How to Succeed without Facebook Audience Insights Tool

An image of age and Gender, Relationship Status and Education Level in Facebook Audience Insights Tool with a red X in the top left corner.

Audience hacking has been the name of the game for Facebook marketers… until now. 

Facebook’s Analytics tool has provided valuable information for businesses interested in expanding their reach, understanding their demographics, and targeting their ideal customers for years. Now, as Facebook sunsets the tool on June 30, 2021, the future of marketing on the platform is up in the air.

But is that really a bad thing? 

Without these demographics and insights, there’s a new exciting possibility: more creative ads.

Less data can make ad success less predictable or “hackable,” leading marketers to spend more time iterating and designing new, compelling ads. 

The old-school, Mad Men-type advertisers are preparing for a new era of advertising.

One that just so happens to look… a lot more traditional. And this shift is likely to work in favor of those who have dedicated years to perfecting their branding on Instagram.

Here’s everything you need to know about how eliminating the Facebook Analytics tool might impact how you design your ads.

A screenshot of Facebook Audience Insights Tool, which details Age and Gender, Relationship Status and Educational Level

Why is Facebook Getting Rid of the Analytics Tool?

A red banner detailing that Audience Insights is Going Away Soon

If you’ve been advertising on Facebook for a while, you may have become pretty reliant on Analytics to learn more about your audience. 

User journeys, audience cohorts, and insights have been valuable resources that could take some of the guesswork out of Facebook advertising. So naturally, some businesses are getting concerned that the iconic tool will shut down at the end of the month. 

However, the information Facebook can access through its pixel is diminishing, making the tool-less and less useful… especially after iOS14. New privacy options are putting consumers more in control of their data, which means there’s less information and insights available for Facebook to offer businesses. Much of the analytics power behind this free tool relies on information that will no longer be available to Facebook from iPhone users.

For some businesses, this may make ad success less “hackable,” forcing businesses to focus more on creating exceptional ads that capture attention and convert beyond a hyper-focused audience.

Instead, Facebook is focusing on its redesigned comprehensive Business Suite. While insights are still available in the Business Suite, you may start receiving less valuable data than you’re used to. 

A popup from Facebook that says Ad Results Have Moved.

Business Suite is still rolling out, so it may not be available yet on your account. Meanwhile, Ads Reporting, Ads Manager, and Events Manager will continue to be available for businesses using Facebook… for now, at least.

Many marketing professionals see getting rid of Facebook Analytics as a brief look at bigger changes coming to Facebook’s business management toolkit.

Why Facebook May Start to Look Even More Like Instagram with This Change

If you run Facebook ads, you’ve almost certainly seen the ads selling “hacks” to get more sales through Facebook.

Even as advertising on Facebook has become more expensive, some businesses have won tons of traffic and sales with the information available through Facebook’s tools. Without all that information, Facebook may have inadvertently leveled the playing field within its platform. There is still a distinct advantage, however, to using other analytics tools that measure your Facebook ad success and provide more demographic insights. 

As ad personalization data becomes less readily available, people who run ads will need to start thinking about advertising more traditionally. Businesses will need to engage with customers and better understand their demographics to create ads that target the right audience. As more Facebook tools lose the data that made the social media network’s advertising capabilities so robust, many digital-age marketers will need to go back to the drawing board.

Brands that perform well on Instagram organically are poised to survive Facebook’s impending changes well.

Organic insights on the platform offer a peek into what customers are interested in, and comments give social media managers an opportunity to engage with and learn more about who they’re targeting. 

As a visual-first platform, Instagram is naturally the most similar social media platform to traditional advertising media.

Businesses that actively post and engage on Instagram have a better grasp on what branded content captures their customer’s attention and contributes to a growing following. 

That puts Instagram-focused businesses at a new advantage as Facebook’s advertising capabilities change.

If your business has already created dedicated ads for Instagram and Facebook, you may be ahead of the curve for upcoming changes.

How Instagrammers Can Get Ahead with the Latest Changes to Facebook Advertising

Capturing your data now is one of the best things you can do before Facebook sunsets the tool. But what else can you do to maintain effective advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram?

Here are a few tips to help you seamlessly adapt to coming Facebook changes.

Double Down on Organic Strategy

Reevaluating your Instagram organic strategy and testing new advertising creative with organic posts is a great way to gain further insight into what your audience is looking for. Doing this now puts you ahead of the curve as Facebook offers access to less and less customer information.

While your existing ads are still dialed in and working, now is the time to focus on building customer relationships or exploring influencer marketing, too. The recent changes show that advertising may become more limited for Facebook and Instagram, so finding new ways to expand your reach now will pay dividends later. 

Reach out to customers through direct messages and ask them questions to learn more about their preferences. Customer interviews are a great asset to your marketing strategy, and learning more about customer demographics directly from your customer can make designing effective ads easier. 

