This post is directed to all the individuals that just love Twitter and can’t understand why so many businesses don’t just jump in.
Over the last month or so, I’ve had conversations with individuals from Lowes HQ, Family Dollar HQ, Allen Tate executives, and others. These conversations range from brief discussions at a trade shows to consulting to teaching personalized classes.
When you actually talk with businesses about Social Media, it becomes clearer why they have not simply “jumped in”. It also becomes clearer that most individuals that simply use Social Media do not appreciate the difference.
Why You Love Twitter
If you personally use Twitter, you probably like it for these reasons…
Connecting with Others
Fun and/or Learning
Access to Others
The more you use Social Media, the more you think more businesses should do so also. After all, wouldn’t it be great to find, connect, learn, stay informed, and access ALL individuals and ALL businesses?
But it’s not quite that easy.
Why Businesses are Scared of Twitter
Even small businesses need to think twice before just jumping in.
At first, Twitter looks like a great marketing opportunity. And it is! After all, check out these stats…
Radio – 38 years to reach 50 million listeners
Television – 13 years to reach 50 million users
Internet – 4 years to reach 50 million people
Facebook – 9 months to add 100 million users
Twitter isn’t on that list, but you get the idea. Social Media is huge. And marketing wants to jump all over it. Go where the people are!
But when your marketing department starts using Twitter, it quickly finds out that people will start talking back. (This media is two-way. It’s not like radio, tv, and magazines!)
So Twitter becomes a customer service issue. With a little imagination, it’s not hard to see how it could become a legal issue, a PR issue, and even an HR issue.
It’s Just Not as Easy for Businesses
See why businesses want to have a plan for using Social Media? See why they all need a Social Media Policy document? (I’ll be posting more about that later.)
So if you are an individual that simply USES Social Media, please be nice to the small and large businesses out there. Many of them want to get involved, but they are going to do it at their own speed. Many of them are making remarkable progress, too.
Let’s be supportive and assist where we can.
Social Media Training
If you are ready to move past just USING Social Media and want to start Social Media MARKETING, please check out our class on it. The next one is September 24, 25.
RSS is dead? What does that mean? Why is Twitter better?
I’m getting this question more and more from students, clients, etc. Others bloggers at TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, and others have cast their vote. Here are my thoughts…
For those of you that are not familiar with RSS, don’t worry about what it stands for. (No one really knows for sure and it doesn’t matter anyway.) More importantly here is what RSS DOES…
RSS is the method used to track blogs and other content that is updated online. You typically use an RSS reader such as Google Reader. You tell the reader which RSS feeds (typically blogs) you want to keep track of. Then, you can use the reader to see the latest updates on all the RSS feeds you track.
Here’s the problem…
If you’ve used a RSS reader (many have not), you will likely realize that this feels a lot more like work than fun. Every time you look at your reader, you typically have tons of new “unread stuff”. This new stuff may make you feel like you’re missing out. Or even worse, you may spend more and more time trying to keep up on all of it.
Keeping up on email is already a chore for some. Who needs this extra stuff that keeps building up, right?
Well, not really.
Just like anything else, you need to control it. It should not control you. Personally, I still use an RSS reader to track all of the “announcements” from each of the official blogs of each search engine. I check it now and then and only read what is interesting to me. It’s a good way to make sure I don’t miss anything important in my primary industry (search engine marketing).
So why is RSS dead? Why is Twitter better?
RSS will always have a place and is not really dead. Nor will it ever die. It’s a great tool, for many other reasons besides using an RSS reader as described as above.
However, many do prefer watching Twitter instead of an RSS reader. Why? It’s more fun! Also, it’s easier!
See, when you watch Twitter, you will get links to blog posts in your industry (if you follow the right people). However, you don’t get links to EVERY post. You just get the ones that the people you follow recommend. This serves as a natural filter and therefore there is less to keep up on.
Also, it has to do with the way people view the Twitter stream. Many do not try to read EVERY tweet. If some tweets pass by you (especially if you follow a lot of people), it’s no big deal.
See? Less stress.
So what does this mean to you?
If you are a blogger, you probably already link to your new posts from your Twitter account. Smart.
