• TheDigitalJen
    Jennifer Stalzer on November 19, 2013

    Tough Lessons to Becoming a Socially Engaged Brand

    About 18 months ago, MasterCard set out on a mission to become the most socially connected and engaged brand in the payments space. As I look back, here's a look at almost ten hard lessons we learned.
  • ChristopherCarfi
    Christopher Carfi on December 9, 2013

    Five Trends That Are Going to Affect Marketing in 2014

    Agile marketing is now a common approach, and includes a healthy loop of building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving. There are five trends that you need to be on the lookout for when creating your marketing plans in the coming year, a combination of focus on results and a set of new channels that can connect directly to the bottom line.
  • JeffreyDachis
    Jeffrey Dachis on December 18, 2013

    Real-Time Marketing 101: It All Starts With The Trends

    Imagine you are a marketer in 1951. Harry S. Truman is president and Milton Berle is the most famous person on T.V., raking in 80% of all television viewers every night of the week. It’s the dawn of modern mass marketing. What if you were the first marketer to figure out how to use T.V. to sell stuff? You’d probably be in pretty high demand. The potential to sell your products would be effectively limitless. Well, an innovative, new marketing channel with the potential to rival television for its importance has arrived and marketers are starting to take notice.
  • Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on April 18, 2014

    Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

    Content marketing is the linchpin of demand creation –the link between brand awareness and lead generation. Done well, it builds familiarity, affinity and trust with prospective and current customers by providing information that resonates – in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time.
  • IBM Social Business
    IBM Social Business on April 18, 2014

    Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations

    Here is an excerpt from “Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations,” an exclusive whitepaper brought to you by IBM. This whitepaper provides a step-by-step guide for determining your strategy to achieving social business success.
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on May 1, 2014

    The Social Media Pocket Guide: Six Ways Marketers Should Use Social

    This guide walks through each of the “Big Six” objectives and provides a tactical overview of the business case, team considerations and actual content examples and templates to use for your social media initiatives. 
Download the guide now and use it as a cheat sheet on how to get started today using proven tactics and best practices.
  • Actiance
    Actiance Compliance on May 9, 2014

    The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014

    Forbidding employees to use social networks because they may expose your business to risk is no longer a viable business strategy. According to its new report published today, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Risk And Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014,” Forrester Research, Inc. says “the practice of prohibiting social [is] no longer feasible.”
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on June 9, 2014

    6 Blueprints for Social Network Success

    The Big 6 social networks offer tremendous marketing opportunities - but each one is very different from the next. That’s why Spredfast has assembled the 6 Blueprints for Social Network Success. In this quick-read collection, you’ll discover more than 50 constructive, actionable marketing tips and real-world examples from major brands like Hyatt, British Airways, Target, and General Mills. Let’s start building!
  • Synapsify
    Synapsify, Inc. on June 16, 2014

    Piecing Together the Story: Synapsify’s Annual Voice of Customer Industry Survey and Insight

    This eBook reveals the common practices and challenges faced today by social media managers/directors and brand insight analyst and conducted an online survey of 70 social media and content analysts professionally recruited for this survey. The survey results are presented as part of a complimentary eBook in which insight industry professionals shed light on their challenges and common practices they face in understanding the true voice of their customers.
  • Just about every business has a place on the social sphere. Whether it's a retail business on Pinterest or a night spot on Twitter - there is something for everyone. Handling social marketing to promote those businesses on that platform is something else. Most business owners try and slack off because of lack of time. Some just have no clue where to start. That's why I get asked this a lot: Why should I hire someone to handle my social marketing and where should I look?

    Just about every business has a place on the social sphere. Whether it's a retail business on Pinterest or a night spot on Twitter - there is something for everyone. Handling social marketing to promote those businesses on that platform is something else. Most business owners try and slack off because of lack of time. Some just have no clue where to start. That's why I get asked this a lot, "Why should I hire someone to handle my social marketing and where should I look?"

    For businesses today, you need to have someone experienced handling your social marketing. Things change so fast and often without notice, it's hard for business owners to keep up. I'm going to cut right to it. Here are four reasons you should hire someone...

