Twitter 101 – Using Twitter to Support Your Brand

With so many sources on how to get started in Twitter with intermediate level tips on how to brand, coodinate and even automate your presence, it feels wrong to try and rewrite the common best practices.

So: My favourite, and most definitive guidebook to Twitter is the collection on Mashable. (http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/)
Having been shared over 14,000 times on Twitter, the guide is a great place to explore tactics and tools to manage your Twitter presence.

I will take a shot though at summarising some B2B (and B2P remember) practices that I believe are key.

  • Stick with that relevant consistent handle across your web presence – I use nickwallen, as it’s just that little more unique than Nick Allen for SEO, but easily associated.
  • Build out a relevant Bio, link to your LinkedIn account or blog/website. SEO optimise it.
  • Use your Bio as an insight into your persona on Twitter, potential followers will aprpeciate it.
  • RT – use traditional retweet annotation or “via” to share ideas with your followers, it’s easier for the originator of the tweet to spot. When you’re RTed, thank the person, you’d do it in real life, so do it on Twitter.
  • #Hashtags – choose these relevant to your topic, and set up a twitter search to follow that topic. This is great for RT opportunities, and also allows you to ensure you’re up to date on the topic, find gaps, and add your opinion – show you’re an expert. I’ve got #iStrategy2010 and #E2.0 in my canned searches, which cover key topics I mention in my bio. Remember to join search words, #nick #allen is a totally different search to #nickwallen.
    For exploring #hashtags and websites with info on #hashtags try mashable’s content again.
  • Lists – some say pointless, I say lifesaver. Being able to group my friends into manageable sub feeds, means I can be on top when there’s a good nugget to RT – alerts making some suspect I’m on Twitter all day long…
    Try Listorious  http://listorious.com/ to find one that suits you, and to promote your own lists.
  • If you’ve got close friends on Twitter, they may be comfortable working with you on idea spreading, at a more formal level. Something I’m exploring at the moment is DM seeding posts to colleagues and CC within tweets, with some success. Or the good old fashion dlist and emailing a RT to colleagues.
    I’ll let you know what I think of http://www.grouptweet.com/ for sharing tweet ideas to a closed group soon.
  • Once you’ve got a basic group following you, leverage Follow Fridays #FF, and event #hashtags to let people know of a good colleague to follow, or what a colleague is saying at an event.
  • Finally, if your following starts to get too overwhelming or you want to really leverage your key followers, you may consider checking out Friend or Follow – to see who’s not following you back.
    Then to see who’s got the most pull – use Twitter Grader and Klout.

What else would you add?

Social Media – Supporting your B2B brand

As “social media” shapes the internet over the coming years, businesses and employees alike cannot ignore the amplification that it will provide to traditional word of mouth, marketing and sales.

As a hub, corporate social media accounts in sites like Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and LinkedIn will do their best to promote the latest thoughts, products and services from a company.  But its hard for B2Bs and large companies to get personal with clients in these mediums, whilst maintaining that professionalism, and stream of thought pieces. Sure, a dedicated person, who knows EVERYTHING about the company could be Chief Social Officer, but how many companies can dedicate a VP / senior person to do this?

What about decentralising the duties

I think if a corporate web presence is about getting thoughts out into the marketplace, then employees needs to be rallying around their brand, using their web presence to support it.

Retweet that corporate post. Sharing links. “Like”ing that article. And what about creating their own content?

Building your online personal brand

I think everyone in business should be looking to create a web presence that supports their claims to being “the best at”. If you claim to be a thought leader, why not share your thoughts. Social Media sites and networking tools make it all too simple these days to have your own web presence.  That’s sharing what you made for the company, your ideas, linking to things you’ve accomplished. Creating an online profile of support.

As a web marketer, I want to give indexed credibility to my consulting. Get recommendations from friends, acknowledgement that I know something about what I do, create a name for myself.
Online, that’s about featuring in search results for my name, people linking to my articles, sharing my thoughts, retweeting or quoting. 

If you’re an associate / employee in a B2B company here’s a start to your web presence.

