Gotta have some fun, hope you had a good laugh at this ever relevant Twitter video. It’s rather on point, as I recently listed out what happens to Twitter as it gets mainstream attention (although it doesn’t have mainstream adoption). Here’s the first twitter video from the supernews folks –they’re having a lot of fun.
Archive for the ‘MicroMedia’ Category
Humans have a way of always experimenting with new systems to see how they can be monetized or streamlined –it’s a natural part of the web.
A few months ago, I experimented with Magpie Twitter ads as an analyst, and quickly found the community revolted against it.
Another revolt could be at hand as I’ve recently learned that some Twitter users are putting in affiliate links in their Tweets (some are not disclosed), thereby recommending products (like to Amazon) resulting in them generating a cut of revenue if the product is purchased. I know if someone buys a Kindle based on your affiliate link, that person can generate $35, not bad for a simple link.
Of course, it comes down to intent, which ultimately drives trust, and may result in followers clicking, ignoring, unfollowing someone they feel taken advantage of. Perhaps in the worst case, followers could report a twitter user using affiliate links as spam.
How to make it work
Affiliate links aren’t anything new, we’ve seen them on blog siderolls for years, so it comes down to a few requirements if people are going to make them work:
- 1) Make sure it lines up editorially with your personal brand, promoting a product that people don’t associate you with will raise eyebrows.
- 2) Disclose it’s an affiliate link, perhaps with a hashtag #affilliatelink.
- 3) Be sincere about your recommendation. If you truly love that product you’re promoting, perhaps write a review on a blog first, explaining why.
- 4) Be fully transparent before people follow you: Create a link from your Twitter profile page that is up front about how you use Twitter, and explain your intentions when it comes to product recommendations and affiliate links.
- 5) Updated: If you’re linking from your Twitter account to an affiliate, you can disclose on that destination page, Shawn Collins, an affiliate marketer puts disclosure on his blog posts.
Hope these guidelines are helpful, we know for certain that affiliate links are common across the web, it’ll be interesting to see how people monetize Twitter, just as they did with blogs.
Updated: Patricio of eConslutancy agrees, and adds some more examles and recomenndations (added Tues, May 12)
I enjoy Lisa’s counter, who suggest that trust with her readers matters most, and disclosure isn’t needed, however Copyblogger in 2006 suggests (and many other bloggers question) that this could be against the law. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m going to err on the side of conservatism –and that disclosure is a best, and safe practice.
Twitter is getting a tremendous amount of buzz from brands, celebrities, media, politicians, and athletes. Despite the hype, it’s still a very small social networking site (likely under 10mm), compared to the social giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and MySpace (150-300mm), see my stats page to learn more. I assert that mainstream attention is different than mainstream usage.
Even respected analyst firm Gartner suggests that the backlash may start as this microblogging tool gets mainstream attention, although I’ll suggest we haven’t even begun to see the upcoming revolt, as the pivot point is dependent on mainstream usage.
Here’s what we should expect to happen over the next few months:
Mainstream media and celebrities to flood Twitter
The tool, having received attention from the elections and political media engines has slowly gained the attention of local based TV news and talk show hosts. It’s hard to listen to a talk show, or watch local news without hearing a self-pitch to follow their Twitter account. With several celebrities jumping on board and playing the ratings game (first to a million) we should expect this to be a wake up call to the rest of celebrities and mainstream.
Most media and celebrities will use as a broadcast tool
Being world famous comes with challenges, it’s hard to tell who your friends are, and as a result, they will likely use these tools to communicate with each other, or talk about their personal insights. We shouldn’t expect them to engage in individual conversations with their community. These stars simple can’t scale, are busy, and well, have better things to do. Expect some to hire community managers (Britney does this) that interact with their followers and post up one-way information. As a result, expect this to primarily be used as an insiders tool among the elite, but primarily as a broadcast tool, which is what they do best.
Empowered, celebrities will fend off tabloids
Ashton gets self-empowerment from social media, in fact, he commented that he’s now got the power of a large media network, despite being a single individual. As a result, expect celebs to bypass intermediaries like tabloids, instead they will directly speak to the people using these self-publishing tools. Celebs are now more empowered than ever before.
Increase in brands listening then they’ll join Twitter
Brands, in an ever quest to follow communities and customers are quickly launching Twitter accounts, or dealing with those that have taken over their own namesakes. Now with mainstream attention, expect more brands to jump on board, and within a few months, it’ll be an account grabbing experience, much like we saw in late 90s when companies were registering domains. I’m waiting to see some celebrities promote brands right on Twitter “I drink @coke, don’t you?”
