Tuesday Tweets

Posted on July 12, 2011. Filed under: Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Great Twitter Tweets Graphic

Let's tweet in harmony!

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts and best practices. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessment, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

Tweet 1.

  • @recovengineer Conflict Resolution Lessons From A Lifeguard: A Drowning Man Doesn’t Care About You http://tinyurl.com/3d85rwp #leadership

I retweeted this. The tweet was provocative. And when I clicked on the short link, the post behind it was meaty and full of psychological analysis – very interesting to me. Whether it is to you or not, the point of this review is that if you write it right, you’ll attract the right people.

Tweets 2. and 3.

  • @michaelbathurst Dismantling Fukushima reactors will take decades: Japanese expect it will take decades before the FukushimaDaii… http://bit.ly/ogFMpz
  • @michaelbathurst Missing woman a murder victim: The body of a young woman found over the weekend  near Uxbridge has been identifi… http://bit.ly/pfuNGb

Sometimes you follow people because they follow you. Putting together this week’s Tuesday Tweets, I focused on these two consecutive tweets from @Michaelbathurst. All of a sudden I said to myself, why am I following this user? I went to his Twitter profile to see if this was a fluke and it wasn’t. The bio said, ‘We are living in very exciting times. All walks of life are opening their hearts and minds to understand the nature of the universe.’ And there was a link to a Follow Friday popularity website. Nothing wrong with any of the above and he has about 25,000 followers. But the time I spend on Twitter is focused in a different direction. Moral of the story…You can always click ‘Unfollow.’

Tweet 3.

  • @Alex_Carrick Calling it a nite. Sweet dreams @Donna_Carrick & all T-pals in Eastern Time Zone. Every1 else please don’t stop (as if you would). Tweet on!

I don’t know. What do you think? A lot of people sign on and sign off of Twitter each day offering good mornings and I’m having coffees and time for an afternoon siestas and good nights. And plenty of people who have great social media credentials.

My vote is out. While I believe in a consistent presence on social media that are relevant to your audiences, having the feeling that people live their lives on Twitter or any other social media makes me question their sense of balance. Would you hire a consultant who tweets every 15 minutes?

If you share some of your Twitter questions and issues I’ll try to find examples and discuss them in future Tuesday Tweets. Thanks!!

 

Image by petesimon under Creative Commons license.

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College of Online Marketing: A Never-ending Curriculum

Posted on June 29, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Media, News, Public Relations Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No Graduation at College of Online

No Graduation at College of Online

I just spent 30 minutes getting up to speed on the Google+ Project announced yesterday – Google’s new social media network, currently in a limited field trial. It’s quite interesting and I’ll explore it further with you as it rolls out to everyone.

The point of this post, though, is that when it comes to keeping up with online/inbound marketing, we need to commit to constant and continuous education. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn about a new tool, app, initiative, issue or trend related to marketing and interacting on the Internet.

It’s exhilarating and sometimes exhausting to be part of such a rapidly evolving profession. But the benefits that Web-based technology can bring my clients – especially small businesses – make it worth burning the midnight oil or rising at summer dawn to read the latest information.

If you’re a business trying to figure out how to market your company online, it’s a good idea to get some background information – even if you are or will be working with an agency or consultant. Here’s a 101 class, a few best-selling books to read and blogs to follow – in addition to this one — that will help you understand how to best use the Web for your marketing.

  • “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” by David Meerman Scott. Clients of mine are currently reading this and it’s fun to see the lights going on for them as they learn why we’re better off putting resources into blogging than newspaper advertising.
  •  “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” the latest from David Meerman Scott.
  • “Inbound Marketing,” by HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the guys who defined and automated the inbound marketing process.
  • “Trust Agents,” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, the bible for understanding how and why the Web can help you build influence, improve your reputation and earn trust.

All of the above are published by John Wiley and Sons. Even if you’ve read them before, they bear perusing again from time to time.

In the blog/online media department, I regularly read:

Another important source of information for me is my online marketing community on Twitter. Follow me, see some of the people I follow, and check out my lists. You can take advantage of the news links they tweet every day.

