#TwitterSmarter Recap: How Small Businesses Can Use Twitter to Drive Business

twittersmarter

: Besides Twitter, what other social network do you use the most and why?

Q1: How can Small Businesses benefit from their Twitter Presence?

  • Easy way to social listen to their brand: customer service, new leads, network
  • Twitter is a great way to expand your brand
  • Twitter makes is easy to spread the word about your brand and drive traffic to you blog, website, online store, or community
  • Twitter shows the world your brand listens AND responds to customers

Q2: How does Twitter fit into an overall social media marketing strategy for Small Businesses?

  • Twitter is the broadcast tool for your blog, promotions, how-to & best practice docs
  • Twitter is a powerful, scalable, and trackable customer service tool – some SMBs cannot afford a large CRM
  • Twitter helps SMBs find and engage with customers

Q3: What are some pro-tips for getting started with Twitter effectively to maximize your efforts?

  • The easiest way to get started is to get started 🙂 Get Tweeting
  • Find and follow competitors
  • Find and follow potential customers
  • Find and follow industry thought leaders and relevant hashtags
  • Join and participate in tweetchats
  • Don’t forget to create twitter lists
  • DO NOT AUTO DM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Q4: What are some best tips to use Twitter Analytics to Increase Audience Engagement?

  • Learn all about utm codes – make the most of your url
  • Measure and correct as needed
  • Important Google Analytics metrics: Pages per Session and Ave Session Duration
  • Google Analytics and utm codes will tell you the content your customers love

Q5: How can Small Businesses leverage Twitter as their customer service channel?

  • Along with easy engagement, the transparency of Twitter builds trust with customers
  • No phone queue or hold music on Twitter
  • You can engage on Twitter then direct a customer to a private chat when needed
  • Social listen and each out to unsatisfied customers – sadly, not everyone complains to you
  • When 2 parties follow one another, Twitter allows full and private conversations

Q6: What are Twitter tools that can help you boost visibility and attract new customers?

  • If you consider it a tool – tweetchats
  • Pinning tweets to your profile is must
  • Using a tool like to schedule your tweets is a time saver
  • Use to broadcast and network
  • Twitter Lists and a Hootsuite dasboard
  • Set up a branded url for your tweets

Q7: How can Twitter help Small Businesses to track conversations relevant to their services?

  • Hashtags and lists
  • Don’t forget the hootsuite dashboard

Q8: What type of content on Twitter drives best engagement and conversion?

  • Ask questions
  • I tweet out customer content from my community: how-to’s, best practices, product solutions
  • Infographics are catchy and make the content easy to digest

I hope this information is helpful – see you next week at #twittersmarter

Cheers,

Toby

#HootChat – Content creation with limited resources

Hootchat

My recap of the 8/18 #HootChat hosted by @hootsuite & @iraa.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 3pm EST.

Q1. What is content marketing?

  • Content Marketing is customer centric – News they can use
  • Content Marketing is not talking about your brand – it is tailoring information your customers value
  • Content Marketing helps your customers educate themselves

Q2. What are some goals of content marketing?

Q3. Why is content marketing hard for a small team?

  • It takes time to find and create creative and educational content
  • I utilize customer-generated – saves time and is trusted
  • Sometimes a small team is more focused

Q4. What can a small team do to create engaging content?

  • Utilize customer-generated or 3rd party content to supplement your own

Q5. What are audience personas and how should they affect your content creation?

  • Before starting your content creation, better understand what your customers value or you will fail
  • Is your audience the C-suite or the front lines? Best know as it changes the tone and length of your content
  • Audience personas tell you what they value and want to read / learn about

Q6. What can teams do to extend the life of their current content?

  • Update and refresh documents / videos / blogs as needed
  • Utilizing a different Social Channel will help you repurpose content

Q7. Where do teams go wrong when creating content?

