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How do people talk about entertainment across social channels?

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Everyone has their favorite social network just like they have favorite shows and celebrities, so we thought it would be interesting to look at how the conversation around those favorites has evolved across different networks. Even if you’re not in entertainment marketing, this post should give you a deeper look at the language and culture of various social platforms, giving you a better idea of which one is the best fit for your brand. (Hint: It’s always the one where your audience prefers to spend time.)

Twitter: Live-tweet your heart out

Twitter is, of course, known for the live-tweet: Join in with thousands of others as they tweet along to an awards show, their favorite show each week, or a movie they’re just seeing for the first time. Hollywood has caught on to this phenomenon and extended the sense of intimacy social media gives to fans of celebrities by encouraging the stars of shows to live-tweet along with their fans when the show airs, doing Q&As and sharing their own behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Stars Hayley Atwell and Bridget Regan were active live-tweeters during Agent Carter, and Hayley Atwell continues to post fun behind-the-scenes shots during the off-season to keep fans engaged.

This activity actually boosts overall tweeting about the program, based on research from Twitter themselves:

“As it turns out, one of the most powerful and direct ways to drive conversation about a program on Twitter is to have the stars of the show engaged on Twitter, particularly during the airing. In fact, we found that shows live-Tweeting from cast members during the premiere had 64% more Tweets that day compared to programs that did nothing.”

Aside from live-tweeting, fans tend to tweet about how excited they are leading up to a broadcast, or make a lot of cynical jokes about it if it’s an awards show (but hey, they’re still watching it!). They’ll follow official accounts and chat with each other about different fan theories, but this is obviously all a bit truncated due to the 140-character limit on tweets. Fans who want more, more, more on their favorites- especially during the off-season- head to Tumblr.

Tumblr: Where fandom lives

Tumblr is the undisputed home of fandom. This is the place fans go to share their fan-fiction (fanfic), write posts about different character and storyline theories (or their own “fanon”; things they’ve read in fanfic or theories they’ve seen reblogged that they’ve added to the canon of the show for themselves) and theories about the larger universe behind a show or film franchise, write about the actors who portray their favorite characters and share photos of them, create and share fan art, and so much more.

Tumblr Fandom

Image via Tumblr staff blog.

You might read that and think, well, isn’t that what fans do on every social network? What makes Tumblr so special? And the answer is the reblogging feature: Being able to reblog someone else’s fan theory and add your own thoughts to it really accelerates the conversation and makes it deeper. Certain posts become inside jokes for a fandom, and fandoms even create their own “official” blogs, run right alongside official blogs from a network. (The official Doctor Who Tumblr often reblogs fan art and other fan posts to keep their readership engaged.)

Sometimes fandoms merge into super fandoms, like SuperWhoLock, a mix of Doctor Who, Sherlock and Supernatural fans. Sometimes the actors themselves get involved in a fandom, like Orlando Jones and the Sleepyheads (Sleepy Hollow fandom).

All of this adds up to fans being very engaged in their shows between seasons, and giving an even longer shelf-life to Tumblr content as old fandom posts can resurface to be rehashed and reblogged again and again with newer insights and theories.

Facebook: Beware spoilers

There are a few different forms of fandom on Facebook:

  1. Pages built as hubs for fandom outside of Tumblr to share information, as seen here.
  2. Individual, often spoiler-filled posts on your NewsFeed from various friends and family members after a big finale like Game of Thrones.
  3. Posts from Facebook themselves around different fandoms like March Madness.

FB Fandom

Facebook is the perfect place for a friend to drop a link about your favorite show onto your wall or even set up a private group to plan a viewing party, but fandom doesn’t go as deep here as it does on Tumblr, and it’s more difficult to live-Facebook a show than it is to live-tweet it. Twitter feeds move much faster than Facebook News Feeds do, making them much more ideal for sharing the experience of a live-viewing with an audience.

