Tag Archives: Twitter

Making the Most of Twitter Analytics

I recently attended a webinar where Jimmy Hang, Twitter’s SBM marketing manager, explained how to use Twitter Analytics to inform and improve your business’ marketing strategy.

For those unfamiliar with Twitter Analytics, you can login using your Twitter account credentials at analytics.twitter.com. Once you login you can see how your tweets have performed as well as your follower’s demographics.

The tweet activity dashboard displays your tweets, how many people saw them and what type of engagement they received – retweets, replies and favorites. This helps you see what your followers are engaging with and create content to match what you followers want to see. The best way to do this is to create a content/social media calendar to plan out what type of content you are going to post each day. Again, always be sure you are following the rule of thirds. One third of the content should be about your business, one third should be news and informational tips about your industry and the final third should be engaging with your audience.

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Twitter Analytics also shows you a breakdown of your followers’ demographics. You can see what your followers are interested in, where they are located, their gender and who your followers are following. This is a great way to gear your tweets and blogs for your followers’ specific interests. The location breakdown can help you geo-target news or try to branch out to new cities or areas you feel are underrepresented. You can also figure out when to time your tweets based on your followers time zones.

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Finally, Analytics gives you easy access to Twitter Ads quick promote. This allows you to promote your best tweets outside of your network to users that might be interested in your industry and content. 

Keep Tweeting During the Holidays

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Merry Christmahanakwanza…Twitter?

With the holidays in full swing it’s easy to put your business social media accounts on the back burner. However, understanding how to engage with your Twitter audience during the holidays can be of great use to your business.

Have fun with your posts 
Since it is the holidays you can have more fun with your tweets. Post pictures of your office holiday party or what you are excited about for the New Year. This helps show your followers your business’/ brand’s personality. Use the hashtag #happyholidays to promote your brand with a trending hashtag. A Crimson Hexagon study showed that twitter holiday influence continues to increase until Christmas Eve. Also, try to relate your industry to the holidays. Many businesses continue right on through the holidays. Tweeting about having a happy holiday season is a great opportunity to include a link about your products and services.

Fewer tweets means more attention.
It’s true that a lot of people take off the last couple weeks December, but not everyone. Many professionals continue to work and check their social media accounts throughout the holidays. Fewer people tweeting means that your posts will get more attention. Also, work tends to slow down giving people have more time to give their social media accounts the due diligence they deserve. 

Scheduling your posts
Even is you’re out of the office for the holidays you can still keep up with your social media accounts. Use a platform like HootSuite to schedule holiday tweets before you leave. It’s a great way to promote your business and/or brand while still being able to enjoy your holiday vacation. 

-NP

Are you making a fool of your brand on Twitter?

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 11.06.10 AMLast week the Twitter-sphere was a buzz about the “Why I Stayed” hashtag. It went viral after a video surfaced of now suspended NFL running back, Ray Rice, punching his then finance in an elevator. Many people took to Twitter using #WhyIStayed to share their personal stories of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, DiGiorno did not get the message and used the hashtag to promote pizza sales. After much backlash, DiGiorno took down the tweet and later apologized, saying that they did not know the meaning of the hashtag prior to posting. Although this was a large- scale embarrassment that doesn’t happen everyday I think we can all agree that we have been guilty of Twitter blunders. Here are some common mistakes we all make:

1) Improperly using trending hashtags

Sure, you probably haven’t angered everyone on Twitter by making a joke about domestic violence, but companies often attempt to use trending hashtags that have nothing to do with their brand. Just because a hashtag is trending doesn’t mean you have to use it to get noticed. You can customize your Twitter trends based on your location and your industry to get your hashtags noticed by the right people.

2) Not reading what you are retweeting 

Retweeting is key to organically growing your Twitter account. That being said you need to be smart about retweeting. It’s easy to look at your newsfeed and retweet the first headlines that relates to your industry without reading the link. Often companies tweet out self- promotional content disguised as helpful insider tips. While this information may be valuable to your industry and your followers you don’t want to promote your competition.

3) Not planning your tweets

If your tweeting content that isn’t time sensitive plan out your tweets in advanced to insure you’re putting out the best content. You can still leave plenty of room for spontaneity.

4) Not scheduling your tweets

This is similar to number three. Not only do you want to plan out in advanced what you say, you need to plan when you want to say it. You want to be tweet at least three times a day. Tweets are most likely to be seen and retweeted from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Use a Twitter platform like HootSuite so you can schedule your tweets in advanced. You want to space out your tweets at least an hour apart from each other. The worst thing you can do is put tweets out back to back. People will start to view you as spam.

