Tagged: branding

5 Tips When Using Twitter for Business

TwitterforBizAs we have seen many times, using Twitter for your business can be a very useful tool or a headache waiting to happen. But rather than focusing on all the ways Twitter can sink your ship, I’d like to discuss 5 Twitter strategies you can begin using right now to increase your ROIoT (Return On Investment of Time).

1. Recalibrate your expectations

If you run a B2B company and you’re launching a new social media initiative in hopes of attracting 10,000 new followers during your two-week campaign, you’re most likely in for a world of disappointment. Simply put…it jus’ don’t work that way. Sure, Cinderella stories of a company’s Tweets going viral and skyrocketing their business do exist, but they are extremely rare and almost impossible to contrive. I once heard Twitter described as farming, rather than hunting. I thought this analogy was simple and perfect. Building a following is a slow process that takes time and effort. So whether you’re thinking about signing up or have been Tweeting for a while, make sure your expectations are reasonable.

2. Loosen up

Are you a stuffy person? Does your business have personality? If you had no bias regarding your own products or services, would you find them intriguing or interesting? These are all questions you should think about when developing your Twitter strategy. Successful businesses on Twitter provide value to their users. This can be in the form of sharing compelling news or information, contributing humor, or providing insights into products customers care about. If your business doesn’t have broad consumer appeal and you get too wrapped up in coming across as unprofessional, you might not find a lot of success on Twitter. It’s important to give your business personality or if you’re the CEO, you can even Tweet as yourself on behalf of your business. And when developing your voice, make sure you don’t come across as stuffy. If LinkedIn is your white, starched shirt, Twitter should be your Hawaiian party shirt.

3. Be a giver, not a taker

If the main objective of your Twitter strategy is to generate sales, chances are you won’t be successful. Twitter works best when your main objective is to provide interesting content or perspective, rather than market to a wide audience of potential customers. Generally, we follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your Tweets should be adding to the general “conversation” and 20% can be about your own products or services. But be careful to never get too salesy. Twitter users will spot rampant self-promotion from a mile away and will unfollow you so fast, it’ll make your head spin. And the truly egregious offenders stand to suffer a fate much worse: being torn to shreds in the Twittersphere by a mob of unimpressed and annoyed users. My condolences, your Twitter presence was just destroyed by a pack of angry micro-bloggers.

4. Use hashtags and create conversations

What’s more accurate, a sniper rifle or a shotgun? Now, without getting into semantics or a gun control debate, let me make my point: spraying scattered bits of information into an extremely large area is not a very effective way to hit your target. When using Twitter, your goal should be to create meaningful interactions with other users. Even if you have good information to share, it’s not enough to type out a 140-character factoid and hit “Tweet.” Use hashtags to help collate your input into relevant conversations and use @replies and mentions to begin a dialogue with specific users. This is a much more precise way to use Twitter and will greatly increase your chances of being retweeted or getting a response from someone and, ultimately, starting a meaningful interaction.

5. Have fun

At the end of the day, Twitter is a pretty fascinating place where a lot of very interesting/funny/exciting/uncomfortable/memorable conversations take place. Have a secret obsession with Kim Kardashian? Follow her. Geek out over anything “NASA?” Follow them and let your nerd flag fly. Make your Twitter presence sustainable by not only following people affiliated with your business or industry, but by keeping tabs on the things that you find fun and that help give your business personality. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal (but not this personal) and to show your followers insights into your business that they can’t get anywhere else. Be yourself (Unless you’re stuffy. In that case, see tip #2) and have fun with this component of your business outreach. There’s definitely a lot to be had.

Have any Twitter tips that have proven useful for you or your business? Share them with me! And if you are interested in a more personal assessment of your Twitter strategy, please contact me at tyler@sumseattle.com.

 

LinkedIn is Playing Catch-up, But New Company Pages Might be the Answer

Linkedinblogpost-01

LinkedIn – referred to by some (us) as the boring little brother of Facebook and Twitter – has just gotten a little more interesting. They have rolled out a new set of features for their company pages and while they seemed to be a little behind the eight ball in the past, we think this launch just helped them make up a lot of ground.

The improvements are listed in the promotional email we received as follows:

  • Large brand image
  • Streamline design
  • Greater prominence for status updates
  • Featured posts

The email also mentions that the new and improved company pages now appear on LinkeIn’s mobile and iPad apps. Definitely a plus for enterprises using the site.

It seems like just yesterday I was writing a very similar blog post about Twitter. After Facebook and Google+ launched cover photo functionality for companies, the other two social giants weren’t far behind. But LinkedIn is hoping that the extra bells and whistles will attract even more companies to the site and increase traffic, which will hopefully increase their ad revenue.

