When you’re designing cover photos, graphics, and other social media assets, sometimes knowing the bare bones image dimensions isn’t enough.
What if you wanted to place text or an arrow on your Facebook cover photo without it getting covered by the profile photo? And what about the shared link thumbnails on Facebook or in-stream photos on Twitter … how big should those be?
Download pre-sized cover photo templates for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube for free here.
If you’re looking for a detailed guide to social media photo sizes — including recommended dimensions, minimum and maximum dimensions, image scale, and more — then this is it.
The infographic below from Jamie Spencer of MakeAWebsiteHub.com is a great reference to bookmark or keep close-at-hand the next time you’re creating an image for your social media profile.
The more information a business has about its customers, the better that business can sell, right? It’s why marketers work so hard to develop buyer personas and then segment contact lists a million different ways—everything is designed to reach the customer exactly where they are and exactly when they’re ready to make a purchase.
The problem, until now, is that data takes a long time to aggregate. You can’t know everything you need to know about a particular buyer the very first time he or she visits your ecommerce website. You need several visits, some onsite searches, a social media interaction, and maybe even an abandoned cart to really know what your buyers are looking for, right?
George S. Patton once said: “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
In business, stirring the proverbial pot can be a good thing. And while negotiating these matters can be challenging — especially when they involve our teammates or bosses — differences in opinion will often lead to progress.
The most important thing to remember is that there is a big difference between healthy, productive disagreements and heated arguments. In order for two parties to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, there has to be a level of professionalism and respect.
While navigating this territory can feel like a slippery slope, we’ve defined a few tips below to help you speak your mind without letting the situation spiral out of control.
If you’re not thrilled with the results you’re getting from content marketing, you might be missing a piece of the puzzle.
As long as you’re doing some of the key aspects of content marketing right, you’ll get some good results.
However, you’ll also get some bad ones, and overall that will lead to slow growth and minimal success.
This is very common.
And that’s because marketers rely too much on tactics.
You probably know a few good tactics to create content for your readers and promote it.
But you’ve also probably noticed that when you use the same tactics over and over again, many stop working or work only some of the time.
In fact, that’s the whole point of tactics in the first place: a specific approach to a specific situation.
And you won’t be in the same situation all that often.
The feature TIME once compared to “a glitzy laundry list” is now the crux of Facebook’s success.
Facebook’s News Feed launched in September 2006, about a year and a half after the launch of the site. At first, people thought of it as a timeline of mundane details about their friends’ lives. But it’s evolved into what TIME has more recently called “the most valuable billboard on Earth” — for brands, publishers, celebrities, and the rest of us.
In an effort to provide the best experience possible, the algorithm behind the News Feed has grown increasingly complicated over the years. In a nutshell, it scans and collects every single post put out by your Facebook friends, the people you follow, the groups you belong to, and the pages you’ve Liked. Then, it does its very best to rank posts according to each user’s preferences.
The result? Facebook’s best estimation for what you actually want to see on your feed.
That explanation barely skims the surface, though. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there about Facebook’s News Feed, including how it’s changed, what Facebook’s doing to improve it, and all the neat features they’ve added along the way.
Check out these 20 facts about and features of Facebook’s News Feed you may not have known about before, and get ready for your mind to be blown.
Facebook Facts You May Not Have Known
1) People really, really didn’t like it when it first came out.
Before the News Feed, Facebook spent a little over a year and a half as basically a cleaner-looking version of MySpace for college and high school students. You had a profile photo, profile information, groups, and walls you and your friends could write “Hey, what’s up?” on — to which your friend could respond back on your wall, “Not much, you?” in an entirely disjointed series of posts. But I digress.
It wasn’t until September 2006 when Facebook introduced the News Feed and the Mini-Feed: places where all your own and your friends’ latest activity on the site was collected in a single timeline.
On Tuesday morning the popular social networking site unrolled a new feature dubbed the “News Feed” that allows users to track their friends’ Facebook movements by the minute. For many of Facebook’s 8 million-plus student users, it was too much. Within 24 hours, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide organized themselves to protest the new feature. Ironically, they’re using Facebook to do it.
Soon after its launch, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was compelled to write an open letter to users, apologizing for failing to build in proper privacy controls around the new News Feed features.
“We really messed this one up,” begins Zuckerberg’s letter. And later, after reassuring users his team coded “nonstop for two days” to give them better privacy controls: “This new privacy page will allow you to choose which types of stories go into your Mini-Feed and your friends’ News Feeds, and it also lists the type of actions Facebook will never let any other person know about.” And so began the development of the News Feed algorithm.
Image Credit: Shareaholic
2) The Like button didn’t show up for 6 years after Facebook’s launch.
The concept of “liking” something — a post, a photo, a video — has become so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine social media without it. And yet, Facebook went a whole six years without it. While Facebook was first launched in 2004, it wasn’t until April 2010 that Zuckerberg introduced it at the F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco.
Image Credit: Adelagent Blog
Before the Like button, there was no real way for Facebook’s engineers to measure user’s interest in certain friends’ posts or certain types of posts. In those days, the News Feed algorithm was a crude calculation based mostly on the intuition of Facebook’s engineers. The team would tweak those assumptions and test how the changes influenced the time users spent on the site.
The Like button blew the doors wide open for figuring out which posts were delighting users, boring them, offending them, and so on. Now, it’s the epicenter of Facebook’s user experience — not only because it’s what they see when they first log in, but also because it allows people to personalize their own experience … and influence everyone else’s.
3) Facebook pays people to surf Facebook for News Feed research.
With over 1 billion daily active users all over the world, Facebook has a pretty hefty sample size of people surfing their News Feeds, reacting to stuff, clicking on stuff, and so on. And while the company does a great job of requesting feedback from users right within the site, they also get their feedback by paying people to do it in a controlled environment.
Facebook launched the program back in 2014, at which time they paid over 700 contract workers to go into a room and use a desktop computer to scroll through their own News Feeds. Participants then reported on how well the site placed stories relative to their personal preferences — information that was then fed back to a team of engineers and data scientists in California, who used it to improve the News Feed algorithm.
4) Facebook had to change the algorithm because people were using the News Feed like email.
