State of Social 2018 Report: Your Guide to Latest Social Media Marketing Research [New Data]

What’s in store for the social media industry in 2018?

The way consumers use social media channels is constantly evolving and as marketers and entrepreneurs, we need to adapt to these changes.

To better understand these changes, plus what’s ahead for 2018 and beyond we teamed up with Social Media Week to collect data from over 1,700 marketers and create the State of Social Media 2018 report. The report shows us how marketers, from businesses of all sizes, are approaching social media marketing.

Ready to jump in?

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world.

3 Key social media takeaways to guide your marketing in 2018

1. There are huge opportunities in the messaging space (only 20 percent of marketers have used messaging apps for marketing)

Messaging platforms have grown at an incredible rate over the last couple of years. And there are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)1.

Despite this incredible growth, our State of Social 2018 survey found that just 20 percent of businesses have invested in marketing through messenger platforms:

After seeing such high user growth for the past few years, companies like Facebook will begin to focus on how they can monetize chat apps which will open up new advertising opportunities for marketers.

Right now, marketers still appear to be investing more time and resources into social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but as organic reach continues to decline (more on this below), we’ll see a greater number of marketers experiment with messaging apps as a way to connect with their audience.

2. Companies that invest in social media ads are more than twice as likely to say social media marketing is “very effective” for their business

When we asked respondents how effective social media marketing has been for their business 45 percent said “somewhat effective” and a further 29 percent believed that social media marketing had been “very effective”.

However, when we split these results based on whether or not the respondents had invested in ads, we found that businesses that have invested in social media ads are more than twice as likely to report that social media marketing is “very effective”.

Whereas businesses that have not invested in ads are more than twice as likely to report that the effectiveness of social media marketing for their business is “uncertain” or “very ineffective”.

3. Engagement is the #1 way to measure ROI from social media advertising

When we asked respondents how they measure the ROI of their social media advertising campaigns, 42 percent said ROI, followed by leads (17 percent) and sales (15 percent):

When we broke down the data by business size, engagement was still the #1 way both small and large businesses measure ROI from social media advertising:

This appears to be the continuation of a trend we noted in 2017, where social media is becoming more about engagement than driving traffic or making direct sales.

State of Social 2018: The full report

About the State of Social Media survey and data

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers (1,796 to be precise) from businesses of all sizes. You can view a more detailed breakdown on the data at the bottom of this post.

How marketers are using social media platforms: 7 insights you need to know

1. Facebook is still the leading platform for marketers (96 percent of businesses use Facebook)

Facebook is the leading platform for marketers with 96 percent saying their business is actively using it. Twitter was close behind with 89 percent of respondents saying they use the platform for their business.

2. Facebook organic reach continues to decline (only 21 percent of respondents haven’t noticed a decline in the past 12 months)

Facebook is constantly tweaking its News Feed algorithm and it appears that organic reach has once again declined over the past 12 months with just 21 percent of people “disagreeing” or “strongly disagreeing” with the below statement:

3. Video is a top priority for 2018 (85 percent of businesses would like to create more video content)

Video has been booming across social channels for the past couple of years and 85 percent of businesses are keen to create more video in 2018:

When we asked what’s currently holding businesses back from creating more video content lack of time and budget were the two main blockers:

4. Facebook is dominating the paid advertising space (94 percent of marketers have used Facebook Ads)

Facebook is the most popular platform for paid ads (94 percent), followed by Instagram (44 percent), with LinkedIn and Twitter tied in third place (26 percent):

Looking ahead, 67 percent of businesses are looking to increase their social media advertising budget in 2018:

5. Images are the most shared type of content (95 percent of businesses post images to social channels)

Ninty-five percent of respondents said their business posts images, with links (85 percent) being the second most shared content type:

6. The rise of stories (68 percent of marketers are planning on creating more stories in 2018)

Last year, only 29 percent of State of Social respondents had created stories on Instagram or Snapchat. This year 42 percent have created stories on Instagram (just 11 percent had created stories on Snapchat):

Further to this, 68 percent of respondents plan to create more stories content in 2018:

7. Live video hasn’t yet caught on (only 31 percent of marketers have broadcast live video)

In our last State of Social report, 26 percent of marketers said they had created live video content. In 2017, 31 percent of marketers said they had broadcast live content—just a 5 percent increase:

For those who have created live video, Facebook was the number one platform of choice, ahead of Instagram and Periscope (Twitter):

Live video could still present a huge opportunity in 2018, though. Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, recently revealed that live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. This could be especially valuable for Page owners as Facebook is making changes to their News Feed algorithm to give people more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

Check out the full State of Social 2018 report below

The data: Who took part in the survey?

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers from businesses of all sizes. The majority of respondents work at companies who focus on both B2B and B2C customers (43 percent), while 33 percent work at purely B2B companies and 25 percent at B2C companies. 49 percent of our respondents work at businesses with 1-10 employees. At the other end of the scale, 7 percent of respondents work at companies with over 200 employees.

Company size

Just under half (49 percent) of the people who took our survey work at companies with fewer than 10 full-time staff. A further 21 percent work at companies with between 11-50 full-time team members. Here’s the full breakdown:

  • 49 percent: Fewer than 10 people
  • 13 percent: 11-25 people
  • 8 percent: 26-50 people
  • 8 percent: 1,001+ people
  • 7 percent: 51-100 people
  • 6 percent: 101-200 people
  • 5 percent: 201-500 people
  • 4 percent: 501-1,000 people

Marketing team size

The majority of respondents in our survey work closely with a small number of colleagues in their marketing teams or act as the sole marketer at their company:

  • 41 percent of respondents were the only marketer at their company
  • 38 percent of people worked in marketing teams of between 2-5 colleagues
  • 11 percent of people work in marketing teams larger than 11 people
  • 9 percent of people work in marketing teams of between 6-10

Industry breakdown

Twenty-three percent of those who took the survey work at organizations in the marketing, PR, and advertising space. Other industries include: Media and Publishing (11 percent); Non-Profit (10 percent); Education (8 percent);  Consumer Products (8 percent); IT & Services (6 percent);  Software (5 percent); E-commerce (3 percent); Medical & Healthcare (3 percent); Financial (3 percent); Travel & Tourism (2 percent); Financial Services (2 percent); Government (2 percent); Law & Legal Services (1 percent); Other (15 percent).

