A Crash Course in Custom Audiences for Your Social Media Ads



When you want to get your message in front of the right people on social media, where do you turn? 

More and more, brands and businesses are turning to social ads and custom audiences. You can do a lot of awesome, targeted messaging by focusing on the right audiences with your ads — whether you’re talking to a group of customers, a bunch of website visitors, or a list of subscribers

In this post, we’ll talk you through ways to build custom audiences and lookalike audiences on all the major social media platforms, plus share a couple ideas of how you can put these audiences to the best use.

Best wishes for some well-targeted, highly successful ads!


An introduction to custom audiences

There’s a huge amount to cover with social media ads.

Since this blog post focuses specifically on audiences, let’s start there. In general, an audience is going to be the bucket of people who will potentially see your ad. This group can be customized based on a variety of factors, which we’ll get to in a minute. 

A custom audience is a step beyond the basic demographic and psychographic audience filters. A custom audience can be based on an outside source like a set of emails or website visitors or on the social media behavior of users. 

Types of custom audiences you can build within Facebook

And then you have lookalike audiences, which take one of your custom audience and expand it to a larger group based on the qualities that the custom audience has in common. For instance, if all the people in your custom audience are interested in augmented reality, use social on a tablet, and have master’s degrees, then a lookalike audience will include people who share these attributes, too.

How to create a lookalike audience for Facebook / Instagram

As you can tell, there are many ways to slice and dice this information to build some really unique audiences. 

So let’s get dive into some of the details, starting with the biggest and most robust social advertising networks … Facebook and Instagram. 

How to Create Custom Audiences for Facebook and Instagram Ads

Advertising for both Facebook and Instagram is combined into the Facebook Ads Manager. You can run all your ads from here as well as create and manage all your audiences. 

Within Facebook, there are a handful of custom audiences that you can build. This list includes: 

1. A customer list — also known as a standard custom audiences.

This audience is based on a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs that Facebook can then take and match to its list of users. Typically you’ll find that Facebook can match between 60 and 70 percent of the contacts on your customer list. 

2. You can create a website custom audience.

With this audience, instead of uploading a list of customer emails or phone numbers, you build the audience based on traffic to your website. Using Facebook Pixel tracking, you can create an audience of people who have visited any specific page on your website during a set time period. 

3. You can create custom audiences based on app activity

If you happen to have a mobile app or game, you can build audiences based on the actions that people take within your product. 

4. You can use offline activity to build a Facebook audience.

This could include things like conversations that happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores or information you collect on a spreadsheet. 

5. Build an audience from Facebook and Instagram engagement

These can be based on who engages with your posts, videos, events, and profile. You can even set the timeframe of this engagement so that you’re building an audience of people who recently engaged, like in the last 90 days, or who engaged anytime in the past year. 

Strategy Ideas for Making the Most of Your Custom Audiences

Jumping quickly into the strategy of ads and audiences, we thought this nugget from a recent Jon Loomer blog post was really interesting. In the blog post, they shared that the most popular Instagram audience strategy is lumping all audience types and time windows together into one large chunk — like, everyone who engaged with your profile in the last 365 days, for instance. 

As you might guess, there is so much more you can be doing with these audiences!

Let’s take a closer look at engagement audiences for instance:
With the robust filtering of Facebook’s ads tool, you can build audiences of engagers based on a huge number of different factors like who has visited your Instagram profile, messaged you, or saved a post or an ad.

When it comes to these custom audiences, we quite liked this tip from social media today:Building “warm” audiences of people who have engaged with your content within a recent timeframe. Video in particular is a useful engagement and attention metric. So, say you create a ‘warm’ audience of people who’ve watched a certain amount of video from your page. From there, you can create a Lookalike Audience based on the warm audience, which will allow you to expand your reach to include people who share similar behaviors to that initial, warm, engaged group. 

The Jon Loomer blog has a few favorite audience tips, too, specifically around building engagement-based audiences. These include:

  • People who have engaged in any way with your brand on Instagram in the past seven days, the past 20 days, and the past 90 days.
  • People who have visited your Instagram profile in the past 30 days but who are not customers
  • and People who have viewed your Instagram Stories videos in the past seven days 

Another way to work with custom audiences is through retargeting.

This gets at the custom audience type of pixel tracking and website / profile visits. 

We’ve talked to lots of brands that start out with targeting anyone and everyone that visits their website in their retargeting campaigns. Needless to say that approach isn’t always the most effective.

Customers visit your website for lots of different reasons. They visit different pages. The pages they visit represent different buyer intents. Perhaps they’re not looking to buy your product at all. The key is to match your custom advertising audiences to those shoppers’ intents.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce brand and someone visits your website shopping for shoes, make sure that you segment those people into a custom audience labeled “shoe shoppers” or “footwear.”

Over the past year at Buffer we’ve created various audiences based on the subject matter our visitors are interested in learning about. We have a custom audience for traffic to all Facebook marketing pages, Instagram marketing, customer experience, case studies, etc. That allows us to be hyper-focused on what type of content we deliver, which helps to drive down costs.

We have a whole podcast about it if you want to check out.

How to Create Custom Audiences for Pinterest Ads

As you’ll find with all of these social networks, they’re not quite as robust with ads offerings as Facebook and Instagram. But that’s okay! There’s still plenty of customization you can do.For Pinterest, you have a few options for what to create when it comes to customer audiences.

You can build audiences

  • Based on visitors who went to your site
  • Through a customer list that you upload — like a list of emails
  • Based on people who engaged with pins that link to your website
  • With an actalike audience that behaves similarly to an existing custom audience that you’ve created
Pinterest audience options

The visitor audience is based on a Pinterest tag, very much like the Facebook pixel. The Pinterest tag is a piece of JavaScript code you can install on your website to gather conversion insights and to build audiences that you can then target, based on actions taken on your site.

The Pinterest engagement audiences are really interesting, too. For these, all you need is to confirm your domain with Pinterest, and then Pinterest will be able to check to see which Pinterest users have engaged with pins that link back to your website. So for instance, if 1,000 people had saved a pin of Buffer blog content, we could build an engagement audience based on this. 

Similar to the Facebook and Instagram engagement audiences, Pinterest gives you a handful of options to further customize this group. You can filter based on a specific URL, based on a pin category, or even based on the percentage of video that’s been viewed. 

One interesting way that e-commerce brands can use this is to create audiences that are interested in particular product categories — people who click on certain links or certain Pins. 

How to Create Custom Audiences for Twitter

With Twitter ads, you can build custom audiences based on

  • An uploaded list of contacts or customers
  • A collection of website visitors based on data you get from using a Twitter website tag
  • A list of  your mobile app users
  • A flexible audience.
Twitter audience options

The flexible audiences feature is similar in nature to some of the engagement audiences we’ve talked about before. These audiences give Twitter advertisers a way to save combinations of audiences and subsets of audiences, based on factors like recency and frequency of interactions.

How to Create Custom Audiences for LinkedIn

You can build custom audiences on LinkedIn based on a list of contacts that you upload or you can build audiences based on website data, captured using a LinkedIn tag. 

LinkedIn audience options

One interesting bit of audience customization that LinkedIn provides is with account-based audiences. Let’s say that you want to get a certain percentage of Fortune 500 companies using your product; well, you can upload this list of accounts to LinkedIn and build a custom audience that focused on the stakeholders of these companies. 

Yes, there’s a lot of interesting things you can do on LinkedIn if you’re a business selling to other businesses. Then of course Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are all great for selling your products and services direct to consumers.

That’s right, and before we go, we’d love to leave you with just a couple more ideas for how you can use these custom audiences in unique ways. 

More Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Custom Audiences

I thought this tip from AdEspresso was pretty intriguing.They boost a lot of their content to a wide audience and then create a custom audience based on people who click that content and visit the website. This custom website audience, then, is made up of people who have already shown a lot of intent and might be more primed to start a trial.

Another exciting way to use custom audiences is to think creatively about what you share with a custom audience of existing customers. Typically you might think of ads as a way to acquire more customers. But what if you used this list as a way to keep existing customers engaged? You can build a custom audience based on people who have shopped with you in the past or used your product before, but it’s been awhile since they returned — a “sleepy” audience of sorts.

And finally, there are some neat things you can do with custom audiences of newsletter subscribers. You can segment the list into audiences of engaged subscribers and disengaged subscribers and deliver unique content to each group. For the disengaged group in particular there’s a lot of value in re-engaging: MailChimp ran an analysis of 60 million e-commerce purchases and 40 million email addresses from retailers and found that a single inactive subscriber is still worth 32% of an active subscriber.


About the Science of Social Media

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing strategies from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ listeners each week and rock your social media channels as a result!





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Black Friday / Cyber Monday Social Media Marketing Tips



The biggest retail dates of the year are just around the corner. Do you have your social media marketing ready?

We’ve researched some of the trendiest marketing ideas for Black Friday + Cyber Monday, including flash sales, messenger marketing, and UGC. In this blog post, we’ll cover a host of new ideas, tips, and tactics that can help you boost your already-planned campaigns or give you some inspiration for an upcoming piece of content.