To find out who to interview, compare your orders in the last years to your followers on Instagram.

Find the followers who engage most, and reach out to them to gain more information. Rewarding them with a limited-edition freebie, a coupon code, or even a shoutout on your channel can make them more inclined to share with you.

Learn More From Instagram Insights

While Facebook’s robust customer insights may be dwindling, new native data for Instagram Reels and Live Videos will offer valuable insight into what’s working for your audience. Since the data is collected natively, or based on customer activity within Instagram, those insights won’t be limited by the iOS14 update. It can also help you prepare for other new changes Facebook is rolling out, like ads for Instagram Reels.

For businesses and creators already producing Reels and Live Videos regularly, this information can prepare you to create Reel ads that are more likely to perform well. Your Reels are already engaging your audience; what can you glean from their performance to incorporate in your ads? It’s worthwhile to test how successful Reel ad content could transfer to Facebook ads.

Instagram’s other business tools in the Professional Dashboard can offer powerful insight into your brand’s performance, too. Combine this information with the valuable data from Tailwind’s Smart Assistant to create ads that make your audience swoon! 

Get Support with Split Testing

If you aren’t already, using a tool like AdEspresso for split testing can help you design ad creative and copy that resonates and targets the right audience. 

As audience data dwindles, you may need to spend more time testing your ads. Even if you already have ads that are working for you and attracting new customers, optimizing your content can ensure that you stay up to date on what’s working for your audience. 

Less personalization may mean that customers start scrolling past ads more often. Before, even if their eyes glazed over while viewing ads, personalization data made it easy to ensure that you were at least reaching the right audience. Over time, even without their focused attention, you could gain brand recognition and website visitors who passively saw your ads enough times that they chose to learn more. 

But now, decreased personalization may make customers even less engaged in advertising. Creating colorful, engaging content will become even more important, giving experienced Instagram users a leg up. 

Testing this content regularly can help your brand stay aligned with trends and respond to changes in their audience’s attention. Tailwind Create can help you design content unique to your brand in one click that stands out and engages your audience on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

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Get the Right Insights to Design Awesome Facebook Ads

Even though Facebook is retiring its Analytics tool, there’s no need to panic! While there’s no doubt that business tools for Facebook and Instagram are changing, less data may not be that bad for Instagram aficionados.

As someone with an eye for engaging visual content, these changes offer an opportunity for your brand to leave competitors in the dust. Brush up on your traditional advertising skills and use Tailwind’s powerful social media tools to create exceptional ads for your audience!

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Facebook's Audience Insights Tool is going away on July 1, 2021. Read what your next moves should be - including where to look - in this guide.

Storytelling for Facebook: Creating Posts That Surprise and Delight

An excerpt of a sponsored ad telling a story alongside a photo of the writer posed at her desk on purple background

Facebook offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses and marketers. The popular social network makes it extremely easy to target and reach almost any audience with your marketing message. 

But after seeing tons of targeted ads and advertising posts from other businesses, you might start to believe that sales copy is what garners attention on Facebook.

It can be easy for marketers and businesses to get caught up in their goals and forget that Facebook is about developing a social connection. 

Featuring stories on your personal Facebook timeline, Facebook Business Page, and Facebook Groups set your content apart. The secret to creating compelling posts is getting that customer to press the “Read more” button. But how do you keep your readers’ captive attention?

Take a note from old radio shows and serial stories to create surprising, engaging stories! Breaking up stories and adding cliffhangers can turn a casual reader into a lasting customer.

Here’s how you can create fascinating stories with your Facebook posts.

Why You Need Storytelling to Gain Fans Who Follow You Wherever You Go

Years ago, storytelling was the primary social currency on Facebook. Telling great stories and writing engaging posts was the only way to gain a following beyond friends and family on the social network.

But as organic reach dwindled, many marketers and businesses shifted their focus to Facebook ads, leaving their pages neglected or peppered with boring filler content.

As the ad market becomes more saturated and more expensive, many businesses are once again seeing the benefits of using storytelling to generate higher engagement. Even Facebook itself knows the value of storytelling on its platform. According to Facebook’s research, sharing your brand story before presenting marketing messaging can increase the likelihood that someone will buy from you. 

A compelling story is platform-agnostic. Creating strong stories on Facebook can encourage people to follow you elsewhere, too. That’s why storytelling is a great way to build your email list, strengthen your Instagram following, grow your Pinterest page, and more. 

Many brands avoid telling stories because they want to maintain a more professional image. But, that professional image doesn’t work well on a platform dedicated to human connection. Telling stories is a great way to show the humanity behind your brand and start a conversation with your customers.

