Get Popular On Twitter: How to Use Promoted Tweets

Twitter has established itself as the go-to place for what’s happening now—whether it’s breaking news or what your friends had for breakfast. We’ve talked before about some organic ways to become part of the conversation, whether you’re marketing a made-for-tv movie or trying to find twitter influencers. Twitter itself offers another option: Promoted Tweets.

Promoted Tweets are the native advertising platform for twitter: a way for you to get your message out there in the normal twitter format that increases the exposure of your tweets beyond your normal twitter followers. You’ve probably noticed these in your own twitter feed: they appear up at the top of your feed sometimes, and if you’re searching for certain kinds of tweets, you’ll notice them early on in the twitter search results.

This kind of exposure can be incredibly useful for your business if you know what you’re doing. Twitter identifies two main goals for your tweets: driving awareness for your business and driving a particular action via twitter. Articulating your goals for the specific twitter campaign is essential. It lets you determine whether the campaign has been successful for you, whatever those goals might be.

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Tame: Find Out What’s Really Popular on Twitter

The online world moves fast—sometimes too fast for us to keep up with. This is especially true on Twitter, where if you follow too many people, you wind up losing the signal of what’s going in all the noise of what people ate for breakfast and funny retweets.

Berlin- based Tame wants to help make sense out of your twitter feed. The service bills itself as a way to tame your timeline by aggregating relevant information, displaying it in a friendly way, and letting you find out what the real conversation is. The basic overview has three columns that show the top ten links, topics, and people, bringing to your attention the shared URLs, hash tags, and users that are mentioned in a tweet.

You’re able to adjust the scope from 1 to 24 hours, which lets you see what happened if you missed a day or what’s going on right now if there’s breaking news. What you don’t actually see are the individual tweets (tho’ if you click on each item, you’ll see what people said), and it turns out this is the real value. You’re able to get a sense of who or what has been talked about, and you can drill down to find out what’s been said only if it’s important to you.

Tame thinks this is an especially useful product for journalists, who are increasingly using twitter to cover and monitor breaking news. Most of the founding team were, at one time or another, journalists themselves. Which makes sense—you don’t want to have to deal with the latest internet meme while you’re trying to understand events on the ground in Egypt. But this has a lot to offer the small business owner, too: it lets you understand what conversations are happening among the people that you follow, and tracking the @-mentions gives you a sense of who is most important when it comes to targeting an audience, which is a useful tool if you’re searching for influencers.

Tame is offering its product “freemium” style—the free version will let you monitor your own timeline for a single twitter account, while the premium one will let you apply the Tame aggregation across global twitter searches, as well as offering a few other perks like additional twitter accounts, a “tweet wizard” which is designed to optimize your audience reach, and a few others.

If you’ve been feeling buried under a pile of tweets, you might want to check it out. It’ll make the weight seem light as a feather.

Sharknado and the Real Power of Social Media

The biggest thing to hit Twitter last month (beating even certain scandalous selfies) was the SyFy made-for-TV movie ‘Sharknado’. If you’re not up on the latest in intentionally ridiculous movies, I’ll let Wikipedia explain it: “‘Sharknado’ is a 2013 made-for-television disaster film about a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and deposits them in Los Angeles.” Silly–and silly on purpose–something about it captured the imagination of the Twitterverse, and by the time the movie was playing, twitter mentions hit a peak of 5,000 tweets per minute.

‘Sharknado’ was such a phenomenon that the official Twitter blog wrote a really interesting piece on how it happened. It’s a must-read if you’re interested in how twitter trends hit critical mass and how major influencers (and smart companies) can really drive a conversation.

But when the ratings came out the day after the premier, it turned out that just over a million people watched, ratings even lower than the average SyFy movie, none of which had ever come close to generating the same buzz as that twitter hit. News outlets–which covered the twitter phenomenon before the movie aired–sounded like they were gloating, with headlines like “Sorry Twitter: ‘Sharknado’ Was An Enormous Ratings Bust”, and “Sharknado ratings: Lot of wind, little bite.”

It looked like the ‘Sharknado’ team did everything right when it came to building a brand online. They connected to the right people, they maintained a strong presence, and they kept engaged with a core group of followers. So it makes sense that people started wondering whether social media buzz was worth anything if it couldn’t turn trending hashtags into ratings. Read More

Buffer: Management Software for Social Media

It’s 2013, and by now most of us know that a powerful social media presence is essential to building your brand on the internet. To make that responsibility a little easier, a number of social media management applications have emerged to coordinate your presence through time and across social media platforms.

