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5 ways universities interact with their students on social media

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In the fall of 2012 Yale University started using our Union Metrics for Tumblr analytics to get smarter about how they were using the social blogging platform to share information and relate to their students. Since then, many more colleges and universities have created accounts on various social platforms in order to stay connected with their students in the places those students already spend their time. Here are a few examples of what universities are doing to reach students across social media.

1. On Tumblr: Share information with targeted groups

Tumblr’s unique position as a blogging platform with a built-in social element works especially well for universities wanting to target different groups of current or potential students. The tagging system means different types of posts can easily find their way to their respective communities across the site, and some universities even carve out separate Tumblrs for different areas of their university and resources. For example, the University of Texas at Austin has one Tumblr for their School of Architecture, one for the Blanton Museum, another for the Harry Ransom Center, and one more for the LBJ Library. That gives diehard Longhorns the chance to keep track of all resources UT offers, while those only interested in what the Blanton has to offer can narrow their focus.

MIT, on the other hand, chooses to focus their approach to just Residential Life & Dining on Tumblr, giving incoming students a chance to learn about their options before they arrive on campus, taking a lot of the stress out of a big life change.

The bottom line? Tumblr is the best way for universities to reach specific communities. (A full list of all the universities with a presence on Tumblr can be found here for those interested.)

2. On Instagram: Capture attention with compelling images

Many universities have a presence across platforms, and they play to each platform’s strengths. Yale, for example, uses Instagram to show off campus and the school’s history, beauty, and people. Instagram images can easily be shared to other platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to quickly catch the attention of followers in those spaces.

Meanwhile the University of Texas at Austin encourages students to share their photos with them, using specific hashtags: #HookEm, #Longhorns, #UTAustin, #UTTower, and #WhatStartsHere along with specific seasonal or event-based hashtags like #UTsummer. This helps current, former, and potential students feel connected to the university even when they’re not on campus– or feel like they’re not missing out during a semester abroad.

They also have a separate Instagram account just for Longhorn football.

The bottom line? Instagram is the best place to share engaging images that will make students feel more connected to them, or attract them to become students in the first place. 

3. On Twitter: Share information quickly in critical situations

Twitter has already proven itself to be an invaluable resource for quick dissemination of information during a natural or man-made crisis, on a campus or otherwise.

In less serious situations, universities and colleges can use it to answer FAQs from new or prospective students, provide information and reminders about university events and deadlines, and share resources for students.

They can also host tweet chats to address specific topics of interest to current students, incoming students, potential students, and alums. For example, the University of Michigan Medical School hosts tweet chats to answer questions about their program, and the University of Central Missouri has hosted two allowing attendees to chat with the school’s president.

The bottom line? Twitter is the best way for universities to connect with their communities in real time. 

4. On Facebook: Provide an easily-found base

Facebook is the perfect social home base: A university profile can share resources and lead students back to other platforms. Users are comfortable using it to ask questions, and page administrators can answer them in a place that makes it easy for them to be seen by someone who might come looking to ask something similar. There’s also a review system in place, to let potential and incoming students know what life is really like on campus, like these from UT Austin’s Facebook page

UT FB Reviews

5. On Pinterest and Snapchat: Go the extra mile

While most people- especially the younger generation- expect to find some kind of social presence for businesses and institutions, they don’t expect them to be on the newer platforms. Universities with the resources have the opportunity to really connect with their students in these places, providing additional resources that will really make a difference. What do you pack for freshman year of college? How can you decorate your dorm room in a way that’s more unique than just slapping up a Pink Floyd poster? A pinboard can answer those things and more, while Snapchat can give quick and intimate looks at life around campus, snippets of lectures, a look at a spontaneous snowball fight, and more.

Drake University uses Pinterest to share Bulldog culture, while the University of Houston sends snaps to share their story with students and followers:

The bottom line? Meeting students where they are and don’t expect you to be- in a way that isn’t condescending or pandering- will win major bonus points.

The bottom line?

Universities engage their students best when they speak to them and share resources in their own language, in the platforms they already use. Strategies should play to each platform’s strengths, without sacrificing creativity.

Written by Sarah

August 27th, 2014 at 9:39 am

The best back-to-school campaigns on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr

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The back-to-school crowd these days differs from the Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank folders of yesteryear in that they’ve grown up not only online, but also on social media. Brands that want to connect with the kids of Generation Z understand this and put themselves in all of the places their target audience spends their time, producing campaigns that connect across Tumblr dashboards and down Instagram timelines, and are amplified across Twitter.

