Rules of Twitter Engagement : #TWITIQUETTE if you prefer

Well the rules of engagement of the virtual world are similar to the real one.

Let me prove it to you, what do you do when you are on a date? (A word of relationship advice, treat each evening with your partner as a date. Relationship will flourish more with each passing evening) Ah let’s not digress! Answer is simple, one should have proper etiquette. What were you thinking?

Here, Twitiquette if you prefer! You may like to follow these simple rules to demonstrate Twitiquette:

Rule #1

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Rule #2
Don’t start a tweet with a hashtag. Let us see your thought, idea, comment, or story first.

Rule #3
Please, please don’t use more than 3 hashtags in a tweet. If you do use three hashtags, do it sparingly. Tweets with way too many Hashtags are just unpleasant.

Rule #4
Don’t strive for followers. Ah don’t call me crazy, hear me complete. Strive for engagements. Ask people questions and engage with them! Just like real world, people like it in the virtual world as well. If you engage well, followers will follow you. This is no overnight solution, this is a long term investment.

Rule #5
Not everyone follows back, which is fair. All ‘tweeps’ are different but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t interact with you. Tweet them a question, idea, or story.

Rule #6
Yes you know this! 140 characters is the limit, but you don’t have to use all 140 characters. Try using around 120 characters. This will allow your followers and other tweeps to retweet you easily.

Rule #7
Please have an apt profile picture. It is well known fact yet worthy to be a part of this rule book. Why? You’d be surprised at how many people don’t add a profile picture.

Rule #8
Add a nice background; it is a great and generous way to showcase a little bit more about YOU.

Rule #9
Add a description. This is the easiest way to attract like-minded followers. Just try to answer 5W. Who you are? What’s special about you?Why are you on twitter? What do you do? Where about (Location / Blog link / LinkedIn). Your bio will attract like-minded people leading to some good engagements.

Rule #10
Don’t ignore your LinkedIn profile. Update it and add its link to your twitter profile. It will help in establishing you as a subject matter expert of your arena.

Rule #11
If you’re struggling on determining how long your tweet should be, what your tweet should cover, hashtags, etc. then just remember the old golden rule. Just K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Short.).

Rule #12
Always take out time to spread twitter love. I won’t say Retweet, it’s given. I would like to say, give the credit to the person when you Retweet. This is nothing more pleasing than a public acknowledgement. And just like you do in the real world, show gratitude when needed in the world of 140 characters too (Thank followers and tweeps for the RT, mentions, follow etc.).

Rule #13
Be authentic. Create value and augment twitter page of other’s with good content!

Rule #14
Last but not the least, rather most important
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Don’t contribute in making Twitter a legal minefield. Refer to this quick guide to what you can and can’t say on Twitter by @BBCNewsMagazine http://bbc.in/WnDiOm

I hope you will find this useful. If you have some more rules, please do share the gems with me too.

Thinking Social Media Strategy? ‘Your employees are your best bet’

employees are the heart of social media strategyMarketing strategies of any size organisations are no more untouched from the social media element rather it is becoming an important part of their approach. Whether it is one person show, mid-sized or large enterprises; all are embracing social media with open arms. More and more companies are seeing the value in engaging with consumers across various social media networks.

Here, I want to draw your attention to an old theory because I find it totally evergreen and I am sure you will also find it a sure shot way to your business success. ‘Your employees are your best brand ambassadors.’

Keeping this in mind, now just because you have a community or social media feeding-box doesn’t mean you have to limit your company’s social media use to that person or team. The most sustainable and successful way to use social media is with the motivated employees while building a community focused on your brand and business. Here are a few steps you can take to make that happen:

Inside the Office – Managers and Employees
Social media and online communities can be used to motivate and incentivize employees. Social media use can also help promote productivity. A 2012 Gartner, Inc. report found that 46 percent of organizations agree – from somewhat to strongly – that social media helps promote productivity.

When you’re considering whether or not to bring your employees into your business’s social presence, think carefully and make sure they have some training or guidelines in how your brand is to be represented in these social spaces. Even if you have an employee who is solely responsible for managing your business’s social media networks, every business has a large pool of ideas to draw from.

  • Ask your employees for input on social media strategies so they feel they have a voice in the overall direction of the company, nurturing loyalty. Old yet evergreen way, reward good ideas and more will be brought to the table.
  • Encourage your employees to follow each other on the different platforms they’re active on. This can create a deeper sense of family within your business, while promoting a positive culture to the outside world. 49 percent of organizations from the Gartner study used social media at work to connect with their coworkers.
  • Give your employees public acknowledgement when a job is well done. Everyone appreciates the recognition and when it’s via social media, it’s something easy for them to share with friends, family, and their social audiences.

Outside the Office – Employees and Customers
Never forget that your employees are your best brand ambassadors and most of them have an existing pool of connections. A business can make a lot from its socially-connected employees. Employees can delve into the various communities where your customers and potential customers are. Your employees shouldn’t only be interacting with their coworkers; they should also be using social media to connect with customers by becoming a thought leader and reliable source in your business’s industry. Employees can answer customer service questions pertaining to their department while finding new prospects.

  • Transparency is the key. Ensure your employees represent your brand and business well on social networks by getting them to interact, respond, and listen to feedback from customers in various communities.
  • Ask employees to encourage and participate in discussions in online social spaces with customers who have questions or complaints. In the same Gartner study mentioned above, 44 percent of organizations used social media at work to connect with customers.

