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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Twitter cracking down on bots and automation with Madalyn Sklar, Instagram DM replay changes, and other breaking […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


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The 25 most-followed accounts on Instagram are, more or less, what you’d expect. There are quite a few familiar faces: Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Beyonce Knowles, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry—the list goes on.

And, of course, the ubiquitous Kardashian-Jenners make a good showing. The alliterative sisters Kim, Kylie, Kendall, Khloe, and Kourtney all rank within the top 20.

It’s hard to deny that celebs are good at social. And why is that?

There are a few things that they get about Instagram that brands just don’t.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear. Plus we’ll show you how you can use Hootsuite to grow your own following on Instagram and other platforms.

1. They get internet humor

The internet is a vast place, full of disparate people voicing a cacophony of opinions. There’s very little that can typically be attributed to the culture of the internet as a whole.

Except maybe humor.

The internet at large, and social media in particular, is home to a particular sense of humor—a unique constellation of memes, clever hashtags, and puns, mixed with a healthy dose of nostalgia. Add in a dollop of self-deprecating jokes and you have internet culture.

And celebs get it. They get it in a way that brands just don’t.

Kylie Jenner pokes fun at herself in this Instagram post where she wears a t-shirt featuring an unflattering photo of herself that’s been circling the internet for years.

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Apr 18, 2016 at 12:44pm PDT

This shot of Kylie Jenner is a great example. She’s showing that she can laugh at herself—it’s goofy and self-deprecating in a way that the internet loves.

2. They’re so relatable
Not only do celebs get internet humor, they also get what works online: nostalgia (the #tbt is alive and well). Specifically, they get that their primarily millennial audience responds to 90s references.

🦋🦋#Butterfly is my favorite album, it's the most personal work I've ever done and will always be a defining moment in my career and in my life. I'm so happy to celebrate this anniversary with a special picture disc vinyl release – link in bio. Stay tuned for more surprises!🦋🦋

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on Sep 16, 2017 at 2:36pm PDT

So when celebrities post throwbacks—like this one from Mariah Carey—to 90s moments from their own lives, it’s very relatable for their audience.

But the relatability of celebs—that authenticity that people love to describe as ‘so real’—goes beyond embracing nostalgia. It’s about sharing moments from their lives that are a tad less glamorous than the usual red carpet shot.

In a way, the content that celebs now share on their own Insta timelines is reflective of the kind of material that paparazzos once doggedly pursued. But they’ve realized something fundamental about it: if they post it themselves, they control the message.

And, on a less cynical note, these down-to-earth, ‘authentic’ moments give them the opportunity to connect with fans. It’s precisely this relatability that explains why followers love celebs’ bathroom selfies.

A post shared by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on Feb 15, 2017 at 5:32pm PST

And the oh-so-relatable moments they share with the mini-humans in their lives.

Love u so much x kisses @Cruzbeckham X ✨

A post shared by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on Feb 12, 2018 at 8:43am PST

Or their relationships with their parents.

Bonnie and Clyde

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on Aug 5, 2017 at 5:18am PDT

Or those moments of uncontained, bona fide joy.

THE TRAILER IS JUST EEEEPPPPPPPIIIIICCCCCCC! Star Wars is back! gaaaaaad laaaaard! You know what! Let me just relax because this kind God oooo! Lmao! Seriously congrats to everyone ! December 18th!

A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on Oct 20, 2015 at 12:02am PDT

John Boyega’s reaction to The Force Awakens trailer is so utterly relatable, because his excitement reflects that of the franchise’s fans. It’s the sort of over-the-top, genuine, unabashed enthusiasm that spawns reaction GIFs—the kind people share with the comment, “Same.”

3. They get that the caption can make or break a photo

I think we can all agree that celebs have great photos. They’re often glossy, professional images that beat the average snap. But it isn’t just their photos that make their Instagram feeds stand out from the crowd. Celebs get that Instagram captions can be just as important as the image they’re attached to.

