Twitter Marketing Tactics

October 7, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

So, we’re changing sessions. I was supposed to be in a different one. Pretend you didn’t notice, k? Love you.

Twitter’s all the rage and we’re gonna hear from three people who do it better than most. Speaking we have Michael Gray,  Chris Winfield and Tamar Weinberg.  Chris is also going to serve as moderator.  Rock stars can double up like that. Or so I’ve heard.

Up first is Chris Winfield.

Chris likes to have Twitter do his presentations for him. It’s not lazy. It’s just that he doesn’t have all the answers. Twitter does. You can read all the posts/articles about Twitter that you want, but what works for one company will not work for another. You can’t just replicate w00t or Comcast.  He likes to tap into the public and get their opinion on what’s going on. It’s a collective good.

Chris asked questions and got Twitter to answer them. Let’s play.

How do you define “marketing” on Twitter?

It’s about relationship marketing.  It’s long-term steady return on your efforts. It’s about reaching out and building relationships and engaging in knowledge sharing.  It’s anything that gets people to convert without pissing them off.  It’s about building a community and making your brand come alive.   It’s the conversations and the relationships.

There’s lots of spam on Twitter. What’s the worst form of it? Why?

Trending topic spam, especially on a local level. It totally ruins the most interesting part of the Twitter data graph. It could ruin Twitter in general if Twitter is supposed to be about real-time search.

DMs that ask you to join their mafia games. It never ends and it comes from random people so its hard to block.  [That probably means you’re following too many random ass people. #snob]  Chris doesn’t want to join your mafia, he doesn’t care if its his mother asking. And he loves his mother. Hee!

The spam that steals your login credentials or irrelevant links hidden in short URLs.  Porn accounts – if you’re following them it can damage your credibility.

Auto DMs: You follow them and they immediately follow you back and send you an automated message “welcoming” you or trying to sell you something.  It’s sleazy. Don’t be that guy.

[Chris to brought up farm animal porn and Greg Finn just about died on his laptop. His poor virgin Upstate, NY ears.]

How are you leveraging Twitter to help you get more links & traffic to your sites/blogs?

Using Twitter as an RSS feed to keep track of keywords to find friends and related writers to connect with.  Mixing conversations with links. If you just use an account to push content, people will stop listening. Build and engage your audience, then when you have content to promote, they listen and link.

Are hashtags important? How do you use them?

Use them for events to help track the conversation and connect with people. Using hashtags shows that you are a fluent tweeter.  They’re good for geo-based stuff. Hashtags may become less important if people keep spamming with them.

[On a personal note, I adore hashtags. If you follow me on Twitter you know they’re basically my favorite part of the whole site. I enjoy making up my own. #z0mgsofun #hashtags4lyfe ]

Is Twitter’s ‘real-time search’ a threat to Google?

Yes – It’s a good way to look for answers. You can get recommendations that you’ll actually trust. People believe their Twitter. network.   They’ve already got the users, now they just have to nail the indexing and integration. The real-time conversation aspect is a threat.

No – People search info for what people said, not real information.  Facebook is more likely to be the threat.   People still need long form content, which they get through Google, not Twitter. Twitter is over-hyped and Google has more resources.

How would you convince a company that Twitter isn’t a waste of time?

It’s a tool to stay in touch with clients and colleagues and always stay ahead of the curve. It’s instant access. You can talk to your people.   It can connect you to influencers in any discipline. You can reach out to whomever. The  Georgia Aquarium raised $43,000 using Twitter. It’s the quickest way to spread information and get your message out there. And, for right now, it’s free. Show them the power of the Twitter search engine by querying their brand or company name.

Next up is Tamar.

Participation is marketing.  If you’re involved in the communities, you’re marketing yourself.

  • Graco Baby: Had a hard time getting parents to appreciate what they were doing online. They have a blog. They have get togethers and they’ve been posting information Twitter.
  • Tyson Food: They had two major initiatives. They had a giveaway through a comment contest on their blog. For every comment on the blog post, they gave away food in major cities. They’ve also started their own blog outside of this.
  • Home Depot: Using Twitter and creating How To videos on  YouTube to build awareness about what they do and what you can do to make your life easier.
  • Caminito Argentinian Steakhouse: Boston steakhouse that’s everywhere in social media. They have a blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc.

Twitter for Marketing Gain

It’s not impossible with the right ideas. Out of the box, Twitter gives you immediate feedback and a way to connect with people.  It’s fast customer service.  API applications really got Twitter off the ground, enabling developers to make powerful applications that help marketers and the end users.

