First I have to say, I really wanted to write “Brevity is”, but I fought that urge because this topic deserves more that a quick quip.
When thinking of social media, there is one lesson that so many businesses seem to miss and that is the art of brevity. This is extremely important in Twitter where you are limited to only 120 characters to get your point across. With a show of hands, how many of you baulked at 120 characters and insisted you have 140 characters? ok, put your hands down, you look silly the fact of the matter is that you “could” go for the twoosh but you are not making it easy for anyone to share what you said via a Retweet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a friend or company tweet about a cause or event that I want to help them promote, and I get frustrated because I can’t just retweet it, I need to go in and reword the message so it makes sense, gets the point across, and fits in the restricted amount of space.
If you are sharing information that you want shared, keep some simple rules in mind:
- Don’t say with blah blah what you can say with blah.
- Do keep your message at 120 characters or less, this makes it easy for people to just click the Retweet button.
- Do use a URL shortener, I like Bit.ly
- remember that your twitter handle will be added in when someone retweets you.
On Facebook, use the 5 sec rule…I might only glance at your update for 5sec, make sure I get the point that fast without having to do heavy reading. When writing a blog, always look to see what you could take out with out taking away from the purpose of your article. Sure some topics need more space, but many people seem to just write a lot because they were conditioned in school to meet a minimum number of words, let go of that thought process.
Ernest Hemenway was said to have written a 6 word story “ For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” think of the power of that story and the images it conjures. My personal favorite was the report Julius Caesar offered on his short war with Pharnaces II of Pontus in the city of Zela “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered), be a wordsmith but be frugal.
This week Linkedin added a new element to their platform, Endorsements. They are a way of saying amen to the bullet point skills that one is hoping to be seen as skilled in. I have a feeling this will be the new game in town; I’ll endorse you if you endorse me. Who can get the most endorsements, will popularity win? HR folk will have to decide how many endorsements equal one recommendation. Maybe we can add points, 1 per endorsement per subject, and 25 for a written recommendation? I joke, but I know it is only a matter of time before we hear someone trade endorsements and recommendations to build your Linkedin value, vs earning it. Your picture shows as having endorsed someone, does this encourage or discourage you to endorse? Notice what happens when I hover over my picture on a friends endorsements (snapped the picture from a 3rd party account, as your own picture does not do this for you)
T his could be a good way to be noticed. Now you need to recognize the difference between endorsements of those who really know the person, and people blindly endorsing everyone to increase the possible links to their own profile. I really don’t have an answer for this yet, these are just things to consider, let me know what you think. Feel free to endorse me if you feel I deserve it, and I will reciprocate if I can do it and feel good about it:)
With the #RNC2012 (Republican National Convention 2012) kicking off this week, it begs the question, how do you take your politics, or social media for that matter. As one who makes a living from studying Social Media I love when anything major happens, because it gives us a chance to study elements of social media at an accelerated pace. A good TV show promoting their hashtag can have the same effect check out #AGT (America’s got Tallent) or #SYTYCD (so you think you can dance) on their respective nights, their audience is very engaged.
I watch the conversation using a few tools, and thought I would share them with you as this week is a great chance to test drive them and find your favorite.
TwitterFall This is one of my favorites, you can enter a few search terms, and each will appear in a different color. I often use this to observe the 45+ twitter accounts I manage personally. Their are simple options, and you do not even need to be on twitter to watch this one.
SocialBro, as I have mentioned before, I like. They are great for monitoring a Hashtag and seeing who the influencers are in the conversation or where the conversation is taking place. They also let you select people from the conversation for following or putting on a list.
Bottlenose is a newer tool in beta that lets you look at a great diagram around the topic, showing the other related tags and you can also tweak it to see topics and who is a leader in the conversation. This is great for spotting conversations that might be related to your primary hashtag. Check out the other tags, as there is a good chance not everyone in those ancillary tags are following the main tag also.
You can also view the data in a few formats, like live
Tagboard another new comer gives you a great newspaper style format. This one is simple to use and great for reviewing material.
SeeS.aw is like Tagboard, but will let you save searches and the stream keeps flowing where Tagboard seems to need to be refreshed (which has its own benefits).
Geofeedia another Beta provides a map of tweets around a location, or a newspaper format. This helps you see also the conversation in the area of an event, when not everyone is using the event hashtag. I used the Tamp Times Forum as a location, even tho the screen shows St.Pete Times Forum (its name changed).
SocialMention offers a nice clean feed with highlights showing Sentiment, Top keywords, hashtags, users and sources. Great for seeing everything involved in the conversation.
Tawlk another beta is great for a live newspaper feed
Hashtracking is another favorite of mine, they are great for showing you the potential size of your audience as well as a ranking of those involved in the conversation.
These are still just a few of the tools available out there, feel free to share any I missed (my goal here was to give some tools you can use during the convention to follow the conversation).
