What is in a list? Why are Twitter lists so useful? When should you use Twitter lists. How do you leverage list building on Twitter? All of these questions should be asked before a person creates their Twitter account. Yet, very few people consider the list feature for anything other than keeping brands or people grouped together. There is more to it than that, let’s take a look.
Perception of Out of Balance Twitter Accounts
One of the most common strategies many users choose is utilizing an automated paid tool to add Twitter followers. Although this is a method that allows you to add hundreds even thousands of followers in a very short time, it is not the most effective strategy. Instant Twitter followings, when you have very few tweets, is a signal to every user that the account is either a ‘bot or an account that most likely was setup to mass blast broadcast sales tweets.
How to Use Twitter Lists to Launch Your Twitter Account
When launching a new Twitter account the following steps will help a person avoid any perception problems:
Niche: create lists based on keywords that describe the niche you are interested in finding. Example: If you want to promote your Mixed Martial Arts gear you could begin by creating lists like “UFC Fighters” and “MMA Fans.”
Research: finding important information is a very valuable benefit for being on Twitter. Build lists based on keywords that describe the type of information you are seeking. Example: If you want to find information on yoga you could build lists like “Yoga Studios” and “Yoga Instructors.” Fill the lists and then monitor the tweet streams of each list for real time updated news about your target content
Monitor: if you are just beginning your Twitter account you should vet the people or brands you are considering following. You can accomplish this review process by building lists and simply monitoring the stream of tweets. The option when you are in your list is to view tweets or the members on the list. By viewing the tweets of the people or brands in your list you begin to understand how frequently they tweet, how active they are in conversing with people, and how valuable their tweets are to your efforts. Most importantly, by not immediately monitoring the users in your list you have the opportunity to gradually add them and avoid the stigma of an account that is out of balance.
Customer Service: if you have customers-clients on Twitter, place them in a list. By doing this, you can easily review their tweets all in one place. Twitter’s algorithm is such that you will not be able to see everyone’s tweets all the time. Building a list of your customers ensures you can see what they are writing all the time. By listing your customers, you can vet who you should follow and who is not utilizing Twitter on a consistent schedule.
Lead Generation: building quality lists often attracts subscribers. Review these subscribers to your lists for insight- are they competitors, are they collaborators, are they prospects, are they influencers in your niche?
Find People-Brands to Follow: once you have organized your lists and started the vetting process by monitoring the tweet stream, you are ready for the next step in launching your Twitter presence. Begin to drill down and “mine” your listed Twitter users. Review who they follow and who follows them. Finally review the lists they have built for more choices
Inner Architect is a digital marketing firm based in San Rafael, Ca. For more information on our services and for more information about social media marketing strategies, please visit us at Innerarchitect.com.
Twitter hashtag events, #Winewednesday and #Followfriday, have been a mainstay in helping wineries network with their consumers and affiliates, raise awareness for their brands, and open lines of communication. The most important strategy to ensure success during these events is to understand how to write creative tweets that illustrate why you are recommending a person or brand. One such strategy is what we call a “tweet tale.”
Tweet Tale: A Short Story
What is a Tweet Tale? The object is to create a micro-story that showcases the people or brands you wish to recommend to your followers. The following example of a Tweet Tale:
Full adoption of Twitter as the choice social media engagement super tool is still in progress. Although many first adopter business niches and industries harnessed the power of Twitter early in the platform’s development, without demanding white paper or ROI analytical proof, many American companies still lag behind. When the light does go on, some very important steps often are overlooked before launching a successful Twitter presence. One of the examples of an industry that still struggles to understand how to measure the ROI of Twitter is the wine industry.
Steps to Measure ROI of Twitter in the Wine Industry
Direct Channel: understand that Twitter, as well as Facebook, is a direct marketing channel that can be measured
Life Time Value: realize that consumer purchases can be attributed to Twitter, as they are for traditional channels, creating a bench mark and life time value for each winery’s customer utilizing Twitter
Control: institute employee processes to capture consumer purchasing information in the tasting room
Train: train all tasting room staff, within the conversation with visitors, to uncover which channel brought them to the tasting room. Was it a Twitter offer, a Facebook page announcement, a telesales campaign, a email notification, advertisement etc.?
