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How Twitter etiquette has evolved: Be a modern Emily Post on Twitter

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Etiquette definitely evolves over time and that’s just as true of social media etiquette as it is of which fork you’re supposed to be using at Thanksgiving dinner (and now much anyone actually cares about it). We’ve covered how to be the Emily Post of Twitter chats, so we thought we might be sure everyone has brushed up on the rest of their Twitter manners too.

Disagree with an element of our updated etiquette or have something to add? Tell us about it in the comments, or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

On Auto-DMs

The old advice: We’re not sure who started the idea that automatically sending every new follower a direct message asking them to Like your Facebook page or answer a very broad (and obviously auto-generated) question was a good way to grow your audience, but even if it was true at one point, it’s no longer true now.

The new advice: If you have these set up, disconnect them. Unless you have hard numbers that prove people are engaging with them and loving them, it’s more likely they go ignored at best and get you unfollowed at worst.

On networking

The old advice: Never meet someone in person from the Internet! (And your mom might still be worried about this, because your mom remembers when people weren’t really who they said they were in an AOL chat room circa 1994. But times have changed, mom.)

The new advice: Don’t be afraid to ask for a meet-up when it makes sense! Twitter connections are great to tap for some face time when you’re both at the same conference or other event, or even if you find yourselves in the same city and want to talk shop over a cup of coffee or a cocktail.

On asking for favors

The old advice: Don’t immediately ask for something from a new connection.

The new advice: This advice stands because this is sound, timeless advice.

On hashtags

The old advice: Once hashtags were conceived it was only a matter of time before someone decided that where one hashtag was a great way to gather ideas into a single, searchable space, 1000 hashtags could do that even better! And then the spammers were born.

The new advice: These days Twitter themselves have a whole explainer for hashtags, and it’s a general best practice not to use more than one or two in a single tweet. Although they can also be used to make a great #punchline. Just do what works with your brand and your brand voice.

On following

The old advice: Follow everyone back who follows you!

The new advice: Some still take this approach, but it’s usually best to avoid following spam accounts or other accounts who aren’t customers or relevant to your industry that would simply clutter your feed. Conduct regular audits to unfollow any accounts that have gone inactive or are no longer relevant to make room for new customers and upcoming leaders and personalities in your industry.

What else?

How have you seen Twitter etiquette evolve over bios, profile shots, retweeting and favoriting? Leave your thoughts below!

Written by Sarah

September 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am

How to get more followers, the right way!

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While the number of followers you have on any given platform isn’t the end-all, be-all of your existence on that platform, learning how to grow an audience is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing (even if all you’re marketing is your personal brand!).

With that said, we thought we’d share some of the best practices we’ve found and the tips we’ve learned through our own research across social platforms, growing our own audiences. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments or come and find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

On Twitter

Slow growth is always frustrating, but it’s the kind of growth that tends to stick: Putting in the time and effort to find the kind of accounts you’re interested in who might also be interested in what you have to say (and later, sell) means they’re more likely to stick around for the long haul. So as tempting as it may be to have that follower number shoot right up for only $x, don’t buy bots. Instead, try these tactics:

  • Conduct regular follower audits: Follow back appropriate accounts, and unfollow anyone who has gone inactive or is no longer relevant to your brand or industry
  • Participate in chats: Twitter chats are a great way to find quality accounts in your industry, and you never know who might be in the market for exactly what you have to offer. They’ll be more interested in buying from someone they’ve already established a rapport with via chats than a strange brand, too.

  • Social listening is key: Track industry keywords and enter conversations but bring something of value, don’t just show up to sell yourself/your brand. That will turn people off quickly and you’ll be more likely to get blocked than followed.
  • Follow first: Follow relevant accounts you find in chats or through keyword tracking. Don’t worry too much about whether or not they follow you back immediately. Just work on sharing valuable information and interacting with these and other accounts when appropriate.
  • Copy industry leaders: See who leaders in your industry- even competitors- are following and follow them. (Just don’t follow 1,000 of them in one day. In addition to being somewhat creepy, Twitter puts a cap on how many accounts your account can follow in order to avoid spam.)
  • Tap your followers: Who are your followers following? Who do they retweet? Some of these will be relevant for you to follow, and many will follow you back. Circle back around to regular audits and you can unfollow any accounts who have lost relevance or haven’t followed you back when you’ve honestly tried to engage them.

