The image on the left is a screenshot from my phone. At first glance, at the From, the LinkedIn headline and formatting, it looks genuine.
However, I always make sure to pause because clicking on a link, and during that pause I was surprised to see the email addressed “Dear LinkedIn User” rather than to my name .
As I was in the office, I thought to have a second look at the email from my computer. While the From had looked genuine on my phone, it did not on my computer screen:
Thought to share and say beware!
Like hundreds of entrepreneurs around Europe, we spent 2011 building, pitching and growing our own tech start-up: CubeSocial.
Towards the end of the year we decided we’d like to share what we had learned with other aspiring entrepreneurs.
What you see here is the result of that work… a ground-up initiative by a group of around 40 passionate start-ups that all took part in Seedcamp during 2011 and have come together to share their experiences and learnings. You can download the ebook here for free. Our gift to you. There’s also an easily embeddable version here.
Please pass this book on to anyone you think might find it useful. Tweet it. Blog about it. Share the information as widely as possible.
- Twitter Clinic: A Hashtag Case study – Wow, it seems like there are plenty of people curious to know how Twitter hashtags work. If that’s you… read on!
- “All opinions are my own” – disclaimers, risk warnings and social media – Will social media ever take off in highly regulated industries like banking and pharmaceuticals?
- Leave your phones on – How social media is changing business etiquette – You know those people glued to their smartphones and iPads during your presentation… they are probably paying more attention than you think!
- Twitter Clinic: #FF, DM and RT explained – Another in our series of Twitter Clinics. The title says it all.
- Ambush Marketing: The Accidental Twitter Ambush – How we accidentally pulled off an ambush marketing event at a conference we had been barred from.
- Klout… and how it can be manipulated – The story of what happened when we spent a month specifically trying to increase our Klout score.
- Twitter Clinic: 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter – If you are totally new to to Twitter, start here.
Twitter Clinic: Who sees what you’re tweeting – Those @messages – are you sure you know who can view them?
- Four Reasons Your Company Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy – Lawyers are running around telling everyone that will listen that they must have a social media policy… but do you really need one?
- GeeknRolla: Rock star or one-hit wonder? – Just how awesome is the self-proclaimed “awesome annual conference for tech startups in Europe”
And with that we’d like to wish you a happy new year, and we’ll see you all again in 2011.
Even 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.
Twitter 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 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?
This morning, the @foxnewspolitics Twitter feed was hacked and populated with tweets reporting the death of President Obama. A group called Scriptkiddies claimed responsibility.
You can follow a few simple steps to reduce the risk of your Twitter account being hacked.
- Social Engineering is perhaps the most common way hackers get into these accounts. Reduce your risk by limiting the number of people that know the password. Use an enterprise grade Twitter client, rather than one of the many consumer client apps available, then require all Twitter activity uses that application only. That way no-one but your security admins need know your Twitter account password.
- Take normal password precautions: Use strong passwords, and change the password regularly.
- Enable HTTPS on your Twitter account. Right now (amazingly) the default is HTTP – that means anyone using Twitter.com over a WiFi connection could potentially have their Twitter account compromised by the person sitting next to them in the coffee shop using a simple free tool such as FireSheep.
- To enable HTTPS on your Twitter account navigate to your Twitter.com profile settings and check the box:
If you’re hesitant about using social media for business, don’t worry: I was too.
When I left Morgan Stanley to start my own business I knew it was important to embrace “Net Generation” tools, but social media felt like something I needed, rather than wanted to do.
Now I’m a huge fan and leading a start-up that provides software for professionals to win business through social media.
When I recently explained my journey from cynic to convert to Michael Tinmouth of Entrepreneur Country, he was surprised that I mentioned Jonathan Ross as a reason, and suggested that I repeat my story here…
When I first joined Twitter I thought to lurk and learn. Jonathan Ross (@Wossy) was one of the first people I followed because he frequently mentioned Twitter on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and it was widely accepted that he, not a PR company, was tweeting. Reading @Wossy’s tweets I realised how brilliantly he was engaging with his clients (audience) and how great Twitter would be for business.
