This blog post may be titled “What is social commerce?,” but maybe it should actually be called “Do you want to make some money?”
Global eCommerce sales are predicted to grow to $1.6 trillion in the next three years—an increase of over 100% compared to 2020. There’s never been a better time to start selling on social.
Social commerce takes eCommerce businesses and makes them available on social media platforms, widening your brand audience and customer reach.
If you’re a business with products to sell, this info probably makes you feel like that dollar-sign-eyes-green-tongue emoji.
Curious about how you can get a chunk of that change? We’ve got you covered. Read on for social commerce 101.
Bonus: Get a free, in-depth guide to The Why, What, and How of Social Commerce. Learn how to sell more products on social media and delight your customers without relying on cookies.
Social commerce is the process of selling products and services directly through social media.
With social commerce, the entire shopping experience from product discovery and research to checkout, takes place right on social media.
With social commerce, you might see a pair of sweet strawberry-print clogs on your Instagram feed, hit “shop now”, add it to your shopping cart and complete the purchase right there in the app.
Or, you could spot a well-priced crewneck as you’re scrolling through TikTok, and click “Buy.” Once your purchase is complete, you can continue to enjoy your usual TikTok experience by watching duet videos with your favorite artist, without missing a beat.
These are shopping opportunities (shopportunities!) right on the digital platforms that your audience uses most. And you should be taking advantage of them.
eCommerce refers to a shopping experience via an eCommerce site, online store, or dedicated branded app. Social commerce, by definition, allows the customer to make their purchase within their social media experience. Social commerce is not eCommerce.
Social commerce is also not social selling. Social selling refers to cultivating relationships on social media in order to build your sales prospect list. Read more about social selling here.
Not sure if setting up a social media shop is a good idea? Here are six reasons why social commerce is worth a shot.
1. Social commerce makes shopping a social experience
Shopping on social media makes the experience much more interactive than a typical eCommerce spree.
Consumers can easily consult with their friends on purchases, show off those hip new hightops, comment on Aunt Jackie’s new “I Love My Niece” tee, review comments from other savvy shampoo shoppers, and interact directly with the kombucha brands they love.
For those who miss the social aspect of a day out at the mall, social commerce might just be the next best thing. (Though unfortunately without an Orange Julius pit stop.)
2. Social commerce removes friction
See it, click it, buy it. Social media shops remove friction from the consumer journey, making it easy to follow through from discovery to purchase. They’re there. The product’s there. Nowhere to go but the checkout.
Ultimately, every click of the mouse is an opportunity for a potential customer to change their mind. If they have to go from your ad to your website, to add the product to a shopping cart, to fill in their credit card info, that’s a lot of moments to lose their attention.
Take those unnecessary steps away and just bring the shopping right to social.
3. There’s some serious money to be made
Like Shakira’s hips, numbers don’t lie. Researchers are forecasting that e-sales will surpass $735 billion in the next three years.
If you want in on this action, it makes sense to bring your goods to the online spaces where your customers are already hanging out.
4. Social commerce offers an instant focus group
Not only does social commerce speed up the transaction process, but it also offers an incredible way to collect feedback.
Your catalog of goods is out there in the world for consumers to review and discuss together. No crystal ball is required: your customers can just tell you what they like or don’t like.
Why not get your audience to vote and weigh in on product development and inventory decisions while they’re there? (How are we feeling about my glow-in-the-dark wolf backpack design? Anyone? Hello?)
On social, you have clear data about exactly who your customers are, and the opportunity to chat with them after via comments or direct message, to provide personalized customer service.
5. Social media is where Millennials and Gen Z like to shop
If your target demographic lies in the 18-to-34 age range, they’re already online and waiting to shop while they scroll.
48% of U.S. internet users of this age made a purchase on social media in 2019. For those in that demographic who haven’t shopped on social media yet, 27% have expressed interest in giving it a go.
This is the modern mall. Time to open up shop!
6. You can sell to highly targeted audiences
With an incredible wealth of customer data available on social, you’ve got a prime opportunity to tweak and target your advertising.
Your horse-print bathrobes can be directly advertised to the flannel-loving equestrians out there. Adorable baby-sized sunglasses can be beamed right to the feeds of cool young dads.
Social commerce offers the chance to get specific, ready-to-buy products in front of specific people who would love them, in a way that traditional eCommerce and marketing cannot.
There are currently five social platforms that offer social commerce capabilities. But as the interest (and revenue) grows, it’s likely we’ll see more of these social media brands integrating “shop now” options.
Here are the current social commerce platforms available.
You use your Facebook Business Page to share news, connect with fans, and show off your cute new logo. Why not use it to sell a few things and boost sales while you’re there? Set up a Facebook Shop and you can do just that.
Facebook Shops are customizable. Choose which collections or goods to feature, and customize the fonts, images, and colors to suit your brand. Import an existing catalog of products from your website, or create one from scratch.
Your Facebook Shop will be accessible from your Facebook Page, your Instagram profile, your Instagram Shopping ads, or shoppable stories and post.
When it’s conversion time, you’ve got the option for your customers to do an in-app checkout, or open up a direct Messenger chat with your business. You can also send them to your website.
Once you start selling your products on Facebook, you’ll likely see an influx of messages from your customers with questions about product details, shipping, and sizes. To save some time and make sure you never leave a question unanswered, use an AI-powered customer service chatbot like Heyday.
The Heyday chatbot can answer simple, repetitive questions for you right in Facebook Messenger DMs and flag the inquiries that require a more personal touch. Customer service has never been easier.
Another nice feature of Facebook Shops: you can create a test shop to learn more. Here, you can add items, manage orders, and even test out the customer experience.
60% of people discover new products on Instagram. Your products should be among them.
Instagram Shops allows users to buy products featured in your photos and videos from anywhere in the app.
Business profiles can create a customizable storefront page that acts as a curated collection of products for sale. Each product in your Instagram Shop catalog will get its own detail page, featuring pricing, media, and a detailed description.
