Category Archives: social media tools

Facebook for FanPage Changes

This was a post featured in Tire Review Magazine(http://www.tirereview.com/Article/84578/big_changes_at_facebook.aspx)

I’ve been bemoaning for some time the fact that Facebook Fan Pages could not become fans of other Fan Pages. You had to use your personal profile to make comments on brand Fan Page walls. I guess many others shared my opinion.

Facebook instituted some major changes this month, and the best one in my opinion: Fan Page administrators are now able to communicate as the “Page” (as opposed to as a person) to post content and “likes” on other Fan Pages.

For instance, if you’re a tire dealer with a Facebook Fan Page and you would like to post a comment or photo on the Fan Page of a target group, say a local off-roading enthusiast group, you can now do so as the tire dealership and not as yourself. Essentially, Facebook has made it much easier for business-to-business networking.

[Of course, if you still want to add your personal “like” to a Fan Page, feel free.]

I can think of several types of Facebook groups that a tire dealer would want to communicate with – auto racing enthusiasts, professional women’s groups, a local trucking fleet, local community groups, local school districts, etc.

Another great development for all of you Fan Page administrators out there is user notification. Previously, one had to use a third part application to be notified of a fan commenting on our page.

Now you can get instant notifications on-site or by email. This is key because if a fan posts a positive (or negative) comment or asks a question, you want to respond immediately. Likewise, if a fan posts something that is obscene or clearly inappropriate, you want to see it immediately and take it off.

One thing I’m worried about in regards to the new look of Facebook is the picture rotation at the top of the page. It’s nice but could be a problem if someone posts an inappropriate photo; everyone will see it immediately front and center. It just means that you will need to be more vigilant than ever in regularly checking your pages.

Stay tuned as someone will probably develop an application to give us administrators more control over this new feature.

One of the other changes to note is the demise of FBML and the use of iframes. This will give Facebook Fan Pages the ability to work more like a traditional website.

Here are a few resources that I am using:

1. Facebook Page redesign: 10 things admins should do RIGHT NOW.

2. How to create iframe applications by Hyperarts.

3. How to create the perfect Fan Page.  This discussion has been going on since 2009 so scroll to the bottom.

Don’t need a Facebook Fan Page? Think again….

• There are now 149 million Facebook users in the U.S., and 70% of them use Facebook on a daily basis.

• 40% of Facebook users are 35 years or older.

• 55% of Facebook users are women and 45% are men.

For more information see about this data:  http://www.slideshare.net/360digitalinfluence/facebook-state-of-the-union

Confessions of an Oversharer

I recently had someone delete me because I “overshare” information on Twitter.  It got me thinking about the issue.

As an “information junkie” who gets paid to research breaking news for my company and our clients, I come across a great deal of information that I feel is interesting.  I sometimes find it difficult to weed out my own interests and that of the audience involved.

My question is: “How often should I be posting messages onto these sites? Daily? Twice a day? Hourly?” Unfortunately, many people (myself included) post too often and abuse the airways. They send too many messages, which has two very negative effects.

First, you become an interruption rather than a welcome interlude. People who are following you and have your messages forwarded to their cell phone are constantly being interrupted by you. Now you’re a nuisance.  According to Pam Lontos, president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando, Florida and  author of I See Your Name Everywhere. “The other problem is that search engines are designed to ignore these 140 character messages.”

However, there are strategic ways around that rule so that your 140 character messages become the alerts. The problem is that the search engines only allow a certain number of alerts per source, and it varies per search engine. If the search engines see too many messages coming from you during their standard interval period, they could flag you as a search engine spammer and lock you out.

So the best posting interval right now, in Pam’s opinion, is posting something every 48 hours, as that’s how long typically it takes for a message to be reported through search engines.

I will probably continue to post information I think is valuable but I will be more careful. What do you think?

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LinkedIn: 37 Usage Tips You Need to Read

by Nacie Carson on April 28, 2010 · 12 comments

in Uncommon Vocation, featured

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Do you use LinkedIn? If you don’t then you may be missing out on the best social media opportunity out there today.

