Category Archives: Uncategorized

Millennial Couples Making ‘Heart-Breaking’ Family Decisions Because Of Housing Market

A significant number of millennial couples are putting off having children or growing their families because they are renting properties and don’t own their own homes, according to a new report.

The study by housing charity, Shelter, also found a huge drop in home ownership rates amongst the demographic, down 18 percent from just ten years ago.

Meanwhile the number privately renting has increased 115 percent and of those, 38 percent have said it is stopping them having children.

Polly Neate, Shelter Chief Executive, said: “It’s heart-breaking that so many young couples are putting their lives on hold simply because they can’t offer a stable life to a child in a privately rented home.

“Short, unstable contracts and the high cost of renting mean that many private renters simply don’t have the security they need to settle down and start a family.

“With the number of private renters growing in this country, the government must build more genuinely affordable homes for rent and give people stronger rights – so they can build a brighter future for them and their loved ones.”

There is good news for millennials but it comes with a catch – they are in line for the biggest “inheritance boom” of any post-war generation, but it will be too late to solve the housing crisis or wealth chasm between generations.

A report last year by the influential think tank the Resolution Foundation said wealth accumulated by older people would benefit younger generations in years to come.

But the most common age at which millennials’ – those born between 1981 and 2000 –  inherit would be 61, because of their parents’ vastly improved life expectancy.

Inheritances are set to double over the next 20 years, the Foundation said, as so-called baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1965 – become older.

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DWP’s ‘Unpleasant’ Valentine’s Day Tweet Is Exceptionally Mis-Judged, People Think

Love is in the air, but what you can smell right now is the Department for Work and Pensions stinking out the room.

At least that’s the collective view on social media after the Whitehall department in charge of benefits decided to mark Valentine’s Day with a welfare crackdown.

Here’s the gift the Esther McVey-run DWP offered less than loved-up couples: the prospect of jail-time.

Claiming to be living alone is one of the most common types of benefit fraud – don’t ruin #ValentinesDay by failing to declare your true circumstances https://t.co/tZuNYZ5fer pic.twitter.com/ahutOO6NUy

February 13, 2018

Against the backdrop of a huge pink heart, a video reads: “Declaring your true love tomorrow? Don’t forget to declare your true living arrangements too.

“Don’t get separated from your Valentine. Tell us of a change now.”

The tweet links to a story run on the Daily Express’s website under the headline: “Valentine’s fraud WARNING: Crackdown issued on couples who pose as single to cheat taxman”.

Among a series of examples, the piece points to a married Leicester woman who “raked in” £83,370 in benefits by falsely claiming she was a single, unemployed mother-of-two while still living with her husband for one or two nights-a-week. She was handed a 15-month suspended sentence.

It quotes James Blake, of the DWP’s Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate, saying: “Relationships have their ups and downs but not telling us when your circumstances change is a crime and the shameless few involved are deliberating diverting money away from those who really need it.

“True love may be hard to come-by but benefits cheats aren’t difficult to track down.

“Our fraud investigators are committed to bringing criminals to justice.”

But commentators suggested the Valentine-themed campaign was perhaps a little tone-deaf.

A strong entry here from the DWP for the most ill-judged Valentine-related social media campaign award. https://t.co/z611lCAPIz

Exceptionally cynical and unpleasant tweet. Truly a nadir in DWP comms. What on earth were they thinking? https://t.co/KO6LFFcCJx

“Happy Valentines Day you lonely, lawbreaking shits” https://t.co/6tt2hZjik7

Roses are red violets are blue There’s literally nothing that the DWP won’t do https://t.co/gn6M9pgRWU

Roses are red Violets are blue We fell into my bed But I didn’t declare you#aintnoloveatthedwp https://t.co/2FznMhjjUx

Roses are red Violets are blue Tell us the truth Or we’ll prosecute you ❤️ https://t.co/tSR6LJPLIK

Don’t forget that if you are alone on #ValentinesDay you can always get screwed by the DWP…

10 Ways Universities Can Use Facebook to Market to and Connect With Students

When I was in university two years ago, Facebook was already intertwined with student life.

We heard about news and events through Facebook Pages and collaborated on group work through Facebook Groups. After graduating, I’ve been getting updates about the university through the alumni Facebook Page. Nowadays, it’s also common for prospective students to research on Facebook when deciding their university and course.

With Facebook being a part and parcel of university students’ lives, there are many things that social media teams at universities can do to market the university, engage students, and stay in touch with alumni.

Here are just some ideas I’ve found through my research that you can implement for your university…

Facebook for Universities: 10 Creative Ideas for Social Media Managers

10 Facebook ideas for universities that want to be social

1. Share news, achievements, and milestones

A great, easy way to get started with using Facebook for your university is to share news about the university, such as achievements of students and professors and milestones of the university. This way, prospective, present, and past students can stay up-to-date with the happenings in the university while they are on Facebook.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shares about an average of one post every weekday (which is a great frequency to begin with).

MIT Facebook post

If you want to go one step further, you could list the milestones of the university on the Facebook Page’s About section, like the University of Cambridge did. They listed their key milestones all the way back to 1209 when the university was founded.

University of Cambridge milestones

To list a milestone on your university’s Facebook Page, click on the three dots below the Page cover photo and select “Create Milestone”.