There are multiple ways you can sell products on Instagram. Shopping Tags allow businesses to tag their products in their Stories or posts. U.S. brands also have the option to highlight products in post captions and bios.
You can also sell through the dedicated Shop tab, where people can browse, save, and buy products listed by businesses or tagged by creators.
Or, you could create an Ad with a Shop tab placement within it. The Ad will appear with a “Sponsored” label and function as any other post or product listing in user feeds.
Meta also recently introduced a feature that makes it possible to shop through DMs. The capabilities are always improving and the demand is there.
Note: To get your Instagram Shop set up, you just need to live in an eligible region and have an Instagram Business account that’s connected to a Facebook page and Facebook Shop.
Learn more about how to set up your Instagram shop in our video:
Pinterest was one of the first social media platforms to offer shopping capabilities for users way back in 2015.
But there’s some news you should pin right now: Pinterest does not strictly offer social commerce.
Yes, for business accounts, Pinterest does offer the option to create “Product Pins” (formerly Buyable Pins), which are displayed in your brand’s Pinterest Shop. If a customer lives in the US and sees a Buy button below a Pin, they can complete their purchase through a checkout experience without ever having to leave Pinterest.
But outside of the US, it’s important to note that these are not available to purchase within the app. Clicking on a beautiful vase, you’ll be sent off of Pinterest to an eCommerce site to complete the sale.
Is Pinterest still a helpful tool for getting your goods out into the world? Absolutely — especially given that 89% of Pinterest users are there for shopping inspiration.
For more on making the most of your Pinterest account, here are eight business strategies to try.
In July 2020, Snapchat announced a closed beta launch of Brand Profiles. One of the profiles’ features? A “Native Store” experience (powered by Shopify) that enables users to browse and purchase right from the app.
They debuted the feature with the help of five official approved influencer accounts — Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Shay Mitchell, Spencer Pratt, and Bhad Bhabie.
A few other brands have been approved in the meantime, and it’s likely that this feature will expand to the rest of the non-Kardashian world eventually.
In the meantime, keep an eye on Kylie Cosmetics to see how she’s making the most of the app’s “swipe up to shop” capabilities.
Or brush up on your snap cred with the help of our Snapchat for Business strategy guide.
Setting up a digital storefront on TikTok as a retailer or creator is a must if you want to stay relevant with today’s buyers. TikTok Shop is the new shopping feature that allows merchants, brands, and creators to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok.
There are three ways to sell products on TikTok Shop:
- in-feed videos
- product showcase tab
The TikTok shopping experience is real. #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where users post what they’ve bought thanks to recommendations about products on the site, has been used 7bn times.
Note: In recent changes, TikTok pulled back plans to expand TikTok Shop capabilities from the North American market, but it’s currently still available in the UK and Asia.
Bonus: Get a free, in-depth guide to The Why, What, and How of Social Commerce. Learn how to sell more products on social media and delight your customers without relying on cookies.
Your shop is set up. You’re motivated and ready to sell. Here are key tips and tools that will help you make the most of this brave new digital shop-o-sphere.
1. Streamline sales and customer service with an AI chatbot
A swift and professional answer to a customer’s question can make the difference between a sales and an abandoned shopping cart. With the right tools, you can automate your customer service and make sure that your customers are taken care of 24/7/365 (a.k.a. even when your team is not online).
Use a tool like Heyday to engage with your customers on their preferred channels and convert customer service conversations into sales.
Heyday is an AI chatbot for retailers that integrates your online store with your social media channels. It allows you to automate as much as 80% of your customer support conversations. When customers reach out to you on social media with questions regarding your inventory or order tracking, the chatbot assists them in real time (and passes more complex inquiries over to your support team).
Heyday can also help you boost sales by automatically sending out back-in-stock and price-drop notifications to customers who had previously expressed interest in a product.
2. Engage with your followers
To create a great social commerce experience, you’ve got to remember the “social” part.
You can’t just toss up your catalog and forget it. Answer questions, offer value and interesting content, be human and authentic, and so on. Set up a chatbot to help people move forward with their shopping journey through customer service.
The same best practices that you usually use for engaging your following all apply here.
3. Listen strategically
You’ve got a front-row seat to your audience. Make the most of it.
Keep a close eye on comments and shares on your Shop, and respond or offer customer service when necessary.
Setting up social monitoring across all platforms can be a great way to catch feedback or industry news outside of your own bubble, too.
4. Encourage reviews
93% of online shoppers say a review can make or break their decision. If you’ve got a product people are happy with, get them to help spread the word.
Whether it’s an automated follow-up email asking for a review after a product has been delivered, or incentives like a contest to encourage previous customers to weigh in and share their experience, collecting social proof is vital to building a positive reputation online.
Once you’ve got some positive reviews, share them on your social feeds in creative ways, whether that’s posting user-generated content, hosting a Live video with happy customers, or simply creating a carousel of positive comments. There are tons of ways to do this that won’t make you sound like you’re bragging.
5. Target your reach
Take advantage of the incredible data available to you on social to get your products or Shop in front of the right people.
Not sure who your audience is, exactly? Here’s how to find and target your dream customer.
6. Price your products to move
Social commerce offers a great opportunity for lots of different kinds of products — clothing, dog toys, risqué pottery — but luxury products typically aren’t successful here.
Because of the risk associated with buying something unseen, consumers are less likely to splurge on something with a larger price point.
Shopify’s data show that an under $70 price tag is ideal: right in that “why the heck not” sweet spot for many social users.
7. Include products from your Shopify store in your social media posts with Hootsuite
Though not strictly falling under the definition of “social commerce”, Hootsuite users are able to easily post products from their eCommerce sites like Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce, and Bigcommerce, to their social networks via the Shopview app. It’s an easy way to use social media to enhance your customers’ online shopping experience.
