Thursday, 29 October 2009

Twitter - is it acceptable to stop following those who don’t follow you?

By Jon Paget
I was stumbling across various blog topics when I came across a post that had developed into a full scale argument. Intrigued I read on.

The topic was revolving around twitter and whether someone should stop following someone else who wasn’t following them. The ensuing argument was then played out by a number of people using twitter, some for personal and some for business use.

Now for those new to twitter, the micro blogging site limits the number of people you can follow to 2000 until you reach that number of followers yourself.

So the question I now ask is: is it acceptable to stop following those who don’t follow you? If so, when and why.

Largely I subscribe to the idea that if you follow people on twitter for the sole reason they’re following you, you’re missing the whole point of social media (and you’re unlikely as a business to directly/indirectly win business through it). For those that succeed in social media it is because they commit with time and application. By interacting, commenting and adding value on sites such as twitter follower numbers will grow.

However there is usually at least one caveat, and here it is. If you reach your 2000 followers limit and find more people you wish to follow – what do you do?

Well in this instance it makes sense to remove some of those that aren’t following you from your list (are you really going to remove someone who is also following you, knowing you risk losing them as a follower in return?).
However beware doing this randomly; a community is only as strong as its members. Don’t remove someone if they add value to you, your work or your interests.

Instead, try to contact them and build a relationship with them. You may just find they start following you.

There are a variety of issues surrounding this topic. Often the side of the fence find yourself will depend on your motive for using twitter and what you hope to achieve.

My final word; it’s clear to me managing expectation is one of the problems facing social media (for business) going forward. This doesn’t mean businesses can’t succeed using sites such as twitter but it will take time, effort and commitment. Building a twitter following is not easy and patience is needed. If you do need to make decisions about who you're following, think about how it will affect you and your community before you act.

To learn more -

Penny Power, founder of the online business networking site Ecademy, published a book entitled “know me, like me, follow me” earlier this autumn. I would recommend anyone new to social media to get a copy.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Registering on facebook is good. Being visible is better.

By Jon Paget

I was looking at one of my friend’s profiles on facebook and I noticed a mutual friend of ours had posted something on his wall. Through a mix of guilt (I hadn’t been in touch with him for a while) and interest I posted a message on his wall. Had I not seen his initial message (posted on the profile I was viewing) to our mutual friend I would probably have moved on to doing something else, leaving it even longer to contact him.

My fumbling over facebook does raise an important point. It’s one thing to be registered on various social media platforms but quite another to have a presence online. Had the friend in question not been active, engaging in the online community that we are both a part of, I would probably be sitting at my desk right now having no idea as to what he’d been up to. Instead I’m sat here a little more informed. 

The same rule can be applied to business online. Now that we're escaping the clutches of recession it’s never been so important to be at the heart of the discussion, having an influence and most importantly, having a voice. 

It’s not a question of which platform (I often hear “I’m not sure if I should spend my time on facebook, MySpace or twitter”) but a question of the best place you can be a part of the online community, where you, your competitors and your target market can interact successfully. 

Here are a couple of points to consider when building a community online:

Firstly - Make the most of your profile. Make sure you join the right network(s) so you can search and meet other people around you. (Accessed by selecting ‘My Account’ and clicking the ‘Networks’ tab.)

Secondly - Interact on the walls of your friends. People (other friends of your friends) will see your posts. Include new content that others will find interesting such as links and videos.

Finally – Join groups and enter discussion. Better still, find a niche interest that isn’t being talked about and create a new group. Invite key people you know to join and make the group open to all with that interest. Being the admin of a group is a great way to develop trust and exposure.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Twitter Lists; will your business benefit?


Are you one of the special few that have been invited to try out twitter Lists? If not, don't be too disappointed; it will be made available to all twitter users in the near future.

Nick Kallen, of twitter and leading the project development of the List's feature, explained earlier this month how people have been contacting twitter requesting a way of organising those they follow (many users have turned to 3rdparty applications to help them manage their twitter accounts).

The result is Lists, an easy to use feature which allows you to create (and name) lists and then populate those lists with specific people that you follow.

The benefits

Lists will make it easier to organise those you follow and will allow you to share your lists with others. For example a fashion magazine might have a list of all the top high street stores; readers of the magazine can then follow that list (good for the magazine, the high street shops and great for the reader!).

A business could benefit by keeping a closer eye on specific teams or projects or a Soho bar could list all the other local bars and clubs (competitors) to keep an eye on what they have on offer. There are plenty of possibilities.

And of course being put on a list is great news. Others are essentially flagging you on twitter saying "follow this person, their tweets are fantastic".

Convinced?

However, Lists hasn't won everyone over. Many have already commented about the limitations. For example, when you view someone else’s list there is no way of knowing what's made everyone on that list unique and why they’re featuring on it. Some form of comment feature is missing.

Have you suffered with spam from twitter? If so (and I’m sure that applies to 99.9% of you), you know how annoying it is. Therefore the thought of lists being created so people can trawl specific interest groups does instil fear that spammer will increase.

I think those already using 3rd party applications to manage their account will wonder what all the fuss is about. Simply put, I’m not sure Lists goes far enough to convince those using twitter for business. On the other hand, Lists is in the testing stage and that’s what testing is for!
By Jon Paget

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Is Traditional Marketing Dead?




I was at a recent event surrounded by a very diverse crowd of business men and women including a few branding and advertising gurus. A variety of topics were discussed but it didn’t take long before today’s blog topic was brought up.

The Topic
So we started to discuss why companies were sinking more and more of their marketing budgets online at the expense of the more traditional marketing techniques (a problem the TV expert in particular was finding more and more).
Now as a company offering online marketing to its customers you might be forgiven for thinking that this was music to Art Division’s ears… 

In reality it’s fair to say we have mixed emotions about this.

The Emerging Trend
By taking a quick look at the statistics it’s not that difficult to see why marketing managers (and more generally business owners) are moving away from traditional techniques such as TV and print. After all, earlier this year (Feb 09) the number of worldwide internet users passed the 1 billion mark and several studies have shown that we’re more receptive to what we watch online than on TV.

So where’s the Problem?
The problem is that statistics mask the truth and commission hungry online marketing salesmen will only tell you half the story (something we’re fighting against). What the statistics don’t tell you is that every time you enter the title of a new film, book or product into Google, there's a fair chance your awareness of that item came from something you saw on TV or read in a magazine. However, the stats are awarded to the search engine. 

The risk here is that companies draw inaccurate conclusions (as some have started to do) and change their marketing strategies accordingly.
But for companies like Art Division it’s important to get to know a client and the offline marketing their committed to. This then allows us to maximise the potency of any online campaign(s) as offline campaigns support those online AND vice versa. 

As we see it, the real issue is to convert those who have yet to open up to the power of business online (and there are lots still digging their heels in).
I would suggest that companies reluctant to move online will suffer the same fate as those leaving traditional marketing altogether.
By Jon Paget

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