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Twit or Tweet

August 23, 2009 Blog 2 Comments

The June 15th cover of Time Magazine showed us all an iPhone with a Twitter Tweet from journalist Steven B. Johnson that read, “Twitter is changing the way we live-and showing us the future of innovation.”  But what does the future hold in store for us, business, and Twitter?  My guess is that unless some of the rules about “Tweets”, the text messages that user send out to their “followers” change, the future of Twitter for business is questionable. http://twitter.com/

During the research for my book, The Social Media Bible, by John Wiley & Sons, I had an amazing half hour conversation with Biz Stone, the cofounder of Twitter about why he invented Twitter and how Twitter is being used for business.  I learned a lot about the technology, its applications, and how Twitter really has changed the world of communication, news reporting, and business marketing ROI using free Tweets.  You can click http://tr.im/u6ct to listen to our conversation.

In Chapter 15 – Thumbs Up For Microblogging, I referenced a Wall Street Journal article by Shira Ovide, about the miraculous landing of the U.S. Airways jet in the Hudson River, “Twittering the USAirways Plane Crash” that showed how Twitter has already changed the face of journalism. “Notch another win for citizen journalism.  Janis Krums, a guy with a camera and a penchant for social media tools, posted one of the first and most remarkable photos today of US Airways Flight 1549 after it crash-landed in the Hudson River.” http://tr.im/u6k3 Twitter has changed journalism.

In my keynotes and consulting I am always asked “So, where’s the ROI (Rate Of Return On Investment) with social media?  If I put in ‘X’, what can I expect the ‘Y’ I get back?”  My response is, social media is very similar to conventional media it’s more of a long-term strategy, it builds brand recognition, it builds a following, it builds trust, and the tools are free.  While these outcomes are very desirable for all companies, they are at the same time intangible and often difficult to measure.

Like other conventional media, there are ways to test the ROI of social media; one of which is to embed a unique tracking code.  One of my favorite examples of social media ROI is Gary Vanerchuk, a Jersey boy with an uncommon grasp of social media marketing.

Gary “V” as he is known, performed a very interesting test on Twitter to measure its ROI, and the outcome was so astounding that it made the pages of The New York Times, http://tr.im/u6hD.  Here’s an excerpt from that article, “…seeking to enhance sales, he offered free shipping and promoted it three ways. As a result, he said, a direct marketing mailing cost $15,000 and brought in 200 new customers; a billboard ad cost $7,500 and won 300 new customers; and tweeting the promotion on Twitter attracted 1,800 new customers.” To listen to my conversation with Gary “V”, click http://tr.im/u6lw.  Twitter has changed marketing.

So, does Twitter have a down side?  Unfortunately it can; too much noise in the form of minutia and SPAM.  Unless you understand how to use Twitter and have an effective business strategy, Twitter can become a useless time vampire!

Besides breaking news, there are primarily two uses for Twitter, personal and business updates.  Time and again I hear business people complaining about the Tweets they receive from people they are following discussing the minutia of their mundane daily lives, such as; “Sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane”, or “I had bacon with my eggs this morning.” or “Going to bed now.”  Yikes!  What do I care about that!dunce

You might care.  If you are using Twitter for business, don’t subscribe to friends and family and expect to see extraordinary industry insights.  Most Twitter users who are expecting off-the-charts ROI from Tweets and read personal noise thinks that all Twitterers are Twits!  The Merriam – Webster dictionary defines a “twit” as “a silly annoying person”.  There is a place in the Twittersphere for these types of Twit Tweets.

If you use Twitter to follow your family and friends, this otherwise useless information can be fun updates from the people you care about.  A few months back, my brother ED who lives in Denver sent out one of his first Tweets, “Having Lunch With Singer / Songwriter Michael Murphy (Wildfire).  When I saw that I thought, cool!  Michael Murphy, Wildfire, my bro, so that what he’s doing right now this very second…  COOL!

This might be annoying and useless to his business followers expecting business insights about auto dealerships and car sales, but it was cool to me.  Hence, Twitter’s moniker “What Are You Doing?”  Not “What valuable business take-aways can you delivery to me right now?”

This leads to the use of personas.  Just as you use a different persona with your family, your mom, your business colleagues, your boss, and your buddies, you can also create different personas in all of your social networking accounts.  In Twitter, simply create one account that you use to Tweet about your bacon, your kitty, and your new shoes.  Create another account to Tweet what you did to win a new account, what your just learned at a conference you’re attending, or an prophetic epiphany from that new 3-pound social media book you’re reading.

