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How To Test Your MVP Within 2 Weeks (Or Less)

As both an entrepreneur and designer, I understand the ways startup founders think. Most of them start a project with visions of a perfect product in their head. However, in reality, a well-performing product will likely look way different than an initial concept. Instead of seeking perfection from the outset, beginning with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the smartest route to success. An MVP is a crucial part of the product design process and allows businesses to validate their idea at the minimum expense and time.

But while a lot of startups already know that an MVP is essential, a majority of the startups that I have mentored over the years have categorically encountered the same problem across all sectors of their process: an MVPs time to market. It simply takes too long for an idea to get into the hands of a consumer.

Because the truth is, if an MVP testing process takes longer than two weeks, you’re probably doing something wrong. From my experience, most startup product designers make these three common mistakes that lead to longer MVP testing times:

  • Using the wrong definition of a product value proposition;
  • Underestimating the risks in a design hypothesis;
  • Overloading the product with extra features.

Why are startups missing these important steps in the process? I believe there are some tendencies among startups to pursue goals that fundamentally and often accidentally create a blind spot for these common mistakes.

Measure And Lean Your MVP

In Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup, his definition of the MVP states:

“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

— Eric Ries

When approaching a new idea, a startup founder might feel compelled to build upon the complexities of the function as a way of seeing their vision come to life rather than compose enough of the fundamental core components to create a hypothesis that they can then test. Ries differentiates between these approaches in his book when he discusses the process of measuring and leaning.

One of the major benefits of an MVP is lean production. It allows entrepreneurs and companies to produce a product that helps them prove their value proposition while also cutting costs. The clearer the theory, the stronger the MVP, and the more valuable information collected throughout the MVP process.

An MVP is not only designed to determine the viability of a product’s value proposition but also to test the product’s technical elements and target audiences. Even a simple MVP or acceptance testing that inquires whether the intended audience is interested in using the product in the first place could be more helpful to the progress of a startup’s journey to success than establishing the perfect product right away.

The answers that an MVP can prove may be as simple as the MVP itself but highly valuable when continuing down a startup path that includes high-risk and particular investors. In the most general sense, a product is viable when it successfully fulfills a need in the market. And as easy as it seems, the most challenging part of this simple question is determining what exactly is necessary and what is not, as the features that you deem important to your product are, in fact, important.

Discernment and clarity are not as easy as it seems, and a large part of being concise when approaching your MVP is keeping the time to market low. This is why I find the importance of testing your MVP within two weeks or less to be a crucial factor in achieving successful results. The key to a highly effective MVP is defining the problem as clearly and specifically as possible.

Renters Rewards: A Case Study

Before we dive into some tips, let’s first take a look at a case study that features a mobile app startup. This app is designed to help people find a property to rent while also providing them with opportunities to earn cashback.

In this example, a startup saw an opportunity to develop a platform that lets people search for a rental, pay for the application, sign a lease, and continue to pay rent on the property indefinitely — all from one place. To take this product to the next level, we had an idea to offer people who pay on time a 1% cashback match if they pay before their rent due date.

We wanted to test this hypothesis, so first, we had to develop our problem; in doing this, we could determine the approach and figure out a plan of action to receive valuable results in a couple of weeks. We decided that using the overarching idea of trying to test whether users would pay the rent early if they were offered a 1% cashback was not only too risky but a tough sell to landlords who could find it too costly upfront.

Instead, we thought of a way to apply a slightly incremental change to the user’s digital experience that could provide us with preliminary information as to whether or not the users would be interested in this opportunity. We sent out emails to 100 app users stating that if they paid their rent before the end of the month, we would credit $20 to their accounts.

The test was simple, concise, and succinct enough to give us quick and valuable feedback on our hypothesis, which then could set the app up for a border change to the platform and infrastructure. Over 80% of the app users who received the email opted for the $20 cashback and paid their rent early, determining that if the app were to implement this in a more grand scope, their success would likely be very high. In short, the incentive worked, and it was a quick and low-cost MVP that proved it.

Five Effective Strategies For Testing Your MVP

Now that you understand the importance of a short MVP time to market, we can explore some useful tips that will help you put forth the most successful product for your startup.

1. Properly Formulate A Product Value Proposition

The first and most important tip for any startup looking to test an MVP is to determine the most effective value proposition for your product. In regards to the aforementioned case study, we talked about how the value proposition began — as a 1% rewards incentive for app users. After understanding how the value prop would be most effectively tested — solidifying a quick and concise testing procedure — we came up with an MVP that highlighted only the most necessary measurable metrics.

