11 Simple Ways to Increase Facebook Engagement

Facebook engagement refers to any action that someone performs on a Facebook page. This might include liking a post, leaving a comment, sharing one of your updates, clicking a link, viewing a video, etc.

Engagement is an important part of any Facebook marketing strategy as it can lead to better organic reach, which in turn can help drive traffic to your site—or even boost sales for your business.

Read on for 11 smart tips for driving engagement on Facebook.

Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

How to increase Facebook engagement: 11 tips that actually work

1. Select the best posting times and frequency

To get your audience to interact with your content, you have to post it during the times they’re most likely to be using the platform. Perfecting the timing of your social media posts can have a positive impact on engagement.

Know that Facebook’s complex News Feed algorithm can make it hard to get the timing correct, but it’s still possible to increase your chances.

Hootsuite’s social media marketing specialist, Amanda Wood, says:

“For us, Tuesdays are a bit behind other weekdays in terms of Facebook engagement. But 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. is still the most effective window on that day.”
Specifically, Hootsuite’s marketing team determined that:

  • The best time to post on Facebook is between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • And on Saturday and Sunday between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.

Post at these times, and you can expect a greater number of likes, comments, shares, and click throughs to your website.

Of course, the best time to post will be unique for every brand. To determine which time works best for you, always consult Facebook’s Page Insights to track and analyze your engagement data. You can also use Hootsuite Analytics to stay on top of your engagement data.

2. Share valuable content

What does valuable content look like?

In our content marketing 101 guide, we recommend creating and sharing content that meets these five criteria:

  1. It is helpful to the audience. Are you actually solving their problem (“this is how you increase your sales”) or masking product information as advice (“how to increase your sales = book a demo with our sales team”).
  2. It is rooted in specific, tangible, and real customer problems. Saving time on social media is not a problem. But spending four hours trying to create social media reports for your boss in Excel is.
  3. It delivers on its promise. You know the problem (customer wants to drive sales) but does the advice actually show them how to solve it? To make the customer successful, your advice needs to provide concrete steps that helps them solve their challenges.
  4. Is it actionable. After reading the content, what can the reader go and immediately apply to their business?
  5. You are proud to share it. Is it something you’d share with your friends?

For more on creating and sharing valuable content, read our content marketing guide here.

3. Learn from your successes and failures

Track your performance. Figure out what worked, and do more of that. Determine what failed, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The great thing about Facebook is that you don’t have to be a seasoned marketer to track what worked.

Case in point: Dr. Mark Sutor, a dentist, began creating Facebook Live videos to give average people actionable information on what to do with various dental issues. With no sizable budget or fancy effects, Dr. Sutor succeeded in getting thousands of views for his videos. With a customer base of approximately 5,000 at most, reaching that many people is significant for business.

For more on tracking Facebook performance, read our guide to using Facebook analytics.

4. Use compelling visuals

Visuals enrich your content and help it stand out on busy Facebook News feeds. Your audience is made up of visual creatures, so using images, graphics, and the like is a no-brainer.

An analysis of more than 100 million Facebook updates over a three-month period revealed that updates with images enjoyed 2.3 times more engagement than those without, according to a BuzzSumo study.

By simply including an image in a post, you get to enjoy at least double the engagement rate. That means double the number of comments, likes, and shares.
Adding images to your content is a quick way to get more engagement.

5. Ask your audience questions

Remember that one of the primary forms of engagement is comments from your audience. This is perhaps the most straightforward way to boost engagement since you’re encouraging responses.

Facebook itself recommends that you ask your audience questions, which is what it terms as an example of an actionable post to increase engagement:

“Share articles or blogs from your website, provide links to your newsletter sign-up form, ask your fans to answer a question or provide their opinions in the comment section of your post.”

Feel free to get as creative as you can with the kinds of questions you throw to your audience. Here are some examples:

  • What’s your favorite [fill in the blank]?
  • How do you [complete this action]?
  • Why do you [like this event or brand]?
  • Do you agree with [reference a notable statement, event, person, etc.]?

