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Why potential reach and impressions matter on Twitter

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All TweetReach reporting includes a number of engagement and listening metrics for Twitter. Two of the main metrics we provide are potential reach and impressions. Let’s talk a little more about what reach and impressions are, and why they’re so important to your Twitter strategy.

Reach is the size of the estimated potential unique audience for your tweets. TweetReach calculates reach algorithmically, based on data we’ve been collecting from Twitter for more than five years. It’s the best way of knowing how large your audience on Twitter can be, and takes unique recipients into account.

Impressions measure the size of total potential exposure. This shows you how many total timelines your tweets were delivered to, so it’s a count of the maximum total impressions possible for your tweets.

TweetReach potential reach and impressions

Both of these estimated audience metrics are essential for understanding the full impact of your tweets, especially when used alongside Twitter’s internal analytics. Here’s how.

Reach and impressions for your Twitter account

Twitter’s analytics calculate actual impressions for each of your Twitter account’s tweets. That shows how many people actually saw that tweet. TweetReach calculates total possible impressions for those tweets. Use actual impressions and potential impressions together to fully understand your impact on Twitter. The number of actual impressions received will vary from tweet to tweet and account to account, but your actual impressions will likely be between 1% and 20% of your potential impressions.

Knowing how your actual impressions compare to your potential impressions shows you exactly how well your tweets are performing, how large your audience is, and how large your audience could be. What’s the ratio of your actual impressions to potential impressions? Are your tweets on the low side? Do some perform better than others? Use this information to determine how you can improve your ratio. Which tweets are seen – and engaged with – by more people? What makes those tweets different? Maybe you used a particular hashtag or included a photo. If so, try doing more of that to see how you can activate more of your potential audience, and improve your ratio of actual to potential impressions.

Additionally, you can use other TweetReach metrics on engagement (like retweets and replies, average retweets rate) and contributors (such as contributors who have engaged the most with your content and generated the highest exposure) to understand not just how far your content is reaching, but how and with whom.

Reach and impressions for competitors’ or influencers’ accounts

While Twitter’s activity dashboard focuses on your own Twitter presence, you can use TweetReach to analyze any Twitter account, including your competitors, influencers in your industry, celebrities, or any other public Twitter account.

Start with a quick share of voice analysis. How do your reach and impressions compare to those of your closest competitor? How about other similar Twitter accounts? Remember these are potential impressions, so know that – just like for your own Twitter account – your competitors’ actual impressions will be a similarly small percentage of their potential impressions.

For a more advanced analysis, dive deeper into competitive intelligence. Run TweetReach reports or Trackers for your competitors, then take a look at the popular content and top contributors in these conversations. What Twitter accounts are engaging with your competitors? Who are they and do you follow them? What hashtags are your competitors using? Are there any new or relevant hashtags you could use? What tweets are resonating in the conversation?

Reach and impressions for hashtags, keywords or other terms

With TweetReach, you can measure more than just a Twitter account – you can measure the impact of anything in a tweet, like a hashtag, a phrase or keyword, even a URL. Twitter’s activity dashboard only includes tweets posted from your account, so you can’t use it to analyze impressions for the overall conversation around a hashtag, for example.

You’re probably using a variety of hashtags in your tweets – some for specific campaigns or events and other more general hashtags to signal participation in a particular industry or conversation. Do you know the reach of those hashtags? With TweetReach, you can understand the potential reach and impressions for any hashtag, which helps you understand the size of the conversation you’re participating in. If a hashtag has a low reach, then you’ll be able to have a large impact in a smaller space. If the hashtag’s reach is high, you’ll less likely to make a big impact in the overall conversation, but you’re participating in a more popular topic. The best Twitter strategy includes a bit of both; use a combination of specific and general hashtags in your tweets to reach the most people.

Interested in learning more about how you can use potential reach and impressions to improve your Twitter strategy? We’d be happy to show you how to use TweetReach’s Twitter analytics to better understand the full impact of your tweets. Let’s talk!

Written by Jenn D

October 16th, 2014 at 10:04 am

Posted in Guides

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3 non-traditional use cases for TweetReach historical analytics

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TR Historical 1

We’ve already looked at 5 ways to use our premium historical analytics, including an in-depth look at how to use them to build brand voice, and now we want to go over some more non-traditional use cases for them.

Even if you’re part of a more traditionally minded marketing team, these could inspire some new approaches to your content strategy. Plus, we’ve paired each of these use cases with a more traditional marketing takeaway.

