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LinkedIn Native Video: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Marketers Need to Know

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Video content is eating the internet. It started with video-specific platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Then Twitter and Facebook added support for live and pre-recorded video. Now these insatiable moving pictures are becoming serious business: LinkedIn now supports native video.

What would compel a buttoned-down, professional networking site like LinkedIn to embrace video? Simply put, people—even businesspeople—want to watch. Fifty-nine percent of executives say that if text and video are available on the same topic, they’re more likely to choose video.

There’s no denying that marketers should embrace video content as a general rule. If your audience wants video, it’s wise for your brand to be the one supplying it. But why publish natively on LinkedIn?

Here are the upsides, downsides, and what-you-need-to-know-sides.

How to Create a LinkedIn Video

LinkedIn has been slowly rolling out its video capabilities, starting with a few influencers and expanding out from there. Most members who have the most recent version of the mobile app should have the capability now.

If your account has video enabled, you will see a camera icon available where you normally post to your feed. On mobile, you can create a video (not a live stream…yet) or upload from your photo gallery. On desktop, you can only upload a pre-recorded video. Nearly every common form of video file is supported.

To record a video, just tap the camera icon, give the app permission to access your camera, and go. To upload video, just navigate to the file you want to add and select it—there’s no learning curve there.

Your file must be at least three seconds long and no longer than 10 minutes, but LinkedIn suggests between 30 seconds and 5 minutes for better engagement. The maximum file size is five gigabytes, which should be plenty of space.

Your post will look…well, a lot like a post with an embedded video, just without the link out at the bottom:

Why Marketers Should Care about LinkedIn Video

You can already embed YouTube video in your LinkedIn feed posts, of course. But posting native video may get you more engagement. On Facebook, native videos typically get 10x more shares than embedded videos. If that trend holds for LinkedIn, you could be missing out on a substantial chunk of potential audience by linking to a YouTube video.

So native video matters—and for virtually all B2B marketers, LinkedIn matters. While Facebook videos can be dominated by memes and entertainment, the LinkedIn audience is specifically there for business. They’re browsing their feeds looking for something that can help advance their career, give them a competitive edge, or just do their jobs better. Useful, professional video content is likely to fare better on LinkedIn than on Twitter or Facebook.

The other reason to go native on LinkedIn video is LinkedIn’s analytical capability. Their demographic data is likely to be more useful to B2B marketers than Facebook’s data is. You can zero in on job function, job title, and seniority of the people who view your video. That data will help you adjust your strategy to hit and engage the right audience.

As native video is more widely adopted by its userbase, LinkedIn is likely to give it preferential treatment over embedded video. LinkedIn has already switched from a pure timeline feed to an algorithm-based feed. Just as Facebook currently gives pride of place to native videos, LinkedIn is likely to prioritize it in their feeds, too.

Downsides to LinkedIn Video

Since this is a new feature, there are some still some quirks to be ironed out, and a few features that are missing. These negatives won’t keep your video from being seen and appreciated, but they’re worth noting:

  1. No playback speed or picture quality settings. Users can’t customize the viewing experience the way they can on YouTube.
  2. It’s hard to link out. the URLs for a video-embedded post are unwieldy: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6316276929771245568/, for example.
  3. The video isn’t embeddable on other sites. It’s definitely intended for consumption on LinkedIn.
  4. Only members can post, not companies.
  5. There’s no dedicated video tab, which can make video content hard to find. I’m willing to bet some kind of tab or filter is in the works, but we don’t have it yet.

What to Use LinkedIn Video For:

Given the limitations of the format, it’s best to think of video on LinkedIn as an add-on to your current marketing strategy. Use it to build your personal brand, or go behind-the-scenes at your company, or interview co-workers and executives.

Many users are already using the format to do quick tips, like this video from Viveka Von Rosen. That kind of informal, live-shot video is an easy way to get started.

There are a few people attempting to create series on the platform, too. Building an audience for a series could be tricky without a dedicated video tab, but Mike Morgan’s Humans of LinkedIn series is making a go of it. If more people start serializing their videos, LinkedIn is likely to add tools that support the practice.

LinkedIn to the Future

If you’re marketing to a B2B audience, native video on LinkedIn is well worth a try. Instead of linking out to YouTube, upload the video natively to LinkedIn and keep an eye on how it performs. Make sure to include keywords and relevant hashtags in the post so your video is easier to find, keep an eye on your analytics, and let the data guide your next steps.

Need more help? Check out these easy ways to get started with video content marketing.

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.

How to Use Facebook Audience Optimization for Better Organic Exposure

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social media how toWant to increase your Facebook news feed exposure?

Looking for a solution that doesn’t involve ads?

In this article, you’ll discover how to improve your organic visibility via Facebook’s Audience Optimization feature.

How to Use Facebook Audience Optimization for Better Organic Exposure by Anja Skrba on Social Media Examiner.

How to Use Facebook Audience Optimization for Better Organic Exposure by Anja Skrba on Social Media Examiner.

Why Use Organic Post Targeting?

Facebook gives businesses access to a large global audience, but the platform is becoming increasingly saturated with branded content. This makes it difficult for businesses to get visibility in the news feed and deliver engaging content that’s tailored to a core audience.

With audience optimization, Facebook’s organic post targeting tool, you can target your posts to specific segments of your page’s audience based on their interests. This creates an opportunity to personalize your Facebook content and optimize its potential for engagement, both in terms of subject matter and how it’s written.

Here’s how to use organic post targeting to help reach specific segments of your page’s audience.

#1: Enable Audience Optimization for Posts

To find out if the organic post targeting feature is activated for your Facebook page, start to compose a new post. Below the “Write Something” field, look for the targeting icon shown below:

To see whether audience optimization is enabled for your Facebook page, look for the targeting icon when you create a new post.

To see whether audience optimization is enabled for your Facebook page, look for the targeting icon when you create a new post.

If you don’t see the targeting icon, you need to activate this feature for your Facebook page. Click the Settings tab at the top of your page to access your page settings.

On the General tab, click Edit to the right of the Audience Optimization for Posts option.

In your Facebook page settings, click the Edit button to the right of the Audience Optimization for Posts option.

In your Facebook page settings, click the Edit button to the right of the Audience Optimization for Posts option.

Next, select the check box to allow you to select a preferred audience and restrict visibility for your posts. Then click Save Changes. The targeting icon will appear whenever you compose a new Facebook post.

Select the option to enable audience optimization for posts and then click Save Changes.

Select the option to enable audience optimization for posts and then click Save Changes.

#2: Apply Audience Optimization to New or Published Posts

Once you’ve activated Facebook’s organic targeting feature, you’re ready to start using it when you publish new posts to your page or with posts you’ve already published.

When you compose a post, click the target icon below it. In the pop-up window that appears, you’ll see two tabs: Preferred Audience and Audience Restrictions. These tabs allow you to define a target audience segment based on their interests, age, gender, location, and more.

Define Your Preferred Audience

On the Preferred Audience tab, choose the audience you’d like to reach with your post. Facebook lets you define this audience by adding up to 16 interest tags. People who have these interests will be more likely to see your content.

Once you type in your first interest tag, Facebook will automatically recommend others. Whether you accept these suggestions is up to you, but it’s important to make informed choices based on your target demographic.

Once you type in an interest, Facebook will suggest additional interest tags for you.

When you type in an interest, Facebook will suggest additional interest tags for you.

Restrict the Visibility of Your Post

The Audience Restrictions tab works in tandem with the Preferred Audience tab. It lets you limit the visibility of your post to only specific demographics. People who fall outside of these demographics won’t be able to see your post anywhere on Facebook.

You can restrict your post’s target audience based on age, gender, location, and language. For example, you can specify that you want your Facebook post to be visible only to women between the ages of 20 and 30 who live in the state of Illinois.

On the Audience Restrictions tab, limit the visibility of your Facebook post based on age, gender, location, language, and more.

On the Audience Restrictions tab, you can limit the visibility of your Facebook post based on age, gender, location, and language.

When you’re finished defining your audience targeting criteria, click Save. Now finish composing your Facebook post as normal and click Publish.

After you enter your targeting criteria, you'll see a

After you enter your targeting criteria, you’ll see your targeting criteria in the box where you’re composing your Facebook post.

#3: Analyze Insights and Engagement

Now that you’ve started targeting your posts to segments of your page’s audience, it’s time to see if your efforts are paying off.

To evaluate your success, head to the Insights tab on your Facebook page and click Posts in the left navigation bar.

Keep an eye on your Facebook Insights to evaluate how effective your audience optimization efforts are.

Keep an eye on your Facebook Insights to evaluate how effective your audience optimization efforts are.

Here, you’ll get insights into how much reach and engagement each post has received. This data includes the number of people who have interacted with the post. You can also see whether people have commented on, shared, liked, or simply clicked through the content.

These insights are invaluable because they reveal the types of content that are resonating well with your target audience. If you’re not satisfied with your results, you can always go back and tweak your audience.

Conclusion

An estimated 65 million businesses operate a Facebook page, each of which posts an average of 1.48 times each day. This equates to more than 74 million branded posts daily, which in turn equates to an organic reach of just 2%.

While the sheer volume of business posts has disoriented users and frustrated marketers, you do have an opportunity to improve your outreach efforts. With audience optimization, you can target your Facebook posts to the segments of your page’s audience that are most likely to be interested in it.

What do you think? Do you use organic post targeting to help reach relevant audience segments? Has it worked for you? What tips can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Use Facebook Audience Optimization for Better Organic Exposure by Anja Skrba on Social Media Examiner.

How to Prioritize SEO Tasks [+Worksheet]

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“Where should a company start [with SEO]?” asked an attendee after my AMA Conference talk.

As my mind spun into a million different directions and I struggled to form complete sentences, I asked for a more specific website example. A healthy discussion ensued after more direction was provided, but these “Where do I start?” questions occur all the time in digital marketing.

SEOs especially are in a constant state of overwhelmed-ness (is that a word?), but no one likes to talk about this. It’s not comfortable to discuss the thousands of errors that came back after a recent site crawl. It’s not fun to discuss the drop in organic traffic that you can’t explain. It’s not possible to stay on top of every single news update, international change, case study, tool, etc. It’s exhausting and without a strategic plan of attack, you’ll find yourself in the weeds.

I’ve performed strategic SEO now for both clients and in-house marketing teams, and the following five methods have played a critical role in keeping my head above water.

