As much as you might love marketing your brand with billboards or radio ads, the fact is, social media for business has to be part of your marketing strategy in 2023. Sorry!
Social media is an essential way to reach your customers, gain valuable insights, and grow your brand. If you’re avoiding this powerful communication tool, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to connect with an audience. (Is this the “inner saboteur” RuPaul is always talking about?!)
Read on for everything you need to know to build a winning social media marketing strategy for your business.
‘Social media for business’ refers to the use of popular social media platforms by companies with the goal of promoting their products or services to their target audiences.
Millions of people across the world use social media platforms for personal reasons (my aunt, Madonna, et cetera), but brands may also operate social media accounts and use them for marketing and communication.
Alternative milk brand Earths Own, for instance, shares recipes on its TikTok account.
Jewellery company Tiffany and Co. shares inspirational videos on X (formerly Twitter).
— Tiffany & Co. (@TiffanyAndCo) August 7, 2023
International bank HSBC posts fraud-safety information on its Instagram.
Large or small businesses can use social media as a tool to generate brand awareness, promote content, engage with customers, generate leads, perform market research, analyze competitors, gain insights on their audiences, or collaborate with influencers. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, considering that social media platforms are all free to join.
We get it, you’re a busy business person who doesn’t have time to follow all those helpful links we’ve just listed above! Here’s a full rundown on just how you can use social media to improve your business.
Increase brand awareness
Social media offers businesses the opportunity to create and share content to raise awareness about their brand. Consistently post relevant and engaging content, and word may just trickle out across the internet about all the cool things you’re doing.
Non-alcoholic beer brand Nonny, for instance, produced this Instagram post highlighting that its product is available at Michelin Star restaurants.
Engage directly with your customers
Another benefit of social media for businesses? Social media platforms can provide a direct line of communication between companies and their customers. On Facebook, on Instagram, on X, companies can interact with their audience directly or publicly in a way that feels more responsive and personal than email or a 1-800 hotline.
Class Pass, for instance, uses its X account to help customers in need.
@classpass I am here at the gym and they are telling me I cancelled — but I did not. How do I get in?
— Mother Jam (@motherjam2) August 7, 2023
Use this intimate communication method to respond to inquiries, address concerns, and build a stronger relationship with their customers. (Brush up on social media customer service tips here!)
Promote your content
Think of social media as your new favorite publishing outlet. Use your Facebook account to drive traffic to blog posts, share an article on your X account, and distribute a video via TikTok. You’ve put lots of hard work into crafting informative or entertaining content for your potential customers and existing audience — use the magic of social media to actually get it in front of people.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
Influencer Kelsey Nixon uses her Instagram account to direct people to recipes on her website.
Generate new sales leads
Potential customers are hangin’ on social every single day… go get ‘em, tiger!
Not only do you have an avenue to build relationships and practice social selling here, but social media platforms also offer advertising and targeting options. Target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, and build an incredible roster of sales leads.
Conduct market research
Get comfortable using social media analytics tools, and you’ll find yourself awash in incredible market intel. Social media can provide insights into customer preferences, opinions, and behaviors, so that you can make informed decisions (online and offline!) about your products and services.
Watch the competition
Watch your competitors to learn what’s working… and what’s not. Use social listening, social streams, and competitor analysis to discover valuable insights about your customers, business strategies, and industry trends.
Collaborate with influencers
Over the past decade-plus, social media platforms have produced their own universe of celebrities. These are people with expertise, influence, and attentive audiences… and savvy businesses know just how to tap into that power. If your business is on social media, consider teaming up with an influencer for a campaign or long-term ambassador program. Our influencer marketing guide is a great way to get up to speed on how this brave new world works.
Manage your reputation
Even if you haven’t been on social media this whole time, chances are, your fans and customers are… and your haters may be, too. People might be talking about you without your knowledge, gossiping up a storm on X, or sharing unflattering Instagram Stories slagging your product. If you’re not there to rein in the convo, who knows what might happen?
Both extreme fans and major haters comment on Lululemon’s Instagram posts, but the social team is handling both.
Being active on social media is important for any business interested in protecting its reputation. Spotting negative sentiment is the first step to nip problems in the bud. And on the flip side, rewarding or celebrating your big fans and cheerleaders may encourage more people to show your brand a little love. Learn more about social media reputation management here!
Target hyper-specific audiences with ads
Social ads are an inexpensive way to promote your business and distribute content. They also offer powerful targeting options so you can reach the right audience and make the most of your budget.
With ad targeting options including demographic information, geography, language, and even online behaviors, you can craft specific messages that best speak to different groups of potential customers and only pay for the exact viewers you want to reach.
Prove your ROI
It is always a challenge for marketers to prove a return on investment. But with social media tracking and analytics tools, you can see the full impact of your social media activities, from follows to engagements right through to purchases.
UTM parameters are another great tracking tool that will help you see which social networks are providing the most benefits for your business.
You’re a business person, so we’re going to make a sweeping assumption that you love numbers. So here’s a figure for you: more than 4.74 billion people across the world use social media. That’s 93% of internet users and 76% of all North Americans.
If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on a chance to reach these potential customers. Here are some more stats about the power of social media that will knock your business socks off:
- 90% of Instagram users follow a business
- 62.3% of Instagram users worldwide say they use the platform to follow or research brands and products
- 70% of users are open to seeing ads when watching videos on Instagram
- X posts can reach over 544 million users worldwide
- 9% of web traffic referrals are driven by X
- YouTube ads have the potential to reach 2.51 billion users
- 68% of users watched YouTube to help them make a purchase decision
- 13.8% of internet users aged 16-64 use videos for brand research
- Almost 10.4% of Internet users between the ages of 16-64 use online pinboards for brand research
- 80% of weekly users have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest
- Snapchat’s total potential ad audience worldwide is over 575 million
- Snapchatters hold 4.4 trillion in spending power
- 66% of Facebook users visit a local business page at least once a week
- 69% of online shoppers who use Meta platforms weekly made purchases after seeing personalized content on Facebook or Instagram
The TLDR: numbers don’t lie, and there’s money to be made on these apps. What are you waiting for?
