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Brands need to be active on social media – but having your own voice doesn't mean you can post recklessly. Know 25 things NOT to do on social media.

Social media has the power to grow your brand into a massive empire.

But if you aren’t careful, it can do just the opposite.

Take Snapchat, for example.

In 2018, Snapchat ran an ad game called “Would You Rather?”

One of the questions asked was if users would rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.”

The result?

Worldwide outrage and an $800 million loss for Snapchat.

Sure, the ad’s bad taste is pretty obvious. No one wants to play a game based on domestic violence.

But did you know there are other less-noticeable social media blunders that lead to a bad reputation and failure to grow your brand?

Here are some you should never do.

25 Social Media Blunders You Should Stay Away From

Stay away from these 25 mistakes, and your social media campaign will flourish.

1. Not Being Up-to-Date with Current Trends

In 2016, Wendy’s posted a meme of Pepe the Frog dressed up as their mascot.

What they didn’t know was that the cute cartoon frog had recently become an image of racism and white supremacy.

It’s not hard to imagine the response.

To avoid a mistake like Wendy’s, do a little research before posting anything on social media.

2. Posting Insensitive Content

Be humorous, but stay away from insensitive jokes.

We all remember the Yanny vs. Laurel audio clip that tore the web apart.

To jump into this trend, the U.S. Air Force’s Twitter manager posted this social media gaffe.

usa-air-force-5de12ac9d5c96.png

3. Confusing Your Business Account with Your Personal Account

It’s important to be entertaining and engaging, but don’t forget to distinguish between business posts and personal posts.

For instance, don’t post a photo of what you had for lunch on your business account (unless you run an organic diet-in-a-box food service).

4. Getting Angry When You Get Negative Comments

As your brand grows, you’ll get both positive and negative comments.

Remember, negative comments are there to help you improve.

Deal with them open-mindedly and try to solve the problem instead of lashing back.

Here’s an example from a buyer who complained at Toblerone’s Facebook Page.

toblerone-complaint-.png

Toblerone’s response?

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

When you put genuine effort into helping customers with their problems, you both appease customers and gain input for your brand’s improvement.

5. Skipping the Editing Process

Before posting anything on social media, edit it viciously.

Typos and grammar mistakes will be noticed, and they won’t do your brand any good.

6. Failing to Address Mistakes

No matter how strict you are with your rules and guidelines, mistakes will pop up now and then (because we’re all human, right?).

When they do, address them tactfully. You can even be a little humorous.

Take this example from The Red Cross addressing their social media specialist Gloria Huang’s mistake as inspiration.

7. Posting Only When Inspiration Strikes

On your personal social media account, you can post any time the mood strikes you. Or not at all.

Not so with your business account. In fact, the more you post, the more exposure you’ll gain.

Here’s a quick guideline from Volusion on how often to post on different social media platforms.

  • Facebook and Instagram: Once or twice daily.
  • Twitter: 5-10 tweets daily.
  • Pinterest: 5-30 pins daily.
  • Linkedin: 20 posts a month.

8. Forgetting Your Mission to Enrich Your Followers’ Lives

Starting a business isn’t all about boosting your earning potential. It’s about developing a product or service that’ll enrich people’s lives.

So when you take to social media, make it your goal to reflect that mission.

Share content that’s useful, relevant, and helpful to people. Enrich their lives.

Look how Great Escape Publishing does it on their Facebook page.

great-escape-publishing.png

9. Sounding Too Salesy

While it’s a good practice to promote new products on social media, don’t overdo it.

No one will keep following a brand that constantly pushes them to buy something.

10. Ignoring Comments on Your Posts

Engagement is of top priority on social media. So when your followers comment on your posts, comment back.

Here are some tips on responding to comments:

Read More...

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Julia McCoy - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Categorized in Social

As we all know, YouTube is the second largest search engine which provides a platform for sharing videos. Currently, it has 1.9 billion users per month, and with every passing minute, over 300 hours of video gets uploaded in it. Besides, YouTube has elevated the concept of video blogging into a whole nother level.

There are a lot of video makers for beginners which are easy to use. It is completely natural for teenagers or young adults to look at YouTube as a stage for them to make a mark.

YouTube can bring you a wider reach than other social media platforms. Regular posting of videos can get you the attention of MNCs, which can provide you with more opportunities and help you earn an impressive amount from YouTube.

Here are a few tips that you would need to follow as a beginner while setting up your channel on YouTube:

Table of Contents

1. Purpose of your channel

It is easy to create an account and post your video on YouTube. But nine times out of ten that would get you negative results. The first thing that you need to determine is what kind of content you are going to put forward for the YouTubers.

interesting reading:  "Teaching people about climate change is the first step in fighting it." - Interview With Pakistani Activist Iqbal Badruddin

By doing so, you would be able to set your goals and achieve them one at a time.

2. Keywords

Just like other SEOs, you should provide your keywords, which would vividly describe your content. Make sure that you do your research on the keyword that you are going to use and look up the analytics of the keywords you want to use.

Keywords help the viewers to find your content on your channel. Don’t be entirely dependent on online tools that help you search for keywords. Use variations in common phrases. This would differentiate your content from others providing content based on similar ideology.

As video search results also appear in Google Ads, do use the keyword searcher in Google Ads while doing your research on keywords.

Adding keywords to your channel would help you to get more viewers and subscribers quickly.

3. Building up your content

Once you get an idea regarding what kind of videos you want to upload and what keywords you will use, start collecting and recording videos for your content.

Use video editing software like VideoCreek. These kinds of software help you to create your content very quickly.

interesting reading:  Ahmad Shah Becomes Youngest Pakistani YouTuber Who Bags Gold Button From YouTube

Moreover, don’t make your video too long. Trim off the unnecessary parts. Use transitions to maintain continuity in your videos.

I would suggest that you create enough content (approx. 2 weeks worth). This will help you to upload videos at regular intervals.

Consistently uploading videos on your channel increases the engagement on your channel, and in turn, you get more viewers and subscribers.

4. Creating an account on YouTube

A Gmail account is more than enough for you to sign into YouTube since YouTube is one of the most significant subsidiaries of Google. Once you are signed in on YouTube, you need to select the kind of account you want: business or professional. The difference between the two is that business accounts allow you to create an alternate name for your channel and share it with other Gmail users.

Once you follow the steps that YouTube asks you to follow to get a verified account, you can describe your channel.

Also, you can add a profile picture and a picture as a banner that can be of a maximum of 2560×1440 pixels.

5. Organizing and creating Playlists

When you upload videos on YouTube, they would appear under the videos section. A good content provider also keeps in mind the order in which the videos should look to the YouTubers when then go to your page.

interesting reading:  How to guide: Online airtime top up for mobile phones

You should set the order of your videos in the decreasing order of the number of views. On the other hand, if you upload your videos in parts, do maintain then order in the way you want the viewers to watch the videos.

