3 Ways to Rule Twitter: Tips for Better Engagement

We recently discussed the latest Twitter profile updates and how to use them to your advantage. Now that you’re creating banner images and pinning tweets with the best of them, let’s dig a little deeper. According to Twitter Brand Partner Alex Ticas, Twitter has 255 million active users. Ticas also states that there are 1 billion tweets (yes, *billion*!) every two days. That’s pretty incredible. This doesn’t mean you can’t rule Twitter! You’ll just have to work a little harder to cut through the noise.

Here are 3 great ways:

1. Choosy tweeters choose GIFs.

Those often-hilarious moving images you see across the internet are called animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). They were introduced by CompuServe in the late 1980s but have had a recent resurgence in popularity.

cat animated gif

This summer, Twitter announced that the platform now supports animated GIFs. Now you can delight your followers with short animated images of fluffy animals or your latest products or sale items. As with all other image-related marketing, the possibilities are endless.

Fun fact: did you know that GIF’s pronunciation deliberately echos the famous peanut butter brand JIF? CompuServe employees used to say that “choosy developers choose GIF” as a nod to the peanut butter brand’s slogan.


2. Embed photos.

Rule Twitter

If you aren’t attaching images to your tweets yet, now is the time to start! This is a great way to attract more views for your tweets, so reserve this feature for your most important messages. On Twitter, click the camera icon when composing a tweet to add your image. Hootsuite now offers the option to post images via pic.twitter.com as well so that your images will show in native Twitter feeds even if you aren’t posting directly from the Twitter platform.

Social Media Examiner offers a great article on how to prepare your images for Twitter’s automatic cropping and resizing.


3. Find Leads with Advanced Search. 

Twitter is a great place to meet people virtually and begin the path to real-world relationships and business exchanges. But what if you want to reach beyond tweets from people and businesses you already follow? That’s where Twitter’s Advanced Search comes in handy.

Do you want to see who is talking to (or about) businesses like yours? Type “to: @username” into the search box.

rule twitter

Only want to see conversations happening near you? No problem. Here is a search for all tweets within four miles of San Francisco’s 94102 zip code, tagged with #sanfrancisco:

rule twitter

You can also search for tweets based on subject and sentiment. Here is a query for people saying positive things about black shoes:

rule twitter

Get more tips for using Twitter’s Advanced Search function with Beth Gladstone‘s excellent and detailed post on Social Media Examiner.

Do you have Twitter tips to share? Let us know in the comments section!

Getting the Most Out of Twitter Profile Changes

In our last post we discussed recent changes to Facebook advertising. In keeping with the theme of always-changing social media platforms, we’re back with must-have tips regarding the latest Twitter profile changes.

Twitter announced their new profile format in early April. Though resistance to change is typical among those on social media, it was immediately clear that the updates really did provide an enhanced Twitter experience.

In today’s post we highlight Twitter’s recent profile changes and how they can be useful to you and your business:

1. Larger Banners

The large banner images we know so well on Google+ and Facebook have now made their way over to Twitter. Get the most out of this new feature by using images that show customers what your business is all about!

Caterpillar Twitter banner

image via hubspot.com

Apple App Store Twitter banner

image via hubspot.com

The examples above from Caterpillar and Apple show two very different ways you can utilize Twitter’s enhanced banner size to share eye-catching images with your audience. Be creative and have fun!

2. Pinned Tweets

Finally, we have the ability to leave an important message at the top of our Twitter feeds for as long as we want! In an environment as hectic as Twitter, it can be difficult to be seen–regardless of the importance of your message. With the new pinned tweet functionality you can ensure your latest news will be the first thing visitors see when viewing your profile.

nike pinned tweet

Simply log into your Twitter account, click on “Me” to go to your profile, scroll down to the tweet you want to pin to the top, click the three dots next to the trash can icon, and select “pin to your profile page.” The pinned tweet will remain at the top of your profile until you select a new pinned tweet.

3. Highlighting Your Best Content

Twitter now gives your most popular tweets a larger font size, which both encourages users to post quality tweets and makes it easier for profile visitors to see your best content. More favorites and retweets than you typically receive for a tweet is all it takes to activate the larger font.

Stay tuned for more Twitter tips on the blog next month!

3 Ways to Understand Your Twitter Statistics

Twitter Statistics in 3 Ways

Knowing and understanding your Twitter Statistics is a good way to motivate yourself to continue posting quality content on the Twitter network. Posting on Twitter is as much about knowledge sharing and listening, as it is about having conversations and networking in up to 140 characters at a time.