Using Your Real Life and Your Clients’ Lives to Source Emotionally Relevant Stories

When you hear storytelling, you probably think of fiction. This misunderstanding of storytelling often stands in the way of brands developing a more nuanced personality online.

Even the best fiction is often a dramatized version of real-life events. That’s why you should look at your own life and your clients’ lives for inspiration to tell the best stories! 

The power of stories comes in tapping into your customer’s emotions. While lots of marketing messaging focuses on elucidating pain points, stories can focus on the humanity behind the brand and show a wider range of feelings for your customer to relate to. 

One of the best ways to garner new stories for social media is through interviewing. When you interview your clients or ask someone to interview you, ask questions like, “When was a time you felt overjoyed about your business?” or “Tell me about a time when you felt scared related to your business.” Don’t forget to record the interview so you get every detail.

When you hear the stories, they may not seem relevant to your product or appropriate to post on social media. But, when you go back to review the transcript later, you will likely find some nuggets of inspiration that you can share or expound on.

Authenticity is the secret to exceptional marketing. Avoid the temptation to censor yourself and allow your voice to shine through. Sharing these types of stories creates a lasting connection between you and your audience, so it pays to be as genuine as possible.

Breaking One Story into Multiple Pieces of Content

When we sit down to write a Facebook post, we often try to create content that works for the platform. But what if we created the story first, and adjusted it for the platform, instead? 

When you tell stories aloud during an interview, they may seem a bit long for a Facebook post. But, when it comes to storytelling, there’s no need to be quippy. Your goal is to pull people in, not to tell the whole story in one post. 

As you review the transcript of your story, look for the lessons or wisdom you can pull from it. Expounding on these details can help you turn one story into a week’s worth of posts. 

One of the things that helps your organic posts show up in the Facebook algorithm is a customer’s interest in your brand. Getting them to click the ‘Read More’ link can show Facebook that customers want to see your content more often. This is a great way to draw out stories across multiple posts and build your audience’s curiosity. 

In your first story, focus on the emotion of the story and pull out the basic storyline. Share these details and mention how you learned these major lessons or discovered these things from this experience. Include images that show your client or your business at that time. 

The first post serves as a teaser, showing the base of the story and the simplest breakdown of the lessons learned. At the bottom of your post, you’ll tell your audience that you’ll be revealing more of the story throughout the week. 

Then, pull out shocking or surprising details from your story to lead each post. Allow your experience to lead the way and serve as a relatable lesson to your customers. Tie these details back to the lessons you learned or what you discovered, but leave each post with a cliffhanger to compel your customers to keep looking out for your posts. Share a photo with each post to boost engagement

Resolving Cliffhangers using Stories, Lives, and Posts to Encourage Ongoing Engagement

One of the best things about Facebook is that there are so many ways to tell stories. Using Stories, Lives, and written posts can strengthen your digital storytelling. All you need to do is inform your customer where the story will continue.

Cliffhangers keep your story moving forward from post to post. A cliffhanger focuses on the information the customer most wants to know moving forward. It may be the next step of a story after a surprising twist, or it may be the secrets behind how you created $100,000 overnight.

At the end of a post, you can tell readers that you’ll be revealing those secrets on a Facebook Live in your group, a post in your Stories, or another written post at a certain time. Then, remind them to turn on notifications so they don’t miss the next part of the story.

Save some juicy details of your story specifically for your Lives or Stories, and don’t be afraid of going off-script. Your audience is already invested enough to tune in, so this is a great time to lean into the emotions of the story and share fun details that may not fit into your posts. Give your viewers an insight into your personality and pretend like you’re telling this story to your closest friend. Better yet – ask your closest friend to tune in!

Five Quick Tips to Creating Compelling Stories on Facebook

Making storytelling a regular part of your social media content strategy can help you turn passive leads into engaged customers. Here are some easy ways to make your stories more engaging on Facebook.

1. Focus on Empathy

Reflect on how you felt when you were going through problems your customer is experiencing. Trigger those feelings authentically and share from a place of understanding and compassion. There’s no need to be the expert in these posts.

2. Stay on Brand

Authenticity is key, but don’t deviate away from your brand’s values. If your brand is aspirational, a rags-to-riches story is perfect for your audience. The same story may not work well for a non-profit, though.

3. Go for a Soft Sell

The main focus of storytelling is to increase engagement, awareness, and interest in your brand. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid talking about your product or service entirely. Connect your story to your product, but avoid conversion-based sales language.

4. Keep Your Story Focused

Expand on your story without going on tangents. Stay focused and don’t draw out your story simply for the sake of drawing it out. Keep your goals in mind as you reveal the story.

5. Monitor Your Results

For some audiences, posts may perform better. Others prefer to hear a story on Facebook Live. Track your engagement and see what works for your fans.

Keep Your Audience Coming Back for More

There are many ways to connect with your audience on Facebook, and storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to take advantage of the platform. Use these tips to develop stories that help customers get to know you and your brand. 

