140 Characters: How to Best Utilize Them

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140 Characters: How to Best Utilize Them

There has been some debate lately about just how effective Twitter is as a business marketing tool. Though Twitter may be free to use, many companies pay a social media management company to monitor their account and they do not want to pay for something that does not get them results. Keeping this in mind, here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of your Twitter followers. (more…)

Learning from the Most Engaged Brands on Twitter

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Back in April, Nestivity released a list of the most engaged brands using Twitter for business. This list featured the creme de la creme of companies who don’t just tweet their faces off but also interact with their followers.

“Most brands have fallen into the trap of using Twitter for push marketing: broadcasting messages and expecting to influence customers with little to no listening or community building,” says Nestivity founder and president Henry Min in an interview with Mashable. “This view of Twitter as a one-way communication tool severely limits quality interactions between brands and their customers. It is a short-sighted use of an inherently interactive communication channel.”

To expand our Twitter practices, we wanted to check out how these big companies were using Twitter and see if small businesses can use some of the same Twitter engagement tactics.

With nearly 5 million followers, romantic quote factory and meme generator Notebook of Love tops Nestivity’s list for most engaged. While this kind of sappy romance stuff might not be everyone’s bag, what Notebook of Love does right is tweet a lot. By delivering the kind of tweets its audience wants all day long, the brand stays on top and is a favorite of Twitter’s ever-growing female audience.

Both Disneyworld and Disney appear on the list (at numbers 2 and 5, respectively) meaning that somebody at the House of Mouse knows how to tweet and how to engage followers. Disney tweets dozens of those famous images from its iconic animated films. Small companies can take a hint from this and start Tweeting pictures of their own products and services.

ESPN came in at number 3, and a glance at its page will easily tell you why. ESPN has mastered Twitter marketing by using tweets both to give the latest sports news headlines and also to start lively conversations with its followers. Back and forth discussions are what Twitter was built for, and if you’re not using it for that, you’re missing out.

Friends, now it’s your turn. Tell us how you engage your followers on Twitter and give a shout out to your most-engaging fellow tweeters in the comments section below!

Is Twitter Too Complicated?

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As Twitter marketing specialists, we’ve heard it a billion times: “I don’t understand Twitter,” “What’s a hashtag?” and our favorite, “What am I supposed to tweet about?” But it’s not just older folks or the technically challenged who find Twitter confusing. We’ve tried to explain how tweeting works to a slew of great minds and legends in their respective professional fields with mixed results. As it turns out, even Twitter’s CEO admits that the social network is hard to use.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, in an interview with Kara Swisher at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday, said he believes Twitter is still too complicated for the masses to understand.

“Simplicity,” Costolo said when asked what he thought was missing from Twitter.

Costolo marveled at how Twitter, thanks to its 140-character confines, has forced users to create a language of their own, but notes the downside is remarkable language is super hard to understand” for newcomers. Costolo cited placing quotes around an “@” as one example of new user error commonly found on Twitter. Costolo says Twitter’s future relies on bridging the gap of pleasing longtime users and making the site easier for newcomers. In his chat with Swisher, he also championed Twitter’s ability to break news and spread important information, but denies the company’s rumored desires to become a media company itself.

“We are the platform for global information distribution,” he said to emphasize Twitter’s goal of staying by the people and for the people.

Perhaps Costolo is right. Maybe Twitter is still too difficult for the casual social media user. But as folks who run Twitter for business campaigns, we happen to think it’s those very things that make Twitter an awesome marketing tool. Once a brand has learned the lingo, Tweeting can be an incredibly powerful way to keep in touch with clients, address customer service issues, promote new products and create new content.

Readers, what’s your take? Is Twitter too complicated, too easy or just right? Tell us about it in the comments!

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Which brand is headed back to the drawing board? And who’s turning to their fans for hot online video creation We’ve got the answers to these questions and so, so much more in today’s Five Things You Might Have Missed!

1.) Original Recipe: We’ll never know what the Colonel would think about KFC’s new boneless chicken… but thanks to a new video campaign, we’ll soon know how fans feel about it. #IAteTheBones is the chain’s new campaign which calls for fan-created videos that show reactions to the new boneless chicken. Video entries are posted on Facebook until June 8; weekly winners will be chosen to receive prizes like t-shirts and gift cards. Five grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $1,000 and a chance to be included in an online or social media advertisement within the next year, KFC says.

