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On Facebook, photo content and News Feed priorities

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Keeping up with the changes around Facebook’s News Feed algorithm can be daunting, with new articles constantly coming out around changes in the type of content that Facebook prioritizes. Are photos still getting the best organic reach? Or is it statuses now? But if it’s statuses why do I keep seeing so many posts about how visual content marketing is everything? As with all social media there is unfortunately no magic answer that will work now and continue to work forever; the best strategy is a mix of best practices combined with what you already know about your audience and enough experimentation to keep learning about any changing demographics and/or interests. With that said, we dug around a little to see how we could best understand how the Facebook News Feed algorithm really works and the best approach for brands to take that isn’t so of-the-moment it will be instantly outdated.

The most recent changes and what they mean for brands.

This summer Facebook released several algorithm changes for News Feed that were written about at length: Time spent on story (stories that may not be “likeable” are still prioritized in a feed if friends spent time reading them), more criteria for video (considering users turning on sound or making video full-screen, instead of just counting likes/comments/shares), and “See First” which allows users to directly prioritize which friends and Pages they see content from in their feed. Brand takeaway: “See First” means brands shouldn’t be shy about asking fans to prioritize their content if it’s something they enjoy seeing and interacting with. Facebook also announced a growing interest in visual content for a global audience (emphasis added):

“People everywhere are embracing visual communication formats, like video, at a staggering rate. More than 50% of people on Facebook in the UK, Brazil, South Korea, Singapore, Israel and the UAE watch a video every day. In Asia-Pacific people are spending more time creating and consuming videos, including ads. In fact, in just one year, the number of video posts created per person on Facebook increased 75% globally, 52% in Australia, 36% in South Korea and 138% in the United Arab Emirates. People in the Middle East now consume more video per person than any other region in the world.”

Brand takeaway: Pay close attention to Page demographics and test content based on this information if their audience matches; brands might be surprised how widespread their audience is and there is potential to strengthen relationships with untapped audience.

UM photo post on FB

A recent photo post on the Union Metrics Facebook Page. You can follow us there for more robot visuals. 

But does this mean brands should definitely prioritize visual content? TIME has a thorough piece on how, exactly, News Feed works with this important takeaway:

“Around 2011, Facebook moved on from EdgeRank to a more complex machine learning system that better individualizes each user’s experience. Instead of assuming that all users enjoy photos, the algorithm would adapt to users’ behavior so that people who click on photos see more pictures and people who don’t click on them see fewer. This is the algorithm that’s currently powering your News Feed, and the one Facebook’s engineers are constantly tinkering with. ‘You have a lot of impact,’ Steinberg says about working on the News Feed. ‘When that team makes a change, the rest of the company is going to be paying attention.’”

Brand takeaway: Does your audience like photos? If you don’t know that answer, now is the time to start experimenting, and that doesn’t even have to take a ton of resources. For example, select a piece of content for re-marketing and present valuable information from it in multiple forms: Photos yes (try photos with captions and photos with text superimposed on them), but also short videos, status updates, links to related pieces, shares from Instagram. Pay attention to the response on each type of content and use that information to plan going forward.

What’s always true for brands.

Having the latest industry data and keeping up with best practices gives every brand a great benchmark to start testing from, not to create a rigid content marketing plan from. Why? Because every audience is unique and might not necessarily respond to industry best practices. Brands should test new content types, timing and other factors regularly to see what types of content their audience responds to the best, and build an ongoing dynamic strategy from there. It always takes hard work and research to listen to your audience, but when you really know what they want they’ll be way more likely to stick with you.

Need help listening? Check out our comprehensive Facebook analytics, available through the Union Metrics Social Suite

Written by Sarah

November 17th, 2015 at 9:10 am

The future of video is the stream (but not streaming)

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This article, written by our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis, was originally published on AdWeek’s SocialTimes

We’ve read dozens of articles citing how many millions of views social video garners every day. We know that teenagers now watch more online video than broadcast TV every week. Adults watch many times more online video now than they did a few years ago. Social video is definitely a thing.

