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The Week in Social from Union Metrics #164

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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.

Social media marketers love to declare that things are dead, occasionally, and this week it’s poor brand storytelling. Bernadette Jiwa responded with a great piece asking Is Brand Storytelling Dead?.

“. . . 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.”

Emphasis added.

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.

Written by Sarah

July 24th, 2015 at 9:00 am

The Week in Social #163

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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.

Video content marketing is the new black (still).

Brendan Gahan talks Today’s Digital Video Revolution & The Future of Brand on Brian Solis’s blog. The question to be asking isn’t who will win, Periscope or Meerkat, (Vine and Instagram video have each found their own place, after all) but how can your brand keep up with the demand for video?

Related, In A Much Sharper Vision for Online VideoMatthew Schwartz reminds us that

“. . .in order for online video to work with your audience, it must have a sharp message and purpose. Technical wizardry won’t hurt your brand or organization, but the larger goal should be figuring out how the message in the video will tie to corporate objectives, financial and otherwise. It’s a steep mountain to climb (and I’ve got my Sherpa lined up).”

In other words, if you’re going to do it, do it right. And that involves putting some real time and effort into producing quality content that’s useful for your audience. Emphasis added.

Content marketing hasn’t disappeared, however.

Everyone loves to hold up BuzzFeed as an example of content marketing success but Jonathan Crossfield brings up an important point in Why BuzzFeed Shouldn’t Blow Your Marketing Mind: Unless your business model also relies on traffic over sales, theirs isn’t the model to emulate.

In How to Dig Deep for Richer Content from Rachel Truair discusses the “content iceberg”: Most content answers obvious, surface questions. By talking to your sales team, your HR department, your suppliers, or listening to your industry at large, you can uncover more difficult, frequently asked questions customers may even be reluctant to ask. That’s that kind of question you should strive to answer clearly and have easily available for prospects to read— everything “below the iceberg”.

Data still drives everything.

As Chel Wolverton  of SHIFT reminds us, Data-driven still needs human decisions. A computer might be able to tell you that you’re getting a lot of hits on your blog from a certain forum which should mean it’s a ripe target for engagement, but only human common sense can tell you not to engage if that forum is full of people you absolutely do not want associated with your brand.

In this week’s Put A Chart On It: B2B Marketers Struggle to Generate Insights from Social Data

Regalix-B2B-Social-Marketing-Challenges-July2015

 

Notably “issues with data aren’t related to collection but rather the extraction of meaningful insights”. Fortunately we know of some analytics that come with an actionable insight stream, if you’re interested in that level of clarity.

And last but not least, Facebook’s latest updates.

Finally Marisa Sanfilippo breaks down Facebook Updates Controls for News Feed with See it First: What This Means for Marketers. The bottom line? Ask your customers to include you in their list of “up to 30 Pages, friends, and/or groups they want to see first in their News Feed.” You never get what you don’t ask for, after all.

newsfeed_preferences_home


 

Thanks for reading, and see you again next week!

Written by Sarah

July 17th, 2015 at 8:52 am

The Week in Social #162

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On improving your visual content marketing.

Check out these Eight examples of effective emotional video content from Econsultancy, read up on how Meerkat’s Cameo Feature Could Unite Brands and Influencers in Exciting New Ways via Adweek, and test out 4 More Photo Tips Gleaned from the 365 Full Frame Project from Geoff Livingston. meerkatgif

On Facebook.

3 Easy Facebook Insights Tips to Boost Engagement [from The Buzz Bin; written by Rosalie Morton]

Head over to the ‘Posts’ tab to see exactly when your page’s fans are online and schedule your posts for around those times. If more of your fans are online, you’ll have the ability to reach more eyes.” 

Caveat: Posting earlier in the day doesn’t mean your posts won’t show up in their timeline when they’re active later. Test different posting times- a few hours before they’re active, just before, and during- and see which gives you the best engagement.

On storytelling and content marketing.

The Minimalist Approach to Brand Storytelling [from Spin Sucks; written by Laura Petrolino]

Show, don’t tell. You want to leave enough open to let readers fill in the rest of the story themselves in a way they best connect with it.

6 Elements Of Remarkable Storytelling [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Carla Johnson]

Basic storytelling structure applies to every story, even brand stories.

