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Our best Black Friday lessons for 2015 and beyond

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Black Friday is almost upon us, so we rounded up all of the best advice we have around it for this year to get you ready and feeling prepared, whether you’re facing shoppers in-store, online, on social, or on all of the above.

How retailers can learn from past Black Fridays on Twitter to have a better 2015 holiday season

by Jenn Deering Davis for eSeller

The takeaway: Look at past Twitter activity to plan content marketing strategy for the present and future. 

Using historical Twitter data, retailers can learn from holiday seasons past to better prepare for this and future holidays. For example, when should retailers tweet about their Black Friday sales? They don’t want to share too early and miss the excitement, but they don’t want to share too late or they risk getting lost in the noise. The best time to post information about Black Friday sales would be about 10 days before Black Friday, and making sure to repeat it several times over the next week and a half. Shoppers spend the week of Black Friday researching and sharing their favorite deals, culminating on Thursday as they make last-minute preparations.” 

Here’s what the 2014 Black Friday conversation looked like, via Union Metrics Echo:


When should you start your holiday marketing?

by Mike O’Brien for ClickZ

The takeaway: For social media holiday marketing specifically, you don’t want to start too early and irritate your followers, but too late and you’ll get lost in the noise. 

“The best time to start: The second week of November – that way, by the week of Black Friday, consumers won’t be seeing your deals for the first time.”

If you’re too late for this year, at least now you’ll be prepared to have the best holiday marketing ever in 2016.

Tips for rocking this Black Friday on Twitter

by Jenn Deering Davis for iMedia Connection

The takeaway: Make shoppers feel like they’re getting something special from you on Twitter. 

What tweets generate the most engagement?

What sort of products, sales, and brands have consumers tweeted about in the past? What did they like or dislike? What questions did customers ask retailers? Researching these topics from holiday seasons past can help retailers prep more relevant content calendars and assets for the upcoming holiday season. Shoppers love tweets with good deals, previews of in-store sales, and links to products they want most. That’s often deals on electronics and technology, as well as toys and clothes. But they’re also looking for something special, so consider sharing Twitter-only deals with your followers. Tweets with a hashtag or image also perform well, so consider including a photo of the sale item or a special holiday hashtag.” 

Official Black Friday Expected To Be Strong Despite #OptOutside And Early Deals

by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle for Forbes

The takeaway: Black Friday deals are already happening and stores like REI are encouraging shoppers to #OptOutside, but a lot of people are still planning to shop on Black Friday and they’re talking about it on Twitter. 

“So just what do more tweets really mean? Customers are talking. . .and stores are taking notice. Certainly, REI’s recent announcement to #OptOutside has helped to make this happen, but we can’t neglect other companies – such as Nordstrom – and their efforts to promote keeping their stores closed on Thanksgiving and saving their big holiday push for Black Friday instead.”

To put it in stats (all from the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker),

  • Overall 45% of shoppers plan to shop on Black Friday. Meanwhile, 47% plan to shop on Cyber Monday.
  • It’s estimated that Americans plan to spend $584 on average this year on Black Friday, notably higher than last year’s $501.
  • By the day’s end on Black Friday, six in ten customers expect to have finished about one-half or less of their holiday shopping.

Black Gold?

by Alex Spencer for Mobile Marketing

The takeaway: The future of Black Friday might look more like a Black November.

“But with Black Friday now embedded into the public consciousness and growing every year, what’s the alternative?

Well, it could be as simple as spreading it all out. Offering deals at different times throughout the day can help spread the load. In the UK, Amazon has distributed its ‘lightning’ deals over a 10-day period, though it will still be running Black Friday promotions as usual in the US, where the day coincides with a common holiday.

Black Friday doesn’t necessarily have to be retailers’ biggest sales day, especially in other countries.”

Got a question, comment or concern? Leave it below or find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics. Thought that Union Metrics Echo screencap above looked pretty cool? Learn more about how Echo works and what it can do for you here

Written by Sarah

November 25th, 2015 at 10:54 am

Posted in Trends

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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.


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 , ,

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

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The Week in Social Media Analytics #134

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For this Friday’s Week in Social Analytics, we’ll just give you a chance to click on that link and catch up with our favorite posts of the past year in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media.

Or just kick back by the fire with some cocoa. Either way.

Happy holidays!

