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Our Social Media Manager’s best tips from #SocialPro

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Last week the Union Metrics Editorial Team- Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis and Social Media Manager Sarah A. Parker- attended SocialPro in Las Vegas, and came back with some handy tips to consider working into your social content marketing strategy going forward.

There were a ton of great presenters sharing expertise on a range of topics- Jenn gave two herself on The Facebook Metrics that Matter and Instagram Insta-Success- and this post couldn’t cover them all, so browse the rest if there’s something you’re interested in we didn’t get into here.

On video content.

When it comes to video campaignsAndrew Grinaker had a great takeaway in his presentation on the first day of SocialPro: Build layers into a story and break those layers out into repurposed content across different platforms. How to do this in practice? If you’re live-streaming something, have a second camera on it for permanent footage that can be broken down into a series of short videos for other platforms, and even GIFs and still images. Capture the parts of the story in each format that work best for the platform you plan to share them on.

Michelle StinsonRoss had more to add on streaming video, particularly repurposing it: Edit a vertically shot streaming video file before you add it to platform like YouTube; you can use the border space to add in questions or anything else that will add value and clarity for the viewer. An example:

An example of using the border space around vertical video to add value on another platform like YouTube. From this slide on SlideShare.

An example of using the border space around vertical video to add value on another platform like YouTube. From this slide on SlideShare.

Dennis Goedegebuure had a great reminder when it comes to Facebook video: You need to upload it natively to get exposure on that platform, but then you don’t own the property. Be sure you also upload your content to places you do own, such as microsites etc.

Speaking of Facebook. . .

Lisa Buyer on the Care and Feeding of Your Facebook News Feed: Be sure to cohesively brand images so when fans see them in their News Feed they immediately recognize it as being from your brand. Also consider treating your cover image like a magazine cover and switch it out seasonally or quarterly to match what is going on with your brand’s content calendar.

Rhune Kincaid experimented with high quality video production and lower-quality but still funny video production for First Entertainment Credit Union on Facebook, and actually found more engagement from the audience with the latter. The takeaway? Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun to find the type of content your audience is actually interested in.

As far as The Facebook Metrics That Matter, here’s a quick takeaway from Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis’s presentation:

(You can also read our blog post about it here.)

A final few takeaways for brands to consider across social platforms:

  • Share of voice has shifted from brands to personal brands/content creators since 2010; that’s what has driven the rise in influencer partnerships/influencer marketing (Sean Womack, @Touchstorm)
  • Any channel you are in becomes a customer support channel, so be prepared to dedicate the resources to deal with customer complaints that come in unexpected places. (Eric Enge)
  • Dealing with trolls is more about the takeaway your other customers might get from viewing the interaction than actually converting a troll (also from Eric Enge)
  • Finally, find the content that’s performing the best organically and pay to boost it (Larry Kim). Or to put it another way:

Were you at SocialPro? What were your big takeaways? Leave ‘em in the comments or tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics

And if you’re interested in learning more about the metrics we have to offer from either of Jenn’s presentations, you can learn more about our Facebook analytics here, see a live demo of our Instagram analytics here, or even give them a small test drive with our free Instagram account checkup

Written by Sarah

November 24th, 2015 at 11:56 am

Quick tip: Find and use your top Instagram hashtag for more engagement

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One of the easiest ways to boost engagement with your Instagram posts is to use better hashtags. So, how do you know which hashtags lead to more likes and followers? It’s easy with our Instagram account checkup. So first, log in to your Union Metrics Instagram account checkup and make sure you have the newest data for your Instagram account.

(Haven’t run a free Instagram account checkup yet? Sign up here.)

Then scroll down to the hashtag section of your report. It should look like this:

top instagram hashtag We’ve highlighted your top Instagram hashtag. This is based on activity with your account from the past month, and looks at all the hashtags you’ve added to all your posts to find the ones that have resulted in the most engagement (likes and comments). It then maps your top hashtags against your average likes and comments per post. So anything above or to the right or the orange lines in your graph is above average for you.

