#SMRebelsHelp TweetChat- (Mon)12/3: Cyber Bullying

Have you been bullied online or know someone who has? Maybe you just want to learn more about it so that you can be prepared if it happens to you.


Join us on Monday, December 3rd at 9PM EST for our weekly TweetChat: #SMRebelsHelp.

Hashtag: #SMRebelsHelp
Guest: Elizabeth Traub (Twitter:@elizonthego) (Website: http://www.elizabethtraub.com)
Topic: Cyber Bullying
Date: Monday 12/3
Time: 9PM EST
Host: @SteamFeedcom

Elizabeth has recently experienced a personal case of online bullying, and she wants to share her story. She’ll let us know how she coped with the bullying, and wants to raise awareness on how to deal with cyber-bullying.

Click here to learn more about #SMRebelsHelp

 

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKXVqO4J8oc&w=560&h=315]

What Apps do you use on a Daily Basis?

I’ve been reading a lot about different apps that my colleagues use to make their lives better and work load more manageable, so I thought I would make some additions and discuss some of the tools that I have in my tool kit. Lets go ahead and just follow through a typical day in my social media work world.
apps toolkit

photo credit: RLHyde via photopin cc

The Rules of the Day

I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the first tool in my tool kit, the “go to” tool that I rely the most on in my daily routine…my coffee maker…ha ha ha. Okay now that is out of the way, and I am still not sure if that was tongue in cheek or really a serious tool, lets look at the real work horses in my arsenal

First things First

I’m a huge fan of Google Chrome, it is far and away my browser. I click on it 4 times first thing, one for each monitor. If you are not using multiple monitors, you have no idea what you are missing. Nuff said

The Big Four

When I fire up the ole desktop I always start with the same set up. On my right hand screen I pull up IQTell, in the middle I pull up BundlePost, and to my left I place Hootsuite and Buffer. This is a routine that is rarely deviated from. IQTell I have spoken about before and really love this tool, it brings so much organization to my daily routine. They recently updated the display and it is even more efficient now. Lets test drive the other tools in my tool kit. BundlePost is by far one of my favorite apps/software tools. The way it integrates with Hootsuite is great. Managing multiple accounts, and keeping up to date with great relevant content is what Bundlepost does best. It is also useful in so many other ways. Robert, Julia, Rich the BP team provide a great useful tool that is utilized by many social media professionals. Thanks to the BundlePost team for all that you do.

Hootsuite just keeps getting better and better in my humble opinion. An absolute must for those that really want to keep your social media accounts organized. They continue to integrate additional social media platforms, including Google Plus, it is one of the few that connects nicely with G+. I spend a good amount of time each day on Hootsuite. If you are serious with social media, it is well worth the extra money to add the Hootsuite University to your account. A great way to learn how to really utilize Hootsuite to it fullest.

I continue to get a lot of use from Buffer, another great tool for scheduling and monitoring multiple accounts. I tend to use Buffer more for add-ons, and Facebook posts. Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide toolbar buttons which makes sharing great content a snap. When it’s 2:00 AM and you find some awesome content that fits perfectly with a client’s recent blog post, using Buffer is a snap to schedule that content for a  better time for your client’s audience.

Add a Little Spice to the Mix.

Now throughout the day I will work with Tweetsprout, ManageFlitter, Twitter, Linkedin and FB, definitely Pinterest,  and probably Mailchimp as well. Throughout the rest of my day I will normally visit, Triberr, Steamfeed, Listly, Stumbleupon, Scoopit, Google reader, Evernote of course, and that is all pretty much before my noon break. Depending on the day, I will most likely pull up one of my WP press blogs, as well as Tweetchat to engage in some great twitter chat action. I am sure that the apps being mentioned are being utilized by many other of my Social Media friends. If not the same apps, variations of them depending on personal taste, likes, and dislikes. With the speed and volume of content we deal with each day, it is just about a necessity to survive.