One of the applications that seems to be picking up a lot of steam is Buffer, an application that started life managing twitter feeds but has expanded its focus to include Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other platforms and features.

The basic idea behind social media management software is that you’re able to make updates to your various social media accounts in a single convenient location. And best of all, you’re able to schedule your updates so you’re able to prepare your posts and tweets beforehand. Most applications also offer various analytics to determine your social media impact and help you to refine your strategies for maximum reach.

In this respect, Buffer behaves a lot like its competitors, which include HootSuite, perhaps the most popular of these applications, and others such as TweetDeck, and SocialFlow.

Buffer really distinguishes itself when it comes to ease of use. The scheduler is often singled out for approval: you’re able to set up default posting times so you don’t have to specify for each new post, which is the case for most other social media management software. This is especially useful as you can schedule your posts to correspond to peak usage time for each different networks, set it, and forget it.

Besides scheduling posts, generating and sharing content online is also a snap. Buffer provides you with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to make sharing content from the web a snap. Just find something you like, click on the Buffer button in your browser, and you’re all set to either share immediately or to put it in your buffer and share at your previously scheduled times. Read More

Enter to Win a Free Smartphone from AT&T’s #HappyGiveaways Contest

AT&T Smartphone GiveawayOur sponsor AT&T is offering a great holiday treat this week: each day between today and December 17 they’re giving away one smartphone from their holiday lineup. They’re calling it #HappyGiveaways, and the entire contest will take place on Twitter. Each day at 2PM Eastern, @ATTPremier will announce a question they want you to answer on Twitter. You’ll have till midnight to answer, and even if you don’t win it’ll start all over the next day! All you have to do is follow their account (@ATTPremier) and answer the question, and include the hashtags #HappyGiveaways #spon.

For more info on how to enter, follow AT&T Premier’s Twitter account.

Win a Lenovo Tablet/Laptop Hybrid at 2pm TODAY!

Starting at 2PM today, I’m hosting a Twitter party to help you with smart gift ideas for the holidays and to help educate you about the new Windows 8. It’s going to be awesome plus @Staples is helping me give away one of the most interesting Windows 8 devices I’ve seen—the Lenovo Twist. And we’re also giving away three $100 gift cards to Staples, so that’s a great way to save on some holiday tech shopping this year!

How can you enter this contest to win? First up, make sure you’re following me on Twitter. You can use the following link to bring up my page:

And then, make sure you’re following Staples, too! Here’s their Twitter account:

Then tune in to my page at 2pm Eastern (that’s 1pm Central, noon Mountain, 11am Pacific time!). We’ll be informing you about Windows 8 and asking questions, and YOUR answer might just win you this awesome Lenovo laptop/tablet hybrid!

How Small Businesses Can Use the New Twitter Profiles, Twitter for iPad

This morning on the Today Show, Twitter rolled out a couple of big changes: updated profiles and a huge update of their iPad app. These new Twitter changes are bigger than they sound, and it’s important businesses react quickly to these and future changes to a key messaging and marketing platform. Not only is there a slight first mover advantage, but you’ll never be caught trying to play catchup on new technology. It’s especially important if being a tech-savvy company is important to you brand. As always, it’s a branding opportunity.

Mario's new Twitter profile page

Updated Profile Image
Goodbye tiny Twitter avatar, hello giant banner. Does Matt Lauer’s Twitter profile page remind you of anything? If you answered Facebook, we’re on the same page here. That giant image is great for quickly and immediately introducing people to your brand, and makes your Twitter page feel more “branded” in general. Take advantage of it, and make sure you’re presenting a page that fits in with the rest of your identity, digital and otherwise.

Updated Profile Photo Stream
Over in the left sidebar, you can see the redesigned Twitter profile page puts a lot more emphasis on photos that you’ve posted. As a small business, it’s important to remember to take those photos, and that only 6 will show at a time. While taking photos, try to balance subject matter, colors, and close-ups between photos, so that you have different kinds of photos showing on your profile that look good even at a glance.

The big trend here is an emphasis on media, and users creating and sharing it. Again, that should remind you of Facebook, and it makes sense. Getting users to interact with your service means they spend more time on your site, and it makes sense to bring the media inside your site, rather than push users elsewhere to bring pageviews to other people.

