The TL;DR February 5, 2018

TL;DR Bite-sized industry updates

This week we’re talking about Instagram updates, common pitfalls for social media marketing and how to come up with great content ideas.

Instagram Adds Carousel Format to Story Ads & Allows Third-Party Scheduling

Instagram announced several updates this week, including carousel format for story adds and third-party scheduling. You can read more about carousel format here and third-party scheduling here.


  • Carousel Format for Story Ads
    • Instagram is currently testing this. It will allow brands to upload three photos or videos in the same story post rather than just one.
    • Total length of a post in a story ad is staying at 15 seconds.
    • There is no word yet on when this will be made available for self-service advertisers. It’s currently available to brands purchasing through automated ad-buying services like the Facebook Marketing Partners program.
  • Third-Party Scheduling
    • Facebook is updating Instagram’s API to allow business profiles to schedule posts without having to use the current process of getting an alert and manually posting.
    • This long awaited change has been one of the most requested capabilities from social management tools.
    • This is currently only available for business profiles and will become available to personal accounts next year.

5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working

With the recently announced shift in Facebook’s algorithm, many brands are looking at their social content with fresh eyes. Here are five reasons your social media may not be performing the way you’d hoped. Read the full article here.


  1. You’re Overestimating Your “Community” Size
    • While it’s important to have a community, it’s easy to think followers are waiting excitedly for more branded content. The reality is users don’t really want to be friends with brands but they do want to know authentic ways your brand can improve their lives. Focus on proving your brand’s value rather than assuming consumers already know it.
  2. You Aren’t Using Paid Media
    • The era of free organic reach is over. Organic content still has value in the customer journey but paid media helps ensure your content is shared with your audience when they are most likely to act. A little budget can still go a long way on social but paid media is necessary to any strategy.
  3. You Focus on Tactics Over Strategy
    • Exciting new tactics emerge every day – but tactics without strategy can do more harm than good. A consistent strategy that utilizes appropriate tactics – both new and old – will serve you better in the long run.
  4. You Don’t Have All the Data
    • Measuring, analyzing, and reacting to data correctly is integral to finding out what works and what doesn’t. Make sure that you’re not only tracking correctly, but that you also understand how attribution models work and how to interpret them correctly.
  5. You Try to Emulate Big Brands
    • Brands like Coke and Nike always seem to have sky-high performance on social – but these brands have decades of equity behind them. Doing the same thing Coke does as a smaller, less-established business with a much lower budget likely won’t work. People simply don’t have the same associations with smaller brands yet. Focus on building that equity, then go to bat with the heavy-hitters.

10 Ways to Come Up with Content for Your Brand

Since social is on every day, sometimes it can be difficult to come up with new and fresh content. Here are ten methods to help get you thinking. You can see the full article here.


  1. Reconnect with Brand Values
    • If you’re struggling to think of content, consider revisiting brand values. Often these basic pillars of a brand can spark a new angle you may not have thought of before – it can also help re-center a brand’s focus in a crowded space.
  2. Search Instagram Hashtags
    • Follow hashtags popular with your target audience and see what types of content show up there. Not only will you find inspiration, you may also find some brand new influencers to include in future strategies.
  3. Check Out “Answer the Public”
    • This tool aggregates data from Google and Bing to identify what people are searching for around any given subject. Enter your brand and see what the people want to know then build content around answering those questions.
  4. Create a Pinterest Mood-board
    • Consider mixing brand assets with third-party images in your vertical that align with your identity. This can spark a new visual direction as well as focus your ideation process.
  5. Expand Visual Inputs
    • Not all tools have to be online. Consider checking out coffee table books that tie into your vertical, brand, or goals. Looking at something tangible or experiencing something new can help spark ideas as well as show you something you may not have been able to find on the internet.
  6. Stalk Your Followers
    • Choose 5-10 public profiles of fans who represent your target audience and study whatever you can about them – their likes, interests, and what they share on their stories. See what they’re passionate about and incorporate it into your strategy.
  7. Bring in Fresh Eyes
    • It can be easy to get too close to the work or brand. Someone unfamiliar with what you do every day may see something you don’t, leading to new explorations.
  8. Apply the “Jobs to Be Done” Theory
    • This theory, pioneered by Harvard professor and author Clayton Christensen, looks at the problem customers try to solve when buying a problem. For example, they aren’t focused on wanting a nail – they want something that holds up a family portrait securely. Looking at why a customer truly wants your product can help push your thinking into new territory.
  9. Experiment with Mind Mapping
    • Using a mind map to visually organize ideas around a particular subject can help you find new associations you may not have initially thought of. Start with your product or a brand value and builder from there until you’ve exhausted all your ideas. When you’re done, read over everything and see what sticks out.
  10. Know What’s Possible
    • Make sure you stay on top of the latest technologies, social media channels, and social tools. Knowing everything you can do can help you find the perfect solution for your strategy.