How to Engage on Social Media: Twitter

How to engage on social media: Twitter

How to engage on social media: Twitter

There is a bias in the business world against Twitter that I don’t comprehend. To me it is the friendliest and easiest place to engage in of all the platforms. Of course, that’s once you understand a few things about Twitter. The blog post you’re reading right now is part of How to Engage on Social Media: The Complete Guide.

Create Moments

Create Moments

Creating Moments on Twitter

Creating Moments on Twitter

Creating Moments

A relatively new addition to Twitter is called Moments. You can create your own Moments or look at other people’s moments. Anyone can create a moment. From Twitter Home ==>>Go to Moments ==>> Click Create Moments (upper right corner). Upload your own photos or add tweets — I called mine San Francisco Lights. Choose your tweets or photos, choose a cover and title and publish! It took me about 15 minutes.

The Number One Mistake People Make on Twitter

The Number One Mistake People Make on Twitter

The Number One Mistake People Make on Twitter

Don’t start your tweet with the “@” sign if you want everyone to see it. Add a “.” in front of the “@” sign so that everyone can see it. Yes, that issue’s been around forever. If you need to know more, head over to Gary Vee’s slideshare (it’s only a minute, trust me!).

Leave Some Space

Leave Some Space

Leave Some Space

Don’t use up all 140 characters. Use something like 100-130 if you want retweets. Your real estate is limited.

Add images for more retweets.

Add images for more retweets.

Add Images for more Retweets

Images and videos are gaining momentum on Twitter. In fact, you’ll get 313% more engagement if you tweet with images, according to Twitter. So do use images for more engagement.

Audience

Audience

Audience

According to Pew Research

Some 23% of online adults currently use Twitter, a statistically significant increase compared with the 18% who did so in August 2013. Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated.

Is that your demographic? If so, then you’re in the right place.

The Language

The Language

The Language

Twitter is the land of hashtags (not too many–one or two is fine!), and abbreviations. Also, emojis are popular on Twitter. Here are some abbreviations.

@ sign = a user’s name. For instance, I’m @Carol_Stephen on Twitter.

RT = Retweet. Means you’re repeating something and giving credit to that person as well.

OH = Overhead.

MT = Modified tweet. Sometimes you have to remove/change a tweet and this is how you alert people that you’ve changed it.

# = hashtag. Hashtags help you organize your tweets. For instance, #cheese will organize tweets about cheese.

Hashtags

Hashtags

Hashtags

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags, especially if the hashtag can help others see the content of a tweet. A hashtag helps others to identify a tweet. For instance, if you’re tweeting about an article on autism, you could add #asd (autism spectrum disorder) to the tweet. If you’re tweeting about an event, you can add the hashtag event, such as #wcoc (WordCamp Orange County). Some brands have their own hashtags. For instance, the San Francisco Giants use #sfgiants and if you tag your tweet that way, you may be featured or retweeted by the Giants!

Emojis

Emojis

Emojis

If you’re on mobile, which most people are now, you have access to many emojis. Hearts and smiley faces can let people know the feeling behind a tweet, in case there’s any doubt–or if you want to add more sentiment.

Formality

Formality

Formality

Twitter is one of the most easygoing, informal of all platforms. Think of it as a backyard bbq. It’s easy to talk to people, and there’s a laidback feeling to it.

How to Engage?

How to Engage?

How to Engage?

Say hello to people. If you’re just getting started, this is the easiest way to begin. Above is one real example. You can start with asking about the weather, telling people to have a nice weekend, and so on.  Notice that my tweet begins with the “@” sign. So only those who follow both @ToyotaEquipment and myself will see that tweet. @ToyotaEquipment’s reply to me starts with text, so that tweet is more public. See the difference?

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Ask a new follower a question about their profile.
  • Ask someone you’re connected with for advice for a topic they’re an expert at.
  • Comment on someone else’s tweet and retweet it.
  • Tell others to follow someone whose account you enjoy.
  • Introduce two people who have something in common.
Lists

Lists

Lists

Once you have found a few people who like to engage, you can add them to a list. Here’s a post about using lists on Twitter. For instance, you could create a list called Engagers or Friendly People.

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

How much of your personal life will you share on Twitter? It’s a good idea to decide beforehand. My rules are to avoid sex, politics, and disasters. And when I’ve broken my own rules, I’ve had to pay. For instance, during the divisive election recently, I wrote about politics and lost followers. If you have to talk about something divisive, you may want to set up a separate account for that. As a business, I’d avoid those topics, though.

