About Rewan

Sales and Marketing assistant at CubeSocial. Apsiring author with 2:1 BA Hons in Creative Writing. Stand up comic. www.cubesocial.com

Why Twitter’s 140 Character Restriction Can Make You a Better Marketer

PeopleEven if you aren’t using Twitter for marketing purposes, I think it can still help you become a better marketer. One of its most basic features can help us write better marketing copy, regardless of medium.

When I first started on Twitter I struggled with the character limit. In speech we’re used to using superfluous words and long sentences. Soon I realised it was forcing me to learn a valuable skill.

Keep It Relevant

On Twitter the character limit means brevity is essential. Marketing, as I understand it, is about getting your message across as effectively as possible. Saying everything we need to in under 140 characters means we have to communicate our core messages succinctly. Once you’ve got to grips with condensing your main points into one Tweet the same practice could make writing your marketing copy easier and more fruitful.

No Room for Padding

In a tweet there is no room for jargon and sales speak. Faced with a customer, we have less than 140 characters to convince them to buy. We really have to think about the main benefits of our product. In doing so we might even raise valuable questions about our overall marketing plans.

The more we think about how to clearly communicate our message, the better we become at it. When we next have a Press Release to write, with lots of important information to fit into just the title, we have had a lot of practice. When next thinking about the first paragraph of our website homepage, we have that extra knowledge on keeping it snappy.

Help or Hindrance?

Reviewing and analysing your own copy is one way to learn to be more succinct, but I think that learning by doing is always faster. Trying to tell people about your product in less than 140 characters will help a lot more than any amount of proof reading and study.

At first I didn’t like Twitter’s character limit. Now I realise that it could make me a more effective communicator. What do you think? Has it helped you convey your message more effectively, or have you found yourself too restricted?

Why not share your thoughts in the comments section.

How to Decide If a Twitter Follower is Relevant to You

Reading GlassTwitter is all about engagement. In real life we try to avoid people who are of no interest to us, whether for personal or business reasons. The same applies on Twitter. How do you know whether or not a follower is worth your time? Twitter has a few ways of helping you decide.

What Are They Talking About?

It may seem obvious, but the content of a follower’s tweets can tell you a lot about how useful they could be. I ask myself:

  • Do they engage with their followers?
  • Do they talk about things that are relevant to me?
  • Who else are they talking to? They might be talking to someone I want to connect with, and could provide me with an introduction.

Friends and Followers

Although some people do follow back to be polite, following can be a one way thing. I compare the number of followers a person has to the number of people they are following.

Being followed by more people than they are following suggests that they have something very relevant to say. If they are being followed by a lot less people than they follow, I ask myself why that might be. There’s a chance it’s because they’re not engaging.

See If They’ve Got Klout

Klout is a great Twitter app that scores users out of 100 on their Twitter ‘influence’. It also shows you what topics they regularly talk about, so one way I can quickly decide on a follower is whether or not their Klout is high in the topics that I am interested in, or they’re meant to have expertise in.

A word of caution: Klout can be manipulated, but, it can be useful as a deciding factor if you’ve looked at the other two things and are still unsure of a follower.

The Signs Are There

I find that looking at these three things can give me quite a clear picture of what kind of Twitter user a person is, and whether or not I want to engage with them. The elements are almost like flags on a beach, telling you where (and where not) it is safe to invest your time.

That reminds me, I have Klout to gain and followers to earn!

A Net Gen Perspective on Social Media Marketing

537047_toplaps_A cat and a tiger are pretty similar, one’s just the next model up. Following the same train of thought, I would say social media marketing and traditional marketing have a lot more in common than people sometimes think.

A quick look on Twitter shows companies trying to market themselves using techniques that wouldn’t work in any form of traditional marketing. It seems as if companies are seeing the internet as an entirely new thing when it comes to marketing. Surely it just another medium?

What Are We Trying to Achieve?

I would say that marketing is about getting your message to your intended audience in the most effective way possible. I wonder if the companies on Twitter who use their feeds exclusively to list their special offers are getting their message out in the most effective way. Do you broadcast like that? If so, what have you found to be the benefits?

From a business perspective, I think that social media is offering new opportunities. The level of engagement that social media allows with your prospects is exciting. Businesses have the chance to interact with their customers on an unprecedented scale.