Written by Sarah

December 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am

The Week in Social Analytics #133

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

Content Marketing 

No matter what’s written in everyone’s predictions for social media marketing in 2015, the sheer number of articles around content marketing in these last few weeks of 2014 prove that content strategy is very much on everyone’s minds. Here are the best from this week:

Your 12 Point Content Marketing Strategy (Part 1 of 4) [from Pushing Social; written by Stan Smith]

25 Questions I Ask About B2B Content Marketing [from Convince & Convert; written by Jay Baer]

4 Tools to Enhance the Images in Your Content Marketing [from Jeff Bullas]

Who, How, and Why: Three Keys to Successful Content Marketing [from Marketing Profs; written by Callie Reynolds]

21 Questions To Help You Define Your Content Marketing Strategy [B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

Brand Map Framework

And once you’ve mapped out your content strategy, here’s 7 Tips To Optimize Your Content For Social Sharing from Heidi Cohen.

Visual Content Marketing 

The best in Vines and Instagram video from brands this year. Use these examples to plan your visual content strategy for 2015.

30 of the best Vines of 2014 [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

15 of the best Instagram videos of 2014 [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

BONUS: The only 2015 marketing prediction piece you need. 

7 Tongue-in-Cheek Marketing Predictions for 2015 [from Social Media Today; written by Randy Milanovic]

Written by Sarah

December 19th, 2014 at 8:32 am

The Week in Social Analytics #129

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

We’re deep into Q4, so a lot of this week’s content is based around what will help you plan your 2015 content marketing strategy.

On content marketing. 

Why Content Marketing Fails…and How It Can Succeed [from Cision; written by Brian Conlin]

A short list of who to blame for your failures, followed by some actionable tips to take with you into your content planning for 2015.

Copywriting: Brevity is the soul of marketing [from Marketing Experiments; written by John Tackett]

“If there is one simple takeaway from this test, from my point of view, it’s that brevity is the heart of relevance and the soul of marketing. . .Clearly communicating what you can do with a product is likely to generate more relevance and appeal for email recipients over the long run.”

The same goes for images; choose an image that clearly and simply represents what you’re trying to get across to customers.

How to Repurpose Your Content Into an Ideal SlideShare Deck [from Marketing Profs; written by Chris Brown]

“Business executives use SlideShare at a rate that’s five times greater than their rate of use for other social networks, comScore reports.

Repurposing your content for SlideShare is easy and helps you to get more mileage out of an existing investment.”

Pair with this great deck on social listening from #SMX.

Charts and stats. 

10 Stats That Will Impact Your 2015 Content Strategy [from Kapost; written by Katrina Pfannkuch]

1. Only 35% of B2B content marketers have a documented content strategy.
If you aren’t part of this 35% of B2B content marketers, what’s stopping you?

A content strategy is no longer a “someday” project for an intern; it’s what’s going to help you keep your skin in the game and increase the number of “touch points” for connecting with your target audience.

Why everything you’re doing to engage fans is wrong…in a single chart [from Marketing Pilgrim; written by Andy Beal]

Fans prefer to stay in touch using brand sites

Keep in mind this is just one chart from one survey of around 1200 people. It’s important to keep up with industry trends, but it’s  also more important to pay attention to what your customers do. If your customers are routinely contacting you on Twitter with customer service queries, then that’s where you need to be consistently.

On digital marketing and storytelling. 

Part 1: Evolving Your 2015 Comms Strategy with Digital Storytelling [from Lewis PR; written by Ruth Mathias]

 “Sixty per cent of decision-making happens before any direct contact with a brand. This means if you’re not effectively engaging your prospective customers online your competitors are already way ahead of you. Marketers need to effectively influence a buyer’s journey across every channel and touch point.”

Don’t Ask For Faster Horses: Embrace Revolutionary Change In Digital Marketing [from Marketing Land; written by David Rodnitzky]

“Rather, the point is this: ten years from now, what will people that look back at internet marketing today see as the obvious shifts in the ecosystem that most marketers missed or ignored, and how can you make sure you recognize these changes now? How do you make sure you ask for a car and not a horse?”

Emphasis added.

Written by Sarah

November 21st, 2014 at 8:33 am

The Week in Social Analytics #127

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

On platforms

You Can Put A Price On Pinterest [from Heidi Cohen]

“Pinterest users are highly active on other social media networks according to Global Web Index. As a result they don’t need the same input from family, friends and colleagues that they get from other social media platforms.”

On emotions and trust

Why trust is vital if brands are to make the most of consumer data  [from Econsultancy; written by David Moth]

“Digital technology has given marketers access to an unfathomable amount of customer data, however it should be used in a responsible manner for risk of destroying consumer trust.”

how much trust do you have in comanpanies

Four ways social media impacts emotional branding [from {grow}; written by Mark Schaefer]

  1. We build relationships with brands like we build relationships with our friends. It takes many positive interactions over a period of time.
  2. Loyalty trumps everything. If the world turns upside-down, your loyal customers will be there. So our ultimate goal is to create loyalty.
  3. It is impossible to achieve true brand loyalty in the long-term without emotional connection.
  4. Emotional connection comes when we feel a brand becomes part of our self-identity.

