How I Lost 2,000 Twitter Followers and What I Learned In the Process

How I Lost 2,000 Twitter Followers and What I Learned In the Process

Social Media

My story.

At my “Twitter peak,” I had around 11,000 followers. That was in late 2015. Today, I’m down to 8,980 and counting and I typically lose a few followers each day. Here’s what happened, and here’s why I don’t mind seeing them go…

I graduated from college in 2009. It was a tough time to be a college graduate due to the Great Recession that hit earlier that year. Thousands of companies were laying off so when positions did happen to open, those who were laid off with plenty more experience under their belts, were acting as competition.

On the flip side, this new thing called social media was beginning to gain traction. Though many platforms were a few years old, it was the period when businesses wanted to try to understand and exercise the benefits of these channels. I was instructed by several mentors to get involved, learn the tools, appreciate how businesses can take advantage, etc. So I did.

How I gained my following.

I set out on a – what would soon become a seven-year journey – to be a Twitter all-star. I treated it like a second job. I would get home from work each night and devote at least two hours to the cause.

I’m not Twitter famous by any means. I’m not even verified. But for someone who wasn’t/isn’t a full-time blogger, member of the media, or a celebrity, I think having several thousands of followers was a nice feat. It certainly helped give me credibility when I spoke to clients about social media marketing.

Throughout the time when I was highly active, I was often asked my peers and clients how I accumulated such a following. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a magic bullet, and it didn’t happen overnight. I don’t mind sharing some of my best practices for gaining a following:

I talked to everyone.

I would use the search tool and hashtags to find people in PR, marketing, and technology, etc. Then I would engage – the good ‘ol true definition of the word. I’d reply to people for hours on end, asking questions, commenting, getting involved in professional conversations with my opinion and limited expertise. This was before it was all too common to use the “fav” feature (now “like” feature) so it was all real commentary. Many users came and went. Some I continue to talk to today. (Shoutout to @jesslaw ‏@aubzim ‏@Courtz112 and @bitty_boop ‏ for holdin’ it down since day 1.)

I participated in a ton of Twitter Chats.

#PRChat, #JournChat, #ContentChat, #PPCChat, etc. These were/are weekly chats focused on a variety of topics in my industry – public relations, blogging, marketing, technology, etc. I’d answer every question and stay involved for the full hour. After each event, I would follow all users who I interacted with throughout the chat. Most would immediately follow back.

I hijacked live events.

There were many users who would list and/or follow users who were participating and tweeting about certain live events. This could be music festivals (#WarpedTour), TV shows (like the #Oscars), or trade shows (#NRAShow) and industry conferences (#INBOUND). By using the owned hashtags for the event, my tweets would be noticed among other participants (both live and online) and cause quite a few follow backs. I also participated in a few live Tweet-Ups, gatherings made up of active Twitter users in a certain area.

I followed relevant people.

I wanted to follow (and get follow backs from) people who were in my industry. As a shortcut, I knew that people who engaged with marketing/ad agencies would be related to my field. I used Twitter lists like mad to classify and organize my following. I followed tons of those who were connected to local/regional agencies. I also used Twitter directories to find relevant handles based on topics. Having a professional headshot, detailed bio related to my job, and a website with supporting material helped ensure that I was legitimate and wasn’t a bot. It helped me get noticed.

I created and shared a lot of content.

I’ve seen Twitter users who tweet a lot, but it’s nothing meaningful. Content creation is important because people look to you as a source of rich information, as a thought leader. I created/shared blog articles, short videos, photos, charts, infographics, etc. Some on behalf of my business, some that I did on my own time simply to support my Twitter initiative. I also used relevant hashtags when posting. These pieces got shared, caused reactions, and led to follower growth.

There’s been a ton of articles over the years on ways to develop a following. Do a quick Google search. Blogs from 2009 up until yesterday. Many of them have decent suggestions, beyond some that I mentioned above. Here’s one.

How I lost my following.

I’m not sure if it was the changing usage patterns of Twitter or maybe I had just grown tired of reading tweets from total strangers. Either way, for me, Twitter had lost some of its luster. I decided to make a change.

