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Looking for tips about how to get more followers and Likes on Instagram? We’ve got a lot of advice for you — in fact, it’s the motherlode of Instagram tips!! — so let’s get straight into it:
1. Post at the right time. Before you post your photo to Instagram, there are two things to keep in mind: your audience’s time zone and what time they’re most often checking Instagram. Most Instagram users login in the morning, and in the evening, on their way home from work or school. According to analytics company Simply Measured, the best time to post on Instagram is on Wednesdays between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
For brands, the least favorable time to post is in the middle of the night because an Instagram photo typically has a life of only around 4 hours before it gets buried in followers’ feeds.
Post at times throughout the day that you can assume your audience has down time and is checking their accounts. For example, if you’re a company whose target audience is high school students, post your photo in the afternoon during the time high schoolers are on their lunch break. Or, if you’re a business with lots of New York City- or London-based followers, think about posting during rush hour when you know folks are stuck on trains or busses and have nothing else to do but check their phones.
2. Use popular hashtags. Depending on the industry you’re in, there are popular Instagram hashtags that can be used to get more visibility on your photos. The best way to discover popular hashtags for your industry is to use Google, of course! A simple Google search will tell you all you need to know.
Some of the most trendy Instagram hashtags you’ll find include: #tbt (throwback Thursday), #instadaily, #photooftheday, #instagood.
Keep in mind: Don’t go nuts with your hashtags! A hashtag paragraph, as I like to call it, at the bottom of your photo is not savvy. It can look a little overzealous and cluttered. Instead, stick to using 1-3 relevant hashtags per photo.
3. Use your photo captions to ask questions:One of the best ways to get more likes on your Instagram photos is to use your photo’s caption to ask a question. This is a great way to drive not only photo likes, but comments, too.
4. Host a contest on Instagram:Hosting a contest is often the most effective way to boost engagement and get new followers fast on any social network. Since Instagram has grown in popularity, it makes it one of the best social platforms to run a
For best practices and tips on how to host a successful Instagram photo contest, click here.
5. Share teasers:For product-based businesses, upload photos to Instagram that feature teasers of a soon-to-be-released product or an exciting event that’s around the corner. Teaser photos are great for catching users’ interest and for driving photo likes! Check out a great example of an Instagram teaser photo from the California-based clothing company The Hundreds.
6. Share candid shots:Think of your brand’s Instagram account as your followers’ backstage pass, or a behind-the-scenes look, at the inner workings of your company. People don’t want to see the same highly polished images your brand uses for adverts, they want to see images that are more relatable and less edited.
Your Instagram account should strive to highlight your employees and the work they do. Even if your business employs hundreds of people, featuring even just a few faces from behind your brand allows your brand to appear much more transparent with your followers.
Remember: The content you post on Instagram doesn’t always have to be marketing driven, it can be just for fun! After all, these kind of photos often get the best engagement. Stop thinking so much about how to get you’re going to get your branding message across and focus on the essence of the platform, which is a human-centric and playful.
7. Use apps:Use photo-editing apps to enhance your photos before you post them Instagram. There are lots of photo-editing apps on the market that are super easy to use. Below are a few of the best, along with a short description of what they do:
• Instaframe: Instaframe is a free app that allows you to create really awesome photo collages. There are lots of photo collage apps available, but this one is by far my favorite. Check out below Uber SF’s cool photo college they posted for their Uber ice cream event!
• Squaready — Instagram Layouter: When you upload a photo to Instagram from your phone’s photo library, Instagram will make you crop it into the shape of a square. If you want to feature an entire photo without cropping it, Squaready allows you to do this. Bonus: it’s free!
• Picfx: If you want to really pump up the look of your photo with filters, Picfx ($1.99) is your go-to app. It has 100+ effects, textures and frames to choose from, and will automatically format your photo into a square for easy Instagram uploading.
• Camera+: Camera+ ($1.99) one of the most popular photo-editing apps available. Use Camera+ to adjust the lighting, brightness, contrast and clarity of your photos. It’s also a really handy app for shooting, as it allows you to zoom more tightly and improve your lighting on the spot!