You’ll notice a lot of these revolve around finding accounts to follow. How does that help your follower growth? Many accounts will follow you back if they see that you’re posting things that are relevant and interesting to them. Others will as soon as you engage with them in a meaningful way— such as in a Twitter chat. The key is that you’ve got to put in a little work to prove that you’re worth following.

On Facebook

It’s hard to read much about Facebook marketing advice these days without reading “pay to play”, but you don’t have to have an enormous budget to grow your Facebook audience. Here’s a few tips to get you started without breaking the bank:

  • Tap into existing connections: Ask relevant Facebook connections to “Like” your page. You don’t have to send the request to every single person you went to college with. Think about who might be interested in hearing from your brand based on the type of content you plan to share on Facebook; chances are you have connections interested in your industry or who work in a related area.
  • Tap into existing followers: Ask those already following your page to put you in their top 30 priority News Feed accounts. Any actions they take are more likely to be seen by their followers, and they’re more likely to take an action if they actually see your content.
  • Run an inexpensive campaign at a targeted audience. Who’s your target audience on Facebook? Set up an ad that’s relevant to them and cap it at a budget you’re comfortable with. It will stop running when the money runs out, and you’ll have some new followers who are piqued to hear what you have to say.
  • Share interesting, relevant content. Test different content types too; Facebook is always changing the algorithm favoring different types of content (natively uploaded Facebook video is favored at the moment!) and your particular audience might favor one over all others.
  • Ask questions in status updates. Creating interactive content is a great way to get your existing audience involved, which may prompt them to tag others to join the conversation too. Just be sure whoever handles social for you is prepped to handle any resulting volume increase!
  • Host a Facebook contest. Work to create and interesting and engaging contest for your followers beyond just “Like our page to be entered to win [x]” and any new followers will be more likely to stick around once the contest ends.
  • Promote your most successful posts. Once again you can set things up to end once you’ve spent your budget, so set things at an amount you’re comfortable with.

On Instagram

Based on this post on the Union Metrics Tumblr. 

  • Post great content: Postcontent people actually want to see. The best brand content on Instagram shows off a product in an alluring or inspirational way without feeling too much like an advertisement, and also stays true to the brand voice. For example, what works for Sephora isn’t the same as what works for Dennys
  • Time your posts appropriately: The most successful Instagram and Tumblr accounts post at least once a day, and typically not more than five times a day. If you’re looking for the best time to post to these platforms, post outside traditional US business hours.

  • Find and follow interesting people: Try searching on a hashtag related to a topic you’re interested in, and follow people posting content you like. If fans are talking about your or your brand, give them a follow back and engage with them – they’ll appreciate it. Basically, if you follow new people, many of them will follow you back.

  • Use (hash)tags: Hashtags increase content discoverability, so use them in your posts. Adding a hashtag is the single best way we’ve found to get content in front of new audiences.

On Tumblr

Based on this post on the Union Metrics Tumblr. 

  • Search relevant tags: You’ll find some great blogs to follow, and as you may have picked up, many accounts will check you out and follow you back if you’re relevant to their interests on almost any platform.
  • Search relevant featured tags: Featured tags have changed on Tumblr over the years, but Unwrapping Tumblr has an entry about them here and keeps an updated list of them here.
  • Track tags: Some of the tags you searched earlier that are relevant to your brand and industry might be relevant enough to keep constant tabs on, in which case you’ll want to designate them as “tracked” tags. Read exactly how to do that here, and once you do they’ll pop up any time you drop your cursor into the Tumblr search bar.

Tumblr tracked tags


  • Make good art (as Neil Gaiman says): Whatever it is that you’re creating or curating on Tumblr, make sure the content that you’re sharing is the very best it can be. If you’re bored or underwhelmed by your own blog, who else is going to be interested in following- let alone sharing- what you’re producing? 
  • Be sure you’re using the best tags: We can’t emphasize enough how important proper tag usage is on Tumblr. It’s how your content can be found by new followers interested in whatever it is that you’re talking about. 
  • Interact with your followers: Like, reblog, follow back. Consider thanking new followers in a post periodically and inviting them to ask any questions (you have an ask box, or you can set up a particular post to be able to receive answers) they might have about your brand. Also consider sharing UGC when it makes sense, either through reblogging, a campaign, or both. Anyone new who stumbles across your blog is more likely to follow if they see you interact with your followers.
  •  Cross-promote: Let people know you’re on Tumblr! Post about it on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on another blog if you have one. Pin images from posts on your Pinterest and send Snaps about your Tumblr. It’s a lot harder for people to find you if they don’t know you’re there. 