By determining that the same hypothesis could be discovered by providing 100 users with a $20 incentive as by giving 1% cashback to all users across the platform, we were able to concur that the value proposition for this case study filled a market need.

2. Identify The Vital MVP Features And Avoid Any Extra

You might be noticing a pattern that keeping your MVP simple, clear, and to the point is very important to not only getting the most viable results from testing your MVP but getting you that information quickly. How do you hone in on that particular specificity that will move your MVP to a truly professional level? Start broad and then simplify. Don’t stop until you find the nucleus of the hypothesis that will help you determine the vital features of your product.

Sure the end goal is to have a wide range of features — all the bells and whistles — that give your product the star power to rise above its competitors. But in the MVP, those extra features are unnecessary and could hinder your goals if you left them in when establishing the MVP for your product.

For example, landing pages can be a great MVP when looking for information about a potential product. If a user finds their way to your site because the product is relevant to them, a landing page offers a simple breakdown of the product offers and goals, as well as a sign-up field where the inquirer can add their email to learn more. This can help you determine your target audience without having to invest in a spectrum of functional features. It can also clue you what kinds of buyers are interested in your product and provide information about needs and interests that you didn’t even consider.

Instead of throwing up a landing page that reads “website coming soon” or an overly detailed investigation of your potential product, consider using it as a tool to link the vital features of your product with your target audience. It’s a simple way to collect customer feedback and start a killer email list.

3. Detect The Risks In Your Assumption

There are many typical startup risks, and a lot of those flow down into the process of testing an MVP. Yet these risks are very important to take into consideration because if not, they could negatively impact the outcome of your MVP and cost you time and money. Here are a few that we have highlighted as the most significant risks to consider when testing your MVP:

  • Users might not recognize a product’s value
    For example, if you have added a crypto trading option to your product, your users might not recognise the value in the product because they are already committed to third-party platforms like Coinbase and Revolut.
  • Hard to acquire users
    If you don’t take into consideration the scope and breadth of your direct competition or inherently the market that you are pushing a product through, it is likely that you might not realise if your target audience is available or hard to acquire. Take, for instance, an app in Europe that helps you find a healthcare provider in your area. But it turns out that most major cities have one of their own, and they have more advanced knowledge and access to the target audience than you do. This means while your idea might be good, you will have an incredibly hard time converting users to your platform. But using these risks to help you determine your hypothesis and strengthen your MVP is the key to unlocking your product’s potential.
  • Difficult to scale the product
    When conceptualizing your product, while you want to narrow in on an MVP that uses minimal product but provides maximum learning, the same isn’t so for understanding the scope of your product idea. Suppose you are setting up a moving company, and once your app receives over 100 requests, it cannot handle any more inquiries. In that case, you have a major salability issue that will never allow your product to meet its full potential.
  • Revenue-generation problem
    This is a tough risk to understand while you are in the testing phases of your MVP and your startup. All projects of this nature are inherently risky and don’t often produce early financial results that put you in the green. But when you are looking at the cost-benefit analysis and going over P&L statements from the first waves of use of your product, there should be a lot of green flags that point to profit. If your product P&L sees nothing but red, it might be time to reevaluate your goals.

4. Pick The One Risk You’re Most Likely To Face And Work It Out

Pick the one risk that is most likely to align with your MVP and take the time to work through it. Consider it alongside your value proposition and develop a product increment that will take you from hypothesis to MVP in a concise and effective way. Apply the lean approach to ensure you are not over-focusing on unnecessary features and push your MVP into the hands of customers quickly.

As in the renters rewards example, it didn’t make sense to take the time to update the app with a new interface or add extra features. Instead, the test was as simple and quick as setting up an email system, and the highest identified risk was easily mitigated by eliminating the need for extra costs or unavailable users. The results were simple but extremely viable, and the MVP time to market was less than two weeks.

5. Test Product Branding

Testing is awesome and essential! But testing features isn’t the only way to effectively test your product and receive useful information. Branding is becoming increasingly important, as most consumers like to be emotionally tied to a product. That emotional element can often be the determining factor of success against a product’s competitors. If your startup is interested in rebranding or gaining more perspective on how their audience connects with their brand storytelling, using MVP testing is a great way to discover valuable data that can inform new and impactful brand strategies.

When it comes to branding, we want to assess the user-feedback-related risk of a negative perception of the brand. You could easily drive new branding with limited updates to the logo, landing page, and app images, while it is probably best to hold off on any hard investments like merch, billboards, and deck templates until the new strategy is proven.