Of course, social commerce is likely just one piece of your overall digital marketing puzzle.
To craft a robust strategy that engages, sells, and intrigues all across the wide plains of the internet, dive into our Social Media Advertising 101 guide. Build up your brand across all your platforms for your best chance at success, online or offline.
Social commerce is the use of social media platforms to promote and sell products and services. It encourages and allows users to buy products directly within social media platforms, never having to open another browser.
Social commerce capitalizes on the sheer amount of people using social media platforms around the world. For example, 59% of U.S. adults use Instagram daily and 38% of those daily visitors are logging on multiple times per day.
That’s a huge potential audience for brands to advertise to, far surpassing any reach from television, radio, and print advertising.
Social media users can discover and explore brands, products, and services, add products to their shopping lists or carts, and complete checkout — all without leaving the social network.
Social commerce can involve the use of native shopping solutions (e.g. Facebook and Instagram Shops) or eCommerce integrations (e.g. browsing a product catalog and adding items to a cart on a social platform, then completing checkout in an online store).
- Native social media shopping solutions (e.g. Facebook and Instagram Shops)
- Marketplace sales, a.k.a. peer-to-peer sales (e.g. Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, eBay)
- Curated shopping lists (e.g. Shopping Lists on Pinterest)
- Live shopping events (e.g. on Facebook Live)
- Shoppable AR filters (e.g. shoppable Lenses on Snapchat)
Social commerce allows brands to make sales directly on social media. It’s an effective sales strategy because it removes friction from online shopping experiences that start on social platforms. Many people discover products they like while browsing social media. Allowing them to click through to checkout without leaving the social network makes for a quick and streamlined experience, and reduces the risk of abandoned shopping carts.
Examples of social commerce include:
- Domino’s Pizza taking orders via an automated Facebook Messenger flow
- Mac Cosmetics’ shoppable AR Lense on Snapchat
- Gap using Instagram Guides for curated shopping lists
- Nike using Product Pins on Pinterest
- Best Buy Canada’s Shop tab on Facebook
Engage with shoppers on Instagram and turn customer conversations into sales with Heyday, our dedicated conversational AI tools for social commerce retailers. Deliver 5-star customer experiences — at scale.
11 Smart Ways to Use Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter isn’t just the birthplace of cutting-edge humor or the top place to find breaking news. Thanks to Twitter’s advanced search features, it’s also a surprisingly robust search engine.
Twitter’s advanced search capabilities are some of the app’s most well-kept secrets. Still, if you master the tool, you can dig deep and revisit some favorite or forgotten posts — or study your competition’s social media strategy.
From searching Twitter usernames and mentions to finding the most popular tweets from any user (including yourself), we’ll teach you the ins and outs of Twitter’s semi-secret, super-powerful advanced search tool.
Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your Twitter following fast, a daily workbook that will help you establish a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth, so you can show your boss real results after one month.
What is Twitter’s advanced search?
Twitter advanced search is a tool you can use to filter tweets by highly specific criteria.
Twitter advanced search is the best thing about this platform, and almost nobody uses it
— David Perell (@david_perell) August 30, 2020
Twitter advanced search has different powers across different platforms — you will have a different experience using it on mobile vs. desktop, for example. And if you learn certain key phrases, you can perform advanced searches directly in the search bar.
Finally, apps like Hootsuite Streams can add even more power to your Twitter search arsenal. But we’ll get into that shortly.
How to advance search on Twitter
Searching Twitter on desktop
Twitter’s desktop site has its own built-in advanced search field, which is a great place to start your sleuthing.
Here’s how to use it:
1. Perform a simple search in the bar on the top corner of the Twitter app.
2. Under the Search filters bar, navigate to the menu that says Advanced search.
3. Use the Words fields to start your search. You can choose words, exact phrases or hashtags, and you can also choose words or phrases you’d like to exclude from the search. You can also specify the language you want to search in.
4. Using the Accounts tab, you can search for tweets that come from specific accounts, mention those accounts, or reply to those accounts.
5. Filters allow you to determine whether you want to see replies or original tweets only. You can also choose to show tweets either with or without links.
6. Using Engagement, you can get even more precise. You can search for tweets with more than a certain number of replies, likes or retweets.
7. With the Dates tool, you can add a specific day or range of dates to search.
8. Once you’ve used these parameters to narrow down your search, click Search. You can view results by popularity (Top), chronology (Latest), person (People) or media (Photos or Videos).
You can also click Advanced Search again to adjust the search parameters.
9. If your search is something you’d like to check in on again in the future, just save the parameters by clicking Save search. Twitter users can save up to 25 searches per account.
If the advanced search options feel overwhelming, don’t worry: all of these fields are optional.
Searching Twitter on mobile
First, the bad news: Twitter doesn’t currently offer an advanced search function on its mobile app.
But there’s a great workaround. Just learn and use the relevant search operators from the desktop version and apply them to your search (or, better yet, bookmark this page).
The following are some helpful phrases to use while searching. Many of these can be combined to narrow your search even further.
|Type this into the Twitter search bar…||…to return these results|
|“exact phrase”||Searches for the exact phrase in quotation marks|
|exact OR phrase||Searches for the words “exact” or “phrase” (or both)|
|coin -crypto||Searches for “coin” but not “crypto”|
|min_retweets:1000||Searches for tweets with a minimum of 1,000 retweets|
|min_faves:1000||Searches for tweets with a minimum of 1,000 likes|
|filter:verified||Shows results from verified users. (This does not currently include users who were verified via Twitter Blue.)|
|from:hootsuite||Searches tweets from the Hootsuite account|
|to:hootsuite||Searches all tweets written in reply to the Hootsuite account|
|@hootsuite||Searches for Twitter mentions of the Hootsuite account|
|cheeseburger near:vancouver within:10km||Searches for any posts about cheeseburgers within 10 kilometres of Vancouver. (And don’t worry, you can use miles instead by switching “km” to “mi”)|
|influencer filter:media||Searches for the word “influencer” and an image or video|
|influencer -filter:retweets||Searches for the word “influencer” and filters out retweets|
|hootsuite filter:links||Searches for tweets with the word “hootsuite” that link to an URL|
|social url:hootsuite||Searches for tweets with the word “social” and a URL with the word “hootsuite” within it|
|hootsuite since:2015-12-21 until:2016-01-21||search for tweets with the word “hootsuite” between December 21, 2015 and January 21, 2016.
