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12 essential Twitter stats to guide your strategy in 2021

As a critical source of trending internet conversations, Twitter can be a valuable marketing channel. But to use the platform to its fullest potential, you need to know the ins and outs. That means staying updated with the latest Twitter statistics to understand how people are using the platform.

So to make sure you get the freshest stats to shape your strategy in 2021, we’ve put together 13 of the most important ones for you. These will tell you if it’s time to do another Twitter audit or how to readjust your approach. Check out the most important Twitter stats you need to know this year:

1. The number of monetizable daily active users continues to increase

By Q3 of 2020, the average monetizable Twitter daily active users had reached 187 million, according to Twitter’s Letter to Shareholders for that quarter. This marks a 29% increase year over year.

year over year growth in Twitter monetizable daily active users

Notice the use of the term, “monetizable,” which refers to only the accounts that can see advertisements on the platform. This means that only a portion of the Twitter user-base contributes to the platform’s ad revenue.

Meanwhile, the overall Twitter user growth continues to grow steadily. By Q1 of 2019, the number of Twitter monthly active users (MAU) had reached 330 million. But from Q2 of the same year, the company refocused its reporting to monetizable daily users instead.

According to Twitter, much-discussed current events were a factor contributing to the increase in monetizable daily active users. For instance, the increased conversation around COVID-19 on a global scale and the lead-up to U.S. elections drove interest.

2. Most Twitter users are Americans

A majority of the platform’s users are Americans: approximately 68.7 million as of October 2020. Japan and India follow the US as top countries in Twitter’s international userbase.

The large American userbase makes Twitter a crucial marketing and communication channel for U.S.-based brands. It’s even an ideal platform to deliver quick and reliable customer service.

twitter users by country

3. More than half of American Twitter users use it daily

According to the latest Twitter usage statistics, 52% of Twitter users in the United States access the platform on a daily basis. Beyond this, 84% of American Twitter users access the platform weekly.

These statistics indicating high frequency of usage show the value of the platform for regularly checking in on news updates and how trending topics are evolving.

Finally, 96% use Twitter at least monthly.

twitter usage frequency in the US

4. 28.9% of Twitter users are in the 25-34 age group

As for the overall age demographics of Twitter users, millennials and Gen Z make up a majority of the user-base. Twitter usage is most common in the 25-34 age group, which makes up 28.9% of the total user count as of October 2020. People aged between 35 and 49 come in second, making up 28.2%. And 21.6% of the Twitter user-base is between the ages of 18 and 24.

age distribution of twitter users

While these numbers give you a high-level look at who is using the platform, the demographic groups that are interested in specific subjects or brand categories can vary significantly. Make sure to conduct a Twitter analytics to see what the demographics are for your business account. This can help you get specific details about what kind of audience you’re attracting so you can align your strategy accordingly.

5. Twitter users send out 500 million Tweets per day

With Twitter usage being so commonplace, you might be wondering how many Tweets per day the platform sees. According to Internet Live Stats, Twitter users send out approximately 500 million Tweets every day. This adds up to about 200 billion Tweets per year.

If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of content to figure out what to tweet from your own account, use tools like social listening to narrow down on the specific (and much smaller) conversations that your specific audiences are focusing on.

6. The pandemic significantly affected Twitter usage

While Tweet trends change every year, 2020 was a bit different. In the midst of a global health crisis, the platform acted as a place for people to come together to check news, updates, connect and stay entertained during quarantine. This had a significant impact on Twitter stats and conversation trends on the platform.

According to a Twitter recap, the platform saw more than 7,000 Tweets about TV and movies every minute. And the house emoji had a 40% increase in usage. On top of this, Tweets about cooking almost tripled during 2020, with several food and beverage emojis seeing a significant increase in usage worldwide.

top trending food and beverage emojis in 2020

For 2021, we can only expect to see a new round of trends as the situation and focus of conversation continue to change. So make the most of Twitter listening to find out what your target audience is talking about and where the conversation originates before you jump into the middle of a random conversation.

7. There were 2 billion Tweets about gaming

With the pandemic forcing a large portion of the population indoors, many people turned to activities like gaming to pass the time. As such a lot of the conversations happening on Twitter revolved around video games, making it an ideal platform for social media marketing for the games industry. Throughout the year, there were a total of 2 billion Tweets about gaming, amounting to a whopping 75% increase from 2019.

In fact, the number of people talking about gaming on Twitter also increased with this rise in volume. The topic saw a 49% increase in unique authors. And among video games, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the most Tweeted about.

most tweeted about games in 2020

8. Twitter saw a 15% year-over-year increase in ad revenue

Along with the increase in average monetizable daily active users, Twitter is also seeing an increase in ad revenue. Twitter’s ad revenue increased 15% year over year to $808 million in Q3 of 2020.

According to Twitter, this increase in ad revenue was at least partly driven by previously delayed product launches and events being revisited and starting up again, frequently in a digital form.

Twitter also made several efforts to improve the advertising experience for brands. They’ve since introduced new ad formats and the beta Branded Likes, which allows advertisers to create customized “like” buttons with animated brand imagery.

Plus, they rebuilt the First View ad format, which drives an average of 30-40% impressions per advertiser. These enhanced experiences have led to advertisers spending more on the platform.

And as a result, Twitter’s total revenue also saw an uptick. During Q3 2020, the platform raked in $936 million in total revenue. This 14% increase is largely due to the global recovery of advertising revenue.

Chart comparing total Twitter revenue in the U.S vs. worldwide

During the same quarter, advertising revenue in the United States overall saw an increase of 11% at a total of $428 million. This marks a positive change after a 25% decrease in the previous quarter, where the impact of the pandemic was strongly felt across industries.

9. Ad engagement is also on the rise

2020 saw Twitter users engaging more with ads on the platform. There was a 35% increase in total ad engagements on Twitter. This is largely due to the growth in ad impressions resulting from the increase in monetizable daily active users. The increased demand for ads also played a critical role.

According to the stats for Q4 2020, cost per engagement on Twitter decreased by 3%. These changes could make a Twitter advertising strategy a compelling option for brands not currently investing in one

10. Twitter usage is increasing for both marketers and consumers

In tune with the increase in monetizable daily active users, marketers are also expressing their intention to increase their Twitter usage. The Sprout Social Index, Edition XVI found that 53% of marketers are planning to use Twitter more in the coming year.

This makes sense since consumers are also increasing their use of the platform. The same survey found that 34% of consumers plan on using Twitter more in the coming year.

chart highlighting the social platforms consumers and marketers plan to make more use of

11. People are increasingly following Topics on Twitter

Twitter intends to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for when they come to the platform. That’s why the company focused on better organizing content around Topics and Interests. In Q3 of 2020, Twitter managed to expand the number of Topics people can follow by approximately 25%, with more than 5,100 options.

It provided increased personalization for each Topic and expanded on several of them. As a result of these efforts, there was a 40% quarter-over-quarter increase in the number of accounts following Topics in Q3 2020, with 70 million accounts now following Topics.

12. People open articles 33% more often before Retweeting

Twitter also experimented with a prompt, which encouraged users to read an article if they tried to Retweet it without reading beyond the headline. This gives people more background in the conversations they start on the platform and was aimed at nurturing healthier conversations and improving informed participation among their audience.

As a result of these efforts, people open articles 33% more often before they Retweet them as of Q3 2020. And the platform has seen more than 15 million Tweets implementing conversational controls.

Use these Twitter stats to fuel growth

Based on these Twitter statistics, you can see that the platform has undergone massive upheaval, primarily due to the pandemic. From the conversations they engage in to how they interact with ads – Twitter users are changing the way they use the platform. So make the most of these Twitter stats to audit and revamp your social media marketing strategy.

