Archive for the 'twitter' Category

Cut Through Twitter Spam

Social media makes it easy to create a visible presence on the Internet for marketers, public relations professionals, and journalists.

And Spammers.

Unfortunately, it seems that spammers have infiltrated Twitter. Every time I update my twitter feed, a different spammer decides that then is a good time to start following me. In order to keep my friend feed clean, I’ve started blocking spammers automatically.

So when Zee M Kane of We Do Creative started following me on Twitter, he was two seconds from being blocked just like any other spammer. But his feed was longer than most Twitter spammers, and he had a good following to follower ratio (2:1 is good; Zane has one of almost 1:1).

I looked through his profile and his tweets and found out that Zee’s company We Do Creative has a branch specifically for public relations. I had a sneaky suspicion that Zee didn’t just add any tweeter who updated more than twice daily. I sent him tweet asking him why he added me, and he tweeted back saying he recognized that he made an effort to add people relevant to his industry.

This caused me to start thinking about effective ways to increase my followers on twitter beyond the obvious ‘Drive web traffic to your twitter feed’ tactics. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Follow a specific audience. Tweeters who have good following to follower ratios don’t add people who are irrelevant to their tweets. If you are in the automotive industry, don’t start adding tweeters who specialize in neurosurgery (unless neurosurgery is important to you, and even if it is, don’t expect them to follow you back).
  2. Don’t ignore @messages or replies. One of the things that impressed me about Zee’s feed was that he responded to both my @messages promptly despite having close to 1,000 followers. Recognizing your followers and responding to them will keep them from removing you from their twitter feed, and in some cases, will inspire them to add you.
  3. Engage your Audience. Go beyond just replying to your audience. Make your tweets interesting to whatever audience you’re trying to build. If you are a tech blogger, link and/or comment on the newest apple gizmo. If you are a coffee shop owner, tweet about a new drink you made. Stay up to date with the latest news in whatever field you specialize in and tweet about it.

Twitter is a powerful way to communicate ideas, but it is only as powerful as the number and type of people you have following you. By adding people who are irrelevant to your tweets, you are guaranteed to be seen as a spammer. Pay attention to who you add and take care of who you add if you want to see your follower count skyrocket.

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The Social Media Disconnect

In a post made at PRotocol, author Liz Harney brings up a common critique of social media. Many people see social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, along with other communication devices such as cell phones and email, are taking away from our daily face-to-face interactions.

My experience with social media has shown me that social media is a great tool for quick communication, but will never replace physical interactions. I’ll have mock messages with my friends on Facebook, but the lack of dynamics with social media interaction remind me that nothing will ever replace face-to-face communication, whether it is for business or maintaining personal relationships. I prefer seeing people in person than seeing them online.

My perspective is that social media enhances our relationships as opposed to detracting from them. Having said that, I do know of plenty of people who use social media as an escape from actually interacting with other people instead of supplementing personal interactions.

I encourage all of you to check out Liz Harney’s post and respond on her blog with your thoughts.

Tweet!

With blogs, Facebook status updates, and instant messaging, its hard to see at first why anybody would need a blogging service that places a 140 character limit on their blog post. Despite this, Twitter has a strong community of dedicated users all answering the question “What are you doing?”

Twitter allows users to post short and concise blog posts. Users can invite their friends and “follow” them similar to how Facebook users can add friends. Twitter users, however, can see all of their friend’s updates as well as their own. Twitter users can easily respond to “tweets” (the Twitter equivalent of a blog post) from other users and engage in conversation.

Because each “tweet” has to be less than 140 characters long, Twitter users can choose to have their follower’s “tweets” sent to their mobile phones. Users can also upload “tweets” via text messaging. There are actually a few instances where users have used the Twitter text message feature to avoid sticky situations (you have to click “Show Entire Post” at the top of the page… darn you, blogger).

Darren Rowse at problogger says that twitter is also useful for keeping in touch with people who read your blog. Many prominent bloggers, such as Kevin Rose of Digg, keep Twitter accounts to keep up with their readers. Some newspapers, such as the New York Times, post recently updated headlines on their twitter accounts (the Times has an account for World News, National News, Sports, ect.).

When blogging for ISA, I’ve used Twitter to keep people up to date on events that we’re hosting as well as alert people when there’s something new going on with our blog or our organization. It drives a lot of traffic to the blog and I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from using Twitter to keep people updated on the fly.


About Bryan Saxton:

I am a Journalism Student at the University of Oregon and the Public Relation's Officer for the International Student Association.
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