Yet from what I’m finding as I explore Twitter further is that it seems that companies are cautious to engage. If they don’t engage, they’re not at as much risk of things going wrong. But isn’t risk an integral part of marketing and/or business?

If You Know It Works…

As Mark said in an earlier post, the internet is about Old Rules, New Tools. The format may be different, but from what I can see, there is no radical retraining needed. I wouldn’t put an advert for compost in Hayfever Weekly, and similarly I wouldn’t put content for Twitter on Facebook, and vice-versa.

Because I’m a graduate in my first marketing job, perhaps I’m seeing things differently. But what I am seeing is something that is relatively new and exciting, filled with possibilities, not something scary that should be done only if absolutely necessary.

What are your thoughts? Do you dread social media, or are you excited by the possibilities?

3 Ways to Get Your Message Across On Twitter

Unlike the phrases ‘hazardous materials’ or ‘free money’, people often ignore the first word in the phrase ‘social media’…

I’m still new to this Twitter ‘thang’, but already I’m surprised at the basic mistakes some companies are making. People new to social media tend to resort to what they know. And often, what they know is how to advertise their company as they would in a magazine or television ad. On Twitter though, this just doesn’t work.

The Internet is Big, So We Need a Megaphone

There are different types of Tweets. One of those is the Broadcast Tweet. Broadcast Tweets are impersonal and are seen by all your followers. For companies they usually go something like:

‘Here’s our amazing product. You can buy it here. It costs just £X.’

What these companies are missing is that Twitter is about conversations. Tweeting only Broadcast Tweets is equivalent to standing in a crowded restaurant shouting whether or not you like your meal at the top of your voice.

What to Do Instead

Here are some quick tips when tweeting to encourage interaction and look less spammy:

  1. Create a need to respond
    What are people going to reply to ‘Buy our product’? Either ‘OK’ or ‘No thanks’. Most likely it’ll be ‘No thanks’. Instead try asking open questions the way good salespeople do – ones that will allow you to talk about the benefits of your product in a way that is relevant to your prospect.
  2. If no one is talking with you, start a conversation
    Look at your prospect’s Twitter timeline. What are they talking about? If it’s their cats, ask how they are; if it’s a business trip, recommend your favourite restaurant. Tweet things of interest to the people you want to engage.
  3. Read your own Twitter page
    What would you think if you were a prospect reading your tweets?

Don’t Do All the Talking

Twitter is a different kind of promotion. It’s not about shouting how great you are; it’s about building relationships, earning trust and then winning business.

Ask Yourself…

Think about every tweet you send and ask yourself: ‘If I read that tweet as a stranger, how would I respond to it?’ Would you retweet it because it was funny, discuss its relevance, or start a debate?

If you’re struggling to think of a response, well, you should be able to see the problem…

Hashtag Snags… and three tips for better #tagging

A great big hashBy Rewan Tremethick

Linda tasked me recently with identifying interesting people and conversations from Marketing Week Live 2011 (#mwl2011). Whilst there was lots of activity on the hashtag, I didn’t find anyone or anything that I thought worth bringing to her attention. I’m sure there were lots of interesting companies there, but they were so caught up in getting people to visit their stand, they forgot to mention why.

Are You Selling Fruit And Veg?

Much of the hashtag activity resembled market stall vendors. We’ve all walked down the street hearing, ‘Bha-nah-ahs! Five for a paaaaaand!’ A lot of companies on #mwl2011 were doing exactly the same kind of thing, shouting ‘We’re on stand x111, come and say hi. There’ll be cake!’ yet they’re not on the street, nor selling fruit.

What Kind Of Cake?

So we know where company Z is, and we know there is cake. Whilst we’re wondering what sort of cake, we’re missing a more important question – what does the company do?

Whilst enticing people with cake might sound like a good idea, #mwl2011 is a tradeshow full of professionals, looking to network and build relationships. Cake, loved as it is, isn’t their top priority. What your business could do for them is, but that wasn’t mentioned in the Tweet.

So…You Do What?

Of course I could check out their website to find out what they do. But hundreds of companies Tweeted that they deserved a visit. Who has the time to go on hundreds of websites, only to find out that the companies are completely irrelevant to them?

