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.

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!

Attack of the Twitter Hackers!

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Attack_of_the_twitter_hackers!

Account hacking is an unfortunate risk of Twitter management. Whether you’re an individual or a big brand, the threat of a hacker taking over your social media accounts is a very real one. This week, two major brands had their accounts turned inside out on Twitter. Many are wondering whether Twitter is to blame when branded pages get hacked and what can companies do to avoid a similar Twitter-based travesty.

Fast food and social media giant Burger King disabled its Twitter page on Monday when its page was taken over by hackers. The page was slapped with McDonald’s imagery and logos. “We just got sold to McDonald’s! Look for McDonald’s in a hood near you @DFNCTSC,” the hacker tweeted. In addition, for nearly two hours, the newsfeed was filled with photos and videos which skewered Burger King. “We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this….” read one of the tweets which accompanied a photo of a man shooting up presumably intravenous drugs.

BK quickly put its account on lockdown and apologized to followers. Yet the next day, Jeep found itself in the same predicament. Hackers tweeted that Jeep had been sold to Cadillac and the page was emblazoned with Caddy’s logo. Fortunately, both companies have the bucks and willpower to wipe these kind of ugly hacking snafus from their respective newsfeeds and neither seems to have taken a hit because of the incidents.

Many are considering the hacking attacks a wake-up call for brands of all sizes. While Twitter has been blamed for lax security policies, when it comes to branded social media accounts, it’s up to the company to protect itself. Regularly changing passwords, choosing more difficult passwords and knowing exactly who in your business has access to your Twitter and Facebook pages are the easiest ways to keep hackers out. Twitter marketing is still an incredibly powerful and fun to use tool, but it’s up to business owners to protect their branded messages and accounts.

Tweetorials for Untechnical Types

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I recently found myself uttering, “Relax! It’s just Twitter!” to a client who had dipped his toes into Twitter marketing and was feeling totally overwhelmed. A non-stop avalanche of RTs, hashtags, dashboards and tweeting links had left my otherwise well-educated client dumbstruck. The truth is he isn’t alone. Most people visit Twitter briefly, don’t “get it” and then write it off as ridiculous. But that would be a mistake. The platform is still a great way to keep in touch with our followers, meet new friends interested in our brand and help give us an easy SEO shot in the arm to boot. Yet some still worry that Twitter is too technical and too complicated. Nonsense! Here’s a quick tweetorial for even the most tech-challenged of Twitter virgins.

Learn the lingo: Having a hard time telling your #FF from your #RT? Take a few minutes to learn what the heck people are saying on Twitter and it’ll make your time their less confusing and more entertaining. This guide is a good place to start.

Set it and forget it: A great dashboard, whether it be TweetDeck or HootSuite, is essential for starting your Twitter journey. These handy tools allow you to schedule tweet several days in advance — even for weeks at a time. Naturally, you’ll want to engage with followers in real-time, too, but a dashboard helps take the stress out of tweeting everyday. Best of all, these dashboards take only a few minutes to download and are incredibly uncomplicated to navigate.

Say what?: “But what the !@#$ do I tweet about?” is the No. 1 question clients ask social media experts. In the spirit of keeping it simple, tweet what you know. Send the kind of tweets that represent the topics you want to talk about to your clients. Tweet what you find fascinating and chances are somebody will find it interesting, too. Photos of new products, links to industry articles and cool videos getting passed around your office make for great Twitter fodder. And don’t worry — tweeting links, videos and images is super simple thanks to Twitter’s awesome upgrades. Which brings us to our last tip…

Getting easier all the time: A faster search engine, highlighted hashtags and more precise “Who to Follow” suggestions are making Twitter incredibly user-friendly. New upgrades are being implemented regularly to make it even easier for folks of varying levels of technical prowess to get on Twitter and enjoy it for the fun and powerful marketing tool it is.

 

Twitter Marketing Causes a #DroidRage

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Twitter marketing and Twitter management isn’t always as easy as it looks. Sure, you can cook up a creative campaign and whip up hashtags in hopes that your following will react. But you can never truly control how the Twitterverse will respond. It isn’t uncommon for campaigns to get zero notice on Twitter. Even the best and most creative efforts from big, splashy brands can fail to register on the radar. Yet every so often, a campaign is so bad that it causes a profoundly negative reaction and Twitter users attack it like rabid dogs. Microsoft’s #DroidRage campaign from last week is a perfect example of a hashtag campaign gone wrong.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone scored some major Grinch points when it asked followers, “Do you have an Android malware horror story? Reply with #DroidRage with your best/worst story and we may have a get-well present for you.” Probably seemed like a good idea to the social media marketing gurus over at Microsoft at the time, but what the campaign became was something we’re sure they didn’t have in mind. #DroidRage fast became a hashtag used to bash Windows, not Android phones. Loyalists to Andorid smartphones posted tweets like “I wish my Android phone crashed more often like Windows. #DroidRage” and “You can’t write proper software for @windowsphone; how can malware be written for it??#DroidRage”. Still other users had a distaste for the nasty tone of the campaign and started using #windowsrage as a response. By the end of last week, #DroidRage was widely considered a Twitter marketing fail of epic proportions.

