Twitter is a micro blogging platform that enables businesses to communicate with customers, suppliers, staff, competitors (yes I said it competitors) and friends. In this new world of online and mobile marketing we can, as business owners ill afford to let the power of social media escape us. Millions of tweets are sent each minute from millions of users at work, commuting, in the pub, at events, watching TV or even shopping.
Why is it important? Twitter has been called many things but my favourite phrase is “word of mouth on steroids”. You can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you’ve had a great—or disappointing—experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.
So what do people say to each other on twitter? Well there’s a lot of techno chat from individuals who clearly spend a great deal of time on the internet, there are braggers and boasters who just want the world to know how wonderful they are there are people like us who have brands to promote and web content to drive people to. There are of course the celebrities who we find fascinating –
Actually my view on this is that with celebrities we already feel as though we know them. Stephen Fry @stephenfry for example has lived his private life very often the public eye and with his depression, huge intellect and wit makes him a “real” person that many feel they would like to count as a friend. So when he micro blogs about odd things we make an allowance based upon our knowing his character. Unfortunately too many “non celebrities” feel that they can share random moments from their day and expect others to be interested…it doesn’t always work unless you too can be entertaining.
One of the strengths and sometimes frustrations of Twitter is that it only lets you write and read messages of up to 140 characters. That’s good if you have a tendency to waffle but not if it takes you a long time to condense that message – it defeats the whole object of Twitter.
People who regularly use twitter have created strong networks of like minded individuals who share news, tips and help each other out with signposting when they have a specific need. There is also the additional entertainment value and friendship that can be gained via building such connections.
In many ways, despite being a new medium Twitter mirrors real life – we are mostly social creatures who like to belong to a community or network. Twitter allows this to take place in a safe and secure space, your space. You can control who is in your network and participate in wider conversations.
Traditionally via a PC or laptop but increasingly via smartphones and tablets using downloaded applications such as TwitBirdpro or TweetDeck.
When you combine messages that are quick to write, easy to read, public, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere, you’ve got a powerful, real-time way to communicate. And real-time communication is turning out to be a very useful medium for businesses seeking to convey key messages and tap into current trends.
For some time I struggled with the concept of twitter, was it texting with added features, PR for business, delivery mechanism for driving visitors to your website, networking opportunity, news & info gathering, chat room! Actually it’s all of this and more which is why so many of us, who like to have neat pigeon holes for our marketing tools have struggled to get a handle on twitter.
My light bulb moment with twitter came to me one day when at home with the kids having the usual battle to decide what to watch on TV. We have digital TV and 100’s of channels and it set me thinking about the proliferation of content and the absence of quality…funnily enough I made the connection with twitter. Each twitter account is it’s own mini interactive TV station, producing output and getting instant feedback but without the red button!– the mega tweeters are the equivalent of BBC, SKY, ITV etc.. the main channels then you work your way down to niche channels comedy tweets from the “Dave” equivalent or Sports – you can see where I’m going.
Think about your personal twitter account – what do you broadcast? Who’s your audience how much interaction do you receive and how many adverts do you send? Thinking of your tweets as broadcast media you begin to have a slightly different view.
The speed, accessibility and popularity of Twitter make it a very powerful communication tool. But to make the most of it you do need to observe some simple rules.
Firstly decide what your message is and who the ideal audience would be. For my main Twitter account I’m interested in “local” contacts that I can learn from and who will know people that will help me in my work. I’m also interested in people who are in similar fields. Competitors? well maybe but I don’t see it as an issue – the more open you are with your contacts the greater the experience.
I like positive souls – it’s funny to laugh at the “grumpy old”… shows on TV but we don’t really want to be subjected to the negativity day in day out. You can grow your own network by seeking those who are natural networkers; they’ll help you to get into new groups and areas. People who give of themselves without expecting a reward – people who treat people as they would wish to be treated – you may wish at some point to recruit and where better to start looking than the talent in your own network. Conversely you may be looking for work and again a future employer may be in your network.
In addition in my network and I would suggest worth looking at most business twitter accounts is the local or national media, TV Radio, newspapers, trade press and online news providers they may not follow you back but you can still send press releases in the normal mode and tweet to other followers. Typically you can send your 140 character tweet with a link to longer releases hosted from your website.
When should you Tweet for maximum benefit?
There has been a great deal of debate over the best time to Tweet. My view is that there are certain obvious times in the working day. First thing in the morning, lunchtime and about 4pm.