The best: Keds, Teen Vogue, and Hollister team up for back-to-school across platforms

Personal style is a big deal for kids, preteens, and teens working out who they are and who they want to be, and Keds embraced this in their #KedsStyleTrial campaign run in conjunction with Teen Vogue and Hollister. The three week long campaign was officially run via Instagram, but Keds and Teen Vogue also cross-promoted it on their Tumblr and Twitter accounts:

Both also used the same image and similar messaging on their Instagram accounts, while Hollister went with a slightly different approach:

#KedsStyleTrial Keds #KedsStyleTrial Teen Vogue #KedsStyleTrial Hollister

The same is echoed in the Tumblr posts from Teen Vogue and Keds; Hollister doesn’t have a Tumblr, which seems like a mistake given their target demographic and the success of visual content on Tumblr, particularly of the fashion variety.

How it could be better

Even the best campaigns have room for improvement, and this one could have increased its reach with more participation from Hollister on Twitter, who chose to promote their own separate contest with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale in lieu of this one:

Even a simple retweet of one of the contest promoting tweets from Keds or Teen Vogue’s accounts would have increased reach by putting the content in front of Hollister’s Twitter audience as well.

Other lessons to learn

Another back-to-school campaign on Instagram from Target used the hashtag #firstdayofschool to promote a charity campaign donating school supplies to children in need across America:

Target #firstdayofschool

What’s the problem? A hashtag like #firstdayofschool is going to be something posted by a wide variety of Instagram users and most of them will probably have no idea that Target’s campaign exists. This leads to difficulty in measurement; your results will be inflated with non-campaign related posts and it will be difficult to tell how successful and far reaching your campaign really was. A hashtag like #KedsStyleTrial works better as it’s unlikely to be generated spontaneously by other Instagram users, and it’s short enough to work when Instagram updates get cross-posted to Twitter (which also boosts your campaign’s reach on that platform).

The bottom line: Pick a hashtag based on your brand name and that’s unique enough not to be spontaneously used by others.

Final lessons

This campaign was planned to be recognizable and accessible to its target audience on the platforms where that audience spends time, which is the crux of any good cross-platform campaign. It was visually based, another plus for its target demographic.

The retail brands also take audience engagement a step further by sharing (or “regramming”) images from fans and followers on their Instagram accounts: Keds with #FanFriday and Hollister with #HCoStyle. That’s an extra incentive for fans and followers to enter the contest– what if they not only win, but also get their Instagram image wearing their winnings shared to either brand’s thousands of followers? Teen Vogue opts not to do this, but it’s a move that fits in with their approachable-yet-still-slightly-aloof fashion magazine brand.

Got it? Good. This will all be on the test, so leave any questions you have in the comments.

Written by Sarah

August 21st, 2014 at 4:16 pm

In case of emergency: Cruise lines and crisis communication on Twitter, Part II

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Costa Concordia Instagram

People fascinated by a disaster will create their own news accounts, that may or may not contain misinformation. This is happening on networks outside of Twitter as well, like this example on Instagram.

We’ve previously discussed how airlines should handle crisis communication in case of an emergency, and recently we shared the first part of the plan for cruise lines to do the same. This is the second part, which picks up after looking at what cruise lines should look for on Twitter, to what they should measure during and after a crisis, plus what to look for on platforms outside of Twitter.

What to measure on Twitter in times of crisis, and after

Now that you know what to look for, you need to have a plan in place for how to measure it. What, exactly, should you be measuring on Twitter as a crisis unfolds?

Before; or what you should have set up right now

Ideally you will already have Trackers set up to capture what we mentioned previously- tweets directly to your official handle, mentions of your brand in any variety of spelling imaginable, any well-known nicknames your brand has (official or not), and the ports you operate from. If you’re not already doing that, now is the time to implement Trackers or take frequent snapshots (using something like our aptly named snapshot reports) around those terms once a situation arises and begins to unfold.

If your resources have grown since you first made your plan, consider monitoring your major competitors and major keywords related to your industry as well.

During a crisis

Often during a crisis situation, a hashtag will be born organically. If you’re being proactive about communicating via Twitter, however, don’t hesitate to create one of your own and immediately set up a Tracker to measure it, or take continual snapshots of the situation. If another hashtag emerges organically, use that one in your messaging as well and be sure you’re tracking both.

After a crisis

If everything flies by too quickly and you’re a small enough team not to have time to set up Trackers or take frequent enough snapshots of the situation, a historical option to capture the entire incident is available. This can also be used to fill in any noticeable gaps in your data once you’ve begun to look through everything you’ve gathered.

In the aftermath of the event, you might also want to track a specific news story (using specific key words from the title if it’s unique enough not to return a lot of noise, or you can track via a specific URL) that went around if it directly involved comments from your brand, or got a lot of circulation with commentary from people passing it around. This will give you a much more accurate read on the sentiment around your crisis messaging, and let you see any missed opportunities, as well as highlight every win.

Go the extra mile

Once you have all of this data and you can clearly see how the situation unfolded and evaluate the strength of your response, take it a step further: What can you plan better next time, with this experience? What did you and your team do really well, that you should be sure to praise and also pass on as protocol to new team members? This knowledge can be distilled and turned into training and on-boarding materials for any new communications employees in the future.