The best social media platform for your particular business will depend on which one aligns best with your desired audience. But here’s a quick rundown of what each can offer business users.
YouTube is the second-most visited website in the world. And though we may think of it at this point as an entertainment platform, it actually is technically a social network. Anyone can publish content and keep up with their friends and fave brands; you’re connecting with people and engaging with creators; it’s Social Platforms 101.
And like the other major players in the social world, YouTube has some interesting benefits for businesses.
- Your community can gather together on your channel
- Connect with your fans with YouTube’s live-stream function
- YouTube ads are available in a variety of formats: in-stream ads, in-feed video ads, and masthead ads, too.
- You can also make money from other people advertising on your content if you have enough views. On average, YouTubers make between $3 and $5 per 1,000 video views through AdSense.
Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram (and WhatsApp and Messenger, for that matter), so there’s a lot of overlap for these platforms — and many people using them, too. During the second quarter of 2022, 3.65 billion people were using at least one Meta product each month.
You can execute a cross-platform ad campaign, cross-post content, combine your customer service functionality through a unified chat tool, and even set up a digital storefront.
- Use Meta Business Manager to coordinate both organic and paid campaigns across platforms
- Hone in on specific target markets with advertising campaigns
- Add live chat to your website using Meta-owned Messenger
- Sell products online
With more than one billion monthly active users, TikTok is the hot spot for brands online. The short-form video platform offers lots of opportunities to get involved organically with the community via challenges and trends. However, if you’ve got a few bucks to spend, a little can go a long way here.
- Reach 884.9 million people with TikTok ads — options include in-feed ads and video shopping ads, among others
- Promote your posts to amplify your organic reach
- TikTok has become a popular search engine for Gen Z… so there’s absolutely a benefit for businesses to get on here and hone their social SEO skills
- TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is a great way for brands to connect with influencers and creatives who are already thriving on the platform
X is a text-based conversation platform (formerly known as Twitter), that connects brands with customers, leads, and brand advocates. According to X internal data, 76% of people agree that conversations on the platform have inspired them to make a purchase.
- On X, you can provide dedicated customer service, providing speedy support through DMs.
- X Lists are a great way to monitor your competition or keep an eye on your industry.
- Advertising on X can amplify your reach and engagement, whether you want to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, or build brand awareness.
Learn more about using X (Twitter) for business here.
Though it’s not as highly hyped as TikTok, Pinterest still can be an incredible social media platform for businesses… if the audience (all 465 million of ‘em) is right for your brand, of course.
According to Pinterest Business, social media marketers turn to the platform to:
- Reach a new audience and grow an online presence.
- Drive more traffic to the business’s website or online store.
- Encourage conversions like newsletter sign-ups, ticket sales, or purchases.
Wanna connect with the kids? There are 319 million users active on Snapchat each day, and the bulk of those Snappers are under 35.
Some unique Snapchat features for brands include…
- Creating a sponsored AR lens
- Designing a branded geo-filter
- Advertising on Snapchat with a variety of advertising formats, from Shop ads to “Swipe Up to Call” ads.
This is one of the only social media platforms specifically designed for businesses, so you’re definitely going to want to get in the mix here.
Why is Google Business Profile so powerful?
- Customers see your profile when actively searching for a business like yours.
- Customers can quickly get a feel for your brand from your photos, reviews, and updates.
- Keeping your profile updated is a small time investment with a big payoff: More customers.
Here’s how to make a splash with your business’s social media account.
Set a specific social media goal
Without well-defined goals, measuring success and return on investment (ROI) is next to impossible.
Before you start posting up a storm, create a social media marketing goal that follows the SMART criteria (that means specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).
It’s important to avoid getting caught up in vanity metrics like the number of followers and likes — these stats may not reflect the true value of your performance. Instead, focus on meaningful metrics like engagement, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
Need some examples of SMART social media goals? We’ve got you.
Understand your audience
Social media analytics can offer a wealth of valuable information about your followers. Dig into the numbers to understand demographics, geographical locations, and interactions with your brand.
It’s not just fun to learn about other people, of course: these insights empower you to fine-tune your strategy and tailor your content to better target your audience’s preferences.
Here’s a simple guide and template for creating audience/buyer personas.
Social media users love someone they can count on. Deliver content reliably, and you’ll be rewarded. Regularly sharing content helps to build brand awareness and keeps your business fresh in the minds of your followers. Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged.
Comic artist Clarice Tudor posts to Instagram a few times every week, making her work (and the products she sells) a fixture in her followers’ feeds.
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Create content that people actually enjoy
You could spam people with 100 meaningless posts a day… or you could focus on creating high-quality and valuable content that actually provides solutions, entertains, educates, or inspires. We know which one we’d rather see in our feeds.
This mortgage broker doesn’t just ask you to hire him, he shares insights on the real estate market that can be helpful to even non-clients.
Avoid overly sales-y posts; instead, aim to build a genuine connection. If you brighten someone’s day, teach them something, or give them a moment to relate to, you’re far more likely to make a lasting impression and gain a new follower.
Post visual content
Look, we love to read as much as the next nerd, but humans are naturally visual creatures. Give your followers something to gawk at. Eye-catching images, graphics, and videos will help your posts stop someone mid-scroll to engage with your content.
Swimwear brand Left on Friday dropped this soothing, looping video of the ocean into its Instagram feed. If that doesn’t stop you in your tracks amid the chaos of your news feed, what will?
Dig into our guide to creating stunning visual content for tips, tricks, and inspiration.