And so far this year, one of the biggest emerging trends in video has been streaming video. Facebook is adding streaming functionality. Meerkat has more than 2 million registered users. Periscope says their users watch 40 years of video every day, and claim 2 million daily active users. There are guides and listicles aplenty to help an excited new user get the hang of Meerkat or Periscope.

But streaming video is actually a very small portion of the overall social video conversation. Vine videos loop more than 1.5 million times a day. Snapchat gets 3 billion video views daily and has 100 million daily active users. Facebook gets more than 4 billion video views per day, with nearly a billion daily active users. YouTube watch time has grown 60 percent year-on-year and has more than 1 billion users. These sites are generating tremendous engagement with video content, and very little of it is live streaming. The future of video doesn’t lie in streaming; it lies in the stream.

The stream – your timeline, your newsfeed – is how you consume social media. You open a social app, and content streams past. And if you’ve been on social media for a few years, you’ve probably noticed your stream has gotten a lot more visual lately. How much of that content is video? A lot of it, probably. Why? Because video loves the stream and the stream loves video. Here are just a few reasons why.

#MondayMotivation: Coffee please ☕️☕️☕️ #Boomerang #Mondaze #coffeetime #catmug

A video posted by Union Metrics (@unionmetrics) on


Native video

Video that fits the medium the user is in – content created to make the most of where it’s posted – performs better than video originally posted on an external site. Facebook is very enthusiastic about native video and gives preferential treatment to videos uploaded directly to Facebook instead of cross-posted from YouTube or Instagram. Tumblr recently rolled out a new video player to improve the native video experience. And this makes sense; native video looks better in the stream. It’s easier to consume; it breaks up text posts and static images and brings life to your stream.


It may sound ridiculous, but removing something as simple as a click can significantly impact how a user interacts with a video. As more social channels like Twitter and Facebook have added autoplay, video views have increased dramatically. Now certainly some of this is due to the fact that now every display in every stream generates a view, but engagement with and attention to those videos has also increased. Removing any barrier, no matter how small, improves the video experience.

Better ads

Video ads keep getting better and more creative as brands get more sophisticated. Some of the most interesting advances in advertising are in digital media, specifically video. The more engaging and relevant an ad is, the more authentic it feels to the medium and the more successful it will be. Brands and agencies have figured this out and are creating high-quality content to achieve that success. Shown in-stream, the right video ad feels like it belongs there.

Vertical video

Maybe we really are too lazy to rotate our phones. There’s some evidence now that mobile viewers are more likely to stick around to watch content that’s intentionally created to be viewed vertically. Snapchat is spearheading this movement, but we’re seeing it more everywhere. Not having to change your phone’s orientation makes for a better experience, and is less interruptive to the mobile experience. This is a tough one for video purists who prefer horizontal video, but we’ll continue to see lots more vertical video, so you’ll need to get used to it.

But not streaming video

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.

If you’d like to monitor the performance of your social video, check out the Union Metrics Social Suite.

Written by Jenn D

November 16th, 2015 at 11:36 am

The metrics that matter on Facebook

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This article, written by our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis, was originally published on PerformanceIN

One of the best things about Facebook is all the metrics we can access through Insights or third-party analytics providers (like Union Metrics!). For brands, it’s a veritable data buffet! However, there are so many metrics that it’s hard to know which ones to pay attention to. Here are some tips on the metrics that should really matter to brands on Facebook and how you can use them.

Union Metrics Facebook Analytics Tracker Overview Short

An overview of the Union Metrics Facebook analytics

Page-level metrics

First, it’s important to distinguish between page-level metrics and post-level metrics. The success of your Facebook campaigns depends on both.At the page level, you need to understand the size of your Facebook footprint and make sure it’s growing over time. The rate of that growth depends on your specific goals, so first get to know your normal growth rates, then decide if you need to increase those to meet your goals.

Facebook’s main page-level metrics are page reach and fans. Page reach measures the total unique audience for all your page and post content. It reflects the maximum audience size for your owned content, and grows through shares and stories spread across your fans’ News Feeds. Your fans count is the number of different people who have liked your page – your followers.

Post-level metrics

At the post level, there are several important metrics to measure to discover what content works well and what you can be doing more, including reach and a few types of engagement. Compare these metrics across individual posts, as well as across post types to learn if there are different types of content that work better than others.