This weekend, I took another look at LinkedIn on the recommendation of Darren Rowse (@problogger). Like most people I know, I joined a few years ago, filled out my profile, and then never did anything else.

At the time, it appeared to me that Twitter and Facebook was where social media was at; I didn’t know too many people who did much with LinkedIn except to set their profiles up and then forget them.

Speaking of Twitter, why not connect with me there? @NacieCarson

So I was intrigued to hear that many of the most successful people I know use LinkedIn, and use it religiously. On a quest to figure out exactly how to make this networking tool work in a successful way, I started asking around.  The responses I got where overwhelming and incredibly informative.

I present them to you here, in the words of people who have had major success with this interesting networking tool, from lawyers to writers to PR moguls to small business owners. Have you figured out how to maximize your exposure and reap serious benefits? Share you tip!

(Oh, one thing I’m sure you’ll notice as you read through these is that groups are a big deal – think about joining my newest group on LinkedIn, The New Opportunists, and we can discover together just how they work!)

37 Tips for Absolutely Ruling LinkedIn from People Who Know

Here’s a great tip for journalists: The editors at magazines are always changing, but thanks to the search feature you can search by position and find the current name of the editor you’re looking for. I’ve built most of my editorial contact database this way–and have landed some assignments from getting the right contacts. –  from Kristen Fischer

Use LinkedIn as a platform for conversation. Get involved in groups, whether through posting of relevant articles as topics of discussion or by sharing expertise with the most appropriate group for your audience. – from Christopher G. Hill of Construction Law Musings

I’ve been using Linkedin for several years but it wasnt until January when I started a Linkedin group: Member ROI for Associations & Societies. There is gold in the groups if you use them right–provide lots of niche value and let your content be the promotion devise. Already have received one association speaking engagement as a result. – from Ed Rigsbee

I find that answering questions on LinkedIn helps my business stand out from the crowd. In a business consulting field like mine, potential clients either find us on LinkedIn or check out our profiles on LinkedIn on their way to deciding whether to work with us. By answering questions in my field, I get a chance to demonstrate expertise and make that lead more comfortable in working with us. – from Ben Lloyd of Amplify Interactive

Using LinkedIn has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for me. My recommendation are simplestart groups and answer questions. Starting a group is the best way to connect with like-minded people in your business. – from Ryan May

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The key is (after preparing a full detailed profile) joining appropriate groups in your area of expertise, following the discussions closely and making substantive, intelligent and novel contributions to the discussion. Maintain a blog; where your blog contains a substantive discussion of the subject, provide a link. Nothing unique to add? Say nothing. Thoughtful fresh contributions invariably creates separate links and dialogues with potential clients and colleagues with whom you can create collaborative business ventures. – from Jerome Kowalski of Kowalski Associates

The key to successful Linkedin use is harnessing the power of Groups. I currently run two LI Groups: one for a client: the Illinois State Council of Human Resource Executives and the other for my own PR practice on Social Media and Healthcare. I believe this is where you can take advantage of niches of common interests and leverage the best of LI. – from Chris Martin of Chris Martin Public Relations

Use keywords to make sure your profile is searchable and easily found. Keywords can be built into your profile and even your title. Obviously, don’t overdo it but include relevant keywords and phrases throughout. – from Sacha Cohen of Grassfield Media

Post updates on a regular basis (at least once a week) about your business or company, what you’re working on or an interesting tip related to your job or industry. I have found this has most kept me and my services top of mind with my connections. It’s important the tips are not spammy; they must be of value to your connections. – from Arden Clise of Clise Etiquette

Building connections is the key to maximizing LinkedIn. Want to know how to do it? Click people you’re connected to that would vouch for you. Go to the their profile and click “Connections.” Review the names listed under, “Other Connections.” Click names of the people you want to be connected to. Click “Get introduced through a connection” link on the right side of the page and choose the persons name you have in common. Its that simple. Keep doing this again and again and you’ll create yourself a great LinkedIn network. – from Gregg Murray of Website Blueprint