6. Consider post length

The length of your post is influential to how strong your engagement rate is. Facebook’s character limit for status updates is more than 60,000. Naturally, you don’t want to post anything near that long. Test various lengths and pay attention to what works best for your audience.

Always look to the data. One study by Express Writers found that posts with only 40 characters enjoy 86 percent greater engagement than longer posts.

Do you have something to write that can’t be contained in just 40 characters? If you do, don’t fret. The same study determined that the second-best performing post length on Facebook was 80 characters or fewer, which saw 66 percent better engagement than longer posts.

7. Experiment with different video formats

Video is the key to greater Facebook engagement, so giving your audience a variety of video types is a formula for success. The one factor that’s been driving markedly higher shares is video, according to a Buzzsumo study. It looked at 25 million Facebook posts from the top 10,000 publishers on the platform.

It’s important to leverage this enthusiasm for video by showing your audience various styles of videos.

Here are some ideas:

  • Inspirational videos that feature quotes set to music.
  • Facebook Live videos that let you broadcast live to your audience.
  • Educational videos that teach people how to do something very easily.
  • Behind-the-scenes videos that give your audience an informal look at and access to your brand.
  • Featured videos that show up on your About section for extra prominence.

8. Drive traffic to your Facebook page from other sources

Send the audience that interacts with you on other social channels to your Facebook page. You could simply include a link to your Facebook page within a tweet or include it on your Instagram bio.

Another option is to display your Facebook page on your blog. There are various WordPress plugins that let you show your page and some of the posts right on your blog. Naturally, your ardent readers who enjoy your content will be curious about visiting your Facebook page, too.

Include a strong call to action to increase the conversion rate of those clicking back to your Facebook page.

9. Join Facebook groups

You’ll increase your engagement when your content surfaces among relevant audiences. These are people who are in the same industry as you or who are looking to solutions to the problems your content addresses.

By joining the right Facebook groups, you get to connect with these relevant audiences. Facebook defines groups as:

“…the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.”

Your participation in the appropriate group can therefore drive traffic and engagement to your Facebook page.

10. Engage with other relevant brands and pages

Engaging here doesn’t mean to overtly promote your page on other brands’ pages—just the opposite! It means to thoughtfully and sincerely post relevant content or comments to other pages and share other brands’ content when it’s relevant to your audience.

By being tactful in your approach, the brands and their audiences are likely to notice and return the favor.

Ideally, if you build a relationship carefully enough with other brands, you may even be able to hash out a mutually beneficial content-sharing agreement. This will give both parties a greater reach and larger audience to engage with.

11. Include a call to action

You can’t underestimate the usefulness of a good call to action (CTA) on Facebook. Studies show that using specific words on posts can help increase conversion rates.

Using call to action terms correlates with higher effectiveness across the board. The average engagement rate per post is greater for posts that use these terms than those that don’t, according to a TrackMaven report. The terms the study looked are “share,” “please,” “now,” and “like.”

Facebook itself introduced CTAs on pages in the realization that encouraging customers to take action drives business objectives.

Based on this data, it makes sense for you to include calls to action on the posts you publish, as well as on your Facebook page.

With these tips, you can expect to increase your Facebook engagement significantly.

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How to Build an Ecommerce Business Amazon Can’t Compete With

Today, giants define our world. A few big companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google shape our social lives, curate how we consume information, and influence what we buy. For the most part, this isn’t a bad thing: these titans offer wonderful products and services that make our lives better and help our businesses run smoothly.

But, as those of you who run small, ecommerce-powered businesses know very well, there is one giant who makes things very complicated. It’s impossible to be an online merchant and not have a point of view on Amazon. Love them, hate them, or something in-between — you all have a relationship with Amazon. Frankly, they can make it a real challenge for small businesses to grow past a certain point. But they don’t make it impossible.

Lately we’ve seen more and more HubSpot customers thrive in ecommerce, even though Amazon sells similar or even identical products as them. How can this be? I’ll tell you, but first let’s start from the beginning.

Nashua, New Hampshire is a quintessential New England city. It’s full of folks who love their Dunkins, wear Bean Boots 10 months out of the year, and pledge allegiance to Red Sox nation. It’s not a place you’d imagine one of the most influential technologies of the last 100-years might be born. But it is.

