Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’
Up to now I have not been a fan of Twitter. Why? Because I find it a lot of twitter.
However, there are lots of articles written on the value of Twitter and as a Business Coach it is my duty to understand the value of it for my clients. Therefore I am going to do a Twitter trial and blog my findings along the way. I hope to gain a better perspective about its possibilities, share my experience with you and my clients, create a valuable Twitter strategy and learn what is great and annoying about the medium.
My Goal: To get 500 followers in 50 days (I started on 48). To define a Twitter strategy that works for me (and possibly other small service-provider business).
My Ultimate business goal – make a relationship that improves my business results in some way.
20 – 30 minutes every day. And I will blog my experience, progress, Twitter knowledge, Twitter strategy findings every few days. In 50 days that will be 25 hours dedicated to Twitter – half a week´s work!
People say 500 is too high a target. But I need a goal and I want something in exchange for 25 hours work. I will re-evaluate the goal at the end of 50 days (maybe it shouldn´t be related to number of followers).
Day 18 – 23 178 followers – Up 130
While asking others for twitter help (including other coaches) I have been told that: “One shouldn´t focus on number of followers.”
While I couldn´t agree more, afterall it is not a popularity contest but instead a way to make money (if tweeting for business purposes) I still maintain to get started you need to:
- Pass a “critical mass” of followers to make sure your tweets are being heard;
- Need a specific measureable goal to target to keep up the motivation to hit your goal; and
- There is a correlation between your twitter-value and number of followers
Having said ALL THAT, I always maintained my main objective is to make relationships that improves my business results in some way. And while I will be still working on my 500 follower goal (I recap my strategies at end of this post) I feel now is the time to start shaping my strategy to deliver my Ultimate Twitter Goal.
My Twitter Strategy – Monitoring and Feedback
But before I focus my strategy I need to improve my Twitter monitoring so I can measure, test and receive feedback to continuously improve my efforts. So these are the ways I am now monitoring my twitter value.
- http://bitly.com/ - this website allows you to shorten links AND then track who opens each link you tweet (it will also show stats on other people tweeting the same link). GREAT TOOL - I want to know that my followers are interacting and reading my tweets and if not, what type they are ignoring. Easy to set up (just go to website) and easy to track once you post, just add a “+” sign to the end of the link to view stats i.e. (bitly.com/oWX8l7+ – I had 317 views of this link).
- http://tweetstats.com graphs average daily tweets, what time of day, who you most retweet or interact with. Easy to read format but takes a little while to receive the graph
- http://twittercounter.com graphs and documents your Twitter progress, shows daily/weekly new followers, tweets, your twitter rank – good if you have a follower target as keeps track of your progress.
Fact: having an active Twitter profile does help your Google Page Rank (the big debate is by how much).
- Twitter´s a great way to improve the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your website.
- Why is that important? Most people find business websites today through doing a Google search (looking at your website stats will show how important Google is to your visibility).
- The Google Page Rank is a rank out of 10 which shows how Google ranks your page: the bigger the ranking the higher the positioning.
- As we are talking about stats I did want to share with you two interesting sites:
- http://www.prchecker.info/ - allows you to check the page rank of your website (and don´t forget your competitors)
- http://www.iwebtool.com/backlink_checker you can check which websites are currently linked to you AND their google page rank (the higher their page rank the higher value their link). A good tool to see how much visibility your website has and to do some competitive research to see what great sites they are linking too. One known good way of improving your page rank is my having more back links (i.e. other websites linking to your website).
- Finally, I am checking the stats of my webpage to see how many people link through to my page from my Twitter profile. I have been very happy with what I have seen.
Recap of Search Techniques to Find Targetted Followers
- Looking through the followers of others in your target market
- Looking through popular community profiles in your target market
- Looking up #hash tags – #smallbiz and going through the latest (shows they are active) comments feel I can find interesting people.
- Searching geographically – http://www.geochirp.com/
- Away from Twitter – Direct targeted audience from other social mediums and blog forums to follower your “content-rich” twitter profile
- Twellow.com, as recommended, was a good place to search and find people with like minded interests.
- Looking through Twitter daily recommendations – go to “who to follow” and look through suggestions. Quite good at giving you recommendations based on your current following profile.
- By a new paid search service I plan to review next week and blog my findings – thanks @modernmethods
Day 10 – 17 127 followers – Up 79
This week I overcame my first Twitter wall. I have been caught up with a lot of client work and with little time to think. Perhaps, under other circumstances my social media posts and especially tweets would have taken a back seat. This is a typical complaint from my clients that they start eagerly then the number of posts just slowly tail off when things get busy.