It took me about four hours (since they got rid of all the mass unfollow tools) but I cleansed myself of about 8,000 following. I only left remaining: 1) those who I personally knew, 2) those who I had developed Twitter relationships with over time, 3) trusted media outlets that I often read, 4) select businesses and brands that I pay close attention to. I left myself with about 200 following.

A lot of users on Twitter play the “I only follow people who follow me back” game. It’s not a bad form of etiquette. If you don’t care about what I have to say, why should I care about what you have to say? It’s not like Facebook or LinkedIn. If we don’t know each other, there are no real repercussions if one of us hits “unfollow.”

After I had cleansed my list, I watched as 2,000 followers slowly unfollowed me over the course of about three months. Since then, a few followers fade each day. I still have 8,000+ but, more importantly, I have true connections with many that have stayed and I continue to engage with them regularly.

I had preached it for years but I wasn’t living it – until now. Quality > quantity. The number doesn’t mean anything if those individuals weren’t paying attention, engaging, sharing a connection, communicating. I have no interest in spectators – on Twitter, in business, or in my personal life, so the following number means nothing to me. It’s all about the conversations.

How Twitter has changed.

Twitter is very different today than it was in 2009. From my experience, it’s become much more of an article exchange center rather than a source of original content. What I mean is there’s a few creators, namely big bloggers or media outlets, and the rest of users simply add to the commentary with a RT, like, or reply (remember the 90-9-1 rule?). The ability to reply with animated gifs and emojis has only fueled this behavior since you don’t need to leave Twitter to find these reactions. Of course, Twitter as a source for instant news is still a critical function, especially with the addition of live streaming – but again – most people sit back and watch the 1% do their thing.

Jay Baer at Convince & Convert predicted this as soon as Twitter updated its software to algorithmically show certain tweets ahead of others. He also alluded to the rise of Twitter ads to help businesses find their way to the top of user feeds.

Here’s what I feel Twitter still does really well and where I feel it struggles. This can help you and your business decide if/when to use Twitter and how much attention to give to it.

Pros:

  • Customer service. Those on Twitter expect instant responses. That’s the nature of the tool. It’s real-time. Business can/should use Twitter as a way for customers to ask questions. The only caveat – you should be ready to respond immediately, at least within the hour.
  • Skews younger. If you’re a brand whose target audience is tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings, this is a great outlet. It isn’t as shiny and new as SnapChat, but it does boast these users in great numbers. Plus, Twitter outweighs SnapChat with the ability to add call to actions, have versatile content, and remain top of mind longer.
  • Show off your brand voice/personality. I’m sure you’ve read about Wendy’s on Twitter. It’s amazing. They are sassy, sarcastic, even sometimes rude, but it fits the personality they want to convey. Their target audience is younger, more urban, with less income. It fits them. Other brands should follow suit, find a voice that makes sense, and embrace it wholly.

Cons:

  • The novelty is gone. Twitter still continues to claim that it has 320 million users. But it doesn’t take a Twitter expert to browse around and see all the dormant, dead accounts that exist. Not to mention the crazy amount of spam or fake accounts. I think the numbers are inflated. The newness of Twitter has faded and many social influencers have taken to Instagram or SnapChat as an alternative.
  • Short life span. Despite the “In case you missed it…” feature, the very nature of Twitter means that tweets have a short life span. Within hours, sometimes even minutes (depending on the user), the tweet is buried and gone. This requires users and brands tweet often to stay top of mind and more resources are needed to make that happen.
  • Challenging ad interface. It’s not challenging to use. It’s challenging to find success. Unless you’re a company with a very broad target audience, it’s tough to find your niche. The targeting features on Twitter aren’t nearly as good as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can use keywords, related followers using handle names, geography, and interests, but even just a few keywords or handles will put a lot of people on your list that aren’t relevant. When I used Twitter ads, it took some time and a lot of babysitting and adjusting to find my sweet spot. You can certainly find success, but you may waste money in the process.

This article was originally published for Site-Seeker. You can find it here.