Two things come into play when determining what types of branding elements to test:

  1. Is it easy to produce/costly?
  2. Is it crucial?

User experience is becoming the number one factor in branding that determines a wide range of benefits for the product. Pay attention to colors, tone of voice, icons, illustrations, and landings — these are 99% of the things your users will see all the time. These are easy to create and are a touchpoint during every client experience. It is safe to say that these key branding elements play a decisive part in your update.

How Best To Test Your MVP: The Bottomline

There is any number of combinations of techniques and strategies that will work best for you and your startup based on the type of MVP you have and the best ways for you to test it. Deciding which ways are best for you, my advice is to start small and grow. It is easier to manage the testing of a hypothesis on a simple email blast or landing page brief than with a whole app features update that affects thousands of users.

You can always grow and scale your MVP strategy as you gain more insight into your product. There will be many chances to apply MVP testing while you make your way through your startup roadmap.

The only thing that matters is that you should approach the MVP test as a way of providing you verifiable insights on whether your final product will have a fair, if not successful, share of the market after it finally launches.

Reblogged 1 week ago from smashingmagazine.com

Google aware of Performance Max Product Listing tab date comparison bug

There is a bug in the date comparison reporting tool in the Performance Max Product Listing tab in Google Ads.

The tool allows you to select “compare,” but doesn’t actually show you the information.

This was spotted and shared on Twitter by Chris Ridley and Christopher Bell:

Google’s response. Google Liaison Ginny Marvin responded on Twitter that she had flagged the issue to the ads team. 

Why we care. Accurate reporting is key to optimization. Advertisers need full transparency and the ability to view their data and compare performance across specific periods of time. 

The post Google aware of Performance Max Product Listing tab date comparison bug appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

HUD settlement changes the way Meta delivers housing ads

Meta has just announced a settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way they deliver housing ads to people in the US. 

The new method is called the “variance reduction system” and is designed to make sure the audience that sees the housing ads more accurately reflects the eligible target market for that ad. 

In 2018 a lawsuit was filed against meta by the HUD alleging that Facebook violated the Fair Housing Act based on target options and delivery processes for housing ads. 

Meta and HUD collaboration. The announcement comes after a year-long collaboration between Meta and HUD to develop processes for machine learning technology to ensure the age, gender, and estimated race or ethnicity of a certain population seeing ads. 

Advertisers running housing ads currently have a limited number of targeting options to choose from while setting up campaigns – including age, gender, and zip codes. The new method builds on that same foundation in an effort to make progress toward a more equitable distribution of ads. 

Saying goodbye to Special Ad Audiences. In 2019, Facebook introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike audiences for housing, employment, and credit cards. That feature is going away as Meta looks to expand the field of fairness in machine learning. 

What Meta says. In their announcement, Vice President of Civil Rights and Deputy General Counsel Roy L. Austin Jr, said “We’re making this change in part to address feedback we’ve heard from civil rights groups, policymakers and regulators about how our ad system delivers certain categories of personalized ads, especially when it comes to fairness. So while HUD raised concerns about personalized housing ads specifically, we also plan to use this method for ads related to employment and credit. Discrimination in housing, employment and credit is a deep-rooted problem with a long history in the US, and we are committed to broadening opportunities for marginalized communities in these spaces and others.”

Read the announcement. You can read the full announcement here.

Why we care. Facebook has encountered many issues related to targeting in recent years. But Meta’s response to the lawsuit and its upcoming changes are a step in the right direction to preventing discrimination in housing. 

The post HUD settlement changes the way Meta delivers housing ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Revamped Google News design goes live with top stories, local news and personalized articles

Google has launched the new version of Google News today on its 20th year anniversary of Google News. The new design, which we caught Google testing a month ago, brings forward Top stories, Local news and personalized picks to the forefront of the Google News home page, Google said.

Local news. You can now find a local news box at the top right of the Google News home page. It makes it easier for you to find local news from your community that matters to you. There is a new filter button to add multiple locations to your local news section, so you can find local news about communities you love but no longer currently live in. Google said this helps with local news publishers gain more exposure and traffic from Google.

Customize Google News. You can now also customize the topics that appear in Google News for you by clicking on the customize button. There you can add, remove or reorder topics with the slider feature.

Improved fact check. Google has also improved the Face Check section in Google News by providing more context, the original claim, independent organization assessments, adding the About This Result and more.

