of consumers say they’d like to receive jewelry, up from 23.3% last year.
• When asked if the state of the U.S. economy would impact their holiday spending plans, four in 10 (41.4%) said yes, down almost 20% from last year and the lowest amount since NRF first asked in 2009. Of those who said yes, most agree they will compensate by spending less overall (75.6%). Others will shop for sales more often (49.0%), comparison shop online more often (34.4%), use coupons more often (37%), buy more practical gifts (28.4%) and use last year’s decorations (24.8%).
• Self-gifting will decrease this year as shoppers opt to shift their budgets towards spending on others: 56.9% of holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to purchase non-gift items for themselves or others, and will spend an average of $126.68, down from $134.77 last year.
• Nearly 50% of consumers plan to keep track of retailers’ promotions and sales through advertising circulars.

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Posted by Chelsea Hejny

Online Stats
• The average shopper will do 44% of holiday shopping online.
• 2 in 5 consumers said that they will spend more time researching online in order to find a good deal.
• Before making a purchase, shoppers reference 12 sources of information.
• 64% said YouTube is the most influential channel for making shopping decisions.
• Free shipping is deemed the second most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online.
• Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store.
• 44% of consumers want the ability to buy online and pick up their purchases in a store.
Mobile Stats
• 84% of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip.
• Consumers are using their mobile phones in the store to research products and find last minute ideas. 69% said that they would use their smartphone for holiday shopping.
• Nearly one third of consumers say they’d like to receive holiday deals via their mobile device.
• When it comes to why consumers choose to shop where they do during the holiday season, one-quarter of shoppers say easy-to-use mobile websites is an important factor in their decision to shop with a specific retailer.
• Broken down by age, 41.1% of 25-34 year olds are somewhat or very comfortable using their device to pay for items at the register, compared to just 14.4% of those 65+. Men are much more likely than women are to feel comfortable with the technology (32.6% vs. 22.5%).
• 1 in 3 consumers use their smartphones to find information they need rather than asking an employee.

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How to Enable Reviews on a Facebook Business Page

Enable Reviews Facebook

Reviews can be a great resource for a business. Good reviews are proven to help businesses gain more customers, and while negative reviews will indeed turn away some customers, they are also a great opportunity. Negative reviews tend to have a complaint attached, and you can address that complaint. Fast customer service can help retain customers and can show new users that even if a problem does occur, you’re there to help solve it.

Facebook is not a review site. You aren’t going to find aggregated reviews and star ratings for everything. It’s not Yelp, it’s not Metacritic, and it’s not OpenCritic. They focus heavily on the social aspects of the internet, and not so much the one-sided reviews. Facebook doesn’t want to be a customer service portal – if anything, Twitter is going that route – and they make it correspondingly difficult to find reviews.

So how can you, as a business on Facebook, open yourself up to reviews?

Outdated Information

One quick thing before we begin. If you’ve been looking for information about reviews on Facebook, you’ve probably run into all sorts of old articles or topics in their community help center. Facebook recently made some changes to how their category system works and how their review system works. This means a lot of the advice published in those posts is incorrect. This article is correct as of the publication date, but Facebook can certainly change things again. If they do, please let me know in the comments and I’ll take a look at what’s changed.

So far there are two major changes. The first is to the category system. In the past, when you created a page, you had to pick your category. Remember this screen? It’s still there, but it’s not as relevant as it used to be. You’re no longer 100% locked in to the category you pick when you first create your page.

Facebook Create a Page

Now, when you go to your page settings, you see a box that says “Category.” This box will have one entry, which is the category you picked when you created the page. However, you can remove that category and you can add more categories, up to three. Facebook says they will “keep the most specific three” so you can add more and they will keep the most specific. If you added media company, company, local business, and repair shop as four categories, they would eliminate “company” as being too generic compared to the others.

This is all a side effect of the recent page layout redesign, where they more or less unified how pages look. There used to be quite a significant difference between different categories, which you can see in the examples in this article from Buffer. Since they unified looks, they had to unify features, otherwise category would still control what you were able to do on the page.

