RSSAll Entries in the "Strategy" Category

When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?

Instagram, as a highly visual network, is quickly gaining the attention of businesses trying to boost engagement on social. By now, marketers already know the value of photo and video in their social marketing strategies, and Instagram provides the perfect platform for you to share a variety of photo or video content and interact with your audience in new ways.

The Social Media Marketer’s Testing Guide




Instagram recently introduced polls in Instagram stories, allowing you to ask questions and see results of friends and followers as they vote. For marketers, this opens up a whole new platform to gain better insight into customer needs, gather feedback on products and services, and increase engagement between your brand and its followers on social.

Users also can now reply to Instagram stories with videos and photos—including those precious selfies and boomerangs. Replies are sent directly to users’ inboxes, and with a simple tap, they can view responses from their friends. Visual conversations are now common among social networks. This could mean that interactions with followers could produce user-generated marketing content simply through photo and video responses from users.

As Instagram continues to mature into one of social’s most-used networks, now with more than 800 million monthly active users, it becomes increasingly important for brands to identify the best days and times to post so that their target audiences engage, and continue to stay engaged, with their brand.

Here’s what the data tells us are the best days and times to post on Instagram.

Best Days to Post on Instagram

CoSchedule and TruConversion claim that posts published on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday see the highest levels of engagement. Avoid posting on Sundays, as this day experiences low levels of engagement. Be sure to save your best Instagram posts for the weekdays—specifically Monday and Thursday.

Keep in mind that these days and times are based off of general trends. In order to establish the best days and times for your brand, you may need to collect and analyze data that are specific to your brand. This is where social analytics solutions can help.

Using Simply Measured Social Analytics, we can dive deep into Coca-Cola’s Instagram account to identify days within the past couple of months that have generated the most engagement.

We can see spikes in engagement on three particular days: August 5th (Saturday), August 11th (Friday), and July 4th (Tuesday and a national holiday).

These high-performance days for Coca-Cola go against the general trends outlined above, making it important for Coca-Cola to now determine why these days drove so much engagement: Was it the type of content that mattered most? Was it effective to leverage Independence Day to boost brand engagement?

When determining peak days and times to post on Instagram, the best data to rely on is first-hand data you’ve either collected manually or by using social analytics solutions. The needs of your audience and their behaviors on Instagram can greatly differ from the general Instagram audience.

Best Times to Post on Instagram

Tuesday at 2 p.m. is the most-effective day and time to post on Instagram, according to CoSchedule. Later claims that posts sent between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. typically see the lowest levels of engagement. Hopper, an Instagram post-scheduling software, found that that the best time to post on Instagram is between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. during the week and around 11 a.m. on the weekend.

These general trends may not align with when your audience is engaged with your brand on Instagram. When you collect your own social data, start by aligning your posts with these general guidelines and adjust your schedule accordingly, based on the level of engagement generated during various times of the day.

The general consensus seems to be that there really isn’t a true best day and time to post on Instagram, the argument being that Instagram engagement depends on many factors, including industry, the type of content shared, or posting frequency.

Posting a video on Instagram at 9 p.m. gets 34% more interactions.

Source: CoSchedule

Posting Frequency

A white paper by Union Metrics examined Instagram profiles of 55 brands and found that most brands post an average of 1.5 times per day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the optimal number of posts to achieve peak engagement. In fact, the paper also found no negative impact on engagement from brands who post multiple times per day. Sometimes, bigger brands can even get away with posting less frequently.

Coca-Cola posted just 15 times to their Instagram between July 1 and September 21, 2017, which is well below the one-post-per-day suggestion mentioned above. Coca-Cola still was able to acquire nearly 124,000 new followers within this timeframe. As a well-known global brand, Coca-Cola is one brand that continues to drive engagement because of its status as a leader in the beverage industry, making it a bit of an anomaly. Generally, the more posts a brand shares on Instagram, the more engagement the brand will receive.

An article from Forbes argues that the frequency of posts doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the post and the consistency with which you post. Whether you post every hour or just once per week, a consistent posting cadence will keep your audience engaged. Accounts that abruptly decrease their post frequency lose followers quickly.

