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— Steve Johnson (@amazon_mike) September 14, 2017
Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a simple hot-or-not site to get back at classmates. Nike founder Phil Knight called the now ubiquitious shoe company his crazy idea.” Instagram began with a single photo filter to make turn its users into less-crappy photographers.
You probably couldn’t have predicted their success at the time, but today, all of these ideas have turned into global titans worth billions of dollars.
Since it all starts so simply, I’ll pose this question: Do you have a crazy idea of your own, and have you ever considered turning it into a full-fledged business?
While I can’t answer that question for you, I can tell you what makes Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk such effective and successful founders and entrepreneurs. And who knows — if you see some of these traits in yourself, it might be time to dust off that crazy idea and get to work building a business of your own!
(Side note: If you want some help getting started, HubSpot’s giving away $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 facetime with industry experts to help one lucky winner found the business of their dreams. Check out our #SummerStartup competition before it’s too late!)
5 Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs
1)Entrepreneurs are resilient.
At LinkedIn (and HubSpot, too), there’s a saying that CEO Jeff Weiner throws around frequently, borrowed from the legendary Coach K at Duke University: Next Play.
The thought is, if you miss a wide-open shot, don’t stop to wallow or whine — you haven’t got the time. Instead, pick yourself up, get on the defense, and move on to the next play.
In the startup world, if you want to keep the lights on, you need to be able to hustle under pressure. Whether a big deal has just fallen through, or you’re staring down a massive and unforeseen cost, you have to be able to hit the reset button and attack the next play at 100%.
2) Entrepreneurs are ready to take risks.
Elon Musk is one of my personal heroes. Whether it’s SpaceX, Tesla, or SolarCity, his goal is the same: to save the human race. He’s completely mission-driven, and he’s willing to take crazy risks to make it happen.
For instance, in order to get SpaceX and Tesla off the ground, Musk took nearly his entire fortune from the sale of PayPal ($165M) and invested it into these two businesses — even though it was entirely possible both would fail. He went from millionaire to penniless (and ultimately back again) because he was willing to take a calculated risk to see his dream come to fruition.
While I’m not advising you to take out another mortgage on the house to support your business, very few entrepreneurs make it to the top without facing a few make-or-break moments — and you should be ready to do the same.
THE #COMPETITION IS ON: Pitch your business idea in 25 words or less in the comments below for the chance to win:
I don’t know about you, but I barely print anything anymore.
Seriously, think about it — when’s the last time you had to type Command + P and print out a document? Between e-tickets, virtual payment options, and online signature tools, I think the last thing I printed out was the lease for my apartment.
So you can imagine my surprise when HubSpot’s audience started telling us they still like to print out our ebooks — which are often 20 or 30 pages in length — instead of viewing them on a web page.
In 2017 — during the era of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence — our team here at HubSpot is constantly striving to test and implement the most modern techniques for content creation to provide cool, useful resources for our audience. But as it turns out, our perceptions of what our audience actually values when they download out content were a little … off.
In this post, I’ll dive into our hypothesis, how we tested it, and what we’re learning about our audience — and how they actually like to consume our content.
What We Do
I work on HubSpot’s Marketing Acquisition team creating content offers — such as our downloadable ebooks, guides, and templates — that our audience exchanges their contact information for in order to download them.
If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing methodology we’ve been teaching here at HubSpot for more than 10 years, I operate in the “Convert” stage of the process of helping new people discover and learn about HubSpot:
When a person happens upon HubSpot for the first time online — via a blog post like this one, through social media, or by conducting a Google search — they might see a bold, brightly-colored call-to-action (CTA) encouraging them to learn more about a particular topic or product.
And in order to get that information — from an ebook, a guide, a template, a webinar, or an event — the person has to hand over their contact information. This ensures they can receive an emailed version of the content offer or event registration, and it also converts them from a visitor into a lead.
My job is to create content that visitors are so interested in learning more about that they exchange their phone number, email address, and professional background information. And to make sure we keep converting visitors into leads for the health of HubSpot’s business, I make sure that ebooks, guides, and events are helpful, fascinating, and ultimately educate our audience on how to do inbound marketing.
What We Wondered
For the most part, my team’s job has entailed creating PDFs that visitors can download once they submit a form with their contact information.
More specifically, this has meant creating a lot of PDFs.
And although people were filling out forms and downloading our content offers, we started wondering if we should offer them something different — something more cutting-edge — than a file format created back in 1993. And we wondered if changing the format of our content offers would change conversion rates, too.
We decided to run a survey — and a little test.
We wanted to know if our core persona who we marketed these content offers to still liked PDFs and found them useful. So, how else would we find out than by creating an offer?
I created two different version of the same content offer — one in PDF format, and one in web page format. Then, once someone downloaded the offer, we sent them a thank-you email, and we asked them which format they preferred, and why.
What We Learned
More than 3,000 individuals submitted their information to access the offer, and roughly 9% responded to our question, which gave us more than 300 responses to learn from.
And much to our surprise, 90% of the respondents preferred downloading a PDF to reading our content on a web page.
We gleaned a ton of valuable information about our core audience from this survey, and the qualitative feedback was incredibly helpful, too. Our key takeaways about format preferences were:
Our core persona likes to print offers.