When you could go anywhere for your bday dinner but you're so OG that you go to OG with all your OG's. 📷 by @ronyalwin #thosebreadstickstho

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Oct 27, 2015 at 12:37pm PDT

This Instagram from Katy Perry is the perfect example. The photo itself is nothing special, just another group photo at a restaurant. What makes it special is the caption, which cleverly plays on ‘OG’ as short for ‘Olive Garden.’

I'm up at 4am everyday to work extremely hard BEFORE I go into work, not because I'm bat shit crazy (well maybe a little;), but because I know my competitors are not paying that price and sacrificing to that degree – and that will alway give me the edge and anchor for an opportunity for success. You don't have to get up at 4am, but I encourage you to find the thing that gives you the edge over everyone else around you. Once you find it, let it be your anchor. Then you've just created an opportunity for yourself to succeed. And that's all we ever want to work hard and create for ourselves.. opportunity. #GainTheEdge #FindYourAnchor #ButForTheLoveOfGod #YouDoNotWantToWakeUpAt4amEveryday 🖕🏾😂

A post shared by therock (@therock) on Apr 12, 2016 at 2:14pm PDT

In this shot, The Rock goes beyond simply posting a photo from the gym. Instead he gives his followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his routine and his motivation. It’s the details around it that make the shot special.

When brands post to Instagram, their captions are often short and unexpressive—they lack personality. But personality is something that celebs have in spades. And when it comes to Insta, it not only shows—it pays off.

What many brands fail to recognize is that they need to go beyond the image. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a great Instagram caption can be worth so much more.

4. They get that people connect with faces

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, celebs have selfies down to an art. And while selfies may be considered narcissistic, they’re based on a fundamental truth—people respond to faces.

A study by Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that Instagram photos that feature human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos without faces. They’re also 32 percent more likely to get comments.

The study’s lead, Saeideh Bakhshi, theorized about why this might be: “Faces are powerful channels of nonverbal communication. We constantly monitor them for a variety of contexts, including attractiveness, emotions, and identity.”

The researchers also found that the number of faces in a photo, their age, or gender didn’t make a difference.

We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. – The Carters

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Feb 1, 2017 at 10:39am PST

This shot of Beyonce announcing her second pregnancy proves that faces work—it was the most-liked photo on Instagram in 2017.

5. They understand that cute animals win on social

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the internet loves a good cat photo. Or a snap of a cute puppy. Or basically any warm fuzzy thing. (Chewbacca aside, though the internet certainly loves him as well.)

Taylor Swift gets this.

Some real tough questions I had for Olivia.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Sep 7, 2017 at 8:05am PDT

She incorporates her adorable felines, Dr. Meredith Grey and Detective Olivia Benson, into her feed, with excellent results.

Mary Jane ❤️

A post shared by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on Dec 2, 2017 at 11:18pm PST

Miley Cyrus is no stranger to this tactic either. Her feed boasts snaps of her own pets, puppy Boomerangs, and a personal tattoo commemorating her dog Mary Jane—effectively taking her ‘cute animal’ game to the next level.

Thankful for @beaglefreedom and their mission to free captive pups from inhumane animal testing labs! Without BFPs work I wouldn't be falling asleep next to Little Dog, being lulled by the sound of her heartbeat …. #whosavedwho #myrescuerescuedme #fucktestingonanimals ❤️💙💚💜💛 @happyhippiefdn

A post shared by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on Jul 22, 2017 at 9:41pm PDT

How can brands make this work for them? Think beyond your product and get right into your customers’ lifestyle. Might that lifestyle involve pets? Insta ‘em. Hootsuite does it with our #HootDogs hashtag.

Building friendships 👫 Some new #hootdogs getting aquainted with Owly over lunch 🐾 Welcome to the team! #lifeofowly 📷: @evarobin

A post shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:46pm PDT

6. They go Insta-first for big news

Something that celebs do often that brands rarely emulate: they announce big news on Instagram.

