Need to Convert Traffic Into More Leads? Experts Bust Common CRO Myths [Live Hangout]

Many marketers have to find out the hard way that more website traffic doesn’t always translate to more leads.

Unless your site is optimized to drive visitors to take action and engage, you can attract thousands of visitors and never see one of them convert into a lead. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a systematic approach to increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.

Marketers can drastically increase the returns on their marketing activities by examining every conversion point in their website experience and making CRO a part of their day-to-day work.

Unfortunately, many marketers are trying their luck at conversion rate optimization without a holistic and scientific approach, which can do more bad than good. That’s why we’ve invited Unbounce‘s Senior Conversion Optimizer, Michael Aagaard, to debunk common myths for our audience in a live hangout with HubSpot Academy.

Michael began his career in CRO in 2008 as a freelance consultant, learning and applying these tactics in a variety of industries and companies. He routinely speaks at digital marketing conferences on CRO, and has published numerous informative posts on the Unbounce blog.

In this HubSpot Academy Master Class, Michael will explain the most common misconceptions around conversion rate optimization, and how to adopt a CRO mindset that can dramatically improve the marketing results you achieve through optimization.

Whether you’ve been tinkering with CRO on your website for years or you’re not sure how to get started, this Master Class will include new insights and actionable takeaways you can use right away. Click here to save your spot! 

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A Quick Guide to Snapchat for Nonprofits


Snapchat is on the rise in a big way. The popular photo-sharing and messaging app is becoming so big that even other social networks – like Facebook and Instagram – are beginning to incorporate their own versions of Snapchat’s unique features.

Check out some of these statistics: 158 million active users creating 2.5 billion Snaps per day, with 9,000 Snaps every second. That’s a huge user base that you can leverage into potential supporters!

But first things first: How can you use a photo app to communicate your nonprofit’s story to the masses? Organizations such as Ocean Conservancy, Human Rights Campaign, and Girl Guides of Canada are all embracing this social network, and setting it up is more simple than you might think.

Snap to it

Snapchat’s two most famous functions are “Snaps” and “Stories”. The former is a quick photo you can take with the app that gets sent via messaging to friends, but then it deletes itself after 10 seconds. When it comes to Snaps, you can still save good ones before they disappear forever by saving them to your Memories tab – that way, anyone can view your curated collection of individual Snaps.

And then there are Stories – a feature which, as we mentioned, is rapidly spreading across other social networks as well. Stories are little video collections of your Snaps that you can put together which only last for 24 hours. Stories don’t have to be sent directly to your friends – instead, they can be visible for everyone to watch.

How nonprofits can use it

On the surface, these two functions seem pretty Millennial-focused and probably more used by teens sending each other selfies. But your nonprofit can leverage Snapchat to give a creative spin on visual storytelling – something that’s very important in terms of inspiring people.

For example, if you’ve got a peer-to-peer event happening, why not collect a few Snaps to Stories or Memories that show off how much fun everyone’s having and what a big impact the event is having on the community?

If it’s new donors and participants you’re looking for, try putting together some Snaps that tell a cohesive narrative when you put them into Stories. For example, if you work at an animal shelter, you could assemble Snaps of cute animals that are up for adoption. If you have a charity that works with impoverished people, put together some before-and-after Stories that show how your company is helping change lives for the better.


Geofilters are another clever way to use Snapchat to promote your nonprofit. To understand geofilters and how they work with Snapchat, let’s break the word down: filters and geofencing.

First, filters in Snapchat are one of its defining – and super dynamic – features. They allow you to overlay fun animations or special effects on top of the photo you’ve snapped. (There are also lenses, which put the effects overtop of the photo while you’re snapping it.)

A geofence refers to the GPS coverage of geographical area, putting boundaries around it like a virtual fence. It’s perfect if you’re looking to restrict usage of a filter to only a specific region or venune.

Combining geofencing with an exclusive Snapchat filter for an event – also known as a geofilter – is a prime way to get supporter-created content online. Geofilters have a few restrictions: namely, you can’t put your nonprofit’s email, phone number, or hashtag on it, and you can’t use more than two lines of text. But what you <I>can</I> do is make it look pretty, exclusive, and fun, so even people who aren’t familiar with your nonprofit will want to use it!