The second major change is that reviews are no longer tied to the map and address function of Facebook. In the past, you had to have a specific category, that being local business.

Map on Facebook

You also had to have location information enabled, which is how you get the map on your Facebook page. Only then would you get reviews. This meant that businesses not tied to a local address wouldn’t be able to get reviews, and it meant that if you wanted a map you had to have reviews, and vice versa. Nowadays, you can enable reviews without having the map. You can also have the map without enabling reviews. However, you do still need to have an address plugged in if you want a map, so that bit hasn’t changed.

Some features are in fact still tied to the type of page you’re using. All types of pages get a short description, a website link, a services list, and reviews. Email is only available to companies and organizations, local businesses, people, sports pages, websites, and blogs. Phone numbers and addresses are only available to companies and organizations, local businesses, and people and sports pages. Maps, check-ins, and business hours are only available for companies and organizations and local business pages. You can see the full chart here.

Some Examples

Since it’s easy to miss the reviews section on a Facebook page these days, I’ve dug around and found some examples of various businesses.

  • Moz. This page tends to be pretty well optimized, and they have decided not to use reviews, so you won’t see the review section anywhere on their page.
  • Hobbytown USA. This business is a retail chain with locations across the country. They have an address added for their headquarters, which shows the map on the right side a bit down the page. They also have reviews in the upper section of the right column. You can see they have a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, but you can’t see anything beyond that. However, if you click the stars, you can see the reviews specifically. They only have 11 reviews and you can read the reviews left by people if you so choose.
  • A Different Hobbytown. As the above stated, that was their corporate location. Individual stores have their own pages and reviews, and this is one such example. They have a map and review section independent of their corporate location. They have a higher number of reviews, a higher rating overall, and are not verified.

I’m having a hard time finding a page that has reviews but doesn’t have a map, likely due to how new the ability is and how few brands have decided they really want reviews. Nevertheless, the Facebook help center and the option in a private testing page of my own confirm it’s possible, I just haven’t seen it live. If you’ve seen one live in the wild, shoot me a link.

The same goes for pages with a map but without reviews. Most local businesses know the value of reviews and leave them on, and it’s hard to find one that has disabled reviews. Again, if you know of one, shoot me a link. Facebook says it’s possible, I just haven’t found one in the wild.

Enabling Reviews on Facebook

The actual process for enabling reviews is pretty easy, and can be done in one of two ways.

The first way is to have a local business or have a business where you don’t mind the address being public. So, this works well for restaurants, grocery stores, chain locations, and corporate headquarters. However, it doesn’t work very well for bloggers or freelancers who don’t want their address published publicly.

All you do in this case is add in your address information, if you haven’t already. This will give you a map and the reviews associated with it. You can, according to Facebook’s help page, disable the reviews and just keep the map if you want. Specifically, they say “Note: Adding an address to your Page will automatically enable reviews, but you can still disable them.”

The second process is what you have to use if you don’t have an address to add, or if you have it added and somehow don’t have reviews, or in any other situation where you want reviews and don’t have them. Simply go to your page and click settings up at the top. From there, in the general tab, will be a section near the top labeled reviews. Simply allow visitors to review your Page, and save the changes. That’s all there is to it! You can see all the settings easily in this image:

All Settings Facebook Review

Adding or Changing an Address

Address information is still limited by the category of the page. You need either “companies and organizations” or “local businesses” to have an address on your page. Add one of these to your page categories list in order to add your address.

Adding a Location to Facebook PageAdding an address from there is pretty simple. First, click on the about section on the left column of your page, under the profile picture. Then click the “edit page info” link in blue in the upper right corner below the cover photo. Under the General tab of the window that pops up, you should see a Location section. It will have a map and boxes for your address information. Add in your address, but keep in mind that you can only have one address. If your Page represents a retail chain, make it your headquarters address. Other pages for individual stores can use their own addresses.

