Tag Archives: Twitter

TwitterChat 101

This week I am hosting a twitter chat on the twittersphere on Thursday, May 20 at 5pm EST, 2pm PST.  I’ve actually been following #mrktchat for the last nine months since Milena Regos @milenaregos (Diamond Peak Resort, NV)  and Eric Hoffman @eric_hoffman (Park City Mountain, UT) got the ball rolling.  It has been very successful in bringing together people with similar Snowsports industry interests from across the US, overseas and Australia in a virtual roundtable atmosphere.  Just read below and then join us!

So what is a “TwitterChat”?
Picture an informal meeting with a facilitator and a topic.  Only difference is that this meeting only involves typing.  No phone calls, no videos, nothing complicated.  Just a good ‘ole use of words.  Like instant messenger or texting for a group.

The way the group finds each other is by the use of a hashtag (the number sign plus a keyword).  There are tens of thousands of groups out there.  You can find them here http://wthashtag.com.  The #mrktchat group I’ll host today focuses topics around travel and tourism marketing.  It is always available and open to anyone.  But, every Thursday people come together to discuss for an hour a specific topic or snowsports industry related issue.  Its a great way to connect and learn.  Its informal, but every week there’s been great topics and different facilitators.

What’s Needed?
Basically, two things.  First you need to join Twitter and have a username.  Second, you will need a computer and/or a cell phone to be able to connect, follow, and post.

There’s a few different ways to track and post to the chat.
1. You can either use a web page such as http://wthashtag.com/Mrktchat or http://tweetchat.com/room/mrktchat
2. Use twitter related software you can download to your computer or iphone.  I use Tweetdeck and set up a column using the search function for #mrktchat.  Actually if you use Tweetdeck, all you have to do is click on a tweet with the hashtag #mrktchat and it will automatically create a column for you.

How It Works
Ok, so what will happen at 5pm EST today?
a) First, I will welcome everyone to the “tweetchat”.  Anyone that’s online and following the #mrktchat will usually introduce themselves to say they are there.  I will then ask some questions and look for responses.
b) Once the topic is introduced, people to start asking questions and making comments using the regular twitter rules (limited to 140 characters).  Normally we try to stick with a topic for 5-10 minutes then I will bring up another question/topic.  This goes on for the hour.  Other people are also welcome to bring up topics or other related items.

So, if it is a topic you want to say something about, do it.  Or, if you want to clarify anything or respond to a particular person, go for it.  Just a few things to remember:
1. Keep the #mrktchat tag in all conversations you want to be seen in that area.
2. If you are responding to a person in particular, then, make sure to include their twitter name (ie @srufo) AND the #mrktchat tag.  That way that person knows something’s been mentioned on twitter and can respond if needed.
3. To respond to a person without the entire group seeing it but you want to let the rest of the twittersphere see then just reply using their twitter handle (ie. @srufo).
4. To respond privately, direct message them.  But, don’t forget, you can only direct message people that follow you on Twitter.
5. Keep in mind your responses are public.  And, there is no “delete” button on the Internet.
6. Want to sell something?  Don’t do it here.  That’s better done somewhere else.
7. Have fun!

Have more questions?  Just let me know.

Social Media Networks an Inside Look

A few months ago, a question was asked in one of the social media groups I belong to on LinkedIn:

“How many social media profiles do you actively manage?”

To date there have been over 830 comments from at least 500 people.  It’s a pretty active discussion.  It made me start to think…what a great informal research project.  So, that’s what we did.  We went ahead and tabulated how many social media networks this group uses regularly and what the most important/popular networks that are being used.

Here’s what we found:

Social Media Accounts LinkedIn users Manage Regularly

Social Networks Usage from Study

I found it interesting that most people that contributed to this called LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook “The Big Three”.  From the results you can see that a good portion of the respondents used these three social networks as their primary focus.

One other thing we found from this Discussion Group was the preferred tools.  Here’s a listing of the “best” tools to help make social media more manageable:

Let me know your thoughts.  Do you agree with the results?  How often do you update your online profiles for work or personal thoughts?

10 Tips to being Successful in Social Media

Social media is so new and ever changing it is hard to find one definitive definition for it.  My definition is an uncensored conversation in as few words as possible, in as little time as possible, to as many people as possible on a worldwide stage.  That includes blogs, wikis, social-networking sites and other online communities, and virtual worlds.  According to Alexa.com the top social networking sites in the U.S. are (in ranking order): Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Craigslist, Blogger, Photobucket, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tagged, Ning, Twitter, and Yelp.

Here’s ten tips to using social media effectively:

1. Keep content current. Do updates frequently to stay credible and to keep people coming back for more.  Mix up what you post.  Keep the content helpful, fun, and informative.

2. Pick and choose the best for you. You do not have to be all places.  Pick the networks that are right for you.  Determine your demographics first.  Then target the networks that fulfill your objectives and where you will have the most impact.  Remember to be engaging!

3. Just do it. Try out a social site personally first.  Watch for about 30 days to get a feel for how people interact.  Once you get a good handle on how it works, and then create a company profile page.