For example, at FrontStream, we put together a geofilter for P2P Forum back in March. Here’s what it looked like:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Atlanta themed Snapchat filter for <a href=””>#P2PForum17</a> <a href=””>@P2PForum</a> ! Swiiiiiipe right or ask us how to find it ♥️🌸 <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; FrontStream (@FrontStream) <a href=”″>February 28, 2017</a></blockquote>

<script async src=”http//” charset=”utf-8″></script>

People located within the radius of the P2P Forum venue were able to have access to this geofilter through Snapchat, and we encouraged everyone to try it out.

There are two options for geofilters. A community filter is free, so if there’s something happening in your town, like a parade or a run or an awareness day, you can submit your artwork for free as long as you don’t have a brand or organizational logo in there. The Snapchat team will decide whether or not to approve your filter based your content and what other filters are already available in the area.

The second option is a paid one, and it lets you include your NPO or charity’s logo. As an advertiser, you are more likely to be approved. Our Snapchat filter was created under this option, and coverage of 36,000 square feet for three days only cost $60 USD, so it can be very affordable for your nonprofit!

If you’re looking for additional ways for your nonprofit to use geofilters, check out this informative list of tips. Some suggestions include using a geofilter to make a virtual prop for people, to promote an international “day”, or simply foster a sense of inclusiveness when you use the geofilter.

Get promoting

Once you’ve set up your nonprofit’s Snapchat account, it’s important to get the word out and start building your friends list! Take this example from the Animal Humane Society – they use the “ghost” code image for easy access to their adorable feed of animal photos. Be sure to set up your own ghost code and start showing it off on all your nonprofit’s social networks!

There’s no reason to be wary of trying out new social media for your nonprofit – in fact, something like Snapchat could be just the thing to get new prospects interested as well as engage your current donor base. Give it a try and see what creative fundraising promotions you can come up with!



April Social Media News: AR on Facebook, Ads on Snapchat & More


April showers bring May flowers (depending on where you live). This April also brought an onslaught of augmented reality, or AR, from a few of your favorite social media apps.

Just like last month, Facebook and Instagram continued to compete with Snap Inc. in April, with all three apps launching new products and features to keep more users and marketers spending their time there.

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This is good news for marketers: Social media platforms are making it easier to do your job well. The tricky part will be figuring out where your audience wants to hear from you most, and where to best spend your time and resources producing and promoting content.

We’re here to help. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights in the social media space this month — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers. And if you’re too busy to read the full roundup, here’s a quick video recap:

10 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

1) Facebook announced new AR, VR, and AI initiatives at F8 2017.


Source: Facebook

At the annual F8 Facebook Developers Conference, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s next act would be further steps into the worlds of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). With the launch of new products like the Camera Effects Studio, the AR Studio, and Facebook Spaces, Zuckerberg hopes to make the Facebook camera “the first augmented reality platform.”

Down the line, Facebook plans to launch AR glasses and new 360-degree capable cameras, in addition to some truly mind-bending Building 8 initiatives, such as technology to type with your brain and hear with your skin. These announcements caught most of the headlines, but we think what was left off of the F8 agenda is just as important.

With almost no mention of Facebook Instant Articles, publishers, or Pages, it’s clear that Facebook is doubling down on high-tech visual content. So what does this mean for marketers? It’s tough to outsmart the News Feed algorithm and to drive content views and engagement. Our advice is to publish no more than 3X per day, to invest in live and native video content, and to connect with your audience and customers on Facebook Messenger (but more on that later).

2) Facebook surpassed 5 million monthly advertisers.


Source: VentureBeat

Facebook also announced this month that it had achieved more than 5 million monthly advertisers — 75% of which came from outside of the United States. Digging into this massive number reveals even more interesting insights: 50% of these advertisers are mobile advertisers, and Facebook amassed more than 1 million new advertisers in less than one year.

These advertisers only represent about 8% of businesses with Pages, so it’s likely that Facebook will keep updating its Ads Manager to make advertising on Facebook more enticing, especially on mobile. Read our ebook for ideas on how to optimize your brand’s Facebook Page for more effective advertising on the mega-popular platform.

3) One in five Facebook videos are broadcast live.

