Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

The Sad Truth About Twitter Statistics

Twitter is a content producing machine. With over 555 million users releasing 5,700 tweets per second, finding a captive audience for your company’s updates is daunting at best. A new report on Twitter stats has also revealed a depressing reality; active accounts (those that have posted in the last 30 days) have a median average of 61 followers. This begs the question – is anyone reading your tweets?image

You can’t answer this question by touting large numbers of so-called followers. Just because a brand has 10k “fans”, it doesn’t mean 10k people read every tweet. Engagement is the name of the game, and the practice of buying followers is a colossal waste of money.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Many of the latest Twitter stats point directly at what creates user interaction and engagement. But although releasing a deluge of self-centric tweets to an uncaring audience is not among the tricks of the trade, it’s by far the most common practice. It’s time to face the facts about Twitter stats, and rise above the clutter.

Why Twitter’s Business Model Conflicts with Your Marketing Efforts

There’s a fundamental conflict in the way Twitter presents itself. On the surface, it wants to be a social network, with the newly minted tagline “Start a conversation.” Yet at its core, Twitter only works if the majority of its 190 million monthly visitors are following conversations, not leading them. As more and more of the globe has decided to tweet up a storm, everyone else’s offerings have become diluted.

The result: Twitter has worked harder to promote “super-users” that have hundreds of thousands of followers – this is the model the network most embraces. How do we know? Check out the very obvious way celebrities and well-known brands are heavily promoted by the site. Chances are your Twitter homepage currently has follow suggestions like Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Kardashian, and Kraft Foods; even though they may reflect absolutely nothing about your interests.

The hard truth is the Twitter stratosphere is heinously cluttered. So, chances are, your brilliant little missives are not finding their intended eyeballs.

Surefire Ways to Increase Engagement

So how exactly do you woo the masses into reading and interacting with your tweets? You do what always works in marketing; give the people what they want.

Need more tangible ideas? Here’s the path to Twitter greatness, supported by recent platform statistics.

  1. When you tweet is vitally important. Since most of us are weekday warriors, we are missing the boat when it comes to ideal Twitter times. Your tweets need to launch when the majority of your audience is online. For most of us, that means the weekend. If you still insist on weekday releases, peak hours are 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm. (Use the time zone where the majority of your demographic lives as a foundation.)
  2. Tweets with images have a 200 percent increase in engagement. It doesn’t matter how witty your 140 characters sound; pictures, as you know. . .say a heck of a lot more.
  3. Want your audience to retweet your sends? Ask them to do so. Calls to action are priceless, and in this case, 86 percent more effective.
  4. Shorter is better. Tweets 100 characters or less see a 17 percent increase in engagement. And you thought 140 characters felt limiting!
  5. Ask questions. Again, this emphasizes a call to action. Tweets that pose thoughtful and intriguing questions see a 21 percent response rate. That’s engagement, and that’s exactly what you’re going for.

The Biggest Mistakes Brands Make on Twitter

There are a lot of Twitter blunders occurring in mass quantity every day. Here are a few core mistakes that you can start avoiding right now:

  1. Not following others. It’s astounding how many brands expect to build a mammoth user base without the courtesy of following others. For every 100 users you follow, 31 will follow you back. So get out there, read what others are up to, and make some friends.
  2. Tweeting only about your company. Self-serving tweets are the vast majority, and users are getting wary of all the “me me me” missives. Share valuable information about your company, industry, and products. Inspire and intrigue your audience; don’t just talk about how awesome your brand is.
  3. Failing to respond to inquiries. More and more users are utilizing the social network as the customer service outlet for various companies. If a user asks you a question privately or through a tweet, you have a very small window to respond before you’ve alienated your customer. If you’re going to have a presence, commit to being active.

Advice in a Nutshell

Don’t be mesmerized by the sheer numbers Twitter has garnered; make no mistake, gaining a stronghold on this audience is no easy task. You need to be extremely mindful of who you’re trying to reach, and when they are interacting with content.

