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Posts Tagged ‘business’

4 Sites to Get You Started in Social Media

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There are so many great resources to help you get started with social media it can be very overwhelming. Below are a few places that I like. What are your favorites?

Twitter Basics

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Twitter

If you know me, you know how much I love twitter. If you’re already on Twitter, you know it’s more than just talking about what people have for breakfast. It’s more like “conference call IM” to me. Link sharing, conversation, personal connections that break the ice before in-person meeting, professional networking.

If you’re just getting started on Twitter, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed and looking for a few ways to help optimize your experience. So here’s my take on Twitter, how I use it, and what I think you should pay attention to.

Getting Set Up

Use your real name and a picture on your profile. It lets your followers know that there’s a real person behind the profile. I’m not a big fan of business names for handles (i.e. your Twitter name), but they can work if you have a real picture. In general, I’m of the mind that you should use something related to your real name if not your name itself, and stay away from things with tons of numbers (they can smell spammy to the casual observer).

Let your bio be a little fun, but have it there regardless. We want to know who you are. I encourage people to use their bio they way they’d introduce themselves in person, not as a 140 character “elevator pitch”. That turns off followers that might like to connect with you, especially if they think they’ll get pitched if they follow you. (Unless it’s a purely business account, in which case a description of your company is probably the best approach.)

Following and Being Followed

When you’re just getting started, you can search Twitter for people you know by entering their name. Twitter also has an option to search the contacts you have on Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and some others. Also, there are tools like Twellow, Twitter Grader, SocialOomph, Mr. Tweet that can help you get connected with people with similar interests or that are local to you. Use Twitter Search to plug in topics that interest you and see who’s talking about them. There is a local app that I am currently looking at called TweetSurge.

As you get more followers, check out who *they* follow and connect to others you see them conversing with on Twitter. To me, that’s the most organic way to build your network, and the way that I did it. If you do use an app to build followers be sure and check for spam and porn. I am relentless with the “block” key.

Be aware that if you run out and follow a slew of people out of the gate, Twitter is very likely to mark you as an account with spam potential and suspend you. It’s not a race. Follow a handful of people, start talking to them. Grow from there.

I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that more is better. I have a large network personally, but I built it connecting to people slowly over time, and it matters much more to me that I’m having a conversational, interactive experience.

I don’t put much stock in ranking/scoring/grading tools that claim to say who’s a good follow and who isn’t. And I don’t fret if someone unfollows me; again, it’s about each person’s personal experience, even if I’m not their cup of tea. I encourage you to consider following people as reaching out and shaking hands, connecting individually rather than just an accumulation of numbers. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s a communication experience.

Participating

The best advice I can give here is to treat Twitter like a conversation (because largely that’s what it is). Start with 30 minutes, twice a day (say morning and after work). There’s no “right” way to use it and your own feel for it will emerge over time, but there are a few tips. 90% of what I do on Twitter is conversing with other people. If you look at my profile page, you’ll see that “@ replies” comprise the bulk of my interaction. The other 10% is sharing links I find across the web that I think are interesting or useful, and about one out of a dozen times, I’ll drop a link to my recent blog post. The important thing is that your links are much more likely to get attention – yours or otherwise – if you’ve spend the time to build the relationships behind the connections before you ask people to look at your stuff.

The best way to build relationships and a community on Twitter: participate. Spend some time sitting back and listening, then join the conversation. Jump on in, say hello. Don’t beg for followers – trust me when I tell you that if you’re interesting and interested in others, they’ll show up. It’s really that simple. Talk, share, contribute. And above all, have a little fun.

The Lingo

Twitter has it’s own lexicon of sorts. Here are a few terms you might see tossed about.

@ replies: This symbol precedes people’s “handles” or screen names on Twitter when a tweet is directed at them. Want to reply to someone’s comment? Start your tweet with @<their twitter name> so they’ll know your reply is meant for them. You can track your own replies in the “@ Replies” tab on your Twitter page, or many of the Twitter clients will do so automatically for you.

