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March 30, 2010

5 Things You May Not Be Leveraging for Twitter

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It’s hard to believe Twitter turned four last week. Since its arrival, Twitter and its cousins in social media have been shaping online communications. And continually, marketers have more opportunities to reach audiences as technologies evolve.

Some of the more recent changes to the landscape are worth reviewing in order to make the most of your online presence. Here are five features, resources or strategies related to Twitter that you may want to consider in your online marketing strategy.

1. Twitter is a Useful Hub

Starbucks logo on wheel hub
CC BY 2.0

We all depend on Starbucks and its ilk to keep us productive in the office, but did you know that along with a steamy latte, there are business lessons to be taken from the caffeine king pin as well? The man behind Starbucks’ Twitter account, Brad Nelson, spoke at a recent social media conference, sharing the company’s experience and strategy for the social network. A few highlights:

  • “Everything emanates from Twitter, it’s their social content hub”
  • “Things hit Twitter before they hit anywhere else and if it doesn’t hit Twitter it’s probably not as big of a deal as you think it is.”
  • “Twitpic is more powerful than a DSLR (high grade digital camera) – Grainy camera phone pics are more authentic and better received than polished professional pictures.”

2. There’s Wisdom in Twitter’s Case Studies

It’s helpful that we can glean best practices from companies as opportunities for sharing arise, but did you know that Twitter has actually collected a number of business case studies that they’re hosting on their Twitter 101 for Business guide? The resource is a great starting place for business entering the network, and can be a helpful evangelism tool for Internet marketers to pass on to clients and organizations. A lessons in lingo, best practices, case studies and resources are all there. Among my favorite takeaways from the case studies is Pepsi’s outline of the process it follows to respond to negative criticism:

But if a person has had a problem with a product or is attacking the company in some way, Pepsi has a process in place to resolve the issue directly. The company responds once in public, and if the person stays negative, they switch to DM and then to email or phone if needed. Internally, a cross-functional team can help solve problems.

3. Automation May Work for You

robot toy
CC BY-ND 2.0

So this one’s shrouded in controversy, but if done right, automation can help you focus on the resource intensive stuff, like responding to replies and putting out fires, while simplifying some of the more passive activities, like pushing blog posts or event reminders. Though it’s worth stressing the if done right part since there’s a risk in alienating your audience or followers if you don’t maintain that human touch.

At SESNY last week, there was a session dedicated to the dos and don’ts of automating Twitter. Of note:

  • “Don’t set and forget your automation tools. Falke recommended an 80/20 split between automation and human interaction.”
  • “Be selective in your use of auto-tweets. Thomases thinks they work for news sites like @cnnbrk, which sends out headline alerts to nearly three million followers.”
  • A Twitter experiment showed that when 1,000 people in the tech sector were followed at random, 667 followed back despite the account bio reading “Please don’t follow me. I am a bot.”

4. Real-Time Optimization Has Emerged

While Twitter has been around for four years, real-time search results have only been around four months, but that hasn’t stopped resourceful SEOs from figuring out how to optimize for real-time. Speakers at SES’s Where Search and Social Media Collide session explained that the strategy is more familiar than you might think. The main advice? Think like SEO. The factors for showing up in Google’s scrolling real-time search box include:

  • Number of followers/retweets = authority
  • Hotness of topic/clustering of tweets
  • Semantics = don’t look like spam

5. @anywhere Hooks You Up

This one’s not yet available to the marketing masses, but it likely will be in time. @anywhere is a framework similar to Facebook Connect in that it makes sharing content on third-party sites through Twitter easier than ever. The network integration offers a simple way for visitors to a site to interact with and communicate about things of interest on that site. And Twitter @anywhere can replace APIs with a few lines of JavaScript. Right now the technology is launching with a limited number of partner sites, but if these brands see positive gains from the partnership, expect @anywhere to be headed your way soon.

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6 responses to “5 Things You May Not Be Leveraging for Twitter”

  1. Internet Marketing CEO writes:

    Good article, we are struggling with Twitter more and more these days. It’s hard to filter out all the crap not only for tweeters but also for the tweeter.

  2. Bustor writes:

    You see every time that I am on Twitter I wonder how could some people optimize themselves so much out here despite the word limit. I use Twitter but it really gives that ‘new’ feel every time I use it.
    I didn’t knew about Twitter’s team so much but your article does point out to where Twitter is going. Like Google changed and now dominates the ‘www’ so is Twitter in its very unique way.
    I really wish if I could master my Twitter presence.

  3. Andrew@BloggingGuide writes:

    Can’t wait for @anywhere. I say don’t overdo automation or it’s done with your twitter business. Quality relationship is much more of importance rather than the quantity of your twitter followers.

  4. Wynne writes:

    I find that interesting that 2/3 of people followed what was obviously a bot. That suggests to me that 2/3 of people are using bots for auto-following etc. Lame.

    It’s interesting that you suggest automating some things in twitter. I think there is some truth to this and it depends upon what you should automate. I want to hear more of your thoughts on this topic – “how to automate, without losing quality, and without spamming”. Something like that anyway.

  5. Virginia Nussey writes:

    That sounds like a good post. I’ll work on it. Thanks for the feedback!

  6. Maciej @ SEO Noobie writes:

    I agree with Wynne, there is a fine line with automation of anything online. You always need that human touch of personality that often gets lost with the process of automating anything.



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