Create a milestone on Facebook Page

A popup will appear for you to fill out the details of the milestone, expand on the story, and add relevant photos. If you want to celebrate this milestone with your Page fans, you can leave the “Hide from News Feed” checkbox unchecked and hit “Save”. The milestone will be added to your Page and shared on its timeline.

Facebook Page milestone popup

2. Collect reviews from current and past students

Besides websites such as The Student Room and the UCAS, prospective students are also using social media to research their university options. They join Facebook Groups of the courses they are interested in, speak with current students, and check out reviews of the universities.

Facebook provides a section for you to collect reviews and ratings from current and past students, where you can also react or comment on the reviews. And yes, it’s important to respond to reviews, especially if it’s an unhappy comment.

A university that does this well is the University of Southern Queensland (Australia). They have garnered over 500 reviews and are rated 4.4 stars out of 5.

University of Southern Queensland Facebook reviews

To turn on the review section for your Facebook Page, navigate to “Settings” > “Edit Page” > “Tabs”. Besides “Reviews”, click on “Settings”, toggle the “Show Reviews” option, and hit “Save”.

Facebook review section settings

3. Provide virtual tours for prospective students

Another thing that prospective students might be keen on is checking out the university campus. Virtual tours via social media is a great way to let them explore your beautiful campus, especially for international students who are not able to fly over for the university’s open day.

Thanks to Facebook Live, you can even take them on a live, interactive tour around the campus. For example, two graduates at the University of Sussex did a Facebook Live tour of their campus and replied to questions via the comments.

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Funiofsussex%2Fvideos%2F10156206044601754%2F&show_text=1&width=560

You don’t need any expensive or fancy equipment to do this. All you need is a smartphone, Facebook Live, and a few passionate students who are interested in showing people around, like Steph and Matt.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also virtual tours that are created using virtual reality technology. The virtual tour can then be added to your Facebook Page, like how Yale University did.

Yale University VR campus tour

4. Use Messenger to answer inquiries

In the past, emails and phone calls are the most common ways of contacting universities. With the rise of social media and messaging apps, Facebook Messenger opened up another communication channel between universities and students.

For example, Harvard University has a “Send Message” call-to-action on their Facebook Page. According to the Facebook, the Harvard University team typically replies to messages instantly.

Harvard University Facebook Messenger

If you are unable to check your Page’s messages regularly throughout your workday, you could use Facebook’s Response Assistant to set up automated greetings and replies to let students know that you’ll get back to them soon. You can find this under your Page “Settings” > “Messaging”.

Facebook Page Response Assistant

5. Welcome and bring new students together

Starting university life can be quite scary to many. It can be worse if you do not know anyone else going to the same university as you. So many universities create Facebook Groups for new students to ask questions, interact with one another, and get information about events and activities.

For example, the University of California, Davis creates a new Facebook group for every batch of new students at the university, which is managed by a group of administrators from their marketing and communications team.

UC Davis Freshman Facebook Group

Such groups can allow new students to connect and interact with one another even before the university term starts. After the term has started, you can use this group to inform students about events and activities happening on the campus.

It’s also common to have Facebook Groups for the various degrees and residence halls. For example, the Student Union at the University of Warwick sets up an official Facebook Group for every hall annually so that students living in the same hall can get to know one another better and organize activities via the group.

University of Warwick Hall Facebook Groups

If you would like to create Facebook Groups for the students in your university, here’s our guide to help you get started.

6. Curate student-generated content

Beside sharing news and announcements from the university, you could also share photos and videos taken by students. This not only gives prospective students a view of the university from current students’ perspectives but also engages current students by featuring them on the university’s Facebook Page. How cool would that be!

For instance, the social media team at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) started a hashtag campaign, #CalPolyNow, to help share students’ voices and photos. Students would use the hashtags while posting on Instagram, and the team would re-post selected photos on the university Instagram account and cross-post some on their Facebook Page (with permission).

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCaliforniaPolytechnic%2Fposts%2F10156353018369367&width=500

If you feel that the students in your university are more active on Instagram, you could also link to the university’s Instagram account from the Facebook Page. Using Facebook apps such as Instatab or Instagram Page App, you can add your Instagram gallery to your Facebook Page for free. Here’s an example by Cal Poly:

Cal Poly Facebook Instagram Feed

Alternatively, you could curate Instagram posts taken by students and compile them into a Facebook photo album, like Brigham Young University did.

Brigham Young University student-generated content

7. Offer career advice and support

Not every student would know how to plan their career. I certainly didn’t know when I was in university. Thankfully, many universities now offer career planning advice and support. Facebook is a great way to spread these helpful resources to the student body.

For example, the Student Careers & Skills at the University of Warwick has a Facebook Page, where they share career advice and inform students of relevant career fairs and events.

University of Warwick Student Careers and Skills

(Fun fact: Our CEO Joel Gascoigne and I both went to the University of Warwick!)

8. Organize and promote university events

With Facebook, you can also easily organize and market events at your university. Instead of having to create a new website for an event, you can simply create an event page on Facebook, where you can state the date, time, venue, and details of the event.

For example, Imperial College London regularly uses Facebook to promote events at their university.

