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How Brands Can Host Killer Cocktail Parties on Twitter

 

With the holiday season just around the corner it’s time to start planning party schedules and all the other social events that we come to expect this time of year. If you are a brand and have a Twitter presence maybe you are also planning on sharing some of the holiday excitement with your online community? If so, I have one question for you:

Do you know how to throw a successful Twitter cocktail party for your brand?

If you don’t, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  I had the chance to experience social media engagement legend, Gary Vaynerchuck, at a conference earlier in this year; he inspires a lot of people with his natural approach to engagement on multiple social channels. Gary explained that Twitter is the “largest cocktail party in the world”.  It’s hard to argue that since the definition of a cocktail party is casual interactions with people that may or may not lead to long-term relationships.

When it comes to throwing a cocktail party on Twitter, it’s the same as a in-person cocktail party – is all in the details. Brands are trying to hone in on these details, but  are struggling with building their social strategies beyond simple monitoring and high level reporting. Understandably, the focus to gain additional insight from the community is at the top of the list for most marketing teams, but the struggle for most is when and how to take action.

Who exactly should brands engage? Is random engagement still creepy?  What content will resonate with followers and allow them to talk about certain brands and share that brands content with their followers?  What about the audience talking about a brands products or services that do not follow that brand or even knows it exists?  Whether it is ideal or not, if a brand has a Twitter handle it should be hosting a Twitter cocktail party everyday!

Let’s look at this tweet for example – “Car shopping this weekend, stressed out already!”  This can be intimidating for a brand to engage with as the message has mixed emotions.  If you look at it as an opportunist it can be the start of a loyal customer for life. There is ample room for engagement with this tweet for example there is no mention of what type of car this person is looking for or their budget. There is some obvious tension here and a great opportunity to lend a hand and help them make the right purchasing decision.

The good news is that this person is speaking the language that a car salesperson faces on a daily basis.  It is as simple as taking what this person does on a daily basis and translating it into 140 characters. For example, start with a friendly tweet with a link hosted on your website around “The top 5 things to consider when purchasing a car”, followed by a simple “good luck!”  This can go a long way as the purchaser will now see this dealership and salesperson as a resource. It opens the door for the opportunity to make an impression both personally and on behalf of the dealership not to mention it will land this consumer on the website to read the comforting content giving them a warm fuzzy feeling.  Hopefully this will result in a “thank you” reply but if not feel free to follow up in a few days and invite them down to the dealership on the weekend if they have any additional questions.  Long story short, this is a chance to stand out in a sea of Tweets that has great opportunity for the brand who cares to engage.

Twitter has the most open engageable audience for brands  in comparison to all the other social channels. The classification of a brand’s Twitter audience is a great representation of the overall social audience. Twitter users are likely to participate in multiple social media channels and have a higher aptitude than your average Facebook user. Understanding the profile of brands Twitter community, including likes and interests, will help an organization scale to a more successful engagement strategy.

Not everyone is ready to take the necessary steps to successfully engage their audience, mainly because it is difficult.  The industry standard continues to be focused on the masses and easy to manage through scheduled posts and replying only to @mentions. In the future a brands social presence will be measured on the ability to engage beyond the masses.  Broadcasting your content on Twitter is very one directional.  It is what faceless brands do and the consumers are continuing to move away form this approach by opting out of mailing lists, using DVR and skipping commercials because there is nothing that makes them feel emotionally engaged.

Understanding your changing community is the likely place to start looking for greater insight from those who matter most – current and prospective customers.  As technologies evolve brands will be able to get closer to the voice of the customer.  Those who take the time to understand this approach will have an edge on the market moving forward. Be more than a faceless corporation, be an engaged corporation and that social ROI you have been longing for might be closer than you think.

(Photo from  gordonflood.com)

Which Laptop Brand Do Most Twitter Users Want?

In recent years, the tablets and smartphones have been the hot topics amongst electronics and devices. Whether we’re talking about the Kindle, iPad or the various smartphone battles such as KitKat and iOS the fact remains, laptops are rarely a part of the discussion. Yet, the death of laptop has been greatly exaggerated. People still want them and people are still buying them.

To better understand the demand around laptops, we took a sample of more than 10,000 tweets and analyzed them. We did this with the intent of uncovering insights and trends as it relates to social media users and their preferences for laptop devices. The results surprised us and gave us a wide range of insight that we’re sharing with you in the infographic below.