People viewing our content want to be able to download it and come back to it later.
People don’t think our web page offers look as good as PDFs.
Some people are potentially defaulting to the format they know best.
- People liked having both print and online versions.
It’s incredibly helpful to learn what’s going on behind the decisions and choices our audience makes to inform future strategy when it comes to content creation. But this information leaves us with a challenge, too: How do we get our audience excited about content living on interactive web pages, too?
Content living on web pages can be crawled by Google to improve websites’ domain authority (and SEO superpowers) — and PDFs can’t be. So we’re making it our mission to keep offering our audience different options for consuming content the way they want to — while innovating and testing new ways to offer content our core persona is just as excited about in a web-based format.
I’ll be back with more details about that next experiment, but in the meantime, download one of our latest content offers, and let us know if you like the format in the comments.
What’s your opinion? PDF or web page? Share with us what you learned in the comments below.
For a three-person digital marketing team like ours, the prospect of having a big ad budget seemed like a distant dream. So when we were suddenly given $100K to spend on Facebook ads, we were positively giddy.
And unbelievably nervous.
As a lean SaaS startup, we have to be very wise with our marketing investments. Couple that with our low cost-per-sale ($24/monthly for our starter plan), and you can see that being cost-effective while still spending on ads is a challenge.
In May of 2016, we had the honor of working with Facebook Canada. We received a small grant to kickstart our advertising initiatives, and had the opportunity to spend two full days with one of their ad reps.
Other than working with the Facebook team, we are completely in-house. On one hand this was an advantage — since we could make changes to the program in seconds rather than days — on the other hand, we were on our own for creative, landing pages, and analytics.
We ran an early prototype campaign with some decent success. In fact, it performed in the same neighbourhood as our other digital advertising initiatives. Cool beans.
But that was just the start. We’d tasted success, and knew that we were only scratching the surface. So, naturally, we made a pitch to our company’s executive team to increase our digital marketing budget so we could prove that Facebook was a viable avenue for growth. Our commitment to the business: generate trials at a cost-effective rate of $50/trial.
Our pitch was a success, and we found ourselves with a considerable ad budget. Now it was real — it was time to build out an end-to-end Facebook Ads strategy.
Admittedly, we were quite nervous. Our credibility was on the line.
Here’s what we ended up learning from that process, wrinkles and all. Read on to the end to see our results.
Lesson 1: Fully commit resources or your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will rise swiftly.
We received our first lesson early on. We had become complacent with the success of our ad creative in May 2016, and tried to replicate that again. Using the same ad creative from AdWords, we launched on Facebook Ads. Initially, it worked. We generated trials at an acceptable rate.
But we mistakenly saw this initial success as a sign that we could set it and forget it. We went back to focusing on our other digital marketing strategies, like creating organic content, while our CPAs gradually rose.
Facebook CPAs have a nasty habit of rising suddenly — I mean, literally blowing up overnight. One morning, we logged into our marketing dashboard and saw that we were generating trials at twice our target CPA of $50/trial. This was crazy business, and we needed to act fast.
Fixing this problem took a lot of time and resources, and a few calls with our dedicated Facebook Ads guru (shout-out to the brilliant Mike Empey). The problem was Ad Frequency.
What happened was that our Facebook ad frequency had risen so high that our addressable market was seeing ads 3-5 times a day. Ugh. So of course CPAs rose accordingly — we were irritating people to no end.
We resolved to take two actions: first, we swapped in new creative. In fact, we created 5 new ads to push into market. This had an immediate impact, and gave us a deep understanding of how detrimental ad fatigue can be.
Second, and more importantly, we committed to a new process for our creative. We call it “the conveyor belt.” Here’s how it works:
- Week 1: Design and launch new ad creative in 1-3 ad sets. Test and analyze results.
- Week 2: Push all variations to all ad sets. Turn off old ads. Analyze initial results.
- Week 3: Pick winning variations from ad sets. Analyze and deconstruct results.
- Week 4: Assess week 1-3 learnings. Apply those learning to new ad creative.
The side benefit of this process is that we’ve tested so many ad variants that we now have a repository of “winning variants” that we can quickly call out of retirement if our CPAs rise.
Lesson 2: Segment your audiences to effectively manage ad set CPAs.
Initially, I think we underestimated the amount of ad sets we’d need to manage. Looking back, I cringe to think we only launched our prospecting campaign with three ad sets: USA, Canada, and Europe (today we manage between 50 and 70 ad sets, depending on ad performance).
We weren’t even going beyond some basic audience targeting.
No age specification. No regional targeting. No device targeting. Just a giant ad campaign.
We were confident in our ad creative and landing page conversion rates, but forgot the importance of audience profiling.
It’s no wonder that our results were really hard to interpret. I remember naively saying to Valerie Hamilton, our digital marketing specialist, “Europe is performing well today. What’s the story?”
We didn’t know. Were women converting better than men? Was a certain age bracket doing better than another one? We had no clue.
And at this point our CPAs were still floating about 25% higher than our target. It would have been a dramatic understatement to say we had some optimization work to do.
We started to analyze our lead generation activities across demographic lines. We used a combination of Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce data. What we found out was that we did remarkably better with people aged between 24-45. This totally makes sense, too.