To send out news about your company, join Groups that target your audience, like Entrepreneurs or Attorneys. When you become a member of these groups you can submit press releases, event information, news articles, etc. to the group. The group also sends out a weekly email newsletter to its group members so all will see the information. Ive gotten several leads for my clients this way. – from Becky Boyd of Media First

My best tip would be to join your college alumni-related groups. I joined several of my Babson College alumni-related LinkedIn groups. As a result, I was able to recruit board members to the national nonprofit I run; gain visibility for my nonprofit by connecting with Babson Public Relations staff who wrote a blog article about a campaign we were running; and connect (and meet) directly with the Babson College President who is supportive of a formal collaboration between Babson and my nonprofit, Everybody Wins! USA. – from Rich Greif of Everybody Wins! USA

The New  Opportunists

Join LinkedIn Groups: After launching a new website and blog in late December, I knew that it would take search engines a while to crawl and digest the information, no matter how well the content was search engine optimized. In the interim, I decided to use LinkedIn Groups as a way to promote my website and blog.  I joined groups that were a good fit for legal public relations and attorney website content writing. I focused on a variety of topics such as LEGAL MARKETING, public relations, law and media, alumni networks and business owners and entrepreneurs in my geographic area.  In approximately seven weeks, the LinkedIn campaign has: Generated almost half of the traffic to the Legal Media Matters website, resulted in reprint requests for Legal Media Matters articles, triggered new connections with lawyers around the world, and produced business leads and inquiries about the legal public relations and content writing services. – from Geri Dreiling of Legal Media Matters

Once I joined professional groups on LinkedIn that were in my industry of interest and I started answering questions – I made a lot of good contacts. I had just been answering random questions in marketing and didn’t really connect with anyone. I got a lot more personal in the groups I participated in. – from Margot Chapman of Zoom Unlimited, Inc

Make sure that you are active on Linkedin. Do at least one new action item every day. This will make them appear on the front page of every person that they are connected to. This can be a recommendation, a connection or to change their status update. If they can’t think of something to say, they should come up with an inspirational quote. People will be reminded of them every time they see them on their home page of Linkedin. – from Patricia Ellis of On Target Career Coaching

The best thing one can do on LinkedIn is to join groups related to the industries you are trying to target. Answer and post questions, etc. By being a member of a group you connect without having a contacts email. The larger the group, the more contacts. – from Christine Taylor of JTMarCom

I use the groups feature in linked in to create and manage special interest groups of my customers. So if I have a number of customers interested in social media, I can put them in a group and update the entire group with links to relevant articles, observations, etc. It keeps me close to them on topics that are important to them and doesn’t fill up their email box with messages that don’t get read. – from Dan Kraus of Leading Results Inc

Use Linked in with the mind-set that you’re not communicating to a faceless stranger; approach people as you would face to face at a networking event or at your table at a luncheon. In approx 200 characters, establish common ground, tell them why you chose them, ask clearly for their help and distinctly what you are requesting. People respond well to requests for help or directions, but don’t like to feel obligated or pressured to do so.  Offer them to expand their network by connecting to you, give them your contact info and thank them. The results will show! – from Marie Guillot of ABACO International

LinkedIn is a social media tool for business, so it should be used like any social media tool – to build, maintain, and deepen real human relationships.  Comment on people’s updates, join groups, regularly ping past co-workers, and enjoy the contact with others.  Truly enjoying LinkedIn like any good networking experience has been helpful to me as I always have people who remember me if I need advice, have a friend out of work, etc.  Everyone is a person to me on LinkedIn – and do I meet some great people! – from Steven Savage

My favorite way to use LinkedIn is to focus on providing a tip in my unique niche every day. Providing useful, quirky or fun tips that speak to a certain unique niche will attract the attention of others. As a motivational speaker I have the opportunity to motivate with my words. Every day I post a Business/Life Renovation Tip. I now have a regular following for my tips and have booked business as the result of my tips. – from Michelle Neujahr

Social media is all about connecting people and helping one another. I have used Linked-In to connect valued suppliers to my consulting firm with one another, creating interactions where great synergies have occurred. Linked-In has also brought quality freelance experts to my company which translates to results for clients-all secured through simple inquires within the network. – from Jack Maholl of Wisdom Bridge Marketing

