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.
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.
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.
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 + video content marketing.
Video is still the new black, so if you’re anxious to jump into generating video content for your brand but aren’t sure where to start, Mike Ryan’s 10 Ways To Use Short Video For Social Media Marketing is a good jumping off point.
And B2B companies still struggle to create the kind of content that actually brings them the most leads, as eMarketer illustrates in B2B Content Strategies Have Room for Improvement:
If you’re in B2B, don’t make the same mistake with your content strategy.
The hunt for the millennial male continues.
Where do the millennial males hang out? The latest answer is Imgur, as Garett Sloane notes for Adweek in How Advertisers Are Getting on Board With Imgur, a Pinterest for the Millennial Male. The real takeaway from this piece, however, is that eBay was so successful with their advertising on Imgur because they took the time to really listen to their intended audience and pay attention to the kind of content they like, then delivered their content in the same language and format. Any other brand would do well to follow their example, and not just on Imgur.
On Twitter and Vine.
Question of the week from Kimberlee Morrison, via SocialTimes: Can Marketers Keep Up with Memes and Trends on Vine? Most memes go through a similar cycle, and here’s the Vine version of that cycle:
The other difference is that on Vine they tend to move even faster through their cycle than on other platforms. The takeaway here is the value of pairing with an influencer on a platform you’re interested in expanding your audience on; they already have an audience there and they know what kind of content will perform well. Just be sure any partnership is a good match for both parties.
If your Twitter audience growth is feeling stagnant, Corey Ferreira breaks down How to Grow Your Twitter Audience in Just 30 Minutes a Day— provided you’re willing to put in a little hard work.
And finally, if Twitter’s Q2 stats had you ready to flee to greener social media pastures, take pause. Emily Alford speaks to those who know what they’re talking about in Instagram In and Twitter Out? Not So Fast, Say Experts. Here’s the key takeaway:
So focus on creating great content and giving it to your audience where they want it (that’s where they already spend their time, not where you’d like them to).
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.
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.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
What marketers struggle with: Multichannel, influencers, video.
Why Marketers Haven’t Mastered Multichannel? While marketers say they want to make this a focus- “84% of senior marketers worldwide said multichannel marketing was a key focus of their current marketing strategy”- many struggle with understanding and buy-in from higher ups, as well as time to invest in planning and the necessary tools to comprehensively and continuously measure their efforts.
As for that last challenge, we know a good Social Suite marketers should look into.
You’ve probably heard of this strange phenomenon of moving pictures used in marketing at this point, but how you do you Start Smart, Scale Up, and Stand Out With Video? Robert Rose takes on these challenges for Content Marketing Institute:
- How do businesses empower themselves to create videos (cost effectively) in the first place?
- Once businesses are creating videos, how do they scale this ability across the business?
- Once businesses have a functional process for creating videos, how do they use this new skill to differentiate the content they’re producing?
Click through to read the whole piece and see what themes address successful video creation and more.
Working with a social influencer is one of the best ways to boost reach across a target audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s free of challenges and Ayaz Nanji takes this on in Marketers’ Biggest Challenges With Social Influencers:
We would add one very important caveat: Be sure the partnership matches brand values on both sides. Throughly vet anyone you decide to partner with, be it brand or personal brand/influencer; that goes a long way toward “predicting behavior”.
The platform-specific info you need.
Heard about the Twitter Q2 announcements but weren’t sure what to make of them? SHIFT Comm has a great breakdown from Chris Penn: State of Social Media 2Q 2015: Twitter Users Plateau. The best takeaway?
“Should marketers be concerned with Twitter’s lack of growth? Perhaps, but that’s a determination marketers will need to make on an individual basis. Look in your web analytics at Twitter’s traffic over a multi-year period. Here’s an example:
In this particular instance, while Twitter’s overall membership may not have increased, Twitter’s ability to drive traffic to a desired web destination has improved substantially in very recent times.”
Last but not least, Jay Baer is laying down 5 Reasons You Don’t Buy Likes with Facebook Advertising over at Convince and Convert. The bottom line?
“Remember: clicks first, fans second.”
So what’s the best thing you’ve read this week?
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.
— Goosebumps (@GoosebumpsMovie) July 8, 2015
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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 the serious stuff: Law and crisis communication.
At it’s crux, social media is really just the latest tool humans have for communication; the nature of human communication itself hasn’t actually changed. This works both for and against brands in the midst of a social crisis, as Andy Gilman elaborates in How Social Media Changes Crisis Communications, an interview with Geoff Livingston:
“The Internet is just a vehicle. It really starts with who you are as an organization. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a company, a nonprofit or an NGO. What are your values and your messages? You can decide ‘I don’t want this community to be my customer base,’ that’s your choice. But then you suffer the consequences for it, and it is so much easier to spread that information.”
The speed and ease of communication in the social age simply means you might be facing those consequences a lot sooner and from more people than might have heard about it in a bygone era.
And if you haven’t had time to really take in the new social guidelines from the FTC, check out Adhering to the FTC’s Updated Social Media Guidelines: 5 Tips for Brands from Kristen Sussman. Truly savvy brands will run an audit to make sure even existing content meets the new guidelines. The general rule is always “when in doubt, disclose”.
And on content marketing and storytelling, because we just can’t get enough.
“. . . a brand story is more than cleverly crafted copy. A story isn’t something you choose to tell or not to tell. It’s what people believe when they encounter you or your brand, the impressions they form and the assumptions they make at every interaction with you, both in personal and business settings. Customers are making sense of your story even when they aren’t consciously paying attention.”