1. Journalism

Use our historical analytics to see how a story broke out on Twitter, and how it spread. How did the people on the ground at the incident share information? Did local and national news sources communicate with them and contact them to be interviewed for newscasts, or did they send their own people ? How were those journalists’ social media reports different from those of civilian witnesses? A journalist who was on Twitter when a story broke and might have most of this information cataloged in screenshots already could use our historical analytics to fill in any remaining gaps in the story. New story leads or witnesses could be discovered in this way, and investigated or interviewed.

Traditional marketing takeaway: This is the same style of research you can employ to see how a social crisis broke and spread on Twitter, and help build your own crisis communication plan accordingly.

2. Comedy

Running low on material? Reach back through past periods on Twitter to rework some old jokes into something new for your next standup show or writing gig. Likewise you can look at another funny person you admire’s timeline to see how their skills developed over time, inspiring new joke styles, approaches to writing, or even just timing.

Traditional marketing takeaway: If it fits with your brand, don’t be afraid to be funny. Have you used humor in your content strategy in the past? See how those tweets performed vs. neutrally toned tweets that were conveying similar types of information. If it doesn’t fit with your brand, don’t force it.

3. Charity

Running a charity campaign on social media is tricky; you want to strike just the right balance of reaching the maximum amount of people in and just outside of your network who might be interested in contributing, without annoying them. Know of a campaign that nailed it? Use historical analytics to sample their campaign, or even study the entirety of it and model your own approach after theirs.

Traditional marketing takeaway: Use this same approach to study a past campaign that your company- or a competitor- has run either successfully or to lackluster results. What worked and what didn’t? Use that to inform how you plan and execute your next campaign in the same space.

Want to get started and learn more?

Fantastic! You can read more about our premium historical analytics here, and even request a quote. And remember, we can analyze anything and everything ever posted to Twitter, all the way back to the very first public Tweet posted in March 2006.

TR Historical 2

Written by Sarah

October 14th, 2014 at 11:39 am

3 tips to maximize video marketing using Twitter

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Visual content marketing- particularly in the form of videos- is the hot topic of marketing at the moment. Videos are attention grabbing, and when done well, attention holding. They can elicit strong emotional response. Brands like Budweiser have capitalized on this with their horse-and-puppy friendship Super Bowl commercials. Most brands don’t have the same level of resources, however.

Make the most of the resources you do have and get the most out of the video content your brand shares on Twitter, with these three tips. The best part? They don’t require a multi-million dollar budget or dedicated video team to execute.

1. Tease pieces of a longer video

Drive traffic back to your YouTube channel or website by posting 6-second clips of your full video on Vine, 15-second clips on Instagram, and sharing both of those on your Twitter account. Pick the section of video that will be the most interesting to the audience on each platform, and take note of which one performs best when shared on Twitter.

2. Make a series of shorter videos leading up to a longer one

Even if what you’re planning to release is a longer video that covers different aspects of change in your business structure or that demos a product, you can still use this approach; just film quick 6-15 second clips of stand-ins acting as customers, asking the questions that your longer video will address. Tweet these with the promise that an answer is coming soon, and use them as an opening to get your customers to share their most frequent questions with you so that you can address them.

3. Use Twitter to source material for your next video

Whether you’re just getting into video marketing or your well of content ideas has run dry, Twitter can help you out. Do you host or attend any Twitter chats? Ask the attendees if there is a topic they’d like to see addressed, and plan your next video around it. Consider hosting a weekly Q&A on Twitter where you collect the best questions and have them answered in video format and shared back on Twitter. Use a unique hashtag for your Q&A so you can track the conversation over time, and so your question askers will have an easier time finding the new video answers as you post them.

The bottom line

Twitter is fantastic for amplification of your video messages, and for connecting with your audience in real-time way that isn’t possible with video comment sections.

Does your brand have a successful video content marketing strategy? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Below: A quick Instagram demo of the visualization of the Union Metrics for Tumblr analytics we had on display in our suite at SXSW 2013. 