If you’re not a cruise line (or an airline) a lot of these tactics still apply to you; if you’re a hotel, for example, you can offer to put up stranded travelers or victims of a natural disaster or other tragedy. Car rental companies and car sharing services can work out deals to get stranded people home if they don’t have far to go. For a less serious crisis, tour companies can even offer to keep stranded passengers entertained with local sites while they’re waiting for delayed travel to get sorted out.

Any of these companies can work out deals with each other ahead of a crisis to come in and support each other if and when it makes sense to.

Platforms other than Twitter

While Twitter is the best platform to use during a crisis because of the speed at which you’re able to share information and connect with concerned parties as well as news outlets, you need to be sure you have messaging in place on all of the other platforms you also have a presence on in the case of an emergency. For Facebook, be sure to make periodic, informative updates and answer as many questions as you can from concerned parties that may not be on Twitter. Do as much as you can with the resources that you have; don’t be afraid to make a post and then direct everyone to Twitter or your website for more information if those are the two places you plan to concentrate updates.

Tumblr will support text updates and it’s also a place where you can reblog information from the news outlets also on Tumblr, but it’s much more difficult to answer questions if they come in the form of reblogs. Do answer any questions directed to your inbox, publishing those that may help answer the similar questions of others.

Photo-based platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are more difficult to navigate; it’s hard to think of a tactful snap for announcing information around an emergency situation, but if that’s the only line of communication open to you and you’re in touch with your customers there, don’t hesitate to do what you can. If you do feel it’s appropriate to post a screenshot with emergency update protocols on your Instagram account directing followers to your website or Twitter for ongoing information, do so. Many of these details will depend on what’s right for your brand, the nature of the crisis, and the resources available as it unfolds.

The takeaway

The bottom line is to listen and step in where you’re needed, even if you’re not expected to.

Written by Sarah

August 12th, 2014 at 10:12 am

The Week in Social Analytics #111

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

The 8 best brands on Tumblr [from iMedia Connection; written by Brad Brief

“Part of [brands'] hesitation [to use Tumblr] could be linked to the level of commitment that a Tumblr campaign requires. To use it, and use it well, brands must provide new, interesting, and engaging content on an ongoing basis.”

Finding Tumblr’s Place In Your Social Strategy [from MarketingLand; written by Ric Dragon]

“If you do the online ethnography for your important segments, you’d do well to know if they are represented on Tumblr.  If your company sells micro-oscillator widgets that go into industrial machinery, no, this might not be the place for you. If you are consumer-oriented in any way, though, you should take a look.”

Instagram is ready to take its shot [from Fortune; written by Jessi Hempel]

“That’s true in part because Instagram has helped spawn a powerful new social phenomenon: Just as Kodak’s invention of a roll of film made it easy for almost anyone to take photographs a century ago, Instagram’s invention of a social feed paired with easy-to-use editing tools makes everyone capable of creating and sharing nuanced, edited pictures today. And that photo sharing has empowered people in powerful, unexpected ways—even those not named Kardashian or Bieber.”

The Kinds of Photos Instagram Followers Want to “Like” [from Social Media Today; written by Alexandra Jacopetti]

“Instagram is arguably the social media platform with the most opportunity for brands, but don’t post what the CEO had for lunch.”

That doesn’t mean that food is off limits; just tap into the big communities wisely. Like Dunkin Donuts and Oreo did to announce their partnership:

How brands can be brilliant at Vine [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

“Beyond the differences in length and available tools, Vine and Instagram video remain able to operate in the same space, whilst remaining unique in their own way, with brands tending to choose one or the other platform based on its own audience, content and tone of voice.”

As always, choose the platform where you audience spends their time and that fits your brand voice the best.

10 Reasons to Use Vine to Help You Build Your Brand [from Mashable; written by Bob Cargill]

“Vine presents brands with an innovative, surprisingly powerful way to take advantage of the fact that visual content performs well on social media.”

Does social media influence purchasing decisions? [from SHIFT Comm; written by Chris Penn]

“The big picture conclusion here is that while the Gallup and SHIFT polls showed that social media has influence in the minds of the consumer, the data you should be paying attention to most is your own. Pay attention to the statistical and methodological validity of data you see in the news, absolutely, but pay even closer attention to the things that influence your business first and foremost.”

A simple tip for improving your brand tone of voice guidelines [from Econsultancy; written by David Moth]

Consumers expect a consistent tone of voice from brands. Here’s how to lay out consistent ground rules for achieving that.

6 in 10 B2B Execs Agree That Social Business Has Created Value [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“The authors note that B2B companies are leveraging social business in a number of ways, including social data analysis to aid in product development.”

Quiz: Can You Tell What Makes a Good Tweet? [from the New York Times; written by Mike BostockJosh Katz and Nilkanth Patel]

A little informative Friday fun.