Integrated Database: the biggest challenge for wineries is to create one place where they can house all of their customer purchase information ie. tasting room, email, telesales, advertising, postal
Measure: even if the challenge of finding one database to hold all customer purchases across all channels is currently improbable, there is a set of services that can measure interactions, responses rates, and CRM campaigns within the Twitter environment
Twitter hashtag events #FollowFriday and industry niche events such as #TravelTuesday and #WineWednesday are fantastic opportunities for brands to recognize, recommend, network, and create awareness for their products and services. These events are often the best first step to begin to open lines of communication with their targeted prospects and consumers. The following strategy is a way for a brick and mortar brand to recognize their customers, prospects, and the power of Foursquare.
Step 1: Create a “Foursquare” List
The most important feature on Twitter is the list building feature. Create a Twitter list titled “Foursquare.” Place people who have checked into your business in this list. Note: You have the option to make this list public or private. The benefit of making your list private is that you will keep your list of consumers or potential consumers private and away from the prying eyes of your competition. The benefit of a public list is the fact that you are recognizing an individual and they are very likely to notice you have placed them into a list. Listing people or brands provides those Twitter users with more exposure to a larger audience
Step 2: Recognize Check-ins
One of the most important advantages to Foursquare is the ability for consumers to “check-in” at a business’s location. This check-in provides a brand awareness by telling everyone, in their network, where they are enjoying their time. Savvy companies that understand how to mine these check-ins can create “tips” aka offers that are automatically delivered to people who are checking-in at a business near their own.
Recognize your customers or prospective customers who check-in at your business by:
Copy: write copy that rewards people for checking-in at your business. Ex- “These folks support U by Checking-in on Foursquare @winesoiree @JillDever @susanhanshaw @Cordairgallery @BobMc #FollowFriday
Offer: create an offer that compels people to check-in at your business. Wine industry Ex- Our reward 4 your check-in Complimentary Tasting for 2 @napavalleyrogue @pkitano @evenanerd @MichChat @vinogirlie @sharayray #WineWednesday
This is our revisit to one of the simplest explanations of Twitter.com on the internet. It was done by CommonCraft.com a truly brilliant training video company. CommonCraft’s tag line: “our product is explanation” is one of the greatest tag lines today. Enjoy and pass this along to anyone who asks: What is Twitter?
Tip #1 when establishing your Twitter account is very simple: target the people and brands you want to follow and those you want following you. This simple, yet often overlooked strategy, is the basis for targeting the right people and brands for your business needs on Twitter. How do you create a targeting strategy on Twitter?
Steps to Targeting on Twitter
List Building: begin your strategy by writing down the different categories of people and brands you wish to list on Twitter. Examples for the wine industry: “Napa Wineries” “Wine Sommeliers” “Tasting Room Customers” “Foodies-Restaurants”
Segmentation: each category you turn into a list must segment (divide) your “paper” list relevant to your business. Examples: “Prospects” would be different than “Wine Club members” which would differ from “Affiliate partners.”
Data Service: hire a company to perform a database enrichment where your list of current customers, who may be on Twitter-Facebook or 25 other social networks, can be identified through their email address.
Once you have built your Twitter lists, segmented them according to category, and identified your best customers who are on Twitter or Facebook, you are ready to build a targeted following as well as follow your targeted prospects.
Twitterlists help businesses from small to global segment, track, monitor, engage, and recognize their target audience. Whether you are monitoring competitors, establishing a new account, or creating campaigns for specific audiences, Twitter’s list feature is the best feature available in social media today.
In order to take advantage of the list feature, you must first know your targeted audience. One of the best ways to find brands and important niche specific people on Twitter is through Mashable.com’s Twitter List Directory.