Below the map is a “show map and check-ins on the page” option. Click this if you want the map to be visible. By default, adding in the address will enable reviews, so you can follow the process above to disable them if you don’t want them.

You can also add a bunch of useful local business information in this tab. You can inform people of what sort of parking your business has available, what hours you’re open, and a general impression of your price range.

Note: If your “general” tab doesn’t have the location section, Facebook probably doesn’t have you recorded as a local business or company page. In this case, remove all the categories in your categories box and put in Local Business or Company, depending on which you are. Make sure to write down the categories you had before, if you want to add them again when you’re done. Save your settings, then refresh your page. You may have to wait a minute or two for Facebook’s system to recognize the change and refresh again. Then follow the steps above, going into the edit page info box, to see if the Location section is available.

Dealing with Ratings

One caveat that comes with enabling ratings on your Page is that now you have to monitor and deal with negative ratings and reviews that come in. There are a few quirks to this system that you should know.

First of all, you can’t simply edit or delete a review. Facebook makes them all but permanent, and it requires a review on Facebook’s end to get one deleted. I’ll tell you the process for that in a minute.

Secondly, reviews have the same privacy visibility settings as posts. You can, of course, always see all of the reviews on your page. However, when someone posts a review, it can be set to only them or only to their friends, so a negative review might not be as bad as you might think. If only one user and their friends can see the review, it doesn’t necessarily impact your brand as a whole. Of course, you should still address them before they get out of hand, and the same user can leave reviews on other locations you can’t hide as easily.

Poor Rating Fan Page

Interestingly, your overall star rating is also just made up of publicly available star ratings. Anyone who reviews your business with a one star but keeps it private to just their friends will not affect your star rating for people who aren’t friends with that person. Keep this in mind if you ever want to try to publicly shame a business into addressing your customer service issue; make your review as public as possible and they’ll have more incentive to deal with it.

If you find yourself with a flood of negative reviews, it’s not a technical issue on Facebook you need to solve, it’s an issue with your product or service and it’s a customer service issue. You need to address the problem at its source, and only then can you try to get your reviews back up on Facebook and other sites that might have reviews for your business.

When you encounter a negative review, the first thing you should do is research it to see if it’s a valid complaint. If it’s a valid complaint, your process is easy; address the problem, resolve it with the customer, then ask them to edit their review to reflect your customer service experience. They may or may not change their rating, and that’s all you can do.

If the review is not valid, you have some options. What constitutes an invalid review?

  • A review that was left by someone you know has not purchased your product or service.
  • A review that reflects events that didn’t happen.
  • A review that isn’t an actual review of your business or product/service, such as one for a business with a similar name.
  • A review that is mostly just an excuse for the person to spew racist or bigoted hate speech directed at your employees or the owners of your company.
  • Any other review that violates the Facebook community standards.

When you encounter such a review, simply go to the review and click the V in the upper right corner. Click report and follow the instructions. Facebook will review the review and delete it if they find it violates their standards. If it’s a negative but valid review, they will leave it and not remove it.

Additionally, you can’t have a review removed if it’s just a star rating with no comment. The reviewer needs to leave a post that violates the community standards.

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The Positive Side of a Negative Review

The Positive Side of a Negative Review

Reviews play a key role in a buyer’s selection process. A total of 70% of Americans look at reviews before they make a purchase, according to an American Lifestyles report. Those customers are looking at all types of reviews─even the negative ones. (You probably do the same.)

In fact, buyers who seek out negative reviews are 67% more likely to convert to a purchase than the average consumer, according to a Revoo study. Those highly engaged buyers stay on pages longer and view nearly 4X as many products as the average visitor because they’re conducting extensive research.

Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good

The thought of getting negative reviews makes many businesses nervous. However, negative reviews can be a good thing.

Critical reviews generate interest in your company. For example, we know that G2 Crowd users click on the less-than-positive reviews two-and-a-half times more frequently than positive ones. (Full disclosure: I’m the CMO at G2 Crowd.)

