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3 ways entertainment marketers can better engage fans on social media

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This post originally appeared on MediaPost and we are pleased to be able to share it with you here!

Some of the most popular social media accounts belong to entertainment brands — celebrities, TV shows, movies, entertainment media — the list goes on. These brands have built up large, loyal followings by sharing lots of great content on social media. These brands resonate well on visually focused channels like Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat, and on social hubs like Facebook and Twitter.

What can we learn from these successes? How can other entertainment marketers better engage fans on social media? Luckily, entertainment brands have plenty of engaging, social-ready content at their fingertips; it’s just a matter of figuring out what to share and how. If you’re working with an entertainment brand, here are three ways to more deeply engage with your fans on social media.

Provide sneak peeks for your fans

Give your followers something extra or early. Reward their loyalty by sharing content earlier on your social channels than anywhere else. Some brands post new trailers first on social channels. Others send a secret password to share new content with lucky contest winners before sharing it publicly. No matter how you decide to do it, giving your social audiences early access to new content is a great way to reward followers (and get new ones).

Sony Pictures’ Goosebumps movie recently encouraged fans to tweet to unlock a new trailer. When fans posted enough tweets to hit a volume threshold, Sony released a new full-length trailer for the movie. It was a great way to get fans excited about the film and spread the word across Twitter.

Make the most of your content exhaust

Content exhaust is anything that’s left over after a project is finished, all the extra content that’s created and discarded as you work on polishing the final product. That can be outtakes, behind the scenes stories, images from the cutting room floor, backstage video, pre-Photoshop photos, and more. What may seem mundane to those involved in a production can be extremely interesting to fans who don’t experience the entertainment business every day. Inviting your fans behind the scenes makes them feel more connected and invested in your project. And on social media, it’s completely acceptable to share less polished content, particularly on channels like Snapchat. Just because something is public doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, so don’t feel like everything you share has to have the same production values as the show or movie itself. Use the content exhaust you’re already creating to your advantage.

ABC Family does a wonderful job with Pretty Little Liars. Across the “PLL” social accounts, they’re constantly posting pictures of the cast goofing around together, attending red carpet events, even posing with signs about fans. This kind of content rewards fans for following and makes them feel included in how the show is made.

 

We do too! #PLL #Ezria #EzriaForever

A photo posted by Pretty Little Liars (@prettylittleliars) on

Go beyond the story on screen

Fans of a show or movie will want to go deeper into the story, beyond what can be shown on screen. Use social media to provide more information for them. You could share extended scenes, deeper dives into a back story, more information about real-life events that influence a story, interviews with writers and directors — anything that extends the story beyond the main screen. The more information you provide about a story, the more invested the audience will be in its outcome. A lot of fans will try to piece together this information on their own, so provide some help or participate in the conversation when you can.

True Detective on HBO does this very well. The show’s story is full of mystery already, and every week fans discuss possible clues and conspiracies across social media. On Instagram, the show shares images and short videos through the season to encourage this conversation. They could take further advantage of this by sharing more information from the show’s writer about the unusual real-life events and locations that inspire the storyline.

 

#TrueDetective

A video posted by True Detective (@truedetective) on

 

Want to measure the impact of your social media content? Take a look at all the analytics we offer at Union Metrics.

Written by Sarah

July 30th, 2015 at 8:12 am

Our Favorite Social Media Stats and Facts

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Social media changes quickly, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest usage information for the top channels. We thought we’d make it easier by rounding up our five favorite nuggets for our four favorite social networks: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.

Many of these come from Union Metrics research, so feel free to check out our resources page or see how we can help you measure your efforts in each of these places, if you’re eager to see how that after-hours Tumblr queue is paying off.

Tumblr

  1. Tumblr is a night owl. 42% of all Tumblr activity takes place between 5pm and 1am ET (Source). Takeaway: Brands should try posting outside of traditional business hours to see how their content performs.
  2. Disney is by far the most popular brand on Tumblr, seeing more overall activity and stronger engagement than any other brand – nearly two times more (Source). Takeaway: Consider a Tumblr presence to join in on the fan conversation that inevitably already exists around your brand.
  3. 50% of Tumblr users have gone out and bought something they’ve seen on their dashboard (Source). Takeaway: Make it easy for your followers to buy the things you show them on their dash. With the ”Buy” button introduced last year, it’s easier than ever.
  4. Saturday and Sunday are the most active days on Tumblr (Source). Takeaway: Have a content plan for the weekends. Pay attention to when the most original content is published (bonus stat: that’s 4pm on Sunday) and see how your content performs posted at or around that time.
  5. Fandom thrives on Tumblr (Source). Takeaway: Movies and television shows should know that their fandoms are on Tumblr, and they are legion. Incorporate fan art (like Teen Wolf) or photos (like Doctor Who) into your content strategy where it makes sense. Make fans feel heard, and appreciated.