Find out some of the numbers behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and see what the most cutting-edge brands are trying out this holiday season.


Holiday shopping begins for people all the way back in September! So there’s a wide window of opportunity to reach customers who are in the shopping mood.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper is planning to spend $1,047 this holiday season, which is a four percent increase from last year. 

Overall, sales in November and December are expected to rise between 3-to-4 percent, reaching more than $725 billion. 

That’s a huge amount of spending. We’ll get into some ways to best position your products and promotions during this spending season. But first, we wanted to start with a couple of outside-the-box campaigns to get you feeling inspired. 

Inspiring examples of Black Friday / Cyber Monday marketing

Outdoor apparel retailer REI has taken a rather unique approach to its Black Friday marketing. For the past four years, REI has chosen simply to not participate at all. They close their stores and send their employees home. Even the website has a giant takeover message. They want you to feel empowered to opt out of Black Friday and spend time outside. The hashtag campaign “Opt Outside” has been a hit. 

And this year, they’re taking it one step further by not only encouraging people to opt out of shopping but also asking folks to spend their time cleaning up the environments around them of trash and waste. 

It’s a really powerful message to send, and it’s been very effective for REI’s brand.

For another example of Black Friday creative campaigns, there’s this amusing one from the New York Public Library. The library put together some simple content to share on social, advertising a 100% off sale on all its books. 

Of course, the joke here is that the New York Public Library is a .. well, library. All of its books are free to check out all the time anyway. 

Nevertheless, it proved to be a very memorable campaign.

So with these fun examples in mind, let’s jump into some of the specific strategies and tactics you can take with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing.


When researching this episode, we came across a really interesting case study of HostGator, a web hosting service, and how they approached Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Essentially, HostGator put together a spreadsheet with multiple sales at multiple different hours of multiple different days. It was fascinating!

Yes, their sales typically lasted one hour with some steep savings of 60 to 70 percent. And each hourly sale had its own coupon code so they could track the results. 

It’s a really interesting strategy, especially when you think of how you can use it on social media. 

That’s right. Think of all the possibilities for Stories content and social posts if you have multiple sales during the shopping weekend. Especially with Stories, you have things like countdown timers and reminder stickers that you can use to great effect. Each new sale gives you another chance to reach out to your audience in multiple ways — getting attention before the sale starts, holding attention during the sale, and teasing the next one. 

HostGator’s plan included sales for Early Access Black Friday as well as Small Business Saturday, and it’s a trend that many other businesses are emulating. 

The Black Friday weekend is almost a four day affair, if not more. We have Gray Thursday, which is U.S. Thanksgiving Day, then there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, which some companies extend for the whole next week. 

If you’re thinking of using multiple days for your marketing plans, you can consider some fo the unique behaviors of your audience on these days. For instance, on Black Friday, you might tie some of your marketing into some Buy Online / Pickup In Store specials (commonly referred to as BOPIS) and on Cyber Monday, you can of course focus on online sales. Shoppers spent $7.9 billion online for Cyber Monday last year. 

Related to this, it’s also worthwhile to start, really, any time between now and the holiday weekend, if you haven’t already. Around 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween. So shopping is definitely top of mind for your audience, even before Black Friday hits. 

You’ve probably seen this with many of the brands you love. All their designs, photos, and graphics match the season we’re in. This might mean harvest colors in October and early November, short and catchy ads around Black Friday, and then holiday themes in December. 

If you’re able to align all these creative assets across all platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, even your display ads — it can create a very powerful and memorable brand experience, which often ends up tying back to ad performance and sales!In fact, according to Twitter Business, ad recall is 60 percent higher if a brand does something as simple as placing the logo in a consistent spot. These little things – logo placement, color, font, hashtags — they make a difference! 

There are some really big opportunities out there for messaging platforms around the holidays. 

The website Retail Dive touched on a bit of this in a recent blog post explaining the virtue of SMS and text messaging. Get this: During Black Friday 2018, there were reports of brands getting 2000% ROI from using SMS campaigns during the Black Friday weekend. 

That’s an incredible number!So probably your mind goes next to, well how can I get this set up for my brand? 

You can definitely go the SMS route. We think it can be almost just as effective if you think of applying this strategy to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp as well. Either way, the workflow looks a little like this: 
Step One: collect the contact information and the person’s opt-in consent.

This can happen at signup or with a special one-off campaign to collect contact info with the promise of special deals coming soon. 

Then, you can apply some messaging strategies to the data. Send a discount code to subscribers. Follow up with an email with the same discount and more product offerings. For those who don’t purchase right away, send a reminder nudge. 

You can even tie this into the hourly flash sales we talked about earlier. Just be careful not to overuse this messaging channel — you want to always uphold first and foremost a solid, genuine relationship with the person. Sending too many messages can be a turn-off.

You probably have a lot of content to create around these busy holiday dates, so it can be quite a relief to get some help from your community by re-sharing the content that they’re already making. 

This can take a lot of different forms like photos of your brand and product, or positive user reviews. It’s especially easy on Instagram Stories where you can reshare someone else’s post to your Stories with just a couple taps. 

Some companies go the extra mile and create programs to incentivize users to create and share content about the brand. You can tie giveaways into this strategy — offer prizes to random winners who have used a certain hashtag or commented on a post. We recently added a Giveaways feature to our social engagement product, Buffer Reply, if you want to check it out at buffer.com/reply. 

For some simple ideas for creating UGC contests, we quite like this list by G2 Crowd. 

  1. Ask your community to share a video or photo of them using your product
  2. Ask your community to reshare your content
  3. Ask people to follow you on social
  4. Have people tag people in the comments, people who they think might benefit from what your brand has to offer

For last year’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping, Adobe Analytics found that mobile devices sent 58 percent of traffic to websites, which represented a 20 percent increase from the year before. 

That means that more than half of your website visitors are likely coming from mobile. Is your website prepared? 

it’s worth considering this type of user flow when you’re putting together your social media campaigns. Be sure that whatever you’re linking to — whether it’s from your social ads, from the Swipe Up in your Stories — that the page is well-optimized for mobile. It’s going to make a big difference with user experience and with conversions. 

People often turn to social media to get in touch with brands for product questions. You can expect that volume to be especially high around the shopping weekend. 

Yeah, we thought this stat was really interesting: projections say that 77% of consumers expect to return some of the presents they get this year. And almost 20 percent of consumers say they’ll return more than half of their gifts. 

Knowing this in advance, you can put together some workflows and some docs to help prepare your social media teams to handle these types of requests and this volume. 

As has been the case in past years, Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat continue to be more and more important for showcasing what your company sells. 

According to Facebook’s holiday marketing guide, Stories have become a hugely popular place to window shop. Last year, 63 percent of shoppers either watched or posted videos on Stories and more than a third of shoppers claim that videos were influential in choosing what to buy. 

So whatever you do with your content plans this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be sure that you’ve allocated plenty to Stories! 

About the Show:

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing strategies from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ listeners each week and rock your social media channels as a result!





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Brand Secrets for Standing Out in a Crowded World



These days, we live in a world of infinite supply…

In just a few clicks, anyone can start a business. Anyone can create products, build an online store, publish ads, and reach an audience online. This means that every market is becoming flooded with businesses offering similar products, features, and solutions. 

So to stand out you need to have a brand that your customers connect with, and care about deeply. 

In this post, we’ll be sharing some tips and strategies to help you to build your brand. These insights all come from our new podcast series — it’s called Breaking Brand and it’s out there for you to listen to right now

What exactly is a brand?

Before we jump into some strategies and tactics for creating a brand your customers will truly care about, let’s first look at what exactly a brand is. 

The word “brand” is used a lot in marketing today. But what exactly does brand mean? That question that might sound simple… but is actually pretty complex, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

David Ogilvy describes a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”

Marty Neumeier, an author and speaker who writes about branding and innovation, says “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”

And Camille Baldwin, one of the Pattern Brands founding team, and star of Breaking Brand, says “brand to me is identity. It’s all of the things that make up identity, your values, your principles, who you are, your characteristics and your intention.”

Brand to me is identity. It’s all of the things that make up identity, your values, your principles, who you are, your characteristics and your intention.

Camille Baldwin, VP of Brand, Pattern Brands

So to summarize… Your brand is the identity of your business, and how it makes people feel. 

Now, let’s dive into some takeaways from Breaking Brand to help you build a buzzworthy brand that stands out against your competitors.

4 Ways to build a memorable brand

1. Know what your consumers care about

Most people are really good at explaining the “what” and the “how” of their business. For example, say you’re an accountancy company, describing the what and the how is pretty simple…

  • What you do is you help individuals and businesses to ensure their finances are in shape.
  • How you do it might vary, but it tends to involve some form of account management where you assist with invoicing or balance the books every month or quarter.

And the thing that will help one accountancy company stand out from its competitors is moving from the what and the how to the why.

The “why” is what will make a potential customer choose your business over another. The “why” is your differentiator. 

In general, consumers aren’t too fussed about how you do your work — the tools you use, your internally processes, and things like that. What consumers care about is “why does this business matter in my life?” 