Taylor Swift did it with a music video. Beyonce did it with an album.


A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Dec 12, 2013 at 9:12pm PST

Others have gone Insta-first for more personal news, like engagement and pregnancy announcements.

Like Kylie Jenner did with the first shot released after the much-anticipated birth of her first child.

stormi webster 👼🏽

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Feb 6, 2018 at 1:14pm PST

Or Danneel Ackles did with the announcement of hers and Jensen Ackles’ twins.

Yep! Doublemint here we come!

A post shared by @ danneelackles512 on Aug 10, 2016 at 11:31am PDT

Or this heart-melting post from Michael Phelps on his engagement to Nicole Johnson.

She said yes😁😁😁 @nicole.m.johnson. (Photo credit to @arschmitty )

A post shared by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on Feb 21, 2015 at 10:49pm PST

When Disney employed this strategy it was massively successful. They released the much-anticipated Star Wars teaser trailer on Instagram first and fans went wild.

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A post shared by Star Wars (@starwars) on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:00am PDT

7. They don’t shy away from taking a stance

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Instagram feed is a mix of beautiful landscapes and endangered animals, accompanied by fact-filled captions urging action on climate change, environmental, and humanitarian issues. Nearly all of them are Regrams.

DiCaprio uses his Insta to amplify the images, causes, and work of activist organizations. The few original posts he shares are still clearly focused on his overall message of environmentalism.

Last night’s win at the #Oscars was an incredible honor – but it was also an important opportunity to bring even more attention to #climatechange. Last year was the hottest in recorded history. Climate change is real, it is the most dire crisis our species has ever known, and it is happening right now. We must empower leaders who don’t speak for corporate interests but who speak for us, our children’s children and those whose voices cannot be heard. Take action now:

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on Feb 29, 2016 at 7:53am PST

This dedication to his core message gives his feed a consistent focus that fans can connect with. It also tells the world what he’s about, giving him a chance to do good.

#Regram #RG @nrdc_org: Anti-environment members of Congress are trying to weaken the Endangered Species Act, effectively declaring it open season on imperiled species like the gray wolf. Visit the link in our profile to help us defend the Endangered Species Act before it’s too late.

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on Feb 12, 2018 at 5:43pm PST

DiCaprio isn’t the only one doing this. His single-minded focus is similar to Emma Watson’s commitment to gender equality, as she often shares posts on her talks and appearances. Like DiCaprio, Watson uses captions as a call to arms for followers to learn more and take action.

Marai- what can I say. You were the best date on the most meaningful red carpet I have ever walked. Thank you for being so darn articulate and fun. Thank you for the trust, care, compassion and solidarity. I am so proud to say I work with #Imkaan and the End Violence Against Women Coalition and to be learning from you. Emma 💪 @jusmarai

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on Jan 14, 2018 at 11:41pm PST

While companies don’t necessarily need to transform their feeds into a list of social justice issues, it can be beneficial to declare public support for causes about which the brand feels strongly. For example, Hootsuite is a B Corporation. B Corps use business as a force for good to solve social and environmental issues.

8. They shoot for a consistent look and feel

Celebrities are excellent at creating aesthetically-pleasing feeds. Whether they’re filled with vibrant colors, muted tones, or black and white, celeb feeds are typically identifiable by a distinctive look and feel.

Kourtney Kardashian has mastered the art of the #triplegram—a series of three related photos posted to Instagram consecutively (something that any pre-Instagram photographer would identify as a triptych).




10 Reasons Celebrities Are Better at Instagram Than Brands | Hootsuite BlogImage via People



On the other hand, Joe Keery is all about creating consistency through the look and feel of his overall feed. Joe’s photos typically have a matte-finish look with muted tones reminiscent of film photography. Wherever you land in his feed, it’s clear whose photos you’re looking at.

