Posts Tagged ‘media’

Twitter Dilemma: Follow Back the Followers of YOUR Grateful Followers?

March 3, 2010

I have a Twitter Dilemma.

I participate in Twitter’s “Follow Friday”, a weekly event in which Tweeps post the usernames of people, businesses, or other prolific users that are worthy of being followed.  The event helps me add new users, many of whom I have never seen prior to Friday.  In kind, I have my list of worthy users to add to the Follow Friday mix.  Over the weekend, I go through my followers’ Tweets marked with the hashtag #FF or #FollowFriday, clear indicators that the users listed with either hashtag are my followers’ recommendations.  I make it known to my new followees who referred them with a public Tweet, using the following format:

#FF @newUser recommended by: @myFollower #FollowFriday

My dilemma is this: I feel as though I should extend “Follow Friday” privileges to the users my followers publicly thank.  The Tweets of my grateful followers look something like this:

Thanks! RT @RTingUser1 @RTingUser2 @RTingUser3 @RTingUser4 @RTingUser5 … #Gratitude #Love #FF

If a “Thank You!” Tweet contains #FF, ostensibly, my followers are recommending that the users be followed, whether or not it’s Friday.  However, if the #FF hashtag is not included, is it alright to add the users my follower listed, anyway?

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Francis M. Unson

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Twitter: The anatomy of a Tweet for SMB promotion

January 25, 2010

Please retweetDisclosure: Valencia Welding, Inc. is a client.

Twitter has much promise in promoting small and medium businesses (SMB), which can use as much promoting and marketing across a widespread social media network as possible. How, then, should SMB’s produce compact, yet effective, messages, or Tweets, to promote themselves?

Example Tweet Unlabeled

Example Tweet Unlabeled

The Tweet, above, is one of a variety of Tweets that I use to promote my client, Valencia Welding, Inc. in Santa Clarita, California. To the untrained eye, the Tweet is intimidating, but if you befriend, or “follow”, other Twitter users that are very well-versed and knowledgeable in the use of Twitter (I recommend @TweetSmarter or @anthonystevens4), you will learn a lot about the medium. Below, I break down each part of the Tweet and why it is important.

Anatomy of a Tweet for SMB promotion

Anatomy of a Tweet for SMB promotion

“Client’s business name as a hashtag.” A hashtag is a word or phrase, preceded by a pound (#) sign, that allows it to be seen in Twitter’s public timeline. Furthermore, hashtags effectively index the word or phrase and allow it to be searched easily. Note that #ValenciaWelding is contained within a single hashtag with no spaces. If I attempted to create a hashtag in the following manner (#Valencia Welding, with a space in between), the hashtag would apply to “Valencia” but not “Welding”.

“City where business is located.” This is self-explanatory. I used up to five hashtags for the location of the client’s business because Valencia Welding is located in the community of Valencia, within the city limits of Santa Clarita Valley, CA. Locally, the city is referred to as “SCV”.

“Promoting the client as a Small and Medium Business.” This is also self-explanatory.

“Link to a blog with more information about the client.” The number of characters allowed for Tweets is limited to 140 characters, making Twitter a great medium for generating buzz. Like reading a newspaper, Tweets serve as attention-grabbing headlines, and a blog is the best place to give more information about the client.

“Twitter username of the social media company promoting the client.” My company’s username, @FlowerBlossoms, serves as a signature at the end of the Tweet.

Lastly, notice that I circled the number “33” at the upper right corner of the text box. That is the remaining number of characters allowed for the Tweet out of 140 characters. It is important that your Tweets are no more than 120 characters in length so that other people can forward, or “Re-Tweet”, your message to their followers.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please drop me a line.

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Francis M. Unson

To Tweet or Blog?

January 7, 2010

Do you Twitter, blog, or both?Before the rise of Twitter, bloggers wrote to their heart’s content, be it a short paragraph or longer, more elaborate entries with lots of detail and thought.  With Twitter’s arrival, people could tell the world within 140 characters what they were doing right now.  Does Twitter spell the end of blogging?

Not a chance.

Blogging, an evolutionary step from journal writing, cannot go away because of the character limitations inherent in Twitter’s design.  It comes as no surprise to me that people who write multiple Tweets complete their torrent by saying, “I probably should have written all this in a blog.”  A blog (a contraction of the term “web log”) allows us to write complete stories about anything we want.  Our limitation, therefore, rests in our ability to come up with what to write about.

Please retweetHow does Tweeting fit into the scheme of things?  While details are not immediately paramount to what we want to communicate through Twitter, the ability to catch peoples’ attention with our Tweets is.  In other words, a Tweet serves as an eye-catching headline.  Furthermore, Twitter developers and people who Tweet many times per day recommend that people should make their Tweets shorter than 140 characters for two reasons: to allow others to Re-Tweet a Tweet, and to allow for a link to a website that goes into further detail about the Tweet.

Bloggers have successfully communicated with others before Twitter’s arrival, and they will remain a presence the blogosphere.  On the other hand, people who have never written a single blog have embraced Twitter and have let the world know what is on their minds in 140-character increments.  The most ideal union, however, is a Tweeting blogger: a person that uses Twitter to generate interest for their blog.

Do you use Twitter, write a blog, or both?

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Francis M. Unson

Connectivity: The Most Important Element

December 31, 2009

Please retweetTowards the end of 2009, millions of people and thousands of businesses, large and small, have tapped into the power of social media.  Bloggers have leveraged the power of the written word, writing about a myriad of topics: The weather outside; product or service reviews; entertainment reviews; or their point of view about local and world events, among countless other topics.  Businesses, on the other hand, have leveraged social media to promote their existing website and provide customer service and feedback.  Tech-savvy bloggers and businesses owners have leveraged social media technology in order to promote themselves across a wide array of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.  Does so much connectivity mean that people and businesses can succeed in promotions and marketing using just these tools?

Yes and no.

Bloggers with strong followings need only continue to write.  No, we do not have to write every single day, but as long as we provide output every few days and remain responsive to the people who read and comment on our entries, we won’t disappear from the blogosphere.

Business owners, on the other hand, focus first and foremost on their business.  The use of signage, printed ads in the newspaper and Yellow Pages, and even local television or radio coverage may be more commonplace in regards to marketing for most businesses, but the use of social media is, indeed, foreign territory.  Some business owners make an attempt to enter the realm of social media, setting up an account with Facebook or Twitter and updating their profiles or making Tweets in the beginning.  Sooner or later, however, business owners fall back on their business, retreating from the use of social media and returning to their accounts, but usually only if an occasional user decides to add them.

Does all seem lost for business owners that have seemingly failed to embrace social media?  Not in the slightest.  The hundreds of millions of users on social networking sites are seemingly a great source of potential customers.  Some business owners, however, may still see social media as a novelty that does not fit the needs of their business.  While they are not yet ready to embrace this new form of marketing and promotion, what they do fall back on is possibly the most important element in business: the human element.

Why do businesses have repeat customers?  A large part of the answer concerns the business’ ability to create a customer-centered experience.  Businesses must focus on the customer experience at all levels of the business, without relegating the role to marketing or operations alone.  The impression left on the customers by a business intent on winning their loyalty is much more favorable and positive than the impression left by businesses whose intent is to sell, and nothing else.

Business owners may choose to go forward into 2010 without any changes to their exiting marketing plans including the use of social media.  Even if they do decide to embrace social media, it can not be used to separate the human element that endears customers to the businesses.  Technology or otherwise, people come first.

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Francis M. Unson