This post 12 essential Twitter stats to guide your strategy in 2021 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

One year later: Lessons & resources for communicating during the coronavirus crisis

In the past year of COVID-19, lockdowns and quarantine, every aspect of life and business has changed. As people around the globe struggled to adjust to rapid changes in their lives, brands and marketers had to radically transform how they communicate with their audiences. Social media and digital channels often became brands’ only options for connection and conversation during a time when many were feeling isolated.

Today, as access to the vaccine expands, marketers have a new challenge: how to plan for reopening. With restrictions and vaccine availability at different stages in different locations, social marketers will need to plan for shifting timelines and the need to pivot on a dime. If we learned anything from last year, it’s that people will have many, many questions for businesses—and that social is often the first place they’ll go to ask.

In this roundup, we’ve assembled resources that we created to help marketers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, including how and when to communicate, as well as how to plan your reopening strategy. These resources will help you prepare for ongoing adjustments to the new normal businesses and communities are facing.

Resources for planning your reopening

Getting your social strategy ready for reopening

The world is starting to open up, and people want to feel safe and secure when shopping in-person. Follow these steps for a smooth business reopening and strong customer support.

Reflect on what’s working and plan for the future

This checklist can be used any time you need to zoom out and critically reexamine your social strategy. As you prepare for whatever reopening looks like for your brand, use this time to plan for the future.

Create a strategy for building long-term loyalty and connection

One of the biggest takeaways from 2020 was the power of social media to keep doors open (figuratively) during a crisis. This guide will help you think long-term as you build a social media strategy for community and connection.

Stay agile as the situation continues to change

Even in a pandemic-free world, things change and businesses are thrown curveballs—and social teams are on the front lines of communicating and reacting to those changes. Fortunately, marketers have always been adaptable. Here’s advice to help you stay agile, manage change and make the most of a new direction when your priorities shift.

While reopening is beginning, local plans and restrictions vary, and the coronavirus is still a very real threat. The resources in the following sections cover best practices for ongoing communication during a crisis.

Resources for communicating during this crisis

How to navigate through a global crisis on social media

During this crisis, people have used social to reach out, help others and create meaningful relationships during this time of uncertainty. Learn more about finding the right tone to engage and inspire your community through a crisis and use your platform to help foster connection.

Data: How COVID-19 has changed social media engagement

We updated the data from our yearly review of the best times to post to investigate what’s changed since the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use this information to update your strategy and get a sense of how audiences’ priorities and interests have changed.

Stay informed using real-time data from Sprout Listening’s Featured Topic

Sprout’s product team has put together a comprehensive listening topic on the coronavirus so that you can tap into conversations and understand how to contribute in the most valuable and authentic ways. Learn more about how to put this feature into practice.

A closer look: What brands need to know about COVID-19

Marketers have never managed social media during a global pandemic. To better understand how businesses can contribute to the conversation, we analyzed Twitter messages in Sprout’s Listening Topic around COVID-19. We break down what the numbers reveal, provide examples of brands successfully navigating the crisis and share what marketers should consider when building their strategies.

Essential Sprout features to help your brand maintain connection in an uncertain time

Sprout has several essential tools for managing communications during a crisis. As social platforms turn into a place for sharing essential updates over promotional messaging, these features can help you quickly shift your approach to content and stay responsive to your audience’s needs.

From crisis to connection: How to build a social media crisis management strategy

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that there’s no one template for social media crisis management. Learn how to set up your social team with a response plan that is forward thinking and highly adaptable with the advice in this guide.

Social media crisis plan: What to do when things go wrong

These days brands need to be prepared for anything. In some cases, that might mean putting your social marketing on pause or shifting focus. In other cases, social may be the best channel for communicating with customers. Find out more about types of social media crises and how to shift course when they occur.

Working remotely and adapting to the new normal

What to do with your 2020 social strategy now

After all of your careful planning for 2020, Q1 quickly brought with it an entirely new way of life and a new definition of business as usual. This has challenged social marketers to pivot quickly, but that doesn’t mean you have to drop your previous plans entirely. We outline how marketers can reevaluate their planned campaigns and content, assess evolving customer needs and identify what parts of their strategy to salvage or scrap.

Remote work: 5 steps to cultivate an environment where employees thrive

Remote work has become the new normal as businesses do their part to facilitate social distancing. Try out these 5 simple ideas for helping build a remote culture that fits your entire team’s working style and helps empower them to feel engaged and productive.

Screen sharing tips and best practices for remote teams

Whether or not you’ve worked remotely before, the importance of meeting with your team or clients rather than relying solely on email isn’t lost on you. Knowing you’ll be sharing your computer screen in front of others can be nerve-wracking for the first few times, so we’ve put together a list of screen sharing tips and best practices to help you communicate confidently and effectively with your organization or clients.

Taking care of yourself as a social marketer

Battling burnout as a social media manager

The demands of working on an “always on” industry make social media burnout a very real challenge for people on the front lines. In this piece, learn how to identify burnout and balance self-care with customer care with tips from Red Hat’s Leigh Morrison.

Managing your mental health while working in social media

While many of us are on social more and more lately, few people experience everything from customer complaints to racist and sexist comments to straight-up death threats the way that social media managers do. For social media managers, addressing your mental health is about more than maintaining workplace productivity—it’s also about protecting your sanity and overall health and wellbeing.

Looking ahead

We’re optimistic about how social will help all of us stay connected and navigate the ongoing changes we face—both as individuals and as marketers.

As you plan for a future of continuing digital transformation, you’ll need user-friendly tools that grow with your strategy and team. If you’d like to learn more about how Sprout Social’s powerful social media management platform can help, request a demo with one of our team members today.

This post One year later: Lessons & resources for communicating during the coronavirus crisis originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

34 of the Best Office Pranks & Practical Jokes to Use at Work

If you’ve watched the TV show “The Office” as religiously as I have, the classic “stapler in Jell-O” trick surely sounds familiar. It’s pretty much what the name describes: Simply make a batch of Jell-O, but make sure your colleague’s stapler is hidden inside the mold.

It’s a classic prank. But what other, less conventional pranks are out there to add some kicks to an otherwise average day at the office?

We asked our friends and combed the internet for more examples of some of the funniest office pranks, and pulled together this list to serve as inspiration for your own work pranks.

Every company has a story about that funny office prank of yore. Whether you’re doing some early April Fool’s Day research, or just feeling a little tricksy, it’s time to get a prank of your own in the books. Here are some ideas.

Funny Office Pranks to Pull on Your Coworkers

1. Caramel Onions

When Halloween is around the corner, these caramel onions are no match for other tricks (or treats). Dip each onion in caramel — maybe some red food coloring first, if you need to further disguise them — and stick popsicle sticks down the center. Your colleagues won’t know the difference, but they will wonder why these caramel apples are making them cry so much…

Caramel onions office prank
Source: Instructables

2. Nicolas Cage Toilet Seat

Speaking of Halloween, here’s what nightmares are truly made of. Nicolas Cage is easy to come by in the meme community these days. Print a picture of him at his most, well, enthusiastic — and allow him to greet everyone who takes a bathroom break.

Office prank with picture of Nicolas Cage on toilet seat
Source: Pinterest

3. Fish Drawer

There’s something fishy about this office prank… Just be sure to include fish food; experts suggest you should feed this prank twice a day.

Office prank with desk drawer filled with water and fish
Source: Reddit

4. Pants in the Stall

Usually, when you see feet underneath the stall, you just have to wait your turn. In this case, you might be waiting forever. Set this guy up in your office bathroom and see how long it takes for people to start talking. We just hope nobody called the paramedics on this poor, empty suit.

Office prank with empty pants and shoes in bathroom stall
Source: BuzzFeed

5. Febreze for Days

Tighten the zip-tie, throw it, and run for your life. Or, leave it in your coworker’s office when they’re on break. They’re sure to return to a potent workspace.