And to go back to the accountancy example — we already explained the what and the how — but the “why” might not be so obvious. For example, if an accountancy company mostly serves small businesses, the “why” might freeing up time for the business owner to spend with family and friends. 

So how do you find your why? 

Customer research is a great place to start.

At Buffer we often do research interviews with customers to learn how our product helps them, and to better understand how they describe the benefits of Buffer. We’ve even had teammates spend the day with customers at their offices to see first-hand how Buffer fits into their routines and workflows.

And in Breaking Brand, Emmet Shine, co-founder of Pattern Brands, talks about the importance of knowing the customer when it comes to building a brand consumers will care about.

Before starting Pattern Brands, Emmett helped over 50 businesses launch to market, and one of those businesses was Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain selling healthy salads and grain bowls.

When working on the Sweetgreen brand and trying to understand its customers, Emmett and his team spent countless hours at Sweetgreen restaurants. They would watch how the staff would prepare salads, listen to how customers would place orders and immerse themselves in how the company works.

Essentially, they were trying to understand every tiny detail about what made Sweetgreen unique and special. 

This enabled the team to craft a brand that really emphasised what customers were looking for from Sweetgreen and helped them to find their “why”. 

Now Sweetgreen has over 75 restaurants and reportedly generated in excess of £100 million in 2018. So they clearly have a brand that fits what consumers are looking for.

2. Find the technical, functional, and emotional benefits of your business

Once you’ve done your customer research, you can begin to think about the various types of benefits your business offers consumers.

In episode one of Breaking Brand, Pattern’s VP of Brand, Camille Baldwin shares how the brand pyramid framework can help you to define those benefits. 

Brand pyramids have been around since the late nineties, but still play a key role in brand strategy. Pyramids help you to answer fundamental questions about your business and its place in the market. Here’s an example brand pyramid from Insead Knowledge:

Three of the key elements of any brand pyramid are the technical, functional and emotional benefits your business offers consumers. 

Technical benefits

At the bottom of your pyramid, you’re thinking about the technical benefits of your brand (labeled ‘Features and attributes’ in the above image). Essentially this will help you to define what you do as a company. At this stage you’ll want to ask questions like: How is this business benefiting the consumers? How will it make money? What are we offering? 

For example, at Buffer we might say the technical benefit of our product is to manage all of your social media content and profiles in one place. 

Functional benefits

Then, with the technical benefits of your brand defined, it’s time to look at the functional benefits you can offer consumers. Functional benefits are essentially what your customers get when they buy your product or service.

Functional benefits tend to focus on things like how a product can improve your life, help you stay connected to others or help you to make forward progress. 

At Buffer, a functional benefit might be not having to hit publish manually every-time you want to share to social media. Or in the case of a car: a big, spacious family car will offer the functional benefit of space for your whole family to travel in comfort. 

Emotional benefits

Next up, are emotional benefits. And these are really what makes one brand stand out from another.

Emotional benefits are how your brand makes someone feel based on the stories you tell consumers. 

One emotional benefit of Nike, for example, is that its equipment will make you feel like a professional athlete. And at Buffer we might say the emotional benefit of our product is peace of mind knowing that your content will be posted to social media platforms at exactly the right time every time. 

As you go through everything you’ve learned during your customer research phase, start looking out for emotion-based words your customers, or potential customers, use to describe your company or the problem you’re solving. 

Whenever someone says “I feel” or “it made me.. happy, relaxed, proud, or healthy”, for example, this helps you to identify the emotional benefits your company delivers. 

 3. Craft a simple tagline and message

Just Do It, Think Different, I’m Lovin’ It… 

Those are all examples of great brand taglines. By saying just two or three words, I bet you knew exactly which businesses I was talking about. And that’s the power of being able to boil your message down to something simple, and memorable. 

In episode three of Breaking Brand, Emmett Shine, co-founder of Pattern Brands explains: “The thing about branding and marketing, is you can do years worth of research. But if you can’t boil it down to this thin sliced tagline it doesn’t matter.”

The thing about branding and marketing, is you can do years worth of research. But if you can’t boil it down to this thin sliced tagline it doesn’t matter.

Emmett Shine, Executive Creative Director, Pattern Brands

But this isn’t easy to do.

It took the Patten Brands team months of ideating and back-and-forth to land on their tagline “Enjoy Daily Life”.

But now that simple statement acts as a guiding light for everything they do. From the content they post on social media to the products they sell. 

Boiling your whole business down to one sentence, or even just a couple of words can be very tough. And you can’t force it. One of the best ways to craft the perfect tagline is to facilitate brainstorms and create space for idea sharing. Another thing the Pattern Brands team has done was to journal about their business and riff on ideas in private too. 

And sometimes the best ideas will come to you outside of the office. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and away from your desk. 

Communicating a clear message in just a few words is very difficult. One way we’ve found to come up with taglines at Buffer is to start long and edit down.

So to begin with, write exactly what your business delivers for customers in as many words as it take — this could be a paragraph or two, maybe even longer. And remember to think about the emotional benefits here too, not just the technical and functional benefits you offer. 

Next, you’ll want to take what you’ve just written and edit it down to just one or two sentences. Repeat that process to make it one sentence, or just a few words. Then take that final piece of copy and play with a number of different versions: Rewrite it, change out words, and experiment with different lengths. This process will help you to distill all of the thoughts you wanted to share about your business into a short, memorable tagline. 

Now you might be wondering: “Why is a tagline so important?” 

From personal experience, I know I’ve never bought a Mac because their tagline is “think different.” But having that tagline in places means that Apple has a clear mission, and everything it does — from the adverts it makes, to its keynote launches — is guided by that vision.

4. Ensure your business lives and breaths your brand

To be successful, and for consumers to trust your message, you have to live your brand. 

For example, Nike says its mission is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” And the company sees every single person as an athlete, not just the pros. 

But Nike doesn’t just say that, it lives by it. 

That’s why the company focuses on creating the most innovative clothing and footwear, and why its advertising revolves around inspirational messages and stories.

Nike’s brand is reflected in every piece of content it puts out on social media. Just before writing this, I jumped over to Nike’s main Instagram account, here are just a few posts I spotted:

  • An IGTV video with Saquon Barkley sharing where his NFL dreams started.
  • A photo of women’s marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei with former record holder Paula Radcliffe.
  • A photo of Rafael Nadal sharing his ambitions as a child.

Of course, not all businesses will have the resources of Nike, or the access to global superstars for that matter. But it still serves of a great example of ensuring the essense of your brand shines through on every platform. 

To go back to the accountancy example I mentioned earlier. If your “why” or emotional benefit is giving small business owners more free time to spend away from work, you could ensure all of your messaging and content supports this mission. This could mean Instagram posts with clients enjoying themselves away from the office or blog posts about disconnecting from work. It could even mean you rethink the imagery and copy you use on your website.

As I mentioned right at the start of this post, your brand is the identity of your business and how it makes people feel. So every single touchpoint where someone can interact with your business should represent what you want your brand to be, and how you want people to feel. 





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Why social commerce will rule social media in 2020



What’s coming to social media in 2020?

It can be hard to predict the future, especially for something as fast-changing as social media. But if you look to today’s trends and the latest buzz, you’ll start to see the signs.

Social commerce is one of the hottest trends in social media today, and it looks to have an even bigger impact in 2020.

Continue reading to find out the latest on what social commerce is, what it looks like, and how you can make the most of this buzzworthy new channel to further your brand and your business. 


What is social commerce? 

Social commerce is selling products directly within social media platforms. 

This is different than social media marketing, where you might try to drive referral traffic from social media to a website or online store. With social commerce, the store — the entire shopping experience — happens without the customer ever leaving the social media site.

How does social commerce work?

There are a ton of benefits to this, as you might imagine. It’s a far more streamlined process, especially when you can enjoy things like chatbot checkouts, and autofill payments and delivery details. There are fewer clicks and taps with social commerce than with traditional e-commerce through a web store.

The efficiency of the social commerce purchase journey far outdoes the typical e-commerce purchase. There’s a really great blog post on BigCommerce about this. Basically, the math goes like this:

  • If you have a traditional website and store, let’s say you get 10,000 visitors to the site.
  • Of that group, 25% give you their email address
  • When you send that group an email, 25% of them open it.
  • Then 5% of those who open the email click on the link in the email. 
  • And three percent of those clicks end up buying something. 

That’s a grand total of 1 purchase, after starting with 10,000 visitors.

Now, compare that to a hypothetical social commerce journey. Let’s take a messenger chatbot for instance. 

  • Start with 10,000 chatbot visitors. 
  • Of that group, you can message 99% of them
  • Open rates are quite high for chatbots, around 75%. 
  • So from the group that sees your message and opens it, let’s say that 48% click through
  • And then 1% purchase something. 

That’s a total of 35 purchases, compared to the one (1) purchase in the website example. 

Now, it obviously goes without saying that your mileage may vary here.

These are just example numbers. But hopefully they highlight some of the advantages of the ease and efficiency of social commerce. 

