Tag Archives: Twitter

Boost Twitter Engagement in 10 Curious Ways

Are you furiously tweeting but not seeing the same interaction that your competitors are? With a few not-so-obvious tweaks, you can increase your Twitter engagement rate and follower count. Here’s how:

  1. Ask for RTs (retweets). Less than one percent of brands do this, despite evidence that it works. Ask your followers to retweet your content for a spike in engagement. Just don’t overdo it, or risk alienating your followers.
  2. Don’t use semicolons. Could a punctuation mark cause someone to ignore your tweet? Research says yes. Tweets with semicolons produce the least interaction. Instead, use periods and colons for higher engagement. Introduce links and calls to action with colons, and write short and snappy fragments with periods.
  3. Make it personal. The most retweeted word? “You.” Speak directly to your followers and invite them into the discussion. As Don Draper of “Mad Men” says, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
  4. Write less than 100 characters. You could write 140 characters, but you don’t have to. Opt for shorter tweets that have a 17 percent higher engagement rate than longwinded ones.
  5. Use hashtags. Tweets with one or two relevant hashtags can increase engagement by a whopping 100 percent. By tagging your tweets, anyone who searches on that topic will see your post. Conversely, don’t use too many. Excessive hashtags can trigger spam alerts, and dilute your message.
  6. Tweet more. Follower count is directly proportional to tweet frequency. Tweet about 3-4 times per day to gain followers. But remember: Tweet frequency and engagement have an inverse relationship. So schedule tweets throughout the day based on which times perform best in your industry. Just don’t go into a tweet frenzy and expect interaction for every post.
  7. Name drop. If you have an opportunity to mention a follower, or perhaps a business partner, go for it. Mentions increase the chance someone will follow you or interact with your brand.
  8. Don’t ignore weekends. Tweet on Saturday and Sunday for a 17 percent spike in engagement. Don’t feel like working on your days off? Schedule weekend tweets during the week, and let them work for you.
  9. Tweet during “open” hours. Post between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. for a 30 percent gain in engagement. Of course, these hours can vary by industry, but these are the safest times to tweet.
  10. Write juicy copy, or else. The secret to increasing tweet click-thru rates by 73 percent? Solid writing. Give readers an intriguing nugget, and a reason to share or engage with your content. This example from one of our clients sparked a lengthy discussion, resulting in huge exposure for the brand.

Try these tips and get your Twitter feed hopping. Looking for more resources to ignite your brand’s social media? See an example of a terrible tweet, and how to create content marketing that attracts customers.

Learn more about Ideopia’s social media marketing. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest marketing buzz.

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The New Copywriting: Be Honest, or Else.

Don’t let up on your disgust with ads just because the election is over. Smoke and mirrors, misdirection and just plain lies abound in our day-to-day marketing.

The inability of advertisers to make coherent arguments to sell their product have made social media and authenticity buzzwords. At least on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn there’s a dab of accountability. Refer the wrong plumber to your pals, and you might get kicked out of the Thursday night poker.

Like political ads, most consumer advertising either says nothing, contorts the truth, or smacks of hyperbole. In a recent commercial, a luxury car deemed itself “The World Standard.” The world standard for what? Does this include the 47 countries in the world that have no knowledge of the brand? And we’re not singling out cars, you can find the same level of pap in ads for everything from hotdogs and laundry detergents to investment bankers and hospitals. Hot air like this is exactly what gets brands in trouble on social media. Like reading on Facebook that your pal’s “World Standard” is leaking transmission fluid like a flop house toilet.

Keeping it Clean and Honest in Print and Social Media

It’s not surprising then that some brands, steeped in conventional ad pap for decades, have problems embracing the newfangled authenticity. In reality, you can easily skip over this minefield if you remember two things: 1) Tell the truth. 2) Remember what you were taught about writing in the fifth grade. If you need a refresher course, pick up a copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

The truth and not telling it, or partially telling it will dog your brand forever on the Internet. When you believe something, you have a reason for believing even if it’s just pure faith. Make sure that your company’s marketing claims are backed by reasons and facts. Maybe you can’t squeeze it all in a Tweet, but you can expand on it on the web and in other media.

In web writing, avoid empty hyperbole like the plague. Don’t claim that you’re the world’s best, finest, or only unless you can prove it. If you’re touting “Drive = Love,” like Chrysler, you better have a Viagra dispenser under the dash.