That list tip really works across all platforms: Be sure you have a consistent handle and occasionally let your followers on Twitter know you’ve got a Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat, and vice-versa.

Everywhere else.

We haven’t officially experimented with growing our own followings on Pinterest or Snapchat (yet!), but other people have. We recommend reading A Marketer’s Guide To Snapchat & How Brands Can Build Followers Through “Stories” from MarketingLand along with NPR’s excellent Engaging an audience on Snapchat for building out your Snapchat audience, and 6 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers from Social Media Examiner for Pinterest.

Got any tips we missed or other resources you’d recommend? Leave ‘em in the comments!

Written by Sarah

September 8th, 2015 at 9:00 am

Best practices and tips for Twitter and TweetReach

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Whether you know someone just getting started with Twitter as they’re launching their new business, or you want to brush up on some of the basics yourself, we’ve rounded up all of the Twitter and TweetReach tips and best practices we’ve written up and tested and put them here for your convenience.

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter Hashtag Best Practices

Why you should use lists on Twitter

Use favorite tweets to find new resources

Brands: why you should favorite tweets

Using Twitter Trending Topics to your advantage

Twitter Quick Tips

Twitter Tip: Authorized apps 

Twitter Tip: Turn off mobile alerts at bedtime

Twitter Tip: User Widgets

Twitter Tip: Emergency alerts

Twitter Tip: Personalize

Twitter Tip: Discover

TweetReach Tips

Tracking Instagram, Vine and more with TweetReach (And now, of course, you can also use our Union Metrics for Instagram analytics!)

TweetReach Tip: Measuring the results of a Twitter contest

Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis

TweetReach Tip: Find & engage influencers on Twitter with TweetReach snapshot reports

TweetReach Tip: Common Tracker mistakes

TweetReach Tip: Improve your snapshot report search query

TweetReach Tip: Measuring the reach of a Twitter account

TweetReach Tip: Saving your snapshot reports

TweetReach Tip: Excluding tweets from your search

TweetReach Tip: Searching for a specific tweet

TweetReach Tip: Searching for URLs

TweetReach Tip: How to isolate specific dates in a Tracker

TweetReach Tip: How to isolate specific dates in a snapshot report

Today’s TweetReach Tip: When tweets are available for analysis

Got any good tips we missed or questions you want answered? Leave them in the comments, or find us on Twitter. We’re always happy to answer your questions!

Image courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery. 

Written by Sarah

May 7th, 2014 at 11:24 am

The Week in Social Analytics #88

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Your Brand Is the Sum of the Stories We Tell About You [from Mack Collier]

“If you connect with your fans, the customers that love you, those fans will work with you to make sure they tell the story about your brand that you want other customers to hear.  Read that again until you understand just how important that is.”

Emphasis original.

5 Twitter Best Practices to Humanize Your Brand [from Social Media Today; written by Monica Jade Romeri]

Humans like to connect with other humans, not faceless corporate robots. (That’s why Merle has a face.)

The Confluence Of Content And Social Media: Insights For Success In 2014 [from Forbes; written by Jayson DeMers]

“One overarching theme in recent research is the benefit of properly targeting your social media efforts. If you want a better understanding of how social media influences your customers’ decisions to purchase your products and services, there are a few important questions that you’ve got to ask. In this case, a bit of smart consumer research will go a long way toward directing your social media strategy.”

6 Reasons Every Brand Should Create Social Video [from Social Times; written by Constance Aguilar]

“Video is quickly becoming the most effective brand marketing tool, and its popularity will continue to rise in 2014. Already 40 percent of the top 1,000 most popular Instagram videos are from brands, and a branded Vine video is four times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video.”