How are you using Facebook to share stories? Will you be posting more often with these tips? Let us know in the comments!

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Storytelling is a key way to connect with your Facebook followers. Learn how to use this technique to make your posts come alive!

How to Use Memes the Right Way On Social Media

Create and Cultivate Instagram Meme on orange background

As a social media manager, it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon when you see a trend taking off. After all, getting a good joke or reference in early can dramatically boost your reach and let your brand ride the coattails of a trending meme. 

But more often than not, corporate SMMs find that they’re behind the 8-ball when they use memes on their accounts.

Nobody wants to come off as tone-deaf online, so it’s important to decide if memes are an appropriate addition to your social media strategy. Thoughtful design, a commitment to branding, good timing, and a great sense of humor all play a role in increasing your opportunity to go viral. 

Here’s what you need to know to use memes the right way in your marketing.

How Memes Can Help Improve Reach and Gain Followers

Memes are bite-sized, culturally relevant content that can engage a whole new audience in your brand. That is… as long as they’re done right. 

Meme culture is pervasive on social media, and it makes sense that brands would want a cut of that engagement.

Relevant and timely memes have a strong potential to go viral, which could quickly make your brand a household name.

However, most brands won’t keep the new followers a well-timed meme earns them unless humor is a fundamental part of the brand’s voice. 

One of the reasons memes are such a unique type of content is because they work on multiple platforms.

Once a meme goes viral, it can extend far beyond Instagram or Pinterest!

Creating a viral meme template can even lead to press features and links back to your social media accounts.

As tempting as those new followers are, it takes intention to start using and disseminating memes well. 

Brands that use memes well have an impeccable understanding of their audience: what they find relatable, what they see as funny or self-deprecating, and how familiar they are with existing meme culture.

These brands also know that this isn’t the time for heavy-handed marketing messages.

When a meme hits the mark, it’s a refreshing step away from overt marketing. It gives followers a feeling that you genuinely understand them and see their perspective.

We know that connecting with your audience is one of the best ways to grow your business and social following, and publishing memes can help you foster the connection you’re aiming for. 

Designing a Strategy Around Unpredictable Trends

There are three central ways to design new meme content: create a new meme, jump on the latest meme trend, or use familiar meme templates.

Many brands approach memes by aiming to jump on a trend when they see it. In these cases, social media teams need to be engaged in close social listening to hear the rumblings of a relevant meme that may be on the outskirts of their current audience. 

For example, following trendy creators outside your audience on TikTok and Reddit can help you find new trends or memes to explore on Instagram and Pinterest. You can also follow dedicated meme pages on Facebook to get a better feel for meme subtext.

Some audiences respond well to using tried-and-true meme templates. But, having a relevant, funny, and on-brand message is key here. Consider that your audience has seen this meme in hundreds of variations, so what makes yours stand out?

If you have the resources, creating a new meme template can be particularly successful. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that meme success isn’t guaranteed, so you may not see the ROI of creating a new meme. Creativity is the key when it comes to memes, so no need to map out a custom meme template with your whole team; instead, wait for inspiration to strike or have regular brainstorming meetings to find your brand’s unique sense of humor. 

As with any trend-based strategy, keep in mind that memes are a social risk. While these risks can deliver major rewards, they can also backfire, leaving your brand looking out of touch. Brand teams should start with social managers who already actively participate in meme culture and the latest trends to avoid missteps.

Considerations While Using Memes

Memes are constantly shared, so you may assume those images are all free and permissible to use. But, some memes are covered under copyright laws, so using them without authorization can pose a legal risk to your organization. 

Brands that use memes should speak with a lawyer or legal team before creating their strategy. A legal team can help you respond appropriately to a take-down letter or request for licensing fees. Plus, they can help you decide which memes are less risky to participate in and which memes to avoid. 

You’ll also want to consider informing customer service agents or people who respond to your social media comments when you plan to post a meme. Memes can generate a huge response, and whether positive or negative, you’ll want to be ahead of the curve to let your response team know when response volume might increase. Getting PR involved can help avoid or alleviate any missteps, too. 

Smaller companies may have an easier time adding memes to their social media strategy, but that doesn’t mean big brands need to avoid meme content entirely. Having a plan for dealing with meme response can help your team effectively manage an influx of attention. 

Tips on Creating Memes That Enhance Your Brand

Messing up with memes can be embarrassing, but the rewards of a well-timed meme can’t be denied. It’s hard to resist memejacking (or repurposing memes) when they can have such an explosive impact on your brand’s success. 

Here are 5 tips to help you do memes right.

1. Take a Risk

Memes often succeed when they have a more subversive or anti-establishment feel. Corporate, wholesome content can fall flat on younger audiences.