Create playlists on your channel. It would help you to provide a collection of videos that you want your viewers to watch. Give the name of the playlist based upon the type of content it has.

6. Optimizing your channel

This is a crucial aspect that every content provider on YouTube must focus on. By Optimization, I mean you need to keep an idea about the watch time, engagement, average watch time, viewer retention, and the number of re-watches.

This would help you make the necessary changes in the videos you upload in the future so that you get better results.

Conclusion

By following the steps mentioned above, I am confident that you will be able to achieve fruitful results from your channel. I hope this will make your work a bit easier, and you will enjoy your time as a content provider on YouTube. Make sure you include YouTube ends screen to your videos. It will help you widen your reach faster.

[Source: This article was published in technologytimes.pk By Raja Hamid - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Categorized in Social

What people search for on Google often aligns with what they search for and post about on social media. It seems obvious, but how often are social media marketers really thinking about this? With 75,000 Google queries per second according to 99firms, there’s bound to be keyword search data that can boost social media engagement. That's a lot to consider.

For this reason, using data from Google — and Google Trends in particular — could be a game-changer for social media marketers looking for an edge over their competition. To get a better idea of how to best use this data, we’ve asked experienced marketers how they’re using Google Trends for their social campaigns.

What Is Google Trends?

David Greenberg, SVP of marketing at Act-On likens Google Trends to Twitter’s Trending section, for those marketers familiar with that platform. “The difference,” he explained, “is that the website gathers, and makes public, more in-depth information about what search engine users are ‘Googling’ and when.” He says the data includes things like the search engine volume index of a keyword and the geographical locations of the users that searched for it.

“Google Trends helps marketers understand what the most popular current search queries are around the world,” added Marlee Stein, social media specialist at seoplus+. That means it’s a crucial tool for keyword research.  For instance, “if you want to talk about a certain subject, simply type in a keyword that revolves around that topic.” That way, you’ll see what regions around the world have the most Google searches for that word, and can better tailor your marketing efforts for that demographic.

Google Trends for Social Media Marketing

There are two key areas where the experts believe Google Trends can help marketers with social media marketing:

Planning Campaigns

Google Trends is often a great starting point when putting together a social media campaign. “If you understand who the top demographics are that you want to target, but you don't know where to find them,” explained Stein, “Google Trends can be your solution.” Using the tool, marketers can understand what people are talking about and where they are. These insights can drive your social media strategy planning. “If you feel as though you have a strong campaign in place, but aren't getting the results you thought you would,” continued Stein, “you might just be targeting the wrong location, or just not being specific enough with your audience.”

Google Trends, therefore, is also critical for course-correcting if your campaigns are underperforming. Stein believes a social media campaign is successful when your audience begins to spread your message as well. “If you find an audience that's already speaking about your campaign's subject,” she said, “the likelihood of your message spreading will spike.”

Choosing Hashtags

“When it comes to social media marketing,” Greenberg said, “you can use Google Trends to create more relevant hashtags.” He believes that although hashtags have been around for a while, marketers still don’t use them correctly. With Google Trends, you can find keywords that are popular in a region or demographic you want to reach, and weave them into your social media posts as hashtags. “Having three or four optimized and targeted hashtags,” he explained, “is much better than listing every single one that comes to mind.”

But marketers do still need to find a happy medium. “It’s important not to go overboard here and start keyword stuffing,” Greenberg warned, “or placing as many optimized keywords into your content as humanly possible.” Too many hashtags in social media posts can hinder readability, even if they are relevant to your target audience. “This is not only frowned upon, but it’s also very transparent to your audience.” 

Make Google Trends Part of Your Marketing Arsenal

Google Trends can be an excellent tool for marketing teams to use not just for social media marketing, but for a wide range of activities. For example, Greenberg said, “Marketers can leverage the trending topics and terms they pull from Google Trends for search engine optimization (SEO) improvements, reduced cost-per-click (CPC) and increased relevancy (and Google Quality Scores) for search engine marketing (SEM).” The tool is often underestimated, but it can be crucial for creating the right content and publishing it at the right time.

“Marketers should never rely on Google Trends as their only source of information,” Stein warned, “but it can be an excellent tool to find a topic to write about or check the relevancy of a current news story.” Google Trends, therefore, can guide all of your marketing efforts if you use it wisely.

[Source: This article was published in cmswire.com By Kaya Ismail - Uploaded by the Association Member: Wushe Zhiyang]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Awario - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Boom! Someone just posted a tweet praising your product. On the other side of the world, an article featuring your company among the most promising startups of 2019 was published. Elsewhere, a Reddit user started a thread complaining about your customer care. A thousand miles away, a competitor posted an announcement about a new product they are building. 

What if you (and everyone on your team, from Social Media to PR to Product to Marketing) could have access to that data in real time?

That’s exactly where social listening steps in.

What is social media listening?

Social listening is the process of tracking mentions of certain words, phrases, or even complex queries across social media and the web, followed by an analysis of the data.

A typical word to track would be a brand name, but the possibilities of social media monitoring go way beyond that: you can monitor mentions of your competitors, industry, campaign hashtags, and even search for people who’re looking for office space in Seattle if that’s what you’re after.

Despite its name, social listening isn’t just about social media: many listening tools also monitor news websites, blogs, forums, and the rest of the web.

But that’s not the only reason why the concept can be confusing. Social listening goes by many different names: buzz analysis, social media measurement, brand monitoring, social media intelligence… and, last but not least, social media monitoring. And while these terms don’t exactly mean the same thing, you’ll often see them used interchangeably today.

The benefits of social listening

The exciting thing about social media listening is that it gives you access to invaluable insights on your customers, market, and competition: think of it as getting answers to questions that matter to your business, but without having to ask the actual questions.

There’s an infinite number of ways you can use this social media data; here’re just a few obvious ones.

1. Reputation management.

A sentiment graph showcasing a reputation crisis. Screenshot from Awario.

This is one of the most common reasons companies use social listening. Businesses monitor mentions of their brand and products to track brand health and react to changes in the volume of mentions and sentiment early to prevent reputation crises.

2. Competitor analysis.

Social media share of voice for the airlines. Screenshot from the Aviation Industry 2019 report.

Social media monitoring tools empower you with an ability to track what’s being said about your competition on social networks, in the media, on forums and discussion boards, etc. 

This kind of intelligence is useful at every step of competitor analysis: from measuring Share of Voice and brand health metrics to benchmark them against your own, to learning what your rivals’ customers love and hate about their products (so you can improve yours), to discovering the influencers and publishers they partner with… The list goes on. For more ways to use social media monitoring for competitive intelligence, this thorough guide to competitor analysis comes heavily recommended.

3. Product feedback.

The topic cloud for Slack after its logo redesign. Screenshot from Awario.

By tracking what your clients are saying about your product online and monitoring key topics and sentiment, you can learn how they react to product changes, what they love about your product, and what they believe is missing from it. 