One of the key insights that shocked us was the chokehold that Apple has on the laptop market. While it may not be the leader in laptop market share around the world, there’s no question that the marketing behind Apple has resulted in a serious demand. People want Mac products. Whether we’re talking about the MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air, the numbers still point to Apple as being number one and number two on the most wanted list. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments:

LeadSift Laptops Infographic

5 Things Brands Wish They Knew Before Selling on Social Media

For brands, selling on social media is still a scary endeavour. We’ve decided that being active on social media is important for brands. The vast majority have jumped on board. Many are there but just don’t see the value. Justifying its presence is difficult in the age of shrinking budgets especially with no direct contribution to the company’s bottom line. Selling on social media and interacting with people who need your product is the next evolution and it’s already here.

If you’re interested in social media as a selling tool you’re already ahead of the curve. Big questions on your mind should be:

How do I do it right?

How do I make 1 to 1 engagement worth my time?

We’ll give you the rundown.

1. Get out there and find your customers.

Wait to be found and they will find someone else.

Just like traditional selling you need to pound the pavement make connections and meet new people.

New customers within your current followers on twitter are a small fraction of those that are out there asking for your product. Going out and interacting with users that have questions or are shopping for what you offer is key to increasing sales.

I’m sure you’ve heard about carving out a niche on Twitter but for social selling when you engage with users, potential customers see your brand as approachable and informative. This promotes a level of credibility and trust. Trust is at the heart social selling.

2.The Hard Sell is Challenging

The reason brands are scared of social media is lack of control. Direct pressure or a hard sell can backfire on social media. We’ve all seen it happen. A brand getting heavy handed or rude is more exposed on social. With the added potential of going viral they can get in over their heads simply from a series of tweets. Pressure sales don’t work when the playing field is leveled. Being delicate and courteous throughout your engagement is paramount.

3. When selling on twitter becomes a helpful resource first, sales come later.

The intention of selling out of the gates stops customers from warming to the idea and are more likely to shut down than being drawn in. After a number of these conversations users will see you as approachable with a wealth of knowledge.

4. Don’t automate your responses.

Put people on the other end and there will be a noticeable difference.

Automated messages are easy to spot. Even if it’s on social it’s still spam and will get ignored. Putting a person on the other end reinforces a personal connection.

It also helps build trust in your brand. A person behind the post personalizes the brand. Don’t worry, each response need not be completely organic. The important part is tailoring your message to be specific to the tweet the response is directed at.

5. Target Your Audience Correctly

Targeting the right people at the right time in the right state of mind

This is the biggest piece. Proper targeting and reaching out to the right people at the right time is a huge part of the battle.

To save time make sure you are looking specifically for people who need what you are selling. With other types of marketing you can target based on demographic info such as Male 18-24. Leadsift allows you to drill down to a customer’s current need. If they are asking for it on social media already, it’s becomes multiple times easier to swoop in and save the day.

Marketing has tailored itself to be one message fits all for the better part of a century. This is where that changes. It’s time to step back from untraceable TV spots or banner ads. The era of engagement has arrived, have you?

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The Three Ways that DMO’s Should Be Using Social Media

Over the years, I’ve been privileged to work with a wide range of companies in the Tourism space. Whether we’re talking about Bed & Breakfasts or DMOs with millions of dollars in budget; I’ve seen it all. It’s an industry that is both complex but sophisticated. It’s one that has wide range of challenges but also filled with opportunity to drive meaningful and measurable results.

One specific vertical in Tourism that has always interested me, is the role of a DMO (Destination Marketing Organization). A DMO is typically a government funded agency that is responsible for developing and selling the brand for a specific destination. It’s their job to promote and highlight the activities, operators, landmarks and stories that make their destination attractive to new visitors.

Since the birth of social media, there’s been some great success stories in the Tourism space. Destinations from all over the globe have done a great job in building their brand on a high level through compelling advertising and communications tactics. But has it truly resulted in new visitors? More bums in seats and heads in beds? That’s still to be determined but here’s a few approaches that can surely help:

1. Tourist Identification
It’s not easy to create or measure a positive ROI on social media, but it is possible. The first thing DMO’s need to do is identify who it is they’re looking to bring to their destination. From there, it’s time to implement tactics that start to build their funnel as it relates to potential visitors.

Studies show that the web is the primary source of information for people planning their holidays and vacations. It’s the internet that leads them to sites like TripAdvisor to scan thousands of user generated reviews or social media to get a third party opinion from one of their friends or followers. This is where ROI is hidden.

