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5 Ways to Use Twitter Beyond the Basics

Coming up with new ways to reach customers on Twitter doesn’t need to require a lot of time or money.

Jane Porter

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Here are five keys to energising your Twitter strategy to reach customers in new and innovative ways:

1. Shred the script.

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In April, when Maureen Johnson was stuck in the airport because of a delayed United Airlines flight, she expressed her frustration in a doodle that she photographed and tweeted out. Johnson, a young-adult novelist, has more than 80 600 followers on Twitter, so the image reached a lot of eyeballs. United responded with a doodle tweet of its own including the hand-scrawled hashtags “#wedontlikedelayseither” and “#wheelsupsoon.”

The personal touch surprised Johnson who responded with a “whoa,” and generated buzz from others. “You try to meet people with what they give you,” says Shanna Quinn, senior marketing representative for social media programs at United Airlines, who created the tweet. “I just took out a pen and paper and started doodling.”

What you can do: Encourage employees to tweet with their own personal voice rather than taking on a scripted tone – a strategy Peter Shankman, founder of the New York-based consulting firm Shankman/Honig and author of Nice Companies Finish First (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) calls “shredding the scripts.”

2. Connect offline.

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In March, when Jen O’Neill, a marketing executive in New York, got the afternoon munchies, she sent out a tweet about how she could use a snack. Within an hour, a Pretzel Crisps truck was parked in front of her building, unloading enough freebie snacks to feed her 50-person office. Soon everyone at work was tweeting about the brand’s gesture.

“When people are surprised on Twitter, they are going to tweet about it and that’s how things can spread very quickly,” says O’Neil’s boss, Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likable Local, and author of Likeable Business (McGraw-Hill, 2012).

What you can do: Set up alerts on keywords relevant to your business in specific geographic areas, suggests Jay Baer, author of the book Youtility (Portfolio Hardcover, 2013) and president of Convince & Convert, a Bloomington, Indiana-based social media strategy firm. Do this with tools such as Google Alerts, HootSuite or social media listening software mention.net and sysomos.com.

If you run a local car repair shop, for example, you can use monitter.com, a location-based search engine to follow keywords like “flat tire” or “car broke down” tweeted by people in your ZIP code, to come to their rescue, suggests Mack Collier, a social media strategist based in Florence, Alabama, and author of Think Like a Rock Star (McGraw-Hill, 2013). It’s a great way to get people tweeting about your business.

3. Comment on current events.

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When Mitt Romney mentioned Big Bird during the presidential debate last October, Mental Floss Magazine’s tweet, “Big Bird is 8’2”,” was re-tweeted 1 105 times. The brand uses the strategy of responding to events in the news and pop culture – from the Super Bowl to the NBA playoffs to Hostess’s bankruptcy filing announcement – with related trivia to get people tweeting. By offering such factoids, they hope to spark shares and tweets without having to choose a political side, says co-founder Will Pearson.

What you can do: Tweeting about news and live events helps your brand stay current, but make sure you’re saying something original or you’ll get drowned in the noise. Worse, don’t use the news as a way to push your product or service.

“Businesses fall under the trap of thinking every individual tweet has to drive some sort of transaction,” says Pearson. “Our Twitter feed should be a meaningful experience for our readers.” He suggests following a 90-10 ratio with 90% of your tweets offering stand-alone content and only 10% relating directly to your product or service.

4. Host events and guests.

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In May, the alcohol brand Hpnotiq held a live Twitter chat in which socialite and reality-TV celebrity Khloé Kardashian Odom took charge of the brand’s Twitter account for an hour, answering questions tweeted by fans. The strategy helped build buzz around Hpnotiq’s upcoming contest and sweepstakes, connecting Kardashian fans directly with the brand.

What you can do: You don’t need a celebrity to take on this kind of strategy, says Kerpen. Even getting a thought leader in your industry could work, or just leveraging the chat space yourself to get customers talking.

