New Report: The Best Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]

The best times to post to social media varies by industry, channel and target audience. While there is still value in using generic 'best times' as part of your marketing strategies, the only true way to know this is by conducting your own research on similar brands and studying your own analytics.

With that said, the team at CoSchedule collected results from 20 of 'the best times to post' guides to formulate this infographic that proves that posting at the best times will help you get more traffic, more engagement, and more followers.

How Popular Brands Are Using Instagram Stories

The introduction of Stories last August (just turned one!,) is making Instagram one of the more important channels for brands looking to expand their social presence. We are already well aware of the drama that surrounds the whole 'stealing Snapchat' dilemma, but Instagram is doing it better and big brands are noticing. 

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A recent study conducted by Klear, analyzed 149 popular brands in 8 industries to see how they are using Instagram Stories to drive sales and what type of content worked best for their particular industry. 

The biggest discrepancy between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Story is the ability to link and mention users. Instagram's "swipe up" feature allows brands to link a URL to their story, letting users see more content if they choose to. This is huge for product promotion and purchase capabilities. 

According to the study, the most active industries on Instagram Stories are by far the fitness and fashion sectors. This is indicitive of the popularity of these types of accounts on Instagram already. 

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Brands are using Instagram Stories to not only reach Instagram's 700 million total users versus Snapchat’s 166 million, but also to boost their messaging through inspiring and creative content.

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter From Your Phone

Snapchat introduced a feature in June that lets users create their own geofilters directly from their mobile app. Since the release, Snap geofilters are being viewed over 1.5 million times through Story and message viewers every minute! And they said Snapchat was dying..

Now, you can design your very own geofilter on the go without breaking the bank (it's only $5.99). Here's how to do it:

Getting Started

  • Open the Snapchat app and tap the ghost(or your bitmoji) icon in the upper left corner to access your profile
  • Tap the Settings icon(wheel on upper right) then On-Demand Geolfiter
  • For first time creators, Snap will walk you through a few questions and templates as you design your Geofilter. If you have created one before, tap the icon in the upper right corner to create a new one.

Design Themes

  • Next, you'll be asked to select from different themes depending on your occasion like weddings, birthdays, graduations. More seasonal themes will be added throughout the year. 
  • Once your theme is selected, you can now customize your template with text, emojis, bitmojis, or stickers. When you've finished editing, tap the green checkmark. 

Set the Date, Time, and Location

  • Now that your design is created, you'll need to add a few details to your geofilter
  • Add a name for the geofilter
  • Set up the date and time range you want it to appear. This can last anywhere from 1 hour to 90 days. Next, you need to draw a geofence around the location the geofilter can be accessed. Snapchat pre-sets a 20,000 square foot range at $5.99 but, can go to a maximum of 5 million sq/ft. When your location is set, tap the continue button. 

Submitting Your Geofilter

Here, you'll finalize your order details and submit your geofilter for Snapchat to review. Once it has been approved, Snapchat will send you a confirmation email to complete your payment in the app. 

In conclusion, creating Snapchat Geofilters on mobile is quick, easy, and can make for some memorable Snap Stories for any occasion. And starting at $5.99, this is a great way for individuals and small businesses to create inspiring new content. 

How to Integrate Your Public Relations and Social Media Efforts

Most business owners and entrepreneurs know how important social media marketing and public relations is for their business but many may not realize how well these two work together to simultaneously grow a brand. That’s why we’ve created a list of ways you can integrate your PR efforts into your social media strategy and vice versa.

Use Media Features as Social Media Content

Using public relations to increase awareness of your business, will hopefully result in your business being featured in local or national publications, as well as TV and radio segments, podcast interviews, etc. These articles, videos, and radio shows can be shared via social media, which will result in more eyeballs on your brand, which will hopefully result in more sales for your business.

Use Social Media Content as PR Content

On the contrary, social media content can also make for great PR pitch ideas or stories. Let’s say a local outdoor supplies store is running a Facebook contest to give away a fishing expedition to one lucky winner and his family. This contest could be pitched to a journalist and featured on a local TV segment, where the business owner or marketing person from that brand would explain the contest in detail to encourage more people to enter the contest.

Partner with Social Media Influencers

There are other ways that social media and public relations can benefit from one another. For instance, social media influencers are currently a great way to expand your business’ reach by relying on the followers of these influential people. By using public relations tactics to reach out to these influencers and create a campaign for the promotion of your product or service, your brand would be exposed to many social media users in a way that is authentic and engaging.

Use Social Media as a Research Tool To Create Your PR Strategy

Another way that you can implement social media and public relations is to use social channels as a research tool to learn more about the target audience for your business. By looking at the analytics of your social media channels, you’ll be able to decide the interests and demographics of your social media followers and fans. This information will help you to determine the types of PR content that will create the most awareness for your brand. For example, if you determine that the majority of your social media followers are ages 25-40 and enjoy craft beer, it might be a good idea to create a PR event or partnership with a local brewery to get your brand in front of the people who will actually be interested.

