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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

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

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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

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

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


On Twitter: Full steam ahead

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

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

On Facebook: Use sharing settings to your advantage

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

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

On Instagram: Showcase the best of the best

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

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

On Tumblr: Queue while you’re away

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

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

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

One caveat

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

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

Written by Sarah

August 4th, 2015 at 8:03 am

3 ways entertainment marketers can better engage fans on social media

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

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

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

Provide sneak peeks for your fans

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

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

Make the most of your content exhaust

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

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


We do too! #PLL #Ezria #EzriaForever

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

Go beyond the story on screen

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

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



A video posted by True Detective (@truedetective) on


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

Written by Sarah

July 30th, 2015 at 8:12 am

Our favorite social media stats and facts

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

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


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

Times of Tumblr


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


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




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

Written by Sarah

July 28th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Amazon Prime Day on Twitter

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So, how big a deal was Amazon Prime Day today? There certainly was a lot of hype leading up to it. How did it turn out? Let’s see what Twitter thought.

On Wednesday, July 15, there were 252,000 tweets about Amazon Prime Day, from more than 145,000 different Twitter accounts. These tweets have generated more than 1.9 billion potential impressions and a potential unique reach of 193 million. This graph shows related tweets hour-by-hour today. New tweets came in at a rate of around 10.5k per hour.

Amazon Prime Day on Twitter

Some of the top tweets discussed the biggest or most interesting deals, while other reflected some disappointment in the sales offered. Most of the really good deals sold out quickly. Here’s a sample of the most popular Amazon Prime Day tweets.

Did you participate? What kinds of deals did you score? Did you post about Amazon Prime Day on Twitter?

And of course, if you’re interested in these kind of analytics for your event or brand, take a look at TweetReach Pro. Real-time, ongoing Twitter analytics for any hashtags, keywords, accounts on Twitter, starting at just $99 per month. For $99, you get 2 real-time Trackers, unlimited full snapshot reports, and more! Questions? Let’s talk.

Written by Jenn D

July 15th, 2015 at 2:04 pm