Imperial College London events

An additional advantage is that Facebook would help you spread the word about your events. When students indicate that they are going to an event, Facebook would show that to their friends either on their News Feed or via notifications. This can help attract more people to your events.

You could go one step further by boosting your event on Facebook (as in advertising it on Facebook). Once you have created your event page on Facebook, there’s a “Boost Event” button that’ll allow you to advertise your event. Here’s more information about creating an event ad on Facebook.

Facebook promote event

9. Create sub-Facebook Pages

If you were to search “uc berkeley” on Facebook, you’ll see not one but more than 50 Facebook Pages. There’s the main UC Berkeley Facebook Page but there’s also one for the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, one for the UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and many more.

UC Berkeley Facebook Pages

Every university is so diverse with many different departments, societies, and clubs. And each has its own unique set of audience. Rather than having one Facebook Page for the entire university, it’ll be more appropriate (and more fun) to have a Facebook Page for each group.

Of course, you do not have to manage every one of them as long as there’s someone within each group that is willing to. As the marketing team for the university, it’ll be great to lay out some guidelines or offer advice to the “marketer” in each group.

You can also give them an awareness boost by featuring them on the university’s main Facebook Page. If you like the Pages with the main Facebook Page, you can feature them by going to “Settings” > “Featured” and selecting which Pages you want to feature.

UC Berkeley featured Pages

To like another Page, click on the three dots below their cover photo and then “Like As Your Page”, and select the Page you want to like as.

Facebook Like As Your Page

10. Connect with alumni through Facebook Pages or Groups

We’ve talked a lot about marketing to prospective students and engaging current students. But staying in touch with the alumni is important, too. Alumni can help graduates jump-start their career and contribute through volunteering and fundraising.

For instance, Stanford University has several alumni Facebook Pages. On their main alumni Facebook Page, they share stories about their alumni and reminisce about the Stanford history.

Stanford Alumni Facebook Page

Over to you: What other ideas for you have?

Most students are on Facebook and are using Facebook Groups and Messenger to collaborate and communicate with one another. So Facebook is increasingly becoming an important channel for social media teams at universities to market, engage, and stay in touch with students. (The same can also be said for other social media networks such as Instagram and Twitter.)

As a recap, here are the 10 ideas I’ve found through my research and from my personal experience at university:

  1. Share news, achievements, and milestones
  2. Collect reviews from current and past students
  3. Provide virtual tours for prospective students
  4. Use Messenger to answer inquiries
  5. Welcome and bring new students together
  6. Curate student-generated content
  7. Offer career advice and support
  8. Organize and promote university events
  9. Create sub-Facebook Pages
  10. Connect with alumni through Facebook Pages or Groups

What other cool ideas can you think of that social media managers at universities can try? Are there anything special that you do at your university? It’ll be great to hear from you!

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about social media at universities, you might like our podcast interview with Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media at the University of Michigan.

The awesome featured image above is by Jason Leung, taken from Unsplash.

The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed

The Facebook algorithm is constantly evolving in order to provide a better experience for users.

But few changes to the algorithm have sparked as much interest and conversation as the recent ‘meaningful interactions’ update, in which Facebook said it would be prioritizing posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.

The reaction to this update was one of curiosity and worry from brands, publishers, and Facebook Page managers, wondering whether or not their organic reach would once again take a hit, causing them to reach an even smaller percentage of their audience on Facebook.

We were lucky enough to get an inside look at the brand new Facebook algorithm for 2018, directly from an exclusive News Feed webinar for publishers (thanks to Matt Navarra and Ned Berke).

Here’s everything we know about how the Facebook algorithm works and what marketers and brands can do to thrive on Facebook in 2018.

Let’s dive in!

The New Facebook Algorithm 2018: How It Works and What Brands Can Do To Succeed

How the Facebook algorithm and News Feed works (2018)

When a user visits Facebook, there are thousands of potential posts that might be displayed in their News Feed. The sophisticated algorithm takes these posts and arranges them according to how likely the user would be to interact with the content.

That’s the basic theory, at least. Let’s take an even deeper look.

In the recent Facebook News Feed webinar, their team broke the algorithm down into four, very simple components:

  • Inventory (content available)
  • Signals (considerations about content)
  • Predictions (considerations about person)
  • Overall Score

These four key algorithm factors serve the sole purpose of providing Facebook users with a better overall experience.

Signals are what we as brands and marketers can focus on in order to have our content seen by more users on the Facebook News Feed.

Previously, Facebook used all sorts of signals to determine which posts would be shown to users:

Facebook Algorithm and News Feed Update (Overview)

Now, the algorithm will use signals that heavily favor “active” interactions such as comments and shares:

Facebook Algorithm and News Feed Update (Important)

One reason why Facebook will be prioritizing posts from family and friends over public content from Pages is that they believe a person-to-person connection is more valuable than a person-to-page connection.

In other words, content from friends and family tends to spark more “active” engagement from users.

As Alaura Weaver writes in her Medium article on the importance of story-driven content, “Instead of focusing on what makes content popular and attention-grabbing, we need to focus on what makes content personal and conversation-worthy.”

Understanding each of the top signals and ranking factors in the Facebook algorithm is the first step in creating content that ranks well.

