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Posts Tagged ‘social’
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?
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?
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.
“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.
Tags:business, california, clarita, marketing, media, networking, promotion, santa, SCV, smb, social, tonystevens4, TweetSmarter, twitter, valencia, welding
Posted in Blogging, Santa Clarita, Small Business, Social Networking, Technology | Leave a Comment »
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.
How 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?
Sometimes, I wonder what kind of support system people had before the rise of the Internet and telecommunications. It was certainly much easier for people who lived in urban or suburban areas to gain access to support groups such as those that dealt with terminal illness, weight-loss, or quitting smoking, among many others. However, many people who lived in rural areas were often left without such a support system, often turning to the people of their community, if they offered any help at all.
The Internet as we know it exploded in popularity since it became commercially available in 1993. From 1993 to 2003, we made use of Web 1.0 technology, generally defined by the following characteristics:
- Static pages instead of dynamic user-generated content.
- The use of framesets.
- Proprietary HTML extensions such as the <blink> and <marquee> tags introduced during the first browser war.
- Online guestbooks.
- GIF buttons, typically 88×31 pixels in size promoting web browsers and other products.
- HTML forms sent via email. A user would fill in a form, and upon clicking submit their email client would attempt to send an email containing the form’s details.
From 2004 to the present, our usage of the Internet and the way we interact on it changed considerably and is duly defined within the parameters of Web 2.0 which include:
- Search: Finding information through keyword search.
- Links: Connects information together into a meaningful information ecosystem using the model of the Web, and provides low-barrier social tools.
- Authoring: The ability to create and update content leads to the collaborative work of many rather than just a few web authors. In wikis, users may extend, undo and redo each other’s work. In blogs, posts and the comments of individuals build up over time.
- Tags: Categorization of content by users adding one-word descriptions to facilitate searching, without dependence on pre-made categories. This is referred to as “folksonomy”.
- Extensions: Software that makes the Web an application platform as well as a document server.
- Signals: The use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.
People were certainly impressed with each others’ websites to varying degrees when Web 1.0 technology was here. Alas, the technology became passé and people transitioned to newer technology. Even before the transition, however, people have become more social as a result of the Internet. Casual Web designers created their websites on places such as GeoCities and Angelfire (remember those websites?) with static content and waited for people to visit their websites and post a guestbook entry, perhaps fellow website designers with their own sites to promote. Vincent Flanders archived the techniques that worked and didn’t work here.
MySpace was literally on the cusp of the transition between Web 1.0 and 2.0 as the first few million users designed and created their profiles in a similar manner as described above. However, Facebook embraced Web 2.0 technology from the start, forcing MySpace to play catch up. The use of an application and chat bar on the bottom of the browser window is evidence that both websites use Web 2.0 technology.
Has Web technology improved, allowing us to communicate with people in different states, provinces and countries, seemingly without borders? While it has in many ways, the improvement has made communicating with people wherever they are from more convenient. In other words, people have already found ways to communicate with those far and wide even when technology was, well, primitive at first. People who feel isolated from their own communities for one reason or another have turned to the Internet to find people with whom they can communicate. Ostensibly, the first people to use the Internet to communicate relied solely on words in bulletin board systems, or BBS, and later on, chatrooms. Nowadays, we have YouTube, Skype, and webcam applications built into instant messenger applications to serve the same purpose although we still use chatrooms. Meanwhile, the rise of social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook have allowed people to find each other online more easily than ever. If the Internet is the Wild West and we are the sheep, scattered about across vast swaths of grassy plains, social networking websites using Web 2.0 technology is the cowboy that herds us together and helps us to find each other.
What does the future hold? I try my best to keep up with the latest technology, but even I cannot predict what is to come. If the current use of 3-D projectors in movie theaters is a progenitor of things to come, the technology presented in the movie, “Avatar” may be the next step. Who knows how close we already are?
Towards 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.
Tags:blog, business, communications, company, connectivity, customer, element, facebook, fast, human, marketing, media, myspace, newspaper, promotion, radio, service, smb, social, social media, television, twitter, video, Yellow Pages, YouTube
Posted in Blogging, Small Business, Social Networking, Technology | Leave a Comment »