Generating Sales – Dell made $3 million over 2 years by using its Twitter stream.  Can small companies do the same? Mimobot and Namecheap have both used Twitter contests to generate sales and build awareness and links.

Saturated Markets and Twitter

Apples App Store has over 800,000 apps.

Convert: One week is all it took to become one of the top 30 paid apps.  Twitter gave them access to an older tech savvy demographic. Find relevant followers first, message later.  They offered a freebie that complemented the product.  [I would SO try to find this online for all you nice people, but the Javits wifi sucks. It’s not SMX. It’s the convention center. Let’s all take this opportunity to boo them.]

Twitter for Customer Service

JetBlue’s Morgan Johnston helps her all the time.  He also helps over people. ComcastCares is obviously one of the major case studies for using Twitter for customer service.  You can use it as a client acquisition tool.

Twitter for Brand Awareness

[Tamar talks about Zappos and how it helped people learn about the culture.  We’ve all heard the Zappos story before. Just like Comcast. And Dell. And JetBlue. Can we find new examples now and stop sleeping through presentations? Thanks. Who ELSE is doing cool stuff? ]

Case Study: Oh Nuts!

Oh Nuts is a small tri-state area based candy store. They use their Twitter stream for contests and giveaways. They monitor keywords for the biggest selling products and seeks out Twitters, then responds.  They’re getting lots of Web site hits from Twitter.  They feel more connected.

What works best on Twitter?

Contests: People don’t get tired of freebies. Offers good visibility if you use hashtags.

Customer Service: Twitter is more effective than calling someone nowadays.

Twitter Tools

  • Desktop Apps: Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck
  • URL Shorteners: HootSuite,,
  • Trends: twitt(urly), Twist
  • Statistics: TweetStats, TwitterCounter, twInfluence, Twitter Grader
  • Search: Twellow, Twibs, CelebrityTweets, Muck Rack, Twubble, MrTweet
  • Friendships: FriendOrFollow, SocialToo, NutshellMail

Next up is Michael Gray. He is by far the fastest talker in all of the land.  I want to throw @beebow’s muffin at him to get him to slow down.  She may still be hungry though and I kind of like her.

What are your goals?

Commercial accounts have different goals than personal accounts.

  • Connect with your customers, advocates, industry leaders, new customers and detractors.
  • Make sales and generate leads.
  • Promote content.
  • Solve customer problems.

How big can you get? Southwest has 720,000+ followers. JoelMadden has 270,000 followers. EverywhereTrip has 89,000 followers. You can grow even if you’re not a well known brand.

Tips to Grow Account

Tweet links that are not self serving. Retweet the most self-serving links of power users in your vertical. Help solve people’s problems. Engaging with users, especially the people who @ you. Don’t be a robot, tweet the occasional boring, off the cuff, slice of life information.

Dig Through Other Peoples Follower List

  • Use directories like Twellow, WeFollow, MrTweet to find leaders in your verticals.
  • Build a master list of A, B and C level people  [He doesn’t want to break your bubble that there are A, B, and C people…but there are. Sorry about your bubble. Have a cookie.]
  • Mine their followers
  • Use auto follow scripts with caution

Automate Without Being A Robot

Look for ways to automate steps along the way.  Have your blog post auto tweet when they publish. Schedule tweets in the future with tools so they’re going out in prime tie. Don’t be afraid to schedule stuff for the future. You can schedule tweets about the World Series now. Use virtual assistants and “grunt labor”. Repeat tweets for multiple timezones.

You can get A LOT of traffic from Twitter. Twitter is usually in the top 5 or the top 10 of traffic sources for most sites.   It also lends itself to a higher average time on site.

Tools of the Tweeter

  • TweetDeck: Helps him keep on top of monitoring different accounts.
  • Hootsuite
  • URL shortening: Use something with a tracker built into it.
  • TwitterHawk: You can program response tweets.  Don’t set it on automatic.

Retweet Tips

  • Make your tweets direct and click enticing
  • Keep tweets as short as possible – Try to leave 15 to 25 characters
  • Jump start the retweet process with your friends.
  • Ask for your retweets – thank the people who do retweet
  • Be aware of multiple timezones – retweet yourself multiple times throughout the day.
  • If more than 30 minutes has gone by without a retweet in most cases, it’s over
  • Retweet your best archives and evergreen content

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