twitter

Man walking through a maze

Is there a quicker way?

 

Over the years I’ve helped many sole traders establish how to make social media marketing work for them. What they need is a strategy that will be effective, but also won’t take too much time. After all, they wear many hats; service provider/manufacturer, book keeper, cleaner, tea maker, sales person and more!

As part of my training, I make them aware of social media shortcuts they can take. The trouble with these shortcuts is that they’re not ideal – they have consequences. I don’t see it as my role to tell people which ones to take, just to inform them they exist, and also to point out the down-side and then people can make their own decisions. We’re all adults, and we all have our own ideas on what is and isn’t good business practise.

What I’d like to do is conduct a little research here and find out from you what shortcuts you use, and which ones really put you off. I don’t expect to reach a definitive answer, although it would be great if I could report back in a future blog what the majority prefer.

Linking Facebook to Twitter – This means that everything you post to Facebook gets tweeted. The downside is that often tweets are partial sentences and you have to click on the link to read the whole post on Facebook. It can also be perceived by you Twitter followers that you don’t really care about them.

Linking Twitter to Facebook – This means that all your Tweets will be posted on your Facebook Page. Unfortunately Twitter has a language of its own so retweeting, hash-tagging and follow Friday makes no sense to Facebook users who don’t use Twitter. Again, does it also show a lack of appreciation for your Facebook Fans?

Using Hootsuite or similar  – Hootsuite has lots of benefits that have no negative implications, such as scheduling to twitter and following twitter lists, but when it’s used to schedule posts to Facebook you’ll often find that Facebook will penalise you by not showing the post to as many of your Fans than if you’d posted it directly on Facebook.

Personally I don’t use any of these shortcuts for my fully managed clients, although I do use Hootsuite for its many positive aspects, and encourage my training clients to do this too, but it’s my business, whereas your business is probably something entirely different and social media can only take up a small fraction of your working day.

I would really appreciate some feedback on this, so if you could comment on…

Which shortcuts do you use – any of the above or something different?

Are there any that really irritate you and shouldn’t be used?

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What do you think of the latest Twitter updates? I use Hootsuitelatest updates copy for most of my Twitter activities, so I only noticed these today…

If when typing a tweet you exceed the 140 character limit, Twitter now hi-lite this text in red. This is a bit more obvious that the character countdown, so I likey.

Also, if you include a link in your tweet, Twitter now change this text to blue, so again, it’s more obvious.

What do you think? Do you like? Does it improve your Twitter experience?

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Are they faking it copyIf they have oodles more than you, but you’re quite happy with the job you’re doing, then maybe their followers aren’t quite the Holy Grail you’ve assumed…

Websites such as www.fiverr.com can be great for getting the odd job done at a great price – $5, since you asked so nicely – but they also offer things like 1,000 Twitter followers for $5. If you go for deals like this, make no mistake, these followers WILL NOT be interested in you, they’re unlikely to even be real people!

Once you buy these fake followers, it  becomes difficult to determine your numbers. For example, if you want to track what percentage of your followers retweet your tweets or reply to direct messages, your fake followers really throw a spanner in the works.

Also, what’s the point? If you re-visit your objectives for your social media campaign, does it say something along the lines of “Maximise Twitter Followers even if there is zero chance of them ever buying my product” ? If it does, then please accept my apology and pop along to Fiverr immediately. If it doesn’t then stay strong and continue as you were, or maybe enlist the help of a social media trainer to see if you can learn some new strategies for building your followers.

I’m based in Bedfordshire and offer one to one training sessions, but if you’re too far away from me, I belong to a network of social media managers and may well be able to recommend someone, so please ask.

By the way, if you’re curious about the number of Twitter followers your competitors have, go and check them out on Social Baker’s Fake Followers tool. It’s an eye opener!

