Twitter 2.0: Creating & Distributing the Message

March 23, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

TWITTER! It’s time to talk about TWITTER! Sorry. Sometimes I can’t help myself. I blame lunch. It refueled my energy.  Either way, it’s time hop back into the goods. Our friend Matt McGowan will be moderating speakers Hollis Thomases, Michael Gray and Paul Madden.  Let’s do this.

Chivalry must not be dead because Hollis is up first.

Hollis is going to talk a bit about how to create the message.  She says that a lot of businesses struggle with what the heck they’re going to tweet about. People struggle with why they should join Twitter. People don’t want to know what you had for breakfast. They want to hear about the value you provide – it could be customer service, it could be answering questions, a promotion, etc.

Don’t tweet just for tweet’s sake. Create tweets that will attract an audience.

How can you do that?

  • Advocate something/someone
  • Newsworthy tidbits
  • Advice
  • Praise Others

Tweets that get reactions:

  • Pose questions
  • Critic review
  • Messages involving multiple tweeps [Can I take a moment to vent about how much I despise the term ‘tweeps’? Seriously? Who came up with that?]
  • Broader discussion/use of hashtags

Tweets that get shared

  • Quotes [Please stop with the inspirational quotes, people. No one cares and they’re kind of pretentious.]
  • Retweets with more content
  • Links to content via shortened URLs.

Enhance your tweets

  • Video: Links to YouTube, Twitvid, Vimeo, etc
  • Audio: You can link to audio tracks – podcasts or clips
  • Photos – Twitpic
  • Surveys & Polls
  • Contests, coupons and invites
  • Chat
  • Music [She asks how many people like music and no one raises their hand. Hee! People are sleepy from lunch. Michael Gray finally owns up that he follows Lady Gaga.]
  • 140+ tweets – TwitLonger, JumboTweet,

Distributing the message

  • Be goal-focused – don’t just tweet for no purpose. Have some sort of focus in mind, especially if you’re doing this for marketing purposes. Don’t just follow everyone. Follow the right people.
  • Define Ideal Follower/Following
  • Credit, Create & Engage: Remember, it’s not just about YOU. It’s about people’s interaction with you.
  • Helpful Tools: Tweep Search, Twitter Search, Friend or Follow, DoesFollow


  • Via Lists – Twitter Lists, Listorious, FormuLists, Twibes
  • Via Clients- MediaFunnel, HootSuite, Co-Tweet
  • Schedule tweets – she can be standing on the podium now and tweeting at the same time. She calls that helpful.
  • Push into other social networks – don’t just interlink all your accounts. They have different cultures. It may not be appropriate to sync your Twitter account with your LinkedIn profile.

Integrate it

  • Widgets
  • Sharing – Tweet This button
  • Follow Me buttons
  • Twitterfeed
  • Auto-tweets from other social networks and applications

Measure ROI

  • Change in Followers over time
  • Content attracting followers – be mindful of what you’re posting and what attracts people. [This is why I still get email notifications of new followers. It allows me to tie followers to something I published that day.]
  • Klout Score
  • Referral traffic to your Web site – up? down? stayed the same? She said Twitter is now the 2nd biggest source of traffic.
  • Specific actions attributed to Twitter – Event registrations, email subs, blog subs, exclusive coupons or offers redeemed, direct sales or leads attributed to Twitter, etc.

Best Practices

  • Don’t just put Twitter on “autopilot”. Set daily and weekly goals
  • Keep self-promotion to an absolute minimum
  • Use automation to help build relationships, manage accounts and enhance your Tweets to…
  • Improve your Twitter experience and your followers experience
  • Integrate Twitter into other applications
  • Monitor, LISTEN and stay informed

Next up is Paul Madden.

We can’t get his slides to load. So…amuse yourselves. Hollis jokes maybe now is a good time to tweet something. Oh, the SES comedy continues.

Okay, a few minutes later and we’re back in action. Paul is going to talk about how to build a better bot.

What we do…

Warning: Some of this will be dodgy. Some things may not be legal. All of it will be against Twitter’s Terms of Service.  Oh boy…

You need eyeballs and trust to get attention on Twitter. People are expensive.


  • The bad way: Auto responders, DM spam, no engagement, just links. The ideal bot is one you can’t tell is a bot.   Anyone can build a bot but not everyone can build a person.  How do you build a person? [DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF RIGHT NOW?]
  • An ideal bot – this is all “theory”. He hasn’t “done” this. Right. We believe you.
  • Create actual people with a style sheet.  Give it a friendly face, a bio, etc.

