Archives for twitter

Social Media Links

In today’s constantly-connected world, there’s no escaping social media. Companies are using social media to reach a new audience of consumers, schools are creating Twitter and Facebook accounts to connect with students and their families, and entertainment companies use social media to reward regular views of TV shows and movie fans. Social media is also being used by traditional media to enhance print publications and television shows.

But does all of this connectivity add up to any real benefit for the user? Does social media integration make a person more inclined to use online services—shopping, education and customer service— in place of more conventional options?  While people make decisions based on a whole host of factors, studies show that social media can influence more than just the way people communicate; social media can have a tangible impact on what people choose to buy, as well as levels of political and social engagement. Social media is affecting the way people communicate, but it’s also affecting the way people live their lives.

Education

Colleges and universities were among the first institutions to introduce online elements like e-mail and websites to their students, faculty and staff. But as social media becomes an important tool for students and teachers alike, Facebook and Twitter are enhancing or even replacing some of the messaging and online collaborative programs from just a few years ago. The rise of online education has been both encouraged and supported by social media: most major colleges and universities now offer courses online, and others offer entire programs online for returning adults or students who want to finish a degree without traveling to a campus.

And online education is also becoming a useful tool for K-12 teachers and students— programs like Skype that connect students from different areas of the country or the world, online apps like Google Earth that gives students tours of far-flung locations, and programs like Grockit that help kids study for tests are all changing the educational landscape.

Social awareness and consumers

You might not think that shopping is an important part of life, but social media is helping consumers make informed decisions about what they buy and why. Whether it’s learning about the latest smartphone or how buying local can affect your town’s economy, social media sites are encouraging people to learn more about what and how they consume products.

Of course, marketing firms and companies have recognized that social media can influence buying decisions, but activists and non-profit organizations have also realized that providing consumers with information can affect how people view their regular purchases. And sites like Facebook have made it possible for people to learn more about various causes, and how they can contribute to improving society. Organizations like Feeding America and the Red Cross are using social media to make it easy for people to donate and offer other types of support. By making it easy for regular people to contribute to charities and other causes, people are becoming more politically and socially active—and small actions by millions of people can combine to create a larger impact.

The links that social media have helped create go far beyond messages to friends, family and classmates. The benefits to users can range from the minor to the miraculous—and as social media becomes a part of everyday life, it will change the way we interact with the world.

Do you Understand your Klout?

Klout has been the leading source for ranking your social media, and specifically Twitter, influence. Essentially is calculates your influence by how often you tweet, retweet, mention people and how often people retweet and mention you. It takes into consideration the level of influence of the people you interact with when calculating your influence. But many people have argued that Klout is not a great gauge for actual influence. They argue that it does not accurately gauge who is influential for you, the quality of your engagement or the quality of your retweets. It is basing your influence off of the numbers. The problem with this is that you can make an argument that your score is then based on the influence of popularity.

Those that argue that Klout is arbitrary are not wrong. But it is hard to gauge your influence, and the Klout measuring system is the best empirical analysis that we have. Some of the great measures of Klout are amplification and true reach. This tells you how many people you are actually reaching and through viral marketing, how many people are seeing your tweets. The viral marketing element being your tweet gets retweeted which gets retweeted and so on.

Much of this data has seemed obscure or in a bubble. They were numbers that were not tied to anything. You could see who your influential followers were, but the feedback was purely numbers without interpretation. Klout is changing this. They are now offering a level of interpretation to their analytics.

Now if you have a jump in your amplification it will tell you which influencer is responsible. They are trying to create a higher standard for measuring influence to create a more accurate representation of what influence means. Their new algorithm is not just taking into account your tweets to mentions to retweet to follower ratios. They are now taking those numbers and analyzing them in context of your Twitter behavior. For instance, say you have a lot of followers. Many of those people are influential, but you do not interact with them very much. When you chose to retweet someones content, that will have a bigger impact than the person who blindly retweets everything.

