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Beginner Twitter for Business, Peterborough Chamber Presentation
 

Beginner Twitter for Business, Peterborough Chamber Presentation

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Christine Halvorson of Halvorson New Media presents a basic level class on starting and using a Twitter account for businesses and organizations.

Christine Halvorson of Halvorson New Media presents a basic level class on starting and using a Twitter account for businesses and organizations.

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  • Welcome to “Twitter, a Beginner’s Guide for Business” presented by Halvorson New Media. I’m Chris Halvorson and I’ll be your guide throughtout this Twitter webinar.
  • 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.
  • People who follow, friend, like or fan certain businesses on social media sites have been shown to be more likely to purchase from those brands, so it’s not just a matter of having an online connection to the business. It’s a matter of turning that connection into sales, those relationships into clients and customers.
  • Here’s what it all comes down to: The job of every piece of communication—online or off—is to introduce your business to people who do not know it and to reinforce positive impressions among those who do. As you understand more about how social media worka, apply this rule to every piece of communication you put up onto your business’s social media sites….
  • Even if it’s a Tweet.
  • For what it’s worth, if you’re still uncertain just why you should care about Twitter, you are not alone. In fact, this phenomenon is so common that someone has prescribed the “Five Stages of Grief” to be quite similar to a person’s acceptance of Twitter. I went through each of these stages myself and, yes, ultimately there was a day when I did a forehead slap and said to myself, “Oh, now I get it!” We hope that you’ll see the wisdom of Twitter by the end of this course.
  • Increasingly, Twitter is a site to make connections with and to follow other people in your industry, to learn and to find potential customers. It’s an efficient tool for gathering information and for disseminating it. If you use it well, you’ll have cultivated a niche audience that is open to your messages and you’ll be able to broadcast to them at any time. You can drive readers to content you have elsewhere and you can monitor what people are saying to help you with your business and with customer service. You can use Twitter to show the world that you know what you’re talking about. Let’s look at these one at a time.
  • 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.
  • If you’d like to start a Twitter account, go to Twitter.com and this sign-up page will walk you through set-up. The name you choose will ultimatley show up as @YourName, and you’ll want to choose carefully so that the name is descriptive, memorable and related to your business in some way. Or, you may choose to use your own name to promote your business, as a way of “branding” yourself as the person who speaks for that business.
  • When your account is opened, Twitter will walk you through to the Profile section, which you should fill out as completely as possible. This is not place to be shy.
  • You also MUST include a photo or a logo. Today, Twitter accounts that don’t have a graphic icon (also called an Avatar) associated with them are either ignored or assumed to be SPAM—not legitimate Twitter users. If you have a well-designed logo that shows up well in this thumbnail size, you should probably use that for your business. If your business is yours—you own it—you could use your own photo.
  • The information you put into the “bio” section of your Twitter profile should be carefully thought out. This little description of you is quite visible to even the casual visitor to your profile. In this slide, you’ll see Twitter asks if you’d like to connect your Twitter account to your Facebook account. That’s a subject we’ll take up in our third course.
  • When a person clicks through on your Profile, they will see your mini description. It’s important to include your website address here. Your Twitter profile will come up in Twitter searches and in general searches of the Web using any other search engines. Therefore it’s important to use the key words a person might use to find your business.
  • Now that your Profile is set up, you’re ready to begin Tweeting!
  • On your homepage, you can compose a post using the box under your name. We’ll look at that again in a minute. Your Tweet is limited to 140 characters. You might ask, “How can I say anything in 140 characters?” Well, that’s the point. And, it’s easy to get a lot into a little Tweet. Let’s look at how. In this slide, under the heading “Tweets”, you’ll see Tweets that others have posted. The blue text here indicates a web address that is clickable, leading the reader off Twitter and to content contained on a different website. The second Tweet here, the one from the American Heart Association, contains blue text that will lead the reader to the Twitter posts of yet another Twitter user and to two other locations. That’s a lot for one little Tweet and it shows the power of this “micro blogging” tool. Let’s take a closer look at that American Heart Association Tweet…
  • The way to build more content into a Tweet, is to have it lead to content on other sites by including a URL (a web address.) Often, however, a URL is very long and will take up all of your 140 characters! Twitter, however, shortens URLs for you, and there are many other online tools that will shorten a URL and help you meet the 140 character limit.
