To Link or Not To Link

I like to talk with people. I love the exchange of ideas. I’m also keen on sharing knowledge. Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of local business owners about social media. The joy of talking with other small business owners is palpable for me.

At one point in our discussion last night one of the participants said ‘and don’t link your Facebook to your twitter or you’ll piss Gayle off’. I can’t deny that this is true; you will irritate me beyond belief. Nonetheless, I do not believe I am the ONLY one!

People link accounts because it is convenient. It is easy to think, I can post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc and all I have to do it type it once. After all convenience is the American Way. The part that is not being considered in this scenario is the convenience of the reader (your audience). Each of the social media platforms has their own special way of interacting. What works well on one doesn’t necessarily work well on another.

When you insist on posting for your convenience and not the convenience of your reader (target audience) you run the risk of alienating the people who enjoy one platform over another. For example here in town there is a company that was VERY engaging on Twitter when they first opened their business. They posted the daily special, and were incredibly engaging with customers. At some point in time they discovered the ability to link Facebook to their Twitter account.

Now every tweet looks like this:Even worse, they no longer notice when someone tweets to them and they lose any chance of interaction.

The inverse is also true. I have a friend who constantly sends twitter retweets through to her Facebook. Unfortunately, even a wonderful message like this one:seems strange in a world where RT (retweet) and # (hashtags) aren’t common.

And in case you don’t yet know it, Social Media is about being SOCIAL! So think twice before linking your social networks for YOUR convenience. If you learn the common practices of each network and tailor your message to fit that format you will find your message better received. Believe me your customer will notice.

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Are you Using Social Media to it’s Full Amplification?

A goal of mine in 2012, along with consolidating my blogging, was to write consistently about social media. Last year I did well keeping up with my inspirational blog, and the occasional posts to my Glynne’s Soaps blog; However, when it came to blogging about social media, I quite simply was not any good.

What I have discovered in 2012 is that while I have plenty to say about social media, my tenor is snarky. I want to blast some guy who inappropriately (in my opinion) shared his chicken soup recipe. I want to prattle on and on (WOW do I have a WHOLE LOT to say about the guy who invites me to some event every day via Facebook and Linkedin (often after I have declined MULTIPLE times). I want to call out people who give me Klout on off-the-wall topics. I want to take all my frustration and put it here and lead you in with a snappy headline.

Unfortunately, for me, and fortunately, for you, THAT isn’t what Social Media is about. Too often we get caught up in the anonymity of the media and forget the social. We get caught up in complaining about the service at our favorite or not favorite restaurant. We complain about our neighbors or whine about our ailments. And really, WHO WANTS TO HEAR THAT?

It’s a trap, the trap of self absorption! We have all, no matter our age, fallen into the me generation! Are you tweeting because you want to be seen as an expert on a topic? Is your Facebook all about promoting your next event? Is LinkedIn just a place to disseminate your blog? What about google+ is it non stop drivel?

Now is the time to get clear on your message! Decide who you are and how you want your social media efforts to be received; then step out of your shoes and into your audience’s shoes. Figure out what they want to hear and how they want to hear it. When you do, you will enjoy the amplification of your voice as social media can do so well.

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My love affair with Twitter (Happy 5th Birthday)

In July, 2008 while watching the Tour de France Stage 4 Time Trial, I was caught by surprise to hear J. Vaughters drop the F-Bomb. The following day Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin mentioned that Jonathan Vaughters apologized via twitter.  I immediately had to have a twitter account. Here is the tweet I discovered “TeamSlipstream Ooops… I just dropped the F-Bomb on Versus, live. Sorry to all the parents out there. It was just really intense today… JV”

Little did I know that I was beginning a love affair that would open doors, create friends, and change my world.

Twitter turns five today. On March 21, 2006 Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey presented the world with it’s first tweet at 4:50PM PST, tweeting that he was “just setting up my twttr.”

In honor of it’s fifth birthday twitter released some interesting stats. You can see the full list of stats at the Twitter blog post, but the most interesting to me was that the average number of Tweets people sent per day in the last month was 140 million.

I may only be a few tweets in the big sea of information…but I love you anyway, twitter! Happy Birthday and many happy returns 🙂

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Twitter is a business tool you can’t afford to leave in the tool box

I oft find that people who have never use twitter think it is just a place to post what you had for breakfast or other random uninteresting information. What they don’t realize is that while there is a certain amount of random information available, there is also good and informative information available.

I for one, rarely watch television news. I don’t need to; it is all available via twitter. If I am looking for a hair cut, I ask on twitter. I have discovered some of my favorite restaurants via twitter. The list of uses for twitter is endless.

I have a great many interests and twitter allows me to follow all my favorites, in real time. From the tour de France to my beloved Cubs, I receive the up to the minute information. I also receive the best and fastest tech support from my internet provider via twitter.

While only 7% of Americans are using it, the Twitter population is still 17 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of Connecticut, Oregon, Kentucky, Kansas, and Oklahoma. 49% of monthly Twitter users follow brands or companies, compared to just 16% of social network users overall. Put another way, Twitter users are 3 times more likely to follow brands than Facebook users. Combined with their above average income and above average education, Twitter users’ propensity to interact with brands make them a huge potential source for Mass Influencers.

The biggest advantage I find with twitter is that it is mobile. I may not check my Facebook via my phone. A poll of my friends says that Facebook users are not following businesses via SMS. However, 63% of Twitter users access social networks via mobile phone, compared to 34% of social networkers as a whole.

Twitter is a business tool you can’t afford to leave in the tool box.

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When Twitter Takes Over (cartoon)

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Say What?

In any advertising campaign, it is important to start with the message you want to convey. Social Media is no different. The first and foremost question you ask yourself should be ‘What is my message?’. The second question (a close second) is ‘How do I share this message with the masses?’. The third, and most difficult, is ‘How is my message being received?’.

On Saturday night after a very long day, I put the movie ‘Hitch’ in the DVD. It is a movie I like, it makes me laugh (even thought I have seen it many times), and because it is a familiar movie, it requires no brainpower. In the movie, Will Smith’s character makes a comment, something like ‘as humans 90% of our communication is non-verbal’. The comment resonated with me. In social media, there is no ‘body-language’ tone or inflection.

Fig_-_Power_of_CommunicationMiscommunication happens. It happens to everyone. On Friday, I was working with my partner to manufacture product. We had discussed at length our plan for completing this project. When we reached our halfway point, things were not going as we had planned. We discussed this and I said ‘mix the rest’. What I meant was stick to the plan. What was heard was deviate from the plan. The words were the same in the message sent as in the message received but our meanings were polar opposites.

I know a guy, I introduced him to twitter. He is a nice married 30-something working man. On twitter he is a first rate jerk…his tweets are channeling his inner gangsta. This is fine, except he wonders why no one interacts with him. He often expresses dismay that his tweets are ignored or not retweeted. I know, or think I know, his persona is comedic but no one else knows this. He knows his message, comedy. He knows his medium, twitter. However, his message is not being received.

Is the social media message you are sending and the social media message you want to send the same? Social Media is communication. Nothing more, nothing less. The message sent is only as good as the message received.

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