Turning ‘Likes’ Into a Career: Social Media Stars Use Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr to Build Their Career [from the New York Times; written by Sheila Marikar]

“In an era of new economies, this may be one of the most curious: the network that has sprung up to help the follower-laden stars of Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and other social media services make money by connecting them with brands wanting to advertise to their audiences. People like Mr. Lachtman and his co-founder, Rob Fishman, run what may be seen as a parallel universe to Hollywood, one in which shares and likes matter more than box-office sales and paparazzi shots. Here, authenticity — a word that comes up often in this arena — trumps a Photoshop-perfect facade or publicist-approved message.”

Written by Sarah

July 18th, 2014 at 9:18 am

Marketing your conference across platforms: Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

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We recently discussed 3 dos and don’ts for running a campaign across platforms, but what about marketing a conference or similar event across platforms? Successfully marketing an event requires tailoring your message for each platform, just as with any successful campaign. We’ll break down some of the specific uses for each platform here, playing to their individual strengths and making note of what to keep in mind based on how each works and interacts with the others.

Twitter

We’ve covered 16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference and 7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter, so what’s different when you’re adding other platforms to the mix?

When building your communication plan for your conference you want to keep in mind the strengths of each platform to plan which content you’re going to disseminate where; Twitter’s strength lies in it being the ultimate real-time tool. Use Twitter to broadcast quick updates and reminders throughout your event, such as:

  • Remind everyone of the official hashtag
  • Make announcements and reminders of keynotes, session start times, and any other events like a cocktail hour or party 
  • Let everyone know if a session, talk, or cocktail hour has been delayed, canceled or moved to a different location
  • Make suggestions about where attendees can head for meals or drinks offsite, tagging the handles of those businesses where applicable
  • Introduce speakers by their handles
  • Thank speakers, organizers, and any companies that have provided staff for catering or bars (and be sure to mention their handles too)
  • Answer any questions from attendees, and resolve any problems they bring to light quickly

Also be sure to prominently and consistently use and track the official hashtag you’ve created for your conference, which will tell you everything that went well and everything you can improve for the next time.

SXSWV2V Twitter

Instagram

Instagram is new territory for many marketers, which is why we’ve written a series for those new to the platform over on our Union Metrics Tumblr. Specifically for events you’ll want to check out how to effectively use hashtags, the nuances of sharing to other platforms via Instagram, and even the different moves personal brands should make there (in case you’re an event attendee in the future, wanting to promote yourself and connect with other attendees and organizers).

So whether you’re established on Instagram when you decide to market your event there, or you’ve decided to make the conference the official launch of your Instagram presence, there are a few things to keep in mind. Instagram’s purely visual nature is a strength for any brand looking to tell a succinct story in photographic terms. However, the single-track feed on mobile means that too many posts can easily overwhelm your followers, so established brands with a large following who know only a portion of that following will be present at an event will want to consider setting up a side account if you plan on frequent event updates.

With that in mind, some of the ways to use Instagram at a conference include:

  • To show off the conference venue, including what the weather in the host city is like
  • Share photos of sites to see around the host city
  • Tap into other big communities on Instagram by showing off the #food available on and offsite of your conference (be sure to tag any offsite restaurants and bars that have an Instagram presence, and follow their accounts)
  • Post reminders about meetups in other cities leading up to the conference, or after it, like this one from SXSW V2V
  • Share engaging photo reminders of deadlines for submitting speaker applications, getting a discount on event passes, and more
  • Post photos of keynote speakers, tagging their Instagram accounts with permission so that attendees can get a better idea of who they are
  • Post photos to highlight your event organizers, staff, and even regular attendees to give a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into the work of organizing and executing a conference (and tag their accounts too, where appropriate, or at least follow them)

Bonus: If you’re short on resources, use the snappy photo reminders around deadlines as a starting point to share the same reminder across platforms, tweaking the message for each. For example, hashtags don’t seem to increase engagement on Facebook, so if you’re going to use the sharing buttons native to Instagram, wait to post all of your hashtags in the first comment. They’ll work the same way for categorization and discovery across Instagram as when you put them in your initial photo caption, but they won’t clutter your post across platforms. 

SXSW V2V Ig

Tumblr

More and more brands have been experimenting with marketing on Tumblr and seeing some fantastic results. The built-in social aspect allows for amplification of announcements and photo recaps of any event or conference in  a way that’s not possible with traditional blogging platforms. A brand hosting an event on Tumblr might use the platform to:

  • Go into more detail about deadlines and what’s required on applications for speakers, but be sure to put it all behind a cut and underneath a snappy visual (maybe a version of the same one you used on Instagram!) 
  • Use the photo post-type collage option to show off the mood of the event, the venue, official accommodations, shots of the host city, past event parties and attendees, speakers and more (Tumblr automatically builds a collage as you upload multiple photos in one post)
  • Do a series using each of the ideas above, or pull a few of each type into one post for a photo overview. Pull these from Instagram or post a mix of Instagram photos and those from other sources
  • Use embedded video posts to show clips from the speakers you’re featuring, or a video summary of a past event; even a video tour of the host city
  • Video post types will also host SlideShares of presentations using their embed codes, perfect for recaps and previews of sessions and topics from speakers
  • Link to articles or blog posts from event speakers, or quote things past speakers have said using the quote post-type
  • If past event attendees have written up their experiences, link to those as well, or quote excerpts from what they had to say

Remember that Tumblr’s reblogging feature is what makes it so powerful; be sure to reblog anything appropriate or related to your conference from the Tumblrs of your upcoming or past speakers, regular attendees, organizers and more. Doing so will only encourage them to reblog you, amplifying your message to their audiences and possibly tapping new audience members. 

