Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to use Twitter - Top 10 Tips

#1. Spend a few minutes on Twitter each day.

If you don’t log in to your Twitter account on a daily basis then you are effectively refusing to listen to your audience. This is the hard and fast rule and why I’ve placed it as the #1 tip.  You don’t have to sit online all day, but take at least a few minutes and tweet a couple of things your followers will find valuable. Check for mentions and respond.  Ten minutes of your time could make the difference between an effective Twitter account and one that appears stagnant.

Remember: It’s important that you don’t let a day pass without at least checking in and seeing if anyone has mentioned you in a tweet.

#2. Respond to @ mentions in a reasonable time.

This goes hand in hand with tip #1 but deserves a bigger mention. When someone @replies your account, you shouldn’t let their words go unheard. These are potential customers/followers, and they’re vital to the growth of your brand. Get back to them and show that there is reward in following your account.

Remember: Being on top of your mentions shows that you care about your Twitter presence and the people that follow you.

#3. Stop spewing spam. 

Twitter is a great way to promote your brand, but if you’re too vocal, people will delete very quickly. Go ahead and promote, but walk the line between promotion and spamming very carefully.

Remember: This is about engagement. Don’t turn up to the party and just talk about yourself.

#4. Pay attention to mentions of your brand & engage.

People are talking about your brand on Twitter right now so why are you not getting involved in the conversation? Use Twitter search tools to find out what people are saying about your brand. Use them as if your Twitter success depends upon them, because it does.

Remember: The more conversations you’re able to contribute to, the more people will take notice.

#5. Tweet valuable information.

Be original with your tweets and provide value.

Remember: Make your Twitter account the primary source of information about your brand on Twitter.

#6. Do not send automatic direct messages when someone follows you. 

When I follow an account and I get a DM a few hours later asking me to like their Facebook page it fills me with rage.  Why is the first message from an account asking me to do something? I just followed you!!

Remember: If you want to thank your followers for following, do it personally. Sure, it takes more time, but make a connection.  

#7. NO LOGOS!! Be a human. 

Humans, not logos, create connections. Twitter is social, so show your face!

Remember: Be real and create authenticity. It doesn’t matter how cool or edgy your logo is if you can’t create a connection with other Twitter users.

You’re not always going to hear what you want about your business or industry. Kindness rules all, even if you receive comments that are less than amicable. If there was a mistake on your part, acknowledge it and apologize for it. Do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If it’s a difference of opinion, be open to hearing the other side.

Remember: Don't take things personally.  Never resort to harsh words or indifference toward negative comments.  Twitter is a very public forum, you can't afford to get in an argument for all to see.

#9. Re-tweet and share the message of others.

We all want to be re-tweeted, but in order to heighten our chances of that happening, we need to share the content and message of others first. If you re-tweet someone often enough, they’ll remember you and likely follow you. That’s when they’ll probably return the favor by re-tweeting your content.

Remember: Sharing is an important part of building Twitter relationships.

#10. Don’t put your eggs in one basket. 

Twitter is great for networking, promotion and interaction, but it’s not a savior in and of itself. It’s simply a tool. It’s important to recognize that, while social media is showing its true potential in the business world, it’s not going replace other forms of promotion.

Remember: The best plan is a plan that includes a healthy mix of both new and traditional channels of promotion.

More articles on Twitter:
Crisis Management on Twitter
How to Create Twitter Lists
The Importance of Twitter Lists
How to use Twitter - The Pitfalls

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crisis Management on Twitter

Crisis management doesn’t operate on an eight to five schedule and it never has. Before social networks existed, as we know them today, there were several strategies one could take when dealing with a crisis. “No comment” was often seen as the best way to stall a journalist as the PR team crawled into the war room to brainstorm as fast as they could to reach some kind of ‘official comment’ and ‘long term strategy.’ 

Today this kind of crisis management can not, and does not, compete with the ferocious speed and reputation-wrecker that is known as ‘The Tweet.’ What you spend years in building, 140 characters can knock down within hours, even minutes. As Publicists we must rethink the trade.