Back in Spain. 8 years after Google shut down Google News in Spain due to Spanish law, Google has finally brought back Google News in Spain. We knew this was coming and today is the day where Google News works again fully in Spain. Google said “this is a result of a new copyright law and we hope that the return of Google News to Spain helps more people and more news, from more places, and helps publishers and new readers.”

Why we care. As we said when we saw the redesign test, whenever Google releases a new design or user interface in Google Search or Google News, that can impact ones visibility and clicks to their web site. So keep these user interface tests in mind when understanding any risks or rewards you might see in the future with Google News interface changes.

For those in Spain, they can now access Google News without any restrictions.

Also, Google News officially launched on September 22, 2002, so we are not exactly at the 20 year mark but close to it.

The post Revamped Google News design goes live with top stories, local news and personalized articles appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Google increases Local Search Ads review requirements

Last week Twitter user Len received an email from Google Ads notifying him that starting on June 30, some of his client’s accounts will need five reviews before being allowed to run a Local Service Ad (LSA). The current requirement is one review.  

What Google says. Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin responded back to Len stating that the process to advertise with LSA’s hasn’t changed, but the review requirements had. She adds “More customer reviews help build trust and will mean more opportunities to connect with potential clients.”

Graphical user interface, text, application, email
Description automatically generated

Who is affected. Right now there are only a handful of US businesses that will need five reviews starting June 30. Those business categories are: 

  • Real estate agents and brokers
  • Personal injury lawyers
  • HVAC
  • House cleaners
  • Tree service
  • Roofing

Interestingly, some business categories that will remain unchanged with one review or less are:

  • Child care
  • Family lawyers
  • Financial planners (no review requirement!)
  • General contractors

Full requirements. You can review the LSA official documentation here.

Why we care. We know that more reviews help consumers make educated and informed decisions. But this new policy could make it more difficult for new businesses to advertise on LSA’s. Nonetheless, fake reviews are a reality and it’ll be interesting to see how Google will address this in the future. It’s also curious that categories such as child care, financial planners, and general contractors- where you may want to do a little more research into whom you’re trusting, have less requirements. 

The post Google increases Local Search Ads review requirements appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Google cuts back on SEO office hours format, frequency

In late April, John Mueller of Google announced a change in the format of the Google SEO office hours segment.

Historically, Mueller would answer Google search and SEO questions from site owners, webmasters, SEOs and others live to help these people through some challenging SEO-related help.

Now, Mueller is asking you to submit questions beforehand and he will record answers to them and publish them later on.

What changed. Here is a list of the larger changes to this SEO office hours format.

  1. No live audience for the recorded section of when Mueller answers SEO questions.
  2. Only some pre-submitted questions will be answered.
  3. Recordings will be posted after, it does not appear to be live to watch in real-time anymore.
  4. 30-minute segments instead of one-hour segments.
  5. Only one office hours per month, as opposed to four per month.

Why the change. Mueller explained these changes in this video from April 29. He said the changes are because it makes it easier for us to digest shorter videos and it also helps him and Googlers “kind of prepare for these sessions” to the answers are more on point. He later added on Twitter that going from four per month to one per month is because “they’re always quite time-intensive for me, so I need to find a workable balance.”

Why we care. Many SEOs called the SEO office hours a lifeline for their SEO-related questions or concerns. Being able to ask a Googler directly about an SEO question, or get advanced technical SEO advice on a decision they need to make about their site, has been a true blessing for many SEOs. Being able to reference advice from Google representatives is also useful in making a case to one’s boss about investment in SEO.

I know many SEOs who timestamp every word said in those hangouts, who use these talking points in making better decisions and who use these SEO office hours as backup for meetings with clients or their supervisors.

Time will tell how these SEO office hours change over time, how useful they remain to be and if this format will adapt again in the near future. But the overall SEO office hours format has not changed much over 10-plus years, outside of the platform used.

The post Google cuts back on SEO office hours format, frequency appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Meta introducing new monetization tools for creators on Facebook and Instagram

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today they’re launching new ways for creators to make money on Facebook and Instagram. The updates and tools “will help creators build for the metaverse” Zuckerberg says. 

There are six new updates that Zuckerberg shared in a Facebook thread. 

More money for creators

No revenue sharing on events, subscriptions, badges, and bulletins until 2024. In a previous Facebook thread, Zuckerberg said it would do this until 2023, but now that commitment has been extended. In the same thread, Zuckerberg calls out that the proposed 30% take would be less than Apple and other platforms.

Interoperable Subscriptions

Lets creators give their paying subscribers on other platforms access to subscriber-only Facebook Groups.

Facebook Stars

Opening up to all eligible creators so more can start earning money from Reels, live, or VOD videos.