Facebook’s head of video, Fidji Simo, shared a video announcing just how rapidly Facebook Live had grown in popularity — both among publishers and among viewers. One in five videos on Facebook is a Facebook Live broadcast. What’s more, Facebook Live watch time has increased more than than 4X longer over the last year.

Last year, Facebook announced it would start giving Facebook Live broadcasts greater weight in the News Feed algorithm as a result of its popularity. This increase in watch time could precede another algorithm adjustment favoring live broadcasts, so if you aren’t already doing so, recording Facebook Live videos could help your content earn more engagement and discovery in the News Feed. Read our guide for going live on Facebook here.

4) There are 100K active bots on Facebook Messenger.


Source: CNBC

Facebook Messenger was another hot topic at the F8 conference, and one of the biggest announcements about the messaging app was that there are now 100,000 active bots deployed on the platform every month. Furthermore, Facebook announced that 2 billion messages per month were shared between Messenger users and businesses.

Messenger is becoming popular for customer service and content distribution, so Facebook announced changes to the platform to make it more discoverable and easy to use as a standalone product. These changes include a Discover tab on the home screen of Messenger and “smart replies” businesses can use to auto-answer frequently asked questions.

Marketers might consider using Messenger as part of their customer service or content distribution strategies — especially if their audiences are already highly engaged on Facebook. You can subscribe to HubSpot content using Messenger here.

5) Apple Clips achieved 1 million downloads in four days.


Source: TechCrunch

Apple launched Clips, a media editing app designed to create photos and videos specifically for social sharing, and it rapidly achieved up to 1 million downloads in the four days after its launch in the App Store.

It’s still early to tell how the app will continue to perform, but App Annie noted that Clips was beating out Instagram’s own photo editing app, Layout, in the App Store during that period. This data is only based on United States numbers, but stay tuned for more coverage from us on media editing apps you should be using for easy social media sharing.

6) Pinterest kills the Like button


Source: Pinterest Blog

In a blog post published this month, Pinterest announced it would be removing the Like button from the visual search platform and sticking with the Save button as an indicator of Pins’ popularity. Pinterest put this change into practice with an email to Recode: It stated, in no uncertain terms, that Pinterest isn’t about virtual reality or connecting with friends. Instead, it’s about visual content discovery.

If marketers are spending a ton of time using Pinterest as a social networking tool, they might want to rethink their strategy and metrics now. Instead, consider shoppable Pins if you sell products as a better use of Pinterest’s discoverability capabilities.

7) Snapchat added Geofilters to its ads API.


Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat announced it would be adding Sponsored Geofilters to its ads API this month, making it easier for brands to customize and launch Geofilters for specific locations and events.

This is a big win for Snapchat. Now, advertisers can track the performance of Sponsored Geofilters within the Snapchat Ads API and get more insight into advertising ROI on the platform. We’ve talked before about how Snapchat’s analytics aren’t as robust as the other social media platforms it’s competing with, so this change makes almost all Snapchat advertising options available within the API for easy customization and performance analysis. Now, only Sponsored Lenses aren’t available in the API, and we’ll keep you posted if and when that changes as Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., grows.

8) Snapchat started measuring foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.


Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat has started using a Snap to Store measurement tool that lets advertisers see how much foot traffic to physical locations was generated by Snapchat ad views. The measurement shows which visitors used Snapchat while in the brick-and-mortar location, how many people who visited had seen the ad on Snapchat, and the difference in foot traffic between visitors who saw the ad on Snapchat and visitors who hadn’t.

The Snap to Store measurement tool is still in the experiment phase with a few large brands for now, but we’ll keep you posted when it rolls out to all users. The measurement doesn’t distinguish between different locations if your brand has a chain of stores, so this might be a better fit for smaller businesses to test out.

9) Snapchat launched AR world lenses.

On the first day of Facebook’s F8 conference, Snapchat announced new AR lenses users could start adding to their photos and videos. With world lenses, users can add 3-D moving shapes and images to content to add another layer of fun and variety to their Snaps.

AR and VR features are the next logical step for Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company that rebranded itself as a camera company back in 2016. The announcement of world lenses just before Facebook announced its own AR camera capabilities at F8 was smart (and sneaky) timing, as marketers around the world start to consider how to incorporate AR into their visual content efforts.