Crisis Management on Twitter 

I’ve written articles on why you should be on Twitter and suggested several strategies on account management. What these articles all stress is that to survive in the social media realm you have to start from a position of trust. Companies that set up a Twitter account as a crisis occurs have minimal influence and power because they haven’t gained this trust.

H&M - Case Study

When the New York Times broke a story about clothes retailer H&M cutting large amounts of unsold clothing, making them unwearable, the organization used the “no comment” strategy to deal with the situation. Sorry boys, that doesn’t cut it anymore. 

“Astute Tweeters picked up their error in crisis management and suddenly H&M found itself in trouble, as this quote from a Technorati blog explains

Tweets lashed out at H&M for what people saw as gross lack of charity in not donating the items. Others keyed in on the environmental faux pas of throwing useable clothes in the garbage. And almost all marvelled at how the retailer could be so callous to the obvious financial hardships people faced in the current economy. It became a firestorm.” (Source: Bernstein)

When H&M finally issued a statement, the damage was done.

Eurostar - Case Study

In 2009 Eurostar found one of its high-speed trains, full of paying customers, stuck deep inside the 31.6-mile tunnel between London and Paris. Thousands of passengers were stranded on other trains needing access to that same tunnel enroute to various destinations. What was being done to fix the situation? How long would it take to fix? 

With no word from Eurostar the Twitter community was ablaze with complaints at a rate of nearly one tweet per minute. If Eurostar had its act together they only had to use their Twitter account to connect with their customers, provide them with timely updates on what they were doing to resolve the problem, and at the very least customers would feel that their voices were being heard. 

As it happens there was no official Eurostar Twitter ID in place for crisis management. Journalists and passengers seeking real time information on the crisis heard no official Eurostar response. No updates. No apology. Silence. 

Innovative Beverage Group Holidings Inc - Case Study

In comparison, Innovative Beverage Group Holdings Inc., whose website crashed after a surge in traffic following a segment on Fox News, notified consumers on its Twitter feed that it was working to resolve the problem. The company also did a search on Twitter for mentions of the site crash so it could respond with tweets describing its repair efforts. 

"Twitter gave us an up-to-the-minute ability to take what would normally be a crisis situation and make it just another event," says Mr. Bianchi. "You can't do that with a 1-800-number." (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.

Over the weekend many people became acquainted with the above photo for the first time. Although a hoax, the picture soon became a PR problem for McDonalds. 'Seriously McDonalds' began to trend on Twitter as people began to re-tweet the offensive photo. 

To McDonald's credit they didn't ignore the hoax, jumped on their Twitter account, and issued an official response:

So why does any of this matter to you and your company? 

Eurostar is a multimillion-dollar company and it didn’t have a Twitter account set in place ready to go. McDonald's is a gigantic corporation, and even it couldn't stop a reputation-damaging meme from spreading like wildfire. Just imagine how hard it is for the average company.

Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail. Twitter is growing, that there is no denying. There are even murmurs amongst the blogs that Twitter could even overtake the mighty Facebook in years to come.  That remains to be seen.  But what is clear is you will need to get a Twitter strategy in place before you need it.  Playing 'catch-up' won't cut it.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Improve Your EdgeRank Score

So much has been written about social media, how it has 'leveled the playing field,' but inevitably the floodgates opened and a million ‘Gurus’ hit the scene armed with a million Facebook pages. Being able to reach thousands of people online using small budgets was an amazing development, but as our News Feeds were bombarded with status update after status update and our Twitter feeds filled with a million salesmen shouting their latest deals, marketing just seemed, well, dull and uninspiring. Publicity was becoming a cheap discipline (and I'm not talking dollars and cents here). We were all becoming rather despondent.

Never underestimate your audience!

The public soon got wise. They started to block the Facebook pages they had 'liked' from appearing in their News Feeds. They began to delete those Twitter profiles that were spamming with no fear of receiving an 'unfollow' in return. Suddenly numbers, the amount of followers one had, became an ineffective way to monitor just how effective ones outreach truly was. Brands could have a thousand followers on Twitter but how many people were actually reading their Tweets? Analytics are just beginning to catch up, but that's not the focus of this article.