Times of Tumblr

Twitter

  1. Most customers expect a response on social media within an hour (Source). Takeaway: This is true even of nights and weekends, so brands looking to have an active Twitter presence need to be prepared for that.
  2. Tweets with images or videos in them get more engagement than tweets with text alone (Source). Takeaway: Add appropriate visuals to your tweets whenever possible, but don’t just stick any old image on there just to have one. Choose striking, meaningful visual content to catch your audience’s eye.
  3. Related to that last point? Tweets with images take up more than twice as much vertical space in the timeline (Source). Takeaway: Simply taking up more space on someone’s feed- particularly when they’re out and about, scrolling through mobile- means your tweets are much harder to simply scan and dismiss. Especially if you choose that visually arresting image we talked about.
  4. Speaking of mobile users, recent numbers show “80% of users access Twitter via their mobile device” (Source). Takeaway: This means that unless those mobile users are on wifi, they don’t have as much bandwidth to work with and they aren’t going to want to wait forever for images to download, so make sure those visually arresting images aren’t huge. If it’s a big infographic, choose one piece to show and link back to the whole thing.
  5. When a show’s stars live-tweet an episode during its airtime, they “generate 64% more discussion (ie. tweets about the show) than programs whose cast members abstain” (Source). Takeaway: Even if you’re not in TV, live-tweeting a relevant event- a webinar, a conference, a presentation or panel during an industry meetup- will make you part of a bigger discussion and introduce you to new contacts. Just be sure to use the official hashtags—  or create them.

Instagram

  1. Our own Union Metrics research recommends brands try posting outside of U.S. business hours (Source). Takeaway: Evenings and weekends are times most people have free to browse social and catch up on their streams. Brands should test posting during these times and see if they get a bump in engagement from fans and followers who are otherwise busy during the work day.
  2. Keeping up your content cadence matters more than how often you post (Source). Takeaway: Obviously you don’t want to completely flood the Instagram feed of your fans and followers, but it’s not unusual for brands to post several times a day. If you have a large queue of content for a campaign, however, and it runs dry afterward before you can plan a robust content calendar, you will start to lose followers.
  3. Content on Instagram lives longer than you probably realize (Source). Takeaway: Although most activity happens in the first several hours after a brand posts to Instagram, it’s not unusual to see low-level content for days and weeks after a post is first made. Don’t be afraid to edit old posts with newer hashtags to see if you can boost engagement on them.
  4. Brands who advertise on Instagram may continue to see increased engagement after an advertising period has ended; in one case we saw a brand with “a nearly 10% increase in engagement rates across the board, increasing the total activities received per organic post by 25% on average” (Source). Takeaway: If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and advertising on Instagram, the benefits could be longer lasting than you might have assumed.
  5. Related to the previous point, Instagram is opening up advertising to everyone this fall (Source). Takeaway: Just be sure your creative is up to snuff; Instagram users are used to high-quality, well-executed content.

 

 

Facebook

  1. Images that include people and faces perform well on Facebook (Source). Takeaway: Facebook is a place people connect with friends and family they’re close to in real life, so reflecting this ease and friendliness in your visuals helps your content resonate with those who choose to connect with your brand there.
  2. You have three seconds to get your fans’ attention in a video (Source). Takeaway: Videos need to be immediately arresting, and also perform well without sound since not everyone opts to turn it on. Shorter videos also tend to perform better than long videos on Facebook.
  3. Posts with a ton of hashtags don’t perform well on Facebook (Source). Takeaway: Your audience may love hashtags on Facebook, but it seems like most don’t, unless they’re a big popular hashtag like #TBT or popular and annual, like #NationalRunningDay. Use your discretion and test one or two on your posts to see how your audience responds. But definitely don’t leave all 30 from your Instagram post on Facebook; edit that cross-post down!
  4. 79% of all users are accessing Facebook from their mobile (Source). Takeaway: A lot of social activity is happening on people’s phones, when they’re out and about, commuting, or at home in the evenings. Be sure your content is optimized for mobile to capitalize on this audience. Think about what you want to see within the confines of a smartphone screen and how much data you have to work with.
  5. Facebook isn’t just Facebook; most people know they own Instagram, but some forget about the other entities in the Facebook ecosystem, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Occulus (Source). Takeaway: These other apps are something to keep an eye on as the industry develops over the coming years, particularly in the private messaging space. It’s direct access to consumers, but difficult for brands to balance without coming across as creepy or intrusive.

