Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category
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.)
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.
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.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 19, 2015
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!
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!
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:
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.
Image 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).
Image 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.
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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:
If 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:
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.
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!
Planning a comprehensive visual content marketing strategy across social channels is overwhelming. Let us help. For free.
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.
At TweetReach, we provide measures of potential reach and impressions on Twitter.
Reach is the size of the estimated potential unique audience for a set of tweets. We calculate reach algorithmically, based on data we’ve been collecting from Twitter since we launched more than five years ago. It’s a great way of estimating how large your audience on Twitter could be, and takes unique recipients into account, removing duplicates.
Impressions measure the size of total potential exposure. This shows you how many total timelines your tweets were delivered to – including multiple deliveries to the same account – so it’s a count of the maximum total impressions possible for a set of tweets.
If you’ve ever seen the analytics Twitter provides for your Twitter account, you’ve noticed they provide a count of actual impressions for each of your tweets. That impressions number shows how many people actually saw that tweet. So you may be wondering how TweetReach impressions and Twitter impressions relate to each other. What do they each mean? Which one should you use? Why are they so different?
Twitter provides actual impressions for your tweets, while TweetReach calculates total potential impressions for those tweets. You can use these numbers together to fully understand how impactful your tweets are. The number of actual impressions your tweets receive will vary from tweet to tweet and account to account, but your actual impressions will likely be between 1% and 20% of your potential impressions.
Knowing how your actual impressions compare to your potential impressions shows you exactly how well your tweets are performing, how large your activated audience is, and how large your potential audience could be. What’s the ratio of your actual impressions to potential impressions? Are your tweets on the low side? Do some tweets perform better than others? Ask yourself the following questions to help improve the ratio of actual impressions to potential impressions.
What tweets get the most impressions?
First, look at which tweets are seen – and engaged with – by the most people. What makes those tweets different from your lower-performing tweets? Maybe you used a particular hashtag or included a photo. Maybe you mentioned someone who retweeted you. Whatever it is, try doing more of that to see how you can activate more of your potential audience, and improve your ratio of actual to potential impressions. For example, we’ve found for our own content, hashtags like #smm and #measure help get our tweets in front of a receptive, responsive audience interested in social media marketing. And our tweets with an interesting photo or video get high rates of engagement. And when it comes to posts about our company, tweets using the #hiring hashtag generate a lot more impressions than an average tweet.
What tweets get the fewest impressions?
Next, look at the tweets that are performing the worst. Which ones have the fewest impressions and least engagement? Look for patterns in those tweets. Sometimes you can learn more from what’s not working than from what is working. For example, we’ve found that some of our text-only tweets get fewer impressions and lower engagement than our visual content does. But not every time – there seems to be certain types of images that work better than others for us. What do you see in your analytics?
What’s different about your outliers?
Finally, are there any tweets that get way more engagement or impressions than the rest of your tweets? Dig deeper into these tweets, in both Twitter and TweetReach. What exactly spurred that response? Twitter will tell you how many retweets, replies, clicks and favorites a tweet received, and TweetReach can tell you who retweeted or replied to you and how much amplification they contributed to that tweet. Use this information to see what caused the spike, and think about how you can try to replicate this on future tweets.
Who engages with your tweets? And how?
Finally, you can use other metrics on engagement (like retweets and replies, average retweet rate) and contributors (such as the people who have engaged the most with your content and generated the most amplification for your content) to understand not just how far your content is reaching, but how and with whom. When taken together, along with actual and potential impressions, you can more completely understand what’s working with your Twitter account and how you can improve what isn’t.
You can run a free TweetReach snapshot report here any time, on any hashtags, usernames or keywords. Try it now! Want more? Check out our comprehensive TweetReach Pro subscriptions, with real-time monitoring and analytics, starting at just $99 per month.
Taking a traditionally offline event online- such as a book club, wine tasting, or even a conference- can seem strange and daunting, but it’s an amazing opportunity to connect people both locally and globally over a shared interest no matter their travel resources or abilities. We’ve put together some tips for making the transition as easy as possible so you can host a seamless virtual event from anywhere!
Before the event
As event planners well know, the bulk of your work comes before the event and a virtual event is no exception.
1. Identify the common thread. While some events make it easy- the book you’ll be discussing for a book club or the wine you’ll be tasting and rating- others are a little trickier. If it’s a conference create a hub of materials like blog posts that deal with the subject matter you’ll be covering so that attendees can ask smart questions. Bonus points if they’re from virtual speakers.
