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Free Speech on Twitter: How Should Businesses Use Twitter?

President Obama’s recent defence of free speech and the ongoing discussion about what we can and can not say on Twitter have been rife. After all, it is the internet, which is supposed to give everyone poetic license, surely? There have been stories about people venting and making light of circumstances, and then being charged with inciting criminal activity; the most well known example would be that of the poor man who took to Twitter “threatening” to blow up an airport. Some are a bit more specific and hurtful, such as those tweets directed to Tom Daley which referred to his deceased father.

So where does businesses and Twitter come into this? Well, when a business decides to utilise social media to promote themselves, they have to decide a few things. Will they have a purely business Twitter account? Should they just use their own personal account? What is the best way to serve both if you decide to split your account between the two objectives without alienating lots of followers? Are you in a position to even handle your own Twitter account or realise fully the potential for your business needs?

There is a delicate balance to maintain when you comment on popular, trending topics from a work account. Logistically, there is ensuring you’re using the right account, as well as coordinating your posts across different platforms (what works on Pinterest might not go over so well on Twitter). The timing of posts is also something to consider. However, you must also understand the tone or angle you want to take; or more importantly, that which you want your company to be seen to take. You want to add to conversations and show personality, but don’t want to offend.

This is why many businesses come to us asking to either teach them Twitter from the beginning, or simply manage their Twitter and other social media accounts. Our team has a wealth of experience managing the accounts of various clients, and understand when to interject into a public conversation, which ones to stay away from and how to communicate with those taking part. Of course it’s not simply about making a comment here and there, but building a relationship and converting them to sales for you.

If you are interested in learning about Twitter for your business, beginning with the basics, we are running a free Twitter drop in session where you can learn directly from professionals who use these networks each day for clients (and their own personal use). Get in touch and book your place now before they all get booked up.

Four Things That Turn Off Twitter Followers

 

If you’re trying to get ahead on social media, specifically Twitter, you need followers. To encourage those followers to jump on your bandwagon, there’s a few things you can do to attract them, and have your tweets spread a bit further. However, there are just as many things you shouldn’t do. Without going into too many boring details and giving away our services completely, here are a few to start you off:

1) Re-tweeting Everything

People want to follow you; not YOUR followers, otherwise they would just cut out the middle-man. While it’s always acceptable to re-tweet the occasional good read, consider whether a strong majority of your followers would enjoy it too. What do they want to get from you? If you want to RT something that you personally like, then fine; but accept that not everyone will want their feed constantly cluttered up.

2) Tweeting Too Much

Originally I thought Twitter was just the Facebook status, and that was about it. Well it is to some extent, but I now appreciate it more as a quick chunk of bite-size information or entertainment. Just like on Facebook, tweeting every little detail in your day is incredibly boring. Move on!

3) Bad Hashtags

Hashtags are great for specific events so conversations and comments can be collected and viewed together in one go. However, if you’re in the habit of coming up with really convoluted or overly long hashtags, these can be a bit silly and unnecessary. Hashtags should be phrases that deserve to catch on, a bit like a mantra or ideology. It could be a joke, though only if your followers will ‘get it’ (and even RT it). Be careful to confine hashtags to Twitter, as using them on other platforms reeks of blind posting.

4) Speaking Generally

Saying ‘Hey followers’ is quite formal and general. It puts a barrier between you and your followers. If you have an idea who follows you, like a certain demographic, speak to them in their language. It’s not a bad thing to tweet specifically to them every now and then. It expands your reach and appeal, and shows to those you’re not addressing that you’re a popular Tweeter.

We are currently offering a free Twitter drop-in session for anyone to come along and learn the basics, with professionals who use this daily for work and place. Come along, network, eat biscuits and learn how Twitter can help you; whether as a business owner wanting to improve their publicity in 2012, or simply as an individual wanting to learn something new and show off.

Why an Active Social Media Presence is Important For Businesses

We’ve already discussed on our site the benefits of social media as well as the services we can provide, but the question came up several times recently. Last Friday, Katie and I attended a networking event in Lewes with the First Friday Network to meet local business owners in the East Sussex area and see if anyone was in need of our wonderful services. As usual, though fortunately for us, there were several people who owned their own businesses and yet were not on Facebook and Twitter; or what we like to call, the social biggies.

Most squeezed their shoulders in, cringing as if they were thinking of a big spider crawling onto them while they were asleep. ‘Oh I stay away from that’, or ‘my kids have it, but I just don’t have the time’, were two popular responses when we asked them why they didn’t have an active social media presence. It is perfectly understandable for many traditional individuals, but being surrounded by these networks every day, it still comes as a surprise when we encounter an outsider who consciously avoids Facebook and Twitter to expand their reach. We spoke to Leon Banks of Elbee Services, who informed us many of those he worked with found a majority of their clients through their Facebook, rather than their site.

How Customers Can Find You On Twitter

The other reasons for discounting social media that come up is that they don’t see how their business can be benefited by Facebook, or simply they aren’t good with computers and technology (someone else does that for them). In the case of the former, we explained that with the two biggies, it’s simply about going to where people are, and where they can be exposed to what you offer. For example, if someone posts a rant on Twitter about struggling to find a trustworthy estate agent, we would likely come across that when searching for “#EstateAgents” as part of our daily tasks, and get in contact with them to refer them to our client’s site.