Users get new experience with mainstream –yet many will revolt
The conversation with Twitter has always felt personal, with the exception of the elite ‘A-lister’ community. Now, many people will be excited about the chance to interact with celebrities and get to know their personal experiences, but after a while, the excitement will wane, and people will move back to connecting with their true friends.
The geek ‘A-List’ early adopters seek a new stage
The ‘A-Listers’ are now just ‘B-Listers’ again, in fact, this list of the most popular twitter users has dramatically shifted to mainstream media. We’re already starting to see some early adopter geeks, those that first experimented and evangelize the tool to seek other communities to join that aren’t saturated. I was one of those early adopters in early 2007, but I embrace the mainstream media in this media, it’s validating, although I expect many of them to approach it without fully understanding. Expect the early adopters to shift back to blogs, Friendfeed, or put up stronger filters in Twitter. The power is shifting back, and the bruised egos will force them to move on.
Celebrities will monetize faster than Twitter themselves…
Twitter has only experimented with different ways to monetize such as this sponsored aggregation campaign, but we should expect that celebs will cascade their sponsorships to Twitter, promote their latest work, or benefit from word of mouth marketing. Collectively, celebs have likely generated more revenue from Twitter than Twitter themselves.
…Yet expect Twitter to monetize brands, media and celebrities
Twitter has indicated that they plan to offer features and tools that help brands (whether it be corporate, media, or celeb) to help them manage their own accounts and information. Expect them to launch new platforms that involve sponsorship, advertising, and potentially lead management (like CRM).
More Hay and less Needles
This increase in people, and brands of all sorts joining Twitter will cause more noise and content to be created. We haven’t even seen the half of it, as devices like your car, laptop, can start auto-emitting signals that could become tweets. As a result, expect more filtering tools and analysis by humans to matter more and more.
I’m having breakfast with Steve Rubel tomorrow morning, he says he thinks Twitter will never be the same, I’ll update this post linking to his followup.
Love to hear from you in the comments, has Twitter reached a tipping point? (update: or perhaps, “Twipping Point“) If so, what happens next? How does this change your experience? Are you using Twitter to follow friends? get news? or interact with celebs?
I’m getting more and more client calls asking about Twitter, although I tend to think most of my readers are the super social elite folks you’d find in Friendfeed. Yet, in reality, many agencies, brands, and executives are just hearing about this microblogging services from the recent media buzz.
The above video, created by Lee and Sachi LeFever (I hung out with them in SXSW) of CommonCraft is available here on YouTube, or you can use their license and use for internal education. If you’re seeking to find some of my Forrester colleagues, Alexis Karlin in our web marketing team has an ongoing roster of Forrester employees who happen to be on Twitter.
If you happen to be a client, Zach Hofer-Shall and me wrote this report on how to use Twitter based on the Groundswell objectives, or you can catch me at these Twitter conferences: the 140 Twitter conference in Mountain View on May 26-27th, or at Twtrcon in SF on May 31st. Yes, I find it curious we have Twitter conferences, but people said the same thing about blogging conferences in 2006.
If you’re new to Twitter, first read my Twitter FAQ. Then if you want to connect with other folks that are readers of the Web Strategy blog, leave a comment below, then others will follow you in my community, and we can all connect. I’ve noticed that new users have no idea what to do (empty bar syndrome) when they’re not connected with others, I hope this spurs things along for new members.
Update: Oh yeah, this is interesting, I helped Tony get on the Tyra Banks TV Show.
My job is to dissect new and moving parts into ways that business decision makers can understand, I hope to do just that:
Web Strategy Summary
Twitter is finally monetizing. Working with social media marketing vendor Federated Media, Microsoft has sponsored an aggregation tool that collects all the voices and tweets of executives. While none of the executives were paid, and it’s not influencing their editorial, these public tweets are being monetized by the brands involved. (Added this previous sentence, thanks to Dom in the comments) It’s featured from the Twitter homepage (top right column) this program called ExecTweet gives exposure to the voices of executives and promotes Microsoft’s campaign.
Getting the Facts
I just got off the phone with Matthew DiPietro the Marketing Manager at Federated Media, to understand how brands are now working with Twitter and how the money is moving about. While I believe that Twitter could best monetize by becoming a CRM system, they’ve instead decided to do a variation of what we call sponsored conversations.