Top ranking factors in the Facebook algorithm

When considering the types of content that Facebook will favor in the News Feed moving forward, it’s important to distinguish between “active” and “passive” interactions.

Active interactions such as sharing, commenting, and reacting will hold much more weight than “passive” interactions such as clicking, viewing, or hovering.

Passive vs. Active Interactions

Let’s take a look at each active interaction in a bit more detail.

1.  Commenting

The signal at the very top of the new Facebook algorithm in 2018 is comments.

As Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, wrote in a January press release:

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”

However, it’s important to clarify that using “engagement bait” to goad people into commenting will actually result in a demotion of your posts in the News Feed.

Facebook Tag and Comment Baiting

Facebook Page admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics. More on that later in the post!

2. Sharing

Directly behind commenting in the new Facebook algorithm for 2018 is sharing.

In the graphic above on “signals” you might have noticed that Facebook mentions two types of sharing:

  • People sharing links or content within Messenger
  • Engagement with a publisher post shared by a friend

In other words, Facebook is placing a great deal of emphasis on posts that are shared publicly as well as privately.

The other key thing to notice here is that it’s no longer enough just to have someone share your post. Facebook will now favor shared posts that spark conversations among friends.

For example, if I share a post from Buffer’s Facebook Page and my friends start to comment on my shared post within the feed, then that post will continue to be shown to other people, increasing the post’s reach.

But if I share a post from Buffer’s Page and it receives no comments (or reactions) from my friends, then Buffer’s post will begin to be demoted in the News Feed.

Reactions, Comments, and Shares Importanct on Facebook

Keep a close eye on those shares moving forward!

3. Reacting

The third main signal that Facebook will factor into their algorithm moving forward is reactions. 

While not as strong as comments or shares, reactions remain a form of “active engagement” that will help brands’ posts reach more people within the News Feed.

We can’t expect everyone to share or comment on posts and so reactions are a great tertiary way for Facebook to judge the quality of the content. And according to Mark Zuckerberg in a recent Facebook post, quality is a crucial piece moving forward:

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos - even if they’re entertaining or informative - may not be as good”

Here’s a quick recap of what we know so far1:

Facebook Algorithm and News Feed Update

Let’s dive into a few actionable takeaways for brands!

What brands can do to succeed on Facebook

We know that, as brands, we need to focus on meaningful interactions. But what does that look like in action? Here are a few ways to ensure that your Page finds success in 2018.

How Brands Can Succeed with the Facebook Algorithm

1. Focus on content that connects people

Focusing on content that connects people through meaningful interactions may look and feel similar to your current Facebook strategy, but it’s a fundamental shift in how we might approach content moving forward.

Instead of creating content, for your brand, that people interact with, we need to start creating content, for the people, that will spark enough emotion to generate a comment or share.

Creating Great Content for Facebook

Creating content for the people requires us to truly understand our audience on a deep level:

  • What are your audience’s challenges?
  • What are your audience’s motivations?
  • What does your audience love to interact with?
  • What does your audience care about?

At Buffer, for example, I’ve found that our audience cares deeply about improving their marketing and social media skills in an actionable way. That simple piece of knowledge helps to guide every single piece of content we create for social media.

From videos:

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To links to our blog:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbufferapp%2Fposts%2F1873774122695026&width=500

Each piece of content that we share to Facebook serves a specific purpose: sparking emotion in our target audience so that they feel compelled to comment on or share our content with someone who might also find it interesting.

2. Post content that naturally creates meaningful interactions

There are some types of content that naturally spark more meaningful interactions among users. Video is one of those types of content, and it can have a powerful impact on your Facebook success.

In the recent Facebook News Feed update, Adam Mosseri provided an eye-opening stat:

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities”

Produced videos already perform better than both links and images in terms of engagement on Facebook, and now Facebook Live videos perform better than everything!

Check out this awesome example of Facebook Live video from Kohl’s where they teamed up with Tone It Up to bring viewers an interactive workout:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fkohls%2Fvideos%2F10154941547431248%2F&show_text=0&width=560

This video sparked more than 36,000 views, 115 comments, and 80 shares all while providing their audience with a memorable experience.

3. Activate niche communities through Facebook Groups

More than one billion people around the world use Facebook Groups. And more than 100 million people see Groups as the most important part of their experience on Facebook.

Groups are the perfect way to build an active and engaged community around topics, issues, and causes that they care about. Whether it’s social media marketing, traveling, fashion, or anything else, there’s a huge group of people out there waiting to connect with like-minded people.

Facebook Group Types

The real secret to Facebook Groups is the fact that they generate conversations among your audience and connect people from all over the world.

That’s why we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in the usage of groups and messaging apps over the past several years. In the sea of News Feed content, groups and message apps offer people a more private and personal way to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

By creating a Facebook Group for your community, you are providing an open space where people can collaborate.

Over to you

It sure is an exciting time in the world of Facebook!

I truly believe that the recent changes to the Facebook algorithm are a good thing for both users and brands in the long run.

Now is a perfect time to hone in on your Facebook strategy and work to develop meaningful content and an engaged community. With time and patience, I am sure you will continue to find success with your Page.

I’d love to hear any thoughts or questions you might have, too! 

Feel free to drop us a comment below anytime.

