On Monday I had the pleasure of being able to spend the entire day at Tim O’Reilly’s Twitter Boot Camp at the New World Stages in Manhattan. There were wonderful speakers and wonderful advice on the use of Twitter for your brand. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I took away about this exciting new communication tool.
1. R.O.I. With Twitter (and most Social Media strategies) R.O.I. doesn’t mean Return On Investment, it means Return On Influence. Twitter helps you build influence in a particular community and this influence can in turn lead to more business. But it doesn’t happen overnight – Social Media is a long term relationship, not a one night stand!
It is very difficult to calculate what the traditional Return on Investment can be from Twitter (some tools, such as Twitalyzer, are getting close). But, if you are building influence by having conversations with new people, leading people to your blog, and sending visitors to your web site who may even buying your products or services – then something significant is indeed happening.
2. Indentify a Community Sometimes it’s hard for a business to identify the perfect community of people to engage on Twitter. But, if you find a community that’s compatible with your business you can really tap into it. For example, RubbermaidTM is tweeting about “organizing” and engaging people with their brand that way. They assume that talking about plastic containers isn’t going to get too many people excited, but by engaging people who are interested in staying organized, they have found a compatible community for their brand. Use Twitter as a way to connect with customers people, not just as customers.
3. Twitter is Not like a Billboard! Twitter is not a billboard for your brand. A billboard doesn’t talk to people, people do! Twitter is a two-way conversation.
4. Create More Value than you Take Away It’s important on Twitter to create more value then you get. A good ratio for success:, Listen, share your knowledge, offer information, and answer questions 80% of the time. And tweet about yourself or your brand 20% of the time. The most successful users tweet 10 to 15 times per day.
5. Have a Plan Businesses should have a social media plan that includes Twitter and an integral part of this is deciding if your brand will be doing the talking or if a person who happens to represent the brand will be doing the talking. Either way, make sure your message is always consistent and be transparent about who you are. Twitter users sense lack of authenticity a mile away!
6. Tweet Important Messages More than Once Very few of your followers will be on Twitter from morning to night but you don’t want any of them to miss your tweets, especially if you have something very important to say or want to direct them to your latest blog post. So, it’s OK to tweet the same message more than once in the same day, as long as you vary the tweet slightly. Twitter users can get annoyed if they see the same tweet over and over again.
7. Think Before you Tweet Remember, tweets are forever! See Jeff Pulver’s insightful blog post: twitter: For Legacy and Family.
8. Speak the Language of your Community When re-tweeting or mentioning someone, it’s a good idea to include your own explanation that will speak to your community of followers in the language that they understand. If you are retweeting something that has already been retweeted, than give credit to the original tweet by using the term “via” (example: RT @bevisible….and end with via @photobiz).
9. Twitter Killers? Most Twitter aficionados agree that the only thing that could kill Twitter is aggressive marketing and spam.
10. Twitter is Fun! Twitter is awesome fun and there are a lot of really smart people in the “Twittersphere” to meet and learn from. Watch and learn about how some of the big brands are using Twitter. WholeFoods (@wholefoods), Zappos (@zappos), and Dunkin Donuts (@dunkindonuts) are three companies who have embraced Twitter and are using successfully and with full disclosure. I love what Marla Erwin from WholeFoods is doing and Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, wants his company to be loved for its customer service, not just for their shoes and he uses Twitter to facilitate that goal.
So, join Twitter and follow me (@bevisible) and learn how you can use this incredible tool to market your brand.
Co-Written with Elizabeth Beskin of Fifth Avenue Digital (@photobiz).