Why you should consider doing business in Singapore

Why you should consider doing business in Singapore

Whether you've been debating global expansion for an existing enterprise or are ready to invest in a brand-new startup, there are several reasons Singapore has become an attractive location for American entrepreneurs. According to Fortune, the ASEAN nations (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—are already America's third-largest Asian trading partner and have an economy valued at approximately $2.4 trillion.

Singapore is a particularly appealing business hotspot, with an international business-friendly atmosphere confirmed by numerous accolades (Source: StartUp Decisions):

  • Singapore has been ranked by World Bank as the best country in the world for doing business for ten consecutive years as of 2016
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has ranked Singapore number one out of 82 countries analyzed in terms of their "efficient and open" economies for seven consecutive years
  • Singapore ranks as the third wealthiest country based on per capita GDP
  • Singapore is listed among the least bureaucratic countries in the world in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook

There isn't a lot of red tape involved in operating your business in Singapore, but you'll also enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in the world. The nation has a maximum 20 percent tax rate for income above $320,000 and corporate tax rates are capped at just 17 percent for profits over $300,000 with no capital tax gain, according to Financial nerd. And while the state does have a stable political climate and sturdy economy, those aren't the only reasons this market appeals to so many startups. Another major draw is that Singapore has the technological infrastructure to support enormous growth and the increased demand for connectivity.

"The telecommunication infrastructure of Singapore spans the entire city-state… Basically, internet service is everywhere in Singapore," explains Precursor. "Singapore has 217 internet service providers, over 43,000 public wifi access points, and 15 million mobile subscribers… Business owners can find themselves connected online almost everywhere to ensure their international transactions take place seamlessly."

But business-friendly regulatory policy and the infrastructure to support international commerce isn't all that startups need to become successful; they also need a consumer base, a labor force, and the ability to export and expand their business in the future. Fortunately, Singapore can meet all those needs, too.

Singapore is one of the most strategic locations in the world, with fantastic connectivity to virtually all corners of the globe. According to Rivkin, the Singapore Changi International Airport is home to more than 100 different airlines that fly to more than 80 countries around the world, with the ability to reach about 50 percent of the world's consumers in just six hours or less.

The Singapore government prides itself on its highly skilled and productive workforce, with low unemployment rates and healthy real income growth of an average 3.1 percent annually for employed residents. This is due in large part to a commitment from government agencies such as the Ministry of Manpower, which strives to develop Singapore's workforce. What's more, Singapore's business-friendly reputation attracts some of the greatest entrepreneurial talents in the world. Whether you are looking for talented inside sales representatives to help you navigate and nurture leads in a foreign country or need manufacturing support, Singapore's labor force has your business covered.

If all this is still not enough to convince you to take your business overseas to Singapore, you should also know that it's one of the safest places to do business (and even live) in the world. Singapore's low unemployment rates and well-paying jobs create little temptation for crime, and corruption and crime of all sorts are harshly punished. It also has some of the most effective intellectual property laws in existence, better protecting the innovations you bring to the market.

Finally, Singapore is a legitimately appealing place to live; it offers a variety of world-class dining, entertainment, education, and healthcare options, and can be a fantastic, family-oriented place to relocate, according to Singapore Company Incorporation. And since just about everyone in Singapore speaks English, the culture shock of doing business or potentially moving to the country is dramatically reduced. This is all good news for business owners who may end up wanting to eventually move to their operating location.

Taking your business international may seem like an enormous risk, but if you do your research and choose a place that supports entrepreneurship, your business could become even more successful than it may have become otherwise. Any business owner considering a global market should put Singapore on their short list of locations to consider.

Do you operate an online business in Singapore? Share what you love most about doing business in this city-state in the comments.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

Scraping Russian Twitter Trolls With Python, Neo4j, and GraphQL

Scraping Russian Twitter Trolls With Python, Neo4j, and GraphQL

Scraping Russian Twitter Trolls With Python, Neo4j, and GraphQL

12 Nov 2017

Last week as a result of the House Intelligence Select Committee investigation, Twitter released the screen names of 2752 Twitter accounts tied to Russia's Internet Research Agency that were involved in spreading fake news, presumably with the goal of influencing the 2016 election. In this post we explore how to scrape tweets from the user pages of cached versions of these pages, import into Neo4j for analysis, and how to build a simple GraphQL API exposing this data through GraphQL.

While Twitter released the screen names and user ids of these accounts, they did not release any data (such as tweets or follower network information) associated with the accounts. In fact, Twitter has suspended these accounts which means their tweets have been removed from Twitter.com and are no longer accessible through the Twitter API. Analyzing the tweets made by these accounts is the first step in understanding how social media accounts run by Russia may have been used to influence the US Election. So our first step is simply to find potential sources for the data.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a non-profit library that provides cached version of some websites: a snapshot of a webpage at a given point in time that can be viewed later. One option for obtaining some of the Russian Troll tweets is by using Internet Archive to find any Twitter user pages that may have been cached by Internet Archive.

For example, if you visit http://web.archive.org/web/20170818065026/https:/twitter.com/TEN_GOP we can see the Twitter page for @TEN_GOP, one of the Russia Troll accounts that was designed to look like an account associated with the Tennessee Republican party.

This snapshot page contains several of @TEN_GOP's most recent tweets (before the snapshot was taken by Internet Archive).

Finding Available Cached Pages

Using the screen names provided by the House Intelligence Committee we can use Internet Archive's Wayback API to see if the user's Twitter profile page was cached by Internet Archive at any point in time. We'll write a simple Python script to iterate through the list of Russian Troll twitter accounts, checking the Wayback API for any available cached pages.

We can do this by making a request to http://archive.org/wayback/available?url=http://twitter.com/TWITTER_SCREEN_NAME_HERE. This will return the url and timestamp of any caches made, if they exist. So we iterate through the list of twitter screen names, checking the Wayback API for any available caches.

import requests
items = []
initial = "http://archive.org/wayback/available"
# iterate through list of flagged twitter screen names
with open('./data/twitter_handle_urls.csv') as f:
for line in f:
params = {'url': line}
r = requests.get(initial, params=params)
d = r.json()
# write URL of any available archives to file
with open('./data/avail_urls.txt', 'w') as f:
for item in items:
if 'archived_snapshots' in item:
if 'closest' in item['archived_snapshots']:
f.write(item['archived_snapshots']['closest']['url'] + '\n')

With this, we end up with a file twitter_handle_urls.csv that contains a list of Internet Archive urls for any of the Russian troll accounts that were archived by Internet Archive. Unfortunately, we only find just over 100 Russia Troll accounts that were cached by Internet Archive. This is just a tiny sample of the overall accounts, but we should still be able to scrape tweets for these 100 users.