5) Not adding pictures

Visual culture is crucial in getting noticed. In a sea of texts it’s always refreshing to see a photo. Tweets with photos get 2x the engagement rate than those without.

 

What NOT to do on Social Media

 

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We’ve all seen lists telling us what do to increase your social media influence…but what shouldn’t you do? Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what tactics your company should be using. Here’s what not to do on social media and some simple ways you can fix these common mistakes.

 

  1. Don’t post an irrelevant Facebook status to engage with your audience. Your audience has followed or liked you on social media for a reason and they expect consistency from you. Asking a question or posting a quote that has nothing to do with your business or field confuses followers and hinders engagement.

Fix: Try to engage with your audience by asking questions that are relevant to your field and can also help your business grow.

  1. Only talk about yourself. Sure, you want to grow your business and show your followers all the amazing products/ services you have to offer. However, talking only about your company comes off as egocentric and could keeps you from making connections with other businesses or customers.

Fix: Rule of thirds. One- third of the time post created content. One- third of the time, share content from others. One- third of the time try to have a conversation with your followers (see rule #1).

  1. Spam followers. Followers want updates about your latest project or important news regarding the industry. However, when companies post back- to- back social media posts it can start to annoy your followers.

Fix: Use a social media platform like HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your posts. Try to spread them out at least an hour apart.

  1. Post vulgar or inappropriate content. Human error happens. We’ve all seen posts where an employee posted something on their company page when they meant it for their own personal social networks.

Fix: Make sure your employees do not have their personal social networks attached to social media platforms, like HootSuite, where it might be hard to differentiate between accounts.

  1. Don’t have too many social media outlets. It’s great for companies to expand their reach to multiple social media outlets and try to up their SEO. However, if you have too many sites, chances are you aren’t consistent across the board. Someone might stumble upon your dormant Facebook page and think your aren’t serious about social media.

Fix: Limit the amount of social media outlets your have. If you know you can only commit to one or two sites then simply have those one or two site and post content regularly.

  1. Not cross promoting. If you have a large Twitter following but are lacking in Facebook likes you are doing your company an injustice by not promoting the Facebook page on your Twitter account.

Fix: Cross promote your social media sites. You want to have a good number of followers or likes in every outlet, not just one. 

– NP

Finding the Right Social Influencers

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To expand reach and network, your company needs to find key social influencers. Building relationships is the basis of getting your brand out there.

Social Influencers are everywhere and are not bound by employment with traditional news sources. Social influencers are important because they are able to cover news faster than many traditional news sources – and they can reach a larger audience. A group of social influencers is called a tribe. A tribe is a group of persons having common character, occupation or interest.

How to Find Followers

You probably know – and have already found – several influencers in your field. Once you have those influencers see how they are following, talking to and referencing. Look at their tweets. Who are they retweeting? Who are they following? Look at their blogs. Who are they mentioning and collaborating with?

There are also sites and programs designed specifically for finding new influencers.

• Cision – social influencers search

• Triberr – suggestions based on content/ interests and joined tribes

• GoogleAMP

• Twitter- suggestions based on who your followers follow

Finding your Niche Community

Once you find relevant followers, you need to find the right community.  This community should consist of passionate followers.  Although many companies strive to increase their number of followers, the real importance is not the quantity of your influencers but the quality. You want influencers that are passionate about the same things you are.  When looking for influencers, be specific. 

Once you find influencers

After you have found influencers try to build good relationships with them. Remember, this takes time.  Don’t ignore the little guys either.  You want to build relationships with people that are passionate in your industry.  Reach out to these influencers on social media. Remember the rule of thirds. One-third of your posts should be about yourself, one-third of your posts should be sharing other’s content and one-third of your posts should be interacting with your social media audience.

Empower your community

Allow your followers and employees to put their own spin on your story. This gives it a more honest value. Viewers and influencers like to hear storytelling, not shameless self-promotion. This also gives the community ownership of the message and will help you get the commitment of your followers. 

Pitching

Some journalists and influencers complain about misdirected pitches and will even go so far to blacklist certain PR professionals. Before reaching out to an influencer makes you ask yourself these questions:

What is my goal?

What is my target audience?

How visual is my story?

Is my idea timely?

Once you have answered those questions make sure you know who your audience is, be brief and customize your pitch to your audience. 