On the Road Again

I find myself writing more and more these days, and I love to hit the road and find a quiet place to sit and write, for that all I need is my Galaxy Note smartphone, and my Freedom Pro mini keyboard. Utilizing the blue tooth connection between these two tools,  I can create content any time of the day. The freedom to write from any place in a comfortable, efficient manner is a great perk to this career. The addition of the keyboard really makes all the difference between using thumbs and actually typing – being able to utilize a fully functioning keyboard is so much more efficient.

apps

There’s nothing holding us down, or keeping us back these days. Entire companies are being run from laptops, smartphones and the apps that keep us moving forward in an efficient, productive manner. The sky is the limit, and you are limited only by your imagination. Technology and social media are changing the way the world communicates, and does business.

So what tools do you utilize in the course of your day? I always love to learn about what my colleagues are utilizing, so share your the tools you have in your business tool kit.

Will Social Scores Take The Place of Fan Counts?

What’s Your Twitter Score?

Didn’t know you had one? The truth is, you don’t… at least not yet, but I have a hunch that eventually you will. And not just a Twitter score. I believe you’ll probably have a Facebook score, a Google score, a LinkedIn score and more…

Social Score

photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS via photopin cc

Why?

The number of fans and followers you have on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms is in some ways becoming irrelevant. While a large fan count may give you bragging rights among your friends, co-workers and peers, it’s beginning to mean a lot less in the real world. The real social value of fans and followers is in your relationship with them. Do they trust and engage with you? Do they take action by sharing, liking, or commenting on your content? Do they feel connected to you? These are the items that create real social currency.

A large fan count means nothing if fans are fake, bought or don’t engage. A large fan base does not equate to social success.

This is where so many people get it wrong in attempting to increase their Klout score. They add a ton of new people but they don’t engage with them or provide content that is valued and shared. The result? Their Klout score actually drops.

Klout and other social scoring platforms measure influence, relationships and engagement – not just the number of fans you have. So get ready, because if I’m right, like it or not, Klout-like scoring on many social sites (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc) is coming in the not-too-distant future.

In fact, social scoring by individual network is already taking place on many platforms like Klout and Empire Avenue, and although it may not be obvious, or public-facing on the actual social networking sites themselves, you can be certain its being explored and tested.

Twitter Reputation Score

According to Twitter founder Evan Williams, Twitter already uses an internal “reputation” score to determine which users they suggest in the “Who To Follow” section of each users Twitter page. While none of the specifics are known, below is a list of some of the criteria Twitter could use to calculate a social score.

• Retweets
• Mentions
• List Memberships
• Followers
• @Replies
• Retweets Ratios: Percentage of retweets against actual tweets
• Favorites: Ratio of favorited tweets to overall posts
• Frequency: How often does someone post or tweet and what is the response/engagement ration to those posts

While its not known if a Twitter “reputation score” will ever become public-facing, its easy to see how the value of this information and an aggregated score derived from it, would be much more valued than the number of followers or fans a person has.

AuthorRank

Google understands the importance of this and the anticipated launch of AuthorRank is probably a good indicator of where social scoring is headed.

Mike Arnesen (SEOMOZ Blog) posted one of the best articles to date on Google AuthorRank, its implications and how to prepare for it.

He points out in the article that in February of this year, the term “AuthorRank” first started to surface in the search industry and that AJ Kohn had speculated that the development could change the search game as we know it. AJ Kohn also stated that it would be “bigger than Panda and Penguin combined”.

That is BIG, and I agree with him.

He went on to say that AuthorRank wouldn’t be a replacement for PageRank, but would be used to inform PageRank, thereby enabling Google to rank high-quality content more appropriately. In other words – the higher your individual AuthorRank score – the more weight it would give to your PageRank and potentially, the higher your page will appear in the search results.

In the post, Arnesen goes on to say that Google considers over 200 ranking factors when determining where your sites rank in organic search, so it’s safe to say that they’ll also be using plenty of signals to calculate AuthorRank.