7 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Social Media Marketer

7 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Social Media Marketer

Social Media

Beyond my normal 9-5 at Site-Seeker, I also teach social media marketing at Utica College. I often tell students that social media, though 10+ years old now, is still seen as the new kid on the block. Because of this, some seasoned marketers still frown upon social and the abilities needed to actually do it well, do it right, and generate results.

They either:

  • Don’t see the value, or
  • Don’t respect the work

Either way, those professionals are setting their departments/businesses up for failure. When you aren’t recognizing the importance of social as a key component, or maybe even the single most critical component of your marketing plan, you end up shirking your responsibilities when it comes to resources. That goes for both tools and people.

Recruiting fitting talent to perform social media for business may not seem like it’s hard. But it is. And here’s why:

Everyone thinks they can do social media.

SPOILER ALERT: They can’t. Not by a long shot.

As a [somewhat] young marketing professional, I’ve been lucky enough to be on both sides of the coin. I’ve applied, interviewed, and secured (and didn’t secure) social media jobs. And I’ve job posted, screened, interviewed, and hired for social media jobs. In both scenarios, I’ve picked up quite a few tips on the best ways to prove your social media knowhow and worth.

Here’s seven questions I always ask when interviewing a social media marketer:

1) What’s your education?

I’ve found that some of the most talented people in new media and digital marketing don’t have any formal education in these areas. However, I’ve often found people that do, have an advantage. They can look beyond the work itself and answer the “why.” Why is engagement important? It’s not the “like” that’s valuable; it’s the advocacy that’s slowly being created to draw in fans, cultivate them, and turn them into brand loyalists. Sure, someone without formal education can grasp these concepts with the right training. But academic education often creates that foundational understanding and the roots that tie social media to the rest of important business activities. You won’t need to worry about taking on that training yourself. Consider majors (or master’s) in marketing, public relations, or communications.

2) Do you have executing strengths?

At Site-Seeker, we use the Clifton StrengthsFinder test to determine both current and potential employees’ top strengths. This is important in hiring for the right position and placing people on projects where they will excel. If you use this test when hiring, ensure that social media marketing candidates have execution strengths (which is one of the four categories that strengths fall within). Social media is such a detail-oriented environment. There’s a lot of planning involved, but also so much to follow through on. If you have a strategic mind, are a creative dreamer, or are an individual who just can’t seem to put pen to paper – forget it. You need someone who has an innate talent in taking loose ideas and turning them into something real and tangible.

3) What channels have you managed on behalf of a business?

I brush my teeth every day, but that doesn’t make me a dental hygienist. Just because you post photos on your personal Instagram or live tweet during The Bachelor, it doesn’t even come close to describing your abilities in using social media for a brand. We’re talking about creating a unique and professional voice, posting with intention associated with a buyer persona and pre-created objectives, being meticulous over engagement and responses that can aid in brand storytelling. You don’t discount the work of a dentist or dental hygienist. Don’t discount the work of a social media marketer.

4) What are the top metrics you feel would measure success in a social program?

You need to determine if they can analyze web data. This is often the most under-appreciated side to social media marketing. I’d even go to the length of saying it’s the most important. The inexperienced professional will automatically defer to “likes” and “follows” as top metrics. But experienced inbound marketers know that social media is just another one of the many media used to reach business goals. Namely, social should drive conversions, and in most cases, this translates to web visitors, leads and online sales. See how candidates handle this question and allow them to elaborate on their experience and comfort level with handling data and turning it into usable information.

5) What are some social media tools or software that have worked for you in the past?

There are too many components of social media today to not rely on tools. Whether it’s SimplyMeasured, If This Then That, SproutSocial, BuzzSumo, Canva, etc – there are a ton of software options that not only allow marketers to be more efficient, but to get work done that would be nearly impossible if done manually. Quiz the candidate on the various tools that they know can potentially work to make for a more successful social program. If they don’t know of any, they probably need a bit more experience. On top of that, advertising is critical for social media in business today. I usually tell clients that if they don’t have a social media advertising budget, don’t even bother. The candidate should be well-versed in online advertising and know the best techniques in how to manage and carry out successful ad campaigns.