The top 3 hashtags are shown in blue. In the above example, that’s #sunset, #clouds and #nature. Photos with these hashtags have gotten more likes and comments than the average post on this account. If this was your report, then we’d suggest that you use those hashtags more frequently. The content you’ve shared to those hashtag communities has resonated well, so you’re on the right track. In this case, pretty pictures of sunsets seem to be working well.

sunset photos

So once you’ve found some of your top hashtags, try using them more often and see if your engagement rates go up. But don’t overuse or spam them! As always, make sure your content fits with the Instagram aesthetic and will work well in a particular hashtag’s community. This only leads to more engagement if your content is good and makes sense with your hashtag.

So that’s it – find your top hashtags and use them more often, and you will get more engagement.

And once you’ve set up your checkup, you can refresh it once a day to get updated metrics, so don’t forget to come back later and see how your other hashtags are working.

Written by Jenn D

November 18th, 2015 at 9:30 am

On Facebook, photo content and News Feed priorities

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Keeping up with the changes around Facebook’s News Feed algorithm can be daunting, with new articles constantly coming out around changes in the type of content that Facebook prioritizes. Are photos still getting the best organic reach? Or is it statuses now? But if it’s statuses why do I keep seeing so many posts about how visual content marketing is everything? As with all social media there is unfortunately no magic answer that will work now and continue to work forever; the best strategy is a mix of best practices combined with what you already know about your audience and enough experimentation to keep learning about any changing demographics and/or interests. With that said, we dug around a little to see how we could best understand how the Facebook News Feed algorithm really works and the best approach for brands to take that isn’t so of-the-moment it will be instantly outdated.

The most recent changes and what they mean for brands.

This summer Facebook released several algorithm changes for News Feed that were written about at length: Time spent on story (stories that may not be “likeable” are still prioritized in a feed if friends spent time reading them), more criteria for video (considering users turning on sound or making video full-screen, instead of just counting likes/comments/shares), and “See First” which allows users to directly prioritize which friends and Pages they see content from in their feed. Brand takeaway: “See First” means brands shouldn’t be shy about asking fans to prioritize their content if it’s something they enjoy seeing and interacting with. Facebook also announced a growing interest in visual content for a global audience (emphasis added):

“People everywhere are embracing visual communication formats, like video, at a staggering rate. More than 50% of people on Facebook in the UK, Brazil, South Korea, Singapore, Israel and the UAE watch a video every day. In Asia-Pacific people are spending more time creating and consuming videos, including ads. In fact, in just one year, the number of video posts created per person on Facebook increased 75% globally, 52% in Australia, 36% in South Korea and 138% in the United Arab Emirates. People in the Middle East now consume more video per person than any other region in the world.”

Brand takeaway: Pay close attention to Page demographics and test content based on this information if their audience matches; brands might be surprised how widespread their audience is and there is potential to strengthen relationships with untapped audience.

UM photo post on FB

A recent photo post on the Union Metrics Facebook Page. You can follow us there for more robot visuals. 

But does this mean brands should definitely prioritize visual content? TIME has a thorough piece on how, exactly, News Feed works with this important takeaway:

“Around 2011, Facebook moved on from EdgeRank to a more complex machine learning system that better individualizes each user’s experience. Instead of assuming that all users enjoy photos, the algorithm would adapt to users’ behavior so that people who click on photos see more pictures and people who don’t click on them see fewer. This is the algorithm that’s currently powering your News Feed, and the one Facebook’s engineers are constantly tinkering with. ‘You have a lot of impact,’ Steinberg says about working on the News Feed. ‘When that team makes a change, the rest of the company is going to be paying attention.’”

Brand takeaway: Does your audience like photos? If you don’t know that answer, now is the time to start experimenting, and that doesn’t even have to take a ton of resources. For example, select a piece of content for re-marketing and present valuable information from it in multiple forms: Photos yes (try photos with captions and photos with text superimposed on them), but also short videos, status updates, links to related pieces, shares from Instagram. Pay attention to the response on each type of content and use that information to plan going forward.

What’s always true for brands.

Having the latest industry data and keeping up with best practices gives every brand a great benchmark to start testing from, not to create a rigid content marketing plan from. Why? Because every audience is unique and might not necessarily respond to industry best practices. Brands should test new content types, timing and other factors regularly to see what types of content their audience responds to the best, and build an ongoing dynamic strategy from there. It always takes hard work and research to listen to your audience, but when you really know what they want they’ll be way more likely to stick with you.