But why not create another Twitter account that will automatically mention whenever you create a new post? We’re doing that over here.
At Social Fresh yesterday, David Armano gave a fantastic keynote presentation on “Social Business by Design”. The information was fantastic and his comments were very insightful, primarily for larger businesses.
I was sitting next to a couple of interesting individuals from a Fortune 50 company and they especially appreciated his insight into how businesses should and will eventually use Social Media.
However, one of his slides did not make sense to me.
That just did not make sense to me. How could all people be using Facebook to share content more than email, for example.
If it were true, it would be quite amazing.
However, if you look close enough, you will notice the source is from “AddToAny”. And if you go to their site, you will notice that they are simply a widget. This widget is put on web pages (typically blogs) that enable visitors to let others know about that particular page.
So the chart is actually showing which of these options are used most ON THIS WIDGET.
Obviously, Facebook would win that battle.
Why? It’s easy to use.
But I’m sure there are a whole lot of people that simply copy the url and forward it to their friends via Twitter, Email, and even Instant Messaging that would never show up on a chart like this. They just don’t bother with the widget and therefore don’t show up on the chart.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying David Armano is misleading or attempting to mislead anyone. He’s clearly very intelligent. But if you are wondering how people share content, this may not be the best chart.
Yesterday’s Social Fresh conference in Charlotte, NC by Jason Keath was an excellent opportunity for locals to connect and learn. Jason deserves a huge pat on the back for pulling off the largest and best Internet conference this city has seen (so far).
One thing is for sure, Social Media is growing strong in Charlotte.
For example, last year it was pretty tricky to just come up with 70 or so Twitter addresses. Yet, last week I came up with over 200 in one night. Within 24 hours, I collected 300+ Charlotte Twitter users.
So no matter what your situation is, how do you get more involved? The panel I moderated yesterday at the event had some nice thoughts. I don’t have their exact comments, but here were some of the sentiments I caught…
Don’t worry too much about getting started. Just do it.
Follow others that have your same interests.
If you are doing it for business, be helpful and talk nice.
Include some personality, yet don’t just talk about yourself.
Don’t talk at people, talk with them.
If you make mistakes, admit them and move on.
Of course, if you are using Twitter simply for personal use, do whatever you want. But for those of us that are doing it both for personal and for business, just think before you speak (or type).
That’s it! Don’t over-think it. Just jump in!
The reason I made the “top 300+” list is so that those of us in Charlotte know exactly who else does this hear. Go follow those people that interest you. (Or all of them!)
Watch, listen, reach out, assist, & connect with them.
If you don’t understand Twitter, you can check out my book or Brandon’s book. Once you get started, I would also encourage you use a tool like HootSuite to keep it all straight.
If you want to use Twitter more specifically for marketing, learn more here.
In preparation for the Social Fresh conference next week, I thought I would revise my list from last year. As I got going, it was too easy to come up with a top 100. (Which was not easy last year.) So I’ve expanded it to 300!
NOTE: After just one day, the list went from 211 to 300. Leave a comment below if I missed you.
This year it’s broken up into Marketers, Other people, Businesses, & Sports.
I’ve tried to only include only those that are actively using Twitter. If you don’t see someone who should be on the list, check the bottom of this post on how to get it added.
ARE WE MISSING SOMEONE? Sorry! It’s hard to list everyone. But you should know that this is my personal list, not a complete list. As such, I’m not including what I call the 6 P’s —> Pills, Porn, Poker, Profanity, Politics, and Preachers. Please don’t take offense. It’s just a personal policy.
Every now and then I hear something that just doesn’t make sense to me and I feel impelled to try to fix it. I know I can’t, but perhaps if a few of my readers feel the same way, we can at least inform our friends. We may not change the world, but perhaps we can try to clear up a misconception.
I heard two very informed individuals both say that “Twitter is a fire hose”. There is so much information in there that you could never keep up with it.
From a purely technical standpoint, there is some truth to it. But the comment paints a very scary picture that most normal people would avoid.
Let’s think about this for a minute. How many television channels do you get? How many websites are there? How many radio stations are there? How many phone numbers are there? How many email addresses are there?
