Get Social

Archive for the ‘twitter’ Category

So, we’ve established that Instagram is a fun photo-sharing tool in use by some killer brands (recently, Pitchfork, Matador, Moo, and my brand-crush the Level Up), and now I’m thinking I haven’t seen Soundtracking used this way (peep the official page here), and it may deserve its fifteen minutes. The interface is similar enough to Instagram, with basic menu functions allowing one to follow a user, change his/her profile photo, and scan a recent feed of “soundtracked” songs. Obviously, the app pushes to Facebook and Twitter, too. So, you key in the song you’re listening to or have the program identify it (think Shazam or my preferred Soundhound), and can soundtrack your life, along with your location and a relevant photo. Nifty? Yeah, I can dig this.

I use the app occasionally, when I’m out and about or driving (oops) and want to capture a nifty song. It’s helped me ID new music and also allows me to share with the internet collective that I think, at this exact moment, everyone damn well ought to be grooving along to ‘Everyday is like Sunday.’But the huge differentiator I’m highlighting between Soundtracking and Instagram is I’ve yet to see brands use it.

Why not? Well, it’s going to mean you’re sharing (and endorsing, to some extent) third party content. You may be building a fan base skewed to certain musical tastes, which may not be ideal. But I have to say, there has to be a brand or 100 out there that could benefit from this kinda of network. Maybe it’s that chic Newbury Street boutique, soundtracking their dressing room sounds, or, hell, even the Gap could fall into this kind of sharing to build a network. I haven’t done the necessary focus groups, but I think people like music and will link it with images, and that could even lead to songs or artists triggering a customer’s subconscious consideration of the brand that posts it.

I’m not handling marketing efforts for any clients in-house, so I can’t pick up on the office or team vibe and put this idea to the test. My day job, constantly plugged into Pandora and various XM radio, would be an awesome guinea pig; what if we soundtrack employees’ daily favorites?

Somebody, try it before I get the chance. Or let me know if it’s happening. As Madonna would say, music makes the people come together. Yeah. So can it cause them to rally around the right brands? I think so.

The adoption by the Boston Red Sox to twitter contests to score new followers has gotten me thinking about real time, location-based instaoffers. (Yup, just made up a term and a word).The latest by the Boston sports franchise is #tweetmyseat, offering the first tweeter to share his/her location along with a photo of the batter a gift basket. Cool concept, and I’m all over this when I hit Fenway on Sunday (ssh, don’t tell Mom)..but I’m curious if these schemes will offer long-term follower loyalty.

In a similar vein, @BostonTweet offers “find it” contests, sharing a picture of a gift certificate at a location and offering it up to his 20,000+ followers. They’re infrequent and random. Local Social‘s followed suit and used the planted gift card concept to drive followers of UBurger, G’vanni’s, and others to their locations to hunt down freebies.

Are these brands seeing loyalty as a result of these giveaways? Or is this more a viable strategy to drum up new interest rapidly?

We’re seeing a closer-knit brand network as a result of these promotions, and a quick surge in (inter)activity on their online feeds. But to really drive awareness and spread the word about our brands, we’re going to need to leverage some kind of cross-network promotional strategy. We’re working on it. Stay tuned.

Well, not really. Local Social isn’t at the point where wrong decisions mean life or death (yet), but we have experimented with Trunk.ly. This Australian company’s motto is “never forget a link,” and it’s certainly genius.

If you’re in the habit of RTing useful links, or posting them to a friend, sign up for Trunk.ly and visit your page when you’re scratching your head/pulling out your hair because the link is lost in the depths of Gmail. Think of this service as a backup for your brain– and cleaner than favorite-ing every link you just can’t be without. You can also export your posted links as yet another form of backup.

You can enjoy the plethora of useful content I keep track of on my personal feed while our team is hard at work building our website for a tentative launch on– gasp– Monday. Stay tuned!

