Twitter: The Not So Angry Bird

I’ve been speaking with a lot of people lately about the role of the social media exec in today’s business world and, of course, the conversation invariably includes Twitter. Even now, almost five years after its launch, many people have misconceptions or negative opinions about Twitter largely based upon a lack of knowledge.

And so when I saw this post on Mediabistro‘s All Twitter blog titled, 3 Things Most People Don’t Understand About Twitter, I thought I’d add a few comments on them as well.

Myth #1: Twitter is a social network: It is not. It is a part of social media, but it is not a social network — it is an information network, backed up by public comments from co-founder Biz Stone. Earlier this month, Twitter finally released its mission statement that stresses that assessment and here’s proof: We all know that Google is the king of the search world, but did you know that the #2 position is held by Twitter? That’s right, more searches are performed on Twitter each month than on Yahoo! and bing, combined.

Myth: It’s just good for one thing: On the contrary, it’s good for many things. Your Twitter is not the same as my Twitter. In fact, my Twitter changes from moment to moment. Sometimes I use it as a communications tool; sometimes a news source; and at others a marketing tool. That’s my Twitter. As we say online, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Myth: Twitter kills productivity: Is Twitter a time suck? Well, what isn’t? Anything you do takes your time and, as mentioned above, Twitter time can be just as valuable (or not) as any other research or communications activity. The important factor is that it is a customizable experience to be used as little or as much as makes sense. As for banning it, or other social media, from the workplace I’d counsel to tread lightly. Unless you also ban all smartphones from the premises your employees will still spend time on those sites. It is better to make a reasonable social media policy where personal use of social media is akin to personal use of company phones and have supervisors continue to judge their direct reports as they always have: do they get the job done well, on time and with positive influence on their peers.

Connect with me on Twitter @roncasalotti.

Social Customer Service: The ROI of Social Media

Respected marketer Paul Dunay writes in his Buzz Marketing for Technology newsletter that the true ROI of Social Media for B2B marketers is found in what he terms Social Customer Service. I agree and take it one step further — it’s not just the secret sauce for B2B but B2C as well.

Simply put, social customer service is keeping your customers happy. Makes sense, right? And just as applicable to both business and consumer targeted customers. So why do some companies feel that listening to their customers, especially when they are talking about their products or services, is not worthy of serious budgetary (dollars or time) commitment?

The trap is when in-house (or agency) marketers see social media as primarily another distribution point to market the company’s wares. Turning social media ROI into a statistical analysis of views, clicks and conversions misses out on the most valuable aspect of this social science: deepening engagement between your brand and its customers resulting in less customer churn, more customer satisfaction and creation of a viral army of brand evangelists who will praise you among their peers

This is why companies need a social media professional on hand to champion the customer within its walls and represent the company wherever its customers gather online.

Dunay has it right:

“The downside of poor customer service has been well documented on the web more and more people are taking to the web to warn other would be customers of their dissatisfaction so don’t let that be your company! I never read a Social Media case study that started with “we completely ignored this customers issue they were blogging or tweeting about and everything worked out great” in fact it is always the opposite.”


The (Self-Proclaimed) Most Amazing Press Release Ever

The (self-proclaimed) most amazing press release ever written comes from Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint PR. And while it’s an amusing piece, it calls to mind how much the venerable press release has changed from the days when it was distributed to a closed ecosystem of journalists to entice them to learn more, and in turn write about, the product, service or individual.

Today, the press release is pure and simple content — meant as much (if not more) for the end user to consume as part of his/her daily web-based news gathering process as it is for writers to repurpose.

The rise of the social media press release acknowledges the role search engines play in being the new conveyor of information to the end user. Releases that have the proper number of characters in its headline; include certain keywords in the proper places; use direct quotes and hyperlinks wisely; and incorporate images and video carefully, all get higher placement from search engines and therefore more notice from users.

If your press releases are not optimized for social media, hire a professional with that specific skill-set as part of your permanent communications team. That’s not a “nice to have” it’s a “must have.”

See the release:

Twitter’s Mission Statement (Finally!)

The mission statement is an important part of any business. It signals to those outside the company, and just as importantly to internal stakeholders as well, what you’re all about and where you’re headed.

Four years and nine months after its debut, and a new business-oriented CEO (Dick Costolo) in place, Twitter has decided on its own:

“We want to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.”

Simple, direct and most importantly public.

Source: Mashable (of course)

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