The best memes poke fun at a situation, so it pays to take a risk and explore the funnier side of your brand voice.

Think about how your brand voice would sound at happy hour. A small step away from a polished brand voice can be a fun surprise for younger audiences.

Brands that do well with memes have a tone that feels like someone has “taken over” the brand’s social media channels and is doing something their manager might not totally approve of.

A youthful, playful vibe goes a long way when you’re sharing meme content. 

2. Target Your Existing Audience

A campaign aiming to attract a whole new audience with memes often falls flat. Why?

Because you’re probably not looking at the young people already following your brand. 

Look through your followers and see the content your existing audience shares.

Get a feel for what they find funny. They already like your brand, so you’ll want to attract more young followers like them.

To do that, you want to make sure you target them first.

If you’re struggling to engage a Gen Z audience, consider finding a Gen Z influencer that can help create content and offer insight into what appeals to this audience.

Many traditional meme templates may engage a Millennial audience but leave Gen Z feeling like your brand is behind the times.

3. Be Timely

Memes definitely aren’t evergreen content, so they may play a different role from other social content in your strategy.

If you schedule meme content for a week later, you might discover that the meme you share is already outdated.

The best meme strategies are timely and relatively spontaneous – like Barkbox creating these memes in time for the Superbowl!

When you see an opportunity to engage with a meme, jump on it as soon as possible.

If you’re concerned about the potential response or backlash, you can add a meme to your Instagram Stories to test the response before including it in your grid.

Some weeks you may create the perfect meme and your audience will love it. Other weeks, you might not find anything on-trend that fits with your brand.

Don’t force meme content to fit with a posting schedule. Make it a valuable but irregular addition to your strategy instead. 

4. Make Sure You Understand the Joke

One of the benefits of memes is showing that you’re in on the joke. But without the right context, your brand can easily miss the point of the meme. 

If you’re using a more traditional meme, always check before posting to get a thorough understanding of the content.

For newer trends, find other creators using the same meme to confirm that your interpretation makes sense.

Doing your homework may take time, but it can save your brand a lot of embarrassment and help you avoid becoming a viral meme fail.

5. Stay on Brand

Introducing humor when it’s not a fundamental part of your brand voice can be tricky.

It’s crucial to keep your branding in mind to avoid losing followers when a meme flops.

It may help to separate your brand voice from your marketing messaging before you start adding memes to your social media strategy.

Once you post a meme, you’ll want someone with the same sense of humor available to respond to comments, too.

Your meme can be even more impactful if the comments section is full of on-brand, funny responses to comments.

Kick Your Social Media Marketing Up a Notch

Memes are a great way to add spice and variety to your social media channels. Adding memes to your existing social media strategy can take time, but a slow introduction can help you find the humor in your brand’s unique voice. Brands that use memes well have a huge opportunity to go viral and attract new audiences, so it’s worth the effort to use memes!

Do you use memes on social media? Share your tips in the comments!

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Memes are popular all over social media, and you may be wondering how to get in on the trend. Read our tips for incorporating memes into your brand content!

How to Design Your Social Content for Accessibility

A screenshot of a Tailwind customer video with captions on it on blue background

Inclusivity is an important goal for most companies in 2021, but you wouldn’t know it from their social media content. 

While most social media platforms have tools to improve accessibility, many creators overlook these essential resources. By ignoring accessibility best practices, you may be hampering your reach, going against your company’s values, and missing out on great engagement by not making your content more inclusive.

Lots of people assume that Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook aren’t set up to meet accessibility needs. Think again!

There are plenty of ways to make your content more engaging for those who can’t consume it as easily. These social platforms have committed to making their platforms more inclusive for all people, and it’s a great reason to do the same!

Here’s why accessibility matters in social media, how you can create a more inclusive online community, and tips for creating more accessible content.

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Why Inclusive Design Matters on Social Media

Almost every social media manager has felt the sting of lower reach after an algorithm change. However, many don’t see how they’re stepping over tons of potential viewers every day with poor design. 

Even with the most beautiful graphics, snappy captions, and on-trend videos, your design might not cater to your whole audience. Without considering people with limited sight, hearing, or reading capabilities, your content may miss the mark. 

Inclusive design ensures that everyone can reasonably engage with your content on social media. Considering that 61 million Americans alone have a disability, you may be accidentally excluding a ton of people from your online communities.

“It’s important to understand that making digital content accessible also means better marketings. As digital marketers, we naturally want to reach as many people as possible, and accessibility helps us do that.”

Alexa Heinrich, Digital Accessibility Expert and Social Media Manager

But designing for accessibility goes far beyond garnering more likes. Including all people in online communities is our social responsibility, and online community builders know how important it is to create a safe and welcoming space for customers and fans. 

