How to change your Twitter username

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So you’ve created an account, worked though the 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter, then realised that your username is tricky for people to say or spell, or not a tweet way to raise your profile. Don’t worry, it’s very easy to fix…

1. Go to Twitter, click on the cog (top right), then Edit profile:

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2. Select Account, then change the username listed (mine’s LindaCheungUK to match with LinkedIn – you can also claim your LinkedIn public profile as your own):

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3. Save changes at the bottom of the page:

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That’s it! If the username is taken, you will be prompted to choose another one. Usernames can contain up to 15 characters.

Changing your username will not affect your existing followers – they will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update.

If a CubeSocial contact changes their username, a new contact card will be created by tweet conversations, then you can simply merge the new with the old Smile

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PR Agencies: How not to use Social Media

 

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If you’re a PR agency encouraging your staff to find and win new clients through social media, here’s a cautionary tale about how not to do it.

Earlier today I received a tweet “wondering what the best email to drop you a line on?”. It was from someone that I had never tweeted with before, so I was curious.

The Twitter bio told me the individual worked for “one of the UK’s fastest growing and most influential PR agencies”. The associated Twitter timeline showed character, but not the kind I was expecting:

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Rather than jump to any conclusions, I thought to double-check – perhaps the account was for personal use and I wasn’t the intended recipient of the email request:

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Everyone in the office turned round to find out what was going on when I laughed out loud on receiving the response:

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So, a representative of an “influential” PR agency, who has no idea how to represent herself or her employer online, would like to represent me…

Thanks, but no thanks!

Is Your Website Optimised for Smartphones and Tablets?

According to the latest industry data 13% of UK web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. More remarkable is the growth rate – that figure is up 70% from 12 months ago.

If you plan to do business internationally, some of the statistics from the emerging economies are astonishing. In India for instance, 53% of web traffic comes from mobile!

For us at CubeSocial, our data shows that around 25-30% of visitors regularly access cubesocial.com from mobile devices.

Something we’ve been planning to do for a while is update our website to detect the type of device you’re using and deliver an optimised experience, whatever the screen size. (The technical term for this is responsive design).

The good news is that our new, improved, responsive design is now live!

Take our main products page for instance, if you’re on a widescreen desktop or laptop, you get something like this:

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Browsing from an iPad in portrait mode, you’ll see this:

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On a smartphone, you’ll see this:

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Pretty neat, huh? Whatever device you use, you get a layout that works for you. No need to zoom in on tiny text, or try (and endlessly fail!?) to click on miniscule links.

But what’s really appealing to us about responsive design are the social media and SEO benefits…

The old way of doing mobile web sites was to have a separate site, with a dedicated mobile layout. The problem with this is that there are different URLs for the same content on different devices.  This means two things:

  • SEO becomes twice as hard because you need to optimise for two different URLs.
  • If you are sharing links in social media that don’t work well in mobile devices, then you have a problem. (Because most people’s social media use takes place on mobile devices).

Have you had a look recently what your website looks like on a smartphone? If you’d like some advice or help optimising your website for mobile devices, get in touch.

Grant Thornton Lead Accountancy Firms into Social Media Future

Not sure how we missed this from earlier this year… Accountancy firm Grant Thornton’s internal video encouraging, no instructing employees to get on social media and connect with prospects and clients.

Great quotes from the video:

“Smart use of social media… will help us win business, achieve the growth we’re after and get the best people to joins us. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“At Grant Thornton using social media at work is not only permitted and acceptable, but desirable and expected.”

Here’s the video. It’s just a couple of minutes long and well worth watching:

Well done to Grant Thornton for taking a lead on this!

If you are thinking of using social media to market your services or connect with clients and prospects then give us a shout. We have years of experience working with accountants and provide a range of social media services for accounting firms large and small.

Do you still pay for Print Ads or Directory Listings?

The incredible shrinking Yellow Pages

Do you still pay for listings in the Yellow Pages, the Phone Book, Thomson Local or industry-specific directories? Do you still advertise in the local press? Do you get any return from them?