Folks older than 45 are typically in a more senior role, and rarely the ones actually building or trialing our product. Instead, they are often the ones marshaling their team to demo our software.
Our first action was to split out this age range and only focus on where we saw the most success. By cutting more expensive CPA audiences, we were able to reduce our CPA.
Since then, we’ve adjusted our messaging to the >45 crowd by including more language about “their team” and “data transparency.” We’ve also focused a lot more of our ad buys on video assets instead of advertising our free trial.
It’s worth mentioning that we had good reasons for avoiding audience segmentation. First, we didn’t have the capacity to manage dozens of ad sets. Second, we wanted to keep our addressable market as large as possible and let our learnings help us figure out where to whittle down.
Lesson 3: Geographic bidding makes sense when you know regional lifetime values (LTVs).
The other side of the demographic coin for us was splitting out geographies. Treating Europe as a homogeneous advertising market just didn’t make sense for our business at the time (see Lesson 8, where we experimented with world-wide delivery).
While our European campaign was performing well enough, it was clear that we were missing an opportunity. For instance, we knew that leads from specific geographies often convert to customers at a much higher rate, and that their LTV was much higher on average.
In broad outreach campaigns, for example, we saw that we were attracting a high number of leads at $15/trial from Greece and Hungary. But while we have great customers in that part of the world, we’ve run a number of internal reports that show paid leads from that region convert at a much lower rate.
Despite paying such a low CPA, these leads were not converting and we were paying far too much for them. Internal reports (plus complaints from our sales team) had us digging deep into the data.
This is when the lesson clicked for us; we realized it was okay to spend a lot more on leads from, say, the Netherlands, because their LTV and conversion rates were much, much higher.
By splitting out different geographies, we enhanced our ability to match CPA targets to an appropriate LTV.
Lesson 4: Matching ad creative and landing pages.
This is textbook digital marketing, true. But it was a challenge for our scrappy digital marketing team to prioritize this while managing a $100K budget and driving all the day-to-day campaigns required for a fast-growing startup.
Plus, we could rationalize pushing this aside because our landing page was performing reasonably well.
But when you’re spending $100K and your CPAs continue to fluctuate, every conversion opportunity is magnified ten-fold.
With our small team and only one dedicated designer, we needed to call in the big guns. We went with Unbounce, and it’s had a measureable impact on our landing page conversion rates, helping us grab an 18% conversion rate for Facebook Ads leads.
As we design ad creative, we create its sister landing page. From there, we can make tweaks to the page to improve conversion rates. Little things like form position, who we featured in our testimonials, and even which button colours we chose amounted to some big improvements.
Lesson 5: The one-two punch of video advertisement.
We’ve always been huge users of video to demo the product and create awareness. We’ve created explainer videos that talk about our primary unique selling proposition and give a glimpse into the product, and these videos have been quite successful in garnering views, holding attention spans, and increasing conversions.
As we launched on Facebook, we put ad dollars behind one particular video. Again, good success, but we felt like we could do better.
This decision was more on gut feel (it still counts!) that video had a big role to play. I mean, just scroll through your Facebook feed right now. The challenge for us was that we’d committed to the business that we’d generate trials at or below our target CPA for that entire $100K.
Video doesn’t have that wonderful direct line to trial that a prospecting campaign does. So, we took a chance, and our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, called up an Ottawa video production company we now affectionately call “The Rascals.”
We created a fun, 35-second explainer video that we thought would play well on Facebook and Instagram. The fact is that we generated a hundred thousand views before we could blink.
How? People were actually sharing the video with friends and family, even tagging others in the comments section. We noticed lively conversations taking place directly on the posts themselves, as if the videos weren’t advertisements at all.Here’s that video:
Facebook makes it easy to create remarketing programs by creating lists of users that engage with your video. We set up a list for anyone that watched more than 10 seconds of the video. This was a new cost-effective avenue for generating leads well within our target CPA. Video remarketing leads typically come in at about $30/trial, including the initial video buy.
More importantly, it expanded our reach on Facebook and Instagram exponentially. And we’ve seen traffic to our site go up as a direct result of these ads.
Lesson 6: Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.
When we launched on video, we didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of views? Engagement? Shares?
As a metrics-obsessed company, we knew we needed to establish a KPI. After doing some research and chatting with peers and the account team at Facebook, we decided on Cost-Per-10-second view.
We chose this KPI to help us drive better video engagement and brand recognition. If someone was interested enough to pass over cat videos and baby pictures to watch 10 seconds of our B2B software video, then we were doing something right.
This KPI has fed directly into our production process, too. We’ve worked with The Rascals to ensure that each video includes text to account for the fact that Facebook’s default setting is to mute video. We’ve also added captions to the mix because videos on Facebook autoplay with the sound off; a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played with no sound. We would have had disastrous results if we’d relied entirely on the audio within the video to tell our story.
The overall result has been slashing our Cost-Per-10-second view by 50%. This is huge because it means for the same dollar of spend, we’re effectively doubling our reach. And you can bet this metric is front and center on our internal social media dashboards.
Lesson 7: Ask for advice and trade ideas.