Millennials’ Social Media Posts Influence Peers to Buy New Products [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be influenced by their friends’ social media posts about products and services. According to January 2014 polling conducted by Harris Interactive for The Webby Awards, 68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post.”

Social Media and Millennials: How They Shop [from Heidi Cohen]

“Less than 1 in 6 social media influenced millennials shop exclusively in stores.”

If this is your target demographic and you’re selling on social, be sure you’re engaging in a timely, human way with your customers and followers, and be doubly sure all transaction processes are set up to run smoothly.

STUDY: Interacting With Other Brands Makes Consumers More Loyal [from PR Newser; written by Patrick Coffee]

“Here’s what we take from these findings: brands shouldn’t be afraid of competitors targeting their most loyal consumers. In fact, they might even want to encourage it. In many cases, trying something different just reminds you why you prefer your favorites.”

And finally, a bonus roundup of some posts on social media myths:

Busting The Myths of Social Media and Content Marketing [Geekless Tech] 

6 Social Media Marketing Myths To Avoid [Business2Community]

Written by Sarah

February 7th, 2014 at 8:42 am

Twitter hashtag best practices

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Hashtags are a delightful, double-edged sword. On one hand, they enable you to organize your tweets so they can be found by others interested in the same type of content. On the other hand, they can be hijacked by those looking to capitalize on the popularity of particular hashtag. With that in mind, you’ll want to go through a checklist of several hashtag best practices to get the most out of using them without wasting a good tweet on a bad hashtag.

Create your hashtag

Keep it short, relevant, and simple. If you use a really long hashtag, people won’t have as much room to add their thoughts. For example: #MMchat stands for #MarketingMondays (a Twitter chat*), but the full version is too long to use in an interactive Twitter event. You want attendees to be able to add as much as possible to the conversation.

Test your hashtag

Once you’ve come up with a snappy hashtag, you need to find out: Is it already being used? Is this particular hashtag routinely spammed by random, unrelated accounts? (If you’re using a general hashtag to increase reach on a post- which we cover in the next section- you’ll want to avoid hashtags that get spammed by unrelated accounts.) Do a quick search on Twitter to see if a hashtag is already being used and, if so, how. For example, searching #socialchat turns up that it’s already a popular hashtag in use for a tweet chat which means you’d want to pick something different for your chat or event. The general hashtag #socialmedia is fast moving and full of information, but also routinely gets spammed. You might test out using it, but know that it’s easy for your post to get lost in the flow of information.

For a more detailed look at how to maximize your hashtag use for both tweet chats (similar to Twitter parties, but reoccurring) and events such as conferences, you might want to check out these other posts:

16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference

7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter

Miss a conference? 5 tips for getting the most out of the hashtag on Twitter

The key to a successful Twitter party? Planning ahead.

9 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a host

10 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a participant

Get more out of a hashtag

You can extend the reach of a post by using more popular and general hashtags– in moderation. For example: If you’re talking about analytics, #measure and #msure are great hashtags to use in order to expose your post to a larger audience of people interested in data measurement. We don’t recommend using more than three hashtags in the majority of your tweets, however; too many hashtags look spammy.

Searching broader hashtags related to your industry will also help you find interesting content to learn from and share on your own accounts, in addition to surfacing interesting influencers to follow.

Hashtags are also a great way to find people who share similar interests to you outside of work, particularly with the rise of social television:

9 tips for watching TV on Twitter

Track your hashtag: Includes TweetReach-specific tips

You can track hashtags using our tools- either to get an idea of a conversation in a snapshot report (free, or a $20 full report) or monitor an ongoing conversation in a TweetReach Pro Tracker. Why would you want to do this? Hashtags can give you a great idea of the conversation around specific topics or events that are affecting the general population– or you in particular, if it’s a campaign hashtag you want to know the reach and results of.

How do you make sure you’re getting all the information you need? Check out:

Common Tracker Mistakes

What to do when your campaign hashtag gets hijacked on Twitter

In conclusion

Have a hashtag question we didn’t address? Leave it in the comments, or find us on Twitter. Happy hashtagging!

*Twitter chats, or tweet chats, are reoccurring virtual events where people meet to discuss various topics using a hashtag to connect the conversation. They’re a great way to network, and increase or share your knowledge on a topic. 

Written by Sarah

December 11th, 2013 at 11:18 am