Our first impression of the new company pages is a good one. They have a sleek look and the new cover photo, which they refer to as a “large branded image”, doesn’t overpower you when you arrive on the page. And as a company page administrator, you are easily able to share articles or post updates, right when you log in. Here’s what our company page now looks like after updating our page. 

SUM Page

Interested in which companies are on top of their social media presence, we started perusing LinkedIn, looking for companies that have already updated their pages. Here’s a screen shot of Dell’s new company page.

Dell Cover

Compare Dell’s page to Sony’s, who is obviously a little slower on the uptake. 

4

Most companies’ pages still look like Sony’s. Compared to the sparkly, new pages of some of the companies that have already made the switch, they look a little drab…nothing new on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn claims that their newer page design better highlights the products and careers sections of a company’s profile. The site allows you to either list out your products/services or add multiple customized product photos that can be scrolled through after clicking on the “Products” tab on a company’s page. Only a few companies received a sneak peak and were allowed to make these adjustments early. Dell was one of those companies and made use of the scrolling image option (see below).

Dell Products 1

Dell Products 2

And while Sony was not let into the club early, they haven’t even take the time to list their products under the old layout. Tisk, tisk.

Sony Products

The LinkedIn update is definitely a positive one and a step in the right direction. Companies have been using Facebook to interact with customers for a long time now, but some Business-to-Business companies are still wondering if setting up and maintaining a Facebook page is worth it. They see value in connecting with people, but the CFO’s niece isn’t going to buy a million dollar airplane part. These new LinkedIn pages offer the branding opportunity that Facebook offers, but in a much more professional setting. This could be exactly what the social network needs to take the next step towards even more daily use. Well done, LinkedIn. We approve.

To give you a head-start on your new LinkedIn company page image, the dimensions are 646 x 220 pixels. And if you have any thoughts on LinkedIn’s new strategy for business customers, let us know in the comments section!

Myspace: They’re Bringing Sexy Back (Yeah)

Myspace owners Chris and Tim Vanderhook, along with Justin Timberlake, have debuted a preview of the new and improved Myspace.com and, to be honest, I’m actually quite impressed. They’ve essentially taken components of what has made several other social media giants successful (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), and combined them in a slick, new layout that stays true to its original purpose: uniting artists and fans around their love of music. 

Header

 

Style Revamp

The first thing that struck me is the overhaul to the basics: background, coloring, typography, etc. The new look is polished, modern, and makes great use of negative space and differences in font size. By letting users customize their original Myspace pages, the site became an amalgamation of obnoxious color combinations and graphics, and it lacked brand consistency. It seems as though they’re moving away from this overuse of customization and, instead, offering users an interface they can all be content with. My first impression left me wondering “Why didn’t they do this sooner?”.

Profile Setup2

 Profile

 

Back to Basics

Myspace has helped launch the careers of many musicians and while a lot of the original users jumped ship when Facebook became popular, the core set of diehard musicians and their fans have stuck with the original social network and are about to be rewarded handsomely with a beautiful, new website. As a nod to its heritage and loyal users, Myspace has improved many aspects of its music-centered features and, again, updated everything with their new look. The preview shows a feature called “Mixes” – much like Facebook’s “Albums” –  that allows users to share photos and event information, all centered around playlists they’ve built. On the flip side, musicians are able to track fan activity and information relevant to their music in a new overview section of their fan info page. Justin Timberlake, an investor in Myspace, is featured heavily throughout the walkthrough and appears to be the celebrity face of the new publicity push. 

Mixes

Fan Map

Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at Sep 28, 10.37.17 AM 

The Stream

If Pinterest and Facebook’s Timeline had a baby, it would look like “The Stream”. It’s a collection of posts from your friends and artists you follow, but it’s presented in a very visual way, much like Pinterest. The Stream scrolls across the page horizontally, making for a unique user experience, but one that has yet to be tested en masse.

The Stream

 

Tweet That

And as if not to leave out Twitter, Myspace has incorporated trending topics and 140-character updates into their new site. The “Trending” feature is also presented in a Pinterest-like manner and it definitely captures your attention. And following the rest of their styling changes, their 140-character updates are bold and make use of interesting typography.

Trending140 Characters 

To SUM It Up

To say Myspace got a makeover is an understatement. You can tell they’ve been spending a lot of time collecting the best looks and features from their competition and are rolling it out in a new and exciting way, but one that stays true to their musical background. Who knows if they can be a contender once again…but they’re definitely on the right track.

New Myspace

To preview the new Myspace, click here