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How to Effectively Market Your Personal Brand and Business on Twitter
How to Effectively Market Your Personal Brand and Business
Many small business owners as well as Fortune 500
executives are still trying to figure out Twitter. The service
has matured quickly in a short period of time and has
established itself as part of worldwide conversation. A
Google search on “Twitter” generates billions of hits and
it’s something we hear and see mentioned in all types
of media every day. Still, is Twitter just a gimmick? Why
should small business owners or professional marketers
learn about Twitter?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why you should care about Twitter............................................5
Building a Social-Ready Organization........................................6
Developing Your Twitter Strategy.............................................10
Processes that will Support Your Twitter Strategy......................14
Ongoing Platform Education Will be Necessary........................21
Technology Supporting Your Twitter Strategy............................25
The CMO’s Twitter Toolkit........................................................27
FAQ about my Twitter Strategy................................................31
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT TWITTER
One important reason to care is because Twitter with its almost ubiquitous accessibility through
the net, smart phones, tablet computers, and now even via your car, can be considered an instant
communication tool that is on 24/7 from anywhere you happen to be. Also, there’s good reason
tweets are limited to 140 characters - the microblogging social network was developed specifically
with mobile in mind and 140 characters is the size limit for a text message. That means it’s perfect
for reaching the on-the-go consumer. As smartphones continue to grow in popularity, social
networking services such as Twitter will get more and more traffic from mobile use, and many
marketer’s wouldn’t be surprised to see mobile access overtake other methods of access at some
point in the future.
Another important reason to care about Twitter is that it has become a standard media outlet
channel for both local and global audiences. While it took Twitter three years, two months and one
week to reach the first billion tweets; there are now more than one billion tweets sent per week.
Without a doubt, Twitter has become a prolific channel for sharing links to interesting articles, blog
posts, photographs, and anything else you might find online.
In order to take advantage of these platform features and effectively promote your personal and
corporate brands on Twitter you may need to examine your marketing mindset. If your mindset is
typically focused on one way communications and is most comfortable in the traditional media
world of mass marketing then you’ll need to prepare for drastic change because the best use of
Twitter is not as a direct marketing or push marketing platform. While a certain degree of self-promotion
for business is expected on Twitter, flat-out and repeated posts only about yourself
and what you are selling will most likely result in your followers abandoning you. When leveraged
correctly though, Twitter is a fun platform to use to connect, engage and build credibility and trust
with your digital audience.
BUILDING A SOCIAL-READY ORGANIZATION
Are you friending, linking, tweeting and blogging? Social media is driving a wave of human
interaction around the world. My @AlanSee twitter profile currently references over 21K tweets and
more than 75K followers. Those are fairly low numbers when compared to many avid twitter users;
although high enough to place me on the Forbes List of Most Influential CMOs on Social Media.
But what does it all mean? Do social media
sites encourage people and brands to
concentrate on their number of connections
rather than build actual relationships? Is
social media best used by individuals, or will
it really change the way organizations engage
their customers? What about the ROI? Is the
return on relationships something that can, or
even should, be measured? Some marketers
are still eager to list the reasons why they
don’t believe in Twitter or any other social
• It’s for self-promoters or the unemployed.
• It’s for teenagers.
• It’s just over-sharing too much trivial babble.
• It doesn’t directly drive sales leads.
• I can’t control the marketing message.
• There is no measurable ROI.
While all those may be true in isolated cases, you’re not doing your organization any favors by dismissing the game changing power behind the new social media applications. Social media is driving a wave of human interaction around the world and its use in the workplace has become an important topic of discussion among companies. No one questions the rapid growth of social media and its potential impact on the customer experience, but many organizations still struggle with allowing employees to engage on social platforms due to risk and regulatory compliance concerns. The customer experience includes all touch point’s people have from the moment they are aware of a need until they have fulfilled that need. Social media has the potential to influence the customer experience when employees are able to initiate conversations on social platforms and begin building trust-based relationships throughout the customer lifecycle.
So what’s the problem? Just empower your employee’s to use social media, and then sit back and wait for customer loyalty and revenue to soar. It would be great if it were that simple. But, to make the social-ready transformation most organizations will need to adopt a new mindset. Transformations involve strategy, technology and processes and a social media transformation is no different in that respect.