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If you’re selling to the general public, Twitter can be a great way to connect with your target audience. First of all, you need to know who your target market is and also give some thought as to how they phrase their tweets

So, if you’re a catering company and you want to increase the number weddings you cater for, then searching out newly engaged couples would probably be a good idea. A common tweet for this kind of life event would be “Congratulations to Sandra and Bob on their engagement”. For a search to work effectively you need to use just 2 or 3 words – fewer than this and your results will be too general, many more than this and you won’t get much of a result.

So from my example tweet, take out the words that are unnecessary or could be changed. For instance, I often type congrats and not congratulations, so I would leave that word out. Also take out the small insignificant words and the names (unless you only want to work with people called Sandra & Bob!) What you’re left with is “their engagement”.

You can translate this into whatever your target market is. If you’re a plumber, you could look for people complaining about a dripping tap, if you’re a hypnotherapist wanting to work with people who would like to lose weight, maybe you could search for people tweeting about having a fat day?

When you’ve followed people that are in your target market, how you proceed will depend on how they’ve phrased their tweet. Do they have an immediate need? You could jump right in there, or maybe you could ask a friend to recommend you? Recommendations by someone else are so much more powerful than us selling ourselves, don’t you think?

Going back to the engagement scenario, I would create a Twitter list of people to keep in touch with, by clicking on the head and shoulders icon next to the blue following button, and then clicking on add or remove from lists and following the instructions. I’d then engage with them, comment on their tweets, answer their questions, and, when the time is right, when their need becomes more pressing, you can offer your services, or, as I suggested before, get a friend to recommend you.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on…

If all of this sounds like too much effort, I often do just the background work for clients. So I do the searches and create the lists and my clients do the engaging, or, I also take on the engaging and take it right up to the point where there is a potential sale. At this point, I would hand over to my client for the negotiations to take place. Maybe we could help you?

 

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People often ask me this, and the answer is simple. Yes, you want to broadcast some messages relevant to your product or service, as this will increase your search engine rankings, but you need to mix it in with some run of the mill chitter chatter too. It’s called social media, so it’s important we keep it social.

Join in with other people’s conversations, answer questions and re-tweet others who have posted something of interest. Make general day to day comments; the kind of mundane conversations you’d have with the person standing next to you in the supermarket queue.

Don’t over-think Twitter – it’s just a conversation. For most people you can just tweet what pops into your head. People will forgive your spelling mistakes and bad grammar – as long as that isn’t a part of your service, e.g. if you’re a copy writer your tweets need to show your talent. If you manufacture widgets, the fact that you’ve missed a comma or mis-spelt a word really isn’t the end of the World.

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Account hacking on Twitter seems to be rife at the moment, and has been for some time. People often ask me what they should do if this happens to them, so here are my suggestions…

1/ Log-on to Twitter and change your password. Try to make this password as difficult to guess as possible – random characters works best.

2/ Now go to settings and click on apps to review all the Applications that you have allowed to have access to your account. If there are any that you don’t recognise or you no longer use, then click on “revoke access.” If you’re someone who regularly plays with new apps, it would be a good discipline to do this on a regular basis

3/ Now go to your profile and scroll through all your recent tweets deleting any that you didn’t send – this will stop anyone else from clicking on a link that will cause the same thing to happen to them.

4/ Finally, it would be polite to send out messages to your Followers explaining that you’ve been hacked and apologising for the direct messages that they may have received.

I hope this helps, should you be unlucky enough to be hacked.

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Twitter icon
I’ve just been doing some research for a talk I’m giving in a couple of weeks time, and I came accross a blog post dating back to 2008 from Chris Brogan. I was surprised at how relevant it still is, so, bar a few points that I think we’ve moved on from now, I’m going to share it with you…

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories.
  9. Throw in a few humans to interact with.
  10. Talk about non-business too.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much.
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Use the URL shortening tool that Hootsuite offers, or one like bit.ly. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. Twitter doesn’t replace customer service, but it can complement it.
  6. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  7. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  8. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter works well as an opinion poll. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  2. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  3. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  4. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  5. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  6. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  7. Twitter can augment customer service.