Need help listening? Check out our comprehensive Facebook analytics, available through the Union Metrics Social Suite

Written by Sarah

November 17th, 2015 at 9:10 am

iPhone sales, Twitter and how tech culture has changed since 2007

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Now that you know about Echo, we wanted to show you what, exactly, you can do with it. We’ll be sharing a series of stories told through Echo’s data and visualizations.  Feel free to ask us any questions you may have in the comments below, or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics. You can learn more about Echo here

The Apple iPhone has been around almost as long as Twitter. Digging into how Twitter has talked about the iPhone over the past eight years can tell us a great deal about Apple, Twitter and tech culture.

The first iPhone was announced in January 2007, when Twitter was just a tiny network with around 20,000 users. The announcement generated 584 tweets on January 9, 2007. There were only 19 speculative tweets in the week leading up the announcement.

By the time the iPhone actually launched in late June, 2007, Twitter had many more users, as it had been a big hit at the SXSW festival in March of that year. That led to a 10x increase in tweet volume, seeing 6k tweets on release day. These tweets were more typical of later iPhone launches, as giddy new iPhone owners celebrated their new purchases.

This pattern was repeated for the next several iPhone cycles. For the first three years of the iPhone’s existence, excitement picked up in the weeks between the announcement and release dates, leading to more tweets on release day than on announcement day. People were just so excited to get and use their new phones that they couldn’t stop tweeting about it. In 2008, the release generated 45k tweets on launch day. In 2009, it was 205k tweets.

iPhone original, 3G, 4 and 5 courtesy of Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr; used with Creative Commons License.

iPhone original, 3G, 4 and 5 courtesy of Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr; used with Creative Commons License.

But starting in 2010 with the iPhone 4, the announcement itself became the event, generating more and more tweets every year. This is also the year that regular iPhone chatter on Twitter became significant and large. In 2010, nearly 100k new tweets were posted every day about the iPhone. By 2013, this number had grown to 650k daily iPhone tweets.

And then an interesting patterns emerges. Starting with the iPhone 5, the S models that are released in odd years don’t generate as much buzz on Twitter as their previous year’s counterpart. In fact, the 2013 5S and 2015 6S announcements actually generated fewer tweets than the 5 and 6, respectively. The S models don’t have a new body style, and they don’t generate the same levels of excitement as a brand new phone does.

Interestingly, general everyday conversation about iPhones has decreased in the past year or two. This is probably due to two things. First, so many people have iPhones now that many people don’t talk explicitly about their iPhones as much anymore. They may just call them “phones” or not tweet about them at all. They’re ubiquitous and second nature and there’s just not as much to say. 700 million iPhones have been sold around the world; they’re not exactly unique any more. Second, Android phones have become incredibly popular, so a number of people talking about smartphones on Twitter are talking about their Androids, not their iPhones. In fact, over the past 45 days, there have been more tweets about Androids than about iPhones: 550k daily Android tweets and 450k daily iPhone tweets.

iphone echo

For brands, this is a lesson in innovation and how important it is to continue to evolve your product to stay relevant to your customers. iPhones are still just as technologically advanced as they were in 2007 (way more so, probably), but they’re just not as new, not as noteworthy. Using Union Metrics Echo, Apple’s marketing team can look at the volumes and types of tweets about iPhones compared to tweets about Android to see what they’re missing. What are Android users tweeting about? What do they love or hate about their phones and how could Apple use that information to better market to that audience?

Beyond that, Echo is perfect for researching past annual events, like a recurring product launch, conference or sporting event. Use this information to find trends over time, including tweet volume changes (what does it mean if you see fewer tweets this year than last?), top tweets (what content gets retweeted each year?), and other insights.


iPhone Model and Release Year Announcement Day Tweets Release Day
Twitter Users
1st generation, 2007 584 6k ~20k
3G, 2008 32k 45k ~1M
3GS, 2009 201k 205k ~10M
4, 2010 728k 384k 40M
4S, 2011 1.8M 662k 101M
5, 2012 3.4M 1.7M 167M
5C and 5S, 2013 3.3M 1.3M 231M
6 and 6 Plus, 2014 5.2M 2.3M 284M
6S and 6S Plus, 2015 2.1M 845k 304M


Union Metrics Echo makes it painless for brands to research a current or past product launch, do competitive research and understand share of voice.