Now, we're ready to scrape the HTML from the Internet Archive caches to extract all the tweet content that we can.

We'll make use of the BeautifulSoup Python package to help us extract the tweet data from the HTML. First, we'll use Chrome devtools to inspect the structure of the HTML, seeing what elements contain the data we're looking for:

Since the caches were taken at different times, the structure of the HTML may have changed. We'll need to write code that can handle parsing these different formats. We've found two versions of the Twitter user pages in the caches. One from ~2015, and one used around ~2016-2017.

Here is the code for scraping the data for one of the versions. The full code is available here.

import urllib
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import csv
import requests

# testing for new version

url = "http://web.archive.org/web/20150603004258/https://twitter.com/AlwaysHungryBae"
page = requests.get(url).text
soup = BeautifulSoup(page, 'html.parser')

tweets = soup.find_all('li', attrs={'data-item-type': 'tweet'})

for t in tweets:
tweet_obj = {}
tweet_obj['tweet_id'] = t.get("data-item-id")
tweet_container = t.find('div', attrs={'class': 'tweet'})
tweet_obj['screen_name'] = tweet_container.get('data-screen-name')
tweet_obj['permalink'] = tweet_container.get('data-permalink-path')
tweet_content = tweet_container.find('p', attrs={'class': 'tweet-text'})
tweet_obj['tweet_text'] = tweet_content.text
tweet_obj['user_id'] = tweet_container.get('data-user-id')

tweet_time = tweet_container.find('span', attrs={'class': '_timestamp'})
tweet_obj['timestamp'] = tweet_time.get('data-time-ms')

hashtags = tweet_container.find_all('a', attrs={'class': 'twitter-hashtag'})
tweet_obj['hashtags'] = []
tweet_obj['links'] = []

for ht in hashtags:
ht_obj = {}
ht_obj['tag'] = ht.find('b').text
ht_obj['archived_url'] = ht.get('href')

links = tweet_container.find_all('a', attrs={'class': 'twitter-timeline-link'})
for li in links:
li_obj = {}
if li.get('data-expanded-url'):
li_obj['url'] = li.get('data-expanded-url')
elif li.get('data-resolved-url-large'):
li_obj['url'] = li.get('data-resolved-url-large')
li_obj['url'] = li.text
li_obj['archived_url'] = li.get('href')


BeautifulSoup allows us to select HTML elements by specifying attributes to match against. By inspecting the structure of the HTML page we can see which bits of the tweets are stored in different HTML elements so we know which to grab with BeautifulSoup. We build up an array of tweet objects as we parse all the tweets on the page.

{ 'tweet_id': '561931644785811457', 'screen_name': 'AlwaysHungryBae', 'permalink': '/AlwaysHungryBae/status/561931644785811457', 'tweet_text': 'Happy Super Bowl Sunday \n#superbowlfood pic.twitter.com/s6rwMtdLom', 'user_id': '2882130846', 'timestamp': '1422809918000', 'hashtags': [ {'tag': 'superbowlfood', 'archived_url': '/web/20150603004258/https://twitter.com/hashtag/superbowlfood?src=hash' } ], 'links': [ {'url': 'pic.twitter.com/s6rwMtdLom', 'archived_url': 'http://web.archive.org/web/20150603004258/http://t.co/s6rwMtdLom' }, {'url': 'https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8xh2fFCQAE-vxU.jpg:large', ' archived_url': '//web.archive.org/web/20150603004258/https://twitter.com/AlwaysHungryBae/status/561931644785811457/photo/1' } ] }

Once we've extracted the tweets we write them to a json file:

# write tweets to file
import json
with open('./data/tweets_full.json', 'w') as f:
json.dump(tweet_arr, f, ensure_ascii=False, sort_keys=True, indent=4)

We end up finding about 1500 tweets from 187 Twitter accounts. This is only a fraction of the tweets sent by the Russian Trolls, but is still too much data for us to analyze by reading every tweet. We'll make use of the Neo4j graph database to help us make sense of the data. Using Neo4j we'll be able to ask questions such as "What hashtags are used together most frequently?", or "What are the domains of URLs shared in tweets that mention Trump?".

Importing Into Neo4j

Now that we have our scraped tweet data we're ready to insert into Neo4j. We have several options for importing data into Neo4j. We'll do our import by loading the JSON data and passing it as a parameter to a Cypher query, using the Python driver for Neo4j.

We'll use a simple graph data model, treating Hashtags and Links as nodes in the graph, as well as the Tweet and User who posted the tweet.


from neo4j.v1 import GraphDatabase
import json

driver = GraphDatabase.driver("bolt://localhost:7687")
with open('./data/tweets_full.json') as json_data:
tweetArr = json.load(json_data)

import_query = '''
WITH $tweetArr AS tweets
UNWIND tweets AS tweet
MERGE (u:User {user_id: tweet.user_id})
ON CREATE SET u.screen_name = tweet.screen_name
MERGE (t:Tweet {tweet_id: tweet.tweet_id})
ON CREATE SET t.text = tweet.tweet_text,
t.permalink = tweet.permalink
MERGE (u)-[:POSTED]->(t)

FOREACH (ht IN tweet.hashtags |
MERGE (h:Hashtag {tag: ht.tag })
ON CREATE SET h.archived_url = ht.archived_url
MERGE (t)-[:HAS_TAG]->(h)

FOREACH (link IN tweet.links |
MERGE (l:Link {url: link.url})
ON CREATE SET l.archived_url = link.archived_url
MERGE (t)-[:HAS_LINK]->(l)


def add_tweets(tx):
tx.run(import_query, tweetArr=tweetArr)

with driver.session() as session:

Graph Queries

Now that we have the data in Neo4j we can write queries to help make sense of what the Russian Trolls were tweeting about.