Instagram: Fans share excitement in photo form

It might not seem like the most intuitive way to use Instagram, but fans definitely post about their favorite shows and the actors in them on their Instagram accounts alongside their personal photos. Sometimes they share official promotional photos from a show’s upcoming season, or maybe the set-up for their viewing party. Smart brands know about this activity and capitalize on it, becoming part of the conversation that’s already happening. For examples see how Teen Wolf fans post about the show on Instagram, and learn from the very best in terms of audience engagement with ABC Family’s Instagram activity.

Sports fans are active in their Instagram activity too, and you can see examples in our posts about The World Series on Instagram: San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals or The NHL on Instagram: On being official, fans, and more.

The majority of the connection and amplification of posts on Instagram comes through hashtags; fans can find other fan accounts they may want to follow by using Instagram’s improved search, and any entertainment brands who want to get in on those conversations would be wise to listen to the talk that’s already happening before figuring out how to encourage it and join in.

The bottom line?

That’s just what we’ve seen looking at fan activity in these places over the years. Does your personal network look different? Tell us about it in the comments, or on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

You’ll also notice we haven’t talked about fan activity on Pinterest, Snapchat, or live-streaming apps. How have you seen fans or fandoms using those?

Written by Sarah

September 1st, 2015 at 9:49 am

Everything you need to know about Twitter for conferences

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We’ve written quite a bit about Twitter and conferences over the years, so we thought we’d combine the best of our existing knowledge with anything new we’ve learned through our own experiences and research. If you have wisdom of your own to share or questions we didn’t cover, leave it in the comments!

From the Union Metrics Instagram, our Social Media Manager attended the #SXW2O pre-conference at SXSWi 2015.

From the Union Metrics Instagram, our Social Media Manager attended the #SXW2O pre-conference at SXSWi 2015.

If you’re planning and running the conference

  1. Choose a unique, relevant hashtag and keep it as short as possible.
  2. Make sure you promote the hashtag ahead of time on your site, in official emails, on your social accounts, and on physical collateral throughout the event
  3. Consider unique hashtags for particular panels so attendees can hyper-connect and discuss particular issues of interest to them. Just keep them as short as possible so they can be used in conjunction with the official conference hashtag.
  4. It should go without saying, but make sure you have the wifi power and physical number of power outlets available for attendees so they’re not cut off  from social at any time during the event.
  5. Encourage conversation among attendees by being responsive, retweeting interesting points and questions, promoting speakers and panelists, and favoriting clever responses to your tweets. Fix any problems brought to your attention as soon as humanly possible, and quickly communicate any schedule or venue changes.
  6. Continue to connect post-conference with presenters, speakers and attendees by sharing any wrap-ups written by your team or by others, sharing video clips of panels or keynotes, photos from cocktail hours or meet-ups, and anything else you’re able to source through your official hashtag!
  7. Measure your conference-related social efforts. Ideally you’ll want to set up extensive social tracking on Twitter (and any other channel you have a presence on and will be using your official hashtag with), but if things go awry you can always look at a historical measurement option. See how big of a boost this event gave your presence! Measure engagement in three ways:
    • Measure total Twitter audience size. With the spread of conference content on social media like Twitter, the size of the audience can grow well beyond the number of attendees physically present (some might attend virtually!). Measure the total reach and exposure for conference tweets, as well as the number of total tweets and unique contributors.
    • Determine popular speakers and presentations. Analyze conference Twitter engagement by tracking metrics like retweets, replies, favorites and impressions to learn which topics are generating buzz. Search for speaker and panel names, presentation topics and track titles to see which ones are most talked about. Find out which images are being shared the most to determine attendees’ favorite moments, and track shared URLs to see which websites and pages have been most useful to participants.
    • Share metrics with sponsors. Report this information back to conference sponsors to demonstrate the value of their sponsorship. Showing sponsors how many more people their brands reached beyond in-person conference attendance can be very valuable to securing future sponsorships. When possible, share specific examples of effective tweets about or from conference sponsors.
    • Bonus: Use all of this data to plan your next conference. It will tell you what went well, what you can improve, and how your conference compares to other similar conferences with available numbers.