Use Social Media as a Customer Service/Reputation Management Tool

We all know that online reviews can either make or break a brand’s reputation. Because of this, using social media channels to manage these reviews is a must. Reputations are no longer made just in the media. Social media now plays such a large role in this due to complaints, negative reviews, photos, videos, etc. To ensure that your brand’s reputation remains squeaky clean, make sure that you reply to all social media messages and complaints immediately as well as provide impeccable customer service using these channels. Additionally, should your company ever be involved in a PR crisis, your social media channels can also be used to issue a statement to the public as well as journalists in an attempt to rectify the situation.
 

Ready to get started on creating a social media and public relations strategy that will work well together? Contact us to learn more about how Social Ape can do just that and increase awareness of your business!

5 Instagram Mistakes You Should Avoid

With 700 million users strong, Instagram remains one of the most powerful story-telling tools for marketers and brands. So, if you want to keep your audience engaged with your content, don't drop the ball with these simple mistakes.

1. Too Much Focus on Promotions

Sharing too many products or images with your own logo isn't the best way to present your brand. People want to see lively content that portrays the value of your product without the spamminess of offers and promotions. Images of employees, work in the community, and other lifestyle content can build your brand's reputation in no time. 

2. Buying Followers

Growing your business on social media isn't always easy. And while some consumers may be turned off by a low count of followers or fans, it's best that you keep it honest in the end. So, instead of strategizing, planning, and sharing great content to better their presence, some brands are purchasing a false sense of popularity. 

When you purchase followers, you're purchasing a number. A number that, for a glance may look nice and legit, but really are fake or inactive accounts. These accounts WILL NOT engage with any of your content. So, why risk the integrity of your business because of a follower count. Instead, continue to follow your brand strategy and post relevant content to the REAL audience that you do have, and you'll soon reap the (legitimate)rewards. 

3. Not Engaging With Your Audience

Many brands have adopted the "point and shoot" attitude towards their Instagram strategy. Meaning, they post frequently but aren't very involved with the fans that are engaging with the content. Make sure to set aside time to regularly check your posts, and follow back new followers. Also, reach out to your followers by liking and commenting on their photos!

4. Misusing Hashtags

If you are like many users that spam their posts with irrelevant or too many hashtags, you're at risk of losing credibility and may come off as a bit desperate. Hashtags should be used to enable discovery from people interested in a part of your brand's story. According to Adweek, ninety-one percent of Instagram posts contain between one and seven hashtags, so they are a powerful tool, you just shouldn't overvalue irrelevant ones. 

5. Not Editing or Using High-Quality Photos

Instagram doesn't give you countless combinations of editing tools for no reason. Utilize your knowledge of simple photography and try to take the best pictures you can, so you don't run into over-editing. You can even use camera alternatives like VSCO cam on the same subject to compare the image quality with your native ones. 

Meet Emily Price - Summer Intern

Social Ape is excited to introduce our Summer Intern, Emily Price! Emily is a senior at Queens University of Charlotte, majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Marketing. Emily is from Greenville, SC, but loves everything Charlotte! She has a passion for social media, marketing, and Mexican food (but we’ll get to that later). She’s itching to soak up everything during her time at Social Ape and can’t wait to make a career out of it all things social media after she wraps up her time at Queens in December!

We got to know Emily a little better by asking her some questions:

What are your 3 favorite things about Charlotte?

I love all the great restaurants in Charlotte because I feel like there is always a new place to try! I’m a huge sports fan so I love that we have a pro football and basketball team here as well as other minor league sports.  My favorite thing is that it is exactly halfway between the beach and mountains because I am always down for a road trip!

Why do you love Social Media and Marketing?

I love this industry because it allows me to interact with people from all walks of life and gets my creative juices flowing. Being able to create content that makes someone smile or helps them learn something new, lets me know that I am making an impact on someone’s life one post at a time! Social media trends, tactics, and challenges (looking at you, Instagram algorithm...) are always changing, developing, and evolving so it allows me to push myself to learn more! It doesn’t feel like a job because it’s a passion of mine so I enjoy it every day.

What do you do at Social Ape?

At Social Ape, I assist with content creation for two of our clients as well as the Social Ape Twitter account, have a hand in creating the weekly newsletter, and am flexing my public relations muscles by helping plan an upcoming client grand opening.

If you could give advice to people who want to enter this industry what would it be?

Take advantage of all the opportunities you are given (and if you aren’t given any go out and find them), network with as many people as possible, and be willing to take risks to learn new things!

What do you like to do when you’re not in school or at your internship?

One of my favorite things in the world to do is travel. Whenever I have the time, you can catch me planning my next vacation or jet setting off to somewhere new. I also love to hang out with my 4 dogs (Nana, Fluffy, Pop-Tart and Zoe), binge watch Netflix, and eat Mexican food. (Seriously, dare me to eat it every day for a year - I totally could.)