Written by Sarah

July 28th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Which Union Metrics product is right for you?

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As we’ve built out the Union Metrics Social Suite, we want to be sure we continue to provide analytics for those at a range of available resources. Along those lines, we’ve created this guide to help you find the perfect piece of UM to bring clarity to your social efforts, organized by your needs.

I have little or no budget.

Fear not my friend, we have some free tools to help you track your social efforts, even with $0 in the budget for it. As long as you plan accordingly, you should be able to cover a small Twitter campaign- a weekly chat, your own account growth, a hyper-local contest, etc- with TweetReach snapshot reports. Just make sure you run a snapshot within a couple days of your event – they can only go back 1-7 days. You get analytics on 50 tweets for free! If you do go over the allotted 50 tweets for the period you’re capturing on a free report, you can purchase a full snapshot report covering up to 1500 tweets for just $20.


The More You Know

As for Instagram, you can run a free Instagram account checkup to see which of your photos and hashtags are performing the best (plus more, like the best day and time for you to post!), and you can refresh your report once a day for updated metrics.

Account Checkup Small

I want to track an upcoming campaign on one social media channel.

Union Metrics offers single-channel analytics starting at $99 per month to monitor two accounts or topics on one social media channel. You can get analytics for Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr with one of these plans. You can keep your subscription running for new campaigns or clients (and change what you’re monitoring at any time), or you can cancel when you’re done. It’s an easy way to get the real-time analytics you need without a long-term commitment.

UM Single Channel plans

Simply pick the channel where you’ll be running your campaign, and sign up for the plan that meets your needs. We can walk you through a demo to show you exactly what you’ll be getting. We offer monthly and annual pricing.

I want to track an upcoming campaign across multiple social media.

For our larger customers or anyone wanting analytics across social media channels, the Union Metrics Social Suite is a great choice. With it you can monitor your social efforts on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram AND Facebook, all in one place. That includes analytics for all accounts and topics you’re interested, plus cool features like our actionable insight stream.

Union Metrics Multi-Channel Detail InsightsDon’t worry, we still have different plan sizes to choose from so you can pick the one that best suits your needs, or the needs of your clients. The Social Suite starts at just $500 per month!

Why should I use Union Metrics?

Fair question. You can read more about Union Metrics and why our social media analytics are the best in the industry, let us know if you’d like a demo, or ask us any burning questions you might have.

We’re always happy to help!

Written by Sarah

July 20th, 2015 at 8:26 am

4 ways branded Snapchat content is different

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Recently we looked at how Snapchat has evolved for brands, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into how exactly content on Snapchat differs for brands, and show you with more examples across different industries. After all it’s one thing to have a vague idea about the disappearing images those kids are sending and what actually goes into the stories teams are building to send to their Snapchat fans.

Still got questions? Leave ‘em in the comments! Let’s get snapping.

1. It’s more informal

While other platforms like Instagram are all about beautiful, well-staged photography- particularly product tableaus for many brands- Snapchat is more about sharing what’s happening in the moment, with quality as a lesser concern. (Possibly a result of the in-app camera being generally darker and the photos compressed to save server space.) The relaxed tone leaves viewers feeling more like an insider than someone looking at repurposed magazine shots, and that can create a sense of intimacy with a brand that can lead to customer loyalty.

2. And less aspirational

The informal feel of Snapchat means viewers aren’t expecting to see their aspirations laid out for them the way they are in places like Instagram and Pinterest. Brands who normally present a more luxurious, well-staged feel- like Sephora- tone things down on Snapchat to bring their followers of-the-moment updates. Snapchat is the sweatpants-in-the-makeup-chair-before-a-photoshoot platform.

3. Making it perfect for behind-the-scenes shares

If you have access to the latest gadgets, the coolest musicians, or the upcoming fashion line, then Snapchat is the perfect place to share behind-the-scenes moments with these people and things in way that feels very intimate (like the sweatpants makeup chair example in the last section). Even though viewers know anyone can watch a story who chooses to follow that brand on Snapchat, it still feels like a celebrity has sent a story just to you, especially if they take over an MTV rep’s phone and shoot in selfie mode.

4. But it still matches overall brand aesthetic

While it’s important not to overly stage and process your Snapchat content- which is impossible, given the previously mentioned in-app camera quality- you DO still want it to feel cohesive with the rest of your brand. Viewers can take screenshots and those will end up on the wild of the Internet, so unless it’s a strategic brand move, you don’t want to completely depart from the rest of your visual brand.