First, I had to source this question on Twitter:

Here was some of the best feedback from true industry leaders:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 1.59.39 PM.png

Murat made a solid distinction between working with an SMBs versus a large companies:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 2.03.26 PM.png

This is sad, but so true (thanks, Jeff!):

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 2.00.16 PM.png

To help you get started, I put together an SEO prioritization worksheet in Google Sheets. Make yourself a copy (File > Make a copy) and go wild!:

Free SEO prioritization workflow sheet

TLDR;

  1. Agree upon & set specific goals
  2. Identify important pages for conversions
  3. Perform a site crawl to uncover technical opportunities
  4. Employ Covey’s time management grid
  5. Provide consistent benchmarks and reports

#1 Start with the end in mind

What is the end goal? You can have multiple goals (both macro and micro), but establishing a specific primary end goal is critical.

The only way to agree upon an end goal is to have a strong understanding of your client’s business. I’ve always relied on these new client questions to help me wrap my head around a new client’s business.

[Please leave a comment if you have other favorite client questions!]

This not only helps you become way more strategic in your efforts, but also shows that you care.

Fun fact: I used to use an alias to sign up for my client’s medical consultations online to see what the process was like. What automated emails did they send after someone made an appointment? What are people required to bring into a consult? What is a consult like? How does a consult make someone feel?

Clients were always disappointed when I arrived for the in-person consult, but happy that my team and I were doing our research!

Goal setting tips:

Measurable

Seems obvious, but it’s essential to stay on track and set benchmarks along the way.

Be specific

Don’t let vague marketing jargon find its way into your goals. Be specific.

Share your goals

A study performed by Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found that writing down and sharing your goals boosts your chances of achieving them.

Have a stretch goal

“Under-promise and over-deliver” is a great rule of thumb for clients, but setting private stretch goals (nearly impossible to achieve) can actually help you achieve more. Research found that when people set specific, challenging goals it led to higher performance 90% of the time.

#2 Identify important pages for conversions

There are a couple ways you can do this in Google Analytics.

Behavior Flow is a nice visualization for common page paths which deserve your attention, but it doesn’t display specific conversion paths very well.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 7.44.13 PM.png

It’s interesting to click on page destination goals to get a better idea of where people come into that page from and where they abandon it to:

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.16.58 PM.png

Reverse Goal Paths are a great way to discover which page funnels are the most successful for conversions and which could use a little more love:

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 7.42.35 PM.png

If you want to know which pages have the most last-touch assists, create a Custom Report > Flat Table > Dimension: Goal Previous Step – 1 > Metric: Goal Completions > Save

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.27.28 PM.png

Then you’ll see the raw data for your top last-touch pages:

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.29.25 PM.png

Side note: If the Marketing Services page is driving the second most assists, it’s a great idea to see where else on the site you can naturally weave in Marketing Services Page CTAs.

The idea here is to simply get an idea of which page funnels are working, which are not, and take these pages into high consideration when prioritizing SEO opportunities.

If you really want to become a conversion funnel ninja, check out this awesome Google Analytics Conversion Funnel Survival Guide by Kissmetrics.

#3 Crawl your site for issues

While many of us audit parts of a website by hand, we nearly all rely on a site crawl tool (or two) to uncover sneaky technical issues.

Some of my favorites:

I really like Moz Pro, DeepCrawl, and Raven for their automated re-crawling. I’m alerted anytime new issues arise (and they always do). Just last week, I got a Moz Pro email about these new pages that are now redirecting to a 4XX because we moved some Learning Center pages around and missed a few redirects (whoops!):

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 9.33.40 PM.png

An initial website crawl can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. I get anxiety just thinking about a recent Moz site crawl: 54,995 pages with meta noindex, 60,995 pages without valid canonical, 41,234 without an <h1>… you get the idea. Ermahgerd!! Where do you start?!

This is where a time management grid comes in handy.

#4 Employ Covey’s time management grid

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.04.15 PM.png

Time management and prioritization is hard, and many of us fall into “Urgent” traps.

Putting out small, urgent SEO fires might feel effective in the short term, but you’ll often fall into productivity-killing rabbit holes. Don’t neglect the non-urgent important items!

Prioritize and set time aside for those non-urgent yet important tasks, like writing short, helpful, unique, click-enticing title tags for all primary pages.

Here’s an example of some SEO issues that fall into each of the above 4 categories:

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.03.55 PM.png

To help prioritize Not Urgent/Important issues for maximum effectiveness here at Moz, I’m scheduling time to address high-volume crawl errors.

Moz.com’s largest issues (highlighted by Moz Pro) are meta noindex. However, most of these are intentional.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.41.12 PM.png

You also want to consider prioritizing any issues on the primary page flows that we discovered earlier. You can also sort issues by shallow crawl depth (fewer clicks from homepage, which are often primary pages to focus on):

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.44.50 PM.png

#5 Reporting & communication

Consistently reporting your efforts on increasing your client’s bottom line is critical for client longevity.

Develop a custom SEO reporting system that’s aligned with your client’s KPIs for every stage of your campaign. A great place to start is with a basic Google Analytics Custom Report that you can customize further for your client:

While traffic, search visibility, engagement, conversions, etc. get all of the reporting love, don’t forget about the not-so-tangible metrics. Are customers less frustrated navigating the new website? How does the new site navigation make a user feel? This type of monitoring and reporting can also be done through kickass tools like Lucky Orange or Mechanical Turk.

Lastly, reporting is really about communication and understanding people. Most of you have probably had a client who prefers a simple summary paragraph of your report, and that’s ok too.

Hopefully these tips can help you work smarter, not harder.

Image result for biker becomes a rocket gif

Don’t miss your site’s top technical SEO opportunities:

Crawl your site with Moz Pro

Top Insights, Takeaways & Favorite Moments from #SocialBrand17

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For the past six years Nick Westergaard has brought speakers from around the United States to the good people of Iowa for his annual Social Brand Forum.

This event has drawn speakers like Lee Odden, Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, Tim Washer, Scott Monty, Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan and many more!

This year, I was lucky to join some amazing speakers including Robert Rose, Melissa Agnes, Jason Falls and Marcus Sheridan as one of the speakers at this premiere Midwest event.

Since I know that many of you weren’t able to attend this awesome event, I’ve taken the liberty of pulling some of my favorite takeaways and moments from #SocialBrand17.

Nick Westergaard – The Man Who Made it All Happen

If you haven’t met Nick before, you should. He made every part of this experience amazing for speakers and attendees alike.

In addition to serving as a Chief Brand Strategist, Nick is also an author, professional speaker and an Associate Director, MBA Business Communication at the University of Iowa.

Nick believes that a scrappy approach to B2B marketing can help teams large and small get smarter with their digital marketing. His book, Get Scrappy is filled with great ideas and examples for brands looking to do just that.

Robert Rose – Reinventing Trust: The New Value of Brand Audiences & Owned Media

One of the key points of Robert’s presentation that stood out to me, was his thoughts on how technology has impacted the way we work (both positively and negatively).

Technology has enabled us to do so much that it has become a weakness. @Robert_Rose Click To Tweet

As we start each year, we plan to accomplish great things with our content but quickly realize we need more content, more technology and more people to get it done. But the honest truth is, more isn’t always better.

Content teams should not become asset generators that simply pump out content, the focus should be on becoming more strategic and purposeful with content planning, creation, promotion and measurement.

Yesterday also marks the release of Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi’s new book, Killing Marketing. Keep your eye out for a review of this new book on our blog in coming weeks.

Melissa Agnes – Crisis Ready: Essential Strategies for Every Business

For most of us, the thought of a crisis doesn’t even cross our minds until we’re in the midst of experiencing one. And that is something Melissa Agnes set out to change in her presentation.

Key to successfully managing a crisis is having a crisis ready culture. A crisis ready culture is one that has developed a plan, shared the plan with the team and keeps the plan closeby in case it is needed.

Issues can escalate to a crisis but they can also present us with an opportunity. @Melissa_Agnes Click To Tweet

One of the biggest takeaways for the audience was the fact that an issue and a crisis are not the same and how to deal with each scenario effectively.

Jason Falls – Hacking the Conversation

True to form, Jason started off his presentation telling jokes, stories and commenting on how hot it was on stage (I can attest, it was). I have seen Jason present a few times and each time is a great experience, but there was something extra special about this presentation.

In order to participate in or “hack” conversations your customers are having, you first need to know what they are. Unfortunately a lot of these conversations happen on more closed networks like Facebook which can make it difficult to uncover what is being said.

A true understanding of your customers will make your marketing much more impactful. @JasonFalls Click To Tweet

Ultimately, marketers need to understand that keywords do not equal themes and raw data is not the same as actual insights.  

Marcus Sheridan – We’re All Media Companies

Marcus is a strong proponent of truly integrated sales and marketing teams. And he’s right, he’s proven how effective this approach can be. In today’s digital landscape, media is no longer reserved for publications.  

Brands have become publishers and let’s be honest, are publishing content at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, Marcus has found that most content starts as fluff when it should always start at the buyer.

More often than not, digital marketing is a program. It starts and then it ends. @TheSalesLion Click To Tweet

Teams must begin thinking more strategically and utilizing content intentionally in the sales process and beyond to better meet the needs of today’s savvy buyers.

Ashley Zeckman – Your Marketing Golden Ticket

When I was creating my presentation for the Social Brand Forum, I began building out some tactics that I thought the audience would find interesting, then as I thought about it further, I decided that instead of tactics, we should focus on the common hurdles that content marketers face.

As a special treat, I’ve included a copy of my deck below so that you can experience the world of Wonka on your own time (if only I could get the GIFs to work in SlideShare!).

Additional Insights From the Attendees

Below are a few of my favorite tweets shared by the conference attendees:

What Did You Learn?

Whether you were able to attend in-person, or followed along online, I’m curious to know what you found to be the most interesting tidbits of information offered at the annual Social Brand Forum.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links

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social media toolsWant to get more out of your Instagram bio link?

Do you wish you could share multiple links via Instagram?

In this article, you’ll discover three tools that let you serve links to people who click on your Instagram bio.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Promote 5 Links for a Single Instagram Account

Linktree is an easy-to-implement solution to get more out of your Instagram bio link. With this tool, you can generate a custom link to include in your Instagram profile, as shown below:

Linktree uses your Instagram handle for consistent branding.

Linktree uses your Instagram handle for consistent branding.