Here’s a shortlist he compiled of factors that Google is likely to use in their calculation:

• The average PageRank of an author’s content.
• The average number of +1s and Google+ shares the author’s content receives.
• The number of Google+ circles an author is in.
• Reciprocal connections to other high AuthorRank authors.
• The number and authority of sites an author’s content has been published to.
• The engagement level of an author’s native Google+ content (i.e., posts to Google+).
• The level of on-site engagement for an author’s content (i.e., comments and author’s responses to comments)
• Outside authority indicators (e.g., the presence of a Wikipedia page).
• YouTube subscribers and/or engagement on authored videos (speculation: multiple-attribution author markup for YouTube videos coming soon).
• Any number of importance/authority metrics on social networks that Google deems trustworthy enough (Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc.).
• Real world authority indicators like published works on Google Books or Google Scholar.

The point once again is the importance of an individual network/platform score that incorporates relevant social signals.

Universal or Combined Social Score

While a combined, universal score can be fun and interesting, a single score from each network based on the unique data from that platform makes the most sense. A high score on one platform does not necessarily translate to a high score across others. I may be a “Rockstar” on YouTube (I’m not) but have little to no influence anywhere else. A universal or combined score may, or may not pick that up.

A combined score is good however in the sense that it provides a single snapshot of the overall influence a person has across their social sphere.

Unqiue Platform Data

The most valued data and scoring will come from the unique characteristics of each platform.

For example, what if LinkedIn adopted social scoring in some manner. Imagine being a local business owner or job recruiter and having the ability to quickly search for potential candidates and filter them using a trusted, aggregated score based in part on the criteria below.

• Recommendations
• Endorsements
• Length(s) of employment
• Previous Positions/Titles
• Career path
• Weight of Connections (Position, Industry, Engagement)
• Member of Relevant Groups
• Active in Relevant Groups
• Achievements and Awards
• Community Service

The benefit and value of a more granular social score on each platform is obvious.

One Final thought.

Social scoring by network is part of the natural evolution of influence measurement, however; it must be relevant and highly accurate before it will gain wide acceptance in the mainstream. Its inevitable that the social networks will one day need to adopt a method of social scoring that offers a quick visual representation of a person, or company’s influence and social currency other than a “fan count”. My guess is that it will happen sooner, rather than later.

Social scores are coming.

Think I’m wrong? Bookmark this post and lets see if we’re not comparing our Facebook, Twitter and Google scores sometime in the near future.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Twitter Tools That Help With Efficiency

If you’re as busy as I am, you don’t have time to spend all day finding content, and managing your Twitter account. Steven Hughes wrote a great post a few weeks ago about how to manage Twitter efficiently, and spoke about Twitter tools. I’ll expand more on that topic in this post. There are plenty of Twitter tools out there that make it a lot easier for you to do your daily Twitter work. Here are some of my favourite Twitter tools for content and account management that I could not live without:

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is my go-to command center for monitoring and responding to Twitter messages. I recently wrote a post that explains how I set it up so I’m always listening. Hootsuite makes it easy to manage all of your incoming, and outgoing messages on Twitter, making it a lot easier to follow conversations. It’s also a great tool to monitor conversations from your favourite Tweeps, and some industry hashtags. If you’re still tweeting directly from Twitter’s website – STOP. Start using Hootsuite, it will make your life a lot easier.

BufferApp

BufferApp is my content scheduler – I prefer the interface and the ease of use compared to Hootsuite’s content scheduler. With BufferApp, you set pre-determined times for your tweets to send out for each day of the week. When you find an article you like, you can “buffer” it in BufferApp, and it will be added in the dashboard for your next scheduled tweet. You can buffer 20 tweets at a time if you want, and you’ll be sure they will tweet out at the different times that you selected. Also, BufferApp has an easy analytics dashboard that shows you how many people replied to your tweet, re-tweeted, your total reach for that tweet, and how many people clicked on your link. It makes it very easy to track the performance of your tweets.