As the Internet and social media recommendations (from Amazon reviews to asking your friends on Facebook) have grown, people are increasingly turning away from directories and printed ads as a way to discover products and services.

You might say that the directories still serve an older generation that aren’t on the Internet. My experience though is that even this audience are shunning directories… Having heard their family talk about social media they understand that there is better value to be had on the Internet even if they can’t use it themselves. So what do they do?

They ask their children or grandchildren to do the research for them and come back with a recommendation.

So as you think about how to best allocate your marketing spend over the next year take a critical look at your directory and print advertising spend and think about how you can more effectively re-allocate that online. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this.

How #youdrive ratings and advertising

imageShortly after spotting David Cameron’s first tweet on Saturday, I was intrigued to see #YOUDRIVE trending as a promoted hashtag. A few clicks later, I was being encouraged to “take part in a social media first”.

The Mercedes campaign featured three adverts to introduce the new A-Class to young professionals. The premise was a cat and mouse chase – UK rapper Kano was trying to get to a secret gig that the authorities were keen to close down, and viewers could vote via Twitter to steer the action real-time.

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Viewers were given two opportunities to select outcomes during two ad breaks in Saturday’s The X Factor. The finale was shown during the Sunday night show – it recapped the first two episodes before the final reveal.

imageIn contrast to the live online reaction to David Cameron joining Twitter, the initial response to #youdrive seemed incredibly positive, especially with Mercedes’ target audience.

What particularly caught my eye were the tweets preferring the adverts over the programme that they were being aired in: “Only want to watch #youdrive advert tonight. Xfactor’s boring #switch”… “Hurry up, I just wanna see the adverts #youdrive”…

A year or two back, I rarely watched any entertainment programmes live. I would record and fast forward through the adverts. Now, some programmes just aren’t the same if I miss the live hashtag insights and conversations.

As with email, then mobile phones, Twitter is increasingly just one more way for us to talk. The popularity of hashtags such as #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), #scd (Strictly Come Dancing) and #xfactor make it clear that social media has already changed our viewing habits. How much will social media and campaigns such as #youdrive change how advertising evolves?

Did LinkedIn Just Get More Important than Twitter?

Two things happened yesterday.

First I came across this data from PageLever showing how referral traffic has changed since Twitter stopped allowing Tweets to be syndicated directly to the LinkedIn newsfeed.

Next, a colleague pointed out that our blog post on Thursday had more shares on LinkedIn than it had on Twitter.

Now trust me, that’s unheard of.

Normally we see Twitter getting 3-4x the number of shares that LinkedIn delivers.

So what’s happening here?

One theory is that competition for space in the LinkedIn newsfeed is significantly reduced because it’s not inundated with tweets. So posts linking to your website now get more visibility and more clicks.

Whatever the cause, it’s clear that LinkedIn just got much more important that it used to be and you should definitely make sure to post updates to LinkedIn regularly.

How to Add a Twitter Header Image

This week Twitter rolled out an update to its web and mobile apps to add Facebook-like profile header images. The header image is a custom background that appears at the top of your profile page, like this one we’ve added for CubeSocial:

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Once you’ve added a profile image it’s visible on your Twitter page via web, iPad, iPhone and Android apps.  For businesses this is a great way to increase the branding of their page.

To add a profile image of your own click the cog icon on the top right of your Twitter page then click Edit Profile.

Next click Design on the left-hand menu.  In the section labelled Customize your own you’ll see the default header image is a dark grey box. Upload your image (ideally the image should be 1200 x 600 pixels in size).  You’ll see the image in the box change immediately, but beware your header image won’t actually be saved until you click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

That’s it! Enjoy.

Morgan Stanley’s Green Light for Social Media – Bankers or Bots?

On 25th June, Lauren Boyman, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB)’s Head of Social Media sent out these two tweets in quick succession:

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The “green light” was for Twitter and LinkedIn for MSSB’s 17,000 financial advisors. The “successful pilot” had been a year long, with an initial group of 600 being allowed to use both sites. The “compliant way” was the catch… tweets must be selected from a library of pre-written messages. For example:

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Having spent 15 years in the City, 13 of those with Morgan Stanley, I’m fully aware of the challenges. Of course there are compliance and regulatory requirements to manage, but professionals know what they can and cannot say publically, and technology can ensure appropriate records are kept.