6) What type of proof can you provide to showcase your writing skills?

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a 1200-word blog post, or a 12-word tweet. Keen writing skills are crucial to everything we do in marketing. Research, putting information into an easy-to-understand way, writing to entice a share, a click, a purchase. Make sure you look at the candidate’s portfolio. There should be proof of sound writing skills and creativity. Look for example pieces of copywriting, blogs, email campaigns, or even formal writing like research projects.

7) What is your experience with creative work?

The only way to break through the crap, err, I mean clutter, is creativity. Think about it. What do you actually click on these days? You scroll through probably 100 videos on Facebook each day. 500 tweets. 50 snaps. Which ones do you actually take the time to watch or read? Or better yet, which ones do you actually recall an hour, a day, or a week later? The only pieces of content that work are those that are the most creative. Text, graphic, photo, video – it doesn’t matter the medium – it matters if it stands out (while also being relevant to the brand, industry, and goals of the campaign). Get a feel for the candidate’s creative work and experience. If they aren’t creative, they’ll likely fail hard in a social media role.

Based on all that above, consider some of the key skills needed for the most important jobs that social media marketers do on a regular basis:

Once you’ve given my seven questions some thought – and any other interview questions that you deem as valuable to making sure the candidate(s) is a good fit for your company or organization – you’re ready to start recruiting.

  • Consider LinkedIn and Facebook as resources to locate talent. Since it’s a social media position, they should be using these tools already and have rich profiles.
  • Be careful about your job description, ensure that talent must be local (if that’s the case, or else you’ll get a lot of remote workers due to the nature of the job). They should provide a resume, cover letter, and portfolio (this will weed out bad apples, and provide proof of experience/skills). Be sure to deeply explore their social channels and website.
  • Take time to explore portfolio work and check into references.

Good luck and happy recruiting!

This article was originally published for Site-Seeker Inc. Find the original article by clicking here.

Social Media Posts That Suck vs Ones That Rock, And Why

Social Media Posts That Suck vs Ones That Rock, And Why

Social Media

There are 500 million tweets per day. About 1 billion Facebook posts. And more than a billion videos if you combine those from Instagram, Vine and YouTube. That’s a lot of content. And that’s only one day.

In short: You have to cut through the clutter to stand out above the rest. Wait. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? Well it’s easier said than done. Of course, it takes a great deal of creativity to really get noticed online and see your posts take off. It’s a challenge that we all face and some of us have been rewarded for our efforts.

But we’re not talking about creativity today. Instead, I want to focus purely on the basics: structure and design. For every platform, there’s a certain way of posting that lends itself to a clean, polished look, which leads to greater chances of being found and shared. This is the first step to being noticed and garnering excitement and interactions. Very few brands see the benefits of social media when publishing ugly, disjointed or irrelevant material. You must take the extra time and effort to ensure your content is being presented in a way that looks great and best represents your brand, so it will more likely be received by your target audience.

Below, find 10 different types of social postings. We’ll look at a poor quality post compared to a high quality one and explore some of the differences.

Facebook

Bad

Good

Here why…

First off, Seaport Hotel has quite a bit of text in this post. Too much, actually. They also didn’t shorten the link, which makes the post appear very unsightly. They also failed to tag iFest in the post. By doing so, it would have appeared on their partner’s page for additional viewers to find. On the other hand, Coke keeps their text length fairly short (the shorter, the better with Facebook). It includes a full size, branded image that is entertaining and relevant to its brand. And it has also tagged fans who have commented, so those individuals feel special and will be more likely to share the post, enhancing its virility. Finally, they include the custom campaign hashtag #ShareACoke, which relates to offline efforts.

 

LinkedIn

Bad

Good

Here why…

Equipment Depot committed a few mortal sins in this post. First, they are posting to LinkedIn from Facebook. As a result, the post is formatted terribly, the headline and caption just say “facebook.com,” and the text is cut off. If you are going to auto-post or use a third party automation tool, you must be very cautious and ensure that posts come out neat and clean on the other side. Secondly, the brand liked its own post. Just don’t. Adobe publishes an excellent post. It keeps its message short and direct with a shortened link. And it uses a branded landscape image with all of the details directly in the photo (in case people share just the photo). The inclusion of Richard Sherman is likely to intercept those scrolling too (you like that pun?).