You can use the since: and until: parameters independent of each other, too.
11 smart ways to use advanced Twitter search
As you can see, you can achieve a near C.I.A.-level of precision when searching the Twitter app. But why on earth would you want to?
There are plenty of reasons why you may want to use advanced Twitter search to help with your brand’s Twitter or overall social strategy.
Here are 11 reasons to use advanced Twitter search:
1. Monitor your mentions, even untagged ones
If your brand is making waves on Twitter, you’ll likely see plenty of people pop up in your mentions tab. But some people might be talking about you or your product without actually tagging you.
Often, these are the most honest users, so setting up a search for your brand’s name is a wise decision. It’s great to know what people really think — and hey, it’s not always bad news!
If you Tweet more than once a day I can’t recommend Hootsuite enough. I can figure out what all I’m tweeting for a day over my morning coffee pic.twitter.com/wdZ4sKCqvF
— Getawesome Gaming (@GetawesomeG) November 20, 2022
2. Find the most popular tweets about a trending topic
If you click a trending hashtag, you might not immediately understand the context. But if you filter your results using search operators, you can quickly determine exactly what’s going on.
Advanced Twitter searches are almost like cheat codes to help you figure out what’s trending and why.
As an easy example, try searching for tweets about Taylor Swift that have a minimum of 10,000 retweets. The results reveal that Ticketmaster may be in some hot water for how they’ve handled sales of her upcoming tour.
3. Find your own popular tweets
Searching your own tweets can also help you find content that performed well in the past. Try limiting your search to 100 likes and see what comes up.
This can be helpful if you’re new to your brand’s social media, establishing brand guidelines or just can’t remember every tweet you’ve ever made.
4. Improve your customer service
Setting up a saved search allows you to keep an eye on what people say about your brand. This kind of monitoring, also known as social listening, means you can level up your customer service when appropriate.
Obviously, don’t be a total creep, but you can still insert yourself into conversations where it feels appropriate.
@UberSupport does a good job of making sure their customers know they care, even if it’s something as small as complaining about cigarette smoke.
We’re sorry to hear about this experience and would like to follow up with you for more information. Please provide us with your email address via DM so we can follow up.
— Uber Support (@Uber_Support) November 20, 2022
5. Engage in risky replies
If you’re an experienced social media manager, you know that risky replies are a delicate dance. But using advanced Twitter search can help you master the art.
With such specific search tools, it’s easy to find “receipts” — internet slang for proof of hypocrisy. You might be able to find your competitor going back on a promise or find something that’s just plain weird.
You can also often find pure hilarity, like this tweet from Space X suggesting Elon Musk’s real account was a fraud. The real Elon Musk even replied to it! My head is spinning.
My fav tweet ever
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018
6. Tune into your niche
Hyper-specific search tools are a great way to find like-minded people to follow.
Let’s say you run a DIY craft company in Vancouver, BC. You can use a highly targeted search to find accounts near you with similar interests, then start interacting.
7. Discover trends
Trying to expand your brand or start something new? You can use advanced search terms to discover the most popular items in a specific niche.
For example, Twitter can help you find what people think is the current cutest Etsy product, using just the number of likes on the search term. This could help you market your business, but it’s even helpful earlier in the product development phase.
8. Research specific locations
Twitter advanced search is an excellent tool to do market research. Sure, not everyone is on Twitter — but enough people are that it works as an excellent sample size to research.
The search terms and locations will be specific to your own brand’s needs, but let’s try a little experiment of our own. How many people in Edinburgh, Scotland, care about the Vancouver Canucks?
Well, according to Twitter advanced search — precisely one person. But she’s made a beautiful drawing to prove it.
9. Answer the call
Advanced search can help you find plenty of potential clients looking for exactly what you sell — without being too spammy.
Try out different search terms to see who’s asking for your exact product. Try “looking for recommendations” with hyper-specific keywords, and you’ll likely find a whole world of future customers.
10. Build a case study
There are few social media platforms as brutally honest as Twitter, making it an excellent place to gauge public opinion about a certain topic.
For example, 2022 was notoriously bad for airlines losing luggage due to the post-restriction travel surge.
Using date-specific searches, you can easily gather a general overview of how an airline came across on social media.
11. Throw it back
Finding old tweets can sometimes be a real slog, particularly if you’re manually scrolling back through years of data. Using the date parameters, it’s possible to find specific tweets within seconds.
This can help you find certain milestones from your own history and share them for Throwback Thursday or even key anniversaries. Dig around and see what you can find.
Preparing to launch.
— Hootsuite 🦉 (@hootsuite) November 28, 2008
Pro tip: If you want to learn more about other Twitter tricks and features, check out our blog on the top Twitter hacks.
How to use Hootsuite Streams to streamline your Twitter searches
Not interested in memorizing search operators or jumping through a half-dozen hoops every time you want to search Twitter? Hootsuite Streams is an excellent way to streamline the process.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, it’s incredibly easy to start searching Twitter.
Here’s how to search for keywords or trending topics on desktop:
- Go to Streams, and then select Twitter quick search on the left.
- Choose your search query by selecting a trending topic from the quick search list or entering a keyword. Then select Enter on the keyboard to search by keyword.
- Optionally, select Save as Stream at the bottom of the search results to save the content as a new stream. The stream displays content based on that keyword (not based on location).