Febreze office prank
Source: Emlii

6. Vehicular Sticky Notes

This is the perfect use for those sticky notes that keep piling up — especially if they’re all for someone who just won’t finish his or her tasks. The prank below is a wonderful way to remind them before they take off for the day.

Office prank with sticky notes covering coworker's car
Source: Reddit

7. Misspelling Macro

Never ask your work buddy to unlock your iPhone for you, or they’ll make you look like the worst speller of all time when you go to type a text or email. Settings > General > Keyboard > Add new shortcut will make this prank a reality against your most detail-oriented colleague.

keyboard shortcut prank
Source: Gottabemobile

8. Foghorn Entrance

Haven’t you ever wanted to get a room’s attention the second you walk through the door? Well, the prank below will even get the person entering to stand up straight. This is certainly one way to make sure everyone’s alert before a meeting.

Office prank with foghorn on door bumper
Source: Reddit

9. Ballooned Conference

Hey, at least it’s not glitter? This prank works two ways: You can either surprise the next team who reserves this room, or have a day-long meeting in here without anyone knowing your business. You will of course have some static electricity when you exit the room.

Office conference room filled with balloons
Source: Reddit

10. Desk Trolls

For trolls, by trolls. Luckily, you can buy many of these trolls in bulk. Click here if you’re serious about trolling your coworker’s workstation — just keep in mind you will have to buy more than one pack of trolls to make this stunt worth it.

Office desk full of pink troll dolls
Source: CollegeHumor

11. Water Works

Oh look, a budget trip to the beach. This prank gives a whole new meeting to the term, “staycation.” Surprise your coworker when he/she comes back from a beach getaway with, well, another beach getaway. The downside is it’ll be nothing like where they were. The upside is they won’t need a towel.

Beach vacation prank
Source: Imgur

12. Anti-Gravity Desk

“That’s it — you’re suspended.” Just make sure the person who arrives in the morning to a floating desk doesn’t try to sit down…

suspended chair prank
Source: Daily Mail

13. Nailed the Cake

Hey everyone, there’s cake up for grabs in the kitchen! The prank, however, is written in frosting. This is a good gesture to someone who loves the expression, “needle in a haystack.” Happy hunting.

find the toenail prank
Source: Reddit

14. Psychedelic Supervision

“I don’t know, I feel like my boss is always watching me,” your coworker might say. Change their perception of micromanagement when this colorful prank. Suddenly a “quick checkin” doesn’t seem all that bad.

pictures of the boss papered all around the office in different colors
Source: Imgur

15. Voice Toast

Simple, yet brilliant. Change the terms of breakfast ever so slightly, and the kitchen becomes the most confusing room in the office. This little note pranks the entire office — a true masterpiece of prank-dom.

toaster with label that says "it's voice activated"

Source: Tumblr

16. Work From Home

As Ron Burgundy from Anchorman says, “I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed.” Help your coworker who loves taking his/her work home, take their home to work instead. As you can tell, you might need to stay late the night before to get this prank just right.

paper mache house covering coworkers cubicle
Source: Reddit

17. You’ve Been ‘Felined’

This could actually make your cat-loving coworker’s day. Or, it could make for the greatest prank of all time against the coworker who’s violently allergic to cats (that is, as long as they’re not allergic to photos of cats, too).

pictures of cats on computer desktop and papered across desk
Source: Reddit

18. The Seedboard

Work with your IT department to fertilize this prank perfectly. Soon enough, its user will wonder why their keyboard is growing. We suggest targeting someone who sits close to the window — some pranks just need some sunlight. “You said you wanted to spend more time with nature,” you might say in your defense.

adding seeds underneath keyboard
sprouts growing from between keyboard keys
Source: BoredPanda

19. Healthy Creme

Who said you couldn’t be helpful while also being a prankster? “The bad news is we’re out of donuts. The good news is you have all these nutritious alternatives to help your immune system cope with the lack of donuts.”

 

This is just cruel 😂 #officeprank #aprilfools #krispykreme #mean #notcool

A post shared by Free Humor (@scotchandsarcasm) on May 12, 2017 at 12:02pm PDT

20. The Ceilings Have Eyes

You could freak out just looking at the photo of this horrifying prank. It might be a little too much for your jumpiest colleague, but for the person who can’t stop talking about scary movies, it’s just the revenge you deserve. (Hint: paper mache, white paint, and a black wig. Done.)

horror movie photo hidden in drop ceiling

Source: Tumblr

21. Chair Scare

Similar to the Entrance Foghorn (prank #8, above), this prank will probably scare more than just the person who sits down. Of course, it’ll be a lesson to anyone who, I suppose, tries to sit too low at their desk.

chair foghorn prank
Source: Reddit

Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Boss

22. No Stalling

For the employee who never has enough time. Or, for the coworker who takes way too many bathroom breaks during the day. Prank them with their very own throne the next time nature calls.

bathroom cubicle prank
Source: 22words

23. Glitter Bomb

About that whole, “At least it’s not glitter” thing in prank #9? Well, this prank can’t make that promise. For the coworkers who don’t yet know the permanence of getting glitter on yourself, this prank is sure to set them straight.

24. Substitute Worker

Sometimes, you’re not sure how to ask for another day off. For those days where you simply can’t come into work, but don’t have the heart to call out again, the doll who looks just like you is the perfect substitute. Or, just put ’em at your colleague’s desk and give them a much-needed identity crisis.

25. Crushed It

When you finally learn about your colleague’s celebrity crush, make sure they know how much you care.

 

#officeprank

A post shared by Alice Lei (@alicerabbit1) on Aug 1, 2015 at 4:04pm PDT

26. World’s ‘Best’ Boss

When words just aren’t enough to express your sentiment, give your manager the perfect way to say “thank you” every time they go to take a sip of coffee.

27. Cup o’ Spiders

“Hey chief, I found a spider on your desk, but don’t worry, it’s been handled.” This prank doesn’t have to have an actual spider in it — the mystery, alone, is all you need to prank your employee.

28. That’s a Wrap

For the boss who has everything, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Dwight Schrute from The Office sitting on gift wrapped chair only for it to collapse

Source: Giphy

Remote Pranks for Virtual Teams

The above pranks are awesome, but what about pranks that are inclusive for remote employees or teams that are 100% virtual? These pranks are ideal for the digital office:

29. Flash Mob

Here at HubSpot, we love flash mobs. That’s why Head of SEO Aja Frost and Blog Manager Christina Perricone jumped at the chance of organizing a virtual flash mob for one of our quarterly meetings.

This is a perfect prank for a large gathering but requires a bit of prep from choosing a song, selecting the dancers, and teaching the choreography. However, the end result is worth it for the shocked and delighted expressions on coworkers’ faces alone.

HubSpot's virtual flash mob on Zoom

30. Virtual Background Shenanigans

There’s a lot of pranking potential using the virtual background feature in Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. For example, one Twitter user creates a virtual background with the shocking appearance of a doppelgänger… or maybe a time warp?

31. Jump Scare

One way to take the virtual background prank to another level is by impersonating a horror movie director and relying on one of the oldest scary movie tricks in the book: the unexpected jump scare. The video below walks through the steps for executing this prank successfully:

Just make sure that you know who you’re presenting to. The wrong audience may not appreciate the humor in this one!

32. You’re Not on Mute

We’ve all heard the horror stories of users who thought they were on mute and went on to say something embarrassing. One prank would be to stage this situation and make your coworkers think that you think you’re on mute. You could enlist someone in your household to say really embarrassing or completely outrageous, the goal being to see how long your coworkers will watch in horror before letting you know you’re on mute.

33. Stolen Identity

If you have a workplace chat system, a simple and effective prank is to “steal” someone’s identity by changing your display name and picture to match theirs. The more coworkers you get to follow suit, the more effective, hilarious, and chaotic this prank becomes. Best of all, it’s easy to reverse at the end of the day: Just revert back to your original display name and photo.

stolen-identity-virtual-prank

34. Think Outside the Box

With video conferencing apps, we’re limited to our own little square of digital real estate… or are we? This Twitter user subverts expectation by dumping water on a coworker in another square, surprising all the other meeting attendees:

All you have to do is find someone who will be in on the joke with you.