And if you want more details on marketing your conference across social channels, check out Marketing your conference across platforms: Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and Marketing your conference across platforms: Snapchat and Pinterest.

If you’re attending the conference

  1. Use that official hashtag! Use it to network and connect with other attendees, use it to share your thoughts during panels and ask questions, use it to find new people to follow and interact with not only during the conference, but after.
  2. Be sure you’re following official accounts, and follow presenters and other attendees you find interesting. Take things a step further by thanking organizers and speakers after the event; they’ll definitely appreciate it!
  3. Browse the official hashtag in your downtime, along with any unique hashtags for panels you didn’t get the chance to attend. Retweet, favorite, and respond to connect with any tweets or tweeters who catch your eye to extend your networking even further.
  4. Upload photos of you and other attendees at official and unofficial events around the conference and tag it with the official hashtag to add another layer to your presence.
  5. If you’re a local, share tips for non-local attendees and presenters on where to eat or relax in their downtime. Offer to meet up with fellow attendees to show them around and take them out on the town or for a run on your favorite trail. And if you’re not local, take any kind locals up on these offers and let the conference know what a great time you’re having in the town they’re hosting in.

If you’re attending the conference virtually

  1. Use that official hashtag just like you’re there! Comment on live-streamed panels and keynotes, ask questions, connect with attendees who are there.
  2. Share quick reports around different panels- like a TweetReach from Union Metrics snapshot report- particularly if they have a unique hashtag for them. Those running the event and speaking most likely won’t have time in the moment and will very much appreciate the feedback. Want to know how it works? See our example of #smx at a glance.
  3. In a similar vein, you can put together a Storify of tweets from a favorite panel to share back with attendees, panel speakers, and the conference itself. Write up a blog summary of what you’ve learned and include this in it.
  4. If it feels right, share a photo of you from your command room from afar, toasting with a morning coffee or even a cocktail at the close of the day, and tag it with the official hashtag. It’s a fun way to get a little face time even though you’re not in the same room with everyone else.
  5. If you planned to attend virtually but missed all or part of the proceedings in real-time (hey, life happens), check out our post Miss a conference? 5 tips for getting the most out of the hashtag on Twitter.

A final word

Have fun! Don’t be afraid to let your personality and sense of humor shine through in your tweets. Just because you’re at a professional event doesn’t mean you have to be boring.

Written by Sarah

August 27th, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Events,Guides

Tagged with , ,

Social video: Facebook and YouTube, Vine and Instagram, Periscope and Meerkat

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Social video is still the new black, and when it comes to deciding which platform to invest your resources in you need all the latest and best information you can get. So we decided to help you out with that. And remember that it’s not about pitting platforms against each other, but choosing the one that’s the best fit for your brand to bring value to your audience.

Facebook and YouTube.

YouTube is the widely acknowledged granddaddy of video content marketing. Over the years it has grown to produce its own stars, and even its own studios where creators can produce work, sometimes in partnership with brands to create content that benefits both of them. YouTube supports its creators and empowers them to make money from their presence on its site and expand their personal brand through it. View counts of videos are made “at the point at which people seem to actually be engaging with the video and not just immediately clicking away” or usually around the 30 second mark, according to YouTube creator Hank Green.

If your work is stolen and re-uploaded by a different user, YouTube has a system in place (Content ID) to identify this as existing content and allow the copyright holder to claim it so they don’t lose revenue. This is an important feature for creators, and one for brands to keep in mind as they produce original video content.

Facebook has recently made more moves into the video space, introducing its own native video uploading option which the Facebook News Feed algorithm prioritizes over outside video links. Those who have worked for years to build an audience on YouTube are now working to balance their Facebook content strategy with this built-in preference in mind; most of the Internet has a Facebook presence so it’s wise to invest time and energy into having one for almost any brand, but there aren’t as many failsafes in place to protect original content (you can learn more about the issue of “freebooting” here or below).