2. Send personalized invitations. Invite those you know would be interested and ask them to spread the word to their networks and any other interested parties they can think of.
3. Identify influencers. Choose a few appropriate influencers to invite and send them the book or wine; alternatively you can set up a contest ahead of time to win the book, wine, or a free virtual ticket so some attendees will already be invested in the event.
4. Create a hashtag. You want one that is unique, ideally not already in use, and that isn’t too long (or your participants will have fewer characters with which to share their ideas).
5. Send reminders. Announce the time and date with several scheduled reminders across your social networks. Be sure to send personalized reminders to your influencers too!
6. Make a measurement plan. You want to know your hard work pays off, so make a plan to be able to prove it to yourself and your higher ups before the event actually happens. Read more about how to do that here.
During the event
7. Share photos. Participants love behind-the-scenes shots of your setup, and putting a face to the brand conducting an event gives everyone a more human way to connect. Encourage participants to share their own photos too.
8. Relax and have fun with it. Issues pop up with even the most elaborately planned events. Participants are most forgiving of snags if you’re quick to react and have a good sense of humor about it.
After the event
9. Do a post-op for next time. Review the data you collected to see what went well, what unforeseen issues might have popped up, and how you can plan better for next time.
10. Ask participants what could go better. They might have some insights that aren’t obvious from your data, but also you make them more invested in returning if they feel like they have a hand in shaping the event going forward.
Have you attended a virtual version of a typically real-world event? How did it go? Leave your experience in the comments!
The rising popularity of video across social media means you’re probably doing more of it and you want to be sure your videos are as recognizable to your brand as the rest of your content is.
Designing a cohesive visual style is a lot like finding your voice in writing; it might vary a bit in tone across platforms depending on the audience you’re writing to in each place, but overall you want people to be able to recognize when it’s you. With that in mind, here are some tips for realizing a cohesive visual brand across social media channels.
1. Do your research.
Who’s your competition and what themes stand out from their visual branding? What about brands or personal brands you admire? Take a look at a few accounts and take notes on what you like about their styles- intentional or not- and think about how to apply it to your own.
2. Consider your resources.
Some of the things you identified in the previous point might be impossible if you’ve got a team of just yourself and $0 in the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still tie things together. It can be as simple as choosing a few visual cues to repeat or finding a design overlay that matches your branding. See the next point for more on this.
3. Decide on a common element.
Will it be the same host in your videos every time, either by face or voice? Different hosts, but a carefully chosen background? (Like John Green’s salon on the Mental Floss YouTube channel; a very identifiable background despite different hosts.) The same filter used in post-processing along with your logo? Find a common thread that will tie your work together when someone is looking at your video content as a whole, and that makes it easily recognizable out in the wilds of the Internet.
4. Consider what you’ve already created.
If older video content (say your Vine account or first run at a YouTube channel) has low engagement and doesn’t match the new style you have in mind, you can consider editing your account page and/or removing pieces from the resources page on your website altogether and starting fresh. Otherwise on a more casual platform like Instagram you can show how your brand has evolved, visually and otherwise, over time. That highlights the authenticity to your work that can’t be manually produced.
5. Test, measure, test, repeat.
The advice we’ll almost always give: Decide what your goals are for the videos on each platform you’re going to tackle, then measure and plan new content going forward based on what’s working. Test new approaches you can think of, measure those, repeat.
Last but never least? Have fun with it. Your audience will be able to tell.
Image via Alexandre van de sande on Flickr; used with Creative Commons license.
So you want to get into video content marketing.
Those who are excellent at video content marketing make it look easy, leaving the uninitiated with high hopes and a crushing sense of reality once they start researching the work that goes into a well-executed and branded piece of video content. Should you be live-streaming? On Meerkat, or on Periscope? Should you be on both? What about Google Hangouts, is anyone still doing those? All the kids are on Snapchat, right? What about the more established longer-form video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo? Or Vine? And what about the social media platforms that have a video option, like Instagram and now Facebook? It can all be a little overwhelming. Let’s break it down, so you can figure out which social video platforms are right for your brand, based on your resources and goals.
First things first: What does each platform do?
- Meerkat: A live-streaming app where footage is not accessible later. Twitter pulled their official card access after launching their competing acquisition, Periscope, leaving some to speculate on Meerkat’s eventual fate.
