Twitter strategy

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Written in 2009 for Advantage Business Media.

Written in 2009 for Advantage Business Media.

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  • 1. ABM Corporate Strategy & SOPWhy Use Twitter – 1. They’re already talking about us, so why not talk to them directly? 2. Attract new readers. 3. Increase traffic to our website content. 4. Track relevant, breaking industry news. 5. Discover new ideas from smart people in our industry. 6. Get instant feedback from current users and potential users. 7. Build our brand loyalty. 8. Real control of brands has moved into the customers hands because technology has enabled it. 9. Per Nielsen, Twitter’s biggest demographic is ages 35-49, so it is not some social site just for the kids. We want to use Twitter not only to push our existing content, but as a place to haveconversations with our current and potential users, get feedback, and if possible, helpthem with a problem or point them in the right direction for the information they want.
  • 2. Profile Setup – Personality and identity on Twitter are important, so we need tomake it clear that our brand profiles are staffed by a team. Some ABM Twitter usersshould consider having a personal Twitter account in addition to their presence on ourcompany accounts. In this day and age, a personal brand is an asset that can providecredibility and rapport that would help boost our brand networks. We must alwaysremember that these personal accounts are a reflection of the company accounts so pleasereflect your own personal interests but always use your best judgment and err on the sideof caution. • Account o Name – Use full ABM brand name for company account & full name for personal account. o Username – Use full brand name (no spaces, i.e. WirelessWeek) for company account and full first and last name (no spaces) for personal account.
  • 3. o Email – For personal accounts you may use the email client address of your choice. For company accounts the account creator should use their ABM email address. o URL Field – For personal accounts, put a link to your blog (make sure posted content is appropriate) or leave blank. For company account, for now, put the homepage URL. In the future, we will place a link here to a Twitter-dedicated page on our website. This page will serve the purpose of welcoming people who have checked out our Twitter profile, and explaining to them why we’re twittering as @ABMBrand and what we hope to accomplish. An example of a page like this can be seen on Dell’s website: dell.com/twitter o Bio Section – For personal accounts use a brief description of your work (i.e. Editor-in-Chief for Wireless Week magazine) and some personal interests (REMEMBER this account is a reflection of the ABM company account). For company accounts, use a brief statement here to say something to the effect: Providing the latest on wireless news, trends and business analysis from our Editorial Staff: @Publisher, @EditorInChief and @AssociateEditor. o Location – Use your discretion. o Protect my Updates – Leave this check box blank.• Password o For company accounts, this password will be decided by the account creator and shared with the whole brand team.• Devices o You can select Direct Messages, Updates, etc. via text messages on your phone. It’s recommended to leave this turned off.
  • 4. • Notices o Auto Nudge – Leave this box unchecked. o @ Replies – Set this to “@ replies to the people I’m following.” o New Follower Emails – Leave this box checked so we can thank people for following us in a timely manner. o Direct Text Emails – Leave this box checked so we can reply to people in a timely manner. o Email Newsletter – Leave this box unchecked.
