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3 What Works With Twitter Today

Marketing Podcast with Dan Zarrella

BeakerTwitter has been with us for a while now – about a century in Internet years. While it has changed and grown and evolved into a staple of the media landscape, many marketers have grown to effectively tap Twitter in a handful of useful ways as well.

I know, blogging about Twitter? How 2007 of me. (Just for fun have a look back at an eBook I wrote on Twitter in 2009 – Twitter for Business – lots of services no longer exist but the content is still mostly relevant.)

Like most Internet tools and social networks things change and there are always new and better ways to use them meet your objectives. Now, mind you I didn’t say right and wrong ways because, frankly, there is no right or wrong way, only the way that serves your unique objectives.

For my view some Twitter best practices look like this.

Consider objectives

The first thing you must do in order to use Twitter effectively is to clearly state and understand why you’re using it at all. For me, it’s a tool to amplify my own content, filter and aggregate other people’s content and network for links and conversations. I always share content I’ve written, content and ideas I’m wrestling with and eight to ten pieces of content from others that I think is useful.

Share routinely

There are two primary reasons I share on Twitter. 1) – my hope is that people that follow me on Twitter appreciate that I find good marketing related content for them and save them the work of rooting it out themselves 2) – my other hope is that some of the people who’s content I share will at least consider whether my content is worth sharing. Networking in this manner is simply one form of the new link building. However, it’s still networking and will fail if the only goal is reciprocation. Think value and links will come.

List wisely

Go out today and put your customers, competitors, partners and media sources on Twitter lists so it’s easy to keep up on what they are doing, asking, sharing and requiring on Twitter.

Employ 3rd party tools

At the very least get a Hootsuite account so you can follow your lists easily. Also get a Buffer account to make sharing content buffered out through the day a snap. Use an RSS reader like ReederApp to make it easier to scan for sharable content. Head on over to Topsy and keep tabs on popular content others are sharing on Twitter.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I also sat down and chatted with Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella about some of his most recent findings on the finer points of Twitter use.

Zarrella spends more time than anyone I know trying to get at what creates followers and engagement in social networks in a scientific way. His book The Science of Marketing delves into things like when and what to tweet.

He’s created an interesting little tool called ReTweetLab that lets you analyze any Twitter account and discover what works best, when and how to tweet and what calls to action generate the highest engagement.

Dan’s work across all networks is shared in his latest book – The Science of Marketing.

14 How to Sell Anything Using Social Media

One of my predictions for 2012 is that more people will come to understand that you can indeed do business using social networks and, frankly, I’m already seeing it.

There are a couple reasons for this.

First off, people are getting more comfortable with social media and social behavior and the “social media is a pure engagement temple mentality” of some early adopters has faded.

More importantly, however, is that smart marketers are testing, tweaking and trying lots of things and figuring out how to build know, like and trust – the path to selling anything, anywhere – on social networks.

In my own experimenting I can tell you that generating and converting leads using social media takes a more patient approach, but once you find the right path, it’s actually a better way to sell in any environment.

The reason I see many people’s social media marketing efforts fail is that they are still simply broadcasting sales messages. This approach still works to some degree in an advertising setting because people often stumble upon your ads with a buying intent. It still works to some degree in email marketing efforts because people have asked to get your messages and you can easily earn the right to sell in that relationship.

However, most people don’t participate in social networks to shop so any sales message can feel sort of harsh and in the snack sized, feverish world of tweets, shares and likes any and all messages are very easy to ignore.

If you want to sell using social media, here’s one path:

Test your message

Using 140 characters or less to basically write an ad that makes people want to retweet and click isn’t something most people can muster in real time – and yet, that’s what most try to do.

I’ve had tremendous success using Google AdWords to test very compact messages. Once I find a message that draws clicks there, I know I’ve got a winner that will get action in the form of a tweet or share.

This somewhat scientific approach is one of the most overlooked aspects of marketing in social media and it’s the primary reason people that contend you can’t sell there say so.

Target your message

Here’s another proven technique that seems lost on many marketers. Just because there are 800 million people on Facebook doesn’t mean you need to appeal to all of them.

The quickest way to get the right kind of attention is to announce “hey you 437 people that need to get better at X” I’m talking to you.

If you want to learn more about the impact of using data to form your social media messages look no further than the work Dan Zarrella is doing.

Prove your worth

It’s nearly impossible to get someone ready to buy simply by crafting a mouth-watering tweet. There’s just not enough information to develop trust.

You must make your initial relationship building all about valuable content. Give something away that you know your targeted prospect wants and needs. Move the free line to the point where your free stuff is better than most other people’s paid stuff and watch how enamored people get.

Here again, there’s nothing new about this. For years, smart marketers made tiny little inexpensive classified ads in the back of magazines like Popular Mechanics pay off nicely using this exact approach.

Engage

Now, here’s a step that just might be unique to social media and online marketing in general and it’s a very powerful one.

In the process of giving away all that great information ask your prospects to tell you things, share things, rate things and help you make the world a better place for all who inhabit it.

Seriously, create feedback forms and make that part of the deal for why you are giving away such great stuff. Socialize your content and make it easy to email, tweet and like. Send a series of emails during your content sharing phase that reinforces the important takeaways from the content and offers more engagement like email support or live Q and A sessions.

Ask for the order

Once you’ve done all this work and logically and authentically led a prospect to the place where they do indeed have some level of trust, it’s time to tell them where this journey is ultimately headed.

Paint the picture you know exists in their “current reality”, remind them of the incredible glimpse you’ve shared and then illustrate what the picture could look like.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming they will connect the dots – show them how to get the value you know you have to offer and be extremely clear about it. One of the benefits of this approach is that, if you do it right and they still don’t buy, you’ll earn the right to ask why and they’ll gladly help you understand how to get it right.

There’s nothing that magical about this approach really. Marketers have been using some form of these elements for years, but it’s the total package, including patience and hard work, that makes it pay off in the world of social media.

11 Measure

How to Measure Social Media Like a Scientist

Marketing podcast with Dan Zarrella (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes

dan zarrellaThere are a lot of social media marketing books out there telling you what to do. Dan Zarrella’s The Social Media Marketing Book tells you how to do and, perhaps these days more importantly, how to measure and track success.

Dan calls himself a social media scientist and employs the under the hood analysis to strategies and tactics often missing from the advice of social media gurus. His website is a great visit as well and make sure you download and read his latest free report: The Science of ReTweets.

    In this podcast:

  • Social media scientist vs. social media guru
  • What’s in The Social Media Marketing Book
  • Measuring social media results and tracking return
  • Social media and direct selling
  • Useful content on www.DanZarrella.com
  • Social media tools in 2010