⬆ Back to the top.

Over to you

Thanks so much for checking out our State of Social 2018 report. We hope you enjoyed the data and discovered some useful takeaways for your business.

P.S. We’ve made the data open and available to anyone in this Google Sheet (feel free to make a copy and interrogate in any way you’d like – we’d love to hear what you might find). You can also download a copy of all the State of Social 2018 charts here.

Feature image via Jaelynn Castillo. 

from Social


10 Top Tips for Smarter Social Media Marketing with the Buffer Mobile App

How often do you read and share an article on your phone? Or how often do you snap, edit, and share a photo with your phone?

If you like creating and scheduling social media posts with your phone, we would love for you to try our mobile apps. They will make social media marketing on the go super easy and smooth for you.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the Buffer mobile apps (Android and iOS) and the top 10 features for smarter social media marketing.

Let’s get started!

Buffer for Android and iOS: 10 Top Features to Grow Your Social Media

Getting started with Buffer on mobile

If you don’t have our app installed on your phone already, you can download the Android version from Google Play or the iOS version from iTunes.

Adding your accounts

When you open up the app, select “I’m new to Buffer, let’s signup” if you are new to Buffer. You’ll be able to sign up with one of your social network accounts (Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn) or your email. Tap on your preferred signup option, and log in to give Buffer access to your account.

Buffer mobile app signup step 1Buffer mobile app signup step 2

Once you have signed up, you’ll be brought to your Buffer mobile dashboard. You can connect more social accounts by tapping on your profile image in the upper-left corner.

Connect social accounts

From here you’ll be taken to the relevant network to log in and give Buffer access to your account. Then you can choose which profile or page you want to add.

6 social network integrations

With our recent addition of Instagram, you can now connect social accounts from the six major social media platforms.

With the free Buffer account, you can connect up to three social profiles. For instance, you could connect three Twitter accounts or one Twitter account, one Facebook profile, and one Instagram profile.

Here are the 10 different social accounts you can add to your Buffer account:

  • Twitter profile
  • Facebook profile
  • Facebook Page
  • Facebook group
  • LinkedIn profile
  • LinkedIn Page
  • Google+ profile
  • Google+ Page
  • Instagram profile
  • Pinterest profile (only for Awesome or Buffer for Business account)

To upgrade to the Awesome or Buffer for Business plan, tap on your profile image and scroll to the bottom. Tap on “Upgrade to Awesome” to find out more about the Awesome and Small Business plans and purchase a subscription.

Upgrade to Awesome or Small Business plan

Using Buffer to manage your updates on the go

Setting up your schedule

First, it’ll be great to set up your schedule according to your preference. We would have set a default schedule for you, which you can keep or change.

To change your schedule, click on the settings gear icon in the lower-right corner and tap on “Posting Schedule”.

Schedule post 1 Schedule post 2 Schedule post 3

Here, you can select the days and times you want to have in your social media sharing schedule.

Sending your first update

Let’s add your first update from the mobile app!

Tap on the plus icon at the bottom and you’ll see the composer where you can type your update, attach photos or video, and select the accounts you’d like to share the update with.

Compose a new post

When you’re done, tap on the “Buffer” button to add the update to your queue, or tap “Share Now” to send it right away.

If you are on the Awesome or Buffer for Business plan, you’ll also have the option to schedule your post (Schedule Post) or add it to the top of your queue (Share Next).

Share options

Managing your queue

Tap on the Content tab to see your queued social media posts. You can tap on a post to edit it, or tap and hold with your finger to rearrange its position in the queue.

Edit or rearrange Buffer queue

10 top features to make the most of the Buffer mobile apps

Now that you’ve learned the basics of the Buffer mobile apps, let’s check out some of the more advanced, more powerful features.

1. Share from any app

Our app takes advantage of the built-in share menu that shows up in most apps, to let you add updates to Buffer from anywhere on your device. Once you have Buffer installed, just tap the share menu inside another app, such as your browser or Pocket, and tap on Buffer to send an update to your Buffer queue.

Here’s an example of how this looks when sharing from Safari on iOS:

Share from any app on mobile

For iOS, you’ll first have to turn on the extension. You can do so under “Settings” > “Set up Extension”, where you’ll see a set of short instructions.

2. Schedule native retweets

Here’s another cool thing you can share quickly via the mobile app — native retweets.

When you see a tweet you want to retweet or quote, tap on the menu arrow in the upper-right corner of the tweet, select “Share Tweet via…”, and tap on Buffer.

Buffer retweet

If you don’t add any message with the retweet, we’ll post it as a native retweet. If you do, it’ll become a quote tweet with your additional comment.

3. Get reminders for Instagram posts

Unlike most social media platforms, Instagram does not allow apps to post directly to Instagram. While Buffer cannot post to Instagram on your behalf, we would love to help you at every step.

Whether you add an Instagram post to your Buffer queue via the desktop or your mobile, the Buffer mobile app will send you a notification when it’s time for you to post. After you tap on the notification, Buffer will load your photo into Instagram and have your prewritten caption saved to your clipboard.

Buffer for Instagram notifications Buffer for Instagram Posting on Instagram

4. Drag and drop to copy posts across social accounts

Besides dragging and rearranging posts in your queue, you can also copy a post from one social account’s queue into another social account’s queue by dragging and dropping it into that other queue.

Drag and drop

With the multitasking feature in iOS, you can even drag and drop images to Buffer to start a draft in Buffer immediately.