  • 5. • Design o Change Background Image – For personal accounts, choose from any of the designs provided or go to Twitter Patterns for more options. For company accounts, each brand will be provided with an image similar to the one shown on to the left. o Change Design Colors – A good starting point which has been proven effective is provided below. Please change at your own discretion. Background – #d3e8e9 Text – #333333 Links – #cc0000 Sidebar – #eaf5f8 Sidebar Border - #d3e8e9
  • 6. Using Twitter – Ultimately, Twitter is far more valuable for distributing our brand personality than itis for merely delivering our content. Our brand success on Twitter success will not comefrom just supplying information over a channel. Rather, our voice and the style of thedelivery we use to engage the community will be the difference maker. Monolithic,faceless organizations are most often ignored in these communities. If we take a littletime to hone a voice and personality, people are much more likely to engage with us. Sowe need to make sure to be honest, interesting, and authentic. As with other social media, the most important first step is to listen to theconversations. See what people are saying about us on Twitter (ways to accomplish thisare listed & explained in the Tools & Applications section below). The daily thoughts ofthese people can be an incredibly rich source of information on the perceptions of ourbrand, products and services. Twitter is about talking with people, not merely at them. You are probably wondering what exactly we should publish or post on Twitter. Forstarters, we should include regular news and updates that we already distribute via otherchannels: • Press release headlines • Events information • Press coverage about us • Product announcements • Blog posts If we are currently using RSS feeds to distribute any of the above (many brandscurrently offer a feed for their news items), then we need to set up an account onTwitterfeed.com so these items can be posted automatically. Please contact TimBesecker (tim.besecker@advantagemedia.com) for help in starting these accounts andstructuring the delivery settings. Blasting people with our news and announcements simply wont cut it for the greatmajority of Twitter users. Most people dont want to follow us on Twitter for the factualinformation and announcements we might publish because they can get this existingcontent elsewhere. Theyre interested in us because they want to engage with our brand insome way. They want to hear the voice and personality of our brand. We need to thinkabout new and different bits of content that our users will find valuable. For example,JetBlue often uses Twitter to post weather alerts or travel tips that make traveling easier. • Tweeting – The more we post or “Tweet” good content to our users or “followers,” the better. Simply type the message in the post box on our Twitter page and hit enter. Use the analysis tools provided below to find mentions of our brand, read them, and take the lead in starting a conversation. For company
  • 7. accounts, all users should sign the end of their tweets with ^initials signature, so people know who wrote each one. For example, a tweet might look like this: @ABMBrand is looking for website user feedback on our new media section. ^TB If we are including a website link in our posts, we need to use a URL shortening tool because of the 140 character minimum allotment in the Twitter post. The preferred URL shortening tool is bit.ly because of its ability to track links for future analysis. Company account creators should also sign up for a bit.ly account and provide the information to the rest of the brand team. bit.ly provides two tools to easily create these shortened URLs and add them to our posts. Please contact Tim Besecker (tim.besecker@advantagemedia.com or @TimBesecker on Twitter) for help in setting this up.• Following – We are creating a community around our brand, not a soapbox for us to stand alone, so we need to add friends or “follow” people. We can do this on the Twitter website simply by clicking on the “follow” button on the user’s Twitter page. If people follow us, generally we should follow them unless their account is obviously a spam account that does not look legitimate and has nothing to do with our industry, or their username or content has inappropriate language or topics.• Direct Messaging – In instances where we would like to send an off-the- board private message to someone, we can Direct Message or DM that person. We can do this by typing D + username of person + message. An example message would be, “D wirelessweek Do you know where I can find info on the new Iphone software?” These messages will show up under our Direct Message tab on the Twitter page. A good best practice is to send a DM to new people who follow us. An example message would be, “Hi, thanks for the follow. We are honored to be part of your network. Please let us know if we can help in any way.” o DO NOT DM people unnecessarily. DM’s go to many people’s mobiles via SMS, and SMS messages can cost people money.• Replying – Reply to others is a critical component of our Twitter activity because it shows that we are listening to our users and that we want to engage with them. When people make a comment or ask a question, we need to respond quickly and authentically like a real person, and not like a marketing robot. o DO NOT send useless @reply messages to people, especially people you dont know. If you send someone a @reply, it should at least be relevant to you and them, and hopefully something they will want to read.
