Wednesday, June 28, 2017

16 Video Marketing Statistics to Inform Your Q4 Strategy [Infographic]

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As marketers find more innovative ways to attract audiences, video has become a meaningful part of the strategic conversation.

Video is long past the status of an "up-and-coming" marketing tactic. It's here, and it's an increasingly powerful way to communicate your brand story, explain your value proposition, and build relationships with your customers and prospects. 

The most recent statistics show that video content isn't just effective -- the demand for it is growing at an impressively rapid pace. Did you know, for example, that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers? Or that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI?

To learn more about how video marketing can help convert customers and increase engagement with your brand, check out the infographic below from Vidyard (and for even more information, check out its Video in Business Benchmark Report). It breaks down 16 compelling video marketing statistics in the context of viewing platforms, distribution channels, business video consumption habits, and more.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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The Best New Type of Content to Support a Product Launch: A HubSpot Experiment

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Here at HubSpot, we obsess over our product -- how it’s built, where it’s headed, and how we talk about it. Every update, from minor feature tweaks to major product launches, are pored over by a team. Developers and product managers handle the creation and vision of individual products. Product marketers own the story of the product, with the goal of creating the narrative that defines the product.

That story should explain why the product is important, who it was made for, how it can be used, and the value it adds. It’s these stories that bring to life campaigns across marketing and sales, and help us grow. Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30 days.

To execute that well, we've had to build a well-established promotion playbook -- a guide that outlines what to do, and when, for each type of launch. But a playbook alone doesn't tell a compelling story: one that not only explains what the product is, but also contains valuable information that can help marketers in the long-term. That content is evergreen, and we thought, "Hey, maybe we should focus on that when we launch something new."

One of those launches was for our Ads add-on. This is the story of that product -- and how we shifted our content strategy playbook for it.

A Test of Evergreen Product Marketing Content and Organic Traffic

The Hypothesis

Content with an evergreen appeal will have more impact on a product launch than our standard, short-term traffic launch posts -- even if the evergreen posts take more time and energy to create."

A piece of content that stays relevant over time is more likely to perform better in organic search and continue to support a product launch for months without decay. In our previous experiments, for example, we’ve found that 92% of our monthly blog leads -- not to mention, 76% of monthly blog views -- came from posts of this nature.

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That contrasts with our typical product launch playbook, which generally includes a few short-term promotional blog posts and other content, the relevance of which has a briefer shelf life, and tends to receive the highest amount of traffic from email subscribers. For example, when we launched new Sales products at INBOUND 2016, we supported the announcement with this blog post, which receives 59% of its traffic from email -- versus only 9.9% from organic searches. This month it's received a grand total of seven views.

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It was the prospect of longer-term impact -- which is often accompanied by a high organic search volume -- that informed our objective: to build an amazing piece of evergreen content around a product launch that would continue to be useful to marketers (our target audience) for years, while also conveying the key messages of the product’s story. It would not only introduce readers to the value of the new tools, but might also engage our core audience by providing longer-term actionable insights and takeaways.

What We Did

Key Methods

First, we looked at what some of our favorite content creators were producing. One thing that particularly stood out to us was The New York Times' “Rent or Buy” calculator: a half-content, half-web-app property that allowed readers to manipulate different quantitative properties on a sliding scale -- like home prices or length of stay -- but also contained accompanying copy to add context to the resulting calculations.

We needed something like that: a piece of written content that also served as a free tool, and could help people obtain the data they needed before getting the most out of our product. In this case, that product was our Ads add-on.

We knew from conversations with customers that marketers often longed for a seamless way to figure out how much to spend on ads before actually using a product that would measure and display the ROI of that spend. Sure, a free online ad spend calculator wasn’t exactly a new idea, but we wanted to build something different: a piece of content with sliders that allowed marketers to manipulate different inputs.

The Framework

This wasn’t going to be easy. It would require development work, prototyping, and content composition. It would be a considerable investment of time and effort -- we estimated about 5X that of typical launch content. If it worked, the experiment would be valuable. But if it didn’t, there was the possibility that, considering the aforementioned resources, it might be a long time before we had the opportunity to test something like this again. It was a big bet -- but it was one we were willing to place.

Ultimately, our plan was to launch a central site page that the ads calculator "lived" on, with other supporting initiatives around it. This included:

  • A small email campaign
  • Social media promotion
  • A blog campaign

Success -- or the lack thereof -- would be measured by the amount of traffic to the central ads calculator page. It launched in July 2016.

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The Results

Initially, we saw a big spike in the post’s overall page impressions, as well as requests for product demos that were driven by a call to action (CTA) placed at the bottom of the page: 

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But, there was a catch: It appeared that this spike was largely driven only by the supporting pieces -- the email, social media, and accompanying blog promotions.

In the month following the launch, when those pieces were no longer timely, only 673 people visited the page, which was far below our projections and a number that could have been easily achieved from a “normal” blog post. Plus, only 200 of those views came from organic searches, which were generating less traffic than social referrals and direct visits. To say the least, it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for.

But here’s the thing about evergreen content, and the organic search traffic that you hope will come with it: It’s called long-term traffic for a reason.

For that reason, we didn’t draw any conclusions after the post-launch month, and instead, continued to observe its organic traffic performance month over month. We had faith that our experiment would work, and with the tool working as it should, just left it alone. And sure enough -- month over month -- organic traffic began to grow.

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Each month, the tool continues to see more traffic. Organic search is now our second-highest source of visits, comprising about half of our best-performing month’s traffic -- which was May 2017, close to a year after the launch. As of writing this post, we’ve seen 19,851 total views, over 30% of which are driven from organic searches. What’s more, the end-of-page CTA has generated close to 300 requests for demos of the Ads add-on.

In other words, people are finding the tool useful, coming back, and spending a significant amount of time with it. Each month, organic and referral traffic is growing, signaling that the tool -- and the overarching content that accompanies it -- can continue to serve a purpose to marketers in the long-term.

What We Learned

This approach to content can absolutely be followed. It is worth mentioning that we have access to front-end developers who were able to build this free tool -- if you have those kinds of resources, we encourage you to consider which similar tools you can build that are relevant to your products and services.

But if you’re short on that kind of staffing, we also encourage you to take inventory of your current content, blog posts included, and determine if any of them can be repurposed to serve these same long-term goals. It’s an important question to ask as you create new content, as well as, “Will this still be relevant in a year?”