8. Ask your users for help: If it’s a goal of your brand’s to get on Instagram’s most popular “Explore” page, and you have enough followers to do so, don’t be afraid to ask in the photo caption section of your next uploaded photo. Ask and often you shall receive!
9. Use Instagram video:Instagram videos are the latest way for businesses to engage with fans. Here’s a great example from Ballet Opera de Paris, promoting a new film.
In short, brands using Instagram video should use it to do the following: spotlight their products, tell a story, entertain and provide value.
10. Welcome a guest Instagrammer:There are lots of “Instagram celebrities” on the platform, meaning Instagram users who have massive following. These people have influence. In a matter of minutes, a photo that an “Instagram celebrity” posts can get thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
If you’re a brand, team up with an Instagram celeb and have them take over your account for a day or during a major event. This is one way to introduce your Instagram celeb’s large following to your brand.
The clothing brand Juicy Couture recently did this when they had popular blogger Kelly Framel of The Glamourai take over their Instagram account to post behind-the-scenes photos of a photo shoot for their upcoming campaign. Fellow fashion blogger Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor also took over Nordstrom’s Instagram account recently!
11. Ask for shoutouts or features: This tip is for all my PR people! Reach out to popular Instagrammers, or “Instagram celebrities,” and ask that they mention your Instagram account or feature your product in a photo of theirs.
Or better yet, if you’re notified that one of these Instagram influencers mentioned your brand without you asking, reach out to them and say “thanks!” This will help your brand develop a relationship with people who have online influence. The backing of a major Instagram influencer could potentially help drive hundreds of new followers for your brand.
12. Show love to your followers: One brand that’s a great example for how to show love to your followers is designer Rebecca Minkoff. If you check out their Instagram account, they often share fan-snapped photos that feature their products.
By posting fan photos, it encourages other followers to tag their photos with your brand’s hashtag or to mention your brand’s account name in the hopes of being the next fan photo used.
For Instagram users who are new to your brand and come across your account for the first time, this section is important– it often plays a hand in a user’s decision to follow your business or not.
14. Discover new people and brands to follow: If you’re a brand just starting out on the platform and you’re not sure who you should follow, just tap on the magnifying glass that appears in the bottom section of your home screen. Instagram will suggest “Videos you might like” and will show you accounts from other users you might want to check out.
'According to a recentsurvey, 85% of financial advisors use social media for business. 80% of these “social advisors” gained new clients resulting in nearly $5 million in average asset gain directly attributable to social media use. 85% also said that social media shortened the selling cycle. For these advisors, social media is no longer an option, but a proven tool used to gain new business and to build closer relationships with clients.
Understand your company’s social media policy. Most firms at this point have moved beyond “no” to allowing their associated persons to use social media in some way. Read and make sure you understand your corporate policy. Contact your compliance department with questions. Speak with colleagues. Participate in any training that may be available at your firm or online.
Define your audience. Many financial advisors specialize. Do you target high tech founders? Healthcare professionals? Business owners? High net worth multi-generational families? Select the social media platform used by your clients so you can communicate in the manner your clients want to communicate.
Define your personal brand. This is often the hardest concept to grasp for newcomers to social media. This is simply a consistent reflection of who you are. Define your special talents and areas of expertise that help your clients succeed. And importantly, reveal your personal interests and show your authentic self. Whether you are a rabid Bruce Springsteen fan, competitive bicycle racer, or volunteer for a good cause, include that too. Be careful though. It’s best to avoid politics, religion or controversial opinions to avoid excluding possible clients that hold a different view.
Presidential debates. Car chases. Sketch comedy TV shows. What do they all have in common? They’re all best enjoyed live.
The first televised live broadcast took place in 1951, when then-U.S. president Harry Truman made a speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. Since then, we’ve seen countless political events, breaking news, and, of course, popular entertainment shows like Saturday Night Live, all in real-time.
A lot of trends have gained—and lost—momentum in the intervening time, but the popularity of live video has endured. Reinvigorated by new technologies, we’ve now moved beyond social video into a world of live social video.
And where better to stream your live broadcasts than the biggest social network of all? No social network is used more—or by more people—than Facebook. The social giant introduced its own live video feature, called Facebook Live, at the end of 2015 and the prominence of video streaming on the platform has only grown from there.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is the social network’s live-streaming video functionality. Users can broadcast live videos using only their smartphones. It’s available to all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android, and the Facebook Mentions app. Additionally, live broadcasts can be streamed in Facebook groups and events.