-NP

 

 

 

We need to talk . . . on Twitter

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We need to talk . . . That phrase is so often the prelude to breaking up, losing a job or some other dire life-altering event.  But not this time. In this instance I’m talking about Twitter and the fact that too many brands don’t get everything they can out of it because they simply don’t use it right. They use Twitter like an electronic billboard putting up tweet after tweet about their new products, sales meetings, personnel changes or maybe once in a while a job opening.  I hope you see the pattern here. It’s all about them.  They talk at the Twitterversus, not with it.  It’s like going to a party talking about your job, your family, your hobbies, etc., then saying goodbye to everyone and walking out the door. No matter how fascinating you are that’s going to turn people off and certainly not get you a return invite.  In Twitterdom that translates into getting ignored and losing followers – the death knell for any marketing/communication effort.

Social media is meant to be a conversation. You can post stuff about your company on the website and it can sit there for everyone to read, but you go to social media when you want people to share, comment and interact.  Talking with, not at, your social community is what makes it social and there is a lot of value in having a real conversation. 

  • It shows that you care about having an open dialogue – something customers highly value in vendors.
  • It gives you information about what is important to your customers, vendors and partner organizations.
  • You get feedback and questions from your customers, which is always helpful, but too often hard to come by.
  • You learn new things.  Twitter can be a valuable resource for information and news about what is going on in your industry and with your customers.

So, how do you start talking on Twitter – I mean really talking? Here are a few suggestions on ways to begin the conversation. 

It’s not all about you – Talk about more than just your company.  Look for interesting articles or news about your industry.  If, for example, you’re selling security cameras, look for news articles and blogs that support the use of your product.  It might be a survey from a research firm reporting about the booming camera market or an article talking about a situation where security cameras helped stop a potentially dangerous or criminal incident. It shows your product in a favorable light and it does it without chest pounding.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a place on Twitter for self-promoting tweets, but not all the time. In fact, the majority of your tweets should not be commercial. The soft sale is very effective and works well on social media.

Retweet, favorite and mention – Start interacting on Twitter by retweeting other accounts.  If you see an interesting tweet that would be relevant to your Twitter followers, by all means retweet it.  Your followers will appreciate the additional information and the fact that you are savvy enough to keep informed about your industry.  At the same time, the account you are retweeting will appreciate the shout out and will be more likely to retweet you in the future.  Also your retweet will show up in that account’s feed, so more people will see your post and you just might gain some followers.  The same goes for making a tweet a favorite and for mentioning accounts in your posts.  The more you start talking to people on Twitter the more attention you’ll get, which, after all, is the point.

Hashtags – Use hashtags, but use them sparingly and wisely.  Hashtags are a way of making your tweets stand out for people on Twitter who are interested in following specific topics and key words.  Do a little research.  Find out which hashtags are going to work best at reaching your target audience.  Again, if you are selling security cameras then putting a hastag in front of #security and #camera may work best for you.  But check it out first, you may find that many people are tracking security cameras by making the hashtag into a smash word and following #securitycamera.  It’s just a matter of working with Twitter to see how people in your industry are using hashtags.

Reply & DM – Reply to tweets, ask questions and thank people.  If you see an interesting tweet and you not sure about the source reply or send a direct message asking a question.  Thank people for following and retweeting. And definitely answer any questions sent your way.  Even if you don’t know the answer you should acknowledge the question.

Starting with these basics will get your Twitter conversation going.  It should get you noticed, attract followers and add real value to your social marketing efforts.  Obviously, the most difficult part of this equation is the time it takes to follow Twitter and get this dialogue in gear.  But once you have developed your strategy and you know the direction you want to take Twitter can be managed by the marketing communications team or even outsourced to an agency.  Making it someone’s job to talk on Twitter is probably one of the quickest ways to get the conversation underway and get everything out of each 140-character message that you can. 

Cindy Weigle
Follow me on Twitter
Connect with me on LinkedIn

 

 

PR and the Mobile Age

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There is no question that we have entered the mobile age.  Sales of desktops are decreasing, there are enough cell phones for everyone in the world to own two and even Third World countries have cell service. On top of that, 25 percent of smart phone owners ages 18- 44 can’t even recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them. Many business professionals see mobile as the future of social media. As mobile technology continues to increase, it’s important that PR professionals take notice and learn how to adjust to the mobile experience.  

That experience lets industry professionals see the latest news from anywhere. Even though you can reach a larger audience, you have to be aware of how your content is displayed. Although smart phones can access the same sites as a desktop like Twitter, and Facebook, etc., there are key distinctions between them. One being that smart phone screens are significantly smaller than a desktop sotweets and posts need to be short and to the point. Another thing, hashtags don’t work on Facebook mobile. 189 million Facebook users only use Facebook through their smart phone.  So save the hashtags for Twitter.  