Often, taking this approach to what you create can extend its shelf life. Can your blog post about a current trend, for example, be broadened or repurposed to cover a larger, more macro trend that will maintain relevance beyond the immediate timeframe?

And while we don’t take this approach for all content, after the success of the Ads Calculator, we do actively seek more opportunities to build something evergreen. We feel strongly that our hypothesis was proven true: that sometimes, producing less, higher-impact, evergreen content works better than one-off posts. We also believe that could indicate a larger trend around different types of media consolidating, like embedded audio within blog posts, or more posts that combine applications with written copy. It’s interactive -- and, it provides engaging value for the reader.

Have you used evergreen content in a similar way? Let us know about your best experiments in the comments --and hey, we might even feature it on our blog.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The 7 Best Office Music Playlists for Productivity

office-music-compressor.jpgNot long after I first started at HubSpot, I was welcomed with a fresh pair of orange, noise-cancelling headphones. At the time, I had no clue that these headphones would carry me through many long work days and some of the deepest, darkest levels of writer's block. 

Over two years later, they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

You see, for me, listening to music while working is the secret to my productivity. All it takes is the right 

Beyoncé track, and I go from idle to uber productive. (Seriously, it works like a charm.)

The trouble is, finding the perfect playlist isn't always easy. With endless streaming music possibilities at my fingertips, it can be hard to nail down just the right tunes to get the wheels turning. So, I did what we do best around here -- a little research. Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your productivity at work.

As it turns out, there are a ton of studies that explore the influence of specific types of music as they relate to your productivity levels. To help you find just the right mix, we've sourced and curated seven Spotify playlists designed with specific studies in mind. Whether you're into Mozart or Chance The Rapper, we're confident that there's something on this list that will do the trick.

Note: Some of the playlists contain tracks with explicit language that might not be suitable for the office.

7 Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity

1) Classical Music

One of the most frequently cited studies related to music and productivity is the "Mozart Effect," which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a brief period each day can boost "abstract reasoning ability." The study -- led by researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky -- employed 36 Cal-Irvine students who were divided into three groups. Group one listen to a Mozart selection, while group two listened to a relaxation tape, and group three endured 10 minutes of silence. After the listening activity, all 36 students were issued the same test, in which the Mozart group averaged an eight-to-nine point increase in their IQs, compared to the remaining groups.

Since then, the "Mozart Effect" has been hotly contested, but many researchers have gone on to explore the mental benefits of learning and listening to classical music. One recent study, for example, found that elementary-school-aged children who participated in music composition education outperformed students in a control group on reading comprehension.

Think classical music might work for you? Check out this classical-influenced playlist to find out for yourself:

2) Video Game Soundtracks

"Choosing the right video game soundtrack to work to is all about understanding what type of music motivates vs. distracts you when you need to concentrate," says HubSpot's Director of Marketing Acquisition (and former video game marketing consultant) Emmy Jonassen.

"For example, if you're the type who gets amped and focused listening to high-energy music, rhythm game soundtracks, like those from Thumper or Klang, could work well. Conversely, if you need calm to concentrate, the serene soundtracks from exploration games, like ABZÛ and Journey, may do the trick. With thousands of games releasing every year, including many independent titles, there is a soundtrack to suit everyone's ear," she went on to explain.

Think about it: Playing a video game requires a lot of focus. To make it to the next level, players commonly have to avoid traps, dodge obstacles, and discover secret tools that will help them progress to the next level. As a result, the music selection for video games is often very strategic, in that modern soundtracks tend to reflect epic, inspiring cinematic scores rather than just basic sound effects.

And while studies have revealed mixed results, there is evidence to support that gamers can experience improved performance by playing a game with the volume on. For example, when psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan and her colleagues John Baxa and Matt Spackman specifically honed in on the game "Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda)," they found that participants who played with both music and sound effects off performed worse than those who played with it on.

Want to try it on for size? Check out the playlist below:

3) Nature Sounds

According to psychophysical data and sound-field analysis published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, listening to "natural" sounds could enhance cognitive functioning, optimize your ability to concentrate, and increase your level of satisfaction.

Think: Waves crashing, birds chirping, streams trickling, and the like.

That could explain why more consumer-facing brands -- from Google Home to the newer Noisli -- are introducing such ambient sound features to help listeners relax or focus. It might also be behind Spotify's multiple nature-themed playlists, like this soothing one:

4) Pump Up Songs

After observing that many athletes arrive at the stadium wearing headphones, Kellogg School of Management professor Derek Rucker and three of his colleagues -- Loran Nordgren, Li Huang, and Adam Galinsky -- set out to answer the question: Does listening to the right kind of music make us feel more powerful or in control?

So, back in 2014, the group of researchers set up a study to gauge how music might influence motivation and subsequent behavior. First, they played several songs for participants in a lab, and asked them -- on a scale of one to seven -- how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt after listening to each song. There were three "high power" winners: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”

Then, to gauge how the music would influence their behavior, they asked participants to listen to the music and then determine whether or not they'd like to go first or second in a debate. As it turned out, those who listened to the high-power playlist volunteered to go first almost twice as often as those who listened to a less powerful playlist.

The lesson? “Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind,” Rucker explained, “you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered.”

Next time you're looking to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this roundup:

Want more? Check out my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener's picks here.

5) Instrumental Songs

In 2015, Middle Tennessee State University researchers Carol A. Smith and Larry W. Morris discovered that students who listened to "sedative" music during a test scored higher than those who listened to lyrical music. (That somewhat contrasts their initial findings 39 years earlier, which showed that while music didn't reveal an impact on test scores, those who listened to "stimulative music" showed a significant increase in worry and highly emotional reactions.)

That isn't to say that it's entirely impossible to cross things off your list while listening to songs with words -- I actually prefer lyrical music, but my colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, has joked about hip hop verses accidentally slipping into her first drafts when she listens to songs with words. If you're like she is and find that lyrics are too distracting, you may want to experiment with some instrumental options.

For those times, check out these lyric-less tunes -- we promise they won't put you to sleep:

6) "Feel Good" Songs

Buried in deadlines? Trying to unearth yourself from an email mountain after some time out of the office? Regretting that you came back? Whatever's bugging you, sometimes, the best remedy for productivity loss is a solid dose of "feel good" tunes -- you know, the kind that make you spontaneously use a pen as a pantomimed microphone.

But scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other physical pleasures. Researchers at McGill University, for example, discovered that when participants received the opiod-production-blocking drug naltrexone, they didn't respond as positively to their favorite tunes as they might normally. The verdict? Our brains are trained to naturally produce these chemicals when we hear our preferred playlist.

And while "feel good" songs vary from person to person, a search for Spotify playlists with those very keywords yields dozens of results. That said, here's one of our favorites:

Can't get enough? Here are a few more suggestions from my colleague Amanda.

7) White Noise

According to the BBC, about 70% of us work in open-concept work spaces -- myself included. And while it's great to be able to turn our colleagues next door and ask, "Hey, what's another word for ... ?", many find background chatter distracting.

If that's the case, you're certainly not alone -- according to a study led by Yamaguchi University, "When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of 'annoyance,' leading to a decline in performance."

But without an office to call your own, what's a writer or number-cruncher to do? Neutral, non-verbal background sounds like white noise, which is not the same as nature sounds, can help to block out these distractions -- things like the din of a restaurant or shopping mall, an electric fan, or even laundry machines.

And in case you're wondering -- yes. Like all of the above, there is a playlist for that:

So go forth -- focus, get pumped, feel good, and rock out.

What are your favorite songs for getting work done? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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6 Digital Storytelling Lessons from Pottermore

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As technology continues to lower the cost of content production, today’s end user is asked to digest more stories than ever before -- in conversation, in written text, at the movies, in advertisements, and even through web design. With so much to absorb, it’s essential for digital marketers to differentiate their content and deliver an incredible experience.

To better understand recent advancements and best practices in digital storytelling, look no further than the creative writing greats. J.K. Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter book series, has sold 450 million Harry Potter books in print, worldwide. Though the first book in the series was published nearly 20 years ago, the content continues to take new shapes through her site, Pottermore.

Launched in 2012, Pottermore is the global digital publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, “dedicated to unlocking the power of imagination.”

In this post, I'll discuss six ways Pottermore pushes the digital storytelling envelope. Apply them to your own strategy to deliver content that strengthens relationships with your community.

6 Lessons in Digital Storytelling from J.K. Rowling

1) Offer Unique, Exclusive Content

Pottermore is the host and primary retailer of the enhanced editions of the Harry Potter books, but its unique content doesn’t stop there. Visitors also gain access to new writing released by J.K. Rowling, free of charge. Her pieces flesh out existing plot points and provide further context to the original stories. To the delight of many fans, the site additionally posts sanctioned articles on all things Harry Potter that dive into niche topics and plot points.

In short, Pottermore is the destination for Harry Potter content.

This is a primary goal for digital storytellers: to develop a lauded reputation for a certain content type. This is achieved through time, consistency, and promotion. To build hype for the first release of Pottermore in 2012, a restricted number of early birds were granted access to help put the finishing touches on the site. This layer of exclusivity drove press coverage, ensuring the larger release gained significant attention.

Takeaway for Marketers: As you build your own digital storytelling world, commit to a specific angle and consider how you can present it in a way that showcases what makes it valuable and original. Perhaps it’s a noteworthy writer, the fact you stay up to date on a specific trend, or that you leverage someone’s distinct professional experience.

On Pottermore, it’s J.K. Rowling’s words that draw fans in, but the most popular features of the site aren’t about the author -- they’re about the user.

2) Develop a Custom Experience

As J.K. Rowling describes in this original introductory trailer, “It’s the same story, with a few crucial editions. The most important one is you.”

In keeping with this vision, Pottermore asks visitors to create an account in order to access certain information. This allows Pottermore to learn and save information about each individual, and create a personalized experience.

To drive signups, Pottermore gates one of their most popular features -- quizzes. In order for visitors to assess their Hogwarts house, Patronus, or wand type, they must create a login.

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After creating an account, quiz results are saved, and users can return to read more about their results and view any purchases made to their personal account. With the information gained through the quizzes, Pottermore creates a user profile that reflects each unique individual and allows them to learn more about themselves in the context of this world.

Takeaway for Marketers: Information-gathering is the key to creating a custom experience. When you learn more about each individual user, you’re able to deliver digital stories in a way that resonates.

Pottermore uses quizzes, but you can also use less direct means to learn more about your readers, such as through Google Analytics’ suite of tools. You can always, however, ask for information directly. Users are often happy to submit information when they know the output will be an experience suited entirely to their tastes.

3) Create a Sense of Belonging

After completing Pottermore’s sorting quizzes, users are assigned to respective “houses.” This house, similar to the membership signup, creates a sense of belonging within the larger Pottermore community.

Ironically, this might be the single thing Harry Potter fans crave most from the original content: to finally join the book’s secret wizarding society that allegedly lives right under the reader’s nose.

To further foster this sense of community, Pottermore is also launching a new book club that will encourage discussion among users through a Twitter chat.

Takeaway for Marketers: To create a sense of belonging among your own community, you need to give your audience a way to identify as a part of the larger whole and participate. It helps to pay special attention to the language you use in your marketing efforts. J.K. Rowling placed heavy emphasis on the reader in her introductory trailer, referring to her fans as a “wonderful, diverse, and loyal.” Digital storytellers, too, must invite their audiences to enjoy content in a way that lets them know their perspectives and experiences are understood and appreciated.

Pay careful attention to the language you use in your invitation to resonate with your target audience. Use identifying phrases that help your readers understand that your content is especially for them.

4) Build a World

Your visitors will more likely feel a sense of belonging if you go so far as to create a digital “world.”

Luckily, you don’t need to be a fantasy author to create a content universe -- but it can be helpful to take a few cues from them. Part of what turns a fiction fan into a fanatic is that they’re invited into a unique world that is so fleshed out, it seems real. This augmented sense of reality makes it easier to forge a connection with the content, and imagine yourself inside of the story.

How, then, can you make your story, brand, or idea so well-fleshed out, that a user feels connected and a part of your universe?

Takeaway for Marketers: Like Pottermore, your “world” should be branded to have its own identity that attracts people to become a part of it. Another brand that pulls this off is REI. Its award-winning marketing campaign #OptOutside is an example of how consumers can attach themselves to the qualities associated with a company. By making it extremely clear what their brand represents, REI grew their community by throngs not for their products -- but for their ideals.

5) Provide Regular Updates and News

Another way you can continue to build the world of your story or brand is to regularly provide new content.

On Pottermore, in honor of the fact that the first book in the Harry Potter series was published nearly 20 years ago, posts that explore and celebrate the first book’s themes, moments, and characters are released every Friday.