As a side perk, this kind of consumer intelligence will also let you learn more about your audience. By understanding their needs better and learning to speak their language, you’ll be able to improve your ad and website copy and enhance your messaging so that it resonates with your customers.

4. Customer service.

Recent tweets mentioning British Airways. Screenshot from Awario.

Let’s talk numbers.

Fewer than 30% of social media mentions of brands include their handle — that means that by not using a social listening tool you’re ignoring 70% of the conversations about your business. Given that 60% of consumers expect brands to respond within an hour and 68% of customers leave a company because of its unhelpful (or non-existent) customer service, not reacting to those conversations can cost your business actual money.

5. Lead generation.

Social media leads for smartwatch manufacturers. Screenshot from Awario.

While lead generation isn’t the primary use case for most social listening apps, some offer social selling add-ons that let you find potential customers on social media. For the nerdy, Boolean search is an extremely flexible way to search for prospects: it’s an advanced way to search for mentions that uses Boolean logic to let you create complex queries for any use case. Say, if you’re a NYC-based insurance company, you may want to set up Boolean alerts to look for people who’re about to move to New York so that you can reach out before they’re actually thinking about insurance. Neat, huh? 

6. PR.

Most influential news articles about KLM. Screenshot from Awario.

Social listening can help PR teams in more than one way. First, it lets you monitor when press releases and articles mentioning your company get published. Second, PR professionals can track mentions of competitors and industry keywords across the online media to find new platforms to get coverage on and journalists to partner with.

7. Influencer marketing.

Top influencers for Mixpanel. Screenshot from Awario.

Most social media monitoring tools will show you the impact, or reach, of your brand mentions. From there, you can find who your most influential brand advocates are. If you’re looking to find new influencers to partner with, all you need to do is create a social listening alert for your industry and see who the most influential people in your niche are. Lastly, make sure to take note of your competitors’ influencers — they will likely turn out to be a good fit for your brand as well.

8. Research.

Analytics for mentions of Brexit over the last month. Screenshot from Awario.

Social listening isn’t just for brands — it also lets you monitor what people are saying about any phenomenon online. Whether you’re a journalist writing an article on Brexit, a charity looking to evaluate the volume of conversations around a social cause, or an entrepreneur looking to start a business and doing market research, social listening software can help.

 

3 best social media listening tools

Now that we’re clear on the benefits of social media monitoring, let’s see what the best apps for social listening are. Here are our top 3 picks for every budget and company size.

1. Awario

Awario is a powerful social listening and analytics tool. With real-time search, a Boolean search mode, and extensive analytics, it’s one of the most popular choices for companies of any size.

Awario offers the best value for your buck. With it, you’ll get over 1,000 mentions for $1 — an amazing offer compared to similar tools. 

Key features: Boolean search, Sentiment Analysis, Topic clouds, real-time search.

Supported platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, news and blogs, the web.

Free trial: Try Awario free for 7 days by signing up here.

Pricing: Pricing starts at $29/mo for the Starter plan with 3 topics to monitor and 30,000 mentions/mo. The Pro plan ($89/mo) includes 15 topics and 150,000 mentions. Enterprise is $299/mo and comes with 50 topics and 500,000 mentions. If you choose to go with an annual option, you’ll get 2 months for free. 

2. Tweetdeck

TweetDeck is a handy (and free) tool to manage your brand’s presence on Twitter. It lets you schedule tweets, manage several Twitter accounts, reply to DMs, and monitor mentions of anything across the platform — all in a very user-friendly, customizable dashboard. 

For social media monitoring, TweetDeck offers several powerful ways to search for mentions on Twitter with a variety of filters for you to use. You can then engage with the tweets without leaving the app. 

TweetDeck is mostly used for immediate engagement — the tool doesn’t offer any kind of analytics.

Key features: User-friendly layout, ability to schedule tweets, powerful search filters.

Supported platforms: Twitter.

Free trial: N/A

Pricing: Free.

3. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is an extremely robust social media intelligence tool. It doesn’t just let you monitor brand mentions on social: the tool comes with image recognition, API access, and customizable dashboards that cover just about any social listening metric you can think of. 

Brandwatch’s other product, Vizia, offers a way to visualize your social listening data and even combine it with insights from a number of other sources, including Google Analytics.

Key features: Powerful analytics, exportable visualizations, image recognition.

Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, news and blogs, the web.

Free trial: No.

Pricing: Brandwatch is an Enterprise-level tool. Their most affordable Pro plan is offered at $800/month with 10,000 monthly mentions. Custom plans are available upon request.

Before you go

Social media is an invaluable source of insights and trends in consumer behavior but remember: social listening doesn’t end with the insights. It’s a continuous learning process — the end goal of which should be serving the customer better.

Categorized in Social

[Source: This article was published in gritdaily.com By Faisal Quyyumi - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]

recent study conducted by Yext and Forbes shows consumers only believe 50 percent of their search results when looking up information about brands.

Yext is a New York City technology company focusing on online brand management and Forbes, of course, is a business magazine. Over 500 consumers in the United States were surveyed for the study.

FINDINGS

57 percent of those in the study avoid search engines and prefer to visit the brand’s official website because they believe it is more accurate.

50 percent of those surveyed use third-party sites and applications to learn more about brands. 48 percent believe a brand’s website is their most reliable source.

20 percent of “current and new customers trust social media sites to deliver brand information,” according to Search Engine Journal. 28 percent of buyers avoid buying from a certain brand after they have received inaccurate information.

WHY DON’T THEY BUY?

A few reasons why consumers do not buy from a brand is due to unsatisfactory customer service, excessive requests for information and if a company’s website is not easy to navigate.

Mar Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer of Yext said: “Our research shows that regardless of where they search for information, people expect the answers they find to be consistent and accurate – and they hold brands responsible to ensure this is the case.”

The study says customers look at a brand’s website and search engine results for information. This information includes customer service numbers, hours, events, and a brand’s products.

A BETTER WAY TO MARKET ONLINE

The three best practices that brands can use for a customer to have a seamless experience is to maintain, guarantee and monitor.

The company should maintain present-day information and complete accuracy on its website along with an easy-to-use search function. The study also tells brands “guarantee searches return high-quality results by ensuring that tools like Google My Business and other directories have updated and correct information”. Lastly, a brand needs to be active and respond to questions and posts online on social media, corporate websites and review sites.

Companies are doing their best to keep up with consumer expectations for an authentic experience.

Many people use third-party sites such as Google, Bing or Yelp because they are able to compare and categorize numerous products at once.

CONSUMERS HESITATE

New users and consumers are often hesitant and require time to build trust with a company, whereas current customers have confidence in the brand and help by writing positive reviews. 45 percent of customers “say they are usually looking for customer reviews of brands of products when they visit a third-party site” (Forbes).

Reviews determine whether consumers will avoid buying a product or if they want to continue interacting with the vendor.