Engage with your followers
Social media is a conversation, not a broadcast, so take advantage of this two-way street. Respond promptly to comments, messages, and mentions. Encourage discussions and interactions on your posts. Engaging with your audience builds trust and loyalty.
Hone your hashtag and social SEO strategies
Though many platforms are upping their search functionality, hashtags still help increase visibility and attract a broader audience.
For anyone hunting for #barbie content, there’s plenty to be found…
Research relevant and trending hashtags that align with your content and target audience, and make sure you’re using no more than 3-5 in any given caption. Mastering the art of discoverability is key to growing your audience. Explore our guide to using hashtags in 2023 here.
Run contests and giveaways
Fact: People like free stuff.
Organize fun and creative contests or giveaways to boost engagement and attract new followers (we’ve got 12 inspiring examples right here). It’s a great way to both reward your existing audience and gain more visibility.
Learn from your analytics
Knowledge is power!
Use social media analytics to track the performance of your posts and campaigns. Reviewing successes and flops will help you and your team understand what works best, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly and see those key metrics climb up, up, up.
Post with authenticity and personality
No one comes on social to be fed a boring advertisement.
Get creative, and get real. Be genuine in your interactions and communications. Transparency builds trust, and customers appreciate businesses that are open and honest.
This publishing house may have grammar pros and proofreaders on staff, but its Facebook posts are written in colloquial, friendly, internet-speak (complete with emojis, of course).
Repost user-generated content
Sometimes, staring at a blank social media dashboard can be daunting, we get it. But if you’ve got a steady stream of user-generated content coming in, you never have to fear writer’s block again.
Encourage customers to share their experiences and content related to your brand, advocating the use of a branded hashtag (#myLevis, #dogStyle, whatever!). Not only does this repurposed content keep your content calendar nice and full, but sharing user-generated content can act as social proof.
Team up with influencers
Tap into the power of the people who do social best. Partner with influencers in your niche who align with your brand values to significantly expand your reach and credibility.
Practice social listening
A little eavesdropping goes a long way regarding social media for business. Set up streams to track discussions about your brand, products, and industry. Monitor mentions — the good and the bad! Social listening is like a superpower, one that helps you understand customer sentiments and respond effectively to feedback.
Experiment with live streams
Live videos on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X offer a more authentic and real-time connection with your audience, whether that’s running an “Ask Me Anything” chat, giving a behind-the-scenes tour, interviewing a brand ambassador, or hosting a giveaway.
Unfiltered! Unapologetic! Give the people what they want! Learn more about social media livestreaming here.
Keep an eye on the competition
You know the old expression, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? That goes double for social media. Wise brands keep an eye on their competitors’ social media activities to learn from their successes and mistakes. More about competitive analysis on social media here.
Watch the trends and stay in the know
Social media is an ever-evolving beast. If you want to stay relevant, you’ve got to keep up-to-date on trends. Follow online tastemakers, keep your eye on the explore page, and generally stay active as a participant.
It’s also vital to stay in the loop about the always-changing algorithm of these social platforms — behavior that’s rewarded today may be totally unhelpful tomorrow, so stay tuned to the Hootsuite blog for the latest algorithm intel, and adjust your social strategy accordingly.
Trust us: arming yourself with the right social media marketing tools us going to make your marketing life so much easier. Here are a few of our faves for business (but we’ve got even more recommendations if you’re ready to take things further).
Not to brag, but Hootsuite is an easy-to-use, comprehensive social media tool designed to cater to both individual entrepreneurs and large teams. If you want to streamline your social media efforts effectively, you’ve come to the right place.
Hootsuite’s social-focused features provide a centralized platform for the entire social media marketing process: creating, scheduling, optimizing, and tracking social media posts.
With Hootsuite Composer, you can effortlessly plan and share content across various channels, including Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. (For added convenience, Composer seamlessly integrates with useful tools like Canva, Grammarly, and our in-house social AI tool, OwlyWriter.)
Using Hootsuite, you can easily repurpose your best-performing posts, identify and correct typos, upload branded graphics, and receive valuable recommendations for optimal hashtags and posting times.
Another super helpful feature for business is the Hootsuite Inbox. Inbox pulls all social media messages and interactions into one unified interface, regardless of platform. Hootsuite Inbox simplifies conversations and customer service, enabling you to reply swiftly and trace a person’s interaction history with your brand, ensuring no customer is ever left hanging.
If you’re flying solo or have a small social team without a graphic designer, Canva is the go-to for crafting original and branded graphics. There’s a reason it’s a favorite tool among social media marketers.
Regardless of your design background, anyone can use Canva’s templates and fool-proof drag-and-drop design functions to create stunning visual content.
If you already have a Hootsuite account, you can easily connect it to Canva for direct access to upload and use your creative assets right in Composer. Ooh la la!
At best, a typo can make your posts look sloppy and unprofessional. At worst, they can cause confusion. So getting a little help with the proofreading process is definitely a good idea, which is where Grammarly comes in.
The AI tool helps grammar-check and spell-check text, but it can also review for tone and clarity, too. The latest updates to Grammarly even include text-generation and brainstorming features.
Fun fact: Grammarly is integrated right into Hootsuite’s Composer. Save time with advance suggestions that will allow you to fix the posts in one click. If you’re looking for clear, engaging, and mistake-free writing, we’ve got you covered.
First things first: Google Analytics is absolutely free. Second thing’s second: Google Analytics is going to be incredibly helpful for tracking and measuring your business’ traffic goals. Want to prove the ROI of your web and social media presence? Analytics is here to help.
Google Analytics collects info on converted leads, where traffic comes from, demographic data, individual page traffic, and much, much more. With more than 56% of all websites using Google Analytics, it’s one of the most popular tools out there for digital marketers.
