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Tweet up @ Wild Grape SLC

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s a tweet up?  It’s where people who tweet meet in real life and get to know each other.  Funny enough there isn’t any tweeting going on.  It’s another form of analog marketing where you can meet people who will follow you or teach you new things. 

Come join the group next time.  I’ve created a list of Utah twitterers.  DM me if you want to be listed.

– Sent from my Palm Pixi

 

Is Twitter a Good Traffic Source?

December 14, 2009 3 comments

Last week I met with a potential client to discuss an Internet marketing strategy.  Because of the type of business; very customer centric and people oriented, I suggested they use Twitter.

This company had a specific traffic goal in mind and based on their reaction I don’t think they really liked it.  I suppose if they used Twitter like I used to use Twitter, I’d probably have the same reaction.

Fortunately for them, I do have an effective Twitter strategy and when they hire me I’ll be happy to share it.

Yesterday was a record traffic day for this site.  I had 378 unique visitors, barely eclipsing the old record of 376.  What drove such high volumes of traffic on those two days?  You guessed it; Twitter.  In fact, when reviewing my stats, Twitter is the second largest traffic generator for this site behind search engines. 

Twitter and search are about to be combined like the perfect cup of coffee.  Pete Cashmore recently wrote about the “real-time” web and said,

If this new paradigm stimulates our seeking behavior, it follows that search is central to the real-time Web. Before Google entered the fray, OneRiot and Collecta stood out among real-time search engines.

The reigning champion of real-time search, however, is Twitter Search, which provides instant updates whenever new Tweets are posted.

If you’re not using Twitter or using it properly, you’re missing out on some traffic.  As more people adopt Twitter use, you’re going to be missing out on 6,000 new potential followers per day.

I’ve spoken about the volume Twitter can drive, how about the quality?  Every “big” Twitter day I have, I get quality comments and new Twitter followers.  I’m up to nearly 300 now.  Here’s the important part.  Twitter users offer social proof to your potential customers.

How did Pabst beer turn into one of the fastest growing brands in the country…without any traditional advertising?  It’s not the cheapest beer this recession has to offer.  That’s the question the company set out to answer in 2002.  Keystone Light, Busch Light and Natural Light are all less money per can, but they found -

“We found it was the hipster crowd, the music crowd,” says Stewart, who became the PBR brand manager in 2002 before leaving the company four years later. “They liked it because it didn’t have a lot of advertising behind it.”

“People don’t like to be shouted at,” says Jack Anderson, CEO of brand design firm Hornall Anderson, which works with beer companies. “It’s more authentic and cooler if you discover it or you’re told by a friend. “

 Twitter makes it easy to tell your friends and the more customer facing a business is, the more it needs other trusted sources to tell their product’s story.

Three Twitter Tips for Building Tons of Traffic:

1.  Use hashtags for every important word you use because they make your tweets get found. 

2.  Do your research for keywords and tweets.  I found the phrase “twitter tools” is searched 80,000 times per month.  It was no mistake yesterday’s popular article started with those words and no mistake I used them with hashtags when I tweeted the article.

3.  Be consistent without being annoying.  I see people tweet in bursts.  I unfollow those people.  If I have something to say I think others will benefit from, I say it.  If I have a few things to say, I space them out using Hootsuite or TwitJump so I don’t look like a spammer. 

If you’re not using Twitter as a traffic source for your website, you’re missing out on a great way to drive high quality, high volume visitors.  What’s stopping you?

Twitter Tools for Maximum Productivity

December 8, 2009 11 comments

There’s a lot of noise out there about how unproductive social media is.

Twitter has many tools available to improve productivity, but it’s hard to determine which ones are the best.

For me, two features are very important; the ability to schedule tweets in the future and to coordinate a separate message for my Facebook business page.

Ultimately my goal is to build the number of followers I have who may be receptive to my message.  I’ve written about methods to increase followers in the past and having the right tools to acheive this goal is of utmost importance.

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying very hard to find the right Twitter toolset and I believe I’ve finally got it.

