How to Use Twitter Lists Effectively

Twitter Lists

One of most overlooked but useful tools on Twitter is their list feature. Many of us use it for personal use to divide those we are following into manageable size digestible lists or even to secretly listen to those we may not “follow” publicly. Businesses, however, don’t always use this feature to its full advantage. Here are a few ways to incorporate Twitter lists into your social media strategy:

1.  Organize your followers into lists that make sense for your business. For example, “customers,” “coworkers,” “potential customers,” etc. Or you can make it even more granular by dividing your customers according to their niche or according to how you would identify a customer group.  For example, “prospective students in USA,” “prospective students international” “current faculty,” “academic departments,”  “alumni” etc. By doing this, you can LISTEN to these groups separately, and create your content strategy
based on what you hear.

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Oops! Mistakes on Twitter

In many ways, Twitter is its own language. Example:

“RT @SocialAllie 3 Ways to Supercharge Fan Engagement on Facebook entrepreneur.com/article/223701 via @EntMagazine #socialmedia

It’s not a regular sentence, but it still has its own grammatical rules. RT, #, and @ signs are all part of the language, and, if not used correctly, can have an impact on your overall social reach. That said, I want to focus on one common problem that many of you probably see every day– the @ sign.

@ is like a big hello wave from across the street, or a shout out from across the park, or a calm, collected response to a question in a cafe. However, it cannot be all of these things at the same time. I suppose one can gesture a wave while shouting a cross the street “Hello!” But that action could never be considered a collected response in that cafe. Let me put this analogy into Twitter talk.

This tweet is a reply to @tamadear. @bmshirley’s followers will not see this on their timeline.

This tweet is a mention of @markgr. @markgr will receive a notification, and the followers of the tweeter, @EricStoller will receive this tweet in their timelines.

This difference is important to note as many tweeters turn this mere”difference” into a mistake.

“@SocialAllie is a great tweeter; everyone should follower her!”

The (imagined) tweeter decided that @SocialAllie (which happens to be me!) is awesome, and everyone should follow her. The problem is that only @SocialAllie will see this tweet; she will be very flattered, of course, but the tweeter won’t reach his/her target audience. If one person happens to be following both the tweeter and the recipient, they will see the tweet somewhere on the timeline, but unless everyone is following both of them, everyone will not see that tweet. Oops! The only way someone would see this tweet is if someone dug through the tweeter’s personal timeline– not ideal.

How to fix this mistake?

“I recommend following @SocialAllie! Great tweets!”

By putting the @username anywhere after the first character, this tweet will appear in your followers’ timelines– fixed! Another somewhat common approach is to put a period in front of the @username.

This tweet will reach The Boston Globe’s followers.

Personally, I avoid this unless it’s a matter of syntax/awkward phrasing.

Making yourself aware of this difference and practicing accordingly will make sure you are reaching your target audience. Comments? Questions?

Branding Facebook Pages

As many of you know, Facebook Pages began to look different at the end of February. The new visual dynamic appeals to many — including brands. With that in mind, I want to share with you some tips on how to improve your Facebook Page for brand development.

What does your cover look like?

Your cover photo is one of the most prominent images of your Facebook Page; it sits at the very top of your page and serves as a kind of introduction to your brand. What does it look like? Choosing the right image is crucial to your branding. The image should represent the larger picture of your brand.

Do you have any custom tabs?

With the option to create up to 12 tabs displayed beneath your cover photo, it’s something to take advantage of. Each tab displays a representative icon for its function. For example, photos are…photos. Photos is, by default, your first tab on your Facebook Page. Because only four of the possible twelve appear on the main screen, I suggest using those tabs you deem most important to your brand presence– what do you want your target audience to look at first? How do you want to organize what will be their options to interact with your brand?

Integrate Facebook and Twitter!

If you Tweet, connect Twitter  from your profile settings. You can display your tweets in your timeline.

Content Must be Good Writing. Exciting Writing.

As always, don’t undermine the importance of good writing. Content should always be fresh. Don’t leave a photo or video hanging without any context. Include a snippet of text that has a call to action.

Here is a recent article from Mashable that you might find interesting!

What are your Facebook Page branding tips?