- Point to a tweet in the search results to like, reply, retweet, or send a direct message to that Twitter user. Selecting Like allows you to like the tweet from multiple Twitter accounts.
Here’s how to search for keywords or trending topics on mobile:
- Go to Streams.
- Select Search in the top right.
- Choose your search query by selecting a trending topic from the trends list or by selecting Search Twitter, entering a keyword, and then selecting Search.Under the Tweets section of the results list, select Show more to view all results.
- Optional: Select Save in the top right to save the search as a stream.
How to search for Twitter users on desktop:
- Go to Streams, and then select Twitter quick search on the left.
- Select the Twitter icon, and then select Find Twitter Users.
- Enter the username or Twitter account name, and then select Enter on the keyboard.
- Select the name or profile picture to open the user’s profile page, or select the Follow button to follow the user.
Here’s how to search for Twitter users on mobile:
- Go to Streams and select Search in the top right.
- Select Search Twitter, enter a username or other search query, and then select Search on your keypad.
- Scroll down to view the results under the People section. Select Show more to view all results for Twitter users.
Frequently asked questions about Twitter advanced search
Can you search private Twitter accounts?
Twitter does not allow you to search private accounts if you’re not already following the account. There’s no workaround to see tweets from private accounts.
Can you use Twitter advanced search on mobile?
Twitter does not currently offer an advanced search function on its mobile app, but there’s a great alternative. Just learn and use the relevant search operators from the desktop version and apply them to your search.
How do I find someone’s most popular tweets?
While there used to be a site called Favstar that made it easy to see a user’s top tweets, that app no longer exists. Instead, you’ll have to use advanced search to find the top tweets from a specific user or about a specific topic.
Use the advanced searches on Twitter desktop, use the codes “min_retweets:” and “min_faves:” or simply use Hootsuite Streams to take a deep dive.
Can I search Twitter for photos or videos?
If you want to find videos or images related to a certain topic or user, add “filter:media” to your search terms. This will bring up all of the relevant media in your search results.
Is it better to check the Top tab or the Latest tab?
If you’re looking for old tweets, it might feel counterintuitive to search the Latest tab, but it’s still going to give you the most results.
The Top tab uses Twitter’s algorithm to serve you the best, most popular content. But let’s say you’re looking for one of your company’s first tweets, before you had developed a following.
Chances are, the early tweets won’t have much traction, meaning you want all of the tweets in chronological order. That’s where the Latest tab comes in.
Save time by using Hootsuite to manage your Twitter presence alongside your other social channels. You can run contests, share videos, schedule posts, and monitor your efforts — all from one convenient dashboard! Try it for free today.
Experiment: Do LinkedIn Pods Work? (Or Are They Mostly Embarrassing?)
This past November, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to see if LinkedIn pods actually worked or if they were just a waste of time.
For those of you who don’t know what a LinkedIn pod is, it’s basically a group of people who agree to like, comment and engage with each other’s posts. The theory is that by doing this, your content will be boosted by the LinkedIn algorithm. So, I decided to join a few pods and test it out for myself.
I’m not necessarily an established LinkedIn thought leader with thousands of followers, but I post about my writing work on a fairly regular basis and have even gotten a few clients through LinkedIn. So a few more followers and engagements with my posts definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Here’s what I learned from my experience with LinkedIn pods.
Bonus: Download a free guide that shows the 11 tactics Hootsuite’s social media team used to grow their LinkedIn audience from 0 to 278,000 followers.
What is a LinkedIn pod?
Let’s start with the basics.
A LinkedIn pod, often called an engagement pod, is a group of people who have agreed to connect and engage with each other’s content on LinkedIn. The idea is that by being in a pod, you’ll be able to increase your connections and, consequently, your opportunities.
In an engagement pod, members agree to like, comment, share, and react to each others’ posts on a regular basis. Often, this is done by posting your LinkedIn post in an engagement pod group or app, where members can view and interact with it.
Most engagement pods work on the principle of reciprocity. So, if you want people to like, comment, or share your content, you’ll need to do the same for them.
Why use an engagement pod on LinkedIn?
Engagement pods are said to be helpful because they can:
- Amplify the reach of your content
- Help you get more engagement on your content (likes, comments, shares)
- Offer extended networking opportunities
- Engage employees to support your brand
The theory is that LinkedIn favors posts with more engagement, so if you can get more likes and comments, your post will perform better.
This is especially important because the LinkedIn algorithm divides content on the platform into three types:
- Spam: Posts with bad grammar, too many hashtags, or accounts that post too frequently may be marked as spam.
- Low-quality posts: Posts that don’t follow best practices, or don’t get enough engagement, will be labeled “low-quality.”
- High-quality posts: Posts that are easy to read, encourage questions, and incorporate strong keywords will be labeled high-quality and, therefore, will be shown to more users on LinkedIn.
The question is: is engagement enough to make a post “high-quality” in the eyes of the LinkedIn algorithm? I set out to put this idea to the test.
How to join a LinkedIn pod
There are a couple of different ways to join a LinkedIn engagement pod.
First, you can start your own pod by creating a group message thread with LinkedIn users you’d like to pod with. We’ll call this a manual LinkedIn pod.
Second, you can use LinkedIn-specific pods, where you join LinkedIn groups focused on creating pods. Search “LinkedIn pods” or “engagement pods” in your LinkedIn search bar and see which ones relate to your industry.
There are also third-party apps like lempod specifically built for automating LinkedIn engagement pods.
Finally, LinkedIn pod groups exist on other social media sites. There’s the LinkedIn Growth Hackers pod on Facebook and various other pods on platforms like Telegram.
I experimented with all four types of engagement pods to see which ones worked best. I used a different LinkedIn post for each method so that I could accurately track any differences in engagement across methods.
Here’s a breakdown of that process.
Manual pods: I used a blog post on scheduling Instagram reels.
Before the experiment started, I had 12 likes, 487 impressions, 0 shares, and 2 comments.