Before we dive into why live video matters, let’s back up a bit. To truly understand why live video is a big deal, you have to look at the ever-increasing prominence of social video.
While video has always been popular online, the dominance of social media and the rise of mobile usage has all but ensured social video’s position as the reigning monarch of content. Users continue to produce—and watch—more video at greater rates than ever before.
Facebook has invested heavily in Live video. The platform has signed as many as 140 contracts with media companies and celebrities to produce Live videos—including the likes of the New York Times, BuzzFeed, comedian Kevin Hart, and chef Gordon Ramsay—paying a total of $50 million.
It’s fast—for the final 2016 presidential debate, a study by media streaming service provider Wowza found that Facebook’s live-stream had the lowest latency, beating out satellite and cable for some viewers and delivering its stream at an average 13-second delay (as low as seven seconds for some viewers)
And of course, when it comes to that most critical of Facebook marketing elements—organic reach—live video can be a huge help.
Facebook considers Live video a distinct content type from other video shared on the platform. This distinction is important for brands because it means that the Facebook algorithm treats native video and Live video differently, with Live videos more likely to appear higher in News Feed while they’re live. After the broadcast, the video can still be discovered and viewed, but once it’s no longer live, Facebook will treat it like any other video.
Facebook Live video also has its own notification system. The network explained that when someone goes Live: “People who frequently engage with or have recently interacted with a person or Page going Live may receive a notification.” This feature gives greater prominence to Live videos and helps keep brands who broadcast top-of-mind.
And let’s not forget expectations for Live video. While viewers expect social video to be polished, audiences often enjoy the opposite in Live video. Production value tends to be less professional and more raw, which many viewers perceive as more authentic, a trait that an increasing number of consumers are looking for in brands.
In other words, there are plenty of good reasons to give Facebook Live video a try.
Difference between Facebook Live and other live-streaming options on social media
Facebook Live is far from the only option out there. Here’s a look at the other platforms offering live-streaming options.
Stream Now is the simplest way for users to share live video on YouTube because the platform automatically detects the stream resolution and frame rate. During the broadcast, users can interact with their audience via live chat, view real-time analytics, and monitor the stream. Users can choose to archive the footage to save it for later.
The Events option gives users more control over their broadcast. YouTubers can select privacy options, set a start time for their broadcast, and enable a backup stream (for redundancy). They can also create multiple live events and stream them simultaneously.
YouTube live-streaming is the best fit for people or brands whose audience is primarily on YouTube. It can also work well for brands who’d like to share their broadcast across several platforms, as the link can easily be shared on the network of their choosing.
Periscope is a live streaming app owned by Twitter and integrated into the platform. It debuted in March 2015 and fought a brief battle with Meerkat for social streaming supremacy.
The primary difference between Periscope and Facebook Live is the network. Periscope is the live-streaming option for Twitter users while Facebook Live, of course, lives on Facebook.
Facebook Live features
Not only does Facebook Live give brands access to an immense audience—potentially the entirety of Facebook, which currently boasts 1.13 daily active users—it also offers a range of features.
Because Facebook Live is considered a distinct content type (and one that Facebook is actively encouraging), it has its own notification system. By default, users’ Live video notifications are set to ‘on’.
The network explained that when someone goes Live: “People who frequently engage with or have recently interacted with a person or Page going Live may receive a notification.”
If a user is particularly interested in Live video from a particular broadcaster, they can choose to subscribe, which means they’ll be notified any time that broadcaster goes Live.
When a user is watching a broadcast, they can choose to send an invitation to a friendto watch with them. This option is available from within the Live video. To send an invite, simply tap on the invite icon and select the friend you’d like to invite. That person will receive a push notification.
For users interested in discovering new content, there’s the Facebook Live Map, which is available on desktop. Facebook users in more than 60 countries have the ability to begin a live broadcast, so the Facebook Live Map provides a way for people to discover those videos more easily.