If you’re a big organization, you’re going to want to tap into the power of Brandwatch. Brandwatch is a downright exceptional tool for conducting market research and gauging brand sentiment.
The enterprise-level solution offers marketers a unified platform for gathering invaluable industry data. With Brandwatch, you can delve into consumer insights and monitor brand performance metrics seamlessly.
Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.
How To Save Tons of Time With Instagram Auto Reply
Responding to messages quickly is a huge part of social media customer service—and it’s no different whether you’re dealing with messages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Luckily, Instagram has an easy-to-use option that can cut down on your team’s time responding to questions.
With Instagram auto reply, you can easily set auto-responses to common questions and messages. This feature cuts down on the time your social media support team needs to spend monitoring and replying to customers.
In this article, we’ll talk more about the Instagram auto reply feature, how it can be used, and a few message examples for inspiration.
Bonus: Get a free, easy-to-use Customer Service Report Template that helps you track and calculate your monthly customer service efforts all in one place.
Instagram auto reply is a feature available in your Instagram message settings that allows you to send automatic responses to frequently asked questions.
For example, if you regularly get a question like, “Do you offer free shipping?” your team can set up an auto reply that will answer the question instantly rather than forcing the customer to wait for a real person to respond.
There are a few different ways you can do this:
- Instagram tools: Set automatic responses for frequently asked questions or craft canned messages that your team can easily send out via Instagram DM.
- Meta Business Suite: Set up messaging automations for both Instagram and Facebook.
- Third-party inboxes: Use tools like Hootsuite Inbox to easily monitor and manage your Instagram direct messages and comments.
Learn more about how a social inbox like Hootsuite’s can help streamline your social media communication in this video:
There are several ways to take advantage of Instagram’s auto reply feature. Here are just a few types of automated responses you might consider setting up:
- Welcome messages
- Away messages
- Frequently asked questions
- Share contact information
- Share business hours of operation
- Provide shipment and payment details
- Offer discounts
- Explain wholesale pricing information
- Tell customers how to handle issues with their orders
- Share links to additional resources
So why use Instagram auto reply? Is it the best option for creating automated responses and freeing up your team’s time? As always, it depends on your needs.
Let’s cover some basic pros and cons to help you decide.
- Make a good impression. Instagram shows your followers how quick your team is to respond. A faster response time is a better look for your business.
- Answer questions before they’re asked. Create an auto-responder that gives your customers a clear idea of when they can expect to hear from a real person—unless your auto replies can give their answer immediately.
- Save your team time. Stop writing the same reply over and over again. Automated messages give your team more time for escalated messages and other customer support issues.
- Never miss a message. You don’t have to worry about time zones when you enlist auto reply. Even when your team isn’t working, customers can get answers as soon as they send a message.
- Only for Instagram and Facebook. Instagram/Meta’s built-in features only work for these two platforms. You’ll have to enlist the help of external tools for other social media platforms—don’t worry, we’ve got more on that below.
- You have to connect your Facebook and Instagram pages. In order to access some of the more advanced tools, you must use Meta Business Suite, so you’ll have to connect your Facebook and Instagram pages.
Reduce response time (and your workload)
Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.
Not sure what types of auto replies to set for your Instagram messages? Here are 15 examples to help inspire you.
Send one of these options to all new incoming Instagram DMs whenever your team is unavailable for a quick response:
- Thank you for getting in touch! Our team is available from 10am-3pm CT. We’ll get back to you within those hours!
- Hey there—thanks for reaching out! Your message is important to us. Someone on our team will get back to you within the next 12 hours.
- Sorry we missed you! Our team is currently unavailable, but we’ll be back around 8am GMT.
Use one of these when someone messages you on Instagram to ask about hours of operation or contact information:
- Our hours of operation are 11am-11pm ET Monday through Saturday.
- To get in touch with a representative directly, please give us a call at [###-###-####].
- To learn more or request a demo, email us at email@example.com.
- Our offices are located at 1234 Business Street.
Here are a few common questions and answers you might want to incorporate into your Instagram auto replies.
How long does shipping take?
- You can expect your items to arrive within 3-5 business days of your order.
How can I cancel my plan?
- To cancel, go to the “Account” section of your dashboard and find the “Cancel plan” button.
- We’re sad to see you go! To cancel, please call one of our representatives directly at [###-###-####] or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you offer any discounts?
- We love that you asked! Use promo code INSTA for 10% off your purchase.
What services do you offer?
- We offer accounting services for small businesses.
How much do your services cost?
- We work on a monthly retainer basis. Packages start at $1,000/month and go up to $15,000+ depending on your needs.
Are you taking new patients?
- Yes, please head to our website to fill out the form for new patients.
- Unfortunately, our therapists are fully booked at the moment. Please check back next quarter to see if any spots have opened up.
There are two ways to set up auto replies on Instagram. The first is pretty easy—do so right inside the Instagram app. The second involves digging into the Automations option in Meta Business Suite.
We’ll walk you through each process.
First, open the Instagram app. Tap the messages icon in the top right corner of the home feed. Then, tap on the ellipses in the top right corner of your messages dashboard and select Tools.
Here, you can set either saved replies (canned responses your team can tap on to send manually) or auto replies for frequently asked questions.
Tap on Frequently asked questions to access the auto reply feature. Instagram will typically include a few starter questions. You can customize these or use them as is—just add answers.
Add as many questions as you want. You can even show these questions in chat, so customers who want to message you have options to choose from.
If you have your Facebook Business Page set up and optimized and your Instagram business profile connected, you can use Meta Business Suite to create automations like this.
First, head over to your Facebook Business Page, then click on Meta Business Suite in the left-hand sidebar.
You’ll then be taken to the Meta Business Suite dashboard. From here, click on Inbox in the right-hand sidebar.