True Value Company, an American wholesaler, is changing their marketing strategy to adapt to a more Internet-based audience. “We’ve made significant technology investments – including re-platforming our website – to back that up and support our brick and mortar stores for the online/offline world in which consumers live,” said David Elliot, the senior vice-president of marketing.

Despite branding on social media becoming more popular, it does not fall in the top 50 percent of most-trusted sources for brand information.

A 2008 study done by Forrester Research, an American based market research company, shows how much consumers trust different information sources. The sources range from personal emails to Yellow Pages to message board posts.

The most trusted is emails “from people you know” at 77 percent; followed by consumer product ratings/reviews at 60 percent and portal/search engines at 50 percent. The least trusted information source is a company blog at only 16 percent.

Corporate blogs are the least dependable information source to consumers as these should be the most reliable way for companies to express and share information with their audience.

The study shows the significance of a brand’s online marketing strategy. It is vital for companies to make sure their website looks like a trustworthy source.

Companies don’t need to stop blogging — but instead, have to do it in a trustworthy and engaging manner.

Want to read the full report? Click here.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in thegroundtruthproject.org By Josh Coe - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill] 

Last week ProPublica uncovered a secret Facebook group for Customs and Border Patrol agents in which a culture of xenophobia and sexism seems to have thrived. The story was supported by several screenshots of offensive posts by “apparently legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents, including a supervisor based in El Paso, Texas, and an agent in Eagle Pass, Texas,” the report’s author A.C. Thompson wrote.

This is only the most recent example of the stories that can be found by digging into Facebook. Although Instagram is the new social media darling, Facebook, which also owns Instagram, still has twice the number of users and remains a popular place for conversations and interactions around specific topics. 

Although many groups are private and you might need an invitation or a source inside them to gain access, the world’s largest social network is a trove of publicly accessible information for reporters, you just need to know where to look. 

I reached out to Brooke Williams, an award-winning investigative reporter and Associate Professor of the Practice of Computational Journalism at Boston University and Henk van Ess, lead investigator for Bellingcat.com, whose fact-checking work using social media has earned a large online following, to talk about how they use Facebook to dig for sources and information for their investigations. Their answers were edited for length and clarity. 

1. Use visible community groups like a phonebook

 While it remains unclear how Thompson gained access to the Border Patrol group, Williams says you can start by looking at those groups that are public and the people that care about the issues you’re reporting. 

“I have quite a bit of success with finding sources in the community,” says Williams, “people on the ground who care about local issues, in particular, tend to form Facebook groups.” 

Williams uses Facebook groups as a phonebook of sorts when looking for sources.  For example, if a helicopter crashes in a neighborhood, she suggests searching for that specific neighborhood on Facebook, using specific keywords like the name of local streets or the particular district to find eyewitnesses. Her neighborhood in the Boston area, she recalls, has its own community page.

 Williams also recommends searching through Google Groups, where organizations often leave “breadcrumbs” in their message boards.

 “It’s not all of them,” she notes about these groups, “but it’s the ones that have their privacy settings that way.”

 After speaking with Williams, I spent a few hours poking around in Google Groups and discovered a surprising amount of local and regional organizations neglected their privacy settings. When looking through these group messages, I had a lot of success using keyword searches like “meeting minutes” or “schedule,” through which documents and contact information of “potential sources” were available. While you can’t necessarily see who the messages are being sent to, the sender’s email is often visible.

This is just one example of a group with available contacts

1 Search 22Southwest Baltimore22 Redacted

2 Search Meeting Minutes Redacted

3 Redacted 22Meeting Minutes22 Results

4 Meeting Minutes

2. Filter Facebook with free search tools created by journalists for journalists

Despite privacy settings, there’s plenty of low-hanging and fruitful information on social media sites from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, as a 2013 investigation by New Orleans-based journalism organization The Lens shows. The nonprofit’s reporters used the “family members” section of a Charter School CEO’s Facebook page to expose her nepotistic hiring of six relatives.

 “But if you know how to filter stuff… you can do way more,” van Ess says.

  In 2017, van Ess helped dispel a hoax story about a rocket launcher found on the side of a road in Egypt using a combination of social media sleuthing, Google Earth and a free tool that creates panoramas from video to determine when the video clip of the launcher was originally shot. More recently, he used similar methods as well as Google Chrome plug-ins for Instagram and the help of more than 60 Twitter users to track down the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal

He says journalists often overlook Facebook as a resource because “99 percent” of the stuff on Facebook is “photos of cats, dogs, food or memes,” but there’s useful information if you can sort through the deluge of personal posts. That’s why he created online search tools graph.tips and whopostedwhat.com so that investigators like himself had a “quick method to filter social media.”

For those early-career journalists who’ve turned around quick breaking news blips or crime blotters for a paper’s city desk, might be familiar with the twitter tool TweetDeck (if not, get on it!), Who posted what? offers reporters a way to similarly search keywords and find the accounts posting about a topic or event. 

Here’s how it works: you can type in a keyword and choose a date range in the “Timerange” section to find all recent postings about that keyword. Clicking on a Facebook profile of interest, you can then copy and paste that Facebook account’s URL address into a search box on whopostedwhat.com to generate a “UID” number. This UID can then be used in the “Posts directly from/Posts associated with” section to search for instances when that profile mentioned that keyword. 

These tools are not foolproof. Often times, searches will yield nothing. Currently, some of its functions (like searching a specific day, month or year) don’t seem to work (more on that in the next section), but the payoff can be big.  

“It enables you essentially to directly search somebody’s timeline rather than scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and having it load,” says Williams of graph.tips, which she employs in her own investigations. “You can’t control the timeline, but you can see connections between people which is applicable, I found, in countries other than the States.”

 While she declined to provide specific examples of how she uses graph.tips—she is using van Ess’s tools in a current investigation—she offered generalized scenarios in which it could come in handy. 

For instance, journalists can search “restaurants visited by” and type in the name of two politicians. “Or you could, like, put in ‘photos tagged with’ and name a politician or a lobbyist,” she says. She says location tagging is especially popular with people outside the US. 

Facebook’s taken a lot of heat recently about privacy issues, so many OSINT tools have ceased to work, or, like graph.tips, have had to adapt. 

 3. Keep abreast of the changes to the platforms 

The trouble with these tools is their dependence on the social platform’s whim–or “ukase” as van Ess likes to call it. 

For example, on June 7, Facebook reduced the functionality of Graph Search, rendering van Ess’s graph.tips more difficult to use.

According to van Ess, Facebook blocked his attempts to fix graph.tips five times and it took another five days before he figured out a method to get around the new restrictions by problem-solving with the help of Twitter fans. The result is graph.tips/facebook.html, which he says takes longer than the original graph.tips, but allows you to search Facebook much in the same way as the original. 