  • You’ll see the “Dashburst” Tweet in this slide contains a shortened URL at the end. “Bitly.com” is a website where you can shorten any URL, by cutting and pasting it into Bitly. Bitly then returns a shortened version that will last as long as that webpage exists.
  • But, at this point, you could rightly ask, “Who is going to be reading these things I write on Twitter?” Good question. When you first begin to use Twitter, you will, indeed, be broadcasting to no one. You may as well be sticking a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. Someone *may* find it, but chances are slim. Because of that, your first task in Twitter is to find other people to follow. with the idea that they will often follow you back . [need to explain follower/follower earlier?]
  • Finding Followers & Folks to Follow. In Twitter, your goal is to develop a loyal following of people who want to read your Tweets. At the beginning, you must find people to follow who might follow you back. As far as deciding who you should follow, you want to look for people or organizations that are in your industry, that are close to you geographic or that can provide you with relevant information. The more you Tweet, the more Followers you will gain without trying. Some say that you should follow everyone who follows you, but because anyone can follow you without your permission, this policy may not result in a list that is valuable to you. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
  • The first place to look for people to follow is Twitter’s own suggestions. These always appear just below your profile information on the left, under where you would write your Tweets. At the begininng, these suggestions will most likely be celebrities who have huge followings on Twitter. You may not wish to follow celebrities. The suggestions, at the beginning, could also be based on key words you have in your profile or your geographic location. This list of “who to follow” will change constantly as you add more and more followers and you follow more people.
  • The second Tweet in this newsfeed is from the American Heart Association and it contains blue text--@uwhealth. A reader who clicked through on that blue text would be taken to the Tweets of UW Health—The academic health facilities of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as shown on the right side of this slide. As a reader, you could now choose to follow the Tweets posted by UWHealth, by clicking on the blue “Follow” button. Let’s look at what else this one Tweet contains…
  • On this Twitter page by Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), you can see that 10,971 people have chosen to “Follow” the company’s Twitter messages. PSNH is nationally recognized as a company making excellent use of Twitter as a business tool. It uses Twitter to report power outages and repairs, among other topics. PSNH is a very New Hampshire-oriented company. Therefore, if your company is in New Hampshire, it might be wise for you to click through that list of 10,971 Followers – okay, maybe not each and every one of them – to find Twitter users who share your geographic area. Similarly, you could click through to the 169 Twitter feeds that PSNH is following and perhaps learn something from them or find NH-based organizations to follow. In other words, you don’t need anyone’s permission to follow them, and this kind of an exercise may lead you to valuable people on Twitter.
  • At the top of any Twitter page you’ll see “@Connect” and “# Discover”. Clicking onto #Discover” you’ll see “Stories” show up as one of three subsections to the left. In Stories, you’ll be delivered news down the right hand side that is based on what is trending on Twitter (popular topics) and the types of people you follow and are following you. You may not be interested in anything that Stories delivers, or you may find new people to follow this way. Again, the list under Stories will change constantly.
  • Finally, if you know a business, organization or person is one Twitter, or you hope that they area, you can use Twitter’s Search function to try to find them. Often this is tricky because a Twitter handle may be different than what you might expect a person to be called. In my own case, for example, many people know me as Christine, yet my Twitter handle is Chris. Now that you’re on Twitter, you might make it a habit to ask the people that you meet if they are too and, if so, what their “handle” is. Often you’ll find this information on business cards, on websites and in email signatures, too!
  • Hashtags & Search. Though we’ve touched a little bit on hashtags in the previous chapter, let’s take a closer look at how you might use hashtags and how to do strategic searches within Twitter.
  • You can also find potential Tweeters to follow by searching Twitter for a particular topic, using the # we talked about ealier (or not). We know there is a New Hampshire hashtag that is #nh, for example. Or one on the basketball tournaments known collectively as #MarchMadness. You might do a search by hashtag and turn up Twitter users in your area or ones that have interests simlar to yours or to your business.