Written by Sarah

November 12th, 2015 at 11:11 am

The metrics that matter on Facebook

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This article, written by our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis, was originally published on PerformanceIN

One of the best things about Facebook is all the metrics we can access through Insights or third-party analytics providers (like Union Metrics!). For brands, it’s a veritable data buffet! However, there are so many metrics that it’s hard to know which ones to pay attention to. Here are some tips on the metrics that should really matter to brands on Facebook and how you can use them.

Union Metrics Facebook Analytics Tracker Overview Short

An overview of the Union Metrics Facebook analytics

Page-level metrics

First, it’s important to distinguish between page-level metrics and post-level metrics. The success of your Facebook campaigns depends on both.At the page level, you need to understand the size of your Facebook footprint and make sure it’s growing over time. The rate of that growth depends on your specific goals, so first get to know your normal growth rates, then decide if you need to increase those to meet your goals.

Facebook’s main page-level metrics are page reach and fans. Page reach measures the total unique audience for all your page and post content. It reflects the maximum audience size for your owned content, and grows through shares and stories spread across your fans’ News Feeds. Your fans count is the number of different people who have liked your page – your followers.

Post-level metrics

At the post level, there are several important metrics to measure to discover what content works well and what you can be doing more, including reach and a few types of engagement. Compare these metrics across individual posts, as well as across post types to learn if there are different types of content that work better than others.

First, monitor individual post reach over time. Identify how much reach you can expect from a typical post, and be able to identify posts that perform above or below that figure. Pay attention to your high-reach posts, as well as your low-reach ones. You may learn more from your lower performing content than your top content.

Beyond post reach, you definitely want to understand engagement with your content. Post engagement includes likes, shares and clickthroughs. Likes represent a simple acknowledgement of a post; they’re nice, but don’t do much to amplify or deepen engagement with your content. But shares are one of the most coveted engagement actions on Facebook. A share means someone liked your content enough to pass on to their friends. Plus, it amplifies your post to a wider audience beyond your own fans. Finally, clickthroughs on posts with links in them show you’re moving your audience from your Facebook page to your website or blog, furthering their engagement with your brand.

Next, look at where the engagement is coming from. Is it direct engagement from your fans (or those you’re advertising to), or is it downstream engagement from amplified content? Knowing how much amplified engagement your content gets can help you measure spread and uncover inflection points.

Finally, keep an eye on negative engagement actions. Hiding posts, unliking a page and marking a post as spam are all indicators – of varying severity – that your audience doesn’t like what you’re doing. It’s totally normal to see a few of these on any post, but if you see an increasing number or notice a post that gets more than normal, dig deeper. What are you doing differently? In general, negative engagement should represent only a tiny percentage of your overall fan engagement. If you receive negative engagement from more than 0.05% of your fans, something could be wrong.

Tracking these metrics on Facebook will help you monitor page growth and optimize your content. They’re a great place to start with Facebook analytics for your brand.

And if you’re interested in getting detailed Facebook analytics for your pages, take a look at the Union Metrics Social Suite!

Written by Jenn D

November 11th, 2015 at 8:50 am

2 rules for social TV etiquette across channels

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We’ve looked at how people discuss entertainment across social channels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is always on their best behavior. (Or blocking and reporting options on every platform wouldn’t be such an important feature.)

So if you’re going to live-tweet (or blog, or post or otherwise socially share) your favorite TV show, stick to these two main rules of social television posting, and you’ll be golden. Best of all, these tips work for fans and for brands. So if you’re tweeting on behalf of a show or just about it, here’s how to do without losing or pissing off any followers.

And if you think of anything we missed, leave it in the comments or find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.

Tag or forewarn your spoilers.