5. Mix media.

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In May, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a contest asking fans to create a six-second video through the video-sharing app Vine on how their iced coffee “put a spring in their step.” The winner got free iced coffee for a year.

The idea was inspired by Vines that the company noticed fans putting up on their own, says Jessica Gioglio, who manages social media for Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. Since launching last month, the brand has put out six Vines, including one promoting their free doughnuts on National Doughnut Day.

What you can do: Making a six-second video with your smartphone doesn’t require a hefty budget. “I could create a Vine with a doughnut and cup of coffee in 10 seconds in my kitchen,” says Shankman. “More companies should do it.”

The goal is engaging customers with Vines that aren’t just entertaining, but also functional. The retail chain Lowe’s, for example, has a Vine campaign called “Fix in Six” offering six-second home-improvement solutions. “If you were a plumber in Pittsburg, you could create a whole series of household plumbing videos,” says Baer. “The most important asset you have in social is yourself. People want to follow people.”

Social-Media-Mistakes-Online Marketing

Jane Porter is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in publications including BusinessWeek Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Brown University as well as a masters of fine arts in creative writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sandra Swart

    Jan 7, 2014 at 11:22

    Awesome article, getting into social media marketing has been a giant drag for me, so all tips and ideas I can get helps, even if only as motivation.

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Online Marketing

6 Steps To A Digital Strategy That Guarantees Results

Create your Brand Hero (Who exactly are you talking to?)

Chanelle Segerius-Bruce

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Digital Strategy

Your Brand Hero is often a mixture of some of your favourite past clients and could even be a version of you 3 to 5 years ago. Go deep and think about what they love to do, how they spend their time, what they passionately stand for and believe in, where they shop, what sort of holidays they like to take and what values are important to them.

Don’t worry about appealing to everyone, the more niche you can be the better. For example: “I help women with their health” vs. “I help new moms regain their energy through tailored exercise and nutrition”. In the second example, it’s crystal clear exactly who the programme is for.

Do market research. Send out a survey (without actually calling it a survey!) and ask them questions specifically around what their struggles or frustrations are. Ask them to select five ways that you propose to help them and see what they want. You can offer them a prize or a free value-packed download in return for completing the form. Keep it less than two minutes as people are time-poor these days.

Go one step further and select 5 to 10 people from the survey who filled it out in depth and jump on a call with them. Record it via Zoom and have it transcribed using Rev.com – now, you can use the actual words your potential used to describe their struggles into your upcoming marketing posts, email newsletters or sales copy.

1. Tell Stories

To cut through the 1000’s of marketing messages, your Brand Hero sees all day long online, you’ll need to use stories to connect in a genuine and authentic way. As the online market becomes more sophisticated people don’t respond to boring sales copy anymore. Injecting a story is crucial to creating a community around your brand.

People need to feel like they belong and that they know you intimately, especially if you have a personal brand but this can work for any company. Think about Richard Branson as head of Virgin. He blogs and shares his life via social media. He seems like an all-around nice guy who we love to follow and you’re probably interested when he launches a new product or service.

Humans learn through stories and find them easier to remember than a bunch of facts being thrown at them. Think about making your content shareable. Is what you’re creating and putting out into the online world worth a share? Would you share it? Would you be moved to buy from your own message?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek

Share your why. What’s the big why behind your brand and business? What’s driving you to do this? What’s important to you? What impact do you want to create in the world? Share that.

Related: How I Run An International Business From A Remote Beach Town In The Eastern Cape

2. Show behind the scenes, be real and human

A simple tactic to use for your digital strategy is to show behind the scenes of what it is you do. This can work across the board for many kinds of businesses and show the human side of your brand. Who’s doing the work? How’s your product being created? Where are your materials sourced from? Take people with you on a journey and let them see how it’s created.

If you’re a serviced-based business you can do the same. Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Instagram lives would be perfect for this sort of thing. Once a week, create an hour by hour account of your day and give your audience a glimpse into your workday.

Be fascinating. Don’t spend all your time consuming content. Turn the tables and get into the mode of creating. Treat your business like a mini media company and always be thinking about what you can share.

