Top 6 productivity apps for design teams – pick your perfect match!

with the rest of the world, we tend to be obsessed with productivity. We want
to produce more in less time. We want to do so without negatively affecting the
quality of our products or services.

The digital age has proved to be both a
blessing and a curse in this respect. New technologies have provided us with
high-quality productivity-boosting tools. At the same time, it has placed
greater demands on us to become more productive.

The rat race is still with us, and it’s
faster than ever.

We’ve discovered areas where technology is
indeed a friend. One of those areas comes in the form of smartphone apps and
other productivity apps. These wonderful creations help us manage our projects
and our personal schedules. They help us organize errands, and even plan our

We’re pleased to present for your
consideration the top productivity apps for 2019.


provides increased productivity with a capital P. This front-end
feature-building platform for product design teams allows them to quickly,
economically, and efficiently create high-quality front-end features for their

Mason’s feature-building process is a model
of efficiency and high productivity, but where this tool really shines is where
it enables teams to skip wireframing and prototyping, documentation, QA
inspection and coding as they proceed through design and product deployment.

Teams can also make changes to their
front-end creations quickly; even after a product has already been deployed and
is in maintenance mode. In fact, any authorized product stakeholder who has a
Mason account can add features and make changes to a product that’s up and

Mason’s building blocks and visual
interface are key to designing and building software features for websites,
apps, and other digital products. If you’ve been looking for a UI/UX tool that
can create a software feature faster, with great precision, and save you time
and money, give this productivity app a close look.


is an easy-to-use web application which designers, developers, product
managers, and entrepreneurs can use for prototyping when designing mobile and
web apps. Nor coding skills are required neither are any special design skills
required to build either low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes. consists of three environments:
the Dashboard, the Editor and the Player.’s Dashboard provides
invaluable version control assistance which is especially important during
rapid prototyping activities. The Editor takes care of the entire process of
prototype-building, and the Player displays in your browser what you’ve
accomplished and in addition, it plays a major role in user testing. 6, the latest version of this
productivity tool, features a redesigned user interface, new state transitions,
easy sharing options, a new app for Android and iOS integration with
user testing platforms, and more.


is a centralized team management tool that helps teams manage every aspect and
detail of their day-to-day tasks, and plan, organize, and track their work in a
single visual and collaborative space.

Once you’ve decided upon what’s important and
helpful for your team, will capture and visualize the requisite
information so you can see who’s in charge of what, track time, and generally
speed up workflow and throughput.

Project leaders and team members alike love
this productivity-boosting team management tool because of the culture of
transparency it promotes and supports. When all parties concerned can view the
same information, it gives them a greater sense of importance and empowerment. is currently managing the work of
more than 50,000 teams in 76 countries. It’s an intuitive, beautifully
organized team management tool that helps connect people to processes.

4. ActiveCollab

latest version of this popular project management software features a host of
new and enhanced features and is better in almost every way you can think of.
Of particular note is the task dependencies with automatic rescheduling

In new Active Collab, when a change is made to a
parent task, each child task is automatically updated and rescheduled –
removing excessive busywork.


provides an all-in-one project management software solution that helps project
managers and teams manage tasks smarter and with greater efficiency. It
promotes team collaboration from a project’s initial planning and estimating
tasks through final billing.

Nutcache also performs time tracking duties
and automates expense management and invoicing. This app’s flexibility and
simplicity has made it a popular and useful tool to help teams organize and
deliver work on time and within budget.


belongs in your project management toolkit if your team is spread across
different locations and team members are working on a mix of different
operating systems.

Lucidchart also saves time and eliminates
misunderstandings and misconceptions because of its ability to help you
visually communicate complex ideas or make technically-oriented presentations
to non-technical audiences. It does this by providing a library of useful
shapes to create virtually any type of a presentation diagram.

Top 5 Productivity Tips to Achieve More and Create Peace of Mind

Tip #1. Write it down.

Make a habit of
writing down every task to be done and every commitment you’ve made. Trying to
remember something you committed to last week? Or, maybe, something you should
have added to your to-do list? This can often prove to be distracting and

Tip #2. Do the task you dread doing first.

Since you’re going
to have to do it eventually, do it now. You’ll feel good about yourself once
you’ve done it.

Tip #3. Take breaks – religiously.

You can devote your
full attention to a task for only so long before the law of diminishing returns
kicks in. Experiment with the Pomodoro (Tomato) principle. Take a 5-10 minute
break every 40 minutes – whatever works best for you. Doing so will help you mentally
and physically.

Tip #4. Exercise

We’re not talking
about extreme sports training. Walk, jog, stretch, or practice some
muscle-strengthening exercises. Do this daily or several times a week. Healthy
people are more productive.

Tip #4. Learn to say no.

Say yes to
everything and everyone and you end up letting everyone else control your life.
Pick and choose tasks and commitments judiciously and you’ll be far more


Take the above
productivity tips seriously and make a habit of following them. You should
start noticing some very positive results in a short time. If you can use one
of more of the productivity tools listed above so much the better.

You’ll have more
control over your work, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll feel much better
about yourself.

Read More at Top 6 productivity apps for design teams – pick your perfect match!

from Web Design Ledger

The unofficial Pantone color of the year 2020


Every year in December, Pantone, a color categorizing company, nominates their color of the year. Typically speaking, these colors are meant to represent something significant going on in the world. But the Pantone color of the year 2019 has stirred up quite a controversy.

Let’s start by mentioning last year’s color: ultraviolet. This wild shade of purple was chosen because it stands for originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking.