Most social networks support (hash)tags, and many have a system in place for muting or otherwise avoiding specific hashtags, though sometimes you have to use a third-party app to do this. Letting your followers know ahead of time that you’ll be live-tweeting a show, and which hashtags you’ll be using, gives them a chance to mute you or the tag so they can keep their stream spoiler-free without having to unfollow you.

How? See resources like muting users on Twitter, and third-party apps like Tumblr savior for Google Chrome. You can also mute hashtags on TweetDeck and other clients:

Instagram’s design means you’re only going to see photos from those you’ve followed or hashtags that you’ve searched, so just don’t post actual spoilers as hashtags and your followers should have no reason to complain.

Facebook seems to be the place a lot of fans get spoiled through friends sharing memes or making thoughtless status updates in the heat of the moment, so Mashable covered how to stay spoiler-free on Facebook. Again, give your followers fair warning, think twice before you share, and your fans and followers should have no reason to complain!

If you just can’t resist posting spoilers or discussing a show as it unfolds, however, at least say that what you’re posting will contain spoilers. It’s the minimum social media courtesy to extend.

Play to each platform’s strengths.

If you’re live-tweeting something like an awards show, don’t be afraid to share a little bit on each social profile you have a presence; simply play to each platform’s strengths. For example, you can share photos of your setup on Instagram (especially if you dress up and have themed snacks, or even just cute pets watching with you), live-tweet, and break everything down later on Tumblr. Tumblr, known home of fandom, is a great place to share and analyze favorite show or movie moments, replaying them in GIFs and clever text posts you can reblog and add onto.

Facebook is really best for a single post about something you’ve watched or plan to watch, and maybe cross-posting an Instagram photo. It’s easy to flood the feeds of your Facebook friends and followers, and that’s a good way to get unfollowed or unfriended. Likewise you only want to post a photo or two to Instagram, and save the rest for #TBT.


#oscarwatchparty on Instagram



Want to know how your live tweets performed? Run a free TweetReach snapshot report to get an idea of the conversation and see how far your tweets reached. You can also run a free Union Metrics Instagram account checkup to see if that party picture was your most successful, or if you should have posted it at a different time of day with different hashtags.

Written by Sarah

November 10th, 2015 at 8:49 am

Our top Instagram tips

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Instagram is a social media powerhouse. In just five years, more than 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, and it now has more than 400 million monthly active users. 50,000 new photos were shared on Instagram in just the past 60 seconds. That’s 80 million new photos and 3.5 billion new likes every single day.

So how you can tap into this large, growing and vibrant community to create better content, grow your followers and get more engagement? Based on what we’ve seen work for brands and individuals, we’ve pulled together a list of our top Instagram tips. If you follow them, we bet you’ll start doing better on Instagram.

When is the best time to post to Instagram?

  • Instagram is very active on nights and weekends.
  • Consider posting content outside typical US business hours.
  • Your experience will vary, so test a lot and figure out what works for your content and your audience.

How often should I post on Instagram?

  • Post 1-2 times a day to maximize engagement.
  • Stick to a regular posting schedule.
  • Don’t stop posting for long periods of time or you will lose followers.
  • Most Instagram content lives up to 3 days, but 90% of a post’s likes and comments happen in the first 12.8 hours.

#MondayMotivation: What’s yours? Brightly colored supplies, getting things organized, knocking off your toughest to-do first thing? Tell us about it! (Coffee is a given in both of our offices ☕️☕️☕️) #MotivationMonday #motivation #organization #officesupplies #neon #robot #robots

A photo posted by Union Metrics (@unionmetrics) on

How can I improve my Instagram posts?

  • Post the right kind of content for Instagram.
  • Post only high-quality photos and videos.
  • Photos get more engagement than videos on Instagram, so post more photos than videos.
  • Stick to the Instagram aesthetic, but filters aren’t necessary.

How can I better use hashtags to increase engagement?  

  • Research a hashtag before using it.
  • Find the hashtags that work best for your content.
  • Try a variety of new hashtags to see which ones work and which ones don’t.
  • Use a mix of large popular hashtags, as well as targeted, lower-volume hashtags. 
  • Use 3-10 hashtags per post.
  • Consider adding hashtags in a comment separate from a post’s caption.
  • Don’t add new hashtags to older posts.