When writing Press Releases, you have to remember to include the Who, What, When, Where and Why’s?

Most of the hashtagged tweets ran like this:

‘Come and see us at #mwl2011. We’ll be on stand X100. Have a chat and free donuts!’

How many of those W’s were answered? Why should we come and talk to you?

Three Tips For Better Hashtagging

  • Put company information in your bio, so tweeps can quickly see whether or not you are right for them.
  • Give people a business incentive to come and talk to you. ‘Stand x100 for chats on how social media can help your business.’
  • Cake is not a USP. But don’t stop giving it away, though.

Considering it was a marketing tradeshow, a lot of companies missed a great opportunity to market themselves on the hashtag. Cake, on the other hand, got a lot of exposure.

Linda Talks Twitter Basics On Marlow FM

CubeSocial CEO Linda Cheung in the Marlow FM StudioBy Rewan Tremethick

On Monday this week, Linda talked Twitter basics with Christina Bachini on Marlow FM’s Biz Buzz hour. Answering Christina’s questions and those of the listeners, Linda covered the issues of getting started on Twitter, the integrity of the social platform, and how to go about joining conversations, gaining followers and building relationships.

For those of you pressed for time, some highlights…

  • Social media is just another way to communicate. It’s simply another way to talk, as with phones, email or face-to-face conversation.
  • When starting on Twitter, follow some people you already know and have a relationship with – your LinkedIn contacts for example. See how and what they Tweet about until you feel comfortable that you understand the medium.
  • During Linda’s initial ‘Lurk and Learn’ Jonathan Ross’ tweets highlighted the business value of Twitter, by demonstrating how Twitter could be used for customer engagement, research and care.

For more tips and greater depth, listen to the edited interview:

Linda Interview Marlow FM 04.07.11 by CubeSocial

5 Ways Twitter Beats Facebook – A Net Gen View

By Rewan Tremethick

It’s my second week here at CubeSocial, and the main thing I’ve learnt so far is the value of Twitter. At first I was hesitant; having noted the similarity between 140-character Tweets and Facebook’s status box, Twitter just seemed like a stripped-down version of Facebook. I was failing to see Twitter’s potential.

1. Facebook Is Quantitative, Twitter Is Qualitative

On Facebook people place importance on quantity of friends. People have friends numbering into the hundreds, yet only speak to several dozen at most.

On Twitter following can be one-way. To build a large following you have to Tweet things that are interesting and of value. If you follow many people but are being followed by few it looks bad because the number of followers you have is an indicator of how interesting you are.

2. The Cocktail Party

Facebook is often called The House Party, whilst Twitter is The Cocktail Party. Talk on Facebook is mostly casual and often of little wider relevance (‘drank so much I woke up in a bin lol’). Twitter talk is about news, views, networking, and the occasional piece of self-promotion. It’s not all dry though – it is a party after all.

When you ‘come home’ from the Twitter party, you go to bed with a head full of ideas and opportunities. When you ‘get in’ from Facebook, you go to bed because you can’t stand up any longer without your eyes falling out.

3. Community Spirit

Twitter feels like you’re part of something. Everyone is very welcoming, and I was soon Tweeting with confidence. Linda gave me a few virtual introductions to get some conversation moving, and then I was off on my own.

The terminology alone makes you feel a part of something more connected and with more community spirit than Facebook. Facebook’s generic terms, such as friends and likes, get the job done, but when you’re on the Twitterverse, with Tweeps, you feel that you belong to something special.

4. Have You Heard …?

On Twitter, you get a great sense of relevance. People ReTweet things that have been said that are interesting or important. Whether it’s a piece of breaking news, an interesting and relevant blog post, or an amusing quote – things get spread around Twitter fast.

5. Show Your Worth

On Twitter you can build a reputation. Facebook is about staying connected with people you already know. Twitter is about networking, and people recommend each other all the time. ‘@X, have you met @Y? You might find her knowledge of Z useful.’ Mention people in your Tweets and they’ll pick up on it and reply to you. Include links to things you find interesting, and others who find the link interesting join the conversation and widen it by sharing the link with their followers. You never know, one day soon you could be @Y, being introduced to @X because of your reputation for being an expert on Z!