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A Practical Guide to Twittering for Business


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Twitter is all the rage, with celebrities, politicians and business leaders all jumping on the chance to provide real time information and feedback to their followers. But naysayers have questioned its value as a serious communications tool for change.

Find out the techniques and strategies for effective Twitter use that can make the difference between success and failure, that can dramatically drive up understanding and communication of your message. Learn what to avoid so you don't run into social or legal trouble.

Published in: Education, Technology

A Practical Guide to Twittering for Business

  1. 1. A Practical Guide to Twittering for Business (Reminder: our hash tag for today is #twiz ) Chris Abraham President and COO [email_address] @chrisabraham Daniel Krueger Director of Client Services [email_address] @d13vk US +1 202 657 4769 UK +44 20 8144 5671 DE +49 30 7012 5980 Site Blog
  2. 2. “ Markets are Conversations” <ul><li>“ Through the Internet, the people in your markets are discovering and inventing new ways to converse. They're talking about your business. They're telling one another the truth, in very human voices.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can't be faked.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Cluetrain Manifesto, 1999, by Chris Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, David Weinberger </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  3. 3. @FreshAirFund as Exemplar
  4. 4. How to Prospect an Audience
  5. 5. Prospecting an Audience
  6. 6. Prospecting an Audience
  7. 7. <ul><li>To kick-start your new profile – or to accelerate your current profile, you need step up and sacrifice your own address books in service of the initial prospecting </li></ul><ul><li>You can use Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail & MSN </li></ul><ul><li>Pass the profile to your clients and across your staff members and have them upload their address books as well (especially useful if your client is international) </li></ul>Prospecting an Audience
  8. 8. <ul><li>We generally follow people who are already on Twitter; however, if you have a strong relationship with your friends and contacts, consider inviting them via email </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a mailing list, consider popping your friends' and associates emails into the “invite by email” box </li></ul><ul><li>Why not also follow the “suggested users” that Twitter recommends </li></ul>Prospecting an Audience
  9. 9. Following People on Twitter
  10. 10. <ul><li>Follow everyone you are allowed to right away. </li></ul><ul><li>This is an important first step for alerting the Twittersphere that you're alive! </li></ul><ul><li>Don't worry if your prospecting is targeted. </li></ul><ul><li>Getting return follows is the goal and only interested parties will end up following back anyway. </li></ul><ul><li>You never know what people will like. </li></ul>Following People on Twitter
  11. 11. <ul><li>There is a limit of how many folks you can follow – it is a ratio of how many people are following you back </li></ul><ul><li>We generally follow as many people as we can at first, just to get the momentum started </li></ul><ul><li>We're not committed to anyone following us back, because the initial prospecting is not targeted at all </li></ul><ul><li>Often, we quickly take advantage of the number of people on Twitter who automatically follow-back </li></ul>Following People on Twitter
  12. 12. Following-Back and Unfollowing Non-Followers
  13. 13. <ul><li>When you follow lots of people through prospecting, you can actually hurt organic growth by following way more than you're followed. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to stop following people who refuse to follow you back in order to give you the freedom to follow back users who are following you. </li></ul>Following-Back and Unfollowing Non-Followers
  14. 14. <ul><li>We use SocialToo's premium services to both unfollow people who don't follow us back and to follow back all of the people who have chosen to follow us. </li></ul><ul><li>When we're finished unfollowing and following-back – catching up, then we go back and invite more people via email and via our webmail address books. </li></ul><ul><li>This back and forth gets the ball rolling. </li></ul>Following-Back and Unfollowing Non-Followers
  15. 15. Follow the Influencers and the People They Follow
  16. 16. Follow the Influencers and the People They Follow
  17. 17. <ul><li>If you have a little time on your hands, cruise Twitter for the biggest influencers. </li></ul><ul><li>You can find top influencers by going to Twitterholic, , and check out the top Twitterers in the world and try following them. </li></ul><ul><li>If you want to focus, check out WeFollow, , and search for people in your space, for example in #digitalPR or in #nonprofit. </li></ul>Follow the Influencers and the People They Follow
  18. 18. <ul><li>Once you locate (and follow) the top people in your space, roll up your sleeves and try digging into the people they're following and try following them as well. </li></ul><ul><li>This is hard work, but so worth it. </li></ul><ul><li>You can even automatically follow people who mention certain keywords using services like Twollow, </li></ul>Follow The Influencers and the People They Follow