9. They talk up their friends

Who do you see most often in celebrity photos (other than the celeb you’re following)? Their friends and family of course, just like anyone else.

Except for them, those people just happen to be other celebs.

Gettin advice. From da GOAT.

A post shared by Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) on Dec 14, 2017 at 3:08pm PST

They’re all about the casual name-drop mention.

Happy Birthday to my work sister #JenniferAniston !! 💕🎂 Wishing you a day filled with lots of love and laughter ! 🎊 #HBD

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on Feb 11, 2018 at 1:38pm PST

And the birthday wishes.

You might be thinking: my brand doesn’t hang out with celebrities, how is this useful to me?

The key, you see, is in the mentions. Brands should mention their friends, influencers, people they admire, and customers in posts. Tag people to show a little love and increase the potential reach of your content. After all, if you mention them, maybe they’ll mention (or even Regram) you!

10. They get that it’s all about the fans

Celebrities are only famous because of their fans. But some of them are better than others at recognizing this crucial fact.

Selena Gomez is the queen of this.

Just look at how she shows off her appreciation for her fans on her own feed.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.. My year has been the hardest yet most rewarding one yet. I've finally fought the fight of not 'being enough'. I have only wanted to reflect the love you guys have given me for years and show how important it is to take care of YOU. By grace through faith. Kindness always wins. I love you guys. God bless

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Nov 24, 2016 at 6:21pm PST

One of the best ways for brands to show appreciation for their fans on Instagram is, of course, engagement. Like and comment on photos that have to do with your brand or your business. Emulate Selena Gomez and make your interactions personable.

Due to safety I couldn't go outside tonight in Winnipeg. That did NOT stop me from gettin my pic tho 💘

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on May 20, 2016 at 8:40pm PDT

Whether you follow celebrities on Instagram or not, there’s a lot that brands can learn from them.

Follow your favorite celebrities on Instagram. Schedule posts, manage, and publish directly to Instagram with Hootsuite. Try it today.

Learn More

The post 10 Reasons Celebrities Are Better at Instagram Than Brands appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.


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Wondering how to increase your reach on Twitter? Want tips for building your audience and boosting engagement? To explore the Twitter algorithm and creative ways to interact with others on Twitter, I interview Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


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The Journey, a Social Media Examiner production, is an episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. // Watch The Journey: Episode 18 Episode 18 of The Journey follows Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, as he continues to pursue what many will see as an impossible goal: to […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


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LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most active professional networking platform, with over 13 million companies vying for the attention of more than half a billion users.

Once seen primarily as a job-seeking tool, the platform now offers a rich media experience that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Many LinkedIn users log in daily just to bask in the knowledge of thought leaders and stay on the pulse of their respective industries.

As such, your LinkedIn Company Page represents a huge opportunity to steer the conversation in your field, carve out a space for your brand, and attract top talent in the process.

Here are six steps you can take today to optimize your LinkedIn Company Page and improve your presence, authority, and recruitment prospects.

1. Tell your story in pictures

Update your profile image

Your profile image is first thing people searching for your company on LinkedIn will see, so make a good impression. Company Pages with profile pictures get six times more visitors than those without.

Choosing a profile image is straightforward: take your company logo (the same one you’re using on your other social media channels) and resize it to fit with LinkedIn’s requirements.

screenshot of Hootsuite LinkedIn company page

Ideal LinkedIn Profile Image Specs

Set the tone with your profile banner

The profile banner above your company logo offers a bit more room for creativity, as there are no hard-and-fast rules for using this space (other than some sizing requirements).

Ideal LinkedIn profile banner specs

  • 1536 x 768 pixels
  • PNG format
  • Maximum 8 MB
  • Rectangular layout

How you choose to hang your Company Profile banner is up to you. Here are two completely different examples of company profile banners, and why they’re successful.