If you’re still skeptical as to why Facebook launched a program using control groups to solicit feedback about the News Feed, consider this: The folks at Facebook discovered that a small subset of Facebook users were treating the News Feed more like an email inbox. How? Folks were interpreting the “hide” button beside each post like the “delete” or “archive” button in an email inbox. In other words, once they were done reading a story, they would “hide” it.
This posed a problem for Facebook because the “hide” button was created with the intention that users could click it if they found a post particularly annoying or bothersome. To Facebook’s algorithm, those users who were hiding every single post after reading it looked like they just hated everything they read.
Data scientists at Facebook discovered the problem because they found that 5% of users were doing 85% of the hiding. Within that 5%, an even smaller subset (what Facebook calls “superhiders”) were hiding almost every single story they saw.
To address the problem, the folks at Facebook published a blog post explaining that they made a small update to the News Feed so that, for that small subset of people only, they don’t take “hide” into account as strongly as for others. They also added the text “See fewer posts like this” to clarify what hiding a post does.
Never stop learning, folks.
5) Each post in your feed was given a “relevancy score” to compare it with thousands of other posts.
Many people think the News Feed algorithm is all about predicting whether users will Like a post. In reality, though, it takes into account literally hundreds of variables — and can predict whether a given user will Like, click, comment, share, hide, or even mark a post as spam.
Not only that, but the algorithm predicts each of these outcomes with a certain degree of confidence — and then combines them all to spit out a single relevancy score that’s specific both to you and to that post. Once every post that could potentially show up in your feed has been assigned a relevancy score, Facebook’s sorting algorithm ranks them and puts them in the order they end up appearing in your feed.
In other words, that post you see at the top of your News Feed was chosen over thousands of others as the one most likely to make you react and engage.
Ads are given relevancy scores, too. That way, Facebook can show users only the ads that could matter most to them — which allows for a better experience for both those users and the businesses who are paying for the ads. It’s calculated based on the positive feedback (video views, conversions, and so on) and negative feedback Facebook expects an ad to receive from its target audience. Learn more about relevancy score for Facebook ads here.
6) Facebook pays attention to how you watch videos on your feed.
In summer 2015, Facebook surveyed users on how they interacted with video on their News Feeds and found that that many people who were interested in a given video didn’t necessarily Like it, comment on it, or share it with their friends. Since engagement is one of the primary ways Facebook measures people’s interest in posts, they had to come up with other ways to figure out whether people enjoyed the videos they were seeing.
To help do that, they started monitoring other forms of video engagement — like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition. So if you turn up the volume on a video or make it full-screen, the News Feed algorithm will take that as you enjoying the video, and will show you similar videos higher up in your feed.
It’s not perfect, but it’s another way for Facebook to do their darndest to give users the most interesting and relevant News Feed experience possible.
7) Facebook updated their algorithm for folks with bad internet, and now holds “2G Tuesdays” to help simulate browsing Facebook with bad internet.
In many parts of the world, mobile users still use a 2G connection for their internet use. But connecting with users in regions with really slow networks is a huge potential area of growth for Facebook — so in October 2015, the company updated its algorithm to improve the News Feed experience for the millions of mobile users with slower internet connections. Now, when Facebook detects users with a really weak connection, they’ll bring up previously loaded News Feed or cached stories. It’ll also focus only on the stories and posts those users are actively looking at, instead of loading multiple stories simultaneously.
If that’s not cool enough, the folks at Facebook paired this algorithm update with the launch of an optional program called “2G Tuesdays” to help their employees experience what Facebook is like on a 2G connection. This weekly program, which only lasts an hour, gives employees the chance to put themselves in the shoes of those who may be using Facebook differently as a result of slow internet.
8) More people are turning to Facebook’s News Feed to consume news.
The ways in which people are finding and reading news stories has changed radically in recent years. Today, Facebook is one of the biggest sources of stories and videos on the internet, alongside Twitter and Google.
How big? Research from the Pew Research Center found that 63% of Facebook and Twitter users used those social media sites as news sources in 2015, up from around 50% in 2013. This cuts across nearly every demographic group. For example, news use on Facebook grew among both men (44% to 61%) and women (49% to 65%). When it comes to age, though, they found that younger users place greater importance on finding news via social media sites like Facebook.
Facebook Features You May Not Have Known About
9) You can search for old posts, pictures, and more using keywords.
A few years ago, the only things you could find using the search bar at the top of a Facebook page were people, pages, groups, events, and apps. Since 2014, you’ve been able to type in keywords to search for old News Feed posts in a feature called Graph Search.
Now, if want to check out pictures from your cousin Patrick’s wedding, you can search for something like “Patrick wedding” or “Patrick wedding pictures,” and Facebook will spit out results for those terms.
Boom: Exactly what I was looking for.
You can also search for friends who Like specific pages, or are talking about different celebrities, and so on. Learn more about how Graph Search works by reading this blog post.
10) You can browse popular articles by looking at “what’s trending.”
One way to read the news on Facebook is by browsing the articles that are trending. On the right-hand side of your News Feed and under event invites and birthdays, you’ll find a list of articles that are trending on Facebook. It looks like this:
(Note: Trending is currently only available in English in select countries.)
The articles Facebook shows you are based on a number of different factors, including engagement, timeliness, pages you’ve Liked, and your location. They’re also divided into five different topics: all news, politics, science and technology, sports, and entertainment.
While you can’t turn trending off, you can customize your list of trending articles by toggling by topic. To toggle by topic, click on the icon that corresponds to whichever topic you’d like to see, which are located to the right of the word “Trending” in the “Trending” section.
11) You can save stories to check out later.
Ever seen articles in your News Feed you wished you could bookmark for later? Facebook realized that many users who were browsing the News Feed simply didn’t have time to drop what they were doing to read an article.
That’s why they added a feature that lets you save links to articles, events, TV shows, music, and more to revisit later.
To save a story to read later: Click and then select Save link.
12) You can switch from seeing top posts to seeing most recent posts.
When you first log on to Facebook, your News Feed will default to showing “Top Stories”: popular stories and posts from your favorite friends and pages, many of which have gained a lot of engagement. But you can also choose to have the stories on your feed sorted by recency.
