Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

Twitter is Starting to Jam

According to Pew Internet Research which has been tracking Twitter use, there is a general upward trend in adopting Twitter for daily use.  The bottom line? Don’t look now but Twitter might be the Facebook killer for the 18-24 demographic.  With over 500 million registered users and 140 million daily users, it doesn’t seem like Twitter will be slowing down anytime soon.

Then we have the following:

 

 

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15 Things I’ve Learned from 138 Social Media Tweetchats

More than 2 years ago Jason Breed and I decided to create a Tweetchat.  The format was pretty simple, we would find a killer, compelling host in the social space, like a Beth Harte who was our very first host, and we’d pick a killer, topical, compelling, subject. After we settled on the topic, we  would collaborate on 3 questions and off we would go to promote it for the following Tuesday. We also decided to create a killer, award winning, website thanks to developer Terry Mckyton that would captures all of the conversations in real time and even allows you to tweet from the site, but other than that, we were ready to go have Tweetchats. Boom.

When Jason first called me, he was looking for ways to  brand  his previous company. At the time, the Tweetchat, “Journchat“, was on fire and that was our inspiration. In the course of about a 1 minute conversation, Hashtagsocialmedia was born.  We had no idea that 2 years and 138 tweetchats later, “Hashtag” as we call it would still be chugging along.

So what have I learned?

1) Tweetchat’s don’t work w/o participation. From having great hosts to having great participants, you need both to succeed.

2) The content comes from the crowd. The gold is in the conversations.

3) Trolls can easily be exposed and don’t last long, but contrarians can bring balance and perspective.

4) There is always a retweetable soundbite that can sum up the discussion. Always.

5) There is never a shortage of topics though some seem to be more popular than others.

6) Passion is never on short supply.

7) Smart people are everywhere.

8. The generosity of the hosts has always surprised me and yet doesn’t.

9) The value of the conversations lasts longer than the Tweetchat

10) We can always learn and takeaway something even from sub-par Tweetchats

11) Every Tweetchat will be different. No two are the same.

12) There is a ton of room for growth for all Tweetchats.

13) There needs to be a next gen level of Tweetchats

14) Businesses, brands and companies should incorporate tweetchats into their marketing mix

15) People actually learn from tweetchats.

I could easily come up with 123 more “things” I have learned, because I have learned something from each and every one of them, but the point is, there is always a takeaway. In fact, not only have I grown from these Tweetchats, but also from the half dozen others that I pop in to from time to time. The bottom line is that Tweetchats are a tremendous opportunity to network, grow and expand your user, knowledge and friend base to the nth degree.

I’m better because of our Tweetchat, I’m better because of the people I’ve met from them, and I know it brings value to others and that makes me feel pretty damn good. Tweetchats work. So tell me, have you participated in our or any Tweetchat? What has been your experience?

Talk to people like you would talk to people-It works

I was just looking at recent tweet from someone I follow and was initially going to unfollow him because I thought he tweeted too much about himself. Until I realized after I had looked at a few of his previous tweets, why I followed him in the first place. It wasn’t who he worked for, or that he might be able to help me one day, as a primary reason of why I initially followed him. What it was, was that 1) he had a personality 2) he wasn’t pushing a product and 3) he actually provided some value from time to time. Lastly,  the tweets had a flavor to them, a no holds barred flavor to them. I think I might have forgotten about that.

Brands could learn something from this

There are 2 lines from a piece in Forbes about the why in social marketing that sum up what I’m trying to get to here…

“The mainstream of communications is now controlled by users, not distributors.”  and “You can’t just show up at social conversations with your bullet points and promotional offers. You need to be able to talk to people like, well, like you would talk to people.”

We have or I have talked about and written about these 2 points in the past, but I guess when you read in in Forbes it resonates a bit more. But it hit home when I started to think about the why I follow someone on Twitter. The why of why I engage. It’s not because I want something, well yea I do want something but its not a product or a service, or a gift or a coupon or lastly your ego.

What I want is to talk to someone, to connect with them and be able to call them a friend and a colleague maybe at some point down the line. Nothing really more than that. Whatever happens beyond that is a bonus for both of us. Brings back memories of the line, “Don’t try and make out with me before you’ve even learned my name.”

Brands are you listening? SMB’s are you listening?

There’s a reason Maslow had “belonging” right in the middle of his hierarchy pyramid..We want to connect with people, and with what make them unique. That doesn’t mean we have to force it. We are looking for personalities and their similarities to ours. We’re looking for people we have something in common with and yes the fact of the matter is… We do want to find our tribes.

Who’s making the rules in social media?

I know it sounds like I’m bucking the system right? Or I’m challenging authority. Or I’m that guy who says, why are we doing it this way on his first day on the job…  But here is where my head is at.  Back in the Oh so heady dot com bubble days I became part of a very large team working on a startup. I remember thinking I had died and gone to heaven-I mean it was a dot com, I was going to be able to retire by the time I was 35. I came into the project mid-stream and yet the product had essentially been built. And I remember that very first day that I got a look at the site that it wasn’t right.