Twitter List Directory: Mashable’s Top 5 Lists
There are thousands of lists on Mashable in dozens of categories- here are the top 5 lists on Mashable:
Don’t end up like the Fail Whale! Are you are an aspiring social media marketer, looking to learn and leverage social networks, and interested in enriching your knowledge base? If you are utilizing Twitter as the information engine it has evolved into, following the best social media people and companies is a great place to begin your education.
11 Top Twitter Social Media Resources
Mashable: incredibly rich source of social media information
Jeremiah Owyang: the former Forrester analyst “fire” starter is one of the most important voices in social media
Brian Solis: another stalwart in social media with an anthropologists mind and gunslingers reflexes
Hubspot: creators of Twittergrader and tools for social media strategists; include Mike Volpe in your follow
Twitter hashtag events like #WineWednesday and #FollowFriday are powerfully effective networking events that allow participants to recommend people or brands to follow. These events are integral part of any Twitter launch in order to attract new followers, raise awareness for a brand, or begin to create goodwill within the network with your targeted audience. One effective new strategy to raise awareness is the utilization of exclamation marks within a hashtag message.
Exclamation Marks: Rating your Recommendation
A way to differentiate your recommendations of people or brands during a hashtag event is to place an exclamation mark after the Twitter “handle”
In this example for #WineWednesday, I placed an exclamation mark after @leesgreenberg. The results? Lee messaged the brand that he received an exclamation mark and that he was being recognized as special.
Benefits of Exclamation Marks
Rating System: exclamation marks can be used as a rating system for your recommendations
Recognition: using an exclamation mark is a method of recognizing people-brands
Open Communication: because you are differentiating a Twitter from others this can act as an opening of the lines of communication in many cases
Differentiate Your Brand: by utilizing an exclamation mark rating system you are showing your network that you are interested in them and putting maximum effort into your messaging
Twitter is a creative direct marketing channel. With an anthropologists’ zeal for experimentation you can begin to leverage the network as a tool for more than just simple broadcasting needs.
SocialMediaToday.com’s Robert Bacal’s “Twitter in a Corner- Facing Huge Challenges” is a smart look into Twitter’s challenge to monetize and survive into the future. Bacal points out Twitter’s initial steps into advertising and their deliberate roll out strategy. He correctly identifies Twitter’s concern with user experience and the possible alienation of users due to the advertising platform. Bacal gets most of it right but not everything.
Twitter User Experience: Bad Times Ahead?
According to Bacal:
“Can it (Twitter) hit the critical balancing point where it can maintain its user base, attract more users while using user eyeballs to generate money? It’s unlikely. There is a point where the commercial use will drive social and community users out of the space, or to competitors, and that reality, or at least possibility limits the revenue potential.“
“At the same time, there isthe issue of commercialization from third party sources who aren’t paying anything for the free advertising they get from simply dumping tweets into the stream. They damage the user experience for those who are not there to buy things, the majority of users, and they don’t drive any revenue at all for Twitter.”
Twitter User Experience: Counterpoint
Commercial Use: commercial use will begin to attract more users not drive them away from Twitter. In tandem with Foursquare, Twitter will be the “offer platform” consumers will flock to in order to find the best deals on products and services
Research: according to a 2006 quote from Evan Williams:
“What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. We think of Twitter as it’s not a social network, but it’s an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.” Twitter remains one of the most vibrant and important resources for information on the internet and the fastest growing search engine with more monthly search queries than Yahoo and Bing- combined!
Choice: Bacal’s thought that user experience is damaged by people or companies “dumping tweets into the stream” that either promote or advertise something is no different than the 50 years worth of television or radio advertising we have endured. We as users understand that we can ignore the tweets that promote or advertise because the network’s value outweighs the littered stream.
Entertainment Value: Twitter has a plethora of celebrities, sports stars, business magnates, and other very interesting people and brands. It is the platform to learn about people and brands. No amount of commercialization will drive people away from the tidbits of gossip, insider information, and breaking news Twitter has to offer.