Pranking can be extremely good for morale and company culture. After all, why not have a little fun to break up the workday?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

CSS Auditing Tools

How large is your CSS? How repetitive is it? What about your CSS specificity score? Can you safely remove some declarations and vendor prefixes, and if so, how do you spot them quickly? Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on refactoring and cleaning up our CSS, and as a result, we stumbled upon a couple of useful tools that helped us identify duplicates. So let’s review some of them.

CSS Stats

CSS Stats runs a thorough audit of the CSS files requested on a page. Like many similar tools, it provides a dashboard-alike view of rules, selectors, declarations and properties, along with pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements. It also breaks down all styles into groups, from layout and structure to spacing, typography, font stacks and colors.

One of the useful features that CSS Stats provides is the CSS specificity score, showing how unnecessarily specific some of the selectors are. Lower scores and flatter curves are better for maintainability.

It also includes an overview of colors used, printed by declaration order, and a score for Total vs. Unique declarations, along with the comparison charts that can help you identify which properties might be the best candidates for creating abstractions. That’s a great start to understand where the main problems in your CSS lie, and what to focus on.

Yellow Lab Tools

Yellow Lab Tools, is a free tool for auditing web performance, but it also includes some very helpful helpers for measure the complexity of your CSS — and also provides actionable insights into how to resolve these issues.

The tool highlights duplicated selectors and properties, old IE fixes, old vendor prefixes and redundant selectors, along with complex selectors and syntax errors. Obviously, you can dive deep into each of the sections and study which selectors or rules specifically are overwritten or repeated. That’s a great option to discover some of the low-hanging fruits and resolve them quickly.

We can go a bit deeper though. Once you tap into the overview of old vendor prefixes, you can not only check the offenders but also which browsers these prefixes are accommodating for. Then you can head to your Browserslist configuration to double-check if you aren’t serving too many vendor prefixes, and test your configuration on Browsersl.ist or via Terminal.

Project Wallace

Unlike other tools, Project Wallace, created by Bart Veneman, additionally keeps the history of your CSS over time. You can use webhooks to automatically analyze CSS on every push in your CI. The tool tracks the state of your CSS over time by looking into specific CSS-related metrics such as average selector per rule, maximum selectors per rule and declarations per rule, along with a general overview of CSS complexity.

Parker

Katie Fenn’s Parker is a command-line stylesheet analysis tool that runs metrics on your stylesheets and reports on their complexity. It runs on Node.js, and, unlike CSS Stats, you can run it to measure your local files, e.g. as a part of your build process.

DevTools CSS Auditing

Of course, we can also use DevTools’ CSS overview panel. (You can enable it in the “Experimental Settings”). Once you capture a page, it provides an overview of media queries, colors and font declarations, but also highlights unused declarations which you can safely remove.

Also, CSS coverage returns an overview of unused CSS on a page. You could even go a bit further and bulk find unused CSS/JS with Puppeteer.

With “Code coverage” in place, going through a couple of scenarios that include a lot of tapping, tabbing and window resizing, we also export coverage data that DevTools collects as JSON (via the export/download icon). On top of that, you could use Puppeteer that also provides an API to collect coverage.

We’ve highlighted some of the details, and a few further DevTools tips in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge in Useful DevTools Tips And Shortcuts here on Smashing Magazine.

What Tools Are You Using?

Ideally, a CSS auditing tool would provide some insights about how heavily CSS implact rendering performance, and which operations lead to expensive layout recalculations. It could also highlight what properties don’t affect the rendering at all (like Firefox DevTools does it), and perhaps even suggest how to write slightly more efficient CSS selectors.

These are just a few tools that we’ve discovered — we’d love to hear your stories and your tools that work well to identify the bottlenecks and fix CSS issues faster. Please leave a comment and share your story in the comments!

You can also subscribe to our friendly email newsletter to not miss next posts like this one. And, of course, happy CSS auditing and debugging!

Reblogged 1 year ago from smashingmagazine.com

Growing UX Maturity: Finding A UX Champion And Demonstrating ROI (Part 1)

UX maturity is the presence and level of sophistication of UX in an organization. Organizational maturity goes beyond the skills of the individuals composing the UX roles on various teams, to the UX processes, philosophies, and tools underpinning the organization’s product development and business practices. As Chapman and Plewes (2014) state,

“Achieving great UX design is not just a function or talent of individuals, it is an organizational characteristic.”

Knowing this, means we must strive to understand and grow the maturity of UX practice within the organizations and product teams we work with. Simply being good at our own jobs isn’t enough. As UX practitioners, we are advocates and educators of our craft within the organizations we work for or with.

Note: This article is the first in a three-part series covering six tactics UX practitioners and managers can adopt to facilitate the growth of UX maturity at their organization.

Let’s take a quick look at the six tactics we’ll be covering and their relationship to UX maturity:

  1. Finding and utilizing UX Champions
    Beginning stages: the UX champion will plant seeds and open doors for growing UX in an organization.
  2. Demonstrating the ROI/value of UX
    Beginning stages justify more investment, later stages to justify continued investment.
  3. Knowledge sharing/Documenting what UX work has been done
    Less relevant/possible in the earliest stages of maturity when there is little UX being done. Creates a foundation and then serves to maintain institutional knowledge even when individuals leave or change roles.
  4. Mentoring
    Middle and later stages of maturity. Grow individual skills in a two way direction that also exposes more people to UX and improves the knowledge transfer of more senior UX, should lead to a shared understanding of how UX looks and is implemented in the organization.
  5. Education of UX staff on UX tools and specific areas of UX expertise
    All stages of maturity require continued education of UX staff.
  6. Education of non-UX staff on UX principles and processes
    All stages of maturity benefit from education of non-UX staff.

These tactics don’t build on the prior tactics — you can and should implement multiple tactics simultaneously. However, some tactics (e.g. mentoring) might not be possible in an organization with low UX maturity that lacks the support for a mentoring program.

UX is a skill, it can be practiced, grown, and improved. It can also languish and atrophy if not appropriately exercised. This is true for individuals and organizations. An organization’s UX maturity level impacts all aspects of how UX is prioritized and implemented throughout the organization and its products.

If we wish to meaningfully improve our UX practice, it is critical we look for opportunities to help grow the maturity of UX across our organization. We face a larger challenge when it comes to growing UX in a way that has impact across an organization than we do with growing our own UX skills.

In this article, I’ll briefly discuss some of the existing models you can use to provide a framework for thinking about an organization’s UX maturity. I’ll then explore two specific tactics for UX practitioners to make an impact to help grow UX maturity within their organizations when they are in the early stages of UX Maturity.

Defining UX Maturity

We don’t have one agreed upon model of what UX maturity looks like at different stages. Natalie Hanson has a blog post providing a collection and discussion of various UX Maturity models up to the point it was published in 2017.

Chapman and Plewes define five stages of organizational UX Maturity from “Beginning” which is essentially no UX, to “Exceptional” where UX has been fully integrated into the business processes, resources are plentiful, leadership understands the value of UX and how it works, and the organization’s culture is supportive and promotes UX.

Most of us probably work for organizations with some level of UX Maturity, meaning beyond Stage 1 where there are no resources. However, it’s also possible some of us work in organizations at the beginning or awareness stages. If you are in this situation, you might find yourself frustrated with the lack of support and understanding of UX within your organization and product teams. We should push to move our organizations and colleagues further along this UX maturity continuum if we wish for UX to grow as a field, increase opportunities to bring our peers into the fold, and ultimately to provide the best experiences for end users of the products or services our organizations offer.