The site also includes an entire page dedicated to official information and news around latest happenings related to the content. Several newsworthy pieces are released each month. This content keeps visitors informed, and also protects the brand from speculation, rumors, and incorrect reporting on other sites.

Takeaway for Marketers: When you take control of the news that’s shared about your organization, you develop a reputation as a trusted and transparent resource. You also appear more active and responsive to relevant current events. Establish a cadence for content creation, and stick to it to build an expectation and trust with your community members.

6) Reimagine Existing Content

Perhaps most trendsetting of all, Pottermore sells enhanced editions of the original books that reimagine the stories. In the spirit of magic, the new editions are complete with animations and interactive artwork. Their goal is to engage your imagination and create a new reading experience that brings you closer to the content than ever before.

The enhanced editions, and the site in general, are shining examples of how storytellers are taking it to the next level to create incredible experiences for their readers.

Takeaway for Marketers: When you work hard to publish valuable content regularly, it can feel disheartening to consider its digital shelf life. To make the most of your evergreen content, and avoid reinventing the wheel, think through what improvements you might make to the experience to wow and delight your readers. Whether you update key facts and statistics, add a video message, or reimagine the page’s design, you can add components that elevate existing pieces of information in new and exciting ways.

At its heart, Pottermore exists to create a phenomenal storytelling experience. You, too, can send a message to your community and the industry at-large when you focus on the end user.

The Magic of Digital Storytelling

When you create a unique experience for your community that centers around delight, you invite your readers to feel as if they are a part of something. This, in turn, increases their loyalty, and makes them more likely to consume your content again and again, and refer your brand to others. Case in point: the brilliance of even the name of J.K. Rowling’s site, Pottermore.

What marketing lessons have your favorite books taught you? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

5 Key Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a simple “hot-or-not” site to get back at classmates. Nike founder Phil Knight called the now ubiquitious shoe company his “crazy idea." Instagram began with a single photo filter to make turn its users into less-crappy photographers.

You probably couldn’t have predicted their success at the time, but today, all of these ideas have turned into global titans worth billions of dollars.

 

Since it all starts so simply, I’ll pose this question: Do you have a “crazy idea” of your own, and have you ever considered turning it into a full-fledged business?

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can tell you what makes Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk such effective and successful founders and entrepreneurs. And who knows -- if you see some of these traits in yourself, it might be time to dust off that “crazy idea” and get to work building a business of your own!

(Side note: If you want some help getting started, HubSpot’s giving away $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 facetime with industry experts to help one lucky winner found the business of their dreams. Check out our #SummerStartup competition before it’s too late!)

5 Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

1) Entrepreneurs are resilient.

At LinkedIn (and HubSpot, too), there’s a saying that CEO Jeff Weiner throws around frequently, borrowed from the legendary “Coach K” at Duke University: “Next Play”. 

The thought is, if you miss a wide-open shot, don’t stop to wallow or whine -- you haven’t got the time. Instead, pick yourself up, get on the defense, and move on to the next play. 

In the startup world, if you want to keep the lights on, you need to be able to hustle under pressure. Whether a big deal has just fallen through, or you’re staring down a massive and unforeseen cost, you have to be able to hit the reset button and attack the next play at 100%. 

2) Entrepreneurs are ready to take risks.

Elon Musk is one of my personal heroes. Whether it’s SpaceX, Tesla, or SolarCity, his goal is the same: to save the human race. He’s completely mission-driven, and he’s willing to take crazy risks to make it happen. 

For instance, in order to get SpaceX and Tesla off the ground, Musk took nearly his entire fortune from the sale of PayPal ($165M) and invested it into these two businesses -- even though it was entirely possible both would fail. He went from millionaire to penniless (and ultimately back again) because he was willing to take a calculated risk to see his dream come to fruition. 

While I’m not advising you to take out another mortgage on the house to support your business, very few entrepreneurs make it to the top without facing a few “make-or-break” moments -- and you should be ready to do the same.

HubSpot's #SummerStartup Competition

THE #COMPETITION IS ON: Pitch your business idea in 25 words or less in the comments below for the chance to win: 💰 $100,000 👩‍🏫 1:1 executive mentorship 🖥 3 years of HubSpot Apply to #SummerStartup by July 23 for the chance to kickstart your dream business! Wish you could quit your job and change your life? Comment below to enter. Get the resources you need to start your business and view Terms & Conditions at http://bit.ly/HubSpotSummerStartup Brief overview of main Terms & Conditions: ✅ Entry is only by direct reply to this Facebook post within the Phase 1 Contest Period. See Official Rules for more details on the Contest phases. ✅ You must be a UK, IE, US, AUS or SG resident to be eligible. Must be 18 or over. Must not be a HubSpot employee or relation of. See Official Rules for more details. ✅ This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or any of their affiliates. Facebook is not liable for this Contest. ✅ You should read the Official Rules prior to entering. The Official Rules can be found here: http://bit.ly/HubSpotSummerStartup

Posted by HubSpot on Monday, June 26, 2017

3) Entrepreneurs volunteer for the hard jobs.

If you want to be successful in a startup, you should be ready to raise your hand, roll up your sleeves, and tackle the work that no one else is willing to do. A perfect example of this comes from HubSpot’s history, not from a founder but from an integral member of the leadership team. 

In 2014, HubSpot was a pre-IPO company in serious need of an overhaul of much of its sales operations plan. It was clear that tons of hard work and analysis would need to go into the process, and there were numerous stakeholders with varying opinions on how to proceed. 

Nevertheless, Alison Elworthy, VP of Operations at HubSpot, raised her hand to do the messy work. The resulting plan was a massive success upon rollout -- and it’s still called “The Elworthy Plan” to this day. 

Here’s the lesson: whether you want to start your own company, you want a better title, or you’re just interested in a bigger paycheck, the best way to raise some eyebrows and boost your career is to volunteer for the hard stuff. 

They’re definitely not afraid of failure. In fact, many successful and innovative companies (like Google) encourage people to fail, the mindset being that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying. They embrace the mantra of “failing fast”, because the faster you fail, the more things you’re able to try and the more proof you have that you’re pushing your limits. This reliance on failure has kept companies like Google on the forefront of innovation for years.