Does your company have policies and procedures regarding social media, blogging or posting information on the Internet? If so, when was the last time it was updated? Social media is constantly changing, so social media policies need to be reviewed every few months. Do you have a formal social media marketing strategy? Does your social media marketing strategy integrate and support your strategic marketing plan? How well does your social media strategy support your corporate goals and objectives? Do I still need to ask you more consulting questions?! Let’s be honest, many of your employees have smart phones which means they are already using social media while they’re at work. That means if you block corporate access to these sites, you’re eliminating a direct engagement link to your customers. If you have the right strategy in place engaging employees in social media marketing provides an excellent opportunity to reach your customers and build your brand.
Do you have the processes in place to support your social media goals and objectives? To foster a social-ready mindset, organizations that are performing well have the following processes:
• Leadership from the front office. They are identifying company executives who are already doing a good job on social media and highlighting their activity. They use their success with social media as leverage to get others in the company involved.
• Setting realistic expectations. They are recruiting interested employees, but still recognize that not every employee will want to participate.
• Employee profiles are their own. They respect the fact that employees’ online activities are a self-expression. At the same time they realize that employees who choose to identify themselves as a member of the company may be viewed as a spokesperson for their brand. To mitigate risk, they take steps like providing disclaimer statements on Twitter headers such as “Opinions expressed here are my own.”
Do you have the technology to support your social media goals and objectives? There may be mandated compliance restrictions that are unique to your industry. Technology, in the form of social content distribution platforms, also called social employee advocacy software, can help solve that problem. These platforms house a content library where users have access to a full inventory of posts that have already been preapproved by the company. An automated corporate approval review process within the online portal can also be in place to ensure compliance of field generated content.
I hear about
social media all
the time now;
but does Wall
care if we get
Are we going
to allow all
using this to
leads or is
If it’s about
the way, we
DEVELOPING YOUR TWITTER STRATEGY
Executive level support and involvement is critical.
The right Twitter goals for you are going to be heavily dependent upon your business goals and
objectives. And let’s face it; most goals are put in place in order to solve problems. So, what
problems are you trying to solve? Drive more traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and
improve your customer experience? Who will be in charge of developing, managing, and monitoring
your Twitter activity? When blueprinting a Twitter strategy often enthusiasm and support derail when
examining the resources and commitment to keep a vibrant profile in place. A word of caution; this
is not an initiative to turn over to your marketing intern. Publishing content is a complex process
and Twitter is a major communication channel that merits executive level attention. In fact, social
media in general calls for every Chief Marketing Officer to focus on this new media. Just consider a
C-Suite conversation on the topic (PAGE 9).
As you can see, social media requires the attention and support of the entire executive team. It’s
because social media is much more than a new approach to marketing; it’s something that cuts
across the entire enterprise.
In that kind of situation, what you’re ultimately looking for is seamless interaction between Strategy,
Technology and Processes across all the functional areas. The following check list will help you get
started with your Twitter strategy.
The primary goals of our
Twitter strategy are:
o [Goal 1]
o [Goal 2]
o [Goal 3]
o [Team Members]
What is the main role of
o Relationship Building
o Customer Service
o Special Offers or Direct Sales
o CSR or Innovation Information
o Staff Engagement or
o Influencer & Media Engagement
o News (not just press releases)
o Crisis Management
o Specific Event
o Specific Campaign Promotion
o One Time Competition
What tone of voice will your
corporate Twitter account
Who is the target audience for
your Twitter account?
o Customers / Consumers
o Journalists / Media
o Industry Influencers & Trade
o Staff / Potential Recruits
What is your follower strategy?
How will you attract followers?
o Provide valuable content to
o Earned media
o Leverage owned media (URL on
o Integrate paid media
(advertising, etc.) campaigns
o Leverage technology such as
What is your following
o Follow everyone that follows us
o Follow only relevant users that
o Proactively follow relevant users
o Do not follow anyone
What tools will the team use
to monitor the account? Have
these tools been vetted with IT
o Free Tools (manual):
o Software Platforms:
What other platforms will be
linked to your Twitter account?
o Another Twitter or microblog
o Facebook, other social
o Flickr, other visual content site
o YouTube, Vimeo, other video site
o LinkedIn, other business
o Location-based apps
o Owned media (brand website,
o Follower count
o Influence of followers
o ReTweets and sentiment
o @ Replies and sentiment
o @ Mentions and sentiment
o Inclusion in Follow Friday lists
o Number of times Listed
o Traffic to the website linked in
o Traffic to links in tweets
o Ideas and insights gained from
o Positive mentions outside of
o Direct Sales
o Other Business Results:
Twitter Strategy Checklist:
How Is Your Twitter Curb Appeal?