Sephora: simple, sleek and stylish

Screenshot of Sephora Company Page on LinkedIn

Even a simple graphic can add some much-needed flair to LinkedIn’s standard template. Sephora’s banner displays the clean black and white stripes that frame many aspects of their branding, both in-store and online.

Air Canada: active, engaging and actionable

Air Canada LinkedIn Company Page

Air Canada’s banner takes a more actionable approach, advertising their involvement in the 2018 Seoul Winter Olympics. It includes bilingual hashtags for a current social media campaign and reps Canadian colors, driving social engagement.

2. Use keywords

Write an “About us”

Carefully-selected images will hook a prospect, but it takes words to reel them in.

A well-optimized “About us” section on your company page is a tightly worded paragraph (2,000 characters or less) telling visitors everything they need to know about your company. Use simple, accessible language informed by keyword research to outline your business goals in words anyone will understand.

Like your other social profiles, the “About us” on your Company Page should answer six basic questions (which I’ve adjusted slightly for the LinkedIn platform):

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you based?
  • What do you offer?
  • What are your values?
  • What is your brand voice?
  • How can people contact you to learn more?

To see an “About us” done right, look at Shopify. Their bio accurately describes the scope of their main product without ever slipping into yawn-inducing wordiness.

My favorite part is how they snuck in “Being awesome” as one of their specialties. This is how you have fun with LinkedIn while keeping things professional.

Screenshot of Shopify LinkedIn Company Page

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Remember, LinkedIn is a professional space, and like every social media platform, it has its own set of unwritten rules. Don’t be the company sharing memes from five years ago in an effort to market to Generation Z.

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Tailoring your content to a business-minded audience doesn’t mean it has to be boring; just read the room, and plan accordingly.

3. Create Showcase Pages

If the Company Page is a birds-eye view of your business and its core values, then Showcase Pages zoom in on your day-to-day activities.

These highly-customizable pages are essentially tailored news feeds on specific aspects of your organization. Depending on their interests, visitors might come here for content about your company’s individual brands and product ranges, ongoing charity efforts and sponsorships, or regularly occurring events like meetups, conferences, and expos.

Post, post, post

Real talk: Showcase Pages require upkeep. They have their own distinct sets of followers, separate from your Company Page. If you want these pages to be successful (and stay that way), ensure they’re regularly populated with articles, videos, slide presentations, and any other content that provides your followers with significant, long-term value.

Screenshot of Amazon showcase pages on LinkedIn

Showcase Pages are a great place to share Sponsored Content and get more value from targeted advertising.

You can target your posts by location and a recommended number of two other fields, including: industry, company, job type, seniority, group, school, and more. Because people following your Showcase Pages have already shown an active interest in that area of content by subscribing, they’re more likely to read it and share among their networks.

Here’s one last secret about Showcase Pages: they’re surprisingly underused. Capitalize on this! Even one Showcase Page puts you a step ahead of the competition, but you can have up to 10—enough to give you a serious advantage.

4. Build a career page

Glassdoor reports that 69 percent of job seekers are more likely to apply to a company that makes an active effort to promote its culture online. LinkedIn Career Pages are an amazing way to bolster your recruitment efforts by showing your company culture in its best light.

Located under the “Life” tab, Career Pages feature customizable modules where you can display high-quality images, videos and articles about the day-to-day at your organization. Try to include a URL in every post: LinkedIn reports that posts with links get 45 percent more engagement.

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Consider employee perspectives

If you’re looking for ways to frame your company as a think-tank for fresh ideas, look to the Career Pages “Employee perspectives” section, where you can publish thought leadership articles written by employees.

According to a survey by Jumpstart HR, the vast majority of job seekers value personal growth opportunities over anything else when considering a new workplace. By sharing content produced in-house, you’re showing your current employees that their perspectives are valued, and telling future talent that there’s plenty of room for recognition—and the opportunities that come with it.