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx (and the youngest self-made female billionaire in America) is the perfect manifestation of this mantra. Working as a door-to-door fax salesperson at the time, Sara (unsuccessfully) sought pantyhose that would work with the modern woman’s lifestyle. At 27, Sara invested her life savings, $5,000, into a hosiery concept of her own designs.

The rest is history. Sara founded Spanx, and in the process earned a fortune worth more than $1 billion.

On the subject of failure, Sara has one piece of advice: “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”

4) Most importantly, they never lose passion, and they never stop dreaming.

Passion is everything when it comes to planning for success. The Zuckerbergs of the world didn’t get to the top by chasing a paycheck - they got there by feeding their passion and hustling to make it happen. 

Passion shouldn’t be limited to the product, though -- it should tie into the mission. Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about computers, he was passionate about how Apple could disrupt the stodgy and established industry of computers and empower everyone to be their most creative selves

As Zuckerberg himself puts it, “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” 

There’s no way to know for sure whether your “crazy idea” will be a success. That said, the only surefire way to know it won’t be a success is to let it gather dust in the back of your mind.

Interested in $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 mentoring to start the business of your dreams? Check out our #SummerStartup competition today.

HubSp

The Ultimate Marketing Case Study Template

The marketing case study is one of the oldest and most venerable examples of content marketing. From Oprah touting how Weight Watchers has worked for her, to American Express endorsing SalesForce, case studies are prevalent across industries and marketing forms.

According to a B2B marketing trends report, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics by nine out of ten B2B marketers. According to Social Fresh, customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89 percent. Seventy-three percent of people have used marketing case studies in the past 12 months to make B2B purchasing decisions.

Use this guide to understand how to use case studies for your organization. It offers instructions on how to secure a first-rate case study, and a template for getting started on a case study today.

The Basics

What is a case study and why are they so important?

Definition

According to Top Rank Marketing Blog:

A “case study” in the context of marketing is an analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions, and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.

As the aforementioned stats illustrate, marketing case studies are important because they help you sell your company’s product. They validate the statements your company makes about your product, and allow potential buyers to see your product in action. This blog post will help you secure and create a case study that sets your company apart from its competitors.

Here’s what you need to do to secure a case study.

Steps for Getting a Marketing Case Study

The first (and often hardest) part of creating a marketing case study is getting a customer to agree to one. No doubt many customers are pleased with your product. But it’s no small thing for them to take time out of their busy schedule to talk about how awesome the product or service they’re paying for is.

Many larger companies also have formalized rules around providing testimonials. This can extend the process of getting a case study, as they have to go through legal, senior management, and more, just to get approval.

Increase your case study prospects. Create a formalized process that ensures you get the case studies you need on a regular basis.

Meeting

Meet with customer success, sales, and marketing to get them on board with creating regular case studies. From this meeting, create a formal document that outlines how to submit marketing  case study opportunities, the frequency that customer success are expected to do so, and the process/time commitment involved after a client has agreed to participate.  
Include a case study request email template to save customer success time. Consider these sample templates:

Including It in the Contract

Some companies choose to include a customer testimonial or case study commitment in part of their purchase agreement. This is a great way to guarantee you’ll have case studies in the pipeline. It’s also a conflict of interest, and some would argue flirts the line of ethical behavior. By including case studies in a contract, you’re essentially paying for testimonials.

You want to publish only truly impressive, stand-out marketing case studies. Customers who are doing so well with your product that you’d want to make a case study from their experience are likely to be happy to help. Customers who need a contract to be forced into a case study aren’t often the ones you want as a face for your brand.

Gather Information for Your Marketing Case Study

After a customer agrees to do a case study, take the following steps to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Send an Email

It should introduce you if you haven’t already. Confirm the date and time for your first phone call or in-person meeting. Address the time commitment of the case study, and include the questions you plan on asking.

With customer testimonials the person you’re interviewing needs to have well-spoken and thought out responses about your product. Here are some sample questions you could ask:

  • How did you find out about our company?
  • What made you start looking for our solution?
  • Which other products did you look at before deciding on ours?
  • Why did you choose our solution above others?
  • How has using our solution been so far? Tell us about your experiences and what you’ve done with it?
  • How has our product benefitted you and your team?
  • What results have you seen with our solution so far?
  • What do you hope to do with our product moving forward?

Interview

Next, conduct the interview. Whether it’s in person or over the phone, make sure to record the interview for transcription later. Make sure to inform them that you’re recording them. Aside from being common courtesy, it’s also illegal in some states to record someone without their consent. As you’re interviewing, make note of any especially interesting points, as well as numerical results.

Take Pictures and Record Video

If you’re conducting an interview onsite, take pictures and video. If not, ask your customer to send some over. The more visual your marketing case study is, the better. According to Animoto, four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.

Transcribe

Transcribe and fact check the interview. Try using a service website like Fiverr for quick transcription that won’t break the bank.

Gather Data

Find out information about the company and their results with your product outside of the interview. Ask if you can see their results or look into their reporting for numerical information to back up the information in the interview. If they don’t have this information, look internally for more general stats on your product’s impact on the people that use it.

Find a Story, Start Writing

Once you have all the data you need, start pulling together your copy, video, and images into a shareable document. Use the marketing  case study template below to create a first-class case study.

Marketing Case Study Template

Title

Too many companies title their case studies things like “[insert company name here] Case Study.” This is both boring and uninformative. Use the case study title to help potential readers decide if it’s something that applies to them. Include a description of the company and some of their results. E.g. “Case Study: How CS2 Compliance Is Succeeding With Curata Content Curation Software

Subtitle

The subtitle should round out the reader’s expectations of what’s in the study. Include more numerical improvements, or an overview of what happened. E.g. “Creating and Growing an Excited Community in a Highly-Regulated, Niche Market”

Their Company Overview

We recommend pulling the company overview directly from the company’s website. It should be two or three sentences and highlight parts of the company most important to your audience. If you’re looking to highlight the company size, mention it here.

Your Company Overview

It’s okay to use a boilerplate description here. However, if there is something else that might be beneficial to include in this particular use-case—add it. If you have more than one product description in your boilerplate description, focus on the product the marketing case study focuses on.

Introduction

The introduction should present the company you’re talking about and their problem. Here’s an example:

CS2 Compliance, a regulatory consulting firm for financial services clients, wanted to build a community for its clients and save time answering regulation-specific questions in individual emails. They wanted a solution that made content creation easier, found topical subjects in their industry, and enabled them to quickly publish to their website and newsletter.