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As a way to strengthen our business and value add to clients, we’ve been mulling over what exactly makes us quality social media marketers; what skills, traits, and experience do we possess that make us successful? As we consider expansion and to provide you with some helpful tips on how to break into social successfully, here are a few competencies this mythical Social Media “Consultant” or “Expert” (note I didn’t say “Guru” or “Ninja”– enough of that already!) should possess:

  • A good writer.  Seems like everybody’s start up blog is championing the merits of those who can write, and therefore, communicate. My recent read, Rework, even goes so far as to say it makes sense to hire people who possess basic competencies such as the ability to write well over bringing on individuals to fit an “inside the box” job description. Why does your social expert need to write well? No brainer, right? Words are his/her ammo to post content to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums, wherever, and it’s certainly embarrassing to get a tweet like this. More than someone who can contract words properly, your social media marketer is first and foremost a writer who can 1) maintain a consistent brand voice while still adding personality, 2)modify content to fit various character limits in a sensible way, 3)be comfortable writing in longer form (i.e. blogs) but understand the demand for “one stop shop” quick posts à la Twitter’s  micro blog.
  • Organized. I was that girl in high school who made solid plans for the upcoming weekend on Monday to lock in my calendar, and completed first drafts of English papers ahead of the due date. I’m still that girl who booked a B&B in Newport(have a look-see! looks delightful, doesn’t it) for the end of July. I’m also now the girl who balances multiple clients’ social media channels and has set times to check in for each client, receives and reviews daily brand Google Alerts, and checks in at the end of each week with clients for weekly summary reports.  Find someone who’s constantly meeting (and exceeding!) deadlines, since managing social is a round-the-clock responsibility and requires someone who can schedule this time and balance it among other duties.
  • Passionate about your brand. A couple points here. I’m looking for a full-time gig, and I do not apply to brands hiring in my area of interest (social media) but whose brand doesn’t excite me(sorry, Carbonite). Nothing against this brand, or any other that wouldn’t prompt me to leap out of bed to get to work every morning, but I’m so much more productive for my clients because I’ve selected ones that speak to my interests– dining out, fitness, and pets, for example. I believe in their missions, and can work well with the owners and management teams involved. Marketing is, after all, a collaborative effort. That entry-level receptionist who sends you random emails about industry events, that barista who’s in the know about other locally owned spots, or the account coordinator who’s sharing articles on the competition to stay up to speed? Those are the individuals to seek out and work in some extra responsibility making your brand known.
  • A quick (and thoughtful!) decision maker. Social is a job that doesn’t keep business hours, and any good employee or consultant is aware of this fact and is plugged in to your brand during off hours. When your store is closed or the executives have taken off for the long weekend, this person is still monitoring brand mentions and responding to inquiries. Find someone with whom you trust decisions and can think for him/herself. Surrendering complete control of your branding can be a scary thing, but the right individual will answer those tough questions and think on the fly.

Any other qualities we missed? What makes you successful as a social media marketer, or what are the traits that led you to hire someone for that role?

 

This evening, I had a conversation with a client who noted that a response I’d made to a fan through their Facebook fan page used the pronoun “I,” and my client was concerned readers would think she was the one who’d had the experience. I explained that shouldn’t be a problem, since this business, like many, isn’t branded to a specific individual. So, it got me thinking about why I manage social networks with a bit of a personal touch.

Genuinity. Readers like seeing that their source of news about a particular brand is genuinely invested and involved. I recently felt it appropriate to @ mention a designer jeans manufacturer with an obscure product question because I’d noticed semi-personal tweets coming from their twitter handle…stuff like, “x is playing on office radio today,” or “this vacation is much-needed!” I thought, this person (or maybe people, you never know!) is real, and maybe s/he has time to help me out with something. These little updates made this particular brand (@7FAM, if you were curious) more personable, so I felt comfortable reaching out.

Consistent Voice. I vary my tone, approach, and topics covered across client brands, but I maintain a consistent voice: brand-savvy, intelligent, up to date on current trends and topics (thanks Google alerts!) for all. Sure, the local burger joint is a bit more conversational, and I’ll tweet up my followers having a brew at the pub down the street, whereas I’ll keep things more buttoned up for a local non-profit, thanking readers for pointing me to relevant events. Using “I” in my posts slips in from time to time– tonight’s “I’ve taken my dog there for a few years,” for example, or, “I love Stone beer,” “I’m getting through the morning with some @Starbucks Indonesia blue…how are you coping through Monday?” Three posts that are “me” centric for three different brands. Content relevant to all of my clients is buzzing through my head– so I share it.