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
Think about what first attracted you to your home. Your initial impression as you pulled up and
viewed the unique landscape and exterior architecture. Realtors call it “curb appeal.” First
impressions are important, as we all remember this warning: “You never get a second chance
to make a good first impression.” In fact, psychologists, writers, and seminar leaders caution
that we only have from seven to seventeen seconds of interacting with strangers before they form
an opinion of us. With so much at stake have you considered your Twitter curb appeal? What I’m
talking about are the elements of your profile page that can be personalized in a way to make your
personal brand quickly stand out. Yes, your Twitter profile is an extension of your personal brand.
For that reason you should make sure your profile supports your personal branding goals and
objectives. Here are five areas you should focus on:
1. Profile picture. Pick something that fits the personal brand you want to project. In short, if you
want people to take you seriously, don’t use an unprofessional picture. Also, consider how you may
want to extend your personal brand across other social media platforms. In my case, I want to show
a certain level of brand consistency across platforms so I use the same profile picture for Twitter,
Google+ and LinkedIn.
2. Bio information. Twitter only gives you 160 characters in this space so think about your
personal elevator pitch. Say what you need to say, but don’t be afraid to let some of your personality
show through. In addition, think about key word searches that might be run on the bio section
through applications like Tweet Adder or Refollow to make sure your profile would surface.
Remember to take it easy on the hashtags though. #Hashtags #are #useful #but #when #every
#word #is #hash-tagged #it #gets #kind #of #annoying.
3. Web site URL. Think about where you would want to redirect viewers for additional information.
I use LinkedIn because it is recognized by most business professionals. I would not recommend
using a URL shortener for this space. Your potential followers may not feel comfortable clicking on
a link they don’t recognize, and at this point you don’t want to do anything that would discourage
4. Location. Some people feel uncomfortable disclosing their location. I believe the risk is worth
the reward and that you’ll increase your chances of being found during relevant searches if you
display both your city and state. Again, key applications like Tweet Adder and Refollow can leverage
5. Header. If you are looking to make your personal brand stand out, I recommend you customize
the header picture.
There are no mulligans or do-over’s when it comes to first impressions; so take the time to
personalize your profile. The extra effort shows your followers that you’re serious about your
personal brand, and that encourages them to take you seriously, too.
PROCESSES THAT WILL SUPPORT YOUR TWITTER STRATEGY
Think like a publisher.
Before you can contribute to Twitter in a compelling way, you must have something worthy to say— something relevant to share with your audience. For that reason your organization needs to think more like a publisher and develop a process for creating content. This is where it is also important to assign a Twitter community manager because if the entire company is responsible for your corporate Twitter content then nobody is really responsible. The following are content artifacts and how to distribute them.
TACTIC HOW TO SHARE IT
Article • Post on your website. Create a registration process to capture leads.
• Tweet with a link to the article. Use Bit.ly in order to track activity.
• Also post on Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn that your article is available.
Blog • Tweet and link to your post.
• Also post a link to your blog entry on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Case Study • Post your case study collection on your website. Create a registration process to capture leads.
• Reference case studies in articles and blogs – and link to them.
• Tweet with a link to the case study.
eNewsletter • Use Twitter to inform your audience that a new issue has been released.
• Also release on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Webinar • Promote your webinar on Twitter by telling the audience what they’ll learn and the key takeaways you’ve got planned for them.
White Paper • Use Twitter, FB, and LinkedIn to announce its availability. Create a registration process in order to capture the lead.
What else should I tweet? How can I tweet information related to myself or company without sounding like broadcast advertising? The following will help.
Quotes get attention. Quotes with pictures do even better. Also, remember, when someone RT’s you, or favorites your tweet, that suggests your content resonates with their feelings. Take a look at the Henry Ford quote outlined in red (on page 18). 50+ retweets and favorited 7 times. That tweet definitely influenced a lot of people.
Now, ask yourself, where can I source quotes related to my organization’s activities? Also, don’t be afraid to create some of your own.
8 RT’s and 8 Favs – Leverage famous business authors
9 RT’s and 3 Favs – The authors don’t have to be known for business
6 RT’s and 4 Favs – Content quotes with pictures
8 RT’s and 6 Favs – Content quotes with pictures
9 RT’s and 3 Favs – A soundbite plus a cool infograph will also drive traffic to your LinkedIn post
Have some fun - The content or comment can be funny too!