As photo and video content expands across platforms, creators need to consider accessibility at every stage of the creation and posting process.

What to Consider When Developing Inclusive Communities Online

Designing for accessibility may take more intentionality than you’re accustomed to. However, a new section on a creative brief or a new box on your checklist can lead to an engaged audience you’ve never encountered before. 

Part of developing an inclusive community on Instagram, Pinterest, or any social network is thinking about how people with different disabilities access your content.

Platforms are beginning to develop equity teams to understand the needs of people with disabilities better, so the tools available to you are constantly changing.

Even so, those tools only help if you empathize with the experience of people with disabilities and understand how the tools work to enhance their experience. 

Content creators should always consider how their followers—including users with hearing and/or vision disabilities—are going to engage with their content, especially visual elements like photos and videos.

If you’re going to post an image, make sure you write alt text for it so anyone using a screen reader can access it. And of course, videos should always be captioned to make them accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.”

-Alexa Heinrich

Social media platforms aren’t taking these recommendations lightly. For example, Pinterest took a big step in 2018 when they strengthened screen reader support, improved color contrast sensitivity, and added focus indicators to improve the user experience for those who are visually impaired.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram recently added automatic captioning to video content.

Still, the steps platforms are taking are not enough to absolve businesses from responsibility.

We owe our community great content that they can consume, no matter what tools or resources they use. This is especially crucial on primarily visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, where most content still may not be accessible for certain communities.

Creating More Accessible Content on Pinterest and Instagram

Designing content with accessibility in mind may seem complicated at first. However, it’s actually much easier than you think. 

According to Heinrich, there are three key elements to include in every piece of social media content to make it as accessible as possible: a visual component, an audio component, and a readable text component.

You need a visual component for users who rely on their sight to consume content, an audio component for users who rely on their hearing to consume content, and a readable text component such as a written post or tweet, transcript, or image alt text for users who rely on assistive devices to consume content.”

“Readable text can also double as your audio component if a user is having their screen reader read the content aloud to them.

Flattened copy, such as text on an image or open captions on a video component, does not count because a screen reader cannot typically identify it as readable text,” says Heinrich.

Alexa Heinrich

Each component should have substance and tell a story accentuated by, but not dependent on, the other components. 

For example, many professionals use Instagram image alt text in a way that doesn’t support people with disabilities.

Instead of comprehensively describing the image for people using screen readers, some people use alt text as a duplicate image caption or an opportunity to add keywords.

This popular SEO practice can provide a bad experience for people with disabilities who rely on alt text to “see” the images in your social media post or on your website. 

Another example is using emojis in captions. Emojis have alt text connected with them, so a screen reader will relay an emoji as a word that represents the emoji. Thus, having emojis placed unexpectedly between sentences or as a substitute for bullet points can lead to confusion for those who can’t see them.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use emojis in your captions, however. Focus instead on using emojis at the end of sentences, or better yet, at the end of your caption! That way, screen readers still get your message without being stymied by random words like “tree” or “woman in lotus position.”

In cases like these, creating inclusive content involves breaking habits that we may have previously linked to higher engagement.

Three Quick Tips for More Inclusive Content

Creating more accessible content can take some getting used to. Examining your design process and adding new elements for better accessibility may seem daunting, but it can ultimately lead to a stronger online community and more successful social campaigns. 

Here are three easy ways to start designing more impactful, inclusive content today. 

1. Add Captions to Videos

All captions are good captions, right? Not exactly. 

Open captions, or captions embedded in the video file, aren’t as helpful as you may think.

As Heinrich mentioned earlier, these captions often can’t be identified as readable text. Instead, you can add the Caption sticker to your Instagram Stories to auto-caption your videos, or toggle the Auto-Generated Captions setting when you add an IGTV video.

Adding captions supports viewers who are hard-of-hearing while also providing readable text for screen readers. Plus, other viewers might appreciate your captions, too. Facebook reports that 85% of videos are watched on mute, so adding captions can pull in another audience who wouldn’t have heard your videos anyway.

2. Use Hashtags Wisely

As valuable as screen readers are, they can’t always be perfect. With hashtags, adding capitalization can make it easier for screen readers to decipher what a hashtag means. 

When a screen reader sees #tailwindapp, it will likely try to stay the entire hashtag as one word. Capitalization can clarify that the hashtag contains specific words and ensure it is read correctly for the user.

While we’re on the subject, adding 30 hashtags to the bottom of an Instagram caption or multiple in a Pinterest caption can provide a bad experience for vision-impaired users. Add hashtags to a comment, instead.

How to Add Hashtags to First Comment with Tailwind

Posting your Instagram hashtags to the first comment is a powerful tool for accessibility – and happens with just one click with Tailwind’s Instagram scheduling tool!