Buffer for TwitterTweriod

Tweriod is a neat little app – it calculates when your Twitter followers are most active by measuring when they mention and retweet you the most, and gives you an optimized schedule for the best times for you to tweet. You can get a free report that separates the results in weekdays vs. weekends, but if you pay a couple dollars for a report (and I suggest you do, it’s worth it), you can get optimized schedules for every day of the week. What’s AWESOME about Tweriod is that it integrates with BufferApp, and automatically fills in the best schedule for you.

Tweriod for TwitterGoogle Reader

You’re probably wondering how Google Reader is a Twitter tool – You can subscribe to your favourite blogs with Google Reader, and have the RSS feeds appear in one single location, making it easy to sort through a lot of content at once. You can also subscribe to Google Alerts RSS feeds, and put it into your Google Reader, so you can keep up on the latest news about a certain topic. What’s even better is that BufferApp has an applet that integrates with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. When you go through your Google Reader, and find an article you like, you can schedule it right from Google Reader by pressing the “buffer” button on your browser – makes it ridiculously easy for you to schedule your content. Another added bonus – you can organize your content in folders. So all of your Social Media RSS feeds can go into the Social Media forlder, Marketing RSS feeds in marketing folder, and so on…

Reader for TwitterSocialMention.com

SocialMention.com is neat – you can search for topics across different social networks, blogs, video hosting sites, etc., and set up an RSS feed for your search results. Once you have your RSS feed setup, you can import it into Google Reader and make it really easy for you to schedule out YouTube videos, or any other content you found on SocialMention.

Tweepi

I use Tweepi for one thing – flush people that haven’t followed me back. Tweepi makes it very easy for you to sort through people that you have followed, and that are not following you back, so you can unfollow as needed. If you invest into Tweepi premium, you can also use it to find new Tweeps to follow, which might be useful for some.

These are the tools that I use day-in, day-out, to manage the multiple Twitter accounts I manage. Without these tools, I would waste A LOT of time throughout my day. I’m able to schedule content within 30 minutes each day, and manage my Twitter followers within 10 minutes each day. That totals 40 minutes of account/content management – the rest is dedicated to monitoring and engaging with Twitter followers.

How long does it take you to schedule content, and manage your Twitter followers each day? Do you wish you had more time on your hands for engagement? Please leave a comment below!

Promotion Methods that Attract more Eyeballs to your Blog

The meta description and keywords are in place.  The tags and featured image are all set.  You’ve completed your post and hit publish.  You’re all done, right?  Wrong.  You’ve spent the time to research and write a post, but you’re not going to promote? Without promotion, your post will inevitably be stuck in mud.  Too many people make this mistake.  You can see it in the number of shares, or lack thereof.  After publishing, it’s time for the icing. It’s time to promote your post.

Don’t be shy.  Use these promotion methods to get the traffic you deserve.  Be the first one to share your post to each social network.  This is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s a small percentage of your overall messaging output.  Make sure your share buttons are prominent and relative.  Make it easy for your readers to share with their audience.

Twitter – This is arguably the most important method to promote your post.  It’s the most common way to share.  If you look at just about any post out there with share button counters you’ll find that Twitter generally leads the way.  The other key reason to use Twitter is because you can continue to tweet your current and previous posts moving forward.  You can’t do that with any other network. If you’re sending out 50 tweets a day, 5-8 tweets promoting your own post certainly works.  That’s 35-56 a week, every week.  Mix it up with 1-2 Hashtags.  Find a level that you’re comfortable with and that makes sense.

Facebook: Personal and Fan Pages – You should share on both your personal and business Facebook Pages.  Ask your friends and fans to share if they enjoy the post.  It’s a small request, but it can go a long way over the course of a year.  There are also sharing groups on Facebook where members share each other’s posts.  Search for these groups on Facebook, and ask to be invited.