However, having set defined Twitter goals and time-constraints I was able to maintain my Twitter campaign even when I was swamped in work. Why, because I knew it would be no more than 20-30 mins and I was organized and had a strategy to post my delayed tweets.
First thing in the morning I looked for interesting articles, which went along with my Twitter profile and then I used Tweet deck to post them once or twice over the course of the day. I looked through my twitter feed and buffered any interesting tweets to retweet during the course of the day and then looked at my “main” twitter friends private list and interacted with them on their specific tweets. I spent no more than 5 minutes searching for new people to follow (and hopefully follow me) and that was it.
So while perhaps this week I don´t have much new Twitter info to report I can say that having a goal, plan and a simple procedure will help you keep your long-term vision, maintain a Twitter presence, not lose the value of your previous tweeting (via inactivity) so you can rebuild your Twitter campaign when things return to normal.
Day 9: 102 followers – Up 56
My Twitter Strategy
I am now looking at Twitter 3 times a day. 20 mins in the morning. 10 mins at lunch and 10-15 mins towards the end of the day. During these times I try and be interactive real-time. I then send @messages, retweets or interesting articles then or delayed to go out later. Finally I am spending 5 minutes searching for interesting people.
The time goes quickly. However, I like it. It is easy, structured and within my time allowance so I am not distracted from my other business. While I feel I am making progress lets see if it will be enough.
Within that time frame I have sent:
Yesterday: 7 tweets (includes 2 RTs; 3#s; 4@s;)
Day Before: 10 tweets (includes 2 RTs; 3#s; 2@s; 1 my blog)
Day Before That: 16 tweets (includes 4 RTs; 5#s; 6@s; 1 my blog)
What do you think? Too much, too little? I feel it is a presence but I am starting to see what you need to do to be successful on Twitter but I will explain next time.
So I am in a rhythm and getting more followers daily. Finding the time is the key. Recently read a report that 95% of twitter users have less than 500 users. So actually my goal would put me in the top 5% of users. http://t.co/TVoYyLk Worryingly, 32% only have between 0 -5 followers.
Best get tweeting and searching then.
7 Days in and I am finding tweeting much easier and interaction too. I am starting to find Twitter friends (i.e. people´s tweets I enjoy reading and/or retweeting making comments). I also enjoy looking at my Twitter account, although I make sure I don’t go over my allotted time.
Twitter App update
A recent tweet said that there is a new twitter app every 5 minutes. I can believe it and it is tough to keep up with them. Some quick reviews.
Bufferapp.com – Easy to download, use and with google chrome you can right click the mouse and buffer a page. However, only 4 set times it will be tweeted during the day so a little limiting there. I am still using this as it is easy but will probably upgrade as I get more sophisticated.
Twibes.com – twitter community trying to organise tweeters into activity groups. Nice keyword searching but as it is not that universal there wasn´t enough activity to get me going back to the site.
Tweetdeck.com I know this is the big daddy and I will take the time to learn but for week 1 of tweeting it was a little Twitter list overload and too many pop-ups. I will relook at it later and write a better review but for first-week tweeters I would stay away.
Twellow.com, as recommended, was a good place to search and find people with like minded interests.
p.s. @brianhurley – added “if you follow me I will follow you in his profile” maybe not best for Business branding purposes but a good way to get followers I suppose, he was up to 34,000 but decided I would use this as a last resort tactic only.
So today I did what I said I was going to do and searched for people to follower.
My Twitter Strategy
So what is the profile of my ideal followers? – (Although I said that I would follow people just for them to follow me back it still needs to be targeted). So my criteria:
- THEY ARE INTERACTIVE AND HAVE TWEETED RECENTLY
- English speaking tweeters – difficult to keep an audience in two languages
- People in Barcelona – particularly – interesting people, small business owners, interested in coaching tips, expats
- Coaches/consultants to share with and develop/collaborate.
- UK business owners, interesting people, people interested in improving personal finance ( geographically I will talk mainly about Bcn, Spain, UK).
- News tweeters – current affairs, Bcn, business, my interests etc.
Secondly, my ultimate goals from Twitter. What I would like my followers to do:
- Sign up to my monthly newsletter or Free Emini Series
- That I get to know a Barcelona interesting person/small business owner and we meet for a coffee/talk.