5. Pause queue in times of emergency

There might be times when you want to pause your social media posting urgently because of any breaking news and events that have happened.

You likely have your smartphone with you more often than your laptop. And that’s why there’s a pause button in the mobile apps. Anytime you want to pause your Buffer queue, just whip out your phone and toggle the pause option in “Settings”.

Unpaused Buffer queuePaused Buffer queue

Pausing is done on a per social account basis. So if you have multiple social accounts that you’d like to pause posting for, you will need to pause each queue individually. You can read more about how pausing and unpausing work here.

The following few features are available in the Awesome or Buffer for Business plan. You can upgrade to either of these plans within the mobile apps or from the web dashboard.

6. Quick re-Buffer to boost your reach

One of our favorite social media tips is to re-use your top social media posts. While these posts have performed well previously, not all your followers might have seen them. Resharing them allows more followers (and even non-followers) to see them.

Here’s how to do that swiftly with the Buffer mobile app:

  • Tap on “Analytics”
  • Tap on “Recent” beside the date and select “Most Popular”
  • Find the post you want to share again
  • Tap on the tiny arrow in the upper-right corner and select “Rebuffer”
  • Edit the post as you like

You can then share the post immediately or schedule it for later.

Rebuffer top posts

7. Shuffle queue to mix things up

If you often share a few quotes from the same article or a few links from the same site in a row and want to mix them up, you will be happy to know that you can shuffle your Buffer queue.

The shuffle button is located just above your queue in the app. When you tap on “Shuffle”, you’ll see a confirmation message. Once you tap “Yes”, the posts in that queue will be shuffled randomly.

Shuffle Buffer queue

8. See how your posts are performing

We hope to make it easy for you to check your social media performance as and when you want. Just open up the mobile app and tap on “Analytics” at the bottom of the screen. Buffer for Business customers will get these three reports.

Posts Report: You’ll see a history of your published posts and each of their key engagement metrics. There is also a comparison with your average post performance from the past 30 days to help you instantly understand if the post is performing better than previous posts. (Read more about the Post Report here.)

Overview Report: This report gives you an overall view of your engagement levels, as opposed to the per-post basis that you would find in the Posts Report, for your Twitter account and Facebook Page. (Read more about the Overview Report here.)

Insights Report: You’ll find charts of engagement metrics, such as clicks and reach, over time in this report. If you tap on any of the points on the chart, you’ll see the absolute figure of that point.

Posts Report Overview Report Insights Report

9. Get a preview of your Instagram gallery

This is one of our most requested Instagram features — the Instagram Grid Preview.

With this preview, you can see how your upcoming posts will look like on your Instagram gallery, alongside the published posts. You can even drag and drop your scheduled posts in the preview to create your perfect Instagram gallery.

Buffer Instagram Grid Preview feature

10. Share articles from your Content Inbox

Curating content is a great way to provide your followers with valuable insights, establish your authority, and get more followers.

You can easily discover great content and immediately schedule them using the Content Inbox feature within the Buffer mobile app. The Content Inbox can be found in the Content tab, last from the left in the top navigation bar. (You might have to swipe the navigation bar to the left to find your Content Inbox.)

Once you have set up your RSS feeds, you’ll see all the new blog posts from the websites in your Content Inbox. You can then tap on the link to check out that blog post and tap on “Add” to Buffer that link.

Content Inbox

How can we improve our apps?

It’ll be great to hear from you. If you have tried our mobile apps, what do you like most about it? How can we make it better for you and your business?

If you have not tried our mobile apps, we would love for you to try them (Android or iOS) and experience better social media marketing on the go.

Image credit: Unsplash

This blog post was originally written by Belle Beth Cooper in 2013 and has been updated to reflect the improvements in our mobile apps. 

from Social

How Effective is the Twitter Promote Mode? We Tested It for 30 Days.

“@buffer, you’re invited to our beta program”

Late last October, we received an email from Twitter with the above subject line. We were lucky to be the few selected for Twitter’s new automated ads beta program, Promote Mode.

The idea is simple:

For $99 a month automatically promote your Tweets and profile to expand your audience and attract new followers.

At Buffer, we are always excited to experiment with new things, especially around social media marketing. So we jumped right in! We paid $99 upfront and tested the Promote Mode for 30 days.

In this post, you’ll learn about how Twitter Promote Mode works, and we’ll share our results from the 30-day experiment.

30 Days of Twitter Promote Mode: Our Results, Analysis, and Decision

What is Twitter Promote Mode?

The official name for Twitter’s automated ads program is Twitter Promote Mode. Here’s how it works:

For a flat monthly fee of $99, Twitter will automatically promote your tweets according to your preferred targeting (interests or locations).

This program is great for people who want to promote their brand or products on Twitter and want to save time and hassle from running Twitter ads manually.

According to Twitter,accounts with up to 2,000 followers will see the most value“, and Twitter is working on higher price plans for accounts with larger following.

Here are more details on how the Twitter Promote Mode works, according to Twitter1:

  • All you have to do is tweet as per usual.
  • Each day, Twitter will select up to your first 10 tweets that meet its quality requirement and promote them to your selected audience.
  • Retweets, Quote Tweets, or replies will not be promoted.
  • The ad creation is automated. You don’t have to create the ads yourself but you don’t get to choose the tweets to promote, too.
  • You can still run Twitter ad campaigns alongside your Promote Mode subscription.
  • On average, accounts will reach 30,000 additional people and gain 30 followers each month. (But performance may vary.)

How to set it up

It’s super easy to set up the Twitter Promote Mode; it takes only four quick steps. If you want to follow along, you might be able to find the “Promote Mode” option when you click on your profile image on

Navigate to Twitter Promote Mode

Otherwise, you can try this direct link:

1. Select your country and timezone

Twitter Promote Mode step 1

The Twitter Promote Mode is currently only available in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan. As I was able to subscribe to the program from Singapore, it’s likely that the program is available outside of the three countries stated.