Our advice — as always — is to experiment and iterate based on results. See if your audience responds and engages with world lenses on Snapchat and AR filters on Facebook, figure out what works, and replicate it in future posts.

10) Instagram Stories beat Snapchat’s user numbers.

instagram-stickers.pngSource: Instagram

Instagram Stories have officially attracted more users than Snapchat’s entire user base, hitting 200 million users this month. With roughly 161 million users to its name, Snapchat continues to face increased competition from its virtual replica on Instagram.

Case in point: In the same blog post announcing the user milestone, Instagram also demonstrated its new Selfie Sticker feature, which lets users take a mini-selfie that they can attach to images and videos in other Stories. If this sounds familiar, you’re right on the money — Snapchat introduced Scissors, which do the exact same thing, in December 2016.

More advertisers and marketers are turning to Instagram over Snapchat for their ephemeral marketing efforts. We suggesting focus your efforts on which platforms audiences are most engaged on, while still keeping a pulse on other platforms that might experience a resurgence if new tools or products are announced.

It’s not exactly a news story, but we wanted to make you aware of a new social media content creation tool, too. This month, HubSpot and Shakr teamed up to create, a platform to easily create videos for Instagram’s vertical format. Using, brands can easily create vertical videos for Instagram Stories and ads directly in a browser, so check out the tool the next time you plan to launch an Instagram campaign to make better content, more easily.

Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content


Where most social media feeds are almost distractingly busy — full of photos, videos, and text updates from friends and brands you follow — Instagram is different because you can only look at one post at a time.

And while this simple, clean interface makes to easy to focus on the beautiful photography and interesting videos on Instagram, it also leaves something to be desired: the ability to easily repost other users’ content.

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But fear not: for every problem, the internet has afforded a solution. We tested out four different ways to repost content on Instagram in a few simple steps. All of these methods are free, but some require you to download an app from the iOS App Store or Google Play first.

How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Methods to Try

1) Use Repost for Instagram

Download Repost for Instagram for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:


Open your Instagram app, and find a photo or video you’d like to reshare.


(Psst — do you follow HubSpot on Instagram?)

Tap the … in the upper-right hand corner of the post. Then, tap “Copy Share URL.”


Open Repost for Instagram. The post you copied will automatically be on the homepage.


Tap the arrow on the right-hand side of the post. There, you can edit how you want the repost icon to appear on Instagram.


Tap “Repost.” Then, tap “Copy to Instagram,” where you can add a filter and edit the post.



Tap “Next.” If you want to include the original post’s caption, tap the caption field and press “Paste,” where the original caption will appear with a citation.


When you’re ready to share the post, tap “Share” as you would a regular Instagram post. Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:


2) Use InstaRepost

Download InstaRepost for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:

Open InstaRepost, log in using your Instagram credentials, and authorize it to access your account information.


InstaRepost will only show you a small selection from your Instagram feed. If you know what post you’re looking for, head to the search magnifying glass to look at the Explore tab or enter a username.



Once you’ve found a post you want to reshare, tap the arrow in the lower right-hand corner. Then, tap “Repost,” then “Repost” again.




Navigate to your Instagram app, and tap “Library.” The post will be saved to your camera roll.


Add a filter and edit the post as you would any other. Then, tap “Next.”


Tap the caption field to paste the original caption. The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.”


Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:


3) Use DownloadGram

DownloadGram lets Instagram users download high-resolution copies of Instagram photos and videos to repost from their own accounts. Here’s how to do it:

Open your Instagram app and find the post you want to repost. Tap the … icon in the upper-right hand corner of the post and click “Copy Share URL.”



Navigate to DownloadGram and paste the URL into the field. Then, tap “Download.”


Tap the green “Download Image” button that will appear further down the page.


You’ll be directed to a new web page with the downloadable image. Tap the download icon, then tap “Save image.”



Return to your Instagram app. The image will be saved to your camera roll, so edit it as you would any other Instagram post.


The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:


4) Take a Screenshot

This method doesn’t require any or other websites to repost on Instagram. It’s worth nothing that this method only works for reposting photos. Here’s how to do it:

Find a photo on Instagram you’d like to repost, and take a screenshot:

  • For iOS: Press down on the home and lock buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.
  • For Android: Press down on the sleep/wake and volume down buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.