 

Twitter

Bad

Good

Here why…

Here, we see automation once again ruining the impact of a post. With Facebook connect, Zips Car Wash tweets a text-only tweet with characters also getting cut off. No image. No hashtag. No call to action. Lowe’s produces a nice post as it shares an article on gardening ideas. It’s close to the ideal length of a tweet, which is 100 characters. It has a shortened link for a cleaner look while allowing for tracking. Lowe’s also includes the handle of the blogger (so she can be notified and push it to her followers) and it includes no more than two hashtags, *after* the link. The embedded image is relevant to the story and allows the tweet to take up more real estate in followers’ feeds.

 

Pinterest

Bad

Good

Here why…

VIP Cars pinned a picture of Cape Town. Although beautiful, it is a random photo that isn’t exactly relevant to its brand. It also pulled the picture from the image-only page of a site so the pin isn’t correlated with a webpage for users to read/find more information. Instead, All You Magazine shares a delectable recipe shot directly from its own website. Users can click and find their way to the recipe to make it right at home (directly in line with its brand). The description is short and to-the-point. It has also placed it on a fitting board, “Outdoor Entertainment,” for followers to find other similar recipes, and follow the board outright.

 

Instagram

Bad

Good

Here why…

DJ Auto Collision tries to piece together three different pictures but it is not presented in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Lime green? Eek. I’d recommend shying away from bright, bold colors in most cases, unless it pairs well with the image. It also only uses one hashtag, which is the business name. Conversely, Utica Coffee Roasting posts a very down-to-earth photo of a customer taking a sip of its own product – a very delicious-looking latte. It keeps the caption brief with a few relevant hashtags to help it be found for those searching for similar images. It looks like a filter may have been used as well to just tone the image a bit and add a nice subtle effect.

 

Vine

Bad

Good

Here why…

FashionOffice doesn’t really include anything in this post that is captivating nor fitting for its brand. A short (and shaky, at that) montage of Times Square isn’t all that unique. It’s a scene seen by a few hundred thousand people every day. The caption isn’t very descriptive either. Oreo has been a long-time power user of Vine. It leads with a branded sign held by a person (kind of like a director’s action board). A magician then performs a quick trick using the Oreo cookie. The description is short and sweet (another pun, gotta love it!) and features a custom hashtag for loyal viewers who want to find more of these particular Vines.

 

YouTube

Bad

Good

Here’s why…

DigitLab’s video is high resolution but lacks any sort of supplemental graphics or charts to reinforce key spoken points. The video is short and the title and description are limiting. The one camera angle also creates a very monotonous experience. It’s boring. Conversely, Rand Fishkin, on behalf of Moz, posts video blogs on a regular basis, which cultivates a following. There are custom-created bookends at the beginning and end of the video to introduce and reinforce the brand. There’s also an intro slide, which includes the name of the topic as well as the presenter’s name. The title of the post is complete and a relevant description is provided too. Finally, the video is close to seven minutes, the ideal length of a video blog post.

 

Google+

Bad

Good

Here why…

CCRI published a very plain, text heavy post with no other information. It doesn’t capture a reader’s attention and has no call to action to lead users anywhere outside of Google+. WVU, on the other hand, features an article that leads back to its website. It begins with a simple but sensible caption and includes three relevant hashtags to pair with the content. The photo is eye-catching (seriously, who looks away from a wedding proposal picture?) and the headline and description for the article are also featured, taking up more space in the Google+ interface. As a result, this post saw a great deal of *engagement* (okay, third pun, what do I win?!).

 

Blog

Bad

Good

Here why…

Columbia features a very short post that is all about its own products. There is one image and a few outbound links but the content is very thin. The headline isn’t SEO friendly and no author name is provided. It’s very bland.

