Twitter: Making Your Business Feed Better

Every day more and more businesses are adding Twitter to their marketing portfolio. Along with Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter is a great way to reach potential customers, share industry knowledge and connect with experts (or become one). But Twitter is more than sharing what’s on your mind or spreading a link to your webpage six times a day. There are proven ways to make your business Twitter feed better – and here they are.

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When you create your Twitter profile, pick a communication objective. What kind of information do you want to share with your audience? And what kind of audience do you want? Some industries can be very specific and coming up with tweets might seem pretty difficult. In that case, try and create a broader objective. For example, a company that sells cloud technology to other businesses could pick a wider topic like office efficiency and productivity. These topics apply to virtually any professional, including the ones in your target market.

Along with your objective, it’s crucial to have a strategy. There are specific times that are best to tweet, when you will get the most viewers, interactions and shares. Since this varies by industry and location, there’s no blanket time to tweet, but a quick Google search can provide a good guide specific to your sector. With that information, plan when you are going to tweet and what you are going to say. Also decide how many tweets will link to your website and how many will link to other industry websites. It’s important to share both types of links so you aren’t seen as completely self-serving. Again, there is no magic answer for every industry; you will need to plan, execute your strategy, review what works and what doesn’t and make changes along the way.

When you’re at the next step, which is creating your content, remember to make it readable and relatable. Even though it’s a company account, it can still have personality. Ask questions, make comments and even crack jokes if it’s appropriate. In other words, be human! Try to create content that you think your audience will want to share. Why? More exposure for your company from peers instead of via advertising. Don’t tweet at people, tweet to them. With your objective and strategy, this will be easy and you’re sure to see results.

My secret weapon when it comes to making the Twitter feed better is social network scheduling services, like Hootsuite. This service will let you create and schedule your tweets in advance. Instead of meticulously watching the clock and tweeting every hour on the hour, you can plan days, weeks or months in advance. This also allows you the opportunity to focus on interacting day-to-day instead of creating and sending content. These platforms can also help with your Twitter analytics.

Tracking retweets will help you gauge how shareable your content is. In Hootsuite, you can use one of your columns to do this, it’s called My Tweets Retweeted. Keeping an eye on how your follower base increases (or decreases) will give you an accurate feel for what you’re doing right (or wrong). You can even count the amount of favorites your content gets so you can create similar content. While ‘favoriting’ a tweet isn’t as impactful as retweeting it, it still shows that a member of your audience liked the content, agreed with the content or at the very least appreciated it. Implementing these tactics is a step in the right direction, towards a popular, well-followed, retweeted Twitter account, which really results in leads, sales and increased profit for your company.

If you are in charge of the Twitter account for your company, remember, people connect with humans, not logos or brands. While the strategy for a business Twitter account should be an intregal part of an overall marketing and business strategy, it still needs to have a human voice and interact with followers as a person, not a business.

What Twitter tips would you offer?

Facebook Privacy Basics

In an effort to make their terms and policies easier to understand and to control, Facebook is rolling out Privacy Basics on January 1, 2015.The post, in it’s entirety is featured below.

Updating Our Terms and Policies: Helping You Understand How Facebook Works and How to Control Your Information