In August of 1994 21-year-old Dan Kohn put his new encryption technology to work to securely sell a Sting CD to Phil Brandenberger. It was the first sales transaction in the history of the internet, and it set off a series of events that would change the world forever.

That same summer, Jeff Bezos left his job on Wall Street to move to Seattle and found Amazon. Over the next 20+ years, the ecommerce industry would grow exponentially. A trend that is still up-and-to-the-right today.

Today, there’s nothing people won’t buy online. The internet has challenged us to buy things on the internet that we used to think had to be purchased in person. But now, no one thinks twice about buying eyeglasses, food, or even cars online. The convenience and speed of making purchases online means the majority of us check there first before buying anything.

The ability to buy and sell online has been a win for everyone involved. Consumers love the convenience, speed, prices, and accessibility ecommerce delivers, and entrepreneurs love that they can now turn limited passion projects into full time careers and viable businesses.

It’s a good time to be an Ecommerce SMB.

The ability to sell online has created thousands of new businesses — and there’s still plenty of room to grow. The increasing demand to buy everything online has made it easy to find an initial audience, software like Shopify makes it simple for non-technical people to create a web store, and powerfully targeted ads from Google and Facebook make it easy to expand your audience.

Getting started has never been easier — the challenge now is figuring out how to scale.

There are plenty of big, scary challenges for a small ecommerce business, but none are quite as terrifying as the elephant in the room: Amazon.

Amazon and a few others eat up the majority of the world’s ecommerce demand. They sell everything imaginable online and are only expanding. They offer the best prices, the fastest shipping, excellent customers service, and have massive brand awareness. For small ecommerce businesses, they can feel like a major roadblock. Some SMBs have managed to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with Amazon, but many worry about getting permanently stuck on the wrong side of a losing battle.

What’s next in ecommerce marketing?

Most ecommerce entrepreneurs know that quickly after product market fit they’ll need to adapt their marketing strategy to compete with the giants. Competing with the likes of Amazon is obviously a challenge, but it can be done — and while all businesses are different, there is a common three-part formula to making it happen.

1. Meet modern buyers’ expectations.

You may not always be able to compete with the giants on price, but you have to rise to meet or exceed their level of service. The giants generally offer 24-7 support, fast shipping, and are generous on returns. Their level of service has become the industry standard. If you’re not already investing in building a great customer experience, now is the time.

Customers will understand if you can’t ship as fast as Amazon, but they won’t forgive you for not answering their questions quickly.

Start using tools like Facebook Messenger and live website chat to help customers in real-time in addition to email. Make sure you’re aware of customer issues through surveys like Net Promoter Score (NPS), and are encouraging customers who love you to leave positive reviews. Future customers trust those reviews more than your marketing message.

2. Modernize and personalize your marketing.

With the rising popularity of ecommerce, you’re not the only player in town –regardless of what niche your business occupies, you’re probably already facing competition. One-size-fits-all marketing emails and ads aren’t going to resonate with the modern buyer. Targeting your ideal buyers with standard, largely impersonal marketing messages won’t work. You need to make your messages as personal as possible to get their attention.

Look for signals you can use to make your marketing efforts more targeted. For instance, if you know a customer came to your site, put a product in their cart, but left before buying, you have a very strong signal that person is interested in that product. Target them with emails and ads that remind them why your option is the best.

This abandoned cart tactic is low-hanging-fruit and very effective. But it’s just one way of using data to improve your marketing. If you know a customer typically only buys from you during the holidays, make sure you email them with a special offer right before they typically buy to try and increase their purchase size. If a customer recently purchased a product, and you have a complimentary service you think they should know about, target them with ads for the service.

Make sure your ecommerce data and marketing tools are talking to each other — it’s the secret to unlock more powerful, more effectively targeted marketing strategies.

To make that happen, HubSpot now integrates with Shopify. It’s easier than ever for you to sync your data from Shopify into HubSpot, using it to seamlessly personalize your marketing campaigns.

If you’re able to use your web store data for marketing purposes, you can automate these new personalization tactics: abandoned cart nurturing happens automatically soon after someone leaves a cart, and you’re constantly welcoming new customers with a dedicated on-boarding email.

