10 quick ways for brands to change their monologue on Twitter

huck

As more and more companies continue to swarm to Twitter, all trying to see what the buzz is about, there are plenty that are using it now that are just not utilizing it correctly.  So here’s a quick primer. These are 10 sure-fire ways to change the monologue to dialogue real quick.

Instead of telling us how great your company is, Respond/Reply to someone else’s tweet to keep the conversation going.

Rather than push your standard one-way message, Retweet something that could have value for others.

Retell some information that perhaps someone missed that can save them time or possibly money-they’ll appreciate it!

If someone shared some information for your benefit, maybe others could benefit from it too. Why no Reshare it?

You see a person asking a question, you know the answer, Reach out to them and answer it!

Don’t always take, try being a Resource to your network or your existing customers sometime.

You get more out of Twitter if you realize that it’s as much about Reciprocity as it is anything else.

You could stay behind your walled garden but why not Rebuild the relationship with your customers?

Revitalize and Reinvigorate brand perception by being accessible and approachable.

But most of all…Be Real

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Guy Kawasaki-“Ok you got me, so what”?

prince

So the big stink of late is Guy Kawasaki and his sudden called on the carpet transparency in Dave Fleets blog.  Real quickly, Guy Kawasaki admitted that he has a few people that help him Tweet out his Alltop spam Tweets, and he only admitted it after being asked.

On the one hand, Guy is free to do what he wants. He even admits as much. I think the outrage stems as much from a sense that a lot of people thought that Guy was coming down from the castle to be with the common folk.

Well he does and he has. It just turns out, we don’t know when.

Case in point. Guy was in my town, Naples, Florida. Relatively small town by most standards. I sent a few tweets that we should meet up. Then I DM’d him a number of times, to cover my bases. I’m guessing or thought he never got them; give the volume he may receive. Now I have to think  perhaps his other “tweeters” got the tweets? I don’t know.

However, it turns out he  hosted a little Tweetup (4 people) and I missed it. There were some other issues involved in me missing it, not the least being if he @’s me and doesn’t DM me, I’m not going to get that on my phone.

So He didn’t DM back but I did get an apology 2 days later about missing each other. Fair enough!

I think in essence, more (or is it most?) people are just dissapointed that “Guy” isn’t tweeting as much as they thought. Look, I have a hard enough time managing 800/1500 let alone 101,000/93,000 so expecting an A lister to hit you back might be unrealistic but…

This is not a my friend is better than your friend example, but Rober Scoble whose numbers are 82,000/75,000 regularly tweets me back at the times I have tweeted him. This is both DM and regular @’s. As I’ll tell you if asked, there are good, bad and indifferent ways to use Twitter. It’s up to you to figure it out. So there you go. Run with it

Gaming Social Media

Lately I’ve been sensing this trend with Twitter, illustrated in the pie chart below. Yes, I’m being somewhat facetious in regards to the actual percentages; but as it is with all good things, even Twitter is not impervious to those who feel that rather than trying to engage in meaningful conversations, and create valued relationships, they would prefer to cut to the chase and try and sell you something. I could give you 5 sites that are gaming twitter but why give them props?  Does this sound familiar? Following-880, Followers- 7 Tweets-1

gaming-sm1

10 Twitter Links that mattered to me this week

Below is a quick compilation of links that I received or found this week that I either tweeted or retweeted that mattered to me or to the people that are in the  Twitterspehere.

I received this this morning and it immediately raised a question for me in regards to whether Fortune 500’s should be on Facebook,  The question:

1) Can Enterprise Social Networks Gain Traction? My point being, perhaps we really need to define or look at what traction is.

2) Came across this and it seems interesting  so I’m gonna give it a test drive later Eyejot

3) For job seekers Adobe Acrobat is looking for a part time Community Manager

4) I’m wondering if this should surprise anyone? Colleges are using social media more than Fortune 500 & Inc 500 in the area of blogging…

5) There’s probably a few here I have not used but perhaps you have not used any of these 33 trend tracking tools

6) Mashable came out with a great post yesterday about 40 of the Best Twitter Brands & the People Behind Them And I thought it interesting to see how some use or view the power of Twitter. Who do you think uses it most effectively?

