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Twitter Marketing for Small Business

Thank You Shannon Evans, author of The Definitive Twitter Guide: Making Tweets Work for Your Business, for her willingness to be our guest author for today’s blog post. Shannon has hit the Twitter and Social Media scene like a freight train, she’s everywhere! We are so lucky to have her as a friend of thinkspace, and and the author of today’s post. If you would like the chance to hear Shannon speak at thinkspace at November 16th’s 3-5pm Thinktank Symposium workshop, please email frontdesk@thinkspace.com. The event is $45. If you are a member of thinkspace, we will buy your ticket!

The following content was written by and belongs to: Shannon Evans

Twitter…140 characters of what? Push marketing from spammers? Conversation with friends? Intense negotiations between partners? What is this Twitter thing and how does it fit into the small business owner’s toolkit?

Twitter is an effective marketing tool and listening post for businesses both large and small. The perception is that in order to get any return on the tool you must invest huge amounts of time and energy. Others believe the larger the following on Twitter the more diminished the return. Other than staying connected to social communities many just can’t seem to find the real value in Twitter as a marketing tool. As a stand-alone marketing tool they often question its value.

What value is to be found other than social connections? Unlike email marketing campaigns where the return yield is so small, a highly targeted Twitter campaign can have a much higher rate of return if you have done your homework ahead of the campaign! In other words, you have to invest time in the community and established relationships before you begin the campaign! So many small business owners are limited in marketing time and energy and so they automate everything they can. Honestly, that contradicts the meaning of social media. The word social, by definition, means engaging with others through dialog and listening and continued interaction, so automating your work on Twitter and syncing it with your Facebook posts is actually counter-productive unless your only purpose is creating promotional channels. Twitter is a great place to collect and act upon cultural and brand as well as competitor intelligence. Think of it as a pulse point on the internet for testing the health and stability of the market place as well as way of participating in a community for building trust and likability for your brand.

If you only want to use Twitter to deliver a conventional direct marketing – fuhgetaboutit! Think about the last social gathering you went to and you got stuck talking to the blowhard who attacked you with unsolicited advice or tried to sell you on how wonderful they were…you know the blowhard types! They are so desperate for attention that they latch on to you and bore you to tears or royally piss you off. Honestly, no one likes to be sold to and your followers are the same way! They want to be informed, inspired, entertained, and excited about things relevant to them. They really could careless that your gadget is on sale FOR THE NEXT TEN MINUTES ON TWITTER! Thoughtful conversation, the sharing of ideas and participation is what gets your brand noticed.

Twitter is not about the quick hit on a link, it’s about engagement. The key to Twitter is establishing your brand in a community of like-minded interested and interesting people. Never lose sight of the fact that the key to any social media action is sharing what people are interested in reading. Make sure the message you put out is right for your audience…and that you are cultivating the right audience. If you were dog food company you really would not be seeking cat owners to talk about your product, dogs, etc. Get your message out to the people who need or want to hear it. Find others who are talking about your topics and add to the conversation. Listen, engage, and listen some more.

This is not rocket science! We all have some level of social skills or we would not be in business long. Test the waters, find what works, rework, revise, revisit, and test some more. But get out there, introduce yourself, and listen and learn from those in your community. Twitter really is that simple!

Follow Shannon on Twitter!

SMCSeattle Education Workshop – “Personal and Small Business Branding in the Age of Social Media”

We’re hosting an SMCSeattle Education workshop here inside thinkspace on Nov. 5, 2010.  The event starts at 3pm until 6pm.

TOPIC DETAILS

Part 1 –  “The Power of Your Brand : Personal and Small Business”

Workshop lead – Karen Kang

In part 1, you will learn how to

  • Identify the rational value and the emotional value of your brand
  • Understand the importance of the personal brand ecosystem and how to work it
  • Jumpstart your own personal brand with proven tips
  • Guide your portable brand in an era of social networking and media
  • Take charge of your professional destiny through unique personal branding

Part 2 –  “How to Accelerate your Branding Efforts using Social Media”

Discussion lead – Maya Bisineer

In part 2, you will learn how to

  • Apply a framework to accelerate your brand building efforts using social media
  • Use online tools to monitor your brand
  • Develop a strategic plan of action for your personal brand for the short and long term.

There is a limited number of seats for this event and registration is required. Please click this link to register and see the attendee list.

The event is sponsored by: Jones Soda and thinkspace!

We’re are heading over to Coho Cafe immediately following the event.  Our friends at Coho Cafe (Redmond) are sectioning off an area for us with special happy hour pricing menu!