Conference Speaker on Tumblr

Example of a post from a speaker that SXSW V2V could reblog– if they had a Tumblr. 

After all, if they follow your speakers and attendees, it’s likely that they’re interested in the type of event you’re putting on.

The bottom line

Play to each platform’s strengths, and put in the work ahead of time to figure out where your attendees spend the most time. If you have limited resources, put your work into those places. Anything else after that will be a bonus.

Oh, and one more bonus tip: All of these platforms use hashtags, so search each one for any hashtags you can think of that are related to your conference or event to see how people are already talking about it in each place. Keep that tone and style in mind as you plan your approach, or use it to tailor and rethink your approach if you already have a presence there.

Got any questions, or have any ideas or examples of great conference execution across platforms that we’ve missed? Leave it in the comments!

Written by Sarah

July 9th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

The Week in Social Analytics #108

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Gallup released a poll recently reporting that consumers aren’t that influenced by social media, but a closer look at the methodology reveals some problems:

Gallup’s Buzzy Social Media Report Appears ‘Deeply Flawed’: 2012 called and wants its data back [from Adweek; written by Christopher Heine]

“And Gallup told Adweek that some of the surveys were completed through snail mail, though the company would not say how many. While of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with conducting research this way, it’s difficult to imagine those respondents being on par with normal social media consumption. Brands employ social marketing to reach people who are actually there—not those who are not.

Emphasis added.

While the methodology of the Gallup poll is certainly questionable, ClickZ did get some good takeaways from it, in the form of actionable marketing lessons:

3 Social Media Marketing Takeaways From Gallup’s Study [from Clickz; written by Ashley Zeckman]

“Customers are people, not numbers. They want to be engaged and have trust in your brand before they’ll make a purchasing decision.

We also need to recognize that while there is a significant amount of value in utilizing social media as a marketing channel, we need to be realistic about what we will gain by interacting socially. We may not see immediate gratification (a conversion or purchase) but we’re spending time interacting where are customers are spending their time, and working to build trust in the process.”

Emphasis added.

This week also kicked off with some great pieces on storytelling: Storytelling For Business: The Only Difference Between You And The Competition Is The Story You Tell from Web.Search.Social, written by Carol Lynn Rivera, and Breaking Out of Boring: Tell Unexpected Stories from Ann Handley.

Word-of-Mouth Proves Highly Influential for Millennial Women [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Results from the survey of 1,100 American Millennial women without children also indicate that 93% have purchased a product after hearing about it from a family member of friend.

That’s a reflection of the trust they put in those recommendations: 89% said they trust recommendations from a friend, peer or family member more than from a brand.”

Why Brands Don’t Respond on Social Media [from Social Times; written by Richard Dumas]

“. . .while more than 68 percent of businesses recognize social media as a necessary service channel, 60 percent of companies are not formally supporting social customer care.”

You need to be where your customers are.

Your Customers Control Your Brand [from Spin Sucks; written by Gini Dietrich]

“While you can help motivate your customers to talk about you in a good way, ultimately they are the ones who control the message.

Your canned messages are no longer enough.

Yes, the things you, your executive team, your sales team, and your employees are saying about the brand should be consistent.

But you also have to be open to listening to how your customers describe your organization, your products, or your services.

If they perceive it differently than you do, it’s time to rethink your messaging and your brand positioning.”

Are You Ready For Multi-Platform Social Media Use? [from Heidi Cohen]

“Therefore, use a mix of different social media platforms with tailored messages to ensure your marketing reaches your target prospects where and when they spend their time.”

Getting Started Guide: Tumblr for Small Businesses [from Business2Community; written by Taylor Loren]

A great guide for small businesses just getting started on Tumblr.

Written by Sarah

June 27th, 2014 at 9:13 am

The Week in Social Analytics #107

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

7 best practices for using GIFs and cinemagraphs for business [from The Next Web; written by Brian Honigman]

“Don’t create this media just for the sake of doing it, but look to create GIFs and cinemagraphs that sync with your campaigns, as well as your consistent product or service offerings.”