So welcome to the College of Online Marketing, Class of Forever. Graduation day is not in the picture – unless the Big Power Outage comes. As long as it doesn’t, let’s consider ourselves online marketing lifelong learners.

What are your favorite sources for keeping up with the evolution of the Internet? Thanks for sharing!

Photo by J.o.h.n.Walker under Creative Commons License

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Tuesday Tweets

Posted on June 28, 2011. Filed under: Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

As I talk to businesses about inbound marketing and read research about adoption of social media, Twitter usually ends up the least understood and least used of the social media. So, today I’m introducing a new blog feature that you’ll find here every week — if it seems that people like it.

In an effort to shed light on using Twitter, Tuesday Tweets will feature actual tweets from my Twitter stream. I’ll give you my best take on why they were effective or why they didn’t hit the mark for me. Please share any great or gruesome tweets from your own feed in the comments. It’s all in the interest of learning – and hopefully we’ll have some fun, too.

And regardless of any critiques, I believe that following any of the people or companies included here has value.

elliebpr Thanks for following Ella. Look forward to learning more about virtual assistant services. Ellie

theofficeescape [thinking of something cool for my welcome message] 🙂

Tweet 1 – This was an exchange between me and a woman who had just followed me. I checked her profile out and found that she has a virtual assistant service – something that I’m interested in knowing more about. I might even want to engage such a service – maybe hers.

I followed her back and sent a personal direct mail that specifically addressed her service. See how she DM’d back. I can tell you that I would have preferred a personal reply, in kind, rather than a cool automated welcome message that wasn’t even thought of yet. I’m still following @theofficeescape, but the point I’m making is that we have to be vigilant for actual prospects/buyers in our day-to-day Twitter interactions.

eric_andersen Eric Andersen Ha! “@TEDTalk videos are like a Kiss or a chip…you think you just want one” http://j.mp/lj3DuJ #tedxboston23 minutes ago

Tweet 2 – @eric_anderson is a seasoned Twitterati who I’ve been following for a long time. I liked this tweet. It was humorous and had the ring of truth for me as I’ve occasionally started watching one TED video and gotten sucked in to watching numbers of others. For that reason I resisted clicking on the link. I finally succumbed, but the thought of eating a whole can of chips made me click off after watching the one video, which was interesting.

marketstrategy Strategic Marketing Google+: First Impressions – Google has just unveiled Google+, its ambitious answer to Facebook. It turns all of Goo… http://ow.ly/1dv2rV

Tweet 3 –  I don’t know about you, but I find tweets that go beyond the allotted 140 characters annoying. I’m eternally interested in all things Google, which is innovating constantly. So I clicked on the link anyway. Turns out that @marketstrategy copied and pasted the first paragraph of a story on Mashable.com that’s really important. Google+ apparently turns Google into a giant social network in an effort to compete with Facebook. It seems a bit lazy not to take the opportunity to write a great headline with social value, like: Google Fights Facebook on Social Battlefield by Becoming a Social Network. Then I would have added the short link and given credit a la via @mashable. Market Strategy wasn’t too strategic in this tweet.

chuckfrey Chuck Frey I maintain a to-do list with priorities and deadlines in a mind map. Helps me to get organized & focused. #ktt

Tweet 4 – @chuckfrey is my new go-to guy on mind mapping – a topic I’m learning more about as a creative and productivity tool. I liked this short and to the point tweet that shared a practical way to use mind mapping. The hashtag #ktt belongs to Kitchen Table Talks, part of a venture of @chrisbrogan and @joesorge.

jaimy_marie Jaimy Szymanski Spending the afternoon crafting an SEO strategy and staring across the table at @andrea_judith. Eye contact … NOW

Tweet 5 – This tweet made me smile. Even though I don’t know who @andrea_judith is, @jaimy_marie  painted a picture that I can identify with, having spent many a day in strategy sessions that needed just such a mental break. She often gives insights to her life in very relatable ways. Perfect for social.

Please pluck a tweet from your feed and give us your review!

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Hi. Who are you? 6 Steps to figuring it out.