Tagging

Tagging

Tagging

Just because you can tag, doesn’t mean you should tag. If a conversation doesn’t really involve someone else, for the love of all that is holy, please remove them! It’s like being on a long bench of people and everyone between you and the person you’re talking to has to listen. Don’t force everyone to listen. On the other hand, if the people are actively involved in a conversation, then yes, keep adding them!

How Do You Engage on Twitter?

Leave me a comment! And of course send me a tweet!

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

There’s always that one person who has to step in and ruin a perfectly good conversation by saying something awkward. You know the one: you send out a perfect tweet that you’ve thought about a LOT, and they criticize it for no reason. Now, this is a bit different than a troll, so banishing them from your kingdom by throwing them back under a bridge might not be the best option.

 steady photo

Emojis

Sometimes when you’re chatting online, you might not know if someone is joking or not. Does that happen to you? It happens to me in real life, too, but that’s a whole other story. Using an emoji can signal to the other person that you are indeed joking. Or that you’re angry. Or happy! Here’s a fascinating article: 7 Reasons to Use Emoticons in Your Writing and Social Media, According to Science.

By the way, did you know that Twitter measures the sentiment of your tweets using data science? You can search for a word, then go to Advanced Search and scroll to the bottom. So, for instance, you could search on Startups==>>Advanced Search==>>scroll to the bottom and check the positive emotion box. And voilà! You’ll have a list of positive tweets about startups.

Silence is Golden

If you feel that a conversation is veering into an Ocean of Awkward, one of your best weapons is silence. Like the space between notes in music, silence has power and isn’t used nearly often enough. So if there’s an awkward question, let your weapon of silence loose! Also, if you’re an introvert (like I am), silence can drive the extroverts in the room absolutely batty. So there’s that. Here’s an article about introversion that I enjoyed writing: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.

 steady photo

Forgetting Names

Online, people have aliases, avatars, and bizarre names. And yet they expect you to remember their names without having an accurate name tag! What’s a forgetful person to do? You could ask a friend of your friend. If you haven’t known your new friend for very long, you could ask them directly, too.

Death

If someone’s friend has passed away, what do you say? It depends. If you don’t know them too well, you can say you’re sorry for their loss. This works as a good first step in any case. And if you don’t think that the Internet Has Changed the Way we Deal with Death, then you’re mistaken. We grieve online as much as online now. Think about when your friends of friends have passed away. And think about Prince passed. What a huge outpouring of grief online! Other ways of dealing could be sending cards, private messages, cards in real life, real flowers, gift cards, and so on.

Feeling Awkward?

Has this entire post made you feel even more awkward than you already feel? Leave me an awkward comment! Then we’ll both feel awkward. But at least we won’t feel as lonely.

 

Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Coming up with content 24×7 gets old really fast. But what if there were some other way than blasting out your own content all day long? Something easier, some way you could get your stream filled with content without being in complete broadcast mode all the time. What if you could stop being like a one-way valve and have a two-way valve instead as part of your social media strategy? Crazy, right?

Intensify Conversations

What if you went to a party and talked about yourself the entire time? That would be pretty boring! And yet, some people still talk non-stop at parties. But if you listened twice as much as you talked, you might learn some things about your new and old friends. The same concept applies online. As  David Tovey says, hearing is not listening.

Take the Strain Off Yourself

Although listening might sound more difficult than talking, all it requires is that you be fully present. That is, ready to listen and free of distracting thoughts. That may seem a little “zen” to you–like a meditation. And listening can also involve watching the other person’s posture, mannerisms, and all the different tones in their voice. So instead of hearing your own inner thoughts, for a few minutes you can focus completely on someone else. Think of it as a mini-vacation, a way to balance your online life.

Listen Without Expectation

When I searched online for “listening,” there was an image of a shower head on the site–someone out there has been listening to my online searches. They wanted to sell me something. However, that’s different than not having any expectation than to hear. And it’s tricky to not be waiting with something to say, but to listen with no advice, no retort, and no pushing your own agenda!

Be Unique

Everyone (on social media or not), is spewing information. We are up to our ears in information. And if you believe, as Julian Treasure outlines in his excellent TED Talk 5 Ways to Listen Better, that we are “losing our listening,” then it’s extremely important to work on this vanishing skill. Rather than reducing your friends’ thoughts and words to sound bites, listening fully lets them express the subtlety of their experiences–and lets you shine by being unique.

