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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

#TalkFloor Series: Twitter & Social Media

TwitterTalkFloor's Dave Foster and I are continuing with our special #TalkFloor social media series, which you can participate in via Twitter as you listen to the recorded interviews.

Part I was titled #TalkFloor Series on Social Media and addressed What is Twitter and Why Should I Care?

This segment covers how to get started with Twitter.

Dave's Twitter handle is @DaveTalkFloor and mine is @cbwhittemore. Consider following us. Feel free to practice some of what we discuss. If you want to Tweet us questions, simply use #TalkFloor and the '@' to direct the question to us.

Dave's introduction to this interview reads as follows:

Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now, Part II - Social Networking

Christine Whittemore, Chief Simplifier, Simple Marketing Now, in the 2nd installment of a Social Networking series discusses getting serious about Twitter, becoming familiar with the search functions and finding people that are relevant to your business and using the platform in a way that can be beneficial to your business.

This installment consists of three segments, each approximately 15 minutes long.

These are my show notes for the session.

Getting practical with Twitter.

Go to your web browser and create 2 tabs: one for search.twitter.com and one for twitter.com.

If this is your first time on Twitter, then definitely create an account. When you do, be sure to add a picture [also known as your Avatar]. Fill in the description; make it meaningful and representative of what defines you and your brand; try to include keywords. Do add a URL so potential followers can learn more about you and your brand.

Next, you want to find people relevant to your world to follow. Relevance is key so you don’t get meaningless breakfast details.

Go to your search.twitter.com tab and enter search terms. When you notice a meaningful tweet for that term, click on the person’s image. This will take you to their Twitter home page where you can decided whether to follow them or not.

Another resource for Twitter searches is BING - http://www.bing.com/twitter.

Whenever I click on a new Twitter profile, I evaluate it to determine whether I do indeed want to follow that user or not. I check to see if there is a picture, a description - after all, I'm doing this to make sure that I'm dealing with a real person [vs. an automated account] and whether the content is relevant to me. Is there contact information? What about the quality of the Tweets? Is there conversation going on? Just shouting*? Interaction? Or is it all one-way?

Check out the ‘Lists” that that profile may have created and be a part of. Check out his/her followers for ideas on others to follow.

*Note: Shouting refers to writing all in caps, pushing only sales messages, repeating the same sales message multiple times, or communicating in a way that allows no interaction. You get the picture, right?

Deciphering the Twitter language:

You'll notice many unusual terms when you first check out Twitter.
  • The '@' symbol is a tweet [a Twitter entry] directed specifically to another Twitter user.
  • The 'RT' letters represents 'ReTweet' and refers to repeating another's tweets that you admire/appreciate/find relevant so your followers can also benefit from the content.
  • Twitter offers the ability to DM or direct message another Twitter user as long as you are both following one another. This can come in very handy as the DM generates an email message to the other party.You must go back to Twitter to respond.
  • The '#' symbol is a way to tag or identify Tweets that are related. For example, #TalkFloor or #Surfaces 2010 will bring up any tweets relating to those subjects.
  • You may also notice tags such as #FF or #FollowFriday and #MarketerMonday followed by a list of Twitter account names - those are friendly ways that the Twitter community has come up with to draw attention to other Twitter users.
Another important feature for effectively using Twitter and making the most of the 140 character limit is compressed or tiny URLs. You can create your own using third party applications to shorten otherwise lengthy web addresses. To do this, open a third browser tab for http://bit.ly/ or similar URL shortener [3rd party Twitter apps integrate this functionality as we’ll see in the Advanced session].

The Twitter Code of Behavior

As with all social media, it's critical to be aware that norms for behavior exist. If you don't follow some of the rules, you chance not being taken seriously and will have trouble building a meaningful following.

When you first get started, it's a good idea to pay close attention to what you observe before jumping in. Imagine that you're entering into someone else's home and you know no one... how would you behave? Exactly!

Be respectful.
Listen first.
Acknowledge when people refer to you [i.e., say thank you when someone sends you a tweet directed @ you].

To keep track of whether people are referring to you, type your Twitter handle without the @ in the search.twitter.com browser window.

[I often keep a tab with my name as the search subject to help keep track. Then check the list daily so I can acknowledge.]

#talkfloor series: Twitter & Social MediaShare what others say that you find meaningful - i.e., RT a tweet.

Pay attention to #identifiers.

Think about what you might share with others? Articles, quotes, links. [That’s when you’ll want to use tiny URLs to fit all the info in 140 characters!] Try to leave enough room in your tweet so someone can RT your message [i.e., don't use all 140 of your characters].

Follow people back - assuming they are relevant to you!

Don’t ever Shout!!! Yes, this goes against many traditional advertising practices. But then Twitter is not a traditional mass advertising medium; it is for engagement, conversation, relationship- and brand-building, and sharing relevant information. When done authentically, consistently and respectfully, it can lead to business. So, be aware and ready to adapt!

In terms of frequency for participating in Twitter... if you want to develop relationships, you need to show up and participate regularly. Daily if possible or as frequently as you can. You do not need to be on every minute of the day, but you should monitor regularly, acknowledge and contribute.

Your #TalkFloor Twitter Assignment:

  • Set up a Twitter account, prep 5 tweets that share value with others.
  • Find followers.
  • Identify people to follow, check out lists they are included in and who their followers are. Consider following those people.
  • Check out the recently updated Social Flooring Index Twitter list. You’ll find ideas there [e.g., BuildDirect, McKayFlooring...]
  • Follow Dave, follow me.
  • Search on some terms: flooring, #flooring, brand names.
  • Use search.twitter.com
  • Use bing.com/twitter
  • Interact with 3 or 4 followers. Observe what happens. Do they interact with followers? Do they share information?
Let me know your questions and we’ll address them in the next segment about Advanced Twitter.

These related posts may be of interest as you explore Twitter:
HIMSS rules of behavior
A Practical Twitter Primer

Thanks for listening!
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