I use Twitjump to schedule tweets and get followers and there are similar tools out there.  What sets this software apart is you can add people by keyword and get analytics on how many times a particular word is searched or tweeted on Twitter.

To complete my toolset, I use Hootsuite to schedule Facebook updates.  That is the only missing piece of Twitjump.  So I can schedule tweets through either software, but need to use Hootsuite to schedule for Facebook. 

Both pieces of software have URL shorteners to save time and space and both are free.  I learned about Twitjump, which is still in Beta, at the Utah Stompernet meetup and I asked around quite a bit before trying Hootsuite.

No matter which tools you use, if you don’t have a strategy, your social media campaign won’t be successful.  Ultimately, the goal is to get in front of you prospect, customer or client.  I read this article yesterday about a Tweetup in New Zealand -

I went to my first Tweetup on Friday night and had a ball. It was the first NZ National Tweetup and it was just fantastic. Over the past couple of months I have been developing relationships with some great people, and it was wonderful to meet so many of them face to face….and we had such fun!

For me, this was proof that Twitter is a fantastic tool for developing great relationships – personal and business.

That is the key to social media.  No Twitter tool, as great as it may be, is a substitute for actually connecting with people in real life.  If you’re looking for tools to help you on Twitter, I highly recommend Twitjump and Hootsuite.

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Trick or Tweet!

October 31, 2009 1 comment

PumpkinCarving-RavenHappy Halloween everybody!  As you can guess from the title today we’ll be talking about Twitter.

Twitter has gone through some major changes this week and I’m going to talk about how that effects SEO.

First, let’s talk about the Twitter “trick.”  There are people out there that don’t believe Twitter is a useful tool, let alone a useful business tool.  Consider this comment:

I tried twitter 8 months and found it to be nothing more than rss, but worse: mostly spam

so go ahead and hype it up some more, you are a sukker like other media who believe twitter is somehow great

Obviously this commenter wasn’t following the right people.  If I get spam, I unfollow.  If I get too much stuff, I unfollow.  Consider it an instant and trustworthy opt-out list.  If you try it, it’s easy to either stay subscribed or get out.

I’ll admit many people haven’t figured Twitter out yet and that includes businesses.  The question we have to ask is Twitter a gimmick and does it present a tangible return on investment (time).  Are we being tricked by using Twitter?

I don’t think so and I believe the events of this past week prove it.  First of all the announcement Bing would index Tweets was made.  The next day Google announced similar news along with a social search function.

While the experiment isn’t quite live yet, it would seem that from the video below made by Google’s Matt Cutts, Social Search, at least at first, will be able to include results from Twitter, FriendFeed, Picasa, Blogger, and Google Reader.

When I opened up Twitter this morning, I saw a new feature:  lists.  Lists aggregate like-minded content together and they’re searchable.

Twitter Lists are exciting because curation of dynamic sources is exciting. This is a particularly accessible way to do what syndication geeks have been thrilled by for years.

If none of this made sense to you, let me explain.  Twitter lists are like a digital news or feed reader.  You can create your own list to follow topics you’re interested in and categorize them.  Until now, this wasn’t possible with Twitter.  This feature will cause more people to adopt Twitter as an information tool and they’re searchable through Twitter and Google.

The impact to search engine optimization is simple.  If you’re not Twittering useful content, you won’t be found.  Use hashtags and your keywords in tweets and you will open up a new channel of potential clients and referrers.

I think this a great treat, Halloween or not.  If you’re a business, ignore Twitter at your own peril.

How to Get Twitter Followers Automatically

October 29, 2009 14 comments

blogger quick tipsSometimes being an expert is a matter of knowing experts.  This tip is one of them.  As you know blogging is part of the social media family, even though most people think of Twitter or Facebook when hearing that term.

I am an expert level blogger, even though I learn at least one new thing about it every day.  I’m pretty good with Facebook too.  Twitter on the other hand is still in my experimental sandbox, so I can share whatever tips I learn when I find them out.

I got a tip from real estate blogger Larry Cragan about Twitter.  I tested it and it works.

I now know how to get Twitter followers automatically!