How You Can Use Instagram in Your Business [Business 2 Community; written by Renee Shupe]

“Inject some personality into your marketing efforts. Even businesses that provide services or create products that are not ‘pretty’ enough for Instagram can use the service to their advantage by showcasing their human side. Simple photos of you and your team in action will be interesting to many users, especially if they are accompanied by a fun or thought-provoking caption. It’s also good to show your business engaging in charitable work. You could even post photos of your employees or clients along with brief profiles.”

Pinterest Vs Instagram: Visual Content Marketing [from Heidi Cohen]

Check what your competitors are doing on Pinterest and Instagram. What are they doing that’s successful that you’re not? Also check out the top performers on each platform. Take note of ideas that are worth adapting and making your own.”

The minimalist’s guide to boosting brands’ Instagram engagement [from The Next Web; written by Eric Dahan]

“A brand’s greatest challenge is communicating a sincere message to its followers with each and every Instagram post. A successful grassroots campaign prioritizes quality over quantity; therefore, while multiple hashtags will naturally yield higher potential reach, one or two incentive hashtags will generate better follower engagement.”

Should My Brand Be Active on Tumblr? [from Social Media Today; written by Margaret Murphy]

Visibility. Tumblr incorporates tagging and blog categorization to help users find the subjects they’re interested in. Many blogs garner so much attention online that they have even led to book deals. Have you ever heard of the book ‘Stuff White People Like’? How about ‘Humans of New York’? These both started as Tumblrs.”

Social Brands: The Future Of Marketing In 127 Slides [from Viral Blog; written by Igor Beuker]

“Don’t chase social channels like race dogs on steroids. Certainly not based on reach. Claim your domain, go big, go niche or go home.

The brands that will succeed in the future won’t just give back to communities; they’ll actively build and nurture communities.”

Millennials Lead the Way in Sharing Product and Service Info on Social Media [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Millennials were 22% more likely than the rest of the respondents to report having shared a link to a product or service on social media (39% vs. 32%), and 52% more likely to have posted a picture of a product or service (38% vs. 25%). “

5 Grammar Rules You Can Break on Social Media [from Likeable Media; written by Theresa Braun]

You’ve got to learn the rules in order to responsibly break them.

Welcome to the Era of Surround Storytelling [Edelman Digital; written by Jimmie Stone and Kendra Eash]

“How exactly do we show up differently and tell a brand story that still makes sense in this incredibly windy, fragmented environment?”

Written by Sarah

June 20th, 2014 at 9:16 am

3 dos and don’ts for running a campaign across platforms

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Every social media platform has its own way of operating that stems from its users reasons for being there; the same person might use Twitter mostly for professional work connections and news, Facebook for family updates, Instagram to connect with friends, and Tumblr to keep up with the fandoms around their favorite shows, for example. If that person matches the ideal customer for a brand and that brand wants to run a social campaign across most or all of those platforms to reach that person, they need to tailor their message for each place.

How? Get started with these do’s and don’ts.

1. Don’t: discount a platform because you think you know what people are there for.

Do: The research to see how conversations form around things that matter to your brand. Instagram, for example, is often thought of as a place where people simply share photos with friends and family, but that’s not necessarily the case. Big events like the World Cup have enormous conversations happening around them on the photo-sharing site, and smart brands like Adidas have caught onto that.

Our Instagram analysis* showed that Adidas was a top publisher around the World Cup conversation on Instagram, and they received 22.7k actions (likes and comments) on their 5 World Cup related posts, earning 6.3 million impressions. That’s a big return on a relatively small effort, especially considering fan-run sports accounts and even official soccer athlete accounts are making anywhere from 14-128 posts related to the World Cup.

 2. Don’t: assume you know how to talk the talk.

Do: Listen first, then join the conversation respectfully. Tumblr, for example, has many different communities that all have different ways of speaking to each other, making jokes, and presenting information, all of which is part of the larger Tumblr community and culture. What works well in Twitter or Facebook advertising will not work well here; the users are part of a larger creative community and they respond well to brands who take the time to understand how Tumblr really operates (or they’re smart enough to hire and work with someone who does).

Denny’s, for example, has an extremely popular Tumblr that users have responded well to because it speaks in the language of Tumblr. It isn’t just an attempt to ape it.

Denny's Tumblr

3. Don’t: Be afraid to experiment.

Do: Learn from and build on your failures and successes alike. FIFA has a Twitter account for their official match ball. While normally inanimate objects spontaneously get their own parody Twitter accounts following a big cultural event with social coverage (Pharrell’s hat following the GRAMMY’s, for example), FIFA decided to give their match ball its own autonomy and hashtag early.

Running a quick free TweetReach report shows that the conversation and engagement around #ballin is already good, and there’s still more than a month of World Cup matches left to go. While something like a snapshot report gives a good idea of the general success of the account relative to the hashtag- it’s not just a bunch of people using the term in other, World Cup unrelated ways- more in-depth monitoring could tell FIFA what was successful and unsuccessful in their approach specific to Twitter, and help them plan better for next time. (You can read more about how to monitor a Twitter campaign with TweetReach here.)