7) Valeria Maltoni and Geoff Livingston did a duel post on Top 25 Ways to Stop Wigging Out and I have to tell you, I might have to tape it on the monitor or on the fridge, because to be honest right now, there is so much happening in all of our lives, I get the sense that we all are scramblin’ for scraps sometime.

8) I got such a tremendous Twitter RT reception for the following Tweet and post titled “Create the change“:

My advice to you is to not wait on Barack Obama 4 change. Create the change yourself, in your own lives

9) How timely and “in the mix” are your tweets? Check out Twitemperature I know, it’s one of those hit and run type of Twitter apps. But still.

10) This is a must think piece here How Twitter Can be Corrosive to Online Marketing

I think I’m going to start doing this on a regular basis, simply because there is so much info that I miss and that you miss, maybe this will help. Send me one that is worth sharing that I might have missed. Educate me, please.

Time to view social media differently

Last night I could not help but pause and think after every sentence of Peter Kim’s most recent blog post. Even more compelling were the comments that followed. I’d suggest you read it.  Because of this and because I had been thinking that it was time to change the way I viewed and written about what I have experienced in marketing and social media marketing, I have decided to turn it upside down.

I want you to start thinking like that now. Instead of repeating everything that you read and just slapping a new title on it and linking to everyone else. Give me your thoughts with perhaps just one or two links. Forget about link juice for a minute and write what you really think about Twitter- Does Twitter piss you off? Are you tired of bullshit tweets? Well tell me. Don’t like what Chris Brogan says? Then say it.  I’m not asking you to completely look for the flaws and problems in everyone and everything, I’m asking you to step outside of that and look at things from 3 feet instead of  30,000 feet, and then give me your real thoughts and your perspective. If I’m full of it? Fine, tell me why, and if it makes sense then I will adjust.

It’s time for our discussions and our thoughts to be elevated. I would think that now might be a really opportune time for fresh thinking, what do you think? And for the record, Peter I may be echoing what you have just written but the more people that can spread that sentiment of less echo and more thought, the better.

Twitter and the lack of context

Context

(kŏntĕkst) n.

  1. The part of a text or statement that surrounds a particular word or passage and determines its meaning.
  2. The circumstances in which an event occurs; a setting

For the longest time one of the reasons that I loved Twitter so much was the free flow exchange of thoughts,  ideas and opinions that occurred in a staccato like fashion.  Recently, this has come back to bite me in the ass and has me completely changing my tune. Why? Well for a number of reasons, not the least of which I now feel I have to watch what I say, when I say it, how I say it, and the “context” in which I say “anything” on Twitter.  Sure, we have to do that all the time anyway right? But in the Twitterverse, part of it’s charm is the fact that there are a lot of free flowing streams of consciousness that you can wade into. Problem is, the water goes from 3 feet to 12 feet really quick.

Before I had decided to write this post I already had a couple of really good examples of this simmering topic brought to my attention. Not the least of which was my own. My “trouble” started when I essentially was voicing my opinion on a topic with someone I admired very much and whose opinion and knowledge I valued. To sum it up, I was rebuked and my opinion was dismissed in a way where I had figuratively checked the mirror to see if my nose was bleeding. I took it personally.

So having thought that I perhaps did something wrong, I tried to “correct” the situation by asking if I had said or done something wrong and if I did, I did not mean it. I had apologized. I even went and looked back on my tweets, searching for the hidden meaning and “context” and wondering, where was context lost. In the meantime, No response. I tried to engage that person in another conversation or exchange on Twitter. Nothing. I apologized again. Nothing. I apologized one more time, for fear of losing this person’s virtual friendship and nothing. Wow..Twitter sucks. No it doesn’t. Lack of context does.