If you post a discussion in a group, make sure you respond to comments to that discussion. Not only will this show up in your activity, but it also helps you connect with people in that group and can sometimes lead to business. – from Taylor Ellwood of Imagine Your Reality

When crafting your profile, ask yourself that question: “What’s the value to others in connecting with me and my network?” A variation on that theme is this: “What do I bring to the table that is unique and valuable to others?” – from Catherine Bryers Breet of Arbez

Be brave, link in with contacts and connections from introductions from others- your business is only as big as your contact list. – from Alexis A. Moore of Survivors in Action

Ask and Answer Questions! Giving advice and asking for advice is the best way to get noticed and notice others. Unless you ask and answer questions your profile is simply hiding in the dark waiting for someone to “bump” into it. You have to give your opinion, even at the risk of giving advice that you’d normally charge for. Here’s what it did for me. It sold books! I use LinkedIn regularly both connecting with people and asking and answering questions. It made my book go from a non-starter into a world selling book. I answered a question about marketing, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about graphic design, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about PR, I saw sales on Amazon. I also received emails from people who said they liked my answers so they bought my book locally and wanted to connect with me via LinkedIn. – from Gary Unger

Next time you’re at a networking event, trade show or just making a new business call and want to make an impression after the fact here’s a suggestion: When you get back to the office look up the contact on LinkedIn and if he’s there send him a note saying how nice it was to meet him and ask him to link in with you. This will not only set you apart from everyone else but now every time you put something on LinkedIn your new contact will be aware of it. It makes more sense doing this than bringing the card back and putting it in your database and never doing anything with it again. – from John Sonnhalter

The best way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to join groups, once you’re a member of those groups: start discussions and participate in discussions (to share and establish your expertise), then connect and network with people you meet in those groups and discussions. – from Robert Wilson

Position yourself as a subject matter expert in whatever field you work or are interested in. Do this by joining a few and select special interest groups. Also, answer questions that are posted both in these groups and on the overall LinkedIn web site. – from Patricia Lenkov of Agility Executive Search LLC

I’ve had a lot of success using LinkedIns “Answers” section. Throughout the week I respond to questions others have about digital marketing and social media strategy. By doing this it has been a great way for me to get my foot in the door with businesses that need help leveraging the web. – from Jillian Koeneman of Freshlime Marketing

Research and sign up for Groups that will get you what you are looking for which is not necessarily the same as groups that you would normally think of. Be sure to utilize most of the (50) that you are allowed and continually post questions, ask for feedback on your product, marketing messages, etc. and be amazed how many professionals just want to help. – from Carl Restivo of Scare Me Not

Answer questions and share your expertise. Linkedin updates your network when you do, and also notes it when you receive a best answer. This has led to other Linkedin members who I don’t know, contacting me for advice, recommendations, etc, further building my network and leading to referrals. Additionally, my answers have been used in a few news articles/blogs, leading to hits and inquiries on/from my business’ website, which is typically linked to, in the article or blog. These links also increase your website’s popularity with the search engines, putting you and your business in front of more people. – from Bob Steinkamp of Finger Lakes Media Strategies

Be active — but be genuine. Take the time to reach out to individuals. Join groups. When you find a group posting that interests you, research the profile of the person who posted. Then respond personally. I’ve doubled the group size of the Social Media for the Blogger group on LinkedIn by using this very technique. Reaching out has also landed me an as a guest speaker for a regional presentation on Social Media. It works! A little effort to reach through the clutter and personally respond to an individual does wonders! – from Karen Emanuelson

The outlook tool bar from LinkedIN is one of the best values in networking. It allows you to see who you haven’t invited to connect with. The grab feature lets you turn anyone’s email auto signature into an address book entry. Furthermore the Dashboard is a great tool for helping you keep in touch as well as reminding you of who needs a reply and who doesn’t.  – from Chris Reed of CREED Improvements

I was able to land a freelance position as a social media consultant through the jobs section of Linked In. Now I use the group discussions on Linked In to promote my business as well as my client’s. – from Carrie Lee