Really, our Instagram tips come down to a few simple rules. Instagram content is a lot more evergreen than people give it credit for, so take the time to create and share high-quality content. Keep up a steady cadence of new content to maximize engagement. And if you stop posting, you will lose followers. Use hashtags to reach new audiences and boost content discovery.

If you’re going to start an Instagram account, be prepared to commit to it – don’t let it stagnate. Keep trying new things and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. 

And of course, we recommend that you measure your work with Union Metrics! We have a free Instagram account checkup that provides quick metrics for your own account, as well as awesome and in-depth analytics subscriptions for hashtags and accounts.

Written by Jenn D

November 9th, 2015 at 9:17 am

How to create an anti-trolling plan in 5 steps

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It’s an unfortunate reality of social networking that we- private citizens as well as personal and major brands- sometimes have to deal with trolls. Much like a crisis communication plan, we recommend having a plan or at least policy in place well before actually experiencing a trolling. At the very least, know who on the team is responsible for handling the situation. And if you’re that person desperately Googling what to do with the troll rumbling around in your @ mentions right now, we’re here to help.

1. It can be hard, but stay calm

No one who handles social media accounts needs to be reminded of the repercussions of losing your temper on these very public platforms, particularly while representing a brand. Trolls range from those who think they’re just having harmless fun at an intern’s expense to those who go out of their way to hurl (often personal) abuse at the human behind a Twitter handle. It can be much more difficult to stay calm when faced with the latter, but having a plan in place will definitely help.

If it feels appropriate for your brand, you can publicly address the issue rather than blocking, reporting and ignoring, particularly if insults were raised that go against your company and/or personal values. This can be anything from a tweet to a blog post that highlights why the troll’s behavior was not acceptable, and resources for anyone looking to further understand the nature of the exchange. The overarching rule here is: Respond in line with your brand values.

Troll attacks can make you deeply angry, and are often designed to do so. Those who face frequent troll attacks often say that “don’t feed the trolls” and “just ignore them” advice doesn’t work. Obviously it’s okay to be upset and angry, but any public response should be well-thought out and measured, especially when you’re representing a brand.

2. Decide what category of troll you’re dealing with, and therefore wether or not you should engage with them

If it’s a bored person teasing your brand, you can respond in kind with jokes and emojis and they’ll most likely eventually wander off. If it’s a customer with a legitimate complaint who beings to troll, try to take the conversation off of social media onto phone or email to resolve the situation; those people often feel they haven’t been heard, which is why they turn to more dramatic means of attention-getting. Solving their need with personal attention can often solve the problem.

If the troll is saying very hurtful, abusive things, however, don’t hesitate to block and report them as each platform allows. If it feels appropriate, respond to them saying you don’t appreciate the hateful, harmful things they’re saying and that you intend to block and report. While that will ultimately probably not make the troll rethink their behavior, it will allow your other fans and followers in that space to see how you handled the situation.

Fremont Troll

If you are dealing with the Fremont Troll, you are in Seattle and have nothing to worry about. [Image via Roshan Vyas on Flickr; used with Creative Commons License]

3. Know the blocking and reporting options on each platform

Don’t hesitate to block and report anyone who moves from being an angry customer to being a troll, or who just comes trolling. Here are the current blocking and reporting options for the major social platforms (if we missed one, please leave it in the comments or tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics):

*You’re less likely to have an issue on Snapchat as a brand, since most brands take the strategy of sharing their username to have fans and followers be able to see their stories, rather than sending them individual snaps. They can still, respond, however, so don’t be afraid to take action if someone sends inappropriate content in response to a story.

4. Have a plan for dealing with third parties who involve themselves

Your brand advocates might see someone going after you and involve themselves without you asking, and sometimes they go too far, trolling the troll in return. Anonymous citizens might also pose as customer service representatives of your brand and respond to unhappy customers on your behalf. It’s up to you whether you want their action to stand, or step in and stop it. Again, you want your decisions to reflect your brand values as much as possible. 