Create before you consume!

3. Live video streaming

Live video streaming

Live video is by far the number one way to stand out from the crowd. Video will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2021, according to forecasts released by Cisco. Get uncomfortable by doing the things not everyone’s willing to do. One of those is showing up and giving value on a platform like Facebook Live. Livestreams are great as you can interact with your audience, show your expertise and take Q&A directly from your potential customers.

From a practical point of view make sure you’re in flattering light (preferably natural light from a large window) or invest in some decent lights on a stand. Use a tripod. Get a Rode VideMic Me, a directional microphone for Apple iPhone and iPad so that your sound quality is good. Have your juicy topic ready and write out some bullet points on a whiteboard so you don’t lose track halfway through. Now 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 press that blue live button!

4. Grow your List with an opt-in freebie and give results ahead of time

It’s not enough to rely on social media platforms alone. With ever-changing algorithms and the fickle nature of human behaviour, putting your eggs in one basket could come back to bite you. You don’t own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin. Take Snapchat for example. When Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and basically swiped the idea and format, Snapchat lost users in droves! Ensure that you build your email list as that’s a rather valuable asset for your business and if you decide to sell in future you’ll get a higher price if your database is substantial.

Create a valuable PDF, Video series or Mini-Course that people would be eager to hand their names and email addresses over to receive. Create a simple opt-in page or a pop-up on your website with the enticing freebie offer. Once people agree to hear from you, you can then follow up with a welcome sequence and email out your newsletter regularly from your chosen CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) such as Active Campaign, Drip or MailChimp.

Remember to share stories, behind the scenes and valuable content with your readers and don’t simply bombard them with sales offers.

5. Be consistent

Pick two social platforms to focus on in the beginning. Don’t feel as though you need to be on every single one. The most important thing to remember is consistency. Get really good at posting regular content on a consistent basis. Engage with your audience. Respond to direct messages and comments. Build a loyal audience before expanding out to other platforms.

You can use blog posts, like I do, as pieces of pillar content that can then be spread around social media and posted to many platforms. My readers know that every Monday I release a value-packed blog post that will help them move the needle forward in their business. This goes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium and gets emailed out to my list via MailChimp.

Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns

6. Use launches to sell new offerings

Everything mentioned above falls under regular, organic content. When you have a new product, service or program to put out into the world you’ll need to map out a launch plan. This will involve going live more often, posting more often, creating branded graphics for social media and putting some budget behind paid traffic. You can do this by boosting your Facebook lives for example or sending paid traffic to your opt-in freebie that you’ve created so that you build your following faster and have eager buys to launch to.

To keep up to date with Chanelle’s tips visit http://segeriusbrucecoaching.com/blog/

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The Seven Rules Of Social Media

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook.

So Interactive

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Social media has become indispensable when it comes to marketing and PR. Smart, carefully thought out, and well implemented social media strategies have shown to increase exposure and engagement, improve search engine rankings, increase turnover, encourage brand loyalty, and improve lead generation. Converting social media followers into true fans is the key and will set you well on your way to creating long term customer advocates and “ideal” customers.

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook. They lay out exactly what brands can do and the ground rules that they should follow to prevent social media faux pas:

1. Don’t Over Promote Your Brand

Your profile or page on any social media platform should clearly communicate your brand message and offering to your target audience. Your social media posts need to be more than overt marketing tactics. Offer your audience relevant, interesting, and engaging content. Overly sales orientated content is a sure way to lose followers. Conversational and on trend content is the way forward.

2. Think Before You Post

Always take the time to properly consider your content before posting it. Think it through and ask yourself if it is relevant to your target customer, if it uses the correct tone, and does it put your brand message across accurately. Consider the purpose of each social media platform and the content that is generally consumed on each of them.

Plan, evaluate your messaging, and use relevant hashtags.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Always Fact Check & Cross Reference

Fact checking isn’t just for journalists and TV news. Always fact check your content, especially when trying to tie in news and current affairs into your messaging. A careless mistake in your content can be extremely damaging to your brand. Making time to fact check can save you at the end of the day.

