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The Scream Queens and The Muppets premieres on Twitter

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Did you see our full fall TV preview last week? Some of the new shows have aired their premieres, so we wanted to check in with two of the early favorites, Scream Queens and The Muppets, both of which premiered last night, September 22.

FOX launched a huge promotional campaign earlier this year. And that has been paying off on Twitter, at least. Scream Queens generated nearly a million tweets yesterday, the day of the series premiere. In the month leading up to the premiere, an average of 13,000 tweets were posted every day about the show. For a brand new show, these are huge numbers. Scream Queens also benefits from above-average star power, with a cast and creator that are bringing in a large existing fan-base.

Here’s a look at tweets about Scream Queens and The Muppets over the past 24 hours or so. There are big spikes from 5-7pm and 8-9pm PT, corresponding to when the show aired on the East and West Coasts. We’ve highlighted the biggest spike, during the 5pm PT hour.

Premiere tweets

There were more than 173k tweets about Scream Queens during the first hour, with sustained conversation for the next several hours, bringing yesterday’s tweet totals to more 910k. There were only 22k tweets about The Muppets during that time, and 66k all day.

Scream Queens didn’t perform as well in the ratings as expected. In fact, The Muppets came out ahead, which is somewhat surprising, given how many more tweets there were about Scream Queens. On the other hand, a lot of the Twitter conversation about Scream Queens was driven by celebrities like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and those fans may not have actually tuned in to watch. We’ll keep monitoring the tweets, and see how it progresses over the next few weeks.

What do you think? Did you watch either of these new shows?

Written by Jenn D

September 23rd, 2015 at 11:06 am

Previewing the new 2015 fall TV shows on Twitter

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It’s September and that means it’s time for new fall TV! Over the next few weeks, the big networks will roll out their new TV series. Not all of these series will survive the year; some will be cancelled within a few weeks. One of our favorite exercises each fall at Union Metrics is to dig into what Twitter thinks about the new fall TV shows. What can we learn from early Twitter conversation and what can that tell us about whether or not a show might be cancelled?

Like last year, all of the new network series have official Twitter accounts and hashtags, so they’re all actively participating on Twitter to promote their premieres and encourage viewers to tune in. However, not all the new shows are doing well on Twitter. Let’s take a look at the crop of new shows to see how they’re doing on Twitter, and what that means for their cancellation chances.

The best of the best

First, let’s talk about the fall TV shows that are doing well on Twitter. Theses are the series potential viewers are most excited about, the ones stirring up controversy and conversation on social media. We’ll start with the front-runner, Scream Queens.

FOX’s new show Scream Queens is absolutely crushing all other the new programs on Twitter. There have been more than 330,000 tweets about the show in the past month alone. That’s more than 5x the tweet volume of its closest competitor. Scream Queens generated more tweets in the past month than even the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which started this week. The official Twitter account has already collected more than 126,000 Twitter followers. Why?

The marketing team behind Scream Queens has been working hard for months to promote the show across social media, sharing teasers and news and behind-the-scenes pictures, starting early this spring. And of course Scream Queens’ celebrity firepower doesn’t hurt. It stars Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Lea Michelle and a host of other well-known names. It’s also created by Ryan Murphy (who created American Horror Story, which has performed very well on social media over the past few years). And finally, the demographic this show is targeting is perfect for Twitter – that young, hip audience so many advertisers want to reach. So it’s no surprise that no other show comes close to Scream Queens’ numbers on Twitter. It’s practically perfect for social media. But what about the others?

The rest of the best

Beyond Scream Queens, there’s a handful of other shows that have excited Twitter. A few of these are expected to be big hits and have had huge marketing campaigns around them, so it’s not surprising to see them here. All of them have generated at least 1,000 daily tweets on average over the past month. They are:

  • The Muppets on ABC
  • Heroes Reborn on NBC
  • Blood & Oil on ABC
  • Quantico on ABC
  • Supergirl on CBS

Here’s a look at how they compare in terms of tweets over the past month.