Best Practices on Twitter: Playing the Game Right

Having solid best practices on Twitter is the most important aspect to creating a solid social marketing strategy. While it seems obvious, I find that this is something commonly overlooked when creating and implementing campaigns.

CONTENT

  • Be grammatically correct in your tweets.
  • Keep Tweets specific to your campaign and subject goals.
  • Keep your content dynamic: post links to different kinds of articles, videos, lectures, events, songs, images. Change it up!
  • When Tweeting events, put location first in at least some of your tweets and last in others.
  • Engage your audience with a strong, consistent voice.
  • Re-Tweet followers’ posts if interesting (RT).
  • Mention other Twitter account you appreciate @.
  • Use the hashtag for all keywords (1-3 per Tweet) #.

TIME

  • Create an editorial calendar to help you plan the workflow and content for Tweets.
  • Keep your Tweet schedule consistent. For example, do not Tweet every day for two weeks and then disappear for one month.

 READING

  • Listen to what your audience is talking about. This will help you shape your Tweets. Remember, Tweet what they are interested in, not what you want them to do for you.
  • Reply to people who tweet at you (Use the @mentions link and search for your username without the @ symbol).
  • Re-Tweet content that interests you. You can do that directly on Twitter or using your favorite Twitter management applications.
  • When you re-Tweet, check the link in the to make sure it works before you re-share it.
  • Use Twitter lists to organize the types of conversations going on. For example, you might put prospective students in one list, faculty on another list, companies on another list, etc. Click a list to see only the tweets by the people on that list
  • Offer links (URLs) to your Tweets that point to the company/organization you are working for, links to videos, etc.

*Note on providing links: Links must be shortened as they are often character-heavy (and you only have 140 characters per Tweet!) I suggest you use bitly.com. Simply copy and paste the link into the window and click “shorten.” It will provide you with a shortened link that you can use in Twitter.

WHAT NOT TO TWEET

  • Do not Tweet a link without any other text. You must provide context for links.
  • Do not Tweet with a Commercial-like tone.
  • Do not Tweet the same message more than once.
  • Do not Tweet opinions – or at least, strong opinions.

Facebook Vs. Twitter

Facebook vs. Twitter: A Tug O’ War Challenge?

Facebook and Twitter are both excellent social media tools for companies to spread brands, develop relationships with customers and businesses, and generate leads. But how do we know which site is best for which campaign?

eMarketer recently reported that 6x more people use Facebook thanTwitter. If this is indeed accurate, should companies pay attention to it? And what does it mean for marketing efforts?

Before we can answer these questions, let’s first consider where social media budgets land for using these tools. Zoomerang points out that companies’ use of social media is gaining momentum and creating a surefire way to get the most bang for the buck. As the chart below suggests, 44% of SMB decision-makers use social media.

They also point out that SMBs are twice as likely to use Facebook as they were Twitter. Emarketer comments on these reports:

“Though Facebook is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its product offerings and capabilities, businesses are sticking with the basics to drive performance: 51% of US SMBs found wall posts the most effective marketing tactic, even though only 16% of US consumers said they had interacted with a brand on Facebook.”

Interesting. because I’m going to argue that while this may be true now, the future of social media will grow more intricate and ask that the marketer do more— i.e not only rely on “the basics,” such as wall posts.

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Social Media’s Role: Consumer vs. Marketer

Social Media’s role has grown increasingly important for all types of companies, firms, institutions, and self-branding communities. According to The State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Americans spend 22.5 percent of their online time on social media sites. Compared to games (9.8 percent) and email (7.6 percent), we cannot deny that social media has taken over the large world o’ interwebs. In yesterday’s article, Report Details Rise of Social Media in The New York Times Stuart Elliot points out that this report “makes social media the NO. 1 specific category and the No. 2 category over all, behind ‘other’ ways Americans spend time online, among them perusing adult content, visiting retail web sites and reading about subjects like sports and health.” Ok, so it’s proven that yes, social media sparks interest and woos in many. Continue reading

Social Media Puts on a Serious Face

I admit: I have not always thought of social media as a marketing tool. Years ago, social media simply meant playtime. You want to procrastinate, sure, log onto facebook. I still see  the college students in my classroom, clicking away as I attempted to lecture about why academic writing is so important. I couldn’t win against social media; it was my enemy. However, a few years ago, I worked as a Communications Assistant at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art. We were preparing for the reopening of the building – the first time the Museum would be open for the 35,000 U-M students and the Ann Arbor townies in years. Sure enough, one of my colleagues recommended we use Twitter and Facebook to update our fans and inform perspective art enthusiasts. The reopening was a huge success due, in part, to our social media strategies.

