#TwitterTuesday – Setup your Twitter Profile Properly!

I must admit, it was refreshing to take a break from blogging for the past month or so.  Time off allows the battery to recharge & fresh ideas to be hatched.  I’ve got tons of new blog post ideas, but for now, I’m going w/ the most obvious one possible for Twitter.

If you have a Twitter profile, make sure you set it up properly!

Doing so is easy … go to your home page … click on your name/handle in the top right & go to the “settings tab.”  There, you’ll find a “Profile” option.  Start w/ the “Bio” area as that’s the most important.  Fill in this area w/ the following key items (you may not need all or you may need more … this is just a rough guide).

1) Who you are (or what you do) professionally
2) A few personal interests
3) Any other Twitter profiles or accounts you manage

Other tips on the “Profile” page include:

1) Adding your real name (not your call handle or nickname)
2) Adding a picture of you … not your dog or kids
3) Add your real home/office (i.e. your fixed) location
3) A link to your personal website or Linkedin page in the “web” box

You’re almost done – save everything above & go to the “Design” tab.  You can choose one of Twitter’s own backgrounds – or – you can create your own.  I’d recommend creating your own – it simply shows a modest degree of higher sophistication then using one of their designs.  Choose “change background image” and upload a picture or image from your files/desktop.  You may have to play around w/ it (center vs. tiled, different pics/images, etc.) but it’ll be worth it in the long-run.

Here’s a link to my own personal Twitter account, @streske18.  It shows everything I’ve mentioned & will give you some tips on setup, tweet topics, etc.  This may all seem obvious to some/most, but, you’d be surprised how many people skip 1 or more of these steps!

Use @Instagram to develop your new @Twitter photo profiles presence!

Art’s a funny thing.  It used to be limited to professionals, artists, etc.  A lot of art is still inaccessible, but, photography has morphed into a mainstream form of art for just about anyone.  It started when personal/small sized digital cameras developed the necessary ‘good enough’ resolution to be considered a quality photo.  The next major evolution took place w/ the camera phone.  Sure, you can download pics from your digital camera & upload them to specific websites.  But that’s tedious & time consuming, especially if you take a lot of pictures.

Camera phones, especially on smart phones, have removed that major hurdle of inconvenience.  Most pic apps, as well as other social apps, allow you to take a picture from that app & upload to just about any social platform of interest.  The best example of this, in my opinion anyhow, is Instagram.  If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll spare calling you a cave dweller and bring you into the modern ages.  In it’s simplest definition, Instagram is a social photo app for iPhones that allows you to take pictures, change it w/ a few old-school filters, and post it to most major social networks.  For example, when I take an Instagram photo, I post it to Tumblr, Twitter, & Facebook … my 3 primary social networks (Linkedin is actually my primary but since I connect my Twitter account to my Linkedin account, I considered it included by proxy).  These 3 platforms provide all the visual distribution I’d ever want to have.

Recently, Twitter began including pictures as a part of Twitter profiles.  Not a major change as far as most are concerned, but as w/ any social platform change, it’s important to change with it.  By linking my Instagram account to Twitter, I can automatically develop a photo/picture library w/out doing any extra work.  And @ the end of the day, isn’t that really the key?  Social media proliferation requires more & more work.  Picking a solution (Instagram) that solves 2 problems w/out any extra work (Twitter enhancement & personal photography interests).   Adaptation w/ minimal work sure makes for a better chance of survival & thriving in the long run!

#TwitterTuesday – The Power of a #Hashtag

I’ve been using Twitter since the start of ’09 – I’m pretty familiar w/ most of the lingo, acronyms, techniques, etc.  One of the most interesting (@ least to me anyhow) is the use of a # symbol, affectionally referred to as a Hashtag.  Whenever you put a # symbol in front of a word on Twitter, you are essentially creating your own hashtag.  The purpose of hashtags is to give Twitter users the ability to search all of Twitter by simply clicking on the word you’ve hashtagged.

There are a million different ways you can use hashtags to generate topic, service or product awareness – here are 2 different examples of how to use #hashtags.

As you can see from the subject line of this post, I’ve made #TwitterTuesday the name of all my posts that I create about Twitter on, you guessed it, Tuesdays.  Go ahead – click on the link – you’ll see all the posts that have been made on Twitter the #TwitterTuesday hashtag is being used.  This is an example of a general hashtag.  General hashtags are often used to created a trending hashtag or to be a part of a larger cause/movement.