You might think that’s not the kind of attention you want to share. However, 68% of people trust a company’s reviews more when they see bad ones mixed in with the good. That expresses the reality of most products─not every product is good for everyone. And it provides your company the opportunity to evaluate your perceived weaknesses and address them.

Critical reviews can provide valuable insight. When reviews are attributed and authentic, they help you build trust and engagement with your prospects. A recent Harris study found that 18% of people became loyal repeat customers after they received a brand’s response to their negative feedback.

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The perception is that brands that engage with customers after negative feedback are attempting to work with their customers and address the issue. A lot of the time those issues are actually a communication breakdown and are easily fixed.

A sincere response can win over more than just existing clients. People were 186% more likely to buy a product after they saw a brand respond to a customer who misused or misunderstood the product, according to Bazaarvoice. Those same new customers were 92% more likely to buy after seeing the company offer to refund, upgrade, or exchange the product.

The following tips can help you use negative reviews to create happy, engaged customers.

  • Respond. Read all reviews, even bad ones. Give yourself time to digest the information and investigate the issue or feedback. It’s ideal to reply within 48 hours. Be polite, and try your best to provide information to help resolve the issue.
  • Thank the customer. For every customer that complains, 26 don’t. Negative feedback is like a free consultation. Whether your customer is irritated about subpar customer service or a clunky software interface, his or her comment gives you an unbiased glimpse into what’s not working, and that’s worth a thank you.
  • Apologize. Even if you don’t think you or your team did anything wrong, tell all displeased customers you’re sorry that they’re unhappy. Avoid canned statements, and respond directly to details in customer posts.
  • Make it right. Offer to fix or replace a defective product, demonstrate how to use the product correctly, or give the customer a chance to connect an individual or team. If you’ve made changes because of an ongoing issue, such as fixing a bug in your software, give specifics.
  • Follow up. Check in with customers by phone or email to see how everything’s going and try to get ahead of any issues in the first place. Send satisfied customers a link to review their purchases. With your gentle encouragement, the customer most likely will engage with your sincere and appropriate efforts.

Bad reviews might be upsetting, but think of them as real insight into what is working and not working. And when an individual is engaging with your negative review, he or she is more likely to be a motivated buyer.

Remember that not all products are one size fits all. That’s what makes us all (and our products) unique. When you and your team respond thoughtfully and appropriately to critical feedback, your company ultimately wins the day.

Now that you understand how negative reviews influence the purchasing process, you may be more concerned that your product does not have a balance of good and bad reviews. The solution to that problem is simple… Begin encouraging your customers to review your product on third-party review sites. It’s the evolution of the purchasing process. Embrace transparency and reap the benefits.

How Often Should I Post On Social Media?

How Often Should I Post On Social Media?

Best practices for when to post on social media

blog-social-media-frequency

Twitter – 3 times per day, or more

Engagement decreases slightly after the third tweet.

Facebook – 2 times per day, at most

2x per day is the level before likes & comments begin to drop off dramatically.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day

20 posts per month (1x per weekday) allows you to reach 60 percent of your audience

Google+ – 3 times per day, at most

The more often you post, the more activity you’ll get. Users have found a positive correlation between frequency and engagement. When posting frequency wanes, some have experienced drops in traffic up to 50%.

Pinterest – 5x per day, or more

The top brands on Pinterest have experienced steady growth – and in some cases rapid or sensational growth! – by adopting a multiple-times-per-day posting strategy.

Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more

Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.

Blog – 2x per week

Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.

Key research for how often to post to social media

The above best practices are super clear and simple if you’re interested in getting started with a frequency framework for your social sharing. As with all research-backed best practices, I’d encourage you to use these as a starting point for your own tests to see what’s best. Your individual scenario may call for more or less than what’s recommended.

Also, I know many are interested in where these recommendations come from (we dig this type of stuff, too!). Here’s a bit more about the research and resources that have helped to establish the baselines for how often to share to social media.