3. Build a brand that Amazon can’t touch. 

The online retail giants do a lot right, but the one thing they can’t do is be the single best player in any one given space. They offer everything, which limits them from truly going deep in anyone area. This gives SMBs space to build a brand and be the experts in their niche in a way that differentiates them from the giants.

HubSpot customer and Shopify merchant Kettlebell Kings sells kettlebells, and Amazon also sells kettlebells. But Kettlebell Kings has also built a community — something Amazon simply can’t do for every single category they occupy. Kettlebell Kings are active in the gym scene in their local community of Austin, Texas, offer workout plans, blog posts, videos, and Instagram content on working out with their products that their community loves. They’ve positioned themselves as experts and leaders in the workout and kettlebell space, and their branded product is a signal to their tribe of the companies’ quality and dedication.

They’ve built a memorable, community-driven brand around their product, and people are willing to wait a bit longer and pay a little more for it.

The same goes for HubSpot customer and Shopify merchant Love Your Melon. The company sells hats, and Amazon also sells plenty of hats. But Love Your Melon also stands for something that their audience cares deeply about. The company is dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America. It’s something that drives their work, and they’re committed to telling the world about it. Their social media content celebrates the lives of families impacted by cancer, and their distinctive hats have become a product intertwined with a social mission. Their genuine passion isn’t something the giants can recreate.

Both of these companies have fully adopted inbound marketing. They aren’t just trying to get their product in front of people, they’re building a brand that pulls people in. It’s their secret to growth, and it’s applicable to every small ecommerce business today. Inbound marketing works for ecommerce, and it’s how you’ll grow.

Today we’re living in a world defined by giants. But it doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room for small, savvy businesses to grow.

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5 Ways Technology Changed Content Marketing

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Content is king. But if you’re only worried about getting words on the page, you are overlooking major elements to supplement those words.

Technology and other forms media are helping to revamp ineffective content into incredibly engaging content for your readers and customers. By and large, technology has accelerated content marketing in that it helps generate more leads, website traffic, and therefore sales.

Without certain technologies to boost content with key aspects of reader engagement, content falls flat and your efforts are wasted, rather than focusing it elsewhere.   

It’s important to understand the technology that has been implemented into content marketing so they won’t be overlooked in your campaign — making it a successful one.

And a strong content marketing campaign cannot be taken lightly. In fact, Smart Insights revealed that content marketing is the single most important marketing activity for the last 3-4 years.

Below illuminates five technologies and their vital contributions to content marketing.

Visual Elements

Source: Quietly

 

Visual elements are a must in the content marketing department. Without them, your audience would be presented with a lifeless wall of text to read. This is proven to discourage readers, and potential customers, and turn them away from your website.

This can potentially cost you a conversion, or worse — a customer.

The American Graphics Institute affirms that “Recent data shows that visuals combined with digital content marketing garner significant increases in blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results according to recent industry data.” Although this was said in 2016, this statement has only gotten more appropriate today.

It isn’t hard to imagine as a blogger, entrepreneur, or business that your website and content would not be well-received without some inclusion of images, video, animations, infographics or any other visual appendage.  

Or, just as equally, it may not be received at all — as a large population of readers or customers may exit your website due to unengaging content, retaining nothing about your brand.

Visual elements have become so important to content marketing, separating them would render digital content, for marketing, all but dead. Take a look at this graph by Orbit Media Studios, putting together reader retention rates below:

image-retention

Mobile Optimization

Rutgers University points out that “Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, stated that not only are there over 100 billion mobile searches every month but that this number is expected to continue to increase.”

This data goes to show that people are searching for things, such as businesses, on mobile devices at a higher rate than searching on a desktop.

Since mobile searches have surpassed the more traditional desktop search, businesses and anyone who would like to keep on pace, have adopted the now common practice of optimizing their websites for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

The same frustrations of not including visual elements with your content can be foreseen when your customer can’t navigate anything on your website with their phone.

Other complications of not optimizing your site for mobile devices, deterring potential conversions, can include unattractive aesthetics, non-responsive web design, and difficulty reading content.