First, monitor individual post reach over time. Identify how much reach you can expect from a typical post, and be able to identify posts that perform above or below that figure. Pay attention to your high-reach posts, as well as your low-reach ones. You may learn more from your lower performing content than your top content.

Beyond post reach, you definitely want to understand engagement with your content. Post engagement includes likes, shares and clickthroughs. Likes represent a simple acknowledgement of a post; they’re nice, but don’t do much to amplify or deepen engagement with your content. But shares are one of the most coveted engagement actions on Facebook. A share means someone liked your content enough to pass on to their friends. Plus, it amplifies your post to a wider audience beyond your own fans. Finally, clickthroughs on posts with links in them show you’re moving your audience from your Facebook page to your website or blog, furthering their engagement with your brand.

Next, look at where the engagement is coming from. Is it direct engagement from your fans (or those you’re advertising to), or is it downstream engagement from amplified content? Knowing how much amplified engagement your content gets can help you measure spread and uncover inflection points.

Finally, keep an eye on negative engagement actions. Hiding posts, unliking a page and marking a post as spam are all indicators – of varying severity – that your audience doesn’t like what you’re doing. It’s totally normal to see a few of these on any post, but if you see an increasing number or notice a post that gets more than normal, dig deeper. What are you doing differently? In general, negative engagement should represent only a tiny percentage of your overall fan engagement. If you receive negative engagement from more than 0.05% of your fans, something could be wrong.

Tracking these metrics on Facebook will help you monitor page growth and optimize your content. They’re a great place to start with Facebook analytics for your brand.

And if you’re interested in getting detailed Facebook analytics for your pages, take a look at the Union Metrics Social Suite!

Written by Jenn D

November 11th, 2015 at 8:50 am

2 rules for social TV etiquette across channels

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We’ve looked at how people discuss entertainment across social channels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is always on their best behavior. (Or blocking and reporting options on every platform wouldn’t be such an important feature.)

So if you’re going to live-tweet (or blog, or post or otherwise socially share) your favorite TV show, stick to these two main rules of social television posting, and you’ll be golden. Best of all, these tips work for fans and for brands. So if you’re tweeting on behalf of a show or just about it, here’s how to do without losing or pissing off any followers.

And if you think of anything we missed, leave it in the comments or find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics.

Tag or forewarn your spoilers.

Most social networks support (hash)tags, and many have a system in place for muting or otherwise avoiding specific hashtags, though sometimes you have to use a third-party app to do this. Letting your followers know ahead of time that you’ll be live-tweeting a show, and which hashtags you’ll be using, gives them a chance to mute you or the tag so they can keep their stream spoiler-free without having to unfollow you.

How? See resources like muting users on Twitter, and third-party apps like Tumblr savior for Google Chrome. You can also mute hashtags on TweetDeck and other clients:

Instagram’s design means you’re only going to see photos from those you’ve followed or hashtags that you’ve searched, so just don’t post actual spoilers as hashtags and your followers should have no reason to complain.

Facebook seems to be the place a lot of fans get spoiled through friends sharing memes or making thoughtless status updates in the heat of the moment, so Mashable covered how to stay spoiler-free on Facebook. Again, give your followers fair warning, think twice before you share, and your fans and followers should have no reason to complain!

If you just can’t resist posting spoilers or discussing a show as it unfolds, however, at least say that what you’re posting will contain spoilers. It’s the minimum social media courtesy to extend.

Play to each platform’s strengths.

If you’re live-tweeting something like an awards show, don’t be afraid to share a little bit on each social profile you have a presence; simply play to each platform’s strengths. For example, you can share photos of your setup on Instagram (especially if you dress up and have themed snacks, or even just cute pets watching with you), live-tweet, and break everything down later on Tumblr. Tumblr, known home of fandom, is a great place to share and analyze favorite show or movie moments, replaying them in GIFs and clever text posts you can reblog and add onto.

Facebook is really best for a single post about something you’ve watched or plan to watch, and maybe cross-posting an Instagram photo. It’s easy to flood the feeds of your Facebook friends and followers, and that’s a good way to get unfollowed or unfriended. Likewise you only want to post a photo or two to Instagram, and save the rest for #TBT.