Solution

The next section should introduce your product and why your customer went with you. Example:

They chose Curata Content Curation Software (CCS). Curata CCS uses machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence to help marketers discover and publish industry-specific content across marketing channels.

Action

This should describe how your product or service was implemented and how it made the overall process smoother, easier, cheaper, etc. Example:

CS2 uses Curata CCS to curate articles that answer a variety of FAQs, building a robust content program including discussion boards, webinars, and frequent newsletters. This has led to strategic and streamlined website content and newsletter publication for CS2.

Results

Finally, show the results. They support the statement that this company was successful with your product. If you have further information about how customers perform with your product, include it here. Include how your client is planning on using your product in the future to grow and expand their goals. Example:

Newsletters now have an open rate of 42.52 percent, and a click-through rate of 23.11 percent, both significantly above industry averages. With Curata, CS2 exceeded community registration goals by over 60 percent. CS2 is now using Curata to expand their reach and create custom experiences for each sub-audience within their online community.

Pull Quotes

Once the meat of your marketing case study is written, choose some pull quotes to highlight. Example:

CS2 co-founder and president Mary Harris King had this to say about Curata: “Curata keeps our current clients up-to-date with interesting articles while integrating with our public facing website so potential clients can see our newsfeeds, and sign up for the daily news digest, etc. It’s a great way to reach both audiences.”

Statistics

Case studies are a compelling way to convince prospects to buy your product. They’re even more compelling when your claims are supported by data and hard information. Use company information and stats, outside numbers, and numbers from your customer to round out your marketing case study. Writing on how curation improves content marketing ROI? Include a stat from a trusted source. Example:

Over 50 percent of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic, and buyer engagement.

Conclusion

Many case studies include a conclusion at the end wrapping up all the details. Instead, try a big, colorful CTA. While a conclusion is nice, making sure the reader doesn’t have to consume more than they need is even better. If your marketing case study is very long, include the most important points at the beginning in bullets.

Distribute and Promote Your Marketing Case Study

Case studies are effective on your website and as a sales enablement tool. They should also be sent to your sales team. Include a description of what it’s about and the situations it should be most effective for.

Other ways to maximize the impact of a case study include:

  • Place it on your home page
  • Send an email sharing it with the case study’s target audience, or as part of your newsletter
  • Write a supplemental blog post to drive traffic to the case study. Focus on the problem solved in the case study and write an informational post on that topic
  • Add the case study to relevant landing pages
  • Add it to you or your coworkers’ signatures
  • Insert it into a slideshow or longer presentation on product use cases
  • Share the case study on social media

Examples of Awesome Marketing Case Studies

For more information, check out some standout case studies by other companies.

Bitly

Bitly marketing case study exampleBitly’s case study is notable for a couple of reasons. First, their decision to use a slide deck over a single page document. It’s easy to digest and different enough that it piques the reader’s interest. The layout is sleek and skimmable with easy takeaways. Bitly includes images and a colorful layout that’s more interesting than a traditional, text-heavy marketing case study.

Kantar Media Division Cymphony

Kantar media created a case study video of their work for Samsung. For a service-based product, this form of marketing case study proved extremely effective. Kantar describe their process, their findings, and their results in a quick, story-heavy video.

Zendesk

Zendesk include customer testimonials in a visually appealing multimedia library on their website. This allows visitors to search by use case, industry, and company size to find the most relevant story to them.

For an example of one of Curata’s case studies, check out “How CS2 Compliance is Succeeding With Curata Content Curation Software” [pdf].

Marketing case studies can be hugely effective. They provide proof of concept to potential buyers, and drive your audience further down the funnel. They can also serve as a powerful sales enablement tool. For more on how to drive your audience further down the funnel and measure your content’s efficacy, read Curata’s eBook: Content Marketing Metrics: Account Based Marketing Edition.

The post The Ultimate Marketing Case Study Template appeared first on Curata Blog.

How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Every Major Social Network

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with the latest tips and tricks to grow your following on every social media network. It also includes the latest podcast episode from The Science of Social Media! 

You’re taking the dive into a new social network, or you’re itching to grow your existing profile. You’ve got a social media strategy in place and a plan in mind. You’re raring to go.

What would be one of the most encouraging signs when you’re first starting off? We’d imagine it’d be gaining followers!

So how do new social media accounts do it? How do you gain your first 1,000 followers on social media?

Follower count is one of those metrics that has tons of meaning – both for the confidence of the social media manager and for the distribution of the content you share. If you want to grow your followers, there are tons of useful tips to try. Here are some key learnings we’ve drummed up about how to get that first initial batch of followers on some of the major social media networks (specifically Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn)

How to get your first 1,000 followerson social media

[Interested in listening to this post in podcast format? We invite you to check out Buffer’s very own podcast – The Science of Social Media!] 

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

Quick tips: The best general strategies for growing your audience

Regardless of the social network you choose, there seem to be some similar, high-level strategies that apply to getting new followers on every network—Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

If you’re looking to build your profile and add new followers, here are some of the standard best practices. Lots more detail on each of these below.

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Share a link to your profile via your other networks and via email
  • Place follow links and widgets on your blog or website
  • Add your new social profile to your email signature

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Twitter

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

This includes:

Writing an awesome bio with one or two select keywords or hashtags

Adding your URL and location – URL is great for adding context, location is great for getting found via search and geographic tools

Uploading a profile picture and cover photo. Check out the image below for what it looks like when someone clicks your username from Twitter’s desktop site.

Seeding your Twitter account with 5 to 10 original Tweets

Experimenting with adding emoji to your name

Setting Up Your Twitter Profile

If you want to get your profile even more optimized, you can use the Pinned Tweet feature to pin a tweet to the top of your profile page. Choose a tweet that embodies what your Twitter profile is all about or shows a lot of social proof, i.e. one with a lot of favorites and retweets.

Step two: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Share with your Facebook friends that you’ve started a Twitter account. Add an announcement to your next company newsletter or in an email to friends.

Step three: Include a Follow button on your website or blog

Twitter offers four types of buttons that you can use to help visitors connect with you on Twitter.

  1. Share a link
  2. Follow
  3. Hashtag
  4. Mention

The Follow button is the most direct means of gaining more followers. You can place it in a popular place on your website or blog. For instance, we’ve added the follow button to the author profiles on the Buffer blog.

