Professional Development: Rock the Agency Life

Rock the Agency Life (1)In today’s highly-competitive agency world, getting a job is the first step on the ladder to success. Climbing the agency ladder involves more than just putting in your time and waiting for your turn at a promotion. It involves a commitment to ongoing education and professional development. In recognition of this, some agencies offer education reimbursement as an employment perk.

If your agency is willing to foot the bill to make you more marketable, it’s an opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up. Taking advantage of an employer-sponsored education reimbursement is like getting a raise twice. You benefit from your conference or class, and then you benefit from being a better educated worker. In the end, you increase your value in the marketplace.

Taking advantage of an
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Unfortunately, most employees are too busy to take advantage of their education reimbursement perk. In most cases, education reimbursement is a “use it or lose it” benefit. That means, if $1500 is set aside for you to invest in professional development and you don’t take advantage of it, that $1500 doesn’t rollover to the following year.

Now if you haven’t invested your education reimbursement yet, don’t worry – there’s still time. Here are a few ideas to help advance your career…

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The Power of Animated GIFs

GIF here, GIF there, GIFs everywhere.

From JLaw falling down on the red carpet repeatedly to King Joffrey dying in an episode of Game of Thrones, GIFs are fast becoming the most widely shared content online among Baby Boomers and Millennials.

To understand the rise of animated GIFs in pop culture, it is important to understand:

  • what a GIF is,
  • why they have become so popular in the visual content space, and
  • how they can be beneficial in your marketing strategy.

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Facebook Timeline Template – Free Download

Facebook Timeline Template Download

I’ve been covering the new Facebook Page Design or template for quite some time here because the layout impacts your cover photo. In fact, I’ve been helping clients all month in getting their creative assets in order. If you haven’t heard, the new design is going to move your company name and category from the bottom of the cover photo and make it a text overlay (along with a few more changes – watch the video for details).

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New Facebook Page Design is Almost Here

New Facebook Page Design is Almost Here

In March I covered the 4 Facebook Page Design Features You Should Watch when Facebook rolls out their new design and now the time has finally arrived…

Early adopters who signed up for Facebook’s Waitlist started receiving messages this week that their Page would be upgraded to the new design on Friday, June 6, 2014. As predicted, the ability to “Highlight” posts no longer appears to be an option for Page Managers with the new single column design. However, Page Managers can still “Pin” posts to the top of their Timeline to capture the attention of visitors that come to their Page.

Facebook New Page Design 2014

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How to Use UTM Tracking Codes with Pinterest Pins

Pinterest UTM Tracking Code

Pinterest announced today that they are now adding support for Google Analytics UTM variables or “tracking codes,” which will allow content creators to measure the performance of each Pin. If you’ve only been reporting how much referral traffic Pinterest brings to your site – you’re in for a real treat.

Sure it’s nice to know how much Pinterest accounts for total traffic but understanding which piece of content is driving all that traffic is even better! All you have to do is add a snippet of text at the end of your URL.

Marketers that run pay-per-click (PPC) or display ads, do this all the time—I know because I used to be a Search Engine Marketing Manager and tagging ad campaigns was super important for tracking performance.

So what are UTM Tracking Codes?

I like to think of them as Who, What, Where, When and Why variables because they complete the story of your analytics. A typical URL with a tracking code looks something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 10.45.46 PM

Campaign is usually the name of your promotion. Example: utm_campaign=SpringCleaning

Source is the name of the website that is driving traffic to your site or blog post. Example: utm_source=Pinterest

Medium is how that traffic is delivered like PPC, display ads, email or social media. Example: utm_medium=Social

Content identifies the type of content like leaderboard, header photo or pin. Example: utm_content=Pin

Term is the keyword to help describe the content. Example: utm_term=audit

The great thing about UTM Tracking Codes is that you don’t have to use all of the five variables, you can choose the bare minimum or get super detailed.

How to Use UTM Tracking Codes on Pinterest

Let’s say you have an online website selling dresses and you wanted to create a Pinterest board for “Little Black Dresses Under $100.”

If the URL for the little black dresses you want to pin was, I would edit it to become:

So when someone comes to your site and buys a dress (any dress), you can take a look at your analytics and find out what that person was looking at on Pinterest that drove them to purchase.

To break it down even further, I would set up UTM variables like this:

  1. utm_campaign=Name of Your Pinterest Board
  2. utm_source=Pinterest
  3. utm_medium=Social
  4. utm_content=Pin
  5. utm_term=Keyword Describing Pin

Helpful Hint #1: If you want to change the source of an existing Rich Pin, Vincent Ng at MCNG Marketing has a great tutorial on How to Link Your Website to Any Pin on Pinterest.