Source: Nextfly

 

Any of these things can cost you a sale, membership, subscription, or any other conversion, and it may cause that lost customer to find a business with others. However, optimizing for mobile will increase your website’s organic traffic, visibility, and subsequently your sales.

Search Engine Optimization

Speaking of website search traffic, SEO content is a sure fire way to increase your visibility in the search engine results page, specifically Google. With great content, keywords, headlines, meta tags, and proper link building, you’ll rank higher than the competition.

In the digitally driven world we live in today, ranking higher than your competitor in the search engine results page — and just having a high ranking page in general — is a major goal any business or brand should aspire for. This graph in a previous post stresses the importance of SEO in showing the percentage of shopper searches:

 

With the hundreds of billions of monthly searches mentioned above, it is pertinent that your brand is visible in the search engine results above your competitor to drive in that traffic before they do — and more traffic means more conversions. So, hopefully, you’ve created engaging content with visual elements that are at the same time optimized for mobile devices.

SEO content has changed content marketing, requiring the implementation of keywords, links, and other optimization, but content marketing becomes more focused on these SEO implementations.

Writing material for content marketing becomes more technical, but still keeps the readers in the forefront as user experience is a driving force for SEO. If your SEO content isn’t great, relevant, or geared toward actual readers, you won’t be sending the proper signals to Google.

Video Marketing

Source: BrainSINS

 

Arguably the strongest visual element to accompany your digital content is video. Video is cost-effective and can be placed anywhere — on your website landing page, social media platforms, blogs, etc.

Amsterdam Printing suggests to even “Put it on your company emails and add QR codes to your mail pieces to drive more traffic online.”

Another benefit, should you choose to go the route, is that video that will help your SEO efforts. Include your video to a company YouTube: Google owns YouTube and your appearance there, along with some SEO headlines and descriptions, will signal Google to look favorably on your business and brand.

 

Additionally, the video provides a personal, more intimate perspective of your brand for customers that plain text cannot. This personalization of your brand will build trust and an emotional connection leading to brand loyalty. With the explosion of social media, live video is now becoming successful for its abilities to correspond with customers in real time.

Companies are now able to answer customer inquiries, promote brand new products, and can even hold contests — again, in real-time.

This can allow for hyper-personalized responses to customers, and a very high level of customer engagement, all while increasing your brand visibility, website traffic, and therefore conversion rate.

Landing Page Conversion

Every paragraph above contains information on how to get potential customers to your company or brand’s landing page.

It is crucial information, but it’s all futile if you don’t get those customers to purchase, subscribe, become a member, join the email list, or any other type of conversion rate you are trying to facilitate.

Conversion Infographic Final

 

On the other hand, your website’s landing page depends on the information above; you’ll have a hard time getting people to your website landing page in the first place if you don’t utilize it. The two are necessary together to drive a successful content marketing campaign.

Similar to discouraged customers who will turn away from your mobile website if it’s not optimized for mobile devices, your landing page needs to accommodate every customer for the easiest transaction possible.

The graph above by LoadStorm explains the urgency of page load times to engage your website customers.

Anything that can enhance user experience will help convert should be a focus: A dynamic headline, easy navigation, website build and design, loading speed, and more. Most importantly, have an easy, very visible opt-in form for whatever information you are trying to obtain.

Make sure your page is easy to navigate with no hiccups. Take a look at how a viewer scans a page to see where you should place your most important content:

image47

Conversion rates can elevate, impacting sales, significantly just doing little things for user experience, like choosing the right color scheme that suits your business or brand. It also should be noted that your call to action should be specific to your opt-in form.

A visitor is much more likely when your call to action, and how they can sign up or pay, is carefully laid out and explained to them. Make sure it is easily visible, accessible, gain all the information you need from them, and takes them to the correct secondary page if need be.

Conclusion

Content marketing has been changed by technology, almost exclusively in the interest of user experience. Through the years, writing content for marketing your business or brand has been transformed through periods of trial and error.

After all, the conversions that are the driving force for all marketing efforts are going to be made by these users, visitors, and readers. Technology has only made it easier for an analysis and a firm understanding of these audiences; knowing what they like and don’t like.