Follow Button on Twitter - Example

Step four: Find relevant accounts to follow

Many users on Twitter will follow back those who follow them. This is a popular strategy for those just starting out on Twitter to help connect with others, and thanks to Twitter lists, users can customize the information they see on Twitter, which makes following tons of people all the easier to manage.

  1. Sign up for a free tool like Tweepi or Followerwonk so you can see a list of followers for other users in your niche.
  2. Optimize this list of followers by sorting it by recent activity.
  3. Follow up to 100 of these new folks per, whoever seems relevant and interesting to you (any more than 100 per day and you risk a Twitter ban).
  4. Every so often, to balance out your follower/following ratio, you can check into a tool like JustUnfollow to unfollow any accounts that haven’t followed you back. JustUnfollow has a whitelist option, too, so you can skip over the accounts you wish to keep following no matter what.

Step five: Use relevant hashtags

When you use a hashtag, people outside of those you follow will be exposed to your tweet. To find the best hashtags to use, there’s a great app called Focalmark that allows you to generate relevant hashtags based on the topic or theme you’re looking for.

Focal Mark App

Step six: Join a Twitter chat and contribute value

If you’re in the digital marketing space, we’d love to have you join a #BufferChat, which takes place every Wednesday at noon ET/9:00 a.m. PT and 4:00pm AEST/8:00am CEST. Other great resources for finding a relevant Twitter chat include:

Summary

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Share a link to your profile
  • Place Twitter follow buttons on your site
  • Find relevant accounts to follow
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Join a Twitter chat

How to get your first 1,000 fans on Facebook

Step one: Fill out your page completely

Facebook pages offer an incredible level of detail and information. Many businesses even use them as their main website. To maximize your chances of gaining as many fans as possible, you’ll want to fill out your profile as thoroughly as possible.

  • About section
  • URL
  • Profile picture & cover photo/video
  • Profile theme or template (new feature from Facebook!)
  • Call-to-action button
  • Address (for brick-and-mortar businesses)
  • Long description and mission
  • Phone number and/or email address
  • Create several updates so there is content on the page

One helpful tip for getting Facebook fans that we shared in our Facebook Page starter guide is to make a great first impression by maximizing the eye-catching ability of your Facebook Cover Photo. We’ve included a video on the Buffer Page which now has more than 2,700 views!

Step two: Invite your friends to the page

From your Facebook page, you can select the option to Invite Your Friends and then browse through your friend list to send an invite. It might be best to select a handful of friends you think would be most interested rather than blasting the invitation to all.

If possible, it’d be great to get to 25 fans via this method. Once you hit the 25-fan threshold, you can then claim a vanity URL for your page (e.g., facebook.com/yourbrandname), which will look more appealing when you share the URL in later steps.

Step three: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Tweet your Facebook page URL to your followers, or share your Facebook page

Step four: Add Facebook buttons to your website

Facebook offers a huge helping of buttons and widgets that you can add to your site. Here’s the complete list of their social plugins:

  • Save Button
  • Like, Share, Send, & Quote
  • Embedded Posts & Video Player
  • Page Plugin
  • Comments
  • Follow Button

If you’re looking to get more fans on your Facebook page, the Like button and Share button are two of your best bets. (The “Follow” button, while it sounds enticing, is more for individuals with profiles who want to offer people the chance to follow rather than friend.)

Facebook Like - Share - Send Buttons

If you’d prefer the Like or Like Box button, you can set your Facebook page URL and edit options for showing a feed of your posts, the height and width of the box, and a handful of other options. The box will take up a bit more space on your site, but you get the added value of your Facebook profile picture appearing the box, too.

brainpickings like

Step five: Spend a little on Facebook advertising

Facebook lacks many of the organic options of getting your name out there. With a news feed algorithm and the sheer mass of users, paying a bit for extended reach and boost can help.

A couple of tips:

Step six: Try a Facebook call-to-action on your blog. 

We have a handful of calls-to-action on our blog, including our HelloBar at the top of the page and a slideup box that appears as you scroll. Either of these could be repurposed for Facebook calls-to-action as well (or any other social network, for that matter).

Summary

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Invite your friends
  • Share a link to your profile
  • Add Facebook buttons
  • Spend a little on Facebook ads
  • Calls-to-action on the blog

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Pinterest

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

Pinterest creates a distinction between individual users and business users. You can switch your individual account to a business account at any time and then enjoy features like rich pins, customized Pin It buttons and widgets, and more.

To fully complete the information on your profile, when viewing your profile click the gear icon and then “Account Settings.” Clicking the “Edit Profile” button lets you edit only the basic information and nothing deeper.

In Account Settings, you can fill out the following:

  • Email
  • Business type
  • Contact name
  • Business name
  • Profile picture
  • Custom username and vanity URL
  • About section
  • Location
  • Website
  • Connected social networks
  • For the website, Pinterest can step you through verification options that will help with their Rich Pins services as well as add a verified icon to the website on your profile, which may give potential followers more confidence in following you.

Step two: Share a link to your profile via other networks and via email

Publish an update on Twitter or Facebook with a link to your Pinterest page. Share your new page with your email list. Pinterest makes it super easy to do so. Here’s a quick peek at what it looks like from Buffer’s Pinterest Profile:

Pinterest Share Options

Step three: Include a Pinterest button on your website or blog

Pinterest offers five different styles of buttons and widgets that you can place on your website.

  • Pin It button
  • Follow button
  • Pin widget
  • Profile widget
  • Board widget

The Pin It button is helpful for getting the content on your website more traction on Pinterest. There are also some helpful WordPress plugins that can help add Pinterest functionality.

If you’re interested in boosting your followers, something more akin to the Follow button or the Profile and Board widgets might come in handy.

The Follow button is super simple. Enter your Pinterest URL and your full name, and build the button. You get an HTML code to place wherever you’d like the button to appear.

The Profile and Board widgets let you display an interactive preview of all your pins or just the pins from a particular board. You can choose the layout size—square, sidebar, header, or custom.

Buffer Social Blog Pinterest Board

Pinterest Board Widget Preview

Buffer Pinterest Profile

Pinterest Profile Widget Preview

Step four: Follow the boards of your competitors’ followers

Matthew Barby has a number of neat strategies for getting more initial followers on various social networks. Here’s a strategy that he tested with great success for Pinterest:

  1. Find a selection of your competitors’ Pinterest pages and click on their followers.
  2. Go through and follow around 50-100 of their followers’ boards each day (do this for around 2 weeks). You can also search for users based on hashtags relevant to your niche.
  3. Now create between 5 and 10 boards of your own that span across a range of different topics. Each week, you should aim to create another 3-4 boards.
  4. Pin as much content from your website as possible into a selection of your different boards. Add long descriptions to each pin with 2-4 hashtags. Try to space this out – don’t pin too many things at one time or you’ll flood everyone’s feeds. Try to stick to no more than 10-15 pins in an hour.
  5. Now, on a daily basis, go through your feed and repin around 10 pins onto your different boards – do this twice a day.