As you build your Instagram strategy, one thing should stay top-of-mind: the best data to inform your strategy is the data you collect specific to your brand. This is also not a “one and done” process: continue to test different times and days to post on Instagram, and look for trends in how your audience engages with your brand.

9 Hashtag Marketing Tactics That Actually Work

With social network updates happening faster than you blink, using hashtags to raise brand awareness is not as easy as adding # to your target keywords.

Brands must not only rely on the popular hashtags now, but also must be aware of emerging trends among consumers and influencers. This helps optimize your hashtag usage so social media users don’t miss your posts.

10 Social Lessons from Instagram Innovators

To increase their reach among an increasingly global market, more brands use social media analytics tools to change their hashtag marketing strategy and keep up with shifts in trends the second they happen. It pays to know how to market hashtags, but first you have to know how to get the most out of them.

Don’t worry—we’re here to help. Here are nine hashtag marketing tactics that actually work.

1. Research Keywords vs. Hashtags

Like your target keywords for search engine optimization, you should research hashtags via keyword analysis before using them in any campaign. Find out the volume and frequency of posts related to your chosen hashtags. Research variations of your hashtag to see what is used the most.

Easily run keyword and hashtag analysis with Simply Measured Social Listening.

You can easily search for the top or trending hashtags using tools built in to your chosen social network, or through more powerful hashtag analytics like Simply Measured.

On Instagram, users can type a hashtag in the search bar and instantly see the number of posts tagged with that particular word or phrase with results organized by “Top Posts” and “Recent Posts.” Here are the results found when searching Instagram for #Soda with some big brands featured in the top posts.

Find out which hashtags your fans and influencers in your target markets use and join in on their conversations by using the same keywords and tagging their usernames.

2. Use Branded Hashtags

It’s a no-brainer to use your brand name as a hashtag. However, there are a variety of other ways to grow buzz around your company. One way is to use slogans or keywords designed around a specific marketing campaign as hashtags.

Posts with the hashtag #ShareaCoke surged after the beverage maker launched a campaign featuring Coke bottles imprinted with common names, encouraging others to share a drink with a “Brian” they knew, or their “Sis.”

Source: Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” hashtag connected with the brand’s audience and naturally spread to people within their networks. Social media users Tweeted pictures of names of loved ones or friends found on Coke bottles with the hashtag #ShareaCoke, with many tagging others so even more people knew about the promotion.

3. Celebrate Special Days and Seasons

Social media is usually flooded with themed hashtags during the holiday season, and you can tailor these hashtags to suit your brand. If you were a food or beverage company, you could use hashtags like #HolidayEats or #HolidayFood to boost interest.

There are also particular hashtag holidays dedicated to countless foods, causes, and occasions you could build a hashtag campaign around. For example, Sonic Drive-In shed light on the need for teaching children about handwriting skills with the hashtag #NationalHandwritingDay.

4. Promote Branded Hashtags Via Giveaways

Hashtags work not only with annual holidays, but also with famous events, pop culture happenings, and other festivals like SXSW and Coachella.

These event names lend themselves as their own branded hashtags during promotions, such as product or prize giveaways. Since events like film and music festivals are talked about year after year, these hashtagged posts get plenty of views.

In fact, Forbes wrote about the most-used hashtags at SXSW, including #EsuranceAccess by Esurance, which is the official home and auto insurance sponsor of SXSW. During Esurance’s marketing campaign at the festival, the company held giveaways and encouraged festival-goers to use its hashtags. In total, the brand’s hashtag collected 32 million impressions and had a reach of more than 6 million.

5. Listen to What Users Are Actually Saying

Use a listening solution to understand what people are saying, build content and campaigns around this conversation on a quick turnaround, and directly respond to users talking about your target topic, especially those with big reach.

When a winter storm hit the East Coast earlier in the year, Dunkin’ Donuts capitalized on trending posts using hashtags related to the blizzard. In one post, the donut maker Retweeted a fan’s post and took it a step further with another post asking others to share pictures of their own Dunkin’ Donuts coffee or other beverages.