Now, fast forward to Pantone color of the year 2019, they’ve decided on a lush red called living coral.

What’s wrong with Pantone color of the year 2019?

As I mentioned before, these colors are chosen to represent something significant. According to Melbourne based design agency Jack and Huei, this “living coral” glosses over the fact that corals are dying at an alarming rate all over the world.

Being from Australia, Jack Railton-Woodstock and Huei Yin Wong, owners of Jank and Huei are greatly concerned. You see, Australia’s waters are home to some of the most beautiful and endangered coral species on the Earth.

The unofficial Pantone color of the year

In protest to the official choice from Pantone, Jack and Huei have taken it upon themselves to create a new color of the year.

During their search for a more appropriate color, the duo came across Pantone sample #F0F6F7. This is a very pale, washed out blue that perfectly matches the dead stems of the coral being affected.

The process of coral dying is called bleaching. As the coral begins to die, it’s exposed skeleton loses all color, and becomes nothing more than a glorified stone.

In light of this color, and the name of the process, Jack and Huei decided to call the unofficial Pantone color of the year “Bleached coral” instead.

This is an issue we care about deeply and we think the creative industry has an opportunity to bring this global issue from the depths of the ocean to the surface of our screens. – Jack and Huei

Pantone’s reaction

As of right now, Pantone has yet to have any sort of reaction to this sort of protest. Most likely, they won’t have much to say.

But, the good news is that artists and designers just like Jack and Huei are using their talents and skills to bring more awareness to issues just like this one.

It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change. – Jack and Huei

What’s next?

Jack and Huei’s plans are to continue their efforts well into 2020. They’ve begun to brand their newly proposed color using Pantone’s style in order to help bring in more awareness.

“Somber, yet uncomplicated, PANTONE P 115-1 U Bleached Coral harkens back to a simpler time. The subtly inoffensive hue offers a harsh reminder for how quickly things change, with a comforting, greyscale undertone that reinforces the inevitability of time.

Representing the fusion of modern life with the natural world, while straddling the fine line between hope and despair, PANTONE Bleached Coral asks the age-old question – where did it all go wrong?”

These are powerful words that bring a powerful message with them. Hopefully, the efforts of Jack and Huei, as well as others around the world will begin a new age for our planet. One where we value the natural beauty and wonders that we’re surrounded by each and every day. One where all life is valued and fought to be protected, instead of ignored. One where we can look at the issues we face, and overcome them together. We only have one Earth, it’s about time we started to treat it with respect.

Read More at The unofficial Pantone color of the year 2020

from Web Design Ledger

15 Stunning Examples of What You Need to See in a One-Page Website Design

Critical Elements that Can Make or Break Your Design

At first glance, designing a one-page
website would seem to be intuitively easy. Especially, when compared to
building a multi-pager. Designing one page takes one-third the effort of
designing three pages – right?

In reality, designing a single-pager is
generally much more difficult. The challenge you face is having to get all the
necessary information on a single page. At the same time, you need to make sure
the page is both visually appealing and user-friendly.

This guide for designing one-page websites
is centered around 5 critical elements. Depending on how well you take them
into account they can make or break your design.

As we outline each of these critical
elements, we’ll provide examples. They will illustrate their importance – 15
examples in all.

The GOAL: Identify & Understand the Goal of Your Website & Work Toward

You might not understand perfectly what you
expect your website to accomplish. Then, there’s little sense in proceeding
with its design. It needs to have a single goal. Your design needs to take the
user on a journey that reaches that goal and responds accordingly.

Is the goal to promote or sell something?

Is it to invite a visitor to view your

Do you intend to announce an event or a
series of events?

Once you’ve identified the goal, you’re
almost halfway there. You still need to take into account what you need to do.
You need to avoid chasing visitors away from the page before they hit the CTA

Some users are sensitive to page load speed
(more than a few are oversensitive!). So, you might choose to avoid special
effects (like parallax) that tend to reduce page load speeds.

Bistro Agency

This website’s interactive effects are above
the fold and they don’t hinder its load speed.

Be Moving 3

Dynamic images can impact load speeds. This
BeTheme pre-built one-pager features a static image that gives the
appearance of being dynamic.

Think Pixel Lab

The tiny animated items that liven up this
page’s illustration don’t slow anything down.

Be Product 2

Sometimes, it’s a page’s fresh look that makes
the sale.


Here’s an example of where large images and
sliding panels will engage users.

Be App 4

You don’t need a detailed technical dissertation
to promote an app when a cool visual presentation will do the trick.

#2 TEXT: Keep It to the Minimum & Make It Easy
to Read

A one-pager
featuring clunky blocks of text or reads like a book is going to engage
visitors for a second. Sometimes, even less before they head elsewhere. Keep
text brief and in nicely-spaced sections. Strip the information down to its
bare essence.

Rely on bold
headlines, brief paragraphs, and bullet lists to make your point.

Here are several examples worth bookmarking
for future reference:

Dangerous Robot

This example illustrates how
super-entertaining a one-page website can be.

Be Tea 3

A great example of careful organization.

Hello Alfred

The essential information is above the
fold, where the use of bullet lists helps to keep the message as
straightforward and concise as possible.

Be Cakes

This pre-built website illustrates how
large attractive images help do the selling when accompanied by judiciously-placed
paragraphs of text.


When a vehicle has the stature of a Mercedes,
high quality images accompanied by a minimal amount of text is often

#3 VISUALS: Identify the Right Patterns & Use Negative
Space Wisely

Knowing how most people will scan a page is
helpful. People tend to read text in an F pattern and scan an image in a Z
pattern. Keep this in mind when you mix elements. You want the natural flow of
the information to be directed toward your goal. Wise use of white space can be

Chris Connolly

In this example the use of white space is
calming and provides a sense of order.

