Posts Tagged: twitter

Family, Friends, Apathy: Three reasons your privacy is eroding

This is a post I started in December of last year, then wandered away from for client work. There are a lot of these abandoned ideas that flounder in my drafts folder over the course of a year, and part of my December ritual is to clean them out if I deem them no longer relevant. I think this one is more relevant now than it was then, though the reason has changed. So, what did I intend to talk about? The way other people’s carelessness impacts you, and the way your own apathy compounds the error.

Since my most recent post was about leaving Facebook and already mentioned the privacy violations and user information abuses inherent in its code, let’s start with that network as our example. On Facebook, it doesn’t matter what your personal settings are for privacy. If you interact with people and brands on Facebook anywhere, in any way, your interaction is visible outside your trusted (or, in some cases, semi-trusted) network. As a user I find this infuriating, as the site design itself encourages invasive behavior and an erosion of the understanding of individual boundaries. Brands, however, love this, obviously. What is fine for you as an individual (e.g. clicking like or commenting on a stranger’s post – shown to you because a vague work acquaintance or maybe your cousin “liked” it, friending someone’s unstable family member – whom you have never met – because you think being connected tangentially on Facebook gives you permission to do so, sharing a post when it’s clearly set to “friends only” and not meant to be shared) is a violation for someone else. We wouldn’t behave that way in person, putting people’s privacy at risk (well, except photographers, but that’s a different rant), but people freely do so online. Stowe Boyd saw this challenge coming years ago when he talked about publicy vs privacy.

140 Characters: Mise en Place for Content Marketing

mise en place for content marketing

“What a pain. It takes so much time to make a short tweet, and I have so much to say.” ~ every person who represents a brand online since 2006.

Hard Truth #1: No one cares about your manifesto.

Going strictly by anecdata, let’s accept as true that many people like to hear themselves talk. Why say something in 10 words when you can break out the thesaurus and say it in 4 pages? That advanced degree or extended training program isn’t going to pay for itself. In general, it makes people feel better to validate the time they spent learning by sounding smart and taking an extra hour of [someone else’s] time to reach a clarity of message and brand voice.

Are You Spam?

Spam. Everyone hates it, but few marketers are truly prepared for the changing definition of what constitutes “spam” to most people they are trying to reach. Hotmail’s push to eliminate greymail has brought the new definition of spam front and center, however; marketers would do well to pay attention to the conversations taking shape around the issue.

Spam can now be defined as “anything you don’t want to see”.

That puts even legitimate incoming items or messages as well as updates and emails from friends, family and trusted sources in the hot seat. If someone subscribes to your newsletter and you exceed the number of messages they consider appropriate for their day-to-day level of available attention, you are now spam – even though they asked for your newsletter.

Games and apps like Spotify on Facebook? Spam to most people, even if they play the game or listen to music. Games on G+ sending out notices? Also spam. Pictures of your adorable children? To some folks that’s spam also. Someone sending a tweet to the wrong handle because they are too lazy to log in to the computer and check that it’s their actual friend? Spam. Language being used that the other person finds offensive on social networks? Spam. Different politics or religions than the recipient you are sending messages for your cause? Spam. Those videos your company wants to go viral or those votes you need to get into SXSW? Spam, spam, spam.

So how does a marketer circumvent this new definition of spam and the universal desire to get away from traditional spam of the Nigerian prince type and greymail as well? Since a person’s definition of spam is entirely subjective and personal now, thats going to be trickier and trickier as time goes on. Here are a few tips:

Be Relevant

Make sure you are being relevant to the medium or network on which you are sharing. Not all messages are appropriate for all platforms. Each network has a culture and expectations – familiarize yourself with them and keep to the etiquette of the network or email group you are sharing with.

Be Timely

Track your open ratio on your email newletter. Track your stats on social shares. Pay attention to when and where people do read your message. Then adjust your shares for optimum interactions. Once you’ve figured out when folks want to hear from you – leave it alone. Don’t overshare. Resist the urge to share the same thing repeatedly – doing that will only get you marked as spam as you become more annoying.

Be Interesting

No amount of timeliness can counteract a boring message that doesn’t resonate with whoever receives it. Do your homework and find a way to tell your story and involve people with what you are sharing – don’t just use these outlets as your bullhorn.