Tap the new post button in the bottom-center of your Instagram screen. Resize the photo so it’s properly cropped in the Instagram photo editor.


Edit and filter the post like you would any other Instagram post.


The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:


Do It For the ‘Gram

Now that you’ve learned how to repost on Instagram, you can diversify your profile with content sourced from friends, family, and brands. Use the methods above — being sure to cite the source of the original post — to quickly and easily reshare your favorite content. And if you’re looking for more ideas for sourcing and creating Instagram content for your brand, download our free guide to using Instagram for business here.

Do you use any of these methods to repost on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More


When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.

For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place. New Call-to-action

Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.

The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet

1) Blog Posts

Source: Medium

Quick reference:

  • Post length: 2100 words
  • Title: Under 60 characters
  • Meta Description: Under 155 characters

Post Body

When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:

  • According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.
  • The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.
  • At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.
  • That aligns with research previously conducted by serpIQ, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.

That means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.


But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.


The length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.

Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.


Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.


Meta Description

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 12.22.10 PM.png

Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.

Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.

sejvREM3G7-iloveimg-compressed (1).gif

2) Facebook

Quick reference:

  • Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
  • Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes

Status Updates

Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.

But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.

“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.


While Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.

According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”

Source: Wistia

However, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.

Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.

3) Twitter

Quick reference:

  • Tweets: 140-character maximum
    • Does not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweets
    • Ideal length is 120-130 characters
  • Hashtags: No more than two
  • Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds

Length of Tweets

Marketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.

Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment.


Ideal Length Overall

Like so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):

Source: Buffer

The same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.

Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.

Source: Buffer


You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.

4) LinkedIn

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.39.48 PM.png


Here’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:

  • Professional headline: 120
  • Summary: 2,000
  • Position title: 100
  • Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)
  • Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.”

Original Content

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:

  • Post headline: 100
  • Post body: 40,000

5) Instagram

Quick reference:

  • Bio: 150-character maximum
  • Hashtags: Maximum of 30
  • Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.

Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:


While Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

6) Snapchat

Quick reference:

  • Character limit: 80 per post

Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:

7) YouTube

Here we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.

That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.57.09 PM-1.png

In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.

Show Your Character

As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.

Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.

How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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8 How-To Videos We Love (and Why)


Have you ever learned how to do something with the help of an internet search?

The answer is most likely a resounding “yes.” Most recently, I taught myself how to fold a fitted sheet with a helpful video from homemaker extraordinaire and friend of Snoop Dogg Martha Stewart.

Videos are an especially compelling way to learn how to do something online because, well, the video shows you exactly how to do it. I’m not alone here, either — 4X as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product, rather than read about it. So if you’re among the many marketers producing more video content this year, there could be a lot of value in making videos specifically for those in your audience who are trying to learn how to do something, too.

In this post, we’ll explore just how popular these searches are on YouTube and what you can learn from eight how-to videos about how to make great teaching videos of your own.

How-To Video Searches Are Popular

How-to searches are incredibly popular. Think about just in your own life for a moment, and reconsider my question at the beginning of this blog post.

As it turns out, 91% of smartphone users consult their various devices seeking help completing a task. But these searches aren’t all happening on Google. People are searching for videos to learn how to do things on YouTube.

According to Think With Google, how-to searches are increasing 70% year-over-year on YouTube, and more than 100 million hours of how-to videos were watched in North America alone in recent years.

8 How-To Videos on YouTube to Learn From

1) How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

You may recognize the title of this how-to video — it’s the one I mentioned earlier in this very blog post. Are you always gets stymied when putting away fitted sheets on laundry day like me?

What I love about this video is how it showcases personality. It’s a simple how-to video of humans demonstrating how to do something, without any animations or high tech features, but it’s still extremely effective at teaching the viewer. Stewart and her guests make jokes about how hard it is to fold the sheet — Stewart even joking that her inability to do so led to her divorce — and they show the viewer how easy it is to get tripped up in the process. Stewart and her guests also have empathy for the viewer and show exactly how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

Takeaway for marketers: If you want to create a how-to video “hosted” by a real, live human, make sure they act like a human. Videos are an easy way for brands to showcase personality, so put yourself in the shoes of your viewer, and infuse humor, sincerity, and empathy into your instructions. If the concept you’re explaining is complicated, tell the viewer that. If you had no idea how to use your product at first, share that. Speaking like a human — instead of reading off a script like a robot — will make your video memorable, effective, and enjoyable, too.