Tweets about the top fall TV shows

Supergirl doesn’t premiere until the end of October, so it’s likely to continue to gain momentum over the next six weeks. The Muppets and Heroes Reborn are nearly tied right now, and premiere just a couple days apart the week of September 21. Blood & Oil has had a few flurries in tweet activity recently (see the purple spikes on the chart). And Quantico is performing well so far.

The mediocre middle

In order not to leave any shows out, there are a set of new series that are doing fine on Twitter. There has been some conversation about them, but nothing record-setting or particularly impressive (good or bad). We’ll monitor these are they get underway to see if they trend up or down, but for now, here are the mediocres:

  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris on NBC
  • Minority Report on FOX
  • Blindspot on NBC
  • Grandfathered on FOX
  • Rosewood on FOX

Best Time Ever premiered this week on NBC, and gained a little traction during the premiere. The first episode only generated about 20k tweets on premiere day – that’s a fairly small showing for a brand new show with such a big name star.

The back of the pack

Not all the new shows are doing well. There are a few that haven’t made much of an impact at all on Twitter. As we’ve seen in past years, some shows just don’t make the cut – on Twitter or on television. Maybe their marketing departments haven’t spent enough time promoting the shows on Twitter, maybe the concepts just don’t excite potential viewers, maybe the cast hasn’t been active enough in their own accounts. But these six shows haven’t generated very many tweets (some of them getting 50 or fewer tweets a day!) and are in risky territory.

  • Life in Pieces on CBS
  • Limitless on CBS
  • The Player on NBC
  • The Grinder on FOX
  • Code Black on CBS
  • Dr. Ken on ABC

Now just because a show isn’t generating many tweets, that doesn’t guarantee it’ll be cancelled. But many shows that can’t find a Twitter audience probably aren’t finding a TV audience either. If no one’s talking about it, that either mean no one’s watching it or they’re watching it but it’s just so dull there’s nothing to talk about. That’s a good first step for cancellation.

The most surprising show in this bottom group is FOX’s The Grinder, which stars Fred Savage and Rob Lowe. These are two big names who should draw in a bigger crowd. The show doesn’t premiere until the very end of September, so it has a couple weeks to grow, but we would expect more early chatter for this one. The same goes for ABC’s Dr. Ken.

Some shows still have some time before they premiere – a set of new series don’t start until mid October or November. We’ll keep an eye on those are we get closer to their premiere dates, as they still have time to develop a larger audience on Twitter. That includes Truth Be Told and Chicago Med on NBC, Wicked City on ABC, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on The CW, and Angel From Hell on CBS.

We’ll check back in on these numbers in a couple weeks, once most of these shows have premiered. In the meantime, what do you think? What shows will stay? Which will get cancelled?

Want to monitor tweets (or Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook) about your show this fall? Take a look at the social media analytics we provide at Union Metrics.

Written by Jenn D

September 17th, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Ranking the GOP candidates on Twitter

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A month ago, we wrote a little about the first round of GOP debates. Today, as we prepare for the next debate, let’s take a look at how the remaining Republican candidates are doing on Twitter. Here’s a list of the candidates in the debate tonight, ordered by how many tweets* have been posted about them in the past month.

Tweets about GOP candidates

As he has for several months, Trump continues to dominate the GOP conversation on Twitter, generating 10x more tweets than his closest competitor. What has changed is who Trump’s competitors are. Cruz and Bush are still round out the top three, but Carson and Fiorina have both seen tremendous growth in Twitter conversation in the past month and their popularity on Twitter has more than tripled since the last debate. Paul has dropped down the list since the last debate.

This chart shows a comparison between the top candidates (minus Trump, since his tweet volumes dwarf all others).
GOP Candidates on TwitterA few other interesting things to note about this data. Only one candidate has seen decreases in Twitter conversation since the first debate: John Kasich. That doesn’t bode well for his future in this presidential race. In addition, these numbers reflect some of what we saw in this week’s New York Times/CBS News poll, including the increase in popularity of Ben Carson.