4. Embrace conversation. Don’t just feed information about your business.  Remember, this is an opportunity to talk, interact and create advocates from your customers.

5. A picture speaks louder than words. Content is important but don’t forget the visuals such as photos and videos.

6. Be friendly. Create advocates.  After you join a network, make sure to connect with other businesses like yours, industry people, and major brands that partner with you and others in the industry.  The more people you connect with, the more they can spread your messages.

7. Give people a reason to participate.   Social networking is an incredible outlet for grass roots marketing within this high tech culture.  Create reasons for people to talk back, enter a contest, or simply participate  in a discussion.

8. Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell. When people are invited to participate in online communities, they expect resorts to listen and consider their ideas.  They don’t want to feel like they’re simply a captive audience for advertising.  If they do, they’re likely to leave and not come back.

9. Jump on the bandwagon now, and remain in the conversation for the long haul. The sooner you act, the more leeway you will have with experimentation.  You’ll also be a significant step ahead of your competitors (unless they get there before you).

10. Oh the humanity. Get creative and try to let the conversation flow freely. The more accessible you are to your customers than your competitors, the more likely it is that you’re going to be a part of your customers’ lives.  So, as a brand, this is your opportunity to humanize your company and be part of your customers’ life experiences and their personal networks, from which they draw so much. You can be part of a positive association in the good times. And, in the bad, you may have the support of your friends and followers when you need it.

Twitter Tools Review

With the explosion of the popularity of Twitter, comes new tools and websites promising everything from helping you to make money to simplifying your life.  So, the biggest question on my mind, is “just because it is free, is it really is worth using”?

I went with a simple grading system:
-is it easy to start using
-will it save me time
-does it really do something unique and useful

If the product got a yes to all three questions above, they get listed in the “Hot” Column, if not, well, then they are “Not”.

Hot Not
Find, follow and interact with businesses, apps and services on Twitter.
TwitPay is a simple way to send payments via Twitter.
Why: Easy to follow business listing directory Why: Doesn’t seem very secure and only works with Amazon payments.
TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter. You can post pictures to TwitPic from your phone, the TwitPic home page or your Twitter account.
Send private Twitter messages to specific groups of friends.
Why: Simple to use and a great way to easily tie-in to your Twitter account. Why: Need to create a new account for each group.  Seems like I could do that directly thru Twitter too.
Mr. Tweet
A personal networking assistant for Twitter, helping you identify relevant followers, recommending you to other users and regularly computing your Twitter usage statistics.
mr tweet
Twitter Alerts
Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company and anything else, via hourly email updates.
Why: Finding people you really want to follow can be difficult, so this kind of help is appreciated and a time saver. Why: After setting up the account, I realized it uses Twitter Search.  So, why not just use Twitter Search?
With TwitWall, you can embed your favorite videos and widgets and upload your photos, MP3 music, podcasts, you name it.
StrawPoll is the coolest way to follow the opinions of people on Twitter. With this app, you can create your own poll.
Why: Adds some 3d to the otherwise plain Twitter profile page.  Was up and running in minutes. Why: I like the concept but had a hard time figuring out how it works and how to track results.
Unfollow Tweeps who have not posted tweets recently.
Twitter Friends Network Browser
Browse through your Twitter friends, your friends’ friends, your friends’ friends’ friends.
Twitter Friends
Why: It seems the way to the best ratings on Twitter is to have more people follow you than you follow others.  So, using this tool might help increase your ratings. Why: Although it looks cool, I couldn’t get it to do anything but get more confusing.
Twitter Grader
Twitter Grader measures the power of your Twitter profile. How high do you rank?
Twitter Grader
Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter and track the success of your branded communications with customers.
Why: Since I am competitive I like this.  Nice way to see how your postings compare to other similar profiles. Why: Seems like what they offer–post a special or coupon–could also be done directly into your profile.
Enter your twitter username to see a tag cloud from the ‘bios’ of your twitter flock.
Twitterless tells you who stops following you and graphs your follower history over time, displaying the info in a variety of useful views.
Why: Looks cool and is functional too. Why: Love the idea but I think the developers got overwhelmed with response.  Didn’t seem to be working.
Just Tweet It
Just Tweet It makes it easier for tweeters to find other tweeters with similar interests.
Have a “Not” you would like to add?
Contact me.
Why: Another cool directory that’s not just for business.
Twitter Search
Search Twitter is an excellent search engine that allows you to find out what’s happening in the world beyond your personal timeline.
Twitter Search
Have a “Not” you would like to add?
Contact me.
Why: THE way to search for comments, people, hashtags, and more on Twitter.
Most of the features available on the Twitter website are accessible through twhirl, with usability enhancements.Twirl
Have a “Not” you would like to add?
Contact me.
Why: When following comments and posts gets too hard to follow thru the web, this is a great next step.  Also has tools to shorten URL’s, add pics, and more.
TweetDeck aims to improve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking the abundance of Twitter feeds and breaking it down into more manageable bite-sized pieces
Have a “Not” you would like to add?
Contact me.
Why: Are you a serious Twit?  Than this software is for you.  Makes managing large numbers of followers possible.
Twitalyzer is a tool that calculates your influence based on your signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity and clout, and it also allows you to calculate a score for any other Twitter user you want to keep tabs on. Since it displays increases and decreases to your influence over time, it is also a way to test the positive or negative impact of new Twitter strategies
Have a “Not” you would like to add?
Contact me.
Why: There’s not much analytics yet for Twitter, but this is about the best you’ll find at the moment.

