Welcome to “Twitter, a Beginner’s Guide for Business” presented by Halvorson New Media. I’m Chris Halvorson and I’ll be your guide throughtou this Twitter webinar.
In 2004, I definitely became an Old School Communicator learning new tricks. I had been working as a freelance writer for several years and not finding much work in a Post-911 economy. Then, Stonyfield Farm advertised for a Writer position. What they wanted was for someone to write a company blog for them—a blog that did not yet exist. I’m so glad they advertized that position as a Writer job, because in 2004, I did NOT know what a blog was, and neither did most other people. Still, they hired me and in April 0f 2004, CEO Gary Hirshberg and I launched not one but FIVE company blogs…and the rest is history. That was SUCH an unusual move in 2004 that Stonyfield suddenly was getting a lot of national attention not only for their yogurt, but for their company blogs. No one in 2004 was blogging except political pundits, narcissistic teenagers and the occasional tech company. Because Stonyfield was among the first consumer products company to enter this weird new world of blogging, we were all thrust into the national limelight and I spent the next year and half being asked to speak at conferences and workshops all over the country. I turned this experience into my own consulting business in 2006 and continued advising on blogs only. Then, in 2008, Facebook EXPLODED, followed shortly by TWITTER. Every communicator I knew was suddenly scrambling trying to figure out what these social media tools meant for our businesses. That quest continues, and Facebook and Twitter show no signs of fading away.
This course has seven chapters, plus a resource section with links to sites that may help you. You may jump to any chapter at any time by clicking on the titles in this slide. If you need to pause the course midway, you may bookmark it and be able to return where you left off.
And before we do that, let’s look at what social media really is. Very generally, social media is defined as any online sites that are interactive, allowing you to connect with the company or organization, and with other readers there. Social media content is characterized by openness and by a conversational tone. The goal of many sites is to build an online community. Youtube, blogging, Facebook and Twitter are among the leading tools, but there are literally hundreds of others you may not have heard of. In this course, however, we will limit our learning to Twitter and how to use it to promote your business.
This becomes Slide #7 when all else is fixed.
Before we get into the details of Twitter, however, let’s briefly look at why your business should be considering using social media in the first place.
Meanwhile, we are likely to fan, like or follow a business when we see that our online friends are doing so. In a nutshell, this kind of “ word-of-mouth ” advertising, which is not really advertising at all, is the whole point for a business to be participating in the social media world. And, again, studies have shown that it works. We trust our friends’ opinions, so if they buy from a certain place, we’re likely to as well.
Facebook was invented by college students and first caught on in 2004 on college campuses across the United States. However, that was then and this is now. The average age of today ’ s Facebook user is 35 and that average is ticking upwards.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, social networking use among Internet users age 65 and older grew by 100 percent from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, 13 percent of this age group used social networks. By December of 2010, 26 percent had signed on—exactly double. Facebook is the third most popular site visited by Americans age 65 and older, according to the Nielsen Company . This growth is understandable. Older Americans want to connect with distant family and friends, too. They’re using today’s technologies to do so.
Well, let’s get on with it. It’s time for you to open your own Twitter account and start Tweeting. As you begin, you may wish to do this in your personal name, rather than your business name, or take the plunge and open a business account.
A Facebook user will choose to “Like” a Business Page, as shown in the previous slide, but will choose “Add as Friend” to make a person part of his or her network of Facebook friends. This slide shows the barebones personal profile of a potential new Facebook friend. The Facebook user here need only click onto “Add as friend” to invite this person to be part of her online social network. Once the person does so, much more information about that person will become visible.
When individuals sign up to use Facebook, they create what is currently called a “Profile” which looks something like what you see on the left side of this slide. A business, however, must create a “Page.” It looks similar, but functions differently. This is a very important distinction and one that is worthy of further study by visiting the Facebook help pages. A link to Facebook “Help” is located at the bottom right of your screen while visiting any Facebook page or profile. A direct link to the Help section also appears at the bottom of this screen.
Here’s another example of a business page. Note the “Like” button. That’s a clue that you have landed on a Business Page, rather than a Personal Profile. People using Facebook can search for businesses using Facebook’s search function, but they may also stumble upon business pages like this one while searching for something else or when it shows up in the “NewsFeed” of their family and friends. From here on, we will refer to the people who “Like” a business page as a “Fan”.