Here’s how you use it:

  1. Upload your photo or video to drafts
  2. Select the best time to post recommended by Tailwind’s Smart Schedule tool
  3. Write your Instagram caption
  4. Add your hashtags from the suggestions in Hashtag Finder, or add your favorite Hashtag List from saved Hashtag
  5. Check the box for “Post hashtags in first comment” (with Tailwind Auto Post enabled!)
  6. Click Schedule

It’s as easy as that! When it’s time to post, we’ll send your carefully crafted content to your Instagram, automatically populating the hashtags at the end of your caption into your first comment on the post. Presto!

A view of the Tailwind Instagram dashboard, showing the post scheduling recommended times, suggested hashtags for your post, and your caption bar with the Post hashtags in first comment selected.

3. Add Meaningful Text Captions

One word, quippy captions have become normal on Instagram and Pinterest. However, when users can’t clearly see an image, they have no idea what your post is about without meaningful context! 

Expand on the story in your image or video with a detailed, informative caption. While it may not follow the current stylistic trends, it will make a big difference in how people experience your content. Captions can be especially impactful on Instagram Reels, where video trends aren’t always the most inclusive.

For Pinterest, adding relevant information into dedicated fields (like a website address into the URL field) or details in your Pin description can ensure your caption stays easy to read.

Always focus on how content appears on the Pin before repinning other users or brands, and adjust content or formatting to match your accessibility goals. Adding clearly visible text overlays to your Pin with enough contrast to read is a great way to do this.

In fact, you can add clearly readable text overlays and appropriately contrasted color palettes to all your social media designs with Tailwind Create!

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Putting Inclusivity First in Social Media Communities

As social media managers, we interact with our communities every day. Our brand is so much more than just a company, and interacting with different people is often the best part of the job. That’s why it’s our responsibility to do better and expand our community to welcome everyone. 

Designing with inclusivity in mind may take a few extra steps, but it’s well worth the effort if it means everyone has the opportunity to engage. There are many benefits to accessible design for social media, but the main benefit will always be creating a rich, strong community where no one is left out. 

Do you have any accessibility tips you use for social media? Let us know in the comments!

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Does your social media pass the accessibility test? Find out how to create user-friendly designs in seconds with our easy guide!

How to Use Facebook Groups For Your Business in 2021

The title of a private Facebook Group and the group header image of Tailwind Pinterest GetTOGETHER Pop-Up Grou

Five years ago, Facebook Groups were a goldmine of untapped potential. 

Every entrepreneur and small business jumped at the opportunity to get all their raving fans in one place. While organic reach for Facebook Pages had started to drop, the reach within a private group skyrocketed.

Even beyond creating their own group, businesses started to discover where their ideal clients “hung out” through these highly specific Facebook communities.

Suddenly, validating business ideas and new products became easier and faster. Creating a free download became an effortless way to build your email list, attract new leads, and become a recognized expert in your industry. 

Five years ago, it seemed obvious that Facebook Groups were the path to success. But, as the platform continues to evolve and organic reach drops, are Groups still the holy grail they once were?

Even though Facebook Groups may not have the reach they used to, they can still be a valuable part of your branding and marketing funnel.

Let’s explore how to use Facebook Groups for your business in 2021.

What Are the Benefits of Facebook Groups?

If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you’ve probably belonged to a few groups before. 

Facebook Groups are a convenient way to bring together like-minded people and form a community. Posting in Facebook Groups can help you find solutions to problems, get advice or input, receive recommendations, and more. 

For a business, Facebook Groups can offer a ton of information about what their ideal clients are looking for, what problems they’re struggling with, and the language they use to talk about it. Often, you may even find your ideal customers in Facebook Groups asking questions and looking for solutions that you can easily provide.

However, depending on the size of your brand, creating your own Facebook Group for market research likely isn’t the best use of your time in 2021.

Even though Facebook Group posts are shown more frequently in people’s timelines than organic posts on a personal or business page, these posts still don’t reach everyone unless they’re actively visiting and participating in your group. 

That’s why, in 2021, new Facebook Groups are often best used as a container to support and manage private clients, courses, and paid groups.

Creating a small community of dedicated fans and delivering customized content to them through your group can keep customers engaged in your program and your brand. Plus, the group provides your customers an opportunity to connect and bond with each other. 

This makes Facebook Groups a powerful tool to help you grow a committed community and expand your following with slow, steady growth.

How to Build Community Using Facebook Groups in 2021

Gone are the days of inviting everyone you know to your Facebook Group. Now, growing your community requires a more nuanced approach.

We know that everyone on Facebook is served ads left and right. By the time they arrive at your group, your social selling can fall on deaf ears.

These days, when you’re growing your business with Facebook Groups, less is more. A more intimate group can create the community you need to help your business thrive. Creating that intimacy and closeness helps clients feel more connected and more inclined to refer your work to others. 