“Content is King” – A cliché for a reason. 

This is why I love EdgeRank so much. It is based purely on the quality of content. Nobody wants to read sales pitch after sales pitch, but they may like to see a great video. They may like to even be a part of that video. Nobody wants to be ignored, but they may like to join a debate on the latest logo design for your company. They may even like to vote on what your updated logo will be. Hell, they may even like to upload their own design for your next logo. Ahhhh the ideas and the interaction...the ENGAGEMENT. This is what it's all about!

4 easy ways to improve your EdgeRank score.

1) If it’s interaction they want then lets give it to them! 

A status update just isn’t going to cut it in the age of EdgeRank. Before you post anything, status or video, ask yourself if there is room for interaction. Does the video inspire the audience to comment? Is it unique, asking a question, controversial even? Is there a Call To Action (CTA)? This can be as simple as asking when you post a video or photo what people think of it.

Above & Below: Two great examples of CTA in place. However, note the difference in comment volume.

2) If you don’t have time to create loads of fresh content, share some links. Become a resource! 

Since you are busy why not post some links on your page? Links require interaction, as users have to click on the link to view. Again, leave a CTA that encourages opening the link and leaving thoughts/comments.

Above: Robin Van Persie, a Dutch soccer star, often posts links to relevant news regarding his team. 42 comments aren’t bad considering it probably took about 30 seconds to post a link on the page.

3) Don’t be afraid to spell out your CTA! 

Don’t be afraid to ask users to share objects or click on the Like button—especially if you’re new to Facebook. It can take a little while for a Facebook page to gain momentum. Anything you can do to help it along will only speed the process.

4) Start a conversation. 

Ever notice how controversial content on Facebook can generate comment after comment? People love to debate and discuss hot issues. Make your fan page a place for constructive discussion on the latest industry topics. Although this approach takes careful management, objects from a fan page filled with healthy discussion are more likely to receive a higher EdgeRank. 

Right: Coldplay have started over 1747 discussions on their page. We all love a good rant, so why not get people started!


There are many other ways to increase your EdgeRank and we are learning everyday. The above four suggestions however are easy to implement and, from my experience, are a great way to ensure your brand’s updates are appearing in those all important News Feeds.

Do you have any other ways in which to increase EdgeRankings?

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What is EdgeRank?

Every time you think you’ve got Facebook worked out they go and make changes. Yes it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, but these changes are making it easier for the passionate publicist/marketer to reach audiences. These changes are making our jobs easier.

I love the direction we are moving in. SEO bandits are becoming helpless, like dinosaurs, as they try to tweak and hack their way through Google’s forever changing algorithm. Companies are being forced to learn what their customers actually want after they’ve ‘liked’ a page on Facebook or followed someone on Twitter. Social Search and Social Rank is the future and will inevitably lead to better content, better customer service and, eventually, better competition.

So what’s new? 

The latest change to Facebook is EdgeRank.  Remember when it took you forever to read through all the latest updates in your Facebook News Feed? Wonder why it only takes a few seconds to read updates now?

Well, if you haven’t noticed the change, there are now two settings on your Facebook News Feed; Top News and Most Recent.

So what is all this chatter about EdgeRank? 

Facebook looks at everything a page publishes as a ‘social object.’ Every object receives a specific EdgeRank. Objects with a high EdgeRank appear in 'Top News' feeds. Objects with a low EdgeRank do not. 

The consequences of EdgeRank? 

Getting people to ‘like’ your page will no longer guarantee access to their News Feed. In my opinion this is a good thing.   

How does EdgeRank work?

In short an object’s EdgeRank is based on three factors: 

1) Affinity/Relationship between creator and user. 
2) Interaction/Engagement. 
3) Timeliness/Latest News. 

Put these together and you’ve got an object’s EdgeRank. Of course Facebook won’t tell us exactly how you gain higher EdgeRank…that would just ruin all of the fun and inevitably result in a million EdgeRank specialists charging hundreds of dollars for services that result in emptiness (just like SEO experts in my humble opinion.)