Here a wildly creative design has been
splashed on a canvas of white space.

Be Dietician 2

The white space in this pre-built one-pager
makes the different sections appear to pop out at you and demand your

Dribble’s Year in Review

Effectively using several different design
principles to the max is a challenge, but it can be done.

Nasal Drops

Not a particularly exciting subject for a
one pager is it? This ingenious use of slides, white space, and animations
actually succeeds in making a nasal drops one-pager exciting.

#4 NAVIGATION: Make It Easy to Navigate & Entertaining
to Scroll

you have a long-form one-page website you have to pay close attention to how
you manage navigation. Depending on your approach, you can keep visitors locked
in or chase them off the page.

Alternative navigation is the key here.
Horizontal sticky menu or a sidebar menu are examples. Your goal should be to
enable users to jump to where they want to go with a single click, as opposed
to scrolling. Auto-scroll links enable visitors to watch the page do the
scrolling. This is yet another approach.

Sergio Pedercini

This designer’s website features 3
different auto-scrolling links.

Be Game

Be Game’s navigation experience is somewhat
out of the ordinary, and even slightly entertaining.

Be Landing 2

The color scheme, the layout structure, and
how you can scan the page with 3 mouse scrolls stand out in this example.


These folks really want to help you
navigate their site quickly by provided a menu on the top and one on the left.

#5 CALL TO ACTION: Identify the Correct CTA & Don’t
Hesitate to Use It

What’s nice about
a one-pager is its aim is to get people to take a single action. This normally
would involve using a single CTA button. You also might be selling several
products or services, however. Then, you may want to place a CTA button at the
end of every major section.

Be Hairdresser

In the Be Hairdresser pre-built website, one
CTA button is above the fold and one is located in the menu.

The Art of Texture

Two CTA buttons placed above the fold give
users a choice as to what they want to see.


The Pyrismic site uses a simple opt-in form
with a bold CTA button.


This site doesn’t fool around with its use
of CTA buttons. They’re used judiciously however; and with a proper choice of
colors and text sizes.

It Up

Now you know the 5 critical one-page
website elements. It’s simply a matter of practicing with them until their use
becomes habitual.

They may seem simple at first. Once you
start mixing them in a one-pager and attempt to do so with consistency you’ll
find it can be quite a challenge.

The good news is there’s a shortcut. Try
using pre-built websites that have already incorporated these critical

A good pre-built website resource is Be Theme It has an impressive library of more than 60 one-pagers, and 400+
pre-built websites of all kinds. Simply choose a pre-built website and
customize it to fit your needs.

Read More at 15 Stunning Examples of What You Need to See in a One-Page Website Design

from Web Design Ledger

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

from Social

Is Your Web Design SEO Workflow Optimized?

Search engine optimization projects can be very complex, from ​SEO audits​ to content development. Having an optimized strategy on how to approach SEO for web designers not only ensures your design team has clear project direction but also increases client satisfaction. Is your SEO workflow optimized? Here are a few productivity tips to make sure your strategy is fully-optimized.

Make SEO Project Management Visual

This is a very important tip to improve productivity and optimize your SEO workflow. Unfortunately, this is where many SEO and marketing agencies fall short on projects. By having a visual representation of a project, you and your team can see the progression of projects and tasks, as well as what is still to do.

This also helps keep tasks from falling through the cracks, especially since search engine optimization projects are so complex. There are plenty of ways you can approach this. One way is manually, but that can be time consuming. The other is using process documentation software that does the work for you.

Process documentation is a roadmap for your organization—it helps you identify the current state of a process to know how you can improve it. Any task that is done more than once or completed by multiple people needs to be documented.

Develop a Task Workflow for Maximum Productivity

Simply outlining tasks, or sprints within the project backlog is great, but doesn’t necessarily enhance the overall productiveness of your SEO agency. To truly ensure workflow is optimized, you need to develop a workflow for tasks within the project workflow. It is kind of like setting small goals supported by a detailed plan to achieve on big goal down the road.
There are four elements of a task workflow that is highly productive for SEO, or any other project management process. These include, task planning, daily check-ins, review and feedback sessions, and post task analysis to ​improve strategies​.

1.Task Planning

This is the strategizing stage of a task and answers the what and how questions. For example, let’s say one SEO task, or sprint within a client project is to create six location based landing pages to capitalize on local search results. Task planning would consist of the what is needed to accomplish these pages, like location specific keywords, addresses, phone numbers, and content, as well as how to implement these pages.

It is important to keep task planning time efficient, since some tasks don’t need a lot of strategy to get started. In other words, don’t spend an hour strategizing the what and how when it comes to creating a single web page. Utilize your time efficiently.

2. Daily Check-Ins

This is a very important part of increasing project productivity. Essentially, daily check- ins are quick 15 to 20 minute meetings where project anagers, SEO managers, and team members gather to update one another on tasks and the overall pace of the project.

For instance, if you were a project manager, you would huddle your team and find out what each team member has completed from their task list, what they are currently working on, and any issues that need to be resolved. Then you can jot down notes, move the needle on the visual project board, and address issues.

Daily check-ins also give you a clear picture of the entire project in a very short amount of time. This helps ​keep team communication open​, and also allows you to update the client on progress and hiccups moving forward.