By being active in the groups, I have collaborated with people in articles, exchanged links, and been featured in the Art Calendar Magazine, interviewed on Blog Talk radio. There have been many opportunities, I would say, it’s about building relationships, being able to ask for help and share my expertise to expand my own network. – from Mari-Lyn Harris

Each time I correspond with someone for the first time, I make sure to include a link to my LinkedIn profile and encourage everyone to go to LinkedIn for my references. I am humbled to have over 80 recommendations which help me stand out in the crowd and give potential clients the confidence to work with me. Potential clients and associates can read in people’s own words how their experience was working with me. As a mortgage broker this is especially important since my industry has been under attack for a few years. – from Gary Parkes of NorStar Mortgage Group

I found one of my largest clients through a relationship I created through LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, I was able to grow my book of business 166% in one year. Being able to build relationships with Second Degree contacts has been so successful, that I have now created a company that trains other professionals how to prospect on LinkedIn. – from Darrah Courter of Rippling Effect

Have you had success with LinkedIn? Share it below!

Here’s to your Uncommon Life,

//

Twitter Basics

Twitter

If you’re already on Twitter, you know it’s more than just talking about what people have for breakfast. It’s more like “conference call IM” to me. Link sharing, conversation, personal connections that break the ice before in-person meeting, professional networking.

If you’re just getting started on Twitter, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed and looking for a few ways to help optimize your experience. So here’s my take on Twitter, how I use it, and what I think you should pay attention to.

Getting Set Up

Use your real name and a picture on your profile. It lets your followers know that there’s a real person behind the profile. I’m not a big fan of business names for handles (i.e. your Twitter name), but they can work if you have a real picture. In general, I’m of the mind that you should use something related to your real name if not your name itself, and stay away from things with tons of numbers (they can smell spammy to the casual observer).

Let your bio be a little fun, but have it there regardless. We want to know who you are. I encourage people to use their bio they way they’d introduce themselves in person, not as a 140 character “elevator pitch”. That turns off followers that might like to connect with you, especially if they think they’ll get pitched if they follow you. (Unless it’s a purely business account, in which case a description of your company is probably the best approach.)

Following and Being Followed

When you’re just getting started, you can search Twitter for people you know by entering their name. Twitter also has an option to search the contacts you have on Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and some others. Also, there are tools like Twellow, Twitter Grader, SocialOomph, Mr. Tweet that can help you get connected with people with similar interests or that are local to you. Use Twitter Search to plug in topics that interest you and see who’s talking about them. There is a local app that I am currently looking at called TweetSurge.

As you get more followers, check out who *they* follow and connect to others you see them conversing with on Twitter. To me, that’s the most organic way to build your network, and the way that I did it. If you do use an app to build followers be sure and check for spam and porn. I am relentless with the “block” key.

Be aware that if you run out and follow a slew of people out of the gate, Twitter is very likely to mark you as an account with spam potential and suspend you. It’s not a race. Follow a handful of people, start talking to them. Grow from there.

I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that more is better. I have a large network personally, but I built it connecting to people slowly over time, and it matters much more to me that I’m having a conversational, interactive experience.

I don’t put much stock in ranking/scoring/grading tools that claim to say who’s a good follow and who isn’t. And I don’t fret if someone unfollows me; again, it’s about each person’s personal experience, even if I’m not their cup of tea. I encourage you to consider following people as reaching out and shaking hands, connecting individually rather than just an accumulation of numbers. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s a communication experience.

Participating

The best advice I can give here is to treat Twitter like a conversation (because largely that’s what it is). Start with 30 minutes, twice a day (say morning and after work). There’s no “right” way to use it and your own feel for it will emerge over time, but there are a few tips. 90% of what I do on Twitter is conversing with other people. If you look at my profile page, you’ll see that “@ replies” comprise the bulk of my interaction. The other 10% is sharing links I find across the web that I think are interesting or useful, and about one out of a dozen times, I’ll drop a link to my recent blog post. The important thing is that your links are much more likely to get attention – yours or otherwise – if you’ve spend the time to build the relationships behind the connections before you ask people to look at your stuff.