If you create different personas are you guaranteed Twitter Nirvana?  Well, not so much.  We are once again cursed with SPAM, Twitter SPAM, or what I’ll call, Spitter.  We’ve all gotten them.  It’s seems lately every time you follow someone new, you get Spitter…  Recognize any of these “Welcome Tweets”:

  • “Thanks for the following! Are you interested in dramatically increasing your followers? – for free! Click here: http://etc.
  • “Don’t miss the easiest way to have BUYERS join your email list thru Twitter…. http://etc. Retweet PLZ”
  • “Thanks for the follow, Generate Huge Piles of Cash at Will Using Twitter! http://etc.”
  • “GUARANTEED Commissions of at Least $125 Within 24 Hours of Starting Your FREE Advertising! http://etc.”
  • “Thanks~Yeah~ Let’s trade Tweets! if you’re open here’s a treat- the best 100% FREE PPC Training EVER: http://etc.”
  • “How I Bought a Brand New $1.2 Million Home Using ONLY Aff Commissions Earned While I Was Unemployed. http://etc.”
  • “Hi and thanks for the follow. I would like to share this fantastic opportunity with you… http://etc.”
  • “Earn Up To $3250 In Your SPARE TIME A Week!! You Make Money Right Away It’s Awesome!! http://etc.”
  • “Affiliate Program Make between $62.10 to $804.60 per sale! http://etc.”

These Spitters are all real and ones I received while I wrote this blog.

Throughout the rest of social media and social networking there is a social repercussion of spamming or going all commercial on a network; it’s called “flaming”.  You get flamed or reprimanded for misusing the network and violating the members trust.  The purists agree, social networks are about building community, contacts, and trust.  Spamming does none of that.

Unfortunately, flaming someone on Twitter isn’t effective and there really aren’t any spam filters for Twitter as of yet.  There is; however, one effective way not to receive that persons spam again, unfollow or block them.  Unfortunately, this also requires additional time to manage and sort out all of your “true” followers from the many Spitters.  Although I continuously applaud the fact that most every social media tool is “free”, all of the tools do required an expenditure, you need to spend time to make the most out of every tool. If you want to use social media and Twitter effectively, I recommend that you spend more time on developing a sound business social media strategy rather than developing a large useless base of followers.

Lon Safko – Author of The Social Media Bible
www.TheSocialMediaBible.com

2 Responses to “Twit or Tweet”

  1. Lon – Another great article.

    As you and I have discussed in the real world (as opposed to the Twitterverse), as business people we now trying to develop our own unique ways to use Twitter and other social media tools. With resources like the Social Media Bible and through old fashioned trial and error, I am learning. Thanks for your help.

    I remember a day in the mid 80′s when one of my engineers showed me our first website and stated that “some day every business will have one if they want to be considered ‘real’.” I was skeptical then but lo and behold – that prophesy came to pass.

    Today we are still in the early days of social media, but my guess is that 20 years from now, it will come to pass that for successful businesses social media will be a common tool that we use to real-ize our businesses through listening and interacting with customers, employees and other stakeholders.

  2. DC says:

    Lon – Another great article.

    As you and I have discussed in the real world (as opposed to the Twitterverse), as business people we now trying to develop our own unique ways to use Twitter and other social media tools. With resources like the Social Media Bible and through old fashioned trial and error, I am learning. Thanks for your help.

    I remember a day in the mid 80′s when one of my engineers showed me our first website and stated that “some day every business will have one if they want to be considered ‘real’.” I was skeptical then but lo and behold – that prophesy came to pass.

    Today we are still in the early days of social media, but my guess is that 20 years from now, it will come to pass that for successful businesses social media will be a common tool that we use to real-ize our businesses through listening and interacting with customers, employees and other stakeholders.

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"The social media phenomenon is still ramping up and this book provides useful and timely business advice."
Vint Cerf, Father Of The Internet

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"Lon is a serial technologist who really understands social media and is also blessed with the gift of being a great communicator. His book deftly takes you from "Social Media 101" all the way to PhD status in a format that is easy to browse, informative and powerful."
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Levi Strauss & Co

“Lon Safko and The Social Media Bible address the key questions – Why should I take part in Social Media? How should I take part? How do I reap the greatest benefits? – while also providing the push to take the next step.”
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"Effectively harnessing the power of social media is a top priority in corporate America.  “The Social Media Bible” with its informative and tactical approach, provides an easy-to-follow roadmap for how to do social media right."
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"Social Media and Customer Care are rapidly coming together. This Second Edition is a must read for any professional who wants to stay on top of this rapidly changing topic. From the basics to long term Social Media  strategy, this is the only resource book to have on your desk."
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Amazon 6 Stars
This book is an 800-pound guerilla when it comes to social media marketing. Four thumbs up!