You see 2 things collided. I misinterpreted  some tweets, I assumed our perceived Twitter relationship allowed me to voice such an opinion and it obviously didn’t. That was mistake #1 and #2, was that person did not hear the tone, inflection and “the way” I was voicing my opinion. All lost in 140 characters. I said I was sorry and it obviously was not enough. That part was disconcerting to say the least.

Daria Steigman a communications strategist from DC wrote a fantastic post titled “Context and the Twitter echo chamber”, in which she pondered the following,”

Have you ever deleted a tweet because you were afraid it might be taken out of context? I did, and I’m not sure I made the right decision.

Wow, Daria has not been on Twitter that long, but she still feels the need already to self censor and question what she is about to tweet for fear of the context that it might be taken in. I know, you’re probably saying, “Well shouldn’t everyone”? Yes and no. We should definitely think before talking or tweeting, but we should also not censor what we think or feel strongly about for fear about what others might think or interpret or misconstrue in regards to its context.

Context is a fickle thing. Twitter notwithstanding, in the online world, it rears it’s ugly head regularly in chat, IM, or e-mail. We are not privy to tone, inflection, or circumstance, and on Twitter this is magnified as brightly as a self serving tweet from Guy Kawasaki.  Om Malik has written that to a certain degree, Twitter only enhanced an already chaotic scene in Mumbai.  He was having difficulty assigning  proper context to the vast amount of tweets and retweets, assumptions and speculation that were coming in from Twitter. It made the situation worse for him and he wondered, how does one make sense of the torrent of information?

I think you make sense by having direct communication with an individual, if possible, if there is a problem. I’m learning that I do have to watch what I say. The more people that follow you the more your thoughts and words can be misconstrued.  For awhile I thought, is it me? Am I the only one experiencing this? Maybe not.  I asked marketer Beth Harte, who frequently writes about the subtle nuances that are Twitter, what she thought about Twitter and context..

I have had tons of tweets misunderstood or misconstrued  Why? Because the tweets aren’t threaded. As well, when people join in the conversation, you can’t always see when or at what point they jumped in. And sometimes two people who were part of your conversation, start having their own, on their own- and you can’t see that always either. There’s a lot that is lost

Boom. There’s a lot lost. I was talking to community manager Sonny Gill that it’s sort of like going up to two people in a bar who are facing each other and obviously having a conversation and you step right in the middle and just comment on what the other person just said.

smcartoon

Sonny’s thoughts were interesting, he stated:

I think IF we watch what we say, we’re gonna end up taking a step back, individually and in the industry. Don’t believe we need to watch our step when we tweet.

So the question begs: Do we start to watch what we say or do we just let it fly? Rae Hoffman who has a very popular blog and and an even better Twit Stream, will fully admit as much that her tweets are not for the sqeamish and tweets “to follow if you dare”. Transparency.

Liz Strauss, whose opinions and thoughts I respect as much as anyone in the space, and who truly has the ability to bring thinking, clarity, insight, and understanding to almost any topic, adds this:

People don’t yet understand the “social” in social media means that they are dealing with real relationships with real people and real business relationships at the same time. This crossover of business and personal is revolutionary and more “small town” than corporate. It requires individual maturity — an ability to be personally invested with out taking things personally.

She goes on to say that:

Threaded conversation could very well make it worse. … because they will make the issues / slights /  social miscues harder to walk away from and easier for the larger group to see

Liz couldn’t be more accurate. A lot of us, myself included, have blurred the lines of what we truly use Twitter for. Is it a tool, is it personal, is it for business? Is it all of the above? Maybe, just maybe that’s where the loss of context can occur? We have so many conversations going on in so many streams, or we insert ourselves into so many streams, that we lose the context of each one, because each is different, but we charge forward anyway, blindly into the conversational abyss of someones tweets.  So what to do about it?