2.) Curves Ahead: If you missed the hubbub over H&M’s new swimsuit campaign, don’t worry. We’ve got a feeling we’ll be talking about this photo shoot featuring a normal-sized girl for quite some time. Size 12 model Jennie Runk became an accidental hero this week when her campaign for the global clothing brand was released, drawing applause and accolades from fashion industry and marketing insiders alike.

3.) The Facebook PR 411: Lisa Buyer at Search Engine Watch published a fascinating blog post this week entitled “22 Facebook PR Secrets Every Community Manager Should Know.” Must-read tips include why you should market on Saturdays, the benefits of a positive attitude and why less is more.

4.) Watch What Happens: Sci-fi films and tech gurus alike have long predicted a super smart watch that acts like a phone, computer and social network. But according to Read Write Web, the smartwatch revolution might not happen for a while. Still, with big brands like Apple, Microsoft and Google toying with the idea, the smartwatch might be the next tech branding story to keep our eyes on.

5.) Social Media Meh: Is social media marketing lost and no longer valuable? Are we wasting our time? What brands are doing it all wrong? Kipp Bodnar ponders these concerns in a fantastic article on social media marketing that you may have missed.

10 Brands That Tweet Right

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149070164Brands that Tweet Right

Does the whole Twitter-for-business thing scare you? Could your current Twitter marketing plan use a little extra oomph? We can help! In the hopes of inspiring you to tweet like a rock star, we’ve rounded up ten of our favorite brands, in no particular order, currently killing it on Twitter. Watch and learn, young grasshopper.

Skittles: “Tast(ing) the Rainbow” in 140 characters or less might be a tall order for another candy company, but Skittles is certainly up to the task. The brand’s Twitter marketing is as random, hilarious and good-natured as the rest of its digital marketing, making Skittles an excellent example of consistency.

Netflix: Having recently moved into marketing original programming, Netflix wisely uses Twitter to promote its new shows while keeping in touch with its customers, who often use Twitter to ask the brand questions, file complaints or  to talk back to the company.

Starbucks: A longtime Twitter marketing leader, Starbucks shows us how special offers and follower engagement is done by providing branded tweets that are also a pleasure to read.

Google: The world’s most visited site turns its Twitterfeed into a newsfeed with the latest headlines and updates on all things Google.

Adidas: Think Twitter marketing can’t be cool? One gander at the Adidas Twitter page will have you thinking again. Fashionable, hip and informative, Adidas elevates the platform into something stylish.

The Home Depot: Twitter is great for conversations about your brand and products. Home Depot does this with ease, asking the kinds of questions that get do-it-yourselfers talking back.

Subway: Great brands on Twitter know to vary the discussion, so they post lots of dynamic content like photos and videos. Sandwich king Subway fills its Twitterfeed with everything from nutritional information to Subway celebrity sightings.

Bissell:  Even those of us who dread vacuuming can respect the friendly and diligent customer service displayed on Bissell’s Twitter page. No question goes unanswered, no follower gets ignored — and we’re happy to report that doesn’t suck.

Amazon: Still haven’t mastered how to be chatty on Twitter? Amazon has, and a gander at its Twitterfeed is like a master class in Twitter marketing.

Kia: Kia, like many car companies, proactively uses its Twitter account for PR purposes, launching new campaigns and linking to videos of its latest commercials.

 



Twitter Marketing Made Even Easier

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155682282Twitter_Marketing_Made_Even_EasierGood news, Twitter marketing virgins! Now is the perfect time to get started using the social media platform to reach even more consumers, followers and contemporaries. Twitter recently relaunched its Twitter for Business program to help educate marketers and advertisers on all things Twitter.

Twitter for Business has made it incredibly easy for newbies to the site to get started with its three resource guides: Twitter 101, Marketing with Twitter and AdTools. Twitter 101 is exactly what it sounds like. This guide gives blue bird newbies the basics on the benefits of social media marketing with Twitter, along with a glossary of terms, advice on building your brand on Twitter, a simple how-to using the platform — even a tutorial on how to write great tweets. Marketing with Twitter takes things a step further, giving users more in-depth information. Understanding analytics, how to target tweets and how to use Twitter to improve your brand’s reach are just a few of the topics covered here for the budding marketing genius. Finally, AdTools is the one-stop-shop for brands who want to advertise on Twitter. How do ads on Twitter work? What’s a promoted tweet? How much does it cost? These and all other Twitter ad-related questions are covered in this easy, do-it-yourself advertising guide. Twitter for Business also has specific information for small businesses, dozens of success stories from companies currently marketing on Twitter and tips on community building.