- That a small business owner from UK (or elsewhere) looks at my website and gives me a call enquiring about coaching over phone.
- That a follower looks at my website and sees my (coming soon) online course about understanding their personal finances and decides to sign up for the €39 course.
So now I have my profile and goals I went about searching for followers to also follow me. I found it much easier to search when I knew what I wanted.
***TIP*** My best search tool to date was looking at a popular community Tweeter (ie. @Businesszone for UK business owners or @AI_Barcelona for Bcn community) and I looked through their followers and followed those that looked interesting to me. I chose 50 to follow.
Day 5: 64 followers – Up 16
At first sight this may seem like little progress, but what I have learnt in 2.5 hours (remember my time parameter ) has been very rewarding.
So in order to add more content, I wrote a new blog post today “Are You Your Companies Own Worst Nightmare”. I am also tweeting my older super useful blog posts which give tips and ideas on personal finance and business ownership. Fortunately, I believe offering free advice and helpful content to become “an expert” in your field is one of the best ways small business owners can get noticed and found. Therefore I don´t see this as just a Twitter strategy but just a great Small Business Lead Generation strategy and recommend to everyone.
New Twitter Strategy – already goes against one of my earlier twitter complaints.
So my new strategy is that you should follow to be followed. This goes against my complaint of the follow-me/ I follow you syndrome.
Just a quick look at some of the more popular figures on Twitter (excluding people already famous outside of Twitter) and you will see most are following thousands and are being followed by thousands. I am sure that they are not that interested in all those they follower but it is a way to expand their networks and after all Twitter is a social network. It is just as easy to unfollow as it is to follow so I will leave it in the hands of my followers to decide if I am interesting.
I realise better business value will come with a targeted following but with 64 followers I think it is right that the focus is on building followers i.e. quantity and not worrying about quality just yet. Although I will continue to search quality, I will not be discriminate. Remember some people may look at how many you follow before they follow you – i.e. they want to know you will open up to their network too.
With the Private List function I can get around my complaint about tweet overload – everytime I follow someone now I put them into a private list (i.e. a filter) – Friends, Barcelona, Coaching, Educational, Prospect, Competitors, or no list. That way I can just read my twitter list timelines to make sure I am up-to-date on the people I want to follow.
Also, which doesn´t help the find quality over quantity is that I DON’T like Twitter´s search function, or at least I haven´t figured it out. I want to follow my brother in-law, I know his name, his email address and even where he lives. Can I find him on Twitter? Can I hell. @DanilleMellor suggested twellow as a way to find more interesting people to follow so I will try that in the coming days.
I joined the Social Media Marketing LinkedIn group today. With 187,000 members and hundreds of discussions hoping this will help in my quest for the best small business Twitter strategy. (If you are on LinkedIn go to the group section and search Social Media Marketing to join).
Busy at work today, so could hardly find time for Twitter but managed my 30 minutes.
I am still in research mode. I posted a Twitter question in some LinkedIn forums and got some great tips. Thanks fellow coaches – @daniellemmiller, @janekstephenson and @lachlancotter
Interaction is key. It makes it more fun and makes you much more personable. Also, people like to help each other on Twitter so be helpful and interactive.
ALWAYS reply to a mention, DM or a retweet. If someone has taken the time to interact or promote your tweet it is worth at least a thank you and a shout-out or better yet a comment expanding on their comment.
Have a number of keywords that you want to be associated with or follow. This way you can use the # tags so when you tweet something which is relevant to your keyword then it will come up in other people´s Twitter searches for that keyword. I wrote up a list of keywords to help me stay focused.
Twitter Lists – You get 2 types and they serve different purposes
Public Lists – (easy to create lists just go to the List drop down option and click “create new”). Public lists are a way to publicly group people together. If you start it you can add your favorite tweeters in the category and others can add themselves at a later date as it is open for everyone. People can then follow a public list, so if you are in a public list and it is followed they receive your tweets even if you are not connected. A secondary benefit of setting up a public list is that it starts with your name so if it is associated with a group you are interested in then followers see your name (and hopefully your profile too).
I started a public list @freegreenbeans/expatbarcelonabusiness to try and connect English speaking small business owners in Barcelona.
Private Lists – Only you can see and no one knows they are added to the list. These are great for helping you filter your Twitter timeline so you can read tweets from all those you are following in a specific area (i.e. coaching, social media, friends). It also means you can follow competitors without them knowing you are following them under a private list called “competitors”.
