Sunday, 3 April 2011

Tweeting off your Face..a BIG no no (and other wisdom)

This may well me one of my first deadly serious blog posts. Meaning that if you are not at all interested in the topic you should stop reading right about now and perhaps go here...Twin Babies Conversing...amusing no? The first point to make is that the question "Facebook & Twitter: Serious business tools, or just messing around?"almost treats; a. A serious business approach and b. just messing around as mutually exclusive concepts. In my opinion if you are using Facebook(FB) and Twitter(Twt) as a business and you are not sometimes messing around you are making a big mistake. You have mis-judged the space that is social media and are regarding it as just another marketing (sales, advertising, and PR) platform.

The great thing about these social media platforms, and the reason that every marketing manager wants to do well in this space, is that having come from an environment where we have for years been sending information out in a unidirectional manner, all of a sudden we have the promise of an open channel of communication. A conversation. Oh the excitement!

Initially Social Media seemed to hold the promise of breaking though the barriers of the attention economy. But like every new medium, it eventually becomes old and with it the return of the old problem of how to get noticed on Twt and FB.

" an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it" Simon 1971 pp.40-40

But before we get onto that I should note here that Facebook and Twitter are actually quite disparate platforms, and thus should be treated as such by the business user. From a personal perspective I actually find Twt quite a lot more difficult to use, and less rewarding. There are several reason for this but mostly:

1. Because you often have to send people away from the stream to read anything other than the 140 letter limit, and based on my own experience people do not like to navigate away from the page they are on unless highly motivated to do so.

2. It's also much harder to build, and keep track of relationships on Twitter as comments and retweets etc have a much more separate nature from each other than Facebook. Many businesses simply use an application to sync their Twitter and Facebook Updates, by using an application such as the Twitter App on Facebook.This is a mistake! Use each platform in a way that is more suited to it's specifications and remember that if someone is interested enough to follow you on one, then it is quite likely that they may follow you on another - see my comments on spam that follow.

3. Twitter sucks up more staff resource that Facebook. Twitter needs more tweets per day than Facebook needs status updates (1-2). Twitter also (as previously touched on)relies on other platforms, so in some cases there is some double handling, where as often,comparatively, FB is a one stop shop.

Keep it cool

This is where the "messing around" bit comes in. Social media is voyeuristic. People want to know about the people behind the brand. What is the company personality? Please please please have one - a personality that is. Your followers will be much more interested in what you have to say if what you have to say is a little personal. It doesnt hurt to have multiple professionals in your business tweeting. From my perspective there is nothing better than a CEO or CTO or equivalent that tweets, blogs and/or publishes on Facebook.

Save the Jargon for the Board Room
Cut out that marketing language. People want to know that a real person is tapping that information out. If the only people you want to talk to on Twt and FB are other Business Owners, then take it to LinkedIn and spare everyone the boredom. There is some room for B2B marketing on FB and Twit, but if that's what youre doing on there, and if you're not occassionally having fun, don't expect any end users to follow you.

Don't Spam
Facebook and Twitter has
for personal users become a real community in their consciousness. They don't want to clutter up their newsfeeds with Marketing Messages in Spam-like proportions (Twitter with it's short messages and fast moving nature will tolerate this more but not much more) So you had a lot happen at your company today? There was the new product launch, the 521 media items it produced online in a 3 hr period, your CEO wrote a piece for the company blog etc. That's lovely. But there is no need to produce 5 status items out of this information. Choose wisely and be sure to mix it up. No one wants to hear the same message everyday.

Use the tools around you

If you are an up to date kind gal or guy you can run an entire marketing campaign online for absolutely nothing. It pays to know about all of the free stuff you can grab to enhance the end users Twt or FB experience. From surveys programs like wufoo to do it yourself animations like xtranormal (in which I published my last poem for this blog) I am discovering new and varied ways to up the ante everyday and the only place I need to look is in my own personal FB stream, my friends use FB like it's going out of business and it is wise to pay attention to what your savvy friends are posting/laughing at. The point being; previously we addressed the point about not posting the same information daily; well, now, we are addressing the point about not posting in the exact same form daily. Mix up your media and cut through all the same same. Warning - if you drive people back to your business website continually they will eventually stop following your links. This is why I made the decision for our business to host our blog on Blogger, insisted that our CEO and CTO post blog items, as well as myself, and asked them to keep the language, and some of the topics accessible.

Be Responsive
So now that you have it, make sure that you respond to your followers. People who follow companies on Twt and FB have reported that they have been able to resolve problems by posting complaints on the walls/feeds of the relevant company. This is FANTASTIC! This kind of translucency is exactly what users are looking for. Some people have claimed that SM has rekindled good old fashioned customer service. And the reason for this of course is because people are watching. Of course people are also watching to see how well you as a company handle, and how quickly you resolve the situation, and in the end this is a WIN for you. At this juncture I would also like to make a complaint about ninemsn. Who provided NO reasonable platforms for me to make complaint about their gratuitous selling of advertising space on the front on of news items about the severe loss of human life in Japan. They have a FB page, and posting to their wall is disabled. This is not what social media is about ninemsn!

An important note about "going viral" - A case study
I recently launched our business FB site. We went from 7 followers (staff I forced to follow us) to 50 followers. But please don't think that they followed out of the kindness of their hearts. I sent out video invitations to quite a significant mailing list and the promise to be in the running to win an iPhone4 in the process. The competition closes this Friday. The point of this little diatribe is to illustrate that ROI on social media is extremely hard to measure. I will tell you however that we have gained 2 proof of concept trials that could net us 10's of thousands of dollars, opened many a discussion on highly technical aspects of network monitoring and reestablished relationships with contacts that we have not heard from in some time, all in the period of 3 weeks. This may sound like small fry, and we are a small company, but in fact these wins have incalculable value.

I should also mention that every one of our followers is market relevant. There was one horror moment when I realised that a Twitter user, who collects competitions and publishes them to his stream had included us in his mad ravings. I do not want 1282 followers who have nothing to do with our space but fancy their chances of winning an iPhone. Sheesh..If I wanted that I would have opened it up to my friends (who are in fact much more likely to need a free iPhone than my peers). Long story short; Going Viral aint all that in some cases.

Happy Web 2.0 My friends.


  1. I read both yours and T-Bone's entries and meant to reply to both, and then OMFG realised I had to run out the door to go to a stupid meeting, so of course now you'll think I'm only replying because you asked why people don't comment on your posts. But what occurred to me as I read yours was how much more eloquently you said it all compared with me. I have a horrible tendency to wander off in tangents. I like that yours is focussed and knows where it's going from the beginning (and is cohesive and clear).

  2. ha...tis funny because that's what I think when I read envy?
    You will probably know by now that if Im a bit weird about something I tend to say so, I'd rather do that than develop paranoia and stew...
    Its like that idiots you go to dinner with who get a bad meal and just sit there and whine about it rather than fixing the situation...I am not one of those people...cleary :D Thanks Elisa

  3. i have a short attention span and am a really bad reader and I was going to comment but didn't want to say anything becasue you obviously put heaps of effort into it but trusies ( i have know idea how to spell either so that true-s-ies )it was very informative but possibly too informative to hold my attention... am I bad now for saying that.. but then mine was really long too so ... i really am a shit reader

  4. That's my other paranoia thing about my own work. I always think my stuff is too long and people will get bored. Even though I don't get bored reading other people's stuff, I worry that mine's all filler and little substance.

  5. my biggest fear is not spelling good and stuf