Each week on the Science of Social Media we cover some of the most important trends, news, research, and insights in social media marketing.
In episode #129, we discuss the most in-demand skills of 2019 (according to LinkedIn), why we’re bullish on YouTube advertising, a brand new guide on Facebook engagement, Instagram’s latest feature, and much more!
Whether you’re just getting started in social media or a seasoned marketing veteran, you’re sure to learn a few tips and tricks to help take your social media to the next level.
Let’s dive in!
The Science of Social Media: Episode #129
What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of the Buffer Podcast episode #129 for your reading pleasure.
Table of Contents
Hailley: Recently, LinkedIn released some brand new research from their platform.
The most in-demand skills of 2019 (according to LinkedIn)
That is the single most in-demand skill for 2019, according to LinkedIn’s latest research.
Linked pulled data around both the hard and soft skills that companies are working diligently to fill right now. Cloud computing came in at number one.
Brian: While we all may not be cloud computing experts, you may be surprised to find what skills companies are looking for this year.
And just for a quick refresher, hard skills are defined as specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. You know, things like typing, writing, math, reading, etc.
Hailley: On the other hand, soft skills derived from the right side of the brain, are less tangible and harder to quantify, such as communication skills, empathy, getting along with others, listening and engaging in small talk.
We’ve found that having a framework in place allows us to identify opportunities for growth and skill development at Buffer. We call it the T-Shaped Marketer Framework:
Here are 10 of the most in-demand hard skills:
- Cloud Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- People Management
- UX Design
- Mobile App Development
- Video Production
- Data Science
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Marketing
Here are the top 5 in-demand soft skills of the year:
- Time Management
Brian: I really agree with the fact that creativity was at the top of desirable soft skills.
Businesses and brands everywhere need people who can innovate and conceive fresh ideas and solutions.
Time management is also a big one as I think that as the world becomes more connected and remote work continues to rise, time management and productivity skills are crucial for professionals.
Brands’ YouTube advertising opportunity in 2019
Hailley: Let’s talk about why we think YouTube advertising is the next big opportunity in social media, well, advertising in general.
As you might know, YouTube advertising is very different from running a PPC or paid social campaign.
Brian: Which could be a positive or negative, depending on who you ask.
Either way, there’s no arguing that YouTube is a behemoth of a platform:
- Nearly 2 billion monthly users
- 8 out of 10 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube every month
- Second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook
Yet for some reason, YouTube ads rarely seem to be talked about.
Hailley: I think it’s one of those things where businesses aren’t quite sure how to approach YouTube advertising and businesses seeing success with YouTube ads aren’t sharing their secrets.
And if you’re comparing to something like Google AdWords, keywords are relatively less expensive to target on YouTube than in traditional search.
Views cost an average of $0.06 per click on YouTube, compared to the average Google Search cost per click, which is estimated to be between $1-2.
Brian: I think the bigger question is how YouTube advertising performs vs. Facebook ads, which most marketers are used to.
Our friends over at Agora Pulse ran a pretty interesting study testing the two and found that not only did YouTube drive more traffic to their website, but that YouTube traffic converted 66% better than Facebook traffic.
Hailley: Exactly and when comparing costs of video views, believe it or not, YouTube also came in lower than Facebook.
While everyone seems to be flocking to Facebook advertising because of these success stories you hear, many forget about YouTube and AdWords, and many other advertising networks that have always gotten results.
Brian: Obviously we could and probably will dedicate an entire episode to YouTube advertising. Actually that’s a good idea!
But in the meantime, a few quick things to know before you go.
First is that there are lots of different YouTube ads that you can run, giving you some flexibility like video TrueView ads, In-Stream Ads, Discovery Ads, and Bumpers.
Hailley: Second is that there are a ton of targeting options available, just like within Facebook. You can target folks based off of options like gender, age, and parental status. You can also target by their interests, such as beauty mavens, cooking enthusiasts, comedy movie fans, etc.
Lastly, if you want to learn all about YouTube marketing and how we grew our channel by 59% in 30 days, go check out episode #95.