Even though the site maintains the guarantee that it’s “completely free and open, as knowledge should be,” van Ess now requires first-time users to ask him directly to use the tool, in order to filter through the flood of requests he claims he has received. 

I have not yet been given access to the new graph.tips and can’t confirm his claims, but van Ess welcomes investigators interested in helping to improve its functionality. Much like his investigations, he crowdsources improvements to his search tools. Graph.tips users constantly iron out issues with the reworked tool on GitHub, which can be used like a subreddit for software developers.  

Ongoing user feedback, as well as instructions on how to use van Ess’s new Facebook tool, can be found here. A similar tool updated as recently as July 3 and created by the Czech OSINT company Intel X is available here, though information regarding this newer company is sparse. By contrast, all van Ess’s tools are supported by donations. 

The OSINT community has its own subreddit, where members share the latest tools of their trade. 

4. Use other social media tools to corroborate your findings

When it comes to social media investigations, van Ess says you need to combine tools with “strategy.” In other words, learn the language of the search tool–he shared this helpful blog post listing all of the advanced search operator codes a journalist would need while using Twitter’s advanced search feature.

Williams also had a Twitter recommendation: TwXplorer. Created by the Knight Lab this helpful tool allows reporters to filter Twitter for the 500 most recent uses of a word or phrase in 12 languages. The application will then list all the handles tweeting about that phrase as well as the most popular related hashtags.

Bonus: More search tools 

If you want even more open-source tools honed for journalistic purposes, Mike Reilley of The Society of Professional Journalists published this exhaustive and continuously updated list of online applications last month. Be warned though: not all of them are free to use.

Categorized in Investigative Research

 [Source: This article was published in cnbc.com By Karen Gilchrist - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

What are the most useful skills to have in today’s shifting work environment?

It’s a question that’s on the minds of employers and employees alike, but LinkedIn claims to have the answer.

In a new “Future of Skills” report, the professional networking site has drawn on data from a regional subset of its more than 600 million members to identify what it sees as the “rising skills” of the workforce.

Focusing specifically on the Asia Pacific region, the report highlights 10 skills that have experienced “exponential growth” over the past 5 years. That refers to both a surge in listings of those skills on members’ profiles and also an increase in demand from employers.

Typically, demand for those “rising skills” was three times higher than for other areas of expertise in the past 12 months, LinkedIn said. That’s a figure the company expects will rise further over the coming years, it added.

“These skills may be nascent now but will potentially see wide-scale adoption in the future,” the report noted.

Indeed, 42 percent of the core skills required for common occupations are expected to change by 2020, according to 2018 research from the World Economic Forum cited by the report.

Here are LinkedIn’s 10 rising skills in Asia Pacific and the jobs to which they are best applied:

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that uses machines to perform human-like tasks. As companies become more dependent on data, AI is playing an increasing role in their decision-making processes. Airbnb, for example, now uses visual recognition and machine learning to understand what photos are most attractive to potential guests.

Occupational applications:

  • Business analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Software engineer

Blockchain

Blockchain refers to a decentralized public ledger which stores a growing list of records, known as blocks. Blockchain has risen to prominence over recent years as the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, but it’s applications are wide-reaching. Today, the technology is used in sectors such as the law, security and even education.

Occupational applications:

  • Blockchain developer
  • Chief technology officer
  • Consultant

Compliance

In an increasingly globalized world, businesses need to make sure they comply with the various regulatory and legal frameworks of each of the countries in which they operate. That has spawned a growing demand for compliance experts.

Occupational applications:

  • Chief data officer
  • Compliance officer
  • Risk management officer

Continuous integration

In software engineering, continuous integration refers to the regular merging of all developers’ work onto one shared platform. The aim of the role is to help detect problems early on in the development process.

Occupational applications:

  • DevOps engineer
  • Full-stack engineer
  • Software engineer
Continuous integration
A young female Asian employee writes notes on a glass window in the meeting room.
Kelvin Murray | Taxi | Getty Images

Frontend web development

Frontend web development is the process of converting data into the graphical interface, or web pages, seen by internet users. In today’s increasingly digital world, that process is required by businesses across most industries. However, LinkedIn highlighted opportunities in Asia Pacific’s retail sector, where e-commerce sales are expected to reach $3.5 trillion by 2021.

Occupational applications:

  • Frontend developer
  • Full-stack engineer
  • Web developer

Gesture recognition technology

Gesture recognition technology aims to close the gap between humans and devices by teaching computers to read human movements. The global gesture recognition market is expected to be worth $30.6 billion by 2025, and the banking, higher education and advertising sectors are jumping aboard.

Occupational applications:

  • Mobile engineer
  • Researcher
  • Software engineer

Human-centered design

The human-centered design aims to put user experience at the forefront of all design decisions. It is an approach for which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famed, and one that will be increasingly in demand in the Asia Pacific as product development ramps up, according to LinkedIn.

Occupational applications:

  • Graphics designer
  • Product designer
  • User experience designer
Human centered design
skynesher | E+ | Getty Images

Robotic process automation (RPA)

Robotic process automation is an emerging form of business process automation. Using robotics or artificial intelligence, the process aims to automate high volume, repetitive tasks. Examples of its use are in banking and telecoms, where transactions and customer complaint procedures can be automated.

Occupational applications:

  • Business analyst
  • Consultant
  • Robotics engineer

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media to promote product and services. With social media adoption continuing to grow rapidly in Asia Pacific, businesses are increasingly using it to reach new and existing customers. Indeed, 74 percent say they believe social media marketing contributes to their bottom lines.

Occupational applications:

  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Marketing manager
  • Social media marketing manager

Workflow automation

Workflow automation is the process of automating manual processes based on pre-defined business rules. By automating repetitive, low skilled processes, businesses say they can free up employees’ time for more creative and higher skilled tasks.

Occupational applications:

  • Consultant
  • Project manager
  • Software engineer

Categorized in Online Research

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

LinkedIn has released a list of professional skills that companies need most in 2019.

There are 50,000 professional skills in the world, according to LinkedIn data.

The company has combed through its data to determine the hard skills and soft skills that are most valuable this year.

“These are the skills your boss and your boss’s boss find most valuable, but have a hard time finding – and the skills that’ll most help you better serve your clients and customers.”

Those who are looking to improve their skill set this year could consider this data a starting point.

Most In-Demand Soft Skills

According to LinkedIn data, 57% of senior leaders today say soft skills are more important than hard skills.

Here’s what they need most and why:

  1. Creativity: Organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow.
  2. Persuasion: The key to having a great product is persuading people to buy into it.
  3. Collaboration: As projects grow increasingly more complex, effective collaboration is becoming more important.
  4. Adaptability: An adaptable mind is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world.
  5. Time Management: Mastering time management today will serve you the rest of your career.

Most In-Demand Hard Skills

To no surprise, many of the most valuable hard skills are those that can be utilized in today’s increasingly digital world.