9/17/15 update: We took at look at tweets posted during and after the debate to see how Twitter thought the candidates performed. Carly Fiorina was the overwhelming favorite on Twitter, generating nearly 250k tweets during the debate. She’s been trending up on Twitter for a while and solidified that last night. In comparison, there were about 500k tweets about Donald Trump during the debate. While that is still 2x the volume Fiorina received, up until now, Trump has been getting 10x more tweets than his closest competitor. Fiorina is rapidly closing that gap. The next closest was Jeb Bush, we received just under 200k tweets during the debate.

We’ll keep watching the tweets throughout the election and update as things get interesting! And if you want metrics or graphs like these for your own brand, take a look at the social media analytics we offer at Union Metrics.

*This includes all tweets that match a set of search terms about the candidate, including account mentions and hashtags. Tweets were posted between August 17 and September 16. 

Written by Jenn D

September 16th, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Twitter loves the Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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Stephen Colbert kicked off a new era at the the Late Show last night, with the premiere of his first show as host. Twitter was excited to have Colbert back.

Yesterday, there were more than 113,000 tweets about Stephen Colbert and the Late Show. During the episode itself, fans posted nearly 50,000 tweets. Here, you can see the buildup in tweets in the week leading up to the episode, with an increase in volume the day of, a huge spike during the episode, and lots of tweets discussing the show after.

Tweets about Stephen Colbert

How does Colbert stack up to the other late night talk show hosts? The top five hosts according to Twitter are Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert. Take a look at how they compare on Twitter over the past few weeks.

Comparing tweets about late night hosts

Jimmy Fallon leads the late night pack on social right now, followed by Jimmy Kimmel, but Stephen Colbert is only a little bit behind them and his show just started. Fallon typically generates around 15k tweet mentions a day, Kimmel around 7k, and John Oliver and Conan O’Brien around 4k daily. Colbert has gotten around 5k tweets daily over the past month, with that number growing every day (he averaged almost 7k per day over the past week).

A lot of Fallon’s Twitter engagement is driven by his celebrity guests. For example, @fallontonight has averaged more than 1,500 retweets per tweet over the past few days, driven by a handful of tweets mentioning Justin Bieber, which generated way more engagement than average (Bieber fans still generate some of the platform’s highest engagement rates, which you can see in the large green spikes in early September). Aside from the Bieber-related tweets, Jimmy Fallon averaged a more typical 150 retweets per tweet over the past month. That means Bieber led to 10x engagement for @fallontonight this month.

In addition, @fallontonight has nearly 3M followers, so Jimmy Fallon is speaking to a much larger audience than the other late night hosts. He’s also been hosting the Tonight Show for 18 months, so he’s had more time to grow his social following. @colbertlateshow has just under 80k followers right now, so Colbert has a lot of room to grow over the next few months as his new show gains its footing. He’s already gained 20k followers in just the past day or two. 

We’ll keep watching to see how Colbert’s team takes advantage of Twitter and other social media to engage their fans and share new content. But for now, it looks like his first show was a success! What do you think? Did you watch?

Interested in monitoring tweets or other social posts about your TV show or brand? At Union Metrics, we can help! Get to know our social media analytics product and let us know if you have any questions. 

Written by Jenn D

September 9th, 2015 at 8:55 am

Posted in Trends

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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

Instagram update: Why square was good but moving beyond the square is great

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This is a repost of our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis’ article about Instagram over on Medium

Yesterday, Instagram made a big change. They now allow photos with landscape and portrait orientations! They’ve moved away from the square and are fully embracing the rectangle. So what does this mean? How will it impact users? How will brands adapt? Let’s discuss.

First, it’s worth reflecting on why Instagram photos were square in the first place. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has said Instagram wanted to be different, to find a way to do photos in a way that stood out. And the square format looks good; it’s consistent and visually appealing. Others have suggested the images are square because that format mimics vintage cameras much like the Instagram logo itself. Either way, this is how it’s always been and today’s announcement was a pretty significant departure from what we’ve all come to know and love from Instagram.

But what you might not remember is that Instagram photos didn’t always have to be square. For the first couple years of Instagram’s existence, you could actually force other sized images into the square with zoom, and Instagram would add black bars around it, like this photo from October 2011.