3. Review and Feedback Sessions

These sessions are imperative to ensure projects remain mission focused, based on the client business objectives defined by the project manager and SEO manager. By looking at all completed tasks, project managers can evaluate work done and examine it based on meeting client expectations.
If something seems out of place, the project manager can connect with the team and make tweaks on those completed tasks to ensure they are perfect before being closed out. These review and feedback sessions are great for client updates too. You can show clients how the project is progressing and highlight the benefits of each task for the main business aim.

4. Post Task Analysis

Each SEO project is unique, even if you deal with a specific industry niche. This makes post task analysis vital to keeping your SEO workflow optimized on future projects. For example, you and your team may identify a task or sprint that could have been paired with another task for more efficient progress. These sessions generally happen bi- weekly or monthly.
● Main questions to address during the post task analysis include:
● What did we learn from the tasks?
● What issues did we identify?
● How did we solve the problems?
● What areas could we make better?
After the meeting, the project manager and SEO manager can huddle and develop two potential new strategies that can be implemented next time around to increase productivity.

Wrapping Up . . .

Optimizing your web design SEO workflow is essential to growing your client list, as well as retaining existing clients. Using a strategic planning model like the one outlined above can make this happen. Search engine optimization is complex and depending on the size of the project, can be downright overwhelming. Is Your Web Design SEO Workflow Optimized?

Read More at Is Your Web Design SEO Workflow Optimized?

from Web Design Ledger

4 ways to attract customers by simplifying your website design

website design

There are times when customers want as much content as possible, as many design elements and drop-downs as possible. They saw some cool sites and they wanted a little of everything.

That’s quite understandable, but we’re trying to explain that a site with a lot of content and complicated design is not necessarily easy to use, sometimes even having the opposite effect for users.

That’s why we’ve created a mini guide of 4 Ways To Simplify Your Website Design To Attract Customers:

1) Shorten the content of the website:

Web visitors rarely read line by line, usually, they only scan the web pages and their focus is only on a few words and images. However, there are many web pages that have content that is not needed to send the message. You can clean up a lot of the content of a website by limiting the number of words on the screen. Try refraining text to remove parasite words.

How can you do that? You can practice by expressing a single idea in a single paragraph – it’s a good way to write and helps readers “scan” the text with the look. Another way to write is the “pyramid” format, that is, start from the conclusion and add content along the way. A site that I really like for the simplicity offered is

2) Delete the visual decorations:

When it comes to visuals, it often happens that we want to add extra elements because it ‘looks good’. Everyone desires a design that looks good and unique. But although intentions are good, the end result may be disastrous. Try to have as little decoration as possible or other items that won’t distract the reader from what is important.

Below I attached a screenshot on the page. It can be noticed that they do not have a lot of text, but the text is very difficult to understand and they have a problem with the fonts. They use plain text, underlined text, some words have a different color, and the first word that represents the company’s logo is a different font. We can also talk about all triangles flying in the background, a decoration that does not bring any benefit to the site.

3) Reuse design elements:

Try to create repetitive elements and consolidate them. If you use a lot of colors, fonts and style variations, the result will be overwhelming, but in a ba way. I recommend that you re-use the design elements to maintain a consistent design on the page. There are also some basic rules such as: Do not use more than two types of font per page. The same rule applies to colors and design elements. If you have a quote at the end of each page, make sure it looks the same on all pages.

An example would be They seem to use a simple theme, but too many colors are used. Also for each page, there is a different color that has no meaning.

4) Have one user as target:

I know it sounds a little crazy for me to tell you this, but it works. I’ve encountered too many companies that are trying to address a wide range of clients, different ages, different backgrounds, different sexes, and so on. Which person do you think your message will reach if you have such a large target? Surely the message will be very diluted and so will be the results. Try to have one user in the head when thinking about the design of a site. Think exactly who you are addressing, what age you have, what educational profile, what gender, what hobbies and concentrate all your energy and resources on this person.

Also, if you have product campaigns on your site, try making them as clear as possible. If your goal is to make a customer purchase a particular online course, delete all the things that might distract him. I also recommend a landing page dedicated to each marketing campaign you have. This way you can send a much clearer message to your customers.

We hope that you found these tips helpful and that you will make your website stand out in the crowd.

Read More at 4 ways to attract customers by simplifying your website design

from Web Design Ledger

10 WordPress plugins you need to try (You’re welcome!)

The cool thing about plugins is that most of them either make something easier, make it better or both. They do so by extending the functionality of software programs. This is why they’re sometimes referred to as software extensions. They benefit web designers and website owners and their users.

The main problem you might have in
selecting a useful plugin would be a need to sift through thousands of them. It
is not easy to find a “must-have” solution or at least one that would best
serve your needs.

Some plugins, like page builders or
sliders, you need to use often, if not always. Your need for others, like many
of those we’ve listed here, would typically depend on the type of your website.
Purpose, and niche matter a lot, too.

If you spot one you could use, grab it. It
could make your day!


an appointment is a simple task. Taking and scheduling multiple appointments
and managing them in a way that satisfies all parties concerned is a different

Doing so manually takes time managers and
employees alike would rather spend on their core responsibilities. Manual
processes can also be error prone, which in this case could lead to unhappiness
among clients and employees alike.

Amelia is a professionally-designed
automatic booking system that’s fast, efficient, and essentially error free.
The ROI this WordPress plugin provides is in most instances nearly
instantaneous. Amelia is on the job around the clock, it matches clients with
employees, and it doesn’t make mistakes or let appointments fall through the

Amelia also manages booking changes and
cancellations, sends out reminders, collects payments online, and has been used
by more than 1000 businesses that have given it a 4.8 rating in its first 6

2. wpDataTables

“powerful”, and “game-changing” are adjectives you see all too often in
software product ads and even in reviews. In the case of the wpDataTables
WordPress plugin however, they seem to fit quite nicely.