Be Optional

Offer Clear Ways To Opt Out. This one speaks for itself. People won’t have to click that spam button if your unsubscribe method is clear and up front and simple to use. Make it easy for folks to get their time back. They’ll find you on one of your other channels where they think your message is more appropriate if you do so.

Marketers, what are some of the techniques you are using to avoid becoming everyone’s least favorite lunch meat?

10 Ways To Use Social Media During Your Next Event

Using social media during your next event will help build attendance and awareness.

What are some things to consider when planning to use social media during an event?

Here are the top 10 things Doug considered when tweeting for the New Hampshire Film Festival this month. Throughout the event he was able to connect with fans, monitor trends, and share moments of the festival aimed at connecting festival goers and others. Having someone dedicated to sharing throughout the festival helped build awareness and strengthen the bond with current fans.

1. Make sure people know how to connect

It’s important to share with everyone how they can connect with you during an event. Make sure to be clear on what networks you’ll be monitoring and sharing from. Your social invitation should be shared on all event material let people know where you’ll be. For the festival this was done on Twitter using the hashtag #NHFF11.

2. Be clear about the story you want to tell

Now that your fans know how to connect with you. What is the story that you’ll be sharing throughout your event. By understanding the strengthens of the networks and how to best utilize them you’ll attract more fans that are passionate about sharing your story. For the film festival we shared film buzz as well as the social aspect of the festival such as parties, sightings, etc…

3. Let your online networks know who you are

Encourage them to come up and share with you in person during the event. This will lead to more stories that you can share online.

4. Understand the difference in how content is shared on different networks

Make sure you use the different social networks to their best capabilities. For the festival we tweeted a few times an hour, but on Facebook we posted just a few times a day.

5. Understand the schedule

Know the schedule of events and run through the event in your head so you know where to be and for what. Before an event I always run through the day in my head. I want to make sure that I know when different story opportunities will be and what type of stories I should be prepared to share. This will lessen moments where you may be caught off guard or miss something special to share.

6. Find the unique things to share

This goes back to number two about knowing the story you want share. Most of time unique moments are spontantious, but be ready to share them when they happen.

7. Make others outside of your event feel like they were there

Give the people that may be following your event the opportunity to participate and feel like they were at the event. This will build their excitement and hopefully entice them to come the following year.

8. Have a dedicated sharer

Choosing who you’d like responsible for sharing during an event is important. You need someone who understands the brand, the ins and outs of the event, and has the initiative to travel around and insert themselves throughout the event.

9. Strike up a conversation online

Some of your posts should come full circle. Make sure you’re asking your fans what they think, or to get involved in what’s happening at an event. By opening up the conversation you become less of a billboard and more human.

10. Don’t stop and plan to continue communicating with fans a few days after an event.

Make sure that you have the necessary tools to keep communicating with fans about the event for a few days after. People will continue to share photos and stories and you want to make sure that you’re present to reshare them and to thank them.

Have you used social media for a live event? What advice would you offer?


SMBNH October at Phillips Exeter Academy: Circles of Influence

Register for SMBNH At Phillips Exeter Academy: Circles of Influence in Exeter, NH  on Eventbrite

Welcome to SMBNH: Circles of Influence: Google+ and How Social Media Empowers Users to Unite, Grow and Shape Communities

With a focus on large scale communications and communites as well as small scale, we explore how social media has helped nations topple, companies grow, politics change, local movements get off the ground and more. Whether it’s news regarding Libya’s conflicts or supporting a local talented artist by creating community and communication, these flexible tools help make it happen.

Phillips Exeter Academy SealThis month we are being hosted by Phillips Exeter Acedemy in Exeter, NH.

From their Mission page:

“Exeter seeks to graduate young people whose creativity and independence of thought sustain their continuing inquiry and reflection, whose interest in others and the world around them surpasses their self concern, and whose passion for learning impels them beyond what they already know.”

Some of our brightest stars have attended Phillips Exeter Academy and benefitted from their philosophy.

This month’s focus brings us a well rounded group of speakers as well.