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Explore other features

The Careers Page has a ton of other features, too many to list out in one blog post. Here are the major ones you should be aware of:

  • Create a virtual “meet the team” section from employee profiles
  • Collect and share employee testimonials
  • List the causes your employees care about and support on their profiles
  • Promote diversity by listing spoken languages
  • Track your recruitment analytics to improve your hiring process

How to Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps | Hootsuite Blog

Like Showcase Pages, you should update your Careers Page regularly. This is a space to proudly represent your company as a hub of excellence and new ideas, so post whenever you can; the goal is to have people clamoring to work for you.

With a good enough Careers Page, you might even win over a few employees from the Dark Side…I mean, your competitors.

5. Collect and give endorsements

More than a billion peer-to-peer endorsements have been given on LinkedIn, the platform’s most powerful (and sometimes controversial) form of social proof. Gather recommendations whenever possible, and don’t be shy to ask for them—it’s almost always mutually beneficial.

Ask employees

If your employees haven’t connected with your Company Profile, encourage them to do so, and be sure to write them a great recommendation from your personal profile in return. Your employees’ networks will be notified of work anniversaries, new job opportunities, and other updates about your business. When they share content to their own networks, it’ll also appear with your company name attached.

Ask associates

Some of the most valuable endorsements will come from your B2B interactions—76 percent percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

Whenever you have a positive interaction with another company, whether that’s a vendor, an account manager, or someone you met at a networking event, reach out to them for a connection and recommendation, and offer one in return.

This “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” approach almost seems like cheating, but it’s a perfectly valid way to cement business relationships and grow your network. Just make sure you’re following endorsement etiquette by only endorsing people and businesses you have actually interacted with, for skills you can honestly attest to.

Ask customers

Another way to build your brand and gather recommendations is to engage directly with customers and followers. If someone comments on an article you’ve shared on your Company Page, or messages you with an inquiry, use it as an opportunity to create a dialogue and win an endorsement.

Similarly, if a customer posts about a positive experience they had with your company on another social media platform, you could message them privately and ask if they’d endorse your LinkedIn Company Page, too. Even if you don’t get the endorsement, the positive public interaction is its own form of social proof.

6. Keep Tabs on the competition

LinkedIn publishes an annual list of the 10 best Company Pages. Visit every one of those profiles and study how they’ve optimized their pages, especially if they’re direct competition.

Once your Company Page is set up, optimized and delivering a steady stream of content that follows these simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to networking greatness.

Optimizing your company’s presence on LinkedIn is easier with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks. Try it free today.

Get Started


The post How To Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.


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Want to add more video to your content mix? Have you considered repurposing your blog content into video? There’s no need to spend hours recording video with an expensive camera when you have existing content and access to free tools. In this article, you’ll learn how to use free tools to turn blog posts into […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


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Marketers can no longer afford to undervalue Generation Z.

At an estimated 60 million, they make up 25.9 percent of the U.S. population. And while they have a reported $44 billion in buying power alone, when you factor in their influence on parent and home purchases, their real spending power is closer to $200 billion.

Who are they? Gen Z includes those born in the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. In other words, Gen Zers are today’s teenagers and the fastest growing cohort of tomorrow’s trendsetters.

Here’s what marketers should know if they want to be “in” with the cool kids.

Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to increase social media engagement with better audience research, sharper customer targeting, and Hootsuite’s easy-to-use social media software.

A long list of Gen Z stats that matter to marketers

They want marketers to get personal

Gen Zers have never known a phone that wasn’t smart or an ad that wasn’t targeted. They know brands have more access to customer data, and in exchange, they expect highly personalized interactions.

In Google’s report on Gen Z, 26 percent of teenage shoppers said they expect retailers to offer a more personalized experience based on their shopping habits and preferences. By comparison, only 22 percent of Millennials and 11 percent of Baby Boomers share that expectation.