Here are several situations you might
typically encounter where wpDataTables will really strut its stuff:

You need to create a table or tables based on massive amounts of complex
data (and do so relatively quickly).

Data you’ll be using can come from a variety of sources and in a variety
of formats.

You want to build a table (or chart) that’s totally responsive,
interactive, and front-end editable so it can easily be changed or updated.

Your table or chart should fit in nicely with the overall appearance of
your site (i.e., it’s customizable and responsive) and key data elements or
functions should be color coded or otherwise highlighted.

In other words, you’re looking for a plugin
that’s advanced, powerful, a game changer, and has been used by more than
20,000 businesses and individuals.

That’s why we recommend trying

3. NextGEN Gallery & NextGEN Pro

a software solution is available in both free and premium versions, it usually
makes sense to try the free version first. That may be true for the NextGEN
WordPress gallery plugins as well. The free version, NextGEN Gallery, has the
tools to take your gallery building projects a long way. It allows you to
manage and display thousands of images in various gallery and album styles and

The premium version, NextGEN Pro, offers
more as you would expect, thanks to its comprehensive set of software extensions
that give you a wealth of gallery-building tools, options and additional
approaches to building award-winning galleries.

There’s also a middle approach in which for
a fee a bundle of Pro extensions can be used with the free version. Once you’ve
settled on a NextGEN solution that works best for you, you should never have to
search for another gallery-building software solution.

4. MapSVG WordPress map plugin

terms of map-making options, MapSVG may well offer more than any map-producing
WordPress plugin or software solution on the market. The MapSVG WordPress
plugin lets you incorporate customized interactive vector maps, Google maps,
and image maps into your website designs.

You can also make maps from PNG and JPEG
files, add markers and directory information to existing maps, and overlay
custom SVG files on Google maps with this handy WordPress plugin.

5. Logic Hop – Personalized Marketing for WordPress

the power of being able to change design elements automatically based on who’s
visiting your site. With Logic Hop for WordPress you can! Sound difficult?
Logic Hop makes it easy with ready-made recipes, smart CTAs and conditional
CSS. Personalize your site using geolocation, social media posts, visitors
actions, and even what they’re interested in. Wow your visitors and clients!
Try it free for 14 days and take your designs to the next level.

Rank Math SEO

Math’s Content Analysis feature makes it much easier to overcome the challenges
associated with a website’s SEO and writing SEO-friendly content. This
WordPress plugin can do much more than that however.

Rank Math is a veritable Swiss Army knife
of search engine optimization tools designed to make your websites as SEO
friendly as possible.

Heroic FAQs

a business’s website attracts more visitors, its owner is often faced with
having to respond to more questions, the bulk of which are repetitive. The
Heroic FAQs plugin is a real time saver in this respect.

Heroic FAQs is an excellent tool for
creating website FAQ pages. Using drag and drop, you can assemble, order, and
categorize questions and answers and add images and videos as appropriate.

Heroic Knowledge

you’ve been looking for a WordPress knowledge base plugin to beef up your
online presence you can stop right here. With the Heroic Knowledge Base plugin,
you can create a knowledge base to help users find information they are looking
for or of interest to them and do so rapidly thanks to its super-speedy Ajax
search feature.

You can also get feedback that will help
you determine where your website needs improvement.

9. Blog2Social – Smart social media automation for WordPress

and more website owners post on one or more social media networks to get their
messages across. Blog2Social gives you access to all 16 major social media

With the help of its social media calendar,
you can schedule posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and the other social media
networks at the times and in the formats you choose. Share your posts
effectively, efficiently, automatically, and error free.


you’ve been wondering when or if you’d be able to put the power of artificial
intelligence to good use, here’s your chance. WordLift is an AI-driven
WordPress plugin that measures a website content’s performance in a way that
enables you optimizing the content, improve your website’s navigation, and
boost search engine rankings.


should be at least one of these best in their class plugins that could make
your day. That being the case, imagine the potential rewards if you find
several you could put to good use.

What these software extensions have in
common is the ability to make your work easier, extend the features and
capabilities of a website to benefit its owner and users, or all the above.

Read More at 10 WordPress plugins you need to try (You’re welcome!)

from Web Design Ledger

Spring fonts that will make you as fresh as a daisy

Spring fonts

Soon, the daisies will be in full bloom, and we can finally hang up that winter coat. As we enter these final phases of winter, it’s time that we start thinking about our Spring projects. Of course, no Spring project is complete without Spring fonts, but where do you even begin? Right here, of course! We’ve put together a quick list of some of our favorite spring fonts for you to use in your upcoming projects.

Lazy spring day

Spring fonts

Since winter is over, and we can feel the tips of our toes again, it’s time to relax. Not too much, of course, there’s work to be done. In order to get in that relaxed spirit, try adding Lazy Spring Day to your list of spring fonts.

This handwritten font puts off the perfect vibes for a nice Spring day. The rounded curves give it a welcoming feel that pretty much anyone can relate to. Give it a try.


Spring fonts

It’s pretty easy to see how Ofaly fits into the Spring fonts category. It’s handwritten, beautifully curved, and you practically smell the flowers through the screen. If you’re a fan of the Spring season, consider adding Ofaly to your collection.

Sunny Spring day

Spring fonts

The name of this font perfectly sums up the feel it gives off. Sunny Spring Day is bright, warm, and perfect for a variety of Spring projects. The color theme matches perfectly to that of a daisy, and it couldn’t be more perfect for a Spring project.