As more and more people send out messages asking if they should visit Italy or Greece; there’s an increasing opportunity for DMO’s to get involved. It’s an opportunity for destinations to take one of three approaches:

  1. Aggressive Sale: In this approach, the DMO responds to the user by expressing how they’d love to have them. Additionally, the DMO could express that they would be happy to help ensure the trip is a memorable one. It’s the ideal approach and it’s one that can quickly lead to results.
  2. Passive Engagement: In this approach, the DMO favourites a users tweet letting them know they’re listening and on Twitter. This approach is more subtle but still effective. It gets the DMO on their radar but it doesn’t involve the direct sale.
  3. Accept Status Quo: In this approach, a DMO does what the majority of DMO’s are currently doing. They don’t respond, they don’t engage and they watch a potential tourist make their decision without any involvement. It’s a sure-fire way to leave dollars on the table and throw an opportunity out the door.

Before you start any of your tourist identification campaign, you should identify a process in which you will manage the various opportunities. The reason you want to identify a process is because some users will want additional support through the phone or email while others will simply communicate through social.

Once you start seeing the results from your tourist identification campaigns, you can start investing in long-term processes that will truly change the way you do business. You will start to share these insights with various operators in your destination so they too can benefit from the power of social selling.

2. Tourist Delight
Bringing the Wow to customers has always been one of the greatest benefits of using social media. In tourism, delivering that “wow moment” is easier than most industries because people are frequently frustrated with delays and cancellations. As such, there’s a huge opportunity for DMO’s to communicate with Tourists while they’re at their destination to further enhance their experience.

One way of delivering a sense of delight is to monitor the various conversations related to their destination and look out for people sharing pictures, vines or anything relevant that further tells a destinations story. Upon seeing this content, a DMO should engage with the user in authentic tone expressing that they’re grateful that they’ve visited and that they hope their trip is amazing. Furthermore, a DMO looking to make a biggest splash could even give users special perks or additional information that makes their trip memorable.

3. Tourist Satisfaction
If you ask anyone who has recently gone on vacation, how was it, they will typically light up with excitement at the chance to share with you the details of their vacation. A vacation is one of those experiences that people never forget and that they love to talk about and share. But all sharing isn’t created equal.

Some people go above and beyond the typical “Back from Vacation – OMG, looking forward to going back!” In fact, some people create blogs to showcase their experience and even document their travels with photo albums shared online. It’s the impact of technology and a driving factor of what other tourists will consume to make their choices on where they’ll visit and what they’ll do.

DMO’s should be on the look out for people who are leaving or just arrived home after visiting their destination. It’s these folks who are still salivating about their awesome experience and are stuck in vacation mode.That means destinations still have a window of opportunity to further build that brand affinity and relationship with the user.

Striking up a post-vacation conversation to ask someone what they liked they most or if they’d mind writing a review on Trip Advisor is an easy sell during the first few days after a vacation. It’s these little things that will influence the decisions of others considering your destination and ultimately drive an increase in visits.

What are some other ways that DMOs can use social media to drive success?

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The Future of Big Brother: Government & Social Media

Governments have quickly realized the power of social media. Its widespread network and millions of users has become an amazing platform to reach people and better understand what they do and how they think. Social media has the potential to open up conversations, distribute important information and (more recently) to empower government with the ability to even spy on its citizens.

Some see social media as the key to forging a new relationship between citizens and the state. While there are many debates as it relates to the role that the government should have in this ever-growing social media world, one thing that cannot be denied is the implications of social media. Whether we’re talking about citizen engagement through social media campaigns or information distribution from people like Snowden and Assange.

In the past few years Governments have focused on using social media for 2 things:

    1. Push communications used for anything from natural disasters to slinging press releases. Delivering a message that is crafted by the government to provide information or influence the perceptions of citizens.
    2. Opening two-way communication between citizens and government to help drive conversation about relevant issues and makes government more accessible.

Two-way communications is the most revolutionary of the 2 uses. 10 years ago major governments and other large organizations had much more control on what was released and as individuals our access to our distribution methods was almost nonexistent compared to today. Nowadays when an organization refuses to comment the conversation continues on without them.

So where do we go from here.
Here is a stumbling block. How do we expand this to reach out further than those who know how to complain correctly? How do we set out to fix problems from people who did not even know their government could solve them? How many complaints get missed because they don’t know who to direct their frustration at? If governments want people to be more engaging isn’t the first step to listen, respond back and solve problems?

The next step for government departments is joining conversations that don’t mention them first. Social media is frequently used to express frustration. Imagine if you complained about sidewalk closures, transit frustration and were quickly engaged by those who are involved. It would be a magical moment. But it’s a moment that isn’t too far off from a reality.