Facebook says that they are working on this and other issues, and to be fair, YouTube has had a decade to work on these policies and grow relationships with their creators. Facebook has enormous resources, but its video program is still a fledgling with definite room for growth.

Our best tip for a brand that may have an existing YouTube presence or wants to build one but also wants to promote that content to their audience on Facebook is one that we picked up in a recent #socialchat: Post a native Facebook “teaser” video that links to the full piece on YouTube, which will still prioritize that content over an embedded YouTube video.

Platform stats

Just want the numbers for each? Here’s the latest we could find:

Final answer?

So which should you choose, Facebook or YouTube? For brands with enough resources to make it work (and you need decent resources if you’re serious about producing quality video content), we recommend using YouTube as a home base- it’s perfect for content archives and sub-channels, like highlights of the people working for you or product demos based off of FAQs- and then experimenting with different promotional tactics on Facebook.

L2 puts it well in Why Facebook and YouTube’s Competition for Views Might Be a Tie:

“Facebook provides a rapid boost of popularity and also reaches a wide audience with its interruptive viewing format. While YouTube can also achieve rapid short-term scale with advertising, the platform is better positioned for content discovery.”

Use each platform for its strengths for a more robust video content strategy.

Vine and Instagram.

Vine and Instagram are the shorter-form video options available on the social media landscape today; Twitter-owned Vines cap at 6 seconds while Facebook-owned Instagram video caps at 15. Both require creativity to pull off, but Vine even more so since you have to distill your entire story into 6 seconds. Vine also has its own language of memes, which tend to run even faster through a meme-cycle than memes elsewhere on the Internet. Brands who have seen success on Vine have either paired with influencers in the space, or launched a series of tips and tricks that fit in the 6 second format, like Lowes.

Instagram advertising is opening to everyone later this year, as previously they have only worked with select brands to produce high-quality ads that (ideally) flow seamlessly with the rest of a user’s timeline. Brands who have participated in this pilot advertising program saw a continued lift in engagement following the advertising period, according to our own research. Other brands on Instagram have paired with appropriate influencers in the space to give their content a boost, sometimes running campaigns in conjunction with various influencers in appropriate spaces.

Platform stats.

Final answer?

Vine and Instagram require a higher level of creativity to be successful for most audiences, but brands can also test using these platforms to tease a smaller part of a larger work, driving traffic back to their YouTube channel or wherever it is they desire.

It’s once again about choosing the platform that’s best for your brand, which is the one that’s best for your audience: Are they interested in 6 second tips? Or high-quality video that’s often aspirational in nature? Know your audience and go from there.

Periscope and Meerkat.

The newest players on the block, these two live-streaming apps seem to be all many marketers are talking about lately. Meerkat debuted just before Twitter-owned Periscope, but both are quickly becoming pretty even in terms of the features they have: You can save your live-stream for later playback on both, you can connect them to existing networks to promote your stream (Facebook for Meerkat and Twitter for Periscope) and find accounts to follow, and you can use either to do a product demo, AMA, behind-the-scenes tour, exclusive interview, or give a front row seat to your mobile audience at a product launch.

Meerkat’s distinguishing features include a scheduling ability to help your audience plan around watching your stream, and Cameo, the ability to let another user take over your stream for up to 60 seconds. Periscope does not have either of these features at the moment, but that doesn’t mean something similar won’t be incorporated in a future update. Periscope does have a private broadcasting feature, a great way to set-up communication between offices or for the camera-shy to practice their live-streaming.

For a further breakdown of what each platform offers, read this piece from Newsweek or this one from Econsultancy, then supplement with Meerkat’s post about their latest update.

Platform stats.

Final answer?

Choose the live-streaming app that has more of the audience you’re trying to reach, and be sure you at least have an outline or rough idea of what you’re going to talk about before you just start saying things at your phone for an hour. Remember that whoever you put on Periscope or Meerkat is representing your brand, so choose a brand representative that matches brand values, is articulate and engaging, and does well in front of a camera.