To toggle between the two: Go to your Facebook homepage. In the column on the left-hand side of your home screen, you’ll see “News Feed.” Click to the right of “News Feed,” and choose either “Top Stories” or “Most Recent.”
13) You can override the algorithm by handpicking whose updates show up first in your feed.
When Facebook learned that many users were concerned they were missing important updates from the friends they cared about most, they changed the News Feed algorithm so that updates from close friends would appear higher in the News Feed. Then, even more recently, they decided to give users the option of handpicking people and pages whose updates they want to appear first on their feeds, rather than having that decision fall back on the algorithm.
Now, when you select a person or page to “see first,” their posts will appear at the top of your News Feed. Selecting people to “see first” is different than selecting them as a close friend: When you select a person as a close friend, you’ll just receive notifications when they post something new.
To select people or pages to “see first”: First, click in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and select “News Feed Preferences.”
In the window that appears, click “Prioritize who to see first.” Then, select the people or pages you’d like to, well … see first on your feed.
(P.S. If the phrase “Prioritize who to see first” makes your blood boil, then you’re probably kind of a grammar nerd. It’s okay. We are, too. Here’s a list of jokes about grammar to help you return to a healthy baseline.)
14) You can “unfollow” people or pages so you never see their posts.
We’re not gonna name names, but every one of us has a few people we’re “friends” with on Facebook who’ve made a hobby out of posting daily gym selfies, love proclamations, and political rants. Let’s be honest … we could all do with fewer of those.
Luckily, you can unfollow people to hide their posts. FOREVER. (Er, at least until you reconnect with them later. We’ll get to how to do that in a second.) Better yet, they won’t know if you’ve chosen to unfollow them. There are two ways to unfollow a person, page, or group.
a) To unfollow directly from the News Feed: Click on the top right of their story, and select “Unfollow.”
b) To unfollow from your News Feed preferences: Click in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and select “News Feed Preferences.” In the window that appears, click “Unfollow people to hide their posts.”
To reconnect with a person, page, or group that you unfollowed in the past: Click in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and select “News Feed Preferences.” In the window that appears, click “Reconnect with people you unfollowed” and select whomever you’d like to reconnect with.
15) You can find out why you’re being targeted for different ads.
Ever wondered why you’re seeing certain sponsored posts in your News Feed? Businesses can choose ad targeting options like location, age, gender, interests, and people already connected to their page, event, or app — and for every sponsored post you see, you can actually find out why you’re being targeted.
To find out why you’re seeing an ad: Click on the top right of their sponsored post, and choose “Why am I seeing this?” from the dropdown menu.
A small window will appear with an explanation. In the case below, one reason I’m seeing that ad from Dollar Shave Club is because they’re targeting women aged 18 years and older in the United States who Like their page.
(If you’re on the business side of things, click here to download an ebook on how to create Facebook ads that actually work.)
16) You can hide ads so you never see them again.
While you can’t block Facebook ads entirely — they help keep Facebook free, after all — but you can opt out of seeing a specific ad or any ads from a single advertiser.
To hide a specific ad: Click on the top right of their sponsored post, and choose “Hide ad” from the dropdown menu.
In the window that appears, give Facebook feedback on why you want to hide the ad, and press “Continue.”
Click “Done” in the thank-you window that appears. You can undo hiding an ad as long as you don’t refresh the page.
To hide all ads from a single advertiser: Follow the same steps above by clicking on the top right of their sponsored post, and choose “Hide ad” from the dropdown menu. In the window that appears, choose “Hide all ads from [advertiser],” and you’re done.
In some cases, when you click on the top right of a sponsored post, you’ll be given an option to let Facebook know you already own the product that’s being advertised. Simply choose that option to let them know, and you’re done.
On the contrary, you can also let Facebook know when you come across an ad that’s useful. After all, one of their major goals is to make ads as interesting and valuable to users as the organic content they’re finding on their News Feed.
To tell Facebook an ad is useful: Click on the top right of their sponsored post, and choose “This ad is useful” from the dropdown menu. Nothing else will happen, except that you’ll see a check mark next to that option if you click the dropdown menu again. You can undo it by clicking on that option a second time.
17) You can create a Facebook ad for any reason, no matter who you are.
Want to put yourself out there for a new job? Get more exposure to your blog? Advertise your neighbor’s daughter’s Girl Scout cookies campaign? Turns out anyone — not just businesses — can run ads on Facebook, and for any reason.
One cool use case is if you want to get a job at a specific company: You can create a Facebook ad campaign that advertises your skills and expertise, and then target that ad at specific people or people who work at specific companies.
- If you’re applying to a larger, more well-known company like Apple, you might make your audience “people who work at Apple.”
- If you’re trying to target people who work at a small company, though, then that may not show up on Facebook as an option. In that case, you can create a custom audience using Facebook’s power editor. The power editor lets you handpick the people who see your ad campaign using their Facebook IDs, which you can find using this tool. So if you know the names of, say, 20 specific people you want your ad to be shown to, then you can go find each user’s Facebook ID, add them all to your custom audience, and then pay to serve your ad to that audience.
To create an ad campaign: Go to www.facebook.com/ads/create, or go to the Ads Manager and click “Create Campaign.” You’ll be taken to a window that looks like this:
From there, you can choose your objective, name your campaign, choose your audience, set your budget and ad schedule (or set a manual bid), choose your images, add text and links, and place your order. (Click here for detailed instructions from Facebook.)
18) You can get notified when your favorite people post.
There may be a handful of people in your life — your brother, spouse, good friends, etc. — whose Facebook posts you wanted to know about right away. All you have to do is add those people to your Close Friends list and turn on notifications, and you’ll receive a notification whenever they add a photo, post a status update, change their profile picture, and so on.
To get notifications when certain people post, you’ll have to add those people to your Close Friends list. To do that, go to your friend’s Facebook Page and click the left-most dropdown menu located over their cover photo. Choose “Close Friends” from the dropdown menu.
To get notifications for people on your Close Friends list: Click in the top-right of any Facebook page and choose “Settings.” Then, choose “Notifications” from the column on the left-hand side of your screen.
