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Why social media calendars are essential for content experts

As content experts, we all know the struggle of figuring out what and when to post. The perfect moment and the type of content that we shoot out onto the internet can be crucial to a company’s success. With that being said, we need a tool that will help us engage our company’s social media audience and ensure that quality content is being shared.

A calendar, specifically a social media calendar, can be a lifesaver when it comes to making sure our posts really capture our desired audience. A visual calendar as simple as Google Calendar, or even more social-media specific, like SproutSocial, can easily be found online and will get the job done. Once you’ve selected the calendar of your choice, it’s important to organize it in the best way possible.

The whole purpose of having one of these calendars is to prevent wasting time and to be prepared for the next post. When planning exactly which days to post, add some extra information related to your content that might be helpful for your audience. Jot down related hashtags, add links to websites, or maybe even find a holiday that coincides with the content you are posting. For example, a bike rental company might be planning to post about a special discount that they will be providing for customers. The best idea would be to promote this discount during the month of May, which happens to be National Bike Month. Not only are you planning ahead, but you are also directing your post to an audience who will surely react positively to the message being sent.

Now here is an important question. How often should we post? Does every day feel excessive? Is three times a day not enough? Well, the answer to this question completely depends on the company, the type of campaign, the audience, and the type of social media you are using. Maybe you will receive more feedback if you post on Twitter multiple times a day versus posting on Facebook. Or you might have more success posting on Instagram if you post only 2 times a week instead of 3. Either way, the frequency of your posts can depend on a variety of factors. When it comes to making sure your content is well-received, your best bet would be to try different posting schedules on different social media and see which ones have the most success by monitoring the statistics.

Another way to use your social media calendar to its full advantage is by categorizing posts and strategically placing them for the months to come. Think about what types of posts you want to share. Is it re-sharing content, a company event or celebration, a new blog post? Whatever it might be, differentiate one type of post from another and think about its placement. For example, a post about an event hosted by your company might be perfect for a Friday afternoon when people are thinking about their weekend plans. A new blog post can be posted every Wednesday evening because it’ll be more likely that readers are unwinding after a day’s work and have more time to browse through their various forms of social media.

With that being said, it’s pretty clear that organization and some serious planning are definitely needed when it comes to making your content stand out. Social media calendars are perfect for knowing exactly what, when, and how often we want to post. Check out some of the social media calendar tools that can easily be found online and practice your planning skills. But keep in mind that the main purpose of a social media calendar is to plan well-thought-out posts with enough time to discuss and edit within your team. With a social media calendar in your back pocket, you will never have to question when or what you should post ever again.

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The psychology behind clickbait: what it is and why we fall for it

“You won’t believe your eyes!”

“Shocking secrets, revealed!”

“…and what happened next is unimaginable!”

Sound familiar?

You might have noticed that eye-catching article titles and questionable news stories—not to mention excessive exclamation points—are taking over your social media feeds. This kind of content, popularly known as “clickbait,” has been stalking internet users more and more in recent years. These seductive headlines lure you into opening an article that contains poor content—which the average person spends under 15 seconds reading.

In other words, companies are feeding off the human need to gain more knowledge in order to build revenue via clicks-per-page. And many of us continue to fall for these headlines on a daily basis—but why? To understand, first we need to define the phenomenon itself.

What is clickbait?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary incorporated the term in 2015, defining clickbait as “something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.” To put it plainly, it’s a link that sparks curiosity and generates traffic, but ultimately leads to low-quality content.

The origins of clickbait lie in yellow journalism. This journalistic style relies on attention-grabbing headlines designed to increase sales, rather than objective and well-researched facts. It was born in the 1890s, when newspaper magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were engaged in a furious competition for readership. They began using sensational titles in an attempt to attract readers as quickly as possible.

Another of the fathers of clickbait is journalist Vincent Musetto, who in 1983 covered a story about a bar owner being shot to death after an argument with a customer. Its title, “Headless body in topless bar,” is considered by many to be the first truly audacious headline. These kinds of developments set the tone for today’s digital battle for clicks and views, in a world where content is more abundant and accessible than ever before.

Vincent Musetto's sensational headline is an early example of clickbait's origins in journalism.

The infamous cover story (image courtesy of the New York Post)

Exploiting curiosity and clicks

Clickbait takes advantage of the human need to expand our knowledge, whether it be through funny cat videos, quantum physics, or that poorly-written article blowing up your Facebook feed. This universal human curiosity has been explained by George Loewenstein, an economics and psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in his information gap theory. It states that humans have a constant, unsatisfied need to accumulate knowledge, whether it’s useful or not.