    • This is one person who is dedicated to expanding your brand online.
      • Your SMM (social marketing manager) will be the one who seeks out new followers and fans.  They market you online to their network and friends.  Your SMM will be your business' cheerleader.
    • You will have someone to respond and engage with your customers/clients for you.
      • Around 85-90% of posts on business' Facebook pages are not responded to.  Your SMM will respond to each post, tweet or Google+ share.  People want to be acknowledged.  With a SMM, they will be and a relationship will be built.  Social media is called SOCIAL media, right?
    • They take the think-work over for you.
      • Ahh, they work so you don't have to think!  SMMs create exciting content that prompts response.  With some direction from the business owner or not, they will shoulder the majority the work for you. I see it as a partnership, so do expect to participate in some manner.

    and most importantly...

    • They free up your time to do what you love to do - run your business!
      • What business owner wouldn't want more time to help run their business?  With a SMM, they do exactly that.  You won't get stuck on Pinterest for 3 hours looking at home decor or recipes (oh come, you know you do!) while you're supposed to be entering yesterday's sales!

    Sounds good, doesn't it?  The internet is crawling with social marketing professionals, but I suggest you do your homework first.  Look for someone with experience and has a good following on all the social platforms.  When investing money in this, you want to make sure they are qualified and are reputable.  Your business depends on it.

    Okay, so where do find someone?  Here are my suggested steps:

    1.  Start with LinkedIn.

    Search various related keywords such as "social media strategist", "social media consultant" or "social media manager".  It will pull a list of professionals in those fields.  You can tailor it to your geographic area or it can be worldwide.  LinkedIn gives you a great way to look at each person or company.  You can see their work experience, their social media links and recommendations.  After finding a candidate on LinkedIn, check out their other profiles - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+.  You want someone who is practicing what they preach. This is key. There are a lot of fakes out there claiming to be experts. Don't fall for it.

    2. Look at all of their profiles...carefully.

    I just said there are fakes out there. Take a look at all of their social profiles. Are they claiming to be an expert, yet only have 25 Twitter followers? Do they say they are the leading thought-leader yet only have a single blog post to show for it? Make sure they are walking the talk. If they give you some bullcrap about how they put their clients first and don't have time for their own business, call them out on it! THEIR business is their first client. If they can't take care of themselves, how do you think they will take care of you!?!

    3.  Once you have someone you are interested in working with, schedule a time to talk.

    You want to get to know the person you chose.  They need to get to know you and your business so they can accurately represent you and your business.  You want your social marketing manager to understand the tone of the business.  Do you take a more humorous approach?  Maybe you are quite serious.  If you are a medical business, your social marketing (or media) manager needs to understand how HIPAA plays in to it.

    If you do not have any social media profiles set up, you and your prospective manager can go over where you need to be and how often you need to post.

    Some things to consider:

    • Where are your customers - do they tweet?  mainly hang out on Facebook?
    • What are some peak times to post - is your market on at night?  lunchtime?
    • How much guidance are you going to give your social media manager?  Will you give him/her a list of specials or promotions?  Links to websites to pull information from?

    4.  Make sure everything is put on the table and be open-minded!

    You will want transparency in this relationship.  Tell him/her your expectations, goals and ideas.  Be open to ideas they may come up with.  Sometimes the most successful promotions are those that are outside of the box.  Tell him/her you expect honesty from them - if something isn't working, have them tell you.  Occasionally you may have to switch strategies until you find the one that works.

    If I have left something out, please add it in the comment section! I'd love to get your feedback.

    Today, I’m proud to announce the release of Altimeter Group’s second report on Digital Transformation. This new report is aimed at executives and digital strategists to help them (you) further understand the state of digital transformation as you plan your next steps and investments.

    Today, I’m proud to announce the release of Altimeter Group’s second report on Digital Transformation. This new report is aimed at executives and digital strategists to help them (you) further understand the state of digital transformation as you plan your next steps and investments.