Don’t forget to credit your sources if the content is not original
A TIME-SAVING TIP:
Don’t be afraid to recycle your successful tweets.
Case in point:
I used the Henry Ford quote in December and then again in January. Remember, over time you are collecting new followers and they haven’t seen some of your older posts. Also, many of your followers may not have been logged into Twitter at the time you sent your original tweet so that potential audience never saw your communication in the first place.
Recycling tweets is OK as long as you let some time pass.
Interesting quotes can be used again...favorite your successful ones and recycle them.
People love lists.
And lists that contain interesting factoids generally do well.
This particular content has created a great deal of exposure over time. You’ll notice that I’m mentioned on the list, and the potential to drive traffic back to both my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
Let’s review the benefits with this particular tweet:
• Retweet and Favorite
• Opportunity to drive traffic to my LinkedIn profile
• Opportunity to drive traffic to my Twitter profile
• Use of the #MarketerMonday hashtag means that it will surface in targeted search results
That’s a 4-for-1 special without having to blaringly hawk my corporate or personal brand. In summary look for helpful and interesting lists and tweet them to your followers.
ONGOING PLATFORM EDUCATION
WILL BE NECESSARY
Your employees are ambassadors for your brand and
you don’t want to keep them in a social vacuum.
As you take steps to use social media to help improve your customer experience, you’re going
to need a process in place to educate and train your workforce. In addition, there are scores of
applications and platforms related to the Twitter ecosystem and you just can’t learn them all in
a one-hour training session. Even if you could, not all applications will make it in the long run
due to business model and/or funding issues. So, get ready to learn, unlearn and learn again as
the Twitter interface evolves and various support applications come and go. In general, I like to
evaluate these applications and platforms based on efficiency and effectiveness; but first let’s
start with a general Twitter training outline you might consider:
• Getting Started with Twitter http://bit.ly/ceuKuq
• The Twitter Glossary http://bit.ly/bclIoU
• Signing Up With Twitter http://bit.ly/8ZXCDk
• New User FAQ’s http://bit.ly/9KSzlM
Using Twitter Profile & Account Settings
• Customizing Your Profile http://bit.ly/dnz9nB
• Customizing Your Design http://bit.ly/aszLcS
• Recovering a Lost or Forgotten Password http://bit.ly/a6DM9q
• Updating Your Email Preferences http://bit.ly/g3lMkF
• Changing Your Username http://bit.ly/bm3vru
• Deactivating Your Account http://bit.ly/bJqmcL
• Reactivating Your Account http://bit.ly/bGXRd5
• Changing Your Language Settings http://bit.ly/bSKE1m
• About Public and Protected Tweets http://bit.ly/dy7M4O
• I’m Having Trouble Confirming My Email http://bit.ly/i2Zf8H
Finding & Following People on Twitter
• Twitter Limits (API, Updates, and Following) http://bit.ly/gU62Ra
• Twitter’s Suggestions for Who to Follow http://bit.ly/fT6Vbc
• Following People on Twitter http://bit.ly/9Y3dIu
• FAQ’s About Following http://bit.ly/cyGAzB
• Unfollowing People on Twitter http://bit.ly/bKm8YO
• Blocking Users on Twitter http://bit.ly/cS69vH
• Finding Popular Accounts on Twitter http://bit.ly/hXUBNP
• Finding People on Twitter http://bit.ly/c2kpYo
• Finding Friends Using an Email Address Book http://bit.ly/9icLqc
• Following Rules and Best Practices http://bit.ly/aLXZNn
Using Tweets & Messages
• What’s a Twitter Timeline? http://bit.ly/d4Arti
• Posting Links in a Tweet http://bit.ly/aeuT80
• Posting or Deleting Direct Messages http://bit.ly/9dZ9AG
• What are @Replies and Mentions? http://bit.ly/cexXLk
• FAQ About Top Search Results http://bit.ly/bOdegk
• Deleting a Tweet http://bit.ly/9Eef80
• Adding Your Location to a Tweet http://bit.ly/gvR8yt
• Using Hashtags on Twitter http://bit.ly/c300dg
Performing Twitter Search
• Using Twitter Search http://bit.ly/hVnCAo
• Saving Searches http://bit.ly/doTUMS
• Using Advanced Search http://bit.ly/dzqLIC
Using Twitter Features
• About Twitter’s Link Service http://bit.ly/agIrsU
• FAQ About Trends on Twitter http://bit.ly/9m91TA
• Using Twitter Lists http://bit.ly/9Ve8MU
• FAQ About Verified Accounts http://bit.ly/cnyKdo
• FAQ About the Tweet Location Feature http://bit.ly/h1Oj3u
• What are Promoted Tweets? http://bit.ly/igNlXV