Day 3: 58 followers – Up 10 followers
Being Monday morning I tried the #mondaymorning topic tag as it is obviously a popular topic on Mondays. Scheduled some other tweets about business throughout the day. Allotted time to tweet but faced a mental block so instead have download a Bufferrap app so during the day as I find things to tweet I can just right click my mouse and queue up a tweet to send. So far so good.
I decided not to include Saturday and Sunday as Tweet days. However, for next Friday I will schedule a few informal tweets through next weekend to create a continual Twitter presence.
Tweeted my blog post about better networking. I realise material is key so will have to blog regulary. Still finding my feet though.
Twitter Strategy – Finding LinkedIn contacts on Twitter
Signed Up to follower some of my LinkedIn contacts (easy to do) go to: https://twitter.com/#!/who_to_follow/import – if you are signed into Twitter it allows you to search your other contact databases. Don´t worry, you get to individually choose who you would like to follow. Scrolling over the twitter name of each contact shows you when they last tweeted (anything over 3 days and I assumed they were not active).
Still early days so it is about building contacts. Before this trial I was following just newservices but I think the staying power for Twitter is if you create actual twitter friends. I realise that interaction is very important for twitter so I have changed my focus on what I follow from news-services to people with who I can interact with.
Through RT had my first “twitter conversation” which led to them suggesting 2 other interesting people to follow. I enjoyed the interaction, I think that is why people get more addicted. It is social after all.
Twitter Strategy – Send each tweet 4 times
Bufferrapp.com. A friend @wmongie suggested signing up to bufferrap.com. This allows you to delay tweeting until optimal time of the day and also tweets each tweet 4 times in a day – giving yourself more exposure for each post. It appears 4 times is optimal and it is unlikely that people will see your same tweet more than once or twice.
Twitter Strategy – “Interesting” donating to charity for each new follower
I followed someone who was donating €1 for every new follower that signed up in a week. I was forwarded his twitter name by someone who endorsed him and who I trust @JeremySAskew. He reported that he would donate €225 to charity so obviously the strategy works (although it needs to be genuine).
Spent 10 minutes updating my profile – Went to Settings – Design – And chose a basic background template to give my page a little more colour.
Read up on Twitter shorthand (see below).
Tried to “launch” my trial idea.
Posted the blog to my website, FB (personal & business), LinkedIn.
Posted blog in three LinkedIn groups (UK Business Professionals / Expats in Spain / Barcelona Networking).
Wrote to 3 regular twitter users I follow to tell them about my trial.
Followed 5 more friends.
And my 20 mins is up.
Common Twitter Shorthand which I plan to use.
@ symbol is used as a public reply to or mention of another person on Twitter
# symbol is used to designate a topic. Anyone can create a topic. The # designation will then allow others to search the topic.
RT stands for Re-Tweet. When you re-tweet someone else’s Tweet, you give credit to them.
DM – is a direct message from one tweeter to another, they are not public tweets.
There is also a lot of twitter shorthand (similar to what people use in texting) to reduce word count too but I won´t list those here.
http://tinyurl.com/ – takes long urls (i.e. name of links) and makes them much shorter so possible to tweet.
My Twitter Strategy –
(Day 1 will develop over the 50 days)
- I will be interactive. I will RT interesting things. I will use @ to write personal messages, I will say thanks.
- I will not tweet self-promotional material (but I will link my website and any blog posts from time to time).
- I want to be educational, intelligent (try), opinionated, ironic and friendly.
- I will give progress updates of this trial, but also how my business is going – I personally like hearing how others are doing.
- I will comment on things relating to improving/understanding business, personal finances, current affairs, helpful tips, observations.
- I will not post personal updates (i.e. “standing at the airport”) nor about sport, restaurants, celebrities etc.
- I will follow people that interest me. My following focus will be on Barcelona business people, interesting business service providers, financial gurus, investing ideas, comedians (I like funny people), inspiring people, intelligent people.
My 3 Top Complaints With Twitter (Day 1)
- It is just a lot of twitter. I am not a natural tweeter, I don´t feel the urge to tell people what I am doing all the time.
- The follow me I´ll follow you syndrome – I want qualified followers who are interested in reading my tweets.
- I am verbose – (ok more a complaint about me). So this will be a great challenge for me. Write less – deliver more – the ultimate business tip. Twitter can help me with that.
Lets see if I will be singing Twitters praises in 50 days from now or not?