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Posts Tagged ‘Tweet’

Being Sociable Loses Meaning Online

Relationships are made face to face

Relationships are made face to face

 

Is it just me? Social networking is all the rage but it is so shallow. Don’t get me wrong. It’s terrific for finding information and making connections with interesting people. But most relationships are transitory within these tools. I expect I have made more connections and had more chats people through Twitter since 1st January this year than my ancestors had in their lives. 

I just get to the point when my head is frying with the amount of information (or tweets) that I have to sift through that I want to reach for the brilliantly titled book ‘Taming the Information Tsunami‘ by Bill Bruck to cool it down. And I have learnt that I am not being rude when I ‘unfollow’ people so that I can get my life back under control and keep the guilt in check for not reading all those damn tweets. 

I have noticed that whenever I join up to a social networking tool or site such as the business networking site, ecademy.com, I get a small wave of people sending a message saying something like “Hi, I’m Greg. Let me know how I can help you“. What? Are you mad or just socially inept? I have seen this today on Twitter too. “Let me know what I can do to make your day!” You can get real for a start! 

I’m afraid that’s a big turn off for me when someone gushes how they want to make my life extra-super-special. It feels like the unwanted attentions of someone who fancied you at school but from whom you could not run away fast enough. 

But, I am hooked by the usefulness of all the tools such as FaceBook and Twitter. FaceBook helps me keep up with my past and Twitter helps me keep up with my future. I have been in touch with some terrific old friends and workmates through FaceBook. And with Twitter, I have managed to learn vital lessons in connecting with people with shared interests, and even experience contributing to a radio programme.

For instance, the highly skilled radio presenter (William Wright at BBC Radio Lincolnshire) reminded me, unwittingly, of something very important last night on his show. Technology is poor at helping to make meaningful bonds with other people. 

At the end of the section to which I had contributed, William took his headphones off, looked me in the eye and said thank you. He then asked me if I had done any radio work like this before , to which I said that I hadn’t. He then suggested that if it was easier for me, we could speak over the phone or through the internet next time rather than come into the studio. 

But, the reality is that I got to know about William through Twitter. And I got to know William by sitting in his studio with him. And that is human. Connections can be made now through the internet and relationships are made face to face.

Does Twitter Drive Sales?

       

 

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

 

Cutting through the hype and understanding the realities of trends or statistics is an action which happens instinctively. After setting up several of my own businesses, which were not always successful, I have learnt to scrutinise information more thoroughly through experience. It saves money and time in the long run.

Twitter is one such trend which I have been signed up to since its early days, although I confess I was unsure of how to use it, attract followers and find interesting people to follow.

I also saw that in December 2008 that Dell uses Twitter to advertise special offers for their products, which they now offer exclusively to their Twitter followers. They claim to have gained $1m in sales through this channel. This is good business although it might be easier if you already have a name and brand like Dell to gain followers. 

After a six week business trip to India in the autumn of 2008, where I spent much of my spare time keeping up with my family, friends and workmates through Blogger, Skype, Facebook and SMS, I decided to use my Twitter account in earnest to see if it was any good for business.

Like most new ‘tweeters’, I expect, I had to find my way around the ‘system’ and to work out a way to measure its effect. I decided my goal was to promote my blog.

The starting point was from having one or two visitors a week to my blog in November 2008. I now have between forty and sixty visitors to my blog per day at the time of writing.

Currently, I have 595 followers on Twitter to my alias (http://twitter.com/whawkins). I follow about 800 people, although I do cut down the number of people I follow each week. So, it would seem that about 10% of my followers visit my blog from my Twitter ‘tweets.’

I then set up a Twitter alias for our business (http://twitter.com/mmt_digital) to see if I could attract visitors to our web site. In the first week, this increased web site visitors by 14.6% according to our Google Analytics account. Two of us sent out about four tweets per day on subjects relevant to our business.

Attracting followers is achieved by following others who are interested in the same things as you. They generally follow you back. This can be automated to save time. There are various tools to help you with this such as ‘TwitterPerch‘.

Being a bit fanatical about the ‘numbers’, we also used ‘Hootsuite‘ to measure the amount of clicks on our tweets and to test out which subjects were more popular.

Have we gained any new business yet either from the business site or my blog? No, not yet. But this experiment has shown that it is a good way to get interest in your site or blog. I have been invited to talk about technology by a local BBC Radio station which originated from a Twitter conversation with the show host.

Has it cost anything yet?  No, apart from an hour a day for the last two weeks.

Will we carry on ‘Twittering’? Of course. It is a good publicity tool and a good way to find information out which you are unlikely to have found through Google unless you knew what you were looking for. The more we work on writing interesting tweets, the more traffic we will gain, which is likely to raise our Google rankings when people are looking for digital communications agencies or bloggers like me.

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Marketing needs to be meaningful, not just entertaining

My social network

Image by luc legay via Flickr

There are certain things in life which are definite. For instance, you can always answer the question “Is the Pope a Catholic?” with a “Yes.” Or “Will the French go on strike this year?” can be answered with a confident “Yes.”

Other certainties used to be that marketers entertained their audiences with spectacular advertisements or beautiful websites.

But we, the audience, have changed. We have greater freedom to express ourselves with our own blogs. We gather information and news from social networks and spread them around our own networks rapidly.

For instance, three days ago on Twitter, I picked up a Tweet fro Stephen Fry about a complaint to Virgin Airlines from a passenger about the food he was given during the flight(http://tinyrul.com/virginfood). It was one of the funniest articles I had read for a long time.

Naturally, I ‘Re-Tweeted’ the article to my network and emailed to some friends and family. Three days later, the breakfast news did a piece about it. It was old hat by the time it came up on the BBC news and Virgin had already made statements to say that Richard Branson had seen the letter and they were taking action.

Furthermore, consumers will soon be able to watch TV programmes when they want to rather than when the broadcaster tells them to watch.

So, marketers can no longer interrupt their audiences to grab their attention, when it is more likely that consumers are already gathering an opinion about their product through their networks which has for more impact than the biased opinion of the marketer.

So, how do you work as a marketer in the new world to grow your business? Marketers have to ensure that they make the experience with their brand a meaningful one so that the perception of it is transformed. You have to go beyond entertainment and move into providing branded applications which give your audience a service which enhances their experience with your brand.

For example, the VW web site is a wonderful piece of work which makes choosing car easy. Rather than having to do cumbersome comparisons as you do on other sites, you can filter down using a simple set of tools on one screen. They provide a set of tools to help you make sense of the wide variety of choices and options in their cars.

As someone said to me the other day, "…when you get in a VW, it feels like they know what they are doing."  I agree. It does not get much better than that in marketing. No flashy videos showing me how the car is good at missing puddles. Just branded applications to provide a meaningful experience.

It was so good I bought a VW.

 

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