By: Jeff Lippincott "www.Jlippin.com" (Princeton, NJ USA)

Great book! Loved it! It's huge and heavy and not particularly pricey. I found it to be well organized and well written. And it was certainly packed to the gills with content. There are 43 chapters split into three different sections: (1) Background basics & tactics, (2) Tools, & (3) Strategy. The chapters in the first part provide an introduction and framework regarding the book. The numerous chapters in the second part cover 100+ social media tools. And the last five or six chapters in the third part can help you do an audit of the social media marketing your company does (or doesn't do).

The book is comprehensive. I haven't seen a book that covers so much and in such depth on the topic of social media marketing (or Internet Marketing). There were a ton of "Expert Insights" sprinkled throughout the text that really made the book shine. And each chapter ended with three summaries: (1) Commandments, (2) Conclusion, & (3) Readings & Resources. Each were well done. In particular the Readings & Resources for each chapter were better than most books have at the end of an entire book. 6 stars!

PS. To see the chapter titles and how the book is specifically organized I encourage you to peek at the Search Inside feature Amazon offers for this book. With 43 chapters there are a lot of chapter titles to read.

Amazon 6 Stars
A Comprehensive Social Media Resource

By David J. Perdue "MINDSTORMS author" (St. Paul, MN)

Ask a hundred people what "social media" is, and you may get a hundred different definitions. Frankly, social media doesn't just connect people--it baffles them, too. The authors of "The Social Media Bible," however, have made a considerable attempt at creating a resource that helps readers gain an overall understanding of the social media "ecosystem" (to put it in the authors' terms) and how the social media phenomenon relates to business.

First, I think it's in order to discuss what this tome covers. Part I, Background Basics and Tactics, comprises the first 23 chapters. This section of the book defines social media, explains the different types of social media, and helps you understand why it's important. You get coverage here of everything from social networks to microblogging to virtual worlds. If you've read other books about social media, you may already be familiar with some of this content. If you're brand new to social media, you'll find it especially helpful.

Part II, Tools, comprises chapters 24-38 and revisits the different categories of social media, focusing on current popular tools. The authors discuss each tool, focusing on who should use them and why; you'll even find some more technical information in these chapters. Although I appreciated the broad look at all the different types of the social media, I felt that the sections could have gone into more detail. However, you could easily write an entire book on each type of social media presented, so the authors clearly had to limit coverage of each type of social media resource.

Part III, Strategy, includes the final chapters of 39-43 and offers some excellent advice on how to apply everything learned in the book. I appreciated the bits of advice spread throughout as well as the cohesive strategies presented. I especially found the chapter "The Four Pillars of Social Media Strategy" helpful, which discusses how a social media strategy should have goals of communication, collaboration, education, and entertainment.

Although some of the principles in this book will endure, much of the descriptions for current social media tools will quickly go out of date (as some already have). However, the author clearly recognized this and intended it to be a timely book. If you're new to the concept of social media and seeking how to apply social media to your business, the "Social Media Bible" is a great resource. If you're already familiar with using social media, you may find yourself skipping some of the basic information in the book. Overall, I believe there is wisdom for everyone to find in this useful guide--the kind of wisdom that will help you to give new life to your company's online marketing efforts in the social media world.

Amazon 6 Stars
From A to Z- it's all here!

By Mark Amtower "Mark Amtower, consultant, autho... (Highland, MD)

Lon Safko's 2nd edition of The Social Media Bible literally covers everything from A (apps) to Z (Zooomr) and everything in between. This is the most comprehensive book on social media available! If you currently use or plan to use social media in ANY form, I suggest you add this to your library TODAY!