As for days, there are conflicting reports but the consensus appears to be Thursday/ Friday as peak days followed by Wednesday. Fewer tweets are sent at weekends and they tend to be of a more social nature. In our experience selling on a weekend tends to be frowned upon unless you’re a leisure business selling cheap tickets to an event/ restaurant offer etc…
If you have a number of influential followers it can be useful to know when they are “online” and ready to see your tweets. Keep an eye on their tweet timeline by visiting their profile and seeing when they tweet.
If you have a blog or important announcement you can schedule your message to be sent 3 or 4 times ina 24 hour period through Hootsuite
http://hootsuite.com/ this will ensure that your message gets as much coverage as possible. For general random tweets or conversations this is not necessary.
There are literally hundreds of applications to help you manage your twitter account and add value to the experience. The difficulty is in wading through the forest of solutions to find those that best suit your needs. Here are a few that we would recommend.
Managing multiple social media sites or business accounts:
Tweetdeck http://www.tweetdeck.com/ great for multiple views of multiple accounts
Hootsuite http://hootsuite.com/ – even more functionality and analysis but you pay for it
Seesmic http://seesmic.com/ neat app for keeping on top of multiple accounts
Smart Phone: –TwitBirdpro http://appsto.com/twitbirdpro
Searching to see who’s following/ not following – Justunfollow http://www.justunfollow.com/login.do
Analysis of your profile – Twitalyzer http://www.twitalyzer.com
Who’s talking about your business – Social Mention – http://socialmention.com/
Glossary – some of the terms you may encounter
“@usename”: A tweet sent to another Twitter user.
De-Friend. This is a common social networking term referring to the act of taking someone off of your friends list. De-Follow is a Twitter-specific version.
Dweet: Tweet sent while drunk
Hash Tag: The “#” sign. Allows Twitter users to group tweets by topic, making it easier to search particular conversations using Twitter Search.
Link: Including a URL in your tweet.
MisTweet: A tweet one later regrets.
Microblog. Twitter is often referred to as a microblog because it allows people to update their status using only 140 characters.
Mistweet. Accidentally sending a tweet to the wrong person or regretting the sending of a particular tweet. See Dweets!.
Nudge. An action reminding a user to update their status. You can only do this to someone who follows you.
ReTweet: To repost something that’s already in the Twitter stream. Usually preceeded by “RT” and “@[username],” to give credit to the original poster.
Twadd: To add someone as a friend or follower.
Twaffic. The traffic on Twitter.
Tweeple. Twitter users.
Tweeps. Twitter followers who are your friends potentially on multiple social networks.
Tweet – A message sent via Twitter
Tweeter/Twitterer: Someone who uses Twitter.
Tweetettes – inability to control random tweets
TwinkedIn: Inviting friends made on Twitter to connect on LinkedIn.
Twitterati: The A-list twitterers everyone follows.
Twitterfly: Twitter’s version of a social butterfly, marked by the extreme use of @ signs.
Twitterlooing: Twittering from the bathroom. Not recommended.
Twitterpated: Overwhelmed with Twitter messages.
Tweet Back. Bringing an older tweet back into the conversation
Twitosphere. The collective community of tweeters.
About the author – David Laud is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Marketer and member of the Institutes National Social Media Committee.
He works for i2i Business Solutions LLP a successful marketing consultancy that offers a broad range of support to businesses of all size and sector.
In addition to i2i David heads R2b Media Ltdan e-publishing and Apple App development company providing solutions to a wide range of businesses across the UK.
If life weren’t interesting enough for David he holds the position of CEO of regional law firm Samuel Phillips.
You can follow David on twitter by looking for www.twitter.com/davidlaud or by searching for @davidlaud
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Services from i2i
The information contained in this i2i guide is for information only and is provided as the considered views of one who tweets and twys to keep up with the ever changing social media environment. If you wish to have a more in depth discussion on the benefits and best practice of social media call i2i direct on 08456 446624
© i2i Business Solutions LLP 2010
Definition – Motivation is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behaviour. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. Ok the science bit may be a bit heavy – all I want us to think about today is this – How motivated are we in the things that we do? Work, Family, Sport, Community? I would say that it’s almost impossible to remain “motivated” on a project or goal if we see no personal benefit, even if it’s to keep our job.
Yes I know that’s what motivation is but Im not sure we give it enough thought.
Going back to basics we have good old Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. He starts his pyramid with a foundation of basic needs to keep us alive, safe and comforted by our social circle the top 2 levels Esteem and Self Actualisation are the ones that mostly kick in for most motivations as we live in a society where fortunately the vast majority of the population have their basic needs met.
