Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter For Business

I recently read a great article on the 50 Ideas for using Twitter for business. It was originally written by the very smart Chris Brogan, check it out:

First Steps

1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.
3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
10. Talk about non-business, too, like @astrout and @jstorerj from Mzinga.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
19. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. - Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
20. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

21. You don’t have to read every tweet.
22. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
23. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
24. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
25. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
26. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
27. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
28. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
29. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
30. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

31. Twitter takes up time.
32. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
33. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
34. There are other ways to do this.
35. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
36. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
37. Twitter is just for technonerds.
38. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
39. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
40. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

41. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
42. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
43. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
44. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
45. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
46. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
47. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
48. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
49. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
50. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

So how are you using Twitter for your business?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tips for Local Search Campaigns

There are many businesses that are local in nature. What I mean is local businesses who look for an increase in visitors to their website via local traffic online. The goal of many local businesses is to turn to search engines to advertise their websites online in search of this local traffic. Geographic targeting is an easy and sometimes an inexpensive way to reach this goal but there are a few things one must consider when building out these local pay per click campaigns.

In Google Adwords you can choose your geographic location. Not only can you choose the city and the state you would like your ads to appear in, but you could even include a zip code to narrow down your locations.

Choosing keywords is critical, you should not just target general words, consider targeting words that include the city and state as well like:

Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale Florida
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale FL
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale 33316
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale Florida 33316

Assuming you have an ad of interest these keywords should bring you some pretty targeted qualified leads.

Take it one step further; for those who are familiar with Google Adwords and understand the ins and outs of keyword matching you can take your Geo Target campaign to a whole other level.

Once you have your geographic campaign setup create an additional, or companion campaign that is “Nationally” targeted. Yes, I said nationally targeted. But make sure that ALL of your keywords used are listed as “EXACT” matches ONLY. This way you can ensure that you cast an additional net to those folks who may not be in the city of your specific location at the time of their search online.

This is important for businesses like, limo services, or spa services. You might want to just advertise to your cities location, but those who live elsewhere who may be traveling to your city would benefit from seeing your ads appear for services they might be interested while in your city.

Remember when building pay per click campaigns be smart about your local advertising. Should you ever need assistance seek a professional who is well versed in local search and paid search advertising.