Though the arbitrary argument can still be made, the changes to give more clout to Klout.

 

Nay-Sayers to Yay-Sayers: How to Convert the Anti-Social Media

Dead Twitter BirdDespite the high usage of social media by a huge portion of the population there are still people out there who are not on board the social wagon. So how do you convert the social nay-sayers into yay-sayers? How do you get the anti-social networkers on the social networks?

Lets look at the types of nay-sayers

1. Too Techy– There are many people who think that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just too technical for them. They get on and get lost. No on likes the feeling of being confused. No one likes feeling overwhelmed. Telling them that it is simple once they get the hang of it will only make them feel even less capable and push them farther away.

2. Its just a fad – There are people who still think that social media is going to fall to the wayside. That it is a big fad that can’t last much longer. They have been burned by previous networks (Friendster, MySpace) and don’t want to put the energy into yet another network that will just fail in a year.

3. No Time – It simply takes too much time. They barely have time to answer their email, how can they possibly make time for Facebook much less Twitter?

4. Uninterested – The uninterested are the people who will give you all of the above reasons and any other that will come to mind. They are the ones who latch on to every negative about social media. But ultimately they are simply uninterested.

Convert the Nay-Sayers

The Too-Techy are the easiest to convert, though time consuming. They fact that they are overwhelmed by it says they are interested but that they don’t know how to use it. Often when we get overwhelmed, we can’t even see how to start. So instead of taking the first step and starting the learning process, they often shun the whole thing. To lead them out of confusion you will need to do a lot of the leg work. Help them set up a profile, show them how to use it. Walk them through step by step and teach them. You will often have to keep coming back to show them more, or go over what you have already shown them. But if you take the time to really teach them, you can help move them beyond overwhelmed and get them online and social.

The Fad people are a little harder. Many of these are people who were involved early on. They were creating profiles on Friendster and MySpace. They were some of the early users. After creating profiles on network after network, only to have them get shut down by the next greatest thing, they have hung up their social network hat. It is like being in a series of bad relationships, at some point you don’t want to try again.  Ultimately time is the biggest cure. They see that the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter and Linked) are here for the long haul, and many of them trepidatiously create a profile. Though you might not be able to get them to create a profile, if you engage with them when they do, they will get right back into the swing of it.

No-Time is another word for uninterested, though with less conviction. Many are interested but legitimately feel they do not have the time to do it right so why bother doing it at all. Well, from a business point of view they are not wrong. However, if they are doing it for personal there is not time commitment. Though yes, some people spend hours on Facebook and Twitter, there are plenty who only spend minutes. You do not have to have 500 friends. You do not have to talk to everyone. You do not have to play games. In short, you do not have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you help show them the value, like show them their friends who are on the networks. Show them the great things their friends are posting and show them how quickly it can be done, they will be more inclined to hop on for a couple minutes a day.

The Uninterested are the worst. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about these ones. You can tell them all the interesting things going on, explain the business value, show them how the networks are here for the long haul. They can have every family and friend every to enter their life be online waiting for them to join. The ultimate problem is that the networks seemingly offer them no value. They want to keep up with their friends? They call them. They want to use it for business? It is hired out. If you can find a way to show them how it is valuable to them, you might be able to generate interest. But otherwise, they are likely to stay out of the social pool.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There will always be people who will not join the networks. There will always be people who do not see value in them. However, these people are not your audience. This is why marketing needs to be spread out over a few different channels. Your audience will never reside in only one house. So the people who remain nay-sayers, you can let them be. They will find their reasons and you will always have your own to argue with them. But ultimately you are trying to reach the people who are the yay-sayers. So don’t sweat the people who say no and reach out to those who say yes.

 

How to get more Twitter followers (Ethically & Organically)

twitter follow mePeople always want to know how to get more followers. Many people ask if they should buy followers? The answer to that question is definitely no. Buying followers does not get you anything but numbers. No engagement. No link clicking. No retweets. It does nothing for you.  Organic followers are always the best followers. But how do you get people to follow you?