    In our initial report, “Digital Transformation: Why and How Companies are Investing in New Business Models to Lead Digital Customer Experiences (DCX),” we learned that digital transformation was as much about technology as it was about people. It was a much more human story, one that shared insights, advice and cautionary tales from those on the front lines.

    Our new report is based on a survey we cast over the last year. Its goals were twofold: 1) to unearth where companies and supporting teams are in their metamorphic digital transformation efforts; and 2) also to capture a current snapshot for future comparison.

    The State of Digital Transformation” also features expert voices as part of Altimeter Group’s previous qualitative research, including Sephora, Starbucks, Westfield, Ford, GM, LEGO, Discover, Intuit, Nestlé, Univision, a multinational financial services business, a multinational CPG company, and an American pharmaceutical company, among others.

    Defining Digital Transformation

    To focus our initial research, Altimeter defined digital transformation as a movement through a customer-centric lens:

    The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.

    From the onset, we learned that digital transformation means different things to different people, and that’s okay; we’re all learning. What’s important to realize however is that investing in new digital technologies, such as social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc., doesn’t in of itself equate to “digital transformation.” It’s about uniting individual technology efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure to effectively compete as a unified business in connected markets.

    You’ve heard it before…people, process, technology. But without vision to see how markets are shifting and leadership to identify, organize and drive new opportunities, digital transformation can become yet another victim of technology-first efforts that miss the human mark. This is why we focused our research on the digital customer experience initially. It’s a tremendous effort.

    Strategists often equate digital transformation with a shift in technology investment. Its true implications though span far beyond technology and into the realms of infrastructure, organization, and leadership. More so, it leads to and is inspired by a renewed focus on the entire customer experience. As you can imagine over the years ahead, digital transformation will leave in its wake modernization, improvements and innovation across everything from HR to collaboration to sales to supply chain and beyond.

    Figure 1

    We learned that 88% of executives and digital strategists stated that their company is undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2014. Yet, only 25% had mapped out the digital customer journey. This is  especially interesting in that participants were given Altimeter’s definition of digital transformation at the beginning of the survey.

    Figure 2

    Not surprising, a majority of strategists, 42%, reported that while they have not yet researched the customer journey, but were investing in new digital channels any way. At the same time, 17% of digital leaders are now in the process of studying the digital customer journey.

    Digital transformation doesn’t just mean increasing digital investments. It means thinking and acting “digital first.”

    Figure 3

    We asked strategists to help rank the most important digital transformation initiatives they were pursuing. Here are the results…

    1) Improving processes that expedite changes to digital properties, ie. website updates new mobile or social platforms, etc. (80%)

    2) Updating website and ecommerce programs for a mobile world (71%)

    3) Integrating social, mobile, web, ecommerce, service efforts and investments to deliver an integrated and frictionless customer experience (70%)

    4) Updating customer-facing technology systems (66%)

    5) Further research into customer digital touch points (63%)

    6) Overhaul customer service to meet the expectations of digital customers. (46%)

    Figure 5

    In our previous report, we learned that it is a rare occurrence when digital transformation is led by the CEO. This time around, we also learned who the players are in championing or sponsoring change. Here, digital transformation is often driven by the CMO, CEO, and CIO (54%, 42%, and 29% respectively.)

    Figure 6

    Change of course is not without its challenges. And it is most interesting, yet not surprising, that the greatest antagonist to change is company culture (63%). That’s just the beginning however. Digital transformation is as much about introducing new technologies as it is seeing new opportunities and working toward them differently than in the past.

    Additional challenges facing digital transformation specific to DCX include…

    - Thinking beyond a campaign mentality (59%)

    - Cross-functional collaboration (56%)

    - Resources (56%)

    - Understanding digital customer behavior (53%)

    - Securing executive support (42%)

    Figure 7

    Digital transformation wouldn’t push forward if it didn’t bear fruit worthy of the effort. There are other fantastic reports, like this one by CapGemini and MIT, that cover different aspects of digital transformation. They all agree that in the end, those organizations that invest in new technologies, people, and processes to compete in digital markets realize business-level returns including market share, greater margins and profits, talent, among others.

