Latest Facebook & Instagram Updates: Shops

With many companies shifting their business strategies due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a growing emphasis is being placed on the importance of digital and social media opportunities. And although states have begun to reopen their economies, the way customers shop retail locations has likely changed for at least the foreseeable future.

Facebook Shop

In late April of 2020, Facebook announced some new features to help retail shops sell directly to customers using a new “shops” feature on both the Facebook and Instagram platforms. The feature allowed retailers to set up a digital storefront, list products and pricing and accept payments directly from the platforms themselves.

By setting up the “Shop” tab of your Facebook business page, you can promote products — with images, detailed descriptions and pricing — right in your social posts. Furthermore, if you connect your payment processing to the platform, such as Square or Stripe, you can take payments right on the platform — essentially creating a secondary storefront for customers to shop without ever having to leave Facebook, let alone their home.

New Instagram Tools

Instagram has also created and made available some incredible tools for retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the way retailers and businesses are able to position their posts for not only optimal exposure, but in-platform shopping, as well.

When you create your Facebook “Shop” page, as mentioned above, you will have the option to link your Instagram page to this shop — creating the ability to “tag products” in your posts. This allows your customers scrolling Instagram to learn more about a product, from the description and price to the different colors or related items, all from within Instagram.

» Related: Navigating COVID-19: Marketing tips for small businesses

Another new feature rolled out in April from Instagram was the ability to sell gift cards directly in Instagram Stories, providing retailers with a new, more creative way to keep their customers engaged during stay-at-home orders. By linking a payment processor like Square or Stripe, retailers can use the “Gift Card” sticker in an Instagram Story to allow their customers to purchase gift cards, directly from the platform, of any size.

No matter where you currently find yourself as a retailer, the fact that you need to be pivoting to online shopping — if you haven’t already — is becoming abundantly clear. By setting up an online shop, you open up your business to an entirely new audience, as well as a treasure trove of tools to promote your business and your products digitally.


At times like this, SmartSolutions understands that managing the current state of your company in the midst of a global pandemic can be a massive undertaking. Our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan that will not only help you get through the COVID-19 outbreak, but thrive in the online space well after. Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Best Practices: Advertising on social media in 2020

As the economy slowly begins to reopen and the country continues to reel from the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become apparent that the way we do business has been greatly altered. For some, the outbreak and subsequent closure left business owners re-evaluating their marketing strategies, trying to pivot more to online sales and marketing than before.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide small business owners with excellent ways to execute paid advertising campaigns. Here’s a quick list of digital advertising “best practices” your business should be sure to follow if you’re just starting to wade into the waters of social media advertising campaigns.

Know your Objective

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when getting started in social advertising is throwing a lot of money at a lot of ads on a lot of platforms, without really taking the time to first identify their objective. Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? Or are you trying to gain more signups for your email list? Are you selling products? Or does your business provide a service? All of these questions will change the type of campaign you setup within your chosen social media platforms.

Another area to identify when narrowing in on your objectives is to select the proper social media channels — not everything that will resonate with an audience on Facebook is going to be best suited for Twitter. Without taking the time to analyze the pro’s and con’s of each platform’s advertising capabilities, you could be throwing money away.

Identify your Audience

You don’t necessarily need to spend “big money” in social media advertising to get your desired results. Utilizing customer data and current social audience data, identify your key demographic and their interests, purchase behaviors and more using your chosen social media platform’s advertising dashboards. Facebook, for example, will let you narrow your audience down to not only geographical locations, but specific interests — like other pages, publications or products on the platform.

By identifying your audience early, you can help reduce the amount of “wasted” money spent on those that may not convert, instead targeting an audience that is highly likely to follow through on your desired objective.

Keep it Short, Focus on Visual

No matter the social platform, the emphasis has shifted from text to organic, engaging content. For Facebook and Instagram specifically, it is important that your organic posts keep the text to a minimum. When posting to these platforms, make sure you’re keeping your text to a minimum of 1-3 sentences, at most. Also, avoid using links in the text, when possible on Facebook (you should NEVER use links in text on Instagram), instead using the link preview that Facebook provides.

You should also, if possible, try to utilize high-quality video (over images) when creating your ads. Social posts containing video see over 48% more engagement and interaction, with a share rate of 12x that of generic text and/or static image posts. However, if video isn’t readily available, be sure the imagery you are using is high-quality, and relevant to the ads themselves.


At times like this, SmartSolutions understands that managing the current state of your company in the midst of a global pandemic can be a massive undertaking. Our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan that will not only help you get through the COVID-19 outbreak, but thrive in the online space well after. Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Understanding Facebook’s 2020 Algorithm Changes

Image via Ryan L, Twenty20

Unless you work at Facebook, you might be unsure of just how the social media platform’s algorithm works when it comes to sorting content in you or your customers’ news feed.

