Twitter’s New Photo Search

Picture this: you’re out with your friends or at an event – how often do you pull out your phone to take a picture and share it with your social network(s)? If you’re like a majority of mobile users, the chances are that you do this a lot!

Twitter recently unveiled a new search feature that emphasizes tagged photos. Although Twitter’s search result algorithm is less complex than Google’s, this puts them one step closer to pulling more relevant search results and showcasing the most popular ones. In the world of social photo sharing, this will bring users closer than ever to each other, as well as their favorite brands.

As Twitter puts it: if a picture is worth a thousand words, a hashtag can be worth a thousand pictures! What does this mean for your business? First off, I think it’s another great opportunity to share and be creative. Instead of just replying to hashtags with more hashtags or words, you can now incorporate a visual element and who doesn’t appreciate that? This opens a new element when it comes to learning about your customers, your industry, and your own promotions (hello, photo contests). This new feature can help your business be more sociable. Because whether you like it or not, social media can’t be treated like any other form of internet advertising. It all boils down to the social aspect of a community.

Check out the video for a detailed look at Twitter’s new search feature.

How Do You Retweet?

Twitter RetweetRetweeting is a great way to share a interesting facts, shocking statements and little nuggets of wisdom. Even though there are countless types of messages to Retweet, there are two basic ways to do so. Twitter has an official Retweet button but some users still prefer the “old” style, by manually typing a RT in front of a tweet.

But does it really matter how you choose to Retweet things and here’s a better question, “Do Retweets make a difference in your social marketing campaigns?”

Manual RT Versus the Button

RT: When I mean the “old” style of Retweeting, that means copy and pasting a message after adding “RT @user” to the front of your message. This method allows you to answer questions, fix spelling mistakes and add whatever comments you’d like. Pros include customization, searchability (your RTs will show up when searched for), your username will be included in the message as others you want to credit. The downside is that makes your message more limited and can be more time consuming.

Official RT Button: If you use Twitter’s official button, your account will show up along all the other users who have Retweeted the same message. In a way, I feel that this is similar to ‘Liking’ a Facebook update. Your RT will not be counted as an individual message but rather, it will give that post more prominence. Highly Retweeted messages show up near the top of Twitter search results and that’s a good thing.

Why Does Retweeting Matter?

Either way you do it, Retweeting is an important part of the social aspect of Twitter. What makes a RT so important is the potential to reach a greater audience that what your account has alone. If one friend Retweets it, their friends will also be exposed and so on.

Remember, the timeline for a Tweet is very short lived and the message brief (140 characters). That’s why the most powerful tweets will be interesting, useful and/or also contain relevant keywords. So that when they do get Retweeted, that Tweet-juice will be counted in your favor SEO-wise.

Social Media and Shameless Self Promotion

“Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the Fairest one of all?”

Your social media profiles are an online representation of yourself and your brand. This is why it’s so important to remember NOT to go overboard when it comes to self promotion. Not only will it annoy your customers but it can also drive them away.

But I’m Just Networking…
It’s unbelievable actually. Can you believe that some people still think shameless self-promotion is synonymous with “social networking” or even “social media marketing”? Instead of looking at it from only a sales perspective, you also need to consider that it helps to create brand buzz in your specific industry. It’s also helpful to improve customer loyalty and perception of your brand.

How to Avoid the Narcissism
This isn’t very easy as the nature of social media is pretty narcissistic. With phrases like “Follow Me on Twitter” and “Like Us on Facebook”, it doesn’t get any more self-serving. You can put your own spin on it: how about “Join” or “Connect”, instead? Ask your fans and followers questions and appreciate their input.

Things to Remember
It’s very cheesy but customers are number one. Instead of using social media all the time for self-promotion, think of it as a way to build connections so that fans can trust you before they buy.

Do you have any good examples of brands that shamelessly self-promote?

Tips for Growing Your Twitter Profile

Twitter is currently over capacity yet again! What’s a better time to stop and share some Twitter tips? Check out these simple ways you can grow your Twitter account:

Tweet
It can be difficult to think about what to Tweet about. Novice tweeters could fall into the missteps of sharing mundane information of their everyday lives or over promoting their products/services. When it comes to the types of Tweets I like to mix it up between:

– Educational resources
– Recent events that are relevant to your field
– Your own blog posts or other site content
– Re-tweets from others that you find useful
– Occasionally participating in trending topics (mostly for fun)

There is no perfect formula, so it’s up to you to find the perfect blend of Tweets.