Frameworks and models are helpful for understanding how researchers and professionals have observed UX maturity growing in organizations. They allow us to understand where we are and where we are headed, if we create a strategy to get there. We need to move beyond theory and into the application of specific tactics if we want to push our organization to grow in UX maturity. I’ll present two tactics for demonstrating the value of UX and documenting progress of UX in an organization that will help grow UX maturity in the section below.

What Can We Do To Grow Our Organization’s UX Maturity: Two Tactics

It can feel frustrating trying to make change in large organizations. Here are some tactics UX practitioners can consider applying to their situation. These two tactics are especially helpful for organizations with less mature UX, and more opportunity to grow:

These tactics are meant to create a broad impact across the organization and plant the seeds of UX in potentially fertile fields. I’ll tie them back to Chapman and Plewes factors composing the stages of UX Maturity as relevant within the discussion of the specific tactic.

Tactic 1: Finding And Utilizing UX Champions

Champions are people who enthusiastically support the growth of an innovation or idea within an organization. Researchers have long found champions are a critical component of overcoming social and political barriers to innovation within organizations. I would argue you cannot move a large organization out of Chapman and Plewes stage 1 without having a set of Champions. Champions do not need to be experts or practitioners of UX. However, we need to identify the correct people, in the right positions of power, who can advocate for UX as a concept, advocate growing UX, and push for UX resources in the form of budget and roles, if we wish to grow UX in organizations with low levels of UX maturity.

Effective champions display the following types of behaviors according to some researchers:

I’d add to these behaviors that champions need to be well educated on the idea or innovation (in this case UX) in order to maximize effectiveness. We cannot expect a champion to effectively convey the value of UX and to identify opportunities to get the right people involved if they do not have an understanding of how UX processes work, how to integrate them into existing processes, and what basic outputs and outcomes of UX work are expected. We are responsible for providing this education through conversation, examples, and providing resources supporting the champion in their learning.

We can tie champions back to Chapman and Plewes factors of Leadership and Culture, as well as potentially the Timing of UX factor:

  • Champions should be in a position to influence leadership and culture over time;
  • Champions should be able to identify and advocate for the proper time to insert UX into existing process.

Champions usually play this role in an informal capacity. This makes sense when we think about an organization at the fledgling stage of implementing UX — it is unlikely you would immediately go from having little to no UX, to hiring a specific role for championing the cause. Champions therefore are promoting UX in the course of their other everyday activities.

As a UX practitioner, your goal is to find the champions within your organization, educate them on the role and value of UX, provide them with real life examples of how UX is making a difference, and work with them to identify the opportunities to insert UX into other products or processes within an organization.

We need to be purposeful when we look to invest time cultivating a champion. You can answer these questions when looking to identify and work with a champion:

Who are people willing to spend time and energy on ideas they believe in?

Who might be most receptive to UX working on a product or service they are in charge of?

Who has the ability to create and maintain networks?
– Who would see an almost immediate benefit to having UX improve their product?

Who has been expressing dissatisfaction with current design and development processes?

Who can you develop a good and ongoing relationship with?

Who believes in the organization or product and continuously pushes for both to grow and improve?

You can pick and choose which of these questions might apply most to the situations you are trying to find a champion, or you could use these questions as filters, start with the largest list of potential champions you can think of, then remove names when they don’t meet the qualifications. Your remaining names are the people you can pursue to become UX champions within your organization.

Case Study: Finding And Utilizing A UX Champion At A Large International Logistics Company

You might think it is a fairly daunting task to quickly identify an effective champion within your organization. This case study will show the opposite can be true. Within one month, I was able to identify UX champions in an organization I’d never worked with. Within three months, the champions had created meaningful change, identified more opportunities than we could handle with the resources we had, and set the course for a bright future for UX within the organization.

A major logistics company serves as the example for this case study. The company had familiarity with UX and CX, even espousing that it was transforming itself into a customer first organization. Unfortunately, these words were not reflected in the UX integration throughout the company.

I would classify the organization at Chapman and Plewes adopting stage in some products, however, it was clear other products or projects were only at the awareness stage (stage 2) in that there were no UX processes. This includes the project I was assigned to when I joined as a consultant. There were scattered products receiving some UX attention — one off efforts being run by small UX teams focusing on addressing key issues brought up by major clients. There was some legacy of having UX in the past, however, after many years of UX work being done in various pockets of the organization, there was still no true UX process identifiable across the company, UX was not required for products or workstreams, and when budgets contracted, UX titles were some for the first to be eliminated.

The company was undergoing a complete backend technology transformation in order to move it’s many disparate entities onto the same technology platforms. When I became involved, I was brought in to see how to infuse UX into the process. I knew this was going to be challenging, as the ways of working had already been defined and the focus was on getting things quickly to production, with developers also doing the design based on requirements created by large groups of product owners and managers.

I began by listening. I sat in on meetings for different groups involved in the project. I interviewed many client stakeholders to understand some of their habits and how we could integrate UX into the current ways of working. I mapped out relationships between products, projects, people, and outcomes/goals. There was a huge appetite for the UX work, but much less appetite to incorporate the process into the already break-neck pace of the development underway. We worked to find ways to contribute to the current development efforts through testing, and found we were able to get a foothold into some of the key areas the effort was focusing on.

Specifically, what we did was take on a UX research and design project with a product owner who we’d identified as key to having as a champion during our preliminary interviews with stakeholders. This champion was ideal because they were highly motivated, well connected with people in powerful positions across the company, and perhaps most importantly, had a product that was key to the success of the endeavor and was in a position to immediately have us start conducting research that would lead to design.

I want to note here that the champion was not an executive level employee. They did not have the power to make people do things just because they told them to. This champion had all of the traits referenced in research on the role of an innovation champion:

  • Pursuing The Idea
    Our champion traveled, spent time in meetings and workshops, reached out to countless others, educated themself, and spent time outside of their typical duties in order to push for UX to grow in the organization.
  • Expressing Enthusiasm And Confidence About The Success Of The Innovation/Idea
    Our champion maintained a positive attitude and was able to readjust without giving at multiple points during our time there.
  • Persisting Under Adversity
    The general conditions on the ground were adverse to UX — with the focus on production. However, there were other mountains that were in the way that our champion needed to overcome. One specific example was that there was immediate and then constant pushback from colleagues on the ability for the product to incorporate research and redesign. This was relentless, however our champion did not let it stop them.
  • Getting The Right People Involved
    Our champion was well connected and knew how to get the right people involved. They had been in the organization for a decade and had a stellar reputation. For example, they knew the right executives and could get them to attend meetings to make a statement on the need for UX, when they were facing the adversity referenced in the bullet above.
  • Building Networks
    Our champion introduced us to key people, set up meetings between people across products and teams, and had the ability to get the right people to network without the need of being present in every meeting themself.
  • Taking Responsibility
    Our champion assigned and delegated tasks as needed, but they also took it upon themselves to review all work, spend time learning UX processes and value, and advocate for UX.

This case study highlights the power and importance of a UX champion in growing UX in an organization. Thanks to the presence of our champion, we used our foothold to gain the ear of key executives as well as many champions who were able to advocate a need to “walk the talk” on saying we were customer focused. This allowed UX to define some key processes and contribute to the broader group.

While our work there did not last beyond the end of this key workstream, when we left there had been an established library of reports, a defined process for UX to integrate with building technology, and a philosophy shift that not only did the words customer focused need to be stated, but the actions of customer-focused behavior needed to be reflected in what was being done.

Additionally, the champion had secured a new UX resource as a permanent hire for their product, they had a backlog of UX projects to complete, and had created a larger network of UX practitioners across the organization than had previously existed.

Tactic 2: Demonstrating The ROI/Value Of UX

As UX practitioners, we often focus on the value our work provides through the lens of a more satisfactory, efficient, or enjoyable experience. We take pride in meeting our users’ needs.