    Digital transformation impacts the bottom line. It leads to boosts in collaboration and productivity. Additionally, digital transformation helps companies assess and aspire to enhance the real customer experience.

    Since our work focused on DCX, we were also introduced to more performance-oriented benefits…

    1) Lift in customer engagement (75%)

    2) Improved customer satisfaction (63%)

    3) Higher digital traffic (53%)

    4) Increased lead gen/sales (49%)

    Conclusion

    It’s clear. We still have a lot to learn about digital transformation: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it offers businesses that explore its permutations. But what’s clearer is that change has to start somewhere.

    Remember, in the end, the key to digital transformation is to adopt technology as enabler for something bigger. Behavior, whether it’s related to customers, employees, values, or expectations, is as important (or more so) as becoming increasingly digital through new investments in strategy and technology.  Thus, digital transformation becomes a catalyst for re-imagining the overall customer (or employee) experience.

    Businesses undergoing digital transformation are each, in their own way, creating new processes, forming new business models and teams, and investing in new technologies and systems to work in ways that are more relevant to the state and evolution of today’s markets. In doing so, they’re leveraging digital transformation to become more customer-centric, more human, and renewing their culture for a new generation of customers and employees.

    There’s so much more to the report. Please take a moment to download it here and also share your story with us.

    "Going viral" is rarely an overnight phenomenon, especially when brands are creating something that is part of their wider marketing strategy. Growing your communities takes time and dedication – but this hard work behind the scenes can be vital to a video’s success.
    Creating a ‘viral video’ is like setting out to produce 'an Oscar-winning film.'

    You can look back at some of the most-shared videos, trying to fathom some sort of recipe for success, but if you try to replicate those vital ingredients your video will most likely feel flat and formulaic. If a movie producer tries too hard to re-create an award-winning film, putting together a big budget, an epic storyline, some top names, it can still be a flop. What movie-goers want is passion, great acting and a sense that everyone involved loved what they were doing: they want to feel something. Movies that make people feel something win awards. Videos too must speak to a brand’s followers if they are to be shared.

    Content is shared because it provokes an emotional response

    Two University of Pennsylvania professors analyzed the New York Times’ most-emailed list, and came up with a list of factors that contributed to content going viral. They discovered that posts inspiring feelings of awe, anger or anxiety are shared more often than others. Now, businesses will want to stay away from inducing anger in their audience, but awe clearly works well, if it is appropriate to the brand, and humor is another strong emotion that is safe for brands to play with. For brands, making people gasp in astonishment or laugh out loud are safe and popular goals.

    But the material to inspire these emotions has to be original. Once something has been done before, move on: don’t imitate. Think back to your company’s history, your company’s mission, why your loyal customers love you – and draw from that.

    Originality is everything: there is no second place

    One of the most incredible branded viral videos is still Red Bull’s supersonic freefall starring Felix Baumgartner. One year on, it has been seen 36 million times. It would be possible for another brand to re-create a stunt like this… but my guess is that it would be accused of being derivative – and that it would only be shared by people to show the brand’s failure to come up with anything original themselves. In short, copy-cat videos will make a brand look bad. You can only jump from the edge of space once – and we were all their on the edge of our seats with Felix, hands to our faces, hearts in our throats. You just can’t recreate that feeling.

    That said, your brand has so many other ways to connect with audience. It doesn’t have to be something elaborate or expensive like the space jump. Just be human, make it your objective to get to know your customers, and show them that you appreciate them.

    Inspire your followers

    The Red Bull Stratos jump worked so well because it was a perfect partnership between a brand that stands for adrenaline and boundary-pushing, and a dare-devil stuntman. For Samsung, a marketing video to promote LED televisions needed to mirror the brand’s ethos of quirky, innovative technology to capture their followers’ imaginations. The result – ‘Extreme Sheep LED Art’ was both relevant to the brand and to the product they were trying to promote. It was surprising (who would have thought of making art by herding flocks of sheep?), original, and it reflected the brand’s personality and the product they were trying to draw attention to.