Information gap theory can help explain clickbait’s psychology when it comes to the reader—but on the company’s end, things are much more financially-motivated. Pay-per-click advertising allows companies to earn a fixed amount of money for each click or view an article receives. This creates a high demand for intriguing titles, but not so much for intriguing content. The initial click is the money-maker, so what comes after is much less important. As a result, articles are churned out faster and faster, with a corresponding drop in quality.

The power of post-click

Beyond the issues of low-quality content and greed, there’s also the problem of data collection. If audience perception is measured solely through clicks-per-page and views, the results won’t reflect the content’s true value. To obtain accurate and meaningful data, companies should shift their focus to post-click statistics: article sharing, movement to other articles, and the time spent on each one.

Post-click statistical measurement is slowly on the rise among companies, especially those focused on producing quality content and creating a loyal audience. This encourages marketing strategies that tap into a different part of human psychology: emotions. For example, it’s a widely known fact that advertisements and logos strategically utilize colors to manipulate consumers’ emotions—and motivate their purchases.

Articles can tap into readers' emotions to generate traffic and interest in content.

Angry readers means more likes

Similarly, articles can evoke emotions in readers that inform their post-click choices. Research has shown that when an article sparks anger, the viewer is more likely to “like” it. When a piece of content is inspirational, however, the viewer is more likely to share it. Using these emotional responses to engage readers and maximize viewership is an increasingly important marketing strategy.

The social media clickbait battle

The debate around clickbait is getting more heated by the day, enraging users across the vast expanse of the Internet. Some social media platforms are even considering changing their algorithms to reduce the amount of unwanted content on users’ feeds. Facebook, for example, has already taken concrete action to remove clickbait and fake news. One of their tactics consists of reviewing articles and labeling them as “disputed” if their content is of questionable quality. With 2 billion users worldwide and an infinite amount of circulating content, they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them—but it’s a start.

Hopefully, other platforms will follow Facebook’s lead and start implementing strategies to fight back against the clickbait invasion. If post-click analysis and a focus on emotional impact can successfully overtake the pay-per-click paradigm, our feeds will be all the better for it. With any luck, we’ll see a decline in low-quality articles and a spike in well-written, substantial, and meaningful content that treats readers with the respect they deserve.


VeraContent is a creative language agency producing high-quality content that aspires to more than spontaneous clicks. To see what we can do for you, consult our multilingual copywriting service page.

How to not be embarrassing on social media

Millennials. Those tricky, tricky millennials. What are they thinking? What do they want? Are they leaving Facebook? Are they still using emojis? If your company is using social media, chances are you’re interested in having better relations with the digital natives that are slowly taking over the world, one tweet at a time. And though I hate to break it to you, it’s not that hard to make a faux pas and become the laughing stock of the internet. The good news is that I, a culturally fluent, bona fide youth, am here to give you the map to avoiding that fate. These are the top do’s and don’t’s of commercial social media.

Don’t try too hard

Millennials are pretty smart. Yes, our overabundance of screen time has probably fried quite a few of our brain cells, but we have a keen nose for when we’re being pandered to. This is a pitfall that snared Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign when she sought to woo young voters by doing the nae nae or asking students to describe their loan debt feelings in three emojis or less.

Hillary Clinton two hand waving

A daring attempt at a double nae nae?

These gestures definitely got attention, but not in a good way. For the portion of millennials who already regarded Clinton as an outsider and a non-ally, these attempts at speaking the youth language only highlighted the size of the rift. After all, many millennials are already chafing under a societal tendency to patronize us by reducing the entirety of our culture to just the silly things we do on the internet, like using emojis. To have a politician with power over the many real issues in our lives address us on that level as if it was all we could relate to struck many as condescending and frustrating.

Have a brand and stick to it

This isn’t to say that memes, slang, and pop culture can never be used to good effect in corporate social media campaigns. The issue is to know your brand, and have a social media voice that is appropriate and consistent.

There are four types of commercial social media presence in terms of internet-savvy content. You can be old-fashioned, genuinely fluent, successfully ironic, or embarrassing. It is important to be self-aware of which of these your company can pull off. There is no way to generalize the answer to this; it depends on a whole network of factors.

For example, as explained above, Hillary Clinton’s Twitter efforts fall into the “embarrassing” category. Embarrassing content reduces credibility, alienates younger audiences and does nothing for older audiences, making it a loss all around. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was the sort of entity that would never be able to use youth-speak convincingly or naturally, and that already lacked widespread trust among young people. If these two factors apply to you (and if you have to ask if you can use youth-speak convincingly, you probably can’t), it’s best to keep your social media presence straight-laced and old-school. Just tweet and post like a normal, professional adult. If you’re a big oil company, an expensive student loans provider, or a napkin manufacturer, your safest bet for jiving with the kids is to not do it. You’ll be either stonily ignored or ridiculed and trusted even less.