However, we work in settings where decisions are scrutinized based on their impact to the bottom line of profit and loss. We avoid reality if we don’t acknowledge the need to justify UX based on the return on investment a business or organization can expect. However, ROI can be more than a monetary calculation, with other metrics and key performance indicators useful for showing how UX impacts an organization or product.

Nielsen Norman Group notes ROI encourages buy-in, which is key for growing UX in organizations less familiar with the value UX work brings. NNG also states there are three myths that tend to prevent us from moving forward with calculating UX:

  • The ROI of UX is all about money;
  • The ROI of UX has to be perfectly accurate;
  • The ROI of UX has to account for every detail.

You will need work to overcome these myths as they might exist within your organization as you start to measure UX ROI if you want to start increasing buy in for UX.

You can use a number of different metrics to show ROI, as NNG notes, it isn’t limited to money. Your product and industry might best dictate what metrics or key performance indicators tell the story of the ROI of improving UX. Yes, if you design for an e-commerce site, increasing conversion and sales will be a story you’d want to tell. But this tale might focus on additional metrics such as speed to completing a task, cart abandonment, or ratings on an app store or review platform.

I do believe many executives, across industries, are looking for the financial benefit of the decisions they make. We do need to present a business case for anything we propose that will cost money or resources such as time, training, and tools.

At face value return of investment is the increase in value or profit (return) an investment (in this case adding UX resources to a product) divided by cost (investment) in that resource (budget, UX software subscriptions, UX training, etc.). There isn’t a magic number, but you can assume you’d like the final number to be greater than 1, suggesting a positive return on the investment. You can potentially consider many items as part of what goes into the cost and return, depending on the product.

Anders Hoff provides a website roi calculator. Human Factors International provides six different calculators depending on what you are trying to measure, from increased conversion to increased productivity, to reduced costs on formal training and reduced learning curve and more.

Moving beyond the specific monetary return requires deeper research and/or collecting analytical data. You will use these metrics to tailor your conversation on the need to grow UX to a specific audience that might. In other words, for some of these metrics you might benefit from being currently low or less than desirable, as they bolster your case for improving an experience to enhance the return.

Many product teams do collect analytics, even if they aren’t invested in UX, as this has become industry standard and easy to do. However, if you don’t know how to use these analytics, or haven’t had upfront conversations about what to collect, you’ll need to connect with the people in charge of collecting and reporting analytics to ensure the data you need will be available.

  • Finding information/navigating a site or application
    How long does it take a user to go through a typical workflow? Do they encounter errors? Do they drop before reaching a critical destination, but after starting down the path?

  • Ratings on app store or industry rating platforms
    How are users rating the current experience? What qualitative information are they providing to support their ratings? Does any of this tie back to UX or would any of it be addressed with improved UX.

  • Use/time spent
    Overall visits or time spent on an app or using your site. If you provide information or an experience that needs people to focus and pay attention this might be a number that is low and you think go up. However, if you are providing a way to apply for goods and services, or do something like pay a utility bill, you might want to focus on how time spent could be reduced as a good return for users.

  • Service/support calls and the frequent topic of calls
    How frequently does your support receive calls or emails related to usability issues, or issues that could be easily resolved with an improved UX? My experience has suggested confusing login credentials and inability to self service basic account issues online are frequent reasons people contact support. These are UX issues with a direct cost — and most companies know the cost of their support center calls. How much would you save by reducing these calls with better UX?

These are all examples of ways you can communicate ROI to your stakeholders, as part of a justification to grow UX in your organization. You need to determine what metric might speak clearest to the audience you are hoping to sway.

Case Study: Demonstrating ROI/Value Of UX At A Medical Insurance Provider

A large medical insurance provider had acquired a number of small providers over the past decade. Each of these separate companies had different systems their agents used. The company undertook and effort to shift all agents onto the same, new to everyone, platform.

The company planned the rollout in phases focusing on geographic regions. Initially, the company had no UX roles or processes, and they did not intend to account for any UX in their budget. Independent agents who were part of the first phase immediately stopped running policies through this provider. Exclusive agents flooded the call center with cries for help, needing to be walked through basic everyday tasks such as running quotes and binding policies. The provider pushed pause on subsequent releases while they determined how to best move forward.

I was brought in, along with my colleagues, to form a usability workstream on this project. However, we knew that budget was tight and we would need to show our value. We immediately engaged end users in a series of interviews and usability testing. From there, we made design recommendations, from small tweaks to major overhauls. Some of them were adopted, others were not considered feasible. The project moved on to release the usability fixes to the phase one agents, and into the subsequent phases of release.

The project leadership had to request any future budget for UX on the project from an executive committee. Project leadership knew what was meaningful to convince executives UX was making an impact, and therefore had a positive return on investment. We had a workshop with project leaders to determine key metrics. We landed on user satisfaction, calls to the call center requesting assistance, number of quotes run, and many other industry specific methods.

I need to note the importance of collecting benchmark metrics here. For example, We weren’t able to speak to the increase or decrease in the number of quotes run, because this metric wasn’t being purposefully tracked during phase one. However, we set a line in the sand and from that point forward we created a benchmark that could then be compared in future updates and releases.

Using a combination of user surveys, interviews, and data analytics, we were able to create the case that phase 1 users had the lowest satisfaction, but was trending upward, with the recipients of the UX improved phase 2 showing higher initial satisfaction, that UX was making an impact on reducing calls to the call center, and as noted we started purposefully documenting specific analytics. Project leadership presented these findings to the executive committee as part of their ask for continued funding — which was approved.

Fast forwarding a few years, UX remained onboard the project, with a budget for testing and revising designs prior to release, and was touted as a must have part of any future projects and digital products.

Conclusion

We all stand to benefit from increasing awareness and growing UX maturity in our organizations or on the product teams we work with. As practitioners, we are responsible for advocating UX to others.

I’ve presented two tactics that are especially potent in less mature UX organizations, however, they could be useful in any organization — especially larger ones where UX might be more robust on some products or projects (and almost unknown on others). The tactics highlight the need to choose the right people to be persuasive in your organization and use data in supporting our arguments for UX to play an expanded role.

The next article in this series will explore internal processes we can take to document and share UX work that has occurred, and mentorship needed to take UX maturity to higher levels. The final article will discuss education of both staff with UX roles and staff who do not have UX roles. Stay tuned!

Author Note: I want to thank my colleague Dana Daniels for assistance with background research on UX maturity models.

Reblogged 1 year ago from smashingmagazine.com

Mobile-first indexing, site downtime, static headlines and rich results; Friday’s daily brief

Plus the Google algorithm updates continue, including a local search update.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The Social Media Content Calendar Template Every Marketer Needs [Free Template]

“We have a 9 a.m. meeting? Hold on — let me just click around the internet like a maniac to find something for the morning tweet.” 

Sound familiar? Scrambling for social content is nothing new. We have meetings. We run late. Things come up. And it’s really hard to get any meaningful amount of work done when you have the next social media update looming over your head every 30, 60, or 90 minutes. It all moves so fast that you might periodically feel a case of the vapors coming on, which is why pre-scheduled social media content should be your new best friend.

To make social media content easier for companies to plan and schedule across the accounts they manage, we created a social media content calendar template. And recently, we updated to be better, faster, stronger, and just generally prettier.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

But first…

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar organizes your publishing schedule by date so that you can keep track of deadlines, better manage your content creation team, and create transparency with all parties.

What’s in this content calendar template?

Every content calendar is different and should be adjusted for your unique process. However, in this one, you’ll find a general schedule tab, your monthly planning calendar, a repository for website content, and updates for each of the top social media platforms:

This blog post will walk you through exactly how to use the template to stay on top of your social media content planning for each one.

Note: HubSpot customers can also schedule content through Social Inbox, or use this spreadsheet to organize their content and subsequently upload it to Social Inbox. Detailed instructions for doing this exist in the cover sheet of the template.