Interesting Queries

// Tweets for @TEN_GOP MATCH (u:User)-[:POSTED]->(t:Tweet)-[:HAS_TAG]->(h:Hashtag) WHERE u.screen_name = "TEN_GOP" OPTIONAL MATCH (t)-[:HAS_LINK]->(l:Link) RETURN *

// What are the most common hashtags MATCH (u:User)-[:POSTED]->(t:Tweet)-[:HAS_TAG]->(ht:Hashtag) RETURN ht.tag AS hashtag, COUNT(*) AS num ORDER BY num DESC LIMIT 10 ╒══════════════════════╤═══════════╕ │"hashtag" │"num"│ ╞══════════════════════╪═══════════╡ │"JugendmitMerkel" │90 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"TagderJugend" │89 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"politics" │61 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"news" │30 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"sports" │28 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"Merkel" │26 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"ColumbianChemicals" │25 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"WorldElephantDay" │22 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"crime" │21 │ ├──────────────────────┼───────────┤ │"UnitedStatesIn3Words"│21 │ └──────────────────────┴───────────┘
// What hashtags are used together most frequently MATCH (h1:Hashtag)<-[:HAS_TAG]-(t:Tweet)-[:HAS_TAG]->(h2:Hashtag) WHERE id(h1) < id(h2) RETURN h1.tag, h2.tag, COUNT(*) AS num ORDER BY num DESC LIMIT 15 ╒═════════════════╤══════════════════╤═════╕ │"h1.tag" │"h2.tag" │"num"│ ╞═════════════════╪══════════════════╪═════╡ │"JugendmitMerkel"│"TagderJugend" │89 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"TagderJugend" │"WorldElephantDay"│22 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"JugendmitMerkel"│"WorldElephantDay"│22 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"JugendmitMerkel"│"Dschungelkönig" │21 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"TagderJugend" │"Dschungelkönig" │21 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"Merkel" │"JugendmitMerkel" │17 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"Merkel" │"TagderJugend" │17 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"CDU" │"JugendmitMerkel" │12 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"CDU" │"TagderJugend" │12 │ ├─────────────────┼──────────────────┼─────┤ │"TagderJugend" │"Thailand" │11 │ └─────────────────┴──────────────────┴─────┘
// Most common domains shared in tweets MATCH (t:Tweet)-[:HAS_LINK]->(u:Link) WITH t, replace(replace(u.url, "http://", '' ), "https://", '') AS url RETURN COUNT(t) AS num, head(split(url, "/")) ORDER BY num DESC LIMIT 10 ╒═════╤═════════════════════════╕ │"num"│"head(split(url, \"/\"))"│ ╞═════╪═════════════════════════╡ │835 │"pic.twitter.com" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │120 │"bit.ly" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │105 │"\n\n" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │100 │"pbs.twimg.com" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │32 │"vk.com" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │21 │"riafan.ru" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │21 │"inforeactor.ru" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │20 │"nevnov.ru" │ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │17 │"goodspb.livejournal.com"│ ├─────┼─────────────────────────┤ │15 │"www.fox5atlanta.com" │ └─────┴─────────────────────────┘


In addition to querying Neo4j using Cypher directly, we can also take advantage of the neo4j-graphql integrations to easily build a GraphQL API for our tweets.

First, we define a GraphQL schema

type Tweet { tweet_id: ID! text: String permalink: String author: User @relation(name: "POSTED", direction: "IN") hashtags: [Hashtag] @relation(name: "HAS_TAG", direction: "OUT") links: [Link] @relation(name: "HAS_LINK", direction: "OUT") } type User { user_id: ID! screen_name: String tweets: [Tweet] @relation(name: "POSTED", direction: "OUT") } type Hashtag { tag: ID! archived_url: String tweets(first: Int): [Tweet] @relation(name: "HAS_TAG", direction: "IN") } type Link { url: ID! archived_url: String } type Query { Hashtag(tag: ID, first: Int, offset: Int): [Hashtag] }

Our GraphQL schema defines the types and fields available in the data, as well as the entry points for our GraphQL service. In this case we have a single entry point Hashtag, allowing us to search for tweets by hashtag.

With the neo4j-graphql-js integration, the GraphQL schema maps to the graph database model and translates any arbitrary GraphQL query to Cypher, allowing anyone to query the data through the GraphQL API without writing Cypher.

Implementing the GraphQL server is simply a matter of passing the GraphQL query to the integration function in the resolver:

import {neo4jgraphql} from 'neo4j-graphql-js';

const resolvers = {
// root entry point to GraphQL service
Query: {
// fetch movies by title substring
Hashtag(object, params, ctx, resolveInfo) {
// neo4jgraphql inspects the GraphQL query and schema to generate a single Cypher query
// to resolve the GraphQL query. Assuming a Neo4j driver instance exists in the context
// the query is executed against Neo4j
return neo4jgraphql(object, params, ctx, resolveInfo);

React App

One of the advantages of having a GraphQL API is that makes it very easy to build web and mobile applications that consume the GraphQL service. To make the data easily searchable we've make a simple React web app that allows for searching tweets in Neo4j by hashtag.

Here we're searching for tweets that contain the hashtag #crime. We can see that a Russia Troll account @OnlineCleveland is tweeting fake news about crimes in Ohio, making it seem that more crime is occurring in Cleveland. Why would a Russia Troll account be tweeting about crime in Cleveland leading up to the election? Typically when voters want a "tough on crime" politician elected they vote Republican…

In this post we've scraped tweet data from Internet Archive, imported in Neo4j for analysis, built a GraphQL API for exposing the data, and a simple GRANDstack app for allowing anyone to easily search the tweets by hashtag.

While we were only able to find a small fraction of the tweets posted by the Russian Twitter Troll accounts, we will continue to explore options for finding more of the data ;-)

All code is available on Github at https://github.com/johnymontana/russian-twitter-trolls.

How to Write Hero Headlines to Skyrocket Click-Through Rates

How to Write Hero Headlines to Skyrocket Click-Through Rates

Headlines are the lifeblood of your content. You can have have the best blog post in the world but if your headline doesn't do it justice, you'll be reeling from the lack of likes, shares and comments – not to mention readers.

According to Copyblogger:

The job of a headline is to get people to click through to your content, but here's the problem – the Internet has a practically infinite amount of content and most people are suffering from a severe info-overload coma.

According to MarketingProfs and HostGator, the Internet is a crowded place:

  • On average, 139,344 websites are created every single day.
  • Over 2 million blog posts are published every day (and that's just on WordPress!).
  • 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube.

So how do you get people to care about your piece amidst an avalanche of great content? Simple. By crafting a captivating headline that pulls the reader into your post. A hero headline zaps people out of their info-overload comas and compels them to read your piece of content that you worked so hard to produce.