Try to imagine a content marketing campaign without any of the elements above in them. It would prove unsuccessful almost immediately. Without visual elements, not many people would read your content.

If you don’t optimize your company website for mobile devices, you would be dismissed by a bulk of potential customers trying to view your business or brand on their smartphones or other mobile devices. A study by Wordstream finds that “Businesses that use content marketing have conversion rates 6x higher on average than those who do not.” Don’t miss out on increasing your conversion rates by not implementing a content marketing campaign.   

Without SEO content marketing, your business or brand would hardly be visible to people trying to search for your company.

Missing the video marketing boat will eliminate the chance for customers to interact with your brand on a personal level — leaving you no opportunity to connect with potential customers to create brand awareness and loyalty. And finally, if your landing page isn’t properly set up, you’ll fail to achieve your ultimate goal — conversions.

It is hard to imagine content marketing without these technologies, however, don’t forget about the main ingredient of this recipe — great, relevant, and dynamic content.

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Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Dark Social

Imagine this scenario: You’re at work, hitting the 3 o’clock wall. To revive yourself from the slump, you navigate over to BarkPost, angling your monitor slightly more towards you to avoid being seen by your boss.

You find an amusing listicle—18 Signs Your Dog Has A Secret Second Family—and, wishing to confer with your dog co-parent, you copy the URL in the browser and paste it into an email message. Congratulations, you’ve just engaged in “dark social.”

We’ve all shared articles one-on-one through a means other than social media. Whether it was done to sidestep the no-social-media-for-personal-use policy at work, or because you don’t want the whole world to know you enjoy an article titled An Open Letter From a Corgi to the People Who Laugh at His Butt.

Thanks to the universality of the act, dark social has been reported to be responsible for 84 percent of outbound sharing. So what is this mysterious power, where does it come from, and—most importantly—how can your business harness it? Here’s everything you need to know.

Table of contents

What is dark social?

5 reasons why your company can’t ignore dark social

Why you should start measuring dark social (and how to do it)

Bonus: Download our free guide that shows you how to 10X your social media performance and beat your competitors. Includes the tools, tricks, and daily routines used by three world-class social media experts.

What is dark social?

The term “dark social” was coined in an article written in 2012 by former deputy editor of The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal. Dark social is when people share content through private channels such as instant messaging programs, messaging apps, and email.

This private sharing is harder to track than content shared on public platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, so many social media marketers don’t realize how big of a slice dark social has of the social media sharing pie.

Some of the most common dark social traffic channels are:

  • Messaging apps—such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger
  • Email—to protect users’ privacy, referrers aren’t shared)
  • Native mobile apps—Facebook, Instagram
  • Secure browsing—If you click from HTTPS to HTTP the referrer won’t be passed on

In other words, dark social describes any web traffic that’s not attributed to a known source, such as a social network or a Google search. Referral traffic is usually identified by certain “tags” attached to the link whenever it’s shared.

For example, if I want to share this blog post on Twitter using the “Tweet This” button on the side, an action window will open, with the following tag attached to the end of the URL: “percent2F&source=Shareaholic&related=shareaholic”. This tag signals that the referrer of the article was a social sharing tool directly from the post’s page.

If you’re curious about a headline in a Tweet and click on the link, you will often be directed to a link with the following tag “&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter”, signalling that this referral originated on Twitter. This is a more common referral tag that you have probably seen in the past, it’s called a UTM code or parameter.

Dark social links, however, don’t contain referrer data. Common examples of dark social include links copied and pasted into emails or instant messages, or shared via text message. These methods don’t automatically attach any tracking tags, unless the shared link was copied with the tag included (for example, if I were to copy the URL of an article that I originally found on Twitter, including the UTM parameters attached to it).

If you’re watching your website’s analytics closely, you’ve probably wondered what all that “direct” traffic is. Well, at Hootsuite, we’re pretty sure thousands of people didn’t type “https://blog.hootsuite.com/quick-tips-for-creating-social-videos/” into a browser window. It’s labelled “direct” in Google Analytics, but it’s really traffic from dark social.

