Posts filed under ‘twitter’
(Note from Monica: Originally the amazing Tanya Roberts and I were running the workshop, but Tanya is at full capacity with her work and I am fortunate to have another awesome and brilliant gal to work with. I am thrilled to have Stephanie Michelle Scott of Wildfire Effect as my new partner.)
We’re aiming to offer this workshop, geared towards beginners, monthly. If you’d like to be kept posted, please fill out this quick form and we’ll keep you in the loop. (We might also offer advanced sessions at some point in the future. Again, please fill out our form if you want to be updated.)
FYI, the sessions will be informative, educational – and fun!
General Session Information
You’ve heard that Twitter is a great marketing tool, but you still don’t get it, right? As Steven Berlin Johnson wrote in his Time Magazine story on Twitter, “The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression. The service allows you to send 140-character updates to your followers,” he writes, “and you think, why does the world need this, exactly?”
The goal of this workshop is to demystify Twitter and give you tangible, real life examples that you can use to get on the Twitter bandwagon, beef up your marketing efforts, and ultimately grow your online presence.
- Twitter: What is it good for?
- Getting Set-up: Creating a compelling profile and generating content.
- Growing Your Following: Building your following and engaging followers.
- Twitter & Marketing: Adding social media to your marketing mix.
- Best Practices: What works? Real life examples, cautions, and what “not to do.”
If you’d like to read more about us, check out Tanya’s post here.
And if you’d like to get an idea of my presentation style, here’s a video of my Northern Voice talk on “Finding Your Online Voice”.
I recently attended SlideRocket’s webinar where Cliff Atkinson presented “The Backchannel: A Presenter’s Nightmare or Dream Come True?“. The session addressed:
- Yes, this is happening: people are Tweeting at conferences
- Specific examples of Twitter revolts during talks
- The value of engaging the backchannel (i.e. Twitter conversations during a talk) and how to do so more.
I’ve given, and attended, a number of talks and I have conflicting sentiments about the Twitter stream during presentations.
As a speaker, I am excited by the immediate feedback. Seeing a number of comments about a talk right after giving it is a wild and, oddly, comforting feeling. (I did something today, I think, and this proves it!) It is interesting to see which points, topics or stories particularly resonated with the audience. On the flip-side, I sometimes feel a bit dismayed when seeing something I said out of context. The context is often necessary to comprehend that what I said was meant in jest, or in order to render the statement “sensical”.
As a participant, the desire to connect with others in the session, to share the information with those not there, or to simply covey, “I am here in this session, doing something today”. (If you’re getting the sense that I may need to really prove to myself and others that I am accomplishing something, you may be on the right track.) At times, the information being broadcast helps those paying attention on Twitter get a sense of the presentation and its overriding points and message. But the conversation also takes away from the content of the talk, and from actually listening.
Here are just some of the pros and cons as I see them. Please feel free to contribute what you see as pluses or minuses.
Tremendous Oversimplification. 140 characters is not enough to tell a story, and sometimes not even enough to explain a point made.
Out of Context. As stated above, jokes or flip statement are the easiest for those not present to read and misinterpret. (“She thinks slaughterhouses are sexy?!”)
Missed information. The focus can become not on learning – but on sharing what you just learnt. And it’s easy to miss what the speaker is saying next while attempting to truncate their last statement. And, as Chris Pirillo put it so well: “The problem with people using Twitter during a presentation is that they are paying more attention to the voice that is in their head than they are to the voice on the stage.”
Distraction. An embarrassing story of my spaciness here (but we’re friends right?) : While at TEDxVancouver I tried to tweet occasionally, to mention that I like a talk or to put out a quick point. The conference had a few technical difficulties where some videos took a few moments to play etc. And so, after coming back from one of the breaks, I got on the Twitter and tweeted happily away. I heard some music play, and assumed they had switched it on while they got organized. When, after a few moments, I heard clapping the realization dawned on me in a painful way. The music had been a performance. Live. And I had missed it.