By having employees participate in social media, you can help build brand awareness while creating a greater sense of accordance in your workplace. As employees participate in online social networks and communities with both coworkers and customers, thank them for their participation. Employees like to know that what they are doing is recognized and appreciated. Appreciation is always appreciated by employees of each era. Social media can create a community among coworkers and customers.

What is Social Media for Business?

Before we say what it is about, let me make it clear that it is not at all about direct selling. In fact, hard selling on social media is very suicidal because today’s internet users are well aware and shelled with advertisements every second.

Social media is about…

Relationship Building: Social media’s key rest in its name, it is about being social. The rules of engagement in the virtual world are no different from the ones in the real world, the trust you build with your potential customers on social media will take time and patience just like any other relationship. With a friendly, consistent and reliable social media presence that adds value, you build a following of people who may not only turn into repeat customers, but who would also highly recommend you to others.

Add Value: To be successful with social media understand this: people don’t use it to look at ads. They’re there to communicate with friends and family. They want entertainment and information. Your goals with social media should be to create an atmosphere where your customers feel safe connecting with you without the threat of being bombarded with “advertising”. How do you do this? By sharing relevant and entertaining posts that engage your audience. Humour, useful tips and information on relevant news are all topics of conversation. You can also turn the spotlight to your fans. Showcasing your customers and fans is a great way to build a closer following and get people talking about your business. Don’t forget to let your personality shine through!

‘Face’ it: People enjoy seeing the human side of business. Give them a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of the people behind the brand. The fact is we’re all human. Be entertaining, a resource or a destination. You know the saying, “the customer is always right” – they’ll let you know when you’re doing good

Brand Awareness: Attract, engage, and interact with potential customers and be more personal with them. If you’re able to leave an amazing impression, the more people who recognize and are aware about your brand, the more people discuss your company through word of mouth. Online publicity increases your company’s visibility. Establish your expertise in your field and control how people see you and your brand.

Customer Service: By answering questions and handling requests efficiently and promptly, you develop a positive reputation for your business.

Reputation Management: Whether or not you’re on social media, eventually people will be talking about you online. Be in charge of both positive and negative feedback. Take the ownership.

Industry Networking: Social media is not only a platform for you to connect with past, current, and future customers, but it also facilitates connections with others in your field. For small businesses, these mutually beneficial connections are indispensable. Share tips, mutually enlarge your networks, and promote each other’s’ offers to help each other grow.

Strategic Reflection: There’s a lot to learn from your competitors online. Observe their marketing strategies, take note of their pricing, and watch how they manage public complaints for example.

Research & Development: Social media provides a casual, non-committal atmosphere where people feel more willing to share their opinions whether directly to you or as part of a conversation with others. You can actively poll others or amass opinions, and also passively be a strate Continue reading

Principles of Social Media Marketing

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The most interesting fact about Social Media Marketing is that its beauty and beast both rest in one quality. It is very fast-moving hence companies are struggling to acclimatize their strategies and schemes. What worked in a few years before is so ‘last year’ now and is becoming less and less effective.

For the fast changing social media marketing turf, along with the 6P’s (Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) rule following the key principles will take you and your organisation a long way.

Here are some key elements you need to keep in mind to market on a social web.

Think sharing

What do people want to share? Then publish and promote it. Simple yet compelling headline is the key.

Go Real Time

Social media marketing is all about being active in real time. It involves publishing in real time, not next week or next month. The up-to-date posts and tweets will help you catch the trend and viral surge. The action doesn’t end with the real time tweeting, it also means you need to respond in real time to complaints, issues and inquiries.

Just Enlighten, Don’t Hawk

Think like your audiences. Do you think to be “sold to”? NO! So does your audiences. Social marketing is about giving the relevant updates that contributes to solving people’s problems with answers and information. The mode doesn’t matter as long as you follow the rule, whether that is from your blog, links in your tweets or updates and information on Facebook.

Souk is the ‘old soup’, Entertain

Again think like your audiences. Would you prefer the mundane and bland dish or would clasp the ‘WOW’? We live in an information age that discards the tasteless and shares the ‘WOW’. Facebook pages and updates that entertain, with competitions, humor or the unexpected are the links that will be shared.

Go Multichannel

One-track channel is not sufficient these days. You need to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Blogs as a minimum. Social Media can provide you with the channels to be omnipresent (everywhere) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For the starters, based on your target audience you can choose at least 2-3 channels to focus on. This is just to start, keep adding as you progress. Pace & multiplicity is the key here.

Different folks, different strokes

The blue-penciled content on its own doesn’t make it anymore; you need to provide information in ways that meets different people’s style. Going multimedia is the key.

Target Your Niche

Clans and fans find you and share you to their community. On Twitter you need to follow leaders and people in your niche so that when you tweet they will retweet you to their followers who will have similar interests. Facebook marketing can target demographics including roles, interests and geography.

Show Your Passion

Remember social marketing involves passion and enthusiasm. If you are not passionate about your forte, it will be obvious to your audiences. Remember, a passionate publisher always shine through and gets communal.

Don’t just talk, converse.

Effective listening before engaging is the key here. Your audience will tell you themselves what they want, what solutions they need for their problems and then provide it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blog comments will reveal the gold mine of the information for you.

After listening to your market, you are ready to engage in real time with the platform your audiences are comfortable with. It can be anything, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…. Worth repeating, Different folks, different strokes.