We spend the week reading the best things we can get our eyeballs on and on Fridays we share them here with you. Leave your thoughts in the comments, or come find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.
On content marketing.
Just producing good content is no longer enough to get noticed and stay on top: Content Shock is here. Now what?
“Simply, the economics of content are changing.”
Mark Schaefer discusses why you still need good content, but that’s not all you need.
On video content marketing.
If your brand is considering launching a YouTube channel or working with vloggers on an existing channel, you’ll want to read YouTube strategy: Tips for building an audience & working with vloggers from Richard Marriott for Econsultancy. Pair with SHIFT Comm’s 5 Tips on Creating an Extraordinary YouTube Channel for Your Brand by Amanda Loewy.
If Snapchat inspiration is more of what you’re in the market for, you’ll want to take a look at Retail’s Best Snapchat Campaigns from Elisabeth Rosen for L2. Well-designed Snapchat campaigns that make the most of multi-channel strategy pull in some pretty fantastic results:
“Sephora organized a Snapchat Sweepstakes. Participants snapped a selfie and used the Snapchat drawing tool to add cartoon eyebrows. Then they uploaded those submissions to Instagram and tagged them with #SephoraSnapsSweeps; the randomly chosen winner won a $500 gift card.
Result: The campaign boosted traffic and engagement not only on Snapchat, but also on Instagram, where the contest hashtag was used over six thousand times. Posts tagged with #SephoraSnapsSweeps garnered 10% more comments than the average Index brand.”
We’ve written more about Sephora’s excellent multi-channel social marketing approach in How Snapchat has evolved for brands. And if you’re interested in measuring just such a multi-channel strategy, we can help with that.
Finally, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be famous on Periscope, you’ll be interested in reading artist Amanda Oleander’s experience in More Than 500,000 People Watch Amanda Oleander Paint on Periscope — How Does She Do It? by Justin Lafferty for SocialTimes. An important point for brands and video influencers:
“ST: Do you work with brands at all?
AO: I’ve had big brands reach out to me, but I just don’t agree with how they are. … If it’s something that I know my community is going to love, or something that I really enjoy, then I’m all for it. I’m just waiting to promote the proper things. When it comes to branding, it’s not that I’m against it, but it has to be something I’m passionate about. These people aren’t numbers to me. They might be numbers to people who work in marketing, but to me, they’re actually friends and Periscope family members I speak to every day.
Just like how you would treat a friend and you wouldn’t recommend them a pair of glasses you don’t like, it’s the same thing. But I think brands like that too, because then it’s genuine and people want to purchase it. That’s how I am. If there’s somebody on social media that I really believe in and they’re like, ‘I really love this brand,’ I’m going to trust them more than if I go on Facebook and see an ad.”
The bottom line: Authenticity can’t be faked, and brands and influencers need to be sure they’re a good match on campaign goals and overall values before they decide to form a partnership.
Now that you know about Echo, we wanted to show you what, exactly, you can do with it. We’ll be sharing a series of stories told through Echo’s data and visualizations. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have in the comments below, or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics. You can learn more about Echo here.
The Apple iPhone has been around almost as long as Twitter. Digging into how Twitter has talked about the iPhone over the past eight years can tell us a great deal about Apple, Twitter and tech culture.
The first iPhone was announced in January 2007, when Twitter was just a tiny network with around 20,000 users. The announcement generated 584 tweets on January 9, 2007. There were only 19 speculative tweets in the week leading up the announcement.
By the time the iPhone actually launched in late June, 2007, Twitter had many more users, as it had been a big hit at the SXSW festival in March of that year. That led to a 10x increase in tweet volume, seeing 6k tweets on release day. These tweets were more typical of later iPhone launches, as giddy new iPhone owners celebrated their new purchases.
This pattern was repeated for the next several iPhone cycles. For the first three years of the iPhone’s existence, excitement picked up in the weeks between the announcement and release dates, leading to more tweets on release day than on announcement day. People were just so excited to get and use their new phones that they couldn’t stop tweeting about it. In 2008, the release generated 45k tweets on launch day. In 2009, it was 205k tweets.
But starting in 2010 with the iPhone 4, the announcement itself became the event, generating more and more tweets every year. This is also the year that regular iPhone chatter on Twitter became significant and large. In 2010, nearly 100k new tweets were posted every day about the iPhone. By 2013, this number had grown to 650k daily iPhone tweets.