This inbox section will hold all messages and comments from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. If you’re looking for a single place to manage these, Business Suite is a great place to do so. The biggest downfall is that those are the only platforms you can monitor here (more on that later).
To set up your auto-reply messages, click the atom icon to access Automations.
Here, you can set up a number of automations relating to your direct messages across all of Meta’s platforms. If you haven’t previously set up Frequently asked questions, it will appear as one of the Suggested for you options. Click on it to get started.
Select your Instagram account from the list of places you want to turn this automation on. Then, start adding questions. You can preview them in the left-hand sidebar.
Once you’re done, click Save changes and toggle this automation into the On position. And voila! You’ve got your frequently asked questions set up.
Other automations you can create are:
- Away messages
- Instant replies
- Follow ups
We mentioned that Meta Business Suite is great for managing your messages and comments on Facebook and Instagram. But if your brand uses other platforms, like X (formerly known as Twitter) and LinkedIn, you’ll need additional support.
Good news—you’re in luck! With Hootsuite’s Social Inbox, your entire social media and customer support team can monitor, manage, and respond to messages across all social media platforms in one space.
You can store information about various customers so you never start a new interaction as strangers, helping customers feel seen and valued. Assign messages and interactions to certain team members so the most-equipped person can handle each specific issue.
Use Hootsuite Inbox as your social media help desk, resolving messages as soon as they’ve been responded to and keeping notes on customer issues.
Create auto-responders for every social media platform you manage with Hootsuite.
Instagram auto reply is a great way to minimize wait time for frequently asked questions. If you know common questions your audience has, and there’s a set answer you can provide, set it as an auto-response.
This saves your team time and ensures your Instagram followers don’t have to wait for a response.
There’s no quick on-off toggle for Instagram auto reply. Instead, you’ll have to go into your Instagram messaging tools and remove any frequently asked question responses you’ve input.
A saved reply is a similar tool to auto replies. Instead of sending instantaneously, though, saved replies are simply stored in your Instagram messaging settings for your team to manually send out. This works if the question someone asks has different answers depending on the time of year. You can save replies for a quick response, but you don’t want to have the response be automatic.
Keep your customers happy with faster message responses, thanks to Hootsuite. Respond to questions and complaints, create tickets from social conversations, and work with chatbots all from one dashboard. See it in action.
Instagram Emoji Guide: Meanings, Reactions, Ideas
Ever seen an Instagram emoji fail IRL? Maybe your grandma used an eggplant emoji in a… compromising place. Or, your uncle was trying to be funny and added the poop emoji to his bio.
Whatever the case, emoji etiquette exists. Understanding the meaning and placement of emojis is essential to avoiding terrible, embarrassing communication mistakes.
Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram emoji meanings.
BONUS: Want to learn more ways to wow your fans on social? Check out our article on secret TikTok emojis.
Craft perfect posts in seconds
OwlyWriter AI instantly generates captions and content ideas for every social media network. It’s seriously easy.
Craft perfect posts in seconds
OwlyWriter AI instantly generates captions and content ideas for every social media network. It’s seriously easy.
Instagram emoji translator
Pro tip: if you’re stuck with emoji translation, we’ve got the perfect tool for you. Hootsuite’s emoji translator is free to use and will help you crack the code on any emoji string.
Not only does the translator break down each pictogram’s meaning, but it also details how viewers typically react to the combo. Super helpful if you don’t want to send an unintended message!
Please note: This tool may display inaccurate or offensive material that doesn’t represent Hootsuite’s views. You’re solely responsible for use of any content generated using this tool, including its compliance with applicable laws and third-party rights.
What are Instagram emoji?
Instagram emoji are pictograms, icons, or small images used to express an emotion, idea, or feeling. Some emoji are universal (most people know that the heart symbol means love), while others have their own unique interpretations based on regional culture and language.
Popular emoji symbols include:
- Smiley face
- Sad face
- Clapping hands
There are literally thousands of emoji characters available on Instagram—from dragons and lizards, people exercising, and even ice cream cones. You can find Instagram emojis in two places: your native Instagram app and the world of third-party keyboard extensions.
What are Instagram reactions?
Instagram reactions are a way to quickly express your feelings without typing out a response. For example, if someone posts a funny meme, you can tap the laughing face emoji reaction instead of typing out “lol” or “haha.”
Instagram reactions are generally used as a reply to Instagram Stories and Instagram direct messages.
When watching a Story, click on the Send a message box to reply. You’ll then see a pop-up of six popular emoji to choose from.
You can also choose your own emoji by clicking on the small smiley face icon on your keyboard.
To use Instagram emoji reactions for direct messages, hold your finger down on the sent message, and a list of emoji will pop up. Choose from this list, or click the plus button to use your own emoji.
Where can you use Instagram emoji
You can use Instagram emoji in comments, captions, direct messages, as replies to Stories, and even in your Instagram bio. Basically, anywhere that allows for text input.
When you’re in a comment thread or writing a caption, a list of your most-used emojis will appear at the top of your reply.
If you want more, tap the smiley face icon to access Instagram emojis. If you’ve recently used an emoji, it will usually appear at the top of the list so you can easily select it again.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
Stuck at home thinking, “Why can’t I react to Instagram messages with emojis?” No worries. You may need to update your messaging app. Follow Instagram’s easy how-to here.
How to change your emoji reaction
Wondering how to react with emoji on Instagram? There are six default Instagram emoji reactions:
- Crying face
- Wow face
- Heart eyes
- Laughing face
- Clapping hands
If you use custom emoji, they will show up in your reactions, allowing you to choose from a larger selection.
To choose a custom emoji, tap the smiley face icon on your mobile keyboard. Scroll through the list of options and tap to select the emoji you want. Once selected, it will appear in your reaction selection.
BONUS: Check out our full list of Snapchat emoji to snazz up your snaps.