As a side note, there is one thing that does concern me.  Almost all the related Twitter websites that offer these tools want you to give them your username and password in order to use their services.  That seems like a big problem waiting to happen.

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my reviews.  Have a few to add?  Just let me know.

Skittles the Un-Website

Ok, for the last month or so I have heard people talking about “what Skittles did” and the huge controversy.  I just figured it was more of the usual website hype.  Until this morning.  Now I understand what the hoopla (who says those words anymore?) is about.

In a nutshell, if you also have not followed the Skittles talk, they replaced their regular website that had content, product information, and the usual company fluff, with a portal atmosphere that brings in many of the big social networks.  That’s right, they got rid of their website and are using YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and other network spaces instead.  WOW.

They have essentially said, “you our customer know how you want to interact with us, so we are handing you the keyboard” (my quote not theirs).  I personally think this is brilliant.  Skittles is going where their customers are.  They are truly “giving power to the people”.  They have however gotten quite a bit of criticism from marketers and business people.  One blog post I read called the move “crazy“.

According to Skittles, their goal was to “consolidate access to all social media around the brand.”  I applaud them.  They are a bit ahead of their time.  What they did is what I consider a stab at web 3.0.  What’s that?  It’s where businesses and brands will be able to harness and make the current social media landscape usable and personal.  Friendster and ping.fm are just a few examples of organizations already trying to do this.

Good or bad, there’s a few things we can learn from this:

1. The first one there owns the game. Skittles will get the most publicity and launch excitement because they tried it first.  Others that follow will have a hard time getting the coverage that Skittles did.  Since they did it first, they also get to create the rules and build the business model.

2. Integrated branding. Skittles is focusing their time on creating their company profiles across the social media channels online and their traditional marketing offline.  They are approaching new media with new thinking.  They are creating an entire brand experience from each part and funneling everything back to their website URL.

3. Optimization. Talk about high ROI.  Skittles will be able to gain higher visibility and link-ability on the web faster and easier than any website before it.  How?  They are letting their customers do it for them.

4. Mistakes happen. Is the Skittles new concept perfect?  No, of course not.  By trying to legally protect themselves with a dialog box asking your age before you can visit the site they seem to be turning off site visitors.  But, this is how they and those that follow behind them will learn.

So, as I wrap up this post for the day,I am left thinking, who else would this concept work for?

Why Twitter?

I was asked a simple question last night, “why are you using Twitter?”.  I thought about it for a little while. Note-Twitter is a “microblogging” service that invites you to share what you’re doing with the world in 140 characters or less.

Here’s my top reasons:

Cutting-Edge: I personally try to stay up-to-date on new cutting-edge marketing opportunities.  I am constantly out searching and trying-out new programs that our clients might be interested in now or in the future.  Twitter is something new, so I will give it a try.

Little commitment: It’s so easy.  Unlike mySpace where you really have to work to create a design, a following, and 15 other things which could take up your entire day, Twitter needs only a few minutes each day (thanks to Tweetdeck) to read what others have twittered and post my own tweets.  And, I can twitter from my computer or cell phone.

Response: In a short period of time (about 30 days) I have been able to build a network of “followers” that I can ask questions, post recommendations, and search comments.  What I find different about twitter compared to LinkedIn, or other social sites is the real time answers.  On my other social networking sites it seems to take a day or two to get responses from people.  In Twitter, it takes minutes.  That kind of network building and personal response amazes and thrills me.  I am an instant gratification kind of person!

Branding: Ok, I’ll admit it.  One of my goals is to help people/businesses realize we exist.  It is a free marketing channel that costs me some work time.  It’s a new form of PR that I am happy to add to our overall marketing mix if it shows promise.  Which so far, it has.

So, now I ask you, “why do you use Twitter”?

She’s baaaack…

It’s been over 2 years since I have tapped the keys to post on my blog.  I really can’t believe it has been that long.

My last blog post was “Blogging takes courage” (Look down to read more.  I was able to import some of the posts from my old blog)

It was a good post, but not great enough to be the last thing I had to say about blogging.  So, today marks the day I am coming back from my blog retirement.  I hate to offer excuses, but after starting blogging in 2004, two years later I had pretty much run out of things to say.  You see my first blog was about blogs and blogging.  I think it was too narrow of a focus.  Between struggling to find new things to discuss and having a losing battle with spammers, I had grown disenchanted.  Which led to my hiatus for a few years.

But, I do miss it.  I miss having a bit more space to ramble on than Twitter.  My blog, although I share it with the world, is really my soapbox.  It is my freedom to write whatever the heck I want.  How often in life do we get that?

So, I welcome you to my marketing blog.  Where I tell it like I see it.  And, invite you to do the same.