This was a good opportunity for Dunkin’ Donuts to interact with fans and encourage a positive experience with its followers.

6. Partner with Influencers in Your Industry

If you know your audience well, you know which influencers they follow and care about. Partner with these influencers on campaigns and create a branded hashtag to go along with it.

For instance, Instagram user Oliveandrye featured the hashtag “chewyinfluencerprogram” to promote the online pet store Chewy and collect all the sponsored posts in the campaign in one place.

Using branded hashtags for influencer campaigns makes it easier to track performance and increase brand awareness.

7. Perform Better with Competitive Analysis

Even if you’re confident you’re up-to-date on trends in your industry or market, it’s worth checking out what your competition is doing to avoid falling behind.

When researching your competitors, take note of the exact hashtags they use, the campaigns associated with them, the follower engagement around these posts, and reported outcomes.

Run regular competitive analysis with Simply Measured Social Analytics.

Once you’ve finished your competitor analysis, you’ll likely uncover some content ideas you hadn’t considered before. Use all the data you collected to come up with new hashtag campaigns for your own brand.

In addition to the built-in hashtag search features on social media platforms, you can also use more advanced analytics tools to create improved social media posts, blogs, and more.

8. Start Using Twitter Chats

Post about Twitter chats with your hashtags to spark conversations between users that can eventually lead them to want to learn more about your brand. For example, if you’re in the financial services industry, you could start a chat to celebrate National Financial Literacy Month.

There are generic hashtags for Twitter chats like #MoneyChat, or you could even insert your brand in the chat’s hashtag. Things like this help start the conversation with your followers.

To get responses to your discussion, come up with questions about your chosen topic and let your followers know when you will hold the chat in advance.

Experian tagged participants from its #CreditChat, so followers of accounts in the same industry like the NFCC know Experian through this hashtag. The credit reporting firm also used the hashtag #FLM18 to bring attention to Financial Literacy Month and join the conversation with other users celebrating the month.

9. Measure Reach of Hashtag Campaigns

As you come up with strategies for hashtag campaigns, how you measure your results will impact your success now and in future marketing efforts. To measure the impact of your hashtag campaigns on your followers and current business pages on social media, be sure to monitor the following:

  • Mentions: Effective hashtags should inspire followers to interact with your brand, including mentioning your hashtag in posts. Monitor the number of mentions to determine whether followers think your brand message is memorable and shareworthy.
  • Views: These are views related to hashtagged posts, your business page, or related content like videos. Compare your views before launching a hashtag campaign and after to see if you achieved your goal of getting more eyes on your brand. Also try to compare organic vs. paid views for posts with hashtags. More organic views indicate there is bigger buzz around your brand as users are sharing posts with your hashtag with their networks.
  • Followers: Ideally, you should see your follower numbers grow after a successful hashtag campaign. If numbers stay the same, redo the keyword analysis step of your marketing strategy.

With analytics tools, you have more insight into what is working for your hashtag marketing strategies and how to improve future campaigns. For example, it’s easier to identify influencers based on their number of followers or other metrics after analyzing your hashtags and social media posts.

Through optimizing your hashtag strategy, you can grow the stage for your brand message and have more meaningful interactions with consumers that ultimately go beyond social media platforms.

Handling distractions in the workplace

By Kristin MacRae

I hear this on a weekly basis, “I get so many distractions throughout the day, it’s impossible to get any work done.” We all have interruptions and distractions in our day. You may have received an urgent phone call and need to drop what you’re doing to handle it. Your emails may be piling up by the minute. Your co-workers are standing over you dropping items into your inbox. You may get pulled away from your desk while you are in the middle of completing an important task. You may be the one responsible for causing your own distractions.

These distractions and interruptions will not only allow you to lose focus but will decrease your productivity. If you want to conquer this, you must put the work in to find out what’s distracting you. Grab a pen and paper or your tablet and jot down what types of distractions are disrupting your day.