2) How to Cook Perfect Pasta

Tasty on BuzzFeed shares cooking and recipe videos that frequently go viral on YouTube and other social media and reach millions of people every month. But this video isn’t one of Tasty’s trademark recipe videos — it’s one of several how-to videos that break down common or difficult cooking skills step-by-step. 

In this video, Tasty uses hyperlapse to speed up the cooking demonstration and get the viewer the information they need as quickly as possible. This fast-paced filming style is eye-catching if it starts auto-playing in a social media feed, too. Tasty chose a smart how-to search term, too — there’s a ton of search volume around the phrase “how to cook pasta.”

Takeaway for marketers: Viewers prefer YouTube videos on the shorter side, so sped-up hyperlapse filming helps conserve time and creates a neat visual effect. Work backward and conduct keyword research to learn what terms your audience is searching for to find a topic to make your video about.

3) How to Escape Quicksand

Evidently, Princess Buttercup’s tragic fall into quicksand in The Princess Bride wouldn’t have been quite as terrifying in real life.

In this how-to video, Tech Insider uses captions and animations to break down a complicated concept. I wasn’t exactly searching for information on how to escape quicksand when I found this video, but the unique subject matter made me instantly click, intrigued. What’s more, the sound isn’t required — although it does add dramatic effect — which might make people more likely to click and watch all the way through, since many social media videos are watched on mute.

Takeaway for marketers: Your how-to videos don’t necessarily need to be about a dry topic related to your industry. If you create a fascinating piece of content that goes viral, you’ll generate interest in your brand that way. Animations and captions help to show — rather than explain — trickier concepts like quicksand, so consider these visual elements for high-level explanations. And if there’s a way to make your videos volume-agnostic, do so. Some videos will require narration or other sounds, but the visual elements mentioned previously could do the talking for you.

4) How to Blow Out Curly Hair

Anyone who’s ever gotten a blowout knows that it can be expensive and time-consuming to have it professionally done.

So Bustle cleverly made a how-to video that teaches viewers how to DIY and save money — a motivating factor behind many how-to online searches, I suspect. This video is also short, which MiniMatters suggests for enticing viewers to watch videos all the way through. YouTube counts a view as once a video has been watched for approximately 30 seconds, so viewers with short attention spans might be more likely to stick around for that long if they see a video is shorter, like this one.

Takeaway for marketers: Almost everybody wants to save money where they can, so think about ways your how-to video could help viewers do that when brainstorming topics. When filming, try to keep videos as short as possible to attract viewers and keep them watching all the way through to steadily increase your number of YouTube views.

5) How to Add a Friend to a Group

In this short and sweet how-to demonstration video, Facebook infuses humor to provide context for the topic it unpacks. It gives the viewer a chuckle, and research shows that content that elicits strong positive feelings makes the material more memorable and sticky.

Takeaway for marketers: Don’t be afraid to be humorous and silly in your videos — even if it’s a little dorky, like in this example. It helps place the lesson your video teaches in context for your viewer and shows off the more personable side of your brand.

6) How to Asana: Planning with Asana calendar

Asana cleverly brands its how-to video series as “How to Asana,” and all of the videos in the series feature a consistent theme. All of the videos in this series are under two minutes in length, are hosted by the same person, and feature an eye-popping yellow background. The meat of the video consists of a screencast of someone using the Asana calendar tool, but these branding details bring life to what would otherwise be a rather boring video.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re thinking about creating a how-to video series, take the extra time to make it memorable and recognizable. These efforts will make videos look more professional and will make viewers want to keep tuning in for more helpful videos if they know they can expect more.

7) How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop

Who else here loves GIFs? That’s right — everyone loves GIFs.

But before I watched the video above, I had no idea how easy it was to make my own. That’s the ideal reaction to a how-to video, by the way — “that was so easy.”