The Difference Between Content And Content Marketing [from MarketingLand; written by Rebecca Lieb]

Deciding what, exactly, counts as content and should be overseen by a content team can start to get tricky, especially at scale (think every web page, every product description, every piece of collateral, in addition to all the content going out across blogs, social, campaigns. . .you get the idea).

A very thoughtful piece on an exceedingly grey area.

The Week in Social #161

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It’s Friday the Thursday before an observed July 4th holiday here in the U.S., and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On storytelling.

The Secret Every Great Storyteller Knows [from Social Media Today; written by Bree Baich]

If you want to be a great storyteller, you must first and foremost be a great listener.

Digital Storytelling: How to Share Ideas in Innovative Ways [from The Buzz Bin; written by Rachel McPherson]

If you have the resources to literally immerse your audience in your content, then do it. For example, this Interactive Everest Climb from The Washington Post:

everest-promo-new

Content marketing, strategy, and inspiration from recent great campaigns and stories.

“How to” Videos – A Golden Opportunity for Brands to Generate Content [from Business2Community; written by Elizabeth Dyrsmid]

Demo your products, help your customers solve their problems, and do it all in the hot content format of the moment: video.

10 Stupidly Simple “Hacks” To Win At Content Marketing [from MarketingLand; written by Quinn Whissen]

“Content marketing is hard. But it doesn’t have to be boring.”

Read on for the author’s list of “tiny, innovative tests” that can “drive serious results”. And remember that people are lazy: Make it easy for them by creating content that will solve their problems.

Facebook content strategy is a time bomb for inbound marketing [from {grow}; written by Mark Schaefer]

“A few years ago, the major social platforms were happy to have your links to great content but now they are transforming themselves into virtual news and entertainment channels because they want you to spend time on their site, not yours.”

The landscape is changing. What do you think?

11 best social campaigns and stories from June 2015 [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

These monthly roundups from Econsultancy should go on your must reads for content marketing inspiration.

And finally, on getting that content shared, and how networks can trick us.

Five reasons people share content [from We Are Social; written by Lisa Collins]

“In his analysis of The New York Times study social media guru Jeff Bullas claims there are five reasons that we share content with others:

  1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
  2. To define ourselves to others
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships
  4. Self-fulfilment
  5. To get the word out about causes and brands”

So: Awe your audience. It’s that simple, and that difficult.

The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind [from MIT Technology Review]

Meet the Majority Illusion:

Majority illussion

“They illustrate this illusion with a theoretical example: a set of 14 nodes linked up to form a small world network, just like a real social network (see picture above). They then color three of these nodes and count how many of the remaining nodes link to them in a single step.

Two versions of this setup are shown above. In the left-hand example, the uncolored nodes see more than half of their neighbors as colored. In the right-hand example, this is not true for any of the uncolored nodes.

But here’s the thing: the structure of the network is the same in both cases. The only thing that changes is the nodes that are colored.

This is the majority illusion—the local impression that a specific attribute is common when the global truth is entirely different.”

Marketers may recognize this in the form of identifying the influencers in any particular space.

Bonus read: How to Build Rapport and Pitch Media Using Twitter via SHIFT Comm.

The Week in Social #160

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On big questions, social media crisis, and the law.

Better Client Insights Begin With Why [from SHIFT Comm; written by Chel Wolverton]

“It’s important to note that while asking ‘Why?’ helps understand what the client needs, what the client needs may not always be what they want. We need to come to a mutual understanding and relationship built on trusting our experience. Our job in revealing client insights is to help them grow and prosper. Understanding ‘Why?’ helps us explain to our clients the choices we make, especially when they run contrary to their expressed desires.”

Emphasis added.

Do Social Media Crises Actually Exist? [from Social Media Explorer; written by Kat French]

Before you panic, read this:

“Heightened, alarmist language like ‘social media crisis’ creates unnecessary fear and drama around something that should be a normal part of doing business. It supports the unrealistic expectation that nothing negative will or should ever be said about your company online.

Unfortunately, managing the fallout from mistakes is a part of every business. But the odds are, unless your situation is truly unprecedented, business will soon get back to normal.”