Until a couple of weeks ago, we used to be able to track our Twitter Grade using a free tool which was offered by Hubspot called Twitter Grader. Sadly, this tool has been retired and replaced with Marketing Grader.  Marketing Grader has some benefits, but I know there will be a lot of people missing Twitter Grader. That’s the problem with free tools though, the developer may decide to discontinue offering them at any time.

So where do we go to measure the success of our Twitter presence?

1. Twitter Counter will show you how long you’ve been on Twitter and allow you to compare your twitter handle with one other handle at a time. It will also show you your worldwide reach and provide simple charts showing your growth.  If you want to track your Twitter follower growth you can do that with a free version of the account as well.  The pro version offers a lot more detail including historical data, number of mentions and retweets, and PDF reports. The pro offering looks like a great option for agencies.

2. RetweetRank will allow you to measure yourself up with a retweet rank number and percentile. If you log in with your twitter account, you’ll see how many retweets you’ve received and tweets you’ve posted over the past week. If you want to specify a date range to get more of those statistics, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro version, which starts at $5/month for a personal account. There is a 14 day free trial though, and I believe the best way to learn is to through playing, so I encourage you to try it before you buy it and get to know your Twitter retweet ranking statistics quickly.

3. Tweetstats has lots of pretty charts for you to drool over and all it requests is a donation. This one is well worth exploring, just know that it may take a bit of patience before it shows you all of your (or your competitor’s) Twitter statistics and charts.

Twitter Statistics on TweetStats.com

There is also a new analytics feature that Twitter itself has recently rolled out. See http://analytics.twitter.com It started out being only available to Twitter advertisers, i.e. people or businesses who advertise on Twitter. Stay tuned to see if Twitter rolls out analytics for individual accounts holders who are not yet advertising.

What are your favorite tools for measuring Twitter statistics? Do you miss Twitter Grader? And what do you think about Marketing Grader? Please share your thoughts in the comment area below.

How to Get Followers on Twitter

 9 Tactics for Twitter:

How to Get Started and How to Get Followers on Twitter

  1. Create your Twitter profile making sure you have:
    1. A smiley profile photo of yourself (or your logo)
    2. A customized background for your Twitter page with showing all your social media links. See http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/how-to-make-a-twitter-background/
    3. Follow five other people and/companies in your industry and/or with interests similar to yours.
    4. Search on Twitter for keywords related to your industry or interests. Follow 20 of those people each day.
    5. Tweet about topics related to your business and/or interests.  A good plan for tweeting is:
      1. Action, i.e. a link to an interesting article
      2. Action, i.e. a link to something entertaining
      3. Random thought, i.e. something you are thinking or something you did
      4. Action
      5. Question
      6. Start at item a again and keep cycling through the list
      7. Tweet about other people 12 times more than you tweet about yourself.
      8. Unfollow people who are not following you back unless they are highly valuable for some reason. Use http://www.justunfollow.com or http://manageflitter.com
      9. Participate in conversations on Twitter by tweeting at people in your industry and retweeting tweets that may be interesting to your followers.
      10. It’s ok to post about yourself occasionally, but make sure it’s 20% of the time and not 80% of the time.

Don’t just take it from me, read the following great articles as well:

Tweet Worthy = Tworthy on Twitter

Twitter Tips

What’s tweet worthy, or tweetable in your world? Since tweeting became mainstream in 2011 and even for many years before that, techies have been inventing new t(w)erms related to Twitter. I tweet (post) to my tweeps (Twitter followers) several times a day and there are several tw words that have been used to brand new Twitter related products.

Twitalyzer, for analyzing your Tweet stream, Tweet This, a bookmarklet for sharing posts on through Twitter, Twitteriffic, a Twitter client, Tweety, another Twitter client, Tweetdeck, a Twitter client/app for pro Tweeters, Twellow, a place to connect with other Twitter users, Twitzip, a zip code based Twitter messaging service, and the list goes on and on.

One of the most valuable things about Twitter for me is the knowledge sharing. People share links to interesting and unique content on Twitter all the time and we have definitely entered our teenage years in the era of content curation on the social net. While surfing around and finding tweetable content, I like to call posts that are tweet worthy, “Tworthy.” Please forgive me for adding to the Tw lexicon, but certain sites, articles, video and Pinterest boards are certainly more tworthy than others.

What’s your most tworthy post? Is your tweet retweetable? And what’s your favorite twitter related t(w)erm? Please tweet about it with the hashtag #tworthy or add a comment below. Tweet on, Tweetsters!