  19. 19. FAF Twitter Message Modeling
  20. 20. <ul><li>Twitter might appeal like a casual communication medium; however, it is also an official media outlet for any company or organization and needs to be treated as such. </li></ul><ul><li>At Abraham Harrison, we work with our clients to approve 25-50 approved brand “tweets”. </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of the Fresh Air Fund, they demand we never use FAF instead of Fresh Air Fund. </li></ul><ul><li>Had we not gotten approval, we might have never known such things. </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to replies and direct messages should be organic and human while still being on message. Always ask for boundaries. </li></ul>FAF Twitter Message Modeling
  21. 21. Crossposting Retweets via
  22. 22. <ul><li>Most burgeoning Twitter profiles don't have many followers, initially </li></ul><ul><li>We use retweeting as a method of amplifying client message using Twitter profiles that have a longer life and more followers </li></ul><ul><li>In this instance, my team has the login and password to my personal account, allowing staff members to retweet client message to the 6,600+ followers </li></ul><ul><li>Ping allows comprehensive status update cross posts to most social network sites and blogs </li></ul>Crossposting Retweets via
  23. 23. Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts <ul><li>If you have a practice where you need to manage, respond to, and update multiple Twitter profiles, there are a number of services that allow that, including HootSuite (free), TweetLater (paid), and Seesmic Desktop (free download) </li></ul><ul><li>HootSuite allows one to sent one message to one or more of your accounts, allowing cross-posting. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-posting may be appropriate (on @chrisabraham , @marcon , and @abrahamharison , cross-posting corporate info might be appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, retweeting is more apt. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Seesmic Desktop (left) is our new fave tool to help manage, update, and respond to multiple campaigns from one desktop too. </li></ul><ul><li>PC and Apple friendly </li></ul>
  25. 25. Automating Tedious Twitter Tasks
  26. 26. <ul><li>Tweet Later allows you to queue-up tweets all-at-once for multiple accounts and then have them tweeted over time, amongst other services such as auto-follow, auto-welcome, and other such services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage My Scheduled Tweets and Twitter Account Automation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delegate the Management of a Twitter Account </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>View All My Scheduled Tweets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add a New Scheduled Tweet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vet My New Followers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look At My @Replies Bird's Eye View </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage My Tweet Keyword Tracking & Alerts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>TwitterFeed allows you to feed your blog posts into your Twitter feed, which is a very powerful and commonly-used tool </li></ul>Automating Tedious Twitter Tasks
  27. 27. Resist the Auto-Welcome DM Temptation
  28. 28. <ul><li>Tools like Tweet Later are a double-edged sword </li></ul><ul><li>While auto-follow and auto-unfollow tools are handy and convenient, tools like &quot;Automatically send a welcome message to new followers&quot; and &quot;All welcome messages are sent as Direct Messages&quot; are now a severe breach of protocol, arguably </li></ul><ul><li>As you can see to the left – my own personal account DM Inbox – you can tell that none of these messages come across as being sincere; in fact, many of them are downright aggressive and rude, overtly promoting products and services </li></ul><ul><li>If you choose to use an auto-welcome message, make it DM-only and stick with something simple like: “Thanks so much for following me.” </li></ul>Avoid the Auto-Welcome DM Temptation
  29. 29. Twitter is Now: When You Should Tweet <ul><li>While they may call Twitter a microblogging platform, please don't confuse tweeting with blogging. </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter has more in common with IM, ham radio, and commercial radio than it has with blogging </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Since more and more of the most influential Twitterers are following thousands of other Twitterers, one cannot assume that anyone will see your tweet unless you're tweet pops up in their “river” of tweets while they're reading their tweets. </li></ul><ul><li>People tend to tweet the most in the early morning, during lunch, in the afternoon, and maybe in the evening. There are 3 time zones in the USA. </li></ul>Twitter is Now: When You Should Tweet
  31. 31. <ul><li>If you're only going to tweet a couple times-a-day, then you should choose noon and 3 pm eastern time (9am and noon pacific time). </li></ul><ul><li>If you plan to Twitter aggressively, try tweeting at 9am, noon, 3pm, and 6pm Eastern (which is 6am, noon, and 3pm Pacific time), which should cover the spread. </li></ul>Twitter is Now: When You Should Tweet
