Monthly Archives: June 2012

Is Twitter Selling the Goose or the Golden Eggs?

Just yesterday I was telling a friend that one of the reasons I like Twitter is choosing who I follow, and unfollowing the ones whose tweets I don’t like. And then I saw this…

… in my tweet stream this morning.

At first I was confused. I don’t follow Victoria’s Secret. I clicked on the account handle, and checked, to make sure. So why would I see that tweet? But then I saw the yellow “promoted” icon, highlighted in the illustration. Of course. Twitter is charging to put ads into my tweet stream.

I think Twitter is playing loose with its core value here. The follow or unfollow choice is a great anti-spam device. Selling ads destroys that.

“Monetization” is the web buzzword for figuring out how to make money from traffic. I don’t know what Twitter should do about it. I don’t blame them for trying. But I wonder how this can work. If they sell too many ads, they kill the value. If they don’t, it doesn’t make them money. That’s a tough business decision. Are they selling the golden eggs, or killing the goose?

Want Customers? Stop Marketing. Start Delighting

A good talk about marketing, whether it’s guerrilla, viral, thought leadership, or what-have you. He wants companies obsessed with the product.

“If you have amazing products, the marketing of those products is trivial.”

Unfortunately, there’s the problem of the rest of us. Experts. Services. Eventually your product is yourself. Be brilliant. But you also depend on word of mouth. And there’s a good argument for executing some marketing programs that develop leads at the high end of the marketing funnel. 

7 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Stephanie Miles has seven good tips on social media for small business owners, posted over at Street Fight, as 7 Social Media Strategies for Small Business Owners. Who cares that they’re more tips than strategies? Not me. As long as they’re useful. Here’s a summarized version of her list (although comments are mine):

  1. Start measuring immediately. Stephanie talks about knowing which posts are working and which aren’t, and I think of also tweets and retweets, everything you can. You want to think about results. She says ”By choosing some metrics that are important and keeping track of those measurements early on, businesses can generate benchmarks that they can look back at to see how they’re faring over time.” I add a note of caution: participation in social media is not an activity that lends itself to instant measurement. What’s the return on investment of time and effort on participating in a community, sharing expertise and content, and, gradually, getting people to know, like, and trust you? That comes over time.
  2. Timing is everything. Some times of day are better than others. For example, restaurants may benefit from tweeting specials during lunchtime. She says “The best days to send messages are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, since Monday is a catch-up day and Friday is too close to the weekend.”
  3. Use the right platforms. Stephanie says as examples that “photos are great on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, but they don’t have the same impact when posted on Twitter. Business owners should experiment to learn which types of content work best on which platforms, and then do more of whatever produces the greatest results.”
  4. Treat social media as a two-way street. This is so important. It’s not just shouting ad slogans, but engaging in something like conversation.
  5. Offer exclusive deals and discounts. Really? Stephanie says people follow brands to get special deals and offers. I say that may be true for some discount retail and cheap food stops, maybe; but for a lot of businesses the goal is presence of mind and developing a persona identified with the right kind of content and caring.  Special deals and offers get old, and they turn people off. In my opinion.
  6. Get smart about check-in sites. I guess this depends on your type of business. For traditional retail, perhaps, but not for every business. Stephanie writes: “Check-in sites like Foursquare provide an excellent opportunity for cross promotion. Businesses can tweet at customers checking-in to thank them for visiting, and then ask those customers to leave their feedback on sites like Google Places and Yelp. Foursquare is also a great place for customer acquisition, since businesses can actively reach out to people checking-in at competing establishments with special offers or deals meant to bring those people in.”
  7. Integrate social media into other business systems. It’s about business and business goals, not just about being popular. Stephanie suggests:  ’By integrating social channels with existing systems like Google Analytics and Omniture, and using a social media management system, companies can connect the dots and see the role social media is playing in their overall marketing efforts. Business owners should track the traffic that social media networks are driving to their websites and find out whether social media is converting certain activities into pre-defined goals, like sales or customer acquisition.”

So this is a goods list, despite my doubts about tips numbers 5 and 6.

Sorry, Marketers, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong

Does this apply to you?

Most marketers are tweeting too much on the wrong days, not using hashtags enough and almost never do the one thing that will dramatically boost their retweets — ask for them — according to a new study looking at how marketers use Twitter from Buddy Media.

Maybe not. It’s about 320 Twitter handles from the world’s biggest brands. That might or might not apply to the rest of us. Still, this is interesting data:

 Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on Saturday and Sunday compared to weekdays. However, most brands aren’t taking advantage of this phenomenon and, on average, only 19% of the brands’ tweets were published on the weekend. If a brand spaced its tweets out evenly throughout the week, then 28.6% should occur on the weekends.

This is from Sorry, Marketers, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong [REPORT] published today on Mashable.

Business Guide to Twitter Metrics

One of the first things we need, working with social media for small business, is a way to measure and understand results. For that, we like Megan Berry’s post Business Guide to Twitter Metrics published earlier this week on the Huffington Post. 

Megan reviews half a dozen alternatives for measuring social media output, with pros and cons of each. As it turns out, choosing the right metric is important. 

5 Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Excellent! Read Evanne Schmarder’s 5 Social Media Marketing Myths: Busted on the Huffington Post yesterday:

Myth 1: Social media marketing is free.