Click “Close Friend Activity.” (If notifications are already on, you’ll have to click “On Facebook” and then “Close Friend Activity.”) Select “On Facebook” to enable notifications, or “Off” to turn off notifications.
19) You can get notified when things happen in the groups you like.
Sick of missing out on all those fun local alumni events? I have good news for you: Just like getting notifications when close friends post, you can also choose to get notifications when people post to certain groups you’ve joined.
To get notifications for groups: Click in the top-right of any Facebook page and choose “Settings.” Then, choose “Notifications” from the column on the left-hand side of your screen. Select “Group activity,” and a window will pop up listing all the groups you’ve currently joined. You can choose from the corresponding dropdown menus whether you’d like to receive notifications for all posts, just friends’ posts, or no posts at all.
20) You can follow events, even when you haven’t committed to going.
It used to be that when you were invited to an event, you RSVP’d by choosing “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” But in November 2015, Facebook replaced the “Maybe” button with “Interested,” which indicates to the event organizer that you’re interested in going but can’t decide yet. If you RSVP as “Interested,” then it’s kind of like “following” the event: You’ll get notifications and updates from the event anytime something is posted.
So there you have it: 20 awesome Facebook facts and features you might not have known before. Sure, it’s a little creepy to think about how much Facebook knows about us; but it’s that level of detail that allows them to get closer and closer to delivering the best experience possible. Pretty fascinating, right?
What other helpful facts or features do you know about Facebook’s News Feed? Share with us in the comments.
We’ve all heard over and over again about the poor quality of the air we breathe outdoors. But what about the air we breathe inside — especially in places where we spend hours upon hours a day, like our offices?
Research shows the quality of the air in our offices may be getting worse thanks to toxic chemicals in carpets and on furniture, poor ventilation, and employees not washing their hands.
In fact, there have been so many illnesses reported in office buildings that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in four new or renovated indoor buildings in the U.S. may be classified as “sick buildings.”
Luckily, there are things we can do to help keep sickness to a minimum, from dusting our desks with a damp cloth once a week to decorating with plants that are great at removing air pollutants, like Boston ferns or palm trees.
To learn more about why our offices are making us sick and what we can do about it, check out the infographic below we created in partnership with Market Domination Media. And don’t be afraid to speak up to your superiors, as fixing these problems will benefit them, too.
When potential customers are researching you online, they’re getting to know you by way of the content of your website. Understandably, many of them might be skeptical or hesitant to trust you right away.
To prove the value of what you have to offer, why not let your happy customers do the talking?
Your testimonial page serves as a platform to show off how others have benefited from your product or service, making it a powerful tool for establishing trust and encouraging potential buyers to take action. Plus, having a testimonial page serves as yet another indexed page on your website containing content covering product features, pain points, and keywords you’re trying to rank for.
What are some examples of great testimonial pages? Here are 11 of the best examples out there to inspire you.
11 Examples of Awesome Testimonial Pages
Codecademy has nailed down the testimonials section of their website, which they call “Codecademy Stories.” They’ve even included a few customer quotes (along with pictures, names, and locations) right on their homepage above a link to the testimonial page.
We love the approachable format, and the fact that they chose to feature customers that users can really relate to. When you click into any story, you can read the whole case study in a Q&A format.
[Click here to see Codecademy’s full testimonial page.]
Many companies struggle to grab people’s attention using their testimonial pages, but BlueBeam does a great job of catching your eye as soon as you arrive on the page. The first thing you see is a set of short customer quotes over large, bold images — a trademark of modern web design — that rotate on a carousel. Scroll down and you can click on video testimonials or read through simple quotations.
[Click here to see BlueBeam’s full testimonial page.]
ChowNow does a lot right on their testimonial page, but the bread and butter is their collection of production-quality “client stories” videos. They have a whole bunch of these awesome, 2–3-minute videos that cover everything from the clients’ life before and after ChowNow to how easy the platform is to use. The videos feature some great footage of the clients, their offices, and their food.
Another really cool, unique thing they do? Each client story module links to the client’s website, Facebook page, and app in both the Android and Apple app stores. Now that’s loving your clients back.
[Click here to see ChowNow’s full testimonial page.]
Short quotes from happy customers can do wonders for social proof. On Xero’s testimonial page, they’ve placed these quotes alongside photos and videos interspersed in a comprehensive library. Similar to ChowNow, Xero’s videos are also very well done. To prevent visitors from clicking off the main testimonials page, the videos pop up on the existing page when you click them.
[Click here to see Xero’s full testimonial page.]
5) Decadent Cakes
Depending on the situation, reviewers may not particularly want their pictures to be available on the internet — like if they’re reviewing a cake for their son’s birthday party. This was the case for Decadent Cakes, who showcase their customer testimonials on a whimsically designed webpage along with names, locations, and sometimes pictures of the cakes made for those people. We love that they refer to their customers as “friends,” too.
[Click here to see Decadent Cakes’ full testimonial page.]
mHelpDesk’s testimonial page employs a powerful header text set over a large, faded graphic showing where in the world their customers are located. This is a great way to show that they’re a global brand. Below the header text and call-to-action for a trial, they offer videos and text testimonials equipped with pictures.
Their testimonial videos aren’t production quality, but they get the message across and cover useful and relevant information — which goes to show you don’t need to invest thousands in production to get some testimonial videos up. Finally, in the theme of earning trust, we love that they close out their testimonial page with awards and badges of recognition.
[Click here to see mHelpDesk’s full testimonial page.]
7) Clear Slide
Clear Slide’s testimonial page is nested within their case studies home page. It includes a smattering of videos and text-based quotes from customers — and from big names like Expedia, The Wall Street Journal, and CareerBuilder. If you have users that are celebrities or influencers within their community, be sure to include and even highlight their testimonials on your page.
[Click here to see Clear Slide’s full testimonial page.]
The folks at FreeAgent did a great job formatting their testimonial page with emphasized text quotations along with pictures, names, and companies to add credibility. But what we really love about it is their “Twitter love” banner on the right-hand side of the page.