Funny, followers and follow back; how social cues affect our perceptions on Twitter [from Marketing Pilgrim; written by Cynthia Boris]

“But without evening knowing it, your choices are based on social proofs that you’ve picked up in a split second – unconscious cues that help you quickly decide what’s worth your time and what isn’t.”

Also covered by Digiday with Why people don’t like your brand on Twitter, in five charts.

Twitter Tone of Voice

On B2B

Understanding the Channels: An Overview of Social, Mobile, Digital and Traditional Marketing for B2B [from Forbes; written by Daniel Newman]

Marketing strategies must overlap

At some point, your marketing strategies need to converge to give you the best outcomes. For instance, if you are selling software, you can find new customers and educate or inform the existing ones about new products or updates through social media and/or the use of video in creative ways. But, if you sell farming equipment, you might split your marketing efforts into two ways – social media for educating customers, combined with traditional methods like direct mail, banner ads or TV spots to help you do the actual selling.”

The Content Habits of B2B Enterprise Marketers | Infographic [from Marketing Profs; written by Ayaz Nanji]

“More than half (53%) of B2B enterprise marketers spend fewer than two hours a day engaging with industry content. Moreover, 31% say they probably overestimate how much time they spend with this sort of content.”

Pair with B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015 [Infographic] also from Marketing Profs.

On measurement and everything else

How #TechnologyAndStuff Became GM’s Oreo Moment [from Social Media Today; written by Mark Schaefer]

“This small victory gives me hope. If a bureaucratic company with 1,000 lawyers like GM can embrace an embarrassment and use social media in a wise and fun way, maybe there is hope for all of us! Here is what they did right:

1) In a PR crisis, they cut through the bureaucracy to let the storytellers, instead of the lawyers, run the show.

2) They responded IMMEDIATELY and set the tone for the reaction. If they had reacted in a formal or legalistic way, they would have become part of the controversy instead of part of the fun. They would have reinforced an image of being stiff and out of touch instead of being playful and cool — like their trucks.

3) Instead of focusing on the bumbling #ChevyGuy and the negative implications for the brand, they hijacked the meme with #TechnologyAndStuff which is still funny but also connects the brand to something positive. And stuff.

In a world where traditional media often pokes fun at social media mess-ups, it is refreshing to see a traditional media mess-up become a social media success story.”

Pair with Why Brands Should Stop Idolizing Oreo’s Social Media Strategy, also from Social Media Today.  

The Danger Of Focusing Expectations On A Single Metric [from Marketing Land; written by Kendall M. Allen]

“When doing our business, marketing plan and any given initiative within it justice — do we always slow down and really think through what we are trying to accomplish and why? Do we take the time to lay out the strategy and tactics, and then determine the various (operative word: various) things we should care to learn?”

What Fashion Designers & Publicists Need to Know about Product Photography [from PR Couture; written by Lori Riviere]

Quality product photography enhances a consistent brand image.


Written by Sarah

November 7th, 2014 at 8:33 am

The Week in Social Analytics #124

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

Twitter and social television:

10 Secret #Twitter Tips, Tricks and Hacks (That You Probably Don’t Know) [from AllTwittr; written by Shea Bennett]

A good list of tips and tricks to browse, even if you’ve been on Twitter for years.

How SMBs Can Most Effectively Use Twitter [from V3; written by Shelley Kramer]

“. . .it’s also important to remember that prospective customers aren’t really interested in you singing your brand’s praises on Twitter. What they are looking for, however, and why they report they follow SMBs on Twitter is to learn about new products, show support for products and brands they already love and to get information they can use. Keep that in mind as you’re crafting your social media strategy and the content you create and share in social media channels. This research may be specific to Twitter, but I’d guess it can easily be extrapolated across other social media channels as well.”

Emphasis added.

Twitter and TV: 4 Ways to Make It Work [from Convince and Convert; written by Nick Cicero]

“As video becomes more fluid online, social engagement will become essential to finding and retaining loyal viewers for a show, as some have even said, social media is the new TV guide.”

Emphasis original.

Six ways social media is changing the nature of TV forever [from Econsultancy; written by Juliet Stott]

“Social media and social TV are two of the reasons why watching live TV is still so strong, says MTV Finland’s executive producer.

