Monday, July 06, 2009

Jumping On The Twitter Bandwagon

I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon just a few months ago. Like many, I didn’t get it. I didn’t really care that so and so was eating a ham sandwich or that what’s his name was watching this or that on television. But, as I followed more folks, I came to see some real value to help keep one on the radar screen.

With something along the lines of five to ten thousand people joining Twitter each day, there’s a lot of opportunity to get the word out, learn some new, useful stuff and meet some interesting folks as well. Plus, Twitter can give you pretty easy access to high-profile people in or out of your current marketing arena. It a great way to connect on a personal audience with a larger audience to share thoughts, ideas and resources. Also, you can post tweets from your mobile phone.

Before you take the plunge, it’s a good idea to poke around and get a feel for things. You’ll want to get a handle on tweetspeak too. Here’s a link on Mashable to get you started. They also cover 99 Essential Twitter Tools and Applications.

At first, I tweeted from Firefox using Twitter’s plain ‘old interface. Then I tried Power Twitter. Neither one really yanked my chains. Then I discovered TweetDeck. TweetDeck lets you post and reply to tweets, retweet, conduct searches, filter tweets, create groups and more. Swell stuff. It’s an Adobe AIR desktop app and really enhanced the whole Twitter experience for me. Here’s a good tutorial for getting up to speed with TweetDeck.

As with all things marketing, it’s good to have a plan and a strategy. Give some thought as to what you’re trying to accomplish. Perhaps it’s to connect with some movers and shakers in your industry and niche. Your goal might be a speedy way to communicate new offers or services. Lots of tweeples use Twitter as p.r. distribution vehicle by sharing links to their articles, news releases, events, etc. For others, it’s simply a way to keep their visibility up by tweeting and retweeting links to useful stuff for their followers.

Speaking of followers, it’s important to remember that Twitter isn’t about sheer numbers. It’s more a quality than quantity thing. It’s also not about direct selling. People tend to find that annoying. Consider it a marketing tool, not a sales too. They’re different things.

As I mentioned, I’m still a Twitter newbie. Here are my plans:
  • Identify movers and shakers and follow them.
  • Follow friends, business associates, clients, colleagues, writers & reporters
  • Check out who they’re following to see if there might be some good connections.
  • Set up a file of useful, relevant links and resources for future tweets
  • Use TweetDeck to scan tweets and retweet interesting tweets (Boy, was there a lot of “tweet” in that line or what?)
  • Use TweetDeck to post to both Twitter and Facebook
  • Try to find that app that also posts tweets to LinkedIn
  • Use TweetLater or other app to schedule tweets for down the road
  • Add a link to my Twitter account in appropriate locations
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next up – Facebook.

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posted by Neil at 12:09 PM 0 comments

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Are You Socially Challenged?

I’ve been doing the social networking thing for a while. In the old days, (which, in Internet terms is about an hour and a half ago) that consisted of discussion groups, forums, email and blogs. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that important adds to that mix these days are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. Over the next few posts, I’ll address each. Social networking/media can be a very good marketing tool. But, like other tools and tactics, you need some reachable goals and a plan to get there.

To start, a bit of data is needed. Fortunately, Michael Stelzner,
Founder of WhitePaperSource.com, has published a great report about social networking for marketers. You can download the report by clicking here. Don’t forget to subscribe to Michael’s newsletter, too. White papers can be an excellent marketing tool and Stelzner is the Big Kahuna in this area. Here are some of his top findings:
"Top three questions marketers want answered: (1) What are the best tactics to use, (2) how to do I measure the effectiveness of social media and (3) where do I start?

• Marketers are mostly new to social media: A significant 88% of marketers surveyed are using social media to market their businesses, BUT 72% have only been doing so for a few months or less.

• How much time does this take? A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week and 39% for 10 or more hours weekly.

• The top benefit of social media marketing: The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships.

• The top social media tools: Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in that order.

• Social media tools marketers most want to learn about: Social bookmarking sites were ranked of highest interest, followed closely by Twitter."

The bottom line? If you’re not involved with social media, it’s time to get on board. Don’t feel bad though. As mention above, a whopping 72% are also just getting started with this marketing method. You’ve got to start somewhere.

For me, Facebook was the starting point. A colleague suggested I get involved. Like Twitter, my first thought after setting up an account was, “Okay, how the heck does this work?” It didn’t take too long to get a handle on it. Then came Twitter, where I thought, “Um ... yeah. I don’t get it.” Twitter seemed to be a 140 character discussion group for those with Attention Deficit Disorder. After the 2009 HOW Design Conference, I‘ve become more active and it’s making a lot more sense.

Watch for my next post where I’ll start off with the ins and outs of Twitter.

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posted by Neil at 10:06 AM 2 comments