Larry BraunerYou may have tried without success to use Twitter as a marketing channel. Many marketers struggle with Twitter for one reason or another. It’s often because of where their Twitter leads.

Let me explain.

Spamming

Spammers often follow myriads of random people on Twitter hoping that enough of them will follow back like sheep, or that they’ll click through the spammer’s profile link to view his or her offer.

However, too many marketers with good intentions adopt a similar strategy. They follow large numbers of targeted people but expect them to follow back without providing ample reason for them to reciprocate.

Getting and Staying Followed

People often ask me how I was able to get tens of thousands of followers. They’re hoping that I can point them to some magical system that will generate as many followers for them as I have.

I don’t use those types of systems nor do I recommend that you use them either. At best they match you up with large numbers of unresponsive followers.

Part of any outreach strategy includes following the people whom you would like following you. Life would be simple if each person you chose to follow reciprocated and followed you back.

While some Twitter users will follow back everybody, most of the ones who are desirable to connect with will be selective. They will follow you back only if they like what you’ve been tweeting or if they like you.

Unless your name is Oprah Winfrey, people will probably size you up based on some combination of your …

  • Username - Avoid the use of underscores (_) and numerals (0-9) if at all possible.
  • Name - Your real name is usually best.
  • Picture - Use a professional looking head shot or company logo.
  • Background - Use a layout that’s interesting and tasteful.
  • Location - Nothing dorky please!
  • One Line Bio - Mix professional and personal details. People search on profiles, so use carefully selected keywords.
  • More Info URL - Point to content that’s helpful and makes a good impression.
  • Privacy Settings - Don’t make your profile private if you want people to follow you. Marketers aren’t supposed to be secret agents.
  • Follower Count - It pretty much is what it is.
  • Follower Ratio - If you follow many more than follow you, you might look like a spammer. If you follow too few, you look unapproachable or like you don’t value two-way communication.
  • Tweet Count - All other things being equal, the more the better but again, it is what it is. Just make sure you post a half dozen representative tweets before you start following people. Fewer than that can be a big turnoff.
  • Tweets - You are what you tweet. What you tweet will be the single biggest success factor in your Twitter career. Refer to Tons of Great Twitter Resources or The Twitter Power System Review.
  • Retweets - Some Twitter users like to connect with people who are somewhat likely retweet their tweets.
  • Tweet Frequency - Some don’t like to follow people who tweet too often, as it tends to fill up their “timeline”.
  • Date of Last Tweet - If you stay away too long, your followers will start giving you the axe.
  • Personal Recommendations - It certainly helps to have fans to promote you, especially on what’s come to be known as #followfriday or #ff, which is actually every Friday.

With such a long list of criteria, it’s a wonder anybody gets followed or followed back. Fortunately people are looking for reasons to follow as much as to reject, and a reasonable effort on your part can be effective enough.

Web Marketing Strategy

As a marketer, the quality of your content off Twitter is as important as the quality of your tweets on Twitter.

You will use your “more info URL” and a portion of your tweets to reference your content, and your content will determine your marketing success with Twitter — and other social media initiatives as well.

It is this to which I refer when I ask, “Where does your Twitter lead people?”

Your Twitter, social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, blog and website all link together to create a web marketing strategy that builds your image, your community and ultimately your business.

Well written, produced, and placed content and skillful search engine optimization and social media marketing both on and off Twitter will enable you to achieve your key objectives.

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Larry BraunerThe use of the word holistic is a bit problematic, although it did catch your attention.

Holistic emphasizes the importance of the whole and the interdependence of the parts. But is not each whole a part of a greater whole?

Web marketing is one part of the marketing function, as is offline marketing. The marketing function is one part of the business enterprise, as are finance, HR and MIS. And so on.

Therefore it seems that holism is relative and depends entirely upon one’s perspective.