How do you do that? Let’s look at some examples more in-depth.

Brands on Snapchat: How they do it.

Beauty brand Sephora has an extensive social presence that is very cohesive and navigates the differences between each platform well; you can compare the well-staged and lit product shots and celebrity regrams on their Instagram profile, their well-executed digital magazine on Tumblr, similar product shots and information shared across their Twitter and Facebook profiles, and their extensive Pinterest presence (how-tos, inspiration) with their much more informal Snapchat presence:

 

 

NPR has a more serious expected presence as a news organization, so Snapchat is a great way for them to infuse more personality into their reporting with some behind-the-scenes tours, quick facts from various reporters, on-the-ground reporting for breaking news, and more. They’ve written extensively about their experience with Snapchat on their Social Media Desk Tumblr, with their latest intern sharing her experience with running Snapchat for a major news organization, how to engage an audience on Snapchat, and even the difference in reporting a breaking news event on different platforms (Snapchat vs. Instagram). Even if you’re not a news organization, there are some great takeaways from NPR. Particularly: Experiment, try new things, don’t be afraid to fail. It makes you more human to your audience. 

Mashable has a much lighter brand reputation, known for mixing in fun, Buzzfeed-esque posts alongside reporting from big tech events and covering product and platform updates. Their Snapchat is incredibly well-executed, utilizing all the different ways the platform has to communicate: Drawing on the screen, combining drawing with text, emojis, and more:

 

Finally GE uses Snapchat to show off a much more casual side of their brand. While their Tumblr is full of high quality images and gifs around different science and tech that you can see repurposed on their Instagram profile, while Facebook and Twitter share science and tech news of a slightly different flavor repackaged for each place, they use Snapchat to share quick science facts and encourage viewers to engage with them back on those different platforms:

Bonus: Basic updates

Recently Snapchat has released some updates that make it even easier to use. Where you used to have to hold your finger on the screen to view a snap- and if you let go, the countdown didn’t stop!- now you simply tap a snap or story to view it. Dismissing a story simply requires swiping down from the top of the screen instead of letting go, but is still an option in case you decide viewing an up-close-and-personal running of the bulls isn’t for you.

Written by Sarah

July 8th, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Guides,Trends

Tagged with ,

Tracking Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat with TweetReach

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We’ve briefly discussed before that you can track anything cross-posted to Twitter from an account on another social platform - a Vine video or Instagram photo – by using TweetReach, but we wanted to give some more specific tips about how these different platforms work together so you can get the best results possible for anything you’re tracking.

As always, let us know if you still have questions by leaving them in the comments, or shooting us an email.

TweetReach and Vine

Since Vine is a Twitter app and TweetReach is made to measure Twitter, you might think the easiest way to measure a Vine would be to track a particular tweet it was embedded in, but tracking the unique URL of the Vine itself will get you better results; if it gets picked up or shortened anywhere else on Twitter we should still be able to grab it.

With snapshot reports, all you need to do is put the URL of the Vine in the search box, like with this Vine of a panda from the San Diego Zoo. (For more details on what you can search in a snapshot report, see this.)

Vine TR report

And your returned report will look a little something like this.

Remember, however, that snapshots return limited results; even a full report purchased for $20 will only return results for up to 1500 tweets (reports will always tell you at the top if there are enough tweets to warrant purchasing a full report) so if it’s a wildly popular Vine that has been shared widely, your report won’t cover all of those shares. But if you don’t have a big budget or just want to get an idea of the scope of a single Vine, a snapshot is perfect for your needs.

For those with a bigger budget, TweetReach Pro can track a Vine as one of the queries in a Tracker; just be sure you use the URL of the specific Vine you want for the best results rather than its title. Just putting the word “Vine” will give you a Tracker filled with much more useless noise than with the information that you want. Always be as specific as possible with your search terms! 

TweetReach and Instagram

While Instagram revoked display cards for Twitter, never fear, you can still track any Instagram photo cross-posted to Twitter by its unique URL, or by any unique hashtags you may have paired with it. You can track both and compare results; it’s possible that someone saw your tweet and picked up a hashtag for their own use, perhaps purposefully for a contest, or as an organic use of online language.

Instagram tracking

For a full breakdown of how to track Instagram with a TweetReach Pro Tracker, see this post. For running a quick snapshot report, it will be the same as with Vines above: Simply plug in the URL of the Instagram photo you’re wanting to track, and you’ll get an idea of the spread of that particular Instagram photo on Twitter shortly.