Avoid Sounding Corporate. Big corporations have done wonders for their social images and CRM. Starbucks is a great example here, and Skittles is another. These brands are gi-freaking-normous, but manage to engage on a daily level by reaching out to individuals to answer questions, resolve disputes, and even just shoot the breeze. No generic, “your time is important to us, please continue to hold” recordings on loop here. We’re still talking about a brand with a consistent message and voice, but at least one consumer-facing channel (twitter) is approachable to hoi polloi. What I’ve learned from these giant ‘Super Brands’ is whether you’re an army of one or one million, it never hurts to connect with your audience with a one-on-one perspective.

So. I’ll take those infamous “I”s out of posts for clients upon request, but did want to dig a little deeper into why  that personal touch is so crucial for all brands.

Lately, I’ve been championing twitter to my clients as the way to have your voice heard. Funny, when I read recently that a whopping 8% of internet users have a twitter handle. To support my instinct that twitter is still a relevant tool to reach the masses, I can site Techland’s September 2010 study, which concludes that twitter users average 18-24 years old, with an annual income either below $30,000 or between $50,000- nearly $75,000 and typically reside in cities. Cool. Boston-area businesses, let’s use twitter to market to them!

What I’m interested in sharing are some categories of tweets that yield strong returns. This post isn’t so much about tweets with ROI, but with return on no investment. Sure, we can get all meta about this and consider the device on which you tweet an investment, the person you’ve hired to tweet for you an investment, even the physical exertion of typing the words or copying a link cost energy. But we can all agree that twitter is a free service to use and the words you say don’t cost you cash to think up and push off into cyberspace.

So, for no cost to you, consider these options:

  • RT Contests. Duhh. “RT to win 2 tickets to tonight’s sold out show @RandomConcertVenue”. Your post gets pushed to every follower of the re-tweeter. If you’re giving away something cool or have interesting things to say, expect to pick up some followers from the effort.

Just for fun, a twitter search for “RT to win” around 9:15 on a Tuesday night yields this random sampling of fun giveways:

*New Jersey area: “Follow and RT @AnthonysCake for chance to win a Homemade Baileys Chocolate Irish Cream Cheesecake for St Pattys Day. Good Luck!!” [thanks, @won2x]

*New York:”Add @MidnightBox & RT for a chance to WIN a Portable GPS Navigation Unit! Once we reach 2,000 followers, we will randomly select a winner!” [via @sethandshannon1 ]

*for pet lovers: “Win $1k of pet supplies. For you and favorite shelter. RT to enter #contest to #win free prize. ClassWish.org #dog classwish.org/fido” [from @Ardy22 ]

 

  • Link to current content. Got photos of a new product or something relevant to the community? Somerville-based Trina’s Starlite Lounge [@trinastarlite ] is awesome about posting their Dog of the Day and Blue Plate Specials. Down the street in Cambridge, Inman’s East Coast Grill [@EastCoastGrill] posted funny pictures of the staff shoveling during Snowmageddon 2010. Build a sense of community and approachability with your followers by sharing relevant content– often. On days when I don’t see at least one post from these spots on my feed, I wonder what’s up.

And, PS, we’re talking built-in metrics now; twitpics and youtube pages, for example, publicly count number of views.

  • Engage in Dialogue with customers. Follow the customers who follow you, and see what they’re up to. Check your @ mentions at least once daily, since some may be questions of conversation starters. When I asked frequent  updates Alice + Olivia a sizing question and didn’t hear back, I was pretty put off! (Granted, they have 14,000 followers, but still!) Conversely, I mentioned ordering yoga gear from be present, and their social maven was quick to tweet me back, asking what I’d ordered. Their speed to connect with me parallels speedy service and prompt email resolution to questions. Companies on top of their social on the most basic employee-to-customer level put customer service first, and there’s really no other appropriate way to do business.