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How the Twitter Timeline Works (and 6 Simple Tactics to Increase Your Reach)

Understanding the social media algorithms is important to social media marketers, especially since it can heavily impact a brand’s reach on social media. We’ve talked about the Facebook News Feed algorithm and the Instagram Feed algorithm. This time, we would love to dive into the Twitter timeline algorithm.

Up until 2015, the Twitter timeline displays tweets in the reverse-chronological order. In an attempt to improve the Twitter experience, the team at Twitter has gradually introduced changes to how they show tweets on the timeline.

In this post, you’ll learn how the Twitter timeline algorithm works and six ways to increase your reach on Twitter in 2018.

Twitter Timeline Algorithm Explained (and 6 Ways to Increase Your Reach)

How does the Twitter timeline algorithm work?

Before we dive into the specifics, it might be helpful to know that the Twitter timeline algorithm is constantly changing.

Twitter runs dozens of tests with its timeline every month. In fact, Deepak Rao, the product manager of the Twitter timeline, said, “Our algorithm changes on an almost daily to weekly basis”. As the Twitter timeline algorithm has helped to increase Twitter’s key metrics, it’s likely that Twitter will continue to test new ideas with its timeline1.

But here’s a piece of good news: Twitter would probably not use a fully-algorithmic timeline, unlike the Facebook News Feed or Instagram feed. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, had said that Twitter will remain live and real-time2.

Okay, let’s get into the algorithm.

The Twitter timeline algorithm

Twitter timeline algorithm summary

The Twitter timeline consists of three main sections:

  1. Ranked tweets
  2. “In case you missed it”
  3. Remaining tweets in reverse-chronological order

Every time you open the Twitter app or visit twitter.com, the algorithm will study all the tweets from accounts you follow and give each of them a relevance score based on several factors. According to Twitter and Rao, here are some of the factors3:

  • The tweet itself: its recency, presence of media cards (image or video), and overall engagement (including retweets, clicks, favorites, and time spent reading it)
  • The tweet’s author: your past interactions with this author, the strength of your connection to them, and the origin of your relationship
  • You: tweets you found engaging in the past, how often and how heavily you use Twitter

Then, Twitter will put the tweets that it thinks would be engaging to you in the first two sections – ranked tweets and “In case you missed it”.

The intent is to let you see the best Tweets at a glance first before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.

Nicolas Koumchatzky, Staff Software Engineer at Twitter

Ranked tweets

Ranked tweets

This section will appear at the top of your timeline and isn’t distinctly different from the regular timeline on first glance. But it contains only tweets that Twitter thinks are relevant to you. According to Twitter, the selected tweets should still be ordered reverse-chronologically4. (But from my personal experience, they might not be.)

For example, in the screenshot above, the tweets were from several hours ago (when I took the screenshot). I believe this is what the algorithm did:

  • It calculated that these are the tweets I might most likely be interested in,
  • pulled them out from all the tweets on my timeline, and
  • placed them at the top of my timeline.

Even though there were many tweets in between these tweets, the algorithm decided that these are more relevant to me than the rest. So it ranked them at the top of my timeline.

I found that these selected tweets were often liked or commented on by the accounts I follow. I believe the assumption is that if the accounts I follow interacted with these tweets, I would likely interact with them, too.

“In case you missed it”

In case you missed it

This section does as its name suggests. It shows you tweets that you might be interested in but might not see in the old timeline as they were from quite some time ago.

This module seems to only appear in your timeline when you have been away from Twitter for several hours or days5. Similar to the ranked tweets section, this section contains tweets that Twitter thinks are relevant to you. But the selected tweets are ordered according to their relevance score and might be from many hours or days ago.

For example, as you can see in the example above, the tweets were not ordered reverse-chronologically. They were also from more than 10 hours ago – which I might not have seen if I were just scrolling through a reverse-chronological timeline.

Remaining tweets

Remaining tweets

After the two sections, you’ll see the rest of the tweets from accounts you follow in the original reverse-chronological order. Just like the old Twitter timeline.

In this section (and sometimes in the two above), you’ll also find retweets, promoted tweets, and suggested accounts to follow. You might even see tweets from accounts you don’t follow. These are often tweets that Twitter thinks will make your timeline more relevant and interesting.

According to Twitter, you might also see “events featured at the top of your timeline labeled as Happening now” in the mobile app6.

Do all these match your experience with the Twitter timeline? If not, it’ll be great to hear from you in the comments section below!

Section separator

How to increase your reach on Twitter in 2018

Just like the Facebook News Feed algorithm and Instagram feed algorithm, engagement seems to be a major factor in the Twitter timeline algorithm. When your tweets receive many interactions, they would be ranked at the top of your followers’ timeline and, sometimes, even shown to people who aren’t following you.

This is a great benefit of the Twitter timeline algorithm – a ripple effect.

“It has also ensured that the most popular tweets are far more widely seen than they used to be, enabling them to go viral on an unprecedented scale.” – Will Oremus, Slate

Here’s a personal experience: Even though I only have about 2,000 Twitter followers, one of my recent top tweets has more than 11,000 impressions! That’s more than five times the number of followers I have.