TweetReach and Snapchat

Snapchat is a little bit trickier to track, simply because anything from the site will be a screenshot that someone has taken of a snap or a story and shared. If the screenshot of a snap was directly uploaded to Twitter, all you have to do is track that particular tweet; best results will be by tracking a specific hashtag tweeted with it (for example, #PatriotSnapsWhatUp for the snap below), but you can also search the specific wording of the tweet in quotes.

Is that everything?

That’s all we’ve got for now. Got any questions? Check out our help page for more details on what you can track with TweetReach and how, or leave any additional questions in the comments!

Written by Sarah

June 30th, 2015 at 8:37 am

Posted in Guides

Tagged with , , ,

10 ways for brands to succeed on Facebook

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Even though Facebook is currently the most widely-used social network on the planet with more than 1.3 billion users, it’s not always easy for brands to know how to create relevant content that reaches the widest audience. Not only is Facebook itself always changing how it displays page content, but users are constantly using Facebook in new and different ways. So here are some tips to help you make the most of Facebook.

PS – Did you know we offer Facebook analytics now? We do! Learn more here.

1. Post visual content

Visual content marketing is everywhere (we should know; we wrote an ebook about it), and Facebook is no exception. It’s why your aunt posts so many unfortunate memes that flood your News Feed. Eye-catching images make you at least pause and go, Wait, what is that? Just be sure to take your images beyond “WTF” to “whatever is useful and engaging to your particular audience”. Unless WTF is on-brand for you.

2. Post more content when your audience is around

This seems obvious but can be neglected when you’re stressed out and just need to get something posted every day. Pay attention to what Facebook Insights- or your attractive and insightful Union Metrics Facebook analytics- tell you about the time your fans spend on Facebook, and use that to help decide when to post to your page. If you post at 11am and they all log in at 6pm, are they still going to see your post on their News Feed? Test a few different times, pay attention to the engagement rates, and plan accordingly going forward.

3. Use hashtags effectively

While a ton of hashtags might work well to get your content in front of more eyeballs on Instagram, our research has shown that you should use just one or two hashtags per post on Facebook. But again, this is something you’ll have to test and gauge the response of your own audience on. Maybe they’re #triple #hashtag #threat people.

4. Boost some of your content

Which posts have gotten high organic engagement? Compare them to pull out common elements, then try posting something that includes many or all of those elements. Then boost that post to see if you can improve your reach and engagement even more. Boosting some content will help all the rest of your content get shown more often.

5. Create content that works across channels

Even with unlimited resources, it’s smart to design content you can get mileage out of across the platforms your fans, followers and customers are active on. Ideally you’ll want to create striking images that can be tweaked for maximum impact on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and wherever else it is that your people are.

6. Include relevant people and locations in your posts

Employee advocacy is an important part of growing your brand, and socially savvy employees will enjoy the recognition of being tagged in event photos or for writing a post. You can also mention influencers or personal brands in posts. Tagging relevant people and places will give your content the chance to earn an extra boost from being seen by the networks of those people and places, and just maybe someone new will decide to check you out.

7. Post often, but not too often

While a Facebook News Feed moves slower than a typical Twitter timeline, you can still update a few times a day without overwhelming your followers, simply based on the algorithm Facebook uses to show fans and followers new content; unless a fan has specifically updated their settings to see as many of your posts as possible, they’ll most likely only see one. You easily can post 2-3 times a day, maybe more. But in general, we advise against posting more than 5 times a day for most pages.

8. Be responsive

According to some reports, a majority of brands aren’t responsive to customer queries and complaints on their Facebook pages; be sure you’re one of the ones that is! This is an easy way to stand out from your competition, and it’s just plain good customer service. Treat it just like you would Twitter for customer questions.

9. Learn from the best

Take a look at successful Facebook pages in different industries to get new ideas for what might work for your brand. You can learn a lot by watching others (both what to do and what not to do!). Test a few different things with your audience before sticking to what works as measured by the things that matter most to you and your brand.

10. The bottom line

Work to understand which content performs best for your audience. Start with best practices but don’t be afraid to experiment. Then measure, learn, and implement what you’ve learned.

 

What’s the best branded Facebook page you’ve seen? Tell us about it in the comments! 

Written by Sarah

June 25th, 2015 at 10:27 am

4 things for personal fitness brands to consider in building their brand

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We’ve looked at how brands provide virtual support for fans and followers of all levels looking to live an active lifestyle, and wanted to look at how personal brands approach the same audiences.

It’s challenging to connect to an audience across levels of interest and ability that might be drawn to a personal brand for different reasons; everything from just liking how the person behind the brand presents themselves, to respecting their work ethic, sense of humor, a combination of all three, or something else entirely.