Start participating by listening

Start participating by listening

Save Time

What if you knew what your clients were thinking about? Or what your friends were focused on? You can! Just ask them. It’s that simple. Be creative in how you reach out. Try asking in a simple, yet direct way. “What’s the haps? Or “what’s new, Daddy-O?” are sure to elicit a smile. Rather than worrying about what they might be thinking, ask and then listen.

Be a Great Conversationalist

Here is my call to action for this post. For one day, try listening. Repost, retweet, and talk to people online. Could you do that? I’d be willing to bet that most people will say that you’re a great conversationalist! Like Ted Rubin says “Jump in & do it.”

Let me know how that goes. Although some of you are probably already there, listening.

 

 

 

Social Media Conversation Starters

Social Media Conversation Starters

Social Media Conversation Starters

You might have had some practice starting conversations during the holidays or at parties. “Hey,” you might say. “Hey,” says your new friend. “How’s the punch?” you ask. “Pretty good.” your new friend responds. And a beautiful friendship is born. See? You already know a lot about talking! But in case you need to say a little more in an online conversation, here are your…

Social Media Conversation Starters

Before you say anything else to someone, before you tell them to “like your Facebook page” in an unsolicited direct message on Twitter, you might want to start a conversation. Some good times to start conversations are late at night, on Fridays during #FridayFollow, or on the weekend. Holidays are a perfect time to begin conversations, too.

Greetings Are Important

Greetings are important

Greetings are important

Just as in real life, the hellos, nice to meet you’s, and so happy you could make it’s are the hors d’ouevres of a good social media meal. Without them, conversations will seem a little weird because you’ve skipped steps. Greetings are what get us going in any relationship. They’re the bread and butter of your social media dinner.

Seven to Thirteen Touches

If you’re selling something, as many people are on social media, it takes 7 to 13 touches to qualify a lead. You may have heard this before. I love the chart (Figure 2) in this article about how most prospects never receive enough touches. So using a “soft touch” in social media goes a long way towards nurturing a relationship.

Always Ask Questions

Usually people will tell you something about themselves or their brand on their profile. Take a look and comment on what you see there. Start off with “I love the…” and fill in the blank. “…thing you say about bicycle pumps.” “…way you string together nouns.” Anything to get the conversation started. Even noticing where they’re from or asking about the weather or their holiday plans is perfectly fine. Here’s an example from a recent conversation with Stephanie Mount on Twitter:

 Make it About Them

Don’t be waiting for a break in the conversation so you can talk about yourself. Let the other person lead and be willing to be surprised by listening. That way, it’s more of an adventure. You never know what people will say! Most people love to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity. Alex Feinman has some good ideas in his blog (I particularly like the part about “merging” and his comparing it to traffic).

Be Funny

Not all of us are born comedians, but sharing a funny story usually helps to break the ice. I really like self-deprecating humor because that’s just my thing. And if someone makes me laugh, chances are, I’m going to like them because that’s the way to my heart. What’s the way to yours? Try what works on you with other people and you could be surprised.

What Are Some of Your Most Effective Conversation Starters?

Pull up a chair, sit down, and leave a comment!

 

Audience: Engaging with Techies

Audience: Engaging with Techies

Audience: Engaging with Techies

Perhaps you read my earlier blogpost about common issues with audiences, and how to figure out who your audience is on Social Media. Or maybe you’re just wondering how you, as a non-technical social media manager, will be able to talk to those more technically savvy than yourself. Have no fear: you have Google. Not only that, but you have the ability to discuss your own niche, and are a subject matter in your own right. Here are some other ideas that may work for you.

Ask Questions

People love to talk about themselves, and techies are no different. So let them shine by asking questions about their areas of expertise. Listen and then ask more questions. Dale Carnegie suggests that “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Have you found that to be true? Did you see what I did there? lol

Do Your Homework

If you need to engage more with techies, you can study what they study a little. On social media, see what your favorite techies are reading, tweeting, and discussing, and do Google searches on those topics. Read a little bit every day. I like TechCrunch, GigaOm, and VentureBeat at the moment.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Without going completely overboard, why not show your favorite techy a little love by adding them to a list of your favorite people on Twitter, reposting their content, or commenting on their blog? Everyone loves attention. And if you don’t use lists (yet) you might want to read about Twitter Lists for the Power User.