5. What to do if it all goes to hell anyway

Here’s where any existing crisis communication plan will kick in. If you don’t have one, you can read about crafting one here. For examples of brands that have handled a crisis well on social media (or at least well enough), check out 3 ways DiGiorno reacted well to their Twitter crisis and Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet. The latter especially highlights how keeping perspective with the scale of the “crisis” at hand is important; over-reacting can turn things into a bigger disaster than they might otherwise be. (An example of this would be the Amy’s Baking Company situation on Facebook back in 2013.)

To be sure you know exactly what’s being said in the situation- and therefore how to respond to it- set up social listening as soon as possible. We’ve written about Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis, but now when you set up a new Union Metrics Twitter analytics Tracker, it will automatically backfill with 30 days of history, so you should have all of the information you need to handle a crisis that’s currently unfolding.

Final thoughts

If you’re left trying to understand the psychology behind a troll attack- especially a deeply personal one- you can read about how writer Lindy West handled her cruelest troll. While non-personal brands are less likely to undergo such a deeply personal attack, it can help to understand that the person who is targeting your brand is most likely unhappy with their own life circumstances, which is why they are taking the time to troll a brand on social media in the first place.

Overall trolling is an unpleasant part of the Internet borne of the ability to be anonymous, but having a plan in place for how to deal with a troll will make any situation in which one crops up much easier to deal with.

Written by Sarah

November 5th, 2015 at 10:10 am

Posted in Guides

Tagged with ,

How to get to know new Instagram communities

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If your brand has only done a little experimenting on Instagram, there’s no time like the present to really do the work and engage with relevant communities. Worried about how to identify and get to know a new community on Instagram? Want to learn how to participate in a way that won’t get you ignored or shunned? We’re here to show you just how to do that.

How to identify an Instagram community

First, identify the Instagram communities that are relevant to your brand. If you’re a sportswear company you’ll obviously want to get to know the various fitness communities on Instagram, a pet supply company would want to get to know #petstagram, and a clothing line the fashion and beauty communities. Many of these start out as big umbrellas- #fitness, for instance- and then break down into particular niches you can find by their hashtags like #instarun, #yogagram or #boxinglife. With Instagram’s improved search, including the ability to search on desktop, it’s easier to find secondary hashtags associated with the bigger communities you know are relevant.

You want to check out a mix of big popular hashtags and smaller niche hashtags; bigger tags will give you more exposure, and niche hashtags higher engagement, if you connect with the community in the right way (and don’t worry, we’re getting to that).

#petstagram on Instagram

#petstagram on Instagram

While you’re searching hashtags, take note of popular influencers and other brands in that space. Influencers are those you see popping up again and again in a certain hashtag, and generating a lot of engagement on each of their posts. Pay attention to how they and other brands in the space post because that’s how you get to know them— which you might notice is the title of next section.

How to get to know an Instagram community

Once you have a good idea of who the big personalities are in a given community- influencers and other brands especially- you can learn more about them by paying attention to how they post. Is there a specific style that’s common, like dynamic outdoor shots? A lot of selfies? Does everyone share a similar sense of humor, specific slang, or embrace emojis on posts and in comments? How many people are posting videos vs. static images, or experimenting with Layout and Boomerang (Instagram’s two standalone apps)? All of this is part of the language of the community and you have to listen and learn it before you can begin to speak it. 

You also want to take the time to see who those brands and influencers in the community are connected with that you might have missed. These are the accounts you should pay attention to not only to learn the language of the community from, but to follow and interact with. You might notice some accounts that are very active in a certain community but don’t get a ton of engagement on their posts; they’re still important as possible up-and-coming influencers, or at the very least, worth paying attention to because of how active they are. (We can call them “community cheerleaders”.) This might just be one of their many interests. Not everyone has a niche account they post only specific niche-related content to. Some opt for a more all-purpose, life-encapsulating Instagram account, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth nurturing a relationship with.

You also want to pay attention to where else members of an Instagram community like to hang out on the Internet. Are they also active on Tumblr? Are many of them members of the same Facebook group? Do they post things encouraging each other to follow them on Twitter too? Listen in wherever else they have a presence, and consider also being active in that space if you have the resources to invest in a multi-channel presence and strategy.