Noise/Randomness. Ah, yes, noise. The internet, and social media by extension, has that in fair supply. While watching (or capturing) comments on a particular talk, you will see information and notes about the talk, but you might also see things like “Trying to get to #BobSmith’s session, but stuck in transit. Wow, BCTransit bites!”. While this message might be (arguably) relevant and (certainly) true, it contributes nothing to the discourse/feed.
Too Easy to Criticize. It’s been said that “Everyone’s a critic”. And Twitter makes that all too easy. It’s there, it’s a channel to the public, and some don’t censor themselves enough. While these people are in the minority, the notion that everyone has a relevant opinion gives voice, quite literally to unnecessary and impulsive comments (“How could he be wearing that ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ shirt to a talk?!” or “I knew about the experiment he just referred to. Next.”)
Interactivity. If properly integrated into the talk, as Cliff Atkinson was mentioning, the result can (in some capacity) be a more engaged talk, and hence a more engaging talk. The questions, concerns and audience viewpoints taken into account might result in a stronger presentation – and one that really speaks to the people present. At the very least, you, as a presenter, can be aware of the concerns of the audience (this might work especially well if the session is one that breaks off – i.e. perhaps has a workshop and you can see what the audience is needing, missing.)
Stimulation. A good talk – like an insightful book – should occasionally take your brain on tangents. You should sometimes think about 1) is this true? I agree/disagree. 2) that reminds me of this experience I had/ heard about. There are times a speaker’s points will inspire trains of thought. This means notes and sometimes dialogue (easily accessed through Twitter/Backchannel. (Now, this may well be selfish of me: Talking time away from speaker to extrapolate a blog post. But I take my moments of inspiration where I can get them).
And, least I be misunderstood, I do love that there are people who tweet and, especially, take notes. Their hard work allows me to really listen to the talk – and be assured that there will be a place to find the important points when I later (without fail) forget 90% of what was said.
Share your rants and raves below, if so inclined.
“Adding Value on Twitter”
Advice such as the frequent social media tip, “make sure to add value” often feels as daunting as “make a good impression” or, in my case, “don’t look so suspicious”.
Twitter is very much like street performing. You don’t have a captive audience, so you need to be as engaging as possible to get people to stop, watch the show and stick around.
Ask yourself, what can you offer that would be beneficial to others? If you make an effort to provide real content, you’ll give people more reason to pay attention – and see you as a person of “value”.
- It’s not all about you. Understand that while you have an agenda for being on Twitter – no one else’s aim is to find you friends or send business your way. Don’t wax poetic about your life or to promote yourself ad nauseum.
- Examine your Bio/profile. Who you are is a big reason people follow you. Based on that, figure out what those people might want to learn or gain. And be sure to allow your personality to shine through. While what you say is important, how you say it is even more so.
- Share your experience. Understand that the social component is the beauty of this medium. It’s often about people helping people. Respond to questions when you can – even if they’re not specifically directed at you. If you’ve had an outstanding experience with a company or person – mention it. Did you recently go to an exceptional event or hear of a great cause? Allow others to benefit from what you’ve learned.
- Be clear. When you Retweet a message clarify why others should care. Begin your tweet with the explanation (“Insightful post!”, “I support this great cause” or “This article on marketing to chimps confounds me”).
- Don’t make it difficult. Consider the articles you read today that intrigued you or brilliant posts that you’ve bookmarked on Delicious.com sometime ago. Is there a blog you follow often because it is just that insightful – or even because it enrages you? Share your knowledge with the Twitosphere.
The online word is not so different than the offline one. You quickly tune out when someone is too self-aggrandizing or doesn’t say anything of interest to others. So, give others a reason to stay tuned in. And try not to look so suspicious.
I’ll be presenting at the Vancouver Financial Services Marketing Meetup next week – and I figure I’d address some “best practices” in my talk. Here are a few (note: I wrote this originally for an online interview).
1) Communicate with people, don’t just use the sites as a 1-way bullhorn.