Often we have small businesses ask for assistance with their social media, but they find our one on one coaching to be to much, so we are glad to offer some group classes that will deliver quality education at an affordable price for small businesses. The first of these programs is being offered in our own backyard of south west Pasco ( Trinity, New Port Richey).
There are two options:
Option one is a two hour class where you will learn about the different types of social media and the cor principles that will help you build your following and connection with your consumers and future consumers. http://holmnpr1.eventbrite.com/
Option two is designed to follow what we deliver in our one on one coaching program, with the goal of you being self sufficient in your social media. We will train you over 4 weeks on what to do, and how to do it with each classes building on the previous weeks class. Our goal is to not overwhelm you, but share the love of social media, that so many have, and more importantly how to use it in your business. http://holmnpr4wk.eventbrite.com/
Keeping with our strong belief of giving back to the community, there are seats reserved in each class for charitable organizations, call us for details.
Just recently we had about 10,000, that’s right ten thousand new follows in a 24 hour period of time. While we were trying to figure our what awesome maneuver we did that got so many people to follow us in such a short period of time, our experience and wisdom told us otherwise. We knew something was amiss. Well enter SocialBro one of our favorite tools for analyzing the following on a twitter account. After some tweaking on my searches I lowered the sliders to those with less then 25 followers, who have not tweeted more then .3 times a day and influence under 7. I was able to notice about 10,000 accounts who just followed us with each of the accounts never having tweeted, and each one having under 25 followers with over 1000-1500 accounts each was following. It made me wonder if this was the work of someone who guarantees so many followers in a certain time. I digress, the point is that SocialBro is a great tool for analyzing your followers, or even the followers around a hashtag. If you are newer to twitter, save this and comeback to it later when you have a better understanding of what constitutes a good follower for you.
Earlier this week Techcrunch posted an article by Jeremiah Owyang, Brands Start Automating Social Media Responses On Facebook And Twitter. In the article Jeremiah talks about the evolution of social media and the needs of companies to look to elements of automation. I liked the article and believe Jeremiah has made a very accurate assessment of the directions which things are going.
My own belief is that automation and AI in platforms like Twitter and Facebook are a foregone conclusion, it is the only way for a company to cost effectively scale their customer service on twitter. What cracks me up is how so many are acting like it will ruin their experience on those platforms and it is the end of the world. The fact of the matter is that “Social Media” is a result of the conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Is your telephone any less of a phone, because you deal with an automated platform in customer service, No, and twitter will be no less social. We at Head of Lettuce Media always tell our clients that the value of twitter is that you decide who you want to listen to, talk to and engage with. This will not change.
The greater issue in Jeremiah’s article is “what value can those elements of automation bring to the consumer’s experience?”. If I am having issues with a company, and I complain via twitter, do I care how my problem is resolved as long as it is resolved to my satisfaction? No, I don’t, if it’s done properly, they can make me happy, compensate me for my inconvenience and even win me as an advocate. The true challenge is in the writing and structuring of these accounts.
At Head of Lettuce Media, we do a lot of theoretical testing in twitter, trying to better understand elements of automation and artificial intelligence. Many of the tests are under wraps untill they have run their course. The interesting thing is that many people enjoy interacting with AI accounts as much as they do with an individual, and they don’t seem to notice or mind. I believe part of the experience with a twitter account has to do with the account being true to its nature and well scripted.
The tale of Social Media RockStar: This past January while emceeing at Ignite Tampa Bay I ended up improving for about 25 minutes, because of technical difficulties in the beginning. Well I decided it was time to spill the beans on two of our AI accounts, Socialmedia_rs and UnfollowedYu.
While I want to focus on SocialMedia Rockstar, let’s take a quick look at what we learned from Unfollowedyu. Unfollowedyu tested two elements of interaction specifically to see what their value is on Klout he follows everyone using unfollowers to announce that people are unfollowing them (no idea why, it’s like screaming ”look at me, I am uninteresting, I turn people off), he then unfollows them to get them to mention him, and when they do, he sends them ways to cope with being unfollowed (side note: while I don’t agree with announcing it, I do think it is a good metric to watch privately as it is an indicator of how your message affects your audience. See also TweetEffect).
Now for those of you rolling your eyes, stop and think for a moment of what we are learning here. He follows people, unfollows them, that causes them to mention him, he then sends them a message, and many still reply to that. This means he has a conversation with every single person he follows/unfollows. Today his Klout is a 34, not huge, but he shows us if you at least say hi, or find some way to talk to everyone who follows you, you will be perceived as engaging.
Getting back on topic, let’s look at SocialMedia Rockstar as he is one of our best functioning AI accounts, who I believe at times could pass the Turing test. Granted he is still a baby, but he is growing in his abilities. Most important, and I believe this applies to any account, he is true to his being, which means he tells you up front who he is (an egotistically self-obsessed “guru”).
