More compelling reasons to use Twitter

Here’s a great little infographic for the stats fans amongst you. It chronicles some of the headline numbers in respect to Twitter use.

It is truly fascinating to see just how many users and tweets are involved now, especially as the platform has been live for barely five years. And, from a business perspective, more companies and more brands are using Twitter to develop their profile, amplify their reach, deliver their campaigns and deepen the ties with their target customers.

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Avoiding Tweeters Block: 30 Things to Tweet Today

I’ve conducted a little research project over the last 24 hours involving the 1500 or so people I follow on Twitter to see what business people use it for.

If I’m honest, I see a lot of rubbish. ‘Celebrities’ are normally the most tiresome. But brands and business accounts can put out their fair share of nonsense viaTwitter too. Presumably in a bid to ingratiate themselves to ‘the community’.

Generally, if you assume there to be seven core uses for Twitter, (outlined in my recent BDB Marketing Blog post), it becomes somewhat easier to align activities with objectives.

So whether you are looking to keep up to date with news, want to share news, want to conduct some research, want to develop prospects from your audience, deliver excellent customer service, drive traffic to other sites and/or drive loyalty, there is something you can tweet about right now.

1. Where you are /going / have been

2. What you are doing / working on

3. What you are reading / have read

4. What you are watching / have watched

5. What you are listening to / have listened to

6. What makes you happy / proud

7. What you are passionate about

8. What makes you cross / sad

9. Some praise / commendation

10. A complaint

11. A review

12. A link to another form of online content

13. A quote

14. A statistic

15. An historical fact

16. A prediction

17. A question

18. A request

19. News – company / corporate/ brand / personal

20. A vacancy

21. An offer

22. A prize giveaway

23. Something offered for sale

24. A Follow Friday recommend

25. Somebody else’s tweet (or other content)

26. Market data or research

27. A personal announcement

28. A business announcement

29. The weather

30. If you are really really stuck, what you are eating!

Image: CoffeeandCountries


Being part of the conversation

In true Wiley Press style, this post will appeal to Twitter novices or ‘act as a reference to the rest of you’.

The rise of influence scoring tools like Klout which try to monitor the impact of social media activity has put measurement in the spotlight. There are an incredible number of tools you can draw upon to establish passive and active audience, who is retweeting your content, who your best followers are and where you exert the most influence.

But doesn’t the point of using Twitter ultimately lie in being part of the conversation and engaging with a group of likeminded people in relation to a particular subject? If this is true, then hash tags offer the best, and most immediate way of achieving this.

With this in mind, I’m grateful that one of my Twitter buddies @Waterfallman pointed me in the direction of an interesting site,

Hashtags are words that you often see in a tweet preceded by a # sign, link tweets and allow them to be grouped, searched and followed. Hash tags are now common place when it comes to following and discussing real time news events, sporting events, high interest television programmes and increasingly to support conferences, exhibitions and other events at every pre, during and post event stage.

Here’s a real time search on b2bmarketing: quickly and easily tells you who is using specific hash tags, giving you visibility of a conversation which may have developed beyond your ability to track it in Twitter or a professional Twitter client, like TweetDeck or Hootsuite.

Give it a whirl, it might open up some interesting conversations and some interesting new connections.


6 creative ways to use Twitter for business

Twitter is like Marmite. People love it or hate it. And even within the pro-Twitter group, there is a significant number that fail to maximise the exposure the platform provides. Which does little to convince businesses and brand owners to give it a go.

To avoid the humdrum of updating people on where you are having your lunch, or indeed what you having, consider using Twitter in the following six ways.

1. Run a poll. Snapshot market research. Done. Provides great content for a blog or press release, creating something newsworthy.

2. Run a time sensitive promotion. Arguably easier for retail based or hyper local businesses , but professsional services companies shouldn’t rule out the value of providing limited time access to ‘valuable’ information and insight packaged into white papers and pdf downloads. A great lead generator too.

3. Support events. More and more seminars and conferences create a #hashtag pror to an event to link all tweets related to that event. It’s simple, searchable and incredibly effective. Maintaining the community after an event by sharing content and continuing discussions maximises this further.

4. Share relevant industry news. Raise your profile by associated yourself with the latest news and views in your industry. Using services like Twitterfeed and Google Reader you can quickly and easily keep on top of the latest news without having to visit dozens of websites every day.

5. Look for new recruits. Write a catchy tweet with a link to further content on your website or blog to encourage the best talent on the Internet to make themselves known.

6. Take advantage of location. One of the biggest advances in technology and marketing as smart mobile phones develop. It is estimated that there will be more smart phones than computers accessing the Internet by 2013. Thats two years away. Twitter synchs seamlessly with other location based services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places.

And indeed, linking ‘location’ with any of the points above provides for a smart, engaging and potentially lead generating return from Twitter.

And hey, not an overtly self promotional ‘broadcast’ tweet in sight.  Thats the way to do it in style. It rarely pays to be the loudest guy in the room.


5 ways to raise your profile on Twitter

If you’re serious about getting the most out of the micro-blogging platform Twitter – by building credibility, and in turn an audience, it might be time to review how you go about it.

1. Have a hook, a USP, a reason for people to want to be interested in what you have to say. Chances are you are not a celebrity so you’re going to need to focus. Spell it out in your profile biography as these keywords will draw people towards you.

2. Content and context are king. Engaging, interesting and relevant content is critical on Twitter, especially if it is for business use. A carefully crafted line of copy and a shortened link to interesting content provides a number of benefits. It positions your interests and links you to other people and companies interested in that content. It forms common ground and creates opportunities to connect with other users.