Watch reblog connections grow before your eyes: A visualization of Tumblr data powered by yours truly at Union Metrics, last #SXSWi. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #SXSW

View on Instagram

Written by Sarah

October 9th, 2014 at 9:29 am

The Week in Social Analytics #122

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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 marketing and psychology

Everything You Need to Know About the Psychology of the Call to Action [from KISSMetrics; written by Jeremy Smith]

“The call to action has a fascinating psychology behind it that includes width, color, border size, copy, and cool CSS effects. Yet, at the same time, this psychology goes far beyond those elements. When we understand the psychology of the call to action, we take huge strides forward in our effectiveness as marketers.”


Twitter Conversations with Impact [from Social Media Today; written by Autom Tagsa]

Want to get in on Twitter chats? Here are some great guidelines. We participate in #MMchat and #socialchat Monday nights from 7-9pm CT, from our @UnionMetrics handle.

How 16 retail banks handle social customer service [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

The author reached out to 16 different banks on Twitter, with varying results. Your customers expect you to be present and responsive on social media, so be sure that you are!

DiGiorno Pizza Returns From Its Self-Imposed Social Media Penalty Box [from Marketing Land; written by Martin Beck]

DiGiorno is back on Twitter after 3 weeks of silence following the misuse of a hashtag, and their fans are happy about it! (We wrote about how well they handled the situation when it happened.)


20% of internet users use Instagram [from We Are Social; written by Deniz Ugur]

“The study shows one fifth of adult internet users have an Instagram account worldwide, a figure that has consistently risen since mid 2013.”


Pair with Instagram Use Remains Heavily Concentrated Among Youth from Marketing Charts.

Content, storytelling, and communication 

How Curated Content Performance Beats Original Content | Content Marketing: Original Versus Curated Content [from Heidi Cohen]

If you have limited resources, consider curating more content than you produce.

How Consumers Respond to Irrelevant Brand Communications [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Two-thirds of survey respondents (aged 18-55) said they have at some point unsubscribed from a company’s email list after it sent them irrelevant information or products.”

The One Storytelling Tactic You Need to Succeed [from American Express Small Business Forum; Erika Napoletano]

Bookending for businesses.

Written by Sarah

October 3rd, 2014 at 9:08 am

5 ways to use TweetReach historical Twitter analytics

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Ever wanted to measure the impact of a past event or hashtag on Twitter? You can with TweetReach premium historical analytics! They’re a powerful tool for researching, planning, executing campaigns and so much more on Twitter. Here are just five ways you can utilize our historical Twitter analytics to your benefit.

Get historical twitter analytics through TweetReach

But first, where does TweetReach’s historical Twitter data come from?

At Union Metrics, we have licensed commercial access to the full historical Twitter archive from Gnip, which means we can reach all the way back to the first public tweet posted in March 2006. This goes beyond the scope of basic Twitter search and anything that can be pulled with Twitter’s public API; the information you can get from those sources is limited to data from the past few days or weeks. Our historical access includes the full archive from Twitter itself, and you can’t get that just anywhere.

The possibilities for using our historical analytics are as varied as the content on Twitter itself. And if you’ve ever used our TweetReach Pro Trackers, the analytics in our historical reporting is similar: potential reach, exposure, volume, individual tweet, hashtag, URL and contributor metrics. It’s delivered in the same detailed format as our Trackers, so you have comprehensive reporting and interactive metrics, allowing you to drill into interesting trends.

Still have questions about TweetReach historical Twitter analytics? You can read more about our historical analytics here, or send us an email to learn more.

So, how can you use our historical Twitter reporting? Here are a few ideas.

1. Nail a pitch

Are you an agency trying to win over a new client? Want to prove to your boss that you can handle bigger and better projects? Use our historical analytics to build out comprehensive proof of the performance of campaigns you’ve managed in the past, or evidence that those you managed performed better than those of your competition. It’s hard to argue against numbers.

2. Create an airtight content marketing plan

A quick Google search will provide thousands of content marketing best practices, but the bottom line is that you can only know what works best for your industry, and more specifically, for your customers, when you measure it. Do you have chunks of missing data from the performance of past campaigns? Use our historical analytics to fill in any gaps in your history of data, or to build out a history if one doesn’t already exist, either because of a lack of budget or a change in your role. Get the metrics you need to fully understand how your content performs on Twitter.

3. Plan for crisis communications

Has your company faced a crisis in the past? What about anyone else in your industry? Are there notable past social media crises you’d like to study to help model your own crisis communication plan after? Our historical analytics can give you a clear picture of what happened in the course of an entire event: who reacted when and how to which tweets. Understand which communication tactics worked, and which backfired. Use this information to build out a comprehensive crisis communication plan, should such a situation occur when you’re at the helm.