Weasel words are the second cousins of hyperbole. They give the brand wiggle room, usually for legal reasons, and dilute the claim, e.g. arguably the safest car in America. Anytime you see an adjective or an adverb with an “ly” construction, you’ve got a stinker. Words like about, sometimes, most are also good signs a brand is hedging its bets.

So instead of sounding like an ad from a political action committee, stay true to your brand. Stick to declamatory sentences. Start with a topic sentence. Make it believable. And back your claims up with tangible reasons to buy, or to prefer your product or service to a competitor.

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Social Media Typos: Should You Fix Them?

Typos. Every writer’s bane. Except on social media, where minor bloopers can sometimes help you.

Here’s when it’s OK to misfire.

  • Brush aside a minor typo. A missing space or errant apostrophe won’t kill your credibility, but it will show that drones don’t manage your account.
  • Deleting a tweet hurts more. Trigger-happy folks may have already commented on your post or re-tweeted it. Removing it because of a tiny mistake could cost you vital interaction – the reason you use social media.
  • Leverage a mistake. Someone will almost always call you out. Make it positive, like “whoops, too much caffeine for us. Have a great weekend!”

But some errors can’t be ignored.

  • Major FUBARs. Client names and company names. Don’t mess them up. And if you do, fix them before it’s too late.
  • Omitting crucial words or letters. It only takes one keystroke to change the meaning of your sentence. See the difference between “public” and “pubic.”
  • Consistent errors. Everyone makes typos. But don’t make them a habit. One mishap won’t murder your social cred, but a pile of them will tarnish your rep.
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Interruption Marketing Is Alive and Well

If I hear “interruption marketing is dead” one more time, I will scream and blow up my car. Maybe then I’ll have their attention.

“The battlefield is relevance. Talk directly to me, or I’m not listening.”

“Interruption marketing” triggers a “something is different alarm, check it out” reflex that has wiring deep inside our reptile brain we inherited from dinosaurs. So, the same neurons that helped Bambi elude a T-Rex are the same ones that keep you glued to the TV to watch an ad with hamsters driving cars.

Social media is interruption marketing, too.

Our social behavior, technology and use of media are changing at warp speed, but the wiring that makes us pay attention to it has not.

Whenever a marketer posts on social media, engages prospect in a conversation through an app or an email, we have a singular goal. That’s to create content that will divert the prospect’s attention from Angry Birds to your brand.

The difference is we don’t have to shout like we did when speaking to big demographic swaths through old-time TV networks, radio and newspapers. Now, because we have the ability to target and converse with micro segments, the battlefield has switched to relevance. Talk directly to me, or I’m not listening. But make no mistake about it, our goal is to interrupt and divert the attention of our friends, followers or fans to our message du jour. So impact and retention still depends on a gleaming attention-getting content, whether it’s a 140 character Tweet, or a viral video about your exploits in Vegas.

“The media is the message,” but it’s a hollow tube unless there’s something of meaning inside it.

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How to Tame a Social Media Firestorm

These days, everyone from celebrities to big-name CEOs sets Twitter ablaze with personal meltdowns. So, what do you do if one of them is your client or disgruntled employee? It’s important to be prepared. Try these tips for handling a social-media crisis:

  • Assess the situation and respond accordingly. No two scenarios are alike, so gather the facts (like making sure the person is OK) and decide the best course of action. If your client Tweets a drunken rant, it’s probably best to delete the post and issue an apology. If your fired co-worker wages e-war, it might be best to post a public statement explaining the situation.
  • Educate your audience. If a disgruntled employee is falsely defaming your company, post a statement with the facts. But make sure you investigate and find out if there’s more to the story from the employee’s side.
  • Don’t engage in a public feud. The worst thing you can do is throw down the gauntlet and battle on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of disputing any claims, you’ll open your brand to a public spanking.
  • Time heals. Sometimes, the best remedy is to ride out the storm. Liz Vogel, Ideopia’s director of public relations, said, “Sometimes, just be happy you didn’t make it worse.” She’s right. You can’t always fix it, but you can control if you fuel or extinguish the flames.

As social media continues to grow in popularity, so will e-meltdowns. So be prepared. Looking for more defense? Check out our video on crisis management.

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Invasion of the Social Media Snatchers

Who owns your Twitter or Facebook followers? Are you sure?