All of those are media. Each one is a medium. The definition of media? Glad you asked…
In communication, media (singular medium) are the storage and transmission tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is often referred to as synonymous with mass media or news media, but may refer to a single medium used to communicate any data for any purpose.
If your television, radio, or telephone bothers you, shut it off. If you don’t like something you see or hear on any of these, change the channel. You can do these same things on Twitter. Shut it off or un-follow.
I read a fantastic quote this week by 17th-century educator John Amos Comenius. He wrote…
“To teach means scarcely anything more than to show how things differ from one another in their different purposes, forms, and origins. . . . Therefore, he who differentiates well – teaches well.”
So true. To really learn anything, a key ingredient is knowing and understanding the differences.
So let’s apply this to Internet Marketing, especially Social Media Marketing. There are differences between the various forms of Internet Marketing, such as SEO, PPC, Social. Within Social Media Marketing, there are differences between Facebook and Twitter, etc.
Knowing and understanding those differences enable a business owner or marketer to spend his time more wisely and efficiently. It also instills confidence so that they can work harder without looking back and wondering if they are “doing it right”.
These are some of the other differences that became apparent when Brandon and I taught our first Charlotte Social Media Marketing class last week…
The difference between the outcome you desire…
The differences between…
Developing a Social Media Marketing strategy
Developing a Social Media Marketing plan
The various forms of Social Media…
The various Facebook components…
The various twitter tools…
The various content you can microblog about…
The various ways of determining ROI…
…and the list goes on and on.
Brandon and I spent two days in a classroom with 8 other students. And by the end of it, after reviewing everything we taught and hearing the feedback from the various students, I feel like we now know how to teach this stuff.
The key is knowing the differences.
Differentiation is learned through practice and experience. But it is also learned through watching the reaction on faces and hearing the expressions from those that have learned from us in the past.
The same could be applied to learning most anything. Learn the differences and you’re on your way to greater understanding and wisdom (applied learning).
If you still don’t get the connection between New Media and Social Media, no one says it better than Gary Vaynerchuk. His latest interview is with CNN. Of course, he absolutely blew the interviewers away – as usual.
The blog post below was written by my colleague Jason Keath. Jason is a Social Media Consultant and overall smart guy. I think you’ll enjoy his comments below, particularly targeted at marketers that understand SEO already.
Thanks to Corey for the opportunity to share my thoughts.
SEO and Social Media are becoming fast friends. I am a firm believer that SEO is of greater importance to most companies doing business online. That picture is changing, but SEO is not going anywhere. But neither is Social Media. Both industries need to begin thinking more like the other. I think there are some basic mindsets in Social Media that could benefit any SEO campaign. They all revolve around one main concept, how to engage the customer once they find you online
From Keyword Rich to Rich Content There are a few blog tools out there built around driving keyword rich blog landing pages. These are very cool products and can be effective if used correctly, but can easily assign a factory role to your content, churning out keywords and mess. There is a ceiling on the effectiveness of these strategies and they will never grow community or word of mouth. At the end of the day SEO should be a step toward getting a new customer, not just getting them to the site. Driving targeted traffic is only the first step. Produce content that looks beyond getting them to the page and focuses on keeping them there.
Think Discussion Not Content Yes, content is king. Yes, you should offer value and solid information and lots of it. But beyond that, what you really want is discussion. What is the difference? I could love every little piece of video, blog post, game, and photo you post. It may even make me return to your site. But wouldn’t you also like to get me talking? If I comment, forward to a friend, tweet, complain even, I am putting effort towards your content. I am a contributor. I am a champion. I am growing your audience for you.
To find what drives discussion within your niche, search sites like Digg.com, YouTube.com, and StumbleUpon.com for the top posts with your keywords. Also dig into top blogs for your niche to see which kind of posts have the most comments.
Don’t Own the Audience, Let the Audience Own You Building community is a great goal, but can be abstract. When working on SEO, try to offer opportunities for the user to work for you. Building link bait is the basic premise here, but it is more than that. I can throw something on my blog to link to your site and it will help you, but will most likely just sit there, passively, waiting to be irrelevant. Drive the user to contribute. Let them create your next blog post, design your next product or event, assign them tasks, interview them. Give them ownership in your marketing and the search results with blossom.