This isn’t the same as other sponsored conversations programs where the bloggers (or Twitters in this case) are paid, but instead the voices and tweets of executives are aggregated. The executives (including my own CEO @gcolony) is aggregated on this site called ExecTweets, and there is no change in the editorial from the twitter users. In some cases, these execs may not even know they were added to this aggregation page. Individuals can submit other executives to be added to the aggregation page, which will soon be the untethered voices of this executive zeitgeist.
The exectweets site has some voting features that help to allow users to vote up the top discussions, and FM will help curate some of the discussions they think are most relevant. They didn’t say it, but I’ll bet they’ll put emphasis on conversations that best match the Microsoft campaign that’s sponsoring it called “Because it’s everybody’s business”
I’d apologize for creating yet another buzzword, but it’s my job to help define new trends, and there’s constant changes in this space, so I’m trying to use terms that people can understand, use and be actionable with.
Breakdown of all the moving parts:
First and foremost, focus should be on the Twitter community. This small advertisement was featured on the site displaying ‘house ads’ that would promote Twitter features, which is almost a warm up for this Microsoft Ad. Being on the fish theme, I remember that some web designs happen slowly as to not shock the users. The saying “change the fishbowl water a little at a time” comes to mind.
Executives that were selected or nominated to be in exectweets aggregation can now benefit from getting additional exposure and provide thought leadership amongst the land of 140. The downside now is their personal conversation are now associated with this campaign, and their general brand. I’d doubt that John Schwartz CEO of Sun would not want to be associated with this program, although I’m told that execs can opt-out.
FM continues to impress me over the years, lead by John Battelle, they continue to develop innovative ways to sponsor influence, sponsor conversations, and insert brands directly into the editorial flow or develop brand association. Of course, they’ve had a few blunders in deployment but have a strong framework they use in their playbook regardless of the toolset. Their biggest challenge will be that they need to be careful not ensure that all programs are transparent and authentic, in order not to burn any stakeholders.
Microsoft: Tying in it’s campaign to reach executives and those who want to listen to executives, Microsoft benefits from associated branding by sponsoring the development and launch of this program. In theory, this should segment higher qualified clicks to their site “business if for everybody” as the link is on the exectweet site –not twitter.com. Update: I also learned that McCaan, Microsoft’s agency was a large part of this project.
Twitter: This nearly accidental microblogging network benefits by, well monetizing. This small ad takes up very little real estate and gives them the opportunity to trial methods to advertise. I strongly encourage them not to disrupt the editorial flow, and instead focus on the data portion, and monetize the firehose or develop products that brands need to manage discussions.
While it’s going to gain buzz from being new, don’t expect click through rates to the Microsoft campaign to be high, as it’s not in the editorial stream of tweets. However, it could generate more qualified CTR from those that are interested in what executives have to say, and secondary benefits from association with the top leaders. Expect this to be a rotating inventory for future campaigns, as Federated Media has done innovative conversational marketing during the height of blogging.
Twitter has multiple business models to choose from
I get asked over and over: “How do you think Twitter will monetize? What’s their business model?” While it’s clear they’re already experimenting with ‘house’ ads, ads that promote features of their service, I’m not sure that’s going to be the right direction for them. We already know that click through rates on social networks are low, why? because people are there to communicate with each other –not search for information like Google or on a media site. It’s possible they could turn on ads in the search tool, as people are seeking information. Yet all of these tactics have been done on other social sites, I think that Twitter has a unique opportunity to tap into the lucrative CRM space.
Manually tracking a large brand within Twitter isn’t scalable
It’s important to first realize that managing a large brand on Twitter isn’t scalable, with hundreds –maybe thousands of tweets about a marketplace a day, individuals will have a very difficult time managing, Brian Solis has some relevant stats on growth. The next challenge? determining who these people are, and if they are a potential customer is important, who are these people, are they important, where do they live? Lastly, responding in near real time is going to be key –as some users may ask their peers for product recommendations during point of sale, right in the store.
Twitter has two of the three key features of a CRM system
First, let’s break down why Twitter is going to be a Social CRM, let’s start by analyzing what entails Customer Relationship Management:
1) Customers: Yes, they got that. More than that, they have prospects, which to some marketers is far more valuable. As prospects start to talk about products, they’re indicating engagement, and could be further down the buying process. Both are valuable, however the challenge is mapping which Twitter ID is which customer –many don’t use their real names.