Here’s are the top 5 skills companies need most and why:

  1. Cloud Computing: Companies are desperately searching for engineers who have the skills to accommodate a shift toward the cloud.
  2. Artificial Intelligence: Data suggests that the age of AI has arrived.
  3. Analytical Reasoning: Companies are hungry for professionals who can make smart decisions based on vast arrays of data.
  4. People Management: Companies are shifting toward having leaders who can coach and empower others.
  5. UX Design: This is is the key to making a digital world work for humans.

Here are the rest of the most in-demand hard skills in order:

  • Mobile Application Development
  • Video Production
  • Sales Leadership
  • Translation
  • Audio Production
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Scientific Computing
  • Game Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Animation
  • Business Analysis
  • Journalism
  • Digital Marketing
  • Industrial Design
  • Competitive Strategies
  • Customer Service Systems
  • Software Testing
  • Data Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • Corporate Communications

LinkedIn measured demand by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates. Only cities with 100,000 LinkedIn members were included.

Categorized in Social

 [Source: This article was Published in searchengineland.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Social media provides an enormous pool of insights into your market and competitors. These social listening tools bring those insights right to the surface.

People have always talked about brands and products. They’ve praised and complained about companies in the dining rooms, by the water cooler, over the phone. With the rise of social media, this previously intangible word-of-mouth has finally become measurable — and thus amplifiable — for businesses. Social media listening, the process of using a tool to monitor online mentions of a brand (or anything else), gives companies access to that data.

For this post, we’ve put together a list of 7 most robust social media monitoring tools to bring you real-time insights on your customers, market, and competition.

1. Awario

Awario is a relative newcomer to the social media monitoring and analytics scene. Its ambition is to make social media insights affordable for any brand, be it a startup, an international company, or a digital agency. With pricing plans starting at $29/mo, Awario offers Enterprise capabilities (from Boolean search to Sentiment Analysis to Share of Voice) included in every plan.

You can use Awario to monitor mentions of your brand, competitors, industry, or set up queries for the less obvious use cases. For instance, the app lets you identify guest blogging opportunities, discover content ideas, and find industry influencers to partner with. That’s where the tool’s flexible Boolean search mode comes in handy: it lets you create complex queries that will satisfy even the nerdiest of marketers.

On top of social media, Awario covers news, blogs, and the entire web to give you a holistic picture of your brand’s online presence.

Supported platforms

Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news, blogs, the web.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Reviewers mention Awario’s affordability, Boolean search, influencer marketing capabilities, and excellent customer support as the main pros.

Pricing

There’s a free trial that lets you test Awario out before settling on one of its paid plans.

awario pricing 2

2. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a suite of 3 tools for marketing and PR teams. Its Audiences product lets you find groups of people based on your targeting rules, such as demographic criteria and interests. It lets you better understand your customers by analyzing their social media posts and pinpointing what sets them apart from the general public.

Vizia is a visualization tool that lets you build custom dashboards based on Brandwatch data. Vizia also works with third-party tools, such as BuzzSumo and Google Analytics, to give you a comprehensive way to measure your marketing efforts.

The company’s social media monitoring tool is called Analytics. It comes equipped with image recognition, API access, and analytical dashboards that can be downloaded as PowerPoint presentations in a click.

Supported platforms

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, blogs, news, the web.

Customer rating

   4/5 (Capterra).

The tool’s users love its media coverage and customizable dashboards. The biggest con is its cost.

Pricing

Brandwatch offers 3 plans to choose from. There’s no free trial, but you can contact the team for a demo of the product.

brandwatch pricing

3. Hootsuite

If you aren’t looking for an in-depth social media monitoring tool, but would rather opt for something that offers publishing, collaboration, and monitoring features, Hootsuite is an excellent choice.

While the app itself doesn’t monitor sources beyond social media, it offers many useful integrations with tools like Brandwatch and Reputology for your reputation management needs. Some of those are free, while some need to be purchased as add-ons.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. More sources available via integrations.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Users love Hootsuite’s user-friendly layout and the fact that it supports all major social networks for scheduling.

Pricing

Hootsuite has a free trial that lets you play around with the tool before you jump on one of its three paid plans.

hootsuite pricing

4. Meltwater

Meltwater is an Enterprise media intelligence tool. While not a dedicated social listening solution (Meltwater also offers PR and social media management capabilities), it includes robust tools for monitoring mentions of your keywords across the Internet.

Meltwater’s strength is the analytics the software provides: it lets you create custom dashboards with metrics that matter to you, from audience demographics to the reach of the social media chatter around your brand.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, news, the web, broadcast.

Customer rating

 3.5/5 (Capterra).

The biggest pros mentioned by users are Meltwater’s coverage and powerful reports, with the main downside being its cost.

Pricing

Meltwater’s social media monitoring package is priced at $15,000/year. For more information, you’ll need to talk to the company’s sales team.

5. Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a perfect social media listening tool for big brands and agencies. Apart from providing you with the latest mentions of your brand and competitors, Talkwalker offers powerful analytics that let you spot trends in the buzz around your keywords. It goes beyond basic reporting by analyzing your audience’s demographics, occupation, and interests. It also builds powerful word clouds that let you identify hashtags that are most commonly used together with your keyword.

On top of tracking conversations across social media channels and the web, Talkwalker monitors print and TV mentions. Image recognition is also available in the Enterprise plan.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, blogs, news, the web, print, TV.

Customer rating

 4.5/5 (Capterra).

Customers mention Talkwalker’s ease of use, extensive coverage, and real-time alerts as the main pros.

Pricing

Talkwalker offers three subscription plans on their website.

talkwalker pricing

6. Tweetdeck

TweetDeck, owned by Twitter, is an all-in-one dashboard for your Twitter activity. It lets you schedule tweets, interact with your feed, manage your inbox, and track mentions of your company (or anything else) on the network.

While the tool’s social listening capabilities are limited to one social network, its search options are pretty impressive for a free app. You can add keywords in flexible formats, exclude certain terms, and filter results by country, language, or date. You can set up as many searches as you need and reply to tweets right from the dashboard by connecting your Twitter account to the app.

Supported platforms

Twitter.

Customer rating

 4.5/5 (Capterra).

Customers love TweetDeck’s column layout, multi-account support, and scheduling options.

Pricing

Tweetdeck is absolutely free.

7. Agorapulse

Agorapulse is another two-in-one social media tool: while the app primarily focuses on social media management, it also offers listening capabilities for selected social networks. Though Agorapulse doesn’t include web monitoring, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a scheduling app that will also notify you of social brand mentions.

On top of publishing and social media monitoring, Agorapulse lets you find influencers and streamline outreach and communication with the help of its inbuilt CRM.

Supported platforms

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Users love the fact that Agorapulse combines social media management with social listening, the tool’s ease of use, and its excellent customer service.