‘People cannot miss the show when it comes on air because they would miss the conversation – it’s part of the draw,’ says Rasimus.”

Instagram and Pinterest:

8 Business Growth Strategies for Instagram [from Social Media Today; written by Warren Knight]

Integration (social buttons on your site and cross-posting Instagram images to other social networks where you have a presence) is a key strategy in this list. After all, if your customers don’t know you’re on a platform, how can they follow you there?

Instagram Grows As Teens’ Social Network of Choice [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey.”


The profile of Pinterest users [from We Are Social; written by Deniz Ugur]

“. . .almost two-thirds of users are in 16-34 age bracket and there are more women than men on the platform.”

Click through for the full infographic.

On digital storytelling and marketing psychology:

Harness the Power of Negativity Bias for Positive Marketing [from SHIFT Communications; written by JJ Samp]

“Your ability to resonate with your audience is enhanced by the finesse with which you can identify negative sentiment and gracefully associate it with a positive message.”

Baratunde Thurston on How to Make Digital Storytelling Fun [from Social Media Today; written by Mary Ellen Egan]

“. . .Baratunde emphasized the importance for companies to match their brand and their mission to their digital stories. If stories come off as inauthentic or tone deaf, consumers will revolt.”

Click through to watch the full video of his presentation.

Finally, some bonus stats on holiday shopping expectations:

Survey: Social Media To Influence Half Of Holiday Shoppers from Marketing Land and 41 percent of shoppers plan to spend more online this holiday season from Marketing Pilgrim.

The Week in Social Analytics #121

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

On Tumblr: 

How to Do Native Advertising Right on Tumblr [from Yahoo Advertising; written by Team]

Deliver good content consistently 

Tumblr is known for original, striking content. Make your posts stand out enough to grab attention on users’ dashboards, the primary destination on Tumblr.”

The evolution of Tumblr: From micro-blogging platform to an eco-system of content [from Taylor PR; written by Sandeena Ahmed]

“This is where I think Tumblr’s evolution is best illustrated; in the interaction between and creation of various subcultures on this platform. What started as a way to micro-blog (a change of pace from the Blogger, Livejournal, and WordPress days) has turned into a thriving eco-system of content. Tumblr gives you a platform to post about art that you have created, articles that you enjoy, TV and movies that you adore, and discuss and argue on everything from the latest fashion trends to the ontological value of the pineapple in SpongeBob Squarepants.”

Brands need to fully understand how a platform’s users express themselves in each place, and how their interactions and content production differ even among different subcultures on the same platform. Once they do that work, then they can begin to contribute valuable content and become a part of the conversation.

On Instagram: 

5 Ways to Fall into Instagram Marketing [from Business 2 Community; written by Kelly Shepsko]

“One tried and true way of increasing your following and engagement on your content is by following others and engaging on their content. Search hashtags to locate target audience members, whether your company is B2C or B2B. Follow relevant users and then periodically engage on their posts by liking their photos or commenting. However, you don’t want to sound “spammy”, so don’t bombard them with your sales pitch!”

On visual content marketing & storytelling: 

Incorporate Visual Social Media in Your Content Strategy [from Spin Sucks; written by Carol Scott]

Includes some important steps for brands creating a visual social strategy:

Think broadly about your visuals. Not every pin or Instagram photo has to be (or should be) focused on your brand. Capital One and American Express both maintain pinboards for brides, world travelers, and bucket-list creators. These images are inherently shareable, regardless of a user’s affiliation with the companies, which makes it easier for the brands to spread organically.”

10 Tips for Managing Your Visual Content (Without Going Crazy) [from Marketing Profs; written by Liz McLellan]

If you’re a large company with a large amount of unorganized visual assets, then you definitely want to look to this piece for advice on how to manage your various digital assets.

The 3 Factors That Drive Content Marketing Success [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

“. . .one of my biggest secrets is that I don’t spend nearly as much time writing as you might think. I am opportunistic with re-purposing the content I already create.”

Tip: Data isn’t sexy, but visual storytelling is [from Social Fresh; written by Jason Keath]

“Find the data. Make it visual. Share. Rinse, repeat.”

What is storytelling for brands and why do you need it? [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

“Storytelling in marketing terms isn’t just about telling ‘a story’ (producing an advert where a narrative arc occurs), it’s about telling the story of the ‘brand’ across multiple channels and using various tools and methods.”

On Twitter: 

Study: Live-Tweeting lifts Tweet volume, builds a social audience for your show [from Twitter; written by Anjali Midha]

“Besides increasing the volume of Tweets about a show, live-Tweeting can contribute to building an audience on Twitter.”