2) Relationships: Got that too. Now I realize that the intended definitions of CRM meant the relationships between customers and employees of a brand, but now you can see how people in Twitter are connecting to each other, and those that follow a brand, their indicating affinity towards them. The interesting thing is they don’t just offer affinity towards your brand, but also competitors, which helps in segmenting your market, and can help with poaching.
3) Management: Here lies the opportunity Twitter has no management tools to support this, as a result, their data is being whisked away in the API and being aggregated by two types of companies. The first company? Traditional CRM companies are importing the data into their own systems, in fact we know bits and pieces of this are happening for Facebook. Secondly, brand monitoring companies like Radian6, are importing twitter data into their listening platforms, and then offering simple workflow and task management.
CRM Incumbents Moving In
Today, SalesForce announces it’s integration with Twitter, or at least, their aggregation of their data in what’s called the ‘Twitter Firehose’ in order to suck in the discussions and allow it to be managed within the SalesForce system. As a result, brands will start to monitor –then manage– the discussions that happen online. I was briefed by Clara Shih (related book), the creator of FaceForce (now called Faceconnector) (Facebook + SalesForce integration) last week, and while I think they’ve taken one step forward –there’s more to be done in confirming IDs, influence, and intent to buy. Update: Here’s the Service Cloud site, which emphasizes customer service and support.
Twitter’s Opportunity –should they decide to take it
Although they have not directly said it, I think Twitter can go further than this, they could be their own CRM system, by perhaps offering their own analytics system to brands, that will help them to track and manage the conversations within the 140 sphere. This has tremendous opportunities for Twitter should they create their own brand management system that they can resell to the world’s companies to monitor, alert, track, prioritize, triage, assign, followup, and report on the interactions with brands. The myriad of authority based tools will need to be incorporated, as some users have a larger network and are therefore more influential than others. On the other hand, they just might leave the firehose open for the incumbent CRM companies to take advantage of –and miss this opportunity, hell, Scoble is already expecting brands to contact him when he has a major life event. Either way, with a recent funding amount of $35mm, they’ve enough run rate to first manage growth, then prepare for monetization.
There are a few layers when it comes to how Social CRM can evolve, I’ll save that for a future post. On a related note, this is one of the key findings from our many interviews for the upcoming report: The Future of the Social Web.
If you liked this, please ‘twote’ it to everyone you know.
There’s been a series of announcements this last two weeks, many which are happening here at SXSW, yet it’s important to look at what these changes mean as a collective, here’s my take:
While working on my report the future of the social web, I was white boarding out ideas with Josh Bernoff on some of the changes that will be happening as social technologies become more important. It’s clear that as mobile devices become more prevalent, and social communities grow online that they’ll take main stage in our personal and business lives.
As I was explaining to him how I think they could be all pieced together, I said “your friends will be with you as you travel”, being an expert wordsmith he suggested it’s more akin to having an “entourage in your pocket”. The thought is that everyone will feel just a bit more secure and confident knowing they can instantly access their community.
One of the key changes is the access that we’ll have anytime and anywhere to our trusted network of friends, family, and colleagues –and not just asynchronously, but in real time. Here at SXSW, Facebook announced that it would tie to iPhone extending mobile application to be present wherever users are at. This impacts both retrieval of information from your network –and publishing to your network in real time.
What to expect when the mobile and social web combine:
Access to your trusted network anywhere
We know from data, that users trust peers more than any other group, and now, consumers have access to their most trusted network wherever they go. Take for example my colleague Nate Elliott who recently moved to Vancouver, using Tweetdeck he just asked what the best restaurants are in his area. Imagine consulting your peers (or perhaps their peers) in near real time for what they think of big ticket items like TVs or cars, or even more daily items like checking to see which one of your friends rated a restaurant in Yelp, or a product in Amazon before you buy it in the physical store.