• What are Promoted Trends? http://bit.ly/e40HLn
• What are Promoted Accounts? http://bit.ly/gazRuX
Linking Twitter to Your Blog or Website
• Adding the Tweet Button to Your Website http://bit.ly/hSIEIj
• Linking to an Individual Tweet http://bit.ly/bAKR4n
• Using Twitter With Facebook http://bit.ly/9M2Q92
• Adding Twitter Buttons to Your Website http://bit.ly/aiPWFg
Understanding Twitter Online Safety & Privacy
• Fake Twitter Emails http://bit.ly/d6WPxe
• About Public and Protected Tweets http://bit.ly/akTzPl
• Safe Tweeting: The Basics http://bit.ly/9dMvff
• Connecting or Revoking Third-Party Applications http://bit.ly/fDhR0z
Following Twitter Guidelines & Best Practices
• Rules and Best Practices http://bit.ly/cI0Hxr
• Reporting Spam on Twitter http://bit.ly/8XI6Cz
• Guidelines for Contests on Twitter http://bit.ly/a89Ti6
• Automation Rules and Best Practices http://bit.ly/9xGLI3
• The Twitter Rules http://bit.ly/bs0E7P
Applications cross functional areas, and that means you will need the CMO, CIO and CFO to work together.
What social platforms are necessary to bring your social media strategy to life? There are still many companies that block sites like Twitter and Facebook. Are you prepared to tackle those issues?
What desktop applications will need to be acquired in order to bring your social media policies and procedures into compliance? I use TweetDeck for one element of compliance. But I also use a combination of applications to help with my brand acceleration strategies. The process of acquiring, loading and updating applications may not be a big deal for a small business because a small business owner generally wears all the leadership hats. But in a large organization it can be one of those major stress situations!
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING YOUR
How will you handle exceptions related to Strategy, Technology and Process requests? What happens when the CMO and CIO need to agree to disagree? How will Marketing and IT find a way to compromise with an acceptable level of risk for both executives?
Finally; don’t overlook the traditional link between Sales and Marketing. Conversations between customer’s, prospects and partners are in play in many of the social channels. So, you want to make sure those conversations are coordinated in relation to your sales process.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: Applications and platforms that help get the greatest impact out of Twitter.
These lists are not exhaustive and there are differences between the applications. Some are free, while others offer a paid version. Your personal preferences, budget, and work environment will influence your choice. Keep in mind that Twitter tools and other social media applications come and go all the time. That means at some point you might have to start completely over with your evaluation process.
These tools act as a single point of contact for your Twitter activities, as well as other forms of social media.
• HootSuite https://hootsuite.com
• MarketMeSuite https://marketmesuite.com/
• TweetDeck https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
• SproutSocial http://sproutsocial.com/
• Commun.it http://commun.it/
• Socialflow http://www.socialflow.com/
• Sendible http://sendible.com/
• SocialBro http://www.socialbro.com/
• Buffer https://bufferapp.com/
THE CMO’S TWITTER TOOLKIT
These tools help manage followers as well as who you are following. Many provide additional functionality as well.
• BrandChirp http://brandchirp.com/
• FriendOrFollow http://friendorfollow.com/
• ManageFlitter http://manageflitter.com/
• refollow http://re-follow.com/
• Unfollowr http://unfollower.name/
• Tweepi http://tweepi.com/
• TweetAdder http://tweetadder.com/
• TwitterHolic http://twitaholic.com/
These applications help measure or gauge your social influence. I have no idea how their analytics really work; but I’ll have to admit that I check my Klout and Kred scores quite often.
• Klout https://klout.com/home
• Kred http://kred.com/
• PeerIndex https://piq.peerindex.com/login
Social Employee Advocacy
These applications help organizations empower employees to support the goals of the brand, through employee-owned social media. That is, employees use the social media accounts that they own personally, such as the employee’s personal Twitter account or Facebook account.
• SpeakSocially (via DocuStar)
• Hearsay Social
These applications shorten URL’s, providing more room for content. Many provide analytics and tracking functionality.