After working at two start-up companies as an Online Marketer, I can barely imagine what marketing would be like if social media were entirely excluded or ignored. Yesterday, I came across an interesting article (thank you to Twitter and its professional development abilities): Amy Jo Martin’s To Monetize Social Media, Humanize It. Martin discusses some of the overwhelmingly popular assumptions that frown on social media as if it’s a clown wearing a big red nose. As she says, “Put it this way: If I gained a follower every time a CEO rolled his eyes at me when I said ‘Twitter,’ I’d be Lady Gaga (11.2 million followers).” Arguably, the word “social media” is misleading; while some use this medium as a media for entertainment purposes, marketing specialists have used it as a rather remarkable tool, and, given its success, should be taken seriously.

Martin compares social media to a telephone, though I would dare compare it to a televised conference with countless cameramen: Anyone can talk the talk, walk the walk; anyone can join the discussion. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, offers the capacity for a high volume audience, and even better, a high volume response. However wonderful that may sound, a social media platform is not a game to see who is the loudest; (who yells at a televised conference, anyway?) Social media is about offering remarkable content, as authors, Dharmash Shah and David Scott say in their book, Inbound Marketing . It’s about value. As Martin would agree, it’s about humanizing your brand, exposing real, genuine people and promise. That’s what I love about social media as a marketing tool. Finally, companies, institutions, ideas—you name it—have a face, a personality, a meaning that is communicable. It’s stronger than any old logo. We’re no longer distanced from our work; we’re not just a body or a task checked off. We are the idea, transformed and exposed as the idea. I think it makes people better, companies—better. We are forever attached to our actions, our campaigns, our strategies. And thus, we must trust our actions, campaigns, strategies, and others will, too. We are our brand, and the brand is us.

Please, join in the discussion! Thank you for reading.

How to Use Twitter for Professional Development

I’ve used Twitter for company use as an online marketer. I’ve used Twitter for fun. Recently, I’ve started to use it as a job search tool. What it has been most useful for, however, is to gather information for professional development purposes. Although the word ‘Twitter’ reminds me of an open-windowed morning when one wakes to the cacophony of sweet and hideous bird songs, lately, Twitter feels more like one of those large, sweeping fish nets that tosses out the small debris and highlights the treasures below the surface of the deep, dark sea.

Twitter is light-weight and easy to use, yet maintains the capacity to supply hundreds of articles, informative “nuggets,” and outbound links to other resources.

Ideas for How to Use Twitter for Professional Development: Growth Matters

  • Search for keywords related to your field.  By searching for keywords in your field, you’re likely to find other professionals that are just as passionate about their knowledge bank as you are. Follow those who seem interesting to you and keep a regular tweeting schedule. I’m an advocate for integrative disciplines and professions—something, I think, the world will naturally move towards as the age of information progresses. If you’re a researcher, yes, you may talk to others in the lab, but what about clinicians, patients, the public? You might type in keywords that have less to do with your profession, but have something to do with one of the subjects or topics you encounter. For example, if you’re Director of Communications at a Museum, it might also be wise to follow artists, other museums, as well as the latest communication strategies.
  • Share your knowledge. Have a conversation with your market and manage connections with other professionals. Keep your own tweet schedule. Point out resources that may help others. Retweet those messages that you deem worth it.
  • Monitor your company / brand on Twitter. Everyone has their own personal brand. Just as writing is your personality on the page, Tweets are your personality in Twittersphere. Put your voice out there, but I suggest you use 75% professional tweets and 25% personal tweets.
  • Live updates on events or conferences.  If you participate in a conference, you can use Twitter to announce your “presence.” You may even be able to meet up with other professionals at the conference.

You can follow me on Twitter @SocialAllie