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Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features and controls to help you get more out of Facebook, and listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information.
Now, with Privacy Basics, you’ll get tips and a how-to guide for taking charge of your experience on Facebook. We’re also updating our termsdata policy and cookies policy to reflect new features we’ve been working on and to make them easy to understand.
These updates take effect on January 1, 2015. As always, we welcome your feedback about our policies.
Privacy Basics
Privacy Basics offers interactive guides to answer the most commonly asked questions about how you can control your information on Facebook. For example, you can learn about untagging, unfriending, blocking and how to choose an audience for each of your posts. This information is available in 36 languages.
Along with our privacy checkupreminder for people posting publicly and simplified audience selectors, Privacy Basics is the latest step we’ve taken to help you make sure you’re sharing with the people you want.
Helping you get more out of Facebook
Every day, people use our apps and services to connect with the people, places and things they care about. The updates to our policies reflect the new products we’ve been working on to improve your Facebook experience. They also explain how our services work in a way that’s easier to understand. Here are some highlights:
Discover what’s going on around you: We’re updating our policies to explain how we get location information depending on the features you decide to use. Millions of people check into their favorite places and use optional features like Nearby Friends (currently only available in some regions). We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.
Make purchases more convenient: In some regions, we’re testing a Buy button that helps people discover and purchase products without leaving Facebook. We’re also working on new ways to make transactions even more convenient.
Find information about privacy on Facebook at the moment you need it: To make them more accessible, we moved tips and suggestions to Privacy Basics. Our data policy is shorter and clearer, making it easier to read.
Understand how we use the information we receive: For example, understanding battery and signal strength helps make sure our apps work well on your device. We ask for permission to use your phone’s location when we offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts.
Get to know how the family of Facebook companies and apps work together: Over the past few years, Facebook has grown and we want to make sure you know about our family of companiesapps and services. We use the information we collect to improve your experience. For example, if you’re locked out of your Instagram account, you can use your Facebook information to recover your password. Nothing in our updates changes the commitments that Instagram, WhatsApp and other companies have made to protect your information and your privacy.
Your information and advertising: People sometimes ask how their information is shared with advertisers. Nothing is changing with these updates—we help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who you are. Learn more about adsand how you can control the ads you see.
Giving you more control over ads
We’ve heard from some of you that it can be difficult to control the types of ads you see if you use multiple devices and browsers. In the past, if you opted out of certain kinds of advertising on your laptop, that choice may not have been applied for ads on your phone. We know that many people use more than one phone, tablet or browser to access Facebook, so it should be easy for you to make a single choice that applies across all of your devices.
That’s why Facebook respects the choices you make about the ads you see, across every device. You can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites you use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When you tell us you don’t want to see these types of ads, your decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook. Also, we’re now making ad preferences available in additional countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
We hope these updates improve your experience. Protecting people’s information and providing meaningful privacy controls are at the core of everything we do, and we believe these announcements are an important step.

So what does this mean to the average Facebook user?  More simple controls over your privacy, right at your fingertips. This has needed to happen for some time now, and Facebook is finally responding to requests for a more simplistic and easier to understand policy system.  BUT, as with all terms of service within the digital world, these privacy controls are only as good as the user. So take this opportunity to review Privacy Basics and to review your own privacy settings on Facebook and other social platforms.

Lunch N Learn with ZAAR Design Center

One of the great aspects of social media is the opportunity for strangers to connect through a shared interest, platform, hobby or need.  My plans to speak at ZAAR Design Center, as part of the Spring High Point Furniture Market is an example of a need, someone reaching out and plans set in motion thanks to social media.

Ruth Olbrych, the owner of ZAAR Design Center contacted me on February 12th after her friend, Alicia Connolly forward to Ruth a conversation I had on Twitter with Dana Helms, Social Media Manager at Social North. Dana is also involved with an amazing organization, WithIt.  Due to our open conversation on Twitter about WithIt, Alicia mentioned to Ruth that I may be interested in speaking to a group at the Spring Furniture Market in High Point.

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The subsequent emails and phone conversations with Ruth, has led to the ZAAR Design Center hosting a Lunch and Learn on Sunday, April 6th at their showroom in High Point. I will talk with their guests about How Best Maximize Your Social Media Presence as a Designer.  You can pre-register for the event here:   Lunch N Learn + Jewelry/Accessory Sale

How Do I, as an Interior Designer, Maximize My Social Media Presence?

The Social Media map changes at such a rapid pace it can be daunting to know where you should be focusing your energies for maximum impact for your Interior Design business. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, Google Plus, Linked In. Which portal serves you best?  Hint: Might not be what you think. What are the keystones for a Social Media plan? Yes, it can be manageable.

For me, this Lunch and Learn is an opportunity to talk about my passion, social media, as well as network with professionals within the furniture and design industries. For Ruth, it is an opportunity to showcase her Design Center and to provide the Designers in attendance with valuable information that can help their business and industry.  Truly a win-win; something I see every day within social media.

If you are attending the High Point Furniture Marketing this April, we hope you can join us for our Lunch N Learn at the ZAAR Design Center!

2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

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In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

25 Blogging Tips on List 25

Thanks to my friend Misty McPadden, (@mistygirlph) I was recently included in a terrific resource post: 25 Blogging Tips You Need to Learn Today.  List25 was started by David Pegg (@iamdpegg) and Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi). The site compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects.

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My tips for this post encourages bloggers to  “Use Your Voice” when writing.  Allow me to expand on what I submitted for the article.

