by: Ashley Sheinwald | April 5, 2012
As part of the “Why series” we thought we’d continue in the social media vein. Social media is more than a buzz now, it’s an important marketing action and business process. It should no longer be an after-thought as it is a core media channel and needs to be treated as such.
Social media has moved onward and upward. Facilities to maintain your social media presence are now integrated to desktop and mobile operating systems. The fluidity at which we can maintain and update our profile has substantial increased and with the ease of these systems there really is no excuse not to be investing in the marketing opportunities available through social media channels as a whole.
It can be confusing as there are so many channels, but this shouldn’t be an obstacle this should be seen as an opportunity. You don’t need to be on every channel, you just need to find the channels that are most popular with your audience and where you can add the most value. Yes I said it again, add value! This is key when it comes to being social for business. You can chat, mention, locate yourself, talk about what you’ve eaten or who your latest crush is etc. through your personal accounts. When it comes to business it is important to maintain your integrity, your brand values and tone of voice. Your business social media channels are your business identity online, so keep it business-like.
“The Internet has turned what used to be a controlled, one-way message into a real-time dialogue with millions.”
I mentioned food and what you’re eating and yes some people go overboard when Tweeting and this is what I’m referring to. “At NO-NAME coffee shop”, “Got the bus”, “Standing in line at the bank” etc. this is different from referencing a “traffic Jam on the M1”, or “delays on the Southbound London to Brighton Southern train-line”. These could actually be of value and you just happen to be in the right/wrong place at the right time. Back to the food reference, I know I mentioned about what ones eating, in the instance of “Cheese and Mozzarella sandwich for lunch… yum” then no, that is boring and go get a life; but the other day I Tweeted about my Thai lunch simply because it was of interest and could inspire someone with a new idea, enable someone to overlook the sandwich shop for a day and perhaps try something new and, well, because I thought it was of interest and really was something I didn’t know, hadn’t tried and so was worth informing others of regardless of the fact it was completely unrelated to our business model.
Twitter is a revolution in micro-blogging, a blog that exists of the back of the limitations of short messaging. Do you remember when an SMS text message was only 140 characters. I know it seems like a millennia ago but it really was just yesterday. Well, this is the basis of micro blogging – messages of 140 characters or less, short sharp direct communications. Messages of interest, of value, messages that inform and educate, messages that direct and create calls to action via links, images and now even video.
The fact is your audience is probably on Twitter, and that means you should be too. you should be aware of how you’re perceived online, what people are tweeting about (you), what’s trending, what’s hot and what’s not. Also, and in this scenario you need to be able to respond, to react and importantly to interact. The internet is an interactive medium and that is what is expected. You can interact with your audience directly, you can tweet, respond to tweets, re-tweet others great tweets, create a dialogue, direct message anyone who is following you, and generally build your brands profile.
What to tweet?
Ah, the treasure chest of value. What creates interest and value for your audience can be specific to your industry but here are a few examples:
- Product/service updates
Releasing something new, updating something, let the world know
- Special offers
Push traffic to your offers, or use short codes or verbal cues – think Starbucks “Hello my name is …” free latte
- Blog posts
Help push some traffic to your blog or website
Inform others of great tweets, or posts you find on someone else’s profile
- Current actions/processes
Where you’re at with something
- Quotes of interest
Something interesting or that tickles – there’s nothing wrong with a giggle as long as it is on brand
- Knowledge share
A nugget of data
- Event status/programme status (events of the day)
Think workshops/conferences (using hash tags)
If it’s news worthy, let it be known
“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”
The list can be as long or short as you like or as is of value to your users. You need to be creating content that your users want. They need to have a reason to want to follow you, to have your tweets in their media streams. Whether it’s because you’re always first on the scene with the news, with a gadget, with a technology or code snippet, or your are a leader in your field, you can share great advice, knowledge or simply because you’re really popular; well maybe not that one but you get the idea. The uses for Twitter are evolving daily from those mentioned to using the system as a help desk or advice network and much more.
How often should I Tweet?
How often you should Tweet really depends on how much content you have that adds value or is actually interesting. Some people/businesses Tweet all the time and I mean all the time, like every half an hour or more frequently at times. Others Tweet a couple of times a day, or week or whenever. There is no holy algorithm or statistic on the number of Tweets that will increase your audience and hence brand awareness, other than the fact that too many Tweets can kill a stream, turn off your audience and ensure that your followers start to un-follow you and or get stream blindness; where they start to not see your Tweets or pass them over as not having/adding value. If you find you have nothing to say or add, don’t Tweet, simple as that. Just remember, keep Tweeting so you maintain a visible presence, Tweet with style, Tweet with substance and stand out! Let’s call it Tweetequette.
Spread your tweets
“LinkedIn is for the people you know. Facebook is for the people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know”
There are arguments for and against this piece of advice, but to be honest we’re a great believer in visibility and brand awareness, but also because some people will only follow a single stream and so spreading your media across channels can be of value. Show your tweets on your blog, website, on your Facebook page and any channel you have access too.
It has been said that you should write for each channel independently, but this can be unfeasible or simply resource intensive. Having specific content; be it a promotion or an interactive game available via a specific channel makes sense in terms of using the technology available to you via that channel (Facebook apps/games) that you can’t use elsewhere, but that doesn’t negate the value of sharing your Tweets via Facebook, on your website as a stream etc. so that you can increase the visibility of these channels and hence create more followers and more interaction. The same goes for YouTube, you want to ensure you’re pushing your videos via all your channels, leaving them in your channel to be found just for your YouTube subscribers just doesn’t make sense, let everyone know about your new video or blog post.
Is it a numbers game?
Don’t get sucked into the numbers game. There is no value in having 1000s of followers if none of them are listening to what you are saying. There is much greater value in having less followers who are more engaged and will actually gain something from your offering and hence be more loyal customers, clients and brand advocates.
Requesting a Re-tweet
If your tweet is of interest and adds value then chances are the followers of your followers will find it interesting too. Statistics have shown that actually requested a Re-Tweet increases the re-tweeting statistics. Re-Tweets are when one of your followers re-tweets you message to their followers by the simple click of a button. You do this by simply stating “Please Re-Tweet” at the end of your message. Go ahead and try it.
Don’t delay any longer, get out there, get seen and get Tweeting. If you’ve had success Tweeting or have any great tips and tricks regarding twitter then please let us know in the comments.