Government agencies around the world are using social media to communicate with citizens. Beyond agencies, politicians like Cory Booker are also using social media as an on the ground approach to helping those within his community.

One of the most recent events that demonstrated this opportunity was the recent flooding in Calgary. The Calgary police used social media to keep in touch with citizens who were in danger, who had questions and were looking to offer help. It’s these situations where it’s important for the government to be plugged in and ready to respond. It’s at this time when the government must use technology for the greater good of the community! Here’s how they can start:

Embrace Two Way Communication
Open up dialogue and make social media the fastest way to get a response out of your government. These answers would be public enabling it to reach many more people. Common questions through traditional communication channels have to be responded to multiple times but on social media answers to pertinent questions of the day can be answered once. Develop aggressive benchmarks such as respond within the hour. If the tweet does not require a response you can use the ‘Favorite’ feature to let users know that they were heard. Opening up conversations and nurturing them should be they name of the game here. It’s important to not lose sight of that.

Track Complaints & Gripes
When citizens complain on twitter many municipalities redirect them to their 311-response center. These social media channels should be closely linked to a government’s reporting function. This would enable the responders on social media to respond with “I’m on it! Your report number is 72355.” shortening the multiple steps to file a complaint. Leadsift is a software that will soon allow government agencies to find customers complaining or reporting issues. They wouldn’t even have to mention the city’s twitter account.

You’ll be able to use location based tracking as well as our lead identification algorithm enabling government agencies to swoop in to fix the issues without having to comb through all the posts that don’t apply.

Book a demo with: [email protected]

 

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Five Common Twitter Mistakes You Should Avoid

Twitter is an effective way to disseminate information to a large quantity of people who share similar interests or to those who look to you as a subject matter expert. With only 140 characters to use, it can be challenging to get your message across clearly and concisely. Even experienced Tweeters make mistakes sometimes – it happens.

Knowing the most common Twitter mistakes will help you avoid them in the future.

1. Tweets Explosion
Many Twitter users make the mistake of tweeting too much, too often and then ignoring their Twitter feed for the remainder of the day. It’s easy to get excited and motivated to be active on social media but sending out 50 tweets in the matter of 30 minutes is a bit much. In order to remain relevant and top of mind to your followers you should send out your tweets at regular intervals throughout the day. Tweeting in bursts can irritate your followers and result in them unfollowing you, or not taking you seriously.

Use tools like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule tweets that will automatically be posted at designated times throughout the day.

2. Chatting about the No-No’s
A lot of brands make the mistake of taking part in dialogue that really should be kept behind close doors. One of the easiest ways to lose a handful of customers is to wave your political views flag or bash another persons beliefs or religion. Trust me. I’ve seen brands do it and it’s not a pretty sight. Focus on creating and sharing content that builds a meaningful relationship with your customers with conversations and dialogue that you would have if you were on a first date.

3. Lacking a focus
It’s common for those who first join Twitter to tweet about everything under the sun. For instance, you might start by thinking you’ll tweet about “sales”, “start-ups” “social media” and “local events”. Launch your Twitter presence with a focus on one or two of those topics. This will help you establish your voice and give your followers a clear understanding of the sort of information they’ll be receiving from you. Naturally, as you develop your following and establish your voice, you’ll begin to cover more and more topics.

4. Mentions that limit exposure
It’s good practice to mention others in your Tweets. It not only engages your followers in a discussion or publically shines light on your opinion of them/their tweet, but it also makes your followers aware of the type of interactions you have with others. This is all good stuff. But many times users are unknowingly limiting their exposure by mentioning improperly. When you tweet about an article or blog post and use the @ sign, people will only see the tweet if they follow you and the person you mentioned. Use [email protected] (preceded by a period) so everyone, regardless if they follow both of you, can see the tweet.

5. Finger on the trigger
There’s nothing worse than tweeting something too quickly and immediately realizing that you misspelled the handle of someone you wanted to mention, made a typo or included a broken link. This can be embarrassing, easily annoy your followers, and damage your credibility as an expert.

Take time to proof your tweet before you click “send” and save yourself some grief. After all, there is no going back once you’ve released it into the Twittersphere.

Twitter is an effective tool to build and nurture relationships with industry, clients and fans alike when used correctly and strategically. Avoiding these five common mistakes will help you build valuable relationships and expand your network of influence.

What are some other common Twitter mistakes that are easily avoidable?