The idea for the blog post you’re reading stemmed from Kevan Lee’s post for Buffer on the ideal length of everything online – so I might as well give it a plug here. This post has it all. A title that is very search friendly. A custom banner graphic featuring the title of the blog. An author area with Kevan’s headshot. The ability to easily share on social. It’s a very length piece of content supported by research, stats and graphics (ideal length of a blog post is in the 1600-word area). And it features practical information that is very useful to viewers. The comment feed is open and Kevan has replied to some posters. It’s broken up by H2s to make it more readable. It features links for more information. And it features a sharable summary image at the bottom of the post that was purely made for social media.

 

e-mail

Bad

Good

Here why…

Your email marketing campaigns shouldn’t look like a website. Instead, treat it like an extension of your social activity. You want this touchpoint to be useful, not a piece of junk mail. Allied Bank’s email is very overwhelming with too much information and too many places to click. The many different content boxes make it seem disorganized and messy. In comparison, Simply Measured delivers short weekly emails instead of long monthly newsletters. Titled “How to Time Your Tweets Down to the Minute,” it is right in the area of the perfect subject line length, which is less than 39 characters. It has one main feature with a link to the website to read the full article. That’s followed by three more articles with simple teasers and images. In the footer, one can request a trial (its primary goal with these emails) or one can find its social media channels. It is a simple layout and effective at the same time.

 

Have you seen any other great examples of social media posts from brands? Share some additional examples and let us see!

Top Social Efforts to Boost Referral Traffic to Your Website

Top Social Efforts to Boost Referral Traffic to Your Website

Social Media

Social media has many benefits to a brand. Raising awareness, generating buzz around events or news, keeping your name or products top of mind, managing customer service, gathering consumer-generated content, market research, and the list goes on. But for some reason, many of us get hung up on the fact that social media has to have an immediate, short term return on investment. Many social strategies are long term investments, so when looking at a tight time frame, we migrate towards metrics that try and allow us to justify our efforts. Enter: referral traffic.

 

Referral traffic is a very important thing to measure within a social media campaign. For many companies, bringing visitors to your website helps them learn about your products and services and establishes one more touchpoint in that very important buying process. It gets the user away from all the chaos on social media and lets them solely focus on one thing…you. And that’s valuable stuff. So after using many social media channels over the past few years, I’ve learned which ones generate the highest return on investment, based on cost vs referral traffic. Of course numbers will very based on your industry and the content you’re producing, but for the most part, this will give you a simple indication of which channels are best for driving traffic back to the homebase.

 

Social Media ROI

1) Blogging

The only one with 5 stars in terms of referral traffic is blogging. Are you surprised? If on a subdomain, blogging can be tremendously helpful to sending traffic to one’s website, if using links properly. If housed on the company site itself, blogs will generate organic traffic from search and attain visitors from referral links from any sites or bloggers who re-run your material or cite your writing. A misconception is that this effort is free but it is one of the biggest investments your company can make in the social space. The best blogging companies invest tons of time and resources into blogging efforts. Beyond time for writing, you will want to budget money for stock photography or time for your design team to create custom graphics, infographics, charts or visuals to supplement your material within the post and/or for social media when distributing. It makes the world of a difference in getting people to read, react and share your content. It’s also helpful to promote your blog articles on social using ad dollars to “light the fire” and get the traction rolling.

 

2) E-Newsletter

Email marketing may not be the best approach to reach your teen audience (most do not use email with the exception of using it for registration purposes) but email is still widely used among most working professionals. It’s a great way to reinforce messages, introduce the latest news to a loyal audience, and keep them coming back to your site. Carefully design a layout – don’t have too much information there – and drive people deep into your site on specific landing pages, not just the homepage. Tell them what you want them to be looking at. Costs here are associated with monthly software fees (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc), stock photography, design costs, and the time it takes to prepare and distribute. Your list is critical. Always be conscience about growing this – whether it’s through other social channels, events, contests with registration walls, etc. Your list is powerful in bringing in visitors to your site.