The best way to build relationships and a community on Twitter: participate. Spend some time sitting back and listening, then join the conversation. Jump on in, say hello. Don’t beg for followers – trust me when I tell you that if you’re interesting and interested in others, they’ll show up. It’s really that simple. Talk, share, contribute. And above all, have a little fun.

The Lingo

Twitter has it’s own lexicon of sorts. Here are a few terms you might see tossed about.

@ replies: This symbol precedes people’s “handles” or screen names on Twitter when a tweet is directed at them. Want to reply to someone’s comment? Start your tweet with @<their twitter name> so they’ll know your reply is meant for them. You can track your own replies in the “@ Replies” tab on your Twitter page, or many of the Twitter clients will do so automatically for you.

RT: Stands for “retweet” and means that the tweet is being reposted from someone else. If I retweet something of yours, that means I’m passing it along for others in my network to see. When you see a tweet that starts with these letters, it means that the person is passing along something that someone else wrote. Many of the third party applications have a one-click button to retweet a post.

hashtags: You may often see tweets that end with a hashtag, or a pound sign followed by a term, such as #marketing. The purpose is to keep track of tweets that are all part of a single subject, event, or topic. If you head to Twitter Search and type in the full hashtag, you can track all the tweets related to that term. You don’t need to do anything special to use a hashtag, just make one up and tell folks to use it if you want them to tag their tweets for your event or discussion.

link shorteners: Twitter’s 140 character limitation makes posting big links impossible. So you’ll see shortened urls from services like TinyURL, Bit.ly, is.gd among others. They take a long URL and condense it down to a short version. Again, clients like TweetDeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite have this built in, but you can use the web versions as well, many of which have a bookmark button you can use in your browser. Personally, I use HootSuite.  It allows me to track analytics.  My most popular tweets by clicks, date, time, country, etc.

DM: This stands for Direct Message and is Twitter’s version of a private message. If you DM someone, you send the message directly to them and no one else can see it. To send one, type the letter and a space followed by the person’s Twitter name (or use the Direct Messages tab on your profile page). The recipient of the DM needs to be following you for the message to go through.

Favorites: If you “favorite” a tweet, it’s like your bookmarking it for yourself. You can see your favorites on a separate tab on your profile, and others can see them too.

Most of the above post and additional information can be found below.

Altitude Branding

More Twitter Apps

How to Power Up Your Twitter

Top 10 Websites for you to post more than 140 Characters on Twitter

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4 Sites to Get You Started in Social Media

There are so many great resources to help you get started with social media it can be very overwhelming. Below are a few places that I like. What are your favorites?

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Twitter-Tracking Key Words and lists

How to Track a Keyword within a Twitter List

I recently saw a post on “Search Engine Journal” about Listiti is a new tool that sends you an email alert once a word is used in Twitter list.

Here’s how it works:

1. Create a Twitter list of people who Tweet about the topic you are interested in;

2. Go to Listiti and create an alert by providing:

The Twitter list slug,
Key terms (you can choose to track the exact match or any of the words);
Your email to send the alerts:

3. You should now go to your email box and confirm the alert:

4. After confirming you will see your alert status:

5. Now, once the Twitter users within the list (or any of them) mention the word you are tracking, you’ll receive an email alert.

I am still in the process of using this feature and developing list and key words to follow. I will let you know of lists I have put together as they are developed.

I am (@chrisgtaylor) currently creating a list of “mommy bloggers” and influential Twitter users who may be interested in my clients Pacifier-B-Gone product.  Pacifier-B-Gone just won the PTPA award. (Parent Tested Parent Approved). We are very excited.

If you have a great list I’d love to know about it.

Christine

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JTMarCom and Twitter for Business

Friday, November 27, 2009  |  Modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 5:00am CST

Businesses using Twitter to build brand, bring in customers

Nashville Business Journal – by Eric Snyder Staff Writer

 

James Yates, Nashville Business Journal
Mitzi Maynard, left, and Lori Paranjape of Redo Home and Design in Franklin update the store’s Twitter status. The retailer is an avid user of ‘micro-blogging.’