Helpful Hint #2: You can use Google’s URL Builder to create your “tagged” URL but it can get really messy if you have a lot of Pinterest Boards or campaigns that you want to track. You want to make sure that your campaign names are spelled the same and have the same letter case.  If you used “LBD100” and “lbd100” as your campaign names, Google Analytics would think that they’re two different campaigns and you’ll have traffic metrics for two campaigns when you really wanted them to be rolled into one. To help you avoid making that mistake, you can use my Google URL Builder Worksheet.

Pinterest Google URL Builder Worksheet

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I’m a huge data nerd and I love Excel. With a few Excel formulas, I’ve made it super easy for you to add your UTM tracking codes and have it automatically append to the end of your URL.

Pinterest Google URL Builder

All you have to do is fill out columns A – H and the worksheet will give you a tagged URL in column K that you can copy and paste to Pinterest.

Pinterest Google URL Builder Part 2

The formulas in the worksheet are updated all the way down to row 50 so you can easily get started.

Ready to give it a try? Get my Pinterest Google URL Worksheet for FREE when you sign up for my newsletter!

UPDATE: Sorry this freebie is no longer offered.

Facebook’s New Page Design: 4 Features to Watch

Facebook’s New Page Design: 4 Features to Watch

Facebook's New Page Design
Facebook just recently gave the News Feed a makeover and now the company plans on making changes to the design of Facebook Pages.

The goal of the new Facebook Page design is to “make it easier for Page Admins to find the info and tools they use most.”

Changes include:

  • a single column layout,
  • business info featured on a left column, and
  • new metrics section on the far right hand side of the Page highlighting the performance of Facebook ads, Likes and Post Reach

Looking at the screenshots Facebook provided in their announcement, there were four things that really stood out to me as a Page Admin. Let me explain…

4 Facebook Features to Watch

1. One-column page design may impact the Highlighted Post feature.

Today if you were to highlight a post on your Facebook Page, the post would expand and take the full width of your timeline making the content more prominent.

This tactic has been great in highlighting photo albums and drawing attention to specific posts, images and videos. This new one-column design looks like the Highlighted Post feature will be stripped away. It makes me wonder about the Milestones feature as well.

Facebook One Column

2. What to do if the People Talking About This metric disappears…

The “People Talking About This” or PTAT for short is a number is pulled from a variety of interactions that can occur on Facebook over the past seven days. It’s helped Page Admins gauge how their content in the last week has sparked conversations on the platform.

Some social media enthusiasts like to calculate the Engagement Rate of a Page by taking the PTAT and dividing it by the Page’s Total Number of Fans and benchmark that percentage against competitors.

Facebook Left Column

After taking a closer look at the new Page design, this metric is removed (speculating) from the new left column. That means Page Admins will have to identify a new metric to benchmark against competitors. That’s where #3 comes in…

(Update 3/19/14: PTAT can be found under the Likes link)

3. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

“Pages to Watch” was released last August and allowed Page Admins to monitor five other Pages to see how many likes they were getting in a week. When the new design is complete, Page Admins can view additional metrics such as New Likes, Total Posts and Engagement This Week.

Pages to Watch

4. Tabs are moving under the “More” module.

Custom tabs today have prime real estate under a Page’s cover photo. They’re great for drawing a visitor’s attention and persuading them to take action like entering a contest or signing up for a newsletter.

Inside Facebook confirmed that custom apps/tabs are going to move under the “More” tab. With custom apps being “hidden”, this may negatively impact tab views and engagement.

So if you have a custom app that encourages your fans to sign up for your newsletter, I suggest you benchmark how many tab views you are getting now before the new page design is rolled out.

(Update 4/3/14: App thumbnail apps will also appear on the left hand column.)

Facebook Custom Apps

While no one except Facebook knows for sure how these changes will impact Page Admins, there’s one thing I know for sure…the social media landscape is always changing and it will keep you on your toes. So to make sure you’re up to date on what’s new, subscribe to my newsletter below. And if you have questions about Facebook, feel free to leave a comment below.

Image Source: Facebook

Social Tip Thursday: How Long Should My Facebook Posts Be?

Social Tip Thursday: How Long Should My Facebook Posts Be?

Facebook Question

I had lunch with a girlfriend recently and she told me about a conversation she had with her boss about Facebook.  Her boss wanted shorter posts and thought it would drive more engagement. My friend on the other hand, was worried that cutting the word count by more than half would have a negative impact on engagement. She asked me what I would do if I were in her position and that conversation was the inspiration for today’s blog post!