The morning begins with an address from Phillips Exeter Academy, then seques into our three speakers, starting with

Leslie Poston, Founder of Magnitude Media and co-author of Twitter for Dummies, contributor to the Social Media ProBook and author of the Grande Guide to Social Advertising, as well as (coming in 2012) Social Media Metrics for Dummies, will address some of the privacy concerns faced by educators and others when building communities. Then moving on to

John Herman, Media Literacy Educator and Founder of NH Media Makers, author and polymath as well as a very special guest from Google will talk to you about building community, applying media literacy best practices and other topics related to Google +, and will demonstrate several of the Google + capabilities live during the talk.

We’ll then be closing the morning with our featured speaker:

Grant Sanborn, Director of Interactive Marketing for HCA Healthcare. Grant will speak about the challenges and best practices he’s experienced in building an online community around a 17 hospital group, including Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

There will also be a one hour campus tour of Phillips Exeter Academy immediately following the breakfast as well. We encourage you to take part.

All of us at SMBNH look forward to seeing you all there.

Follow Leslie, John, Grant, Phillips Exeter Academy, SMBNH on Twitter before the breakfast for up to the minute updates.

Circle Leslie, John, or Mike from PEA on Google + to get in the spirit of the breakfast.

Twitter for Business Radio Spot

If you missed Online Marketing with RSS Ray on WS Radio this week, I did a segment on Twitter for Business. Listen now at:

1) The RSSRay site: Part One and Part Two

2) On iTunes

If you ever needed a clear example of how fast social media evolves, note that on the Wednesday we recorded the show, Twitter was still feeding Google the full firehose. Two days later, Twitter pulled the firehose access to immediate tweet indexing by allowing the Google deal to expire, meaning that Google search results for tweets are now just as useless as, well, Twitter searches for tweets or Bing searches for… well, anything.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal for Twitter to kill the access (I’m betting in either  bid for more money from Google’s deep pockets or as a preemptive strike against the very slick Google +), if Twitter’s own search worked well. But it really doesn’t, and hasn’t for some time.  It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, especially in light of some of out other favorite tools, like Twellow, also revamping themselves to be less useful lately.



Level Up Twitter

Many have mastered the basic “figuring out there is a thing called Twitter, signing up, fumbling through some tweets and making some connections” thing. If so, here are some tips to carry you past the beginning of your Twitter story:

Learning To Work In An Environment In Flux

Twitter is not static. Twitter HQ makes great sweeping changes to the service, the user interface and the API all the time. When they aren’t making great sweeping changes, they are making small, annoying changes, or just generally buckling under the weight of so many people talking about Charlie Sheen, the unrest in the Middle East, the latest major weather event, #breakingnews, or Donald Trump’s Bad Hair. Regardless, the sooner you learn that Twitter can be wonky, sometimes is down, and isn’t meant to be worked like a 9-5 cubicle job on a one way track to nowhere, the happier you will be there.

Just Because They Connect With You Doesn’t Mean You Can Sell To Them

Twitter is a la carte. Not only do you not HAVE to follow people back, or even follow your mom if you don’t want to, a follow from someone new doesn’t mean “please auto DM me a suspicious short link to your latest self help video”. Auto DMs are evil. You’d think that would be in Twitter 101 and not Level Up Twitter, but you’d be surprised how many people still do this. Stop it.

We Hate The Word ‘Curating’ As Applied To Twitter, But Learn To Work Your Lists Anyway

Twitter introduced a new feature that is quite handy: the List. The list was a user generated idea that first began on clients like Seesmic and Tweetdeck as groups. It was such a good idea, Twitter “borrowed” it. Use lists well. They keep your Twitter noise levels manageable as you grow, and help you do a variety of things, from not losing people you care about in the static to tracking competitors and staying in touch with your industry.

You get 20 lists. Each list gets to have 500 unlimited Twitter users in it. Use them wisely – you’ll be surprised how fast you use them up once you get in the habit.

People use lists in so many ways – I use public lists on @leslie in a very personal way, to sort incoming information or share people I think are valuable, and private lists for clients and such, but here is how a company might use them:

• Private Lists: To do competitive intel on the competition or on former employees, to keep an eye on future hires and see their work in action without tipping them that they are in the running, to keep an eye on current employees (yes, that one is a little evil), to sort out your real life family and friends so you don’t lose them in the business noise, to research and track future clients, or keep a list of current clients for monitoring.