  1. Have interesting tweets.
    This means tweeting more than your breakfast or pictures of your cat. You have interesting things to say, observations on life and general commentary. So don’t just think them, post them on Twitter.
  2. Follow other people
    When you follow people, they will often follow you back.
  3. Retweet
    When you see something you like, share it by retweeting it. This is a great way to tell them that you like their tweet and can open up further conversations. Plus your followers will appreciate it when you share interesting content from across the twitterverse.
  4. Jump into conversations
    There are a lot of interesting conversations happening across Twitter. If you see one, jump in. All you have to do is tweet to the people having the conversation. Add a few thoughts and you might make some new friends.
  5. Join a Twitter chat
    These are topic based discussions on Twitter. They are a great way to get involved in Twitter communities.

These are all great things that you can do. Interesting tweets. However these are not the only ways to get followers. Twiends, a Twitter user and app directory, has a great list of things you can do to ethically grow your Twitter following. Their recommendations are focused on cross platform and off twitter growth suggestions, such as webinars, Twitter widgets and blogging.

So if you are ready for your Twitter following to start growing faster, take a look at your engagement but then also look at the Twiends Guide for some off Twitter ideas.

 

Twitter Analytics are (Almost) Here

Article first published as Twitter Gets Analytical on Technorati.

Twitter Traffic TracksIf you use Twitter for business then you are painfully aware of one fatal flaw…tracking your Twitter traffic. Want to know your Twitter ROI? Love to dig into analytics? Want to know the details of your traffic sources? Well, Twitter has just made this challenge a little less challenging. They are now offering their own web analytics,

The problem with tracking traffic from Twitter has been:

Problem: Incorrect traffic source referrals

Have you looked at your analytics and seen traffic from unknown source, mobile device, or some third party app that you don’t recognize? Until very recently Twitter was not reporting their traffic as referral traffic. This prevented you from know exactly how much traffic was truly coming from Twitter or a Twitter manager.

Obvious (but not total) Solution: Link Shortners

These are great. A link shortener does seem like a solution to the tracking problem. However, it is not a total solution. Most link shorteners do offer analytics. If you only use the shortened link on Twitter, then any clicks on that link will be from Twitter. But that only tracks the links you post and retweeted by your followers. But if someone else is tweeting links to your site, you are still not able to account for that referral traffic.

 

Twitter offers its own link shortener, T.co. However this has not offered any benefit beyond providing a shorter link.  That was changed with a recent update that would automatically wrap any link longer than 20 characters in the t.co shortener. This big benefit to this was that it allows referral traffic to show up in your analytics as a t.co. Though it does not solve all the referral traffic issues, it does offer a significant improvement.

The new analytics being released will finally offer an answer to the question, how much traffic do I get from Twitter. The new tool promises to not only show you how much traffic you are getting from Twitter but effectiveness of your website Twitter integration and how your site is being shared across Twitter.

Right now the tools is only being offered to a select few, but roll outs to the general public will be starting in the next week. They are also going to release a website API for developers.

Will the new analytics, in conjunction with T.co, solve the traffic tracking problem? Time will tell.

 

4 Tips to Organize your Social Media

As your business grows you will likely find that the processes you meticulously created and maintained in the beginning of your of your business is likely getting cluttered, messy and generally disorganized as your business grows. This is true in regular business as it is in social media.  So as you go through your emails and stick them in folders, update your calendars and finally make that list of all your passwords, take a moment to organize your social media.

How to organize your social media

1. Create lists in Twitter– This is one of the easiest ways to streamline your social media experience as well as increase productivity and your effectiveness. By adding people to lists you are making it much easier for you to consume the information they are tweeting. Your lists can be organized by topic, friends, business or trends.

2. Start using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite– These are both third party apps that help you manage your Twitter(s). You can have columns that show you your mentions, DMs, timeline and yes even your lists. This makes browsing your Twitter activity quick and easy.