To be a Twitter superstar, you absolutely have to commit to building and maintaining a loyal audience. Twitter is very much a go big or go home platform – a lack of firm commitment and effort will result in the sound of crickets chirping. If you want your tweets to be among the very few of the 58 million sent per day that are actually read by engaged readers, it’s going to take a mammoth effort to achieve. Worth every moment, by the way, but let’s not pretend this is an easy task.

How has your experience with Twitter engagement been? What are your tricks in building and maintaining a happy Twitter audience?

By  in Featured Twitter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADigital producer, game designer, Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs, Tina Courtney-Brown has been shaping online businesses since 1996. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, social networks and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and true cooking diva. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook andGoogle+.

Twitter Details Google Summer Of Code Participation

Three students will be working on three open source projects

Google’s Summer of Code program is about to get started and Twitter couldn’t be more stoked. This is the first time that Twitter has joined in the program to mentor students and help them learn more about programming.

Google’s Summer of Code focuses on open source technology which is a great fit for Twitter. Not only are they now a sponsor of the Apache Foundation, but they have been open sourcing a lot of the software used to power the inner workings of Twitter. Working with a company as well-known as Twitter must be pretty awesome and we wish them the best.

Twitter chose three students to help them develop code over the summer. All three students will be working on various open source projects that Twitter is developing. Besides the students getting an invaluable education, Twitter gets free help with their code since Google pays the students who participate in the program.

The first student, Federico Brubacher, has been programming since he was 6. If that’s not impressive enough, he is also on his way to finishing up his MS in computer science at ORT Uruguay. During his time with Twitter, he will be “building scalable, online machine learning algorithms on top of Storm.” Storm is the software that powers Twitter’s Analytics platform.

The second student, Kirill Lashuk, is currently studying math and computer science at Belarusian State University in Minsk. For his summer project, he will be adding more localization capabilities to TwitterCLDR. TwitterCLDR “uses Unicode’s Common Locale Data Repository to format certain types of text into their localized equivalents.”

The third and final student, Ruben Oanta, is also on his way to finishing up his MS in computer science at DePaul University. His job will be adding MySQL support to Finagle, a “protocol-agnostic library that abstracts the complicated details of asynchronous RPC communication.”

It looks like Twitter has some fantastic students working on some really important stuff. It’s nice to see a company giving students proper jobs in programming. Twitter is a friend to the open source movement so here’s hoping they instill that same love for open source in the next generation of programmers.

Dissection of a Twitter Account: 10 Ways I’ve Used Twitter This Month

by Jill Whalen

A few weeks ago I learned that I was chosen as one of the “Top 25 Online Marketers to Follow on Twitter” by David Vogelpohl over at Marketing Pilgrim. (I’d like to thank my family, my 2nd grade teacher…)

While it was cool to be chosen, more interesting to me was how David characterized my Twitter account: “…an engaging Twitter feed where she makes the most of interacting with other Twitter users…With enough quips to make her feed personal and interesting, she maintains a mostly serious and professional Twitter persona.”

That does seem to sum up my Twitter existence, although I had to laugh at the serious and professional description, since I sometimes tweet some crazy stuff! On the other hand, I agree that the mix of personal and professional is a large part of the appeal of my Twitter account. In fact I think it’s key to nearly any good Twitter account. For more on that, Lisa Barone (also on the top 25 list) just wrote a great article: “The Myth of ‘Professional’ Twitter Accounts,” with which I agree 100% (see my comments over there).

I thought it would be interesting to look at and dissect both the professional and perhaps not so professional ways that I have used Twitter this month to see what exactly makes up a top-25 account. With that, I give you:

10 Ways I’ve Used Twitter This Month:

1. Expressing Extreme Emotions:

This is one of my most common uses of Twitter, and it really just amounts to venting. I find that if something pops into my head that I really love or hate, it makes me feel good to mention it on Twitter.