When users click your custom link, they see a page with multiple links you want to share, such as links to your email signup, products, a blog post, and so on. You can share up to five links with Linktree.

When users click the Linktree link in your Instagram bio, they see a list of links you want to share.

When users click the Linktree link in your Instagram bio, they see a list of links you want to share.

One distinguishing feature is that your Linktree profile link is branded with your Instagram handle, even if you use the free version. The free version also includes unlimited links, reporting on the total number of clicks for each link, and three Linktree themes.

The Linktree paid version costs $6 per month and includes a daily breakdown of your link traffic, team access, custom buttons and styles, a custom title, the ability to schedule links, and a way to add your Facebook pixel and retarget Linktree visitors.

To add Linktree to your Instagram profile, visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button in the upper right.

Visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button.

Visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button.

Log into the Instagram account you want to connect and give Linktree access to your account.

Next, select your plan and confirm your details to complete the signup process.

Confirm your details to finish setting up your Linktree account.

Confirm your details to finish setting up your Linktree account.

On your Linktree dashboard, click the green button to begin creating the list of links you want to share via your Instagram bio link.

Add your first link in Linktree.

Add your first link in Linktree.

When the My Links area opens, enter the link title on the first line. This title is the text users will see in your list such as a blog post title or “Join Our Email List.”

On the second line, add the destination URL. Use the toggle on the right to set your new link to visible or hidden. If you want to include additional links, click Add New Button/Link and repeat these steps.

Toggle on your Linktree link to make it visible or hidden.

Toggle your Linktree link to make it visible or hidden.

You can rearrange the order of the links and view the number of link clicks all from your Linktree dashboard. On the far right of the screen, you’ll see a live preview that shows how your links will look on Instagram after a visitor clicks the Linktree link in your bio.

Your Linktree dashboard shows a preview of the links page that people see after they click the URL in your Instagram bio.

Your Linktree dashboard shows a preview of the links page that people see after they click the URL in your Instagram bio.

Now that you have a Linktree profile link, you need to add it to your Instagram bio. You find this link in the top-right corner of your Linktree dashboard. Copy and paste your Linktree URL into your Instagram bio and you’re all set.

Copy the Linktree link in the top-right corner and paste it into your Instagram bio.

Copy the Linktree link in the top-right corner and paste it into your Instagram bio.

#2: Manage Multiple Links for Client Instagram Accounts

For a single-user account, Lnk.Bio is similar to Linktree. With the free version of Lnk.Bio, you get unlimited links but not a branded URL as you do with Linktree. Instead, Lnk.Bio gives you a random unique URL.

To receive a custom URL with Lnk.Bio, you need to choose the Pro-Monthly ($0.99/month) or the Pro-Lifetime ($9.99/lifetime) plan. These two plans also provide link tracking, statistics, and email support.

Although Linktree and Lnk.Bio operate similarly for single accounts, the Lnk.Bio option for agencies stands out as a great solution for managing multiple client Instagram accounts. The pricing begins at $1.99/month for three accounts. Each client receives a branded URL and you can manage clients’ links without needing their Instagram passwords.

To give Lnk.Bio a try, start by adding a single free account to your Instagram profile. On the Lnk.Bio home page, click Start Now in the lower left.

Visit Lnk.Bio and click Start Now.

Visit Lnk.Bio and click Start Now.

Next, log in with either your Instagram account or email. For this example, click the Login Via Instagram button, enter your Instagram username and password, and click Authorize.

Log into Lnk.Bio with your Instagram account.

Log into Lnk.Bio with your Instagram account.

After you log in, scroll to Step 2 to create your links. The process is similar for both Linktree and Lnk.Bio, but for Lnk.Bio, the URL comes before the title. In the Add a New Link box on the right, enter the destination URL in the first line and your title in the second line. Then click Add Link Now.

Add your first Lnk.Bio link and click Add Link Now.

Add your first Lnk.Bio link and click Add Link Now.

Add as many links as you’d like. When you’re finished, click Get Your URL.

When you're finished adding links to Lnk.Bio, click Get Your URL.

When you’re finished adding links to Lnk.Bio, click Get Your URL.

Now copy and paste your unique URL in your Instagram bio. As you can see below, the free version of Lnk.Bio doesn’t provide a customized or branded URL.

Add your unique Lnk.Bio link to your Instagram bio.

Add your unique Lnk.Bio link to your Instagram bio.

#3: Display Multiple Links With Relevant Images

Like Linktree and Lnk.Bio, Link in Profile points the website link in your Instagram profile to a page of links. However, Link in Profile also will show the image from your Instagram post with each link.

After you set up Link in Profile, images from your Instagram posts appear next to the links that users see after clicking the link in your bio.

After you set up Link in Profile, images from your Instagram posts appear next to the list of links that users see after clicking the link in your bio.

The process for customizing your page of links is incredibly easy. Each time you share an image or video on Instagram, Link in Profile lets you easily add it to your list of links.

Link in Profile doesn’t offer a free version but does offer a 30-day free trial for all plans. After your free trial, personal plans are $9.99/month and include a dedicated landing page that’s branded with your Instagram handle and picture.

To start the free trial and see how Link in Profile works, click Start Free Trial on the home page. Log into Instagram and authorize Link in Profile to access your media and profile information. Then provide the email address you want to use for Link in Profile communications.

After you complete the signup process, you arrive at your Link in Profile dashboard, where you can see your unique URL, view your stats, and edit your post links. To start creating your page of linked images or videos, click the Links tab, as shown here:

In your Link in Profile dashboard, click the Links tab to set up a customized page of linked images or videos you've posted to Instagram.

In your Link in Profile dashboard, click the Links tab to set up a customized page of linked images or videos you’ve posted to Instagram.

On the Links tab, you’ll see all of your Instagram posts so you can quickly set up the ones you want to display on your page of links. Next to any image, click the Tap to Add a Link button. You then see a place to add a link, title, and description. Click Save when you’re done.

In this example, the link takes users to the sign-up page for a five-day challenge.

Add your link, title, and description on a relevant Instagram post.

Add your link, title, and description on a relevant Instagram post.

After saving the link, you can choose whether you want the link to be visible, hidden, or pinned on your page of links.

When you’re done, scroll through the Instagram posts that Link in Profile has imported and set up custom links, titles, and descriptions for any other posts. (Remember, the Link in Profile description is different from the one under the actual Instagram post.)

Link in Profile lets you set links to visible, hidden, or pinned.

Link in Profile lets you set links to visible, hidden, or pinned.

After you finish adding links to your posts, scroll back to the top of the dashboard. Copy your unique URL and paste it into your Instagram bio.

Voilà! The website link in your bio now sends anyone who clicks it to a page of links that takes them anywhere you want them to go. With your profile picture and username at the top, the page reflects your branding, too.

Conclusion

If you use Instagram for your social media marketing, the solo link in your bio is extremely powerful. These three tools let you use this link to give followers multiple opportunities to join your email list or otherwise enter your sales funnel, helping you turn followers into subscribers and loyal fans.

What do you think? Which of these tools might work best for your marketing on Instagram? What links would you display via your Instagram profile? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

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3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links

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social media toolsWant to get more out of your Instagram bio link?

Do you wish you could share multiple links via Instagram?

In this article, you’ll discover three tools that let you serve links to people who click on your Instagram bio.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Promote 5 Links for a Single Instagram Account

Linktree is an easy-to-implement solution to get more out of your Instagram bio link. With this tool, you can generate a custom link to include in your Instagram profile, as shown below:

Linktree uses your Instagram handle for consistent branding.

Linktree uses your Instagram handle for consistent branding.

When users click your custom link, they see a page with multiple links you want to share, such as links to your email signup, products, a blog post, and so on. You can share up to five links with Linktree.

When users click the Linktree link in your Instagram bio, they see a list of links you want to share.

When users click the Linktree link in your Instagram bio, they see a list of links you want to share.

One distinguishing feature is that your Linktree profile link is branded with your Instagram handle, even if you use the free version. The free version also includes unlimited links, reporting on the total number of clicks for each link, and three Linktree themes.

The Linktree paid version costs $6 per month and includes a daily breakdown of your link traffic, team access, custom buttons and styles, a custom title, the ability to schedule links, and a way to add your Facebook pixel and retarget Linktree visitors.

To add Linktree to your Instagram profile, visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button in the upper right.

Visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button.

Visit Linktr.ee and click the Sign Up Free button.

Log into the Instagram account you want to connect and give Linktree access to your account.

Next, select your plan and confirm your details to complete the signup process.

Confirm your details to finish setting up your Linktree account.

Confirm your details to finish setting up your Linktree account.

On your Linktree dashboard, click the green button to begin creating the list of links you want to share via your Instagram bio link.

Add your first link in Linktree.

Add your first link in Linktree.

When the My Links area opens, enter the link title on the first line. This title is the text users will see in your list such as a blog post title or “Join Our Email List.”

On the second line, add the destination URL. Use the toggle on the right to set your new link to visible or hidden. If you want to include additional links, click Add New Button/Link and repeat these steps.

Toggle on your Linktree link to make it visible or hidden.

Toggle your Linktree link to make it visible or hidden.

You can rearrange the order of the links and view the number of link clicks all from your Linktree dashboard. On the far right of the screen, you’ll see a live preview that shows how your links will look on Instagram after a visitor clicks the Linktree link in your bio.

Your Linktree dashboard shows a preview of the links page that people see after they click the URL in your Instagram bio.

Your Linktree dashboard shows a preview of the links page that people see after they click the URL in your Instagram bio.

Now that you have a Linktree profile link, you need to add it to your Instagram bio. You find this link in the top-right corner of your Linktree dashboard. Copy and paste your Linktree URL into your Instagram bio and you’re all set.

Copy the Linktree link in the top-right corner and paste it into your Instagram bio.

Copy the Linktree link in the top-right corner and paste it into your Instagram bio.

#2: Manage Multiple Links for Client Instagram Accounts

For a single-user account, Lnk.Bio is similar to Linktree. With the free version of Lnk.Bio, you get unlimited links but not a branded URL as you do with Linktree. Instead, Lnk.Bio gives you a random unique URL.

To receive a custom URL with Lnk.Bio, you need to choose the Pro-Monthly ($0.99/month) or the Pro-Lifetime ($9.99/lifetime) plan. These two plans also provide link tracking, statistics, and email support.