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I think about breaking successful marketing down to its most basic elements, the playful Antonio Carlos Jobim song One Note Samba comes to mind. Follow the steps below and your marketing will also become much easier and more fun. Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald’s sunny interpretation accompanied by great musicians including Zoot Simms on sax, Clark Terry on trumpet, Toots Thielemans on harmonica and Joe Pass on guitar.

 

In my last post I brought up the unfortunate fact that businesses are embracing social media, blogs, online activities, without visiting the ABC’s of sound marketing communications. It’s easy to get swept up in the marketing tools of the moment. Facebook. Twitter. Search engine optimization. You’ve gotta be there.

Whoa!! Put on the brakes!! I am very concerned that marketing basics are being ignored as companies embrace the Web – to the detriment of results.

This post addresses the questions in the first outline topic from my last post. Subsequent posts will address the other outline points.

 Who are your audiences?

This is a question that many organizations don’t pay enough attention to. Years ago I made it the topic of a column for Internet.com and it’s still fresh today. Many companies identify their key audiences too narrowly — customers and prospects. Those are key audiences and for the Web you also need to give thought to them as Buyer Personae with specific characteristics and qualities that you can speak to/interact with.

In reality, the list can be much longer. This has never been truer than it is in today’s Web 2.0 world where you never know how business may come your way. Widen out your thinking to consider other audiences you might want to access/be accessible to: referrers/trusted advisors, friends and families, competitors (mergers and acquisitions anyone?), offline and online media outlets (especially influential bloggers), industry experts, funding organizations – and please don’t forget search engines!! Which other ones can you come up with?

What are your key messages?

If you take the time to identify the most important things audiences need to know to encourage them to interact with your company, it makes all of your communications much easier. These key messages may not be the ones you think of in-house. What you believe is important may have nothing to do with what will turn your audiences on. And the messages will certainly be different for various audiences. Here’s where surveys and good old fashioned one-to-one interviews or focus groups can play a critical role. Keep in mind that messaging can and should change with the changing times. For example if you market for a healthy, community bank that didn’t need to take TARP funds, you’d have done well to develop and communicate messages to this effect to keep existing clients and attract new ones in the banking emergency. So make key messaging an ongoing part of your marketing efforts.

How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?

If we stick with the example of the healthy community bank, above, it’s easy to see that, post-economic-meltdown, it had a terrific opportunity to increase its marketshare by recognizing and communicating its market positioning. “Our bank behaved independently and responsibly in support of our stated commitment to traditional fiscal values and our community. As a result, we continue to grow in our ability to provide the services you need.” That would likely attract some new depositors!

Understanding who we are, what we provide, how it compares with competitive offerings and how we meet the needs of our market is at the core of taking advantage of the evolving business scene.

Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?

This one’s simple. If you haven’t already, invest in a strong visual symbol of your company. Or take a hard look at your existing logo and assess whether it’s time for an update. Use a professional designer who specializes in corporate identity. Be sure to view the designer’s portfolio to see if he or she has created logos for any companies you’re familiar with or in your industry.

In general it’s less costly to create a typeface treatment of your company name than a separate symbol. Just the process involved in logo development can help you in your thinking about the points discussed earlier. It’s a good idea to establish some standards for how the identity will be used in various applications – print, the Web, etc. – notwithstanding the playful way that Google alters its logo on a consistent basis. They’re a unique case.

Do you have clear marketing objectives?

If not, answering these basic questions will help you see the possibilities for growing the business much more clearly. If you’ve already sat down to decide where you’re going, revisiting the basics will help you get there more quickly and more surely.

Revisit the above periodically.

I’m not just dishing out advice here. This act of thinking again about the marketing ABC’s has been as helpful to me as I hope it is to you. What do you include in your marketing basics?

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Building Online Communities: Even When You’re Out – You’re In!!

Posted on March 18, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , |

PSNJ4CT528RW – This post is about starting business and personal relationships online. The accompanying tune is Person to Person – a blues played by Julian “Cannonball” Adderly and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson about one man’s need to connect one-to-one – regardless of technology, the phone in this case.