So: Make a crisis communication plan (here’s a free tip sheet from Cision) and be prepared for the worst, but don’t panic.

Emphasis added.

What You Need to Know About the FTC’s New Social Media Ethics Q&A [from PRNewser; written by Patrick Coffee]

When in doubt, disclose. But here are some basic takeaways:

  • ‘The purchase/sale of fake ‘likes’ or followers is ‘clearly deceptive’
  • Followers participating in contests used to promote a given brand must make that fact clear (preferably by using “contest” or “sweepstakes” in the hashtag
  • The client is ultimately responsible for the individuals who post on its behalf
  • Sponsored videos should note their status in the videos themselves (information below is not good enough)

All things platform-specific

Instagram Marketing: What Instagram’s New Ad Business Means for Brands [from AdWeek; written by Francis Trapp] 

“The specializations of influencers allow brands a more refined and controlled advertising solution. The scope of aspirational categories that Instagram influencers fall into is entirely consumer-driven: From health and beauty tips, to niche diet guides and emerging fashion trends, Instagram influencers reflect what consumers want to see and want to be.

This, in turn, creates a captive market of consumers searching for the products with which they can recreate the lifestyle of an influencer.

The process is the evolved by Instagram’s ad business: The simple association between a brand and an influencer translates an unfamiliar product to an aspirational product; Instagram’s integrated external links seal the deal and make the sale.”

Just be sure you’re doing all the necessary disclosing as laid out in the FTC post above.

Emphasis added.

And finally, the best of this week on content marketing

7 Essential Roles for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Liz Bedor]

Keep these roles in mind when building a content marketing team. If you are one person performing all seven of these roles, godspeed.

Written by Sarah

June 26th, 2015 at 9:29 am

The Week in Social #159

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

Big questions and B2B

Every marketing challenge revolves around these questions [from Seth Godin]

Great writeup on the essential questions behind marketing.

25 B2B Social Media Statistics About Platform Usage [from Social Media B2B; written by Jeffrey L. Cohen]

All the B2B specific stats from the latest social media industry report from Social Media Examiner.

On content marketing and the ubiquitous hashtag

Should you stop using hashtags in social media content? [from SHIFT Comm; written by Chris Penn]

“That said, should you change your hashtagging habits? The answer is: test for yourself. Over the next 2 months, alternate weeks. One week, use hashtags. One week, don’t use hashtags. Alternate for the next 2 months, then count up your likes, comments, shares, retewets, and favorites. See which posts get more engagement and which posts get less engagement.”

Emphasis original.

10 Simple ideas to achieve more content sharing now [from {grow}; written by Mark Schaefer]

Content Shares

Definitely worth clicking through the whole presentation.

 Platform-specific updates

7 Things You Need To Know About Twitter Auto-Play Videos [from Social Media Today; written by Sarah Matista]

Great summary of what exactly Twitter putting videos on auto-play means, from data usage to view counts and more.

 

What’s the best thing you read this week? 

 

 

Written by Sarah

June 19th, 2015 at 9:19 am

The Week in Social #158

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On content and influencer marketing. 

Refresh your reading list with these recommendations from Michael BrennerTop 20 Content Marketing Blogs You Should Read Every Day and remember that when it comes to content marketing, “focus on skill, not scale” in this piece from Victoria HoffmanThe Other Half of Content Marketing (The Part You Can’t Hack).

Influence Marketing: Success Is All About Finding the Right Partner [from Social Media Today; written by Sébastien Boyer]

“Influencers need to be assessed on reach, relevance and resonance. What is the size of their following and for they have an active social media presence (Reach)? Do their posts ring true and reflect compatibility with your brand, product or service (Relevance)? Are the articles or posts receiving comments and, equally important, replies (Resonance)?”

2

“Your ideal influencer lies at the intersection of the three Rs.”

4 Ways to Find Truly Relevant Influencers for Your Marketing Campaigns [from PRNewser; written by Lauren Jung]

Popularity (read: a huge follower count) doesn’t necessarily equate influence.

“And back to my point about popularity versus influence. You might have a follower threshold you want to meet and while a certain blogger might really fit the bill, perhaps her audience size isn’t quite up to the standards you’ve set. My advice is to be open-minded AND do some digging before moving on to the next blogger. Pay attention to engagement. Her follower count might not be high but her engagement could be through the roof, which could lead to conversion that is also through the roof.”