4. Damage Control

It is important to react quickly and professionally, be careful not to respond with knee jerk reactions. Never delete a post, comment, or response. It is important to own your failures and mistakes. Address issues out in the open and hold yourself accountable if need be. How you respond will make all the difference at the end of the day. You need to be prepared to take immediate action, to act fast, and at any time.

Take the time to properly assess the situation and make a calculated decision that is in the best interest of your business and brand. Transparency is key and showing that you managed a situation flawlessly will only reflect positively on your business.

5. Post Regularly

Manage and maintain your social presence effectively while promoting your offering by posting regularly. This ensures that your brand is kept top of mind while increasing brand exposure. It is important to keep in mind that over posting is not in your best interest and will only hold your brand back from gaining traction in the online space.

Your online audience and social platforms including social media could very possibly view your content as spam and flag it as such, including on Facebook. One to three posts a day are best practice and a formula used by most brands the world over.

6. Invest In The Time To Do Solid Research

Researching your customer personas, target market, your niche in the market, and so forth, should be researched very early on in the making of your business. However, going forward research makes for amazing content that is tailored to your target audience. A few hours of solid research can go a very long way in the process of creating quality social media content. Posting social content for the sake of the act itself is simply not an effective strategy. Posting carefully curated content for your target audience will yield higher engagement and conversions.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

7. Never Ignore Enquiries & Comments

Social media allows for two-way communication and conversations between businesses and their potential customers. Social media goes beyond simply putting the content on your timelines and onto the news feeds of your audience, it includes engagement between brand and customer in the online space. It is important to acknowledge your followers and your fans, every single time. This encourages brand loyalty and gives the impression that you value your followers. Answering messages and responding to comments shows that your brand is present and listening to the needs of the customer. Personal engagement and a speedy response speaks volumes.

Your first step is to consider getting a respected social media specialist onboard. Johannesburg based So Interactive is a highly respected digital marketing agency with an excellent reputation in South Africa and across borders. So Interactive is a boutique studio offering clients quality digital solutions. Get in touch to get your next digital campaign off the ground. Talk to So Interactive, and together you can create a winning social media marketing campaign.

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The Six Second Sweet Spot

Six-second video has been all the buzz since Google showcased the best of its six-second hackathon at Sundance in January 2017.

So Interactive

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In June last year, Fox announced it was on board with six-second bumper video ads. Google recently performed a study which established that nine out of ten bumper video ads drive ad recall while 61% increased brand awareness. Six seconds is proving to be the perfect time frame within which to tell your brand story.

The six-second video amplifies the beauty of storytelling in that it creates a much faster, more accessible and memorable way to communicate messages. The time constraint can be quite daunting and, at first, some would consider it a creative hinderance. However, a short sentence, a single word, a stand alone image, or a six second visual is often more than enough to catch and keep the attention of your audience as it pushes creatives to think differently and with more focus.

YouTube recently challenged creative agencies worldwide to retell fairytale classics by using only six-second video. The challenge was met overwhelming enthusiasm and creativity. From Bollywood classics to local folktales, every entry proved, for the first time, that short, powerful stories have much broader impact and memorability than their longer counterparts.

Related: The Launch Of Instagram TV

Six-second video is a snackable content trend that is paving the way forward for online content. Respectable industry leaders and key players in the field are predicting that six-second video ads will continue gaining traction at the end of 2018 and through into the coming year. Short form video has literally become the six-second sweet spot and will continue reshaping the way digital marketers address their audiences.

So Interactive, based in Johannesburg, are known for their work in video. If you are looking to create a six second brand message or a short series of six second videos that form a single brand story, then So Interactive is a fantastic fit and brilliant option. Go with the professionals, get a brilliant creative team on board, and get your six second video out to the world. Get in touch with So Interactive to discuss your next six second video marketing campaign.

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