As a business owner or marketer who is blogging, your ultimate goal is to get more readers, convert them to more customers, and make more money. You might be using blogging to sell your products or promote products as an affiliate as a way to earn passive income.

Whatever the case, for any business that is content-driven, headlines are a crucial element of a successful content marketing strategy.

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The Type of Headlines that Work Best

Headlines are a well-researched part of content with many studies completed on the type of headlines that work best. The smallest tweaks can make the biggest of differences to your click-through rates.

Bracket, Colon or Hyphen

Outbrain and HubSpot studied over 3.3 million paid link, English-language headlines and found that headlines with bracketed clarifications such as "[New Report]" perform 38% better than those without. In addition, headlines with a colon or hyphen in them perform 9% better than ones without, presumably because this punctuation mark indicates a subtitle that includes more info.

Bengu headline example


Learn More: How To Write Data-Driven Posts

How-To and List

According to OK Dork and CoSchedule, the type of content that consistently outperforms others (besides giveaways) are "how to" and list posts. The "how to" formula, by the way, can also be used in a "how not to" way, as in "How NOT to Pack When Going on Vacation" or even "Never Paint Your Room This Color."

Interestingly, people like being addressed with the second-person tense (you/your). It adds a personal touch to your writing and makes the reader feel more directly involved with your content. Writing in this way works really well not only for headlines but for the body of your content, too.

How-to posts work particularly well for organic traffic as many people start their search terms with "how to" when looking for answers to their questions.

Humans are also obsessed with variety, and a list post caters to this inherent desire by providing an ordered list of concepts, ideas or things.

Most popular words in headlines



Numbers work really well because they stand out from the rest of the headline. They satisfy our organizational minds by showing us something in a logical and orderly fashion.

A Conductor study found that 36% of people prefer headlines that start with a number, a full 15% more than the next-most-popular type:

conductor study

Odd numbers generally do better than even numbers when it comes to headlines, although the most engaging number in a headline on Facebook is 10:

Buzzsumo research numbers

The Headline Linking Term that Works Like Magic

Buzzsumo recently completed a giant study where they analyzed over 100 million headlines in which they measured headline popularity based on the average number of engagements on the various social platforms. The study discovered many interesting trends on various social media platforms.

For headlines on Facebook, they found a phrase that receives double the amount of engagement, on average, compared to the second one: "will make you." This came as a huge shock to the guys at Buzzsumo as this wasn't a term that was even on their radar.

What makes this phrase really interesting is that it's a linking phrase. It doesn't appear at the start or the end of a headline. Instead, it makes a specific connection between the content and the likely impact on the reader and creates an emotional impact on the reader, which drives people to take action.

Speaking of emotional impact, headlines with emotional phrases consistently perform well on Facebook, such as:

  • Give you goosebumps
  • Is too cute
  • Melt your heart
  • Can't stop laughing
  • Tears of joy
  • Shocked to see

The type of content that comes with these headline phrases are varied, including image, video and story-based posts.

Learn More: 10 Ways to Generate Topics and Write High-Ranking Blog Posts

Why Context Is Everything

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to headlines. It depends on several variables like the digital channel (organic search, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.), target market, and whether you're targeting B2B or B2C prospects.

For example, the headlines phrase with the most engagement on Twitter is "this is what"…

Buzzsumo research Twitter

And for LinkedIn, it's completely different: "the future of"

Buzzsumo research LinkedIN

These variations in popular headline phrases speak to the demographic differences in each platform. Understanding your audience and industry is key to creating a headline that people can't help but click.

Because people react in different ways depending on the platform, you may know exactly how to craft a headline that attracts shares on Pinterest, but the same may not work so well on Facebook.

It's also important to note that everything from headline phrases to optimum word count differ for B2B and B2C companies.

This brings me to my next point…

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The Optimum Length for a Headline

Is there really a magic length for a headline that help drive more engagement? Does it really make much of a difference?

As it happens, yes there is, and yes it does.

Some experts argue that the best headlines are the ones that are short, sweet and to the point, while others have testified that longer headlines, as many as 18 words, drive the most engagement.

Buzzsumo decided to put all these assumptions to the test with their study on 100 million headlines. In the articles they analyzed, they checked for the number of words in the headlines and cross-referenced them to the average number of Facebook engagements.

Here's what they found:

Buzzsumo average words headline


The graph shows that headlines between 12 and 18 words produce the highest level of engagement, on average. This may sound like a lot, but a phrase this long really helps you get your point across.

Some examples include:

Examples of Amazing Headlines

There's no better way to learn how to craft hero headlines than to see what has worked really well already. Stealing is a great formula for successnot in an unethical way that encourages plagiarism, but in a way that involves absorbing the key concepts and adding your own unique twist!

Here are some examples to inspire you.

1) "Watch a Student Totally Nail Something About Women That I've Been Trying to Articulate for 37 Years"

Upworth headline example

This post is one the most highly shared pieces of content on Upworthy, receiving almost 830,000 shares in total, according to the link analysis tool, Ahrefs.

Watch a Student

The headline uses the "X years" ending format which is the second most-popular Facebook headline ending by average user engagement. It also starts with a verb and invokes curiosity with an intriguing point.

2) "This Infographic Tells You How Best to Use Herbs in Your Cooking"

This Infographic Tells you How to Best Use Herbs in Your Cooking

This infographic caters to all the food lovers out there, and received over 66,000 social shares:

This IG Tells You

It's no surprise that the vast majority of shares came from Pinterest, as this is where infographics thrive, especially in the food niche.

The word "this" is the most popular first word for headlines that get the highest number of shares on Facebook, on average. It's interesting to see this work really well on Pinterest, too.



3) "This is the Easiest Way to Escape a Sinking Vehicle. Knowing HOW Might Save Your Life One Day"

Themindunleashed headline example

The title of this article is so compelling. It speaks to the fear of being trapped in an enclosed space and drowning and, more importantly, offers a solution to the problem.

This is another headline that starts with "this" and happens to be 18 words long, an optimum number according to the data I shared above. It also makes interesting use of the "how to" formula, by highlighting "HOW" in the middle of the sentence.

4) "7 Steps to Beautiful DIY Apparel Product Photography"
Shopify headline example

This is a classic list post on Shopify that was shared 4,400 times across Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest:

7 Steps to Beautiful

List posts work really well and this headline in particular is very specific. It shows you the seven steps you can take to have beautiful images for your e-commerce clothing store.