LinkedIn – You may need to be cautious with this one.  Posting your personal blog, or another’s blog post might be dicey if it is not relative to your company’s business or vertical.  Yes, it’s your LinkedIn account, but just use your head before posting.  If you do post, you should additionally send to any relative groups.  LinkedIn gives you that option when posting.  This increases the chances of being viewed and shared.

Google Plus – The last of the Big Four.  If you don’t have an account, get one today.  Google Plus is important for many reasons.  Share your post on Google Plus through your button and mix in 1-3 Hashtags as desired.

Shutterstock Promotion Methods

“Promotion”

Pinterest – A must share button for DIY blogs, cooking, shopping, fashion, etc.  It’s probably not a bad idea to have this share button available to your readers no matter what your topic.  This network has seen good traffic and interest.

StumbleUpon – SU is the no respect network.  While the visit durations tend to be lower from SU visitors, you can see some nice pops from time to time.  It is highly suggested to create the first share with StumbleUpon or it will likely remain at 0.  It’s worth the two minutes.

Triberr – This isn’t a direct way to share from your post, but it’s a powerful network.  Triberr is a community-building platform for bloggers.  Bloggers form tribes and reciprocate sharing. While Twitter is the most popular network within Triberr, you can also share via Facebook and LinkedIn.

E-Mail – Sending out posts to your E-mail list subscribers.  If you’re posting more than two times a week you should think about sending a summary highlighting multiple posts within one e-mail.  You can either provide a portion of the blog with link that takes them to your site, or provide the entire blog in the e-mail with share buttons.  Again, ask your readers to share the post if they find it interesting.

Honorable Mention: Reddit, Digg, Scoop.It, Empire Avenue, and Topsy

The amount time you spend in each of these networks communicating and building relationships will affect the success of your post.  Most of the networks above also provide paid advertising if you’re looking for an additional traffic boost.

Please share the post if you found it to be interesting and helpful.

 

How To Get Organized In A Tweet Chat

About a month and a half ago, @SteamFeedcom was lucky enough to be featured as a guest on #MediaChat. We knew this could give some great exposure to our site, so when DJ and I were approached by Jason Thompson (@nosaj_jason) and Aaron Kilby (@Kilby76) to do the chat, we didn’t hesitate to jump to the opportunity! Having never been to a Tweet chat, I had to do a bit of research to get ready for it – especially since I was participating as the featured guest in the first Tweet chat I was attending.

DJ knew a lot more than me about Tweet chats, but was away that night, and had to participate in limited capacity – so he wasn’t able to take over the SteamFeed console at that time. It just happened I was gone to an extended job interview at InNetwork Inc, in Toronto, so I was freakin’ busy that week!

On one of the evenings I was there, I ended up going to supper with one of my university friends, David Alexander (@davidaalexander), Digital Marketing Coordinator at Maple Leaf Foods. I mentioned over supper I was a guest on #MediaChat that evening, and told him I had never been in a twitter chat before. He started telling me a story about how Maple Leaf hosted a twitter chat, how much work was involved, and how fast-paced it was. I started freaking out!!! Good thing he wasn’t busy that evening, and helped me out. Here’s what I learned from the experience, in case you’re ever a guest on a Twitter chat:

Understand the Format

The format of #MediaChat seems pretty simple – the host asks a question, and the guest answers. Over the span of an hour, the host asks 8-10 questions, and then opens up the conversation for anyone that has questions at the end. There’s around a 5-6 minute interval between questions. The format of the Q&A is the following:

Host: Q1 The host asks a question to the guest? #hashtag

Guest: A1 The guest answers the host’s question. #hashtag

This seems fairly simple right? Wrong! You constantly have to remember to use the #hashtag in all of your tweets, you have to look out for the questions, you have to answer the questions promptly, all the while engaging with people that have comments about your answer! It can be overwhelming! Thank god there are tools that can help you out!

Use a Few Tweet Chat Tools

First thing I did was open up Twitter itself, and tracked the #hashtag on Twitter. That helped me keep track of how many tweets were being sent out using the #MediaChat hashtag. The second thing I did was setup a #MediaChat stream in Hootsuite, so I could easily track the conversation, and organize mentions at the same time.