Social media is a great source of social proof, and many customers turn to places like Twitter and Facebook to informally review businesses they buy from. Be sure to monitor your social media presence regularly to find tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and so on that positively reflect your brand, and see where you can embed them on your website. (Click here for a step-by-step guide on embedding social media posts from all the major platforms.)
[Click here to see FreeAgent’s full testimonial page.]
FocusLab took a unique and very cool-looking design approach to their testimonial page — which is fitting, seeing as their trade is in creating visual branding systems. Instead of just listing out the quotes up front, they opted for a card-like design with interactive, rectangular elements you can click on to see the full case study.
What’s even cooler is what they included in each individual case study: Not only do they cover the challenges their clients faced and how FocusLab helped solve them, but they also include some of the steps in the design process between conception and final product. For example, in some cases, they included the evolution of the logo during the design process.
Finally, we love that they include a “quick, over-the-shoulder view of works in progress” section below the case studies. These cards aren’t clickable, but they give viewers a glimpse into the firm’s current projects.
[Click here to see FocusLab’s full testimonial page.]
Brainshark’s testimonial page is fairly simple in comparison to many others on this list, but there are two things I want to point out here: First, they give users the ability to sort testimonials by category so they can read the ones that are the most interesting and relatable to them. Secondly, once you click into a case, you’ll find they used their own software to display the client’s testimonial. In other words, they’re not only showcasing their happy clients — they’re also showcasing what a project looks like using their own software. Pretty cool.
[Click here to see Brainshark’s full testimonial page.]
99designs includes all the major elements you’d want in a testimonial page: an eye-catching video at the top, customer quotes alongside pictures and names, and an idea of how good 99designs’ service and product is compared to others — which they accomplish by showing their five-star rating right on their page. Like Brainshark, they also give users the ability to sort through customer reviews by category so they can read the ones most relevant to them.
[Click here to see 99designs’ full testimonial page.]
Once you’ve created a testimonial page, don’t forget to promote it. Send it to the customer(s) you featured, your sales staff, and even to your other customers if you think they’d be interested. And don’t forget to add a link to your testimonial page on your homepage, in your “About Us” page, or as part of your overall navigation.
Which inspiring testimonial pages have you come across? Share with us in the comments.
Let’s start with some scary stats. According to SiriusDecisions 98% of MQLs never result in closed business. Additionally, 54% of sales reps won’t make quota. All this despite record investments in marketing automation and sales enablement tools.
Now consider that the top priority among B2B marketers is increasing the number of contacts/leads generated (Source, State of Inbound 2015). Of course, a close second priority is converting contacts/leads into customers. Over the last five years, I’ve seen the focus on lead generation increase significantly among small and mid-market businesses (SMEs). As recently as 2013, I would regularly engage executives who had reached out to me to discuss a sales problem in an effort to teach them that the cause of their sales problem was how they were (or more accurately weren’t) generating leads. Today I get to do much less teaching as more and more executives have increased their focus on lead generation.
While the focus on lead generation is great, there’s a huge difference between generating leads and creating bona fide sales ready leads that predictably turn into profitable customers. Simply look at the search difference between “lead generation” and “lead nurturing” and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.
So, while lead generation is certainly important, investing in generating more leads without building an effective lead management process is simply, well, foolish.
What Is Lead Nurturing & Why Is It So Important
Now let’s look at some exciting stats:
- Leads who are effectively nurtured produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities. (Source: DemandGen)
- Effective lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. (Source: DemandGen)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
- Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. (Source: Juniper Research)
- 82% of prospects say lead nurturing content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
I could go on.
Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging a defined target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey, positioning your company as the best (and safest) choice to enable them to achieve their objectives.
An effective nurturing process actively moves the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, through a sales development process to the point where they become paying customers. Lead nurturing utilizes both marketing and sales tactics to increase the predictability and velocity of revenue growth.
It should be noted that nurturing is far more involved than sending blast emails or monthly (or weekly) newsletters. Nurturing is more purposeful, following a clearly delineated process.
- Educate: In the beginning, a lead nurturing process focuses on educating customers and delivering your commercial teaching point-of-view.
- Inform: Teach your prospects how to make better decisions and advance their initiatives.
- Engage: By sharing relevant content, gain the engagement of your prospect and begin the conversation.
- Convert: Be clear about how your prospects can engage with you and how to start.
Types of Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. There are many types of nurturing programs geared to fit your prospects’ situations and your objectives. We’ve identified three types of programs that apply to the vast majority of situations.
- Engagement programs work to keep your leads engaged with your business by offering credible, straight-forward and uncomplicated content that is relevant to them and keeps their interest.
- Education programs challenge your leads to consider the benefits of your products or services and provide unique insights to how they can do their job better and more effectively.
- Active funnel programs are focused on leads that have actively entered their buyer’s journey. These campaigns are where the rubber meets the road…where marketing and sales must work in complete alignment to bring your work to the final goal – a paying customer.
Each of these programs have various types of campaigns that should be developed to meet the various objectives you have and to align with the context of your prospects.
How to Create Effective Campaigns
Here is the step-by-step process we use when creating lead nurturing programs for our clients:
Define buyer personas.
Understanding who it is you’re trying to reach provides a tremendous marketing and sales advantage. Creating buyer personas takes time, but once complete they focus and leverage your efforts. You simply cannot have consistently effective nurturing programs without clearly defined personas.
The ability to gather information about the people visiting your website and downloading your content has never been easier. Through progressive profiling, your business is able to gather the right information about your leads to further focus your message and increase qualified conversation rates.
Create relevant content.
According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 70% of companies are producing more content than they were a year ago. Creating content isn’t enough. You must create relevant content. Here are some tips to make that a reality.
- Know your audience
- Consider the buyer’s journey
- Set a conversational tone
- Keep it simple
- Personalize your content
Decide what programs to implement.
As you decide, consider these questions.
- Which lead nurturing campaign(s) best fit your business needs?
- Do you have the “people” capabilities to effectively execute the campaign?
- What is still needed to make the campaign successful?
- Do you have the appropriate systems in place to support the chosen campaign(s)?
Establish clear goals.