But you will have to pay in one of the three countries’ currency and have to pay any applicable taxes of your selected country. Also, Twitter will only promote your tweets to people in either of these three countries.

Note that you will not be able to change your country and time zone once you start the subscription.

2. Pick your targeting

Twitter Promote Mode step 2

You can have your tweets promoted to either people who like certain categories, such as “Pets” or “Travel” (i.e. “Interests”), or people in specific locations (i.e. “Locations”).

3. Refine your target audience

Twitter Promote Mode step 3

Then, you can choose up to five interests or five areas in your selected country, depending on your selected targeting option in the previous step.

4. Enter your credit card details

Twitter Promote Mode step 4

Finally, once you’ve checked your settings and checked the agreement at the bottom of the page, click on “Proceed”. You will be prompted to enter your credit card details. Twitter will review your account before it starts your subscription.

When Twitter approves your subscription, you can sit back, tweet (or Buffer your tweets), and enjoy automated promotion of your tweets.

Checking your results

The easiest way to see your results is through the Twitter mobile app. Tap on your profile photo, and then tap on “Promote Mode”2. These are the data you can see on your dashboard:

  • A progress bar for the 30-day period
  • The number of people your promoted tweets have reached
  • The number of followers you’ve gained through the promoted tweets
  • The number of visits to your Twitter profile from the promoted tweets
  • The number of tweets promoted

Twitter Promote Mode dashboard

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Our Twitter Promote Mode experiment

Our results

Over the 30-day period, I took a screenshot of our results almost every day to track our progress. At the end of each week, I would record the results up to that point. Here’s how the tracking document looks like:

Twitter Promote Mode tracking

At the end of the 30 days, here are our results from the Twitter Promote Mode:

  • 28,686 people reached
  • 34 followers gained
  • 230,092 profile visits
  • 170 tweets promoted

Twitter Promote Mode results

Additional data points

Besides looking at our data, I thought it might be helpful to also look at the results of others who have tested Twitter’s Promote Mode.

During Twitter’s three-month pilot program, Bruce D. Sanders “gained over 30 new followers and reached over 30,000 additional people each month”3.

Matt Navarra, Director of Social Media for The Next Web, achieved similar results — 26 new followers gained and about 36,000 additional people reached. (For context, Matt Navarra mentioned that he usually gain about 600 to 1,000 followers organically every month.)

Rhys Gregory, Digital Director at Effective Communication, did a quick video review of the Twitter Promote Mode and shared his results — 43 new followers gained and about 36,000 additional people reached.

Rhys Gregory Twitter Promote Mode results

Evan Kirstel, a social media consultant,‏ tweeted his results halfway through a month of the Twitter Promote Mode. Assuming the results would double by the end of the month, he would have gained 24 new followers and reached about 50,000 additional people.

The performance of the Twitter Promote Mode seems to be fairly consistent and in line with what Twitter promises — “On average, accounts will reach 30,000 additional people and add 30 followers each month.”4

The decision

Near the end of the 30 days, we decided that we would not renew our subscription. (When you cancel the subscription, the promotion would continue to run until the end of the 30-day period, unless you pause it.)

We based our decision on three main factors.

1. Performance

Besides looking at the results in isolation, we compared them with our Facebook ads performance. The Twitter automated ads performed slightly better than our recent Facebook engagement ads in terms of the reach per dollar spent.

Twitter Promote Mode vs Facebook ads

But it might be helpful to note that the automated Twitter ads are not scalable. We cannot spend more money to get more results, unlike Facebook ads. So based on our results, we can expect to reach about 29,000 additional people every 30 days for $99.

We can also see that each new follower from the automated ads cost us about $3, which is pretty expensive.

2. Limitations

The Twitter Promote Mode also has several limitations.

Limited targeting options: Firstly, we can only choose either interest targeting or location targeting (and not both). I feel that this makes the audience a little too broad for the ads to be effective.

Secondly, only two of the interest options, “Business” and “Technology and computing”, make sense for us. Furthermore, they aren’t exactly our audience’s interests — marketing and social media. So the people that we’ve reached might not have been our actual target audience. A case in point: despite reaching more than 28,000 additional people, only 34 followed us.

 Twitter Promote Mode targeting

Unable to select which tweet to promote: I believe this is meant to be an advantage of the program, where the promotions are on auto-pilot. However, as we tweet very often, it’d be great if we could select the tweets for promotion. For example, it might not be useful for us to promote a #bufferchat question.

3. Ease

Finally, the automated nature of the program provides a great ease for individuals and small business owners who might not have the time to manually create ads. We can just set and forget…

… only to a certain extent.

It could be possible for the program to promote an inappropriate tweet, such as tweets about Buffer’s downtime or our condolences for world tragedies. During these times, we’ll have to manually pause the promotion. (Yes, you can pause the promotion anytime but that won’t pause your subscription.)

That said, this situation is quite unique to us. If all of your tweets are suitable for promotion, you won’t face this challenge.


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Will you try it?

Overall, we believe that the Twitter Promote Mode could be more valuable to accounts with a small following (up to 2,000 as suggested by Twitter). We’d also be keen to check out the additional plans Twitter rolls out for Promote Mode and whether some might be better suited for those who already have a reasonably large following.

A good rule-of-thumb to decide if this is suitable for you might be to compare your organic Twitter performance with the average Twitter Promote Mode performance of 30 new followers and 30,000 additional reach. Here are a few more things to consider

  • Are these gains worth $99 (or more) to you?
  • Can you achieve better results with the traditional Twitter ads, assuming you have the time to manually create them?
  • Can you invest the money in other social media advertising options and get better results?

If you would like to read more about the program before you try it, you can check out Twitter’s help page.

Now that you have read our analysis, do you think you’ll give it a try?

Image credit: Unsplash

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from Social

The 10 Best WP Themes That Will Make Your Website Look Amazing In 2018

How about bringing an attractive, engaging website online? This would be a great way to get a business off to a great start in 2018. A website’s ability to bring in traffic is not enough, however.