My recent top tweet

So how do you increase your Twitter reach with the new timeline algorithm?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Re-use your top posts

It’s generally accepted to tweet the same content often. Sometimes even a few times a day. Instead of re-using any tweet, choose only your top tweets. That’s because, with the help of the new timeline algorithm, popular tweets can spread further and wider.

For example, here’s a piece of content that we recently tweeted twice.

The first tweet received 162 retweets, 186 likes, and more than 51,000 impressions. The second did even better – 208 retweets, 252 likes, and more than 57,000 impressions.

Re-use top tweets

A way to re-use your top posts is through the analytics in your Buffer dashboard. Under the “Posts” tab, select “Most Popular” and choose your preferred timeframe.

Buffer analytics

From there, simply hit “Re-Buffer” to add that tweet to your Buffer queue again. I would recommend also sharing new content so that your followers aren’t seeing only recycled content.

If you aren’t using Buffer, you can find your top tweets in your Twitter analytics and re-publish them manually.

2. Experiment with posting times

Even though some tweets will be ranked according to the new algorithm, most tweets will be shown in the reverse-chronological order. This means that finding the best posting time is still relevant and important. When you find posting times that increase your engagement, you are also increasing your chances of your tweets being featured at the top of your followers’ timeline.

More engagement, more impressions. More impressions, more engagement.

The best way to find your optimal posting times is to experiment with various times. Twitter tools like Followerwonk and Tweriod can tell you when your followers are most active on a typical day. The most-active times are good starting points to test.

For instance, below is the breakdown of the activity of my followers.

Followerwonk

Looking at the peaks, I might start by experimenting with the following times:

  • 5 am
  • 10 am
  • 12 pm
  • 4 pm
  • 8 pm

Tip: With Followerwonk, you can easily create a Buffer schedule for your Twitter account with a click of a button – Schedule at Buffer.

3. Try Twitter videos

Videos are slowly becoming the top content type. According to HubSpot’s research, videos are one of the top content types that people want to see more of in the future7.

Consumption behavior research

And social media platforms have been responding to this new consumption trend.

Facebook has been pushing for videos in the last few years. LinkedIn has recently introduced native LinkedIn videos. Furthermore, Twitter found that videos are six times more likely to be retweeted than photos and three times more likely to be retweeted than GIFs8.

Here are a few quick ways you can get started with videos:

  • Videos with text: If your brand has a blog, go through your Google Analytics to find your top evergreen blog posts. Then, use tools like Animoto or Lumen5 to help you easily convert your blog posts into videos.
  • Recordings or interviews: You can also record yourself sharing tips (BIGVU Teleprompter can be helpful for this) or interview someone on your team.
  • Live videos with Periscope: If you’re brave enough, try recording yourself live. As an example, we recently did a live Q&A on Periscope.

4. Use hashtags strategically

The hashtag was created on Twitter and remains to be an effective tactic when used appropriately. One of the best ways to use hashtags is to create branded hashtags – hashtags that are tied to your brand.

One of our branded hashtags is #bufferchat, which we use for our weekly Twitter chat. We have been using this hashtag for more than three years now. Most people in our community are familiar with it and would check the hashtag even when the Twitter chat is over. The result?

Our #bufferchat tweets sometimes get more impressions than many of our regular tweets.

Buffer tweets

Here’s more. When people join our Twitter chat and use the hashtag, they help to increase the reach of the hashtag (and, indirectly, our brand). With the help of our awesome community, the #bufferchat hashtag reaches millions of people every week!

If you would like to start a Twitter chat, you might find these two blog posts useful:

5. Reply to mentions

When we think about reach and engagement, we often think about our tweets and not our replies. But that’s missing the secret reach of those replies. Replies on Twitter can receive impressions and engagement, just as if you are sharing a piece of content.

This customer support reply by Karinna was seen more than 3,000 times.

Twitter reply 1

This #bufferchat reply by Arielle was seen nearly 3,000 times.

Twitter reply 2

Most of our replies don’t get many impressions – about 100 to 200 each. But considering that we sent hundreds of replies every day, that can add up very quickly!

Furthermore, the new timeline algorithm seems to feature replies more prominently on your followers’ timeline if they are also following the other account.

Twitter replies

Besides increasing your reach, it is a great Twitter practice and is beneficial to your business. In a study with more than 3,000 Twitter users, Twitter found several benefits to replying to questions from customers9:

  • People are willing to spend three to 20 percent more when the business answers their tweets.
  • They are 44 percent more likely to share their experiences.
  • And they are also 30 percent more likely to recommend the business.

6. Promote your tweets

As organic reach is falling, most social media platforms are becoming a pay-to-play channel. If you have some budget to spare, you could perhaps experiment with some Twitter ads.

Twitter has made it easier to boost a single tweet (just like on Facebook). Here’s how:

First, find the tweet that you want to promote. Oftentimes, tweets that have done well organically will perform even better when promoted. Click on the bar chart icon at the bottom of the tweet.

Promote tweet

Then, click on “Promote your tweet” in the lower-left corner of the popup. You’ll be prompted to fill in your personal information and credit card details if this is the first time you’re promoting a tweet.

Get started with Twitter ads

Then, set your location and budget. The location and budget options are a little limited compared with Facebook’s “Boost post”, which makes it easier to choose. If you prefer more fine-tuning, you could head over to your Twitter ads manager to create a new campaign from scratch.