Lemon Jelly

Spring fonts

Whether you’re a fan of lemons or not, there’s no arguing the authenticity of this font. Lemon Jelly brings the beauty of Spring right to our computer screens. The bold, rounded letters are perfect for a variety of projects. It’s unique, but still perfectly legible.

Blackberry Jam

Spring fonts

Let’s continue the fruit flavored dessert trend, shall we? Blackberry Jam is another excellent font that displays both rounded curves, and a few sharp edges. It’s almost as if it was handwritten by a fountain pen. Regardless of how it was made, Blackberry Jam would be a great choice for any Spring themed project.

Bunch Blossoms

Spring fonts

Continuing with the handwritten theme, Bunch Blossoms is a great addition to anyone’s collection of Spring fonts. The messy, somewhat cursive style of the letters give a very personal and homemade feel. Just like that apple pie that sits on the windowsill on the perfect Spring day.

Melon Mojito

Spring fonts

Spring brings a freshness like no other season. With that freshness comes fresh fruits and veggies that we all like to enjoy. The Melon Mojito font perfectly captures the fresh feeling Spring brings with it. It’s fun, playful, and one of the best Spring fonts out there.


Spring fonts

Let’s not forget about Easter! Vigenta is a great font to help capture the spirit of Easter. It features tall, but narrow letters that look good on any Spring themed project. It’s classy, simple, and a great addition to your Spring fonts.

Fairy Tales

Spring fonts

Based on old-fashioned ads, the Fairy Tales font makes your next Spring project come to life. It’s not everyday that you get to live in a fairy tale, but this font makes it a little more achievable. This font package also comes with 10 animal vectors to add to your collection. All hand-drawn, of course.

The Fontaholics Colourbox

Spring fonts

Let’s finish off this list of Spring fonts with a bang, shall we? There’s no better way to celebrate Spring than with some color. The Fontaholics Colourbox comes with your own personal Spring care package. It features 10 fonts, 40 watercolors, 100 vectors, and 14 different patterns. Regardless of the project you’re working on, I’m sure this package will have something for you.

Spring, here we come

And there you have it, our favorite Spring fonts for this season. If you like any of them, and want to spice up your Spring projects, follow the links below each font, and enjoy!

Read More at Spring fonts that will make you as fresh as a daisy

from Web Design Ledger

The 10 Top Social Media Tools Brands are Using to Succeed in 2019

Marketers are faced with an ever-growing list of responsibilities. From social media marketing to customer experience and advertising, it can be a challenge to stay on top of everything.

Luckily for us, there are a plethora of great social media tools on the market to help you succeed in your role and stay productive.

Tools for content curation, discovery, scheduling, publishing, analytics, and more can be used to enhance your effectiveness.

This week on The Science of Social Media, we’re exploring the top 10 social media tools brands are using to succeed in 2019. Utilizing these tools in your daily workflows will help improve results across the board.

Let’s dive in!

The 10 top social media tools to try in 2019

Here are some of the most-used social media tools used by some of the world’s top brands:

1. BuzzSumo

Social Media Tools: BuzzSumo


Pricing: Plans start at $79/month


BuzzSumo is a tool that lets you find the most shared content and trending influencers. You can use it to analyze which content performs best for any topic and all you need to do to get started is to search for a topic or a domain.

Through BuzzSumo you’re able all gather a better understanding of your impact on social media and develop smarter content strategies by seeing which of your own pages were engaged with the most. BuzzSumo will break the results down by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit shares.

This provides the added benefit of being able to see which articles are performing well across the web without having to constantly monitor multiple social channels.

Similar tools: Ahrefs, Meltwater, Mention

2. Google Trends

Social Media Tools: Google Trends


Pricing: Free


Google Trends is a completely free tool that Google created to help anyone search for trending topics online.

Brands use it to monitor notable things that are happening in the world. Many professionals use this as a way to discover and share information related to what’s most popular right now.

You can also use Google Trends to monitor keywords to see if they are trending and how their current volume compares to previous months and years. You can then use this information to inform your content and social media marketing strategy.

Similar tools: Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, WordStream

3. Buffer Publish

Social Media Tools: Buffer


Pricing: Free (paid plans start at $15/month)


Buffer is a social media marketing platform designed to make it easy for businesses and marketing teams to schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage all their accounts in one place.

For example, Buffer allows you to set up a schedule for your social media profiles, and after you add content to your Buffer queue, it will publish at the times you’ve designated.

Buffer also provides a robust analytics dashboard so that you can see which of your posts are most popular on social media, and easily Rebuffer them to your queue.

In addition to our web application, we also have both Android and iOS apps as well as a fantastic Chrome Extension that’s great for Buffering while you’re browsing the web or on the go.

Similar tools: Hootsuite,, Sprout Social

4. Canva

Social Media Tools: Canva


Pricing: Free (Canva for Work starts at $12.95/month)


Another fantastic tool that absolutely every brand or business online should know about is Canva.

Many times social media managers and marketers need to be able to create beautiful images without a designer. It’s what makes up part of a great social media strategy.

Canva is the tool so many marketers rely on for making great-looking social media images quickly. You can use the ready-made templates, icons, and illustrations to make your images look professional without having to do much of the actual design work.

Canva has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface plus a massive library of over two million graphic elements.

Similar tools: Crello, Buffer Stories Creator, Bannersnack

5. Unsplash

Social Media Tools: Unsplash


Pricing: Free


One of our favorite tools in the design, photography, and video space is Unsplash. Unsplash is a massive library of free professional photos you can use — free!