Another example of using hashtags is to create unique hashtags for promoting products & services.  If I were looking to promote a specific segment of my services offered – say – Social Media or maybe Local Commerce I might choose a unique hashtag like #BCSocialMedia or #BCLocalCommerce as a long-term branding strategy.  By choosing an uncommon hashtag, I develop my own opportunity to develop the brands & services that I’m looking to promote w/out getting unrelated posts like when I use #TwitterTuesday.

Using (and following) hashtags can be a little confusing for relatively new marketers & users.  If anyone needs help developing a #hashtag strategy or simply want to learn how to use Twitter as an advanced marketer or user, please let us know.  We’re more then happy to help out!

#TwitterTuesday – eConsultancy said it best today …

I try to post an article about using Twitter every Tuesday.  It’s catchy & keeps me consistent.  But, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I’m simply going to post a link to an article I just read from eConsultancy.  Exceptionally useful information – check it out & give them a follow on Twitter or signup for their newsletter.  Great content from them is a thing of consistent beauty!


#TwitterTuesday – Time to jump aboard the Twitter ad train!

Early this morning, I was thinking of some inspiration for today’s #TwitterTuesday post.  I had some good ideas, but, I put’em all on the back-burner after getting my eMarketer daily newsletter.  Today’s top-line stat is about quick evolution of Twitter ad platform.  Here’s a picture & here’s a link to the article.

.Number of Companies Worldwide that Advertise on Twitter, End of 2010 & June 2011

While the sample size of the #’s are still relatively small to the overall sample size of advertisers, a growth trend of 400% in 1 year is strong enough for marketers to begin testing Twitter ads.  I suspect the # of advertisers will be well over 1,000 by the end of 2011 & much more then that in 2012.

If you’ve run any Twitter advertising, let us know.  We’d love to hear about success (or failures) from your campaigns!

If you haven’t run any Twitter campaigns & have a budget of $5k or more, we’d be happy to get you setup w/ a test campaign.  Test, then rollout to successful metrics, is the philosophy that guides everything we do for our clients!


#TwitterTuesday – Following is as important as a follower!

One way to make a commitment to blog posting is by picking specific topics for certain days & following through week after week.  No promises of course, but, my first step towards this commitment is by starting #TwitterTuesdays.  I’ll also be doing #FacebookFridays but that’s a topic for another day.

Twitter is an asymmetric social platform in that you don’t have to follow someone that’s following you.  Facebook is an example of a symmetric social platform – you can only follow those that are following/friending you.

W/in the world of Follows & Followers, the perception is that people following you are more important then someone you’re following.   The logic goes that the more followers I have, the more influential I am on that specific medium.  I wouldn’t disagree that followers are important – they are indeed ONE of the benchmarks used to determine your influence on Twitter.

However, I personally believe that following people on Twitter can be equally as important in the grand scheme of the Twitterverse.  Why?  Well, it’s simple.  Followers only provide you w/ feedback or 1 directional dialogue.  Following allows you to develop one of the wealthiest single sources of knowledge of any site on the web.  Let me explain.

W/ my personal Twitter account, @streske18, I follow 1,322 people/companies & I am followed by 862 people/companies.  For my business Twitter account, @blendingcircles, I follow 211 people/companies & am followed by 121 people/companies.   While it’s not quite 2/1 on the following to followers, it’s north of a 1/1 or a less then 1 to 1 … and that’s not by accident.

I tend to devour knowledge – it’s always been my competitive advantage and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.  In the old days, I used to subscribe to newsletters, visit websites, read professional blogs, etc.  Now?  I simply find their Twitter handle and follow them on Twitter.  This gives me one aggregated place to develop my competitive advantage!  If I were only following as many as are following me, I’d be missing out on over 600+ perspectives (b/t my personal & professional twitter feeds).  If only 1 of these ‘extra’ perspectives a day provide me insight, it was worth following them & then some!

Don’t get too wrapped up in the vanity of Twitter associated w/ Followers vs. Following.  The key is to use the medium to it’s true potential!

Email Acquisition – CPC for Social Media Promotions

Acquisition marketing is a practice as old as medium itself.  It’s a way to get new customers, generate sales leads, grow your database, etc.  All of these are important and will continue to be a vital part of the acquisition process.  And since this process needs forums to distribute the message, email has become an incredibly cost effective way in which to acquire new customers & leads.