The map displays all live broadcasts currently happening around the world, each one represented by a blue dot, with larger dots indicating more popular broadcasts. Hovering over a dot pulls up a preview of the stream, including a counter showing how many people are currently watching it, and a timer showing how long the broadcast has been playing. Users can choose to zoom in to explore broadcasts in more specific areas.
Additionally, a panel to on the left side of the screen features a list of the most popular current live broadcasts. As with the dots, hovering over one shows both where the broadcast originated and where people are streaming it from.
Facebook users can, of course, react to any post on the platform using the six emoji-like Reactions to highlight their response. But Facebook Live takes things one step further by allowing a broadcast’s audience to react to the video stream in real-time, with Reactions appearing on the video itself as they’re clicked by the audience.
Broadcasters have the option to add a filter to their live stream. There are five options to choose from. While Facebook announced on April 6, 2016—the same day they introduced filters—that they would soon add the ability for broadcasters to draw or doodle on their video while live, this feature is not yet available.
How to add a filter to live video
Begin recording a broadcast
Tap the magic wand icon
Scroll left to view all filter options
Tap a filter to select it
It’s important to note that you will be live while selecting a filter.
In addition to filters, broadcasters can now also experiment with Snapchat-like masksduring their live-stream. Introduced on October 27, 2016, masks are available on iOS to broadcasters in the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand.
How to use a mask in Live video
Tap the Live video icon to begin recording a broadcast
Once live, tap the magic wand icon
Select the masks icon in the creative tools tray at the bottom of the screen
Scroll through the options and tap on masks to have them automatically appear on your face
To remove the mask, scroll to the far left and tap the no mask option
It’s important to note that you will be live while selecting a mask.
Facebook Live API
The Facebook Live API allows broadcasters to “seamlessly incorporate Live into their existing broadcast setup.” This means that publishers who have more sophisticated equipment have the option to broadcast from a professional camera and audio setup rather than streaming Live video from a mobile device.
The Live API also enables features like camera switching, instant replay, on-screen graphics, and special effects. Using the API, publishers also have the ability to stream other sources, like games or screencasts.
For example, video game company Blizzard Entertainment used the Live API to enable gamers to live-stream their gameplay directly to Facebook from within the game.
Continuous Live streaming
Through the Facebook Live API, it’s possible to broadcast continuous live video. This is a tad more complex to set up than the average Live video broadcast, but offers a great option for users who may want to showcase a constant Live feed, such as a museum or zoo.
Schedule Live broadcasts
Using the Facebook Live API, publishers can schedule Live broadcasts in order to build up an audience before they begin streaming. When a publisher schedules a Live video, an announcement will be posted to News Feed letting their fans know the broadcast is coming.
Users who see the post can choose to receive a one-time notification that will remind them shortly before the broadcast begins. Fans can then join a pre-broadcast lobby where they can connect and interact with other viewers before the Live video starts.
Publishers can schedule Live broadcasts up to one week in advance and audiences can join a lobby three minutes prior to the start of the broadcast. Another bonus? Once publishers have scheduled a Live video, they’re able to share a link to the broadcast or embed it in other places, such as websites or blogs.
Facebook announced scheduling and lobby functionality on October 18, 2016. It was made available to Verified Pages later that week and Facebook said they planned to open it up to all Pages in the following weeks.
Ability to share in a group or event
Facebook Live video can be broadcast from a Facebook profile and Pages. It can also be shared directly in a Facebook group or event, giving users plenty of live-streaming options.
For Pages, Facebook offers several different metrics to measure the success of their live video broadcasts.
The highest number of viewers who were watching the video while it was live.
Viewers during live broadcast
A visual representation of the number of viewers during each moment of the live broadcast.
In August 2016, Facebook began testing mid-roll video ads in Facebook Live. Facebook told AdAge: “We’re running a small test where a group of publishers have the option to insert a short ad break in their Facebook Live videos.”
It’s not clear at this time whether Facebook will move ahead with implementing this more widely.
How to use Facebook Live
Live broadcasts can be identified by the red icon in the top left-hand corner of the video. The word “Live” will be written next to the icon, along with the number of current viewers.
How to start a Facebook Live broadcast:
Tap on Update Status
Select the Live Video icon
Write a description
Choose the audience you’d like to share with
During the broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, the names of any friends who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. Once you’ve ended your broadcast, the post will save to your Timeline like any video.