Access to your trusted network anytime
As we’ve seen from Twitter, and now the recent Facebook redesign, the web appears to be moving more real time. We’re starting to see life streams and activity streams as more common design elements in mainstream websites even like Yahoo YOS, and Microsoft Live. We may even see uses of asking your peer network directly in Twitter in real time maybe tools like Tweetdeck that now connect Twitter and Facebook, granting the ability to shout out “has anyone had experience with this product? Love to hear your thoughts before I buy”
Growth of location specific applications
When you start to think of what this means for the next generation of apps, we will start to see location specific applications. Perhaps you’ve heard of mobile based social networks like Loopt, Whrrl, and Brightkite, yet these applications could provide further context to users as they maneuver the terrain. An example could be of an individual being a fan of a product in Facebook, like Starbucks, an iPhone can already track where you are on Google Maps, but now can find the nearest cafe to you. What’s the change? Now it can recommend product specials for you as you get closer, enticing users with their favorite beverages. Mix in social, and it may suggest for you to invite your nearby friends, which would result in a discount for both of you or other reward.
We’ve yet to fully explore what the real time, and location specific social web has to bring, the opportunities are nearly limitless. Love to hear from you what potential applications could be built.
Need a Twitter expert in your corner? I’m here to help!
New, Advanced? Shy? Submit a Question
I’ll take the most rudimentary basic question to the most advanced, don’t be shy. This is a living FAQ, if you have a question for me, Jeremiah, leave a comment and I’ll answer, if you’re really shy, you can email me, but I can’t promise I’ll see it (I get a lot of emails). I’ll be updating this over time, so please bookmark, and share with your network.
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If you liked the post, please tweet it, by copying and pasting this into twitter:
Got a question about Twitter? ask @jowyang http://snipurl.com/dmizv
Alright, let’s get to work, I’m here to help, this faq will grow over time.
Ask Jeremiah: Comprehensive FAQ Guide to Twitter
What are common terms and phrases I need to know? Do I Tweet or Twitter?
Twitter, which evolved from simple status messages to now a global conversation, is referred to in a number of times. Asking folks: “Are you on Twitter” is appropriate. When you want to use Twitter, and want to refer to it as a verb, it’s appropriate to say “I’m Twittering that”. However, it’s more appropriate to say to say, “Did you Tweet that?”. (verb conjugation) It is never appropriate to suggest “I’m twatting now”.
I just joined, now what? I don’t get it.
Twitter on it’s own makes little sense, why? It’s a social tool and this means you have to follow others. First, use the address import tool to add folks that are in your Yahoo mail and Google mail. Secondly, do searches for people you may know to find them. If Twitter search doesn’t’ work or the “Find people” search, use Google and seasrch “First Last Twitter” to find folks. Once you find people you do know (or want to know) see who they are following, and add them. You can always add me, but you should first see how I use Twitter.
Who gives a donk what I ate for lunch, can I talk about something else?
Yes, talk about anything you want. The twitter question “what are you doing now” isn’t the most effective way of using the tool. Instead, answer this question “What’s important to me” or better yet “What’s important to my followers”. Also, engage in dialog, ask questions and answer others questions using the reply feature.
Why 140 Characters?
140 characters is the size limit of text messages using SMS, since Twitter integrates well with mobile devices, you can text to “40404” and enter in 140 characters to tweet from your phone. Also, 140 characters is a true bite sized chunk of information making it easy to consume and create –ideal for rapid sharing of ideas. Loughlin reminds us that the true maximum payload of SMS can actually be 160 characters.
How do I use the reply feature?
Easy. When you see someone’s tweet, there’s a small ‘arrow’ next to their tweet. If you feel like responding to them, click that arrow and it will automatically load their name into the text box. Type your answer in 140 characters and submit. This will make conversations easier to track and find.
How come people don’t write in normal English in Twitter?
Good question, due to it’s limited 140 characters style of publishing, Twitter has formed it’s own unique nomenclature, similar to how users of pagers in the 90s developed shortened codes and how text message have developed their own digital shorthand. Often you’ll hear people use Twinglish, a combination of “Tw” plus other English words like “Twello Texas”. It’s cute once in a while, but can grate on ones nerves after a while. Twanks Tweeple.
What is a “DM”?
DM stands for “Direct Messages” which suggests that an individual can message another individually using the private messaging system (like email) to other members. You can only DM users that are following you. You may hear individuals say “DM me for details about conference discounts” suggesting the user wants to take the discussion private. Do note that Twitter’s DM system still resolves in 140 characters and is fairly primitive, many conversations may naturally shift to email, or even the archaic phone!
Question: What does “RT” or “Retweet” mean?