1) Affinity.

An object’s affinity score is based on the interactions between the customer and the page that publishes the object. Customers who regularly interact with a page will receive a higher affinity score. In other words, more engagement leads to more access. 

Each time a customer visits your page, clicks the “Like” button, comments on your status or looks at a picture you’ve posted, you increase the affinity score with that user. 

Conclusion: Affinity is how a customer tells Facebook, “you know what, I like updates from this page…keep me posted.” 

2) Interaction/Engagement.

Activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher score than those that don’t e.g., leaving a comment on a photo takes more effort than clicking the “Like” button on a page. Updates that receive higher levels of interaction will score a higher EdgeRank and are more likely to show in a customer’s News Feed. 

Conclusion: Engagement is how a customer tells Facebook, “you know what, I like updates from this page…keep me posted.” 

3) Timeliness/Latest News.

Most people don’t want to read yesterday’s news. Newer objects have a better chance of showing up in your news feed than older ones. 

Conclusion: Keep it current.

So there you have it.  Engagement is fast becoming key.  No surprises there then.  But how do you increase engagement (or at least increase the chances of some interaction)?  Tomorrow we will discuss strategies and best practices to increase the chances of engagement.  

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How To Create Twitter Lists

Categorizing your Twitter followers into lists takes little effort yet the benefits are ten fold.  So why haven't you started?!  For me the answer was simple, I just never knew how!  Having worked with many clients, (from advising all the way to full content creation) I soon discovered that arranging followers into manageable lists helped focus my activities.

Here follows a step by step guide on how to create lists, both public and private.

Getting Started - Lists

Once you have logged into your Twitter account you will see the Lists option just below the 'What’s happening?' box (where you usually type your Tweets.)

Simply click on the List option and you should see the following:

Once you click on the Create a list option a window will pop up similar to the one below:

Begin by typing the name of your list e.g., family, social media experts, clients, friends etc into the List name box. 

However, a word of warning: The name used in List name will become your list’s URL e.g.,

Even more importantly you will be asked if you want your list to be public or private.  This is equally important.

What's the difference between public lists and private lists?

Public Lists – These lists can be seen by anyone and anyone can follow them. For example, public lists are ideal for recommended follows.

Private Lists – When Twitter says private, they mean private. Only the creator of private lists will be able to see or subscribe to them.  Why would you do this I ask you cry…this list could be used to monitor your competitors activities on Twitter...and you wouldn't want them know to know this now would you?

So this is part one of Twitter Lists.  Soon I will blog about the way you can utilize these lists to increase your productivity on Twitter.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Social Media - Being Genuine is Key

We all know the stereotypical image of the publicist; a bullying, Blackberry-obsessed, cut-throat, 'kill their own mother to get an article on the front page of The New York Times' screaming mess.  We’ve created the monsters and myths and now we have to live with the consequences.  It's not pretty.

But do not despair publicists for there is still hope for us all! Now is the time to not only rebrand ourselves, but to really change the way we reach out to the people!  No more jargon to clients about Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare blah blah blah! No, it is ideas, not technology that we must embrace.

Consumers, smarter than ever, can smell bull from a mile away – you know that eye catching headline, the one you spent ages getting the key words all lined up and ready to go, well that smelt the worst.

Guarded, mistrustful, and much much MUCH more intelligent than people dared give them credit for in past, consumers get dizzy from all the spin that's thrown at them. In short, they assume deception.

So what can we do?

Being relatively new to this PR business (around 5+ years now) I consider myself somewhat of a New Age publicist.  Quite simply I live and I die by these three criteria: 

1) Listening.
2) Thinking like a consumer.
3) Being as creative as I can whilst monitoring my competitors.

1) Listen.

Gone are the days when publicists dictated reality. We don't control the news anymore, if we ever did. You want to claim that your client's product is the best in the world, well it damned well better be. If it isn’t then there's a wealth of customers on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Forums claiming otherwise.  I know who I believe.