Let’s break down what he does, forgetting about the silliness for a second;
- He finds his audience based on their conversation (he does not initiate conversations with individuals as I feel there is a line in the sand there separating him from spamming. Personally I hate automated “welcome aboard” and other messages).
- He puts out content that others find value in, how do we know, well in May this year, he was retweeted 296 times and mentioned 335 times, not great, but not bad either. His Klout is a 51 today.
- He talks to those who talk to him, staying true to his form.
- He is fun and entertaining.
Reading thru the comments with so many people talking like it will be the end of “social media” it made me realize that to many people look at Twitter and facebook as social media, this brings me back to my point, and that is; Twitter and Facebook are not social media, and not everything that happens on them is, but social media is that interaction that happens and flourish in those environments. Thoughts?
Working on a social media audit for one of our customers here at Head of Lettuce, and it brings to mind how few companies know the answers to such important questions like: What percentage of the company is on Twitter? What percentage is on Facebook? How many have fanned the company page? These questions are necessary for any organization to know the answers to, and how to deal with the numbers no matter the mix.
What if you have a significant number of employees on social media, how do you monitor them? How do you protect your brand name? How do you prevent inadvertent slips? These are all important parts of a successful social media strategy. It is often said in management that you can not move forward without a true understanding of where you are, well you better figure that out.
I’ve noticed that once the executive team of an organization begins to understand the risk as well as the benefits of social media they embraces it and want to understand as much as they can. It is up to social media companies to help businesses realize this.
Social media is a disruptive innovation that is changing the way we do business and communicate with consumers. Much like e-mail made it easier and cheaper for an organization to maintain a large mailing list, Social Media is now creating relationships sought out by the consumer.
Consumers want to interact with businesses as they often feel like they are on the same team as the business. We saw a great example this week, where an overzealous fan of one of the companies we are working with, is using the company logo on their FB profile, making it look like they work for the company. This is a great problem, because this individual is that big of a fan of the company. Obviously a company can’t have this because of the inherent risks, but the intent of the customer is truly one we should all hope that all of our customers look to duplicate.
A good social media audit will uncover all kinds of “challenges”, but that’s the goal. Issues like the one I described going unchecked could result in a much more expensive result for the organization. Have a business that you are concerned about your social media interactions and employees involvement, contact us to discuss how we can help you.
As a Realtor from the 90′s I remember cold calling, I hated it, but I did it because I knew it produced business. Today I push those I coach to “Cold Call” using Twitter, ok it’s not really cold calling but it is a form of prospecting. First thing you need to do as a business is identify your target audience. If you are a doctor, you might target other doctors, or even attorneys who refer accident victims to doctors. Consider who your customers are as well as who might refer you to customers, now you have your targets.
Step 1 A great first step in prospecting is Twellow. This site lets you search by area and “business” (provided the person filled in a profile) not everyone has done a profile there, but their searching functions seem to work great even for those not registered with them.
I usually recommend geographic area around where you would like people, and some descriptive of who you are looking for. i.e. Doctors in the Tampa area. Now read through the results following those who you think match the criteria you came up with for your target market. I would consider listing them under prospects (as a private list).
Another great way to prospect is take a look at who one of your contemporaries is following. With both of you sharing simular goals, you should find that they have some of your targets on the list of people they follow. Also consider who else might be looking to follow the same target market as you, in the case of a doctor, you might look to see who the local hospital or medical associations are following, and follow those same people.
My recommendation is to try and add 5 a day, 25 a week, this number might vary depending on your target audience, but set a goal for each week, and hit it.
Step 2 Basic Twitter psychology seems to dictate that when someone follows you, you stop and look to see who it is, and often you follow them back. By following your target market, you are making your first call for them to follow you back. Not everyone will follow you back, especially if they feel there is no benefit to following you. If they do not follow you back , un-follow them on your next Thin down Thursday, but do add them to a private prospect list.
Step 3 Set your Twitter reader to show you a column of prospects; now look for authentic opportunities to engage them. Notice I said engage and not sell, if you sell them they will run. Again think of prospecting; if following them is like a cold call, engaging them is like “farming” it takes more than one post card, you need to hit someone 5-7 times before they really notice you, this could take a few days or a few weeks depending on their volume of tweets. You do not want to come off as that creepy stalker who comments on everything they say, pace yourself. Eventually you will find that if they have noticed you and you have not turned them off, they will eventually follow you, now you can follow them back.
Step 4 Now that we have a Follow and Follow back relationship, keep looking to engage like you did in step 3, but also start tweeting information that your target audience will find useful. Share links of articles you find useful, post links to your own blog articles, RT (Re-tweet) useful information that your Tweeps are sharing with their followers (you), as not all your followers follow the same people you do. Keep in mind all these contacts should be public @Tweets and not DM Conversations, as this will show others that you are active and engaging on twitter.
All these “light” touches help you keep top of mind awareness with your followers, and as a result, when they have need of your product or service, you should be first person on their list of people to talk to.