If it isn’t responsive, those who rely on mobile devices can easily be turned off by what they see (or are unable to see).

Having a responsive website is, therefore, a “must”. The good news is that ThemeForest offers thousands of responsive themes. Yet, who wants to sift through thousands of themes to find the best fit for a given project?

You really want to be able to narrow your choices down to a much smaller number of providers. That’s what we’ve done for you.

These aren’t just any WordPress theme providers. With these 10, you’ll get the greatest value for your money.



  1. Be Theme

Every new web-building project has its unique challenges, whether they arise from a set of unusual client requirements or the difficulty in finding a theme that’s a good fit for a given business or business niche.

Be Theme has you covered with its selection of 300+ pre-built websites. Your business may be an accounting firm, a sports club, and auto dealership, or a bistro. A one-page website may make the most sense, or a website featuring an awesome portfolio for a creative individual or agency could be what’s needed. It doesn’t matter.

Each pre-built website is responsive and customizable, so if you find a template that’s a close fit, you can easily make adjustments to create a perfect fit.

A pre-built website can be installed with a single click. From that point on, building a website is an easy task thanks to powerful tools like the Muffin Builder, the Options Panel, and a host of additional features to help you along the way, plus there’s no need for coding.


  1. Kalium – Creative Theme for Professionals

Kalium is also well worth considering. This is especially true if you’re looking for a multi-purpose Website theme. Kalium has all the layouts, shortcodes, and design elements you’re ever likely to need. The demo sites make it easy to get a website-building project off to a quick start.

While Kalium’s page-building features were created with the professional web designer in mind, this WordPress theme is delightfully easy to use. Even if you happen to be a first-time user, you can still create an engaging website or blog, an awesome portfolio, or a ready-to-go online store from one of the many shop layouts, in minutes.

In addition to home-page demos, you’ll find a nice selection of demos for your landing pages as well.

If you choose Kalium, you’ll be adding an award-winning ThemeForest best seller to your website-building toolkit.


  1. Pro

If you can imagine it, you can build it. That’s Pro’s claim; and this game-changing WordPress theme definitely has what it takes to live up to that claim. Designed with creative professionals, and those who aspire to be, in mind, Pro utilizes an easy to work with the modular approach, coupled with an extensive array of design elements, free extensions, and more.

There’s no need for coding, and if you prefer, you can do your design work with Pro directly from your browser. With the Header Builder, you can create anything from the most basic headers, to those that will blow your mind. The Content Builder’s optimized workflow capabilities can make you a poster child for productivity, and you can use the Footer Builder’s features to demonstrate that footers can be things of beauty.

To repeat. If you can imagine it, you can build it.


  1. Newspaper

If you have a news-oriented website in mind, one featuring a magazine format, a blog or a publishing website, the Envato-authored Newspaper theme will be an excellent choice.

This theme’s layouts are responsive and retina ready, and its 48+ demos cover everything from food, fitness, and lifestyle to art, law, and beauty; each of which can be highly customized. Moreover, it has a frontend page builder, an intelligent ad system, and premium widgets.


  1. Uncode – Creative Multiuse WordPress Theme

Uncode is a pixel-perfect theme you’ll find ideal for building awe-inspiring portfolios. It will appeal to artists, creative web designers, and bloggers. Uncode is packed with everything you need, including a tailored version of Visual Composer, so you don’t have to worry about writing code.

A key feature is the centered mobile menu that ensures your website will look great on mobile devices.


  1. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

Starting with its selection of 70+ beautiful design concepts, TheGem doesn’t stop there. This amazing one page/multipage-ready multipurpose theme features more than 200 creative page templates (demos), shortcodes, widgets, multiple header and footer options, unlimited layout possibilities, and much more.

Smart tools, such as the latest Visual Composer, plus the intuitive GUI, make website, blog, and portfolio building easy; with no coding required. TheGem could be called the “Swiss Army knife” of WordPress themes.


  1. The Core

The Core’s website demos address key business, corporate, non-profit, and creative niches, making you feel as if you own a host of different WordPress themes instead of one. This flexible theme provides you with a host of layouts and design options, it’s responsive, and it requires no coding.

There are plenty of tutorials, and if you have a question or need help, The Core’s user support is rock solid.


  1. Houzez

If you are a realtor, or your client is one, or represents a real estate agency, Houzez is a love affair in the making. Not only does this responsive WP theme’s attractive layouts conform to industry standards, but its other features and functionalities, including advanced property search, payment options and membership options, combine to make Houzez a complete package.

All the design elements you’ll need are there too.


  1. XStore – Responsive WooCommerce Theme

If launching a successful online store is your goal, you might as well use a WordPress theme that’s dedicated toward that goal. XStore is just such a theme.

With this minimalist, responsive theme, with its selection of 70+ customizable good-to-go shops, it’s easy to create a fully-functioning, eye-popping online store that’s guaranteed to get you off to a great start.



  1. ListingPro Directory WordPress Theme

This is the only all-in-one solution for creating an online directory on the market. The Listing Pro Directory WordPress theme is the #1 best-selling ThemeForest theme of its type, having accounted for more than 3000 units sold in less than 6 months.

With Listing Pro, you don’t have to worry about coding, or any need for paid plugins. Everything you’ll need comes with the package.


Summing Up


Pick one of these 10 best responsive WordPress themes, and you can be assured of getting off to a good start in 2018.

They have the features and functionalities you need to get a project underway. Also, they have everything needed to help you maintain your momentum until you’re ready to go online.

If you looking for a multipurpose website builder, you find the best ones here. The same goes for the case when you opt for one that addresses a specific niche.

Read More at The 10 Best WP Themes That Will Make Your Website Look Amazing In 2018

from Web Design Ledger

Do 3rd-Party Social Media Tools Negatively Affect Reach and Engagement? Our 200+ Post Experiment and Results

Putting your trust as a marketer or brand in 3rd-party social media tools to manage all of your posts can be a bit scary.