Becoming an Authoritative Source

When people come across your website out of hundreds in the same field, they need some indicator that you know what you’re talking about. Testimonials can work well but if everyone has them, then what’s the point? People will be much more likely to take you up on your services if it’s clear that you’re passionate about your area or niche; that you spend extra hours working or reading about the latest changes and news in that area. If you can prove yourself as to be an authoritative source, people will care about your opinion and that is when you can offer your services. As part of our social media and copy-writing services particularly, we can regularly update both your site and social media accounts so you’re involved in the kinds of conversations where the most eyes are and demonstrate your knowledge and dedication to what you do. Through info-graphics and videos, you can quickly educate amateurs to your field who have no knowledge about your kind of work. If you have especially creative, funny or moving content that appeals to a wider audience, then it can even go viral and spread quickly through forwarding in emails or sharing through social media; and when people view it, they’ll see your logo and how to contact you.

How Social Media Is Good For Your Brand

Having active social media accounts, whether just Facebook or Twitter, or more cutting-edge platforms such as Pinterest, allows you to show the world that you’re anything but archaic and old-hat. In fact, social media usage can demonstrate that you’re relevant to the changing needs of today’s customers. Sometimes you can just pop in to make a comment about a recent world or sporting event, and to let people know you exist. In this way, social media should not be seen as a fad but a useful device to carry out PR. We can’t comment on where these specific social media platforms will be in 10 years time, but we can say that we’ll be there with the expertise to keep you in the game, whatever that game will be.

We are currently offering a Free Twitter For Business – Beginners Course for anyone who wants to learn how to use Twitter themselves, beginning with the basics, and moving up to more advanced options. This session would be of huge benefit to those who want to take the reins for the social media for their business or organisation themselves and learn from a real person who deals with the accounts for various clients from different fields. Hugely beneficial for your business and a good opportunity to network with others in the area. Plus, it’s completely free!

“SEO-lympics”: Social Media in business during the Olympics

seo olympicsThis year, the Olympics will be on everybody’s lips and subsequently at their fingertips too as they tweet their thoughts and update their Facebook profile photos with photos of themselves at these events. Simply, these will dominate the trending topics as something always has to.

While everyone will be enjoying these events, hopefully in the sun, business must go on. In industries and companies of various sizes, work will trudge along in order to keep in touch with current customers, while aiming to reach new ones as well. To do this, it would make sense to take advantage of these current sport and cultural events and jump on the bandwagon to get some publicity. Just like television advertising is currently littered with brands calling themselves the “official shampoo of the Olympics” or the “official bathroom cleaner of the Olympics”, social media will be provide a great advertising platform, but eve more current as updates may be posted at a moment’s notice.

But why is this important? Last November, Google highlighted the importance of content that reflects the very latest news and events with its Freshness update, where SERPS will prioritise the most recently-updated content which is relevant to what is happening right now. It is widely known that Google loves fresh content anyway. Meanwhile Facebook is once again planning to update its Timeline look by testing an interface where your basic details are not listed underneath your profile photo but on top of your cover photo; people often complain that these changes are infuriating and unnecessary, however one must appreciate that Facebook is at least attempting to evolve and keep people on their toes before they get bored and leave.

So we understand the importance of being on the cutting edge. While we are brimming with huge happenings this summer, we always need something to talk about and distract us from work and boring conversations on our tiny screens. So how will social media compliment our summer 2012 experience? And how will businesses make the most of it? Here are a few suggestions.

As well as a platform for individuals to discuss and express their enjoyment, sadness, enthusiasm and disenchantment, businesses will be wise to interject on these conversations. First of all, brands which are purchasing advertising space will be exposed like no other with user-generated photos of their ads and logos being forwarded very, very frequently and not limited to the television coverage as it was a decade ago. Businesses will likely attempt to humanise their images by beginning discussions about a particular event that has nothing to do with their business dealings; there would be no direct attempt to sell a product or inform about their current state, but simply make people aware they exist and are interested in the same things as you. Additionally, with more eyes than ever on their social networks, there are more potential clients seeing a brand’s campaigns. The popular discounts they usually share to their followers via these means will possibly be seen by more people, and may in turn generate more revenue. This brings to mind one classic episode of The Simpsons, where Krusty Burger offers a free burger for every gold medal America wins; while businesses may not be as audacious (read: moronic) and do something similar, they may be wise to offer congratulations to winners as events occur to stay relevant and in tune with what will inevitably be trending at the time.

These are just a few off-the-top ideas and off course will not be relevant to all businesses; it does depend on their specialty or industry, and other factors like location, resources, income etc. A more detailed campaign, tailored to your objectives, like that which we offer at I Say! Digital, would need to be planned and executed with more precision and thought. As well as the events themselves, it will be very interesting to keep an eye on the role social media will play as well.

This will be likely be the first of several articles which tie into the Olympics so bookmark us or keep checking back in the near future for more, and of course share this article with those who may be interested.

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