Specific headlines always outdo vague headlines because people want to know exactly what problem your post is going to solve. If you're too vague, you'll be lucky to get a two-second glance.

So how do you construct a winning headline like the ones above?

Related Content: How We Doubled Our Traffic (Without Writing Any New Blog Posts!)

5 Formulas for Writing Hero Headlines

Crafting a headline that gets eyeballs on your content is a fine mix of science and art. The science is the result of research that reveals the type of headlines that work. The art is taking the science and creating your own unique versions that captivate people and compel them to click through to your page.

1) Numbers Are Your Friend

Let's kick off with a tried-and-true formula that is proven work. Starting your headline with a number will help your content pop. Odd numbers like 5, 15 and 7 work well. Even numbers 10 and 20 also work well.


  • Original – Online Business Ideas that You Can Start Today
  • Better7 Online Business Ideas that You Can Start Today

Which one would you rather click?

2) Adjectives Are Attractive

Adjectives are words that modify nouns. Words like effortless, incredible and essential emphasize your point, add emotional weight, and increase the power of your headline.


  • Original – How to Overcome Failure and Succeed at Anything
  • Better – How to Overcome Soul-Crushing Failure and Succeed at Absolutely Anything

3) Words that Drive Action

Certain words in the English language make us want to spring into action more than others and are known as power words. Words like conquer, fearless and staggering have a powerful impact.

You can use these words to help inspire people to click through to your masterpiece!


  • Original – 7 Steps to Help You Overcome Anxiety
  • Better – 7 Steps to Help You Conquer Your Anxiety and Become Fearless

4) Use the WHW Formula

What, Why and How. These are known as trigger words because they initiate a process or course of actionthe action of clicking on your post in this case. "How" and "Why" are typically used in step-by-step articles that are designed to inform or persuade. You'll usually start your articles off with one of these trigger words.


  • Original – This CEO Went from Bankrupt to Billionaire in 6 Months
  • BetterHow This CEO Went from Bankrupt to Billionaire in 6 Months

5) Promise Your Readers Something Worthwhile

Are you writing to inform? Entertain? Persuade? Perhaps all three! Whatever it is you're writing, you'll want to include a promise in your article headline.

What will your reader learn when they finish your article? How long will it take them to learn this? You want to be bold, without over-promising. Dare your prospect to read and take action on what you've promised.


  • Original – 9 Ways you Can Learn Conversion Optimization
  • Better – 9 Ways you Can Learn Conversion Optimization in 5 minutes

A Formula that Brings It all Together

Here's what we have when we combine all the elements of a winning headline:

Trigger Word or Number + Adjective/Power Word + Keyword + Promise

Without this formula, you'll end up with headlines like this:

  • 15 Ways to Get Six-Pack Abs
  • How to Make Lasagne

Applying this formula creates headlines like this:

  • 15 Incredibly Easy Ways to Get Jaw-Dropping Six-Pack Abs
  • How to Make Delicious Lasagne in 2 Minutes
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Why You Should Always Start with the Headline

Your headline is your map, a literary road that takes your reader on a journey from problem to solution. Your sub-headings are signposts along the way to achieving the goal outlined in your headline.

Creating a piece of content without a headline often results in a vague or poorly formed idea that wanders all over the place. How are your readers going to know what you're going on about when you can't put a label on it yourself?

And you should spend a good amount of time coming up with a headline that not only works for SEO, but is irresistible to humans!

Learn More: How to Write Content for People and Optimize It for Google

Rounding Things Off

Headlines that provoke curiosity, provide explanations and/or have emotional hooks tend to engage users best. Clarity of message, promises made and a focus on why the reader should care are all qualities that the best headlines have in abundance.

The value of the research shown in this article should result in an improved understanding of the fundamental principles that make a headline great.

It also highlights the importance of context in terms of target audience, industry and traffic channel as they all differ from each other.

Your headline is one of the most important parts of your content. It sells your blog post in just a few words. It's your job to ensure that those words make people want to click through to your article.

Now go forth and create some hero headlines!

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5 Steps to Create Quality Social Media Content

5 Steps to Create Quality Social Media Content

Post submitted by Aprel Downey.

Maintaining an active presence on social media is, in most cases, vital to the success of your business.


People ages 35-49 (dubbed Generation X) spend almost 7 hours per week on social media.

Millennials, who come in second, spend just over 6 hours per week on social media.

Dig these stats? There's plenty more where that came from.

5 Steps to Create Quality Social Media Content

The simple fact is your target customers have their attention placed squarely on social media and other online platforms for a large percentage of the time they're awake.

They're looking for opinions, guidance, and expert knowledge when seeking solutions to their problems.

Social media presents an opportunity for your business to be that guide and expert, openly and transparently.

As you share information with your audience on social media, they begin to trust you and, if you're approaching the medium sensibly, you'll build genuine relationships with past, present, and future customers.

That trust works its way into future sales down the road.

For these reasons, you have to do more than just show up on social media, post something, and walk away thinking you're ahead of the game.

That's a losing strategy.

What you post, how and when you post it, how personable your presence is, and how dedicated you are to having conversations with your customers all play an essential role in your social media game.

Below are five steps that will ensure you're creating social media content that adds value, instead of turning people away.

1. Brevity Breeds Engagement: Be Short and Sweet

People don't actively participate in social media activities for an extended period of time.

They typically scroll through their news feed looking for the latest headline news topics, updates on their favorite sports teams, or seeing how their family and friends are doing.

That means you literally have a split second to catch their attention and draw them away from other topics of interest on their news feed.

Your best chance at making this happen is to be short and sweet.

In fact, one study found that Facebook posts with less than 80 characters receive 66% more engagement than posts with more than 80 characters.

Brevity breeds engagement.


  • Avoid posting lengthy descriptions or unnecessarily-complex information on your social media platforms, unless your audience specifically looks for that type of content.
  • Share a few highlights of a particular topic of interest, and then direct their attention to your blog for a more in-depth look about the topic.
  • Post a short video clip on a topic to capture their attention and end the video with a call to action to find more information on your website.

Let your audience decide if and when they want to learn more, instead of force-feeding it to them.

2. Make a Direct Point and Stick to Your Message

This ties closely into the previous point.

Time is a valuable asset to you and your social media audience.

Arguably, it's the most important asset any person has.

Your content needs to make a point that adds value to their experience or provides solutions to a problem they're facing, and it needs to make that point immediately.