And then, suddenly, you hear two words that make things even more confusing — “algorithm change.”

In 2018, Facebook made significant changes to the way its algorithm sorts content, most importantly prioritizing organic content — meaning you would be seeing more from your friends and family, and less organic posts from brands and businesses, even if you do choose to follow them.

So as we get into the heart of the 2020 calendar year, what are some of the things your business pages need to know about Facebook’s news feed changes, and how can you best ensure your organic reach won’t be overly affected?

News Feed Changes

As previously mentioned, whenFacebook made a change to the news feed’s algorithm in 2018, it prioritized organic engagement and “meaningful interaction.” You might be asking yourself — what is considered “meaningful?” According to Facebook itself, interactions in the news feed that would be deemed “meaningful” are:

  • Multiple users replying to each other’s comments on a video they watched or an article they read in the news feed
  • A page responding to a user’s comment on their post
  • Users commenting on or interacting with a page’s live video
  • Users responding to page posts shared through Messenger
  • Any interactions that users have with a page post that has been shared by a user

Declining Organic Reach

Image via Carlo Van Stek, Twenty20

While many jump to blame Facebook’s algorithms as the reason their posts and pages are seeing a decreased organic reach, one other explanation is simple: there is more competition for news feed space than ever before. From Facebook’s “Why is Organic Reach Declining?” help article, they explain more:

“More and more content is being created and shared every day. You’ve probably felt this change yourself. Just a few years ago, sharing important moments and experiences, articles you’ve read, and photos and videos of your loved ones was a relatively labor-intensive process. Today, thanks to devices like smartphones, many people can share this content with just a few swipes of the finger or taps of a button.

There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.
As a result, competition in News Feed — the place on Facebook where people view content from their family and friends, as well as businesses — is increasing, and it’s becoming harder for any story to gain exposure in News Feed. In addition to the growth in content, people are also liking more Pages. Facebook’s director of product management for News Feed told TechCrunch this April the total number of Pages liked by the typical Facebook user grew more than 50% last year. With each new Page like, competition in News Feed increases even further.”

More “Personalized” Experiences

One of Facebook’s driving motivators behind news feed changes (besides, of course, privacy issues and government inquiries), is the desire to make Facebook a more personal social media feed.

One of the updates we saw in 2019 was the introduction of customized surveys in the news feed, allowing users to indicate what kind of content they would like to see more of.

Personal use information from close friends, photos, locations, and liking and commenting are also being fed into Facebook’s news feed algorithm, helping the platform figure who you likely have a close relationship with and who you are more likely to want to hear from more.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Increasing Your Social Media Reach in 2020

When it comes to the ever-changing algorithms of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, keeping your company’s organic reach steady can be a challenge. Whether you’re taking on the challenge of building your company’s social audience from scratch, or simply trying to navigate the latest changes, we’re taking a look at some of the best ways you can increase and maintain your social impressions in 2020.

Text? Keep It Short

For Facebook and Instagram specifically, it is important that your organic posts keep the text to a minimum. This is because of somewhat-recent changes made to the social media platforms’ algorithms that place a higher emphasis on organic images and videos that will garner more engagement.

When posting to these platforms, make sure you’re keeping your text to a minimum of 1-3 sentences, at most. Also, avoid using links in the text, when possible on Facebook (you should NEVER use links in text on Instagram), instead using the link preview that Facebook provides.

Video, Video, Video

Did you know that social posts containing video see over 48% more engagement and interaction, with a share rate of 12x that of generic text and/or static image posts? That’s because social media algorithms place a higher priority on seeing organic, engaging video content above almost anything else.

If your company isn’t utilizing videos to tell your story, showcase your products and more, you’re missing out on valuable real estate in the social media news feed.

Engage Often

Another way you can help boost your company’s social media impressions is to drive engagement on your organic posts — and a good way to do this is by interacting with users who are interacting with you.

When someone comments on your video or promotion, don’t just leave them hanging — like and comment back! You can be witty, helpful or even complementary, just so long as you keep it professional (you don’t need your brand to seem rude or unbecoming). By engaging with those that are engaging with you, Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms will see a high-performing post, helping your content to show up higher in the news feed — and, in turn, bringing more engagement to engage with.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

How To: Setup Facebook Business Page

Congratulations, you’re finally ready to get your company’s presence on Facebook up and running. But now, you’re curious how to actually set the business page up — and for that matter, set it up correctly. 

One of the first steps in getting your profile optimized is making sure that you setup as a business profile, which not only helps users differentiate people from brands, but also gives your followers more ways to contact you and discover offerings.

After entering your page’s information and selecting a category, it’s time to get the page setup aesthetically. Whether you have pre-made designs, or need to use a tool like Canva, you need to get a proper profile image and cover photo. If you need help on how to properly size your social media images, we’ve got you covered.