  • They focus on their message rather than what is interesting to the customer
  • Forcing customers to fill out a survey or form before they can view the content
  • Using too many Social Channels and not using any of them correctly
  • Not allowing or responding to comments or questions from customers

Looking forward to collaborating with you at the next #Hootchat!

 

The Community Manager – Metrics

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This is the third installment in my Community Manager series.  I believe in managing people over spreadsheets, but without defined measurements, you will not know if you are on the way to meeting your goals or what corrections to make.  In this blog, I will discuss setting and measuring goals for your community as well as Twitter.

Size vs Collaboration:

It happens all the time, no matter a community or Twitter account, too much attention is given to membership size rather than engagement.  You may have a community of 200k; if they are not asking and answering each other’s questions, you have a group of individuals, NOT a community.  The same goes for Twitter Followers: without engagement, you have the modern equivalent of a failed email distribution list.

Active Users:

How many of your members are active each month or quarter? Active users are those who are participating: they have logged in, asked a question, contributed to a discussion, liked a comment or discussion topic, or provided an answer or or marked an answer correct.

Answer Rate vs Engagement Rate:

As you build your community, you will be generating the majority of the content as well as providing the answers.  As your community matures the content flow will shift: members will not only start discussions, but will also answer questions.  For each month and quarter, how many questions have answers that have been marked correct?  For each question asked, how many get a response; not just answers, but clarifying questions?  Engagement rate is more important than correct answer rate: answers may not always be marked as correct by the original poster, but you want to ensure when a question is asked, a response has been provided.

Measuring Engagement – Twitter

  1. Likes and Like-Ratio
  2. ReTweets
  3. Replies
  4. Lists

Social Promotion

Successful tweeting is more than casting a wide net via multiple tweets.  What are the best times of day to tweet, how many times week should I tweet?  Google Analytics and UTM codes can help you.  These four are indicators of both traffic and engagement:

  1. Sessions
  2. New Users
  3. Pages / Session
  4. Ave. Session Duration

How are you measuring your community?  What tools do you use?  Thanks for commenting.

Cheers,

Toby

#TwitterSmarter – Score Better Results

twittersmarter

My recap of the 2/11 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST and learn how to optimize your Twitter game.

Question: Which social media network do you get most of your business from?

Answer: On line communities with Twitter the close 2nd

Q1. What is Social Media success?

  • Social Media success is defined my connecting and establishing relationships with your target audience
  • You may also define it by establishing an ideas and solutions network
  • Rather than the size of your networks or followers; how engaged are they? Think participation

Q2. How do you divide the time spent managing social?

  • First I ensure I don’t have too many lines in the water
  • I utilize Google Alerts, my Hootsuite dashboard, and my community to listen
  • A Content Calendar to keep posting on track: what do do when
  • At the end of the week, check analytics; without measurement and analytics, you are on a road without guard rails

Q3. What are the best platforms to focus on?

  • There is no BEST platform: where is your audience?
  • You need to pick the right tackle to catch the right fish
  • Know your audience: don’t rock Facebook if your people are on Instagram

Q4. How do I save time on a day-to-day basis?

  • No matter or , schedule those tweets
  • LEARN your tools and how to use them – make the content / comments come to you
  • Calendars are you friend! When to post and to keep you on track during the day

Q5. Which tools are absolutely essential?

Q6. Is automation a good idea? What do I automate?

  • The only automation I do is scheduling tweets
  • I get automated alerts, but respond in time and in person
  • I am not a fan of auto-response, IFTTT for example

Q7. What is the one thing I can do for maximum impact?

  • Respond to comments – Be yourself – Know your audience – Fish where the fish are
  • Share content for your audience rather than your brand; will they find it helpful

Q8. What type of content will travel faster?

  • Content that adds value – solves a problem – relieves a pain point – makes someone laugh

See you at the next #twittersmarter

 

The Community Manager – Part 2

Content

In part 1, I introduced the community manager’s role in setting standards and mindset; this blog is about content creation.  If yours is an SMB size firm, you may be responsible for social media efforts in addition to your community responsibilities.  A larger firm may separate Social from Community, but you best understand the tools for listening and sharing as well as what makes content valuable to customers.