 A couple of nights ago I was reading a bunch of posts from people in my professional Twitter community who were at South by Southwest. This is a big time gathering of Internet marketing, social media, technology, and brand people in Austin, Texas that gets lots of attention in the online marketing world.

I couldn’t attend because of client commitments. But I followed the ramp up and the event via its Twitter hashtag #SXSW. For those new to Twitter and similar sites, a hashtag is the tracking device by which you can follow conversations about certain topics by agreed upon keywords – the topic preceded by a # sign – dubbed a hashtag. These often happen spontaneously.

To tell you the truth, it sounded like so much fun to be at SXSW, that I was feeling a bit blue. I was following tweets from workshops offering breaking news to karaoke bars and other social spots where people were just connecting and having fun.

I thought to myself, “I wonder if there’s a group of people like me – a Not at SXSW group.” So I created a logical hashtag – #notatSXSW – and put out a tweet:

@elliebpr #notatSXSW Loving all the posts from #SXSW but wish I were there. Anyone else not at sxsw?? Help me out here. Let’s party!

Within a minute I received a reply from @joshuakhersh who was with a group of social media-ites in Chicago. I’m in the NY metro. They had adopted the same hashtag and were partying away to mirror the experiences of their colleagues who were in Austin.

We had a very fun exchange, and connected to one another as we might not have otherwise. We’re following each other now on social media and have all expanded our networks around this shared experience.

This is really the lesson of social media. Search around for people who understand your needs and experiences. You can plug in search terms all over the web to find these folks. Then just reach out. You start out right away with something in common that you can talk – and often laugh about — together. From there it’s easy to build relationships that can lead to all kinds of collaborations.

One woman who weighed in on the #notatsxsw thing – @lulugrimm – picked up on my Twitter profile a mention of my leisure time pursuits on the back of a Harley Davidson. Turns out that she has also ridden motorcycles and so we have that shared connection as well. She is in Minnesota and I’m going to direct-message her on Twitter tonight to be sure she’s not in harm’s way from the potential Red River flood. I was concerned about her as I listened to the news reports about that today. The social web is a very personal place!!

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Take-away From Toyota’s Woes: Smaller Can Be Better

Posted on February 5, 2010. Filed under: Crisis Management, Crisis Response, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Please click the audio player right below for today’s tune — Duke Ellington playing Lotus Blossom — and see end of post to learn why I chose it. For email subscribers, please visit the blog to listen.

The largest company in the country that gave birth to the notion of ‘falling on one’s sword’ just gave itself a belated slap on the wrist for the results of abandoning its brand commitment to quality. Toyota president Akio Toyoda finally spoke formally about the company’s woes at a press conference today.

He apologized to consumers and shareholders and vowed that Toyota would refocus on quality, which has suffered — apparently since Toyota’s strategic decision to become the world’s largest motor company. The #1 spot didn’t do General Motors very much good from the standpoint of innovation and quality. It did indeed lose top billing to Toyota, which, ironically, has now dropped to #2 behind Volkswagen-Porsche – the result of global recession production pullbacks.

According to reporting in the New York Times, Mr. Toyoda said, “I deeply regret that I caused concern among so many people. We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers.”

He said that he hoped to restore Toyota to profitability and help revitalize the economy of Japan, but he would put restoring trust above profits. That makes sense. If trust is restored, profits will follow.

After reading the Times account, I decided to mosey around the Social Web a bit to see what people are saying and to check what Toyota is doing online to help turn around the situation.

On the Toyota Facebook page, there was a scary war of words going on among some of its more than 70,000 fans. Brand loyalists were chastising those who were concerned or angry about quality issues – even folks who had actually experienced serious accidents as a result of sudden acceleration.

Particularly heated were comments from a few fans with a political agenda who were putting forth the notion that the US government is pursuing the Toyota situation in an attempt to help GM return to the dubious status of ‘world’s largest.’ They must not have read Japan’s transport minister’s remarks, that he suspects Toyota delayed too long, putting profits before safety.

On Twitter, there were far fewer positive comments about Toyota and far more criticism of its delays and its departure from its quality ethic. However it was on Twitter that I found a link to Digg’s announcement that this coming Monday Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA will take part in a Digg Dialogg.