And then an interesting patterns emerges. Starting with the iPhone 5, the S models that are released in odd years don’t generate as much buzz on Twitter as their previous year’s counterpart. In fact, the 2013 5S and 2015 6S announcements actually generated fewer tweets than the 5 and 6, respectively. The S models don’t have a new body style, and they don’t generate the same levels of excitement as a brand new phone does.
Interestingly, general everyday conversation about iPhones has decreased in the past year or two. This is probably due to two things. First, so many people have iPhones now that many people don’t talk explicitly about their iPhones as much anymore. They may just call them “phones” or not tweet about them at all. They’re ubiquitous and second nature and there’s just not as much to say. 700 million iPhones have been sold around the world; they’re not exactly unique any more. Second, Android phones have become incredibly popular, so a number of people talking about smartphones on Twitter are talking about their Androids, not their iPhones. In fact, over the past 45 days, there have been more tweets about Androids than about iPhones: 550k daily Android tweets and 450k daily iPhone tweets.
For brands, this is a lesson in innovation and how important it is to continue to evolve your product to stay relevant to your customers. iPhones are still just as technologically advanced as they were in 2007 (way more so, probably), but they’re just not as new, not as noteworthy. Using Union Metrics Echo, Apple’s marketing team can look at the volumes and types of tweets about iPhones compared to tweets about Android to see what they’re missing. What are Android users tweeting about? What do they love or hate about their phones and how could Apple use that information to better market to that audience?
Beyond that, Echo is perfect for researching past annual events, like a recurring product launch, conference or sporting event. Use this information to find trends over time, including tweet volume changes (what does it mean if you see fewer tweets this year than last?), top tweets (what content gets retweeted each year?), and other insights.
|iPhone Model and Release Year||Announcement Day Tweets||Release Day
|1st generation, 2007||584||6k||~20k|
|5C and 5S, 2013||3.3M||1.3M||231M|
|6 and 6 Plus, 2014||5.2M||2.3M||284M|
|6S and 6S Plus, 2015||2.1M||845k||304M|
Union Metrics Echo makes it painless for brands to research a current or past product launch, do competitive research and understand share of voice.
This article, written by our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis, was originally published on PerformanceIN.
One of the best things about Facebook is all the metrics we can access through Insights or third-party analytics providers (like Union Metrics!). For brands, it’s a veritable data buffet! However, there are so many metrics that it’s hard to know which ones to pay attention to. Here are some tips on the metrics that should really matter to brands on Facebook and how you can use them.
First, it’s important to distinguish between page-level metrics and post-level metrics. The success of your Facebook campaigns depends on both.At the page level, you need to understand the size of your Facebook footprint and make sure it’s growing over time. The rate of that growth depends on your specific goals, so first get to know your normal growth rates, then decide if you need to increase those to meet your goals.
Facebook’s main page-level metrics are page reach and fans. Page reach measures the total unique audience for all your page and post content. It reflects the maximum audience size for your owned content, and grows through shares and stories spread across your fans’ News Feeds. Your fans count is the number of different people who have liked your page – your followers.
At the post level, there are several important metrics to measure to discover what content works well and what you can be doing more, including reach and a few types of engagement. Compare these metrics across individual posts, as well as across post types to learn if there are different types of content that work better than others.
First, monitor individual post reach over time. Identify how much reach you can expect from a typical post, and be able to identify posts that perform above or below that figure. Pay attention to your high-reach posts, as well as your low-reach ones. You may learn more from your lower performing content than your top content.
Beyond post reach, you definitely want to understand engagement with your content. Post engagement includes likes, shares and clickthroughs. Likes represent a simple acknowledgement of a post; they’re nice, but don’t do much to amplify or deepen engagement with your content. But shares are one of the most coveted engagement actions on Facebook. A share means someone liked your content enough to pass on to their friends. Plus, it amplifies your post to a wider audience beyond your own fans. Finally, clickthroughs on posts with links in them show you’re moving your audience from your Facebook page to your website or blog, furthering their engagement with your brand.
Next, look at where the engagement is coming from. Is it direct engagement from your fans (or those you’re advertising to), or is it downstream engagement from amplified content? Knowing how much amplified engagement your content gets can help you measure spread and uncover inflection points.