Hootsuite Tweet ChatThe last tool, which was the most important one, was a suggestion by David – TweetGrid. TweetGrid lets you organize the Tweet chat in three columns: 1. #hashtag mention, 2. host/guest tweets, and 3. your Twitter handle to track mentions and sent tweets. The most important column is the second one, because it lets you easily follow the Q&A, so you know when a question is asked, and you remember which one you just answered.

TweetGrid also automatically adds the hashtag to all of your tweets, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to add it.

TweetGrid Tweet Chat

Don’t do it Alone

This one is easy – I couldn’t have done it by myself. I want to thank David again for his help during the chat – he was my second set of eyes. The Tweet chat ended up getting close to 200 participants at different points in the hour – it’s virtually impossible to reply to everyone’s comments and keep an eye out for the host’s questions. While I was on Hootsuite answering comments, and replying to mentions, David was keeping an eye out for questions. When the next question would pop up, he would let me know so I could answer promptly, and keep the pace of the chat going.

Get Organized

What I loved about #MediaChat was that Aaron sent me the questions he was going to ask me beforehand, so I could pre-write my answers. When he asked me a question, I was ready to go simply by copy/pasting my pre-typed answer. This made sure I could answer quickly, and didn’t have to waste time typing anything. My focus was on engaging with the participants.

One last thing I would add – leave room in your answer for re-tweets (so roughly 15-17 characters). TweetGrid will show you how many characters you have left in your tweet, and takes into account your #hashtag as well.

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Again, thanks David for helping out with the chat, couldn’t have done it without you. Everyone, make sure to join us in our own SteamFeed chat tonight! – #SMRebelsHelp at 9PM EST. Our host this week will be Robert M. Caruso (@fondalo), with guest Rock Scar Love (@rockscarlove).

Have you ever participated in a Tweet chat? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below!

Sometimes You Have to go with your Best Bad Idea

Sometimes your best bad idea ends up working out for the best. Seriously, I guess the cat is out of the bag so to speak. Yes I got some of the inspiration for this blog after seeing “Argo”. Alas, I am deeper than that, okay, it goes deeper than that, but when I was sitting there in the theater and heard the line, “it’s the best bad idea we have, by far”,  I immediately finished a blog idea I had rolling around in my head. A blog idea I didn’t think was going to pan out.

Idea

What is a bad idea?

What exactly is a “bad idea”, and how can Social media help in deciding if the idea might be appealing to your target audience? Recently a client of mine called wanting to get some advice on a marketing idea that he was thinking about. He told me the idea, and I have to admit it, I liked it immediately. When I told him my thoughts, he let me know that some other mutual friends thought the idea was weird. He asked me again what I thought, and I jumped right back with, “what other ideas do you have going?”  We talked quite a bit about the pro’s and con’s that the idea presented. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that the pros outweighed the cons and the real issue was analysis paralysis. That dreaded disease that takes people out of their comfort zone, into parts unknown. Then I  was hit with, “yeah, but what if it is a bad idea.” It’s important to remember that after analyzing a potential business idea, it becomes clear that the risk is warranted - the only real failure is not executing, not at least trying.  Sometimes you have to go with your best bad idea. 

Maya Angelou said it well, “Nothing is going to work, until YOU DO!”  Not everything is going to be a home run, not even a single for that matter, but you can’t achieve either without stepping up to the plate and swinging the bat. With the addition of Social Media, businesses are offered help in navigating through the mass that is the social space,  they can grab data that can help in determining an idea’s worthiness, and value to it’s targeted, engaged audience.  It is an advantage that until recently was not available, however it should not be the end all in making that decision to go forward or not. Social Media is a tool, and needs to be treated as such, albeit a many faceted tool, but a tool in a toolkit all the same.