We see that same trend pushed even farther in the new Twitter iPad app. The big news here, beyond the redesign, is that users can experience media from Tweets within the stream. The company told the Today Show that the idea was to create an experience more like, but also to let users “view photos in fullscreen and swipe through them really easily.” So again, it’s all about photos. Are you good with a camera? It’s good for Twitter, Facebook, and your business’s image if you are.

A Quick Social Media Q & A with HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite

I predict companies who don’t have social media management platforms will be like companies today who don’t have a telephone system.

Yesterday we talked about how HootSuite has acquired Seesmic to reach even more business customers. We also got a chance to talk with Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, about his thoughts about where social media is going, how its going to impact businesses, and what small business owners can do to be prepared.

1. What tips can you give small business owners looking to build their social following?

Dave Olson, HootSuite’s VP of Community, put together the following social media tips for small business users looking to build their social following:

·  When it comes to social media strategy, amplification is key. Make sure you tap the right channels during an optimal time of day. For example, restaurants may benefit from Tweeting daily specials at lunch time. Timing is crucial! The best time to send messages is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday is a catch up day and Friday is too close to the weekend, so try your best to avoid those days. Also, you will get the most traffic by scheduling your messaging according to Eastern Standard Time.

·  Social messaging should be tailored to each audience: short, succinct and catchy messages are appropriate for Twitter, longer, more detailed posts work for Facebook and Google+.

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HootSuite acquires Seesmic, a competitor in social media management for business

HootSuite acquires SeesmicManaging social media has become a huge part of every business’s marketing plan, and helping companies manage those social accounts has become a big business in itself. Case in point: HootSuite announced today that it has acquired Seesmic to grow its customer base of business users.

In case you’ve never used either, both HootSuite and Seesmic were competitors in the same space: providing social media tools to businesses, from the very to small to the Fortune 500. Both allow companies to manage all of their social networks from one centralized dashboard, and control and schedule content flow and updates. They also provide real-time tracking measurements to business customers, so that customers can see which messages work best with their audiences. Both services seek to streamline the process for companies with many social accounts and lots of folks using them.

The business model for HootSuite is its paying clients: $9.99 a month for “pro” accounts and a whitelabel enterprise solution for the big guys. In acquiring Seesmic, they’ve taken a customer acquisition shortcut: Seesmic has its own base of paying business customers that HootSuite is hoping will come on over and join their 5 million users.

But Seesmic also had lots of non-business customers, and HootSuite doesn’t necessarily want those folks.  Those consumers will be directed back to using the native Twitter experience, including Tweetdeck, which Twitter purchased over a year ago. This is pretty squarely inline with Twitter’s recently-announced policy that they don’t want third parties creating applications for consumers. Twitter wants to own the consumer experience, but is OK with organizations like HootSuite creating tools for businesses to leverage Twitter further.

Curious how Twitter’s moves may affect your small business, or about how an application like HootSuite can help your small business? Stay tuned for our interview with HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes!

Should You Care About Your Klout Score?

klout logo
Klout: the only way to win is not to play.

Do you know about Klout? It’s a company that purports to measure your influence online, based on your activity on Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, etc. Klout then assigns users a score from 1 – 100 – the higher the score, the more influential you are. Supposedly, anyway. And in theory it would make sense to want a higher Klout score, right? After all, influence means people listen to you, and that’s helpful for all kinds of things.

But does Klout actually measure influence? Well, it’s hard to say. A large part of your Klout score is based on how active you are on social networks, which is important, but certainly not indicative of the quality of your participation, or how knowledgeable (aka influential) you actually are. After all, lots of retweets may take time, but it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of expertise. Klout also says that the number of networks you have connected to the service also determines your influence, so presumably Klout believes that doing a lot of social networking in a lot of places is a synonym for how important you are. It’s hard to say, really, whether there’s any validity to the Klout algorithm, since it’s secret. They’ve announced plans to make it more transparent, but we’ll have to wait and see.

What we can see is some glaring anecdotal evidence is that something is just not right with Klout. The TechCrunch writer with the same score as founder and industry tital Mike Arrington. At one point Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, had a score in the low 70s. Spam bots have been known to have higher scores than humans. There’s something about real-world influence that’s obviously not being translated to their algorithm. And even a few days away from the social media machine will cause your score to drop – but certainly a vacation doesn’t mean you’ve lost any actual influence or knowledge in the real world. So really then what Klout measures is how good you are at socializing in a way that’s good for your Klout score. Read More