If you ramble on without having a central point in place, your audience will tap out.

They'll be bored with your presence and potentially with your brand overall.

And, barring a few business models, being boring is the absolute worst method of attracting customers.

So, pick 4 – 6 central topics of great interest to your audience and stick to them.

You can call these areas "content buckets", and for the most part, all of your social media posts should fit within these buckets.

As you build your presence, you can dig into analytics and start determining which of these buckets truly do perform well, and which ones may need to be altered.

The point is, you should be posting with clear intent of delivering value — whatever form that takes — to your audience without wasting their time.

3. Create Visually Appealing Social Media Content

Eye-catching images and videos work to capture the attention of your audience in a way that words can't accomplish.

According to Brain Rules:

When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later.

And think about the most popular social platforms today — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat (sorry, Twitter, but ya know).

They're all visual-based.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

It's a cliche for a reason, people!

You can easily take parts of your business and turn those into captivating images or videos to share with your social media audience.

  • Snap a picture of what your desk looks like in the middle of a new project.
  • Go live on Facebook or Instagram during a project meeting.
  • Capture your latest product in various stages of development or your staff members as they work on a new design.
  • Arrange to have customers give video testimonials.

The list goes on and on.

Visual content posts work to give your audience a sneak peek into life behind closed doors.

It proves that your business isn't some monolithic entity — your business is an organization of real, live human beings with unique personalities, quirks, expressions working together to solve problems for customers.

People don't buy from businesses.

They buy from people.

4. Establish a Consistent Social Media Brand Tone of Voice

Your business gains a voice through the words you use in your social media content.

This is often referred to as brand tone.

When people read your posts on social media, what voice do they hear in their head?

Generally, you want to establish a voice that is friendly, warm, and welcoming.

This depends on your brand positioning and industry, of course.

In many cases, your brand's voice on social may need to be assertive, full of bravado and confidence, eloquent, or clever.

It depends on what you're trying to convey to your audience and how you want people to view your brand.

One helpful exercise is to simply ask yourself:

If our brand was a living, breathing human being, what adjectives would we use to describe them? What kinds of words would they use? How would they speak?

You can also look at other brands to form categories like, "Our brand should sound similar to XYZ brand." or "We should make sure we don't sound like XYZ brand."

It's these kinds of thought exercises that really provide a framework for determining how your brand sounds to your followers on social media.

Lastly, another helpful tip is to post in the first person.

Use "I" or "We" when talking about something that your company is doing.

This gives your audience reassurance that they're interacting with a real person behind the screen, as opposed to a faceless organization or social scheduling tool.

5. Focus On Attention-Grabbing Headlines and Copy

In the world of social media, headlines and strong intro copy are everything.

Think about how you read through a newspaper or magazine.

Or even how you personally use social media.

Do you sit there and read every single word that comes across the page/screen?

Of course not.

As you scroll through your news feed or flip the pages, you skim quickly, looking for keywords in headlines that pique your interest, make you pause, think, or leave you guessing.

Your audience is the same way.

They're only going to click on or engage with something that grabs their attention, either because it generates an emotional response or it focuses on a real problem they're trying to solve.

When writing headlines or intro copy for your social media posts:

  • Start by picking the central point of each content post you create.
  • Then brainstorm some ideas that come to mind upon reading that focal point.
  • Find one or two ideas from that list that stick out, add a few target keywords and your new headline should be good to go.

In the end, you're looking for the headline and copy that makes your audience feel as if they're missing out on something by not clicking on your post.

As an aside, be careful with how far you take this.

You don't want to end up in clickbait territory.

Clickbait — intentional exaggeration or plainly misleading people with a headline — is generally found to be annoying by users, and many social algorithms are now taking note of misleading or fake posts.

Using clickbait phrases and headlines might work at the start, but in the long-run, you're sabotaging your presence and killing the trust people have in the content you're posting.

Final Thoughts

Creating content for your social media posts can be intimidating at first.

But using these five tips will help streamline your social media content and take the guess-work out of what to post each time.

Be consistent in sharing valuable content with your audience and your social media game will be stronger than the competition in no time.


About the Author

Aprel Phelps Downey is a marketing strategist at Aprel Phelps Downey Business Marketing Services,where she helps small businesses stand out in the competitive crowd with the help of coffee and chocolate.

Connect with Aprel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join her mailing list here today.

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The algorithms that are already changing your life

The algorithms that are already changing your life

At Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, consultants are facing a familiar problem.

Patient numbers are surging. Age-related eye diseases are becoming more and more common, and as the British demographic gets ever older, numbers are predicted to increase by between a third and one half.

"We have enormous numbers of patients, we can barely cope," says Professor Peng Tee Khaw, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon. "We need to look at new ways to deal with the issue."

When a patient arrives at Moorfields, doctors will likely perform an eye scan that captures a 3D cross-section of the person's retina. The images are complex and beautiful, but often hide subtle signs of eye disease. It takes an experienced pathologist to spot abnormalities and decide what treatment is needed and how urgently.

A central goal of the field of artificial intelligence is for machines to be able to learn how to perform tasks and make decisions independently, rather than being explicitly programmed with inflexible rules. There are different ways of achieving this in practice, but some of the most striking recent advances, such as AlphaGo, have used a strategy called reinforcement learning. Typically the machine will have a goal, such as translating a sentence from English to French and a massive dataset to train on. It starts off just making a stab at the task – in the translation example it would start by producing garbled nonsense and comparing its attempts against existing translations. The program is then "rewarded" with a score when it is successful. After each iteration of the task it improves and after a vast number of reruns, such programs can match and even exceed the level of human translators. Getting machines to learn less well defined tasks or ones for which no digital datasets exist is a future goal that would require a more general form of intelligence, akin to common sense.

The process is not a fast one, but artificial intelligence is about to change that. Working with Google's artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, doctors at Moorfields have trained an AI on a million anonymised eye scans from patients at various stages of age-related macular degeneration. The hope is that the AI will learn to spot the earliest signs of disease and ultimately deliver a diagnosis.

"If this is as accurate as a human being, the whole process of diagnosing disease and understanding what needs to be done can be done pretty well instantly," says Khaw. It could make an enormous difference to Moorfields patients: for some conditions, early treatment can be sight-saving. The results so far are promising and a formal clinical trial could start as early as next year, Khaw says.