  • First off, hashtags were a creation of Twitter users when Twitter was brand new. People wanted and needed a way to make sense of all the “noise” coming at them through Twitter. How could they find out what everyone was saying about the presidential primary, for example. The hashtag was born as a way to search through the mllions of Tweets.
  • You can also find potential Tweeters to follow by searching Twitter for a particular topic, using the # we talked about ealier (or not). We know there is a New Hampshire hashtag that is #nh, for example. Or one on the basketball tournaments known collectively as #MarchMadness. You might do a search by hashtag and turn up Twitter users in your area or ones that have interests simlar to yours or to your business.
  • In this example, you’ll see a hashtag with #hcsm—health care social media. This hashtag designates any discussion on Twitter about using social media in health care and was created by a group of people who “gather” every Sunday evening at a certain time, on Twitter, to discuss the use of social media in health care settings. The topic for each week is announced ahead of time, they have “guest experts” Tweet, and the hashtag serves to become a virtual conference for those people interested in that topic.
  • You may have already experienced this and, if not, it probably won’t be long before you do. These days event organizers in business are often assigning their event a certain hashtag on Twitter so that interested people can follow the news about the event, before, after and during it. In this example, you’ll see the hashtag #sxsw—meaning South By Southwest, a very large, annual gathering of music, techno, and movie industries held each year in Austin, Texas. If you wanted to know anything that anybody had Tweeted about this event—before, after or during—you could search for #sxsw and see a very long list of Tweets—some that will be enlightening and some more frivilous.
  • Similarly, the #SMCNHJ in this example, is to indicate an event put on by the Social Media Club of New Hampshire. Each event that organizatiion stages is given a specific hashtag that always include SMCNH plus something to indicte the topic of that particular event. In this way, followers o fthis organzation Tweet about events before after and during and the information can be found by themselves or by others.
  • By using hashtags appropriately yourself---by tagging your own important content with the right hashtag, by following topics you care about, you can find the real gems that will be valuable to you in business or that will lead people to your own Twitter feed.
  • That user-created trick has become standard operating procedure now in Twitter. Anyone can create a hashtag and announce it to the world. Future Tweets containing that hashtag will then be able to be found more easily. Now there’s even a directory of hashtags, so if you want to be sure the hashtag you create has not been used before – and therefore confusing your twitter users—you can check hashtags.org to make sure. Hashtag.org even catagorizes existing hashtags by topic area…business..celebrities…education…for example.
  • Now that you have learned the basic functions and structure of Twitter, and you know how to build a base of Followers, it’s time to get strategic about it.
  • 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!”
  • Two New Hampshire organizations in this slide demonstrate excellent uses of Twitter. The first, from the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, alerts readers to a new website coming soon. The second, from The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, provides a direct link to a new blog post the organization has put up.
  • Another good use of Twitter is to broadcast a business’s needs—in this case, the need to hire a new employee. Here, VolunteerNH announces that it is seeking a manager of its volunteer team.
  • Businesses will often use Twitter as a place to thank employees, partners, or volunteers. Here the national chain Whole Foods is thanking the American Express company for a donor partnership they had throughout the holiday season, in which the organization Share Strength was the recipient. From this Tweet, you could click through to the Twitter feeds from both American Express and Share Strength, even if you were not already following those organizations.
  • Twitter is becoming THE place to find “breaking news”—and that breaking news might be big news in the traditional media sense or announcing a new product or event. Here the Manchester Airport alerts its readers that a winter storm is causing some delays in flights and provides a link to more information. Many police and fire units throughout New Hampshire use Twitter to report fire or accident responses in real time. These types of Tweets bring loyal readers to the business and serve as an efficient way for busy internet users to get the news they need quickly.
  • Now it’s your turn to Tweet. Here’s the first rule of writing a post for Twitter: Say something interesting. As we learned back in the 5 Stages of Twitter Denial, people do NOT want to read about the mundane here. An original thought or bit of news about your business is always good. You can be conversational or personal, but not toooo personal in this business account. We’ll talk more about content strategies in Chapter 6.