4. Conduct research

Similarly, you can use our historical analytics to understand how a past event unfolded in Twitter in order to write about it from a journalistic, academic, or other point of view. Want to know how many tweets were posted about an election last year? What hashtags were most popular at a previous conference? The top picture shared during a protest? We can search on any keywords, hashtags, usernames, URLs – anything that appears in a tweet. Use this to unearth and study conversations about past events.

5. Build your brand voice

We’ve discussed in detail how you can use our historical analytics to build a brand voice from scratch, or even learn (or rebuild) the voice of a brand you’ve recently taken over for. Once you’ve solidly established your brand’s voice, you can work on increasing your share of voice in your particular industry.

Want to learn more or run your historical Twitter analytics report? Start here.


Written by Sarah

September 29th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Guides

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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).”

3 ways DiGiorno reacted well to their Twitter crisis

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It happens. Brands tweet first and check the meaning behind a hashtag or topic later; never a good idea. The latest installment came from DiGiorno Pizza when they jumped on a trending hashtag without checking its origin first:

DiGiorno WhyIStayedUnfortunately, it was a hashtag on which women were sharing their experiences with domestic violence. When many who saw the tweet reacted with the kind of snark DiGiorno is known for, saying there would soon be an opening for a new social media manager, the brand took action immediately. While it’s important to have a social media crisis communication plan in place, brands also have to act on any unique situation that presents itself in a way that best reflects their brand values.

DiGiorno did three things right immediately to take control of this potential social media crisis.

1. Deleted the offensive tweet, immediately.

Although things can never be permanently deleted in an age of screenshots- like the one taken from the Huffington Post article detailing the offensive tweet in question, above- taking the action alone signals that a brand understands that they have done something wrong and that they are taking action to right it. An important first step in the right direction, provided it is done immediately. Waiting to delete a tweet until intense backlash builds signals that a brand doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong, or doesn’t care enough to do anything about it.

2. Apologized, and then reiterated the apology.

Immediately after deleting the tweet, DiGiorno followed up with an appropriate apology:

And a day later they reiterated it:

DiGiorno is working to communicate that they understand the magnitude of their mistake, and they know it cannot be fixed in a single tweet. Or even with two. Which brings us to the third thing they did right.

3. Personally responded to those who were offended, individually.

Most brands delete an offensive tweet, apologize, and lay low before moving forward when enough time has passed. DiGiorno took things a step further and reached out individually to Twitter users offended by their tweet:

DiGiorno individual apologies

That takes a lot of time, and shows that DiGiorno takes their fans, followers and customers seriously. They are willing to respond to those who have reached out to them with concerns – and not simply with a canned, repeated answer.

The bottom line.

This is a powerful lesson for brands: Take the time to research any trending hashtag or topic before joining the flow of conversation. As DiGiorno said above in one of their individual response tweets, that’s an inexcusable and highly avoidable mistake. But mistakes happen; and DiGiorno owned up and made amends as quickly as possible. DiGiorno did that part right.

Want to make TweetReach a part of your social media crisis plan? We can help: Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis. And talk to us if you’d like to start monitoring tweets about your brand. 

Written by Sarah

September 10th, 2014 at 8:39 am

The best back-to-school campaigns on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr

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The back-to-school crowd these days differs from the Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank folders of yesteryear in that they’ve grown up not only online, but also on social media. Brands that want to connect with the kids of Generation Z understand this and put themselves in all of the places their target audience spends their time, producing campaigns that connect across Tumblr dashboards and down Instagram timelines, and are amplified across Twitter.

The best: Keds, Teen Vogue, and Hollister team up for back-to-school across platforms

Personal style is a big deal for kids, preteens, and teens working out who they are and who they want to be, and Keds embraced this in their #KedsStyleTrial campaign run in conjunction with Teen Vogue and Hollister. The three week long campaign was officially run via Instagram, but Keds and Teen Vogue also cross-promoted it on their Tumblr and Twitter accounts:

Both also used the same image and similar messaging on their Instagram accounts, while Hollister went with a slightly different approach:

#KedsStyleTrial Keds #KedsStyleTrial Teen Vogue #KedsStyleTrial Hollister

The same is echoed in the Tumblr posts from Teen Vogue and Keds; Hollister doesn’t have a Tumblr, which seems like a mistake given their target demographic and the success of visual content on Tumblr, particularly of the fashion variety.