The other end of the spectrum is the genuinely fluent social media presence. This style calls for a social media manager who is, well, genuinely fluent. When it comes to social media, there’s really no substitute for hiring someone who spends a lot of their free time immersed in the internet. It’s like any other language: just knowing the words isn’t the same as mastering the nuance and the cultural context.

Irony

Achieving the coveted genuinely fluent social media voice also depends somewhat on what you’re selling. If young people aren’t obviously the main market for your product or service, a meme-happy, slang-heavy social media feed is going to be a little odd no matter how well it’s executed. However, if you have talented employees and millennials don’t actively dislike you, there is a fourth possibility open to you: irony. And this is where true corporate social media legends are made. To illustrate, I take you to the reigning champions: Denny’s.

A few years ago, Denny’s was a generic, mostly forgotten diner super-chain. Most people had probably stopped in a Denny’s at least once on a road trip or late-night snack run, but for the most part, it was afloat in irrelevance. Nobody was loyal to Denny’s. Nobody made a point of going there.

Then Denny’s got a Twitter and a Tumblr and handed the passwords over to some absurdist, nihilist weirdos. The accounts are apparently managed by a professional ad agency, and while the chain’s 370,000-strong Twitter following and massive Tumblr fanbase might not know that detail, they have no illusions that Denny’s is really “one of them.” But this is exactly what makes the phenomenon so popular. Denny’s has struck a special chord of cognitive dissonance, a unique and powerful comedy. Everything about it is bizarre and surreal. But bizarre and surreal is the language of the internet and its devotees. And thus, against all odds, trust is born.

Again, self-knowledge is vital here. Young people don’t want their presidential candidates to be ironic. And not everybody can be Denny’s. But the larger point here is that hiring a good social media manager can take you far even if your brand isn’t naturally “cool.” The trick is harnessing irony.

Engage with individuals

People love being touched by fame. And something about public social media accounts has an aura of celebrity, whether your company is multinational or indie and local. So never underestimate the opportunity of an individual engaging with you on social media.

If someone comments on a Facebook post, respond. If someone mentions you in a tweet, retweet it. Chances are they’ll be surprised and happy, no matter how little they cared about you before. Interacting goes a long way to humanizing a brand and building good will. It shows that your social media is run by actual humans, not some kind of robot, which leads to the sense that your whole company is, in fact, run by humans. Maybe that should be obvious, but it’s easy for the business world to feel monolithic. Your replies don’t have to sound like perfect, polished corporate form letters, either. Stay courteous, of course, but let your social media managers sound like real people. It will be appreciated.

Think of all the ways it could go wrong

The upcoming movie Ghost in the Shell, an anime (Japanese cartoon) adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson, had a Twitter snafu recently. The movie, while eagerly anticipated by some, is also facing widespread criticism for casting the white Johansson as the Japanese protagonist instead of hiring a Japanese actress. The promotional Twitter for the film tried to start the hashtag #IAmMajor, referring to the protagonist, and let the public tweet pictures with their own text substituted in. The idea was to raise a buzz of innocuous personal statements, like “I Am Strong” or perhaps “I Am Excited to Buy a Ticket to Ghost in the Shell.” What they got, however, was a lot of clever sass about whitewashing.

Don’t get me wrong— people don’t have to interact with your content exactly as intended for it to be effective. The internet will run with any joke it can get its hands on, but sometimes that’s okay. You may want as many eyes on your brand as possible. Just be sure you’ve thought it through. If you need another example of victims of poor forethought, check out the tragic rise and fall of Microsoft’s AI Twitter bot, which Twitter quickly programmed into a racist, fascist PR disaster. Before posting anything, ask “what is the worst place someone could take this?” and be prepared for it to be taken there. If the worst case scenario is too bad, steer clear altogether.

The internet is a beautiful, confused wilderness. Its culture shifts and mutates every day, and it has no surefire paths to any goal. However, those of us who spend a lot (way too much) of our time there know certain common-sense guidelines to get along smoothly. If you follow these rules of thumb, you can’t go too wrong, and if you do well enough, it could be a real game changer. May the retweets be ever in your favor.


Social media marketing is a minefield of faux pas, not least when you’re managing pages in multiple languages. VeraContent takes out the guesswork for its multilingual social media clients by publishing consistently high-quality content adapted to the language and culture of the audience. 