Unsplash photos are really popular with many social media marketers because they can help give your content a professional, polished look.

And there are so many Unsplash collections to explore. We recommend finding a couple of creators whose photos you really enjoy and following them so you can always find their latest work.

Similar tools: Pexels, Storyblocks, Videvo

6. Animoto

Social Media Tools: Animoto


Pricing: Plans start at $5/month


Animoto is one of our go-to social media tools for quickly creating stunning marketing videos.

Their video maker turns your photos and video clips into professional content in just a few minutes. They describe it as “fast and shockingly simple,” – and we would agree with that.

There are so many benefits to being able to quickly create engaging marketing videos. Video is a content format that we know a lot of people struggle with, but Animoto helps to bridge that gap.

We’ve used it to create quick recaps of recent blog posts for social media, videos promoting a big announcement, and videos around product launches.

Using Animoto, there are plenty of opportunities for you to add value to your audiences’ lives.

Similar tools: PowToonAdobe Spark, Crello

7. Feedly

Social Media Tools: Feedly


Pricing: Free (paid plans start at $5.41/month)


Our next tool is Feedly. Feedly is great for so many things. Maybe you work with influencers and want to follow their blogs, or you need to keep up on industry news, or any other reasons that you might visit several websites. Instead, you can add all those RSS feeds to Feedly and see them there. A huge time saver.

Feedly is also great for content ideation. You can add several of the blogs, writers, and publishers whose content you like to one feed and see them in one glimpse.

It even has a Buffer Publish integration so you can schedule your content to go out right from the Feedly dashboard.

We also want to give Flipboard a quick shoutout here, too. While it’s not an RSS aggregator like Feedly, you can follow topics on Flipboard and it curates the world’s news stories to help you stay informed.

We’ve used Feedly to follow specific influencers and industry news, and Flipboard to keep up to date with bigger stories.

Similar tools: Flipboard, Quora, Pocket

8. Buffer Reply

Social Media Tools: Reply


Pricing: Plans start at $50/month


This next tool is one of our very own at Buffer: Reply. I think we’ve mentioned it a few times on the show but we’ve never gone too deep.

Buffer Reply makes social media engagement easy for marketing and support teams who need to respond to social conversations. It’s all in one inbox.

What’s great is that through Reply you can see social conversations across social networks:

  • On Twitter, you can see public tweets that @ mention your handle, direct messages, and any searches you have set up for keywords or hashtags.
  • On Facebook, you can see comments on your Facebook Page posts and ads, visitor posts, private messages, and reviews.
  • And for Instagram business profiles, you can see comments on your posts and ads as well.

It’s a single inbox where you can see all of these conversations happening. It’s a huge time saver. In our case, our customer support team and social media manager, Bonnie, spend a lot of time in Reply every day, and we know that when someone reaches out, they would be getting an answer from us.

Similar tools: Hootsuite, Mention, Sprout Social 

9. Native Analytics

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention native analytics for each social platform, which is completely free.

Let’s quickly go over the top three, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Facebooks Analytics

Facebook Analytics

Under the Insights tab on your Facebook Page, there is just so much information. Everything you ever wanted to know about your engagement, number of likes and followers, how your posts are doing, and, of course, Facebook’s Pages to Watch which lets you compare the performance of your Page and posts with similar Pages on Facebook.

You also get insights for Facebook Groups so if you run a Group definitely check those out.

Instagram Analytics

Instagram Analytics

With Instagram Insights, you can see activity around how frequently users interact with your posts, see how your posts are performing over time, and find out where your audience is from as well as their age range, gender, and when they are online.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics

Starting with Twitter, their analytics can reveal a lot of valuable data about your audience, how well you’re engaging your following, and what your top performing content is.

All you have to do is go to to log in and start learning more about your audience and their interests.

10. Todoist

Social Media Tools: Todoist


Pricing: Free (plans start at $3/month)


The last tool we want to mention today is related to your productivity as someone managing social media: Todoist.

Specifically, within Todoist, I have created a free Social Media Calendar by Buffer that you can use to make sure that your brand and business are posting to important social accounts on a regular basis.

This type of calendar is important because, by consistently posting great content, you’ll be able to grow your audience, increase engagement, and build a community online.

This sample social media calendar is based on real content and scheduling times from Buffer’s own social media accounts.

Similar tools: Wunderlist, Trello, Any.Do

Honorable mentions (more social media tools)

Although we couldn’t cover all of our favorite social media tools in this episode, we wanted to share some more of our favorites!

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

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!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

from Social

Nike’s Secret to Success on Instagram: Building an Engaged Community

This post is part of our Instagram Marketing Strategy series. The series provides you with actionable insights and lessons on how businesses are using Instagram. Next up, Wes Warfield from Nike shares how it handles engagement on Instagram. 

Chances are you’ve come across Nike on Instagram at one point or another.

With more than 83 million followers around the world, Nike is easily in the top 20 most followed Instagram accounts globally (out of nearly one billion).

As you might imagine, that’s a lot of engagement.

But it’s also a ton of incoming conversations for Nike’s marketing and customer care teams to sort through. In fact, the team at Nike (led by Social Media Manager Wes Warfield) handles more than 1,000,000 conversations per year across 200 different social media accounts.

We sat down with Wes to understand just how Nike approaches customer care on Instagram and how they’re leveraged adding value to help grow a massive online community of athletes, influencers, and everyone in-between.


View this post on Instagram


Can you imagine? Winning the same marathon that inspired you to run marathons? 👋 @shalaneflanagan. #justdoit

A post shared by nike (@nike) on


Nike starts with personalization

As one of the world’s largest brands, you might be surprised to find that Nike takes a personalized approach to engaging with their audience.