There’s also a strong case to be made on the qualitative side of things. Andrew Waber of Teikametrics, writing on Marketing Land, points out that there are really four separate stages of shopping experience. These are: 

  1. Convenience
  2. Shopping as play
  3. Shopping as exploration 
  4. Shopping as entertainment

Today’s e-commerce channels mainly fulfill items 1 and 2, while 3 and 4 are more future-looking trends to build towards. Social commerce delivers on both of them much more readily than traditional e-commerce channels because it is a much more natural extension of existing consumer behavior.

Speaking of existing consumer behavior, it’s become widely known just how much consumers are shifting to social and mobile as primary means of content consumption and product discovery. 

Now, let’s talk about the state of social commerce today.

What does social commerce look like on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest?

The primary players in social commerce are Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. We’ll touch on each of them quickly, starting with Instagram. 

Facebook data says that 70% of shoppers look to Instagram for product discovery. Perhaps because of this, Instagram’s roadmap has been taking on a decidedly strong shopping feel. The biggest development is Instagram Checkout, which is a fully contained shopping experience within the Instagram app. It’s currently only available to select brands like Nike and Kylie Cosmetics. With Instagram Checkout, you can see a product that you like in the Instagram feed and then complete the entire purchase without ever leaving Instagram. 

This goes one step further than Instagram Shopping, another new feature that Instagram has come out with recently. Unlike Checkout, Instagram Shopping is available to businesses in over 70 countries so long as you sell physical goods and have an Instagram business account. 
With Instagram Shopping, you can tag your images and stories with the products that are featured in your posts. Then your audience can tap to go straight to your store to make the purchase. 

For Facebook, they’ve already taken some really huge strides toward social commerce with Facebook Page Shops and Messenger. First, let’s talk about Facebook Page Shops. 

Businesses can create an entire store within Facebook, quite easily and smoothly. To get started, make sure your Facebook page has the Shopping template selected, then click the Shop tab on your Page, then click Go to Commerce Manager. Here is where you complete a few sign up steps and then upload your product catalog to your Facebook shop.

There’s a ton you can do from here, like:

  • Add new products and update product information
  • Sell directly from your page
  • Manage orders and shipping, and
  • Run Facebook ads to promote these products.

The website ConversionXL has a neat case study on a brand that has experimented with a Facebook Shop. The watch seller, MVMT, added a selection of products from its catalog to Facebook. 

  • Within 90 days, approximately 60,000 users visited the store.
  • These visitors converted at a 0.5% conversion rate, resulting in more than $15,000 in revenue.

Pinterest also has some really powerful social commerce features for businesses, with new features coming out all the time. Buyable pins were released four years ago now, in 2015, and had over 60 million buyable pins in its first six months. We’ve seen more and more commerce features since. Most recently, 

  • Shop the Look, which highlights the items in a photo that are available for purchase. And
  • Catalogs, which allow you to upload an entire product catalog to feature on Pinterest

How to get started with social commerce in 2020

1. Focus on your best, lowest-cost products

It makes sense that lowest-cost products might sell best on social media. You’re capturing people at a certain place in their buyer journey where they’re eager to buy, not eager to weigh the pros and cons of a major purchase. 

That’s why we recommend using a strategic approach to what you list for sale on social media. If you start with your best products, you’re selling the items that appeal to the widest audience and have been proven to resonate with your fans. If you sell your least expensive ones, then you’re reducing friction for shoppers even more. 

Along with this, it’s useful to know the larger themes with social commerce, too. According to an eMarketer report, the most relevant verticals for social commerce are categories like apparel, luxury goods, beauty, and home decor. 

If you’re in doubt about what to sell, then start with an experiment mindset. You don’t need to put your entire catalog on social right away. Especially since social commerce is still gaining traction, not all your audience may be primed to purchase. A GlobalWebIndex study found that 21% of shoppers use social to make a purchase — a number that we’d expect to rise quite a bit in 2020.

2. Get the right tools at your disposal. 

There are a ton of great options out there, but we want to highlight just a couple to give you a taste of what’s possible. First, there’s a messaging tool called ManyChat, which allows you to combine Facebook Messenger and SMS campaigns. ManyChat, and other chat tools like it, can be great for collecting leads and converting them into buyers. 

Similarly, another great social commerce tool is jumper.ai. This tool comes with pre-built automated checkout chatbots, which integrate with all sorts of different tools and platforms. You can integrate it straight into Instagram to create a social commerce experience.

And along with third-party tools, there are new social commerce features coming to social networks all the time. We think it’s really smart to continually try out these new features, both for their commerce potential and for the engagement boost you get from trying out new content on your accounts. 

3. Partner with influencers and encourage your community to share your products. 

These two groups — influencers and community — can be very powerful for your commerce efforts thanks to the way that networks like Instagram and Pinterest are set up. Many of their new features allow people to share your products on your behalf and still tie into the frictionless buying experience of a buyable Pin or Instagram shopping.

4. Measure your strategy

The ultimate goal with social commerce is to guide customers to checkout. And you can do this in any number of ways, through great content, two-way communication, and more. Ultimately, though, the best measurement of a social commerce strategy is in dollars and cents. How many sales did you make. 

And at the same time, as we talked about above, not all your audience may be ready to shop just yet. Social commerce is still a trend in the making. Not everyone is on board. 

So this opens up a variety of alternative measures for success. For instance, 

  • How many emails you capture. These emails can become important for starting a relationship with your customers and helping guide them back to your social accounts or your e-commerce website.
  • You can also think about measurements like
    • Brand engagement, and 
    • Completion of certain steps before the conversion

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!


About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.





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Simplified Shopify reporting in your Buffer dashboard


One thing we’ve heard over and over is that logging into social media analytics tools can leave marketers feeling a little lost. Sure you can see the reach and engagement of your posts but how is this really impacting your business?

Social media tools have been great at giving us social media metrics. But they terribly lack at providing us with a comprehensive view of the business. Unless you are running social ads, chances are you find it hard to know how your marketing efforts have influenced sales.

For direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that invest in social media, the need to understand how social media and sales relate to each other is crucial. Marketers at these brands need to know how their social media strategy is helping the business. To them, social media is not just about getting likes and comments…

but how their social media posts are driving the business forward.

That’s why we are thrilled to introduce the first version of our Shopify integration today. You can now have your social and Shopify data in one single tool and create modern, visual reports with more data about your business. 

(Can’t wait to get started? Start an Analyze Premium trial to try the integration right away!)

Realize the full potential of your brand

Our customers use our platform of products to build their brand and connect with their customers online. Analyze, our new analytics product, aims to help you realize the full potential of your brand.

To achieve the best version of your brand, we want to give you:

  • More data to provide a more complete picture of your brand
  • Data that are easy to understand and share
  • Strategies and tactics to achieve your goals

Currently, social media marketing can feel isolated from the business. You spend time creating content, find the best time to post, and respond to questions on your posts. At the end of the day, you can only report on follower growth, reach, and engagement.

Only if you had more data about your marketing efforts and the business!

When we look at 1,300 top DTC brands, we learned that 87.4 percent of them use Shopify to sell their products.

Shopify provides data that marketers and small business owners often lack in social media tools — sales data. We realized it’s a source of data that could give you a more complete picture of your brand:

Social + sales

Simplified Shopify reporting in your Buffer dashboard

“We usually cross reference metrics from Shopify and our social media analytics.”

When we asked our customers how they figure out whether what they are doing on social is worth it, we heard several versions of the quote above. That’s when we realized our customers have a problem we could solve.

With the new Shopify integration, you’ll have your social media and Shopify data in a single place — Analyze. For this first version, we focus on a few key metrics you need and put them in the same dashboard as your social media data.

At the top of your Shopify tab, you can get a quick health check-in on your business. This is built for you to get a sense of your business health at a glance.

One of the metrics you’ll get is your average customer lifetime value. This is an important metric to know because to have a profitable business, you generally want to spend less money on acquiring new customers and retaining them than they spend on your products.

You’ll also get data to help you understand where your sales are coming from and what products are selling well.

Which channel drives the most number of customers or the highest sales?

Which channel brings in the most valuable customers?

Which are my top products, and where are the sales coming from?

This additional data from Shopify in Analyze will give you a better picture of your business than having only social media data.

To make it easier for your reporting, you can add the tables to your reports in Analyze, download them as PDF, and share them with your team. Just like any other tables and charts in Analyze.

Connecting social media and sales

For a long time, marketers have struggled to show the impact of social media on the bottom line. Much of this data is not available in social media tools that marketers use to plan, optimize, and report their campaigns. It just felt off that marketers can plan and measure their social media campaigns in one tool but have to find another, often much more complicated, tool to know that the campaigns are selling products.

Now you can report how much sales your social media marketing strategy has generated for the business — using a single tool.

(These numbers do not include orders from customers who saw your social media posts and went to Google to search for your website and buy products. That is much harder to track right now. But you now know, at the minimum, how much sales came directly from your social media profiles and the actual impact is much higher.)

You no longer need to jump between tools to draw the connection between your social media efforts and your sales.

Hannah Pilpel, social project manager at MADE.COM, discovered that customers from organic social have a higher average order value than the site average. You can now see this for your business, too.