How to tweet like Donald Trump

Type “Donald Trump” into Google and likely the first suggestion to pop up will be “Donald Trump Twitter.” For better or for worse, the 45th U.S. president’s prolific tweets have captured global attention almost more than his policies have.

If you’re even a casual follower of American politics, you might be suddenly finding yourself punctuating your remarks with “Sad!” or “Tremendous!”

Donald Trump tweets

If you’re looking to deprogram yourself, your best bet is to go cold turkey and leave your Wi-Fi router by the curb. But for those who want to steal—or satirize—our tweeter-in-chief’s particular linguistic flavor, we’ve developed this six-point style guide to get you started.

1. Misspell at least one word

Much of Trump’s success has rested on the notion that he is genuine and uncensored, not the product of a big team of image managers. His large repertoire of glaring typos certainly backs up that branding. It’s unclear whether the president needs a spelling refresher or is just too busy running the country to proofread his tweets.

Maybe he should take a “brake” between writing and publishing them, to give himself a chance to edit. Either way, adding an inexplicable typo is a great way to put some Trumpian flair in your next tweet.

Don’t go overboard, though. More than one misspelling in a short tweet could start to smack of trying too hard. Or… maybe you’ll just sound like you’re stuck in 2016.

donald trump tweets

2. Capitalize random words

donald trump tweets

From time to time, Trump displays something a little less brazen than a misspelling, but still hard to ignore: unnecessary capitalization. In the tweet above, for example, he likely meant to demonstrate respect for the governors he was meeting with, but without a specific governor referenced, the word isn’t a proper noun. Random capitals add a touch of the je ne sais quoi that makes a good Trump tweet.

3. Capitalize JOBS

donald trump tweets

While we’re on the subject of capitalization, there’s one word that Trump just can’t resist digitally shouting. His platform is heavy on the creation of new American JOBS, and he wants to be sure we hear about it far and wide.

donald trump tweets

donald trump tweets

Our nation’s English teachers and editors can rest assured knowing there’s at least one word Trump always spells right. AND BOLDLY.

4. Add unnecessary quotation marks

donald trump tweets

Everyone has that grandma or older family friend in the Facebook comments making you nervous with her wish for you to “enjoy” your vacation. But these days gratuitous quotation marks are a presidential affair.

donald trump tweets

Some of Trump’s punctuation additions are pointed, like talking about the “sources” cited by newspapers he disapproves of, or whistle-blowing government “leakers” who he perhaps thinks should be given a stronger descriptor. More often, though, Trump seems to arbitrarily put quotation marks around words or phrases he deems “colloquial.”

donald trump tweets

Maybe this is meant as a nod to linguistic formality while preserving his trademark casual tone. But to anyone fluent in the nuances of Internet language, it undeniably ages his Twitter voice.

5. Use parentheses to make commentary

Sometimes extraneous quotation marks are too subtle for Trump when he wants to make his opinions on current events known. Still, tweets are short, and sometimes he doesn’t want to interrupt his point to share his opinion. For these occasions, the president often uses parentheses.

donald trump tweets

donald trump tweets

These asides function like a mutter, coloring the tweet with their message without wasting too many characters. Sliding a criticism into a train of thought like this is also a clever argumentative move. It forces anyone who might respond to choose between tackling it and getting derailed form the larger point, or just letting it slide.

6. Finish strong with a one-word exclamation!

This is perhaps the most classic facet of the Trump twitter voice. Satirical tweeters are widely using it for its immediate recognition factor.

donald trump tweets

Exclamation marks are a must for any Trump tweet—he almost never ends with a period, no matter the topic. But there’s something special about the tweets he ends with a monosyllabic judgement.

donald trump tweets

Bonus points for caps lock and channeling Wayne’s World.

donald trump tweets

There’s no doubt that the 2016-2020 chapters of future history books will be important ones for entirely non-digital reasons. Even so, the Trump Twitter phenomenon is hardly the least interesting part of the whole affair.

It’s clear we’re in a new world—social media is now a player in every arena of society, politics included. You may think that’s Sad!, tremendous, or somewhere in between, but only time will tell what comes of it. Here’s hoping we all survive to find out.

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Why multilingual social media isn’t as impossible as you think

About 9 out of 10 companies are using social media to promote their brand — but the vast majority do so in only one language.

While most internet content is in English, most users are not native English speakers, and the vast majority of users prefer to browse in their own language. At the same time, internet use in non-English speaking countries is growing rapidly.

If you’re not reaching out to customers in their own tongues, your company could be missing out on huge potential markets. Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East all have hundreds of millions of social media users.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are all multilingual. Are you?