Find Something in Common

Maybe you grew up in the same city, went to the same school, or like the same baseball team. Establishing some similar footing helps you gain rapport. Sharing your outlook on a technical subject or a newsworthy current event might also be a good topic of conversation.

Food, Weather, Pets

red flowersThese are all easy topics to start a conversation. I often like to comment on something in a person’s profile. They might have a beautiful picture of flowers, or some funny expression that you’ve never heard before. Ok. That’s all I’ve got. Did I leave anything out?

Using Surveys to Define Audience

Using Surveys to Define Audience

Using Surveys to Define Audience

Your startup or company is still forming, and although you have a great product, you’re not sure who is using your product. If you haven’t read the high-level document about defining your audience, you might want to take a look. A survey is a perfect way to help figure out who your users are before you go chasing the wrong demographic. Here are a few tips.

Keep it Short

If you’ve ever answered a survey yourself, you probably appreciate the ones that are simple and to the point. Don’t make people answer 20 frillion questions! Ten questions would be about the max most people would answer before they bail on you. And keep each question as short as possible, too.

Avoid Yes or No Questions

Like a conversation around a dinner table, a yes or no question doesn’t encourage talking. So keep most of the questions open and you could get some surprising answers! Some suggest opening with a yes or no question and then following with a more open-ended one.

Eliminate Unnecessary Questions

For instance, you probably don’t need to know a person’s reading habits, where they went to school, or the kind of car they drive. So cut back on those questions so you’ll get more people to finish the survey.

Have Someone Else Rate the Survey

Have a friend take the survey and give their two cents on how successful it is or isn’t before you release it to the general public. Then go back and edit the questions. Better still, have two or three people give their opinion. If you absolutely have to edit your own work, print it and then be ruthless, as Caroline McMillan explains in her Lifehacker article, “How to Edit Your Own Writing.”

Be Willing to Hear the Truth

Be Willing to Hear the Truth

Be Willing to Hear the Truth

You may not hear things you want to hear, so be open-minded when creating your survey. If you only want to hear positive, glowing reviews of your product, don’t create a survey! So for instance, if you ask, “We’ve created the best product on the market, don’t you agree?” you’re probably not going to get feedback that will help you improve. Like Twitter and other social media platforms, a survey is a listening tool.

Give a Small Incentive to Finish

Sometimes incentives are given during a survey to encourage people to finish. If your survey is longer than average, you might consider giving a discount or a free trial of your software as an incentive. Some companies even give cash incentives (just make sure the amount is affordable!).

Do a Phone Survey

Some people respond better to hearing someone ask questions, so you might consider this option. Studies suggest that phone surveys get a higher response rate.

How Do You Like My Awesome Blog Post?

Just kidding! But is there anything you’ve found in a survey that got you riled up or that you really liked? Please leave a comment! Thank you!

3 Ways to Be Social with Social Media

People use social media in a lot of different ways, and what works the best is when social media is actually social.  Visualize a big networking event. Aside from that one guy your cousin knows who always shows up and gets ripped, many are approachable. So there you are, with your fancy glass of wine in hand–now what? Here are three ways you can engage online.

1. Talk to Your New Follower About Himself. If you accept the premise that social media is a giant networking event, what could you talk about? Think about each Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest account as being a person or a business. What would you actually say to that person if you met them in real life? You could talk about their profile, or ask them about their business. One thing I love to ask about is their name. If you’re a shy person, networking is much easier if you have a topic. Since most people love to talk about themselves, engage them in a conversation about themselves!

2. Ask Your New Friend How She Got Her Name. Most people love to discuss their own names. So you can ask: Were they named after someone? Do they like their name? Do they have a nickname? Do others have a hard time pronouncing their name? Why doesn’t their name have any vowels in it? If it’s a common name, did they ever receive anyone else’s mail by mistake?

3. For a Business, Ask About What They Do. How long have they been in business? What is their service area? Who are their competitors? Has business been good lately? Is their business seasonal? There are hundreds of questions you could ask–and that any businessperson would love to answer.

If you start out just talking about yourself, chances are after awhile the other person is going to leave. But if you put the spotlight on the other person, they will probably think “What a great conversationalist!” even if you haven’t said a word about yourself. What a crazy idea, right? That of being social on social media.

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