One of the greatest aspects of Twitter is how quickly word of mouth spreads globally. If a user thinks another users tweet is interesting, they may choose to retweet what they say. In this instance, the member will repeat what the twitter user said. Example: “Did Jeremiah got a doctorate in Twitter?” if a second user sees this and agrees, they will echo it back in the following way: “Retweet: @Jowyang Did Jeremiah got a doctorate in Twitter?”. In a shortened version, they may also use RT, an abbreviated version of Retweet, it would go like this: “RT: Did Jeremiah got a doctorate in Twitter?”. And in case you’re wondering, no I didn’t get a doctorate in Twitter, but I did get my undergrad in Twitter. BT a Bachelors of Twittering.
What the heck are Hashtags or #?
You may often notice that twitter users add hashtags to the end of their tweets. Such as this example: “49ers just scored 7 points against the Cowboys #football”. Users are using hashtags for events, ideas, conferences, TV shows, and any other interesting subject to make tweets easily found. By using this hashtag, anyone can use the search tool to find anyone talking about a particular topic. As you know tweets, on their own, can be taken out of context, so hash tags are a simple way of making content findable and retrieable.
How is Twitter going to make money?
Good question, a few weeks ago (early 2009) they raised yet another round of capital, a strong round of $35MM. VCs require a business plan for that amount of money, and they’ve indicated that they’re seeking to provide services to brands. I predict that they will offer services to brands to secure their corporate names, provide analytics, and crude customer and prospect management tools. It’s unlikely they’ll generate revenue from ads as we know that ads don’t perform well in social networks, it could disrupt the user experience, and also tweets can be exported to other clients –purging ads out of it. It’s possible for them to monetize with contextual ads as people search, or develop a currency system for third parties to use during transactions, I think those are far fetched.
Should companies register aka “squat” user names?
Great question from Tom in comment 5. Companies should register their main company and or product name, but they should not register all the variations of their name. Registering the most common name like “‘Hitachi” makes sense as this is one of the first places users will look and it will also score high in search engine results. Brands should not register all the variations as they won’t be able to register all the different varieties. I know that Twitter themselves have ‘locked’ variations for brands that have requested, but I don’t know if this is a common service. Expect Twitter to offer name registration services for brands, similar to GoDaddy for urls.
What do I need to know about Twitter Search?
Thanks Daniel, good question. Search is a your best friend! Twitter actually has two search tools, the first one is the search.twitter.com tool. It was originally created by a developer who named it summize, then Twitter acquired them and the developer, it’s slowly being integrated with each users profile page. The search tool is easy to use, and you can use it just like you would Google. First, search for your name, variations of your name and your actual twitter handle. Examples: “Jeremiah” or Jerymiah” or “@jowyang”. The search tool offers an RSS feed so you could subscribe to search results and watch them come into a feedreader, like MyYahoo. Also, see the trending topics on the right hand column of the search tool, that’s a great way to see what the community is talking about, which is referred to as a ‘zeitgeist’. Another useful tip is to search other people’s names to see the conversation around them, or search terms that have hashtags to see all the discussions around an event or topic.
What’s the difference between private and public tweets?
Thanks Daniel, good question. Did you know that your tweets, when public, are publishing to the whole world? Your boss, wife, kids, competitors and enemies can read what you’re writing, for better and for worse. It’s important to remember that you’re publishing (like a blog) and these tweets will stay public forever –even if you delete them they could be archived. The internet tends to trend towards open communications and many (if not most) make their tweets public, however you should be aware of the impacts. If you’re still concerned about privacy, make your tweets private, which means they will only be visible by those you follow. Check out the toggles here on the account page, you can select the ‘make my tweets private’ checkbox at the bottom of the page.
How much time should I spend constructing my Tweets?
I like this question from Caesar. The answer? It depends on what your objective is with the tool. The same thing applies when you’re communicating in real life, are you have an impromptu conversation with friends? Or are you having a business discussion with colleagues. Regardless of your objective, you should take the time to construct meaningful tweets that are grammatically correct, and are void of spelling errors. The more thoughtful you are with your tweets, the more people will notice and may react –just tweeting a stream of consciousness or spelling out every detail of your mundane activities isn’t going to win folks over. I’m a bit more careful on my tweets, I try to get them to be about 120-130 characters so folks will have an easier time retweeting them, and I try to write in an engaging way that folks will find interesting –that is of course unless I’m tweeting from a party –then all the rules are off! Summary: you’ll get back as much as you put into tweeting.
Can small businesses succeed with Twitter, or just the big ones?
