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Instagram update: Why square was good but moving beyond the square is great

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This is a repost of our Editor-in-Chief Jenn Deering Davis’ article about Instagram over on Medium

Yesterday, Instagram made a big change. They now allow photos with landscape and portrait orientations! They’ve moved away from the square and are fully embracing the rectangle. So what does this mean? How will it impact users? How will brands adapt? Let’s discuss.

First, it’s worth reflecting on why Instagram photos were square in the first place. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has said Instagram wanted to be different, to find a way to do photos in a way that stood out. And the square format looks good; it’s consistent and visually appealing. Others have suggested the images are square because that format mimics vintage cameras much like the Instagram logo itself. Either way, this is how it’s always been and today’s announcement was a pretty significant departure from what we’ve all come to know and love from Instagram.

But what you might not remember is that Instagram photos didn’t always have to be square. For the first couple years of Instagram’s existence, you could actually force other sized images into the square with zoom, and Instagram would add black bars around it, like this photo from October 2011.

Instagram landscape
But not everyone liked this. The Next Web hated it. Lots of purists hated it; non-square photos cluttered the stream, made the profile less attractive, interrupted the experience. But so many other users loved it, and wholeheartedly embraced the non-square photo, uploading thousands and thousands of them.

But then in late 2012, Instagram removed this feature (or fixed this bug, depending who you ask), forcing all users to only upload square photos. Of course, many loyal Instagram users were upset. Appsfire, an app that rated other apps, noted that Instagram dropped to a quality score of 11 (down from 97) when they made that change.

Fast forward a few years, and we’ve all adapted just fine to the square. Or so we thought. It turns out that this whole time, lots and lots of people were manually uploading non-square photos by first editing them in a third-party app that adds those bars around your image to make it look landscape or portrait but still fit into a square box, like this. We’re all guilty of doing this every once in a while – sometimes there’s a sunset you just can’t quite fit into a square box. Some subjects demand a full landscape orientation. So you post one hacked-up landscape photo, accept that it makes your feed look less nice, and move on. But you promise yourself it’s a one-time thing and you won’t do it again. However, you’re not alone. As we learned today, 20% of all Instagram photos are not square. So to better serve that considerable use case, Instagram has finally decided to officially include landscape and portrait photos.

IMG_6545

So, what does this mean for Instagram? Does this improve or detract from the experience? Before going into that, I need to disclose that I am an avid Instagram booster. I love Instagram and use it obsessively. I was one of their earliest users and almost five years later, still use it multiple times a day. So I’m likely biased.

But I love this change and I think it’s huge for the platform. Here are a few reasons why.

Flexibility. The square format, while beloved by many, was seen as restraining by others. It forced users to adapt what they shot for this very specific and often limiting format. Now they can post anything, including wide subjects or tall ones. For brands in particular, they needed to create – or convert – content specifically for the square format. Now that they can use other shapes and sizes, they can more easily adapt their brand content to the medium. It could even mean more participation from brands, both those already on the platform and those who haven’t ventured there yet.

Creativity. While the square format pushed users to get creative about the content of their images, welcoming landscape and portrait images opens up a whole new set of possibilities on Instagram. If users aren’t forced into a single aspect ratio, they’re no longer limited in what they can do. Instagram is wide open now, making room for all our images, even those that don’t work well square. We’ll likely see new kinds of images, much like we did when Instagram unveiled the Layout app. Fewer limits means better quality images.

Simplicity. Before this change, many users manually created landscape and portrait photos in third-party apps that added letterboxes around the image to force it square. Now that Instagram allows for this in-app, not only it is easier for users to share these kinds of images, but it keeps them in Instagram. This is great for users and maybe even better for Instagram because it will increase time spent in Instagram and decrease reliance on third party apps. This just makes it easier to post those 14 million new photos each day that aren’t square.

So is this a change for the better? Absolutely. Yes, some of us will have to get used to a different feed. But Instagram has implemented this change well, and the photos look great in the stream. This change will make the experience easier and more useful for the entire Instagram community. Photographer Technosailer said it best back in 2012 when he wrote, “I choose what my photos look like” (emphasis his). Now we all can. That will only make the Instagram experience better.

 

Written by Jenn D

August 28th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Trends

Tagged with , ,

The Week in Social #169

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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.

This week brought a lot of platform-specific updates and milestones, so here’s a breakdown in case you missed some of them.

On Vine.