So what went wrong? Mainly, the negative framework of the campaign was a stupid move. By using #DroidRage, Windows was essentially inviting haters to come and take a whack at them like some sort of Twitter piñata. Twitter is great for starting conversations between brands and consumers, but if that conversation starts off on a negative foot, be prepared for the fallout. Over the last few years, we’ve seen other brands (including McDonald’s) learn this lesson the hard way, too. Instead, Microsoft should have used the holiday spirit to give away Windows phones, asked for success stories using Windows phones or asked users to submit inspiring stories of folks who deserve phones. Basically, anything but #DroidRage.

But let’s hear from you, readers. Is #DroidRage the worst hashtag you’ve seen in some time, or can you think of something even worse? Let us know in the comments section!

True Life Tales of Twitter Terror

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Happy Halloween! Just like a goodie bag, Twitter marketing can be filled with plenty of treats. And the rewards of thoughtful Twitter campaigns are delicious, indeed. Engaging followers in lively conversation about your brand and services is something Twitter does really well. Successes on Twitter can help search engine rankings, brand awareness and, most importantly, sales. But just as easily, Twitter marketing can go terribly awry. Bad photos, clumsy wording and tasteless jokes can turn Twitter into a real-life horror movie. Here are a few recent Twitastrophes and how to avoid them:

Nightmare on Tweet Street: We’ve all screamed in horror, turned our eyes away and even made the “about-to-barf” face over tweets with too much information. When you’re Kris Jenner and running a multi-media brand like the Kardashians, an empire built on TMI, a nip slip in a Wonder Woman costume is no big deal. Still, maybe it should be. A little caution, consideration and decency goes a long way with Twitter marketing and is still appreciated. Use the channel to show the best of your brand, not all of your brand.

Incredible Shrinking Personality: Target is usually spot-on with its digital branding. Yet the lack of soul and personality in its recent tweets is downright scary. Once chatty and interesting, Target has reverted back to some zombie robo-tweeting that makes us want to unfollow. There’s nothing in Target’s Twitterfeed you can’t get from the company’s mailers or TV ads, and that is problematic. Don’t be a zombie tweeter. We get it — you’re a business… but you’re also a brand. Have some zing, personality and character when you tweet or face the true horror of being ignored in the Twittersphere.

The Twitter Unfunny Massacre: It-girl and creator of HBO’s Girls Lena Dunham was recently nearly gnawed to death by angry tweeters. The reason for the assault? Dunham made a totally not funny joke about dressing up like famed murderers and rapists for Halloween. Twitter was not amused — and her insincere apology didn’t win her any fans, either. In general, we all know not to use Twitter to make rape and murder jokes, but when a young brand-in-the-making like Dunham makes such a fatal error, it bears repeating. Check yourself before you tweet. If you think it will make your brand look bad and it will upset people, you’re probably right.

Night of the Living Missed Opportunities: Really, KitKat? Not a single funny, clever Halloween hashtag or Twitter party or anything? While other candy brands are using Halloween as an exercise in who can out clever one another with social media campaigns, KitKat uses its Twitter page as a customer complaint department and little else. Don’t end up a Twitter travesty. Twitter is a virtually free channel just begging for hip, timely seasonal marketing… so take advantage of it!

Twit Pic Dos and Don’ts for Every Brand

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While handling the Twitter management for your company, it might be tempting to tweet pictures of every little funny or intriguing thing you find on your daily outings. Oh, sure, these Twit Pics start out innocently enough: “Here’s Janice in accounting eating frozen yogurt!” or “Look at the new shoes we just got in.” And why shouldn’t we snap photos and tweet them? Followers love images and if we’ve happened to tweet something amazing, we could create Twit Pic viral gold.

However, not everything needs to be shared. Last weekend, after vomiting on stage, Justin Bieber took a picture of himself shirtless. In a word, eww. The post-barf photo shoot, to us, seems like a touchstone in bad Twit Pic etiquette. Brands, personalities and individuals have apparently lost their filter and are now tweeting photos of all kinds of things their followers never in a million years wanted to see. The gashes on heads of CEOs, bland photos of airport runways taken by execs and reality stars getting pedicures are just a few of the images sure to be framed and hung on the wall in Twitter photo Hell. Yikes.

To avoid becoming a Twit Pic tragedy, we’ve come up with a few priceless dos and don’ts.

DO tweet photos of new products, new offices, new employees. Twit Pics work wonders as visual press releases to announce exciting developments in your company. Don’t be afraid to use them as such.

DON’T tweet photos of any ailments of any kind. Ever. This sounds like common sense, but the number of professional people who post “Live from the ER” photos is horrifying. This means no busted ankles, no bloody foreheads, no post-surgery shots of any kind. It’s unprofessional, uninteresting and, worst of all, gross.

DO tweet pictures of events. Not all of your followers are going to make it your parties, fundraisers and openings. Let them in on the action by posting fun photos of your latest shindigs.

DON’T tweet tired memes. Regardless of how funny you think that picture of the llama is, trust us: someone has already tweeted that photo. A good rule to remember for branded tweeting is unless you came up with that clever meme, leave it alone.

DON’T tweet pictures of coworkers, anonymous partygoers and bosses without permission. Especially if there’s been a Happy Hour involved. We know… This, too, should be common sense but you can never be too safe.

DO use your Twitter gallery as a clever way to display photos of your logo. Lots of companies are strategically tweeting pics of logos and campaigns to create a cool visual look on a Twitter homepage. The results are thoughtful and super creative.

DO tweet photos often. Now that you’re not tweeting pictures of roadkill or bunions on your feet, feel free to snap and tweet away! Appropriate tweeted photos enhance your Twitter feed and hugely increase your chances of being retweeted.