The Moorfields project is just one of a slew of instances where AI is making an impact. The technology is being woven into the fabric of life, to help people communicate, travel, meet partners and get loans. It targets customers to drive sales and monitors employees for suspicious behaviour. At the same time, it helps the emergency services, social workers and urban planners. For all its potential benefits though, critics warn that the rapid proliferation of such a powerful technology poses fresh threats to basic human rights, privacy and society in general. "There are certain standards that need to be in place for this to work well," says Craig Fagan, policy director at Tim Berners-Lee's Web Foundation. "Companies have to make sure that what they're putting out is not creating social harm."

Medicine is primed to be a chief beneficiary of artificial intelligence. AI can diagnose diseases from telltale groups of symptoms, strange patterns in blood tests, and the subtle abnormalities that cells display as a disease begins takes hold. Time and again, AI systems are found to pick up signs of illness that are unknown to doctors, making the AIs more accurate as a result. Earlier this year, researchers at Nottingham University trained several AIs to spot people at risk of heart attack and found that all of them performed better than doctors.

Another AI built at Stanford University in California has learned to spot breast cancer in biopsy tissues. Pathologists typically make the diagnosis after checking a handful of tissue features, but the AI outperformed the cancer specialists by considering more than 6,000 factors.

Researchers have begun to use AI in mental health too. A Boston-based company, Cogito, is trialling a mobile phone app that monitors the tone of a person's voice to detect mood changes that could flag a bout of depression. In China, researchers want to spot those at risk of suicide from their posts on Weibo, a Twitter-style microblogging platform.

Treatment is also ripe for an AI-fuelled revolution. Algorithms trained on piles of medical records can advise doctors on the most effective drugs for the patient before them, taking into account their genetic makeup and other conditions they have. Its success now relies as much on finding effective ways to share patients' medical data without putting privacy at risk.

A UK government review of AI in October proposed "data trusts" that would allow the NHS, for example, to share sensitive information securely. Done well, the trusts could potentially prevent more unlawful uses of data, as happened when the Royal Free Hospital in London shared the health records of 1.6 million identifiable patients with DeepMind for its own artificial intelligence project.

Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales, and author of a recent book on AI called Android Dreams, fears that a small number of tech giants could come to own our health and other data, giving them enormous power over our lives. "It will look like 1984, but it won't be a government that's in charge, it'll be a corporation, and corporations are even less answerable than governments," Walsh said. "In 10 or 20 years time, if Google is not broken up into separate parts, I will be severely worried for the future of democracy."

The boom in AI applications will reach far beyond medicine. Online retailers have ramped up the use of AI to maximise sales; some dating sites use the technology to match potential partners; and cities such as Manchester are dabbling with AI-controlled traffic lights to ease congestion and reduce air pollution.

AI-powered cyber defences have also arrived. The UK-based company Darktrace uses AI to spot suspect activity on companies' computer networks, a strategy that revealed the curious case of a North American casino that was hacked from Finland via its wifi-controlled fishtank. Darktrace recently detected a worrying new form attack: while monitoring activity for an Indian company, the tech firm spotted AI-enhanced malware that learned how to blend into its target network and lurk there without detection. Since India is one of the world's testing grounds for new cyber attacks, more AI-powered malware could soon be targeting companies around the world.

AI is already helping the police to tackle crime. In 2014, a Kent police officer was on his way to interview the victim of a double motorbike theft when he heard the meeting had been delayed. With an hour to kill, the officer went to a nearby area that had been flagged that morning as ripe for crime by PredPol, the force's AI tool. During the officer's patrol, he spotted the missing motorbikes, made an arrest, and had the bikes returned to their owner.

Kent police has pioneered predictive policing in Britain. Having trialled and adopted PredPol, a US commercial product, in 2013, the force has gained more experience than most. Sceptical at first, officers introduced the tool after a trial revealed PredPol was 60% better at spotting where where crimes would take place than the force's analysts. "There was nothing we could do that was more accurate," said Jon Sutton, head of transformation, performance and analysis at Kent.

A predictive policing tool, PredPol, uses artificial intelligence to learn crime patterns from historical records and returns a daily list hotspots, where it predicts the crime risk is high.
A predictive policing tool, PredPol, uses artificial intelligence to learn crime patterns from historical records and returns a daily list hotspots, where it predicts the crime risk is high. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

PredPol uses artificial intelligence to learn crime patterns from historical records. The Kent system was trained on five years of crime data, and the algorithm is now updated daily with the force's most recent three years of records. After crunching the data, PredPol returns a daily list of 180 hotspots, each 500 foot by 500 foot, where it predicts the crime risk is high. About 80% of the boxes never change: some areas always attract more crime than others. But the rest move around in line with patterns PredPol has learned from years of criminal activity. Some patterns are obvious and follow the clock or the seasons. There are more brawls near pubs and clubs at night time, and more incidents around Kent's beaches in the height of summer. Others are more subtle and reflect trends in crimes, the movements of gangs, or new vulnerabilities in particular neighbourhoods.

The 180 PredPol hotspots cover about 0.1% of Kent, but within them, about 17% of crime and 21% of antisocial behaviour takes place. Officers are not sent to cover all the hotspots. Instead, the police, along with community support officers and community wardens, are briefed on the locations and conduct visible patrols in the area when they can. "It's one of a number of crime prevention tools, but our officers have made arrests in areas where they say they wouldn't have been were it not for PredPol," said Sutton. "We don't see it as a panacea. It doesn't replace skills, knowledge and experience."

Predictive policing has its critics though. A recent study by the University of Utah found that the software could trigger "runaway feedback loops" where officers are sent back to the same, often poor, neighbourhoods time and again. The problem arises when police in a hotspot make an arrest, leading the software to rank the area as an even higher crime risk area in future, and so send more police back the next day, regardless of the true crime rate.

In Kent, the police, community support officers and wardens only patrol PredPol boxes between scheduled duties. With 70% of their patrols having no power of arrest, the tool is primarily used to prevent crime rather than catch criminals. One patrol, for example, noticed a line of industrial bins lined up beneath open windows on a housing estate. "It was just a case of putting the bins on the other side of the car park," said Nicola Endacott, Kent's deputy head of analysis.

According to the government's October AI review, the rise of AI has brought us to the threshold of a new era, with profound implications for society and the economy.

"Quality of life might very well be improved. In terms of solving the big problems from climate change to the supply of energy, AI should be able to help," said Dame Wendy Hall, a co-author on the report.