Looking at the current state of brands on Vine compared to top Viners, Brands Still Have Catching up to do. Lots of roundups on marketing sites discuss how clever things like Lowe’s 6-second Vine tips are, so why aren’t they catching on? Kevin Johnson explains that it has to do with the platform’s demographics:

“If brands really wish to connect with Vine’s young audience, they need to realize that what works on other social media platforms will not necessarily translate to equal levels of success on Vine. Vine humor tends to focus on the slapstick, the socially awkward, the ridiculous and the profane – much of what plays out on the most popular Vine channels would never fly on television.”

If that’s your brand’s target demographic, consider pairing with a Vine influencer who already has a following and knows the type of humor that will work there, or settle in and do your research before you start planning your Vine content.

You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the Vine updates that just came out, including an improved music experience.

On Instagram.

In case you still think Instagram is only for the B2C market, you might want to read The Power of Instagram for B2B Marketers from Sylvia Jensen. It’s not “just a fun mobile app” after all, it’s “part of today’s media system”.

Andrew Hutchinson brings wisdom from within Instagram themselves, sharing the creativity that went into the first brands to use their carousel advertising option in Brand Storytelling on Instagram – Some Key Notes to Benefit Your Social Strategy. Inspiration for brands of all sizes.

And the big Instagram ICYMI: Instagram updated yesterday to allow users to upload photos in portrait or landscape, ending the tyranny of the square-shaped image. This along with the end of the plague on vertical video means social media is changing. What do you think?

On Snapchat.

Snapchat still confusing? Wondering how brands actually. . .use it? Then Five seriously creative Snapchat campaigns and their results from Jack Simpson for Econsultancy is just the read for you. Pair with Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat Geofilters from Brian Murray to learn more about one of Snapchat’s lesser talked about features.

Everything else.

Really good read from Elisabeth Rosen for L2: Why the Viral Video is a Myth. TL;DR:

“In order to achieve significant scale, branded YouTube videos require paid support.”

viral video myth

 

And finally, here’s a clever cross-platform experiment to try from Nick Venezia: How to Use a $5 Twitter Ad to Redefine Your Facebook Strategy.

Non-square images and vertical video! Things are changing in social media

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Our social media photos and videos are evolving. Things aren’t as square or as horizontal as they used to be. Instagram now supports images that aren’t square and Snapchat wants you to use vertical video. What does it mean?!

Be there or be square no longer

Today Instagram announced support for portrait and landscape images. They’re moving beyond the iconic square for the first time in nearly five years. This is a huge move for the company that forced millions of us to rethink how we take and share images. Early on, the square format took some getting used to – it was just so different from what many of us knew. But since then, we’ve adapted and come to love the square format. It required more creativity in our photos’ framing, subject and distance.

Instagram now says that 20% of photos uploaded to their app are not square and include some horizontal or vertical padding. For purists who like a neat stream, the padding others added to their images before uploading interrupted the Instagram experience. But for photographers who want to truly capture the full experience of their subjects, the square format can be limiting. Sometimes things just look better in a landscape or portrait orientation. So now we can opt to share these images in Instagram, without modifying them in a third-party squaring app. This changes things on Instagram.

non-square photo on instagram

Vertical video vertigo

And then there’s vertical video – another change to the way we format visual content on social media. Two years ago, the internet was irritated about vertical video syndrome, calling for a ban on portrait videos and asking everyone to remember to rotate their phones before they shoot. But now, we’re being encouraged to do more vertical video. It’s hard to keep up with.

Snapchat is leading this charge into vertical video, but even Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all adding deeper support for it. Snapchat says vertical video ads are nine times more likely to be watched than the horizontal ads. Mobile phones encourage a vertical experience, and it’s harder than it may seem to rotate the phone. Especially when things are happening fast, like they do on Snapchat; you may not even have a chance to rotate your phone before a snap is over. So embracing vertical video seems like a great idea, and will let us capture more video more naturally.

vertical video on snapchat

So what do you think? Do you shoot more vertical video now or are you a landscape purist? What about non-square photos on Instagram? Will you give in?

 

Written by Jenn D

August 27th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Trends

Tagged with , , , ,

3 ways entertainment marketers can better engage fans on social media

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This post originally appeared on MediaPost and we are pleased to be able to share it with you here!

Some of the most popular social media accounts belong to entertainment brands — celebrities, TV shows, movies, entertainment media — the list goes on. These brands have built up large, loyal followings by sharing lots of great content on social media. These brands resonate well on visually focused channels like Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat, and on social hubs like Facebook and Twitter.

What can we learn from these successes? How can other entertainment marketers better engage fans on social media? Luckily, entertainment brands have plenty of engaging, social-ready content at their fingertips; it’s just a matter of figuring out what to share and how. If you’re working with an entertainment brand, here are three ways to more deeply engage with your fans on social media.