Also, even though Twitter allows the user to tweet up to 140 characters, the chances of someone reading a tweet that long on a mobile device are small. The reason being, if mobile users have to expand the tweet, they probably won’t read it. Keep in mind that the end of a tweet is often where professionals attach links for users to retweet. 

Compose your tweet so that it is less than 120 characters if you want it to be retweeted — or even read.  A University of Florida study found that 43 percent of B2B companies get new customers through Facebook and 34 percent of marketers get leads through Twitter.  Getting the right people to see all of your content is crucial.

Some social media programs are only available on a smart phone, like Instagram and Vine.  Social media is image based.  An MIT study showed that Facebook posts with images received 37 percent more engagements.  Images are useful because they quickly tell the story. Many smart phone cameras are of equal quality to the average digital camera.  Pictures are also larger than text, which means they take up more of a person’s news feed.  Your company, whether B2B or B2C, should be using smart phones to get content out there, whether it be posting pictures on Instagram or posting videos to Vine.  

Another unique feature of smart phones is text messaging.  Many social media programs started out as SMS programs.  Text message campaigns (opt in only, of course) are a great way for B2C and B2B businesses to showcase new products, update consumers on new projects and give monthly factoids about your industry. 

Some mobile apps are especially useful for PR pros.  Tools like Hootsuite, Microsoft Office and Drop Box are all available for many smart phones. There are also some new smart phone-only apps that you might want to check out. , Apps like Taptu, Flipboard and Pulse can take your social networks and websites and merge them into visually appealing and easy-to-read read streams. These new PR smartphone apps make getting the latest information that much easier. 

Being mindful about how the mobile experience works, providing the potential to reach a bigger audience and expand a business’ message.

-Niki Perri

@neperri

 

#Hashtags on Facebook

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It isn’t a secret that Facebook usage has been steadily decreasing throughout the past years as Twitter’s popularity continues to increase.  Capitalizing on Twitter’s business plan, this month Facebook introduced hashtags, Instagram’s 15-second video clip, and a new ad structure that will eliminate more than half of sponsored ads.  While the new ad structure and Instragram videos are good ways to keep up with competition, hashtags on Facebook might not be. 

There is no question that hashtags have been immensely successful on Twitter becoming a social media and PR/ advertising staple to create trends and generate buzz.  Therefore, it comes as no surprise that other social media sites would want to cash in on this function.  Facebook users have been posting status with hashtags for months, despite the face that hashtags were not linked to anything.  Now that Facebook has decided to utilize hashtags there are several problems with it. 

There is a reason why hashtags have been so successful on Twitter.  Twitter has a 140-character count.  This means that you can only use 3 or 4 hashtags in a tweet before you run out of space.  This draws more attention to those specific hashtags.  Facebook, on the other hand, has unlimited space which means #hashtagsfordaysss. Letting users post unlimited hashtags means the power and purpose of the hashtag is lost in a sea of endless characters. 

Another problem is that hashtags do not have any privacy settings.  This means that anyone can view your hashtags.  This is great for businesses that want to gain a larger audience through Facebook.  However, this is bad news for people that constantly put hashtags on their personal Facebook accounts just for fun.  Not only are new hashtags linked together, but old hashtags people or businesses might have posted are now linked. This means if you hashtagged something you shouldn’t have, you need to go back and delete it. 

Hashtags are also not available on mobile devices.  This posses a significant problem as mobile technology is increasingly become the communication method of choice.  Facebook has always been on the slower end of updating their software to be compatible with mobile technology, unlike Twitter which some people might remember started out as a SMS messaging system before going on the Internet. This means that consumers will not be able to click on the hashtags through their smartphones, and PR/ Marketing teams can’t hashtag on the go. 

Finally, there is no clear way of filtering hashtags.  Unlike Twitter, Facebook businesses and personal users do not know which hashtags are trending which makes looking for reach slightly more difficult.  Now it’s definitely not impossible to find out how many hashtags your business or event got, but you have to go on Twitter or even Yahoo to find out if your hashtag is trending.  Even then you don’t know if it was trending on Facebook. 

Now there are positives to having hashtags on Facebook. Businesses can now go and search the hashtag they created for a specific event and find how many hashtags they got.  Before it was extremely difficult to find buzz about a businesses event on Facebook.  However, a set back is that you cannot find out if that hashtag has been used before.  Also, with the lack of privacy hashtags have businesses are able to reach out to a larger and potential untapped audience via Facebook.  Hashtag specific advertisements are soon to follow which can help businesses advertise even more.  This will help replace pesky and sometimes too personal sidebar advertisements.