3. Set a schedule– This is one of the hardest parts of managing your social media, which is managing your time. Set thirty minutes in the morning and afternoon to check on your Twitter and Facebook. You have all night to watch all those funny Youtube videos that your friends are posting. But during the day you need to focus. So give yourself time limits and create a schedule for what you do. For instance, in the morning I get the link for my most recent blog and I put it on LinkedIn and share it on Facebook. Once I am done with sharing, I go about checking my messages and mentions/DMs, then I look for some engagement. But I have a set routine so I can make sure I get everything done, and do it efficiently.

4. Syndicate your Blog– Through tools like socialoomp you can easily set your blog to automatically tweet out your link for you a few times a day. This will save you the time of scheduling or going onto Twitter to post. If you are not using your blog as the primary source for posting, and you do engagement on Facebook, you can also syndicate your blog post on Facebook. Tools like networked blogs will post your blog link to your page or your profile.

Twitters New “Marketing” Gallery

Article first published as Twitter’s New “Marketing” Gallery on Technorati.

Twitter has taken a bold step into photo sharing with the announcement of their new image gallery feature. But this step might do more than just increase engagement. It could be trigger a huge change in social marketing strategy.

Now on your profile is a photo strip that will show the most recent photos you shared on Twitter. Unlike in Facebook where you can organize your photos into albums as well as have the most recent pictures appear, in Twitter there will be no possible organization. At least not yet. The photo strip simply shows the images you have recently tweeted.

Twitter Photo Strip

The Twitter gallery features your 100 most recent images and will archive as far back as January 2010. It is pulling the images from third party apps like Twitgoo and Moby, because until recently you could only share images on Twitter via third party apps.

Your most recent 4 images will be shown on your profile. But if you click an image, a giant image gallery opens up that shows all your images. They can be viewed as a slide show or as a grid. When you click on an image in the gallery view, it will display the original tweet that posted the image. This allows people to easily retweet images that were posted yesterday or ten months ago.

This is the first time that Twitter truly supports retweeting archived tweets. Twitter is most commonly thought of as an active conversation that is happening now, and not a platform for looking at what people posted last week or even last month. Unless you post more than 100 pictures a week, you will be able to get a glimpse of your Twitter history in photos.

This new photo sharing feature on Twitter could very well be a game changer. It could drastically change the way people are using and sharing information on Twitter. The ability to retweet archived images increases the longevity of a tweet. In many ways it encourages people to tweet with pictures because of the de-archiving aspect. From a marketing stand point, it opens up a world of opportunity to do much more extensive branding through the use of photographs.

The new Twitter gallery may make businesses think more critically on their use of photos in their marketing and sharing strategy on Twitter. It also might make people think twice about sharing that embarrassing photo they took while hanging out with their friends. No matter what, the photo gallery is going to make people think twice.

Get to 1st, 2nd & 3rd base on Twitter

Twitter Valentines Card

You have likely gotten to first base and didn't even know it!

Have you gotten to third base on Twitter? I bet you have and you don’t even know it. Marketing has three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Each one has a specific audience and means something different to your analytics. But if you don’t understand these levels, you might be misunderstanding your site traffic and not giving your social media efforts the attention they deserve.

1st Base

These are your qualified leads. These are the clicks on the links in your tweets. First base is the clicks that are a direct result of your marketing tweets. You can track them through link shortners and see the direct results of your marketing efforts.

2nd Base

These are the results from your secondary efforts. 2nd base is the clicks from your profile. It is the clicks from other people tweeting your links. When you market on Twitter or Facebook people will often share your content. This is considered secondary marketing.  It is the marketing that other people are doing for you, as a direct result of your engagement, branding and primary marketing efforts.

Though this is not specifically trackable, it will often be sourced from within the social network you are using. So though it is not coming in from your links, you will be able to see in your web analytics that traffic is coming from the specific social network.  You can also track it by searching on Facebook or Twitter for the URL and see who is sharing your content. Likely they will be someone in your network, or connected to your network.