Twitter ads: Location and budget

Finally, click “Confirm spend” to start your promotion. Yay!

Twitter is even testing an automated tweet promotion service. For $99 a month, Twitter will automatically amplify your tweets and profile to help you increase your reach, engagement, and following. This service is still in beta but might be opened up to brands if it goes well. (We have tested it ourselves, and here are our results!)

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What’s your favorite Twitter tip?

As Twitter continues to evolve, it’s important for marketers to keep up with the changes. While the Twitter timeline might not become fully algorithmic, organic reach will continue to fall as more and more people and businesses tweet. Understanding how the Twitter timeline works can help you increase your reach and engagement.

Here are six things you could try in 2018 to increase your Twitter reach:

  1. Re-use your top posts
  2. Experiment with posting times
  3. Try videos
  4. Use hashtags strategically
  5. Reply to mentions
  6. Promote your tweets

What other Twitter tactics would you recommend us to try? Share them below and we can chat about them. Thanks!

Topic: Twitter marketing

The awesome featured image is by William Bout, taken from Unsplash.

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5 Facebook Advertising Tips to Help You Maximize Your Budget in 2018

If you want to be successful on Facebook in 2018, you’ll need more than just incredible content.

In fact, Facebook marketing success is as much about distribution as it is content. Especially as organic reach in Facebook’s News Feed continues to decline for many Pages.

So how do you get your Facebook content in front of more people? And not just any people, the right people – your target audience.

In 2018, many businesses are turning to Facebook ads as a way to boost the performance of their content. In our State of Social 2018 report we found that:

  • 94% of businesses have invested in advertising on Facebook; and
  • 67% of businesses intend to increase their social media advertising budget in 2018.

Added to our findings, Forrester believes that the total US digital marketing spend will be near $120 billion by 2021, meaning investment is still on an upward curve.

So when it comes to creating the perfect Facebook Ads for your business, what factors should you consider?

Here are five Facebook advertising tips to help you get the most bang for your buck in 2018…

1. Think about who you’re targeting

With Facebook advertising, it’s not so much about reaching the most people as it is reaching the right people.

Sure, big numbers look awesome on your reports, but you need to reach people who are open to discovering your content, curious about your business and receptive to your message. And that’s probably fewer people than you think.

When it comes to targeting and reaching your audience with a super-relevant message, you need to understand:

  • What platforms your audiences use?
  • What types of language they use and how do they communicate?
  • What types of content they engage with most often?

More often than not, you can find the answers to these questions through data and research.

One of the best places to look to learn more about your audience is Facebook’s Audience Insights.

Audience Insights gives you the opportunity to learn more about a specific audience. For example, by checking out Buffer’s insights I was able to learn:

1. People in our audience also tend to like other ‘software companies’ like Moz, Mailchimp, and WordPress. As well as ‘internet companies’ like Hootsuite, ClickFunnels, and Salesforce. With this data, we begin “watching” these Pages to keep an eye on what’s working for them.

2. 35% of our audience work in management. This could help us to think about the language we use in out Facebook adverts as well as the story we tell.

3. People in our audience are more likely to click on an advert than the average Facebook user.

This only scratches the surface of what you can learn about your audience from Facebook’s Audience Insights.

To check the Audience Insights for your own Page head to: https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights/ and choose the “People connected to your Page” option:

And then you can drill down your data even further using the options on the left-hand panel:

You can use these newfound learnings about your audience to create even more targeted ads and craft messages that you know will connect with your prospective customers.

For example, at Buffer, when we wanted to boost our podcast downloads, we created an audience of people we knew would be interested in our ads before spending a dollar. As Brian explains on his blog, we:

  1. Created a custom audience of people who had visited our blog or Buffer.com
  2. Added an additional layer of targeting to only deliver ads to people using iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices
  3. Promoted our most popular podcast episodes as we knew this content would appeal to our audience

This approach resulted in 3,870 clicks to our podcast episodes for a spend of $922.

2. Tell a great story

Stories are an integral part of human communication. And storytelling – whether in-person, through the written word, or social media – plays an important role in building connections with others.

When you’re planning on creating Facebook Ads, stories are essential to capture the interest of your target customers.

Take Refinery 29, an independent fashion and lifestyle website, for example. The brand generated two different Facebook ad campaigns, both aimed at bringing in new subscribers to their website.

The first campaign featured some eye-catching creative and a clear call-to-action to subscribe. Whereas the second ad set guided the viewer through a simple narrative including an introduction to the brand, an article from the brand, and then a call-to-action to subscribe. Ads for both campaigns were served in News Feed to lookalike audiences.

Here’s a glimpse at how the ads looked:

Campaign #1 (creative + call-to-action):

Campaign #2 (with narrative):

The results were fascinating:

  • Among those who were exposed to the sequenced, narrative-focused ads compared with those who were exposed to the non-sequenced ads, there was an 87% increase in people visiting the landing page
  • There was a 56% increase in subscription rates among people who were exposed to the sequenced ads compared with those who were exposed to the non-sequenced ads

When you’re planning your Facebook campaigns, think about how you can create a narrative and tell stories within your ads in order to build a stronger connection with your target audience.