You might be wondering:

  • Are my posts getting optimal reach and engagement?
  • Do social media platforms penalize 3rd-party tools?
  • Are 3rd-party tools really worth the cost?

These are some of the most common questions our Customer Advocates receive on a daily basis. And up until this research, we haven’t had any concrete data to say “yes” or “no” to whether or not 3rd-party tools affect the reach and engagement of posts.

We’re hoping to change that.

For an entire month, with the help of several awesome marketers and brands, we tested more than 200 posts across 35 profiles to see exactly how 3rd-party social media tools stack up vs. native posting.

Today we’re excited to share the experiment setup and results in their entirety!

Brief summary of results: 3rd-party tools don’t seem to negatively affect the reach of posts

We’d love to share a quick summary of what we found (you can find the full results and more on how we ran the experiment below!).


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 81,639 total reach / 9,071 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 79,380 total reach / 8,820 per post


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 45 posts / 949,890 total impressions / 21,108 per post
  • Native Posting: 45 posts / 975,223 total impressions / 21,671 per post


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 63,221 total reach / 7,024 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 54,646 total reach / 6,071 per post

Read on to check out all of the details!

3rd-party social media tools vs. native posting (setup)

In order to make the research as statistically sound as possible, we focused on three important factors:

  • Account Variation: Ensuring that we tested multiple 3rd-party social media tools and social accounts
  • Content Quality: Ensuring that we tested similar content across platforms
  • Posting Consistency: Ensuring that we posted at similar times and frequencies

Our tests ran from November 27, 2017, to December 19, 2017.

Account Variation

Our biggest concern with an experiment like this is that our results would be biased if we only tested Buffer content with the Buffer tool.

We knew it would take multiple marketers and tools to make the data meaningful.

First, we signed up for test accounts with Hootsuite and CoSchedule. This would allow us to test three different 3rd-party social media tools to reduce the chance of a particular tool playing a factor in reach and engagement.

Then, we turned to the Social Media Masterminds Facebook Group and asked if any marketers would be up for helping us run a few tests. The response was incredible…

3rd-Party Social Media Tools: Facebook Group Post

Judging by the number of comments and overall enthusiasm for this experiment, we knew we were onto something.

In the end, we received data from 11 different brands, totaling more than 98 posts across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Factoring in these results to the overall findings greatly helped to reduce any biased data. A huge thanks to everyone that participated!

Now we just had to figure out how we would approach content.

Content Quality

Content presented a unique challenge in that we had to be strategic about what we posted and when we posted it.

As many marketers know, posting the same content multiple times in a short period of time might result in a decrease of reach and engagement with each post.

We ultimately decided that we would not post the same content multiple times. Rather, we would post three different types of content (links, images, videos) and do our very best to ensure that each piece of content was super high-quality.

3rd-Party Social Media Tools: Content Quality

But what we realized is that, at the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to create truly equal content – some posts will inevitably perform better than others based on a hundreds of different algorithm factors.

In short, content is the number one factor that determines success on social media.

More on the implications of social media content later in this post!

Posting Consistency

The final factor that we focused on for this experiment was to ensure that we were posting consistently. Both timing and frequency impact social media results and so we did our best to post at roughly the same time and frequency each day.

  • Facebook: Posted once per day between 6:00am & 12:00pm PST.
  • Twitter: Posted 3-5 times per day between 5:00am & 10:00pm PST.
  • LinkedIn: Posted once per day between 6:00am & 12:00pm PST.

Posting natively proved to be the most difficult part of this experiment! We found that without 3rd-party social media tools we were having to set reminders in our calendar in order to post at the correct times.

Multiplying that by eight posts per day and three social media accounts, we did end up missing a few posts here and there which prolonged the study.

Last, but not least. It might be helpful to provide the Buffer audience sizes on each network.

Current Buffer Audience Sizes:

  • Facebook: 106,000
  • Twitter: 927,000
  • LinkedIn: 16,500

3rd-party social media tools vs. native posting (results)

Now for the fun part!

Do 3rd-part tools negatively affect reach and engagement on social media?

Data-Backed Answer: No.

We did not find a significant difference in social media reach and engagement whether we posted through 3rd-party tools or natively to each network. As you might expect, some pieces of content performed better than others no matter how they were posted.

If you’re interested in seeing all of the raw data from our experiment, feel free to check out the original spreadsheet where we kept track of every single post.

And if you’d like to run your own 3rd-party tools vs. native posting experiment, we’re happy to share the blank spreadsheet template:

Download: 3rd-Party Tools vs. Native Posting Results (Blank .XLS)

Total Reach

First, let’s take a look at the main component of our experiment – how 3rd-party tools performed vs. native posting in regards to reach/impressions on each social media network.


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 81,639 total reach / 8,515 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 79,380 total reach / 8,820 per post

Facebook Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. NativeTwitter Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. Native

Slight Advantage: 3rd-Party Tools


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 45 posts / 949,890 total impressions / 21,108 per post
  • Native Posting: 45 posts / 975,223 total impressions / 21,671 per post

Twitter Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. NativeTwitter Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. Native

Slight Advantage: Native Posting


  • 3rd-Party Tools: 9 posts / 63,221 total reach / 7,024 per post
  • Native Posting: 9 posts / 54,646 total reach / 6,071 per post

LinkedIn Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. NativeTwitter Reach 3rd Party Tools vs. Native

Slight Advantage: 3rd-Party Tools

Average Reach Per Post Type

Next, we thought it would be useful to break down how each post type (links, images/GIFS, videos) performed with both 3rd-party social media tools and native posting.