There are takeaways for non-personal brands here too, the least of which is understanding how personal brands operate if you’re a traditional brand looking to partner with one in a current or future campaign.

 

1. Show shared values.

Increasingly customers want to spend their money on brands who share the same values as they do; a 2013 Edelman brandshare study said “92 percent of people want to do business with companies that share their beliefs”. This is somewhat easier to achieve as a personal brand- after all, your audience is relating to you as a person rather than a logo or a corporate entity- but that also makes the stakes higher if your audience discovers you aren’t authentically living up to your values.

Decide what’s most important to you as a personal brand that you want to communicate to your audience and design creative ways to share that, both visually and with written content. (What does that look like? We’ll cover it with some examples in #4.)

2. Choose carefully who you partner with in a campaign or sponsorship deal.

Shared values become even more important when brands and personal brands are looking to partner up for a campaign or in a sponsorship deal; either risks alienating their audience if that audience feels the partnership isn’t born of genuine, shared values. (That’s when the term “sellout” starts getting thrown around a lot.)

Both brands and personal brands should do their research to vet each other out as a good match on a campaign or sponsorship deal, figure out where their audiences overlap, and especially what parts of their audiences don’t overlap so they can discover how best to reach each of these segments with inspiring content of value for them.

3. Add a personal touch.

The advantage of being a personal brand is that it’s automatically more, well, personal. You’re free to let thoughts and feelings shine through, particularly during tough training sessions, setbacks, and winning moments that come with living an athletic lifestyle. Personal brands can communicate this in ways that are difficult for traditional brands to master. After all you’re just one person, talking to your audience about the same issues they deal with during their own athletic journey.

Use this to your advantage and be authentic without oversharing unnecessary personal details.

4. Look at who does it well.

We mentioned Tone It Up as a great example of an inspiring lifestyle and fitness brand in the previous post, and the two women behind it are an even better example of personal brands coming together to create a bigger brand with a strong community they’ve inspired behind it.

Separate from their Tone It Up Instagram account, they have a joint personal account that shares photos of the two of them shopping for healthy foods for a week’s worth of meal preparations, celebrating big moments in the community, behind-the-scenes shots for upcoming TIU events, and just being themselves and relating to their followers over common interests and indulgences, like in this image:

TIU wine

Image via karenakatrina on Instagram. 

The TIU brand is the two women behind it, and they work to make themselves as relatable as possible while still posting images that keep their community inspired.

A similar approach comes from Kelly Roberts of Run, Selfie, Repeat. Her blog is all about her personal experiences with running and she’s very open and honest about every missed run, every difficult run, and her tactics for getting through those tough moments (a lot of selfies and singing Taylor Swift). She’s currently asking her community of fans and followers to help her get on the cover of Runner’s World.

Run Selfie RepeatImage via kellykkroberts on Instagram

For an example of a professional athlete with a well-executed personal brand, look no further than ballerina Misty Copeland, a soloist with the American Ballet Theater. Her recent partnership with Under Armor in the I Will What I Want campaign is a fantastic example of shared values and inspiration in action.

On her Instagram account, she reposts images from collaborators and her community, a great way to further engage with fans and followers and share across audiences (remember that overlap we mentioned earlier? Here’s a great way to reach across it).

Misty CopelandImage via mistyonpointe on Instagram 

The bottom line?

Personal brands have an edge over traditional brands in connecting with their fans and followers over shared values around a fitness lifestyle, but the stakes are also higher if the audience ever feels like they were mislead about the authenticity of those values. Personal brands should share what honestly inspires them, and never be afraid to share difficult moments in their athletic journeys. These serve to make the audience feel like they can really connect with the person they’re following behind the “brand” because they’ve had the same experiences.

Written by Sarah

June 22nd, 2015 at 11:10 am

Union Metrics employee exchange: How the other half lives

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It’s the people that make a company what it is and nobody knows those people better than the People Operations Manager. We’ve tapped ours, Elisabeth Giammona, to write a series of posts about us, our industry, the challenges of people ops, and more. Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter at @UnionMetrics. PS – We’re always hiring! You can see our open jobs here

We count ourselves as pretty lucky to have offices in two of the coolest cities around – Austin and San Francisco. In cities known for their tech innovation, it doesn’t get much better than these two! But there are some challenges to having two offices, and while we spend a lot of time on technological solutions to help our distributed team communicate (Slack, always-on video portals, and so on), we like to connect in person when we can.

UMEEP 2

At Trudy’s for dinner in Austin (via the Union Metrics Instagram).