Timing
Regular Tweeters like to participate at peak times. I’d like to think that this is around 9am, noon and 5pm. These peak periods are usually when people are on a break or have the time to check their Twitter account. Whether you’re actively Tweeting during these times or scheduling, aiming for these peak times means that you’ll more likely to get a response on retweets. Emarketed reppin’ the West coast means that we can be behind on East coast conversations, so don’t forget to keep the different timezones in mind!

Tools
Scheduling tools (like Sendible) is a helpful to give your profile an active presence. Being lively on Twitter shouldn’t mean that you’re spending all your time on the site – that’s why scheduling tweets ahead of time can be helpful. Conversations aren’t something that you can schedule so make sure to check regularly for Twitter mentions!
As for gaining followers, I don’t like to use automated tools. I find that adding followers manually allows for better control for weeding out spam and irrelevant accounts. Don’t forget to list yourself on Twitter directories such as WeFollow.

Growing your Twitter account doesn’t have to be difficult but I am surprised to see different obstacles in the different industries. I think focusing on these three categories is a great way to start growing and maintaining your Twitter profile. Check out Twitter Grader to see how you’re doing.

If Twitter is NOT a Social Network, What Is It?

Emarketed Twitter social media advertising

Earlier this week, Twitter’s own VP of business and corporate development, Kevin Thau, shook things up when he said that Twitter is NOT a social network. In his own words, “Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information.”

Maybe Kevin has taken allegations that Twitter is “pointless” to heart. Twitter is trying to revamp their image a place where news is broadcast and transformed. I’m not sure why Twitter wants to suddenly re-position their image as a news aggregator.

Twitter is a great place for social networking, so why would they want to turn away from that? I think it’s strange that they don’t embrace it but instead, turn to a direction that most users don’t associate it with. As one reader put it, “Since Twitter can’t compete with Facebook as a social app, they’re now redefining themselves as a news source. That’s my read anyways.”

What is Twitter to you and how do you use it?

The 5 P’s that Power Twitter

Emarketed Twitter social media marketing

Looking for some powerful ways to amp up your Twitter or social media campaign? There are many things to consider, so let’s focus on some P words that can help you on your way:

1) Participation – If you’re on Twitter (or any social site for that matter) you can’t expect success without participation. Communication consists of listening and responding, so don’t expect it just to be a one way street.

2) Packed – There’s nothing more inefficient than an inactive Twitter account. You can’t just sit back and expect things to happen. Your Tweets need to be packed with information, resources and tools. Sounds boring? Not really, this translates to: articles, blogs, infographics, etc. People are always looking and sharing helpful things.

3) Persistence
– Depending on your industry/business and the time you put into your Twitter account, it could be taking off slower than you expected. In the end, don’t give up. It pays off to be persistent and it can start with something as small as researching your competitors’ tactics.

4) Pleasant
– Real life is depressing as it is. No one likes a sad sack or creep on Twitter! Be personable and show that you’re a real person. Share something interesting you did over the weekend or a short anecdote.

5) Promotion
– This could be the most difficult P to tackle because it could backfire easily. What’s easier: promoting a new TV show or asking people to vote for a certain candidate? It all depends, so use this P sparingly. But then again, promoting doesn’t just have to relate to yourself. You can tweet about your favorite blogger or share a service that you’re happy about. Who knows, they might even reply or reciprocate. For example, the Salvation Army tweeted us some thanks after this post, which is pretty cool!

Hopefully, these tips will help for more than just your Twitter strategy. What about your blog or email campaigns? Feel free to share other P words!

New Viral Marketing Campaigns Spread Excitement

I always like to hear about the latest viral marketing campaigns and see how big brands are trying to outdo each other.

Papa John’s Pizza Mania

First off, p-i-z-z-a! Papa John’s unveiled an online contest this week asking fans to share their special recipe. The contest, dubbed “Papa’s Specialty Pizza Challenges”, encourages pizza aficionados to submit their special recipe along with a short blurb about why their pizza is so special. Ten semi-finalists will get a chance to have their recipe tested at Papa John’s HQ. From there, three finalists will have their recipe featured on the Papa John’s menu in August. But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Of the final three, Papa John’s will hand out a $1000 budget for marketing.
The recipe with the most sales will get a permanent spot on the menu! The grand prize also includes free pizza for life and an appearance in a Papa John’s TV ad. Go to Papa John’s Facebook and take a look for yourself. I never thought that people could be so excited about pizza but as fan Diane writes on the Page’s Wall, “I don’t care for American Idol. But, a pizza right now sure sounds good.”

Honeymooning with Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn also launched a campaign this week targeting newlyweds who are looking for a good deal for their honeymoon. Appealing to members of their rewards program on Twitter, Holiday Inn’s month long “Honeymoon on Us” contest will give out free prizes. With wedding season around the corner, this is the right time for the InterContinental Hotels Group to focus their efforts on vacationing couples. The grand prize is pretty great too – a complete wedding registry!