  • Secondly, with an idea of who you are writing for in mind, you need to be sure you are not going to waste your time or someone else’s time. Here’s a good checklist for you before you post anything on Twitter --- or any other social media site for that matter. What value will your Tweet bring to the reader? If you can’t honestly say that it will do any of these four things, it may be best not to Tweet it.
  • 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.
  • A good way to stay on top of content is to have an editorial calendar into which you’ve sketched key points in your business year, key messages that might be seasonal or otherwise timely, and making sure those topics absolutely are covered no matter what. Then, fill in around those must-do’s. Finally, schedule time each day to pay attention to Twitter. If you don’t schedule the time, it won’t happen.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Always be sure to put the Twitter “badge” on the home page of your website. This is easily done. Twitter provides the code. Where?
  • In order to improve your Twitter experience, you should make it a point to keep track of interactions you have there.
  • The “Interactions” section under “Connect” will show you who followed you on any given day,
  • Under “Mentions” you’ll see Retweets and Tweets in which others have mentioned you. Paying attention to these datapoints can help you see what kind of content resonates with your followers, the types of followers you are attracting and whether or not slow periods result in no new followers.
  • 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.

Beginner Twitter for Business, Peterborough Chamber Presentation Beginner Twitter for Business, Peterborough Chamber Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • Presented by Halvorson New Media, LLC HalvorsonNewMedia.com 1
  • …to infinity and beyond! 2
  •  Introduction Why use social media for business? Starting your Twitter account Beginning to Tweet Finding followers & folks to follow Hashtags & search Now, get strategic HalvorsonNewMedia.com 3
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  • Why social media works in business HalvorsonNewMedia.com 6
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  • A Love/Hate RelationshipHalvorsonNewMedia.com 9
  • Denial Twitter is a waste of timeAnger Why would I care about what people are having for breakfastBargaining I’m only signing up because my friends areDepression It doesn’t make any senseAcceptance I get it!http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/getting-twitter_b9660 HalvorsonNewMedia.com 10
  • Tweet (noun & Message posted containingverb) 140 characters or fewer/The act of posting a messageHashtags The # symbol: used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet in order to make them “Searchable” for others. HalvorsonNewMedia.com 11
  • The @ When a username issign/”Handle” preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile; a username is often called a “Handle”URL A web site’s address or specific page within a website HalvorsonNewMedia.com 12
  • • Broadcasts to a niche (or large) audience very quickly• Drives traffic to special content• Serves customers• Enhances your reputation• Different “vibe” than Facebook HalvorsonNewMedia.com 13
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  •  Linkto your website Key words related to your industry HalvorsonNewMedia.com 19
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  • This slide includes 140characters, the upper limit of a Twitter Tweet. Often people wonder how 140characters can say anything meaningful. HalvorsonNewMedia.com 22
  • Go to bit.ly.com to shorten your URLs HalvorsonNewMedia.com 23
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  • Try findingTheChamber orPSNH HalvorsonNewMedia.com 30
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  • Conduct online, real-time “conversations” HalvorsonNewMedia.com 35
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  • Conferences & Trade Shows HalvorsonNewMedia.com 37
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  •  Check Hashtags.org hashtags.org Make your own Be consistent Announce at beginning of… trade show, event, conference... HalvorsonNewMedia.com 39
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  • Retweets & Mentions HalvorsonNewMedia.com 41
  • Retweets & Mentions HalvorsonNewMedia.com 42
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  • Ask yourself, will it…• Educate?• Entertain?• Engage?• Enrich? HalvorsonNewMedia.com 48
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  •  Tweet often Strive for consistency Follow others Respond with thanks to Retweets & Mentions Give credit and build repoire by Retweeting others Constantly add people to follow HalvorsonNewMedia.com 51
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  • Social media tools help pages• Twitter glossaryWebsites• Mashable• Ragan Communications• Pew Center• 20 Twitter guidebooks, etc: http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter /15-twitter-resources_b10492 HalvorsonNewMedia.com 57
  • 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 58