Our ultimate guide to Facebook engagement in 2019
Brian: One of the biggest questions on all marketers’ minds in 2019 is, “How do we get more engagement for our brand on social media?”
And how do we do that on big, but competitive platforms like Facebook?
Hailley: Though there’s probably no silver bullet to success, there are some things to know if you want to increase your chances.
Remember that BuzzSumo study we chatted about last week in episode #128?
Well, there’s more to the story…
Brian: Yes there is!
These are the more technical aspects of our findings. Starting with the fact that, and we mentioned this last week, but it’s worth mentioning again, video posts get at least 59% more engagement than other post types.
Although photos are widely accepted by marketers to be one of the most successful post types, video outperformed photos by 73%.
We also have some brand new stats for you as well. When it comes to Facebook post timing, posts published between 9pm-11pm EST seem to perform the best.
Try saving some of your best content for those hours and see how they perform against other hours of the day. Your audience may be different, so be sure to consider their daily routines and cater to the times when they may be surfing their social feeds.
Brian: Speaking of daily routines, according to the data, Saturday and Sunday are the best days to post to Facebook engagement.
Many businesses take the weekends off and therefore may be choosing to only post Monday through Friday.
Which of course, might be a mistake. And we’ve found this at Buffer on our own Facebook page as well. Saturdays and Sundays always seem to perform better than during the weekdays.
Hailley: How about caption length?
Well, if you want the best chance of engagement, keep your Facebook posts no longer than 50 characters. Characters, not words. Which is super short.
But I think this makes sense — Facebook consumption is extremely passive, and attention spans are short. You need to be able to grab people’s attention quickly and effectively if you want to be noticed.
Brian: Shorter the better!
Let’s talk Facebook video marketing specifics.
This first one was really surprising to me..
The data showed that the optimal length of a Facebook video is between 3 and 5 minutes.
Hailley: Wow. That’s a lot different than some of the stats that we found last year.
And just to get specific here, the most effective videos were between 3 minutes and 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
However, looking at the data, videos between 20 seconds and 2 minutes are still super effective. I have a feeling that there were a few larger pages skewing the results there.
Brian: The takeaway is that no matter how you look at it, video works. 20 seconds 3 minutes, you name it.
In terms of the topics that worked best, no surprise here:
Which leaves the table pretty wide open for brands creating video in 2019.
Hailley: Agreed, no matter what kind of brand you are or product you sell, video can absolutely be the focal point in your 2019 Facebook marketing strategy.
- To delight others with valuable & entertaining content
- To identify and present ourselves to others,
- To foster relationships
- For self-fulfillment
- For spreading the word about issues, products & brands
And we talked about this in episode 128, but essentially, people are using social media to reflect who they are – or who they want people to think they are.
Seems intuitive, but I think sometimes as brands we share content that we ourselves like. Not what our audience likes and resonates with. If that makes any sense at all!
How brands can use Instagram’s new Close Friends feature
Hailley: To end the show we have a fun new social media strategy to try. Shoutout to Social Media Examiner for this one.
Some of you may have heard about Instagram’s latest “Close Friends” feature. Well, a few savvy brands have started to use that new feature to their advantage.
The Close Friends feature allows you to share Instagram stories with only a select group of people from those you follow.
Brian: To set up your close friends list from your profile settings, go to your profile on Instagram and tap on the three-line button in the top-right corner. From the menu, select Close Friends.
The close friends list will open, providing you with recommended users to add.
You can also use the search field to find specific users to add to the list. Simply tap the green Add button to move that user to your close friends list.
Hailley: Once you have your Close Friends list set up, you’re set to go. Now as you are probably already thinking at this point, brands can get super creative with their close friends list. You can use the new feature to:
- Add top customers or influencers to the list.
- Host a social media contest
- Stream live or private events
- Engage with your most active followers
- Share updates with your employees to add to their own stories
- and more!
The possibilities to get create are endless.
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About The Science of Social Media podcast
The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode. It’s our hope that you’ll join our 20,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!