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The Week in Social #171

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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 social strategy and content marketing.

Work smarter not harder when it comes to your social strategy, says Matt Walker for Social Media Today in Using Competitors to Guide Your Social Media Strategy.

As for your content marketing you can always find lessons in unexpected places, as Kerry Jones reminds us in 3 Content Marketing Lessons Reddit AMAs Can Teach via Marketing Land. And here are The 3 best brand storytellers on social media, as told by our very own Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jenn Deering Davis for iMedia Connection.

All about that video and live-streaming.

First, the numbers from Marketing ChartsMarketers Say Video’s Effectiveness Is Increasing. Which Content Types Are Working?



If you’re struggling with video, an effective strategy might be what you’re missing. And what do you need for that?

“One of the chief elements of an effective strategy, of course, is setting appropriate objectives.”

Like brand awareness, online engagement, or customer education. But don’t forget:

“As is sometimes the case in these surveys (and in life?), what’s most effective is also most difficult.”

Tough breaks. But the effort seems to be well worth it, when it comes to video success:

“…just 15% reporting a lack of success achieving their objectives through video marketing.”

Our fearless Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis also discusses how The Future of Video is the Stream (But Not Streaming) for SocialTimes. See if you agree:

“This streaming video trend will prove to be just that — a trend. The truth is, most of us just aren’t that interesting. On YouTube and Facebook, we can prepare a script, rehearse and edit to make a high-quality video. On Snapchat and Vine, the videos are short, forcing their own sort of creativity. But most of the time on streaming platforms, there’s just nothing there to watch. Getting more celebrities and brands who have more streamable content (and lives) will help, but the average user just won’t have much of their own to stream. Streaming video isn’t a standalone product; it’s a feature in the rest of the social stream.”

Emphasis added.

If you’re feeling strapped for resources but still want to tackle adding video to your content strategy, you’ll want to check out Why Brands Should Syndicate Videos: Example From Benefit Cosmetics from Homa Zaryouni for L2′s The Daily. And get a great overview of the very latest happening with streaming video apps in Blab and Periscope [are] Generating Buzz – but Don’t Count Out Meerkat Just Yet, as told by the always-informative Andrew Hutchinson for Social Media Today.

Last but not least, platform-specific news and tips.

Whether you’ve been paying attention to fashion week or not, Sarah Hecks has Live tweeting lessons from the catwalk courtesy of We Are Social’s blog.

Finally, if you’re looking to get the scoop on Instagram advertising, we recommend reading Instagram Advertising: A Media Buyer’s Perspective from Paul Van Winssen.

The Week in Social #170

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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.

Brand lessons.

We may not all have the resources and budgets of the big brands, but that doesn’t mean we can’t glean some knowledge from how they run things. Andrew Hutchison interviews Emma Williamson,  L’Oréal’s manager for Consumer Affairs and Social Media for the Australia and New Zealand region for Social Media Today’s Big Brand Theory: L’Oréal Stays Connected to Their Audience via Social.

“All channels of social media allow for us to have this relevant and on time discussion with our consumer – we need to be available in multiple channels and don’t value one over the other.”

Be available where your customer expects to find you, not just where you think your brand should be.

Michele Linn highlights another great example of this in How to Get the Right Content to the Right People at the Right Time: A Look at This American Life for Content Marketing Institute. Today’s content creators need to aim for:

“The right person to get
The right content
At the right place
At the right time
In the right format
In the right language
On the right device”

On choosing the right format.

Not sure if you should use a GIF or a Cinemagraph, or what the difference between them is anyway? Nicole Effendy at Ogilvy has you covered:


On Periscope.

Smart phones have helped end the taboo of vertical video, but now Periscope is giving the option for landscape purists to broadcast in their preferred format, as Martin Beck reports for Marketing Land. If you’re still not convinced your brand needs to be on Periscope, Chris Kyriacou has six reasons to convince you.

On Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook brand page layouts might be getting tweaked, while Instagram Ads Go Global, Including New 30-Second Commercials according to Josh Constine for TechCrunch.

And finally, a big milestone for Snapchat.

They hit 4 billion video views daily. Good work for a ghost.

Written by Sarah

September 11th, 2015 at 11:16 am

The Week in Social #168

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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.