• Bitly https://bitly.com/
• Google http://goo.gl/
• TinyURL http://tinyurl.com/
• Bit.do http://bit.do/
These applications help curate material, providing online newspapers and other formats for sharing content.
• Scoop.it http://www.scoop.it/
• Paper.li http://paper.li
• Storify https://storify.com/
Photos and Video
These applications help you share photos and video on Twitter.
• Twitpic http://twitpic.com/
• Instagram http://instagram.com/
• Vine https://vine.co/
Social Media Information Resources
These websites provide helpful social media information.
• Social Media Examiner http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
• Mashable http://mashable.com/
• MarketingProfs http://www.marketingprofs.com/
• AllThingsD http://bit.ly/AllThingsD
How do you do it so effectively?
Question 1: Why Twitter? Isn’t Facebook more important?
In short, depending on your targeted audience and strategic marketing plan they could both be important. The main point is that the platforms are not exclusive, as each is often used for a different purpose.
FAQ ABOUT MY TWITTER STRATEGY
Question 2: How do I sell social media to our executive management team?
When Key Executives are Social Media Holdouts...
Most people will agree that practical experience is a good thing. In fact, if you’ve been around the block a time or two, the old adage “experience is the best teacher” is probably anchored in your mindset. When I reflect on my lessons learned through practical experience, I always find Will Rogers’ perspective insightful, but also at times, troublesome:
Why troublesome? After all, at one point or another we all start out as greenhorns. And let’s face it; there are situations we occasionally experience that are really not possible to prepare for. What I find troublesome is the negative impact on organizations when key executives continue to scoff at the lessons offered, or worse, they refuse to acknowledge they were even handed an exam.
Are senior executives in your organization still scoffing at social media? In today’s environment, your customers are testing your organization’s ability to interact with them on social platforms in the same way you communicate with them through email and over the phone. In fact, you may have seen the following factoids in recent presentations:
• 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
• 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage
• The 30-49 bracket sits at 72%
• 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media
• In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media
And yet some of your peers are still hesitant, or openly against implementing social media strategies into your organization. I suspect some are hesitant because they are not personally using social media, and if the truth were known, they’re still not concerned with learning. Even so, it’s time to let go of the notion that social media is just for kids and has no business value. In short, you don’t want the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” to begin to be associated with your personal brand. Here are some brief observations to share with your leadership peers that might motivate them to sign up for a lesson or two.
1. Your words and actions are magnified by your position. Most of your actions will seem more important to your employees than you intend; merely teasing about the use or value of social media on your part may become dangerously distorted by your workers. It’s time for you to provide executive level support for this high growth engagement channel. Keep this in mind; it’s not about you, it’s about your customers. If your customers want to communicate through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook who are you to stop them?
2. No need to boil the ocean. There are scores of social media related platforms and applications, so don’t be afraid to narrow your focus during your initial learning process. It’s too early to declare with authority the platforms that will remain standing, those that will be absorbed, or the ones that will fade away. For senior executives I would recommend focusing on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, in that order. Sidebar applications that help with efficiency and effectiveness (for example, TweetDeck or various mobile applications) can wait.
3. You can’t learn to swim without getting wet, so jump in. If nothing else, just commit to spending 15-20 minutes per day learning the ins and outs of a single platform. Once you develop a comfort level, move to the next platform or application. If you have a trusted friend or colleague who is already social media savvy, consider asking them to breakfast or out for a beer. Use the opportunity to pick their mind on the platforms they like to use, and how they strategically leverage those applications. If all else fails, hire someone to help you with your social media education. Based on my faculty, and consulting background, I kind of like this idea! However, you may want to start out by making an author happy and simply purchasing one of the many social media related publications on the market.
4. The clock is ticking. We’ve moved from a time of mass communications to one of masses of communicators; your customers are sharing their experiences through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms at a rate that will continue to accelerate. As a result, social media should become a part of every organizations risk management and customer engagement strategy. That means the entire leadership team (CEO, CIO, CFO, CMO, Sales, Legal and HR) will feel the impact. You know from experience that it always takes more time than expected to secure cross functional support. So, it’s time to start building bridges.
Question 3: Should we bring in a social media expert?