    Tip: Use ideas that are relevant to your brand and you will strike a chord with your followers.

    Build a community: ‘viral’ is a team sport

    ‘Viral’ is rarely an overnight phenomenon, especially when brands are creating something that is part of their wider marketing strategy. Growing your communities takes time and dedication – but this hard work behind the scenes can be vital to a video’s success. Too many marketers want to run out there and ‘create a viral video’, without realizing the effort that goes into building a loyal following first.

    Old Spice has half a million subscribers on YouTube, 2.6 million followers on Facebook and two hundred thousand followers on Twitter. Building an audience this size takes a long-term strategy of great content, original visuals and true engagement with fans. It also takes a content strategy that reflects the brand’s core philosophy, so when Old Spice releases a video like the hilarious ‘The man your man could smell like’, it resonates with fans – and they want to share it more widely.

    Tip: Lay the foundations first. Your community and loyal fans will share videos – success isn’t a solo pursuit; it takes a community of passionate people to get the word out.

    Re-think your goals

    ‘Viral’ shouldn’t be your goal. Building your brand’s reputation through engagement and great content is a goal that can lead to a piece of content going viral, but more importantly it will give you a loyal, dedicated follower base. A video should reflect your core philosophy as a brand; it should resonate with your audience and be a part of a wider strategy to build trust and commitment over time. Having a viral hit is great, but you have to ask yourself: “What will translate into sales over the longer period of time, a one-off gimmick or long-term brand advocacy?”

    Leave ‘viral’ gimmicks for the cute baby pandas, kittens and singing toddlers, and concentrate on a content strategy that is in it for the long haul.

    Originally published in Inc.

    While presenters at Percolate’s full house Transition 2014 Conference at The TimesCenter in New York City last week debated the future of marketing, I believe most marketers in attendance left knowing they face a big conundrum. Has technology and social disruption accelerated the beginning of the end or end of the beginning for CMOs?

    While presenters at Percolate’s full house Transition 2014 Conference at The TimesCenter in New York City last week debated the future of marketing, I believe most marketers in attendance left knowing they face a big conundrum. Has technology and social disruption accelerated the beginning of the end or end of the beginning for CMOs?

    Whether you believe what is becoming a social media truism—that social has transferred brand ownership to consumers, definitively—and opt to forego a marketing department altogether, like BarkBox, or reinvent your marketing, like Unilever’s commitment to sustainability, I believe there is little doubt that marketers today believe this is only the tip of the disruption iceberg meltdown.  As Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing, Unilever, put it: Marketing used to be about creating a myth and telling it. Now it is about finding a truth and sharing it.

    With CMO tenure currently about 24 months, not really long enough to show measurable results, Beth Comstock, GE CMO encourages marketers to be “instigators.”  Appointed in 2003 as GE’s first CMO in 20 years, Comstock has bucked the tenure trend. How? Part of my job (as a marketer) is to create tension in the system, says Comstock.

    Comstock defined GE’s marketing DNA as the 4-I's: instigator, implementer, innovator, and integrator. With a global marketing department of only 5,000 employees, Comstock’s lean GE marketing resources accentuate the need for creative partnering and amplification: Collaboration and transparency: these two things go together. Our problems are too big to solve alone.

    Percolate co-founder Noah Brier cautioned on the danger for marketers of losing sight of the power of invention in the 0 to 1 moment—citing Peter Thiel’s book—in a technology-driven marketing world pushing the boundaries of scale: A lot of us are focused on the 1 to n change. But we can't lose sight of the 0 to 1. Where 0-1 is invention (technology, vertical progress, creating new things), 1-0 is scaling (globalization, horizontal progress, copying existing things). 

    The context for missed marketing opportunities was underscored by Brier’s co-founder partner James Gross, citing smartphone user growth in the next five years forecast to climb from to almost 6 billion—the majority of the planet, fueled by developing countries.  With mobile now mapping the universe of human relationships, a new unprecedented social graph is now being created, offering new ethnographic dimension and discovery.

