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What is a Social Media Dashboard and Why Do You Need One?

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If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably heard of a social media dashboard. But you might not be exactly sure what it is, or how it could help you.

Well, whether you’re managing one social media account or ten, it can be overwhelming to strategize content, create posts, and react to trends on the fly. Not to mention, tracking analytics across platforms, apps, and devices can leave you feeling like you’re chasing your tail.

By consolidating all of your social media accounts into one platform, you can quickly see what’s happening across the board and take action accordingly — without pulling out your hair.

In this article, we’ll teach you the basics of social media dashboard tools and how you can use one to save time and become a better social media marketer.

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Bonus: Get a free social media report template to easily and effectively present your social media performance to key stakeholders.

A social media dashboard is a platform that allows you to view all of your social media activity in one place. This includes scheduling and creating posts, tracking analytics, and interacting with your followers.

The best social media dashboards will also allow you to do things like track trending content, manage ad campaigns, and analyze results across platforms. Not only does this make social media marketing more efficient, but it also allows you to get a better understanding of your overall social media performance — something that is nearly impossible to do while toggling back-and-forth between native social media business profile solutions.

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Want to see how a social media dashboard works in action? The video below shows an overview of the Hootsuite dashboard.

A social media analytics dashboard is the place where you can track, measure, and analyze the performance of your social media platforms. You can use a social media analytics dashboard to track how many likes and comments your posts receive, what kind of engagement your content is receiving, and how much new traffic you’re getting. It’s more specifically focused on analytics than a social media dashboard.

social media analytics dashboard in Hootsuite

While there are many tools, like Hootsuite Analytics, that offer this as a service, you can also create your own social media analytics dashboard using our social media report template (sometimes referred to as a social media dashboard template). Or, create your own templates using Excel or Google Sheets.

See also  Selling on Shopify in 2022: A Step-by-Step Guide

success snapshot shown in social media dashboard template

Using a social media dashboard gives you a clear overview of your social media performance, so you can see what’s working and what’s not. It also allows you to track your progress over time and understand how your content is performing. This will allow you to save money and time on social media marketing for your business.

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Here are some of the biggest benefits of a social media marketing dashboard:

  • Gaining insights with a single glance: A social media dashboard displays all of your metrics in one place so you can quickly see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Sharing performance with your team: Social media dashboards make it easy to share your performance with your team so you can stay on top of your strategy.
  • Increasing your conversion rates: By understanding your social media metrics, you can shape your marketing strategy to increase your conversion rates.
  • Generating revenue: Insights provided by your social media dashboard help you make informed decisions about the sales funnel.

Looking for your next social media dashboard? Here are the features you can’t miss.

Performance tracking

A social media dashboard should make it easy to track your performance across all your social media channels, including impressions, reach, and engagement metrics. The more data you can gather, the better you’ll be able to understand what’s working and what’s not.

For example, if you see that your posts are getting a lot of engagement but not many clicks, you might want to focus on creating more shareable content. Or, if you notice that your audience is most engaged during certain times of day, you can adjust your posting schedule accordingly.

screenshot of hootsuite social media analytics dashboard

Content creation

A social media dashboard should also help you with content creation, by providing insights into what content is performing well and which topics are resonating with your audience.

Let’s say you’re trying to boost engagement on your Facebook page. By looking at your dashboard, you might notice that posts with images perform better than those without. By adding images to your next batch of posts, you’ll be giving your audience more of what they love.

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hootsuite dashboard suggesting best times to post

Hootsuite Analytics showing the best time for a business to post on Facebook to get the maximum amount of impressions.

A good social media dashboard may also help with content creation by including image or video editors, or even AI-assisted help writing captions for your social media posts.

See also  24 Twitter Demographics That Matter to Marketers in 2022

Hootsuite’s integration with Lately.ai uses artificial intelligence to help you create optimized copy for all types of social media posts.

Time-Saving

Another benefit of using a social media dashboard is that it can save you time. By bringing all of your social media data into one central place, you can quickly and easily identify patterns and opportunities. This would otherwise require hours of manual data entry and analysis, pulling figures from individual native platforms.

Messaging

Engaging with your audience is essential for social media success. A social media dashboard brings all of your social messages into one place, letting you quickly and easily respond to customers, no matter which platform they are using.

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The best social media dashboards will also let you assign message replies to your team members. That way, your customers always get the best response, and nothing gets left behind.

graphic of hootsuite inbox for messaging

Reporting

A social media dashboard should make sharing your results with stakeholders easy. Reporting proves the ROI of your social media efforts and helps make a case for further resourcing.

