5 Signs You Suck at Twitter

I’ve been playing around with Friend Or Follow over the last few days, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people suck at Twitter.

Friend Or Follow is a Twitter tool that shows people you’re following, but aren’t following you; people who follow you, but you’re not following; and people you have a mutual followship with.

I dumped over 500 people from my Twitter account this week with FOF. I checked out each account I unfollowed, and frankly, some of you people are just doing it wrong. That’s why I unfollowed you. Not sure if this includes you? Then check out the…

Five signs you suck at Twitter.

    • You claim to be a social media consultant/pro/expert/guru (CPEG), but your following to follower ratio is 10:1. That is, you’re followed by 5,000 or more people, but only following 500. Social media consultants looove to say “have conversations with people.” But shouldn’t people who truly value conversation be willing to, I don’t know, have them?. Or at least fake like you are? If you’re a CPEG, you should have a ratio fairly close to 1:1. This is not to say that everyone should have a 1:1 ratio. Just the CPEGs. (Pro tip: you’ll also have more than 200 followers. I’m just sayin’.)
    • Nearly every one of your tweets is some motivational or inspirational message. Why do I need to get ten motivational messages peppered throughout the day? If it didn’t help me at 8:30 — 29 minutes after your HootSuite-scheduled “Good morning, my tweeps! Make this an excellent day!” — then it’s not going to help me at 9:30, 10:30, and so on. Don’t regurgitate someone else’s cleverness, show me yours. If you really want to motivate me, tell me about the cool stuff you’re doing.
    • You’re trying to amass as many followers as you can. If you’re a celebrity, a public figure, or someone who’s really, really interesting, that’s great. If you grew your network through hard work and earned those followers, more power to you. But if you resort to computer scripts, trickery, and joining follower-building networks to boost your rankings, then stick with being a LinkedIn LION. Twitter is not a competitive sport. Despite what you’re already doing to LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter isn’t just one more race to the bottom of mediocrity and uselessness.
    • Your Twitter bio has the words “money,” “fast,” and “make” in it. I spam-block every single person whose bio says they have some money making system they want to share with me. Stick to peddling penis drugs and fake watches by email.
    • Your time between tweets can be measured with a calendar. You don’t have to tweet many times a day, but at least once a day wouldn’t kill you. Even every other day would be fine. But when you’re only tweeting every 3 – 4 weeks on a regular basis, then Twitter isn’t a communication tool, it’s an afterthought, like calling your mom the day after Mother’s Day.

What is your Twitter pet peeve? What sort of annoying behavior have you seen?

Do Small Businesses Need a Social Media Person in Marketing?

A reporter posted a question to an email list I belong to, about whether small businesses need a specific social media expert on their marketing team. I replied that I thought a small business did not need an expert. Rather, they just need to appoint someone on their marketing team whose job it is to participate in social media, but that person can learn the ropes about the different tools they would use. (They will need other knowledge. More on that in a minute.)

Although people have become more and more specialized over the years, at least in the marketing world, social media and the Internet are turning us back into generalists.

You don’t need a special videographer, script writer, and editor to create a corporate video, you only need a Flip camera, a YouTube account, and some creativity to get your videos out to your customers. You don’t need a PR specialist to send out press releases to the local media, you need someone who is already connected to them on Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with them personally. (Yes, I’m oversimplifying a bit, but you get my point.)

And you don’t need someone who has logged thousands of hours on Twitter or Facebook, has written a book, or is a top-notch computer programmer (although they’re all very nice).

You do need:

  1. someone who has the time to do it on a regular, consistent basis. This is not something to do just once in a while, but needs to be done a couple hours per day.
  2. someone the company trusts enough to speak for its brand publicly. This is typically not an intern.
  3. someone who understands message creation and social psychology. It’s not the knowledge of the tools that is important, but the knowledge of how to create a solid message and how that message will affect a chosen group. Again, this is typically not an intern.
  4. management buy-in and their understanding that this is not just jacking around on “Facespace or whatever you young people call it.” They need to be committed to this venture, just like they have every other marketing campaign you’ve done.

We’ve reached the point that social media is no longer a fad. It has incredible usage rates that show that it’s here to stay. The tools may change over the years, but this connectedness among us is not going anywhere for a long while. And because these things are so easy, anyone can do it. The challenge is finding someone who actually knows how to harness the power, and has the time to do it.

Business will serve themselves well by either hiring someone who does social media marketing as part of their responsibilities, or contracting out to someone on a part-time basis to do the work. But either way, they need to jump on this bandwagon before they’re left at the side of the road with the people still running their IBM PS/2s wondering when all this talk about the Internet is going to die down.

Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Improve Fundraising, Membership

Yesterday, I talked about why nonprofits needed to use social media in 2010. And I promised to talk about the strategies nonprofits can use to grow membership and fundraising dollars.

To get started, create a Gmail account and import all the email addresses of your members to it. Keep this one private, and don’t use it. Not because there are any problems, but because you don’t want your members to get confused when they get emails from a Gmail account with your name on it.

Gmail contacts

    • Join Facebook and start a Facebook Fan Page for your organization. Import your members into your Facebook account — this is what the Gmail account is for — and friend the ones who are on there. Encourage them to communicate with you and each other on the Fan Page. Ask your members to recommend the Fan Page to their friends. Participate in conversations with your members and fans.

 

    • Set up a Twitter account, and encourage members to start “following” you. They’ll receive your updates (tweets), and be able to keep up with what you’re doing. Participate in Twitter conversations with your members, and follow people who talk about the same issues. Use things like Twitter search or NearbyTweets.com to find people in your area talking about your organization’s key issues.

 

    • Start a blog and write about the issues that are important to you. Don’t give up your print newsletter, but use your blog to communicate with members in between your monthly or quarterly mailings. Write about other organizations in your field, like a similar nonprofit in another town. For example, if you run a food bank, write about the great things a food bank in another state is doing.

 

    • Use LinkedIn to establish your personal brand. Your personal brand is just as important as your organization’s. By getting to know people outside your organization, you may find different opportunities to be out in your community. This helps you meet people who could be likely donors, find other opportunities where your organization could be a beneficiary of a community event, or even find possible members and volunteers among your new network.

 

    • Automate some of your content feeds. You could do this all by hand, but this will save you several minutes a day. Use the Network Blogs feature on Facebook to feed your posts to the Fan Page. Use Twitterfeed.com to automatically feed your blog posts to your Twitter stream. Don’t turn your feeds into automated bots (robots), but use automation to lighten your load a bit.

 

There are more ways than these five that you can use social media to your advantage. But these are the five that can get you started. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let us hear from you. Leave us a comment, and if we get enough, we’ll use them in a future post.