LinkedIn-specific pods: For this method, I used a blog post I’d shared on recession marketing.
Before the experiment started, I had 5 likes, 189 impressions, 1 share, and 2 comments.
Automated LinkedIn pods: I used a post I wrote for Hootsuite on social media share of voice.
Before the experiment started, I had 2 likes, 191 impressions, 0 shares, and 0 comments.
Cross-platform LinkedIn pods:
I was not able to join any cross-platform pods, so no posts were used here.
Manual LinkedIn pod method
I started off by creating a manual LinkedIn pod of my own. I chose a small group of my writer friends (because they understand the research process) to pod up with. I sent them a quick message outlining the strategy and encouraged them to interact with each other.
Luckily, they’re all good sports, and I immediately started receiving a barrage of LinkedIn notifications showing the support of my pals.
I also immediately noticed some new (stranger) accounts creeping my LinkedIn profile.
And I even got this message from a random “LinkedIn” employee (pretty certain this was spam).
That all happened in just a couple of hours!
LinkedIn-specific pod method
I also joined a few LinkedIn group pods focused on digital marketing and social media.
The number of members really varied in these groups. One had over a million members, at the others had just a few dozen. I chose a mixture of high-member pods as well as a few smaller ones. If vanity metrics have taught me anything, it’s that just because a lot of people are in your circle, it doesn’t mean they’re actually paying attention.
Some of the pods I found in my search were described as inactive, so I stayed away from those.
Of all the groups I joined, Game of Content was the only one that seemed to have regular posts from other users.
The rules of GoC were pretty simple:
There is only one post ever present in the group, and it’s made by an admin. They repopulate this post every couple of days so it stays relevant. Group members can then comment on the post with their LinkedIn post link and other members are meant to engage with them.
As I went through the weekday post comments, I did see lots of people replying to comments with phrases like, “Done! Here’s my link.”
When I clicked through to their posts, I could see likes and comments from those same group members.
So, yeah, this was working. At least in terms of garnering more likes and comments.
I went in and followed suit, engaging with posted links and commenting with my own link after I was done.
And I slowly started to see engagement reciprocated on my own posts.
Automated LinkedIn pods with lempod method
I also installed the lempod extension on my Google Chrome browser. lempod offers a digital marketplace full of LinkedIn engagement pods you can join.
I joined a few pods focused on digital marketing and social media.
The first one I was accepted to was called “Content + Social Media Marketing pod”. That seemed relevant.
I immediately posted the link to my post. Once I shared the link, the screen opened up to a big graph, with a list of people “Members who will engage” and “Members who have already engaged.”
I cross-checked the “Members who have already engaged” tab with my actual post.
And, yep. Sure enough, those users were now shown as new likes on my post.
Within just a few minutes, my impressions had grown from 191 to 206. I also had six new comments. I watched this number steadily climb over the next hour.
While I was seeing lots of engagement, I wasn’t seeing any profile views, direct messages, or anything else that might indicate these users were actually interested in my work.
Not to mention, the engagement was coming in fast. Every 45 seconds there was another notification! Maybe LinkedIn would consider my post viral? Or, maybe it would get labeled as spam.
I let the automation run until I saw that every member of the pod had engaged.
Two hours later, I had 54 likes, 261 impressions and 24 comments!
Cross-platform LinkedIn pods
I did try joining the “LinkedIn Growth Hackers” group on Facebook, but I was never approved. It seems this group may be inactive now. I did not find any other active LinkedIn pods to join on other channels.
TL;DR: At first glance, it may look like the Automated LinkedIn pod was the most effective pod, but I actually think it was the Manual pod for reasons that I will explain below. Either way, none of the LinkedIn pods really made a big difference for me or helped grow my presence on the platform significantly.
|Automated LinkedIn pod||54||24||261|
Keep reading for more details and context on these results.
This seemed like the most organic, most consistent method. Because I was leveraging people I already knew, the comments were authentic, relevant, and sincere.
Not to mention, these people are actually in my industry–meaning if my posts show up in their feeds to their connections, it might help me network further.
Nothing about this method came off as spammy, though I don’t know how realistic it is to ask my friends to do this every week.
Over the course of one week, my post got:
- 13 likes
- 3 comments
- 0 shares
- 507 impressions
While this method brought in the most comments, responses were vague and less relevant than those found in my manual pods. Plus, most of these people worked outside of my industry. So, there likely isn’t much benefit to my content showing up in their feeds or networks.
After the weeklong experiment, my post got:
- 13 likes
- 364 impressions
- 2 shares
- 6 comments
Automated LinkedIn pods
This method certainly brought in the most likes and comments. But, I didn’t see any relevant profile visits, direct messages, or connection requests come through.
Also, while there were a lot of new comments, they were all pretty much the same:
- “Really cool Hannah!”
- “Great post, Hannah!”
- “Thanks for sharing Hannah!”
To me, these vague comments signal that none of these users actually read my post (which makes sense, considering their profiles are being automated).
I can only imagine that other users might see this and think the same thing. My spam alert is sounding.
After three hours, my post got:
- 54 likes
- 24 comments
- 261 impressions
- 0 shares
Cross-platform LinkedIn pods
I did not gather any extra engagement from this method.
What do the results mean?
Here are the main takeaways from my experiment.
Authentic pods have merit
There is certainly some engagement to be gained from using LinkedIn pods. Pods that are made up of relevant, authentic connections within your industry can certainly help to amplify your content and get you more views, likes, and comments.
Spammy pods won’t get you far
But, if you’re trying to game the system by joining pods that are full of fake accounts or that are unrelated to your industry, you’re not going to see much benefit. So what if you got 50, 100, or 200 likes? They don’t mean much if they’re coming from accounts that will never do business with you.
LinkedIn pods ARE embarrassing
I think what struck me most about this experiment was the discomfort that came with having so many unconnected strangers present on my posts. Sure, from a glance it looks cool to have 50+ likes, but if anyone took a closer look it would be pretty obvious the engagement was spam.