I could rant for days about how much we learned from Facebook- they were truly fantastic, and the attention we received ensured we’d be successful. That said, there are no special or secret tricks. You can find everything through a Google search for “Facebook Ads Tips.”
Putting all those tips and best practices together into a single campaign, however, is where the real challenge lies.
Throughout the process we sought advice from those who’ve been there before us, who have been learning from others years before we even thought of going this route. It probably comes as no surprise that our team now pays close attention to what other advertisers do on Facebook. In particular, I think Shopify is a leader in this respect. They do a great job of integrating video.
We’ve also struck up a friendship with the team over at PageCloud , and have enjoyed freely sharing ideas. Many of those conversations have spawned new ad campaigns and experiments. Which leads me to …
Lesson 8: Boldly experiment.
We allocated a percentage of our budget towards experimentation. When we heard about a new product from Facebook called World-Wide Delivery (WWD) we sort of rolled our eyes and remembered what we had learned about geographic bidding from Lesson 3.
But our friend Mike Empey at Facebook persuaded us to give it a try. So we did. What did we have to lose?
The experiment was a huge success and with just a small percentage of our daily budget we were able to practically double lead volume. In fact, this contributed to us setting daily trial record numbers for 3 days in a row.
When the dust had settled, we analyzed the lead quality, made adjustments to our copy and landing pages, and added WWD campaigns to our arsenal of ads.
Lesson 9: Advertising is still top of the funnel.
Asking someone to start a trial of your software is a lot like calling a friend and asking them to catch up with you over coffee in an hour. The message is out of the blue and entails a time commitment. No matter what their interest level is, they simply may not be able to do it right then.
As we stressed about hitting our trial CPA numbers, we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions.
In chasing those numbers, we ended up making a series of small decisions that led to us making a big mistake: we’d cut so much content from our landing page that it had basically become just an image with a signup form.
Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off. Some people were getting so upset that they were commenting on the ads themselves.
At this point, we’d driven down CPAs to about $10 under our target CPA. Our hands were sore from the amount of high-fives we’d collected and shoulders we’d patted. But in that process we committed an egregious error: we forgot about the customer.
We were so caught up in the metrics that we forgot that leads are people.
So, we did the only reasonable thing. We added essential content back into our landing pages (including video content from Vidyard into every landing page), and worked on optimizing that content so the customer could wring as much value from it as possible.
Of course, CPAs rose. But our ad relevance and positive scores rose along with it.
That was the kind of customer-centric tradeoff we were willing to take.
Whether you’re setting up a brand new Facebook Page for your brand, or you just want to make the most of your existing one, it’s probably a smart move — Facebook is home to nearly 2 billion monthly active users.
It should be easy enough, right? Just slap together a photo, a couple of posts, and expect the leads and customers to roll on in, right?
If you’re not creating a Facebook Page with a comprehensive strategy to get noticed, Liked, and engaged with, the chances of actually generating leads and customers from it are pretty slim. For example, you can’t just choose any picture — you have to choose one that’s the right dimensions, high-resolution, and properly represents your brand.
But it doesn’t end there — so we compiled the tips below to make sure you’re creating an engaging page that takes full advantage of everything Facebook marketing has to offer.
14 Facebook Business Page Tips
1) Don’t create a personal profile for your business.
We’ve come across many well-meaning marketers and entrepreneurs who create personal profiles for their brands, instead of an actual Facebook Business Page. That puts you at a huge disadvantage — you’re missing out on all of the content creation tools, paid promotional opportunities, and analytics/insights that come with a Facebook Business Page. Plus, a personal profile would require people to send you a friend request in order to engage with you, and the last thing you want to do is make that more difficult for customers.
And while you’re at it — don’t create an additional public, professional profile associated with your business. For example, I already have a personal profile on Facebook that I largely keep private; the practice I’m talking about would be if I created a second, public one under the name AmandaZW HubSpot, or something along those lines. People usually do that to connect with professional contacts on Facebook, without letting them see personal photos or other posts. But the fact of the matter is that creating more than one personal account goes against Facebook’s terms of service.
2) Avoid publishing mishaps with Page roles.
We’ve all heard those horror stories about folks who accidentally published personal content to their employers’ social media channels — a marketer’s worst nightmare. So to avoid publishing mishaps like those, assign Facebook Business Page roles only to the employees who absolutely need it for the work they do each day. And before you do that, be sure to provide adequate training to those who are new to social media management, so they aren’t confused about when they should be hitting “publish,” what they should be posting, if something should be scheduled first, and who they should be posting it as.
To assign these, on your business page, click Settings, then click Page Roles.
Also, when sharing content on behalf of your brand, make sure you’re posting it as your brand, and not as yourself. You can check that by going into your settings and clicking Page Attribution.
3) Add a recognizable profile picture.
You’ll want to pick a profile picture that’s easy for your audience to recognize — anything from a company logo for a big brand, to a headshot of yourself if you’re a freelancer or consultant. Being recognizable is important to getting found and Liked, especially in Facebook Search. It’s what shows up in search results, pictured at the top of your Facebook Page, the thumbnail image that gets displayed next to your posts in people’s feeds so choose wisely.
When choosing a photo, keep in mind that Facebook frequently changes its picture dimensions, which you can find at any given time here. As of publication, Page profile pictures display at 170×170 pixels on desktop, and 128×128 pixels on smartphones.