The Next Big Idea

I love getting my clients fired up and looking for that next big idea, and this was a great start. A short time after our phone conversation, the client sent me some slogan texts that were awesome. I have to share the best in my humble opinion…”Have you been knotty, or nice?”  A fitting question for a massage to be asking at Christmas time, wouldn’t you say? Often times a bad idea needs to be explored, and not disposed of as simply a bad idea right off the bat. Sometimes the best next big idea comes from taking the time to explore a bad idea further. All it takes is a spark of inspiration to see something through, sometimes one minor detail might be the missing link to take a perceived “bad” idea, and turn it into a great idea – and a financially successful experience.

So what about you business owners, enterpreneurs, and social media professionals out there, what BAD ideas have you explored and turned into a GREAT idea? Please leave a comment below!

Is Your Twitter Preview Selling You Short?

When I first ventured into Twitter, it was hard to discern who to follow and why I should pay attention to certain people and accounts. I sought out people with backgrounds in PR, social media, retail, marketing, and other areas in which I wanted to become knowledgeable in as well as share my knowledge.

TwitterOne thing quickly became apparent — not everyone uses Twitter in the same way. And that is a good thing for the most part. But more and more I continue to see people and brands using Twitter as a broadcast tool and not an engagement tool.

Traditional media is all about the broadcast method. It’s push marketing. Social media is about engagement, interaction, and exchange. It’s pull marketing at its finest. It has the ability to draw in prospects and customers. It provides brands and individuals the ultimate means to court opportunity. Social media shortens the distance between you and your customer, and your product or service and the end user.

But what happens when you are scrolling through Twitter and come across a brand account or individual to connect with and their feed is cluttered with posts that scream, “It’s all about me!” For instance, there are no posts where a customer is offered help or assistance. There is no evidence of discussion about the latest news from Mashable. In fact, there are no replies to anyone. Instead the feed consists of retweets and self-promotion. Not exactly a giant “Welcome” mat, is it?

Mark W. Schaefer said at the Social Media Masters (#SMM) conference I attended in Toronto last year, “If your website is the movie, let Twitter be your trailer.” Your Twitter profile and the handful of tweets in view when someone pulls up your profile should give your next potential follower a hint of what’s to come. Your Twitter profile especially as it appears on a mobile device only gives a snapshot of what they will see and be subject to once they click the “follow” button.

Your Twitter preview, or trailer, sets the stage for the ultimate big show — your website. Use Twitter to position your brand as the brand of choice. Stand out against your competitors and build credibility and authority with every tweet. This Twitter snapshot should present your brand as accurately as possible. Are you driven by customer service? Are you driven by the best products in the industry? Give future customers enough intrigue to click through to your website where you drive the sale. Manage the relationship and leverage your social presence to keep your audience in the seats right through to the end credits.

What would be your recommendation to a brand trying to improve their Twitter presence? Please leave a comment below.

Twitter: How to Manage and run Efficiently

Twitter has become a household name thanks to the media and its continued growth.  Twitter surpassed the 500 million user milestone earlier this year, and over 150K new users sign up daily.

While Twitter has become very popular over the last few years, many of the registered users fall off the face of the Earth.  Only about 100 million are active on a monthly basis.  Well 100 million active users is impressive, and there are no signs of Twitter slowing down.  Twitter is only going to get bigger.

If you’re a business and not taking advantage of Twitter you’re likely doing yourself a disservice. Your Twitter account needs to be managed and run efficiently for success.  Twitter gives your customers and prospects another format to communicate with your business.  It also serves as a venue to promote your business.

With a max of 140 characters per Tweet, Twitter would seem like a cinch.  In theory it is a cinch, but there are pieces to manage that make your experience efficient and worthwhile.

Give it time – If you’re new to Twitter or inactive you need to have patience.  If you’re expecting fireworks in a day, week, or month of use you need to change your mind set.  It takes time to build a following and achieve your desired results.  You need to give Twitter six months before making an evaluation of its value.  You will build relationships in this sea of users if you give it time.