 

3) Twitter

Many of us know how great this tool can be at luring traffic to your site. But this audience is very cautious what it clicks on – simply because they are being bombarded with hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of tweets each day. Because of this, be strategic when you include a link to your own site. Always use the old age “What’s In It For Them?” Push them to an educational blog posts, a cool new product, a fun contest going on, etc. Be creative and straightforward in your limited description too, because you have to convince them to click in less than 100 characters or so. Costs here are related to stock photos or designs you’ll want to use to pair with your content. Also, do not overlook Twitter advertising. It’s a great way to get new users in front of your material and you can select the type of person that is most appealing to your business, so it works well.

 

4) LinkedIn

Of all the promoted post- style advertising on social media, LinkedIn can often times be the most expensive. But it’s a great way to get highly targeted people in front of your content and lead them to your site. The filters available through LinkedIn are extraordinary, allowing you to target by age, geography, profession, industry, hierarchy, group, and more. Naturally, you’ll pay for this luxury in your higher cost per clicks. But regardless, it can be effective. LinkedIn readers love tips on how to do their jobs better, motivational articles, and the inside scoop on new jobs available in their fields. Keep this in mind when sharing material that refers back to your website. You don’t want them to be disappointed when they go for that click. So make sure it’s meaningful and in line with the type of professional readers that are here.

 

5) YouTube

I have YouTube listed as the most expensive of all the tactics. Because quite frankly, video production ain’t cheap. Sure, you can get away with haphazardly winging some videos together and throwing them up online. You might get a few views. But ever notice the ones that we gravitate towards every week (if they are a regular series) or the ones you pull to use in presentations or demonstrations. You and I both are pulling the ones that look professional, are in high definition, boast great audio quality, and subtly use visuals as examples to support the verbal discussions. You’ll need lights, microphones, a great camera (preferably two), lots of time and research, a personable and lively spokesperson, and more. But here’s the bright side. Of all the types of content available to you, in my opinion, videos are the one type that is most likely to really take off if done right. You can include links in your description area or within the videos themselves. And finally, you can expose your messages to more people through advertising (which again, costs money on this platform). But think about all the embeds and shares you can get if your videos are valuable to your target audience. In all, YouTube can be one of the biggest spends in your social media budget but can also see one of the greatest returns on investment, especially in terms of referral traffic.

 

Social media has a variety of benefits. Gaining visitors to your website is only one – though an important one if it matches your goals. Share content that is worthwhile and carefully select the channels that you wish to invest in to see high levels of return. Keep in mind that you don’t want to *just* share content about yourself – social media is all about sharing the wealth and getting involved in conversations that are out there on the web. But being selfish every now and again to impact the bottom line is a no-brainer.

 

Which channels, in your experience, have you seen bring about the highest levels of referral traffic. Comment below!

5 Tips for Twitter’s Promoted Tweets

5 Tips for Twitter’s Promoted Tweets

Analytics/ROI, Social Media

Promoted Tweets

I’m not entirely sure why Twitter’s Promoted Tweets have not grown in popularity the way Facebook Ads have. According to AllThingsD, Twitter generates only $270 million from ads while Facebook rakes in $1.6 billion. There can be a number of reasons for the discrepancy, total users probably being the most significant. But numbers aside, Twitter’s ad platform is simple, straightforward and continues to attract more users each quarter. Promoted tweets have gone beyond utilizing the search function (does anyone even use that feature anymore?) to appearing in “similar user” lists and directly in users’ feeds. It’s a highly effective tactic to get in front of new audiences, especially when run during a special promotion.

32% of Internet users have a Twitter account. And the average user is following 350 people on Twitter. This means that most tweets are buried in users’ newfeeds within hours or even minutes. A promoted tweet, however, is special because it hovers towards the top of users’ feeds. They cannot get rid of the tweet and they are surely exposed to the messaging.

Twitter can be a great platform to reach an actively engaged audience. The demographic filters allow you to get in front of the right people. Plus, it’s a pay per engagement business model. Similar to pay-per-click (PPC), you are not paying for impressions but rather only paying if a user interacts with your tweet. The budget tools allow you to only spend what you can afford. By taking a few things into considerations, one can easily put Twitter’s promoted tweets service to use and see a return on the investment. Here are five things that will help you get the most out of your promoted tweets:

1) Understand your goals.