Larry writes on his Facebook business page:

Twitter calls this a hash tag: # You might call it a pound sign. Whatever. When posting an article in twitter you can use the # to identify it for searches. Ahah, like a tag does. So use it in front of your tweet and use it for searching.

Besides using “keywords” in my tweets, I’m now using these tags.  I got 16 new followers today just by using hashtags.

Three tips I’ve learned about Twitter hashtags:

1.  Don’t use spaces in the words.  #salt lake city only tags “salt.”  Use #saltlakecity instead.

2.  Commas are not necessary.  You’ve only got 140 characters!  Use #salt #lake #city instead of #salt, #lake, #city.

3.  Use a URL shortener before you tweet for extra space.  My URLs are based on my page title, so sometimes they’re long.  If I run out of space, I can use bit.ly or another URL shortener to free up space for hashtags.

By using keywords in your tweets and hashtags, you’ve got a surefire way to get more Twitter followers automatically.

How I Doubled My Number of Twitter Followers

October 25, 2009 2 comments

increase twitter followersI have my Twitter account set to alert me by email every time I get a new follower.  I’ve got about 50 followers since I started my account two months ago, so I get an email about every other day.  On Friday I doubled my followers in one day.

My email just started pinging me about every five minutes.  When I hit refresh on my Twitter account, my follower stats were increasing with every page reload.  I was happy, but I wanted to know why.

How I doubled my Twitter followers:

What did I tweet that ruffled so many feathers people started following me?

Stompernet meetup made me think…http://bit.ly/4hdGn3

I wrote an article about the Stompernet meeting I attended the night before.  Of course I optimized the article for the key phrase “stompernet.”  I also used that term in my tweet.

Many of the Twitter management tools out there rely on searches to find relevant content.  When a term is found, the tool automatically adds the tweeter to the follower.  In some cases if there isn’t a return follow, the tweeter will be dropped after a few days.  By using a highly searched key term, I doubled my followers in one day!

This made me review my old tweets and I discovered I haven’t been doing a very good job tweeting.  Unless you’re already known, it’s better to use descriptive keywords instead of trying to be cute.  You’ll get much more interest from Twitter search.  Once you’ve got an established following, then you can be more interesting.

Now I’m considering changing how I use Twitter and my Facebook business page.  I’ve been linking them together as a time management tool, but maybe I should send out two different messages.  I want to be more personal and interesting on my business page and use my Twitter to build followers. 

Social Media Time Management

A question I hear and Mike Knutson specifically asked is, “How do you manage the time spent on social media?”  For me, the most time-consuming portion is actually writing the blog post.  Once it’s written and published my LinkIn automatically updates with the new post and I publish a short message on my business page that publishes on my personal Facebook site and Twitter.  That’s the easiest part!

I don’t want to publish two tweets with different messages and bug my followers, so I think I need to unlink my Facebook from Twitter.  Too bad.  I liked the automation.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Twitter is a Pick Up Line…

October 20, 2009 2 comments

pickuplineSmart marketers know how to get prospects to “their” place.  It doesn’t matter whether that place is a blog, website or Facebook business page.  What does matter is what you say on Twitter.

Internet marketers are struggling with Twitter.  Consider affiliate marketer Murray Newlands who recently declared he was unfollowing everyone on Twitter.

Twitter should be about conversation. You cannot listen to 30,000 people you are following. That is it. I could go on about to much spam etc but it is just that I cannot hear what anyone is saying.

It is not just you, it is not personal. I want to have a conversation, not a following.

That’s just it.  Twitter isn’t about conversation.  Twitter is about opening lines.  If you don’t like the noise, get out of the bar and to a more intimate place, like your blog, your website, your Facebook page, your email or the holy of holies…your telephone.  That is where you can get down to some serious business!  Twitter is just a chance to test your opening lines.

Last week, I got a great lesson on Twitter from a professional web marketer.  He developed a following that exceeded 10,000 people.  He told me in great detail how he did it.  He concluded by telling me how he was banned by Twitter.  It’s a pretty permanent thing.  You can’t reclaim your user name.  It’s like a slap in the face from a pretty woman you came on to with a weak pick up line.  This web marketer also had the same complaint Murray Newlands did…there’s too much noise when you follow thousands of people.  Then we asked ourselves, “How many people besides web marketers follow thousands of people on Twitter?”