Choose a social media reporting dashboard that lets you generate custom reports. Bonus points if you can add your organization’s logo, and schedule reports to be sent automatically throughout the year.

two cartoon people moving tiles on hootsuite social media reporting dashboard

Competitive analysis

If your customers are talking about you on social media, you want to know what they’re saying. But it’s not enough to just track your brand mentions. You also need to be aware of what people are saying about your competition. And you need to understand the larger conversations that are taking place in your industry.

Social media dashboards that offer social listening features can help you monitor conversations about your brand, or your competitor’s brands, online. This data can be used to inform new content or get ahead of important messaging opportunities.

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hootsuite streams dashboard view

Improved collaboration

Finally, a social media dashboard can also improve collaboration within your team.

By sharing a dashboard with your team members, you can give them visibility into your social media performance and allow them to contribute their own insights. This can help to make your team more efficient and effective, and ultimately get you on your way to achieving your social media goals.

See also  Experiment: Does Turning Stories Into Reels Actually Work?

Get better at social media marketing

A good social media dashboard will not just help you become a better social media marketer by showing you performance data in one easy-to-analyze place. The best ones will offer tips and learnings to actually help you get better results.

For example, Hootsuite’s social media dashboard gives every customer a “social score” based on their performance over the last few months. Depending on your score, it will suggest areas of improvement and tactics you could use to improve your score (and get better results on social media).

social score 90

Want to know your social score? Try Hootsuite free for 30 days (risk-free).

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Of course! You can use our template to make your own social media reporting dashboard (find that above). Or, you can choose a true social media dashboard solution that will let you track your performance and also manage all of your social media in one place. *wink*

A social media dashboard that will save you time (and make you a better marketer)

Social media managers and small business owners are always looking for ways to save time. A social media dashboard can help you do just that. By consolidating all of your social media reporting into one place, you can easily see what’s working and what isn’t. This will save you valuable time and help you improve your social media strategy going forward.

Hootsuite offers a 360-degree view of results from all of your social networks in our social media metrics dashboard. You can also

  • get insights into the best times to post for your audience and channels to maximize your engagement,
  • monitor and reply to messages from one place, improving your response time,
  • create custom automated reports to prove your ROI,
  • and track conversations about your brand on social media, heading off PR crises before they happen.

Try a Hootsuite Pro Trial and get access to all these features, plus live social media coaching sessions every Monday. Past sessions have included How to Get More Instagram Followers, How to Grow on TikTok, and more.

Free 30-Day Trial (Risk-Free!)

Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media toolkit. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

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11 Smart Ways to Use Twitter Advanced Search

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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.

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What is Twitter’s advanced search?

Twitter advanced search is a tool you can use to filter tweets by highly specific criteria.

You can search for tweets based on location, user, date, popularity, and much more. It’s perfect for hacking your social strategy and finding fantastic old tweets.

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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:

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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.

advanced search Twitter function

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.

advanced search Twitter killer clowns

4. Using the Accounts tab, you can search for tweets that come from specific accounts, mention those accounts, or reply to those accounts.

Twitter accounts tab rollingstone

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.

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use filters to include replies and original tweets

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.

use engagement tool to search for tweets with minimum replies likes or retweets

7. With the Dates tool, you can add a specific day or range of dates to search.

filter dates within a specific month day or year

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.

view killer clowns results on Twitter by popularity (Top), chronology (Latest), person (People) or media (Photos or Videos)

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.

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save parameters using Save Search function

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.
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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.

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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.

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Taylor Swift Ticketmaster popular Twitter search result

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.

Hootsuite popular tweet on mental health and viral content

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.

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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

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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.

targeted search for craft company in Vancouver

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.

cutest Etsy product with minimum 1000 faves

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.

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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.

Vancouver Canucks Twitter search near Edinburgh Scotland

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.

looking for recommendations hot sauce potential 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.

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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.

Air Canada luggage search 2022

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.

Twitter search results for throwbacks 2008

Preparing to launch.

— Hootsuite 🦉 (@hootsuite) November 28, 2008

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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.

Hootsuite streams

  • 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.

Setting up a twitter search within hootsuite streams

  • 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).

Saving a twitter search as a stream in Hootsuite

  • 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.

A tweet in the Hootsuite streams search results

Here’s how to search for keywords or trending topics on mobile:

  • Go to Streams.
  • Select Search in the top right.

Twitter streams on Hootsuite mobile

  • 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.

Twitter search results on Hootsuite mobile app

  • 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.

how to find twitter users using Hootsuite streams on desktop

  • 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.

search results for twitter users Elon Musk

Here’s how to search for Twitter users on mobile:

  • Go to Streams and select Search in the top right.

search for Twitter streams on Hootsuite mobile

  • Select Search Twitter, enter a username or other search query, and then select Search on your keypad. Twitter user search results on hootsuite mobile
  • Scroll down to view the results under the People section. Select Show more to view all results for Twitter users.

