Why Use Twitter?

Twitter is a tricky to work with due to the limitations of the media. Tweets are limited to 240 characters, meaning your message must either be brief and to the point, or split over multiple tweets. In addition, there is no tried-and-true formula for creating the perfect tweet. Your audience may respond to content that another group’s audience may not. The best judge of audience response is likes and retweets, with the latter helping spread your message to others who might not be subscribed to your feed.

Find Your Voice

It is best to develop a distinct voice for your your organization, allowing tweets to be differentiated from the rest. Find a voice that works for your organization, your follower, any members of your organization, and so on. Just remember, social media is about trial and error. Try something, look at how people react, adjust, and try again.

Tweets that work well tend to:

  • Have a personal, human voice.
  • Contain interactive media (memes [material – such as images or snippets of text, that is rapidly passed around the internet], photos, vines, videos, links).
  • Provide updates of real interest to followers.
  • Start a discussion among followers.
  • Inspire the readers with compelling and inspiring quotes

Tweet Engagement

In order for tweets to reach as many people as possible, some general rules of thumb apply:

  • Keep your tweet at 100 characters or less.
  • Use no more than two hashtags per tweet (Hashtags are keywords related to the topic or theme of your tweet. A hashtag is marked with the pound sign (#) before the word or phrase.)
  • Tell your followers to re-tweet (or “pass it on” as we say).
  • Tweet during business hours and on weekends
  • Ask service leaders to tweet to their audience for you.

4 Social Media Tasks You Should Never Automate

4 social media tasks you should never automate

If you want to do it right, social media management takes a lot of time. So much so that it’s now some peoples’ full-time job. But not everyone has the budget to hire a social media manager or coordinator; enter Social Media Automation Tools. Programs like Buffer, Social Oomph, Hootsuite and many, many more all promise to make your social media management easier, more seamless and less time-consuming. However, it’s vital to not automate everything. In this blog, we’ll break down 4 social media tasks you should never automate and why.

Social media is still social, and nobody likes to talk to a robot when it comes to developing relationships (or talking in general). Some things still need to be done in real time, by a real human. Here are some social media tasks that should be done by humans, not automation.

1. Twitter DMs

There is nothing (and when I say that, I mean it) more annoying than automated DMs that pop in your Twitter inbox whenever you follow someone new. It’s not personal, it’s not interesting, and most of all, it’s definitely disruptive. If you want to plug your Facebook page or your website, do so in public. I won’t mind if you use a @mention in your public tweet. But for the love of Twitter etiquette, DON’T DO IT IN A DM.

The issue with automated Twitter DMs is that they are neither sincere nor relevant. A DM is a special event, when someone wants to make sure I listen to what they have to say. Sharing a Facebook page or a homepage link is not such an event. Your homepage is already in your Twitter profile–I’ll visit if I want to.

Sending an automatic Twitter DM to new followers is possibly one of the most damaging things you can do to your social media reach. Very few new followers are likely to stick around if you bother them this way.

2. Every single tweet you publish

Let’s stay in the realm of Twitter for the moment. Although it’s okay to use some automation for tweets (we do it too), you should leave space for real conversation and engagement with your audience. Thank your new followers personally. Reply to interesting tweets. Share relevant content on the spot. Favourite a few things. Ask questions and keep up with the conversation. Be a human.

The trick is to find what works best when automated and what’s better to do in real time. Sharing interesting content and your own blog posts can be done with automated tools, but replying to conversations, starting them or just being in the flow needs some real, involved brain power.

3. Customer service

The reality is that most customers these days request customer service via social media. Whether it’s a tweet or a message on Facebook, customers expect an answer almost instantly.

If there’s no real person at the other end of your social media account, your customers are going to notice. Really fast. An automated “thank you for your question” is fine during off hours (as long as you announce every day that your team is offline) but anything less than “as fast as possible” for an answer is going to damage your reputation with this particular person–and everyone who follows him or her. Trust us, if you do something wrong, everyone else is going to know about it. We’re quick to complain, and very slow to praise. Customer service certainly belongs among the social media tasks that should never be automated.

4. Following and unfollowing

Some tools let you automatically follow and unfollow people based on certain criteria that you usually set yourself. But honestly, how does a tool make the difference between someone that’s worthy of following (even if they don’t follow you) and a spammy account (even if they follow you)? This applies to Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and even Instagram.

I like to manage follows and unfollows manually. I can assess the value of an account much better than any automated tool. It’s not only whether or not they tweet often, but what they tweet about. It’s easy to fool a tool by using the right keywords, but a human? Not so much. If you want to have real control over your network, you should keep a hands-on approach to follows, likes and circles on your social networks.

