— blending the mix

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Twitter
  • Blog comments are dying
  • Tweets and Twitter accounts are more frequently cited in blogs posts now
  • Yet no notifications are provided to the person or tweet being cited (when not on Twitter)
  • Why can’t tweets cited off Twitter act like pingbacks do for links and blogs?
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Wired have covered what I’d say is the most logical explanation of Twitter’s purchase of Cover I’ve seen yet. Cover, like everything.me is a home screen launcher for Android (only) that can be customised with different apps and wallpapers but most importantly, delivers the most likely next-used app automatically based on your usage and location. Essentially it second-guesses the app you’re most likely to use next based on past behaviour. Smart and contextually relevant, eventually. FWIW I prefer everything.me!

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API’s too complicated for you? Look at this from Brian and Jess3 and realise that you need to get your head around them/it.

Understanding how effective API’s can be is to understand why Twitter has grown so significantly – give people (devs in this case) the freedom to use you/your service to create things of value for them is a sometimes invaluable thing to do (and one of the 4 Pillars to Social Media behaviour I constantly waffle on about).

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So, as you will all now no doubt have heard, Twitter changed overnight for some people into a much more media rich experience, allowing you to view media in-line (well, at the side anyway) with a view to making the web-version of the service much more engaging – and therefore visited.

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So, as you will have seen from my previous post, I spoke at the Figaro Digital Social Media event on Tuesday 28th July about how using a few cool and insightful tools can help you make the most of your existing Twitter strategy (especially if you were a brand).

The presentation seemed to go down pretty well but I know that the best bits are the tools that make finding, understanding and developing your  twitter presence that bit more effective. And, Steve reckons I know what I’m on about so I guess I have something to live up to there!

Do you really need a whole load of tools?

Many people have argued that to be so analytical (anal even!!) about Twitter is to some extent, defeating the object. “Get in there and just talk to people” is not an unreasonable approach…but then again, is that what @habitatuk thought when they let an intern loose on their account?

Relevancy and context are core aspects of brands being relevant in social networks, but only when we know to whom we need to be relevant, can we be so – which is why many of the tools we use (and are listed below) are about understanding the people behind the tweets.

Below is a little bit of commentary as to why we use some of the tools we do. If you have any more, do let me know, i’m always keen to learn!

Relevancy

When we are launching a client’s Twitter account, it is important that we make the best use of that client’s time and engage initially with only those people who we know to be talking about that client, their competitors, products or industry. I call this the Push phase of the approach – where we are trying to FIND friends to talk to.

If we approach this wisely, we end up with friends who we know to be very relevant to our client’s business in that they already share an interest or have tweeted on something that would be of interest to us. This gives us (even without mentioning anything about our product or brand) a valid reason to talk to that person.

Re-tweetability

This phase is perhaps a little too mercenary for many, but again, when it is not our money we are spending, something which anyone should pay more attention to if they are trying to get more out of less!

Someone tweeting something relevant is one thing, but someone re-tweeting who re-tweets is quite something else. In an ideal world, a superstar follower will re-tweet everything we tweet, but we know this is not the case.

With Dan suggesting that re-tweets are on average, only 2-networks deep (i.e. a re-tweet only gets seen by two friends’ networks), we need to make sure that we have plenty of followers who are more likely than not to re-tweet some of our content. Some of the tools we use helps us understand the likelihood of that person passing on our content.

It’s contrary to the notion of degree centrality – that the person at the heart of the network is the most influential, when what we actually want are the people who can connect us to a wider audience with the least amount of steps (Markov centrality). Mercenary yes, but necessary.

Management

When we move beyond the Push stage – of finding followers who are relevant re-tweeters, and we are conversing in a friendly, respectable and relevant manner (which might include twitpic, competitions, offers etc.), we will begin to naturally attract followers. The question then is raised of how we manage these people and how we remain mindful of what makes that person tick, what their experience has been of us (are they a customer, complainant, troll etc.) and who is going to manage that relationship.

Tools like Topify, otherinbox and Co-comment all help to assign notes, people and tweets to ensuring that the valued relationship we created is not lost with one careless tweet.

So, not rocket science admittedly, and some of the tools below will add more features to your toolkit (and not all of them perhaps relevant or of interest to you), but I do hope you will find them useful and please let me know of your own experiences.

Step 5: Branded backgrounds – Twitter Backgrounds

Step 6: Twitter Search

Step 7: Topic trends – Twist/Twitscoop

Step 8: Multiple topic monitoring – Tweetgrid

Step 9: Email topic alerts – Tweetbeep

Step 10: Tweet frequency, trending topics and influencers – Twazzup

Step 11: Follower audience profile – Twittersheep

Step 12: Follower profiling and engagement patterns – Twitter friends

Step 13: When is it best to approach them – Tweetstats

Step 14: Making images more viral – Twitpic/Yfrog

Step 15: Multiple account management – Otherinbox

Step 16: Easy follower management – Topify

Step 17: URL shorteners with analytics – bit.ly

Step 18: Account management/allocation – Co-Comment/Tweetdeck

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So I spoke at the Figaro Digital “Social Media” event on Tuesday. I really struggled to think of anything useful to talk about (some might say I didn’t even achieve that!), after all, how many times will people regurgitate the same old case studies and say the same old things “the customer is in control” blah, blah, blah…

Instead, I left the insightful stuff to my new buddy, all-round good guy and smart-cookie Freddie (and just had to agree with everything he said!) and thought I’d do something practical, that didn’t preach and simply highlighted some just some really useful really.

As it turned out, 90% of the audience was already using Twitter in a personal capacity and almost 50% in a professional one – who needed me to tell them how or why to Tweet?!

So, the presentation is below for you all to see. As always, i’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, recommendations, criticisms (be fair though!!)