How to Use the Social Media Calendar Template to Plan Your Content Schedule

When you open up the social media content calendar template, you’ll notice the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet has several different tabs, most of which are dedicated to a specific social network.

content calendar excel tabs: schedule, monthly planning calendar, content repository, twitter updates, facebook updates, linkedin updates, instagram updates, pinterest updates

The reason you’ll want a different worksheet for every social network is simply that every social network is a little bit different. You can’t just craft one, single social media update and use it across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can certainly promote the same piece of content across those networks, but that doesn’t mean you’ll craft your update in the same way for every single one of them. (In fact, you may even want to add additional tabs if you’re active on other networks, like Quora or YouTube.)

This following sub-sections will walk you through how to fill out each of the tabs you see in this template — the updates for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. But before we get to that, let’s just walk through the “Monthly Planning Calendar” so you know what that’s for.

Monthly Social Media Schedule 

The tab “Monthly Planning Calendar” provides an overall snapshot of your monthly social media campaigns. It’ll help you coordinate better with other stakeholders, not to mention keep all the moving parts straight in your own mind. Here’s what it looks like:

social media content calendar month view with colored cells for each content type

There are three sections to take note of when you edit this template for your own purposes. First, the color-coding key: These are the types of content or campaigns around which you might coordinate, like ebooks, webinars, blog posts, product launches, and so on. Though only some of these might be relevant to you, they’re there to indicate what you may want to put in there — so be sure to edit these categories to align with your own campaigns.

The other two sections you’ll need to edit are the Month and Year at the top of the calendar (duh), as well as the cells below each day of the week. In those cells, you should enter the type of content you’ll be promoting that day and color-code it to align with the campaign it’s supporting.

Instead of deleting all the content in this spreadsheet each month, I recommend copying this worksheet twelve times over, and creating a separate sheet for each month. (If that gets to be too overwhelming, you can always save those tabs as a separate file.)

Planning Your Twitter Content Calendar

Alright, now let’s get to the social media content. This section will be the lengthiest, because all subsequent sections will draw on the instructions we go through here. So if you read one section in this whole post, make it this one.

Let’s say you want to add some tweets to your scheduling template. Skip over to the “Twitter Updates” tab, where you’ll see this:

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 12.53.39 PM

The first four columns, “Day,” “Date,” “Time,” and “Date & Time” are there for your convenience, and if you choose to use a third-party app for pre-scheduling your tweets (like HubSpot’s Social Inbox), then these columns will be useful. For now, just fill in the date on which you’d like your updates to publish to Twitter, and the time at which you’d like them to go out. The “Date & Time” column will automatically change based on what you input in the previous two columns.

Now, let’s move over to the “Message” column. Here, input the copy you’d like to appear in your tweet, bearing in mind you should cap it at 116 characters to allow enough room for a link, and at 115 characters to allow room for an image. (Read this blog post for a full character count guide.) This spreadsheet will auto-calculate the number of characters you’ve entered to keep you on-point, turning yellow when you’ve reached 95 characters, and red when you’ve reached 116 characters.

After you’ve composed your tweet, paste the URL you’d like to include in your tweet in the “Link” column. Be sure to include UTM parameters so you’ll know whether all of these tweets are actually driving traffic, leads, and customers. This is an important step to remember if you’d like to be able to demonstrate ROI from social. You can also use the “Campaign” column to add an associated campaign, which helps which more robust tracking and reporting.

Finally, in the “Image” column, attach the tweet’s image (if you have one). For Twitter, we recommend images that are 1024 x 512 pixels. (Click here for a full cheat sheet of social media image sizes.) If you’re having trouble attaching your image to the spreadsheet, follow these steps:

Step 1: Right-click the cell in which you’d like your image.

Step 2: Click “Hyperlink,” then click the “Document” button, and finally, click “Select” to choose your image.

Step 3: In the “Choose a File” window, select the image from your computer and click “Open.”

Step 4: You’ll now see the image attached to the “Insert Hyperlink” screen. Feel free to edit the “Display” text to change the file name, then click “OK.”

Note: This process is simply for organizational purposes. If you decide to upload the spreadsheet to your social media publishing software, it will not attach — you’ll have to do that with your marketing software. If you’re a HubSpot customer, details for how to bulk upload your Twitter content to Social Inbox can be found within the downloaded template.

Planning Your Facebook Content Calendar

Now, let’s talk about how to plan your Facebook marketing in advance with the template. Navigate on over to the tab in your template labeled “Facebook Updates.”

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 12.56.01 PM

Facebook updates work similarly to Twitter updates, with the exception being bulk uploading your content is not possible in Social Inbox.

The first three columns, “Day,” “Date,” and “Time” are there for your convenience. Head on over to the column labeled “Message” and input the copy you’d like to appear in your status update, corresponding to the days and times you’d like those updates to run. Then, move to the “Link” column and input the link you’ll be, you know, linking to in the update. (Don’t forget that tracking token.) If you’d like the update to be tagged to a certain campaign, include this in the “Campaigns” column. Finally, attach an image just like you did with your Twitter updates — if you’re using one, we suggest you edit it to be 1200 x 900 pixels. (Click here for a full cheat sheet of social media image sizes.)

Planning Your LinkedIn Content Calendar

LinkedIn updates are the most unique, because you have both Company Pages and Groups to consider. To demonstrate the difference between Company Page updates and Group updates, let’s navigate over to the column labeled “Title (For Group Discussions Only).”

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 12.58.06 PM

LinkedIn Groups let you post a few kinds of updates, one of which is called a “Discussion.” You will only fill out the “Title (For Group Discussions Only)” column if you’re looking to post a Discussion to your LinkedIn Group — because Discussions are the only update you’ll be posting that requires a title. If you’re not posting a Discussion to a LinkedIn Group, you don’t need to fill out this field, because your update will not have a title.

You’ll fill out the next column, “Message,” for every type of update you post, whether it’s for a Company Page or a Group. Simply input your copy into this column, and then navigate to the next two columns, “Link” and “Campaign” to input the URL to which you’re directing readers with the tracking token you’ll use to track activity, and the associated campaign if one exists. If you’d like to use an image for an update, attach it per the instructions laid out in the “Twitter” section. We recommend editing the image to 700 x 520 pixels.

Planning Your Instagram Posting Calendar

Now, let’s move on to how to set up your Instagram photos and videos in advance with the template. Navigate on over to the tab in your template labeled “Instagram Updates.”

Social media calendar template for Instagram content

Instagram updates work similarly to Facebook updates, in that content can’t be uploaded in bulk to Social Inbox like it can with Twitter.

The first three columns, “Day,” “Date,” and “Time” are there for your convenience. Head on over to the column labeled “Message,” and input the copy you’d like to appear in your post’s caption, corresponding to the days and times you’d like those updates to run. Keep in mind that although Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long, they cut off in users’ feeds after three lines of text. The exact length of these three lines depends on the length of your Instagram handle. (Read this blog post for a full character count guide.)

Next, move to the “Link for Bio” column and input whichever link you plan to put in the bio when you publish the accompanying Instagram post. (The reason you’d put a link in your bio and not the photo caption itself is because clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio.) Oh, and don’t forget that tracking token.

If you’d like the update to be tagged to a certain campaign, include this in the “Campaigns” column. Finally, attach an image just like you did with your other social media updates — we suggest you edit it to be 1080 pixels x 1080 pixels. (Click here for a full cheat sheet of social media image sizes.)

Planning Your Pinterest Content Calendar

Alright, now let’s go over how to set up your Pinterest pins in advance with the template. Navigate on over to the tab in your template labeled “Pinterest Updates.”

Social media calendar template for Pinterest content

Pinterest updates work similarly to Facebook and Instagram updates, in that content can’t be uploaded in bulk to Social Inbox like it can with Twitter.