So what does this mean for campaigns, exactly?

The bottom line is that you have to tailor your message to fit in each place, and that can only be done by taking the time to understand how the conversation around what your audience is interested in operates. Adidas looked at how sports fans use Instagram, Denny’s hired someone familiar with the culture of Tumblr and gave them the freedom to do it right, and FIFA is experimenting with giving their match ball its own voice.

After you’ve decided on the messaging for each platform- visual for Instagram and Tumblr, with different wording and approach on Twitter, for example- build goals based on how the audience you aim to reach in each place talks to one another about you or your industry. Are you there to increase your share of voice in the industry (here’s more on how to measure share of voice, and how to grow it), or to build engagement with your existing fans, while hopefully earning new ones? Your goals for the same campaign might be different for each platform, which increases the necessity for tailored messages in each place. 

The basic approach is the same in each place, however: Research, plan, test, measure, rinse, and repeat.

 

*Interested in our Union Metrics for Instagram analytics? Learn more here

Written by Sarah

June 18th, 2014 at 7:58 am

The Week in Social Analytics #101

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

The Surprising Data Behind How Often Brands Should Post On Instagram [from Forbes; written by Jeff Bercovici]

 ”Union Metrics also looked at activity around paid content — ie. advertising — on Instagram, and found that it’s remarkably effective as a tool for driving follower acquisition and engagement. One big brand saw a 32% increase in followers after a 30-day paid campaign, translating into tens of thousands of new followers, plus a corresponding 25% increase in engagements on organic, non-paid posts. That suggests that followers obtained through paid promotion are as valuable as or more valuable than those acquired for free — another reversal of conventional wisdom, if it holds up on a wider scale.”

Want to learn more? Download our full Instagram whitepaper here.

10 Actionable Research Based Instagram Marketing Tips [from Heidi Cohen]

93% of prestige brands have a presence on Instagram, up from 63% in July 2013 according to L2 Think Tank research.”

Emphasis original. Pair with another great piece from Heidi this week: 10 Small Business Marketing Lessons You Need Regardless of Size.

10 Kinds of Stories to Tell with Data [from Harvard Business Review; written by Tom Davenport]

“Narrative is—along with visual analytics—an important way to communicate analytical results to non-analytical people. . .What’s needed is a framework for understanding the different kinds of stories that data and analytics can tell. If you don’t know what kind of story you want to tell, you probably won’t tell a good one.”

7 Ingredients for Employee Social Advocacy [from Convince and Convert; written by Jay Baer]

“. . .employee social media advocacy gives you Authenticity, Trustworthiness, and Reach. But, getting there isn’t a snap. There are many steps involved in creating and maintaining an effective program of this type.”

Click through for the full SlideShare.

The best crowdsourced social media campaigns [from iMedia Connection; written by Drew Hubbard]

Examples of the best crowsourced social campaigns in recent memory. Do you have one to add? Or a failed attempt everyone can learn from?

Over 100 B2B Content Marketing Statistics for 2014 [from TopRank Online Marketing Blog; written by Lee Odden]

This roundup covers everything from “insourcing vs. outsourcing to the most effective tactics”, but we pulled B2B content marketing and social media tactics here:

B2B content marketers use an average of 6 social media platforms

  • 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • 85% of B2B marketers use Twitter to distribute content
  • 81% of B2B marketers use Facebook to distribute content
  • 73% of B2B marketers use YouTube to distribute content
  • 55% of B2B marketers use Google+ to distribute content
  • 40% of B2B marketers use SlideShare to distribute content
  • 34% of B2B marketers use Pinterest to distribute content
  • 22% of B2B marketers use Instagram to distribute content
  • 22% of B2B marketers use Vimeo to distribute content
  • 16% of B2B marketers use Flickr to distribute content
  • 15% of B2B marketers use StumbleUpon to distribute content
  • 14% of B2B marketers use Foursquare to distribute content
  • 14% of B2B marketers use Tumblr to distribute content
  • 14% of B2B marketers use Vine to distribute content”

On Being Useful [from Social Media Explorer; written by Tracey Parsons]

Excellent follow-up piece on the discussion on the balance brands need to strike between being human and being useful; shows examples of brands who strive to be useful in a human way.

The Ecommerce Brand’s Guide To Pinterest [from Social Fresh; written by Julie Bee]

If you’re an ecommerce brand that has already set up a Pinterest Business Page and gotten verified, then this article tells you where to go next.

How 4 Brands Embraced Tumblr’s New Mobile Design [from AdWeek; written by Garett Sloane]

“‘Tumblr is a place where brands can breathe,’ the company said in today’s mobile redesign announcement. ‘We’re once again stretching the canvas for brands and marketers to create a mobile identity that is truly representative of their brand.’”

Pair with Tumblr declares war on the internet’s identity crisis from The Verge.