Monetizing Reels

Opening the Reels Play Bonus program to more creators on Facebook, and letting creators post their Instagram Reels to Facebook.

Creator Marketplace

Meta is testing a set place on Instagram where creators can get discovered and paid for their content, and brands can share new partnership opportunities.

Digital Collectibles

In May Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that the platform is going to start testing NFTs with select creators in the US. Today Zuckerberg said the test will be expanded the test so more creators around the world can display their NFTs. 

This feature will also be available on Facebook in the near future to select US-based creators. Testing will also begin in Instagram Stories with SparkAR soon. 

What Meta says. It’s not clear on when Meta will launch these new tools. But you can read Zuckerberg’s full Facebook thread here.

Why we care. Following the announcement of new Pinterest creator tools, Meta’s expansion of features for creators also seems to mimic TikTok’s Creator Marketplace. The development of these tools is likely a way for Meta to compete and lure more creators to its platforms. 

The post Meta introducing new monetization tools for creators on Facebook and Instagram appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

How to schedule TikTok posts and 4 tips for success

You know it, your brand loves it, you’ve lost hours scrolling on it. With more than one billion active users, TikTok has changed the social media game. And with brands on TikTok proving its value as a business tool, it’s here to stay. If you want to keep your content consistent and your to-do list short, it’s time to create a TikTok schedule.

Known as a short-form video app, TikTok is a powerful place to engage your audience, considering consumers find short-form video 2.5x more engaging than long-form. But the rise of another platform puts new pressures on social media professionals; according to the Sprout Social Index™, bandwidth is one of the top challenges for social media teams this year.

Creating a TikTok schedule makes it easier to keep your audience engaged with regular content, and helps you stand out without hitting social media burnout.

Let’s explore scheduling best practices and two ways to schedule TikTok posts ahead of time: natively through the platform, or with Sprout Social.

How to schedule TikTok posts on the app

Much to the joy of social media managers, TikTok launched their Video Scheduler in spring of 2021 for Creator and Business accounts.

This feature makes it possible to schedule content from 15 minutes to a maximum of 10 days in advance.

Here’s how you can schedule TikTok content natively:

  • Step 1: Log into TikTok on a web browser: The scheduler is only available on desktop, so have your computer handy. Login and click the “+ Upload” button in the top right corner.
  • Step 2: Upload and prep your post: In the “upload video” window, you can do everything you normally do before publishing. Add captions, TikTok hashtags, mentions, choose a cover image, run a copyright check and pick your settings.
  • Step 3: Schedule TikTok posts: Once a video is scheduled, you can’t make edits. So take time to do a thorough typo and settings check before hitting “schedule.” When you’re ready, click the toggle next to “Schedule Video” so it turns green. Two boxes will appear where you can set your publishing date and time. The time zone defaults to your computer’s, so double check your settings.
  • Step 4: Do a quick double check: Mistakes happen. Cut out Murphy’s law and make sure your content is scheduled at the right time. Find scheduled posts in the “Drafts” section of your Profile.
A screen in TikTok's video scheduler tool where you can schedule your TikTok content

Source: TikTok

Once you click “Schedule,” sit back and relax—your TikTok posting schedule has officially been created.

You’ll get a push notification when your post goes live, as long as you’ve enabled notifications.

How to schedule TikTok posts using Sprout Social

TikTok’s scheduler is great for a quick set-it-and-forget-it post. But chances are, TikTok is one of many channels you’re managing.

Using a dedicated social media publishing tool like Sprout Social empowers you to see and schedule all of your posts in one unified place.

TikTok was one of our most-requested features. And we’ve made it easy to schedule posts, with no limit to how soon or how far in the future you can post your content.

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to create your TikTok Schedule using Sprout.

Step 1: Log into Sprout on your web browser and create your post

Start by logging into Sprout Social in your favorite web browser on your desktop.

To create a post, tap the blue notepad and pencil icon in the top right. Or, click “Publishing” on the left and click on the day you want to post.

Pro tip: According to the Sprout Social Index™, the majority of content consumers think posting 1-2 times a day is the sweet spot for brands.

To avoid over-posting or double-posting, schedule in the weekly or monthly calendar view. This gives you a high-level look at your upcoming posts across platforms to avoid over-scheduling in a given day or time period.

The Sprout Social calendar's monthly view where you can easily schedule and see posts across all of your platforms

Step 2: Select the right TikTok account

Agencies, social media managers and creators alike may be balancing multiple TikTok accounts.

With Sprout, you can manage multiple handles in one place.

