Posts tagged: twitter

Why Twitter Trumps Facebook

I have to give a hat tip to Jess at PRBreakfast Club for this one. As it turns out, Facebook has some great features, like inexpensive, highly targeted ads, but when it comes to business usability, a Twitter profile is much more useful than Facebook, or even LinkedIn.

The key to Twitter is networking – building relationships (often across multiple accounts, in this business) through tweets, conversations, and spreadin’ the news (cue cheesy music). And since your cousin and your granddad and your next-door neighbor are more likely to follow you on Facebook than on Twitter, tweets give you the business legitimacy unspoiled by cutesy comments from the peanut gallery, or Aunt Hilda’s bone spurs. You know what I mean, don’t you?

So do your research. Follow people in your industry or auxiliary industries. Interact. Converse. Share beneficial information. And don’t bother searching for your high school buddies. Save that for Facebook.

When Twitter is counter-productive

Twitter - to use or not to use?There are tons of folks out there who shout from the rooftops that anyone who’s anyone must have a twitter account. They counsel every business, government entity, and individual to get off their tails and start tweeting. Good advice? I think not. Just like anything else, if you’re not going to do it well, it might be best to stay away. Here’s what’s involved in tweeting well:

  • Time. Yours, your staff’s, someone’s. If you don’t have the time to devote to it or the funds to pay someone else to, you don’t have a chance of succeeding in it. Sure, there are books that promise you can do it in 10 minutes a day. But that doesn’t mean you’ll do it well in 1o minutes a day. Tweeting well mean establishing relationships and sharing valuable content – and both of those things require time.
  • Authenticity. Honesty. Integrity. Personality. If you aren’t willing to share yours online, step away from the keyboard. Sure, you could post an endless string of links to someone else’s content. That requires no authenticity or personality. But do you know what image it gives you? That of a person (or business) with no personality. No authenticity. And in the world of ‘life-casting’ and micro-blogging, your followers want to see a human being with character.
  • Value. There’s plenty of ‘noise’ out there already coming from people who think they must have a Twitter account or they’ll just wither up. Do you really want to be just another twitterer creating noise?

A Twitter account used well can establish you as an authority, help you connect with people – staff, clients, colleagues, or constituents, and help you drive traffic to sites with greater content. When used poorly they can establish you as a dolt. So what’s it gonna be? When in doubt, listen (or read), and decide if you’re willing to invest and weigh in.

Righting business wrongs

Studies show that customers tend to be even more dissatisfied with a business after their complaint has been handled. That’s because most businesses do exactly what customers don’t want – they make excuses and shift the blame. Studies also show that when a complaint is handled properly (no blame-shift, no excuses), customers are likely to be more satisfied and more loyal than they were before they were allegedly ‘wronged.’

As businesses, we can’t float on the assumption that we’ll never make mistakes, and we certainly can’t deal with complaints in a ‘by the seat of your pants’ laissez faire manner. Complaints are a gift because they give us the opportunity to correct, build loyalty, and serve our clients well. The majority of complaints will go unspoken, unheard – or heard only in the peanut gallery without a chance to resolve. So when they come to the source, it is our duty to our clients to thank them and resolve the issue – quickly, and to the client’s satisfaction.

I can’t tell you better how to do it than this post at the Open Forum called The Art of Mea Culpa. Check it out. Not only does it tell you how it’s done right, it gives a concrete example of it being done right – via Twitter. To summarize the principles,

  1. Apoologize
  2. Admit fault
  3. Fix it
  4. Acknowledge what’s broken (trust, in this case) and work to fix it
  5. Do it quickly
  6. Do it publicly

And we’d add one to that – End it with a smile and a thank you. Appreciate your client’s (or colleague’s) willingness to take the time to offer a complaint. They probably pointed out something you didn’t know about. Or at least, they had the honor to come to you about it instead of gossiping or just walking away. They deserve some appreciation.

Posting on Postling

A discussion on LinkedIn clued me in to Postling, a free online service that helps people like me manage multiple social profile accounts. I registered my free account at Postling a few weeks ago and have used it on and off to tweet, blog, and engage on multiple sites. Here’s the nitty gritty of it.