So far this month I have expressed love for Pandora adding comedy channels, my iPad, a spammy site I reported being nuked and clients who no longer need me because they’re doing so well.

And I’ve expressed dislike for SEO getting blamed for malware, irrelevant blog and forum comments, Panera messing up my order (twice in a row), and email spam via my website’s contact form.

2. Creating Content:

This is an obvious one to anyone who reads the HRA newsletter regularly since I’ve been doing my “Twitter Question of the Week” (for a few years now). Asking my Twitter followers questions relating to the main newsletter topic is a great way to provide additional newsletter content, while also making them part of the newsletter.

3. Crowdsourcing to Help Clients:

Having more than 10,000 Twitter followers is a great way to get quick help when you need it. This month I was doing a review of a restaurant guide website and was able to ask my followers a few questions regarding restaurant sites in general. Their responses helped me, and ultimately my client. I had another client whose new website developer decided to blow them off, so they were in dire need of a new one. I took it to Twitter and found that a few of my Twitter friends whom I already knew and trusted online might be a perfect fit, so I passed along their info to the client.

4. Promotion of Myself and Others:

Other than this newsletter, I know of no better way to quickly get hundreds of eyeballs on any new article I write. It seems almost magical when you tweet a link to a new article and within minutes see all the visitors, and often comments.

I don’t just tweet my own articles, however. When I read other great articles, I tweet them as well. This provides my followers with more interesting information than just I can give them, and also endears me to those whom I am promoting. I honestly don’t do it to get anything in return — it’s just good networking and a win-win all around.

5. Catching Up With Family and Friends:

I have a fairly tech-savvy family — my oldest daughter @coriewhalen, my cousins @acarvin and @ericcarvin, and my sister @bncarvin are all fairly prolific on Twitter. You may even have heard of my cousin Andy — he has made national news lately with his tweeting of the unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Aside from getting the international news from my family, I can also keep tabs on the fact that Corie was thinking of getting a new dog or let my cousins know I was having dinner with their mom and dad! Also, many of the friends I’ve met through events and conferences are on Twitter, and it’s a great way to keep up with what they’re doing. In fact, I’m having lunch with one such fríend this week that stemmed from a Twitter chat.

6. Answering Questions:

Sometimes people just randomly ask me SEO or other questions on Twitter that I’m usually happy to answer, if I can.

7. General Chatting:

When I first started using Twitter, I thought of it as a newfangled chatroom. I still use it for that purpose today because it’s comforting to have other people “around” during the day as I’m working. I’ll often see someone tweet something interesting that I reply to, and we can have a nice little conversation.

8. News and Information Gathering:

This is where who you follow on Twitter is important (as opposed to who follows you). I follow those who will not only entertain me, but who will post interesting and newsworthy links, especially those related to the search marketing industry. I get a good portion of my news from Twitter.

And now that I have my iPad, I use the Flipboard app each morning to see a magazine-like view of all the articles posted by my followers. This catches me up on anything interesting going on and also provides me with potential stories to submit to Sphinn to fulfill my editorial duties there.

9. Ranting and Raving About Boston Sports:

If you’re a Boston sports fan, you’ll understand this one. The gist is that all of our teams can be the best and the worst all in one night. It helps to cheer or scream with others on Twitter!

10. Fun and Silliness:

In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words: Me wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo.

Whether you haven’t ever understood how to use Twitter or are an old Twitter pro, I hope the ways I’ve used it inspire you to find new ways of expressing yourself online. I should also note that the mix of humor, authenticity and professionalism shouldn’t be limited to just Twitter. I am certain that it’s that same combination that has made the High Rankings Advisor Newsletter so popular for nearly 10 years.

The bottom line is that people prefer to do business with those whom they feel connected with. Twitter and other online communities provide us all with unique ways to make those connections – we just have to be willing to put a little bit of ourselves out there!

Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a SEO Consulting company in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen





Let’s Get Social 5 Truly Creative Uses Of Social Media

by Ciarán Norris

The biggest news in the world of social media over the last few weeks has been the IPO of LinkedIn, the upcoming Groupon IPO, and the slew of floatations these two are likely to herald. And, of course, underpinning all of this has been the simple question of whether the valuations these companies are receiving mean that we are in a bubble.

Whilst I’m in no way qualified to answer that (though I tend to agree with the analysis by multi-media consultancy Broadsight that all of this activity suggest that we definitely are in a bubble), what I can say is that nearly all of these companies rely on marketing, if not direct advertising dollars, for their business models.

This worries me because at present all of them seem to be enabling, if not actively encouraging, incredibly uncreative communication strategies. As a colleague of mine, who had his doubts about social, once said to me, “Are there any great social marketing campaigns that don’t rely on bribing the user”. And, when you think about it, there aren’t that many.

Groupon is built on bribing, or buying, your customer’s attention (with all the dangers that brings of investing in acquisition with absolutely no guarantee of retention), whilst many other ‘famous’ campaigns are built on similar models: vouchers, competitions, etc…

If Facebook, Twitter and the like really want to meet their valuations they need to win TV budgets, and that means that agencies and marketers need to get much better at using social platforms and technologies to build lasting relationships with consumers, without resorting to financial rewards, and start creating truly innovative strategies.

So, rather than just rant about this, I thought it would be useful to give examples of brands that are doing exactly that, in the (almost certainly vein) hope that this might encourage others to do the same.

5 Examples Of Excellent Social Media Campaigns

1. Intel – Museum of Me

This was the campaign that made me decide to write this post. A stunningly simple mechanic (pulling data from people’s social graphs using Facebook’s API is hardly original).

But done in a truly beautiful way, that actually made me stop what I was doing and give my full attention to what was unfolding in front of me. And, in doing all of this, it subtly, but very definitely, hammers home the overarching brand message. This should win awards. Lots of them.

2. First Direct – Live

Marketers often dismiss social, saying that it only works for cool brands, ones where people will want to get involved. So it would be impossible to use it for, say, a bank, right? Well, First Direct, to highlight the fact that unlike most other UK banks, were trusted by their customers, used social technology to surface consumer opinion, and then published it, on their own site, and broadcast it, in offline marketing. Again, an old tricks (it’s what movie studios have always done) but given an innovative twist, that won awards, and hit business targets.

3. Heineken – Star Player

Sponsoring major sporting events is an expensive business, yet so many brands go no further than slapping their logos on the bilboards and the ads around the games. Heineken went one better, and created an app that not only appeals to the target audience (football/soccer fans), but is truly engaging and, creates and facilitates live conversations.

4. Metropolitan Police – Choose A Different Ending

If you can’t use social for boring sectors, surely it can’t make a serious point? Well, the (London) Metropolitan Police proved otherwise with this interactive video narrative that allows youngsters to see the dangers of carrying a knife through a ‘choose your own adventure’ style YouTube platform. Gripping, engaging and perfect for the target audience. Truly creative, and true social work.

5. Burberry – Art Of The Trench

Another industry that has, for the most part, steered clear of social, and indeed digital in general, is the luxury sector. But fashion brand Burberry decided to grasp it with both hands, and the result was the highly successful Art Of The Trench, which has been followed with the world’s first 3D livecast of a catwalk show, with real-time Facebook & Twitter commenting.

It actually took me a while to come up with these, as so many, admittedly creative uses of social, rely on giving something physical back to consumers, whether in the forms of discounts or competition prizes.

So, help me out. Help me prove my colleague wrong. Help us prove that social media can be used creatively, without recourse to competitions, vouchers and give-aways, by giving your own examples in the comments.


Should You Advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?

By Peter Wylie

Are you wondering if it makes sense to advertise on your favorite social network? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have different demographic profiles and use cases that may provide good advertising opportunities.