Live broadcasts can be up to 90 minutes long.
How to schedule a Facebook Live broadcast
On your Page, go to Publishing Tools
Select Video Library and then Live
Copy stream credentials, such as stream key and server URL
There are several ways to discover Facebook Live videos. The simplest is, of course, clicking on one in your News Feed. If there’s a particular broadcaster you enjoy, you can tap the Follow button while watching one of their videos to receive a notification next time they go live.
You can also choose to receive notifications from Pages you follow. By default, this setting is set to on.
How to turn notifications on or off
Click the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen
Click Notifications on the left-hand side of the screen
Click On Facebook
Scroll down to Live videos, then choose your desired setting from the three options in the dropdown: On, Suggestions off, and All off
Another way to find live broadcasts to watch is via the Facebook Live Map, which displays all Live broadcasts currently happening around the world.
Broadcasting live, by its very nature, means you can’t plan precisely what’s going to happen. But that doesn’t mean you should just wing it. Like any type of content online, Facebook Live broadcasts should have a purpose.
Before you begin streaming, ensure that you’ve taken some time to think about what your broadcast’s about, what you want to say (or do) in it, and why it makes sense as a Live stream as opposed to some other format of content.
2. Let people know when you’re going to broadcast
You wouldn’t hold a party and not invite anyone, would you? Your Facebook Live broadcast is like any other event: if you want anyone to show up, you’ve got to let them know it’s happening.
Hotel company Outrigger Resorts does an excellent job of this, creating 10 to 15 second long mini-trailers for their Live videos, which they share in advance of their broadcasts.
Obviously you’ll want to post about your upcoming broadcast on Facebook, where you can encourage people to subscribe to your Live videos. But you can also promote your stream on your other social channels. Just make sure you’re clear about where and when people can tune in!
For best results, check your internet speed prior to beginning your broadcast using the Speedtest app, available in the App Store and Google Play.
4. Write a compelling description before going live
Your description tells people what your video is about. A good one captures the audience’s attention and a bad one—or worse, none at all—makes it all the more likely they’ll keep on scrolling.
Use your description to tell a story. Give context about what your broadcast is about and be sure to make it clear why people would want to watch.
5. Tag your location
Add your location to your Live video so it shows up on the Facebook Live Map and gives you a greater chance of having it discovered by new viewers.
6. Ask viewers to follow you
Getting audience members to subscribe to your Live videos is the simplest way to ensure future viewers, because subscribers receive notifications every time you go Live. While broadcasting, take a second to let viewers know about the feature and tell them how they can subscribe to your videos.
7. Respond to comments
As with any kind of social content, engagement is key on Facebook Live video. Facebook recommends saying hello to commenters by name, then responding to their comments.
8. Broadcast for longer periods of time
The longer you continue your broadcast, the more time people have to discover your stream, watch it, and invite their friends to join in.
Facebook recommends going Live for at least 10 minutes. The maximum time limit for a broadcast is 90 minutes, so beyond that, the length is up to you.
9. Show exclusively Live content
While it’s possible using the Facebook Live API to insert previously recorded video into your live stream, Facebook recommends showing exclusively live content during Live videos.
10. Be creative
The more often you go Live, the more likely you are to stay top-of-mind. Try out different types of broadcasts to see what resonates with your audience. And don’t be afraid to get creative with your stream.
When something’s on everyone’s minds, it can be worthwhile for your brand to dive into the conversation. Though, as with any kind of trendjacking—whether it’s the holidays or the latest craze—it’s crucial to only hop on board if what you have to say is relevant and useful.
At the height of back-to-school season in August 2016, Target took to Facebook Live to chat about dorm room style.
The moderator read out questions from commenters, which were then displayed on the screen. The panel of college stylists dished out advice and discussed solutions. The stream has accumulated more than 38,000 views since its debut.
2. Interviews and Q&As
The interactive nature of Facebook Live means the platform was practically made for Q&As.
All brands need to try out this format is a host, a willing and interesting guest, and a mobile phone or camera to broadcast with. The audience can join in and ask questions in the comments, making the experience interactive.