There’s also fear – having benefited from Corporate Communications when at Morgan Stanley, I was conscious and apprehensive about there being no front line of defence when I first joined social media. Having found the Twitter account and bio for J. Scott Irwin however, MSSB advisers can rest assured that Big Brother is watching! (Maybe that adds to the fear?!)

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But at its heart, all business is about relationships. Relationships are built on conversations, and social media is just another way to talk – old rules, new tools.

How can you build trust, show personality and spontaneity, be social… human, when you’re restricted to talking from a script? Being social on social media requires interaction and engagement. If every tweet is pre-written and pre-approved, how can we be certain there’s actually a person tweeting?

Having a library of content, where it’s easy to find official data and messages, is a great start. Advisors should then be given the freedom to share this information in their own tone of voice. People buy from people.

Throughout my time at Morgan Stanley I felt it a privilege to work with amazingly talented people – exactly the type of individuals who can wow others with their expertise and insights, and can build trust at a time of mistrust in the financial sector.

In the article that Lauren Boyman links to above, there’s mention of a small trial of 20 that have “been given the ability to write their own tweets”. I was pleased to find one such individual, and couldn’t help but smile at her retort to the critics (the link in her tweet is to an article titled “Morgan Stanley: Nothing personal – encouraged to be boring”):

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I was even more pleased to see that less than 24 hours after I tried to start a conversation, there was a magical reply:

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“… autonomy – within regulatory guidelines” – cheery, smart, nice! And good practice for every aspect of a trusted professional’s working life, not just for their social media use.

I know that change takes time. MSSB’s green light may not be on full beam, but what they’ve done is bold relative to other Wall Street firms. I would love to keep in touch with a firm I spent 13 years with through Twitter – if I can be sure that I’m following bankers, not bots!

6 Examples of Twitter Profile Disclaimers

As a B2B company starting out on Twitter, one of the things that’ll likely come up in planning meetings is the legal disclaimer that typically accompanies any written output. It’s an understandable question, so as financial, legal and other professional services are now stepping out on Twitter, it’s worth having a look at what the early adopters are doing.

(You may question whether a disclaimer is necessary at all, but we’ll leave that debate aside for the moment).

Disclaimer on the Page Background

Morgan Stanley’s corporate account has a disclaimer on the background of their Twitter page. This has the upside of being able to display more than the 160 character limit of a Twitter bio, but the downside that it’s not visible to anyone accessing Twitter through a mobile client or app like Tweetdeck or CubeSocial.

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Pfizer have a similar approach but don’t provide a disclaimer as such, instead using the Twitter background to provide important links – including how to report adverse events.

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Disclaimer in the Bio Link

In June Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial advisors got the go ahead to use Twitter. All 17,000 accounts have the same link in their bio pointing to MMSB’s legal disclaimer.

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Barclays Online takes a similar approach.

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With this approach the disclaimer will be available from all Twitter clients. The downside is that you are losing a potential marketing opportunity – that link could instead be used to direct people to a Twitter-specific landing page.

Disclaimer in the Bio

For those wanting to make it clear that they are tweeting in a personal capacity, the classic “all opinions are my own” is often included in the Twitter bio.

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No Disclaimer at All

Interestingly, the most common approach among the accounts we reviewed (even among B2B, legal and financial services companies) was to have no disclaimer at all. You’d think law firms would insist on disclaimers, right? But we checked the official Twitter accounts of the top 10 UK law firms and not one had a disclaimer on show. It seems that in the world of social media for lawyers, the accepted wisdom is that disclaimers don’t matter.

Perhaps the best advice we can give is, if you wouldn’t say it to your grandma, don’t say it on Twitter.

Do you have a Twitter disclaimer? Have you seen any examples of good disclaimers?