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Just as the image of Santa Claus has continuously evolved — from the skinny patron saint of Greece and Russia into today’s jolly-sized chimney diver — merchants have continued to find new ways of connecting their wares with the public.

This holiday season, many local retailers will continue reaching out to shoppers where they live — and via Twitter feeds, where they work, play or pick up grocercies.

Twitter is a free “micro-blogging” service that allows users to send bite-sized info blasts to subscribers, more commonly (or ominously, depending on your perspective) referred to as “followers.” Tweets can be sent or received via computers or smartphones.

Spurred by breathless media coverage and celebrity adopters like actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, Twitter has enjoyed exponential growth. According to eMarketer, more than 18 million American adults will have used the service this year, compared to 6 million users last year.

And while reports suggest Twitter’s growth may not be sustainable — up to 60 percent of users quit after one month, Nielsen Online said in April — many local retailers say you have to remember one thing: It works.

And it’s free.

“It is, by far, our best (return on investment),” said Lori Paranjape, a partner in Redo Home & Design in historic Franklin, citing a primary reason it has proven popular with retailers.

Lori immediately began “tweeting” when she joined the business in January, thinking the company might just put a toe in the water. No longer.

“When we get new inventory, we tweet. When we get an interesting new client, we tweet,” Paranjape said. “It’s just how we communicate.”

Paranjape said Redo got multiple clients, whom they had never previously met, via Twitter. When Redo joined A Shopping Soiree, a Franklin fundraiser for several local charities — an invitation they received via Twitter, of course — they tweeted. They’ve tweeted Christmas shopping tips and holiday gift guides.

She doesn’t, however, make the same mistake some retailers do; Paranjape’s advertising button isn’t always on.

“There’s consequences in the Twitter world,” Paranjape said. “It’s not all business.”

It may seem paradoxical. To receive messages via Twitter, you must sign up for them.

But they also want to be entertained, or innocently informed, not just sold to.

“There’s a kind of 9-to-1 rule,” said Christine Taylor, vice president of social media marketing for local firm JTMarCom. “You need to be marketing other people nine times more than you’re marketing yourself.”

Taylor said clients sometimes have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept, but she used the example of a big-box store pointing a customer to another store if they don’t have a particular item in stock. Perhaps the competing store gets that sale, but the original business earned trust and built a relationship.

“You have to develop a relationship with your customer base,” Taylor said.

Even if it is transferred over a so-called social media, traditional advertising will be found out.

“We have a good b.s. radar,” Taylor said. “Traditional advertising is tuned out.”

Paranjape, tweeting for Redo under the account redodesign, promotes other events around Franklin, solicits advice from followers on things to do and offers moments of levity, as she did in response to a jogger that ran past the shop window: “Please stop jogging by our door. We get it. We should jog, too. At least say, ‘Hi.’ Don’t just fly by all exercisey.” (Paranjape also advertised this article, twice, tweeting on Nov. 23, “We’re awkwardly having our picture taken right now by the (Nashville Business Journal) for article about Twitter.”)

A quick perusal of Twitter reveals numerous Nashville businesses advertising everything from contests to coffee, including Dunn Bros Coffee, Fido, 12th and Porter and Sambuca, among others.

Taylor said some companies, particularly larger ones more entrenched with traditional, top-down advertising, find Twitter intimidating. While JTMarCom also advises several clients on how to wield their Twitter accounts, Taylor herself manages the accounts of nine clients, ranging from a pet food company to an executive coach. While that does negate a prime benefit for some retailers — the fact that Twitter is a free service — help from Taylor saves the businesses another, if less tangible, investment of time.

“You have to nurture it once you have it,” she said.

Rachel Lowe, owner of Two Elle, a boutique home and clothing store that recently moved into Green Hills’ Hill Center, feels no intimidation from Twitter.

With a love of writing, and an English degree from Columbia University, Lowe said she uses the Two Elle Twitter account, twoellerabbits, to reinforce the personalities of their sales staff.

“We would never just say, ‘This T-shirt came in,’ end of sentence,” Lowe said. “It always has to have a story behind it.”