Complete search results for twitter users on hootsuite mobile

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.

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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.

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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.

Get Started

Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

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Experiment: Do LinkedIn Pods Work? (Or Are They Mostly Embarrassing?)

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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.

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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.

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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:

  1. Spam: Posts with bad grammar, too many hashtags, or accounts that post too frequently may be marked as spam.
  2. Low-quality posts: Posts that don’t follow best practices, or don’t get enough engagement, will be labeled “low-quality.”
  3. 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.

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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.

See also  Influencer Marketing Guide: How to Work With Influencers

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.

Methodology

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.

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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 post promoting a hootsuite blog on instagram reels

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.

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linkedin post promoting a recession marketing blog

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.

hootsuite social media share of voice article posted on linkedin

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.

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private linkedin message from hannah macready asking users to be in an engagement pod

Luckily, they’re all good sports, and I immediately started receiving a barrage of LinkedIn notifications showing the support of my pals.

notifications on hannah macready linkedin

I also immediately noticed some new (stranger) accounts creeping my LinkedIn profile.

1 person viewed your profile notification on linkedin

And I even got this message from a random “LinkedIn” employee (pretty certain this was spam).

private message from linkedin employee

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.

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various digital marketing linkedin pod groups in a list

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.

game of content linkedin header image

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.

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post from linkedin user in game of content group explaining group rules

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.

comments and replies from group members in game of content linkedin pod

So, yeah, this was working. At least in terms of garnering more likes and comments.

game of content users commenting on each others linkedin posts

I went in and followed suit, engaging with posted links and commenting with my own link after I was done.

hannah macready promoting posts in game of content linkedin pod

And I slowly started to see engagement reciprocated on my own posts.

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game of content user engaging with hannah macready post on linkedin

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.

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lempod app homepage

I joined a few pods focused on digital marketing and social media.

digital marketing linkedin pods shown in lempod app

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.”

Content + Social Media Marketing pod on lempod

I cross-checked the “Members who have already engaged” tab with my actual post.

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members who had already engaged lempod

And, yep. Sure enough, those users were now shown as new likes on my post.

lempod users liking and commenting on linkedin 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.

graph showing lempod post engagement growth

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.

a long list of linkedin notifications coming in 45 seconds apart

I let the automation run until I saw that every member of the pod had engaged.

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all members of linkedin pod who engaged with post

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.

Results

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.

Method Likes Comments Shares Impressions
Manual Pod 13 3 507
LinkedIn-specific pod 13 6 2 364
Automated LinkedIn pod 54 24 261

Keep reading for more details and context on these results.

Manual pods

This seemed like the most organic, most consistent method. Because I was leveraging people I already knew, the comments were authentic, relevant, and sincere.

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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

new likes and comments on post gained from manual linkedin pod

LinkedIn-specific pods

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:

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  • 13 likes
  • 364 impressions
  • 2 shares
  • 6 comments

new likes and comments on post gained from linkedin group pod

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!”
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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

final results of linkedin automated pod

Cross-platform LinkedIn pods

I did not gather any extra engagement from this method.

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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.

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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.

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25 Instagram Best Practices for Faster Growth in 2023

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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.

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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.

Are you planning to use Instagram to build brand awareness? Drive product sales? Engage with your community? Maybe all of the above?

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.

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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.

Hootsuite Analytics best time to publish

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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.

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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.

Hootsuite Planner 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.

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Hootsuite Inbox Instagram comments and replies

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5. Tag your products

Nearly half of Instagram users shop the platform weekly.

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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.

Instagram photo with tagged products

Source: Instagram

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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.

Hootsuite Analytics channel performance

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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…

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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.

Instagram Reels trending sounds

Source: @biabeible

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.

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In this case, the track already has 285K Reels, so you might want to keep looking for one with less competition.

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audio River (King Kavalier Remix)

Source: Instagram

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.

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use template for Instagram Reels

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.

Yoga International hip opening question button

Source: @yoga_international

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.

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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.

Sephora Instagram Stories Highlights

Source: @sephora

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.

One way to achieve this is to keep the colors you use in line with your brand style guide. Another is to use design tools with pre-built templates, like the Canva integration in Hootsuite Composer.

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Hootsuite Composer Canva integration

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Rocky Mountain Soap Company pinned posts

Source: @rockymountainsoapco

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

Instagram account category including rapper fashion stylist and

Source: Instagram

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:

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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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Easily create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels with Hootsuite. Save time and get results.

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