Basic

LinkedIn Here’s the Facts:

  • LinkedIn has over 85 million members in over 200 countries.
  • A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.

If you’re not there with a profile, highlighting what you’ve accomplished, its like your office number being unlisted.

  • Create a good profile, explore the linking possibilities and ask for recommendations. Connect, and logically think about building a quality network.
  • Answer questions and engage in groups. But use common sense – the new web wont tolerate a hard sell, so offer advice or a link to your thoughts.  
  • Try to grab your name as a vanity URL.

Note: Using that same alias in twitter, blogs and any other social media sites, will amplify your chances of being found.

 

Phillip Jenkins from one of the biggest financial services recruitment company in the UK has a great guide to expanding you LinkedIn presence.

@PhillipJenkins 10 Ways to build a better Profile on #linkedin http://bit.ly/hXawAO

 

Intermediate

Link a blog into your Linked In profile. There are thousands of free blogging platforms: Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and all are surprisingly simple to get started with.  
My preferred are Posterous and WordPress. And I know, I need to explore the design of my sites, but they connect well.

Link a twitter account to your Linked In profile. Share ideas this way as well.

You’ve now created a space to express your opinions. Remember the corporate guidelines about sharing client data or things you’re working on that aren’t public. But if the corporate website just published your thoughts, tell people about it.

And remember:

What Happens in Vegas – Stays Online!

Advanced notes will come soon I hope.

No more B2B or B2C – Its B2P Business to People

With Social Media transforming the web more and more each day, the traditional Marketing techniques of shotgun advertising and shouting out hoping your clients will hear, are falling to the wayside. Gone are the days of faceless marketing where a “brand” hidden behind its logo could pump out thoughts or advertising and the masses would rush to purchase.

A great acronym I caught a few weeks back, tweeted around by my friend @KerryatDell was:

B2P – Business to People

Sure we function as B2B or B2C, but to survive in the coming years we need to recognise that our clients are real people and treat them like it!

Its now a two way stream. We need to be engaging with customers – talking and understanding their needs. United Breaks Guitars is a great case of where a corporation, who ignored its customer, is hit by the power of social media – amplifying word of mouth.

http://www.youtube.com/v/5YGc4zOqozo&hl=en&fs=1

People, our customers or clients, expect us to know a lot more than their name and profession – we all have a browser and Google search in front of us, there’s no excuse!

Likewise, they expect to know more about the people behind the logo. Sure corporate websites can feature their employees, but why stop there.

With a plethora of social and business networking sites at our fingertips, we should be building our own personal brand and supporting that of our workplace.

It is well overdue that I write some 101s on this. 

Notes: Alterian Alchemy and CM7 Launch event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the UK launch of Alterian Alchemy™ and Alterian Content Manager 7.

David Eldrige, CEO and founder opened the event with some great notes on the catch phrase shift to #engagement from open and close campaigns.

Although the terminology and systems we use will still focus on campaigns, marketers that “get it” will turn campaigns into micro projects, with an overall view to engaging clients and prospects – to ultimately turn them into brand evangelists.

There was a great snippet video shown:

Many discussing the true face of customised marketing. Moving from the mass broadcast to mass customisation.

Supporting materials are available at www.engagingtimes.com

And by engagement were not talking old school “dear client” “regards, consultant” but rather true customisation: more relevant and timely information to clients via email AND on your website.

That move from push to pull…

The Future Of Customer Engagement – Ashley Friedlein from eConsultancy

Here’s my rough notes from his presentation at the Alterian Alchemy launch yesterday. I’m hoping his slide deck is out soon! (hint)

Ashley broke out with what I thought was a gamification slide first which got me interested. Well I though he did, but just wanted to say the old game is over, here’s version 2.0.
Reiterating the classic “it’s all changing” the old ways of shouting at potential customers and BUYING fans are no longer effective he emphasised that the language, mediums and methods that clients want to be engaged through are constantly changing and evolving.