The reason?  Simply put, a bunch of software engineers and developers built a system in which they assumed they knew what the user wanted without really asking. There was zero intuitiveness to it and I remember asking anyone willing to listen-How do they know the users will want this? Blink…Blink…

Let’s fast forward 11 years. I’m in a meeting in which I was talking to a bunch of department heads about the major social platforms, I alluded to Twitter in particular and how it has changed. The interface has not really changed and the “way” you’re supposed to use it functionally speaking has not changed-but the way in which we actually use it has-Dramatically. You see, when Twitter was first created it was meant to be a way to update people on what you were doing quickly right? Remember this comment from the naysayers? “Why do I care what someone had for lunch?” For the most part, the way it was built and the way it was intended to be used held fast. But…

What has changed is that we the users have redefined how we use Twitter. We have decided that Twitter is a great way to share links, to share content and to consume content. Sure you can have those short staccato like conversations, but we have chosen to use it in another way that suits are needs and desires. It is now purely a content consumption and content push platform. That’s not to say that Twitter is not good for conversations any longer, but obviously what Twitter has done for us, for them and for the Google+’s and the Facebook’s of the world, is that it has defined a new action that has been woven into the fabric of our social lives. The action of sharing a piece of digital content in the form of a link. Pure and simple.

In the evolution of social, we might say that first it was blogs in which the written word was used in long form, then Twitter in short form, followed quickly by Facebook who then realized that Twitter was onto something so they borrowed the Twitter stream idea… The underlying theme in all of this is that we, the users have determined what we want from our social networks and how we will use them-and not the engineers. Although I still have a problem with the narrowness of defining what the social actions must look like or be called, i.e. “likes”, “friending”, and “follows”-We still have the power to really define them in the ways that we want to treat them.

The biggest mystery however lies with marketers trying to get inside the heads of the users to determine how they can turn them into loyal brand advocates. Stay tuned.

You know what Twitter needs to Fix?

I know, it’s a loaded question but it’s simple really. It’s the one area that needs attention and really hasn’t received much of it. See if you can figure out. I apologize for using my page as the example.

The Bio section. If we’ve been saying that numbers don’t matter and that it’s all about quality and not quantity, then that notion pretty much renders alot of what you see on the bio section as useless. Right?.  Here’s a really quick suggestion. Since we have the ability to publish content across multiple social platforms at once, perhaps we should see what networks one is a part of. Twitter needs to empower it’s users and allow them to take advantage of a new bio design that leverages more of who they are and not their “personal numbers”. The current bio section was cool when Twitter first launched 5 years ago. Right now it only serves to answer the most rudimentary of questions-that most frown on anyways.

What do you think?

Does Twitter Work?

About once a week I usually get the question, “How does Twitter work? or What’s the deal with Twitter?” And yet throughout the course of a week as well I will also hear the following:

  1. Twitter doesn’t work
  2. How can people spend so much time on Twitter
  3. Twitter has no value

Then couple that with the following from Business Insider and one might really start to question it’s actual value.

There are 56 million accounts on Twitter following 8 or more accounts. There are only 38 million following 16, and just 12 million following 64.

To the casual observer, this all might mean that Twitter is a complete waste of time. To that I say that’s fine, I’ll keep using it for as long as it’s still available. For me, Twitter is invaluable. I’ve made deeper and longer lasting connections to my peers because of it; and because of that, because of those networks, it not only opened a lot of doors, but it also helped me get my current position at E & Y.

If you have doubts on how to use Twitter and still think it’s not worth it,  listen to and watch Tom Martin’s Slideshare presentation on getting a job using social media.

For those that use Twitter and use it as a platform for media consumption as well as sharing and connecting with peer networks-I imagine their opinions of it will be completely aligned on the pro side of it being completely beneficial to them doing their jobs.

Throw the numbers out.

 

 

How Accountable are you with your Social Media?

Recently the spate of social media faux pas’s would tend to make one wonder if putting yourself “out there” is really worth it. The novice I’m sure is wondering that, as well as the expert. Why all of a sudden are people not caring or simply not thinking about what they tweet or what they say on a social network? This thought is what drove the following deck that I will be presenting this weekend in Orlando

Brands are still not taking Twitter Seriously

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not nitpicking. But let’s talk about social media icons. We’re starting to see them on everything. Specifically the Twitter and Facebook icons. Just because we see them, doesn’t mean that those companies are “social”, that they are engaged, fully engaged or partly engaged. We can easily call it social media lip service, but when I checked the Twitter presence of some of the top 100 global brands according the Businessweek-engagement was little or none, and in a lot of cases, the brands didn’t even possess the Twitter handle.