One of the best ways to use a Facebook community is to include it as bonus content in a program or course.

This gives customers a place to direct questions and gain access to you or your support team.

Facebook post from group moderator teasing a new presentation in Facebook Group for business.

If you sell physical products, a Facebook community can be the right place to announce private sales, give first looks at new products, and offer behind-the-scenes content to your most valued customers.

Jumping into the group and doing Facebook Lives can incentivize members to frequently check back or turn on notifications for the group.

Starting engaging discussions on relevant topics can help keep your members coming back for more. 

Encourage your dedicated fanbase to use this space for any and all questions, thoughts, or reflections related to your industry. Then, you can show your unique expertise and let your members share their experiences as well.

Facebook Groups are a great way to keep your current customers and long-term fans engaged with your brand. But, how do you bring in new potential customers?

Where Do Facebook Groups Belong In Your Marketing Funnel?

A few years ago, it was common to see marketing funnels leading people to join a Facebook Group. Now, however, that technique often falls flat.

So, where does a Facebook Group belong in your marketing funnel?

If you’re creating a new group for a specific offering, group membership makes for an awesome upsell.

Offering an opportunity for dedicated attention in an invite-only group on a lower-ticket sale can be a turning point that shifts an engaged customer into someone who eagerly buys everything you create.

For more expensive offerings, a support group may be considered standard. In this case, your community can be a valuable bonus that turns a ‘maybe’ into a resounding yes.

Example of About This Group description with link to accompanying webinar series

For example, Tailwind founded the Pinterest GetTOGETHER group to offer continued support and engagement for attendees of the Pinterest GetTogether Webinar Series!

You can also add a Facebook Group link on your thank you page. This keeps your group limited to people who have already purchased something from you, no matter how valuable.

There are plenty of ways to bring new people into your Facebook Group while providing the experience of exclusive access to you and your team, but one of the most powerful isn’t even in your funnel. 

Creating an affiliate program can empower your dedicated fanbase to bring new clients into your group for you.

Affiliate programs can create even more committed customers because they earn a commission from advertising your offerings and bringing new customers into your program and Facebook Group.  

Ways to Use Facebook Groups Effectively

Facebook Groups have evolved to cater to business needs. That means there are a ton of helpful features that can make running your business even easier.

Here are a few key features that you won’t want to miss.

Delivering Courses with Guides

The Guides feature is a powerful way to deliver course material and track progress. To get this feature, you need to change your group type to Social Learning in the Edit Group Settings area. 

Instead of paying for a separate platform to deliver your course content, uploading video and documents onto Facebook is a breeze. From there, you can easily drip content to ensure your students don’t get overwhelmed with too much information.

Adding different units can guide customers through the content they purchased at their own pace, with no direct intervention needed from you.

Even if you aren’t selling courses, you can still use Guides to deliver helpful information and gauge member interest in different initiatives.

For example, if you’re a retailer with an affiliate program, you can offer introductory information about your affiliate program through Guides. Once a member has read the affiliate information, you can automatically provide more information through Guides or contact them directly to discuss the next steps. 

The Guides feature also offers a quick and easy way to add Facebook live content to your course content. This is a fast method to repurpose content and get new eyes on something you recorded live before, as a group workshop.

Running Virtual Events

The logistics of running virtual events are enough to make you and your team’s head spin. 

Thankfully, Facebook has added some helpful tools to make promoting and running virtual events easier. 

Instead of tracking down emails or projecting your live video call into your Facebook Group, Facebook has now developed their own video chatting platform called Rooms. The Rooms feature allows you and 49 other people to video chat directly through the Facebook platform. 

Recording your Rooms session is a great way to easily share your content with anyone who missed the live session within your group. No more downloading huge Zoom call files and waiting for them to upload into your group!

A new Facebook Group feature also lets you schedule future live, virtual events in your group.

When your event is scheduled, an announcement is posted to the Facebook Group that allows members to apply for the event. Then, when you go live, the members who wanted to attend can join and participate in your event. 

This feature also lets members add scheduled live events to their calendar and receive reminders. While they don’t replace impromptu Facebook Lives, a scheduled live event is perfect for scheduling support calls, presenting a topic, or hosting an event with someone else.

Expand Your Business with Facebook Groups

Even though Facebook Groups have changed, they are far from dead. In fact, they can be a powerful tool to offer exclusive content to your audience and deliver your services or products. 

Using Facebook Groups to grow your business depends on creating a vibrant, engaged community. While creating an impactful group takes time and dedication, it’s an effective strategy to strengthen your brand and improve your reach within your Facebook community.

How are you using Facebook Groups to grow this year? Let us know below in the comments below!

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Curious how Facebook Groups complement your business, and if they're worth the time? Read the benefits and our tips for marketing with Facebook Groups!