My answer was twofold…

First, Facebook posts should be interesting and compelling enough to inspire your fans to like, comment or share. If you haven’t read Jonah Berger’s book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, buy it now.

Second,  take a look at your Facebook Page Insights to analyze how short posts perform versus longer posts.

WARNING: This post is going to go into detail on how to do this in Excel. Hope you’re ready! Let’s get started…

Export Facebook Page Level Insights

1. Go to your Facebook Page Insights and click on “Export Data.”

2. When the Export Insights Data modal window appears, select at least a month’s worth of data.

3. Choose “Post Level Data,” select “Excel” as your file format and download your data.

4. Open the Excel file and move the tab “Lifetime Post Stories by Action Type” into a new workbook.

5. Delete columns A, F, G, H and K. You should be left with the following columns: Permalink, Post Message, Type, Comment, Like and Share.

6. Next, insert a new column between the “Type” and “Comment”—name that column as “Character Count.” Now it’s time to count how many characters there are in each of your Facebook posts. Don’t worry, we’ll use the formula “=len(C2)”. C2 represents the cell you want to be counted.

Facebook Character Count
7. Copy the formula above and paste it in the remaining rows to get a full count. Delete the “Type” column to clear up some space or leave it in there if you want to see what type of content is driving engagement.

8. Next is the fun part (at least in my opinion – I’m a data nerd). Select all of your data and create a filter. Sort the “Character Count” column in ascending order.

9. We’re now going to break up the data into three categories: Under 100, 101 to 150, 151 and up. You can choose different categories if you want. Create a new column between “Post Message” and “Character Count” and name it “Category.” Go through each post and identify which category each post falls under.

10. The next step is calculating the average Comments, Like and Shares of each category. Insert a line after each category and use the formula “=average(select range).”

Facebook Average
10. You can now create a table illustrating an average of engagement you get on each length of post. Note: To make sure your averages are accurate, make sure you are comparing the same amount of posts (i.e. 15 posts under 100 character, 15 posts that are 101 – 150 characters and so on).

Facebook Table
11. Once your table is all set, create a Clustered Column Chart and guess what—you’re all done now!

How Long Should My Facebook Posts Be

Note: If you don’t want to make the chart, you can just sort the data by Comments, Likes and Shares in descending order. You can eyeball how posts are doing in terms of engagement.

I know this exercise is really long and can be hard for those that aren’t Excel friendly but I’m here if you need help. Post your questions or leave feedback in the comment section below.

Social Media Spring Cleaning Checklist

Social Media Spring Cleaning Checklist

Social Media Checklist

Spring is just around the corner, I challenge you to go beyond removing clutter from your home and take a stab at cleaning up your company’s presence online.

To give you a head start, I’ve created a social media spring cleaning checklist that applies to most social networks. If there’s anything else you’d like to add to the list or if you have trouble finding where to make changes, add your suggestion/feedback in the comments section below.

Facebook Tag Feature For Pages Impacts Your News Feed

Facebook Tag Feature For Pages Impacts Your News Feed


Facebook announced earlier this week that topics you like on Facebook are going to play an even bigger role in your News Feed.

Now when a Facebook Page tags another Page in a post, users that are fans of both pages will see the post in their News Feed. This initiative is very similar to what happens when a friend tags you in a photo (once you’re tagged, overlapping friends get to see that photo and can engage by liking, commenting or sharing the post).

For example, if many people who like Dwight Howard also like the Bleacher Report, it suggests that these two Pages are connected. If we see that people who like both the Bleacher Report and Dwight Howard are liking the post above, that’s an indication that it may be relevant for people who only like Dwight Howard.

This means some Page posts that tag other Pages may be seen by new people. – Andrew Song, Product Manager

Dwight Howard

Overall, the benefit of this rollout is that it allows Pages to extend the reach of their content, drive engagement and possibly attract new fans.

However, I must admit that I’m a little concerned on how this feature might be abused. What if a competitor tags my client’s page to announce a better discount? Fans of both pages would see that post. I’m curious to see how Facebook will deter spammers from abusing the tagging feature.

Have you started to see these types of posts in your News Feed? 


Harlem Shake Invades Little Italy

Harlem Shake Invades Little Italy

When you work at an agency, creativity is bound to happen. We decided to take a break from our desks today and have a little fun in the office elevator. Mums the word if the elevator isn’t functioning afterwards.