Instagram reaction meanings
To avoid any potential misinterpretations, it’s important to remember the meanings behind Instagram reactions.
Here’s what each emoji reaction stands for:
- Crying face (😢) = Sadness, disappointment
- Wow face (😮) = Surprised or amazed
- Heart eyes (😍) = Love or admiration
- Laughing face (😂) = Funny or humorous
- Clapping hands (👏) = Encouragement or applause
- Fire (🔥) = Approval or agreement
Remember, the reactions you use should be appropriate for the context. For example, don’t express sadness at a funny meme. Similarly, don’t use a fire emoji to comment on your teacher’s vacation beach photo.
Popular Instagram emoji meanings
Tired of deciphering the meanings of emoji for Instagram? Here’s a quick reference sheet to keep on file.
- Thumbs up (👍) = Positive sentiment.
- Thinking face (🤔) = Curiosity, pondering ideas.
- Laughing with tears (😂) = Something is so funny you’re crying.
- Red heart (❤️) = Love, affection.
- Puke face (🤢) = Disgust or disapproval.
- Skull (💀) = Death, danger, or something is so funny you died.
- Hot face (🥵) = Passion or admiration.
- Smirk face (😏) = Flirting, teasing.
- Poop (💩) = Joking around.
- Party popper (🎉) = Celebration.
- Cat (😸) = Cuteness or someone acting like a cat.
- Drooling face (🤤) = Desperation, wanting something badly.
- Nail polish (💅) = Girl power.
- Sunglasses (😎) = Coolness, acknowledgement of a job well done.
- Eyes (👀) = Watching or paying attention.
- See-no-evil monkey (🙈) = Embarrassment or hiding something.
- Money bag (💰) = Wealth, success, or materialistic desires.
- Smiling devil face (😈) = Naughtiness or reckless behavior.
- Hugging face (🤗) = Appreciation, affection.
- Wink (😉) = Flirting or playful teasing.
- Silly face (🤪) = Fun or being goofy.
- Nerd face (🤓) = Intelligence, nerdiness.
- Confused face (😕) = Bewilderment or uncertainty.
- Money mouth (🤑) = Greed or wealth.
- Handshake (🤝) = Agreement, making a deal.
- Fist bump (👊) = Support or agreement.
- Woman dancing (💃) = Joy or celebration.
- Man dancing (🕺) = Letting loose, having fun.
- Tropical island (🏝️) = Relaxation or vacation.
- Plane (✈️) = An upcoming journey.
- Rainbow (🌈) = Optimism, happiness, pride.
- Globe (🌎) = Unity, the world coming together.
- Praying hands (🙏) = Asking for blessings or help.
- Rocketship (🚀) = A great success or achievement.
- Disco ball () = Partying or having a good time.
- Peace sign (✌️) = Affirmative, agreement, or a sign of peace.
- Heart (💖) = Love, care, and affection.
- Cat with heart eyes (😻) = Happiness due to love.
- Birthday cake (🎂) = A celebration of life.
- Star (⭐️) = Stardom, achieving greatness.
- Four-leaf clover (🍀) = Luck or fortune.
- Sparkles (✨) = Magic, beauty, and awe.
- Trophy (🏆) = Accomplishment or success.
- Shooting star (🌠) = Wishes coming true.
- Lightning bolt (⚡️) = Power, energy, and excitement.
Looking for fun emoji to use on Discord? Check out our full list of Discord emoji, complete with customizations and tricks.
If you want to get creative with your Instagram bio, here are a few cute emojis for Instagram bios:
- Chasing dreams and sunshine. ☁️🌈
- On a seafood diet: I see food and I eat it! 🍣🍕🍔🍰
- Life’s a game 🎮, and I’m the master of figuring out the rules as I go 🤷♀️.
- Bringing a little sparkle wherever I go. ✨
- Hoping for a year where all my socks find their soulmates. 🧦❤️🔍
- Sunkissed and heart full of joy. 🌞❤️
- Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished. 🌲🕰️🌳
- Collecting memories like seashells. 🐚📸
- Plotting world domination 🌍, one project 📁 at a time.
- Life’s a blend of chaos ⚡, caffeine ☕, and a pinch of serendipity ✨.
- Lost in the pages of a good book and a happy heart. 📚❤️
- Radiating good energy, one smile at a time. 🌟😊
- Exploring new places with a skip in my step. 🗺️💃
- Happiness blooms from within. 🌻🌱
- Living life unapologetically and loving it. 🌟💖
- Sunset state of mind. 🌅🧡🌴
- Embracing adulting like… wait, how do you adult again? 🤷♀️👩💼
- I take mirror selfies because my reflection understands me. 🤳👯♀️🪞
- Wearing my invisible crown and ruling the day. 👑💁♀️🌟
- Professional napper and aspiring world traveler. 💤✈️😴
- Dressed to impress 💃, ready to conquer deadlines 📊 and dance floors 🕺.
- Spreading positivity like glitter – it gets everywhere! ✨😄💫
- Slaying the day one caffeine molecule at a time. ☕⚡️👊
- Living that “I’m not a morning person” stereotype proudly. 🌅☕😴
- Exploring the world, one food coma at a time. 🌍🍔🍟🍦
- Absolutely loving the sunshine on my face. ☀️
- Embracing the little moments that make life big. 🌟
- Laughing at my own jokes like… 😂
- Dancing through life’s ups and downs. 💃🕺
- Finding joy in the simplest things. 🌼
- Balancing dreams 💭, goals 🎯, and the occasional pizza slice 🍕.