"It's going to be big."

Is Micro-Influencer Marketing Right for Your Business?

Is Micro-Influencer Marketing Right for Your Business?

Influencer marketing has grown in popularity thanks to Instagram, but you don't have to have millions of followers (or dollars) to cash in on this trend.

Micro-influencer marketing is the next big thing, and brands like Banana Republic and Daniel Wellington have been able to execute successful marketing campaigns by tapping in to micro-influencers on Instagram.

But what exactly is micro-influencer marketing? How much does it cost, and is it the right fit for your business?

Find out how you can leverage micro-influencer marketing to grow your Instagram account:

micro-influencer marketing

What is a Micro-Influencer?

A micro-influencer is a person who has significant, but not massive, social media following. They normally have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers, but the exact number of followers will vary depending on who you talk to.

While Instagram influencers have attained a sort of "celebrity status," micro-influencers are more like everyday consumers, so they tend to be very relatable and trustworthy. 

Instagram influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers often lead lives that aren't exactly "normal," and their feed can look like an aspirational lifestyle (and the products that come with that).

Compare that to someone with 5,000 – 15,000 Instagram followers, who most likely isn't paying their rent from cashing in on Instagram sponsorships. If a micro-influencer was to recommend a product, it can come across more like a trusted recommendation from a friend, instead of a celebrity endorsement.

What are the Benefits of Micro-Influencer Marketing?

The main benefit of working with Instagram influencers is to reach a lot of people through one post. It's an easy way to quickly get more Instagram followers, or raise awareness about a new product line or campaign you're running.

But these sponsored Instagram posts can be expensive, and are simply not in the budget for many businesses.

That's where micro-influencer marketing comes in. Influencers with a smaller following charge less for paid posts, so brands can potentially save money by working with micro-influencers, or just get more bang for their buck. 

For example, let's say you're thinking about partnering with an Instagram influencer who has 1 million followers. One option is to pay them $10,000 for 1 post.

Or, you could pay $10,000 for 20 posts from micro-influencers who have 50,000 followers each, which also adds up to 1 million followers.

But, followers do not equal reach.

Two separate studies by HelloSociety and Markerly discovered that influencers with a smaller following have a much higher engagement rate than top-tier influencers, and both studies noticed a drop in engagement rate as the audience size increases.

This means that an Instagram post from a micro-influencer will likely be seen by a larger percentage of their following, so you could potentially reach more people through 20 Instagram posts than you could by investing in 1 Instagram post with a large influencer.

But what if you don't have $10,000 to spend on Instagram influencer marketing?

Working with the lower end of micro-influencers is a great way to start. Sponsored Instagram posts from people with 5,000 to 10,000 followers can be as low as $50-100 per post, and you can also ask micro-influencers if they would be willing to trade product for promotion.

How Can You Measure the Impact of Micro-Influencers?

Before you get started with micro-influencer marketing, you should have a clear idea about what it takes to measure their impact. In order to do this, you need to set a goal and then define the metrics that are essential for measuring your campaign's effectiveness.

For example, if your goal is to raise brand awareness, you will be using metrics such as reach, traffic, etc. to measure the results.

Some of the more common performance metrics you can use for measuring the impact of micro-influencers are:

  • Engagement rate – likes, comments, shares, etc.
  • Brand sentiment – how people are talking about your brand
  • Foot traffic – customers visiting your physical store
  • Website traffic  – customers visiting your website
  • Sales – conversions and revenues generated

You can choose to measure your campaign using any of these metrics if you feel they are relevant to your goal.

All Bar One, for instance, wanted to increase their brunch sales. They raised awareness about their brunch menu with the help of micro-influencers.

The restaurant measured the campaign's impact using a variety of performance metrics such as engagement rate, follower growth, brand sentiment, and sales. They noticed an improvement in each of these metrics and even saw a 28% increase in their brunch sales.

How Can You Find the Right Micro-Influencers to Work With?

If you're interested in micro-influencer marketing, it's important to find the right ones for your business. Before selecting a micro-influencer to work with, make sure they are relevant to your audience and to your brand.

You should ideally work with influencers with high engagement rates and good content quality. Here are a few ways you can find micro-influencers for your campaign:

  • Look for a Micro-Influential Fan – Conduct a branded hashtag search on Instagram to find content created about your brand. You can then check out the profiles of these users and see if any of them would fit the role of your ideal micro-influencer. This can help you discover micro-influential fans to promote your brand.

    For example, if your brand is Frank Body, you can search your hashtag #frankbod. You'll come up with posts such as the ones below, created by @thefoolishobsession.

    If you check out her profile, you can see that she has more than 1,000 followers and she regularly creates posts related to beauty and skincare. This would make her the ideal micro-influential fan to promote your brand.

    Otherwise, you can also discover micro-influential fans by checking out users who have tagged you in their posts, or who have tagged your Instagram location.

  • Use Influencer Discovery Tools – You can also conduct your search for relevant micro-influencers using influencer discovery tools. Some good options are Influence.co, HYPR, and NeoReach. These tools will let you search influencers based on keywords or categories. You can then view useful stats such as following size, audience demographic, etc.

How to Leverage Micro-Influencer Marketing with UGC

Another benefit of micro-influencer marketing is that micro-influencers can create valuable user-generated content (UGC) for your brand at little to no cost. They also inspire their followers to engage with your account and create more UGC for your brand.

This is important because user-generated content is one of the most trusted forms of content when it comes to purchasing decisions. Plus, you can repost user-generated content to your own Instagram feed!

If you look at DIFF Eyewear's Instagram feed, they have 3 gorgeous photos featuring influencers on their feed. One of the girls has 3,000 followers, another has 30,000, and the third has 600,000 – can you tell which is which?

Nowadays, it's not just the Instagram influencers with the most followers who are creating the best content, and you can really maximize your influencer marketing budget by working with micro-influencers.

Here are a few ways you can work with micro-influencers to enhance your user-generated content efforts:

    • Have micro-influencers promote a contest in which participants have to create an Instagram post around a certain theme. Petco, for instance, promoted their Halloween-themed Instagram photo contest through style blogger and mom influencer, Michelle of Modern Day Moguls.

Now, you know what micro-influencer marketing is and how you can leverage micro-influencers to grow your business. Based on the points, benefits, and tactics discussed here, do you think micro-influencer marketing would be a good option for you? Let us know in the comments! 

Written By

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.