• Public Lists: To track people and companies based on industry, to sort by usefulness, to keep track of news on certain topics or regions, research on areas for business expansion or vacations, tracking the housing market, tracking the stock market, getting in touch with VCs (venture capitalists), learning new information from thought leaders in an industry, tracking events, learning about new music or film, learning about food and wine or whiskey, becoming an expert in your favorite hobby topic, connecting with non profits, helping others connect, job searching, job sharing and more.

It’s not enough just to have a list. You need to use it. Schedule your list interactions so you can manage your time, but interact with at least some of your lists every day, whether you read them or engage or just take notes. Start using your lists to shorten your sales funnel and broaden your competitive reach. Use them to make connections outside of your sphere of influence.

Maximizing the Retweet, the Old School Way

Before Twitter got fancy and grabbed yet another user generated idea, the retweet, and turned it into a button that made it look like someone else was talking on your account to your followers, there was the old-style retweet. This allowed you to shorten a user’s tweet (careful to  keep the context the same as their original, of course), credit their handle with a RT in front (e.g. [@username I agree! RT @leslie “old style RTs are so much more effective”]), and insert a short comment in front of the RT (which let your followers know why the heck you were sharing it in the first place). [Update: Twitter has brought back the “comment with RT” feature as of 2015]

This is still the best way to RT someone, as it gives the RT context to your followers.  You can still use this in several ways: the old fashioned “copy/paste/edit/post” method, or by using a button function called “quote” in several Twitter clients such as CoTweet, Seesmic, and others.  The use of shortened URL programs like takes care of the issue of metrics, since Twitter selfishly only tracks their own RT button on’s new Retweets tab for users.

How The Heck Do I Know It’s Working?

Have you been on Twitter for longer than 6 months? Have you engaged in a genuine two-way discourse with a good mix of news, talking, sharing and promotion for the entire time, on a consistent basis, and not been using it just as a “Me! Me! Me!” megaphone to shout at people about your latest special or deal? Have you seen your followers grow in number, organically (sometimes this can be slower, but it is infinitely more valuable than follower-getting programs and cheating)? If the answer to all of those questions is yes, then the answer to “Have you seen your sales or sales leads (or bookings, etc – whatever your cash measurement is) increase?” should be yes also.

That’s the simplistic way to tell, without analytics. However, you should have Twitter analytics in place by now! With the hundreds of applications, web sites and start ups that want to rate influence and other mumbo jumbo there is no excuse not to be using something to track how you are doing, in some way, other than hoping for sales with no real way to measure.

Some free ways to track Twitter effectiveness:

Hashtags: The little gibberish words and phrases you see go by on Twitter that look like this: #smbnh are called hashtags. Another user driven invention that Twitter appropriated, those little tags can be clicked on, and take you to a page of all tweets using the hashtag. You can then use tools like Twapper Keeper to keep a running diary of hashtag use for each one.

You make your own hashtags as you need them. I recommend choosing something short, easy to remember and that no one else is using. You can quickly use the search bar in Twitter to plug in your chosen hashtag and see if it pops up as being used elsewhere – if so, pick another hashtag instead of corrupting someone else’s tracking. Tell people what the official hashtag is for your event or marketing campaign! This will prevent them generating a hashtag of their own and having an issue of confusion.

Put the hashtag on your slides, web site, blog posts, uploaded pictures, uploaded videos and print collateral – this will enable you track your event or project’s impact around the web, not just on Twitter, via search engine and web site analytics.

Google Analytics: This tool goes on your website (please tell me you have a web site, and don’t just use Facebook). It’s free, it’s customizable, it’s comprehensive. There are paid tools out there that make this a bit easier, but if you don’t have the funds, or just want to experiment, start here. Use hashtags, keyword searches, group, campaigns, landing pages and other tools to make analytics work for you. If you have a social media consultant or staffer, a good one will insist on this or another tool of your choosing to measure the impact of your social presence. A great one will be giving you solid measurements, analytics and reports ongoing throughout your project(s). Analytics help you track success, and more importantly, help you shift away from tactics that are not working to spend more time (after all, time is money) on things that are.

URL Shorteners like, HootSuite and others offer statistics on URL traction, including click throughs and shares, and are a simple and free way to see if what you are sharing is making the rounds.