Once you have this list in front of you, now you can get to work and think about how you can work around these distractions. If you’re operating in chaos in your office, you’re going to need to get organized before you can wrap your head around this process. It’s the first step. Everybody has different distractions in the day, so everybody will function differently. Here are 10 general ways that will help with distractions.

Declutter and get organized. Visual clutter leads to mental clutter which will in turn cause you to lose focus and decrease your productivity. Declutter and organize your desk. You should only have on top of your desk what you need on a daily basis. Remove the horizontal flat filing trays. They are a breeding ground for paper. When you get a distraction and you’re disorganized, it’s difficult to get back on track because there’s already chaos around you. If you’re organized, you can deal with your distraction, but then you’ll continue to go about your day unscathed. Have a system and a process for everything. If you are disorganized and go to search for a file or important paper, you will waste time searching for it and this process will allow you to become distracted and lose focus. Have a process to handle every piece of paper that arrives at your desk. Create working filing systems so that when you need to search for an item, it will be at your fingertips and you will be able to find it at a moment’s

Remember, the simpler the systems you create, the easier the system will be to maintain. The more complex the system, the more likely it will fail. Work on your time management skills. Organization and time management go hand in hand. You can’t work on your time management skills until you have decluttered and organized. Create blocks of time that you dedicate to projects you are working on. Prioritize your tasks. Take some time to think about how you are functioning in your day. What changes can you make to become more efficient and productive? Utilize to-do lists. Working with a to-do list will keep you on track during the day. You will have a feeling of accomplishment when you cross items off the list. You will look at your to-do- list throughout the day and it will keep you focused and on track seeing everything you need to accomplish for the day. Limit interruptions. Aside from urgent issues that need to be handled immediately, set aside time for your co-workers to ask you questions. They won’t be disrupting you throughout the day and it will allow you to stay focused. Before you interrupt, think about if you can figure out the answer first before you disrupt your co-worker. Create a working organized system for emails. Can you develop a system where you check emails only certain times of the day? The minute you pull yourself away from what you are doing to check an email, you will get distracted and lose focus on the task at hand. If you are working on an
important project, stay away from the email for that time period. When sending an email think about if you really need to hit the “reply all” key or if you need to copy everybody on the email. Work on difficult tasks when you’re at your best. You will be easily distracted and lose focus when you are not working at your best. If you have a difficult project to tackle, choose a time when you are functioning at your best, whether it is the morning when you first walk in the door or right after lunch. Be mindful. Pay attention to when you start to get distracted. What is distracting you and how can you avoid that distraction from happening? Can you notify your co-workers to not disturb you during certain hours of the day? Concentrate on the task at hand and don’t allow yourself to get distracted and switch to a different project. If an idea pops into your head, write it down and then continue with the task at hand. Reduce your lingering time around the office. The minute you get up from your desk, you will immediately get distracted. Somebody may see you are up and that is a cue for them to speak to you. It’s going to distract you and take you away from what you were doing at that moment. Drink water and eat healthy while at work. This will keep you alert, productive, and will keep you from feeling sluggish.


Remember, this might not be an easy task for you. You have to put the work in if you want to become more efficient and productive. Break the process down and just start with writing down where you struggle. Start there and then move forward with the above tips.


Author Info:
Kristin M. MacRae
Organizing & Efficiency Expert
Owner, Organizing In RI, LLC

5 Ways to Prepare for a Launch with Social Media

I was talking to a coworker in the kitchen today. He’s co-writing a children’s book with his kids (aww!). The launch date is the end of this year, and he asked for some advice about how to promote the project on social.

A few ideas immediately came to mind. My coworker is a gifted artist and draws dragons on the whiteboards around our office. These dragons will also play a central part in his book. I suggested that he build affinity, attachment, and awareness for his book and the human story behind it—a dad writing a book with his kids—by posting images of the whiteboard drawings on Instagram, and behind-the-scenes content of the book creation process with his kids on Instagram Stories.

10 Social Lessons from Instagram Innovators

Instagram is a social network where a lot of parents spend time posting pictures of their children, as well as interacting with other parents and brands. It’s where his target audience is, and more importantly, where they are receptive to content like his.