Then it’s time to complete your company’s profile. Head on over to your page and select the “about” tab to enter all pertinent information that helps consumers and fans understand what your company is all about. This includes writing a “story” to tell more about your company, complete hours and business information, add contact information such as a domain and website, and set up your “Learn More” button.

Once your page is setup, it’s time to start planning out your posts and a creating a marketing strategy.

Need help connecting your Facebook page to your Instagram profile? Click here.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Social Media Image Sizing Cheat Sheet

Keeping up with the latest social media image sizing trends can be confusing, we understand. 

What looks good on Instagram won’t show properly on Twitter, and what populates in an Instagram link won’t look the same as LinkedIn. Allow our (free to use) social media image sizing cheat sheet to help!

Note: all image sizes are listed in pixels.

Facebook

One thing to remember when sizing images for Facebook is that different images will display differently on mobile vs. desktop. With most of the traffic nowadays being mobile traffic, be sure that when you’re creating your social images, you’re using mobile-friendly images and templates. 

Your profile photo will be the photo that universally represents your brand across searches and posts on Facebook, so be sure you’re selecting the proper logo and displaying it properly.

A cover photo is particularly tricky, as the image will display differently on both mobile and desktop — so be sure to create an 820 x 312 cover photo, while containing the messaging or particular imagery to 640 x 360.

One of the most common ways of sharing on Facebook is to share links — and with verified domains, you can customize the image with the accompanying link. This is one of the most popular ways to share custom content on Facebook.

 


 

Instagram

One of the most popular photo-sharing social networks (and really, social networks overall), Instagram is the best place to showcase your company’s visual experiences and creativity.

With Instagram being based on visuals and pictures/videos, it’s important to be sure you’re using the correct dimensions. 

You can choose one of several photo sizes on Instagram, but the best is to either post a 1:1 (1080 x 1080) or a 4:5 (800 x 1000) ratio image. While 1:1 fits within the grid more uniformly, the 4:5 ratio choice takes up more of the news feed, giving your brand optimal exposure.

One of Instagram’s hottest features at the moment is stories, a format that allows users to view uploaded videos and photos that are only available for a 24-hour period. The best format when posting created content (that’s non-organic) is 1080 x 1920.

 


 

Twitter

With over 313 million active monthly registered users, Twitter is known worldwide as the “engagement” platform. If there’s a discussion happening around your brand, or support needed, chances are it’s coming from a Twitter account.

Similarly to Facebook (and every other social channel, really), your profile picture will be the main image that represents your brand or company across the platform. Next in importance when setting up your profile will be your cover photo, which will maintain the same aspect ratio on both mobile and desktop.

And finally, the in-stream images, one of the staples of the Twitter timeline. Make sure to keep the image to 440×220 (or 2:1) as any other aspect ratio will display improperly.

 


 

LinkedIn

With over 460 million registered users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network dedicated specifically to the professional realm — so it is imperative that your company’s LinkedIn profile look professional as well.

When it comes to LinkedIn’s imagery style, the most apt comparison is Facebook. The cover photo, profile photo, and shared images are the most common images needed to get your profile on the right track.

 


 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Why Marketing Matters in a Fan, Like & Follow World

When it comes to putting together a business plan for your company, the tasks can seem a bit intimidating. From planning out long-term campaigns to summarizing short-term objectives, to social media marketing, advertising and more, there are many more details that one would originally think.

One of the most integral pieces of a marketing strategy, yet often the most overlooked, is a company’s social media strategy. 

Social media marketing has skyrocketed in importance, and is increasingly separating the good from the bad when it comes to interacting with companies online. Considered your “digital footprint,” it can also be viewed as a “welcome mat” to potential (and existing) customers — meaning when they Google your company, it’s one of the first things they see.

So why does the social piece of a fully-integrated marketing plan matter so much?
 

Creating Brand Experience

In a recent survey done by GlobalWebIndex, 54% of those polled stated they used social media accounts of companies and brands to research products or services before purchasing.

By properly utilizing social media, your company is able to not only dictate and create an experience around your brand, informing your customers and potential customers, but also allows your company to quickly respond to and resolve support issues or complaints from the customers themselves.
 
 
 

Building Trust

Once your company has made a sale or provided a service, the focus shifts from creating a customer to maintaining that customer — in other words, creating “brand loyalty.

Social media not only helps create a trust and loyalty with your current customers, but helps provide some of the most powerful word-of-mouth marketing possible. Over 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family (via HubSpot, 2018).
 
 
 

Continuously Growing

Every minute, there are 400 new users on Facebook, 54,000 links that are shared, 147,000 new uploaded photos and 317,000 status updates. And with nearly 42% of the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people and growing, already active on social media every day—the potential reach of your company or brand is seemingly limitless.

 


 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!