Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Twitter (page 1 of 21)

Tell me about you!

I love to receive messages or emails from readers. In fact, it’s easily the most rewarding part of writing Jim’s Marketing Blog.

Because of this, I have made it extremely easy for you to connect with me:

  • If you subscribe to Jim’s Marketing Blog via email, you can email me simply by replying to any of the updates. I read every email.
  • You are very welcome to email me direct using this link.
  • You may want to join me on Twitter.  The good folks at Twitter have given me a very special Twitter account, which allows everyone who follows me, to send me a Direct Message. So, just by following my account, you can instantly send me messages in private.
  • You can call my office on 01427 891274 or +44 1427 891274 (from outside the UK).
  • Finally, you are welcome to either friend or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to hearing from you; whether it’s just to say “hi”, introduce yourself or share an idea. So, let’s connect!

PS: No sales pitches, please.

Photos: What everyone needs to know about ageing online

Tammy was shocked when she emailed me today.

She explained that she had been following a business expert on Twitter for years. Then today, he suddenly aged by around 15 years!

15 years older in just 24 hours

Of course, the guy is just a day older today, than he was yesterday. The thing is, he’d been using the same photo on his online profiles for the past decade and, apparently, it was a few years old when he started using it. Yesterday, he decided to update his profile photo and like all of us, he looks very different than he did back in the late 1990’s.

He has told his Twitter followers he needed to change the photo, as he was tired of people not knowing who he was, when he met them face to face for the first time.

[I wrote about ageing online here: To age online or not to age, that is the question!]

The issue this guy now has, is that his brand is strongly associated with an image, which no longer exists. By failing to invest in a professional logo and failing to update his profile photo every year or two, he’s facing a totally unnecessary challenge.

We all get older

However, until recently, business owners were connected to people who either saw them pretty regularly or who were seeing them for the first time.

In the digital age, we are represented online by photographs, which are a snapshot of how we looked when the photo was taken. If these are seldom updated, we risk facing the same problem the business expert now has.

Keep people in the picture

If you do not already, consider updating your profile photos and avatars every year or so.

Even better, invest in a professional logo and use the logo alongside your picture. This allows you to change your photo, with the continuity of your branding intact.

Tip: Here’s a great video about what makes a logo memorable and valuable!

A valuable business lesson, from Twitter!

Twitter

If you want to learn from the success of others, copy their strategy rather than their tactics.

Just like Twitter

Twitter succeeded because it was the first, mass market, micro blogging service.

The hundreds of start-ups who tried to copy what Twitter did, failed. They copied Twitter’s tactics, rather than their strategy. Twitter’s strategy was to create a unique form of communicating and connecting.

If those start-ups had built their own, unique way to communicate and connect, they would have created something with the potential to succeed. Instead, they failed, because the people who wanted a service that was just like Twitter… used Twitter!

It works like this

By copying the tactics of a successful business, we become a clone. A copy. Something unremarkable.

By copying the strategy of a successful business, we can create something of our own. A remarkable original. A valuable proposition.

Tip – Here’s the best post I’ve written on this subject: My name is Jim Connolly and I am a freak!

Social Media Marketing: A lesson from angry customers

Social networks

An unhappy customer today has enormous power. Think about it:

  • She can take her issue to Facebook or Twitter and tell 500 people how badly she was treated.
  • Some of those people will reshare her story, and within no time, 5000 people could be talking about it.
  • Then, some of those people will reshare her story too. Before you know it, 50000 or 100000 people could be sharing her story.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Same tools — different use

You see, the same tools that customers use to share their anger, can be used to share their delight.

So, make it a habit to go out of your way to delight your customers. Look for opportunities to leave them open-mouthed in happy amazement.

They already have the tools to tell the world how great you are. What they need from you, is a story worth sharing!

Tip: Here are some ideas and examples of how to delight your customers.

Are you making a noise or making a difference?

It’s easy to add to all the noise out there.

  • Pester people with special offers via social networks.
  • Invite people to your desperate sales video webinar.
  • Retweet that guru who has already been retweeted thousands of times.
  • Write predictable, “me too” blog posts.
  • Agree with whatever the popular opinion of the day is.

The thing is, no one is demanding more noise.

Training people to ignore you

You can’t benefit from the noise deficit, because there isn’t one. So, all the noise makers do is train people to ignore them. Sure, they may have followers, but no one is listening to them. They may have our email address, but their emails don’t get opened or acted on. If they stopped making their noise, we wouldn’t miss them at all.