Provide sneak peeks for your fans

Give your followers something extra or early. Reward their loyalty by sharing content earlier on your social channels than anywhere else. Some brands post new trailers first on social channels. Others send a secret password to share new content with lucky contest winners before sharing it publicly. No matter how you decide to do it, giving your social audiences early access to new content is a great way to reward followers (and get new ones).

Sony Pictures’ Goosebumps movie recently encouraged fans to tweet to unlock a new trailer. When fans posted enough tweets to hit a volume threshold, Sony released a new full-length trailer for the movie. It was a great way to get fans excited about the film and spread the word across Twitter.

Make the most of your content exhaust

Content exhaust is anything that’s left over after a project is finished, all the extra content that’s created and discarded as you work on polishing the final product. That can be outtakes, behind the scenes stories, images from the cutting room floor, backstage video, pre-Photoshop photos, and more. What may seem mundane to those involved in a production can be extremely interesting to fans who don’t experience the entertainment business every day. Inviting your fans behind the scenes makes them feel more connected and invested in your project. And on social media, it’s completely acceptable to share less polished content, particularly on channels like Snapchat. Just because something is public doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, so don’t feel like everything you share has to have the same production values as the show or movie itself. Use the content exhaust you’re already creating to your advantage.

ABC Family does a wonderful job with Pretty Little Liars. Across the “PLL” social accounts, they’re constantly posting pictures of the cast goofing around together, attending red carpet events, even posing with signs about fans. This kind of content rewards fans for following and makes them feel included in how the show is made.

 

We do too! #PLL #Ezria #EzriaForever

A photo posted by Pretty Little Liars (@prettylittleliars) on

Go beyond the story on screen

Fans of a show or movie will want to go deeper into the story, beyond what can be shown on screen. Use social media to provide more information for them. You could share extended scenes, deeper dives into a back story, more information about real-life events that influence a story, interviews with writers and directors — anything that extends the story beyond the main screen. The more information you provide about a story, the more invested the audience will be in its outcome. A lot of fans will try to piece together this information on their own, so provide some help or participate in the conversation when you can.

True Detective on HBO does this very well. The show’s story is full of mystery already, and every week fans discuss possible clues and conspiracies across social media. On Instagram, the show shares images and short videos through the season to encourage this conversation. They could take further advantage of this by sharing more information from the show’s writer about the unusual real-life events and locations that inspire the storyline.

 

#TrueDetective

A video posted by True Detective (@truedetective) on

 

Want to measure the impact of your social media content? Take a look at all the analytics we offer at Union Metrics.

Written by Sarah

July 30th, 2015 at 8:12 am

Our favorite social media stats and facts

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Social media changes quickly, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest usage information for the top channels. We thought we’d make it easier by rounding up our five favorite nuggets for our four favorite social networks: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.

Many of these come from Union Metrics research, so feel free to check out our resources page or see how we can help you measure your efforts in each of these places, if you’re eager to see how that after-hours Tumblr queue is paying off.

Tumblr

  1. Tumblr is a night owl. 42% of all Tumblr activity takes place between 5pm and 1am ET (Source). Takeaway: Brands should try posting outside of traditional business hours to see how their content performs.
  2. Disney is by far the most popular brand on Tumblr, seeing more overall activity and stronger engagement than any other brand – nearly two times more (Source). Takeaway: Consider a Tumblr presence to join in on the fan conversation that inevitably already exists around your brand.
  3. 50% of Tumblr users have gone out and bought something they’ve seen on their dashboard (Source). Takeaway: Make it easy for your followers to buy the things you show them on their dash. With the ”Buy” button introduced last year, it’s easier than ever.
  4. Saturday and Sunday are the most active days on Tumblr (Source). Takeaway: Have a content plan for the weekends. Pay attention to when the most original content is published (bonus stat: that’s 4pm on Sunday) and see how your content performs posted at or around that time.
  5. Fandom thrives on Tumblr (Source). Takeaway: Movies and television shows should know that their fandoms are on Tumblr, and they are legion. Incorporate fan art (like Teen Wolf) or photos (like Doctor Who) into your content strategy where it makes sense. Make fans feel heard, and appreciated.