Although Linktree and Lnk.Bio operate similarly for single accounts, the Lnk.Bio option for agencies stands out as a great solution for managing multiple client Instagram accounts. The pricing begins at $1.99/month for three accounts. Each client receives a branded URL and you can manage clients’ links without needing their Instagram passwords.

To give Lnk.Bio a try, start by adding a single free account to your Instagram profile. On the Lnk.Bio home page, click Start Now in the lower left.

Visit Lnk.Bio and click Start Now.

Visit Lnk.Bio and click Start Now.

Next, log in with either your Instagram account or email. For this example, click the Login Via Instagram button, enter your Instagram username and password, and click Authorize.

Log into Lnk.Bio with your Instagram account.

Log into Lnk.Bio with your Instagram account.

After you log in, scroll to Step 2 to create your links. The process is similar for both Linktree and Lnk.Bio, but for Lnk.Bio, the URL comes before the title. In the Add a New Link box on the right, enter the destination URL in the first line and your title in the second line. Then click Add Link Now.

Add your first Lnk.Bio link and click Add Link Now.

Add your first Lnk.Bio link and click Add Link Now.

Add as many links as you’d like. When you’re finished, click Get Your URL.

When you're finished adding links to Lnk.Bio, click Get Your URL.

When you’re finished adding links to Lnk.Bio, click Get Your URL.

Now copy and paste your unique URL in your Instagram bio. As you can see below, the free version of Lnk.Bio doesn’t provide a customized or branded URL.

Add your unique Lnk.Bio link to your Instagram bio.

Add your unique Lnk.Bio link to your Instagram bio.

#3: Display Multiple Links With Relevant Images

Like Linktree and Lnk.Bio, Link in Profile points the website link in your Instagram profile to a page of links. However, Link in Profile also will show the image from your Instagram post with each link.

After you set up Link in Profile, images from your Instagram posts appear next to the links that users see after clicking the link in your bio.

After you set up Link in Profile, images from your Instagram posts appear next to the list of links that users see after clicking the link in your bio.

The process for customizing your page of links is incredibly easy. Each time you share an image or video on Instagram, Link in Profile lets you easily add it to your list of links.

Link in Profile doesn’t offer a free version but does offer a 30-day free trial for all plans. After your free trial, personal plans are $9.99/month and include a dedicated landing page that’s branded with your Instagram handle and picture.

To start the free trial and see how Link in Profile works, click Start Free Trial on the home page. Log into Instagram and authorize Link in Profile to access your media and profile information. Then provide the email address you want to use for Link in Profile communications.

After you complete the signup process, you arrive at your Link in Profile dashboard, where you can see your unique URL, view your stats, and edit your post links. To start creating your page of linked images or videos, click the Links tab, as shown here:

In your Link in Profile dashboard, click the Links tab to set up a customized page of linked images or videos you've posted to Instagram.

In your Link in Profile dashboard, click the Links tab to set up a customized page of linked images or videos you’ve posted to Instagram.

On the Links tab, you’ll see all of your Instagram posts so you can quickly set up the ones you want to display on your page of links. Next to any image, click the Tap to Add a Link button. You then see a place to add a link, title, and description. Click Save when you’re done.

In this example, the link takes users to the sign-up page for a five-day challenge.

Add your link, title, and description on a relevant Instagram post.

Add your link, title, and description on a relevant Instagram post.

After saving the link, you can choose whether you want the link to be visible, hidden, or pinned on your page of links.

When you’re done, scroll through the Instagram posts that Link in Profile has imported and set up custom links, titles, and descriptions for any other posts. (Remember, the Link in Profile description is different from the one under the actual Instagram post.)

Link in Profile lets you set links to visible, hidden, or pinned.

Link in Profile lets you set links to visible, hidden, or pinned.

After you finish adding links to your posts, scroll back to the top of the dashboard. Copy your unique URL and paste it into your Instagram bio.

Voilà! The website link in your bio now sends anyone who clicks it to a page of links that takes them anywhere you want them to go. With your profile picture and username at the top, the page reflects your branding, too.

Conclusion

If you use Instagram for your social media marketing, the solo link in your bio is extremely powerful. These three tools let you use this link to give followers multiple opportunities to join your email list or otherwise enter your sales funnel, helping you turn followers into subscribers and loyal fans.

What do you think? Which of these tools might work best for your marketing on Instagram? What links would you display via your Instagram profile? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links by Jordan Jones on Social Media Examiner.

So You Want to Build a Chat Bot &ndash; Here’s How (Complete with Code!)

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Posted by R0bin_L0rd

You’re busy and (depending on effective keyword targeting) you’ve come here looking for something to shave months off the process of learning to produce your own chat bot. If you’re convinced you need this and just want the how-to, skip to “What my bot does.” If you want the background on why you should be building for platforms like Google Home, Alexa, and Facebook Messenger, read on.

Why should I read this?

Do you remember when it wasn’t necessary to have a website? When most boards would scoff at the value of running a Facebook page? Now Gartner is telling us that customers will manage 85% of their relationship with brands without interacting with a human by 2020 and publications like Forbes are saying that chat bots are the cause.

The situation now is the same as every time a new platform develops: if you don’t have something your customers can access, you’re giving that medium to your competition. At the moment, an automated presence on Google Home or Slack may not be central to your strategy, but those who claim ground now could dominate it in the future.

The problem is time. Sure, it’d be ideal to be everywhere all the time, to have your brand active on every platform. But it would also be ideal to catch at least four hours sleep a night or stop covering our keyboards with three-day-old chili con carne as we eat a hasty lunch in between building two of the Next Big Things. This is where you’re fortunate in two ways;

  1. When we develop chat applications, we don’t have to worry about things like a beautiful user interface because it’s all speech or text. That’s not to say you don’t need to worry about user experience, as there are rules (and an art) to designing a good conversational back-and-forth. Amazon is actually offering some hefty prizes for outstanding examples.
  2. I’ve spent the last six months working through the steps from complete ignorance to creating a distributable chat bot and I’m giving you all my workings. In this post I break down each of the levels of complexity, from no-code back-and-forth to managing user credentials and sessions the stretch over days or months. I’m also including full code that you can adapt and pull apart as needed. I’ve commented each portion of the code explaining what it does and linking to resources where necessary.

I’ve written more about the value of Interactive Personal Assistants on the Distilled blog, so this post won’t spend any longer focusing on why you should develop chat bots. Instead, I’ll share everything I’ve learned.

What my built-from-scratch bot does

Ever since I started investigating chat bots, I was particularly interested in finding out the answer to one question: What does it take for someone with little-to-no programming experience to create one of these chat applications from scratch? Fortunately, I have direct access to someone with little-to-no experience (before February, I had no idea what Python was). And so I set about designing my own bot with the following hard conditions:


  1. It had to have some kind of real-world application. It didn’t have to be critical to a business, but it did have to bear basic user needs in mind.
  2. It had to be easily distributable across the immediate intended users, and to have reasonable scope to distribute further (modifications at most, rather than a complete rewrite).
  3. It had to be flexible enough that you, the reader, can take some free code and make your own chat bot.
  4. It had to be possible to adapt the skeleton of the process for much more complex business cases.
  5. It had to be free to run, but could have the option of paying to scale up or make life easier.
  6. It had to send messages confirming when important steps had been completed.

The resulting program is “Vietnambot,” a program that communicates with Slack, the API.AI linguistic processing platform, and Google Sheets, using real-time and asynchronous processing and its own database for storing user credentials.

If that meant nothing to you, don’t worry — I’ll define those things in a bit, and the code I’m providing is obsessively commented with explanation. The thing to remember is it does all of this to write down food orders for our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in a shared Google Sheet, probably saving tens of seconds of Distilled company time every year.

It’s deliberately mundane, but it’s designed to be a template for far more complex interactions. The idea is that whether you want to write a no-code-needed back-and-forth just through API.AI; a simple Python program that receives information, does a thing, and sends a response; or something that breaks out of the limitations of linguistic processing platforms to perform complex interactions in user sessions that can last days, this post should give you some of the puzzle pieces and point you to others.

What is API.AI and what’s it used for?

API.AI is a linguistic processing interface. It can receive text, or speech converted to text, and perform much of the comprehension for you. You can see my Distilled post for more details, but essentially, it takes the phrase “My name is Robin and I want noodles today” and splits it up into components like:

  • Intent: food_request
  • Action: process_food
  • Name: Robin
  • Food: noodles
  • Time: today

This setup means you have some hope of responding to the hundreds of thousands of ways your users could find to say the same thing. It’s your choice whether API.AI receives a message and responds to the user right away, or whether it receives a message from a user, categorizes it and sends it to your application, then waits for your application to respond before sending your application’s response back to the user who made the original request. In its simplest form, the platform has a bunch of one-click integrations and requires absolutely no code.

I’ve listed the possible levels of complexity below, but it’s worth bearing some hard limitations in mind which apply to most of these services. They cannot remember anything outside of a user session, which will automatically end after about 30 minutes, they have to do everything through what are called POST and GET requests (something you can ignore unless you’re using code), and if you do choose to have it ask your application for information before it responds to the user, you have to do everything and respond within five seconds.

What are the other things?

Slack: A text-based messaging platform designed for work (or for distracting people from work).

Google Sheets: We all know this, but just in case, it’s Excel online.

Asynchronous processing: Most of the time, one program can do one thing at a time. Even if it asks another program to do something, it normally just stops and waits for the response. Asynchronous processing is how we ask a question and continue without waiting for the answer, possibly retrieving that answer at a later time.

Database: Again, it’s likely you know this, but if not: it’s Excel that our code will use (different from the Google Sheet).

Heroku: A platform for running code online. (Important to note: I don’t work for Heroku and haven’t been paid by them. I couldn’t say that it’s the best platform, but it can be free and, as of now, it’s the one I’m most familiar with).

How easy is it?

This graph isn’t terribly scientific and it’s from the perspective of someone who’s learning much of this for the first time, so here’s an approximate breakdown:

Label

Functionality

Time it took me

1

You set up the conversation purely through API.AI or similar, no external code needed. For instance, answering set questions about contact details or opening times

Half an hour to distributable prototype

2

A program that receives information from API.AI and uses that information to update the correct cells in a Google Sheet (but can’t remember user names and can’t use the slower Google Sheets integrations)

A few weeks to distributable prototype

3

A program that remembers user names once they’ve been set and writes them to Google Sheets. Is limited to five seconds processing time by API.AI, so can’t use the slower Google Sheets integrations and may not work reliably when the app has to boot up from sleep because that takes a few seconds of your allocation*

A few weeks on top of the last prototype

4

A program that remembers user details and manages the connection between API.AI and our chosen platform (in this case, Slack) so it can break out of the five-second processing window.