- Hiking trails and chasing sunsets – that’s my kind of therapy. 🥾🌅🏞️
- Adventures and smiles, that’s my kind of therapy. 🌄
- Savoring the sweetness of today. 🍭
- Life’s a puzzle 🧩, and I’m collecting moments 📸 to complete the picture
- Living life with a little bit of sugar, spice, and everything fried. 🍔🍟🍦
- Spreading positivity like confetti. 🎉
- Collecting memories around the world, one destination at a time. 📸❤️
Life’s too short for a boring adventure. Let’s get lost! 🌟🌍
- Living in a world of filters, but my personality is 100% real! 😂📸🙌
- Lost in a world of good vibes. 🌈
- Living for the moments that steal my smile. 💖
- City lights and late nights. 🌆🌙 Chasing waves and dreams. 🌊🌌
- Living life in full bloom. 🌸🌼
- In a world full of trends, be a classic. 👗👓
- Sweatpants enthusiast with a PhD in Netflix. 📺👖🍕
- Taking each day one cup of coffee at a time. ☕❤️
- Exploring art, one brushstroke at a time. 🎨🖌️
- Adventures are calling, and I must go. 🌄🌍
- Counting memories, not calories, on this vacation. 🏖️🍕📸
- Finding joy in the rhythm of everyday life. 🎶😊
- Living life like a work of art in progress. 🎨🌟
- Weekend warrior on a quest for relaxation. 🌴🌴
- Capturing moments that make my heart skip a beat. 💓📷
- Trying to adult, but my snacks keep distracting me. 🍕📚🤔
- Chasing goals and catching smiles along the way. 🏃♀️😄
- I’m not procrastinating, I’m just giving my ideas time to marinate. 🤔🍳🧠
- Flipping my hair and conquering the day. 💁♀️💪
- Exploring the great outdoors and my own backyard. 🏞️🏡
- Celebrating life’s beautiful mess one day at a time. 🎉🤹♀️
- Making my own sunshine because I can’t find the remote. ☀️📺🤷♂️
- Happiness is homemade, and I’m the chef. 🍳👩🍳
- When life gives you lemons, add tequila and have a party! 🍋🍹🎉
- Living life like a perpetual DIY project – mostly Pinterest fails. 🛠️📌😅
- The only drama I enjoy is in my lashes. 👁️🗨️😂
- Current status: Coffee in one hand, confidence in the other. ☕🙌
- Facing challenges with the determination of a honey badger 🦡 – fearless and a little bit sassy 💁♀️.
- My bed and I have the perfect relationship – we’re always in a good sleepover. 🛏️💤😴
- I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right. 💁♀️🗣️🤣
- Taking life one cup of coffee at a time, with a splash of sarcasm. ☕️🙃
- “Adulting” was a typo, and I’ve been trying to “adult” ever since. 🤦♀️👶👩🍳
- When in doubt, add more glitter. And then some more. ✨✨✨
- Living life like it’s a marathon, but I’m definitely built for sprinting. 🏃♀️🍕😅
- Behind every great person is a pile of laundry they’ve been avoiding. 🧺🤷♂️👑
- I put the “elusive” in exercise. 🏋️♀️🤷♀️😆
- My superpower? Turning pizza into energy. 🍕⚡️🦸♀️
- If I were a superhero, my power would be finding the last piece of chocolate. 🍫🦸♀️
- My horoscope said I should do something crazy today. So I wore mismatched socks. ♒🧦😜
- I’m not clumsy, I’m just participating in the floor’s obstacle course. 🤸♀️🤦♂️😂
- Too glam to give a damn, but not too glam to eat leftovers. 💅🍛😉
- When life gives you lemons, trade them for coffee. ☕🍋🤝
- My life is basically a series of unfinished DIY projects. 🛠️🙈🤷♀️
- Life update: Still using “adulting” as a verb, still unsure how to do it properly. 🤷♀️👩💼📆
- I’m not lazy, I’m in energy-saving mode. 🛌💤💡
- Currently taking applications for a personal chef, laundry fairy, and motivation guru. Any takers? 🍝🧚♂️🧘♀️
- Life’s a rollercoaster, and I’m the one screaming in the front seat. 🎢🙀🤪
- I run on caffeine, chaos, and a dash of lipstick. ☕💄🌀
- Wander often, wonder always. 🚶♀️🌍🤔
- Trading WiFi for wide-open spaces and unforgettable moments. 📶🏞️📸
- Counting down ⏳ to Friday like it’s a rocket launch 🚀 to the weekend.
- Juggling tasks like a circus performer 🎪 – except with more coffee ☕ and fewer acrobatics 🤹♀️.
Start building your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram, engage your audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles — all from one simple dashboard. Try it free today.
Vanity Metrics: Definition & Examples for Marketing
Have you ever heard the phrase, “all sizzle, no steak”? It’s the perfect “meaty” metaphor for social media vanity metrics.
It can absolutely be exciting to rack up the likes or see your follower count jump. Of course you want to shout your reshare rate from the rooftops!
But be careful. any social metric can turn into a “vanity” metric if you’re bragging about it without any context.
Social media metrics are incredibly important for a social media manager and shouldn’t be ignored. They can be key performance indicators: numbers that inform and measure your social media strategy and help your team see where you’ve been and where you’re going.
But here’s the thing. Not all social stats are created equal. For a metric to be meaningful, it has to tie back to your business objectives.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help you cut through the vanity-metric hype to find those beefy, meaty metrics that help you prove the true value of your social media marketing.
#1 Analytics Tool for Growth
Beautiful reports. Clear data. Actionable insights to help you grow faster.
#1 Analytics Tool for Growth
Beautiful reports. Clear data. Actionable insights to help you grow faster.
What are vanity metrics?
A social media metric is a number that quantifies a particular action or behavior related to your social media account. A vanity metric is a social media metric that looks impressive at a glance but doesn’t necessarily indicate a company’s overall success in reaching its goals.