We have loved having Emily on the team for the past few months (don’t worry - we’ve still got more time with her, too!) and cannot wait to see where her future takes her!

You can follow Emily on Twitter and Instagram at @emilya_price.

Grow Your Audience With Facebook Beacons

Beacons. Bluetooth. Business.

Facebook is introducing a new device that will direct in-store customers right to your Facebook Page. When people visit your business, the Facebook Beacon (about the size of an iPhone) will send a Bluetooth signal to your customers' phone where they will have access to 'Place Tips' which include:

  • A welcome note and photo
  • Posts from your Facebook page
  • Prompts to like your Facebook page and check-in
  • Their friends' recommendation of your place 

The Place Tips section can be accessed underneath the Settings option on your Facebook Page where you can personalize what you want your customers to see. Follow the steps below:

A great tip to create a unique experience for your customers is to use incentives like free wifi or discounts to encourage people to engage with your Page, by either checking in or posting a photo while they are there. 

Is a beacon right for your business? You can request a free beacon from Facebook (limited amounts available) to get started. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, here's how it works:

  1. To turn your beacon on, just remove it from the package!
  2. Peel the sticker off the back and place the device in an area of your business with high traffic, as the it's range is circular radius around the beacon.
  3. Create a welcome note to better connect with your customer (from the Admins page)

It seems that Facebook is finally taking steps out of their virtual world dominance with its new device. Do you think it can be beneficial for your business? Let us know in the comments! 

Introducing a Simpler Twitter

Twitter is introducing a fresher look with a new interface, making the platform feel lighter, faster, and easier to use. After receiving feedback and ideas from their fans, they've kept the things they love and took a new approach to fix the things they don't. And no, you still can't edit tweets. 

The improved design revamps the Twitter timeline by turning the previous square profile pictures into circles and reduces the tabs at the bottom of the app for less clutter and easier browsing. Additionally, a new navigation sidebar will now contain a user's profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy – all in one place.

Twitter also changed the interaction buttons on tweets to "avoid confusion for new users." The 'reply' button is now a more recognizable message bubble instead of the original arrow icon. 

Also included in the update:

  • Links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in the Twitter app so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into.
  • Tweets now update instantly with reply, Retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening – live. (Mobile only)
  • Additional accessibility choices such as increased color contrast and the option to always open supported links in Safari Reader view. (iOS only)

Here's the new look:

Of course, the update doesn't come without a little distaste from Twitter users. Some are claiming that the circular icon are visually unappealing on the timeline. Others expressed that the new icons are restrictive to profiles that use text, logos, or QR codes for an avatar. 

What do you think about Twitter's new look? Let us know in the comments below! 

Facebook Lets You Add More Than Just Photos to Albums

Facebook is updating its photo album feature this month that will allow users to add videos, check-ins and text, apart from the usual photos.

Now, users can organize their memories into one place, essentially a feature that lets you create a digital scrapbook of all kinds of media. Facebook described the purpose of the update to TechCrunch, writing “Gone on a surf trip recently? Share videos of you tacking your waves, your check-in at the pier, a photo of your board and more – in a single album.”

Along with the new update to Albums, Facebook integrated an option to follow (or unfollow) your friend's albums. This feature allows users to see everything added to an album through notifications (that can be turned on and off,) just in case the updates on their news feeds. 

Similar to the iPhone's "Photos" and Google's "Photos," users can invite their friends to add their own content to share with the group. Users can also mark an album as a favorite, which lists the assortment directly on your profile page. 

The Albums update has already rolled out for desktop and Android users, but iOS users will see have to wait for theirs. Stay tuned! 

Twitter Direct Messages: Add Buttons to Drive Action

Need a way to create a better customer service experience on Twitter?

The company is rolling out a new feature that will allow businesses to attach buttons inside their direct message conversations. The buttons are designed to encourage followers to take actions -- like composing a tweet, visiting their website, or following the businesses' Twitter account, among other things. 

Up to three buttons can be attached to direct messages and they can be used to open any web URL, including links to other features on Twitter. Businesses can also customize the call-to-action text on a button, including the use of emojis. 

A few businesses are already getting creative with these buttons. For example, Focus Features has a bot that tweets movie trailers and they added buttons to their direct messages for users to buy movie tickets, join the company’s rewards program, or get connected to a human in order to get customer service questions answers. For their new movie The Beguilded, the bot is inviting users to play a trivia game to get more excited about the release and encourage them to share their score on Twitter. 

The feature is one of several improvements Twitter has made to its Direct Messaging experience, which includes Direct Message Cards, welcome messages, quick replies, location sharing, and more. 

Businesses can access the new feature via Twitter’s developer API.

Does your business use Twitter bots for direct messaging? Have you tried adding CTA buttons? Let us know in the comments!