Nevertheless, I emphasize the importance of web marketing as a whole and the interdependence of its parts which can include all of the following:

  • needs assessment and planning
  • competitive intelligence
  • market segmentation and targeting
  • positioning
  • keyword research
  • on-page and off-page SEO
  • multimedia content development
  • content management
  • legal review
  • web site design and programming
  • search engine marketing
  • database management and e-mail marketing
  • social media policy and training
  • social media optimization
  • social networking community moderation
  • reputation monitoring
  • marketing analytics
  • tracking of key performance indicators

That’s quite an impressive list, and it’s not necessarily complete.

As a whole, web marketing requires the expertise of generalists who have some knowledge of each of the many interdependent parts. Generalists can see the forest through the trees.

Each of the parts requires the services of specialists who possess a great depth of experience in their individual areas of specialty.

Being a generalist but having good experience in several key areas allows me to effectively wear more than one web marketing hat.

I stated in Web Developers Don’t Know Social Media that web developers know “how to build a website and how to create a web page that interacts effectively with visitors,” but that they “are neither experienced Internet marketers nor skilled copywriters.”

It’s equally true that copywriters know how to write effective copy, but they don’t know how to assess the competition nor how to compute marketing metrics.

Web marketing is a team effort. The team cannot succeed without its captain nor the captain without his or her team.

Choose a wise captain, and let your captain assemble your web marketing team.

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Larry Brauner

As a top Twitter business user, I was sent an advance copy of the Twitter Power System for my review. Here are my observations.

The Twitter Power System is a very comprehensive set of videos, e-books, resources and tools.

New users learn how to set up an account and all the basics they need to get going. Experienced users learn how to craft powerful tweets, how to create viral tweets — and everything in-between.

Twitter Power System Content

Thirteen videos in the Twitter Power System learning center provide a total of three hours and 32 minutes of instruction:

  1. Account Setup - for new and even experienced Twitter users
  2. Twitter Basics - a how-to guide with the essentials for newbies
  3. Account Automation - using SocialToo and Tweet Later, two automation tools I love, and some important caveats
  4. Targeting Your Followers - how to target and use techniques such as sampling and testing
  5. Managing Your Followers - using FriendOrFollow, My Tweeple and Twitter Karma to manage followers.
  6. Tracking Your Twitter Links - how to use Cligs to shorten and track your Twitter links
  7. “Crafting” Your Tweets - the four elements of a tweet and how they all work together
  8. Finding Information to Share - using Google Alerts and other tools to discover useful information you can share
  9. Post on Autopilot - create your own content automation tool using Google Alerts, Cligs and Twitter Feed
  10. How to Use Twhirl - a desktop client such as Twhirl can offer greater convenience and capabilities than accessing Twitter directly from the Twitter.com domain.
  11. How to Use TweetDeck - ditto for TweetDeck.
  12. The Bigger Picture - a Twitter review that ties everything together
  13. Retweet System - creating viral tweets that can be retweeted easily with only two mouse clicks

E-workbooks such as the Getting Started Quickly Guide, Harness The Power of Twitter and the Twitter Power Tools Guide contain a total of 205 pages that serve to complement and reinforce the video presentations.

They discuss many useful strategies and the third-party tools that facilitate the implementation of those strategies.

There’s also a 54-minute podcast, Twitter Unwrapped, to download and enjoy on your computer or iPod. This interview with James Rivers, the founder of the Twitter Power System provides an excellent audio overview of the system.

Twitter Power System Thumbs-Up

I myself have written Twitter articles and spent much time studying and compiling Twitter resources for my article, Tons of Great Twitter Resources. Knowing much about the Twitter content available online, I can enthusiastically recommend the Twitter Power System to you.

I’d like to see greater detail in the varying approaches to meeting different business needs. I’d also like to see case studies. Nevertheless, the Twitter Power System is the best training venue I’ve seen so far.

I’m very impressed by the content and the quality of the videos, and I’ve already picked up ideas from them that are helping me to refine and improve my Twitter methodology.