In the words of the all-mighty Hootsuite glossary:
A vanity metric is an analytics item that can be measured but is not a signifier of real return on investment. Examples include the number of followers, likes, or comments on social media posts. These metrics are best contextualized by more concrete numbers such as click-through rate or visitor-to-lead conversions.
For example, the social media manager at the Acme Alarm Clock Company might be able to show the CEO that there are 200,000 followers on the brand’s Instagram account. But the goal of the company is actually to sell alarm clocks. And sales haven’t improved at all with this growth in followers.
So, in this case, follower count is actually a vanity metric. Sure, it sounds good on paper, but ultimately, it’s not helping the CEO move those clocks.
The moral of the story: any social media statistic from any social media platform can be a vanity metric, depending on the situation.
The number of comments on your Instagram Story doesn’t mean much if they’re all from spam accounts.
A brand’s follower count can skyrocket, but if those followers aren’t engaging with your content, what good is that? (Which reminds us: never buy followers. Trust us.)
In other words, a “vanity metric” for one brand will be totally different from a vanity metric for another brand. It all ultimately depends on what business success you’re hoping to get from your social media strategy.
Vanity metrics vs. actionable metrics
Now that you’re crystal clear on what a vanity metric is, you’re probably curious about what an actionable metric might be. Don’t be embarrassed, it’s only natural.
Actionable metrics are social media metrics that are all meaningful — important social media metrics that help you measure, analyze, and strategize. Actionable social media metrics provide concrete insights and can be directly tied to specific actions that drive business growth. Really, an actionable metric is just the opposite of a vanity metric.
While much of life exists on a spectrum, for social media metrics, a number is either pure vanity or truly actionable. But what side of the binary any given social media metric sits on, of course, will depend on the social media account. We’re all beautiful flowers, et cetera, et cetera.
Vanity metrics examples
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: It’s important to note that any metric can be a vanity metric without proper analysis. And any metric can be meaningful when presented in context with the proper analysis. That being said, the following metrics are most commonly prone to being viewed as vanity metrics for any given field.
Vanity metrics in social media marketing
In social media marketing, vanity metrics include follower count, likes, and comments. Sure, these numbers can offer a quick ego boost, but the truth is, they often fail to reflect the true engagement and influence of your brand on your business’s bottom line.
This might lead you to ask: so, what are the actionable metrics for social media marketing? Engagement metrics like engagement rate are probably meaningful numbers that can offer you and your team some insight. Shares also say more about whether your content is resonating with your audience than likes (try putting your posts through Rachel Karten’s shareability test).
But at the end of the day, it really depends on what your specific goals are with social media and your business.
Bonus: Get a free social media report template to easily and effectively present your social media performance to key stakeholders.
Vanity metrics in digital marketing
Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of channels, including social media, email marketing, and advertising, so this is a pretty tough one to identify vanity metrics for. In some cases, vanity metrics for digital marketing could be likes; in another case, it could be page views.
If you’re tracking the ROI of digital marketing, you need to identify vanity metrics specific to each channel to make sure that you can prioritize actionable metrics that align with your unique business goals.
Vanity metrics in content marketing
Social media can be a great tool for driving traffic to your blog posts, articles, whitepapers, or research docs… and content marketing, in turn, can be an effective conversion or branding tool. This leads many people to assume that pageviews or click-throughs are the metric for measuring success. In reality, these can be vanity metrics.
Is your bounce rate low? Is the time spent on the page high? Those are numbers that can provide context to the pageview stats and let you know if those views are actually valuable. (Metrics like conversion rates, in this case, can be far more informative about the impact of your content on audience behavior.)
Vanity metrics in email marketing
People are opening your emails! That’s wonderful news!
But are they actually reading those emails? Are they clicking on your links?
Is anyone actually buying any of those alarm clocks you’re still trying desperately to sell? If not, your high open rate might actually not be that impressive after all. (Sorry!)
Open rates and click-through rates are commonly mistaken as the ultimate indicators of email marketing success. But the truth is that conversion rates and revenue per email are more actionable metrics that reveal the true ROI of your email campaigns.
Vanity metrics in advertising
The online advertising industry is built on the back of impressions. After all, if Meta tells you you’ve reached 300,000 people, that certainly sounds like a good use of $100. But impressions and click-through rates in advertising can be deceiving.
A more concrete way to measure the success of a social media advertising campaign would be to concentrate on metrics like cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS). These are stats that will more accurately allow you to assess the profitability of your advertising efforts.
Vanity metrics in brand management
While they can be really important and helpful, metrics like social media reach and sentiment scores can also be misleading out of context.
Just because someone has seen your post doesn’t mean they care for your brand or products. Just because you have a positive sentiment score doesn’t mean that your target audience likes you more than your competitor. (Oof.)
To gauge brand perception accurately, consider metrics like brand awareness, customer lifetime loyalty, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). But, again, a meaningful brand management metric really will vary from brand to brand, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your brand management strategy.
Vanity metrics in search marketing
You’d think measuring the success of search marketing efforts would be simple: did people find you when they searched for you? But metrics like rankings and organic traffic numbers can be surprisingly superficial.
Instead, focus on metrics like organic conversion rate and keyword ROI to measure the actual impact of your SEO efforts. (Psst, while you’re here, maybe brush up on your social SEO skills?)
Vanity metrics in public relations
In the PR world, metrics like media mentions may seem like an obvious mark of success. But that number is really just a surface-level impression of the success of your efforts.
To really see the impact of public relations work, you might be better off focusing on metrics that demonstrate the impact on your brand’s reputation and credibility — think sentiment analysis and share of voice.
So there you have it: everything you ever wanted to know about vanity metrics for social media. Please, please, no need to thank us. Just go forth and practice analysis with all this info!
Go beyond vanity metrics and track the real value of your social media performance with Hootsuite. Publish your posts and analyze the results in the same easy-to-use dashboard. ROI has never been easier to prove. Try it free today.
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