We want to help employees get to know each other better and provide an in-person experience that lets people see the variety of roles and responsibilities that different colleagues tackle every day. Since each office has its own mix of engineering, product, marketing and customer-facing roles, being able to meet team members in person not only helps build camaraderie, but increases the understanding of all the functions that allow Union Metrics to create new products and keep our customers happy and engaged.

To make sure people from both offices are able to meet and work together on a regular basis, we started a monthly employee exchange program where an employee from Austin and an employee from San Francisco travel to the opposite office for a few days. Employees get to spend time with colleagues they normally only see through Slack and video portals, as well as get an in-person view of how the other office is set up (a good chance to judge the other office’s feng shui).

We think it’s important for employees to connect with colleagues that they normally wouldn’t cross paths with through work alone; through these interactions, everyone can better understand what others do, and even identify common areas and think about new ways to tackle problems. Ultimately our goal as a company is for in-person time together to provide a better sense of what different people and teams work on and how each individual’s work contributes to our company goals.

We don’t force everyone to stay in the office on exchange, however! On the social side, exchangers get to partake in the local coffee scene, enjoy a change in weather (at least during most parts of the year), and since San Francisco and Austin are great dining cities, also enjoy a couple of great meals- and a drink or two- with colleagues. We are a passionate group when it comes to food and beverages and have some favorite places we love to take visitors when they’re in town. Read on to see some of our top food and drink picks for SF and ATX, and let us know where you recommend!

UMEEP 1

At happy hour in San Francisco (via Union Metrics on Instagram).

San Francisco

  • Pastries – Pinkie’s is just across the street and their treats defy times of day, so that even if you get a bacon and cheddar brioche for breakfast, you’ll be ready for a Fluffernutter bar by lunch.
  • Sandwiches – The creative sandwiches at Deli Board keep the shop busy all day. Deli Board doesn’t cut corners or skimp on any toppings, so you can expect a great roll to start with, homemade hot sauce if you are daring, and then generous portions of meat and veggies in unusual combinations.
  • Sports bars – San Francisco and the surrounding area have a lot of sports teams, and during a big sports night, we like Golden Gate Tap Room where wings are readily available in multiple flavors.

Austin

  • Barbecue – San Francisco is known for a lot of great food, but barbecue isn’t usually on that list, so visitors to Austin would be smart to indulge in some real BBQ at least once. We recommend County Line.
  • Breakfast tacos – Some folks are squarely in the Torchy’s camp and some are die-hard Taco Deli fans. We leave it up to the visitors to decide on their favorite, but no visitor to Austin should leave without trying a breakfast taco (or five).. Many visitors find themselves drastically missing them once they leave.
  • Tex-Mex – While there may be a lot of great Mexican food in San Francisco, Tex-Mex is in a category all its own. We like to take visitors to Trudy’s and introduce them to the Mexican Martini.

Learn more about what it’s like to work at Union Metrics here!

Written by Sarah

June 16th, 2015 at 10:23 am

How Snapchat has evolved for brands

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We’ve written about brands on Snapchat before- covering both the basics and brands who do it well- but social media platforms evolve almost as quickly as snaps disappear from your screen, so we thought an update was due.

Let’s dive into an updated version of the basics, how use of the platform has evolved for brands, how brand content is different on Snapchat than on other channels, and some good brand examples to illustrate it all along the way.

How the basics have changed

You still have a score, and Snapchat still has a step-by-step screencapped guide to finding and adding friends. Brands will still want to concentrate on creating stories over sending individual snaps, however, and that makes the biggest basic to be sure you make your stories viewable to anyone who adds you.

Snapchat Story Settings for Brand

This way all fans have to do is add you, and they’ll be able to see any story that you create. Adding back every single fan or follower who decides to follow you on the platform and then manually sending snaps to each one of them would quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. You can also still decide who sends you snaps: Everyone, or just those you approve of as friends. Use your discretion.

And as of right now advertising on Snapchat is expensive with Discover being a slightly more affordable option, but not one that will be the right fit for every brand that doesn’t have the ability to produce a wealth of Discover-specific content.

How Snapchat is evolving

Aside from the arrival of Discover, when we wrote our first piece on Snapchat, “Our Story” was a new feature that has indeed become a regular thing. Now called “Our Stories” and found under the “Live” section, it looks like this:

Live on SnapchatIf you’re in the geographic location where an event is taking place, you have the option to add a snap to the story. This could be a fun thing for a brand to participate in, but ultimately it would get lost in the noise of the collaborative snap (unless you’re doing a sponsored version, like Bud Light). Our Stories are a fun way to see what’s happening live at an event elsewhere in the world and could give some insight into Snapchat users in different areas; particularly important if you’re looking to reach a global audience.