RT: Stands for “retweet” and means that the tweet is being reposted from someone else. If I retweet something of yours, that means I’m passing it along for others in my network to see. When you see a tweet that starts with these letters, it means that the person is passing along something that someone else wrote. Many of the third party applications have a one-click button to retweet a post.

hashtags: You may often see tweets that end with a hashtag, or a pound sign followed by a term, such as #marketing. The purpose is to keep track of tweets that are all part of a single subject, event, or topic. If you head to Twitter Search and type in the full hashtag, you can track all the tweets related to that term. You don’t need to do anything special to use a hashtag, just make one up and tell folks to use it if you want them to tag their tweets for your event or discussion.

link shorteners: Twitter’s 140 character limitation makes posting big links impossible. So you’ll see shortened urls from services like TinyURL, Bit.ly, is.gd among others. They take a long URL and condense it down to a short version. Again, clients like TweetDeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite have this built in, but you can use the web versions as well, many of which have a bookmark button you can use in your browser. Personally, I use HootSuite.  It allows me to track analytics.  My most popular tweets by clicks, date, time, country, etc.

DM: This stands for Direct Message and is Twitter’s version of a private message. If you DM someone, you send the message directly to them and no one else can see it. To send one, type the letter and a space followed by the person’s Twitter name (or use the Direct Messages tab on your profile page). The recipient of the DM needs to be following you for the message to go through.

Favorites: If you “favorite” a tweet, it’s like your bookmarking it for yourself. You can see your favorites on a separate tab on your profile, and others can see them too.

Most of the above post and additional information can be found below.

Altitude Branding

More Twitter Apps

How to Power Up Your Twitter

Top 10 Websites for you to post more than 140 Characters on Twitter

Twitter for the Holidays!

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009  |  Modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 5:00am CST

Businesses using Twitter to build brand, bring in customers

Nashville Business Journal – by Eric Snyder Staff Writer

James Yates, Nashville Business Journal
Mitzi Maynard, left, and Lori Paranjape of Redo Home and Design in Franklin update the store’s Twitter status. The retailer is an avid user of ‘micro-blogging.’

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Just as the image of Santa Claus has continuously evolved — from the skinny patron saint of Greece and Russia into today’s jolly-sized chimney diver — merchants have continued to find new ways of connecting their wares with the public.

This holiday season, many local retailers will continue reaching out to shoppers where they live — and via Twitter feeds, where they work, play or pick up grocercies.

Twitter is a free “micro-blogging” service that allows users to send bite-sized info blasts to subscribers, more commonly (or ominously, depending on your perspective) referred to as “followers.” Tweets can be sent or received via computers or smartphones.

Spurred by breathless media coverage and celebrity adopters like actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, Twitter has enjoyed exponential growth. According to eMarketer, more than 18 million American adults will have used the service this year, compared to 6 million users last year.

And while reports suggest Twitter’s growth may not be sustainable — up to 60 percent of users quit after one month, Nielsen Online said in April — many local retailers say you have to remember one thing: It works.

And it’s free.

“It is, by far, our best (return on investment),” said Lori Paranjape, a partner in Redo Home & Design in historic Franklin, citing a primary reason it has proven popular with retailers.

Lori immediately began “tweeting” when she joined the business in January, thinking the company might just put a toe in the water. No longer.

“When we get new inventory, we tweet. When we get an interesting new client, we tweet,” Paranjape said. “It’s just how we communicate.”

Paranjape said Redo got multiple clients, whom they had never previously met, via Twitter. When Redo joined A Shopping Soiree, a Franklin fundraiser for several local charities — an invitation they received via Twitter, of course — they tweeted. They’ve tweeted Christmas shopping tips and holiday gift guides.

She doesn’t, however, make the same mistake some retailers do; Paranjape’s advertising button isn’t always on.

“There’s consequences in the Twitter world,” Paranjape said. “It’s not all business.”

It may seem paradoxical. To receive messages via Twitter, you must sign up for them.

But they also want to be entertained, or innocently informed, not just sold to.