A few weeks more on top of the last prototype (not including the time needed to rewrite existing structures to work with this)

*On the Heroku free plan, when your app hasn’t been used for 30 minutes it goes to sleep. This means that the first time it’s activated it takes a little while to start your process, which can be a problem if you have a short window in which to act. You could get around this by (mis)using a free “uptime monitoring service” which sends a request every so often to keep your app awake. If you choose this method, in order to avoid using all of the Heroku free hours allocation by the end of the month, you’ll need to register your card (no charge, it just gets you extra hours) and only run this application on the account. Alternatively, there are any number of companies happy to take your money to keep your app alive.

For the rest of this post, I’m going to break down each of those key steps and either give an overview of how you could achieve it, or point you in the direction of where you can find that. The code I’m giving you is Python, but as long as you can receive and respond to GET and POST requests, you can do it in pretty much whatever format you wish.


1. Design your conversation

Conversational flow is an art form in itself. Jonathan Seal, strategy director at Mando and member of British Interactive Media Association’s AI thinktank, has given some great talks on the topic. Paul Pangaro has also spoken about conversation as more than interface in multiple mediums.

Your first step is to create a flow chart of the conversation. Write out your ideal conversation, then write out the most likely ways a person might go off track and how you’d deal with them. Then go online, find existing chat bots and do everything you can to break them. Write out the most difficult, obtuse, and nonsensical responses you can. Interact with them like you’re six glasses of wine in and trying to order a lemon engraving kit, interact with them as though you’ve found charges on your card for a lemon engraver you definitely didn’t buy and you are livid, interact with them like you’re a bored teenager. At every point, write down what you tried to do to break them and what the response was, then apply that to your flow. Then get someone else to try to break your flow. Give them no information whatsoever apart from the responses you’ve written down (not even what the bot is designed for), refuse to answer any input you don’t have written down, and see how it goes. David Low, principal evangelist for Amazon Alexa, often describes the value of printing out a script and testing the back-and-forth for a conversation. As well as helping to avoid gaps, it’ll also show you where you’re dumping a huge amount of information on the user.

While “best practices” are still developing for chat bots, a common theme is that it’s not a good idea to pretend your bot is a person. Be upfront that it’s a bot — users will find out anyway. Likewise, it’s incredibly frustrating to open a chat and have no idea what to say. On text platforms, start with a welcome message making it clear you’re a bot and giving examples of things you can do. On platforms like Google Home and Amazon Alexa users will expect a program, but the “things I can do” bit is still important enough that your bot won’t be approved without this opening phase.

I’ve included a sample conversational flow for Vietnambot at the end of this post as one way to approach it, although if you have ideas for alternative conversational structures I’d be interested in reading them in the comments.

A final piece of advice on conversations: The trick here is to find organic ways of controlling the possible inputs and preparing for unexpected inputs. That being said, the Alexa evangelist team provide an example of terrible user experience in which a bank’s app said: “If you want to continue, say nine.” Quite often questions, rather than instructions, are the key.

2. Create a conversation in API.AI

API.AI has quite a lot of documentation explaining how to create programs here, so I won’t go over individual steps.

Key things to understand:

You create agents; each is basically a different program. Agents recognize intents, which are simply ways of triggering a specific response. If someone says the right things at the right time, they meet criteria you have set, fall into an intent, and get a pre-set response.

The right things to say are included in the “User says” section (screenshot below). You set either exact phrases or lists of options as the necessary input. For instance, a user could write “Of course, I’m [any name]” or “Of course, I’m [any temperature].” You could set up one intent for name-is which matches “Of course, I’m [given-name]” and another intent for temperature which matches “Of course, I’m [temperature],” and depending on whether your user writes a name or temperature in that final block you could activate either the “name-is” or “temperature-is” intent.

The “right time” is defined by contexts. Contexts help define whether an intent will be activated, but are also created by certain intents. I’ve included a screenshot below of an example interaction. In this example, the user says that they would like to go to on holiday. This activates a holiday intent and sets the holiday context you can see in input contexts below. After that, our service will have automatically responded with the question “where would you like to go?” When our user says “The” and then any location, it activates our holiday location intent because it matches both the context, and what the user says. If, on the other hand, the user had initially said “I want to go to the theater,” that might have activated the theater intent which would set a theater context — so when we ask “what area of theaters are you interested in?” and the user says “The [location]” or even just “[location],” we will take them down a completely different path of suggesting theaters rather than hotels in Rome.

The way you can create conversations without ever using external code is by using these contexts. A user might say “What times are you open?”; you could set an open-time-inquiry context. In your response, you could give the times and ask if they want the phone number to contact you. You would then make a yes/no intent which matches the context you have set, so if your user says “Yes” you respond with the number. This could be set up within an hour but gets exponentially more complex when you need to respond to specific parts of the message. For instance, if you have different shop locations and want to give the right phone number without having to write out every possible location they could say in API.AI, you’ll need to integrate with external code (see section three).

Now, there will be times when your users don’t say what you’re expecting. Excluding contexts, there are three very important ways to deal with that:

  1. Almost like keyword research — plan out as many possible variations of saying the same thing as possible, and put them all into the intent
  2. Test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test, test (when launched, every chat bot will have problems. Keep testing, keep updating, keep improving.)
  3. Fallback contexts

Fallback contexts don’t have a user says section, but can be boxed in by contexts. They match anything that has the right context but doesn’t match any of your user says. It could be tempting to use fallback intents as a catch-all. Reasoning along the lines of “This is the only thing they’ll say, so we’ll just treat it the same” is understandable, but it opens up a massive hole in the process. Fallback intents are designed to be a conversational safety net. They operate exactly the same as in a normal conversation. If a person asked what you want in your tea and you responded “I don’t want tea” and that person made a cup of tea, wrote the words “I don’t want tea” on a piece of paper, and put it in, that is not a person you’d want to interact with again. If we are using fallback intents to do anything, we need to preface it with a check. If we had to resort to it in the example above, saying “I think you asked me to add I don’t want tea to your tea. Is that right?” is clunky and robotic, but it’s a big step forward, and you can travel the rest of the way by perfecting other parts of your conversation.

3. Integrating with external code

I used Heroku to build my app . Using this excellent weather webhook example you can actually deploy a bot to Heroku within minutes. I found this example particularly useful as something I could pick apart to make my own call and response program. The weather webhook takes the information and calls a yahoo app, but ignoring that specific functionality you essentially need the following if you’re working in Python:

#start
    req = request.get_json
    print("Request:")
    print(json.dumps(req, indent=4))
#process to do your thing and decide what response should be

    res = processRequest(req)
# Response we should receive from processRequest (you’ll need to write some code called processRequest and make it return the below, the weather webhook example above is a good one).
{
        "speech": “speech we want to send back”,
        "displayText": “display text we want to send back, usually matches speech”,
        "source": "your app name"
    }

# Making our response readable by API.AI and sending it back to the servic

 response = make_response(res)
    response.headers['Content-Type'] = 'application/json'
    return response
# End

As long as you can receive and respond to requests like that (or in the equivalent for languages other than Python), your app and API.AI should both understand each other perfectly — what you do in the interim to change the world or make your response is entirely up to you. The main code I have included is a little different from this because it’s also designed to be the step in-between Slack and API.AI. However, I have heavily commented sections like like process_food and the database interaction processes, with both explanation and reading sources. Those comments should help you make it your own. If you want to repurpose my program to work within that five-second window, I would forget about the file called app.py and aim to copy whole processes from tasks.py, paste them into a program based on the weatherhook example above, and go from there.

Initially I’d recommend trying GSpread to make some changes to a test spreadsheet. That way you’ll get visible feedback on how well your application is running (you’ll need to go through the authorization steps as they are explained here).

4. Using a database

Databases are pretty easy to set up in Heroku. I chose the Postgres add-on (you just need to authenticate your account with a card; it won’t charge you anything and then you just click to install). In the import section of my code I’ve included links to useful resources which helped me figure out how to get the database up and running — for example, this blog post.

I used the Python library Psycopg2 to interact with the database. To steal some examples of using it in code, have a look at the section entitled “synchronous functions” in either the app.py or tasks.py files. Open_db_connection and close_db_connection do exactly what they say on the tin (open and close the connection with the database). You tell check_database to check a specific column for a specific user and it gives you the value, while update_columns adds a value to specified columns for a certain user record. Where things haven’t worked straightaway, I’ve included links to the pages where I found my solution. One thing to bear in mind is that I’ve used a way of including columns as a variable, which Psycopg2 recommends quite strongly against. I’ve gotten away with it so far because I’m always writing out the specific column names elsewhere — I’m just using that method as a short cut.

5. Processing outside of API.AI’s five-second window

It needs to be said that this step complicates things by no small amount. It also makes it harder to integrate with different applications. Rather than flicking a switch to roll out through API.AI, you have to write the code that interprets authentication and user-specific messages for each platform you’re integrating with. What’s more, spoken-only platforms like Google Home and Amazon Alexa don’t allow for this kind of circumvention of the rules — you have to sit within that 5–8 second window, so this method removes those options. The only reasons you should need to take the integration away from API.AI are:

  • You want to use it to work with a platform that it doesn’t have an integration with. It currently has 14 integrations including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, and Google Home. It also allows exporting your conversations in an Amazon Alexa-understandable format (Amazon has their own similar interface and a bunch of instructions on how to build a skill — here is an example.
  • You are processing masses of information. I’m talking really large amounts. Some flight comparison sites have had problems fitting within the timeout limit of these platforms, but if you aren’t trying to process every detail for every flight for the next 12 months and it’s taking more than five seconds, it’s probably going to be easier to make your code more efficient than work outside the window. Even if you are, those same flight comparison sites solved the problem by creating a process that regularly checks their full data set and creates a smaller pool of information that’s more quickly accessible.
  • You need to send multiple follow-up messages to your user. When using the API.AI integration it’s pretty much call-and-response; you don’t always get access to things like authorization tokens, which are what some messaging platforms require before you can automatically send messages to one of their users.
  • You’re working with another program that can be quite slow, or there are technical limitations to your setup. This one applies to Vietnambot, I used the GSpread library in my application, which is fantastic but can be slow to pull out bigger chunks of data. What’s more, Heroku can take a little while to start up if you’re not paying.