Like Paranjape, Lowe said Twitter is her store’s most effective form of advertising. While she tweeted constant updates about the store’s relocation this summer, Lowe said the business didn’t run any print ads announcing the move.

As Paranjape put it, with Twitter, “We are our own press coverage.”


You can reach Eric Snyder at esnyder@bizjournals.com or 615-846-4254.


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Examples of Social Media Policies

According to a recent article on social media by the blogger HrBartender /Sharlyn Lauby , there are generally two approaches to social media policy making. Some organizations handle social media in an evolutionary way. Chad Houghton, the director of e-media and business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, told me that he thinks, “it might be beneficial not to create some arbitrary rules without first seeing where the opportunities and risks really are.”

Other organizations, meanwhile, feel more comfortable establishing a clear policy from the outset. IBM, for example, has published their social media guidelines publicly for anyone to read. It’s a great policy, though rather long.

One thing is certain — clients are asking for where to find examples of current policies used by all  types of organizations. I was really excited when I came upon the best site I  have found so far the : Online Data Base for Social Media put together by Chris Boudreaux.  Chris has organized a pretty comprehensive social media policy database. The database currently has 106 policies with the policies being sorted by industry, organization and title. More are being added daily.

Among the companies whose social media policies are available on the site are About.com, the BBC, Dell, Dow Jones, Gartner, Microsoft, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Air Force, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

So if your organization is fretting about social media and you want to get them into the modern age, show them this site.  And if your company already has a social media policy and wants to show it to the world, it can submit that policy for inclusion in the Social Media Governance database.

Does your company have a policy? If so please share.:)

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I stalked Chris Brogan:)

T-shirtThis is an image off of a t-shirt my husband John bought me as a joke from Despair.com. I thought it was pretty funny.  It captures  brilliantly the three behavioral disorders propelling the continued phenomenal growth of today’s most widely-trafficked social media sites. And the personality dysfunctional forces of Narcissism, ADHD, and Stalking  that reside today’s in the fast growing area of social media.

As a social media practitioner I freely admitted to the ADHD, (not a bad trait for a multi-tasker). Narcisissim not so much, but I must admit I do like it when my posts are re-tweeted. ( I call it being informative.) But I didn’t get the Stalking category.

I do Now. I am a big fan of Chris Brogan and read his blog eagerly every morning as I drink  my coffee. When I heard that his book “Trust Agents” needed a launch push and he offered to be a speaker for anyone willing to buy 200 books. I jumped at the chance.  I pulled out my credit card and bam, I had 200 books.

Then the shock set in. How was I going to move 200 books? Well the Nashville tech community came to the rescue.  Lynn Bennett at Stage Post Studios offered to host the event. Social Media Club of Nashville (who JTMarCom is donating some of the proceeds to) has helped promote the event with Jessica Murray and Georgia Cross of SMCNash helping any way they can. And most of all, Chris Brogan and his great mother Diane Brogan have helped pull this all together.

Below is our press release: Three days and counting. I am nervous and excited. We could not have done this without many fine people involved.

It’s not too late to sign up HERE for the live portion of the event and if you live elsewhere please tune in HERE to the  Free Video Web Cast provided by Author’s Way.

RELEASE

In their new New York Times best-selling book, “Trust Agents” co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make the case that the Internet has made it easier than ever to reach your customers.  It’s less likely, however, that they’ll listen.  Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.

In the video streaming webinar, Brogan will discuss how social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than a company’s marketing messages ever well –unless your business knows how to harness them.  He will provide valuable insights on how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan contends that trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or salespeople; they’re digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.  As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business’s reputation.

During the first two hours of the webinar (10 a.m. to 12 noon EST), Brogan will discuss how to build profitable relationships with trust agents and his six basic principles for becoming a trust agent yourself.

During the final hour of the webinar (12 noon to 1 p.m. EST), audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to Brogan  via phone, Twitter and email.  He will respond to as many questions time permitting and will sign books for these individuals.  Brogan’s book and a DVD of the webinar will also be available for purchase to all audience members through Authorsway.com.

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