But, they’re protective of their privacy

Gen Zers may crave hyper-personal experiences on social media, but they’re also keen to protect their privacy. They’re more inclined to cover the webcam on their laptops.

Marketers need make sure they connect with Gen Zers on their own terms so that they don’t come across as creepy or too invasive. Less than one-third of teens say they are comfortable sharing personal details other than contact information and purchase history, according to IBM’s survey Uniquely Gen Z. But 61 percent would feel better sharing personal information with brands if they could trust it was being securely stored and protected.

They give feedback

Though they prefer to keep private, Generation Z is offering more feedback than any other cohort. Almost half of Gen Z shoppers say that they give feedback often or very often.

Most of the time they’re writing comments on retailer websites, but they’re also reviewing on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, so brands with strong social listening strategies will curry more follower favor.

They’re more guarded on social media

Having learned from previous generations that what goes on the internet stays on the internet (forever), Gen Zers prefer to browse as anonymous voyeurs.

Apps such as Snapchat, Whisper, Yik Yak or Secret are popular among teens for their ephemerality and privacy. On sites like Twitter or Instagram, teens may use aliases or create separate accounts to maintain different social media personas. And where private channels are available, such as Instagram’s direct message option, teens will probably use it instead of publicly tagging friends.

More established sites like Facebook, where it’s harder to conceal your identity and hide from parents, are less popular with teens. While they still use the site, 34 percent of US teens think Facebook is for “old people.”

However, anonymity creates a challenge for brands trying to create personalized content for Gen Zers. To develop accurate audience personas, brands should focus on private and direct channels to engage one-on-one with teenagers. Facebook Messenger has proven so effective for brands and users that Facebook is planning to spin-off a standalone Instagram messaging app called Direct.

They use different networks for each stage of their shopping journey

Market research shows that 85 percent of Generation Z learns about new products on social media and are also 59 percent more likely than older generations to connect with brands on social, too.

Instagram is the most popular app for brand discovery, with 45 percent of teens using it to find cool new products, followed by Facebook, which comes in at 40 percent. Before making a purchase, Gen Zers are two times more likely than Millennials to turn to YouTube.

YouTube is also the platform of preference when it comes to shopping recommendations, ranking first among Generation Z with 24 percent, followed by Instagram at 17 percent and Facebook at 16 percent.

Meanwhile, in real brick-and-mortar stores, teens are most likely to turn to Snapchat to document their shopping experiences.

Understanding how teens use social media throughout their shopping process is key to engaging them on the right platforms with the right message.

They’re OK with more ads on social

As digital natives, Gen Zers have developed a high tolerance for digital ads.

For example, even though 39 percent of teens think YouTube has too many ads, the video platform remains the most popular with this generation by far. There’s even more room for brands to advertise on Instagram and Snapchat, where only 11 percent of teens think there are too many ads.

Infographic from Forrester: % of US youth who say a social network has too many advertisements

That catch is that Gen Zers also tend to have way shorter attention spans. On average, marketers have about 8 seconds to reach a teen before they keep scrolling. So videos should deliver early impact and content should be packaged in bite-sized formats.

They want the option to opt out

Because of shorter attention spans, teens do not like non-skippable ad formats like pre-rolls and pop-ups. Perception flips to positive, however, when advertisers offer the option to play or not play an ad. And Gen Zers are the quickest to exercise that control, clicking skip on video ads after only 9.5 seconds, versus Gen Xers who wait 12.6 seconds.

And the option to opt in

Likewise, when brands provide incentives for interaction, Gen Zers will actually opt-in: 41 percent show a positive reaction to mobile ads that offer rewards. The creators of trivia app HQ quickly realized that reciprocating engagement with perks comes with its own rewards in the form of 1.9 million users.

They’re open to new concepts like virtual reality

Teens aren’t only open to engaging with brands: they’re ready to engage with new concepts, too.