Constant engagement is now key, so here’s some before and after shots:

Email – used to be DNS registration, feedback loops and getting off blacklists.
It’s now about engagement, reputation, connectedness, trust and authority.

SEO – used to be keyword density, meta tags, directory and local business listings
Is now, about engagement, reputation, connectedness, trust and authority.

Ashley’s New rules of engagement

Kill multichannel!?!

Having attended #jump I sat up at this point. He’s saying this, but in reality Ashley believes as I do in Joined Up Multiple Platforms, JUMP.

Getting your head around multichannel is something that very few get right. Journey mapping helps to plot out where you want to be with clients.
The biggest challenges being connected software and people understanding where they are going, organisational structure, silos and the complexity of client touch points.

The marketplace is moving from:
Moving from ROPO Research Online Purchase Offline to Research Everywhere, Purchase Everywhere, REPE – a John Lewis ism.

Make marketing experiential
Digital is failing a little here, storytelling helps, but it links well to support truly experiential marketing. And for fun here’s some examples:

The AC Milan – Real Madrid prank by Heineken

The kids door into imaginarium stores

Imaginarium Doors

Jamie Oliver’s restaurants giving kids a view master to see the kids menu

Prismacolor - Viewmaster

So we still for most B2C brands, an Ogilvy or the like, helping with interactive engaging experiences.

It’s also funny that with so much data, we can’t create a manual like we can for store merchandising. As there’s such fragmentation, we can get a grip on a norm for what works on web.

New terms for “value proposition” and brand attributes

  • What do you believe
  • What do you stand for
  • How are you different

These are the new terms for “value proposition” and brand attributes.

Reknit were given as example of what they stand for being central to clients. Toms shoes springs to my mind.

Marketers as CEOs

Now this of course resonated well with me.More and more through digital, the chance for CMOs to move to CEO improves.

My job, and that of all heads in digital marketing requires:

  • People skills.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • The ability to work in flux and change.
  • And deep insights into customers via social media and analytics.

Takeaway

  • Engagement is about behavioural change, and being involved is the best way to learn and change
  • Doing #customisation badly is not acceptable any more, our base level of what people should know about us a lot higher
  • And oh dear here comes the classic statement about IT issues – technical failure = customer failure. IT and marketing need to find a way to interbreed!!
  • Mobile, web and APP strategies are only as strong as your content strategy

Royal Mail #fail – When you choose to send a letter just 1km

I don’t usually post fails or customer service moans, but this piece was too good to ignore. A beautiful #fail, considering the millions of packages they do get right.

Sent from Redhill to Reigate (about 1km had the letter been able to walk itself over), this poor letter has arrived in a bit of a state. Delivered on time and to the right address though.

our poor envelope and priority letter

 

Comments please on what you think happened over night?

My vote: RAF lazer target practice or mauled by smoking dog.

Nice discovery in bit.ly today

Havign just returned from the eConsultancy #Jump conference I was very happy to find that bit.ly are now adding QR codes to every link. I use bit.ly at the moment for Work and play. The ability to create and track those coming from various channels and sources in one place is pretty cool. So here’s one I’m testing, which points to my blog home page.

and the stats, QR image, etc are here: http://bit.ly/cQxavq+

Can really see this helping where we have online archives of print materials, or want to invite clients to events. And now a barcode bit.ly??? 

 

 

Writing content, articles or posts for your website


I’ve read so many great articles and to be honest, can’t compete with @copyblogger when it comes to giving great copy insights.
Having said that, I’ve made these as a note to self, a 101 guide for new writers to the web. Let me know your thoughts or comment below. Would it work for your team?

Starting out

Try to think in terms of keywords (maybe brainstorm 5-10 before you start writing) but you don’t want to force yourself to use synonyms just to get all of them in there. You don’t want to ruin the flow of the article, just to cover every keyword, but you do want to have thought out what the keywords were.

Layout

Use the Journalists pyramid or News Style to create your work.

The most important facts should come first, and expand as you scroll down. The idea being that if the article goes over the word limit, the least important parts can be removed.  You can always end with a summary or conclusion. But remember that readers may not get that far, if the content becomes too hard or boring to read before they get there.