How it could be better

Even the best campaigns have room for improvement, and this one could have increased its reach with more participation from Hollister on Twitter, who chose to promote their own separate contest with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale in lieu of this one:

Even a simple retweet of one of the contest promoting tweets from Keds or Teen Vogue’s accounts would have increased reach by putting the content in front of Hollister’s Twitter audience as well.

Other lessons to learn

Another back-to-school campaign on Instagram from Target used the hashtag #firstdayofschool to promote a charity campaign donating school supplies to children in need across America:

Target #firstdayofschool

What’s the problem? A hashtag like #firstdayofschool is going to be something posted by a wide variety of Instagram users and most of them will probably have no idea that Target’s campaign exists. This leads to difficulty in measurement; your results will be inflated with non-campaign related posts and it will be difficult to tell how successful and far reaching your campaign really was. A hashtag like #KedsStyleTrial works better as it’s unlikely to be generated spontaneously by other Instagram users, and it’s short enough to work when Instagram updates get cross-posted to Twitter (which also boosts your campaign’s reach on that platform).

The bottom line: Pick a hashtag based on your brand name and that’s unique enough not to be spontaneously used by others.

Final lessons

This campaign was planned to be recognizable and accessible to its target audience on the platforms where that audience spends time, which is the crux of any good cross-platform campaign. It was visually based, another plus for its target demographic.

The retail brands also take audience engagement a step further by sharing (or “regramming”) images from fans and followers on their Instagram accounts: Keds with #FanFriday and Hollister with #HCoStyle. That’s an extra incentive for fans and followers to enter the contest– what if they not only win, but also get their Instagram image wearing their winnings shared to either brand’s thousands of followers? Teen Vogue opts not to do this, but it’s a move that fits in with their approachable-yet-still-slightly-aloof fashion magazine brand.

Got it? Good. This will all be on the test, so leave any questions you have in the comments.

Written by Sarah

August 21st, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Five ways to embrace Twitter as a visual medium

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We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the importance of using visuals in your social media. Because human minds process visuals faster than text, they can be a much more succinct way of communicating your point. While words themselves probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon (you are reading this, after all), incorporating more visual elements into your social efforts can catch more attention than just words alone– particularly on a fast-paced platform like Twitter.

Twitter’s updated features support visual media

The good news is that Twitter has made some updates in the past few months that support visual content on their platform, perhaps because of the growing popularity of photo and video platforms like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.

Although many people took Twitter disabling Instagram display cards as a blow to cross-platform sharing, there’s a workaround for it that doesn’t require you to directly upload Instagram images to Twitter (although that might not be a bad idea; tailoring content for individual platforms is a best practice). 

Last fall, Twitter improved embedded images in tweets to make them bigger, bolder, and much more noticeable. 

And while less public, another update made it possible to send images privately in DMs and let the world know that Twitter understands the importance and impact of visual messaging as their users have been asking for it.

Finally and most recently, Twitter launched an update that lets you embed tweets within tweets. These appear more like an image than just a wall of text and can be a good callback to a point you were making previously, or to call back to a blog post you shared if it’s relevant in a conversation you’re currently having 

 What does this mean for brands using Twitter?

You can no longer rely on 140 characters of words alone to get your message across; snappy visuals are more important than ever. Not sure how to approach it? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Figure out what kind of information you’re trying to convey. Can you get the entire message across in a picture, or should you choose an image that will catch attention and direct it back to a longer post elsewhere? 
  2. Infographics are popular, but they’re not right for everything. Especially if you have a very large or long infographic with tiny detail, don’t try to post the entire thing on Twitter. Post a section of it instead; this will pique interest and redirect traffic back to your blog or website.
  3. Test the same posts with different images. Try pairing an eye-catching image with one tweet, and an eye-catching image with text overlaying it on another. See how both do, and keep testing. Soon you’ll know which type your audience prefers. (But remember, this could change over time.)
  4. Test the same image across platforms. One style might do better on Twitter than on Instagram or Tumblr. See what your audience likes and tweak things for each platform.
  5. Be sure you’re using images you have permission to use. Use photos with a creative commons license if you don’t have your own photo resources.

The final word.

Before you post something or propose it as an idea to your team: Is it interesting and eye-catching to you? If it’s not, then you might want to rethink your approach.