In a poll by Accenture, 73 percent of Gen Z shoppers say they are currently using, can’t wait to try, or probably will try voice-activated ordering in the future. They’re also most enthusiastic about the potential of virtual reality.

This openness to experimentation gives marketers opportunities to surprise and delight teens with creative campaigns and concepts. Live video, 360 video and other formats have proven popular with younger viewers.

And anything that makes shopping seem easier or faster will have added appeal. For example, 71 percent of respondents aged 18-20 express interest in auto-replenishment programs.

They trust social influencers as much as mainstream celebrities

Celebrity endorsements are meaningful to teens, but they lose their luster if they don’t seem genuine or authentic. Likewise, teens expect a celebrity to be upfront with branded content and have a low tolerance for product placement.

When asked about their most acceptable type of branded content 79 percent of Gen Zers thought a celebrity talking about why they like a brand was “always acceptable or sometimes OK.” Least acceptable is when a celeb shows a brand in a post but doesn’t say anything about it.

And while nods from actors, athletes and musicians may bring star power to ad spots, there’s a new type of celebrity in town: internet stars, a.k.a. social influencers. Depending on the product, online celebrities can hold more sway with Gen Zers than more traditional celebrities.

For example, internet stars outshine mainstream celebrities when it comes to beauty product and tech gadget endorsements. Only when it comes to clothes and accessories do mainstream celebs squeak by with 43 percent of influence, versus 41 percent for online influencers.

Infographic from Nielson: Influence of Celebrity Endorsements

They’re the most culturally and socially diverse generation

For Gen Zers, RuPaul’s Drag Queens are role models, Teen Vogue is woke, and “girl bosses” are a done deal. For the most part, Generation Z welcomes diversity with open arms and expects marketers to do the same.

And it’s not just that they’re more liberally minded. Census data show that in the U.S., Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse population in history. When asked about workplace values, 76 percent rank a job with a company that is diverse and inclusive as important. In Britain, 1 in 10 respondents aged 16-22 say they are “equally attracted to both sexes.”

Brands looking to tap the cultural zeitgeist should take note of backlash over controversies like Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad, or Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl spot featuring a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. It’s not always easy to get it right, and this socially active group is quick to let companies know when they’ve got it wrong (see point on “giving feedback” above).

There’s a gender factor

Brands should also keep in mind which platforms are more popular among males and females. Girls are significantly more likely to use Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr, according to a survey from AdWeek and Defy Media. On the other hand, Boys are more inclined to spend time on Twitch, TV, and Reddit. They are also 24 percent likelier than girls to state that they can’t live without YouTube.

Then there’s the cool factor. Boys tend to measure the “coolness” of something based on fads and friends, whereas girls determine something is cool based on how it makes them feel.

Infographic from Google: What's Cool? According to 400 13-to-17 Year Olds

They’re more optimistic about their future than we think they should be

For Gen Zers, the outlook is bright. More than half of the cohort believes that they are going to be better off than their parents. That’s a stark uptick from earlier research that found only 27 percent of 2016 high school graduates felt the same way.

Perhaps Generation Z has good reason to feel positive about the future, given that they’ve already proven they’re fiscally responsible. 85 percent agree that it’s important to save for the future. Only 37 percent describe themselves as spenders versus 63 percent who call themselves savers.

Nonetheless they’ve embraced the Millennial YOLO mantra, prioritizing fun and experience over sacrifice. Their top three priorities include enjoying life, finding a great job, and becoming a better person.

Older people, meanwhile, are more pessimistic about the future for Gen Zers. Among Baby Boomers, 54 percent think life will be worse for Generation Z. But as we’ve seen with events like Brexit or the 2016 U.S. election, there’s a growing gap between young and old when it comes to their future outlook.

That age gap is something marketers should keep in mind, especially if it means that they could be underestimating the consumer confidence of this young and bullish generation.

Connect with Generation Z using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks. Try it free today.

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The post Everything Social Marketers Need to Know About Generation Z appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.


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