Account Creation

  • Outsource the task – used oDesk or CrowdFlower

Build a Following

  • Statistically around 50 percent of people follow back. Build an untargeted list of followers just to make the account look real.
  • Then follow people based on data. He recommends Klout.

Generation of Tweets

  • Passive Hooks: “@person Hey you, hows your morning.” Stuff designed to get engagement with the person you want to influence.
  • Trustbuilders: Checking in on 4sq at places near your targets. It doesn’t have to be a real 4sq checkin, no one looks.
  • Facebook scores: “Bonnie just beat her friends in Rainbow Stars with a score of 547,000” . Makes the account look more real
  • RTs
  • Follow Fridays


Using applications to post, listen and research. Post in line with your site analytics. Meaning post when the right people are listening.


All engagement is done through human beings. There’s no scripting to make conversations automatic because it doesn’t work. Tweetdeck is a great app for managing multiple accounts.

The Point

  • You can help steer a convo
  • You can research
  • You can build brand awareness
  • You can broadcast

The Rules

  • You can impersonate
  • You can’t create mass accounts
  • You are supposed to declare advertising

If you don’t do anything antisocial, you should be okay.

Next up is Michael Gray.

He was sitting at home on Monday and decided to trash his whole presentation. He thinks people don’t want to see rehashed presetnations.  Amen. He also says if this bombs, well, he tried.  Nice disclaimer.

When you talk with most people about why they’re using Twitter they say things like:

  • we’re trying to establish deeper relationship with our customers
  • We want to become part of our customers conversations

He thinks that’s bullshit. Businesses want something that is effective

What they want:

  • Engage current customers: remind them that they are there, possibly make sales
  • Do content marketing: want existing customers to see and spread their content…hopefully to new customers
  • Lead generation: Gain new customers through content marketing or product promotion
  • Customer Service: help existing or new customers solve problems or issues

He shows a number of examples of how companies are using Twitter.  Unfortunately, I can’t liveblog screenshots. This is why you pay for the conference. ;)

Who do you want to follow you?

Social media people will say you want everyone to follow you. He disagreeds. You can’t build a meaningful relationship with 30,000 people.  It’s the # of following not # of followers that matter. Robert Scoble follows 31,000 people.  If he follows you he will not see your tweet. Vanessa Fox follows 327 people. If you tweet, SHE will see your tweet. You want someone who doesn’t have a whole mass of information following. Vanessa is a better follower than Robert.

How do you create a twitter profile that people want to follow?

If you can automate all this, that’s great. He doesn’t think that’s in the capabilities of everyone. He recommends a semi-automated way to do stuff, meaning let humans use tools.

Be real with your tweets; He thinks @BarackObama’s Twitter account is a fake account. Real people do not touch that count. 15 people are writing and approving his tweets. That’s not real.  The @CharlieSheen account is a real account. It may be bananas, but it’s real. That’s why people are interested in him. People can tell the difference.

What Makes a Good Twitter Account

  • Be a curator: Tweet out interesting, funny, education, entertaining, info or links that are not self-serving. The majority of stuff you put out should NOT be self-serving.
  • Be Social: Engage in conversations with anyone who tweets @ you, or things that are important in your space. Retweet others.
  • Be Helpful: Answer people’s questions, refer them to informational sources, even your competition.
  • Broadcast: Push out your own self serving links (this should be the smallest percentage of your tweets).


  • Use RSS to set up a body of interesting information you can easily scan for quality content
  • Schedule these links through the day, week, month
  • Use things like Photo of the Day, Chart of the Day, Stat of the Day or other series, you can schedule these in advance.
  • Retweet your archives or best posts [Please be careful with this. I know Michael’s gotten a lot of backlash. It gets annoying]

Danger of Fake Profiles

  • The reality: 16 year old male, single, unemployed
  • Fake Persona: From a middle age woman that was widowed who was a well-to-do heiress

The person was Benjamin Franklin. He wrote a series of letters published under the name of Mrs Silence Dogood, a 40 year old women.  He received inquires from suitors and marriage proposals.

Fake Profiles:

  • Sometimes you need fake profiles because nobody likes an SEO
  • Make your fake profiles unremarkable and completely forgettable, be an ugly step sister not Cinderella
  • Use them just to flesh out the role accounts
  • Treak fake accounts like kites when something goes wrong
  • Fake profiles say whatever you tell them to, always take the blame, and never file for unemployment


  • Create realistic business goals for your twitter account
  • Seek out qualified customers who can engage, not attention seeking self promoters
  • Be a curator of good information and links
  • Self promotion is a minority function
  • Schedule or automate tweets whenever possible
  • Tweet during prime time

And we’re done.  Must run to next session. See you in a few!


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