Babbling B’s Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

About six months ago, we launched a social media strategy at my company. It’s been an interesting process that I’ve been dying to share with everyone. I’m no expert, but I think there’s a lot of value in sharing my process. Twitter has been the most interesting, so we’ll start there.

Step 1: Define Strategy
This is the part where you have to prove: Why Twitter? Twitter was a good fit for our company for a few major reasons: Our competitors were active, our customers were present and talking about us, and it would be a good channel to expand communication and participate in the conversation.  Twitter can be used for communications, customer support, thought leadership or promotions. If you’re not 100% sure which strategy will work best, don’t worry.  Your community will drive you to what they want.

Step 2: Monitor
Through the initial research for strategy, I set up searches in Twitter so I could keep an eye on what people were saying. I found industry leaders and key customers on Twitter so I could see what they were talking about and what they were saying about us. I monitored what the competition did and what people were saying about them. I truly think this is one of the most important parts of social media, and proving active communities piques management’s interest.

Step 3: Educate
Start spreading the news! Oftentimes, you’ll have to present, explain and evangelize Twitter – it’s not always easy for your company’s stakeholders to understand. I really did Steps 1-3 simultaneously, leading to…

Step 4: Gain Buy-in and Write the Plan
When I knew things were catching on, I started tying together the monitoring and strategy into a formal plan, addressing the concerns you’ve come across in the process. Make sure you have everything in Step 5 and 6 outlined so that it’s easy to implement once you have signoff!

Step 5: Build an Editorial Calendar and Crisis Plan
Once you’ve brought everything together and gained the buy-in, make sure you have developed a crisis plan to tackle negative comments. For us, it was making sure I had a chain of command with backups so I could quickly address questions that I may not be able to answer myself. I also built a 90-day editorial calendar to prove we had enough content to provide value, keep the content fresh and slowly generate conversation.

Step 6: Build Your Profile
Now comes the fun part! You should have everything specified for your profile, including your profile name, webpage you plan to link to, a short bio and a background to pretty up your page!

Step 7: Posting and Profile Management
Start posting! You’ll probably want to find a tool to use to manage your account and track your posting. One that I use is Hootsuite. It has a built-in URL shortener, it’s easy to track clicks on your URLs and very easy to set up your monitoring  – so everything is in one spot!

Step 8: Promote
Emails, press releases, websites, email signatures… include Twitter in everything so you build your network! You can also use lots of widgets to cross-post your Twitter content to your websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc.

Step 9: Engage
Now that you’ve posted, start engaging. Begin responding to those that are posting about your company – both good and bad. You’ll be surprised how quickly the negative comments are turned around!

Step 10: Repeat
Start over. Reassess and continue to tweak processes. Continue to engage. Your customers will let you know what information they want from you. This isn’t a one-time deal – this is an ongoing investment in your customer community.

Social Media CupcakesI have a presentation for my company tomorrow on Social Media. It’s a Lunch and Learn, so I figured I could at least provide dessert. Behold, social media cupcakes!

I came up with this idea initially and wasn’t sure if it would actually come to fruition. Some may call it being bored, but I call it being inspired by awesome social media entrepreneurs like @foiledcupcakes. I decided to spend my Thursday night baking up a storm and creating banana and chocolate fudge cupcakes topped with Twitter, Facebook and Yammer icons made out of Lorna Doone cookies and icing.

I decided to share my masterpiece with you – enjoy!

Ingredients: Cake Mix + ingredients, white icing, Lorna Doone 100 Cal packs, blue cookie icing.

How-to: Bake the cupcakes per the cake mix package directions. Put blue cookie icing on the backside of the mini Lorna Doone Cookies and let set. Put a spoonful of white icing into a ziplock bag and poke a very small hole in one of the corners. I practiced creating the letters for a while before I actually started to pipe them onto the cookies. Lastly, I iced each cupcake with the white icing and put an iced cookie on top. Voila!

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

Creating the icons

Creating the Icons

Assembling the Cupcakes

Assembling the Cupcakes

Yummy Social Media Cupcakes!