4) Choose an engaging cover photo.
Next, you’ll need to pick an attractive cover photo. Since your cover photo takes up the most real estate above the fold on your Facebook Page, make sure you’re choosing one that’s high-quality and engaging to your visitors, like this one from MYOB’s Facebook Page:
Keep in mind that, like profile images, Facebook Page cover photo dimensions also frequently change, so we advise keeping an eye on the official guidelines. As of publication, Page cover photos display at 820×312 pixels on computers, and 640×360 pixels on smartphones.
5) Add a call-to-action (CTA) button.
SinceFacebook first launched the feature in December 2014, the options for brands to add call-to-action buttons to their Facebook Page’s have vastly expanded. These are things like Watch Video, Sign Up,” or “Book Now” — and each can be customized with a destination URL or piece of content of their choosing.
It’s a great way for marketers to drive more traffic to their websites, or to get more eyeballs on the Facebook content they want to promote. This is a great way for marketers to drive traffic from their Facebook Business Page back to their website. Check out how Mandarin Oriental uses the “Book Now” button in this way, to make it easier for viewers to make reservations.
To add a call-to-action to your Page, click the blue Add a Button box.
You’ll then be able to choose which type of CTA you want to create, and which URL or existing content on your Facebook Page you want it to direct visitors to. To get data on how many people are clicking it, simply click the drop-down arrow on your button and select View Insights.
6) Fill out your ‘About’ section with basic information, and add company milestones.
We’ve arrived at one of the most important sections of your Facebook Page: the ‘About’ section.
Although visitors no longer see a preview of your About text when they land on your page — instead, they have to click on the About option on the left-hand column next to your content — it’s still one of the first places they’ll look when trying to get more information about your page.
Even within the About section, however, there are many options for copy to add. Consider optimizing the section that best aligns with your brand — a general description, a mission, company information, or your story — with brief, yet descriptive copy. By doing so, your audience can get a sense of what your Page represents before they decide to Like it.
You might also want to populate sections that allow you to record milestones and awards — like when you launched popular products and services — as well as the day/year your company was founded, or when you hosted major events.
7) Post photos and videos to your Timeline.
Visual content has pretty much become a requirement of any online presence, including social media channels. After all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
And while photos are a wonderful way to capture moments and an actual look at your brand, you should probably invest a good amount of time and other resources into video. The 2017State of Inbound report cited video as the main disruptor, with 24% of marketers naming it as a top priority.
Watch video is one of the CTAs that Facebook allows brands to add to their Pages for a reason — because it’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content. But it’s not just pre-recording videos. According to the social media channel’s newsroom, People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live. So don’t be afraid to give viewers an in-the-moment look at what your organization does, but do make sure you’re prepared.
Not sure what your videos should look like? Here’s a fun one that we put together on business lingo.
8) Determine the ideal timing and frequency for your posts.
An important consideration in your Facebook content strategy should be how frequently you post, and when. If you don’t post frequently enough, you won’t look as reliable or authentic — after all, how much faith do you put in a brand that hasn’t updated its Facebook Page for several months? Post too often, however, and people might get sick of having their feeds flooded with your content.
Here’s where a social media editorial calendar can be particularly helpful. Like any other online content, it can help you establish a schedule for when you share particular posts according to season or general popularity. You’ll probably have to adjust your calendar several times, especially in the earliest stages of setting up your Page, since you’ll want to check the performance of your updates in your Facebook Insights (which you can navigate to via the tab at the very top of your page). Once you’ve observed popular times and other analytics for your first several posts, you can tailor your posting frequency and strategy accordingly.
Wondering how to schedule posts? You can either use an external publishing tool like the Social Inboxwithin HubSpot software, or the Facebook interface itself. For the latter, click the arrow next to the Publish button and click Schedule Post.
9) Leverage Facebook’s targeting tools.
Facebook allows you to target certain audiences with specific updates — be it gender, relationship or educational status, age, location, language, or interests, you can segment individual page posts by these criteria.
Just click the small bullseye symbol on the bottom of the post you want to publish, and you can set metrics for both a preferred audience, and one you think might not want to see your content.
10) Pin important posts to the top of your page.
When you post new content to your Facebook Page, older posts get pushed farther down your Timeline. But sometimes, you might want a specific post to stay at the top of your page for longer — even after you publish new updates.
To solve for this, Facebook offers the ability to “pin” one post at a time to the top of your page. You can use pinned posts as a way to promote things like new lead-gen offers, upcoming events, or important product announcements.
To pin a post, click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post on your page, and click ‘Pin to Top.’ It will then appear at the top of your page, flagged with a little bookmark. Just keep in mind that you can only have one pinned post at any given time.
11) Decide whether you want Facebook fans to message you privately.
If you want your Facebook fans to be able to privately message you directly through your page, definitely enable the messages feature. You can do so by going to your settings, clicking on General on the left-hand column, and then looking for Messages on the list of results.
We recommend enabling messaging on your page to make it as easy as possible for your fans to reach out to you — but only do so if you have the time to monitor and respond to your messages. Facebook Pages now have a section that indicates how quickly a brand responds to messages, so if you don’t want that section saying that you’re slow to answer, you might just want to skip enabling that feature.