As a community manager, you engage with community members as well as socially listen to what others say about your brand: what do your customers like and care about, where are their pain points?  Don’t post to post; as a community manger, your focus is providing value.

No matter if it is internal or third party content, you should find and share things your customers will value.  A knowledge base article or YouTube video that solves a technical problem, a blog about upcoming product changes and what has been improved for their benefit, a piece written by a third party thought leader discussing industry trends.  Find and share things that help and educate them rather than simply promoting your brand.

Don’t push content… connect.

Looking forward to your comments.

Best,

Toby

Driving Traffic with Twitter

Twittersmart

This is my recap of the 2/4 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST and learn how to optimize your Twitter game.

Question: What are your fave apps that help you shine on Twitter?

Answer: – all equal twitter success

Q1. Is Twitter still a great platform to drive traffic? Why?

  • Twitter not only provides targeted reach, but efforts can easily be tracked via Google Analytics
  • By utilizing hashtags, Twitter helps new users find you
  • Twitter is not only great for engaging – remember to socially listen too

Q2. How is driving traffic different today compared to a few years ago?

  • With better listening tools and measurement analytics, it is easier to know who to target
  • More tools available to tweet smarter
  • With all the helpful tools, sadly there are more bots and spammers too 😦

Q3. Who are the best people you follow on Twitter? Why?

Q4: How can Twitter help you generate new ideas and drive more traffic?

  • The more you participate, the more knowledge you find & contacts you make
  • The more you socially listen, the better you can target content (hashtags)
  • The more you engage, the more relationships you build & they will share your content
  • Ask questions, give answers, say thank you, like and retweet other’s content

Q5: How can you tell if your Twitter efforts are working or not?

  • Via Google Analytics: Sessions – New Users – Pages / Session – Ave. Session Duration
  • For Twitter: Likes and Like-Ratio – Retweets – Replies – Lists

Q6. Do you have any secret methods to drive more traffic using Twitter?

  • Be yourself – let your personality come through – share what your audience finds valuable
  • Thank people for Following you, Retweeting you, adding you to their lists
  • Retweet the content you find interesting
  • In business, tweet things that help your customers rather than promote your brand
  • Add pictures to your tweets

Q7. Should automation be used as part of your strategy to drive more traffic on Twitter?

  • The only automation I use is pre-scheduling tweets, not a fan of auto-responses
  • I am very careful with automation: I want to be efficient, but authentic as well

Q8 What do you think Twitter should do to get more users and remain competitive?

  • DO NOT expand the 140
  • Keep improving tools and analytics

Hope to see you at the next #TwitterSmarter – Look forward to chatting with you.

Think Before You Content

relevance14-510x362

It is important to find the relevance sweet-spot: a message that highlights you or your brand AND peaks the interest of your target audience.  Too often time is wasted on catchy visuals, perfect language and grammar, and over-sharing on social networks rather than what is most important: understanding your audience’s needs and what they value.

Ensure you understand:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is important to them?
  3. How do they want to be reached?
  4. Is this for brand promotion or something my audience will value?

No matter a marketing piece, blog post, or knowledge base article, your goals should be:

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Helping my audience

If you are writing with an internal focus or intent, you have not only wasted your time and resources, but your customers’ too.  Think before you content.

Thank you for your comments.

Best,

Toby

Find It, Store It, Share It

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We have all been there: during a browsing session you find a great article or blog, but don’t really have the time to dedicate to it right then and there; what do you do?   Have no fear, the tool exists that allows you to not only store it, but package it into a content-specific magazine.