Written by Sarah

August 19th, 2014 at 9:19 am

Posted in Guides

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In case of emergency: Cruise lines and crisis communication on Twitter, Part II

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Costa Concordia Instagram

People fascinated by a disaster will create their own news accounts, that may or may not contain misinformation. This is happening on networks outside of Twitter as well, like this example on Instagram.

We’ve previously discussed how airlines should handle crisis communication in case of an emergency, and recently we shared the first part of the plan for cruise lines to do the same. This is the second part, which picks up after looking at what cruise lines should look for on Twitter, to what they should measure during and after a crisis, plus what to look for on platforms outside of Twitter.

What to measure on Twitter in times of crisis, and after

Now that you know what to look for, you need to have a plan in place for how to measure it. What, exactly, should you be measuring on Twitter as a crisis unfolds?

Before; or what you should have set up right now

Ideally you will already have Trackers set up to capture what we mentioned previously- tweets directly to your official handle, mentions of your brand in any variety of spelling imaginable, any well-known nicknames your brand has (official or not), and the ports you operate from. If you’re not already doing that, now is the time to implement Trackers or take frequent snapshots (using something like our aptly named snapshot reports) around those terms once a situation arises and begins to unfold.

If your resources have grown since you first made your plan, consider monitoring your major competitors and major keywords related to your industry as well.

During a crisis

Often during a crisis situation, a hashtag will be born organically. If you’re being proactive about communicating via Twitter, however, don’t hesitate to create one of your own and immediately set up a Tracker to measure it, or take continual snapshots of the situation. If another hashtag emerges organically, use that one in your messaging as well and be sure you’re tracking both.

After a crisis

If everything flies by too quickly and you’re a small enough team not to have time to set up Trackers or take frequent enough snapshots of the situation, a historical option to capture the entire incident is available. This can also be used to fill in any noticeable gaps in your data once you’ve begun to look through everything you’ve gathered.

In the aftermath of the event, you might also want to track a specific news story (using specific key words from the title if it’s unique enough not to return a lot of noise, or you can track via a specific URL) that went around if it directly involved comments from your brand, or got a lot of circulation with commentary from people passing it around. This will give you a much more accurate read on the sentiment around your crisis messaging, and let you see any missed opportunities, as well as highlight every win.

Go the extra mile

Once you have all of this data and you can clearly see how the situation unfolded and evaluate the strength of your response, take it a step further: What can you plan better next time, with this experience? What did you and your team do really well, that you should be sure to praise and also pass on as protocol to new team members? This knowledge can be distilled and turned into training and on-boarding materials for any new communications employees in the future.

If you’re not a cruise line (or an airline) a lot of these tactics still apply to you; if you’re a hotel, for example, you can offer to put up stranded travelers or victims of a natural disaster or other tragedy. Car rental companies and car sharing services can work out deals to get stranded people home if they don’t have far to go. For a less serious crisis, tour companies can even offer to keep stranded passengers entertained with local sites while they’re waiting for delayed travel to get sorted out.

Any of these companies can work out deals with each other ahead of a crisis to come in and support each other if and when it makes sense to.

Platforms other than Twitter

While Twitter is the best platform to use during a crisis because of the speed at which you’re able to share information and connect with concerned parties as well as news outlets, you need to be sure you have messaging in place on all of the other platforms you also have a presence on in the case of an emergency. For Facebook, be sure to make periodic, informative updates and answer as many questions as you can from concerned parties that may not be on Twitter. Do as much as you can with the resources that you have; don’t be afraid to make a post and then direct everyone to Twitter or your website for more information if those are the two places you plan to concentrate updates.

Tumblr will support text updates and it’s also a place where you can reblog information from the news outlets also on Tumblr, but it’s much more difficult to answer questions if they come in the form of reblogs. Do answer any questions directed to your inbox, publishing those that may help answer the similar questions of others.

Photo-based platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are more difficult to navigate; it’s hard to think of a tactful snap for announcing information around an emergency situation, but if that’s the only line of communication open to you and you’re in touch with your customers there, don’t hesitate to do what you can. If you do feel it’s appropriate to post a screenshot with emergency update protocols on your Instagram account directing followers to your website or Twitter for ongoing information, do so. Many of these details will depend on what’s right for your brand, the nature of the crisis, and the resources available as it unfolds.

The takeaway

The bottom line is to listen and step in where you’re needed, even if you’re not expected to.

Written by Sarah

August 12th, 2014 at 10:12 am