Link Posts:

  • Average Link Post Reach (Facebook, 3rd-party): 7,333
  • Average Link Post Reach (Facebook, Native): 7,332
  • Average Link Post Impressions (Twitter, 3rd-party): 20,326
  • Average Link Post Impressions (Twitter, Native): 18,931
  • Average Link Post Reach (LinkedIn, 3rd-party): 6,125
  • Average Link Post Reach (LinkedIn, Native): 5,852

3rd-Party Tools, Average Link Reach

Images/GIFs Posts:

  • Average Image/GIF Post Reach (Facebook, 3rd-party): 5,733
  • Average Image/GIF Post Reach (Facebook, Native): 8,237
  • Average Image/GIF Post Impressions (Twitter, 3rd-party): 19,522
  • Average Image/GIF Post Impressions (Twitter, Native): 22,914
  • Average Image/GIF Post Reach (LinkedIn, 3rd-party): 8,148
  • Average Image/GIF Post Reach (LinkedIn, Native): 6,247

3rd-Party Tools, Average Image Reach

Video Posts:

  • Average Video Post Reach (Facebook, 3rd-party): 14,146
  • Average Video Post Reach (Facebook, Native): 17,100
  • Average Video Post Impressions (Twitter, 3rd-party): 26,495
  • Average Video Post Impressions (Twitter, Native): 24,214
  • Average Video Post Reach (LinkedIn, 3rd-party): N/A
  • Average Video Post Reach (LinkedIn, Native): N/A

3rd-Party Tools, Average Video Reach

It’s interesting to note that in all cases there was no clear winner between 3rd-party social media tools and native posting. Each performed better seemingly at random – making their performance more or less even across the board.

Which leads us to the 3 major takeaways that we got from this experiment.

3rd-party social media tools vs. native posting (takeaways)

This experiment was an eye-opening one, to say the least! It gave us a great perspective on the current state of social media reach and engagement while also reminding us how much time and effort goes into creating great content.

We’re excited to share the three biggest takeaways we learned in the process.

1. Importance of Content

The number one takeaway that we got out of this experiment is that content is the most important factor that determines social media posting success.

It matters more than timing and frequency. And it matters more than whether or not we posted natively to each network or through a 3rd-party social media tool.

In examining the data, there were times when a piece of content “went viral” when posted natively and there were times when content “went viral” when posted through a 3rd-party tool.

Native Posting vs. 3rd-Party Tools Comparison

We’ve had the pleasure of running multiple experiments over the past year and it always comes down to the same thing: content.

For example, simply reducing our posting frequency and focusing on only creating content that we knew our audience would love, we were able to increase our Facebook organic reach by more than 330 percent in 2017.

Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective on the types of content we create:

20 Social Media Content Ideas

If you’re looking for a fun way to switch it up and create a ton of high-quality posts in 2018, feel free to check out 20 social media content ideas that have worked for us and just might work for you, too!

2. Power of Video

We’ve talked about the importance of video marketing lots here on the blog in the past – we even mentioned the video trend in a recent episode of the Buffer Podcast.

Now we’re excited to say that we have our very own data to back it up!

Here’s how videos stacked up in terms of reach and engagement on Facebook and Twitter in comparison to links and images/GIFs:

Average Reach Per Post Type On Social Media

LinkedIn doesn’t currently offer native video posting for brands and so we weren’t able to test the data from that network. But rumor has it that they’ll be opening up native video posting for brands sometime in 2018 (yes!).

Whether networks are prioritizing videos in their algorithms or people truly do enjoy interacting with video over other types of posts, we can expect to see a lot more of them in the coming year.

3. Time and Productivity

Folks that work and are successful in the social media industry know that it can take lots of time and effort to create amazing content and grow accounts.

That’s why we’re huge fans of anything that can make our jobs that much easier – extensions, hacks, tools, you name it!

Planning, uploading, and posting to social media natively turned out to be a major challenge for us. We often found ourselves forgetting to upload a Tweet or Facebook post at a certain time.

And quite ironically, when posting natively, we ended up using Buffer to “store” all of our content so that we could quickly copy and paste the image and caption to each social network. We’re not sure what we would have done without that over the course of the three weeks.

For us, utilizing a social media tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule (or any of the other great tools out there) is how we’re able to ship great content consistently and on time.

Thoughts and next steps

At this point you might be eager to run some 3rd-party vs. native posting experiments of your own. I know I would be!

While it’s great to read studies like this one, every brand’s results on social media might look a little different. You might rest a little easier at night knowing for sure that your social media posts aren’t being penalized for using a 3rd-party tool.

If you’re interested, you can grab a copy of the blank spreadsheet template here:

Download: 3rd-Party Tools vs. Native Posting Results (Blank .XLS)

Or, check out the raw data from our experiment, including the results from 11 other brands:

Results: 3rd-Party Tools vs. Native Posting (Buffer + Community)

I’d love to hear the results of your experiments!

Please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions about the experiment or results above, or your own experience with 3rd-party social media tools vs. native posting.

from Social

30 Beautiful Sans-Serif Fonts That You Can Download For Free

The web is full of various free and premium fonts. You can find anything you may need, from vintage fonts to handwritten fonts in a matter of a minute. When you don’t know what font to choose, use sans-serif fonts. They are the most popular and favorite fonts of all the time.

Sans serif fonts can be used for any design, a website, t-shirt, flyer, banner, header, contact form, login form and more. In this post, we’ve featured 30 free beautiful sans-serif fonts which you can download right now. Let us know which one is your favorite in the comment section bellow.