Papa John’s and Holiday Inn are just two examples of how big brands are using social media to the fullest extent. Nike also just set a record with their new viral ad. Do you have any other examples you’d like to share? It doesn’t have to be a promotion that’s currently running.

So, a Little Bird Told You About Content Marketing…

Webinar Overview
So, I got to hear Joe Pulizzi of Vertical Measures speak today in a Search Marketing Now webcast. Content marketing and link building can be confusing to people as there are certain things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your customers in mind. As Joe put it, don’t just talk about yourself. After all, people aren’t searching for a marketing pitch! They want answers.
  • Marketers are becoming publishers but many are doing a bad job. Their main problem is they have a difficult time separating self-promotion with their ability to provide useful content.
  • The secret to success is not really a secret at all. Most marketers will tell you the key to success is to be an expert in your niche and to dedicate content to customers.

These tips are a lot easier said than done – especially with the third point. So, what are some ways you can be more innovative with your content marketing? Joe provides a list of ideas to “steal”!

Steal These Ideas

  1. Create as much content as possible relating to your niche
  2. Incorporate a helpful video series
  3. Use Twitter as a channel for providing tips
  4. Develop a web or mobile application that is educational and helps solve problems
  5. Share a series on SlideShare

The Big Idea About Link Building

Don’t mix link building with lead generation!

Here’s a good starting point: find a handful of top blogs in your industry. Read them, stay up to date and comment to build a presence. Like I said before, these things aren’t really secrets. The real secret is how to keep consistent and measure your progress.

Social Media + Innovation: When Is It a Business?

This Saturday, we attended the Cal Tech/MIT Enterprise forum about social media and innovation. The stand out speakers had to be Oliver Starr of Clean Green Guy and http://www.cleangreenguy.com and Oded Noy of Social Approach. A nice turn out for a sunny Saturday morning – we even spotted a frog at the Cal Tech lily pond!

Oliver is all about the people and not the numbers. As a long-time successful blogger, Oliver has had a history of providing engaging conversations. We must admit that his’ was the most interesting presentation we’ve seen in awhile! (You can try out this tool for free at Prezi). Some takeaways from his talk:

  • Focus on the individual
  • Expand your method of reaching out. Don’t just comment on the big blogs to self-promote, reply to other commenters and even visit their blogs
  • How can you use Twitter to add a personal touch? Comment, announce interesting events, give info and provide value

Eventually, Oliver would like to see more research about the new data gathered about social media. He predicts that location based social networks will expand and help people in their collaborative efforts. With more efficient tools, Oliver would like to see more spontaneous and integrated social gatherings. He likened it to going to a large venue and identifying the people with your interests. This way, you’ll be able to convene with them to have a more effective conference. Sounds like what we would all want and need, right?

Oded shared a similar point with Oliver as they both stressed the importance of a community of like-minded people. Oded brought us back to the days before technology when people would meet and talk over a campfire. Old school, I know.

  • Before: face to face interactions
  • Next: those with money (corporations) can buy a bigger platform to reach more people
  • Now: the internet has reduced the cost of self-publishing

The biggest question remains – how do you utilize social media to make money? Social media sites are a place for individuals to share in these conversations and seek out areas of their interest. It’s hard to say how and when you can convert this into $$$. All of the speakers on the panel agree that as much as it is cliche to say, “It really depends”, it really does depend on your individual situation. The sure thing is that once your social activity urges consumers to search and find your product/service, that’s when you acquire customers. That’s where business begins.

Reviewing 3 Twitter Tools

Twitter Analyzer

If you like seeing stats displayed by fancy 3D doughnut graphs, this is the tool for you.
It’s useful if you like to see how many of your followers are retweeting your Tweets. You can also enter the Twitter handle of a friend or competitor and see how their stats compare to yours. Things I learned: 78% of our followers are male and 23% of our followers are entrepreneurs.
No need to sign up, so why not try it out?

Tweet Stats

Sweet. More graphs! But Tweet Stats also shows a tag cloud of your  most frequently used phrases. It also gives you a density analysis that gives you a look at the times you Tweet most frequently. It’s easy to use but I definitely think it’s more informative than useful.

Twitter Counter

First, you need to allow this tool access to your Twitter account. Like Compete, you can compare your profiles with 2 other users of your choice. The graph displays are easy to read and you can even sign up to a weekly update of your progress. You can even go back as far as 3 months and see your stats from there. I think Tweet Stats is my favorite out of the three tools.

Do you have any other handy Twitter analysis sites you like to use?