There is a story that is told of Henry Ford about a breakdown in his assembly line that no one on his staff could fix. As the story goes, his production lines were down for hours; hours turned into days, and Henry was frustrated. In desperation he called an electrical engineer friend whom he trusted to come to his plant, diagnose, and repair the problem. His friend promptly arrived and after spending about ten minutes the Ford lines were up and running. A most grateful Henry Ford thanked him and told his friend to invoice the Ford Company for the repairs. A few days later Henry Ford received an invoice from his friend in the amount of $10,000. Flabbergasted, Henry called his friend on the telephone and protested, “You only tinkered around for ten minutes! Ten-thousand dollars?!” His friend agreed that he would re-invoice the repairs. A few days later Henry Ford received a modified invoice:
Knowing where to Twitter ….
There is a structured path to becoming an electrical engineer. And based on the outcome of the story, Henry’s friend was either very lucky, or clearly knew what he was doing. The road to becoming a social media marketing expert isn’t as clear. It’s possible to work in social media without a degree or PR certification. In fact, in today’s environment, social media specialists are often the subject line of business jokes. When you have a breakdown in your strategic marketing plan related to social media who do you call? Do you have an advisor you trust to come in, diagnose, and repair the problem? If you don’t, here are a few questions you might consider before dialing the phone.
• Are my customers, prospects or other constituents on social media? That may sound like a ridiculous question to ask at this point; but is the juice going to be worth the squeeze? Are you sure you need social media platforms for your business model? Use this time to reflect on why you thought you needed social media in the first place. What were you’re original business goals? Have those goals changed?
• OK, you’ve determined that you still need social media. Can you describe the elements of your social media program that don’t seem to be working? Again, that may come across as a silly question, but are your challenges related to strategy, technology or processes? Yes, you could just call your agency of record and tell them to fix it. However, the nature of your problem may have an influence on the qualities and background you’d like to see in the social media “expert” they deliver.
• Does the expert have a reputation in the social media space? Are they practicing what they preach, and if so, are they any good? Check them out on LinkedIn, Twitter and Klout. Do they blog? What type of results do you get back when you Google their name? Do they recognize how your marketing content is leveraged in support of your sales process? In other words, do they truly understand how you need your social media efforts to integrate and work within your strategic marketing plan?
Creating an engaging brand in social media is easier said than done. Do you have employees with the capacity, the desire and the know-how currently managing your social media efforts? If not, don’t bother calling the expert until you fix that problem first.
Question 4: Should we worry about our employees’ personal brands?
Somewhere in America, a business leader is standing in front of an audience prepared to use the phrase “Our most important asset is our people.” Do you think they really mean it? What about other key assets? For example:
• Real estate
• Rights to natural resources like oil and gas
• Cash reserves
• The corporate brand
OK, that’s not really a fair question because people are not something that’s owned by the company. Your “people” do walk out the doors of your business every night though. What would happen if they didn’t come back to work the next day? That could create a big mess, because for some organizations when you lose people, you lose income. But still, nobody likes to be thought of as an object of production. So does the phrase “people are our competitive advantage” set a little better with you? That one is not so great if you are a not-for profit organization. After all, who are they competing with? A phrase I’m starting to think is now closer to the mark is “our people are our most important source of influence.” In fact, some social media tools like Klout and Kred can provide a very real look at how personal brands compare to corporate brands in the area of social influence.
As you can see in the example at left, four members of DocuStar’s staff have Klout scores that exceed their corporate brand. So who gave Klout all the clout? That’s a good point and I’m not going to argue whether Klout is the best measurement tool when it comes to measuring social influence. Why should an organization care if their employees have a strong personal brand? That’s a fair question; but I think you already know the answer. In general, people do business with other people they know, like, and trust. Think about the combination of those three words for a minute.
You’re talking about a very credible source packed with influence and value. And I’ll take a building full of employees like that any day of the week.
Question 5: How do I use Twitter for Event Marketing?
Twitter can offer limitless value in promoting your event. Here are some Twitter event-marketing recommendations:
1. For very large events only, create a new Twitter account that you can update all year long.
2. Establish and publicize a hashtag for your event.
3. Create separate Twitter lists of event speakers, sponsors, attendees and local restaurants and attractions.
4. Use Twitter search to find potential attendees and follow them.
5. Tweet about event-specific information including sessions, speakers, exhibitors, benefits of attending, etc.
6. Promote your event by running a contest. For example, give away a free or discounted registration for those that tweet about your event.
How Twitter Lists Can Help with Reputation Management
In November 2009 Twitter launched an interesting feature called Twitter Lists. In short, Twitter Lists allow you to organize the profiles you’re following into groups. The filtering aspect of this feature is helpful if you are trying to zero in on something specific, such as Twitter users based on location, employer, or any other relevant categories.