#oscarwatchparty on Instagram



Want to know how your live tweets performed? Run a free TweetReach snapshot report to get an idea of the conversation and see how far your tweets reached. You can also run a free Union Metrics Instagram account checkup to see if that party picture was your most successful, or if you should have posted it at a different time of day with different hashtags.

Written by Sarah

November 10th, 2015 at 8:49 am

5 steps to finding fans and influencers on Facebook

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As Facebook increasingly serves as the hub for most brands’ social presence, it’s important for brands to proactively connect with fans and influencers on the platform, rather than just waiting for customer to half-heartedly “Like” their page after a transaction. So how, exactly, do you go about finding fans and influencers? We’re glad you asked! Here are 5 steps to take today to get you started.

1. Target friends of fans (without being creepy).

In How to get more followers, the right way! we covered running an inexpensive campaign to reach new audiences on Facebook. Well good news, Facebook has made things even easier with an option when creating an ad to directly target the friends of your fans. It’s a good bet they have enough in common with their friends that some of them will be genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer them.

2. Look at fans of competitor’s pages.

Pay attention to how they’re similar to and different from your own fans. Is there an obvious element these people have in common that you haven’t been considering in addressing your audience? Write down some ideas to incorporate in your content going forward, or tweaks you might make to the audiences you target with ads in the future.

Just do not, under any circumstances, message these people or make any kind of inappropriate contact with them. That’s the best way to turn them off of your brand for life.

3. Look at brand advocates to see if they’re influencers.

You’ve no doubt noticed- and hopefully interacted with!- any brand advocates on your page (anyone talking up your brand, recommending you to others, leaving regular, enthusiastic comments etc), or tagging your page elsewhere on Facebook. Are these people influencers in a space that would make sense for your brand to be more involved with? For example, a beauty brand who discovered one of their brand advocates was a lifestyle vlogger with a healthy, engaged following might consider reaching out to start a campaign or brand partnership that made sense for both of them. Exposing your brand to that influencer’s audience is a great way to grow your own with genuinely interested fans.

Chameleon Cold-Brew FB 2

4. Is there anyone your fans talk about a lot who is an influencer?

Who do your fans talk about amongst themselves? Set up social listening across your social presence and pay attention to who your fans consistently talk about; not just you and your direct competitors, but also influencers in your industry and adjacent industries. Building relationships with those influencers is a great way to build both of your audiences.

5. Look at hashtags for your industry not only on Facebook but also on Instagram; who has a big following there?

While hashtags aren’t used on Facebook the way they are on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram, it’s still worth looking through the big ones in your industry to see who is using them the most. This can be especially helpful on Facebook-owned Instagram (and you can definitely make some discoveries through Instagram photos cross-posted to Facebook) where a lot of influencers have large followings. Connect by following, leaving comments or sharing their content where appropriate, and generally working to build a relationship with them. If it’s a good fit, they should reciprocate.

Anything else?

From 10 ways for brands to succeed on Facebook, be sure you’re still using Facebook analytics to post more content when your audience is around— and keep checking on that timing, because it can easily shift with the seasons and cycles like school semesters, holiday breaks, and more.

Want your Facebook analytics in the same place as everything else? We can do that for you, with the Union Metrics Social Suite. Here’s how our Facebook analytics make Facebook even better.

Written by Sarah

October 28th, 2015 at 9:26 am

The Week in Social #172

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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.

All about Facebook.

You may have seen a dozen headlines declaring Facebook’s forthcoming “dislike” button, but that’s not actually what Zuckerberg promised. Andrew Hutchinson breaks down What Facebook’s ‘Other Than Like’ Option Will (Probably) Look Like, and What it Means for Marketers in Social Media Today. We also recommend his piece Facebook Looking to Ramp Up Instant Articles and Live Streaming on Platform to get fully acquainted with upcoming Facebook changes.

On UGC and permission.