Yes and no. It’s true that you can sign up and create a profile on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Pinterest for free. However, a monetary value must be placed on the time spent to develop the platform and the creation and implementation of an online social media strategy.

The truth is that time is money, and engagement takes time. Your persona needs to be developed and nurtured and constantly tuned and pruned. 

Myth 2: I’ll get a neighborhood teenager to handle my social networking, they know the ‘net.

Your social media communications plan must be as carefully crafted as any of your other marketing efforts. Not only should you not cede responsibility of your social media messaging to some young hipster that goes to school with your kid, you should tightly monitor all social media messages that come from your business or your brand.

Kids are great for coding and setup and such. But your online business persona is you and your business combined. You need somebody with judgment and experience if you aren’t going to do it yourself. 

Myth 3: If I get involved in social media marketing the ‘haters’ will hijack my marketing message.

Guess what, whether you are using social media or not, people are talking about their experience with your business. Creating a social media presence allows you to monitor what’s being said and offers you the opportunity to publically respond to less than favorable comments, winning the customer (and others that may have been swayed by the negative post) back.

The problem is not being there engaged in the conversation doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about you. It does mean that you don’t know it. Evanne cites the 2011 Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report to say that what matters is how you handle complaints more than the fact that people are complaining. 

Of the dissatisfied customers that post a complaint and receive a response, the study showed that 46 percent were pleased and 22 percent went on to post a positive comment about the business.

Myth 4: I built a Facebook page therefore I’m a social media marketer.

My response is a sarcastic “yeah, right.” And a blog post titled Social Media is Littered with Business Carcasses. Evanne says: 

Social media marketing — on Facebook and elsewhere — is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool. It takes commitment, tenacity, time, and strategy to identify the best platforms for your business, consistently engage your target market, and develop business-driving relationships.

Myth 5: Using ‘friend-farms’ to buy ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ will build my business.

Fat chance. Evanne says:

It’s the same as sending a promotional email to an unqualified list. It’s dead on arrival, no matter how many addresses you send it to. You’d be much better served building your following by sharing relevant content, interesting news, and an occasional marketing message.

Social media is a powerful tool, fun, and worth the effort. But it’s also a great generator of myth. 

18-Point Twitter Etiquette Primer

(Note: originally published on Planning Startups Stories)

I’m getting to know Twitter more these days, using it more, and enjoying it. I’m Timberry on Twitter. I’m frequently grateful to Twitter friends for pointing out good ideas, blogs, thoughts, pictures. Twitter enlivens my day, and brightens my writing.

I’m beginning to develop a sense of what to do and what not to do with Twitter. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve been watching and thinking about it. And I’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts.

Please don’t …

  1. … thank me for following you.
  2. … think less of me for not thanking you for following me.
  3. … send me sales messages as direct messages, as part of your thanking me or otherwise.
  4. … tweet mundane details of everyday life. Going home, watching television, having dinner … feels like Twitter clutter. I’m just sayin’.
  5. … tweet straight-out sales pitches. Don’t promise me health or wealth or business success. I get enough spam in email, thanks. That stuff could spoil Twitter. I will unfollow you immediately.
  6. … tweet embarrassing should-be-private sweet nothings for your significant relationships. I like that you love him or her or them, but tell them, not the tweeple.
  7. … argue with people in Twitter. And that’s not to protect me, that’s for your own good. Words tweeted in anger live on forever. Twitter help implies that there’s a way to delete bad tweets, but I don’t think it works. Angry words aren’t biodegradable.

Please do tweet …

  1. … interesting pictures, blog posts, websites, and news items. And I’m fine with you tweeting your own blog posts, especially. Give me a title and a URL and I’m fine with that, I’ll click and read it if it catches my interest. If I weren’t interested in what you’re writing, I wouldn’t have followed you. Don’t be shy.
  2. … good quotes, pithy sayings, words that make me think.
  3. … about ideas, things that surprise you, new discoveries.
  4. … quick jokes, or humorous items, things that made you laugh.
  5. … thoughts, poems, especially haiku.
  6. … well written words, phrases, sentences, from real life, movies, songs, even overheard.
  7. … interesting, funny, or thought provoking pictures in twitpix.
  8. … words that teach, lessons.
  9. … quick reviews of books, movies, television, and music. If I follow you, I do care what you think, and what you like. Save me from bad stuff, and tip me off to good stuff. I’m glad you share.

And, by the way …

  1. Twitter is publishing. Let’s all respect that. Let’s not ruin it with too much advertising. Big promises mean small credibility. Share yourself, but be content, not spam.
  2. Do onto others as you would have them tweet to thousands.

And, finally, thanks for reading this list. I needed that.

Rebelmouse: New Social Media Curation Site

Please join me in congratulating Paul Berry (@teamreboot on Twitter) on today’s launch of RebelMouse. Jay Yarow just called it “a combination of the biggest social publishing platforms on the web” in his post about it on Business Insider this morning, and I guess that’s a pretty good description. A picture is even better, so here’s the front page of my Rebelmouse site as it appears this morning:

The idea is that Rebelmouse is my curated content, meaning links, tweets, and updates I’ve made or liked or retweeted, so it’s automatically my site that reflects who I am in social media and what I like. I love it. 

Disclosure: Paul Berry is my son.