Adobe’s how-to video is a great example of a software demonstration video because it zooms in on only the necessary information. Instead of confusing the viewer by showing the entire Photoshop interface, the video features magnified animations of only the buttons and tools they need to accomplish the task at hand.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re making a technology demonstration how-to video, consider how it will appear to any first-time product users watching. Try to minimize any confusion by only filming elements of the technology needed for your video so viewers can follow along on their devices.

8) How to Increase Your Facebook Reach and Outsmart the Algorithm

You might be hesitant to create videos to explain a complicated subject matter, but that could actually be the most effective medium to help your audience understand something.

In this video, my colleague Megan Conley breaks down the many nuances of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm in a clear and concise manner. Then, graphics, animations, and screencasts supplement what she talks about with data visualizations to make the stats and figures more memorable for the viewer. Finally, the video ends with helpful next steps viewers can take to solve the problem outlined in the video. The video isn’t about how to use HubSpot software at all — it’s only in the business of helping people get better results.

Takeaway for marketers: The most compelling how-to video might be one that doesn’t mention your product at all. Think about what questions your audience might be asking and establish your brand as a thought leader with helpful videos that don’t end with a sales pitch.

How to Make How-To Videos

Now that you have inspiration from real-life B2B and B2C brand videos, start thinking about how you could create helpful content for your audience.

Create buyer personas and use these to inform your strategy. What types of questions does your audience ask about your product? What questions do they ask about your industry? What problems does your product solve that you could demonstrate in a video? Use tools like Google Trends and HubSpot’s Keywords tool to learn more about the types of searches your audience is conducting and what content you could create to answer those questions.

What’s the best how-to video you’ve ever seen? Share with us in the comments below.

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How the Modern Viewer (& Cupcakes) Transformed Saturday Night Live


Disclaimer: I love Saturday Night Live.

Actually, that’s a huge understatement. I grew up watching SNL, some of my role models are SNL veterans, and I regularly abandon Saturday night plans so I can watch the show live.

So you can imagine my joy when SNL started going digital. After almost 40 years on the air, SNL began publishing clips from the show on and YouTube, where videos racked up millions of views and changed how the show was watched. And since the introduction of more social media platforms, SNL has only gotten more innovative and creative with its approach to sharing comedy with the world. The current season of SNL, Season 42, is the most-watched in 24 years.

To pay homage to the Spartan Cheerleaders, the Ladies of SNL, and too many impressions to count, we’re doing a deep-dive into how SNL is evolving its strategy to suit the modern viewer. The show still airs on Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. at 30 Rockefeller Center, but SNL is also diversifying how, where, and when you can watch its hilarious skits and stellar musical performances.

How SNL Is Diversifying Content

Pre-Produced Skits for Watching (and Rewatching) Online

Does anyone else remember the iconic “Lazy Sunday” rap that went viral online and kicked off the career of The Lonely Island?

That video was SNL’s second Digital Short ever, and it was released back in 2005.


Source: NBC

Since then, SNL has produced more digital shorts in addition to its trademark live skits — pre-produced videos that aren’t performed live but are still aired with the audience’s live reactions. Check out its recent music video about a high school theater production’s cast party:

Since the dawn of internet video in the early 2000s, SNL has leaned more heavily on creating these pre-produced music videos and commercial parodies that lend more easily to watching and rewatching online. These videos have higher production value than the live skits, confront topical political and cultural references head-on, and have made up close to one-third of the show’s lineup since “Lazy Sunday” premiered.

These videos perform incredibly well on YouTube — check out the pre-produced “Undercover Boss” parody series episode that earned almost 22 million views below:


Source: YouTube

When an episode of SNL airs, NBCUniversal publishes the full episode and all of the skits and performances on its own website. Then, it publishes the most popular videos on YouTube, where some go on to achieve viral status. And although viewers can’t watch the complete episodes on YouTube, the modern accessibility of SNL online has helped the show maintain topical relevance and popularity.

Takeaway for marketers: SNL teaches marketers to pay attention to what their audience is doing and to cater to them. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle, for example, SNL’s YouTube channel grew 48% — a nod to the impact of catering to viewer preferences on video metrics. Live sketches and improvisation will always be the bread and butter of SNL, but it also leans on quality pre-produced videos, a distributed content strategy, and what’s happening in the world to guide its editorial strategy.