Paul Chaney, Director of Internet Marketing for Bizzuka who writes a killer blog and knows  15 do’s and don’ts about Twitter has this thought:

It’s difficult, if not nigh impossible, to convey context via a text-only medium, particularly one that only allows 140 characters.
Thats another reason video will become more of a standard form of interpersonal online communication. You can see and hear the person’s actual intent, tonal inflections, facial expression.

I think that once a conversation begins to get out of hand it’s time to take it to email for further explanation, or even a phone call to smooth ruffled feathers.   Saying “I’m sorry” always goes a long way too

Paul always has a way to bring levity and sage wisdom to a situation or a conversation.  Perhaps what is truly needed in conversations where context is lost, is an effort on both parties to clear up the misunderstanding through perhaps a more effective means of communication that does not involve 140 characters.

In the end,  there will be more and more instances of context lost as Twitter continues to scale. Most will shrug it off, some will take it personal and some will it work it out but as Liz Strauss adds,

At the moment I take heart in the fact that tweets die quickly … they are, however, discoverable in court.

Lastly, It’s only a matter of time for something like what Liz has mentioned to happen and to that point a chiropractor is suing a Yelp user over negative reviews. Context anyone?

So I ask you esteemed readers,  Do we need to watch  what you say? Do we need to start policing our own tweets? Have your tweets ever been taken out of context? If so, what did you do or not do about the situation?

The Long Tail of Twitter

tweet

Ok Much has been written or much was written yesterday about Twitter. I’m not sure why yesterday, but for whatever reason, yesterday was that day, my post included. So I found myself embroiled both via blog responses and via Twitter, defending in some cases what I see as the best way for me to use Twitter.

Here’s a quick recap of what was written.

Guy Kawasaki’s post just flew totally in the face of my post, but he did mention some things that you should do regardless of your ultimate goal on how you’re going to use Twitter. But his post is more about being the Uber-Twitter user, and I just can’t do #4 Which is follow everyone who follows me- I’m sorry but I would like to get to know “some” of the people I’m following. I think Guy and I have a different perception of definition of what Twitter is or should be used for., Though I do admit, that I follow some of the social media whores-not sure why, but I do.

Alan Wolk has totally nailed his post which speaks to why he thinks Twitter is going to be cluttered with N00bs, more experts, and gaggles of clueless wannabe’s and everything in between. Which means my Twitter post makes even more sense!

Business week has written about how ubiquitous micro-blogging and Twitter have become, which means a vertical version only makes sense right? And then we have Information weeks article on Twitter tools to turbocharge your microblogging Wow, didn’t know I needed to turbo charge it! Here’s Computer World’s 5 ways to tap the power of the tweet which actually are pretty close to what you should do and not as self serving and indulgent as Guy Kawasaki’s directives. And then we have the Top 10 ways to attract followers on Twitter which is a total link bait link juice article.

If you really want to know all things Twitter, and don’t feel like waiting for the next piece of hyperbole then go to Laura Fitton’s site, she blogs about all things micro-blogging and she actually brings some sanity to it all- Though I can’t stop thinking about what a tweet is worth, knowing full well that that is where this is all heading. Transactional conversations are coming, trust me.

Ok so I’m going to sum up one of the best ways to get the most out of Twitter, do you know how search marketing experts and Chris Anderson talk about the Long Tail? Well why would you want to follow 5000 people who all tweet at once about 5000 different subjects and 5000 different links? When you could follow 1000, or 750 or 500 people, get to know who they are and what they’re all about, and develop a vertical relationship?

I’m going to quote Chris here and splice/blend his words and my thoughts to make my point about Twitter:

The long tail aspect of Twitter does exist, but the data tells us that there may really be no head or body when it comes to following thousands upon thousands of people without any focus or reason. When it comes to Twitter, everyone is hell bent on following as many people as possible, but the fact of the matter is, Twitter traffic has the potential to be long tail and the word “long” doesn’t do the length of the tail justice. The long tail of Twitter is vertical.

Thanks Chris.