Finally, keep an eye on negative engagement actions. Hiding posts, unliking a page and marking a post as spam are all indicators – of varying severity – that your audience doesn’t like what you’re doing. It’s totally normal to see a few of these on any post, but if you see an increasing number or notice a post that gets more than normal, dig deeper. What are you doing differently? In general, negative engagement should represent only a tiny percentage of your overall fan engagement. If you receive negative engagement from more than 0.05% of your fans, something could be wrong.
Tracking these metrics on Facebook will help you monitor page growth and optimize your content. They’re a great place to start with Facebook analytics for your brand.
And if you’re interested in getting detailed Facebook analytics for your pages, take a look at the Union Metrics Social Suite!
We’ve looked at how people discuss entertainment across social channels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is always on their best behavior. (Or blocking and reporting options on every platform wouldn’t be such an important feature.)
So if you’re going to live-tweet (or blog, or post or otherwise socially share) your favorite TV show, stick to these two main rules of social television posting, and you’ll be golden. Best of all, these tips work for fans and for brands. So if you’re tweeting on behalf of a show or just about it, here’s how to do without losing or pissing off any followers.
And if you think of anything we missed, leave it in the comments or find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.
Tag or forewarn your spoilers.
Most social networks support (hash)tags, and many have a system in place for muting or otherwise avoiding specific hashtags, though sometimes you have to use a third-party app to do this. Letting your followers know ahead of time that you’ll be live-tweeting a show, and which hashtags you’ll be using, gives them a chance to mute you or the tag so they can keep their stream spoiler-free without having to unfollow you.
— TweetDeck (@TweetDeck) September 26, 2013
Instagram’s design means you’re only going to see photos from those you’ve followed or hashtags that you’ve searched, so just don’t post actual spoilers as hashtags and your followers should have no reason to complain.
Facebook seems to be the place a lot of fans get spoiled through friends sharing memes or making thoughtless status updates in the heat of the moment, so Mashable covered how to stay spoiler-free on Facebook. Again, give your followers fair warning, think twice before you share, and your fans and followers should have no reason to complain!
If you just can’t resist posting spoilers or discussing a show as it unfolds, however, at least say that what you’re posting will contain spoilers. It’s the minimum social media courtesy to extend.
Play to each platform’s strengths.
If you’re live-tweeting something like an awards show, don’t be afraid to share a little bit on each social profile you have a presence; simply play to each platform’s strengths. For example, you can share photos of your setup on Instagram (especially if you dress up and have themed snacks, or even just cute pets watching with you), live-tweet, and break everything down later on Tumblr. Tumblr, known home of fandom, is a great place to share and analyze favorite show or movie moments, replaying them in GIFs and clever text posts you can reblog and add onto.
Facebook is really best for a single post about something you’ve watched or plan to watch, and maybe cross-posting an Instagram photo. It’s easy to flood the feeds of your Facebook friends and followers, and that’s a good way to get unfollowed or unfriended. Likewise you only want to post a photo or two to Instagram, and save the rest for #TBT.
Want to know how your live tweets performed? Run a free TweetReach snapshot report to get an idea of the conversation and see how far your tweets reached. You can also run a free Union Metrics Instagram account checkup to see if that party picture was your most successful, or if you should have posted it at a different time of day with different hashtags.
Instagram is a social media powerhouse. In just five years, more than 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, and it now has more than 400 million monthly active users. 50,000 new photos were shared on Instagram in just the past 60 seconds. That’s 80 million new photos and 3.5 billion new likes every single day.
So how you can tap into this large, growing and vibrant community to create better content, grow your followers and get more engagement? Based on what we’ve seen work for brands and individuals, we’ve pulled together a list of our top Instagram tips. If you follow them, we bet you’ll start doing better on Instagram.
When is the best time to post to Instagram?
- Instagram is very active on nights and weekends.
- Consider posting content outside typical US business hours.
- Your experience will vary, so test a lot and figure out what works for your content and your audience.
How often should I post on Instagram?
- Post 1-2 times a day to maximize engagement.
- Stick to a regular posting schedule.
- Don’t stop posting for long periods of time or you will lose followers.