Once you’re in the New Post window, select the dropdown in the compose box and choose the account you want to publish on.

If you want to repurpose your short-form video on platforms beyond TikTok, select your Twitter handles, Facebook Pages and more in that same dropdown.

A screenshot of the dropdown menu in Sprout Social's post composer where you can select one or more social handles and profiles to post one

Step 3: Upload your video content and prep your post

Time for the fun part. Upload the video you want to use. Then, in the compose window, polish and prep your post by:

  • Creating an engaging caption
  • Including any mentions and hashtags you want to use—these become interactive once your video is published
  • Choosing how your audience can engage with your video—will you allow comments? Duets? Stitches?
A screenshot of the new post window in Sprout where a TikTok post is being scheduled and there are privacy options that you can toggle on and off.

In this step, you can also use Sprout’s unique features to keep your campaigns and team processes organized.

For example, set a Message Approval Workflow to streamline team collaboration and communication.

Is your post part of a larger content campaign? Select a campaign to keep everything organized.

And internally tagging your content makes it easy to categorize posts based on business objectives, post themes and more.

Combined, these features help keep your TikTok content and campaigns organized and visible—for you and your team.

Several dropdown menus in the new post window of Sprout where you can select an Approval Workflow and tags and a campaign for your content

Step 4: Choose the best time to post

Identifying the best time to post does matter, but it can also feel like a mystery.

Scheduling TikTok posts through Sprout cuts out the guesswork. The Optimal Send Times dropdown identifies the best posting times for you to engage with more of your audience.

A screenshot of the optimal send times where Sprout identifies the best posting times for your content to get in front of the largest audience

Step 5: Schedule TikTok posts, or save them for later

Once you and your team are feeling good about your post, you have a few options as far as how to schedule:

  • Save it, or schedule it, as a draft: Still have pending reviews? Want to keep it as a backup post or calendar placeholder? Saving your content as a draft is a great way to give yourself more editing time.
  • Auto-schedule with the queue: Ready to post but don’t have a time in mind? The Sprout Queue will choose the best time to publish based on audience activity within a time window you set.
  • Submit for approval: It always helps to have a second editing eye on your posts. When you set an Approval Workflow, the “schedule” button will change to a “submit” button, and you can submit your post to the approver for their review.
  • Publish immediately: Ready to post right now? Select this to send your post out into the world right away.
Screenshot of scheduling options in Sprout including picking a time and date, scheduling in the queue and publishing immediately

Step 4: Double check your scheduled content

It’s all too easy to think you scheduled a post for noon, only to realize it was published at midnight.

While TikTok’s Video Scheduler does not allow you to edit scheduled posts before they go live, Sprout does. Take some time to do a quick typo and time check.

Scheduling in advance gives you plenty of editing room while also leaving more time in your schedule to dedicate to high-level goals—like enhancing your strategy.

Tips for creating your TikTok schedule

You’re almost ready to start scheduling. As you fill your content calendar, it’s important to think about how your TikTok schedule fits into your larger social strategy.

With 39% of marketers predicting the app will be one of the platforms they use the most this year, refining your team and content strategy as you post is key if you want to keep up.

Here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind.

Maintain a shared, unified content calendar

Managing multiple platforms and posts can result in a lot of moving parts and silos.

Maintain a content calendar to see your scheduled posts across all of your social platforms in one, centralized place. This keeps you organized, helps you track whether you’re over—or under—posting and creates an easy-to-share resource for your team.

Create a calendar of your own, or use Sprout’s social media calendar as an all-in-one content calendar and scheduler.

Sprout Social's weekly publishing calendar view displaying multiple social posts scheduled across multiple profiles and platforms

Track your best posting times

According to TikTok, recency is a factor in determining which videos show up in the coveted For You Page—one of the best places to get discovered and grow on the platform.

Posting when your audience is most active on the app is crucial.

We already mentioned that Sprout identifies when to schedule posts for maximum engagement opportunities.

Use this while you post. Then, take it a step further and track your posting times. Do any of your peak times surprise you? What posting times and days can you experiment with?

You can also do this on TikTok. To identify when your TikTok audience is most active in the app:

  1. Tap the three-line icon at the top right of your Profile view
  2. Tap Business Suite
  3. Tap Analytics
  4. Tap Followers at the top of the screen
  5. Scroll down to Follower activity to identify what days of the week and times your audience is most active

Your best posting times might be at odd, outside-of-working-hours time blocks—all the more reason to schedule your content ahead of time.