Pricing

Agorapulse offers a free trial. After you try the tool, you can pick one of the four available subscription plans.

agorapulse pricing

Conclusion

Social media has become the place where consumers talk about everything — and that includes your brand. As more companies turn to social media monitoring for insights, social media monitoring tools are catching up and becoming more elaborate and affordable. However, don’t forget that the insights the tools provide aren’t everything — it’s the decisions you make and the actions you take based on those insights that will make your brand stand out.

 

 [This article is originally published in buffer.com written by Kevan Lee - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink] 

Update – we launched Pablo a new tool to create beautiful images for your social media posts in under 30 seconds

You can use Pablo right from the get-go, no need to login or create an account. Just quickly create amazing images super fast.

pablo

You can try out the first version of Pablo right now – no login required. Just head tohttp://bufferapp.com/pablo and give it a try!

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Pablo on Twitter, just hit us up @buffer and hope it makes creating images for your social media posts much easier for you.

Create an image with Pablo

Ok, back to the blogpost! 

Through experimentation and iteration, we’ve found that including images when sharing to social media increases engagement across the board—more clicks, reshares, replies, and favorites. In one experiment, retweets alone more than doubled for updates with images compared to those without.

Using images in social media posts is well worth trying with your profiles.

As a small business owner or a one-person marketing team, is this something you can pull off by yourself?

At Buffer, we create all the images for our blogposts and social media sharing without any outside design help. We rely on a handful of amazing tools and resources to get the job done, and I’ll be happy to share with you the ones we use and the extras that we’ve found helpful or interesting.

Got a favorite image creation tool? Please do share in the comments!

image tool

How to Create Images for Social Media – Tools

1. Canva – A start-to-finish design program perfect for non-designers

canva

Probably our most-used image tool at Buffer, Canva makes image creation super easy (especially for non-designers) with their premade templates, custom image sizes for every social media channel, drag-and-drop interface, cool fonts, and more. Most every original image you see shared from our social accounts was made in Canva.

Tip: If you know the exact dimensions of the image you want, create a custom size before clicking into any of the premade templates.

custom dimensions

Additional start-to-finish image tools:

2. Skitch – Screen capture and annotation

Skitch screenshot

Our go-to screenshot tool, Skitch pops up with a quick keyboard shortcut (Cmd+Shift+5 on Macs), then you can click and drag over the area you want to snip. We keep coming back to this tool because of the awesome and easy annotation features. You can circle things, point to things, blur things, and add text with just a couple quick clicks. A product of Evernote, Skitch lets you save and store all screengrabs into an Evernote folder of your choosing.

Tip: Use the blur feature anytime you’re sharing an image with your email address or personal details.

blurred skitch

Additional screen capture tools:

3. CloudApp – Fast and easy screencast GIFs

CloudApp

We use this tool a ton for our internal image sharing at Buffer. CloudApp lets you store images online and link to them quickly and easily for fast sharing. Their new Mac app—a free download—comes with even more advanced features like screengrabs and GIF creation. With the app open, you can press Cmd+Shift+6 to make a GIF video of anything you do on your screen.

Tip: Once the image creation is finished, CloudApp can automatically put the image URL onto your clipboard. Ask CloudApp for the download URL, and you can quickly paste and download whenever the image is ready.

gif notification

Additional screen capture GIF makers:

4. PowerPoint – Easy image software (meant for something else)

Presentation software might not be the first thing that comes to mind for image creation, yet there are a large number of amateur designers who get great use out of creating images via the templates and tools baked right into PowerPoint.

Think of slides as images. And then consider how easy it is to edit slides in PowerPoint. You can set photos as slide backgrounds, add text and colors, and place icons and graphics. When you save the slide in PowerPoint, choose to save as an image, and you’ll be set.

Tip: HubSpot offers some excellent starting templates for building infographics with PowerPoint. Here’s an example of what’s possible:

hubspot infographic

Additional full-featured image-editing software tools:

5. Easel.ly– Drag-and-drop infographic creation

Easelly

Easel.ly’s interactive layouts allow you to embed charts, photos, and more. You can get started with a prebuilt template (and then customize yourself) or you can go truly bare bones and build the entire infographic however you see fit. Easel.ly comes with a huge number of icons, shapes, and objects that you can drag-and-drop into your editor.

Additional infographic tools:

  • Infogr.am – Embed video, maps, charts, and more into your infographic
  • Visual.ly – Connect with professional designers to help with your project
  • Piktochart – Create custom infographics from scratch, or use a pre-made template

7. Placeit – Integrate your website or app inside cool stock photos

placeit - bufferblog

For creating beautiful images that feature your home page, blog, app, or service, Placeit provides some neat integrations with your web address and their photography and video. Choose a background from Place it's library, then upload a screenshot or give Placeit a URL to grab in order to insert your site into the image.

Placeit does the rest. You can download or embed your new creation anywhere.

Tip: The Interactive Video option at Placeit will embed your full website into the window, and users can scroll through the site just as if they were visiting the page in their browser.

8. Social Image Resizer Tool – Ideal image sizes for every social channel

image resize

There are a huge number of different sizes and aspect ratios that work best on different social networks. Twitter photos are best at a 2:1 ratio. Facebook prefers images to be more square. Pinterest and Google+ love vertical images.

You can keep this all sorted with a tool like Social Image Resizer. Upload your desired image, then choose from a huge drop-down list of options and places where you might like to use the image. You can move and scale the selected area to grab the optimal look for your image.

Here are the social networks that the tool supports:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

Tip: You can click and drag to create a custom image size as well. Image Resizer informs you of the new dimensions as you move and resize the borders.

Additional options for creating ideal images for different social networks:

9. Smush.it – Image optimization for file size and quick loading

smushit

We use a lot of large images on our blogposts and social media at Buffer. We could stand to benefit from a tool like Smush.it.

Choose a file, upload it to Smush.it, and the tool compresses the image into a more optimal file size. These optimized images load faster on the page and make for a quicker upload when sharing to social media.

Tip: Smush.it also comes in a handy WordPress plugin to compress and optimize every image you publish to your blog.

Additional options for optimization and compression tools

10. Recite – Create images from quotes

Some of our most shared a title="Introducing Daly by Buffer: Content That’s Easy to Find, Easy to Share—Wherever You Are" hr">co"tent suggestions and most popular social updates are quotes. You can take quotes to the next level by creating images from them. At Recite, simply enter your quote into the editor on the homepage, and choose a layout from the long list of templates.

The end result can be something like this:

recite-16833--608253535-3ia32

Additional tools to create images from text:

11. Page2Images – Full-page website grabber

If you’ve ever seen a web design that really grabbed you (and you happen to have a web design board on Pinterest or you share this kind of thing with your followers all the time), it’d sure be great to be able to grab the whole thing in one complete shot.