3rd Base

This is the best and least trackable. Tertiary marketing is simply brand awareness. All of your efforts in branding, marketing, and engagement have built a presence and general awareness of your brand and likely your URL. Tertiary traffic is the traffic that is a direct result of these efforts. It is the direct traffic to your site when someone just knows your URL and types it into the browser. It is the traffic that comes from Google because someone knew your brand name and did a quick search for you to find your website link. It is the traffic that comes from someone bookmarking your site. This is the traffic that you cannot quantify but is the most valuable.

Places is Dead. Long Live Foursquare

Facebook Places Facebook tried and failed in gaining market share in the geolocating social networking. But the people have spoken and no one is using Facebook Places. In the next round of updates to the mobile app, Facebook will be eliminating the location check in feature.

Roughly only 6% of the Facebook population used the tool. Though some people might be sad about the change, Foursquare is definitely not one of them.  In fact, it looks like Foursquare will likely win the geolocational social network race. They have become the number one geolocation check in social site. More businesses are integrating it into their overall social media strategy. Plus, because they integrate with Facebook and Twitter, it makes the network more useful for both users.

Though this will not likely affect most people in their social media activity, what it does show is that it is unlikely that any social network will be a one stop shop. Facebook has been working towards cornering the social market, and though they maintain the largest market share for social networks, they have not been able to corner the market in all social media needs.

Tracking Twitter Traffic

Twitter AnalyticsDespite the obvious enjoyment of the alliteration in tracking twitter traffic. It is a common question that people have. How do you track twitter traffic.  Well the short answer is you can’t, or at least not completely. The longer answer is, yes there are tools to use and Twitter just made it a lot easier.

Shortners

The easiest way to track traffic from your Twitter account is to use a shortner.  Bit.ly, Goo.gl, Ow.ly are a few of the common link shortners that will also give you analytics. Personally I prefer bit.ly. I like the analytics they give. They let you know where you traffic is coming from and how many unique people are clicking your links. If you are fastidious, you can even check what time of day people were clicking if you look at the past 24 hours. Goo.gl has obvious benefits as far as SEO (though bit.ly is run through google analytics, and also receives SEO benefit), though I am not as fond of their reporting system.  Ow.ly is great for those of you who use Hootsuite to manage your Twitter accounts.

When you use a shortened link in your tweets, and someone clicks that link, it is very easy to track it through the analytics of the shortner. However, this does not account for all twitter traffic. You will also get traffic from your profile, from other people tweeting your links and from brand recognition.

Direct Traffic

This is the traffic that is going directly to your website. This could be from the link on your profile, or if you are putting your direct link in your tweets. This could also be from people typing in your URL directly into their browser.

Making it Easier

The bigger problem with tracking twitter traffic is through your analytics. When you are looking at your analytics though a site like Google Analyitics or Statscounter the traffic from Twitter was not always being credited from Twitter depending on the the device being used. For instance if someone when to your site from twitter, but they were using a mobile device, your analytics would likely report that it was coming from a mobile device and not Twitter, even though it was coming from both. Or worse, you would not show a Twitter referal at all, it would show up as direct traffic.

Twitter is now shortening all links that are 20 characters or more with their t.co link shortner.  This is meant to help with tracking traffic. It will also allow the analytics providers to properly attribute their traffic sources.

 

Though this newly integrated Twitter shortner is meant to help track twitter traffic, it is in part part of Twitters ongoing efforts to replace the need for third party apps.  Though it is unlikely that t.co will replace bit.ly anytime soon. For one, the true analytics of t.co is only available to a small selection of developers and not available to the public. So the only way to view link analytics is through your website analytics provider. For many marketers that is simply not enough.

On the plus side, in your analytics you should be able to see what t.co is directing traffic to your site. This means that you can track your site traffic down to a specific tweet, and that is a huge plus for marketers.

So now we just have to wait for the release of the full t.co analytics to see if they will get rid of the need for third party shortners.