Twitter has enjoyed phenomenal growth in the last six months alone, bringing it truly into the mainstream. However, far from just being the latest “big thing” it provides a unique way to view insights into consumers and their behaviour.
Done properly, Twitter provides brands with multiple opportunities to connect with customers. It was with this in mind that I approached the Figaro Digital Social Media event last month.
How can brands ensure that they participate in ways that the Twitter audience appreciate and respond to, meet business objectives and is done in a cost-effective way? However we look at it, most businesses do not have the resources (financial or human) to employ a full-time Twitterer, Blogger or even Social Media Manager so we should always be mindful of how much we are getting for our buck – especially if we are paying an agency to act on our/your behalf.
So how can brands make sure their Twitter activities are delivering the kind of reward that makes the step onto the platform worthwhile for both consumer and brand?
My presentation, available on slideshare, provided a series of tools and an underlying strategy to ensure that when we participate on Twitter, we do so knowing that we are talking to people who are interested in us, our products or our competitor and their products, people to whom we can add value (help, advise, raise awareness, solve problems) and who have the capacity and tendency to reach a wider audience than we ever could.
FUCE – it’s all you need to know!
• Find -what people are talking about and who those people are?
• Understand –the person and their followers and how valid a prospect they are?
• Create –a reason for being there and establish contact –add value
• Engage –develop a relationship. Use what makes them tick to get closer
In my presentation you will find links to a whole host of tools which will help you better understand the landscape as well as manage your activities much better and easier.
But do you really need a whole load of tools?
Many people have argued that to be so analytical and process-driven about Twitter is to some extent, defeating the object. “Get in there and just talk to people” is not an unreasonable approach… but then again, is that what @habitatuk thought when they let an intern loose on their account?
Relevancy and context are core aspects of brands being relevant in social networks, but only when we know to whom we need to be relevant, can we be so – which is why many of the tools we use (and are listed below) are about understanding the people behind the tweets.
When we are launching a client’s Twitter account, it is important that we make the best use of that client’s time and engage initially with only those people who we know to be talking about that client, their competitors, products or industry. I call this the Push phase of the approach – where we are trying to FIND friends to talk to.
If we approach this wisely, we end up with friends who we know to be very relevant to our client’s business in that they already share an interest or have tweeted on something that would be of interest to us. This gives us (even without mentioning anything about our product or brand) a valid reason to talk to that person.
This phase is perhaps a little too mercenary for many, but again, when it is not our money we are spending, remains something which anyone should pay more attention to if they are trying to get more out of less!
Someone tweeting something relevant about a brand/client is nice, but someone re-tweeting that message is quite something else. In an ideal world, a superstar follower will re-tweet everything we tweet, but we know this is not the case.
With analysis suggesting that re-tweets are on average, only 2-networks deep (i.e. a re-tweet only gets seen by two friends’ networks), we need to make sure that we have plenty of followers who are more likely than not to re-tweet some of our content. Some of the tools we use help us understand the likelihood of that person passing on our content.
It’s contrary to the notion of degree centrality – that the person at the heart of the network is the most influential, when what we actually want are the people who can connect us to a wider audience with the least amount of steps (Markov centrality). Mercenary yes, but necessary.
When we move beyond the Push stage – of finding followers who are relevant re-tweeters, and we are conversing in a friendly, respectable and relevant manner (which might include twitpic, competitions, offers etc.), we will begin to naturally attract followers. The question then is raised of how we manage these people and how we remain mindful of what makes that person tick, what their experience has been of us (are they a customer, complainant, troll etc.) and who is going to manage that relationship.
Tools like Topify, otherinbox and Co-comment all help to assign notes, people and tweets to ensuring that the valued relationship we created is not lost with one careless tweet.
So, not rocket science admittedly, and some of the tools below will add more features to your toolkit (and not all of them perhaps relevant or of interest to you), but I do hope you will find them useful and please let me know of your own experiences.