Be Active – You must be active.  Tweeting here and there is not going to cut it.  Have a plan where you’re going to be tweeting daily.  At the minimum you should send 8-10 tweets per day.  Any less is just not enough.  If you want to be really active send a tweet out every 20 minutes.  That is good activity without coming off as spammy.

Create Lists and Use them – This is the foundation of an organized Twitter experience especially as your follower count grows.  Twitter allows you to have 20 different lists with a maximum 500 users per list.  As a business you should create a customer list and prospect list right off the bat.  A list allows you to see a group of specified users in one place.  This makes communication with these users more manageable.   You must create lists.

Use Tools – While Twitter recently changed its API rules for third party apps, there are still many out there that will highly increase your efficiency.  Using the Twitter interface alone puts you at a disadvantage.  HootSuite is one of the best free tools on the net.  It takes your lists or any searchable word/phrase and separates them into streams.  HootSuite filters your Twitter account and allows for easy management and analysis.  You can and should schedule tweets through HootSuite.  Sending tweets manually at a certain time can be exhausting and defeating.  Scheduling your tweets in the morning over the course of the day(s) saves you a great deal of time.  Another tool that is suggested is Tweepi.  Tweepi allows you to manage your Twitter with ways to follow and unfollow users based on certain criteria.  As your number of followers becomes greater Tweepi is almost necessary.  Tweepi offers both free and premium service.  Under no circumstances ever buy followers.  You see the ads all the time, “Gain 10K followers for $100” but it is total garbage.  They are not real users and will serve you no purpose.

Avoid one-way Communication – Don’t fall into the habit of just broadcasting. While providing good content is important, you want to communicate with your followers. That’s how relationships are built. Do you have to tweet a “thank you” every time someone mentions you or retweets your tweet? No, but you do want to acknowledge that user by retweeting one of their tweets, mentioning them, and/or adding them to one of your lists. If you add them to a list you’ll be able to see their activity through a stream in Hootsuite that you’ve created. You can then schedule a retweet or mention of one on theirs tweets if it is relevant to your audience. If you’re asked a direct question on Twitter, do everything in your power to reply. If you someone asks you a question in person, do you keep walking or stay silent? Probably not, so it shouldn’t be any different online.

Easy on the Self-Promo Cowboy – Many use a 80/20 rule of thumb with 20% of your tweets promoting your brand, products, and services.  In the Social Media space you’re better off keeping that promotion ratio under 10%.  Self-promoting can be a turnoff to follower real quick, so you really want to be aware of it and space out your tweets accordingly.

How do you manage Twitter effectively and efficiently?

Put A Kink in the Hose With 3rd Party Apps

I’ve recently started to do a clean up of the people I follow on Twitter.

I have been getting rid of the “Fire Hose-ers” – the people that Fire Hose are the ones who will post a whole days worth of Tweets all at once. These are the people who you know the moment they get on Twitter and the moment they get off. Your stream will be barraged with Tweets from them and if you notice, they are all just outgoing posts – not conversation.

Now, I know not everyone is able to spend all day long on Twitter, or any other social media platform for that matter, but there are ways to prevent this invasion of the streams.

These apps will help you to spread out the content you want to post throughout the day. By scheduling (NOT automating) your posts, it will help both you and your community. By spreading your content out, it will not annoy your followers by having a stream full of you, and all of your blitz tweets. This also helps you out by reaching more people at different times of day.

Many of the above listed 3rd party apps will examine your Twitter followers and schedule posts when they will have the most impact. These apps can also help with follower analysis and other analytics as well, like the amount of clicks your tweets receive.

One thing to remember when you are scheduling your posts, is that you can not schedule and walk away. People will be replying, sharing and commenting on those posts. You must be around to reply to them! Check back to your notification stream regularly or set up email notifications to let you know when people are engaging with you. Keep the conversation alive and going!

What’s your advice when it comes to scheduling posts? Please leave a comment below.