1. Moderne Sans




3. Gerald Sans Geometric Font




5. Coves – Free Font


6. Elianto – Free Font


7. Atlantico Typeface (Free & Editable)


8. Dense typeface


9. Zero Free Typeface


10. Ikaros || Free Typeface


11. Linotte Typeface


12. Korb typeface


13. Bjorn – Free Typeface


14. QUARTZ – Free Font


15. Blern (Free Typeface)


16. Creata typefamily


17. Quantify v2 Free Typeface




19. Qanelas Soft Typeface


20. Biko


21. Hansief – Free Vintage Sans Serif


22. Free Acacio Serif Font


23. Adon Font


24. Hover Classic Free Font


25. Tessellate (Font)


26. Jaapokki


27. Kiklo


28. Rhetoric Regular


29. LIQUIDO free font


30. Free Yadon Serif Font


Read More at 30 Beautiful Sans-Serif Fonts That You Can Download For Free

from Web Design Ledger

20 Cool Infographic Templates to Create Amazing Designs

In the era of internet, the process of learning becomes much more comfortable as it was before. Most people are visuals learners so visual content like infographics, slideshares, and videos are usually great marketing tools. Today I want to focus more on infographics and I want to give you some awesome examples of infographics that you can create.

First things first, let’s see what an infographic is.
An infographic is a presentation of data using different images, charts, graphs, and maps to make this information easy to understand and remember. A lot of companies use infographics as a marketing tool to promote their new products, tell about new features, and notify users about their brand.

In this list, we are going to share 20 cool infographic templates to create amazing designs for your business. You’ll find various maps, charts, bars, icons, titles, pie charts and other elements to help you combine useful infographics!

1. Crooked Stats Infographic Kit


2. Weekdone Infographics Kit [freebie]


3. Infographic template


4. Shopping Infographics Slide Template


5. Circular templates pack


6. Company time line with road


7. Options banners


8. Classic infographic banners collection


9. Education infography in flat design


10. Set of useful infographic elements in flat design


11. Infographic template


12. Nice businessman with speech bubbles


13. World map infographic design


14. Cycle Chart with Four Elements Slide


15. Free Infographic Vector Template


16. Free Vector Infographic Elements


17. Free Flat Chart Infographic Vector


18. Free Vector Infographic Elements


19. Timeline Infographic Vectors


20. World Map Infographic design


Read More at 20 Cool Infographic Templates to Create Amazing Designs

from Web Design Ledger

25 Free Watercolor Brush Sets to Use in Your Designs

Photoshop tools like icons, brushes, shapes, fonts, help designers and photographers get more work done faster without compromising quality. All of these design elements are available online for free.

In this collection, we have handpicked 25 free watercolor brush sets to use in your designs. You can use them to create beautiful textures, headers, social media images, banners, flyers, posters, business cards and more. The collection has splashes of watercolor with different sizes and shape, so you’ll definitely choose what you need.

1. Watercolor Splatters


2. Dried Blood Splatters


3. 25 Watercolor and Ink Photoshop Brushes No.4


4. WG Watercolor Brushes Vol1


5. 75 High Quality Watercolor Photoshop Brushes (Vol.2)


6. 69 Watercolor Photoshop Brushes


7. 10 Free Watercolor Photoshop Brushes


8. Free Watercolor Photoshop Brushes 6


9. 25 Watercolour and Ink Photoshop Brushes No.5


10. Free Watercolor Wash Photoshop Brushes


11. Free Watercolor Wash Photoshop Brushes 2


Free Watercolor Wash Photoshop Brushes 6


13. Watercolor Mask PS Brushes


14. WaterColor Reloaded


15. WaterColor EXTREMUM


16. Paint Trails brushes


17. watercolor brushes – 1


18. 25 Free Paint Brushes


19. 20 Watercolor Mask PS Brushes abr


20. Watercolor Basics


21. 20 Watercolor Mask PS Brushes abr.


22. WG Dry Paint Strokes


23. Free Ink Splatter Photoshop Brushes 3


24. Free Concrete Paint Photoshop Brushes 9


25. Acrylic Paint


Read More at 25 Free Watercolor Brush Sets to Use in Your Designs

from Web Design Ledger

25 Creative Business Card Designs for Your Inspiration

These days we are used to meeting people online. However, if you go to any event and want to get your name out there, a business card is one of the best ways to share your contact details with people.

A business card should reflect your branding style and your goals. Creative professionals, such as designers, photographers, artists could use images and some other unusual design layouts.

At the same time, if you re an owner of local car workshop or a teacher, your business card should be more strict and restrained. In this collection, we have shared 20 creative business card designs you would love. Just scroll down and get inspired.

1. iLabs Business Card


2. Florbank – Business cards


3. The Hive


4. Airluxe


5. Ueno Rebrand : Business cards #3


6. Darn Good Business Cards


7. Tom Appleton Design Business Cards


8. Iphone Business Card Vol.2


9. New site!


10. Pasta restaurant business card


11. Veranda


12. Herschel’s Coffee Co


13. Neostalgia


14. Free Natural Business Card Template


15. Sarta Milano


16. Spy Bar Business Cards


17. Sister


18. Work pattern


19. Sara Business Card


20. San Diego Coffee Co.


21. Personal Business Card


22. I/C – Business Card


23. La Glace Premium French Ice Cream


24. Personal business card


25. Lacali – Summer Business Card


Read More at 25 Creative Business Card Designs for Your Inspiration

from Web Design Ledger

20 Free Retro and Vintage Fonts to Use in 2018

The memories of yesterday evoke a sense of nostalgia in all of us. Retro years usually refer to the time before nowadays, up to the last century. Images from 1900 up to late 1980 comes to mind first. Retro and vintage designs are determined by typography.

So, if you are going to work on some vintage-inspired project in future, you need proper fonts in your designer’s arsenal. In this collection, we have handpicked 20 retro and vintage free fonts which you can use for postcards, websites, mobile app, t-shirts, logos, badges, and branding identity. It’s all up to you.

1. High Life


2. Frontage


3. Banana Yeti Typeface


4. Sonder


5. Besom


6. Garment


7. Monthoers Free Font


8. Endoell


9. Bough Typeface


10. Old Growth


11. Phalanx


12. Henrik


13. Berg


14. Brilon Font


15. Ansley Display


16. Cornerstone


17. Streetwear Font


18. Streamster


19. Bukhari


20. Paralines – Free Font


Read More at 20 Free Retro and Vintage Fonts to Use in 2018

from Web Design Ledger