“We don’t respond as individuals, we respond as Nike. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t treat each conversation as if we’re talking human-to-human,” explained Warfield. “Representing a massive brand presents a challenge across 200 different social media accounts as we all work to create the same experience for our customers. This approach requires extensive training as soon as a new employee comes on board.”

In order to provide that consistent experience on social media, it’s important that employees understand the brand down to its core. Here are several questions that every employee should be able to answer:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • Why do we do it?
  • What do we stand for?
  • What is our brand voice?
  • How does our product improve people’s lives?

Nike provides employees with a set of guidelines and examples on how to handle certain situations and conversations across social media. These guidelines and examples help customer care representatives to develop a specific tone of voice from day one.


View this post on Instagram


@SerenaWilliams has proven time and time again, there’s no wrong way to be a woman. #UntilWeAllWin #Nike

A post shared by nike (@nike) on


However, the keyword there being guidelines, not rules.

Warfield explains how important empowering employees to make their own decisions is in ensuring that Nike thrives as a brand on Instagram: “Generally speaking, we empower our employees to represent the brand in a way they feel is in line with Nike.”

Wes explains this approach perfectly using a sports metaphor (naturally!), “The Nike customer care team is sort of like the assistant coach on any sports team. The assistant coaches are the ones that work hands-on with the team. They’re more relatable and approachable. Whereas, the head coach – Nike – can be a bit intimidating.”

In other words, Nike trusts their employees to act as they see fit to connect the Nike brand with the community. This happens on a macro scale as well as on a micro scale – each and every conversation with customers on a daily basis.

How Nike plans, approaches, and manages customer care

Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest (Beaverton, OR) Nike employs hundreds of people across dozens of different departments.

Meaning that collaboration between teams – or a lack thereof – can create a disconnected and jumbled feel for customers. Even smaller brands and teams face this cross-collaboration challenge.

In order to solve this problem, Warfield and team are purposeful and strategic with their approach.

“We make sure that our team is briefed on the stories that are going to be told among the various Instagram accounts. Doing so helps us to stay consistent in terms of voice, messaging, hashtags, captions, etc,” says Wes. “We’re focused consistent Nike messaging across platforms – making sure that our conversations reflect the nature of the stories we’re trying to tell. Which, by the way, are changing all of the time!”


View this post on Instagram


“My dad sacrificed his dream, so I could live mine.” @kyrieirving #justdoit ⠀ 🔈 on.

A post shared by nike (@nike) on


But managing more than 1,000,000 incoming messages per year means that Nike has to pick and choose the most important conversations to focus on.

Wes explains, “We are always actively looking to take part in relevant conversations on social media since we obviously can’t be a part of every single one. Specifically, we look for where can we add value directly to customers’ lives. We keep an eye out for actionable incoming requests where we might be able to help more than one customer at a time.”

This is a brilliant move on Nike’s part. Since their team receive lots of similar questions from their customers, they see this not as an increase in work, but as an opportunity to help multiple customers at once. The magic of this strategy is that it increases the chance that those customers will share the information with others, thereby decreasing the future volume of questions around a particular topic.

They also implement another productive strategy, according to Warfield. “We sit down often to discuss specific campaigns and how we will approach them. We list out all of the potential questions that we’re going to get and how we’ll answer those. It helps us to save time and be more productive in our jobs.”

Why community is an important tool for Nike

Besides the millions of engagements and conversations created by content that Nike posts on social media, Instagram and other platforms also serve another important purpose: community.


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Don’t just dream of a place on the podium. Dream of a place in history. #justdoit

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When brands take time and invest in activating their community, they often see tremendous results down the line in terms of engagement and word of mouth.

“We want to be a part of our customer’s journey and a part of people’s real-life stories and if you buy our product, great,” says Warfield. “But buying from Nike isn’t entirely the point. We began to invest in people (the community) on social media because that’s where they are and that’s where they spend time. Social media is where people share the experiences and it’s where they’re asking support-related questions. It’s a massive community and a great chance to build relationships.”

If you’re struggling to get people talking, here are a few tips from Wes:

  • Find something that gets your audience moving or talking. At Nike, we started with gamification. Our goal is to get people moving! When you link that to a reward, you have a much better chance for success.
  • More importantly, make your content shareable. We started realizing that people wanted to share the story of their athletic journey with Nike. By making this a part of our overall content and customer service strategy, we were able to increase shares on social media. Find out what makes your customers tick.
  • Don’t dismiss social media as one of the most important tools for relationships. At Nike, We’ve found that social media, instant chat, and our mobile app are a much better communication journey for customers than email and phone support. Embrace current technologies and meet your customers where there are.

Even Nike, one of the world’s largest and most well-known brands, understands the value of relationship and community building on social media.

The future of Nike customer care

Nike focuses on two key components of their overall marketing strategy:

  • Digital marketing (offense)
  • Customer care (defense)

The two teams work together ‘round-the-clock to actively communicate what content is going out as well as how they can better handle all incoming messages. It’s a well-oiled machine that ensures each customer is receiving a coherent experience across channels.

“One of the most important things that we focus on is that we want to be and sound human, even if we’re speaking on behalf of Nike. It’s something that we’re always improving,” says Wes to end our time together.

In order to truly relate and keep credibility with their customers, the Nike marketing and customer care team has to speak their language. Of course, this is something that is always changing and evolving.

And similar to sports, mastering these skills takes time, energy, and practice.

The Instagram Marketing Strategy Series

A nine-part series on how to use Instagram for business. ➡

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