Other Snapchat feature updates since our first post include the ability to send cash using Snapcash, adding a fun Geofilter overlay to your images if one is available, as well as use Chat and Video Chat. Experiment with these in a way that makes sense for your brand. We haven’t heard of any big brands using these features with customers just yet, but that doesn’t mean smaller independent brands haven’t been experimenting. Limited chatting, for example, could be a fun way to add another layer of engagement in a Snapchat-based contest (see the official rules from a GE Snapchat contest as an example).

Brands are still largely using the platform to share behind-the-scenes content with a very intimate, down-to-earth feel, like these examples from Mashable, MTV, and NPR:

NPR in particular has been open about its experimentation with the platform and their intern shared her experiences in using it and learning what worked on their NPR Social Media Desk Tumblr. Here’s a great excerpt:

“Yes, it’s time-consuming to answer queries and respond to comments. But it’s also a really wonderful way to foster an engaged community. When I started addressing our followers directly, the number of snaps we receive went up hugely! The feedback really helped shape my editorial approach to the platform.”

Brands have also begun to experiment with interactive material on Snapchat; Cosmopolitan’s first Discover post was one users could customize and share.

How brand content differs on Snapchat

As you can see from the examples in the previous section, brands don’t go for polished video production on Snapchat; it’s a very informal, more intimate setting on this platform where even your more “permanent” content only lasts for 24 hours.

A brand that really presents itself differently across different platforms according to the prevailing tastes and culture of each place- and of their own target audience- is Sephora. On Snapchat they give product previews or even share little aesthetic pieces of their day, like this:

SephoraSnaps

 

On Tumblr they run a digital magazine full of high-impact product photos, interviews with celebrities and makeup artists, as well as tips, tricks, and how-tos. On Instagram they alternate between impeccably staged product shots with regrams of celebrities and well-known beauty names using or wearing their products, with fewer behind-the-scenes or selfie shots. Sephora’s Twitter shares product news and store events while repurposing those product shots, with a lot of the same content tailored differently for Facebook. Finally their Pinterest is a smorgasbord of products, how-tos, inspiration, and event-specific versions of how-tos and inspiration (prom hair, anyone?).

What’s the takeaway here? Sephora has done their homework and come up with a visual content strategy that is on brand across platforms, but also speaks to the specific aesthetics of each and the audience they’re trying to reach in each place. Tumblr is a well-executed yet accessible digital glossy, Instagram is more polished but still throws in a few behind-the-scenes shots, Pinterest has every how-to you could want categorized and organized, while Twitter and Facebook share the basic news. It makes sense then that Snapchat is a way to show a more relaxed version of their brand that gives followers and idea of the hands putting all of those other pieces together. It feels more intimate, like they’re sharing it just with you, the more dedicated fans who follow them there.

Anything else?

Yes, and it’s still a big one: Let your audience know you’re on Snapchat on every other platform you have a presence on and be sure you pick a handle that’s the same as your others or that’s simple to search for and/or figure out, like YourBrandSnaps. If they don’t know you’re there, they can’t follow you!

Oh, and have fun with it. Happy snapping!

Got any questions, or know of anything that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Sarah

June 2nd, 2015 at 11:03 am

Posted in Guides,Trends

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Take a look at our new visual content marketing guide

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Planning a comprehensive visual content marketing strategy across social channels is overwhelming. Let us help. For free.

How?

Just download our guide to creating impactful visual content for any social channel and revel in 18 pages of research and insights.

Okay, but what does it discuss, exactly?

Our new 18-page visual content marketing guide covers best practices and tips for creating the most impactful visual content for any social media channel. From traditionally text-based channels like Twitter to channels that put photos and videos first like Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Pinterest, as well as mixed-media channels like Tumblr and Facebook. It answers questions like how to use images or animated GIFs or videos, the technical specifications to create the most suitable visual for a particular channel, which formats shine where, and much more.

Here’s an excerpt about best practices for visuals on Twitter:

“We recommend including visual content in at least some of your tweets for a variety of reasons. First, tweets with images take up more than twice as much vertical space in the timeline as tweets without images. So you’re getting more timeline real estate by including an image than with text alone. Second, we’ve seen evidence that suggests that tweets with images in them get more engagement in the form of retweets, replies and clicks. They’re great for grabbing attention and let you say more than words on their own. “

It’s easy to see how much more attention-grabbing the tweets with images are, and yet how many tweets don’t include them.

Okay, you’ve convinced me. What was that link again?

Just go here. Happy reading.

Written by Sarah

May 21st, 2015 at 1:12 pm