Tweeting on behalf of an employer or trolling for new business through LinkedIn could get your accounts snatched. Two companies are suing former employees over the issue. Both cases are still winding through the halls of justice.

At stake is who really owns a personal Twitter or LinkedIn account, when it’s used to rustle up new business or spew company talking points.

Mobile phone site Phonedog.com says a former employee’s 17,000 Twitter followers are actually a customer list. Training company Edcomm tried to argue that its employee’s LinkedIn account was a trade secret—even though she had the account prior to working there.

“Watch out for sour grapes,” isn’t the only moral of this story. Employers beware: when people move on, their social media accounts may too. Working stiffs need to be cautious as well. When you change jobs, you might not be able to take your Twitter friends with you. Keep an eye on the courts!

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Twitter Draws NFL Players to Restaurant

Professional athletes love social media and grub. So when NFL player David Clowney asked for Cincinnati restaurant recommendations on Twitter, we were all ears. On behalf of Morton’s The Steakhouse, we Tweeted our beefy suggestion from their @Mortons_Cinci account.

Not even an hour later, he and his teammates were chowing down on steaks and telling the world all about it.

The story was recently featured in Food & Beverage Magazine to help restauranters boost their brands with social media. In this case, all it took was a keen eye on Twitter and a brief interaction to turn big profits for Morton’s.

Are you tuned in to what your customers are saying and ready to act when they do? Learn more about Ideopia’s social media capabilities on our website.

Check out the full sequence of Tweets below:

NFL player interacts with Morton's on Twitter


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Big Stories on Twitter


As much as we love reading Tweets about Kim Kardashian’s martial status, Twitter is also home to remarkable stories that began with just 140 characters. Like Chris Strouth who found a kidney donor after he tweeted “Sh*t, I need a kidney.” Or the Japanese fishermen who sell their fresh catch on Twitter before they reach the shore. And NASA astronaut Mike Massimino who sent the first extraterrestrial Tweet.

For more inspiring examples, check out Twitter Stories. Have your own story? Share it by using the hashtag #twitterstories, and yours could be the next Tweet heard around the world.

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Party on Twitter. No Hangovers.

Any term with the word party in it has to be good. And, indeed, Twitter parties are emerging as a tool for brands to engage their customers. Companies throwing Twitter parties include the high-altitude set, like the Harvard Business Review, IBM and Gevalia, and baser needs like Huggies Diapers, Crest toothpaste, barbeque sauce, and even some ad agency grumble fests.

So what exactly is a Twitter Party? It’s an online free-for-all that draws information hungry, brand evangelist types – like your customers. They share interests as diverse as camping, computing, barbeque or interior design. To join the discussion, Tweeters follow the event’s with hashtags, which you have heavily promoted. The leader or host of the party introduces subjects and guides the discussion.

The opportunity for a brand is to field experts, a guest host, or a celebrity. Just like guests at a real party expect their hosts to cough up some clean paper cups and peanuts, your Twitter guests will expect contests and brand swag. No, not iPads! Whip up giveaways that relate to your brand, even if it’s just a cool T-shirt.

A Twitter party is also an event you can weave through all of your other marketing: blog posts, Facebook, Print ads, and a landing page to capture social information and leads on your website.

The potential ROI from these online events is enormous. Companies report from 1,500 to more than 1,000,000 mentions. And remember, these count as interactions with potential customers, not just ad impressions. Compared to most other tactical options, a Twitter party is downright cheap.

Next steps? Follow some Twitter parties on your own to see how they work, and learn more about Ideopia’s social media capabilities.

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Twitter Research: Go with the Crowd.

One of the biggest casualties of the recession is market research. Some marketers, like Ideopia, have turned to Twitter for directional information on ideas before making a full-blown commitment. Before you get crazy about confidence levels and standard deviations, let’s be clear: This isn’t a substitute for a quantitative study or even a focus group.

What Twitter offers is insight into how your followers might behave. For example, you might tweet a teaser about an event, “Want to see cows play hockey? Let us know.” Let’s assume that your Twitter following fairly accurately mirrors your target audience. So if you have 1000 followers and none of them reply to or re-tweet your post, you may have a dud on your hands.

Another strategy is to pit two ideas against each other to see which one catches. Twitter research allows you to take the temperature of your idea by crowd sourcing your followers. Give it a try!

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