Twitter – 3 times per day, or more

“Engagement decreases slightly after the third tweet”

During the summer of 2013, Social Bakers took a random sample of 11,000 tweets from top brands and found that a frequency of three tweets per day was the point where brands saw their highest engagement.

In the chart below, Total ER (total engagement rate, in blue) and Average Tweet ER (average engagement rate per tweet, in purple) meet in the sweet spot right around the third tweet.

A 2012 Track Social study found that the per-tweet engagement peaks at around five tweets per day.

Does three to five tweets per day seem a bit … low?

Perhaps.

Interestingly, in the same Track Social study mentioned above, per-day engagement—the total number of interactions that occur throughout the day, regardless of how many times you post—showed a steady rise all the way to 30 tweets per day. In other words, you could post up to 30 times and still continue to see positive effects on engagement—effects that might not top the maximum per-tweet levels at five tweets per day, but still worth exploring.

Tweet engagement frequency

Facebook – 2 times per day, at most

2x per day is the level before likes & comments begin to drop off dramatically.

A lot has changed for the Facebook News Feed in the past couple years, so it’s worth noting that the best research on Facebook frequency comes from a Track Social study from 2012 and a Social Bakers study from 2011.

These studies conclude that it’s best to post to Facebook 5 to 10 times per week, or 1 to 2 times per weekday.

From the Track Social findings:

When a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post. The drop-off continues as more posts are made in the day.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day

20 posts per month (1x per weekday) allows you to reach 60 percent of your audience

As part of the LinkedIn small business guide, the network shared an interesting stat that relates to how often you should be sharing to LinkedIn. Share 20 times per month to reach 60 percent of your audience.

Twenty times per month divided by four weeks per month equals five times per week. Five times per week fits perfectly with a once-per-weekday posting schedule, ideally suited to reach the audience on LinkedIn, which is full of professionals who figure to spend their most time on LinkedIn during business days.

Google+ – 3 times per day, at most

Stone Temple Consulting’s Mark Traphagen and Socialmouths’ Daniel Sharkoveach shared graphs from their own sharing on Google+. Their takeaway:

The more often you post, the more activity you’ll get. Users have found a positive correlation between frequency and engagement. When posting frequency wanes, some have experienced drops in traffic up to 50%.

The 50 percent drop in particular was mentioned by Sharkov. He noticed a large portion of traffic coming from Google+ when he was sharing more to the network; when the sharing stopped, so did the traffic.

google plus traffic frequency

Pinterest – 5x per day, or more

The top brands on Pinterest have experienced steady growth – and in some cases rapid or sensational growth! – by adopting a multiple-times-per-day posting strategy.

In 2013, visual marketing service Piqora interviewed big-time brands like Whole Foods, Lowes, LL Bean, and more to see what they had experienced on Pinterest. The brands shared the correlation they’d noticed between frequency of pinning and traffic growth, with spikes in growth occurring most between “a few pins a week” and “3 to 10 pins per day.”

pinterest frequency

Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more

Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.

Social media analytics site Union Metrics spent time analyzing 55 of the most popular, active Instagram brands to learn the best practices for timing, frequency, and more.

They found that most brands share once or twice per day to Instagram. 

Some shared as much as 10 times per day and did not notice an appreciable loss in per-post engagement. This hints that it may be possible to post more often—waaay more often—to Instagram than it seems, provided the quality of the post is still present.

Blog – 2x per week

Some of the best research into the effect of frequency on blogging comes from a 2012 HubSpot study of over 7,000 businesses. Among the many interesting benchmarks and takeaways from the study, there was this fascinating note:

Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.

Six to eight times per month would equate to 1 to 2 times per week.

Summary

How often should you post to social media?

We’re grateful for all the amazing research out there that gives us some answers to the question of frequency. These answers are great opportunities to start discovering what’s  ideal for your unique situation.