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Seattle Twitter Community Comes Together in Different Ways

Who will win?

kotwitterProfilePhoto_biggerBackground about Kenji:
Kenji’s a huge sports fan. You can tell by looking at his Twitter avatar with his Seahawks logo etched into his photo. He’s also an avid Fantasy Football League player, as this is one of his five leagues that he’s in.

twitphoto_biggerBackground about Peter:
In the past, I worked for a company called Starwave. I know a thing or two about Fantasy Football as I used to manage the SQL Server databases for ESPN’s Fantasy Games applications.

Back in September, Kenji Onozawa @kenji_o tweeted out to the Twitterverse, “Is anyone interested in joining a Seattle Twitter Fantasy Football League?” I was pretty excited to get an invitation because this was the first season in quite a while that I was not in a league. Pretty cool, I am in a league with 11 others that I don’t really know. Only one person, Julia (@clickeats) that I know, happened to join this league too.

One of the best things about joining this league, is not that I have beat Kenji TWICE during the regular season, it’s really about meeting the new people in the Seattle Twitter Community at SMC events or other meetups. I feel like I know Taylor Peterson @taylor_tweets just after being in a league with her and following her on Twitter. I guess it was also blind luck that I sat next to her at Ignite Seattle. I quite easily could have sat next to anyone else in a crowd of 700+! It was also fun to introduce myself to Kevin Urie @kevinurie at the last SMC Event with Veronica Belmont. The introduction went something like “Hi Kevin, I’m @thinkspace, in your Twitter Fantasy Football League”. Something similar happened with Jaremy Rich @jaremy. Fun times. I’m still looking forward to meeting the others: @shaunkirch @johnnykelso @chefwaj @incrediblechef @coolguygreg!

The finals of the Seattle Twitter Fantasy Football League #SeaTwiFF have come and after the dust has settled, it’s fun that Kenji and I are facing each other. Thanks to Taylor beating Kevin in the final regular season game, I managed to get a playoff spot. Kenji on the other hand dominated the last part of the season and rolled in on a white horse. Now comes the question for the Seattle Twitter Community, who will win? Kenji or Peter? Vote below or comment and tell us your thoughts on how something like Twitter could bring together a group of people that might never have come to know each other!

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Twitter’s view of what people think about you

Twitter launched a new feature a few weeks ago, called “Lists”. The feature allows users the ability to create lists and add other Twitter users to that list. For example, I created a Twitter list called “thinkspace Community” and added over 30 people that are thinkspace members to that list. It’s helpful for me because my Twitter stream is pretty active because I follow 500+ people so it’s likely that I’m going to miss what members are saying. With a list, I can see a filtered list of Tweets, so I don’t miss out on what you’re talking about.

A very interesting thing has happened because of Lists. Lists are metadata about you that you don’t control. They show what other people think of you. Here’s an example of a few thinkspacers and their Twitter Lists tag cloud (provided by www.mustexist.com). Listed below are:

Sean O’Driscoll, Ants Eye View; Derek Delconte, Innerfence; Mike Ma, Judy’s Book.

ts-twitter-lists
If you’re new to Twitter and you’re not sure what to Tweet about, just think about what is that you want to be known for. What are your personal keywords which people will start to know you for? If you want to be known as a subject matter expert in your industry, the more you Tweet about those things people will recognize you as the expert that you are.

Here’s what the thinkspace List Tags look like:

If you want to be added to the Twitter thinkspace Community List, contact Alyssa or me.

Ron Sims: A Politician that gets Twitter

Ron Sims is using Twitter and I’ve been following him for about one month.  I think it’s really cool that he’s embracing technology as way to communicate with people.  Back when Governor Locke was King County Executive, I volunteered in his campaign office while he ran Governor.  I never really had that close a look into what a King County Executive does day-in and day-out.  By being on Twitter, Ron is providing me and anyone else that wants to follow him a level of transparency into his position as King County Executive.

I was just reading a blog post by Monica Guzman titled “Ron Sims on Twitter? You bet – and he loves it“.  The post was dated September 8, 2008.  He seems to have come a long way in one month.  A politician can have a blog or a Facebook account (Ron Sims has both), but, Twitter takes communication to a different level.  I think that makes it real and personal is that he actually follows people back that follow him.  He even takes the time to respond back to people.

When I was telling a friend that Ron Sim’s uses Twitter, they responded saying you really want your tax dollars being spent on him doing that?  I said, yes, I enjoy reading his tweets and it’s providing me a peek inside what he does as King County Executive.  It doesn’t take much effort to write a 140 character tweet, but, for someone in public office, it can have a big impact.  He’s not wasting time by tweeting about “doing the laundry” or “feeding the dog”.  From one of his tweet’s I read that he was cutting staff and moving out of his Seattle office space in the Columbia Tower to the Chinook and Yesler Buildings.  While he’s not going to be the most popular person after announcing layoffs at King County, his effort to be more transparent is much better than being silent.