Gain a better understanding of your brand

Having more data and analytics is essential for realizing the full potential of your brand. It gives you insights to act on and improve your marketing campaigns so that you can grow your brand and your business.

This is just the first version of our Shopify integration, and we are keen to explore more ways to make it more valuable to you. For example, here are some of the areas we have been thinking about:

  • Per-post sales: Find out how much sales each social media post has generated
  • Campaign sales: Know how much sales your campaign has generated
  • Customer insights: Learn more about the social media users who are buying your products
  • Customer lifetime value: Calculate customer lifetime value for different segments
  • Product buzz: Get insights into who’s talking about your products on social

For now, with your social media and Shopify data together in Analyze, you can already have a better understanding of your marketing and brand.

Give yourself an advantage today.

Try Analyze for free.





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Personalized Recommendations to Increase Your Reach on Instagram


Search “best time to post on Instagram” and you’ll find countless articles telling you when to post according to studies of a few million Instagram posts.

We have written such articles ourselves. For a long time, we thought that’s the way to grow our reach and engagement on social media.

But that is no longer the best approach.

There are many reasons for the change. Most importantly, you now have much more data about your own posts and followers. The best time to post is when your followers are online and engaging with your posts.

How do you know when to post?

Well, you can now get recommendations for when to post on Instagram to maximize your reach, with Analyze. Curious to find out more? Read on.

Introducing Best Time to Post: Personalized Recommendations to Increase Your Reach on Instagram

Analytics as your assistant

Analytics is often simply numbers and graphs. It’s easy to understand why some people are intimidated by analytics. But that doesn’t have to be the way. Analytics can be joyful and fun. It should help you take away the tedious work of dissecting graphs and calculating numbers. Analytics should feel like your assistant.

With Analyze, you don’t just get charts. You’ll also see three recommended times to post on Instagram. They are times when your predicted reach is among the highest during the week.

Most people would find the three recommendations sufficient but if you want more, you can then dive into the charts.

Best time to post on Instagram in Analyze

How does it work?

Your brand’s best time to post is unique to your own brand. That’s because your Instagram followers behave differently from the followers of other brands. So your best time to post should be dependent on your followers’ behavior.

Here’s how Analyze predicts your reach:

First, it looks at how your previous Instagram posts have performed and when they were posted. Do posts at certain times of the day or the week get more reach? Second, to make the predictions more accurate, it also looks at when your Instagram followers are online.

Using these two pieces of information, Analyze predicts your reach on Instagram for each hour of the week. For each hour, Analyze also informs you how the predicted reach compares with the average hourly reach for the whole week.

The predicted reach for this hour is 31% higher than the average post reach of the week.

Then, it recommends three times to try.

You’ll notice that the three times aren’t necessarily the three times with the highest predicted reach. That is intentional. The top times are often next to each other (e.g. Wednesday at 1pm and Wednesday at 2pm). Unless you are posting about a live event, it doesn’t help your reach by publishing multiple posts around the same time. By spreading out your posts throughout the week, you can maximize your reach for the week.

Grow your reach more efficiently

Once you know your best times to post, you can go to Publish to update your posting schedule.

First, go to your Instagram account in Publish and click “Settings” then “Posting Schedule”.

Here, you can add new posting times or adjust your existing posting times to your best times to post.

The times are saved automatically, and you are ready to publish at your best times! Simply add new posts to your queue to schedule them at those times.

It’s worth noting your best times to post can change over time. While your followers’ behavior shouldn’t change drastically, every new post gives Analyze additional data to work with. With that, it might find new best times to post. I would recommend checking your best times to post every few months, especially if you have recently tried new posting times.

Insights delivered to you

We should all be spending less time figuring out our data and more time optimizing our campaigns. With the recommendations in Analyze, you can save some time analyzing your data or reading “best time to post” articles so that you can focus on what’s more important — creating great content.

This new feature is available on all Analyze plans. Give it a go, and take some time back from analyzing your data.

Try Analyze today.

P.S. In the future, you can expect Analyze to surface more insights to you, rather than you searching for them yourself.





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Social Media Management in Times of Crisis


These are times of fast-changing news around COVID-19. It’s clear that what we are facing — not just as marketers, as friends, and parents and colleagues — is unprecedented. And we’re all in it together.

In times like these, people look to each other, and to their communities to figure out how to respond. Over the last, 9 years, we’re very grateful to have built up such a strong community of people who use our products, read our blogs and listen to our podcast, and we believe that it’s important that we all try to navigate these challenges together. That’s why we want to share these thoughts with you. Sometimes, it’s best to just start a conversation.

Last Thursday (March 12, 2020), as a team, we took a moment to stop and reflect. We paused our Buffer queue, as what seemed like a great and timely posts a few days ago, now felt a little irrelevant. We gathered together and we discussed what the COVID-19 situation means for Buffer, for our teammates and those closest to us, and our customers — and we’re still figuring this out.

Social media is such an important communication tool in 2020, and we know as we all try to navigate unexpected and unprecedented challenges, many of your customers and teammates will turn to social media for some form of support. And as many around the globe isolate, social media might become an even more important channel for communication and a sense of community.

So what does social media management look like over the coming weeks and months? We’re still figuring it out.

We hope that the below thoughts can act as a starting point to work from as we navigate the current and up-coming challenge.

This isn’t an opportunity

The first thing to say is that this isn’t a marketing opportunity. Brands shouldn’t be looking at the COVID-19 pandemic as something to capitalize on.

However, even though it’s not quite business as usual — every post, campaign and ad you run will need an added layer of care and empathy over the coming days and weeks — it is okay to continue to market and sell your product or services, we know for some businesses not selling products can impact the livelihoods of some of their teammates. Just don’t use COVID-19 as a platform to self-promote. 

Pause and reconsider your social media plans (and goals)

If you haven’t already, now is a time to reflect on any existing plans for the end of Q1 and heading into Q2.

Many campaigns and pieces of content you had planned might be better saved for another time. We recommend rethinking your content and social media plans to tailor them to the changing needs of consumers right now.

On Monday (March 16th), we were due to launch a new, updated version of our podcast, The Science of Social Media. We had a new episode lined up, new artwork, creative and more. But we felt it wasn’t the time “celebrate” something new so we hit pause on that temporarily to focus on the more immediate needs of our customers and our audience. (We still plan to launch the new style podcast in the next week-or-so, but the launch might look a little different.)

It’s also a good time to reflect on any goals you had for the coming months as priorities may need to change. For example, new customer acquisition goals might shift towards a focus on customer retention and support.

Now is a good time to take a look at the bigger picture and what social media means to your business in a time of global crisis.

If you decide to keep some campaigns or content paused and find yourself with a few spare hours that would have been spent on content creation, promotion or analytics, now could be a good time to focus on some of the social media tasks that aren’t directly customer facing like a social media audit. 

Is your company able to help

You never want to shoehorn your brand into a conversation in which it doesn’t belong. And most brands don’t belong directly in the COVID-19 conversation.

But that said, almost every business globally will be impacted in some way by COVID-19, and there might be some small things your business can do help in these moments.

At Buffer, we’ve been a remote-first company since the start, and with many businesses and workers being forced to go remote for the foreseeable future, this felt like the best place for us to help.

So after a brief pause last week, we decided to focus this week on how we might be able to help people adjusting to remote work:

Hailley also jumped into our remote work guide to freshen it up and ensure it includes all of our most useful remote work resources. 

Outside of Buffer, Common Thread Collective doubled down on sharing data and insights into how it the pandemic is affecting its brands and how it’s responding:

At a time when eCommerce business might be cutting back ad budgets, Privy hosted a webinar focused on making the most from your existing traffic: 

Loom made changes to its platform to help students and teachers: 

And Basecamp’s co-founders hosted a Q&A about remote work: 

Over the coming days and week, ask yourself: What role does your brand play in this situation?

(And it’s completely fine if feels like there’s nothing. Don’t force it.)

Think clearly about the unique role your brand plays in people’s lives. If you’re an entertainment brand, maybe your audience could do with a fun distraction, like Disney releasing Frozen 2 early

If you’re a travel company, dealing with support might be more of a priority, so you could try to proactive about questions from your audience and give clear directions on what’s happening. 

And as a local business, it could be helpful to simply share your opening hours or how you’re being affected by what’s going on. Saucy Brew Works, a brewery and restaurant in Cleveland has been keeping its followers regularly updated with open hours and updates:

Communicate clearly with customers

It’s almost always better to over-communicate than under-communicate. Especially in times of crisis.

If you’re closing your office and the team is working from home and it isn’t impacting your customers, that might not be something you’d want to communicate. If your team shifting to remote work will impact customer service response times, or delivery times, that is something worth sharing.

With so many companies impacted consumers are getting much more communication than usual from the brands and companies that they engage with, make sure that the information you are giving them is empathetic to that and focused on conveying only key messages.

When it comes to figuring out what to say when you put out a message over the coming days and week, the details matter. Strive to make all communication clear and relevant, and avoid making assumptions and share decisions early to give you customers as much time as possible to react.