Summary

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Share a link to your profile
  • Include a Pinterest button on your site
  • Include Pinterest Board and Profile widgets on your site
  • Follow the boards of your competitors’ followers

How to get your first 1,000 followers on LinkedIn

There are a couple unique ways to look at the climb to 1,000 followers on LinkedIn. Are you seeking followers for your personal profile or for your company page? The advice below touches on each.

Step one: Fill out your profile completely

LinkedIn places great value in its users filling out their profiles completely. Your profile likely has a Profile Strength icon that shows you how thoroughly you’ve filled in your information.

linkedin profile strength

The more information you add, the more likely it is that someone may find you. Fill out as much as you’re comfortable with, and be sure to take advantage of LinkedIn’s new cover photos and rich media options for your profile. For instance, you could add a relevant industry image as your cover photo and place portfolio images and links into your profile. Here’s what Brian’s profile looks like to the public:

This same concept goes for businesses. The profile options are a bit more limited, but you can still add cover photo and profile picture, URL, about information, and the specialties with which you’re involved.

Step two: Post frequently to increase awareness. 

LinkedIn offers a few different options for individuals to post great content to LinkedIn to increase awareness and page growth.

One of my favorite publishing avenues is via LinkedIn Pulse. Similar to Medium and Facebook Notes, the content appears native within the news feed. And in addition, each time you post to Pulse, the article appears at the top of your profile – showcasing your work in a beautiful way.

Step three: Create a business Showcase Page

LinkedIn now offers a new option for businesses to create a Showcase Page and extend their reach:

Step four: Invite your coworkers to join LinkedIn and fill out their profile

This tip comes in handy for company pages on LinkedIn. When employees add you as their current employer on LinkedIn, your logo appears on their profile and it links directly to your LinkedIn company page.

Step five: Send an original connection request, and accept requests from everyone

Chris Lee shared an interesting strategy about how he handles the giving and receiving of LinkedIn requests.

Be indiscriminate about accepting connection requests. I accept all requests – they could potentially endorse you for multiple skills, share your profile to their network, and expand your reach. You should aim to have 500+ connections on your profile.

When sending out connection requests, try to modify the default message to something more personalized to increase the chances of your request being accepted. You can include your LinkedIn profile URL in your signature, “Connect with me.”

Here’s an example of a request he might send.

linkedin request

Summary

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Share a link to your profile
  • Create a Business Showcase Page
  • Get your coworkers involved
  • Accept all requests, and customize the requests you send

How to get your first 1,000 followers on Instagram

Update: You might enjoy our an advanced guide for getting even more followers on Instagram!

Step one: Fill out your Instagram profile completely

What might Instagram users consider when they decide whether to follow you? Chances are good that they’ll check out your profile first.

To that end, if you want to get followers on Instagram, be sure you have completed your profile with a profile picture, a description, and a link to your website.

What’s more is that you want the photos themselves to look complete and professional. Instagram’s header section is composed of seven of your most popular images. Be sure that you’ve taken at least seven images before you begin promoting your profile. Lifestyle and personal images tend to do best.

Buffer Instagram Profile

Step two: Connect your Instagram and Facebook account

Doing so will help your Facebook friends find you and follow you on Instagram and allow you to advertise on Instagram through the Facebook Ads Manager.

Step three: Come up with a commenting strategy

Any given second on Instagram, there are 575 likes on a picture compares to 81 comments. A comment figures to get noticed (and appreciated) much more than a like.

  1. Comment from a computer, using a tool like Iconosquare. This way you can leave comments quicker and easier than typing out on a mobile device.
  2. Search for a relevant hashtag.
  3. Comment on photos posted within the last day or two.
  4. Comment on photos with fewer than five other comments (to make sure your comment is seen and appreciated).

Step four: Like a lot of posts

Neil Patel tried out several Instagram strategies to gain more followers, and his number one takeaway was this:

If you want to grow your account by a few hundred followers a day, the best way to accomplish it is to randomly like thousands of images a day.

Step five: Discover the best hashtags

Find out what the influencers in your industry are tagging. For a more scientific view, check into the Webstagram Top 100 to see the overall trends and top picks for hashtags on Instagram. (You can gain more Instagram followers by using the hashtags people are looking for!)

Step six: Place a hashtagged feed of Instagram posts on your website or blog

This way, visitors to your site can notice your Instagram account and send you follows. There are some helpful sites—Webstagram and Instansive, for instance—that assist with getting the feed on your site. WordPress users have a lot of plugin options as well.

In addition, Instagram also offers five different types/sizes of badges that you can place on your website.

how-to-get-followers-instagram-badges

Step seven: Tag people

Tag and mention the accounts that are relevant to you. This could lead to the accounts themselves following you back or with these users paying the love forward by mentioning you on one of their photos.

Step eight: Share a link to your profile on other social channels and email

You can pick up more followers by sharing a link to your profile with the people who are already following you on other social networks.

Step nine: Use geo-tagging for your pictures and your store

Instagram revealed a photo maps feature which lets users see the pictures that were taken from a certain location. If you enable geo-tagging on your pictures, you can be part of this map. Same goes for a brick-and-mortar store you own. Connect your Instagram via Foursquare to turn on this feature.

Summary

  • Fill out your Instagram profile completely, and make sure that you have at least seven high-quality images on your account
  • Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account
  • Comment on as many images as you can
  • Like as many images as you can
  • Share your profile across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and email
  • Use geo-tagging in your picture to increase awareness

[Interested in listening to this post in podcast format? We invite you to check out Buffer’s very own podcast – The Science of Social Media!] 

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

Over to you!

Which tips might you try to get more followers on these social channels?

What have you found that has worked well for you in the past?

We’re curious to try some of these tips out on our Buffer social media profiles! Many of these we’ve tried-and-tested; others are new. It’d be great to test them all out and report back with what works. And we’d also love to hear your feedback on this episode from The Science of Social Media. Thanks for listening!