5 reasons your company can’t ignore dark social

Aside from the fact that The Atlantic article is a highly interesting and relatively easy read, no matter your level of familiarity with different engagement metrics, it also makes two very important points about dark social.

Bonus: Download our free guide that shows you how to 10X your social media performance and beat your competitors. Includes the tools, tricks, and daily routines used by three world-class social media experts.

Get the free guide right now!

The first is the fact that the most important shareability factor in a piece of content is the content itself. No good content = no sharing, however sophisticated your optimization efforts may be.

The second point Madrigal makes is that the emergence of social networks didn’t create the social web, but only structured the existing channels by the act of publishing—and tracking—our social interactions.

If you’ve got the great content piece covered, read on for why you need dark social marketing to maximize its reach.

1. Dark social is everywhere

For the past year-and-a-half, the majority of responses (clickbacks) to dark social shares have come from mobile devices. Clickbacks on dark social shares coming from mobile devices are up from 53 percent in August 2014 to 62 percent in February 2016. The other 38 percent of clickbacks on dark social shares come from desktops.

2. Dark social has a huge impact on traffic

According to marketing firm RadiumOne, in the last year-and-a-half, dark social shares as a percent of on-site shares jumped from 69 to 84 percent globally.

Compare those numbers to Facebook traffic. RadiumOne’s research in February 2016 found that only 11 percent of site-originated mobile shares and 21 percent of mobile clickbacks happened worldwide via Facebook. In the same month, seven times the number of site-originated mobile shares and more than three times the number of mobile clickbacks happened via dark social.

3. Dark social is a spectacular marketing opportunity

Dark social data gives a detailed representation of consumers’ real interests. Familiarizing yourself with this information will allow your business to access a targeted audience of connections.

4. Dark social reaches unique demographics

According to RadiumOne’s research, 46 percent of consumers age 55 and older share only via dark social, as opposed to those in the 16 to 34 age group, where only 19 percent do so.

5. Dark social sharing is prevalent in many industries


For example, if your business is in personal finance, food and drink, travel, or executive search, more than 70 percent of social sharing is done through dark social.

Why you should start measuring dark social (and how to do it)

For anyone who publishes content online, it’s important to know where the majority of their readers come from. Whether dark social accounts for 60 or 16 percent of web traffic, marketers need to be able to track it.

Indeed, measuring dark social should be an essential part of your social media ROI framework. In this section we’ll look at some of the tactics and tools you can use to do it.

Shorten URLs

Use shortened URLs for outbound links in your content to get a deeper analysis of the engagement rates. Shorter links also look cleaner on platforms like Twitter.

Hootsuite’s built-in URL shortener ow.ly can be accessed via the Hootsuite dashboard or on the ow.ly site. This link shortener allows you to upload images, track real-time clicks (not including clicks from bots), and have the ability to post to your various social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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5 Critical Components to Successful Content Creation

We are constantly repeating this on our blog: the best way to make the number of visitors to your website grow is by creating content that provides value to your readers. It is the basis of what is known as inbound marketing, a term that should ring a bell if you are a regular reader of our blog. However, creating this type of content is not easy for the novice writer (nor the expert, for what it’s worth). Facing the blank page (or the blank block, for die-hard Gutenberg fans) is a task that will make you sweat unless you follow certain key guidelines within content marketing.

Today I’ve come to present the most important aspects to take into account in order to create content that will attract the attention of your visitors. Although many will tell you dozens of tricks, I’ve decided to summarize all this in just 5 points.

The five-pointed star of successful content.
The five-pointed star of successful content.

See these tips as a kind of pentacle (or five-pointed talisman) to hold when you’re creating new content with the goal of making it a success. Hope you find it useful.

Your Target Audience

It’s not the same to prepare content for business people as it is for millennials. And it’s not the same either to target an experienced audience as it is to target an audience that does not know the concepts you will be dealing with. The first thing you have to do before you start writing is to study from the very beginning the kind of audience you expect to end up reading your content. Knowing who you are addressing will will help you determine the proper tone and style.

Don't jump into the writing pool until you meet your audience.
Don’t jump into the writing pool until you meet your audience. Photo by foolsgoldrecs via Giphy.