2) Be honest – if you’re affiliated with a product/company don’t pretend your endorsement comes out of the blue
3) Check out what people are saying about you and your company using Google Alerts and other tools
4) If you’re on Twitter, take the time to get to know people, to help and communicate. Self-promotion should be only a very small part of what you put out there.
5) Make social media a part of your life rather than trying to fit it in (e.g. make twittering and posting a natural extension of how you communicate)
How has Social Media helped me?
I have been asked to speak at conferences because people have come across my blogs. I’m excited when they’ve read my blogs beforehand because gives them an insight into who I am. Oddly enough, I’ve had a few people say they were booking me just as much for the fact that I’m funny as for my knowledge – they wanted someone who could brings humor to the presentation.
1) Ignoring it altogether – hoping it’s a fad
2) Seeing it as advertising rather than communication
3) Revealing too much – or two little (it’s beneficial to give people an idea of the person behind the business)
They allow themselves to be 3-dimensional. They reveal some aspects of their personality and admit their mistakes. They naturally like people and genuinely want to have discourses and meet others. They give and add value to the community. I think a sense of fun and playfulness also helpful in the space.
Tips for success
1) Structure: You have to commit to whatever site or site(s) you’re networking on, commit to going there, to posting, and to communicating on a regular schedule. If you disappear for a long time people will figure you’ve left.
2) It takes time. You won’t suddenly get people throwing money at you. But if you invest your time you will eventually see the results of your efforts.
3) Think of it as networking at an event or party. You let your hair down a bit, and meet people and chat. Using the same example, parties don’t always lead to a business deal that evening, but nurturing the connections might eventually bear fruit.
4) Try to have fun with it – even though it is, in a sense, marketing. If you enjoy the communication, it will be less of a labor and more easy to incorporate into your life.
If I had to pick only 1 social network
Twitter. It’s faster and easier to communicate and generally more people see the message. Also you can incorporate other elements (link to pictures, blog posts etc.) I think you still need a blog, but you can communicate every day on Twitter, whereas you may not have the time or energy to write daily in-depth posts on your blog.
How to use
Use YouTube to showcase yourself briefly and to give others a chance to see “real life” you. Use Facebook as a general communication tool – it allows you to update your status, post videos, talk to people, organize events etc. Plus, most people are on it. Use Twitter to communicate a few times a day. Your blog is great for ideas, thoughts about your business/industry, to allow clients to keep up with you and your work and activities and for general longer-form communication than microblogs (e.g. Twitter).
What tips do you have re: best practices, that you think I should share?
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P.S. I recently did an interview with the Casual Encounters blog (primarily about my other blog)
And you thought I was done talking. Never!
Once again, your positive thoughts help
When I first started this blog (at the end of 2007), I posted the (creatively and originally titled) post: “My Views on Social Networking“.
“On a large scale, social networking truly fulfills the role that our old (read: non-virtual) communities used to prove. This has sorely been lacking for most of us. Now we are only several connections away from others, only a few friends away from a new friend. Here we offer assistance to each other and ask for help. We are kept posted of occurrences within our social circle, to what are friends are doing or concerned about, today. Of what events they are attending. Here the town crier is Facebook, shouting out to us about the many parties we can attend, things we can do. As a “Wired” article summed-up the phenomenon that is Twitter: “That tactile sense of your community is simply too much fun, too useful” (Clive Thompson, “How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense”).
That this evolution has also tremendously affected how we communicate with each other online, even in a business context, is clear by this point. And it has changed how much of ourselves we display to others, even if we have a possible business agenda to our online presence.
In February I moderated the very cool panel discussion about who you are online (photo here ). All the women on the panel (Jenn Lowther, Rebecca Bollwitt, Linda Bustos and Nadia Nascimento) were web savvy (understatement), and, as such, had a strong awareness of the public nature of communicating online. They were very strategic about their line between public and private, establishing those boundaries and the nature of how they presented themselves. That said, what we were comfortable posting about was quite varied.