All three platforms are also developing new and innovative ways to target advertising messages, based on the overwhelming amount of data they possess about their users. Marketers should explore the paid opportunities social networks offer with as much thought and effort as they experiment with the “earned” and “owned” aspects that these networks provide.

Depending on your business objective, one platform will likely prove more useful than others. In this article, I will explore the functionality each provides and how you can integrate the paid activity for maximum impact and return.

Facebook Ads

Facebook’s advertising platform is by far the most developed and widely used of the three major social networks. Offering a self-serve platform very similar to the early Google AdWords interface, Facebook advertising is available to even the smallest businesses with the most limited budgets.

facebook ads

Examples of Facebook ads.

Because the platform is still developing and underutilized, prices remain low for clicks and impressions when compared with more mature channels like Google AdWords and online display advertising.

Facebook allows users to target messages by a host of different criteria, which are determined from users’ profile information. Whether you want to reach 24- to 35-year-old women or 55- to 65-year-old men, people who like gardening or people who like jazz music, Facebook can deliver that demographic due to its scale and targeting capability.

Because much of the data Facebook has is of a demographic and interest level, Facebook advertising is very effective at B2C targeting. It also offers geographic targeting, which works well for metro areas and cities, but is somewhat lacking if you want to target rural areas specifically. Facebook advertising is relatively ineffective for B2B advertising, because the information it bases its targeting on is largely of a personal nature.

Facebook also allows users to run ads to attract “Likes” on their pages, which can help you grow your community on Facebook into a business asset. Paying for Likes can help your “owned” messages on Facebook reach a wider audience, and can be a prudent investment if managed closely. Before running Facebook ads to acquire Likes, however, it is very prudent to think through in rough terms the value you think you can obtain from having that line of contact with individuals.

facebook advertising

Connect with real people with a real interest in your products.

LinkedIn Ads

On the other hand, LinkedIn advertising is tremendously effective for B2B industries because of the professional information LinkedIn uses to target its advertisements, which are called “LinkedInAds

linkedin ads

Examples of LinkedIn advertising.

LinkedIn allows you to deliver advertising only to people with certain qualifications or titles, such as VP of operations or director of marketing. This makes the advertising spending very efficient, and fast movers can also take advantage of the current low prices on the platform.

When setting up your LinkedIn campaign, also make sure to see if there are any relevant groups that you could use for your targeting. LinkedIn Groups draw users back for longer sessions, and this can be a great way to reach targeted individuals while they are considering business issues and topics in the group setting.

LinkedIn Ads are quickly growing in popularity, so be wary of quick spikes in the cost of advertising if you choose to establish a campaign through this network.

linkedin targeted self-service ads

Reach your exact audience with LinkedIn Ads.

Twitter Ads

Currently the most underdeveloped advertising platform, Twitter only offers advertising to large brands at this time, in the form of “Sponsored Tweets” or “Promoted Trends.”

Advertisers pay per impression to have their tweet show up at the top of feeds when certain hashtags are used or for certain search terms on Twitter’s search engine.

twitter promoted tweets

Promoted Trends give users something new and exciting to discover

sponsored tweets

An advertising platform that connects advertisers with tweeters.

As a result, Twitter advertising is neither practical nor attainable for most marketers and businesses today. To warrant the valuations it has received, however, Twitter will almost certainly begin to offer an advertising product to smaller customers as it focuses on its monetization efforts.

Due to the real-time nature of much of the communication on Twitter, it holds tremendous promise for marketers, if the eventual mass-market advertising application can effectively harness this power to make ads more relevant and timely. Twitter’s value to smaller advertisers and marketers remains on the “earned” and “owned” side of the equation for the time being.

promoted tweet twitter advertising

Example of Twitter advertising.


Marketers should think about their target customer base and begin experimenting with social media advertising to reach them at a lower cost. Each platform offers specific features and benefits that will be more relevant to some businesses than others. I suggest a “test and invest” approach in these new channels to determine what works before spending large sums.

What has been your experience with social media advertising? Leave your questions and comments in the box below




Web Hosting Specials