Are there any other social media tasks that you’d rather do yourself than automate? How do you feel about those who automate any of the above (or anything at all)? Is there a task that you always automate? Share your social media automation experiences with us on twitter @stikkymedia. If you need help, learn more about our social media marketing services.

 

How To Get Free Followers To Your Small Business Twitter Account

 

How to get followers that notice you on Twitter

You have a new business Twitter profile and you'd like to get more followers. You want followers who will actually pay attention to your tweets and who are part of a relevant audience, be that locally or within a certain sphere of industry. You'd like more followers, and for free…

Free Followers – Without Spamming or Cheating?

Yes.

Free Followers – That aren't in distant regions or irrelevant as a target market?

Yes.

Finding people who follow back

Let's take a moment to learn how to determine whether or not an account we follow will follow us back. By following accounts that follow us back, we can build our follower list while also building an audience for our content that is more likely to 'hear' what we're tweeting. If you simply want a massive number of instant followers regardless of where they are or whether they'll ever read a word you tweet, this method won't work for you. If you want a respectable follower count made of people relevant to you that you don't have to pay for, this is a method that works.

It works like in real life

First of all, when you're new to Twitter or have a small follower account, the 'popular' accounts are unlikely to follow you back. In most 'scenes,' there are various waves of 'popular' people based on how long they've been involved in that scene. A good example is the small town where I live, where a steady trickle of newcomers arrive annually to make this place their home. There are established social circles here, composed mostly of people who have lived in this community for a long time. The established people are not generally unfriendly to newcomers if they take notice of them, but they often aren't so quick to bring newcomers into their inner circles.

Meanwhile, the steady trickle of new arrivals happily recognize in each other their 'newbie' status and begin to establish their own social circles. After a few years, those circles are no longer made of newcomers as their members are no longer so new to the community; in fact, there is increasing overlap between their circles and the older established circles. And of course, new waves of newcomers have arrived in the meantime, creating their own social circles, and so the chain goes.

The longer people live here, the more overlap there is between the upper established circles, but the freshest newcomers first establish connections mostly with each other.

It can work similarly with newcomer accounts on Twitter.

Twitter circles

There are older established Twitter accounts that have tons of followers and who often follow a far smaller number of accounts. Those big, popular accounts often won't follow a new account back, unless their follow/follower ratio is almost equal, in which case they probably follow back anyone who follows them. But as far as the ones with hundreds or thousands more followers than accounts they follow, it is highly unlikely they will bother to follow your new Twitter account back, no matter how relevant or interesting your content may be.

What I've found works for getting brand-spanking-new small business Twitter accounts good quality followers is to follow other brand-spanking-new accounts rather than the big established ones. They are more likely to follow back, they're more likely to mention you in a thank-you-for-following message, they're more likely to engage with you if you attempt to interact with you, and it's much easier to be noticed by them with your marketing and content.

How to do it: my method

If you want to get more followers for your newer account, here's one method that can work well. It's free, involves no cheating, and the followers it gets you can be of very high quality:

  1. Find a big popular account that is as relevant as possible to your business and the audience you wish to reach. The more genuinely relevant the account is, the better this method will work.
  2. If their following/follower ratio is almost equal (following roughly the same number of accounts as the number of followers they have) then by all means, follow them. They are likely to follow you back. More often than not, however, the larger established accounts have a significant discrepancy with way more followers than accounts they are following. These accounts are unlikely to follow you back.
  3. Look at the big account's follower list. This is where the follower building begins. A high number of the big account's newest followers are themselves newer to Twitter, which makes it more likely that they—like you—are hoping to get more followers themselves. They're also more likely to follow you back. Go through the first couple of pages of that bigger account's followers and find newer accounts that have smaller following/follower numbers. Follow these newer accounts if they're relevant to your business interests or regional market.
  4. Look at the follower lists of these newer accounts to find other accounts that are currently and actively following and are willing to follow newer accounts. People following other new accounts with low follower counts are more likely to follow your new account back.
  5. Spend a little bit of time doing this any time you're using Twitter and you'll be able to gain followers who are looking to get involved, to connect, and who are learning like you are. Establish your network with each other. Before long you won't be the newer accounts, but the older established ones.

You could waste your time following all the big successful accounts, but in reality, few of them will bother to follow you back, let alone notice your tweets in their streams. It makes far more sense to tweet your messages to people who may actually notice them, and I've found that new accounts are more receptive to other new accounts.

What this looks like on Twitter

Here are some examples of what to look for when determining if an account is more likely or less likely to follow your Twitter account or notice your tweets in their stream:

1)

This account is unlikely to follow you back if you are just beginning. It's followed by way more people than it's following. But even if they did follow you, if you look at how busy their stream must be following 67.5K accounts, how could they possibly notice most of your tweets?