“There’s a kind of 9-to-1 rule,” said Christine Taylor, vice president of social media marketing for local firm JTMarCom. “You need to be marketing other people nine times more than you’re marketing yourself.”

Taylor said clients sometimes have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept, but she used the example of a big-box store pointing a customer to another store if they don’t have a particular item in stock. Perhaps the competing store gets that sale, but the original business earned trust and built a relationship.

“You have to develop a relationship with your customer base,” Taylor said.

Even if it is transferred over a so-called social media, traditional advertising will be found out.

“We have a good b.s. radar,” Taylor said. “Traditional advertising is tuned out.”

Paranjape, tweeting for Redo under the account redodesign, promotes other events around Franklin, solicits advice from followers on things to do and offers moments of levity, as she did in response to a jogger that ran past the shop window: “Please stop jogging by our door. We get it. We should jog, too. At least say, ‘Hi.’ Don’t just fly by all exercisey.” (Paranjape also advertised this article, twice, tweeting on Nov. 23, “We’re awkwardly having our picture taken right now by the (Nashville Business Journal) for article about Twitter.”)

A quick perusal of Twitter reveals numerous Nashville businesses advertising everything from contests to coffee, including Dunn Bros Coffee, Fido, 12th and Porter and Sambuca, among others.

Taylor said some companies, particularly larger ones more entrenched with traditional, top-down advertising, find Twitter intimidating. While JTMarCom also advises several clients on how to wield their Twitter accounts, Taylor herself manages the accounts of nine clients, ranging from a pet food company to an executive coach. While that does negate a prime benefit for some retailers — the fact that Twitter is a free service — help from Taylor saves the businesses another, if less tangible, investment of time.

“You have to nurture it once you have it,” she said.

Rachel Lowe, owner of Two Elle, a boutique home and clothing store that recently moved into Green Hills’ Hill Center, feels no intimidation from Twitter.

With a love of writing, and an English degree from Columbia University, Lowe said she uses the Two Elle Twitter account, twoellerabbits, to reinforce the personalities of their sales staff.

“We would never just say, ‘This T-shirt came in,’ end of sentence,” Lowe said. “It always has to have a story behind it.”

Like Paranjape, Lowe said Twitter is her store’s most effective form of advertising. While she tweeted constant updates about the store’s relocation this summer, Lowe said the business didn’t run any print ads announcing the move.

As Paranjape put it, with Twitter, “We are our own press coverage.”


You can reach Eric Snyder at esnyder@bizjournals.com or 615-846-4254.

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Examples of Social Media Policies

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

According to a recent article on social media by the blogger HrBartender /Sharlyn Lauby , there are generally two approaches to social media policy making. Some organizations handle social media in an evolutionary way. Chad Houghton, the director of e-media and business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, told me that he thinks, “it might be beneficial not to create some arbitrary rules without first seeing where the opportunities and risks really are.”

Other organizations, meanwhile, feel more comfortable establishing a clear policy from the outset. IBM, for example, has published their social media guidelines publicly for anyone to read. It’s a great policy, though rather long.

One thing is certain — clients are asking for where to find examples of current policies used by all  types of organizations. I was really excited when I came upon the best site I  have found so far the : Online Data Base for Social Media put together by Chris Boudreaux.  Chris has organized a pretty comprehensive social media policy database. The database currently has 106 policies with the policies being sorted by industry, organization and title. More are being added daily.

Among the companies whose social media policies are available on the site are About.com, the BBC, Dell, Dow Jones, Gartner, Microsoft, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Air Force, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

So if your organization is fretting about social media and you want to get them into the modern age, show them this site.  And if your company already has a social media policy and wants to show it to the world, it can submit that policy for inclusion in the Social Media Governance database.

Does your company have a policy? If so please share.:)

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AltruSolutions Communications & social media

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

AlturaSolutions Communications Embraces Social Media Marketing – PR.com http://ow.ly/ipnk

Marketing Budgets are Up!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

New Research shows Marketing Budgets are up – and being used… http://ow.ly/ioPM