Before you begin any lead nurturing campaign you need to clearly define goals so you know what is considered “success”. Without clear objectives of what you are trying to accomplish with your lead nurturing campaigns you will never know if you’re seeing success are not. Goals can be as simple as “X% open rate and X% click-through-rate” or “X% conversion”. These are completely up to you but need to be established up front.
Test, measure and adjust.
Never stop testing and learning what resonates best with your buyer persona. Use every touch point as an opportunity to A/B test, whether it be emails or landing pages, or something else entirely. You want to test items such as image or headline, positioning of the form on the page, or email subject line. By doing so you can see what brings you closer to your established goals.
Bringing it all Together
Effective lead nurturing can have a lasting and profound effect of your business’ success. The ability to create and manage a successful program requires dedicated people, a powerful and strategic approach, solid technology and a good process that aligns actions from the beginning to the end.
While the effort is certainly significant, the reward is well worth it.
When it comes to delighting people with design, details matter — a lot. The fonts you choose every time you lay out an email, an ebook, or an image for social media end up giving your marketing a polish that makes a big difference.
Trouble is, with so many options to choose from, finding the right one isn’t always as obvious as we’d like it to be. Thankfully, there are a few guiding principles out there to simplify the selection process.
For example, headlines should be bold and engaging, while body text needs to be clear and easily readable. If you’re creating content for the web, you’ll want to use the fonts that have been adapted specifically for use online — meaning they’ll display the same on all modern browsers.
So, which are the best header fonts? The best body copy fonts? Which fonts do popular websites use, and what personalities do each of them reflect?
Check out the infographic below from Creative Bloq to learn everything from the best fonts for headers, body copy, and print, to the future of fonts in an increasingly mobile world. (And read this blog post to learn tips for choosing and using fonts.)
When it comes to social media marketing, you have a lot of different options.
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn…
And the list goes on.
Despite being not quite as big as Facebook, LinkedIn is often a better choice for businesses.
It provides you with an opportunity to connect with professionals and engage with them on a personal level.
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know:
Over 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn.
That’s pretty incredible.
Although there may be less traffic on LinkedIn, its users are much more open to learning about products than Facebook users are, who just want to see pictures of cats.
In one particular set of results, LinkedIn produced more leads than even the company’s blog.
No, that doesn’t definitively mean that marketing on LinkedIn is more effective than blogging, but it shows you the power it can have.
While LinkedIn is smaller than some other social networks, it’s still pretty huge. It has more than 300 million users and is still growing.
And more importantly, those users are buyers. Businesses are 50% more likely to buy a product if they’ve already engaged on LinkedIn.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve been referring to businesses as customers.
LinkedIn is mostly a platform for B2B (business to business) companies. In other words, it’s for companies that sell directly to other businesses.
It makes sense when you think about it. People go on LinkedIn for reasons related to their professions. They’re looking for ways to further their careers, not for products for their personal lives, like a new computer or toaster.
So, if you sell your products directly to consumers, LinkedIn probably isn’t right for you.
But if you sell products to businesses, LinkedIn provides a massive opportunity to generate more leads.
The basics of using LinkedIn for business: The goal with LinkedIn should almost always be to generate leads (and subsequently sales).
To do this, you start with your network on the site.
The larger your network, the more potential you have to engage with someone in your network, who might become your customer.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this post specifically to strategies that will help you build the most effective network possible, both in size and quality.
1. Determine with whom you should be trying to connect
If you do some reading about LinkedIn marketing on other sites, you’ll find that there are two general opinions.
First, you can reject anyone you don’t know or who doesn’t work in your industry in some form. The idea behind this is to keep your network as “high quality” as possible.
But unlike on other social networks, you don’t get penalized by having a large number of people in your network. So, even if you have a large network of “low quality” connections, it shouldn’t harm your results.
The second approach is to grow your network to include as many people as possible. This means that you accept invitations to connect from everyone and actively look to add more people to your network.
Here’s why I like the second—the bigger the better—approach:
- Even if someone isn’t in your industry, that doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future.
- Even if someone isn’t in your industry, that doesn’t mean that their connections aren’t. Being connected to that original person will make you show up higher in their connections’ searches and possibly in their “suggested connections” as well.
- The more connections you make, the more likely you are to show up in “most viewed profiles,” which will lead to even more invitations to connect.
Other than simply being more open to connecting with people you don’t know well yet, you can implement this strategy with just a few simple steps.
Step #1- Learn to recognize spam profiles: Once you start to get a decent number of connections, you’ll begin to get a lot more invitations to connect.
Some of these will be from spammers.
They create accounts, try to connect with a few hundred people, and then start spamming with products or promote scams in various places on LinkedIn.
This is where having “low quality” people in your network can hurt you. You don’t want to be associated with spammers in any way.
If someone sees the spam and then sees that you’re connected with the spammer, you could lose your connections or even potential sales.
Sometimes, you might get fooled, but it’s pretty easy to spot 95% of fake profiles. Take a quick look at your new connection’s profile before you accept them.
In particular, fake profiles usually:
- don’t have profile pictures or use stock photos (usually of an attractive man or woman)
- have very limited or no information
- use a company name instead of a personal name (to market your business through LinkedIn, you need to make connections as a person)
- use a logo instead of a profile picture
Spammers typically create hundreds or thousands of these profiles at a time, so they all look very similar.
Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be able to spot a fake profile in just a few seconds.
Just report these invitations as spam and move on; there’s not much else you can do.
Step #2 – Start by connecting with everyone you know: When most people create a LinkedIn account, they begin by connecting with people they’ve worked with.
For some, this can be hundreds of people, which is great. But if you’ve mainly worked in small businesses or don’t have a ton of experience, this could be under 50 people.
If this is the case, you’re not “popular” on LinkedIn yet, which means that people won’t be as eager to connect with you.
In practical terms, it’s a lot easier to go from 300 to 350 connections than it is from 50 to 100. That’s why the more people you can start with, the better.
Beyond your work acquaintances, connect with:
- peers (other students or people in your profession)
As long as they know who you are, don’t worry if you know each other very well.
The only thing you want to avoid is sending tons of invitations to people you don’t know at all because that’s how you get reported as a spammer.