Instagram landscape
But not everyone liked this. The Next Web hated it. Lots of purists hated it; non-square photos cluttered the stream, made the profile less attractive, interrupted the experience. But so many other users loved it, and wholeheartedly embraced the non-square photo, uploading thousands and thousands of them.

But then in late 2012, Instagram removed this feature (or fixed this bug, depending who you ask), forcing all users to only upload square photos. Of course, many loyal Instagram users were upset. Appsfire, an app that rated other apps, noted that Instagram dropped to a quality score of 11 (down from 97) when they made that change.

Fast forward a few years, and we’ve all adapted just fine to the square. Or so we thought. It turns out that this whole time, lots and lots of people were manually uploading non-square photos by first editing them in a third-party app that adds those bars around your image to make it look landscape or portrait but still fit into a square box, like this. We’re all guilty of doing this every once in a while – sometimes there’s a sunset you just can’t quite fit into a square box. Some subjects demand a full landscape orientation. So you post one hacked-up landscape photo, accept that it makes your feed look less nice, and move on. But you promise yourself it’s a one-time thing and you won’t do it again. However, you’re not alone. As we learned today, 20% of all Instagram photos are not square. So to better serve that considerable use case, Instagram has finally decided to officially include landscape and portrait photos.


So, what does this mean for Instagram? Does this improve or detract from the experience? Before going into that, I need to disclose that I am an avid Instagram booster. I love Instagram and use it obsessively. I was one of their earliest users and almost five years later, still use it multiple times a day. So I’m likely biased.

But I love this change and I think it’s huge for the platform. Here are a few reasons why.

Flexibility. The square format, while beloved by many, was seen as restraining by others. It forced users to adapt what they shot for this very specific and often limiting format. Now they can post anything, including wide subjects or tall ones. For brands in particular, they needed to create – or convert – content specifically for the square format. Now that they can use other shapes and sizes, they can more easily adapt their brand content to the medium. It could even mean more participation from brands, both those already on the platform and those who haven’t ventured there yet.

Creativity. While the square format pushed users to get creative about the content of their images, welcoming landscape and portrait images opens up a whole new set of possibilities on Instagram. If users aren’t forced into a single aspect ratio, they’re no longer limited in what they can do. Instagram is wide open now, making room for all our images, even those that don’t work well square. We’ll likely see new kinds of images, much like we did when Instagram unveiled the Layout app. Fewer limits means better quality images.

Simplicity. Before this change, many users manually created landscape and portrait photos in third-party apps that added letterboxes around the image to force it square. Now that Instagram allows for this in-app, not only it is easier for users to share these kinds of images, but it keeps them in Instagram. This is great for users and maybe even better for Instagram because it will increase time spent in Instagram and decrease reliance on third party apps. This just makes it easier to post those 14 million new photos each day that aren’t square.

So is this a change for the better? Absolutely. Yes, some of us will have to get used to a different feed. But Instagram has implemented this change well, and the photos look great in the stream. This change will make the experience easier and more useful for the entire Instagram community. Photographer Technosailer said it best back in 2012 when he wrote, “I choose what my photos look like” (emphasis his). Now we all can. That will only make the Instagram experience better.


Written by Jenn D

August 28th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Trends

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Non-square images and vertical video! Things are changing in social media

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Our social media photos and videos are evolving. Things aren’t as square or as horizontal as they used to be. Instagram now supports images that aren’t square and Snapchat wants you to use vertical video. What does it mean?!

Be there or be square no longer

Today Instagram announced support for portrait and landscape images. They’re moving beyond the iconic square for the first time in nearly five years. This is a huge move for the company that forced millions of us to rethink how we take and share images. Early on, the square format took some getting used to – it was just so different from what many of us knew. But since then, we’ve adapted and come to love the square format. It required more creativity in our photos’ framing, subject and distance.