- Most Instagram content lives up to 3 days, but 90% of a post’s likes and comments happen in the first 12.8 hours.
How can I improve my Instagram posts?
- Post the right kind of content for Instagram.
- Post only high-quality photos and videos.
- Photos get more engagement than videos on Instagram, so post more photos than videos.
- Stick to the Instagram aesthetic, but filters aren’t necessary.
How can I better use hashtags to increase engagement?
- Research a hashtag before using it.
- Find the hashtags that work best for your content.
- Try a variety of new hashtags to see which ones work and which ones don’t.
- Use a mix of large popular hashtags, as well as targeted, lower-volume hashtags.
- Use 3-10 hashtags per post.
- Consider adding hashtags in a comment separate from a post’s caption.
- Don’t add new hashtags to older posts.
Really, our Instagram tips come down to a few simple rules. Instagram content is a lot more evergreen than people give it credit for, so take the time to create and share high-quality content. Keep up a steady cadence of new content to maximize engagement. And if you stop posting, you will lose followers. Use hashtags to reach new audiences and boost content discovery.
If you’re going to start an Instagram account, be prepared to commit to it – don’t let it stagnate. Keep trying new things and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
And of course, we recommend that you measure your work with Union Metrics! We have a free Instagram account checkup that provides quick metrics for your own account, as well as awesome and in-depth analytics subscriptions for hashtags and accounts.
We spend the week reading the best things we can get our eyeballs on and on Fridays we share them here with you. Leave your thoughts in the comments, or come find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.
On content marketing.
Working on a content strategy for 2016? Demian Farnworth cautions that you Don’t Create Your Content Strategy Until You Research These 6 Things for Copyblogger. The bottom line? It all begins and ends with knowing the consumer.
And if you’re more of a visual learner, check out Content Marketing Done Right: 8 Examples You Can Learn From from Pratik Dholakiya for Marketing Land.
On visual and video content marketing
In case you need a reminder, Neil Patel has one for Content Marketing Institute about Visual Content Strategy: The New ‘Black’ for Content Marketers.
“Content in general – your blog, your website, your articles – demands images, too. Content with images gets 94% more views than content sans images. It doesn’t matter what industry, topic, niche, or specialty, images matter.”
Dive into the article for more tips on execution, etc.
If you’re well into visual content and conquering video, you may be left wondering YouTube vs. Vimeo: Which Is Better for B2B Content Marketing? In which case that piece from Wendy Marx for Business2Community was practically written just for you.
“The important thing to note in all of this, however, is that the way to successfully appeal to people through content has fundamentally changed in the digital age.
‘If you’re trying to get people to watch a TV program it has to appeal to the mass market,’ Lewis argues.
‘But with digital, the more you can connect with an individual the more likely they are to engage with and share that content.’”
The second takeaway was this gif:
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!
It’s an unfortunate reality of social networking that we- private citizens as well as personal and major brands- sometimes have to deal with trolls. Much like a crisis communication plan, we recommend having a plan or at least policy in place well before actually experiencing a trolling. At the very least, know who on the team is responsible for handling the situation. And if you’re that person desperately Googling what to do with the troll rumbling around in your @ mentions right now, we’re here to help.
1. It can be hard, but stay calm
No one who handles social media accounts needs to be reminded of the repercussions of losing your temper on these very public platforms, particularly while representing a brand. Trolls range from those who think they’re just having harmless fun at an intern’s expense to those who go out of their way to hurl (often personal) abuse at the human behind a Twitter handle. It can be much more difficult to stay calm when faced with the latter, but having a plan in place will definitely help.
If it feels appropriate for your brand, you can publicly address the issue rather than blocking, reporting and ignoring, particularly if insults were raised that go against your company and/or personal values. This can be anything from a tweet to a blog post that highlights why the troll’s behavior was not acceptable, and resources for anyone looking to further understand the nature of the exchange. The overarching rule here is: Respond in line with your brand values.
Troll attacks can make you deeply angry, and are often designed to do so. Those who face frequent troll attacks often say that “don’t feed the trolls” and “just ignore them” advice doesn’t work. Obviously it’s okay to be upset and angry, but any public response should be well-thought out and measured, especially when you’re representing a brand.