The first three columns, “Day,” “Date,” and “Time” are there for your convenience. Go to the column labeled “Message,” and input the copy you’d like to appear in your pin’s description, corresponding to the days and times you’d like those updates to run. Then, move to the “Link” column and input the link you’ll be, you know, linking to in the update. (Don’t forget that tracking token.)

If you’d like the update to be tagged to a certain campaign, include this in the “Campaigns” column. Finally, attach an image like you did with your other social media updates — we suggest you edit it to be 735 pixels x 1102 pixels.

Content Repository (Or, Where to Source Social Media Content)

This template also provides you with a tab called “Content Repository,” which should help you keep track of all your content and maintain a healthy backlog of fodder to make sourcing social media content easier.

social media content calendar's content repository

As you create more assets, you’ll likely want to resurface and re-promote those pieces down the line, too. To ensure you don’t lose track of all of that content, record it on this tab so you’re never at a loss for what to publish on social. If the content you’re promoting isn’t evergreen, be sure to include an expiration date in the column marked “Expiration” so you don’t promote it when it’s jumped the shark.

This tab will also help you maintain a healthy balance of content: A mix of your own content and others’, a mix of content formats and types, and mix of lead generation content vs. MQL-generating content vs. traffic-friendly content.

Don’t Forget to Interact With Your Followers

Whether you use this spreadsheet to plan your content out in advance or upload to a third-party app, you’ll still need to supplement these updates with one the fly content. Breaking news hits? Whip up a quick update to share it with your network. Someone in your network tweets something interesting? Give it a retweet with some commentary. Got a fascinating comment on one of your updates? Respond with a “thank you” for their interaction or an additional follow-up comment.

Coming up with and scheduling your social media content in advance is a huge time-saver, but it should go without saying that you still need to monitor and add to your social presence throughout the day.

Finally, we encourage you to experiment with your social media publishing. This template provides publishing dates and times for each social network, but you may find those are way too many updates for you to fill, or perhaps too infrequent for your booming social presence. You should adjust your social media publishing frequency as needed.

social media content calendar

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

11 Quick Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Posts

The post 11 Quick Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Posts appeared first on ProBlogger.

11 Quick Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Posts

This post is based on episode 78 of the ProBlogger podcast.

The dictionary defines “compelling” as “demanding attention or interest”.

Imagine if people thought your blog was compelling. Imagine if they read one of your posts and then immediately subscribed because they didn’t want to risk missing any more of them?

Well, there are things you can do to make both your posts and your blog more compelling to your readers. And here are 11 tips to get you started.

1. Be useful

Never forget why you started a blog in the first place. Chances are you did it to change people’s lives, whether to inform, inspire, educate or entertain them. So if your post isn’t doing any of those things, don’t publish it.

2. Share your opinion

If you post a bunch of facts about something (especially if the information came from a press release) then your post won’t be all that different from every other post it. But when you share your opinion, you instantly differentiate your post from every other post out there. So try to bring your thoughts and opinions into your posts as often as you can.

3. Cut out the fluff

Before you hit publish, go through your post with a critical eye and remove anything that doesn’t add value. A post should be only as long as it needs to be. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

4. Visualize your reader

When you sit down to write a post, forget that it could potentially be read by thousands of people. Instead, imagine it being read by someone you know well.

And then write for that person.

Writing with a particular reader in mind lets you personalise your content. And chances are most of your readers will think, “Wow. It’s as if they wrote that especially for me”.

5. Make your posts scannable

As much as you’d like to think people will read your post from beginning to end, chances are only a small percentage will do that. Most people scan your content, stopping at the bits of interest to them and then moving on again.

So make it easy for them. Use subheadings, bullet points and other formatting techniques to make your content easy to scan. They may not read every word you write, but chances are they’ll make sure they read every post you write.

6. Work and rework your headlines

How often have you decided to read a post based solely on the content. A great headline can make your post stand out from the crowd and draw readers in. On the other hand, a poorly written headline can have your post blend into the background and be ignored.

Just make sure your headline is related to the content. This is no place for clickbait.

7. Write with passion

If you want your readers to care about your topic and what you’re saying about it then you need to care about it too. There’s nothing worse than reading a post where the author seems more interested in getting it written than what they’re actually talking about.

So show your readers that you’re passionate about the topic. And chances are some that passion will rub off on them.

8. Give your readers something to do next

You’ve written a post full of passion on a particular topic, and now your readers are just as passionate about it. But unless you have a way for them to channel that energy and passion in some way, then it will quickly disappear.

This is the perfect opportunity to ask them to take action and do something. It could be to read other posts you’ve written on the topic. It could be to share their thought in the comments section. It could be to share your posts on their social networks. Or could be to actually take action by buying a product, donating to a cause, or writing a letter to their local politician.

9. Tell stories

Telling stories is an incredible way to connect with your readers. Not only can it make you more relatable (especially if you talk about things you did wrong, and what you learned from them), they will also help your readers remember the information you’re sharing.

10. Give your posts some visual appeal

Gone are the days when readers would put up with slabs of text on the screen. Including an image or two will immediately make your post seem more inviting. And a well-designed infographic will improve the chances of your post being shared.

11. Practice

Writing is like any other activity. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. So keep writing, and look back on posts you’ve written in the past to see how much you’ve improved.

And make sure you read as well, as the two activities are closely linked. As Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”.

Did I miss anything?

Is there anything you do to make your blog and your posts more compelling for your readers? Let us know in the comments.

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The post 11 Quick Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Posts appeared first on ProBlogger.

     

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

Daily SEO Fix: Gaining Insight from Exported Moz Pro Data

Posted by M.Cole

Gaining insight from data you’ve gathered is vital to the success of your SEO efforts, allowing you to monitor your performance over time and make strategic changes where necessary.

One of the Moz onboarding team’s goals is to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Moz Pro data. Most of the time, that will involve providing insight within the tool. But you can also get great insight from exported Moz Pro data.

To help ensure that you’re doing all you can to maximize the value of your exported data, we’ve created a handy collection of Daily SEO Fix videos. Remember, if you’d like to speak directly with a member of our onboarding team, you can book a personalized, one-on-one Moz Pro walkthrough.

Book a Moz Pro Walkthrough

What’s the most beneficial thing you’ve learned from your exported Moz Pro data? Let us know in the comments!


Filter ranking keywords by subfolders

How can I see ranking keywords for a specific subfolder of my site?

When analyzing your keywords, you may sometimes want to focus on the performance of a certain subfolder of your site.

In this video, Jo guides you through exporting a CSV of ranking keywords, and filtering to identify keywords for a specific subfolder.

This gives you the ability to focus on ranking keywords that are relevant to what you’re currently working on.


Filter and export popular keywords

How do I filter my keywords before I export them?

In this Daily Fix, Emilie takes us through filtering your keywords prior to export.

Filtering your keywords allows you to hone in on the keywords that you’re ranking highest for, in addition to keywords that have a high monthly volume and low difficulty score.


Export your rankings to a CSV

How can I export a CSV of my tracked keywords?

In this video, I show you how to export a CSV of your rankings keyword data.

Exporting a CSV from the rankings section of your Moz Pro Campaign allows you to see a detailed overview of how your tracked keywords are performing.

You can also filter these keywords by label to analyze a specific group of keywords.


Export title and description tags

How do I view all of my site’s page URLs, titles, and descriptions?

In this Daily Fix, Jo explains how to export a site’s page URLs, titles, and descriptions to a CSV with Moz Pro.

This is super helpful for a content audit, as it gives you a great overview of every page that we’ve been able to crawl on your site.


Export follow links from Link Explorer

How do I export a CSV of my followed links?

In this video, Maddie shows you how to export a CSV of your followed links.

It can be beneficial to view the links that are passing link equity through to your site and contributing to your Page Authority and Domain Authority.

By doing this, you can get a better idea of whether you need to work on building more followed links to your site.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com