Social media provides a platform for your business not only to advertise, but to interact and communicate with clients and potential customers. It’s an informal, yet highly-visible setting where clients can give you feedback on your product or rave reviews, and share your content with their own networks. But if you don’t speak their language, how will you effectively communicate with the majority of users who aren’t native English speakers?

Getting your message to potential customers on social media in their own native language before the competition could result in a series of “likes” or retweets that could lead to greater visibility and profitability for your company.

You get the picture: If you do business in diverse international markets—or you would like to expand into new markets—and you’re not multilingual yet, now could be the time to diversify linguistically.

So how can you manage social media across multiple languages?

pexels-photo

While multilingual social media marketing has its particular challenges (rapid updates, getting followers), it has a lot in common with traditional multilingual marketing campaigns—like the need for good translations and being culturally sensitive. While marketing in different languages may seem like it would be a lot of extra work, social media can make the process a lot simpler than traditional marketing campaigns. Translating and posting a tweet is a lot easier than buying advertising space in a country’s local media to reach that market. Social media makes entering new language markets much more accessible, even for small businesses.

Work with pros

Don’t leave your multilingual marketing to a machine (or a novice translator). Even with the advances made by Google, these translations are often incomplete or very confusing. With machine translation (and bad translations in general) people can’t trust the accuracy of what they’re reading, and if you’re presenting your product or service, trust and credibility are key components. If you don’t make an effort to effectively communicate with a potential market in their language, they’re not going to interact with your content.

One option is to hire an in-house multilingual social media expert to manage your company’s social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) in language markets your company is targeting.

If you’re only targeting one or two languages, this option could make sense, however it can be difficult to find a multilingual social media manager, and there is no need to hire an internal expert for this job. Rather than hiring a multilingual individual or team to manage social media marketing, many firms are finding it more convenient to outsource this task.

Professional multilingual social media/marketing firms can offer you the services you need to effectively communicate your language in English and multiple other languages.

Professional translation services, content developers, and marketing services can manage your multilingual social media campaign for you. These companies will work closely with you, your marketing department, or social media manager to translate your original content or create new content for your marketing campaign according to your company’s needs.

Keep things simple

For most updates, you’ll find you can use your original (primary language) content and adapt it into multiple languages, so that you don’t need to create new content for every new market. Most experienced translators know how to adapt the message—not just translate the words—so that it comes across naturally in the target language.

That said, there may be occasions when you want to tailor your content for a specific market, emphasizing aspects of your product or service that might be more attractive in certain countries. For example, in a market with less disposable income you may want to emphasize competitive prices, while fast-paced cultures may be more concerned with speed of delivery. Accommodating such preferences doesn’t need to be complicated, however, and doesn’t require creating entirely new campaigns or content for each market.

With multilingual social media, it’s easy to simply alter or add posts to highlight different qualities of your product or service. If you want to invest in tailoring your social media, some market research can help you determine these factors, or you can consult a marketing specialist in your target market. But remember that for most of your content, a simple quality translation is all that’s necessary.

Determine your target markets

Be strategic and focus on a few markets where you want to expand and where you see potential demand for your product. While 2-3 languages may be manageable at first, 10 might be overwhelming. Once you’ve got the hang of multilingual social media marketing, you can expand to more markets. And by using professional localization services, you can vastly minimize the resources you expend on expanding your social media reach.

Be culturally sensitive

A good translator or multilingual marketer should take cross-cultural and linguistic considerations into account. It pays to know what’s trendy in your target market. And your content not only needs to make sense in another language, but be natural and attractive. This is true for any multilingual marketing campaign.

Bad translations have made for some pretty funny—and embarrassing—marketing campaigns. Many multilingual campaigns have gone amuck when a slogan translates in an awkward or nonsensical way, because the translator or marketing team was unaware of a cultural context. A good translator will not just translate the words, but translate your message in a way that is effective and appealing in that language. This is why it’s essential to work with professional translators who are intimately familiar with the native language and culture of your target market.

Know your social media

Facebook and Twitter don’t function exactly alike, and knowing the ins and outs of these websites (as a social media manager or marketing expert should) is important to maximize your reach. In addition to different styles that will determine how you communicate with followers, note the different settings and options. For instance, you need to know how to use language filters on various websites, and on some sites, like Twitter, you may need to set up different accounts for different languages.

Make the leap and go multilingual

If you do it right—hiring professionals, knowing your audience and being social-network-savvy—you’ll be glad you did.

Also check out our previous articles: 6 common myths and misconceptions about translation and Beware of Google Translate: Humans beat machine translation every time


Still got doubts. Get in touch with our dedicated multilingual social media team to discuss a solution