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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#TalkFloor Series on Social Media

#TalkFloor Twitter TalkTalkFloor's Dave Foster and I have embarked on a special #TalkFloor social media series. In addition to listening to the interviews, you can also follow us on Twitter using the #TalkFloor symbol.

Not sure what a '#TalkFloor' identifier is? It's also referred to as a 'hashtag'. Simply follow along with us and you'll learn what it is and how to use it effectively.

Dave's Twitter handle is @DaveTalkFloor. Mine is @cbwhittemore. Follow us.

First up to be explored: Twitter.

In this first interview about social media, Dave Foster and I explore Twitter to answer the questions: What is Twitter and Why Should I Care?

Dave's introduction to the interview:

Christine B. Whittemore Talks Twitter on TalkFloorChristine Whittemore on Learning to Use & Profiting from Twitter

Christine B. Whittemore, Chief Simplifier, Simple Marketing Now and the industry’s best known social networker discusses Twitter and how it works, how retailers and others can get involved and profit from using this microblogging platform.

This first interview consists of two segments, each approximately 15 minutes long.

These are my show notes for the session.

What is Twitter?

+ Twitter is a microblogging platform which means that you have 140 characters to communicate a thought. As a result, succinctness and the ability to abbreviate - including shortened URLs - are highly prized!

+ It's easy to use via the web or on a mobile device.

Yet, it's also complicated! When you first experience a Twitter stream, it almost feels as if you’re in a foreign country with a foreign language, different customs and what looks to be a lot of gibberish. If you have no one to experiment with on Twitter, it makes no sense.

A common reaction from Twitter neophytes: what’s the point? Who cares what you had for breakfast? [Twitter now asks the question: What’s happening?]

Here’s why you should care:

Twitter continues to grow. Currently, there are 75 million accounts, with an active [very active] user base of 15 million.

You are hearing it integrated into the News, into conferences, and emergency relief efforts. It is a source of late breaking news for trending topics, political or global crises, disasters, and cutting edge thinking. It is searchable via search engines.

Twitter represents an opportunity for you to ‘listen’ to topics of relevance to you, your brand, your business and an opportunity to interact with potential users of your products/services. It’s a research tool that leads to links to relevant articles, other like-minded thinkers, as well as collaboration. It allows you to develop a reputation for sharing information and value, and to participate remotely in events [see my writeup on participating in NeoCon via Twitter].

For me, it is a B2B tool. For other businesses, it can be a B2C tool.

Using the ‘#’ symbol, you can follow related tweets. E.g., #Surfaces. See my transcript relating to Surfaces 2010. Or weekly tweet chats on a topic. E.g., #brandchat, target=new #carchat, #designchat.

What Twitter is NOT.

It is not a broadcast mechanism – unless perhaps you are Ashton Kutcher or CNN.

You build followers slowly over time as a function of participating and interacting. It’s a slow consistent process.

Your followers follow you because they expect consistent content from you.

It is not a hard sell tool. Hard selling is considering SPAM.

There are rules! For every 2-3 tweets about you, you need to come up with 7 or 8 about and for others. That can be articles of interest, inspirational quotes, retweeting content from others.

Although you can use Twitter to run campaigns, it’s more effective for relationship building over the long haul – just like other social platforms.

It is NOT the solution to all of your marketing and business issues. Rather it is an element of your overall strategy.

It is not a one-time/static platform. You need to show up and participate to get the most benefit for your brand and business.

Your #TalkFloor Twitter Assignment

Go to search.twitter.com and enter terms to search on. For example, surfaces, #flooring, #retailexp, your brand name. Observe what comes up.

Here is the transcript from the Twitter conversation around today's #TalkFloor interview.

Next in the series: How to get started with Twitter

Send me your questions at cbwhittemore@simplemarketingnow.com and we’ll answer them during the next program.

Thanks for listening!
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