Times of Tumblr

Twitter

  1. Most customers expect a response on social media within an hour (Source). Takeaway: This is true even of nights and weekends, so brands looking to have an active Twitter presence need to be prepared for that.
  2. Tweets with images or videos in them get more engagement than tweets with text alone (Source). Takeaway: Add appropriate visuals to your tweets whenever possible, but don’t just stick any old image on there just to have one. Choose striking, meaningful visual content to catch your audience’s eye.
  3. Related to that last point? Tweets with images take up more than twice as much vertical space in the timeline (Source). Takeaway: Simply taking up more space on someone’s feed- particularly when they’re out and about, scrolling through mobile- means your tweets are much harder to simply scan and dismiss. Especially if you choose that visually arresting image we talked about.
  4. Speaking of mobile users, recent numbers show “80% of users access Twitter via their mobile device” (Source). Takeaway: This means that unless those mobile users are on wifi, they don’t have as much bandwidth to work with and they aren’t going to want to wait forever for images to download, so make sure those visually arresting images aren’t huge. If it’s a big infographic, choose one piece to show and link back to the whole thing.
  5. When a show’s stars live-tweet an episode during its airtime, they “generate 64% more discussion (ie. tweets about the show) than programs whose cast members abstain” (Source). Takeaway: Even if you’re not in TV, live-tweeting a relevant event- a webinar, a conference, a presentation or panel during an industry meetup- will make you part of a bigger discussion and introduce you to new contacts. Just be sure to use the official hashtags—  or create them.

Instagram

  1. Our own Union Metrics research recommends brands try posting outside of U.S. business hours (Source). Takeaway: Evenings and weekends are times most people have free to browse social and catch up on their streams. Brands should test posting during these times and see if they get a bump in engagement from fans and followers who are otherwise busy during the work day.
  2. Keeping up your content cadence matters more than how often you post (Source). Takeaway: Obviously you don’t want to completely flood the Instagram feed of your fans and followers, but it’s not unusual for brands to post several times a day. If you have a large queue of content for a campaign, however, and it runs dry afterward before you can plan a robust content calendar, you will start to lose followers.
  3. Content on Instagram lives longer than you probably realize (Source). Takeaway: Although most activity happens in the first several hours after a brand posts to Instagram, it’s not unusual to see low-level content for days and weeks after a post is first made. Don’t be afraid to edit old posts with newer hashtags to see if you can boost engagement on them.
  4. Brands who advertise on Instagram may continue to see increased engagement after an advertising period has ended; in one case we saw a brand with “a nearly 10% increase in engagement rates across the board, increasing the total activities received per organic post by 25% on average” (Source). Takeaway: If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and advertising on Instagram, the benefits could be longer lasting than you might have assumed.
  5. Related to the previous point, Instagram is opening up advertising to everyone this fall (Source). Takeaway: Just be sure your creative is up to snuff; Instagram users are used to high-quality, well-executed content.

 

 

Facebook

  1. Images that include people and faces perform well on Facebook (Source). Takeaway: Facebook is a place people connect with friends and family they’re close to in real life, so reflecting this ease and friendliness in your visuals helps your content resonate with those who choose to connect with your brand there.
  2. You have three seconds to get your fans’ attention in a video (Source). Takeaway: Videos need to be immediately arresting, and also perform well without sound since not everyone opts to turn it on. Shorter videos also tend to perform better than long videos on Facebook.
  3. Posts with a ton of hashtags don’t perform well on Facebook (Source). Takeaway: Your audience may love hashtags on Facebook, but it seems like most don’t, unless they’re a big popular hashtag like #TBT or popular and annual, like #NationalRunningDay. Use your discretion and test one or two on your posts to see how your audience responds. But definitely don’t leave all 30 from your Instagram post on Facebook; edit that cross-post down!
  4. 79% of all users are accessing Facebook from their mobile (Source). Takeaway: A lot of social activity is happening on people’s phones, when they’re out and about, commuting, or at home in the evenings. Be sure your content is optimized for mobile to capitalize on this audience. Think about what you want to see within the confines of a smartphone screen and how much data you have to work with.
  5. Facebook isn’t just Facebook; most people know they own Instagram, but some forget about the other entities in the Facebook ecosystem, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Occulus (Source). Takeaway: These other apps are something to keep an eye on as the industry develops over the coming years, particularly in the private messaging space. It’s direct access to consumers, but difficult for brands to balance without coming across as creepy or intrusive.

Written by Sarah

July 28th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Tracking Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat with TweetReach

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We’ve briefly discussed before that you can track anything cross-posted to Twitter from an account on another social platform - a Vine video or Instagram photo – by using TweetReach, but we wanted to give some more specific tips about how these different platforms work together so you can get the best results possible for anything you’re tracking.

As always, let us know if you still have questions by leaving them in the comments, or shooting us an email.

TweetReach and Vine

Since Vine is a Twitter app and TweetReach is made to measure Twitter, you might think the easiest way to measure a Vine would be to track a particular tweet it was embedded in, but tracking the unique URL of the Vine itself will get you better results; if it gets picked up or shortened anywhere else on Twitter we should still be able to grab it.