Just as I wouldn’t suggest businesses buy their Instagram followers, I wouldn’t suggest they use engagement pods. Maybe, in some cases, where the pod members are hyper-relevant to your niche, it’s worth it. But if it looks suspicious, chances are your audience will notice. And the last thing you want is to lose their trust.
Focus on close, relevant connections
If you still want to join a LinkedIn pod after reading this, the best way to use them is to join ones that are relevant to your industry and that are made up of connections that you can authentically engage with. This way, you’re getting targeted engagement that can lead to valuable relationships (and, hopefully, real customers).
Here are a few tips for finding the right LinkedIn pods:
- Check out groups related to your industry or niche. Many of these will have pods associated with them.
- Ask trusted connections if they know of any good pods to join.
- Create your own pod with a group of like-minded individuals.
- Avoid overly spammy pods that are only focused on promoting content and not engaging in real conversations.
- Most of all, focus on good, old, organic LinkedIn marketing. While “hacking the algorithm” through pods is appealing, nothing beats putting in the work, one post at a time.
Struggling to get enough engagement on your LinkedIn posts? Hootsuite makes scheduling, publishing, and boosting LinkedIn content—alongside all your other social channels—easy, so you can spend more time creating quality content, tracking your performance, and learning about your audience. Try it free today.
25 Instagram Best Practices for Faster Growth in 2023
It seems like things never stop changing on Instagram. The network keeps adapting its features to compete in the increasingly crowded social media landscape. So, do the Instagram best practices that worked in 2022 still apply in 2023?
While the fundamentals of your Instagram marketing strategy should stay consistent, some of the tactics you need to achieve your goals are shifting. Keep reading for a list of best practices that will help you succeed on the platform in 2023 and beyond.
Bonus: 14 Time-Saving Hacks for Instagram Power Users. Get the list of secret shortcuts Hootsuite’s own social media team uses to create thumb-stopping content.
25 Instagram best practices for 2023
Instagram marketing best practices
1. Set clear goals
You’ve heard this from us before and you’ll hear it again. Every great social media marketing strategy begins with a solid set of clear, measurable goals.
What you want to get out of Instagram will determine what you should put into it. Think about how the platform’s various surfaces – feed posts, Reels, Stories – can contribute to real business goals.
2. Post at the right time
Hootsuite research shows that the best time to post photos on Instagram is 11 a.m. on Wednesdays. For Reels, it’s 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Keep in mind that the average Instagram business account posts 1.71 main feed posts per day.
That’s a good place for you to start. But to find the most effective time to post for your particular account, you’ll need to understand the Instagram habits of your particular audience.
Hootsuite Analytics provides a heatmap showing when your followers are most likely to be online. It also provides custom suggestions for the best time to post to your followers based on your chosen Instagram goals.
3. Schedule your content in advance
Once you know the best times to post, you can start planning and creating your content in advance, then scheduling it to post at the appropriate time.
This allows you to create quality content in dedicated blocks of time, which maximizes your creative resources. It also gives you the breathing room to edit and review your content thoroughly before it goes live.
Hootsuite helps you post consistently with no effort. It allows you to schedule your Instagram posts, Reels, and Stories alongside other social posts, so you can see the complete picture of your social posting schedule in one content calendar.
This also gives you a good overview and allows you to ensure you’ve planned the perfect mix of photos, videos, and carousel posts.
4. Engage with your followers
Remember: Instagram is not a broadcasting service. It’s a social network. That means your followers expect two-way communication and a sense of community. If you want people to engage with your Instagram content, you’ve got to get engaged yourself.
When you’re first getting started, it’s easy to reply to DMs and comments on your own. As your following grows, it can become overwhelming to keep up. At this stage, it’s a good idea to bring in some tools (and team members) to help manage your Instagram communication.
Hootsuite Inbox allows you to effectively manage your Instagram comments and replies by assigning messages to other team members for a response or follow-up. You can also create templated replies to common comments and questions to help speed up your response time.
5. Tag your products
Nearly half of Instagram users shop the platform weekly.
Brands that tag their products in feed posts see 37% more sales on average. And brands that tag two or more posts per day see a 117% increase in transactions.
Tag across surfaces: Reels, stories, posts, and even ads. Sixty-one percent of weekly IG users say ads with tags make them more likely to shop.
6. Analyze and improve your results
We’ve already mentioned a few times that you’ll need to do some experimentation to learn what works best for your particular audience. That will continue to be an ongoing theme throughout this post.
To learn the results of your experiments, you need to use Instagram analytics. The native Instagram insights tool provides some good information to get you started. To take things up a notch and get a richly detailed picture of your results, it’s a good idea to incorporate professional analytics tools like Hootsuite.
The Instagram analytics within Hootsuite include downloadable and exportable charts and graphs that make it easy to understand what’s working and what’s not. You can also see how your Instagram efforts compare to those on other social media platforms.
One particularly useful tool in Hootsuite Analytics is the ability to compare the performance of Instagram Reels to TikToks. This can help you refine your short video strategy – not just within Instagram, but across platforms.
Instagram Reels best practices
7. Make (more) Reels
Not using Reels yet? It’s definitely time to start.
Instagram is leaning hard into video in general and Reels in particular. Reels already account for 20% of time spent on the platform. And Hootsuite research shows that Reels get up to 300% more engagement than regular Instagram videos. The Instagram algorithm loves Reels, too.
So, this is a simple but very important Instagram best practice. Just make (more) Reels.
8. Show your human side
Reels that show a person have a 25% higher clickthrough. They’re not the right format for stuffy product videos. Be dynamic and show real humans using your products. Get your team involved. Show a little personality. Be human and have fun.
9. Make the most of the first 3 seconds
Capture attention right upfront with dynamic motion and teaser titles. (Just make sure you deliver on the promise of your title – watchbait is a big no-no.)