As I continued the discussion with my coworker, it occurred to me that many of the principles I walked through with him could be useful to any business or individual launching just about anything. Here are the five noble truths of preparing for a product and/or brand launch with social media.

1. Get the Lay of the Land

Before you get too excited, take a deep breath. Survey your space. Get inspired by other innovators, from influencers and celebrities to brands. You’re looking for information in three categories:

  • What your target audience is talking about. This is the organic conversation happening between likely buyers in your industry and around major events in your industry.
  • What feelings provoke action in your target audience. Does your target audience engage most with content that inspires? That gets a laugh? That exposes vulnerability? That shows exactly what a product can do? That educates?
  • Which content types provoke action in your target audience. Does your target audience engage most with produced videos, more unpolished videos, photos, carousels, etc.?

Sure, you can scroll through your various feeds to get the lay of the land, but we suggest investing in a listening solution for a broader, deeper view—with less heavy lifting.

Simply Measured Social Listening

Taking the time to research and gather this information gives you a prescription for exactlywhat you should do as you prepare to launch.

2. What’s Your Goal?

What are you trying to accomplish on social media? More awareness of your brand among people who have never heard of it before? Consideration for buying your new product among people who already know about your brand? Get as specific as possible with both your goal (“Generate X% more awareness”) and your audience (“People who have never interacted with our brand before on social”).

The 2018 Metrics Map can help you determine how to match your goal with KPIs, so you know what to track as you go along.

Finally, you’ll want to get your social media analytics solution nailed down. This will enable you to track your progress towards goals, from 0…to infinity and beyond.

Simply Measured Cross-Channel Social Analytics

3. Choose Your Network(s) + Your Top 3

Once you’ve picked your specific goal, and gotten very specific about what achieving that goal looks like, it’s time to choose the social network(s) and three major strategies that ladder up to your goals. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Don’t choose too many social networks. Only choose as many social networks as you are able to nurture and/or maintain staff to focus on. Social media is not a second thought—it is a primary promotion and distribution channel. If you only have the time or resources to focus on one social channel, choose one social channel and make that your content hub.
  • Create unique content for each network. Posting the same content across various networks is rarely successful and will dilute your social success and results.
  • Choose the networks where your ads will be successful, too. Your social strategy should be a hybrid of organic and paid. That’s how you’ll have the most impact. Make sure that the social networks you focus on work well for brands like you for both organic and paid. That means it’s time to read some case studies.
  • Choose the three strategies you will focus on before, during, and immediately after your launch. Distill all your bold ideas and excitement about the launch down to three strategies you will employ over the course of your launch timeline: three in the lead-up to the launch, three during the launch phase, and three immediately post-launch.

4. Create a Launch Schedule

Did you know there’s an app for that? Use a solution like Sprout Social to plan out your pre-launch, launch, and post-launch schedule.

Upload all your visual content, and partner with stakeholders across different parts of the organization or geographical locations.

This process will ensure that your efforts are strategic and aligned—and that you’re not scrambling for content at the last minute and/or having to focus on social scheduling when there’s so much else to deal with on launch day/week/month.

5. Prime the Pump

Don’t wait. Get started now. Begin telling your story. Is your team spending long days and nights agonizing over the details of your upcoming launch? Share this experience on your social network of choice. When people see your struggle and passion, they are more likely to become invested in your success—and, ultimately, buy your product.

You can even ask your growing social audience for advice. Let’s say you’re opening a perfume shop. Should the walls be painted bright yellow or light green? Run a poll.

Offer a deluxe sample for the best advice.  Make your audience feel like they’re a part of your growth.

Instagram Stories
Simply Measured has Instagram Stories data. If you choose to invest in this channel, you can see how your launch efforts are performing. What you find out may even affect when, where, and how you launch.

Encourage content sharing—especially if awareness with totally new audiences is your primary goal. Build an in-person events schedule, and ask influencers and/or guests to share as much content as possible. Fuel your influencers/guests with everything they need to share your news, including messaging guidelines, images, video content, etc.

previous arrow
next arrow