  • 8. • ReTweeting - When we see something that a user on Twitter posts that we find interesting, we should show them some love by ReTweeting it. This is a very simple way to show our users that we’re paying attention to what they are saying and that we agree with or respect it. We can ReTweet by simply typing RT in front of the user’s Twitter name. An example of this would be RT @Twittername “user’s previous message”.• Hashtags – It is important for us to use hashtags as much as we can. Hashtags are created by putting # in front of a word and look like this: “#something in tweets.” The reason we need to use these is to get our brand message out to a wider user base. Also, this is a great way for us to build our network and get followers in specific niches or segment areas. Let’s say that we have some good, fresh insider information about a company merger or acquisition (Verizon, for example.) In this case, we post the Verizon merger information, but we only have 100 followers, so we’re not seeing the total benefit of tweeting it. However, if we write the message with #Verizon instead of just Verizon, then people that are actively searching for this hash will see our message and in return follow us if what we post is worthwhile. You can search popular hashtags to see what people are saying at http://hashtags.org/. This is a good way to follow our market conversations and build our networks.• Best Practices Don’ts List: o DO NOT bribe people in order to get them to follow us. Dont offer people prizes or rewards of any kind if they follow us, or if we reach a certain number of followers. The number of followers we have is not the most important thing and does not accurately reflect our actual value to the network. The number of ReTweets we get is a much better measure of our value to the network. o DO NOT use auto-follow. Auto-following rewards spam accounts and bots in Twitter. They simply follow you and you automatically follow them back. Who we follow reflects on who we are to the rest of the Twitter community. o DO NOT participate in chain letters. For example, “RT this and you will have good luck” – these are annoying, and will result in bad karma. Do NOT participate in hashtag campaigns like #TryThis1. o DO NOT advertise directly on Twitter. If we want to get attention for our brand, product or service, then we need to contribute content with enough value that people will read it. Promotions and sales-related information is best served up in a separate, clearly defined brand
  • 9. presence on Twitter. An example of this can be seen here: http://twitter.com/DellSmBizOffers. Brand presence of this kind will be discussed in the future and should not be created now before community testing and analysis.Tools & Applications Below is a list of Twitter tools & applications, broken down by category, that willhelp us manage, analyze, share info, and build our network. Please contact Tim Besecker(tim.besecker@advantagemedia.com or @TimBesecker on Twitter) for help in setting upand using these various Tools & Applications. • Twitter Management - o JustSignal - Set up a filter using Just Signal to get only the tweets that discuss the keywords we would like to read about. o TweetDeck – Desktop software that provides us with more organizational function than the Twitter website. It has a groups function that will help us more efficiently follow the people we really want to listen to. o Twilert - Track specific keywords to send and receive alerts. o Twalala - Put the mute button on certain people and topics for a while if we are receiving lots of updates we’re not really interested in. o TwitterSnooze - Put the pause button on a particular user for a specified period of time. o CoTweet - Powers company brands on Twitter by offering a business platform that supports both proactive marketing communication and response-driven customer support to engage existing users and attract new ones. A possible partner in the future. • Twitter Analysis – o Twitter Search - Easy way to start listening to brand relevant conversations by simply entering our brand name and related keywords. o Twist - View the volume of conversation about our brands and trends on keywords relevant to our industries.
  • 10. o Techrigy SM2 – Monitor and measure all social media, including Twitter, with this comprehensive tool. They offer a free account with up to 5 search words/phrases, and will store up to 1000 results. More robust services cost money. o Twinfluence – Measure your Twitter influence based on reach, velocity, and social capital.• Twitter Network Building – o Qwitter - Qwitter will help us manage our network better by sending an alert when a person unfollows us. o WiseStamp – Allows those of us that use Firefox browsers the ability to create professional looking email signatures with links to our Twitter & LinkedIn accounts. Please contact Tim Besecker (tim.besecker@advantagemedia.com or @TimBesecker on Twitter) for help in setting this up. o Nearby Tweets - Learn about all of the Twitter users in a specific geographic area. o TweetWheel - Discover which of our Twitter friends know each other. o Just Tweet It – Add our brand to this directory under the relevant categories to help users find us. This is also a place to easily find users interested in our specific industry. o Twellow - Add our brand to this Twitter “yellow pages” under the relevant categories to help users find us. This is also a place to easily find users interested in our specific industry. o Twibs - Add our brand to this business specific directory under the relevant categories, add keyword ("tags"), promotions, and additional links to help users find us. o Mr. Tweet - Personal networking assistant for Twitter that will help us find relevant followers.
  • 11. • Twitter Sharing Tools – o TwitterHawk – Provides targeted marketing on Twitter. This service costs money. o Twitturly – Track our brand website links and see how they rank and track what other users are doing with these links on Twitter. o TwitPic - Makes it easy to take mobile phone photos and share them using your Twitter account. This is a great for sharing while at a conference or show. o Twuffer – Allows us to compose a list of future tweets and schedule their release to help with our time management.• Twitter Information Gathering – o Retweetist - Ranks the most popular links being Retweeted on Twitter. o StrawPoll - Make sharing our opinion as easy as sending an @reply. This is a great way for us to quickly poll our users with a survey question and quick, informative feedback. o monitter – Lets us monitor the Twitter world through filtered, relevant keyword phrases in real time. See what people are saying and find potential new users that may be interested in what we have to offer. o TweetStalk – Allows us to follow our competition to see what they are doing without them knowing that we are following them.