Delta airlines has been great at communicating with its customers on social media over the past week-or-so. Its CEO, Ed Bastian, turned to LinkedIn to keep customers informed

And Delta has also been sharing some additional information and context across its social channels, such as how air filtration systems work on its planes. This is a great example of over-communication that is relevant to customers who may be traveling during the crisis.

Patagonia made the decision to close its retail stores on Friday, March 13, 2020:

In its announcement, Patagonia made sure to over-communicate and provide customers with plenty of information about how it is dealing with COVID-19. In the Twitter thread sharing the announcement about its retail stores closing Patagonia told its customers:

  • We will temporarily close our stores, offices and other operations at the end of business on Friday, March 13, 2020.
  • Employees who can work from home will do so. All Patagonia employees will receive their regular pay during the closure.
  • We apologize that over the next two weeks, there will be delays on orders and customer-service requests.
  • We encourage our friends everywhere to take the extra precautions necessary to safeguard their health and that of others.

The message could have simple been “We’ll be closing our retail stores at the end of business on Friday, March 13, 2020 — but taking the time to over-communicate, and share more than it needed to, helped Patagonia to assure it’s customers that is was doing all it could for them, and to support the company’s employees.

(This Twitter thread started by Matthew Kobach has more examples of brands communicating clearly during this on-going crisis.)

Support and keep your team informed 

Work will look a little different for all of us for a little while, and it’s great to embrace the concept of over-communication with your team as well as your customers.

In times of crisis, it’s important to keep in close contact with each member of your team and set some expectations around what work might look like over the next few weeks or months.

As people adapt to new working practices productivity might not be at its usual levels, and it’s important to let your team know how your company plans to deal with the effects of COVID-19 and the new work environment.

Here at Buffer, our Director of People, Courtney Seiter, and CEO, Joel Gascoigne, shared updates with us last week on COVID-19, Buffer and how the next little while might look for the team. We also have a temporary, and very optional, Slack channel where teammates can chat, share news, resources and support each other at this time. As a remote team, we’ve also been making extra effort to connect with each other for impromptu chats and get togethers, too. 

There’s still a lot going on to figure out but it feels incredibly important for company leaders, and teammates alike, to be pro-active supporting their teams and each other. 

Further resources on crisis communication and social media management

Here are a few resources we’ve found helpful for thinking about social media and communication strategy at this time:





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A Crash Course in Custom Audiences for Your Social Media Ads



When you want to get your message in front of the right people on social media, where do you turn? 

More and more, brands and businesses are turning to social ads and custom audiences. You can do a lot of awesome, targeted messaging by focusing on the right audiences with your ads — whether you’re talking to a group of customers, a bunch of website visitors, or a list of subscribers

In this post, we’ll talk you through ways to build custom audiences and lookalike audiences on all the major social media platforms, plus share a couple ideas of how you can put these audiences to the best use.

Best wishes for some well-targeted, highly successful ads!


An introduction to custom audiences

There’s a huge amount to cover with social media ads.

Since this blog post focuses specifically on audiences, let’s start there. In general, an audience is going to be the bucket of people who will potentially see your ad. This group can be customized based on a variety of factors, which we’ll get to in a minute. 

A custom audience is a step beyond the basic demographic and psychographic audience filters. A custom audience can be based on an outside source like a set of emails or website visitors or on the social media behavior of users. 

Types of custom audiences you can build within Facebook

And then you have lookalike audiences, which take one of your custom audience and expand it to a larger group based on the qualities that the custom audience has in common. For instance, if all the people in your custom audience are interested in augmented reality, use social on a tablet, and have master’s degrees, then a lookalike audience will include people who share these attributes, too.

How to create a lookalike audience for Facebook / Instagram

As you can tell, there are many ways to slice and dice this information to build some really unique audiences. 

So let’s get dive into some of the details, starting with the biggest and most robust social advertising networks … Facebook and Instagram. 

How to Create Custom Audiences for Facebook and Instagram Ads

Advertising for both Facebook and Instagram is combined into the Facebook Ads Manager. You can run all your ads from here as well as create and manage all your audiences. 

Within Facebook, there are a handful of custom audiences that you can build. This list includes: 

1. A customer list — also known as a standard custom audiences.

This audience is based on a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs that Facebook can then take and match to its list of users. Typically you’ll find that Facebook can match between 60 and 70 percent of the contacts on your customer list. 

2. You can create a website custom audience.

With this audience, instead of uploading a list of customer emails or phone numbers, you build the audience based on traffic to your website. Using Facebook Pixel tracking, you can create an audience of people who have visited any specific page on your website during a set time period. 

3. You can create custom audiences based on app activity

If you happen to have a mobile app or game, you can build audiences based on the actions that people take within your product. 

4. You can use offline activity to build a Facebook audience.

This could include things like conversations that happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores or information you collect on a spreadsheet. 

5. Build an audience from Facebook and Instagram engagement

These can be based on who engages with your posts, videos, events, and profile. You can even set the timeframe of this engagement so that you’re building an audience of people who recently engaged, like in the last 90 days, or who engaged anytime in the past year. 

Strategy Ideas for Making the Most of Your Custom Audiences

Jumping quickly into the strategy of ads and audiences, we thought this nugget from a recent Jon Loomer blog post was really interesting. In the blog post, they shared that the most popular Instagram audience strategy is lumping all audience types and time windows together into one large chunk — like, everyone who engaged with your profile in the last 365 days, for instance. 

As you might guess, there is so much more you can be doing with these audiences!

Let’s take a closer look at engagement audiences for instance:
With the robust filtering of Facebook’s ads tool, you can build audiences of engagers based on a huge number of different factors like who has visited your Instagram profile, messaged you, or saved a post or an ad.

When it comes to these custom audiences, we quite liked this tip from social media today:Building “warm” audiences of people who have engaged with your content within a recent timeframe. Video in particular is a useful engagement and attention metric. So, say you create a ‘warm’ audience of people who’ve watched a certain amount of video from your page. From there, you can create a Lookalike Audience based on the warm audience, which will allow you to expand your reach to include people who share similar behaviors to that initial, warm, engaged group. 

The Jon Loomer blog has a few favorite audience tips, too, specifically around building engagement-based audiences. These include:

  • People who have engaged in any way with your brand on Instagram in the past seven days, the past 20 days, and the past 90 days.
  • People who have visited your Instagram profile in the past 30 days but who are not customers
  • and People who have viewed your Instagram Stories videos in the past seven days 

Another way to work with custom audiences is through retargeting.

This gets at the custom audience type of pixel tracking and website / profile visits. 

We’ve talked to lots of brands that start out with targeting anyone and everyone that visits their website in their retargeting campaigns. Needless to say that approach isn’t always the most effective.

Customers visit your website for lots of different reasons. They visit different pages. The pages they visit represent different buyer intents. Perhaps they’re not looking to buy your product at all. The key is to match your custom advertising audiences to those shoppers’ intents.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce brand and someone visits your website shopping for shoes, make sure that you segment those people into a custom audience labeled “shoe shoppers” or “footwear.”

Over the past year at Buffer we’ve created various audiences based on the subject matter our visitors are interested in learning about. We have a custom audience for traffic to all Facebook marketing pages, Instagram marketing, customer experience, case studies, etc. That allows us to be hyper-focused on what type of content we deliver, which helps to drive down costs.

We have a whole podcast about it if you want to check out.

How to Create Custom Audiences for Pinterest Ads

As you’ll find with all of these social networks, they’re not quite as robust with ads offerings as Facebook and Instagram. But that’s okay! There’s still plenty of customization you can do.For Pinterest, you have a few options for what to create when it comes to customer audiences.

You can build audiences

  • Based on visitors who went to your site
  • Through a customer list that you upload — like a list of emails
  • Based on people who engaged with pins that link to your website
  • With an actalike audience that behaves similarly to an existing custom audience that you’ve created
Pinterest audience options

The visitor audience is based on a Pinterest tag, very much like the Facebook pixel. The Pinterest tag is a piece of JavaScript code you can install on your website to gather conversion insights and to build audiences that you can then target, based on actions taken on your site.

The Pinterest engagement audiences are really interesting, too. For these, all you need is to confirm your domain with Pinterest, and then Pinterest will be able to check to see which Pinterest users have engaged with pins that link back to your website. So for instance, if 1,000 people had saved a pin of Buffer blog content, we could build an engagement audience based on this. 

Similar to the Facebook and Instagram engagement audiences, Pinterest gives you a handful of options to further customize this group. You can filter based on a specific URL, based on a pin category, or even based on the percentage of video that’s been viewed. 

One interesting way that e-commerce brands can use this is to create audiences that are interested in particular product categories — people who click on certain links or certain Pins. 

How to Create Custom Audiences for Twitter

With Twitter ads, you can build custom audiences based on

  • An uploaded list of contacts or customers
  • A collection of website visitors based on data you get from using a Twitter website tag
  • A list of  your mobile app users
  • A flexible audience.
Twitter audience options

The flexible audiences feature is similar in nature to some of the engagement audiences we’ve talked about before. These audiences give Twitter advertisers a way to save combinations of audiences and subsets of audiences, based on factors like recency and frequency of interactions.