By way of a personal example Im taking part in this years Great North Run it will be my 7th. My family and I suspect a number of friends and colleagues think running 13.1 miles is sheer madness but somehow every year almost 50,000 do just that and it’s so popular double that number would take part if they could. What motivates so many people to run so far?
They’ll be dozens if not hundreds of different motivational drivers to do the GNR.
For me it’s quite simple, training helps to keep me fit, running de-stresses and helps you to feel positive. That’s a physiological benefit, beyond that I enjoy the sense of achievement in reaching the end. Last but not least is the feeling of altruism gained from taking the pain for a nominated charity and the reward you feel for doing something for others. These are my motivational drivers and they must be fairly strong given the fact it’s getting harder and I’m still plodding on.
So what of other “goals” that we may have? Achieve promotion, a pay rise, greater responsibility. Why do we want these things? Are we jealous of siblings who have achieved more, frustrated by driving the same small car for 5 years or living in a house that’s not big enough for your growing family? These are negative drivers to want to change circumstances but aren’t necessarily enough to see us change things.
Almost every year during the GNR, approximately 8 miles in I start to tire quite badly, it’s due to my training being mostly no more than 6 miles and my brain saying “oi stupido, you’re still running why haven’t you stopped?” at that point I’ve learnt to switch off the neggy nag in my head and instead visualise myself at the end, having a cool drink, a massage, exchanging running tales with fellow sweaty blobs but overall making myself feel that sense of achievement ahead of time. It’s strange but it works. our brains are fantastically powerful tools but most of the time we leave them in autopilot and don’t even think to try and manage it’s processing power.
Now to other personal goals, can you train the brain to see yourself in a better place? Yes I really believe we can and it’s something we should try and work on. For some placing a picture of the car of their dreams on the fridge door or screensaver works, others find time to meditate and project themselves forward to a time when the goal or goals have been achieved. If sceptical of this approach, thinking it’s akin to mumbo jumbo or poor mans Derren Brown start with a simple target. For example I recently decided to improve my cookery skills, Ramsay or Oliver I am certainly not but my repertoire of meals needed work. Each night I take a few minutes before falling asleep thinking of recipe ideas and then preparing, cooking and eating that meal with my family and when the opportunity arises I’ll try one out. You could just say “buy a cook book” but that wouldn’t motivate me to cook. The motivation comes from my desire to be original and delivery in imprinting the experience on my mind. Hopefully my family will survive the experience!
It’s not a unique technique nor 100% guaranteed to work but for me it has proven surprisingly effective.
What motivates people really does interest me. Personally I think the more honest we are with ourselves the better the chances of motivating ourselves to achieve the goal. Back to the GNR one benefit of training is that it not only keeps me fit but it prevents my middle from spreading any further and whilst there are health benefits to this my personal motivation is pure vanity. Such motivators are very personal but tend to be the ones that have the strongest impact and drive our actions to achieve the goal.
If you have a motivational story to share I’d love to hear it please drop me a line in confidence to David.email@example.com
Ok, ok enough already! I love football, like thousands of others I’ll be glued to the TV over the next few weeks, experiencing the highs and no doubt lows of watching our national team compete in South Africa. But do we really need to be bombarded with marketing messages riding on the back of the wave of national expectation?
It hasn’t even started yet and I’m getting tired of the media hype and hysteria over this event. Mostly, as a marketer, I’m cheesed off with the creativley challenged ad agencies touting product off the back of the World Cup and to make the point I’ve listed my starting 11 of World Cup 2010 related advertisements. The vast majority I’d wish had developed ligament or metatarsal damage the shining star of this very average team is Nike.
1. Sony Bravia: Former England managers Terry Venables and Graham Taylor team up with Scottish legend Kenny Dalglish in a nursing home setting as they prepare for the tournament. Doesn’t really work for me.
2. Nationwide: Little Britain’s Matt Lucas and David Walliams (Andy & Lou) meet the England team training. Funny the first time but once you’ve seen the gag….
3. Pepsi: World class players Lampard, Kaka, Henry, Messi, and Arshavin get to play in an African Safari setting with the locals literally changing the goalposts you end up just hoping Messi, who’s lost in the Veldt has a close encounter with that lion.
4. Nike: “Write the Future” Rooney (Hero or Villain), Ribery and Drogba feature with star performance from Ronaldo who gets to meet Homer Simpson – it has everything you want in a World Cup ad it’s my personal favourite.