You can also look at this data in alternate chart form from Marketing Charts.

How to blast your Twitter engagement rates through the roof [from Econsultancy; written by Matt Owen]

“People like big, colourful pictures. They like them more if they look like they include information, and there are twin psychological reasons for this.

  • Firstly, it’s a (I’m sorry for using this phrase, I really am) value-add. You don’t even have to click on a link to get at that sweet sweet insight.
  • Secondly, it’s easy to share this and show people that you too are a valuable source of information (Or if you’re like me, at least give the appearance of knowing what you’re talking about).”

10+ Takeaways from the Social Shake-Up 2014

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The Social Shake-Up (TSSU) 2014 went down in Atlanta, Georgia, last week and we sent our Content Marketing Specialist Sarah Parker to check it out. She came back with new connections and a bunch of fantastic insights! We’ve pulled together her favorite insights from each of the panels, discussions, and keynotes from her two days at TSSU 2014 for your benefit.

The Social Shake-Up | Day One

Day one’s opening conversation with Brian Solis covered the changing digital landscape, and how it is more important than ever to put people first.

Many highlights of the two-day conference were captured by the talented people behind Ludic Creatives.

Two of the standout sessions on day one covered visual marketing and the art and science of storytelling. We already shared a quick tip on crisis communication picked up in the visual marketing session, but what other memorable information was there? Here are five of day one’s big takeaways:

  1. Choose organic hashtags over branded hashtags. Find a way to incorporate your brand message with an already popular or trending hashtag; just be sure you double and triple check the meaning of that hashtag before you use it.
  2.  Use the newsroom approach. Oreo’s Super Bowl Oreo Moment happened because they were prepared and they had set up a command center to quickly capitalize on the big game’s moments and execute content. Build your own version of this to maximize on big social moments, but don’t force your way in to a conversation that doesn’t make sense for your brand.
  3.  Take a content selfie. Measure how your content is performing beyond vanity metrics to those that really impact your business and your business goals.
  4.  Make your information bite-size. Long form content can easily get lost in a world of short attention spans; break off smaller bits of the longer content you have for easily-digestible tweets and more.
  5.  Consistent brand personality is important. But that doesn’t mean that your brand’s personality can only strike one note. Human personalities cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly and it’s possible for brands to pull this off if they put their voice in the right hands.

The Social Shake-Up | Day Two

Day two’s morning keynote from Jeremiah Owyang covered the collaborative economy and what it means for the future of business. Where does social fit into all of this?

How else would we communicate about all the pieces of The Honeycomb?  Day two’s sessions included a case study from Coca-Cola on real-time analysis and storytelling, social audience targeting, and a panel discussion on crisis communication. Here are five of the day’s big takeaways: 

  1. Listening to the existing conversation around your brand gives you openings to become a part of it. Brands should look for these serendipitous openings, but also be strategic in when and how they join conversations. For example, the sentiment around Coke’s #AmericaIsBeautiful big game advertisement on social media was ultimately positive, because the marketing team released the behind-the-scenes videos of the making of the commercial once the backlash against it started. This helped turn the conversation around.
  2. Show your audience that you’re listening by actually addressing their concerns. Coke was sponsoring an event with a health-focused track that was unhappy with their presence, so Coke replaced their opening promotional, sponsor speech with a video interview from their lead scientist addressing the health concerns that had been aired to them on Twitter.
  3. Audience targeting methods will vary depending on your industry. Luxury markets focus on keeping organic followers, because they want those who come to them to stay. Any outreach will be very targeted, because it’s about reaching the right people over the most people possible. This isn’t true for non-luxury brands. Research and emulate the approach of other brands in your field, then test slightly different approaches to see what works for your brand.
  4. Target lookalike audiences: What do your best customers look like? Build out that profile, then target those that look just like them on previously untapped platforms.
  5. Never leave out a platform in your monitoring of a crisis. You never know where people prefer to receive- or distribute- their information.

 The closing keynote on day two from Baratunde Thurston conveyed with humor that digital storytelling doesn’t, in fact, have to be boring. 

Want more?

Check out the posts published on Social Media Today about various aspects of TSSU 2014 from networking to other attendee’s takeaways, as well as the conversation on Twitter. Don’t have time to dig through the whole hashtag? Here’s a Storify from Insightpool, sponsor of the opening night party.

Where you at The Social Shake-Up? Leave your highlights and takeaways in the comments!

Written by Sarah

September 24th, 2014 at 3:25 pm