Interface

Maybe it means that I’m getting old (or, shall we say, more sophisticated… wiser…), but I love the large print and text entry boxes in their site design. It’s inviting, clean, and highly user-friendly.

Ease of Use

Postling makes it easy-schmeasy to switch between different account for blogging, tweeting, and more. What Postling supports: WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, SquareSpace, Tumblr, Drupal, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr.

What they don’t support: Everything else. Of concern to me is Posterous, LinkedIn, link sharing sites like Digg and Delicious, and other photosharing sites like TwitPic and what-not.

If your primary accounts are in the the list of what Postling supports, you’ll likely be pleased with the functionality and ease of it all. Postling allows you to create separate brands and manage your accounts under those brands – perfect for someone like me who manages social media for several different companies. But it would be just as great for a stay at home mom who wants to manage her personal blog separately from her Etsy business, for example.

Click to publish and scheduled posting are great. And, might I add, you can schedule Twitter posts too. I can’t get over that! I just love to know that I can schedule an important tweet to publish while I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair or doing something else that keeps me offline. Love it.

The interface for blogging is similar to the major blog services – text editing and WYSIWYG. If HTML is your thing, you can hit the little “source” button to edit that way.

Did you know that it also has its own blog capability? Yep. It gives you your own Postling page with a blog and a sidebar that includes links to your other accounts.

Cons

So, it’s pretty. It’s clean. It’s easy to manage multiple accounts and brands. In fact, it’s so easy my mom could do it. (Not that she’s tried, but I’m pretty sure she could if she was into that kind of thing…)

But…

I can’t listen. I have to go to a blog reader or Twitter client to listen. So I go back and forth between Postling and Google Reader and TweetDeck. And let’s face it. It’s easier to participate and engage from TweetDeck directly – I mean I can retweet or reply to someone just by hovering over their picture. In Postling I’d have to type in their name. I know – I’m lazy. But convenience is big when you’re managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms.

Since social media is all about being, well, social, I need to be able to listen. After all, a one-sided conversation isn’t a conversation – it’s a monologue.

If there was a way to incorporate a feed reader, I’d have to call it perfect. And spend my days hovering – 24-7.

So I suppose my family should be happy that isn’t possible. Time will tell if I’ll continue to use it. I still spend time on my WordPress dashboards playing with plugins and widgets. So it doesn’t make sense to head over to Postling when I’m already in a dashboard I can post from. And it doesn’t make sense to leave TweetDeck.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s easy on the eyes. And easy to use. If you’re looking for a way to post to multiple sites simultaneously, or schedule your Tweets – Postling is perfect. Unfortunately it isn’t quite perfect for me. I spend more time listening than talking, which makes listening (or reading) paramount. So there it is. Postling is a great place to wax lyrical and switch voices as much as you’d like. But you’ll have to get your feedback and response (and your fodder) someplace else.

Nice start, Postling. You do what you do very well. Now if I could just get you expand your functionality a bit.

Update: From @Postling: Thanks, it’s coming soon! In the mean time, we do offer tracking of Twitter mentions and FB Wall Posts under the “tracking” tab.

I’ve enabled tracking in my Postling account, which apparently is free only for a limited time. It will eventually be a premium service (there has to be a revenue stream to make the investors happy, right?) Only problem I see is that tweet above from Postling appeared in my TweetDeck immediately. 10 minutes later it still hadn’t shown up on my Postling tracking page. Er, fellas?

NPR Does it Right!

NPR recently did a listener survey about social media. Honestly? I didn’t know about it until it was finished – I believe they did it on their weekend edition, and I’m purely a Monday-Friday listener. Still. Over 7,000 listeners participated and volunteered valuable information about how they use social media.

According to the article at NPR’s site, NPR learned that their listeners are becoming more social media savvy, they enjoy the ‘behind the scenes’ look at their favorite broadcasters, and that even the newbies in social media are enthusiastic about the returns.