2)

This account is a good bet for getting a followback, as long as its tweets are current. At only 40 tweets, they're pretty new, and they will also appreciate any follow they can get. The list of accounts is small enough that there is a high probability they'll notice your tweets and interact with you if you try to network with them.

3)

This is a similar scenario to the previous account. More following than followers and a few tweets means they're more likely to follow you and notice you. As long as the tweets are current, this is a good account to follow.

4)

Like the first example in this list, this account is unlikely to follow you back if you are just beginning. They're followed by quite a few more people than they are following. Even if they follow you back, their stream is so busy that they're unlikely to notice anything you say.

5)

The likelihood of getting a followback from this account depends on a few factors. Is your business type in any way relevant to them? If so, you could get a followback from this account. It would be worth favouriting or retweeting a few of their tweets first to grab their attention. Their stream is pretty busy too with 2,695 accounts, but if you could get a retweet by them it could go a long way. It's worth trying for a relevant account in this range.

6)

Unless your business or content is of direct interest to this Twitter account, the odds are slimmer of getting a followback. Their ratio of follows to followers indicates that they don't follow back so readily. This doesn't mean you can't try if you think your content is of interest to them; just be aware that you're less likely to get followed back in this case.

7)

This account is very stingy with following back; it is unlikely a new Twitter account would get a follow from them.

Final words

If you spend 15 minutes a day or so building your follower list this way, it won't generate you 65K followers in short time, but it is realistic to get a few hundred high quality followers in surprisingly little time. Before you know it, your account won't be one of the new ones anymore. Your follower count will grow much faster as other newcomers come within your business sphere and as the older established accounts begin to notice you. The business benefits of Twitter aren't so much about your follower numbers anyways – but that's another post!

5 Bad Social Media Habits You Should Give Up for Lent–And Forever

Lent is a 40-day period during which practicing Catholics give up something–usally a bad habit like smoking or drinking–to commemorate Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert.

But it's not just good for individuals. As business owners doing internet marketing, we can also develop bad social media habits. Want to give up something for Lent? Start by these less than desirable things we do on Facebook and Twitter.                                                                                                                                                                                           

1. Stop shilling on Facebook​

Facebook may seem like a great place to promote or sell your services, but doing so insistently (or "shilling") will only drive followers away.    Remember the social media mantra "People connect with people" and start behaving like a person instead of a business. Share  employees' good news. Post pictures of your office. Ask interesting questions. You can even find ways to present a new product or service  without making it look like an advertisement.

 

2. Stop Retweeting

Although retweeting can help spread a piece of content, a timeline that is filled with only retweets is not very attractive to new followers. Again, "people connect with people", and followers want to connect with a real person who has thoughts and emotions. Use Twitter to spread your brand's personality around, not other people's. And if you absolutely must retweet that piece, add a personal comment to it.

3. Move one-on-one conversations away from Facebook comments

This happens more often than you think, especially in customer relations. People are not interested in reading about how you're going to solve a client's problem. Whenever a Facebook comment risks pulling you into a long conversation, provide a contact email to move it to a more private space. Fans will thank you for it.

4. Stop using so many hashtags

Sure, hastags are useful to put a tweet in context, especially during major events. However, hashtagging every word from your tweet not only makes it unreadable, but it also makes you look like you can't formulate a coherent thought. Also, it's totally unethical to use popular hashtags that are unrelated to your business for promotion purposes. People pick up on it… and then pick on you.

5. Stop pre-programming your social media updates

Sure, it might seem useful to program Facebook and Twitter updates ahead of time, but you end up looking really insensitive if something major happens. On the other hand, taking advantage of timely events (as long as they're not tragic) to promote your products or services can work really well! Follow Oreo's example and tweet appropriately!

So, which of these bad habits are you willing to give up for Lent? Share your thoughts with us!

New Social Network: Vine

No, we’re not talking about a new wine-related social network (although that would be awesome), but rather a new video-based app now owned by Twitter called Vine. It’s all the rage these days, with celebrities like Tyra Banks and Emmy Rossum posting Vines on their Twitter feeds.

Here’s a quick Vine I made especially for this occasion:

 

 

1. What does it do?

Vine is super simple: you take a 6-second video that the app posts as a video loop on Twitter and on Vine feeds. The video is looped automatically.

2. How does it work?

You start by downloading the app on your iPhone. There’s a simple tutorial in the app to show you how to make a video–it works by the touch of your finger.

After making your video, you can share it with your social networks.