  32. 32. Growth of @FreshAirFund Over Time <ul><li>Since we have implemented the strategies we have outlined, we have been able to blow the carbon out of the @FreshAirFund Twitter campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-promoting the @FreshAirFund Twitter account via email, Facebook Groups and Pages has helped accelerate the profile of their Twitter account. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Cross-posting, via posting or retweeting to a cross-posting status-update service like, can leverage other social networking and blogging platforms to broaden the reach of Twitter messages. </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook offers excellent tools to allow Twitter updates to cross-post to Facebook pages. </li></ul>Growth of @FreshAirFund Over Time
  34. 34. <ul><li>Creating interesting content encourages Retweeting while aggressively retweeting within our own networks of thousands and followers over various social networks grows followers. </li></ul><ul><li>Joining SocialToo's premium services earlier this month for a total of $10 – auto follow-back catch-up and auto unfollow catch up – we were able to increase the number of followers by 800 followers. </li></ul>Growth of @FreshAirFund Over Time
  35. 35. Twitter Isn't a Broadcast Medium
  36. 36. <ul><li>It is easy enough not to participate – stars are tweeting as if Twitter were a broadcast medium. It isn't. </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter is a community and offers many opportunities for conversation, praise, interaction, and replies. </li></ul><ul><li>We thank everyone who mentions or retweets @freshairfund, especially during #followfriday. </li></ul>Twitter Isn't a Broadcast Medium
  37. 37. Twitter Isn't a Broadcast Medium <ul><li>#followfriday is a weekly opportunity for tweeple, tweeps, and Twitterers to share the people who they're currently following who they recommend for others to follow. What a gift of support! </li></ul>
  38. 38. Search and Engage with Your Tweeps
  39. 39. Search and Engage with Your Tweeps <ul><li>Actively searching for and engaging with folks on Twitter who are tweeting about you, your brand, your space, and your services is an amazing way to reach out, make friends, build brand, and make connections </li></ul><ul><li>Follow everyone with whom you engage! </li></ul><ul><li>Comcast, Network Solutions, and Ford have made their Social Media reps by doing “active support” under @comcastcares, @netsol / @shashib, and @scottmonty </li></ul>
  40. 40. Search and Engage with Your Tweeps <ul><li>Don't rely on folks to always explicitly address you using your handle </li></ul><ul><li>Set up searches and alerts using one or more keyword phrases for your products, executives, and IP. </li></ul><ul><li> is an awesome start but we use TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop's search tools to keep up with multiple terms </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li> and both offer “Google Alert”-style keyword alerts via email. </li></ul><ul><li>TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop both offer persistent searches and the ability to reply and respond to mentions. </li></ul><ul><li>Think twice about responding to negative comments unless you can solve their issue right there and then. </li></ul>Search and Engage with Your Tweeps
  42. 42. Search and Engage with Your Tweeps
  43. 43. No Twitter Community-Building Panacea <ul><li>All community-building takes time </li></ul><ul><li>There are many promises but few panaceas </li></ul><ul><li>If you're a big celebrity or brand already, you're golden! </li></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>If you're not a star, that's fine – thousands of people are interested in what you have to say... </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency, transparency, openness, and responsiveness are essential. </li></ul><ul><li>Building community is a marathon and not a sprint. </li></ul>No Twitter Community-Building Panacea
  45. 45. <ul><li>You will be proffered many offers from folks online who will promise you 10,000 followers overnight. Always consider what is more important: quality or quantity </li></ul><ul><li>@FreshAirFund has ~1,800 followers but has been online since mid-October, 2008, and has been fed, watered, cross-promoted, pruned, and grown every day, especially over the last couple-few months </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a rapport, a conversation, and, ultimately, a community, requires consistency! </li></ul>No Twitter Community-Building Panacea
  46. 46. From Your Blog to Twitter's Sphere
  47. 47. <ul><li>If you're not yet ready to commit to investing resources in Twitter for your business, it is very important to claim your handle both for future use and to prevent it from being used by anyone else. </li></ul><ul><li>@FrankLuntz was controlled by a 20-something who had a laugh at Frank's expense – it was not done in malice, but it was not him. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a blog or other social media properties that offer RSS feeds, consider feeding it through your Twitter account by using a tool such as Twitter Feed or RSStoTwitter </li></ul><ul><li>If you're using Wordpress, you can install Twitter Tools plugin-in ; if you're using Drupal, use the Twitter module ... </li></ul>From Your Blog to Twitter's Sphere
  48. 48. From Your Blog to Twitter's Sphere
  49. 49. Our Blog : Thank You for Attending Today’s Webinar!