Flipboard is a social media aggregator that brings the content of your choosing to you to your tablet or smartphone, then allows you to easily share it across your chosen social network.  It is not only a sharing tool, but an customer engagement method as well.  Create your own magazine and fill it with relevant content aggregated by Flipboard.  Now you have a content marketing piece to share with others.  Invite customers and brand advocates to curate the magazine with you – keep them engaged with you and your brand.

Here are 2 examples:

  1.  For Social Media Tips & Strategy: “Social Utilization”
  2.  Culinary Fun: “For The Love Of Food (And Wine)”

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Cheers,

Toby

Growing Your Community

Hootchat

Improve your customer engagement and customer service with an online community.  This is my recap of the 12/17 #Hootchat hosted by @HootCommunity.

Q1: What are the first steps to building a new online community

  • Know why you are building the community: customer service, engagement, marketing
  • Determine the best platform: Paid: or Free: LinkedIn or G+

Q2: What are some strong brands with online communities

Q3: What are common mistakes when trying to grow your online community?

  • Trying to grow too big too fast & prioritizing member numbers over engagement
  • Not having a clear definition of success
  • Putting up a community without a Community Manager

Q4: What are ways you can engage your online community offline?

  • Engage via: private chat, email, or my old school method… the phone & have an actual conversation
  • WebEx conferences with community members – Google Hangouts or Skype work too
  • Some platforms allow private groups – create one and invite your MVP / power users

Q5: How does growing your online community help build brand credibility?

  • The more conversations you have, the more loyal your customer, the more loyal – the more they talk about you
  • Along with credibility, you have a great customer service and solutions place as peers trust each other
  • Support communities are AWESOME customer service centers: trusted, fast, and low-cost

Q6: How do you identify potential advocates and ambassadors from your online community?

  • Analytics: How often they come, how many answers they provide, answers marked correct by others
  • What is the “tone” of their conversations? How do they engage other members?
  • Get into your community and participate

Q7: What are some non-traditional ways to grow your online community?

  • Start with a tweetchat, build a list, slowly invite people from the list into the community
  • No matter how you find and invite – DO IT SLOWLY – set up the space, be ready for volume, have content
  • NEVER invite ppl to an empty room – have a team to greet & respond as well as content for them to consume

Q8: What is one thing you can do right now to start growing your online community?

  • Know WHY you are building it
  • Have customer-centric content
  • Participate & respond to questions

A more complete transcript is available in my Storify recap.  Please join #Hootchat every Thursday at 3pm EST.  Thank you for your attention; please leave your comments and questions.

Building your brand with authenticity

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Good day everyone – brands love the reach and potential connectivity of social, but they often forget to be authentic.  Authenticity = trust and trust = customer loyalty.  These are my answers from a favorite tweetchat: #Hootchat hosted by @HootCommunity

Q1: What does it mean to be authentic?

Have a real picture, not an avatar – use your real name – speak directly

  • It is great to RT and share other’s thoughts, don’t forget to share yours
  • Admit mistakes and take responsibility

Q2: Why does authenticity matter?

  • Customers do business with and promote brands & services they trust
  • Nothing kills authenticity like a canned email

Q3: What are some online habits of authentic people (or brands)?

  • Companies who don’t just give me survey, but the results as well
  • They don’t only listen on social, but respond as well

Q4: Who are the most authentic people or brands?

Q5: How does authenticity help build your personal brand?

  • People are willing to promote your personal brand, write you a recommendation. authenticity = trust
  • Social is a reputation you cannot defend or put into context, what do ppl see about you?
  • Just like a corporate brand, authenticity builds trust: clients, employers, community members

Q6: How can brands be authentic when interacting?

  • Don’t hide behind or defend a bad policy
  • No canned emails – say “thank you”

Q7: How can you screw up being authentic?

  • No way to reach a person within your organization: horrible phone tree or no contact emails
  • The emailed response comes from a “DoNotReply email address” No way to respond or have a conversation

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to reading your comments.  You can read a more complete transcript in my Storify recap.  Join into #Hootchat, 3pm EST every Thursday – look forward to seeing you.