How to participate authentically in an Instagram community

Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned: When you post, use the same tone, hashtags, and style as the community already does in way that’s appropriate for your brand. You want to balance the language of the community with your own brand values and voice. And don’t just sell; follow community members and interact with them as appropriate, liking photos, leaving comments, and even considering influencer partnerships where applicable. Consider attending or hosting an InstaMeet, or collaborating on a photo project. Share relevant photos from the community on your own account (with explicit permission) as a regular feature, part of a contest, or just as a way to boost your audience by drawing in that community member’s audience.

Experiment with your content within the parameters of the measuring you’ve done and your own brand strategy, measure the results, and incorporate those results into ongoing content plans. Be friendly, be funny, be personable if that fits your brand.

The bottom line? Actually be a part of the community. Ultimately there’s a person- you- behind the account, even if you’re using a brand voice that’s not completely your own. Treat the community like you would any that you’re a part of in your own life.

Want more Instagram resources for brands? We have whitepaper featuring data from 55 top-performing brands on Instagram you candownload for free. You can find out how you’re doing on Instagram right now for free here, and if you still have questions, feel free to find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics or shoot us an email. We’re always happy to help! 

Written by Sarah

November 3rd, 2015 at 10:57 am

5 steps to finding fans and influencers on Facebook

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As Facebook increasingly serves as the hub for most brands’ social presence, it’s important for brands to proactively connect with fans and influencers on the platform, rather than just waiting for customer to half-heartedly “Like” their page after a transaction. So how, exactly, do you go about finding fans and influencers? We’re glad you asked! Here are 5 steps to take today to get you started.

1. Target friends of fans (without being creepy).

In How to get more followers, the right way! we covered running an inexpensive campaign to reach new audiences on Facebook. Well good news, Facebook has made things even easier with an option when creating an ad to directly target the friends of your fans. It’s a good bet they have enough in common with their friends that some of them will be genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer them.

2. Look at fans of competitor’s pages.

Pay attention to how they’re similar to and different from your own fans. Is there an obvious element these people have in common that you haven’t been considering in addressing your audience? Write down some ideas to incorporate in your content going forward, or tweaks you might make to the audiences you target with ads in the future.

Just do not, under any circumstances, message these people or make any kind of inappropriate contact with them. That’s the best way to turn them off of your brand for life.

3. Look at brand advocates to see if they’re influencers.

You’ve no doubt noticed- and hopefully interacted with!- any brand advocates on your page (anyone talking up your brand, recommending you to others, leaving regular, enthusiastic comments etc), or tagging your page elsewhere on Facebook. Are these people influencers in a space that would make sense for your brand to be more involved with? For example, a beauty brand who discovered one of their brand advocates was a lifestyle vlogger with a healthy, engaged following might consider reaching out to start a campaign or brand partnership that made sense for both of them. Exposing your brand to that influencer’s audience is a great way to grow your own with genuinely interested fans.

Chameleon Cold-Brew FB 2

4. Is there anyone your fans talk about a lot who is an influencer?

Who do your fans talk about amongst themselves? Set up social listening across your social presence and pay attention to who your fans consistently talk about; not just you and your direct competitors, but also influencers in your industry and adjacent industries. Building relationships with those influencers is a great way to build both of your audiences.

5. Look at hashtags for your industry not only on Facebook but also on Instagram; who has a big following there?

While hashtags aren’t used on Facebook the way they are on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram, it’s still worth looking through the big ones in your industry to see who is using them the most. This can be especially helpful on Facebook-owned Instagram (and you can definitely make some discoveries through Instagram photos cross-posted to Facebook) where a lot of influencers have large followings. Connect by following, leaving comments or sharing their content where appropriate, and generally working to build a relationship with them. If it’s a good fit, they should reciprocate.

Anything else?

From 10 ways for brands to succeed on Facebook, be sure you’re still using Facebook analytics to post more content when your audience is around— and keep checking on that timing, because it can easily shift with the seasons and cycles like school semesters, holiday breaks, and more.

Want your Facebook analytics in the same place as everything else? We can do that for you, with the Union Metrics Social Suite. Here’s how our Facebook analytics make Facebook even better.

Written by Sarah

October 28th, 2015 at 9:26 am