I could have paid or cut out some of the functionality to avoid needing to manage this part of the process, but that would have failed to meet number 4 in our original conditions: It had to be possible to adapt the skeleton of the process for much more complex business cases. If you decide you’d rather use my program within that five-second window, skip back to section 2 of this post. Otherwise, keep reading.

When we break out of the five-second API.AI window, we have to do a couple of things. First thing is to flip the process on its head.

What we were doing before:

User sends message -> API.AI -> our process -> API.AI -> user

What we need to do now:

User sends message -> our process -> API.AI -> our process -> user

Instead of API.AI waiting while we do our processing, we do some processing, wait for API.AI to categorize the message from us, do a bit more processing, then message the user.

The way this applies to Vietnambot is:

  1. User says “I want [food]”
  2. Slack sends a message to my app on Heroku
  3. My app sends a “swift and confident” 200 response to Slack to prevent it from resending the message. To send the response, my process has to shut down, so before it does that, it activates a secondary process using “tasks.”
  4. The secondary process takes the query text and sends it to API.AI, then gets back the response.
  5. The secondary process checks our database for a user name. If we don’t have one saved, it sends another request to API.AI, putting it in the “we don’t have a name” context, and sends a message to our user asking for their name. That way, when our user responds with their name, API.AI is already primed to interpret it correctly because we’ve set the right context (see section 1 of this post). API.AI tells us that the latest message is a user name and we save it. When we have both the user name and food (whether we’ve just got it from the database or just saved it to the database), Vietnambot adds the order to our sheet, calculates whether we’ve reached the order minimum for that day, and sends a final success message.

6. Integrating with Slack

This won’t be the same as integrating with other messaging services, but it could give some insight into what might be required elsewhere. Slack has two authorization processes; we’ll call one “challenge” and the other “authentication.”

Slack includes instructions for an app lifecycle here, but API.AI actually has excellent instructions for how to set up your app; as a first step, create a simple back-and-forth conversation in API.AI (not your full product), go to integrations, switch on Slack, and run through the steps to set it up. Once that is up and working, you’ll need to change the OAuth URL and the Events URL to be the URL for your app.

Thanks to github user karishay, my app code includes a process for responding to the challenge process (which will tell Slack you’re set up to receive events) and for running through the authentication process, using our established database to save important user tokens. There’s also the option to save them to a Google Sheet if you haven’t got the database established yet. However, be wary of this as anything other than a first step — user tokens give an app a lot of power and have to be guarded carefully.

7. Asynchronous processing

We are running our app using Flask, which is basically a whole bunch of code we can call upon to deal with things like receiving requests for information over the internet. In order to create a secondary worker process I’ve used Redis and Celery. Redis is our “message broker”; it makes makes a list of everything we want our secondary process to do. Celery runs through that list and makes our worker process do those tasks in sequence. Redis is a note left on the fridge telling you to do your washing and take out the bins, while Celery is the housemate that bangs on your bedroom door, note in hand, and makes you do each thing. I’m sure our worker process doesn’t like Celery very much, but it’s really useful for us.

You can find instructions for adding Redis to your app in Heroku here and you can find advice on setting up Celery in Heroku here. Miguel Grinberg’s Using Celery with Flask blog post is also an excellent resource, but using the exact setup he gives results in a clash with our database, so it’s easier to stick with the Heroku version.

Up until this point, we’ve been calling functions in our main app — anything of the form function_name(argument_1, argument_2, argument_3). Now, by putting “tasks.” in front of our function, we’re saying “don’t do this now — hand it to the secondary process.” That’s because we’ve done a few things:

  • We’ve created tasks.py which is the secondary process. Basically it’s just one big, long function that our main code tells to run.
  • In tasks.py we’ve included Celery in our imports and set our app as celery.Celery(), meaning that when we use “app” later we’re essentially saying “this is part of our Celery jobs list” or rather “tasks.py will only do anything when its flatmate Celery comes banging on the door”
  • For every time our main process asks for an asynchronous function by writing tasks.any_function_name(), we have created that function in our secondary program just as we would if it were in the same file. However in our secondary program we’ve prefaced with “@app.task”, another way of saying “Do wash_the_dishes when Celery comes banging the door yelling wash_the_dishes(dishes, water, heat, resentment)”.
  • In our “procfile” (included as a file in my code) we have listed our worker process as –app=tasks.app

All this adds up to the following process:

  1. Main program runs until it hits an asynchronous function
  2. Main program fires off a message to Redis which has a list of work to be done. The main process doesn’t wait, it just runs through everything after it and in our case even shuts down
  3. The Celery part of our worker program goes to Redis and checks for the latest update, it checks what function has been called (because our worker functions are named the same as when our main process called them), it gives our worker all the information to start doing that thing and tells it to get going
  4. Our worker process starts the action it has been told to do, then shuts down.

As with the other topics mentioned here, I’ve included all of this in the code I’ve supplied, along with many of the sources used to gather the information — so feel free to use the processes I have. Also feel free to improve on them; as I said, the value of this investigation was that I am not a coder. Any suggestions for tweaks or improvements to the code are very much welcome.


Conclusion

As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, there’s huge opportunity for individuals and organizations to gain ground by creating conversational interactions for the general public. For the vast majority of cases you could be up and running in a few hours to a few days, depending on how complex you want your interactions to be and how comfortable you are with coding languages. There are some stumbling blocks out there, but hopefully this post and my obsessively annotated code can act as templates and signposts to help get you on your way.

Grab my code at GitHub


Bonus #1: The conversational flow for my chat bot

This is by no means necessarily the best or only way to approach this interaction. This is designed to be as streamlined an interaction as possible, but we’re also working within the restrictions of the platform and the time investment necessary to produce this. Common wisdom is to create the flow of your conversation and then keep testing to perfect, so consider this example layout a step in that process. I’d also recommend putting one of these flow charts together before starting — otherwise you could find yourself having to redo a bunch of work to accommodate a better back-and-forth.

Bonus #2: General things I learned putting this together

As I mentioned above, this has been a project of going from complete ignorance of coding to slightly less ignorance. I am not a professional coder, but I found the following things I picked up to be hugely useful while I was starting out.

  1. Comment everything. You’ll probably see my code is bordering on excessive commenting (anything after a # is a comment). While normally I’m sure someone wouldn’t want to include a bunch of Stack Overflow links in their code, I found notes about what things portions of code were trying to do, and where I got the reasoning from, hugely helpful as I tried to wrap my head around it all.
  2. Print everything. In Python, everything within “print()” will be printed out in the app logs (see the commands tip for reading them in Heroku). While printing each action can mean you fill up a logging window terribly quickly (I started using the Heroku add-on LogDNA towards the end and it’s a huge step up in terms of ease of reading and length of history), often the times my app was falling over was because one specific function wasn’t getting what it needed, or because of another stupid typo. Having a semi-constant stream of actions and outputs logged meant I could find the fault much more quickly. My next step would probably be to introduce a way of easily switching on and off the less necessary print functions.
  3. The following commands: Heroku’s how-to documentation for creating an app and adding code is pretty great, but I found myself using these all the time so thought I’d share (all of the below are written in the command line; type cmd in on Windows or by running Terminal on a Mac):
    1. CD “””[file location]””” – select the file your code is in
    2. “git init” – create a git file to add to
    3. “git add .” – add all of the code in your file into the file that git will put online
    4. “git commit -m “[description of what you’re doing]” “ – save the data in your git file
    5. “heroku git:remote -a [the name of your app]” – select your app as where to put the code
    6. “git push heroku master” – send your code to the app you selected
    7. “heroku ps” – find out whether your app is running or crashed
    8. “heroku logs” – apologize to your other half for going totally unresponsive for the last ten minutes and start the process of working through your printouts to see what has gone wrong
  4. POST requests will always wait for a response. Seems really basic — initially I thought that by just sending a POST request and not telling my application to wait for a response I’d be able to basically hot-potato work around and not worry about having to finish what I was doing. That’s not how it works in general, and it’s more of a symbol of my naivete in programming than anything else.
  5. If something is really difficult, it’s very likely you’re doing it wrong.
    While I made sure to do pretty much all of the actual work myself (to
    avoid simply farming it out to the very talented individuals at
    Distilled), I was lucky enough to get some really valuable advice. The
    piece of advice above was from Dominic Woodman, and I should have
    listened to it more. The times when I made least progress were when I
    was trying to use things the way they shouldn’t be used. Even when I
    broke through those walls, I later found that someone didn’t want me to
    use it that way because it would completely fail at a later point.
    Tactical retreat
    is an option. (At this point, I should mention he wasn’t
    the only one to give invaluable advice; Austin, Tom, and Duncan of the
    Distilled R&D team were a huge help.)

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Setting Social Media Marketing Goals

0
This post was originally published on this site

In today’s digital landscape, chances are social media is a vital piece of your marketing mix. After all, people live on social platforms these days and projections show that worldwide social media users will surpass 3 billion by 2021.

But as brands and marketers fight for visibility in crowded, “algorithm-enhanced” news feeds, how many of you are actually reaching your strategic social media marketing objectives? Better yet, how many of you can say you have well-defined, relevant and measurable goals outlined within your social strategy?

As a marketer, you know there can be no strategy without goals. Goals are the foundation of your strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next. But how do you define those goals?

The truth is there’s a lot to consider such as your industry, overall business objectives, budget and resources. With that said, whether you need to start from scratch or it’s time to give your goals a refresh, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself along the way:

#1 – How does social media map to my overall marketing objectives?

Your social media marketing efforts are an integral part of your entire marketing strategy. As such, the goals you set should absolutely support what you’re trying to achieve at a high level. It’s as simple as that.

Your #socialmedia goals should absolutely map to your overall #marketing objectives. Click To Tweet

#2 – Who is my social audience?

You know that the foundation of any marketing initiative is understanding your audience’s pain points, motivations, interests and needs. But those defining characteristics may manifest themselves a bit differently on social media. After all, social media is a personal outlet for many, so their motivations for engaging with a brand may be different than if they received an email from you or found you via search.

As a result, in order to define your social media objectives, you need to understand why your audience is on social media and what they care about most on those platforms.