Want to know what else they learned (and why we like their approach)? They learned where to engage their audience, and how. They learned to engage online and offline in a cooperative relationship. They grew their number of followers on social media – probably by thousands. And they most likely gained some valuable information that will contribute to their next drive for support. So, one survey online did all this:

  1. Brought a greater following of interactive fans
  2. Taught NPR what their fans value in social media engagement
  3. Helped their broadcasting personalities connect with fans directly
  4. Provided stimulus for a funds campaign
  5. Increased awareness of their social media strategy
  6. Gave fans what they most want – voice.

We have to give NPR a virtual high-five on this one. And one more thing. Right before writing this article we became following fans of several NPR broadcasters. Success.

P.S. – Hey NPR, Robert Siegel and Michele Norris from All Things Considered? They need Twitter accounts. Thanks for listening.

Gov2.0

We posted a while back about Boston’s use of Citizens Connect iPhone app, but CNN picked up a story today as front page online, and Boston is just one of numerous cities using the technology. In New York, San Francisco, Washington, and who knows where else, citizens can contact city hall about non-urgent matters of public works upkeep.

This is more than just an inventive way of applying technology to routine tasks. This puts governance in the hands of the people. Instead of shaking our heads with downcast eyes as we pass newly painted graffiti, we now have the power to alert the correct department and reclaim the upkeep of our cities.

Local governments have posted sets of data for the use of developers, because, as CNN’s article says, “tech communities are better able to make government data useful than the governments themselves, said Peter Corbett, CEO for iStrategyLabs and organizer of a contest called “Apps for Democracy” in Washington.”

DWIii-ted on Twitter!

Montgomery Texas is getting ready to name drunk drivers on Twitter! Name ‘em & shame ‘em! This is just one more way local municipalities are using Twitter for public administration at the civic level. I love it. Twitter account @MontgomeryTXDAO will post names of people arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in an effort to persuade people to find a designated driver.

Apparently there’s some controversy about it – lawyers tell us that it isn’t right to publicize a DWI offender until he’s had his day in court. But as for me, I’m happy with any plan that keeps me and my kids a little safer on the road.

Tweet DWI

Business Week's tips on social media

Last February Business Week debunked a list of 6 social media myths, and despite of the amount of time that’s passed since then, those same myths are still widely held. I would say that the landscape has changed a bit since then, making their responses to the myths a little dated.

For one, they suggest that a good social media campaign will cost you $50,000-$100,000. But the field has been flooded with companies doing social media strategy at various levels. And as any Econ 101 student knows, when supply increases, prices decrease. I suppose corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-a have use for multi-faceted campaigns that require resources like that, but for your general small to medium enterprise, a good social media marketing company (like Engage Them) can get you sorted for a fraction of that cost.

There are also a ton more ways to measure your social media impact than there were 10 months ago, and presumably will be a ton more by this February. Below is a chart that measures influence and audience on Twitter – Klout makes it relevant and user-friendly.

Klout Twitter

Twitter vs. YouTube

Yesterday’s article at Fast Company comparing 2009 trends between Twitter and YouTube went so far as to call YouTube frivolous. I’d have to accede¬† the vast majority of the content on YouTube is, in fact, pretty frivolous, but there are other gems of a more serious nature – lectures, seminar videos, and the not-so-occasional soap-box crusader.

Twitter, as Fast Company calls it, does ‘life-casting,’ which apparently is less frivolous. The most engaging topic on Twitter in 2009 was the Iranian elections and backlash from them. Not altogether surprisingly, Iran is missing from the top searches at YouTube. It would seem that even though there are plenty of users on the frivolous side of Twitter, there are also a lot of people using microblogging to accomplish some wicked serious stuff.

Twitter-YouTube

Twitter

It seems that Fortune 100 companies are largely missing the boat with Twitter. While several use Twitter to keep their ears open, reading tweets (as what we in the blogosphere call “trolling”), all too many aren’t using Twitter at all.

Image Credit: Holy Kaw!

Check out the rest of the report, detailing how “twueless” companies can get a clue.

Tweets by EngageThem