Set a smooth approval process for you and your team

Whether you’re a solo social media manager or part of a team, having another pair of eyes is always helpful.

Defining a structured review process for your TikTok content—and all of your content—can help maintain quality control while limiting the amount of cooks in the kitchen.

Sprout makes this easy by providing you with built-in, customizable Message Approval Workflows. Create and select different workflows for specific posts or platforms to easily streamline your approval and collaboration process.

A screenshot of Sprout's approval workflow in which someone has approved a content draft with an internal comment

Measure the success of your profile and posts

Measuring and tracking your TikTok marketing strategy, posts and posting times is crucial if you want to turn creative content into meaningful business insights—on TikTok, and beyond.

Regularly look at TikTok analytics to see what you’re doing right, and where you need improvement. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test until you find out what works for you.

With Sprout, analyze how your TikTok profile and content is performing—on its own, and compared to your other social profiles. Use the Cross-Network Reports like Profile and Post Performance to turn the metrics that matter most into insights that can fuel your strategy and create a deeper connection with your audience.

To truly make informed decisions and optimize your strategy, you need to analyze your TikTok performance over time—not just over days or weeks.

While TikTok only offers 60 days of data, Sprout doesn’t limit your TikTok data after you’ve connected your platform. Meaning you can analyze your profile’s growth and success quarter over quarter, year over year.

Engage with your audience often

Once your posts are live, remember to regularly engage with your audience in TikTok comments.

After all, it’s called “social” media for a reason. Engaging with your audience strengthens your connection with them, and shows you’re listening.

Engaging with your audience is crucial across platforms. Streamline this process by using a tool like Sprout’s Smart Inbox to keep up with comments across TikTok, Twitter and more—all in one place.

Lighten the load and schedule your TikTok posts now

Scheduling your TikTok content ahead of time ensures your content and publishing is “always on,” while also allowing you to disconnect and sign off.

You’re well-equipped to create your TikTok schedule—now all you need is to get started, and to breathe easy.

If you’re ready to streamline your TikTok scheduling process, and your social strategy as a whole, then you’re ready for Sprout Social. Try Sprout free for 30 days to see how it can power better insights—for your social strategy and business.

The post How to schedule TikTok posts and 4 tips for success appeared first on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 week ago from sproutsocial.com

How We Increased Revenue with Speed Optimization [Local SEO Case Study]

Last year, I pitched a series of technical SEO topics for local SEO on twitter and got lots of positive feedback.

One of these elements of technical SEO that can feel extremely daunting and unfamiliar to local SEOs is speed optimization.

There are some key scenarios when local SEOs should seriously consider speed optimization, even for a small local client. After all, these clients are still impacted by the issues that come along with having a slower website — such as higher bounce rates, lower conversions, and worst of all, a poor user experience.

There are also plenty of instances where speed optimization is a practical next step in your SEO strategy. If your client has great content, great links, but low engagement or rankings, speed issues may be the culprit.

This case study is about a client just like that. The only service my team at RicketyRoo provided during the length of the case study was speed optimization, and we saw some impressive results. In this post, I’ll share our experience, and hopefully this inspires you to take on some speed issues you’ve been nervous to address.

The client

The client is a multi-location residential cleaning franchise with over 40 locations across the United States. The website consists of approximately 580 pages, with a landing page for each location.

Our client’s goal is pretty simple: take a bigger piece of the pie from the larger nationwide home cleaning franchises. Our technical audit showed that the site was very slow, so site speed is where we started.

Our methodology

1. Set up staging environment with WPEngine

Whether you’re using tools and plugins or choose to manually update the website for speed, you should create a staging (or test) environment. Making manual changes to the code that a website is built with (even through a plugin) can break a website. A staging environment is a cloned version of the production site that can be tinkered with without the risk of breaking anything on the live site. Once you have a staging site set up, you can essentially update and change any elements you would like and test without fear of your client losing traffic or leads.

Our speed philosophy is to test and verify. Verifying that the staging site is still functional after making a change and then getting an updated score through the speed tool of your choice is the only way to be confident about the changes you are making.

2. Run through a tool like WebPageTest

During this stage, you’re diagnosing issues such as script files returning 404 errors, unused CSS files causing longer load times, and render-block resources. Find these issues and update them. Web.dev is a great resource for finding solutions:

1. Review Core Web Vitals scores to determine where issues lie.

2. Find out what’s taking the longest amount of time from the waterfall

    3. Review render-blocking resources and update (deferring them is likely the best call here)

      3. Check to see if anything is broken

      This is why we’re using a staging environment — just in case any of these changes we’ve made breaks something. Check out the live staging site and compare the visual and functionality to the production version of the site. If everything is working as expected, then you’re doing great.