12) Monitor and respond to comments on your page.
Speaking of monitoring the interactions your fans have with your page, don’t forget about comments. You can monitor and respond to comments via the ‘Notifications’ tab at the very top of your page. While it may not be necessary to respond to every single comment you receive, you should definitely monitor the conversations happening there (especially to stay on top of potential social media crises.
13) Promote your page to generate more followers.
Now that you’ve filled your page with content, it’s time to promote the heck out of it.
One of the first things you can do is to create an ad promoting your Page. To do that, click the three dots at the top menu bar above your posts and select Create Ad. From there, Facebook will let you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals — things like reach, traffic, or general brand awareness. Choose yours, then scroll down and click continue.
After that, you can choose your targeted audience (similar to what you did with your promoted posts above), where on Facebook you want it to be placed, and your budget — you can learn more about paying for Facebook Ads here.
You’ll probably also be asked to add some creative assets or copy. Remember, you’re paying for this, so choose something that’s going to grab attention, but also has high quality and represents your brand well.
14) Finally, measure the success of your Facebook efforts.
There are a couple of ways to execute this step. You can use something like the social media reports tool in your HubSpot software, and you can dig into your Page’s Insights, which allow you to track Facebook-specific engagement metrics. Here, you’ll be able to analyze things like the demographics of your Page audience and, if you reach a certain threshold, the demographics of people engaging with your page and posts. As we mentioned earlier, the latter is especially helpful to modify your Facebook content strategy to publish more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. You can access your Facebook Page Insights via the tab at the top of your page.
How have you set up top-notch Facebook Pages? Let us know in the comments.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
If you fell behind on your spring cleaning this year, it’s okay — so did I. I haven’t put away my winter coats, I haven’t unpacked all of my moving boxes, and I haven’t cleaned my computer’s desktop lately.
You know what I’m talking about — all those forgotten documents and miscellaneous screenshots that have been slowly taking over our screens for weeks — and sometimes, even months.
To help you keep your desktop tidy, we’ve come up with a few helpful tips. From creating a folder system, to trying out a new desktop design, these suggestions are designed to help you unbury yourself and stay productive in the process.
7 Computer Desktop Organizing Tips
1) Create a folder system.
Be honest: How many files do you have on your desktop right now? 10? 20? 100? Have you lost count? If your desktop looks anything like the image below, you may want to start by moving everything into one folder to clear the air.
To create a new folder on a Mac, right-click on your desktop and select New Folder from the menu. The folder will appear on your desktop instantly. To change the folder’s name, double-click on “untitled folder,” and you’ll be able to edit a text box with a new name.
To create new folders in Windows, right-click on your desktop and select New > Folder from the menu. To rename the folder, click on it, enter a new name, and then press Enter.
Once you have your folders created, you can begin to divvy up your files. How you choose to organize your folder system will be dependent on your specific role. For example, I frequently write blog posts that contain a lot of visual examples. To simplify the process and keep a record of what I’ve included in the past, I’ve created two folders: Current Examples and Example Archive.
When I’m rounding up examples for a new post from the web, I drop them in the Current Examples folder. This way, I can easily locate them when I go to write the post. Once the post is prepped and scheduled, I move the images to the Example Archive folder to make room for my next post.
2) Choose a naming convention for your files.
One of my biggest worries when I implemented a folder system was that it would be too difficult to find my files once I got organized — ironic, right?
But between documents, screenshots, and other files for the multiple blog posts I work on each week, there are a lot of different items I’m dropping into folders that can get lost in the shuffle.That’s why I started using a naming convention to organize my files, so I could quickly find them once they were organized into folders.
Choose a naming convention for types of files, topics, projects, or any other way that makes it easy for you to search for them. For example, when I’m creating files for HubSpot Marketing Blog posts, I use this naming convention:
This way, it’s easy for me to find files by typing Command + F (Mac) or Control + F (Windows) and typing in the naming convention to narrow your search:
This way, I don’t have to click into my perfectly organized, but likely very full, folders to find exactly what I need. Instead, I can simply search for and immediately find files by using my naming convention.
3) Experiment with a sectioned wallpaper.
Want to take your folder organization a step further?
While your desktop wallpaper is a great place for you to display a photo of your dog or latest vacation, there are also a ton of wallpaper options available that can actually help you stay organized. These wallpaper designs — in combination with your folder system — make it easy to corral specific sections of your work. (It’s kind of like using iPhone folders … but for your desktop.)
To get you started, we’ve included a few options to choose from below.
4) Use a Chrome extension to pre-organize your screenshots.
Screenshots are one of the biggest contributors to desktop clutter. When you capture a screenshot on a Mac (Command + Shift + 3) or PC (Alt + Print Screen), the image saves directly to your desktop. And if screenshotting is something you find yourself doing a lot, you’ll notice that it doesn’t take very long for it to make a mess of things.
To avoid having your screenshots automatically save to your desktop, you can use a screen capture tool such as the Awesome Screenshot extension for Google Chrome. Not only does this tool provide you with more advanced screen capture capabilities — annotations, selective capture, delayed capture, etc. — but it also aims to simplify the way you store your shots.