#3 – How does my audience differ across social channels?

Every social media channel offers something a little unique, which means your audience may differ from channel to channel. As a result, your goals—as well as your strategy to reach those goals—should reflect that.

#4 – What does my audience expect from me?

Let’s face it. The goals you set are going to be rooted in some type of audience action. But to inspire that action, you need to think about what your audience’s expectations are and how you’ll meet them. Is it quick and empathetic customer service? Conversation? Entertainment? Helpful information and resources?

#5 – What do I really want from my social media efforts?

Brand awareness and audience engagement are typically the top goals of any social media marketing strategy. But challenge yourself to go deeper as you define your goals. For example, if community engagement is a top priority, what does that actually look like to you? Is it likes, shares, comments, reviews, website traffic or a combination of them all?

As your define your #socialmedia goals, challenge yourself to go deeper & deeper. Click To Tweet

#6 – Are my goals measurable?

At the end of the day, your goals have to be measurable. How else are you going to know if you’ve actually achieved what you set out to do?

In Need of More Social Media Marketing Inspiration?

Then check out these helpful resources:

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience

0
This post was originally published on this site

social media how toIs your content on YouTube?

Have you considered taking your content global?

In this article, you’ll discover how to expand your reach and influence on YouTube by optimizing your videos for viewers who speak different languages.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.

Reveal Your Ideal International Audiences

You may assume that all of your YouTube videos are being viewed in English-speaking territories, but data shows this is highly unlikely.

Over 70% of views on YouTube come from outside of the U.S., with Asia and Latin America in particular seeing explosive growth. There’s huge potential to grow your YouTube presence if you know how to optimize your content for a global audience.

To find out where your YouTube channel subscribers are located, open Creator Studio and choose Analytics > Subscribers. Then click the Geography tab to see your subscribers’ geographic locations.

Note that the language in which YouTube serves content is based on the user’s language settings, not their location. If you have a large audience that speaks a language other than your own, you can assume many viewers are watching in their local language. Do a quick Google search to confirm the local language.

Find the geographic locations of your YouTube channel subscribers.

Find the geographic locations of your YouTube channel subscribers.

You’ll likely discover that one or two other territories/languages make up a decent share of your audience. This shows that you have appeal in those markets and the potential to grow your audience there even more.

If you have other market/audience data from your website or other social media accounts, take this information into consideration when planning a global YouTube strategy.

Here’s how to get started optimizing your YouTube presence for a global audience.

#1: Translate Video Caption Files

If you’re already transcribing your YouTube videos and uploading the transcriptions as closed-caption files, translate the captions into the secondary language you’ve chosen.

Including secondary language subtitles allows speakers of those languages to understand and engage with your videos. This tactic also improves discoverability because YouTube indexes secondary language captions.

Tyler Oakley's community translated one of his YouTube videos into 68 different languages.

Tyler Oakley’s community translated one of his YouTube videos into 68 different languages.

To translate your captions, you can either do the work yourself or use YouTube’s built-in features.

How YouTube Can Help Transcribe Your Captions

If you don’t want to transcribe the captions yourself, YouTube has several options to help you:

  • Google Translate is built into the system. The reliability of the automatic translations can vary, however.
  • YouTube has partnered with a number of tools that are embedded into the platform that will translate the files for a fee. To find these, go to Info & Settings for your video and click the Translations tab.
  • Your global audience can translate your captions for you. The community will audit the completed captions to ensure they’re correct before going live. To enable this feature, go to Creator Studio, select Translations & Transcriptions > Community Contributions, and click Turn on for All Videos.
Turn on the feature that allows the YouTube community to translate captions for you.

Turn on the feature that allows the YouTube community to translate captions for you.

Upload a Translated Captions File

If you’ve created a translated captions file in one of the supported subtitle formats, you can upload it to your video in Creator Studio. To do this, open the Video Manager, find your video, and click Edit.

Open Creator Studio and click the Edit button for your video in the Video Manager.

Open Creator Studio and click the Edit button for your video in the Video Manager.

On the Subtitles/CC tab, click Add New Subtitles or CC and select the language of your caption file.

Select the language of your YouTube captions file.

Select the language of your YouTube captions file.

Next, click Upload a File.

Choose the option to upload your translated captions file.

Choose the option to upload your translated captions file.

Select your secondary language subtitle file and click Upload.

Navigate to your subtitles file and click Upload.

Navigate to your subtitles file and click Upload.

#2: Translate Video Titles and Descriptions

When you set your YouTube video metadata in multiple languages, the text will be indexed and provided to users based on their language settings (not location). For example, you can set your metadata in German so it’s more likely to be served to German-speaking audiences.

The BBC used this tactic for a Doctor Who trailer that they translated into a number of languages, helping them target important local broadcast markets.

Translate your video title and description into secondary languages.

Translate your video title and description into secondary languages.

Translate the Video Title

To add metadata in another language, open Creator Studio, find your video in the Video Manager, and click the Edit button. Select Info & Settings at the top of the page and scroll down to the Translations tab below the video.

Select English from the drop-down list on the left and set the language you’re translating into on the right. Enter your translated title as you would in English. Don’t worry, though; your title in English will still be served to everyone else.

On the Translations tab for your YouTube video, enter a translated title and description.

On the Translations tab for your YouTube video, enter a translated title and description.

Translating the title not only improves discoverability in search but also makes it more likely that speakers of the secondary language will click on your video.

Translate the Video Description

You can translate the video description into different languages on the same tab where you translated the video title. Just follow the same steps as above.

If you have the language skills, feel free to change the nature of the description instead of just doing a straight translation. Different places and cultures have their own unique traditions, customs, and ways of communicating so try to convey that where possible.

Video descriptions are indexed for search and, like titles, will influence click-through rates because an excerpt will be shown in the search results. The size of the excerpt depends on the viewer’s screen size.

The original description for this Oz-Bowling video is written in German. By using the translation options, they can target countries outside of their home market of Switzerland, including the wider English-speaking market, as seen here:

OZ-Bowling translated its original German title and description into English.

OZ-Bowling translated its original German title and description into English.

Localize Links in the Video Description

On the Translation tab, you can include unique links in your description that won’t appear for other languages. This tactic lets you send different audiences to specific locations online.

Below, the Spanish-language cooking channel Cocina sends English-speaking audiences to an entirely different English-language cooking channel.

Cocina directs English-speaking audiences to a different cooking channel on YouTube.

Cocina directs English-speaking audiences to a different cooking channel on YouTube.

This technique is most effective if you have a dual-language website (or landing pages), are selling products in stores around the world, or have content available for only one region and don’t necessarily want to share it with a global audience.

#3: Translate Playlist Titles and Metadata

YouTube playlists are an effective way to increase your reach without investing a lot of resources or time. If you translate those playlist titles and metadata into secondary languages, you can amplify your reach even further. Also, these new viewers are likely to go on and watch a number of your videos in your playlist.

These playlists from Daily Busking were originally set in Korean but have been translated based on my language set to English.

Translate your playlist titles and descriptions into secondary languages to reach a global viewership.

Translate your playlist titles and descriptions into secondary languages to reach a global viewership.

To translate your playlist info in Creator Studio, choose Video Manager > Playlists and click the Edit button to the right of your playlist.

Open your playlist in Creator Studio and click Edit.

Open your playlist in Creator Studio and click Edit.

Next, click the menu icon (the three dots) to the right of the playlist name and select Translate Playlist Info.

Select Translate Playlist Info from the menu icon.

Select Translate Playlist Info from the menu icon.

Next, enter translation info for the playlist title and description, and click Save.

Enter a translated title and description for your YouTube playlist.

Enter a translated title and description for your YouTube playlist.

#4: Translate Your Channel Description

If viewers who speak a different language visit your YouTube channel, you know they’re interested in what they’ve seen so far. One way to help keep their attention is to offer a channel description in their language.

Providing a translated description helps you influence the SEO of your entire channel. If you’ve written a good channel description in English, it will be keyword-rich. By translating these keywords into other target languages, you’re telling YouTube they should be sending those new audiences your way.

The video below shows you how to translate your channel name and description.

#5: Consider Time Zones When Scheduling Video Releases

If you have target audiences in different time zones, finding the perfect video release times can be tricky. It’s best to try to choose a release time that’s optimized for all of your target regions. This means you could potentially have multiple audiences driving your video ranking in YouTube’s algorithm instead of one, leading to more views overall.

While YouTube Analytics is valuable, it doesn’t offer time of day information. Instead, you’ll need to use a third-party tool such as TubeBuddy or VidIQ to get these insights.

Additionally, you can publish an extra social media post to promote your video, choosing a relevant time for your secondary audience.

Promote new YouTube videos at optimal times for secondary language audiences.

Promote new YouTube videos at optimal times for secondary language audiences.

#6: Reply to Commenters in Their Language

If you’re encouraging people from around the world to watch your videos, treat them in the same way as your English-speaking audience in the comments.

You don’t need to carry on lengthy conversations in other languages; a brief acknowledgment of secondary language commenters can go a long way. It may also encourage repeat comments and prompt others to follow suit.

Reply to YouTube comments in the commenter's language.

Reply to YouTube comments in the commenter’s language.

Showing your YouTube audience that you’re willing to go the extra mile will help convert them into subscribers and potentially customers.

#7: Give a Nod to Your Expanding International Audience

Everyone appreciates being recognized. While you don’t need to create dual-language YouTube content to please regional audiences, here are some ways to give them a quick nod:

  • Include them in competitions/giveaways.
  • Recognize their national holidays.
  • Give shout-outs to global commenters.

Remember, video is a more intimate medium than other forms of content marketing. To get your audience to know, like, and trust you, speak to them directly and show that you’re thinking of them. Giving an occasional nod to regional audiences can help significantly.

Optimize Your YouTube Content for Mobile

In parts of the world where YouTube is seeing the fastest growth, Internet speeds and infrastructure aren’t great, and the majority of traffic comes via mobile networks and devices.

For audiences in growing markets like Brazil and India (where YouTube has recently launched a mobile app), it’s even more important to optimize your YouTube content for viewers on mobile.

 Optimize your YouTube video thumbnails for mobile.

Optimize your YouTube video thumbnails for mobile.

Here are some ways to ensure your videos are mobile-friendly:

  • Use YouTube end screens and cards (which are clickable on mobile).
  • Optimize thumbnails so they’re clear at very small sizes.
  • Provide good audio quality to compensate for smaller visuals.