We’ve seen press picking up the successes that Dell, Comcast, and Jetblue have had with Twitter, but what about small businesses? Good question from James Hong. The answer? There are more opportunities for small companies –as these small tools have big reach to a global community. In fact, Zappos, an online etailer has done very well for itself by using twitter for customer support, marketing, and thought leadership. Koji a “Korean Taco truck” (I’m serious) has gotten lots of media buzz from tweeting it’s location to it’s community. In summary, there’s plenty of opportunities for companies both big and small.
What should I put on my profile?
Thanks to Jennifer Bongar for the question. In all social networks, not just Twitter, the more you fill out your profile (here’s how) and make an effort to connect with others, the more you’ll get back. So, it really depends on your goal, if you’re using Twitter to do heavy social networking with others you don’t know, make an effort to fill out the profile with your name, occupation, location, and an appropriate picture, bonus points for linking to your blog, facebook, or linkedin site. Yet if you’re using it just among your friends, they already know who you are, and can put less information. Some users suggest they won’t follow those who don’t make it clear who their name is, also, putting an image (preferably your own picture) is a good idea (here’s how).
How do you measure click through rates?
Thanks WBB Jeff, a good question. I’ve yet to see an easy-to-use accurate method. There’s a few considerations you’ll have to take in to really be accurate. First of all, use a tracking tool like bitly or snipurl to track click throughs. That’s the easy part, the numerator for your ratio. The hard part is trying to determine the denonomater. Twitter is time-sensitive, and we know that tweets around late morning to lunch time eastern time may get more attention, and certainly during weekdays. Secondly, not all users are on twitter, and this HP research on twitter found that the actual number of active users is around X percent. So depending on how accurate you really want to calculate, you’ll have to factor in those impacts.
How should I brand my company Twitter handle?
Kate Lukach says she sees large consumer brands with branded handles, yet wants to know what SMB and B2B companies should do. This really depends on your objective. I recommend that you certainly reserve your formal company handle on Twitter. It comes down to expectations. Make it clear in the profile what the objective is, whether it be for support, news, questions, or conversational. Some brands like Dell and Oracle have employees that share the name of the brand @richardatdell which creates a unique hybrid brand –yet with it’s own challenges. Some brands use the corporate handle and an ‘official spokesperson’ like @marketingprofs will indicate their persona and face. Of course, you can expect many employees to create personal twitter accounts, and they may indicate their affiliation with their employer. In any case, set expectations in the Twitter profile.
Got a question? Ask Jeremiah, leave a comment below. I’ll be updating, merging, and modifying these questions and answers over time.
Update: This ultimate guide to Twitter (with screenshots) is truly, well, ultimate.
Apparently, a spammer is creating dozens of Twitter accounts, each one has one letter added to my profile name jowyang and is linking to a ‘get rich quick’ scam. I’ve received hundreds of messages from replies, direct messages, emails, and even a long distance phone call warning me. It’s likely a computer program, as it’s just adding one unique letter to my name, then following thousands and sending them direct messages. Many suggest that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I supposed I should be flattered. I’m not going to link to any of these accounts not to give them any attention, but I see this as an opportunity for Twitter.
How so? If there was a ‘report spam’ feature on Twitter the community (which already self-supports itself) could quickly notify the system when there’s an issue. This type of crowd sourcing already works for Akismet, wordpress’s spam system, and could easily be applied to Twitter.
Thank you all for watching out for my brand, I appreciate each and every message.
I sent a message to Ev and Biz, and I’m confident that Twitter will resolve this, I’m not concerned, but am thankful to all my followers.
On a related note, Twitter needs to keep the network clean, why? Brands are very interested in this community, I’ve been getting more and more requests from clients to discuss twitter, and whether or not they should engage and how. Just today, Forbes captured my thoughts on how I believe Twitter can monetize from corporate services, read why and how.
We’ve a report publishing soon, headed up by Zach Hofer-Shall, and edited by Josh Bernoff and myself, so if you’re a client, keep an eye out for it soon.
Update: Biz sent my emaill to the support team, and a few minutes later the offending accounts were suspended. Apparently, anyone can DM the @spam account to get this handled, I didn’t know that till now. This smells like a bot/computer program so we should expect more of these spammer accounts to appear to others, read Jacob’s account of the activity. Impressive how Twitter crew quickly cleaned this up –now that they just rounded up a cool $35mm, high quality service is certainly expected.