Original Skits on Snapchat

In 2016, NBCUniversal made a deal with Snapchat that it would begin creating original content for the ephemeral messaging platform. And in February 2017, SNL produced its first original skit for Snapchat.


Source: Saturday Night Live via Snapchat

We’re not clear yet how many skits will be produced exclusively for Snapchat. We do know the skits are available for 48 hours after the air of the show on the Snapchat Discover tab, accessed by swiping left twice on the Snapchat home screen. SNL is expanding its distributed content strategy to include even newer platforms and audiences, and it will be fascinating to see how many of SNL’s 11 million viewers will consume its Snapchat content, too.

Takeaway for marketers: SNL teaches marketers not to stay entrenched in comfortable, usual channels for publishing and to experiment with new platforms and formats, such as ephemeral content on Snapchat. Try posting disappearing content stories on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger to see if you can engage your audience with new content.

Behind-the-Scenes on Instagram

SNL’s Instagram is another must-follow for any sketch comedy superfan. Not only does SNL use Instagram to post short clips from sketches to drive viewers to its YouTube channel, but it posts fun, behind-the-scenes looks at rehearsals, costume changes, and performances that you’d only see if you were backstage.


When you find your own #tbt in the Studio 8H hallway. #SNL

A post shared by Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:06pm PST

Everyone likes to feel like they’re in on a secret — after all, FOMO is a powerful marketing tool. These behind-the-scenes images help foster a sense of community between SNL and its viewers, and it gives viewers an incentive for following along — they get the inside scoop on their TV show.

In a recent Instagram post, SNL promoted its series of behind-the-scenes videos, “Creating Saturday Night Live,” available only on YouTube. Videos like these are for fans who want to learn more about the hair and makeup process that transforms cast members from presidents to aliens and back again, and other behind-the-scenes secrets.

Takeaway for marketers: SNL uses its Instagram to promote and repurpose content from the show, but it also creates original content to appeal to fans on a more intimate level. Marketers can duplicate this approach to drive engagement on different social channels by pushing for urgency. Publish content that’s exclusive to social media, offer a contest if viewers follow your Instagram Story, and use recording features like disappearing and looped videos to repurpose video content into something more engaging and easily consumable for social media users.

“Weekend Update” on Thursdays

SNL fans and political news junkies alike rejoiced when NBCUniversal announced “Weekend Update,” a popular comedic news segment on SNL, would air four episodes during Thursday night prime time TV during the summer of 2017 when SNL is normally off the air.


Source: Vulture

“Weekend Update” covers topical news stories — primarily politics — during its short segments near the end of the SNL broadcast. No matter where you stand in regard to the current political climate, the numbers don’t lie: SNL sketches about the 2016 presidential race and President Donald Trump’s administration are the show’s most popular. In fact, the two most-watched videos on SNL’s YouTube channel are related to the President, and sketches like these are credited with garnering over 1.2 billion views and 1 million engagements. “Weekend Update” segments are particularly popular too, regularly racking up millions of views on YouTube.


Source: YouTube

So it should come as no surprise that NBCUniversal and SNL are interested in keeping the comedy-news momentum going during the show’s hiatus.

Takeaway for marketers: This lesson teaches marketers to pay close attention to the performance of content campaigns and adjust their strategy accordingly. If a campaign performs well, analyze it to find out what works, and replicate it. It’s always a good idea to double down on what’s working of find ways to repurpose top-performing content. This could be a great strategy for broadcasting live videos on social media or creating compelling ephemeral stories, too.

And live from New York …

For one of the longest-running TV shows on the air, Saturday Night Live has proved itself to be one of the most innovative, too. Perhaps the biggest lesson marketers can take away from SNL’s evolution into a multi-platform comedy giant is to not be afraid of experimenting. While it’s too soon to tell how some of these initiatives are performing, the numbers speak for themselves: SNL is in the midst of its biggest season of the 21st century.

By embracing a distributed content strategy and adapting its creative process to viewer preferences and cultural trends, it’s achieved a level of popularity and viewership most marketers would envy. Experimenting with new types of video and adapting content to new social media strategies will be key to marketers’ success in the future, whether they market products, software, or sketch comedy.

Are there other TV shows with a strong social media presence? Share with us in the comments below.

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