Amazon 6 Stars
Good resource for business leaders wanting a greater understanding of social media

By Chris Ray

Rapidly advancing technology has produced new ways for individuals, groups, and businesses to communicate, collaborate, and market their products to consumers. Social media is leading the way in improving how business is conducted but many businesses and individuals are nervous about when and how to enter this new wave. In The Social Media Bible the author indicates the book is a comprehensive guide on social media intended to help readers increase revenues, profits, and competiveness in the marketplace. The book is divided into three main sections; part one, the background and basics of social media; part two, the plethora of social media tools available; and part three, developing a social media strategy. Within each of these sections the author provides the reader with the overall footprint of social media: its uses, platforms, and strategies currently employed by various companies. The book is well organized with each chapter providing definitions, examples of successful strategies, and multiple references that afford the reader a helpful guide should they continue their own research on the specific topic.

Clearly the freshness of the content of any book on social media is limited given the rapid pace of technological innovation in the social media universe. However, for the reader who needs a starting point for discovering the basics of utilizing social media strategically, The Social Media Bible is an excellent resource from which to begin. Furthermore, the author effectively communicates the necessity for business leaders to get in the social media race or risk becoming extinct. This is true for both businesses and the individual business worker. Social media holds promise for improving both the internal and external communication strategies of companies. The book outlines both how social media can improve productivity as well as penetrate new and existing markets more effectively. The chapters on the various social media tools available provide the reader an extensive list of platforms to research, explore, and choose from when considering how one medium might be a more effective choice depending on the reader's particular business environment.

The author could have improved the book by shortening the history and background section that contained too much basic information. In addition, for readers already active in utilizing social media tools in business it is doubtful they will discover any earth shattering new information in The Social Media Bible. However, for those just beginning to consider social media as part of their business strategy, the author does provide sufficient information readers will find helpful. Certainly there are companies and organizations that have yet to utilize social media as part of their overall business strategy. Readers who find themselves working for those companies will find the book to be effective in giving them an adequate knowledge base in social media that could be useful in educating their organizational leaders on the potential benefits of including social media in their business model. The book may also inspire some readers to launch new initiatives at their workplace or even to become entrepreneurs themselves.

Amazon 6 Stars
Book & Purchase experience review

By R. Freeman (Sharon, MA United States)

Great book. Really covers Social Media and related online marketing concepts (like SEO). Worth the price. And, the buying process was efficient, easy and painless. I would buy this all over again in a minute.

Amazon 6 Stars
Highly recommended for any business collection

By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

The second updated edition of The Social Media Bible has been revised and updated with user feedback and content, and offers the latest techniques, platforms and technologies for understanding and effectively using social media marketing. Interviews with 50 experts accompany keys to winning in social media efforts in this fine survey, highly recommended for any business collection.

Amazon 6 Stars
If you need to know about Social Media - OWN THIS BOOK TODAY - Six Stars !!!!

By Richard Stoyeck "StocksAtBottom.com" (Westport, CT)

The BOTTOM LINE If you must know about social media (SM), this is the only book to get on the market RIGHT NOW. First of all it was copyrighted in September 2010. This material changes quickly and new books are being printed all the time. At this time this is the most current and best book on the market. If it involves the Internet, you do not want to order anything that is more than one year old. So my first tip is always look at the copyright date. Older than a year, it's no thank you.

The second tip is that you want something that you do not need to read from cover to cover, so the table of contents and the index is very important. The author went to a 1000 people involved with the Internet and asked them what do you need from a social media book. More than 66% couldn't define social media, while 99% recognized that SM would have a direct impact on their firm's bottom line. Based on their input, the author selected and developed the chapters, and the content.

ORGANIZATION of the BOOK
The 723 page SM Bible is divided intelligently into 3 parts.

Part I TACTICS This runs from page 3 to page 447 and is contained in 15 chapters. This is where you will find out about podcasting, vlogs, blogs, followers, SEO, life casting, and flaming among others.

Part II TOOLS of the TRADE This section runs from pge 447 to page 675. Here you will find the results of 100 companies that the author interviewed including marketing providers, game platforms, and the software you will need, plus the apps, websites, text messaging, mobile insights, and e-mail.

Part III STRATEGY Here we have the Five Steps to Social Media Success. Each step gets a chapter, they are:


* Analyze your existing media
* The Social Media Trinity
* Integrate Strategies
* Resources
* Implement and Measure

CONCLUSION:
If you need to learn more about social media, if you need to employ it for your business on whatever level, this is the book for you until the next new thing comes along. You have to be current, and stay current, and that means you do not want an old book. If you are a one person company or you have a thousand people in the company, at the moment there is no better source of information than this book. I heartily recommend it and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck

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