Most email acquisition is done on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand) basis.  There are also CPL (Cost Per Lead) & CPS/A (Cost Per Sale/Action).  Not to mention CPC (Cost Per Click).  Publishers prefer CPM deals.  Marketers prefer CPA deals.  That leaves CPC & CPL opportunities as a compromise for marketers & publishers.  I happen to think that CPC is the ultimate compromise – there are simply to many variables in most email campaigns to go w/ a pure play CPA.

I’ve been advocating to my clients for quite some time now that they should use email acquisition as a means of generating likes/followers/etc. on their various social media platforms.  Why?  Well, a few reasons.

1) Social Media growth is exploding, and it’s b/c people are incredibly interested in Facebook, Twitter, etc.
2) Social Media has been come a core component of a vast majority of companies, both big & small.
3) Consumers (and professionals for that matter) are used to receiving ‘straight sells’ in email campaigns; providing an alternative message like a social one gives someone a chance to interactive passively w/ your community

There are tons of other reasons.  But these are a great starting point for marketers that use acquisition email marketing.  And if you’re the kind of marketer that doesn’t want to pay on a CPM basis but are having a hard time finding publishers on a straight CPS/A basis, suggest they try a social email campaign on a CPC basis (in the range of $0.75/click to $1/click – this is what you’d pay for a CPC Facebook campaign).

CPC-based email acquisition campaigns w/ a social call to action should provide a winning solution for both the Publishers & the Marketers.  That is, after all, the real long-term goal of a true cooperative vendor relationship!


An old industry meets Social Media

How do you know that Social Media has reached critical mass?  For me, it’s when I see old industries (direct marketing) start to create a focus that is specifically on promoting themselves w/in Social Media channels.  Have a look.

As a DM News subscriber, I received this email from Direct Marketing News just the other day.  There were no other call to actions other then to join the different social communities they’ve created.  While an email dedicated to social channel building is not new, it is rather unique to a mature industry like Direct Marketing.  In fact, when you think about it, Direct Marketing & Social Media are @ complete opposite ends of the media spectrum.  DM is about selling products.  Social media is about building relationships.

If a straight-sell channel/industry is now focused on developing a social engagement strategy, you can rest assured knowing that Social Media has truly arrived!

You Invested in your Business – Do the Same w/ your Marketing Plan!

I was reading an article the other day that was talking about the cost to startup a ‘food truck’ business. They said the average cost associated w/ this is b/t $50k & $150k. I’m friendly w/ a restaurant owner that paid $52k to get their restaurant/bar up and running. Another local business owner spent about the same to open up a retail store where he makes the products being sold.

I don’t know about you, but $50k to $150k is some meaningful money in this world! I commend those for taking such risks to try to make a go @ it in life. How can you hope for anything but success when someone takes such a big risk?

But here’s the thing – most small/local businesses spend all of this money to see their business be successful. But very few of these businesses are doing anything beyond the minimal amount of marketing/web/digital support that they need. And that’s just foolish! A typical investment in our ‘Social Media’ services is anywhere b/t $500 to 1500 for small/local businesses. Websites range from $1000 to $2000. Digital Marketing currently goes for $500 to $1500 – same is true for Local Commerce & Business Strategy.

The way I see it, you’d be investing around $3000 on the lower end of the range or closer to $6,5000 if you invested in ALL 5 of these services. When it’s all said & done, you can have a complete digital package for less then 10% of the total investment b/t $50k & $150k in your business. Even less if you did the services a la carte.

Sure seems like a small investment to me to hedge the bet of the one you gambled it all on!

PS: Rates are current & subject to change.

Don’t Start Networking When It’s Too Late!!

Just this morning I was browsing through my Twitter feed when I saw one that caught my eye.

“Once more, with feeling: build your network before you need it.”

If you’re not familiar w/ Amber, she’s one of the most respected social media professionals in the business. Here’s a link to her Twitter profile.

11 words – all exceptionally simple by themselves. But when combined, they create perhaps the most important underlying message in all of social media, networking, relationship building, etc. The statement speaks volumes – I won’t even try to put a better twist on it.

I hope everyone takes this to heart. It resonates so truly b/c @ the end of the day, we’re all humans. And no one likes to be taken advantage of for their kindess!