How to Create Custom Audiences for LinkedIn

You can build custom audiences on LinkedIn based on a list of contacts that you upload or you can build audiences based on website data, captured using a LinkedIn tag. 

LinkedIn audience options

One interesting bit of audience customization that LinkedIn provides is with account-based audiences. Let’s say that you want to get a certain percentage of Fortune 500 companies using your product; well, you can upload this list of accounts to LinkedIn and build a custom audience that focused on the stakeholders of these companies. 

Yes, there’s a lot of interesting things you can do on LinkedIn if you’re a business selling to other businesses. Then of course Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are all great for selling your products and services direct to consumers.

That’s right, and before we go, we’d love to leave you with just a couple more ideas for how you can use these custom audiences in unique ways. 

More Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Custom Audiences

I thought this tip from AdEspresso was pretty intriguing.They boost a lot of their content to a wide audience and then create a custom audience based on people who click that content and visit the website. This custom website audience, then, is made up of people who have already shown a lot of intent and might be more primed to start a trial.

Another exciting way to use custom audiences is to think creatively about what you share with a custom audience of existing customers. Typically you might think of ads as a way to acquire more customers. But what if you used this list as a way to keep existing customers engaged? You can build a custom audience based on people who have shopped with you in the past or used your product before, but it’s been awhile since they returned — a “sleepy” audience of sorts.

And finally, there are some neat things you can do with custom audiences of newsletter subscribers. You can segment the list into audiences of engaged subscribers and disengaged subscribers and deliver unique content to each group. For the disengaged group in particular there’s a lot of value in re-engaging: MailChimp ran an analysis of 60 million e-commerce purchases and 40 million email addresses from retailers and found that a single inactive subscriber is still worth 32% of an active subscriber.


About the Science of Social Media

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing strategies from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ listeners each week and rock your social media channels as a result!





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Black Friday / Cyber Monday Social Media Marketing Tips



The biggest retail dates of the year are just around the corner. Do you have your social media marketing ready?

We’ve researched some of the trendiest marketing ideas for Black Friday + Cyber Monday, including flash sales, messenger marketing, and UGC. In this blog post, we’ll cover a host of new ideas, tips, and tactics that can help you boost your already-planned campaigns or give you some inspiration for an upcoming piece of content.

Find out some of the numbers behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and see what the most cutting-edge brands are trying out this holiday season.


Holiday shopping begins for people all the way back in September! So there’s a wide window of opportunity to reach customers who are in the shopping mood.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper is planning to spend $1,047 this holiday season, which is a four percent increase from last year. 

Overall, sales in November and December are expected to rise between 3-to-4 percent, reaching more than $725 billion. 

That’s a huge amount of spending. We’ll get into some ways to best position your products and promotions during this spending season. But first, we wanted to start with a couple of outside-the-box campaigns to get you feeling inspired. 

Inspiring examples of Black Friday / Cyber Monday marketing

Outdoor apparel retailer REI has taken a rather unique approach to its Black Friday marketing. For the past four years, REI has chosen simply to not participate at all. They close their stores and send their employees home. Even the website has a giant takeover message. They want you to feel empowered to opt out of Black Friday and spend time outside. The hashtag campaign “Opt Outside” has been a hit. 

And this year, they’re taking it one step further by not only encouraging people to opt out of shopping but also asking folks to spend their time cleaning up the environments around them of trash and waste. 

It’s a really powerful message to send, and it’s been very effective for REI’s brand.

For another example of Black Friday creative campaigns, there’s this amusing one from the New York Public Library. The library put together some simple content to share on social, advertising a 100% off sale on all its books. 

Of course, the joke here is that the New York Public Library is a .. well, library. All of its books are free to check out all the time anyway. 

Nevertheless, it proved to be a very memorable campaign.

So with these fun examples in mind, let’s jump into some of the specific strategies and tactics you can take with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing.


When researching this episode, we came across a really interesting case study of HostGator, a web hosting service, and how they approached Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Essentially, HostGator put together a spreadsheet with multiple sales at multiple different hours of multiple different days. It was fascinating!

Yes, their sales typically lasted one hour with some steep savings of 60 to 70 percent. And each hourly sale had its own coupon code so they could track the results. 

It’s a really interesting strategy, especially when you think of how you can use it on social media. 

That’s right. Think of all the possibilities for Stories content and social posts if you have multiple sales during the shopping weekend. Especially with Stories, you have things like countdown timers and reminder stickers that you can use to great effect. Each new sale gives you another chance to reach out to your audience in multiple ways — getting attention before the sale starts, holding attention during the sale, and teasing the next one. 

HostGator’s plan included sales for Early Access Black Friday as well as Small Business Saturday, and it’s a trend that many other businesses are emulating. 

The Black Friday weekend is almost a four day affair, if not more. We have Gray Thursday, which is U.S. Thanksgiving Day, then there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, which some companies extend for the whole next week. 

If you’re thinking of using multiple days for your marketing plans, you can consider some fo the unique behaviors of your audience on these days. For instance, on Black Friday, you might tie some of your marketing into some Buy Online / Pickup In Store specials (commonly referred to as BOPIS) and on Cyber Monday, you can of course focus on online sales. Shoppers spent $7.9 billion online for Cyber Monday last year. 

Related to this, it’s also worthwhile to start, really, any time between now and the holiday weekend, if you haven’t already. Around 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween. So shopping is definitely top of mind for your audience, even before Black Friday hits. 

You’ve probably seen this with many of the brands you love. All their designs, photos, and graphics match the season we’re in. This might mean harvest colors in October and early November, short and catchy ads around Black Friday, and then holiday themes in December. 

If you’re able to align all these creative assets across all platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, even your display ads — it can create a very powerful and memorable brand experience, which often ends up tying back to ad performance and sales!In fact, according to Twitter Business, ad recall is 60 percent higher if a brand does something as simple as placing the logo in a consistent spot. These little things – logo placement, color, font, hashtags — they make a difference! 

There are some really big opportunities out there for messaging platforms around the holidays. 

The website Retail Dive touched on a bit of this in a recent blog post explaining the virtue of SMS and text messaging. Get this: During Black Friday 2018, there were reports of brands getting 2000% ROI from using SMS campaigns during the Black Friday weekend. 

That’s an incredible number!So probably your mind goes next to, well how can I get this set up for my brand? 

You can definitely go the SMS route. We think it can be almost just as effective if you think of applying this strategy to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp as well. Either way, the workflow looks a little like this: 
Step One: collect the contact information and the person’s opt-in consent.

This can happen at signup or with a special one-off campaign to collect contact info with the promise of special deals coming soon. 

Then, you can apply some messaging strategies to the data. Send a discount code to subscribers. Follow up with an email with the same discount and more product offerings. For those who don’t purchase right away, send a reminder nudge. 

You can even tie this into the hourly flash sales we talked about earlier. Just be careful not to overuse this messaging channel — you want to always uphold first and foremost a solid, genuine relationship with the person. Sending too many messages can be a turn-off.

You probably have a lot of content to create around these busy holiday dates, so it can be quite a relief to get some help from your community by re-sharing the content that they’re already making. 

This can take a lot of different forms like photos of your brand and product, or positive user reviews. It’s especially easy on Instagram Stories where you can reshare someone else’s post to your Stories with just a couple taps. 

Some companies go the extra mile and create programs to incentivize users to create and share content about the brand. You can tie giveaways into this strategy — offer prizes to random winners who have used a certain hashtag or commented on a post. We recently added a Giveaways feature to our social engagement product, Buffer Reply, if you want to check it out at buffer.com/reply. 

For some simple ideas for creating UGC contests, we quite like this list by G2 Crowd. 

  1. Ask your community to share a video or photo of them using your product
  2. Ask your community to reshare your content
  3. Ask people to follow you on social
  4. Have people tag people in the comments, people who they think might benefit from what your brand has to offer

For last year’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping, Adobe Analytics found that mobile devices sent 58 percent of traffic to websites, which represented a 20 percent increase from the year before. 

That means that more than half of your website visitors are likely coming from mobile. Is your website prepared? 

it’s worth considering this type of user flow when you’re putting together your social media campaigns. Be sure that whatever you’re linking to — whether it’s from your social ads, from the Swipe Up in your Stories — that the page is well-optimized for mobile. It’s going to make a big difference with user experience and with conversions. 

People often turn to social media to get in touch with brands for product questions. You can expect that volume to be especially high around the shopping weekend. 

Yeah, we thought this stat was really interesting: projections say that 77% of consumers expect to return some of the presents they get this year. And almost 20 percent of consumers say they’ll return more than half of their gifts. 

Knowing this in advance, you can put together some workflows and some docs to help prepare your social media teams to handle these types of requests and this volume. 

As has been the case in past years, Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat continue to be more and more important for showcasing what your company sells. 

According to Facebook’s holiday marketing guide, Stories have become a hugely popular place to window shop. Last year, 63 percent of shoppers either watched or posted videos on Stories and more than a third of shoppers claim that videos were influential in choosing what to buy. 

So whatever you do with your content plans this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be sure that you’ve allocated plenty to Stories! 

About the Show:

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing strategies from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 27,000+ listeners each week and rock your social media channels as a result!





