5 ways to get maximum value from your tweets
Next week Twitter, with a valuation of over $10 billion, turns 5 years old and it is hard to remember how life was before the 140-character limit. Users send a billion tweets a week, or about 140 million tweets a day. Is your brand getting the most out of such a powerful social media tool?
Here are five ways to maximize the potential value of your tweets:
Live tweeting should be in any publisher's social media quiver. Trade events, launches, conferences and media receptions all lend themselves to live tweeting; for example, some of our staff live-tweeted last week's Neal Awards luncheon. There is always someone in your audience who is interested in live updates.
Do you have a presence at SXSW (where, incidentally, Twitter was once propelled)? SXSW has a flurry of panels and parties that are being tweeted in real time. In the minute it took to just type that last sentence on the Austin event, there were "159 new tweets" on my Twitter feed.
Publications that do celebrity cover shoots -- which have a high possibility at going viral -- should be live tweeting and, if possible, actually posting outtakes on TwitPic. Ten years ago, cover shoots were mundane affairs -- now they are opportunities for social media engagement.
Are you maintaining your brand's momentum on social media? Should your organization consider tweeting -- or hiring someone to officially tweet -- after the busy 9-5 Monday to Friday crush?
Nick Denton hired weekend and after-hours Gawker Media bloggers to keep site traffic from dipping during the off hours. The same principle might apply in social media, where momentum is also hugely important. The mood, incidentally, is different after 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday -- there is less an atmosphere of self and brand promotion.
What is left after brand promotion ...?
Aggregation and curation
Be useful and be interesting. Andy Carvin (@acarvin), senior strategist at NPR, is one of the most celebrated purveyors of social media, particularly known for his owning of the Middle East revolution story through his amazing curation and aggregation. There is tremendous value in well aggregated, well curated tweets with a sharp focus.
" ... (O)ne person covering this disaster becomes ludicrous on its face, whereas you have thousands, even millions of people, communicating what they are actually going through," Jeff Jarvis said on CNN's Reliable Sources about curation and aggregation on Twitter. "And then the journalist has to ask, how do I add value to that? I add value by aggregating, curating, finding the good stuff, finding the people who are actually there, asking questions, giving caveats, adding facts."
Twitter is brimming with contests, which activate an organization's follower base. It is hard to imagine a better and more organic strategy to generate momentum and encourage participation on Twitter than a contest. Be creative: as the platform is so young, there is no hard and fast rule for the perfect Twitter contest.
What is your strategy? What do you want to accomplish? What is your specific marketing goal? What sort of prize would your followers value?
Do you have a specific hashtag strategy? Are you putting your tags in front of the right audience? Wefollow is a good place to start checking out hashtags and their followers. My colleague Ellie Behling has written about Hashtracking.com, an interesting site for analytics and tracking.
Don't overuse hashtags. A targeted and specific hashtag can be effective, but if overdone it dilutes their usefulness and diminishes your brand's social media clout. The most effective results, it seems, come from the most relevant, targeted bare-bones hashtags.
Cory Booker's masterful performance during the great East Coast snowstorm at the beginning of the year set the standard for Twitter engagement. In retrospect, on social media we are all essentially in the customer service and brand promotion business.