5. Carlsberg: (If Carlsberg gave team talks or more likely if the BNP made TV adverts) Stuart Pearce, Steve Davis, Clive Woodward, Phil Taylor! even explorer Rannulph Fiennes and who spotted cult football figure and Hartlepools number one fan Jeff Stelling. All I can say is I hope he got an awful lot of money for that appearance. The ad has “something of the night about it” not what the agency hoped for. They wanted hairs to be raised on the back of the neck, I just feel uncomfortable watching it, especially the quattro formagio moment of a CGI’d Bobby Moore and in my view misuse of a true gent of the game Sir Bobby Robson.
6. Pringles – Peter Crouch & his infamous robot dance truly, truly awful
7. Kit Kat – Cross your fingers and hope they don’t melt, oh and choice of Sol Campbell as main star in TV campaign somewhat backfired.
8. We buy any car – switches tack to female presenter, Norway’s Charlotte Lade, showing off ball skills, naff, naff, naff
9. The Sun – With Terry Venables dreaming he’s Matt Munro.
10. Mars – With a far from match fit John Barnes resurrection of New Orders “World in Motion” classic but there’s nothing classic about this ad! Who thought putting JB in that massive red sweat top would mask the fact he’d had an advance in a few hundred “work rest and play” bars and I’m not talking fun size!
11. Tesco – Well you didn’t think the supermarkets were imune! This ad with the regular “soap style” couple decide there’s no such thing as a recession and the World Cup is a great excuse to blow loads of money on things they don’t really need, but then they do earn clubcard points so it’s ok!
And it doesn’t stop there I could list a full 23 strong squad of dodgy bandwagon hoppers, here are a couple of beauts..
Ladbrokes – Very nearly made the starting 11, Chris Kamara and Ian Wright camp it up in an “Italian Job” style ad that should have had it’s b****y doors blown off.
Visa – Armchair to winning goal losing a few pounds and facial hair in the process, nice idea but not as good as the original running man ad. The guys from Visa also produced an ad full of our previous World Cup exits, hand of God and quite a few missed penalties..thanks!
Godloves Solicitors (yes that’s their real firm name) of course what’s a perfect link to the World Cup? Making a Will of course, just in case you choke on a Pringle whilst downing your tenth can of Carlsberg watching Upson step up to take a penalty against Brazil in the Semis.
So there are the contenders mostly they should have remained on post it notes stuck to the walls of agency brainstorming rooms but hey, it’s the World Cup and they and their clients obviously think naff can sell.
But I don’t think it does anymore. My belief is that most consumers are a lot smarter than admen think and whilst we can still enjoy a good joke, clever line or seeing football legends in funny situations our attention and response is not triggered by constant bombardment.
Most of the above ads used a multi media shower to ensure we’ve all had exposure to the message but has it been money well spent? Time will tell but my money would be on the brave advertisers who see the market opportunity in those not obsessed with everything footie related. 60% of my household is, unlike me, not looking forward to the World Cup and looking for relief from the tsunami of footie related media. Let’s just hope England perform better than the advertisers.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this and please feel free to add your own list of good, bad and ugly world cup ads.
Why is it so prevalent at this time of year?
Our guard is down
We’re in the Christmas spirit
There is a general increase in “festive and fun” e-mails with attachments
We’ve ordered something online so expect to get delivery messages
and….the perpetrators have nothing better to do!
So what do you need to look out for this year…..
These are just a few of the unwanted presents you shouldn’t open this Christmas.
Follow this simple but effective rule.
If you receive an unexpected e-mail – regardless of how plausible it looks, Google the subject header or sender details along with the words virus, scam or spam before you take any action.
That will take you 15 seconds and potentially save your PC.
Have a very merry and safe Christmas
David Laud – Chartered Marketer
Sitting back to watch the PR agency work wonders with your profile will likely result in a very short term affair.
In my experience a project based approach can be a very healthy method of managing expectations on both sides. Setting clear objectives and expected outputs for a specific marketing activity will help focus attention and resources and also highlight areas of potential weakness if results fall short.
Responsibility for making the best of the relationship should sit with the client as they are paying the fee and thereby taking the risk on outsourcing this marketing function.