Step #3 – Encourage people to connect in all possible places: Like I showed you earlier, LinkedIn is often one of the most effective, if not the most effective, lead generation channels.
It makes sense to focus on LinkedIn in your marketing strategy.
You can build your network both on and off LinkedIn.
First, add your LinkedIn profile to your email signature. If you send a lot of emails, you’ll get a regular stream of new connections just from this.
Next, make it clear in your LinkedIn profile summary that you’re happy to connect with just about everyone. If you check out my LinkedIn profile (go connect with me now!), you’ll see this in my summary:
Finally, add your LinkedIn profile to every page of your blog.
2. Sharing content does more than drive traffic
Building a bigger network should be one of your main goals, but there are a few others as well.
For one, you want to use LinkedIn to build relationships with your followers and turn them into leads/customers when the time is right.
One thing you need to be doing is sharing content on LinkedIn.
When you make a post on LinkedIn, it will be shown to anyone following you or connected with you.
Unlike other social networks that have way too much content as it is, LinkedIn will actually send notifications to your followers when you make a new post so that they don’t miss it.
What and when you should post: Don’t worry much about the specific time when you post. Although there is an optimal time, it doesn’t make as big of a difference as it does on other networks.
The most important thing in regards to when you should post is that you post consistently. I’ve adopted a once a week schedule, but you could try posting more if you have the time.
Another important question is: what to post?
While you can post personal status updates about your job, you want to post about things that your target audience is interested in. This is one aspect where LinkedIn marketing is the same as marketing on any other social network.
By doing this, you are right away positioning yourself as an expert in your niche/industry.
You can post content created by others, or you can post links to your own content—it doesn’t really matter when it comes to this specific function.
However, it does matter if you’re interested in all the benefits you can get from regular posting.
Benefit #1 – You stay at the front of their minds: We just talked about how posting content about your niche positions you as an expert.
When you consistently post content about your industry, your connections keep seeing it. Every post is a new reminder that you take your work seriously and pride yourself on being on the cutting edge of the industry.
Say you’re a nutritional consultant. And let’s say an HR manager (your connection) is looking to hire a nutritional consultant to help their business’ employees eat better.
Guess who they’ll immediately think of? That’s right, you.
You’ve been posting content about how good eating translates into better lives for workers and more productivity for a long time. In most cases, they won’t even look for an alternative.
Even if you are not connected to this HR manager, you might be connected to one of their coworkers or friends.
When the manager mentions the idea to your connection, they’ll light up and say, “I know the perfect person for you.”
Staying at the front of someone’s mind, once you’ve positioned yourself properly, is a long term strategy that pays off.
Benefit #2 – You drive traffic: When you post your own content, you immediately drive traffic to that content.
It’s not as good as email marketing in this regard, but it can still drive a few hundred to a few thousand visits, which isn’t too shabby.
Obviously, you don’t get this benefit if you post other people’s content.
Your first concern should be posting things that are genuinely useful to your connections who are interested in the topic.
Ideally, you’ll post your own content, but if you come across something great that your connections would appreciate, share it with them.
Traffic should be a side benefit of posting, not the only benefit.
Benefit #3 – You have the opportunity to engage: Remember that one of the main things you’re looking to do on LinkedIn is build relationships.
If you ever needed something that a close friend sells, wouldn’t you go to them first?
By building deep relationships (as deep as possible) with the right people, you can achieve an insane conversion rate, when your connections convert into customers.
And the right people present themselves to you when you post something.
They’re the ones who are most interested in your content and who ask questions or add stories in the comments.
Then, you can start a dialogue with them, which can lead to further conversations through private messages on LinkedIn or even email.
Direct communication is always how you build strong relationships, so look to not only respond to comments on your posts but take discussions further.
Benefit #4 – Some content will help you convert connections into customers: Yes, some connections will just wake up one day and say, “I need what you’re selling.”
This is awesome.
However, some leads won’t be sure if they really need what you’re selling, or they won’t know how it could help them.
This is where the content itself comes in.
The majority of content (from a marketing perspective) should be educational. It teaches the viewer many things, one of which might be how your product could fit into their lives.
3. The one element of networking that LinkedIn users often forget…
It’s not fair to say that only LinkedIn users do this when it comes to networking.
In fact, it’s one of the most common mistakes people make in real life as well.
Have you ever gone to a networking event, handed out a ton of business cards (like everyone else), and then wondered why it never led to anything?
Don’t feel bad if you have; just about everyone has gone through it at one point or another.
It happens because people don’t truly understand what networking is all about.
They think that it consists of one step:
- Meet new people in your industry
They don’t realize that networking actually has two steps:
- Meet new people in your industry
- Build relationships with those you meet
The people who find networking events useful aren’t the ones who pass out business cards and call it a day.
They’re the ones who go to dinners with their new acquaintances or give them a call/email after the conference is over.
They find ways to give value to these new people they’ve met to deepen the budding relationships, which paves the way for future favors and business.
That’s how you truly add someone to your network, and that person becomes someone you can call upon when needed.
How to do real networking on LinkedIn: A lot of attention is focused on getting more “connections” on LinkedIn.
That’s equivalent to the first step of networking.
But don’t stop there!
Now, you need to start developing relationships with as many of those new connections as possible.
Being able to show them your posts (content) is a big help. We already went over the benefits of doing that.
But if you only do that, you won’t engage a large part of your potential network.
Instead, a better approach is to do something for them first (also known as “adding value”).
Once you do, the reciprocity principle will kick in, and they’ll want to help you out as well. This can go back and forth as long as you’re willing to participate in this exchange. At the very minimum, you’ll develop a professional relationship with someone.
Here are some ways in which you can give value to someone you’ve connected with:
- leave thoughtful comments on posts they share
- share things they post
- send them direct messages asking them if there’s a way you can help them out
It’s hard to give specific advice here because everyone appreciates different things.
For example, some users will post questions on LinkedIn when they’re having problems with their work. If you know the answer, don’t just type a response, but create a short video tutorial for them.
Go the extra mile to help someone when it looks like they could use it because that’s what really gets attention.
If you have a large network on LinkedIn (over 500 connections), you could spend all day doing this.