Probably not very many.

Even though there’s great technology out there, you can’t automate human interaction through social media.  There would be a lot fewer divorces if we could!

I approached Twitter like I think a lot of other people do.  I followed some people I knew.  From there, I followed people I thought I ought to know.  Right now, I’m following 40 something and being followed by 50 something.  That is perfectly manageable because only 30% of the people I follow tweet with any frequency.

Ideally, I would have a follow to follower ratio of 1/1000.  In that equation those few people who I followed would only deliver the sagest of advice, while my legions of followers would be waiting with bated breath for the next gold nugget of wisdom I would drop.  Dream on.

Reality is we only have so much time and attention.  If people I follow waste it, they’re going to get unfollowed pretty quickly.  I was following a service that made job updates.  Nice, right?  It was simply a tweet of every new Craigslist post in SLC.  There was no added value and they tweeted with the frequency of a Robin with the runs.  I unfollowed after a week of that nonsense.

How is your Twitter pick up line going to be received?

The ideal answer is a migration of the conversation to someplace a little more private.  In the digital world, that would be your blog, email or telephone.

Your pick up line could be ignored.  Indeed, it’s likely to be ignored.  80% of Twitter advances are.

It could get you slapped!  If you send out the wrong message you will be virtually slapped by being unfollowed.  If your pickup line was especially bad, you may get negative word of mouth or banned completely from the service.  Aack!

What are good Twitter pick up lines?

Propositions…that are good for the receiver.  If you follow me on Twitter, then I’ll give you a good chance to win free Jazz tickets.

Questions…that inspire curiosity.  Who are Utah’s top bloggers?

Information…that leads to something you wrote.  Following Danny Sullivan, I notice he typically links to his own material.  So do I, unless I find something amazing which I have to share.

Don’t over do it.  The old tagline for financial advice was, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”  How much would he tweet?

Remember that Twitter is a pick up line.  Less is more.  Our friend Joey had more than enough success with a simple, “How you doin?”  Don’t over do it with frequency of tweets or quantity of follows.

Twitter for Business – Some Great Ideas

October 4, 2009 7 comments

utahjazztwitter

Like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking about business applications for social media like Facebook and Twitter.  This is technology that is easy and cheap, but few people really are grasping how to use it to any great benefit.  To I’m going to discuss how I think Twitter should be used for business and then show a few examples that are working in the real world.  Finally, I’m going to present a strategy for small businesses just like yours.

Earlier I discussed an idea for using Twitter in the mortgage business.  However, there are applications for any business that deals directly with customers and it doesn’t matter what kind of business it is.  My “aha!” moment came the last time I went to get a hair cut.  I go to a small, specialty shop that tends to change locations.  It is one of the most low tech businesses I’ve ever seen and advertises solely by word of mouth.  They never advertise and there are always people in the shop.  I’ve been going for 15 years after one of the owners told me about it.

This last time they moved, they sent out a text message with the new address.  I kept the text, so when I went again, I knew where to go.  That got me to thinking about Twitter.  Wouldn’t that be a great platform for a busy, small business owner to advertise?  They could send out a short message from a mobile phone advertising a sale, a surplus or even an appointment opening.

The trouble with this is you have to build your subscriber base for it to have the impact I envision.  Take a look at the Utah Jazz offer at the top of this page.  I got that in my email three days ago, the afternoon before the game.  They were giving away tickets to the game if you followed them on Twitter.  Talk about a great promotion!  I’ve been saying recently that email marketing is dead and smart marketers will be converting their email lists subscribers to Twitter and Facebook.  This is how you do it!