Emphasis added.

Basically: Someone with a smaller overall following might have higher engagement in their audience, so while a brand would be reaching fewer people overall those they are reaching would be more likely to pay attention to the recommendation and actually follow through on a trial or purchase.

Bonus reads: What The Most Effective Social Media Marketers Actually Do from Heidi Cohen, and The 9 Internet Trend Charts From Mary Meeker That You Need To See.

Platform specific tips, tricks, and more. 

How cinemagraphs are helping brands break away from static content [from Econsultancy; written by Kasia Piekut]

“Often mistaken for an animated GIF, cinemagraphs are a hybrid of living photography and video in which just one or two details are being brought to life with movement.”

chopard-marketing-cinemagraph-blog-flyer

How to Make Your Instagram Game As Strong As My Five Favorite Accounts’ [from Ann Handley]

“In other words: the most successful companies advertising on Instagram won’t be the ones with the most money to spend.

They’ll be the ones that understand the inherent strengths of the platform, and use it as a place to tell stories that make people feel something.”

Bold emphasis added.

Finally if you’re still not clear on this whole live-streaming trend, read Periscope and Meerkat: what do marketers need to know? from Christopher Ratcliff, and pair with How brands can use Periscope and Meerkat which has more brand examples from both platforms.

Written by Sarah

June 12th, 2015 at 9:07 am

The Week in Social Analytics #157

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On social strategy 

The new guide to minimizing legal risks in Social Media Marketing [from {grow}; written by Kerry Gorgone]

Because “Get Out of Jail Free” cards aren’t real outside of Monopoly.

Managing Expectations Should Be Part Of Your Social Media Strategy [from Social Media Today; written by Mark Ferguson]

Set modest goals, and don’t be afraid to experiment:

“One of the good and bad things about social networks is how much information they have. Someone posts an update, you blink and you’ll miss it. This has some obvious disadvantages but one big advantage. You can experiment without major consequences. You can try various versions of tweets, updates, pins etc. to see which one works best for you. By the time you know, your failed experiments are buried under the 500 million tweets per day. There is no such thing as perfect in social media. That’s one of the beauties of it. The best time to experiment is when you start off as you have fewer followers and connections.”

Emphasis added.

Social video. Still so hot right now.

5 Mind-Boggling Video Stats and How To Use Them To Your Advantage [from social@Ogilvy; written by Justine Herz]

3) 1 in 3 viewers share a YouTube video after watching, and 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter alone every minute.

People like to share videos. They want something to share. Now, this ”1 in 3″ number is a bit misleading because the majority of those videos are not branded, however, the user behavior is there. People want to connect with content and tell their friends about it. We just need to give them something to connect with. If we make videos people love, find interesting, surprising, they’ll connect with it.”

Social Video Chart: Your At-A-Glance Guide To 7 Major Platforms [from MarketingLand; written by Martin Beck]

“A side-by-side feature comparison of the seven major social video players — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Tumblr.”

social-video-posts-v5

Platform specific tips, tricks, and more

88 marketers you should follow on Twitter [from Convince & Convert; written by Jay Baer]

Double-check to be sure you’re following these fine people on Twitter. (You might want to be sure you’re following @tweetreachapp and @UnionMetrics while you’re at it.)

Tip: What are Facebook video ads good for? [from Social Fresh; written by Jason Keath]

“‘While video creative was not great at driving clicks to a landing page, we found that retargeting people who watched a video did improve the click-through and conversion rates. In other words, audiences that were warmed with video creative were more likely to take action on follow up campaigns.’ said Kistner.”

Emphasis added.

A Three Step Guide to Winning at Instagram [from Social Media Today; written by Andrew Hutchinson]

Image quality almost goes without saying, but you also need consistency in your visual branding. What else?

“One of the key things to remember in your images is that photography appeals to people’s aspirations – the things we want to do, the places we want to be. In the earlier examples shown from Nike, we’re inspired to go outside and smell the flowers, to get out into the elements. This is based on Nike’s in-depth knowledge of their audience – they know that these images will resonate with their followers, because they’re people who’re into running and the outdoors. How do they know this? Because they’ve done the research, they’ve built the audience personas, and they’ve tested over time. So how can you do the same?”