Twitter’s Marketing Problem [from stratechery; written by Ben Thompson]

The headline takes away from the interesting potential ideas for Twitter’s future in this article:

“So why not embrace the complexity? Instead of trying to teach new users how to built a curated follower list, build the lists for them. Don’t call them lists, though; embrace Twitter’s TV connection and make them ‘channels.’ Big basketball game? Go to the basketball channel, populated not with the biggest celebrities but with the best and most entertaining tweeters. Build similar channels for specific teams in all sports. Do the same for Apple, Google, and technology; liberals, conservatives, and politics in general; have channels for the Oscars, the Olympics and so on and so forth. And make them good, devoid of the crap that pollutes most hashtags and search results. If the ideal Twitter experience is achieved with a curated list, then provide curated lists and an easy way to switch among them.

Now you have a value prop: easily join the conversation about what is happening in the areas you care about, without the months-long process of building a perfectly customized Twitter feed. Oh, and by the way Ad Person, here is a very easy-to-understand ad unit built around a specific topic filled with self-selected followers.”

Written by Sarah

May 9th, 2014 at 9:27 am

The Week in Social Analytics #97

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

How to control rumours on social media during a disaster [from Phys.org; written by staff]

“Dr Oh believes the main motivation for people turning to Twitter in a crisis is to find out what is happening in their immediate area or to acquaintances, so in order to control the flow of misinformation, emergency communication centres need to be set up quickly to respond to misinformation through social media channels.”

How Brands Can Make the Most Out of Twitter’s New Features [from Social Media Today; written by Jaylee Miguel]

“This visually-led profile will give brands the opportunity to raise awareness and drive engagement for competitions and campaign launches. Gone are the days of scrolling through days worth of tweets – instead, the pinning feature can present key information to users as soon as they land on the page.”

The redesign of Twitter is a great opportunity for brands to be able to visually express themselves better on the platform, without losing the engagement and connectivity Twitter is known most for.

What It’d Be Like To Step Inside Your Twitter Feed [from Fast Company; written by Margaret Rhodes]

“You enter your Twitter handle on a touch screen outside, then walk into the high-tech hut filled with screens and mirrors. A kaleidoscopic stream of notifications, updates, and hashtags flicker and flash around you.”

The Hashtag Test: Best and Worst Practices for Social Media Marketers [from TopRank; written by Nick Ehrenberg]

“Hashtag overuse is a common error in social messaging, sending signals of desperation and inexperience.”

In the UK, Real-Time Social Media Marketing Focuses on the Customer [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“Interacting with consumers in real time may be beneficial when it comes to fostering relationships, but it’s not easy, with UK marketers citing many challenges. More than three in five respondents said managing engagement outside of normal working hours was a top challenge, the No. 1 response. Consumers use social media before and after the workday—and they may expect brands that respond to them in real time during the day to do the same in the early morning or at night.”

Why your brand should definitely be on Tumblr: 10 fantastic examples [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

“Tumblr has a huge youth demographic that’s growing rapidly. This demographic also has a higher than average disposable income and very little competition from other brands.

Tumblr is the fifth most visited site in the USA, but only 31 of the top 100 brands operate a Tumblr page. It seems like a no-brainer.”

SnapChat and Building Community Where Your Audience is [from Spin Sucks; written by Eleanor Pierce]

“Because there’s one big reason SnapChat worked for me: I had a community of people who were already there. I didn’t try to force a community into using a trendy new tool just because I wanted them to be there.”

Emphasis original.

The Ultimate Marketing Guide to Using Snapchat for Business [from Social Media Today; written by Ross Simmonds]

“We’re living a in a time where our attention is minimal. Snapchat is a tool that captures someones attention entirely for a few seconds and has the ability cut through the attention crisis. In a world where our attention span is limited to 5 short minutes, a tool like snapchat could be a marketers dream. Millions of people around the world have become accustomed to receiving their news in 140 characters and watching videos in under 5 minutes. It’s changing the way consumers think and the way marketers must react.”

Boards with Benefits: 5 Stand Out Brands on Pinterest [from Social Media Today; written by Deanna Baisden]

“Having 2.5 billion monthly pageviews, there is a growing opportunity for businesses to find success on Pinterest, but what makes a brand stand out amongst a sea of images?”

These brand examples can show you exactly what’s working for brands in different areas on Pinterest.

8 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers [from Pamorama; written by Pam Dyer]

“Despite being much smaller than Facebook or Twitter at 25 million users, it accounts for more than 23% of all social media-driven sales. More than 47% of online consumers in the U.S. have made a purchase based on Pinterest recommendations, and the average order placed by users of the platform is $179 — compare that to $80 for Facebook and $69 for Twitter, and you can see why it’s important to get more Pinterest followers.”

6 in 10 Americans Aged 65+ Go Online [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Some 59% of Americans aged 65 and older report using the internet as of the second half of 2013, up 6% points from a similar time a year earlier.”

 

Written by Sarah

April 11th, 2014 at 8:50 am