Harry Potter prequel film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took to Facebook Live in October 2016 for a Global Fan Event. The Page streamed exclusive footage from the upcoming film alongside a Q&A with members of the cast.
It received more than 1.3 million views.
3. Breaking news
If you’re a journalist, publisher, or other media organization, then you already know when and how to live-stream breaking news. But for brands, it’s a little different.
Southwest Airlines used Facebook Live during winter storm Jonas to give a look behind-the-scenes at Operations Control, showing how they were coping with the weather and explaining what they were doing to help passengers whose travel plans were disrupted.
The notable thing about this stream is how Southwest approached the management of a PR crisis on social media by focusing on transparency and customer service. The video has accrued more than 89,000 views and over 2,700 likes.
4. Performances and live events
Whether it’s a conference or concert, Facebook Live is a good home for events. It opens up the experience to a wider audience, broadening the scope of your event.
In July 2016, Target live-streamed the launch party for their new children’s clothing line Cat & Jack. The broadcast was hosted by Zanna Roberts Rassi, senior fashion editor of Marie Claire and NBC Today show fashion contributor.
The stream racked up over 1.2 million views.
Behind-the-scenes content is popular on a number of social channels, particularly when it comes to social video. Facebook Live takes things one step further by giving the audience the opportunity to interact, ask questions, and influence the direction of the broadcast in real-time.
One brand that made good use of the Live format was the Smithsonian, broadcasting a series of six videos, each hosted by a different museum. The broadcasts explored various exhibits within the National Museum of African American History and Culture before its public opening.
Another brand that does a good job of behind-the-scenes content is Callaway Golf. In June 2016, the brand broadcast an exclusive tour of golf legend Arnold Palmer’s home, led by the golfer’s longtime friend Doc.
What sets Callaway’s livestream apart was the camera operator’s efforts to engage viewers throughout the stream. Around the five minute mark, he thanks the audience for tuning in and puts out a call for questions or requests for what the audience would like to see. Later on, about 20 minutes in, he reintroduces Doc and his relationship to Palmer for viewers who had just tuned in.
Live can be a great way to show off your products and how to use them.
Her success on the platform recently prompted Adweek to proclaim that she’s “conquered Facebook Live.”
7. Announcements and campaign launches
Going Live for a big announcement or the launch of a campaign can be a good way to build anticipation for whatever it is you plan to tell your audience. Be sure to tease the live-stream in advance and let fans know to tune in for some big news.
Dunkin’ Donuts became one of the earliest brands to try out Facebook Live when they broadcast a behind-the-scenes look into their kitchen for a Valentine’s Day promotion in February 2016. The stream featured the team preparing a cake made from heart-shaped donuts and introduced a contest.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media manager, Melanie Cohn, told Marketing Land that the session racked up 21,000 viewers in only 13 minutes. She said the company saw one of their highest average view times ever on their Live video as compared to pre-recorded video.
If you have an engaged audience and it fits your marketing goals, one option to consider is creating a T.V. show-style broadcast that you run on a regular basis.
Benefit Cosmetics has done this with their series Tipsy Tricks with Benefit. Tipsy Tricks is a weekly live show featuring a host and a guest chatting about beauty topics (often chosen by the audience), sharing advice, demonstrating products and techniques, and answering viewer questions. And, of course, drinking wine. (This is still the internet, after all.)
“It is utility-meets-fun-meets-GF banter. We have a talk-show vibe, but we’re talking to you, not at you,” she told Digiday
Another brand that’s gone the show-route is Outrigger Resorts. The tourism brand streams an #AlohaFridayLive broadcast every Friday, taking viewers to a different resort in the chain, showing off the locales, introducing them to employees, and answering audience questions.
Frequently asked questions about Facebook Live
How do you broadcast live video on Facebook?
To start a live broadcast on Facebook:
Tap on Update Status
Select the Live Video icon
Write a description
Choose the audience you’d like to share with
How do I get Facebook Live?
Facebook Live video is available to all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android, and the Facebook Mentions app. Additionally, Facebook Live broadcasts can be streamed in Facebook groups and events.
How long does a Facebook Live video last?
Facebook Live broadcasts can last up to 90 minutes.
What is going live on Facebook?
Going live on Facebook means beginning a live broadcast that can be viewed by Facebook users around the world.