8 Social Media Trends for 2012

Social media continued to gain popularity in 2011 and will grow even more in 2012. If you haven’t caught the social media bug yet, 2012 may be your year! Below are some of the trends we expect to see in the next 12 months.

Happy connecting!

1. Google+ is the new kid on the block

The latest big idea from Google and major social network on the scene, Google will continue expanding Google+ in 2012 and plans to integrate the social network with many of their other properties such as SEO, Reader, AdWords, and YouTube.

Though most social media users still spend the majority of their time on Facebook currently, it’s a good idea to create personal profiles and business pages on Google+ now so that you’ll be one step ahead while interest in Google+ continues to grow. Furthermore good implementation of your Google+ page can produce search engine ranking benefits.

2. Facebook on it’s own timeline

While Google+ is giving Facebook a run for its money, Facebook is projected to reach 1 billion users in 2012 (via dreamgrow.com). We’ve seen major changes with Facebook since Google+ entered the scene, not least of which is Timeline. This new profile format encourages users to “live their lives via Facebook” and use the social network as a virtual scrapbook. Although introduced a year ago, timeline is yet to be implemented on all personal profiles. You still have a choice. However, to remain competitive in 2012, Facebook will be releasing Timeline for brand pages and introducing mobile ads. Additionally, Facebook’s 2011 purchase of Gowalla is expected to result in some 2012 enhancements to Timeline. (This links up with the Geolocation trend as described below.) Mobile meets local meets social meets viral.

3. Twitter keeps on tweeting

While 2011 was the year of the URL shortener, 2012 will be the year of advertising. We are used to seeing sponsored tweets, but expect to see increasingly prominent ads on Twitter this year.

Additionally in 2012, Twitter will continue to be an important part of the world news landscape. In 2011 we saw microblogging play a major role in sharing news about Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, and the 2012 presidential election will make Twitter usage even more mainstream.

4. Aggregators keep getting better: Buffer and Crowdbooster

While technology becomes more advanced across social media, Twitter aggregators are making excellent gains as well. Buffer, an aggregator that schedules your tweets based on when your followers are most likely to see them, is now offering ifttt (if this then that). The ifttt service allows you to specify an action (such as favoriting a tweet) that will then trigger another action (such as retweeting said favorited tweet). There are many combinations that can be used with this technology so it is definitely worth a try! Buffer also allows users to email tweets via your phone or iPad.

Crowdbooster, another scheduling tool, provides a chart with data regarding your most successful tweets. With impressions on one axis and retweets on another, you have the ability to view total reach of your tweets. Pretty cool!

Crowdbooster Chart

5. Pinterest – Yes, pin your interests!

Interest in Pinterest grew immensely in 2011. By allowing you to “pin your interests” with images you find online, Pinterest is blazing the trail for an even more image-centric social media landscape. Additionally, Pinterest is leading the way in the transition from long form curation (such as tweets) to push-button curation. Much more popular with women than men, because of it’s wide usage for planning weddings and looking at fashion, Pinterest is a niche network competing in some ways with the likes of Stumble Upon.

As Pinterest continues to gain steam in 2012, more and more brands will sign on as well. Expect to see more “Pin It” buttons next to the “Like” buttons you see across the web.

6. YouTube – the number 2 search engine

Using video to get the point across (whether you are an individual or a business) will become even more prevalent in 2012. With 4 billion daily views on YouTube, why not put yourself out there? YouTube videos are very sharable on practically every platform and 57% of internet users surveyed by Yahoo say they watch videos daily. People will be online to watch videos even more in 2012, so now is the time to get in the game.

7. Geolocation – “I am here, are you near?”

Social will be even more local in 2012 with services such as Foursquare expanding their offerings and geo-deals such as Scoutmob becoming more and more popular. Users can already add their location to tweets and Facebook posts, so expect to see more and more connection between location and social media in 2012.

8. Infographics

While certainly on the scene in 2010, infographics became even more ubiquitous in 2011. Practically anything can be expressed via infographics these days and soon visual.ly will be providing a service that lets you easily build your own infographics. There are already several such tools available.

Infographics will be used more and more to display data. It’s easier to learn from a colorful picture than three paragraphs of statistics, right?

We’ll be back soon with 2012 trends in search, so stay tuned!

In the meantime what are your thoughts about social media trends for 2012? Please add your comments. Thanks!

Evidence of the Long Tail

If you haven’t read The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson, read it.  The book is much more entertaining that the Wikipedia definition.