Anything we missed? What other tweets score serious impressions, contribute to additional site/content views, or connect with customers?

Happy Friday! Thought I’d share some insights today on key functions your business Twitter account can perform.

Blog and Newsletter Shorthand

Maybe you’ve got a blog and/or a newsletter. If you do, twitter’s a great tool to update fans on new posts and content. It’s a shareable, scalable way to drive traffic to your blog or website.

Quick example: @PopMatters posts links to articles. Saves me time, so I can click what sounds good rather than digging into their cluttered, busy website.

If you don’t manage blogs and newsletters, use twitter to share content with your fans without needing to elaborate on it. “Quick read” tidbits  like “we’re serving broccoli cheese soup today,” or “we dig ’em: check out Jennifer Garner’s highlights here” give you the opportunity to say something without needing to write 350 words on the subject. Most people don’t have time to read a full blog entry or can’t justify it at work. Can they scan their twitter feeds and click links that look interesting? Sure. Twitter’s your “no commitment” alternative to a blog.

Quick example: @FreePeople points you to catalogue must-haves, and industry-related sites. I like the brand, but wouldn’t scan their site daily for new items. Their twitter feed makes it easy for me to click through to pieces I might be interested in.

CRM: Answering Product Questions or Addressing Service Issues

This might be my favorite use of twitter while on the job. I love that I can make a difference in someone’s day by answering a simple product question. Tweeting for a local burger joint, a customer asked me why the meat couldn’t be cooked to order. Simple for me to respond and explain company policy– saved the customer a call to the restaurant or going on wondering– and all in about 3 minutes. As for service issues, twitter’s a great alternative to emailing a general “info@” email address at some companies. While I didn’t get the resolution I wanted when I tweeted to Buy With Me that I had a concern about a product refund, they got the message loud and clear when I posted a tweet asking for help.

As the fingers behind the social at a company, you’re kind of an anonymous but likely force of good– you’re not likely to be the gal that forgot my salad dressing during the lunch rush (so I won’t offend you by asking for some resolution) and you’re also not the busy CEO who won’t respond because you’re knee-deep in other tasks. Your job is to be there spreading the word of the brand, and what better way to build a great one than to respond courteously to customer inquiries?

Quick example: @Starbucks is awesome at quickly responding to everything, from my lamenting that I can’t get Sbux delivered through the internet to branding Qs about their new logo, to spreading the gospel of VIA. Wonder if this is the place to voice my concern that their retail tea bags don’t have as many leaves as the bags that are used commercially?

Generate some buzzzzz

It’s completely acceptable to tweet multiple times/day; our average for a given client is 3-4 “planned” (i.e. thought-out) tweets, plus any responses to inquiries and RTs that arise. So, get people excited and share some great content! Announce specials, seek advice on product development, share good things others are saying about you, and get people talking. Use contests to get people spreading your brand; the most obvious way is to create a contest that asks users to retweet your post as a way to win.

Quick example: @5NapkinBurger is hosting a build-the-next-Boston burger contest. They got me talking about them, and they don’t even open in Boston for another two weeks. (Shit, gotta get on making that burger!)

Get Chatty

Engaging in dialogue is what good brand marketing is all about! Get chatty with your followers– comment on what they’re up to, even if it’s not related to your business. Everyone thinks going for a walk without a jacket in 50-degree New England weather is a good idea– connect with that customer about it! Chances are, the users you interact with will be likely to, in turn, tweet about your brand– mentioning when they intend to visit, championing a new product, etc.

Don’t reveal too much in the dialogue– if you go back and forth with a customer 2-3 times, keep your answers short and sweet. Curious followers will click through to read the conversation chain– and may learn something new about your business in the meantime.

Quick example: @WholeFoodsRVR. The River St, Cambridge outpost of Whole Foods comments on my new username, plans for the weekend, and witty things I have to say. In turn, I find myself at their salad bar more frequently and telling my followers what great eats I snagged that day.

Keep on tweeting your way to a solid brand!