 

You can check out the original article here.

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I’m talking about closing the sale of course. No smut on my blog!

If you have then well done you, but I imagine on most occasions it’s taken some to-ing and fro-ing. In fact there’s a generally accepted rule in marketing that says it takes seven points of contact before someone will buy from you.

What that means is your potential customer needs to see or hear your name seven times before they’ll be comfortable doing business with you. Sounds like hard work right? Or maybe not …

  •          Start  blogging
  •          Set your company up on appropriate social networking sites, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+
  •          Build a targeted, relevant following
  •          Drive potential customers to your blog
  •          Make sure your blog advertises all your social media pages

Bounce potential customers from Twitter to your blog, onto Facebook, then to your website, back to your blog – you get the idea? Before you know it a handful or more of your seven points of contact are covered, so when you do speak to them, they are a much warmer lead, and may already be well on the way to having decided to do business with you.

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I think it’s fair to say that industrial manufacturing companies haven’t yet jumped, en masse, into the social media arena. Some are using it and it’s working very nicely for them, but I think a lot of companies are still sceptical and are sitting on the side lines, watching, a bit like many did when the internet boom first started over 10 years ago.

As with the internet, it was the early adopters who had massive success, which leaves you in a unique position now. Get involved, set the standard and reap the rewards, or spend years wishing you’d got involved at the outset.

Google makes a fortune from its “pay per click” advertising, because most people who use the internet use Google to find what they want. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you. But did you know that Facebook gets more page views per month than Google, and Twitter isn’t far behind?

The role of internet marketers is to increase traffic to their client’s website. So if several of the world’s most visited websites are already allowing people to use their sites freely to guide people to specific websites, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

Google now recognise Tweets in their organic results – and high up, too. There are hundreds of thousands of Twitter profiles showing on page 1 of Google for valuable keyword terms. Google also allows Facebook profiles and commercial “pages” to rank as well.

In short, these social media sites are SEO friendly, they love fresh content and allow you to post virtually anything you want at any time. Social media and SEO work well together, like strawberries and cream. Either are fine on their own, but put them together and something magical happens!

I recently read a report from Global Spec entitled “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” which stated that industrial customers are generally passive in social media. They’re reading, but not getting into conversations, nonetheless they’re involved, and perhaps, you should be too. Click through for GLOBALSPEC’s full report

 

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People often ask me why anyone would hire a Social Media Manager, when they could do it themselves. Running a good, effective, interesting social media campaign isn’t rocket science, but there is more to it than setting up a profile and putting out the odd advertisement tweet. To do it properly takes time, imagination, research and a love of the whole social media scene. Do it half heartedly and you may as well not bother.

I believe that everyone in business has their own talents, and that’s what they should concentrate on. If you’re a really effective financial advisor, then spend your time advising people and making money for your clients and your business. If you’re a creative type, spend your time creating, because you probably hate doing your accounts!

As consumers, we’re quite used to contracting out work. Every time you pick up that takeaway coffee, you’ve outsourced some work. With every pack of pre-washed salad leaves that you buy, you’ve paid someone to do the growing, harvesting, washing, packing, distribution and a lot of other things besides…

Hiring a Social Media Manager is no different to this. A lot of large companies will have a full time social media manager strategising and implementing their social media marketing plan, and ensuring their on-line presence is positive. They recognise that they will be talked about on-line, but if they aren’t a part of this on-line social experience, they don’t have a chance to manage their reputation. Luckily for businesses who don’t want to do this in-house, there are a number of Social Media Managers that you can contract out to.

This expertise doesn’t have to cost the earth. The way I work is to find out about your business and really understand the way your company operates. Although I don’t work in your company, I need to understand in order to be your “voice” on the social media stage. I establish what your business goals are and then work out a plan in order to help you achieve them, within any budget constraints that you have.

If you want to find out more about me to see if we could work together, do have a look around my web-site and get in touch.

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