You can find the Lists under “view my profile.” If you’ve been Listed that means you’ve caught someone’s attention. Something in your bio and or the content of your tweets has made an impression. In the future, your Listor will be able to find you quickly because they filed your profile under a group they intend to monitor. In other words, your reputation or influence has been noted.
Now, take a close look at how they’ve named and described the list that they have placed you in. That will give you an idea if your content or tweets is projecting the type of persona you desire.
There can be worst things in life than to be called out for Top CMOs on Social, or Business Movers & Shakers … so, in this situation I can be reassured that my social media reputation and influence is trending in the direction that I would like it to. This process works exactly the same for a corporate or business reputation.
Why You Should Not Use Automated Direct Messages on Twitter
Imagine two people entering a crowded room. The first person bursts in and announces:
“Here I am!”
The second person walks in, looks you in the eye and says:
“There you are!”
Which person feels like they are engaging you at a personal level? Are you starting to feel a degree of rapport with one of them? My guess is that the second person already has you thinking that there might be some kind of special connection or shared interest. In fact, you’ve already forgotten about the first person. Come on, admit it, you kind of like being the center of someone’s attention! Perhaps not all of the time, but it does feel good when it happens for the right reason, and in the right way.
By definition the center of attention implies a focused awareness. So, if you’re customer focused that must mean your customer is at the center of your attention, right? Well, you wouldn’t get that impression based on some of the direct messages hitting my Twitter inbox. Take a look:
• Thanks for the follow. Please check out our Website at www.blahblah and follow us on Facebook!
• Thank you for following. Please look us up on Facebook and LinkedIn to get a better sense of who we are and what we do.
• Thank you for following! Please check out our FanPage www.facebook/blah, Website www. moreblah and Blog www.evenmoreblah
• Hey!! What’s up? Thanks for the follow. If it’s not too much trouble please Like our FB page.
OK, these examples are extreme, but notice how the focus is on the brand and not on the audience. Sure, they thank their audience for connecting, and are polite when they make their requests to visit the other sites. But it’s still all about them, as the only thing I can hear is “Here I am.” If we were meeting for the first time at a conference networking event how you would approach me?
“Hi, thanks for shaking my hand, if it’s not too much trouble would you take out your smart phone right now and Like our Facebook page?”
Is it possible to be customer-focused with direct messages and replies in those formats? Well, it’s probably not impossible, but in my opinion I don’t believe your messages (automated or not) will be perceived as valuable by most of your audience. That includes the automated messages that only say thank you for following. OK, you’re being polite, but that still feels kind of spammy. By the way, I’m on Twitter because I like it, so why are you trying to immediately redirect me to another platform?
A “there you are” approach is relationship building because it’s focused on the audience, and that sets the stage for developing trust. Direct message strategies that capture attention without making the audience feel like they are being stalked or blasted are not easy to craft. That’s why highly relevant and targeted communication strategies that nurture and build trust are a competitive advantage.
Follow-Back Your Targeted Audience
NFL Fans Love Their Teams. Do NFL Teams Love Them Back?
Well, not if you use the Follow-to-Follower ratio on Twitter as the measure. In fact, here is how NFL teams compare:
As you can see, the average NFL team follows back just 0.46% of their followers. Sure, some of those accounts are bound to be bots and other type of junk profiles. And anyone who is managing a major (brand) profile knows that it takes a lot of time and is hard work to follow back your targeted audience. But still, these numbers suggest that each team is passing up an opportunity to show their fans how much they really appreciate their support by following them back. How would you “feel” if your favorite NFL team followed you back? How cool would that be?! Based on the numbers above I may start cheering for the Chargers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Principal and Chief Marketing Officer
Alan See is a senior executive with the rare ability to speak Social Media Marketing and Sales 101 in the same sentence. He is also recognized as a most influential Chief Marketing Officer by Forbes, Social Media Marketing Magazine and CEOWorld Magazine, as well as a Top 1% Influencer by Kred. This means his grown children still wonder “what does dad really do all day at work?” He has also served as an associate faculty member at the University of Phoenix where he loved to teach, but hated to grade papers! Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. He has performed for and interacts with some of the world’s most respected brands including; IBM, Cap Gemini, Teradata, SAS Institute, NCR Corporation and AT&T. But wait, there’s more! He also has experience with startups and SMB’s with names not found on the international stage including; DocuStar, the Dayton Sharks, MindLeaders and Seapine Software. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.