2. Decide what category of troll you’re dealing with, and therefore wether or not you should engage with them
If it’s a bored person teasing your brand, you can respond in kind with jokes and emojis and they’ll most likely eventually wander off. If it’s a customer with a legitimate complaint who beings to troll, try to take the conversation off of social media onto phone or email to resolve the situation; those people often feel they haven’t been heard, which is why they turn to more dramatic means of attention-getting. Solving their need with personal attention can often solve the problem.
If the troll is saying very hurtful, abusive things, however, don’t hesitate to block and report them as each platform allows. If it feels appropriate, respond to them saying you don’t appreciate the hateful, harmful things they’re saying and that you intend to block and report. While that will ultimately probably not make the troll rethink their behavior, it will allow your other fans and followers in that space to see how you handled the situation.
3. Know the blocking and reporting options on each platform
Don’t hesitate to block and report anyone who moves from being an angry customer to being a troll, or who just comes trolling. Here are the current blocking and reporting options for the major social platforms (if we missed one, please leave it in the comments or tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics):
- On Twitter: Reporting abusive behavior.
- On Tumblr: See the “Blocking Users” section of this page.
- On Facebook: Tools for Addressing Abuse on Facebook contains links to Blocking People and Reporting them for abuse.
- On Instagram: Blocking people on Instagram. They also have a page in their help section on Learning How To Address Abuse.
- On Pinterest: Block or unblock someone on Pinterest, or Report something.
- On Snapchat*: Deleting and blocking friends
*You’re less likely to have an issue on Snapchat as a brand, since most brands take the strategy of sharing their username to have fans and followers be able to see their stories, rather than sending them individual snaps. They can still, respond, however, so don’t be afraid to take action if someone sends inappropriate content in response to a story.
4. Have a plan for dealing with third parties who involve themselves
Your brand advocates might see someone going after you and involve themselves without you asking, and sometimes they go too far, trolling the troll in return. Anonymous citizens might also pose as customer service representatives of your brand and respond to unhappy customers on your behalf. It’s up to you whether you want their action to stand, or step in and stop it. Again, you want your decisions to reflect your brand values as much as possible.
5. What to do if it all goes to hell anyway
Here’s where any existing crisis communication plan will kick in. If you don’t have one, you can read about crafting one here. For examples of brands that have handled a crisis well on social media (or at least well enough), check out 3 ways DiGiorno reacted well to their Twitter crisis and Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet. The latter especially highlights how keeping perspective with the scale of the “crisis” at hand is important; over-reacting can turn things into a bigger disaster than they might otherwise be. (An example of this would be the Amy’s Baking Company situation on Facebook back in 2013.)
To be sure you know exactly what’s being said in the situation- and therefore how to respond to it- set up social listening as soon as possible. We’ve written about Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis, but now when you set up a new Union Metrics Twitter analytics Tracker, it will automatically backfill with 30 days of history, so you should have all of the information you need to handle a crisis that’s currently unfolding.
If you’re left trying to understand the psychology behind a troll attack- especially a deeply personal one- you can read about how writer Lindy West handled her cruelest troll. While non-personal brands are less likely to undergo such a deeply personal attack, it can help to understand that the person who is targeting your brand is most likely unhappy with their own life circumstances, which is why they are taking the time to troll a brand on social media in the first place.
Overall trolling is an unpleasant part of the Internet borne of the ability to be anonymous, but having a plan in place for how to deal with a troll will make any situation in which one crops up much easier to deal with.
The Twitter archive is a powerful and vast source of useful data for brands and marketers. It comprises hundreds of billion of tweets from nearly ten years of Twitter activity. And it’s now easier than ever to mine that data to help inform real business decisions using the power of the full Twitter archive.
At Union Metrics, we’ve recently developed a whole new way to access the Twitter archive with Union Metrics Echo. Echo provides instant access to tweets and tweet counts from the full archive. Using Echo, we’ve compiled a set of interesting brand stories based on historical data pulled directly from the Twitter archive. These stories feature a variety of brands and verticals, including Volkswagen, Apple, the NFL, The Walking Dead and more. They highlight some of the more interesting use cases made possible with access to this data, from crisis communication, product launches, engaging TV audiences and learning from shoppers on Black Friday.
There are so many ways to tap into the immense trove of data available in the Twitter archive. Download our whitepaper to see how.