With Awesome Screenshot, you have the option to manually choose where you’d like to save your file, or you can create an account where you can save files to specific projects.
The latter will require you to sign up for a free account, but here’s how it works:
- Capture an image by clicking the extension and selecting an option from the menu.
- Crop and annotate your screenshot as you see fit, and then hit Done.
- Select your desired option for saving from the menu on the right. If you’d like to save the image to a project’s folder on Awesome Screenshot, select Save on Awesome Screenshot at the top.
- Insert a name for your file and identify which project you’d like to save it to by selecting an option from the menu. To save it, hit Upload.
- To access your file at any time, visit the appropriate project folder in your account dashboard.
- When you add screenshots to a project folder, you can then collaborate with other members of your team by sharing the folder, adding point-specific comments, further annotations, etc.
5) Get inspired by a motivational wallpaper.
Not a fan of the sectioned off wallpaper? No worries. There are other wallpaper options that can give you the motivation to stay organized.
According to psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader, inspirational or motivational messages often serve as a powerful incentive for us to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading it. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” he explains.
So if you’re looking for a little coaching to help you stay organized, adding an inspirational message to your desktop can serve as a friendly, daily reminder.
Want to create your own motivational wallpaper? Follow the instructions below to learn how using Canva.
- Click on “Use custom dimensions” in the top right-hand corner and add your dimensions. Some of the most common desktop wallpaper resolutions are: 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, and 1920 x 1080.
- To add a background image, click on Elements > Photos. You can also choose a plain color or pattern background by selecting Background.
- Select a photo and adjust the size using the resizing points around it.
- To add text, click on Text and choose a heading or template from the options listed. Adjust the template text by adding your quote of choice. (I chose a quote from Barbara Hemphill on clutter.)
- To save your creation, click on the Download button in the top right-hand corner and select Image: high quality (PNG).
To set this image as your wallpaper on a Mac or Windows computer, refer to the following tutorials:
6) Invest in a storage solution.
If you’re constantly dealing with managing and organizing a lot of files, you may want to invest in an application like Dropbox to better manage your assets.
Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage and file synchronization. Users can create a folder on their computers that syncs with the service, making it easy to access the content no matter what device you’re using. Rather than dragging everything onto your desktop, simply store it in Dropbox where you can quickly and easily search for it whenever you need it.
You can also share folders with other users to create a central space for all of your shared files. This helps to prevent any bottlenecking that might occur when others are forced to wait on you to locate a specific file.
Clean desktop. Organized files. It’s a win-win for everyone.
7) Schedule a weekly or monthly cleaning.
As shown by the example we used back in the first tip, it’s easy for your desktop to get kind of, well … scary.
To ensure that you’re keeping up with desktop maintenance on a regular basis, set a recurring event on your calendar to remind you to get rid of anything unnecessary. This can be a weekly or monthly event, depending on how much damage you typically do.
How do you organize your desktop for optimal productivity? Share with us in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
George S. Patton once said:”If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
In business, stirring the proverbial pot can be a good thing. And while negotiating these matters can be challenging — especially when they involve our teammatesor bosses — differences in opinion will often lead to progress.
The most important thing to remember is that there is a big difference between healthy, productive disagreements and heated arguments. In order for two parties to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, there has to be a level of professionalism and respect.
While navigating this territory can feel like a slippery slope, we’ve defined a fewtips below to help you speak your mind, without letting the situation spiral out of control.
How to Disagree (Without Being Disagreeable)
1) Be mindful of your tone.
Research has found that the sound of a person’s voice has a lot to do with how he or she is perceived.In fact, the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as their message,according to a study of 120 executives’ speeches.
So if you’re raising your voice during a disagreement, will it negatively impact the delivery of your message? Or will it help you command attention?
MIT research fellow, Michael Schrage, suggests that your tone is often dependent on the situation, as well as the person you’re disagreeing with.
“If you’re yelling because humiliating and demeaning people is part of who you are, you’ve got bigger professional issues than your decibel level,” heexplains.”But if raising your voice because you care is part of who you are as a person and communicator, your employees should have the courtesy and professionalism to respect that.”
The lesson? Be in control of your own voice. If you feel yourself becoming agitated, take a moment to pause and think about the situation before choosing to raise your voice.
2) Don’t use “you” statements.
Falling back on “you” statements when you’re disagreeing with someone can easily be perceived as combative. Just look at the statements below to see what I mean.
“You always ask me to complete a last-minute assignment when you know that I already have my hands full” sounds more argumentative than, “I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of work on my plate. Is there anyone else that can take that on?”
Notice the difference?
Let’s look at a few more:
- “You never fact-check yourreports before sending them in,”vs. “I noticed a few errors in your last report. Would it help if I showed you my approach for fact-checking?”
- “You always forget to attach documents when you send an email,” vs. “I had trouble locating the document you referenced in the email, mind sending it again?”
- “You should pay more attention to what’s being said in the meetings,” vs. “I find it helpful to take notes during meetings to make sure I don’t miss anything.”
“Most people don’t like being judged or told what to do, and when we use ‘you’ language plus directives, it’s easy to arouse in others feelings of resentment and defensiveness,” explains professional communication specialist, Preston Ni.