This morning, I was talking to my boyfriend about Twitter and remarked that he’s been online for a few months, he has a clearer idea of how he wishes to communicate (or, to be artistic here, he understands his online “voice”). It’s something that I have to remember to make clear in an upcoming presentation, that this understanding of “who you are online – be it on Twitter, Facebook, a Blog etc. – does not come immediately. And it takes some playing around and trial and error for most to figure out what they are comfortable with and what works for them or their business or organization.
When I first started to blog, it was on my humor blog – and actually didn’t realize that that would be the theme of my blog. In fact, the first few posts were random essays and rants. I only discovered what I would be motivated to post about (i.e. absurdities) after a month or two.
There were also other discoveries – such as after a week or two on Twitter, I realized that I wasn’t too keen on posting about what I was doing- and made the executive decision that no one would be the least bit interested. Like most, I am not exciting 24hrs a day. Sure, 5-7 times a day, I’m entertaining. And if that’s all I tweet, I’m golden. Posting more often, or potentially a log of everything I was doing, would break that illusion (e.g. 6am: “Working on the computer, as you can ascertain”, 8am: “Time to eat” 10am: “Still working on the computer, now at a coffee shop”, 6pm “Time to eat 7pm: “Back to working on computer again”).
So my succinct advice about authenticity online would be: “be real, but like, better.”
When I mention Twitter to people not on it, they often say they simply have no idea what they would tweet about. The best advice I think I give people is:
Find a way to make conversing on Twitter a part of your life.
If you view Twitter as an open communication channel (to your friends and beyond) that you can simply tap in anytime you like – that understanding can make the process quite natural – and possibly less intimidating.
What to talk about?*
Consider this, in a given day, do you sometimes:
- See something interesting and think “I have to remember to tell my friend about this!”
- Read an intriguing article or news item on the web?
- Have an odd experience? (At the library? On transit?)
- Do something that might interest one or more other human
Any of these can make interesting tweets and give people insight into your life. Which is sort of the point.
Everyone’s line of privacy or disclosure is different. I am very private about certain things, and seemingly reckless when it comes to others. But I’m actually fairly tactical. I know what I’m OK with people knowing and hearing from me.***
The spectrum is quite broad. You have to gage what you are comfortable disclosing and what you think (and here’s a key thing) people you want to interact with would want to know. Some post mostly about business, Some mostly personal. I think aiming for some balance on this is great. Allowing others to have a window into your personal life and thoughts is useful – it helps establish relationships.
I’ve found that when I met twitters in real life the ice was already broken. It was far easier to have conversations from a point at which we already kind of knew each other.
How Much to Disclose?
And being interesting and intriguing helps maintains people’s gaze. But how interesting…?
If you want to open your circle of friends/followers, and so keep your tweets unsecured (read: public), you are for all intents and purposes, in public. Even if you only have 20 people following, anyone can check out your page and a search can easily turn up your tweet.
So, here’s my line (and, again, mine alone): If it’s something I would be comfortable saying at a party, it passes the test.
How Much is Too Much
In real life, revealing too much can make even broadminded strangers uncomfortable.
Consider these examples:****
“Just at the bank… Why do I always end up behind the guy who is making all his deposits for the year?“= Good
“Had an abortion this week.“= Bad
“Dating can be so frustrating sometimes.” = Nice Break-the-Ice Level
“I’m going through a divorce and my wife is making me sleep our backyard.” = Awkward Glass-Shattering Level
“Hey Tom: Time for Coffee Today?” = Yes.
“Hey Tom: You are a DECEPTIVE motherfucker! Why aren’t you calling me back?” = No.
Again, this is just my opinion.
Wait – No, it’s not.
**These you can even text it (or email) from your phone, if you like) as it happens!
***(or at least I think I do:)
****While I have heard of something similar to the third example happening on Twitter, the second was uttered by a guy who I just met for a dialect coaching session and the first was said to me (rather cheerily, in fact, by a girl I didn’t know in a film criticism class. (I think I asked if she wanted a french fry.)