Enter Page2Images, a handy tool that takes a full-screen picture of a webpage and lets you easily download or add to Pinterest. There are a pair of bookmarklets that you can install by clicking and dragging the links to your bookmarks bar—one bookmarklet adds straight to Pinterest, and the other grabs the page as an image to download.

page2image

12. Photovisi – Collage maker

Image collages are big business for Instagram, and they’ve found their way to Twitter and Facebook, too. The latter two social networks have collage tools built in. If you’d like a little more control over the way your collages are handled, a tool like Photovisi would work wonders.

There’re many different templates to choose from, and you can customize not only the photos you use, but also any text, backgrounds, or graphics you wish to add to the collage.

collage options photovisi

Additional options for collage-making:

13. Over – Text onto photos

We’ve touched on how to turn text into images. How about sprucing up an image with text over the top?

The Over app for iOS and Android lets you choose any image on your device and customize with text, fonts, colors, and type sizes of your choosing. Here’s an example from the Over Instagram feed:

Over example

Additional options for adding text to images:

14. Infogr.am – Charts and graphs

Infogram chart and graph

When you write data-dense blogposts or research-backed articles, you might find yourself wishing to share data as an image. One of the best tools I’ve found for this is Infogr.am, which helps create infographics along with boasting a pretty robust charts and graphs editor.

You can choose the type of graph you wish to use and then edit the table cells and values directly from within Infogr.am.

Additional options for creating charts and graphs:

  • Google Drive
  • Excel

15. Aviary – Editing on-the-go from a mobile app

aviary screenshot

Aviary used to be a popular desktop image app, and not it’s been rolled into the suite of Adobe products and is available for other apps to use (for instance, MailChimp uses image editing by Aviary).

There’s still a handy mobile app for iOS and Android to help with image editing on-the-go.

In addition to the typical filters and effects you’d expect to find on a mobile image app, Aviary offers stickers and frames, drawing tools, memes, and crop, rotate, and straighten tools.

Additional options for designing images on mobile:

How to Create Images for Social Media – Resources

16. Iconfinder – Free, searchable icons

Discover the perfect icon for adding to your social media images. Search by keyword, then refine by format, style, size, and more. Apart from the premium icons, there is a huge selection of free-with-attribution icons to use.

iconfinder

17. Blurgrounds – Simple, beautiful blurred backgrounds

An offering from Inspiration Hunt, this set of 120 blurred backgrounds—free to download and use—comes in a huge range of colors and styles.

preview4

18. Noun Project – Huge library of icons in a minimal, glyph style

If you’ve read much of the 99U blog (one of our favorites!), you’ve likely noticed their cool icons that make for the cover image on their posts. Each one is made with Noun Project icons! The Noun Project library contains an incredible number of visual images that represent tons of words in the English language. With most available as a free download, the Noun Project makes attribution very clear and easy.

noun-project

19. Subtle Patterns – Patterned backgrounds for free download

These pattern backgrounds are intended for websites, but I like to grab them for quick-and-easy image backgrounds, too. Find a favorite and screengrab the tiled background preview from the site. Then upload and add to your image editor.

Subtle_Patterns

20. Pattern Library – Fun, free backgrounds

Like Subtle Patterns, the Pattern Library is also website-first. You can do the same trick here with the backgrounds you enjoy. Screengrab and use in the images you create. The Pattern Library offers full-tiled background previews to make screen grabbing easy.

patternlibrary

21. Colourlovers – Color palette and pattern inspiration

One of the top web resources for colors, you can find any shade, tint, or hue here. And the community has placed these awesome colors into palettes and patterns.

colour-lovers

22. Omnicore’s Social Media Cheat Sheet – Guide to optimal image sizes

A quick reference for the right sizes to use in any social media post, the Omnicore guide covers all the vital details—updates, headers, avatars, etc.—and the Omnicore team refreshes the graphic constantly to stay current on the latest changes.

social media image size facebook

23. Pictaculous – Create a palette from any image

Let’s say you know the image you want to include in your graphic, and you’d also love some hints on which colors to use for frames, backgrounds, text, and icons. Upload the picture to Pictaculous, and you’ll get your answer. The tool studies your image and returns suggested palettes you can pick from.

pictaculous

Bonus: Stock photos – 53+ free image sources 

You may find yourself needing some free imagery to use as well. We came up with an extensive list—more than 50 options—of free image sources where you can find professional images for free. A few of my favorites:

How we made the main image for this blogpost

Would it be helpful to see an example of all this together?

The main image for this post (see above or below) is one that I built from scratch using a handful of tools listed here in the post.

Image Tools

Here’s a quick rundown of how I made it:

1. Open a new design in Canva

I chose the Twitter Post template, which is 1,024 pixels wide and 512 pixels tall. This is the ideal 2:1 aspect ratio for Twitter images to show up in the feed without a crop. The size also works well for Facebook posts, so long as you mind the the left and right margins of your image, which may be cut off when Facebook resizes things.

canva new design

If you make this type of image a lot, you can make a copy of an old image and then work from that specific template inside Canva.

2. Search Icon Finder for an icon that best represents the post.

I love using flat icons for these, so I start with a keyword search in Icon Finder and then refine the search by flat styles. Download the highest resolution version of the icon you choose, in .png format. Add attribution to your post at this time, too.

iconfinder image icon

3. Drag the downloaded icon into Canva and place into your design.

Uploading in Canva is as simple as dragging from your desktop or folder and dropping into the Canva editor. Once the icon is uploaded, you can click on it from the left menu, and it will be placed automatically into your design. Resize and center at the top of the image.

4. Click into the Grids options, and select the full-image photo.

Adding this to your design will automatically make this design element expand to the full size of your design.

search grids canva

5. Find a blurred background to download and add to your design.

I often aim to find one that matches the colors of the icon in some way. I’ll download the image, then upload into Canva. To add it as a background to your design, you can drag and drop onto the full-image template you added in the last step. Canva will recognize automatically that you’re trying to add a background.

6. Move the background to the back.

This is all about layers. By moving your background to the back, your icon will be on top and viewable.

back canva

7. Add text and customize.

From the left menu, select two text boxes. One will be the main heading, the other will be the subhead. I like to vary fonts with a sans serif (no extra stems on letters) and a serif (stems). In the graphic here, I’ve used Roboto bold as the heading font and Satisfy as the subhead font.

To make a font bold or centered, you can click on the down arrow in the font dialog box to find the advanced options.

font settings

8. Download

Last step! When you’re finished, click the Download or Link button, and you’ll get a dialog box for downloading as an image (yes!) or a pdf (great for slideshares and presentations and ebooks). You can also share the link with a friend for collaboration or edits.

publish image canva

Your turn

I’ve been inspired to learn a lot about design and visuals on the Buffer blog, and I’ve got quite a ways to go! I’m so grateful for a large number of amazing design tools out there for creating images for social media.

Which are your favorite design tools for creating social media images?

I’d love to hear which ones you use! For even more time savings on social media, give Buffer a try for free! (You’ll save up to a hour a day and drive more traffic, too!)

 

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