      4. Review large images via WebPageTest

      The Largest Contentful Paint issues are often caused by images that are too large. There are many guides on how to optimize images out there. If you’re using WordPress, you can also use a plugin like Imagify:

      1. Download any large images, resize, and reduce space

      2. Reupload images at smaller sizes

      3. Check image resolution on staging site

      5. Rinse and repeat for other page templates

      Everything we’ve done so far we’ll repeat for every template type used on the site. Most sites will have separate templates for location pages, services, categories, blogs, products, contact pages, etc. Each of these page types should be reviewed with a tool like WebPageTest.

      6. Install WP Rocket

      If your site is on WordPress, you can use WP Rocket to further optimize your site for speed. WP Rocket can sometimes have issues with other plugins or themes used on WordPress sites, so it’s important to test on the staging site first.

      7. Review plugins

      While we’re on the topic of plugins, you should also review your current plugins and deactivate and remove any that are not in use.

      8. Check to see if anything is broken

      We’ve made a decent amount of changes at this point. We should review the live version of the staging site again and compare it to the production site.

      9. Run through Webpagetest again

      Let’s see how we’ve done! If you’re happy with your results then your work is nearly done.

      10. Push changes live

      Any changes you made should now be pushed to the production site.

      11. Annotate changes in GA

      Remember to annotate these changes so that you can check back and draw a conclusion from your results for yourself.

      Results

      Our speed optimization started in July 2020. Soon after, we saw improvement in rankings for non-branded keywords that already ranked in the top 20 positions. The client saw a 32% increase in new users, a 47% increase in phone calls, and a 63% increase in free quote requests in a year-over-year comparison of 2021 to 2020. 2021 saw a 55%+ increase in revenue over 2019 and over 60% in comparison to 2020.

      This correlates with an increase in both site traffic and qualified leads. Our client measures qualified leads as scheduled appointments, which grew by 49% PoP.

      We also reviewed the CRux data for our client in comparison to closely-ranked competitors. The winner for each UX/speed element is highlighted in yellow. As you can see, our client’s scores are generally higher than competitors that do not rank as well:

      Conclusion

      Technical SEO can be done, even if you don’t consider yourself a tech expert. Having a backup makes it easy to test out changes with confidence. Never dismiss the importance of a SEO tactic because you’re unfamiliar. Our client saw ranking and improvements as well as a 55% increase in revenue due to Core Web Vital optimization alone. Now that you have a staging website, you’re free to tackle other technical issues you may have discovered but felt uncomfortable with approaching.

      Reblogged 1 week ago from moz.com

      Snapchat tests paid subscription called Snapchat Plus (of course)

      A photo shows the logo of 'Snapchat' app on a screen of a smart phone and replicated on a yellow background.

      Looks like Snapchat is moving into a paid subscription model, but will people actually pay for it?

      The feature, called Snapchat Plus (because everyone’s doing it), was first reported on Twitter by app developer and researcher Alessandro Paluzzi on Thursday.

      “Snapchat+ gives you access to exclusive, experimental and pre-release features such as the ability to pin the conversation with your Best Friend, the access to custom Snapchat icons, a special badge, etc…” wrote Paluzzi.

      Snap spokesperson Liz Markman confirmed to the Verge that the company was testing the paid subscription and confirmed the name, Snapchat Plus.

      “We’re doing early internal testing of Snapchat+, a new subscription service for Snapchatters,” a Snap spokesperson told Mashable via email. “We’re excited about the potential to share exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features with our subscribers, and learn more about how we can best serve our community.”

      What is Snapchat Plus?

      With Snapchat Plus, Paluzzi reported, subscribers will have access to a few special app features.

      You’ll be able to pin one friend as a best friend (very toxic MySpace energy), get special Snapchat icons and a subscriber profile badge, and see how many rewatches on Snap Stories you’ve had. He also noted you’ll be able to see your friends’ locations for the last 24 hours but only if they share it with you.

      How much will Snapchat Plus cost?

      According to Paluzzi’s screenshots, the service costs €4.59 ($4.83/£3.92) per month or €45.99 ($48.39/£39.28) per year.

      It’s not the only social platform moving into paid subscription models. Twitter launched its first subscription offering, Twitter Blue, in June, currently available in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

      It’s not clear when Snapchat Plus would roll out as it’s still in testing mode, but watch this space. Would you pay for it?

      Reblogged 1 week ago from mashable.com