Emphasis added.

The Week in Social Analytics #155

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On content strategy, content marketing, and storytelling. 

Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing: How to Get Buy-in From Decision Makers [from Business2Community; written by Michael Riley]

“Showing hard numbers will motivate any decision maker. You need to find ways to track how any “costs” can be tied to revenue growth. It helps to use technology and systems for keeping track of all the data.

The key three factors to track are:

  1. How much is a new customer worth to the business. LTV – Lifetime Value
  2. What converted them into a paying customer. CTA – Call to Action
  3. How much it cost to get them into that funnel. CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost

If the CAC is lower than the LTV, then your efforts are profitable and should be scaled up. It should just be common sense, and an easy decision to make, when done right.”

How to Execute a Carefully Thought-out Content Plan [from Spin Sucks; written by Nathan Ellering]

An in-depth guide on actually executing on that content plan you worked so hard to get buy-in for.

Storytelling In A Data-Driven, Cross-Device Era [from Marketing Land; written by James Green]

“Marketers should build stories that reach people with the information that matters to them wherever they engage — across different channels and devices.”

Platform-specific tips. 

5 Ways Brands Are Using Tumblr to Stand Out [from Entrepreneur; written by Nate Birt]

“Tumblr takes a blog-plus-the-kitchen-sink approach to storytelling, meaning brands have the flexibility to create their own template and engage with fans in ways that best suit their mission. As the fastest-growing network of 2014, Tumblr and its 420 million users deserve a second look. (Note for your sales team: Tumblr users have higher median incomes than those of Pinterest or Twitter users.)

Pepsi

10 practical Vine and Instagram video tips for brands [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

The most popular Vines from everyday users are just completely lo-fi, easy to make, and cost no money whatsoever. For brands it’s a good idea to do the same thing.

All the best Vines have a sense that they can be made by anyone, no matter what budget or skill level.”

As for Instagram:

Instagram is less aesthetically forgiving then Vine. Instagram users expect a slightly higher quality video and image than on Vine. But it’s also easier to make your videos look good.”

Emphasis original.

Video content marketing. 

Seven video marketing lessons learnt from #ThisGirlCan [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

“Lesson six: enjoy and share the response

In a surprising development, women starting making their own This Girl Can videos and sending them to Sport England, showing how inspired they were by the campaign.

These were then shared by the campaign team, which helped make a stronger community and strengthen the core message.”

Written by Sarah

May 22nd, 2015 at 9:15 am

The Week in Social Analytics #154

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics with 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

On content marketing.

5 Dangerous Content Marketing Myths You Need to Know [from Business2Community; written by Carrie Dagenhard]

“. . .while believing the above myths can certainly put you in a bind, believing misinformation about content marketing can cost your company a large chunk of your marketing budget—and plenty of potential leads.

Emphasis original.

10 Things I Learned About Content Creation From 100 Episodes Of Podcasting [from Web.Search.Social; written by Carol Lynn Rivera]

“If you approach your content as a journey – not as a blog post or a video or a podcast – then you’ll be able to learn, grow and evolve and that will always help you improve.”

Who Needs Words When You Have Emojis? [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“Instagram has jumped on the bandwagon, recently announcing that it would allow people to include emojis in hashtags. This makes sense, since nearly half of the comments and captions on the social network now contain the images, Instagram reported.”

emoji frequency

On video content marketing. 

What’s A Video View? On Facebook, Only 3 Seconds Vs. 30 At YouTube [from MarketingLand; written by Martin Beck]

“We surveyed all the major social video platforms to see what counts as a view. For Facebook and Instagram, viewing only 3 seconds of a video of any length is considered a view. For YouTube, it’s “around” 30 seconds, the service tells us. In all those cases, the overall length of a video isn’t factored in.”

Important things for your measurement purposes.

Marketing Videos Don’t Have to Cost a Fortune [from Spin Sucks; written by Tony Gnau]

“If you know you’re going to produce three marketing videos over the course of a campaign, ask your producer if they’d be willing to apply a bulk discount for bundling all three into a single contract.”

 

Written by Sarah

May 15th, 2015 at 8:33 am