Yummy Social Media Cupcakes!

diving-boardThis post appeared on VitaminIMC – Medill IMC’s student-run blog.

While some companies are slowly dipping their toes into the social media waters, Whole Foods Market has dove in! Over the past eight months, Whole Foods’ social media presence has grown from corporate accounts to over 120 Twitter profiles and 97 Facebook pages.

Whole Foods is often cited as a social media success, but the details of its amazing tactics are what make them unique – taking a completely decentralized approach to their social media strategy. They have taken the close interaction between Whole Foods employees and consumers, along with team member empowerment and applied it to their social media strategy to create local relationships. This grassroots approach has fueled the explosion of their social media presence while supporting their corporate values system.

Their social media accounts range from umbrella corporate accounts to individual accounts for store locations. There are accounts that cover the many locations for metro-areas (think @WholeFoodsCHI) and topic-specific accounts discussing such topics as wine or cheese. They even created a social media presence around their participation at Bonnaroo.

Some may criticize such a fragmented approach to their social media, but Whole Foods learned from their experiences with their corporate social media accounts and expanded to fit their customer’s needs. They started to see that customers had very specific questions about local stores and quickly adapted, adding social media into the local marketing mix. Liz Bootz, the marketing team leader for Whole Foods Oakland, provides support to customers on Twitter. “One of the things I like best about being on Twitter is if a customer has a question, I can tweet the answer to them and provide that information to 200 other customers at the same time,” she said.

Other companies should follow their lead and apply unique company culture traits to social media, taking a personal and on-brand approach to their online presence. Their responsive, customer-centric method has seemed to work judging by the numbers. Whole Foods Twitter accounts recently reached one million followers.

If you’ve read my previous post, I’m a big fan of Nike+ and the way Nike is creating a social community with their website. It gets better: I found Nike+ applications for Twitter and Facebook!

I’ve been using the Twitter application for some time now. It’s really easy to set up. Just visit www.twiike.com and follow the instructions. Every time you sync a run, it will automatically generate a Twitter post for you. It also uses the #nikeplus hashtag, so you can find other people who are syncing runs and connect with them.

Nike+ status update on Twitter

Nike+ status update on Twitter

I just set up the Facebook application, so I haven’t had as much experience with it. I turned off my status updates, but it still posts my run to my profile. Search for ‘Nike+ Running Monitor’ within facebook, and follow the instruction on adding the application. This process has a few more steps and is a little more confusing that the Twitter app, but it’s still worth the effort.

Nike+ update on Facebook

Nike+ update on Facebook

Since my Twitter and Facebook profiles have pretty different audiences, I’m excited to see the new feedback I’ll be receiving. This adds to the community of runners nicely. Now, not only can Nike+ users see how my running is going on the Nike website, but I constantly have people offering encouragement and kudos. It really adds to my accountability to run, too.

Think of Nike+ social networks like the angel on your shoulder saying “everyone’s going to know if you stop running, keep it up!”

Twitter messages with ‘secret’ ways to ‘make money fast’ and get ‘thousands of followers’ make me want to unfollow… What’s worse than those spammy messages? Getting an automated ‘Thank you for following me’ message with the same content. What a horrible first impression!

I’m on the fence on automated direct messages on Twitter. As a marketer, I understand the importance of welcoming your new follower, and how these welcome messages can help drive traffic to your website, blog, offer, etc. So I set out (with help from some awesome Tweeps) to find the best and worst of the auto-DMs we’ve received with hopes to shed some light on how to do DMs ‘right’. Author’s identities have been protested to save them from public Twitter humiliation.