Want to get inside your customers heads? Then you’ll want to read Six psychology principles that can help your content marketing, from Anna Francis for Econsultancy.
Think you’ve got everything covered in your content marketing? Couldn’t hurt to be sure you haven’t missed something obvious that could be helping, and is an easier fix to make: 5 Obvious Content Marketing Strategies Most Companies Overlook from Neil Patel. (Hint: Just throwing a stock image into a post doesn’t make it “visual content marketing”.)
Finally Katie Gaab reminds us to take time for ourselves and trust in our ideas in Speak Up: Identify Influential Ideas to Make Your Mark. Maybe make time to do a little of that this weekend.
On July 2nd, Union Metrics’ San Francisco team visited our local Raising a Reader office to “Craft for a Cause,” and build educational block sets designed to inspire creative storytelling in the classroom and at home for program participants.
Raising A Reader’s programs provide books and educational materials, like the block sets we assembled, designed to help caregivers encourage children to read, cultivate creativity and aid in school success by increasing literacy, especially in low income communities. Our time at Raising a Reader helped us better understand early learning and the needs of schools and families in communities around the Bay Area, and knowing the benefits of early education and the importance (and fun!) of creativity in school and eventually at work, we wanted to support this cause and provide children with tools that will aid them in their literacy journey.
The blocks that we assembled, which include photos of a diverse array of people and animals, are designed to help children and adults use their imaginations to create stories about the characters. By inventing made-up narratives of what the individuals on the blocks might be doing, even children who may not yet be able to read or caregivers who might not have access to children’s books in their native language can learn and apply the art of storytelling.
We love being part of a community as diverse as San Francisco and to have found an opportunity to assist an organization promoting such an important cause locally and around the country. Volunteering not only gives us a chance to meet our neighbors and learn about the different needs that exist for local groups, but it also gives us a chance to connect as a team on a new type of project, which is why we make community service a regular activity in both our offices. And in this case, even hone our block-making skills and uphold our values of creativity and craftsmanship!
Our volunteering program allows us to help the community and spend time with colleagues in a new way, and we are so happy to offer it as a regular team building and local activity. Here’s what some of our San Francisco teammates had to say about our work at Raising a Reader:
“I like and appreciate the volunteer work we do because it allows us the time to make a valuable contribution to those who are either in need, or whose lives we can better. The experience of volunteering at Raising a Reader more recently was great especially after understanding how it impacts the children. I remember our guide/instructor telling us about how children from low income families enter kindergarten well behind the average in their reading and language skills and as a result of already starting well behind the curve, as a result they end up remaining behind throughout their school careers. Therefore it was great to be able to make a contribution and to be able to hear about the impact of our contribution along with the contribution of others.” – Sam, Customer Success Manager
“The most beneficial aspects of the UM volunteer program for me are the perspective I gain from it and the opportunity to spend time with my colleagues outside of an office setting. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and volunteering has served as a reminder that the minor issues I encounter pale in comparison to a lot of the major issues going on on our very own doorstep. Working with organizations like the Marin Food Bank and Raise A Reader has not only taught me a bit more about some of the adversities that others in our community face, but also given me the opportunity to take part in doing something to help!” – Steph, Product Designer
Our Austin office also recently volunteered at Austin Animal Center, so stay tuned for some adorable photos of our Austin team with local dogs and cats! (Can’t wait? Check us out on Instagram for a preview!)
As we’ve built out the Union Metrics Social Suite, we want to be sure we continue to provide analytics for those at a range of available resources. Along those lines, we’ve created this guide to help you find the perfect piece of UM to bring clarity to your social efforts, organized by your needs.
I have little or no budget.
Fear not my friend, we have some free tools to help you track your social efforts, even with $0 in the budget for it. As long as you plan accordingly, you should be able to cover a small Twitter campaign- a weekly chat, your own account growth, a hyper-local contest, etc- with TweetReach snapshot reports. Just make sure you run a snapshot within a couple days of your event – they can only go back 1-7 days. You get analytics on 50 tweets for free! If you do go over the allotted 50 tweets for the period you’re capturing on a free report, you can purchase a full snapshot report covering up to 1500 tweets for just $20.
As for Instagram, you can run a free Instagram account checkup to see which of your photos and hashtags are performing the best (plus more, like the best day and time for you to post!), and you can refresh your report once a day for updated metrics.
I want to track an upcoming campaign on one social media channel.
Union Metrics offers single-channel analytics starting at $99 per month to monitor two accounts or topics on one social media channel. You can get analytics for Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr with one of these plans. You can keep your subscription running for new campaigns or clients (and change what you’re monitoring at any time), or you can cancel when you’re done. It’s an easy way to get the real-time analytics you need without a long-term commitment.
Simply pick the channel where you’ll be running your campaign, and sign up for the plan that meets your needs. We can walk you through a demo to show you exactly what you’ll be getting. We offer monthly and annual pricing.
I want to track an upcoming campaign across multiple social media.
For our larger customers or anyone wanting analytics across social media channels, the Union Metrics Social Suite is a great choice. With it you can monitor your social efforts on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram AND Facebook, all in one place. That includes analytics for all accounts and topics you’re interested, plus cool features like our actionable insight stream.
Don’t worry, we still have different plan sizes to choose from so you can pick the one that best suits your needs, or the needs of your clients. The Social Suite starts at just $500 per month!
Why should I use Union Metrics?
We’re always happy to help!