If your brand has only done a little experimenting on Instagram, there’s no time like the present to really do the work and engage with relevant communities. Worried about how to identify and get to know a new community on Instagram? Want to learn how to participate in a way that won’t get you ignored or shunned? We’re here to show you just how to do that.
How to identify an Instagram community
First, identify the Instagram communities that are relevant to your brand. If you’re a sportswear company you’ll obviously want to get to know the various fitness communities on Instagram, a pet supply company would want to get to know #petstagram, and a clothing line the fashion and beauty communities. Many of these start out as big umbrellas- #fitness, for instance- and then break down into particular niches you can find by their hashtags like #instarun, #yogagram or #boxinglife. With Instagram’s improved search, including the ability to search on desktop, it’s easier to find secondary hashtags associated with the bigger communities you know are relevant.
You want to check out a mix of big popular hashtags and smaller niche hashtags; bigger tags will give you more exposure, and niche hashtags higher engagement, if you connect with the community in the right way (and don’t worry, we’re getting to that).
While you’re searching hashtags, take note of popular influencers and other brands in that space. Influencers are those you see popping up again and again in a certain hashtag, and generating a lot of engagement on each of their posts. Pay attention to how they and other brands in the space post because that’s how you get to know them— which you might notice is the title of next section.
How to get to know an Instagram community
Once you have a good idea of who the big personalities are in a given community- influencers and other brands especially- you can learn more about them by paying attention to how they post. Is there a specific style that’s common, like dynamic outdoor shots? A lot of selfies? Does everyone share a similar sense of humor, specific slang, or embrace emojis on posts and in comments? How many people are posting videos vs. static images, or experimenting with Layout and Boomerang (Instagram’s two standalone apps)? All of this is part of the language of the community and you have to listen and learn it before you can begin to speak it.
You also want to take the time to see who those brands and influencers in the community are connected with that you might have missed. These are the accounts you should pay attention to not only to learn the language of the community from, but to follow and interact with. You might notice some accounts that are very active in a certain community but don’t get a ton of engagement on their posts; they’re still important as possible up-and-coming influencers, or at the very least, worth paying attention to because of how active they are. (We can call them “community cheerleaders”.) This might just be one of their many interests. Not everyone has a niche account they post only specific niche-related content to. Some opt for a more all-purpose, life-encapsulating Instagram account, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth nurturing a relationship with.
You also want to pay attention to where else members of an Instagram community like to hang out on the Internet. Are they also active on Tumblr? Are many of them members of the same Facebook group? Do they post things encouraging each other to follow them on Twitter too? Listen in wherever else they have a presence, and consider also being active in that space if you have the resources to invest in a multi-channel presence and strategy.
How to participate authentically in an Instagram community
Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned: When you post, use the same tone, hashtags, and style as the community already does in way that’s appropriate for your brand. You want to balance the language of the community with your own brand values and voice. And don’t just sell; follow community members and interact with them as appropriate, liking photos, leaving comments, and even considering influencer partnerships where applicable. Consider attending or hosting an InstaMeet, or collaborating on a photo project. Share relevant photos from the community on your own account (with explicit permission) as a regular feature, part of a contest, or just as a way to boost your audience by drawing in that community member’s audience.
Experiment with your content within the parameters of the measuring you’ve done and your own brand strategy, measure the results, and incorporate those results into ongoing content plans. Be friendly, be funny, be personable if that fits your brand.
The bottom line? Actually be a part of the community. Ultimately there’s a person- you- behind the account, even if you’re using a brand voice that’s not completely your own. Treat the community like you would any that you’re a part of in your own life.
Want more Instagram resources for brands? We have whitepaper featuring data from 55 top-performing brands on Instagram you candownload for free. You can find out how you’re doing on Instagram right now for free here, and if you still have questions, feel free to find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics or shoot us an email. We’re always happy to help!
This article, written by our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis, was originally published on AdWeek’s SocialTimes.
After almost ten years, Twitter has become the pulse of the planet. Users post more than 6,500 new Tweets every second, sharing information about everything, from the mundane to the world-changing. While some might be worried about Twitter’s growth slowing down, it’s just as important as ever to digital marketers. In fact, Twitter is a core ingredient in a successful multi-channel social media strategy and there are a number of ways brands can take advantage of this rich resource to improve their social programs.