Auto-DM Don’ts:

  1. DON’T cover up a good cause or message with a SPAM-like offer: Here’s a message I got that I completely ignored:
    Save approx. $1000/yr and save earth at the same time, learn better energy source-http://websiteaddress.com
    This is a great cause – saving the earth! Starting with money-savings instantly makes you glaze over in anti-spam mode.
  2. DON’T be too good to be true: Sure, maybe it’s possible. You always hear the stories. 2 good 2 be trueBut if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  3. DON’T send duplicate welcome messages: Hmm… Spam?Spammy Twitter
  4. DON’T send messages that alienate your audience: An email industry expert sent me this DM he received: Thanks for the Follow! Let me know if you have any questions about email marketing. Ironic, right? He got a kick out of it. Think about your audience, and don’t alienate other ‘experts’ in your field – you’ll want to make connections with them!

Lessons learned: Proofread your message before you post it. Ask someone’s opinion. Then ask someone else. Don’t offer something that seems too good to be true. Would you want to receive that message? Would you click through? TEST your Auto-DMs to ensure it isn’t broken.

Auto-DM Do’s:

  1. DO make it about your follower: It’s all about them. Make your message be follower-centric.all about you
  2. DO ask a question DO ask people to Tweet you: Start the conversation right away. That’s what Twitter is all about! @SloanInnovation Hey Thanks for the follow! How did you get such a great list of followers?
  3. DO show some personality: Let them know something about you through showing your humor, friendliness, or that you like to have FUN! @carvideoguy Hi there, Twitter Is Designed To Be A Big Party, Lets Have Fun, Enjoy My Quotations
  4. DO tell people what they are clicking on: Do you really want to click on a condensed URL if you don’t know what’s behind it? It only takes one dirty link from someone else to teach your followers NOT to click on your undescribed link. Let them know what they get when they click through. @CustomerMgmt IQ Thanks for the follow! Check out http://tinyurl.com/dcmqsg for more info on Customer Service, Mgmt, Call Centers & more

Lessons learned: Just as in business, it’s all about the customer! No one really wants to hear about you. They want to hear what’s in it for them. What is following YOU going to help THEM with? Don’t worry about having a URL or link in the auto-DM – if your message is done right, they will click on your profile to find out more about you and click on your website link on there.

So, I still haven’t set up my auto-DM – have you? Let me know what it is! I am open to suggestions.

Special thanks to @danpereira!

The things I’ve learned thus far in my Twitter conquest are quite interesting. No, I haven’t learned how to get rich quick or gain a million followers. Reflecting on the time I spend on Twitter, it’s such a different experience than with any other social media programs I’ve taken part in. When I explain what Twitter is to nonusers, I continually mention the same things over and over. The crazy thing: it’s not just applicable to Twitter – it’s applicable to your life, your work and your personal relationships. Crazy, huh?

So here are the top three things I’ve learned on Twitter (Twitter Teachings, get it?):

  1. Engage in the conversation: Talk with your followers. It’s not about how many people you follow or vice-versa; it’s about engaging in relevant conversations that are beneficial to both parties. While this concept is painfully obvious on Twitter, it’s amazing that more companies don’t realize the benefits of this concept. Engage in conversation with your customers, even after they’ve purchased! The more you engage and interact with your customers, the better you will be able to anticipate their future needs and thus meet them with your products. Better yet, the more you engage, the more you’ll uncover evangelists singing the praises of your product!
  2. Give more, get more: The more you give, the more you get. Seems self explanatory. The more you comment on blog posts, retweet (RT) topics, and give solid information in your arena, the more your networks responds positively to you and returns the favor. It’s cyclical. It’s karma. Pay it forward. Whatever you call it, everyone benefits (especially you!).
  3. It’s all about relationships: You begin to build relationships after a few sub-140 character exchanges. For me, it means adding you to my ‘favorites’ group on Tweetdeck. I don’t want to miss your Tweets and I was to be able to share my advice with you. In turn, I hope when I have my random ‘how-to’ or ‘have you ever’ questions, you will respond. You #followfriday each other. It’s a beautiful thing.

So get engaged in the conversation. Start adding like-minded people, begin contributing to the conversation, commenting on tweets and building your relationship. Oh, and add me so I can be a part of it: @brandiheinz

What have you learned on Twitter?

Check out my post on ‘My Twitter Experiment‘. Very exciting!

Sean Malarkey gives some really great advice on optimizing the use of Twitter!

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