With snapshot reports, all you need to do is put the URL of the Vine in the search box, like with this Vine of a panda from the San Diego Zoo. (For more details on what you can search in a snapshot report, see this.)

Vine TR report

And your returned report will look a little something like this.

Remember, however, that snapshots return limited results; even a full report purchased for $20 will only return results for up to 1500 tweets (reports will always tell you at the top if there are enough tweets to warrant purchasing a full report) so if it’s a wildly popular Vine that has been shared widely, your report won’t cover all of those shares. But if you don’t have a big budget or just want to get an idea of the scope of a single Vine, a snapshot is perfect for your needs.

For those with a bigger budget, TweetReach Pro can track a Vine as one of the queries in a Tracker; just be sure you use the URL of the specific Vine you want for the best results rather than its title. Just putting the word “Vine” will give you a Tracker filled with much more useless noise than with the information that you want. Always be as specific as possible with your search terms! 

TweetReach and Instagram

While Instagram revoked display cards for Twitter, never fear, you can still track any Instagram photo cross-posted to Twitter by its unique URL, or by any unique hashtags you may have paired with it. You can track both and compare results; it’s possible that someone saw your tweet and picked up a hashtag for their own use, perhaps purposefully for a contest, or as an organic use of online language.

Instagram tracking

For a full breakdown of how to track Instagram with a TweetReach Pro Tracker, see this post. For running a quick snapshot report, it will be the same as with Vines above: Simply plug in the URL of the Instagram photo you’re wanting to track, and you’ll get an idea of the spread of that particular Instagram photo on Twitter shortly.

TweetReach and Snapchat

Snapchat is a little bit trickier to track, simply because anything from the site will be a screenshot that someone has taken of a snap or a story and shared. If the screenshot of a snap was directly uploaded to Twitter, all you have to do is track that particular tweet; best results will be by tracking a specific hashtag tweeted with it (for example, #PatriotSnapsWhatUp for the snap below), but you can also search the specific wording of the tweet in quotes.

Is that everything?

That’s all we’ve got for now. Got any questions? Check out our help page for more details on what you can track with TweetReach and how, or leave any additional questions in the comments!

Written by Sarah

June 30th, 2015 at 8:37 am

Posted in Guides

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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 #156

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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

Platform-specific tips and tricks. 

How to Add Paragraph Spacing to Your Instagram Posts’ Caption Copy [from Social Media Today; written by Jim Belosic]

A nifty trick to break up that wall of text when you have a long caption for a contest, or to really tell the story behind an image.

Beyond Cats & Bloopers: Getting Real on the Future of YouTube [from social@Ogilvy; written by David Stone]

“The reason for all this lies in YouTube’s emerging business strategy: empowering and educating creators to create better quality content makes YouTube more desirable to audiences and allows the streamer to compete with services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

YouTube marketing strategy a top priority for social media marketers [from Convince & Convert; written by Jay Baer]

“Is video harder than sending a tweet? Of course, but once you have a sound Youtube marketing strategy (or a video strategy overall that might include Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter video) it doesn’t have to be a massive production burden.”

On influencers. 

If You Want Your Content Marketing to be Great, Ask Influencers to Participate [from TopRank; written by Lee Odden]

1. Set Goals for Marketing and Influencers

In order for co-created content to be successful for marketing, specific audiences and goals should be identified.

Think about: What do you hope to achieve with an influencer content program? How will influencers benefit? More importantly, how will your customers benefit?

Think about the distinct audience that you’re after with the content being co-created and set goals specific to what your idea of success looks like. Quantify those goals as well, whether it’s to increase the reach and engagement of your brand to the influencer’s community or to inspire more leads and sales by a certain percent.

Also, set goals for the influencers. For short term projects, focus on participation quality. With longer term programs, focus on participation, marketing outcomes and the relationship.”

A 4-Step Blogger Outreach Tool for Identifying Influencers [from Convince & Convert; written by Kristen Matthews]

“A crucial part of blogger identification for marketing purposes is thinking a step past buyer personas and coming up with “influencer personas.” An influencer persona is an overarching profile and data on the types of bloggers that appeal to your target consumers.”

And finally, on UX. 

How Important Is User Experience? 9 Things You Need To Know About UX [from Business2Community; written by Jasmine Henry]

“User experience (ux) is an emerging practice that sits at the intersection of behavioral science, web development, and domain-specific knowledge. It’s a human-centric approach to understanding how people engage with technology, and how to build the best web experiences possible.”

 

Written by Sarah

May 29th, 2015 at 8:53 am

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

without comments

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