For more on how you can use storytelling techniques in your social media posts and ads, check out this guide.

3. Monitor performance and adjust in real-time

Social media has changed the world of advertising a great deal.

Back 10-15 years ago, if you ran an advert on TV, radio or even online, you didn’t really have any idea how it was being received in real time.

Now, social media enables you to monitor your ad performance from the moment you set the campaign live.

It might be tempting to set your ad campaigns live and then come back to check performance once each campaign is completed. But by doing this, you’re missing out on massive opportunities to enhance the performance of each of your ads.

Monitoring your Facebook Ads campaigns in real-time enables you to know whether or not your ads are resonating with people and allows you to make adjustments as you go along. For example:

  • If your clicks are slightly lower than expected, it could be worth optimizing your call-to-action.
  • If your engagement isn’t where you want it to be, you could create a new ad set with updated creative.
  • If your reach is too low, try updating your audience targeting parameters.

You can view the performance data for your ads in Facebook Ads Manager:

By clicking on a particular campaign you can also view the performance of each individual ad within that campaign:

And to tweak a particular ad, click on “edit” link underneath the ad title and window will slide in enabling you to make changes:

You can make the following edits to your ads without creating an entirely new campaign:

  • Change your audience
  • Change your budget & schedule
  • Change your optimization & delivery choices
  • Change your placements
  • Change your ad creative

Chances are you won’t create the perfect ad first time around. It takes a lot of experimentation and learning to nail down ads that will deliver results for your business.

Ideally, you want to create several ad sets and ads before you start your campaign and then eliminate under-performing ads as your campaign progresses.

It can take a couple of days before you have enough campaign data to start measuring ad performance. Julian Shapiro recommends waiting until you have at least 2,000 reach per ad (number of people who’ve seen your ad) before comparing the performance of your various ads.

Once you’ve identified the ads that are performing well, then you can continue to iterate on those to get drive more value from your ad spend.

For example, in the below image you can see we:

  1. Started out with three ad variants
  2. Stopped running the under-performing ads
  3. Created an additional variation of the best-performing ad

Note: One of the factors that determines how Facebook will distribute your ads is how each ad is received by your audience. So if your original ad sets are completely underperforming across the board, it can be a better strategy to start a whole new campaign rather than tweaking your existing ads. The above strategy works best to tweak ads that are already performing reasonably well.

4. Track the right metrics for your business

Before you start thinking about launching any Facebook Ads campaign, I would encourage you to think clearly about how you will measure the performance of your ads.

For example, are metrics like brand awareness and email subscribers your #1 focus, or maybe you’re focused fully on driving leads.

In our State of Social 2018 report, we found that most marketers (42 percent) measure the success of their ads by how much engagement they receive, with leads (17 percent) and sales (15 percent) being the second and third most common measures of ROI:

Having a clear measurement of success in mind before you kick off any advertising campaign will help you to understand the performance of your ads and make any needed adjustments to ensure you’re delivering maximum value for your business.

Our State of Social 2018 report also uncovered that companies that invest in social media ads are more than twice as likely to say social media marketing is “very effective” for their business:

So if you feel that social media isn’t delivering the desired results for your business, it could be worth experimenting with Facebook Ads to see if paid social media marketing can help you get the results you’re after.

5. Think long-term

The important thing with Facebook (or any kind of advertising or marketing) is to have a long-term strategy behind your actions.

Let’s say you create an ad set targeting engagement. Awesome! But what’s the long-term plan here? How will you turn this initial engagement into something more tangible for your business?

For example, if you’re running a health and fitness business that sells online exercise programs, you might run a video ad showcasing a simple home workout. This ad would be aimed at engagement and getting as many people to view, like and share your video as possible.

But instead of being the first and final piece of the jigsaw, this could act as a starting point to get new prospects into your funnel.

Using the Facebook pixel, you could then create a custom audience for people that have watched more than 10 percent of the video. Then, you could run an ad towards those people for a class schedule that’s hosted on your website or a trial of your exercise program. So even engagement campaigns can fit into your long-term strategy.

Here’s a simplified look at that campaign might look:

  • Ad Set 1: A video ad showing a simple home workout for people in our audience who are interested in fitness
  • Ad Set 2: A carousel ad looking to drive clicks to our website and increase brand awareness amongst people who watched 10 percent of the video in Ad Set 1
  • Ad Set 3: A conversion focused ad aiming to get people who clicked the link in the previous ad to become customers of our fitness company

You should also consider your customer lifetime value (LTV) before jumping into ads. LTV is the amount of revenue you generate from your average customer in their lifespan with your company.

If you’re selling subscriptions to an online tool at $30 per month and your average customer stays for 12 months your LTV would be $360.

A general rule is that you should aim to acquire customers for no more than one-third of your LTV. So with an LTV of $360, you might want to set your customer acquisition budget at $120 per new customer.

Over to you

Facebook advertising has proven incredibly valuable to thousands of businesses across the globe and I hope these quick tips will help you to make the most of your advertising budget in 2018.

Has your business invested in Facebook advertising yet? I’d love to hear your experiences and any Facebook advertising tips you might have.

Huge thanks to Buffer’s resident Facebook Ads whizz, Brian Peters, for his edits and suggestions for this piece.