The difference deficit

Where there is a deficit, is with people who are making a difference. These are the rare people we eagerly subscribe to. These are the people we look forward to hearing from. They add something of value to us and our business. They make a difference. A positive, meaningful difference.

Most importantly, these are the people we miss when they are not there.

And that’s also the best way to determine if your marketing is making a noise or making a difference. It’s a tough question to ask and answer, but would people miss your marketing if it stopped?

Tip: If you need to push your marketing because people are not spreading it, they probably wouldn’t miss it. If people spread the word for you, (send your newsletter to their friends, reshare your work, etc) … you’re making a difference.

Get Twitter Direct Messages from people you don’t follow!

Twitter has just made a huge change to the way DM’s or Direct Messages work. You can now choose to allow everyone who follows you on Twitter, to send you a Direct Message.

As you can see from my tweet below, this has generated a lot of interest. (If you can’t see the tweet, click here).

Twitter Direct Messages from anyone who follows you

What’s new? You can now receive Direct Messages from anyone who follows you – without you following them back. It’s that last part that is the big difference. Until now, you had to follow someone, before they could send you a Direct Message. This stopped mass spamming and for most users was a great idea.

Here’s what the setting looks like. You can find it under the ‘Account’ tab.

Twitter direct messages from followers

NOTE: By default, this option is turned off. If you don’t want to be Direct Messaged from people who follow you, you don’t need to change anything. It’s 100% opt-in.

Why I’ve turned the Twitter direct messages feature on

I have (for now) chosen to turn it on. So, if you follow me on Twitter @JimConnolly you can direct message me in private.

Here’s why. Firstly, I am a very public person. I publish my email address on every page of my blog. So long as people are not spamming me or making selfish requests, I love to hear from them.

Secondly, I think this feature could be extremely useful for businesses.

Business benefits of allowing Twitter DM’s from all your followers

Consider customer service. Until now, if someone had a customer service issue with your business, you would need to follow them and ask them to follow you, in order for you to look after them in private. This allowed them to share potentially sensitive information with you, away from the gaze of all their followers. Now, so long as they follow your Twitter account, 100% of your conversation can be handled in private.

Then there are journalists. Pretty much every journalist uses Twitter. Now, if you have a story for them — especially one of a sensitive nature, you can share it privately.

Contacting your political representatives… ditto.

What about Twitter DM spam?

The typical knee-jerk reaction so far has been that this will create a huge DM spam problem. Mainly, it seems people failed to understand they have to turn the feature on. If you don’t like the feature, don’t use it. Simple.

It’s also worth remembering that someone can only send you a Direct Message, if they follow you on Twitter. If someone is spamming or abusing you, you can block them. This stops them being able to follow you or Direct Message you. Unless you actually want to follow spammers, this works fine.

It will be interesting to see how this is received by business users, once they start to realise the commercial benefits.

PS: If you follow me on Twitter, @JimConnolly – feel free to Direct Message me and let me know what you think (or just say ‘hi!’).

UPDATE: 21st December 2013

Twitter eventually answered my question, regarding when everyone will start seeing this feature. I was told that it is “just an experiment”… then refused to comment on the experiment stating company policy.

Around 5 weeks after I wrote this post, I noticed that the “experiment” was missing from my settings. People were also unable to DM me, unless I followed them.

Then… although the setting is still missing from my Twitter account, for some reason it started working again and at time of writing this, 21st December 2013, anyone who follows me can send me a direct message.

Your immediate attention is not required

now

Look at the updates below and consider how many of them need your immediate, urgent (as in drop everything) attention:

  • Geeta just sent a tweet to you.
  • Terry just liked your Instagram photo.
  • Mary just added you on Google+.
  • Jose just left a comment on your blog.
  • Jon has just invited you to like his new Facebook page.
  • Gill just added you to a list.
  • Ali just sent you a text message.
  • Tony just invited you to join him on Linkedin.
  • Maria just commented on your Facebook post.
  • Lee just favourited your tweet.
  • Louis just IM’d you.

Even though these are non critical events (they would have called you), most of us have our devices set up to notify us instantly, whenever they happen.

The endless stream of interruptions controls our focus, breaks our concentration, eats into our precious time and lowers our productivity. (Here are some ideas to improve your productivity.)