When it comes to disclosing brand partnerships and sponsorships, we and the FTC say to always err on the side of caution with the mantra “When in doubt; disclose”. Similar to that, always ask for permission from fans and followers before you use their images, even if they tagged your brand’s handle or used a brand-related hashtag that isn’t specifically set up as a contest explicitly stating using said hashtag gives you permission to use their photos. (Even then, asking again wouldn’t hurt.) Below is an example, from the National Park Foundation:

Denali National Park, Alaska, for #TravelTuesday. #travel #Alaska #FindYourPark #travelgram #instapassport #landscape

A photo posted by Sparker (@sparkerpants) on

Need more convincing? Read On Instagram and Other Social Media, Redefining ‘User Engagement’ from Sydney Ember and Rachel Abrams for the NYT.

All about those tweets and other Twitter properties.

80% of Twitter’s 316 million monthly users are mobile. Are you optimized for that? Social Times is here to help with How to Make Your Tweets Mobile-Friendly by Lauren Dugan.

If you’re looking at adding Vine to your video content marketing plan, you might want to read over these Best Practices for Creating Budget-Friendly Branded Vine Videos from Eric Dahan.

And finally. . .shiny things.

Quinn Whissen breaks down The Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome in Marketing Land. 

If you’re worried you may have fallen ill with the Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome (SMSOS), ask yourself these questions:

  • Where does my audience hang out online?
  • Can I consistently engage my audience with unique, relevant content on my chosen platform(s)?
  • Where do I get the best engagement that actually benefits my business?
  • Am I spread too thin to the point where I can’t focus where it matters most?
  • Why am I on this platform in the first place, or why do I want to be on it?

The cure? “Focus where it matters. Spend your time wisely and strategically. Be intentional.”

And if you need help measuring to figure out where your efforts are paying off- and therefore best spent- we can help with that.

Written by Sarah

September 25th, 2015 at 8:57 am

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

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

7 rules of Facebook etiquette for brands and influencers

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The best brands on Facebook don’t just throw up a page, post occasionally and call it a day—  they really work to share engaging content with their audience and work to make them feel included in their conversation. A lot of that stems from having good Facebook manners. Below are the basics in Facebook etiquette that nearly anyone can benefit from a brush-up on.

Know of anything we’ve missed? Leave it in the comments or share it with us on Twitter @UnionMetrics. Just be sure you use the right fork.

1. Don’t turn on those new Facebook messages unless you can handle them in a timely manner, or your rating will suffer.

This guide from SocialTimes breaks down the best approach for brands to take with this new feature.

2. Respond to comments in a timely manner.

Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what you would want from a company if you were reaching out to them in similar circumstances on the same platform. Then do everything in your power to fix the problem. Even if you don’t have the power to fix the problem, sometimes it’s enough for them to feel heard by an empathetic brand representative in a timely manner.

3. Don’t flood people’s feeds with similar posts; do use dark posts to your advantage!

Not sure exactly what dark posts are, or how to use them? This piece from Social Media Today covers how you can use dark posts to share several similar posts to targeted audiences without cluttering everyone’s feed and your own timeline.

4. Do ask to be included in your follower’s 30 accounts they’ll see updates from first in their News Feed.

Facebook recently changed things so that users can elect which 30 pages are a priority to see updates from, in a mix of both friends and pages. Asking your followers to include you in this is an easy way to get a boost in who sees your content—  after all, they’re already following you! Just ask politely and include a description or link of how to do it to maximize results.

Image via Mashable.

Image via Mashable.

5. Don’t delete negative reviews.

Instead, address them as honestly as possible and try to fix the problem. Move things to email if it’s too complicated of an issue to solve on Facebook, but never ignore what your customers are saying in any space. Do, however, delete anything that is obviously hateful or threatening. Block and report as necessary, particularly if hatred or threats are directed at a specific employee. Make your employees feel safe.

6. Don’t share too much.

Avoid excessively long Facebook posts, unless you’re experimenting with the revamped Notes feature! A general Facebook best practice is to keep your posts pretty short and sweet, unless you’re a writer with a devoted following or sharing a specific important story. However, some brands have done experiments to find their longer content rewarded, which brings us to our final piece of advice.

7. Do test everything to your audience specifically.

Best practices will always give you a jumping off point, but it’s up to you to tailor your strategy to your customers and the target audience you hope to make your customers.

Written by Sarah

September 3rd, 2015 at 9:00 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