Understanding what kind of audience you have is easier than you think. Remember that you have web analytics tools like Google Analytics (seriously, if you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, just go set it up now) or you can take a look at what your social networks have to offer about it.

If you fail to target your audience, you’ll damage the image of both your organization and yourself. Remember that achieving a good personal brand takes years of work, but destroying it is a matter of seconds. Do yourself a favor and meet your audience!

The Title of Your Content

Every time I go into a bookstore I look at the covers of the books. Some are great, some are awful and this got me into thinking: this book might be great, but if I don’t like the title or the cover, it’s going to be very hard for me to end up reading it. And it’s a shame that this happens, but it’s part of the human condition.

Similarly, when I’m reviewing my favorite RSS feed reader or spending time on social networks, if the title of the linked article doesn’t grab my attention I’ll move on to the next one without any remorse. And I’m sure you do, too. That’s why the titles you choose are so important in your content.

Beware of clickbaiting the titles of your content.
Beware of clickbaiting the titles of your content. Image by alexkao via Giphy.

With this in mind, you’ll probably think that the solution is to look for a title that catches on to everything and forget about the content. This is called clickbait and I don’t recommend it.

In fact, as I was preparing this post I had an interesting conversation with David in which he recommended alternative titles that were much crazier than the one I finally chose. Had they worked better than this, that’s something we’ll never know, but it’s clear that when choosing a title you have to balance the appeal to your audience with the truthfulness with the content. If you cross the limits (I think some of David’s proposals did 😂) the result will be a bad one.

The Message You Want to Convey

Your content should be used to send a message to your audience. It can be promotional or informative, but it has to give them value or they will ignore it without any hassle.

Remember when you used to watch a TV commercial and when it was over you wondered what they were advertising? A fatal error for the publicist on duty who sometimes went out of his mind innovating too much. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.

For this article you are reading, the main message is the importance of taking into account five key aspects when generating content: the audience, the title, the message, the promotion, and the feedback. That’s it! Simple and powerful.

If your message is not understood, you don't even need to waste time writing the content.
If your message is not understood, you don’t even need to waste time writing the content. Source: Giphy.

The important thing about this is that the message must be understood. To do this, you must use a structure in the content that is clear and not misleading or too diffuse. As you can see, I get it through the titles of the different sections here. But you can use lists or make a summary at the end by highlighting the important points again.

If you create content but have no message, you’re probably wasting your time. By understanding your audience you will be able to set the type of message you want to send to them and attract them to your website. Remember to put yourself in the shoes of your audience to make it easier for you to send the proper message.

Fruitful Content Promotion

What’s the point of your content being gold if you don’t promote it? We’ve told you many times before: it’s useless! If you’re one of those who thinks that by sending a tweet when you publish your content you’re already doing more than enough to make the world know about it, you’re on the wrong track. That’s not going to help you much.

If you don't constantly promote your content over time, it won't grow.
If you don’t constantly promote your content over time, it won’t grow. Image by redandhowling via Giphy.

You should schedule the entire promotion of your content over time. If someone interested doesn’t see the tweet (some say that tweets have an estimated life span of less than 18 minutes), they will hardly find your content (unless Google takes it to first position, but that will take time).

Today, scheduling this promotion is as simple as one click. If you want to know how it’s done, don’t miss this other post.

Your Readers’ Feedback

If you ignore the impact your content generates, you are doing it wrong. When you receive a comment on your blog, keep in mind that the person on the other side has spent some time reading what you’ve written and they’re now writing their opinion. Value this as if it were gold!

Ignore the haters, but don't do the same with your readers' comments. They will help you improve every day.
Ignore the haters, but don’t do the same with your readers’ comments. They will help you improve every day. Source: Giphy.

Accept criticism (as long as it has a base behind it, ignore the haters and trolls) and use it to improve your future content. Be aware of comments on the web and everything that’s said about you and your content on social networks.

Writing content is not just writing content. There is a whole series of tasks behind it that you’ll have to cover and only then you’ll be able to become a master. Don’t faint, you’re getting closer to your goals every day. Patience is your ally!

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