To build up your Twitter followers and, therefore, to reach a wider audience, your first task is to Tweet consistently. There is no point in using Twitter if you are going to let it languish. Some say a Tweet once a day is minimal and that, under some circumstances, more often is fine. If you get others Retweeting your content, thank them publicly, with a Tweet, or privately, in a direct message. Retweet others often. This builds good peporie.
After you build up a list of followers, you’ll want to “Re-Tweet” the things that they post when they are relevant to your business or are especially interesting, funny or news worthy. Your readers wil be interested and it will give a kind of recognition to the person who first posted the information. A variation on this is to “Mention” someone in your Tweet. Say you met Joe Schmoe at a trade show yesterday and he is on Twitter. You could write a Tweet that said, “Great to run into @JoeSchmoe at the Trade Show in Boston. He really knows his stuff!”
The first rule in Twitter communications---as it is in all business communications—is to know who you are trying to reach. Depending upon your business size and type, you may have already conducted market research to know exactly the demographic characteristics of your customers or potential customers. If you don’t know, you need to find out through your own research, or perhaps you have a small enough client base to take an educated guess as to whom you’re trying to reach. If you have a Business Plan under which you operate, that would be a good place to start. Whomever your target is, your Tweets must be designed to reach them. Or, perhaps you’ll learn Twitter is NOT the place where your demographic is like to hang out.
Now that your Profile is set up, you’re ready to begin Tweeting!
Finally, when you’ve filled your Facebook Business Page with a number of posts, are comfortable with it and feel it is as good as it can be, you’ll want to announce it in all traditional ways such as mentioning it in your newsletters and on the homepage of your website. This slide is an example of an e-newsletter promoting the organization’s existence on Facebook. Facebook also makes it easy to add a Facebook “badge” to your website, alerting your online readers to your Facebook presence, as shown on the website in the next slide…
Always be sure to put the Twitter “badge” on the home page of your website. This is easily done. Twitter provides the code. Where?
As we noted earlier, you ’ ll want to mention your social media pages in all the traditional ways-on your business cards, letterhead, website, press releases, e-mail signatures. If you have a relationship with a local reporter, inform him/her that you are using these tools and where he/she can look for your updates.
In order to improve your Twitter experience, you should make it a point to keep track of interactions you have there.
Listed here are links to just a few resources you might find helpful as you begin working in social media. Note that New Hampshire has two groups that cater to people who are trying to understand social media or who are already heavily involved in using it. Social Media Club NH and Social Media Breakfast NH each hold monthly meetings at which experts present and people share information informally.
I founded Halvorson New Media in 2006 after serving for 2 years as the “Chief Blogger” for Stonyfield Farm, the organic yogurt company based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. As Halvorson New Media, and along with two other part-time staff members, I now consult with businesses large and small, national and local, and quite a few one-person shops. I am hired to write content, provide design help, and create social media content of all kinds, including video. I currently write and manage blogs for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, a Hooksett-based company called Customer Perspectives, and the Bond Wellness Center based in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I am the administrator on nearly a dozen Facebook business Pages and a few different Twitter feeds. I provide social media consulting to the clients of Louis Karno & Company Communications in Concord, New Hamsphire, and I continue to write for Stonyfield Farm, a company I greatly admire. To see a list of my current clients, click through on the word “clients” in this slide.
Presented by Christine Halvorson Halvorson New Media HalvorsonNewMedia.com 1
Why you’re here Do you already run a Facebook Business Page? HalvorsonNewMedia.com 3
Why you should use Facebook Begin to build a Business Page (handout) Building a Fan base Best Practices Promoting your Facebook presence elsewhere Brief review of “advanced” strategies HalvorsonNewMedia.com 4
What is social media, anyway? Share content & have conversations • Connectedness • Openness • Conversation • Community HalvorsonNewMedia.com 5
Make sure you stand out from the crowd HalvorsonNewMedia.com 70
• Mashable.com• SocialMediaExaminer.com• Ragan.com• Mari Smith HalvorsonNewMedia.com 71
Christine Halvorson founded Along with two part-time staff Halvorson New Media in members, Halvorson currently2006 after serving as the first writes and manages blogs forChief Blogger at Stonyfield the New Hampshire SmallFarm, based in Londonderry, Business Development Center,New Hampshire. She now Customer Perspectives, andconsults with businesses and the Bond Wellness Center. Shenonprofits large and small on provides social mediahow to use social media consulting to the clients ofstrategically. Halvorson New Louis Karno & Company, whileMedia is often contracted to continuing to write forcreate social media content Stonyfield Farm. See a list ofof all kinds, including video. current clients here. HalvorsonNewMedia.com 72