3. Where can I share the videos?

The Twitter integration makes it easy to share the videos directly with your followers on Twitter. The app also connects to Facebook so you care share it with your fans as well. If you embed your Twitter feed on your website, you’ll also be able to share your videos that way.

4. How can I use it?

Vine can be useful for your internet marketing in a variety of ways. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and show your business from a fun, creative angle. You can take a funny video of the staff or show how your product works.

6 seconds doesn’t seem like much, but if you watch other people’s videos, you’ll see that you can fit in a lot of content in these few seconds. The advantage: you can make an impact before your audience’s attention span fades. And the best videos? People will watch them over and over again.

Think of Vine as a video version of Twitter: conciseness and originality are key. As with any new social network, it’ll take a while to unlock its full potential, but Vine’s popularity is growing so quickly that it can’t be ignored for very long.

Twitter Rolling Out Self-Serve Advertising for Small Businesses

Timeline, Premium Ads, patent lawsuits, IPO delays, proof-of-ownership emails—it seems like Facebook has had all the fun lately. But while Mark Zuckerberg and friends are busy soaking up all the attention, Twitter has been flying under the radar, cooking up some sweet new advertising tactics for small businesses.

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Mapping the World with Twitter and Flickr

Remember those light pollution—err… I mean those Earth at Night—maps that were so popular in the late 1990s? Well, it’s time to move on. Eric Fischer, Google programmer and digital map aficionado, has created something that will delight even the techiest of tech-lovers. Bye bye city lights, hello geotagged tweets and Flickr photos.

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Why I Love Twitter’s 140 Character Limit

I believe good things come in 140-character packages. In a single tweet, you can argue your case, share good news or link to something awesome. You can tell the world about your new toothbrush, your new product or your new daughter. You can even spam your friends with inspirational quotes, which they love.

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Sean Avery vs. Uptown Sports: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Twitter Business With Pleasure

It’s not surprising that hear that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is at the centre of yet another controversy.
The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, becoming the first professional athlete in New York to publicly support marriage equality. And according to the HRC, the Rangers, as an organization, are now rallying behind Avery in support of the campaign.

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet: That is the $25,000 Question

While some countries are left to deal with fraudulent elections, Canada is busy cleaning up the aftermath of the #tweettheresults fiasco.

Twitter is famous for broadcasting news before traditional media outlets pick it up (and for prematurely killing celebrities), but the recent election raised some interesting issues about a person’s right to tweet.

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Esperanza Spalding Wins Grammy, #TeamBieber Can’t Belieb It

There’s a retweet swirling around Twitter that says the Grammys lost 17 billion+ views after Esperaza Spalding won over the Biebs. Hmm.

With a world population of about 6,775,235,741, that would mean each person would have to love Bieber with 250% of their heart. And even with herds of dedicated Bieberites running wild on this planet, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.

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Ground Shaking? Drop, Cover, Twitter.

I’ve gotten used to the blasting over at the Uptown construction site, so when I felt a big rumble at 8:30 this morning, I completely ignored it. But while I quietly ate my oatmeal, Twitter lit up with earthquake-fueled chatter.

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Why You Should Follow Airlines on Twitter

Over the past year, a few high-profile incidents thrust airlines into the spotlight. Scandalous highlights include Kevin Smith being kicked of a Southwest Airlines flight for being “too fat”, Air Canada breaking a young boy’s wheelchair and a Twitter hoax about JetBlue and American Airlines flying doctors to Haiti for free.

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12 Reasons Your Small Business Needs to be on Twitter

This article was written by Jessica Swanson (@ShoestringGal) who is the founder of Shoestring Marketing. The article was originially posted here.

12 Reasons your Small Business Needs to be on Twitter:

1. Build Authenticate Relationships. Twitter allows you to begin building authentic relationships with your prospects, clients and customers. As a small business owner, strong customer relationships are one of your greatest assets.

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10 Comedians Worth Following on Twitter

Most have heard of Twitter by now, and that it is revolutionizing the way businesses operate. When it comes to finding alternate ways to connect to your potential clients or customers, Twitter can be a huge boost for traffic and branding. Aside from all that, Twitter also serves as a unique tool to have a glance into the lives of celebrities, comedians, and people from other countries. Here are 10 comedians you should follow on Twitter.

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Top Twitter Tools

New to Twitter? There are a number great third party application that can be used to make your Twitter experience better. We have listed the best ones below.

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10 Reasons People Prefer Facebook to Twitter

Here at Stikky we like to use any kind of Social Media tool we can get our hands on and we encourage our clients and friends to do so as well. But we have run in to a lot of people comparing the two heaviest hitters in the game right now. Here is our list of the "10 Reasons People Prefer Facebook to Twitter".

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