I was just referred to this blog titled “Social Media Will Change Your Business” from one of my favorite Facebook contacts.  She’s not really a friend and I don’t even remember how I am connected to her, but she posts really great quotes on Facebook and I am inspired daily.  Thank you @claudiaguzman who I just today discovered that you are on Twitter.  I’m really going to enjoy following you on Twitter too.

The blog (and introductory video) mentioned above, was last updated in February 2008.  Yes, that’s a long time ago, but the story was first published in 2005 and the post is still receiving comments.  That’s the power of the long tail.  Post something once and it may just live on forever.  If it’s on the web, people can find it, link to it, share it and help it spread.  This is a great example of that and also the power of crowd sourcing.

What’s your favorite Long Tail story?

Search Meets Social

Google recognizes the power of the social connectors (aka social media) by showing real-time search results including content from Facebook and Twitter. Google is unveiling the “Latest Results” which will show tweets from Twitter streams, updates from Facebook, answers from YahooAnswers and more. To me this indicates the power of real-time results. The freshest content and opinions are what searchers are interested in. Google obviously respects the power of the crowd and continues to believe in us. After all, we are the people who power Google. Google both serves us and we serve them by clicking on ads. It’s a symbiotic relationship.  I wonder if they will start showing Aardvark results as well.

For Best Results in Social Media, Think L.O.V.E.

On Sunday, I gave a presentation on Social Media for Market Research in Michaela Hayes‘ Market Research class for the Green MBA Program students at Dominican University of California.

In working on the deck, I came up with a new way to remember your what your social media plan should include.  And it’s so easy to remember, because it spells the word LOVE.  We all love to be loved, to be in love, to give love and to get love and that’s what social media is all about.  It’s about LOVE.

L = Listen
O = Offer
V = Visit
E = Engage

Listening is one of the best ways to show your love for someone.  You can’t have a conversation unless you are listening to the other person, (think your ideal audience) and asking them questions about how they are and what makes them happy.  If you haven’t started listening in the social media space, a good place to start is with Google Alerts.  Simply enter the name of your product, business, favorite person or project, and alerts will send you emails detailing any mentions of your interest on the web.

Twitter’s search allows you to see what peeps are tweeting about in the Twittersphere. Enter a few keyword phrases into search.twitter.com and see who is talking about it in on Twitter.  Find the people you want to follow and join the global conversation.

Collecta.com is another way to get real time results and listen to the buzz about your product or industry online.

And a little out of the box, but still part of listening, is asking questions of your network:  On Facebook, I dare you to ask your friends their opinion of __________ and on LinkedIn, pose a question to one of the groups you are a member of.  You’ll be amazed at the number and quality of responses.

Having something to offer the love of your life is always a good thing, so think about what you can offer your ideal audience in your social networks as well.  Are you sharing links to valuable content with them?  Are you posting humorous videos, inspirational quotes, or even just quippy remarks.  Whatever you are offering keeps you top of mind for the people that see your posts and that is always a good thing, because when they are thinking of referring a friend to an expert in your field, hello, you’re it.

What would a relationship be without visits?  You have to spend time with someone in order to get to know them, silly.  So go and visit some blogs about your favorite product, or topic.  Post a comment or two and join the conversation.  It may not lead to your next million right now, but it will make you feel good and allow you to practice sharing the love.

Yes, you’ve reached that point in the relationship when it’s time to pop the question.  Is this a relationship with long term potential or mutual benefit?  To engage your ideal audience, you need to add value, spark their attention, keep them informed and be top of mind.  You want your ideal audience to think of you as an expert, a friend, a confident and someone with whom having a long term relationship will be good, so treat them with respect and show them some love.

Contests and giveaways work well for engaging as does plain old GOOD CONTENT!

So, my friends, here’s my advice to you:  For best results in social media, think L.O.V.E.

P.S.  I love you.

An Introduction to Social Networking Presentation in Oakland

Save the date:  September 25, 2009 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

I am honored to have been invited and excited to be giving a presentation titled “An Introduction to Social Networking:  Tools to Grow Your Business, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…what works for you?” The presentation is to women entrepreneurs as part of  a joint effort by Honorable Jane Brunner, Oakland City Council President and the East Bay Community Foundation.  It is one of many presentations in Councilperson Jane Brunner’s “Women In Business” Brownbag Lunch Series – Informative workshops targeted at women entrepreneurs.

It should be a great way to personally network with some cool women in business as well.  Please share this flyer with your friends and colleagues.

To attend, please RSVP by September 21, 2009 to Luis Aguilar via email at laguilar@eastbaycf.org or phone at (510) 208-0845.

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