It was an open secret that Friday Night with… was filmed on Thursdays. Before each show @Wossy would tweet about the celebrities he was about to meet and share informal photos taken on the set. In other words: @Wossy was reminding his clients about his product (his show), keeping them updated on the latest features (this week’s guests), influencing them to buy (watch) and increasing his sales (audience ratings). Clever!
Once I’d noticed this, it was difficult not to notice @Wossy was also using Twitter for focus groups and research – ahead of his Radio 2 shows @Wossy would tweet playlist themes and ask for suggestions, e.g. first single, desert island disc, favourite song from the 80s, etc. Followers would promptly send in their suggestions hoping for a mention on the next show. What might have taken hours could be created in minutes – with @Wossy knowing that his clients would approve of the service he would provide.
As with all great business, clients felt special – they were getting services they wanted and special insights, with loyalty rewards in the form of Radio 2 mentions, or in the case of the British Comedy Awards, private jokes that only they, as followers, would be privy too (@Wossy would tweet asking for sound bites that he’d have to mention during the Awards, later announcing on Twitter his choice and who suggested it). So not only clever, but great customer service, with high client retention and advocacy potential.
Quoting Michael, “once you put it like that, it’s obvious”!
By Linda Cheung
Billed as “The awesome annual conference for tech startups in Europe” GeeknRolla was launched just two years ago in 2009. In 2010, over 500 attended despite the travel chaos caused by the volcanic ash cloud. People in the know told me I HAD to go…
On the day, the energy and passion of the entrepreneurs overcame the logistical teething troubles (being an hour and a half behind schedule by 11:00 is quite an achievement!).
Conference organiser Mike Butcher brushed off these issues with “we’re a start-up too”, and most seemed good spirited about it. The fast-paced nature of GeeknRolla (all sessions, whether a keynote or a panel, are less than 20 minutes) meant that everyone kept to the point. I was impressed by the calibre of speakers, panellists and moderators, the content and the networking.
My personal highlights (in order of appearance)…
Having had 12 hours to adjust to Dave’s expletive level after the Telegraph’s “Audience With”, I could 100% tune-into his excellent tips. Software start-ups must focus on MVP: Minimum Viable Product. We’re working hard to deliver a product that addresses our clients’ lack of time and overload of information. Perfection would be great, but it would mean we’d never get anything to them! I also loved Dave’s “metrics for pirates”: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue – AARRR!!
My favourite of the start-up competition launch pitches – when I tweeted that I wanted to hear more when their time ran out, they promptly tweeted back “come by our table to try it out”. The name comes from “due diligence” and they want to help people find information about the reputation and stability of any UK company. Having won £50,000 from DFJ Esprit yesterday, they’re one to watch. Well done chaps
Wendy’s presentation was titled “Money makes you lazy” but I can’t imagine for a minute that Wendy’s not constantly on the move! It was incredibly inspiring to hear Wendy describe how she lost $8M and had to sack 58 people out of 60 (including her future husband and mother-in-law), before achieving her current success by experimenting and taking risks.
Max spoke as a GeeknRolla Grad (he took part in the start-up launch pitch competition last year). In less than three minutes, Max explained qwerly’s big idea, how they’d handled the downs and how they’re emerging triumphant. The self-deprecating tone and simplicity of the messages were brilliant. The various tweets I subsequently saw by individuals who had signed up to qwerly “just because” of Max’s presentation were well deserved.
Last but certainly not least. Morten believes that strategy can be expressed to VCs in 5 to 10 seconds and that start-ups should sing and dance for investment… Of course he didn’t say the latter until after he’d got all the investors on their feet. There was a wonderful moment of realisation as Morten loaded the words of “Fly me to the moon”… and the entrepreneurs in the room were instructed to literally serenade the investors!
I’m not yet convinced that GeeknRolla deserves rock star billing. That said, the quote that seems to have achieved the highest number of ReTweets is: “Marketing in the future is like sex. Only losers will have to pay for it” – Morten Lund. Sex, Geeks and RocknRoll?