Use these guidelines as a jumping off point for your own tests. And feel free to share the results! We’d love to know what works and what doesn’t. :)

Image sources: SumAll, Placeit, Track Social, Social Bakers, SlideShare, Socialmouths,Placeit

4 Hot Social Media Trends Now in mid-2015.

4 Hot Social Media Trends Now in mid-2015.

Social media has not only changed our lives but it has also transformed the marketing landscape. In the past year, social media bloggers are being featured alongside pop stars and Oscar winners on the covers of top magazines in the world and are making more waves than television of film.

People whom were virtually unknown have used social media to help brand themselves and reach people all over the globe with just a few posts a day. The millions of followers of bloggers and brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are hard to ignore.

No doubt, social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools out there today. But it can be hard to master it as it constantly changes and a single voice can be drowned in an ocean of millions.

The way to use social media to your advantage is to follow and act on emerging trends. Yes, trends! Know what trends are popular right now and make an impression in no time.

We’ve made it simpler for you so you don’t need to start googling away and made a list of 4 of the hottest trends right now in mid-2015.

1. Use LinkedIn to publish long-form content.

LinkedIn has established itself as the digital go-to place for professionals. It helps you connect with past and current clients and with industry peers. With over 347 million users, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to publish long-form content to foster your reputation.

Just as with a blog, you can publish content relevant to your industry and line of work, but with far less effort. The platform publishes your work on Pulse which is a curated news feed to its millions of users straight away.

Although the service was initially focused to industry big-shots called ‘LinkedIn influencers’ like Bill Gates and Ariana Huffington, it is now open to anybody who can write on professional experience. Articles written by you on business productivity can land right next to one written by Richard Branson!

Each post becomes an extension of your LinkedIn profile, beefing up your resume. Write about industry insights and tips which you as a professional have learnt on the job. Or share new research and trends you’ve read about elsewhere to let others know that you stay with the current.

2. Post native videos to Facebook

Facebook allows you to upload videos directly to the platform or share content from third-party sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. Research shows that there is 62 percent more engagement on video posts that photos.

The advantage of uploading directly to Facebook is auto-play. When a Facebook user scrolls down their newsfeed, a video which automatically begins playing is sure to catch attention. If they like the beginning of what they have seen, they can directly start watching it on Facebook without any distractions nor exiting to another site.

Upload videos which can be entertaining or useful to extend your reach in an organic, free way on Facebook.

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3. Use emoji hashtags on Instagram

We’re all fans of emoji. The little yellow faces and fun symbols has become a staple in our digital lives. Scientists say that people have learnt to respond to an emoji in an online conversation the same way they respond to a human face.

Emoji’s are a key favorite of adults and teenagers because it conveys the tone and expression which is so often lost in text-based conversations. Instagram, the photo sharing mobile app, reports that about 50 percent of all comments on the platform has emojis.

To keep with the trend, Instagram has announced that emojis can now be used in hashtags. Hashtags are a basic tool in social media marketing. They make your posts discoverable outside of your group of followers.

Experiment with emoji hastags. Since it is new, you can get ahead of the competition and get discovered quicker.

4. Target promoted posts on Facebook

3 years ago, the organic reach of a Facebook post was at 16 percent of total page likes. Today, that percentage has dwindled down to single digits. With 1.23 billion monthly active users, an average user can be quite overwhelmed by the number of posts on their newsfeed from friends and businesses, which can go above 1500 per day! Facebook has now limited that to a more appropriate number of 300. But in the process certain posts can never be seen by users, including yours.

The way to rise above the Facebook clutter and stand out is by strategically targeting your audience. This works for both organic and paid posts. Target your content according to the location, demographics, interests of the people who like your page and their friends (as they will too most likely fall in your target audience).

The outcome of focusing on your target audience is a higher rate of engagement. Promote unpaid posts which already have a high level of engagement. Take it as a good sign that they will perform better if promoted.

Post on updates to your business, new offers and deals, as well as, yourself. It’s always good to remind your followers that you exist as a person.

To help you in deciding a budget for promoted posts, Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people it will reach before charging you. The Facebook Insight feature allows you to track the success and effectiveness of that post.

So now that you’re on track with current social media trends, get posting and reaching new people!