You don’t have to give away the farm to be successful either.  Thursday night’s game was the pre-season opener and the stadium was half empty as it was.  How about a car dealer giving away a free oil change with a test drive.  Now they can ping their customer for repair service and a new car.  A restaurant could give away a dessert or a drink.  A barber shop could give away a free haircut.  I also believe a promotion like that would create tremendous word of mouth advertising for the offer, but the offer should be specific and timebound.  The Jazz promotion was for Thursday only between 12 pm – 3 pm.  It was very specific – sign up to follow the Jazz on Twitter – and timebound – Thursday from noon to three.

So how are real businesses using Twitter?  Consider the story of Naked Pizza in New Orleans.  They are trying to bring a health aspect to delivery and carryout pizza.  They also have financial backing from a huge technology maven – Mark Cuban.  So when he told them in April to start Twittering, they tweeted -

So what is the ROI for Naked Pizza using twitter?  Well the companies first twitter only promotion on April 23 resulted in 15% of total sales, with 90% of those being NEW CUSTOMERS!  On May 29 twitter set a store sales record with the bulk of the traffic coming directly from twitter.  How much?  68.60% of the total sales came from customers who stated “I’m calling from twitter”!

Naked Pizza is doing three things every business should do to continue their success:

1.  Converting – They are changing their current communications medium to Twitter.  In this case it’s the telephone, but it could be email, Yellow Pages and so forth.  Their billboard now shows their Twitter address instead of the phone number.

2.  Leveraging – They are leveraging walk in traffic to become Twitter traffic.  Naked Pizza has created a kiosk where customers can sign up in the store.  Don’t forget mobile phones as an easy way to get Twitter subscribers.

3.  Tracking – They have made it easy to track Twitter customers in the store.  If you run a Twitter only promotion, the only way your customer will no about it is through your medium or word of mouth.  Either way is good!  Run a different promotion for your Facebook business page and ask all your customers how they found you.

Utah top blogger nominee Janet Thaeler has the story of our second example.  She recently pointed out that Bath & Body Works (LTD) is printing its Facebook business page on its receipts and asking customers to sign up.  Good idea!  The company currently has nearly 70,000 Facebook fans that are ready and willing to hear Bath & Body Works message.  Think of the savings in print and to the environment!  The community appears to be thriving with great feedback from members and frequent updates by the company.

I know some of you are probably thinking, “What about us?  What can a real small business do with Twitter.  We’re not an NBA franchise or a publicly traded company or backed by billionaires!  How do we use Twitter for business?”

You use it in exactly the same way.  Let me tell you about my friend Jerri.  She operates a nail salon in Denver, CO and we’ve been talking about her web marketing very casually for a few months now.  She’s got her nail website and what looks to be a good location inside a salon, but I know if she’s asking me about web marketing, what’s she’s currently doing isn’t enough.

Jerri’s business is a very people oriented business.  You have to like the person if you’re going to sit for 30 minutes to an hour in front of them to get your nails done.  Fortunately, Jerri is a people person and I know she does a fantastic job.  There’s a lot of things that can be done with her website, but there’s more that can be done away from it.

While I see a lot of SEO opportunities for her site, the change I would make first is her title.  Up at the top right-hand corner, it simply says Jerri Ferguson – Nail Tech.  Boring!  If you know Jerri, you’ll know she’s anything but boring!  Why not Nail Diva, or Nail Stylist or Nail Fashionista?  She needs something more exciting to match her personality.

For Jerri, a Facebook business page and Twitter are an easy match.  She’s already on Facebook and posts these really funny and pithy quotes throughout the day.  I would follow her on Twitter just for that!  By creating a Facebook business page, she can separate what she shares with clients and friends.  Her friends will still see her business posts, but her customers won’t see her friend’s posts.  Tie that business page to Twitter and I think we’ve got a winning combination.

What should be the Twitter content?

For Jerri, it’s pretty easy.  If she gets a new color in, tweet it.  I see a picture of her toenails on her Facebook page -

pink cheetah

She simply said, “Rockin the Pink Cheetah Minx!!!” and got five comments from her friends…all positive.  At less than 140 characters, that’s a tweet.  An appointment doesn’t show up?  That’s a tweet.  “Last minute cancel, reply to get squeezed in.”  Slow day?  “Next 5 people to reply, I’m buying xxxx.”  There’s a Subway and Quizno’s nearby, so there’s no shortage of places to fulfill whatever offer is made.