  • Write as you speak. When you write, make sure you are writing the same way you speak, using your words and your manner of speaking. For some reason when most of us sit in front of a screen to prepare an article or blog post, we try to write as someone else, not as ourselves.  Think about how you speak; how you carry on conversations with your friends or colleagues. Write in the same manner and vocabulary that you use daily.
  • Write for one person. As my manager told me when I was a new DJ at a radio station; picture yourself talking to one person, or having a conversation with one person. Obviously you want a lot of people to read your blog, but write it as if you were writing for just one person. This goes along with writing as you speak; if you write your posts in the same manner that you would speak in, the readers will get to know you.
  • Record yourself.  Yes, we all hate to listen to ourselves, but this can be a very valuable process. Recording yourself talking about the blog topic will help you to write as you speak and can help you avoid writers block. Relax and talk about the topic, then listen back to the recording and write your post! This can also help you to make sure you are not forgetting an important point in your post.
  • Don’t Post Just to Post. Regular blog posts are essential for your business and can greatly improve your search engine rankings; however, posting just to post is wasted time and space. It can also potentially alienate your readers.

Those are some of my tips; what are your favorites? Thank you again to Misty for asking me to be part of List25!

Own and Protect Your Content!

Other than the devastating news out of Oklahoma, the digital world is buzzing this week over the news that Yahoo has purchased blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Or as some are now referring to it: Yumblr.  It is too early in this process to know what plans Yahoo has for Tumblr, but one thing is for sure: Tumblr will change. Tumblr subscribers will either embrace the changes or they will leave. In droves.

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Image Courtesy of Slate

 

In March 2012, the headline was Twitter Buys Posterous. Many people speculated that Posterous would stay around; that Twitter only wanted the owners/management team but would leave the product alone.  Alas, that was not the case. Posterous shut down May 31, 2013.

[Read more…]

John’s Law

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If you are a regular ready of my blog, you know that I recently participated in the Orange County Social Media Summit.  The cornerstone of my presentation at the #OCSMS, and my business in general is promoting others more than I promote myself.  I still promote my own business through various channels and communities, but promoting others is more important to me. 

I believe in promoting others so much that I have developed a scheduled activity to ensure it is part of my business. I call it John’s Law.  The basis of the law is this: spend one day per week promoting others more than myself.

Let’s take a look at how I approach this:

John’s Law

  • One day per week, I promote someone from my network or community.
  • This promotion focuses on their business or a cause they are passionate about or possibly an upcoming event.
  • I enlist others throughout my network and communiites to re-share and Retweet.
  • I ask permission first, and then ask if there may be areas of their business that needs more attention or more promotion.
  • I follow up by asking them who they need to meet.

This is old-fashioned, referral based marketing. I am promoting others, after gaining their permission and finding out what they need or want promoted and then I further the promotion by introducing these professionals to my network and communities. 

You may be asking yourself, “what does he get out of this?” I’m glad you asked. I get the satisifaction of promoting others; or doing something that’s not about me. It provides my friends and associates with an opportunity to gain new contacts and potentially business opportunities while building my relationship with the person that is being promoted.

So, I ask you; Who Are You Promoting Today?

11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

I originally noticed this post by Jay Baer via a share on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop service. It is an interesting read on the current state of Social Media in America based upon statistics. I fully agree with the “Check-in” phenomenon; it really never has caught on if you compare FourSquare’s users to Facebook users. It is also interesting to see how much our purchasing decisions have become influenced by Facebook.Do you agree or disagree?

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You think social media is reaching maturity, and the whipsaw behavioral shifts that change like a Dwight Howard trade request are things of the past? Uhhh, no. Released yesterday at Blogworld New York, findings from social media behavioral researcher Tom Webster and the team at Edison Research show some shocking changes in how Americans use and consume social media. You can access the entire presentation at The Social Habit microsite, but 11 social media statistics in particular stood out for me. Two quick notes: This is not data dredging. This is real, random sample, tightly controlled research from the same company that is the exclusive provider of Presidential exit polls in the USA. This is the last time the entire research from Edison will be released for free. It???s just too valuable to be given away wholesale ??? considering it costs tens of thousands of dollars to produce. But, you can get exclusive access to the Social Habit research when it???s refreshed and expanded in early Fall. Sign up now for a sneak peek. And if you???re interested in including a question about your company or a category of social media usage of particular interest to your organization, that may be an option (click for details, fees apply). I???m partnering with Edison Research, Jason Falls, and Mark Schaefer on the next round of these findings, so you???ll be hearing more throughout the summer. But for now, here are 11 Shocking Social Media Statistics:

Social Media Statistics Twitter Users Lean Towards teh Democratic Party 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click on chart to access entire Social Habit report

1. Twitter users are 33% more likely to be Democrats

An interesting finding, and representative of the type of custom queries we can answer for you in the next round of the Social Habit, this edition found that 40% of Twitter users are Democrats, compared to 30% of the U.S. population overall.The percentage of Republications and Independents on Twitter mirrors the U.S. average almost precisely.