The worst way to track success is follower count.  So many people game the system out of impatience or a desire to look better than they are that it renders this metric moot.  As general rule, where unequal follower count (following more people than follow back by a great margin) was once a simple way to find a spammer, now it is often simply someone who erroneously clicked the suggested follows link when signing up for Twitter, or got excited and followed too many too fast, just as often as it is a spammer. Now you have to look at their tweets and decide on your own if they bring value to you (or if, conversely, your tweets would reflect you bringing value to others).

Free Metrics that don’t matter as much as people would like them to include Klout, Twinfluence, Twitter Grader and others.  Mostly, these encourage people to tweet at high volume instead of high quality, and penalize you for taking a break from engaging.  I’d rather go for quality, and would rather see you do the same. However, some shortsighted people and companies give Klout and other scores weight, so try to keep yours at 40 or 50 or over if you can do it without alienating your audience.

Paid Twitter Tools for Metrics and Engagement

One of the best things you can do for your brand on Twitter is stop using as an interface to talk to your followers – use  tool instead.  In spite of several recent overhauls, it is simply not an effective way to engage, monitor or listen as yet, though I know the folks at Twitter are working hard on that.

There are many tools for Twitter that you can buy. In the spirit of buying local, two NH companies: JitterJam (engagement dashboard, distributed teams, brand statistics, social measurement, more profiles than just Twitter) and CustomScoop (brand tracking and measurement, no engagement feature) offer a paid solution to the issue of metrics. Not local to NH, but effective: HootSuite, CoTweet, Tap11, PeopleBrowsr and others also offer paid versions for in depth tracking.  All of the tools mentioned here have varying price points, from $9 per month to $1500 and sometimes more.  They all also offer free trials and/or free versions with less features that may work well for you. Of the ones listed, I could do an entire post just on the pros and cons (or you can come to one of my classes or workshops for an even more in depth dive into twitter than I’m offering in this excessively long post).

You Need To Live In Search on Twitter

Live in search. By using search and lists on Twitter more often than any other tool, your return on time invested in the service will triple if not quadruple. Twitter Search is not the only search to live in now, and that’s a good thing since it is frequently “under construction” and currently doesn’t go back in time very far.

By spending more time listening than you would think you need to, you will gather information you didn’t even know was out there for the taking, and be leagues ahead of other in your field.  Learn to use the save search functions in your favorite Twitter client (some listed above, though we can’t count out Seesmic or TweetDeck, the granddaddies of them all) – have searches that you check daily, update them regularly.  Use Google Search and boolean operators in search terms with instant search turned on to get up to the minute tweets about your favorite keywords and topics.  You would be surprised what people and companies put out there into the public sphere. Knowledge you can then take and use to your advantage.

Increase the value of who you follow

Last but not least – you control your Twitter environment.  Follow people who are good at what you need, have useful things to say, are fun to engage with, or who are in parallel industries. Learn from them. They are out there sharing their knowledge every day, in hopes that this Twitter place and the online profiles that touch upon it will be better and more useful for everyone.  Some (but definitely not all) of my personal favorites:

Jeremiah Owyang (Analysis)

Stowe Boyd (Future Thinking)

Jessie Newburn (Generational Theory)

Ethan Zuckerman (Global Impacts)

John Herman (Media Literacy)

Alex Howard (Government 2.0)

Andy Carvin (Politics and News)

Tara Hunt (Women in Business)

Chris Penn (Measurement, World of Warcraft as a business metaphor, Finances, Idea Curation, Email Marketing)

KD Paine (Measurement)


Note: The awesome Hasthag Ninja graphic in this post is from a cool shirt by Josh Fisher of Secret Supr-Hero Gear and links to the web site, where you can purchase it and several other cool shirts. Happy shopping! (not an affiliate link)

Good job on #newtwitter, Twitter!

I wrote a post for TechnoBuffalo about #newtwitter today.

It’s over there if you’d like my detailed thoughts on what made it into this first pass at a new interface, and what didn’t.

My overall impression, in spite of some glitches: good job, Twitter. This should really help with your on-ramp issues.

The Power of Why

Inspired by a TedX talk, I share why I do what I do, and ask why you do what you do.

The talk that inspired me and the Twitter friend’s blog I heard it from