Conclusion

Once you’ve established yourself as an authority with YouTube audiences who speak English, use the tactics above to expand your reach, influence, and customer base with viewers who speak other languages.

Be sure to benchmark your YouTube Analytics before you start and track the changes in your global viewership. If you achieve great success with a secondary international market, consider starting another channel targeted solely to that market.

What do you think? Do you have YouTube subscribers who speak languages other than your own? How do you cater to these audiences on YouTube? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience

0
This post was originally published on this site

social media how toIs your content on YouTube?

Have you considered taking your content global?

In this article, you’ll discover how to expand your reach and influence on YouTube by optimizing your videos for viewers who speak different languages.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.

Reveal Your Ideal International Audiences

You may assume that all of your YouTube videos are being viewed in English-speaking territories, but data shows this is highly unlikely.

Over 70% of views on YouTube come from outside of the U.S., with Asia and Latin America in particular seeing explosive growth. There’s huge potential to grow your YouTube presence if you know how to optimize your content for a global audience.

To find out where your YouTube channel subscribers are located, open Creator Studio and choose Analytics > Subscribers. Then click the Geography tab to see your subscribers’ geographic locations.

Note that the language in which YouTube serves content is based on the user’s language settings, not their location. If you have a large audience that speaks a language other than your own, you can assume many viewers are watching in their local language. Do a quick Google search to confirm the local language.

Find the geographic locations of your YouTube channel subscribers.

Find the geographic locations of your YouTube channel subscribers.

You’ll likely discover that one or two other territories/languages make up a decent share of your audience. This shows that you have appeal in those markets and the potential to grow your audience there even more.

If you have other market/audience data from your website or other social media accounts, take this information into consideration when planning a global YouTube strategy.

Here’s how to get started optimizing your YouTube presence for a global audience.

#1: Translate Video Caption Files

If you’re already transcribing your YouTube videos and uploading the transcriptions as closed-caption files, translate the captions into the secondary language you’ve chosen.

Including secondary language subtitles allows speakers of those languages to understand and engage with your videos. This tactic also improves discoverability because YouTube indexes secondary language captions.

Tyler Oakley's community translated one of his YouTube videos into 68 different languages.

Tyler Oakley’s community translated one of his YouTube videos into 68 different languages.

To translate your captions, you can either do the work yourself or use YouTube’s built-in features.

How YouTube Can Help Transcribe Your Captions

If you don’t want to transcribe the captions yourself, YouTube has several options to help you:

  • Google Translate is built into the system. The reliability of the automatic translations can vary, however.
  • YouTube has partnered with a number of tools that are embedded into the platform that will translate the files for a fee. To find these, go to Info & Settings for your video and click the Translations tab.
  • Your global audience can translate your captions for you. The community will audit the completed captions to ensure they’re correct before going live. To enable this feature, go to Creator Studio, select Translations & Transcriptions > Community Contributions, and click Turn on for All Videos.
Turn on the feature that allows the YouTube community to translate captions for you.

Turn on the feature that allows the YouTube community to translate captions for you.

Upload a Translated Captions File

If you’ve created a translated captions file in one of the supported subtitle formats, you can upload it to your video in Creator Studio. To do this, open the Video Manager, find your video, and click Edit.

Open Creator Studio and click the Edit button for your video in the Video Manager.

Open Creator Studio and click the Edit button for your video in the Video Manager.

On the Subtitles/CC tab, click Add New Subtitles or CC and select the language of your caption file.

Select the language of your YouTube captions file.

Select the language of your YouTube captions file.

Next, click Upload a File.

Choose the option to upload your translated captions file.

Choose the option to upload your translated captions file.

Select your secondary language subtitle file and click Upload.

Navigate to your subtitles file and click Upload.

Navigate to your subtitles file and click Upload.

#2: Translate Video Titles and Descriptions

When you set your YouTube video metadata in multiple languages, the text will be indexed and provided to users based on their language settings (not location). For example, you can set your metadata in German so it’s more likely to be served to German-speaking audiences.

The BBC used this tactic for a Doctor Who trailer that they translated into a number of languages, helping them target important local broadcast markets.

Translate your video title and description into secondary languages.

Translate your video title and description into secondary languages.

Translate the Video Title

To add metadata in another language, open Creator Studio, find your video in the Video Manager, and click the Edit button. Select Info & Settings at the top of the page and scroll down to the Translations tab below the video.

Select English from the drop-down list on the left and set the language you’re translating into on the right. Enter your translated title as you would in English. Don’t worry, though; your title in English will still be served to everyone else.

On the Translations tab for your YouTube video, enter a translated title and description.

On the Translations tab for your YouTube video, enter a translated title and description.

Translating the title not only improves discoverability in search but also makes it more likely that speakers of the secondary language will click on your video.

Translate the Video Description

You can translate the video description into different languages on the same tab where you translated the video title. Just follow the same steps as above.

If you have the language skills, feel free to change the nature of the description instead of just doing a straight translation. Different places and cultures have their own unique traditions, customs, and ways of communicating so try to convey that where possible.

Video descriptions are indexed for search and, like titles, will influence click-through rates because an excerpt will be shown in the search results. The size of the excerpt depends on the viewer’s screen size.

The original description for this Oz-Bowling video is written in German. By using the translation options, they can target countries outside of their home market of Switzerland, including the wider English-speaking market, as seen here:

OZ-Bowling translated its original German title and description into English.

OZ-Bowling translated its original German title and description into English.

Localize Links in the Video Description

On the Translation tab, you can include unique links in your description that won’t appear for other languages. This tactic lets you send different audiences to specific locations online.

Below, the Spanish-language cooking channel Cocina sends English-speaking audiences to an entirely different English-language cooking channel.

Cocina directs English-speaking audiences to a different cooking channel on YouTube.

Cocina directs English-speaking audiences to a different cooking channel on YouTube.

This technique is most effective if you have a dual-language website (or landing pages), are selling products in stores around the world, or have content available for only one region and don’t necessarily want to share it with a global audience.

#3: Translate Playlist Titles and Metadata

YouTube playlists are an effective way to increase your reach without investing a lot of resources or time. If you translate those playlist titles and metadata into secondary languages, you can amplify your reach even further. Also, these new viewers are likely to go on and watch a number of your videos in your playlist.

These playlists from Daily Busking were originally set in Korean but have been translated based on my language set to English.

Translate your playlist titles and descriptions into secondary languages to reach a global viewership.

Translate your playlist titles and descriptions into secondary languages to reach a global viewership.

To translate your playlist info in Creator Studio, choose Video Manager > Playlists and click the Edit button to the right of your playlist.

Open your playlist in Creator Studio and click Edit.

Open your playlist in Creator Studio and click Edit.

Next, click the menu icon (the three dots) to the right of the playlist name and select Translate Playlist Info.

Select Translate Playlist Info from the menu icon.

Select Translate Playlist Info from the menu icon.

Next, enter translation info for the playlist title and description, and click Save.

Enter a translated title and description for your YouTube playlist.

Enter a translated title and description for your YouTube playlist.

#4: Translate Your Channel Description

If viewers who speak a different language visit your YouTube channel, you know they’re interested in what they’ve seen so far. One way to help keep their attention is to offer a channel description in their language.

Providing a translated description helps you influence the SEO of your entire channel. If you’ve written a good channel description in English, it will be keyword-rich. By translating these keywords into other target languages, you’re telling YouTube they should be sending those new audiences your way.

The video below shows you how to translate your channel name and description.

#5: Consider Time Zones When Scheduling Video Releases

If you have target audiences in different time zones, finding the perfect video release times can be tricky. It’s best to try to choose a release time that’s optimized for all of your target regions. This means you could potentially have multiple audiences driving your video ranking in YouTube’s algorithm instead of one, leading to more views overall.

While YouTube Analytics is valuable, it doesn’t offer time of day information. Instead, you’ll need to use a third-party tool such as TubeBuddy or VidIQ to get these insights.

Additionally, you can publish an extra social media post to promote your video, choosing a relevant time for your secondary audience.

Promote new YouTube videos at optimal times for secondary language audiences.

Promote new YouTube videos at optimal times for secondary language audiences.

#6: Reply to Commenters in Their Language

If you’re encouraging people from around the world to watch your videos, treat them in the same way as your English-speaking audience in the comments.

You don’t need to carry on lengthy conversations in other languages; a brief acknowledgment of secondary language commenters can go a long way. It may also encourage repeat comments and prompt others to follow suit.

Reply to YouTube comments in the commenter's language.

Reply to YouTube comments in the commenter’s language.

Showing your YouTube audience that you’re willing to go the extra mile will help convert them into subscribers and potentially customers.

#7: Give a Nod to Your Expanding International Audience

Everyone appreciates being recognized. While you don’t need to create dual-language YouTube content to please regional audiences, here are some ways to give them a quick nod:

  • Include them in competitions/giveaways.
  • Recognize their national holidays.
  • Give shout-outs to global commenters.

Remember, video is a more intimate medium than other forms of content marketing. To get your audience to know, like, and trust you, speak to them directly and show that you’re thinking of them. Giving an occasional nod to regional audiences can help significantly.

Optimize Your YouTube Content for Mobile

In parts of the world where YouTube is seeing the fastest growth, Internet speeds and infrastructure aren’t great, and the majority of traffic comes via mobile networks and devices.

For audiences in growing markets like Brazil and India (where YouTube has recently launched a mobile app), it’s even more important to optimize your YouTube content for viewers on mobile.

 Optimize your YouTube video thumbnails for mobile.

Optimize your YouTube video thumbnails for mobile.

Here are some ways to ensure your videos are mobile-friendly:

  • Use YouTube end screens and cards (which are clickable on mobile).
  • Optimize thumbnails so they’re clear at very small sizes.
  • Provide good audio quality to compensate for smaller visuals.

Conclusion

Once you’ve established yourself as an authority with YouTube audiences who speak English, use the tactics above to expand your reach, influence, and customer base with viewers who speak other languages.

Be sure to benchmark your YouTube Analytics before you start and track the changes in your global viewership. If you achieve great success with a secondary international market, consider starting another channel targeted solely to that market.

What do you think? Do you have YouTube subscribers who speak languages other than your own? How do you cater to these audiences on YouTube? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Reach a Non-English-Speaking YouTube Audience by Thomas Martin on Social Media Examiner.