Show (and tell) people in the first three seconds what they’ll get out of your Reel and why they should keep watching. On that note…
10. Add text to your Reels
Adding text to your Reels offers a number of benefits. First and foremost, it makes your content accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It’s also important for the 20% of Reels views that happen with the sound turned off.
Closed captions are now automatic on Reels unless you turn them off. Users can always adjust this on their feed if they don’t want to see captions, so there’s no advantage in turning them off on your end.
You can also add timed text to emphasize specific points in your video.
11. Use trending audio
Incorporating trending audio into your Reels is a great way to boost your exposure. You can identify trending audio by the little arrow next to the name of the sound in any reel.
Tap on the audio to see how many reels have already been made with that sound. Your best chance for getting a boost is using trending audio that doesn’t yet have too many other competing Reels. Aim for 30K or fewer.
In this case, the track already has 285K Reels, so you might want to keep looking for one with less competition.
If you come across audio you love, you can save it for later by tapping the Save audio button. If you specifically want to use it for that trending boost, just be sure to check that it’s still trending when you’re ready to use it.
12. Try a template
If you want to use multiple photos and/or video clips in your Reel, a template can be a great way to get started. Using a template automatically syncs your clips to the audio in the original Reel.
To find templates, open the Reels tab and click on the camera icon in the top right, then scroll to Templates at the bottom of the screen. Scroll until you find a Reel you like, then tap Use template.
Instagram Stories best practices
13. Use interactive stickers
Interactive features like the vote button, quiz button, and question button really let you get to know your audience. They also provide a great opportunity for getting your community involved and driving good engagement rates.
Try asking followers what kind of content they want to see from you. Or use the Question sticker to do a follower Q&A.
14. Save your best Stories to highlights
Instagram Stories are a great way to experiment with new ideas and more casual content because they disappear after 24 hours.
But sometimes you want your Stories to stick around. For those occasions, there are Stories highlights.
Highlights live on your Instagram page above your grid. In addition to saving your best Stories, you can also use them to create space for extra information about your business or products.
For more ideas, check out our full blog post on how to use Instagram Stories.
Instagram post best practices
15. Develop a consistent style
Your Instagram grid should have a visually consistent style, and viewers should be able to recognize one of your posts instantly when it appears in their feed.
16. Use the right hashtags
Social SEO may be reducing the importance of hashtags, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid them altogether.
In particular, using specific niche hashtags can help you connect with existing passionate communities on Instagram. And creating a brand hashtag can help you collect user-generated content and social proof.
Here’s everything you need to know about using hashtags on Instagram:
17. Write catchy captions
Yes, it’s the quality of the image that will grab attention and stop the scroll. But you can’t ignore the power of captions on Instagram. Instagram captions help users connect with your brand and learn about what you stand for.
Writing great captions is also one of the best practices for Instagram posts because they help the Instagram algorithm understand what your post is about to help with Instagram SEO. Captions are one of the sources the algorithm checks for relevant keywords when someone searches for content on the platform.
18. Use alt text
This is another quick thing you can do to make your content more accessible while also boosting your Instagram SEO ranking signals.
Alt text on Instagram works just like alt text on the web: it provides a text description of what’s in the image or photo.
Instagram uses artificial intelligence to create auto alt text for all posts, but you can customize the alt text yourself for better results.
Check out our detailed instructions for adding alt text to Instagram posts.
19. Pin your best posts
The first three spots on your Instagram grid are prime real estate. Fortunately, you can now choose what appears there. You can pin up to three posts (or Reels) to the top row of your grid.
Try pinning your most popular posts, or your most timely. Have a promotion going on? Or a new product about to launch? Pinned posts keep users’ eyes on the prize.
You can also get creative with pinned posts, as Rocky Mountain Soap Company did to tease a new product launch:
Instagram ads best practices
20. Experiment with ad placements
Instagram ads can appear in feed, stories, Reels, and the Explore tab, with the potential reach ranging from 713.2 million for the Explore tab to 1.32 billion for feed.
Instagram data shows vertical ads have a 48% lower cost-per-action than non-vertical ads, so Reels and Stories are an obvious choice to test if you’re running video ads.
As with your organic strategy, you’ll need to do some testing to see which placements tend to work best for your audience and your goals. The important thing is not to get locked into one format and rely on it to serve your needs. Instagram is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep testing to see if the effectiveness of various formats ebbs and flows with time.
21. Partner with creators
Working with influencers – aka creators – to create branded content can give a credibility boost to your Instagram advertising campaigns.
Meta research shows that 78% of consumers say influencers help them discover new brands. In addition, campaigns that include branded content ads alongside business-as-usual ads have an average 53% higher click-through rate.
22. Unify your product catalog
Using a single product catalog for Meta ads and your Instagram shop make tagging easier while allowing you to get the most complete Pixel data.
Here’s how to get your product catalog set up:
The Shopify integration in Hootsuite makes this easy if you already have a Shopify store.
Instagram bio best practices
23. Make it complete
You don’t have a ton of real estate in your Instagram bio – just 150 characters to tell users who you are and why they should stick around.
But you can bulk this up by completing all the fields available on your Instagram profile – like your profile picture, address, a link, and an account category. On that note…
24. Choose the right account category
Using the correct category in your Instagram bio makes it easier for people to find you and understand what your brand is all about.
It’s also an important feature for enhanced tagging. If you collaborate with other brands or creators, enhanced tagging shows each account’s contribution to a post, including the account category.
25. Get verified
To give more credibility to your account, think about getting that blue check and applying for Instagram verification. Instagram verification goes a long way in helping your business account look more professional while preventing impostors from stealing your thunder.
Find out how you can get verified.
For more Instagram bio tips (and even some templates), check out our full post on how to create the perfect Instagram bio. Or, get a quick overview in this video:
Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram (and other social networks), engage the audience and measure your performance. Try it free today.
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