It’s helpful to understand first if your core audience is on Twitter and whether this platform is best for your advertising efforts. At this point, Twitter is made up of many different ages and lifestyles – so you’re probably in good shape. However, it is particularly fitting for brands trying to reach 18-29 year old African American urbanites or other young people groups.  Do some research to see if your customers are present and active on the social channel.

Secondly, are you trying to grow your following or are you trying to get clicks on a link. If the former, then you want to promote your handle. That’s a separate type of Twitter ad. But if you want to promote a specific link, then you are in the right place. Promoted tweet gets new audience members’ eyes in front of your tweet, even if they are not following your handle. This opens the doors to new potential customers. You can share links to your website, a contest page or an image. Here’s an example of a promoted tweet from @RedBull. As you can see, it says it is a promoted tweet (in yellow, towards the bottom), and they are including a link for users to react to. Red Bull is only paying for those who @, RT, favorite the tweet, or click on the link.

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2) Select your keywords and filters carefully.

There are many tweets on Twitter. In fact, there are actually 6,000 or so tweets per second unless a major event happens, like the Japanese Earthquake, which warranted a record 143,200 tweets per second! Most people tweet about all sorts of topics and aren’t necessarily focused on one subject area. This is why the filter function in promoted tweets is extremely convenient but must also be used carefully. Here’s an example. Let’s say I sell computer equipment and add the keyword “mouse” to my filter. Twitter might add a 15-year-old kid into my target group because he tweets things like: “OMG, I just saw this mouse cross my garage floor. I’m going to scream like a little girl.” But if you add other modifiers like computer, mouse, keyword, business, etc, then you might get a 45-year-old buyer from a big business tweeting: “Looking for a better computer software/hardware vendor. If you know of one, DM me.” See the difference? You can target by handle too and look to reach people who are similar to certain Twitter users. You might add in @IBM, @Cisco and @Asus so only users who follow those companies will be exposed to your ad. This ensures that you are getting in front of more qualified users.

3) Geographical region is huge!

Ever wonder how Twitter is using the location setting within your profile? They are using it to provide you with more tailored ads. If you’re a local business, or if you’re only running a regional contest, this feature within Twitter’s promoted tweets becomes very powerful. You can select areas by city or state and you don’t have to worry about consumers outside of your market being exposed to your messaging. Giving away tickets to a local sporting event? Select just your city and now only local residents will enter. No more worries about telling a winner from Europe that he has to pay his own airfare!

4) Be smart with your ad copy.

You can tell Twitter to automatically promote new tweets or specifically create new tweets to promote. I recommend the latter. Be witty, cute and entertaining. Just like an ad, it needs to catch people’s attention. It should be short so users have room to RT to their followers. And it should be both memorable and likable to leave an impression. Use relevant hashtags but don’t overdue it. You can also customize your link so it is tailored to your specific campaign to seem more relevant. Also, consider a unique hashtag for the campaign so users can follow along with conversations that relate.

Bad

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Good

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Great

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If you have an ongoing campaign, update your promoted tweet every day and change the wording. This way, tweets are always fresh and you can compare to see which ones perform best.

5) Don’t forget to use analytics!

Once a campaign begins running, or has completed, you can access the results. Twitter provides free insight into the performance of the ads and how people are reacting. This gives you tips on how to adjust your ads. Remember how I suggested doing several variations of your ads over several days? Now you can look to see which ones were the most effective and make adjustments to improve your campaign as it’s running.

The built in analytics are quite robust (at least, for a free tool). You can see your spend, impressions and type of engagement (RT, click, favorite). You also can see some demographic information like: devices, location (both country and state), gender. And most importantly, you can see which keywords or @ handles triggered the impressions/engagements. All the data can be exported to an Excel file for those who might prefer to view everything in cells. Use any and all of this information to adjust your campaign, the tweet language, filters and bid level for next time to have improved results!

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Have you put Twitter’s Promoted Tweets service to use yet? I’d love to hear about your successes and/or failures to understand how we can all get more out of this great tool! Comment below.

For more information on promoted tweets watch the video below.