You can follow me @larrybrauner.

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Larry Brauner

The long tail has recently become a major buzzword both in business and online.

The long tail concept is rather abstract, so it can help to look at concrete examples. Let’s look at examples from my blogging experience.

The Long Tail of the Search

I started publishing Online Social Networking in November 2007, and I installed Google Analytics to monitor, analyze and track traffic to my website.

My blog, as you can probably guess, has been search optimized for the keyword online social networking.

Out of 25,515 visits that were due to search engines, only 1,469 were searches for online social networking. The remaining 24,056 visits were based on 10,769 other search terms. 3,658 of those 10,769 were variants of online networking.

Fewer than 500 of the 3,658 search terms were used to find my site more than one time. These search terms each occurred very infrequently, yet in aggregate they accounted for a great proportion of my visits.

The Long Tail of Social MediaThe long tail of the search refers precisely to this phenomenon.

Most searches are based on all sorts of low frequency keywords. See the diagram to the left in which the yellow region under the curve corresponds to the long tail.

The Long Tail of ROI

I spend several hours writing each post on my blog and another hour or so bookmarking and promoting it. My hope is that people will come read the article and subscribe. Just to keep things simple, consider subscribing to be my return-on-investment.

A couple of hundred people, more or less, will visit within a couple of days to read my piece. Some will comment, and some will subscribe.

As I mentioned above, my blog is search engine optimized. I receive more than 100 visitors daily just from search engines. Over time each individual article on the blog will be read by a handful of search visitors per day. That’s not a large number, but it eventually adds up.

That’s the long tail of ROI: The small number of residual daily visits and subscriptions eventually match or surpass the initial surge of visits and subscriptions when the article is first written and posted.

The Allure of Social Media for Marketing

There are many aspects of social media that are appealing. It’s free. It’s social. It’s far reaching. However, the long tail aspect of social media I’ve described makes it especially attractive to savvy marketers.

Well written and keyword researched content remains online indefinitely and attracts an enormous number of search engine visits over time, a benefit not enjoyed using other media.

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Larry BraunerLet’s face it. Few people are writers. Even fewer are thought leaders or guru types.

What can a “regular” marketer do to stand out and make a strong impression in the social media space?

What if You’re Not a Thought Leader?

Thought leadership is probably not as important in social marketing as is keen interest and enthusiasm.

Certainly some degree of expertise in your niche is desirable and, as I indicated in The 80/20 Rule is readily attainable. However, what you feel about your product, service or brand may be as or more important than what you know.

Several months ago, a close friend suggested that I offer to help one of the U.S. political parties with their social media campaigns.

After serious consideration I decided against it. While I possessed the knowledge I would need to succeed, I was not aligned with that party’s views. Therefore my heart wouldn’t be in the right place to do the top notch work that would be required.

If you enjoy a subject and communicate confidently about it, people will respond favorably.

What if You’re Not a Writer?

Let’s suppose that you don’t write and don’t want to start. What can you do?

Here are a few options:

  • If you have a sizable business, you’ll have a person or a department to do the writing for you. Problem solved.
  • If you’re a small business or working on your own, outsourcing is an important option. You can hire a writer such as Ivo Jackson to develop your content or a virtual assistant such as Denise Griffitts to do all sorts of creative and technical things that you can’t or don’t want to do yourself.
  • On Twitter you can make small talk, post links to interesting content and “retweet” other people’s messages. I have written numerous articles on Twitter. Connect with me @larrybrauner.
  • You can use videos instead of text to spread your message. On YouTube you can create your own video blogs, and if you can sing like Susan Boyle, the sky’s the limit.
  • If none of these ideas work for you, you can use your voice and the voices of others. On Blog Talk Radio you can create your own Internet-based talk radio show blog.

Above all be authentic. As I’ve said before, social media marketing is about people, not companies or products.

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