I happen to know Jerri already has two Twitter accounts, but she’s not using them.  The Facebook business page is the missing link to completing this small business marketing puzzle.  The business page will hold links, photos, videos…just about anything you can dream up a regular website can, plus it’s highly searchable through Facebook and Google.

By following the three steps I mentioned earlier, a small business like Jerri’s can use Twitter for a fantastic return on investment.  So can yours if you:

Convert – Use your existing communication methods to get Twitter followers and Facebook fans.

Leverage – Tell existing customers inside your business to follow or fan you.  If you can allow them to do it in the business, that’s even better.  If not, give them a reminder.

Track – Put a plan in place to internally measure followers, fans and sales.

Twitter for Business – My First 30 Days

October 3, 2009 7 comments

twitter-birdWhen Twitter first came out, I didn’t understand it.  What possible message could a person convey in 140 characters?  Plenty it seems.  Twitter is now one of those necessary tools for web marketing.

I was first really exposed to Twitter about a year ago when a blogger friend stayed for a visit.  He used it in relation to his blog.  That’s when I began to see the possibilities.

Mortgage rate notification seemed to be a good application for Twitter.  They constantly change and can sometimes change multiple times in a day.  That was my thought.  Even though I’m not currently blogging about mortgages or real estate, I decided to give it a try.

First of all, it’s pretty easy to set up and I can link to this blog from it.  Cool, an SEO application!  So then I picked some people to follow.  From Facebook I knew certain friends were using Twitter, so I started following them.  I picked Pat because he’s been using it for a while.  I also picked Jay to keep me in the real estate loop.  Then I made a couple selections for my own personal learning;  Matt and Mark.  That’s how I started.

Oh, I also added my Twitter feed to this site.  A few days later, I connected my Facebook business page to Twitter, so I only have to type one message to get it across to four networks – this blog, my Twitter followers, my FB business fans and my FB friends.

Within a few hours people were following me.  Sure some of them were scammers/spammers, but the ones that looked interesting, I followed back.  Twitter actually is pretty aggressive in deleting scammers, so I saw my follower list decrease a couple times, but it quickly grew again.  I learned this from following Danny.

That was the other thing.  I learned so much in the last month, just by following people!  Every interesting tweet led to a bookmark of their blog/article and a follow on my part.  In 30 days my follow list grew from four to nearly forty.  My follower list grew from 0 to 44.  That’s faster than my blog grew in the same amount of time!

I also learned that I don’t know very much about Twitter.  I guess there are a bunch of tools out there to filter and manage other people’s tweets.  Right now I just go through once a day and skim what other people have written.  Of course, I see some of them through Facebook, but I don’t want to friend everyone I follow on Twitter.

At the end of 30 days I have learned a lot about Twitter -

  • Twitter is a great place to make connections you won’t be able to make from Facebook or your website.  I can follow people like Matt, Mark and Danny on Twitter, where on Facebook I don’t think my friend request would be accepted.  A smart marketer will try to convert Twitter followers to their FB business page, blog, website or mailing list.
  • Putting your Twitter feed on your blog allows for additional SEO opportunities, especially if you use a different title.  I can use one title for my post and another title for my tweet and get Google to recognize both of them!
  • I need to get some sort of Twitter management tool going so I can see tweets in real time.  I missed out on a pair of free Utah Jazz tickets yesterday because I didn’t.  Who knows what else I’m missing out on?

Overall, Twitter has far exceeded my expectations after using it for 30 days.  I think there are a lot of great ways to use it for business and I’m going to talk about a few of my ideas in my next couple of posts.

What has been your experience with Twitter?  What kind of business applications do you think it has?  Leave a comment to let me know.

Notable News – Twitter Changes TOS

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

newspaperTwitter announced changes to its terms of service (TOS) yesterday.

The key change attributes “tweet” ownership to the people that create them, not Twitter.

It seems they learned a lesson from Facebook about ownership rights.  Good for Twitter!

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