Monday, July 2

Getting Twitter: Now What?

There are hundreds of articles that describe how to use Twitter right and thousands that tell people how to do it wrong. One of the newest ways from Buddy Media, statistically, is both right and wrong.

It's right if your company fits the paradigm. It's wrong if your company doesn't. Most companies don't.

That doesn't mean that new study, which tracked 320 top Twitter handles for two months, isn't worthwhile. It can be, but not in the way most people think. It can help you ask better questions.

Reading the takeaways from the Buddy Media study.

• Tweet on the days heaviest for your industry.
• Use Twitter between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., Facebook between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.
• Tweet four times per day or less; traction tends to drop off with more tweets.
• Type less than 100 character per Tweet, making it more likely to be shared.
• Links and photos tend to receive more Tweets than straight connect.
• Include hashtags, but never more than two hashtags at a time.
• Use "Retweet" or "RT" as a prompt for retweets. Spell out retweet for increased retweets. 

Asking the right takeaways from the Buddy Media study. 

• Do you know when your followers are online? 
• Do you know what social networks they use?
• What is the optimal number of tweets for you? What are the exceptions (e.g., chat sessions)?
• Are you leaving enough room for people to share your tweets with a comment?
• Are your links to high value content or are they all promotional in nature? What about pictures?
• Are your hashtags well thought out? Did you remember to drop them during one-on-one chats?
• Have you prioritized comments you hope are retweeted? Each degree means something different.

There are hundreds more questions to consider, one in particular. 

What are you trying to do on Twitter? Most small business people usually have one or two answers. They want followers (but don't know why). They want more "awareness" about their brand (but don't know who). 

Most of the time, they want these things because it looks good to gather followers, retweets, etc. But that isn't enough, not really. Every aspect of social media is an opportunity to forward your company's mission or another objective revolving around the mission of your company.

More than anything else, that is what the best brands do online. Southwest Airlines tries to be friendly. Nike tries to tie everything outdoors to your feet. Coca-Cola tries to spread connectivity and happiness. Wal-Mart likes to talk about sales. Ford likes to promote automative technology as an industry leader.

As long as your brand is working toward its mission on social networks, with a healthy respect about adding value, the rest will almost take care of itself. But once you start seeing some traction with your campaign, you can start to refine it — picking the time of day or days when it seems to work its best.

Eventually, unless your mission is out of whack with your message, people will follow, share, engage, and (yes) possibly buy things from you too. Just don't put those things first. People can see through it.
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