Unless you provide an emergency service…

Consider turning off your notifications, until you are ready for them.

Check them when you have a break. Check them when it suits you and your work flow.

Be deliberate, regarding where you invest your time, focus and energy. Don’t surrender them to instant updates. Your immediate attention is seldom, if ever, required.

Getting less traffic from Google? Here’s why it may not matter soon

Less traffic from google, google traffic

If you’re one of many business owners experiencing a drop in search traffic from Google, here are 3 important changes you need to know about.

I’m also going to explain why I believe Google search traffic could be of less importance to your business soon.

The first change: Google changing the rules dramatically and often

For years, business owners have relied heavily on Google to generate online sales or inquiries. They danced the Google dance. They did what Google wanted. They invested heavily in SEO, either financially or by pouring their valuable time into making their site the way Google wanted it.

And it worked. Consistently.

Then something happened!

Google decided to change the rules dramatically and regularly. Suddenly, what worked, no longer worked. What was once within Google’s guidelines, was suddenly outside their guidelines. It’s causing a lot of small business owners a lot of pain, as they fall lower and lower down the rankings.

The best SEO experts are starting to figure out how to work with the new search engine landscape. If you can’t afford the best, it may be some time before the rest of the SEO industry catch up. However, this is not the only reason you may be seeing worse results from Google. It’s not even the most important reason.

Two far bigger changes are happening, which are lowering the value of organic (natural unpaid) search results – even if you manage to rank on the first page.

The second change: Google has made your organic search results less visible

At the same time as Google changed the way it ranks sites, it made those sites that do rank, harder for prospective customers to find.

How?

By burying your organic search results below an increasing number of Google ads. Now, for many valuable search terms, your prospective customers will see a page full of ads from your competitors, BEFORE they see your organic search results. All the results in the screen below are paid ads.

For instance: On my MacBook Pro, I needed to scroll down the screen, past ELEVEN paid ads, to see the first organic search result! (See below)

Less traffic from google, google traffic

So, even if your SEO gets you the number 1 organic slot on the first page of Google’s Search Engine Results, it may provide fewer sales or inquiries than before, because that number 1 organic search position is buried under so many paid ads.

The third change: Google sends less traffic to sites than before

The third change, is that Google search may be becoming less relevant with fewer people using it. Google search traffic could be 30% down on last year, according to a huge study!

This report from buzzfeed looked at Google search traffic to leading sites, including: The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. In total, the sites it tracked have a readership of 300 million. That’s a lot of data. They found that between August 2012 and March 2013, search traffic from Google nosedived an incredible 30%. That’s a huge drop in such a short time.

However, it was expected. Here’s why!

The rise of social search

It seems that people are now increasingly asking their social networks for recommendations and answers. These networks have added a totally new dynamic, to the way we find information online.

Think about it. Which would YOU trust more:

  1. A restaurant recommendation from a trusted friend on a social network, who knows what you like.
  2. A restaurant that appears on Google via a paid ad or simply because they have good SEO.

It’s no contest.

Facebook has invested heavily in Facebook graph search, which was launched in March 2013 and looks set to eat into even more of the Google search user base. Other social networks, including Twitter and Linkedin, have search facilities too, which they are now developing constantly.

Why these changes?

Simple: Google is trying to make as much money as it can. There’s nothing surprising here. It’s a business after all.

Google has a near monopoly on search and is now leveraging that power, to get you to pay them if you want to be found.

Unless… you choose to take control of your Internet marketing away from Google and make SEO and SEM (search engine marketing), just part of your Internet marketing strategy.

Diversify your Internet marketing

This post from 2010 was largely scoffed at, when I suggested people should rely less on Google and use a wider, human focused approach to their online marketing.

Some listened to me. They started building their social networks, created communities around their businesses and stopped writing keyword optimised content for Google – choosing to write for humans instead. As a result, people now talk about their products and services and share their content all over social networks.

That’s an approach I recommend you at least add, to your overall marketing strategy.

In short: Stop relying on Google (or any one tactic) for the majority of your business. Instead, build a community (or tribe). Spread your reach and spread your risk.

You don’t have to ignore SEO, especially if you optimise for search terms, which few competitors buy Google ads for.

Just make sure your online marketing consists of more than keeping Google happy. Too many eggs in one basket is seldom a wise, long term strategy.

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