Emotions + Emoji

If you think emoji are just for the teens, this piece by Shel Holtz for Holtz Communications wants you to reconsider (if your audience is into emoji, that is): Emoji are here to stay so start figuring out how they fit in your communications.


Bonus of emoji? It’s universal:

“You don’t need to speak a common language to understand emoji. No translation is necessary. Emoji—like so many other images—transcends language barriers.”

And while social media has given us a whole new set of shiny tools to communicate with each other, human communication itself hasn’t actually changed. John Unger talks How to Tap Into Emotions and Boost Your Content Marketing for the Jeff Bullas blog.

Video + Periscope

If you’re staring at a blank video content marketing plan with mild panic, don’t worry: Simon Crofts lays out Seven ways you can achieve more with video for Econsultancy.

Wondering How to Use Periscope in Your Content Marketing? You’re in luck because Dave Murrow answers just that for Bussiness2Community. This piece has a great breakdown of the app’s basics, plus some examples of how brands are using it already and how other brands could be using it. (That’s you!)

Everything else.

Okay, maybe not everything, but here’s 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Pinterest from Jim Dougherty for Cision. Think Pinterest is only good for food blogs and crafty moms? You may want to reconsider:

Thirty percent of this business’s social traffic comes from Pinterest. What business is it?

Odds are that Bank of America didn’t come immediately to mind, but that’s the answer. Bank of America’s popular Better Money Habits Pinterest boards host original content explaining many money-related questions, and they enhance their original content with relevant re-Pins such as wedding budgeting information.”

Trying to get good organic reach on Facebook seems like a battle brands can’t win lately, but Gini Dietrich has been experimenting over at Spin Sucks, and they’re sharing their results so far in Facebook Rewards Longer Content: Here’s What We Found. Spoiler alert: longform content on Facebook might not be the kiss of death you assume it is, especially as they revamp Notes.

And last but not least, a great interview with Erin Gleeson, the outreach specialist at 1-800-PetMeds, by Kristen Matthews for Convince and Convert: How to Comply with FTC Guidelines. Read firsthand how someone running a blogger outreach program keeps everything on the up-and-up with Johnny Law.

TL;DR? When in doubt, disclose.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Written by Sarah

August 21st, 2015 at 8:59 am

The Week in Social #167

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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 that content we just can’t quit.

Chances are you have a big backlog of great (and maybe some not-so-great) content already; why not dive into your archives to remarket the best, and update and repurpose the rest? Find more details in How to Repurpose Your Content Again and Again from Michael Peggs for Convince & Convert.

Do you think of Jon Stewart as a content marketer? No? How about a content curator? You can see it, right? If not, Heidi Cohen breaks down why he is a master curator and translates that into some tips for marketers in How To Be A Content Curation Master.

On Facebook.

Some fun research from Facebook: How do you laugh online? Turns out there are a lot of differences by age, gender, and even regionally. The Not-So-Universal Language of Laughter from Udi Weinsberg, Lada Adamic, and Mike Develin is a fun way to better understand your particular Facebook audience.

laughter heatmap FB research

In case you missed Hank Green’s Theft, Lies & Facebook Video piece, read that first, and then this response from a Facebook video product manager.

Finally, up your Facebook game with these 6 Lesser Known Facebook Features You Should Be Using from Simon Leeming.

And Snapchat.

Some new Snapchat updates will make regular users and brands alike very happy. Check them out in New Snapchat Update Introduces More Emoji, Enhanced Audience Data via Andrew Hutchinson for Social Media Today.


Written by Sarah

August 14th, 2015 at 8:33 am

The Week in Social #166

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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 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:

b2b content 1 B2B content 2

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:

  1. The original piece of content is uploaded
  2. Users replicate the Vine, as with the Whip/Nae Nae dance
  3. Users begin to remix, or make meta posts
  4. The meme reaches peak and then drops off, often to nothing.

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:

“Too many marketers pit social networks against each other, in terms of user base and revenue. Instead, they should focus on what consumers use each platform for and create integrated strategies that use platforms in conjunction with one another to move users down the purchase funnel.”

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).

Written by Sarah

August 7th, 2015 at 9:05 am

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



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.



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:


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