Twitter’s commitment to education and to helping businesses understand the platform is inspiring. Instead of just pushing brands into buying ads, Twitter is explaining how its services work and how to best use them for your company’s individual needs. It’s also refreshing to see a brand demystify its marketing products and make them feel more accessible.

So, readers, will you use the new Twitter for Business programs or are you totally over tweeting? Chirp at us in the comments section below!

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #1: Twitter

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Spring Social_media_strategy_sessions_1_Twitter

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Far be it from us to dispute the above logic stated so eloquently by Mr. Tolstoy. Whether you’re gardening, cleaning out a garage or just plotting a warm weather getaway, spring certainly seems like a good time to start anew. We figured we could apply this same seasonal “get ‘er done” spirit to social media marketing — thus, the Social Media Strategy Sessions were born. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all of the other social media channels to reach new audiences is, of course, a great idea. But if you don’t have a strategy, you’re liable to open these various accounts, tinker with them for a few weeks and move on. The first of our three-part series looks at creating a fast and easy Twitter marketing strategy that can help any brand start tweeting with purpose and playfulness.

Why Tweet: Before you even start down the road of Twitter-for-business marketing, you should really figure out if it’s right for your brand. Yes, you’ve heard that Twitter has worked wonders for your friend’s bakery and for some professional swimming star, but is it likely to work for you? To find out, spend time reading tweets and articles about Twitter marketing (we have a few nifty ones right here, by the way). Are the people you want to reach on Twitter? Can your brand have a fun and spirited conversation with Twitter users? Is the limited character format of Twitter perfect for what your brand wants to say? If you answered “yes,” then start tweeting!

What to Tweet: This age-old question is the Achilles heel of many a well-intentioned Twitter marketing campaign. Not having a plan of what to tweet or what you want to talk about with followers is a huge mistake. Again, look at how the big brands do it. Get inspired to create your own language that you can use on Twitter. Your Twitter posts should read like a mini-biography of your brand, broadcasting who you are and what you hold important. Jot down some notes for a week’s worth of tweets before you even log on. This way, you have a clear and concise vision of how what you want your Twitterfeed to look like.

How to Tweet: Are you tweeting live every day with your followers? Are you planning on using a dashboard to schedule out tweets? Are you doing it personally, or are you having an agency or an employee tweet for you? These are the vitals to figure out with tweeting. Having no schedule or no plan and only tweeting sporadically won’t help you gain followers or get your brand noticed.

In the end, Twitter (and all other social media sites) should bounce followers back to your site and whatever it is you’re selling. A great strategy can help you do just that while making it less stressful and more fun.

Tomorrow: We talk Pinterest planning!

Tweet Tales: Using Twitter to Tell Your Brand’s Story

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It’s a common scenario. You start reading on a whim or out of boredom. You hope to be entertained but if not, the commitment level is low. But before you know, it you are sucked in and can’t stopped reading. You find yourself invested in what the author is saying. You’re even checking in daily to see what they’re up to. No, this isn’t a juicy novel or a soap opera, it’s a well-crafted Twitter feed. Twitter for business and Twitter marketing is an incredibly effective and creative avenue for storytelling. The most popular people and companies on Twitter turn their Twitterfeeds into cohesive stories that paint a rich picture. So how can you use Twitter to tell your brand’s story in 140 characters or less?

The most entertaining and readable Twitterfeeds come from accounts with a distinct and memorable voice. So before any Twitter tales get told, a brand needs to decide what they want their voice to be. Do you want to compose helpful, how-to tweets? Do you want your tweets to be funny, interactive or conversational? Are you using Twitter to bring awareness to a cause? Figuring out the how and why of being on Twitter will help you get to what you want to say. The strength of your voice will help you get followers and keep them coming back to see what you and your brand are up to. Taking time to develop a voice before you start tweeting will even make tweeting itself easier and more fun.

Next, think of your tweets as one ongoing conversation. The best and most lively chats are those that are opinionated, engaging to participate in and varied in subject matter. Don’t drone on and on about one thing. Although you want to have a consistent tone, you don’t want to only ramble about one service, product or message. Mix it up by interacting with followers, talking about relevant current events and cracking a few jokes (when appropriate).

Finally, great storytelling keeps readers engaged and interested, so your tweets should do the same. Flat tweets that don’t spark interest are the kind of thing that don’t get forwarded. So tell your brand’s story by tweeting company blogs, photos from recent events and your most recent videos. Unlike novels, the stories on Twitter don’t really end. Keep your brand’s story alive and forever developing by tweeting with consistency, and your followers will keep tuning in.