Live-streaming is a new area for almost everyone, so don’t worry about producing a highly-polished video. Use this to experiment and show largely unseen aspects of your brand: Give private tours of labs or venues, interview staff setting up for an event, host an AMA around an interesting topic in your industry.

Final recommendations.

We recommend bookmarking this handy chart from Marketing Land - Social Video Chart: Your At-A-Glance Guide To 7 Major Platforms - to refer to on a lot of social video platform differences when you’re deciding where to put your content.

And if you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Written by Sarah

August 25th, 2015 at 9:12 am

Free snapshot reports now come with 100 tweets!

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Have you run a TweetReach snapshot report lately? Well we have great news! Our free snapshot reports now include up to 100 tweets! That’s twice the tweets they had before. Try it now – click on the image below to run your own free report.

Snapshot report

Run a snapshot report today on any hashtag, keyword, account name, or whatever it is that interests you (see more about what you can search for with a snapshot report here) and now get twice as many tweets about it. Still for free!

And don’t forget to share your report on Twitter once you’ve run it. We love to see what people are searching for!

Written by Sarah

August 19th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Our top travel resources on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and more

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Summer is peak travel time for most people, so whether you’re getting a head start on planning next year’s vacation or you’re having a last minute flight of fancy, we wanted to bring you the best travel resources we’ve found across social media.

Know of one we’re missing? Leave it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Twitter travel resources

Twitter is fantastic for all stages of travel planning: You can find local people and businesses to follow beforehand (or even other travelers who have been there before or will be there around the same time!) to do research about where you want to go and even get recommendations for things off the beaten path. If you’re not sure where to start finding these resources, we suggest joining a Twitter chat like Condé Nast’s weekly chat #TravelerHelpDesk. Get all your questions answered by someone immersed in the travel business!

For even more Twitter travel resources to get you started, check out The top travel resources on Twitter: Accounts to follow and chats to attend and find a few more chats not listed in that post in Travel resources on Twitter and more: Updated.

As for travel brands and those who work in the travel industry, you might like 2 reasons why the travel industry should be measuring share of voice and from Twitter themselves, Three new insights for travel brands on Twitter:

“Twitter is a favorite travel companion; about a third of users access Twitter before or after a trip, while 39% use the platform mid-journey. And nearly 20% of users Tweet to share feedback throughout their travel experience. Because it’s used at every stage of the travel process, Twitter can help brands develop strong relationships with consumers.”

Tumblr travel resources

Tumblr has an engaged travel community, and you can find travel companies sharing resources and vacation inspiration alongside other users. Start by visiting the Tumblr travel spotlight to find popular travel blogs to browse and follow, including Condé Nast Traveler for inspiration, or more explicit guides like this one from London’s Gatwick Airport or this NOLA city guide from a local perspective.

GONOLA

If you’re interested in everything we’ve covered on Tumblr and travel, check out the following:

Facebook travel resources

Facebook is a great place to follow your favorite travel companies to stay on top of any deals they’re offering- sometimes Facebook exclusive deals!- or contests you might want to enter. After all nothing beats a great vacation more than a free great vacation.

AirBNB FB

If you have travel blogs you love and read regularly it’s also a great idea to Like their Facebook pages to see when they post new updates. If you want to make sure you never miss an update, Facebook recently released a new way to prioritize who you see in your News Feed.

What Facebook really excels at is crowdsourcing information from your network of friends and family: Make a status update to ask for advice on what not to miss in a certain city you’re visiting, or look through albums to be sure you remember the name of that national park that looked like a can’t-miss from your college friend’s last vacation. You might even get the chance to reconnect with a long-lost friend you forgot was living in your next travel destination. Just don’t forget to post your own albums when you get home to pay it forward.

Instagram travel resources

Instagram is the place where people share photos of the places they’ve been, so browse around on #TravelTuesday to get some travel inspiration and check out the other hashtags we’ve listed here if that’s not enough for you. (While you’re browsing, don’t be afraid to follow any accounts you particularly like or ask questions about destination spots in the comments!)

#TravelTuesday Aug13

Use the same hashtags to share your own travel photos past, present, and future. Just remember not to share too many photos on Instagram at once; we recommend spacing out no more than three- or maybe five if they’re really good- a day. Use your discretion based on what you know about your followers.

Snapchat travel resources

Snapchat is a great way to share your travel adventures with your friends while they’re happening without worrying about flooding any of their feeds. You don’t have to worry about data either because Snapchat just released Travel Mode. Follow travel brands Marriott Hotels (username marriotthotels) and Condé Nast Traveler (cntraveler) on Snapchat, as well as travel personalities Jerome Jarre (jeromejarre) and Casey Neistat (caseyneistat).

Topdeck Travel (topdeck.travel) also has an account they promote as “the first travel show on Snapchat” so get some travel snap inspiration from them as well.

Finally, don’t miss out on the local Live Stories Snapchat has; it’s a great way to get a glimpse of how locals really live and what they most want to share with potential visitors around the world. Here’s a recent example from Belfast:

Bonus: Pinterest and general travel resources

Pinterest really excels for the planning stage of your trip: Set up boards around what you need to pack, what sights you want to see, and pin any good travel resources you find like “how to pack for two weeks in a carry-on” or other helpful tips you might want to reference again for future trips.

For all the other tips we have on where to get the best travel information possible across social, check out our definitive post on The 10 Best Travel Resources on Social Media and Beyond and this great post from The Girl and The Globe on How to Use Social Media for Travel Planning.

Written by Sarah

August 18th, 2015 at 9:40 am

4 ways to use social media to keep fans engaged year-round

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Whether you host an annual event like an awards show or you’re a small business like a dermatologist that only sees patients once a year, social media can help you stay engaged with your fans and customers during non-peak times.

These types of events and customer relationships require a very different social media strategy from their ongoing counterparts. During a big event, for example, you’ll likely receive thousands of new followers and lots of engagement with your content. A patient sitting in a waiting room is more likely to follow a sign prompting them to follow you on Twitter or Like you on Facebook. But if you let your blog stagnate during the off period between events or you don’t think of a content strategy to engage that patient between visits, you’ll have to start almost entirely over next year.

Through our own research we’ve seen evidence that suggests if you stop posting new content, you’ll start to lose followers over time.

How can you prevent this from happening? We’ll break down some ideas, but it’s up to you to test them with your own audience, measure the results, and keep planning your engagement strategy going forward. (Don’t worry, though, we’re always here to help if you have questions!)

1. Take advantage of existing fan bases.

Find who the celebrities and influencers are in your industry and tap into their existing fan bases to encourage engagement throughout the year.

Promote these influencers’ related projects.

No matter your industry, there are influencers for you to identify and connect and engage with in appropriate ways. One way to do this is to promote the projects they’re working on that are related to your own brand values and mission. For example, a small health clinic might find some healthy lifestyle influencers who focus on nutritious diet and active lifestyle to partner with, while a hardware store might produce a series of how-tos or tips and tricks with a local woodworker. Partnering with an appropriate influencer or expert boosts your reach across both audiences, while also giving your audiences the kind of content they want: Exactly what has value for them.

Share content that specifically engages current niche groups or fandoms.

Working with these influencers on your audience’s preferred platform- Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or another, like Snapchat- also means you have in this influencer a resource that knows how to speak the language of this platform.  Be respectful of their knowledge of the particular culture of the platform, especially if it’s not one you’re familiar with. This listening is vital particularly if you want to tap into an existing niche community or fandom; you have to be authentic and build on existing fandoms in a respectful way or fans will outright reject your participation. Get to know a community before jumping right in.

#beeryoga

Yogis who love beer are a growing niche, especially on Instagram, as we’ve written about on Tumblr.

2. Showcase content exhaust.

Every industry produces a ton of content that never sees the light of day, particularly around any large-scale events, but also during the daily grind. We call this “content exhaust” – what’s left over after you create publicly consumable content. Social media loves content exhaust and it’s a great way to expand a content queue.

Share behind-the-scenes content.

Day-to-day and especially during large events, take lots of pictures and videos behind the scenes and in non-public spaces. Post them to show people who aren’t there what you see as an insider. Fans and followers love insider information; they love to feel like they’re in the loop. How can you help them feel more included?

While we might not all have the resources of The Oscars, The Academy shared this beautiful set of GIFs from the orchestra’s rehearsal before the show. This is a view fans don’t normally see on the televised broadcast, and it helps create a more intimate feel of how the show actually works. Think of how you can use this on the scale of your business. What seems boring and routine to you might be fascinating to an outsider; how a hairdresser mixes dyes, for example, or a tattoo artist sketching new ideas while on break. Try to look around you with fresh eyes, or even asking friends and family what aspects of your job or industry they’re curious about. Build from there.

Post content featuring event setup and breakdown.

It might not seem like much beyond logistics for you, but to fans learning more about the ins and outs of producing an event can be fascinating. And we mean any kind of event: A tradeshow for any industry, a convention, an open house. Share images and stories from before and after the event that show how everything comes together. For some events, this can include activities from weeks or even months before it actually happens. Tap an entertaining coworker to be your on-camera tour guide, do quick interviews with the guys setting up the stage or planning the lighting, introduce the interns stuffing the swag bags, or anything else that comes to mind.

Getting fans and followers involved at an early stage might also make them more invested in the event itself, and encourage them to attend or even just follow along the hashtag across social media as it happens. (Note: This makes planning and promoting a unique, relevant hashtag for your event across social platforms very important!)

Highlight smaller related events leading up to the main event.

Going to a tasting with a catering company? Post artful photos of the food you’re sampling, or share a quick interview with the chef who made it. Even something spontaneous and funny that happens at a copy shop you’re forced to run into when planned collateral doesn’t arrive on time is a potential source of content—  especially if the staff behind the counter starts singing and you capture it. (It should go without saying you need the permission of these participants before sharing, however!)

3. Use trends to your advantage.

Participate in rituals like #TBT.

Social media channels have so many rituals, memes and shared behaviors. Get to know them and find some you can participate in. One of our favorites is throwback Thursday, also know as #TBT. On Thursdays, people across social media share pictures or memories from their past. This is a long-standing social ritual, and one that’s easy to participate in: You can share photos from a company’s early days, baby photos of employees (bonus points for having everyone guess who it is now!), or a throwback to everyone enjoying the closing party last year around your big event that happens to be coming up again soon.

One quick cautionary note: Before you jump into a meme or conversation, check to see what it’s really about and if it’s still relevant. On many social platforms, trends can emerge and then fade away in just a few days (see this post on Tumblr that’s a meta-analysis of Tumblr memes), and you don’t want to be caught using last week’s meme.

Engage in conversation around other events and holidays.

Wish fans and followers a happy new year or Valentine’s Day. Share their excitement about the upcoming weekend or warmer weather. It’s okay to talk about regular-people-things to relate to your fans. However, in general, it’s probably best to avoid piling on to newsworthy current events (a.k.a. “newsjacking”), particularly anything where people were killed, injured or in any way harmed. Stay out of those conversations, as that rarely goes well.

 

From CheapTweet to TweetReach to Union Metrics: Here’s a throwback to the CheapTweet days. Were you following us then? #TBT #throwback #tech #smm #socialmediamarketing #TwitterMarketing #CheapTweet #TweetReach #UnionMetrics

A photo posted by Union Metrics (@unionmetrics) on

 

4. Upcycle existing content.  

If your company or industry has a long history, you probably have a lot of historical content. Fans both new and old would love to see it! How can you share it with them throughout the year? Create a content calendar of ideas, if that helps, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it rigidly. It’s always best to leave room for new ideas and spur-of-the-moment inspiration.

Celebrate historical moments and anniversaries.

Talk about important dates in your history. What was going on this time last year, five years ago, 20 years ago? When did you start? Is an employee having an anniversary with the company you can celebrate? Even a funny post memorializing the first company laptop makes for a good moment of levity in a follower’s feed.

Share archive materials.

Dig up interesting content from your past. This could be old photos of early days, notes or minutes from your first meetings, screenshots of old websites, the CEO’s cover letter for their first job, anything.

A final note

It requires having someone dedicated to social media year-round if you want to truly keep fans engaged and continue to grow your audience during the off season. But with a little work and the right content, there’s no reason you can’t turn a one-time event, annual office visit, or semi-annual haircut into an ongoing social media sensation.

Written by Sarah

August 11th, 2015 at 10:38 am

Sharing your vacation across social: What to post where, so you don’t overwhelm

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Seeing vacation photos from friends, family, and colleagues can be a nice mini-vacation for the viewer, or it can be an irritating nightmare of never-ending hot dog legs and sandy feet. To keep from being That Friend, we have a handy guide for how much to share on each platform so when you get home everyone will be asking for more instead of awkwardly trying to hide the fact that they unfollowed you.

#travelgram

On Twitter: Full steam ahead

With Twitter as established as it is, most users feeds are a constant stream of content, so multiple updates a day or even live-tweeting a tour or other vacation adventure would be welcome rather than scorned.

While you’re away from home posting regularly is a great way to find new accounts to follow and interact with in time zones you’re not normally active in. Use the opportunity to ask locals for recommendations on where to eat and must-see attractions, and don’t be afraid to check out local hashtags for events in the area and more.

On Facebook: Use sharing settings to your advantage

Facebook changes its algorithm of which posts it shares with users fairly often- right now you can select up to 30 accounts to prioritize seeing updates from in your feed- but even your closest friends and family probably don’t want their entire newsfeed filled with hundreds of your vacation photos. Post up to three times a day, sharing the best and brightest of what you’ve captured (consider sharing directly from Instagram to keep things quick and simple if you’re on limited time or data).

If you want to share more, Facebook’s detailed setting options work really well for situations like this: Consider using friends/family only settings for more frequent updates, if you have an aunt you know will love to see every single detail of your trip as soon as possible.

On Instagram: Showcase the best of the best

Instagram thrives on gorgeous vacation photos- just take a look at the screenshot of #travelgram seen at the top of this post- but the constricted nature of an Instagram feed means you can easily overwhelm your followers, so consider posting up to three times a day, maximum, spread out over the course of the day. You might be able to get away with more if you’re in a completely different time zone than the majority of your followers, but nobody wants to wake up to 25 pictures of the same mountain either.

Share the best and brightest of each day’s adventures for maximum impact and save the rest to share on #TravelTuesdays when you’re sitting at your desk and could use a little mini-escape.

On Tumblr: Queue while you’re away

Instagram also has the option to share photos directly to Tumblr, making it easy to keep your blog from becoming stagnant while you’re away. If you have the time and internet connection, consider using Tumblr as a vacation blog to record your memories as you go with daily updates. This will not only entertain your followers, it might also help you find new ones who enjoy reading about your adventures with the added bonus of giving you something fun to read through when you get home.

You can also set a queue before you leave so your followers don’t wonder if you’ve disappeared forever on a long trip; queue up enough content to roughly match the pace of your usual posting, if not a little less. If your Tumblr presence is fairly anonymous you can post to your most interactive followers that you’re going away and won’t be around to reblog for a while.

How anonymous you truly are, however, brings us to our final point.

One caveat

Some criminals have targeted victims posting about going on vacation via social media, so be sure you don’t have location data turned on that lists your home address on any of your accounts or you might return home to something less than relaxing. If some of your accounts are more anonymous than others, be sure you aren’t cross-posting secure information from one over to your most public presence.

Here’s a guide from Discover that covers some important social media safety points.

Written by Sarah

August 4th, 2015 at 8:03 am

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