2. The ???Check-in??? is the phenomenon that never happened

74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3% have ever checked in. Even more damning, is that 4% had checked in when surveyed in 2011. This is a 25% decrease in check in behaviors in a single year. It???s not going to rebound, which is why Foursquare???s play is to be the new Yelp.

3. Only 33% of Americans have ever followed a brand in social media

From 2010 to 2012 the percentage of Americans following any brand on a social network has gone from 16% to 33%. This is a sharp increase, but looked at from the opposite perspective, it???s shocking to me that 2/3 of Americans using social networks have never followed a brand.Companies still have substantial room for growth in connecting with customers and fans on social networks.

4. 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site

This is up from 52% just last year, and 48% in 2010. How high can this climb? Certainly, there are sizable chunks of the populace that will never join a social networking site, but it???s amazing to consider that significantly more Americans (12 years old and up) have a social networking profile than do not.

Social Media Statistics 45 to 54 year old users  11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click chart to download entire report

5. 55% of Americans 45-54 have a profile on a social networking site

It???s not just for kids any more. The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45-54 year olds, who now exhibit participation matching the U.S. average. The only group that is below average are 55 Americans, and even 3 out of 10 of them are in the social networking game.

6. 22% of Americans use social networking sites several times per day

It really is a ???Social Habit???. In the past year, 12 million more Americans are using social networking many times daily.How many other things do we do several times per day? It???s not a long list.

7. Huge uptick in Facebook???s influence on purchase

Last year, 68% of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36% said that there was no influence. Now, 47% say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior(compared to just 24% in 2011). Incidentally, Twitter ranks below ???other??? at 5%. If you want to drive purchase behaviors within social networks, Facebook is the one and only game to play, statistically speaking.

8. Facebook via mobile continues to be a major factor

54% of Facebook members have used the social network via a phone, and 33% use a phone as their primary way to access Facebook. This despite the fact that the Facebook mobile experience and mobile apps are mediocre, at best. Here???s hoping the Instagram guys can jump start it. If so, watch for these numbers to soar.

Social Media Statistics 22 percent of Americans have social habit 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click the chart to download entire report

9. Facebook is the most addicting of the social networks

23% of Facebook???s users check their account five or more times EVERY DAY. The mean number of daily look-ins by Facebook users is 4. Are we really so interesting that we have to keep up with our friends??? inanities every 90 minutes? Evidently, yes.

10. Twitter will have an easier time making changes to its core service that Facebook does.

53% of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19% for Facebook. This means that Twitter???s user base doesn???t have long-term, deep seated expectations for what Twitter is or should be. It will be interesting to see if Twitter doubles down on this advantage, and continues to hang ornaments on the functionality Christmas tree.

11. 76% of Twitter users now post status updates

This is one of the biggest behavioral changes of the past two years. In 2010, the Social Habit research found that just 47% of Twitter users actually sent tweets, with more than half the user base in listen-only mode. The overwhelming majority of new Twitter users are active tweeters, driving the overall average to 76%.   In the next edition of The Social Habit, we???ll be looking at YouTube, social video, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. Plus, if you???ve got questions you???d like to ask thousands of Americans via the best social media research methodology available, let???s talk. Get on the list for The Social Habit now. Which of these 11 is the most shocking social media statistic? I???ll go with #7 and #11. You?

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Posterous is Joining the Flock at Twitter

Big news: Posterous has been acquired by Twitter!

The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn???t be happier about bringing our team???s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe. Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.

Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We???ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we???ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.

You can find more information answers to other questions you may have here.

Finally, we???d like to offer thanks to all of our users, especially those who have been with Posterous since day one. The last four years have been an amazing journey. Your encouragement, praise and criticism have made us better.  Thanks for that. We look forward to building great things for you over at Twitter.

By now you have probably heard the news; Twitter has purchased Posterous. If you read through the FAQ section, there is more than one statement about notifications and instructions on moving your blog. To me and others, this means that eventually Posterous will cease to exist. That is a shame. While I support companies growing and buying other companies that compliment their brand; it’s sad to see growing and thriving technologies cease when this happens.

31 Unexpected Perks of Blogging You???ll Never Want to Give Up

ProBlogger published a post over the weekend from Uttoran Sen of traveltamed.com.

The post, entitled 31 Unexpected Perks of Blogging You’ll Never Want to Give Up can be read in it’s entirity here.

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I have consumed this post several times and bookmarked it to refer back to not only for myself, but as a teaching tool to others that may be on the fence about blogging. The post highlights several great reasons to blog and to keep blogging. 

Whether you are blogging for yourself, your business or just to record your personal thoughts; you will learn from writing. You will inspire others while becoming more knowledgable about your topics.  Jump on in, the water is fine!

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.