Why the Twitter archive matters
Twitter owns the moment. It’s where news breaks, reactions happen and opinions form, all in real time. Since 2006, those moments have multiplied into an archive of hundreds of billions of Tweets, an incredible record of the world’s response to events – big and small.
This record comprises one of the world’s richest social data sources – a vast archive of hundreds of billions of Tweets. The good news for all of us is that this archive is both robust and accessible. Because of the work Twitter and Gnip have done to maintain data integrity over time, brands can reliably access Tweets from any time in Twitter’s history, either through Twitter/Gnip or through a third party partner, depending on what they need. And it’s not just their own Tweets either – the Twitter data archive is full-fidelity and open to the world.
The data in the Twitter archive is perfect for research. Brands can use this data treasure trove to understand how customers talk about their products and their competitors, how people reacted to news, what features customers like or don’t like, how a past campaign performed and so much more.
And it turns out this data can be useful for purposes well beyond Twitter itself. You can use Twitter data to inform a campaign you’re planning on Facebook or Instagram. Find out what worked before, what didn’t work, what you can improve. Learn how people share content from other networks on Twitter, or how they react to information they’ve seen elsewhere. People turn to Twitter to complain about Facebook being down, discuss a new Snapchat feature, or share a new YouTube video. You can learn a great deal from these conversations and then use that insight to inform your social strategy both on Twitter and off.
How brands can use the Twitter archive
So what can you, as a brand marketer, actually do with the Twitter archive? How can you tap into this resource to improve your campaigns? There are a number of quick and simple ways you can use Twitter data to help your social strategy, but I would encourage you to think beyond the obvious to try to find some higher-growing fruit to munch on. Here are a few ideas.
Tap into the zeitgeist. Identify major trends you want to be involved in (or discover those you don’t). Use Twitter data to see what a trend is really about, the kinds of content others are posting, and whether it makes sense for you to participate. Generally, the kinds of things you see on Twitter will reflect the conversation in other channels, so if people are badmouthing or posting negative content about something on Twitter, that’s probably what they’re doing on Facebook or Tumblr, as well.
Become a social ethnographer. Spend some time observing the people and culture around a topic important to your brand. Study how people talk about that topic, the kinds of language and hashtags they use, the sorts of media they share. Before you ever post something targeted toward a new community, get to know that community and how they interact with each other. You can extend this knowledge beyond Twitter; the photography community on Instagram likely cares about the same kinds of content as the photography community on Twitter. In fact, it’s probably a lot of the same people.
Focus on the delta. Move beyond simple volume counts as your go-to metric. Instead, look for changes in volumes to better illustrate increases or decreases in interest in a topic over time. Drill into the Tweets to learn how content has changed for a particular topic. You can even pinpoint key inflection points by identifying acceleration or deceleration in a conversation. When does the conversation shift and why?
Control crisis communication. If the worst should happen and you find yourself dealing with a brand crisis, turn to Twitter first to understand the extent of the conversation about the crisis. In fact, you might even discover the crisis on Twitter before it pops up on other channels. Either way, Twitter will help you learn what people are talking about, as well as the size of the crisis, and prepare you to respond accordingly across channels. Even better, you can use Twitter data to be proactive before the next crisis hits. Study past crises, whether they’re yours or a competitor’s, to learn how news spread, how stakeholders reacted and what messages resonated. Update your crisis communication plan based on what you learn.
Research the competition. See what people say about your competitors. Compare share of voice and see how you measure up. But more importantly, what kinds of things are people saying about your competitors? What you can learn from these conversations to inform your social media content? And beyond that, pay attention to what your competitors doing on Twitter – successfully or unsuccessfully – that you can use to inform your own approach, on Twitter and beyond.
Learn from the past. Look at Tweets about evergreen events that happen regularly, like sporting events, conferences and ceremonies. Learn from past events to plan for future ones. Pay particular attention to questions and suggestions from event participants to find areas you can improve on next time. Find out what people liked, the topics that generated the most excitement, the content you can re-use, and the channels where you can best reach your audience.
With a little work, you can make Twitter’s immense dataset work for you. Better understand what people are talking about on Twitter to help inform your content strategy across channels and tap into the power of Twitter to create a more intelligent multi-channel marketing plan.
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