Most of these problems, aside from the unlimited character space, pose only minor setbacks for Facebook, especially since the hashtag has only been available for a week. These things can be solved with software updates. However, as Facebook becomes more like Twitter the question I have is, what’s the point? If Facebook continues to morph into Twitter, why have two Twitters? 

– Niki Perri

@neperri

Will Vine Bring Back the Video Clip?

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This week Twitter released an Android version for the increasingly popular video-sharing app Vine.  For those of you that don’t know, Vine is a mobile app that allows its users to create videos and share them on Vine’s online platform or on Twitter.  Videos are a mash-up of six-second video clips on a loop, like GIFs, that play automatically. As of this week it has surpassed Instagram and is now the second-most downloaded free app. What does this mean for social media?

In the recent years social media has seen a shift from videos and video sharing sites to pictures.  In 2006 video sharing giant YouTube was bought by Google and became one of the most popular social media sites on the web.  Then the Internet began a shift from videos to pictures as social media sites like Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and now SnapChat were born.  It looked like video was dying. Pictures are easier to take, faster to upload and take about two seconds to look at.  Video didn’t seem to have a chance.

Why Vine works? Vine videos are short and load automatically to hold the attention of the viewers. Vine’s platform is user friendly and similar to the ever-popular Instagram.  Videos can load without sound, which makes them easy to watch in public places.

What are potential problems?  Since this app is in its early stages there are many glitches that the program is still experiencing.  Vine has no video-editing software available. This app is easy to use but not as easy as snapping a picture and uploading it on Instagram.  This app can only be used with an iPhone or Android, which limits content creation opportunities. Also, the app deletes any uploaded content that is longer than six seconds or larger than 1 MB.  Finally, one of the biggest problems is that since Twitter owns the app there is no censorship.  That means that pornographic videos are already running rampant on Vine, which could affect which businesses chose to use it.

Vine’s increasing popularity begs the question will the platform bring back the video clip?  There is no question that Vine’s commercial success will be met with fellow video sharing competitors looking to cash in on the market.  That means you can expect new sites similar to Vine and more short video clips on the Internet.  Google co-founders just announced this week that they are creating video sharing site similar to Vine that will be released in the next coming months.  They have already started testing their app in China.

How will this help businesses and their public relations efforts? Vine will no doubt be a nice addition to brand social media campaigns.  Its power is catching on quickly.  PR agencies are already seeing the value in short video clips as a means of marketing a product.  Even though the videos are short, potentially too short, businesses and PR agencies can rest assured that consumers will watch the video to the end.  With the endless loop feature there’s a good chance that they will watch the video multiple times.  This means that brands can creatively tell stories that they know their consumer will watch.  Another great feature is that businesses that are not widely known or do not sell products to the everyday person can create short educational/ how-to videos to gain a positive image among the general public.  Also, other social media platforms, like LinkedIn are using Vine to give a six-second tour of what happens in its offices. This helps build workplace culture and gets the consumer to trust the brand.  It can also help educate viewers about what your business does and what new product or services they can expect from your brand.

Whether Vine lasts or ends us as Internet history, for the immediate future we can expect the Internet to be filled with entertaining six-second video clips or how-to videos, brand campaigns and general hijinks.

– Niki Perri

@neperri

Everybody’s a Twitter expert (well, maybe)

 

Everyone’s jumping on Twitter these days with links to blogs offering advice about how business owners can use the platform to greatly increase profits.

Read them and you’ll know how many Tweets to post each day. Well, maybe you will. Some say three, others say six are better.

There are supporters of posting between 8 to 10 a.m. ET (a little early for anyone living west of Kansas), while others say 1 to 3 p.m. ET is the sweet spot. Longer or shorter tweets? They each have their supporters.  Is a single hash tag enough? Are four too many?

All this points out what I’m learning from running three Twitter accounts and helping out on another — there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.  Every business, every industry is different.

One tweet I read recently really hit home. A woman complained about an online job posting for marketing position that required a minimum of 10 years of social media experience. I assume that job will go unfilled for the next few years. Ten years ago there was no Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram or other major social media platform.

Anyone involved in social media is still a pioneer. Run from anyone who tells you he or she knows exactly what will work for your business. Instead be ready to work with someone willing to experiment and take reasonable chances to find the program that works best for you.

There is no doubt social media can be a huge PR and marketing boost. So go ahead and read these ‘experts.’ There is a little something to be learned from each blog — including this one.

Of course, that’s just my humble opinion.

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum