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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.

10 Steps to Social Media Success for Business

Over the years of working with small and business owners, there are some traits that I have noticed in businesses who successfully use social media and I wanted to share them here.

  1. It doesn’t matter what size you are – you must commit resources to creating content and engaging in social media on a weekly basis.  if you are the business owner and you don’t have time then make sure to collaborate with someone else who does.
  2. Plan for and generate regular content using blogs, Twitter, Facebook or other social platforms.  If you are not sure what to write, do some research online or talk to a professional.
  3. Not every platform will be right for you.  Depending on how much marketing time you have and whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you may not need Facebook, a blog AND Twitter (or whatever else). Try and work out where your customers are and what will drive business.
  4. Measure your activity – make sure you have some way of understanding how social media activity had an impact on business results.  Try things like tracking keywords on different platforms to see what people are naturally talking about.  You can also find out who the main influencers are on Twitter.  This could be done for free via Google analytics, NutshellMail.com, MarketMeSuite.com, Hootsuite.com, Klout.com, Peerindex.com or for a small fee via Sproutsocial.com, Viralheat.com, Trackur.com
  5. Set clear expectations for customers regarding frequency and types of social media interactions that the company is willing to provide.  E.g. if you say you are going to past a series of articles on something, make sure you follow through, or make a posting schedule that is on the same day of the week, every week.
  6. Leverage social media to position the company as a thought leader within its industry.  By writing blog posts or articles on your area of expertise, it shows people how you approach business and inspires confidence in your product or service.
  7. Provide clear calls-to-action and opportunities to generate leads and new customers using social media.  E.g. if you are running a competition or giving away an e-book, make it really clear what people have to do to participate.
  8. Don’t forget that you can use social media to drive participation in offline events.  Holding an event is a great way to meet people & get new customers.  Social media can help build anticipation and provide opportunities for follow up.
  9. Use information and data from social media to drive business strategy.  Make sure you listen to your customers’ comments – for example, if people are really liking a new product then maybe you can push it harder, or if people are not happy with your customer service, you can fix it quickly.
  10. Balance paid and organic search engine traffic. My own feeling is that you will get a much better long term gain by creating amazing content that gets shared online and builds a community around your brand.  ‘Paid for’ search leads like Google ads are good to get things started, but could be expensive over time if you are in a very competitive category.

So, there we have it – a quick round up of strategies for your business.  Each one of those topics is a blog post in itself – however it’s good to have an overview. See you next time!

Thank you to Tim Rabjohns for this Guest Post.

The Social Insider – freelance support for online marketing.

mob: +44 7958 958 162
e: tim@rabjohns.org
twitter: @timrabjohns
Link with me on Linked In 

 

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!

How We Use Social Media: Meeting the Team Part 3

This week, we meet Ashley, our current intern; a big music fan who is training to run a marathon at the moment.

Hi Ashley, what is your role at I Say! Digital?

I’m the intern. It’s only my first month but I’m dipping my toe in a lot of areas. At the moment I’m writing a lot of blogs and articles for our clients hoping my inquisitive style can draw traffic to their respected sites.

What social media networks do you use? What’s your favourite?

Twitter and Facebook. At the moment Twitter is my favourite as it allows me to keep up to date with what is currently happening in the music scene and current affairs, whether that be on a local or national basis, new bands, old bands etc. At the same time as well, Twitter allows me to keep in touch with friends from around the globe.
My routine with social media tends to surround my commuting to and from University/Work and general breaks I have in my day.

Is there anything about social media you don’t like?

With Facebook I feel at times your privacy is no longer your own. Obviously your settings can be changed to control who sees what, but sometimes this isn’t enough for me.

Why is social media important to you?

Being on the move so much, it allows me to keep up to date with current affairs, career opportunities, and plain and simply see how my friends are doing back in the North.

Why did you want to make social media a career?

With the industry still being in its earliest days I feel this is the chance to jump into a field with so much growing potential. In the past five years we have seen how social media has crept into everyone’s life from “liking” a celeb on Facebook to following a discussion on Twitter using the hashtag feature. Just look at how many people now use Facebook; even my technophobe Mum has her own account now.

How do you see social media changing in the future?

As we can already see now more and more organisations are using social media to promote their organisation and product, I think this will continue and expand. Even educational institutes are using Social Media to advertise and educate their own students. I think this will allow further avenues into the training of an organisation’s staff on how to make the most of Social Media. I believe video blogging/graphics will take a stronger hold within Social Media, leading to users getting involved in a more interactive way.

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