Length

Optimum page length for search engines is 400-600 words. – Take up the challenge. (I’ve only just made it with this post!)

Content

  • Your opening sentence is key, as it sets the tone for the article. It must be hard hitting, including as many of your keywords as possible.
  • Paragraphs should vary in length throughout the article from 2 to 6 sentences. It makes the page easier to read. – remember to try and fit your key words in once or twice each in subsequent paragraphs.
  • Sentences should average, 12 to 15 words for readability, especially if you’re a highly technical company – as per Economist/NY times.
  • Use active voice customer-focused messaging, rather than internal terms and acronyms.

Formatting

  • Try to use subsections and headers – it really breaks the content into readable chunks.
  • In most articles you can focus on a “call to action”. Pose a question or express a view to encourage reader interaction.
  • Bullets and lists can be used to great effect, making complex items easier to read.
  • Highlight key words or phrases with bold or italics – you could even try and block quote a key line from the author.

Linking

You want to add a few links but you don’t want to pile a huge number at the top of the page, or you risk losing the reader (they’ll click off and get away from you).
Use descriptive text to link from, like this link to bulleting content by @copyblogger. I’ve given it a good SEO friendly title that you can see on mouse over as well (Copyblogger article on various bulleting and listing techniques).

Links should reflect their actual content (so no more – click here, more info etc). Here are some possible linking options if you’re stuck:

  • A relevant press release or article
  • Related services
  • A Glossary reference
  • Relevant laws
  • Twitter posts or a hashtag search
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn groups / profile

Images

If you use an image, include an appropriate descriptive title (alt text) for it.

Wrapping up

When you’ve finished, read the page out loud. This is to see if you can actually say that sentence in one breath, as readers’ minds lose track otherwise.

How is the call to action looking? Do you need my help?

Let me know your thoughts!

Light thoughts: A B2B Web Presence

A B2B web presence should be at least a collection of: targeted, integrated, interlinked, ongoing interactions.
For a B2B Consultancy to stand out from the masses and warrant a premium price, the company must stand out. Be it for: knowing the most, offering the best service, consistency, innovation or quality. And their Online presence should express this, be it at a corporate level, or extended to that of its associates, alumni and fans.
The tools are there – PDF thought pieces, ebooks, quick email updates, in depth analytic material or tools, insights into current market developments, events, forums, networking groups, surveys and web-casts. The hard part being creating themes and learning paths to take your clients down – something that engages the client and links to their interactions with their account manager/consultant. Something that rings home with their current issues and the wins they’re after.
A plan might roll out something like this.
  1. Marketing translates and polishes great though pieces into quick to market, well thought out, easy to digest (and share) nuggets.
  2. Events are booked to discuss the emerging themes.
  3. LinkedIn groups form post event, and webcasts or one to ones are booked for further dissection.
  4. Collections of nuggets are turned into publications for distribution and sent with Deep Insights to clients to devour offline.
  5. A full record is kept of client interactions preferences, consulting, thought pieces received and the events they have attended – even what they browse, how much they read and what’s their favourite topic.
  6. Marketing augments client engagement and supports Account Managers with “your clients may like this – please forward or add them to our distribution”.
  7. Possibly networks of clients and consultants form, discussing relevant themes, formulating areas of interest and shaping a companies offerings.

And harking from my Rework chapter today (37 signals)  – Who knows, the company may even start to think like a famous chef, and publish their best recipes for all – knowing that even if a competitor tires to do what they do –  only they know how to really mix the ingredients.

Antony Mayfield – Some great notes on Monitoring Social Media

This is a really great slide deck from Antony Mayfield who presented yesterday at the CIM Financial Services Event: Social networking in financial services
I’m hoping his slide deck from last night will be up soon on slideshare, but check out the below in the meantime.
I’m particular fond of slide 12 – perfect layout of a Social Engagement Framework –  Principles, platforms and processes!

Monitoring Social Media 09 – #msm09 – After Brands I Crossing