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I’ve been threatening to post something for a while now on the elements of a “proper” Twitter strategy. Which, amongst the plethora of tools, should you use to maximise the return on your efforts? Which tools help your client best understand what on earth it is you are doing and how will/can you cost and measure your activity?

There’s a model I’ve used successfully in the past and will be sharing it on slideshare soon, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on Brian’s latest poster gem,

What’s in YOUR Twitter armoury? How do YOU develop twitter strategies for your clients? Take a look below and also check out my list of the most bookmarked Twitter tools (that probably needs a little bit of updating too!)

twitterverse large

Also, thought you might like a look at this. One of the best kept Twitter secrets (and clients love it!)

twitterstreamgraph

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Yesterday, Friendfeed went from THIS:

FF1

To this:

ff2 

 

and in doing so, made a huge impact on its future, nay survival, if you follow Techcrunch’s thinking. And I have to agree. As sad as it is to see something so innovative die, in aligning their interface to Twitter, the latest changes have made Friendfeed neither one thing nor the other – and that can’t be a good thing.

Friendfeed for those that don’t know is actually a pretty clever tool which allows you to track what all of your friends are doing on social networks – radar for social networks if you like and allows you to comment on your friends’ social networking activities which get posted to Friendfeed. You can “like”, comment or repost in Friendfeed and link those actions to Facebook/Twitter and the like. More recently, it created “real-time” functionality which allows Friendfeed users to see a live stream of their friend’s activities

If that hasn’t confused you, then let me put it more simply…look at the recent changes in Facebook. Notice the “like” and “comment” links below your friends’ status updates? The idea for that came from Friendfeed…which leads me nicely to why the new design poses such a problem for Friendfeed.

The speed of the new live-feed aside, as I have alluded to above, Friendfeed’s new interface is much more complicated than Twitter, yet not as clever or feature-rich as Facebook. This means it now sits somewhere in between being too complicated for Twitter users (who, from recent traffic figures seem to love the simple interface!) and not clever enough for Facebook (although you might rightly argue that Facebook is a destination site designed for content storage rather than aggregation), but nevertheless, it doesn’t meet the needs of either audiences particularly well.

Lest we forget Jaiku, which for some time was considered the “better” micro-blogging tool, yet which never really took off. It did the same thing as Twitter, had more features (it even had groups!) but never gained anything like the traction of Twitter. Pontificate you may, but it has to be to the overcomplicating of services that puts people off.

Friendfeed has long been the choice of the uber early-adopter, but I don’t see how this new look can help it’s cause.

Thoughts?

 

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As we have all seen with fantastic tools such as Twitter Friends, the influence and breadth of your audience is almost as important as what you say or link to.

The audience in its (in)finite wisdom decide what it thinks its followers would be interested in and communicated it accordingly to their audience. As such, the perception of your brand is as much governed by who spreads what as much as what you spread.

I’m always keen to learn more about “my audience” given that there are now over 1000 followers in it and this lovely little tool, Twittersheep (thanks for the heads-up Sam) tells me a little bit more about my followers by looking at their/your biogs and effectively giving me a tag cloud of the main words used.

Anyone embarking on social media activity of ANY type should always begin by listening and understanding to what the audience is saying, but few (free) services allow us to understand the profile of our audience.

Even though we can dig down into each of those terms, it would be great to be able to see a list of all those people who sit under each of those terms. In the next iteration maybe?

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I’ve been into the whole “PR people just don’t get it” thing ever since we launched PressRoom a few weeks ago.

We spoke to a room full of PR people who looked (on the whole) utterly confused about things like Twitter, blogging and social media.

“My colleague send press releases out as part of his job, will this social media release tool put him out of a job” was one such comment and typical of the lack of understanding of social media.

On this evidence, the suggestion is that indeed, as per Vero’s post, the PR Industry doesn’t get IT (IT being “it” the object, emphasised for dramatic effect rather than I.T. – that dodgy-looking tech department with long-haired geeks in).

But is it fair to say (frequently) that the PR industry as a whole just doesn’t get it? Look at esteemed luminaries such as Becky, Stephen and Stuart, not forgetting Brian and Geoff – there’s no doubt THEY get it! Why can’t others?

On the flip side, is it fair to suggest that the tech industry (ok, the early adopters) are trying to frighten the PR industry into needing their tech/building services by suggesting that social media requires NASA-affiliated qualifications? Then again we all have a responsibility to ensure that we keep up to date with thing going on in our industry – why should PR be any different?

Take the BIMA and Paul Walsh – no, please do 😉 when looking for a new PR agency, Paul advertised it on Twitter only. If you had to ask why, you were clearly not the people for him.

Is there an element of arrogance from the tech industry that they understand something that they know people need? Let’s not forget, many of these early adopters were the nerdy types at school who got bullied for being nerds, whilst the pretty, popular flirty girlies were the ones who went into PR and Marketing (yes, I know – stereotypes are bad, but sometimes funny!).

Ourman wades in with one of the few negative comments about the piece and makes a good point. Do bloggers have the right to demand more careful treatment just because they have a free-will-powered publishing tool (blog) at their disposal? The suggestion is that bloggers deserve more respect and care taken over their approach than a journalist in getting pitched to. But do they? Yes and No.

No, because they are no different to anybody else writing for an audience. Many bloggers want the exclusive, they need the latest breaking news ahead of anyone else just, like journalists. Why should bloggers take any different exception to a crap pitch than a journo?

Yes, because most blogs (and bloggers) are free from the constraints of corporate policy and can respond vociferously to the lazy pr pitches and can quickly slate the poor approaches for being exactly that – poor. Many hacks would no doubt LOVE the chance to respond in the way bloggers can so PR peeps take note.

And let’s not forget what Chris Anderson did (and he is/was on both sides of the fence!)

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