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Brand Secrets for Standing Out in a Crowded World



These days, we live in a world of infinite supply…

In just a few clicks, anyone can start a business. Anyone can create products, build an online store, publish ads, and reach an audience online. This means that every market is becoming flooded with businesses offering similar products, features, and solutions. 

So to stand out you need to have a brand that your customers connect with, and care about deeply. 

In this post, we’ll be sharing some tips and strategies to help you to build your brand. These insights all come from our new podcast series — it’s called Breaking Brand and it’s out there for you to listen to right now

What exactly is a brand?

Before we jump into some strategies and tactics for creating a brand your customers will truly care about, let’s first look at what exactly a brand is. 

The word “brand” is used a lot in marketing today. But what exactly does brand mean? That question that might sound simple… but is actually pretty complex, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

David Ogilvy describes a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”

Marty Neumeier, an author and speaker who writes about branding and innovation, says “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”

And Camille Baldwin, one of the Pattern Brands founding team, and star of Breaking Brand, says “brand to me is identity. It’s all of the things that make up identity, your values, your principles, who you are, your characteristics and your intention.”

Brand to me is identity. It’s all of the things that make up identity, your values, your principles, who you are, your characteristics and your intention.

Camille Baldwin, VP of Brand, Pattern Brands

So to summarize… Your brand is the identity of your business, and how it makes people feel. 

Now, let’s dive into some takeaways from Breaking Brand to help you build a buzzworthy brand that stands out against your competitors.

4 Ways to build a memorable brand

1. Know what your consumers care about

Most people are really good at explaining the “what” and the “how” of their business. For example, say you’re an accountancy company, describing the what and the how is pretty simple…

  • What you do is you help individuals and businesses to ensure their finances are in shape.
  • How you do it might vary, but it tends to involve some form of account management where you assist with invoicing or balance the books every month or quarter.

And the thing that will help one accountancy company stand out from its competitors is moving from the what and the how to the why.

The “why” is what will make a potential customer choose your business over another. The “why” is your differentiator. 

In general, consumers aren’t too fussed about how you do your work — the tools you use, your internally processes, and things like that. What consumers care about is “why does this business matter in my life?” 

And to go back to the accountancy example — we already explained the what and the how — but the “why” might not be so obvious. For example, if an accountancy company mostly serves small businesses, the “why” might freeing up time for the business owner to spend with family and friends. 

So how do you find your why? 

Customer research is a great place to start.

At Buffer we often do research interviews with customers to learn how our product helps them, and to better understand how they describe the benefits of Buffer. We’ve even had teammates spend the day with customers at their offices to see first-hand how Buffer fits into their routines and workflows.

And in Breaking Brand, Emmet Shine, co-founder of Pattern Brands, talks about the importance of knowing the customer when it comes to building a brand consumers will care about.

Before starting Pattern Brands, Emmett helped over 50 businesses launch to market, and one of those businesses was Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain selling healthy salads and grain bowls.

When working on the Sweetgreen brand and trying to understand its customers, Emmett and his team spent countless hours at Sweetgreen restaurants. They would watch how the staff would prepare salads, listen to how customers would place orders and immerse themselves in how the company works.

Essentially, they were trying to understand every tiny detail about what made Sweetgreen unique and special. 

This enabled the team to craft a brand that really emphasised what customers were looking for from Sweetgreen and helped them to find their “why”. 

Now Sweetgreen has over 75 restaurants and reportedly generated in excess of £100 million in 2018. So they clearly have a brand that fits what consumers are looking for.

2. Find the technical, functional, and emotional benefits of your business

Once you’ve done your customer research, you can begin to think about the various types of benefits your business offers consumers.

In episode one of Breaking Brand, Pattern’s VP of Brand, Camille Baldwin shares how the brand pyramid framework can help you to define those benefits. 

Brand pyramids have been around since the late nineties, but still play a key role in brand strategy. Pyramids help you to answer fundamental questions about your business and its place in the market. Here’s an example brand pyramid from Insead Knowledge:

Three of the key elements of any brand pyramid are the technical, functional and emotional benefits your business offers consumers. 

Technical benefits

At the bottom of your pyramid, you’re thinking about the technical benefits of your brand (labeled ‘Features and attributes’ in the above image). Essentially this will help you to define what you do as a company. At this stage you’ll want to ask questions like: How is this business benefiting the consumers? How will it make money? What are we offering? 

For example, at Buffer we might say the technical benefit of our product is to manage all of your social media content and profiles in one place. 

Functional benefits

Then, with the technical benefits of your brand defined, it’s time to look at the functional benefits you can offer consumers. Functional benefits are essentially what your customers get when they buy your product or service.

Functional benefits tend to focus on things like how a product can improve your life, help you stay connected to others or help you to make forward progress. 

At Buffer, a functional benefit might be not having to hit publish manually every-time you want to share to social media. Or in the case of a car: a big, spacious family car will offer the functional benefit of space for your whole family to travel in comfort. 

Emotional benefits

Next up, are emotional benefits. And these are really what makes one brand stand out from another.

Emotional benefits are how your brand makes someone feel based on the stories you tell consumers. 

One emotional benefit of Nike, for example, is that its equipment will make you feel like a professional athlete. And at Buffer we might say the emotional benefit of our product is peace of mind knowing that your content will be posted to social media platforms at exactly the right time every time. 

As you go through everything you’ve learned during your customer research phase, start looking out for emotion-based words your customers, or potential customers, use to describe your company or the problem you’re solving. 

Whenever someone says “I feel” or “it made me.. happy, relaxed, proud, or healthy”, for example, this helps you to identify the emotional benefits your company delivers. 

 3. Craft a simple tagline and message

Just Do It, Think Different, I’m Lovin’ It… 

Those are all examples of great brand taglines. By saying just two or three words, I bet you knew exactly which businesses I was talking about. And that’s the power of being able to boil your message down to something simple, and memorable. 

In episode three of Breaking Brand, Emmett Shine, co-founder of Pattern Brands explains: “The thing about branding and marketing, is you can do years worth of research. But if you can’t boil it down to this thin sliced tagline it doesn’t matter.”

The thing about branding and marketing, is you can do years worth of research. But if you can’t boil it down to this thin sliced tagline it doesn’t matter.

Emmett Shine, Executive Creative Director, Pattern Brands

But this isn’t easy to do.

It took the Patten Brands team months of ideating and back-and-forth to land on their tagline “Enjoy Daily Life”.

But now that simple statement acts as a guiding light for everything they do. From the content they post on social media to the products they sell. 

Boiling your whole business down to one sentence, or even just a couple of words can be very tough. And you can’t force it. One of the best ways to craft the perfect tagline is to facilitate brainstorms and create space for idea sharing. Another thing the Pattern Brands team has done was to journal about their business and riff on ideas in private too. 

And sometimes the best ideas will come to you outside of the office. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and away from your desk. 

Communicating a clear message in just a few words is very difficult. One way we’ve found to come up with taglines at Buffer is to start long and edit down.

So to begin with, write exactly what your business delivers for customers in as many words as it take — this could be a paragraph or two, maybe even longer. And remember to think about the emotional benefits here too, not just the technical and functional benefits you offer. 

Next, you’ll want to take what you’ve just written and edit it down to just one or two sentences. Repeat that process to make it one sentence, or just a few words. Then take that final piece of copy and play with a number of different versions: Rewrite it, change out words, and experiment with different lengths. This process will help you to distill all of the thoughts you wanted to share about your business into a short, memorable tagline. 

Now you might be wondering: “Why is a tagline so important?” 

From personal experience, I know I’ve never bought a Mac because their tagline is “think different.” But having that tagline in places means that Apple has a clear mission, and everything it does — from the adverts it makes, to its keynote launches — is guided by that vision.

4. Ensure your business lives and breaths your brand

To be successful, and for consumers to trust your message, you have to live your brand. 

For example, Nike says its mission is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” And the company sees every single person as an athlete, not just the pros. 

But Nike doesn’t just say that, it lives by it. 

That’s why the company focuses on creating the most innovative clothing and footwear, and why its advertising revolves around inspirational messages and stories.

Nike’s brand is reflected in every piece of content it puts out on social media. Just before writing this, I jumped over to Nike’s main Instagram account, here are just a few posts I spotted:

  • An IGTV video with Saquon Barkley sharing where his NFL dreams started.
  • A photo of women’s marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei with former record holder Paula Radcliffe.
  • A photo of Rafael Nadal sharing his ambitions as a child.

Of course, not all businesses will have the resources of Nike, or the access to global superstars for that matter. But it still serves of a great example of ensuring the essense of your brand shines through on every platform. 

To go back to the accountancy example I mentioned earlier. If your “why” or emotional benefit is giving small business owners more free time to spend away from work, you could ensure all of your messaging and content supports this mission. This could mean Instagram posts with clients enjoying themselves away from the office or blog posts about disconnecting from work. It could even mean you rethink the imagery and copy you use on your website.

As I mentioned right at the start of this post, your brand is the identity of your business and how it makes people feel. So every single touchpoint where someone can interact with your business should represent what you want your brand to be, and how you want people to feel. 





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