The most interesting Twitter accounts predominantly share lots of engaging information they have sourced from others, some of their own content and occasionally some personal information or insights.

3. Pay it forward. Associating yourself with better known sources of great content by retweeting it and including the original creator in your tweet is a very powerful way of building a profile. This works not only for tweets and content you like, but also tweets and content that you want to be associated with from a business perspective. In much the same way as blog, news and article response is a credible way of driving traffic to your own websites and blogs, so to is ingratiating yourself with industry thought leaders through Twitter.

4. Pay it back. By adding that all important @ link to the original creator, you are acknowledging them and validating that content by sharing it with all your connections. Always credit a content creator as they have often spent a significant amount of time on a blog, video, infographic, white paper, ebook or whatever it is you are sharing.

5. Use hashtags. Sounds simple but do all your tweets contain hashtags? I’m as guilty as most for not adopting these all the time, but by adding a relevant tag such as #b2b or #seo or #marketingblog, you are giving your content the best opportunity to develop virally. The conference sector has picked this up and run with it at large scale conferences and exhibitions and there are a number of unofficial tags that often spring up around major TV and news events so tweets can be grouped together.

When these tags hit a high degree of take up, they become a trending topic which means a given subject is one of the most talked about at a given time.

Adopting these five techniques should draw more interest in your Twitter activity.

And whilst on the subject, I recommend you migrate your account to a free service like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, simply because they offer more functionality and flexibility. I personally prefer Hootsuite as you can quickly and easily schedule and distribute messages and updates across all the major social networking platforms from the one place (more to follow in a post later this week).

Image Corbis

Top Tweets of the Week (we 14 Jan 2011)

There have been some really interesting links to great content shared on Twitter this week. Here are my top picks.

MONDAY: Ten ways to deal with bad publicity A shortlist from the Management Today website offering a short and specific 10 point plan to avoiding a BP style PR catastrophe.

TUESDAY:  Why Location Is About More than the Check-In A great piece from Twitter handler @eMarketer explaining the growing business benefits to using services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places and others to promote your business.

TUESDAY:  How to Generate Inbound Leads with No Editorial Department via the ever-readable @HubSpot. A great piece of collective thinking, contribution and collaboration.

WEDNESDAY: 13 Must-Watch Marketing TED Presentations via @HubSpot. As simple as it suggests, make up a cafetiere and plug in to illuminating presentations from business leaders including Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson and Rory Sutherland.

WEDNESDAY: The 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World Twitter handler @markwschaefer. Some great case studies and clear thinking on how to tickle a difficult but important element of your company’s marketing activity!

THURSDAY: Liked Viral Marketing Tips for B2B Success via @B2Bbloggers. As it says on the tin, some great advice on getting your content taken up by target audiences.

FRIDAY: An excellent A-Z guide to Enhancing your Linkedin Experience via @smexaminer. If you use Linkedin solely as an online CV you’re really missing out. Take a look at this expansive guide to getting the most out of this evolving platform.

Do you need to watch what you tweet?

I don’t think many people care if I use L’oreal Men Expert face cream, prefer Cafe Nero over Costa Coffee, enjoy the occasional Bushmills over ice, or take the family to Centreparcs. But it seems when Liz Hurley, Peter Andre, Lily Allen and Jonathan Ross do it, they are deemed to be promoting brands, potentially fiddling the taxman of undeclared income.

Indeed, The Daily Mail’s ‘expose’ of celebrities apparently using their status to endorse products raises some interesting questions about use of the ultra popular micro-blogging platform for business purposes.

As we know, what happens on Twitter stays on Twitter.

So make sure you don’t use unnecessary profanity, get into arguments, post anything offensive or in contravention of data protection laws. Avoid negative comment of individuals, companies or brands and as we’ve seen above, tread carefully in matters of promotion.

If you run polls, surveys and promotions that take readers to landing pages ensure all terms and conditions cover any engagement with your business.

All these problems magnify if you tweet from a corporate account.

In a similar way to leaving an email in draft rather than sending in the heat of the moment, sometimes a little caution will save you a lot of embarrasment further down the line.

Image Zimbio

Top Tweets of the Week (we 7 Jan 2011)

Monday 3 Jan: I liked Seth’s blog called ‘Maybe next year’ because it was about ignoring the little voice in your head and all the doom merchants. Read this and get off your backside: Seth’s Blog: ‘Maybe next year’ via @ThisIsSethsBlog

Tuesday 4 Jan: I signed up to the WordPress Postaday initiative for 2011 this week. They have set up  cool daily blog full of blogging inspiration to help avoid blogger avoid writers block. Check it out here

Wednesday 5 Jan:  I retweeted this from @BtoBSocialMedia on How to Create Your Own YouTube Channel in 10 Minutes because video as we know brings websites, blogs, interaction and engagement to life

Thursday 6 Jan: Thought this link provided a useful guide to Twitter newbies and a refresher to those who have been active for a while, via @PublicityGuru: 50 Ways to FAIL On Twitter

Fridy 7 Jan: I love a good white paper and the guys at @KomoriAmerica have put together a cracker on good social media, especially useful for those operating in b2b marketing

Twitter for Business 101

Laura Fitton posted her presentation from TwtCon on Slideshare on 18th Nov 2010. Within a fortnight it’s had over 5,500 views.

Whether you’re a Twitter novice or black belt, there will categorically be something in here for you.

Need more endorsement? Both Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki suggest Laura has real influence. Do yourself a favour and follow her on Twitter @pistachio