PR Agency management Do’s and Don’t’s
Do – plan your activity, consider specific projects
Do – invest time in educating the key agency contact on your business and main objectives
Do – have a realistic expectation of the outcomes from any project/ campaign
Do – offer constructive feedback if the copy of a release doesn’t hit the mark
Do – offer encouragement and thanks when you get a successful result
Do – seek feedback from the agency and review progress at regular intervals
Do – brief key company staff on what the agency are doing
Do – encourage staff to contribute ideas for PR opportunities
Don’t – leave the agency to come up with all the ideas
Don’t – delegate responsibility for making the relationship work
Don’t – ignore agency feedback when offered
Don’t – lose control of the relationship through delegation to poorly briefed colleagues or a variety of agency contacts rather than a dedicated professional
Don’t – take a short term view (less than 6 months) most generic profile building PR campaigns take time to build momentum
For more help on pr agency management contact
i2i business solutions – 01642 581731
As a marketer with over twenty years experience clients sometimes mistakenly think that I have the answer to most marketing related issues and expect me to pull out of my briefcase a solution to every creative opportunity. That’s flattering but clearly wrong.
The best you can hope for is an application of clear business process harnessed to a good idea; and that marriage bringing home the rewards. Whilst I have no fear in applying the business process and on occasion have originated the odd golden nugget of an idea, I am by no way a fount of perpetual ideas.
In fact, if anyone suggests that they are capable of solving all your marketing/ business problems it could fall into the category of “too good to be true” because no one has all the answers.
If you are in need of inspiration you could do far worse than look closer to home. Over the years my clients have created fantastic strap lines, impactful adverts and wonderfully original logos simply by having someone believe in their own ability to be creative and that others wouldn’t laugh at their efforts. Sure, a little guidance is sometimes required but more often than not a small amount of encouragement and permission to “do it themselves” is all that’s required.
Don’t get me wrong, advertising and design agencies can provide superb input and take a germ of an idea and breathe life into it but equally those within the business are better placed than anyone to understand the real needs and to be able to communicate that to their target audience.
What is absolutely critical is that the finished product fits the bill and doesn’t look “handmade”, “cheesy” or even worse somebody else’s idea in the first place!
No one has exclusive rights to the creative process, we all possess the ability, the trick is to apply the most appropriate methods to find it.
An added benefit is by involving your business in a creative process such as brand naming, copywriting, logos etc. you provide a real opportunity for them to participate in taking the company forward. This can be achieved through a variety of mediums:
Why is this so important?
Ultimately your greatest marketing opportunity lies with your own workforce. Consider how many people each of your staff interact with on a regular basis and how they may all be potential customers.
If you can engender a positive attitude to your company and its activities through your own people others will soon get the message and the business will continue to grow.
An uncertain climate can breed its own sense of doom simply because we fill in any gaps with a natural inclination to “fear the worst”.
Without wishing to appear too smiley in the face of adverse trading conditions for many I would advocate a positive outlook in such times.
If your business is basically sound, costs manageable and customers happy, the last thing to do is start cutting back to protect your profit margin. Invariably in times of recession (and yes I’m old enough to remember working through interesting times in the past), the Finance Director sharpens the pencil and looks at what they may consider expendable expenditure. Expendable? What they really mean is areas that they either don’t fully understand or worse believe can be managed by fewer, less experienced individuals.
Classic targets are I.T., Marketing and Sales. In the short term a payroll saving can be seen but in the medium to long term lack of IT investment and strategic input will offer far greater concerns.
The role of the marketer in these times becomes critical rather than optional. Many successful businesses traded out of recession to new heights whilst their competitors rationalise expenditure and keep collective heads down awaiting the “all clear”. When the economy picks up the business that took a bullish approach will be at the front of everyone’s mind whilst others will need to spend considerable sums to re-establish the brand and profile.
Interestingly I facilitated a strategic day for a firm in the north of England recently and part of their SWOT analysis identified “recessionary conditions” as an opportunity. Instead of seeing such businesses as commercial pariahs we should learn that we can all find positives from difficult trading conditions. Simply forcing us to re-engineer our business model is no bad thing and certainly a task where you’ll benefit from an experienced marketers and IT support.
If competitors are drawing in their marketing guns at this time think of how much impact you could make by launching a new product or service and giving the media some much needed positive copy.
Of course in such a brief article it’s easy to offer generalisms such as this however in practice the logic for any ambitious, proactive business is to look outward to identify new ways to generate revenue rather than look inward and ponder who goes first when you wield the hatchet.
Tips for marketing through a recession;
But, at times like these we are probably more likely than ever to want to escape to Hollywood and immerse ourselves in a world we’ll never really know. The creative industries can deliver much needed solace and escapism and right now that sounds good to me.
So I’ll be watching the beautiful people smile graciously as they see rivals gush whilst clasping their shiney trophies. Because like the movies, this is a fantasy that we can all switch on and lose ourselves in. Thanks to mum, dad, my wife and kids, Schnorkle the dog for their support in helping me with this, my very first blog.