- Periscope: Owned by Twitter, it’s a live-streaming app with videos you can replay later. There’s a private broadcast option as well. (For a more in-depth comparison of Meerkat and Periscope, read this.)
- Google Hangouts: Face-to-face video conversation where your broadcast is automatically recorded and uploaded to YouTube after you’re finished.
Prerecorded video platforms:
- Vine: 6 seconds of glory, but recent research shows you only get about 3 to catch your audience’s attention, so don’t rule it out for length.
- Instagram: Videos on Instagram are limited to 15 seconds, giving you a lot more creative room than on Vine.
- Snapchat: Send quick snaps in video or photo form, or build bigger and longer stories using both; stories expire in 24hrs whereas snaps last for the duration set by the sender (up to 10 seconds). Recipients can replay one snap a day and they can save snaps by taking a screenshot, but it tells the sender you did so.
- Facebook video: Facebook has recently launched their own native videos, which autoplay on the site (and the same 3-seconds-to-catch-your-audience’s-attention rule stands) but without volume. Another recent update has made their videos embeddable on other sites.
- YouTube: The granddaddy of video, they’ve been moving into the original content space as more and more of the younger generation move away from traditional TV (and even admire YouTube personalities over celebs). YouTube offers a lot of tools for building your audience, advertising, and being part of the Google family makes it good choice for SEO rankings.
- Vimeo: Another option for brands producing high-quality video is Vimeo, which gives you branded players and the ability to embed elsewhere as on YouTube. Here are Vimeo’s brand guidelines.
So what is each platform best for?
As more users adapt to these newer platforms and shift with changes on the established ones, they’ll come up with new and creative ways to use them. In the meantime, here are some ideas for how you can use each platform based on what we’ve seen in the wild. Choose according to your brand’s goals, the type of content you’ll be producing with the resources you have available, and first and foremost, where your audience is. Live-streaming
- Meerkat: Livestream an event that’s part of a series to get people interested in coming next time- a conference series, or an interview with a well-known expert in your industry- but they have to buy a ticket to the next one or catch the stream in time. If an element of exclusivity works well with your brand’s audience, then this might be the best approach for you.
- Periscope: Livestream a speech or presentation to increase your audience. Share the playback to your established audience that might have missed it, and be sure to watch it yourself to help you tweak your delivery for next time.
- Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts function best for meetings and the recordings are often best suited for internal use or transcribing an interview. However, long pieces can be edited down into a summary and other usable pieces. It’s not a bad idea to start with longform content and repurpose it across other platforms, given you have the time and resources to do so.
- Vine: Got a clever way to show a how-to or answer a question? Vine’s for you. (Econsultancy does a monthly roudup with great brand examples on Vine.)
- Instagram: For creative that’s a little longer than 6 seconds that you want to fit into your overall visual brand, there’s Instagram. Post a clip from longer content, as mentioned above, share tips and tricks, or even produce a series of short videos like Gap did for their spring campaign.
- Snapchat: If your target audience is young, then sending fun behind-the-scenes Snapchat stories is a great move embraced by a lot of the brands currently on the platform. Here are some other creative ways brands are using the platform, from Convince & Convert.
- Facebook video: If your audience is dedicated to Facebook, you might want to consider making this your video content hub. If you’re already invested in YouTube, you can repurpose content from your channel for Facebook or experiment with Facebook-exclusive content. Here’s a great example of shifting strategy from PopSugar on Digiday.
- YouTube: Your video hub- create a dedicated brand channel from which you can spin off side-channels, if that makes sense for your content strategy, brand, and resources- from which you can repurpose content into smaller, shorter videos for all the above, aforementioned networks.
- Vimeo: ReelSEO has a great breakdown of the differences between YouTube and Vimeo for brands, depending on what your priorities are. If you’ve got the resources, consider optimizing videos for both.
What else should I know?
It’s probably worth mentioning the biggest con in live-streaming video: Not everyone is a natural in front of the camera and with the lack of editing available when you’re streaming live, well, unless you’re famous or dealing with extremely topical subject matter in an entertaining way it can be tough to find an audience. The golden rule of content applies here as it does everywhere else: Be sure you’re creating content that’s of value to your customers and making it available on the platforms where they prefer to spend their time. Put in the work to find out where that is, and what it is they want from you.
Any more questions?
Leave ‘em in the comments. Just remember to have fun; your audience can tell when you are.