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!

Thank you, Teddy Burriss

One of the most exciting aspects of  social media is how a connection can lead to a friendship, a business opportunity or just the ability to connect with someone that has shared experiences and abilities.  Teddy Burriss would fall under the categories of friend, colleague and in some ways a respected mentor.  I have been friends with Teddy for a couple of years now, after initially connecting virtually on Twitter.  Thankfully, we have expanded our social media relationship to one that has included meeting face-to-face whenever possible.  I encourage you to do that as often as you can; meet face-to-face with your connections.

Earlier this year, Teddy reached out to me and asked if I would share a social media success story for a book he was authoring.  I am no fool, of course I said YES to his request!  What followed was a book I highly recommend; and its not because I am featured in it, but because it is a valuable resource on social media and networking. Success Using Social Media hits the nail on the head:  Start By Building Relationships! 

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Click the link, buy or download the book and start building those relationships!  I encourage you to start by connecting with Mr. Burris.

Update Your Social Bio’s

A few weeks ago, I asked the following question on my Facebook Page:

“How often do you update your social media bio’s?”

Responses to the question ranged from, “not often enough” to “not lately” to “just last week.” But the response that made an impact to me was from Amanda Wright, CEO of Learning Connections. Amanda stated that she updated her bio’s the first of every month. I thought, what a great idea! Now normally I update my bio’s every month or two , but thanks to Amanda, I have actually scheduled it as a task on my calendar  month.

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Used under Creative Common License via Flickr

So, how often do you update your bio’s? I suggest you follow Amanda’s suggestion as I have, schedule the update on your calendar!

Why would you want to update them monthly?  Here are three quick reasons as to why:

1. You gain new followers and friends on a monthly basis, so make sure they have the updated information about what is important about you.

2. You may want to attract a different group of followers. As an example, if you work in education, you may want to focus your bio on your field of study to gain followers or connections in education.

3. Hobbies and interests change. If your new hobby is sailing, then use some keywords that related to sailing in your bio.

Social media, just like business, changes on a daily basis. You gain new followers, you lose followers, interests change, or your market can change. Change with your market and your interest; update your bio’s monthly.

Let me know in the comments below when you last updated your bio’s!  In the meantime, please excuse me; I need to update my own bio’s!

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.

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What Are Your Intentions?

Do you ever wonder what people’s intentions are, based on their actions? What about businesses and their intentions?
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Photo used under a Creative Commons license.

 

Intentions of Businesses
I have been thinking about how businesses approach their audience or potential audience.  How they communicate with their clients, prospective clients, referral partners or vendors. Do they approach these activities with the intention of selling something? Do they approach the interactions with the intention of building a network or as my friend Sarah Robinson would say, building a “Fiercely Loyal Community?” [Read more…]

Self Promotion Is A Social Turn Off

n Sh I enjoy working closely with the team at The Social Buzz Lab; true professionals that know their stuff! I recently published this post on their site and wanted to share it here. Do you know people that constantly promote only themselves via their social channels? Does it turn you off as much as it does the rest of us?

 

Self Promotion makes me sick! Doesn’t it you?8

If you will indulge me just a bit, this post is going to be a combination of ranting against something that irritates me along with thoughts and action steps on how to “not be that person.” Because let’s face it, no one wants to be that person!

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You Can’t Please Everyone….So Stop Trying!

During a recent weekend getaway, I received a Twitter DM from a follower that stated, “Bye u ignore me so gone.” My first reaction was lthe same as most people, scratching my head and wondering why they felt like I had ignored them Since I was away for the weekend and taking an unsual break from Twitter, I decided to not respond until my rest and relaxation was over; and until I had time to think through my response to this person. In pondering how to respond, I decided to not respond at all. Why? Because if that person felt like I had ignored them, were my words going to change their mind? Probably not. At least in my opinion.

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Traveling For Business The Right Way ~ Guest Post

It’s no secret that we travel less for business than in the past. With Skype, GoToMeeting and other technological advancements, many companies have stopped traveling if possible.  This guest post from Logan Baker with Jet Charters in Knoxville, TN may change your mind.

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Photo by Andy Rusch used under Creative Commons License. 

Traveling for business the right way

 Lately it seems like business travel is getting a bad rap. Depending on your business, travel expenditures can be one of the first things on the chopping block. It’s often easy to justify cutting out the cost of sending people all over the place, but the costs associated with that philosophy can be quite significant. Travel is a great way to invest in your business, but only when it’s handled correctly. Read on to find out how you can maximize the return on your business travel investment.

Travel with purpose

 Think about your previous business travels. Why did you go? Who did you see? How much profit did the trip generate? The first two questions are probably pretty easy to answer, but that might not be the case with the third. The vast majority of business trips can and should generate revenue. You should approach business travel like any other revenue stream in your business plan. How much is it going to cost, and what kind of returns should you expect? More importantly, what does the historical data say about whether the trip is worth it in the first place? If you haven’t been analyzing your travel like everything else then now is the time to start. Every trip should include a purpose, a goal (revenue or otherwise), and proper tracking for the future. Put the analytical skills you’ve perfected to good use here!

Travel with efficiency

 You can almost never go wrong with efficiency. Making efficiency a part of your company culture will increase your returns in nearly every sector. Business travel is no different, but it often requires some creative thinking to get the job done. Many business trips are for a specific purpose. Sometimes you might be making a trip to see your best customer and reassure them that you’re doing a great job, and other times you’ll be traveling for lead generation. Whatever your primary goal, it’s likely you’re going to have some down time you can put to good use. If you’re there for your customer, don’t be afraid to go out and land some leads when you can. You could spend the extra time sightseeing, but that’s what you do on vacation. Business trips should be — not surprisingly — all business.

 Efficiency also refers to your travel time. You can probably find cheap flights if you’re willing to endure a heap of connections and layovers. Saving money is good, but not when it means you’ll be losing out on the most valuable resource of all: Time. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to get more time once it’s gone. Remember this fact of life when you’re booking your next flight and go direct. If you want total control you can even hire a private flight. Your time is worth more than any small savings you might realize by tacking on hours to your overall trip time.

 Travel with calm

Productivity and efficiency are going to suffer if the travel stresses you out. Some of the stress will disappear if you follow the advice above and book direct flights, but not all. The best way to avoid stressful travels involves a long-term commitment. You should already be practicing stress reduction techniques to increase your chances of business success. The same techniques will work when you’re traveling, but only if you’re in good practice. Check out Amazon for books and DVDs on meditation, yoga, or exercise. Your technique of choice should be something you enjoy so it’s that much easier to implement it in your daily life. If teaching yourself doesn’t work out, then hire an expert to get the job done. Any expenditure in this area will pay for itself in increased productivity. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of de-stressing then it will be no problem to do the same on your business trip.

You’ll get returns from your business travel in no time if you follow the tips above. Happy travels!

 Author’s bio: Logan is a guest writer and private air charter expert. His business trips usually depart from Teterboro airport, which is his favorite.