Instagram now says that 20% of photos uploaded to their app are not square and include some horizontal or vertical padding. For purists who like a neat stream, the padding others added to their images before uploading interrupted the Instagram experience. But for photographers who want to truly capture the full experience of their subjects, the square format can be limiting. Sometimes things just look better in a landscape or portrait orientation. So now we can opt to share these images in Instagram, without modifying them in a third-party squaring app. This changes things on Instagram.

non-square photo on instagram

Vertical video vertigo

And then there’s vertical video – another change to the way we format visual content on social media. Two years ago, the internet was irritated about vertical video syndrome, calling for a ban on portrait videos and asking everyone to remember to rotate their phones before they shoot. But now, we’re being encouraged to do more vertical video. It’s hard to keep up with.

Snapchat is leading this charge into vertical video, but even Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all adding deeper support for it. Snapchat says vertical video ads are nine times more likely to be watched than the horizontal ads. Mobile phones encourage a vertical experience, and it’s harder than it may seem to rotate the phone. Especially when things are happening fast, like they do on Snapchat; you may not even have a chance to rotate your phone before a snap is over. So embracing vertical video seems like a great idea, and will let us capture more video more naturally.

vertical video on snapchat

So what do you think? Do you shoot more vertical video now or are you a landscape purist? What about non-square photos on Instagram? Will you give in?


Written by Jenn D

August 27th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Trends

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. ETA: Since we originally wrote this post, Meerkat has also introduced Live Polling and Show and Tell, and Periscope now has web profiles.

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

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.


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

Twitter and the Republican presidential debate losers

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As you’ve undoubtedly heard, there’s a big presidential candidate debate tonight. Ten Republican candidates – the current GOP front-runners – will gather for the 2016 presidential race’s first major televised debate. Fox News selected these 10 debate participants from a larger group of 17 possible candidates based on averages from five recent national polls.

And to absolutely no one’s surprise, this list has generated considerable controversy. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at how these national polls compare to Twitter, our favorite polling source for this kind of thing. In particular, how do the losers – those seven unlucky candidates who were not selected for tonight’s GOP debate – stack up on Twitter?

So let’s look at recent tweet volume about each of the Republican candidates. Over the past three weeks*, there has been a metric ton of conversation on Twitter about a few of the party’s frontest (or in some cases, loudest) runners, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. But things start to get interesting – and much closer – when we look at the candidates further down the list of tonight’s top 10.

Republican Debate Participants

Several of the debate losers (those not selected to participate) scored higher on Twitter than many of the winners (those selected to participate). For example, there have been more than 169k tweets about Rick Perry in the past three weeks. He scored higher than half of the winners, at least in terms of conversation volume. Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham are also well represented, though they didn’t score a spot in tonight’s debate. But Ben Carson and Chris Christie will participate, even though they got fewer tweets in the last three weeks than your grandmother**.

Now, we realize these are simple tweet volume counts, and there are a lot more factors that go into polling results, like affinity for a candidate and her (well, mostly his) stance on the issues. But for the debate in an election that’s still 15 months away, with such a crowded slate of potential candidates, isn’t the main thing we’re interested in controversy? If we want to drive viewers to tonight’s debate, shouldn’t we select the candidates people are talking about the most? Twitter shows us a fairly different list than the polls do. Perry should certainly be included, and there’s a strong case for Jindal and Graham as well.

Stay tuned over the next 15 months, as we’ll be exploring all kinds of election issues on social media, including deeper analysis of how the candidates rate on Twitter, as well as what candidates are doing well – or not so well – across social. And we might need to have a talk with a few of these campaigns about hashtag use. Like for starters, that you should use them. More on that soon!

Update as of 7:30 ET: The runners-up debate, a.k.a. the Kiddie Table, which was comprised of the seven lowest-polling GOP candidates, just wrapped up. A quick count of tweets from the debate show Carly Fiorina as the overwhelming Twitter favorite. She received 2.5x more tweets than the next closest candidate (Rick Perry). A large segment of those tweets are positive, even. Here are the hourly tweets around today’s debate.

Tweets about the kiddie table GOP debate

*These tweet counts represent all tweets about each candidate from July 15 – August 5. That includes mentions of their name in various forms, their Twitter handle(s), and any major campaign hashtags. 

**Your grandma is actually doing great, by the way. Many companies would be happy to see numbers that high.

Written by Jenn D

August 6th, 2015 at 9:57 am