    Erin Dignan, CEO Undercurrent/Responsive.org spoke about bringing an idea to life, bringing a product to scale, and explained how the Ubers and AirBnbs—underpinned by a platform which is a great enabler in the open source sharing ecosystem—have found a way to knit together 99% of the value of existing tech platforms to create value. Dignan also alluded to psychological shifts and value systems disruptions confronting 21st century marketers.  Where 20th century systems embrace planning, the new model embraces uncertainty. Planning has lot less value, and there is the need for a new system of de-embracing. New systems serve networks versus old serve hierarchies to create value. Old systems centralize control, new systems distribute authority; old enable complication vs. promote simplicity; old manage information vs. process information; old encourage conformity vs. encourage divergence; old sustain status quo vs. enable crossover.

    On the topic of data literacy, Greg Hochmuth, founder of Dada, a data startup, and 7th employee at Instagram, suggested a circumspect approach: If you see data that's complex and you don't understand it, don't accept it blindly. Ask questions. Figure it out. Many companies, he admonished, approach their data like a novice pilot approaches the cockpit: a ton of knobs and levers that feel overwhelming, which leads to an over-reliance on gut.  

    Brian Morrissey, Editor-in-Chief of Digiday spoke with Eric Hippeau of Lerer Ventures on how media companies are becoming technology companies and how social+mobile has created an “always on” world for brands and publishers. Their word association wrap was a cloud pleaser, with gems such as:  Newspapers: gone. Native Advertising: the future. Fox & Time Warner: Dinos are mating. Paywalls: Oh my god. Clickbait: part of doing biz.

    The best definition of media today according to Michael Zimbalist, SVP of Ad Products and R&D at the New York Times: If you are in media, you are in the business of provisioning moments of attention.  While Zimbalist declared that long-form journalism isn’t dead, the Times leaked internal Innovation Report reveals its struggle in adopting digital platforms. Percolate’s Jason Shen’s blog examines some key values and lessons for marketers derived from the report.

    My key takeaway from Transition 2014 isn’t a marketing tale of doom or gloom. Au contraire. Today’s CMO has never been in a more enviable position to reinvent, innovate and lead.  The key?  Creative partnering, de-enabling, tenacity and a good dollop of Chutzpah.

    And the key to CMO longevity, according to the Comstock mantra:  Marketing's job is to know where the world is going and to help the company get there.

    Do you know where the world is going?

    Five things you can avoid that are a sure fire way of destroying your credibility on Twitter. You may be looking to sell a product, start a personal brand or genuinely connect with a group of people who care about all the stuff you do. But all of this is because it makes YOU feel good, and if you lead with authenticity that same feeling is projected onto other people, they feel good, too.

    I’ll start with a confession. I only started engaging on Twitter from a personal perspective a few weeks ago. My insights on these common Twitter mistakes that you can easily avoid come from my experience working with corporate brands, reading countless books and studying the interactions of some of the world’s most Tweeted people. Here are five things I have learnt that are a sure fire way of destroying your credibility in the Twitterverse.

    1.       Buy your followers

    When I hear about people buying all of their Twitter followers, I always wonder what they are trying to achieve. At the end of the day aren’t we all using Twitter to progress our own agenda in some way?

    You may be looking to sell a product, start a personal brand or genuinely connect with a group of people who care about all the stuff you do. But all of this is because it makes YOU feel good, and if you lead with authenticity that same feeling is projected onto other people, they feel good too.

    Buying all of your followers is counterintuitive. No one will want to buy your products, because they are bound to find out that your list of drones and fake followers don’t actually advocate what you have to sell. And no REAL people will want to connect with you, because it will be blatantly obvious that all you care about is a number and not a relationship.

    Want to know if you or your followers are faking it? Check out this interesting site;

    http://fakers.statuspeople.com/

    The image below shows you the breakdown of 50 Cent’s Twitter followers. He has 58% (Over 4 million) fake or inactive followers!