Members of the Digg community are posting questions for Mr. Lentz and he will be asked to answer the ones most-voted-on between now and then. I took the opportunity to ask a question about whether the drop in quality standards would cause Toyota to retreat from the “Let’s be the largest” strategy.

Personally, I’ve never believed that bigger is better. I’ve seen too many tiny client companies make incredibly valuable contributions to the world, their customers and their employees. It’s great to grow and achieve efficiencies and economies of scale, but it’s also critical to have open eyes about what might be lost along the way. If I thought I might lose the very values that define my brand, I’d definitely choose to keep it small. Thanks for the reminder, Toyota.

 Today you’re listening to Duke Ellington playing Billy Strayhorn’s haunting tune Lotus Blossom. A song inspired by this iconic image of Eastern culture seems a fitting homage to Toyota and Japan. Out of curiosity, I just googled Lotus Blossom Symbolism. A result from WikiAnswers® informs me that the Lotus Blossom is a symbol of having come through a hard time, on the way to better times. The lotus begins its life in the muck and mud of swamps and works its way through the water to become a thing of beauty floating on the surface in rarified air. Wow! How perfect is that? Toyota, may you be a lotus blossom.

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‘Getting’ Twitter – An Aha! Moment

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Click the audio player!

Last week I was speaking with my longtime friend and colleague Keith Reynolds — a career-long technology guy who is now in the radiation security business. We were discussing a presentation I’m giving to the Stamford Cell of the Connecticut Technology Council Innovation Group with my graphic/web design partner Bernadette Nelson of Studio B/Visual Communication.

Not surprisingly, she and I had proposed the topic Re-Thinking Your Website: Tips for Making it a Business Magnet Using Web 2.0 Tools. Keith, who chairs the group, asked if it would be better to make it a talk about using Twitter, something he was particularly interested in and had made a New Year’s resolution to learn more about and implement.

I explained that Twitter is just one of many inbound marketing tools for engaging with audiences online and that it would be interesting for the group to hear about the bigger picture. Everyone’s talking about Social Media and Twitter, but it’s important to understand the context into which they may or may not fit – depending upon individual company goals.

 Keith persisted, saying that he didn’t really ‘get’ Twitter. How does it work? Why is it important? What does it do for you? He had opened an account but hadn’t yet jumped in.

 I decided to be a good friend and take the opportunity to offer Keith a little demonstration of Twitter’s powerful searchability and the access it gives to online communities that are already interested in what you’re offering – and who can share their helpful information and experience in return.

 After a few minutes of playing with keywords in Twitter Search, we typed in ‘Radiation Safety’ and were rewarded with a rich Twitter stream being produced by people discussing the topic. There were a number, to be sure, who were worrying about radiation danger from new airport screening machines. But there were also radiation security professionals and people from companies that put their employees through radiation safety courses and are concerned with security for a variety of reasons.

 Aha! There they were. A community of people who can benefit from Keith’s expertise and services.  But how, he asked, could he get involved with this group?

We noted the hashtags – for the uninitiated, a keyword phrase preceded by a # sign that helps track specific topics – in some of the community’s tweets. Keith is now keeping up on comments among the group and following certain leaders he’s identifying. When he attends an industry conference later in the month, he’s going to live tweet gems of information and include the hashtags we identified so they’ll find their way to his Twitter community, providing value to the group. He’s also deciding what free app he’ll use to manage his Twitter streams – TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop.

At the end of the presentation next week, we’re going to share Keith’s Twitter Aha Moment and begin an experiment to see if and how his activity on Twitter contributes to business success. Will keep you posted!

I remember my Twitter Aha Moment – when a Friday afternoon tweet about enjoying the weekend fall weather on a Harley got me found by several Harley Davidson enthusiasts and organizations within a few hours. Do you remember yours?

 In honor of Bernadette’s and my collaboration and the Innovation Cell, enjoy the tune “What’s New?” from the Carmen McRae-Betty Carter Duets live album. Hope B and I are a fraction as entertaining together as these two!! See you soon!!

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