For example, @Disney has over 140,000 followers and yet has only tweeted 210 times. I know it’s Disney and they might not have to care about Twitter, but that’s not the point. It’s 2011 and brands are going all in when it comes to social. Just look at this years Super Bowl Ads. This might be the year social takes the Super Bowl by storm.

Check out @Samsung 2500 followers and… a total of 8 tweets.  Meanwhile they have over 200,000 fans on Facebook. Was this the strategy they were told or did they come up with this internally? Should I give them the benefit of the doubt in regards to when they  launched their (new) social identity? Is it a work in progress? Take GAP, over 50,000 followers and yet a mere 400 or so tweets…

You’re probably saying it’s just Twitter, but for brands, Twitter makes more sense than it does for the casual user. It’s a better fit and it’s an opportunity.

With that said, I would like to say to brands, “Don’t be social because you have heard you need to be”. Yet we know that’s how some operate. Why not attach a strategy with some (not many) achievable decent KPI’s to your social initiatives? Weave your Twitter activity into your daily routine  the way you check email dozens of times per day.

Hey Brands, don’t hoard social, own it. Yet I know major companies that either go out and do nothing with their Twitter presence or worse, squat on their Twitter handle  so that others don’t it. For example. @Budwesier, @L’Oreal, @Heinz, @Colgate, @Chanel, @Wrigleys , @KFC, @Avon , @Adidas, @rolex , @Hermes, Tiffany, and ING, all get an F.  Hello strategy? You might be thinking or actually they might think that they don’t need to bother with Twitter-Guess what? Twitter is free and Facebook is free and the barriers of entry and engagement are absurdly low.

What a lot of companies fail to realize is that we consumers will search for them, or they will eventually come up in search because of a question, a customer service issue, or because prospects want to see who they are. We will click on your social icons. Then we’ll come to our own conclusions. Search and social are not strange bedfellows.  Your social results and personas will come up high in search and if you and your brand are coming up short, it’s an opportunity lost.And if you are there, don’t sleep walk through the chance to engage with your customers.

Social without a purpose is a waste. Brands who put the Twitter and Facebook icons on their site or on their marketing collateral with nothing to really show for it, is not very smart. Of course I also think having search results where a brand and its associated products does not come up on page one or position one is a major transgression, yet some major brands miss that opportunity as well. Positive search results are a win and always will be. Bad search results can be devastating.

Control the social aspects of your brand.

The Ambient Conversations of Twitter

Last week I wrote about the diminishing return of relationships on Twitter. The gist being that what we call our network on Twitter is very loosely constructed and defined. This week, I want to focus on the ambient nature of most conversations in Twitter.

Here’s a quick short definition of ambient: “of or relating to the immediate surroundings”.

The New York Times referenced this “nature” on Twitter  by another name- “Ambient Awareness”, essentially saying that Twitter promotes — the feeling of incessant online contact…Yes and No. This feeling of connectedness via conversation does abound but it is almost one way for every one. You see here’s the thinking. I tweet, you read. Right? But, you only read if you are are currently staring at your screen right then. Sure you can peel back the time line to a certain extent-but the point is this:

There are conversations and then there is the rest of what is happening on Twitter.

The rest of what is happening is the self promotion or the marketing of one’s self or company. I know there’s more but talk to enough sage users of Twitter and that is what they will tell you. From a conversational standpoint, how many of those (conversations) are really happening? And to what depth and extent?

A lot of you are still big believers in the conversational benefits of what Twitter can do for a business and I am too for that matter, but the ability to rise above the noise takes a deft touch, a solid working knowledge of Twitter tools and applications, and an ability to understand how they are best utilized.

Without that foundation,  you’ll just swim in a sea of ambient awareness.

Twitter Isn’t Really a Network Anymore…

In the early days or say the first year or so of Twitter’s life it really was a way to get to to know people. The motives were pure. Twitter provided a way to get to know people. You could build a network.  Conversations were abundant. As the number of people exponentially grew, the number of “real” conversations exponentially decreased. Sure people still talked to each other but the conversations changed.

Why?

Because the perception and usage of Twitter changed without anyone really doing anything internally to change it. First the perception changed by the notion that the more followers you had, the more relevant or important you were. So when perception changed conversations were altered. It became a race to add people and not talk to them. The network or the notion of a network was altered.

Second, the usage changed from  a vehicle or platform for dialogue, to a vehicle or a platform to talk at people. Call it the great migration of marketing to Twitter. Relationships were not as important as a RT of a link. A funny thing also occurred along the way as well. The early adopters also fell into this trend as well. In fact if you ask the developers of Twitter, they themselves will tell you that Twitter is a media consumption platform. We all use it to push content.

That’s too bad.

Though the people that I follow on Twitter is not that large a group (About 850) I would like to think that I know 100 of them pretty well and could call them, have a cup of coffee with them, or sit down to dinner with them. Could you say the same?


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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