    50 Cent Fake Followers Twitter

    Invest your time in developing a social media asset that means something. The more time you put into the relationships at the beginning the bigger the rewards will be in the long run. If you’re still struggling to figure out how to make these connections, this blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago may be helpful;

    5 Principles for Creating a Social Media Following That Sticks

    2.       Follow then Unfollow

    A pet hate of mine is when someone follows you, and then a day or a week later clicks that unfollow button (sometimes this is automated!). The sad thing is that there are hundreds of Twitter accounts out there who have a daily process of doing exactly this. You can smell them a mile away. Anyone who is tempted to follow someone purely to get their followership back should revisit point 1 and just buy all of their followers.

    It’s not about how many people follow you it’s about creating a community, a connection and a valuable relationship for the future. The next time you’re going to follow someone, put them through this quick test;

    -          Will you read their Tweets in your feed?

    -          Will you click on the links they are sharing?

    -          Will you re-tweet their content to your followers?

    -          Would you value their opinion if you asked them a question?

    If you answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, follow them. If you answer ‘No’ then perhaps it’s a connection you don’t need.

    3.       Use too many hashtags

    When you see a tweet with an excessive amount of hashtags, what is your reaction? If you’re anything like me it discourages you from re-tweeting, and drops the credibility of the user. Below is a link to a comical look at the over-use of hashtags on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not it’s worth a watch!).  

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA

    Whilst this is a satirical take on the social media world we live in, it can teach us a lot about how to use hashtags on Twitter. Ask yourself this question next time you’re deciding which hashtags to use;

    ‘If I used all of these words in a real conversation would it annoy someone?’

    If you want to know more about when, how and what to hashtag here are some great resources;

    How To Hashtag

    A Scientific Guide to Hashtags

    Instead of spamming your followers with hashtags why don’t you piggy-back an event, a hot news story or a trending industry topic. Here’s a blog post I wrote with some suggestions of events you can newsjack in the back half of 2014.

    4.       Excessive Re-Tweeting

    When I am deciding whether or not to follow you the first thing I do is check out your profile blurb. If you pass the first test and the blurb resonates with my interests, I’ll start to read your most recent Tweets. Essentially, I am looking for a way to connect with you; a Tweet to favourite, a reason to share your content, or at the base level a reason to start a conversation. If all I can see in the first 5-10 Tweets are Re-Tweets of OTHER people’s content why would I want to follow you? I can just go and follow those people and get the content that I really want.

    Yes Re-Tweeting is a great way to connect with people and show you are willing to share their content, but if it is all you do then you are not adding value to anyone. And you are reducing the chance of people wanting to follow you.

    What keeps your followers up at night? What are their deepest held fears? What do they love? What are their aspirations?

    If you think through the lens of questions much like this, you start to think more like a marketer rather than an everyday person. But that’s what Twitter is, essentially you are marketing yourself, you are marketing your content or you are marketing the content that you’re sharing. So ask yourself this; what can I share RIGHT NOW that will draw on my followers’ emotions and add value to their day? By adding value to your followers you are repaying the favour for them following you.

    If you’re not adding value, don’t Tweet it.

    5.       Be someone you’re not (Or even worse, an egg!)

    The brands and people that create meaningful connections on a regular basis do so because they are authentic. They are focused, clear and purposeful in their interactions. By being clear on your purpose (or goal) for engaging on Twitter and aligning your communication to that purpose you will gain followers that trust and admire you.

    A starting point for being authentic on Twitter is your profile photo and description. Make sure this captures your personality, and do us all a favour – Don’t be an egg! (The ‘egg’ symbol is the default photo Twitter uses for someone who hasn’t uploaded an image of themselves)

    In the words of Dave Kerpen, Social Media guru and creator of ‘Likeable’; 

    “Authenticity Breeds Trust; Inauthenticity Breeds Fear… It’s a huge turn off when people are fake” 

    If you want to build a large list of people on Twitter; buy your followers, follow then unfollow, use an excess of hashtags, re-tweet everything and pretend you are someone you’re not. But if you want to create a community of engaged Twitter followers above all else be authentic.

    Let me know in the comments below what other Twitter mistakes you see over and over again!