I strongly recommend that you take a bit of time to go through my guide to being efficient on social media so that you are able to do all this without spending too much time.
4. An underused area of LinkedIn for growing your network
I touched on the concept of a high quality connection earlier.
It’s someone who is very likely to become a lead in the future.
While there’s nothing wrong with having other people in your network, ideally, you want as many of these high quality connections as possible.
If only there was a way to find these types of connections in one place!
You know I wouldn’t ask a question like that without giving you the answer. There is a part of LinkedIn that is amazing for finding high quality prospects:
Users form groups around things they care about.
Marketers join marketing groups on LinkedIn; personal trainers join fitness, nutrition, and personal training groups; and so on…
They go to these groups specifically to learn about new developments, people, and even new products in their fields.
Groups are the fastest way to make hundreds of connections and then engage with them.
It was found that 86.3% of conversations that eventually led to a sale from LinkedIn came from a conversation in a group.
It is by far your most effective avenue to begin building real relationships if you follow everything else I’ve covered so far.
How to use groups to expand your network and generate leads: One option is to create a group from scratch. That automatically positions you as an expert to all the people in the group.
Also, just about all members will be happy to connect with you.
But that takes a lot of work and time to build up.
The better option for the majority of people is to simply join existing groups that have already done the hard work of building a large active group.
To find these groups, search for the topic you’re interested in at the top. You can either search only for groups by picking the group option from the drop down menu to the left of the search bar, or you can click the “Groups” filter on the results’ page.
You’ll find that most of the biggest groups are typically full of spam unless the creators moderate them strictly.
You’ll see several posts per day where members just share their own content, but no one engages with it in any way.
When there are tens of thousands of members in a group, but not a single person is engaging with any of the posts, you’re unlikely to have any meaningful conversations in the group.
Ideally, you’re looking for groups that have at least a comment or two on every other article. The more the better.
Again, you’ll notice that the biggest groups aren’t usually the best ones to join.
Instead, look for groups that are more specific.
This group, “content marketing for financial institutions” has a razor sharp focus. Even though it has fewer members than the general “content marketing” groups, it has more engagement.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to go through every group manually to see if it’s good or not.
The best groups usually require permission to join and browse. Click the button on the group to ask to join, and you’ll usually be approved within a day as long as your profile is filled out.
You can always leave a group later if it turns out to be a dud.
How to behave in groups to grow your network: Any fairly large group will have a large portion of inactive members.
Your goal should be to engage with and connect with the active portion.
The members who actively post content, share it, and comment on it are the highest quality leads you will ever find on the network.
Then, you can use all the other strategies we’ve covered to start building your relationship with them.
So, what’s the best way to do this?
When you first join a group, you don’t want to start posting content right away even if you think it would benefit the members. It’s easy to come off as a spammer if you do.
Instead, spend the first week or two commenting on the content other people post. You can also “like” and “share” it as a bonus, but that doesn’t do much on its own.
Don’t just write “nice post,” but actually put a bit of time into making a thoughtful comment. You want the poster to appreciate the comment and reply to it.
After you’ve had a short discussion through comments with someone in the group, try to connect with them.
From there, look for opportunities to add value by using methods we looked at before.
Once you’ve been in the group for a bit, you can start to post your own content occasionally. When people engage with it, ask them to connect.
Other than that, just keep spending a bit of time commenting like you did from the start.
Keep in mind that you can join multiple groups. Look for 5-10 that you can be active in on a daily basis. If you have more time and are having success, you can join even more.
5. Influencers can put you in touch with almost anyone
There are influencers on all social media sites who have tons of followers or connections.
Because they have so many connections and typically know a lot of people, they have an in-depth understanding of LinkedIn that no typical user can match.
There are two ways in which this can help you grow your network.
The first thing you should do is try to connect with them or, at the very least, start following them.
Find at least 10-20 influencers in your niche, and then connect or follow them.
That will add all their posts to your home feed.
Unlike what happens in some of those other groups we looked at, followers of these influencers do read what the influencers post.
Not only that, they engage with this content.
This gives you a great opportunity to get your name in front of a lot of users. When you comment on one of the influencers’ posts, a decent percentage of their followers (perhaps in the thousands) will also read the comments.
But again, don’t just say “nice post.” That doesn’t do anything for you.
Instead, leave a thoughtful comment, and try to find a way to mention that you’re trying to expand your network.
For that article pictured above, a good comment might look like this:
I completely agree with that list of traits, especially networking. I’ve been connecting with as many smart entrepreneurs as possible lately, and I’ve noticed that the more I grow my network, the more opportunities come my way.
People reading that comment will know that you’re open to connecting with them, and you can pick up a handful of new connections with every such comment.
Will an influencer help you out? The second strategy that revolves around influencers is a lot more difficult to use but can produce some great results.
The basic idea is to get the influencer to do you a favor and introduce you to a few people in your niche.
For example, if you told me you were interested in expanding your network of small business owners, I could easily give you a list of 10-20 that I’m already connected with.
You could then send them a message saying that I recommended you connect with them. You get the chance to not only grow a relationship with them but also impress them with getting a referral from an influencer.
The hard part, of course, is getting an influencer to do you a favor like that.
And I’ll be honest, it’s not easy, and you need to prepare for a lot of rejection.
You absolutely have to find a way to provide them with some sort of value beforehand, whether it’s based on something they’ve posted about on LinkedIn, on their website, or wherever.
This isn’t something that I can break down for you. You need to first investigate their business, find a problem, and go above and beyond to solve it.
This tactic isn’t necessary to succeed on LinkedIn; you’ll do just fine with all the other ones we’ve looked at. However, it is an option and can be a powerful way to grow your network with high quality contacts.
LinkedIn is probably the biggest social media opportunity for businesses.
It has a relatively huge user base, and users are focused on improving their professional lives. This makes LinkedIn a great platform for B2B sales.
I’ve given you five detailed strategies you can use to not only grow your network but also build relationships that will eventually lead to sales.
If you have any questions about these strategies or have an interesting story about LinkedIn you wouldn’t mind sharing, leave them in a comment below.
Source: Quick Sprout