If your claims don't match what’s being said on the web (aka the reality) then mistrust between company and product increases even more. This makes your job, as a publicist, a million times harder. Listen to your target audience before you say a thing. There are a wealth of monitoring tools out there, most free, so there are no excuses. If a customer voices their dislike just acknowledge it! Trust me, ignoring a negative comment does not stop them from existing. Also, if you take one thing away from this blog entry promise me one will never delete a negative comment from your Facebook page. This is social media suicide.  I'm speaking from experience...hey, we all had to learn sometime!

2) Think like a consumer (this is easy, you are one).

Do you know why I consider myself a good social media advisor? Easy - I use social media sites 24/7 just like the consumer I am. Sure we are not all the same, but  I feel like I know certain benchmarks that work. 

Example of thinking like a consumer:

If a client asks me to create a Facebook page for them I only have to ask myself, “why would I add your page and what do I gain from doing so?” If I can’t find an answer then that raises some serious concerns. Does the client have the willingness to pull some resources together e.g., money, manpower, time for meetings etc to provide valuable content to it's fans? Social media, despite the myth, is not cheap...time is money my friends.

So what am I trying to say? Well, I don’t ‘like’ a page because I like a brand; I ‘like’ a page as I gain something valuable from doing so e.g., exclusive information only available to fans, exclusive coupons, latest deals, insider information etc. Always think like a consumer and your content has a better chance of gaining some coveted ROI (I will be posting about ROI in the next few months).

3) Be creative (oh, and monitor your competitors).

And so we reach the final part of my philosophy. Be creative and monitor/learn from your competitors. I’m on Twitter and Facebook Monday – Sunday. It’s hard, frustrating and time-consuming work (yes I know it’s a shock…social media is not easy), but the more you put in, the more you get out. 

Read every article and book you can get your hands on…and don't be afraid to experiment. We are all learning here. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve also had incredible successes. The world is moving so fast that we, as professionals, have to adapt to the latest technologies and develop our skills from day-to-day. 

Recommended Reading: 

Final Thoughts

We now have a wealth of case studies and successful campaigns. Not all have worked, but we can always learn something, even from failures. 

I will now leave you with one of the most creative examples of social media I think I have ever seen. It incorporates all of my criteria; Listening, thinking like a consumer and being creative (actually, being very brave.)

“After ranking last in a consumer preferences survey of national chains in 2009, Domino’s Pizza launched its humility-filled Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign, which featured consumers hating on the product. Consumers complained that Domino’s Pizza crust tasted like cardboard and its sauce tasted like ketchup, among other pitfalls. Domino’s listened and its chefs got to work, reinventing a “new pizza.” (Mashable)

Leia Mais…

The Importance of Twitter Lists

It won’t take long, as you sift through the wealth of articles on Twitter, to realize that this 5-year-old company is fast becoming a powerhouse for news syndication, customer service and brand building.  When the entire world is tweeting about a government assassination before the President has even confirmed the news…well, it speaks volumes.
We’ve come to understand the importance of the #Hashtag over the years and are finally beginning to compile a good set of ‘guidelines and best practices’ (which we all know will continue to evolve) but there is still one important organizational tool that appears to be overlooked – lists.
Twitter lists became available in 2009 allowing users to organize their feeds into groups. Sure it isn’t the most exciting feature available but if used correctly it can act as an invaluable tool for streamlining your contacts and day-to-day activities on Twitter.
 “…you can create a list that groups together people for whatever reason (the members of your family, for example), and then you can get a snapshot of the things those users are saying by viewing that list’s page, which includes a complete tweet stream for everyone on the list.”
Why List Building is important

Twitter, like any other social network, thrives on the community building aspect. As a business, you really should be segregating your audience into various communities e.g. partners, journalists and customers.  If you want to know what your consumers are thinking, and you don’t want to read through the hundreds of updates from CEO’s, marketing teams or the ever increasing ‘bots,’ then tomorrow’s post is for you.
In short, Twitter lists provide you with a finer level of control over your followers.  This way you will never miss a compliment, question or, we hate to bring them up, complaints.
Come back tomorrow for a step-by-step guide on how to create lists in Twitter.

Leia Mais…