While there are situations where someone should be held accountable for their actions, leaving “you” statements out of small disagreements can help to ensure things don’t escalate into an argument.
3) Avoidfiller words orhesitantphrases.
Filler words like “um,” “ah,” and “uh” tend to signal doubt. These disruptions can instantly take away from the credibility of your claim, and also serve as a distraction for those listening.
ResearchersJohn Sparks and Charles Areniset out to prove the influenceof these hesitations by asking 118 undergraduate students to read a transcript of a testimonial about a scanner. One version of the testimonial used hesitations such as “I mean” and “um,” and the other was fluid with no filler words. The results of the study revealed that when hesitant language was used, it was more difficult to convince the listener that the scanner was worth buying — even when it was positioned as a better, lower priced scanner.
Point being, it’s important to be aware of these placeholders– andlimit the use of them during disagreements. One way to work these fillers out of your speech? Trywearing an elastic band around your wristand shifting the elastic to your other wrist any time you catch yourself using “um” or “uh.”
4)Do your research.
To make a strong case against your opposition, it’s important that you do your research.
Let’s say, for example, that you and your team are planning your marketing strategy for the quarter. Your boss is set on keeping up with your direct mail and print efforts, but you think it’s time that the business head in a new direction — an inbound direction.
Rather than base your suggestions on what you think could happen if you shifted gears, start the conversation with a data-backed assessment of why the current strategy isn’t working and what you can do today, next month, or next quarter to fix it.
But don’t just throw around numbers. “Tie data like this into the overall vision and goals of the business,”explains John Bonini, Growth Director at Litmus.“A statistic in and of itself isn’t all that impressive. If you’re looking to resonate with your more traditional boss, provide context.”
This type of strategic preparation will make it difficult for others to poke holes in your assessment. It will also help to communicate that you’re passionate about your resistance and that you’re not just disagreeing to disagree.
5) Don’t get personal.
When a disagreement gets heated, it’s easy for people to call upon “low blows.” These personal attacks are often used as an intimidation tactic or defense mechanism, but that doesn’t make them appropriate in business situations — or any situation for that matter.
When disagreeing with someone, your claims should be based on the outcome over thatyou are debating, not on whatthe other personhas done (or not done) in the past.
Try to make sure the conversation stays focused on facts, not personalities, management professor Nate Bennett told QSR. “And if the other person gets personal, remember that you are not your job.”
“It’s a lot easier to embrace criticism of your work when you don’t let your work define who you are,”insists Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. “Even if someone says something out of line, avoid the itch to retaliate by keeping this notion in mind. Instead, refocus the discussion back to the subject matter at hand.”
6)Be mindful of your body language.
When communicating disagreement,it’s important to be aware of our non-verbal body language. You might be saying one thing, but if your gestures or facial expressions suggest another, it’s easy to rub someone the wrong way.
“Avoid putting up a barrier like a hand, your bag, or whatever else you have between yourself and thepersonwith whom you are speaking,”urgesformer U.S. Army interrogator and body language expertGregHartley.
If you want to disagree politely, try raising your eyebrows slightly to convey receptivity, or smile and nod along while others are speaking. This way, when it’s your turn to talk, those around you will feel that you’ve actually listened to their take on things.
7) Know your non-negotiables.
When you disagree with someone or something, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be well received. In fact, oftentimes, it probably won’t be. But then what?
In an effort to disagree respectfully, you’ll need to learn how to compromise. Aside from the obvious differences, business relationships are a lot like any other relationship we share with someone — even a significant other.
That said, go into every disagreement knowing your non-negotiables — things that you absolutely aren’t willing to compromise on. While this approach may vary depending on the exact situation, it will often make it easier for you to prioritize what matters and what you’re willing to reconsider. At the end of the day, it’s all about give and take.
8) Assume best intent.
Here at HubSpot, our Chief People Officer, Katie Burke, has a great guiding principle: Assume best intent.
Taking a page out of Pepsico Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi’s book, Burke believes in the importance of coming into discussions, meetings, and relationships assuming the best in your fellow colleagues, friends, and family members. As Nooyi puts it:
When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed … You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.'”
If you know you’re headed into a conversation, a meeting, or an email exchange where you might disagree with someone, pause before reacting immediately. Instead, take a moment to assume the best of the people around you. For however strongly you feel about your position, the other person you’re engaging with does as well, and working together from a place of mutual respect and kindness will ensure better results — and relationships.
9) Know when to take a break.
In many cases, a disagreement or challenge won’t be solved in a matter of one email chain or one 30-minute meeting. It might take several meetings, email follow-ups, or looping in other people to get to the bottom of a contentious problem or a bigger challenge.
In these cases, it’s important to know when to step away from the disagreement, regroup, and press pause. We suggest the Pomodoro technique and keeping meetings to 25 minutes and under — any longer, and participants should take at least a five-minute break to regroup and decompress.
Learn to recognize when you’re reaching a point to stop your disagreement — especially if the matter at hand doesn’t need to be resolved all in one day. Recognize breaking points in your own behavior — such as negative body language and emotional impulse reactions — and suggest taking a break. This will help the conversation stay more positive and more productive in the long run.
What are your top tips for disagreeing in the workplace? Share them with us below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.